Another holiday season has come and gone, and it’s time to cast an eye over my achievement throughout the last twelve months. After the personal successes of the previous year, I entered 2013 with high hopes for myself and some lofty ambitions. Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned and instead of celebrating personal records and marathon completions, I dealt with recurring injury problems and an ongoing lack of motivation.
Just like last year, the point of this review is not to rehash my success or failures in each individual event, but to look at the bigger picture and try to learn something from the past year that helps me in the next one.
My goals for the year were:
- Finish 9 NYRR races & qualify for the 2014 NYC Marathon
- Set a Half-Marathon PR
- Run my first NYC Marathon
- Run a race in under 8:00 per mile
- Avoid serious injury
- Don’t let running interfere with my wedding
Of the six goals I set out for myself at the start of the year, I managed to achieve a few of them. Most important of all, was ensuring that running did not conflict in any way with my wedding plans. And I’m happy to report that everything went off without a hitch. The wedding was fantastic, the honeymoon a dream, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the first seven months of what I hope is a long and happy union.
In terms of running, the year had it’s share of us and downs. Things started out well, as I carried my good form and conditioning into the first few weeks and set two personal records over the 10K and 4M distances. The second of those runs had an additional dimension of success in that I completed the distance in an average time under eight minutes a mile.
From there however, things went downhill. For the first time ever, I abandoned a race and karma seems to have continually kicked me in the arse for that failure all year. Perhaps I had developed a sense of invincibility after making such stellar progress, or else it was the lack of real goals after completing my first marathon. Whatever the reason, my motivation took a nosedive after the DNF and I struggled through the remainder of the year. I barely managed to get in shape for any of the half marathons I miraculously completed. My knee condition stopped getting worse but never really got better either, and I started to use lame reasons for avoiding runs and workouts.
There were two highlights during the remainder of the year. The first was the Fifth Avenue Mile, which I finally fit into my schedule. I hadn’t done any specific training for the event, but still managed to complete the distance in a time of 6:45. The experience was entirely different to the traditional 4/5/6.1 mile race and is something I will aim for again in 2014.
The second highlight and the years best achievement was a shared one – completing the Philadelphia Half Marathon with my sister and brother-in-law. Recent converts to running, they decided to give it a go following some encouragement from myself and decent performances in local races. That the three of us crossed the finish line at all was a fantastic achievement. That the three of us crossed the finish within a couple of minutes of each other was remarkable.
I continue to read a lot of running related material, picking up useful nuggets of information on products and training habits where I can. I have started to compile them into notes and am creating a set of workouts using the Garmin training tools that come with their Connect application.
As far as the coming year, I would like to get back to my form of 2012. To do that, I need to put in the training time across multiple disciplines (speed, hills, stamina, etc.) and that is heavily dependent on my knee holding up. Over training may certainly be the cause of my problems, so hopefully the reduction in workload and introduction of cycling and swimming will help to maintain my fitness while simultaneously reducing the stress on my joints. In terms of times, I would like to do a half in 1:45, run a 4 miler in under 30 minutes and a 10K in under 50 minutes. The other focus area is the social aspect; meeting more runners and learning from their experiences. That starts with getting involved in group runs with the North Brooklyn Runners. I’ve threatened this for a while, so hopefully this is the year I can make it happen.