Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year in Review Post

It's December 30, and I may get in a short run before work tomorrow, but any way you slice it Running Year 2010 is pretty much done, and we (I) thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of my favorite running highlights of the past year.

January -- January was a pretty nondescript month of running. I tested out my new Garmin watch for the first time, which I still owe a product review on, but other than that, not much to say.

February -- We got completely blasted by the Double-Barrel Blizzard of 2010, two 2+ feet of snow-dropping Nor'easters within three days of one another. I think from the time the first one fell I didn't run outside again until March. I reluctantly hopped on our treadmill, which I really can't stand, a few times.

March -- My wife and I ran our first race of the year, the Kelly's St. Patrick's Day Shamrock 5K in downtown Baltimore. The best part of this race was running down Charles St. and seeing the entire green-clad crowd of runners out ahead of me. Oh, and there was free beer at the end. I ran a 26:14, not my best, but not bad.

I also had the opportunity go for a very enjoyable run in downtown Minneapolis while on a business trip there. While the weather was chilly and rainy, I ran a meandering six miles that took me around the Twins' beautiful new park, Target Field, around picturesque Nicollette Island, and parks on both sides of the Mississippi. It definitely seemed like a great city for running. I love running in flat parts of the Midwest.

I also got myself back into some long runs in March, getting in some 10 mile runs as I trained for the Broad Street Run, a 10 mile race in Philadelphia.

April -- In April, I continued my training for the Broad Street Run, but we didn't run in any races or in any locations of note.

May -- In May, I completed the 2010 Broad Street Run on May 5. Devastatingly hot at the 8:00am start time, this is one of my least enjoyable races ever, but also one of the ones I'm most proud of. It was approximately 85 during most of the race, whereas 3 days before on my last training run I was wearing long sleeves. I salute the city of Philadelphia for doing a good job with the water stations and for having the foresight to open the fire hydrants. I wouldn't have made it if it weren't for that. I finished in 1:37:54, well off my goal time of 1:30, which I'd hit in my training runs, but quite satisfactory considering the conditions.

Because my wife and I had the good fortune to take an amazing European vacation in May (I highly, highly recommend Contiki as a fun and cost-effective way to travel. Traveling by bus tour eliminated so many headaches and we made many great friends), I was able to run along the Arno River in Florence; up to the front of L'Hotel des Invalides, where Napolean's tomb resides in Paris; and through and around Hyde Park in London. I was glad I packed my running shoes on this great vacation. My Garmin was a bit confused, though, and completely useless in most cases.

June -- Two 5Ks, the Colon Cancer Prevention 5K in Harrisburg, where I ran a very good (for me) 24:38 and a race at Gettysburg Battlefield a week later where I came in just over 25 on a very hot morning. My wife ran in her 2nd Baltimore Women's Classic 5K the following day, which was even hotter and more humid. I was happy to be a spectator for that one. Two 5Ks in one weekend, that's just crazy!

July -- New PR, 6:44, at the Harrisburg Mile. This always ends up being on the hottest night in July.

August -- August is really hot. I don't run any races in August unless I can help it.

September -- Two good 5Ks in September. On September 11, I ran in the inaugural Firefighter 5K in Manchester and Mt Wolf. This great race was set up by Eagle Fire Company in Mt Wolf to raise money for a new fire engine and for the Fallen Firefighter Foundation. The event began at Northeastern Middle School with a very touching ceremony honoring the victims of 9/11. The race began a bit late, but once we were underway the course took us down Board Road to Wago Road, ending outside the fire hall in Mt. Wolf. I finished 19th out of 124 runners with a respectable 24:38. You can learn more about this great event and see photos taken by my wife, who volunteered as the official photographer, here.

My wife and I ran the Fort McHenry Tunnel Run in Baltimore on September 19. As the name implies, it runs through one of the bores of the Fort McHenry Tunnel on Interstate 95. The course is a simple down and back loop through the tunnel, but it makes for a tricky race. The start is very crowded and steeply downhill, and the finish is a steep uphill. I ran a 25:11, which I was very happy with in this unique race.

I also had two nice evening runs while on a business trip in Schaumburg, IL, which was very flat and a nice run, and in Madison Wisconsin, which was not so flat. During the Madison run, I was chased off the grounds of my client's corporate headquarters by security.

October -- In October, my wife, my sister, a friend from college, and I ran in the Baltimore Marathon Relay. Our team name, Earn Your Donuts, inspired this blog. We had a great time, though I have to say that running the fourth leg was rather depressing. There's no joy in passing someone who's in the last quarter of a marathon while I'm only on mile two or three of seven. The finish goes down Eutaw Street, right through Camden Yards. I slapped the "8" statue for luck as I raced to the finish, and was very happy to collect our medals. My struggle with these seven miles was a wake-up call to me that I had a lot of work to do before the Philadelphia Half Marathon.

November -- In November, I focused on training for the Philadelphia Half Marathon, which I'd first run in 2009, when it was my first half and my only one at that point. To train, I mapped out a 13-mile course, the York Haven Half Marathon, that I ran the two weeks before the race. The race itself went very well, as detailed in a previous blog post. I broke the 2-hour mark, once considered impossible (for me), and had fun doing it. I see myself running in Philadelphia in late November again next year.

December -- I ended the year with a strong month of running. I ran my two longest distances ever, 15 and 16 miles, and set a personal record of 23:43, my only sub-24 minute 5K ever, in our only December race.

It's been a fun year of running. Coming up early in the new year I'll take a look at the races that I hope to take on in 2011. Until then, good luck and good miles in the New Year!

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