Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 a Year in Review

After a break out year in 2014, I had no idea what 2015 might hold.  While I knew that I would not be able to best 2014, I had lots of fun ideas and was anxious see where it would take me.  Checkout 2014 year and review.

2015 was broken up into four major categories: the All Terrain Runner (ATR) series, Mountain Races, PRs, and New Achievements.

Before we get started, I must reference the most important thing that happened during the year; the arrival of my second child, Nathaniel Jackson, my running buddy and future olympian (not sure what sport yet).

The All Terrain Runner Series (USATF NE - in its second year) consisted of 7 races across varied terrain in which your top 5 were scored.  I started off in January by dropping a 4:54 mile at the Harvard track during the Greater Boston Invitational and followed it up with a 10K Snow Shoe race at Castle in Clouds in Moultonborough, NH.  Next up was a 10 mile trail race along the Merrimack River in Andover (in which I got lost) followed by Loon Mountain (which included the toughest climb I have ever done -- Upper Walking Boss at 48% grade). I finished the series off at the XC Festival in Manchester, NH (I skipped outdoor track 5K and the Seasons 20K road race).

All of this was good enough to place me 10th overall in the series.  For a full recap, see

Mount Mitchell, Mount Washington, and North Peak Loon
In November (2014),  I received confirmation (the race functions on a lottery system) that I got into the Mount Mitchell Challenge, a 36-40 mile (route depends on weather) race from the town of Black Mountain to the top of Mount Mitchell (Highest Peak East of the Mississippi) and back.  In January I was confirmed into the Mount Washington Road Race (also a lottery), a 7.6 mile uphill only race.

Between these two races and Loon Mountain, 2015 brought a whole lot of uphill running (and the pain that comes with it).

I was able to triumph at all three races and even achieved a personal worst pace (12:46 / mile) of any distance at Mount Washington and swore off ever doing it again.

For the full write up, see

Personal Records
While I was never going to match (or even try) 2014's perfect season, I was able to set a few new personal records.

First up was the mile. I ran it twice over the course of the year and while I didn't officially PR, I matched my previous PR of 4:53 at the 26 X 1 relay in June.

While also not technically a PR, I ran a 17:35 (taking first overall) at the Dan Scharfman 5K in October (My PR is 17:26 from August 2014).  According to Garmin, I took a little bit of a circuitous route, but went through the 5K in 17:20.  The 5K is on the top of the list of races to PR in 2016.  

4 Mile
I was able to keep up my annual 4 mile PR at the Gobble X 3 again this November.  Even with a stomach bug, I was able to knock 7 seconds off last years hungover time.

10K and 15K
These PR's were well within reach as I had hit them en route to a half marathon the previous March. I was able to PR in the 10K twice over the course of the year.  First at the Groton Road Race in April where I battled through the rolling hills finishing in 37:05 and second (36:38) was en route to a flat 9.5 miles (which also includes my new 15K PR of 55:07) at the Mill Cities Relay.

New Achievements
2015 was also a year of new achievements.  I started the year off with my first 300 mile month in January and followed it up with my first 100 mile week in May.  Also during that period I completed my 9th (36 miles at Mount Mitchell Challenge) and 10th (Pineland Farms 50K) ultras.

In August, I joined the run your age club knocking out 35 miles on my 35th birthday and tomorrow my running streak turns 2 years old.  As of today, I sit 506th place, just mere 44.5 years behind the leader.

In 2015, I reached a new mileage high of 2652 passing 2014's total (2548) with just 12 days to spare.

Whats Different 
2015 brought much more consistent running.  I was up to 10 months (from 7 in 2014) of 200 miles or more.  My single mile days dropped from 26 to 12.

Running has simply become more of a habit then anything else.  Whether it is a lunch run, a Saturday morning group run, or a track workout with the club, I am just enjoying getting out there, burning off the day's stress, and seeing how strong I can make myself.

As with previous years, incorporating family (and our new family member) into running / athletic lifestyle has been one of my biggest goals.  This year running brought us back to Asheville, NC where we visited relatives and met new ones.  It brought us to Maine to visit friends and it brought us to White Mountains where we stayed at a cabin at a campground.

Nat has already started going for runs with me and is already up to 8 miles.

In 2016, we are planning to head out Yellowstone National Park to visit friends, hike, and of course, run another ultra.

What's Next
2016 is shaping up to be a big year.  I will be tackling my first Boston Marathon in April.  My goal is high with the plan to PR by over 5 minutes.

Following Boston, I plan on upping my distance to 52 miles at the Big Horn Ultra in Wyoming (and crossing my 15th state off) in June and if all goes well upping my game again at the TARC 100K in October.

I also hope to sprinkle in a few more PR's, while once again increasing my milage and running everyday.

Run Across the US
This year, I covered 2652 miles on foot (up from 2548 the previous year).  Following the same route as 2014, I made it just past Spring Creek, Nevada.  I am still another 225 miles from the California border.  Maybe something to shoot for in 2016.

Thank You
A special thank you goes out to all of my family and friends.  This past year has been an intense one between the ever growing demands of work and welcoming a new family member.  Whether you watched my kids so I could go for a run, kept me company, or supported me in my crazy adventures, I just want to express my sincerest thank you.

- Scot

Scharfman Run - Pic compliments of the Belmontonian

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