|Waiting at the start line of the Night Race|
- Best Race Experience: I wasn't happy with many of my race experiences this year, but one that I guess I can say was the "best" of the lot was the Night Race that took place in Toronto the first week of September. It was a hot and humid evening, and seeing all the runners running in the dark in headlamps was pretty cool. Also, it was bitter sweet because it was the last race I'd ran the year before with my friend and running buddy Jim who lost his battle with cancer this year.
- Best Run: One of my Wednesday night training runs a few weeks ago was probably my best run. Not best by speed, but it was one of those runs where it approached being effortless. You runners know what I'm talking about; a run where you feel awesome and strong, like you could just run forever. A close second would be the trail running clinic organised by Jennifer Faraone. Very well organised, great bunch of people, and fun to participate in, even when we got totally dumped on by rain in the last few minutes!
- Best New Piece Of Gear: This will have to be my iPhone. I normally run with my Timex Ironman Global Trainer watch, but I've started using my phone to track my runs. I've tried many apps, but the best one by far has been iSmoothRun. The feature I love is that it will export your data to virtually any web site or software, making it compatible with any site you use to track your training. I also use the Strava app and web site, since a group of my runner friends are all training together and posting their results there.
- Best Piece of Running Advice I Received: This year I started reading quite a few running blogs. All of them have posted tips and tricks and all sorts of great advice. Those of you who know me know that I had a very hard time sticking to a training schedule this year. The spirit was willing, but the mind and flesh were weak, so to speak. Many times I was disappointed and angry with myself for skipping a training run, or missing a race due to a conflict with some other activity. Someone (can't remember who, likely one of my Flying Fartlek running buddies) just told me to relax, and focus on enjoying my runs, no matter how fast or slow, or easy or hard.
- Most Inspirational Runner: Many of the bloggers I follow are inspirational. It's great reading other people's stories, following their training, and sharing in their training progress and victories. It's hard to pick a "most inspirational" runner, but if I were to choose someone for this year, it would have to be my friend +Phaedra Kennedy. Her blog, Blisters and Black Toenails is a great read, with posts on nutrition, recipes, training advice, and gear reviews. Her recollections of her races is great; it's like you're right there experiencing it too. I really enjoy her writing style; very down to earth and honest. She writes about the bad days as well as the good days, the successes and failures. She had a fantastic year in 2013, winning quite a few events. But it's on the blog that you can see how hard she worked to get there. It did NOT come easy. Reading it gives me hope that someday, through my own hard work and perseverance, I may achieve my goal of running the Boston Marathon.
- If you could sum up your year in a few words: Disappointing, cautiously optimistic, and hopeful. It was a tough year for training and racing, one of my worst to date. But, things can only get better, right? I know what I need to do, I just have to get busy doing it.