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.
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.
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!
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.