My 2017 race calendar is filling up fast. In fact, 2017 is less than a day old and I’ve already chalked up my first race result: DNS (Did Not Start). While Jen powered through the Resolution Run this morning, I sat home on our couch with the flu.
I completed a fair bit of running in 2016. In January, I finished my first ultramarathon, the Avalon 50. I won my first race this year; it was a local 10K. I followed that with a third place age-group finish (“third among the olds”) at the Orca Half Marathon.
I also witnessed some amazing running in 2016. When Amy Cragg, Des Davila and Shalane Flanagan dueled it out on the streets of L.A. at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, I observed from Figueroa Street. A few months later, I indulged in two full weeks’ worth of spectating at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
My mom is an OJ – Original Jogger. As a kid, I would spectate and cheer when she ran the New Haven Road Race. Sometimes I would tag along during her training runs, but I rarely made it around the block.
I tried cross country running in high school, but I routinely finished last in competitions. I gave up running entirely when I reached college. By my mid-twenties, I literally refused to run. Then I got fat. So, I fell back on running.
I trained for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington, D.C. and – surprise! – I did not finish last. And so, for the ensuing 20+ years, running has been part of my life. Some years it’s a big part and some years it’s a small part. But it’s always there.
It was there in a big way during 2016. From January through April, my runs were meandering and nostalgic. I soaked up many beach runs, in expectation of my #1WaytoSEA move from Santa Monica to Seattle. From May through July, I dialed down the running and dialed up the biking, to prep for an epic transcontinental bike ride with my brother.
In August, I got serious about running again. I enlisted my first running coach, via a startup app called Ekiden. My goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I chose the Seattle Marathon to achieve my 3:25 qualifying time. This was probably not the wisest choice, since the Seattle course is notoriously tough with a succession of nasty hills starting around mile 20.
In late November, I finished the Seattle Marathon in 3:29:06. I missed my goal by just over four minutes. But I shaved more than five minutes off of my previous Seattle Marathon time – from 12 years ago! Not a bad run.
I can honestly say there were no bad runs in 2016. A hamstring injury made for a few painful runs and caused me to cut a few runs shorts. But they were better than not running.
In 2017, I’m continuing to chase my goal of qualifying for Boston. I’m also eyeing another 50 miler. Separately, after a hiatus, my Dad and I will return to the New Mexico desert to participate in the deeply meaningful Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon.
I’m ready to be done with this flu. It’s a bummer to start the New Year with a DNS. But there’s lots more running to look forward to in 2017.