The year was definitely a wacky one, even by free-spirited Footfeathers standards (yes, speaking of oneself in the third person just happened. Live with it.) and I was forced to roll with some large changes (as per usual, self-inflicted). Along with the typical craziness of daily life, I had running and racing to keep me sane (arguable, yes). It was my second biggest year of racing in terms of mileage with over 800 miles raced and paced.
Instead of rehashing every race (19 races and 3 pacing gigs), which I've already written about within the "pages" of this site, I'll just touch on a few of the highlights and low points.
Bouncing back and forth between Colorado and California, enabled me to race a nice variety of events and I also mixed it up with several half marathons. I feel the halfs added a nice pop to my high end endurance for longer races, which I saw at San Diego 100 in June. I was able to run comfortably, covering the first 50k of the race in 4:31, pull away from a strong Fabrice Hardel and hold on to 3rd place for the next 65 miles to the finish. Shortly after that, I paced Brandon Fuller in a solid sub 24 hr effort at Western States, which became an installment of my How To Be An Ultra Pacer.
I carried that confidence into the Hardrock 100 a few weeks later with the goal of a top 10 finish. Hardrock doesn't care about personal goals, pain, happiness, loneliness, or anything human. It simply exists in mind numbing size, harshness, and beauty. So, with that, I was happy with my 35:49 and 34th place finish, finishing my second year in a row and thus becoming a "True Hardrocker" (finishing the race in both directions). I look forward to that race in 2014.
|San Diego 100|
|Hardrock 100. Happy to be finished.|
Hardrock took a lot out of me and I suffered through a fatigued, mediocre month of running. That was fine. I had already accomplished my goals for 2012 and it was only July! My new focus was on my friend Tim (Lucho) Waggoner's bid to win Leadman. In a wickedly exciting series, trading the lead with ultra-great Troy Howard, Lucho had a scant 3 min lead going into the last race, the Leadville 100 mile run. It was once again my job and privilege to pace Lucho from mile 50 to the finish. An exciting and incredibly satisfying day unfolded. Read about it here. That special day of pacing was the final nail in the coffin securing my need to race the Leadman Series in 2013.
|Pacing Lucho at mile 60|
I felt as though the 50 miles pacing was the test I needed to do well at Pine to Palm. I (usually) have this weird sense before races and can tell when I'm going to do well or suffer. Pine to Palm was one of them. I simply went through the motions of preparation and proceded to fall apart with the worse cramping I've ever experienced, dropping at mile 60. It was definitely the lowest point of the year, in terms of racing anyway.
|Pine to Palm about two hours before dropping.|
|Me and Tina at NF.|
The last two months have been about building up my cycling to get me to a base starting point for Leadman training and I've re-fallen into love with the bike. I love running but it pales in comparison to the speed, excitement, and sheer fun of mountain biking. I'm simply grateful that I enjoy both sports so much.
|Training ride up Mt. Tamalpais|
Yeah, the Leadman series is probably the biggest, most important sports challenge I've taken on, at least in terms of focus and excitement. Hardrock will always be the most important and special race in my heart but I have to admit that I'm near giddy thinking about the process of training and competing that I'll be tackling over the next seven months (and 19 days...). The bonus in preparing for Leadman is that I get to race MTB events, starting with the 12 hrs of Temecula in three weeks! Thanks so much to my sponsor, Vi Fuel for making Leadman a possibility for me. A great product and great people.
Speaking of sponsors, I'll finally be officially racing on the La Sportiva Mountain Running Team for 2013. Very excited about that, since I've loved their shoes for a few years now. I'll also be supported by Rudy Project again and Udo's Oil for 2013.
On the personal side, it's been a yo-yo year, like it is for most people. After coaching on a part-time basis for 9 years, I decided to go full-time with it. Along with the coaching, I started organizing running clinics, which have been hugely fun and popular. It's the first time in a VERY long time that I can say I'm truly satisfied and excited to be doing what I do for a living. I've met so many diverse and exceptional people this year and appreciate every minute I've spent working with these folks. In the works currently are more running clinics, running camps, and a new podcast that will debut in late January (sure to ignite some fires and hopefully douse them with humble humor).
Here's to a New Year filled with whatever the hell makes you happy.