Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh, What A Year It Has Been

I have been looking forward to writing this post, my year retrospective, but have been waiting to reach a particular mile-stone. Last night after work I ran my 1500th mile for the year! It looks like I'll finish off the year with about 1515 give or take, my best running year ever and testament to my improved bone health and the high mileage that can be run if you tend toward trails.

This year I have had several ups and downs but if I am honest it has by far been a very positive year.

Out of my three iron distance triathlons I beat my old PR, which had stood for two years, every single time. My new IM PR took place at IMCdA, my first iron of the season, and as the season wore on my times got slower though I consider them all be good. I now have an iron-distance sport PR at three different races. My best run is just a fraction over 5 hours and was run at IMCdA, my best swim was just a fraction over 1:10 and was done at the Vineman and my best bike split was 5:52:31 at IMAZ…if I could only put together PR splits all on the same day!
Though I am happy with my year in triathlon I am even happier with my running this year even though it also handed me my worst disappointment. This year I bested my marathon PR twice to bring it down to 3:46:39 at Ogden, for me an unbelievable time and an effort that just about caused me to pass out right at the finish line. It was the only time I have ever run so hard that I was fighting back vomit and struggling not to black out in the last few meters of the run. I also set a new 5K PR at the "Running Psychologists" race an this year's annual convention of the American Psychological Association. With a time of 21:11 I took 3rd in my age group and beat the legendary Bill Rodgers, who of course in his prime could have beaten me while confined to a full body cast.

The best and the worst happened to me in the world of ultra-running. I set a new PR for the 50K, a new PR for the 38.5 miles at the Ghost Town and ran my first 50-mile and 100-mile ultras. I was also dealt my first ever DNFs back to back. The first at the Arkansas Traveler 100 was voluntary at 32 miles and easy to deal with but the second was at the Palo Duro Canyon 50-mile and I was pulled for missing the cutoff at 38 miles.

To be completely honest I am very conflicted about ultra-running. I have really come to love running but ultrarunning is the hardest thing I have ever done. Training for an Ironman is by far the most time consuming thing I have ever done but the racing itself really isn't that difficult. As a matter of fact I discovered this year that the faster you are able to go the easier the race really is. I suppose that's true of any of these long distance races. Anyway, for me the outcome of an Ironman is pretty much a known quantity. I will finish, fast or slow I'll make it to the end. Ultrarunning…not so much.

I want to run some particular races. I'd love to run Leadville, Western States, Tahoe Crest, The Bear, Wasatch, and others and maybe, just maybe, Badwater but these races are HARD, HARD, HARD! Running the Lean Horse 100 really was about the most spiritual experience I have ever had but it is also the most painful experience I have ever had and that pain still haunts me when I think about running 100 miles.

ANYWAY, what a year it has been! I am happy and healthy and heading in to a new year and a new life. My 2009 season begins with an attempt at the Bandera 100K, my first attempt at that distance, and then I have Rocky Raccoon in February where I am registered for the 100 mile but still very much considering dropping back to the 50 mile. That is a decision I will probably make in the last few days before the race. Beyond those two events the only other sure thing I have is the Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon 70.3 in June. I am secretly starting to consider an attempt on Leadville this year but I'm not committing to anything until after Rocky Raccoon. If this really does become a year of big ultra attempts then that is going to have to me little or not triathlon for me.

Happy New Year Everyone Everywhere!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Domestic Animal

I have neglected my blogging and every other online activity but I feel like I have some pretty good reasons. I am amazingly busy with the new job and since the kid is visiting family in Dallas Misty and I have occupied our new home. We have been having a blast putting things together and enjoyed a banner Christmas filled with all kinds of house wares. I have been spending a lot of time surveying my new garden and thinking up ideas for spring. Of course the garden was surprisingly neglected given the amount of activity that appeared to have gone on there but it has good bones and that is something I can capitalize on.

Our new home does not have internet at this point since we will only be there full time for the next week and then it is back to the home in Rio Rancho until further notice. This situation explains the lack of blogging etc…

My running has been rather poor over the past week mostly because of bad weather and a stronger desire to stay in my new home than to head out for a dark and cold run either before or after work. It is that time of year when it takes all my motivation just to get out there and if anything interferes then I fold pretty easily. However, I do have a 100K nipping at my heals and then there is that goal of hitting 1500 miles this year that I am painfully close to.

I’ll make the 1500 I’m certain and the 100K, well, that might get a little ugly but I am apt to arrive well rested.

Ok, gotta go pack some more stuff and run it over to the new chateau!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tick – tock, Tick – tock, Tick – tock

Time is not on my side right now and there is no doubt about it. This month has been crazy and I have already sped half way through it. What have I been doing you ask? Well, let’s see.

Buy new home: Check!
Start repairs and painting of old home: Check
Apply for new job: Check
Get new job: CHECK!
Begin new job: Check
Ramp up my training for the Bandera 100K: Check
Meet my goal of running 1,500 miles this year: Che….well, I still have a few days.

This has been the most amazing few months for me and the GeekGrl. She got a new job that she loves, we almost literally stumbled upon our dream house, and now I have a new job that, with any luck, will become permanent. All this is falling into place just as our last bird is ready to leave the nest. The GeekGrl is giddy as a school girl and I am spending money like a drunken sailor stocking our new home with goodies.

This year our Christmas will be a bit more extravagant than usual because I am filling the GeekGrl’s kitchen will all new stuff. Yes, we have an embarrassingly traditional marriage in many respects but it works for us. Anyway I’ll leave it to her to fill you in on the kitchen details because I know she is really excited but there is one little oddity that I will fill you in on because it is mostly for me. Off the end of our kitchen we have a big bay window that looks out onto part of our garden and built into that space is a breakfast nook. I’m pretty excited about that because, as I told the GeekGrl, I’ll always feel like I’m eating in a restaurant. I also really like to look out onto our garden when I eat. My chair at the table in our current home faces the garden.

The new job thing has been quite an ordeal. There are very few things that get me wound up but I do get wound up over major things that I don’t have much control over. Oddly enough I have been drawn more to the administrative side of psychology even during graduate school so once I got my Ph.D. and my job I went back to school to get a Master’s degree in Public Administration. While at the VA I have also been to every leadership development course that I was eligible to attend and I have just been waiting for an opportunity to apply for a Chief of Psychology position. The rub is that I didn’t want to leave Albuquerque and I thought our current Chief would be around for at least another 10 or 15 years.

When the position opened I was floored and very excited to have a shot at it. Of course the only problem is that the hospital was looking for an interim Chief and there will still be a nation wide search for the permanent position but at least I’ve been hired for the job once and now I suppose I have the best shot I’ll ever have to prove myself. At least for now I’m livin’ the dream! (Yes, I know it is weird that my “dream” is to be a psychologist administrator in the federal government but what can I say, it takes all kinds.)

In sports news after a quick recovery from IMAZ I moved on to training for the Bandera 100K, my first race of the 2009 season. It almost didn’t feel fair that I should move immediately from IMAZ to training again with no real break between my 2008 and 2009 seasons but once I hit the trails I felt revitalized and motivated. I have been trail running almost exclusively and the majority of that has been in the foothills of the Sandia mountains and two runs took me almost all the way up to the mountain crest. I am lovin’ my mountain running and even though there are some snowy patches on the high trails I am still able to go almost anywhere. Um, ok, it’s snowing right now so I guess now I will need to bring along my snowshoes to go almost anywhere but that’s good training too.

In my training up to Bandera I figured that I needed to get in about 165 miles or so in this month with a lot of climbing and so far this month I’ve run 83 miles and in just my two long runs have logged 9570 feet of climbing so I think I’m on track. I’m also on track for a new PR in annual running mileage. Just 61 more miles and I will hit the big 1500!