Like many runners, I'm constantly looking at numbers. Minute per mile.....miles per week.......heart rate.....miles per month........miles until the finish line. Ever since I started running in 2008, I've become a little obsessed with numbers......ok, that's not quite true. I've always been fascinated by numbers, as they're something I can keep track of, monitor, and attempt to make meaning of. All of which brings me to this number: 906.53
That's my year-to-date mileage.
While it may not seem like much to many more hardcore runners, I find it to be somewhat meaningful. Barring any serious injury or illness, 906.53 on 11/25/11 means I'm likely to reach my goal of 1000 miles for 2011. My annual mileage since becoming a runner looks like this:
So when I was in my backyard earlier today, raking and bagging huge piles of leaves, I looked at my wife and son and reflected again on all of the things in my life that I'm thankful for. A loving, wonderful, supportive and healthy family is at the top of my list, followed closely by some very good friends, a stimulating and fulfilling career as a teacher, and then comes my ability to run. When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to accomplish running-wise in 2011, I made some conscious choices after having ended both 2009 and 2010 either injured, sick, or both. First and foremost was to really try to slow down....drop my pace in training runs to at least about 1 minute below race pace. I think part of the problem I had in those previous years was simply training too hard, and I ended up regretting it.
So in 2011, I've managed to avoid injury (thus far!) and have also been relatively healthy, so I've been able to be (for me) remarkably consistent all year. The longest break I took all year was 5 days in May when I was sick, but other than that, I've pretty much been averaging about 20 miles per week, week in and week out. I'm trying not to take any of this for granted, but I'm very pleased with the results I've been achieving.
In a few weeks, I'm going to being training for the Boston Marathon. It's an 18 week program that builds gradually and includes rest days and cross-training days, and it's a program I'm going to try to follow as closely as possible. The last time I was training for a marathon (2009 Bay State Marathon - Lowell, MA 10/18/09), I hurt my left achilles tendon. It took weeks to recover from that one and thankfully, it didn't impact my race. The weather on race day, however, really set me back, as it was pouring rain, cold (35!), and windy....a classic Nor'easter (it even snowed on the way home!). Seeing as how the Boston Marathon is run on Patriots Day (mid-April), the weather that day can also be a factor, but I figure it can't be any worse that what I've already been through! I just want to get through the weeks of training unscathed and make it to the starting line in Hopkinton healthy.
906.53..........what a great number!