Monday, December 31, 2007

My Most Memorable Runs of 2007

These are my most memorable runs of 2007:

1. Starting the new year off right with the "Fat Ass" 50K in Wallace State Park on January 1, and watching Caleb Chatfield "smoke" the field and the course without breaking a sweat. I'm promising myself more than 3 hours of sleep for the next time I do this 50K, (tomorrow).

2. Finishing the Rocky Raccoon 100-mile trail run for the 5th time in a row. This one tested my mettle...I was sick and couldn't eat or drink anything for the last 22 miles.

3. Race-directing the Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run. It's inspirational, seeing many runners finishing their first 50K or their first tough trail run. Seeing Kyle and Caleb breaking all records and coming in first and second was awesome. Seeing Caleb with his proud 90-year old grandpa after the race was really cool. Also, seeing "Barefoot" Rick Roeber finish a 10.35-mile loop of this crazy course (on ice and at 15 degrees) just blew me away.

4. Camping-out in the middle of Kansas in unseasonably cold weather (12 degrees) and 6-inches of drifting snow (in April), with my son and Kyle Amos, to run in the Rockin' K Trail Run. We woke up with ice on the inside of our tent and on the outside of our sleeping bags. I opted for the trail marathon. Kyle did the 50-miler. Keep in mind, their are multiple water crossings, with some as deep as 40-inches. Kyle is definitely made of tougher stuff than me.

5. Camping out in Clinton State Park, and race-directing the Free State Trail Run. Seeing Kyle win the 100K, and then go back out to play "course sweep" for our last finisher was really cool. And the volunteer help we got from the Trail Nerds, their families, and Kansas Ultrarunners' Society was truly inspirational.

7. Running in my only paved race for the year, the Corporate Challenge 5K, and garnering 6 points for my company. Age has it's advantages!

6. Running at the Berryman Trail Runs for the 6th straight year. And seeing my friend Pat Perry shepherd 22 newbie marathoners on their first marathon...a hilly and hot trail marathon at that!

7. Attending Western States 100 training camp with my friend Pat, and having a really good time. It's great to have nothing on your agenda but "running in the mountains" for three straight days.

8. Crewing for, and Pacing Pat at the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run. This was probably the high point of my year. Audio version here.

9. Running for 15 miles, and then doing trail maintenance with the Trail Nerds on more than a few 100-plus heat index days. These folks really show their love for the trails!

10. Race-directing the Psycho Psummer 50K, on a very hot and humid day in July. Again, our volunteers made the race a safe and fun event for all. No "Chicago" boondoggles here! Audio Version.

11. Running in the Mount Hood PCT 50-mile trail run for the 2nd year in a row, and finally meeting my blog-buddy Olga Varlamova. I had a faster time this year, despite falling and breaking my nose on mile 45. I love the Northwest, and I love this race! Audio Version.

12. Race-directing and running in the Psycho Night Trail Run. This race is just a really fun time.

13. Running in the really tough Cascade Crest Classic 100-mile trail run, in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state. This year, I got to see some old buddies, run with Pat for a while, not puke this time, fall off a cliff, meet a bear face to face, descend 500-feet down a rope, run 2.3-miles through a mountain, and bow-out at mile 60 for hypothermia and "severe mental incompetence." Yep. A pretty good time. Audio Version.

14. Running in the annual Sandrat Trail race in Lawrence. This race is always a good transition into the Fall Season.

15. Setting-up and running the aid station at the Heartland 100-miler, with my buddy Raul Flores. This is the 2nd year in a row that we've done this, and it is one of the most fun things I've ever done to support fellow runners. Also, setting up the course with Shane Jones for the Fall Fell Trail Race. Watching him try to smoke a cigar while running with signs in his hands was a hoot. Report here.

16. Running in the Rock Creek 50K at Lake Perry, Kansas. This was hands-down the most perfect 50K course and race that I've ever ran. And seeing David Wakefield finally catch a break and finish first, was a bonus. Also, watching two fast women that I know do well, was fantastic:
Deanna Stoppler was 3rd overall in the 50K, and Kelley Johnson was 1st overall in the 25K!

17. The busy week that nearly killed me: Setting-up the Pilgrim Pacer run on a Friday night, then facilitating the race the next day...and then the day after that, race-directing the Vet's Day run 2-hours prior to flying to Texas for business; then flying back the next Friday and setting up the course and aid station for Nathaniel's 24-hour Run. High points: Seeing the incredible generosity of runners at all three races.

18. Running the "Dude, where's the trail" 50K with Kyle and Pat, and part of it with Trish. This run is really low-key and a lot of fun. Lou's crazy sense of humor makes for interesting signage, while on the course. Photos.

19. Running in Steve Riley's Cross Country Challenge, with ice-cold water crossings in December. What a crazy good time.

20. Race-directing and running in the Alternate Chili Run and (once again) seeing how utterly generous runners are for a good cause.

21. Having the honor of receiving an award from the Kansas Ultrarunners' Society. It's KUS' Ultrarunner Member of the Year award.

22. And the best for last: All of the many, many fun training runs with the Trail Nerds, and all of the great converstations that we have while running. I just love it! On these runs, a lot of ideas come out. All of our races were spawned in this way. For example, on one stormy run with Gary Henry, we came up with the idea for our Pod Trod race.

Happy trails,
Bad Ben


robtherunner said...

Great re-cap of the year, Ben! Happy 2008! I like the photo of the 4 of us at CC100.

Sarah said...

You've had quite a year! I don't always comment, but I do enjoy reading your blog. Happy New Year!

Ben, aka BadBen said...

That's a wonderful photo of all of us.
Thanks. It's been quite a year.


Anonymous said...

Hey - I was at the Berryman Trail Marathon this year and I know Pat Perry! Happy New Year!

Ben, aka BadBen said...

Happy New Year!

Runner Susan said...

What great fun and wonderful photos! Happy New Year!

Lora said...

Happy New Year Ben!
Looking forward to meeting you at RR!

olga said...

Hey, neat photo - Rob doesn't look too bad:) You are a great RD and an example to strive for! Hope you registered for OCT again along with a bunch of your nerds!

Coach Tammy said...

Wow. That's a lot of great memories, and a helluva lot of miles! Well done my friend!

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