The Best of 2017!

What an epic year 2017 has been!

Seems an appropriate time to reflect on what has gone down during this year, and have a sneaky peek ahead to 2018!

Because I’m in lazy mode, this post is probably going to be full of links to other posts! Why reinvent the wheel?

Let’s go right back to the start. My first big event of the year was the 100km track championships. It was my second year in a row competing in this event. I probably said ‘never again’ afterwards. Well, I haven’t entered yet, but needless to say I WILL be going back to do it all again next month!

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Running-wise, probably the big highlight of 2017 would have to be the Boston Marathon. You might want to make yourself a cup of tea before reading that one – it’s a bit of an epic!

Qualifying for Boston was the main focus of the first half of 2016. It (and the accompanying coast to coast USA trip) would be my 40th birthday present to myself! So I guess it’s appropriate that the story of the race itself was a big one!

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Boston was not, of course, the only highlight of the trip!

From New York to San Francisco, I had a ball! Sport, music, culture, you name it, I did it! And the food, oh the food!

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I did manage to sneak in the occasional run too! From the Brooklyn Bridge at the start of the trip…
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… to the Golden Gate at the end!

But if I had to pick just ONE highlight from the trip, it wouldn’t be running-related at all. (Well, there was some running involved. I practically had to run to make my bus back to NYC the next morning!) Finally getting to see Def Leppard live was one of the highlights of the whole year, I had been wanting to see them for 25 years and after not being allowed to go at the age of 15, the timing had never worked out before. When I found out that they were touring North America at the same time as me, even though our itineraries did not quite match up, I did manage to make a little side trip to Connecticut! Hopefully the next time I see them will be in Australia, otherwise I can see more overseas travel coming up!

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Two words. FUCK. YEAH!

So getting back to Australia and more active pursuits, I had a couple more gigs as a half marathon pacer – firstly at the Barossa Marathon and then at Adelaide where I also had my 15 milliseconds of fame!

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Trying to blend in at Barossa…
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…and seeing my mug on the big screen as I ran onto the Adelaide Oval!

I ‘upgraded’ at the semi-last minute from the 6 hour to the 12 hour, at the Adelaide 24 hour festival. Very happy with that decision, I finished 2nd behind the remarkable Amelia who smashed out almost 130km in 12 hours!

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Thanks to Amelia for the picture. That’s me on the left, Amelia in the middle and Michelle on the right.

After 12 months or so of avoiding hills, I got my hill legs back in the second half of the year. It started with the Tower Trail Run in Mount Gambier, a fantastic weekend away and a surprisingly good run (meaning that I was surprised with how well I ran – I never doubted that it would be a great event!)

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Pic from the Tower Trail Run courtesy of Sputnik!

My other big hilly run for the year was the Heysen 35. Many ‘accused’ me of being ‘soft’ but I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to top my 105km from last year, and I preferred to do something different where it would be a guaranteed PB! Plus, it gave me the opportunity to be part of the awesome finish line party! (Incidentally, the 35 contains about half of the elevation gain of the 105. So it’s far from an ‘easy’ option!)

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With Adam not long after our little ‘detour’!
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Decision to run the 35k vindicated by a 3rd place finish, Marlize was just ahead in 2nd.

 

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The finish line setup – pretty sweet!

I finally got a bike! I’m still very much a newbie at it, but since getting the bike in July I’ve managed to master cleats, starting to get the hang of gears, and I’ve ridden in my first community ride and also conquered the famous Norton Summit! I’m not signing up for the Tour Down Under just yet though! Early days…

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With Beck and Karen after my longest ever ride at about 55km!

 

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With Karen after successfully conquering Norton Summit!

Once I had the bike, I had pretty much run out of excuses not to get involved in multisport events, namely duathlon and triathlon!

I did my first duathlon after only a couple of rides on the bike, and because it was only a very short ride, I decided to do the ride in my running shoes, to make transitions quicker! I was nowhere near ready to race in cleats, and I figured it was better to jump in not quite ready, than to wait until I was ready, by which time the duathlon season would be over!

The next step was my first triathlon, which I completed in November and absolutely loved! I had hoped to do more triathlons this season but each one clashed with a running event! And I am, after all, a runner first, triathlete second! I do have one more tri planned before the end of the season, and am eyeing off Murray Man in 2018.

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With Karen after we’d both completed our first triathlon!

Back to non-running things, I had a few changes in my appearance during the year! In February I had my head shaved as part of the Leukaemia Foundation’s ‘World’s Greatest Shave’ which I had done twice before. I actually quite like the ‘buzz cut’ look – and talk about low maintenance (not to mention aerodynamic!).

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Don’t let the picture fool you – I actually did really like it!

Then, when it grew back long enough for me to get my first haircut, I decided on a dramatic change and went blonde for the first time in my life! (It was inspired by a mullet wig I wore to the Guns N’Roses concert – a few people commented that the colour suited me, and the seed was planted!)

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With the lovely Mel before the Gunners concert. (That’s not my real hair!)
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June 1 2017 – I am now blonde!

I’ll finish off by talking a bit about being involved in races ‘from the other side’!

This year I MC’d my first race at Mt Crawford and then was asked to MC the Yurrebilla 56k Ultra which was just the best fun EVER! I’m a bit torn because I think I’d like to run Yurrebilla in 2018 but if for some reason I can’t, or choose not to, I’d love to MC again!

 

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A tiger with a pistol at Belair…
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…and Snow White with a mic and a bottle of red at Athelstone!

Obviously that’s just a taste of the year that was 2017 – just a few of many highlights! And a few hints of what is to come in 2018!

What were YOUR highlights of 2017? Could you pick just one?

 

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