Wednesday, January 07, 2009

2008 Recap.

2008 was the best year of my life thanks to this little monster.

So here it is the olbigatory 2008 recap. I always struggle with these as there is always so much going on and each year seems to blend into the next. 2008 has been a big one for me and definitely the best of my life both in "real" life and my "sport" life.

The three things that made this year the best ever were getting engaged to Beth (best thing that's ever happened to me... in any year), my little brother and Courtney having my killer little nephew, Greyson, and my nephew Jake graduating from High School. All three things were pretty monumental in my family and definitely help me keep my life in perspective. As important as the whole "sport" side of my life is to me these things overshadow anything I did in spandex.

ok... with that being said. I will review my racing season which was also hands down the best I have ever had, and also the hardest I have ever worked.

Here were my goals for the 2008 season:
1. Win Xterra Southwest Regional Age-group title.
2. Be the top Amateur at an Xterra Championship race.
3. Get on the podium at the Xterra USA Champs
4. Get on the podium at the Xterra World Champs.

When last year ended I was stoked with finish at Worlds (2007) and filled with motivation. I chose again to focus focused solely on the Xterra points series. I did some other races along the way but they were all for fun or specific preparation for Xterra. I started my training for 2008 training the first weekend of December 2007 with my eyes set on the Xterra West Champs in Temecula. The build up was long and I was ready to race. I carried that momentum into the Southeast Champs in Pelham, AL and the East Champs in Richmond, VA. The back to back races in Alabama and Virginia were probably the best races I had ever raced up until that time.

Early season Results:
Xterra West Champs
1st AG, 2nd Amateur Overall

Xterra Southeast Champs
1st AG, 1st Amateur Overall

Xterra East Champs
1st AG, 1st Amateur Overall

After getting back from the east coast races I took a much needed break (introduction of TJ - Transistion James) and then started hitting it very hard on the bike. I put in some huge riding under the watchful of Cody. Luke joined me on a lot of these rides and help me make it through this phase without going completely nuts. I still owe him some beers for that. In early August Beth moved in with me and things were good. I raced in Xterra Snow Valley in Running Springs, CA after a week of hauling furniture and unpacking and finished 2nd overall finishing just behind my South African homeboy Conrad Stoltz.

That was the end of the Xterra points series for me and I locked up the Southwest Regional title in my AG with a perfect score of 250 points, which was one of my goals for the season.

After Snow Valley it was time to turn my focus to the Xterra USA Champs and Xterra Worlds. During my build up to Nationals I decided to turn my training schedule over to Trevor. I was just sick of thinking about it and I knew he could get me ready to do... and he did.

I had solid race at the Xterra USA Champs and finished the best I have there with a 2nd in my AG and 6th amateur overall. This was huge for me because I have never raced well there and having to deal with the cold and altitude. I was stoked but I know I could have gone faster.

Xterra USA Championships
2nd AG, 6th Amateur Overall

After nationals I was fried... mentally. I don't think I really let anybody know how "over it" I was except Beth. I was just over racing, working hard, and being so focused, but my body was feeling incredible. In the weeks leading up Worlds I had some of the best workouts I had all year and my body was firing even though mentally I was hanging on by a thread. If wouldn't have felt so great physically I would have probably pulled plug on Worlds and saved my money.

I made it to the start line of the Xterra World Champs and anxious to race and end the season. The Xterra World Championships were the highlight of my season and the culmination of a lot of hard work, determination, and sacrifice. I couldn't be happier with the result. It's still hard for me to believe that I was able to win a world championship in just 3 years of training and racing without any racing background. Obviously I couldn't have done it with out the help of Beth, my family, my coaches, my training partners, and all my sponsors. I'm very fortunate in these respects.

Xterra Worlds Championships
1st AG, 2nd Amateur Overall.

Post Xterra Season.

After Worlds I took a solid week off and then started running quite a bit, and a lot of that was with Beth as she prepared for the Las Vegas Marathon. I also did a couple of mountain bike races including the 12 hours of Temecula as a two-man team with Trevor as the Skinfit/Matisse & Jack's Team. That race was hard and probably one of the hardest days I've ever spent on the bike.

I continued to run in preparation for the Xterra trail season and the Las Vegas half marathon. I totally fall in love with running again and it's all I really wanted to do. I had a weird race at the Xterra Topanga 15k Trail race where both of my quads locked, but was able to redeem myself with a PR of 1:13:50 at the Las Vegas half. I finished 4th overall, but more importantly I was able to watch Beth reach one of her goals. She had and awesome race finish as the 3rd woman overall with a time of 3:03:19.

The following weekend would officially end the 2008 season for me... and not really the way I wanted. I was stoked for the Xterra Crystal Cove 15k Trail race but went into it a little less than 100% as I tweaked my foot a bit in the week leading up to it. I know now I shouldn't have raced but I was a moron and definitely hurt my foot more. I ended up winning my AG and finishing 3rd overall but it wasn't worth what I did to my foot. It's still not right.

So that was it 2008 done. Best year of my life. I was able to reach all my goals and exceeded my expectations at Worlds. I couldn't be happier. I couldn't have done it with Beth and my family.

best parents ever and a happy son.

Thanks to everyone that reads this blog and leaves incredible comments. I definitely have a lot of fun with it.

I have so many people to thank... and I will get around to posting that, but this one is already to long and most people probably won't even read this far.


GZ said...

I read that far.

First ... thanks. I appreciate you sharing with us. I have learned alot. I have enjoyed watching the successes, the balance, the parties ... I have joked that this has become my favorite reality show (b/w you, BG and VO2maxxed ...). .. but there is a lot of truth in that joke.

Keep on livin it man.

GZ said...

Oh yeah - I have enjoyed the various mustache approaches but the Green Lantern outfit HAS GOT TO GO. Dude - you are engaged now. No need to sport that for the ladies.

j.p. patrick said...

The image of you in the lime green “skull” Speedo is unfortunately engrained FOREVER in my now trembling psyche. You should owe me and all others from now until the end of time!! Awesome year! It’s been super fun and motivating to watch! Rock ’09!!

Pedal Circles said...

Congrats on such a great year! Looking forward to reading about the 09 exploits.

FatDad said...

After a year like that, I can't wait to see what you have in store whe nyou 'take it to another level'.
See you in Coeur D'Alene? Gunner and I are thinking of making the trip.

Zach said...

Great year! Congratulations on all your accomplishments.

The 'stache is freakin sweet! You've gotta bring that baby back for 2009.

Jim said...

Congrats on the best year of your life. Alot of major accomplishments, proposing to Beth being the best of all, World Champ a close second.

We're so proud of you in spite of the speedos :) Ready to party any time.

Bolts on Saturday !!!!!

Ryan Denner said...

bro, congratulations on an absolutely killer year almost all of us could be envious of. good on you for not getting an inflated ego, and good on you for staying true to enjoying racing and winning! its been awesome watching the blog over the past year. funny how we met through blogging - its all about the blog!

Rodney said...


What you (and Beth) have accomplished is so great. It really is fascinating to follow along on your journey. Your successes and continued work ethic are seriously motivating to those of us just getting started. Have a wonderful 2009!

Now go ice that foot! ;-)

Benson said...

It's been a gas and a giggle following you the past year. Good job meeting and exceeding your goals and congratulations to you and the little monster.

Love the green loin cloth. Keep the dream alive.

Matt said...

Great watching it unfold. Ingrained in that post is your real talent: a clear appreciation for the important things in life aka a ton of gratitude. Keep on keeping it real.


SixTwoThree said...

Of course, we'd read that far! Green speedo, bonus! Dude, you had an awesome year. Well done. And very deserved!

beth said...

i, too, am impressed with your year even though i usually act like your awesomeness is no big deal...i think back to when i met you and first read your blog and thought you were big time... i was so impressed that i think i liked you before i actually knew you (creepy!)..


GZ- I BOUGHT him those it when he wears them- i can always use a good laugh.

GZ said...

Yes. Of course. I hope you like them. In fact I have silk purple boxers with elephants on them that my wife likes. But she sees them. No one else. Except sometimes when I want to scare my kids.

Was that TMI?

I too vote for a return of the moustache.

Dan said...

JW, you rocked it in 08. That would be anyone's dream year, and you lived it. Enjoyed counting on the JW/BG show for a great read, inspiring moments, lots of wins (especially when the bolts were suckin it), and plenty of funny pics. Dig the focus on the family, and the way you two finished off the year with that. Have a great 09!

brian said...

Congrats on your 2008 and I'm looking forward to a great 09.

Carolina John said...

sounds like a great year, dude. glad you had fun, and here's to 2009! (imagine lifting a drink)

Rachel said...

Just got caught up on da' blog. CONGRATS on your engagement to Beth. You guys are such a cute couple. And the way you proposed--a real class act. Very cool!

Stephanie said...

Congrats on a great year and thanks for letting me tag along to Tahoe and Maui, good times.

Proud of you on the racing front but more proud of you for the other stuff. Here's to even better things for you in 2009.

Sarah said...

James, I told Beth this too, but your blogs are so enjoyable to read. Your candidness and writing ability has made it so fun to follow! I'm just bummed I didn't discover your blog until 2-3 months ago.

To think I found you guys through your FOOD BLOG, which is also AWESOME!! I have you to thank for my PB2 and Matisse & Jack's that are now permanent staples in my cupboard. It was great meeting you both (albeit briefly) back in July. I could tell just from then you're both cool peeps and I hope your 2009 races bring you back up to Sonoma County so we can all hang and ride and eat and drink.

Congratulations on such an incredible, awesome year. I hope your foot healing goes well and I can't wait to see what 2009 has in store (or what you both bring to 2009...)!

rr said...

I read that far too. You had a great season, and even better, you are caught a badass wife.. congrats!