2012: A Year in Review

Damn, where do I even begin? Well, since I am recapping a year, I suppose I begin at the start.

But, before I do a recap of the entire year, I will skip to August, before back tracking to January. Though the rest of the year was awesome, August takes precedence over all the other months. It was August that I married my long time girlfriend/fiancé, Crystle Santos (now Welch). We had a beautiful wedding in her hometown of Newport, Rhode Island. Many of our closest friends and family were there and it was by far the most amazing day of my life.
Through it all, ups and downs, she has stood by me and continues to stand by me. None of the rest of 2012 (or any other of our years’) would have been nearly as special, without her. She is my biggest fan, biggest critic and biggest supporter. She keeps me grounded and level.

W2

So, now that the biggest highlight of the year has been discussed, I will now take you through a rundown of some of the other awesome moments of 2012 (WARNING: IT’S ALL RUNNING STUFF!!!)

JANUARY- The turn of the year was looking very promising. I was getting into amazing running shape and was starting to really up the training mileage in preparation for my upcoming marathons. For my Boston marathon charity run with Team Hoyt, I even had a few people who were going to donate 1 dollar for every mile I ran in the month of January. With that as incentive, it was going to be a big month..THEN, midway through the month, I suffer a serious Achilles injury!! I was devastated. When it first happened, all I could think about was “No way can I run Shamrock in March and qualify for Boston”. I had to figure something out quick, I was running out of time!!

FEBURARY – For half of January and all of Feburary, my training mileage took a huge hit. I was only able to run 10 miles per week during this time. But, instead of giving up and calling it a wash, I refocused in order to maintain fitness and concentrate on getting to the starting line of Shamrock. I wasn’t running much, but I started aqua jogging about 10 miles per week and added about 30-50 additional miles rollerblading. I may have been down, but I wasn’t out!!

MARCH – The time had come!! Although I had been selected as a member of the Team Hoyt 2012 Boston marathon charity team, the BAA decided that in order to officially be allowed entry into Boston, pushing or not, I would have to qualify just like everyone else. This meant, that I would have to run a 3 hours 10 minute marathon or faster in order to qualify and solidify my spot on the team.

With very limited running mileage for the previous two months, I was quite nervous on whether or not I would be able to pull off such a feat. My previous PR for the marathon was 3:10, and that was running solo, not pushing a chair and rider. But, I was willing to do whatever it took at this point. Too many people were counting on me and there wasn’t a chance I was going to let them down.

So, with the 3:10 looming over our heads, Tim Brown (my rider athlete) and I set out with only one goal in mind…3:10 or bust!!

I will spare you the play by play of the marathon itself….but, long story short, we ran 3:09:39!! Nothing like making it a “barn burner”!!

Also would like to a give a big shout out to my long time friend (brother, more like it) William “Micky” Tallent..he ran an exceptional race and a huge PR with a 2:55!!

Shamrock

APRIL – Having qualified for Boston and needing some recovery and rest time, I spent the last two weeks of March and the first two weeks of April, running only once or twice per week. The rest of the time, I was living in the pool, aqua jogging and swimming to maintain my fitness before tackling Boston.

Boston Marathon in and of itself is the biggest rock show on earth (for runners)…From the moment we pulled into town, it was a non-stop, running inspired utopia. Everywhere we went, there was something cool to be seen. Essentially, we (Thomas Hicks and myself) were in running geek heaven!! Two nights before the race, Team Hoyt had their annual charity dinner and “meet and greet”. Tim and I got to meet and chat with the greats, Bill Rodgers and Uta Pippig (even got photos to prove it).

Hopkinton

The race itself, ended up being one of the hottest on record. By late morning, it was in the low 90’s and majority of the 26.2 miles was a complete suffer fest. Not willing to face the heat and conditions, nearly 4000 runners deferred their entry until 2013. But, for Tim, Thomas and myself, we came here to run Boston…no chance in hell we weren’t running it.

Tim and I started the race with legends, Dick and Rick Hoyt and were treated like rock stars throughout the entire run. The fan support was amazing and if not for them, the conditions would have been amplified. The crowd was passing out cold towels, ice, popsicles, lemonade, etc.

Boston2012#2

Ole Thomas Hicks had a hell of an experience as well…while conquering 26.2 miles the only way he knows how (on guts and heart), he had a bit of divine intervention…At one point, he encountered another charity team that were pushing for the MS Society (as you all know, Thomas suffers from MS). He shared a few miles with them and listened to their testimony and shared his. Then, later in the race, he runs with a man who lost his father to a lung tumor (Thomas too has a lung tumor)..needless to say, these two men inspired each other. Finally, Thomas runs into (no pun intended), the legendary, Dean Karnazes (Ultra runner machine). For several miles, they swapped stories…during this time, Dean was inspired and moved by Thomas’s testimony…Dean called Thomas, his hero!!

MAY – After Boston, there was some much needed recovery time to be had. So, for the second half of April and all of May, I continued rehab on my Achilles and minimized the time spent running. Spent the majority of the time, swimming, biking and rollerblading.

JUNE- After finally starting to recover from the Achilles injury, Thomas Hicks decided he would talk me into running the USATF Masters races with him. Though I hadn’t ran on the track competitively in over 10 years, I knew it would be a blast and because it was something Thomas had his heart set on, I decided, I was in!

In early June, there was the USATF Virginia Association Championships, in Richmond. Thomas, Rob Hunter and myself drove up to Richmond like a bunch of giddy school girls (yes, we were excited to be on the track again…once a miler, always a miler!). Though we didn’t have any real expectations, nor did we have a clue about where we would be for our mid-distance running, we all did rather well, running modern day PR’s, placing in and or winning our respective races and having a ton of fun!! In the 1500m, Thomas became the state record holder for Over 40 Masters!!

pre1500

In late June, the three of us drove up to Maryland for the USATF Mid-Atlantic championships. There, we again did very well and either won or placed in our respective age groups and races. Also, it is safe to say, the Masters scene in the area, now know who HRR is!!

JULY – No serious racing or running, just good training and fun with the running group and my training partners.

AUGUST – The best month of all!! As mentioned earlier, this is the month that Crystle and I got married. After nearly 6 years of being together, we finally took our vows and became husband and wife!

WeddingDay3

SEPTEMBER – This month was special because of the Colonial 200 Relay. A huge showing of HRR and fellow 757 runners decided to take part in the 200 mile relay, from Charlottsville to Jamestown. Aside from our crazy 10 person team, HRR had another team in the race, as did our Final Kick friends and another team consisting of many of our good running friends from the area. My team, Team Procrastinators and a Diva came in 2nd overall to Team 5 Dudes and Two Boobs (our friends Dai Roberts, Tommy Neeson, Ryan Carroll, Drew Midland, Joel Bell and Renee High).

DSC_0933

The relay was a ton of fun, lots of laughs and a few scary moments. Overall though, it was one amazing experience and something we plan to do again in 2013.

OCTOBER – This month was a big month for running. In the early part of the month, I paced my wife at the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon in Hampton. She ran an exceptional race and PR’d by over 15 minutes.

Crawlin Crab

At the end of the month, Chandler “BEAN” Doebler and I ran the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C.
We ran together for Team Hoyt and had an amazing time. This was Chandler’s first marathon ever and he loved every mile of it. This was also a first time marathon for fellow Team Hoyters, Jenny Dugan and Jose Nogueras. The crowd support and the aura that is Marine Corp Marathon, was amazing!! Certainly a race I plan to do again.

October also produced many great races for many of my running friends and training partners. A few note worthy performances go to Justin Turner (2:31 and PR at MCM), Kris Lawrence www.kris-lawrence.com (2:50 and PR at Twin Cities) and Renee High (2:47 at Colombus) http://reneehigh.com/

NOVEMBER – This was an overall great training month, with a couple great races. In early November, I ran the Freedom Half marathon with Team Hoyt (managed to run a new PR as well)

At the end of the month, I ran the Turkey Trot 10k (another “modern era” PR).
Both of these races were a lot of fun and both produced many PR’s for my fellow HRR members and other running friends/training partners.

TurkeyTrot2

The rest of November was filled with several big races and PR’s for so many in the local running community. The Richmond marathon and OBX marathon, both produced lots of awesome race PR’s, were first time marathons for many and were overall great races for all!

DECEMBER – This month was a wonderful month all around. For the first time, I ran and completed a 50k race. This year, I ran the Seashore 50k. For the past two years, I paced a few friends and took part in some of the race, but I never finished it and I never set out to race it. This year, I decided I would go out and race it and see what I could do. I ended up doing quite well, 4th overall and I managed to PR my marathon in route to the finish. I had a great experience for my first official “Ultra” and I intend to do another one in the near future.

dennis27

The rest of the month was filled with the holiday spirit and family time. Crystle and I traveled to Rhode Island this year for the holidays and spent time with her family and friends.

So, to say the least, 2012 was an amazing year, filled with lots of great moments. Crystle and I made many new friends and shared many wonderful experiences together this year. Our running group http://www.meetup.com/HamptonRoadsRunners/ continues to provide us with wonderful people and wonderful times.
As you all reflect on the good and bad of 2012, remember that life is always changing, always moving forward and is always an experience to enjoy. Life is not a given and you are not guaranteed to wake up tomorrow. So, no matter what your goals or what your ambitions are for 2013, remember that family and friends are of the utmost importance, don’t neglect either of them. Have fun, enjoy what you do, but always keep things in perspective. If at all possible, make amends with your enemies, love your neighbor, show compassion and open your mind to all the possibilities that are out there….it’s a big world out there…enjoy it!
LIVE, LAUGH, RUN!!

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