Well, it's been quite a year! Although I began running in 2010, and ran my first ultra in 2011, 2013 is the year I feel like I finally hit my stride. I think I've figured out the best way to train for my body- have a purpose for every run (no "junk miles"), cross train frequently and with variety, and make sure to take rest days. Thanks to all that, i managed to set new PRs for the 5K, 50K, and 50 mile. I ran a whole lot of new distances- 100K, 100 mile, 6 hour, 8 hour, and 24 hour. I ran my first stage race, Chattanooga, in June. I won races for the first time- admittedly they were small, but a win's a win! In general, I raced more than I ever had before- about one ultra per month- which I think helped me get stronger and faster. Plus I no longer cry with nervousness at the start of a race!
Most importantly, I really got involved with the ultrarunning community. I began running very much on my own, with my only real support in online communities such as Daily Mile. And while those folks are awesome and encouraging, there's nothing like having a group of local friends to train with and race with. It's amazing to go to a race in Georgia or South Carolina and see so many familiar faces that it feels like a family reunion. To actually have people cheering you on by name as you make it through another loop of the race. To really appreciate the accomplishments of your fellow racers, because you've trained with them and you know how hard they've worked. There really isn't anything like an ultra for bonding with your fellow runners!
Looking ahead to 2014, I have plenty of new goals and experiences to look forward to. I hope to celebrate my birthday in February with a new distance PR at Delirium 24 hour. I will have the honor of running the Boston Marathon in April- although this trail runner is a bit nervous about racing in a sea of tens of thousands! I may have another 24 hour race in May, and in July I plan on running Merrill's Mile 24 hour. Two weeks after that I have the Double Cremator- brainchild of the twisted Tim Waz of Lowcountry Ultras! The Double Cremator is 50 miles on Saturday and 50 miles on Sunday...for that I just hope to finish without collapsing! Then in August is Homestead 10x5K, another Lowcountry Ultras creation. You run a 5K loop once per hour for 10 hours, and the winner has the lowest combined time. I will most likely run the 12 hour at Chase the Sun in September (a new timed race for me), and there may be a trail marathon in October. In November I will run Mad Marsh 50K, my 4th Lowcountry Ultra of the year, so I can be part of the inaugural Lowcountry Ultras Series. Finally, I plan to run another 100 miler in December- Bartram 100s. Plus a few smaller local races scattered here and there...that all should keep me quite busy!