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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 365

One year ago tomorrow, I started a blog.

I wanted to write about running. More to the point, I wanted to write, and running gave me something to write about. It also put me back on the path toward accomplishing a big goal.

So, it's almost a year later, and what have I done? Well, quite a lot, I feel.

I ran nearly 1300 miles last year. I didn't quite cross that threshold, but the last few days of the year required all the energy I had just to get through them, without adding a degree of difficulty. Still, that's more than 49 marathons' worth of miles in my first full year back. Something to be proud of, right there.

I ran races in three new states, one of which I had never visited before. I got to experience Seattle, which was amazing by itself, put combined with my best time (yet), the trip was a complete success. It has left my PR a mere 7 minutes from Boston Qualification, and if I can get myself back on track this year, I am sure I can cross that barrier. Bring it on.

There's still a lot of work to do in my life, and I'm not just talking about for my running. However, many of the improvements I would like to make this year can (however loosely) be connected to my running life.

For one thing, I'm challenging myself to drink only water for thirty days this January. I started yesterday, and so far, I'm quite happy with it. Keep in mind, I'm still eating all my regular food. I'm just not having any of the beverages I normally have that are filled with caffeine, alcohol, high-sugar and other fun stuff. Excepting one night (which I planned in advance), I intend to go these thirty days with as few chemical-type substances in my system as possible. I'm hoping I'll sleep better, wake up earlier, and have more genuine energy throughout the day. Will that actually work? That's what experiments are all about.

I want to get more focused on my work, which means better scheduling, and sticking to that schedule once it's set. I want to be better about my money. I want to read more.

And through all of this, I want to be happier. And if I can do all of these things, I will be. The trick is not to make myself unhappy in an effort to achieve happiness.

Which is why I haven't run yet this year. I woke up on New Year's Day with a rather severe back ache, which only got worse yesterday. I wasn't sure what I did to myself, but I was sure that running would not make it better. This morning, the pain was almost entirely gone, but of course I didn't know that until I woke up.

So tomorrow, I'm back on the road. I've got a couple races in mind for the coming year, but a great deal of that will depend on what I can afford and when I've got the time to travel. Unfortunately, I'm not an international superstar who gets sponsored in every race (yet), and until that time comes, it's all out of pocket. This is when an huge goal becomes real. And it's a part of the challenge that I welcome. So, shall I list goals for the year? Yes, I think I shall:

1) 1500 Miles -> as long as I don't slack off in the last three months again, this shouldn't be a problem at all.

2) At least 3 marathons -> got to keep on pace.

3) Qualify for Boston -> my qualifying time doesn't drop for seven years, so I've got nothing to wait for.

4) Break one other PR -> I've got a list of personal records to the right side of this. I'd like to take down one of those old ones, preferably the 5k or 10k. Mostly, this is to make me do other road races, and keep the fun in the training.

Finally, I won't be in "official training" for any race for more than 8 weeks. By now, I've got a fairly strong base of mileage, and I don't need this four-month buildup. It's just wearing me out mentally. Eight weeks to a PR.

And until then, I cruise.

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