Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013: Running

It's that time of year again! Time for the recaps to begin! In 2012, one of my favorite running experiences was my first 50k. Let's see what makes the list this year, shall we?

Amber did kind of a fun thing and talked about how many posts of hers were related to running. This year, I did not write as many posts as normal  (only 80 vs over 200 in 2012), but of that number, roughly half were tagged with "running". That's a lot of running! Approximately 2000 miles of running (just barely squeaked over). I just want to say: thank you all for putting up with all of the running talk! I know as a non-runner, it can be boring and I don't blame you if you skip over some (or all) of it. We can still be friends.

So, what were the highlights of the year, running-wise? It is hard to pick as there were a lot of great moments related to running this year. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Travel: due to running, I got to travel to several far off destinations, such as Washington DC, Boston and British Columbia, as well as several close to home hidden gems, such as Tahoe, the Marin Headlands, Saratoga and of course, my backyard, the East Bay hills and their many parks and open spaces.

Vancouver, BC

2. Exploration: this goes hand in hand with the above, but I love finding new places that I would not have seen otherwise and exploring new cities on foot, which gives me such a more extensive tour of the city than I would have been able to accomplish had I only been walking or driving. I have seen sunrises and been places where there are no other people around and it's moments like those that really make all the difficulties worth it.

PCT -- Oregon

Lake Merritt, Oakland

3. My First 50 Mile race: This year, I trained for and ran a 50 mile race. This was a great experience which taught me patience and perseverance as well as made me realize (as always!) that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. Plus it was in my own backyard and it was great to be there, seeing my familiar trails in a different light. To top it all off, my Dad and Grandma were there and my Dad ran the final 6 miles with me.

4. Family: My family has been so supportive about my running. This year, they came to Boston, they were there for the 50 mile race, and came to support me at the Quad Dipsea after Thanksgiving. They are so patient and have braved the crowds and the unfamiliar places to be there for me and that has been priceless.

Quad Dipsea -- Mill Valley, CA

5. The Tahoe Rim Trail: This was not even my race; for this race I paced a friend for the last 20 miles of his 100 mile race. Not only was this course beautiful (think 8000 feet, alpine, views of lakes) but being there with him really was an eyeopening and uplifting experience for me. He was such a trooper and he made me realize that if he could run 100 miles, I could definitely run 50!

Tahoe Rim Trail

6. Volunteering: I did a few different volunteering gigs this year and once again, it makes me really have a warm place in my heart for all the other runners out there and the running community as a whole. People who get up at 2 am to drive the shuttle for the runners, or who spend their whole year preparing for this one event, or people who go out and volunteer at many events, are so inspirational. Some people are not even runners; they are just like my family, coming out for support without asking for anything in return. It is really fun to be a part of that group and to see things from the other side of the table sometimes!

7. Local Trails: I know I already said travel, but I also really enjoy the trails that I can get to right from my house! From my house, I can run about 3/4 of a mile and I am at a trail system that could take me easily 50 miles or more! So I really have NO excuse to not go running!

PCT -- Northern CA

8. Running Friends: I usually run alone, but I have had a great time meeting up with people when I travel for races. When I went to DC, I got to see friends I hadn't seen in over a year. In BC, I got to meet Amber. In Boston, I ran past Jill, saw Nancy and met up with friends from both the Bay Area and Back East. I also joined an ultra racing team, and while we do not run together, we still give a hearty "good job" if we pass each other during a race! I also did quite a bit of running with Broski again this year.

9. Squamish 50k: This was easily the hardest 50k I did this year. In total, I completed five 50k races (6 if you count one Fat Ass), but the steep downhills of the Squamish really did me in.

Squamish, BC

10. Boston Marathon: This was An Experience. A BQ. A new PR. An explosion. You can read about it here and here and here. It was so monumental that I  have 6 of my 80 posts dedicated to it. That is almost 10 percent! I won't forget it.

finish line
Finish Line, Boston, MA
What were your top running moments of 2013? What are the majority of your posts about?