Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - A Look Back

Year in Review

In terms of life accomplishments and events, this year ties 2012 for my best years ever because like 2012, I welcomed in another gorgeous baby girl (Morgan Sage, pictured to the left) into my family.  She came into the world on September 1 (Labor Day, fittingly).  Before I had kids, I had no clue what was really important in life...I thought I knew.  Your entire perspective on life changes (for the better) with kids and for all those out there with children, I don't have to tell you how amazing it truly is.

As far as running goes (and because this site technically is still 'doublejrunning' I will focus now on the running aspect of what I was involved in) the big surprise for me this year was definitely my ability to get back to running relatively consistent mileage throughout the course of the year.

Miles aren't everything, but they definitely tell a story (for me anyways) on whether or not I've been slacking.  Also, with consistent miles comes fitness (for me).  With fitness comes times and performances I actually can be proud of. I'm hoping to improve on my  year this year and get back to basics for 2015.

The 2014 Numbers:

Total Miles: 3049.75  / 8.35 miles per day average including the days off...
Total Days Off: 39
Total Races: 39
Total Wins: 21 (22 if you count my leadoff leg of RTB where I handed off in the lead)

December was my highest month of miles (344.6) with 2 days off (the last 2 due to the f*&$ing flu and only 4 miles on one of the days).

Monthly Breakdown:

January: Miles Run: 305.8Days Off: 2 / Races: 3 / Wins: 0
February: Miles Run: 210.1Days Off: 5 / Races: 4 / Wins: 2
March: Miles Run: 192.9Days Off: 7 / Races: 2 / Wins: 1
April: Miles Run: 228.9 / Days Off: 2 / Races: 2 / Wins: 1
May: Miles Run: 254.3 / Days Off: 2 / Races: 4 / Wins: 1
June: Miles Run: 237.9 / Days Off: 4 / Races: 6 / Wins: 4
July: Miles Run: 259.4 / Days Off: 3 / Races: 5 / Wins: 4
August: Miles Run: 316.6 / Days Off: 0 / Races: 4 / Wins: 3
September: Miles Run: 227.3 / Days Off: 4 / Races: 2 / Wins: 0 (1 if you count my leadoff relay leg)
October: Miles Run: 228.7 / Days Off: 3 / Races: 3 / Wins: 3
November:  Miles Run: 238.1 / Days Off: 5 / Races: 3 / Wins: 2
December:  Miles Run: 344.6 / Days Off: 2 / Races: 0 / Wins: 0

This was just shy (only 24 miles) of my 2011 total of 3073 (I would have surpassed it barely if I hadn't been derailed by this awful cold over the last few days of this year)...  I did run more in 2010 (3477) so I guess I have that to shoot for this coming year...  2010 and 2011 were definitely my two best years performance-wise.  I did go down with injury and missed a lot of running at the tail end of 2011, but to be near this total and over 3k miles for the year seems like a great step in the right direction for me.  It kind of came out of nowhere.  I am frankly shocked that even with 39 days off I was able to run this many miles given the way things have gone over the last few years.

As far as performances in are my highlights:

USATF-New England Mountain Series - I was very pleased (and frankly as shocked as anyone) to once again win the USATF-New England Mountain Series for the 3rd time in the last 4 years.  This is a perfect example of how participation is everything.  Simply showing up to most or all the events can pay off. I was thrilled to also win both the Cranmore Hillclimb (finally) and Bretton Woods races (Bretton Woods being the North American Fell Running Championships).  As far as the mountains go, I also was pretty excited to win the first ever Wildcat 'Trail' Race (which is very incorrectly named, as it summits Wildcat Mountain and then drops back down).  It's not part of the Mountain series but it's as close to it as anything else.  It's like Cranmore except steeper both up and down.

Beating Nathaniel Jenkins - I have never been ahead of Nate Jenkins in any race ever.  Not even for any part of a race.  This year, it took a very muddy and rugged Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race in Vermont in May to get that done.  Nate is one of the best runners out there and has been for a long time.  He is a great road and track runner.  He's a very good cross country runner.  He's run 1:06 at Mt. Washington, completely out of his element.... and it took a race completely out of his wheelhouse for me to just squeak one out.  Not sure I'll ever have that pleasure again.  Nate is my teammate and I'm proud to race with him...I don't really care if I ever beat him again...just having this one time is all I need ;).

Granite State Snowshoe Series - I won my 6th straight Granite State Snowshoe Series this year. 2009-2010-2011-2012-2013-2014. I will be completely honest, my love for snowshoeing and snowshoe racing has kind of dwindled over the last couple years, but I keep coming back to these races.  They are all amazing and help the winter go by.  The highlight was at the NH State Championship at Bear Brook where I was able to outgun 2014's NH Runner of the Year Nacho Hernando in the 10K.  He beat me the week before at SS Nationals, so we were even.

Return (Kind of) to form at Mount Washington - Ok, so that is a stretch, but I went back under 1:10 again at Mt. Washington, kind of out of nowhere.  Last year I ran my slowest time ever.  This year, I was a minute faster, so I have to look at that as a plus. I also was able to out lean Kevin Tilton for the first time ever in this race.  Not that that was the sole reason for counting this as a highlight, but because he almost always runs at the very least a solid time no matter what, I was glad to finally nip him here. I was thinking that was never going to happen.

Running and Finishing My First Ever 50 Miler - Yes, 50 miles.  Vermont 50 to be exact. I trained pretty well for this with KT and we both ran together for maybe 36 miles before he went on to win the damn thing. I finished 4th overall and was absolutely elated to just finish the race.  The race was maybe the hottest ever, with temps in the 80s.  It was one of the hardest grinds I've ever had to go through.  It gives me all sorts of confidence for sure.  It makes the marathon look pretty easy :),

Some Decent Performances on the Roads - Not lighting the world on fire, but I did run just a few road races this year.  I was able to win the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon (my 'hometown' race) which I've wanted to do for a few years now.  I was in the 1:12s (3+ min off my best) so I have to say that was OK for running completely alone after the mile.  I wish Tim or Kevin was around to push me...maybe next year.   Sadly, I haven't run faster than that in years in a half marathon.

I was only on the line for 3 '5k' races this year.  The Children's Museum race in Dover in May, which I won again.  It was slow though.  16:25 all alone, but still...I won (and it was a Seacoast Series Race) so I can't complain.  I ran 2 other 'local' 5ks.  The Madison '5k' which is really 3.01 miles, was another good local effort.  I won for the third straight year in 15:15.  Tim Livingston pushed me a bit on this one.  I ran 15:04 in 2012, so the time this year wasn't as good as I was hoping, but it was faster than my 15:32 last year.  The other local 5k was the Freedom Old Home Day 5k and this course is legit.  It's certified and it's not easy.  It's more than half on dirt roads and it's rolling.  I just dipped under 16 minutes and got the course record (was 16:12 by Tim Livingston I believe).  This was a great solo effort again (Darin Brown was 2nd in 18:17) and I did zero training for 5ks.  It was just off of my mileage and consistency.

Whitaker Woods Summer Series - I continued to run quick at the weekly Whitaker fun runs at Whitaker Woods in North Conway.  The Tuesday night, 9 week series, is a great way to get a workout in each week and run against the area's best.  Kevin shows up (although almost never runs all out), Tim Livingston (goes HARD almost every week), Zach Switaj, Tyrus Parker, Darin and Nick Brown, and others (even Tommy Manning showed up one day this year).  I ended up winning the series this year again (my third year in a row) and averaged under 17 minutes for my overall time, which is pretty good. I also missed the course record by 1 or 2 seconds (I can't remember).  I had to jump over 2 downed trees and it was 105 degrees that day, but I only missed Kevin's record by 2 seconds... Maybe this year...

Helping CMS Win the Grand Prix (Again) - I only ran one Grand Prix this year in the USATF-NE Road Racing Grand Prix for CMS but I actually picked one in which I was needed.  I ran the Manchester Marathon off of basically just running a lot of long trail runs in preparation for the VT 50.  I was able to run around 6 min pace for a 2:36:51 and help CMS by placing 4th OA (actually my best individual GP finish ever).  We just beat out WMDP for the race and overall GP because of the unfortunately course misdirection issue.  I also got top NH Male for the race and won some cash.  I have to count that as a highlight for sure...any time I win cash nowadays (especially in a GP) I have to be happy. Oh, and I was 5 seconds out of 3rd.  That would have gotten my an additional $750.  But instead, I got zero money for 4th place :).  Jesse Regnier needs to buy me a beer sometime.

Getting in another Pemi Loop!!!  - Honorable mention... I was able to get in another Pemi Loop this year.  Solo this time, but still... I hope to try to get one of these in every year until I'm dead.  I may die doing it...but that will count!

Here are the lowlights:

Trying To Run Track Again - The dumbest move of the entire year.  Because of a cancelled snowshoe race, I tried to run the 3k at the Dartmouth Relays off of absolutely nothing and ran a near PW.  I was lucky to beat anyone.  Very embarrassing.

Snowshoe Nationals - I'm sorry to put this in as a lowlight because the race was absolutely amazing.  The course was incredible.  The venue was first class.  And Tivo did an absolutely stellar job.  100% the best snowshoe nationals ever.   But I ran like sh*t.  I should have mixed it up but instead I ran flat and scraped by only to fizzle out late.  A big missed opportunity.

US Mountain Running Championships - Mixed emotions for this one.  I am proud to have received another gold medal in a US National Championship (CMS won the team) but I ran like garbage.  I should have run a minute faster at least.  I would have loved to have run as tough as Patrick Rich did, but I instead just settled back and went through the motions.  Heartless and gutless are two words to describe it.  Just not a good experience.

Market Square Day 10k - Almost a PW in a 10k for me (within seconds). The ONLY silver lining here (and it's more of a dull gray lining) is that I was 5th....but that was only because a whole bunch of guys got lost.  I ran horrendous in probably my favorite race of the entire year.  I never want to run that poorly again at this race.

Missing Redhook - Blowing out my heels during Wachusett and not making it to the line the next day at Redhook was very aggravating.

Reach the Beach - I'm one point I want to put this on the list of highlights because I had a good time (when I wasn't busy crapping blood or keeled over in pain).  I have to put this on the list of lowlights because while I have always wanted to run this event, I was really struggling with stomach issues for almost the entire time and I had to run through it on 2 of the 3 legs which was brutal.  We did great as a team and I was proud as hell to suit up and race alongside those guys/gals but I never want to feel that sh*tty in a race ever again.

Now...on to 2015!  Here's some cool shots from this past year in no particular order...

Muddy Moose Trail Race - Wolfboro, NH

Pete and JJ - The Mountains, NH
JJ and KT - The Mountains, NH

CMS at Snowshoe Nationals - Vermont

Stout field at Horsehill Snowshoe Race - Merrimack, NH

Fryeburg Fair - Maine

VT 50 - JJ and KT.  Getting some fuel in...

VT 50 - one of the 'flat' sections.

Mount Washington Road Race
My girls...
Mount Washington Road Race

Mount Washington Road Race
Sidehiller - Center Sandwich, NH
NH State Championships - Allenstown, NH


Cranmore - North Conway

Cranmore - North Conway

Pemi with Ferenc and Tilton

Reach the Beach - acidoticRacing - Cannon Mtn.

Reach the Beach - acidoticRacing - Hampton Beach.

WMM Half Marathon - North Conway, NH


  1. Nice JJ. You continue to inspire over this way. Double up that 50 and come do that big distance with KT this August.

  2. Thanks GZ. Much appreciated. Here's to a great year for both of us this coming season.... I'll be at the opposite end of the spectrum from 100 miles this year I think ;)... Maybe I'll see you at the 'hill'? You haven't been out here in a while.

  3. Nice work this year! After running one each of the past two years, I plan to make the Pemi Loop an annual trip. That is a great run.