Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019. The year in review

 Overall not a bad year at all. Nothing really epic but some good results in most of the events I entered. First, lets look at the numbers. 1,330.1 miles in the best yearly total since the 1420 of 2016 and that puts me at 52,909 lifetime miles. Overall it was a year of good health with the only injury was a bit of a calf strain which was not caused by running but affected the run for a few weeks spread over parts of April in May. Those months only had 52 and 57 miles respectively making the yearly total that much more satisfying. As you should know , I  made a commitment to make the run top priority in my fitness regimen beginning in late July and the result was that each month from August through December were all better than any months in the previous 2 years. Now on to the details.

 Jan: The year started off well with a very good run at the Holden Beach Half. I was pleased with the 1:48:51 and 2nd place AG. Monthly total was 119.2

 Feb: no racing but some good quality training and 119.2 miles again !

 Mar: Got off to a good start with the Florence Forth 10k. I felt good, ran strong just creeping under 48 with a 47:59 and an age group win. 3 weeks later I ran the St. Paddys 4 miler again and although I was 30 seconds slower than last year in 30:27 it was still good enough for 1st Senior Grandmaster again. A week later I was at Sunset Beach for another half. Improved my time to 1:46:20 but had to settle for 3rd AG and was out-sprinted to the finish. Gotta work on that top end speed ! 112.3 miles for the month.

 Apr: Was a bit frustrating with the calf mystery issue coming in early and costing me about 2 weeks off. It seemed fine and I raced the Port to Fort 5k in Morehead City in 23:30 which was good enough for the AG win. But a few days later the calf flared up again. Only 52.3 miles for the month.

 May: Started off with a lot of zeros and 10 days off before I tested the calf again. It was ok and I eased the mileage back up but no racing and only 57.0 miles for the month. Sadly I cancelled a planned trip to return to the Cotton Row Run in Alabama that had been one of my goal races for the year.

 June: More frustration. the month started out ok and on the 15th I ran the Vertical mile Challenge which had been on my list for a few years. Considering no mountain training and practically no trail running in recent years I had a good day, ran consistent paced laps and was 2nd AG. Legs really took a beating and despite 5 days of rest and easing back into it I aggravated my left  upper glute and hip flexor. I was confident it was not the same thing that ruined me back in  2014 and 2015 but I was going to be careful. I could run but only did 3 or 4 miles every two or three days and it gradually healed and felt better each week over the next 3 weeks or so. Monthly miles were 84.0.

 July: Was not what I'd hope. The first two weeks were all short runs every few days with some slight improvement in the pain but at least I could run. I decided to go ahead with my trip to Utica NY for the Boilermaker 15k. Things went ok although slow for the first 7 miles but then I bonked and the hip flexor was really bothering me.  Over the next weeks it graduallyt began to improve and I was able to run but it was the 28th before I noted that it was about 90% back to normal.  83.3 for the month.

 Aug: August started off well with the pain seemingly behind me now. I raced the Running With the Law 5k  in Jacksonville but only because I wanted to visit my friend for the weekend. Luckily  I got through it ok, ran about the same as I did in April in 23:33 and another AG win. By now I was not going to hot yoga anymore and with no injury I was ready to get back to some serious training and goals. On the 24th I took a trip to Boone for the High Country Half,a tough race that shares the first 10.5 miles as the Grandfather Mountain marathon. I ran much stronger than I expected with the help of cool rain and just missed my fantasy goal of breaking 2 hours on this hard course with a 2:00:23. Some tough competition from the local mountaineers put me off the podium and 4th place. Finished the month with 134.3 miles, my best in about 2 years !

 Sept: Things were going great this month and I was getting in great training with 5 to 6 days a week of runs despite the lingering heat and humidity. My #1 goal of the year was to beat my last years time at the Virginia 10 Miler and make the podium for the first time in 21 years of racing there. Although things were going well due to the earlier injuries I was not at the level I wanted to be going into the Fall racing season. And then race morning turned out to be hot and humid. I did as well as I could but I was never on pace to be close to last years time and I struggled in the last few miles. Going back in 2020 hopefully better prepared and maybe mother nature will be kinder. Good month though with 137.8 miles

 Oct:  I think this is probably the only Oct. in the last 2 decades at least that I had no races scheduled. It was tempting but I knew I needed to be training. I had a marathon planned in November and I was already way behind the mileage goals I need and no long runs done. Ended up with my best month of the year and best in about 3 years with 147.1 miles but still no real long runs.

 Nov: Due to the lack of long runs I made the very wise decision to drop down to the half at the City of Oaks Marathon  on the 3rd with the goal of trying to beat my time from last year which would be a challenge because I ran pretty well on this  tough course last year. Ended up running well this year but only better by 6 seconds in 1:49:10 and that all came in the last 10th of a mile sprint ! Good enough for 2nd AG in this larger event. Good training continued through the month and I ended it with a 5K Cross country race at the Nike Southeast Regional event. 23:35 on the tough course in some muddy conditions was satisfactory and only 2 seconds slower than the flat road 5k in August. 142.9 for the month.

 Dec:  I only had one race planned to finish out the year before going back into a marathon training program. That was the Frosty Run 10k on the 7th in Wake Forest. I had done some specific workouts for it so it was a bit of a disappointment that at the last minute a course change caused the certified course to be shortened to about 5.7 miles. It turned out cold and windy but I ran well on this hilly route my 45:16 was equivalent to about 48:40 if it had been the full 10k. 2nd AG. Finished the month with 140.7 miles.

And that's it for 2019. I'll post a looking ahead post with some goals for the coming year soon. Right now I'm happy with the way things are going and confident 2020 will be a good one.


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