Monday, February 2, 2009

2008 Review, 2009 Preview

Yeah, this is about a month late, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

So, in 2008, I started 32 races and finished 30. In those 30 that I finished, I raced approximately 735 miles in 101 hours, 21 minutes, and 23 seconds. Being a math-guy, I even figured out my average pace was 8:16/mile. Considering the wide variety of races I did - long, short, fast, slow, hilly, flat, pr's, blow-ups, etc - I'm pretty happy with that pace.

I had some solid races last year: Vancouver Lake 1/2, Hagg, Miwok, Silver State, Dirty 1/2, Beamer 10k, Smith Rock 15k, McKenzie River, Lithia Loop, and Turkey Trot.

I had some bad races last year: BadAss, Way Too Cool, Horse Butte, Boston, TRT (dnf), and Tahoe 72 (dnf).

I had some great races last year: Wheatfield 1/2 (short course, but still great), Crater Lake, TransRockies (well, at least it was a great experience!), Bigfoot, Spokane Marathon, McDonald Forest 15k, and CIM.

Out of all of the highs and lows, my worst races were my two dnf's, TRT and Tahoe, and two of my best races came after each of the dnf's, Crater Lake and Spokane. The race right after a dnf has always been a good one for me.

Interestingly, most of my worst races were earlier in the year, the solid efforts were mostly in the middle, then my best races were in the last 1/3 of the year. And out of my best races, 3 were road marathons (Crater, Spokane, CIM), 4 were distance p.r.'s (Wheatfield, Bigfoot, Spokane, CIM), and even McDonald Forest was a huge break-through for me by going sub-60.

What's crazy about all of this is that I've considered myself an ultrarunner for the past 7 1/2 years. Heck, I even have 97 ultra finishes in that time to prove it. But ever since TransRockies, I've noticed that my leg speed has greatly improved and with that, my p.r.'s have dropped significantly in shorter races (marathons and shorter). Since TR, I've p.r.ed in the 10k, 1/2 marathon, and marathon twice. It's almost like TR helped push me through some invisible pain-barrier that I had been up against for some time. Of course, I have Hart to thank for helping me through that. I still have nightmares about him beating me up on the Hope Pass stage (and I even had a gusher-of-a-nose bleed to prove it).

Anyway, I've also come to realize that I do enjoy the roads. Don't get me wrong...running in the mountains with Sascha all day is the absolute best! But, roads are fun because I can get into a good groove and just run fast without worrying about where my feet are going to land. Actually, my absolute favorite kind of courses are the ones with variety. JFK comes to mind here. It's basically like a triathlon; it starts with about 15 miles on the brutally rocky AT, then a flat and fast marathon on the soft dirt of the towpath, and finishes with 8.5 hilly road miles. That kind of variety in a race is so much fun for me.

Whoah, a little off-track there.

So, I've decided that I'm going to put a few more road miles in this season. Yes, I'm still very much looking forward to getting super-muddy at Hagg, chugging up and down the relentless hills of the Mac, redeeming myself at WS, and hopefully even Death Racing. However, I also added in the flat-and-(hopefully) fast Jed Smith 50 mile, Run to the Sun (not flat, but 100% paved), another marathon p.r. attempt in Eugene, and possibly the Tahoe Marathon. I'm hoping the speed and efficiency I get from the roads will help with my trail speed, too.

We'll see on June 27.


Tate said...

Nice post Sean! Good luck this weekend. Are you doing TR again this summer?!

Makita said...

Great post! I love the new look! :D

Rooster said...

I also like the new look of your page...

After reading your post the only thing that came to my mind is that SM is simply a great runner. He can run roads fast, climb techinical mountains like a goat, comback from a DNF with a vengance and ultimately have a ball and laugh at himself along the way.

I would say good luck in 2009 but you don't need it your well on your way to another great year.

Paul DeWitt said...

Hi Sean,
Wow what a year - you're really improving and nothing wrong with having some fun on the roads; I wish all ultrarunners would do a bit more speedier stuff like you have been doing. My 1 cent for 2009; don't do 32 races! You gotta have some time to train and would like to see you focus a bit more on moving up to the next level. You've got all the ingredients now just hunker down and train hard for awhile.

- pauld

Andy Martin said...

Paul D seems to make some sense.
Also, I like the dnf/great race phenomenon. I've experienced the same thing. Maybe before all of your big important races you should enter a little local 5k and drop out about halfway through.
Keep up the good work!

Bret said...

2nd at Jed???? Way to go speed boyee!

Yep variety of terrain is what makes it fun. I love trails but even that gets boring to me sometimes. The groove you talk about on the road is so true. You sometimes just feel like nothing can stop you.

Rod Bien said...

Some good advice on here. My two cents is to follow your instincts and your strengths while you are in your prime. You are an amazing runner on all surfaces but you are stronger on road.. you're just more comfortable there. It doesn't mean that you aren't a great and fast trail runner or that that might be what your biggest passion is in another year or two. But, if you are feeling the roads... go for it. Train hard, focus, and set some stiff goals for yourself.
Congrats on your race this weekend. Now, get ready to sell some shoes! We've been busy!
Rod B.

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