With the Marine Corps Marathon in my rear-view mirror, I can now return to 'normal' training. My focus is now on recovery, a gradual build-back of miles, and even a couple of races before we ring in 2013.
I signed up last week for the 3rd Annual Ringing in Hope 10K in Brambleton/Ashburn, VA on the afternoon of New Year's Eve. I ran the inaugural event, and set what at the time was my 10K PR in the process. It's a nice rolling course, but not very scenic. Basically it's an out-and-back, run through a housing complex, then on to a 4-lane divided highway, and back. Not terribly difficult, so my goal for this race would be to go sub-53 (8:31-ish pace), which would be a PR for me. It's also a race where a lot of the local Northern Virginia Daily Milers congregate, so I should get to meet some of them.
That was going to be it for the year, but I had a little conversation with my Twitter and Daily Mile pal Jennifer S., who informed me that 3-4 weeks out from a marathon is a good time to try for a 5K PR (evidenced by her smokin' time this past weekend at the Anything is Possible 5K in Georgia ). I was originally going to sit out this Thanksgiving, but I found a race in nearby Vienna, VA, the Giving Thanks 5K, that just could be PR-worthy. It has early hills in the first 3/4 mile, then it makes its way to the relatively flat W&OD Trail for the remainder of the race. Plus, the race benefits Wounded Warriors and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, so it's also for some good causes.
I'd really like to work on increasing my weekly mileage to about 35 per week, as well. I have found during marathon training that my body responds better to higher mileage (i.e., I eat a lot, and 35+ miles a week doesn't let see any weight gain). Plus, if I'm going to focus on Ten Milers in 2013, having those weekend 12-13 milers every week will allow me to work on increasing my speed rather than a mileage build-up.
But even if 2012 were to end today, it's been my best year in the 4+ years I've been running. I'm extremely satisfied with what I've achieved, and I look forward to more of the same in 2013!