Well here we are at the end of 2012. Since this has become my de facto running / health blog, that’s what I’m going to talk about in this yearly review.
The year began with the second half of my training program for the Hyannis Marathon. My first marathon! In January I did my first 20 mile training run. It was epic. I happened to heading to a meeting in San Francisco for that Monday and Tuesday, so I scheduled it to get in on Saturday night and get my 20 miler in on Sunday in the city. I ran from the hotel near the Moscone Center, down to the water, along the piers, over the hill at Fort Mason, down through Golden Gate Park, across the bridge and down into Sausalito. And back. It was dark when I left, and ran through the dawn as I approached the bridge. It was one of those runs you remember forever. For my second 20, I had the wife drop me off at Hopkinton Center, where the Boston Marathon begins, and ran the first 20 miles of the marathon course. That was cool too, but for some reason I mostly remember the pain I was in at the end. I guess it’s mostly familiar turf to me anyway, and I had to run within a few blocks of my house at mile 16 and keep going for another 4, away from home. Anyway, race day came and I’ve covered that pretty thoroughly in this post. Not very excited about my time, but completing a marathon was definitely a life changer. For weeks afterwards, any time I encountered anything difficult, my answer was, “hell, I ran a MARATHON, I can handle this.”
Four weeks later I ran the Eastern States 20 race. This will stay in my memory as the best executed run/race of 20 miles or more. I was expecting nothing, knowingly went out too fast, but never crashed. Didn’t stop or walk a single step. Kept a steady pace until the last mile and a half or so, and brought it in at just under 3:00, a time I had no expectation of achieving. Again, more on that in this post.
For the next month or so I ran without much purpose, just keeping the mileage up and enjoying things. Then got a severe heel pain to go with the arch pain I’d been battling. Treated it as plantar fasciitis, iced, stretched, rested, used a Strassburg Sock. I guess I caught it in time. I had a month or so of very little mileage, but soon after that started in training for my second marathon, which was the Cape Cod Marathon in October.
For this marathon I did the Pfitzinger plan from the book Advanced Marathoning. It’s a hard core plan with high mileage and a good bit of speed work – and I was doing the lowest level of plans offered. Even so, I had to cut it back a bit. But I got in my first 50 mile week and first 200 mile month, did three 20 milers this time. None of the 20′s were epic in either awesomeness or awfulness. I won’t say that 20 milers became routine, but I no longer quake at the thought of them. I just go out and get them done. Cape Cod is covered in this post, but in quick summary, first 21.5 miles, amazing. Last 5, hell. Bet you’ve never heard that happening in a marathon before. Anyway, PRed by 20 minutes, not too shabby. If not for the incessant hills, I might have broken 4:00.
And now, I’m training for my first ultramarathon. A 50k trail race (31 point something miles). I’ve talked about that here too in the last few weeks too if you want to hear my thoughts on it. I’ve got a 24 week plan for that, which I had to start at week 3 to fit into the reality of when the race is. I’m now onto week 8 of that plan and it’s going fairly well. The weekday mileage is handleable, but the weekend long runs are going to get harsh soon. Two 20′s, two 24′s and a 26 in the next couple of months, and some serious back to back weekends where I do a long run on both Saturday and Sunday.
What does all this running look like? Well here are some visual aids. First of all, a graph of every run all year long.
Here you can see where I was building up in training, major races and runs and my one injury of the year.
In terms of totals, I did 215 runs, averaging 7.33 miles per run, for a total of 1576.1 miles. That’s up over 1037 in 2010 and 1070 in 2011. More than a 50% increase. Amazing that I did that kind of increase with only one minor injury. But I felt particularly during the Cape Code training that I was really in tune with my body and knew exactly how far I could push it without going too far. I was curious to see what 1576 miles looked like all together, so played around with http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/ and got a nice visualization of it here (click for full size):
Health-wise, all is great. Had a full physical and full blood work early November and everything is PERFECT. Four years ago I had borderline high blood pressure and was being told I’d probably need meds for it soon. I had pre-diabetes, aka impaired glucose tolerance, or borderline high blood sugar, which if unhandled could develop into full blown type 2 diabetes. And I had elevated liver enzymes, indicating the fat in my body was harming my liver. And cholesterol was borderline as well. Again, now everything is PERFECT. Everything exactly in range. That’s undoubtedly the best part of this whole running thing. I look better, I feel better, I’m not ashamed of myself, and I’ve added who knows how many years to my life.
So that’s 2012. I plan to update this a bit more often in the new year (but that’s what every blogger says around this time of year, right?) At any rate, I’ll continue to post the highlights here, for the 3 or 4 of you who actually read this stuff.