Monday, July 24, 2017

2017 Half Year Review

Wassup Runners?!

Well, 2017 is a little over half gone.  I tend to be very much "in the moment" with my running and lose perspective on the gradual progress that happens as the weeks pile up.  So, it's good for me to every so often look back at a decent stretch of time and see if / how my running has improved (or not), what I've right and wrong, and generally "take stock" of where I am. 

Now is a good time to do this, since the Spring / early Summer races are over, and I'm starting my Fall marathon build up.

Highlights So Far This Year:
  • Injury Free
    • My main goal this year, and every year, is to avoid injury.
    • I figure if I can avoid injury, I'm better off overall with every aspect of running.
    • I've learned / been able to notice when little niggles start and back off / strength train to avoid it becoming an issue that keeps me from running.
  • Consistency
    • I've run very close to my planned mileage every week this year.
    • Only weeks off were after a marathon, when I should be off....
  • Fun
    • Yep.  Still having fun.
  • Learning to "Feel" pace
    • What is "Easy" pace?  Well, I've learned (for the most part) to let how I feel dictate my easy pace.  I've had a tendency to call 8:00/mile "easy" pace.  Easy has no pace. 
    • What do the various race paces feel like?  Can I go faster?  Am I gonna blow up?
      • Getting better at feeling where I am with my effort.  Very much still work in progress, but I am making gains....
  • I don't know (yet) how to pace and fuel for a marathon.
    • Pretty big crash and burn in my first marathon attempt....
    • BIG TO DO:  Figure this shit out.  I have some direction, now I gotta find what works for me and NOT be an idiot on race day.
 Each of the above things, I think, help with getting fitter and faster, and improve race times.  And, I think I did get fitter the first half of the year.  I also learned a little more about my limits....
I've run a number of new (for me) race distances this year.  I like the challenge of figuring out how to run these various distances. Below is a summary of my 2017 races so far this year:

  • RNR DC Marathon (March)
    • First marathon
    • COMPLETE crash and burn after 23 miles - walking the last two miles @ 15:00 /mile
    • Was on pace for about 3:02 time, and cramped up, crashed, disoriented, and the whole bit during mile 24.
    • What did I learn?  
      • Marathons are nothing to mess with.
      • My pacing was stupid
      • My fueling didn't work
    • Next Step:  Don't forget what happened.  Find solutions.  Try it again.
  • GW Parkway 10 Miler (April)
    • First 10 mile race
    • Executed well.  Finished about 1 minute faster than McMillan predictor based on last HM
    • What did I learn?
      • I can push harder when I'm competing directly against other folks, much better than "time trialing" at a "set pace".
      • What it feels like to be "just below" the red line, and stay there.
    • Next steps:  Remember "that" feeling, the feeling when a race goes well and I exceed my expectations
  •  Apple Blossom 10k (May)
    • Got sick the week of the race, still sick when I did race.
    • The course was tough (lotsa hills / some pretty steep)
    • I got down on myself for not meeting my expectations - took me a few days to get over it.
    • I PR'd by 13 seconds 
    • What did I learn?
      • I need to adjust my expectations based on circumstances (like being sick / slow course)
      • A friend reminded me with this quote "Hey Dumbass, you were sick, the course is notoriously slow and you PR'd" (Dumbass added by me).  Words to live by.
  • Twilight 4 Miler (June - PM race)
    • First 4 miler - first time EVER running after 12 noon.
    • 7:30 PM race...and I didn't die.  Actually had some fun.  Nice experience.
  • Firecracker 5k (July)
    • 5k PR is 18:41 set on this course in perfect March weather last year.
    • Last July 4, finished in 19:15.
    • This year on July 4, finished in 18:50.  I'm calling it progress.
 Bottom Line:  My consistency and higher weekly mileage this Spring has resulted in some good race times and improved fitness.  (I need to read this line back to myself once every few weeks)

Next up:  Philly marathon on November 19 with a few races along the way.

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