2007 is about to close so I’ll take this opportunity to reflect back on my adventures. Unlike 2006 when I was sidelined for a few spring months with Illial Tibial Band Syndrome (ITBS), 2007 was essentially injury-free. I met many of my goals this year, and missed a few others.
Favorite moment being an ultrarunner – Boston Marathon – With a furious Nor-easter bearing down on Boston, it was comforting to know that 40-mile-an-hour headwinds, 40 degree temperatures and torrential rain didn’t really bother me. I figured I only had to run three and a half hours! I’d be done shortly after lunch. In the end the rain and wind let up. I had great fun.
Most memorable DNF – Jedediah Smith 50k – I went out with Eric Dube and while chatting on the second lap found out he was running a sub-4:00 pace, far too fast for me. I was aiming closer to 4:15-4:30. Yet, I felt comfortable so I stayed with him and felt really well clicking off the miles - until mile 23, when I suddenly, totally blew up and knew it was over. It sure felt good to run like that for 23 miles. I’ll be back to Gibson Ranch to try again.
Stupidest DNF – Way Too Cool 50k – I didn’t want to race, so I went out to have fun. This led to picking newts off of the trail so runners wouldn’t step on them, which made me miss a turn (stayed on the WS Trail). Once I knew I was possibly off-course, I didn’t turn around. I wanted to see if I was correct that the trail would lead me to the bottom of Ball Bearing Hill. It did. I sometimes need to take things a bit more seriously.
Best performance – Miwok 100k – With a goal to run sub-11:00, I kept about 10 minutes ahead of pace the entire race. No low moments, except for the 2 miles on the Coastal Trail where my contact folded under my eye-lid. Then at Pan Toll losing it in the dirt, cleaning it and getting it back in my eye (thanks Pete). Passing a few very good runners on the last leg out of Tennessee Valley let me savor my accomplishment.
Most Unmemorable Moment – Wasatch Front 100 Mile – Leaving Brighton aid station (mile 75) at 4 am with my pacer Rob Evans. After tossing my Cliff Bloks and walking a few hundred yards, I don’t recall how I got to the top of Point Supreme (10,500 feet). I remembered following a light, Rob’s. When we were among all the rocks on the crest I recall wondering how we had gotten up so high. I do remember running down in the morning light 20+ miles to The Homestead. Simply the hardest thing I have ever done.
Best Time Pacing – Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile (USATF National Championship)– Running with Rob Evans on the last 50 miles, through the dark, cool, starry night with Lake Tahoe glimmering below. Our Tuesday night running group finished 1st (Jasper Halekas), 2nd (Mark Gilligan) and 2nd Masters/10th overall (Rob Evans). It certainly helped me during the year to run with such talent.
Paris Hilton Moment - Showing Skin in a Dirty Magazine - I had the privilege to run up and down, several times, the Claremont Hills in Oakland for photographer Corey Rich. He was contributing pics to a Trail Running Mag article on the trails of the East Bay Hills penned by Garett Graubins. I still stand behind the rope line at all the clubs, but not at my local running store, Transports.
Best Blogpost – Scott Dunlap’s Fighting My Demons at the Mt. Diablo 50k - Simply the best thing I read on the Internet in 2007. It captures Scott’s unique struggle on a difficult course with the help of his fellow runners. The cast of characters and the quality of their camaraderie is a testament to the ultrarunning community. After reading the post, make sure to read the comments. It’ll show you why runners set out into the mountains with such people. You don’t run alone, but with a compassionate band of sisters and brothers.
Tomorrow is a new year, full of adventures, friends and surprises behind every bend in the trail.