Friday, December 31, 2010

Setting Goals for 2011

In setting your goals, try to be objective. Be reasonable but challenge yourself as well. Keep the fun in everything you do if it's at all possible, and where it's not fun try to see quirks and foibles that make it a bit lighter. Even in the most solemn of endeavours there are moments of encouragement and accomplishment that make it all worthwhile.

I find that most of my goals are very easily met, but that the challenge is setting the timeline appropriately. This is true of destination trips I have in my sights, as well as renovation projects that need to be done, upgrades of things around the house, and, longer term, retirement strategies.

So when I see people who have just started running, for example, I know that there are many things that they have to discover on their own in the course of time, even if they read everything there is to know beforehand. People progress at different speeds. When I ran a 10km race three years ago in 53 minutes, I thought there was little chance I would ever run as fast as my buddy who nailed that race in 49 minutes. Well, I hit the 49 minute mark this year in the Terry Fox Run, so it went to prove that anything can happen if you persist.

So don't be discouraged by setbacks or injuries. Keep at it; you'll be amazed at what you can achieve. Happy trails in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 10 of '10: My Top Ten Achievements of 2010

10. Completing the Sunburst Marathon without dying of heatstroke. Very cool bling, excellent finish area venue (Notre Dame Stadium), great little weekend jaunt.

9. Completing the Quebec City Marathon without getting heatstroke. You'd think I'd learn: August is not the coolest month to run a marathon. Oh well. Excellent trip, fun with the kids, amazing restaurants, great beer.

8. Completing the Las Vegas Marathon... no, no heatstroke possibilities this time. Perfect weather, excellent tunes, topnotch organization, and a city that needs to be seen to be believed.

7. Gradually increasing the consistency of my daily run pace and speed. I'm constantly challenging myself to work my speed up just a little all the time. This means brushing off the bad days where the energy or the push just isn't there. Kinda like life in general I guess.

6. Keeping my weight at a consistent 160 pounds. This is a record low weight for me in my adult life, and it's a very healthy weight. I very rarely get sick or injured (knocking furiously on wood as I type that), eat a varied but considered and consistent diet, include very little meat in my meals... it's working very well. And what amazes me most of all is just how significantly over-sized the portions that are served in restaurants or on average tables truly are.

5. Attention to working my core is paying dividends. Ok, so I won't be doing stomach modelling any time soon, but I truly feel the increased strength and stability in my core. I believe this has been very instrumental in the low number of injuries I've incurred in the past year as well, and the faster recovery time after races or long runs. Pay attention to your core, people, it's critical!

4. Making relatively regular entries in this blog. Essentially talking to myself is what it is, I know, but it helps to articulate goals, milestones, strengths, weaknesses, triumphs... anyone reading this who doesn't keep a blog, should. A very positive exercise.

3. Taking more pictures. My sage advice again: you can never take too many pictures. They cost nothing anymore, SD cards with space to store all of human knowledge cost about $10, and a 1.5 terabyte external hard drive ( a terabyte is bigger than two universes, approximately) costs less than $100. And when you page back through those thousands of pictures you'll relive those glorious moments that passed like a heartbeat, and your overwhelming thought will be: I should have taken more.

2. Completing the Goodlife Toronto Marathon with a friend who had a very bad year and didn't really want to run this marathon alone. We had a great 4 hour and 38 minute chat, and it was a really good day and a really good experience. Cameraderie: establish it, build on it. There's nothing like it.

1. Running the Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton, for two reasons. I finished it in 3:05 (30 kilometres) which is like lightning for me. More importantly, I found out afterward that a friend had also run it and was consistently two minutes ahead of me, start to finish. I found this out at his funeral a couple months later (he died in Nepal, a freak infection issue, still a young man not even 40).Which was a whole lot of metaphors for life in general... pick them out as you wish.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What Happened in 2010

I ran four marathons in 2010, the second year in a row that I accomplished this feat. No PR in the 42.2 (that happened in fall of 2009 at the Niagara International Marathon, 4:12), but I added the 30km Around the Bay race to my list in March 2010. I also ran the Terry Fox 10km Run in September for the first time in a few years, and PR'd at that distance in that race (49 minutes). So yes, I feel like I had a very full, very productive year, gathering a few more bling that have excellent stories attached to each of them.

I had never been to Michiana before, but the Sunburst Marathon gave me the opportunity to explore that area. I also took along guides: my mom and aunt know the area, have friends there, and took us to places we wouldn't have otherwise thought of, Amish places that were pretty cool and didn't all smell like horse shit.

Quebec City was a very impressive marathon (I have earlier blog posts on all of these races, so check them out) in that it was very scenic and the crowds were extremely enthusiastic. Any opportunity to mix with French speaking fellow Canadians is positive, challenging stereotypes and reinforcing the fact that we're all just folks trying to get along. And if it means more crepes and poutine, then count me in.

I ran the Goodlife Toronto Marathon in September, my fourteenth marathon and the first marathon that I had done a second time (October 2005 was my first Toronto Marathon). That was a great experience because it was also only the second time that I ran the entire route in the company of another person, the first time being with my daughter and this time with a good friend who was having trouble psyching herself up to run it.

And then there was Las Vegas. Two weeks of adventure with a marathon in the middle. Hard to cap an eventful year in a better way than that.

I doubt that 2011 will be quite as memorable as 2010 was, but we've got some fun stuff lined up if all goes according to plan. Stay tuned.