1. Best Race Experience
This one is easy - California International Marathon. I had been so nervous about running another marathon, but then I had great 20 mile training run. Even though the weather was crappy, I somehow felt great the whole time. I didn't even know if that was possible for a marathon, but that's what I was looking for and I'm thrilled I had that experience. The race itself was well-organized, had fun swag, and had a great rolling hill course. Not too much up, not too much down, not too much flat. I love the change in terrain for the change in muscle use, and I feel I get less tired that way. I knew lots of people running this event, and I was excited to meet Oiselle Team ladies at the expo too. Overall a great race weekend experience!
Oiselle Meet Up
Happy race finishers!
2. Best Run
My best run was at the Clarksburg 20 miler, which I used as my longest training run for CIM. Technically it was a 'race' event, but because I used it as a supported long training run I'm considering it a run instead. This was by far my best long run in the history of long runs; I felt good the whole time, loved the scenery, and enjoyed lunch with friends after. This run gave me much needed confidence going into the marathon after I'd felt concerned and doubtful about it.
3. Best Piece of New Gear
I've found lots of fun new gear this year, but I'm going with the Oiselle Clearly Jacket as my best of 2012. This jacket blocks wind, is water resistant and breathable, and super comfy for running. It's easy to pull the arms up if you get warm, and they stay when you do. It saved me during my rainy marathon and I continue to depend on it for the Bay Area 'winter' rain. Bonus: it has many pockets.
Clearly Jacket post-CIM
4. Best Piece of Running Advice Received
Focus on proper breathing. I've been struggling with a side cramp situation since June, to the point of CAT Scans and MRIs when it stayed post-run, and it comes back off and on. The coach for a track group I started running with in October talked to me about this and helped me do exercises in breathing, and I swear it's helped. When I felt it during CIM (or anytime I feel it come on), I really focused on proper breathing and was able to keep it mild.
5. Most Inspirational Runner(s)
Honestly? My whole Twitter feed! I love reading about people running and motivating each other. To call out a couple of specific groups, I've been very motivated by Oiselle Team and the SF Marathon Ambassadors. I became part of these during 2012, and both groups are super supportive. I love how we keep each other going and have fun meeting up when we can.
Finally meeting Holly at Ragnar Napa.
Matching Meggie when she visited Mountain View.
A little Oiselle meet up in Palo Alto.
6. If you could sum up your year of running in 3 words, what would they be?
Farther: I ran more miles this year than any other year, and I increased my weekly mileage as well.
Faster: Finally I joined a group for track workouts; I think it'll really pay off in 2013. Even just the 3 months I've done so far have helped my mindset and my ability to push a little harder during races.
Social: I found social running, and I love it! I didn't so much run with groups or friends before - I was always nervous about pace - and I'm glad I discovered how fun it can be. Special shout out here to Alisyn for inviting me to run with her and kicking this off.
National Running Day with the Running Revolution group in Campbell, CA
Candid, but a fun photo anyway. SF Marathon Ambassadors trail run.
SF Christmas Relays team with Kevin, Matt, and Alisyn