4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

2010 Year in Review

with 4 comments

Where do I begin?  It is so hard to succinctly summarize all that happened in the past year, and not make it so long that people stop reading before they get to April!  While certainly not brief, I summarized as much as possible.  I completely understand if you don’t make it to the end 🙂

In many ways, this was a spectacular year, but there were definitely some disappointments mixed in.  My main goal for the year was 1000 run miles and have 1500 run and bike miles combined.  I easily beat those down.  I’m really not obsessed with hitting targets, but I do think it is a great way to measure progress, and my progress is good!  I knew 1000 miles on the run was very attainable due to the simple fact that I would be training for 3 marathons during the year.  That would ensure three sets of high mileage months.  In the end, I had 1071.4 miles on the run.  The bike is another story and I have a hard time gauging what an appropriate goal would be.  I pulled 500 miles out of the air as a goal, and ended up with 565.7 miles!  Combined, I had 1637.1 miles in total!

I participated in 15 races.  Generally speaking, the ones from April through September were disappointing, and the ones Jan-March and Oct-Dec were well-done and satisfying.  This is primarily due to my inability to run well in the summer and the heat and humidity.  This is the biggest thing I’d like to change in regards to my running, but I can’t seem to get myself to perform well in the warmer months.

My marathons were both disappointing.  I technically have excuses for both of them (hot weather), but the results were not what I wanted.  It is all about setting the correct expectations though, and I really think that mentally I’m OK with not setting a goal of 4:30 in the marathon going forward.  As it was stated in the Phineas and Ferb episode my kid was watching this morning, “the joy is in the journey.”  That really struck a chord with me.  It is not so much the results in the race that matter to me.  Sure, a PR or excellent race is welcome, and will make me feel good, but the true joy for me is in the process of preparing for the race.  It is the training to get my body to perform the effort needed.  It is the planning of the trip to an out of town race.  It is the anticipation leading up to the race.  It is being a part of the race, toeing the start line.  These are the things that make me happy, and not so much that I finished in 4:29 vs 4:49, etc.  I’ll cover my plans for 2011 in a separate post, but you’ll see from some of my plans, that it is more about participating and less about the time I finish with.

That said, I had many proud achievements in the year, the best of which were:

  1. Consistent running throughout the year.  I ran a minimum of 70 miles each month of the year, and had 4 months of over 100 miles.  It may not seem like a lot to some of you, but for me, these are really high numbers.  Every week I feel the challenge of work and home tugging at me and pulling me away from some of my running and biking exploits.  I had a lot of change in my job this year, which only added a lot of stress and additional time required, but I was able to find a balance and at a minimum hit a number equivalent to 15+ miles per week, or 3 runs.  A very fine minimum if you ask me!
  2. New Jersey State triathlon – the water was too hot for wetsuits, and I swam the entire 1500 meters without it.  It took me a looong time (about 50 minutes), but I did not stop to rest on a buoy one time, and kept having to tell the lifeguards on the course that I was fine.  In that race, I had a flat tire on the bike, costing me 14 minutes of time, but I didn’t let that deter me.  The day was super hot and humid, and I was wilting on the run, but so was everyone else.   I placed much higher in the run than I expected, and to give you an indication of how hard it was, over half the field race slower than 10 min per mile pace!  The time was irrelevant that day.  It was about perseverance, and pushing through to the end.
  3. Participating in fewer NYRR events – of the 15 events I participated in during the year, only 6 of them were run by NYRR!  They have become too big for me and I much prefer to run in smaller events, even outside the city if possible.  They don’t need me to be successful, and I’m happy to participate in just the few events I love each year.  Of course, part of this reduction is natural in my increase in bike and triathlon events, but I still went out of my way to enter non-NYRR run races in NYC, like 13.1 New York and PPTC Cherry Tree and Turkey Trot events
  4. Social running – I am anti-social by nature, and I don’t generally look to meet up with others.  I still much prefer to run on my own.  However, I really had some great meetups with new friends I’ve met on Dailymile and Twitter.  One such highlight was a bike ride to Piermont in late October with Daniel, Jen and Michelle.  I also met up with Sharon for the first 8 miles of my most recent 21 mile long run, and came out a few times to run with Josh and his speed crew in Central Park.
  5. Marathons and Triathlons – results not withstanding, am very proud I added 2 new states to my totals in 2010.  I now have run 13 marathons, in 7 states, and will add 2 more (First Light in Mobile AL on 1/9, and Flying Pig in Cincinnati OH on 5/1) in the coming months.  I am also proud that I completed 3 triathlons in 2010 and I have found that participating in those races is what gives me the most satisfaction as an athlete.  Unfortunately tri’s are more complicated to plan and more expensive to join, so I could never hope to race more than 2 or 3 per year, but it is my new athletic passion.
  6. Getting over Shingles – On a business trip to Nairobi in May, I came down with Shingles.  It was very uncomfortable and difficult, but I believe it is my active lifestyle that reduced the pain and eased my recovery.  In total, I lost 3 weeks of training, and missed a triathlon because of it.  As soon as I was well again, I reeled off 15 days of running in a row to get back on track!
  7. Blogging 28 straight days prior to the Chicago Marathon – See them here:  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

List of races and performance:

  1. 1/9 – Fred Lebow 5m – 43:15
  2. 1/24 – Manhattan Half Marathon – 1:58:54
  3. 2/21 – Cherry Tree 10m – 1:29:19 (PR)
  4. 3/7 – Coogan’s 5k – 24:27 (PR)
  5. 3/28 – March Madness Biathlon – 1:22:49 (PR)
  6. 4/3 – 13.1 New York – 2:01:52
  7. 5/2 – Providence Rhode Races Marathon – 4:46:29
  8. 5/22 – Brooklyn Half Marathon – 2:04:50
  9. 7/11 – Long Branch Tri Series Long Course – 2:54:57
  10. 7/25 – New Jersey State Olympic Triathlon – 3:51:55
  11. 9/19 – New York City Marathon Tune-Up 18m – 3:15:54
  12. 10/3 – Red Bank Triathlon – 2:23:02
  13. 10/10 – Chicago Marathon – 4:53:15
  14. 11/25 – PPTC Turkey Trot 5m – 42:17
  15. 12/5 – Joe Kleinerman 10k – 53:27

Thanks for all of your interest and support in 2010!!!

See my prior year end reviews here: 2009 2008


Written by SCL

January 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Reflections

4 Responses

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  1. Congrats on a great 2010. Here’s too an even better 2011!


    January 1, 2011 at 7:58 pm

  2. Holy Crap! I’d say you had an amazing year!!! =] Wow, so impressed!


    January 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm

  3. Great year, Scott! You have a lot to be proud of in there…and it sounds like you are on track for another great year in 2011. Looking forward to doing the Tough Mudder with you in April!!

    Joe H

    January 2, 2011 at 8:04 pm

  4. Fantastic recap! I’m with you on the smaller races. Oh man, I remember when you had shingles – ugh! Sounded so uncomfortable 😦 Looking forward to following your training this year. Good luck at First Light!


    January 3, 2011 at 12:21 am

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