2017 running recap, 2018 goals

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    • #36445

      It seems like the right time of the year for a yearly recap post and this seems like a good way to kick off the return of the forums so here it goes.

      How was 2017 for you and do you have goals for 2018 that you would like to share?

      I’ll reply with my 2017 recap and some thought of my 2018 goals, though they aren’t completely formed yet.

    • #36547

      My 2017:

      Most of you probably know of my biggest disappointment in 2017. I didn’t manage to break 17 minutes in the 5K for the 22nd consecutive calendar year. Losing that streak definitely weighs on my 2017, as does losing my hometown race for the first time in its 4th running.

      That said, 2017 wasn’t all bad. I had two primary goals. I didn’t meet the first. However, my second primary goal was to finish in the top 10 in both races at the Walleye Run.

      Not only did I accomplish this goal, I actually had a fighting chance at top 3 in the 2 mile. That was totally unexpected, especially since it’s the second race of the morning.

      I also scored wins in my first two races as a 40 year old, one expected in a small local race but the first unexpected in a larger race in a more central part of the Milwaukee metro.

      In short, I had a very good spring. Then, instead of using that as a springboard to a strong fall, I got a little greedy during summer training and paid the price. Lesson learned.

      So what’s coming in 2018?

      I intend to apply the lesson learned from 2017 and build up toward a strong spring. Then I intend to not get greedy over the summer and use a successful spring as a springboard toward a fall redemption tour.

      More specifically, I haven’t solidified my goals but I do want to return for the Walleye Run double. Obviously, a lot depends on the competition but I’d love to take a run at top 3 in the 2 mile if the competition is similar to 2017 but not until I score a top 10 finish in the 5 mile.

      In the fall, I want to redeem myself at my hometown race and show this year’s 3rd place finish was a fluke.

      As for time goals, I’d love to get back under 30 minutes in the 8K/5 mile and under 17 minutes in the 5K. Those may be aggressive goals, especially given what I’m about to type, but I don’t think they are unreasonable.

      However, I also want to use the fact that I don’t have the pressure of maintaining the streak to think about other things. I thought about longer races but my heart still just isn’t there. Instead, I’m thinking about getting a little more serious about my overall fitness. My main goal in that regard is to build some upper body strength without bulking up too much.

      I haven’t set any specific measurable targets in regards to the strength training but I have some ideas and will probably solidify them in the near future.

    • #38973

      Great goals!! I want to see where that strength training takes you.

      I am in Madrid , Spain right now and I wanted to run a 5k race here, with more tan a year out of races, but most of the time training easy and pushing the pace here and there, I thought that I was going to run 26 mins at the fastest. As always, I did not wear a watch during the race and just went by effort, the final result was 23:25. My fastest time in 4 years.

      I dont know if it was the weather, in the Dominican Republic its always 30-35 celcius with a lot of humidity, here in Madrid I ran in 5 celcius. So that is cold for me and a very good weather. I was really happy.

      I am not Racing much, but I love running and always keep training. These days, I just enjoy running and pushing the pace here and there than to follow a strict training.

      • #53108

        Nice job, Cesar. Keep running.

    • #39142

      Nice job Cesar. I’m sure the weather played a big role but you’d be surprised what people do off what I would consider to be largely base training.

      Keep that love of running. That’s the most important thing.

    • #53111


      The first 2/3 of 2017 started about how most of the last three years have gone. I was coming off some fairly consistent, but low-mileage trainiing at the end of 2016, but in January, I started having some plantar fascia issues and then injured it fairly severely when I got caught far from home on a cold, miserable day. (Note to self: It’s okay to back track 1/4 mile and wait in the warm convenience store for a ride home.)

      So, I ended up taking 1-2 months completely off and then resuming training very gradually. It was more gradual than absolutely necessary because though I needed a day off between runs initially, I often to 2-3 days off betwen runs. Gradually though, it got to where my PF did not bother me after every run and I could start increasing the mileage and running on consecutive days. But, I still remained inconsistent until I started getting motivated and committed in September. At that time, I dusted off the spreadsheets that I used for logging in the past and added some features to allow tracking goals. I set two goals for each of the remaining months of the year. The primary goal was simply a “days run”. I set my goal to run 20 days in September. The secondary goal was a mileage goal. In the end, I did not hit even one of those goals, due to a weird knee injury that the chiropractor was able to fix, a couple of farm-focused weeks while I was on vacation from work, and a couple of weeks due to illness. Nevertheless, I consider the goal setting to have been a success since this has been the best block of training that I have had in years. I will handle the goals a bit differently in 2018 though.

      One of the workouts that I started enjoying at the end of 2016 was a hybrid workout where I would run an interval workout (short or long intervals or a ladder going short to long to short), jog about a mile, and then run 1 mile hard. I would log the time for the mile so that I could see the progression over time. I had gotten that time down under 6 minutes consistently at the end of 2016 and had run a 5:43 in January.

      Highights since September:

      • 100 miles in November
      • 5:49 mile yesterday (I skipped the intervals and ran it like a time trial. I wanted back under 6 before 2018.)
      • long run of 12 miles


      Now that I’m starting to feel fit again, I have started thinking about racing. Last year, before I was injured, I had seen a St. Patrick’s Day road mile advertised and I was immediately interested. Quite awhile ago I had thought that it would be cool to run a sub-5 mile after I turned 50. I will only be 49 in 2018, but it would be nice to see where I’m at and then have another year to train to try again at 50. The only problem is I do not yet know if the race will become and annual event or not. I have not seen it advertised. I’m giving them another week or two before I contact the organizers to ask about it. If that race is no longer offered, I will need to find another opportunity to race a mile. Unfortunately, my company no longer participates in an Olympic-style corporate challenge event which includes a 1-mile race on the track. I used to look forward to that every year. Until I know about the state of the mile race, I do not have specific race plans for spring. I will likely run a 5K that a friend coordinates in late March or April. It is small and I have run it (and won it) twice though I have never been happy with my performance. They changed the course last year to use a new section to the trail system that the race supports. The old course was somewhat slow. The surface on the new course is likely the same, but I wonder if the new route might be less hilly. On the old course, I never ran under 19, but I probably wouldn’t be happy unless I ran under 18. I’ve never been very good at soloing a fast time. Beyond that, I have no plans for spring. I might see if there is some way to get into the Corporate Challenge races (1 mile, 5K, and half marathon) as an individual. I think that they may have a team made up of individuals who chip in to pay the entry fees. I would likely skip the half unless my long runs are going especially well.

      For the fall season, I would like to run my hometown road race at the end of August for the first time since high school. It is a hilly five mile race. I would like to be under-30 which would definitely have me in contention most years. There is also a Labor Day 5K that is a fast 5K that will likely be the week after the hometown race. That is likely the best opportunity for hitting a 5K goal because it is a fast course that usually includes several fast runners. There would likely be stiff competition in the over-40 crowd as well. I would like to run under 17 there. I may also consider a fall half marathon. For that my goal would be low 1:20s. If I don’t feel that I could run low 1:20’s, I would probably skip it. If I’m not doing a half marathon, I will likely find 1-3 other fall races to run.

      Training wise, I would like to continue to progress. For 2018, I will continue setting training goals, but unlike in 2017, I will not increase the goal for the next month unless I met (or very nearly met) the goal for the previous month. Then maybe I will be able to meet my goals more regularly. For my hard workouts, I will gradually increase the duration of my interval sessions. Once I get up to around 20 minutes of hard effort in longer intervals, I may shift to doing tempos every other week. I also plan to keep doing a session of shorter/faster intervals with longer rests at least once every other week. I will likely continue finishing some of my workouts with 1 mile hard as it is fun to have something measurable to track. Currently my long run is at 10-12 miles. If I find that there will be a 1-mile road race on St. Patrick’s Day, I will probably maintain it at that level through February and then start increasing my long run again after that race. Otherwise, I will progress and mostly train through any spring races with just a slight cut back the week before a race.

      • #53115

        Wow, another frustrating year. I can’t wait to see you put in a solid year and see what that can produce. Hopefully 2018 is that year.

        That mile at the end of the workout sounds intriguing. I could see doing that to control the main workout, then use the mile to judge your gains in fitness. It allows you to get in the workout as designed, then satisfy that runner’s desire to see what shape you’re in.

      • #53149

        Update: After the first of the year, the running store updated their site to open up registration for the Irish Mile on St. Patrick’s day. I’ve signed up and now I just need to continue training and stay healthy until race day.

    • #53141

      My 2017

      As has been the case for me almost every year in recent memory, I started the year out pretty strong with consistent training, with the exception of a week off for bronchitis just before Holiday Lake. My first race of the year was the Holiday Lake 50K, my third year running it. Knowing that this was the first of three 50Ks in three months I ran this race at a decent effort but controlled and within my level of fitness at the time finishing in 6:55 which was about 9 minutes off my 2016 effort both run under ideal conditions. Next up was Terrapin Mountain 50K, probably my favorite race, with the exception of the trip back down Terrapin Mountain at the very end. Lots of climbing but also a LOT of jeep roads that are very runnable. It is a good mix which I find fun because it is almost like mixing multiple activities into one race. Terrapin went really well, set a PR for the course. Promise Land was up next and that went very well given the super hot conditions. It was in the 90s, humid and first hot day of the year. I raced well but died climbing up Apple Orchard Falls. This was it for races for the year, except for Cacapon 12 Hour which I took super easy, finished strong though with 40 miles in the bag, a typical performance for me at this race. Over the summer I had it in my head that I was going to just start focusing on hills to get ready for Mountain Masochist where I have two DNFs in two attempts. I did a lot of hill repeats. Spent a vacation in the mountains of North Carolina where I just pounded the hills. This got me to be a good efficient hiker and I stayed healthy. However, my running did fall off quite a bit towards the end of the year, so bad so that I abandoned my third attempt at Mountain Masochist. This is when I decided that I wanted to stop hiking so much and start really running. I wanted to get faster. I did some track work and focused on getting my cadence back to where it needed to be. This is also when I contacted Ryan about coaching. Ryan had coached me for years and I have my marathon PR, as well as my 50-mile PR under his guidance. We reset things at the end of the year. Basically, just started over and it worked well. Ended the year with a strong showing at an 8K Turkey Trot and feeling much better about my running at year end.

      My 2018 Goals
      Going into 2018 looking to defeat some DNF demons of my past, as well as a 50K PR that should be better. This will be the first time in a few years that I wonโ€™t be hitting the February โ€“ April Lynchburg Ultra Series 50Ks. Those have been fun and challenging events but above all else I want to become a stronger runner and I believe a break from the mountains will help me focus on running better. That said I have some ambitious goals for the year. The main goal is to go back to the C&O Canal 100 and get a finish. That race is my first and only 100 mile attempt and I am 0 for 1, DNF #1. Leading up to this there is a 50K that will be a good chance to snag a PR while getting in a good training effort for C&O in late April. The last goal of the year is to go back to Mountain Masochist in November and get a finish, slay DNF #2. Not only a finish but a strong finish. Those are the three demons of my past I am looking to destroy in 2018.

      Best of luck to everyone on their goals! 2018 is going to be a great year!

    • #53142

      PS – I too want to work on strength training with an upper body focus. I’ve noticed in long races everything starts to go south up top after running all day. Plus it just feels good to be strong. Not looking to bulk up or anything, just get stronger.

      • #53146

        A year of redemption. While I’m not a fan of getting too caught up with our past failures, I like it. Sometimes the best way to get past them is to just get out there and overcome them head on.

        • #53147

          And never mind my always replying to the wrong place. Even the “Keymaster” needs some time getting used to the new digs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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