Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Saying Good-bye to 2018 & Hello to 2019!

One of my favorite pics of 2018, it occurred at the end of a very wet, spontaneous run in the Colorado Rockies!

Today is January 1, 2019.  The dawn of a new year always brings with it hopes and dreams for the next 12 months and reflections upon the 12 months that we just finished.  Many probably made those reflections last night or over this past weekend, but while I have done that as well, I haven't had a moment to put it down in print. 

This past year in running, for me was a time of returning fitness and excitement followed by injury and slow recovery.  There have been a lot of ups and downs to say the least.  The late Spring brought with it a change in position at work that opened up my schedule.  All of a sudden my blood pressure dropped over 50 points in 3 weeks.  Normal sleep patterns returned.  I was able to go out on the weekends and do a long run. 

This allowed me to finish one of the toughest races I have done since 2015, the inaugural Frost Town 25K on June 2.  While it ended up being just a bit longer than a half marathon, it was a rugged course with a good amount of elevation gain and loss for this area of Western New York State.

The training I did in May and June not only allowed me to finish and enjoy Frost Town and my second Charlie's Old Goat Trail Run, I ended up with my first 100 or more mile months (May and July) since 2015.  July's mileage included several awesome trail runs/hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park and saw me cross 8,000 miles since Februaray 12, 2009 while in the middle of my hardest one during that vacation. 

I captured this picture at Ypsilon Lake in RMNP just a mile or so before I crossed 8,000 miles since 2/12/09.

Unfortunately, a pain that I felt in several of those adventures in the mountains, ended up being an inguinal hernia.  This would develop more fully during the week leading up to me participating in the Mighty Mosquito 99 Mile Relay in my favorite park here in WNYS.  That race was 3 very different legs.  The first leg was in the afternoon on trails I run all the time, and despite the developing hernia, I felt I ran strong and enjoyed it.  The second loop was on trails I was less familiar with and in complete darkness.  A powerful flashlight from work saved me and a fellow runner several times from making wrong turns.  My headlamp was okay, but my flashlight...wow!  The third loop was run in both darkness and then sunrise but more importantly...fire burning pain where I felt like my tendon or muscle around the right part of my pelvic bone was going to rip off!  While my right hamstring had gotten tight during the second loop, the third loop...the last two miles...ouch...

This led to my first DNS in the last few years at the Midsummer Night's Madness Trail Run a few weeks later as it was confirmed I had a hernia.  I had surgery on 9/11 of all days and then recovery started and I was out of work for about a month.

Recovery didn't go as well as I had hoped as I over did the first week to the point of not being able to walk on my left foot at all.  (I had walked too much too soon and was over compensating on my left side.)  The next 7-8 weeks weren't easy.  I decided to train for the Mendon Trail Run, an event I have run one of the distances of each year since we moved to NYS.  This year it was on my birthday and would give me an idea of how I was doing as I continued to recover. 

Not super clear, this pic was taken the day after I raced on my birthday.  As we hiked through this stretch as a family, it was golden all around us.

My race and birthday weekend went well.  Shortly after that weekend, I realized why it went so well...I'm not exactly sure how to write this...but I guess it's easier to just simply state it:  for over 2 1/2 years, (if not longer), I was in a pretty dark place emotionally...what many would describe as severe, (clinical?) depression.  This last two months, I feel like God has pulled me out of a dark hole.  I am not saying everything is peachy king, nor am I in denial that I might have an ongoing battle off and on over my life...in fact, I have had that.  But in the past, I could usually deal with it to some extent.  This last episode though...was probably the roughest.  That all said, this is the first birthday and holiday season that I have enjoyed...truly enjoyed...for a long time...

Now, 2019!  Out of the door like a gangbuster, I pulled the trigger the other day and signed up for a local 4 part snowshoe series with the first race this coming Saturday!  I had a MFR massage yesterday that really loosened up a lot of tightness still stuck in my muscles from the surgery back in September.  I feel so much better and am looking forward to getting my fitness back again in 2019.  In addition to the snowshoe series, I am hoping to particpate in the local Trail Runner of the Year series run by TrailsRoc.org and possibly do a mountain race in Vermont.

Thanks again to Nuun Hydation, BibRave, The Ginger People, and Sportland Tea for letting me represent them as a product ambassador in 2018.  Thanks to all of you for your support and prayers.  Thanks to my wife, kids, and family for their support. Finally, thank you to God for allowing my to run and enjoy this awesome Creation, may I stay out of any dark holes in the future as I run towards the light!  Go out and enjoy 2019! 

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