TITLE: 2007 Running Year in Review AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: December 31, 2007 3:20 PM DESC: ----- BODY: 1492. I was planning to run this morning, even though Monday is often a day of rest for me. There were two reasons. The first was purely sentimental. Today is the last day of 2007, and it is always kinda cool to mark big days with a run. The second reason was more compelling. It will be cold here tomorrow, certainly in the single digits Fahrenheit and perhaps as low as 0 degrees, with gusty winds. I figured that I would enjoy my run more at a balmy 15 degrees than a frigid 5. This would be my usual Tuesday run, an easy five-miler that falls between a Sunday long run and a faster Wednesday 8-miler, usually run on the track. I would run it on Monday instead and take Tuesday, January 1, as a day of rest, kicking off a new year's running bright and early on Wednesday morning. But then I sat down last night to update my running long for the previous week, and saw that number. 1492. As of December 30, I had run 1,492.0 miles. It was a surprise to me, as I had not expected to have put so many miles in the books this month. But the last three weeks have been good running, with 35, 37, and 39 miles, respectively. I'm getting back to a good groove after my latest marathon, though on most of my easy days I still feel a little slow. In any case, upon seeing 1492.0 in my end-of-week column, no longer could I plan to run the same old five miles on New Year's Eve! With a mere three miles more, I could reach the nice, round total of 1500 miles for 2007. So December 31 became an 8-mile run. 1500 shouldn't excite me so much. In 2006, I ran 1932.9 miles, in 2005, I ran my all-time high of 2137.7 miles, and in 2004, I made a huge jump in mileage upswing with 1907.0 miles. We have to go back to the year of my first marathon, 2003, to find so few miles on the books, 1281.8 miles. But 2007 was different. January was tough, beginning with a lingering illness that knocked me off the road entirely for the last week of January and the first of February. I slowly built my mileage back up -- partly to be safe and partly because I didn't feel strong enough to build faster. Then I lost whole weeks to the same lingering "under the weather" in April and May, and a week to bad hamstrings in the middle of July. From then on, I was as healthy as I'd been in a long while. My marathon training went pretty well, though I never quite found the speed I had lost from 2006. I could run fast a couple of days a week, but the other days were "just miles". Post-marathon has been pretty good, too, with only a few days missed. The last three weeks have seemed positively normal. So 2007 was simply a tougher year all-around, and the small accomplishment of 1500 miles felt like a good way to ring out the old year and look toward a new one. And indeed it was. Looking back at my log, 2003 looks a lot like 2007 in many ways. I was under the weather and off the road for January and February. In March, I began to recover with some long walks in the Arizona desert of ChiliPLoP'03; my colleague and good friend Robert Duvall may recall these walks as well. I then ran once each of the last two weeks, for a total of 6 miles on March 31. I began to train for my first half marathon on April 1 and put in 284.7 miles over the next three months. Then came training for the Chicago marathon, with an until then unheard-of 545.7 miles over three months. My post-marathon mileage was a nearly a carbon copy of 2007. Interesting. My mileage was down this year, but what about performance in races? Though I never reached my strongest levels of 2005 or 2006, race times were not too bad. I ran my 3rd-best 5K ever in September, my 3rd-best half-marathon in June, and my 2nd-best marathon ever at the end of October. With a little more intestinal luck in Washington, I might have PRed the marathon, despite running a more physically demanding course. So, as I usually find at the end of each year, I can't complain much. This year raised new challenges, but isn't that what most years do for us? As I type this now, I feel a distinct urge to start 2008 "right" -- on the road. An easy, easy three miles sounds good... I can handle half an hour of -5 degrees Fahrenheit, even with the stiff winds forecast for the night and morning. I'll bundle up, lace up the Asics, and savor the crispest of winter air as it fills my lungs with the hope of a year of new challenges. Perhaps that is what I'll do. There are plenty of ways to warm up after I return to the house to celebrate the New Year with my family. -----