I'm very happy to announce that for the second straight year I've been shortlisted by the fine folks at RunUltra for the Ultra Blogger of the Year award. RunUltra is a UK-based website that is an amazing repository of all things ultrarunning. Their content runs the gamut: training advice, gear reviews, reporting on elite results from all over the globe, articles on physiology, motivation, race preparation, and basically anything else you might want to know in the ultra world. Those guys (and gals!) know their stuff...so to be named once again to their shortlist of candidates is truly an honor.
Last year's vote came down to the wire, though a closer examination of the balloting apparently revealed some...irregularities. I can neither confirm nor deny reports of Russian hacking. Anyway, the great Sarah Lavendar Smith, author of the superb blog "The Runner's Trip" (as well as The Trail Runner's Companion, an excellent book) was ultimately named a most deserving winner. Sarah's up for the award again this year, so let's see if we can give her a (legitimate) run for her money.
This was kind of a big year for us here at "A Muddy Par of Heels." I tried to branch out a little with the Running and Your Heart series of posts, adding a bit of an informative/academic bent that I hope people found useful, in addition to the usual race reports and other nonsense you've come to know and love. Also this year I launched my podcast, "The Pain Cave," a series of conversations about running in general and ultrarunning in particular that takes a closer look at some of the science behind the sport, and other relevant issues of the day. I view the blog and the podcast as kind of a companion set; hopefully each has helped enhance your enjoyment of the other. (You can find The Pain Cave on my new website, Gunksrunner.com, which is still a work in progress but ultimately should bring all my various running-related interests under the same tent.) Unfortunately Lexi didn't quite hold up her end of the bargain this year--she's busy co-writing a novel about dragons with a friend of hers--so if I don't win I suppose I can blame it on her.
If you enjoy the blog, please take a moment to vote for me on the RunUltra website. (You can use that link there, but I also figured out how to link the voting page with the image at the top of this post--if you just click on the badge at the top of the page, it takes you right to the voting! If that's not enough of a reason to vote for me, I don't know what is.) Scroll down to my name--I'm the eighth name on the left side, just above some punter named Jeff Browning--and click "Vote" under my name. Wait, you're not done! Now scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, fill in your name and email address, and press "Enter." You should get a new screen that confirms you've voted. Thanks! One vote per email address please; we don't want any monkey business this year. Voting runs until January 14. Just do it now before you forget. As a cool bonus, everyone who votes is automatically entered in a drawing for a super cool Suunto Trainer watch.
In all seriousness, thank you for all your support of this blog. It's a silly pursuit, I know, but it really means a lot when I get positive feedback from people who read the posts and let me know they've gotten something positive out of it. I'll keep bugging y'all to vote, and I hope I win, but just having that kind of support is what keeps me plugging away at this thing. But, seriously, go vote now.