31 December 2008

2008: A Year In Review

Well, 2008 has been a great year for me. It is the year that I finally fell in love with running. This may be a long post, but here it goes.

I started the year cycling. I had been doing it on a regular basis for a bit over a year. I was doing it to get back into shape, but was pretty "business casual" about it. I was still using the no name mountain bike that I had bought at Target over 7 years ago, but I changed out the knobby off road tires for slick road ones.

Over the last few years I have tried to take up running a few times. It was not until April of this year that I found the C25K program, and thought that it would be perfect for me. I was basically a couch potato and would love to be able to run 5k on a regular basis.

I did the first week in these crappy shoes that I got from PayLess. My feet were killing me and I knew that I had to get real running shoes. I could not afford the local running store, so I went to a department store and got a pair of New Balance. Immediately I could feel the difference and I fell in love with running shoes. I still to this day have some sort of weird thing for them, and actually check them out on other runners.

By this time I had started to abandon cycling and really wanted to get into running. I followed the C25k program for only the first three weeks. To be honest I do not even remember why I stopped, but I regret stopping. The first week in May would be the last time I would run until August. On top of that I would not ride my bike, except while doing it with my, now 5 year old, son.

Something clicked inside of me near the beginning of August. I wanted to run and I knew that I just had to do it. I would go out and run for 15 minutes and then turn around and run back. I never really got far, and there were a lot of walk breaks involved, but I was doing it. It was easier for me to do because I was not really tracking my runs, just running.

My first breakthrough came a couple weeks later when I ran two miles without stopping. It felt really good, and I realized that I could have done it all along, but I was not letting myself do it.

I kept better track of my runs and worried more about building mileage and endurance rather than speed and pace. I noted improvements in time, and celebrated milestones in speed, but my main focus was distance. I increased mileage gradually, I think sometimes too slow, but focused on running longer and farther.

My first race was a pumpkin run 5k in October. I signed up less than a week before it and got my brother to do the same. We got there and were immediately intimidated. Everyone looked faster and more experienced at running than us and I was sure that I would finish dead last. Three point one miles was the farthest I had ever run, and I only did it once.

I got caught up in the excitement of running with so many other people and went out too fast. I walked quite a few times and thought I was going to die on one of the hills, but the race was a good one. I finished near the back of the pack, but there were plenty of people behind me!

The following week was the Run The Bridge 10k that crosses the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philadelphia and back, then goes through Camden and ends in the Riversharks minor league baseball stadium. I did NOT run this race, but I was pissed off at myself because if I had continued with the C25K program and ran through the summer I know I could have done it. There is always next year.

Late November was the Philadelphia Marathon. I had no intention of running this at all during the year, but as I fell in love with running I knew that I was going to go over and watch it. I have already decided that this will be my first marathon, hopefully in 2009.

It was a fun day watching the marathon. I got over there early with my brother who was attempting the full marathon for the first time. His training was interrupted by injury, but preferred to try it than have a DNS.

I had a great time watching the marathon. I never thought I would like watching strangers run, but it was fun. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the festivities of such an event and was glad that I went. I am excited to be a runner next time rather than a spectator.

My brother ended up stopping at the half, because his injury was acting up again, but he has vowed to run it all the way through next year. I will also be doing it.

My second race was a 5k that came in December. I was by myself, but much more confident since I knew a little more of what to expect at an organized race. I just got a Garmin Forerunner 305 a couple days before and was excited to try it out.

This race was even better than my first. The route was nicer, the weather was better, and I ran the whole thing without stopping. On top of that I PR'd with a 32:14, breaking my goal finish of 33 minutes.

My mileage gradually increased each week and each month. The last few weeks of the year I have developed some serious shin splints, so I am resting up. 2008 has been a great year, and I am excited to run through 2009.

Here are some numbers:

Total Distance in 2008: 114.9 miles
Longest Month: 30.9 miles
Longest Week: 8.6 miles
Longest Single Run: 5 miles

Races Run: 2 5k's
PR's Set: 2
Fastest 5k: 32:14

I will be tracking all my runs in 2009 and setting bigger and better goals... but more on that in the first post of 2009.


Sonia said...

2009 will bew great for you!! Congrats on moving forward with your running this uear =)

lindsay said...

'08 was a great year for you! i'm glad you "found" running and then found a true love for it too. can't wait to hear about all your running and racing in 2009! (after you fully heal of course) be patient, the improvement will come.