My Daily Mile account shows that my feet carried me 2,398 miles of walking and running in 2013! That’s about 75 more miles than 2012, which is pretty cool. I love this time of the year – where a fresh page is before me on January 1st and I’ve shut the book on all the highs and lows of the previous year. I actually resisted the urge to run an extra 2 miles last night to round the numbers up to something a little more tidy. That alone shows improvement in my ability to be less anal! That feels like a baby step towards inner peace for me – to allow things to be as they are sometimes instead of always feeling the pressure to keep pushing.
I always enjoy looking back over the previous year the first week of January and taking note of the highlights of the last year. Here are mine:
1. I suffered a calf strain after slipping on black ice in February. It kept me from running for about 6 weeks. I feared my goals of qualifying for Boston and running my second 100 miler might be in jeopardy.
2. I recovered from the strain and showed up at the starting line of the Antelope Island Buffalo Run in March, not knowing if my calf injury was fully recovered. I had no idea if I could even run a single mile! It was an enormous relief that I was in fact able to run and even PR at the Buffalo Run and cross the finish line holding hands with my youngest daughter, Savannah, who was celebrating her 6th birthday that very day — and give her the buckle as her birthday present! (Best Mom moment ever for me!!!!!)
3. Beginning in January, I found myself in an amazing streak of personal bests at every race and every distance I would complete for the entire year — until December 28th when I missed a PR at The Hot Chocolate Run 10k by 9 seconds! My PR races and times were: The Redding Marathon (3:47), Run 4 Luv 5k (22:27), The Buffalo Run 100 (28:24), The Pickled Feet 24 Hr (62.6 miles) – one week after my 100, Weiser River 50k (4:56), Run Til You Puke (unofficial) Half (1:44), Great Idaho Potato Marathon (3:40 – BQ!!!!!!! – Finally!! The 7th marathon was the charm!!), Silver City 100k (which turned out to be a a difficult day of getting lost and my IT band locking up halfway through, but was still a PR since it was my first 100k) – (21:15 – told you it was bad), Titus Van Rijn One Hour Track Classic (7.77 miles), Wild Idaho 50k (8:12), Snow Cone Scamper Half (1:46), Harvest Classic 2 miler (my first WIN!!) – (14:04), Standhope 60k (12:24), Foothills 50k Frenzy (6:17) and Zeitgeist Half (on my birthday!!) (1:49.) It really was an amazing year and I have so much to be thankful for!
4. Even though I mentioned it in #3, qualifying for Boston was a dream come true and was absolutely the HIGHLIGHT of the whole year for me! I still can’t believe it really happened finally! I have my confirmation of acceptance postcard posted right above my desk, so I can see it every day, just to remind me that I really am GOING TO BOSTON in 2014! Wow! 😀 All of those miles of hard training through last winter, running medium and long runs at BQ pace and adding in speed work really did pay off in the end! I still can’t believe I shaved 7 minutes off my PR time and overshot the goal (3:45) by 4 minutes and 16 seconds. That moment that I crossed the finish line will live in my memory as one of the most defining moments of my life – it was a total emotional rush after years of chasing this big dream. The smile that came through the sobbing once I realized what I’d done after I crossed the finish line was probably one of the most pure, emotionally raw moments of my entire life!
5. Helping friends. This year I was able to come back to the 24 hour Pickled Feet event after some sleep and help pace my friend Derek (who’d been my pacer for 50 miles from Antelope Buffalo Run just one week prior) to reach his goal of 100 miles. In August, I had the wonderful opportunity again to help crew Derek from about mile 44 on and then jump in as pacer for the last 33 miles and a 4th place finish at IMTUF 100! Pacing a “fast boy” in a tough 100 was a dream gig for me and I learned a lot from the experience about what it’s like to be at the front of the pack vs fighting cut-offs at the back-of-the pack. It was awesome! In October, I had an emotionally satisfying experience pacing my closest childhood friend, Bertha in her first 100k at Antelope Island. The moment I got to see her run across that finish line and accomplish something she had never dreamed she could do before was an incredibly emotional and rewarding experience! If you haven’t put yourself out there to help others in the sport, I highly recommend it! It’s life-changing!
6. Cross-training. I joined the YMCA for a few months and got to enjoy doing group yoga classes for the first time, took my first spin class ever and tried Zumba! I suppose learning a dance routine for the Thrill the World Halloween flash mob and performing in downtown Boise dressed as a zombie with my sister, her daughter and my two older daughters was also pretty cool and counts in this department. I also recently tried Hot Yoga for the first time and really loved it! This is still an area I’m weak in – getting regular doses of non-running activities – but one I did improve on slightly in 2013!
7. Maintaining my weight for another year! As anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight can tell you – losing the weight might seem hard, but it’s the keeping it off the long-run that is really the true challenge! I weigh myself every day still and log that weight into a journal I keep under the bathroom cabinet. It’s become part of my morning routine and I believe has helped me make changes in my eating habits and exercise frequency to keep my weight in the healthy range for another year. In fact, I am actually a few lbs lighter this year than last, which I attribute to pushing the pace more often in my running. The slightly higher intensity burns more calories, I’m sure and has made me fitter as a result. It’s pretty cool to find that I’m nearly the same weight at age 41 as I was when I graduated from high school in 1991! Especially after having 5 kids!
8. Final Kick – my race company grew! So much happened this year! My husband and I directed more races than ever before! This was our third year in business as a company and will be the first year we did more than break even on most of our races. In fact, 6 months ago, my husband lost his job of 7 years in IT and while he’s been unemployed and looking for work, he’s poured himself into helping our little company grow. We now have a little team of extremely talented and hard-working helpers and volunteers, more structure and organization than we ever had before and our number of races to put on nearly doubled in 2013! We saw our Idaho Wine Run go from a first year attendance of about 400 to over 1,300 in 2013! It was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time to be directing such a huge event! Back when we created and directed our first race, the Lake Lowell Marathon in 2011, we never imagined that we’d continue to create and put on new races in the Boise area. In 2012 we directed the Ste Chapelle St Patrick’s Day race 5k (which would be come the Shamrock Shuffle in 2013), Bruneau Beast (the race that involves climbing some of the tallest sand dunes in the world), The Idaho Wine Run marathon, half, 10k and 5k, and the Hot Chocolate Run 5k in addition to Lake Lowell. This past year we added Run 4 Luv, Snow Cone Scamper and Struttin’ for Stuffin’ to the lineup. We have three new races and a cheap ass mid-week series coming in 2014 as well. The goal is to make this our full-time job and though we’re still far from that – we’re inching closer with every race. One more highlight for the company this past year was having the cameramen from PBS come out to Bruneau Beast and film parts of our course and racers for their December special titled the State of our Parks! That was insanely cool PR for us and we were pretty pumped at the exposure!
9. My Family. Though, I listed this as #9 on the list, my family really belongs way up as #1. 🙂 This was an exciting year for our family. The whole gang came out to support and crew for me at Antelope Island 100, which was wonderful. My husband, Wayne began a streak on his birthday (July 7th) of walking or running 5k every day and at this date – January 1st – he has not missed a single day! I’ve been really proud of his dedication to this. He’s also lost about 30 lbs just by making that single change in his daily habits, without really altering his diet at all. Wayne Jr and Wayne participated in the Pickled Feet 24 hr event with me. Wayne reached 20 miles and Wayne Jr (age 12 at the time) reached 27.5 miles – a huge distance for a kid who’d only been 12 miles once in his life before that! We were all so proud of him! The two Waynes again showed their stuff by completing their first official marathon at City of Trees this October! The other kids and I served as crew and cheerleaders, driving around the course as a roving aid station complete with peanut butter sandwiches, Oreos, Gatorade (and a beer for Wayne Sr – who appreciated the thought and chugged it at about mile 21!) They finished strong and raced to the finish together, Wayne Jr just edging out his father. It was a wonderful moment, with friends and family there to cheer them on! Rebecca (who is now 14) began making her own jewelry and has started selling pieces at our races, which she finds great pleasure in doing. Jr, Josh, Anneliese and Savannah have started participating in more of our Final Kick races, which has been fun to see (and is one nice perk of owning your own race company when you have 5 children you are trying to encourage to be more active!)
As I look towards 2014, I love that the year is still fresh and new and filled with possibilities! I’m definitely going to Boston in April and hope to return to IMTUF 100 as a runner this time after pacing for the last two years. The rest is still a wide open expanse of potential! After doing well enough in the Idaho Trail Ultra Series for the past two years to earn the coveted finisher’s jackets and then to earn a top 6 female spot in the Dirty Dozen again, I’m really wanting to decide if I want to continue to make that a priority. Since it requires 4 ultras from the series and then a focus on earning the most points possible, it has kept me from focusing on races outside the series as much, which I’ve missed. There are a few I am looking forward to doing (Wilson Creek 50k in January and Foothills Frenzy 50k in the fall and IMTUF 100) since the series really does have some fantastic, well-organized races all within driving distance, which is a plus, so I’ll most likely still race a few of them. But, I sort of like the idea of opening my mind (and wallet) to the other races outside of the area for this year and trying a more difficult 100 miler. Some of the other races that I’m considering are Mt Hood 50, Javelina and possibly Bryce or Cascade Crest. There is one thing I’d really like to accomplish – I’d like to run one of the qualifying races to earn a name in the hat in the Western States lottery for 2015. That is probably the next big goal for me.
I hope that you are filled with optimism and sense the thrill of “what could be” for the next year in your own personal and training life! Here’s a song to remind you that “the best is yet unwritten!” Happy New Year!!