2016 started off a bit rocky. With extremely high hopes for some PRs and fresh races, my goals were sidelined by the realization of a nagging injury. I have an extra bone in the arch of my foot… Yes, I was blessed with two navicular bones. And even though I’ve been running continuously, and at great distances for almost 9 years, this extra bone decided to rear its stupid little head and cause problems now. Me running on it causes the two bones to rub together and has created a bone bruise. All treatment options failed and even an almost-8-week hiatus didn’t create a better situation. So I compromised. I run anyway, allow more time in between to recover, and in the meantime, I focus on effective cross and strength training. This is the only “happy medium” I have come up with that still allows me the therapy of running without further injuring and irritating the bone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow it to heal – but I’m not ready to give up activity for that length of time yet.
Anyway, so this caused a hiccup in the beginning of the year. The first attempt was the Mid-Maryland 50k which promised five 10k loops through Rockburn Branch Park.
I felt great on the first 10k lap, the conditions were very cold at about 17F, but 25+mph winds brought that down to the low single digits. Once you got moving it was alright, but that wind cut right through!
Halfway through the second loop, I decided it would be my last. My foot hurt too bad and with an entire year of races, Ragnars, and fun runs ahead of me, my mental risk assessment said no more. So my 50k ended at 20k…
None of the women I was running with completely the solo 50k and only one relay team we were with did. That is where the running hiatus began… and continued until the Cherry Blossom 10 miler through Washington DC at the beginning of April.
I was up against a few obstacles: some predicted crappy, nasty winds, a lovely head/chest cold with some severe congestion, and I was still trying to rehab my foot injury, so I knew my “unofficial goal” (1:30 finish) was a little lofty. I ended up with 1:35:14 and my splits were probably the most consistent I have ever ran…9:27 @ 5 mile, 9:29 @ 10k, 9:31 @ 9 mile, 9:31 @ finish.
I squeeked out a trail 5k through Patapsco State Park as part of a long run with Bethany. It was small, I had actually forgotten about it until reviewing my IG photos! It was a great race, free donuts, and I still have the Dunkin Donut coffee cup they were handing out, so that’s a win!
The end of April brought on my first ever Ragnar Trail in Richmond, Virginia. Official Summary Statement? WORDS. CANNOT. DESCRIBE. Zero, no vocabulary exists for the amount of awesome experienced in less than two days. It was so amazing we almost immediately signed up for another one down the road as an Ultra team…
By May I was hitting my stride with one or two runs a week and cross training to supplement the rest of my training. That brought on the Frederick Half Marathon, the beginning of the King Crab Challenge. 2:06 finish this time on the beautiful Frederick course, which is average-ish for me…But a stunning course, good beer at the finish – TWO beer tickets, might I add! (thanks Harpoon Brewing!) – and a great way to spend Mother’s Day! (Plus, the finisher shirt is a new fave! Super soft long sleeve WITH thumb holes… it’s the little things!)
Next up was the B10, the second race in the King Crab Challenge and can I just say: “OOf dah!” That humidity still resonates with me! To quote the ABC2 News: “Sweat. Heat. Humidity. Five thousand runners laced up for charity Saturday morning despite the thick humidity and periods of sweltering sun to finish the 9th annual Baltimore 10 Miler.” (here) I always welcome a challenge, and with my full marathon 2-weeks away, I needed the tough conditions to help me prep. The official race recap (see below) stated the start was 73F and 84% humidity. *UGHHHHH*
That was it… The last big run under my belt before heading back to Minnesota to run my FAVORITE marathon in the whole world: Grandma’s Marathon. The only thing I can really say is that I am so grateful for MD’s heat and humidity because Gmas was a fluke this year! I can’t even recreate the race any better than the recap, so go ahead and click on that link to read it… I still get goosebumps. (Spoiler Alert: I’m coming back for round 7 in 2017)… Shocking, I know.
I’d like to say I slowed down after that, and in hindsight, I definitely had a weird couple of months. Chad and I hiked the Maryland section of the AT, my running was unstructured, but my workouts hung in there. I think that’s a good recovery for most marathons… Just wing it for a bit. I also got certified to teach Aqua Spin classes through Hydrorider. Such a great no-impact workout, and I think it has not only complimented my running but enhanced my recovery as well.
I didn’t write a recap about it, but August 14th I did my second Half Wit Half in PA… God this is a great race! I have linked it to my 2015 recap, which is just as good, but I hauled a couple of friends up with me this time… I even placed 2nd in the mid-race beer drinking contest! The end of August, I threw down a virtual 10k called the Challenge Dash and decided to succumb to peer pressure and register for the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon in December – since I missed my marathon PR by 5 seconds at Grandmas, I was hungry for redemption.
I also began ramping up my milage for the Ragnar DC relay we were running in mid-September, but knew that two weeks after that I’d be ready to crush my first Ragnar Trail Ultra in Wawayanda NJ. DC was epic… what a hell of a race! I’m already prepping for this year’s 10th anniversary. Well to be honest? I don’t even know where to start. This marked my second RagnarDC, my third Ragnar Relay overall at the time and each one gets better and better! And Wawayanda was another beast… A few yards before the finish, my team met up with me and we ran to the finish line together. I bent over, involuntary tears streamed from my eyes and the emcee says something along the lines of “there’s a Ragnar finish… and then there’s a Ragnar Ultra finish” and I kind of chuckled because I could only imagine how distorted I looked (google-image the words: ugly cry face… insert any of those images here).
Never one to live life quietly, I went straight into half-marathon tapering for the final race in the King Crab Challenge: The Baltimore Half Marathon. This is when life also picked up the pace significantly for me. Research papers and writing, a promotion at work, mom, student, career-woman, wife, and I’m trying to stay fit? I’m really just losing my mind sometimes. So I never wrote a race recap, which is a shame because that’s a great run. It turned out to be a stunning day in October, I ran in a tank top for goodness sake… No PR again, and I wouldn’t bust that sub-2 half I’ve been working on, but it was definitely an amazing run!
I also managed to squeeze in a fave run: the Across the Bay 10k. The premiums suck every year – #sorrynotsorry but the run and the experience is worth every penny. I also crushed my goal of a sub-50 minute 10k by a whopping 14 seconds!! Again, life happened and no race recap of that one.
Finally, it comes right down to the final hurrahs….The Rehoboth Seashore Marathon. A stunning sunrise on the beach to kick off a beautiful day to run with my friends and I finished with an 8-minute marathon PR. Hey, what a way to kick out 2016.
I haven’t decided on my run resolutions yet for this year, I know I want to blog and document my training for my 50-miler so stay tuned for that here. Also, follow along on my IG for the updates and photo-documentation of all the fun adventures I get myself (and my friends) into!
Have a blessed New Year, and thanks for reading!