End of the World “Big Year”!

Last year, GD came up with a genius idea. Since 2012 was going to be the first full year we lived in Cape May Point, he wanted to do a Big Year south of Sunset Boulevard. To the non-birders out there, a Big Year is when you pick a geographic location and try and see as many birds as possible in its perimeters over the course of 365 days. You may have seen the shitty movie of the same name with Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson, which tells the story of a North American Big Year competition. Yeah, it got the basics right, but completely missed the quirky and charming side of birding that makes it so endearing. Anywho, GD decided that since the end of the world was imminent, it simply would not do to start his Big Year on 1/1/2012, since if we all go up on smoke (or whatever the believers think is going to happen to us), he would be robbed of 10 days of birding. That’s not a big year, that’s 97.19% of a big year! So on 12/21/11 at 11:11pm he started his big year. He has been wildly successful, seeing a total of 290 birds (as of 9am that is – he is out there now and still has 14 hours to work with) in this little corner of the world (yeah, there’s a reason Cape May is considered one of the world’s birding meccas) including finding a Townsend’s Warbler just last week in our yard!! This is a bird that has only been three times in Cape May County, the last being in 1987. So yeah, if the world ends today, he’ll disintegrate as one happy man!

I have never kept close tabs on a whole year of running – I am great about logging runs when training for something, but not in those weeks/months in between when just running for fun. So I too embarked on a Big Year. Mine did not end on quite the same bang as GD’s, but I sure did have some great runs along the way, the highlights of which I will share below. But first, let’s do the numbers (said in  my best Kai Ryssdal voice):

Total Miles Run: 1,781.59  (those of you who know me know I must be taking resting seriously because I would never willingly leave a dangling decimal like that! That .59 is going to irk me for all eternity)

Total Time: 288 hours, 43 minutes, 8 seconds

Pairs of Shoes: 3

GUs consumed: 44 

Highlights: Even though the year ended on a whimper, the 11 months that preceded the one I could not run were just spectacular! I ran in new states, countries, did my first ultra, PRed in the marathon and had lots of great runs with friends. Here are some that I will always look back fondly on:

2/25/12 –  City Running Tours Washington DC with Lil Sis

Can you tell which sisters like to get into the role playing spirit? lol

Can you tell which runners like to get into the role playing spirit? Hint: it’s not the blonde chick in black. Yo, sister, it’s a bread line in the Great Depression. No way are you looking that perky! Unless Peeta has been sneaking you bread? hmmm….

3/4/12B & A Marathon. Road trip with Melissa – oddly no photos! It’s a special race to me, for a bunch of personal reasons, and was an excellent reminder of why going somewhere new with friends and running is the best thing since… well, since going somewhere new and running with friends!

4/6/12 – New England trip with Laur and Kat – I like running with friends so much I decided to do it again a month later! We hit 4 states in 3 days, alternating between running and visiting chocolate shops (Oh, LA Burdick, I still dream of you and you picturesque little shop with your sweet little mice!). We also visited our friends Derek and Jeanette and did a race with Jeanette.

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5/19/12Kashi Classic!!! Gets the medal for my favorite day of running for the year, and also a medal for one of my favorite friend days of the year – you guys (pictured and not) are superstars!

Group finish line

6/27/12Wednesdays night group runs! Can’t wait to start these back up in the spring 🙂 All are welcome!

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7/4/124th of July run…in Brazil!! Thanks again for the trip, Claud!

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7/26/12Mug Run – Another Round! Awesome CIR run, more of these in the future (and by more, I mean runs and beers!)

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7/28/12 – Rhode Island Rhodetrip with sissy!!! Nothing better than a road trip with my sis. Lil sis, how about 13 road trips for 2013???

sissy RI

8/17/12 – Running the race that wasn’t with GD. One of my biggest joys this year was running with my husband. Watching his endurance grow week to week, his body mold into that of a runner’s and feeling him by my side as we pitter-patted across the country on runs near and far from home will always make 2012 an amazing year of running for me.

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These are our normal expressions when running together. Me: “Ohmygod, ohmygod, isn’t it just the greatest thing ever that we are running together?? I love you so much, I love running so much, life is amazing and the best thing ever, ohmygod!!” GD: “Umm, that’s nice honey. How about we just enjoy the silence of the outdoors, huh?” lol

10/13/12Schalick Alumni Run 5k. Awesome, awesome day. It won’t be the last time this run makes an end of the year list, I dare say. Save the date for 10 August 2013 for the next one!! Bigger and better, but with the same retro outfits!

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11/18/12Philadelphia Marathon. And this is where the list ends for my Big Year – I have barely run since. BUT on that day, I PRed, GD, Tiff and Scott all had great races, I got to spend time with the LaBrees, and my family was there to share in my happiness and support us (as they can always be counted on to do). I console myself with the pep talk that I gave myself at Mile 21: “Yes, this hurts. But you better enjoy it cause you might not be running for awhile after this!” So I did and had a great, great day.

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So my Big Year ends (on a weird decimal, but hey, it’s not big deal. It’s definitely not bothering me. At all.). Looking back, I am filled with a pang (ok, it’s more a cacophony of pangs) that I am not out there, doing some crazy run on this last day of my big year. But the feeling of gratitude, that I live a life where these running adventures are possible, is outshining the pangs. My leg is on the mend, my family and friends are happy and healthy, I have a husband that I love more than anything and a mind filled with treasured moments in time that I can revisit again and again (which I do, especially while aquajogging!).

For everyone I ran with from 12/21/11 – 12/21/12, thank you for all those miles.  For anyone I did not, I hope we meet out there, two adventurers sharing the road and trails, in 2013! Run on, friends!

What were your 2012 running highlights?

PS Meg, if you are reading this HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Can’t wait to give you a big ‘ol birthday hug, either next week or somewhere in the Great Beyond!!

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