Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Looking Back at 2007 (Trail Running Blog Tag)

Just when I wasn't looking over my shoulder, Scott Dunlap tagged me to continue the fun blog-tagging game that Paul Charteris started. Here are my answers to the six questions:

1. the most memorable moment on the trails was…
Meeting my friends Grant, Marie, and their dog Artie at Mile 74 of the TRT100. I had walked by myself since mile 53 and it was cold and dark, so I was really looking forward to meet Grant and Marie at their campsite alongside the trail. However, I was not sure if they would still be up, because I had fallen behind on my projected schedule.

With Marie, Grant, and dog Artie (Photo by Alan Geraldi)

When I met Scott Dunlap on his way back from the turnaround point, I got a real boost when he told me that I had "a fan club" waiting for me about a mile ahead. When I finally arrived at the 74-mile point, seeing my friends and having a chair and hot coffee waiting was something I'll never forget. Ultrarunning is like that; it can strip you down to your core, leaving you with a renewed sense of gratefulness for the most basic and simple things.

Just when I thought about laying down for a bit, I was fortunate enough that Alan came by. We decided to walk the rest of the race together and the rest is history. Unfortunately, this would be one of the last times I would see Artie. Rest in peace, good dog -- you will always be in our hearts.

A close second (I know, that's cheating ;)) was running under the shooting stars at the 12 Hrs at Cool race. I had not fully recovered from TRT100 and started the race with a lot of Jet Lag. After a great first lap, I reached an incredible low and was reduced to simply walking, wondering if I would be able to run again that night. After a quick break, however, an unbelievable runner's high kicked in that just kept going and going. Combine that with tons of shooting stars, some good tunes, a great crew (Thanks Chris!), and an awesome RD (Nancy) and race volunteers it made for one of my most memorable runs ever (and yes, the stack of pancakes at the end also helped!).

2. The best new trail I discovered in 2007 was…
Tahoe Rim Trail Section 8 between Ward Creek and the intersection of the TRT and PCT at Twin Peaks. I hiked this section for the first time with Sean in November. The views in the area around Twin Peaks are simply unbelievable. We just could not get enough of the beautiful views that stretched out in all directions.

3. My best performance of the year was…
Although I had a great, first overall 10K victory at the Daffodil Run 10K and I ran my best 50K ever at Sunsweet Wildflowers 50K in April (2nd overall in 4:06), I would say that my best performance of 2007 was the combination of the Sierra Nevada 53-mile Endurance Run (1st overall) followed by the Draft Horse Classic 5K (3rd AG), and the Tahoe Super Triple (1st overall), all in a single week.
That string of races actually sums up my 2007 race year. The two series I was running in, as well as my favourite race, the Tahoe Super Triple, happened to have five events planned in one seven-day period: On the first day, a double marathon, on the second day, a 5K, on the 5th and 6th day, two marathons, and on the 7th day a 72-mile race. (Wait! This is starting to sound like a familiar Christmas song!).

Leading up to this, I had to think long and hard about what to do. Unlike runners like Chihping, running a 53-mile race five days before the Super Triple was not something I would have planned. In the end, I prioritized the races and I was going to throw everything I had into the Sierra Nevada double marathon in an effort to score top points in the series. I accepted that this would most likely cost me first overall in the Gold Country Grand Prix Series and perhaps the overall win at the Super Triple as well.

I tapered for a few weeks before the 53-mile run, ate extremely healthy, and watched my race weight very carefully. More importantly, I focused on visualizing that running and winning this series of events was possible, without going into unrealistic imagination. In the end it all worked out much better than I could have dreamed off, but I could not have pulled it off without the help of my family, my Tahoe/Indy 500 pit crew, and the support and positive energy from all my running friends!
4. I do not know how I previously survived without...
Bottle Lights, of course! If you have not tried these super handy lights on your water bottles (The Black Diamond Ions weigh less than one ounce), you don't know what you're missing in the early hours of the race. Actually, you will know what you're missing when you trip over a root or when you miss the course markings!

5. The person I would most like to meet on a trail in 2008...
My dad. He recently had a health-related setback, but fortunately he is on the road to full recovery again. The way he dealt with it has been very inspirational and I would love to see him back out on the trail during the August 2008 TRT Thru-Run.

6. The race I am most excited about for 2008...
That's the easiest question to answer: My TRT Speed Record Attempt, scheduled for 16 August 2008. I have wanted to run the entire TRT (165 Miles) in one go for a while now and I am going to focus my training exclusively on this event. Apart from trying to break Tim Twietmeyer's record, this event is just as much about testing my own endurance and having fun with friends and enjoying the trail.

I am super-excited that several fellow runners have already offered to run sections of the trail with me; that should help out tremendously! I'll be posting more about the TRT Thru-Run and next year's schedule in upcoming posts.
Now Tagging:


Michael Kanning said...

Cool! I agree about the shooting stars at 12 Hours at Cool; that was one of the best runs ever. And I'm also excited to see you do the TRT thru-run.

I'll get to work on those questions...


Sam McManis said...

Hi, Peter. This is Sam McManis, reporter for the Sacramento Bee. I'm doing a story on a Sacramento ultra guy, Ray Sanchez, a former Golden Gloves boxer. I noticed you've mentioned him once or twice in your blog. I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions about Ray, how someone so inexperienced in ultra can challenge the top guys such as yourself. I'm at 916-321-1145 and my email is Thanks, Sam

Peter Lubbers said...

Hi Sam,

I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. First of all, I certainly don't consider myself one of the "top guys," but thanks for the compliment ;)
Ray is a very nice guy and tough as nails. Although he might be inexperienced in ultras, he used to do boxing and that made him very fit and I am also sure that's where he learned to dig deep -- two esential elements for running ultras.
I think he is going to be one of the guys to watch in the years to come, combining speed and endurance.
Regards and Happy New Year!

Norma Bastidas said...

Hi Peter. This is the first time reading your blog and now I am hooked. Thanks for the tip about the water bottles lights. too late to put it on my list to santa right next to body glide, and blister free tape. I guess I just have to get it myself ;)

I am looking forward to reading more. Good luck in your races


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