Well, I had all kinds of plans on writing some big summary on how my year in running went. But I have lost a little motivation on producing something epic and I think the individual posts stand for themselves. Mostly, I look at 2008 as a big jump up from 2007. Lots of new first time items. Like I ran a full on training program multiple times. Like I started integrating speedwork constantly for the first time. Like I did my first ultramarathon. On and on. The “wall of bibs” definitely grew from a thick schedule that kept me racing nearly every month — and multiple times in some. Have a look!
My big end of year goal last year was to hit 1000 miles. This seemed like a huge goal that I ended up reaching just hours from the end of the year. This year I knew I would surpass that number easily. In fact, I hit it in mid-July while racing the Leadville Silver Rush 50. After crossing that line, I felt like 2,000 might be in sight for the year. But that assumed I would run high mileage for the rest of the year. But once the last race came and went, so did the motivation. So I was happy with the final result.
So looking at things month by month. For the first time ever, I ran in the first few months of the year. I used to wait until spring came. Now running in the snow is a fact of life and I have started to enjoy it — somedays. The early March Napa Marathon was a great early season race that got me jump started for the rest of the season. I knew I had to run to prep for that so that kept me motivated right away. The worst part of the year came in the next few months. I got addicted to racing. I was excited to get out there. So much that I hit something like 4 races in 6 weeks — with my first ultra in there. That was too much in retrospect. That caused me to bonk at Colfax among other things. Oh well, everybody has that type of race once in a while. Stepping back, the Greenland 50k was my first foray onto the ultra scene. I screwed up a bunch of things on that race. That day I thought of it as a “goal race” so my expectations were way off. In retrospect, it was a training/learning experience that was very valuable as I prepared for the 50 later in the summer. But a spring highlight was flying to Indiana to pace my little sister to a PR at Indy. I got to run on the legendary track and do something that only big NASCAR and Indy Champions get to do — Kiss the Bricks!
From a blog perspective, I got the most “at-a-boys” from the Leadville race and subsequent blog post detailing every minute of the race. That was indeed an epic event for me and I have a desire to repeat such an effort next year. Getting in a full day race seems like a summer must from now on. I feel ready and prepared for the next one. But from Jan 1 2007 to race day, I worried about this race every day for a few minutes here or there. What to wear. What to take. What it would be like. On and on. I dreamed about it. I had nightmares about it. It was a rollercoaster and I loved it. The next one will be much smoother and I will finish faster but I was happy with the result on this year’s race which was only possible through support of family and friends.
Mt. Evans seems like it has found a permanent place on my race calendar. It is such a fun and unique race that I just have to be there. It was even more special this year because my wife, kids and parents came to share the experience with me. To end the summer, I headed to the Pikes Peak Marathon. I was really excited about this race when I signed up. But the 50 the month before stole all the thunder so this race became an afterthought. I had recovered from Leadville and felt like 26 should be a breeze. And it was in some sense. No distance issues but Pikes Peak is a lot about strategy and I hadn’t done my homework there. I got in the wrong spot in the pack and suffered a bit. The weather was not optimal (which I am NOT used to) so I over dressed and burnt myself up. I finished but was not happy with the result. But I got out of it what I put into it. I would like to return to Pikes at some point and give it the planning it deserves. Finally, the fall arrived and the cooler temperatures made way for some faster running. After a quick run in San Francisco, I found myself in a new gear back at home. My pace dropped and I felt like the summer miles were paying off. I was excited to return to Boulder and PR that sucker. And I did. Then I spent the next few weeks stressing out about how fast to run at Denver. I was clearly going to PR as long as I didn’t bonk. That Colfax bonk was looming over me and made me more cautious. So I spent way to much time coming up with a goal only to throw it out mid-race and achieve something more. I left the season with a new marathon PR and new experiences under my belt. I felt full. Hence, I took recovery seriously and spent more time with the family and started a steady regime of hiking with my lovely wife. They are my easy days and her hard days but we enjoy being out together — again. So a graph, you can see that the wheels fell off (or I took them off) after the Denver Marathon. I was ready for a break.
I also met a handful of Colorado runners this year via blogs and races. In a sport that I treat as a totally solo effort, it has been fun to find others that enjoy the same sort of things and be able to learn from each other. I hope to run and train with them next year.
Now I am trying to find my motivation put together my 2009 schedule. Last year I had it up by now. This year I still have things to figure out. Soon. I plan on thinning the schedule a bit to concentrate more on key goal races. One for spring, summer and fall. In between some fun and tune-up races. I plan on hitting the trails much more consistently this year as well. The climbing should add some good results.
Thanks to all of you that read, cheer and follow my adventures in running. One reason I enjoy doing these races is because I like tell the story. I hope you enjoyed them. Keep the comments coming. No lurkers! (Those that read but don’t comment.) And I will try to keep it interesting! More video planned for 2009.
So the odometer rolls back to 0 tomorrow and the journey begins again…