Running, year 4

I’ve had this running habit for a while now. It’s become a central part of my life, and I look forward to my almost-daily run. Well, most days. Some days it takes a little extra motivation, but I never dread it. I recall before I picked it up in 2017 that running really felt like a chore. Wanted to like it, but didn’t. That changed quickly for me, and I’m thankful it has.

However, 2020 was such a different year. The obvious, of course, was/is the COVID-19 pandemic. But not just that.

Where I live and where I run made it possible to keep running without interacting with people. But I took a bit of a spill off a curb in March (coincidentally right when the first lockdowns were happening) and twisted my knee. That set me back a bit, limiting the number of days I could run, and really slowed down my pace for a while. I had been averaging a sub-5:00/km (roughly 8:00/mile) pace across all distances for a long time, but after the injury 5:20-5:30 became more normal. I finished with a 5:12/km overall average pace, my slowest in the 4 years I’ve been at it.

In September, western Oregon where I live was hit hard with wildfires, and the air quality became miserable for a couple of weeks. It wasn’t safe to be outside, much less exercise outside. So that was a good ten days without running. A very long stretch for me.

Then in December I re-aggravated the knee. Only three runs in the back half of the month. This was an unforced error, as I was over-training early in the month. Lesson learned.

My job at a large tech company affords me the ability to work from home (now, permanently, as my local office became a pandemic casualty), which meant that many of my runs this year were from home, which is in quite a hilly area, instead of the office, in a rather flat area. This was another contributor to my slower pace, I suppose.

With that, here are my 2020 stats:

  • Total running days: 264 (-29 from 2019).
  • Total distance: 2416.2 km / 1501.3 miles (-200.5 miles).
  • Average pace: 5:12/km / 8:22/mile (+0:22/mile).
  • Most distance run in a month: 265.7 km / 165.1 miles (May, -11.1 miles from March 2019).
  • Most days run in a month: 29 (January, -2).
  • Most distance run in a 7-day period: 91.4 km / 56.8 miles (early December, +8.9 miles). A personal record, and also injury-inducing, as noted above.
  • Average run distance: 9.16 km / 5.69 miles (-0.12 miles).

In 2021, I aim to continue running, improve my knee strength (through strength and flexibility training), and up my daily distance a bit. A 10 km / 6.21 mile average feels like an attainable goal.

Running, year 3

I guess this is a running blog now? In 2017 I started running, in 2018 I kept up the habit, and in 2019 I did a bit more.

Some stats:

  • Total running days: 293 (+19 from 2018).
  • Total distance: 1701.8 miles (+61.6).
  • Average pace: 8:00 / mile (+0:05).
  • Most miles run in a month: 176.2 (March, +16.0 from August 2018).
  • Most days run in a month: 31 (March, +6).
  • Most miles run in a 7-day period: 47.9 (-3.8).
  • Average run distance: 5.81 miles (-0.13).

Of those 293 runs:

  • 274 were more than 5 miles.
  • 120 were more than 10km (6.21 miles).
  • 22 were more than 8 miles.
  • 12 were more than 10 miles.

Personal records established:

  • 10K: 42:40 (September 22).

Running, year 2

I started running in earnest in 2017. In 2018, I kept up the habit, and increased my total distance a bit.

Some stats:

  • Total running days: 276 (-8 from 2017).
  • Total distance: 1640.2 miles (+238.7).
  • Average pace: 7:55 / mile (-0:19).
  • Most miles run in a month: 160.2 (August, +19.9 from July 2017).
  • Most days run in a month: 25 (multiple months, -4 from March 2017).
  • Most miles run in a 7-day period: 51.7 (+3.3 from December 2017).
  • Average run distance: 5.94 miles (+1.01)

Of those 276 runs:

  • 216 were more than 5 miles.
  • 120 were more than 10km (6.21 miles).
  • 35 were more than 8 miles.
  • 15 were more than 10 miles.

Personal records established:

  • Half-marathon: 1:40:03 (December 9th).
  • Longest race: 30K (Rainshadow Running Oregon Coast trail run).

A year of running

I don’t post here much, but I did write a few times this year about running, and the process of becoming a runner. As 2017 comes to a close, I can happily say that I have caught the running bug. I went from being a maybe-once-per-month runner to an almost-every-day runner.

Some stats:

  • Total running days: 284.
  • Total distance: 1401.5 miles.
  • Average pace: 8:14 / mile.
  • Most miles run in a month: 140.3 (July).
  • Most days run in a month: 29 (March).
  • Most miles run in a 7-day period: 48.4 (Dec 3rd – 9th … even took a day off in that stretch).

My average run distance ended up at 4.93 miles. Of those 284 runs:

  • 141 were more than 5 miles.
  • 54 were more than 10km (6.21 miles).
  • 15 were more than 8 miles.
  • 4 were more than 10 miles.

Personal records established:

  • 5k: 22:18 (April 8th).
  • 10k: 43:15 (December 7th).
  • Half-marathon: 1:42:55 (December 9th).

I did have a few 5k splits that were faster (notably 21:02 on August 25th), but that one in particular was on an all-downhill section as part of Hood To Coast. The above times were my fastest at running that distance specifically.

Some charts, because why not?

And, while this wasn’t really the main point of plan to become a runner, I also dropped over 40 pounds. What a difference that makes in pretty much everything. Including, clearly, my pace improvement over the first 4 months of the year.

What will 2018 bring? As long as I stay healthy I see no reason to stop running. Should I run more or less? Faster or slower? Longer distances or shorter distances? No idea. Maybe I’ll just run and see what happens.

End of the season

I’m sitting in the car right now at Newberg High School, watching Joe’s soccer practice. This is one of the last few practices of this 2009 fall soccer season, Joe’s first year of Classic — competitive — soccer. It’s early November, we’ve just made the daylight saving time switch, and it’s really getting dark early. We’ll be done with practice tonight by 5:30 … and it will be very dark then. Coach Kofi generally runs a long practice, but not tonight.

This team has been fun to watch. They are a mid-level team in their league. When they are playing well, they are close to unstoppable. Several times this season, though, they have played flat and gotten beat by teams that weren’t necessarily better. Kofi is an excellent coach, but I don’t see the team reach their potential every time they play. I think they could have won a few more games, but who knows.

Joe has had a wonderful time this year … some ups and downs for sure, but mostly ups.

Oops, Joe just sat down to tie his shoes in the middle of a drill. I tied his shoes; my fault. As a coach myself, I cannot stand it when kids come to practice with untied shoes. Bugger.

Joe has some wonderful athletic gifts: he’s pretty fast, has a strong leg, and has a good sense of space. He struggles, however, with toughness and aggressiveness.

He’s an interesting kid to watch on the field. Flashes of greatness mixed with periods where he doesn’t have a lot of success. Most of the time, the breakdown is a lack of aggressiveness. I find myself yelling things like “be strong!” and “go in hard!” when he’s playing. I know if he plays tougher he will have better results.

The team heads to Hood River tomorrow for the first game in the season-ending President’s Cup tournament. They lost to Hood River 4-1 early in the season, but we were shorthanded that day. We’ll have a full squad tomorrow, and I like our chances. I’ll miss the game due to conflicts with Sam’s and Ben’s games tomorrow. Again, bugger.

I don’t expect them to win this tournament, but it would be very exciting for them to do well. Looking forward to a strong finish. And I hope Joe plays well. I know that winning isn’t his primary motivator. Playing well and getting some praise (and some ice cream afterwards) means everything.