Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The HUFF, year's end, and 100-mile training

As the indifferent blogger that I am, I'm just now getting to writing up a few reflections on the end of the year and the beginning of the new one. Also a quick race report for the HUFF because I haven't done that either.

The HUFF
This was a late entry to my race schedule, and a late race, period--it took place on December 19. HUFF stands for Hoosier Ultra Frigid Fifty(K). It's been around for quite a while, and is currently run in Chain o' Lakes State Park, near Fort Wayne. Since it's in northern Indiana, it's more or less flat (only 1,200 feet or so of gain in 50K), and, the main attraction for me, is run at the same location as the Indiana Trail 100, which will be my first 100-mile race in just a few short months.

I registered with a couple of aims. I wanted to score a large 50K PR, and I wanted to do some course recon for the 100 (that is, during daylight and when the trails there are in good condition, neither of which I was able to do while pacing last year). My pie-in-the-sky goal was to break 5 hours, but I figured I would be happy with anything under 5:30. My PR was 6:43, set in my very first ultra ever, on a muddy mess of a course with 5,000+ feet of gain.

I didn't have the sub-5 in me that day. It was very cold, much colder than it had been, and I didn't do a good job with my fueling. My final time was 5:18. I went through the halfway mark at 2:35, so really I'm okay with that. With a late-season race that I tacked on, it's pretty darn good. And hey, it's an 85-minute PR, so I'm certainly not complaining!

2015 recap
This past year has been really good to me. I ran a lot, I ran consistently, I didn't get injured, and I had fun. I got to go trail running in a lot of really amazing places, including California, Minnesota, and West Virginia. I was second place woman (to a legit elite ultrarunner) in the Land Between the Lakes 60K, and first place woman in the Cloudsplitter 50K.

Although I didn't read as many books this year, I still managed a good number (a little over 40). I also started a new job (same company, different department), which has been an enormously positive change. And I strengthened friendships. I guess there's really not much else to say. It was a good year. I hope for more of the same in 2016.

Miles: 2,537.8
Climbing: 169,334 feet
Lifetime PRs: 2!! (marathon!!! and 50K; plus, tied my certified road 5K PR)
Books read: 44 (including for work, so a few of them are still not published, but they still count, dammit!)

Looking ahead to 2016
Really my only goal for the year will be accomplished, or not, at the end of April: the Indiana Trail 100-mile run. At this time I'm setting no overall mileage goals and making no fall race plans. I want things to be wide open afterwards, so I can see how I feel and do whatever I want, with no upcoming races or anything hanging over me. If I need to take an extended break, I can, or if I feel like training again after recovering from the 100, I can. I don't know how I will feel after the 100, but I know it'll be like nothing I've ever done before, so I can't see any point in planning for the aftermath.

So, between now and April 30, I plan to run A LOT, more than I ever have (as long as my body cooperates of course). I'm not completely throwing caution to the winds--it will still be my usual recipe of easy miles with infrequent speedwork, with mindfulness about recovery. But for once I'm not necessarily thinking long term; I'm throwing in all the chips for April.

I also hope to read more books this year. I set a goal of 50, but more than that would be great. Maybe even in a dent in the TBR list.

Although I don't know what the future holds, I'm excited about following the path ahead! Bring on 2016!
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