So, I ran 8 races last year. By the time, DRT 50k ended, I was ready for my December break. I consider a break a time for recovery and training. An oxymoron, I know. But, a funny thing happened! I joined an exercise streak during the holidays whereby I have to exercise at least 20 minutes a day throughout the holidays. I started 2 days before Thanksgiving and had my first rest day on January first! And, I've been on a streak ever since! I should add here that I rarely had a 20 minute workout. Once I get started, it's hard to stop!
So, I ended December with 153 miles ran for the month which was my 4th highest month all year for miles ran and completed 5 weeks of P90x and started back with my Nike Training Club ap and some walking too. Not to mention, I lost 4 pounds below my goal weight. I am feeling good and happy to have my bikini body back in December! I also got sick and could not run for 9 days (however, I kept exercising!) and when I did run, I ran 2 hard back to back trail runs nearly 40 miles in 2 days in snow with 10,000 feet of elevation gain. It was a 12 hour weekend...LOL I blew enough snot rockets to fill a coffee mug on the first day back. The 2nd day wasn't quite as bad. I think if I hadn't gotten sick, then December may have been my 2nd highest month all year. This is great for me considering just 4 years ago I would have never ran outside below 55 degrees and never considered running in the dark. I have no issues this winter of running in the dark or cold. It's not my favorite, but I'm happy to get some running in still.
One week from today is the 12 hours Hostelity race which also marks the one year anniversary of my running my first ultra and first female win! I am excited to run this race again. I know there are going to be some strong ladies this year at this race. I really do not expect to win, but I do know that I will do very well and should exceed last year's mileage. I am much more experienced and trained this year. Basically, I am lighter and stronger. This year I am taking music as I just want to zone for several hours and run my own race. I run best when I am quiet. We will see how long that lasts. I am a talker!
I was lucky again to run with some really great runners on my long trail runs this past month. I am super stoked about the GA Death Race. I first heard rumblings about this race last April and have been excited ever since. My excitement has fueled my motivation to keep running this winter. I have run in mud, water up to my shoe laces, rain for 6 hours in one stretch, wind, fog, dark by headlamp, and snow. I've even run on a rare sun shiny day in January and was lucky enough to run 30 miles last Saturday.
My whole motivation of running the GA death race this race course is approx 64 miles from Vogel State Park to Amicalola State Park. I primarily run these trails and I just love the idea of connecting to the two parks in a single day. Silly, I know, but it's what motivates me because I love these trails so much. My goal is to not race but rather complete the race. I know exactly what I need to do to complete it, and I actually feel quite prepared. I am happy with my training so far and happy that it's gone well and that I am feeling good. I am in perhaps the best running shape I have ever been in, and I'm excited to see what happens in 2 months at GDR!
I also had my first DNS (do not show) at Atlanta Fat Ass 50k. I have never not shown up for a race before. Honestly, a few weeks before this race, I was just not feeling it. Every race I have ever run, I have been excited about, start thinking about my strategy, and prepare for it. Not so much with this race. I just honestly wanted to continue training and not feel like I have to taper a little or even race at this point in my training. I just want to train right now and focus on hard climbing and trail runs when I am able to go. My highest mileage months or typically the months that I did not have a race because I am backing off just prior to a race, and I race so hard that I am slow to get back to running as I learned since last years 12 hour's Hostelity race to ease back into running. The only injury I had last year was when I ran too much too fast after 12 hours Hostelity race last year.
I also have the Biltmore Estate Marathon coming up 2 weeks before GDR! This will be my first "road" marathon, but it's entirely on the Biltmore Estate. I was happy to read that there are some dirt roads/trails as a part of this course. So, what am I doing to train for this race? Not a dam thing! I'm training for GDR! LOL I signed up for this race because I wanted my first and perhaps my last road marathon to be something special. This is the first inauguarl event ever held entirely on the Biltmore Estate. It's sold out already with 1500 runners and a 6.5 hour time limit. Exciting!
I also came to the conclusion in December while out running some new trails that I just love running trails. I have enjoyed racing almost the last 2 years, but I enjoy running more. I am thinking I am going to race less this year after the GA DEATH RACE. I really want to get out and explore new trails and keep running, but I am tired of racing and my self inflicted pressure. I am ready to run free and just enjoy the trails even more.
Having said that, I am seriously thinking of completing the Duncan Ridge Grand Slam. I've completed the DRT 50k, will complete GDR, and all that will be left is H9 50 miler. I ran H9 26 miler last year, and honestly it was one of my favorite races! I cannot believe this race is so small. So, I may not race again until H9 after GDR, and I am good with that thought!
My top 3 favorite races last year were 12 Hours Hostelity, H9 26 miler, and Jewel 50 mile. I cannot rank these in order because they were all such different races. I enjoyed all my races last year but these just happen to be my top 3. MMM would be 4th because it was a beautiful trail, tough course, and I ran a PR of 6:00 hours flat there, and I didn't expect to be that fast on such a challenging course!
In 2012, I discovered I ran 1698 miles. If I rounded up it would have been 1699! I am not at all disappointed to have not run 1700 miles because this year I will! I am actually quite happy with my mileage because in 2011 I ran just shy of a 1000 miles. Look how far I have come. The funny thing is I actually have far less pain issues at this very moment then I did at this time last year. I was in world of hurt at this point last year, and somehow I managed to run through it. Anyways, I am not one to set yearly mileage goals because I am just happy to run and whatever I get I get.
I am so thankful for another great year of running.