Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Favorites of 2011

One of my very favorite people that I have met through the online running community is "Miss Zippy". I have met her in person twice now and will get to hang out with her in Boston in April (yay!!!). She's wonderful!

Here we are back in August when her and her fun family were visiting Wyoming.

On her blog yesterday, Miss Zippy posted some questions that I thought would be fun to answer.

What was your best race experience? Oh man. I suck at these questions. I have no less than 87 "favorite movies"and just as many (or more) "favorite books".  My "favorite hoodie" is the one I am wearing on any given day. My "favorite food" changes often. Even when I was a little kid my Dad would tease me whenever I said something was my "favorite" or "the best". Every time I would get back from a movie he would say, "Let me guess. It was the best movie you ever saw." I am easy to please. Whatever. :)

So with that disclaimer...

The Walt Disney World Marathon in January was my best race experience of the year because I had an awesome long weekend with just my parents, and getting to run Disney was such a special treat and last minute surprise. I love Disney. I love Disney a lot. Disney does an amazing job and I loved every single minute of the experience. (And I got to ride the Rock n Roller Coaster with my Daddy!)

The Salt Lake City Marathon in April was my best race experience of the year because it was the first time I set a real time goal for myself and I achieved it! (I wanted to be under four hours and I ran a 3:57). On top of that, Josh, the kids, and my parents were ALL there which was amazing. I felt GREAT the entire race. I was literally grinning when I saw my family at mile 23. I love this race, loved the course, and felt amazing. This was when the spark of being competitive and wondering how fast I could be at the marathon was lit.

The Star Valley Medical Center 5k in May was my best race experience of the year because it was the first time I raced with my kids, and it was my first win. I was the first female (third overall) with a time of 22:00. Even better is that one of the two people who beat me was my rockstar son, Shane, who at 11 years old finished in 21:15. (In 2012, Shane is going down!) :)  Ryan (13) also ran it and set his own PR of 25:26. It was a very fun day being out with the boys and with lots of friends and neighbors.

Ragnar Wasatch Back in June was my best race experience of the year because Ragnar is so much dang fun! Seriously, it was two days of friends and running. I was super happy with how I ran, I got to wear a sombrero (and get a free dinner from Cafe Rio) and I had two days with my best friend and a bunch of ladies I love. To top it off, Josh's brother and his wife had a family team, so I got to see them, Josh's mom, my son Ryan, and others. I love love love Ragnar. Someone said it was like Woodstock for runners. Perfect! I am hooked for life (and can't wait to run it with Josh on our ultra team this year!)

The Star Valley Half Marathon in July was my best race experience of the year because it was just one of those days and races when running was AWESOME. I had a plan. I took off way faster. I felt amazing so I kept going. And I kept going. And I blew my PR out of the water and I did so much better than I thought I even could have. I finished in 1:38:18 and won my age group and was fourth female overall. This race was a blast, not just because I felt so fast, but also because I got to run it with my best friends and with Josh, and with tons of our friends and neighbors running and cheering. Running here at home was super fun and it was just a perfect race and day.

The Pocatello Marathon in September was my best race experience of the year because I QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON!!! I needed to be under 3:45 to qualify, my goal was to run under a 3:30, and I finished in 3:32:26. Before the race was a lot of fun as I got to meet and hang out with Cari, EMZ, and Dawn. The race itself I can't truly say I enjoyed a whole lot. I love Pocatello and they do a GREAT race (no complaints at all... love it!), but I was so so so SO sick during this race. I ended up in FOUR portapotties and felt like death. So I was extra proud of that PR and that BQ time.

The Top of Utah Marathon in September was my best race experience of the year because it was my PR (3:28:15)!!!! I had a super fun trip with Terzah and Alana, and got to cheer Terzah to a PR and Alana to a sub 4:00 finish on her very first marathon! The weather was truly terrible (pouring rain, hail, thunder, lightning, cold, etc.) but the course is great, I loved the race, and I felt strong the whole way. This is a marathon I want to do every year.

And the NYC Marathon in November was my best race experience of the year because... it was the NYC Marathon!! I got to go on an incredible trip with just Josh, we got time with my parents, we got to see other family and friends, we got to have lunch with Meb Keflezighi and Team MEB at the NYC Athletic Club, I got to meet Bart Yasso, the expo was a blast, and the race is just unlike any other and completely amazing. The very crowded and challenging course left me with a slower time than I would have liked (3:32:40) but it was a wonderful experience and I definitely want to run it again.

What was your best run? At first I was going to say that there was no way I could come up with a best run... I had so may fun runs with Jenny, killer track work outs, incredible long runs, super hard tempo runs, beautiful runs up the canyon, runs in sunshine, runs in snow, runs in the dark.... each one is a favorite in some way. But if I had to pick the run that left me on the biggest runner's high, I am going to say it was the track work out I did with Alana in August, when we both set out to do our 10x800 (Yasso 800's). It was a killer work out but I nailed my times and felt unstoppable afterwards.

What was your best new piece of gear? My Brooks PureFlow running shoes. I can't even say how much I love these shoes. You can read my super detailed review here.

What was the best piece of running advice you received? I have gotten a lot of great advice from a lot of great runners (both in person, through blogs, and through reading lots of books). I don't even know where it came from but the best advice I got this year was to not limit myself... not to put a ceiling on my dreams or my abilities, and not to limit what I try to achieve. 

Most inspirational runner? Ok, not even trying on this one. I am being honest and genuine when I say I am inspired by all runners. I am SO inspired by the incredible, elite runners who fly by at 5 minute mile paces (seemingly effortlessly).  Yet I am just as inspired by my friend Dani who ran her first half marathon this year. Watching her come into the finish line was SO inspiring and I was so proud.  And I was amazingly inspired by the older gentleman who I saw running at Ragnar during my 8-mile-uphill-killer leg. He gave me a big smile and thumb's up when I went by and I told him he was doing a great job! His grown grandkids had a big sign that said "Grandpa, you are our hero!" I am inspired by every runner I see in different ways. Fast or slow, old or young, heavy or thin, famous or not... I am inspired by them all. 

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?  Blessed. Amazing. Fun. Challenging. Exciting. Rewarding. Promising. 


Becky said...

LOVE this! What a great year you've had! Can't wait to see what you do next year. You're amazing!

Caroline said...

what a year! serioulsy...even you have to say this is impressive...those posts are important to remind us of what we were able to accomplish..the good...we tend to focus on what does not work so this end of year exercice is good for us I think. I am looking forward to writting mine. Cheers to you Erin! You are an inspiration to many of us, not just as a runner but also as a MOTHER and a wonderful gal!
Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

Emz said...

Awesome post lady!!!
What a year you have had & the photos to prove it!!
2012 will be a freaking awesome one for you!!

misszippy said...

You had an absolutely amazing year, Erin! No wonder it was just about impossible to pick...each had a special moment in there. Can't wait to see what next year will bring you!

Thanks for posting this!

Michelle said...

It's amazing what can happen in a year! You are so dedicated, positive and keep things in perspective. Can hardly wait to meet you in Boston!

Terzah said...

You are a golden girl and your star has only begun to rise! So happy to have been part of your 2011 (the part that hailed! :^) )!

Cat said...

Excellent recap! Thanks for sharing :)

Rach said...

What an amazing year. BQ AND a new pr?! that can' be beat!

Big Daddy said...

You want to know my favorites in 2011? The first one would be seeing you along the course and at the finish of the DAM Marathon. The second was when you were at the finish line of El Vaquero Loco. After all that you've accomplished this year, you made my races feel special. I am really looking forward to running with you on our Ragnar team. Better yet, I look forward to seeing you every morning. It's been quite a year watching from the sideline. You deserve everything that's coming your way because you've earned it. I am so proud of you. I love you.

Alana said...

LOVE you tons!! I'd say our yasso workout would be my 2nd favorite after my very first 20 miler. Glad to know you and to get to experience running with you in person!!!

H Love said...

So cool. I only dream of being able run in so many races. Disney is a big dream and if Ragnar is anything like Hood to Coast I would LOVE it! Way to go!

Jill said...

This is AWESOME! It's hard to pick just ONE race when really, all races have some sort of meaning, even the ones we didn't race well. I almost think the bad ones give me more things to learn about myself!

So looking forward to what 2012 brings you, you are just incredible!

Happy Holidays to you and your beautiful family!!!

Laura said...

Awesome awesome list! And I love that you had so many amazing race experiences this year alone.

Jessica Washburn said...

What an incredibly rewarding year you've had. I'm so inspired by you and I just love reading your posts. You really do sound easy to please, but that's because you are a positive, happy person...always on a runner's high! :) Looking forward to your guest post next Monday, let me know if we are still on? Thanks! Jessica

BTW, I'm from Utah too, moved to Phoenix in 2000, all your Utah talk is making me homesick. :)

Suz and Allan said...

What a great year you've had! Can't imagine what 2012 will hold!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i enjoyed this little list from her too!

I really need to come do a race in Utah, every seems to love them so much