Monday, December 29, 2008

A Bang, Not a Whimper

That's how I'd like to go out (running-wise) in 2008. Looking back on the year, it's been rewarding, challenging, humbling and certainly memorable. I've had some triumphs and experienced my share of disappointments. I've been hurt, gotten better and been hurt again. I will have logged nearly 2000 miles (those injuries took care of the 2008 in 2008 goal), and run in about 20 different pairs of shoes (counting training, racing and trail shoes). I've run in heat, wind, rain and blizzards, through 30+ mph winds and for 2 hours at a time indoors. I've dragged my sciatica-suffering leg along for miles at a time. I've run at 4:00 a.m. and under full moon, on roads, paths, the beach and the woods. I've run up and down more hills than I could ever count, alone and with friends, in races from 5K to marathons, with casual runners and legends of the sport. I've dodged cars and bicycles, seen wildlife and had blood drawn by a friendly dog. And - of course - I turned 40 and ran 40 miles, but if you read this blog, you've already heard about that. ;-) I had my 15 minutes of running-related renown, and - due to my limited talent - it had to be for something other than being fast.

So, what do I have to show for my 2008 running efforts?

Well, for starters, anyone who knows me or meets me know is keenly aware that I am a "runner". My family has internalized my training routine (which tries to minimize disruptions to the schedule except for Sunday mornings).

I set a few PR's this year, though in mostly disappointing fashion, believing that I was in shape to run faster than I did at virtually every distance. I paid dearly for an April 2008 5K time of 19:49, since I did not adjust my training schedule afterwards and ran myself into chronic and painful hip problems which hampered my May marathon buildup and recovery. I still shaved 15 minutes off of my debut marathon time, but it was far less than I had hoped.

Chicago 2008 brought me a new marathon PR (again in the heat), but 3:40 remains a far cry from my running white whale, the elusive 3:20 Boston qualifying time. I will not be taking part in the Boston Marathon as a 40 year-old, since I'll need to try again in May and/or in the fall. I managed a respectable sub-1:36 half-marathon in early November, on windy, hilly course. That was probably my best race of the year. I banged out a sub-27:00 4-miler on Thanksgiving Day, but wasn't happy with my pacing, going out too fast and fading in the second half.

So, in terms of race performances, there were some bright spots, but I think I'll look back on this year more as a base-building period marked by learning how to deal with injuries. I've managed my most consistent period of higher mileage running (ever!) since my last injury in June and seem to be able to withstand more mileage and a bit more intensity than ever before.

So, with 2009 just a blink away, I should probably write down some running goals:
  • Over 2009 miles in 2009
  • 5K - take a stab at sub-19:00
  • 10K - flirt with sub-41:00
  • HM - approach 1:30:00
  • Marathon - qualify for Boston (!) with a sub-3:20:00

Other ideas (not goals) would include running more trail races, consider running an ultra-marathon (probably something to do in the fall if I do qualify for Boston in the spring) and possibly re-connecting with my running club, in terms of training and racing. However, as long as I remain so focused on the marathon distance and all that marathon training involves, I'll have to put other running-related matters on the back-burner.

Oh, and thanks to an RWOL mileage challenge, I have run nearly 60 miles in the last 6 days, and hope to end up with an 8-day personal mileage record by the time December 31st ends.

Happy New Year, dear readers (both of you). Here's to great accomplishments in our running and beyond in 2009.



Anonymous said...

Hey ESG,

I always enjoy reading your post, you have such a detail outlook on running. Heres to you and the new coming year!

All the best,


Billy said...

You've had one hell of a year Ron.

A lot to be proud of, some to learn from. Congrats again on the 40 on 40, the PR's, etc.

Go kick some more arse in 2009...ya old fart! (sorry, never gets old to me)

Bert said...

40 on 40, hmmm, no way I would want to try that at my ripe old age of 56... As for Boston though, bring it on. Here's to hoping you qualify soon so that we will see you there in April.

Josh said...

Happy New Year ESG! What a great year for you!

Preston said...

Sounds like a good year and some good goals to look towards!