I did one of these year-end surveys a couple years ago, and I liked it. I’m not really one to wrap up the entire year (that’s what the archives are for, right?), but these are some highlights/thoughts.
1. Best Race Experience
I know some people race quite often…but I don’t! Especially this year, apparently. Due to branching out to triathlons, I really cut back on the number of races I do, which is a small number to begin with. I only ran two half marathons (Queens 13.1 and Brooklyn), and I did the half Ironman. 2014 was apparently the year of half of things. ha. Well, with that being said, I don’t have much to choose from, but I believe the Princeton 70.3 wins by a landslide.
Running from the swim to the bike. It’s the ultimate trifecta.
Tackling the triathlon was a totally new challenge for me, and I’ll admit that I was nervous for race day. It was the longest time I’d ever spent swimming/biking/running, and I didn’t think my training was all that stellar. However, race day was great! Swimming and running (oddly enough, the bike was the best part…) weren’t without their challenges. I got so down on myself during the swim because I just. couldn’t. do it. I knew I just needed to get out of the water and move onto the rest of the day, and I’m proud of myself for overcoming those thoughts. The bike portion worried me because the sport was so, so new to me – but I enjoyed being on an open road without having to worry about cars or stoplights. I truly had a great time and the miles flew by. Then the run…MY sport. It’s certainly a totally different feeling to run a half marathon after the swim and bike – hello, captain obvious. I’d never really felt the way I felt at the end of that race before, and I definitely dug deep to push through to the finish.
Training and actually doing the triathlon was just such a cool experience. I’ve been running for so long that I don’t clearly remember what it’s like to be a beginner. And, of course, the Ironman group puts on great races. Huzzah, triathlons!
2. Best Run
Am I allowed to use a race as my best run? I won’t say that the Brooklyn Half was my best race "experience," seeing how early I had to leave and still missed bag check…and then took a bazillion hours to get my bag after the race. But I ran (and raced!) really well, and I was proud of myself for being in tune with my body, pushing it when I needed to, and holding on for the finish. I feel like I haven’t had many carefree "lalallalal I LOVE RUNNING" runs this year, but I do feel awesome when a faster pace feels somewhat effortless. So you win, Brooklyn Half.
3. Best New Piece of Gear
Winona tank twins.
Sometimes events seem like so long ago, but they’re really not. When I passed the CCRN exam in March, I bought myself some Oiselle gear – specifically the Winona tank (in grey and red!). I don’t know why I held off on buying them for so long…they’re AMAZING. I love that they come in non-girly colors (THANK YOU), and they’re so, so soft. And a great weight for a variety of temperatures. (Although they’re not my favorite for hot hot weather.) But otherwise – they’re cute, I like the colors, they fit well, and I can match Betsy often when we run together. What could be better?
As a side note, the run to Ample Hills with Betsy would certainly be a close second as my favorite run of the year. In other news, I apparently should run in Brooklyn more often. (Are you listening, Betsy??)
4. Best Piece of Running Advice Received
Oh man. I’m not sure. This year hasn’t been the best running-wise, and I certainly spent more time not running/training for triathlons. Maybe there’s something to be said about that – I had big plans for PRs at a variety of distances, and other things seemed to get in the way. But for the most part, I think I’m my own worst enemy. I doubted myself a lot during tri training, and I usually do so when I’m running as well. I received many tips and bits of advice (okay, a lot of advice) from various people during tri training, but I think this statement from Joe really sticks out, even with its simplicity:
I had asked people to cross their fingers and toes for me on race day – I really didn’t know how the race would go! In my running life, my personal life, my work life…I tend to underestimate myself, not give myself credit for the abilities that I have, and don’t always believe in myself like I do in others. Sometimes knowing is half the battle, especially when you’ve put in the work. Believing in yourself makes a huge difference, and it definitely helped me on race day. Now to just get that into other aspects of my life.
5. Most Inspirational Runners
“Inspirational” is sometimes hard for me to define – what makes someone inspirational? Do they need to be going through tough times? Simply be a hard worker? Another blog post for another time. But when I think of inspirational for now, this is what comes to mind:
Meggie over at The Thinks I Can Think. Sometimes I think my schedule is hard – the hours all over the place and such. But then I remember that Meggie (and most other residents) work TWICE what I do. Meggie herself will admit that she’s not out running 60 mile weeks, but she still manages to get in an impressive amount of workouts and even some runs. You go, Meggie.
Jenny and Claire. Both ladies
are were about my pace, but they both had killer marathons this fall! I’m seriously impressed and want to send my spies to nab their training plans and secrets. Mostly, they both work hard and executed their races well – certainly traits I can look up to and want to incorporate into my own life. It also shows me that perhaps paces like that could be in my future as well.
And that’s a wrap! What was your favorite run of the year? Any best running advice to share? Inspirational runners to share? Let’s hear it.