Though I have not fully processed my recent health scare, I figured it was time to briefly reflect on the wonderful year that has been before I capture my thoughts on my blog in greater detail before year's end.
After having been with my fiancee Anya for over 5 years, I sneakily proposed to her again, but this time asking her to marry me right then and there. Thankfully, she accepted...again. 4 hours later, we were married which made April 16, 2012 the most special event...and not only for 2012;-) If the year had ended there, I couldn't have been happier.
Everything else was just the proverbial icing on the cake and while none of the adventures of 2012 come close to my wedding, they were certainly exciting in their own right.
I got 2012 started with my third consecutive running of the Mountain Mist 50K in Huntsville, Alabama in January.
In February, I ran the Fuego Y Agua 100K on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua, a volcanic island and the most amazing place I had ever been to.
In March, just one week after climbing two volcanoes as part of the 100K race, I got to run with my wife Anya and while I didn't manage quite the mileage I had hoped for, I got to pace her to her first ever ultra marathon finish at the Delano Park 12 Hour Race in Decatur, Alabama.
Just 3 weeks after my return from Nicaragua, I toed the line of my toughest ultra challenge yet, the Double Top 100M in Chatsworth, Georgia. Ironically, it was my best executed 100 miler to date and my highest finish ever in any ultra race (3rd male overall).
In April, I ended up on a business trip to the West coast of Ireland and got to run the famous Connemarathon 39.3M ultra marathon just outside Galway, Ireland. This was yet another epic ultra and the year had just begun.
Three weeks later, I was presenting at a corporate event in Phoenix, Arizona. A quick glance at the map revealed a somewhat close proximity to the Grand Canyon. After a couple of text messages, I had convinced Richard Trice and Dan Burstein to join me in Arizona for a couple of days for a little 3 hour road trip from Phoenix via Sedona and Flagstaff to The Grand Canyon National Park for a Grand Canyon Double Crossing or R2R2R. Another epic adventure done!
While the R2R2R counted as my traditional "birthday run" (run your age in miles), I turned 41 and the double crossing added up to around 42 miles, the month of May offered yet another first. This time, I managed to convince not just two friends to join me in a crazy adventure, but seven. With the help of Ryan, Richard, Mike, Ed, James, Dan, and Jay, team "I Lost My Sock in Huntsville" was born and we were ready to give the Dixie 200, a 200 mile relay race from Atlanta, Georgia to Birmingham, Alabama our best shot. We were the only ones crazy enough to attempt this one as an ultra team...oh yeah, only 4 of us were actual ultra runners. But we did it...and we won the ultra division (well, we just had to finish to garner this particular accolade) of this inaugural event.
June and July were a little light on ultra races, so when August came around, my running buddies and I were ready for another grand adventure. I participated in my second Laurel Valley White Water Run 35 Miler, a completely self-supported point to point ultra race through five gorges (or is it "Georges"? well, you'll need to read the race report for that one) and while I had some serious issues during this one, I still ended up having a great time running with friends and chilling out with my wife after.
September served up two more adventures, a few miles with friends at the inaugural Merrill's Mile 24 Hour Endurance Race in Dahlonega, Georgia along with pacing my buddy Timo Sandritter to his first ultra finish and the second edition of the Georgia Jewel 100M race in Dalton, Georgia. My finish at the Georgia Jewel 100M was made possible only by the generous crewing and pacing support of James Duncan, Ed Johnson, Ronnie Hines and Philip Sustar and Kena Yutz, without whom a finish would have been impossible.
October's Stump Jump 50K in Chattanooga, Tennessee was meant as a final tune for the Pinhoti 100 the following month. Once again, I got to meet up with another bunch of Huntsville ultra runners and once again, I had a whole lot of fun just a couple of hours from my home.
The Pinhoti 100M in November was supposed to be another highlight of an already exciting year of ultra adventures. It was to be the completion of the unofficial "Pinhoti Trail Slam", achieved by completing all three 100 mile events taking place on the Pinhoti trail in one year. 2012 was the first year that this would have even been posible, since the Double Top 100 was run for the first time. I would have been the first to complete this chllenge, but unfortunately, the Pinhoti 100 beat me yet gain (after I dropped after 60 miles in my first ever 100 mile attempt in 2010) and I fell 35 miles short of the 300 mile challenge. Regardless, a new exciting adventure was born (largely in part to Dan Burstein's idea) and as of right now, already 6 folks have signed up to the now official version of the Slam. I cant wait to congratulate the first person to earn this very special buckle which was also designed by Dan.
However, this review would not be complete without discussing the remainder of the year. Unfortunately, after all of the highs this year had provided to me, there were some serious (health related) lows that followed and while I'm not fully recovered yet, I am getting better every day. In an effort to separate to highs from the lows, I will write about the last 8 weeks of this year in a follow up to this post.
I can only hope that 2013 will be as exciting and rewarding as 2012, minus the health issues:-) I look forward to making new friends and deepening existing friendships, on and off the trails.