Friday, December 21, 2012

Looking Back on 2012, and Looking Ahead to a Great 2013

While I always try to enjoy the day I'm in, I'm glad 2012 is coming to an end. It's been a great year on a few fronts. I started an awesome new job back in February and, in that respect, life is good. Most importantly, all is well with my family and we're enjoying good health. We lost out beloved dog, Sophie, in April, but we got a super fun little golden retriever, Nicholas, in July.

All that aside, this has not been a good year on many fronts. We saw horrible wildfires, including the devastating fire in Colorado Springs. We've seen unspeakable tragedies in Aurora, Newtown, Westminster, etc. Basically, in 2012 we've seen a lot of evil. Also, the year was full of a lot of negative energy stemming from the (toxic) presidential election.

As far as running, 2012 has mostly been a bad year with a few bright spots here and there. Obviously my Leadville DNF is a black cloud over the year. That was my goal race and it didn't work out because of a bum knee. But I saw some decent performance at the Cheyenne Mountain 50K in late April and the Mt. Evans Ascent in mid-June.

At Cheyenne, I was strong but not fast--no other words for it. At Mt. Evans, I saw a huge 24-minute improvement over my previous year's time, which can be attributed in part to far better weather. I was in good shape then. The Golden Gate Dirty Thirty was a bad race--I didn't feel like running that day (which was red flag #1 in terms of the burnout that would eventually take a real toll on my body). The Leadville Marathon in late June was so-so--I pretty much matched my 2011 time despite feeling a tad under the weather. Again, I just wasn't into racing that day, which is incredible because I like racing.

By the time I toed the line in August for the Leadville 100, I was burned out and physically beaten up. Lack of quality sleep in July (because of the new puppy, God bless him) had destroyed me to the point that my body simply couldn't keep up with the training I was doing, and so I went into the race not in a good place physically (or mentally). Something had to give, and it's what brought me to that DNF.

My last race of the year, the Trot for the Troops 5K, resulted in a third-place finish despite a missed turn that added quite a bit to my time. It was a fitting end to the year.

I'm glad to close the book on 2012. For the year, I'm going to run about 3,500 miles. Those 3,500 miles didn't get me much, except a few decent performance here and there and maybe a solid base to work from when my Phoenix Marathon training kicked off a few months ago. I have to say these past few months have been super solid.

I'm hopeful about 2013! I've trained hard for Phoenix, really focusing on specificity and marathon-goal pace runs. My volume has been between 65-71 miles a week, which is a tad low. I should be able to hit 80 miles next week. If I don't break three hours at Phoenix and preferably get around a 2:55, then I'll know I need more volume for fast marathons. But at this point I'm focusing on being ready mentally and physically. I'm proud of the training I've done and I'll be ready to go on January 20.

I believe all this quality for Phoenix lays a great foundation for the 2013 trail running season. When I look back on my years of running, it's impossible not to notice that my best years have coincided with strong marathon efforts.

After taking a few weeks to rest and cross-train post-Phoenix, I'll be spending a lot more time on the trail, preferably the Incline, just enjoying myself. My Leadville 100 training this year will focus on:
  • Looooong runs
  • A lot more on-course training
  • Long tempo runs
There won't be as many junk miles in there. I've come to believe deeply in the power of the super long run, and I know that to regain my confidence at Leadville I need to spend time on the course.

Looking longer term, in 2014 I think I'm going to start seriously considering this race, (which, from a timing standpoint, would also allow me to do this race), but I won't pull the trigger until I do this other race first. Yeah, I believe in building up to the ultimate mountain challenge. Of course, this huge bucket list item is also waiting to be checked off. But, first things first--I need to reestablish myself as a strong Leadville 100 finisher!

Here's to a great 2013!

1 comment:

  1. Funny, I was sitting down to write the same post when I came across yours! Good stuff, it has been a somewhat negative year in terms of the political and social landscape. I think it is symptomatic of the fact that we are living in tough times right now, economically speaking.

    Anyway, you did great this year despite your ups and downs. It was very interesting to read your list of future races as well. Wow, you still have some big goals out there. Good luck with that :)

    I am looking forward to being on the other side of the runner-pacer relationship this August!