"It never gets easier, you just go faster." - Greg Lemond

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 in Review

What a fantastic year.  Looking back at 2012 I realize how lucky I am to have had so many amazing experiences and the ability to connect with nature in such a profound fashion.

The total mileage for the year was 4975.1 miles, only 25 shy of 5000!  Had I realized I was going to be so close several weeks ago I might have tried to get in a few more miles to even it out, but in the end this is just an arbitrary number.  I also noticed that I ran top 10 in all my races this year, which is an encouraging sign.  However, what is most important, I think, is that I am just as energized and enthusiastic about ultrarunning as I have ever been.  A new found ability to push myself further and faster than ever before has me seeking new running experiences and wondering what the limit of performance might be.  I will be looking to explore this avenue in 2013.

With no further philosophical rambling I now will present my "best of" list from 2012 and think back on some of the greatest experiences I have ever had in my entire life.

Top 5 runs of 2012.

1.  Great Smoky Mountain National Park - I was lucky enough to visit this park twice in 2012 and the trails there are truly something special.  There is one run in particular that really stands out in my mind. Jason and I were out for almost 6 hours navigating to the top of Mt. LeConte via the Boulvevard trail and then bombing hard down Alum Caves trail.  It was our very first run of our trip and we took full advantage of it.

2.  Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - I'm not sure if I can remember a run that was quite so pleasurable as this one.  Ben and I had beautiful weather and the trails almost entirely to ourselves.  Day after day we explored the national lakeshore and everytime we ran to the lake I just wanted to stop and stare.

3.  Mohican 100 mile - Hard to explain why this is one of my favorite runs of 2012.  It was probably the hardest, mentally and physically.  I came into the race overtrained and did not have the mental focus required to have fun while running 100 miles.  Somewhere in there though, at about mile 55-60 I realized I had a shot at finishing, and found some serious energy and turned on the boosters and finished strong.  I learned a lot at this race; including being patient with your body.

4.  Tecumseh Trail Double Marathon - It'd be hard not to put the TTDM in here.  This was just good fun with friends.  If you've never run b2b marathons with a bunch of like minded dummies, you should think about trying it.  And the highlight of running a marathon is that you aren't totally destroyed afterwards and still feel pretty enthusiastic.

5.  Potawatomi Double - Not sure how many times I've run this trail since I first attempted it in 2009.  Maybe 50, maybe more.  Its technical in areas, rocky in areas, steep in areas, and very runnable in other areas.  Some days it totally beats me down leaving my legs feeling like lead, some days I fly up and down the hills and float over the roots.  So when I was getting ready for the spring racing season, I headed to the Poto and ran a solo 36 mile training run in the woods.  Strange that all my other "top runs" of 2012 were with friends, but this one was solo.  It was an awesome experience - running the 18 mile loop 1x usually leaves me feeling satisfied with my effort - but just this one time I decided to push and do it twice.  I'll aim to do this again in 2013 as it was an experience in self discipline and determination.

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