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About my training

January 1, 2011:

I’m not a big fan of the annual recap on New Year’s Eve, or its bedfellow, resolutions on New Year’s Day.  My running year follows its own rhythms based on the seasons where I’m living at the time.  The weeks of rest after my last race of the season is when I think about my accomplishments and weigh my feelings about them.  Then, when my legs begin to feel restless again, I follow the urge to plan for spring races ahead.  In Toronto, this ebb and flow happens at the end of autumn and early winter which came in late October for me this year.

Harvest and Measure of a Season summarise the marks I reached and capture some of my feelings.  Spring Plantings lays out my plans for the early part of next year, which will likely see some revision due to travel.

The only number I keep fixed to the calendar is total running mileage: 1686 for 2010.  It has a pleasant symmetry, I think.  On a road trip from my brother’s apartment in Manhattan to my old apartment in LA, I’d be just east of Amarillo, TX.  In an historical context it’s neither the most nor the least I’ve ever run in a year, but it’s a thousand miles over 2009 when I couldn’t even properly run all of my mileage.

October 4, 2010:

September was a decent month.  I ran 195 miles, but cycled only 118 miles, and swam 2700 m.  I took a face dive on a trail run early in the month putting an impressive gash into my right thigh, so I couldn’t swim for a couple of weeks while it closed.  The academic year also started in the second week of September, which was made more stressful by a total meltdown of my laptop, so that cut down on my cycling for a couple of weeks.  I did manage to salvage my running, though it might be more accurate to say my running salvaged me.

Oh, and I ran my second race of the year, a half-marathon tune-up.  Since I’m not hunting any PRs this year, I didn’t pace it for time.  I ran a smart race by feel, and it was all I could have asked for.  2:06:25

September 3, 2010:

I spent July training for a fall marathon only to convince myself that it really was a terrible idea.  I had a feeling before I even began, but a marathon is one of those things you have to take a shove at every so often.  It turned out to be one of my better experiments.  I ran quite a few long runs, one of them topping out at 18 miles and logged 147 miles on the month.  Best of all, I didn’t have to get injured to learn this is not my time to race a marathon.

It was early August by the time I came to my senses, and I switched from full- to half-marathon focus.  Oh what a load I dropped once the decision was made!  In spite of the jungle heat and humidity that is August in Toronto, my running seriously took off.  With very few exceptions every run has felt really good, a part of my day that I’ve looked forward to and been excited about every morning.

Released from the millstone of having to do ever longer long runs, I found time to

  • cycle 176 miles
  • swim 9000 m
  • run 194 miles
  • explore a hilly trail that has become a weekly staple
  • race a 15K for the first time ever
  • finish one 20-miler

It’s been a productive month.

July 2, 2010:

In spite of my running slump, June didn’t turn out to be such a bad month.  I finished with 127 miles, improving slightly on my total in May.  I had hoped for a few weeks in the high 30s, but at least I ran through my adjustment without getting injured.  My legs feel normal, my feet have finally come around to accepting all but the longest runs.

The year is half over, and I’m slightly disappointed.  An injury, a relocation, and a terrible bout of flu slashed my spring half-marathon plans.  As a result, I’ve had no racing experience this year, and consequently no speed going into fall marathon training.  I have plenty of mileage.  I’ve run 597 miles this year, just 9 miles short of my total for all of 2009.  If I were driving from my brother’s apartment in Manhattan to my old apartment near UCLA, I’d be passing Dayton, OH about now.  I’ve never made it all the way to California, but in a good year I get out of the Texas panhandle.  This year I’ll be happy to make it to Amarillo.

I’m finding an undeniable trend of a slightly weakened immune system.  It’s been 20 months since my last bag of chemo, but every bug I get seems to bite me harder than others around me.  So far, I haven’t been able to string 4 months without some kind of illness.  On the bright side, my gait seems to be holding up, even improving slightly over last year.


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