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Why I Race : Favorite Race Memories


What are some of your favorite race memories? Remember why you race and link up with Running Coaches Corner!

Why do you race? Remember and share some of your favorite race memories for this week's running coaches corner link up!

 In the midst of Marathon Month, I thought it would be great to look back at just why we run. When I first wrote this post, I had been forced to take a week off in the midst of peak marathon training for Twin Cities due to a flair of my hamstring strain from the previous spring. Taking that break broke my forward momentum, and I needed to remember just why I was getting out there, doing my PT, and doing the work. 

This post is adapted from a previous post! But there are some new tidbits, and I doubt that you will recognize it 😀 I’ve added a few extra favorite race moments to the end of the post! I would love it if you would share yours with me as well!

Favorite Race Moments To Date

For the first two moments–read this and you will know just how I felt going in to them!

2013 Marine Corps Marathon.


Every mile (Recap here). There was a moment every mile that changed me. Every mile, I thought to myself, I can’t believe my leg has held, I can’t believe I just finished another. And then I saw the former serviceman (I am thinking of one in particular, but please know that he was one among many) being pushed in formation by his unit-mates because he had lost his legs. The fact that Marines were cheering us on. The fact that we were running in just the most amazing circumstances. The fact that I was negative splitting. Then the pain started, and I staved it off, thanks to internal and external (spiritual) help and some silly physical improvisation. Realizing that I was 2 miles away, then 1.5 miles away, and that I was going to finish. Having Bart Yasso cheer me on and high five me as I passed. Running up that last hill. Going through the arch. Getting my medal and being saluted. Not really being able to walk up/down hills. Seeing my mom. Never wanting to take that medal off.

2012 Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon.

My first half marathon finish line. VA Wine Country Half Marathon 2012

My first half marathon finish line. VA Wine Country Half Marathon 2012

Team Challenge. My first half marathon. I was so, so nervous–my stomach had been acting a fool the last 3 weeks prior, and I had no clue what would happen. And then I exceeded every expectation I ever had. 

2012 Nashville Women’s Half Marathon

Running my second official half marathon--Women's Running Nashville Women's Half Marathon 2012

Running my second official half marathon–Women’s Running Nashville Women’s Half Marathon 2012

I hit a wall. Hard. And then I had this thought. Start to finish. We never quit. All of the sudden, I was running for every person with Crohn’s and Colitis, for all of us.

2013 Allstate Chicago 13.1

chicago half team challenge suzlyfe

My PR, but it almost wasn’t. If my coach Joe hadn’t jumped in with me at just the right moment, I think I might have quit. And if I hadn’t thought that the finish was WAY sooner than it actually was, I wouldn’t have sprinted the entire last mile, looking frantically for Alex. Also, the only race Alex has ever seen me do, our first full official day as Chicago residents, and 48 hours after leaving Europe.

2009 Real Girls Run 4 Miler. My first race. I finished top 10 total. I never knew I had it in me.

Edited to add these more recent races:

2015 BMO Phoenix Marathon

The Phoenix Marathon is a fantastic Boston Qualifier marathon or Personal Best course! |

I’m elite in my mind

My first BQ, and a race that still seems pretty surreal to me. I go into pretty great detail about it in my Phoenix Marathon recap, but I will just say that this is probably the smartest run race I have ever had, and may ever have. I just, for lack of a better word, nailed it. The only way I could have improved would have been to not have gone to the bathroom at mile 16. I figured I had it in me, but I didn’t know until I was running that I really did.

2015 Ragnar Relay Madison to Chicago

Running Happy.

Running Happy.

This was just one of the most incredibly fun experiences that I’ve ever had, and Madison to Chicago Ragnar was a race that I needed to run to know that I “still had it” after my stress reaction. I will definitely do another Ragnar, I just don’t know when! I would love to do an ultra team, actually.

2015 Chicago Marathon

Susie's 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Finisher's Medal with its engraving. What an experience! Read about it at

Yes, this was the race that broke me. But it was also exhilarating beyond belief. I never thought that I would run that time, and though maybe I shouldn’t have, I did and I loved every step of the way. Better to have loved and lost, you know.

2016 Run Mag Mile Half Marathon

We knocked it out of the park! Don't miss this recap and review of the Chicago Run Mag Mile Half Marathon and 5k! This flat fast course is perfect for a PR! Get the full review at

My first half marathon after Sacral Stress Fracture!

This was the race that made me feel whole again. Run Mag Mile Half Marathon is a race that has improved each year, and this year was its best yet, and my best year running it, plus my first half marathon back after breaking my back. I accomplished just about all of my goals, and I finished strong and happy beyond measure. This race made me feel like an athlete again, as well as a runner. Having Alex there was the cherry on top!

Why do you run? Coach Suz shares some favorite race moments #runchat #marathon Click To Tweet

This is why you run. Because you never DO know what you have in you. And you will always be able to surprise yourself.

Now, link up with Running Coaches Corner and share some of your favorite race moments and memories!

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I am linking up with myself, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPatty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday. 

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