Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What a Year

2011 was a tough year but it had its rewards. I ran a ridiculously wet and cold 50KM at the Mud Puppies where I actually felt colder than at any point during Susitna. I experienced my first DNF at Mohican, after 60-some miles in unbelievable heat and humidity, to say nothing of the unexpectedly brutal course. Six weeks later, I again cooked my brain and body in debilitating heat at Burning River but this time I overcame the night demons (on a course that was WAY more difficult than expected) and finished. I paced in two races, two perfect strangers for about 60-70km each, helping them finish their first 100 milers and making new friends in the process. Finally, I ran across the Grand Canyon and back, spraying Gatorade through my mouth and nose all over the South Kaibab trail on the way back up, swearing I would never do anything that stupid again only to find myself signing up for the Leadville 100 on the first day registration opened and then put my name in the Western States lottery.

Funny to think that I’m one of the more reasonable ultrarunners. That being said, I’ve now added some more amazing memories to my list of things I will never regret doing. I believe that those memories will be important when comes the time when most of the day is spent reminiscing, sitting on the rocking chair and telling stories that nobody believes or really cares about.

I do have some regrets about this year, although they were beyond my control. I do wish that I had been able to train a little bit more this year. As proud as I am of what I accomplished, things at work were so insane that I just didn’t have the mental energy required to run the volume that I should have. On the other hand, work was really interesting so what are you going to do?

What’s in store for 2012?  Well, my first big race will be in June, either Western States if I get in or I’m going back for redemption at Mohican. Then, the summer will be spent rebuilding to get ready for Leadville on August 18-19th. Leadville scares the shit out of me, because it’s not just a little dip at altitude, it’s a full 100 miles above 9000 feet, going as high as 12,500 feet. The highest point in Western States (8700 ft) is lower than the lowest point in Leadville (9200 ft). Four big climbs, including two huge ones. For a wannabe like me, this is going to be a big challenge. I’m freaking myself out as I’m writing this so enough said.

To try to save me from my poor decision making, I will once again ask Derrick to train me. Derrick has his own problems with impulse control (he just signed up for the Yukon Arctic Ultra 100 miler), but he did do an amazing job of getting me ready for the two 100 milers that he trained me for. There isn’t much he can do for my poor flat-lander, sea-level lungs but I’m sure he will get me as ready as I can be.

Depending on how devastated I am after Leadville, I would like to rebuild over September and October and run the Javalina 100, near Phoenix in Arizona. We will see about that one, but it’s close to our place and I could make a vacation out of it.

For now, I’m barely running. I’m fat. I don’t care. One needs some rest, so I’m recharging my mental batteries until the new year and then it will be time to start taking things more seriously.