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!