The year was a good one, and then it ended not so good. Strange to have such a range of performance. At the end of June I pulled a muscle, then there were wild fires throughout California that prevented running, then I was sick, then more smoke and heat... Suffice it to say I ended up taking a forced break to heal the pulled muscle, which seemed to be extended for the rest of the year. The last half of the year the bulk of all my running was done at races, with next to zero training. I finished 2 more marathons and a 50k, and the results showed the lack of training, although I still had enough of a base to perform decently, with my third fastest marathon being my second to last marathon of the year in Sacramento at the Cowtown Marathon.
Some quick facts:
Marathon - I ran 6 marathons (both trail and road) in 2008. Of those 6 I had my 3 fastests marathons ever out of 9, with my fastest in Napa with a 3:53, my second fastest at the Forest of Nisene Marks with a 4:07 and my third fastest at the Cowtown with a 4:34.
50k - Of the 6 career 50ks I've ran, I ran 3 of them in 2008. My fastest ever 50k was ran in 2008 at the Ruth Anderson 50k in San Francisco with a 5:47, and my third fastest at Quicksilver with a 6:16.
Half Marathon - I certainly didn't run that many stand alone half marathons this year, only 1, but my half marathon performance in the marathons I ran were pretty good. I ran a 1:47 first half at Napa in March, which was the fastest I've ever ran that distance. The only stand alone halfer I did was the iWalk and that too was my third fastest ever (out of 7).
10k - Likewise I only ran 2 10ks in 2008. These couldn't have been on further sides of the performance scale. The first I ran in February was my fastest ever at 46:30, but then the 10k I ran in September, a week after I ran a 50k, was the slowest I have ever ran that distance out of 8 total. Strange.
Suffice it to say, I definitely paid more attention to the longer runs in 2008, which showed as I sacrificed speed for endurance, but that didn't prevent from setting PRs in all but 1 of the distances this year.
With 6 marathons and 3 50ks, I definitely ran my fair share of the longer distances, with 9 of the 15 marathon or longer distances in 2008. But I attempted other races, which also gave me a couple of other firsts. My first unofficial DNF came at the Pacifica 50k in January, which I ended up stopping at the 30k finish. Luckily for me they allow your time to count for that distance, and thus the unofficial disclaimer. Not enough calorie intake was the cause of that one. I also was going to attempt 50 miles at Ruth Anderson, but the way that one is set up is that you choose the distance you want to run as you are running, between 50k, 50m and 100k. Wind gusts of 50 mph were enough to stop me at the 50k distance. And finally, my first DNF at Quicksilver. I signed up for the 50m distance, and pulled out at the 50k finish. Quad busting hills from 29-31 were enough to convince me to pull out, although hindsight showed me that if I pushed on I would have easily finished. Oh well.
All in all, a banner year that was clouded at the end. To make matters worse, I have only ran a little over 2 miles in over 2 1/2 months and have slowly fallen out of shape. New job, earlier hours, heat and cold helped my lazy side win out. But not for long. I certainly don't plan to run as many marathons and 50ks in 2009, but I am hoping (so far) to train and be ready for at least 3 marathons (San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Nisene Marks) and 3 50ks (Ruth Anderson, Quicksilver and Stevens Creek) with possibly some others thrown in, depending how my training and conditioning progresses. It will be tough, but I can't wait to get back in to the swing of things, as an 18.5 mile bike ride today showed me what I have been missing.
To all I hope 2009 will be a productive and fruitful year for you.