2015: My Year in Running

Xavier Amatriain
6 min readDec 26, 2015


2015 has been a great year for me in many ways, but running has been particularly good. This year I ran 2000 miles (3200 km), compared to the 1850 last year. This is even more remarkable if I think about the fact that I switched jobs to a more demanding position at Quora and I added almost 1 hour of daily commute. So, yes, you can.

2,000 miles!

But, besides the amount of mileage I was able to put in, there are other memorable things I’d like to share.


This year I ran 6 official races: one 50 Miler, 3 full Marathons, and 2 Half Marathons. You can see all my race results in my athlink page.

The North Face Ultra Challenge 50 Miles

I ran this beautiful race again this year. This was my second time after trying it out last year. The race is located in the Marine County Headlands, a beautiful, and hilly, countryside, very close to San Francisco. There are breathtaking views of the Pacific as you make your way through the 50 miles and the 10,000 elevation feet.

Having ran it before made me much more confident I would finish. I also had a few lessons I had learned the year before. In particular, I was sure I was not going to be wasting so much time in the aid stations.

With all that in mind, and with the help of my friend Alberto, who ran it all the way with me, I was able to finish in 11:36. Almost 1.5 hours less than last year.

The SF Marathon

The San Francisco Marathon is a hard and hilly marathon. The first part is beautiful since you run across the Golden Gate and back. The second half is painful although it is supposed to be slightly downhill from there on.

I run this year for the second time. I wasn’t focusing on making a good time. However, I managed to do 3:34, which is way better than the first time.

SF Marathon

The Surfer’s Path Marathon

This was the first marathon I ever ran. It is a beautiful race along the Santa Cruz coast. It was fun to run it again this year. I felt really great that day. So much, that I actually matched my marathon PR of 3:24 even without meaning to do it. Actually, if I had known I was so close to beating my PR I would have pushed harder on the last few miles. Nevertheless, it is still great that I was able to technically beat my PR by a few seconds given that this marathon is much harder than the St. Georges Marathon, where I PR’d the year before.

The Zombie Runner’s Halloween Marathon

I “had to” run this marathonc simply because it was in my back yard. This marathon actually went through the trail that I use for my daily runs, so it was hard to say no, especially when a couple of friends were also running. It was a really tough “hybrid” trail/asphalt marathon with a pretty significant elevation gain. Very good training for the ultras, but my all time worst time in a marathon.

The Halves

I did not focus at all in “short distances” this year. Just ran a couple of halves (one was the Kaiser Permanente in SF and the other one in Los Gatos). Actually, for both of them I was somewhat injured and took them easy. Very far from my Half PR of 1:31. I know I would really need to focus on training for beating this.

The Relay

This year was my 3rd year in a row running The Golden Gate Relay. This is a really fun 200 mile team relay going from Calistoga in Napa Valley all the way to Santa Cruz. It is always lots of fun not only to run, but also to spend time with (sweaty) friends in a van.

This year, our team (Korrikalaris) really crushed it. We were 6th, out of more than 150 teams, and finished in 22:57. We were less than a minute away from making top 5!

The Grand Canyon R2R2R

This was probably the highlight of my year in running. After a failed attempt last year, we were determined to do it this time around. And, everything went just as planned. There was water in all the water points in the canyon (which was very fortunate since we did not get that last year and just a day after we ran there were water problems). We finished the adventure in around 15 hours.

The R2R2R is a bucket list run for all distance runners. It is around 48 miles and 11000 feet of elevation gain. You start in the south rim, go down to the canyon, run across, run up the north rim, run down, run across the canyon again, and finish with a brutal climb to the south rim again. All this surrounded by beautiful scenery.

There are many details that you need to figure out in order to run this. One of them, as I already mentioned, is water supply. Another one is weather. There are actually only two small windows during the year when you can run it, because of the huge difference of temperature between the rims and the canyon. Last year we attempted to do it in May, this time around in October. The weather was almost perfect since it was cloudy and mild all around. It did rain during the last 3–4 hours and that wasn’t so fun. But, we preferred a bit of rain to heat or cold.

Writing about running

Having joined Quora at the beginning of the year, I started to be much more active in writing on the site. I have written about many things, running included. Actually some of my answers on running have become quite popular. Here are links to some of them:


I have been pretty lucky this year with injuries. Otherwise, of course, I wouldn’t have made it to the 2000 miles. However, that doesn’t mean I have been injury-free all year. I started the year with problems in my ribs due to a mountain bike incident at the end of last year. I also had calf problems in one of my halves. This has been the only race that I had to walk for a couple of miles. Most of the year I had issues with my psoas muscle that I managed to keep under control with stretches and massages. Finally, the last part of the year, I experienced the infamous plantar fasciitis. I will give some tips and tricks on how to overcome some of these in the Quora questions about them. You should look forward to my answers.

Still, I have to be grateful that I have been able to mostly keep on running all year and I have not even had to take a sick day in all of 2015!

Looking forward to 2016

So, what’s next? I don’t have big plans for next year. I will be running the awesome Big Sur Marathon in March. I am also looking forward to running the Relay again this year, this time around probably with the Quora team. Besides that, I might focus on trying to beat my marathon PR in a faster marathon. If I feel really, really well I might attempt to beat my Half PR, but that is much more unlikely.

In any case, I do look forward to a happy running 2016. See you on the roads!