Monday, January 20, 2020

Long Haul 100: Squeezing Out Sub 20



PRERACE

Long Haul 100 wasn't even on my radar under until 12 weeks ago. After DNFing at Javelina in late October, I was anxious to use my training towards another 100 mile race. Because I had put 50+ miles on my legs at Javelina and wanted to BQ at Rehoboth in early December, it made the most sense to look at the January/February for another 100.

There were two major considerations for choosing one - I wanted a Western States qualifier and I needed it to be relatively inexpensive travel-wise. Rocky Raccoon 100 in Texas has been on my short list for awhile, but once I found out that Long Haul was a Western States qualifier, it seemed like a no-brainer to just drive down to the Tampa area. I knew people who had raced it, who lived close by, and I had a couple of friends doing it in 2020!

I opted work a half day on Thursday so I could drive to Florida that afternoon/evening and have all of Friday to relax. Angie graciously let me stay with her in Sarasota and we went out for pizza and beer when I rolled in after 8pm.

Knowing I could sleep in and rest as much as I needed to on Friday was perfect. I hung out a bit with her pup and then following her advice, drove out to Siesta Key for a morning on the beach. She recommended a local coffee shop a block from the beach and I took my cold brew and cinnamon roll straight to the ocean. It was a beautiful January morning on the gulf and I waded in the water, people-watched, and dug my toes in the soft white sand. 

As it approached noon, I met Angie on her lunch break from work at a tuna bowl place in downtown Sarasota and then made my way north to meet Jen and Dan at packet pickup. Dan and Dan's parents had offered to let me stay with them on Friday night and it couldn't have been any better! They were super close to the race and chatting with them all afternoon was the perfect distraction from the task at hand the following day. That evening, we piled in the car (after removing the Mahjong game from the backseat) to pick up John for dinner who was staying in a nearby hotel and met Jen at an Italian restaurant. 

Back at the house, I laid out my clothes for race morning and got everything squared away so all I had to do when I woke up was get dressed, fill my hydration bottle, and eat breakfast.

I don't think I have EVER slept so soundly before a race. I didn't wake up once and in fact, was sleeping so hard when my alarm went off that I was confused as to where I was! We left exactly when we needed to and because Dan was driving, I didn't have any worries about navigating or getting there in enough time. 

As with most ultras, the scene at the start was pretty relaxed. People were piling their drop bags onto the shuttle trailer, waiting in line for the porta-potties, and catching up with friends.



I jumped in the porta-potty line right when we got there and then sat in the car until there was about 5 minutes to start, staying off my feet as long as I could. 

THE RACE

I don't recall a countdown or any fanfare about the start except that when it was time to go, I remember thinking how underwhelming it was to begin. With a long day and night ahead, I didn't worry too much about the first mile. I just let the pack spread out a bit as we ran down the paved road to the start of the first spur. I stayed behind John and Patrick for a bit while they chatted and just listened as the day awoke. 

The course was a mile on pavement to a main intersection where 3 spurs came together. Each spur was an out-and-back so you could see runners coming and going all day long, no matter where you were in the field. It was like running the petals of a flower and coming back to the center. For all but about a half mile there was plenty of space and I actually really, really liked the short out-and-backs because you were never alone for even more than a few minutes. It was mostly double-track or wider and that meant that passing or getting passed was never some awkward moment. 

Spur 1 was about 3 miles total, spur 2 was about 5 miles, and spur 3 was about 2 miles. We ran all of the spurs 10 times except the very last lap, you got to skip spur 3 and just run into the finish. 

The first 2 laps or 20ish miles were pretty uneventful save for a couple of trips to the porta-potty. The weather was perfect and the sun was still hiding way beyond the treeline. The Florida forest offered a good amount of shade and I don't recall it feeling particularly warm until about 11am. I shed my tank after the first lap, but it felt cool enough that I really didn't want ice until I got past the marathon mark. 

I was trying to stay between 10:00 - 11:00 minute miles as much as possible. I knew if I was feeling good I would slip under 10s in the beginning, but I was also being very mindful that I needed to take a little more time at aid stations and that I would inevitably get slower after 100k. The main goal was just to finish the race and feel confident again about 100s after Javelina. But of course I wanted to do the best I could and I was hoping to finish in a time that was reasonably close to my PR. I didn't really feel like I was necessarily in PR shape, but I knew that I was motivated by my DNF and I was running more comfortably than I had in over a year. My body just finally felt like me again. 

After the first marathon, I hit a bit of a rough patch and knew the heat of the day was starting to get to me. At Javelina, I was so worried about getting in and out of aid fast that I failed to take care of myself properly. I was determined to make sure that I took a few extra minutes this time. 

So at mile 30, I took a few chances and it paid off. My feet felt tired and with groomed trails, I decided to change from my Hoka Torrent trail shoe) to the Hoka Carbon X (road shoe). I got a frosty mini Coke from Dan and chugged on it while I changed my shoes, restocked my gels, and decided to hit the music early. I train with music for road and treadmill runs, but never had listened to it during a 100 before. Instead of saving it for later, I opted to let it help me with this rough patch. There was a minor snafu when I realized my Mighty music player was completely dead, but my old iPod Nano came through. I didn't even have something to carry it in so I just shoved it in my sports bra and hoped it wouldn't annoy the shit out of me. 

At the aid station, I had the volunteer scoop ice into my buff and with calories, caffeine, a cooled neck, fresh shoes, and tunes, I bopped down the road like I was just starting. I felt GOOD. And it was weird because it lasted about 15 miles that I felt super happy and super strong. I smiled widely at fellow runners, chatted with the volunteers at the aid stations, and things were great.

Around mile 45, which happened to be nearly the exact same mileage as when the shitshow began at Javelina, I was running along the asphalt section and puked. Just one puke though. And I walked for a minute or so, trying to not worry too much about how this seemed way too familiar. As the nausea subsided a bit, I jogged slowly, testing the waters. Thankfully, that was the only puke all race!

When I came into mile 50, I remember that I was definitely not as chipper as I was before, but I was still moving well enough and hitting 50 miles just under 9 hours or so which is exactly where I wanted to be. The darkness and tired legs would catch up with me, but I was hoping I could run the second half in about 10-11 hours. The iPod battery died, but I put it back on the charger so I could run with it later in case I didn't have pacers the whole time. 

This is where I decided to take off my ice buff, put on a dry sports bra, and put on a shirt. Though I had liberally lubed with Squirrel's Nut Butter all my usual chafe spots, the ice melting down my back from my buff had created a chafe situation in my butt crack so I applied copious amounts more to try to keep it from getting worse. Behind the 10x10 tent, but still pretty much in plain view, I changed my tops and shoved goopy lube in my shorts. 

I told Dan to get my headlamp and black hat ready so I could just grab those at the last possible minute. I definitely knew I'd need it by the time I got to 60 miles. It was getting tougher to eat and gels just sounded gross. In the middle of the day, I had switched to more water and less Tailwind in my hydration bottle. But I knew I was fading fast without many calories so I forced myself to try to eat a little something at each aid station and drink a cup of soda. Thankfully, I did have pee again which meant that at least I was hydrating okay (not great, but enough to pee!). John had been sick for hours and not peeing and ultimately decided to drop which I heard about right around this time. Having been there recently myself, I knew exactly all the emotions he was going through right then. 

At mile 60, I was able to have a pacer. I was so excited to run with someone and keep me motivated to move even when my head got funky. Dan paced me a full 10ish mile loop and I felt pretty good actually in miles 65-68. I really don't remember what order I got cold broth, warm broth, warm soup in over the last 30 miles, but I do know that I was STARVING and got a cup at each of the main aid stations. 

I ran the spur 3 and 1 by myself and then Dan ran spur 2 with me again. 

When we got back to the main aid station, I was at mile 80ish and still had to do the shortest spur to complete the loop. My Garmin was dying so I got my charging cable and charger and my iPod which appeared to be half-charged. I was kind of delirious at this point and just putting one foot in front of the other so I wasn't really sure if and when I'd have my pacers. It took a bit of time to figure out how I was going to wear my charger, charging cable, and Garmin with my belt. I was walking on the shortest spur, stuffing everything into the belt at first, but then it was too heavy and bounced so I just left the charger in the pocket, put my watch on my wrist with the cable, and let the cord dangle about. I'm honestly not sure how this didn't annoy me, but I suppose there were too many other annoyances clouding this one.

Angie was ready to pace me for spur 1 at mile 82ish. She noticed a sign near the start/finish that said runners did not need to do spur 3 on their final loop! This made me so happy. We walked a bit while I digested soup and then ran to the timing mat, walked a bit, and ran back to the road. She went back to the tent and because I was still running (and not walking), Dan had to catch up to me on the road. I wanted to run to the sign that said something about the hall of pines and then I took a walk break. I had my little sections broken up to try to run and try to walk, the walk sections getting longer with each loop. 

I think this was the section that he nearly karate chopped an armadillo rustling in the woods. I'm not sure there would have been much to jolt me out of my ultra-fog at that point. I just kind of turned my head when sprang into action, but kept moving along as though nothing had happened. I needed to pee again (yay!) and decided I'd use the porta-potty on the way back from the spur 2 aid station. When I came back, there was someone in it and after waiting 30 seconds, I decided I didn't need to go that bad. 

Back at the main aid station, I went out on spur 3 for the final time. About 100 feet past the timing mat, Angie caught up to me and we trounced out of the woods together. I was definitely doing a lot more walking at this point, but trying to run when I could. I don't really remember what we talked about or the music that was still playing in one my ears, but I was moving forward, making progress.

Dan met me at the trail intersection on the final spur. I didn't want to waste too much time at the aid station knowing that I was going to be done in less than an hour so I just filled my bottle halfway and tried to keep moving. There was considerably more walking at this point because I was thinking that a few minutes here or there really wasn't going to make a difference. I was going to be finishing around 20 hours or so. We walked a bit on the road and I had told Dan earlier in the loop that I was just going to run again once I saw the tents. 

But then I looked down and saw 19:52:XX on my watch and knowing in the back of my head he'd force me to run, I said I had less than 8 minutes to make it to the finish line to get under 20 hours. He rallied me to get my legs moving and while cursing him, I found that last gear to push for the final minutes. I knew the pain would be over soon and as I saw the first lights of the tents and then the timing clock, the sub-20 hours was happening. 19:58:05, 3rd female, 10th overall. 

The race director handed me my buckle and I posed for a few photos at the finish line.



POST-RACE

Back at the tent, I sat in a chair for the first time in 20 hours and felt the cloud of exhaustion grip me. I knew it wouldn't change much, but I did sip slowly on a Tailwind recovery drink, trying to rehydrate and get in some calories. Dan's brother-in-law graciously fired up a few bratwurst for us and I mindlessly chewed slowly, eating 3/4 over what seemed like an eternity. My wet clothes soon felt cold, but I really didn't want to move so I sat until the 3 of them packed up. As soon as they were gone (Dan helping, but coming back), I changed into dry clothes and crawled halfway into my sleeping bag. By the time Dan came back, I was asleep.

At first light, I started to stir, legs throbbing, a layer of dew coating me and the sleeping bag. I sat in the chair for awhile, just watching the morning unfold.

Eventually, after Dan awoke, we decided to start to break down camp, find some breakfast, take showers, and come back to watch Jen finish. Rain was starting to try to come down when we came back, but fortunately never too hard. As the clock crept near 30 hours, we peered down the asphalt, watching for Jen and Angie to come around the bend. Soon, even in the distance, I could spot them and knew she was going to make it easily under the 30 mark. I desperately wanted to run in with her, but my legs were so tight that I just had to hobble down to the finish line, hoping I had enough time to stay ahead of her for a finish photo. Mission complete.


It wasn't my fastest 100, it wasn't my first time running 100 miles, but it was the first outright 100 mile race I've done. There were plenty of things that went wrong, but there was a lot that went right and I'm happy that I ran a pretty consistently paced race (for that distance) and stayed pretty positive. 

My short list of what worked: broth, music, all the portable chargers, handheld hydration instead of a pack, Hoka Carbon X, ice buff (but I really need to figure out how to keep my shorts dry if that's even possible), mini Cokes, smaller doses of caffeine, properly taking time at aid stations, dry clothes, and alternating pacers.

Link to splits on Strava here.  

Monday, January 13, 2020

GUTS Fatass 50k!

The first time I ran the GUTS Fatass 50k was in 2016 and I was pretty new to the trail scene. I had run a trail marathon and a trail 50 miler, but those races were pretty tame in the grand scheme of things. When I read my first race report from this race, I clearly was a rookie in a so many ways.

I remember that I didn't know anyway and stood around watching people crowd in groups, clearly friends long before that day. This year, I actually think I didn't have imposter syndrome! Spotting lots of familiar faces and with numerous trail ultras under my belt, it was a complete change from that first one in 2016.

I spent the night at my sister's house last night as she is much closer to Sweetwater Creek Park. I slept soundly and was able to wake up at 6:30 a.m. Breakfast was a few pieces of cinnamon bread with cinnamon almond butter (!!) and a cup of coffee. I said goodbye to my sister and niece (my brother-in-law and nephew were still snoozing) and headed to the park. Parking was easy and I had enough time to hang out for about a half hour at the group shelter with friends before the race started.

This year, I was kind of in the middle of the pack when it started and got stuck when we hit the single track. This proved to work in my favor though because it was the perfect pace to get in a solid warm-up and not push the pace too hard from the beginning. It was supposed to be a training run after all.

The race is six total loops of just over 5 miles with a mixture of single track, fire roads, and a teeny bit of road. Aside from a few sections, it is really, really runnable which I realized after doing lots of trail runs with vert that I'm really used to having a lot more time to climb in my run (and lower my HR!).

I cruised behind Dan for awhile in the middle part of loop 1 and listened to the runners around me chitchatting. I knew the field would thin out as the day progressed so I latched onto the early entertainment. Nikki caught up to us towards the end of the loop and took off ahead.

Coming into the first loop, I filled up my handheld with half Powerade/half water and grabbed a few potato chips. I brought 3 gels and was just using a handheld, attempting to stay as minimalist as possible with the loops being so "short". It was cold enough that my 17oz bottle was good for this race, but I think if it were too much warmer that I'd have to really commit to drinking 6-8 ounces more at the aid station.

Loop 2 was relatively uneventful except for the final 1.5 miles that I was most uncomfortable because I needed the port-a-potty. I smartly remembered to put my gloves and water bottle outside the door, but forgot about the gel I tucked in my waistband. And of course it fell right into the pot. Needless to say, I was not retrieving it.

So now that I had just two gels, I grabbed a cookie and few pretzels as I came through the aid station. It was kind of hard to eat the pretzels and jog on the pavement, but I managed to get them all shoved in my mouth by the time I got back to the single track. I took one of the gels during this loop, hoping it would give me a nice little sugar rush.

I passed a bunch of people during loop 3 and ran hard with a bunch of people at the end of the loop who were finishing up the 25k. My legs were feeling pretty good and I was bombing the downhills pretty hard when I had the opportunity. As I got back around to aid, I ate a couple of PBJ slices and grabbed a few more chips.

The field was definitely more spread out during loop 4 and I ran by myself during the first half. Down by the river, I got caught behind another conga line for about a half mile, but I was happy to take my foot off the gas for a short while. I hit a couple of funky spots during this loop. My legs were starting to get tired and I was thinking about all my friends who did the 25k who were already done! But I also knew that nothing was inherently wrong and though I was a bit bonkish, I was still moving really well.

At the end of loop 4, I knew that even if I slowed down a minute per mile that I would come in with a pretty respectable time. I took a couple more slices of PBJ and Swedish Fish and tried to keep motoring as best I could. I knew I was slowing down a bit, but I tried to just stay relaxed when I could and take advantage of what I felt like were strengths - basically anything but flats!

I was still able to muscle up all the hills running except the stairs and the section right after. I took my now-final gel and perked up a little with the extra fuel. Allison and Ben were coming the opposite way near the end of the loop and I stopped briefly for hugs and hellos.

Before going out for the final loop, I grabbed a huge handful of Swedish Fish and took a swig of Keith's beer. I knew it was just 5ish more miles of running. Though I really wanted to walk some on the single track and fire roads, I made myself shuffle along. Towards the middle of the loop, I started running behind Brian who was on his 5th loop. He was cruising along at a nice pace and not walking the ups so I stuck with him until the end. I probably could have redlined it the last two miles for a couple of extra minutes, but it really didn't matter and I was so happy to have someone to talk to for the final few miles.

I shouted out my number as I came through the finish and shouted out my number. The timing guy told me he believed I was 2nd female! The same placement and nearly the same time as 2016. I'll take it!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 Recap: I Did Epic Shit!

What a comeback year! After spending so much of 2018 on the sidelines, it was so awesome to jump back into running and adventures. I felt a new sense of appreciation each time I got to spend a weekend playing in the woods with my friends. And I have never been so happy to have long periods of time with a healthy, capable body. 

Happiness in Kathmandu, Nepal


It wasn’t always rainbows and puppies, but there were some really, really special moments that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Honestly, I haven’t had a year where I’ve felt so much gratitude for the things I have. And for all the rough patches, I will just use those as fuel for whatever is thrown my way next.

January

I started the year off with a New Year’s Day run on Coosa and began working with a running coach.

New Year's Day Coosa Loop

It was exciting to do workouts during the week and I looked forward to spending time on the trails with my friends on the weekend.

With trail wifey on Tray Mountain

Before the sleet storm on Nimblewill with John
It had been well over a year since I had run a trail race and I needed a 50K+ qualifier to complete my Georgia Death Race requirements. I ended up choosing Mountain Mist 50K in Huntsville, Alabama. I camped overnight in my car the night before, raced a muddy and chilly 31 miles, and ended up 5th female overall. 

Mountain Mist 50K finish line

February

Jenster and Angie were coming into town to pace the Suwanee Half Marathon so I jumped into the race. I was hoping that I would strike much closer to the 1:30 mark, but I felt really flat from the gun on race day and worked really hard for a PR of 1:38:54. I know you aren’t supposed to be disappointed in a PR, but I’ve had faster splits in a full marathon. As I went through the month, I felt really good about my aerobic fitness, but then I had some twinges of foot pain and my coach tweaked my workouts to reduce further injury.

Post-race brunch with these badasses who BOTH had run 100 mile races in the previous 2 weeks
March

I signed up for the URE Marathon in North Carolina because it was free, great GDR training, and I knew a bunch of friends going. It was a little nerve-wracking going into the race sitting partway on the bench with my foot in limbo. But for whatever reason, my foot felt okay on race day, I took it easy, and tried to just keep a relaxed effort all day. I recovered well after the race and things seemed to have turned the corner for GDR.

Girl squad
Dude squad

URE Marathon finish chute

Though I really wanted to crack the top 10 at GDR, I also knew that I was entering new territory. I had run further and longer before, but never with that type of terrain. I took it really conservative for the first 35 miles and then allowed my body to just go with the course during the second half. It was really tough, but I was the 13th female and got it done in 18 hours, 19 minutes, and 13 seconds.


April

I went to Raleigh the weekend after GDR and volunteered at Umstead 100 with Jenster, Caitlin, and Laurie. 

Volunteering with Laurie, Jen, and Caitlin
And the following weekend was the Boston 5K, my birthday, and the Boston Marathon. Brad stayed with Adam and I in an Airbnb in Chinatown and it was a fun, low-key few days with running, eating, baseball, and lots of naps. I managed a 3:18:28 for the marathon - my 4th fastest marathon ever and with very little specific marathon training! Guess my legs were just happy to not run another 15 hours. 
Boston 5K

Birthday dinner by Gatorade phone light

Boston Marathon finish line
Brad and I celebrating our Boston Marathon finishes
 May

May, May, May, May, May. The month I traveled to Qatar and Nepal and experienced a trip of a lifetime! I had been looking forward to this for almost 2 years and am still cherishing the moments as I write this. It was everything I had hoped for and more. The people, the adventure, the sense of accomplishment, the food, and the entire sense that I was happy with exactly that moment for nearly 3 weeks straight. I was almost overwhelmed with how calm my mind was when I returned.

The marathon itself was a really cool experience, but I loved the trekking and travel just as much. Our group laughed until we cried each day. Navigating everything that was foreign to me gave me such pleasure, like I was a child navigating the world for the first time. Everything was novel and I had such a deep appreciation for each experience.

On one of the many iconic suspension bridges during the trek

Overlooking Tengboche

Between Dengboche and Lobuche

My first 18er! Kala Patthar, 18,514' 

Post 18er - feeling crappy from altitude sickness

Hiker's base camp - 17,598'

Everest Base Camp sunrise from my tent

Finishing the Everest Marathon! (no, I didn't win, they put the tape up for everybody)

With my fellow trekkers, head guide, and assistant head guide - (L-R) Kale, Sie, Pam, Miguel, me, Becky, Mo, and Gelu

Trekkers and all our guides
The Himalayan valley is so, so green


Kathmandu, Nepal

Drinking a mango smoothie in a souq at 9pm when it's 110°F

Doha, Qatar - view from my hotel room

June

When I arrived back home, I knew I just wanted to take a bit of time to just really be able to enjoy my big spring and not concentrate on a new goal right away. I ran when I felt like it for a couple of weeks and didn’t worry about my pace or mileage. My coach gave me a bit of structure, but there weren’t any big workouts or long run weekends.

Easy running on the trails
July

I knew going into the fall that I wanted to run a 100 and set my eyes on Javelina Jundred in Phoenix, Arizona or Pinhoti 100 in Eastern Alabama. I had some FOMO when other friends were racing over the summer, but I also knew that it was important to give my body a chance to relax and recover if I was going to attempt 100 in the fall. I had a horrible case of poison ivy that made running (and life) really, really uncomfortable for over 3 weeks. 

Getting back to it (with poison ivy)

Poison Ivy 1, Carissa 0
August

With lots of friends training for fall races, my weekends were filled with trail runs. I actually did a bunch of track workouts on Tuesday mornings, swapping the heat of the evening for the humidity. I enjoyed seeing the gains in my fitness as I transitioned from week to week. It was exciting to see my tempos get longer and faster.

Blood Mountain gang

Track workout

Tempo workout


September

I knew I wasn’t going to be racing Hinson for the full 24 hours, but rather taking advantage of the course as a couple of well-supported long runs. I completed 50K in the morning/early afternoon and took a long break where I refueled and did a few more laps eventually to get food. Then I took a short nap in the evening. I set my alarm to get up around midnight and knocked out 15 more miles of running. I was wide awake when I finished that and felt good so I just kept walking until the race was over, completing 63 total miles.. 

Round and round and round at Hinson Lake

After running 50ish miles, I walked a half marathon in flip flops.
October

I was SO EXCITED to race Javelina Jundred! I had my first set of pacers and crew ever for a race and I felt really, really prepared. Needless to say, it was pretty disappointing when I made the painful decision to DNF at mile 52. Though I was so, so angry at myself that weekend, I also felt really, really lucky to dream the dream and have such a support system with me.

At bib pickup

Chantal and I in our tent before the race

Roger took this amazing pic on race morning

Adam and I right before the race start

Feeling good at mile 22

Feeling defeated at mile 52

My pacers Roger and Chantal got to pace Tom to his first 100 mile finish!

November

After JJ, I recovered a bit and then switched gears to get my head in the game for a road marathon. I reverse tapered, had a few bigger weeks of workouts and then tapered off a bit as I neared Rehoboth. 

Post-run selfie in November

December

My coach thought I was in PR shape, but I had been feeling just flat in all my workouts leading up to the race. I knew how I felt when I had run 3:13 and I just wasn’t feeling like I had the leg speed for that. So I decided to play it safe at Rehoboth and run with the 3:25 pacer - a 10+ minute BQ would likely still give me enough cushion unless things got really crazy with the qualifying times. I ended up running a 3:24:11 and felt great the final 10K.

Rehoboth Beach Marathon finish chute



2019 Goals Report

I made a formal list of goals for 2018 and enjoyed the process so I tried it again for 2019. I’ve decided against doing it for 2020. Sometimes I felt like I was a little too rigid in trying to conform to some of these things that I couldn’t just let life flow - especially the things that I set up to happen on a weekly or monthly basis.

But I do think some of them helped me get into good habits and forced me to manage my time a teeny bit wiser to get it all done.

Here are my grades/assessments on my goals for 2019:

1. 2 weeks of meal planning per month - B - I counted any weeks that I planned 5 days and stuck to the plan of 4 days. We typically would go out on Thursday night and Saturday night so I’d tried to have something planned out the other days. As a meat-eater, this really just meant that I’d try to have the right protein moved from the freezer to the refrigerator and some sort sort of veggie planned depending on the season. Summer salads and lots of pasta helped keep this goal pretty easy.

2. PR in a distance less than a marathon - A - An A only because I achieved it. Even still, all my times for raced 5K, 10K, 13.1, etc are far slower than what I’ve achieved in a training run. But I’m giving myself an A because I did PR in the 13.1 distance and in a 5K in races, but I also PR’d in a 5K and 10K during a training run this year.

3. Call or write Grandma at least once per month - A -Yup! I counted going to see her in person for November, but I did actually write (snail mail!) or call each month of the year.

4. Do something kind once per week - B - I don’t think I went out of my way every week to really make this one special, but I did bring in special treats for coworkers or extra snacks for trail running friends. Sometimes it was just lending an ear to someone to vent or sending a text to someone I hadn’t heard from in awhile.

5. Check-ups at all docs - B - Technically, I only saw the eye doctor when I had some weird floater things and not for my vision. But I did go to the dentist for my bi-annual cleanings and to the doc for my yearly physical.

6. 100 mile trail race or marathon PR - D - I’m calling it a D because I did actually toe the line at a 100 mile trail race so at least I got through the training and made it to the start. Just didn’t actually finish said 100 mile trail race.

7. 1 no spend month - F - Nope. Didn’t happen. Bought all the things.

8. 60 minutes stretch or strength per week - A - I decided to count cross-training too with focusing on strength first. Most weeks I had 60+ minutes of strength alone.

9. 2019 miles in 2019 - A - Never a sure bet, but I finally crossed over the mark in December.

10. Volunteer/crew/pace/spectate at 10+ races - C - I officially volunteered at 3 races and put in 21 hours of official time at races. I volunteered at aid stations at Umstead 100 and Merrill's Mile and swept part of the Bull Mountain Epic course. I crewed/spectated at Javelina once my own race went south. And while it wasn't a race, I did set up an aid station in the woods for a group training run and ferried a few friends back who were having a rough day. 

11. Read 30+ books - A - I had to push myself a little more at the end, but I am currently reading my 32nd book of the year. 
  • Top 3 fiction: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beath Keane, The Power by Naomi Alderman, and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. 
  • Top 2 non-fiction: Educated by Tara Westover and Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Top running-related: Running Home by Katie Arnold