Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Year in Review

Looking back, 2010 sure had it's share of highs and lows. It all began with a PR at the PF Changs Rock & Roll Marathon in Phoenix, followed by two months of painful IT Band issues. By mid-April, I was back to full strength and the miles increased through the month of May, leading into the Flagstaff 50K on June 12th. After a good showing there, I was looking forward to the Devil Mountain 50K in July taking place in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Three days until I left town, my Explorer's radiator blew and I had to cancel the trip. The silver lining here was having the opportunity to join a group of guys from Phoenix to climb Mount Whitney in California, which is the highest peak in the contiguous United States at 14,496ft.

The Pikes Peak Ascent was only a month away now and I could continue my hill training into August. This would be one of two major races in 2010 in which I held high expectations for myself. Running hills (or should I say mountains) in the higher altitudes of Arizona became a summer theme that I really enjoyed, mainly because of the crew and the good times we shared. Nine days out from stepping on the plane towards Colorado, I fell running down Camelback Mountain, injuring both knees and straining a hamstring. Not again I thought! I chose not to prolong the injury by running, and stayed home to rest instead. The next few weeks were fairly inactive until the middle of September when I picked things up a bit and joined a 3-man team with Rob & Matt for the Paatuwaquatsi 50K ultra relay, which we won. October 3rd would give me a chance test the legs at the Xterra 20K, except I came down with a respiratory/sinus infection before the race. My lungs couldn't keep up with the workload I forced upon them, although I did fight my way back into a 3rd place finish.

Two weeks later I faced one of the world's toughest road marathons, and I was more than ready to put me hill training to the test. Muscle Milk sponsored a group of runners (including myself) to take on the Mount Lemmon Marathon, which would climb 6,000 feet uphill to the top of Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona. Hands down, my favorite race of the year, cannot wait to run it again in 2011. Thanks to Muscle Milk for all their support.

Then came the much anticipated inaugural Sedona 50K in November. I tapered my way down from the previous marathon and felt great going into what would be an incredibly scenic trail ultra circumnavigating the city of Sedona, AZ. A battle ensued early on, and after getting lost on a few separate occasions, I gutted it out and shared the win with a friend of mine after 5 hours of rugged trail running. The year would end in a bittersweet fashion after a falling short of reaching my goal at the Xterra Trail Run World Championships in Oahu, Hawaii. I had a number of things working against me on this one, so in hindsight, my overall finish wasn't all that bad. There's always next year, right?

Well, I finally eclipsed the 2,000 mile mark on the year (2,042 to be exact), and let's just say my legs are a bit tired. That number would include both hiking and trail running miles for 2010, and the overall elevation gain was approximately 407,000 feet of total climbing. I was typically training on my feet 4 days per week, two shorter more intense runs during the week, and two longer more moderate treks on the weekend. I averaged 40 miles weekly and 170 miles per month. Thanks to for tracking my stats.

All things considered, 2010 was a pretty good year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in Phoenix

Over the past few years I've stayed in Phoenix during the holidays, and just love being able to explore my own back yard with the few extra days off work. On Christmas Eve I joined a group of people from the WMRC (Wednesday Morning Running Club), for a trail run through Phoenix Mountains Park, led by Honey A. We ended up running about 13 miles with more than 2000ft of climbing. It was a nice run, and even nicer group of people. The running community out here is great!

The Sunday after Christmas, Matt, Robert and I drove out past the foothills of Ahwatukee, AZ to the end of Chandler Boulevard where new trails have recently opened on the West end of South Mountain Regional Park. Eager to see what lied in store for us, we climbed several switchbacks from the beginning on our way up trail #1 towards the National Trail. I was loving every minute of it. Steep climbs, stunning views, and a fast paced trail along a ridgeline high above the city that eventually looped back around to where we started. Sure Christmas doesn't feel the same without the progression of seasons or the white stuff falling from the sky, but hey, where else can you run in shorts and a t-shirt in late December?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Week in Oahu, Hawaii

Here's a recap from a few of my hikes and runs in Hawaii...

Saturday - Ran from Waikiki to the Summit of Diamond Head Crater

Sunday - Xterra World Championships - Kualoa Ranch, Oahu

Monday - Kealia Trail Hike - North Shore, Oahu

Tuesday - Kamehameha Highway Trail Run - North Shore, Oahu

Wednesday - Olomana Peak Hike - Kailua, Oahu

Thursday - Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail Run - Makapu'u Head, Oahu