Posts Tagged ‘reflection’


March 31, 2010 2 comments

At the end of December and early January, I felt like everyone around me was focused on New Year’s resolutions more than usual. Or maybe I was just paying attention to how people wanted to change and deep down inside I wanted to as well. I just wasn’t as vocal about it.

And who could blame me? When it comes to running, I honestly was ready to let loose. I wanted to do so many things to have a great rest of the winter, but after two years of on and off injuries and some downright laziness, I had some self doubt that I just didn’t express for everyone to see. Quite honestly, the first few months of this year were a make or break point for me. I either succeeded or failed. There would be no gray areas — I did not want to settle for mediocre.

That dedication to changing myself with running has helped me overall as a person. I feel better about everything. And if just a few more things can fall into place personally in the next few months, I feel like this year will be the best year ever in so many ways.

With my running, it all started with a run in the rain and then a few days later running in the mountains. If I could do that with very little training, I felt like I could do anything. So in the first quarter of the year, I haven’t told myself “no” with anything. I’ve become a “yes” man for the most part and not let excuses get the best of me.

I’m ending the first quarter with 257.8 miles — far and away the most I’ve ever done in the first quarter of the year. It makes my 1,000 miles goal seem much more realistic than just putting it out there at the beginning of the year. Since I haven’t come close to 1,000 since 2007, making that statement on Jan. 1 didn’t make any sense; that’s why I waited so long. I’m over my fear of injuries and it’s time to focus on this big-picture goal.

As I look ahead to the next three months of the year, my goals are simple: run every day in the month of April; run at least one 5k (I’m signed up for one on April 17); and stay above the 1,000-mile pace. Everything else is bonus.


Shamrock, by the numbers

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

After this post, I should be done with talking about the Shamrock Half Marathon for a while. Here are my official numbers for the event.

Chip time: 1:42:52
Clock time: 1:43:03
Overall place: 444 out of 6,546
Gender: 328 out of 2,516
Age: 54 out of 397
5 mile split: 39:01

The bigger picture

March 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Every year I have run the Shamrock Half Marathon, the weather has been perfect at Virginia Beach ... I sure hope it's like this in two weeks.

With two weeks to go to the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, I continue to find myself not obsessed about it. Usually this close to a race I over analyze things, usually because I feel like I haven’t done enough. For the first time in a long time, I truly believe that I’ve done all I can do in the course of two-plus months to get ready for this race. And considering the way this winter has been and how much snow has been on the ground and piled up on sidewalks, I’m really content to just run this race and see what happens.

With this being my fourth Shamrock Half, I can easily say that this has been my second best winter of training so far. The best was in 2007 when I was with a speed and endurance training group once a week. Even then, though, I don’t think I was as consistent as I have been this winter.

My mileage has been great — I’m quickly approaching 200 miles for the year with seven straight weeks of 20-plus miles. That includes seven straight weeks of a long run of 10 miles or more. Previously, I may have run two or three double-digit long runs to get ready for a half marathon. I’ve also gotten consistently faster this winter. I’ve admittedly not done enough speed work as I’d like, but my overall comfortable pace is faster — probably a good 30 seconds a mile faster than at any point last year.

Since I ran the Richmond Marathon in 2007, I have well documented my issues with my feet. Since going to the doctor last year, I’ve gone from managing my problems to just not having any problems anymore. I remember the doctor telling me that the issues may never go away and that I’d have to deal with it in many different ways. I probably should not have run Shamrock in 2008. Last year was fine, but I probably should not have run two races two weekends in a row. Lessons learned.

My No. 1 goal has always been to stay injury free, but I started to become obsessed about it. Now that I haven’t had problems in a while, my focus has shifted to the bigger picture — having a successful year. I want to have a year that I don’t have regrets and that I don’t look back and say I wish I would have done something. Injuries are going to happen, but by starting the year off so great and so focused on getting back to basics, things are just falling into place naturally. I never wanted to force anything with my running, but I did and I became a runner I didn’t want to become.

So with the Shamrock Half, my goal is to do the best I can without holding back. Yes, a PR would be great — that 1:44:23 has been there for a long time now. But staying healthy through the spring months is an even greater feeling. My worst months in recent years have been April and May, which only sets me up to start completely over in the summer. I can’t do that this year.

Focused in February

February 28, 2010 2 comments

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.

Through the elements: January

January 31, 2010 3 comments

One of the runners from the Terrapin Mountain run earlier this month posted this photo yesterday of our crazy run.

Somewhere along the way in my blogging I stopped doing some sort of monthly reflection. And now that I’m back in full training mode, I think I’ve done myself a disservice doing that. Even in a down time, I think I should take a look back at the previous four plus weeks to look at the lessons learned, enjoy my successes one more time, figure out what went wrong and then forge ahead.

That being said, this January has been one of the craziest months I’ve experienced in a long time for many different reasons. It didn’t start well at all — I had a horrible cold and didn’t get in my first run until Jan. 4 — all of two miles. My big goal for the month was to do 31 exercises in 31 days — “31 in 31” as I called it — but that kind of fell apart after my big mountain run and was pretty beat up for a few days. However, I think it failed for more reasons than that — I didn’t plan well enough for it. Next time I try to do something like that, I have to plan it out better. Poor planning leads to poor results and I honestly did a poor job with that.

For a while this month, I was rolling along with the 100 push-ups program, but after falling in the mountains, my elbow was pretty sore for a few days, so I decided to take a week off with that. Things feel better now, so I hope that in February I can finally roll along with the program again. January surely wasn’t a complete disaster with this though — I did 591 push-ups overall.

That's me on the right crossing the last creek looking like I'm about to fall in on the Terrapin Mountain run.

January’s biggest highlight has been with my running. When Jan. 1 hit, I decided that it was time to move on from the previous two years. For me 2010 was a complete new start and that there was no need to compare this year to previous years. It’s not the easiest thing to do that, but I’ve pretty much have. It’s quite liberating to look ahead instead of looking behind. I think a once-a-month reflection, and a big once-a-year review, is enough.

So with running, I can simply look at my mileage — 75.3 — and be happy with that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled about passing 75 miles for the first month of the year. But those 75-plus miles have been through a bad cold, through cold weather, in shorts, in pants, in rain, in some pretty decent weather, through ice over a mountain and in the past two days through snow. I’ve done things I had no idea I could do, and I’ve done many things I simply wouldn’t normally do. Yesterday’s 2.5-mile run through snow and temperatures in the mid-teens put the icing on the cake for this month.

The next time I’m ready to make an excuse, all I have to do is look back at January 2010 to know that no excuse is good enough. It’s hard to believe all this has happened in the span of 31 days … here’s to the next 334 being just as great.

Here are a few photos from yesterday’s snow run. By the time it was over, we were just shy of another foot of snow.

There's supposed to a sidewalk somewhere over there.

A final look at 2009

January 5, 2010 3 comments

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.

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Your Top 5 of 2009

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

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.