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  • My 2015 Recap

    Posted on December 31st, 2015 Michele Sun No comments

    2015 has been a great year!  As we approach the end of yet another year, it is my annual ritual to reflect on all the best things I have! And I am so grateful that I am given a wonderful year of living large in so many ways!

    First, I completed chemo treatment cycles in early May, and all tests, physical exams, and scans in Oct showed that all signs of cancer are gone. My doctors called it miracle and I need to thank the oncologist, doctors and techs at Stanford Cancer Center, without their care and treatments this miracle would not be possible, and extra kudos for their making it less scary! Now I need this miracle to continue for another 3 years!

    It has also been a really great year with friends and family in my life!! Got to hold Fernando and Vianney’s baby boy, attended Loi and Nate’s wedding, watched Chris and Luka’s sweet little girl walking, and celebrated Vinh and Kiyoko’s first anniversary at San Francisco Marathon. I was not a huge fan of birthday party before, but now I genuinely love the birthday parties that I got invited to — celebrating life with friends on their special date is important and special to me now!

    In Oct, I went home to visit my family in Taiwan. I love the daily morning hikes with my parents and brother, and even showed off a little bit of my trail running techniques in the humid and technical trails there. There is nothing happier or more comforting than seeing my parents being healthy and living an active life style, and it’s pretty cool that they travel so much that their schedules are busier than me or my sister 🙂  At my request, we went to the “A Walk in the Woods” movie and had our laugh and sigh together! I never told them how scared I was the night before my second surgery, and how I worried that I would never opened my eyes again, but now those scary moments are part of the past and I am so happy the whole family got to enjoy  Bluebottle coffee at breakfast together! Every tiny moments like this are precious to me!

    When I put together my 2015 race calendar, I specifically planed  to visit couple of my running friends out of SF Bay Area. In April, I went to Paris to visit Karl and we ran around The Palace of Versailles  in chilly Parisian morning, and thank him for showing me the trails he usually runs at and treating me and Ralph to nice French lunch — far fancier than my usual post run banana bread and coffee :-). Then I took the Thalys to Amsterdam and met up with Marco; it was fun and relaxing drinking beers by the canal in the evening and I can really get used to the Dutch life style.

    Of course the highlight of this trip was visiting Mark and Miranda in Utrecht. It has been lots of fun hanging out with them in Tokyo and Paris before, and in the last two years they have showered me with support from thousand miles away. It’s warm and comfortable for me and Ralph to spend time with them in their lovely home and they are like my own family by now. We walked around the canals (yeh, more canals) under the beautiful spring sunshine, went to the forest to have legit Dutch pancake where the formal Dutch Queen resides, visited local markets to sample cheese, chocolates, wines..etc. Despite I was into 2/3 of my chemo cycles, I ran the Rotterdam Marathon with Mark. I was beyond thrilled that I set a new PR (of my new life) at this race!


    In the summer, I went to visit Mark in Seattle, a running friend I met through Google+, and he introduced his running friends to me and adopted me into their Relay team. It’s breath taking to run at the Northwest Pacific trails and definitely an uber awesome experience to be so close to Mt. Rainier. Sitting at their beautiful backyard and playing tourist with Mark and his family in Seattle made it a very fun race weekend! Now I am a huge fan of his fancy coffee 🙂


    Through running I have met lots of great people and learned about races that I can only dream of, and this year I have been so lucky to have the chance, and probably the only chance, to run at the Western States 100 race. I paced Mike to the finish line which is a huge honor to me, and I am sure every runners will love to have the opportunity to be a pacer at WS100! How lucky that I got to participate at the training run and on the actual race day on the actual race course. The most unbelievable and unforgettable moment was when Mike put his finisher medal on my neck, and this is going to be the most treasured medal for the rest of my life. I am eternally grateful for his kindness and mentorship.


    This year I’ve completed Rotterdam Marathon, San Francisco Marathon, Osaka Marathon, and the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K. In Osaka I have made new running friends that are expats in the Kansai region (関西), and I hiked, ate and drank my way through Osaka and Kyoto after the Marathon. Meeting the humble and friendly old inn-keeper in Kyoto is such an unique experience that I am seriously considering move to Japan later!!


    The TNF50 in Dec was truly a tough challenge and even more brutal than last year, but I finished this epic ultra trail race by myself without pacer this time. I had to walk the last 3 miles because my quads were not there, but still managed to PR the race by 7 minutes, and I found that I am mentally tougher than before — strange and interesting 🙂 Thanks  to North Face for the race entry, and I am definitely coming back again even though I said I hated it after crashing and sleeping for 3 days upon completing the race!

    I have logged 1100+ running miles this year, and those are tough, beautiful and happy miles with some teeth-grinding. Got to thank to all my running buddies far and near, you are the ones keeping me motivated and inspired to go farther than what I believe I ever could. I was very sad when I lost the precious Nike Women’s marathon medal, a Tiffany necklace, at an onsen in Kyoto, so I was posting obituary on Facebook for my very first medal. The day before Christmas Eve, I received a package with a Nike/Tiffany necklace inside, and I was completely speechless and moved by this surprise. Mark in Seattle had called in a favor and got me that. Now this necklace is not just a race keepsake to me, but a vessel that can hold precious memories. I have a world of people who truly care about me, and I am not sure if I deserve it.

    Lastly, I wish to thank GU Energy for another year of supporting my training and racing, and allowing me the opportunity to be at their training camp and meeting my idols. The words Rob shared with me had me in tears.


    If this year has a lesson, it is that I am awfully lucky to be here. Thanks for joining me on my 2015 adventures and here’s to an epic 2016! All the best for 2016 and make those dreams come true.


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