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Monday, December 08, 2008

2008 in Reflection

I know it's not quite the end of the year, so it's a little early to do a "look back" at 2008, but because my race calendar for the year is officially closed, I figure I can go ahead and reflect on 2008's running and racing.

For those of you who were reading this blog around this time last year, you know that I regarded 2007 as a year of running failure. I didn't meet a single one of my running goals, and while I did a lot of running and racing in 2007, none of it was very successful (by the standards I had set forth for myself in 2007). So, I began this year, 2008, with a set of goals that I was determined to complete.

So, how did I do with them? Let's see:
  • Achieve race variety. CHECK! I ran 6 half marathons, 1 10 miler, 1 15K, 1 10K, 1 4 miler, and 4 5Ks. I think the only major road distance left out of that grouping is the full marathon.
  • Set a new 5K PR. CHECK! I set a new PR of 27:49 at the Weston 4th of July 5K back in July.
  • Focus on speed, strength, and stretching. Well...I somewhat did this. I definitely tried to focus more on speedwork, and while I had some attempts at creating strength and stretching routines, I never followed through with them. However, the goal of focusing on strength and stretching was to avoid injury, especially ITBS, which I have suffered from twice, and I managed to avoid injury almost entirely in 2008 (there was just a strained quad back in April, but that was due to playing soccer, not to my running). This year, I think in large part I was able to avoid injury by not training for a marathon. Keeping my weekly mileage to 20-25 miles a week has been enough to keep me in shape, but I haven't had any over-use injuries.
  • Enjoy the running. CHECK! Sure, I've had some bad runs, some bad races, some weeks where I "just don't wanna" but on the whole, I think 2008 has been the most enjoyable running year to date.

So, what did I get from running in 2008 (besides a shitload of rad medals)? Lots.

Primarily, I think I learned a lot about myself as a runner. I think that in the running world, the marathon gets a lot of attention as "the" distance for a runner to prove him or herself, but I'm just not sure the full marathon is for me. Realizing that is a huge thing for me. As a runner, and as a person, it's important to figure out what works best for ME. So, this year, I discovered that perhaps I'm best suited to middle-distance running: I like only having to run 20-25 miles a week; I like not having my entire life revolve around training; I like being able to go for a "long run" and be done by 8 am and still have the full day ahead of me; I like avoiding injury due to over-use; and I like the sense of accomplishment that a HM or a 10 miler can still bring.

Who knows? Maybe a full marathon will be in the picture again someday, but for now, I don't see it in my immediate future. Instead, I'll settle for reading about those of you who continue to pursue the full marathon, and I will live vicariously through your accomplishment of that distance.

Now, I know what you're thinking: What will be the 2009 race plans and running goals, Jess? The answer to that will have to wait a few weeks. I need to mull them over and give careful consideration to what's in store for me and running in 2009, so I'm afraid I will have to tell you to "keep your pants on" until the dawn of the new year. So keep tight for a few weeks, and in the meantime, I still have those 800 miles to chase (I'm currently at 770.1, so I think I shouldn't have any problems getting 29.9 done in the next 3 weeks), so you can keep tuned for that!

31 comments:

Marcy said...

GREAT YEAR JESS!

You know, your post reminds me of the recent RW article (you know, the one where they talk about what distance is suited for you) Especially when the dude says something like "Everyone things that the marathon is the Holy Grail when the reality is that many of them should be running 5ks" LOL

AnthonyP said...

Congrats on a fantastic year. I think you should certainly consider the marathon distance !

Wes said...

Yes! Awesome! You accomplished almost all of your goals (or all of them :-) Love it!! Marathons will always be there if you change your mind. But really, you can give so much more at 13.1 or 6 or 3 or anything in between :-)

Jess said...

You have definitely had a great year in running! If the full marathon isn't your distance it's not big deal, you've had a ton of other running accomplishments this year!

Marlene said...

You had an awesome year!

I think it's a great thing to figure out what works for you...not everyone can say they run marathons, but not everyone can say they run half marathons or 10-milers either. :)

Carolina John said...

Looks like you had a great year! tons of fun is always the most important thing.

Also, don't worry about not doing a full marathon. You've indicated before that you're fairly short, leave those really long distance things to the folks with super long legs. I'm 6'1", so two of my paces might cover 5 of yours. That's ok, your 5k PR beats mine by 5 minutes! I know what i'm not good at and don't enjoy as much. I have the most fun going long. and as long as you can focus on doing what you think is the most fun, then you will continue to enjoy the sport.

Here's looking forward to a great 2009!

Viv said...

First off congratulations on such a great year Jess! It was awesome to watch you getting faster and faster, collecting some cool medals, and even reading posts where you just ran to enjoy minus the Garmin.

That to me speaks volumes of a true runner. To find what pleases you in running and most of all enjoying it.

Whatever the goals are for 09 I will be here cheering ya on!

D10 said...

Great post Jess. I rally can't believe how many races you ran. Terrific job.

I think it is awesome that you found the distance you are most comfortable with and fits into your life too. I think half marathons are great and are very rewarding. Plus, you can really work on improving at that distance.

J~Mom said...

It's great that you discovered that about yourself! I think it's important to keep it fun above all else. Great year!

lindsay said...

wow you had a great running year! tons of races, lots of fun, and kept it smart, can't ask for more. i'm happy you just plain enjoy running, especially when so many people complain about how much they hate it. congrats on a great year, can't wait to see what 2009 holds for you!

Shoe Running said...

Can't wait to hear about your 2009 goals :) I hope 2009 is as successful as 2008!

Nicole said...

What a great year! I just took the Runner's world quiz about what your distance is and I think mid distances will be my deal to. I just need to be consistent!

Anyway. best of luck in 2009

The Running Knitter said...

You had an awesome year!

I totally agree with you about finding what is right for you.

Marci said...

Wow, great year, congratulations on reaching so many of your goals.

runner26 said...

A super year! Well done on achieving your goals!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Great job. It's especially good that you enjoyed running this year.

I'm with you on not thinking a full marathon is for me. But that's okay. Like you said, you have to figure out what works for YOU.

robtherunner said...

I was going to say that it seems a bit early for 2008 reflection, but since the season is closed, way to get it done! Nice job on the goals in 2008. I guess I should go check my January blogposts from last year and see what kind of goals I stated at the beginning of the year. I'm not so sure I did as well as you.

kelsalynn said...

Great job with your 2008 reflection! It sounds like you reached your goals for the most part so that's awesome. I'm curious to see what 2009 brings for you and this has made me start thinking about 2009 for me. Hmm... We'll have to see!

Kelsalynn

X-Country2 said...

You did have a great year! I like the idea of writing it down and reflecting back on what got accomplished. Good luck in '09!

keith said...

You had a good year! Congratulations on meeting your goals...I say run what you like to run. Balance is just as important as being in great shape.

Great job and I look forward to seeing what '09 has in store for you!

MCM Mama said...

Good job on getting the job done! You've had a great running year!

It's awesome that you've figured out what distances seem to work for you. I'm thinking that 2009 might be the year where I try to work that issue out.

Can't wait to hear your 2009 goals!

Jamoosh said...

How in the name of all that is holy (and slightly intoxicated) can there not be one mention of "bowling" in a 21 Days 2008 in Reflection? Will this be a separate post?

Variety of races? How about the variety of beers!

PRs? Great - how about BRs (number of beers drunk while still maintaining an acceptable score through ten frames).

A very good running year indeed Jess. Now let us in on the really good stuff.

sunshine said...

What a wonderful year of running and racing! Here's to 2009!

David said...

A half marathon isn't a half accomplishment! You can be proud of the year you've had; that's a crap-load of running! And it's always better to be having fun than miserably completing empty goals.

*aron* said...

sounds like an awesome year jess!!! you hit all your goals and finding what works best for YOU is always a good thing! congrats on a great 2008!

Kristin said...

wow... thanks for the awesome reflections. I am new to running as a permanent part in my life, just ran the Philly Marathon, and have been thinking about how that distance just beat me up so much. I'm hoping to stick the middle distances too! Theres something real cool about 1/2's!!! I Iove reading your blog, you write so well, and have a great sense of humor! Thanks! Congrats on your 800 miles, enjoy the last 30!!!

P.O.M. said...

Nice look back Jess.
I'm with you - 25 to 30 miles per week is PERFECT for me. It's enough to stay lean, but no cause over-use.

You've had a great year. 2009 will only be BETTER!

Running Jen said...

Congrats on a great year! I doubt I will ever do a full marathon, I am happy with the half being my "big" distance for now. It sounds like you're doing the mileage that works for you, and that is great!

Mendy said...

Awesome year Jess!!!

I realized (after my Chicago training failure) that a full is probably not in the cards for me. My desire to run one has somewhat disappeared and it has taken me a while to realize that that is okay.

Laurel said...

If you add up all your half marathons, you have really run like 37 full marathons.

You need to do a post showing all the bling from your races this year!

Great job on a awesome year.

teacherwoman said...

Great year Jess! You sure have accomplished quite a bit and I am so proud of you! I also agree with your comments about the full marathon. I don't know if I will ever have a desire to train for something, maybe just once to say I have done it and that's it.

I can't wait to read about your ideas for 2009!