I was noticeably absent from the blog in 2016. It was an “off” year of sorts for me. I went through a lot of personal life stuff leading into 2016 and decided to take a new approach to the year. But let nothing be lost, and I figure a little recap is in order. 2017 promises to be a big year, so I plan to update more regularly with those adventures.
I started off the first week of the year with major surgery. With a new 6″ scar across my abdomen, I spent much of that first month on the couch, medicated, and moving at a glacial pace. For someone who is constantly on the move and fiercely athletic, my new reality was a very difficult adjustment. And although I received some not-great news from my doctor a couple weeks after surgery, I continued to progress with recovery, and began to go for short walks and eventually short swims.
I traveled to Mobile, AL to experience the original Mardi Gras in the U.S. with my best friend for her bachelorette celebration. I slowly started to try running again, discovering that trails were easier for me to manage at my slow pace and still gingerly moving body. I returned to work after several weeks off and was immediately immersed in a large project that would last months. I volunteered a race on a bitterly cold day, and attended a Ginger Pub Crawl organized by one of my law school classmates.
I began trying to workout more regularly again. I ran a couple trail races to prove I was on my way back to mending, earning 2nd overall in both a 10k and a 12k. I was called for jury duty, but was not picked to serve. And I replaced a water heater and HVAC unit in my house. Nothing makes you feel more adult and broke at the same time as major appliance replacement.
My best friend from Mobile got married with a Mardi Gras themed wedding. I joined our local Masters Swimming team. I biked a very frigid organized bike ride with a couple of good friends. I joined a Ragnar Trail team and raced outside Atlanta. I ran my first trail half marathon. And I had my first follow up MRIs after my surgery.
I ran my longest running event in a 25k trail race that was very difficult. Other than ironman, I have never run a running race longer than a half marathon.
I am fully head over heels in love with trail running. The woods are where I feel alive and can run forever. It proves to be very healing for me both mentally and physically. I make a point to start spending quality time with friends and meeting new people and take advantage of my year of fun. I travel to Asheville to visit one of my favorite relay running friends for Memorial Day.
I travel to Knoxville to visit my best friend and run another trail race earning 1st in my Age Group, and later the same day completed an open water swim relay race with my friend. And the next weekend spent the weekend with her and another friend swimming a 2.4mi open water race and training and eating good food. Nashville starts to really heat up and we are in for a long, very hot summer. I begin running with the Fleet Feet Dirtbags Trail Running Club. The last weekend of the month, I raced the new Chattanooga Waterfront sprint tri, my first tri of the year, and placed 3rd in my Age Group.
A very hot month. I continue to brave the heat with the Dirtbags trail mixer runs, which probably helps keep me running through 100 degree 80+% humidity days. I spend much of the month immersed in a huge project at work. I have a few doctor’s appointments and another set of MRIs. I also come down with a cold that leads to a respiratory infection that lasts for weeks and forces me to take it easy on training. I become obsessed with the Stranger Things show on Netflix and watch it a minimum of three times. I travel to Knoxville again to go for one last training ride with my best friend, and I sign up for Ironman Vineman (which is later renamed to Ironman Santa Rosa) for 2017.
I travel to Boulder, CO with a training buddy to sherpa and spectate my best friend as she completes Ironman Boulder. I was not as impressed with Boulder or Denver as I expected, it’s very flat and brown and I love trees and green. But I did get to go see a Colorado Rockies game and check off another baseball stadium. Work continues to take a priority during the week. I worked my first race, which was a full 2-day weekend race, and camped. It was an exhausting, fun learning experience. I raced Cedars of Lebanon Sprint Tri and placed 2nd in my Age Group. The following weekend, I swam Splashville Open Water Race 2.5k.
I traveled to Gulf Shores with friends for Labor Day weekend. It was so nice to get away and see the beach. I hadn’t been to a beach in a long time. I had my first really bad fall during a trail run, that turned out to look worse than it was and learned I can successfully “tuck and roll.” Nashville had a gas shortage and I was thankful for the Adventure Prius. I traveled down to Chattanooga with my training buddies to volunteer and spectate at Ironman Chattanooga. It was record breaking heat that day and my heart went out to all the athletes already pushing their bodies to the limit in that kind of race, but also racing a clock and in such heat. Later that week, I took a midweek personal day and traveled down to Atlanta to see the Braves play at Turner Field during their last week before they move to the new stadium the next year.
Started the month out with my third trip to Chattanooga in a week, by racing the Stump Jump 15k. Couple weeks later, I race the Defeated Creek Trail half marathon that was a total of 2880 ft elevation in 11.75mi and was 5th overall and 1st in Age Group. I had my third set of MRIs. I hired a new coach for ironman training. I joined a CSA and continued to revamp my diet and nutrition in hopes of fixing past gut issues and working on overall health and fueling during training. I traveled to Houston, TX for Halloween and to visit a friend, and flew on a plane with a bald eagle.
Following a new presidential election, I began reaching out to old friends and seeking new outlets locally. Once again I rode as lead cyclist for the Flying Monkey Marathon, something I look forward to every year. The day after Thanksgiving, I raced the Fiery Gizzard trail half marathon. It was a brutal course that involved a good bit of traversing rocky faces.
I had another birthday. I traveled to Houston, TX again and got to run along the Buffalo Bayou trail. I raced the Lookout Mountain 10k Trail Race, my first ever trail race and third time running it. I finished 2nd in my Age Group in a very foggy race. I hosted a little NYE get together at my house and enjoyed my last few days of my year of fun.
It has been an interesting year with quite a few highs and lows. My main focus this year was recovery, enjoying myself and others around me, and trying new experiences.