Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Year In Review

2007 Year In Review

I had 2 big goals for 2007: Sub 30 5K and a 2:30 Half Marathon. You'll see how I smashed these goals more than once.

Well my year started off fine. I was running well, with some good pacing, and then at the end of January I was fired from my job. Needless to say, this hasn't really happened to me much before. In fact, aside from when the whole division was laid off, I've never been fired before. And the whole thing was bogus, they came up with some "reasons" why I was fired, but in reality I think it was just a cost-cutting measure on their part. I just wish they had been honest about it.

Then about a week later I contracted the flu, and I was out of it for about 2 weeks with no running. I talked with my boss from a previous company who wanted me to come back on a part-time basis to fix some code I wrote for him a couple years ago. Meanwhile, we had settled on a contractor to repair the damage to our house during the Windstorm of 2006 where some trees fell on our house. This actually worked out well, since I could work part time, deal with the contractor, work out, and also begin writing again. I did finally get a job at a great company, and also was able to finish a novel I had started a number of years ago.

After the flu I had lost a lot of my speed. I lost at least a minute/mile pace and I found it hard to get back into a rhythm. My first race of the year was Henry Weinhard's St. Patrick's Day dash, a mostly downhill race in downtown Seattle. I still hadn't recovered, and my Heart Rate(HR) was really high. I didn't PR this year. But from then on, things really started picking up.

I'm not sure what I did different this year, but I think it comes down to two things: more weekly mileage, and more consistency. I broke down my week into 4 basic runs: 5 mile slow run, 6-8 mile long slow run, 1 "speed" workout ~5 miles, and one "hilly" run of ~5 miles. This gave me a weekly mileage of 20-23 miles or so. For whatever reason this improved my running all through the year.

May was fun, especially the "Beat the Bridge" race. I had 20 minutes to run 2 miles before they opened the bridge. In hindsight, I don't think I had much to worry about, but since I've never beat the bridge before, I still had some trepidation. Turns out I had nothing to worry about, hitting the 2-mile mark at 18:26 and crossing the bridge with plenty of time to spare. It felt great finally beating that thing.

In July I ran my 3rd Half Marathon (13.1 miles) at Seafair. I felt great all through the race, even the last couple miles. The difference was that I had increased my long runs out to 12 miles. I also used sport beans and the provided sports drinks during the 2nd half of the race which helped as well. I beat my old record by about 14 minutes. This is a huge improvement. Meanwhile I keep setting personal records in my other races as well.

Then tragedy struck a couple weeks after the HM. My dad passed away after a long illness. It was really hard to keep running. I would start crying in the middle of a run. A couple weeks later, I ran the Footzone 5K where I was determined to once and for all break 30 minutes. I dedicated the race to my dad. Since I started running a couple years ago, this was my ultimate goal. I had been really close all year, getting down to 30:03 the week before the HM. When I approached the finish line, I saw the clock at ~29 minutes, and I knew I had it. I burst into tears crossing the line at 29:32. It was by far the most emotional finish I've ever had since my very first 5K, probably the most emotional of all.

In my next race I blew away that time with a 28:42. I have no idea how I achieved that, except that I was on some medicine at the time. I now have a really difficult mark to beat. I ran another 5K later in the year and came within 11 seconds, so I know I might be able to beat it at some point.

In my final big race, the Seattle Half Marathon, I did it once again, beating my record by 4:30 on a more difficult course. I even achieved a negative split, which is really hard since the 2nd half of the course is more uphill. I also ran a 12K and once again killed my record for that course. However, I missed my next race due to a kidney stone or something, so now I'm done for the year.

Also today, on the last day of the year, I ran five miles with our 7-month old puppy "Blackberry." She did great, although she would stop abruptly to answer the call of nature.

Race Results for 2007:
Avg HR
Max HR
3/11/2007 3.3M 33:35 10:10 Henry's St. Pat's Dash
183 197
3/25/2007 10K 1:04:35 10:23 Mercer Island Rotary 173 184 X
5/13/2007 5K 0:30:18 9:45 Kirkland 5K
176 195 X
5/20/2007 8K 0:51:20 10:19 Beat the Bridge 174 194 X
6/2/2007 5K 0:31:30 10:08 Issaquah Tri 174 192
6/24/2007 6.76M (11K)
1:10:43 10:27 Shore Run 168 184 X
7/3/2007 5K 0:30:03 9:40 Firecracker 5000 176 190 X
7/8/2007 HM (13.1M)
2:26:15 11:09 Seafair HM
165 186 X
8/5/2007 5K 0:29:32 9:30 Footzone 5K 176 191 X
9/30/2007 5K 0:28:42 9:14 Children's Run
177 194 X
10/7/2007 10K 1:01:54 9:57 Issaquah Rotary Run 172 190 X
11/4/2007 5K 0:28:53 9:17 Pace Race Kirkland 176 186
11/25/2007 HM (13.1M)
2:21:45 10:48 Seattle Marathon 170 185 X
12/16/2007 12K 1:17:46 10:25 12K's of Christmas 174 190 X

Yearly Mileage:
* this is only "logged" miles that don't include treadmill runs at the gym or when the GPS ran out of juice.

Monthly Mileage:

104 Miles in October was my highest mileage month ever.

Goals for 2008:
Sub-28 5K
Sub-60 10K
2:15 HM
1000 Miles Logged (20 miles/week, 83 miles/month)

I also want to start running regularly with Blackberry as she grows. I've considered trying to run a full Marathon, or trying to climb Mount Rainier again, but I don't want to overcommit to my goals, because that results in overtraining and stress.

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