I really can't complain too much about the way 2013 racing went. One thing I would say is perhaps I did not race enough(but I think I also needed to not race a lot this year). I ran some PRs, and had some good placings. I only did 9 races. Although I had top 10 finishes at both of the half marathons I raced this year, I think Cherry Blossom was the highlight placing for me, finishing 13th overall in that race. I just got invited to do that race again, and I will be aiming for top 10 this coming year. In terms of race times, I PR'd in 1 mile, 5K, 10K, and 10 miles, but came up short in the half marathon. I think the half marathon will happen with time, and there are certainly workouts I have done that indicate I am ready for a breakthrough in that distance. In hindsight, I ran PRs this year, but haven't made any major breakthroughs. And now I am looking to do so.
But I need to get to work.
I need to increase my mileage. Over 2011, 2012, and 2013, I have averaged 75-77 miles/week(upper end 100s/week, lower end 50s/week) for each entire year(roughly 4,000 miles/year), which I think has worked for me during these years, but in order for me to make the jump to the next level I need to average at least 90s/week now(and get a lot of 100+ mile weeks). My workouts are good, I just need to add more volume. One thing I really have going for me is that I am incredibly durable. My body doesn't seem to get injured with increased mileage/intensity over the years, along with racing faster. But I think that is also because I pay close attention to the little things like foam rolling, stretching, strength training, sleep, and nutrition which I will continue to do.
I am pleased to say I got accepted into the 2014 USA Half Marathon Championships, in Houston, TX. The race is on January 19, 2014. I don't want to put a lot of pressure on myself for a certain time, I just want to compete well and hopefully place well. It's certainly awesome competing in a championship race, and it's inspiring to meet other people around the country who either are Olympians or elite runners who train very hard. Nonetheless, I am training hard, and feeling pretty darn good. I think it is a really good thing I didn't do a marathon this year, since that takes more recovery. Last year it took me a while to get back into my training, and I was pretty beat up after the Philly Marathon in 2012(see one of my earlier posts from last year). The week after the Richmond Half Marathon(where I placed 10th in 1:09), I was amazed how recovered I felt. In fact, it felt great to just run mileage, which I certainly did hitting a 96 mile week after. Last week I hit 86 miles, and decided to jump in the Bethesda Turkey Chase 10K, where I placed 2nd. My goal was to tempo it at 5:05 pace, and I hit 5:07 on a pretty hilly course. On Saturday, I did a long run with Capital Area Runners' Christopher Mills(a 29:00 10K guy), covering 2 hours and 10 minutes in much of Washington, DC. This morning, I did some hill repeats, and will do another run this evening.
As for the rest of my 2014 schedule following Houston, it is still in the works. But another thing I want to do is to get back on the track and really sharpen up on my
speed this spring. I am looking to do a few indoor track races, perhaps at Virginia Tech in February. I want to do a fast indoor 3,000m race. I think I will really benefit from that leading into the spring season. Then there is Cherry Blossom on April 6, followed by Pikes Peek 10K on April 27. Pikes Peek is always a PR course, and I run well there, so it seems logical to do that, but I am also debating about a track 10K. I am still looking into races. Chris mentioned Bucknell as a great track meet, and it looks like a possibility, the only problem is that it is a week after Cherry Blossom. Decisions, decisions.