At right: Our 2007 family Christmas tree which was cut down by me and brought down from upstate Pennsylvania.
I love the Christmas season. Not just for the presents but the opportunity to get together with friends and family that seems to only happen this time of year. It is also a time of reflection--of the things I've done this year, of the things I've done thus far in my life, and for things I still want to do before I leave this earth. I celebrate the life that was given to me and hope I have taken advantage of any opportunities I've had. I prepare for the future and hope I'm strong enough to handle anything thrown my way. And be aware of the present because that is truly the moment I live in.
It is cliche to say this but I truly hope there is some way to take the feeling of the season and spread it out the rest of the year. I hope mostly that we can find a way to understand our differences so we may have peace on earth.
Below are some of my highlights for 2007. I will be taking next week off and will begin blogging again the week of January 7. It gives me a few weeks to think about my goals for 2008. I wish everyone Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a joyous and prosperous 2008!
Overall: A very good year for me. Of the six PRs I measure, three of them came this year! And those three came at the longer distances. I didn't achieve my stated goal of lowering my 5k PR but missed a lot of races this year due to personal committments or being sick through the start of the summer.
Best race: It had to be the Broad Street Run on my birthday. Since I started running this race, I have lowered by PR by almost 20 minutes. I could have set a PR in a 5k with my time at the beginning of the race. I didn't start out too fast and then struggle at the end. I ran a complete race, probably the race of my life. Worse race: It has to be a toss up between the Chalfont Challenge 5k or the Ocean City, MD Half-marathon. Both of them were due to the weather but for different reasons. The Chalfont race was too hot and the Ocean City race was too cold. I felt I could have done better in the Chalfont 5k. Ocean City, with its three inches of snow falling during the race and wind gusts up to 30-40 mph, was the worse conditions.
Biggest surprise: Besides keeping up with this blog for the year, I would say winning my division in the ALS Out and Back 4-miler in April. Granted my division was the Clydesdale, over 40 (commonly referred to as the fat, old men division) but I still beat out 8 other runners. I was so surprised that I didn't even stick around for the award ceremony and was given it the day after.
Proudest moment: Watching my wife in the last .1 mile of the Chalfont Challenge 5k. She trained hard for this race. It was a tough day on a tough course and she did well. She never gave up. She injured her ankle over the summer and is only coming back now. But, she is getting herself ready to come back in 2008.
Biggest disappointment: Not having a chance to lower my 5k PR that I set out to do this year. I was on course to do so but got sick over the summer. It knocked out my whole summer series. On top of that, I didn't have a chance to participate in any 5ks in the fall. I've had this PR for the past 4 years. I want to see if it's possible to get under 24 minutes.
Biggest thrill: Seeing the actual Olympic medals of Frank Shorter, Joan Samuelson and others at the Falmouth Road Race. Not just seeing them but picking them up and hold them as well. I couldn't believe I had the opportunity to do that.
Scariest moment: The day before the Philadelphia marathon, Steve and I started to drive the course. Knowing the area so well, I actually was intimidated thinking about the points on the course. Twenty-six miles is twenty-six miles but not if you know where you are going! I hardly slept the night before the race.
What I will remember most from this year: I will never forget this year's Ocean City Half-marathon. It's one of those 'you think the weather in your race was bad, wait until I tell...' kind of stories. The other thing was my Philadelphia Distance Run. I felt different after finishing a half-marathon under 2 hours. It gave me a little boost of confidence of 'hey, I really can do this.'
To all of you who read this blog, I thank you. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it for these past 9 months. I look forward discussing my adventures with you in the new year.