Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - The Year in Review

I was all set to write about my kick-ass goal for 2017 when I realized I haven’t wrapped 2016 yet.  So, here is a little reflection about this crazy year and the adventures that came with it.  

On January 18th, I created the 2016 Cyclo-Runner-Husband Challenge.  The declared goals were to run 1,000 miles, ride 4,500 miles and spend lots of time with Sherry eating great food and drinking vintage wine.  In the end, I only made 2 of the 3 goals but I'm fine with that.

It was the cycling goal that fell by the wayside.  I’ve ridden further that that in a year before so it didn’t feel new.  I did have some great adventures such as climbing Mont Ventoux in France for the third time.  However, as I started the final marathon training I really enjoyed focusing on running and taking a break from the bike.  So, that’s what I did.  My last ride was on September 24th.  I did managed to ride 2,500 miles for the year, which I feel is respectable number.

I can proudly say I conquered the running goal in a big way that included running my first marathon.  A lot of people thought the marathon was the goal but that’s not the case.  The original goal was just to run 1,000 miles.  It wasn’t until March that I decided if I was running that far in a year I might as well try my first marathon.  Perhaps the coolest part was that I went over 1,000 miles for the year during the marathon.  For some reason that just felt appropriate.

How does one go about running a 1,000 miles in a year.  To begin with, that’s less than 20 miles a week so it’s pretty manageable.  I tried to keep things fresh by discovering new routes in the process I discovered numerous trails along the creeks in Santa Rosa where I live.  I also took my running shoes on all my business trips and vacations this year.  In addition to local runs, I also logged runs in Southern California, Las Vegas, Boston, San Francisco, Paris and in numerous villages in the south of France.

To help with motivation, I participated in quite a few events.  Including the marathon, I finished two separate runs in front of the California state capitol building.  I also ran in the Sonoma vineyards, along the Pacific Ocean, and in the Marin Headlands with its gorgeous views of San Francisco.

The other motivation was to run the year with a friend.  We had signed up for the run the year challenge, which is a combined total of 2,016 miles in 366 days (thank you Leap Year).  We absolutely nailed it with a combined total of just under 2,050 miles.  This morning we celebrated by doing the final run of 2016 together.

How did I do on the husband front?  For the real answer you would probably need to ask Sherry.  However, if it is based on fun adventures with food and wine, I can safely say mission accomplished.  The biggest part of this adventure were the 15 days we spent in France as we ate and drank our way through the towns of Avignon, Uz├Ęs, Cassis, Aix-en-Provence, Roussillion, Arles, and Paris.

That was my 2016.  All-in-all, it was a pretty damn good year.   It was refreshing to take a break from cycling and focus on running.  I will continue to run and I have my eyes on a couple of half marathons.  However, I can tell you now that in 2017, Lee Alderman - the Cyclist, will be back in full force.  I can’t wait to see where it leads.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My First Marathon

Early on Sunday morning, December 4th, I was at the start line of my first marathon.  The California International Marathon (CIM) to be exact.  There were a lot of circumstances and miles that led me to this point but I will save that for a future post.  This story is about the experience.

I was running with my brother-in-law, Mike.  Well, in reality I was only starting with him since he would finish an hour faster than me.  We decided to make it a weekend get away so both families headed to Folsom on Friday. 

Mike and I at the Expo
On Saturday, we went down to the Expo in Sacramento.  We checked in, picked up our race packets, and then spent time exploring the booths and getting answers to our questions.  We then walked over the finish line to check it out.  Then it was back to Folsom for family time and to relax before the big day.

On race day, the weather was perfect with sunshine and cool temperatures!  I chose to wear my  long-sleeve Let’s Run Paris shirt.  I’ve had so much fun running with this group when I’m in Paris and I knew their spirit would help me succeed.  

At 5:10 a.m. we walked across to street to catch the bus to the start.  Once our bus was full we were off and you could hear the excited chatter of people on their way to a big adventure.  There was a coffee shop at the start so we grabbed a coffee and waited.  At 6:40 a.m., we took off everything that was keeping us warm, shoved it in a bag, and headed for the official start line.

Since my goal was 4:15, I lined up between the 4:08 and 4:23 pace groups.  However, since this was my first marathon I had decided not to join any pace group.  I wanted to run at my own pace based on how I was feeling at the moment.

Mile 23 (thanks Jasin!)
As start time got closer, we started to edge forward and I found myself in front of the 3:58 pace group.  At exactly 7:00 a.m. we were off.  The road was very wide and I reached the official start and was running within 2-minutes.  I quickly found my pace as I settled in for over 4-hours of running.  At the 1 mile mark, the 3:58 pace group went by and I simply let them go.  At 2.5 miles, the 4:00 pace group also passed me. While I let the 4:00 group go by I noticed they weren’t getting too far ahead of me.  In fact, at the 8 mile mark, they were still in sight.  Finally, around 9 miles I saw them for the last time.  

The course was beautiful with gentle rolling hills and thousands of spectators cheering us along.  I got high fives and touched homemade signs saying they would give me power.  I managed to stay at a relaxed pace that allowed me to enjoy the trip.  All-in-all, I was having a great time and was enjoying the experience.

With my medal!!!
At mile 16, my right leg really tightened up, which never happened in training.  Nothing too serious but it did force me to slow down. Still, I wasn’t caught by the 4:08 pace group until just pass mile 21.  I thought about trying to stay with them to the end but decided against it.  Instead I maintained my relaxed pace and crossed the finish line at 4:12:47.  I was thrilled as I happily received my medal telling the world I had completed a marathon.

Overall, it was a great experience and I may do another marathon in the future.  However, not in 2017.  I miss my bikes so next year will be rededicated to cycling and I can’t wait to see what new adventures will come my way.