Here were my top 11 @Marathoner runs of 2014:
1. 100th Race. Finishing the Brooklyn Half at the ocean was a nice opportunity to look at the big picture, breathe deep and smile really big. Then it was straight to No. 101.
2. 5K PR. The Turkey Trot may be a "fun" run for some on Thanksgiving morning, but for me it was a chance to finish a 5K for the first time with a number that started with a 2. A big deal for me! And it happened in Evansville, Indiana, where I grew up. I had a pacer on this one, which brings me to Rachel, our 19-year-old dynamo who took up running this year, so that's another reason this one meant a lot -- great to have someone to train and race with!
3. Running a mile with Ryan Hall. I was asked by ASICS to be part of the first ASICS LA Marathon Blogger Challenge, and that meant a long list of perks, the best of which was running toward Malibu alongside the ex-Olympian during a 3-mile shakeout group run and he and I trading wedding-engagement stories the whole way. He proposed in a lighthouse btw. This is him in the blue jacket and me next to him in the gray ASICS tee.
4. ASICS LA Marathon. It was a scorcher, but it was cool cruising through Rodeo Drive and meeting a couple English Bulldogs there, and then of course hanging with Deena Kastor after the finish line.
5. Meg's Miles. Last January 18, we came together as a running community to run in the memory of Meg Menzies, who had been fatally struck by a drunk driver while on a training run for the Boston Marathon. Let's remember her -- and the importance of running safety, even though she did everything right -- as the anniversary approaches next month.
6. Hamptons Marathon. I struggled pretty badly with a right hamstring strain that required 19 PT sessions, but I list it here for a couple of reasons. One, it was a beautiful course and a family experience, as Rachel ran her first Half there. Two, I used it as a substitute for the NYC Marathon and that meant not dealing with one of the worst cold-wind days in NYCM history. Rach took this picture in the med tent after I finished:
7. 9+1 and 4-Borough Qualifiers. I qualified for the 2015 NYC Marathon by running at least 9 (I did 10) scored NY Road Runners races with one volunteer assignment -- the "9+1 guarantee." I also ran the minimum four NYRR borough races -- Manhattan Half, Brooklyn Half, Queens 10K & Staten Island Half) to qualify for the United NYC Half next March.
8. World Series 10K. I work for Major League Baseball, and that meant working my 20th Fall Classic. Before Games 1 and 6 of the Giants-Royals series at Kansas City, I ran the loop around the Kauffman Stadium-Arrowhead Stadium complex. I Live For This.
9. Fastest Mile of my Life. I turned in a 7:46 PR in the NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile, easily the fastest I have run a mile in my life. Hope you can do that at my age!
10. Boston Marathon World Run. This is not the Boston Marathon, but it was as close as I could get. Race organizers allowed you to run anywhere to pledge money for One Fund Boston, and you then get a finisher certificate, formalizing your participation in the actual Boston Marathon at least on the outer fringe. I did this by inventing my own marathon entirely within Central Park, and it was really challenging because of the hills (and solitude).
11. ASICS Storm Shelter Gear Review Run. You know those days when you are "between" in gear selection? I minimize those days by buying the right ASICS gear, and that was the case on this day. I went to Paragon Sports in Manhattan before a long run in freezing and drizzly weather, knowing I would heat up but needed to stay dry and warm, and the Storm Shelter was the answer. Runs are special for different reasons, and this one was special because of new gear.
...and for my Least Favorite Run of 2014:
The Color Run at All-Star Week. I think they're dumb. Let's keep running like it's a run.