We've still got a few weeks left before we close out 2009 and move into 2010, but my 2009 race calendar is in the books. Sunday's Holiday Classic 15K was the last race I will have run in during 2009. In all, I ran in six races this year.
Now, I realize that six races is not a lot to many runners. That's an average of one every two months, and other runners out there run races more frequently than that.
But consider this: before 2008, I'd run in exactly zero races, so I ran six more races in 2009 than I'd ran in my entire life up until 2008. In '08 I ran in three races, so I doubled my races from last year to this year.
What does 2010 hold in store? Beyond Surf City, not sure. But what I am sure is that I need only look back at my races in 2009 to draw motivation and strength from, and to prove to myself that I have the ability to meet challenges head on, and have fun while doing so.
A look back at my races in 2009:
April 4: Seal Beach 10K
My first race of 2009 was an unexpected, last-minute 10K that I ran with my brother Danny. I don't think we had planned it but a few days before, or even a week before the race itself.
At the time, I was training for my half-marathon and figured this would have been a good tune-up race. It was very discombobulated from the beginning, and my time reflected it. I ran in 56:00 and while that is a respectable time, I wasn't quite happy with it.
Still, knowing what I now know, I realize that my time was more of a reflection of my overall training than the morning's events.
I was happy that I participated in a race again, as I'd considered and scrapped other races before this one, including a 5K in January.
Race report here.
Will I run this again in 2010: No. There are other 10Ks closer to my house that I'd prefer over this race.
April 19: Run Through Redlands Half Marathon
My shining race moment of 2009. Even though I'd go on to run other races, enjoyable races, races in which I didn't feel like my heart was going to beat out of my chest after I finished, I think this was the monster race obstacle I conquered in 2009.
After running my first Mud Run and the 2008 Mission Inn 10K, I decided the next logical step in my running was to shoot for a half. I hadn't joined the Lopers and was only doing things by myself, which is to say I did a lot of things improperly (no Gu, no fuel belt, no real training schedule). And again my time reflected that.
But that's not to say that I didn't conquer the beast, that I didn't meet the 13.1-mile challenge head-on and lived to tell about it.
Race report here.
Will I run this again in 2010? Maybe. I really want to run another half in 2010, and this might be one of the half-marathons I run next year, if I can squeeze in more than one during the calendar.
June 13: Camp Pendleton Mud Run
What fun! Another Mud Run came and went, and I enjoyed it as much as I did the first one.
The Mud Run was the reason I got into running, and the inspiration for the name of this blog. I signed up for a Mud Run scheduled for October 2008 and thus had to train for it. Along the way I realized that I loved to run, and it became a bit of an obsession.
This year, my goal wasn't just to finish the Mud Run but to do well in it. I wanted to beat my time of 1:07:44 from the first year, and secretly wanted to get close to an hour. I set a new PR (1:06:52) but was not too close to an hour.
Still, one of my goals for 2010 will be to beat my brother Danny's Mud Run time from 2009. I'm pretty confident I can get close since we were even at one point late in the race.
Race report here.
Will I run this again in 2010? You bet your ass I will.
Oct 9-10: Ragnar Relay Las Vegas
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for the Ragnar Relay. I was worried, anxious, excited and nervous... and pretty much any other adjective you could describe, before the race. But mostly I was just unaware. Totally unaware of what was in store for me.
To say it went well would not even begin to describe it. I completely, utterly and totally enjoyed myself. I fell in love with the Ragnar Relay. When I want to think of something uplifting, all I need to do is to pick some random moments during the race and I instantly feel good, whether it was laying down on a patch of rocks at midnight and trying to sleep or gearing up for my first leg while wearing a reflective vest and headlamp, or the fantastic breakfast we had at an empty restaurant in a casino somewhere outside of Vegas.
It was a monster challenge that required a great deal of determination, motivation and - most of all- teamwork, and our team, the awesome Desert Tortoises, rose to the challenge.
Race reports for Leg 1, Leg 2 and Leg 3.
Will I run this again in 2010? Oh how wonderful it would be to run this again. I'd love to run this race once more, and I'd really really love to run another one of these as they are all over the country. The Wasatch Back one is in June and might be interesting to participate in. Since going to Seattle, though, I've really been intrigued by the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage, which is in July and goes from Blaine to Langley. That's probably just a fantasy though, but I'd love to make the Ragner Relay Las Vegas a reality in 2010.
Nov. 8: Mission Inn Run 10K
After setting a time of just over 52 minutes in this 10K race in 2008, I wondered if I would be able to beat that time this year and worried that I was somehow not as strong of a runner in 2009, late 2009 that is, than I was in 2008 even though I was more knowledgeable, stronger, better prepared, etc., now than before.
So I was excited then that I not only set a new PR but smashed the old one in the process.
The race was fantastic all the way through as I felt great from the moment I crossed the start line to my sprint into the finish. I set a new bar for future 10Ks but it is one I feel I can scale.
Race report here.
Will I run this race again in 2010? I will run the Mission Inn Run in 2010 but not the 10K. I will run the half-marathon. It's not until November but I will be excited for it when it arrives.
Dec. 6: Holiday Classic 15K
A great way to close out my race calendar.
The 15K was a strange distance and I did not know whether to push myself all the way through like I'd done in the 10K or if I should approach it like a half marathon. In the end, I think my approach was a cautious one but I still had a respectable time, and one that I'm proud of.
It was great to have run a race like this to close out the calendar as I got a lot of support from fellow Lopers and random people because I wore pink, because others identified me as a Loper.
That just made it a fitting end since I've become a much better runner because I joined the Lopers.
Race report here.
Will I race this again in 2010? Not sure. December of 2010 seems like such a long time from now, it's tough to say.
One interesting note about all these races was that I had the support of all my blog buddies to help me along the way, and that alone makes these races and experiences special, and I can't wait to continue that into next year.
Overall, I feel like even though I may not have had the quantity, I more than made up for it with the quality of races. The Mud Run is not just another 10K, and the Ragnar Relay is not just another race. And when my shortest race was a 10k, I think I did well to conquer longer distances.
I know that I will start my 2010 race calendar off with a gigantic challenge (Surf City Marathon on Feb. 7) and a race that could easily move into my number one slot of best race memories, but I do know that even then it will be tough for the 2010 race calendar to be as enjoyable and rewarding as this year's was.