My 5 favorite runs of 2014

The field at the Maple Leaf Indoor Marathon back in February, just before the start.

The field at the Maple Leaf Indoor Marathon back in February, just before the start.

I’m not a compiler of statistics. I never seem to know exactly how many miles I run in a year, though I can usually cobble together an approximation if called upon. My favorite runs are those that have a storyline to them, even if it’s only in my imagination.

Still, I do know this: 2014 was a transformative year. Not only did I complete both my first marathon and my first 50K, but I got past my snake phobia enough to truly embrace trail running for the first time. Getting off the roads and into the woods feels like a seismic shift.

Here are five of my favorites from the past year:

  1. The HUFF 50k Trail run. This was a goal for the past three years, and it was sweet to finally get it in the books.
  2. The Maple Leaf Indoor Marathon. This was my first, 208 laps on an indoor track at Goshen College. It was a small field of maybe 35 runners and a fun, supportive bunch – so much so that the winner stuck around to accompany me on my final lap as the only rookie in the group.
  3. The “Memory Palace” run. Indoor marathon training led me to come up with a lap-counting association technique that not only helped pass the time, but proved to be an absorbing trip down memory lane.
  4. Lightning Strikes Twice. In which an apparent running schedule “fail” unexpectedly led both my sister and I into uncharted territory on two very different breakout runs.
  5. The run/walk time trial experiments. Technically this was five separate runs, each proving what my new Marathon Maniac friends from the Maple Leaf Marathon had told me was true: You can go faster over a long distance if you take walk breaks. This was a real eye opener, and helped me adapt to trail running as well. (Running in the woods is much more in the moment and much less about falling into a repetitive motion. Your footwork is constantly adapting to the conditions, and sometimes you walk over or around obstacles, so it’s not that big a deal to take a short walk break if needed.)
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