Saying Good-bye to 2014 & Hello to 2015!

Hey all!  It's been a while since I have posted.  December was a bit stressful for me and included an injury that sidelined me for most of about 2 weeks or so.  But, now it's time to look back at 2014 and ahead to 2015.

Final Race of 2014: My final race in 2014 was the 4 mile RCC Run the Woods trail race in Earlham, IA.  I went back this year with two kids.  My son who ran his first four miler here last year knocked several minutes off his time, having just concluded cross-country season a few weeks beforehand while my oldest daughter accomplished her first four miler ever.  She had quite a year completing three big girl races, 1.6 mile, 5K, and 4 miles.  All were trail races.  I got her to the finish line at this one, but it wasn't easy, and we were pretty close to last, but we finished!!! :)  

Final Tally for 2014: Due to a sinus infection around Thanksgiving and an injury for a good chunk of December, my goal of running 1200 miles in 2014 slowly slipped out of my grasp and instead I had to motivate myself towards the end with several other little goals along the way.  My year ended with 1152.26 miles, just over 96% of my goal, a bit over 22 miles per week, and a bit less than a mile per week more than the year before in 2013.  

Highlights of 2014:  (There are probably too many to list!)  But, my running highlights for 2014 included big PR's at the Hawkeye 25K in March and TNF ECS Trail Marathon WI in September.   Finishing the Zumbro 17 Miler in April after having been sick for 48 hours beforehand and in tough conditions, was, believe it or not, awesome. I also enjoyed racing several times with my kids.  The TNF weekend in WI being a big highlight for many of them!

In addition starting this blog and developing friendships worldwide via social media in the running community has been a blast.  It's been awesome getting to know so many of you, encourage and be encouraged, and in having the opportunity to interview people about their own race experiences.  

I also had a great time volunteering at this year's Runner's Flat 50K, 20M, 10M race in Cedar Falls, IA, the same race where I both finished my first 50K and DNFed my second! I believe that volunteering ought to be mandatory for any long distance racer just as they do in many of the big 100 mile races like Hardrock.

Finally, I have really enjoyed being a part of The Runner's Tea team as an ambassador.  Please make sure to check out there line of teas and my reviews all of which can be linked through this:
Runner's Tea Review & Links  Great stuff!  I had a great time being interviewed by Caity McCardell about my running and the tea.

Goals for 2015:  1200 miles, again.  January is not starting off so well again, (it's been bitter cold here all week in subarctic Iowa), but this number is totally attainable.  In addition, I am counting my miles this year towards the miles run by #teamhumanrace in the Earthathon Relay.  In this online running event, runners from all around the world are teaming up to see who can run the first 25,000 mile lap around the globe while we also encourage each other to corporately run 10 laps and 250,000 miles during 2015!  Pretty cool and I get to run on a team of a bunch of Twitter friends led by our fearless Captain Penny!!! :)

Also, I am running these 1200 miles this year to raise money for charity.  After much consideration, I choose Blood:Water, an organization that the rock group Jars of Clay helped found.  This charity's desire is to seek to end both the water and HIV/AIDS crises in Africa.  I am seeking to raise $3,000.00.  My page is Fartlek For Africa, and no, that's not potty talk! :)  If you don't know what a fartlek is, then check out my page and there's a link to the definition, but I would guess most of you runners probably already know!  But I did create a new word I think, I am fartleking for Africa!  (Or is that 2 k's=fartlekking?)

I am also continuing in my role as a product ambassador for The Runner's Tea and proud to do so. Their products taste good, settle well, and work.  They've been great to represent and be a part of these last several months.  

My racing schedule is not quite as developed as last year at this time.  Two of the races I did last year are on the same date, so I had to pick one over the other and decided to run Zumbro again, and not Hawkeye.  I loved the Zumbro course last year and want to make a major dent in my overall time for the 17 miler this year.  Great course with over 3000ft of elevation gain in just 16.7 miles.  I hope to catch some of the regular local races here in Iowa and possibly a few out west as I have time.

Finally, I am working with the Hardin County Conservation Committee and we are (tentatively) planing a 5K/15K trail race for September 26, 2015.  These races will incorporate 3 conservation areas just north of Steamboat Rock, Iowa and include a crossing of the Iowa River for those running the 15K.  There are some great trails out there with some short, but steep killer climbs!  

Let me close by saying thanks be to God for the ability I have to run and do all that I have, can, and will.  I love this passage from Isaiah 40:

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

May 2015 be a great year, a blessed year for each and everyone of you!  Now go out and run!  Thanks to all who made 2014 such a great year!