I completed 12 races in 2012, the most I’ve ever done in one year. They ran the gamut — from silly-themed 5Ks to a full mary — and I took away something different from each one.
1. Polar Dash 10K (Jan. 21): A snowstorm pushed this one back a week — meaning Aidz couldn’t make it up from Cincy to join me, sadly — but I soldiered on in the elements. It was fun, and I’ve worn the heck out of my fleece, but the race definitely could use some improvements for the second annual event.
Post-half marathon PR horns with my main man Banjo.
2. Chi-Town Half Marathon (April 1): A flat, fast course and ideal spring weather equaled a big PR for me (1:48:49). Also, the race shirt might be my favorite ever.
3. Flying Pig Half Marathon (May 6): The most difficult half marathon course I’ve ever run, but overall one of the most fun races (and race weekends) I’ve ever had. It was also cathartic as I mourned the passing of Adam “MCA” Yauch with a challenging, hilly run and Beastie Boys blasting on my playlist.
4. Y-ME Race at Your Pace 5K (May 13): As it turned out, this would be the final Y-ME 5K ever. The breast cancer charity closed its doors about a month later, temporarily leaving me without a team for the Chicago Marathon.
5. Chicago Late Night Six Glo Run (June 16): Held on a Saturday night, this 6K was part race, part rave. The shirts were glow-in-the-dark, glo necklaces/bracelets/glasses were passed out and there was a lot of body paint going on. It was a decent “novelty” race, but it could’ve used 1) more race photographers, 2) a better-organized staging area and 3) more black light and strobe light tunnels on the course. Though, it was mighty cool running along the lakefront with all the buildings aglow.
6. Bix 7 (July 28): My third Bix felt just as difficult as my first; those hills don’t seem to ever get any easier. This time, Keith and I raced to the finish … and I beat him by one stinking second. I’m still undefeated in our head-to-head races. I’d like to keep it that way.
7. Elvis is Alive 5K (Aug. 16): A rare Thursday night race, it was fun to scoot down to the lakefront right after work, blow off some steam with a run and enjoy a couple beers in the grass. Besides, it broke up the monotony of marathon training speedwork Thursdays. Have mercy.
8. Chicago Half Marathon (Sept. 9): This one was an unplanned addition. I was one month out from the Chicago Marathon, so I used it as a training run and a chance to practice marathon pace, water stops and staying calm. So, by that measure, it was a success. Gotta say, though, it was a boring course and a pain to get to/from. It won’t be on my schedule for next year.
9. Bucktown 5K (Sept. 16): I soldiered through the fun community race as a recovery following my 20-mile training run the day before. However, the most memorable part might have been the gourmet donuts we got afterward on our walk to the train. Holy Moses were those tasty.
10. Chicago Marathon (Oct. 7): Dare I say this was the best race experience of my life; maybe even better than my first marathon. Perfect weather, amazing spectators, a major PR, and friends and loved ones to share it all with. I could not ask for anything more.
11. Hot Chocolate 15K (Nov. 4): I said it before and I’ll say it again, once was enough for me. But hey, I ran my first 15K and the race sweatshirt is bomb-ass. I’m livin’ in that thing.
12. Cross Country Challenge 8K (Dec. 2): 55 degrees in December? I’m still scratching my head over that one. The marathon notwithstanding, this is the one race I ran this year that I’m definitely penciling in for next year. It’s just that fun.
I doubt I’ll go for 13 races in 2013, but I guess ya never know. Now, Angels, riddle me this: what races should I add to my calendar for next year? — Mags