Tuesday, January 2, 2018

This Year in Running 2017

Self at 10:00 PM on New Years Eve - my final run of 2017


Well last year I wrote a summary of what I had accomplished and have some thoughts and reflections on some of the highlights of the year - mostly from a running perspective.

While I am not afraid to set goals at any point of the year if I think my life needs some adjustment, it is also a time to see where I succeeded and where I failed.  It also gives me a chance to renew or set new goals for 2018.

So without further ado, let's begin:

The Numbers

Running Total

I ran a total of 1857.5 miles this year. That's down about 20% from the previous years.  I knew going into the year that I was going to need to dial it back and I didn't really put up the numbers I normally do. 

Then just before my Las Vegas Marathon buildup I hurt my knee and had an ingrown toe nail removed.  That cut my mileage by about 80% - 90% for an entire month.

So it isn't too surprising that I came up short of going 2000 miles.  Still 1850+ miles isn't a bad number, and it equates to about 5.25 miles a day.  That's more exercise than most Americans get.

I am also married to the Jordan River Bike Trail.  I am so fortunate that I can get home, throw on a pair of shorts and within a quarter mile be on a safe running trail that goes for 20+ miles in either direction.  Throw in some bathrooms and drinking fountains and I am set.

 Racing Total

  • 5Ks -- 5
  • 10K -- 2
  • 12K -- 1
  • Half Marathon -- 13
  • 30K -- 1
  • Marathon -- 2 (one DNF)
Definitely down from previous years.  One race-heavy month -- May -- I was busy and didn't race at all.  The injury in mid August saw me limp through a race or two, but I wasn't really ready to rock out a race every weekend.

Sadly, I didn't do any new states this year.  I think the reality of me completing 50 marathons in 50 states is slowly disappearing into the could've / should've / would've bucket.  I am not totally distressed about it either.

My Cat

Things Found on the Jordan River Bike Trail

Dog I rescued

  • 1 Human saved / 911'd
  • 1 Cat Saved and homed
  • 1 Dog Saved
  • Countless animals fed (I feed homeless cats)
  • 1 Wallet found (with cash and cards) & returned
  • 1 Very nice phone found and returned.
  • Cleaned up trash along the trail preventing it from going into the river
  • Countless friends and acquaintances made.  
  • Encouraged and cheered on runners of all abilities.

This makes me most excited.  The good I've done.  I've made a ton of friends and have become even more entrenched here in Utah.  I've acquired a number of new friends simply by participating and running in local races.  Sometimes even one-off meetings have resulted in lasting friendships.  Runners are very easy to bond with as we have a shared passion for something.  This is truly one of the greatest gifts of being able to participate in this sport.

One of the coolest things that happened in 2017 is my cat Oreana (named after the rural town in NV).
I had just lost my 2 cats that I had had for nearly 20 years when I discovered this cat along the bike trail. I was "done" with cats and pets in general and thought that the next pet I'd get would be far into the future.

This friendly cat was there every day and wasn't afraid of me when I came by. I carry food for ferals on my runs and started to feed her. First I'd bring her dry food and then canned. Let's just say she devoured it and soon we were feeding her twice a day along the trail -- just like a regular cat.
She always showed a lot of affection and clearly wasn't a feral cat but she also clearly didn't belong to anyone.

To make a long story short, we wound up adopting her. As you can see she is well adjusted and never had a boo-boo. She also never misses a meal. She has been about the most gentle, well mannered cat I've had.

I am not sure who found who, but she was an awesome gift that I wouldn't have been given if I wasn't a runner, plodding along the same route day in and day out.

Successes and Failures


I had a few good races this year.  The races that I am most proud of, 

  1. The Dam Train Race 12K 
  2. Independence in December 5K
  3. BYU Homecoming 5K
All of these races I came away super positive feeling.  I did better than I expected I would.  I am also noticing that each of these races are shorter runs.  My strength these days seems to be in the shorter races.  I still get a strong pay off on the longer races but my skill set seems to be more inclined for the shorter.

I have a TON of races I am not happy with (not with organization or course -- my performance was not good).  Way way more than usual.  In fact, I'd be willing to say that about 50% of the races this year I sort of groan when I think about.  Some of it wasn't in my control: wind, heat, etc.  But these are the races that I'd like to forget happened in 2017:

  1. Las Vegas Marathon
  2. 6 Tunnels Half Marathon
  3. Sun Valley Half Marathon 
One other cool thing about the last two races -- they were brand new (along with the Lost Dutchman in February).  I had never done them before and I got to explore some completely new areas (to me).  If I wasn't a runner / racer, I would've missed those opportunities.

Weight Loss

At the start the year I was hovering about 181 - 182.  At year's end I was pushing 185 on a good day, 186 at my worst.  I went on a tear in October of very poor food choices where I ate too many of the wrong things.  I have also spent way too much time at the all-you-can buffets around town and in Nevada.

I have managed to right that ship and I think I am headed in the right direction.  I am starting to exercise a bit of restraint and have had the realization that I can't eat whatever I want and think I can simply burn it off by running more.  That ship has clearly sailed.

Race Times

Almost across the board I came up slower this year.  Father time keeps taking away from me.  My times, however, didn't plummet from my injury.  In fact, I felt a lot stronger when I came back, probably because I had been doing my exercises.

I just wasn't putting in the real, unpleasant work -- namely speed work to maintain my blinding speed (or what I have left of it).  I have noticed, though, in the closing months of 2017 that I have been doing more "hard" workouts.  2 mile time trials and striders -- at least once a week -- are helping.  I have a long way to go to get to where I want but the speed work will pay off.  It is like going to the dentist -- you know you need to do it, but it isn't fun.

I just need to remember how elated I feel upon crossing the finish line with a time I am proud of, versus a time where I get in my car and feel like I've let myself down.  

Looking to 2018


I hate setting goals.  I have them in the back of my mind, but putting them on "paper" is sort of scary -- as it means a bit of a commitment.  Having goals is important -- especially if you care about your running.

Here are my goals for 2018:

Get Faster -- Take at least 1 minute off my 5K time

  • Speed Work -- at least once a week.  Keep the easy days easy and short, but really dial in the hard days.
  • Drop the weight.  Every extra pound is like carrying a hand weight.

Do at least 3 races I haven't done before and at least one new state

  • Have fun doing something you haven't done before.  New experiences breed excitement and passion

Have some restraint at buffets

  • If I leave a buffet feeling sick, I've eaten way too much
  • How much I can eat shouldn't be a contest.
  • Stop eating out as much at work.

Cross Train

  • Hike / power hike
  • Maybe it's time to join a gym

Run Numbers

  • Hit 2000 miles again
  • Run at least one marathon, even if it is the last one I do.
  • Enjoy running and treasure every mile.

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