Friday, January 13, 2017

2016 in review (Best running year yet!)

The year 2016 came to an end and once again it is time to reflect upon my past 12 months in regards to my running. I was excited and nervous to begin the year. It had been my plan to run my first 100 miler (160km) this year and all my training and races were planned out to lead up to it. Amongst the 100 miler are a few other highlights that are listed below in my 16 things from 2016:
1) Below you can see that I’ve nearly run 300 miles further in a calendar year than before. Now I know where all that time went!
Total distance run:

2012: 623 mi (1002KM)
2013: 1260 mi (2027KM)
2014: 1065mi (1713KM)
2015: 1344mi (2163KM)
2016: 1641mi (2641KM) –fairly low mileage for ultrarunners, or even regular marathoners (let's see if I can gradually increase this again in 2017. If my wife reads this: I'll run faster so it won't take longer :) )
2) Weekly training volumes in miles

You can see the 3 big races easily jumping out. Looking forward to smoothing out some of these bars in 2017, but overall happy with consistent and even training cycles through the first 3 quarters. First December week was my stomach flu. Stands out as only week with virtually no miles.

3) My first 100K

END-SURE 100K outside of Fargo was my first 100K ever and I was fortunate to withstand the cold temps and windy conditions to win in 9 hours and 30 minutes, good for 15th best time in US last year. 10 of those ahead are from National Team members and another runner posted a faster time twice. Along non-national team members, I had the 4th fastest time (still quite a gap but something to strive for).
For comparison, world wide, it wouldn’t have cracked the top 1000! (Good sign: More crazy people outside the US than inside, if you can believe that!)

4) My first Half-Marathon

Though I run Ultras, 2016 also brought me to the starting line of my first official half-marathon. Funny enough, I’ve run 13.1 miles or longer on over 100 occasions, but I’ve
never raced it. It was a fun and brutal race and I reeled in 3
rd place in the final half mile and was mere seconds of 2nd place. A fun experience and definitely a valuable tune up race method. There is nothing "Half" about this type of race! It's 13.1 tough as nails miles!

FANS 12 Hour race with crew member
5) FANS 12 Hour

This was my final tune up for my 100 miler. I wanted to set a new PR in distance to build confidence that I can withstand 100 miles. My 76.9 miles (123.7km) won second place, only losing to the 4th best performance world wide (and 1st in US). Mine ranks as 3rd best in US and 106th in the world. I think there is quite a bit of room for improvements, and I think the monotony of running circles works well for me in comparison with competitors. Plus it takes a special kind of crazy to not just run for that long, but around a circle! Helps to chase the little one around the house!

6) Lean Horse 100 Mile

During the LH100, several things fell into place and I was able to successfully complete my first 100 mile (160km) race in 18:20:45. It was good enough for 1st overall, but I missed my goal time of sub 18 hours. Coming back for more!

Still smiling,....easy to do after only 4 (?) miles or so

After 100 miles...(Driving would've been faster!)

    Running all the uphills!
    7) Total time run:  259h 37m (Or 10 days 19 hours and 37 minutes; I concede that it would have been enough time to have taken out the garbage once or twice I suppose)

    8) My training produced improvements in all facets (vs 2015):Ran further (1,641mi vs 1,344mi)
    Distance raced: (286mi vs 243.5mi)
    Gained more elevation (
    72,129 ft vs 41,663ft
    Biked further (275.6mi vs 187.5mi)
    Swam further (7.3mi vs 4.9mi)

    Total distance is just about the length of the US-Mexico border:
    Wouldn't recommend running along the actual border though.
    Border Patrol may not be taken too kindly to you.

    Running all the races

    Indoor 5K – PR 4
    th OA
    END-SURE 100K –PR 1st OA
    Arbor Day 5K – PR 5th OA
    Brookings Half – PR 3rd OA
    FANS 12H – PR 2nd OA
    4th of July FUNdraiser 5K 2nd OA
    Beef and Eggs 5K 26th OA
    Gala Days 5K 1st OA
    Lean Horse 100 – PR 1st OA
    Jack 15 – 9th OA
    Hobo Day 5K 23rd OA

    (11 Races; maybe I'll consider this whole 1 race per month challenge for 2017; just don't tell my wife I want to race more ;) )

    10) Points Competition
    Another goal for the year was to perform well in the Prairie Striders Points Competition. The Prairie Striders are my local running club and put on races throughout the year. Runners can earn points in each race, based on the placing relative to the amount of participants in the race (think if you win a race of 10 people, you get 10 points. If you win one with 300 runners, you get 300. 1 point per runner behind you).
    Based on previous years, you nearly had to run all races to have a shot at the podium in this competition and I was hopeful to partake in as many races as my personal and work schedule would allow. The competition requires a consistent level of performance for an entire year and is thus an interesting motivator for me to keep racing shorter distances. Also, it kept my mind in racing mode and allowed me to focus on shorter term goals and relax somewhat ahead of my three big ultramarathons. Results haven’t been posted yet, but it will be a close contest between 1 and 2. Fingers crossed! 

    11) PR Streak
    I snapped my streak of 9 consecutive races with a PR during the 4th of July 5K in Mobridge, SD. It was my first run after FANS 12 hours and in hindsight an ill-advised effort. Luckily the short distance and my slow pace didn’t end up injuring me, but my legs were definitely not ready yet. Other races that I ran without special training and no rest periods were Jack 15, Beef & Eggs 5K and the Gala Days 5K (which I ran after a 15 mile warm up J ). Not every race can be an A-race!

    12) My PRs during 2017
    Improved: 5K; 13.1M; 50M; 100K; 100M; 12H;
    Didn’t race: 10K; 50K; 26.2M
    Improved every distance ran. (shout out to coach Kyle!)

    13) 50 States
    17 down, 33 to go. 
    My business travel didn’t take me to any new places internationally, but domestically it allowed me to run marathons in Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri and Kentucky. Those were my states 14-17. Quite a ways to go, but nice to have that many crossed off! (Already got Iowa added in 2017. Looks pretty Midwest heavy. The run-over states, instead of flyover states!)

    14) Running around Brookings. Only a few streets/alleys left and I’ve run every road in Brookings.
    If you live in Brookings, I've probably run by your house. Not creepy at all...

    Running around Brookings County. Each little square is a square mile. Goal is to run all roads in Brookings County. Only about 1500 miles or so :)
Each little square is a square mile.
Takes a while to get these done.

    16) Overall I am very happy with the results I was fortunate enough to attain and that makes me even hungrier for next year (similar to the hunger you have the day after an Ultra)
    Going after it in 2017!
    . I feel that I had something left to give in each race and especially in training. I raced more and trained more. I’ve grown and appetite now and need to see how far I can take this. 2017, get ready. I know I’ll be.

    17) BONUS for 2017!
    PR in 5K; Marathon and 50K.
    Run 100miles sub 18 hours.
    Either 45miles in 6hours or 80miles in 12 hours. 

     Alright, Get Outside!