Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009 In Review

I hope to blog more this year (2010). I'll be posting some resolutions soon, but first I wanted to reflect a bit on how last year's goals came out. Looking back at December of 2008, I can see that I entered the year a bit down on the theme of personal disciplines. I had failed to achieve my goals in the areas of consistent running and Bible reading, and I was a little gun-shy about committing to more ambitious goals and falling short again. This year started off pretty aimless in both areas... I read my Bible haphazardly, usually a chapter of the New Testament at a time, every couple of days. I also began the year with 9 runs in the first 17 days of January, but none of them over 25 minutes in duration. Once my track season began, I only made it out the door 12 more times through April, including 6 runs of 20 minutes or less during spring break in an aborted comeback attempt.

In May, spring pre-season practice for cross-country began, and I discovered that my friend, Hugh, was as disgusted with his physical shape as I was. So we made a pact--we would make every practice, and run SOMETHING during that time. I'm pleased to say we kept that Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday commitment, missing only for illness or major vacation plans (the only two zero-miles weeks I have taken since then were one week of a bad chest cold and the week of my anniversary cruise). Those first runs were AWFUL. Slogging through 3-mile runs at 9-minute pace when the mind thinks you should be going farther and faster (but the body knows better) was torture. But with the added spur of a training partner and a set appointment, we plugged away all summer long.

It gradually got easier, the runs got longer and faster, and goals that had seemed impossible began to come back into focus. In November, I raced for the first time in years, at the Charleston Turkey Day Run. I did much better than I had hoped, and now feel completely rejuvenated in the running arena. As the year ended up, I realized that I was just a few miles away from logging my 6000th mile since I began keeping a log in 1998, which would keep my average at 500 miles per year. Since 400 of those miles had come since May 1, it became a matter of pride that I would get that milestone. Just before midnight on New Year's eve, I managed my 6th mile of the day (in 1-mile increments while crewing for my brother-in-law in an ultramarathon; that story will likely get a post soon, too) and hit the magic number of 460.5 for 2009, just enough to turn the odometer over.

Something similar happened with the Bible reading. We took a family vacation in July, and I packed my One Year Bible. As it turned out, the regularly-scheduled readings for that week was right where Psalms begins (that format includes twice through the Psalms per year) and also right at the beginning of Romans. Sitting on the deck of a beach house in Florida, I began the discipline of daily reading again, skipping the Old Testament, but committing to finishing the Epistles and Psalms by year's end. Just like with the running, it took a while to get it back, but coming back after some downtime was refreshing.

So, in a little while I'll be posting about my resolutions. And those resolutions will include some running and Bible-study goals. But getting to the point that I was willing to set those goals took some small successes along the way. Had I planned for a 500-mile year, or to read the whole Bible through again, I would be looking back on another year of disappointment. But instead, I see a few months of aimlessness, followed by half a year of great success. Happy 2010 to all!

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