I had all the good intentions of posting a wrap-up of 2008, but it just sounded cheesy to me. A little too much like patting myself on the back. Besides, 2008 is all in the past now, and what is yet to come is 2009. So perhaps a look ahead to 2009 is a better way to go.
Along that line, I think it is time for a re-arrangement of the blog. It needs a fresh new look, just as I need a fresh new approach to my running. Along the sidebar you will now note that I have removed the milage tracking from two years ago. I keep track of all of my milage now through an online training log, so that's really not necessary. I toyed with the idea of putting my race PRs in the sidebar, but I think that's too much looking back at the past, so instead I have put my goal PRs, which may or may not be achieved this year. Since the blog has become more about running than it's scotch tasting beginnings I thought about changing the name, but I realized that uisge beatha (water of life) has much more significance in my life now than it ever did before. So the name stays. So now that the blog represents more of where I am going, I should summarize some of that in this post.
It's time to get serious! I know many of you (two) may be thinking "Where was I for not serious?" But in reality my training these past years has not benefitted from significant direction. It has been fun, but not necessarily beneficial. Running long miles at a slow pace has built the base that I need to improve, but now it's time to get more consistent with my speedwork. Having an idea of what each workout is supposed to accomplish before I head out is key, as well as thinking about what I can best accomplish in the time that I have to train. I want to get faster, and that will not come through anything but hard work.
In that same vein, I think that cross-training is going to be the most significant thing to add to my training this year. Incorporating core strength exercises at least a couple of times a week will be important for my improvement. I am also hoping to increase my flexibility, which I hope will help keep me running injury free. In short, I actually hope to run fewer miles this year, but expand the number of workouts. After all, I'm not getting any younger, despite how I feel.
The final element to my running I believe comes through fellowship. Some of my running buddies are moving into new stages in their lives, which will mean fewer opportunities to run together. But those relationships will be strengthened through the time that we are able to spend together. Also, the door is opened for new running partners, and I hope to be able to continue to inspire and encourage others through those avenues. Finally, I hope to run more this year with my family. The taste I had last year of training with my wife (As Fast As My Feet Will Carry Me) with the kids in the joggy stroller was enough to leave me wanting more.
I cannot help but notice the parallels that my running life has with my walk with God. In both cases I find myself having to ask the same question, "What are you really doing?" Are you coasting through this life, or are you seizing it? Are you adequately preparing yourself for the challenges ahead? How can you help others to fulfill their potential? These are questions I need to consistently ask myself both as a runner and as a follower of Christ.
To summarize my goals for the future I'll use one word: quality. More quality time in training, more quality time in relationships, and most importantly more quality time with God. To do otherwise would be selling this life short.