Weekly Wrap-Up: January 23-29

My parents were here this weekend. Other than having to switch my long run to Friday, it didn’t affect my running. And, well, it affected my eating, which I’ll reluctantly talk about in my Weight Check.

I went to a Charlotte Checkers game Saturday night with my Dad. I got him a ticket to the game for Christmas. I also ran Saturday morning, although it’s not quite the same as the Charlotte Checkers 5K (which I still hope they bring back). I will say that our seats were a lot better than the seats that I got for running the race in 2013 and 2014. The Checkers lost, 2-1, primarily because Manitoba’s goalie put on a show, but it was a good game.

I finally got back to a 10 mile run for my long run, and I even got (barely) over 30 miles this week.

Weight Check: 166.2, up 2.3 pounds from last week. Oof. I love my parents, but whenever I see them, I usually end up gaining weight. My Mountain Dew consumption before they arrived probably didn’t help things much. I know what I need to do: Buckle down, drink water, stay away from junk food, and keep running. Let’s see if I can do all of that this week.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 6.01
Tuesday 5.01
Wednesday 5.01
Friday 10.01
Saturday 4.01

Total: 30.05 miles

Monday I decided to add an extra mile just so that, if everything else went as planned, I’d only need 4 miles while my parents would be here on Saturday to get to 30 miles for the week. I also decided that I really should hit the big hill in my neighborhood, which I hadn’t been doing recently. Running up a hill doesn’t really qualify as easy running, and I’ve been trying to do a lot of easy running. I figured that, starting this week, I’d make sure I did one run that’s still mostly easy, but still includes the big hill. So that’s what I did. Monday seems like the best day to do this, since typically I’ll be coming off a rest day, with an easy day usually scheduled for Tuesday.

My legs didn’t feel great, but they got better as I went along, even after climbing the big hill. I’ve been trying to do some bodyweight exercises on my rest days, and the routine I’ve been using has some squats and lunges. For those exercises, I’m trying to do way fewer reps than recommended, just because I don’t want to kill my leg muscles. I may have done a few more than I should have last Sunday. It’s tricky, since I want my legs to get stronger, but I don’t want to push myself to the point where it hurts my running.

Tuesday was back to just a fairly flat easy run. I don’t remember anything about this run, so I can only defer to my (brief) notes: “Not great, but I survived.” OK, then.

Wednesday I got on the treadmill for my now weekly tempo run. Of course it’s still mentally excruciating, but after about a mile warm up, I ran for 3.5 miles at a 9:31/mile pace, and for the last half mile, I bumped it up to around 9:22/mile. Regardless of how my brain felt, my legs felt fine.

The Y was still displaying their “Happy New Year! Please observe the 30 minute limit on cardio machines” sign, but at least on the treadmills, it looked no different than July, and there were always multiple open machines, so I was able to stay on my treadmill for almost 50 minutes without the staff saying anything.

Friday I took the day off work because my parents were coming into town that afternoon. Since I didn’t want to ditch my parents for two hours or so on Saturday morning, I did my long run a day earlier than usual. I drove over to the McMullen Creek/Four Mile Creek Greenways. It got cold, and there weren’t many people there, but I ran fairly well, and my legs felt decent. For the first time since December 22(!), I hit 10 miles. I had a pretty good excuse for not doing 10 miles on January 14, and I had some scheduling issues (and bad weather on January 7) that shortened my long runs, but still, I’m not really thrilled that I went over a month without a double-digit mileage run.

Saturday morning I finished the week with an easy 4 mile run. I told my parents it would take me about 45 minutes, and I got home in 44:09, so there’s that. My legs were a little tired from the 10 miler, but it wasn’t terrible.

Next week, I hope to get at least 10 miles next Saturday. Ideally, I’ll get enough mileage during the week to get 11 miles on Saturday. The ideal ratio for me is 2:1, 2 miles during the rest of the week for every mile in my long run. So, last week I had 20 miles for my non-long runs, and 10 for my long run. For an 11 miler, I’d need 22 miles during the week, so if I can pick up 2 miles on my shorter runs, I can go for 11 next Saturday. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Wrap-Up: January 16-22

I guess the running part of my week went OK. Starting with a long run was a bit unusual, but at least I got back to having my rest days on Thursday and Sunday, even if the miles were spread out unconventionally (for me, anyway).

I bought a new pair of shorts (I haven’t worn them yet, I’d like to wash them first), and an armband with a couple of pouches for my phone and keys. I’ve only run with it once, so I need to give it a couple of runs to see what I think.

Weight Check: 163.9, down 1.3 pounds from last week. I’ll take it. Weeks when I’m on cal for work (and as I write this, I still have a few hours left), it’s never easy. I did drink quite a bit of Mountain Dew, but I guess I managed to mostly stay away from junk food.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 9.12
Tuesday 4.06
Wednesday 5.01
Friday 5.06
Saturday 4.06

Total: 27.31 miles

I’m not sure what’s up with all these runs ending in .06 lately. I guess for some reason I’m hitting miles right around ,06 from my house and I still want to run all the way home.

I know last week I said I wanted to run 10 miles, but between the time I wrote that and Monday morning, I decided 9 would be a better goal. It was a holiday, so I went over to McMullen Creek/Four Mile Creek Greenways. It went fairly well. My legs didn’t feel like they had just run a 10K race.

Tuesday was when everything caught up to me. It was one of those runs where my legs decided to give me the finger, and when I got home, I wanted to take all my running gear and kill it with fire.

So how did I respond Wednesday? With a treadmill run. Mentally excruciating, but it’s a lot better on my legs. They still have signs up saying “Happy New Year! Please follow the 30 minute rule on cardio machines.” The crowd seems to be back to normal, and there were always multiple treadmills available. Maybe the bikes and ellipticals are still crowded, but I didn’t check. Anyway, my legs felt fine, like Tuesday had never happened. Go figure.

Friday I was a little late getting out there, and had originally wanted to get around 5.5, or maybe even 6, but instead I only had time for just over 5. My legs felt OK.

Saturday I was on call, but still managed to squeeze in 4.06 miles without interruptions. (The interruptions would come later in the day. Sigh.)

Next week, I’ll almost be back to normal. My parents are visiting next weekend, arriving Friday afternoon. I’m taking Friday off, so I’ll do my long run that morning, then sneak out to do a shorter run Saturday morning. (My parents can sleep in.) I’m hoping for right around 30 miles with a 10 mile long run. Now, if I could just get through these last few hours of being on call for work…

Race Report: 2017 Joe Davis Run For Recovery 10K

I’ve never had a race get postponed before. There’s a first for everything. I guess I’m lucky that it was a small local race, and that I didn’t have any plans for the makeup date other than a long run.

You can read about the story of Joe Davis on the race website.

I really have to give the race organizers credit. They made the decision to postpone two days before the race, and they were able to get Thursday and Friday packet pickup before the new race date. I usually complain when a race only has one day of packet pickup (unless it’s an all-day expo). I would have been willing to cut the organizers a little slack if they could only do one day of packet pickup due to the rescheduling, but they still had two days, so kudos.

Thursday’s packet pickup was at Charlotte Running Company in Rock Hill. I had other plans for Thursday evening, and even if I didn’t, getting to Rock Hill before 7 would have been tough. (Side note: I had no idea CRC had a store in Rock Hill.)

Friday, they had packet pickup at Charlotte Running Company at Promenade on Providence. (I’m very familiar with that location, and I still hate that parking lot.) I took the day off, so I was able to get there just after 3 PM. They gave me a bag with my bib, shirt, and swag. They offered safety pins for my bib, but I have plenty at home, so I declined.

First, the shirt.

A white race shirt! There’s only one problem. It’s 100% cotton. (Insert sad trombone sound.) Oh well. After I got over my disappointment, I noticed the date. It’s the date when the race was originally scheduled. My bib also said January 7. Well, I guess they got everything printed in advance. I was kind of curious if my other race t-shirts had the date of the race printed on them. I didn’t look at all 24 of them, but it looked like it was about a 50/50 split. Most notably, my shirt for the 2015 Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon didn’t have the date (I know it without looking, November 1, 2015), but my 2016 New York City Marathon shirt does have the date (which I also know without looking, November 6, 2016).

(Don’t ask me the date of any of my other races. I only remember the marathons.)

The swag consisted of a coupon for a session with a Fort Mill chiropractor, an ad for a contractor who specializes in stone (Uh, OK), and a brochure for Keystone Substance Abuse Services, the charity that received the proceeds from the race. Also, we got this.

At first, I thought it was a highlighter, but when I took the cap off, I realized it’s hand sanitizer spray. I’ve gotten hand sanitizer from a race before, but never in a spray bottle that looks like a highlighter. Unusual, but still useful.

I got a mediocre night of sleep. I got up around 5:30, used the bathroom, showered, got dressed, and ate a couple of Chocolate Chip Clif Bars. I decided to wear my visor. I didn’t need it for the sun, because it was overcast and supposed to stay that way, but my visor makes an excellent sweatband, and I thought between the temperature and the fact that I was overdue for a haircut, I’d probably sweat a little bit.

It only took me 18 minutes to drive to Walter Elisha Park, and I was able to take back roads instead of getting on I-77. I got there right around 7 AM. It was 53 degrees and overcast, so I can’t complain about the weather, especially in January. (Also, the last time I ran this race, in 2015, it was 20 degrees, still the coldest weather I’ve ever run in, not just including races.)

In the two weeks leading up to the race, there were 3 somewhat significant developments. First, I started getting this pain in my lower back, almost around my tailbone. It didn’t seem to affect my running, but it made getting around somewhat difficult. Second, I got a cold. It was some coughing, sometimes bringing up phlegm, sometimes dry, and a little bit of sniffling. Anyway, that’s generally not good for running, especially the chest part. Finally, I started doing something a little different with my training. I ran my easy runs at a slower pace than usual. This is actually the correct way to run easy runs, but I had been going too fast, and wearing down my legs. I had only been doing this for 2 weeks, so I wasn’t sure if I’d see results from my change in strategy. The only thing I knew for sure is that my legs felt pretty decent in the days before the race.

Everyone was gathered in the area near the finish line, so I walked over there. I wanted to do a warm-up run, and I noticed a paved path nearby. I figured I’d follow it and see where it went. It took me all the way around the park, and was about six tenths of a mile total. I also saw some mile markers, which meant that this path was part of the course. I hadn’t realized it until I saw those signs. I ran just under two full loops for a 1.01 mile warm-up, and still had about 20 minutes before the race started.

When I went over to the starting line, I noticed there was no timing mat. That meant we’d only have Gun Time. I was disappointed, but it’s a small race, so I understand.

Eventually, they made an announcement for everyone to go to the starting line. (Side note: They really did a good job on the sound. I never had any problem hearing announcements.)

While I was waiting, a guy next to me said, “Nice shoes.” I looked down, and he was also wearing silver and blue Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16 shoes. It’s always good to see other people wearing Adrenalines.

Someone said a prayer (As far as I can tell, this race and the 2015 version are the only races where they’ve prayed, but I’ve also done some races where the sound was terrible and I may have missed it), then Joe Davis’ sister Melissa said a few words, and warned us about the hills on Mile 2 and Mile 5. Then someone sang the National Anthem. I remembered to take off my visor.

After that, they counted down and blew an air horn to start the race.

Mile 1: 9:14

This mile was pretty flat. I started out at right around a 9:00/mile pace. I didn’t think I could keep that up for 6.2 miles, so I slowed down a bit. The course went down a street next to the park, then around a block, and back to the park where we turned in. We actually passed the area where they set up the aid station at the 0.7 mile mark, but they weren’t giving out water yet. We’d be passing it again. We then did a lap around the inside of the park, which I remembered from my warm-up.

Mile 2: 9:20

We finished Mile 1 inside the park, then ran towards the back of the park. At around 1.3 miles, we passed the aid station, and this time, they were giving out water. I ended up skipping the aid station each time. It wasn’t that warm, and it was only a 10K, so I figured water would only slow me down.

The course continued on a paved path behind the park. In January, it wasn’t much to look at, but I could tell that it would probably look really nice in the spring. The path gradually went downhill.

Mile 3: 9:45

My slowest mile, because it was mostly a slow climb, with one not-so-slow climb thrown in for good measure. The course went through a neighborhood next to the park, and eventually took us to the sidewalk of the street in front of the park. At around 2.8 miles, the 5K runners split off and ran back into the park to finish, while the 10K runners kept going on the sidewalk outside the park. We passed the LED sign in front of the park, and just before I got to it, it showed an ad for the race, and I was amused.

Mile 4: 9:23

Just after we hit the 3 Mile marker, we crossed the starting line for a second time, and we repeated the course. We passed the aid station again at around 3.7 miles. Again, this mile was pretty flat.

Mile 5: 9:04

I took advantage of the downhill for my fastest full mile. We passed the aid station for the final time at 4.35 miles.

Mile 6: 9:10

Yeah, it was uphill again. Yeah, it was tough. But I was close to the end, and I pushed it.

Last .15: 1:03 (7:10/mile pace)

Interesting. The Mile 6 marker matched my Garmin exactly, but the distance from there to the finish only measured 0.15. Go figure. It helped that there was a slight downhill in this stretch. I don’t remember the last time I ran a race with a downhill like that so close to the end.

Anyway, I crossed the finish line, and they gave me a medal and a bottle of water. They had a table with a bunch of different cookies (I chose chocolate chips with M&M’s), mini-muffins (I took cinnamon), plain bagels, and bananas.

They had tablets set up so you could look up your time and print it out, and I got my official time, 57:04.2. On the one hand, that’s a new PR, and that’s great, better than I expected. On the other hand, because it was gun time, and it took me about 6 or 7 seconds to get to the starting line, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten under 57 minutes if they had chip time. Oh well.

There was one other accomplishment. I didn’t lose my car key.

It’s hard to tell in that picture, but the medal has the original January 7 date. (Looking at my old medals, the vast majority do have the race date on them.)

Speaking of pictures, the race worked with a local photographer, Genie Bunton. All of the race photos are posted on her website for free download, and you can buy prints if you want. I’ll gladly take that over getting spammed by MarathonFoto. The one drawback is that I had to go through all the photos manually to find ones with me in them, but it’s not too bad. With my white shirt, gray visor, and glasses, I’m not that hard to spot. I found two photos of me, one right before the finish that isn’t terrible but not really worth keeping, and one of me hitting the button on my watch right at the finish line, which…sigh. This isn’t my first race, I should know better by now, you have to wait a second or two after the finish to stop your watch. Oh well, not having a good finishing picture for a small 10K isn’t the end of the world.

Photo-ruining watch antics aside, I’m pretty happy with my performance. I wasn’t sure how it would go. Between my back, my cold, and my change in training, I didn’t know if I would get a PR. Well, I handled everything pretty well.

The course was completely different than in 2015. My initial thought was that this course was slightly harder. Then I went back and checked it, and the old course had more elevation gain and loss. The difference is that the previous course had a large out and back section. It’s hard to tell, but I don’t think there was any hill as steep as the biggest hill in the 2017 course, and this year, we had to climb it twice. Also, in 2015, it was 20 freaking degrees, my legs couldn’t feel anything, and so I couldn’t tell how hard the course was.

I really wish there were more 10K races in the Charlotte area. It’s a really good distance, not as painful as a 5K, but easier to recover from than longer distances. For now, I’ll just have to keep going back to Fort Mill in January when I can, and hope that the weather cooperates.

Vital Stats

Full Name of Race: Joe Davis Run For Recovery 10K (Also included a 5K race)
Location: Walter Elisha Park, Fort Mill, SC
Date and Time of Race: January 14, 2017, 8:00 AM (Originally scheduled for January 7, postponed due to weather)
Bib Number: 663
Official Finishing Time: 57:04.2, 9:11/mile. 158th of 278 Overall, 124th of 157 Men, 34th of 39 in Age Group (Male 40-44)

Weekly Wrap-Up: January 9-15

I have a new PR, and I finally got to update one of the pictures in my banner. I’ll do a full Race Report, and publish it on Monday, since I have the day off. The short version is that in spite of me not feeling 100%, I ran well. I’m starting to think these slow easy runs are paying off. I’ll find out for sure at my next race, the Charlotte 10 Miler on February 18. I had been thinking about signing up for it, and I finally did it this week.

My 10K PR is a little bit more simple now. My 10K race PR was at the 2015 version of the Joe Davis 10K, but last year at the Charlotte 10 Miler, I ended up running the last 10K of the race even faster than that. So technically, that was my PR, but it didn’t feel right using the post-race picture from that race to represent my 10K PR. Well, in the race yesterday, I beat my time from the end of the Charlotte 10 Miler, so, at least until February 18, I’ve got just one PR.

Fun fact: With the update, I’m now wearing the same shirt in all 4 of my PR pictures. It’s the shirt from my very first race, the 2011 Rock & Read 5K. I don’t wear it at all my races because of sentimental value. I wear it because it’s a neutral color (white), and has a fairly small logo that gets mostly covered up by the race bibs. For any race where it’s over 45 degrees, that’s the shirt I wear. I have a plain dark gray long sleeved shirt I’ve worn for a few colder races. I wore a couple of pullovers for the 2014 Joe Davis 10K and 5K because it was really cold, and I had to switch bibs between races.

I also feel obligated to point out that the 10K and 5K races started at the same time this year, so I couldn’t run both races. Of course, they changed it so the 10K was basically 2 trips around the 5K course, so doing both races would have ended up being 3 times around the loop, and that would probably get a little old.

Weight Check: 165.2, up 2.7 pounds from last week. I didn’t do a very good job this week of avoiding junk food, Mountain Dew, and beer, although I actually thought it might be worse. And while my mileage isn’t quite where I want it to be, and I haven’t had a proper long run in the last couple of weeks, I really shouldn’t be relying on a long run to bail out poor eating and drinking.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Tuesday 5.01
Wednesday 5.06
Thursday 5.07
Friday 4.16
Saturday 7.21 (Joe Davis 10K, plus 1.01 mile warm-up)

Total: 26.51 miles

Yes, I ran 5 days in a row. I wasn’t expecting that either.

In a perfect week with a Saturday race, I’d run Monday through Thursday, take off Friday to rest before the race, and rest Sunday to recover. Well, Monday morning was 9 degrees, and there may have been a little bit of ice on the roads left over from last weekend, so I didn’t want to drive to the Y, and that became a rest day. I still wanted to run 5 days this week, and I didn’t want to run on Sunday because of my plans for next week (more on that later), so I ended up running all 4 days leading up to the race. I guess it worked out, but I’d rather not try it again.

Tuesday morning was still in the mid 20s, which I might have been able to tolerate, but I was afraid there might be a few small icy spots in my neighborhood that I wouldn’t be able to see in the dark. I figured I could safely drive through my neighborhood, though, so I drove to the Y. I was a little nervous, since they had extra signage about enforcing the 30 minute rule on the treadmills, probably due to the influx of new people with brand new resolutions. While it was probably slightly more crowded than usual, I was constantly looking around to make sure there was at least one other treadmill open, so I was able to be on there for about 50 minutes. I was doing the slow running thing, which makes the treadmill even more mentally excruciating than usual, but I survived.

Wednesday was back to normal, although I got a late start. I had hoped to get closer to 6 miles, but things didn’t work out.

Thursday was the same deal as Wednesday, I wanted closer to 6, but couldn’t get out there early enough.

Friday was the first time I’ve run the day before a race. I took it easy and kept the mileage fairly low.

I got a short warm-up run in before the race on Saturday, and part of it was so that I could increase my mileage for the week just a little bit.

I’d still like my weekly mileage to be a few miles higher, but all things considered, it’s not terrible.

Next week, I’ll be on call starting on Tuesday, and that includes the weekend. However, Monday is a holiday, so I can go out and run for as long as my legs can tolerate it. My plan is to do my long run on Monday, hopefully around 10 miles, then get in enough miles during the rest of the week to get up to around 30. Also, I’ll be publishing my Race Report on Monday.

Weekly Wrap-Up: January 2-8

Well, the week in general and the weather in particular didn’t go exactly as expected.

The Joe Davis Run For Recovery 10K was rescheduled for next Saturday, January 14. I’ve never had a race rescheduled before. Luckily, the only thing I had planned for the 14th was a long run.

I’m sure I’ll mention this again in my race report, but I have to give the race organizers credit, they made the call to reschedule early Thursday afternoon. Not only that, but they’re still going to have Thursday packet pickup next week. I still won’t be able to make it down to Rock Hill on Thursday evening, but I always appreciate when a race has Thursday packet pickup, and if they didn’t have it after rescheduling, I would have cut them some slack.

I don’t blame the organizers for the fact that they probably could have run the race Saturday morning. Based on the forecasts, it was the right call. As it turned out, the worst weather ended up further north than expected. I only got a dusting of snow and some sleet, and I suspect Fort Mill got about the same.

Oh, and I made a change to my training this week.

Weight Check: 162.5, down 4.1 pounds from last week. Wow. I guess I buckled down. It’s especially surprising considering my Sunday run was after my weigh in. I did drink some Mountain Dew when I went back to work, but I only had beer once this week, so I guess that helped.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 5.01
Wednesday 5.21
Thursday 5.61
Friday 9.01
Sunday 4.11

Total: 28.95 miles

If I had know I was that close to 29, I would have added a little more to Sunday’s run. Oh well.

Monday was when I decided to try something different. After a warm-up mile, I took off and really pushed the pace. My legs were tired, but I kept going, and my pace got gradually faster over the course of the run.

Wednesday, I did almost the opposite. I forced myself to run more slowly for the first 4+ miles. I did speed up at around the 4.5 mile mark so I could finish strong.

Thursday was similar to Wednesday, although I stayed slow for a full 5 miles before speeding up. Also, it was colder on Thursday, so it was harder to hold back, but I managed.

Friday ended up being my long run. At this point, my race had been postponed, and with the weather, I figured I wouldn’t be able to run on Saturday. I had taken the day off from work (I have some carryover PTO, and I figured it would give me time for packet pickup), so I drove over to McMullen Creek Greenway and put in 9 miles, making it a decent long run.

I might have been able to run on Saturday, but I figured I’d wait. I knew it was supposed to get really cold Saturday night (it got down to 17 or so), and I wanted to wait until there was sunlight and slightly less cold temperatures. I was also worried about ice, but when I walked outside around noon, the roads seemed pretty dry, so just before 2 I went for a run.

It was still pretty cold for early afternoon, around 29. I probably ran a little faster than I should have for an easy run, but again, when it’s cold, it’s tough to slow down.

Overall, I’m satisfied so far with my fast/slow strategy. I still need some practice, and slowing down when it’s cold is always going to be difficult. I’m pretty sure it will pay off in the long term, although it might not make much of a difference in next week’s race.

This week, I’m going to skip Monday because it’s going to be really cold, then I’ll get back out there Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I think I’ll stick with slower runs on those 3 days because of the race coming up. I’ll take a rest day Friday before the race, and then I’ll probably run on Sunday just so I can get 5 runs for the week. That’s the plan, anyway. After the past week, there’s no telling what will happen.

2017 Goals and Other Thoughts

First, I’ve decided to enter the lottery for the 2017 New York City Marathon. I know I was on the fence right after I ran it last year, and thought about taking a year off. The problem is, unless I decide to raise a bunch of money for charity, there’s no guarantee I’ll get in to the 2018 race, and one year off could stretch to two years (or longer). 23 percent of people who entered the lottery last year got in. I was lucky, but I don’t know if I’ll be lucky again the next time I enter the lottery, so I’ve decided I need to keep trying every year until I get in.

Having said that, if I don’t get in to New York City, I won’t be running a full marathon this year. I’ve trained for and run the full twice, and it’s rough. A good chunk of the training is during the summer, and it takes up a lot of time, and there are sacrifices. I can’t tell you how many times I’d go out with my friends, and I’d be the first one to go home, I imagine by a large margin, because I had to get up and run the next morning. The race itself takes a lot out of me as well. And let’s face it, I’m 43, this isn’t going to get any easier. At this point, I don’t think a marathon is worth the time, effort, and training for me…unless it’s the New York City Marathon. It’s a special race. It means a lot to me since it’s the place where I was born, and it’s just an amazing experience. It is absolutely worth it, but right now, I don’t see any other race that’s worth it. (Well, if I could somehow get into Boston without raising a ton of money for charity…)

“NYC or bust!” is a nice mantra, but it kind of makes it difficult to set specific goals for 2017. I also have some nebulous ideas about things I might want to do in 2017 that also don’t make for good specific goals. Let’s give it a shot anyway. I’ve got 3 goals, and the first two are very similar to last year’s first two goals.

Goal 1: 1500 miles

This one isn’t just similar, it’s exactly the same goal I set last year. In 2016, I didn’t make it, primarily because of my ankle injury. Now, if I do run New York City, and *knock on wood* I stay healthy, I should have no problem meeting this goal. If I don’t get in to New York City, I plan on doing a fall half marathon instead, and I’m not sure what my mileage will be like. Hopefully I can still make it to 1500.

Goal 2: 6 races, with 2 that are 13.1 or greater

Last year, my goal was 5 races, 3 that were 13.1 or greater, and I ended up with 7 including two half marathons and a full. This year, I’m bumping up the goal for total races to 6, but dropping the long ones to 2. I’m already signed up for the Joe Davis Run For Recovery 10K next Saturday and the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in March. (Revenge!) At this point, it looks like I’ll be doing the Teal Diva 5K again this year (although I do hope they fix the course so it’s longer than 2.85 miles). And in the fall, I’ll either be running the New York City Marathon or a half marathon somewhere else.

I’ll do at least one warm-up race before my major fall race, probably the Yiassou Greek Festival 5K for the third year in a row. If I’m only running a half, I might squeeze in another shorter fall race. I’m on the fence about the Charlotte 10 Miler. It’s a good race, and I’ve run it well, but it seems like each year I’ve followed it up with a disappointing half, and I really, really want to run well at Tobacco Road this year to make up for last year.

Of course, if they bring back the Charlotte Checkers 5K, I’m there. Will run for hockey tickets.

Goal 3: A PR in 3 different races

OK, yeah, this goal scares me. I do think I’ve got a decent chance at a PR in the Joe Davis 10K. A PR at Tobacco Road on a healthy ankle is probably doable. If I get into New York City, maybe I can get a new marathon PR. Of course, if I don’t get in to New York City, I’m guaranteed to not get a marathon PR. Then I might have to rely on a really good 5K.

For the record, if I run a race at a distance that I’ve never raced before (like I did in 2016 with the Turkey Trot 8K), I won’t count that toward my goal. Of course, the only common distance I’ve seen but haven’t raced (outside of ultra marathons, which, see my comments about marathons other than New York City) is 4 miles. I don’t want cheap PRs. Even if those 4 miles are the best 4 miles I’ve ever run, I won’t count it toward this goal.

The bottom line is that I want to make some changes to the banner at the top of the page, and I think I’ve got a few opportunities.

So those are my 3 specific goals. I have a few things I’d like to do this year, but for various reasons don’t want to make them official goals.

I really want to add some other exercise. Maybe it will be bicycle (maybe stationary, or maybe I’ll finally buy an actual bicycle). I might try yoga, but I want to do it for exercise. I’m not interested in becoming one with the universe. Maybe I’ll take some swimming lessons? (I can get around a pool without drowning, I just can’t effectively swim from one end to the other.) Or maybe I’ll just get on an elliptical once a week. We’ll see.

I want to eat better and not drink Mountain Dew all the time. I’d really like to start cooking more than just pasta.

I really want to focus on slower easy runs, and faster workout runs. I think I have a tendency to not let my easy runs be truly easy, and it’s not helping me.

Finally, I really want to work more on this blog. I need to set up a proper page for all my race reports. I’d like to do a series of posts, probably one per week, on the basics of running, to hopefully help out any newbies out there get started. I’ve also considered writing one post each week that isn’t necessarily running related, just whatever happens to be on my mind. I also need to do a much better job of promoting this blog. That’s not easy for me, but sometimes I just need to put myself out there, even when I don’t want to.

None of these things are easily measurable, so they don’t make good goals. But if I can do the first 3, I think I’ll notice a difference in my running.

And like I said at the end of my 2016 wrap-up, I’m ready for 2017.

Weekly Wrap-Up: December 26-January 1

It feels a little weird writing about only one week of running so soon after writing a post about an entire year.

Also, I could have posted this on Sunday, but I figured I’d wait a day since I just posted my Yearly Wrap-Up for 2016.

One year ends and another begins.

Weight Check: Can I leave this blank? No? Well, OK. On Sunday morning, pre-run, I was at 166.6, up 4.8 pounds from my last official weigh-in on December 23. OK, it was 9 days, not 7, and my previous weigh-in was post-run, but still, it was not a good 9 days. There wasn’t a lot of Mountain Dew for a change, only when I had to drive, but I ate a lot, and I drank a lot of beer. Hopefully this week I’ll dry out a bit.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 5.01
Wednesday 5.11
Thursday 8.12
Friday 6.16
Sunday 4.17

Total: 28.57 miles

Monday’s run was the day after Christmas. The first two miles sucked. I mean, it was so bad I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it through 5 miles. Mile 3 was tolerable, though, and the last two miles felt pretty decent. It was the greenway in Raleigh near my sister’s house, so at least it was pretty flat.

Wednesday’s run was in my parents’ neighborhood. I love my parents, but I don’t love running in their neighborhood. It didn’t help that at one point, I was running on a street with 4 lanes and a sidewalk, but it was trash pickup day, so I had to dodge trash cans on the sidewalk.

Wednesday night into Thursday morning, we got a bunch of rain. It stopped before my Thursday run, but the McMullen Creek and Four Mile Creek Greenways had some flooding. I had hoped to get 10 miles, but with all the detours around the flooding, I was lucky to get 8+ miles in.

Friday, I knew I needed a little over 6 miles to hit 1400 miles for 2016, and since it was going to be my last run of 2016 (I had planned on taking a rest day Saturday), I wanted to end it with .16 miles. So I had to run 6.16 miles. I hated stopping that short of a 10K. Guess I’ll have to wait until 2020 to fix that problem.

Sunday’s weather was pretty miserable. 41 degrees, overcast, and damp. Looking back at my previous New Year’s Day runs, 2014 and 2015 were colder (40 and 36) but both partly cloudy, so it probably warmed up a bit during each run. At least the rain held up for the most part, there was just a short period of drizzle and mist in the middle of my run. Also, I drove up to Freedom Park, but left my Garmin watch at home. D’oh! I still had Runkeeper on my phone, though.

I was hoping to get a few more miles, but between the weather, and the fact that my legs didn’t feel great, and (most importantly) the fact that I have a 10K race next Saturday, I didn’t want to push it. I still got to 4.17 for 2017.

Next week, I have the Joe Davis Run For Recovery 10K on Saturday. I’ve never done a shake-out run the day before a race, so I don’t want to run on Friday. That means that I need to take a day during the week, most likely Tuesday, and then I’ll need to run the day after the race on Sunday. Really, my goal for this week is to be ready for the race, so I’m going to try to take it easy in both mileage and pace. And I’m keeping an eye on the forecast for Saturday morning, which has been all over the place so far, but that’s what I get for signing up for a race in January.

Also, later this week, I’ll have a post about my goals for 2017.