Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Year In Review trips to Hawaii this year, and for the first time since it started, I did not participate in the Gold Country Grand Prix, which I missed (figuratively & literally). On the plus side, however, I found a new points series, the Folsom Winter Trail Run Series, which has been a blast through four of eight races. I'm also finishing the year in better shape than i've been in for nine years! I'm cautiously optimistic about the prospects for 2010 - but first, a look back at 2009. By the numbers...
22 races
16 wins
4 course records
1 (once again) slowest ever winning time in the history of an event
a 7 race win streak (22 seconds & a side cramp away from being a 12 race streak!)
By the numbers, the similarities to last year are astounding (17/23 w/a 7 race streak in '08), but I peaked at different times this year (May & Nov/Dec), and finish the year already signed up for two January races...Folsom WTR #5, and the Redding Marathon Relay.
In 2009, I didn't race 'til mid-February due to injuries yet again, and only had eight races under my belt (winning four) from February to June, before having to shut it down again. So I took half of June & all of July off, not letting myself get too out of shape by swimming and lifting lots of weights. I did the swim from Alcatraz in July, which was one of the more fun & adventurous events I've ever done. Every trip to the bay area is marked by awesome eats and some good brew too, so that helped! In August I decided I needed to jump start my lacking endurance stores and signed up for a hilly trail half marathon (at elevation) as my first race back. My time wasn't great, but I hung on to the leader for 11 miles before taking over and pulling away over the last two. After getting "chicked" at a 5k for my second race back, I began the 7 race streak, and started to peak in both my workouts and races by mid-November. I've been able to run 15:53/20:52/26:19 for 5k/4 miles/5 miles over the last three weeks, which, although on the treadmill, are the fastest times I've run in years, and only a couple seconds per mile off my all-time bests.
My favorite races of 2009 (in chronological order, so I'm not tempted to rank them)...
Fresh Tracks Snowshoe 5k (February) - my first ever snowshoe race was a blast. Turi & Dave joined me, so I was in good company, and Dave Cotter was the RD. The weather was perfect, the race fun, and there was hot food afterwards. What more could you ask for?
Climb Claifornia (March) - this being on the list had nothing to do with the results. One look at my face right after I crossed the line, and you know I was NOT happy with that. That being said, this was my first foray into competitive stairclimbing. 3/4 of TLD was there, as was Ron & family, and we had lots of fun after the race. We had great breakfast afterwards, visited the dive that is the Toronado beer bar (visited with Turi & Amber) and debated with Ron & Abby at the Rogue Alehouse about what, exactly, flashing consists of ('til 2 a.m.). Sorry dear...your still wrong on that one. I am currently plotting my revenge on this race in March of 2010!
Run-A-Muck (May) - more with the firsts. First race I've ever done with a 60 foot mudpit. First race I've ever done in a bra. And, I beleive, the first relay I've won since junior college. Throw in some awesome swag that was awarded to Turi & I for our efforts, and even though I didn't run anything awe-inspring that day (in my defense, the football players got me first) it really couldn't have gone any better.
Buzz Oates No Excuses 5k (May) - just a couple weeks later, all of TLD went to William Land Park in Sac, the perfect race venue, for this race. I ran well enough to be quite happy (16:32) and also met up with the Nevada County contingent while there. Steve, Ron, and Therese were all happy with how they ran, and it fun to watch as the age-graded results poured in, Steve narrowly missing the hot seat (50th overall age-graded, winner of a leather recliner). Afterwards, we went to the zoo with the kids and a brewery for lunch. All in all, a great day!
Race For The Kids 4k (September) - this was one of the two big races this year where I did not expect to contend, but somehow came home with a win. On a perfect day and a riverside course in NY, I started at a nearly reckless speed and held it for as long as possible, with ended up being close to 5:00 pace and a win by close to a minute. It remains the biggest race (by # of competitors) that I've ever won. I met DJ Lance and SpongeBob after the race, and went to a brewery in the Empire State Building after walking through NYC after. Did I mention we watched the Yankees spank the Sox the night before the race, and had already visited two awesome breweries in the days leading up to the run. Even with our return flight being as horrific as possible, nothing dampened this trip.
Davis Turkey Trot 5k (November) - this was part of a rare double race weekend, complete with a nice hotel and lots of great food. Throw in another win in a big race that was totally unexpected, along with my fastest 5k in years, and this was a memorable one, for sure. No beer that day (as I had to race the following morning as well) but it was worth it. Through four races in the series, and even though I'd run hard the day before, I managed to put more % points between myself and second than any of the other three races.
Honorable mention to my two June races...the Tahoe Relay & Fitch Mountain Foot Race - both enjoyable and on the docket (probably) for 2010.
Speaking of 2010, I'm still on the fence about what to train for. As much as I'd love to run and contend in the TRT 50k in July, I know that will take a certain amount of endurance training that I haven't done in two years, and I'm not sure that I want to risk my relative good health to do it. Or do I? Dun dun duuuuuuuuun.
Last Sunday I ran 5 miles further than I had in over a year (20.6), and did so at a good pace (6:19 average). It had me thinking dreaming of 50ks instead of sugarplums...for the rest of the day anyway. The next morning I awoke to an all to familiar pain in my right knee that still hasn't gone away, which is causing me to weigh yet again the risks of marathon/ultra training versus what I've been doing, which will still lead to some good times for 5k to half marathons. I don't know when or if that question will be answered definitively, but you'll know if you see a marathon posting on here that I threw caution to the wind.
I hope you all enjoyed 2009 as well, and look forward to a happy, healthy 2010.


SnowLeopard said...

Great breakdown Chris, and super-duper congrats for all your wins! I'm looking forward to many races together in 2010! :)

slowrunner77 said...

me too! are you thinking about Climb CA again?

Gretchen said...

Nice job on an awesome season! So glad our paths crossed a few times for some running and beer drinking, and definitely looking forward to more of the same next year. Hope all your training goes well!!

wife said...

ready for more adventures next year.

Peter Lubbers said...

Impressive, Chris. Hope it will get even better for you next year!