February - shook off the sicky ickies and headed to Osaka, Japan to run the Senshu International Marathon as part of the Bloomington Sister City Organization runner exchange program. Not a stellar run, 3:04, but an amazing cultural experience!
March - made an attempt to tune up for the Boston Marathon (in April) by doing a couple of local races. The Irish Run 8k, where I learned that in short races, you should run faster (who knew?!). Then had a better day at the MDRA 7-miler, I believe setting a new women's course record on a challenging (hilly) course (40:51).
April - my first Boston Marathon. Wow. What to say about this experience? Got to run as an elite woman = pretty unbelievable. The explosions at the finish line = even more and tragically unbelievable. Didn't have a great run (2:50), but appreciative that everyone I knew made it through the ordeal safe and sound. Also did one of my only adventure races of the year. Headed to Boone, IA for the 12-hour Boonecrusher race with the GearJunkie/WEDALI crew. Had a blast, but adventure racing will be taking a back seat to running for a while.
May - after a horrible winter and a lackluster spring, the tides started to turn for me in May. I bought a house, obviously not running related, but I was pumped about it. And I started my summer racing schedule with a huge PR and women's course record at the Brian Kraft Memorial 5k (16:03).
June - a banner month! Finished my MBA program, moved into my new house, and cranked out a few of my best races ever. Started with Dam to Dam 20k in Iowa (1:10:02 - fourth fastest female time in the race's history), then a fun run 8k in my hometown (26:33), and finally 3rd place at the USA Track & Field Half Marathon Championship (1:11:32). Somebody pinch me, because I still don't believe that happened.
August - the only thing on the agenda was a fundraiser 5k (no official clock and/or results) for one of my good friend's daughter who was born with cystic fibrosis. Pretty cool to run for a good cause and my prize of getting to go on the field and meet the Twins during batting practice wasn't too shabby either.
September - "sickness" reached an all-time unbearable point. After ruling out all of the regular runner maladies: low iron, low hemoglobin, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, low vitamin D, even auto-immune diseases, I skeptically decided to go gluten-free to see what would happen. In the meantime, I tried to race at the USA Track & Field 20k Championship and had one of the worst races of my life. In the scope of world problems, a bad race ranks pretty low, but for a competitive runner the performance I turned in was a big embarrassment and the proverbial final straw...I had to figure out what was going on with my body.
October - well, I'll be a monkey's uncle! After about 5 weeks of being g-free, I started feeling like my old self, yippee! Gone were the headaches, gone was the constant and overwhelming fatigue, and my stomach wasn't in constant turmoil anymore. It didn't really make much sense (I tested negative for Celiac's disease), but the proof was in the pudding for me. With gluten, I felt like garbage. Without gluten, I felt like my old self. So syonara delicious gluten! It was the g-free lifestyle for me from now on. Had planned to run the Twin Cities Marathon but was forced to bow out due the previous few months of health issues.
November - switched running clubs, from MN RED to Twin Cities Track Club, started getting back into the swing of things training-wise, and ran my first cross-country race since college. I had to test out my xc legs because I was going to be joining the TCTC crew for the club cross-country nationals in Bend, OR in December. I also ran in the first-ever USA Track & Field Road Racing Championship 12k. I didn't have my best race ever (41:31), but I was happy just to feel "normal" out there again. The Comeback was on!
December - first race with the TCTC crew: USA Track & Field Club Cross-Country Nationals 6k. Ran unexpectedly well (22:29) on a pretty technical course (by roadie standards). 15th place which meant I was invited to two different world championship cross-country races IF anyone in the top 9 couldn't/didn't want to go. Unfortunately I missed the chance to represent the US in international competition by THIS MUCH, but I have my eyes on that prize for next year.
And to end the year on a high note: I was named USA Track & Field MN female runner of the year! Boomyah.