It’s been one week since my season came to a close at the North Face 50 miler. While it wasn’t the high note that i was hoping to end my season with, it definitely felt like a solid bookend to an eventful and fulfilling year of running. Below are some of the highlights.
I ran my first ever road marathon in Kalamazoo Michigan back in May. Although my time was less than stellar, it was incredible to be leading the inaugural marathon of my home town with family and friends cheering and supporting along the course (i would end up getting passed at mile 24 to finish 2nd). It feels good to to get a road marathon under my belt and i’m excited to have another go in 2012.
I ran two road half marathons and really struggled with both of them. I tore my hamstring at the end of the Kaiser Permanente 1/2 Marathon back in February, and had an off day at the San Francisco 1/2 Marathon in July. I think half marathons are an incredibly difficult distance; Over an hour of pure pain. I had better success in the two 10km road races i did, finishing 2nd in the Kalamazoo Klassic and 1st in the Maui Day of Hope. Not bad for an old mountain goat.
I raced a handful of low-key but beautiful courses in the Bay Area, as usual. I like to sprinkle a few of these in at select times each year to blow the cob webs out, and get a little confidence boost, but without the stress or pressure of a big time race.
My best performance was where i least expected it. I got a win and course record at the Golden Hills Trail Marathon in Oakland back in September, despite the fact that Dave convinced me to run it only 2 days before the event. That was the beginning of what was probably the best 2.5 months of fitness for the whole year… too bad the streak ended a few weeks shy of TNF50!
Speaking of TNF50… i’ve spent a lot of time in the last week reflecting on what went in to the race, and what i got out of it. I’ve watched my emotional response go from being devastated immediately after the race, to being at peace with it a week later. I could have picked a casual “locals” race to be my first 50 miler, but instead i really wanted to test myself in the most competetive environment i could find, and this was it. I totally committed to it, gave it everything i had, and basically got the shit kicked out of me. But i wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything, as painful as it was. I definitely learned a lot about ultra running in that one day of racing, and the next time i feel crazy enough to do it again, i’ll be much better off for it.
Best of all, i’m enjoying running more than ever. We moved to Mill Valley at the end of August, and I have been reveling in runner’s paradise ever since. The Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, Dipsea, and slopes of Mt. Tam are all out my back door. I couldn’t ask for a better landscape to play in each day.
So all in all a good year. New distances, new competition, new experiences. And a lot to be excited about for next year, both running and otherwise (hint: it will involve many hours a week with one of these). More about 2012 in the next post!