I started this blog earlier this year to share my experiences on the trail. Most of the time, I report on my races, but I don't normally report on the other many long distance trail runs through out. The photo on the right is of me at the foot of Amicalola Falls. My running buddy, Woody and I ran 21 or so miles that day from the Falls to and over Springer Mountain along the AT approach trail, Appalachian Trail and Benton-McKaye Trail. Great scenic run and one I hope to repeat many more times. The other photo is of me and Woody at the top of Springer Mountain on the same day. This is symbolic for us as we have yet to complete our goal of running the entire Appalachian Trail section in Georgia. We tried twice earlier this year, but for various reasons, mainly due to weather, we couldn't complete the journey. However, we learned alot from the experience and we also enjoyed the camaraderie that comes with running miles together along long stretches of trail. We hope to be back on top of Springer Mountain in 2010, but hopefully as the crowning moment of our third attempt at finishing the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. You can read about our second attempt here.
It would be difficult to pick any one race as my favorite race this year. Everyone of them had something unique or special about it. The GUTS races, Fat Ass 50K, Pumpkin Butt 50K and Pine Mountain 40-Miler are always fun for their low-key nature and because usually there are a ton of friends in the race as well. PM40 gave out some great swag too! The Mt. Cheaha 50K was epic due to the heavy rains the night before the race and the precarious creek crossings as a result. Of course, it also has "Blue Hell" with which to contend. The SweetH2O 50K also had a significant river crossing, but its the power line hills and this year the heat that made that race a tough one. If I had to pick one of the bunch, I would have to select the Mt. Cheaha race. I felt great that day and enjoyed the challenges along the course. By far, my worst race this year was my lone road marathon at the Country Music Marathon in Nashville. The heat kicked my ass and made me finish well off my usual marathon time by over 40 minutes!
One highlight of 2009 was my trip to Colorado to hike and climb Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive. We climbed both "14'ers" in a weekend and I was blown away by the experience. It was my first time visiting Colorado and I can understand why people fall in love with this state and the beautiful Rockie Mountains. I may not be able to return in 2010, but I hope to return many times in the years to come.
So what's in store for 2010? Well, I still plan to focus on trail running. My year starts off again with the GUTS Fat Ass 50K and then possibly Mt. Cheaha again. Hopefully, we'll tackle the Georgia AT in April, but that is yet to be confirmed. Later in the year, I'm looking at Stump Jump 50K in October and the Lookout Mountain 100K in December. I'm also on a team for the 200-mile plus Southern Odyssey Relay race in October. No 100-miler planned for 2010. That may have to wait until 2011. I logged almost 2,000 miles in 2009 and I hope to hit that and farther in 2010. I'm looking forward to it.
However, 2010 will also see me get back in the saddle and riding my bike. I have rejoined Team In Training, this time to train and ride for the America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride at Lake Tahoe in June. I've neglected my bike in 2009 and I have my cross hairs squarely on completing both the century ride and my fundraising goal for the team. If you would be so kind, please consider supporting by visiting my fundraising page, www.tinyurl.com/javisride.
The happiest event for me of 2009 had nothing to do with running or any sport. The happiest event of 2009 was the birth of my son, Ivan. My wife and I are blessed with a wonderful, healthy son and we have begun the longest endurance event of life, parenthood. Good stuff!
So with just days left for 2010, I wish all a very Happy New Year and that the new year will be as good or better than 2009. I look forward to sharing my new adventures with you from the trail and beyond. Until then, cheers!