Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Good

While the mainstream media has been at it since Thanksgiving, I've just barely started the annual tradition of "the year in review". I looked a bit into my lackluster training numbers from '09 yesterday but today I want to focus on some of the positives from my year. The events, races and training sessions that stood out for me for one reason or another.

In March I managed a few buttery smooth snow rides and got Brian out on his first at Fairland.

After I joined DCMTB early in the year, my first real race as a member was 12 Hours of Lodi Farms. I'd never done the race and had only ridden with my new teammates a handful of times before this race. The race itself went well and the 2 teams we fielded placed well and took home some loot. This was the first time I'd ever placed in a mtb race and the first time I'd ever won loot for placing in anything. That, I have to say was pretty cool!

In May I got out for a great ride (on a pretty sweet bike) down in the Tennessee Smokey Mountains while visiting Knoxville for a wedding with Aimee. This was one of the first big rides I've done on real mountain roads (the trails were wet unfortunately), with sustained climbs and descents. This ride was all about fun, aside from hiding from the lightning and crazy heavy rain...

In June going into the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey race at Quantico, my team had some fairly low expectations. I was riding the rigid SS Jamis since the Scalpel was still busted from Big Bear and neither Leland nor I really felt like we were in very good form. We managed to ride strong and hold on for 4th in our Category which included the 1st place DCMTB "A" team. The team as a whole did amazing as well with 5 of our 6 teams taking spots on their respective 5 deep podiums and claiming 1st, 2nd and 5th overall! My success was cool, but even better the team atmosphere of having so many DCMTB'ers there and doing so well was an absolute blast!

2 years ago I'd tried to make the Pittsburgh Triathlon my first triathlon. I ended up hurting my shoulder and baling on that one which I always regretted a bit. This year though I convinced two of my closest buddies from college to do it with me and this time it actually happened. The race was fun and the weekend with some of my favorite people in the world was even better. Every time I go back to Pittsburgh I'm left wishing I'd never left it in the first place. On top of the great trip I took first for the first time winning the 25-29 age group with Cole standing next to me on the podium. Awesome!

In August I started ramping up my running with my eyes set on completing my first Ultra Marathon before the end of the year. My two long trail runs before the main event were both memorable runs; just me, Cassie and some rain. One at Patapsco and one on the Potomac Heritage Trail itself. I need to do more of these, minus the jacked stuff and busted window.

The Potomac Heritage Trail 50k went better then I could have imagined. Teaming up with Matthew at the start was probably crucial to my run but the atmosphere of the race, the volunteers and fun course all made for an excellent first ultra. Better yet I met someone willing to join me/drag me out on the longer runs and hikes I've been trying to get out for with a home base out near the mountains to begin with.

I've run a few Turkey trots over the years but not too many have been very memorable. This year's was a bit different. I'd been aiming to break 20 minutes in a 5k for a while but the vast majority of my 5k runs have been the tail end of a sprint triathlon and I'd been unsuccessful at sub-20. This year I ran to super-local (less then a mile from my front door) and small, Gobble Wobble to the tune of 19:31 and even managed a 2nd place finish to boot. Thats the first time I've ever placed anywhere near the top 10 in a running only event and while it wasn't fast enough to really be something big, its still something neat to me.

A couple of weeks later I managed to get out to meet Matthew (new PHT 50k buddy) for a long run/hike up the Dickey Ridge Trail in SNP as the snow fell around us. It was great to get out and go out there despite a tweaked knee for Matthew and the heavy and deep near the top snow fall. That was exactly the kind of trip I need to do more of, especially with the climbing falling somewhere in the range of 3000' or so. Compared to my majority dead flat runs around home this was pretty epic.

And, that basically brings us to now. Over Christmas break up the NEPA I got out for 2 runs on the trails of the Delaware State Forest near my folks' house in the Poconos. There was nothing especially noteworthy about these runs on their own but the proximity to my parents house, the technical and rocky terrain and the amount of trails available there all combined to make me very excited about the area. My second run on the 27th especially left me eager and ready for my next trip to see my folks up in the mountains. Well, that and the company of course!

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