2014 was a pretty good year for me and I saw a lot of improvement. In 2013 I did 8 races (including one DNF) and only one of them was an ultra. In 2014 I did 8 races (including one unofficial finish because I got lost) and 5 of those races were ultras. Of those five ultras I won two of them. The races that I won were not very competitive but at least I know what it feels like to win now (it feels good btw) and now I want to try to use that edge to push harder at some more competitive events next year. I was looking back at an old blog post that I wrote before my first ultra and I wrote that I felt I shouldn't run the uphills because it might make me burn out by the end. What a joke!
When I look at the areas I could improve on, the main one would be keeping the nutrition INSIDE my body. There was a lot of throwing up in 2014. I learned that I am a zombie above 12,500 ft. Also I learned that not sleeping = lots of puking. Both times I crewed Cory and ran with him through the night, I could not keep my stomach under control. Because I like to torment myself, this leaves me with two options for next year, run my first 100 mile race and master the night pukes or run the US Skyrunning Series and master the altitude pukes.
I've been debating a lot about which is the most noble pursuit. At first I was really leaning towards running my first 100-miler. Being part of the endless parade of headlamps while pacing Cory at Run Rabbit Run was surreal. While Cory groaned and cussed his way into the finish I kept choking on my tears and also the six minute mile pace. I felt so overcome with emotion about what the human body, specifically my husband's body, could do and immediately I wanted to find out if this body of mine was able to run that far.
There is also the matter of babies. Realistically, we only have 2 to 4 more summers before we start trying to have a family. I fully intend to be a mountain running mama but life is going to be different. I won't get to enjoy 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep. I won't get to selfishly hole myself up in the winter when Seasonal Affective Disorder messes with my brain. I won't get to take off for hours in the mountains until I've got child care lined up. Cory and I won't be able to camp every weekend and live out of our car in the summer. Knowing these things helps me prioritize what I want to do now.
Running 100 miles: It can wait until summer 2016. When I think about my favorite adventures from last year, they were running high alpine routes in Indian Peaks and Rocky Mountain National Park. We didn't get to do many of those this last year because we were so focused on putting in a certain number of miles and, honestly, because we didn't make it a priority. It only makes sense that if we are going to focus on exploring more above treeline next year that we do some Skyrunning races along the way. We don't have the money to travel abroad but we have a great camp set-up for traveling in the U.S. I'm planning to do the ultra series and Cory is planning to do the sky series.
So here's the tentative races schedule for 2015:
Salida Run Through Time Marathon (March) - Allisa and Cory
Golden Gate Dirty 30 (May) - Allisa
San Juan Solstice 50 mile (June) - Allisa and Cory
Kendall Mountain Run (July) - Cory
Aspen Power of Four 50k (July) - Allisa
Ouray 100 (August) - Cory
The Rut 50k (September) - Allisa and Cory
Flagstaff Sky Race (October) - Allisa and Cory
We also want to throw in some adventure runs we've been researching. There's a great loop in the Sangres that we've attempted a few times. Last time I threw up a few times and we had to turn back - big surprise. The Gore Range Trail is a 50 mile trail here in CO that looks pretty cool. Cory wants to do more of the Colorado Trail. We want to do the Pawnee/Buchanan loop and the Maroon Bells loop. I want the do the High Lonesome loop faster and also do the loop in RMNP again when there isn't snow and 50 mph winds. The options are endless!
Of course things always change and I usually like to throw in a few last minute races, but I'm really excited about this plan. Sometimes just having a plan, having things to look forward to, helps to push through the winter blues. I still feel really eager to try at the 100 mile distance but I don't think anyone regrets getting stronger before trying to go farther.
Our sweet setup, but now we have a 4WD vehicle.
Venable Lakes trail in the Sangres... part of a loop we want to do.
Trails and flowers in Aspen where the Power of 4 50k is.
I want more views like this (Cory's birthday hike in Indian Peaks)