Well the holidays are behind us and I just returned yesterday from a family vaction in Palm Springs, California. I didn't know what to expect heading down there for running, but was pleasantly surprised and actually did a little more running that I should have because of all the nice single track they had heading up into the foothills surrounding Palm Springs. I put in 37 miles, 7 hrs 28 minutes and 8,645 ft gain into 8 days of running down there. It was really nice weather near the end and I had to pinch myself a few times during an awesome 8.5 mile run up to the summit of Murray Hill (2,500 ft elevation gain) where the weather was so nice I was cruising along shirtless in 55 - 65 degree temps.
Well today was a rude awakening getting out for a run and it was 25 degrees and solid ice on most of the streets. Lucky for me I received a pair of Inov-8 Oroc 280s for Christmas from my parents and got to test them out today. They were great and really gave me some extra confidence on the ice. They have about 8 metal carbide tips embedded into the tread, kind of like a studded tire on a car.
I've got plans to try and get into the high country around here as much as I can despite the arctic conditions we've been having (single digit and even negative temps in the mornings). Just before we left to Palm Springs, I tested out some Crescent Moon Gold 12 racing/running snowshoes, that I recently purchased, on some of the more packed snow trails behind my parents place and they worked great as well. I was able to keep a running cadence and not trip all over myself, which is all I could hope for from a pair of snowshoes for running purposes. In addition to these two new winter running gear items, I've got my regular snowshoes (Crescent Moon Gold 10 backcountry shoes) and my parents let my wife and I borrow a pair of XC skis if we have time to make it up to Anthony Lakes ski area (45 min drive). I think these new tools should let me get up in the mountains much more this year than last year, where I mostly ran around town.
So far my plans for next year are not solid yet other than the White River 50 Mile race in July. The first half of the year is going to be hard to travel in for us as Alyssa and I are expecting our 2nd child (first biological child, so first birthing experience...scary but exciting) in March and am therefore needing to stay close to home during that time. I'm looking to get in some real solid months of training locally and do some longer training runs that I normally wouldn't do if I had a race coming up right around the corner.
Looking back last year will be marked as the year where I found out that I really enjoy running. I started out the year having only begun my running career 4 months prior (started running near the end of August 2009) and planned on doing a 60K at the Peterson Ridge Rumble in Sisters, Oregon on April 11th. I ended up barely finishing the 30K (ended up being just over 20 miles) because of my only significant training injury of the year which happened in February and March. I had only run something like 30 miles after recovering from my injury before running the 20 mile race in April.
After that I really started to make gains in my running. I did a local half-marathon in May that had 900ft of gain and placed 3rd with a time of 1:47:13 which was 10 minutes faster than my first half-marathon I did in September 2009, which was flat as a pancake and I stumbled in at 1:57:10.
During the summer, I just did some local 5k and 10k road races (all we really have here in Baker City), managing to push my 5k pr down to 19:23 and my 10K pr to 41:10. These were leaps and bounds faster than my times just 6-9 months prior.
My largest month of training during the year was in August where I put in 185 miles, 26 hrs 49 minutes, and 18,499 ft of elevation gain leading up to my first ultramarathon (and my first run longer than 20 miles for that matter...I had a weird thing mentally where I wanted to do my first ultra before I did a road marathon...hard for others to understand, but I really was fascinated with ultrarunning before I could even run more than 5 miles and it basically took me a whole year to get my legs conditioned to run for 31 miles. Ultrarunning in the mountains captivated my imagination and continues to be my motivation to run).
On September 18 I finished the Cle Elum Ridge 50K, near Cle Elum, Washington, which had 6,500 ft of elevation gain over rocky muddy single track. I placed 20th place overall out of 96 finishers with a time of 6 hrs and 40 seconds. Looking back this is by far my best performance of the year and August (my training month leading up to it) was my best month of training all year...so probably shouldn't have been a surprise :).
After that high note, I make a rookie mistake (that sounded good on paper) of signing up to run the Portland Marathon only three weeks after my first 50K and not taking any recovery time after my 50K. As most of you that have read my blog know, this led to a nagging IT band issue that hung with me through the marathon and into my running a few weeks after. All said and done, I'm glad I ran the marathon for the experience and didn't really post too bad of a time at 3:38:18 considering I ran in Vibram Five Fingers, in pouring rain, under recovered, 3 weeks after my first ultra. Still, I was hoping for a much better time and will look to put in a good marathon sometime in the near future...it isn't on the top of my priority list, so don't hold your breath :).
To cap the year off, I heading down to the Marin Headlands in San Fransisco to run the North Face Challenge 50K. If you want more details on that, just look to the previous post below. Safe to say, I learned another huge lesson and gained some valuable experience that will shape my training and racing for the future.
I look forward to the year to come and have the main goal of having consistent injury free running and a fun time doing my first few 50 mile races (and possibly beyond). Here's to a great year of living to the full and running free.
I'll leave you with some numbers from this last year:
January -121.74 mi, 3,194 ft
February - 38.38 mi, 992 ft (injured from Feb 12th to Mid march)
March - 21.95 mi, 392 ft
April - 70.74 mi, 2,070 ft
May - 82.28 mi, 4,404 ft
June - 82.27 mi, 8,456 ft
July - 112.89 mi, 11,046 ft
August - 185.20 mi, 18,499 ft
September - 162.94 mi, 18,279 ft
October - 101.91 mi, 5,771 ft
November - 131.71 mi, 13,927 ft
December -39.52 mi, 7,066 ft
Totals for the Year: 194 runs; 1,151.54 mi; 174 hrs 25 mins; and 94,096 ft Elevation Gain