Basically a month of deeper training. No racing, but an unofficial PR set for a 5 mile road run - 36:10 - which was 3 minutes faster than my official time at a Thanksgiving five miler in 2007. Long run topped out at 16 miles.
This is where my training and year came undone. Out for a 4 hour trail training run with a couple friends, excellent Ultra pace for me at about 11 mins. a mile, cardio and legs felt fresh the whole way, and then my IT Band tightened and started rubbing up against to outside of my knee at 2 1/2 hours, pushed through the discomfort. Poof! Good-bye Cape Cod Marathon, good-bye Stone Cat Marathon. That was the first week of October. The remainder of the month was basically a futile attempt to rest and preserve the fitness and possibility of toeing the line for either race.
Starting to feel a little better and trying to add more running. Snow and ice show up and I get depressed because this is how last year ended, and I saw my training goals flushed back then. Two really good runs with Dan on snowy and sloppy trails at Breakheart lift my spirits, maybe this winter is different?
All things considered, this was a VERY successful year for me. This marks the second year of running since taking too many years off after college. I am starting to get a handle on the weight issues. I weighed 150-160 as a college runner, ballooned to 180 at commencement and packed on another 20 in the year that followed commencement. I hate what I did to myself, but the last two years have been pennance, and I'd wager to say I won't see 160 by this time next year. It is my goal, but my body has to go through some changes beyond weight loss for that to happen.
2007 was a year where I found it difficult to finish a 5k - true humbling for someone who was once a speed demon, and provides ample perspective for those at the back of the pack. I ran 2 5k's, 3 Five-Mile trail races, and one road 5-miler. Running 7:50 pace in that road race in road flats seemed like the hardest thing I had ever done. It was the same kind of pain I felt when I ran my best mile (4:45) on the track.
2008 was a year where I pushed a little further. Some things started making sense in my personal life, I finally was able to get out of the mire of unemployment and find a job, and some of the ghosts of the past year were being learned from, lost, and forgotten. I rebuilt my training from the basics. Learning how to run three miles without walking breaks, building mileage and long runs. 10 miles seemed impossible, and then not such a hard task. I basically made it through three months of marathon training without incident, ran my first 25k and half-marathon, times improved, I fell back in love with trail races, found new challenges, and, especially impressive for someone like me who lives in a sort of isolation because of my eyesight and lack of easy transportation, I met some really good friends on the trails. Of course, the PRs of my college running days are places I want to revisit while I still have the ability to do so, and another year of training, and not necessarily too much closer, I still am satisfied. Just being a runner again is enough to be happy about, for sure!
The focus shifts to 2009, but before I go, I think it is only appropriate to post a pic from last spring where my early shorter training runs on some local trails inspired me to pursue trail running: