I keep a post-it note of my goals on an old (really old, 5:59 for a 1200? Um, no. I can do those in 4:45 or faster now!) training schedule on a bulletin board in my office. This year I wanted:
1:50 half-marathon in March
23 flat 5k in April
3:40 marathon in December
How’d I do? Ehhhh, I got my sub 1:50 half marathon in March but nothing else. I actually think if I wanted to/tried to I could have run a 23 flat (or faster) 5k this year but never really had the opportunity. I ran 2 5ks but wasn’t necessarily fit during either of them and one of those races was really hot. Not really an excuse but it makes me feel better so that’s what I tell myself. Obviously my 3:40 marathon didn’t work out quite as I planned but that just makes my goals for 2010 easy– they don’t change!
What else did I accomplish? Well, I trained my booty off for CIM peaking at nearly 75 miles per week without injury and started running double days from time to time. I met some great runner friends, ran some races that were a little out of my comfort zone, powered through some really awful races and had a lot of fun. And isn’t that what it’s about anyway? Having fun?
Oh, and I entered a local year-long, age graded race series and placed 19th which means I’m the 19th best female runner in Sacramento (hahahahaha it certainly does not!!!! I only placed that high because I managed to complete all the races, I would have been much lower if other runners had finished it out). I actually don’t think I’ll enter it again- I didn’t like feeling trapped to that race schedule, but it was fun to do this year and gave me a reason to enter a bunch of races I might have otherwise skipped. It was also interesting looking at the age-graded times for each race. It seems that the shorter the race, the better I perform. In fact, my highest percentages were a 4-miler, 5k and 12k. My lowest were my 2 half marathons and the 30k I ran. This obviously substantiates what I already knew– my physiology is much better suited to the short stuff. Too bad that although an artfully run 5k is just as difficult to execute as a marathon (in some senses, obviously if you blow up in the 5k it’s not as tragic and the training isn’t as intense and it’s not as strategic) and doesn’t get the glory of the longer races because I’d run them all the time! I really want to find a road mile or 2 mile race just to see how I’d do. But that length of race is hard to find unless I want to race a bunch of little kids!
Looking toward 2010 I want to set some more intangible goals. I wasn’t clear with myself about some of the intangibles and I think tracking those is equally important as tracking race times. I know I’ve become tougher mentally, more disciplined and gained quite a bit of training knowledge. I know my body much better and the difference between injured, sore, tired and burned out.
For you number people I don’t know how many miles I ran this year but it was probably well over 2500. I ran 1200 from August-December alone and averaged between 40-55 mpw the other weeks of the year. I don’t track it because I don’t find it useful (I track during training cycles from week to week but I don’t add it up because it’s unecessary info in my opinion).
Given that I PR’d in every single distance this year (5k, 4 miler, 10k, 5 miler, 12k, half marathon and marathon) it would be ridiculous to call my running “sub standard” or a “failure.” Despite not meeting the high expectations I had for myself I still had a very successful year. And I’m not sure I’d change that. Not meeting my goals keeps me hungry and getting out the door in the morning. I think if I’d done everything that I want to do, it would be hard to keep pushing. PRs aren’t coming as easily now and I have to work harder for them but that just makes it more fun and satisfying when I do set one. Unlike earlier this year and a good chunk of last year, I can’t take it for granted that I’m going to PR every time I get to the starting line. I have to work for it.
I’m not settled on my 2010 goals just yet but rest assured they are coming. Part of me wants to run another marathon, part of me is kind of over it. Nothing works well with my schedule and the thought of enduring all the pain, suffering, hunger and exhaustion that come with marathon training seems a little daunting. But the pain, suffering, exhaustion and hunger would be worth it if I could get my 3:40. On the other hand, I don’t know if I love the marathon distance like I do the short stuff. So we’ll see. I’m in no rush.