2011 was a year filled with injury. I struggled with an Achilles injury that started in late October, 2010 and lasted into the middle of February. Once healthy, I had a solid month and a half of healthy training to lead into my racing, and I began my racing schedule on April 2.
April 2: Hamline Invitational – A week of training with a barn-burning 5x400m workout (all out quarters) on Monday and a solid 5x 1,000m workout on Thursday concluded with a tune-up 1500m on Saturday. Going into this race, I was not looking to PR, just get out there and compete on the track for the first time since June, 2010. The race went out fairly slow, and we went through 700m in 1:50. I finished in 3:50, running my last 800 in 2:00. I had no kick, but that was expected going into the race. I was happy.
April 15: Mt. SAC Relays – This was my first real test. The 5k. Racing against some of the NCAA’s best. Throughout the race, I moved up, putting myself in a spot to be competitive and run a fast time. I made a move with 700m to go and separated myself from the group to chase down the two leaders. I caught one with 300 to go, but the leader was out too far. I finished second, only to the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Champion, Lawi Lalang of Arizona. I PR’ed by six seconds off only about two months of healthy and consistent training. I was confident for what was to come.
May 1: Cardinal Invitational – The 10,000 meters: the world’s most grueling track race. I had run three 10k’s prior to this particular 10k, but all were contested at Big Ten Outdoor Conference Championships. Of those three, two were races that went out slow through at least 5,000 meters, and the third was a race where we simply clipped off 70 second quarters for all 25 laps. This race went out much quicker. First 5k, 14:20 – I felt good, ready to run my second half faster. This did not happen. I struggled mentally and contemplated dropping out several times. I did not give in. I fought to the finish to a “disappointing” 28:46; however, it was a 24 second PR.
May 12: US 1-Mile Championship – What an amazing race! The US 1-Mile Championship is held in conjunction with the Twin Cities 1 Mile events, so this race was special being in my own backyard. This race had an amazing field, loaded with talent at many different distances. It included US Marathon star Ryan Hall. The race went out hard through the first, slightly uphill, 400 meters. The pack stuck together through 1200 meters, and started to separate on the downhill. Guys may have moved too quickly as some came back in the final 200, which had a slight rise. I finished seventh in 4:04.4. A new PR and a nice finish in a very talented field.
June 1: Festival of Miles – This race was supposed to be a tune-up, another mile race. The fellas at Big River Running Company in St. Louis put on a great event; a money mile for the elite men, and an elite women’s 800. Never have I seen a summer track meet, which is not a National Championship, have so many spectators. I came into this race knicked up with a flare up in the peroneal tendon in my right ankle. I had been cross-training for ten consecutive days coming into this race, maybe running a total of 6 miles. I still raced. I still competed. I still PR’ed. 4:02.11.
After the Festival of Miles, I struggled with several different injuries until the middle of October. Training has been going well since then. My mileage is up, my workouts are going great.
***Knock on wood***
2011 was filled with injury, but a successful two moths of racing. I am confident that with consistent and healthy training, I will be successful.
2012 is filled with hope.