Sunday, December 30, 2018

Looking Back at 2018 (WW # 178)

It is so hard to condense a year into one post.  I tried!  And I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something noteworthy.  While it was amazing year spending time with family and friends, of new adventures, of race-cations and more -- I certainly had my share of struggles as well.  I hope you'll hang tight as I take a peek at the highlights. 

***  WINTER  ***

The year began with a January day trip with gal pals to Mobile for the First Light Half Marathon.  It was the coldest race I've ever run with a feels like of 17 degrees.  I was surprised to place in the Grandmasters category with a 2:08.  I followed that a few weeks later with the always hilly but always beautiful Callaway Gardens Half Marathon.   I won a beer stein for my efforts in their small turnout.

Having fun with expo props at Mercedes
with Wendy and Val (#icecreamrunner)

Wendy and I joined forces in February for the Mercedes Half Marathon.  After first reporting a chance of snow and cold temps, that eventually morphed into warm and muggy with heavy rain.   You know we had tons of fun but we still talk about that awful humidity.  It will forever be the Litmus Test to compare all other races {At least it wasn't as bad as Mercedes!}.  I suffered horrible cramps which carried over to my next race.

Enjoying post run fare with Laurie and Kaye

The Montgomery Half Marathon came next.   It's always fun connecting with local running friends. but I was again plagued with cramps.  Humidity always does a number on me.  At least it wasn't as bad as Mercedes.  [See how that works?]

***  SPRING  ***

Late March found me in Gatlinburg, TN where I hiked with our middle son in the stunning Great Smoky Mountains. Over two days we traversed through water, mud, ice and snow for a total 17.2 miles with an ascent (and corresponding brutal decent) of 5,505 feet.  OOF.  We then spent time in Chattanooga where I shuffled my sore post-hiking body through the Raccoon Mountain Half Marathon and he the 10k.  The course was sadly mis-marked and short of the half distance. However, we received a real coonskin cap and other great swag.

I went on to run the Centerpoint Half Marathon in April and felt my time of 2:06 was an improvement over the way I had been running so far in the year.  I  placed second in my age group in this small town race.

Marathon Training in the backwoods Florida heat.

A trip to the beach soon after found me in full marathon training mode.  After a 16 miles weekend run there followed by a 17 mile weekend run at home, I ran the Tear Drop Half Marathon.  Since I had chosen this course for downhill speed work for my upcoming downhill marathon, I ran with no rest or taper. BOOM!  I was thrilled with a 1:58+ and replaced a PR set back in 2014.

Holy Crap!  I DID IT.

I finished marathon training in May clocking my final two long runs of 18 and 20 miles.  I ran our local Jubilee 8k as one final chance for speed training.  After an awful performance in summer-like conditions, I was left wondering how on earth I would get through 26 miles in just a few short weeks.  We also celebrated our last son's high school graduation.  Soon, we would be official empty nesters.

***  SUMMER  ***

June found me high atop Colorado's Rocky Mountains at 10,507 feet for a PR attempt on REVEL's downhill marathon course.  Having snow skied a few times and run a half marathon in CO, I knew the risks of high altitude.  I crossed the halfway timing mat with a pleasing 2:05 and then suddenly became very ill.  I was able to finish in 4:48 with more walking than running during the last half.  Teresa and I had been trapped in transportation hell with little sleep, perhaps triggering the altitude sickness, but rest assured -- there was plenty of giggling over the weekend.

I flew from Denver to sea level on the Florida panhandle where I did not move from my beach chair for a few days.  I was eventually able to slowly shuffle around and enjoyed kayaking with the family in beautiful Holmes County Creek.  We swam in the crystal clear springs.

Go AUM Green!

With a nasty lingering illness as we traveled to watch our grandson's baseball team advance from City to Regional to State Playoffs (and later on to the Dixie Youth World Series) it was soon time for the Chicago Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon in July.

On the streets of Chicago with Marcia & Wendy.

It poured buckets of rain in Chicago and my endurance was sorely missing from being sick and under trained.  But, it was a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with fellow blogging friends and finally meet feels-like-we've-already-met friends too.

Kim, Linda, Wendy, Deborah, Sara, Michelle, Kim
Marcia, Me, Susie (& Lindsey not pictured) enjoyed a lovely brunch.

After Wendy graciously hosted my visit to Chicago, I returned the favor as she came to water ski in August.   It's a rare treat to ski in tandem!  We enjoyed a couple of days of skiing, pool shenanigans, back porch swinging and even a little running too.

Always looking for new ways to have fun, I threw in a Coosa River Adventure complete with rapids and tipped kayaks (OK OK, that was just me).  It was so much fun that I repeated the adventure with my sons and sister.  We began to prepare our home of over 19 years to be placed on the market; thinking this would be a great empty nest diversion.  Little did I know how stressful that would be.

***  FALL  ***

After a slow start, I packed a lot of waterskiing into late summer.  September's final weekend found me on my last run of the season.  We continued to stay busy throughout early fall viewing lake properties and readying our own house for sale...and watching college football.   ROLL TIDE 

While upping my base mileage from a low summer season, I ran my first 5k of the year in October and another in November, both rewarding me with age group wins.   I wanted to run more 5ks but we had heavy rain most weekends this fall.  I felt strong in our city's Capitol 10 Miler and hoped it would translate well to my first half marathon of our racing season.

Although very festive, December's Candyland Half was disappointing.  Those hills never stopped coming and my aging body simply hurt the whole time.  It still does.

We've received several offers on our home recently and as the year winds down, we've contracted with a buyer.  We will be starting a new chapter.  There will be new roads to run,  mountainous hills to conquer on foot and bike, many slalom sprays to make, and other water adventures too.  Most importantly...we hope to make many wonderful memories with family and friends.

And that's a wrap!

Happy New Year Weekly Wrappers!

Wendy and I host this linkup for
the sole purpose of supporting active women.
We thank you for linking your 


  1. I'm so happy to have been a part of your wonderful year! Looking forward to making more memories in 2019. Clinks!

  2. A wonderful round-up. As I said on Wendy's blog, it's been wonderful to join the weekly wrap this year, and I've got such a lot out of it, thank you both.

  3. You were really on the go, go,go this year! Hopefully you found some time to relax and recharge over the holidays. Good luck with the house stuff. Did you ever mention where you are moving to?

  4. SO glad I finally got to meet the famous HoHo in Chicago. I don't know...that Chicago weekend kind was a litmus test of its own ("but at least it didn't rain like it did in Chicago"). You had a great year with lots of adventure!

  5. You had a wonderfully busy year, congrats! It sounds like you're moving to be closer to the lake. If so, that sounds so nice!

    Thanks for the linkup!

  6. What a wonderful, jam-packed 2018. I can't wait to see what 2019 holds for you!

  7. Oooh! Congrats on the contract! I hope everything goes smoothly. We lived in our house in Austin for 15 years, so I kind of get how stressful that all is (and don't forget we also had to fly 4 animals 2000 miles . . .).

    Many, it's simply amazing how much you packed into 2018! Nice PRs & AG awards (and don't even get me started on what humidity can do to me). Here's to a great 2019!

  8. Congrats on your new home. I can't imagine moving. I think I have to stay in mine forever (too much stuff). I will live vicariously through you.

    You had a great year. A lot of variety and fun experiences.

    Hope we can meet up again sometime.

  9. Thanks for hosting this link-up! I know it's a lot of work every week, but it's such a great community of athletes, I'm glad to be a part of it.

    Congratulations on an amazing year of running- you accomplished quite a bit, despite some illness and challenges! Kudos :)

  10. You faced some challenges this year, but you had plenty of highlights as well. I love the picture of you and Wendy water skiing!

    Are you moving far? Downsizing? Will you still have a pool for post-run plunging?

  11. You've had some fun adventures this year and a freaking PR no less! It was so SO nice to see you in Chi, even though Mother Nature did not cooperate. Cheers to a marvelous 2019!

  12. What a year! Congrats on navigating the ups and downs. And congrats on the new chapter in your life. How exciting!

  13. Such a fun year for you and I'm happy I got to finally meet you in Chicago!

  14. Sounds like a great year! Here’s to a great 2019 too :)

  15. You are so active, I love it! Here's to the next year full of fun and adventures!

  16. You had such an amazing year! I love reading recap posts and seeing all the incredible things my blogging friends have achieved over a period of time. I cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store for you!

  17. Wow, tandem water skiing? I am impressed! Sounds like your year was challenging, but with so many great memories! Hope your 2019 is starting out well. Selling your house is exciting!

  18. You had a wonderful year and ran a lot of great races! I'm sad we have still yet to meet! Thank you so much for hosting the Weekly Wrap - I look forward to getting back into it in 2019.

  19. What an awesome recap of the year! There was so much I loved about your year - the experience and fight you show at all your races which is why I think my favourites were the Mercedes and the Rocky Mountains Marathon. So much grit and tenacity shown in both. I also really liked the fact that you and Wendy spent so much time together - running and water-skiing! I love the connection you have which is why I think you make such awesome hosts on this link up! Hope you have an awesome 2019 even with the major changes coming.


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