2014 Year In Review

I quit updating after Wild Hare last year because I was just overwhelmed with travel.

After my season of marathons last fall, I found I really liked racing once a month, so I decided to keep it up, and really make a year of it.

 

January – Bandera (25K)

This was my first 25K. It was great to finish a race and feel not utterly hammered. The day was beautiful, and I finished before it started to heat up out there.

 

February – Piney Woods (20 mi)

I love this race. The course changes every year, and it sneaks up on you and you never know how it’s going to be. I had the traditional guy telling me I was almost done when I had one more loop to go. I never know why this happens.

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March – Nueces (50K) & MD Anderson Scope 5K, MD Anderson Ride of a Lifetime

This is my favorite Texas trail race so far. I love the trail at Camp Eagle, and the HATR lodging and post-race party was so much fun. We started things off with pre-race nighttime ziplining, a first for many of us, terrifying and exhilarating all at once. I ran the first 25K loop with Mandy and Jane, and when I went back out for the second loop, there was a wall of hot. I was all over the place with how I felt about my time – I didn’t account for the race clock starting at the 50 milers, so I thought I was much slower, and in fact finished the 50K in my goal of under 10 hours. On the down side, I hurt my knee on the big hills badly enough it took me a few months to recover. Next year I’m only doing the 25K so I have time for the superswing and the big zipline in the afternoon.

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I decided not to redemption run Grasslands this year after they cranked down the time cutoff to something I knew I wouldn’t make. But that opened the opportunity to run in support of my survivor friend, Diana, at the Scope run. I’ve made it a goal to run with survivor friends at least once, preferably in a race. (Diana is also awesome.) It also meant I could do the MD Anderson Ride of a Lifetime later that evening. The nice folks at MDA asked me to speak at the event and then ride on stage with the Master Instructor and various participants. What I never told folks at these events is that I was actually sick that day, and was getting by on cold meds and grit. After the race I came home and lied down for a few hours before driving to City Centre for the 2 hour spin ride event. Eh, sick is a different scale for me these days.

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April – Hell’s Hills (25K), Relay for Life (marathon), Brazos Bend 50

My knee was hurting pretty aggressively through the last 3 miles of hills, but I still finished earlier than I thought. I fell 3 times on this course. Ow. But the bluebonnets were spectacular this year. I’d definitely do this race again.

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The American Cancer Society has an annual event called Relay for Life. Its origins are that a physician and 2 of his buddies ran on a track for 12 hours to raise support and awareness for cancer. I decided to join the MD Anderson Bay Area Clinic (where I volunteered) team this year, because they promised me I could run instead of walk. I decided I’d run a marathon. On a concrete path 0.25 mi long.  That’s 105 loops if you’re counting.  I figured it would be good mental training for Snowdrop if I decided to do that at some point. Will, Liz, Ryan, and Curtis came out to support me and run for awhile. They are fantastic people!

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I volunteered at BB50, aggressively sponging down runners in the hot afternoon. I promise to be back next year, sponge in hand. If you see me, just take the icy sponge bath. You’ll like it. Promise.

 

May – Pandora (1/2 marathon)

We went for a wedding in Austin, and I managed to sneak in a half marathon on a Saturday morning. It was a nice change of pace to be able to run Reveille Peak Ranch in the daytime (keep reading). This is another race I’d definitely do again. You get to run on granitoid rocks for a change, which is a nice break from the limestone of the hill country. Also, there was the Rick Roll aid station, which was one of the best aid stations ever. Well done.

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June – Calgary (1/2 marathon) & Captain Karl’s Nighttime Trail Race 1: Pedernales (30K)

I went to Canada to race with a friend running his first half marathon, and my first trip to Canada. Loved this trip, and the race course is a scenic and beautiful tour of the city. Highly recommended!

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This year I decided to race the entire series of Captain Karl, just because. The Pedernales State Park is very cool, and I enjoyed it in the daylight. The use of park roads for the race course makes this race less technically demanding than others in the series, but the placement of aid stations is a bit strange, and I almost had some serious trouble at the end. The last aid station was a “water only” and it was about 5 miles to the finish from there. I was struggling with fatigue (and some of my special fatigue), and was hungry. Fortunately I still had a little bit of something in my pack. I also met 2 nice people who really helped me push through to the end, so the finish felt like a major triumph!

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July – CK 2: Muleshoe (30K)

I dragged Will along because it was his birthday so I thought he should run his first 30K with me. It’s a twisty little dirty course. Will found it mentally very challenging to go out for a second loop. He did just fine, though, even after a near-disastrous incident with his Camelbak not closing and losing most of his water in the first mile out from an aid station. We rented a cabin on Lake Travis that was a welcome relief after the race. We celebrated with some beers and a shower, and finally fell asleep at about 4am.

 

August – CK 3: Colorado Bend (30K)

This was my redemption run from last year when I trashed my ankle by mile 2. My goal was just to finish and not be hurt. I think it was 102 degrees at the start, which explains why I thought it was hotter than the previous year. I ran with a nice man (Micah?) who had a broken toe. He made it to the second aid station before he had to stop. I was sad to see him go. Somewhere after the 3rd aid station I actually started passing a few people, which was a surprise. I was snacking at the final aid station when a woman came in and had a dramatic meltdown. She said she was quitting and thought she was dying, and I thought, honey, I know what almost dying feels like, and this ain’t it. I didn’t share this as the aid station volunteers were doing a fine job of pep talk and I had to move on. I swear the last 3 miles of that race were the worst, and seemed endless. But I finished, unscathed, and went for my cheeseburger reward, where a woman in line asked if I were pregnant. Nice. “Nope, just fat, thanks,” I said. I’m thinking of doing a Moth story slam about this race.

 

September – CK 4: Reveille Peak Ranch (30K)

This was truly an epic weather adventure, with thunderstorms and rain so thick that in the dark all you could see of the trail was a small black river (run in the river and you’ll be fine!). It wasn’t hot for once in the summer running. I did slip down the rocks and bust open my elbow, but the nice people behind me stopped to help patch me up, and even checked in on me when they passed me during the second loop. Aw, they were the greatest! The medic patched me up and I went back out for my second loop.  I had some potentially dangerous lymphedema in my left after after that, but I kept it under control as I ran.  The important thing is that I  completed the series!

 

October – Cactus Rose (25mi relay)

I had a fantastic relay team who all killed it out there on the trail. I’m pretty sure everyone exceeded their own expectations, and 2 (maybe all 3?) of my teammates had never raced trails before, let alone raced in the dark! I’m so impressed by all of them. I, however, had one of the worst races I can remember, even though I was wearing a pretty sweet costume. The first 15 miles were great, well, except the dark bit. After Captain Karl, I’m kind of burnt out on running in the dark. But when the sun came up I felt free and happy! The morning was beautiful. I ran for a bit with Jenny from the Rockhoppers – she was after her first 50 mi and had also run all 4 Captain Karl’s 30Ks. She fell pretty hard on one hill, and I hung out to make sure she was able to get up and keep moving. She’s really strong and determined, so she made it up. It was a bad fall, though. After mile 15, it turned hot and ugly out there, and in spite of filling my Camebak at the last aid station, I ran out of water. And oh the chafing! I never wanted to quit a race so badly. Things hurt that had never hurt before. Maybe it was the fire ant bites from the day before. But I had no idea how one went about quitting in the middle of a loop, and anyway my team was counting on me. (I had forgotten that the Boyles aid station was just a short walk down a road back to camp.) I made it, but it took me many hours before I felt like I could stagger over to the start/finish and cheer for the runners completing their loops.  Laura and Cesar took good care of me, and helped look out for the other runners.  Good people.

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November – Birthday Pub Run Then Crawl (5K) & Turkey Trot (10K)

The combination of deciding in September that I wanted to do the Brazos Bend 100, and the fact that I couldn’t find a race on my birthday/survival anniversary weekend led me to conclude that the only thing I could do was a pub crawl. My friends and I spent 12 hours around Midtown and Montrose snacking and drinking. I love my friends.

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As in every year, we did the Turkey Trot by my house. There’s really no excuse as we can run to and from this race from home. Many of my friends PR’d this year! Well done! I did a solid race, and felt more fluid and stronger than I have in several months.

 

December – Brazos Bend 100

And so we come to the end of the year. I’m attempting my first 100. We’ll see how it goes. Crew is ready, and I’m excited about the adventure!

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