Total races: 21
- Orienteering: 3
- Running: 7 (2 virtual races)
- Biking: 6
- Duathlon: 1
- Adventure races: 4
- Volunteering: 6
- Night bike rides: 5
- Times crying during night bike rides: 2
- Races my family watched: 1.5
New things for 2012: cyclocross, high ropes (rappelling and ascending)
Repeat races: Castlewood Cup 15K, Tour de Donut, Berryman 12hr, Skippo 30K, PMETR
New to me races: LBL Challenge 24hr AR, Tracks n Treads offroad duathlon, Dirty Kanza, Indian Camp Creek 12hr mtb race, Kicks in the Sticks trail race, Thunder Rolls 24hr AR, Prison Break, Perfect 10 rogaine, Wild Track Bikes Superprestige cyclocross, and Bubba cyclocross.
January: 2012 got off to a great start. I’d registered on New Year’s Day for Double Chubb, my first 50K race, so I was doing a lot of running, including an icy outing that was my entry in Adam’s Freeze Your Thorns Off virtual race. I also had my first solo attempt in an orienteering meet; it…uhhh…didn’t go so well (tears were involved), but I will likely not forget the lesson I learned that day. The peak experience of January, though, had to be the beginning of a great new tradition: the MLK weekend Berryman ride. What started as a chance to get outside and ride snowballed into an event when nearly 30 people showed up on a cold, snowy morning to ride, BBQ, drink, and discover the magic of grilled cookies. I had a blast and met a bunch of cool (way faster than me) people.
|Hitting the finish line at the Castlewood Cup|
February: The good times on the bike contined with the SuperCentury, a virtual group metric century trainer ride. It was actually pretty terrible, since it was basically my first time on my road bike since the previous summer, but sharing the pain via Facebook and twitter (where #supercentury was trending for a while in the St. Louis area) made it bearable. February’s highlight had to be finally beating my nemesis in the Castlewood Cup 15K. He’d started a minute ahead of me, so when I finally caught up and passed him two miles before the finish, it was glorious. I thoroughly enjoyed gloating.
|Ready to take on the LBL Challenge|
March: This was a month of firsts. I kept up my running in March but also spent some time on the bike with my first trip to Middlefork with my very patient friend Sarah (not quite sure how it happened, but this was my first time mountain biking since mid-January, and I was out of shape and ruuuuussssssty) and my first gravel grinder, a 50-mile ride with Team Virtus. The biggest story of March, though, was definitely my first race as an official Team Virtus member…at the LBL Challenge, my first 24-hour adventure race. A week later, I raced for the first time in Team Godzilla’s Tracks’n’Treads offroad duathlon, where I got my first-ever 2nd place AG award.
|On the course with Chuck|
April: In the midst of all that March fun I made a big decision and dropped Double Chubb from my schedule. The way the training load infringed on all the other things I wanted to do was an issue, but the death knell rang when Team Virtus scheduled their non-race, Carnage at the Creek (the CAC) for the same day. I’m not typically a quitter, but that was the right decision. The CAC was a fantastic experience, well worth the $50 entry fee I ate in order to be there. The race, as well as the before/after camping with many of the participants, was a highlight of my year. As, of course, was getting to meet the men of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and Dave of Tardy Rooster.
|Getting ready to ride East on the Katy|
May: Thanks to a last-minute opening in Dirty Kanza and my sheeplike inablity to resist the lure of my friends’ adventures, I ended up registering for a 200-mile gravel race with barely a month to train. Thanks to the generosity of Monster Bicycle Co, I had the use of a sweet titanium frame bike for the race, and pretty much every spare moment in May was spent getting acquainted and logging miles, 76 of them on the last day of my friend Patrick’s Cycle100+ event. I had a blast riding a chunk of the Katy Trail with some good friends, and getting to be there for Patrick’s finale was pretty cool. Cramming in miles was no small trick, though, in a month where I was wrapping up another school year, preparing to celebrate my second child’s high school graduation, and officiating at my cousin’s wedding. Those were some seriously full weekends.
|Somehwhere on the Dirty Kanza course|
June: All about the bike. I scored my first ever DNF at Dirty Kanza, riding 160 of the 200 mile race and far surpassing any realistic expectations I had for myself. It was beautiful and terrible and epic and miserable, and I haven’t stopped thinking about going back since we left Kansas. Two weeks later, I rode in the Indian Camp Creek 12-hour mountain bike race, primarily as a training ride. 72 miles of singletrack later I was the third place finisher, but don’t be too impressed because there were only three of us in my division.
|Donut stop on the Tour de Donut|
July: I rode again in the Tour de Donut, where I set a PR and successfully executed my race strategy (basically, find somebody to draft off of and stay there) for the majority of the race before being slowed by a hip/glute issue that has plagued me since and missing my goal of placing in my AG. My family travelled to Hannibal, MO, for a mud volleyball tournament, and Jeff and J joined me at another orienteering meet. The biggest story of July, though, was Bob’s loss in the Speedo bet.
|Team picture at Thunder Rolls|
August: I completed the summer edition of Adam’s virtual race series, the Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K, but running a rainy 20K and chafing my Body Glide-less thighs into hamburger. Ow. A week later, semi-healed and sporting compression shorts under my running shorts, I drove to Jefferson City for Kicks in the Sticks, a fun trail race. The evening start time was great for the after-party but not so awesome since it was really stinking hot. The very coolest part of August, though, was the Thunder Rolls 24-hour adventure race with Bob and Luke. I got to meet a ton of cool people, hike in a river, and experience my first rappel and ascent with ropes. Having the opportunity to stay at the race HQ the night after the race was fantastic, too. I loved getting to hang out with people longer, and it was very much like being at summer camp as a grownup.
|Just finished with the mud pit at the Prison Break|
September: I volunteered at some cyclocross races and inched closer to working up the nerve to actually race, broke out of prison in one of the fun-ner races I’ve had (thanks to the fantastic company), and returned to the Berryman Adventure Race 12-hour, where my brother and I finished before the time cut-off and avoided being disqualified again this year.
|My first muddy CX experience (Photo credit: Mike Dawson)|
October: This was the month where I finally entered a cyclocross race. It was so hard…and so fun. I got a little hooked, despite never finishing better than second last in the three October CX races I did. Also this month I headed to Lake of the Ozarks with Luke and Bob for the Perfect 10, a 10-hour orienteering race. Getting to follow along on my own map was valuable experience, though I’m still a long was from being a competent navigator. I also headed back to the Katy Trail, riding 100 miles over 2 days with a group of friends. Good times.
|CX at Sylvan Springs park (Photo credit: Dan Singer)|
November: I entered one final cyclocross race, but my big race this month was the Skippo 30K, where I finally got to meet the fabulous Hannah. I went into it with very little running in the previous month and ended with a personal worst time, but the first 20K was actually surprisingly good. Pretty much the remainder of November was spent being sick, though, which left me even less trained for the next month….
|Closing in on the finish at Pere Marquette and totally faking a smile (photo credit: Cheri Becker)|
December: I ended up volunteering rather than racing the Castlewood 8-Hour adventure race and had a blast hanging out in the woods talking to all the racers and getting to know my partner. It’s too bad that I love racing so much, because volunteering is so much fun and way cheapter! The next weekend was the Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Race, where I managed to finish only 2 minutes off my PR despite feeling like I was going to die pretty much the whole time. Turns out not training adversely affects performance. Who knew.
After reading their blog, it was cool to meet the Hoosier Daddies in person at the MLK ride…especially when Justin came bearing gifts!
|Bobbi came to meet me while I was in Chicago for one of Nathan’s volleyball tournaments.|
|Tori also ran at Tracks n’ Treads and we got to visit before the race.|
|Some of the CAC crew, with Brian and Todd in the middle|
Brian and Todd (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot) and Dave and Tim(e) (Tardy Rooster) were just as cool in person as online, and it was even more fun to pick on them in person at the CAC and then Thunder Rolls, where I also got to meet Dave’s better half, Leisha.
|Pensive Pumpkin was in town (well, in the bistate area, anyway) for a wedding, so I met her and her husband for lunch, where after he ascertained that I probably wasn’t going to chop her into little pieces he left us to our girl talk.|
|Christina combined her first gravel ride with her longest ride ever at that point…and rocked it!|
|Hannah ran the Skippo 20K and we got to hang out before the race. So fun to get to know her in person!|
1) Registering for Dirty Kanza was probably the biggest leap I made in 2012. It’s a crazy long race for me anyway, but to sign up with virtually no time to train or chance of finishing was…well…crazy. Especially because this isn’t some race where you have aid stations every few miles. You’re out in the middle of the Flint Hills with no support but other racers (if you can keep up with them) or your crew (but only if you want to quit…and even then, only if you can get a cell phone signal).
2) Literally, my biggest leap was my first rappel during Thunder Rolls. I’m really afraid of heights, so it’s good that my first experience with rappelling was in a race…at night…with hornets flying around…and a free fall. It was so cool. I’m hoping to be able to go to adventure camp and getting some actual training before the next race, though.
|About to rappel for the first time.|
1) Hanging halfway up the ascending wall during Thunder Rolls and feeling like I couldn’t possibly drag my body up any further. Bob swears that if I’d had a knife I’d have cut myself free. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened, but just in case I’m not carrying any knives next time I try.
2) Walking my bike at midnight in Kansas after falling and hurting my knee. I kept hearing noises in the grass all around me and was *this close* to freaking out. Instead, I just cried.
3) Riding the last lap at Indian Camp Creek. It was dark, my headlamp was way too dim to help, and I’d fallen AGAIN on the elbow I’d banged earlier in the race. I walked a ton of stuff, took forever to ride the 8-mile loop, and the organizers were actually sending people out looking for me. Not one of my prouder memories, but I finished. And cried. 🙂
Worst race: The January orienteering meet at Babler Park, where I was never in the right place. Incredibly frustrating because I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. By the time I made it back to the start, I handed my passport to the organizers and barely made it to my car before I started (you guessed it) crying. On the way home, though, I figured out the dumb mistake I’d made, and then it was all good.
1) Having a BLAST at LBL and feeling strong throughout the race.
2) Beating Wade at the Castlewood Cup.
3) Hanging out with friends before/after the CAC and Thunder Rolls.
4) Sliding down the big hill at the CAC
“Winning” the CAC. (3-way tie, but still…) I’d gotten entangled in several bets about who was going to beat whom, and it was just weird to be part of the group that came in first. It was way less fun to talk shit when we’d won (and yes, the only reason I was part of the winners is because I’d teamed with Chuck, who’s an awesome navigator).
“I wanted to be in the movies, but not this movie” moment: The Tracker Jacker attack at Thunder Rolls. Let’s just say that I’m not a fan of yellow jackets.
|My souvenier from Indian Camp Creek|
1) Knee – falling on sidewalk during a Valentine’s Day run
2) Twisted knee – falling at Dirty Kanza
3) Elbow – falling at Indian Camp Creek 12 hr
4) Yellow jacket stings – Thunder Rolls
5) Hip/glute – ongoing…..
Best support crews:
Becca, Michelle, Casey, Austin, Emma, and Crystal at Dirty Kanza and Lori at Indian Camp Creek. Seriously, I don’t know how I’d have done either race without all their help. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better, and while you might kind of expect your own spouse to step up and help you out, you don’t expect other peoples’ spouses to do that for you…which makes it even sweeter when they do. I feel lucky that my adventure racing friendships include all these guys.
- Longest ride: 160 miles at Dirty Kanza
- Longest run: 18.6 miles at the Skippo
- Longest time racing: 28 hours at LBL
- Longest time on foot: 10 hours at the Perfect 10.
Looking back at the year has been really fun. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things wrong or not great in my life. I think that’s probably true for everyone. But I’m happy. It’s a good life and was a great year, and I’m really excited to see what 2013 has in store for me.
Happy New Year to you all! Thanks for being a part of my journey, and thank you for sharing your lives through your blogs.