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Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 in Review

Quick Stats

Total races: 20
  • Orienteering: 2
  • Running: 8
  • Biking: 7
  • Adventure races: 3
  • Volunteering: 4
  • Night bike rides: 3
  • Times crying during night bike rides: 0
  • Races my family watched: 1
  • PRs: 4
  • Times placed in AG: 3
  • DNF: 1
  • Pounds lost (from my 10/12 high): 20
New things for 2013: training for a goal time (as opposed to just finishing), getting a cross bike

Repeat races: Carnage at the Creek AR, Tour de Donut, Broemmelsiek Challenge, Dirty Kanza, Thunder Rolls 24-hr, Cyclocross-Gordon Moore, Perfect 10, Skippo 30K, PMETR

New to me races: SHivering Icy Trail Run, Lightning Strikes adventure camp (volunteering), Ava Brown Memorial 5K, Cedar Cross, Firecracker 10K, Cyclocross-La Vista and Rock Springs, MO Cowbell Half Marathon, Edwardsville Neighbors in Need 5K, Little Woods Ultra

Recap: 

 January: The year started with some snowy trail runs, but the story of the inaugural SHITR (Shivering Icy Trail Run) was one of really cold rain rather than the white stuff.  43 like-minded crazy people showed up to run a half marathon on the trails...in the dark.  Even though I spent much of the last 4 miles moving at a painful limp rather than running while being pelted by sleet, that race remains one of my favorites for the year.
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Having fun at the MLK ride
The second-annual MLK ride at Berryman was kind of a disappointment due to my brakes disintegrating within the first few pedal strokes, but the Team Virtus road trip to Cleveland to celebrate Bob's upcoming wedding was the best kind of consolation.
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Team Virtus hits Cleveland and Ray's Indoor Mtb PARK
February: No racing this month as part of my fiscal responsibility program, but I suffered through the second annual Super Century, where I watched Ride the Divide and fell in love with the idea of doing the Tour Divide
. #supercentury done!!
The month wrapped up with a trip to Missouri for Bob and Cara's wedding and a very fun day with my teammates.
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A rare group photo that doesn't include spandex and/or dirt
March: No racing this month either, but I finally got my long-awaited cross bike (thanks, Airborne Bicycles!).  Its maiden voyage was on the Graveyard Gravel Grinder with Chuck, Lori, Robin, Russ, and Patrick.  I love the way my friends can turn a run or bike ride into an adventure, and with this group the steady rain just made it more fun.

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Bike parking while we visit an old cemetery
  Another highlight of March was a trip to Mt. Carroll, IL, to volunteer at High Profile Adventure Camp; I had a blast hanging out with old AR friends, making new ones, talking adventure racing with people who were there for the camp, and even getting a little more ropes and navigation experience.

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Much-needed ropes practice
 April: I turned 40 at the beginning of the month and celebrated by attending the CAC2 non-race, getting to follow Alpine Shop's Jeff Sona through the course and play Luke (or some less capable but very excited equivalent) to his AR Yoda.
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Trekking towards a CP
The next weekend I didn't come close to meeting my goal but still placed 1st in my age group in the Ava Brown Memorial 5K.  Though I'd been logging quite a few (never enough) miles, my Dirty Kanza training kicked into high gear this month with several long gravel rides.

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Chuck riding a valley somewhere near Hermann, MO.
 My very favorite of these was the Massas Creek ride Chuck put together, and then we all had a great time when some of the Virtus guys hit St. Louis for a night ride.
Night ride!
It doesn't get much more fun than hanging out with this crew.
May: The month started off with a bang as 113 miles of gravel at Cedar Cross kicked my butt.

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Adam and Travis ford the creek
The rest of my weekends were almost as bike-heavy: the River Road and Busch Wildlife one weekend, the Broemmelsiek Challenge mountain bike race followed by Katy Trail gravel another.  And then, with DK200 looming, Nathan developed appendicitis and had surgery.  Even when your kid is almost 19, leaving him behind a few days post-surgery is a lousy feeling...especially when tornadoes hit your hometown while you're away for a race.  On the plus side, all that "Mother of the Year" pressure pretty much dissipated.

My kids have never thought to write one of these notes, but only because of my stories about how the bad economy has led to tooth fairy cutbacks and excessive workloads.

June: What do you say about a second straight DNF at Dirty Kanza?

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This pretty much says it all.
 Not just a DNF, but about 50 miles fewer than I rode during my first attempt...on just a month of training.  DK2013 still stings, and don't imagine I don't think about it every time I get on my cross bike.  2014 will be different.  More training, and hopefully more mental toughness so I'm not slipping into big baby mode if the weather isn't favorable...because chances are it won't be.  All that aside, I love Dirty Kanza.  There's something special about riding somewhere so remote and so beautiful.

July:  I surprised myself by setting a new 10K PR (56:19) in the Firecracker 10K and came in second in my AG (and 9th woman overall) in the Tour de Donut bike race.  That AG place is the race finish I'm proudest of for 2013, because it's the only time it wasn't a result of small numbers of competition.

August: I did some running in preparation for October's half marathon and rode bikes with my kids, but the big story of August was the Thunder Rolls 24 hour.

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I had this look on my face in almost every single picture for 24 hours.
Last year's race was an awesome experience but marred for me by feeling seriously out of shape.  This year I came back in pretty close to the best shape I've been in for the past few years and felt fantastic all through the race.  Team Virtus fielded two teams.  We stuck together for much of the day, and racing with so many of my teammates was a blast.  Luke and I missed the cut-off by 9 minutes and were unranked finishers, but it was still one of the best races of my life.

September: Cyclocross, cyclocross, cyclocross.  I still pretty much suck at cross, but thanks to the numbers game I managed to finish 3rd in cat 4 and 4th in open during back to back races at Rock Springs Park.

Totally don't belong in this picture and only am bc the women's open bracket was so small (5, one of whom dnf'd)...but I've never had a podium picture so I'm counting it anyway.
Don't let the podium picture fool you...that's 4th out of 5, including one DNF
Those placements had nothing to do with my ability and everything to do with there being very few women racing that day, but the money I won still spent all the same.  In other news, I did a lot of trail running, including a long run at Lost Valley that gave me hope that October's half wouldn't be an unqualified disaster.

October: Jacob had a great time at Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day at the beginning of the month, and then I raced the next day.

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Pictures like this make me incredibly happy.
 Though I'd registered for the MO' Cowbell half marathon with plans to train faithfully and see what kind of finish I was capable of, my intentions were better than my follow-through.  Even so, I eked out a sub-2 finish (1:59:41) and was absolutely thrilled.  Later in the month, I teamed up with Luke against Bob and Casey at the Perfect 10 orienteering race.  We beat them, of course.

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Goofing around pre-race
  November: I had a six minute PR at the Skippo 30k and, even better, did not finish third last like the previous two years.

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My time is actually 6 minutes faster than the clock shows due to the wave start.
 I got in lots of saddle time on my cross bike with a 50 miler on a gorgeous fall day and 111 mile round trip for lunch on an unseasonably warm -- and very windy -- day.

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Exploring Busch Wildlife
 I got a long-awaited (and somewhat surprising) 5K PR at the Neighbors in Need Turkey Trot -- at 25:00.44, very close to my sub-25 goal.  Then, despite my good intentions to go it alone at the Hawn Turkey-O, I ended up sticking with Bob and Mickey and enjoying a fun day in the woods with friends.

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December: Can you say coolest month yet? It certainly was as far as temperature is concerned, but the last month of the year was pretty fantastic.  The Castlewood 8-Hour with Team Virtus (starting temp: 10*)...

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It was a balmy 21* by the end of the race.
A 5-minute PR at Pere Marquette in 8 inches of snow...

Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Race. 8" of snow, gorgeous trails, great running, 5 min PR. #snow #trails #running
One of my favorite running pictures
  Three trips to the permanent orienteering course at Rockwoods Range, the second with a starting temp of 6*....

Orienteering practice at Rockwoods Range, take 2.
Finally experiencing some orienteering success
Two mountain bike rides.  CXmas. And 24.6 miles of trails at the Little Woods Ultra.

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My longest run of the year, with the added bonus of having my family there for parts of the race.
 It will be hard to beat 2013, but I'm looking forward to trying.  Here's to another 12 months of fun and adventure!

10 comments:

  1. Congrats on an epic year and wow 20 lbs of weightloss is epic as well. I think I love the pic of you dashing thru the snow in pink the best!

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  2. You are doing so well on the weight loss front. I need to jump on that band wagon.
    You had a good year in so many respects. I think if I didn't count the races my family ran with me I would have 1 that someone (Jameson) watched. Sad in some ways but I also get it.
    Best picture of the year - you in the pink in the snow.

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  3. How fun to read your year's end memories. What I love most about all your posts are the fun and adventures you have...and that great big smile always on your face. I'm sure 2014 will bring loads more fun on those trails....and maybe one day even bring you Colorado (I can always hope). Happy 2014, my friend! Here's to tons of fun times ahead!

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  4. You had about a million PRs this year, congrats!

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  5. Look at you GO! Here's to a wonderful 2014 :)

    And I've done that...forget to do the tooth for a few days. Gotten the nasty side-eye from the kid...

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  6. Wow what a fabulous 2013! And I'm super impressed with the 20 pound weight loss! I want that for 2014. I will turn 40 this April, so looks like we are just a year apart.

    Good luck with Dirty Kanza this year - I bet you rock it!

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  7. Great year and ... great recap.
    Difficult to say which photo is better!
    Good luck for a wonderful racing 2014, injury free and full of PB.

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  8. I *love* the tooth fairy note. I know that's going to happen in my house.

    You had a great year, my fellow new 40-something!! Here's to making the next decade even better!

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  9. That is one busy year, not sure where you get the energy, but it's very inspirational. 2014, watch out.

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  10. Out of all the blogs I read you have the most amazing, epic adventures. I seriously love all your pictures and posts. Happy 2014 to you my friend!

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