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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)