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!