1,402 miles: A last look back on a road frequently traveled in 2012.

One thousand four hundred and two. I have to admit I even surprised myself a little when I got to Dec 31st last year and realized I only need to pretty much run around the block to put me over the 1,400 mile mark for the year. It feels like a lot of miles, and I guess it is a lot of miles. And yet, at the same time, it isn’t really that much either.

Without a doubt, 2012 was a productive year for me on the running front. I made some mistakes, hurt myself a little, got into and out of a rut, and at the end of it all, became a smarter, more experienced runner. I even had more than a little fun along the way.

So, by the numbers, this was 2012:

Total Miles 1,402
Time: 199:55:45 hh:mm:ss
Elevation Gained 46,370 ft
Speed 7.0 mph
Calories 181,028
Av. Distance 7.2 miles

And here are five lessons i learned along the way:

1. With running, as in life I guess, you get the race you train for. I was woefully under-prepared to run Vancouver last year and it showed. I never want to go through miles 21-25 like that again. Bonksville.

2. Have a plan. Compounding the lack of preparation was my lack of a plan. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, and I went out with a devil may care ‘f@*k it, I’ll run as fast as I can, for as long as I can’ attitude which was absolutely fine, until it wasn’t. I could have at least mitigated my lack of preparation with a sensible pacing plan, but I didn’t and I paid for it. School boy error if there ever was one.

3. The only way to deal with a bad race is to get over yourself, train, and race again. Two months later I was back on the horse and running a PR at the Seattle Rock and Roll Half. It kick-started my preparation for my Fall marathon and renewed my self belief.

4. My love of running has some fairly contradictory characteristics. On the one hand, I love the solitary aspect, the self-reliance, the fact that it is me, and only me, that puts one foot in front of the other and gets it done. On the other, I really came to re-appreciate the social and friends and family support aspect of the sport. Most of my full marathon training, and both full marathons were on my own last year. My awesome training partner Yoko, through an unhappy coincindence of severe work pressure and injury, was not able to run too much last year, and heading out on those long weekend runs was just not the same on my own. Same for the races themselves. My family have been incredibly supportive of my still relatively new passion, and it was so great to have them cheer me along the way (i seriously doubt I would have finished Vancouver last year were it not for them). Even so, having friends with you on the course, and traveling up to an event with you just adds to the occasion. I loved the Seattle Rock and Roll Half for the fact that by best pal Ed was over from England, ran it with me, as did Yoko, Adam, Amy and Lisa. We all finished at different times, but the banter and chat before and after the race was hard to beat.

5. 1,402 miles is a lot. But the truth is, it is not nearly enough if I want to get better, run faster, stronger and longer. So with that, we’ll put last year finally to bed, and concentrate on the year at hand.

Next up: Phoenix Full Marathon on March 2nd.

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