Thursday, January 01, 2015

Looking back, looking ahead

Last night, the band that has been around my left wrist, serving as motivation through 17 months, snapped. 

Figures, I thought, surprisingly not upset.

I wondered what to lean on as a reminder -- the replacement I have, another band, or nothing at all. The Boston wristband carried me through hundreds of runs, more than 6,000 kms, accompanied me on a year-long (and counting) run streak. I even stopped in the middle of a marathon to pick it up.

I had thought to wear it until this year's Boston Marathon, maybe dropping it in Hopkinton or, more symbolically, after I passed the finish line on Boylston on April 20.

But it was fitting of all days that on Dec. 31 that it had to come off. I didn't need it as a talisman in what has been an emotional and fulfilling running year.

My running:
I set nine personal bests. It's kind of incredible, but I took down records from 2008 in the 5K, 8K, 10 miles, half, 30K (twice), marathon (three times).

I ran the most I've ever run in a year -- 4,400 kilometres, which would take me from Toronto to Vancouver. Last year, a huge running year for me, I put in 3600. Out of the 12 months, in 11 I've surpassed 200 miles. A lot of running

I'm running the strongest. I'm learning to run. I'm loving it even more.

I ran every day this year. Nuff said.

My writing:

This is the ninth year I've had this blog and although I haven't written as much, I think some of my best writing is coming. I think a lot about what I want to write and think about telling stories. My one-year run streak story is one of my most favourite pieces of writing, because I think it resonates with me so well.

Some of my other favourites

My love of running:
I can say at the end of 2014 compared with the beginning that I am even more passionate about running -- the sport, the act, the community it supports.

I've learned to embrace and love team running. It has invigorated the runner in me and I've been so lucky to train with such talented and amazing coaches. In a mere two seasons this year, I got to know Rejean Chiasson and Nicole Stevenson -- learned so much and built friendships with these mentors. Not a bad thing when you get to run with some of the fastest runners this country has produced.

One of the biggest accomplishment for this year is how I met so many new friends through running -- through social media and, more importantly, on the roads every Sunday and on the speed circuits. I must have met more than 50 people, many of whom I would now call close friends. I've worked with so many talented coaches and runners and I feel like it's a family reunion every time I hit the roads.

So where am I going?

I have no intention, for now, of stopping the run streak. I'm on day 400 and I will continue to listen to the body and the body says it is good.

I will aim to "race" my 30th marathon in Boston. It will be emotional. It will be a run to remember. I will attack that course with the respect it deserves.

I will make time goals, run far, but will be smart about how I train -- I'm training with Pace and Mind this year and I'm comfortable with the battle plan. Go get Boston, get faster doing it, then aim at shorter distances for the fall, from the half marathon distance down to the 5K.

I will get stronger -- spin classes, yoga and strength exercises are all on my to-do list for 2015. I've already hit spin and strength with fervour and I'm already a stronger runner for it. I'll also continue to learn how to run.

I will continue to be part of this community -- build friendships, be a positive ambassador for running in my daily life and always drag my running buddies out for runs.

I will continue to turn to this blog, which is now in its TENTH YEAR, for what I used it in 2014 -- a repository for race reports, strategy guides but mostly, as a place where I can write about running for the love of both the sport and of narrative. I've loved crafting stories and I intend to tell more -- there are many more stories to tell.

By the way, I have wristband from Brooks. It says "Run Happy." Haven't put it on yet, though.


pyrad said...

I always love reading your posts Kenny! Great 2014 and hope you have an even better 2015!!

You're changing coaches? No more Blacktoe?

Patrick said...

Great post Kenny. Good luck in 2015!

macnic said...

Sounds wonderful, Kenny. You're a real ambassador for the sport and mentor to all of us. All the best in 2015.