Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 Recap

As 2013 is beginning, and new races catch my interest, new dreams are being born, and certainly there’s some excitement for what 2013 can bring. But, 2012 was a great year, and it’s only fitting to reflect on what the year has brought to Brian and I.

Brian had a banner year…winning most everything he entered, and continuing to impress me (and I think himself) with some of his results. He won Bel Monte 50 miler, Bull Run Run 50 miler, Pineland Farms 50 miler, Laurel Highlands 70 miler, Vermont 100 miler, Vermont 50 miler, and Mountain Masochist 50 miler (phew...are you tired just hearing about this?). He was less than a minute behind the course record at Vermont 100, not bad for someone who says that he doesn’t like the 100-mile distance. He also competed with one of his training buddies, Ross Krause, in the TransRockies Run (125 miles over 6 days…through the Colorado Rockies) – they competed strong in the tough Open Men’s division, and even got a podium (3rd place) on Day 4.

(Brian and I after winning the Pineland Farms 50 miler)

I had a great year, but unfortunately I don’t think my results showed just how good it was for me. I pushed myself this year to try to do a few bigger races, so I had less‘wins’, and many more strong performances. I started off with a win at Bel Monte 50k, but then finished 2ndat the North Face Endurance Challenge – Bear Mountain 50k (1 minute behind Tracey Garneau, but over ½ hour under the previous course record), then won Pineland Farms just a hair slower than my 50 mile PR. Laurel Highlands 50k was a rough day for me, where I finished 2nd, but again was under the previous course record, and followed that by a rough day (and back from the dead surge) to finish 2nd at Vermont 100 in my new 100 mile PR (and only 2 minutes behind the lead female). At TransRockies Run, I was partnered with Dave James, and while it took us a bit to figure out our groove, I was proud of our 2nd place finish in the Open Mixed Team. I closed out the year with a win at Vermont 50 miler, which I am extremely proud of, followed by a 5thplace finish at Mountain Masochist – where I almost didn’t run, but ultimately decided to just take it easy and enjoy the experience rather than race. I also did a host of shorter races, again with mixed results.

(Podium at TransRockies Run)

I also tried a few new events for me – I entered into a Spartan Race, and did an ‘on foot’ adventure race. The Spartan Race was so much fun that at times I forgot I was racing – what a tough event to complete! Of course, my wimpy running arms could barely do the obstacles, so I did more than my share of burpies, and those did make me hate life! The adventure race was a trail running, road running, urban adventure orienteering race in a team. I teamed up with Ali Crocker and Alex Jospe as ‘Team Giggles’, and we competed strong. For me, it was a rare opportunity to watch two world-class orienteerers do their thing…and a rare time where I was simply used for my ability to put one foot in front of the other (i.e. I was used as a female who can run fairly fast through the woods). I was glad to try some new adventures and hope to keep branching out with fun events in the future. It was also wonderful for me to do events where I was completely out of my element, knew I didn’t have any expectation for results, and really get back to what I love about being active– pushing myself and playing in the outdoors.

(Team Giggles - Ali Crocker, Alex Jospe and myself)

Likely the highlight of my 2012 season has been the strong female support that I have been surrounded by. For the past several years I have been fortunate to meet several strong ladies to train with. This past summer, the Western Mass Distance Project started a female team – which has allowed me an opportunity to race for a local team who really believes in being a team. It’s been great to not only do workouts and share miles with an amazing group of ladies, but to now get to race together with them. I was also fortunate to recruit several local ladies to pace and crew me through Vermont 100 this year, which was an unforgettable experience. The strong female energy definitely kept me going and propelled me to an amazing finish. I can’t wait to continue to grow the WMDP team, and to share miles with this group of strong role models and friends.

(My Crew, Vanessa, Laura and Emma, at the VT100 Finish)

Brian and I got married this summer, so that took some of our attention and time this year. While this one day shouldn’t have affected our training and racing over the year, I do think that my focus was on the wedding at times. It’s likely a good and healthy thing for me to have something other than running on my mind.

(Brian, supporting me at mile 89 of Vermont 100)

So who knows what 2013 will bring. I can only hope that we continue upon the success that 2012 brought us, and that Brian and I have a wonderful first full year of marriage.