I loved this year! I’ve been on a blogging hiatus since August. However, for my own edification, I really want to capture 2010 because it was terrific.
I started the year wanting to become a “strong” (for me) 50K runner, coach, enjoy Boston, and tackle the 100. I had a fabulous coach in place, an RRCA coaching certification under my belt, and a 10-month race schedule laid out in front of me.
The first memorable experience was WayTooCool, where I hoped to break 6:00. Didn’t come close. There was mud, mud, and mud, and I came in at 6:15 some what perturbed with myself. My coach, always encouraging, noted that I beat my prior WTC time by 45 minutes. He doesn’t know that last time I ran my partner got ill, we walked a huge chunk, and ended up in the ER.
Next memorable experience, and a total highlight of my year, was the Boston Marathon. I had worked very hard to get there and felt as close to elite as I ever will. My mom and stepdad joined me, which was awesome. In fact, I think their joy and excitement was almost equal to mine. My friends David and Craig were also running. Craig is one of my best running partners, and the man who’s wisdom I credit with getting me to first break 4 hours. David is a relatively new friend, one I coincidentally made at the start line of a marathon in 2009, but we decided to take a chance and enjoy being Boston newbies together. It paid off in spades. We both PR’d! We both qualified for Boston at Boston! What a feeling. It made me confident that being at Boston was not a one-time fluke; I truly deserved to be called a Boston Marathoner.
Following Boston was a classic JW move. In my own mind, I turned a 50M drop into a 50K age-group win. I started the QuickSilver 50M and ran incredibly strong. So strong in fact that while I started in the back of the pack, I slowly moved my way up and up and up the ranks. I remember texting my friend, Lynn, something like, “I have passed like 15 females in the past hour.” QuickSilver isn’t an easy course, but it felt like I was gliding. Only problem was that I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to go be with my boys at the Santa Clara Cub Scout Jamboree. So I quit. I stopped at the 50K and called it a day, catching up with my family by lunch. The classic JW move is that I realized in the 50K distance I had won my age group (unofficially as you can’t change distances once the race starts). In my mind, I didn’t DNF. I won. I can make lemonade out of any lemons. It’s a gift.
On July 18th, one day before I turned 38, my friend Kim and I ran the most memorable trail run I have ever done, The Tahoe Rim 50-miler. It is the only race from 2010 that I know I want to do in 2011. It was remarkable and breathtaking. There is no way to describe it. I ran solid the entire day. As tough as the course, Kim and I kept quoting Dori from Nemo, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” We did. And 13 hours later, we were done.
I credit my coach, Bryon Powell of iRunFar, with the results of the first half of my year. Every goal we set, we met. Now it was time to turn our attention that the 100-mile beast.
However, around mid-August I decided the 100-miler was not for me, at least not now. I became obsessed with training and running. I was neurotic and compulsive and I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. It became a chore. I had accomplished 11 ultramarathons in 18 months and that doesn’t count the marathons I did during the same time. I was coaching, blogging, race directing, training, racing, stretching, eating, eating, eating. So I dropped out of Javelina and took a break. I stopped tracking my mileage. I had no race plan. I stopped blogging. I stopped volunteering. I stopped coaching. I dropped Twittering. I stopping logging into Daily Mile. I just stopped thinking about running.
But I never stopped running. In fact, since August, I have completed four more runs of at least marathon distance, as well as some other shorter races just for fun. I still average 50 miles a week, give or take. I still run with my friends and my club. And I still give coaching advice and create plans for free. And I still love it. Once I “just stopped” it became fun again. All the races I have done since have been kind of last minute, relatively speaking. And I have done surprisingly well.
Which brings me to my next memorable adventure, the PCTR Santa Cruz Mountains 50K. You see, after all that stopping and not worrying or fussing or tracking, I actually won a 50K. Not just my age group, but the whole thing! Granted I was one of only 7 females, but you can’t win if you don’t play. To win a PCTR was so cool. I was with my friend Kevin and I remember the moment he said, “You know, I think you might actually be in first place.” We weren’t going fast and I certainly wasn’t in-it-to-win-it, but once I realized I was ahead (which, for the record, was about an hour before Kevin realized it), I wasn’t going to lose my place. To hear a spectator shout, “First woman coming through,” was one of my best running moments, best personal moments. It will probably never happen again. I wear my winner’s hat and drink from my winner’s mug all the time. It was, in a word, a thrill.
The final event of the year was the Coastal Trail Runs ZombieRunner Bay Trail marathon (or what I call, “The Race with the Really Long Name”). I ran it last minute, on a whim, so that I could join my friend Lynn for the day. We have been running partners for almost seven years, but we don’t do too many events together. Adding to his always delightful company was a winter storm, which made for a killer day of wind, rain, muck, mud and fun. Our times weren’t anything to write home about with two exceptions. Lynn actually ran an almost perfect marathon, with practically even splits. This is incredible in normal conditions, but to accomplish such a thing while braving the elements was a true feat. In addition, I placed 3rd. This will never ever happen again in the history of my marathon life. I made the podium, in a marathon. Heh heh. Fun!!
And so my 2010 year ends. I don’t know how many miles I ran or shoes I went through, but I became a “strong” 50K runner (for me anyway), coached a number of people, experienced Boston, and bailed out of the 100 mile. It was a terrific year!