By Amy Bailey
MRG Contributor

“The biggest competition is myself. I am not looking to follow others or pull them down. I’m planning to test my own boundaries.”

An incredible quote from a South Korean musician named Rain. I found the quote online and I don’t think I could have come up with a better way to sum up what I’d like to get out of running — and myself — in 2017.

Even in the first days of the new year, I was trying to come up with something — a motto, a phrase, a word — to give me some direction for the year ahead. Real life took the driver’s seat in 2016 and “training” took the way back (the name we came up with for the seat in those 1980s station wagons that faced the opposite direction). With slightly less on the agenda for the coming year (for now), I’d like to see what happens with a push.

So that’s my word, “Push.”

From a recent 5 miler — a dreary January day filled with fog and dirty snow. “But I showed up. I pushed.”

The best pushes are internal, right? After all, “Comparison is truly the thief of joy,” wrote my Oiselle teammate Kelly on her blog. There is accomplishment when you just go, whether it’s all alone or to meet up with someone along the way. As said by those runners from another mother(runner), “don’t think; just go.”

I am planning to push through training in the coming months for a handful of races in 2017. They are (for now):

FebruarySeroogy’s 15K. You know those “Will run for chocolate” shirts? Those were made for this race. Dude, they have meltaways at the finish line.

If you haven’t had a Seroogy’s Meltaway, you haven’t lived. Really.

MayCellcom Green Bay Half Marathon. This year, I’m very proud to say, will be my ninth(!) year doing this race.

The first year Amy did this race, or any half marathon for that matter. “It was May 2009, the kid in the stroller was born in March 2008.”

JuneBellin Run 10K. I’ve done this race, which attracts tens of thousands of people to Green Bay every year, off and on since 2009. It’s the first race of the Titletown Race Series and I am soooo down with winning an award in that series in 2017. #GoalGoals

JuneRock ‘N Roll Seattle Half Marathon. One word: Runcation. How about a few more words? Seattle is home of Oiselle’s flagship store. Head up, wallets out, birds. It’s been seven years since I’ve done a Rock ‘N Roll race and I have to say, I am pretty excited for this event in the Pacific Northwest.

AugustCheesehead Half Marathon. The white whale of my running career. And I just can’t quit it. It’s got rural country roads lined with corn (not many people except for my family at Mile 11), a gradual incline that doesn’t seem to let up and unpaved trail for three miles … just a tough, tough course. And it’s just down the road from our house outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

OctoberBellin Women’s Half Marathon. It’s only 3 years old, but I’ve done the race in each its first two years (first in shorts, second in long sleeves and tights) and I just adore this event. Bonus: The 2015 running of this event is my current half marathon PR so here’s hoping for another!

What a difference a few weeks can make in Wisconsin!

November: No better way to do Thanksgiving Day weekend than the double-header that is the Festival Foods Turkey Trot 5-miler (on Thursday) and then the Noodleini on Sunday. The Noodleini has been a 15K, but it looks like it’s a half marathon this year. Gulp.

The last race of Thanksgiving Day weekend and Amy’s last race of 2016.

So … yeah. Here’s to the Year of the Push … all the way from February to November. Ain’t no party like a running party, right? Who else is pushing this year?

12109299_10206817028000765_7603377810000313554_nMRG Contributor Amy Bailey is a mother runner in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and got her first taste of Wisconsin as a student at Marquette University in Milwaukee. She’s got a great connection to Michigan as well! She lived in the Lansing area for six years as an Associated Press reporter at the state Capitol while her husband, David, earned his doctorate at Michigan State. The two went on to live in Pennsylvania for a short period of time before moving to Green Bay in 2007, just six months before their son was born. As a reporter and then editor for 15 years, Amy has always been a writer, but she didn’t write about running until 2009. She only started running a year before that — a few months after her son was born. Since then, though, she has done a handful of half marathons in each of the past several years. She’s regularly running 4 to 5 miles a day on some of the nearby trails. Amy was among those writing mother runners who contributed to Tales from Another Mother: Triumphs, Trials, Tips and Tricks from the Road. Read Amy’s first Midwest (Running) Monday post here »

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