Wow, what can I say!? 2016 was a big year for me in every way as a runner. New milestones and PRs to the brim- so many I don’t believe I can cover them all. From my first year of being coached, to the number of races, to the number of miles and new PRs in every distance, 2016 was one for the books and one that I hope is the foundation for bigger things to come.
First off I must dedicate this year to the two most instrumental people that not only allowed this year to unfold in the way that it did but utterly facilitated it’s unfolding. First and foremost my amazing wife who took a lot of hits for Team McLearan this year allowing me to do countless daily runs, Wednesday night speed workouts, half days away for long runs, and a record number of races. Without her patience and support I would not have had the time to train nor the bright faces of my family at the end of races to look forward to. While my sacrifices were physical, hers were of the soul and were dearly bought.
Secondarily but not second in importance: Coach Chad Worthen. It was his knowledge, structure, and rigorous training schedule and workouts that helped my unlock the potential I knew I had in me. His calm,yet positive demeanor puts every runner he works with at ease as it is evident were are in good hands. He knows how to get the best out of his runners and it is shown time and time again in the number of PRs and age group placings that tally up with each subsequent race.
With that let’s take a look back at last years goals and even add a few more milestones that were met along the way that were unforeseen yet did not go uncelebrated.
Goal 1: Check off some Bucket List Items.
Last year I said…”One is already on the books- to marathon with Mikey Z. Perhaps I can get a team together to tackle the Ragnar Trail relay in Tahoe in June.”
Result: Two (and a half) Bucket List items = check! Mikey Z and I did, indeed, run a marathon together (See “Surfer’s Path Redemption! blog post) and I’m pretty sure “Z” has run two more since then! Also, I did run my first Ultra- the “Skyline to Sea 50K” (See that race report blog post) and when one runs a race for the first time…automatic PR at that distance. Now, I would love to get that leisurely 6:30ish 50k time down a bit, but I’m in no hurry to do so. The half a Bucket List item is that I ran in Hawaii, but not a race, and…it was after New Years.
Goal 2: Redemption at the Surfer’s Path Marathon.
Last year I said…”Last year my heart (nor legs nor lungs) were in for an under four hour marathon. With Mikey Z at my side and a reasonable 8:30-9 min. pace a sub four is surely doable. Hey, all I need to do is get under 4:23:00 for redemption.”
Result: Redemption was reached! 4:23:00 down to 3:54:06 on that course. I love that course but I also hate it.
Goal 3: Let’s keep on workin’ on that mile time.
Last year I said…”As I outlined in my previous post- I’ll work on this a couple of weeks into a new training schedule instead of right at the beginning when I’m at my slowest.”
Result: Like so many PRs this year I wasn’t really actively working on this one but it just happened…one night at the trach during a speed workout I ended up putting up and new mile PR during training and in my new PR 5k of 20:35, I ended up putting up a new fastest mile of 6:26 in the first mile of the race. At some point I’ll actually go out and try to run a mile flat out and see what kind of PR I can put up.
Goal 4: 1000 miles in 2016.
Last year I said…”By running between two to six days a week (with I thing maybe two weeks off) I was right on schedule to hit 1K in December 2015. Shouldn’t be too difficult to hit this again.”
Result: 1,583 mi. Boom. Done.
Goal 5: 8 races this year.
Last year I said…”Already paid for and on the calendar are the Shamrockin’ Half in March and the Surfer’s Path Marathon in May. I’d like to hit some old favorites like the Zoo Zoom (either 5K or 10K) in April, and a new favorite, Blood Sweat and Beers in July. Perhaps I’ll and a trail race or two like the Dirty Secret Run or Run on the Sly (hopefully that Ragnar). I would love to break my hiatus and do the CIM again which would put Urban Cow in my schedule as well. What to put in the eighth slot?”
Result: I hit the oldies and goodies I usually run plus added a couple more (especially a couple new 5Ks) to make a total of 11 races for the year.
Goal 6: Pace wife in her first Half Marathon.
Last year I said…”This one too is already on the books for the Shamrockin’ Half in March. She’ll be doing the whole Fleet Feet training program and everything so pacing her should be a piece of cake and a pleasure.”
Result: I want to pace more often! How awesome it is to support someone during their race- as one is so often ensconced in one’s own goals. My wife did great! She ran a sub 2 hour half (1:50 something) on her first try- much better than I did on my own first half (having no idea what the heck I was doing).
Goal 7: 50 mile week.
Last year I said…”My current highest mileage week stands at 42 miles. Not sure when I’ll be able to fit this in with perhaps two marathons this year (when you usually hit your highest mileage right before a proper taper and I don’t want to risk over-training) and this is definitely a goal I may want to leave by the wayside.” (Met)
Result: Well, training for the marathon (twice) and ultra (once) distances- one can put up some high mileage weeks. This year I ended up running three over 50 mile weeks with the new weekly distance PR of 53 miles in a week.
…and last but not least- those PRs
This is in no way gloating (many of these times are simply slightly above average for a man of my age- but hey I’d be a pretty speedy 50 year old woman!) but listing these PRs is more of a record keeping function for me. It reminds me of that whole “If a tree falls in the forest…: saying- “If PRs are not blogged about- did they even happen?”
Here they are (Improvements are simply improvements from the last PR and not necessarily an improvement from 2016- for instance I improved my 5k twice this year):
400 m: 1:21 (-10 sec)
1k: 3:56 (-4 sec)
1 mi: 6:26 (-2 sec.)
2 mi. 12:59 (-36 sec)
5k: 20:35 (-1:06)
10k: 46:12 (-1:03)
15K: 1:10:31 (-4:09)
10 mi: 1:15:40 (-4:30)
20k: 1:34:23 (-6:23)
Half Marathon: 1:40:31 (-4:53)
30k: 2:27:14 (-13:09)
Marathon: 3:33:06 (-17:35)
50k: 6:34:29 (First race)