Friday, January 4, 2013

Looking back at 2012...while new adventures await!

The end of 2012 marks the sixth year of Shining's Ultra Blog.

 I am grateful to all the loyal readers and followers, and very much appreciate your comments and interest in what I have to say about life as an ultrarunner. As I look back on all the photos and posts between 2007 and now, a few themes have emerged: I love to run in the mountains with my friends, spend time outside with my family, and face new challenges (but not necessarily in that order!). This blog has evolved from a monthly log of training runs and race reports to a personal photo album and journal of moments that define who I am today as a runner, mom, wife, counselor, coach, and friend. I am so glad that I took the time to write as much as I did about my races, training, and various adventures over the years, as these posts continue to provide helpful reminders of what went well and what didn't, and help keep perspective on what I truly value. I very much enjoy sharing my ultrarunning journey with you, and look ahead to a 2013 that I anticipate will bring many new adventures and thrills :-). But first, a few highlights from 2012!
New Years Day 2012 Resolution Rendezvous with the Harrisonburg Rocktown Ridge Runners

The Catawba Run Around with good friends and gorgeous views
A third place podium finish at Terrapin Mountain 50K!
Hiking with my family in the SNP and then hanging out at Blue Mountain Brewery
Sweeping the Promise Land 50K course with Jenny Nichols--and getting caught in the apocalyptic storm on the mountain
Introducing the Priest and Three Ridges to Winslow, Beth, Rick, Tracy and Jack
Winning the Montalto Challenge---and the Polka Dot Jersey!

One of many Runs up Jarmans Gap in the SNP with the CATs

Pacing Jenny Nichols to her Grindstone 100 win with the help of fellow pacer and crew Rob Colenso
Rusty crewing me at Hellgate and then riding me in the last 6 miles---crucial to my race! With his help, I ran a PR of 14:33 and finished third overall female. A HUGE thrill, and so much fun to be able to share the trail with him at my favorite race!

Celebrating my 50th birthday at the Hellgate finish line with Horton, Clark, Nancy Horton, Rusty, Jenny, Keith, and all my VHTRC and IMTR friends---a really special moment.
A few words about Hellgate...the 2012 race truly delivered. It was my toughest Hellgate because of the warm temps (45 at the start, sunny and high 60s at noon the next day)-- I wore short sleeves and a skirt all night and day, and had to stay on top of my hydration and fuel all the time. The women's race for the top 5 spots (and Patagucci Nano Puff zip-tops) was tight. I was bouncing between second and and third place most of the race  and, remembering 2011 when Alyssa Godesky breezed by me in the last 4 miles for third, I worked very hard to hold off 100-miler specialist Kathleen Cusick for the final podium spot. Rusty was there starting at mile 40 crewing and pacing on his mountain bike, and it was so much fun grinding up to Blackhorse Gap (mile 63) with him scoping out the field behind me--this was the first time he had ever been in the race with me as a pacer. I had left the last aid station at Day Creek with Kathleen only 2 minutes back, and busted my ass to make more time at the top. Rusty rode by me as I crested the mountain and told me she was now 5 minutes back--enough of a cushion but never a guarantee. He said, "you are going to have to work really hard these last three miles---do you want me to stay with you?" and I said (nicely), "Thanks honey, but you can meet me at the finish!" as I was really suffering and not up to having an audience. never fails that at Hellgate, I am either chasing the clock or being chased at this exact same spot year after year!

Keith Knipling giving me an incredibly thoughtful and fantastic 50th birthday photo :-)
Celebrating my 50th birthday at my favorite race with my husband and close friends was of life's very special moments. To have PR on top of that was icing on the (yummy mocha) cake!

As I planned my 2013 race season, I once again stuck to what has worked really well for the past few years---the model of racing ultras between November and March, shorter stuff in late April and May, and easy fun training runs throughout the summer, with mini "off-seasons" at Christmas and  early April. This schedule works well given my family and work demands and I find myself fresh and ready to take on my "A" races (typically Masochist and Hellgate). For 2013, I added the Uwharrie 40, which I last ran in 2008, and the Odyssey 40, which I ran in 2007. I am pacing Jenny at Old Dominion 100, and crewing a few friends at a run that I am obsessed with but don't have the guts to enter.  Not to mention that I am in a new age group on the roads (50-54) and in ultras (Grandmaster, 50+). Woop!

The first day of 2013 was celebrated with an SNP mountain run with friends from Charlottesville and Harrisonburg---a perfect way to start the year. Here's to good friends, good health, and good fun in the year ahead! Happy New Year, everyone!

Jones Falls in Shenandoah National Park---a New Year's Day tradition