It's a week or so before the New Year but it seems as good a time as any to look back on 2007 and reflect on my year in running. This year, I thought I would focus on the ten best individual runs of the year. So, here is my top-10 list for 2007:
10. The Ice Cream Sandwich Run with Scott Wolfe, Jeff Riley and Craig Thornley - This was a classic run with the Oregon boys on Miwok Saturday. Scott bailed early and I should have with what eventually amounted to an infected blister on my heel but it doesn't get much better than 52 miles on the Western States Trail followed by an evening of fun and frolic at Michigan Bluff. This run was Step One in my WS preparation.
9. The Little Wood Loop with Mike Stevens and Brad Mitchell - This 28 mile epic took 7 hours and we all ran out of water. It was a death slog after about 4 hours but we all laugh about it now. The fact that it was two weeks after WS and the temperatures were in excess of 90 degrees only added to the fun.
8. The Seqouia 50K Run - I was fat and out of shape for this little doozy in February but I was in the Bay Area for work and the run was held in my favorite training grounds of the East Bay Hills. Even though it is a "run not a race" I managed to finish within an hour of my good friend Jon Olsen which told me winter in Idaho wans't completely ruining my running career
7. Western States Training Run - Foresthill to Last Chance and back - I traveled down to The Trail the day after graduation to spend four hard (and hopefully hot!) days on the The Course. This run on the second day showed me I had my downhill legs from 2005. Sadly, it also showed me I still had the same uphill legs. Therefore, I knew sub-17 wasn't in the cards.
6. Western States Training Run - Placer High School to The River and back - This run, two days after the one listed above, showed me I could still ahndle heat after a winter in Idaho and that it was not necessarily a bad thing to know every mile point from Green Gate to the Finish. I was also encouraged to realize I still had a bit of footspeed after 150 miles in four days.
5. Pacing Rob Landis at Wasatch - Rob teaches at my school and was the winner of Wasatch in 1983 and 1984. In fact, he was the first person to finish the race under 24 hours. Needless to say, pacing a Legend to a strong 12th place finish was an honor and a privilege. I'll do it again next year unless I end up actually getting in to the race!
4. The Javelina Jundred - Having another battle with Jorge was fun although one of these days I'd like to finish ahead of him. Spending time in my beloved Sonoran Desert in late-October was a bonus and one I think I'll try to take advantage of in the future.
3. The Grand Teton 1oo Miler - Battling Matt Hart all day for this win was tough. The climbing and descending on this course are brutal and keeping focused when night falls make this a race that tests you physically and mentally. I also was surprised by some rather serious stomach issues which forced me to re-group in the late afternoon. That said, who can complan about a 4 hour course record in an perfectly organized race in a stunningly beautiful location.
2. The Vermont 100 Miler - This was my first 100 mile win. After 4 2nd place finishes I thought I was due. On this day, four weeks after WS, it all came together. Jim Kerby made me earn it and I will cherish the memory forever. Crossing that finish line in the daylight and falling into Shelly's arms made me understand how good it can get. I will never, ever take what I can do for granted.
1. The Western States 100 Miler - OK, I have to do it. In case you're wondering why this is my #1 just check out this link (feel free to fast forward through the 3rd place guy, his name is Cooper or something like that:):