As I look back on my recent string of trail running, which spanned 28 races and 4 states, I can’t help but feel overcome with emotion. Gratitude and appreciation for the experiences I’ve had, humbleness and inspiration from the amazing people I’ve had the privilege of sharing the trails with. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I have learned so much about myself over the last year. Emotionally it’s been a roller coaster. I now realize that hills come with valleys, good times come with bad, and everything in-between. At present my journey right now needs to be one of rest, reflection, rejuvenation, and quiet. It was becoming increasingly apparent to me that in the weeks leading to my Seattle trip and especially after, I needed to step away for a bit. Burnout is a very real thing, and the funny thing is, sometimes the signs themselves are fleeting and subtle. For me, it manifested as a nagging feeling of malaise and apathy. I wasn’t sleeping and recovering as well from workouts, and it seemed I always had a little sore throat here, a stuffy/runny nose there. The body is an amazing machine, but it will tell you what you need to know/do if your are tuned into it. Ultimately, I knew it was a time for a much-needed break and return to some semblance of a normal life. I’m looking forward to recharging, enjoying the holidays, and not having to deal with the frenzied chaos of airports and hotels, at least for a little while.
While I’ve set any serious plans for winter racing aside, I plan to focus on my ambassadorship with Colorado Runner Events, promoting the winter distance series, and sending off some introduction letters of my own to companies/events to inquire about upcoming opportunities for 2014. I’ll be hooking up with trail veteran “Sherpa” John Lacroix to participate in his “Fat Ass” group trail runs through winter to stay fit, as well as doing some cross training of my own. It’ll be nice to run in a non-competitive format and simply find my balance with all this again. I also owe it to my family to finally “get-around” to spending time with them as I’ve been promising over and over.
As for 2014, without allowing myself to get too preoccupied about it, I plan to make it a big year. I’ve got my first 50 miler and 100K booked, and am possibly entertaining the thought of a full 100 miler. Rather than do what I did this year, which was basically race every weekend, I think it may be more conducive for me to try to follow a 1-big-race-per-month (or every other month) format. I plan to escape even deeper into the mountains once the snow thaws.
Exciting things are ahead, and I’m grateful for the newly gained perspective on so many things that trail running has given me. It’s allowed me to escape the vanity and trendiness of novelty and stylized gyms and fitness. It’s allowed me to experience and embrace a more minimalist lifestyle that’s unadulterated and free from the frantic superficiality of social media and consumer culture and consumption. I have it to thank for some of the most intense endorphin rushes and sensations of being alive that I’ve ever felt.
In closing, I’d like to simply wish everyone well this winter. May your success continue in 2014. I will still absolutely be maintaining this blog so continue to stay tuned.
May your trails be happy and healthy,