It's early to be looking back on the year, but I won't be doing much for a while, so the best moments are probably already past.
1) Seeing Matt Patten crush the Kettle Moraine course. It was worth the agony of my own race to see Matt show the world what he can do.
2,3) Meeting Nic at Chippewa and meeting Rasmus and Tracy at Voyageur. I was fried at both races (Chippewa was the week after doing Trail Mix in 5:00, which was the week after finishing my first 100 miler), but it was worth the agony of my own races.
See the theme?
4) The 30 times up the Brickyard Hill workout. Only rockhounds and people walking their dogs saw me, but it was the one day I felt good and it all came together. I was totally spent - and happy.
5) The vengeance run at Afton. The week after my dismal showing at the 50K there, I went out and blasted the snowshoe loop at sub 7 minute miles, getting my heart rate to a new maximum of 184. It meant nothing to anybody, but I loved it.
6) Running into a deer, literally, at Battle Creek and finding the Mystic Trail almost by accident (within an hour of each other).
7) Having a runner on his way back from the Voyageur turn-around tell me, "You saved me."
8) Finishing the Zumbro 100. The last time up the Ant Hill, when the flowers opened as if on cue and a hawk soared beside me (and Val, Helen and John went by), knowing I was on my way to the finish line, it all seemed right, even if I had walked 50 miles.
9) Repaying a favor at Superior. Last year at Chippewa, Tom Griffiths handed me a pair of socks when I was in need. This year I had brought spare pairs of socks to the aid station where I was working and they were needed. [Later I told him to repay me by volunteering. Keep the good mojo flowing.]
10) Hearing Dan Mattimiro tell the story of his first Superior 100 finish, which included, "I was sure I was done at Sawbill, but you said 'You've got this. Just keep moving and you'll get that finish. You look good. The next section's not bad. The last one's tough, but you've been over it before. Just don't stop.' and I thought, 'Well, if Steve says I'm going to finish, I'm going to finish!'"
Looking back on my year, there were no great races, no major accomplishments (well, two slogged 100's), nothing to show (well, the Fab 5 old guys winner's award), but I may have had a hand in the best moments of some others. That's a good year, in my book.
Aid Station: Eugene Curnow
4 days ago