Eric Blake

Thursday, September 19, 2013

This past year I realized it’s all about enjoying your running and racing. I have been a runner in grade school, high school, college, and then as an open athlete for the past ten years. In that time I have run road races, marathons, mountain races, cross-country races, trail races, treadmill time trials, stair races and track races. These races ranged from Olympic Marathon Trials to World Mountain Championships to major road marathons (Boston, NY and Chicago). For the first time in my life two years ago I had a major injury where I tore two hamstring tendons from my pelvis. I had to have the tendons surgically repaired back on. The recovery of the surgery meant six weeks on the couch and six months without running. In the down time I promised myself to keep it fun the rest of my running career and pick events that I enjoy doing. I was also reminded to mix it up and keep training on many different surfaces….. Grass, trails, road, track and even treadmill.

My first year back (2012) from injury was a solid year. I qualified for my 6th World Mountain Running team and competed as a scoring member for team USA in Italy at the World Mountain Championships. I felt I was close to 100% back but still a step or two slow. With a successful 2012 year behind me, I felt I was setting myself up for some goodrunning and racing the next few years. I felt this was also a perfect time to pick the events I am best at, which is uphill (ascent) mountain races. I put a past love of road marathons on the back burner. I still plan go back to short races (5ks/10Ks/halfs) every fall and winter to work on my speed.

Early in 2013 training went really well and it led to me having my best mountain running season of my life. After wins and personal bests at Mt. Washington and the Loon Mountain Race I decided to return to the Pikes Peak Ascent. My one and only previous time racing Pikes Peak I led three other runners in 2010 off course. This led to being set back by about 10-15 minutes and being very frustrated! I knew I had to return but in 2011 I was hurt. In the summer of 2012 I was getting married and preparing for World Mountain Championships. But in 2013 I knew I wanted to go back and trained hard and the race went perfect. I followed the course and took the win!  After Pikes I decided to go for the Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland. Jungfrau Marathon is one of the most competitive mountain events of the year. The race committee does a great job of making sure they have a world class field. I used two New England races at prep runs: Race to the top of VT and Mt Greylock. The travel to Switzerland went well and during the race I went out at about marathon effort. I took advantage of the second half uphill section and moved up from a halfway position of 17th to finish 7th. 2013 was an enjoyable year and it is great running for La Sportiva! A big part of the success this year goes back to my original belief that you have to make sure your goals and the races you train for are something you are really really looking forward to!

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