Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 . . . the year that was!

Another year almost done . . . seems like the years are going by like pickets on a picket fence as you run by . . . and I'm pickin' up speed!  As a kid I remember a year just took forever it seemed!  Guess I'm not a kid anymore!

Well, 2009 is just about done and overall it was a good year . . . everyone is healthy and happy and we have many blessings.  You really can't ask for more then that.  And I finally moved to a new age bracket . . . the 60s!  Luckily my friends were there to help me "ease" into it!

From many perspectives, 2009 was very, very tough.  I have many friends that have lost their jobs. And good, new jobs are just really hard to find.  Got to admit I am not very optimistic about the economy for 2010 and 2011.  To stimulate jobs, seems to me we need to provide incentives to the companies that provide those jobs.  Current Obama/Congress stimulus efforts are just very expensive and not properly focused for long-term economic growth.

But this blog is about running . . .

For me and my running, 2009 was both successful and troubling.

First, I had one major goal for 2009 and one minor one.  My major goal was to complete a 50 mile run. This I completed on March 21 and raised money for the American Cancer Society.  The 50 mile run took me 13 hours and 44 minutes.  Not a very good pace, but I certainly didn't try to hurry!  Got to admit this was a huge accomplishment for me and I am so glad I did it.  Also, my minor running goal was to complete 12 runs of 26.2 miles or longer . . . and I got 13 in during the year:
  • Frosty 50k                                       January 10     50k
  • Rocky Mount 50k                           January 31     50k
  • Washington’s Birthday Marathon   February 16   Marathon
  • Umstead Trail Marathon                 March 8         Marathon
  • Lilley 50 miler                                 March 21       50m
  • Bay’s Mountain Marathon               April 10         Marathon
  • Flying Pig Marathon                        May 3            Marathon
  • God’s Country Marathon                 June 6            Marathon
  • Boogie Marathon                             June 13          Marathon
  • Marine Corp Marathon                    October 24     Marathon
  • OBX Marathon                                November 8   Marathon
  • Medoc Marathon Re-run                  November 28 Marathon
  • Charlotte Marathon                          December 12  Marathon
     Other notable runs:
  • Relay for Life                                   April 25          24 miles
  • Sweaty Butt 50k                               July 4              ~21 miles

But 2009 also brought several running disappointments.

For several years I've really enjoyed running . . . not worring about time, but focusing on the experience . . . having a really good time.  But time is becoming more important to me!  Yes . . . I said it!  Throughout 2009 my times got slower and slower.  To the point that now I'm having to worry about cut-off times!

In the Umstead Trail Marathon I was the last official finisher.  And now a 6 hour limit could be a problem if the marathon course is hard.

Additionally, I've had several marathons that proved to be very hard just to complete:

  • the Boogie Marathon almost did me in.  Have never come so close to a DNF as I did at Boogie.  Not because of any injury, sickness or other problem.  At the 10 mile point I was honestly ready to call it quits.  I have always had trouble with hot weather and this one was hot and humid.  This race just kicked my butt bad!  No "if's," "and's" or "but's" about it!

  • I really struggled through the OBX Marathon.  Nothing hard about this race or the weather on race day.  But I had trouble just finishing.  I hit the wall at 18 . . . got it back at 20 and ran well.  Then I died a slow, painful death beginning at 23 1/2.  Had to sit down for 30 minutes after it was over.
I've got to changes things up or I'm afraid I'm just going to get slower (if that's even possible!)

    But lots of good memories from 2009 runs . . . here are a few pictures.

    I've never been a fast runner, but usually I've been a mid-pack runner.  In my 40s my 5k runs were in the 20s or sometimes 21s.  My PR was 20:01.  Far from the "lead dogs" but respectable.  Usually I was about midway in my age group.  But now I'm near the end!

    So . . . I'm going to change things for 2010.  Fewer marathons and those that I run I will try to run faster.  My 2010 goals are:
    1. I will be an "official finisher" of the Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie 50 mile run.
    2. No road marathon will take longer than 5:30.  
    3. And I will do one marathon in 5:15 or better.
    4. And I will run some 5k races this year.  Have no idea about a time goal, but I'm thinking less than 30 minutes.
    My #1 goal is not very consistent with the year's focus.  But Boogie has kicked my butt two years in a row and I'm going to kick back! To do this, I have to finish 40 miles in 10 hours.  This means I need to average 15 minutes per mile.  Sound easy!  A good walking pace is 20 minutes per mile (3 miles per hour).  But remember . . . Boogie starts at 6 PM June 12th in southern NC.  Temps at the start will likely be in the high 90s or low 100s (they were the last two years).  Dave Solomon, one of my running friends, said it best, "I say to register for it and give it a shot. Whether you finish or not, at least you'll know you tried."  So I registered . . . and I'll try!


    1. I could swear I posted a comment yesterday... guess I forgot to hit "Post Comment" or something.

      Anyway - hope you had a great Christmas, and good luck on your goals for 2010, look forward to seeing you at The Boogie in June :)

    2. Nice recap and always look ahead to the next thing. I think that if you maintain your long run program and just run the 5k races as fast as you can... you'll see some speed improvements... maybe sprinkle in some striders a few days a week too. Freshen that stride up!!

    3. Great recap, Frank! And congratulations on all of your amazing accomplishments!

      Best of luck in 2010... I know you can do anything you set your mind to. As always, you are an inspiration!

    4. I am rooting for you Frank!! You will blow those 2010 goals away!! I predict a 5:15 in Umstead (along with speedy race numbers of course...)

    5. Amberly . . . could you translate???


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    Littleton, North Carolina
    World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.