Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 Year In Review

I've been putting this off because my thoughts on the past year have been all over the place, but let's see how it goes. Kind of a long post so here's the tl;dr 2010 pretty much sucked because of an injury but I'm working on the comeback.

2010 was a bit of a roller coaster; there were some high points but, unfortunately, there were mostly lows.  Coming off of a fantastic year in 2009 I was really looking forward to taking my running to the next level and concentrating on achieving some of the goals I have.  After so much racing in 2009 I planned on cutting back and focusing on being more selective in which races I entered.  Naturally, I was also convinced that 2010 was going to be the year I qualified for Boston; I knew I could, I just needed to stay healthy and it would happen.

So how did it go?  Not so well.  Around early April I began to feel a pain in my left foot, enough to be a concern but certainly not enough to slow me down.  I had been experimenting with barefoot running and I can attribute the injury to doing too much too fast, a lesson I never seem to learn.  The James Joyce Ramble was a huge success for me and I was feeling great about the results until two days later while I was out for an easy run, something in my foot popped.  Yes, popped, and it did not feel pleasant. I knew that this was bad, I could barely put any weight on it at all and running was out of the question.  But the 13 Relay was in two days and as the captain I couldn't abandon my team.  So I soldiered on and ran my legs.  It was the single most painful experience of my life and I hope to never do that again.  The closest I can get to explaining it is this: at the start of the run it felt as if someone was repeatedly stabbing my foot with a knife, after about a mile or so this would start to subside and it would be a dull, but still painful, ache.  Once I stopped running though it was as if red hot ants were burrowing their way through my foot.  I know, pleasant.

The hopes of a big year of racing were over.  I spent the rest of the summer in hiking boots wondering when the foot would get better.  Time dragged on, no running and what seemed to be the slowest healing process in history.  The highpoint of my summer came when I did the GNRC mile time trial with Mel C which marked my entire mileage for the season. Yes, one mile in three months.  I was starting to go a bit crazy so I did what any rehabbing runner would do, I started looking for a bike. Anything to get out at this point would be a big step forward and my old mountain bike just wasn't cutting it anymore.  Eventually I ended up getting a Felt B16, but that's a whole different part of the story.

August came, I was running again, trying to put all of the pieces together.  I kept running and was slowly getting back in shape, although my first attempt at a race wasn't all that encouraging, but at least it was a race!  BayState was looming large on my calendar now and I was still unsure that I would be ready for it.  By now I had become hypersensitive to any pain or twinge from the foot and I was determined not to re-injure it which meant taking it slow.

Five months had been lost to injury, an injury that I am still feeling the effects of today.  My entire rhythm and training schedule had been upended and with it, my confidence.  Even when I was back out running I found that I was doing it alone, I think I got out with the club once.  I was no longer the runner that I once was and I hated that.  I hated that  I couldn't count on myself to do what I wanted to do.  In effect, my body had failed me and by doing so had really rattled me.  I'll admit that I still haven't progressed much past this, I just don't know what the new year will bring and whether I should be making plans and reaching for goals.

Looking back, 2010 was not a good year running-wise.  But as I said in the start of this post, there were some high points.  I ended up running the BayState marathon and I was really glad that I did.  It may have been my slowest to date but it felt great and it was definitely a psychological boost.  It was coming back, too slowly, but I'm still working on it.  Unfortunately I was beset by yet another injury that has marred the end of the year, but what do you expect from a year mostly lost to a bad foot.  As I look to 2011 I have a cautious optimism that everything will fall back into place.  2010 may have been a down year but it wasn't entirely bad, there were some bright spots.

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