2011: Top 5 running moments

These past couple of weeks have been fun reflecting on what happened in 2011. Today I bring you the last of my lists with my top running moments of the year. Narrowing down the top 5 running moments of the year is hard, but honestly anything longer than that is boring and diluted. Anything beyond 5 is like having honorable mentions, which I will not do. This list is completely different from my top 5 racing moments of 2011 – this list is more broad and not necessarily as focused on one specific moment.

5. Monument Avenue 10k While this was my No. 1 racing moment this year, it's definitely not the top running moment. It was huge though, but from an overall perspective it wasn't as important to me as other things on this list. Gradually building my mileage in the first quarter of the year, getting back to the start line and then setting a PR, though, still make this a great moment.

4. The Holiday Run Streak In a few months, perhaps this will be higher on the list; it's actually tough for me to include this here as it's happening now with another day to go. That said, my running streak through Jan. 1 is teaching me a lot about running for the sake of running. It's fun to just go out and run with training pretty far from my mind. I've run in the rain, in the wind, in awkwardly warm December weather, through neighborhoods brightly lit by Christmas lights; and included a few races to close out the year.

3. "Most ever" moments It's important to me to not confuse "most ever" with "best ever." When it comes to this year, I won't touch the "best ever" phrase. I'll just use "best so far." And with that nod comes many "most ever" moments this year -- most weekly mileage (41.5 from Sept. 5-11); most ever miles in a month (135 in August and September); most ever mileage in a year (1,040.4); most ever races (13); and most ever consecutive races (4 in 4 weeks) are the highlights.

2. Watching my son race I’ve learned a lot this year about running by watching my son. He has fun; he notices things like barns off in the distance in a race; and he runs just to run. If you don’t have kids, I highly suggest that you watch a kids race. Not the one with 10 or 11 year olds – the real kids race where everyone is under 5 years old. You’ll learn a lot.

1. Baltimore Marathon This “moment” isn’t about that specific October day – it’s about the rush of signing up in April with no idea whether I could run anything beyond 6 miles; the gradual buildup of mileage through June; training through summer and early fall; not feeling 100% on race day; crossing the finish line itself; and being injury free after.

Baltimore Marathon finisher certificate

As for what's coming in 2012? I'm not making a schedule for the year like many bloggers are doing -- I have my focus on the Shamrock Half in March and I may still do a spring marathon. The Richmond Marathon will definitely be huge in November, but I'm not really thinking that far ahead now. Besides, what's the fun in telling you what I have up my sleeve?