Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Monday, December 29, 2008

Best & Worst of 2008

Best Race: I didn't have a great race, but most were pretty good training efforts. Holiday Lake 50K++ was good, especially the last half. Gator Trail 50K was good for the first half. New River Trail 50K & FATS 50K were both enjoyable on back-to-back days.

Worst Race: 24 Hour Blue Planet Run. Ran 55 miles from about 9 PM to 7:30 AM as part of a relay. The 5 mile loop was straight up for a mile & straight down for a mile. By the FIRST loop, my knee hurt like crazy, so I endured it for 10 more hours. Rough. Lonely running the entire way in the dark too. Taught me a lot about what I'm able to get through. Frosty 50K was rough on a bad achilles. I dropped out for a minute, started walking to the car & then continued running the race & finished.

Favorite Training Week: Running Camp in Brevard with the team or 3 days of running on the Appalachian Trail.

Highest Weekly Training Mileage: 110

Lowest Training Mileage: 16

Total Yearly Mileage: It will be just over 2,500 by the end of the week- the most I've ever run.

Best Route: Carver's Gap to Hwy 19 on the Appalachian Trail. I ran part of this last year in the sleet and 60mph wind. Conditions in June started off great with rhododendrons and azeleas in bloom and great views from the balds. The Roan Highlands are easily one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. 30 minutes later, I was in a terrible storm (again!), but I still loved the run.

Worst Route: Can't think of a particularly bad route. Running at school gets a little boring, but I'm not complaining.

Greatest Acheivement: Great summer of training with over 300 miles/month. Two 50Ks on consecutive days was my biggest acheivement racing.

Biggest Disappointment: I need to run more during track season! I get caught up actually coaching and don't get time to run & then don't feel like it afterwards.

Longest Injury-Free Stretch: Injuries?? I've been lucky this year. Tender achilles for 6 weeks, but it just made me scale back a little- not much. I ran two 50Ks on it, which wasn't smart, but I made it through.

Worst Injury: See above.

Most Memorable Moment: Seeing a bear on the AT near Dennis Cove. I've had some great destination runs this year- great Appalachian Trail runs, Crowder's Mt., 9 degrees in the snow & dark at Beech Mt...

Most Forgettable Moment: I forgot.

Best Run Shared with Someone: 28 miles on the Appalachian Trail into Damascus, VA with Hannah Parks; running all summer with the girls on the team, being amazed at their dedication.

Best Shoe: Went through several pairs of Brooks Cascadia 2s. Love them! They blister my foot a little, but overlooked that, I like them so much. Can't find them anymore & in the Cascadia 3s, the blistering is worse. The Brooks Adrenaline ASR is serving as a replacement & I like them pretty well. Montrail Streaks are working well.

Worst Shoe: Adidas something or another. Not bad, but the worst shoe I had all year.

Something I Never Thought I'd Do: I'm not sure how I decided to run a 100 mile race. I remember thinking, "I'm not meant to run over about 16 miles," in a few marathons several years ago. I've run several 50Ks this year and it feels like a very enjoyable, moderate distance to run. I sure wasn't thinking that before my first one & before considering an ultra.

Race I Enjoyed Most Watching: Loved this year's XC season.

Most Important Lesson Learned: I've been good about getting in my long runs in all year, but I've been lazy about getting enough runs in during the week at times. I lose motivation to get in runs less than 10 miles. Believe it or not, a 5 mile run is MUCH more boring to me than 20+ miles. Most people ask me how I can run so long, especially without listening to music. I don't get bored though. What I've learned though, is I really do need these lesser runs to be a better runner. I'll make more of an effort to get in more runs in 2009.

Thing I'm Looking Forward to Most in 2009: 100 MILES AT ROCKY RACCOON. I've been more than obsessed with this goal for the past 9 months or so. That's what I think about on almost every run. Also running 5 days solo & self-supported on the southernmost part of the Appalachian Trail this summer, which I've been really excited about.