This has been a year of firsts. It will likely have many more.
Running has been difficult for me since I moved to Austin. The weather, which I knew would be warm, has been WAY warm. Last summer was the third hottest summer in recorded Austin history with something like 50 days over 100 degrees. This summer has been mildly cooler which has helped my running get to heights I haven't seen in years. However, before I even got to this summer, I was doing something I had never done before in my recorded running history.
I have never been much of one for running streaks. I also haven't been one much for piling up mileage for no reason whatsoever. Yet, this year, with a longer than normal "Spring" and a variety of other factors, I not only broke my previous running streak of a meager 48 days (with 143) but have been putting up more miles than I have ever run before.
Another factor in my mileage gain has been a significant lack of racing. When I race, I rest. That means my per run mileage is higher but my number of runs and amount of miles goes down. But when I hit 2000 miles for the year on August 27th, that was the fastest I had ever reached that milestone. The only year which comes close is 2008, the year I ran the most miles ever: 2894.25, I didn't hit 2000 miles until September 8th.
What makes this year stick out even more was the horrific running year I had last year. I was sick for almost six weeks. Had virtually no good races. Spent many days just slogging through the disgusting weather. It took a phenomenal December to even get to 2198.98 miles. Yest this year, I am on track to top 3,000 miles for the first time ever and that is definitely a neat side milestone.
But these are all just random numbers. What matters most to me is hopefully bringing it all to a head to run some good fall races. My goal race this year is a marathon in Europe in just under five weeks. Starting in Austria, going into German, back into Austria, then into Switzerland before finishing in Austria, the Three Countries Marathon looks like it will be my best marathon in over four years. I know I am not in personal best shape right now but I should be knocking at the sub-3 hour door, especially if the weather holds true to form. I learned a long time ago, the course matters not nearly as much to me as a cold day does.
I haven't had many races this year to build confidence. I normally like to race my way into shape. But with the longest runs I have ever done by far on the treadmill this summer (my 20 miler is this Friday) I think this bodes well for me.
So now I am trying to pull it all together here in the last month. I have an triathlon race and then a very interesting 24 hour event just two weeks before the marathon. To be quiet honest, the marathon has lost a little appeal fr me the past few years. I am hoping that this race will bring some fire back into me and get the engine running again.