Year in Review 2020/2021

To me, the past two years seem to be a continuation of the same year. A global pandemic still ever present, and the world trying to figure out what this new normal will look like. Racing will never be the same, and maybe that’s ok.

I have been working on the past couple months to provide a recap of racing and accomplishments of all my athletes over the past two years. I have been in awe the way all my athletes were able to get through personal goals and get back to racing. The ability to take time for themselves and re-evaluate running and the way it fits in their lives is just as valuable. Without further ado, on this last week of 2021, I am going to share these highlights with you. Buckle up because you are in for a ride!

Jessica A: Moving and the pandemic definitely showed how resilient she has been. She ran a solo marathon in December of 2020 with a time 4:19. We set a goal to run a 50K for her birthday in April of 2021 and she did it, the furthest she has run at once! Then in October of 2021 she ran her virtual Boston, again a solo marathon. She crushed it! Got a PR and broke 4 hours with a 3:58:15. I am beyond proud of this woman who was not afraid to speak up about our coaching/athlete relationship. Voicing what she needs, what was working, and what wasn’t. This kind of honesty and conversations make me a better coach and person. Cheers to you Jessica!

Megan F: This lady contacted me early in 2021 excited to have someone to run with and very interested in camp. She moved here from the Bay Area for work and has a small daughter. She was looking for some coaching to get back into running postpartum. She began racing trails and road. It was evident that she has talent, we just needed to regain confidence and get her stomach on board. She ran many races over the summer and fall, ending her season with a big marathon PR at Lakefront Marathon of 3:19! Not to mention that almost every race she entered she either won or podiumed! She has become a dear friend who I am lucky to run with in person! Can’t wait to see what we do in 2022!

Sara D: In the short time we have been working together, she has done a ton. This woman is motivated and has big goals, and is not afraid to go after them. Her ability to also balance life and the relationships that are important to her is something to take notice of. She came to me with the big goal of getting to Boston, she had yet to run a marathon in a actual race. She began with a solo marathon breaking 4 hours with 3:57:21. In that same month she ran her first of many half marathons in 1:51. She then ran another half in August with a time of 1:48:31, and then again in December at CIM as part of the marathon relay with an impressive PR of 1:40:51. She made her journey from Colorado to Wisconsin to run the Lakefront Marathon and ran her first in person marathon with a 3:49:47!  The progress and discipline is paramount. I love the way we are able to strengthen her mind and body while taking plenty of downtime! 2022, we are coming for you!

Kara G: This woman who fell into my path almost by sheer accident, has been a gem. She has a goal, and at the time we started together it was a year out. She is no stranger to hard work and running long. Not many races on her calendar these past 6 months, but lots of growth as a person and as an athlete. A few minor injuries were lessons in patience and an opportunity to build the mental toughness. She usually embraces my ideas and has fun ways to adapt due to weather. I am excited to see where this next year takes us, and to be there on the trail when you crush your ultra!

Kamesh: This guy! With a busy life and living basically on the surface of the sun, the majority of his training is done under less than ideal conditions. He always preservers and has the best attitude. To be that humble is rare. He raced a decent amount these past two years and I hope I didn’t miss much. His main goal race that we talked about when our journey together is the Speedgoat 50K. He ran it for the first time in July of 2020  in about 10.5 hours. The next month he ran a 12 hour race in August of 2020 getting in 41.3 miles in just over 10 hours. and coming in third. In the beginning of 2021 he ran a trail marathon in early February with an astounding time of 3:44:27 coming in first! A few weeks later he ran a looped 50K in 4:09:04 taking the win again, and was confident he would have shaved off 10 min to get under 4 hours if he hadn’t gotten lost twice! He then made his way back to Speedgoat in July of 2021, shaving over almost 1.5 hours off his previous time a year before finishing with 8:51:39 for the 50K. His last race for the year was the Austin Rattler 50K, a much flatter race then the last 50K he ran. He finished in 3:56:25 finishing 11th overall. His racing is impressive, but his energy around it all and taking things as they are is even more so. Even though I have yet to meet him in person, I feel like I know him well. Big goals and a 100 miler in the future is super fun to think about!

Sarah M: This woman here fully embodies the coach love/hate relationship. She may complain or push back on my crazy ideas for her, but will always do them, and do them well. So well, that the woman who adamantly stressed who would not run a marathon, is now training for a marathon in 2022! She ran her first race back at the Providence half in May of 2021 in 1:53:35. In October, she took on the distance again, this time finishing in 1:49:15 with a PR. She ran some fun races throughout the year as well, becoming a super hero to her kids doing the Christmas Eve challenge 4 miles-4 times during the day! Can’t wait to be there when she crushes the marathon!

Christina M: This lady came to Team Bird with full force. Big goals and a ton of heart. Moving across the country and changing jobs has not been easy, but she is coming into her own. Meeting her for the first time this summer when she came to town to run a trail marathon was such a treat! She also attended Team Bird Training Camp in August 2021, sharing her positive vibes and crushing the hill workout! She ran her marathon at Richmond in 4:24:36, setting a PR! Even better, she got to see fellow Team Bird athletes and make new friends.

Liz M: This lady coming in hot to crush 3 of the majors in the marathon. With international racing back on the calendar, she made her way to Berlin getting a sub 4 with 3:53:42. A few weeks later she traveled again to Chicago to run another 4 hour marathon with 3:59:32, the next day slotted to run Boston, her body said no. She listened and i am so proud of her. She knew her limits and the risk it would take on her body in a stressful time was not worth that reward. Lots of change on the horizon for her and I am happy to be here with her for it!

Cristin: She is a returning athlete. many people stay on as athletes throughout the year and have different training cycles around races and goals. Cristin, is an athlete who likes to train for specific races and take time on her own in-between. This approach works for her and us. This year she reached out over the summer to train for Ice Age 50K, that was happening in September rather than May. She also moved back to Reno from WI, making training nice and challenging! She ran impressively holding the first woman spot through the first 13, finishing second in 5:34:32 on a very hot day! To my surprise she wanted to shoot for a December trail marathon. She crushed it! Finishing 7th overall and 1st woman in 3:42:26! Running a marathon is hard, running a marathon in Death Valley is brutal. This was a fantastic race for her, staying on top of hydration and not having a sour stomach, allowed her to race strong and confident! So pumped to see this growth and looking forward to us working together again 2022!

Biz: Of all the athletes I have coached over the years, she has the most drive and consistency. Some days I look at her schedule and i wonder how she fits it all in! 2020 was a year of firsts and personal solo efforts for Biz. I will most likely forget some of these, but I think I gathered them all. We have a 50K in March, a 31 miler a few weeks later in April. There is a 50 miler on May 23, 12:14:23, a 100K on July 24 and a solo 100 miler in early November! She was rerouted by cougars and weather, but pushed through every time. To close out 2020, she ran another 50K with a local friend, starting a tradition that will continue this year to ring in 2022! Almost a year to the day in 2021, so ran another 50K solo besting her previous time by over 30 min! In May she had her first race back at the Mac 50K. At the end of the month she had set a goal to run a solo 100k again, this time on the Coast to Corvallis trail. Her heart and head were not in it, and the reasons that existed at the time of making that goal, were no longer there. So, she ran another 50K and enjoyed the holiday weekend with her husband instead! She then popped into a 12 hour night time race in August to get ready for her first 100 miler coming up in September. She broke the course record and got in 51.6 miles in 11:37:27! We then make it to her goal race of Mountain Lakes 100, the rainiest, muddiest day. Good thing she really comes alive in harsh weather. Time goals went out the window real quick, and finishing was the goal. There was zero doubt she would finish, she came in at 27 hours and some change, securing that Western States ticket! I then got to see her race a half marathon when I came to visit in November. This race was her first ever half marathon 10 years previous, the joy she had and the PB she got was amazing! Such a proud coach moment and to see things come full circle!

Suzanne: My longest standing client to date. I have seen this woman and her children grow into more amazing people. Her parenting philosophy, the time and importance her family plays a role in her life comes before all. Yet, she still finds time to get in her running. She has been doing a running streak for 3 years. Her son has adapted the mindset as well and is over 2 years in. He is also a state champ swimmer! Racing has taken a back seat these two past years for her, but being active and running ahs not. Having severe asthma, she has had to be careful in her endeavors. Her family has done several week long back packing trips together! She is undergoing a huge work change in this new year that is going to provide even more balance for this busy woman. You make me a better person Suzanne and your compassion reaches many!

Jenn S: Life threw itself right at Jenn the past couple years. Another long hauler here on Team Bird, and this past year was by far the best. She made an impromptu visit to Madison over the summer. I basically twisted her arm to get away and to reset. Her long time boyfriend became her husband. She moved in with him, and started a new job. We spent days together in August at Team Bird Camp, and got in two years of hugs. Your friendship means a ton and I am excited to pace you in 2022, for all those scary goals you love and hate me for!

Tiffany S: After years of working together, I got to meet her in person for the first time earlier this summer! What a force to be reckoned with! Not only is she smart, she is talented. She took me for a run her home turf in Seattle, when I was visiting family. I then got to spend 4 days with her at Team Bird Camp in August. This was her last big weekend before the big dance in Colorado for Run Rabbit Run 50 miler. This woman has the right attitude and mindset for mountain running! I got the opportunity to be at the race and see her finish! What an amazing proud coach moment. I knew how hard she worked and the day that it was, she came across that line with a smile on her face! She took her recovery seriously and hopped to Hawaii for a month with her partner and their cat! I am looking forward to what 2022 will bring to your life and training!

Jordan W: What a stellar couple years! Moving and big things happening! The pandemic kept us apart this year and last, but the connection was always there! She ran a solo half marathon in April of 2020 in 1:33:48, she got a peloton and spent some good time training on that! This summer for her 30th birthday so ran a nice challenge of 3×10 miles. 30 miles in one day, is nothing out of the ordinary for this lady! Even though this past year consisted of shorter miles, the desire to go long is in there. While taking a necessary 6 week sabbatical from work to figure out some things, she traveled solo, with her sister, to see family, and friends. She really put the people in her life who the most first, including herself. I have had the utmost pleasure to see her and her priorities come to light.

Pam C: Amazing life updates to an even more amazing person. She made the move back to Virginia and met her now fiancé. Racing came at a minimum this year for Pam, but her desire to run was always there. She ran some trail races local and with friends for fun. She also came to Team Bird Camp, providing a refreshing a welcome persona. I can’t wait to be there at some of your races in 2022 and to see you get married!

Anne: Hats off to this lady living in the UK! Fashion points go to this woman. Not only do I get to see her come alive when she runs, her fashion and her daughter are so amazing and fun to see. Our check-ins are more than a phone call, we get to zoom(I mean there are some times where I look forward to zoom, not the dreaded zoom meetings.) Racing has been at a minimum due to the UK lockdowns and racing not being ever present, but she is still putting in the work and going to shine in 2022 even brighter!

Brianna: I don’t know how this woman does it. With moving to the East Coast from WI, buying a house, renovating it, AND getting a puppy! Big plans to tackle her first 100 miler were pushed back to deferrals. With it now on the horizon for 2022, a daily challenge, and getting in some miles at the Philly marathon: she is ready! She also planned a solo east coast summit backpacking trip, how cool! Being a run with client while still in Wisconsin, set up a good foundation for when she moved. I can’t wait to be there when she completes her 100 mile goal!

Rachel D: This lady crushed the past couple years. In 2020, she needed something to occupy her time and the anxiety about being home alone and the pandemic. She began run streaking and was in amazing running shape. In 2021 she made the courageous decision to move back to the east coast to be with her boyfriend and to start a new job. Running and life looked different. Racing became fun and no pressure. Being very open about her mental health, she decided to take a step back from running and racing and focus on her mental state and her new life. 2022 is a going to be a stellar with or without racing for Rachel!

Jen D: After working together and having a weird injury sideline her for the fall of 2020, we hit the ground running in 2021. In March she ran the Las Vegas Trail Marathon and came in first! Then in June she ran the Kettle Moraine 100, on one of the hottest days in race history completing her first 100 mile race and winning her AG! What a pleasure to pace her for the last 20 miles and get her to the finish! Shortly thereafter she went to Europe and hiked for 10 days the Tour de Mont Blanc trail. Also hiking the entire Wonderland trail around Mt Rainer with her boys, only to come back in September and run the Ice Age 50 miler, crushing it! She ran a ton of miles and focused on keeping her body healthy. Here’s to many more in 2022!

Ben S: With the pandemic hitting Oregon hard, racing went to a standstill in 2020. With a few injuries sidelining him for a good chunk as well, self discipline and routine became important. In early 2021, he ran the McDonald Forest 50K, persevering and made huge strides in his mental game that day! Then in July he ran his 50 mile race at Mt. Hood, it was hot and time goals left pretty much right away, but with the help of his crew and wife, he finished it!!! A month later, we got to see each in person at Team Bird Camp, this being his third camp! I made a visit to Oregon in November and we got to run and plan what running looks like for him in 2022, big things coming!!!

Val: Nursing an injury and some flare ups, running looked a tad different early on, but as 2021 got closer her running got reinvented. She did a solo 50K in January, making it easy as possible and ending at her house! In July she ran the Mt Hood 50K as her goal race! she finished in 5:15, two min faster than when she ran it in 2019, ran smarter on very hot day! She also made her way to Team Bird Camp in August, we had some real and necessary chats about what running means for her in that time. What we can focus on going forward and the growth she has made as an athlete. I made my way to Oregon and we got a good long run in on some of the trails that I hear so much about, and it was amazing! We planned and strategized for the future and the Cape Mountain 25K she had coming up in a few weeks. To be frank, the 25K she ran in November was as close to a perfect race you can get! She smiled the whole time and we hit her time goal of 2:45! Next up a road marathon at Eugene in May of 2022!

John: Just like so many of us, these past two years have been challenging in many ways. John always made time for running out of necessity and remains my longest standing run-with client. He ran many races this past year and solidified his Phidippides Award once again. He ran the 24 hour event at the Last Dot Standing Race in October. He completed a 100K and I had the pleasure to pace him that last leg that got him to the finish in one piece! Lot’s of good goals and life changes in his future!

New comers to Team Bird in the last few months:

Rachel, Kim, Tiffany S(yes another Tiffany S),Charlotte, and Carissa.

People returning to Team Bird after a break:

Jackson: I am so excited for him to be back on the docket! We met through running, and have become friends as well as maintain a coach/athlete dynamic. The discipline and hard work this man has is outstanding. Moving to Arizona from Wisconsin his running has only gotten stronger! He will be tackling another 100 mile race in the fall and I cannot wait!

Elise: After taking a break when she found out she was pregnant, she is back in the mix with a small child in tow. In the short time we have been back working together, the progress she has made is clearly evident.

Welcome back to you both!

I have a follow up email coming to highlight the athletes who I worked with in 2020 and 2021, who are no longer on the Team, but have a door open anytime!

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