Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year! Looking Back at 2009

It's that time of year. Time to look back to see what went right and what didn't. This time last year, I set four goals:

  1. Build my base to 35 - 45 miles per week
  2. Put in 1500 miles during the year
  3. Run one marathon
  4. Keep it fun!

Time for accountability!

Build my base to 35-45 miles per week: FAIL. Actual weekly average was 29 miles per week. My inexperience showed when setting this goal. I didn't include things like marathon recovery, illness, etc. If I would have thought about it, to *average* 35 mpw means that I would need to run closer to 45 mpw during training. If I would have followed Pfitz to a tee for Long Beach, I may have had a chance. As it was, I only averaged 33 mpw during Marathon training! Ain't going to achieve my goal with that effort!

On the positive side, I did hit a couple of milestones. I put in two weeks over 50, 11 weeks over 35, and 30 weeks over 30 miles. Compared to last year (2008), my weekly mileage represents a 53% increase! Maybe that's why I'm a little faster now than back at the beginning of the year.

Put in 1500 miles during the year: YESSSSS! When I set this goal, I thought this would be a no brainer. After all, 35 miles per week for 50 weeks (yes - I did plan a couple weeks for vacation) is somewhere around 1750 miles. Plenty of cushion right? Well, maybe not so much. It took me to the last day of the year to get this done. On the positive side though, I found this goal kept me more motivated than any other over the last month of 2009. This was *definitely* the stretch goal.

Run one marathon: YESSSS! October 18, 2009 - Long Beach. Still get goosebumps thinking about it. I missed my time goal. I had to resort to a brisk walk at times the last six or seven miles. All those things that weren't supposed to happen. And it still provided a sense of accomplishment like very few other things have. How can so much go wrong but the end result still feel so right? Total. Positive. Experience.

Keep it fun: MEH. This goal I honestly have to give the waving hand to. It started out fun. Things were fun because I was so bad it wasn't hard to get better. Check it out - in the months of April, May and June, I set PRs at every distance. And not just by a few seconds:

  • April 9; 25.24 5K PR (by 1:15) at the Costa Mesa Community Run
  • June 6, 2009: 55:00 10K PR at the Wrigley River Run. And this was *after* stopping at the water station to talk to a friend. And walking during mile 4.
  • May 3, 2009: 2:09:07 HM PR (by 9:52) at the Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon. This was the prime example of peaking at the right time

But after that, everything became an effort. The miles were big, the time commitment big, and the trails the same as I had been running for two years. Even though I PR'd at the Long Beach Marathon by half an hour, my inability to break 5 hours was a real downer. Every race after that was like a giant step backwards, culminating in the Shelter Island 5K that was 1:30 off my PR, and the Make Room for Santa 10K a full 1:30 slower than five months earlier. I let it get to me. Running became drudgery. It's easy to tell someone that they shouldn't be too critical of themselves - that it happens to everyone. Yeah - it's easy to tell someone. It's infinitely more difficult to put it into practice. It took the realization that if I dilly dallied any longer my 1500 mile goal was in jeopardy to get me out the door without force again.

In short - I learned a bunch of things this year. Some of it was about running. A lot of it was about myself. Face it - anyone can run. It took desire that I didn't know I had to keep plugging away. It took imagination and adaptability that I didn't know I had to make changes to my plans and techniques to keep moving forward. I guess it's not always as easy as just putting one foot in front of the other.

On tap tomorrow: goals for 2010.


  1. Very nice post Glenn. Sounds like running is treating you well. Like the phrase, "anyone can run..". Yet you seem to have learned greatly about yourself from something anyone else can do. Running is, very much, a personal thing.

  2. You done good, Glenn! You done good. ;)

  3. IMHO, one of your best posts, Glenn. I think we all struggle with motivation problems, so your post will likely strike home with many of us.

  4. ok somehow i got your goals post before your review post :) whoops.

    a successful '09! i was thinking about setting an "average mpw" goal for this year but like you said i'd definitely need to figure that math out in ADVANCE or else i'd definitely aim too high ;) look at all those pr's! more to come in '10 i'm sure as you focus on clean eating.

  5. Ahhhh long beach <3 Great job on a great year Glenn, you almost doubled my mileage! :) Nice job and can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for you!

  6. Wow, Glenn, You've had an awesome year in running!

    This past year I got rid of the PR mindset because I had to... No choice, so I ran for the fun of it, and I found a lot more joy that way. No expectations.

    Happy New Year!