Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year in Running Review

Hi everyone, remember me? Yes, it's been a while since I've posted. Rest assured though that it's NOT because I've retired from running or blogging. Although I haven't raced since the Joe Kleinerman 10K, I've actually been running pretty consistently, 25-35 miles per week, for the past month. As for the blogging front, I'm actually hard at work designing a new webspace for these essays, posts, and race reports. It's going to be hosted in my own personal website...which is kind of exciting for me! It's still being constructed so I don't want to spill the beans, but once everything is finalized (hopefully in the new week or two), I'll be sure to pass the information along.

As we descend upon the New Year and say goodbye to 2010, I'd be remiss both as a runner and as a blogger if I didn't take a few minutes to survey the training log, reread my race reports and review all the adventures I had in this, my 6th year of running.

The Year in Running Review

2010 was a crazy and magical yet instructive and humbling running year for me. I experienced so much and learned so many things about myself and others that I could write a whole book on the subject and it still probably wouldn't be enough. Alas, because I have neither the time or the resources to invest in this project, I'll condense the verbosity and just give you the monthly highlights.

January - I began 2010 as a Saucony Hurricane. I also joined DailyMile and Twitter. Both of these events were instrumental in my development as a runner this year. I began my racing year by pacing my friend and podcaster IronBrandon to 1:35 finish in the Manhattan Half. Training also officially began for the New Jersey Marathon.

February - This was a pretty blah month for me. It was cold. It was gloomy. There were no races (well there was one scheduled, but I had to bail because of MTA FAIL. Still, I managed to consistently put down three 50+ mile training weeks, which gave me confidence that I could sustain marathon training without injury.

March - Thawing from the deep freeze, my month started with a surprising 5K PR at Coogans. I experimented with barefoot running on the treadmill and indoor jogging track but had to scrap these workouts after sustaining troublesome tendinitis in Achilles and peroneal tendons. I also went down to our nation's capital where I got to meet my Saucony captain, Dorothy and volunteer for the National Marathon.

April - I raced in the inaugural NYC 13.1, found myself in top 10 overall midway through, but got lost and wound up 4th in my AG with 1:24:59. I got interviewed by the local paper but am/was still bitterly disappointed by the finish. I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC the following weekend but hadn't recovered sufficiently well to race well that day. I entered the taper the next week and dreamt of a sub-3 finish in NJM.

May - As a prelude to race week, I volunteered for an NYRR 10K in the rain. I wanted good karma for race day. Instead what I got was a supervirus that sidelined me for 3 days and 3 nights and killed my chances for NJM. It was a DNS (the first) for me. Instead, I switched to the half and ran a PW along the shore...on the surface of the sun, 'cause that's what it felt like that day. Two weeks later, I ran Ragnar NY (my first 24-hr relay) and helped my team to a 3rd place CoEd finish. Three weeks later, I ran the Brooklyn Half planning to pace my friend DC to a 1:30 half, but she sustained a hip injury in the first mile, and I had to run the rest from the back of the pack without her.

June - This month started similar to the last. I planned to race, but DNF'd (another first) a 4-Miler in Central Park. I felt a bit lost both literally and figuratively after a back-to-back DNS and DNF. I was wilting under the sun! Luckly, I escaped to milder climes and had some cooler and restorative runs in San Diego. I came back to CP at the end of the month and finished a five mile race in a more respectable pace for me.

July - After recovering from the debacle of failed races the previous two months, I finally forgave myself for not running a spring marathon and rededicated my efforts to training for Chicago in this month. I logged a couple of 60 mile weeks. I ran more consistent tempo work and I also became more focused on diet and nutrition. I also gave up on racing the shorter distances until the winter. The only "race" I entered this month was the Queens Half which, if anyone who ran it would know, was more like a slog through Death Valley than anything resembling a race.

August - I entered a new age group this month. I raced Club Champs and scored for the team. Other than that, it was all about tempo workouts and extended long runs for me. I trained through my first 70+ mileage week and generally felt pretty healthy and strong.

September - The hot weather finally broke and paved the way to impressive gains in fitness for me. I ran a 4-mile points race in Central Park early this month and got a PR and my fastest recorded pace ever. I topped off my marathon training with a peak week of 72 miles and a 22-mile run over the George Washington Bridge and the steep and hilly Palisades Park. Thank goodness there was no taper troubles this time around.

October - Crossing the finish line of the Chicago Marathon (on 10/10/10 in my 10th marathon) and seeing 2:59:55 on the Garmin was the highlight of the year, my running career so far in fact. The fact I had so many fans, friends, Saucony and Flyer teammates witnessing the event and cheering me on just made it all the more special. I was on such a running high after this race that I led a 20 mile training run over three bridges and boroughs for the Flyers the following week!

November - The NYCM was my homecoming marathon. I stationed my friends all along the route and gave them hi-fives as I ran past. It was truly the happiest I've ever felt in the five times I've done this race. Right before Thanksgiving, I went down to Philly Half with IronBrandon hoping to score a half marathon PR. It was not to be though as some shoelace issues forced me to finish about 2.5 minutes off the mark. I also paced my brother to a PR in the Turkey Trot 5 miler and cheered my parents as they participated in their first roadr ace ever.

December - After a mediocre JK 10K, it was finally time to rest and recover. For a couple weeks, I took weekdays off and ran only during the weekends with family and friends. I enjoyed my time reconnecting with old friends and discovering new runs this month. So many times during the year I find myself so involved with my own running and training that I feel isolated and alone in my athletic pursuits. That is why I treasure this off-season phase of "social running". I also found time to participate in the Christmas Marathon (10K version) in Van Cortlandt Park this month and discovered a love of trail running that I never knew I had!

So there you have it folks, my year in running. All-in-all, I ran 2300 miles and participated in 15 racing events. I am proud of myself for all the successes I've achieved this year especially those that were more than a year or two in the making. Although I definitely encountered my share of potholes and hurdles on the roads this year, the treasures and medals I found along the way were well worth the effort.

I am grateful for all of you who took the time to read and comment on my blog this year. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts and adventures with you. Congrats on your own 2010 successes and best wishes for even more amazing 2011! Happy New Year!


Katey said...

Happy New Year! Cheers to an awesome running year and many more to come!

Lauren said...

You're such an inspiration!!

runner26 said...

happy new year lam!! what a great year for you! i'm really hoping i "run" into you in the park one of these days--i miss that!

J said...

Happy New Year! You certainly had a great year!! Can't believe another year has flown by! Congrats on all your accomplishments and I hope 2011 is even better! Can't wait to see the new blog!

Laura said...

Happy New Year, Lam! Looking forward to seeing the new site design.

Julie said...

Happy New Year Lam!!!! Wishing you the best for 2011! I know that you are going to have an outstanding year:) You had a fantastic 2010....many great accomplishments! Keep smiling:)

lindsay said...

i feel like i remember more about your running-year than my own. lol. maybe you just have a better way of putting things down in writing :)

happy new year!

The Laminator said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. It is indeed quite alarming how a year has already flown by. Wow! (The new blog will be ready soon...)

Aron said...

You had a whirlwind of a year! Not getting to race your goal marathon in the spring, having some other great and tough races in there, then finally getting your sub 3 and having a blast at NYC! Congrats on such a great year Lam :)

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