As 2012 winds down I look back feeling fortunate for all the year's great running adventures. It has been a tough year in certain respects but it has been a highly successful year in others marking it one of my best years of ultra running.
In the spring, I tried for a speed attempt of the full Tonto Trail in the Grand Canyon and it straight up kicked my ass. That demoralizing experience forced me to deal with the fact that I've been feeling pretty worked since the previous "large volume" fall when I had a DNF at the Leadville 100 mile run at mile 76 and then, only a month later, successfully completed my long time nemesis, the 90+ mile Hole to Hump from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top of Mt. Humphreys in 26 1/2 hours.
After my setback on the Tonto, I decided to not attempt anything super long the rest of the year. I wanted to "reboot" by taking it easy and allowing my body to heal from the past few years of injuries and fatigue build up. I made goals to do some focused exercises to strengthen weak areas (to prevent injury) and to hold back from pushing too hard or too far on anything else the rest of the year. I made a point to not really go more than 50 miles in a push unless it was super casual pace and I was most definitely not going to attempt anything pushing 100 miles no matter what. I didn't want to get injured this year and was not psyched on the lingering fatigue issues, I just wanted to get out and have some adventures, really enjoy running, savor exploring new wild places and get back to the root of why I run.
Now, looking back at 2012, I am really happy with how I have stuck to my goals and produced a year of no injuries and less fatigue. In the process (although not memorable times on any of this stuff) I have achieved on of my best years of running, in terms of "getting back to the root of why I run," by running more new, remote trails than in any other year. It has been a very good year for my running and I feel very fortunate!
My most memorable longer runs of the year included:
S. Bass, Tonto, Bright Angel Trail linkup 60 miles (during a failed Full Tonto Trail speed attempt). Read my Tonto attempt report here.
John Muir Trail (Mammoth to N. Lake above Bishop) 55 miles
R2R2R Grand Canyon 43 miles (my 5th double crossing so far)
50 miles in Sequim, WA pacing Chuck's 80 mile run on his 80th birthday. Very inspiring Chuck! Read Chuck's entertaining and detailed report here.
Looking ahead to 2013...with a baby on the way and all the other stuff that makes life busier and busier who knows what running adventures I'll experience. At the very least, I hope to continue this trend of taking care of my body and, at the same time, getting a "healthy dose" of running adventure in. Less injuries and fatigue is a good thing. I am learning from the years, bit by bit, and hoping to have a more sustainable, long term, approach to ultra running. With 2012 almost in the books, I'm thinking that I am on the right path... we will see.
Here's to adventure!