Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year in Review...

It was a good year. I will always remember 2008 as the year I took my running to the "next level". I can't believe that I ran my 1st marathon in 2008, and my 3rd marathon in 2008.... I crammed a lot of stuff in this year.
I was able to truly push my body to levels that I never imagined it would go. I lost about 20 lbs this year, and I really feel good about my weight.
So, here are my stats...
I ran close to 1700 miles... around 30 miles/week average.
I ran 2 5k races (20:13 in April, 19:38 in May)
I ran 1 10k race (40:38 in November) (I did a time trial in September in 41:52)
A 15k in February (1:09:04)
A half marathon 3 weeks ago (1:33:34)
and...... 3 marathons (Disney 5:37, Ft. Lauderdale 4:53, Chicago 4:36)

The ironic thing is that all of my training for the latter part of 2007, and all of 2008 were focusing on the marathons, and those were my worst races of all of the races I did. But to harp on the good, I PR'd in every race that I participated in 2008... and for that I am very happy and proud of :).

My proudest running moment of the year was 2 weeks ago, when I got a 3rd place award for my age group in the half marathon that I participated in. My dad was there with me and was so happy and proud of me. That felt great.

My most memorable running moment of the year was my being with my dad for the last 2 miles of Disney. I had enough, and was having an awful time out there with my legs and cramping... and he helped bring me through the last 2 miles. Who would've thought that would lead to him starting to run and 11 months later pull off a 1:58 half marathon at the same race I was at.... Pops is no joke!!!!

So what do I want to accomplish for next year??? More PRs? A more respectable marathon time? Sub 1:30 half marathon? Sub 40 10k? Sub 20 5k? Yes.... and no.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go with some friends to Jacksonville to watch them run a marathon. I was supposed to run the 1/2 marathon in Jacksonville, but it didn't work out because of me running the race with my dad the previous weekend. I was able to be a "spectator" for the first time, and it really allowed me to take in everything. I didn't have to worry about being nervous, not sleeping good, watching all of my intake of food, and suffering through cramps during the race (which happened to my buddy Chris.. poor guy...). I was able to watch everyone do their thing, and I realized how it was only a few of us that took everything so seriously.... not that we trained harder or less than anyone else, but some people (the more experienced ones) didn't make this stuff a life or death situation like so many of us runners do. They enjoyed themselves before the race, during the race, and after the race. Many of them were going for Boston, but didn't have mental implosions the minute they realized their Boston time wasn't going to happen. They prepared for the race better than I had in my previous marathons (with nutrition, sleep, and all the other little things that go into a race), but didn't take it so seriously.... they just ran and whatever happened... just happened. One of Chris' massage clients said something to Chris and I a few days after his recent marathon:
"You know what your guys problem is?"
Us: "What?"
Client: "Everything is about time with you guys!! Just enjoy it!!"
And you know what? She is right.
Today, I was able to chill out and read some other blogs on running, and most people that had subpar marathons encountered the same thing that I encountered in my marathons. Either before the race, or early in the race they knew it wasn't going to be their day. Being stubborn, they tried to push through whatever it was that they were feeling. They (Greg) didn't listen to their body and adjust their goals... because it was all about the clock... and they ended up having a miserable day.
Fortunately in all other distances (5k to half marathon), you can have an off day and still get away with it...because by time things start to act up, the race is over. But for the marathon, it doesn't work like that... if things aren't going right... you better reasses things quickly or you are going to be miserable in a hurry. And I have decided that when I run another marathon, I will not even think of undertaking it again if it is solely about a particular time... because it is too mentally draining to train just for that race and hope that my body is feeling absolutely perfect for that day....so that I can pull off the perfect 26.2 mile run. I think if I take that mentality into the race, everything will work out better for me.

And honestly, that is what I want to do next year.

I love to run, and I love to be around the running scene... it's inspiring, fun and motivating all at the same time. But I'm not going to put the pressure on myself to PR every race. I want to run races for fun (for the first time ever) and I want to race (because I enjoy racing). I want to collect medals, and just enjoy all of my races. For 2008, I enjoyed all of my training runs (except one) and for 2009, I want to enjoy all of my races (regardless of what happens).
More importantly, I want to make sure that running continues to be a solid part of my weekly routine, without it severely affecting my family life, as we prepare for our 3rd precious child to come into our family in early 2009.

Happy New Year to Everyone!!!