Survey from and link-up on Miss Zippy. Also see 2012's edition.
Best race experience?
The First Run 5k on New Year's day. It had a great, festive vibe, with a countdown to midnight. I was running sans Garmin (having forgotten it in the car and realized too late to go back to get it), and set an unexpected PR by over four minutes. It was the best way to start the year!
A 3.1 mile run the second tapering week of marathon training. I was trying for a fairly fast pace, but only planning on a couple miles. After a mile or so, though, I realized that I was on track to beat my official 5k PR (see previous question) - and did by 2 1/2 minutes.
Best new piece of gear?
The Nathan hydration vest. I don't enjoy using it, per se, but it definitely was a huge help during marathon training!
Best piece of running advice you received?
I can't pinpoint an exact source where I read this, but from various articles and whatnot over the year I internalized how much conditions - specifically things like heat and humidity - can effect your run. Just because I know that, under perfect conditions, I can run a certain pace, I shouldn't beat myself up for not being able to do so when it's 85 degrees out.
Most inspirational runner?
Beth of Shut Up & Run - she did her first Ironman this year in under 13 hours!
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
The year of the marathon!