Sunday, January 12, 2014

2013 in review: more consistent and still slighly faster

Here you are, the year in review in 6 words, not even a picture, how concise is that? But you are not expecting me to only say that, are you...?! ;-)

For lack of change, this has been quite another amazing year in many areas and, for the sake of this blog, running wise especially. Slightly less variety than in 2012 when I ran Leona Divide, in South California and, out of State, Chuckanut and JFK, yet I participated to three new races this year: the Montagn'Hard in the French Alps (yes, it was... hard!), Tahoe Rim Trail 100 and Headlands 100.

As usual, let's start with my analytical bias and look at a few numbers:
  1. Mileage. 3rd year in a row that I log about 3,248 miles for the year, that is an average of 100 kilometers/week. I only took 2 weeks off running in December so I actually finished at 101 km/week. Overall, given my other job and activities, that's pretty much the max of quality training I can do. More on this in my upcoming 2014 goals post.
  2. Average pace. Slightly slower than 2012, right on 8:00 min/mile, but more elevation as I couldn't run much hills after my shoulder fracture in 2012. I did run 300 flat miles in Senegal but all in rather hot temperatures (85-95F) so that didn't help much.
  3. Number of races. Back to the 2010 and 2011 levels (pre-2012 fracture) with 18 races, ranging from 5K to 100 miles. While this is low compared to some crazy guys or gals racing every weekend, these 18 races included 14 ultras and I placed in most of them.
  4. Number of ultras. In addition to the 14 ultra races, I also did 20 ultra training runs for a total of 38 which is a record for me (35 in 2011 and 2012). Long are the years were I was following the advice of my best Medical Doctor, my sister Marie, of not running more than one or two marathons a year... ;-)
  5. Number of hours. 441 or 8:23 average each week. That doesn't count changing, waiting for the Garmin to find the satellites, stretching and showering.
  6. Number of blog posts. As I was mentioning in my last post, 54, close enough to my weekly frequency target.

Here is the recap of the races (more details in my pages at UltraSignup or Athlinks):

Race Age group Overall Time
PCTR Woodside 50K 1 1 4:01:03
Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 10K 1 15 0:36:09
Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half 2 20 1:14:54
Trailblazer Race 10K 1 3 36:23:00
Stevens Creek 50K 1 1 4:17:19
Headlands Hundred  1 1 18:22:25
Tamalpa Headlands 50K  1 4 4:19:46
Skyline 50K 1 4 3:57:12
Tahoe Rim Trail 100M DNF (mile 62)
Montagn'Hard 100K (*) 2 6 9:45:23
Ohlone Wilderness 50k 1 1 4:54:38
Quicksilver 50M  1 2 7:08:55
Miwok 60K 1 6 5:24:19
Ruth Anderson 100K 1 2 7:51:08
American River 50M 1 4 6:47:39
Big Bunny Fun Run 5K 1 3 16:20
Way To Cool 50K 1 9 3:50:25
Jed Smith 50K 1 4 3:46:50

(*) Switched/dropped to 60K - not in official standing.

A few more notes, chronologically:
  1. January -  I resumed training slightly too fast at the end of 2012 and was concerned with my calf in which I thought I had pulled a muscle. I took 3 more weeks off in case and went straight to my first ultra race without much training.
  2. February - As usual, the season started with Jed Smith 50K which was my first run in three weeks. Started with an "easy" 7 min/mile pace to warm-up and the calf held on so I was able to slightly pick the pace for a couple of laps before slowing down with GI issues. Finished way behind Chikara but my time was still good enough for winning my age group, phew! 295 miles in the month, much better than the 72 miles of January.
  3. March - Started with a very successful Way Too Cool 50K, breaking 4 hours by 10 minutes, placing 9th in this competitive race, and 2nd Master in the Grand Prix. Had fun running a 5K 2 weeks later at the local Cupertino Big Bunny Fun Run. 293 miles overall.
  4. April - Another great run at the American River 50-mile with a Personal Best of 6:47 and 4th overall, 1st Masters (lucky it was a slightly slower than usual year). 2 weeks later, I set a PR at Ruth Anderson 100K, which I should be able to improve if I don't start too fast next time... 302 miles including a few in a new country, Slovenia.
  5. May - The busiest ultra month, as usual. First, a great Miwok albeit a shorter one this year (60K instead of 100K) because of a high fire risk alert on the North section of the course. 6th overall out of a competitive field. One week later, took second to Chikara in the Quicksilver 50-mile then, another week later, yet another win at Ohlone 50K! 7 consecutive runs and quite a consistent performance on my favorite course with this series of top 1-1-2-3-3-1-1! 236 miles total, many racing ones.
  6. June - No racing but a lot of training with my record monthly mileage since I started running: 448 miles! Not counting the tavel miles as I ran in California, Portugal and France (Paris, Normandy, Corsica).
  7. July - Two hard mountain races and I might have been tired after too many training miles in June as I didn't fare well in both. First, I ran the Montagn'Hard which has two distances: 100K and 60K. Real mountain running with much more elevation and rocks than what we have in California didn't suite me well and I dropped at the 60K finish. 2 weeks later, I did well on the first loop of the Tahoe Rim Trail 100-miler, only to drop 12 miles later slightly dehydrated and lacking motivation to run through the night. No knowing the course didn't help, we'll see next time. 223 miles, including a few in Bangkok.
  8. August - Back in the groove with two races of my sweet spot distance, 50K. 4th overall and 1st Master at both Skyline 50K and Tamalpa Headlands 50K. 377 miles.
  9. September - 3 great races so another busy racing month. First and foremost, an overall win and new Course Record at the PCTR Headlands Hundred, certainly the highlight of my 2013 season and a redemption from TRT. Very grateful for the support of Team Pommier (Agnès, Toshy and Judy, Sachin) with very cool custom-made t-shirts! And Toshi pacing me for the last 50 miles one week after his own extra tough Wastach 100! Felt like 90 or so ultras ago when I started racing beyond the marathon distance! ;-) The overall win at the Stevens Creek 50K was less prestigious but still a nice 3-peat. Good performance too with 3rd overall, 1st Masters at the Trailblazer 10K, the day after the Stevens Creek 50K! 340 miles.
  10. October - I had to bail out from Firetails 50-mile because of a trip to Senegal (4-week IBM's Corporate Service Corps mission in Dakar). But Brooks invited me to the much flatter San Jose Rock 'n Roll half marathon which turned out to be the second highlight of my season with a much unexpected PR by 10 seconds (1:14:54). 20th overall (chicked once, yikes ;-) and second in my M45-49 age group to a Canadian. 292 miles, many of them in hot temperatures in Africa.
  11. November - After being sick for a few days upon coming back from Senegal, a so-so 10K at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 10K with a 36:09, still good enough to win my age group. 298 miles.
  12. December - This time, I only took a 2-week inter-season break from running early December, resumed training with a couple of weeks and a last minute 50K race (PCTR Woodside) on December 29 and ultimate and 4th overall win for 2013! 125 miles.

Overall, yet another fantastic year, I'm particularly pleased with how much experience I gained to "fight" the aging process (my last year in the Masters division). Some credit goes to Vespa, the supplement which helped me optimize my fueling in races. And Brooks for the shoes which fit me so well. And the fun of racing with the Quicksilver Ultra Running Team (we placed first as a team in the Women, Mixed and Overall divisions, 3rd in the Men division of the Pacific Association USAT&F Mountain Ultra Trail Grand Prix, and I won my age group for the 7th year in a row!). Anyway, way more details than you are probably interested in, especially if you regularly follow my blog. But, like Robin Sharma reminds us, it's a good practice to look back at the previous year when setting new goals for the new year. So, not surprisingly, my next post will be forward looking into 2014. Belated post some of you will say but, trust me, with the pressure for signing up to races months and months in advance, I've been thinking about 2014 since last November already...

Run happy out there, and looking forward to keeping reading about your own 2013 recaps and 2014 plans! Let's make big and smart goals!

(*) Specific, Measurable, Assignable/Attainable/Achievable/Appropriate/Aspirational (you pick!), Realistic/Relevant, Time-related/Time-bound (see Wikipedia)

Photo credits: Agnes Pommier (Quicksilver) - Jerome Nayrat (Montagn'Hard) - Agnes Pommier (Headlands Hundred) - Michael Dhuey (Stevens Creek 50K) - Michael Duhey (idem) - Agnes Pommier (TRT 100) - Agnes Pommier (Ohlone)

1 comment:

Scott Dunlap said...

A pretty impressive year! I think that consistency continues to pay off.

See you on the trails!