Excitement.

This week is the first week of training for my second 50k, and I am really excited to get started again! So, for this periodic installment to my blog (which occasionally updates weekly), I thought I would share all the things I’m excited about.

Cuz fun.


bell ringer

Bell Ringer 50k

I have three big races coming up, and instead of just listing all three of them, I thought I’d talk about this one. The Bell Ringer is in Montgomery, Tennessee, which is outside of Nashville, Tennessee – the country music capital of the known universe. There’s also a Trader Joe’s there. And an REI! I just got more excited. “Yeah, I’ll be running a 50k in December…but also going shopping!”


Untitled-1All the races!

I can’t help it. I love these events!

Last year was the first year for a night trail run series called “Full Moon Fever.” We run into the woods after dark for a flat, fast 5k. These events are put on by a relatively new event production company called 40 lb Sledgehammer, and they’re great people. They put on great events, and we love going either to watch or to participate. The FMF series is sponsored by Altra this year!

Of course the Rugged Red is coming up – and I’m so excited to get back on the trails of the Red River Gorge. It’s a beautiful, inspiring part of the country. I know the area a little better now, and I have a little memory of the course, so I think it will be to my advantage.

The Indian-Celina Challenge is another local run. It claims to be one of the hardest marathons in Indiana, and I find that pretty easy to believe. With long hills and beautiful trails, this promises to be a really challenging go for my third marathon distance.


5:00 a.m. wake up call!

“Really?”

Really.

I’ll admit, I’m not always excited at 5:00 a.m. when both alarm clocks start going off. But, when I’m out there running, the cobwebs slowly drift away, and it’s great.

I’ve tried to keep a positive attitude about waking up early, and it seems to be helping. I’ve kept the schedule for two weeks, and the benefits are outstanding. I even convinced Ashley to get up early with me, which is really nice.


Writing!

I’ve recently decided to start creatively writing with a little more structure. Finish the dozen or so stories that I’ve started, and get going on some other projects rolling around in the ol’ brain bank. I haven’t started doing this yet, but I will soon.


Bicycling!

We’ve been trying to get back on our bikes lately because we both miss it. I especially miss riding centuries, but I don’t think I’m in the right cycling condition to just jump back into one of those. We started slowly by riding our fixed-gear bikes around the neighborhood and out to coffee. Then last week, we went on a short (12-mile) ride with the Adventure Club, a local Meetup group that is a little more low-key than the cycling groups we’ve ridden with in the past. We used our mountain bikes for the easy-paced ride on the Greenway path. We’re going to ride with them again on Tuesday, and we’re really looking forward to it! This will be a longer ride out in the Kentucky countryside, so we got our road bikes out and tuned them up for this one. Let’s go ride!

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2014 in Review

I have always found great closure in a sort of review of what I’ve done over the last year. I try to avoid falling into nostalgia as long as I can, but some days when I think back to the sweaty trail runs and 100 mile bike rides, my eyes glaze, and I get a stupid look on my face. I love my fitness hobby and the places it takes me – the sights I get to see and the miles I cover on foot or on two skinny wheels.

The Year of the Beast(y)
Miles ran: 549.17
Miles biked: 683.72

It has been a heck of a year.

I started it off by running 4.5 miles to Oak Hill Cemetery, a beautiful, quiet location. My last run of the year mirrored that, only I looped around inside the cemetery to get a good hill workout. Ashley also joined me for what would become a 6-mile run.

Here are some highlights between my first run of the year on January 2 to my last run on December 31:

Bobs February 22: Competed in my first duathlon (run, bike, run), Bob’s Indoor Duathlon. I won first place in my age category! (pictured left)

photo[5] copyApril 12: Undertook the Kentucky Century Challenge, beginning with the Redbud Ride Century in London, Kentucky, for the second year in a row. Redbud is one of my absolute favorite rides. The course goes through Daniel Boone National Forest. The most-discussed portion of the century route is the 22% grade Tussey Hill at mile 50 (pictured right). Approaching a hill sloped at 22% is akin to approaching a wall. I would ride 2 more Kentucky centuries in 2014, cycling quite a bit less than in 2013, focusing instead on running. I plan to bring my cycling mileage back up in 2015.

April 19: Finished my second half marathon at the Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville. In 2013, this was my first half marathon. In 2014, I beat that time by 8 minutes and 32 seconds.

April 23: While running my regular 5k route from home, I found out that the water at the little park was turned on – signaling the beginning of spring! I noted it when I uploaded the run to Garmin. Thank goodness that seemingly endless winter was over.

IMG_2118May 10: I graduated with my master’s degree and immediately drove 26 straight hours to stay in a cabin in Maine for a week. (pictured left)

 

June 9: I began training for my second marathon.

July 3: I started this blog.

“This year, I’ve learned a lot about strength training, fueling, and strategy for these types of events, so I’m hitting the road with fresh legs and determination.”  – Welcome!

July 12: Arena Challenge: 1,000 stairs, dozens of obstacles, Ford Center in Downtown Evansville.

“They also, graciously, provided us with five exercise stations between sets of stairs…” – Running: A Full Body Workout.

 

IMG_2481On September 6, I ran the inaugural Rugged Red Trail Half Marathon in Red River Gorge, Kentucky. My first trail half, my first time in the gorge. It is one of the most grueling events I’ve done.

“…all the energy in my body was gone. I’ve never felt so depleted where the only option is to sit, which I did.” – Race Report: Rugged Red

IMG_20141004_170638October 4: I ran the Evansville Half Marathon, besting my (road) 13.1 PR by another 6 minutes, finishing in under two hours. This was followed a few hours later by the Dog ‘n’ Suds 5k, where Sadie, Ashley, and I won 3rd place trophies. (Sadie and I pictured left – click for a larger image where you can actually see Sadie.)

 

IMG_2510October 19: I ran my second marathon, setting a marathon PR by beating my first marathon by nearly 10 minutes. (pictured right)

“I raced down the road, my eye on the clock. I crossed the finish line strong and elated.” – #RNRStL


I’m a few days into training for Gnaw Bone, and I can see the challenges lining up. I also feel like this year is going to be a big one for reasons not connected to Gnaw Bone or even to running. There’s an entire year ahead, with all the clichés attached to give us pause and adrenaline.

I’m excited to share it with you all, as well as I am excited to hear about your adventures and plans.

Cemetery