Full of highest highs and lowest lows, one long blog post about it just touches the surface. I set a boatload of running PRs. I traveled to 9 countries and 9 US states. I volunteered at 3 races and completed 2 pacing gigs. I watched Adam give everything he had on Boylston Street and felt my heart break when he couldn't go on. I felt ashamed and broken with my job loss at the end of June. I spent the summer chasing course records - finding a new sense of grit and determination. I started a new career and happily found myself less stressed and more balanced. My body aches a bit more than it used to, but my mind is the strongest it has every been.
Strava stats - 2,600 running miles, 2,828 including walking/hiking miles.
GUTS Fatass 50K - 5:16:24, 1st female, 4th overall
Miami Marathon - 3:20:34, 10th female, 4th AG
Mercedes Birmingham Marathon - 3:19:15, PR, 9th female, 3rd AG
Snickers Albany Marathon - 3:13:58, PR, 7th female, 1st AG
Rock 'n' Raleigh Marathon - 3:43:56, 24th female, 6th AG, pacing the 3:45 group
BAA 5K - DNF*
Boston Marathon - 3:13:54, PR, 373rd female, 327th AG
Midsummer's Night Dream 6 hour - 39.3 miles, PR, course record, 1st overall, 5th in North America in 2017
Merrill's Mile 12 hour -70.3 miles, PR, 100K PR of 10:13:45, female course record, 1st overall, 5th in North America in 2017
Hinson Lake 24 hour - 115.917, PR, 100 mile PR of 19:07:??, female course record, 1st female, 3rd overall, 17th in North America in 2017
Sphinx Greenville Marathon - 3:54:12, 26th female, 4th AG
Rehoboth Marathon - 3:27:47, 19th female, 7th AG
Ameris Bank JAX Marathon - 3:17:35, 8th female, 1st AG
Resolution Run 6 hour - 40 miles, PR, 50K PR of 4:32:21, 1st overall
*Adam has a recorded time of 1:12:19, but I'm not listed as a finisher?
I returned to run the G.U.T.S. (Georgia Ultrarunning & Trailrunning Society) 50K a week after I had completed a 6-hour race. It was 16°F at the start and I spent a good bit of the race in the mental pain cave. But, I ended up 1st female, 4th overall, and improved on my time from 2016 completing the race in 5:16:24.
Feeling pretty good about my fitness, I decided to run the Mercedes Birmingham Marathon 2 weeks later. Typically it is cool and while the course is a bit hilly, it is still reasonably fast. However, it was humid on race day and I ended up feeling the complete opposite of Miami in the second half. But going out fast paid off with a 7 second PR - 3:19:15!
The best part was the mini road trip with Megan & Frank. They let me crash in their hotel room, drove me to the start, and came to cheer me on at the finish! Plus, we took a mini tour of where I used to live in Vestavia Hills and filled up on Milo's before we left town.
Albany had been in my back pocket for awhile. A lot of the local tri people I run with had touted it as fast and flat. So I did a couple of tune-up workouts and 3 weeks later, I was racing my 3rd marathon of 2017. This time I was nervous, but confident that I could pull off a sub-3:15 marathon if it was my day. I had recently found out that I didn't get into the lottery for the NYC marathon so I was extra-motivated to get a time qualifier. Everything went perfect. 3:13:58!
I did my version of a girls weekend in early April. Jenster hosted myself, Angie, and Caitlin in Raleigh. We spent 5 hours Saturday helping at one of the Umstead 50/100 mile aid stations and paced/raced the Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh marathon Sunday. I was lucky and saw both Casey and Jay while we were doing a short run at Umstead! Then I got to see John (running) & Casey (spectating) at RNR. I paced the 3:45 group and we came in a little fast at 3:43:56! There was lots of beer, food, and laughing and I was super sad when I had to leave Sunday afternoon.
After Raleigh, there was BOSTON! We traveled north on my 35th birthday and I celebrated the day with 35 selfies.
After years of taking vacations that centered around running, we celebrated Adam's (belated) 40th birthday by taking a trip of a lifetime. We traveled to Amsterdam via London and spent the night in a tiny little town near the airport. I shook off jet lag with a run of course.
I went on a solo camping trip for about 36 hours in early June. I ran/hiked 50 horizontal miles and 2 vertical miles. It was definitely one of my year highlights (aside from losing my bear vault) - falling asleep exhausted just after sunset on the side of Tray Mountain was truly awesome.
I entered the Midsummer's Night Dream 6 hour race in hopes to grab some mileage and get some overnight running in as a kickoff to my buildup to Hinson. I felt better than the prior year and ended up with 39.3 miles total, a first place overall, and beat my own course record!
After losing my job in late June, I was having a hard time figuring out what running need to be in my life. An outlet? A pain reliever? A way to control something? It kind of took the brunt of all of that which was fortunate because I was all signed up for the 12 hour race at Merrill's Mile. Cooler temperatures and a new sense of grit made it possible to complete 70.3 miles, beating my own female course record and taking another overall win. I set a 100K PR in the process - 10:13:45.
I started my new job in late July so I just racked up the miles in August. I was running half marathons on Tuesdays as training runs and loading up my weekends with back-to-back long runs. The point was to get myself used to feeling exhausted for Hinson. It worked. The weekends on the trails were tough, but I had a lot of fun too.
I went to Chattanooga early in the month to watch Jamie compete at the World's 70.3 Championship. I also managed to see Gary and hang out with some of the local tri people as well. I am kind of obsessed with watching Ironman's (sp?) on YouTube as motivation when I run so it was extra awesome to watch a world class event in person.
I volunteered at an aid station at the Georgia Jewel for about 8 hours - a really fun way to be a part of the race without having to run!
I went into the year thinking I could touch 125 at Hinson, but I reset my goals over the summer and decided to just focus on a PR instead. The weather was a zillion times better than the previous year and I was actually really calm and really relaxed through most of the race. It did get hard and painful as these things do, but my ability to cope was far stronger in 2017. I ended up setting a female course record and came in 1st female, 3rd overall with 115.917. Though it was only my second time hitting 100 miles, I did also set a PR of 19:07 in that distance.
I knew I wasn't going to be in any capacity to run the week after Hinson so I decided to take part in the inaugural Bull Mountain run by volunteering. Anthony and I spent the morning and early afternoon swapping stories as runners came into Booger Holler. He brought his 2 BT mixes with him which naturally made us insta-friends.
Adam and I celebrated our 9th anniversary by forgoing the usual fancy-but-forgetful steakhouse dinner and visiting 9 Taco Bells. Ridiculous? Yes. Ridiculously memorable? Also yes.
I joined Sam and Dan at Pinhoti 100 to pace & crew John. I started the pacing at mile 55, Adams Gap and took him 10 miles through Clairmont Gap and traded off with Dan at mile 65, Chandler Springs. In a few hours, I jumped back into pace at mile 79, Wormy's Pulpit and brought him to the last aid station at mile 93. I was supposed to be done for the day, but I ended up pacing the very last finisher 7 miles to her first 100 mile finish with just 6 minutes to spare. Truly a day to remember!
For the 5th December in a row, I made the trek to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to run and drink beer with my favorite internet hooligans. I had pulled my hamstring so badly on the Wednesday prior that I left November with 197 miles. By race day, I felt like I could run again, but I was totally psyched out. The first 10 miles were good, the middle 10 were horrible, the last 10K was great! I finished in 3:27:47 and earned myself a BQ for 2019!
2 weeks later, I was toeing the line with a much happier hamstring and a little bit of extra pressure as I was running in my company's marathon! The Ameris Bank Jacksonville Marathon was super duper flat - flatter than Shamrock, flatter than Myrtle Beach! Race day temps were perfect and I was ready to push the pace hard. I felt really, really strong through 20 miles and then held onto in the last 10K for a 3:17:35 finish. My 3rd fastest marathon ever!
If I've shared miles, races, "liked" your FB posts, double-tapped your Instagram pic, gave you kudos on Strava, or bantered with you about running via text, thanks for sharing this silly sport with me. Thank you for sharing your stories and inspiring me to not only be a better runner, but a better human. Despite a few woes, 2017 was outstanding and I am lucky to have so many incredible people in my life.
For 2018, let's be in the moment. Choose to be happy. If you woke up healthy with a roof over your head and no worries about where your next meal will come from, remember just how lucky you are!