Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New F^3 winner and Year of Running 2014

Happy New Year's Eve eve to all!

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

Best Run
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
Best new piece of gear
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?
Good times!


  1. Those pants look awesome. Imagine pairing them with a Nike Flash jacket.

    1. Glad you like the pants! Oh my goodness, if you paired them with a Nike Flash jacket, it would create enough reflective light to power a small country!

  2. Those tights are pretty snazzy!

    You looked like you were having fun- yet also determined and focused in the Disneyland half :) any plans for more Disney races in the future?

    1. Thanks so much, Xaar! At the moment, I'm not planning on running any Disney races in 2015. They are so darned expensive. But I'd definitely love to run more of them at some point in the future, especially since they've started adding new ones to their line-up.

      What about you, what plans do you have for 2015? Do you think you'd want to do another triathlon!?!?

  3. You had a great year Emily.

    A Disney race is on my list of races. I'll be putting up a year in review post on my blog later today (the last day of 2014...WOOT)!

    Those Nike tights are awesome. I want some reflective clothing.

    I went to grad school in Michigan so I can imagine how scenic a run in St Joseph was :)

    Ahhh, Rita Jeptoo. What a sad upset. We met her this summer and now we find out that she took drugs? What a pity.

    I hope to see you at the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2015.


    1. Thank you so much, Agnes! I am super excited to run with you in 2015, in Chicago and hopefully beyond! Whether or not I get to run Pittsburgh with you, you are going to have a BLAST. I am very excited to read your year-in-review post.

      YES - sign up for a Disney race!!! I truly believe that every runner should do at least one Disney race at some point in their running lives!!!

      You rock some pretty sweet Nike running gear, yourself. =)


  4. Those tights were awesome!

    I always love running in Michigan! I had a few good ones there this summer, but my most scenic would probably be a run around Prospect Park in Brooklyn. It was so pretty and serene that I forgot I was in the middle of a big city!

    Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks so much, Anne!!! I'm starting to get more and more excited about outrageous running gear. The more unique, the better, right?

      Ooooh, a run in Prospect Park in Brooklyn sounds amazing! New York's little pockets of serenity are awe-inspiring. Central Park is great, too, of course, but I have an even stronger love for the more neighborhoody parks in New York. Those are the best!

      Happy New Year to you, too, Anne!!! Cheers to 2015 being an incredible year for all of us!!!

  5. What an exciting year for you! Looking forward to running with you in 2015.

    1. Thanks so much, Zenaida! I can't wait to run with you, too! It's going to be an amazing year for both of us. I am already so excited for the races I have on my calendar in 2015, you too!?!?!? And like I said - we still have to find a marathon relay to run together. =)