Goodbye 2009. You have been a great year.. a blur. Looking back you were filled with memorable moments; 13 ultras, 2 marathons, incredible adventure runs. At the start of 2009 I could not have imagined the friends I would meet, the distances I would complete, and views that I would see along the way.
At the start of 2009 I had one main goal, to try and win my age group (M 20-29) in the Pacific Coast Trail Runs “Ultra Division” and possibly even finish top-three in the overall standings. Well the 2009 results were just posted (Here). I did manage to finish first in my age division with a total of 73 points, and finished second in the overall standings with 53 points. Who finished first overall?.. Nathan freakin Yanko with 54 points. One freakin point.. what a punkass. (Ok, I cracked up laughing when I saw, waiting for the smack-talk to begin)
2009 Race memories:
1/17/09 – Pacifica 50k, 4:58.43, 3rd Overall – Congratulated the first place finisher after the race. He had just set a new CR in 4:32.55. When I told him “great job!” he replied “thanks, this was my first ultra, I had a lot of fun.” I cracked up in my head “no kidding you had a lot of fun you just set a new CR!” His name?.. Nathan Yanko.. been running together and logging great adventures ever since. I also met Shan Riggs and his wife Abby and am pretty sure I got my first hug from Sarah (PCTR) post-race. An awesome day.
2/7/09 – Woodside 50k, 4:21.09, 5th Overall – Took a wrong turn while high-fiving a bunch of cub scouts out on hike. Totally my fault, but worth it as the kids really enjoyed it, and I still laugh while thinking about it.
2/15/09 – Montana de Oro 50k, 5:04.58, 3rd Overall – WIND! The course had the hardest wind I have ever felt, impossible to describe in writing. Ran with Eric Wickland for a bit which was fun. Camped down in SLO with Dom, Lindsey, and Kristina which was a blast.
3/21/09 – Pirates Cove 50k, 4:45.24, 8th Overall – Battled injury post-Montana de Oro, probably should not have run Pirates Cove but I was hungry to get back out on the trails. I remember this guy with huge legs bombing by me on the way up Coastal to Hill 88, quickly gapping me. He ran really strong. It was Rick Gaston, one of the friendliest guys I have ever met.
4/26/09 – Skyline to the Sea 50k, 4:14.01, 7th Overall – Had a blast running S2S. This really cute blond invited herself to carpool down to the race with Nathan and me. Her name was Larissa and I made a move about a month later
5/10/09 – Redwood Park 50k, 4:27.14, 2nd Overall – Nathan, me, and Zach went 1-2-3. Met Zach for the first time after the race. I convinced Larissa and Nathan to run the race the day before while on a 15+ miler.
5/30/09 – Shadow of the Giants 50k, 4:58.37, 8th Overall – Nathan, Larissa, and I road-tripped it out to Yosemite for the weekend, excited to meet BAZ (race director) as Nathan and BAZ had been talking smack for a couple weeks. I got lost (again totally my fault) but still finished decent. We also met and hung out with Sean Meissner which was fun.
7/18/09 – Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile, 20:50.40, 3rd Overall – My first 100 mile, going first marathon to first hundred in less than a year. Had an absolute blast. I owe my amazing crew of Sarah and Larissa a lot for helping to get me to the finish. My recap is here. I’ve just ran it once but the race is pretty special to me now.
8/22/09 – Where’s Waldo 100k, 13:17.21, 36th Overall – My “Bonk-tacular” adventure
Larissa and I roadtripped up to Oregon for a long weekend, with WW100k as the centerpiece. As I told friends after the race.. I ran a great 50k, unfortunately the race was 100k. I literally lost my legs with about 30 miles to go, running too hard too early, but there was no way I was going to ruin my vacation with a DNF. We had a great time hanging out/recovering in Ashland for a couple days after.
9/27/09 – Santa Cruz Mountains 50k, 4:32.40, 1st Overall – Managed my first win due to the amazing Dave Mackey getting lost and DQ’ing himself at the finish (way ahead of everyone). I’ll take it, but in my mind there is a small asterisk. Fortunately my next 50k race (Muir Beach) made up for it. I had a lot of fun being down in Santa Cruz and hope to run the course again.
10/18/09 – Humboldt Redwoods Marathon, 2:54.42, 2nd Overall – While driving back from Tahoe during the summer Nathan, Larissa, and I thought “hey wouldn’t it be great to run a road marathon?” We settled on Humboldt Redwoods as at least it was rolling and with trees. Finished second to Nathan, and had no idea I was in 2nd until Larissa let me know at the 1/2 marathon mark.
11/7/09 – Stinson Beach Trail Marathon, 3:08.24, 2nd Overall – The race was great as Larissa took the female win (and took home a sweet chicken purse in the process) and my Mom was visiting and did a great job running the 11k.
11/14/09 – Muir Beach 50k, 4:30.21, 1st Overall – Ok, in my mind no asterisk next to this one. Added a new mug to the collection!
12/5/09 – The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championship, 7:53.53, 19th Overall – Was really stoked to break 8 hours. Ran fluid the whole day and had a lot of fun being paced by Nathan for the last 20. Knocked 53 minutes off my time from ‘08.
12/19/09 – Rodeo Beach 50k, 4:12.51, 5th Overall – Last race of 2009. Set a new 50k PR. Was blast being on the course with so many friends.
Other fun running memories from ‘09:
3/28/09 – Crewing Nathan at the Lake Sonoma 50 mile. Also met great guys there like Joe Palubeski and Jon Olsen.
5/2/09 – Volunteered for about 12 hours at the Miwok 100k. Saw the way Victor Ballesteros moved up in the standings all race and was totally impressed. Learned a lot from watching Victor that day which helped with my strategy going into the Tahoe Rim 100.
6/09 – Larissa and I got an invite to run with a newly re-planted Bay Area resident for her birthday. It was Devon Crosby-Helms fresh off her killer time at the 100k Worlds. Larissa and I both gulped, hoping that we would keep up with Devon, Caitlin, and Will. Devon was super cool and we’ve been logging miles ever since.
6/27/09 – Watched Western States throughout the day. Being in the stands at the track in Auburn was pretty exciting. Ran with Thomas Reiss on the Tahoe Rim and Flume trails the following day.
7/4/09 – Camped on the Tahoe Rim Trail, living out of my tent for three days to get in some additional training for the TRT100.
8/01/09 – Ran the Flume Trail with Larissa and Nathan, an amazing stretch of trail.
8/1 to 8/02/09 – Went searching for and found Sarah as she was coming in on the final stretch of completing the entire ~165 mile Tahoe Rim Trail. Nathan, Larissa and I ran with Sarah the last couple miles. It was so cool to see such an amazing accomplishment.
8/8/09 – Crewed and paced Nathan at the Headlands Hundred, first hundred miler and first overall, an exciting day.
10/3/09 – Epic Yosemite run and spontaneous weekend camping trip with Nathan and Larissa
10/10/09 – Paced Larissa the last 13 or so miles of the Firetrails 50 mile, her first 50 miler.
10/24/09 – Dressed up in a banana costume to run a couple miles with/cheer on the competitors in the SF One Day 24 hour race.
12/27/09 – Ran to the top of the South Peak of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico.
12/31/09 – Last run of 2009 was the classic loop we’ve dubbed the “Headlands Rim route.” Was fun finishing the year on a run with Larissa, Devon, and Nathan as I’ve logged more miles with them this year than I have with anyone else.
Goodbye 2009 and hello 2010! If you are anything like 2009 you will prove to be a great year.