Monday, November 29, 2010

Motivational Mondays: Best Racing Year Ever

It's not quite the end of the year yet, not quite time to do year-end recaps, but for me it is.

When I ran the Mission Inn Half Marathon on Nov. 14, I also completed the races I'll have run in 2010. It's kind of a downer to know that I won't race again until February but that just means I'll be able to focus on my next race, the Surf City Marathon on Feb. 6.

Anyway, I wanted to look back at the year I had in races. In terms of running, this has been the best year ever.

Feb. 7: Surf City Marathon

My first marathon! How superb it was to start the year off with a bang, jumping feet first into my first-ever 26.2-mile effort. I'd trained for the marathon so hard and did everything by the book beforehand. I was nervous, anxious, excited and worried about the race. The race itself went off without too many problems until I got past the Mile 22 mark. I hit the wall hard at Mile 23 and it felt like the last three miles took an hour. But I survived and shuffled across the finish at 4:42:26.

The whole race and the days leading up to it were very special moments to me. It sort of culminated all of what I'd gone through for the previous four years, from having weighed 308 pounds to having lost 120 to then having taken up running. I wore a bib on my back with an inspirational message I wrote and it really hammered the point home. I became a marathoner on Feb. 7, and that's something that nobody can ever take away from me.

Race report here.

Will I run this again in 2011? I am already registered! So, barring injury, this will be Marathon No. 3.

March 13: ARMC 5K

After having tackled a marathon, the thought of running a 5K seemed insignificant. However, this race was anything but. First, I wanted to get a more accurate read of the type of runner I was now. My only other 5K had been my first-ever race, back in 2008 when I was a newbie who didn't know what was going on. Also, I bet my brother, my more-athletic, in-shape, works-hard plays-hard brother, that he couldn't beat me in a 5K. We had a lot of fun talking smack before the race and we really did want to compete and beat one another.

I had one of my strongest performances here. Since it was only a 3.1-mile run, I went all out. I hit top speed and stayed there. I finished in 23:03 and beat my brother by more than one minute. I still talk smack to him about this race, and I know it eats at him. I've offered a re-match but he's scared; he just won't admit it.

Race report here.

Will I run this race again in 2010? Well, considering it was free, I'd like to. But I won't run it for speed. I'll save my thoughts on this one until I know it's going to happen but I'll probably be there one way or another.

March 27: Lefty's 5K

Another free race. I signed up for this mostly because it was free, reason enough to get me out there in the fierce wind and run. Also, I enjoyed the race because it was at a bit of a unique place. How often, after all, can you run on a NASCAR track? The best part of the race, bar none, was running on the track at the California Speedway. There were so many skid marks and tire marks on the course, it was unreal. My favorite memory of this race was running down pit row and seeing all the pit areas up close.

Race recap here

Will I run this race again in 2011? Not sure. If it's held again I might want to run it again.

April 19: Run Through Redlands Half Marathon

The challenge, should I have chosen to accept it, was to run a half-marathon in under two hours. I ran with Loper pal (and then-blog buddy) Angie since she also wanted to PR. It was a hilly course and the sun began to weigh on us the further we went along but that wasn't enough to stop a pair of determined runners. We each set a PR, each got under two hours for the first time and each were proud of our accomplishments. My year wasn't close to being over after this race but I believe this was my best performance of the year, that I ran my best race in April, in Redlands.

Race report here.

Will I run this race again in 2011? If I don't take a break after the LA Marathon, I might want to run this again.

May 1: Run For Rescue 10K

I had run my first marathon, shattered my 5K PR and gotten under the two-hour mark in a half marathon. But there was one more obstacle to tackle. I wanted to get under 50 minutes in a 10K. The Run For Rescue course was uphill for a good portion, making the task more difficult. Despite fretting about the hills, I got through them just fine and at the end of the race I knew I was close to a sub-50 minute finish. I was all but out of gas but still fought through and crossed the finish at 49:42. I even placed fourth in my age group!

What also stands out is that my daughters ran their first race afterward. It was called the Kiddie K but it really was just a loop around the parking lot. It was a fun experience for all of us.

Race report here

Will I run this race again in 2011? Probably not. The race was actually for a good cause and it's a small race but I don't know that I'll be up for a 10K in early May.
May 22: San Bernardino Mud Run

I didn't want to find a closer and better race than Camp Pendleton - and didn't - but rather I wanted for my daughters to participate in a Mud Run. The SBSD Mud Run had a children's 1K Mud Run and this was the main reason why I chose to run this race. The course was not as challenging as Camp Pendleton and the obstacles seemed to be just pure mud, mostly mud pits. It was a 5K so not a lot of running either but I still enjoyed myself out there and got plenty muddy. The kid's course, though, was a true 1K; the first portion mostly running and the last part the same exact obstacles we had to go through. Yvie surprised me with her determination while Kennedy cried through a lot of the race but still pushed through. In the end, we were all muddy and all proud of what we'd done.

Race report here

Will I run this race again in 2011? It's a pretty safe bet that we will. I don't know if I'll do the 5K but the girls ask about the Mud Run and seem excited about it.
June 5: Camp Pendleton Mud Run

The race that started it all for me. The bonus this year - I got to meet blog reader Anne (aka Tahoegirl) and her husband. The race was fun as always, perhaps made even more challenging because of my inactivity. I didn't run at all the week before to see if rest would help my ongoing heel issues. I didn't bother trying for a PR and I didn't come close to it. But that didn't diminish from the experience at all.

Race recap here

Will I run this race again in 2011? Yes, the only question is the date. I'm hoping for June 18.
July 25: San Francisco Marathon

The mother of all hilly runs. I took this one on head-first. I wanted my second marathon to be special, and this one certainly was. Mrs. LB and I traveled up to San Francisco and made a weekend out of it. This race had so many special moments, it's tough to narrow them down. The few miles I spent running on the Golden Gate Bridge were an absolute highlight of my running life. The hills, though, took their toll on me and the last few miles my legs were shot. However, I tried to finish strong and fought through the hill-induced aches. I finished in 4:37:51 as I bested my Surf City time by about five minutes. I also got to meet three blog buddies! Amanda of Fat Wuz Here, Katie of One Run At A Time and Jill of Run With Jill. And Mrs. LB and I had a fantastic weekend - how's that for a race experience?

Race report here

Will I run this race again in 2011? Even though I told my wife as I hobbled walked back to the hotel room that I would not run the full marathon there again, I am all but sold on the idea of running that race once more.

Oct. 17: Long Beach Half Marathon

I had already set a half-marathon PR earlier in 2010 but I wanted to beat it. I wasn't sure if I could but my previous PR was on a hilly course. Long Beach was advertised as "flat and fast" and it lived up to the billing. Despite sleeping only four hours, I was up for the race. My Garmin, though, was not. The Garmin was not reading accurately in Mile 3 so I stopped relying on it.

The loss of the Garmin made me focus on simply getting to the next mile marker. I enjoyed the beachfront path and the smell of the ocean. Once off the path and headed down the stretch, I knew I was close to a PR. I cruised into the finish but still wasn't sure what my official time was. However, a few minutes after finishing Mrs. LB sent me a text with my official time - 1:55:03!

Race recap here

Will I run this race again in 2011? If I run this race, I might run the full. Otherwise, I might just pass altogether.

Nov. 14: Mission Inn Half Marathon

I closed out the year with my local race, the Mission Inn Run. I'd run the 10K the last two years but opted for the half marathon this time (it's only been the second year the race has featured a half marathon). I wasn't feeling confident about setting a PR - and didn't - but I knew I had a strong race inside of me. I figured that if I ran strong and ran a good race, I would be happy. I did that and finished strong. My time of 1:56:20 is not my PR but it's still a time I was very happy with.

Race recap here

Will I run this race again in 2011? I'd like to. It's my local race so that makes it very appealing.


Kim (Book Worm Runs) said...

Wow!! What an AMAZING year you had!! :) Such awesome accomplishments...congratsulations!!

smartwool socks said...

Reading your post makes me agree with you that in terms of running,this has been the best year ever. Congrats. Great achievement!

Jill said...

Oh, the pink shirt - how I've missed thee!

You've had nothing but a spectacular year, L.B. - hoping 2011 is even more grand!!!! And hoping I get to run again somewhere with you :).

Willoughby said...

You should be really proud of the accomplishments you've made this year! Keep on running, my friend!

tahoegirl said...

I personally think June 5th was your best race of the year! Especially since you were technically running bandit! Ha. Ha. What a super fun blast that was. Do you ever wonder what exactly was in the lake we crossed? What type of critters it might house or pesticide run off it might contain? Let's just not think about that.

Fantastic job on your honing your running skills this past year. Wonder what 2011 has in store for you?!

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work! Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Lauren said...

that IS an awesome year! You should be so proud of yourself!

Anonymous said...

Merci pour le post utile! Je n'aurais pas eu ce le contraire!