Highlights of 2014

Well, it’s nearly the end of the year and it’s been three months since I have posted on the blog. Life got crazy busy … teaching, TAing, researching, writing (sort of), and running means no time for blogging. And as I realize this, I am contemplating ending this blog… still undecided on that. But before I do that, I thought I’d touch on some highlights of the year.

Trails & Hills
When 2014 started, I opted not to focus on speed and PRing and race goals…but instead I wanted to log more miles on trails and learn to be stronger on hills. And while I did train for races, whenever I could I made a concerted effort to get out on the trails and climb (remember my Fit Friday posts?). Climb and run trails – I did! With amazing friends (Jenn B., Hillary, Leslie, and the Bobs) I learned new trail routes and got more comfortable off the road. And as of today (Dec. 29) I have climbed 91,250 feet during my 2,175 miles this year. Success! And as the rest of this post will show, those hills and trails paid off with PRs in every distance (in fact I PRed twice in the half and 10k if you count relays…)

Relays
Speaking of relays, I ran several relays with both SFM Ambassadors and SCE teammates. From Ragnar to the Capitola Half to a duathlon and triathlon and finally the recent Christmas Relay in San Francisco, I have run more relays than ever before! And it has been so much fun. My last relay, the Christmas Relay was a great way to cap off a relay year – with 3 teammates and a goal to race at a sub 7 minute pace. (I succeeded, 4.5 miles at 6:55, woohoo!) Running in a relay takes the focus off the solo sport that running often is and brings in a team element that often can push you to meet goals you previously thought impossible. Plus, how much fun is it to start and finish as a team!

SCE at the Christmas Relays

SCE at the Christmas Relays

PRs
As I mentioned before, I PRed in the 5k, 10k, half, and marathon distances. This was an incredible feeling, especially after 2013 not really catching any PRs. I’ve written about my most of my PRs (Super Bowl 10k, Santa Cruz Half, Run in the Name of Love 5k, and SFM, link below) but I never got around to posting on my most recent at the Big Sur Half Marathon on the Monterey Bay, so I guess I’ll post a little about this now.

Best views at Big Sur

Best views at Big Sur

As readers of my blog know, the Big Sur Half is my favorite half marathon and I’ve had great races there in the past (2011, 2012). Last year, I aimed for it to be my first sub 1:40 half but it just wasn’t my day. I decided to take this year off and run the inaugural Disney Avengers Half Marathon instead. Well, sometimes life works in funny ways. Due to an unforeseen and unexpected issue (not necessary for the blog post) we couldn’t make the drive to Southern California. We transferred our hotel reservation for 2015 and RunDisney was awesome, letting me defer my entry. I felt really fit and wanted to still race 13.1 and thought I’d check to see if the usually immensely popular Big Sur half still had any entries… they did! After going back and forth, I decided to drive down to the expo and register at almost literally the last minute. Race morning, I left early for the 6:55am start, giving me little time to get caught up in typical race nerves. I felt like I ran a nearly perfect race. I started out a tad fast, but nothing too crazy and made my way through the first couple miles, which weave through Monterey’s downtown to the coast through Cannery Row and to the Coast (miles 1-3: 7:13, 7:36, 7:24). This part of the course stays by the coast for a bit and then heads up the most steep hill (67 feet) into Pacific Grove and then back to the coast. Then the race stays on the coast until its turnaround, a little past mile 8. Coming out of Pacific Grove, Kevin (Paulette’s husband) came up beside me and we ran together for a bit. Then fellow SCE team member Jeff passed me and just before the turnaround I saw another SCE member, Benoit (using the race as a final long run before CIM), heading back toward the finish. These guys really helped me stay motivated during the middle miles! (Miles 3-8:  7:32, 7:13, 7:30, 7:24, 7:15) After the turnaround (BTW I love that the turnaround is so late so you only have about 5ish miles  left!), we turned to a massive headwind, boo! But with the views of the Monterey Bay, who can really complain? I also saw Paulette as she made her way to the turnaround. I had been looking for one other SCE member, Jose, but I didn’t see him until the finish (because he was just a few steps behind me the entire race!). I definitely felt tired but knew I should be able to catch my previous PR time. I  had a bit of mind game coming back into Cannery Row, as that was where I really fell apart last year. But I powered through and before I knew it, I was at the finish (Miles 9-13.1: 7:28, 7:23, 7:29, 7:15, 6:56, last .10 37 seconds). This meant I finished at 1:37:51! That was a 2 minute PR for the half… only 7 months after I set my previous PR! I was elated. I texted Leslie first because she had been my rock for the half last year and I knew she would be stoked for me. Then I texted the hubs and family. The only bummer was I was pretty much by myself… then I saw Jose, Sean, and Benoit! And that made me pretty happy.

PR = Happy Meg

PR = Happy Meg

Catching that Unicorn
Like many runners, one of my ultimate goals was qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I tried 3 times from December 2012 through August 2013 and still remained 7+ minutes away. After trying so hard, I decided not to make that my goal in 2014. I purposely registered for SFM knowing that it would not be a good BQ course (hoping to remove that pressure). But take the pressure off, combined with great coaching (thanks Aaron!) and lots of hills meant that my 2014 marathon was my strongest and fastest yet and allowed me to finally catch that unicorn. (Read that post HERE.) In September I registered for Boston and got my confirmation about a week later. This definitely tops my running highlights for 2014!

BQ Smile!

BQ Smile!

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 5.46.09 PM

Everything Else
There were lots of other awesome non-running moments from 2014. Some of my closest friends got married; so the hubs and I had bachelor/bachelorette parties and beautiful weddings to attend. I was able to come home to visit my family more times than I usually do. And Elise came to visit twice this year! Sadly, both Hillary and Jenn moved away, but I was able to visit them both – so that’s not too terrible, I guess. And while Leslie had her share of injuries, she has been such an inspiration in her recovery. Speaking of inspirations, Ashley’s Barre Studio opened in October and is amazing!! I love going to the classes (runners, this is a great asset to your running, I promise!). And the hubs and I have been hosts to friends and family to our still-new-to-us house. It’s been a great year!

2015
I’m looking forward to 2015. I’m a new ambassador for Team Run the Bay (Represent Running). Our first big race is the popular 408k… looking to register? save 10% with the code: RUNTHEBAY-MG

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As far as races go, I’ve only got my eye on a couple. Of course, I’m running the 508k. I’ll also be running the Super Bowl 10k for the 6th year in a row. And I’m excited to run She is Beautiful in March. I haven’t run this race since its first year in 2011. And I was lucky to be a part of their new video:

Every day is a choice… from She.is.beautiful on Vimeo.

And of course, I’ll be focusing on Boston. The hubs and I are both excited! We’ve never been to Boston so even without the race this is going to be a fun trip… but to run the famous Boston Marathon makes it that much more special!

So, what have been your favorite 2014 moments? And what are you looking forward to in 2015?

2011, what a year!

How is it that 2012 is just a couple short days away?? I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by. (And how bad I’ve been at blogging in general.) But before it ends I wanted to share a few of my favorite moments of 201

Running my First Marathon (May 1)
I can’t believe I accomplished this goal, but I did! And you can re-read my blog post all about it here.

Moving (May 8)
Ok, I don’t like moving either (and we moved a mere week after the marathon, terrible idea)… but I really like the place we moved into.

Driving to Washington (June 30-July 1)
I don’t have a photo for this one but this was the longest road trip Kevin and I have taken together. I really enjoyed our drive, mostly because Oregon and Washington are just so beautiful to drive through but Kevin’s a pretty good road buddy too. And we got an extra special perk by being able to stop in Oregon to say hello to our good friends Natalie and Jeremy and their two boys.

Bachelorette Party & Bridal Showers (June & July)
I was lucky enough to have a wonderful bachelorette party and two showers. My friend Tawny threw the party and it was perfect. Hiking, wine, and homemade food? Yes, please. Then Kevin’s family threw us a shower in Washington, so much fun. It was nice too because many of the people who were at the shower were unable to attend the wedding. And finally, my maid-of-honor threw a shower in my hometown (ok not really but close enough) and it was so nice to have all my friends and family gathered together who don’t usually all hang out.
You can read about all three in my summer recap post.

Seeing Friends Get Married (June, August, & September)
I love a good wedding and I love when I get to be there to see my friends tie the knot. I was lucky enough to attend three weddings this year (Dan & Juliana, Dustin & Erica, and Cedric & Kelly). All three had ceremonies and receptions that reflected who they were and their love for one another. Kevin couldn’t come to Kelly’s wedding (it was his bachelor party weekend), so my mom came with me and made the perfect date (thanks Mom!).

Halloween Party (October)
Kevin and I used to throw Halloween parties all the time (ok really, Kevin did and then I joined the fun). This was the first year we threw a party in Santa Cruz and it was awesome. The costumes were great (I particularly loved the Psycho movie and having both the 99% and 1% represented). But it was extra special fun because we had friends from So Cal, Gilroy, and Petaluma also join in. And anytime I get to bake with Tawny, I’m stoked.

Our First Thanksgiving (November)
I’ve been meaning to write a post about this but not sure that will happen at this point. But this was our first time hosting Thanksgiving. I made two pies, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Kevin and our friend Pat made the turkey (which I heard was delicious and looked beautiful). That morning Kevin and I also ran our first race together. Some of our friends brought side dishes and it seemed like the perfect night… until three our guests’ cars got towed 😦


Let’s see, I feel like I’m forgetting something about this year that was pretty awesome….
Oh yeah, our wedding!

Our Wedding (September 18)
So I guess technically I attended four weddings this year, but I have to say the last one was my favorite! The venue was perfect and while our wedding was smallish, it was so wonderful to be with friends and family as we made our vows. Plus we danced the night away at our reception. You can read about our wedding in my series Encyclopedia of Me, here.

And while 2011 was exciting and eventful, I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings us! Happy New Years blogosphere 🙂