Boy howdy it’s another #SRCBrooks update! This time we rehash the end of summer, the perfection of autumn, and coming of winter. Which means TRAILS & XC! Or, if you’re Joe Kelly, road marathons!
Onto the (squints)…..bloody nipples?! Take it away, Joe!
The second half of the year was a big change of pace for me compared to the past 3 years on trails. I was focused on racing the Philadelphia Marathon, which would be my first road marathon in over 3.5 years. I got myself into great road shape by October with hopes of sharpening my speed with some XC races. Unfortunately, I pulled my hamstring in early October and wasn’t able to race until the end of the month. I raced the 7.6 mile distance at the October Cougar Race and placed third overall improving my time from last year by over a minute. A cool aspect of this year’s race was that it was scored like an XC meet. We went toe to toe on trails with the CNW guys. SRC went 2-3 but did not have the depth to beat our rivals on the men’s side. This result gave me confidence going into my marathon taper. Unfortunately, less than a week later, I sprained my ankle running on trails. I recovered quickly enough to be healthy on race day, but any confidence in my fitness was certainly lost. Philly Marathon conditions were very Seattle-like – windy, rainy, and cold. I went out conservatively and ended up negative splitting by 1:45 – my first negative split in a marathon. I ran my first marathon in Philly in 2009 on almost the same course and I beat that time by over a minute. It was also my fastest marathon since 2013 and 3rd fastest of my life. 2019 was an up and down running year for me but I’m proud to have represented the SRC Brooks team during that time. I won’t be returning for the 2020 season as I enter fatherhood but hopefully I’ll be back on the squad in the future.
Wow! What an amazing year for running. I find myself in a very happy state where I have finally found my stride and able to race, rally, and rumble! Through my most epic of trail races, I have developed a more realistic sense of what constitutes hills and running up them. To be frank, I do not enjoy torturing myself slogging up mountains (nor running recklessly down them either), but as of late they seem to be a consistent feature in many of my races. All year, Cougar Mountain has been what I would like to consider “difficult trail running” but that has all changed with my most recent endeavor, the Don Diablo 35k. The reason behind this particular race selection was not the eternal glory nor the numerous peso prize purse, but rather the ticket we (Alex and I) needed in order be invited to stay at a family member’s home in La Ventana (the race’s finishing point). Heck yeah I will run a race to stay in Mexico! Little did I know what I was getting myself into.
Prepared is not a word I would use to describe myself for this race. Yes, I had been running but not in heat, on mountains, or long distances. So with one sixteen miler under my belt, I deemed myself prepared…enough. The first day of “trail” desert running in Mexico was doable though running in sand and heat amongst organisms that stab, puncture, and sting was a bit challenging…and unnerving. After an hour and a half of running and one liter of water later, my prospects looked bleak. Nevertheless, the weather Gods heard my cries of desperation and brought forth a tropical storm which quenched my dehydrated spirit. Despite the relief, this particular storm almost canceled the race in its entirety with the dooming prospects of flash floods and eroding cliff sides. Yet, in Mexico, caution tends to be thrown to the wind and race went on as planned.
Race day started with guava empanadas at four in the morning with occasional swigs of GU. Breakfast of champions. Race start involved digging a potty hole in the sand like a cat and a mile sand shuffle before the major climbs and descents which left me grumpy and questioning my sanity. When the storm hit and the rain started, floods of mud cascaded down the mountainside causing me to lose a shoe, fall on a barrel cactus, and slip and land on my butt so hard that I got a bruise the size of a grapefruit on my rear. Navigating the race involved looking for Pop-tart sized markers on rocks, trees, and cacti. Did I get lost? Short answer, yes. Did I stubbornly go on without making sure I was on the right trail? Short answer, no. Alex, my voice of reason, made a point to tell me before the race to not trust my own instincts and go blindly in the desert at the risk of saving a few minutes. Bah. I guess the five minute time loss of waiting for some fellow runners to catch up so I could follow was small price to pay instead of the bleak alternative (obviously I would be chupacabra food). Though challenging, I have never felt more invigorated by such an experience that pushed me outside of what I thought I was capable of. From this point on, in my running, I crave that feeling where panic, bliss, and pain all meld into one insurmountable human experience.
Thank you to all SRC community, Brooks, friends, and family who help guide, challenge, enhance, and nurture me. I wouldn’t be half the human I am today without your support! I have enjoyed volunteering at the Cougar Mountain Series races, helping out teammates who are in a bind, and lending a hand in local fun run around West Seattle!
Here is another brief glimpse into my world of running:
- 9/14/19 Redmond 6k 1st F, 1st overall 22:55
- 9/22/19 Sounder Rave Green Run 5k 1st F 18:45
- 9/29/19 Burien Brat Trot 5k 2nd F 19:02
- 10/5/19 Curtis XC Invite 1st F on SRC Open XC team
- 10/26/19 West Seattle Monster Dash 5k 2nd F 19:45
- 10/27/19 Cougar Mountain Series #4 4th F
- 11/10/19 PNTF XC 2nd F on SRC Open XC team]
- 11/17/19 Don Diablo 35k (La Paz, MX) 1st F 4 hours 41 minutes
- 11/23/19 Regional XC (Portland) 3rd F on SRC Open XC team
- 12/14/19 Winter Wonderland 5k 2nd F 20:16
- 12/21/19 Santa Paws (Palm Springs, CA) 1st F 18:38
I ended the year with a marathon PR down in Sacramento where I got to run the race with other SRC teammates! The race was a blast, great course with excellent organization and a high quality of runners. I didn’t know if I would be in shape to run a PR this year, but having other teammates running with me kept me motivated to push myself the whole way.
I did a little bit more volunteering at Cougar Mountain this fall. When I was out on the trails I was running with a little hand saw that I could use to clear downed branches and thin logs from the trail.
My highlight of this years running would have to be a trail run I did by myself out at Spray Park in the Mount Rainier wilderness. It was a 17 mile loop with a lot of elevation gain and great single track trails. While out there I ran past two bears! After that run, my quads were so shot that I could only hobble for the next couple of days while they recovered.
Aside from running, I celebrated a few other new changes. I started a new job, became a bike commuter, and got married! Looking forward to running into 2020!
I thought I raced frequently during the first half of the year, but it turns out I ran more races in the second half. What fun! This was due to participating in the PNTF Masters Grand Prix, Cougar Mountain Race Series, and the XC season.
The Four on the Fourth and Labor Day Half Marathon (photo at right, PC Amon Mende) were both part of the Masters Grand Prix. I had never run the former and found it to be a fun race in a welcoming community with a “surprise ending” up a big hill into the finish. The latter, as usual, provided a competitive field which made the race experience more fun for me. I had not prepared for this race, so it was fun to set myself a goal pace and work to stick to it – which I did, despite it being quite warm!
I ran the July and August Cougar races this year. Looking back, I wouldn’t say my preparations were very smart. Not by design, Uli and I climbed Mt. Rainier 5-6 days before each race. In fact, I did a few dumb – but fun – things in the week leading up to the July race. By no surprise, I did not feel good for that race and it didn’t go well. The August race went better, mainly due to a significantly improved mindset/game plan…and doing fewer dumb things beforehand. While I wasn’t fresh for the race, I had a fun time competing and ended up gaining a new friend and SRC teammate out of the experience (photo at left, PC Somer Kreisman)!
The 2019 XC season was fun as usual. It’s always a blast – and a shock – to go from running for hours on end to racing for less than 25 minutes. We had a solid women’s team this year and I enjoyed racing with them throughout the season (photo at right, 2nd PNTF race, PC Somer Kreisman).
Mixed in with those races were two very different “race” experiences. I had decided early in the year that I wanted to challenge myself to run new-to-me routes and attempt at least one FKT (fastest known time). I found one route that particularly intrigued me in part because it included a trail I had run on last year as part of setting a FKT and quite a few people had run it previously. The short story is the first time I ran it, I had to keep stopping to check the route to ensure I was going the correct way, which cost me a bunch of time. I wanted to do it again with the confidence of knowing where to go and, thus, the mental freedom to put my head down and just run. It was very wet and foggy the second time, which wasn’t too bad, but also meant no views. The worst part was tripping on a tree I didn’t see due to an ill-timed check of the watch and falling hard on my knee and hands. I wasn’t able to run normally from that point on, but was determined to grit it out because I was running significantly faster than my previous attempt. I made it through and took a big chunk of time off the women’s FKT that will hopefully provide some fuel for other women to go for it! (photo above about a half mile from the finish, PC Michael Havrda)
My final two races of the year are the Kent Christmas Rush 10k and the Yukon Do It! Half Marathon. These are both a part of my build up for the Houston Marathon. Keep your fingers crossed for me on January 19th!
Along with racing, I had a good time volunteering at the Cougar races as well as participating in the final King County Parks & Rec/SRC trail work party at Cougar. I got a group of folks to run together for the trail work party and we were able to move three significant trees off the trails (photo at right of the group moving a tree).
Big thanks to SRC and Brooks for another great year of support!
2nd Half Race Results:
- Four on the Fourth – 1st woman, 1st master
- Cougar Mountain 10.8 mile – 3rd woman, 1st master
- Chinook Pass Loop FKT – women’s FKT of 6:14:16; fastest time overall (as of July 19, 2019)
- Cougar Mountain 14.5 mile (PNTF Association Trail Championships) – 1st woman, 1st master (PNTF Champion)
- Labor Day Half Marathon – 11th woman, 2nd master
- Chinook Pass Loop FKT – women’s FKT of 5:49:32; 2nd fastest time overall (as of September 16, 2019)
- Emerald City XC Open – 14th woman, 3rd master 2nd SRC
- WWU XC Classic – 2nd master, 2nd SRC
- PNTF XC Masters Championship – 4th master, 3rd AG, 2nd SRC
- PNTF XC Open Championship – 19th woman, 1st master, 3rd SRC
- USATF XC Regional Championship – 24th woman, 3rd master, 2nd AG, 2nd SRC
- Kent Christmas Rush 10k – 3rd woman, 1st master
Accomplished, tired, and reflective are some of the adjective and verbs which describe the second half of 2019.
Accomplished. We are always searching for the next goal. After finishing my 100 miler, I was searching for something new and felt that I needed more. This want and need made me feel unsettled. My mom referenced to me that I have accomplished many things in 2019 and that I have just glazed over them. At this moment, I realized that I have achieved more than I could have imagined. I have raced hard for 8+ months and the time has come to realize that I can feel accomplished with myself and my achievement. No need to prove anything, but just a general acceptance of my accomplishments.
Tired. As the darkness began to become a large part of our days so did sleep. Sleep became my best friend. I needed recover from the thrashing I did to my body and the sleep was the only way that I could recover. The heart was happy, mind was satisfied, and the body was tired.
Reflective. Running has become a part of me. As my body did not permit too much running in the latter part of 2019; running became a part of me, but more importantly being active became a part my life. I have become reacquainted with the athlete that was always there.
Thank you Seattle Running Club and Brooks for the experience of running hard, running with fellow runners, and running happy!
My marquis race for this year was the IMTUF 100 mile in McCall, Idaho in September. I was undertrained and underexcited. I thought I could mail it in and just finish for my 15th 100 mile race. I couldn’t, I didn’t. I DNFed at mile 50 because I really didn’t have it in me. It was and is a pivotal point in my maturation as a runner.
I have always been quite competitive and willing to work very hard to achieve my race goals. I enter races to be on the podium. I have many friends who are not blessed with speed who run for the love of running and race to be social. This year I turned 52. The competitive fire is still there but the commitment to the work in getting this jalopy on the road was missing. It all came to a head at IMTUF when I couldn’t let go of racing to just enjoy running. I wasn’t enjoying it at all and I stopped. Then I had to take a break and recalibrate.
I started running again a few weeks after my failure in Idaho. I ran because I wanted to. I ran because I wasn’t training for anything. I ran happy (Brooks, see what I did there?)
SRC Brooks team members get free entry to Cougar Mt. races. In all my years running in Seattle, I have never run a Cougar Mt. race. The 4th Cougar race this year happened to be the PNTF Championship in the 14.5 mile race. I signed up because I wanted to be part of the team. I was stoked to wear my Brooks SRC team shirt and toe the line with team mates. I had an absolute blast! Running fast on trails is so fun after a summer of slow 100 miler training. The racing is also a reminder of how much you can muster when you see another runner to catch! I caught a few and finished 13th overall and 4th masters.
The next Cougar Race was the final of the series and a chance to do an 8 mile race with Cross Country scoring. Fun. The trail was in excellent shape partly because a cadre of SRC runners, myself included, did some serious trail work clearing large trees and sawing off errant branches the week before.
I strapped on my trusty Brooks Calderas and braved a very cold morning to start with team mates and rivals from the dreaded Club Northwest. The race was fast and I thought I was doing well until I was passed by a guy in orange who I’ve battled with at all the XC races I’ve run. I let him go, relaxed and ran my race. A mile before the finish I caught him back. We battled all the way to the final puddle where he slipped and I beat him and another Club Northwester by 2 seconds to take 17th overall and 2nd masters. Both guys behind me were masters! Racing is fun.
My final race of the year was the PNTF Cross Country regionals at Woodland Park. 6k was the distance for Masters. I am not very good at XC but I love the camaraderie of the SRC team. I ran a very mediocre race and huffed and puffed to a sub par finish. The CNW guy I beat at Cougar finally beat me and was really happy. I was kind of happy for him too.
This year on the SRC Brooks team was great. I really enjoyed being part of a bigger thing and loved training in the Launch and Caldera. Trisha is an amazing leader and the team is a great asset to SRC, Brooks and the Seattle running community.
I spent the summer throwing myself up and down mountains nearly every weekend, hellbent on developing the prerequisite neuromuscular groundwork and nutrition/hydration experiments required for trail racing. I’m not sure how many times I went up and down West Tiger 3 between June and September, but I’m certain I could tell you every strava segment location on the route.
The first four trail races in 2019 left me with valuable experience but little tangible success. Then there was Cougar July (10.8 miler). I started this race in my typical fashion: sprinting off the startline. I’m sure every coach will tell you this is exactly what you should do in any distance beyond 5K. Things were going well until the Wilderness section. For as long as I’ve been a trail runner (10 months?!), I’ve harbored this previously unfounded fear of downhill running. If you’re familiar with this section of the course, it’s a lot of switchbacks and a whole lot of descent. The week before, I did a course preview and told my training partner that if there was a section I was absolutely going to biff it on during the race, this was it. I’m not saying that I’m clairvoyant, but I’m not not saying it. Two to three switches in, in full send, I suddenly found myself sliding on my elbows in the gravelly dirt. Ouch. A quick damage assessment and a bee sting to my shin later, I started power hiking out of the bowels of Wilderness. I drifted into second place and then decided not to give any more time or places back as there wasn’t much racing left. I put my head down and held on til the finish, executing another trail race with 100% self-extraction. Bandaids aside, this marked the first inkling of success on the trails.
In August, I snagged a late entry into Rainshadow Running’s Oregon Coast 32K in October (#Baby’sFirstRainshadow). This became my ‘A’ race for 2019. The one I was going to put every bit of fitness I harvested all summer toward. A trail running festival featuring a half marathon in my hometown (Whidbey Island) was the week prior, and I thought this would serve as an excellent tune-up for Oregon Coast 32K. Well, as the saying goes: everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Or, more accurately, badly sprain their ankle… During the Whidbey Woods half, I was solidly in the lead for the women’s race, when at mile 6 my right foot hit a root at the perfectly wrong angle. On contact, I heard my ankle pop and I instinctively clutched onto the nearest tree for support. Instant pain. Many swear words. I checked to see if I could put weight through it. Nope. More treeholding. More thoughts swirling for what this was going to do to my 100% self-extraction streak. Another minute passed and I put my foot down. It wasn’t great, but I could hobble. Then hobbling gave way to jogging, jogging into running. I crossed the finish line and managed to hang onto first place despite slowing substantially. One trip to urgent care and a podiatrist appointment confirmed an incomplete avulsion fracture in my fibula and two ligament sprains in my foot. This also confirmed Oregon Coast was definitely out. I was heartbroken.
After a week, I could run without much pain or increased swelling. I felt robbed of the opportunity to compete at #BabysFirstRainshadow but decided this was not productive. While trail running was out for the next month to avoid a re-sprain, I could still accomplish a decent training block for the Seattle Half Marathon in December. I’ve got a lot of history with this race, so it proved to be a good substitute. I put my nose down for four weeks leading up to it, reeled everything back the week before, and gave myself permission to try on the day. I walked away from it with a third place finish and zero injuries, which was a fulfilling way to close the book on 2019.
Having the opportunity to be a part of SRC Brooks this year helped my running in ways I didn’t anticipate. I’ve always been trail-curious, but being a part of this community really pushed me into it head first. What I didn’t realize is that all those mountain days over the summer served as invaluable strength training that translated to road fitness in the fall and helped me whittle down my 5K season best from 18:47 to 18:14. Volunteering and giving back to the running community also makes participating in it even more rewarding.
2019 results through July-December:
-2F: Carnation Run for the Pies, July
-2F: Cougar Mtn Series 10.8 miler, July*
-1OA: Cougar Mtn Series 5K, August*
-1OA: Summer Blast @ Redmond Watershed 10 miler, August*
-1F: Labor Day 5K, September
-1F: Whidbey Woods Half Marathon, October*
-1F: Capt Jack’s Treasure Run, October
-3F: Green Lake Gobble 5K, November
-3F: Seattle Half Marathon, December
-1F: Kent Christmas Rush 5K, December
- Cougar Mt. 50k: 4:41, 2nd OA
- TNF Endurance Challenge 50m: 8:01, 33rd OA
Well, I did not quite have the redemptive upswing at the end of the year for which I was hoping. At least, not performance-wise. My biggest struggle in the second half of this year, apart from a pretty tenacious hamstring issue, has been finding/maintaining motivation to race, train, and generally just spend the same amount of time running that I normally do. I’m still working on what that means for my next year of racing, but think it’s an exercise that will help rebuild the mental platform on which the leg works rests.
The Cougar 50k was great this year since about ten times as many people were at the start than is normal. Though I quickly learned that they were all there to run a cross country race, so it was back to running around Squak wondering if anyone else had even signed up for the 50k. Someone had and they beat me.
I was primed to run the TNF50 last year when I was in great shape and injury-free, but then the wildfires came. Years of watching Joe Creighton practice his vape plume “magic show” had acclimatized my lungs to the most hardy of pollutants, but not all were so prepared and the race was canceled, leaving me to run it this year with a dearth of training and motivation. However, not caring a ton can be a huge benefit to one’s nerves and mental state during a race. I actually enjoyed a good chunk of it, appreciated the beautiful trails, and even logged some race miles with SRC friends.
I focused a lot on racing this year and ultimately came out a bit disappointed, as expectations were high. But improvement is a long process, should you decide to stick with it, and I’m not quite ready to shift my focus to becoming Seattle’s top scorer on Fleet Feet’s Track & Field arcade machine. I’m looking forward to looking forward to running more next year.
Fall of 2019 has been of fun time of running with friends and welcoming back that lovely PNW, grey raininess. After my 2-day jaunt around the Wonderland Trail towards the end of summer, I took a little time off before training for a fall 50k. I took advantage of some of the SRC related racing opportunities to do my best at not getting crushed too badly in a few cross country meets. I always love the feel of XC meets, although I likely could have used some more 8k specific training! My last big long run coincided with the October Cougar Series races, so I took the opportunity to run the hilly 19.5 mile course. I felt much better than when I ran this same race about 1.5 years ago, and managed to snag the win, which was a nice plus.
In November I traveled to Moab to meet up with some college friends and take my shot at breaking 4 hours on the speedy Dead Horse Ultra 50k course. While I almost went up in a ball of flames in the last 5 miles, I managed to hang on and run 3:49 for 5th place! The rest of this fall has been filled with recovering and trying my best to translate 50k fitness into 5k fitness in 10 days (it didn’t work very well).
Back to the roads. The second half of 2019 was anchored by the California International Marathon in Sacramento. The race was in December and required a plenty of work on the flat path around Green Lake. My trips to Cougar Mountain were mostly to volunteer for the trail run series. We ran the Squak Mountain aid station during the 50k race in October and cheered the tired runners home. Fortunately, the weather that day was fantastic.
After a busy first half of racing, I ended up competing in only 3 events after August. I continued my unusual streak of silver medals by finishing in second place at both the Green Lake Gobble 10k and the Olympia Turkey Trot 4 miler. Both of these were smaller events centered around Thanksgiving, so the stakes were low and the blood sugar was high.
The final effort of the year came at CIM. The goal was to break a 3-year old marathon PR. Thanks to a solid crew of Seattle Runners I was able to knock 2 minutes off my time and run a 2:27. It was a great weekend for SRC with lots of PRs, PBRs, RNR, and DOMS.
Overall 2019 was a strong year of running for me. I ran over 4000 miles, had some really great PRs, and finished second in 8 races. Hopefully 2020 will include more great running and ideally a few more wins.
- Curtis Cross Country Invite 5k- 21:08, 4th F for SRC
- PNTF Cross Country 6k- 26:40.44, my 2nd fastest 6k on course
- Regionals Cross Country 8k- 35:11, 7th F for SRC
Photo Credit: Kristi Houk
It was cross country that got me into the sport of running back in high school. It was the chance to race cross country again that sold me on joining the Seattle Running Club (SRC) back in 2014. Since then, I’ve consistently raced each cross country (xc) season with SRC, but this sixth year of xc turned out to be my lowest racing season so far. Somehow, I managed to be available to race only three xc races this year, all of which were slightly different distances. The Curtis Invitational was a gorgeous and fast course. I had the pleasure of seeing a handful of former cross country runners of mine (I coach cross country at Sylvester Middle School) after their morning high school races and before we SRC ladies went head-to-head with collegiate runners. At PNTF, I had my second fastest time at the Lower Woodland Park course. At XC Regionals in Portland, I ran my first ever 8k and loved the distance because it felt like my endurance training was on my side. In my opinion, if all women’s xc races switched from a 6k to 8k, it would be the right choice. The SRC Wednesday Workouts during the xc season are always a treat because we’re off the track and in the parks and trails. Since spending the first half of 2019 training for my Boston qualifying marathon time, it felt refreshing to get back on some trails for the last bit of 2019. There’s a sense of comradery and friendship during xc that keeps me coming back year after year. Training-wise, I’m still getting a healthy dose of runs in with fellow SRC members at the Monday Flying Lion Brewing Runs, Wednesday Workouts, a couple tempo runs, and few Discovery Park trail runs. In the fall, I had the pleasure of coaching alongside former SRC member-Paul Young at the middle school where I work and occasionally now, we meet up for runs in Burien before the sunsets on these short winter days. In time for Christmas, I came down with pneumonia this year, so until I’m fully recovered, my training will be on pause.
Photo Credit: Doug Brown
After SOB 100k, I wanted to focus the rest of the year on improving my strength; physical and mental. I’d been giving myself too many breaks. Even though I had finished all the races, I felt I just scraped by. After a few weeks off, I decided to join a few SRC workouts and wanted to give cross country a try. While this was new to me, it gave me a new focus. The camaraderie was awesome! Between race and personal schedules, I was only able to race and attend one cross country race. I brought my parents along too; and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the vibe. Everyone was so welcoming; I can’t wait to join again in 2020.
In July, I had the honor of pacing a friend (Ling) at Cascade Crest 100. She and another friend were planning on running together, but the other had to withdraw from the waitlist due to injury. Ling was also contemplating removing from the waitlist, as she didn’t want to run alone. Thankfully, it was a “Seattle weekend” for me, and I was able to help in any way! I do enjoy running races, but I also really enjoy helping others achieve their goals. During the race, her crew kept me updated with her progress. I drove out to their rental house and was able to get a few hours of sleep in before meeting her at mile 69. Ling is super strong and determined, and also a gift to the running community. She captains aid stations at many Northern CA races, and has been doing so for many years. We set off before sunrise; she was in great spirits. She had the course notes for me to help keep her on track. We climbed to meet the sun, talked about her day, and saw her favorite animal – the pika! We never saw a goat, but I told her all about them. It turns out we just missed one! The course is beautiful! I took pictures as she continued toward the finish. She has many buckles, but that hoody was calling her name! She kept joking with me that I now need to run it just for that hoody (I do love hoodies)! That was her attitude the entire time; just kept it light and pressed to the finish. I was a great day; we’re talking about repeating in 2020.
The rest of the year I focused on road running, in preparation for my pace leader duties at California International Marathon (CIM). This would be my 14th consecutive CIM, 10th as pace group leader. I had a pretty good training block leading into CIM; the Sammamish River Trail is a great training area! I joined the YMCA and found a few classes to attend during the week to break up the running. Saturdays I ran an out and back from the Y, so that I was back in time for yoga. I felt really good going into CIM. Unfortunately, the weekend didn’t go as planned (at least the race portion). It has always been a great weekend, as this was my first marathon. It is also the same weekend as the Western States lottery. CIM…well the first 17 miles went well. My co-pacer and I were chatting and right on pace. Unfortunately, I had some stomach distress that caused me to stop (this never happens). I hoped I’d be able to catch her and the group, but I just wasn’t able to do so. I felt horribly for leaving her, and really felt bad in general. But, then I realized no one cares! I took in the cheers from the crowd (it really is an immense crowd, especially the closer you get to the finish). And ran with gratitude.
The day before CIM was really the exciting part of the weekend (and year). With 32 tickets (6 consecutive years), my name was selected! I don’t remember much of it; everything went quiet in my head, but I was told it was really quite loud in the auditorium. Those who are selected and are present in the audience, come up to the stage and have photos taken backstage. It was amazing! Many friends were also selected; it will be a great year!