Jan 12, 2015

The Year in Review: 2014...and what's ahead: 2015

It's time to reflect on the successes and shortcomings of the year.  This is one of my favorite posts because I also have a chance to look into the upcoming year and plan new adventures locally and around the globe.  To start, I want to look back on this year and see what I had set out to accomplish when I wrote a similar post on January 2, 2014.  Below is what I wrote at the beginning of 2014 of what I hoped to experience and typed in red is what actually happened.  Unforeseen and notable things are further down in green.
-Run WS 100 as well as I could possibly run it.  I have a goal time in mind and with the right lead up and perfect race it can be achieved. This includes a nutrition plan, training plan etc."
            Didn't intend to start off this way but it did: FAIL.  I did have the right lead up until two hours post Leona Divide 50 in April when I got out of my car and couldn't put significant body weight on my right leg.  That meant no running....for a month!  That basically destroyed any chance I had of doing well at Western States.  It was tough to take because I just PR'd in 7:58 at Leona.  I got injured (not surprising) during the run but finished.  Another year hopefully.
 -Backpack a long-distance route solo in the Arctic Circle.  I am super excited about a particular one.  It will be revealed when plane tickets are confirmed.
           My original intention was to backpack the Kungsleden in Sweden solo, but instead backpacked 300 miles across Iceland which is REALLY close to the Arctic Circle.  It sure felt like it most of the time too.  And it was with my buddy The Onion.
-Break my marathon PR.  I'll probably attempt one in the fall, but not too sure yet. 
            I ran LA Marathon just five weeks after I returned out of shape from South America.  So to be fair, I wasn't close to PR form: I ran a 3:05.  I had signed up for Chicago for October but didn't run it.
-Backpack the splendid Sierra High Route in its entirety in August and in one push.  I have backpacked most of it (200 miles) but broke it up into 2 seasons.  It´s the big brother to the JMT.  Mostly above 10k ft, with 20+ passes, and 75% off trail.  One of the best I´ve ever backpacked.  This years trek would mark my 10 year anniversary/love affair with backpacking.  An idealistic kid with dreams of the wilderness in the Sierras back in the summer of 2004. I owe a lot to that solo experience.  This would be an appropriate way to celebrate it.
           Started it with my good friend, Chris Price.  Took a nice spill coming off Frozen Lake Pass and opened up my shin pretty good.  Took a couple days off the trail to treat it and came back out with Chris but ultimately only completed half of it due to time constraints.  It was a great trip nonetheless.
-Finally, run the length of the Backbone Trail.  I´ve been ignoring the one long(ish) trail that´s in my own backyard!
          Decided not to run the race (which doesn't exist anymore) or trail in one go.
-There are a few other backpacking and running trips this year but they are not set in stone quite yet.  Probably some 3 dayers in spring and potentially a thru hike. Maybe introduce some friends to what backpacking is all about?
          The backpacking trips included Iceland, Sierra High Route, and New Zealand.  I introduced Chris to cross-country backpacking so that counts for something.
-Sub-24 at Angeles Crest 100.  Not really my style to run two 100 mile races close to each other so this might be the only year I do it.
         I just wanted to do this to get a Hardrock qualifier.  I did this 1 week after Iceland and 5 weeks after Western States.  Unfortunately, no hills or heat training was there in Iceland.  So I got my ass whooped and completed my slowest hundo to date, BUT got my Hardrock qualifier. 
-Be a more thorough therapist.  I occasionally see runners at my place from time to time and I usually give the basic stuff but I frankly think it needs more day to day evaluation and treatment.  In light of that I´m going to start seeing patients weekly until I feel their issues are either resolved or I´ve given my best effort.  I´ve received way too much good in this short life so far to not give back.  So contact me if you´re interested.  I´ll start at the end of the month.
         OK, so I did create a website, started seeing runners privately, but since it's so time consuming I charge a $50 fee per visit.
-And one more thing I can't reveal quite yet.  Hopefully soon though.
         I think a few people guessed this.  I asked Megan to marry me and she said yes.  We got married in September.

There were a few unforeseen things this year that are worth mentioning:
-I had a great time running with the VCC (Venice Coffee Club) in the weeks before the LA Marathon.
-Who knew Western States Training camp would be so much fun.  It was like overnight camp for ultrarunners.  A well put together few days where I made new friends, ran with current ones, and saw 70 miles of the course.
-Mt. Russell summit.  A true Class 3 summit in the Eastern Sierra that was simply terrifying at times and spectacular.  Good times with Chris and Erik.
-Iron Mountain summit.  It's been a long time coming and it was a fun one to do with Dom and Andy.
-New Zealand backpacking and running for 25 days.  It was technically our honeymoon and ended up being one of my favorite trips.

As far as this year is concerned here are the things that come to mind now:

-Proper training and performing to my potential in 100 mile races.  These races are still so elusive to me and haven't put the right training in and performed well in them.  I'm so over slogging through another one of them.  I have signed up for Zion 100 in April and I'm 5-6 weeks into my current training program.  This includes strength/conditioning twice a week, mobility/maintenance twice a week and an actual training plan.  I don't know why it's taken so long but I am finally giving the race and my body my undo attention, time, and respect to not only complete it but do my very best.
-LA Marathon! Road marathons aren't really my thing but my hometown one means a lot (especially since I'm running to my apartment essentially) and this will be part of the build up to Zion. My B-race (we'll see what that means when the gun goes off).
-Due to the fact that I have 3 hundred mile races coming up this year (possibly 4), what better way to take time off running than to thru-hike a trail: I've listed the races I'm currently signed up for with the trails I'm thinking about backpacking after them:

-Zion 100 - there are some backpacking options in April but I think I'll hold of until the summer
-San Diego 100 - The 500 mile Colorado Trail in late June/early July, just in time to pace Chris Price at Hardrock 100 in mid-July.  I've done the CT back in 2007 but I just remember being hungry all the time.  It's nice to re-visit this at a different point in my life. Plus, with new re-routes some sections will be somewhat new.  Alternatively, I may do a CO road trip to camp, climb peaks, and enjoy the backcountry for a couple weeks prior to pacing.
-Angeles Crest 100 - Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne (HRP).  After thru-hiking the Grand Traverse of the Alps in 2011 I've been wanting to explore these mountains and I don't think there is a better route (mix of trail and cross country) from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea than through 500 miles of the Pyrenees. 
-Wasatch 100 (based upon lottery) - JMT. A good time to get my fourth thru-hike of this great trail, after the mosquitoes and running season have passed.  Regardless of whether I end up running Wasatch due to end-of-summer 100 mile fatigue I'll still plan on this trek.

-A trip to Morocco may be in store for Megan and I, come September, and that's a region for whatever reason I feel I may have a strong bond to.

The above seems like a lot to me, and I guess it is.  I'll be amazed if it all comes together perfectly, but seeing as I only have a finite amount of years, I say dream big and experience the wonders of this great earth while you can.

First sunrise of 2015. 
"I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." -Henry David Thoreau

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