Monday, December 19, 2011

Reflections on running 2011

Let's start with a quote, a simple quote, but one with huge implications...
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)
So here we are, I've finished my last official run of the year and hoping that I can keep my training up over the winter and start the spring with a bang.

I ran quite a few races this year, mostly 10k's, with a couple of 5k's in there for good measure. Like I have said previously, this time last year, I had no intention of ever having done this. Would I have liked to have thought that I would have, most certainly, but I am a classic for wanting to do stuff but not actually getting around to doing it. I have also mentioned my motivators along the way; firstly the doctor for pointing out that I was sending myself to an early grave, my friend and mentor, Stuart, for showing me what can be achieved by simply starting and lastly but most importantly, Bren, for being there, putting up with my sh!t and being so supportive along the way.

So here are a few stats; my cholesterol was 503, after three months it went down to 157, it hasn't been checked in a while though. When I started my weight was 226lbs, it has gone down to 190lbs (on a good day). On 28th May 2001, I managed to run for almost 2 minutes without needing to stop, by the 20th November 2011 I ran for over 1hr 35mins, without stopping - 176 days from one to the other. When I started my pace was ~11 minute, my fastest 5k had me coming in at 7:57, with my fastest single mile is 7:43, although average running pace for a 10k is now about 8:32. Within a couple of months of starting I could just about manage 5k (3.1 miles), without stopping. I ran my first 10k on the 11th August 2011, and my first 10k race nine days later. On the 7th December I managed my first half marathon, something I would never have contemplated previously, 194 days after I first started.

So what's to come for me. My first official half marathon in the early spring, maybe this one - The Martian Run. I'm all but committed to doing an off-road 15k in New Zealand in late February, called the Opouahi Station Challenge, it looks much hillier than I'm used to, but what the hell. I want to follow up the half with a full marathon or two in the summer, this one looks cool, the North Country Trail Run through Manistee National Forest, which looks fun and gives out the third biggest medal in the US, apparently, but what the hell there are quite a few to choose from. I'll keep on running the 5 & 10k's though as they are fun and Bren & the kids want to get into doing them as well.

Over the winter I want to use some time at an indoor track to work on my running technique. I am a heel striker, ie I land heel first when I am running, this is not a good thing, I want to migrate to a mid-foot strike. This is going to take some time and will involve running short distances, barefoot, for a few weeks. Once I migrate to a mid-foot then I can start wearing minimalist style running shoes and start working on speed again.

I'll finish with a silly quote, but maybe just as deep;
Build a man a fire he'll be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life
Terry Pratchett

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