For some reason, I've had a time putting fingers to keyboard and actually writing a post. I'm not sure why, I think I over think it a little bit and think I need to put something substantial and relevant up. But, life keeps firing on all cylinders and I'm never sure when a good time is to look back (or forward).
2011 was definitely my best year as a runner. A few things "clicked" for me and I felt like I was able to take my ultrarunning to a new level. After some good results in early season races, I had started San Diego 100 with a rough patch but rallied well to run the fastest split in the 2nd half of the race and tie for second place with Yassine Diboun. In that race, I seemed to find confidence in my nutrition plan and that carried out throughout the rest of the year. Winning Cascade Crest 100 and setting a course record really took a weight off my shoulders that I could win one and along the way, also showed me that winning a 100 didn't really feel any different than being satisfied with any race that I finished and felt good about.
I go into 2012 with some mixed emotions. I'm truly excited to race but I also feel the slight shift in the wind that I want to focus on some different things in the future. Racing is great but I think I'm getting to the point where I don't want to put as much emphasis on it as much as doing some runs that truly satisfy my soul.
Being back home in Hawaii rekindled my desire to run/hike the entire Ko'olau summit trail. Its something that I have wanted to do for a long time and would like to make it a focus soon. I want to run the JMT. I don't care at all about doing it fast. I want to enjoy the scenery and take along a crew that I can really enjoy it with. I'd like to try and run/hike the 3 sisters mountains as fast as I possibly can.
Like I said, I'm certainly not ready to write off racing but there are times when I feel like I'm just playing the same record over and over and want something more. I don't know.
That said, I'm turning 40 this summer and I still feel like I am getting faster for the moment and can be competitive with just about anyone on a great day and I'd still like to see what I can do.
My training feels controlled and good right now. I'm not overly pushing it but I'm running every day and mixing in a good amount of workouts and hills. I've put much more of an emphasis on working on my strength as well. I think this is something that can be neglected in your 20's and early 30's but will come back to bite you in the ass as we start to age a little bit. There is no question getting strong will make you durable and less likely to get injured. Its not going to make you injury proof but it will definitely help. Also, to me, it just feels good to be in overall good shape and to take care of my body. I try to do some type of other body work at least 4-5 times per week.
Okay, so, 2012.....
1. Way Too Cool 50K
2. American River 50 Miler
3. Ice Age 50 Miler
4. Vermont 100
5. Superior 100
6. Arkansas 100??
I'm excited about the line up. Way too Cool is a race that I hate to miss. I love being on the WS course, seeing all the NOCAL peeps and Julie puts on one heck of a race. I know its not cool to like AR but I love it. I like the contrast of watching all the rabbits take off on the marathon and to see who can hold on during the last 24 rolling miles of trails.
Ice Age? Well, I want to give a crack to getting into Western States. I know I'm not the only one with this idea and the field will be stacked but I'll be in good shape and feel like I will be in the mix. Regardless, it'll be cool to run on some new trails and in a new area for me. I'm not putting any extra pressure on myself for it. I do still feel like I have some unfinished business at Western States but to be honest, I'm not crazy about the actual course. I find it a little bland next to courses like Cascade Crest or San Diego 100. But, I love the competition and would love to get a time there that I can be really stoked with and then let that race go.
Vermont 100 is one I have wanted to do for a long time. I'm stoked to check out the east coast and hopefully see some of my extended family out there during or after the race.
I'm probably the most stoked about Superior 100. I have heard it is a wild and technical race. I've never been to Minnesota and I think this will be a super fun experience and great to check out some scenery that I have heard is amazing.
And then there's Arkansas. It would be a quick turnaround and I'll see how much more running I'm wanting to do. I need a lot of family time too so this will be a bit of a game time decision.
Other than that, life is good. The shops are thriving and I feel lucky to be surrounded by great people on a daily basis.
I'm excited to put on the Patagonia uniform again and get back to doing what I love....