The initial winner of my F^3 Lake Half Marathon giveaway did not come forward to claim her entry. Therefore, the new winner is Kelly!
Congrats, Kelly! Since I already have your contact info, I will email you directly.
I saw Lauren link up with Miss Zippy to reflect on experiences from 2014. My blog reader and social media are getting flooded with end-of-year recaps, so I thought I'd go ahead and add to the masses!
Best Race Experience
The Disneyland Half Marathon. I think anyone who runs any Disney race has very high expectations. I didn't think anything could compare to my experience at the 2013 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. But, the Disneyland Half ended up being surprisingly magical. It had some of the best crowd support and course entertainment I'd ever seen, and running through Angels Stadium was absolutely exhilarating. If I lived closer to Anaheim, I'd love to run this race again.
|Running through Disney's California Adventure|
Hmmm. I can think of two runs that could contend for this title. The first is a run I did on the Great Western Trail in May, simply for the peacefulness and the change of scenery. The second is a run I did in St. Joseph, Michigan in August, which was very nostalgic (Adam and I got married in St. Joseph).
|The iconic St. Joseph lighthouse|
Speaking of Lauren, I met up with her at the Fleet Feet Fashion Show back in November. At the post-show party, I ended up splurging on this pair of Nike Flash running tights that they had on display:
I just love outrageously reflective running gear! Wearing it makes me feel a lot safer running in the darkness (especially since the sun sets at about noon during the wintertime). This pair of tights is nice and warm, too. It's a solid upgrade from my previously go-to pair of winter running tights.
Honorable mention goes to the Sugoi jacket that I'm wearing in the picture. The jacket was also on display at the Fleet Feet Fashion Show, but I ended up buying it the next day on Amazon for a lower price. The jacket is very warm while being lightweight. It also has lots of zippered pockets, which are the best. (Why is it so hard to find jackets with zippered pockets!?!?!?)
Best running advice received
Strength-train, strength-train, strength-train, and stretch stretch stretch. I've learned so many times, albeit usually the hard way, that training to be a better runner is not just about running. It's also what you do when you're not running - whether it's resting, cross-training, foam-rolling, etc. I've started making it a routine to stretch and/or do strength work when I'm watching TV. Every little bit helps, right?
Most inspirational runner
If you'd asked me this question a few months ago, my answer would have been Rita Jeptoo. No hesitation. But the recent questions about her training practices obviously change things.
With that, I'm going to take this in a much more close-to-home direction. When I ran the Illinois Half Marathon, I got a then-PR. This was made possible with the help of the best pacer, by far, that I've ever had the privilege of running with - Pacer Tom. His splits were like clockwork!
The man is a running machine. He recently completed his 300th marathon, has run marathons in all 50 states, has paced 240 races, has run approximately 1,300 races of various distances, and has run sub-4 marathons in 35 states. Wow. Just wow.
To this day, I enjoy staying in touch with Pacer Tom (even though he likes to rib me about my beloved Blackhawks ;-) ). I look forward to running with him again at more races in the future!
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?