I’m visiting my folks in India and just came back from a hard 1.5 hours of intervals on the treadmill. Incidentally, that’s where it all started in December 2011. I suffered through all 10 minutes of my first run on that very same treadmill (I walked 3 out of the 10 too). Entering 2014, I wanted to see if I could run 12 marathon+ distances, ideally one a month. And I made it, including my debut 50 miler in Lake Sonoma. Along the way there were some learnings and changes in my footwear too, going from Luna Sandals to Vibram KSO’s to Merrell Trail Gloves. According to my Strava profile, looks like I managed to run 1,280 miles this year with 141,768 feet of elevation gain/loss.
The year started out with Pacifica Foothills Trail Run 30K where I ended up starving, ‘cos I was in a bit of rush to grab some food on the last lap. Two weeks later was Fort Ord 50K and this is where the the sandal malfunction started. My descents have gotten way faster this year and I’ve seen myself hitting 5 minute/mile on brief stretches. The sandals are definitely not meant for bombing downhill at that pace. They are amazing when you are having a relaxing run at a casual pace. The blisters were a sign of things to come. At Way Too Cool 50K, the learning continued as I discovered that sandals and wet mud are a nasty combination. Coastal Marin 50K was an amazing experience running up along Bolinas Ridge, hitting all of the classic trails in the Marin Headlands and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to get back to the car.
Lake Sonoma 50M was an epic run (in sandals too!), which was a lot of fun for the first 35 miles and a bit of a slog for the remaining 15. It got so hot in Big Basin 50K that the first 3 aid stations ran out of water and it was DNF-city all around. First time both my calves and my thighs cramped up in a race. Reservoir Dogs Trail Run 35K was my first strong run for the year. It was also when I started trying something different from Luna Sandals. It was quickly followed by a podium finish at the Whiskey Hill Redwood Run 10K and yet another PR at the Skyline 50K. Came pretty close to breaking 5:00 hours in a 50K.
The Night Sweats Trail Marathon was incredible and I didn’t realize how much fun night time trail running was. The Stevens Creek Striders 50K is one race I would like to go back again this year. A sub 5:00 in the Golden Hills Marathon with a Gordy Ainsleigh sighting and I finished up the year with Mt. Tam Trail Run 50K & Woodside Ramble 50K. Interestingly enough my race-day nutrition has changed dramatically. I’m eating less now overall and relying more on aid stations compared to the beginning of the year when I used to pack almost everything.
Shout out to fellow runners that I’ve have the privilege of sharing a few trail runs this year: Tim Thomson, Robert Rhodes, Michael Stricklan, Ivan Hernandez, Kristen Dymmel, Liz Page, Kenneth Clews, Jerome Thiebaud, Alex Voytov, Nate Dunn, Jose Cruz, Martin Jambon, Kevin Jeffrey, Anna Liao, Bryan Weathers, Ethan Salter, Brian Mulholand, Jeremy Johnson, Kent Dozier, Jacob Massier, Rida Chow, Mark Tenaka and Erin MG. I tried to remember the new faces by going over my race reports, so might’ve missed a name or two.
Happy trails and here’s to bigger & funner adventures in 2015!
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