Monday, December 31, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

And because everyone's doing it and without further ado:

Salty's Top Ten Whatevers for 2007

10. Running the 2007 Boston Marathon. No, it wasn't a hurricane and the Nor'Easter wasn't nearly as bad as everyone feared, it still sucked and I still cringe at how awful I felt stumbling on my incredibly ouchy feet and shivering so hard I couldn't see straight searching in vain for my warm clothes and my warm mrp after the finish line. I am particularly proud that it was my second marathon and I pr'd here in crap conditions. I also learned I am in the I-hate-Boston camp. I will gladly never run that marathon again!

9. Sub-19 minute 5k. Back in high school my 5k pr was a 22:04. 5k times were always the gold standard for guaging someone's worth as a runner. Last year I broke 20 minutes for the first time and afterwards I bounded into the house and announced to mrp that I could retire happily from running! I seriously would not have believed anyone who would have told me then that at the very same race the following year I'd run almost 1 minute faster! A fast 5k vindicates all of us mediocre high school cross-country runners, and I am no exception!

8. The sub-1:30 half-marathon. It took me 4 half marathons to do it. 1:38:48, 1:35:11, 1:31:57, and finally 1:28:38 just days after my 32nd birthday. This was perhaps my best race of the entire year. I relaxed, I was patient, I let the race happen and I exceeded my expectations by a lot. I was able to maintain a 6:50 pace and then even pick it up over the last 5k to pick up another minute or so. There was no weather interference, or big miles weighing me down. I just let go and this is what happened. I like that!

7. Megamiles. I am numbers obsessed to some degree, but not really when it comes to mileage. I don't typically try to run a certain amount of miles in a given period, although I admit occasionally I've run a little extra to get a nice round number in a week. Anyway, this year I upped the ante from the high of 65 mpw I ran last year to an all time high of 90.25 miles in a week in September. I never thought I could do that! It was pretty neat. And pretty exhausting too! For the year I ran 2884.96 miles, or about a 55.5 mpw average. I am not running today, so that's it. For comparison purposes, last year I ran 2,287.98, or about 44 mpw average. Interestingly, in December of 06 I ran 10 miles less than my marathon build-up peak in August. The year before I didn't track, but I'd guess about 1200-1300. So I ran a lot of miles this year!

6. Team Good River and Club Nationals. I am so happy I joined a team. It was great to have some accountability for my running as well as a sense of camaraderie. I think both these things helped me take my running up a notch this year. Also, I had a great time running on one of our team relays and running at Club Nationals. Of course I would not have had the opportunity to run something of the caliber of Club Nationals without TGR so I am so grateful for the team and the opportunities it brought me!

5. Learning to take the good with the bad. Like amost people I think, when I first started racing last year, I exceeded my own expectations in just about every race. Then, of course, I started to aim higher. And in so doing, I ended up disappointed after some of my races: a new concept for me this year! At first racing is like ego crack. Every race is AWESOME! But unless you keep the bar really low, you're not going to make your goal in some races. Sometimes there are external factors: sickness, Nor'Easters, soupy summer mugginess, etc. and sometimes maybe you aimed a little too high. It's hard to adjust to the disappointment but it is part of every competitive runners life. Just like with anything--if you want to reach the stars you have to expect to fall a few times on your way. Pick yourself up and keep on trucking and you'll get there and beyond! (And perhaps brood a little in the meantime).

4. Control. The most valuable lesson I learned this year was control. It almost seems ridiculously obvious now, but it really was a novel idea back in July. It's easier to run as hard as you can than 10 seconds slower than as hard as you can. Control is essential for not going out too fast in races and to run consciously: to hold back when you should hold back and take off when you should take off.

3. Tinman. On a whim, more or less, I contacted Tinman in the spring about coaching me for a fall marathon. I figured he had some magic voodoo tricks that would make me faster. Instead, he was like a drill instructor toughening me up for the fight. He was another source of accountability and a friend to vent to about my running frustrations and excitement! He taught me patience and control (see #4) and made me very disciplined and pushed me far the outer limits I thought I had. When I thought I couldn't do anymore he told me I could and sent me out for 22 miles the next day! When my marathon didn't go as planned, I was as disappointed for him as I was for me.

2. New Friends. I am so grateful to have met so many wonderful runners this year. I met such a wide variety of people: some faster, some slower, some older, some younger, some married, some single, some male, some female, some from the west side, some from the east side, and on and on. It was so nice to have my more experienced friends tell me what I was going through was normal or to inspire other friends to go for a big pr.

1. Marrying Mrp. Duh! Of course this is number 1! I got to marry my inspiration to get into competitive running, my original coach, my very occasional running partner, as well as my co-worker (we work at the same place!), my cookie taste-tester, my supplier of fresh produce, the president of my fan club, my own personal wood-chuck shooer, the coolest person in all the land and on and on.

Happy New Year everyone! Mrp and I are off to a Chinese restaurant with his folks and then home to play board games. I know, you're all sitting there stunned at how amazingly metropolitan and cool we are, right? Be safe and I'll see you back here in 2008!


GP said...

Happy New Year, Salty! May 2008 be just as stellar as the last one!

Mindi said...

Happy New Year. What a great year you had!!

Running as ego crack? LOL. I love it. So true.

May you continue to take names in 08. Cheers.

Tom said...

Congrats on a great 2007. Happy new year!

Papa Louie said...

Happy New Year!
Congrats on your 2007 accomplishments. Have a great 08.

Meghan said...

Happy New Year! That's quite the list; you have a lot to be happy about in 2007! Here's to bigger and better this new year!

Joseph P. Wood said...

What board games did you play? Wait...knowing your acuity w/ language, I'm guessing Scrabble (which my wife refuses to play with me)...

chelle said...

Happy Happy Everything! I like the ego crack line too. Was it Scrabble? That's what I play with my man..since we're long distance now we're addicted to the online scrabble site. I highly recommend for anyone far away from their sweetie:

DaisyDuc said...

Girl, you really had one heck of a year! Happy new year to you and all the great things that are yet to come!