With training starting to ramp up, now is a good time to look back at the last couple months and to look ahead to the rest of the year. One hundred percent, this was my strongest season of racing yet. It definitely started a little rough at Caumsett. The weather obviously played a huge role, and I certainly wasn’t ready for a race that cold. Even with the crappy weather, I still made some bad decisions, like going out too fast, wearing the wrong shoes, and failing to adjust my expectations when things started to go bad. Even still, medaling at another USATF national championship was still pretty cool, but my time was about 20 minutes off of what I wanted. Live and learn, and hopefully my road 50k next spring will be a little better.
My Hyner 50k was pretty much exactly the opposite of Caumsett. I started with a game plan of running hard on the flats and non-technical sections while knowing that I was going to give up some time on the creek sections and technical stuff (my uphills were surprisingly good). I executed this plan to a ‘t,’ getting third in a super competitive race on a difficult year. My time improved by nearly 20 minutes from two years ago on a course that was significantly more difficult.
And there there was the granddaddy of them all – Kettle. After the disappointment from last year, I felt like I had a vendetta against this race and a lot of demons to overcome. My game plan was to go out easy, but still try to finish as quick as I could. Ann Trason once said that the way to run 100 miles was to walk the hills and run everything else, and that’s exactly what I did. Aided by Boggs for the first 40 miles and Joe for the last 40 miles, I was able to stick to everything as close to perfect as I could the whole time. All of the conscious changes that I made from one and two years ago worked very well for me – I sat down at every aid station, ate real food for as long as I could, and stuck to running everything but the hills.
I will forever be amazed at just how long I was able to keep running; never in a million years would I imagine that I would be pushing it in from Bluff (mile ~93). It’s hard for me to imagine that I was able to podium at Kettle – even though I knew that a hot/humid year was going to help me, I never thought that I would be able to put everything in place in perfect harmony with the weather; it was kind of like a perfect storm (pun intended). Kettle was essentially like Hyner but 4 times longer – I executed my game plan right from the get-go and never wavered from it despite some harsher conditions than I would have hoped for.
Having such a good spring season really makes me excited for the fall. I’ve already gotten in some good runs this summer (summer training is the absolute best), and I’ve decided to open up with the Allegheny Front Trail Race the first weekend of August, followed by Tussey (USATF 50 mile road championships), and then the Philadelphia Marathon. This means another season with a good amount of road running (I’m fine with that) and trying to get some solid speed work in (also fine with that). I don’t think I lost all that much from the two weeks that I took off after Kettle, so I’m pretty excited to see what I can do this year.
Spring 2017 results:
3-5-2017: USATF 50k road championships (Caumsett 50k) – 3:50:23, 10th
4-22-2017: Hyner View Trail Challenge 50k – 4:55:01, 3rd
6-3-2017: Kettle Moraine 100m – 19:51:47, 3rd (tie)
Fall 2017 schedule:
8-5-2017: Allegheny Front Trail Race 50k
10-8-2017: USATF 50-mile road championships (Tussey Mountainback)
11-19-2017: Philadelphia Marathon