1. Fit Milwaukee Friends: I started 2010 with an inkling that we were onto something special with this group. The photo of us at the finish of the Run Into the New Year race only begins to tell the story. Little did I know that there were even bigger and better things to come throughout the year, including but not limited to the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay, Wisconsin Marathon, The Great Milwaukee Race, Tyranena Half Marathon and Lakefront Marathon. Hey, that's a lot of marathons. Speaking of which:
2. The TWO full marathons I completed: Rockford and Milwaukee Lakefront. Both were special in different ways and I'd be hard pressed to pick which was my favorite because I keep going back and forth on it. In Rockford (my hometown), I had my family there at the finish as well as my running besties who had traveled to run the half and proceeded to stalk me on the second half of the course with bright-colored signs. The photo of me getting ready to high-five Krista at the finish while Amy looks on is still one of my favorite running photos of me ever. Coming around the corner at that finish line to see the lot of them jumping up and down like crazy people is one of my favorite memories of the year. Plus, I PRed that race by nearly 20 minutes......
Until I ran Lakefront. This was the race I trained hard for all summer. I ran six 20-mile training runs in prepraration to hopefully break the four hour mark. AND I DID IT. It was a much harder race than Rockford but it was well worth the pain seeing that 3:58 at the finish. Hard work pays off, people.
3. Chicago 50/50: About half way through the summer and in the middle of one of those six 20-milers I ran I started thinking about how a 50K race "would really only be 5 more miles than a marathon." I'm sure a lot of people think this when they sign up for one and in the middle of that extra hour of running they think again to themselves "what the effing eff was I thinking back then?" The summer of 2010 was the summer I fell in love with the super-ultra-mega long training run. I felt like I could knock out any distance I wanted if I relaxed and took my time. Turns out I can. (Well, at least up until 31 miles.) I'm so proud of the 50K I raced because I did it completely on my own. I extended my training a month past Lakefront marathon, drove by myself to Chicago on Halloween weekend, snarfed down a meatball sub in my hotel room the night before and showed up all by my lonesome on race morning. And you know what? It felt spectacular. Just little old me with my ipod shuffling along Lake Michigan for thirty one miles. I kind of felt invincible.
4. CALIFORNIA: I'd been to San Francisco before, but we brought the kids along on that trip. This time Jason and I blocked out a week long vacation to the west coast just for us. We didn't have any big plans (other than to eat really well, natch) so we meandered around the city for the week, napping in various parks, eating spectacular food, meeting up with old friends and daydreaming over buying a townhouse at the top of Nob Hill. (Als0: A 1AM stop outside the Full House house!) The weekend brought us up the coast to Napa Valley where we drank wine, had probably the best meal of our lives at Cyrus, and swung by the finish of the Napa to Sonoma half marathon to cheer on my Team Challenge buds. Which brings me to..
5. Team Challenge: Go Team Challenge! Go Team Wisconsin! I'm still dumbfounded that I managed to raise $2500 for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. I also have no idea how I got up early both Saturday AND Sunday for three months. The trip to Vegas with the team though was worth all the worrying over money, the early mornings, all the crazy event planning. The night of the pasta dinner when all the coaches and mentors cheered us into the convention hall I got kind of overwhelmed by the hugeness of it all. And then to go out and make my half marathon PR the next morning by ONE SECOND? How poetic is that? I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. To top it all off I got to sing along to Bret Michaels playing "Aint' Nothin But A Good Time" at the post-race party and then go drink cans of PBR out of a hotel room bathtub. Hey, what else would you expect from Team Wisconsin?
7. Kauai, Hawaii Ok, so this was a crazy expensive vacation. But it was soooooo worth it. This was the relaxation trip to end all relaxation trips. The first full day there, I parked myself at the resort pool with a book and a mai tai and didn't leave for over five hours. We lazed about at multiple beaches, took long drives all around the island, and ate at 22 North- a farm-to-table restaurant that not only had fantastic food, but mixed some of the best cocktails I've ever tasted. We rang in the New Year toasting and tweeting (what else?) from our hotel balcony. I also got to be part of the wedding day of an old, dear friend who I haven't seen in years but whose family welcomed us into what was such a special, intimate ceremony that I won't forget.
I feel like I'm the luckiest girl alive. 2011 better not kick me in the butt.
Stay tuned for what I hope to achieve in the coming year (minus Janurary because I'm slow.)