When the Goal Finds You

My goal for 2018 was to run an ultra. I completed that goal on September 22ndwith the Joe English Twilight Challenge. A day or so later my coach asked if I was interested in a 12-hour event as I was in prime condition. I took on that goal and completed 45 miles of The HamsterWheel on November 3rd.

John, also in prime condition, ran the Seacoast Half Marathon November 11th. I was still recovering.

Then, John got the idea in my head that I should run the Jingle Bell Half Marathon again this year. He ran the 5k of the race last year. Thus, on December 9th, we ran the Jingle Bell. That night, after plugging in my Garmin and downloading the years activities onto a spreadsheet, I saw how close I was to completing 100 “event” miles: 95.77. Oh so close!

This is where the goal came…I did not intend to run 100 race miles this year. All I needed to do was mention how close I was to John and we were searching Google for upcoming races. Turned out, John was close to reaching 100k! After talking with my coach, who recommended I enjoy these races (don’t I always?) and not go over the top, John and I chose the last two “official” races of the year in New Hampshire. Tito’s Ugly Sweater 4-miler (Manchester) and Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell 5k (Concord).

Tito’s Ugly Sweater 4-miler was fun! It started at the Backyard Brewery for a lollypop course. I donned my ugly-but-I-think-its-cute sweater and off we went. It must have been THE warmest December sweater run ever – 48 degrees. Started out nice and easy, and then my legs took over and before I knew it I pulled away from John and off I went. About a quarter-mile up the course was a Manchester police SUV blasting Christmas carols from the loudspeakers! Such holiday spirit! A couple of hills later and many motivational cheerleaders helped me reel in a 35:25 finish (8:33/mi pace). John finished close behind at 37:40 (9:18/mi pace). This race ended up being slightly more than 4 miles, bringing my tally to 99.91 miles. Proceeds for this race went to the Manchester Animal Shelter.

2018_Titos_4Miler 2018_Ugly Sweater 4 Miler

Next up: Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell 5k. This was also a lot of fun! There was a kid 1-mile fun run where Santa sounded the official start. So adorable, wish I took photos. The weather for this race was below freezing, around 27 degrees in Concord, NH. Glad I had my sweater (and no I did not bother washing it between events). For this event, we even donned bells on our sneakers – which were slightly annoying. Heck, it was only for 3 miles. I was feeling invincible, so again I took off sailing. Then the hills came…two decent ones. This is where the pack I was in dissipated. Some bolted upwards but most dragged behind. I was alone for short while. Until I heard bells behind me on the second to last straightaway before the finish (maybe a half mile away). I thought, hmm who is this chick behind me…is she trying to overtake me? I was already pushing hard and wasn’t going to go any harder. I snuck a glance to my left, it was John!

He caught up to me on the hills! Little stinker! It was awesome though. We remained together to the finish, with the announcer exclaiming: “Shayla Greene and John Wielgus, the Amherst duo”! I finished 25:40 (8:11/mi pace) a new Personal Record (PR) for me! John finished 25:37 (8:14). Disclaimer: looks like John ran slower than me but that’s because he’s not as technologically astute and was delayed in shutting off his Garmin after we crossed the finish, skewing his time. What I learned from this race is that I need to do more hill work!

Total races miles for 2018: 103.02

Excited to think about what 2019 will bring!



  1. I love your blog. You are a great story teller. It’s like actually being there. Such inspiration for all. You have proven to yourself you are braver and stronger than you think.

    Liked by 1 person

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