Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - Best Year Ever

I have done these annual reviews for 5 years now. It seems like every year I set new highs for piling up amazing running experiences. But this year definitely tops the list. Hard to imagine I can top this one.

FOUR EPIC Bucket list experiences

FOUR huge Loopfests
A new post-college high in miles with 1,381.

Only one Age Group PR, in the last race of the year, but this year wasn't about speed as much as about just enjoying the hell out of anything that came my way. So let's get started then...

I began the year on injured reserve; Still nursing plantar fasciitis that had me down for about 3 months and hurt for about 8. But I started to "run through it" in January and slowly ramped up the miles. By the time Surf City rolled around, I only had 22 miles in, but I went ahead and ran the 13.1 and managed to finish without re-injuring myself, in 1:48:49. Plus I got to run with the Sauce. Win.
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And of course the loopfest was awesome.
In the Spring I increased the mileage and got back in shape. Got back to regular Saturday mountain goat runs. Threw in a couple of 5Ks for fun.

21:07 and 21:14 showed me most of my speed hadn't left me.
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By May I was ready to race hard. Another Loopfest was on tap in Cincinnati, with the Flying Pig. I got to duel with PegLeg and race up and down some big hills to a 1:40:54. And, of course, partying with loopsters is always memorable, heart-warming and mojo-boosting. More new loopsters to meet. Plenty of old friends to hang out with.
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pig 099June brought the first bucket list item - the Western States 100! Now I am not ready to run such a long and difficult race. But I was ready to crew it. So I acted as crew for the incredible Mild Sauce, got to hang out with the legendary Matzi, and stayed up all night and got a taste of this epic event.

July brought two more races. The annual 4th of July 5K again showed I was not quite ready for PRs, as I managed a 20:48. Getting closer though.
Then another half in Ventura where I was laid low by the heat, and struggled to a 1:43:11.
I also squeezed in my first 1 mile race on the track in 30 years, and surprised myself with a 5:52!

August brought another Loopmeet opportunity, as RunDanRun and family stopped by. Of course we found a local 10K to race.
Then it was up to Portland. After three years of trying, I was finally able to put together the Dream Team of Loopville All-stars to run Hood to Coast. It was everything I had hoped for. Beautiful places to run. Tons of fun in vans. Pitch black night running. But the best part was the incomparable Loop camaraderie. Great times.

In September, it was time for another Loopfest at Erie. Met some more loopsters. Good times. And my race was a fine breakthrough to a 1:35:14.
Two weeks later I was off to the Grand Canyon, and did a Rim to Rim run that was just amazing. Despite the rain during the climb, it was an incredible lifetime memory.
I tried to follow that up with a 10K the next week, but the legs were still pretty tired, so I cruised to a 45:33.

Oh, and by the way, I was training for a marathon. New York City! The last big marathon on my bucket list. More loop meets.

And the race went great as I powered through the wind and hung on for a 3:36:02. I was one of a record 50,564 finishers. So now I have run in the biggest marathon ever, and probably the most notorious marathon ever (Boston 2013 with the bombs).

A prior commitment meant I had to come back and do a half six days later. And the tired legs responded pretty well in Santa Barbara, allowing me to do a 1:38:51.

After that I survived the Turkey Trot 3 miler in 20:29

And then I finished the year by getting my only age group PR of the year in my 14th race with a 43:08 10K, despite getting beat by a tree.

Last night's run put me at 1,381 miles for the year - the most mileage since 1980.
Hoping for over 1,500 in 2015.

So I am finishing the year healthy, fast, and excited for 2015! So far I am scheduled for a 10K PR effort on Super Bowl Sunday, a Ragnar relay in Miami, the LA marathon and a BQ attempt in March, and the Cherry Blossom 10-miler and Loopfest in April. After that, we'll see!

Thanks for the memories and the inspiration!

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