When I first saw Angela’s top five post and decided to
steal copy borrow it, I thought it would be pretty easy. I mean, there are definitely “great” runs in every runner’s history, whether is a first time event, a PR, or just an exceptional experience. Then I realized that, after running for over 25 years, I have a heck of a lot more than five great runs. The challenge was how to whittle them down.
My Top 5 Running Moments
After much deep thought (and many mind changes), here are the runs that I decided were my top 5 running moments.
Capering for 20 miles
This run, which already stands out simply because it was awesome, is on my mind lately because of the challenges I’ve been having with my long runs and asthma. It was Saturday, September 12, 1998, I was training for the Honolulu Marathon, and running 20 miles. I didn’t set out to run fast, but as I ran along, I just felt better and better, which resulted in running faster and faster. Alan and I finished that run in 2:40, an eight minute per mile pace, and I distinctly remember saying to Alan at about mile 15, “I feel like I’m capering!”
Now, I didn’t just remember the date. I pulled out my old date books, where I religiously tracked my mileage and other workouts. As I thumbed through those old records, my main thought was, “man, we were animals!” With long runs up to 27 miles before a marathon, weekly mileage up to 60-70 miles, and lots of racing, we were running strong. The same week that I ran that 2:40 on Saturday? I had also run 21.5 the Monday before! Those were the days, my friends. (No recommendations here, it just was what it was.)
Finishing with my son
When my son moved back to California about 10 years ago, he was recovering from a marriage to an abusive woman, and quite depressed. He was smoking, overweight, and unhappy. Fortunately, he moved in with new roommates from work. They just happened to be runners. My son started running, lost weight, gained confidence and eventually started competing in races. I talked him into running the La Jolla Half Marathon with me, but we never found each other at the start line. I caught up with him at mile 10, where he was walking and having terrible blister problems. He started running again and we stayed together until the finish. One of my proudest “Mom Moments.”
My First Marathon
Even though I had thought about running a marathon, it wasn’t until I met Alan in 1996 that it became a reality. At the time, he was a big fund raiser for the Leukemia Society, so much so that he was able to get an extra ticket and entry for the 1996 Honolulu Marathon for me. It was an amazing experience, from the hotel on the beach, the early morning walk to the start line, the 5 am start and the fireworks, all the way to the finish at Kapiolani Park. In spite of being so sore I could hardly walk the next day, the Honolulu Marathon was the start of my long love of the marathon distance. We went back another five times (and we’re registered to run the 2015 race!).
We’ll always have Paris
I’ve been fortunate enough to run the Paris Marathon twice. What can you say? It’s a 26.2 mile tour around the center of the city. Manifique! Alan and I celebrated both times by running together and carrying disposable cameras with us (It was 1998 and 2001, no mobile phones to record the experience for posterity).
And the PR race
I ran my personal best race in 1999 at the St. George Marathon, a race that has a net elevation loss, so many runners, including Olympic trial hopefuls come there to give themselves an extra chance. Before the race, runners are bussed up to the start line, which is at about 5,200 feet. The race then runs down to the town of St. George, Utah, which is at about 2,500 feet. It’s not all downhill though. There are a lot of rolling hills, especially in the first half, and the main downhill comes the last six miles as you are running back into town. In spite of some nutrition mistakes, and two bathroom stops, I had a great race. Okay, I’ll tell you. I was 41 years old and I finished the race in 3:16:24. And because it was an Olympic trial year, that time only got me 17th in my division!
Surprise! Here’s Number 6!
After finishing this post, I was happy with my choices. Then I realized that I skipped what was probably my favorite run of all time: Ragnar So Cal! While I never planned to run a Ragnar Relay, when Melissa asked me to fill in for her last year I said that I’d do it, even though I was only vaguely aware of what a Ragnar was (does it stand for something?). It’s hard to put into one short paragraph what an awesome experience this was. A great team, first of all. Each and everyone of those women were amazing. Even though I’d only met two of them before the event, I walked away with 11 new friends.
What is your favorite run? What made it so special?