2016 in Review – 2017 in Preview

It has been quite a year! To give some perspective, here are my numbers for 2016:

-1,100 miles run
-One 50 miler completed (Highland Fling race report)
-One 50K completed (Chuckanut race report)
-One 25K completed (Deception Pass race report)
-One half marathon completed (My Better Half race report)
and…
-74 whiskies tasted (Online log here)

This year has been a mix of things for me, running-wise, although it may not seem that way at first glance. It wasn’t quite the year I’d planned, BUT there were some really fantastic highlights. Quantity of everything was a bit lower than 2015, but the quality was excellent!

img_0516

Looking back at a beautiful view this year.

It started off very well in the spring – my training with Alison Naney of Cascade Endurance was really great with our focus on the Highland Fling at the end of April. Adam and I ran that together and it was hard, fun, and incredible all at once. Racing internationally was a whole new challenge (now with more logistics and new foods!), but a welcome one. Amazing views were seen (top of Conic Hill) and lessons learned (bring Dramamine for post-race bus trip!) Traveling around Scotland after that was also an amazing experience and probably my absolute favorite vacation to date! I learned so much from all of the distillery tours that we went on, and it just increased my fascination with whisky and the whisky-making process.

After returning home, I started running again and quickly developed some intense and mysterious pain in my right leg, stemming from my hip. This put a huge damper on my summer, and it took many many months to rehab to where I could run/hike again – five months. I’m so lucky and grateful it wasn’t more serious, but I’ve never dealt with such a long-term injury like that before, and it was a very humbling experience. I like to think that I learned from it in a number of ways. Mostly patience with myself and gratitude for my body being (generally) willing and able to do what I ask of it. (I also learned that I’m as cheerful as a sleep-deprived cat if I can’t run, and very unhappy when I lose hold of my identity as a runner.)

Even with some lingering niggles, at the end of the year I was able to get running again and even run a 25K. That was very heartening, and was a good way to lead up to “real” training again, starting now in January!

Looking forward into 2017, I’m aiming for bigger challenges this year. I wouldn’t say I’ve “mastered” the 50 miler by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve always wanted to try longer races (100K & 100 miler) and let’s be honest, I’m not getting any younger. (Right?) What better time than now? So bring it on! What races exactly will I be doing? I’ll keep you in suspense…(they’re not open for registration yet, so I’ll let you know when I’m actually signed up – I don’t want to jinx it!)

2017 will be about new mental challenges with these longer distances, and I’m really excited about the journey. There will be growth opportunities galore! I mean, if you don’t have some personal epiphanies after 60+ miles in the mountains or in the middle of the night during a 100, I think you’re doing it wrong or not paying attention. OR…you’re very well balanced. Good for you. Anyway, I’m really excited (and nervous… but mostly excited) about the physical and mental challenges of these longer distances.

I’ll also be working with a new coach, Jess Mullen of FitFirst! She’s a very accomplished ultramarathoner, and I’m psyched (and slightly in awe) to be working with her. She specializes in 100s, which suits my goals nicely, and I can’t wait to learn from her. My first day of training with her was a day at the track. As a slow ultrarunner, going fast seems as foreign as a giraffe on the moon, but it was refreshing and hard. Yay!

A beautiful (but brisk) day to start training!

So… let 2017 begin!

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