Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Freshmen year of racing in review 2011

2011 started innocent enough...I partied with some friends and rang in the new year.
And then the next day went for a run. The first run of what would be my first year of racing. Let me just clarify that racing just means running in races. NOT actually racing! This year would turn out great but definitely not what I had planned! In fact, I think it was even better.

1/16-Chilly Cheeks 7.2mile race in Reading PA put on by Pretzel City Sports. Very challenging course with lots of elevation. I had no idea what to expect since this was my first ever race. But was told that if I survived I could do any of their races. This is one of their harder ones. It starts with a big climb and we had several inches of fresh snow on the ground.

No races in February just lots of road running because of all the snow that PA received this winter! Got on the trails a bunch but just way to much roads.

Again, no races in March. Just building my mileage for the Bob Potts Marathon that I am training for in May! Everything is going great except for that one run on the trail on 3/28 where I fall and pull my groin. Instant excruciating pain but walked a bit and even starting running again. Hmm, maybe not that bad after all?!

4/2-Tyler Arboretum 10k trail run. Having a GREAT run leapfrogging with a group of girls until about mile 4 when we are running downhill with railroad ties and I am jumping over them and just barreling down the hill. I never felt an intense pull or pain but it just kinda came on gradual and my pace got slower and slower and the group of girls got further away...the pain got worse. By the time I finished the race I couldnt walk. This starts my 2MONTHS of no running while I heal from a severe pulled groin.
 The rest of April consisted of alot of rest with a little walking and flat biking on the rail trail. I missed a planned half marathon in NC with Rik. It was his first. And then another half marathon in Ocean City, MD that Colton ended up running with Rik. They finished together in 1:46 I believe.

By May I was spending a whole lot of time on the bike. So much that I talked Rik into finally buying us a tandem bike! I had wanted on for years! Fun!
 And of course I missed the Bob Potts marathon that I had been training for. Rik ended up still running it and did a great job considering he was never a runner before this year! He would occasionally run with me but mostly MTB and skate boarded.

Sweet sweet June! I start running again...VERY slowly. It seems like the groin was okay if I went slow and on soft surfaces. And by the end of June I ran 10miles at one shot down at VA beach!
 You can see how happy I am to be running at the beach during sunrise. Life is good!

Very hot month around these parts. Spent time increasing my mileage and still alot of time on the bike. No races but we did spend a week at Jim Thorpe running and riding the trails there. I am starting to find that I can increase my running mileage without much problem but if I try to increase my speed, my groin retaliates with much pain. So I just keep it slow going.

8/20-First post injury trail race. On the Rocks 8.3miles 1:58. This was at Rocky Ridge County Park which is my home turf so I felt great going into the race and wasnt afraid of getting lost! It was a humid day but felt like I did good overall and only had mild groin pain after the race was over.

9/11-My FIRST EVER half marathon!! We were supposed to run the Harrisburg half this day but had flooding the week of the race and City Island (where the race was to begin) was under water and it was post-poned! I decided that I had been training to hard and long for this and was gonna find another one somewhere, lol! Indeed I did...Sol Lipton half marathon in Pottsville, PA! It was billed as being a hilly road race and it was. But I loved it and ran my half marathon in 2:27.
9/17-Gunpowder Falls FatAss 50k. This was just to be a 18-20mile training run. But because of the flooding it was rerouted and we ended up only doing 15miles. But had a great time and no groin pain. Win!

9/25-Sloppy Cuckoo trail half marathon in Phila, PA. Again, this course was rerouted due to flooding and was 2 loops instead of the supposed 1 loop. This trail race was probably my favorite at the time because it was on the trail with alot of single track, not to many hills to handle and lots of climbing under, over and around downed trees and debris from the flooding. Will do this one again in 2012!

10/2-HARRC in the Park 15k. This was around Pinchot Lake. A rather flat course but because of recent rains made it very muddy. It was a cold, rain, wet, muddy day! Loved it!! This race was a first year race not to far from my home. We camped the weekend at the campground in the park. All around good weekend.

By now I am increasing my mileage for a planned first marathon in Richmond VA. My original plan at the beginning of the year was to run Blues Cruise 50k in October but with the spring injury I knew that was out. So I had now been training for a marathon instead. But with all of my races I just kept thinking how mental it would be for a slow trail runner girl to spend hours on the road. SO...I decided on a trail marathon instead. EXCEPT, I could not find a trail marathon in November! Anywhere around here! SO...I then did what anyone else would do. Decided to do a trail 50k instead! Of course! And adjusted my training to get in some longer runs and off I went. Happy as pie :)

10/22&23-with my longer runs I decided to include a double race of sorts. Ghouls & Fools 6.5 mile night run followed by Oktober Fest half marathon the next morning. G&F was my first ever nighttime trail run and it was so much fun! It was another race put on by PCS and had the alt aid station with beer at the Pagoda high above Reading, PA
   And Oktober Fest half marathon was better then my first with a time of 2:19.

11/12-Rosaryville 50k in Maryland! You can check out my blog entry for that but it was by far my biggest accomplishment of 2011. It was billed as a great race for a first ultra. And there were in fact, many first timers there. Total elevation was only like 2200ft for the whole 31miles. Nice smooth dirt single track with some roots and little rocks. Everything about that day was perfect! I finished with 6:37 and Rik finished in 4:55.

11/19-Twisted Turkey Tussle 10k. Yep the following week I did a 10k that had about 1000ft elevation and finished in 1:32. My legs were fine with the running but wanted no part of any hills! I walked every entire hill. Lesson learned? Probably not....

11/27-Dirty Bird 15k at French Creek State Park. Very nice run with some HILLS! Ran this one with a newer friend that I met thru running! We didnt run together...just start and end at the same place ;) I have been very lucky with weather at the races I ran this year and this day was no exception.

12/4-26.2miles on the Appalachian Trail. Not really a race. But I decided that since I did not run a marathon this year that this was infact my marathon! I ran it with Rik and another running friend (Joe) and his dog. I think that 3people and a dog qualifies it as a FatAss marathon! Its my story, I can tell it like I want!
Me, Joe and Griffin coming into the finish line!

12/17-I did not run a race this day but instead I volunteered at one! This was another first ever for the year. Since I dont really like road running, my local running club was having a 10k just 2miles from my house. Rik and I volunteered and we were stationed at an intersection that was so cool because we got to see everyone right after the start when they were fresh and again right before the end...coming up a long hill. And loved cheering everyone on. I was okay with traffic control (luckily a lightly traveled road) but much better with the cheering runners on, lol! Will definitely be doing this again!

12/18-Horse-Shoe Trail FatAss 50k. This one was a sort of last minute thing that we were invited to and used it as a training run for a race coming up in January by only running 20miles of it. I have to say that this course was harder then I thought it would be and glad I stopped at 20miles to save my legs. It was the perfect distance. Cant wait to do the full 31 next year. Since this was a first year race everyone got finishers medals regardless of distance done.

SUMMARY: What a wonderful crazy year of trail running. From having a plan in January. To the injury in April. And the depression that followed by not being able to run and thinking I would never run again (we all know thats not true but you feel like it at the time!). To the rebuild and discovery of long distance and ultra running! And to finish out my freshman year right, I am 4days away from being voted runner of the month at my local running club (im about 400votes ahead) thanks in part to my good running friends Troy & Sheri.
I love trail running and just being alone out on the trails. But have to say that I met some really great people this year that I wouldnt have otherwise without this thing they have called trail races!!

2012 GOALS: To become faster. Atleast just by a little so that Rik doesnt have to wait so long for me at the end of races. And I can actually run with other people without having to make them double back around to make sure I still alive!!

Happy Trails! Thanks for reading!


  1. Very impressive freshman year of racing, Stacey. You not only ran a variety of races, but you bounced back from an injury and gradually increased your mileage. In the past I have built up to a marathon, and then after the race I sort of run aimless short miles under the assumption that the body needs to recover. You built your mileage safely and then ran a 50K and a 26.2 mile run in quick succession. You're probably in the best shape of your life -- keep it up!

  2. Great Job Stacey! Something to be very proud of!

  3. Your journey is an inspiration! It has been a pleasure getting to know you and a privilege to have you introduce and lead me on the trails! My best wishes to you and Rik for a fabulous new year!

  4. Very nicely done, Stacey! I envy you for all those fantastic races you got to run in just your first year. And, that's in spite of your nasty injury. I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for ya!

  5. Good year for you Stacey. Here's to an even better year in 2012.

  6. Great year in review! Glad to share some of those moments with you this year and looking forward to 2012!