Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Doomsday, 2012, and (not) Drowning

As far as I can tell, the world did not end.  In fact, 2012 came to a very relaxing, quiet close at the Evolving household.  One of the highlights of the end of the year was the Doomsday Marathon.  With a 9PM start, in the middle of nowhere (written directions included the phrase “drive until the pavement end, then keep going”), with no man-made lighting and 30-degree temps, I found myself questioning my sanity as I finished my final gear check.  Once things got underway, however, it was one of the more unique and memorable running experiences I’ve undertaken.

The course was an approximately 2.5-mile loop that started in the woods, and then picked up a sand road through an old Air Force jump field for about 2 miles.  I was very, very dark, and with rain for several days leading up to the race, there were several spots on the road that consisted of large puddles that, if one weren’t paying attention, turned things into a bit of a steeplechase.  The sand was very loose in a couple sections, which made things very challenging on the later laps.  The race consisted of 11 laps, so the actual distance per my Garmin ended up being 27.31 miles.  I ended up 6th out of the 46 that finished, with a time of 4:24:31.  The guy that won the race ran a 3:09, which was pretty amazing considering the tough footing, puddles, and serious darkness.  The guy lapped me 3 times, and he was flying.  Very, very impressive.

I came into the run nursing a slight groin pull that I got playing tennis, and by the end of the race it was none too happy.  I also managed to turn my left ankle on the 10th lap, but it didn’t end up affecting me very much.  One of the best things about this race was I had surprisingly little soreness afterwards, other than my injuries, and was back to running again in only 6 days.  No orthopedist, no PT, happy happy, joy joy.  I’d definitely do an event like this again.  I’m not aware of any other ancient civilizations predicting our doom anytime soon, so I think this was a one-time affair, but the guy that put this one on puts together some pretty cool races, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for what he dreams up next.

With 2012 now in the books, I consider the year to have been a huge success as far as running goes.  Not only because of the training and races, but also because I stayed largely injury-free.  No trips to the orthopedist, and no quality time with my physical therapist.  Not to say I didn’t have my share of aches and pains, but I was unusually smart about managing my training and my pains, and think I’ve learned some good lessons for the future.  Training-wise, I managed 1926 miles of running, 627 miles of cycling, 10 trips to the pool (not great), and 79 trips to the gym.  Race-wise, I finished 2 5ks, 1 half-marathon, 2 full-marathons, 1 50k, and 1 50-miler.  My big goal for 2012 was to give Ultras a try, and I accomplished that goal and had fun in the process.  Not sure what my ultra future looks like now that I’m giving triathlons a shot, but I suspect I’ll rekindle the ultra relationship sometime in the future.

Now that 2013 is in full swing, I’m trying to get my act together to figure out a training plan for triathlons that doesn’t kill me and allows me to at least occasionally see my family.  The biggest challenge for me is getting in the time in the pool.  As much as I wish I enjoyed it more, I’m just not a big fan of swimming.  Running and biking appeal to me for the outdoors factor, and swimming in the pool is just tedious for me.  My mind wanders, and I lose track of laps, etc.  It doesn’t help that my endurance in the water isn’t great, and I know my stroke needs some work to move from sprinting form to more sustainable long-distance form.  For now, I’m content with not drowning.  I’m studying up on some of the assorted technique programs out there (Total Immersion, Effortless Swimming, etc.), and just trying to get in the routine of getting in the water 2-3 times a week.  Hopefully I can get to the point with swimming where, like running, it feels strange to not get in a swim.  Time will tell.


  1. I like your plans for 2013 - triathlon is a good goal but I too struggled with letting it not take over my life. The swimming thing is the hardest - I found a good swimming coach and a good swimming group and that has really worked for me - it motivates me to get to the pool once or twice a week AND it has massively improved my efficiency and thus pleasure in swimming. Having said all that - I am delighted that 2013 is my year of running again - I'm keeping up the swimming lessons but have not been on my bike since September 2012... I'm impressed with how you've stayed injury-free - some things we do eventually learn eh?

  2. Belated Happy New Year Chris! Glad to hear the Doomsday Marathon was a success! Congrats on a great 2012!! Hope 2013 brings you much of the same :)

  3. Swimming is the hardest for me for sure. I live far from the pool (1.5hrs one way) and I don't enjoy it. So I suck. I swim a lot more in the summer. Balance is hard with triathlon...I'm going to switch to ultra running I think, just work on one sport after this year.

  4. ouch ... don't they have a triathlon where you can just wade through waist-high water or something? I could do that.

  5. I'm sorta juggling half IM training (June) with ultra training (July) and it's only the end of January and I already feel a sense of overwhelmness; I can only imagine how I'm going to feel come May. I can swim fine, it's the biking I suck so much at. Swimming well is all in technique so keep at those drills and it will all come around.

    Congrats on the 50-miler, that is fantastic!!! :)