2010 was on interesting year, filled with triumphs, stupid moments, PRs, and the odd wasted opportunity. The changing form through use of five fingers and Good For Running has been a success. The move to a more minimal type shoe (when not using five fingers) has also been good... though after using five fingers any standard trainer feels over cushioned.
One thing nice about that, though, is that when I'm trying on standard trainers, it takes the cushion out of the equation. They all feel equally over stuffed, and it doesn't feel like a good thing. That way, I get to concentrate on things like fit, how natural they feel on my feet, and how little I like running in standard trainers.
But anyway enough about footwear. What I'd like to do is go on, at length, about the last year focusing on the races I did and the major things that occurred. Some, I'm sure, will be a repeat of older posts, and hopefully won't contradict them too badly. As my dad used to say: "Memory is the second thing to go, they say, and I forget the first thing."
So... onto the races!
I began training for the Martian Marathon in December of last year, but the training (and consequences related there of) greatly effected the first nine months of the year. Daniels probably has been my favorite book plan I've tried, and I've gone through three or four, depending on how you count. It was an extremely flexible and hard-but-not-too-hard program.
January~ Didn't do any race, but did a lot of base building and the odd hard workout, as Daniels suggests. I wish I could have done the Bigfoot Snowshoe race, but I skipped it.
February~ Superbowl 5K (21:28/6:55 pace). I really felt the difference changing my form made, especially on downhills. it make them consciously harder. But on the other hand, I got in the habit of counting a long time ago in my running, and counting strides per minute is one day to make a 5K go faster. It was also nice to negative split it as a race. Race congestion had a little to do with that, but I also planned it that way, and managed to stick to the plan. If history hasn't gone all rose colored on me. :)
March~ More fun following the Daniels program. This was the big build up to the taper, and a good chunk of the taper as well. I remember some wonderfully difficult training runs that were longer than my long runs, but with intervals thrown in to boot. I remember a few crash and burns, a few triumphs, and a lot of miles. I spent a lot of time at Indian Springs, and got heartily sick of the two mile loop in the middle.
April~ Martian (3:27:46/7:55 pace) and recovery. Martian went well, as I think I laid out in my race report. What sticks with me is the feeling of deadness that hit some of my muscles in the latter stages of the race, as well as the jump in my heart rate near mile 21 that didn't stop till the end of the race. Oh, and staggering about like Bambi after crossing the finish line.
I also seem to remember the race recovery going quite well, which I lay at the feet of changing up my form. One of the problems of overstriding is the peak of force that slams through the body with a heavy heel strike. It's fairly minor, but it adds up. If I'm maintaining 85-90 strides per minute, over the course of a 3:27 marathon I'll have 35-37 thousand of those little shocks go through my body. When I finished Bayshore last year, I felt a little like I had been in a car accident. Martian was significantly different- at least in terms of abuse I felt done to my body.
A couple of weeks later I did the Trail half marathon (2:14:15/10:14 pace) in five fingers. It went well, I ran it easy with a friend, and didn't have any problems or pain. I love that half; it's challenging, but not technical in a way that would hurt me later on in the year. Rocks and roots to trip over, sure, but less than at Pontiac, my trail running park of choice. Some decent hills, but I wasn't running for speed.
May~ Brookshire 5K (21:22/6:53 pace) In a way, this was the opposite of the Superbowl 5K; I started off fast but my pace fell off toward the end. Running with folk isn't always a great idea, especially when you know just how much faster they are. Still, it was a PR, and done through some wet and rainy conditions. If I had run it smarter, I think I may have done a little better. But probably not much.
June~ this is where things fell apart. Did a lot of five finger miles in the first week of June, and ended it running at Highland Rec, probably the most technical trail system in the area. Stubbed my little toe, right foot, three times starting at mile 6. I don't know which of those stubs might have broken it, but I'm pretty sure one of them did.
Sadly, that wasn't the problem; compensating for the stub was. Left calf took up a lot of slack, and probably did the majority of the work going down hills for over 10 miles. The next day, bad pain that didn't go away for the next six weeks.
August ~slowly built up miles.
Crim (1:20:33/8:03 pace) This was a test. I wanted to know whether my body and my leg would be okay with a hard, if not a race effort. It was, and I chopped 16 minutes off of my Crim PR of '06. Of course, I was a *much* different runner back in '06, but still. A PR is a PR.
September~ like a dam with a lot of back pressure, I scheduled a race every weekend I could.
Labor Day 30K (2:46:39/8:57 pace) One of my favorite races, i ran it with a friend and spent a lot of time chatting about various stuff. i love the hills, the dirt roads, and the race distance. If it were up to me, the English (or was it French?) would have set the marathon distance to this length back in the 20's, or whenever. Beautiful day for easy running, and I couldn't have asked for a better race experience.
Romeo to Richmond Half (1:42:42/7:50 pace) Decent half, although I really didn't care much for the slightly sandy trail we had to run on, the sun in our eyes, and the wind in our face. Nice day for a run, but I was kind of glad when it was over. I may have been happier doing a repeat of the Falling Waters half, but this made more sense at the time.
Woodstock half (1:56:10/8:52 pace) this was a fun half, though I think I was slowed considerably due to sleeping pretty poorly the night before. I didn't figure out how to keep warm in my tent- the right combination of clothes with my sleeping bag, and woke up with a pretty fierce pain in my lower back.
Again, I ran it in my five fingers, and that was fine... though I did get a blister, which was unexpected. I also ran through a pair of the Injinji liners. That was kind of disappointing. they were new, and the socks are good quality. It just appears the the first generation of liners aren't. I've heard better things about the second generation. Not sure if the two were connected.
October~ Brooksie half (1:39:00/7:33 pace) Definitely one of my success stories of this year. I originally signed up to run with a friend as far as I could, but probably would drop at the 6 or 10 mile mark. Didn't quite work that way. I remember feeling fairly strong throughout, and banking time at the beginning (a race tactic I usually don't recommend) really worked out well. I remember being fairly whipped for the last three miles, but able to run strong. It helped an awful lot to be running with a friend. I'll have to see if I can arrange that for next year.
Run through Hell (44:04/7:06 pace) I really enjoyed this race- like Labor Day 30K it was on hilly dirt roads, perhaps my favorite running terrain. Still feels vaguely trail-ish, but I don't have to concentrate nearly as much on not tripping, and I can get some sort of momentum going. And hills are fun because I like to go up them so much- I did most of my passing on the up hills, I think. Lots of people, and I knew many of them, so the cheering back and forth helped a lot, too.
It was in October I decided to get an internet running coach, so I could take my flawed thinking out of the mix and learn from someone in a more fluid environment. Someone who may have different ways of reacting to issues that come up during training. It's been a good experience, and it got me to do certain things I've always been pretty lax on when assigning them to myself. Cross training, for the most part. But also increasing miles slowly, and being reassured that changing the schedule and downshifting miles isn't always a bad thing.
November~ Jingle Bell Run (43:47/7:03 pace) Not bad run, though I know I could have done better if I had stuck with someone. I lost concentration midway through the race- I really didn't have the mental focus. But ran hard enough to earn a quasi-PR. I did the race in '08 and ran in the 42s, but I thought the race was short, so I don't think of it as a PR. Even if I did the same course today and do. My garmin says that it was 6.3 something, so it certainly wasn't short if the garmin can be trusted.
December~ Fat Ass 50K. Went well. :) The write up was fairly recent, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it. But it was nice to come in first. It give me some bragging rights to say I won a race with a 90% attrition rate (to be fair, though, I very much doubt that even if the day had been beautiful, that all 40 had plans to do the full three loops).
For next year: I'm signed up for Bayshore, and I'm going to continue my working relationship with my coach to hopefully help me run a 3:15. May or may not be a Boston qualifier for 2012, but I'm not really concerned right now. I just want to run as intelligently as possible, to get as fast as I can reasonably can with as little chance of injury.
So, I'd like a 3:15 Bayshore. I'd also like a fast Martian time- a PR would be nice, meaning sub 1:37:02. We'll see if that happens.
I'd kind of like to do the Woodstock 100K, if that works out. I'd also like to possibly do the Mohican 50M, though that's less of a goal for me. Maybe pace if I feel up to it.
And that's the year as I remember it.