Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 in Review, Looking Forward to 2015

Making a few "strides" in my ultrarunning in 2014, I've decided to write up a review of the past year's running adventures. I feel like I've improved in a couple areas, endurance and climbing, but have lots of room for improvement as I look forward to running in 2015.

One area I would like to improve is speed. I have fought hard the last two years to try to work in more speedwork at various distances and I'm happy where I'm at presently, but looking towards the future I think I can improve on this aspect. Its going to take a lot of work on my part and keeping consistency to work in a faster pace on the longer runs that I gravitate towards. I am not sure how I plan on doing this yet, but I plan to start with making a concerted effort to keep up with my workouts week in and week out.

I feel like my downhill running is adequate in most cases, but my uphill climbing/running could use improvement. Everyone has their strong points and some areas that they could use improvement, but working on this skill will help with my ability to keep a consistent pace on some of the following year's mountain runs, as well as adding strength and breathing control. I feel like if I can work on my breathing on the climbs and get more comfortable with being uncomfortable, this skill can be improved.

A third area I'd like to work on is getting back to a strength training routine that I keep consistent as part of the running training. I have not worked on any strength training at the gym or home on a consistent basis since last February. Some of the longer races or mountain runs that I tend to participate in require added core or muscle endurance to make the later stages a little more bearable. Joining the local YMCA and using their facilities at least two times a week, I will plan to work on core and some of the other muscle groups that don't get exercise in everyday running training. The plan is to work in some of the exercises that work several muscle groups at once (deadlifts, squats, battle ropes, etc.) and hopefully as the year goes on, I will become a more well-rounded runner. In addition to the gym facilities, they have a pool and tons of activities for families which will help to introduce our children to sports and get our son more time practicing swimming.

Here are some of the running highlights from 2014:

Midstate Trail Traverse Attempt with Justin Contois, only made it 40 miles out of 95 - Report here

Wapack and Back 50 miler, 2nd place, 10:42 - Report here

Run for the Homeless 5k the following week, 1st place and PR at 18:20 - Report here

Exceptional light and undercast on Pleasant Mtn. Maine

No running, but celebrated our 10 year anniversary up in Grafton Notch, Maine

Southern Presidential Range run with Eric and McDuffie - Recap here

Hut Traverse Attempt #1 with Chris Dailey - Report here

No photos on the Bear Brook Marathon a week later, but I had a fun time at the race.

Kismet Cliff Run Half Marathon, 5th place - Report here

Pemi Loop with Jerimy and Eric - Report here

TARC Fall Classic 50k, 3rd place in 4:27 - Report here

 No photos, but pacing Michael Wade for a portion of his first 100 mile race was pretty awesome, pacing report here.

Monadnock Fall Run with Eric, Tony, and Jerimy - report here

TARC Fells Winter Ultra 40mi, made it 25 miles before dropping, photo by Douglass Guiliana - report here
Quite possibly the best race of the year, running behind Matthew for his first 1km kids race!

Looking towards plans for 2015, it is always a challenge to put together a race schedule that works within my family's and financial obligations. I plan to run a few of the TARC races, a couple mountain runs, and some of the races I have done in the past (Wapack, MMD) as well as possibly attempting the 100k distance.

Here is a list of next years tentative plans:
  • 1/1/15 - Frozen Five in Sterling MA, 5 miles on flat roads: goal here is to run a PR at the distance. My best time on a relatively flat trail race is 33:26. I am hoping for an outside goal to run sub 30 minutes.
  • 1/24/15 - Cape Cod Fat Ass 50k, 31 miles on Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod: goal here is to run for the first time on a beach. Not looking for a PR, just to see how it goes.
  • 1/24/15 through 4/24/15: Studying and hopefully passing three of my AREs (Architectural Registration Exams). A little running as well.
  • 4/25/15 - TARC Spring Classic 50k, 31 miles on relatively flat trails in Weston, MA: goal is to run a better time than at the Fall Classic last year and hopefully end up with a PR (sub 4:27). Outside goal would be to run sub-4 hours.
  • Early May - Wapack and Back 50m, 10,800' climbing on the Wapack Trail: goal is to run sub-10 hours and feel decent the whole time. Last year's race went well, but I am looking to improve on the time and consistency towards the end.
  •  Late June - Hut Traverse Attempt #2: goal is to finish.
  • July: taking this month off from races.
  • August: MMD 50k
  • August: Moosilauke race: Jerimy mentioned putting together a new race that will take place on Mt. Moosilauke.
  • September: Pemi Loop: Trying to make this an annual trip.
  • October: TARC 100k: possibly trying the 100k distance this year.
  • December: TARC Fells Winter Ultra 40 miler: Finishing this race on my third attempt.

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