Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looking Back on 2008

Finally!!! After many years of running, a half decent race picture!!!

I can't believe 2008 is almost over, but it is. This time last year I was dressed up like a penguin and giving the best man's speech at my brother's wedding in Manchester, England. It's hard to believe he's been enslaved for a year (hard to believe I've been married nearly 10).

On the home front we started the year with a new oven and ended it with a bun in the oven, as we found out in November that we were going to be parents again. That was the best news in a year which has been very lucky for me. In the space of a few months in the spring I won Dean Karnazes's new book, an audiobook and a brand new Nintendo Wii (which I've used maybe twice).

In the running world, I made a bunch of new friends and met so many generous and genuine people in the trail running community. It was a year that started with IT band problems which in February nearly curtailed my 50 miler at Rocky Raccoon. Thankfully something clicked back into place on that last loop and I haven't had problems with it since. The last 3 miles of that race was the closest thing I've ever had to a runner's nirvana - the faster I went the better I felt, and I've never had quite that feeling before or since. I was back at Huntsville in April to cheer on Nancy as she ran her first trail race at the Hog's Hunt - she would go on to complete the "Rogue summer trail series" - three 30k trail races during the hottest months of the year. I worked all three races and was glad I wasn't competing.

In June, we had a bunch of runners travel up to Dublin, Texas to run the Dr Pepper 10k, but the charter bus was 2 hours late and we missed the start. We were too late to pick up our packets so we all ran as bandits and I missed out on the chance of winning a case of the Dublin Dr Pepper. My friend Clea did win a case though, and shared some of her winnings when a group of us ran "the Sweaty Twenty" a few weeks later.

On July 4th, Americans everywhere celebrated my birthday as I wondered how the hell I got to be 35 years old. I celebrated by doing a trail run with a bunch of people much older than me which made me feel a lot better, and then I went home and watched the hotdog eating competition. Later that month I started the "hundred pushups challenge" which was a lot of fun and which I completed 6 weeks later in mid-August. I also started coaching a running team from work with the aim of competing in the Silicon marathon relays and winning the Governor's cup - which we did. The cup is still sitting in my office, and in 30 years time I can tell my grandchildren that once upon a time their dithering old granddad actually won a running trophy.

Sometime during the hot and brutal summer I started having really weird dreams that revolved around drinking lovely cold water on hot and dusty runs, That got me to thinking of winter racing, so I signed up for the "Texas Trilogy" comprising the Sunmart 50 miler in December, the Bandera 100k in January and the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler in February. When winter finally came I went signup crazy and also signed up for the Texas marathon on New Year's Day, the Surfside marathon (6 days after Rocky) and the Seabrook Lucky Trails half marathon on March 13th, followed by the full marathon the day after. My work buddies were on such a high after the Silicon relays that they persuaded me to enter a team in the Texas Independence Relay - a 203 mile race from Gonzales to San Jacinto. That also takes place in March - a week before Seabrook. 2009 is already shaping up to be a busy one.

Before that, I had the honor of pacing my buddy John at the Cactus Rose 100 miler in November. I ran the last 45 miles with him and was inspired by the energy and determination he showed in finishing probably the hardest race in Texas.

A few weeks later I travelled to San Antonio to run the inaugural San Antonio Rock'n Roll marathon. It turned into a perfect race - one of those days where it all comes together and running is super easy. A nice little PR didn't hurt either.

Of course, 2008 wasn't all good. I lost two friends this year, both taken long before their time. It made me appreciate what I have all the more - a wife and son I love with all my heart, a job I'm good at and friends I enjoy spending time with. As 2008 fades into history I am happy, content and at peace with myself. I wouldn't change a single thing (well, except for maybe my ankles).

So Happy New year everyone, and happy trails. Let's tip our hats to 2008 and welcome in a great 2009.

1 comment:

steve said...

Great review of a fantastic year!

Hope today's Texas Marathon went well.

Happy New Year!

--Steve