Avengers: Assemble!

After letting things sink in the last couple of days, I got to thinking about this year compared to last year. From the BCS Half in December 2014 to the 10/20 in April 2015, a series of injuries prevented me from training (and racing) well. In fact, I ran personal-worst times in just about everything. I was beat up, frustrated, and I began to wonder if this was my new normal.

Target acquired.

avengers

After an (injury-free) summer of building strength and endurance in which S and I had suffered through 5am Wednesday cross-training workouts and rebuilt mileage slowly, I started fall training with some optimism.

Target engaged.

the-avengers

I ran a much-faster September 8K race than I expected, leading me to attempt a pretty ambitious goal time at October’s Army Ten-Miler. I ran a seven-minute PR but missed my goal by thirty seconds. THIRTY DAMN SECONDS.

Target angry.

hulk smash

Frustration aside, I was (mostly) pleased with my progress, but I knew my road to redemption was a long one. Once again, I made the 3M Half my goal race. After the 2015 disaster, I had something to prove there.

A minor setback with a sore adductor muscle in my left leg forced me to dial the intensity back for a few weeks, and I became immediately concerned about going down the injury road again. But thankfully it was a minor thing. I was able to continue running on it and it returned to training at full-speed fairly quickly.

And suddenly, 2016.

In January I PRd at the Rogue Distance Festival 10K by four minutes and the 3M Half Marathon by almost ten. And this past weekend at the Austin 10/20, I reached crushed the goal that had eluded me in October. Over two 10-mile races I’ve knocked eleven minutes off my PR at that distance since this time last year.

thor

I have a couple more races on the calendar this spring, but nothing I’m considering a goal/PR race–the Capitol 10K on Sunday with M and B, and the Medina Half Marathon with K and our friend J from Canada. That’s not to say I don’t want to run well and finish respectably, but rather than stress about it and race hard, I’m just gonna enjoy running with family and friends. At this point, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. With my sights set on new goals going forward, I think I can officially declare my 2014-15 season avenged.

Hulk SMASH indeed.

hulk smash1

Come on in. We’re celebrating.

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