In October I got an invitation to participate in a relay, something I hadn't done since the high school 4 x 4. But this relay was of a different sort - a 200 mile trek across the state of Kentucky along the famed Bourbon Trail. 12 runners, 2 vans, 24 hours of running. You had me at bourbon.
Nuun Hydration, my hydration sponsor, invited me to join the Bourbon Chase Nuun team. At at time when I'd been struggling with my running, doing a relay with a bunch of passionate, enthusiastic, and joyful runners was just what the doctor ordered.
I drove down to Kentucky a few short days after competing in the Tufts 10K and finishing more than a minute slower than my 10K road PR. My legs were tired but my heart was full - I couldn't wait to meet all these Twitter and blogging friends that I've come to know and share a sisterhood (and brotherhood!) with through the online running community.
With vans decorated and stocked with copious amounts of bagels, peanut butter, bars, licorice, and of course Nuun, we took off for the first relay exchange. Our van consisted of me, Mason (Nuun's former CEO), Kevin of Modcraft, Sarah of Once Upon a Lime fame, and Sarah's sister Mel and friend Dan (fellow Clevelanders!). The six of us embarked on a 24 hour journey together -- good thing we ended up loving each other!
The relay was a blast! During each of my 3 legs (19+ miles total!), I was challenged and at times hurting, but mostly joyful. It was hands-down the most fun running thing I've ever done. Running alone at 11 pm along a lonely Kentucky highway, I ran scared (of the dark!) but fast - 5:50 pace had never felt so easy! Then again at 6:30 am, into wind and rain and with intense stomach cramps, I pushed myself, knowing that my teammates were doing the same. Then finally in my last leg, my longest and most challenging, I ran inspired and happy, thankful for all the awesome things I've gotten to experience because of running.
|Relay exchange, getting the baton from Mason|
|Running joyfully in the home stretch of my last leg|
|Thanks x a million to Nuun for making this happen!|
November was highlighted by lots of hours at the office, miles on the road, and family time. Although it was busy, it was productive, and I'm looking forward to reaping the rewards in 2014.
I kicked off the month running the inaugural Pittsburgh 10-Miler. Brother Brendan was also racing and the Gregg siblings had a fine showing - 6th place for me and 7th for him in a strong men's field. I love when our racing schedules cross paths and we get to spend time together doing what we love most :)
November also brought snow and cold to Ohio -- winter arrived far too early for my liking! I ran (or rather, slid!) through the snowy streets of Cleveland during the Turkey Trot and I hosted my first Thanksgiving dinner. I was also lucky to have little sister Kallie visit for the holiday!
December brought even more snow to Cleveland, making workouts and long runs all the more challenging. 2 mile repeats on snow covered streets? No thanks!
When the snow is this deep, you sure miss California...
...thankfully, I got a week off for Christmas (see ya, snowy Ohio!) and am currently soaking up the sun (and Vitamin D!) in California. With ocean views and trails for days, this joyful runner needs nothing more. Here's to a fun and fast 2014!