Running in 2021

Early in 2020 I had the idea of registering for races outside Colorado in 2021. You know, after the pandemic would be over. One of the classic Mid-western ultra-marathons, if I won the lottery. Sadly, these races were cancelled in 2020 and no clear end to the pandemic was in sight at the end of the year. I decided to stick to races that wouldn't require flights and accomodations. I would run the relatively small races in my neighborhood, all of which I've run before, but in 2021 I would run all of them in 6 months and complete the Gnar Slam.

Here are the numbers for 2021 (as of 2021-12-27).

  • 410 hours, 52 minutes of running (18% more than in 2020).

  • 2001 miles distance (+15%)

  • 264,514 ft of elevation gain (+17%)

  • 6 pairs of shoes retired

March's big snowstorm complicated training

My achievements for the year include:

  • Completing the Gnar Slam (Quad Rock 50 mile, Never Summer 100 km, Black Squirrel Trail Half-Marathon, Blue Sky Trail Marathon).

  • 3rd place Men's Grandmasters at Quad Rock, my first racing trophy.

  • New personal bests at Quad Rock, Never Summer, and Blue Sky.

  • Finishing my own backyard ultra-marathon, 7 x 4.16 miles in March.

The low points of my 2021 season were being injured for most of March and half of April, and mental fatigue from the corporate union-busting at my day job (gaslighting, vague threats, pervasive fear, uncertainty, and doubt are part of the playbook) which undercut my Black Squirrel training. Happily, I fully recovered from the injury just before Quad Rock, and found myself a new job just before Blue Sky.

Many things went right in 2021. I did a bunch of long alpine runs with Mike Thompson and look forward to doing more of that in 2022. I got a lot better at descending trails. I'm faster, more confident, and use less energy going downhill. I was only injured once and it didn't require a trip to the emergency room. I wasn't attacked by a mountain lion. All in all, a very positive year. I'm looking forward to the next one. I don't have a firm plan for 2022 yet, but will probably run a little less and not do any ultra-marathon event until the end of summer.

Fresh mountain lion tracks on Horsetooth's South Ridge, March 24, 2021

I've gathered photos that appear in previous posts into a Flickr album.

Milner Mountain, April 17, 2021