January totals: Ran 204.7 miles / 26 hours, 48 minutes, 41 seconds. Ordinarily I'm at 300 miles of running in January, but coming back from injury (info on that below), this is solid. Also cycled 49 miles in 3 hours and 56 seconds. At this point, I'm encouraged.
Life is about change. Those who are able to embrace change as opportunity usually find greater success than those who resist change. With that said, I'm excited to have accepted a new job with an organization whose mission I deeply believe in. In a few weeks I'll be transitioning to the Colorado Health Foundation, where I'll be working in communications for the foundation's Health Care and Health Coverage initiatives. The Colorado Health Foundation is a really good fit for me. One of its big initiatives is fighting obesity--a cause that is close to my heart. Colorado, while still the "thinnest" station in the nation, has seen a nearly doubling of its obesity rate in the last 20 years. My personal belief is that obesity, which can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, joint problems, and a whole host of chronic conditions, is the single greatest threat to our health care system today. Rarely in life does a job align with one's personal convictions. In this case, that unique alignment is there.
Over the next three weeks, as I wrap up my current job, I'll be taking a few days off here and there to have some fun and enjoy extra time with Noah. I'll be going on outings to a few places I haven't yet been--the Incline in Manitou Springs, the very difficult Sanitas loop in Boulder and maybe, if the weather cooperates, Mount Bierstadt. I can't wait! I'm open to suggestions for other places to visit. But it won't all be fun. I also need to get my Colorado driver's license....
With my amazing new job comes the need to revisit my 2012 racing schedule. I won't be able race out of state for several months, as I'll be working to get up and running at the foundation, and so almost all of my events will take place in Colorado. Here's how things look so far:
4/28: Cheyenne Mountain 50K
6/15: Mount Evans Ascent
6/30: Leadville Trail Marathon
7/15: Barr Trail Mountain Race or Leadville Silver Rush 50M
8/18: Leadville Trail 100M
12/29: Across the Years 24-Hour
I was hoping for a marathon PR effort at the Georgia Marathon in Atlanta on 3/18 but this case of poster tibial tendonitis, which seems to (finally) be clearing up, really threw a wrench in those plans. So the Georgia Marathon is off.
With a somewhat lighter racing schedule than last year, I hope to feel fresher going into the Leadville 100 than in previous years and return to form in time to gun for 140+ miles at the Across the Years 24-Hour in late December. I wanted to make the US 24-hour team in 2009 and missed the mileage cutoff by 4 miles. I believe it's entirely possible for me to flirt with 140 miles if I'm having a good day.
More importantly, I just want 2012 to be a good year of racing. I've been in a two-year "slump," of sorts, and really want to get back on track and see some good results.
Injury update. I suffered what I considered at the time to be a major setback on Sunday, January 22, when my shin went south on me during a planned 16-miler on the paved Cherry Creek Trail. I felt discomfort at about 5 miles and pain by mile 8--a sure sign that my posterior tibial tendonitis had flared back up in a big way. After an internal bitch and moan session, I decided to cut my run short at 10 miles and hobbled to the nearest Target, where Anne and Noah picked me up. At the time, I was so discouraged, thinking I'd totally wrecked my recovery and was now back to zero. The rest of the day I stayed off my leg and iced my shin quite a bit.
Since that time, my shin *seems* to be improving. I just completed a 57-mile week (pretty low by January standards) and my shin feels pretty good. I've returned to physical therapy, too. Best of all, I seem to have figured out what triggers discomfort, allowing me to avoid problems. At this point, running on dirt seems to protect my shin. If I run on pavement or concrete, invariably I'll feel some discomfort. Also, if I run on a surface that turns my leg inward and stresses the posterior tibial tendon, I'm going to feel pain. I've also found that KT Tape works nicely in providing support. Now that I've figured all of this out, I'm running on surfaces and in areas where I can get in the miles virtually pain-free. On Sunday I headed to Hidden Mesa Open Space in Castle Rock and enjoyed a relaxing 12.5-miler on the trail, climbing 1,100 feet and dropping 1,100 feet. I'm confident my shin is improving and that I'll be able to run wherever I want in a few months. Until then, it's a good thing I know my limitations.