I will remember the spring and summer of 2011 forever. As I was looking through my photo albums from the past few months, it struck me how incredible this year has been. My experiences in running and in life throughout 2011 have been tremendous. A boat-load of travel, training and racing took place. Annie and I welcomed the birth of our daughter, Jordan Elizabeth Callahan. We are still in awe every day about our amazing kid. Here is a brief snap-shot of the highs and lows from the 2011 spring and summer running season.
The season started off ‘awesomely’ way back in February with the Moab Red Hot 55km. After a sluggish start to the race, I moved up and felt much better by the finish line to finish in 5th place. It was a good start to the year with a body that was less than ideally prepared for a 34-mile run. Heading to Moab in February was a welcome retreat for Annie and I too. This was definitely a high point to the start of the season.
With the cancelation of the May 2011 Mt Fuji 100 mile race in Japan (the cancelation was for sure a low point), I made several changes to my season. Many of these changes were positive, as I was able to race and win the Spring Desert Ultra 50 miler in April. It felt good to take home a victory again. That win was a definite high point for the season. Way better than a victory though was the chance to head to a good friend’s wedding! The Mt Fuji Race was scheduled for May 20, 2011 but my buddy Brian was getting married that weekend in Washington State. No way I could do both. When the race was canceled, I was elated to be able to head to Brian’s wedding in Winthrop, WA. Brian and his wife Caitlin are tremendous human beings and I am thankful to know them both as friends. Heading to Brian’s wedding? A definite high point of 2011. During this trip, I was also able to race the Sun Mountain 50 mile which was conveniently in the same area. Despite some course marking issues, I greatly enjoyed being part of this race and taking home another victory. Immediately after the race, I knew this was the best I had felt as a runner in over 2 years. The lower altitude certainly helped, but mainly I took the positive feeling in my body as a good sign that my training was on track. The Sun Mountain 50 mile was a high point of 2011.
Once home from Washington, I put my nose to the grindstone and accomplished quite a bit of training. Over the Memorial Day weekend, I felt a shift in my energy, effort-levels, motivation, and physical feeling during training. At the time, this shift was subtle, but in retrospect I now see this was the period of 2011 that ruined me for months to come. On the eve of a massive ski training camp trip in Bend, OR with two of the XC ski athletes I work with, I felt stiff, fat, stale, and exhausted. I had no drive or gas in the tank, and was beginning to worry about the upcoming month of travel, training, racing, and life. How did I respond? Quad Americanos. I consumed coffee like I had a death wish. The stimulant masked the feeling of exhaustion, but enabled me to drive myself further into the ground. (The ski camp itself, and the quality time with my two athletes was DEFINITELY a high point of 2011) We came home from Bend and I was certain I should not race the San Juan Solstice 50 miler in Lake City, CO. Due to a case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) I toed the start-line anyway. Turns out, this was not a great plan.
After a ‘less-than-stellar’ race (The worst day of running I have ever had) (A definite low point!) at the San Juan Solstice 50 mile in Lake City, CO, I was relieved to be heading out of town and re-stoke the fire by crewing/pacing/spectating at the Western States 100. My friend Adam was racing his first 100 mile event and I was stoked to help pace him. Adam ran well, crushed the finish, and earned his first belt buckle. I was also able to see 35 miles of the course while I was pacing. A high point for sure. This trip also served as a chance for me to see my grandparents and uncle who live in the Northern California area. I do not see this part of my family all that much, and it was fantastic to get to visit with them for 24 hours! A great high point of the summer.
When I arrived home from pacing at the Western States 100, I remember telling Annie that I was pretty sure I needed to skip the Hardrock 100 which was ‘looming’ over my head a mere two weeks in the future. Not the mind-set you want to have heading into an epic event like Hardrock…. (to be continued in part 2)(stay tuned)(soon-ish to follow)…. Thanks for reading. Keep the emotions and mindset even… Keep on it. DC