|("My amp goes to eleven" - Nigel Tufnel, Spinal Tap)|
I had some PR's, which is always refreshing. A 5:09 in the mile, 1:16:40 in the half marathon, 3:20:48 in the 50k, and 18:12:17 in the 100-mile. Some of those still have much room for improvement too (I didn't have a crew for the 100-mile, for example). Plain and simple, I'm getting faster, even at age 41. Years of base training (and sandbagging) are paying off. ;-)
I won some stuff, which is fun. I pulled in over $1100 in prize money, the USATF Masters Ultrarunner of the Year award, and plenty of trophies/goodies. We don't race for the prizes, and the titles seem only impress those outside of the sport, but it makes for good stories to tell. I'm happy to say I blew all the money on beer and pizza within hours of cashing each check (much to the delight of Sophie and Christi); I'm just hoping the IRS sees it as a legitimate expense to offset that income.
I raced faster at repeat races, only to have my ass handed to me by faster runners. It's a good lesson for me to return to races, run them faster then even before, and still get crushed. This happened at XTERRA Nationals and Worlds, TRT, and the Lithia Loop Marathon. Racing is good for taking the ego down a notch, often right after it gave it an artificial boost.
I filled my soul with laughs and memories to last a lifetime. What I appreciate more each year about endurance sports is the simplicity of how they provide the perfect excuse to meet a bunch of great people, go have a crazy adventure in Mother Nature's playground, and laugh, smile, cry, and cheer through all of it. We dare each other to stretch our boundaries, then bare witness come rain or shine. We are all stronger for it - runners, friends and family, volunteers - and it creates an unmistakable positive energy. I saw it at an indoor track in Harlem, in the smiling faces of the great Ohioans at Burning River, the naked joy of Bay to Breakers, watching my Dad picked up two national and one world championship, the gaping smiles of first-time marathoners along the Big Sur landscape, my posse at The Death Ride, and at the cheers of thousands at the finish line at Ironman Hawaii. Any one of these memories can instantly put a smile on my face, and are a hell of a lot cheaper than Prozac.
Adventure gives my crazy life perspective. Have you ever had a day at work knowing you had an 80% chance of being fired, but are far more concerned about the Ironman coming up the following month? How about finding our your wife is pregnant again (surprise!), but being so aglow from the last 100-miler that all you can say is "I can't wait to meet her!". A life of comfort and unchallenged boundaries does little to help you see a world full of possibilities and wonder. Fortune favors the bold.
I got some great pictures. It's hard to explain, but if I have some great pictures and stories to tell at the end of the race, it's all worth it. When the camera is in my hand, I look for the views that capture the day and seem to find them more often. I want to *know* the people I'm running with, rather than just meet them. I want to push the pace, try something new, laugh in the face of adversity, and have an experience worth sharing. I want to live life to have good stories to tell.
So many great life lessons learned, and so many lie ahead.
The sun is peaking through the trees now, illuminating my path through the forest in golden light. I wonder where it will take me today? I don't know, but I bet it's going to be amazing.
Happy New Year, everyone! I look forward to seeing you in 2011. Thank you all for your help in making 2010 so memorable.