WOW, time flies when you’re having fun, especially in the month of December, which started off with a BANG by turning 40 on the 1st! Got in a good 40 mile weekend: 20 on Saturday (14 road/6 trail), and then 20 miles of 40 half-mile hill repeats in front of the house, with the front yard secretly decorated with all kinds of photos!! Technically I’ve been told by my friend Trey, it was really a single out and back followed by 39 repeats of the first one. Semantics. Anyway, it was GREAT fun and even better training to get in almost 4000’ of climbing in just over 3 hours, cap it off with 40 pushups, a signed copy of Unbroken…signed by none other than Louis Zamperini (thank you Meredith and Jana) , and then some great food and drinks and friends all hosted by my amazing wife Meredith, thanks babe!
If you’re a runner, the first week in December has quickly become synonymous with The Running Event (TRE) held in Austin. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take HOKA ONE ONE co-founder Nicolas Mermoud on a guided tour of Austin’s famed greenbelt trails. The weather did NOT disappoint, as we were treated to warm weather and sunshine (enough to warrant a quick soak in Barton Creek) before the “cold” snap hit later in the week. TRE did not disappoint either, as the HOKA booth was slammed all week checking out the new lineup for 2014 and beyond.
Once the cold snap hit, Jeff Browning (aka Bronco Billy) http://www.gobroncobilly.com/ joined me and my Team Rogue mates for an early morning 2 x 3-mile road session, as he was getting ready for XC Nationals a couple of weeks later. Couple of extra miles on the trails and Jeff was set to go!
The next weekend was El Sendero 60k http://roguetrailmix.com/elsendero out at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet. Slightly different format than last year: three 20km loops in lieu of the five 12km loops last year. Chilly weather (for Texas) at least had me starting in a short sleeve shirt and thin vest, arm warmers, gloves and a beanie. Thought I’d be dropping at least some of these clothes after the first or second loop, yet it stayed cool and breezy enough all day to keep them on. Speedy high-schooler Ford Smith blasted off the front for the 6am start, while veteran runner but ultra-newbie Andrew Letherby opted to play it cool from mid-pack. I stayed in the top-5 until the sun rose and after the first 10k which is a lot of scrambling over wet granite rocks at odd pitches. The second 10k is more wide open and runnable. After the first loop I expected to be in second place behind Ford but he ended up going off course somewhere. From there, I just ran an even, steady race-pace effort and split almost exactly 1:41, 1:42, 1:43 for the loops, very happy to notch the win and hold off Andrew who only finished 10 minutes back. Erik Stanley and Diana Ferguson did an AMAZING job with RDing and course setup. First race in the HOKA Rapa Nui Trail and they were fantastic all day!
The following day it was time to bank some volunteer hours by helping replant the loblolly pine forest out at Bastrop State Park, one of Meredith’s VERY favorite places to trail run. The Lost Pines Forest and surrounding areas were devastated by the Bastrop County Complex wildfire in September/October 2011. In just four hours, the volunteer crew of approximately 30 volunteers, working in pairs, planted 1,411 loblolly seedling plugs along scenic Park Road 1C which links Bastrop State Park to Buescher State Park. Huge thanks to friends Justin, Jeanmarie, and Trey for joining me while Meredith rode her bike from home out to the park (about 60 miles). We then celebrated Justin’s birthday over lunch at the Bastrop Roadhouse!
Finally, last weekend we ventured out to the Hill Country for a quick 2-day training camp out in Bandera, prepping for the 100km USATF Trail Champs on January 11. After some ugly GI issues on Friday and hail, lightning, and cold rain on Saturday morning, the skies cleared and treated us (Meredith, Kristal, Todd, and me) to a glorious weekend unlike we’ve ever had out there! The girls got to spend some quality time with the horses and longhorn steer that live on the property where we stayed. Solid 25 miles on Saturday and 18 on Sunday and it was time to hit the DQ on the way home for a celebration Blizzard!
I’m amazingly thankful for the running and triathlon “gift” that God has allowed me to explore. Huge thanks as always to Hoka One One, Rogue Running, Jack & Adam’s Bicycles and High Five Events, Pure Austin Gym, DryMax Socks, Bonk Breaker Energy Bars, Advanced Rehab, thinksport, RunSmart, and Eating & Living Healthy for enabling me to train and race at my potential.