Monday, January 30, 2012

6 Factors That Made 2011 Great

There were six specific things that individually and coupled together worked to make this year so great for my running.

1. God's blessing and His healing power. I know it is God alone, who has given me the ability to run and heals my body from day to day and week to week. He truly is my Strength, my Hope, my Provider, and my Healer.

2. Forefoot striking. A midfoot to forefoot strike is so much more efficient and better for your body. Heel striking is like putting the brakes on every time your foot lands, whereas a forefoot strike propels your foot forward. A forefoot strike also allows you much more control when you land on an uneven surface and therefore makes you less likely to roll your ankle or get injured. I really focused on changing my foot strike and becoming more of a forefoot striker after rolling my ankle in May.

3. Downhill running. I really worked to run the downhills hard yet also allow my body to slightly recover on the downhills. On downhills I focused on leaning forward, but keeping my stride under me and my hands low and relaxed, and of course landing on my forefoot and not my heels.

4. Crossing the center line. Roger Niethe shared this tip with me at Baker. When walking up hills during a race swing your arm across the center line of the body. This recruits more muscles in your legs and hips, which shares the work load and helps your muscles to be stronger and less fatigued later in the race. I credit this tip with faster times from 27AUG and every race after that.

5. S-caps. I have been using S-caps for my electrolyte and salt replacement during longer races for a couple years. Just this year I learned that if I am already have leg cramps that opening one of the capsules up and placing the contents on my tongue causes it to go directly to cramps in less than a minute. This made a huge difference on the final long downhill of Tussey, when I needed to be able to run the downhill, but leg cramps were preventing me from running.

6. 100-Up Exercise. This simple running exercise invented by W.G. George helps reinforce a natural forefoot stride that "is incapable of harm when practiced discretely." I have been using this exercise on my non running days since the end of November and feel it has been helping me develop a more natural and efficient forefoot stride.

Thanks for reading.

Run Like a Horse,

2011 Running Year In Review

Here is my 2011 Running Year in Review by the numbers: 36 races(two 50 milers, one 40 miler, four 50Ks, two marathons, one 25 miler, one 30K, two 25Ks, three half marathons, one 20K, one 19K, one 10 miler, two 15Ks, one 9 miler, two 10Ks, ten 5Ks, one 1 mile, and 1 DNF) and 549.5 race miles giving me career totals of 207 races, 38 ultras, 21 marathons, 24 half marathons, 11 DNFs, 2981.5 race miles. I also had 50 mile and half marathon PRs and my 2nd fastest marathon time ever. All Glory to God!

 My year started out rough with slowest 50K of my career at the Frozen Sasquatch 50K(8:17:25) on 08JAN, but it was later eclipsed by an even slower one at the Glacier Ridge 50K(8:32:47) on 09APR. The end of April saw me pick up my only DNF of the year at the crazy and super tough Muddy Marathon on 30APR. On 16APR I did shave 26 minutes off of my previous running of the Hyner View Trail Challenge 25K(4:20:47). I hit a high point with my 3rd fastest marathon ever at Pittsburgh(4:27:59) on 15MAY. Unfortunately the very next week I rolled my ankle badly while hiking when I jumped over a log onto a slanted bank. This set back slowed me down, but not enough to keep me from running 4 more races before completing the beautiful Highlands Sky 40 Mile Trail Run(10:10:43) on 18JUN.

From here my year just took off. On 13JUL I shed 43 seconds off my best 5K time of the year at the Fredonia Firemens 5K(21:59), but 10 days later I shed another 28 seconds at the Oil City Fireman's MDA 5K(21:31). On 27AUG I completed my 3rd section(2nd officially) of the Baker Trail(11:47:20). On 10SEP I ran a 1:07:01 9 mile race at the Mantua Potato Stomp, which would have been a 10 mile PR if it had been a 10 miler.

In October things really shifted into high gear. The first day of the month saw me complete the Megatransect(6:20:28) for the 3rd time and shave off 54 minutes in the process. One week later I ran the Oil Creek 50K(6:16:08), which was 6 miles longer than Mega, 4 minutes faster than my Mega time making it my 3rd fastest 50K. The next week I ran a half marathon PR at the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon(1:39:32) only to follow it up with a 50 Mile PR at the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile(10:18:42). The significance of the 5o mile PR is that it gives me to confidence to pursue redeeming a previous 50 mile DNF at Mountain Masochist. The first weekend of November I ran my second fastest marathon ever at the Inland Trail Marathon(4:08:22) and two weeks later I ran my fastest 5K of the year in 21:04 at the Oil City YMCA Turkey Trot 5K.

This was an incredibly blessed year. It wasn't without some hardships and lows, but they make the high points that much more special. God richly blessed me and my running this year. I pray that He was glorified.

Run Like a Horse,