a year in races

And it has been one hell of a year.
I kicked off the year by running a 5K with my husband of almost 12 hours.  We ran it easy with a friend and a little kid singing the Super Mario Bros theme song.
I didn't race again until I was pretty deep in half marathon training, when I was lucky enough to have Amy pace me to a 5K PR that still stands: 24:15.  I was pretty cranky about this race, but not as cranky as I'd be a month later when my back spasmed and left me in bed for almost two weeks.  I showed up at the starting line at the National Half, and ended up having a day that looked nothing like what I hoped it would be.  I'm still proud of what I did that day.
After that, I focused on healing for a while until I accidentally ran the 5K in Boston with my girls, then another 5K with another recovering-from-injury friend.  It's easy to see why I hope to not run this distance in 2012.  My next big race of the year came mid-May, when I crossed the finish line of my first 70.3 with a cycling PR that still stands at just above 3 hours.  
I ran yet another 5K the following weekend which remains the worst-executed race of my life but snagged me an AG place just before we took off on our honeymoon.
I completely despise running in the heat, but I tried to fool myself into racing a bit throughout the summer: tying my still-crappy 10K PR, attempting to PR the 4-miler on one of the hottest nights of the summer, and running a 5K on another hot night after a long brick with my IM-in-training best cycling pal.  I finally wised up and did some cycling events, including 100 miles to nowhere, the AF Cycling Classic (one of the worst organized events I've ever done), and a double metric century ride with that same IM bud.  

After signing up for IMCDA in July, I started looking for a coach and decided to start working with him in August.  He immediately laid waste to my entire schedule for the next several months, begrudgingly allowing me to still participate in the Philadelphia Half Marathon in late September as an easy training run.  I'm so glad that he did, because while I didn't even come close to my PR, I had absolutely the greatest day and spent the whole race with a huge smile on my face.  There are some things that are better than PRs.
Next up was my fall 70.3 which was an almost-unbelieveable disaster.  I crashed my bike and then fell apart mentally on the run, bringing in quite possibly my slowest 13.1 time of the year (no, I still haven't looked), but coming away with a 2+ minute PR on a rough and tangly swim.  
I followed the race a week later with my first shot at the 8K distance after a day of wine-tasting, my biggest accomplishment of the day being that I was able to stroller-check some guy and I made it over the finish line before I threw up.
I managed to squeeze in one last cycling event before buckling down and focusing on getting sick 6 days out from my fall half marathon.  I pushed my race back a weekend and my goal downwards by 10 minutes, which left me with a PR for the year and an experience I've never had before in all my years of racing - going out way too fast and blowing up.  I didn't run a step until almost a week later, when I managed to PR the 5 miler distance on an extremely rude hilly course.  
The beginning of December brought the mafia back down to take home the win at the Key West triathlon for the second year in the row.  
I started to settle into easy, HR-based running, but my coach decided to let me race my brains out one last time and I did, coming within 20 seconds of my 10K PR on a windy and boring course to wrap up racing for the year.
Tomorrow night I'll run a 4 miler with my girls, but it'll be easy and chatty and at least one of us will be carrying a "special celebration" water bottle.  And then Sunday starts my "less but more serious plus none of those stupid 5Ks" plan for 2012.  
What did your year of racing look like?  What are your big races for 2012?