2014 saw a precipitous decline in my running, across the board. I ran less, I ran shorter distances, and I ran much slower. And this for a guy who was never all that fast to begin with.
Oh well. There's always next year. There's also always room to smile, and be thankful for the good things. I've seen enough life to not take anything for granted, and notice all the moments. There's joy in the little things. And frankly, my running and trail life do not live in a vacuum. 2014 was a terrific year for me, just not so much as a runner. I'll set some goals, and go from there.
So, here's my Best of 2014 Runs/Hikes list, with limited weight given to the rankings, although #1 and #2 were easy choices.
It doesn't get much better than Kauai. We got married, on the north shore, with friends and family watching on. The wedding and reception were simply magical--everything we could want, and the memories are great for everyone. The week after was filled with outdoor adventures, including a five hour boat ride with dolphins and whales along the Na Pali Coast; a helicopter ride to the other 80% of the island, including Waimea Canyon and the Coast; kayaking on the Wailua River with several friends and hiking to waterfalls; surf school in Hanalei; and my daily routine of watching the sun rise over the ocean. So good.
This 25 mile run across the North Cascades National Park is about as good as it gets. I think this was my fourth time on this point-to-point route, and I struggled. I rolled my ankle near Fischer Camp, and basically had to walk the last few miles. So worth it, as the natural beauty of this area is heavenly. Thanks Allen and Rich for sticking with me.
I did a full day hike up Ptarmigan Ridge, up by Mount Baker, all the way to the Portals. I saw a bear, lots of goats, a variety of birds, glacier green lakes, and more. The picture above is a bear, though a lanky one which might be mistaken for Bigfoot. Afterwards, I hung out with friends Dean, Ruth and Al up at Heather Meadows. Got pretty sun burnt that day.
I was up on Cutthroat Pass twice this year—once for the Cutthroat Classic trail run, and then a few weeks later with friend Rich. Great trip-- we took our time exploring the ridges above the pass, getting a good view of the PCT headed north. I've been on the pass many times, but have never really looked around. Pizza at the end of a long day was well earned.
I ran a short Fun Run in Boston along the Charles River in June with friend John. Big city running is always a quick way to get a sense for a place. Managed also to catch a great game at Fenway and tour the stadium; have a great Italian meal on the North Side, with canolis; and hiked the Freedom Trail with Deb.
My favorite ultra was my only ultra for the year. It was hard. It took me four hours to get to the turnaround, and I was beat by then. I turned around immediately, so there could be no doubt I’d bring it home.
The 2014 edition of this Northwest tradition had some of the worst rain at a race I can remember. Cold, windy rain. Builds character, I'm told, but at my age, I'm not in need of much. This race is five minutes from home, and lots of friends show up, so I'll probably keep toeing the line. Nice to see the trumpeter swans, when they're out there.
Great to head up to Canada with Rich and see Gary and Linda and come in last place on this beautiful technical course. I was just a wreck, tip-toeing over slimy, slick roots. Heavy rain before the race gave way to clear skies. The course is on the Diez Vista course, with plenty of climb and technical running. Sure to be a good one in years to come.
I made a few different trips over to the Skagit Wildlife Recreation Area with Seth, Rich, Deb, and others. Near home, this is a great place to find some birds, some nature, and some quiet time. I love this place.
This run benefits Mongolian children. It is a simple out and back on Bellingham’s Interurban, and it was just the right thing for me on the weekend I did it.
So, as usual, not everything got into the list. There was our annual full-moon snowshoe trip up to Artist Point, which went great this year, in 40 degree weather. I ran a few other half marathons, including the Woolley Runs and the Seattle Half Marathon. I also put in a number of shorter races, including the March Point 10k, Loggerodeo, and the Fall Fowl Run. Aaron ran the Fowl Run with me, for his first 10k, and placed in his age group. In all, I did at least 12 events, which is my annual goal. I also DNS'ed a few races--I need to stop registering way in advance for races. I'll probably actually run less events going forward, and focus more on trail time.
I also managed trips to Washington D.C. (work) and San Diego (friends). Deb and I came to call this the summer of baseball, as we attended 8 or so games, including games in San Diego, Boston, Seattle, and even Everett. Even Derek Jeter's last game in Safeco. Maybe next year the Ms can improve a bit, and so can I with this whole running thing.
OK, on to 2015! Good things, good things.