God help me, I’m going for accountability. And writing practice.
2017 has been a less than stellar running year, save for the first race, which saw almost 30 minutes coming off my marathon PR. Big Sur Relay was…probably better than I recall, at least the part that was mine. The latter 9 miles, which I ran for the sheer hell of it, was challenging. Probably because my section began on Hurricane Point, a 2 mile, 500+ foot climb, which looks much less horrifying when I write it than it feels doing it.
A 5K locally was awesome and saw a PR at a 8:06 pace. A 10K in Chicago managed to be both a high- and lowlight. I placed third in my age group. I also injured my foot.
The injury took me out for months (2). I was (am) a desperately unpleasant person to be around, save for in the immediate aftermath of concerts (of which there were blessedly many). I finally ran another two races this weekend, because why not go for broke, and promptly found myself unhappy with my performance. The 5K on Saturday was fine, about 40 second slower pace than the one in June. The half-marathon, by contrast, pissed me off. Or, more correctly, I pissed myself off. It was a 9:50 pace, which is fine for what it is, but waaaay slower than my PR for half (like 14 minutes off).
I have a dozen excuses (I was down with the flu last week, I ran a strong 5K the day before, the course apparently gives me fits–this was, in fact, my course PR, in spite of being comparatively unhealthy, etc.) and find them all to be wanting. I can do better. I have done better, significant concrete surfaces (which is what I suspect the problem with the course for me) notwithstanding.
The course for the Pacific Grove 5K is a good one–primarily on asphalt and entirely along Ocean Ave., and, thus, the bay. At 1500 runners, the field is small enough to be easily accommodated on the out-and-back. Fortunately, it was a sunny day, and, I’m told, the dolphins were hamming it up (I cannot verify this as I look forward when running so that I don’t follow where I am looking and dump myself into the bay, though I would see the dolphins that way).
The course for the half takes runners through old Monterey, Cannery Row, downtown Pacific Grove, and out-and-back on Ocean Avenue. It is a heck of a tour of the area, but the surfaces, as I mentioned before, are mixed. Mostly asphalt, but a considerable amount of concrete (partly because that is a common road surface in some areas here). And concrete, at least for me, sucks as a running surface. It saps my running strength and speed (unfortunately, much of mile 12 is concrete). The field is relatively large, which also creates difficulty on the narrow out-and-back. This makes not following the basic tenets of runner etiquette (I’m looking at you, three abreast runners) a big deal. So, for runners with short fuses, or runners with concrete difficulties, beware. But, the Monterey Bay half is gorgeous, and I otherwise recommend it.
2017 also handed me the world’s best joke on my running when Matt from A7X once again asked about my running. I told him about the marathon–told him (because he was kindly foolish enough to ask) that I ran it because I couldn’t bear to have to tell him that I didn’t after having told him I was running it last fall. In short: I told him he was my motivation. I would be embarrassed, except that he responded with “I can be your motivation coach!” Thus, I can gleefully and (mostly) truthfully declare that my coach is a rockstar.
2018 will, I sincerely hope, be a vast improvement over 2017. My plan is to run the Beach Cities Challenge’s three marathons (Surf City, Orange County, Long Beach) to get the VERY AWESOME shark medal. And Big Sur, which I actually managed to get into (OC and Big Sur are a week apart, if I recall correctly, so…that should be interesting. Thank the gods the hill is in the first one). And then my first ultra, since apparently I cannot resist getting in over my head. The trick, of course, will be actually remembering to write about progress and whatnot.
And then actually clicking “Publish.”