Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Year in Review

"People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed." - Tony Robbins

What a year 2013 has been.  It started off with a 2nd place finish at a cold and muddy 50k in February.  Then in March I had my first win in an ultra at the Oak Mountain 50k.  After that my wife and I decided to move from Nashville, TN to Charleston, SC.  My running slacked for the next few months until we moved in May but I regained the motivation to start logging miles again after the move. 

I have run this bridge many times since moving to Charleston
I quickly realized that running in Charleston is completely different than running in Nashville.  There are very few trails and zero hills other than a bridge in Mount Pleasant leading to downtown.  A lot of the runners here seem to care more about 5k and 10k times rather than 50 mile or 100 mile times but this has benefitted me greatly.  I have joined several running groups, and I run a lot more track workouts now.  My speed has increased, and I have kept the fitness needed to be successful in ultra running. 

I took another win at the Cremator 50 Mile Ultra in July.  It was hot and I did not eat nearly enough calories but managed to build up a big lead and hung on for dear life in the last 12 miles.  The Cremator helped me take a major step forward in my running because it was in that race that I realized I need to take in a lot more calories and stay hydrated in order to finish strong in my races.  I know this should be common sense but it is easier said than done. 

I tested out my new found epiphany at the Long Cane 50k.  Even though I started off with plans of running the 55 mile option I had to drop down to the 50k due to a knee injury.  I felt great taking gels every 20-30 minutes. Even after 5 hours of running I felt like I could have kept going, aside from my knee issue.  The big test was the last weekend of September at the North Face Endurance Challenge in Atlanta.  I took one hour off of my previous years’ time and finished in 3rd.  I was in the lead through mile 44 but ended up losing it to two great runners.  I took 20 gels in the span of 8 hours and it kept my energy high.  I lost, not because of my nutrition, but because of my fitness.  I finished off the year with a win and course record at Mad Marsh 50k.

Thinking back to the beginning of 2013, I never imagined it would turn out to be such a great year. I had planned some big goals for myself and ended up surpassing all of them. Looking forward to 2014 I am very excited about what lies ahead.  Lowcountry Ultras is starting a points system for their races and at the end of all 5 races whoever has the least amount of points (points are given cross country style; i.e. 1st = 1 point, 5th = 5 points….you get the idea) wins the series.  The winner will get some swag plus entry into all 2015 races.  The races include Delirium 24hr, Bad Marsh 50k, Cremator 50 Miler with the option to run the Double Cremator, Homestead 10x5k and finally the Mad Marsh 50k.  I have all 5 races on my schedule for 2014 as I have every intention of winning the series.  If you think you have what it takes, check out their website and come out and challenge me. 

Also on the schedule for the first weekend of October is the Grindstone 100 in Swoope, Va.  This race has a measly 23,300 feet of climbing and 23,300 feet of descending on some of the most technical trails in the nation.  I get goose bumps just thinking about it.  Here is a description of the race on their website: “Grit, endurance, temporary loss of sanity.  You might need all of these if you want to attempt Grindstone.  If you want to finish, well, just keep in mind this is, without a doubt, the hardest 100 miler east of the 100th meridian.” I have read race reports from all levels of runners, and they have all said this is one of the most difficult races they have ever attempted.

Other than the races I mentioned, I would love to add 1-2 more races to my schedule. Right now I am thinking I would like to add a 50 or 100 mile race in the spring on the East Coast - so if you know of a good one, please let me know. 

Thanks for reading all about my adventures in running the ultra mile. If any of you are ever in the Charleston area, I encourage you to reach out to me so we can go for a run. There’s no better way to explore a new city than through running – trust me.

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