|A quick jog before work. October 2012.|
I have had a somewhat quick ascent (pun intended) from slob to competent hobby jogger. A little over one year ago, I won my first race ever, the inaugural Bear Mountain Half Marathon in November 2011. I ran that race through an injury, and subsequently had to stop running.
In December 2011, still injured and in no condition to run, I found myself able to take on a HIKE up Mt Benson one evening. We were blessed with incredible views.
|Superlatives not necessary. December 2011.|
I started 2012 just being happy to run AT ALL. I had no conceptions of achievement. All I wanted to do was run up the mountain and on trails as often as my body would let me.
By the end of February, I REALLY wanted to get accepted into the Kneeknacker lottery (for the July 2012 race), and when I found I missed the luck of the draw early March, I was BUMMED. I scrambled for direction, and chose the Squamish 50 miler instead. Sure I had no intentions of attempting 50 miles until 2013, but f' it.
This precipitated an incredible season of running, all of it based upon a basic premise of running for fun, running up a lot of hills, and jogging down any trail that might have me.
My approach was simple. Run lots. No training plans, no speedwork, no tempo runs. Just run a lot, lots of it uphill, and have fun doing it. Sometimes hard. Sometimes easy. Roads are boring, so for the most part, screw that.
And the results started to come.
May - Second place Gutbuster Half Marathon. In retrospect I might have been able to hang with Shane and challenge for the win, but at this point, I still didn't believe I could beat him. I ran conservative.
June - First place Kusam Klimb with a one second course record. The details for another day, but my confidence was growing. I was hungry.
July - West Coast Trail (80 kms) fastest known time attempt. I bombed on the FKT, but I bagged the beast and knew I could run 80k, and above all else proved I could persevere. Sure I walked in the last 20k, but in hindsight, this is something I will NEVER forget (especially coming face to face with momma bear and her two cubs!). The DETAILS for another day!
August - My first 50 mile race (Squamish). Sure I was chicked by Ellie Greenwood after 67k (she finished 5 mins ahead of me), but considering her pedigree, I can deal. DETAILS for another day!
September - First place, Mount Robson Marathon. One day people will listen to me and realize this is the greatest race you have never heard of. 44km on the most pristine singletrack you can ever imagine. The headwater of the Fraser river. Waterfalls, glaciers, and the most prominent peak in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Out and back. Details for ANOTHER day.
October - At this point a road run was more of a novelty than anything. If nothing else, I wanted to prove to those that thought of me as a long distance hobby jogger that I had at least a little speed. I ran on roads at "marathon pace" less than a handful of times in training. In fact I ran on roads about a total of 6 times from July to October. I raced the Victoria Marathon, my first at the road distance, in 2:36 taking 8th overall, and 2nd in my AG for the BC Athletics Marathon Championships. I got suited by Adam Campbell with about 3k to go. Apparently humiliation by the elite of Canadian ultra-running was a theme for my season.
13 days later, I would race the Whistler 50 miler. Normally I would have no interest in a 50 mile course of such relative low difficulty, but I had the goal of breaking 6 hours and qualifying for the CDN National Trail team to attend the 2013 World Championships in Wales. I failed at my 6 hour goal but won the race. Whether I make the national team will be decided later. Details of the race for another DAY.
10 days after Whistler, I got injured for the first time in 2012. It has been a trip, to use the parlance of our times. Injury to excellence to injury. A trip is putting it nicely... I have been in a hole of late, and trying to dig myself out.
I started the year just being happy to run, and ended it with such high aspirations. I was browsing the photos of my 75 Mt. Benson summits, and came across the one shared at the start of this post. It brought me back to my roots.
This is why I run. This is how I started my incredible season. A love of the trails. No goals, no pressure. Just time alone in the woods.
Maybe the season started to get away from me. Results, times, pressures, they are all good in their own way. But ultimately, that is not why I run. I WILL eventually get past this injury. I will race again. But I will try not to let it escape me... THIS is why I run.