Well, here I am, watching the Giants/Redskins game (one of my roommates is from Long Island, but don't hold it against him) and struggling to write this week's blog. I want to do a review of my year, and yet, no matter how I slice it, the last 9 months have contained some of the crappiest running I've done since first lacing up a pair of sneakers. Fortunately, I'm a pretty optimistic guy, so I can say this about 2010: at least it's over, and now that 2011 is here, things are looking up already.
The year started off promising. I had bounced back from a terrible Fall 09 much better than expected and was really, really fit. I opened up the year and my track career for BU with a mile win at our Multi-team Meet vs Sacred Heart and Umass Amherst. I set a then-PR of 4:08.61 at the Terrier Invite that seemed to suggest even better things in the near future, since I had gone out in around 2:32 through 1000m before fading. Unfortunately, it was there that things started to unravel. A persistent hip/low back pain started cutting into my training, forcing a DNS at the Battle of Beantown vs Harvard, Northeastern, and BC and a DNF at the Valentine mile. When the back/hip behaved, I found I could run quite well despite the interrupted training. After an uninspired 5th in the mile at the conference meet, I surprised even Bruce with a 1:53.6 4x800 leg, contributing to a BU win in the event. My hip was doing much better, my training was coming together, and my PR and win at the New England Championships (4:08.57) was among the easiest races I have run yet, despite the ~2:01 last half-mile. Unfortunately, I remained snakebit, coming down with a bad fever and bronchitis, which kept me out of the IC4A meet.
At Bruce's suggestion, I redshirted outdoor track, and figured that would be as good time as any to explore the 5k a little more. Bruce started preparing me with a modest 14:35 goal in mind, and my first outdoor race--an 8:26 win over 3000 with a very fast last 400--seemed to indicate I was right on race. That ended up being the last race I finished outdoors. I dropped out of races the next two weeks in a row, feeling horrible and strangely unfit. It wouldn't be until the fall that I discovered I'm allergic to just about EVERYTHING and the spring and fall are the absolute worst times for me to be running.
Summer went fine for me; Bruce had me take a day off every other week to try to avoid getting stale. I was working out pretty well, running about 80 miles a week, and ran a comfortable 53:38 ten-miler at the Blessing of the Fleet race in Narragansett, RI. We showed up late, though, so our times were all screwed up. . . oh well. Looking back, things went to shit for me really badly as soon as ragweed season began in early August. I shit the bed at Falmouth (running about 15 seconds/mile slower than I was capable of) and was left, yet again, wondering why the hell my perceived exertion went out of control on some days.
The invisible raincloud peaked in the fall, where I wheezed my way to a 26:24 8k at Franklin Park (my slowest race there since my freshman year of college) feeling like an asthmatic smoker the whole way. Finally, after getting bronchitis so bad I had to call it a season and exhausting every other option, I went to see an allergist and found out (surprise, surprise) I have allergy-induced asthma to just about everything that grows under the sun, especially through the fall and early spring (which, ever since I was a little kid, usually coincides with when I get bad viral infections, colds, chest colds, etc). I started once-weekly shots after a few frosts calmed my lungs down, and began again the process of pulling myself into shape.
But for a week-long bout with viral tonsillitis in mid-December (which coincided with finals week. . . ugh. . .) things have gone ok since then. I'm rounding into form fine, and once I start track work, I'm rarely more than 3-4 weeks away from peak shape.
Now, after all that bitch bitch bitch moan moan moan, there are a lot of bright sides to the year. The biggest silver living is that I finally figured out WHY my springs and falls have been punctuated with lethargy and wheeze instead of fitness and fast times. Ok, it'll be a good 8 months before the shots have any discernible effects, but I don't need to be on an inhaler on a regular basis and my lungs didn't seem too scarred to the allergy doc. Considering that it could have been MUCH worse, I feel incredibly lucky that I got things figured out and the solution is only a few irritating injections once a week. The other bright sides include having a pretty good time when I was healthy, becoming close with my teammates here at BU, and enjoying my first year of supporting myself instead of leaching off my mother.
It'd be easy to mischaracterize this as a "depressing year" when in fact it was, aside from running, a great one. I still had some good runs, so it wasn't like the year was entirely a wash on that front either. All in all, at the start of 2011, I consider myself an extraordinarily fortunate guy. I hope everybody out there reading had the years they wanted, and that 2011 brings us all fast races and good times.
331 days of running (34 missed days, mostly in October)
9.91 miles/day avg, including time off, which works out to be 69.42 miles/avg for any given 7 day span. I don't think this is the most I averaged in a year, but I'm pretty pleased with it given the amount of time I missed.
Anyway, here's my log for the last 5 days of 2010 and the first two of 2011:
Monday 12/27: 3PM- 9mi easy with my younger brother in Derry, roads very bad from the blizzard yesterday. This was an annoying run because I don't mind sloshing through snow, but I DO mind morons who drive 4-wheel-drive SUVs yet are terrified of driving more than 5mph in two inches of snow. 9:30PM- 4mi easy solo, about 9deg with the windchill, blech.
Tuesday 12/28: 3PM- Really sick of the crappy footing and idiot drivers today. Ran 7mi over a hilly course in Derry and hammered the clear portions of the run while running more cautiously on the icy parts. I got in about 3-4 miles of good hard running, though it likely wasn't that fast, since "clear footing" was a relative description.
Wednesday 12/29- AM- Brunch with the family, since it was my sister's 19th birthday. PM- 87:30 easy but good clipping around downtown and the North End with Matt and Eric. Plenty of plyometrics (to avoid puddles and leap snowbanks) on this run.
Thursday 12/30- Noon- 10mi easy/moderate over rolling hills up Beacon and back Comm Ave with Eric and Matt, 64min total, then 6x150 buildups in spikes indoors and a short cooldown for 11 on the day.
Friday 12/31: 9AM- Tried to warm up for a Heartbreak workout with Kev Gilmore, Matt and Eric, but the top of my foot was killing me. It tends to bruise a little running in flats on concrete all winter, so I kept the run to 5mi to avoid doing anything serious to it. After the run, Bruce insisted I take up a pair of cushioned Nike shoes, and I obliged, because running in crappy shoes > no running.
Saturday 1/1/10- 3PM- Rang in the new year with an easy 9mi with DTP Cordaro, Terence, and James, over to Fresh Pond from the house and back, plus a short on add-on. The terrain at Fresh Pond wasn't nearly as bad as we thought it'd be. It was also 61 degrees out today! 9PM- 4mi easy with James, still 50 out, and only like 5 days removed from a blizzard that dumped a foot of snow and temperatures that fell to like 15 degrees.
Sunday 1/2/10- AM- Worked the last mini-meet, where this time, the timing system worked and we didn't have to rely on hand-timing. 2:30PM- 14mi moderate/hard, started with Matt, Eric, and James, but Matt and Eric dropped us and then James fell off a little. We ran a good, rolling course past Faulkner Hospital. I covered 14mi in 83min with the last mile (measured) in 5:29. I felt pretty "meh" but figured it was better to just roll with it.
(at some point I did an ab workout with Matt, but I forget what day because I didn't write it down)
Overall, a decent note on which to end 2010 and begin 2011. First race is around Jan 20th, I think. Let's goooooo!