Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 in Review: October through December

I had no idea it would take THREE posts to tell the story of 2011!! See Part 1 here, Part 2 here and below is October through today.

What would a month of running be without a trip to White Rock? We met out at the lake to have one last little lap plus before Marci headed out to Chicago to slay the dragon of her sub-five hour finish. It was a nice easy run, and we followed it up with pancakes post-run with Kris, who is taking a sabbatical from running as she incubates her Baby Snackpack!!

Familiar sight. 
Baby Snackpacks! Due April 2012!
The next week found me out at the Tyler Half Marathon, where I got to run with some lovely ladies who are part of Racing It Off's team of athletes. It was a lot of fun to run with folks I hadn't met before and with Lesley, who I've known for more than a year but haven't really been able to run with before now. Not to mention that Tyler just ended up being a big ol' Frunner party, with Team K, Elaine, Robin, and FAWN from Milano with her team doing the full marathon. Always so much fun to see Fawn. Just as much fun was literally running into Julie on the streets of Tyler and us yelling "NINE MILES" at each other down the street! I'm sure the neighbors appreciated that!

So happy to see Fawn before the race!
Holly, Elaine, Lesley & Emily at the start
Best post-race cool-water bath EVER!
Sweet Julie came out to take pics & cheer!
Then it was time for Palo Duro. I had waffled on whether I was doing this race or not, but after a decent showing at Ducks, and with a free entry off NTTR, I decided to go for it. The race ended up not quite as well as I'd expected, with a dizzy and disappointing DNF after 18 miles, but the weekend was otherwise a wonderful experience. I got to spend some quality time with two of the most inspiring and encouraging women I know on the road trip to West Texas. Plus, it's always a good time when we can hang out and cheer on runners at the end of a long race. Oh, and I CAMPED!! Yep, it's true!! I can't wait for this race to roll around again next year - I will be prepared for a stellar race and another amazing weekend here in 2012!

Pre-race dinner with Frunners! 
Great group of girls here!
Got me some quality E time this trip!! <3
Julie looks lovely per usual. I look like DNF... 
After licking my wounds for a while, the perfect remedy to get my mojo back was a local race where I helped Marci pace her sister-in-law to her first 5k. We'd be nice & easy as we talked to Jessica & kept her moving to meet her goal of finishing strong. Seeing a bunch of Frunners before & after the race and along the course was a bonus too! 

Never know who you're gonna find on the course!
Jessica & Marci looking strong! 
Somewhere in here, I turned a year older. Yee-haw. Go, me! Doesn't count since I didn't flip AG or anything!! 

October Stats: 
Total Miles: 74
Number of Races: 3 (one half-marathon, one 50k DNF, one 5k)

November was crazy. There's no other way to say it. I had FOUR races in November, two of them 50ks. Looking back, I was completely out of my mind, especially coming off the DNF at Palo Duro. Yes, I said it. But at the time, it seemed like a good idea. Live and learn, I guess. There were some tough times in there, and some really good times, especially at my third 50k finish line at Rocky Raccoon. Always fun to see Fawn, meet new Frunner Tony as he finished his first 50k on his way to his first 100 miler in February, and watch Fiona, Libby and Alicia all become ultra-runners too!

My favoritest finish line photo of the month! 
Was great to meet Tony in person! 
I doubled up the next weekend, as I not only did the Rockledge Rumble out at Northshore, but I also got to take Marci out to her first trail run at River Legacy (last year's Chupacabra run notwithstanding - it was dark and she had no idea what she was doing then!!) - always fun to introduce a runner to the fun and dirt of trails!!

Looks like a gingerbread cookie to me! 
It was a pretty day for a trail run
Matt & Team Sparling! 
Obligatory self-portrait at River Legacy. 
We had another great cheering experience at the Fort Worth Marathon, where we got to see and support a lot of frunners on a crazy hot day. What was with the weather this year?! Either crazy hot or stupid rain? In any case, a day with Frunners reaching their goals is a good day for sure!! 

Glitter signs!! 
FWM Cheer Squad! 
LOVE this girl!! 20 miles ain't nothing but a thing! 
Then it was time for the big one. The "A" race of the year. I had downgraded to the 50k after the DNF at Palo Duro, mostly because of the very honest conversations I had with Drum and Erin on the drive there and back about motivation and desire and the need to prove something. But even so, I still wanted to have a good showing there, and was pretty disappointed to DNF after 16 miles.  For sure, hanging out with all  my friends post-race helped ease the sting of my knee not cooperating with me, but I had to really face that my knee was not in a good place (literally, it seems) and I was injured. But I have to say, it really is amazing how healing the company of my Frunners can be, even on the most disappointing of days.

Pre-race at Wild Hare
Crazy Campers! 
Tony & Fawn after their 50 miles!! 
Fun at the campsite with B, Rick, George & Tini
I took the week after Wild Hare off,  hoping that resting the knee would help it get better. Then, signing up for the Arlington Turkey Trot at the last minute put me at my fourth race for the month. But I scored a new post-surgery PR, as I was pulled along in the last half-mile by my ultra-pusher Jeremy, in town to visit family for Thanksgiving and do his first ever 5K (he got those pesky 100-miles done first....). I pushed harder than I had in a while and was pleased that I was able to sustain a strong effort when I really wanted to quit. And then when I was in more pain in the days after three miles on roads than I was post-Wild Hare, I realized that I really needed to pay attention and fix my body, for the sake of my mind and my running future. Not really sure how many wake-up calls I needed...

Yes, I know it's a proof. I was camera-less that day! 
November Stats: 
Total Miles: 76
Number of Races: 4 (one 5k, one 15k, two 50ks - one DNF)

Then we come to December. Oh, December was epic in oh so so many ways!! I loved December, and we aren't done yet!!  We started off the month with another tradition, the Santa Scurry up in Keller. DP Dino Boy & I ran this with Bojana last year, and I ran it again with Marci and her family, but this time, we had extra special cheerleaders and glitter signs when Cherry & Drum showed up to cheer!! Jessica finished her second 5k, and her two boys ran a strong race, too, along with Marci's hubby Fred. YAY!! How much fun is that?  TONS of fun, I tell ya!

Cole, Chase & Jason pre-race! 
Cheer squad!! 
Definitely a highlight of the month, and the year, was Operation Sunshine at White Rock. It was such a brutal day, and being able to be out there for all our friends and all the other runners made it memorable for sure. I won't be able to say that I ran one of the coldest, wettest marathons in Dallas history, but I can say that I was there!
Shannon & Elaine, one week post Route 66 Marathon! 
MK ready for her last five miles
Mark L coming back for a soggy hug
The next weekend found us out on the trails again, this time volunteering at the inaugural Isle Du Bois trail race. It was COLD again and we had a great day checking off all the runners as they came through the aid station. We heard it was a tough trail and it was fun to be a part of the experience and pay it forward some for all the times we've run and benefited from awesome volunteers!

The Ladiy Elves of Fire Road Aid Station. 
Our panoramic view of the course
Being a volunteer is TOUGH work!! 
The fun continued on the Donkey Ride, where we begged the question "how many runners does it take to change a bicycle tire?" The answer, for those who don't know, is it takes one cyclist married to a runner who came along for the ride to change two tires and fix a dropped chain!! I was worried about how I'd do since I'd never ridden more than 15 miles ever before, but it was a great time with amazing people and I had so much fun! I can't wait to do it again!!

Thanks to Brian who was our personal mechanic! 
Frikers?! Fricyclists? Nope, Frunners on Wheels! 
Puppies! Llamas! Donkeys!! 
Sweet llama!! 
Fun times on the Donkey Ride!
December Stats: 
Total Miles: 23
Number of Races: 2 (one 5k, one marathon on schedule)

So that brings us to now. In three days, I'll toe the line at my 10th marathon or longer distance run of the year. I've had to take some time off big miles while I rehab my knee (pinched meniscus jammed back in, addressing pulling from IT band, weakness & inflexibility in my ankle, and tight quad that are all contributing factors). But, I have been released to run the full, both days, so now it's just a matter of getting it done. The pace won't be fast, even for me, and if there is any pain beyond the typical marathon discomfort, I'm pulling back. I've got big goals for 2012 that can't be impacted, so I'm going to play it smart. But I also am wanting to end the year with a bang, and start 2012 the right way, too. So, stay tuned.

Meanwhile, now that you've made it all the way to the end of MY year, what was your favorite memory from 2011?  What will you remember from your life that made this year special?

1 comment:

Michelle K said...

My 1st marathon is a memory I will always treasure! The conditions were pretty tough, but knowing that Operation Sunshine was out there made it so much better. I can't wait to return the favor someday. Thank you. Can't wait to see what 2012 brings!!