Filtering by Tag: 2009

Focused in February

In my nearly three years I have been blogging, I end February the same way -- I talk about how great it was. But in those two Februarys, there's been a key element missing: a good January. When preparing for the Shamrock Half Marathon in March, I've only put together two good solid months to start the year, and that came before I started blogging. So while a great February is good in words, it hasn't translated well to race day. Yes, I've been satisfied overall with my races, but in the end I've been somewhat disappointed too. February is key to having Shamrock go well; two good months though set me up for the rest of the year. And in 2007 -- the year of my marathon -- things for the most part went well until the very end of the year. That includes the PR in Shamrock. I know that's a drawn-out way to explain how I feel at the end of this month, but things are just different these days. Oddly enough, I'm not overly focused on the Shamrock Half -- that race is just part of what I hope to be my best running year yet. At the end of 2009 there was a lot of talk from me and others on making 2010 the best year ever from many standpoints, and so far not many people are actually following through. The New Year hype got a lot of people like usual, but not me.

Following running more than 75 miles in January, I followed February up with 92.5 miles. My mileage for the year is more than 30 miles more than this point last year. More importantly though is the quality of these miles. I had four double-digit runs around hilly Bedford, all in a pace around 9 minutes a mile. I've had some faster shorter runs than usual too. I've kept things mixed up, rather than stale one-pace-only runs, which is the trap I have fallen into in recent years.

Also this month I've had to battle the elements -- cold, snow. sleet, rain, wind ... ice-covered sidewalks have made many runs a battle. This will very likely be one of the top 5 coldest Februarys around here. At least the weather has been consistent, but I'm pretty tired of it. I keep thinking that if I can do this well when it's this cold, imagine how great it will be once it's warmer.

As I look ahead, I have some changes coming for March. With my diet, there are some things I need to do to lose more weight. Things have been up and down all year, but I'm now at just a little more than 4 pounds down for the year. At this pace, I would be where I want to be by the summer, but I need to do more in the next few weeks. I'll save that for another post. I also know I need to get back into cross training. That will happen, but I'm just pumped about where my running is right now. I also plan to do the 100 push-ups challenge sometime. My elbow gave me some trouble earlier this month and I decided then to just hold off on this program until I get over that disappointment. I need to do that when it feels new again. The try, re-try pattern is frustrating, so I just wanted to back away for a while.

While things are going great right now, I know I need to not settle on things. I need to continue to run harder, stronger and longer. There is no such thing as being too focused when it comes to running and my health. January and February have only been a good start to what I think is unlimited potential.

A final look at 2009

I finally updated the tab at the top of this blog to record my 2009 miles, and I changed the name of the tab from "Monthly Miles" to "Mileage." When it comes to miles, it was a year I'd rather forget, but it was important to me to make sure I recorded it properly. I'd regret it later if I didn't. That being said, I'm not comparing 2010 to 2009 at all. The training log, which wasn't very well kept anyway, is hitting the trash can after I click "publish." And if I ever find my 2008 calendar, that will go in the trash too. It's time for a fresh start for me with running and working out. It's important to remember my past and remember the lessons I've learned, but it's time for the reminders of things that didn't work to be gone.

So farewell, again, 2009. 2010 is going to be different.

Your Top 5 of 2009

Since the year is almost over, I thought I’d give you a special treat – a look back at the top 5 most read posts of the year. This is all about you, my loyal readers. I can’t make this stuff up. Only Wordpress can. And apparently, you like what other people have to say (see Nos. 2 and 3 below), but I don’t really mind. #5 – I am a marathoner and On the way to 100 push-ups Technically my post from 2007 after the Richmond Marathon is the No. 5 most-read post this year. It’s not surprising since this has a link in my “About me” section, and I’ve linked to it several other times in other posts. It’s just kind of funny to me that a two-year-old post gets enough page views to be in the top 5.

As for my top 5 new posts this year, a post about my 100 push-ups journey takes this spot. A journey I have yet to complete for various reasons. Bring on 2010.

#4 – Stung in the eye I would expect nothing less for this post to be here because people like to read about gross things. Three months later, I still cringe when I think about how it felt for a bug to get stuck in my eye. Next summer I will certainly be running more in sunglasses or clear lenses at night.

#3 – Are we really born to run? She says YES! This was my first guest post of the year from one of my favorite bloggers out there. Go check out that post if you haven’t and click on a link to Michelle’s blog to read about her journey to 1,000 miles this year. It’s enough to make that a private goal for me next year. (Wait … I guess that might not be private now.)

#2 – But I did it anyway More proof that you like other people, this was also from a guest blogger. Not that I mind – the few guest bloggers I’ve had have been great, and this one is from an ultra-runner who also coaches endurance athletes. Check it out for some inspiration.

#1 – A death near the finish line This post is far and away the No. 1 post for the year, but it’s not a cause for celebration. This was about my experience as I neared the finish line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach on Labor Day weekend. If you go back and reread that post, you’ll see that something is being planned to honor the runner who died that weekend.

Thanks to everyone who has visited this blog this year. Although I hinted at some changes a couple of weeks ago, I will be keeping this URL and name of the blog. While I want to make some changes in 2010, moving this blog isn’t something I need to do right now.

Top 5 "Moments" of '09

At this time of the year, I’m in a reflective mood, but I want to do my best to avoid a big year-end round-up post. They really don’t do anything for me. So instead of recapping my year sometime between now and Dec. 31, I’d rather do some Top 5 lists – Top 5 Moments of the Year, Top 5 of the Decade, Top 5 Posts You Read, etc., etc. And I certainly don’t want to jam into one big long post that you’re not going to read anyway because, well, it would be a long post. Long posts are for long races or when there’s a hodgepodge of things to write about. I’ll start this year-end series of posts with my Top 5 Running Moments of the Year.

#5 – What’s up Doc? After the weekends of No. 1 and No. 2 on my list below, I was hurt. And I just couldn’t take the pain in my foot anymore. So I finally went to the doctor – my first trip ever due to running issues. I ended up skipping out on future visits, but that one trip saved me from future issues. I’ll never again mess around when something bothers me for more than a week or so.

#4 – Stung in the Eye No one said that this list had to be top 5 “best” running moments of the year – just “moments.” And for several moments a few months ago, I seriously thought a bug in my eye had permanently damaged my eyesight. While it’s funny now (and to some people it was funny then), my eye hurts just thinking about that moment. My summer running will never be the same. And, at least right now, that post from a bug getting in my eye is one of my most read posts of the year. I’m sure you’ll help keep it in the Top 5 for the next couple of weeks.

#3 – A Return to Bedford I’m nowhere close to where I want to be right now when it comes to fitness, yet just two weeks ago I set a course record in the Peaks of Otter Christmas Classic 5k in Bedford. Sure, a lot has changed since 2005 when I last did that race, but a course record is a course record no matter how many times an event has happened. And of the 13 5ks I’ve done since 2004, this was my fourth fastest. I still have a lot of work to do, though, to get close to my 2007 PR of 22:42.

#2 – The Unexpected PR A week after my No. 1 highlight below, I ran the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k. Two races in two weeks? Sure, no problem I thought. I would just go out and run the 10k easily. I would run it to be a part of the Lynchburg College alumni who were running; I would run it to just do two races in a row; I’d run it because I had organized a group of employees at then-Christian Children’s Fund (now ChildFund International) to form a team. It was the least selfish races ever – and to my surprise I set a PR by 21 seconds.

#1 – Shamrock III It what seems like forever ago, I trained and ran a half marathon less than five months after becoming a father. That experience alone tops any PR to date and rivals the feeling I had when completing my first marathon. I ran that race to prove to myself and to others that there are no excuses when it comes to running a big race.

The usual goes unusual

At this time of the year there is a lot of reflection going on in the world. For many runners, this is a time to not only look back, but to look ahead as well. For me, this December feels a lot like many previous Decembers -- I want to reflect a little bit, but I want to move forward. In fact, I want to move forward in a bad, bad way. This year in running has actually been very good to me -- as a new father a year ago at this time, I had no idea what 2009 would bring. I never imagined I would have set any PRs, but I have; I never thought I would run two half marathons and feel great about them both, but I have. It's been awesome.

In the same breath though, I'm ready to start 2010 completely fresh. You won't see me do a big year in review this year (I'll still done some reflecting posts, but nothing like usual). I didn't hit my goals like I wanted, mainly due to injuries back in the spring, but at the same time I set goals without putting meaning behind them. They were too broad -- they were based on mileage. Goals need to be more specific -- such as a certain time in a race, or doing some sort of streak (like a certain number of days in a row of running, not something in my birthday suit). My goals were safe and predictable. I need crazy goals that are borderline unrealistic, but achievable. I set goals not to be disappointed, but I've realized that it's OK to fall a little short as long as I give it my all.

So call me crazy, but I'm ready to throw my old calendars out with my training logs. While I won't get rid of my tab on this blog detailing my past, my old training log books aren't helpful anymore. Since my first marathon two-plus years ago, nothing has worked like I want it to. I'm referring back to old plans that failed me. I'm doing too much comparing of a certain month of a year to the previous year, and it's not working.

It's time for a new approach to my running, how I train and how I track it. There's also the part of me that wants to lose 10-15 pounds and get back to where I was when I did my very first race. I'm not sure why I don't talk about that more, but I need to. I think it's time to. It helps me hold myself accountable. I'm even considering changing the name of this blog -- while I like "Running ... Because I Can," there's something about it that just doesn't feel right anymore.

I'm taking this month to figure out what to do with all this. I might have it figured out a few minutes after I posted this ... it might take a few days ... it might take until Dec. 31 ... but I need this time to figure it out. Any suggestions, as always, are welcome.