As has been the case for me almost every year in recent memory, I started the year out pretty strong with consistent training, with the exception of a week off for bronchitis just before Holiday Lake. My first race of the year was the Holiday Lake 50K, my third year running it. Knowing that this was the first of three 50Ks in three months I ran this race at a decent effort but controlled and within my level of fitness at the time finishing in 6:55 which was about 9 minutes off my 2016 effort both run under ideal conditions. Next up was Terrapin Mountain 50K, probably my favorite race, with the exception of the trip back down Terrapin Mountain at the very end. Lots of climbing but also a LOT of jeep roads that are very runnable. It is a good mix which I find fun because it is almost like mixing multiple activities into one race. Terrapin went really well, set a PR for the course. Promise Land was up next and that went very well given the super hot conditions. It was in the 90s, humid and first hot day of the year. I raced well but died climbing up Apple Orchard Falls. This was it for races for the year, except for Cacapon 12 Hour which I took super easy, finished strong though with 40 miles in the bag, a typical performance for me at this race. Over the summer I had it in my head that I was going to just start focusing on hills to get ready for Mountain Masochist where I have two DNFs in two attempts. I did a lot of hill repeats. Spent a vacation in the mountains of North Carolina where I just pounded the hills. This got me to be a good efficient hiker and I stayed healthy. However, my running did fall off quite a bit towards the end of the year, so bad so that I abandoned my third attempt at Mountain Masochist. This is when I decided that I wanted to stop hiking so much and start really running. I wanted to get faster. I did some track work and focused on getting my cadence back to where it needed to be. This is also when I contacted Ryan about coaching. Ryan had coached me for years and I have my marathon PR, as well as my 50-mile PR under his guidance. We reset things at the end of the year. Basically, just started over and it worked well. Ended the year with a strong showing at an 8K Turkey Trot and feeling much better about my running at year end.
My 2018 Goals
Going into 2018 looking to defeat some DNF demons of my past, as well as a 50K PR that should be better. This will be the first time in a few years that I won’t be hitting the February – April Lynchburg Ultra Series 50Ks. Those have been fun and challenging events but above all else I want to become a stronger runner and I believe a break from the mountains will help me focus on running better. That said I have some ambitious goals for the year. The main goal is to go back to the C&O Canal 100 and get a finish. That race is my first and only 100 mile attempt and I am 0 for 1, DNF #1. Leading up to this there is a 50K that will be a good chance to snag a PR while getting in a good training effort for C&O in late April. The last goal of the year is to go back to Mountain Masochist in November and get a finish, slay DNF #2. Not only a finish but a strong finish. Those are the three demons of my past I am looking to destroy in 2018.
Best of luck to everyone on their goals! 2018 is going to be a great year!