This is how it works-
I love to run but there are times when I would rather not. This is when the voices start. Chants, name calling, guilt and reverse psychology is how they get me up and out the door. I don't really mind the voices and have actually started looking forward to their daily calls. Together we have formed a running club that supports, encourages and competes with each other. I love these peeps. They are much more experienced, talented and tougher than I am. Pushing me out the door, through the hard miles and up the monster hills when I am feeling lazy or want to give up. Some people have "real" training partners, coaches and support crews. My team is ALWAYS with me and helps me to keep my eye on the prize and not veer off the track. Sounds crazy- Yeah, probably is.........
Sunday, January 2, 2011
I am not a huge fan of looking back. The past is the past. Nothing changes and there are no guarantees that the former glory will ever return. Each day is new, every challenge is different and the focus must always remain on the next goal. With that said- it seems like the right time to reflect on what happened in 2010. It was a good year for me with a few major milestone moments. Here are the highlights.
December of 2009 was a rough month. I was recovering from injury after running the last 25 miles of a marathon with a calf strain in late November. This was rough but not the worst thing going on in my life. This was also when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Throughout his surgery and recovery in the hospital there was a lot of time to reflect and figure out what I wanted to do and how to do it. Watching as my "Superman" struggled, knowing that his life would be forever changed, it occurred to me just how fragile we really are. There are no guarantees in life and now was the time to chase dreams.
My training took a big turn and by the end of January I was up to 50 miles per week. This was the most miles on a consistent basis that I had ever run. February brought the addition of weight and core training. This was the BEST move I made and has paid huge dividends in terms of shorter recovery time. I also ran the Sylamore 50k in February, finishing in 5:15 which was good for 20th place overall. Not great but not too bad.
March. This was the REAL eye opener. This was the month that my mom was diagnosed with cancer. The miles I ran when she was recovering in the hospital brought some MAJOR clarity to what I needed to do. This reinforced those same thoughts I had back in December. The time to "make it happen" is now. I also realized that we are all in a battle with cancer and I needed to do my part to fight back. I had been thinking about a 50 mile event in April and now it was clear that I would run.
The Ouachita 50 miler was an awesome experience. Not because I finished in 8:47 - well ahead of my 10 hour goal. Not because of the 3rd place overall finish that I never even dreamed would happen. And not because of the pleasure of running with my buddy, Charley, for most of it as our wives crewed for us. These were all super cool but paled in comparison to the Honor Scroll. In less than one week, so many people stepped up and showed support for this simple idea. In total, there were 191 names of people touched by cancer on the scroll and over $1,700 raised for the American Cancer Society. Carrying that Scroll, with the power it symbolized, was truly a life changing event for me. I am so thankful to all those that participated.
The training continued and in June the next big challenge came. I decided to run all night at the local Relay For Life in another attempt to raise a few dollars for the ACS. I set up the 12 Hour Challenge Event on facebook and received a lot of support and participation. The idea was for each person to log 12 hours total of fitness related activity in the first 20 days of June. Of course, this was not only fun but served as a HUGE motivator for me to actually run all night. That night was special for many reasons and I ended up with 10.5 hours of running and 54 miles. That is 216 laps around the high school track. Sounds crazy now. This craziness brought another $1300 for the ACS and whenever THAT can happen- bring on the crazy.
July was very cool because I got the wild idea to attempt a sprint tri. No big deal. Except I decided to do it "cold". By this I mean without training for the swim or the bike portions. I did not swim or bike at all before the event. Stupid but fun. I finished in the top half and was more surprised than anybody. In 2011- I will *probably* train for this event.
PR's in the 5k and 10k came in the next couple of months. Pretty cool but they were more a part of training than actual events that I focused on. This is something I may work on in 2011- just to find out what I can really run in these events. There was also the One Mile of Honor Event, which was a great success in August and a 45 day running streak that averaged 7.25 miles per day. Fun and interesting.
On October 31, I ran the Dogwood Canyon 50k and finished 5th overall with in 4:26. To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. The goal was 5 hours and a top 20 finish. Again, this was another fund-raising event for the ACS. I wore a pink tutu adorned with ribbons. Each ribbon had the name of a person touched by cancer and raised about $450. This was another powerful and emotional experience for me.
One week later at the Bass Pro Marathon I lined up to attempt my first sub 3 hour marathon. This had always been a DISTANT dream as my PR was 3:13. I wore a wristband with 2 names of life-long friends that had both lost their battle with cancer earlier in the week. I believe they helped bring me across the finish line in 2:58:52 and a 7th place finish. Yeah, I was pretty excited about this one. For a few days.
13 days later I lined up at the White River Marathon to try it again. Why? Just to see if I could. That really is why I run- to see what I CAN do. A 3rd place finish and a new PR of 2:58:01 was my answer. A pretty cool way to end the racing year.
The final numbers:
2,340 total miles (goal was 1,500)
Weekly Average - 45 miles
Monthly Average - 195 miles
Highest Week - 66 miles
Highest Month - 231
Total Time - 310 hours 05 minutes 52 seconds
Average Pace - 7:47
~If what you did yesterday still seems big, you haven't done anything today.~ Lou Holtz
The VOICES love this quote and have no problems reminding me of it. It really is true and has been a great motivator for me to "move on" after successfully completing each goal I set out to accomplish in 2010. Prior to this, it was easy to enjoy the success or completion for too long which resulted in a step backward before chasing the next goal. This is not to say that I didn't have fun or enjoy the successes- it just served as a gentle reminder that yesterday is over and the focus should be on the present and the future. I hope to keep following this path throughout 2011 and stay focused on what is NEXT and not what is already DONE. Next up- The Rocky Raccoon 100 miler in Huntsville, Texas..... just to see if I CAN.