Friday, December 30, 2011

Running backwards....remembering 2011.

 If you've been following the blog, then you already know the year 2011 was a busy one for me with 6 races and an amazing trip to Vietnam. 

Camelback Mountain
Jen & Me, matchy matchy,at the finish
line at ASU's Sun Devil Stadium
The year started off with a bang in January with my best marathon time yet in Arizona. Sub 4 hours!  Plus, my good friend Jen was running the half so we got to spend the weekend hanging out and catching up.    

 Only a few weeks after my personal best, I ran again in New Orleans. The Big Easy was not exactly easy, but I still finished with a pretty darn good time and had the chance to enjoy some amazing Lousiana cuisine. (One of my favorite parts about running a marathon is that I don't feel bad about eating whatever I want afterwards).

NOLA Garden District

Pig butt
No rest for the weary... in May I ran another marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I wish I was as winged as all the pigs in the Flying Pig marathon.  It was probably the most painful race for me to date with the rolling hills of Ohio torturing me, but it by far had the best medal.  I mean, it has a pig's butt on the backside! Hard to top that. 
After Cincy, I decided it was a great idea to take up tennis.   FYI, this is not a great idea, runners.  I think that it was the cause for some severe knee pain which necessitated a few months of physical therapy. But now I'm as good as new....assuming of course, I keep on doing the PT exercises. Which, of course I haven't since I was cleared by my doc in November.  (shhh...don't tell him!)  Fortunately, I've only a run a few times since November.  Not that I'm proud to admit this, but in my defense I did run 5 marathons and participated in a 200-mile relay all between January and don't judge me.  Seriously, I must have been nuts to do all that in a year.  2012 less nuts. 

My new Honey Badger friends. Some tried
to make their own pancakes for breakfast. Don't worry, we're still friends.
So after a tennis-filled summer, which I am entirely horrible at, I was onto that 200 mile-relay I just mentioned in Portland, Oregon.  In hindsight, it was a great experience and I now have a few new friends because of it.  During the race though...I wasn't convinced I would ever want to do that again.  It was running up and down all kinds of hills, in the wee hours of the morning, with virtually zero sleep except a few winks here and there in a crowded hotel or van.  Oh, and did I mention that you don't really get to shower either?  I mean, does that sound like fun to any of you?  Didn't think so.  But a few months removed from the fatigue and my own stench, I see that it was an awesome experience that I'm glad I had.  My new friends made it more than worth it!  Can't wait for another race-cation in 2012!  Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be less nuts...        

My sis and niece
cheering me on in Chicago

Then it was the fall... with a marathon on my very own windy city, Chi-Town.  This was the most fun I've had running a marathon so far.  It was nearly my slowest race ever, but I totally didn't care.  The crowd support and that specifically of my friends and family made it the most amazing marathon I've done to date.  I loved, loved, loved it, is all I can say.   

A few weeks after Chicago, I headed south to Savannah, again with my running mate Jen.  Some of you may remember that Jen and I like to match when we run our races. We had matching shirts and headbands in AZ (see above), and once again, had sparkly matching headbands and inadvertently had matching shirts and jackets!  Also along for the trip was my boyfriend Todd, and his friend John, who are both photographers and took some pretty cool shots of race day and our explorations around Savannah. (see my last blog post) : )   Who can complain about some pretty nice weather, great southern food (again my favorite part), and great friends?  Plus this was the third Rock-n-Roll series event for Jen and me, so the awesome Triple Crown "Heavy Medal" from the Rock-n-Roll race series was headed our way.   

Savannah was my last race for 2011.  Shortly after that I split the U.S. for Vietnam with my roommate for some well-deserved time off from exercise for both of us... (she is a uber-dedicated swimmer, does it waaaay more than I run, and is awesome at it!!)  We did take some time one morning during our trip for some exercise. She went for a workout in the ocean while I went for a jog on this amazing beach in Nha Trang.  The whole time, I kept asking I really running on this amazing beach in Vietnam??  And yep, I actually was.   

Nha Trang beach = amazing.
Somewhere in that water are Genevieve's swim goggles.

Running took me a lot of places last year, literally and figuratively.  Running lead me to new places I've never been before, like the Oregon west coast and the sweet Savannah south.  But it also led me to meet new and incredible people.  It was running with fellow RUS runner, Miri, that got us a blurb in Fitness magazine , which is how I met our amazing photographer who has since become someone very special in my life.  I met all the hysterically fun Honey Badgers on the Hood to Coast adventure.   While I don't plan on running as many races in 2012, I am excited to see where life and that "race within me" will take me this new year.  Where will your inner race lead you this new year?