Back At It, Moving On

The Albany Marathon wasn't exactly the conclusion I was looking for to cap my previous training block.  But as I mentioned in the race report, I'm not wholly unsatisfied with my early 2012, due in large part to my race at the USA XC Champs.  That race was definitely a bit of a breakthrough for me.  

The last two weeks have been completely off, as planned.  I travelled to Botswana from March 8 to 18 with some extended family (eight of us; plus my cousin-in-law's friend Lyndon, whose company, Fish Eagle Safaris organized the trip).  It was a fantastic group with which to travel, just an incredible amount of fun.  We stayed in three different tent camps in northwestern Botswana: one in the Kalahari, one in the Okavango Delta (called Tubu Tree Camp, an awesome place), and one at the recently refilled Savuti Channel.  It was a pretty amazing experience—most of my traveling partners kept saying "once in a lifetime," but I plan to be around the world many more times in my life, so I'll abstain. :)  Like your local swimming pool, there was absolutely no running in the bush, so I just kicked back, enjoyed the wonderful food and hospitality, the stellar game drives, and many a Windhoek Lager (not to mention Hansa, Castle, St. Louis, and more than a few coffees with heavy-handed pours of Amarula).

I got back to the States on Sunday and went for a fatigued 8 miles easy before passing out for about twelve hours.  Real training starts again this week.  My basic plan is to spend the next five months doing a lot of mileage (and a lot of ancillary work), racing ultras, and just getting very strong.  Then I'd like to race the NYC marathon in the fall.  

Briefly looking back, I definitely had some success last year, but it was also my lowest mileage year since high school.  I learned a lot and raced well given my limitations, but improvement would likely be pretty incremental from here without a significant change.  This fact, coupled with a job that would increasingly take my time and energy, has led to me to quit said job.  Where I'm headed at the moment (professionally, geographically, etc.), I'm not really too sure, though I'm not too worried about it.  Suffice it to say that running will be a more significant priority for a while.  I think a move West is likely in the coming year or two, though there are a lot of factors affecting the timing of such a move.  I had originally drafted a lengthier post on this subject, explaining my thoughts, reasoning, and goals for the future.  But my poor performance at Albany left a bad taste in my mouth.  When that happens, I usually find myself thinking: 'Just shut up and run, quit waxing about what you want to do, and just freaking do it.  Let your feet do the talking.'  So I'll leave it at just this.  

Lots of inspiring action while I was gone, including Geoff's Iditarod Invitational (the report came out while I was gone, anyway) and a highly competitive Chuckanut 50k (congrats to my Salomon teammate Adam Campbell on the win!).  Can't wait to start throwing down soon.  I've got a pretty rapid ascent back to the ultra distances—given the fact that I didn't run a step for the last two weeks—with the Lakefront 50k in eleven days (planning on just cruising this as a training effort) and the American River 50 Mile a week later.  

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.  Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking.  Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary."
—Steve Jobs

A few pics...