Dec 7, 2009

The Year in Review

I know it's not yet the end of 2009, but I got to thinking about how this year has gone for me. Some goals, I met. Others, I didn't. Still others, I didn't start the year with, but then wondered if I could reach them or not.

For example, I didn't start off the year with a goal regarding how much running I'd do, except to say I expected to run more this year than last year. And given that I planned to train for both a spring & fall marathon, this wasn't going to be too tough to accomplish, barring injury. I finished 2008 with 1,118.0 miles. How far might I run in 2009? I wasn't sure.I simply trained for the events I wanted to run, and let the miles add up. But then I started getting to the point that I thought I might be able to reach 2,000 miles run for the year. That blew me away. I hadn't realized I had a shot at 2,000 miles until around late September. At that point, I kinda, sorta thought that might be a goal. I finished October at 1,684.0 and thought I had a real shot at it. But I did a very minimal amount of running in November, as I recovered from my marathon on 11/7. And as a result, at the end of November I was at a total of 1,788.4. So 2,000 is out of reach. Eh, that's OK.

I put in 31 miles this past week, and hope to put in another 135-140 or so by year's end, as I start to ramp my mileage back up in preparation for whatever spring marathon I decide to run. So that'll put me just short of 2,000. Still, a good year, IMO. Especially since (knock on wood) I should end the year injury-free! Aside from general aches & pains, of course. On this note, my left knee which I was beginning to worry about if I'd torn something...I'm now of the opinion that I didn't. The pain I was feeling, I haven't felt in weeks. It still aches sometimes, but both knees do that. Nature of the beast when you pound the pavement, right?

Some other goals I had in 2009?

Two marathons. Didn't happen. DNF in the spring. I've come to grips with it, and have put it well behind me. Doesn't bug me anymore b/c I got my marathon in this fall. I don't even really want to consider it a PR, although of course it is, being my first completed 26.2. I think of it more as my baseline marathon, a time simply there to be improved upon. And it will be improved upon! My fall training was short (8-9 weeks, since I decided late which race to run), very casual (nothing but base building, with absolutely no speedwork), and I paid far less attention to my diet than I normally would have. Why did I take this approach? Because this time, I insisted on really wanting to focus on just running the event. I didn't want to get hung up on all the other things I did before the Flying Pig. My diet was going to have to be "good enough". My speed, I didn't care. All the extra hours of sleep I'd get by getting to bed early every night? Nope. Not this time. I was just gonna live my life as if I wasn't running a marathon, and then on race day, run comfortably with no expectations. The benefit of this approach was I put no pressure on myself this time. And because I knew my training was no where near what I did in the spring, I knew I wouldn't get greedy for time on race day. I'd simply run comfortably, for as long as I could. If I had gas in the tank to kick at the end, fine. If I didn't, that was fine too. Turns out I didn't. No big deal. I didn't care how fast I crossed the line. I simply wanted to cross it. Next year...I'll care. My baseline has been set, and now it's time to focus on improvement. Even if it's a slow, gradual improvement.

Other goals?

Run a few 5K's, some for fun, some for time. I ran two for time and set PR's each time. 20:27. Will shoot for a sub-20 next year. The rest, I've run for fun. And I really am having fun with them. I have one more this year.

Start a running podcast. I've got the recorder and mic. I've "practiced" a few times, listened to them, taken notes on what I want to improve on to make it easier to listen to, and I hope to have my first episode out at the start of 2010. I'm a bit self-conscious about how I come across, but I'll get over it. If the episode is honest, open to others, and opinionated, and I feel supports this running community, I'll be very pleased.

Inspire others to start running and living better, healthier lifestyles? I don't know if I've done this or not, because I think the desire to take to the roads is an internal one. I can offer advice. I can give tips & ideas. I can cheer them on, run beside them, or any number of other things. So at best, let's just say I've tried to ENCOURAGE others. I'll support their decisions to the fullest. Ask me for help or to join you on a run, I'll do my best to be there. But inspire? I'm not the person to ask.

Lastly, to continue to learn. Through podcasts, magazines, books, social networks like Twitter & Facebook, and my own experiences, to name just a few sources. Learning more encourages me to run more, and to run better. To take each run a find something in it that I didn't know about myself before. Or to find something that is challenging and overcome it. Not every run can be personal best. But every run should help you to be your best.

That's my 2009 in a nutshell.

2010? Here I come!

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