Editor's note: I met Jeremy, also known as @spartansailor, a few years ago on Twitter during #runchat. Turns out we are both from the same hometown of Flint, Michigan. We have done a half marathon together and 2 Ragnar Relays so far. He's a terrible influence - I'm currently doing a runstreak in part due to his encouragement, and now he has inspired me to finally commit to a 50k. Enjoy!
I was flattered when Emily asked me to write a guest spot… then, I realized that I’ve never written a blog before and have NO IDEA what I’m doing. So, much like everything I do… I’ll just jump right in.
Just a quick bit about me to set the stage… I really enjoy running. I wake up each morning and look forward to when I can put some miles under my shoes and get outside—until I get my run, it dominates my every thought. So far I have managed to make it out the door and run every day since January 2013. That’s right, I’m a streaker :), and a half-fanatic. A few years ago I also started a quest to run a half marathon in each of the 50 states plus Washington D.C.
Since this blog is about Emily’s traveling and running, I’ll write a little about my recent 6 weeks of running and traveling fun!!
Mid to late September, I took an interest in trail running and decided it would be a nice change to give a trail race a shot. Like any reasonable runner looking for a first trail race, I registered for the Patapsco 50K in Maryland. I mean, who wouldn’t jump into trail running by doing a 50K? 31... 13… pretty much the same thing, right?
Come race day, I was there early (as is my normal). I had come to terms with the fact that it was going to be a long day… and I was right. In fact, 31 miles just wasn’t enough to get the full ULTRA experience. So, after around mile 11, I decided to go off and explore a bit on my own and added 3 miles to the day. Ugh… but wait, there’s more. After reaching mile 31/28 (me/race), I just had to go off course AGAIN and add another mile. By the time I reached the finish, I had run 35 miles and accumulated nearly 5000ft elevation gain for my first 50K. The best parts were the river crossings… absolutely amazing! Now I have this badass hand-crafted mug to commemorate the day.
CLEARLY I was smart and allowed myself to recover according to the “rest a day for every mile” theory, right? Absolutely…. So long as you consider a trail half in Texas 6 days later as recovery. Texas “hill country” is essentially flat by the standard established the weekend prior. However, I do NOT like heat and humidity and this race was not easy for me by any stretch. I DID get to run with another good friend, Jen. She, of course, was running on SUPER fresh legs and led the way most of the day… she had only run 31 miles the day before. Yeah… the DAY BEFORE! She’s an animal. Jen was training for the Brazos Bend 100M—which she crushed, btw… she is easily on my hero list.
Now it’s time to rest… right? Exactly. My "rest" included running another trail half the next weekend along the Potomac River in Washington D.C. My goal was to enjoy the day, and I did. The day was a perfect 30 degrees F—MUCH preferred to the previous weekend in the 80s in Texas. Fantastic volunteers and the race did loops which meant there was a lot of interaction with fellow runners essentially the entire race… At the finish, I was surprised to find that I was 7th overall and 2nd in my AG. HA! Trust me that was NOT expected
A couple weeks later I found myself in Orlando, FL, for a work trip. I went down a couple days early to run the OUC Half in Orlando. I had not yet run a half in FL, so this was a great opportunity to pick up a new state. I did not run this race very fast—again, heat and humidity are my nemesis—so instead decided to take it easy like a slow long run and relax.
In the past, I have seen “unofficial” aide stations that offered runners beer and/or shots, but normally just cruise right by—this day was different. I wasn’t feeling my best during this race and decided to accept the gracious offer of a beer along the course. I’m not talking about a little tiny sip either—this was a full-on Red Solo-Cup full of beer. Those who know me know that I don’t really like to stop during races… So, I slammed that beer with visions of my old college days at Michigan State (GO GREEN!!!). Of course, once you start the beer stops you can’t skip the next ones, right?
A new PR was established while running my FL half marathon—most alcoholic drinks consumed WHILE running—3 full beers and a shot of fireball!! Let’s just say… this did NOT make me run any better. But I did finish under 1:45, so… nothing to complain about.
**In case you actually have not kept track… that was 4 races, in 4 different states. Now, onto the 5th and final of this blog debut…
A week after my race in FL, I was in VA for the Holiday Half. In fact, I had only returned from FL the day before the race… Unfortunately I have no pictures from this race, but I really did enjoy it. The course had a nice mixture of easy trails that were covered in snow and paved trails. No streets! That was nice.
To close out 2017, I ran 5 races in 5 states in 42 days…
In the end, 2017 has been a fun year of running and travel. At the end of the year, I ran 8 half marathons in 7 different states, 3 Ragnar Relays in 3 different states, and ran my first Ultra Marathon. I set PRs at 13.1 (an actual time based PR, not just a drinking PR), 5K, 10K and 50K (1st time at any distance is an automatic PR!). Not only did I set those PRs, I broke my 5/10K PRs from 15 years ago when I was in my 20s—take THAT, young Jeremy!
I put 5 pair of shoes to their graves and accumulated just over 2000 wonderful miles. My running streak has exceeded 1800 days and is approaching 5 straight years. I continue to meet the most wonderful people and look forward to what 2018 brings.
Thanks to Emily for the chance to share just a sliver of my story as a guest blogger. Run happy, my friends…
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!