Overall, the plan to run back to back races was a success!  It didn't hurt that the weather was extremely cooperative. The Fairfax Four Miler was first up, at 6 pm on the 31st. I've run this race twice before and been very pleased with my times. I knew it was going to be different, however, because I am undertrained. I also needed to save something for tomorrow morning. Not that I'm good at that. I love racing and I've never been able to take it easy on race day. My ego just doesn't like it. That being said, you can probably guess what happened.

D and I raced. We agreed on a mile split before we started but once we settled in on the course, we were nearly two minutes ahead of that time. Oops. I've gone out too fast before and paid for it, but this time I tried to hang on. D lets me set the pace and so far I haven't run him into the ground. Mile two was faster than the first, the third was slower, and then the fourth was light speed. It didn't hurt that the remaining 800 meters or so was downhill....

The time definitely didn't seem to reflect the amount of effort expended but we were both happy. I like this race and I plan on doing it again next year. My hip held up pretty well during the race but I was experiencing some pain for hours afterwards. It definitely made me concerned for the 5k to come. We stopped for dinner on the way home, showered, and hit the sack. Neither of us are big on the "holiday" so it was nice to just crash and prepare for the following morning.

Next up, the Reston New Years Day 5k. At the outset, I was tempted to bail. I wasn't tired but my hip was hurting pretty badly. It hurts worse to walk than run, so I was hoping that once we got started that it would be ok. And I reminded myself that it was just a 5k, we did our racing last night, and this was supposed to be fun. We ran into a few friends at the start line and they were planning to run for fun too.  Once the race started, there was no going back.

At no point did I settle into a comfortable pace, although this time we stuck to the goal we'd set for the morning. I couldn't have gone faster if I wanted to. My hip did loosen up as expected but my legs were just TIRED. Two races in less than 24 hours is definitely a challenge. I look back to the double I did earlier this year and I am amazed that I pulled it off. I was leaps and bounds ahead of where I am now, so there really is no point in comparing.

We finished and I flashed a big smile for the race photographer at the end. One bagel and a bottle of water later, it was time to go home. Goal achieved. My hip feels really good today and I haven't the slightest idea why. I'm not going to question it, though. We spent the rest of yesterday being lazy bums and today has been no different. I have a track workout tonight at 6:30, so I'm giving these legs as much rest as I can before then.

I didn't meet all the goals I'd set for myself in 2012. I need to learn to expect the unexpected and that was one of the lessons I learned the hard way. I did have some amazing experiences throughout the year and I do not want to take away from them in any way. Ragnar Relay might be at the top of that list. I have a few races scheduled for 2013 but I think I'm going to be a little more cautious and a bit more open to surprise this year. Between the Shamrock Marathon in March and the Endurance Challenge 50k in June, the spring is spoken for.

I can enjoy a nice recovery during the sweltering summer when I'd normally be  training for the fall. And come fall? Who knows. There are so many things I want to try for the first time and so many races I want to face again with a vengeance. 2013 has started on the right foot and I will continue to build on that. I've recruited some new supporters that are going to help me iron out issues off the road that impact my performance on the road. It is all a little scary but exciting.

School starts up again in just about two weeks and I'm actually looking forward to it. My internship is also about to begin and I can't begin to express my excitement about that. Between school, interning, working, and running I will once again be carrying a heavy load. But I'm confident in my ability to handle it all, if not with grace then with a little style. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are ready to take on the new year, come what may!