2013 Review & Reflection

2013 has been a pretty bang-up year for me, both in "real life" and  in running life.

Non-Running Life

Josh and I got engaged, and we're getting married in September 2014! I'll be blogging a lot more wedding related stuff next year as our wedding day approaches.

Running Life 

Since I started this blog in January, I've gone above and beyond any running expectations I had set earlier this year. In [this post] which I wrote on January 9th, 2013, I set one major goal for the year.

I wanted to run farther than I'd ever run before. 

 

I proudly accomplished this goal when I ran my first 50k, the Dirty German 50k, in May. And I did it again when I ran the Stone Mill 50 Miler in November.

In addition to my major goal of 2014, I set four minor goals to help me achieve my major goal:

1) Run my first trail race - Completed

I ran the Tyler Trail 10k on April 6th, and finished in 55:06. I had no expectations going into this race, and I just wanted to have fun. I started off slowly and eventually picked my way up to finish 4th in my age group, just missing a podium spot. I will be running this race again in 2014, and hope to beat my time from 2013.

2) Run my first trail marathon - Completed

On April 26th, I ran the Delaware Trail Marathon, which is part of the Trail Dawgs Triple Crown race day. While it was my slowest marathon ever at 5:22, this was my favorite marathon to date, and my favorite race of 2013. This race gave me a true sense of what an ultra would be like, and I loved every second of it. I learned how to pace myself, what socks NOT to wear, and what aid station foods worked for me. I highly recommend this race to EVERYONE, especially because there are also 5k, 10k, and 13.1 options that day.

3) Run my first 50k - Completed

I completed the Dirty German 50k in 5:55 on May 25th. At the time, this was the most difficult race I'd ever run. I finished under my goal of 6 hours, which felt pretty amazing. However, I also swore off ultras after that race, thanks to a bout with dehydration. But it was also one of my proudest moments of the year, which is why I'll be back in 2014 to race the 25k.

In addition, I ran my second 50k at the Vermont 50k in September. This race was extremely difficult thanks to 5600 feet of elevation gain. Luckily, the beauty of the course made up for the pain I felt from the hills.

4) Run my first 50 miler - Completed

I came to my senses after swearing off ultras, and then signed up for my first 50 miler, the Stone Mill 50. I finished the race in 12:11, only 11 minutes behind my goal time of 12 hours. Though I think I can run this faster, I was still extremely proud of running 19 miles farther than I'd ever run before. I will be back to this race someday (probably not 2014) to try and beat my 2013 time.

*            *           *

My final awesome, running-related achievement of 2013 was not a concrete goal I spelled out in early 2013, but definitely something I had been hoping to do since 2012...

I was accepted to be a member of the Oiselle Volee Team!

Being a part off the Oiselle family has truly elevated my love for running to another level. I have already made so many awesome connections as a part of the flock, and can't wait to see what 2014 brings to the table!

Reflection

2013 was one of my favorite years of running to date. Not surprisingly, it was also one of the hardest. This was the first year I raced exclusively on trails. I learned to run in a totally new [slower] fashion that was focused on experience and beauty rather than speed and time. I poured my heart and soul into pounding the trails nearly every weekend, and the hard work paid off when I accomplished every goal I set out to achieve this year.

This year was also a wake-up call to me. I ended the year on a high note by finishing my first 50 miler, but I also felt burned out and fed up with long runs by year's end. In order to correct this burnout, I'm taking a break from long running this winter/spring, and will instead focus on shorter, faster running, both on trails and on the road.

I hope you've enjoyed reading my running journey throughout the first year of my blog. My posts will certainly have a different focus next year as I step back from ultras for a little while, but I will surely be running and drinking my way around Philly and beyond!

Cheers!

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