My 1,000-mile journey
I've said many, many times this year how great of a year this has been for me with running. Then November came along and it all seemingly came crashing down. But I'm not going to let an injury define my year or set the stage for 2011.
There have been so many great things happen this year that my attitude about running is changed forever. 2010 has been the highest of highs and it's time to reflect on running quadruple digits for the first time in the seven full years I've been running. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. I (quietly) hit 1,000 running miles in 2010 Saturday. So here it is, the highlights of my 1,000 miles of running this year ...
0-2.4 Funny thing about the year with the most running miles ever ... I didn't run my first miles until Jan. 4 because I started the year off with a horrible cold and horrible weather conditions.
42.5-54.5 It's very rare to have a non-race run to be so life-altering, but these miles covered a run/power hike on Terrapin Mountain that I didn't think I could do. A big group of us battled wind, cold and icy conditions at the top to do this. This run set the tone for the year, putting in my head that I could do anything I set my mind to. Not that it wasn't there before, but it became reality.
226.6-239.7 Simply put: a PR in the Shamrock Half Marathon. A goal met that was a long time coming.
257.8-359 Talk about doing anything I set my mind to, the April streak is the highlight of my year. While I had PRs and climbed mountains, running at least a mile a day for 30 straight days was one of the most self-satisfying things I've ever done in my seven years of running. Speaking of PRs and climbing mountains, during my streak I set a PR in a 5k by one second (miles 310.2-313.3) and ran a half marathon that climbed Roanoke Mountain (miles 325.1-336.2). I also ran just before and after midnight for two of those days during Relay for Life. Looking back, April 2010 was the single best running month ever. Expect another streak in 2011.
435.8-437.5 Not all these miles have to be good -- this was my DNF in a trail half marathon in June. While I was sick for much of that week, I learned that it's OK to not finish if the body doesn't allow it. My DNF was so much better than a DNS. I gave it a shot; that's all I could do that day.
514-515 One measly mile, but it was oh-so fast. The 6:15 in the Academy Mile was surprising, and to this day I think I could have done better.
647-660.1 It's strange how many humbling runs I've had this year, and the Lynchburg Half Marathon in August is no exception. It was a wake-up call that I needed to step-up my training a bit. A GIANT hill in the middle killed any thoughts of having a good race and it made me realize that I had to stop taking hills for granted. But I finished with my son in my hands, and that was what made this so special.
810.6-820.6 Not a PR, but I survived some late race heat to put in a good performance at the Virginia 10 Miler, a pretty much unplanned race. Looking back, I know I could have set a PR had I not had an 18-miler the week before. Maybe, just maybe, this becomes a big focus for 2011.
835.6-855.6 The first 20-miler of my Richmond Marathon training session was also a bit humbling. Looking back, I still don't know what to say about it. Each long run this summer was special with hitting distances I haven't hit in 3 years. It makes it even more special now knowing that I'm not going to do it again anytime soon.
901.6-921.6 The second 20-miler, which set the stage for the injury I have now. I clearly remember the last big hill in that run and my knee starting to ache a bit. Had I stopped that run at around 18 miles instead of pushing it, who knows what could have happened the rest of the year. But I can't play the "what if" game. It's another lesson in listening to my body that I so easily forget.
966.6-992.8 I've well documented the Richmond Marathon and how that went and how things have gone since then, but looking back a month later, I wouldn't have done anything differently. If I lived and ran in hindsight, I would be doing myself a disservice. It's done and I've moved on. So many of you out there who have injuries and regrets with running need to do the same thing.
999.2-1,000 It's not even a whole mile, but this Saturday I hit 1,000 running miles for the year. Since the marathon, I've ran a few tenths here and there, only logging a mile or more just a couple of times. It certainly didn't happen like I thought it would or when it would or any of that once I knew it would happen, but now that I've hit the mark I don't care. I did it. 1,000 miles. Quadruple digits.
To mark the occasion, I took my dog, Duke, to the nearby middle school to run the final bit on a field where I ran my very first "official" mile when I was in 4th or 5th grade. Fittingly, it was cloudy, cold and windy, like so many of my runs in the first couple of months in the year.
So there you have it. You won't see a 2010 recap or top 10 list from me in the next couple of weeks because this is it. This IS my year of running. I may run another mile here or there, but these are the best and worst of what the year had to offer. A year ago at this time I was ready for 2010 to be "my" year -- a redefining sort of year. And to reflect on this year, I must say that it was my year.