2014. What a year it has been thus far. To be honest, it has flown by not just because I am getting
A couple of days before I started my job, I paced the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. I LOVE pacing races. I get out of my own head and focus on helping my group achieve their goal. I paced the 1:45 group and I take my job seriously! I always forewarn my pace group that I will indeed talk the whole time. I also tell them I will sing, joke and get the crowd involved. I am enjoying some high success rates because they are relaxed and laughing. There is no better compliment than to have someone come to me after it's over telling/hugging me that I helped them achieve a personal best. If I could, I would pace every weekend. Here is one of the only photos I have from that day, my friend Melanie and I picking up our pacing shirts.
March brought me participating in the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon. I was with awesome friends, but I was food poisoned the day before the race and didn't have anything in my system for over 24 hours. I ran the race because I signed up for the race. I pulled back every time I felt dizzy, and just enjoyed the run. This is a theme this year......I've been running h a p p y . I know I don't look very happy in this photo, but I had had zero food for over 28 hours and ran this race and somehow kept everything together. I was indeed happy!
April brought another pacing job. This time it was the Raleigh Rock & Roll Marathon. I was entrusted with the 4 hour pace group....and as you can see by the picture I
took my job seriously had an incredible time getting my group in on time. In fact, with the exception of only a few I had most of my group ahead of me. This day was hot, hot, hot. I was carrying 6 extra Gu's in my pocket and begged my group to stay hydrated. This was probably the hardest pacing job I ever encountered because of the humidity and the sun. Two people lost their lives in the half marathon this day, and my prayers still remain with these 2 families. Rock & Roll events are incredible because they are well organized and hearing the bands throughout the course make it even more fun!
Due to a last minute phone call from a dear running friend, Rebecca Byerly, of Women of the Mountain, I was invited to pace her in Lake Tahoe during her Tahoe 200 race (may I just say it is REALLY 202 miles) in September. It was a whirlwind trip I will never forget. I flew and drove to Tahoe getting there somewhere around 2am with a Greensboro high school student named Wilder Person. Wilder and I became fast friends even with the decades between us because we were there to get Rebecca across the finish line at all cost. Wilder is not a seasoned runner and did over 40 miles with Rebecca. Amazing! I ended up pacing somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 miles and collectively we helped get Rebecca to the finish line as the 4th overall female. It was easy being her friend and mentor, it was hard getting tough with her a few times as she battled fatigue. I was so happy to help her, this picture is one of my favorites......
I ran a few other races, but by far my biggest race this year was the Denver Rock N Roll Marathon. My hubby and I flew out to Colorado on a Friday, explored downtown Denver that afternoon and spent the next day hiking up near Boulder. I knew I was going to have fun at Denver and not try to race it, so hiking for many hours in the mountains seemed normal to me. I fell in love with Colorado and hope to return one day soon. I encountered some altitude issues during the race on Sunday, but I ran happy. I ended up 17th woman overall but the most interesting note is that I was the first female NOT from Colorado on the results list. In my crazy world, I consider that a win! I look too fresh for just running a marathon, but my time was pretty (relatively) slow for me.
Now we come to Crooked Road 24 Hour Ultra. This race is a true test of your will and determination. It gets dark by 5:15pm and doesn't get light again till almost 7am. That is a LONG time to be running with a headlamp. Crooked Road is set in a park near Rocky Mount, VA and is a certified .95 mile loop. Notice I said .95, not 9.5! May I just say I LOVE this loop. It gave me 106 times to say hello to the great volunteers and more opportunity to run into people. I love people! Especially during a 24 hour race. Here is a photo of my Greensboro Sole Sister, Dena, who was with me when I started running Crooked Road 4 years ago. If you haven't read any of my previous posts from Crooked, I invite you to because this year's experience was NOTHING like the previous years. I will explain that in more detail in an upcoming post.
I wanted to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you for reading. I hope to write a full race report by the weekend! I leave you with a few things I am thankful for:
1. I am thankful I have the most wonderful husband, family and friends who support, lift, and encourage me. More importantly, they accept me the way I am.
2. I am thankful I have remained a healthy runner thanks to cross training and actually listening to my body.
3. I am thankful I love running everything from the 800m to 100 miles.
4. I am thankful that I surround myself with women who empower me and not try to tear me down.
5. I am thankful I was born with endless energy which probably drives many people crazy :)
6. I am thankful I have met so many incredible people through a sport I love.