Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Wrap-Up

MMT aid station
As I reflect on the past twelve months of running, I can't help but be filled with gratitude.  No, the year was not perfect and I did not get to compete in all the races in which I intended.  Ultimately it went the way I expected though; maybe even the way I hoped.  This was my twelfth season as an ultra runner and I have certainly learned to expect the unexpected.  Injuries and life can alter the running equilibrium.  Balance in life and running is a hard thing to maintain.

Running the Massanutten 100 well was my number one focus for the year.  After tune-up races at the Frozen Sasquatch 50K, Thomas Jefferson 100K, and Promise Land 50K I was poised and primed for a good race.  Luckily, the plan worked and I had a very good run -- good enough for 4th place in 22:57.  This was my third MMT finish (21:37 '08, 22:39 '09) and I am proud to keep the sub-24 streak alive.

After MMT and the necessary rest and recovery, I set my sights on adding more speed training and quality workouts into my training. My focus in training was the goal of running sub-7:30 at Mountain Masochist (which would take some serious training considering that my PR there is 7:53).  Unfortunately I ended up getting injured.  First a nasty pulled hamstring, then a terrible case of plantar fasciitis -- which I am still nursing to a small degree.  Too much speed too quickly is a rookie mistake, but I certainly fell prey.  Regardless, in spite of many missed days of training, I still enjoyed some great running in the fall and even managed to race/run two sub-ultra distances for a change, the Iron Mountain 16-Miles and the Canary in the Cave 25K++. 

with Dan at the Promise Land start

Mileage wise, 2015 was one of my lower years; 2,205.  Even when I am healthy and training well, I simply struggle to find the time to train at the level I once did.  Once again, the balance between life and running is hard to maintain; it seems to get only more difficult with the inevitable increase of responsibilities.  I started keeping a running log in 2002 and I decided to add them up today.  It's pretty neat to see that I have run over 37K miles in my lifetime.  I am glad that I have taken the time to document all my training over the years.  I know that I won't be able to do this forever, but someday I will derive great enjoyment from reading these log books -- actually, I already have.

2002: 651
2003: 2,213
2004: 2,506
2005: 2,667
2006: 3,124
2007: 2,759
2008: 2,812
2009: 3,353
2010: 3,056
2011: 4,523
2012: 2,718
2013: 2,180
2014: 2,375
2015: 2,205
Total:  37,142 Miles

MMT finish with Clay

Racing Plans for 2016: (Very tentative.)  The only definite is that I want to focus on the Vermont 100 in July.  After getting denied by the Western States lottery now four years in a row (and two other times prior to 2011), I have two choices:  1) give up on the race  2) keep trying.  Might as well keep trying; eventually my name will get pulled . . .
I will likely run a few 50K's this spring in my build-up to VT, but I don't really have any plans for the fall. ??  Sometimes simply running as much as possible is enough of a plan for me.  The simple joy of the daily run is my favorite aspect of running/training and I hope I have many in 2016.

No matter what the new year has in store, I am thankful for my health, family, friends, and God's mercy and grace in my life.  Here's to a Happy New Year -- bring on 2016!