2011: The Year In Running

Greetings folks. I planned to do a whole 2011 series this week but frankly life just got in the way. So some of them may be belated, but I did want to do a little recap of my running year. The other, harder-to-quantify stuff can come later.

In January I started training for my first marathon.


In March I ran my first half-marathon and shocked myself.


On May 1st I crossed the finish line of my first marathon in Big Sur and it was one of the greatest moments of my life. I knew I was hooked. (note the unintentional post-race beer theme…)


A few weeks later I did Bay to Breakers – notice I didn’t say “run” – in two and a half hours. : )


In June, I met some amazing bay area runners and bloggers who now I count as some of my closest friends.


In July, I crossed the finish line of the San Francisco Marathon, a truly amazing race that I was blessed to share with many others.

In August and October, I ran three more half marathons, with various times and experiences.


The Giant Race – August


San Jose Rock & Roll Half – October


Nike Women’s Marathon – October

And then in late November, an opportunity presented itself to run the California International Marathon. I finished it on December 4th in 4:08.

Tally for the year:

  • 3 full marathons
  • 4 half marathons
  • 1 12K
  • 1 10K
  • 1 5K
  • 1,200+ miles
  • 5 pairs of running shoes
  • 4 lost toenails
  • 2 boxes of GU
  • A scary amount of $$ spent on running clothes
  • An unquantifiable number of new memories

It’s really hard for me to look back on this year and truly dictate what a big role running played. It was the source of stress at times, of course, but it was so much more than that.

Running became an escape. It became something to throw the stress and hurt into and meld it into something positive.

It provided a constant in my life when nothing else was. Moving from Africa to America, moving cities, starting a new career, starting a new life. Everything seemed so transient. Running remained the same. One foot in front of the other.

It gave me a mental challenge: the marathon. The marathon is as mental as it is physical. Where your mind goes at mile 22 is a dark place that few experience. You know more about your deepest self after a marathon than ever before.


It gave me confidence. I used to believe I could never run a marathon and now I’ve run three.


It gave me some great friends. There are some new people in my life who I’m incredibly grateful for and blessed to call my friends.

It gave me new goals. I was ecstatic when I hit 1000 miles, then ending the year at a bit over 1200 momentarily makes me feel like I didn’t try enough when half my twitter beat 2,000, but then it gets me back to the main thing:

Running is one area where ironically, I don’t feel like I’m competing about anyone but myself. I compete for seats on the bus, better tasks at work, the soup special before it runs out. With running, it doesn’t matter how many miles other people ran. What matters to me is that in my first year of being a “runner” I did things I didn’t know I could do, and that’s what matters.


I look forward to 2012 and seeing what it brings. Thanks to everyone who’s been a part of my running journey this year. I can’t wait for the next chapter.


What were the highlights of your 2011?


  • Comments

    1. I didn’t realize you ran your first half-marathon AND your first marathon this year. What a huge year for you! I would say it was definitely the year of running for you!! Happy New Year :)
      Amber from Girl with the Red Hair recently posted..Top 11 in 2011My Profile

    2. SO happy we became friends this year! You had an amazing year and I know you’re going to smash all your PRs in 2012 and I can’t wait to run Big Sur (and hopefully lots of other races) with you!
      Cate recently posted..2011 FavoritesMy Profile

    3. wow – awesome recap Courtney! What an incredible year of running. And one of my favorite 2011 memories is running with you – how lucky am I? Happy New Year and a toast to injury-free running adventures in 2012.
      Victoria recently posted..Cohort*My Profile

    4. What an amazing year for you! I love how running can be that constant thing when nothing else is :)
      TriGirl recently posted..The Danskin Run: with slapping, punching and a guy named TimMy Profile

    5. I did not realize that last year was the first year you had completed a marathon! Gives me hope!! Happy New Year!
      JANE recently posted..Happy New Year!My Profile

    6. What an awesome post!!!

    7. Great post! You put my running accomplishments to shame! I agree, running is a great comfort and source of consistency. I can always head out for a run after a tough day at work and feel better. Happy New Year!
      Kathryn @ Flopoodle recently posted..Carmel By The SeaMy Profile

    8. You have had an amazing year in running, I am one week away from my first marathon…I think I’m injured and not sure if I’ll ever do another but hopefully many more hals are in my future! I loved all your race photos and I hope your apartment is okay!

    9. May 2012 be even busier (if that possible!) I love to see people living their life to the fullest (or almost).
      Truly make me happy!
      Zinedine recently posted..Free Hd MovieMy Profile

    10. Congrats- what an awesome year you had! Love all of your photos :)

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