Best Race Experience: Hands down Running with the Cows! They always know how to put on an amazing race! Between the super cute merchandise, the huge party afterwards, and the change back to the old course, I will always love this race. While my spring plans are changed, and I might not be able to run this race since it will be so close to my 50K, If I can, I will run it and will continue to run this race forever and ever :) This year was the perfect storm of cool temps and low humidity, which helped me reach my current half PR of 2:05. PR or not, this is my favorite race of the year and one that will keep me smiling forever!
I will have to give an honorable mention here though to the Kansas Rails to Trails crew. Talk about the BEST aid stations EVER! I have never been taken such good care of at a race. I will NEVER forgot how wonderful those ladies were at the last manned aid station on my way back to the finish. They took such great care of me, filling my water bottles, cooling me down with an ice cold towel around my neck, and getting me some flat coke to drink. Going into those tents at the manned aid stations were like walking into a golden corral. Every food you could possible need was present and displayed! I am sure this is standard at most ultras but it blew me away!
Best Run: SO hard to pick just one. Many beautiful sunsets witnessed out on the prairie. So many tough training runs accomplished. While I focused more on mileage and less on speed, I didn't have those huge highs that come from nailing a tough work out, but I did have some highs from hitting mileage that I had never done before in training. I did multiple 20 mile runs this year and some 22 mile runs!
Best New Piece of Gear: My ultimate direction AK 2.0 vest and my gypsy runner double pocket shorts are a tie. Both helped me run efficiently this year and make it through the heat of training in yet another Kansas summer. I LOVE the body bottles and how they fit in the pack, and I love having more pockets:) I am a pack mule when it comes to training and racing and love having everything I need on my body. I really like having the shorts and the vest so I can pack my vest with fuel and my shorts can contain my giant phone in it's otterbox case.
Best Running Advice you have Received this year: Don't pee right before you run, especially an ultra! I seriously learned the hard way on this one. I am a nervous pee-er, and I thought that emptying my bladder 2 minutes before the gun went off would be a good deal. I chaffed the inside of my bladder basically, and peed blood for 2 days. Running an ultra is hard and running an ultra with an angry chaffed bladder doesn't make it better. Lesson learned, start out with a little pee in the tank.
Most inspirational Runner: Meb. Hands down. Watching him run at the trials and then at the olympics was amazing. When he fell at the finish line and did some push ups to show how tough (and that he has a sense of humor even at the olympics) he was just showed what an amazing character he is. He isn't much older than me, so if he can go out and push it and train for all of these big races, so can i for my little races :)
Favorite picture from a run or race this year: Don't make me choose just one!!!
Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat! I feel like this post is pretty much about the same two races but when you love a race, you just love it! I will take the experience of the aid stations from Rails to Trails and the pre and post run from Running with the Cows. I can't wait to do more ultras to see if that is the experience that all have at these distances.
Of course I also love Wicked here in my hometown of Wamego KS! Who doesn't love Oz themed gear and medals, a start and finish within walking distance of my front door, and running through the cute little town I love? Come join me and run with me this spring in the flint hills of Kansas! Go to this link to sign up!
If you could sum up your year in one or two words, what would they be? Epic and crazy
Bring on 2017! Planning at least one ultra and 2 fulls! Let's do this!