- Best Race Sign: Don’t you want pancakes?
- Best New Tech: Philips ActionFit In-Ear Headset. We finally found a solid pair of sweat/water resistant earbuds. Other pluses: adjustable cord length with a clip to attach to your clothing, silicon ear caps keep the buds in place and volume/voice control on the cord. A touch pricey (Mags got ’em for $30 but they’re listed at $39.99 now) but at least they should last more than one running season.
- Best New Gear (low budget category): FILA Sport Perfect Running Short.
- Best New Gear (high dollar category): CW-X Stabilyx 3/4 Tights (Gear check post is a-coming!)
- Best New Kicks: Brooks Pure Cadence.
- Worst Fad: Arm panties for fashion’s sake. We’re looking at you, Sanya Richards-Ross. If you’re THAT cold, consider actual sleeves. Or maybe cover your stomach. And yes, we know you can totally kick our asses.
- Best Horns: You guys really brought it this year. We’re declaring a three-way tie between the adorable Chris and Dani Dye’s Warrior Dash horns, guest blogger Laura Brown Rinne’s first full mary horns in Motown, and Mags, Dave and Keith flashing exhausted post-Chicago Marathon horns while riding in a bicycle rickshaw.
- Worst Race Weather: This one goes to the race that wasn’t. Adrea was slated to come to Chicago to join Maggie for the Polar Dash 10K, but a sprinkling of snow caused frenzied race planners to panic and postpone the race — and they announced it the day before the race was supposed to happen. Ironically, it dumped a heap of snow on the new race day and held the event anyway. (Meanwhile, Adrea pouted from three states away.)
- Best Running Song: “I Look to You” by Miami Horror ft. Kimbra.
- Worst Running Song: “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen. Why oh why must they play travesty this before every single race?!?!
- Best Race Swag: Ooooh, this is a tough one. The Chi-Town Half Marathon‘s teal half-zip with thumbies has become Maggie’s go-to cool weather top, but man alive, do we luuurrrve the Hot Chocolate 15K hoodie for kicking it around the house and around town.
- Worst Race Shirt: Usually, the Bix 7 shirt is an easy pick for this category, but this year, the Hyde Park Blast shirts took the gross cake. The normally well-designed, well-fitting shirts of yore were replaced by off-brand fugly frocks that said something about “grit” in a bad iron-on muddied design. It’s already in the pajama pile.
- Best Running Route: We might be biased, but Cincinnati is a beautiful city. Amie often runs from her office, and this year’s best running route goes to “the bridges.” She can jump on one right outside her building, run straight into Covington, Ky., weaving through Kentucky, all while looking at the Cincinnati skyline. Then you run back over on a bridge aptly named the Purple People Bridge, designated for people to safely cross the river. It’s a beautiful run, and Amie is grateful to live in such a lovely town.
- Worst Race Experience: Adrea was already salty about being forced to pay money to switch from the Flying Pig Half Marathon to the 10k thanks to a nagging injury, but when she found out she was pregnant a few weeks before the race, she figured it was all for the best, anyway. Race morning was gray and rainy and generally craptastic, and she barfed not once — but twice — during the duration of the course. Thanks, fetus!
- Best Celebrity Encounter: This year’s Bix 7 included a high-five from local spectator Frank Fritz of “American Pickers.” He was strategically stationed by the popsicles near mile five, which is one of the happiest places on Earth. Thanks, Frank!
- Best Running Advice: If early morning runs are your goal, sleep in your workout clothes. Awesome.
- Worst Road Back: Our very own Amie Bracken. I am still not back, so I can safely say that my struggle back to fitness in 2012 has been the worst. Baby #1 came in November 2010, baby #2 in January 2012. Yes, I ran Boston between these blessed events, but it wasn’t easy. I’ve run a few races here and there, but with the schedule I keep at home and at work, I still have not prioritized running, and that’s going to change in 2013.
- Best Motivational Moment: Oscar Pistorius. ‘Nuff said.
Care to chime in, Angels? — Mags, Aidz and Amie