When I wasn't out on the trails racking up the miles (it was a HUGE mileage week, as you might imagine), Lizzy and I had a blast with lots of quality family time. I'm including this photo of us because I had a dream the night before that I wore this shirt on the podium at the Spartathlon awards ceremony. Could that be the running gods trying to nudge me into finally making the trip out there in 2011? Hmmm...
...and here's a shot of Uncle Dan showing off his Pez collection to Nashville nephew Will. It turns out Will is wise beyond his years: When I said he could pick any Pez dispenser from the pile to add to his own collection, he immediately grabbed the giant Kermit the Frog and said, "Thank you!".
Just to make sure this is the only running blog you'll ever read with two Pez photos, I'll include this one showing the evolution of the Hulk dispenser from the original 70s version to the present-day model. ....I know, I know, Will didn't really care about my Pez history lesson either. He was more interested in asking questions like, "Why don't you have any candy in these things?".
The running highlight of the week was me finally convincing myself to wake up on New Year's morning to run the RedEye 50K which has been a VHTRC tradition for 15 years. Club legend Gary Knipling was nice enough to coordinate the race this year, and 105 runners proved to be hangover-proof and showed up to run through the leafy trails of the Prince William National Forrest. Not knowing the course at all, I hooked up with super-nice guy Jeff Holdaway at the front of the pack around mile 2 and proceeded to chat his ear off for the next 29 miles. As an added bonus, we got to see Jeff's 14 year-old son Matt finish 20 miles of his own out there. Well done, Matt!
As the first full training week of the year kicks off today, I'm officially focused on my races for the spring. In order to get into the kind of climbing shape I want to be in for MMT100 (and possibly Hardrock), I'm integrating two-a-days for the first time. This morning was the first 5:00 a.m. hill workout (I never train in the mornings, so it was a little tough to get the engine going!), and I'll follow it up with my usual evening run (tempo or speed) after work. The weekends will have my usual long runs, most of which will take place either on the Bull Run or MMT course. By including the 4000 feet of climbing every morning, I think I should be able to even the playing ground with some of the runners out there who have the good fortune of living (and running) in the mountains every day. If nothing else, it will at least help me build up my legs to more of a "Current Hulk Pez" size, and that can only help with my climbing speed!