Top Running Experiences of 2015

If you have been reading my blog in the last couple of weeks, you know I have had a shift in focus with my running. I have learned to focus on the THE most important thing, health. At the end of the day, the race's overall experience is what makes them worthwhile to me. To expound, "experience" for me is a combination of the sites of the city, the trail, and the meeting of the like-minded. Keeping that description in mind, you now have the criteria I used to rank my 2015 races.  So with no further delay, here is my list.

13. LuDown Legacy 5k
Norman, OK - great way to start off "race season" for the year for me. Flat course, friendly people, and great snacks at the end of the race. (Saturday, March 28)

12. Runtoberfest 5k
Oklahoma City, OK - very fun but wasn't ready for those hills.  The best part? The  "medal" was a Runtoberfest "stein". (Sunday, Oct 3)

11. Mud Factor OKC
Norman, OK - My only Obstacle Course Race (OCR) of the year.  A 5k full of mud pits, walls, rope climbs, crawls, yet nothing electrical or fiery with this. A great starter OCR for anyone who has never done it.  My blog recap is here. If there was an actual place to shower post race, this would have ranked higher. (Sunday, June 28)

10. America's Finest City 5k
San Diego, CA - 3 words - Hills, Humidity, and Hot .... yes, San Diego on that August morning felt like Houston or Florida on an August morning. A beautiful tour of Balboa Park with this one. I was on a business trip and I'm so glad I took the time to do this before going to work. Though it had unexpected heat and humidity, a very beautiful trail. Excellent run. My blog recap here. (Sunday, August 21)

9. HITS OKC Half Marathon
Oklahoma City, OK (Bricktown) - My first half of the year. A trail that began at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, leading to the Oklahoma river trails. The trail provided a serene run along the river with a great scenic finish. That finish happened to be home plate at the ballpark, home of the OKC Dodgers. (Sunday, October 18)

8. Redbud Classic 10k
Oklahoma City, OK - My 2 week primer for my marathon. Had no idea what to expect...it was actually a primer for what I would experience at the marathon as well. Redbud was a tour through the neighborhood Nichols Hills, part of the upcoming marathon trail.  Nice houses, had a Rock 'n' Roll vibe to it (there were bands performing on the trail) and the neighborhood did live up to it's name having lots of hills. One of the better post race atmospheres I've been around.  Definitely check this one out. (Sunday, April 12)

7. I Am Second Run 10k
Plano, TX - A mudder feel to this morning run.  Like the Redbud, it was a 2-week primer to a bigger race, the Route 66 Half Marathon. The IAS run provided relatively flat trails located behind the Oak Point Amphitheatre. I finished work in Dallas, so added this on the schedule before returning home. A great flat run, perfect running weather, and I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that In-N-Out Burger was a few blocks away from the end of the run. (Saturday, November 8)

6. Williams Route 66 Half Marathon
Tulsa, OK - Cold, cold and COLD ...at first. LOL. This was my final half marathon of the year. Occurring in late November, once the cold went away, I got to see a gorgeous tour of Downtown, South Tulsa, and Arkansas River. Spaghetti Warehouse as part of the post race nutrients distributed. Very nice touch. This race receives "coolest medal of the year" award from me. 🙂 (Sunday, November 22)

5. Brookhaven Run 5k
Norman, OK - The one that started it all. BR will probably be the most sentimental race for me, as this race was where I started. I have never missed one since the first (FYI: I said I would never do it again after my first).  6 years later, I cannot see ever missing one. The race date always coincides with the kick-off to the Oklahoma Sooner football season. Needless to say, there is quite the tailgate atmosphere (family style) at the end of the race. Great way to kick off a HEALTHY version of tailgaiting. If I had to choose one race only, it would be this one. (Saturday, September 5)

4. OKC Dodger Dash 5k
Oklahoma City, OK (Bricktown) - My final race of the year. It was an unexpected surprise. I had not trained for this one. However, this was a great winter tour (without the snow) of the Bricktown district, ending right in front of the home of the Dodgers (OKC), the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Great morning run but what made this very memorable were 2 things - it was the inaugural event and I placed 3rd in my age division! A very nice surprise. My blog recap here.  (Saturday, December 19)

TOP 3
2015 SIF Racing Recap

3. OK Strong Run 5k
Moore, OK
- My time in this one is possibly a carry over effect from the OKC Memorial Marathon. This occurred 2 weeks after my marathon.  The OK Strong Run was created to help raise funds to help the city of Moore, which is still recovering from the devastation of the F5 tornadoes in 2013. This event marks my fastest 5k time I've recorded to date. (Saturday, May 16)

2. Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon
Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center, Downtown LA, and Halloween Make-Up .... by far this run was the most fun out of all of them. I can't even remember the last time I dressed up or did make-up for Halloween. In all my time in Los Angeles, I never really hung out much in downtown.  What I love about runs in general is they allow you to actually SEE the area unimpeded. The LA Coliseum, Staples Center, Downtown, LA River all seen with people in costumes and make up. Quite the site and experience in downtown Los Angeles (including the post race concert). Muy Bueno #RNRLA (Sunday, October 25)

1. OKC Memorial Marathon
Oklahoma City, OK - Similar to the Brookhaven Run, this will always be special for one major reason.  That reason is I plan for this to by my one and only marathon I ever do.  The goal was very simple (in theory), finish.  Prior to this, I had completed 3 half marathons. I knew I could do half the distance (13.1 miles) without depleting myself. This event was uncharted territory and admittedly, an intimidating distance. My training the day of the marathon got me to the 20 mile mark before hitting the wall.  It did take a combination of jogging and walking but that last 10k did get done. It is a "bucket list" item I can now cross off the list. Mission accomplished. (Sunday, April 26)

2015 Runs

Anything major in store for 2016?  Yes, there will be.

Sweat Is Free Events

On another day (soon), I will blog on that. 🙂

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