2012 was my second full year of running, but despite that, I had a few lofty goals. Some of my goals were reasonable and well thought out. Others were a bit of a stretch and probably unrealistic. Either way, they served some purpose, even if that purpose was purely an educational exercise.
I didn't realize how few medals I took home until I took this picture. I think that's a result of more trail races and ultras, and fewer marathons in 2012.
I am fairly analytical when it comes to this sport and I track certain metrics and key performance indicators throughout the year. I think it's important to understand the inputs and the subsequent results if we intend to truly understand how our bodies perform under varying conditions.
Here are some stats from 2012:
Total Miles- 3100
Avg. Miles Per Day- 8.49
Total Running Days- 336
Total Rest Days- 29
Avg. Miles Per Running Day- 9.22
Total Races Ran- 36
Total Miles Raced- 1392
Average Distance Raced- 38.66
I ran and raced at a pretty feverish pace this year and managed to squeeze out a few good performances and avoid injury all year. But most importantly, I had a lot of fun in the process. I made a lot of new friends, saw some beautiful trails, and spent a significant amount of quality time with my wife. This paragraph alone qualifies 2012 as a huge success in my book!
I assembled a little video recap of my 2012 race season and posted it a few weeks ago. I've never made any kind of video before, so it's not exactly professional, but I enjoy it. It highlights some of my most memorable runs in 2012. You can view it here...
A quick recap of 2012:
January 6th and 7th- I had done the Goofy Challenge in Disney World in 2011 and had some fun, so I did it again this year. I quickly realized why I hate major marathons. No fun at all, but I got in some decent miles by doing the half and full marathons.
I hate road marathons but keep running them anyway. I don't understand it either.
January 23rd-27th- We ran 5 Caribbean islands in 5 days as part of the Cruise to Run. This was an amazing adventure and we'll be back in 2013. The races and terrain varied with each day and each island. It was an amazing time!
Great trail run in Dominica!
Running one of the many beaches we visited.
February 4th- The Rocky Raccoon 100 was a great race for me. I finished in 18:05:35 and came in 12th overall. It was a rainy, muddy mess, but I ran my heart out and had a good day!
Sub 24 buckle!
Celebrating with the volunteers! A well earned beer!
February 25th- The Febapple Frozen 50 is a challenging trail race in New Jersey. It was cold and windy, but I managed to squeeze out an 8:21:36, which was good enough for 3rd place overall.
Freezing my butt off!
March 3rd- We traveled to Mississippi for the Mississippi 50. Another rainy and cold day but I ran well, scoring a new 50 mile PR of 8:05:26 and came home with a 5th place finish!
Coming to the finish!
March 17th- We traveled to Virginia and ran the Instant Classic Trail Marathon. It was a great course and a fun race on a challenging trail. I had a slow finish of 4:10, but got some good miles and had fun.
26 miles done...385 yards to go!
April 7th- We traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico and ran the Cedro Peak 45 miler. This was a brutal race with a ton of elevation change. It killed my legs but I loved the course.
I'm only running this hill because my picture was being taken.
April 14th- Back in Virginia for the Bull Run Run 50. A week after destroying my body in New Mexico, I wasn't feeling great, but managed a 9:07:32 finish. This race has amazing trails and it was a BLAST!
Hot day in Virginia!
April 21st- Back in PA to run the Hyner View 50K. This course is ridiculous. This was the first year of the 50k and I had to jump into it, but it was brutal. I'm glad I did it, but there is no need for a repeat. NEXT!
Going out fast because the next 30 miles will be SLOW.
April 28th- Delaware Trail Triple Crown Marathon is one of my favorite trail marathons. The course has a great mix of terrain but is pretty runnable throughout. After a brutal month, I managed an 8th place finish.
Finishing another fun trail marathon.
May 6th- Jo ran her first full marathon at the Potomac River Run. I came along and paced her for the entire distance. She did an amazing job and made me very proud. I was tickled to be there for her first, despite running 26.2 miles on the mind numbing tow path.
So proud of Jo.
May 11th- The Zion 100 was my first DNF and it stung. I made a lot of serious mistakes during this race and I learned some valuable lessons, but the cost was high. I enjoyed the 42 miles that I did run and I will be back in 2013 to set things right.
May 19th- The Dark and Dirty night time trail race is really just a big drinking contest with some running mixed in. As always it was a blast!
My 6th beer of the race.
June 2nd- I ran the Old Dominion 100. This is the second oldest 100 mile trail race in existence and is steeped in history and tradition. It's a tough race, but I had a lot of fun and finished in 22:07:56. This is a race I intend to revisit.
Beautiful and hard earned.
Mile 70 and feeling strong.
June 9th- I had contracted Lyme Disease at Old Dominion and was very sick during the Laurel Highlands 70 mile trail race. I started the race and intended to make it to mile 19 at a minimum. This represents the toughest section of the course, so completing that would give me some level of satisfaction. At mile 19, I stepped off the course and called it a day. This is one of my favorite races and I'll be back every year to celebrate this run with all of my friends.
Me and the boys pre-race.
June 23rd- I ran the 25 mile OSS/CIA night time trail race. This race was very challenging, and extremely fun. I was still battling Lyme Disease, but managed to suffer through the run and still have a good time.
Finishing a tough 25 miles.
June 30th- We traveled to New York once again. I had run the Finger Lakes 50 miler in 2011 and came back for the 50k in 2012. This race is very low key and has a great course. If I get a chance, I'll be back someday.
These ladies are chasing me.
July 15th- We were back in Leadville for the Silver Rush 50 mile trail race. I simply love Leadville and I love this race. It's a brutal battle, but well worth the effort. I finally managed to break the sub 10 hour goal I had set for myself. I was satisfied...until 2013 anyway.
Pleased with a "decent" run.
July 21st- We traveled to Vermont for the Vermont 100. I managed a sub 24 hour finish but I didn't really enjoy this race or venue. It's not a race I plan to revisit in the future.
Getting dark and hating things.
August 18th- I ran the Leadville 100 for the second straight year, but suffered severely. After vomiting at mile 40, I never recovered and stumbled my way to a 28:33 finish. My most disappointing finish ever, but more lessons were learned.
Winfield headed back to Leadville.
September 2nd- The Labor Pains 12 hour trail race is like a big family outing. All of our friends are always in attendance and we get to spend the entire day running through the woods together. Like last year, I ran 50k then spent the remainder of the day pacing close friends as they worked towards a new mileage goal or finish time. Jo completed her first 50k at this race and made it look easy. This race will always be on my calendar.
Getting ready for Jo to rock her first ultra!
September 22nd- Virgil Crest is a very tough course. I ran the 50 mile race and felt like I worked hard the entire time. 10,000 feet of gain on extremely technical trail really has a way of slowing me down. But it was fun and I'm glad I ran it.
45 miles down, 5 to go...and it's all downhill!
September 29th- While house hunting in Utah, I stumbled across the Layton Marathon and decided to run it at the last minute. The first 10 miles of the course are awesome. The next 16 sucked. Good training miles.
Another road marathon? Interesting...
October 13th- I ran the Oil Creek 100 and loved it! The course is tough, but very fun and beautiful. I ran hard, had a great crew and pacer and finished with a time of 22:34:39. This is not a flat and easy course but it is a blast!
I love this buckle!
Me and my pacer, Jason. Will somebody bring us some beer?
October 20th and 21st- Jo and I ran the Runner's World Half Festival in Bethlehem PA. We ran the 5k and 10K on Saturday, then the half marathon on Sunday. We saw a lot of friends, ate some good food, and got in some decent training miles.
Jo and I enjoying the festivities.
October 27th- We traveled back to Arizona for the Javelina Jundred. I ran this race last year and really enjoyed. It's like a big running party in the desert. The atmosphere can't be beat and the trail is a lot of fun. I ran well and managed to finish 8th overall with a time of 19:48:52. It was an amazing weekend!
Another JJ100 sub 24 buckle!
Tired and hot.
November 3rd- A week after Javelina, we traveled to Moab for the Moab Trail Marathon. This was a very challenging, but beautiful course. My legs were spent from the 100 miler but I still had a decent run and a lot of fun.
One last climb!
November 17th- We traveled to Maryland for the 50th running of the JFK 50. I understand this is a big popular race, but I didn't see the attraction. Been there, done that. NEXT!
Tow path. Enough said.
December 15th- We traveled to Tennessee for the Lookout Mountain 50 mile trail race. I took a bad spill early in the race and struggled to make it to mile 23, where I decided to drop. Things happen in this sport. We deal with them and move on.
Coming to mile 23 and ready to call it a day.
2012 was a very educational year for me and I hope to build on that as we move into 2013. I'm a smarter runner and that will hopefully translate to better races and better finish times.
I'm grateful for all the people that support me though all of these adventures, especially Jo. She's an amazing partner and I'm lucky to have her by my side. I'm also grateful to all the people that serve as crew and pacers for me. I know it's a tough job and I owe all of these people a huge debt of gratitude. I'm also very grateful for the love and support that I get from all my friends in the running community. Without all of them, none of this would be worth doing.
And thanks to the people that take the time to read my blog. I'm always appreciative of the feedback and support. Writing about my adventures is often much more entertaining than actually doing them. At least in the short term. As the pain fades, the memories shift to happier thoughts.
I hope to see all of you on the trails in 2013.