Friday, December 25, 2009

2009 Year in Review and 2010 Race Calendar

Last year at this time I was swimming, floating around, and splashing Erica in the Gulfo Dulce while on our honeymoon in Costa Rica. We decided to take our honeymoon before our wedding for a couple of reasons. 1) We knew we were moving to Portland, OR shortly after our June 20th wedding and 2) It is just brutally cold in Ithaca, NY! The warm, tropical weather down there made it difficult for me to NOT go looking for some epic trail runs, even though I said I was going to just take it easy. So, after a stellar 2008 race season and a short break, my training started in the jungles of Costa Rica for 2009.

I must say it is nice to be back in the states for this holiday season. It was a little weird sweating my butt off while kayaking on Christmas day last year. So now, as I sit here next to our little Christmas tree, I am able to reflect on all the amazing things that happened in my life over the last 365 days... and some things that I learned.

When I got back to central New York in mid January I could tell that 22 days in that climate really conditioned me physically and totally replenished my spirit. I kept on going and as cold as it was I continued to hammer the hills of Ithaca through snow, sleet, and sub-zero temps. One of my training partners Michael W. introduced Gunn Hill repeats to me and I really started noticing some high levels of fitness. In February I signed up for the H.M.R.C.C. winter marathon in Albany, NY. You can read the race report HERE. I decided to run it on no taper and part of a 104-mile week as an up-tempo long run. Well...I had a great race...ended up winning in 2:47...and left the race with a big ego. Lesson learned.

From that point on I continued to train like I was some super-human machine that didn't need any rest or recovery. I had all these great race plans for the year and, in hindsight, was unable to control my enthusiasm. After a couple hiccups in my training I was still able to make to the starting line for the H.A.T. 50K down in Maryland feeling pretty confident about my fitness. Again, I had a solid race and ended up finishing third place but toward the end felt some remnants of an old IT Band injury. Uh oh!

Things gradually got worse and I had to skip The North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain, NY. From that point on I struggled with thinking I was getting better and coming back too quickly and then subsequently re-injuring myself. I raced a few shorter distance trail runs and really worked hard to rehab my leg including barefoot workouts (before Born to Run came out!) and Active Release Therapy along with massage. I decided to set my scopes on The Finger Lakes Fifties scheduled for the fourth of July. In the mean time we had a beautiful wedding celebration at Stewart Park in Ithaca on June 20th, I finished up my term at SUNY Cortland, and started getting prepared for our big move across the country.

The fourth of July rolled around and I took off like a bandit on the course of my first-ever ultra a few years ago. About 38 miles into the 50-mile race I felt serious pain and tightness and was forced to swallow my first DNF at mile 40. Ouch! Time went on and, again, I started feeling better and incorporated many strengthening exercises. By late July I had run a 40-miler on my last day in Ithaca and wondered about my future race plans that I had already signed up for in advance.

We made the big move across the country and I made the big decision to give Where's Waldo 100k a go. I'm still perplexed about why and how I was able to finish this race pain free. This race gave me a nice intro to the beautiful state of Oregon and I was very satisfied with the outcome. I went into 100 in the Hood thinking that I was "cured" but after 50-miles found out that was not so. I was able to tough it out and ran the second half of the race on an injured leg. That would be my last race of the year and, even though I still finished in seventh place with a respectable time of 18:53, I know I have so much more in me.

So after finishing my first term at Portland State University and meeting so many great people here I have constructed a plan for the new year. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I'm going to try and learn from some of my mistakes.

Here is my tentative 2010 race schedule:

*Badass 50k fun run (training run)
*Capitol Peaks 34-miler (training run)
*Orcas Island 50k
*Hagg Lake 50k (volunteer)
*Chuckanut 50k
*Peterson Ridge Rumble 30k or 60k
*Capitol Peaks 50-miler
*Forest Park 50k (training run)
*Bighorn 100
*White River 50-mile
*Where's Waldo 100k (volunteer)
*Virgil Crest Ultra 100 or Palm to Pine 100 (same day...haven't decided yet)
*Lithia Loop Trail Marathon
*The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-miler- San Fran.

Whew! that makes me tired just reading it ;o) Now...this is just a tentative list mind you. Naturally things come up, plans change, injury (hopefully not too many this year!) that will cause me to alter this list, but these are the races I have my sites on for 2010. I also want to say that I wouldn't be able to do half of this without such an awesome supportive wife! Thanks babe I love you much! :o)

So will I see you at any of these races?

I look forward to a great year and hope to see you along the way as we dance the trails in the great sport of ultra!

Happy New Year and Happy Trails!!! :o)


Gallow said...

I wish you well in your running in 2010. Keep up the great work.

Yassine said...

Thanks Steve...Happy New Year to you my friend :0)

Derrick said...

Looks like some exciting things coming up!

All the best for the Holiday Season and a Happy and Heathly New Year.

shel said...

hope you come home and do virgil crest. the central NY gang from Ultrarunning Matters will be up at the Rockpile, ready to cheer you on!
keep going with the barefoot training, and the strength training and banish that IT problem for good. hope this is a fast and injury free year for you!

Yassine said...

Derek: thanks and the same goes to you and Sara!

Shel! Thank you so much. That's my plan. Are you running Virgil Crest? I'll have to wait and see about the logistics before I commit, but can already picture you all at the Rock Pile ;o) Happy New Year!