Running through life one race at a time

Lately I’ve really been feeling like I’m running a race with no end in sight. Running from water stop to water stop.  I’ve switched jobs, co-chaired a race, and bought a new condo in the city.  I’m still in limbo as it comes to my living situation because we don’t close on the condo till the end of June.  Don’t worry Alan and I are still doing great but during the week I’m in Seattle.  I love my new job!  I love being in the city but I also love being in the country with Alan.  It’s the life race.

The actual races I’ve done, I love.  I’m not fast and I will never win a race but I do love the racing atmosphere.  I love the sense of community coming together to encourage runners along the way and I love the accomplishment at the end.  And most races you get a medal for your accomplishment.

So here’s a list of my favorite races I’ve done…(in no particular order)

1) 26.2 with Donna Jacksonville, FL  – I love this race for many reasons.  It has a beautiful medal with dolphins and stained glass.  It’s in Florida where it’s relatively flat. It’s in February therefore typically has better weather than the Pacific Northwest.  I say typically because the last time I ran this race it was 34 degrees and one of my best girlfriends and I were picking up clothes to put on at the starting line – I can’t think of any of time that I would pick up random clothing off the street.  This is also a race where I met the lovely woman who inspired me to run through cancer. It’s an all around great race!

2) Livestrong Marathon Austin, TX – This is the perfect race.  Even though it’s in Texas, it has the perfect rolling hills, the perfect neighborhoods, and perfect time of weather (also in February).

3) Haulin Aspen Bend, OR- This is a great trail race.  I love Bend and even more I love the free beer at the end of the race.  The thing I don’t like about this race was the uphill climb at miles 4-6 in the direct sunlight.

4) Happy Girl Half Bend, OR – What a great race to do with your girlfriends!  The course is absolutely beautiful and again there’s free beer at the end.  This race is over Memorial Day weekend so it’s challenging to get lodging and the weather isn’t always the best.  But great course and great schwag!

5) Capital City Olympia, WA – I used to hate this race, mainly because it’s in Olympia and I run these same routes all the time.  However, this year was different.  Maybe it was because another one of my best girlfriends came up and ran it with me, maybe it’s because they have a new race director that made some good changes to the race.  For example, you now get a race medal at the end of the race not a coaster to put your cold beer on.

6) Rock n Roll  Las Vegas, NV – I ran this race the first year they had in in Vegas in 2009 – it was my first half marathon.  It was crazy getting up and being at the starting line at 5am but it was so much fun!  The next few years, they changed the starting time to a little later in the am and then they made it an evening race.  I actually enjoyed running the strip at night.  I wasn’t half asleep.  Although this race is crazy packed and people lie about their finishing times.  I only mention this because it’s a pain in the ass to start a race ready to run and the people in front of you have decided to walk.  I’m not a runner snob but come on…if you’re in the front, you must run.  This is also a very fast race.  It’s flat and the route is down the strip and back which always seems to trick you mind into not being as far as you might think.

7) Shamrock Run Portland, OR – I really like this race.  I’m not sure why but I do.  I guess it’s mainly because I like Portland in general.  It’s a beautiful, challenging course.  I typically drive down the morning of – which makes for a very early morning – and I’m home by noon.  The  temps are usually perfect – cool, crisp (almost) spring morning.

8) See Jane Run Seattle, WA – This was an ok race.  I liked the course but I guess what I really liked was the chocolate and champagne afterwards.

9) Disney Princess Half Orlando, FL – I’m not a huge Disney fan but this race was pretty cool.  Once again I ran with a good friend (my BFF from high school) and we had a blast!  We stopped and got pictures with all the characters we wanted. This race definitely shouldn’t be run for time.  The only downside was it was crazy expensive and it didn’t allow us to get in the park after the race.  I still would like to do the Goofy Challenge one day – that’s where you run a marathon and half marathon in the same weekend.

10) Mercer Island Half – Seattle, WA – This became one of my favorite races this year.  It was absolutely beautiful!  Perfect morning – cool, crisp spring morning.  It has a reputation of being hilly but I thought it was the perfect amount of hills.  It’s not flat but the perfect rolling hills.  And you can’t beat looking at the real estate – I always said I could move to Hawaii but if I can’t make those islands work, Mercer Island would be a good alternative.

11) Women’s Half Scottsdale, AZ – This race is/was put on by my favorite magazine, Women’s Running.  It has since been sold to a different publishing company and I’m not super thrilled with it now.  I still read it cover to cover though. The schwag was great and the medal was amazing.  I liked this race because I got to run through Scottsdale and Tempe where I lived before moving to the Pacific Northwest.  It was hot but it was great.  (I was 2/3 through chemo during this race so I was just thankful to finish)

12) Rock N Roll Seattle, WA – I really enjoyed this race.  For me it was personal but most races usually are.  This race is the race that I PR’d – ie the best time I’ve ever gotten for the half marathon (2:01).  And it was also the last race I had before my double mastectomy.  The course was great and I was very thankful I wasn’t running the full marathon as those folks ran right by the finish line and still had to go another 13 miles – I believe they’ve changed that since 2010.

13) Oklahoma City Marathon, OK – Normally I wouldn’t have chosen to go all the way to Oklahoma City to run a marathon (or in this case half marathon) but one of my friends is trying to run a marathon in each state and invited me to join her. (It’s hard for me to say no to a race)  Turns out this was a great race – not only for the company but for the course.  I originally signed up for the full but after thinking about it decided to switch to the half.  My thought was it’s gonna be hot and flat and I don’t want to feel ‘stranded’ at mile 17 so I switched.  This race is in memory of the Oklahoma City bombing and I didn’t give it much thought till we got to the memorial.  It was absolutely beautiful and a great reminder that sometimes it’s not about running.  The community involvement was bigger than any race I’ve ever raced in.  It was flat but it was still beautiful.  I really recommend this race!

I’ll come up with my list of races that I want to do in my next blog post.  Like I said running through life one race at a time…

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