Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 In Review: The Best Runs of the Year

I was going to do a top-ten runs of the year, but then I started to list them, and they didn't really fit into a group of ten. I have a pretty clear top four runs of the year. Then I have a lot of runs that I really enjoyed, but that all kind of blend together. Here, then, are my highlights for the running year.

I: The Best Trail Run Ever. Early June.
This was a no-brainer. The second trail run that Helen and I did together in Provence. Best views, best finds (the Fort de Buoux especially), the easy feel of the early days of a vacation.

II: The National Marathon. Late March.
A very different kind of run, of course. But a very satisfying race for me, after all the training I did. It was also a much more enjoyable course than I'd expected. Having Helen join me for the second half made the time go much quicker.

III: First Provence Trail Run. Early June.
If it wasn't for our better, longer trail run two days later, this might be number one.

IV: The Maclehose Trail. Late November.
Monkeys make this one lower than it might have been otherwise. Views that rival the Provence views, but in an urban context – who'd have thunk it?

Those were the best single runs of the year. They were hardly, of course, the only good runs of the year. Some of the other highlights, roughly in chronological order:

The Caesar Rodney Half-Marathon
. Early March.
A tough entry, because that day was COLD. One of my main memories was standing in an ATM lobby waiting for the race to start, because it was too friggin' cold outside. But the race itself was fun, and it was good to finish strong.

The Wissahickon Trail Classic. Early June.
A fun race. This one stands out as the one trail race I did this year where I didn’t go off course. Of course, having it on my home turf helped a bunch. A rough race – brutally hot. We had a plane to catch that afternoon, so this was a good see-you-in-a-few-weeks run.

Running in Paris. Mid-June. There were a buch of fun runs in Paris, most of which Helen and I did together. Really, a great way to see a whole bunch of the city Рthe Jardin de Luxembourg, the quais, the Promenade Plant̩e. The favorite might have been the last one, starting at the Parc de la Villette, then running down the canal and over to the Buttes Chaumont.

July 4 run.
A run with some of the guys I run with on Sunday morning. I probably ran 40 times or so with them the past year, this was the only time that it wasn't in Valley Green. A 10-mile run in Montgomery County, led by Bob Reynolds. This was the only one of these where Helen didn't come with - although she'd have really enjoyed it. (Especially at the end, when some of the guys were pretty spent from a run that wouldn't have phased her).

Running in DC. Mid-July.
Helen and I did a few runs during our trip to DC. A mix of runs along the streets, runs along The Mall. The main one that sticks out in my memory was a run where we ran the perimeter of the East Potomac Park.

The Patriot's Tri. Early August.
The one Tri I did this year. The run part was clearly the highlight – a satisfying run at the end of a fairly long race.

Beartown State Park. Mid August.
This is near Dad's place in Great Barrington. A nice little park with a bunch of trails, some of them admittedly a bit torn up by snowmobiles. A bit muddy? Yup. Fun? Most definitely.

Half-Wit Half
. Mid-August.
I remain disappointed with myself for losing my smile during this race, but way proud of Helen for winning it.

Bowen Road
. Late November.
The best run that we did on Hong Kong Island. Actually, the only run we did on Hong Kong Island, but better than the ones we did in Kowloon. Not a long run, but beautiful views and a real mellow setting, so close to the hustle-and-bustle of Central.

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