Last year, I successfully completed 13 half marathons in 2013. Barely. As in, I ran the last race in December and would have DNS’d it if I hadn’t made that goal. But, I admit, hitting the goal was pretty awesome, so of course I raised the bar for 2014.
I decided I’d run 14 half marathons in 2014!
But wait, there’s more! Not only was I going to run 14 in ’14, I was going to run 13 of those 14 in 79 days to reach Venus status with Half Fanatics (which I must admit is a pretty arbitrary goal. Who really cares what my Half Fanatic level is?)
But I did it! I hit Venus and then ran my first international race in Ireland. Plus one in Wisconsin. And another in West Virginia. And I have one more to go. 17 in ’14 for the win!
Just for the record, there will not be 15 half marathons in 2015. I’m not even sure I’ll run 15 races in 2015.
But I digress…
I’m linking up with Montana from Pretty Lil Mudder and a number of other Girls Gone Sporty members (see below for links) to give out some awards to the races I ran. Since I ran so many, I had no problem finding a race for each category.
Most Scenic Course – No question – Achill Island half marathon wins this one. We ran around the island and saw the beaches on the far side, there were sheep, and even the houses were different from what we have here. It was breathtaking!
Most Challenging Course – This is a hard one to award. I seriously am the Queen of Hilly Races. Every.single.race I did this year had either a huge hill or many medium hills. I’m going to choose the Charlottesville Half Marathon. The hills were truly relentless! I had trained HARD leading up to this race as I was about to do 5 half marathons in 5 days and I was still sore after it. What?
Best Course Support (aid stations, volunteers, people cheering you on, etc) – The Riverboat Series has the best volunteers, the best runners, and food tables that make you want to pull up a chair and hang out between laps (and sometimes people do LOL). Because of the unique course type (laps), you run past the start finish every mile to mile and a half. Each time you do that, you get cheered on, cowbelled (yes, that’s a word) and fed. It’s pretty much awesome!
Best Expo – RNR USA wins here! It was by far the biggest expo I attended this year. I got to meet Stacy from Apera Bags and some of the lovely ladies from Skirt Sports as well as spending a big chunk of time working the ZOOMA booth.
Best Swag – Hands down, ZOOMA Annapolis wins this one. We all received a nice tech t-shirt, Feetures socks (which I’m totally in love with), a hat, and medal that has a removable charm! The shirt is also a women’s fit and technical, so it was one of my favorite training shirts this summer.
Most Unique Medal – This one is a tie. I ran Nike Women’s half marathon this year and, as most of you know, we received a Tiffany necklace in lieu of a medal. I didn’t run it for the necklace, but I have found that I do really like it and wear it frequently.
The other medals worth mentioning are, of course, the medals from the Riverboat Series and the Appalachian Series. They are just some kind of awesome and I can’t wait to get the medals from Center of the Nation. Since it’s 6 states, it might actually reach the floor on me.
Best Post-Race Food/Beverages – Achill Island half wins this as well, with ZOOMA a close second. Both included real food and sufficient amounts of it. Somehow, I don’t think I managed to run a single race that gave me a good beer afterwards. Obviously this will be a priority for 2015
Best Race Shirt- I got some really awesome shirts this year and some really awful ones. I don’t actually plan to wear any of the ones that helped me achieve Venus – I’ll be turning those into a quilt. My favorite of all the shirts I received was the shirt from the Appalachian Series. It’s tie-dyed and fits me perfectly and looks totally cute with jeans!
Favorite Overall Race – Ragnar DC!!!! This was the most fun I think I’ve ever had at a race. I’ve wanted to do one for years, but was apprehensive about doing so. I read and read tips from bloggers and talked the ear off of a couple of experienced friends and packed with an incredibly detailed list. And then I went out there and had a blast. Each leg presented its own challenges, as did 36 hours with no sleep, not enough healthy food, and very little personal hygiene. But it was awesome! And I already have two planned for 2015 – Cape Cod and DC (and might be considering one of the trail races. Maybe.)
Race You Are Most Proud of Yourself for Completing – All of them. No, really. I set myself a goal I wasn’t sure I could reach and then I pushed myself every step of the way to complete each one. Along the way I had some really amazing awesome races and some terrible very bad no good races, but I finished them all, upright and smiling. If I had to choose a race that I’m most proud of completing, I’d have to say the Kentucky race from the Riverboat Series. It was hot and the route was a combination of paved hills and hills with slippery muddy paths. If it weren’t for my awesome support people, I would have likely walked a whole lot more or possibly not even finished. I’ve never been so happy to finish a race. I’m pretty sure my face says exactly what I’m feeling at that moment…
What awards would you give to the races you ran in 2014?
[Tweet “Wondering what the best and worst races of 2014 were? Here are mine. What were yours?”]
Here are the other runners who are participating in the Year in Racing (or Running).
Jeanette: Fit In Louisville
Amy: Running Escapades
Melanie: Runner Girl in a Rocking World
Andrea: Once Upon a Run
Krystal: The Runner Within
Tamsyn: Fat Girl to Ironman
Erin: Love for Running
Samara: Peace Love & Ice Cream
Kelly: Miles to Go
Sarah: How My World Runs
Sue: This Mama Runs for Cupcakes
Lara: Uptite Mamas
Kristin: Kristin’s 5k
Montana: Pretty Lil Mudder