Monday, December 12, 2022

My Year of Bling and No Bling: 2022

After the disruption of the past 2 years, 2022 was the year when races and running returned to normal! Maybe a little too normal, as I ran 3 long distance races in the time span of 5 weeks. These were races that had been deferred from the year before.. I did DNS one fall race, a deferral from last year due to my broken leg. I didn't let the training go to waste though, using it to finish up the Mammoth Hike Challenge with a 14 mile run.

There were a couple of 5ks too. Those races rekindled my love for speed and pushing my pace. I'm considering working on that for 2023. But I'm getting ahead of myself--this is a recap!

All in all, this year was a really great comeback from a rough 2021! I've linked the title of each event to the summary if you want more details.

Frozen Gnome 10k

In 2021, I ran a virtual version of this event on the actual course. This year, I was excited to run the actual race and it did not disappoint. Having run it before gave me familiarity with the course, which was helpful since this race is really hilly! I ran it in cold and windy conditions with my friend Tricia and we had a really fun time going up and down the hills. My favorite part of the race? That would be 'Buttslide Hill', where runners are encouraged to yes, slide down the hill on their butts. I'm looking forward to sliding down it again in January!

Earth Day 15 mile Trail Race

Several of my Trail Sisters were planning on running this race, so it was a go for me! The Earth Day Trail races take place on the same trails as the Frozen Gnome. The 15 mile race requires runners to run 3 5 mile loops around the very hill preserve. Loop one was frustratingly slow as the single track was clogged with 5 mile runners. Loop 2 was much better as there were fewer runners on the trail. Loop 3 was where I hit the wall because I didn't fuel properly. There was a well-stocked fueling station, so I had no excuse. Very enthusiastic and costumed volunteers made this race really fun and I will do it again in 2023, using the lessons I learned to have a better experience!

Tear Drop Half Marathon

Another race that had been canceled the past 2 years, I was excited to sign up for this one with my friend Holly! The race is a net downhill that takes place in Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth GA. Even though it was the week after Earth Day, I figured the downhills would carry me to a strong finish. Whelp, there were uphills too. There was also heat and humidity. I had some high heart rate issues in the beginning, which forced me to slow down. I finally found a groove about halfway down the mountain. Somehow, I managed to snag 2d in my AG, about 8 minutes behind Holly!

Ice Age Trail Half Marathon

Finally! After multiple deferments due to the pandemic and my injury, the race I had been wanting to do for several years was here. Three weeks after Teardrop, I hoped that those hills and the hills of Earth Day would serve me well on the Wisconsin terrain. What didn't serve me well was an unexpected heat wave, with temperatures in the 80s at the start of the race. Half Marathoners ran 2 loops of the course, but already on loop one, I knew I was in trouble. I hydrated aggressively, and I stuffed my bra with ice, but when I crossed that finish line, I felt pretty bad. I didn't love the course, which was run more on cross-country ski trails than the actual IAT. But I'm glad I did it!

Stampede 5k

Another race that returned after 2 years off due to Covid, I was so excited to line up for my hometown Fourth of July race. I've run this race, as well as the 10k, multiple times over the past (eek!) 25 years. The weather was perfect this year, but I was struggling with knee pain due to a fall on the trails earlier in the week. My Trail Sister Leanne lined up with me. I felt surprisingly good, good enough for a 2 place AG award!

Brooks Run Happy Camp

Not a race but a really fun running experience, I wanted to share it here. Along with about 100 other Run Happy Team members, I traveled to Park City, Utah for a whirlwind weekend of running and fun, all courtesy of Brooks. Deborah and I roomed together and as it turns out, we were very good traveling companions. We were able to meet many running friends that we'd only known from social media and made lots of new friends. The highlight for me was the trail run. The altitude kicked my butt, but oh, that scenery...

Wisconsin Fall Colors Run 7.2 miles

Another race that had been canceled the past 2 years, the Ice Age Trail Alliance Lodi chapter brought it back! I was excited because this low-key race is run on the Gibraltar Segment of the IAT, where I run regularly. There was no time clock as this race was a 'fun run' to benefit the IAT. No matter, a nice-sized group of enthusiastic participants showed up on a gorgeous fall day to run one of the 3 distances. I chose the "8 mile" distance. I had fun on this one and made a new friend, who I hope to meet up with again!

Mammoth Hike Challenge

More of a cumulative mileage challenge than a race, the Mammoth Hike Challenge required participants to complete a total of 42 miles on the IAT during the month of October. Last year, I hiked the challenge as I recovered from my injury. This year, I ran it. I knew that collecting the miles would be tough because I was traveling for a week in the middle of the month. But on the very last day of October, I completed the entire Blackhawk segment, which was 14 miles total, and I got my 42 miles. What a blast!

Long Grove Turkey Trot 5k

I hadn't run a Turkey Trot for the past couple of years, but I was excited to sign up for this one! My youngest agreed to run it with me and one of his rugby friends joined us for Thanksgiving, which meant he was in too! Several of my Trail Sisters also participated. I was surprised when the boys stayed with me for the entire race, even though I told them to run ahead. This pushed me to a nice finish and made the after race beer and donuts taste even sweeter!

How was your year? Did you have deferrals to use from the pandemic? Any challenges? What was your favorite event of the year? It's hard for me to pick a favorite, but I'm going with Camp Run Happy! 

I'm linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics, with the Runners' Roundup: DebbieDeborahJen, and Lisa.


  1. Love that butt slide... can't wait untll you do it again.

    You had a lot of fun this year... so many different things.

    No deferrals... yes many tried and true races plus some new ones.

    I'll share next Tues.

    I think my favorite was Shape in Central in April... 5.6 miles and peak Cherry blossoms and hanging out with Cari.

    1. I'm looking forward to Frozen Gnome in January! I've got some other things cooking, too!

  2. Nice variety of races! Isn't it great to finally have some semblance of normalcy return to our sport? That Buttslide Hill cracks me up (no pun intended).

  3. You had a great year of running and racing! I only did one race, which was a half that I had been signed up for in 2020. However, I had opted to run it virtually that year so I did have to register again. Can't wait to see all the fun adventures you have in 2023!

    1. I don't have much on the calendar yet, but I'm sure it will fill up quickly!!

  4. So many trail races! That is so awesome. You had a great comeback year and I expect 2023 will be even better. I did one race this year, a 5k that I switched to when my plantar fasciitis was bad and I knew I couldn't do the half. Hopefully it will stay away as I've already signed up for two half marathons next year.

    1. I hope that PF stays away too! I feel like it is always lurking...

  5. What an awesome year! You did so well in all these races, especially considering that you were coming back from injury. Your photos are fabulous, too.
    I'm sure that 2023 will be an even more incredible year for you. You have such a great fitness regime - CrossFit, strength training and trail running. Your peers will have a hard time keeping up with you. I see some 1st place age groups in your near future!

    1. You have WAY more confidence in me than I do, lol. But I'm all about having fun while I'm running and if that is the outcome, I'm good!

  6. Amazing year!
    As you know, we didn't have too much of a COVID disruption here. Some of the smaller races are gone or struggling to come back, but everything has pretty much gone on as normal. Your photos are so gorgeous! That buttslide is a framer!

    1. It's nice that we've mostly returned to normal. I feel like we lost so much those 2 years.

  7. A great year of running and racing for you! I love how you have really embraced trail running. Looking forward to seeing what you've got planned for 2023!

  8. Another fun year of running for you, especially the trip for the Brooks Run Happy camp!

  9. What a fabulous year! Cannot wait to hear what you have planned out for next year!