Friday, December 30, 2016

Top Ten Things That Happened While Running in 2016

10. Reaching the overlook point at Massanutten (where we vacation between Christmas and New Year’s) approximately seven miles into a run that took me for a half marathon on Christmas morning.  It provided a sense of accomplishment having run up the hill, no matter how slowly, given how much I’d walked in the more than 55 miles of Comrades and the view at the top was worth the run up.

9. Passing 2000 miles nine days earlier than I had in 2014, passing 2222.2 on December 19 (setting a new personal longest year), and finishing the year with over 2300 miles.  I’m at 2301 as I write this and will end up with a little more after I trot with my dog tomorrow.  Regardless, this was a very intense year with LOTS of miles that I don’t expect to exceed in the future. 

8. Running a Boston qualifying time in Gettysburg by more than five minutes as part of my training to successfully finish Comrades and finishing Comrades. Finishing Comrades was the main goal with which I began the year.  It was an interesting combination of running and walking on that day.  Along the way, it was great to have myself in good enough shape to run (and not walk at all) a solid Boston qualifying time at the end of a seventy mile week (more about intensity like number 9).  And I’m not even going back to Boston.

7. Seeing a high school friend whom I’d mentioned in a talk about running reach 50,000 miles for his lifetime this year.  Giving the talk was great.  Being able to talk about my influencers from running was great.  And seeing someone I’ve know for 30+ years achieve something so amazing was wonderful, even if I couldn’t join him for the 5K in which he did it.

6. Starting the year with a 5K on New Year’s day followed by one of my training partners playing backgammon with my 11 year old, as well as completing two other races with my eleven year old.  I love to have my eleven year old running with me on a regular basis.  And this was part of continuing to build a great friendship with Laurent.

5. Working with an exceptional coach on the way to finishing Comrades in what she told me was a respectable time.  Best line was what she told me one of her mentors had told her—just because it was a “down” year at Comrades doesn’t mean there were not plenty of big uphills.  This is a good life lesson in general.

4. Continuing my longest term running friendship in Baltimore.  We continue to find that despite any differences we have much more in common than we have different.  We accept each other for who we are.  And we show up to run together a dozen or more times a year for long runs that just give us a chance to keep up.

3. Building a new running friendship on a weekly basis.  New friendship built with someone I found on a local running page on Facebook started by a friend.  Interesting running partnership.  Challenging to plan consistently with someone who works retail.  She consistently likes to run at a pace that is between two of my other running partners, but even she and I have found over time that some days it’s all about the miles and not the pace. 

2. Helping someone else BQ by more than five minutes in Baltimore.  This was my crowning personal achievement for the year.  Perhaps even more than the original goal of Comrades.  Comrades was about pure persistence.  In contrast, helping someone else was a mission.  And completing the mission was amazing.  Making the mission about someone else rather than about me—well that just made it all the more worthwhile.  It was also a little about me as it was the smartest marathon I ever ran.

1. Continuing to experience the evolution of what started as chatting with a training partner when we met to run becoming meeting to catch up on a weekly (or sometimes more frequently) basis for which running happens to be how we meet up most times.  In other words, what started out as getting to know someone by running with them has become a strong friendship in which running just happens to be the main opportunity for discussion each week.  And the discussion that comes through running is focused and not distracted which makes it all the more interesting.  Another interesting life lesson in terms of how a friendship builds over time. 

So, as you can see, the top ten things that happened while I was running this year are a mix.  Some speak to the intensity of the year.  Some speak to the enjoyment of the activity and what I see while I am on the activity.  Some speak to family.  Some speak to life lessons.  Some speak to the importance of running as an others-centered activity.  And many speak to friendship.  What more could I ask for from an activity that has been the center of my recreation this year? 

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