Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010, The Year Ahead

Here we are with Christmas over and New Year’s Day approaching. Did Santa bring you everything you wanted this Christmas? It’s a good time to reflect further on the year and look forward to the good things ahead in 2010.

The first place to start is to look back at the goals I set forward in 2009 with my actuals immediately following:

1)Raise $18,000 for development programs with WHM in Uganda
-$3500 raised
2)Run sub-30 hours at Badwater (if accepted)
-Ran 31 hours, 33 minutes
3)Get weight down to 169 lb. from a high of 181 lb. last year
-170 lb.
4)Run sub-2:50 marathon by the end of 09’
-2:51:59 at CIM, a 8.5 minute PR
5)Run sub-18 hours 100 miler
-20:31 at Javelina Jundred (100)
6)Finish top 5 at a 100 miler
-8th at Javelina Jundred (100)

It seems like with most of my goals, I came up just a little bit short. In some ways, it was a reflection of my choice to challenge myself. But in other ways, it was a reflection of a need to dig a little deeper. For goals 2 through 6, I was ahead of the target in the second half each time but just came up a little short. At Rocky Raccoon 100, I made an error in pacing and let some physical ailments overwhelm me mentally. At Badwater, I allowed my mental and physical exhaustion to overwhelm my focus on the goals at hand during the climb up Whitney Portal. At Javelina, I didn’t take care of my electrolytes consistently enough. Coming up just a bit short let me know that you can’t just get 70% right and sit on that in this sport. You have to keep fighting and work smarter to get that 30% righted when it does get off track. There is a struggle that takes place in each competitor throughout the course of these long races that takes a consistent attention to detail to overcome. I’ve gotten much better, but it continues to remain key to unlocking my own potential in 2010.

The two complete races where I came in right on my target were the following: the 4:25 5th place at the Angel Island 50k, which I used a tune-up for Badwater, and the 7:25 5th place finish I posted at the Firetrails 50 Miler, which I also used as a tune-up for Javelina. I’ve gotten much better at the shorter races, which is evidenced by these results as well as my 2:51 at CIM. These shorter races allow for more leeway as far as taking care of electrolytes or even the fatigue that comes with running through the night.

But…..when you come that close to so many goals, that is also a sign of good things to come. I like setting goals which will challenge me and cause me to dig deeper. I like goals that I can look at and honestly not know whether I’ll meet all of them or none of them. Goals should cause you to look beyond your current situation. They should have concrete gating points you can do continuous self-assessment, but also have an air of imagination and planning of where you want to be. Some goals should have much greater than 50% chance of happening and others should have much less. 2009’s been a solid year, but I want 2010 to be a great, more aggressive year. So, here are my 2010 goals:

1) Raise $10,000 for development programs with WHM in Uganda
2) Run sub-19 hours at the Western States 100
3) Get weight down to 164 lb. or less from 170 lb.
4) Run sub-2:42 marathon by the end of 10’
5) Run sub-18 hour 100 miler
6) Finish top 3 at 2 races and top 5 at 3 other races
7) Run sub-7:05 at Firetrails 50

The first goal is always try to take care of business with regards to the well-building program in Uganda. I’ll be rolling out a new fundraising program this year, although on a different scale with a different focus. I really enjoyed the fun run last year I helped put together, so we’ll see about partnering with Injinji and some other companies again to put on some fun events. The scaled down dollar amount is more a reflection of having a little less time to put in and a focus on probably 3 key events related to that fundraising. I ran out of steam last year, but doing a trail fundraising run in Los Angeles (Running For The Wells L.A.) is high on my list of things to do this year.

The rest of goals are meant to build upon my successes and increased leg speed at the end of 2009 and also develop consistency to my racing (goal 6). If I hit the time goals and didn’t hit the placing goals, I would probably still be pleased. The two race-specific goals are at the Western States 100 and Firetrails 50.

With a big fat DNF emblazoned on me from 2007, I owe Western States a much better effort to say the least. With an 18% (approximately) chance of hitting the lottery, I came up golden and intend on capitalizing on the opportunity. I also came up golden on the Miwok 100k lottery for the race held on May 1st here in Marin County, which will serve as the perfect all-out tune up effort. I hesistated to put a goal out there in cyberspace for Miwok, partly because I want my eyes squarely on the prize no matter what kind of race I post.

While Western States is clearly the 100 mile showcase race in the ultramarathoning world, Firetrails is a local Bay Area race that I’ve developed an affinity for due to its excellent race organization, tremendous views, and all-around good people whether runners, volunteers or race organizers. The proximity of the course to me also affords me a great opportunity to “baseline my fitness” against specific course sections prior to the race. It also allows me to do it with family and friends there to support me and lend a hand to get me in and out of the aid stations with supplies all ready to go. Besides, everyone loves “their” local race.

About the only thing on this list not race related is the weight goal. I found that to be a great help to me in the 2nd half of 2009 and believe it will be a big key going into Western States all the way through my fall goal marathon as far as allowing me to push the pace even more. At this point, I might be joining a local running club but I need to clear up some potential sponsor conflicts. It would be good to add an even greater social component to this long distance running that often takes us deeper into our own minds with the levels of isolation. While I enjoy running with people like Rick Gaston and others during training, it would be even better to expand that running social circle. I am friends with others who are runners, but the team component might help further harness my competitiveness for the sake of things outside of myself.

I’m still working on the race schedule for 2010 and apart from the Miwok 100k, Western States 100 and the rescheduled Angeles Crest 100 (from those fires last year), it’s still wide open. Is there another Badwater in line or is it time for a break? Is there a Rocky Mountain 100 in there? Maybe an East Coast Race? The New York City Marathon? Maybe a 50 miler down in So. Cal? We’ll see….. :)

For now, I'm in the midst of "Christmas Camp". I'm into day 9 and at around 132 miles. Hopefully today and tomorrow will help cap that off nicely and get my going into the new year after a short break after CIM in December. Happy New Year and may your lives be enriched and may your lives enrich others. God Bless.