It’s hard for me to even try to compile this post without getting all weepy. A year ago I never thought I would be here. I never thought this year would change me so much and really shape my whole world. I am so thankful for every run and every race because they shaped me. Each piece made me better and I owe so much to this entire experience.
Best Race Experience: This is a really hard one. I ran a lot of “big” races in 2015. They were all big to me for a specific reason, but ultimately the Chicago Marathon was hands down the best experience. Not only did I run for Ronald McDonald House Charities, but Chicago was my goal race from the very beginning of the year. The spectators were incredible, the weather was great (even though it was hot), I performed my best and my runtourage was FOUR deep! My parents and sister surprised me late August for my birthday and announced that they worked with the Mr. to set it up so they could be there race weekend. This race is really the people’s race. I felt empowered to be part of the field and even had the pleasure of passing hundreds of people on my way to the finish. I finished strong when I never ever thought I could.
Best Run: Hmmm….I don’t know there is one run that sticks out as the best, but there are a couple that come to mind. During both marathon training cycles (Colfax and Chicago) there were two instances where I had to do my long run on the treadmill. I ran at least two 18 mile runs on the treadmill. It was miserable and mentally challenging, but I did it and felt incredibly accomplished. Another run that sticks out to me is a quick 2 mile run that Chloe Mae and I had on the trails a couple weeks after the Chicago Marathon. It was a beautiful day and we ran by the Chattahoochee River at the park where I fell in love with running. It was a perfect day.
Best New Piece of Running Gear: Better shoes! This year I bit the bullet and bought lots of shoes for different purposes and it has hands down changed my running. I have shoes for long runs, mid distance, speedwork, cross training and the treadmill. It has made everything so much easier and my feet love the variety. One of my tricks is purchasing shoes at a discount when the new model gets released and shopping different brands. I’ve run in Nike Lunar Glides, Brooks Ghost, Brooks Launch, Brooks Pureflow, Brooks Glycerin and Asics Cumulus this year!
Best Running Advice You’ve Received This Year: I feel like I’ve read and heard so much this year, but “Finish Strong” is what has resonated with me the most. No matter how the rest of the run goes if you finish strong you are able to end of a high note and remember the really great finish. I wrote it on my hand for Chicago and it was a wonderful reminder.
Most Inspiration Runner: I am most inspired by the everyday woman runner. The runner that’s like me and balances it all because she loves the sport so much. I am also really inspired by my newbie runner friends (Tayler and Anna if you’re reading this), because you are so hungry to get better and learn. You haven’t been burned by the sport yet and that’s a really pure thing. I am also really inspired by my mom. She has been running for a really long time and never stops. She does more than one woman should but always gets her run in. She also finished her first half marathon this year and my sister and I were able to be a part of it.
Favorite Picture from a Run or Race This Year: Those ducks! In the middle of the Colfax Marathon those little ducks had no problem crossing the race course on the loop around Sloan Lake. It was so humbling. Here I was doing this big thing for myself by running my first marathon, but these little ducks needed to cross the street. So all of us stopped and let them cross. It was adorable.
Race Experience You Would Repeat In A Heartbeat: My love for Chicago runs deep, but the Colfax Marathon is something else. It’s quaint and feels like you are running your hometown. The race weekend draws about 15,000 participants, but only about 1,500 marathoners. The course was beautiful, the people were the warmest I’ve ever met and the whole experience was unbelievable. Everything from the expo to the race course is made for runners who love the sport. Denver is a great host city and I know I will someday be back to celebrate my marathon anniversary.
Sum Up Your Experience In a Couple Words: UNBELEIVABLE. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would have done so much in 2015!!!
What’s your fondest running memory of 2015?