Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 in review

In many ways, 2008 has been a frustrating year. For the first time in nearly a decade since I tore my knee up playing soccer, I have been dealing with pain and injury over most of the year. Prior to 2008, I have really had some great years with my running,achieving goals and taking on challenges I could have only imagine in my dreams that I would be doing at this age. Over those years I've been doing around 10 to 12 ultra's a year and 5 or 6 marathons, I have only completed two ultra's this year. I did complete 6 marathons but all of them but one were slow by my standards.

Like all years there were other ups and downs but we're not going to dwell on the downs. It's time to move on and look back on all the good things about the year. And there were some very good things because they were times shared with my friends, and that is always the best part of any year.

January got off to a good start at the Frosty 50K. I was hoping for a 50k PR, I missed it but ran my fastest race here in my 5th time running it by over 30 minutes. And afterwards I had the coolest blister ever.

February got off to a good start too with a road-trip to Tybee Island with two of my closest friends, Jerry and Karla. This one was my idea and they just went along for the fun as I attempted to qualify for Boston. I failed but we had a great trip anyway and I got to see several other MTC members there too.

Two weeks later we all went down to Myrtle Beach again for the marathon. It's a great race and a lot of fun because so many friends and aquaintences from the NCRC and MTC run it. I was just planning on running with the Marathon Princess this day which is about my most favorite thing in the world to do. She was a bit disappointed in the time but it was a pleasure sharing the miles anyway.

March was mostly training and then the Umstead Trail Marathon. I like the race and seeing a lot of good friends but in 4 races there I have never ran well. This year was again a slow miserable experience but I got to run practically all of it with my partner in pain, Tony Rouse and that is always a good day.

April and the Umstead 100. I love this race although most of the time I just volunteer. This year I had high hopes of running well and improving my 100 mile PR. I still don't exactly know what happened out there. My legs hurt all day but they weren't a factor in my dnf. But even in such a disppointing result, there was much good going on. Especially gratifying was seeing several friends run their first 100 milers, most notably Dorothy Hunter and the most lovely Jenn. I didn't get to pace the Trail Princess Anita for the first time in 3 years but passed that duty on to my friend Eric Nesbit who did a great job keeping her going and in the process covered nearly twice as many miles as he had ever done. I'll will be taking back over the Princess pacing duties in 2009.

In May I headed off to the Dakotas for the first time ever to run the Fargo Marathon with the amazing Italian running machine and close and dear friend Margherita. I knew I didn't have a qualifier in me but was hoping to run with Margo but I began fall apart before I ever reached the 9 mile mark and had a miserable race. Once again though I had wonderful companionship and got to see a part of the country I'd never seen.

A few weeks later in June, I was back on a plane to the Dakotas but this time to South Dakota with Frank and Karla. This was a great trip and so nice to visit with Karla's family and see where she grew up. We ran the Swan Lake marathon together and although it was another slow one it was a joy to run my 8th marathon with her. And afterwards I had a great vacation in the Black Hills. Cool !

A week later though and I had to drop out of the Boogie 50 at the 1o mile mark. I just couldn't stand the pain any longer and there was no way I could run another 40. I took a couple of weeks off and they got a little better.

As soon I as I got home I rejoined the YMCA to began swimming and cross-training. Margo had gotten me interested in signing up for a triathlon in Wake Forest and I had two weeks to get ready for it. All the Scotts were there as well as Frank and Karla andI thoroughly enjoyed it, my first one in 3 years. And then I got stupid and signed up for an Ironman next year.

And then in July I was back at one of my favorites, the Grandfather Mountain Marathon. I knew there would be no fast time this year. I just wanted to run it for fun and hopefully not damage myself. After the first mile I joined in with a couple of lovely young ladies from Raleigh, Camilla and Lori but after about 5 miles they were going faster than I wanted. About that time I saw my Trail Angel struggling so I dropped back to run with her. We ended up spending the rest of the race together making it my slowest but most enjoyable GMM ever.

Over the next couple of months I would do more biking and swimming than running and participated in a few more sprint tri's. In July I went with Bill and Margo to Burlington for one . Then in August I did one in Chapel Hill. Margo and the Werners were there but it was especially satisfying to see Jenn do her first Tri and do it very well. My last tri was one in Hillsborough that I shared the trip with Margo again.

Over the next several months I mostly just trained but my running mileage was half of normal and the pain wouldn't go away despite the treatments I was getting. I did a couple of more tris and a couple of 5 k's but was really hoping to be able to enjoy the Autumn running.

In October Jenn and I went to the mountains for a nice training run on the Mt Masochist course. I was surprised that my legs felt pretty good and was hopeful they may be getting better but once I was home they hurt again. We went back Nov. 1st to run Masochist. I was not confident at all but just wanted to run as much as I could with Jenn. It actually went better than expected for a while but then I couldn't hold the pace and eventually dropped out at 33 miles. But it was so nice to see Jenn's big smile as she made the finish. I was so proud of her once again.

And then there was Derby 50K. Nice and slow but thankfully my legs held up one final time with very little pain and although it was slow it was the easiest 50K I've ever run and the best job of pacing myself.

And then I quit running. Almost 5 weeks now. Things are feeling a lot better and I hope to test things out on the first.

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