2023 found me toeing the starting line at only one race even though I was mostly injury-free and able to run comfortably using a shorter-distance and fewer-days running schedule that I adopted a few years ago. When I first started this blog almost eleven years ago I declared that I wanted to run forever – I just didn’t realize how drastically I’d have to cut my mileage in order to stay on track with my dream. But continue to run I am and I feel like I’m living the dream to be able to run strong, albeit shorter distances at 66 years of age.
On the flip side, when I started this blog I hated cycling and wouldn’t have believed it if you’d told me that I’d learn to love riding. In hindsight, I wish I’d picked up cycling sooner to lift some of the burden of the constant pounding I put on my body during all those years of training for marathons. These days cycling is a huge part of my cardiovascular training so I’m adding organized cycling events to this year’s Year in Bling recap…
2023 RACE STATS
1 Total Race
0 Local Races/1 Destination Races
1 Age Group Place
4 Racing Miles
37:58 Spent Racing
9:23 Average Pace
What better way to start off Thanksgiving morning than with a race with family, especially since it’s been a longstanding tradition even when traveling. I ran with my son, d-i-l, and her family in the Turkey Dash Charlotte 4-Miler. With so much focus on cycling, my race training cycle was non-existent, but that didn’t stop me from having fun!
How did I do? I probably could have pushed myself a little harder, but overall was okay with my race performance considering my lack of focused training and placed third out of 27 in my 60-69 year old age group. In lieu of age group awards, the race organizers made donations in our honor to a local charity, a wonderful gesture on Thanksgiving.
- 4 miles in 37:58 (9:23 pace)
2023 CYCLING EVENT STATS
1 Century (100 Miles)
2 Gravel Events
1 Road Event
2 Local Events/1 Destination Event
0 Races, All Events
14:17:14 Spent Riding Events
12.9 MPH Average Speed
In my world of cycling, I’ve never raced, just participated in organized events. In 2023, my husband and I participated in three organized events and left two on the table. However, one of those events gave out a participation medal, my only medal of the year in both running and cycling.
In May my husband and I joined our GravelRat friends for our first ever Rockbridge Gravel Grinder in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Overall it was a tough ride on newly spread loose gravel which made it quite challenging, but all-the-more rewarding when finished. The afterparty food spread was one of the most impressive I’ve seen!
- 42 miles in 3:53:32 (10.7 MPH average speed)
2023Loudoun 1725 Gravel Grinder
In June we joined our VeloPig friends for the Loudoun 1725 Gravel Grinder. Our third time riding in this well organized EX2 Adventures event, we had a blast and I had my best yet performance at an organized gravel cycling event, finishing with an average speed of 13.1 MPH.
- 42 miles in 3:13:18 (13.1 MPH average speed)
For our third Reston Century, I had high hopes of outperforming my last two years; however, a new tougher course and overall rough day left me hitting the wall somewhere in the middle of the second half of the ride. I finished the ride with a somewhat disappointing time, but with a smile on my face.
- 100 miles in 7:01:24 (14.3 MPH average speed)
This look back at my 2023 year of racing and cycling reminded me that I’ve still got it. 😉 I don’t run in nearly as many races as I used to because I’ve replaced some of those races with bike rides. A perfect example is on Independence Day when I usually go on a covered bridge bike ride with friends instead of running the Firecracker 5K.
In 2024 I’ll let my heart lead the way when choosing whether to register for a race or plan a bike ride. Whichever I choose, I’m sure to see lots of friends and that’s what’s most important to me!
- • How did your racing year end? ~ I only ran in one race.
- • How many races do you plan to run next year? ~ That’s hard for me to answer because the more involved I get in cycling, the more adventures I have to take me away from running races.
- • Are you running in a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day race? ~ I’m still on the fence. We’ll have to see how the weather plays out…