Monthly Archives: December 2009

2009 Year in Review

This is my second annual “Year In Review” post. In last year’s YIR post not only did I revisit the events of 2008, but I also set some goals for 2009. This year in addition to reviewing what I did in 2009 I’ll need to look at how what I did compared with what I said I was going to do. 2008 was a banner year for me so I set some lofty goals for myself in 2009. The first goal on the list was “run when I can and have fun doing it”. A little vague but that just makes it easier to fudge the results. I would say I did not meet that goal, but went above and beyond that goal. I competed in a record 23 events in 2009. Did I have fun? You bet I did.

2009 started out well enough with a PR at Resolution-Revolution, but in March I began having some issues. While running the Sam Costa I pulled my left calf at mile 9. My pace slowed a little, but I managed to hang on for a half marathon PR. I thought the calf was healed, but then it flared up again at the Mini. This time I was smart enough to ease off the pace and not totally trash my calf which was good because the following weekend I was going to need my calf at the Dances With Dirt 50k. I guess a good romp through the mud and hills of Brown County is all my calf needed, because it did not bother me again the rest of the year.

My next goal was to do a sprint triathlon. I actually started prepping for this in December when I dusted the cob webs off my 1991 Specialized Allez and took it in to the shop for some badly needed, long overdue preventive maintenance. I bought that bike back in 1992 with the intention of doing a triathlon. Good intention, poor execution. In January I was making regular visits to the Avon Intermediate School Pool. One day in January one of my friends asked me to do him a favor. He wanted me to agree to do a triathlon with him, he had never done one either. This was his lucky day because I was already planning to do just that. Well, then the bottom fell out, my job was eliminated on February 3rd. Making plans for a summer triathlon suddenly wasn’t a top priority. Fast forward to June, I was still looking for a job, but my economic situation wasn’t as dire as I feared it would have been. I again started thinking about the Indy Sprint Tri at

Entering the water at my first Tri, July 18, 2009

Eagle Creek on July 18th. I only had a few weeks to prepare. I started riding my bike. I went to the pool and tried to swim 500 meters non-stop. I made it. Now confident I could finish the swim; I signed up. Doing that triathlon was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It blew the needle off the fun meter. I was hooked. I almost immediately signed up for the August event. I shifted my focus from just running to riding and swimming. The second tri was even more fun than the first one. My son did this one with me. We even crossed the finish line side by side. I will never forget hearing Don Carr say, “It’s the Haights from Avon, Jeff and Konrad”. It was awesome. I managed to squeeze in a third tri in September. For this one the swim was in a pool. I can’t wait for next summer. The other day while running the snow-covered trails along the bluffs overlooking Eagle Creek Reservoir I was day dreaming about swimming in that lake.

The last goal didn’t turn out so well. This goal was to run a 100 mile trail run. I guess I could say this goal fell victim to the economy, but the truth is more like I just lost interest in doing it. Whatever the reason even now I don’t have a burning desire to do a 100 miler. Maybe some day, but no immediate plans.

As I stated earlier, I did 23 events in 2009. Five of those events were 50k trail runs. Actually one of those was supposed to be a 50 miler, but I DNF’ed at 34 miles. I only ran one marathon, that being Tecumseh. If you are only going to run one marathon, Tecumseh should be the one. I ran three half marathons, setting a half mary PR at the Sam Costa in March, I love that race. I also PR’ed the 9 miles at Resolution-Revolution, I think that course is a little short of 9 miles, but still there is no better way to ring in the New Year. I also set a 15k trail PR at the DINO race at Ft Harrison. Lot’s of highlights during the year, the triathlons, running the Indy Half with my son, priceless. Total miles for the year was down a bit from last year, 1061 miles. Of course this year in addition to the running miles I managed to work in over 40,000 meters in the pool and more than 300 miles on my bike.

So, what’s coming up in 2010? Good question. As always, run when I can and have fun doing it. I will definitely do some sprint triathlons this summer and I definitely want to up the ante and do an Olympic distance or half Ironman. I’ll need to spend even more time in the pool and in the saddle to make that happen. I thought I might do fewer events this year and focus more on training, but that thought flew out the window when Brooks unveiled the 2010 I.D. Race Series. The more races I run the more points I get, the better my chances of winning prizes. Top prize, not that I have any chance of winning it, is travel, hotel, and entry to one of the Rock and Roll marathons. Looks like rather than running fewer events this year I’ll be trying to beat last year’s record of 23. The only other goal I have is to run a spring road marathon and try to qualify for Boston. I don’t want to actually run Boston, but I would like to qualify for it.

As always, make the New Year a happy one! See you at the races!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

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Good News, Great Joy, Etc…

Good news! Brooks renewed my membership in their ID program. This year they’ll be giving us a team singlet and shorts. Also there are more incentives to run races. For each race I run I get points. At the end of the year there will be a grand prize winner, 10 regional winners, and state winners. I can’t imagine I would even come close to winning the grand prize, but it’s a nice prize a rock and roll vacation package for two, as in travel, hotel, and entry into one of the rock and roll marathons. Brooks is the exclusive apparel supplier for the rock and roll marathon series. There will also be random prize drawings throughout the year. I’m very excited.

Had a couple nice runs and a swim so far this week. The frigid wind on Tuesday was trying to form snotcicles on my face, but I was generating just enough heat to melt them into a gooey mess. Much warmer run today. Shorts and t-shirt.

I decided to skip HUFF again this year. I’d rather give my knees some recovery time. I also decided against running the 5k’s of Christmas race. After the good showing at the Drumstick Dash I was thinking I could finally break my 5k PR, but I haven’t really been training for it. Maybe next spring, after getting in some good speed workouts. Besides, with the Brooks incentive, I can see myself running lots of races next year. One race I won’t be skipping is the Resolution-Revolution. It isn’t really a race, but I always run it as though it were. I can’t think of a better way to start off the New Year.

Tecumseh

In a typical year there are very few days that would not qualify as good days to run in the forest. Snow, rain, hot, cold do not automatically disqualify a day from being a good day to run in the forest. Seriously, who wouldn’t rather be out running through the forest than sitting at a desk regardless of the weather? While I might not describe this past Saturday as a perfect day; it was an absolutely beautiful day to run in the forest. This was fortunate since Saturday was the 7th running of the Tecumseh Trail Marathon. It was my 4th Tecumseh. For the first two I was neither a trail runner nor a marathoner. I missed last year’s race only because I was in Sacramento that weekend running the CIM instead.

Tecumseh is a challenging race. Dean Karnazes, who ran the course as part of his 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days challenge described it as “Hardcore”. There are plenty of hills, rocks, roots, and creek crossings. The water in the creeks seemed to be a little higher than normal this year. Many of the crossings had stepping stones to allow for dry passage. But not all had such luxury. At one crossing I walked across on a half rotted log about 6 feet above the water. I used that same log three years ago. I doubt it will still be there next year. At other crossings I just resigned myself to my fate, a cold wet foot.

The sun was shining brightly at the start and there was little or no wind so it actually felt warm despite a temperature in the low 20’s. It is still hunting season so the race instructions say to wear bright colors. I was wearing my Brooks Nightlife top which according to Ed was blinding in that sunshine. One thing that makes Tecumseh so challenging is getting the pace right. In a typical road marathon I can knock off mile after mile at a consistent pace and know from the start it is a pace I can sustain to the end. Not Tecumseh. I often make the mistake of starting out too fast. This is a huge challenge for me at Tecumseh, because a sustainable pace at the start will feel ridiculously slow. I started out at what felt like a pretty easy pace. Only after it is way too late did I discover it probably wasn’t easy enough. I reached the aid station at 9.7 miles about 6 minutes faster than I ever have. I’m not sure exactly where the half way point is, but I hit the top of Indian Hill Road in 2:07. I still felt pretty good at that point, but that hill definitely sucked some of the life out of me. By around mile 15 I could feel I wouldn’t be able to sustain my pace to the finish. Still I kept pushing myself. At the aid station around mile 18 there was still a glimmer of hope for a sub 4:30 finish. When I reached the aid station around mile 21, I knew there was no way I would beat 4:30. I didn’t give up completely. My legs were trashed and cramping, my tank was empty. I ran as much as I could from that point which wasn’t much. I was making frequent stops to allow others to pass me. The last few miles on the west side of Yellowwood Lake are some of the toughest miles of the race. There aren’t any big hills, but lots of little ups and downs, lots of roots, lots of little creeks. I jumped over one creek and my calf cramped up so bad I’m not sure how I managed to land on my feet. Also, there are several spots where you can see that darned dam, so you know just how far you have to go. Of course the base of the dam isn’t even the end; there is still a little over a mile to go from that last aid station. It is gravel road all the way except for the last hundred yards through the campground. I was determined to run all the way to what is always labeled the “last hill”, literally painted right there on the road, but I didn’t quite make it. I had to take a walk break before the hill, which by the way is NOT the last hill. I guess it depends on your definition of hill. At this point in the race anything going up no matter how slight is a hill and there are a couple rolling hills after the “last hill”. Once I reached the top of the “last hill” I think I ran all the way to the finish, maybe a half mile? It was all adrenaline at this point pushing me. In the last 50 yards or so I heard someone yell out “good job Jeffro”. Not sure who it was, almost no one actually calls me Jeffro, but it’s always nice when someone is there to cheer you on to the finish. 4:53:53. Not my best, not my worst, but as always a great day to run in the forest.