Friday, December 26, 2008

Saying Goodbye to 2008:
Reviewing My Year In Running (Part I)

Now that all the guests have left, the yummy food is gone, and all the gifts I’m gonna get has been gotten (No, no R.L.F.S.T. for me…yeah, I’m sorry too…) it’s time to look back on the year that was before we forge ahead into the new year. And because this was such an amazing year for me running-wise, it’s going to take a multi-part post for me to record all my sentiments on 2008. (After all, if it took me four sessions to cover my 26.2 mile tour through the streets of NYC otherwise known as 3:02 on 11/4…how long should my story for 1300+ miles be?) This is a disclaimer just in case you feels slapped-in-the-face by my pats-on-the-back, it’s not my intention, so feel free to look away, turn back, or skip ahead. I’ll understand. Just don’t ask me next time why you didn’t get an invite to the party!

As for the rest of you…welcome to part I. First the digits.

  • Total running distance : 1355 miles (1018 miles in 2007)
  • Total running time: 167:06:47 (124:50:10 in 2007)
  • Average running pace: 7:24 min/mile (7:21 min/mile in 2007)
  • Total road races: 15 (vs 10 in 2007)
  • PRs achieved: 10 (vs 4 in 2007)
  • PRs by distance (4M twice; 5M thrice; 10K twice; 13.1M once; 26.2M once)
  • PRs by distance (2008 time vs previous PR)
    4M: 24:38 (vs 24:53 in 2007) = improvement of 0:17
    5M: 30:46 (vs 32:40 in 2006) = improvement of 1:54
    10K: 39:44 (vs 40:34 in 2006) = improvement of 0:50
    13.1M: 1:25:44 (vs
    1:28:06 in 2007) = improvement of 2:22
    26.2M: 3:
    02:20 (vs 3:08:18 in 2007) = improvement of 5:58

The numbers don’t lie. I’ve ran more, competed more, and won more (via PRs) than I’ve ever done before. What the numbers don’t tell you though is how much more of a confident and more determined runner I’ve become during the past year. Despite the fact that I was forced to take off the first two months of the year because of a broken clavicle, I was able to come back stronger, trained harder and run faster than I’ve ever dreamed possible. Yet, I find it interesting that despite my overall improvement in speed, my overall average running pace is a few seconds slower than it was last year. I guess it proves my contention that racing fast does not simple equate to running fast all the time. As one increases mileage, it is much more important to have fewer sessions of high quality runs than more sessions of just pure speed.

Another tidbit that I find interesting is that my biggest improvements in PR time this past year came in the marathon followed by the half-marathon. This is surprising to me because I’ve always considered myself more of a short road race junkie than a pure distance runner. I find the training vs reward ratio so much higher in the longer distance races than at the 4M or 10K. In fact, prior to this year, I hated the long and grueling marathon training cycle so much that I limited myself to running only one marathon annually. This year, I’ve run three and thoroughly enjoyed the added sense of accomplishment in training for them. Despite these antics, I’m hesitant to consider myself a pure distance runner because I don’t think I spend nearly the amount of time on the road that one should to be a good marathoner. When I hear 60,70,80 mile weeks, I’m more incline to shudder than be inspired. Still, I’d like to think that I’m at least versatile and can run either short or long distance and be equally adept at both.

Having said all this, I still think digits or just that…numbers. They are good to look at and provide a basis for analyzing our individual performances, but don’t stand for much else if not for the journey and the memories we have obtaining them. What I find most gratifying over the past year is the number of new personal connections I’ve made over the past year because of running. Whether it’s coaching some new friends, joining a new running club, or meeting other fellow bloggers, I think it’s the social interaction I’ve had with people I would never have known otherwise that I’ll remember most about 2008.


joyRuN said...

Nice post, Lam. Congrats on a great racing year.

ECrunnergirl said...

Very inspiring Lam....I felt like I was reading my own year end story. I have turned into a completely different runner myself. You have inspired me to reflect as well....very nice post :=}

Meg said...

Congratulations to you and a great year! It is interesting that your overall pace was slightly lower but milage and PRs were up. Good observation!

wmd said...

Great post... Your running is inspiring! I hope to be a good distance runner someday.

I am looking forward to the rest of your year in review... I will be posting one soon too.

I hope that 2009 brings you much success in running!

Runnin-from-the-Law said...

Looks like it was a solid year of running.

My overall pace went down alot too, but race paces got faster, because of low heart rate training. Good stuff.

nyflygirl said...

"I guess it proves my contention that racing fast does not simple equate to running fast all the time."

I HEAR YA!!! hehe ;-)

awesome year you had!!! (and this is only part 1??? :) )

sara said...

great running year for you! can't wait to see what 2009 holds :)

Andrea Hill said...

Those are some great numbers! As for the statement:

"my overall average running pace is a few seconds slower than it was last year. I guess it proves my contention that racing fast does not simple equate to running fast all the time."

This is perfectly inline with the notion of "hard days" and "easy days". By having days that are less taxing, you can push much harder on the "hard" days. It's great to see evidence of it!

Julianne said...

Those are some awesome stats. Seriously, you are the closest "elite" runner that I "know". :-) What an awesome year you had in 2008!

The Happy Runner said...

You had an amazing year. I love that you've become a "more confident and more determined runner." I think that means we'll see some more PRs in 2009!

aron said...

congrats on SUCH an awesome year!!! you did amazing and i cant wait to see what you do in 2009!

Andrew is getting fit said...

What a great year you had! Congrats. All the hard work really paid off.

Thanks for sharing all your tips and experiences with us.

Shilingi-Moja said...

Catching up on some blogs -- good year. Congratulations on all the PR's.

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