Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 - the year of firsts

Time to bid farewell to 2009.

It has been an interesting year to say the least, with many, highlights, and it is hard to pick one as THE highlight - so I won't.

First off, this blog is almost a year old. I was never sure I would keep it going this long, and yet here I am, and still suprised that not only do people read it, some actually comment too! To those folks, readers and writers, thank you.

I think I calculated that I raced 416 miles this year, beating my old record of 69.5 (2007) miles by just a little bit.

My first crazy stunt of the year was running home from work one Friday afternoon - 29 miles from Raleigh to Sanford.

My first ultra - Umstead 50 miles, which was where I had the eppiphany at the start line. I'm looking around at all these runners' t-shirts - Hardrock, Western States, Leadville etc etc etc. My own race plan went out the window there and then, "do what they do" became the order of the day.

The Boogie - yep, running at night in 90+ degree heat CAN be fun. Really.

24 hours of Laramie. The steepest learning curve of them all. Yep, altitude does make a difference, so does food, drink, electrolytes etc - and if that balance goes wrong, then it can screw your whole day up! I know there weren't many finishers - but placing third does give a boost!

Oh, then I learned about "Fat Ass 50k's" at the Medoc Meltdown. The first thing I learnt is that 50K, does not always = 31 miles - in this case it was 35 miles. I also learnt that beer was the perfect antidote to 35 miles in high humidity, blistering heat and torrential down pours. The can of Yeung I had at the end was probably the most pleasant, well deserved beer I have ever earned. I'll be back Frank.

In July, work meant I was stranded in California for a weekend, so I ended up volunteering at the finish line of the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 with my friend Frankie. I was the guy who took the bottom tear strip off the runners' numbers. It was quite something seeing these amazing athletes finish 100 miles. It definitely furthered my desire to finish a 100 miler myself. I'm planning on doing the TRT 50 miler in 2010, the scenery was stunning, and the race looked incredibly well organized.

Labor Day weekend, the original plan was to pace for my good friend Frankie at the Grand Teton Races 100 miler. Unfortunately, Frankie's race didn't go as well as we had expected, so I ended up being drafted to pace the eventual women's winner, Ashley Nordell for the last 25 miles of her race. I plan on going back to the GTR to do the 50 mile in 2010.

Then we get to Hinson Lake 24 hr, and my own 100 mile run at Boulder, both were great runs and fabulous experiences for me. I will never forget the feeling I had when I crossed the line after moving forward for 100 miles. Let's say that again. 100 miles. And again. 100 freakin' miles!! I will never forget the pain the next day either.

In '09, I joined the Raleigh Trail Runners, and became a life time member the Mangum Track Club (the pups also became members by completing the "shirt run". Both terrific, but different orgainizations, but both filled with great people who run for the pleasure of it. One highlight is the Mangum Track Club's "What's the Point Race", I am pretty proud of how well I did. But more than that, it is great to have met a bunch of people local to me who "get it".

The thing though that really stands out for me - even before my own accomplishments, is the people I have met. From the front of the pack, all the way to the back, I have met wonderful people - many of whom take the sport seriously, and many who just enjoy the camraderie that a really long run can bring out in people.

I have plans for 2010, starting with Weymouth Woods 100K, and I would like to do at least a marathon distance every month (there, I have said it - that's my goal), plus I would like to do 2 or 3 100 mile runs. There will be a post on my 2010 goals in the next few days.

I have one more ultra-related goal in 2009 - again, I am saving the details for another day.

So, farewell '09 - it was a good one. Bring on '10

Happy New Year.


  1. Enjoy Weymouth, I'll be finishing my current cycle out there this weekend. Nice and flat sandy running! Happy New Year:)

  2. You had an awesome year, Jim! You should be VERY proud of your accomplishments! Two 100s . . . fantastic! Can't wait to see your 2010 goals!