Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 Epic Trail Run

2012 was quite the run. I would probably go as far as to say it was an epic trail run. Every trail run has peaks and valleys and 2012 was no different. We had some massive peaks to climb, ones that took every ounce of energy and perserverance we had, but when we got to the top...incredibly rewarding. Sometimes you work so hard to get to the top you begin to wonder why you started the climb in the first place. And then you top out, you take a deep breath and enjoy the benefits of your hard work. Before long, you don't remember how bad it hurt on the climb up and you're just ready to do it all over again, just so you can get those rewards.

After all we've been through many would probably say its one of those years you're glad is over and are looking to 2013 to be better. But I can't say that. I won't say that. 2012 was filled with hills and mountains, countless ups and downs, there were twists and turms, rocks and roots. I stumbled, fell and shed quite a few tears and some drops of blood on the trail. But there were also miles and miles of smiles, beautiful vistas, amazing mountain tops, gorgeous lakes and endless laughter. I made some great new friends and also lost friends. While there were rocky times the ones I'll remember the most are the great ones. I'll remember standing atop Hope Pass more than what it took to get there...both times. I'll remember laughing along the trail with Rob more than losing him. I'll remember holding my boy for the first time more than hearing all the diagnoses. I'll always remember 2012 with a smile and think of what a blessing this year has been.

Dan made a comment that we're ultra runners because we have short-term memories. And seriously there is no way you would ever run a second 100 if you remembered only the low points. Of course I think its more that you never really forget the low points you just find a way to remember them in a better light.

The year started off running pregnant. It was not the best running I've ever done, but it certainly made me feel so much better. Dan and I raced the Run Through Time Half Marathon and while it was not my best race it was wonderful to be out in this gorgeous place with Dan. And he was amazing when I began to fall apart on the trail. Dan and I logged countless miles on the CT. We ran there just before the North Fork fire came through and nearly evacuated us from our house. And yes, for maybe a month Dan was faster than me. I'm sure he'll never let me live this one down! Sure I was running with an extra 18 lbs strapped to my stomach, but still... I managed to make it through a month of bedrest. Anyone who knows me knows this was a feat in and of itself! A week after James was born I headed out for an easy 2 miles. A couple weeks later I ran Buck Gulch at Pine Valley and spent a moment leaning against a tree crying and wondering how in the hell I was going to run 100 miles in a couple months. A week later I did the same run and it was easier, a week later I did 18 on that trail. And I knew Leadville just might be possible. I logged mile after mile on the treadmill while James slept. I woke up early on Saturday on Sunday mornings to head out for long runs, okay I take that back, I tried to wake up early. And then race day was upon me. In the end I was not quite ready, but just to line up at the start of the almighty Leadville 100 Trail Run was huge! After Leadville I had this burning in my heart that got me running some of the best times of my life! It was like I was running on a cloud, everything felt easy and good. I just kept pushing it. So I added another race and ran the Glacial Trail 50 for Rob. Not only did I need to erase a DNF I needed to finish a race for Rob. It wasn't the performance I had hoped for, tough in over 3" of rain, but I still squeezed out a 2nd place finish. The rest of the year was business as usual. Dan and I ran when we could, which wasn't as often as I would have like. But I did meet some new running partners and explored some great new trails.

I've had some great highlights running this year. Despite not finishing Leadville just having the cojones to toe the starting line 3.5 months after giving birth to James is itself an accomplishment. Dan and I also managed to raise nearly $5000 for Research Down Syndrome. And hopefully bring a bit of awareness to RDS. I don't regret anything that happened during the race, but I do regret not getting Robert to the finish line. I'll never forget running Hope Pass with Robert. The view from the top is one of my most treasured memories and I will never forget it.

I look forward to where 2013 takes me, the mountains, the peaks, the valleys, all of it. I've learned that no matter how hard you try to prepare you're never fully ready for what tomorrow brings. So in 2013, despite my type A personality, I'm going to take it as it comes. I'm going to run hard, live hard and love hard.

2013 Goals:
  • Finish Leadville 100
  • UROC top 20
  • Gashouse-Baldy Loop sub-2:40
  • Leadville Marathon sub-4:30, okay this is VERY ambitious, sub-5:00 is a more realistic goal
  • Run as many 14ers as possible
  • Run the Four Pass Loop
  • 2000 miles for the year
  • Continue to be an advocate for James and Down syndrome research
  • To give James all the opportunities I can and never be what holds him back
  • To Run Hard, Live Hard, and Love Hard
"I know I was born and I know I will die, the in between is MINE...I am mine" -Eddie Vedder

"All we really have is our memories. Go make some." -Bernie Boettcher

In the end its not just about the memories, its about the memories you brought to others and how those memories make people feel. Memories often fade, not all, but most. What doesn't fade is how you felt. I still remember some of the moments Maggie and I spent together, "gluing" those red hearts to our faces, but what I really remember is how she made me feel like such a special little girl. I just always remember her willingness to take time to teach me how to play volleyball or take me out to dinner. I remember her making Tom and Ben sit at a separate table to eat one night because it was "Girls Night". I may not remember what she said about playing volleyball, but I remember she made me feel like I could do anything I put my mind to. So don't just make memories, share those memories.

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