Flashback to December. The race season is done and the miles are in the bank. Winter Break. A well-deserved feast of low miles and high caloric input. The runner’s bacchanalia.
11 months of the year we set the alarm at 4:30 AM, lay out our running gear, curse the forecast, decline the invitations and discreetly load Katy Perry songs on our iPod. And on more days than not, we do the work. All so we can wallow for a glorious month in the sloppy mess of holiday-infused non-running decrepitude.
Yet we miss that very thing from which we would distance ourselves. Absence indeed does make the heart grow fonder. The yin of sweet leisure pines for the yang of sweet effort and we steel our minds for the coming campaign.
Finish line blurs and we once again find ourselves toeing the start. With 162 miles of training through January 16, I am already fully invested in 2015. But we’re not yet racing and it’s OK to take a quick glance over the shoulder at the year that was:
- New Orleans Rock ‘N Roll Marathon (3:45:48). Let’s face it, the marathon is just an asterisk on a trip to NOLA…just an excuse to reminisce about all the things you miss from December. 100% humidity run, but a great weekend…some of which I remember.
- Napa Valley Marathon (3:39:35). Let’s face it, the marathon is just an asterisk on a trip to Napa. Great week in Napa, Sonoma and San Francisco with good friends and some awesome trails.
- Howard Aslinger 24-Hour Endurance Run (115.528 miles in 24 hours). Not sure why I entered, not sure why I kept going, not sure why I won.
- Boston Marathon (3:50:00). Running 24 hours just a few weeks before Boston ensured that I would continue my 7-year streak of not running all that well at the greatest footrace in the world. This run and the entire weekend was a joyful, redemptive lovefest following the bombings last year.
- Grandma’s Marathon Double (53.1 miles in 8:06:00). 3-time winner and still champion.
- Leadville 100 Trail Run (28:19:57). My third LLAMARAMA and third buckle…certainly the toughest race of my life. Would not have finished without my family/crew and pacers. They taught me you can do more than you think you can, you are better than you think you are.
- Grand Rapids Last Chance Marathon (3:31:36). Last minute race with Chris Russell that provided the opportunity to run on the last day to BQ for 2015 and the first day to BQ for 2016. Got my BQ for 2016 by +8 minutes.
- Chicago Marathon (3:27:44). After missing the Boston cutoff by ONE SECOND, I guess I had something to prove. Ran well on a perfect day for a +12 minute BQ.
- Kaity & Jake’s Wedding (60 ft in 23.8 secs). I thought walking Kaity down the aisle would be the toughest distance covered this year, but I sucked down a Salted Carmel GU and finished strong.
- Rockin’ Rockwoods 50K (6:19:46). Challenging trail run with lots of up/down, rocks/roots, falls/swearing. And I won.
But the impetus to NOT to hit the snooze button at 4:30 AM has little to do with the past and much to do with what lies in wait.
- New Orleans Rock ‘N Roll Marathon (Jan). First serious training run of the year for Boston…it will be a slow speedwork session punctuated with crawfish, po’ boys and Abita.
- Howard Aslinger 24-Hour Endurance Run (Mar). I swore I would NEVER run this race again. Yup.
- Boston Marathon (Apr). Well, I found a charity that would have me and will be running my 8th Boston in a row in April.
- Grandma’s Marathon Double (Jun). Defending my title for the 4th time…and hoping I might have some competition this year. Grandma’s Marathon #16 in a row for me.
- Leadville 100 Trail Run (Aug). If you find my mind wandering, it’s probably at 12,600′ on Hope Pass. Looking forward to a shot at a fourth buckle.
- Chicago Marathon (Oct). This will be #10 in a row…what can I say, I’m a streaker. Always trying to recapture the glory of that first BQ back in 2006.
- ???. Something else will pop up. It always does.
You may recall that I BQ’d for 2015 but missed the cutoff by ONE SECOND. Not that I was bitter or anything
yes he was. Through the help of some friends and with a fair amount of groveling on my part, The Hole in the Wall Gang accepted me into their Boston charity slot program. I couldn’t be more pumped to run for this special group that helps kids with cancer, sickle cell, HIV and other serious illnesses.
Tami and I contributed the first $5001 toward a $15,000 goal and the tally currently stands at $7427 . . . that’s a pretty good start! Many, many thanks to Al, Jean, Claire, Noel, Lonny, Pacer Dan, Linda, Basil, Debbie, Laurie, Steve, Bruce, Shelley, Pacer Susan, Daughter Kaity, Son-in-Law Jake, Corinne (Mom!), Leslie and Craig! You are all full of awesome and I can’t thank you enough.
Want to learn more about the Hole in the Wall Gang and the hope they provide for seriously ill kids? CLICK HERE. I promise it will be the best feel-good click of your day!
Thanks for joining me on this journey through 2015, I’m glad to be on this 365-day ride around the sun with you.