Out with the old ...

It’s a work in progress, but I’ve moved my blog over to WordPress. It can be found at runningbecauseican.wordpress.com. Please note the change if you have me linked on your blog. To make a long story short, I was planning on moving it at some point, but the process was sped up today when I was trying to save my template on here, but instead picked a new template (as you can clearly see). So, instead of trying to make repairs, I'm moving on ... out with the old ...

2008's numbers, plus a glance at 2009's goals

I made it well known that when this year started that I didn't really have specific goals with anything since I started '08 injured. So with that being said, I don't want to analyze my year too much -- I just want to put the numbers out there and let them be. I may sneak in a run tomorrow, but it will be minimal with my dog if I do. Can't you tell I'm just ready to get this year over with?

I've also added my 2009 goals based on my post from a couple of weeks ago using the "10 percent" rule. What actually happens will depend a lot of how the first quarter of the year goes. If all goes well with my planned 10 miler, my running miles may be closer to 2007 totals where I fell less than 50 miles shy of 1,000 miles. For now, it's best to just take things a month at a time and see what happens. I do know that cross training is now very important to my routine, so it'll continue no matter what.

Total running miles - 640.2
Best running month - August, 107.4
Worst running month - April, 22.6
Average per month - 53.35
2009 goal ('08 plus 10 percent) - 704

Walking miles (Garmin only) - 290.6

Biking miles - 232.3 (March-December)
Best month - October, 49.1
Worst month - August, 8.2
Average per month (9 months) - 25.8
2009 goal (9-month average times 12 plus 10 percent) - 340

"Other" miles (mostly elliptical) - 37.8 (October-December)
December total - 24.3
Average per month (3 months) - 12.6
2009 goal (3-month average times 12 plus 10 percent) - 166

2008 combined miles - 1,200.9
Average miles per month - 100.075
Best combined miles month - August, 148.4
Worst combined miles month - January, 63.1

The Top 10 of 2008

At this time of year, many people like to look back and do a recap of the year. Well, if I did that, it would mostly be negative since I feel like much of the year has been a disappointment when it comes to running. So instead of looking back, I'd like to do a top 10 list of the good things that have happened this year with running and working out. I think it would be good to close this year out on a positive note and flush the not-so-great '08 out of my mind.

Finishing the Shamrock Half Marathon. So when I first finished this race, I was so mad at being hurt, but in hindsight, it was an accomplishment to finish it despite being hurt.

Finishing the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. Despite taking more than 2 hours to do this race, I am once again pleased to have finished this race considering how hot it was that weekend.

Taking time off. With such an up and down year, the best thing I did for myself this year was to take off time when I wasn't hurt. I highly recommend it.

The 7-mile Thanksgiving run. This is here mainly because I surprised myself to run that much when I hadn't done much in a while.

Running a 5k again. Oct. 18 was a big day -- I ran a 5k for the first time since the summer of 2007.

Bike riding at the beach. When the Outer Banks trip came along in June, it definitely interrupted training for the Rock 'n' Roll Half, but I managed to putt out nearly 20 miles on the bike that week. Any kind of working out is a plus while on vacation.

PRs. I'm not all that pleased with the results, and I would have rather done this in a half marathon, but I did set PRs in an 8k and a 4-miler this year.

Working out the week that Conner was born. The birth of my son is the #1 non-running event in my life this year, obviously. At the same time, I am pleased with myself to hit the gym a few times the week he was born. So many people have told me how hard it is to keep working out with a newborn, but I was determined to prove them wrong early on.

Raising $1,000 to fight cancer. In the beginning of April, I raised $1,000 for the VCU Massey Cancer Center as part of the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k. While I ran it hurt, I ran it for my late uncle, my grandfather, my dad and everyone else impacted by cancer.

The discovery of cross-training. It started in March with biking, but I didn't really get into cross training until October when I joined a gym. It's put a totally different perspective on things when it comes to being in shape.

'Tis the season

It's that time of the year in which there's lots I could probably write about, but at the same time it's nice to take a break from thinking about running or working out. My workouts have continued, but I just haven't found a reason to talk about them all that much. It's like I just want to get to Jan. 1 and then refocus on this blog and everything else going on.

I do have some posts planned this week -- I doubt I'll do a full recap of the year, but I'd like to do a year-by-the-numbers thing and perhaps a top 10 list of highlights. Other than that, it's close to time to just say good-bye to '08.

2009 still on my mind

The other day I discussed my non-race goals. But you didn't possibly think that I wouldn't have my mind on races did you? Now that I've been running and working out for almost four months without a race in mind, it is time to turn some focus onto races for 2009. After such an up and mostly down year this year with running, I'm ready for some changes next year.

If you have looked closely at my blog this week, you'll notice a new counter -- it's there for a reason. I've said many times on here that I would not run the Shamrock Half Marathon again next year. After two years of doing that race, I wanted to do something different in the spring. While I still have the duathlon on my mind, I still want to do a "big" running race early in the year. So that's why I've decided to run the Charlottesville Ten Miler in April. While it's still a long distance, it's not a half marathon -- I'm still determined to stay away from half marathons until the second half of the year.

This will be just my second 10 miler. The first was in 2006 when I did the Virginia Ten Miler in Lynchburg -- the race that got me hooked on longer distances (and one that I'm thinking about doing again). As of right now, I'm not setting specific goals -- I just know that this is what I want to do for the spring.

After that, I'm still planning to do the Rock 'n' Roll Half in Virginia Beach on Labor Day weekend again. And then I still am not making any plans beyond that. I will not budge on that thinking. It helps keep me focused on things one race at a time, no matter how cliche that sounds.

In between my two big planned events, I'll likely run a few shorter races -- more than this year -- to keep me content. Too much of this year was spent being disappointed, so I'm determined to kind of go with the flow next year and see what happens. I would love new PRs, but I'm not going to stress myself out about it.

All I want, but don't really need, for Christmas ...

Please forgive me for what's about to be a very selfish post. With Christmas technically next week, I wanted to put a wish list out there. Some of these things are just big wishes; others are things I could actually use; and a few items are things I already have but could always use ... I must stress, though, that for the first time since I started running a few years ago that I feel fairly complete with what I already own. But ...

* First on my list is the new Garmin. The Garmin Forerunner 405 is probably on every runners list. It would be awesome to have that sleek watch on my wrist. It's not that my 205 isn't working perfectly fine ... but damn that thing is big. I did notice this week that my 205 stopped beeping, so I hope it's not dying. I highly doubt anyone would actually buy me the almost $300 405. One day it will be mine ... through a deal on eBay.

* Shoes. Yes, I just bought myself some, but who wouldn't love an extra pair of shoes? Then I wouldn't have to worry about buying any until my birthday gets here ... and then of course I need a nice birthday gift. After finding Holabird Sports recently, you can save about $30 getting me a new pair. My preference is the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8, size 11. Any color is fine.

* Running shirts (and shorts to match). Short-sleeve. With the discovery of how great being a member of a gym is, my winter gear is fine for another year. Despite having enough, my running shirts are a few years old. So one or two would get me through 2009. Target's Champion line is just fine. Size large. None of those tight ones ... just the cheapest of the cheap.

* Socks. Anything non-cotton is fine. Actually, I probably won't be able to get through next year without having to buy new socks. I can wear socks out pretty quickly, especially since I always having them on. You won't catch me walking around barefoot ... ever. (Just ask my wife.)

* Underwear. Same non-cotton rule applies. And before you ask boxer or briefs, I like the combo boxer-briefs.

But be careful buying me clothes -- my mom and my wife will quickly tell you that I prefer to get clothes myself, although I've been on a quest for two years to find a red turtle neck sweater to wear during Christmas. So if you find one, send me a link to it. Even when it comes to running, I think that I dress myself best. And I've been doing that since I can remember. So, onto some more realistic things (although that Garmin would be lovely) that would be nice, but don't really need.

* Clif bars. I'll need 'em for the long runs later in the year.

* Gatorade Rain. A simple six pack actually lasts me a while since I still mix Rain with water (doesn't that sound weird?).

* Sneaker balls. In all seriousness, my wife has bought me these before and it's quite possibly the best gift ever from a running perspective. They work great.

* A new iPod, headphones that last longer than a year and gel insoles.

* I'd also like a cure for my over pronation, my lack of speed and some help breaking my PR in a half marathon.

2009 on my mind

As I near the end of my fifth year of running, I realized recently that many of my goals throughout the year are race-based. While there are races that I want to do next year, I would like to take a different route with my goals. It's nice to be able to do this too -- last year at this time I was hurt and had to approach 2008 with no goals in mind. This year I'm healthy and feeling good, so I'm looking at Jan. 1 a lot differently than usual. I'm approaching 2009 with as much optimism as I did when 2004 came along when I decided to get off my butt.

So, my goals for 2009 aren't simple, at least when it comes to trying to explain them. When it comes to overall mileage, I am going to take a "10 percent approach." What that means is I want to do 10 percent more miles of everything next year compared to this year. Yes, that might sound simple, but when it comes to things like biking and the elliptical machine (the main "other" thing in my workouts), I didn't do each of those in all 12 months.

My approach is to take the average of the months I did do something and then apply it to the calendar. For example, I've been using the elliptical machine only since October. If the year ended right now, I would be at 25.7 miles for those three months, an average of 8.6 miles for those three months. With that number I would take 8.6 times 12 and add 10 percent to get my goal for mileage for next year -- right now that would be 113.5 miles. (That'll increase a little bit with a couple of weeks remaining.) I'll do the same approach for the bike, which I started doing in March. I'll likely not focus on increasing walking miles, but I plan to still keep track of them the best I can.

As far as racing is concerned, I have not signed up for anything yet. I would very much like to do the Rock 'n' Roll Half again and then another long-distance race in the fall. I've hinted at wanting to do another marathon, but I'm not ready to make that commitment again just yet. We'll see how the summer goes first to see if 2009 will be the year. When it comes to racing, I want to do more than I've done this year -- six (one 5k, a four-miler, an 8k, a 10k and two halfs). That's a big drop from doing 10 in both 2006 and 2007. I want to find my speed again in a 5k and set a PR next year in that distance. I think my main focus will be setting a PR in a half marathon, but that's a goal that a little far off right now. For races, I think many of my goals have to be a wait and see approach, and I am perfectly OK with that right now.

Lastly, I want to get my weight back to 180 ... and stay at or below that number. I'm not really that far off it right now -- I just have to focus and do it. It won't take long, but it does take a certain dedication with what I put into my mouth. (But let me enjoy the holidays just a little bit over the next couple of weeks!)

Happy holidays everybody!

9 miles

It's funny how hard it seems to post during December. I feel like I'm slacking, but I've noticed that most other regular bloggers seem to fade off as well during this month. I guess it's just something that happens during all the holidays, extra darkness and fattening holiday parties.

Anyway, I managed to get on a boat and make it to the gym today -- Richmond is having a crazy rain day today. It's one of those rains in which you shouldn't be out unless you had to be out. Since I didn't work today, I guess I thought I had to be out. I managed to do 3 miles on the treadmill, 3 short miles on the bike and 3 more miles on the new elliptical. All in all it felt great.

I'm having a pretty good month so far with 26.9 miles on the bike, 12.2 on the elliptical and 8.2 running. I'm well on my way for having December being like I want with running actually being the lowest of my miles. I'm also well on my way to shattering my goal for the month, which was to simply do more overall miles than what I did in November. It's tough with a baby, but I'm able to manage my time well to get in a few workouts every week.

New shoes, a new look

It worked! My shoes that I ordered the other day -- for $30 cheaper than retail -- showed up today. See my post below for details on how I found them. I gave them a half mile test run tonight and everything felt great. I'll be slowly breaking them in this week.

Meanwhile, you'll probably notice that I changed my template today. In the process I lost some of my links, so if I read you before and you're on the list, please let me know! Also, you'll notice that some of the "comments" links are not English. Anyone out there know enough about HTML to help me out? I've done all I know how to do. It doesn't really bug me that much, but it would be nice to be consistent!

Let's hope Reader's Digest helped me

After mentioning the other day that I wanted to buy shoes, I remembered reading in the October edition of Reader's Digest about bargains. The main story in that issue was "Get A Great Deal on Anything." When I usually read stuff about bargains, I tend to ignore it, but I remembered reading about getting a discount on athletic shoes.

The article referred me to Holabird Sports located in Baltimore. To make a long story short, I have ordered a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8 through this site at about $30 cheaper than retail, plus free shipping. I wanted the black shoes, but they didn't have my size. I instead ordered the ones with yellow ... I'm currently wearing the green version. I'll let you know early next week if I got a good deal or not.