Last year proved to be a pretty good year for me: I finished two Olympic distance triathlons and pushed myself through my first 50k ultra trail running race. At the beginning of this year I decided to forgo triathlons and really focus on distance running and slimming down a bit to improve my overall speed. In January I began to increase my mileage again and I set some pretty large goals. The largest of these goals involved challenging myself with a pretty hefty race schedule divided into half-year segments.
For the first six months I basically wanted to lay the groundwork needed to achieve my big end of the year goal, rerun the Tortoise and the Hare 50k which was my first race beyond a half marathon that I ran last November(details here), and possibly push my limits of distance and duration further than I had previously. I figured I would start off the year by focussing on my training for the first couple of months and then test myself with a few 12 hour duration ultra races and concluding with a whopping 24 hour ultra race. I figured if I avoided fixed distance races I had more freedom to push my distance. Of course I managed to add a few 50k+ distance races and a relay race into a race schedule that was supposed to be laied back and easy-going for the first part of the year.
Milestones January – June 2015
- 1044 miles ran/87,444 feet of elevation gain/317 hours ran
- Finished first marathon ever!!! Did not intend to run the Thrill in the Hills 42k to completion as I am slow and figured it was a training marathon and I would not meet cutoff. Managed to make cutoff and raced well beyond the time I expected. Finished in 7:30 hours. Details Here
- Added two 50k+ mile races at the last-minute: Bear Blaster 50k+ (34 miles) which I ran with my friend for his first ultramarathon race (Details here) and Double Top 50k which was a grueling mountain 50k with 6,000+ feet of climbing (Details Here).
- Ran my first and second 12 hour races. In the first 12 hour race I accumulated 37 miles, bypassing my best distance of 34 miles previously (Details here).
- Ran my first 24 hour ultramarathon at the Midsummer Night’s Dream Ultra and managed to accumulate 55 miles, increasing my previous distance PR by 18 miles (Details Here).
- First podium finish in an ultra race. I took 3rd place in the Midsummer Night’s Dream Ultra.
- Ran my second Ragnar Atlanta trail and third Ragnar relay.
- Got up at 1:30 A.M to run up LeConte in the Smokey Mountains to witness the sunset.
Obviously I have become a one-sided athlete as I am totally committed to improving my trail distance running ability. At this moment I am really enjoying the hours I am spending running on trails with challenging elevations and I am enjoying pushing my physical limitations associated with distance trail running.
My goals started out pretty simple for the beginning of the year, but I managed to add additional races and challenges to my training and racing schedule. These challenges though have pushed me further than I expected to be able to go and have altered my second half of the year expectations. Originally my big race was the Tortoise and the Hare 50k in November and improving my completion time. Now my immediate big goal involves running a 50 mile distance race in September with a steep amount of elevation as well as a performance improvement in the Tortoise and the Hare 50k.
With these refined goals and a very challenging and rewarding first six months of the year completed I now look forward and begin to prepare for what the second half of the year will entail. I know I will have a few months of solid training before running another race. With my large 50 mile race and 50k performance improvement goals I know I will need this valuable time to work on my running base of fitness and endurance. As I look to my immediate future I know on race day I will be ready to push myself once again and I know this second half of this year will be just as incredible as the first. Time to get to work, time to prepare.
Til next time.