Thursday, December 28, 2023

2023 Year in Running

In Mesquite Nevada - along my favorite stretch of bike trail

Total Miles: 1898

I am very happy with the total.  I would've liked to have hit 2000 but given how much I raced and the training I did, 1900 miles is a good consolation prize.  

Products of the Year:

I found three products that made a huge difference in my running.  First off, though, I should state that I am not really a product hound. Meaning, I pretty much have run with the same type of equipment year after year.  I suspect seeing some of these items on YouTube convinced me to give them a shot.

The Zipper Flip Belt: I used to stash my keys under a tire during a race and I'd go running without a phone.  Now -- I don't have to worry about it.  This belt holds gels, keys, and even a phone.  Usually while running, I forget it is even there.  I don't always use it, but it's been a nice addon for races and long runs and it is super secure -- even hotel keys don't slip out of the back of it. Well worth the investment.

Brooks Glycerin: I went to the store seeking a more cushioned shoe over my steadfast Brooks Adrenalines and I was sold on these.  The shoes aren't pillow soft but they are a definitely a smoother ride over the Adrenaline shoe.  I found myself working less hard and ran faster for my easy runs with the shoes.  They also lasted MUCH longer than the Adrenalines... with my first pair hitting over 425 miles (and I suspect I could've gotten more out of them). These might make my new daily trainer over the Adrenalines.  The downside is that they are slightly more expensive (about $20)

Saucony Endorphin Pro 2s:  There are later editions to this shoe out, but I got these last year during a blowout sale and I bought them on a whim -- sight unseen.  Normally the shoe runs for $150 or more -- and I got a pair for $89.  After my initial run with them, I came home and immediately ordered another pair.  I could run significantly faster compared to even the speedy FastTwitches and they became my go-to race shoe.  I used them for nearly every race after the St George Half Marathon and I think I got a nice boost from them. It took a bit for my feet to get used to them, but the times I was turning in were awesome.  By the end of the year, I had snagged another 2 pairs of shoes and managed to make the initial pair work for over 400 miles.  Just an incredible product for the money.

How Things Went

I set out with some pretty ambitious goals for 2023.  Most of them I successfully completed:

Work on Speed: Very Successful.  Throughout the year I made it a point to at least once a week do some sort of speed session.  I collected several from YouTube and implemented them frequently.  This is the one thing I am most proud of:  I was dedicated to working during my daily runs.

Smash 24 for the 5K: Mildly Successful   I ran several sub 24 minute 5Ks throughout the year.  My stretch goal was to hit 23:30.  I had higher hopes for even faster times, which I didn't hit.


Keep doing Easy Miles: Very Successful.  Most of my runs were at the zone 2 heart rate.  I embraced the 80 / 20 (80% of my miles are easy, the rest are work).  I over raced though which interfered with this ratio.  The 80% helped me bulk up my mileage without causing undo stress.  I am happy to report that I also didn't suffer any significant injuries this year either.

Embrace Racing Longer Distances: Very Successful.  I don't recall ever setting out to do this specifically but this I did well -- running  8 half marathons.  I had some grand visions of potentially running a full marathon, but I never committed to it.  I did way too many of these races, but it felt good covering that distance.

Do Strength Training: Mildly Successful   For the most part I was successful at this.  More or less, it depended upon my energy levels and what was on TV.  But I was more consistent than not and I think it is one reason why I stayed injury free this year.

Do a Destination Race: Successful.  The one race I did that qualifies was the Cedar City Half Marathon.  It wasn't quite a "new" destination but it was a race I hadn't done before and it did require a hotel stay.  I thoroughly enjoyed it despite having a tough race.

Goals for 2024

Race Less:  This sounds very easy, but for me, it is a bit of a "do I really want this?".  The short answer is that it is probably for the best.  I can't think of many races that I did in 2023 where I felt 100% rested.  I think largely it was because I carried a fairly large training load and I went into every race thinking it might be my day to PR.  Some races have more meaning than others and I need to learn to hold back on races that don't offer a lot.  This will allow me to train a bit harder throughout the week and not get overly fatigued from racing too often.

Do a New Race: The question is which one?  I definitely will need to start to do some race shopping to successfully complete this one.  Also the asterisk next to this one is that I should try to do one that isn't local -- some place new.

Run 1750+ Miles: This one just takes consistency and staying injury free. This really is a "given" in my yearly goals and not much of a stretch goal

Goal Times:  This is the area which will require work / dedication and is my primary focus for this year.  My goal times for the year: 23:30 for the 5K, sub 49 for the 10K and 1:51 for the half marathon.  All presume flat, certified courses.  By building up a solid base and doing my weekly speed sessions, I think this is doable.

Clean up my Diet: This year saw the return of all the weight I had lost during the pandemic.  The culprit to some extent is the return of eating out at restaurants too much.  I also bought too much junk food for around the house.  The weight I've gained -- about 15 pounds -- has definitely slowed me down.  I need to get back to basics and watch my portion control.

Upcoming Races

01/13: 2024 Virgin River Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/10: 2024 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed0
02/25: 2024 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
03/02: 2024 March Madness 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/30: 2024 Eggs Legs 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/202024 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
04/27: 2024 Apple Blossom 10K - Santaquin, UT (Confirmed)
05/27: 2024 Run of Remembrance 10K - American Fork,  UT 
06/01: 2024 Utah Valley Half Marathon - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
07/242024 Deseret News Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed
08/17: 2024 PC2PG 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/07: 2024 Cedar City Half Marathon - Cedar City, UT (Confirmed)
09/28: 2024 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/19: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/26: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)

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