Well it is all the rage to blog about the year end review (and I guess none of us expect to do diddly during last three weeks of the year). Well, far be it from me to buck convention (Santa is on a break, so it is OK to laugh, but make it quick). So we started the year Happy and Frozen and ended the year up Shaking it Out (and if you didn’t get any of those three references, please let me know because it would warm my heart to know there is someone who is less in tune with society than me).
I started the year as Dec 31 turned into Jan 1 watching the fireworks in Alexandria VA and as the last burst faded I turned back on the empty Mount Vernon Trail and ran home. Alas, lead in the yearly mileage would not last long. At this point my long run distance was about 5 miles, and I wore tights that made sausage casings look roomy. I had no idea what was in store in the next 12 months and did not know the guy plodding his way back to Arlington on Jan 1st would run his first marathon, his first ultra, start a blog, have artwork accepted by the National Gallery of Canada, set PRs, learn the lyrics to Taylor Swift songs and most importantly find a number of friends along the way. If you had told the Jan 1 version of me what was going to happen, he would have laughed and said something snarky. Well, some things don’t change.
Review of my year end. Don’t understand why bloggers do this,
What happened in the world of Running Lonely? Well here goes nothing:
January was the calm before a storm I didn’t know was coming. From a running perspective I started training for Cherry Blossom slowly, oh so slowly, but it felt good to start training for my first race since 2011.
In January I started my twitter account. Also on Jan 31st I published my first blog. Absolutely no one read it. This may or may not be related to the face I didn’t actually tell anyone that it existed.
Like many I thought to myself that polar vortexes should be banned.
I bit the bullet (tastes like lead for the record) and tweeted that I had a blog. Bless @tai_fung for having the guts to read it. I ran my first race of the year, Love the Run Your With, a 5k, to have a better idea of what pace to target the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. I did not vomit and given it was a Valentine’s Day themed race, I called that a victory. As an added bonus I got the famed monkey blanket. Buoyed by my non-vomiting experience I doubled down and signed up for Marine Corps 1775 even though it sold out in about 5 nanoseconds. Not sure why I did that since I had never raced two double-digit races in back to back weeks.
It was also the first injury of the year (my knee), but taking a few days off seemed to resolve the issue.
There is no caption that sufficiently can describe the Monkey Blanket
Like the rest of DC I was snow over it by this point. It was so depressing I started an Instagram account to share the misery. This also marked the month I got my first Canadian follower. My training for Cherry Blossom/1775K was up and down but started to finally gel a bit by the end of the month. I went down to the Shamrock and volunteered even though I wasn’t running any of the races. Barely made it back to DC before it started to snow—again.
A 25 YO blogger invited her blog readers to challenge themselves every day for 30 days. Even though I am the antithesis of a person who does 30 day challenges I decide to play along. Secretly I was worried that I would utterly embarrass myself. Little did I realize that train had left the station long ago.
I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and although I ran my time goal, it felt unsatisfying, Maybe I just felt I should have done better, maybe I just felt very alone surrounded by 10K people. Either way it sounded really badass that I ran the Mount Vernon Trail back home. The next week I redeemed myself in the 1775K and beat the 10 miler mark and finished with a better pace on a tougher course.
The thing about 1775K is that finishing comes guaranteed registration to Marine Corps Marathon. I had never run a marathon and didn’t think my knee would hold up to the training, but after much agonizing, I decided to sign up.
It was a month of #beakertude.
Full of hubris from 1775K, I went full bore (no 1/16th bore for THIS blogger) with the end of the 30 day challenge and declare to the world that I am not only going to run my first marathon, but a 50 K, and then I’ll end the year with a 24 Hour Race. I ran a half marathon in the Alexandria Running Festival with middling results.
In other news I switched my AVI from the InkNBurn Skull shirt to the InkNBurn R2 shirt for May the 4th Be With you and just kept it. The Pig made his debut on Instagram and started cheering for @alanabonner whenever she would race (which turns out to be a lot). Also, I signed up for the Army Run in Ottawa at the suggestion of @50statecanuck.
Given the number of Canadian followers I had thought I would impress them with my knowledge of Victoria Day and learned the hard way it had nothing to do with David Beckham’s wife.
The month started with me finding out the hard way that Canadians don’t celebrate 4th of July (who knew?). I vowed I would make up for it on Civic Holiday in August and started doing Canadian Trivia in my blog to increase my knowledge of Canadian History. I returned to training from my knee injury with the monster knee brace. So cautiously coming back from an injury is typically the way to go, but instead I ran a 6 hour race and came in 29th. I didn’t bother to tell me readers ahead of time but tried to and make up for it I started sharing more about myself.
Most importantly I even posted my first selfie. It didn’t break the internet, but several people reported indigestion problems. I also started publishing the blog 3 days a week.
@AbbyandthePig made their debut on Twitter. After much thought, they decided against blogging much to the joy of their owners/servants.
I posted pictures of my Honda Civic for Canada’s Civic Holiday and once again embarrassed myself. I knew I could make it up for Thanksgiving. Fresh off my 6 Hour Race I started training for my half in September. After much
beer thought, I decided my training plan would get me ready for the half in September; I would then try to step up to a marathon in October, a 50K in Nov, and the 24 hour race in December. This is why I am not a certified running coach.
On a lark I decided to submit and entry to the National Gallery of Canada for an online exhibit they were having on the story of Bluebeard. I had a spirited contest ( @goobermonkey I’m with you on the voting, it was rigged) and to my surprise they actually accepted my artwork. You can see my submission here: National Gallery Blue Beard in Black and White
September was also the month I ran the Army Run and broke my half marathon PR by 2 minutes. Something I really didn’t think was possible. I also met Jane, 50statecanuck, Abby and they both met the Pig. Somehow neither the Pig nor I got deported. If you ever needed proof on how nice Canadians are, there ya go.
I did not try to go over in a barrel demonstrating rare judgment on my part
I ran Marine Corps marathon and managed to get passed by the Stay Puft Marshmallow man. Everyone seems to forget I beat him in the end. Goobermonkey came to town for the marathon and I enjoyed showing her around town (except for having to go down 4 flights of Exorcist Stairs).
Wasn’t really part of the tour but was close to where I parked my car.
OK. I screwed up that Thanksgiving is celebrated in October in Canada. Yet Black Friday is the same, so go figure. Well there is Boxing Day in December so I have one last chance to redeem myself.
Most people who want to run a 50K sign up for a 50K. Not this neuron impaired blogger. I signed up for the Richmond 8K and then would run to the start and run the Richmond Marathon, and run that. In the end I managed to set a 6 hour PR, didn’t die, and now know how to not have a timing chip register if I ever need to. I also had some awesome pizza, so in general I declared victory,
About the only running related item (other than training) was I did manage to set my 10 miler PR while training for my 24 hour race (yes, I am unclear on the concept of training (or racing (or a lot of things really))).
Letting the Pig near my fries is another example of poor judgment. Not as bad as writing a romance novel sequence about petting a dog, but still poor judgment.
This really isn’t a complete year-end review though for two reasons. The first is that I have my 24 Hour race on the 31st and much of how I will look at this year will hinge on how that race goes.
The other is that December 26th is Boxing Day in Canada and I will finally get a Canadian Holiday right. I have the boxing gloves to prove it.