It was certainly a down year for running (and blogging). I DNS'd a marathon, ran my fewest races ever (3?), and ran the fewest miles (2098) I've run since my first year of running. I learned a thing or two though. The first is that the primary benefit I get from running is mental. This makes it a bit easier to get out out of bed because it's not just a 41-year-old slow dude running a bunch to lower his 10k time.
MP = Meditation PaceHere's a post from me to runningahead that summarizes my "discovery"
Great to see everybody still at it. I've been AWOL for a while. I just wanted to share a benefit of slow running that might be glossed over: it lets you clear your head! My mileage dropped a lot over the last 6 months as the demands of work took their toll and I had trouble rationalizing the time. I also wasn't enjoying running very much and probably didn't try as hard to "get it in" as I would. I'd try to make it more efficient by doing more workouts as well. Running less just stressed me more. The low was when I bagged an out-of-state marathon I'd signed up for. Eventually I was watching Google tech talks on youtube and saw a guy dressed as a Buddhist monk (Ricard Matthieu). He was giving a talk about happiness and meditation. It made me re-remember one of the key benefits of running, especially slow running, that I'd always been aware of -- it's essentially meditation. When people would ask what I was thinking about on those long runs, I'd say "everything and nothing."
As always happens when I get off track with running, I went back to MAF. For the last 6 weeks, I've run *very* slowly on the same 7.8 mile route. Heart rates ~130 (I'm 41) and paces in the 10:30-11:30 range. I'd listen to my body, stopping to stretch if I felt a niggle. I'd admire the leaves and watched them change color over the weeks. I don't think I broke 9:45 on a single mile. Last week I finally got a full 7 days of running and about 55 miles. Yesterday I did a turkey trot and ran 20:34, so I think I'm finally back on track. I have a ways to go before I can attempt a PR in anything, but I now think I'm not too old yet.
As an aside, I tried treating the race itself as meditation, focusing on my breathing, paying attention to my body, but trying not to feed the negative thoughts that come during the hard parts of the race. It was by far the easiest 5k I've ever run. My HR was 189 (versus my usual 192) in the last mile, so maybe I didn't go all out, but it was pretty close and the race just flew by. I also passed a guy at the end that I swear I normally would have let go because I'd rationalize that it wasn't worth the extra pain.
New Year's Day 5kRan 20:49, which is 15 seconds slower than Thanksgiving. I was expecting something more like 20:15, but I've had a cold and haven't been sleeping and also have a few extra Christmas pounds. My heart rate was crazy high. (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/256717909). It avg'd 195 for the second half of the race. I borrowed a garmin 210 (my 305 might be done for), but used my HRM belt and my understanding is that the processing to bpm is done on the belt itself. Weird. Was it the cold? Not whether to be upset with my fitness or happy about my ability to push myself.
This extends on something I posted at the end of 2009. Months are in parentheses.
2005 - 1224
10M - 1:24:49 (4), 20M - 3:06:27 (9), M - 4:49:21 (10), 10k - 50:17 (11), 5M - 38:56 (11)
2006 - 2589
M - 4:17:03 (3), 10M - 1:19:25 (4), M - 4:00:03 (5), HM - 1:40:08 (10), M - 3:56:14 (10), M - 3:43:16 (11), 5k - 21:23 (12)
2007 - 2640
5M - 34:20 (1), 1:09:49 (4), M - 3:24:15 (5), 5k - 20:32 (5), HM - 1:33:29 (9), M - 3:27:34 (10), 5k - 20:35 (12)
2008 - 3180
8k - 32:45 (3), 10M - 1:08:49 (4), M - 3:21:50 (5), 5k - 19:49 (5), M - 3:15:22 (11), 5k - 20:15 (12)
2009 - 2303 + 41h59' XT * HM - 1:29:48 (1), 8k - 31:55 (3), 10M - 1:06:43 (4), M - 3:19:01 (4), 10k - 41:47 (10)
2010 - 2644
8k - 32:07 (3), 10M - 65:55 (4), 10k 40:04a (4), 10k 40:21 (5), 8k 33:21 (7), 10k 40:43 (11), 10k 41:08 (12)
2011 - 2324
10k 41:01 (3), 10M 66:16 (4), 10k 39:35a (4), 10k up a mountain 44:30, 5k 20:41 (12)
2012 - 2098
5k 20:34 (11) + a race (maybe 2?) that I didn't really race