Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Race Roundup

I thought that I hadn't managed to run many races in 2014. Especially given how few miles I ran! But looking back, I still managed to run:

12 half marathons
3 10Ks
6 5Ks (including the 4 in day)

and I volunteered at a race, too.

Of course, the other "marathon" was the multi-day trek along the Inca Trail -- which was tough and well deserving of the medal, darn it! (And the one-day Rim to Rim trek in the Grand Canyon, which deserves a medal, even if we didn't have them!)

It's hard to pick my top three race moments, but here goes:

1. Indy Mini Marathon: seeing the first little sign that said, "SPEEDWAY" made my heart pound a little, and seeing the grandstands looming up in front of me made me cry. Then stopping to kiss the bricks made me a little euphoric. Plus I wore checkerboard knee-highs, so I think this was my favorite race this year.

2. Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon: running in the driving Santa Ana winds along the Santa Ana River Trail, and suddenly coming across a massive group of cosplayers in excellent costumes. I got lots of love for being dressed as Ms. Marvel ... especially from the ladies who were themselves dressed as Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel.

3. Not a race, per se, but the Inca Trail Marathon Adventure: arriving at the Sun Gate on the fourth morning and suddenly seeing Machu Picchu... and bursting into tears. Dirty, dusty tears.

And now for some awards...

Best Costume: Hulk and Ms. Marvel, Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

Hands down, our costumes for the Avengers Super Heroes Half were fantastic. I'm still super pleased how they turned out, despite being so simple.

Runner up: my Cheshire Cat costume for the Tinker Bell Half. Not the easiest thing to run in, but I looked great, right?

Best Learning Experience: Oso United Mudslide Benefit 5K

Me not knowing the course at the Oso Mudslide 5K ... missing the turnaround, and adding a quarter of a mile to the distance. I'd feel much worse about this if I hadn't managed to run a PR later in the year.

Best Race Mascot: Sage Rat Run Half Marathon

Okay, so it's the only race with a real mascot... but Dusty the Sage Rat from the Sage Rat Half Marathon was amazing.

Runner up: Blerches at the Beat the Blerch Half Marathon

Best Medal: Sage Rat Run Half Marathon

The medal from the Sage Rat Run Half is GINORMOUS and beautiful. I love this race! What's more, if you ran a race the second day, you earned a third mega medal. As they say, "don't wear these medals near water" -- you might drown.

Runner up: the medal from the Rock 'n' Roll Vancouver Half. I love those lions on the bridge!

Most Room for Improvement, Medal Category: Emerald City 10K

Yep, this medal has a typo on it. An otherwise handsome custom medal, spoiled by having the name of the city misspelled. Oops. And this isn't a photo of the finished product... it's clearly the design proof!

Best Race Shirt: Indy Mini Half Marathon

Admittedly, I'm never going to wear a red shirt. But the long-sleeve shirt from the Indy Mini Marathon is one of the best-looking shirts I've ever received. It's tech fabric without looking techy -- and is the sort of shirt you could wear in the real world without looking like a freak.

Runner up: the handsome, black and green technical long sleeve from the Beat the Blerch Half Marathon

Best Race Logistical Challenge: Daffodil 5K Challenge

I almost called this "Best Race Logistics", but that would be wrong. (The race had more than a few hiccups, but it was an ambitious race and I would hope they'd fix them for the 2015 running.) But moving from city to city to run 5Ks along 4 different parade routes, well, that was pretty fun -- especially while wearing these ridiculous daffodil hats. And we got to see princesses.

Best Race Branding: Flying Pig Half Marathon

Wow, did they have the branding down pat. The blend of a repeating race logo and a different twist on the theme every year, meant that they had a great range of merchandise at the expo, and everything looked great.

Runner up: Beat the Blerch Half Marathon ... which isn't surprising, because the race is based on the comic...

Best Post-Race Nosh: Marathon to Marathon

Every runner received a voucher good for either a post-race breakfast or lunch in the town auditorium. Omelets, pancakes, and hashbrowns cooked and served by local firemen, eaten at tables shared by the sweetest little old ladies imaginable.Perfection.

Runner up: Hagg Hybrid Half Marathon

After the race, the organizers served up breakfast (for those faster than us!) and then burgers and veggie burgers for lunch. We sat in the sun and ate and drank soda out of our very nice medals mugs.

Best Race-bag Swag: Flying Pig Half Marathon

In addition to a handsome "suitable for framing" print, a good-quality shirt, and a wide range of Proctor & Gamble Products, runners were given a "race premium" .... which I think was a waterproof backpack. Either that or a very smelly backpack. But I suspect it's waterproof.

Runner up: Boring Half Marathon

Another handsome race shirt, and -- I love this -- a BORING race sticker. I still can't believe more races don't make these.

Best Mid-Race Food: Beat the Blerch Half Marathon

Birthday cake? Nutella sandwiches? Grape soda? I had it all. AND managed not to throw up. Awesome.

Single Toughest Day: Rim to Rim Hike

To be brutally honest, I didn't know if we'd be able to do this. It was harder than we thought, but I think we did better than we feared. And coming out of the canyon at the Bright Angel Trailhead to cheers from our fellow trekkers -- and being greeted with a shot of tequila -- will stay with me a long time.

Best Run Over a Historic Bridge: Santa Runs Tacoma Donner and Blitzen 21K

We got to run over the Murray Morgan Bridge in Tacoma -- a beautiful old industrial bridge, now named after a local historian. Doubly sweet.

Best Race Featuring a Giant Inflatable Colon: Get Your Rear in Gear 5K

'Nuff said.

What was your favorite race moment in 2014? What awards would you give?

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