Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What's Your Problem?

I'll spare the whole "I can't believe it's been so long" and "Forgive me for I have blog-sinned" and "Never again, I'm back" and all the other usual messages reserved for the end of a blog drought. Besides, I've already done it before and I made myself sick. I'll save that for another 6 months and try to explain here what the heck has been happening.

So it's 2010. Whoa. Last year was a rough year for me in more ways than I care to think about. So I'll just go ahead and throw them out here in convenient list form:

Running: Since this blog is mostly about running (and other physical activities), I'll start there. The year started out great with one of my best runs ever at the PCTR Woodside 35k in February. This was to be my last race until the Miwok 100k. Unfortunately (as documented previously here), I ran into a nasty bout with Achilles tendinitis and as a result, had zero training leading up to the race and eventually had to DNF at mile 28 of Miwok. Interestingly enough. a funny thing happened during the race (before the DNF that is) - I regained my love for running (just by the fact that I was out running again). However, it just wasn't meant to be with the awful conditions denying me any chance to finish combined with a lack of training. (At least my pacer-to-be Victoria, ended up having a great run with Suzanne Carrier - but that's another story.)

Over the rest of the summer, I took it easy but slowly started building up so that I can do at least one more race that I had on my radar - Firetrails 50 miler. The race ended up being a blast and turned the whole year around. I called it my redemption from Miwok and I was back on running cloud 9. A race report will be pulled out of the archives when I'm gone in 2065.)

Being paced by my better half. How cool is that!

That was it for the events but I did hit some bad luck at the end of the year for race lotteries. I knew Western States was a long shot (big negative), but I was fairly confident with my chances for Miwok (another big no). That was disappointing only for the main reason that I loved that trail and really wanted to get my running revenge. (Try again in 2011) Luckily, I did get into Way Too Cool 50k and that ended the year on a positive note.

Family: In the grand scheme of things, running is definitely meaningless next to family. For the first time in my life, I almost realized what life would be like without my dad. Early in the year, he came within hours of losing his life to a major blood clot. A big downer that really shut me down for most of the year. He basically went into get a blood test because he was feeling weak and tired and he didn't leave the hospital for five more days. Yikes. He's made a huge recovery since then but it's really made me realize how important my parents are and they won't be around forever.

Dad with Owen looking good after Firetrails.

Almost lost it emotionally here. Thanks for the support family!

What made Firetrails so special? Seeing my mom, dad, wife, and two boys waiting for me at the aid station at mile 41.5. I almost started crying hysterically when I saw them. Go give your family a hug. Right now.

Job: It's obvious that running events and activities cost money and for the people that know me, I was very absent this year at many events that I wanted to attend (a ton of PCT events!). The biggest reason for limited events and funds this year was me losing my job. Obviously, not the biggest shocker in today's economy, but still quite a shocker to the system and something that really alters your life. This is what amplified the previous two downers to another level. I had a great 13-year run at Applied Materials in Santa Clara but things finally caught up to our department. Although, I'm excited to try new challenges, it's been a tough year/time to focus on new ventures and challenges that I want to explore. Looking for a job is definitely a job in itself. You might start understanding why this blog was left for dead. Eventually, I will be back on my feet and in the end, things will be better off as I tackle new challenges.

Business Mike.

(By the way, if anyone is looking for a successful, problem-solving IT Project Manager with 9 years of experience managing software projects, plus a prior 4 years developing software, please send me an email or check out my LinkedIn page).

Next! Ok, now that I've brought the house down, let's get back to kicking some butt in a positive way. I have many things to be thankful for and being a positive person, I like to use those things for motivation. Health is good. Family loves me. Have good friends. Opportunities are out there and I've learned a lot of new things over the past 6 months (Yes, I've been taking advantage of not working). Also, being able to spend some great Mr. Mom time with my boys (especially my oldest going to his first day of kindergarten) has been great.

What about running? After a nice fattening up period over Christmas, I'm back on the trails/road/firetrail running again. Thanks to my parents Xmas gift, I have one race on the schedule already - Way Too Cool 50k in March. Assuming I start earning some money soon, I have a few more races that I'm targeting (including a big one!). In April, I'm thinking about doing the PCTR Diablo 50 (a serious ass-whooping race that might be more difficult than Miwok). I really love doing PCTR races and it's been way too long since I've seen the crew (especially RD Sarah Spelt). After that, I plan on returning to the sight of my first Ultra, the Ohlone 50k. Missed this last year due to it's proximity to Miwok and now I'm really excited to go back. After Ohlone, if everything is in order with me (financially, health-wise), I'm giving serious thought to running either the Headlands 100 or the Tahoe Rim Trails 100. I would love to get to 100 miles this year. After that, I'll probably recover and then run Firetrails again (I really loved that race).

Yes it was a tough 2009, but also rewarding in so many ways. I'm looking forward to some butt kicking in 2010. My foot, somebody else's butt. Oh and the blog is alive! Have a great day.


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