Saturday, January 4, 2014

From 2013 to 2014

For both Brian and I, there is a lot to be pleased with when reflecting on 2013.  We shared some amazing experiences, had some great running results, and traveled to do a few new (to us) races. 

(Amy about to finish her NH 4,000 footers)

Brian did well again - he continues to race consistently strong.  He's most proud of his Cascade Crest 100 Mile victory, where he ran away from the field after about 20 miles and ultimately finished about 15 minutes behind the course record.  It was his first 100 mile race other than Vermont 100, and he seemed happy to experience some new trails and prove that he belongs in the mountains.  I think it's great to see him excel at the 100 mile distance, since he doesn't have the confidence in the 100 milers that he has in the 50 mile distance. 

(Brian, running in the Cascade Mountains)

I had some solid results, often challenging myself with tougher fields, but I am pleased with my continued growth and improvement.  I am also proud that I finally finished my NH 4,000 footers (which has been a bucket list item for years now).  One of my most special moments of 2013 was finishing Mountain Masochist, and the few moments following.  I had gotten updates from aid station workers that Brian was in the lead with 4 downhill miles to go, but knowing that he had gotten passed with 1/2 mile to go a few years ago, I knew that this race goes to the finish line.  I was also pushing hard over those last 4 miles to ensure that I stayed ahead of the 2nd place female.  As I crossed the finish line, an unlikely champion of this iconic event, my first thought was to see if Brian and I had both won to earn us a rare Rusiecki sweep.  That first moment, learning that he had won, letting the fact that I had won sink in, as he held my tired body - that's a moment I won't soon forget.

(Amy, trail running in Wales)

This year was a bit of everything.  I experienced my lifelong dream of representing my country and wearing a USA singlet in a race, as Brian and I were selected to race the World Trail Running Championships for the USA this summer.  It was literally the fulfillment of years of dreaming to get selected for a national team, and an unimaginable joy to share it with Brian also.  Better yet, we both competed well in the race.  This also gave us the opportunity to travel to England, where we ran and camped among the sheep, drove on the wrong side of the road, and got a taste of fell running through the mountains. 

(Proudly representing the USA)
Likely what has made Brian the happiest this year is the adoption of our cat.  She is a little 7-pound princess, but has certainly captivated our attention and made us feel like a family.  Since she really likes to snuggle, at times it is challenging to leave her for a run when she's spooning with me.  However, no matter how bad anything gets, a few nose bumps from her and life is much better.

(Our super cute kitty cat)

On the tough side, I lost a close life-long friend to cancer this past spring.  I've known Pete since we were freshman in high school, and we've been there for each other throughout the years since then - I considered him my security blanket since he was always there when I needed a friend.  He was a constant supporter of my running adventures, so his enthusiasm for my racing was certainly missed this year.  He would have been so proud to know that I pulled on a USA singlet this summer, he died just before I got the team selection.

(Amy and Pete, at Houston Marathon in 2006)
And then to the craziness this fall, I honestly don't know what to do other than shake my head and hope I don't have another fall like this.  Brian and I returned from a run in October to find my car crushed by a fallen tree - my car was ultimately totaled.  Brian came home one day to find that someone had entered our house illegally...and cleaned the first floor!  I think the cleaning lady was intended for our neighbor's house, but she got as far as our living room before she realized it was the wrong house.  Breaking and's the new crime wave in our little town.  Then, there was the hypothermic, close-to-death guy that me and my running group found along a run and helped to safety.  Just a crazy fall!

(Little Brian in the big tree, in Cascade Mountains)
Moving forward to 2014, Brian and I hope for many adventures, sharing miles with friends, and hopefully a few travels to new trails.  Brian's excited to have been named to the Patagonia Ultrarunning Team for 2014, and I am pleased to again be named to Team Inov8 for the 5th year.

(Brian being held up by the strong winds on Snowdonia)