This year has been a cut-back year in my running. Last year I got tired of the longer races and the training time they require. I was especially unhappy toward the end of my goal marathon and decided to take a break until I was sure I really wanted to do another. I have been running since 2007 and pushing for longer distances and better race times.
This would be a year to run for fun too.
So my weekly mileage and the related training time has been about 40 percent less this year. I allow myself the option to go back to bed on most any morning that I had planned to run. Plans that include meeting someone to run are easier to keep than the plans for running alone.
Early in the year I had my 60th birthday and invited friends to meet me at a park where we would run together and combine our miles to complete at least 60 miles. The weather on that Februay Saturday was pretty tough - temps in the 20's, zero windchill, blowing snow. A hardy group did come to run and we doubled the milage goal. Some brought cupcakes, coffee, cocoa, balloons. I felt warm fuzzies on that cold day.
I get to run with friends almost half of my runs. That's a big increase from when I was focusing on training for marathons and longer. One of those days each week is a track workout led by Tim, the president of our local Road Runners Club organization. We have a small group, but most of us a collecting age group awards at local races.
In the winter I "deliver" snow angels to friends along my run routes. This summer I am delivering "No-snow angels" to add some fun to my runs and encourage smiles for friends.
And I still go to races, especially those where I expect to see local friends:
Mar 7 Chbg Half 1:53:47
I ran this hometown race as a training run to try to identify a goal pace for another race in a couple of weeks. Was planning on a long tempo pace for about 10 miles, then a progressively faster race effort finish. By the 10 mile mark it already felt like race effort. Continued to push but could not increase my pace as much as I had thought would be possible. 3rd in my age group - my first race as a 60 year old.
Mar 22 Shamrock Half Virgina Beach 1:46:40
Lots of friends were doing this race and we met up for dinner the night before. I stayed over with running friend Jim who was hosting a couple of others from the Chbg area. I planned to aim for a 1:50 or better finish time. My race started faster than intended by about 15 seconds per mile. I ended up running with a young navy guy running his first half marathon. We ran together till about half way when his early pace forced him to slow down. I was able to slightly improve my pace through the second half and finished strong.
Apr 11 Donut run 5k 26:35
This run (not officially a race) was organized by a young lady from our church and I signed up to support her efforts and the fundraiser. There were mostly college age runners and a dozen or so post college age types (probably moslty parents of college students). I may have been the oldest. I had warmed up with about an hour (6 miles) on the railtrail and got there to pick up my race number about 15 minutes before starting time.
I intended a tempo effort since it wasn't a race and most participants appeared to be new runners or non-runners. By the one mile mark I was on pace and closing in on the lead runner. We ran together from that point and had to stop at one turn where the course wasn't marked well enough to immediately know the right way. A couple others joined our meeting of the minds before we decided on the correct route. As we continued through the Shippwnsburg University campus we were picking up the pace a bit yet continued out chatting. The final mile included an strong uphill section, then a downhill to the finish. I had decided I would finish strong but would not race this lady to the finish. She pulled ahead a few steps as we approached the line. She got interviewed/photographed by the college paper since she was first. And then there were donuts at the finish area. I may have raced someone to those!
Apr 19 Shape Up Somerville 5k 32:24
Ran with son Keith and Jillian. Keith had started running a couple weeks prior to prepare for the race. We started a bit too fast to maintain, so eased up and even walked some.
Apr 20 Boston Marathon as a spectator
I was so impressed when I ran this race that I have been wanting to be there as a spectator. There are always local runners who go to this race, so cheering for them would be fun too. I helped get Amy and Brooke connected to hang out together on race day by driving Amy to the runner's village shuttle in Hopkinton. Then I headed back to the hotel, got my raingear and drove to the metro to meet Keith and Jillian to watch the race together. We had planned to watch from about mile 22 and found a spot there next to a Dunkin Donut store. After a few hours or rain and wind, I saw the first of local friends go by. It's really amazing to see the steady stream of runners pass by. There are so many different looks and experiences visible. I missed some people I was watching for and even those I saw didn't hear my cheering to glance my way. Everyone who does this race is a star to the Boston community.
June 5 Race Against Poverty 5k 22:31
Helped as a volunteer most of the day doing setup and handling the watermelon table. Then ran the race. I was close to some fast runner friends through the race. I was first old man - 60 to 64 age group. This was a fun event with a race start/finish area that resembled a block party. (Stayed late to help with take down)
June 6 PMI 5k 20:39 (2.8m)
This small race is a fund raiser for a local crisis pregnancy ministry. Their course was different than I expected based on other races at the same park. I just followed the leaders and kept as strong a pace as possible having raced the previous evening. When the volunteers said we had made the last turn and pointed to the finish, I was confused because we should have had a longer distance to the finish. Someone had marked the course turns incorrectly, but everyone raced the same distance. Again I got the first old man award.
June 19-20 Ragnar Trail Relay
A fun trail race with 8 member teams and 3 forest trails. Team members take turns until each one has run each trail. It goes around the clock so everyone gets a night-time run. There was heavy rain before and during the event. So lots of mud and even wading thigh deep stream/swamp water.
July 4 Firecracker 5k 21:52
It had been 5 years since I ran this race. I think it was the first time I received an age group award at a race. It was a little cooler than normal for early July, overcast with light rain. I hoped to run 7:05 to 7:10 for the first miles then speed up for the final mile. My splits were 7:02, 7:13, 6:54, 0:43.
First place 60-64 males.
July 25 Chuck Lesher 5k @ Shippensburg Fair 21:52
I wanted to run 7 min pace on the slightly uphill "out" part of the course and faster on the return. I thought my fitness should be improved a bit and recent races should improve my tolerance of how racing feels. Sunny warm day. Legs felt tired when I jogged the course as a warm up. My splits were 7:02, 7:05, 6:58, :46 First place 60-64 males.
Aug 8 Tom Ausherman Memorial 5 Miler 36:30
This is one of the top local race of the year. I wanted to run 7:10 to 7:15 pace for 3 to 4 miles then speed up. I didn't manage to do it. Good weather for August. splits: 7:18, 7:22, 7:24, 7:17, 7:04. Third place 60-64 age group.