Sunday, December 28, 2008

the holidays - and 2008 in review

I had this idea that I would be able to use the time off work between Christmas and New Year to catch up with myself. Yeah right! We left for Holland on the evening of the 23rd with the two children and car packed up to the ceiling with luggage, presents and a turkey (a long story lies behind this one..) and a LOT of excitement. Trying to get the children to sleep in our cabin was no mean feat - we ended up having to switch all the lights off and feigning sleep ourselves to stop the chatter... (I also believe my husband's threat to remove a present for every word uttered helped). They wake you up at the crack of dawn (5:30 am) so you don't miss the chance to use their restaurants for a sub standard and overpriced breakfast. Which we duly did - finally getting off the ferry in Rotterdam at about 8am.

I won't bore you with a blow-by-blow account of our trip to Holland but it has not stopped being full-on. The kids are excited, my father is ill (bronchitis - bad timing but I remember that one myself from last Christmas), it is my son's birthday on the 27th and my mother's on the 28th - a fairly relentless couple of days. Little room for reflection! Still - I managed to get some runs in - I twice ran a 5 miler and on boxing day I ran a 7 miler which was part of a 10 miler I ran / biked with my husband. He biked alongside me for 7 miles and ran 3 and I did it the other way round. Great fun! Then yesterday I squeezed out a very ugly 4.8 miler - I was tired and my lifestyle choices have not been, shall we say, optimal for running. I can feel that..

However, I am still, despite all other demands and distractions, working on the opposite of me. While my career plans have changed somehow the exercise proved so useful - I have ended up with a much clearer idea of what my job is and should be and have, for the first time, communicated very clearly with my boss. (Generally, in life, I like other people to guess how I am feeling and to, magically, respond as I would like them to. A fairly unsucessful strategy). I feel far less burdened down by it all and I am looking forward to some of the big projects ahead in the New year, work-wise. So, insofar as going with the opposite of me means trying to break some bad habits, I'm going to carry on with this in the New Year. Starting now.

I am not very good at reflecting on myself or the past. Instead I fill up my life so much that often it is all I can do to keep on life's treadmill and not fall off. Looking back never happens. And while there are advantages to that attitude, I think I miss the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and successes. So - let's finish this year with reflecting on 2008.

This year's worst running moments:
  • no doubt, the worst was being injured at the beginning of the year. Looking back at my approach to it (hitting it from all sides with physios, podiatrists, massages and osteopaths) I think I might have benefited from looking at previous injury strategies. Had I done that, and gone straight to the osteopath who helped me in the past, I would have saved myself a lot of time and money. Lesson learned. At the moment I am seeing him once every 3 weeks not so much because my knees hurt but more to maintain some looseness as my mileage increases.
  • and that's it really for bad running moments - there were some awful, horrible, hard runs, there were some runs I didn't complete, there were runs where I was just thrilled that it was over - but overall running has continued to be my saving in the middle of my life.
And then the top moments of running this year:
  • meeting Maritza and Jen for a run in California in April of this year. They are both wonderful people and I really felt like I was meeting friends I had never met. We had a great run despite Jen just having finished the Boston Marathon and had a delicious brunch afterwards. I look forward to hosting them when they come and see me in the UK!
  • Meeting all my running buddies in Chicago for our wonderful blogging buddy meet-up there. While none of us ran the race we wanted to race, I will never regret or forget meeting up with Charlie, Melissa and Maddy - what a wonderful experience! Every one of them an inspiration and a friend. Again - come run a race with me in the UK!
  • And all the great runs in between and after these races - the runs in the rain with my speedy-quick buddy Sally, the runs with my mother when she came to see me, the runs with my husband, the long runs on my own where I started off with a head full of stuff and came back happy and empty.
While this has not been a year of PRs for me - not one! - it has nonetheless been a great running year. I am so happy to be out there on the road. And in the run-up to London marathon training I'm happy to have managed a long run of 10M for at least the last 5 weeks - I feel ready to start training properly.

So let's head into goals for 2009:
  • At ShirleyPerly's advice I have set my goal first and then picked the race. My goal is - dum dum duuummm - to run a sub 4hr marathon. Ambitious yes. Impossible - well I guess I'm going to have to find out. I ran 4:12 in Amsterdam in 2007 and I think I can run faster with different training;
  • Change my training schedules - while Uncle Hal has been great for the past few years I think he and I have reached an impasse - I'm not going to progress much now - and I need a new, fresh schedule and some speedwork to move to the next level. I am still trying to decide between the Runnersworld sub 4 hr schedule and the Pfitz sub 55 mile 18 weeker. While I'm a bit late for that last one - it's 17 weeks today until London - I'm going to decide in the next few days or so and will just have to jump into week 2 if I pick the Pfitz. Views?
  • Run more races. I am intending to run some races in my London training and have also already signed up for the White Peak half marathon in May which Drusy will be running. I am still looking for an autumn marathon - I am thinking maybe Portland or the Bizz Johnson - any thoughts anyone? Anyone running either of these or have another autumn suggestion?
  • Eat better. Hey I had to put that one in there. The past few weeks have not been weeks of smart food choice weeks and I can feel the effect on my running and waistline. I am ready to grab myself by the scruff of the neck and sort this one out. So bring on January - I'm going to do this.
  • Oh - and how could I forget - meet more running bloggers. Consider yourself invited!
Food for thought and feedback (please?). All that remains is for me to wish you all a wonderful new 2009. May it bring you all you wish for - and more.

14 comments:

Road Warrior said...

You've had quite the the year, Petra. It sounds like you've learned a lot this year and you'll be taking it all into the new year, which is great.

I hear Portland is an excellent marathon. P.O.M. ran it and loved it (piecesofme.blogspot.com).

At the en of the day, all I these parts of your life are connected and it sounds like you're really taking hold of things and making great changes.

I can't wait to see what 2009 brings for you. Happy New Year!

Susan said...

I vote for Pfitz.

What a year for you! 99% good! And it seems that you gotten the aha moment and now things will be even better. Wonderful!

I still wish I could have made it to Chicago. But there's always the UK!

Cory said...

It all sums up to a really great year. I know you will succeed in your marathon goal of a sub-4.

Maddy said...

What a great year! One of my higlights was meeting you - and I am so happy for that!

It sounds like you have some awesome goals for '09! I can't wait to read all about it!

Much Love to you and your family!

Irish Blue said...

I was just looking at the Pfitz book and that very schedule last night! I'm using Hal for the spring, but I'm thinking of using something more agressive for the fall marathon, like Pfitz or the Daniels Formula.

I think your sub-4 hour goal is definitely attainable and a great goal. I *totally* know you can do it!!!

My advice - hills, speed, and Pfitz. (Actually, the fast girl in my running club told me hills and speed are what made her fast. Plus, she's really skinny. I know, I know! Urggghhh...)

Can't wait to hear what you come up with.

Here's to a great 2009!

(big hug) ~Melisa

aron said...

congrats on a great year!!! cant wait to see how 2009 turns out! if you are in the bay area next time we have to meet up!

have you considered doing the 12 week pfitz plan?? thats what i just used... you could just build a base (30-40 mpw) from here until the 12 week mark and then get started on the program... its a great one!!

Nigel said...

Good luck for 2009!

See you at the White Peak Half, and maybe even London!

Nigel.

PLANET3RRY said...

Artep,

It sounds like you are in a good place right now, with the view of changing and looking ahead.

As for training plans, Higdon is a great training program, you can't go wrong there, but if you want to move up, then Pfzit or Daniels would be a good logical move.

Hmmmm, when you chose your USA race let me know... I might see if the Scheduling Committee could work out a road trip or something.

peter said...

Autumn marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in DC aka the People's Marathon. You gotta do it once in your life!

Marathon Maritza said...

Meeting you this past year was definitely one of my running highlights of '08! We are definitely old friends now :)

I'm telling ya, London 2010! See you there!

jeanne said...

i love your goals, and especially love the opposite of me! that is exactly what i need to do at work...the opposite of whatever it is i usually do. i too expect people to magically figure out what i want. sadly, they rarely comply. :)

CewTwo said...

I will never forget going to the Chicago expo and seeing you standing there asking if I was me! I see it in my mind's eye yet.

It was a great moment. Meeting you, Maddy, her family, Melisa, her husband friends and family was truly one great experience! Thanks for motivating me to try! I learned a lot from that experience and I know how to succeed now.

2008 is a banner year for me no matter what happened. You were (are) a great part of that. Thanks!

Now... Just between me and you? You drove much better on the wrong side of the street than I could (probably) in London. I hope the buses are efficient for when I do run over the pond!

ShirleyPerly said...

What a wonderful year for you! I'm sorry I was not one of the bloggers you had a chance to meet but someday I'm sure it will happen.

And I still think Pfitz would be the best program to get you under 4-hours if you can stick with it. I've run Portland before and thought that was a very good race but BJ certainly does sound quite unique (being off road yet a very nice trail) and I'm all for something different these days.

Best of luck with all that you have in store for 2009!

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