Monday, December 8, 2014

Year of Running 2014



One of my favorite races from 2014!  Trail 30k near Asheville. First in AG and an incredible amount of peace and freedom that was found!



Let's see if I can make this post short and sweet!  I'm jumping in on Miss Zippy's Year of Running link up.  I've only done a handful of link up posts since starting this blog but this one is fun and simple!






2014 was a very memorable year for me with running and racing!  I spent most my year in Asheville, NC where I truly tapped into my love for trail running.  I have so many amazing memories from running there and training for Boston 2014.  It was one of my favorite running years that I've ever had. But for different reasons than the past.  2014 also brought an incredible amount of travel where I was able to run in so many beautiful and new places:  St. Croix (a 20 miler on this island in the Caribbean was long and hot but unique in a really powerful way.), Boston (visiting a friend and for Boston 14), Charleston, Savannah, Tennessee, Colorado, and so much more!  Now, living in Bend, OR, running has taken an entirely new page where almost all my runs are on trails and I start training for my first trail 50k (and Boston 15) TODAY!  No personal records with running in 2014 but definitely some personal FREEDOMS with running!  I've redefined what running is in my life and I'm even more thankful for all this sport offers!  

Best race experience?  Even though Boston turned out to be quite rough at the end (what marathon doesn't really?) with throwing up and finishing slower than I wanted, I was proud of my 3:28 and so so grateful to be there with my whole family and some very special friends during such a powerful year for the Boston Marathon.  I even got to ride the bus to the starting line with my dear friend Jenn.  So thankful to have had this experience!   I'm breaking the rule here and listing two races by counting my trail 30k in May: Cradle to the Grave 30k in the Pisgah National Forest outside of Asheville.  I got to do this with my husband and a few friends.  It was my second time doing this race but I was so much more prepared the second time.  I ran most of the race by myself but I think it was better that way.  This race is perhaps the biggest reason why I'm so drawn to trail running and racing now.  Such freedom and peace and joy to be found when you are out there running through such natural beauty.  
After Boston.  This kiss and time with my family was better than any finishers medal.  
Best run?  I'll choose one of my best runs.  Since so many of my runs in 2014 have been favorites, I'm just drawing from a hat here.  My best runs have been about the experience...the scenery...the freedom I've found in soaking up the world around me and truly enjoying the run for the gift it is without putting as much into the time on the clock.  When I was in Asheville, I ran at night a lot.  Not because I couldn't run in the day but because there was such peace to be found running those quiet streets in my small town where I lived.  One night in February sticks in my mind the most.  I wrote about this in Gift of the Run; Beauty to be Found.

Such beauty greeted me on my run tonight. Lonely streets, 
snow covered ground, 
little footprints and happy snowmen winking at me with crooked grins, lopsided hats and carrot noses -- signs of the joyful life that graced another snow day.
Small town charm surrounding me as I passed churches and little bungalows with red doors... 
The sky lit up with the sun peeking through for a glorious sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains.
It stopped me in my tracks. 
Standing. 
Staring,
     in awe at the beauty that is there for us when we slow down to take it in. 
I ran on with the perfect song in my ear, my heart feeling big and wild 
       passing field after field, 
street after street 
of BEAUTIFUL. 
Then there it was...the bright and full moon leading me home, 
smiling down on me while I counted the first stars of the night...feeling blessed and beyond grateful to be living this life and to have the gift of the run.

Best new piece of gear?  I didn't get much this year when it comes to running gear.  A pretty simple year with regards to material stuff.  But I did buy a few new Oiselle items.  My red Oiselle distance shorts have been WELL LOVED!!  I also started running in a new/old pair of Brooks Cascadias.  These shoes.  ROCK!  Next piece of gear on my list:  a simple Ironman Timex watch like I used to run with before I got a Garmin.  Excited to run Garmin-free for much of my runs and perhaps all my races.  

Pretty sure I wore these red shorts almost daily this summer.  Don't judge.  I washed them too.  

Best piece of running advice you received?  Hmmm, this is hard.  I think this goes back to an email I received from someone after a post I wrote near the Boston Marathon in April.  They said something to me about staying within myself with my goals.  These words stuck with me so powerfully!!  I thought on them lots and actually wrote one of my favorite posts about it and how it applied to RUNNING and LIFE. You can read that here:  Stay Within Myself.  


Stay Within Myself 





Most inspirational runner?  How the heck do I answer that?  Gee, so many inspirational runners.  I'm inspired daily by so many of you.  I'm going to say my friend Jenn.  Love this girl so much.  She used to write a blog called Running Sane and that's how we met in 2010.  Since then, she's become one of the most special people in my life.  A sister.  Friend.  Truly family.  We've shared so much of our lives together through daily emails, training logs, trips across the country together, skype chats, and so much more.  A constant in my life. The mostly unlikely of friendships considering she lives in northern MN and I've been all over from Oregon to NC, but a friendship that is beyond special.  I've had the joy of sharing my training with Jenn through several training cycles and I've been lucky enough to hear about several of hers too.  Even when she's not training for anything specific, she inspires me with running (and life in general).  Seeing how she focuses on a goal, digs deep,  and has fun with her running in off season (but yet still seeking some sort of excellence) makes me want to do the same.  Above all, I'm inspired by how she continues to find strength and balance through running.  As a mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend.  Even though we are often different with our goals with running, when I hear about her goals, workouts and races, something clicks in me and I find a hunger and strength that might have been a bit dusty.  She doesn't have much time to train in the winter (and have you ever heard about a northern MN winter? ha!) because of having all three of her kids in competitive hockey (So much involved! And these kids are TALENTED!) and working beyond full time but she still makes time to be her own personal bad Ass with running!  Just the other day she wrote to me about her treadmill run (short but sweet) and it made me want to get out there and push myself a bit more than usual!  Thanks for inspiring me friend!  Looking forward to riding the bus together again in Boston 2015!


Riding on the bus to Hopkinton with Jenn before the Boston Marathon!  The most fun I've had in athlete's village.  Laughing before a marathon was energizing!  



If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?  FREE.  PEACEFUL

Your turn.  What were your Bests of Running with 2014??  Answer here or link up with Miss Zippy with your own Year of Running 2014 post.  

18 comments:

  1. What a great year for you, Amanda! I love the way running has been redefined for you but just as important. And all those trails- I'm jealous! Looking forward to meeting up in Boston this year!

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    1. I'm looking forward to meeting you in Boston Laura! And you're welcome here any time...I can take you on a trail tour! :)

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  2. I love that you are smiling in all of those running pictures - that is what it really is all about!!!

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    1. You're so right. so much joy to be found with running!

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  3. Fun to read about all the good things in the past year on so many levels... In running, relationships, learning and growing... So nice to hear about the moments you recognized the beauty and importance of the moment you were in. Ashville sounds amazing!

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    1. Thanks Marci. Running with you is right near the top of my 2014 BESTS! ;) Thanks for that.

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  4. Looks like a great year! So easy to love running when it is this awesome isn't it :)

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    1. Yes! I think running has been awesome because I've found a place with my running to just be where I'm at and enjoy the gift of the run. Taking the Garmin off has helped me with this. But even when I do where the Garmin now, that can be fun too! Separating myself from my race times has left a whole lot of freedom, joy, and peace in just...running for wellness and the love of it. But race season is coming up so we'll see how that changes.

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    2. Stupid homonyms. That should have been wear the Garmin not where the Garmin. As a teacher, typos like this always grab me! This whole post was full of typos this time. Yikes! I'm losing it!

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  5. Amanda--you represent joy in running to me; it just comes through in your pictures (beautiful) and your writing. I'm so glad you joined in and shared your year with us--what a special one for you!

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    1. Thanks Amanda. Joy is really where it's at at this point with running. When I'm running is when I experience Joy the deepest right now. Not just with my run but it's when I'm running and afterwards that I feel the most joy about all of my life. Thanks for doing the link-up.

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  6. I love this! I enjoy year end reviews so much and always enjoy your blog tremendously. You have such an honest "voice" and it is so refreshing. Best of luck to you in 2015 (and maybe, after many failed attempts we will meet in person at Boston..?!)

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  7. You make ALL your running years great!

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  8. What a BEAUTIFUL year of running!!

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  9. Great review! I love "run within yourself"....that has gone through my head many times during races. And Oiselle gear? It's hard to discriminate! Have a great 2015!

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  10. So jealous that you are in Bend! Such an amazing place to run. If we make it out there again this summer I'd love to meet up for a run!!! Even though your Boston wasn't what you wanted you still smashed it! Way to go. Here's to an amazing year of life and running in 2015!

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  11. I'm a little late reading this but I'm glad I did! So glad I've been able up get to know you better in 2014 and looking forward to 2015. : )

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