Best race experience?
The triathlon I did this year (my second ever), Best in the West. I performed ridiculously well, even on quite minimal specific training (but was at a much lighter weight and I'd say better general fitness level), hitting paces for all the legs that I barely even thought possible for me in a triathlon (or outside a triathlon - I beat my then-5k-PR in the run!).
It was also a well put on race.Tthough I'd say they could use some improvement in pre- and post-race communications (I think they're going through growing pains and haven't yet learned what needs to be delegated), the race itself was very well done. Organized, well-marked, good support and volunteers.
Probably a tie between the Best Dam Run 10k and the mile time trial I did during the marathon taper. These two runs are fairly close to each other as far as equivalent paces (relative to the distance), and are not only amazing bests for me at those distances, but also indicate much better times for all other distances than I've currently achieved.
Best new piece of gear?
Heartrate monitor. (I have the Garmin strap, which links up with my watch.) After this year's marathon, I wanted to take it somewhat easy on the running while we try to get pregnant, so I figured it'd be a great opportunity to deliberately work on aerobic base training. I used the Maffetone formula to set my range (and have alerts set on my watch to beep when I'm above or below), and have been doing that for nearly all of my runs for the past 2 1/2 months. Finally in the past few weeks, I think I'm seeing noticeable improvement at my easy paces!
I also ran a 5k this month that was within a minute of my 5k PR - with just having this heartrate training as my recent running, no speedwork, significantly lower mileage than when I set the PR (which was at the end of marathon training). I think that definitely speaks to it doing something to, at least, maintain my fitness.
Best piece of running advice you received?
"Attitude determines altitude - you have to believe you can do it, in order to do it." From a colleague prior to my 10k PR. While there are certainly limits to this - I can't go out and run a sub-20 5k right now, no matter what I believe in - when you're on the edge of achieving something new, I think believing in yourself matters. It matters mentally, in terms of motivation and keeping my yourself going in the moment, but also in strategy. If I didn't believe I could get sub-60, I would have paced myself different from the start, and it really would have become a physical impossibility.
Most inspirational runner?
I'll say my husband. He accomplished his first (and he says only) half ironman. He didn't hit all of his time goals, but he finished and I think that's an amazing accomplishment!
Favorite picture from a run or race this year?
From the triathlon:
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
The year of racing and PRs!
This year's races:
January: First Run 5k (PR), 2.62 Micro Marathon, Fight for Air Stair Climb 80 floors (age group place!)
February: PRC Winter 5k Predict
March: Race for Paws Virtual 10k (unofficial PR), Shamrock Run 5k (PR)
April: Hop Hop half marathon (PR)
May: Bloomsday 12k (PR)
June: Twilight 5k
July: Foot Traffic Flat half marathon (PR)
August: Hood to Coast
September: Best in the West sprint tri (PR), Forest Grove Lions Club Run for Sight 5k (PR), Best Dam Run 10k (PR)
October: Portland Marathon (PR)
November: Tacoma City Turkey Trot
December: Ho Ho 5k