Here's how 2012 went down:
I started the year with a lot of road running, getting ready for the LA Marathon. In mid-February, about six weeks out from LA, I ran the Ventura Half Marathon. I finished in 1:26:09, beating my old PR by almost three minutes. All during training for LA I thought that maybe I could run sub-3, but after Venutra, I decided that I should go for it. I knew it would be tough, but thought sub-3 was attainable.
In the end, even though my 3:11:08 at LA was a two minute PR (from NYC in 2006), it wasn't even close to 3:00 and the race felt like a pretty big fail. At least I got some good pictures.
(photo by Colin)
The simple explanation is that I went out too fast and fell apart. I also didn't appreciate just how hard running sub-3 is. Missing my goal by that much and doing it in such dramatic fashion took a psychological toll and the mental recovery was harder than the physical one.
In the spring, I signed up for White River 50 (July) and Bear 100 (September). So, in May, June, July, August and September, I ran and ran and ran.
Throughout the spring and summer, I did a ton of training with Lukas, who was also training for the Bear 100. We did most of our runs in our usual trails in the Palisades, but over the course of the summer, we also ran the entire 68 mile Backbone trail both ways in a series of 25-35 mile out-and-back runs. There were some sections of the Backbone that I was already very familiar with, but there was a 20-25 mile stretch that I'd never run before. Getting out there last summer will hopefully serve me well during the Coyote Backbone Trail Ultra (March 30-31, 2013), my first really big scheduled raceof 2013.
In May, I got out to the AC 100 course for the first time in nearly two years. Colin, Sally and I had a fun, long day running the first 26 miles of the course. There was still snow near the top of Baden-Powell.
(photo by Colin)
In June, while on vacation in Hawaii, I ran to the top of Haleakala and a few days later summitted Mauna Kea.
(top of Haleakala)
(at 13,000 feet, about 2 miles from the Mauna Kea summit)
In July, I ran the White River 50 near Seattle. White River wasn't my best executed race. Again I went out too fast and paid for it - I totally fell apart in the last six miles and pretty much limped to the finish. But with a few months of reflection, I'm really happy with the race and my performance. And the course is beautiful.
(official race photo, Glenn Tachiyama - Mt. Rainier in the background!)
(photo by Elizabeth)
In August, I helped crew and pace Rod at Leadville. It was a blast going out and supporting him through his first 100 and was a great reminder of how "fun" ultras can be.
During late August and early September, as I was finishing up prep for the Bear 100, I made it out to Baldy and the Angeles National Forest a few times for long runs at elevation. Dom took Lukas, Brian Fuerst and I out for a particularly memorable adventure that started with Bear Canyon up to Baldy, then went down and up some crazy terrain over to the ANF, turning around at Guffy Campground and heading back.
(photo by Dom - one of the ridiculous climbs on the backside of Baldy)
(on top of Baldy headed home)
Between the terrain, elevation, climbing and heat, it was one of the hardest runs I've ever done. But I finished that run feeling like I was in a good place for the Bear.
Then, on the last weekend of September, I ran the Bear 100. It was a great way to close my summer of running. I'm really pleased with how the race went - in terms of my time and overall place and how I felt throughout it. Sure I had some low points, but in general my spirits were high and I was never concerned about finishing. We had great support out there - Drew, Lauren and Jeff were fantastic crew and Drew's pacing through the night was the key to my PR and sub-24 finish.
(photo by Pat Sweeney - around mile 20, the colors were beautiful up there!)
(photo by Lukas)
(photo by Lukas)
My plan all along had been to take the entire month of October off from running. Instead, the moment I felt reasonably good, I started running. And before I knew it, I'd run 90 miles that month. A couple weeks of increased running in early November and then, inevitably, my right knee went into full scale revolution. I was initially concerned that I'd torn the meniscus, but once the swelling went down and the pain eased and I figured I just needed to take some time off. An MRI confirmed that there was no structural damage. I took three weeks off from running and in early December started it up again. This time I was smarter and eased back into the running. I feel like I'm still easing back into it. Thankfully (knock on wood), my knee is feeling pretty good.
For most of the year, I barely got in the pool. I swam a little in January and February when I was still considering doing some triathlons, but once that was off the table, swimming went by the wayside. After the Bear, I started swimming a couple times a week, mostly with Evan. When I got injured and had to take a break from running, I swam even more. October, November and December were big swim months, even by my former Ironman-training standards. Swimming with Evan made swimming fun - he's a "real" swimmer and we spend most of our time doing shorter, faster sets (25s, 50s, 100s sometimes) instead of the long steady (read: boring) triathlete-style sets I had been doing for so many years. Since the pool is a half-mile from my office, I don't have any excuse not to keep up some swim volume, even when I increase the running.
I barely rode at all in 2012 and nearly all the miles I did ride were during the first four months of the year (when I thought I was still going to do some triathlons). After April, I only got on the bike outside four times, including one fun ride in North County San Diego with my Dad. Obviously, the timing of when I stopped cycling coincides with my decision to sign up for a couple ultras. I'd like to say that I'll ride more in 2013 and maybe I will but if things go as planned, the numbers won't be anything impressive.
Also after the Bear, I started doing semi-regular yoga at Moksha Yoga LA. It's hot yoga and even the "easy" classes are pretty intense. I don't think I ever made it through a class without having to spend time in child's pose to catch my breath. When I had my knee issue, I took a break from Moksha and never really got back into it. Doing yoga (or some other kind of strength/core work) once or twice a week absolutely has to be part of my 2013 plan.
Here's 2012 by the numbers:
Swim: 102,808 meters (63.9 miles)
Cycling (outdoors): 593.4 miles
Cycling (indoors): 8:30 (hours)
Run: 2,510.7 miles (my biggest running year ever, average over 6.8 miles per day)
Strength Training/Yoga: 50 sessions
Approximate annual total training/racing time: 567 hours
One other thing that stands out from the numbers is the ratio of racing time (or miles) to training time (or miles). I spent about one hour racing for every 15 hours I spent training (includes all training - run, bike, swim, yoga, etc.). Or, one mile of racing for every 12.3 miles of running in training (I excluded all other training for this one). I definitely enjoy training more than racing and think that the high ratio helps me have good races, but I'd like to do a few more races in 2013 than I did in 2012.