There are a number of factors that can come into play when describing a really good run, or in this case, a “best run.” The infamous MissZippy1 is hosting a link up and asking the question:

Link-up: “What’s your recent best run?”

It was an easy answer for me: my marathon a couple of weeks ago.

Sure there have been some good runs in between, but that race was a near perfect experience for me. I’d place it not only as a recent best run, but possibly my best run EVER. It was that spectacular. If you want to read the whole recap, check it out here: Oakland Marathon 2013 Recap.

But for the sake of this post, I’m going to list out 5 reasons why this run was so phenomenal.

1. The distance.

It’s a marathon, so it’s a journey. I like to joke with friends that the race really doesn’t begin until mile 18-20. It really comes down to the last 7-8 miles that will make or break your day. Running a fast 5 miles is amazing. Running a really good 10 miles is always satisfying. Running a solid 15 miles is gratifying and 20 can be confidence building… but knocking 26.2 out of the park and feeling wonderful? A rare occasion.

2. Running the whole time.

I’ve never run a race without taking at least 1 walk break. Even if it’s for 15 seconds at a water stop, I walk at some point. Not this one. I ran the whole time… all 26.2 miles. I honestly never thought that is something I would do, not at that distance. Maybe at a 5k, or a 10k… or even a half, but never a marathon. That’s not my standard operating procedure. Run a few miles, walk a minute, run some more, take 30 seconds. That is how I’ve done all my races — well, all until this doozy.

That second photo is the last mile, I look darn happy for mile 26.

That second photo is the last mile, I look darn happy for mile 26.

3. Finish time

This one is race specific. I’ve had great training runs where I’ve been on pace to set record times. I may have taken a photo of the Garmin and threw it on Instagram shouting my excitement. But this day was official. This day stands in the record books as an official finish time. It was also the first time I broke the 4-hour mark. Throw in an almost-perfect negative splits (2:00/1:54) and the most consistent splits I’ve ever run in a race and you can see why I’m loving this run.

4. Oakland Baby!

With some great races across the bay in San Francisco, I’m proud to say that my best race happened in Oakland. You hear that Bay Area? Come run Oakland, you’ll love it. The energy, the challenging course, the arch of fire and a gummy bear Cadillac… they’ve got it all! (See this blog for detailed photos) I’ve done this full marathon twice before, both times going out to fast and burning out at the end. The final miles around Lake Merritt have been some of my toughest segments of a race. This day in particular, those miles were some of the most fun. I found my speed and posted my two fastest miles of the day around that lake. I was smiling, having a good time and loving it.

5. In the zone.

What makes a run a “best run” is different for every runner. It may be a run that relieves the day’s stress or a run that shows you the true beauty of nature with sunrises and beautiful pastures. But the one constant might be the feeling of finding yourself “in the zone.” The miles fly by, you find your mind at peace and your body is fluid. That’s what makes a run special. We don’t often find it for an entire run. We mostly find it in the middle of a run or for a short segment, but when it happens for an entire run, it is truly special.

Check out MissZippy1’s blog for a complete list of other #BESTRUN posts.

Have you ever had a really good run?

What was your most recent #BestRun?