Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 In Review

2012 In Review

I've never done a "year in review", but read a couple others on some running blogs and liked them. If nothing else, it's nice to reflect on what you've done over the past year. 2012 was an interesting year for me. The winter was one of the worst on record, and Tara and I spent most of our time in the park practicing tricks, etc. We did not run, nor did we really climb - just day after day of park. This meant that when spring arrived, our fitness was oriented towards power and short bursts of effort. Park is all about jumping, which translates to power and fast-twitch muscles. On April 1 we did our first run since the previous October. At the same time, because there was no snow over the winter, the snow pack melted extraordinary fast, opening up the Titans, the C Boulders, the Trout boulder, Waitangi Boulders, etc. The previous year it was not until June that we could climb at the Titans (I need to do a post on the Titans and other bouldering we have developed here in Grand County - they were posted on a different blog that I used from 2010-2011). By mid-April we were climbing and running every-other-day. At the end of April I opened "Surfing the Grand" which is a classic V10 boulder problem at the Titans. Shortly after, for some reason, our bouldering motivation shifted (although we still opened new problems at Guanella Pass, the Swamp boulder, and the Titans), and on May 1st we started running 6 days a week.
A problem opened this April at Guanella Pass - nice crimp face.
Surfing the Grand (V10) at the Titans

Along with doing a summer of running, we also decided to do our first races. I've never raced before, and other then doing competitive snowboarding, I've never participated in any types of competitions. Needless to say, the summer was a massive learning experience. Learning to race (and control one's adrenaline) involved most of the summer, and only by the end of the summer did I feel like I was starting to get somewhere with racing. Here is a breakdown of this past summer's races:

  1. May 28th: Sageburner 50K - my first race ever with only 2 months of running. Bonked hard, but still finished in 6:57.
  2. June 2nd: Balarat 21K - after only a week of recovery, I tried my second race. Really tired, but still pulled off a 30th place finish overall.
  3. June 16th: Habitat Hobbile 10K - an easy local race. Got 2nd overall, which was great.
  4. June 30th: North Fork 50K - fourth race ever and 2nd ultra. Felt OK going in, but still didn't have my fueling system figured out, nor was I fully aware of the distance. Got 26th overall in 5:47.
  5. August 4th: Mt. Werner 50K - third ultra. I was feeling much better prepared going into this ultra, and did fairly well despite getting heat stroke at the end and losing a couple places. 15th overall in 5:56.
  6. August 26th: XTERRA Snow Mountain 20K - second attempt at this distance. I was not familiar with it and held back way too long to try and catch anyone towards the end of the race. 6th overall in 1:50.
  7. September 2nd: Breck Crest Marathon - Another new distance, which again my unfamiliarity with proved to be a downfall as I bonked on the last couple miles. 21st overall in 4:33.
  8. September 30th: Snow Mountain Ranch Half Marathon - third attempt at this distance. I did much better, going out faster and holding a faster pace as I knew the race would only be 13.1 miles. 2nd overall in 1:37.
  9. November 4th: Bear Creek 10 Spot - final race of the season, and the shortest. I never trained speed over the summer, but wanted to get another race in before the end of the season to gain experience. 32nd overall in 1:20.

So, nine races in only seven months of running. Not bad, but certainly a crash course. In between, I also put in some good mountain runs:

  • A FKT on St. Louis Peak in 2:19
  • A FKT on the RMNP North Inlet to Tonahutu Loop in 5:37
  • A FKT on the Indian Peaks Three Pass Loop in 5:42
  • A FKT on the full version of James Peak in 3:23
  • A FKT on the full version of Byers Peak in 3:48
Byers Peak
Indian Peaks Three Pass Loop
 The RMNP Loop
St. Louis Peak
 The red dot indicates where I was going on this run along the Divide

All of these FKTs can be lowered, and I plan on working on several of them next summer.  I also am excited about racing next summer, although I have not signed up for any races. I'm waiting to see how this winter and spring plays out. My plans are to keep running over the course of the winter, as well as get in some cross country days to keep the endurance base high (or at least higher then last year). I also have some FKT attempts I want to try. Other then doing the Mt. Werner 50K again (I have a free entry), I don't think I will do Sageburner or North Fork. I'd rather try other races and see other places, but I certainly want to work on the distance, as well as tackle a 50 mile race. 

Overall, 2012 was a blast, and the new shift from climbing to running is very exciting. It gets me back to my roots when I was running and climbing all the 14ners in 16 days. Back then I did mountain runs all the time, but over the last 10 years or so, I've focused more on climbing and bouldering. Now, however, I'm excited to get back to long mountain runs and trying my hand at races. So here is to 2013 and a successful year of mountain running and racing.

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