A rest day today (and vacation doesn't end until Wednesday), so I thought I'd look back on the year that was and look forward to the year that is about to be:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
My running went through a lot this year and I thought I'd record my thoughts not just too share, but also to remind myself of what what I felt were some great lessons learned. As a result, this post is a novel. Sorry...
Jan- Feb: Pacing and Being Honest with Yourself
I learned honesty is much easier than making excuses. January was great but in February, things took a turn for the worse. Though the meniscus was already torn during the Hyannis Marathon in February, I can still say with all honesty that it did not play a factor in my DNF. The injury made itself known during my taper period and didn't effect it much, and no pain or discomfort was felt in my knee on that race day. I DNF'd because I was overconfident and went out too fast. It would be easy to blame it on the injury, but the only reason I ran poorly was because of a poor decision. I was humbled for sure.
I learned to be patient and think positive. The diagnosis of my knee problem was a torn meniscus. Not a huge injury, but one that would still require surgery. I was not able to run much as a result, which required great patience and I learned to deal with it and stay positive. I looked forward to that surgery more than Christmas morning when I was a kid so I could get back on track. I also decided it was probably wise to forgo my race schedule that summer and concentrate on getting back in shape. A hard decision, but one I grew comfortable with (at the time anyway).
May: Listening to Your Body
I learned to listen to my body not just with injuries, but with recovering. I began running again at the beginning of May, a few weeks after the surgery, and with each run I became more and more comfortable. It was very tough at first, but the rust shed off quickly (thanks in large part to a good base of training laid down during the late fall and early winter) and by the end of the month, I knew the Vermont 100 would still be possible. The knee honestly felt and continues to feel perfect, but I was worried about being under-trained. But what the heck. If I was struggling during the race and couldn't continue, the missed training was a good reason. But if I did finish, it would be very sweet. I'd rather try and fail than not try at all.. What would I have to lose?
I learned that through perseverance comes confidence. The training continued to go extremely well and my confidence grew and grew, along with encouragement from friends and family. Stephen and James became regular training partners, and both were also doing the Vermont 100. They were not only very encouraging, but also fun folks to train and hang out with. They remain good friends and training partners to this day, for which I am thankful.
I learned to relax. I was very proud to finish the Vermont 100, my first 100-miler, in 22:09:55. Something big I learned was not putting too much pressure on yourself. Yes, I did put pressure on myself to recover from the missed training to be in relatively good shape for the race... but perhaps born out of that and my DNF earlier in the year, I also had a mindset of "whatever happens, happens. I'll just do my best and run smart.. what more can I do?". I think Buddha would have been proud. I wasn't even the least bit nervous before the race, and felt perfectly relaxed at the start. I really think that helped in more ways than one, primarily making it easier to run a smarter (and therefore faster) race.
August, September: Coasting
Nothing too noteworthy during these months, other than recover and getting my training going for the MDI Marathon, which included a bit more speed work. Mostly though, it was running for the sake of the enjoyment of running.
October: Kate is Not a Jinx
I learned my friend and neighbor Kate is not a jinx. She was with me at the Hyannis Marathon earlier in the year when I DNF'd. She was also with me this month when I PR'd at the MDI Marathon with a time of 3:21:37. Yes, Kate is not a jinx. Also worth noting that the relaxed "whatever happens, happens..." mindset I had at the VT100 stayed with me for this race. I pushed myself hard but I also felt I ran smart and relaxed. It's a fine line for sure. Enlightenment indeed.
November: Don't Run in Worn Out Shoes
I learned the hard way that severely worn out shoes will make your knees sore or cause other problems. I'm still amazed how the discomfort went away instantly when I finally bought a new pair in early December. Duh, should have done that sooner.
December: I'm a Lucky SOB
I learned that the small sliver of my ancestry that is Irish sometimes makes itself known. I won the lotto to get in the Western States 100 (16.1% chance). Also won the lotto to run the Mt. Washington Road Race earlier this year and last year (~50% chance each time). Say... what's the Powerball jackpot up to these days?
Goals and race schedule are below. Both are subject to change. I'm not a big fan of boldly proclaiming goals (superstition), but at the same time I want them documented for my own future reference. I think coding them is a good compromise. If you're up for a challenge and have some spare time, have fun trying to figure it out. I made it easy this time.
Jan. 5 - Fat Ass 50K hosted by the great folks of the Gil's Athletic Club down in Mass.
Niet toestand om het te rennen. De toestand om hem te behandelen als een training tocht en een kans om uit met vrienden en kennissen te hangen.
Feb. 3 - Mid-Winter 10 mile Classic
Dit een dat ik rennen zal. Maar gegeven dat ik gene ton van snelheid werk heb gedaan en plant naar niet, verwacht niet ik veel. Ik zal misschien kiezen een dikke ezel beneden in Cape Kabeljauw dit weekend in plaats van te doen.
June 28-29 - Western States 100
Het bereik is doel de tijd van de laatste honderd miler ik te breken deed in juli. Nochtans, zal ik meer dan gelukkig slechts zijn om twintig vier uren te breken en om de zilveren gesp te krijgen.
July 19-20 - Vermont 100
Ik wil geen twijfel nog steeds niet is een honderd procent na de Westelijke Staten, maar ik zal nog steeds proberen onder twintig vier uren te gaan om de gesp te krijgen.
Sept. 28 - Vermont 50 (maybe)
Niet zekere over het doen van deze koers. Zal misschien kiezen om hem weg te laten zo dat ik een betere tijd aan de MDI Marathon in plaats van kan opzetten.
October 19 - MDI Marathon
Indien ik de Vermont 50 niet doe, zal het doel zijn een nieuwe PR en te zetten kwalificeer misschien zelfs zich voor die kleine koers in boon stad die tijdens de bron vastgehouden is.
Happy New Year and here's to a great 2008!