2015 was a good year. I completed four ultras, DNF’d one other, and most importantly, I had a good time and remained injury-free. Here’s a quick breakdown of my year.
Total Miles: 2670 (approximate)
Total Miles Raced: 220 (approximate)
Favorite Races of the Year: Free to Run 50-Miler and Cayuga Trails 50 (tie)
Favorite Shoes: Salomon S-Lab X-Series
– 167 (according to Jason Friedman’s rankings)
– 234 (according to Ultrarunning Magazine)
Cayuga Trails 50: Cayuga Trails was arguably my best performance of the year. My pacing was right where I wanted it to be. My nutrition was on point. The course was amazing. I managed a 13th place finish at USATF 50-Mile Trail Championships. Cayuga Trails is definitely one of my favorite races of the year, as some of the best ultra runners in the country come out for it. This year was no exception, as Mario Mendoza and Amanda Basham won their respective races. My goal was to break eight hours and I did it – yay.
Vegan Power 50k: This was my first year running Vegan Power 50k. I was familiar with the race from social media and my friend Laura Kline. I loved the race and met some great people. In fact, if not for Vegan Power, I probably wouldn’t have done the Free to Run 50-Miler – more on that later. The course was more challenging than I thought it would be. I was prepared for hills, mud, roots, etc. – the usual trail culprits… but this one was tricky because of all the turns (which were perfectly marked). My goal was to finish in one piece and maybe snag a win… and I did – yay.
Finger Lakes 50-Miler: This was my third ultra in five weeks and it went great! Just kidding, it was a total disaster. Leading up to the race, it rained. And rained and rained and rained. The course was underwater. I lost a shoe twice in the first couple of miles. And there was poop everywhere. Yes, poop. I think it was a dog/horse/cow combo. Not really my cup of tea. Just because I run trails doesn’t mean I’m not dainty. With all that being said, I threw in the towel at 17 miles. The official story is that I didn’t want to get hurt (which is true). The unofficial story is that I don’t like running through poop (also true). My second DNF. Shit happens. My goal was to win – boo.
Green Lakes 100k: I took nearly two months off from racing after Finger Lakes. I needed a little mental recovery. I was pretty torn about Green Lakes. 50k? 100k? Neither? Obviously, I decided on the 100k. I think this was my toughtest performance of the year. You know how some days you wake up and you don’t feel like running but you slog through it anyways? Right. So I slogged through 62.2 miles. Fake it ’til you make it, right? Well, I managed pretty well for half the race. Then it was just great aid station support and “one foot in front of the other” that got me to the finish. I definitely think I can run faster – and I’ll try at some point – but for that day, it was the best I had. My goal was to win and run around eight hours. I won – yay. But I ran over nine hours – boo.
Free to Run 50-Miler: Originally, I was planning on running Virgil Crest (R.I.P. Virgil Crest). There were some logistical issues and it didn’t work out… so I headed over to Massachusetts and jumped in the Free to Run 50-Miler. I remember Jake saying it was similar to 7 Sisters – I’ve never done that race… but I’ve heard stories. The Free to Run 50-Miler was tough. Really tough. It was definitely the toughest course I ran all year – and it was only three weeks after my 100k. My quads were pretty beat up for most of the race. With that being said, great race, great trails, great people. If you’re looking for a challenge, this is your race!
So that was my 2015! Like I said, I was injury-free for the whole year! I’m still sorting out my 2016 race calendar. Most likely, it will include four or five ultras. I’m hoping to do my first hundred miler, and I’m also considering a timed race (6-hour, 8-hour or 12-hour). I’ve reincorporated speed workouts into my training, and I plan on upping my mileage a little bit. I realize that I’m on the low-end of most ultra runners (I averaged 51 miles/week this year) and I think I have some room for improvement. With that being said, low-mileage is always preferable to being injured!
What was your best race of 2015?