In a broader sense, in 2009 I discovered what it means to "be a runner". It has nothing to do with training for a specific race. It has nothing to do with ticking off certain goal, mile markers, or personal achievements. Any task oriented person can do that, given enough time. Running, in and of itself is no special thing.
No, BEING a runner is a different animal entirely.
I have come to learn that we are all, fundamentally and undeniably, runners. So running, per se is no special feat for a human to do. It is, after all, what makes us human and separates us from our cousins from the Neander valley.
But for 99.9% of us, we have no special talent to run 2:00 marathons. That's what separates the elite runners from the mere mortals. No, most of us merely possess the standard tools that have been handed down for centuries from the first group of hunters who chased down an antelope and watched it die from heat stroke right before their eyes. That's all, and nothing more.
We are ALL capable of running a marathon. Most of us, however, have cars and, therefore, no need to travel 26 miles on foot. And that's probably what separates me from most of my fellow runners. I agree that most of us have no special talent. I just have a higher opinion of what our natural talent happens to be.
There are other things that separate me from many of the other runners I know and over time I may explore those differences further.
So, were do I go in 2010? That's a good question.
I've signed up for the Houston Half and the Cowtown Half in February. The Cowtown Half was my concession to myself for dropping from the full to the half for Houston. In March there's a half marathon in College Station. That's 3 half marathons in 3 months without a major adjustment to my "training" schedule. They're really just an extension of the running that I've been doing. Rumor is that there are half marathons in the Dallas Metroplex area just about every month of the year. There's also a pretty decent (and slightly longer than a) half marathon route that starts and ends at my front door that doesn't cost me anything.
Maybe I'll run a half marathon a month, every month, for 2010. And, while I'm at it, I'll maintain an easy preparation schedule and continue to prove that you can be average to above average, compared to the general population, without torturing yourself on a daily basis. In 2009 I logged 193 miles and probably ran closer to 215 miles. This represents the most miles I've run in a year, ever (as far as I know).
I think my goal for 2010 will be 216.