Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking back, looking forward: 2010 in Review

There is something about changing the date on the calendar that makes us all want to look back at our mistakes and successes of the past twelve months. So briefly here are some reflections on this past year of my running life.

Looking back just a bit further, 2009 was a pretty bad year for me running-wise. I got injured in the spring and missed all my favorite races. In the fall of 2009 I struggled to get back my lost fitness; I was just barely turning the corner by December. The year did end on a good note though. My last run was on an early, cold morning in Toronto, with someone I did not know well at the time but would later become a good friend and my new coach.

In January through April of 2010 I continued to rebuild and regain my running fitness. In May I had a great comeback race at the BMO Half-marathon in early May. Things continued to improve as I ran a strong 10k race in June (and won a bet!), and then went on to race a PB half-marathon at the end of the month (Scotiabank Half-marathon, 1:49:28).

In July and August I focused on marathon training towards my third marathon: the Goodlife Victoria Marathon on 10-10-10. Although I did not achieve my goal of a sub-4:00 time, I thoroughly enjoyed the training and the race. I was able to carry thorough the fitness gains to some strong fall races, including a PB time at the Haney to Harrison relay and another sub-1:50 Half.

This year I will have run over 3100K, easily my best year of running since I started seven years ago. This is the first year I have been able to run consistently without injury through the entire year. I look forward to continuing to build on this success with some new goals for 2011. The ultimate objective will be consistent running and continuing to find joy and satisfaction in it all.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Running in Paradise

My friend Holly often talks about "running in paradise," referring to the great running weather and terrain we have here in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. While the Vancouver area does have a great variety of running terrain and almost always temperate weather, I have to say that I have just finished visiting a place much closer to paradise for running: Hawaii.

We recently returned from a 12-day trip where we visited parts of two of the Hawaiian islands: Oahu and the “big island” of Hawaii. While I was there I was able to run every day of the trip, totaling 112K in runs varying from seven to 18K. Of course, we were there to do a lot more than running, but being able to run every morning set the tone of my vacation and allowed me to enjoy it that much more.

For the first part of our trip, we spent five days and nights in Honolulu while my husband had a conference. We stayed on Waikiki beach, one of the oldest vacation spots in the Hawaii and a less popular destination for many North Americans seeking the ideal tropical vacation on endless sandy beaches. There are some beautiful old hotels, lots of night-life and restaurants, and some small but nice beaches that never seem to get too crowded. I loved running along the road by the beach as well as the loop around Diamond Head mountain just to the south.

Our hotel had a nice coffee shop which opened at 6:00 am, so my normal routine became going down for a pre-run coffee and running by about 7:00 when the sun was up. I found the temperature comfortable but the air very thick with humidity. Still, the warm air and pleasant, casual surroundings made for some beautiful runs.

The next leg of our trip took us on a plane to Kona on the "big island" of Hawaii. The big island is the youngest part of Hawaii still with active volcanic activity. Kona is a beautiful, small city on the west side of the big island with beautiful beaches for both snorkeling, body-surfing, and sunbathing. We stayed on Alii drive in the heart of Kona, and also part of the Kona Ironman run course. Every day I ran up and down this beautiful street along the shoreline, including one run totaling 18K (11 miles).

From Kona we made our way across to the east side of the island to Hilo, the second-largest city in Hawaii. That side of the island has a wetter climate with the drier winds from the volcano usually going west; our hotel was surrounded by large banyan trees and other vegetation giving it a tropical-jungle feel.

Still, the runs along the water were gorgeous, out and back through park-land that cannot be developed in the future due to low-lying tsunami vulnerability. We visited the Pacific Tsunami Museum while we were there and learned about the destructive power of this large waves.

From Hilo we also visited nearby Hawaii Volcanos National Park. Before the trip I had this idea that I was going to run the Rim Trail in the park, which goes around the Kilauea crater, the volcanically active part of Mauna Loa (the biggest volcano in Hawaii). The Rim Trail is 18K or 11 miles long, including a part on the road that loops back to the start. It turns our that about half that loop is closes anyway since the volcano is quite active now and creating poor air quality due to sulphur dioxide emissions.

Instead we did a family hike on a trail that goes down into a smaller inactive crater. The hike was four miles round trip down into the crater and then back out, giving us some breathtaking views of this area.

On our last day in Hawaii we made our way back to Kona and the beaches for one last sunset before heading to the airport.

More photos from the trip can be found in this album.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Who will get to run Boston, Part 2

On December 18, the Boston Globe published an article discussing possible changes to Boston Marathon qualifying times and the registration process. Another article the next day addressed the issues from an historic and contextual perspective.

According to the first article, is likely that the BAA will make an announcement in January for changes that would take effect for the 2012 Boston Marathon. It is expected that some or all of the qualifying times will be adjusted to slightly faster times. However, the BAA has indicated that they "will honor qualifying times run in what has been the traditional window, which opens in mid-September." I assume this means that people who ran what they thought were qualifying times this fall will be able to use those times, even as the new times come into effect for those racing after the announcement is made.

Of course there will be some disappointed people, including those training now for winter or early spring races with target times based on old qualifying times. But there will also be disappointed people if they do not change the times, just as there were on October 18 this year. Personally I know that I have likely lost my chance to qualify with a 4:00 time for the F45-49 age group, but that is OK. It mike take me a bit longer to get there, but I still will.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Catching up

I have been delinquent in blogging but plan to catch up and make up for it in the new year. I just came back from a 2-week vacation in Hawaii, where I was able to run in the hot sunshine every day. I plan to write a running/vacation report of those two weeks and post it here in the next couple days. Also watch for a 2010 recap/hopes for 2011 post. Stay tuned. :)