Over 900 miles. That's how far I've run this year. Quite likely over a thousand if I include walking breaks and cool-downs, but I'm too lazy to check. 220 days that I ran at least once. That makes it my second best year, 2016 having been my best by ~30 miles or so. My pace is also much slower than it used to be, but it is slowly coming back from its low point during/after the plantar fasciitis episode last year. I also haven't been doing any kind of speed work other than occasionally pushing for a better time to get points on one of my courses. If I did more interval training and pace runs and so on, maybe took off the extra ten pounds I'm carrying compared to 2016, maybe I could even set some PRs again some day. I'm not going to make either new PRs or 1000 miles an explicit goal for 2019, but I haven't given up on those dreams either.
My real goal is to do more to stay injury-free. My left side has been a bit problematic. The PF definitely affected my left foot/ankle more than my right. So did some later knee soreness. Then it was only my left gluteus that got sore enough to limit my miles in October. Most recently, I'm just getting over some significant lower-back pain concentrated on the left side. I'm pretty sure it was my psoas major, which I'd never heard of before but is the most important muscle in the hip flexor complex. There's obviously some left/right imbalance here, possibly from running on the toward-traffic side of crowned roads or possibly just innate - few of us are completely symmetrical, after all. In any case, my real goal is to do more focused stretching or yoga and regain some flexibility, especially in the hip/pelvis/groin area. Like many men I've always been a bit tight there, and running has quite likely made things worse.
So, mostly for my own future amusement, here are some numbers. First, I think it's kind of fun to look at where I've run this year.
|Mountain View / Sunnyvale
|On board the Norwegian Jewel
Quite a variety, I'd say. Lastly (almost) here's how I did on all of my courses.
- I totally owned Hayden Ave and Shade St. Piotr Z, who had pushed me to do quite a few extra runs on Shade in the first half of the year, pretty much disappeared for the second half. Prescott L, who I still half-suspect of being a cyclist, came along to deny me the fastest times on both westbound courses, but otherwise there just wasn't any competition.
- On Mass Ave, I got another two golds on Mass Ave. On the eastbound course, Charles W gave me a bit of a challenge before he followed Kassandra M to Strava.
- My biggest surprises were on Lincoln St, where I got another two golds despite challenges from Charles W in one direction and Glen G in the other. Man, did I get tired of running back and forth on that stretch. I even managed to get past Barbara F in one direction, though she held me off the other way.
- There was a bit of a disappointment on the Minuteman Bike Path. I was looking pretty good for bronze on both, but then Bob M came on super-strong in the last few months and racked up a bunch of guru points. In the end he pushed me down to fourth in one direction, but I held him off in the other (kind of flipping the script from Lincoln St).
So eight gold and a bronze, out of ten courses total. Not bad. Considering that the Lincoln and Minuteman courses are super popular, and Lincoln is also used for a lot of races, I actually exceeded my expectations.
Finally, I'm going to be leaving MapMyRun for Strava at the turn of the year. The main reason is that importing my runs there is automatic. On MapMyRun I have to go through several manual steps to import a TCX file manually, their manual-file import isn't even that reliable, and their customer support has been utterly useless when I've brought these issues to their attention. Frankly, it seems like a dying platform. Also, there are a lot more runners on Strava. I even recognize some of them from past years on MapMyRun. I don't mind at all that I'll be less likely to get any "sprint king" or equivalent medals there. I do motivate myself by comparing to others, but clawing my way up one or two positions is just as good for that purpose and with all those runners above me such opportunities will be far more numerous.
In the end, I think it was a good year for my running. Here's to making 2019 even better.