Dry Martini: A New Running Goal

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the congrats on my Wineglass PR! A few weeks after the fact, I’m no longer on Cloud 9 about reaching my long-reached-for-but-never-achieved sub-2:30 goal. I’m still on an adjacent cloud, like Cloud 6. That race day was a very good day that I’ll continue to draw on when the going gets tough. Because the going always gets tough. That’s just the way going goes.

Tanja and I at the Pit Run start. She ran her first half this year like a champ.

Because Wineglass was a week earlier than usual this year, I was able to pin a number on for the Pit Run, my local 5/10K. Other 10Ks have their charms but the Pit Run course will always have my heart. It nearly pounds out of my chest on the big hill in the middle of the course. Even though it is the hill I live on (and have run up more times than I can count), tackling it as part of the Pit Run is always more exhausting because I don’t want to stop, walk, and swear in front of my neighbors.

Which is why I opted for the 5K this year. I didn’t have 6.2 in my legs and a nice little scamper through the park seemed like more fun. Despite the 90 percent humidity and occasional drizzle, it was. Any starting line I can walk to from my own bathroom guarantees a good race, no matter what my finishing time is.

The race ends with a grilled chicken lunch. The smell alone pulls you to the finish line. #EarnYourChicken

I’ve been thinking a lot about what comes next. For now, the idea of trying to beat my PR (did you know I just set a new PR?) makes me want to throw up a little bit. I discovered during this weekend’s long run that I still have the speed and focus for one zippy mile but maintaining two zippy miles is a non-starter. That may change, mind you, but right now, I’m good with ambling along.

In a text chain, a BAMR friend floated the idea of running a half in every state. I poo-poo’d it at first, because I am a poo-poo’er by nature, but the idea is starting to grow on me. Running a couple of half marathons every year seems like it’s within my reach. I looove to travel and haven’t seen anywhere near enough of the U.S. yet. Mostly, though, a woman's got to have a quest in this life and I can think of very few reasons why this shouldn’t be mine.

At first, I figured I’d already knocked out at least ten states, given all of the places I’ve run because of AMR. When I isolated races that started with pinning on a number and ended with a medal, there were six. While I’ve run a bunch of half-marathons total, many of them have been the same race over a series of years. I love the Pittsburgh and the Wineglass weekends, mind, but it’s time to see something new.

With 44 states left and, realistically, at best, 25 more prime running years, that’s less than two races per year. Plus, if my plans hold, I’ll knock Massachusetts off during the upcoming retreat. Plus, plus, the rest of New England should be fairly easy. Plus, plus, plus, I’ve decided that I don’t have to run any of these races with any great haste; I just have to get from the start to the finish on my own two feet. That seems reasonable, yes? I have myself about 80 percent convinced that it is.

Like a Bachelorette at the beginning of the season, I haven’t yet given any races a rose. The Anchorage half is on my “maybe" list, just because SBS seemed to dig it. I kind of want to do the Little Rock half simply so that I can stay in the Capital Hotel again. Other than that, I don’t have any strong feelings — but suspect you do.

Which 13.1's do you love and why?

61 responses to “Dry Martini: A New Running Goal

  1. Coming in late to second Sacramento, CA for the Urban Cow (Oct.) or Shamrock (March) halves. Friendly, well-organized, fun. Please come!

  2. Ohio—Come run The Flying Pig Half in Cincinnati. It’s a hilly course for sure, but the view halfway through is worth it! Plus, mile ten is straight downhill. Plus plus, the last three miles are the easiest of the course. Plus plus plus, you run about two miles in Kentucky, so if you get pressed for time, maybe it could count? 🙂 But if you need one in Kentucky, friends rave about The Urban Bourbon half in Louisville. It has a party atmosphere for sure.

  3. CA: From a SoCal girl 😉
    My first half and one I have done every year since for the last 9 years, the Surf City Half Marathon! You run PCH for much of the course and see the ocean with waves crashing that whole time. Can you beat that? Not to mention the surfers. Great viewing all around 🙂

  4. For South Dakota, you’ve got to do the Run Crazy Horse 13.1. It’s in October and I’ve run it twice (okay, the 2nd year was snowed out but I was there!) It’s a point-to-point race through the Black Hills and is gorgeous! The first 3 miles are hilly but the rest is on a converted railway line and is all a gentle down hill.

  5. Minnesota – Gary Bjorklund half (Duluth with Grandmas marathon)! Weather is perfect, race is amazing, the course is beautiful, the whole town comes together for it, race weekend doubles the size of the town. It’s amazing!

  6. Thelma and Louise HM in Moab, UT takes place in June. Wish I could have stayed around long enough to do that one. Gorgeous views and looks fun.

  7. Come and run the Wine Country Half in Dundee, Oregon. It’s a great destination race, hilly but beautiful tour of local wineries, and the party afterwards is awesome. Plus, it starts and ends about a block from my house, so you could have free use of a nice bathroom before the race!

  8. I didn’t see that anyone commented on Mississippi, Tennessee, or Alabama so let me fill those in (and I’ll add Missouri for good measure). Tennessee: St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon (1st Saturday in December). I’ve done this lots of times (it’s practically my backyard). The expo is great, awesome medals, great crowds, you run through the St. Jude campus where you get to see some patients and their families, great finish line. Also in Tennessee is the Oak Barrel Half in Lynchburg (Jack Daniels distillery). This race sells out fast! I did it last year…the town is very small, but the course is very pretty with a GIANT mountain that you run (or walk) up for a mile. Alabama: The Rocket City Half or Birmingham half marathons are supposed to be great. Mississippi: There’s the Mississippi River Half/Marathon (run across the river) and the Blues Marathon. The Blues always has great medals and good music. Missouri: Any half marathon around St. Louis would be awesome. It’s a beautiful city. I did the Rock ‘n Roll half there a few years ago and I loved it.

  9. Suggestion… can someone compile the comments in a future post— BAMR recommends maybe? For good swag, best after party, etc. I like the idea of running HMs around the country.

  10. While I’ve run the Asheville Half at theBiltmore Estate, I would recommend one of the smaller half races in NC – Bull City Race Fest in Durham in Oct (this weekend for advance planning for next year), Conquer the Mountain in Franklin in November, or the Bethel Half in the greater (that seems like a misnomer) Waynesville area in October.

    I’ve run in seven (I think but that seems low to me) states. Of course, some of these were full marathons but I would recommend the half that goes with Richmond in November, the one that goes with Myrtle Beach in Feb, the one that goes with Blue Ridge in Roanoke in April (there are two options for VA).

    If you are coming south, let me know. I’ll run with you!

  11. For your Oklahoma half need to come to OKC the last Sunday in April for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon (the Run to Remember”). It starts at the memorial for the 168 lives lost on April 19, 1995 and is the chief fundraiser for the Memorial Museum. It is a wonderful event that remembers those lost & honors the survivors & first responders.

  12. There are some great Half’s in Kentucky, but I think the Urban Bourbon has the best after party — bourbon samples, burgoo, pizza if you want it.

  13. If you run the Detroit International Half in Michigan you can also cross running into another country off your list. You can also cross running a mile underwater off the list too. Not many races can offer those things. Bonus is it’s at the end of October and is usually nice weather.

  14. I’ll second the Fargo recommendation for North Dakota. It’s a great race, with a ton of crowd support through the entire route. For a Nebraska race I’m going to suggest the Monument half marathon in western Nebraska (Gering). I have run every “major” half marathon in Nebraska and it is by far the most scenic of any of the races. It close to Denver, so after your race stay a few extra days and go see the fall colors at Rocky Mountain National Park.

  15. I love this and it is really resonating with me! I am going to join you and make a goal to collect as many race finishes as I can in different states and even countries. Inspired by your post I downloaded an app that lets me color states. Two down, many to go!

  16. To check off WA you could join SBS at the Happy Girls in Spokane… Never done it but I’ve heard good things from trail runners. If you’re not into trails my favorite half in Spokane is the Windermere in May. Maybe “home course” bias, but I love it!

  17. Grandma’s half is a great race in Duluth, MN. Gorgeous course along Lake Superior. Fun atmosphere. Beer and bands after. You can crash at my aunt and uncle’s house with me.

  18. Congrats again on your PR!!!
    Good luck on your new quest! How exciting! I am going to save this post for race ideas.
    I have run over 50 halfs, but most of them have been in NY/NE, which aren’t the states you need. I do have a few international races, between Canada, which is in my backyard, and Ireland.
    I am not really a collector of things, but as my husband and I face retirement, it might fit in with other travel goals.

  19. Yay!! I agree with Jana above…..both of the Fargo races (fall and spring) are well run events. Spring is a bigger production, fall is smaller and a very pretty course along the river. We spend much of our summer on the Big Island of Hawaii, and I’d also recommend the Kona Marathon and 1/2 in June. It’s hot, but it’s a great event to do for fun. Dick Beardsley in Detroit Lakes, MN is another one of my favorites. Good luck and looking forward to meeting you at the Cape Cod retreat!!!

  20. What a fun goal to have! We have a lovely half marathon called in March during March Madness. All the water stations are ACC/SEC theme based and the runners vote on the most spirited water stations. They have mascots, loads of cheerleaders, super fun! Wrightsville Beach Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K, 1 Mile Fun run all in one weekend.

  21. Hey, Adrienne! I look forward to reading all about your many races all over the country! Here are a couple ideas from my neck of the woods … first of all, you’ve got to come to Bluffton, SC for the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon. It’s in a gorgeous residential neighborhood that is actually a nature preserve, too, so you’ll see many more Spanish moss-draped Live Oak trees than houses. The course is completely flat, and it’s usually cool weather. You can’t beat that! Plus the after party has a cool bluegrass band. Then you should come back in April (not necessarily the same year) for the Savannah Women’s Half in Savannah, Georgia. The course takes you through the gorgeous city, with its wrought-iron porched historical homes, town squares, and — of course — trees dripping with Spanish Moss. Another fun after party, too. We’d love to run with you here in the Lowcountry! 🙂

  22. My favorite half in NJ is the Ocean City half at the end of September. It was an official race of the 50 States Half Marathon Club this year. Its always a fun time and a beautiful course.

  23. Richmond half because, well, you know why. (See Heidi’s comment) Hogsback half because corgi medal. Seacoast half because it’s in Portsmouth, NH and it’s a cool coastal city. That’s it for now. See you next week at the Cape!! Xoxo

  24. It might sound crazy to run a race on the Chicago lakefront in January, but the F3 half marathon is actually a blast, and the weather almost always cooperates (30s and sunny, yeah!). Plus stay warm inside of Soldier Field pre-and post race. It’s a nice way to check in with the post-holiday running bod: “are we ready for spring marathon training?”

  25. Come to Connecticut!! There are races in so many pretty places! puts on many good quality events all year long. They are pricier events, but there are lots of little town aces available also. LMK and I will join you to mark CT off your list.
    I want to do the Little Rock Half someday soon for that famous medal. Then there is the Flying Pig Half in Columbus for the great name…

  26. Check out the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half Marathon in January. It’s rarely frigid cold, great crowd support, hang out indoors before the start, full breakfast afterwards indoors, family meet up indoors. Do the 5k on Saturday and the half on Sunday and earn 3 medals! This is my hometown race and I run it every year. Flat and fast and multiple host of the Olympic trials!

  27. California has the Rock and Roll in San Diego and there’s always the one out on Catalina Island if you want to see some Buffalo. In Az there are plenty of half marathons taking place in Phoenix and Tucson in the winter/spring if you want to get out of the snow. I have a friend who has just completed a marathon in every state…she finished up in Alaska.

  28. I love the Whidbey Island half in April and even though I’m from Oregon, have run most years since 2007, when I wasn’t having/nursing babies.

  29. Fargo, ND has two lovely half marathons, the big one in May and a smaller one in October. Our donut shop downtown, (Sandy’s) will knock your socks off and is worth the trip on its own. The Fargo Half in May has wonderful crowd support and is mostly flat. The mini in October is largely along the river, beautiful with fall colors. Fargo has a fun, hip downtown with lots of good restaurants, a running store and a bike shop. Spectators can rent a “Great Rides” bike to follow the runners. There are kiosks all over. I would love your posts and would love to meet you if you make the ND trip.

  30. I second the Jazz Half in New Orleans. I am doing it next weekend! The Rock n Roll Mardi Gras Half in Feb/March is also good. It doesn’t get any flatter than New Orleans!

  31. In Ohio I’d recommend the Flying pig in May and depending how you’re counting it runs across the river twice for a couple of miles in Kentucky. Crowd support for the half is always phenomenal and although hilly it’s a nice course. Of course it was my first half and still my PR so it’ll always hold a spot in my heart.

  32. You’ve got to run the Jazz Half in New Orleans! It benefits Children’s Hospital, is a gorgeous course, and has an awesome post race party (New Orleans music, red beans and rice, and all the beer you want)! Plus, it’s finally kinda cool in October.

  33. I recommend two half’s in Des Moines, Iowa. The Drake Relays half is in April which makes it exicting because it could be raining, snowing, or 80 degrees. Beautiful course through lovely residential neighborhoods. Or the Des Moines half marathon in late October is a bigger race. Because it’s Iowa, the weather again will keep you in suspense. It is larger than the Drake race and has great crowd support. The also goes through beautiful residential neighborhoods where you will enjoy gorgeous fall foliage.

    How is your new running buddy?

  34. May I recommend the half marathon in Missoula, Montana? It consistently makes the Runner’s World list of top races. It’s held in July. There is no humidity in Montana. You start in the mountains, run next to the river, wind into town through the University District and finish with a flourish downtown.

  35. You’re going to need your Connecticut medal! I’m another Adrienne mother runner from NY, but I do a lot of CT races. Redding Run for the Cows 1/2 Marathon in May is hilly, but well run by a race director with a big heart. Joan Benoit-Samuelson ran it last year and Bill Rogers ran during the event the year before. In 2019 Kara and Adam Goucher will be running!! Or the Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon in October are super well managed and fun.

  36. How about the Richmond Half? November 10. You are still in good Half Marathon shape and probably well recovered from Wineglass.

  37. Can’t wait to watch your map fill up! Jersey in the house along with Marianne. There are a few to choose from that run you right along the ocean!

  38. I’m in KY so the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon is nice, but I also recommend the Irin Horse Half Marathon, beautiful rolling hills in horse country in a smaller race. As for my favorite race of all time, the Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon in California, run beneath redwoods, the most beautiful race I have done so far!

  39. You will have a blast. I got sucked in a few years ago the same way when I realized I had about 8-9 different states. I am now about to do #40 but am in my 60’s so trying to get it wrapped up in the next 2 years. I see a few above that I would agree on : Green Lake WI, Run the Bluegrass for starts. Love the smaller races; you will meet some wonderful folks. Consider joining the 50 state half marathon club for even more support and ideas. As a fellow upstate NY’er it is a fun way to keep motivated through the winter training months too. Come up to Albany anytime to run with us!

  40. Come to North Carolina and run the Tobacco Road half marathon with me in March 2019. It’s flat, fast, and fabulous. We’re the same pace!

  41. Nationwide Children’s Hospital Half in Columbus, OH in October. A great race….a good cause, fantastic crowd support, patient heroes to high five every mile or so. Love it. I’d suggest the Cleveland Half in May(where I live), but the weather can be anything from hot and humid to thunder-snow and sleet!

  42. Don’t forget your neighbours to the north! It would be easy for you to add a race in Ottawa or Montreal and then you would have an international quest. The Ottawa race weekend in May is always hot so not a good option for you though. You know we would welcome you in Toronto anytime. It might snow at the Scotia Waterfront Half this weekend, that beats heat any day.

  43. I can help you out with with 3 states. In Michigan, the Detroit International half is hella cool, and you cross the Ambassador bridge into Canada, then back through the Windsor Tunnel. Hilly with the bridge and tunnel, otherwise mostly flat. For Ohio, the Flying Pig in Cincinnati. Hella hilly, but cool course and tons of spectator support. Indiana, my home state…the Carmel race in the spring is awesome! Smaller race, great support, relatively flat course. Classic Indiana race would be the 500 Festival Mini Marathon in May. It’s a must do for any Indiana runner. You take a lap around the 500 race track. Fall race would be the Indianapolis Monumental in November. Flat, fast, through downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, passing many of Indy’s monuments (apparently we’re the monument capital of the country or something???) Amazing crowd support, well run race. I’d love to know when you decide to hit Indiana…I may have to fire up and train and run with you. 🙂

  44. Check out the Louisiana Half Marathon in Baton Rouge (January) for Louisiana- great race and even better post race food. I love the Rock N Roll Chicago half for Illinois, the Rock N Roll Savannah for Georgia is also good. For DC the national women’s half is a pretty good race as well. Believe it or not but RI has several half marathons throughout the year- they have a series of halfs so there are several to choose from. The October race probably has the best weather though! Looking forward to following your quest!

  45. I think this is a fabulous goal. My husband and I started our goal of running a race in every state after running the Philadelphia Marathon and half marathon in 2010. We have opted to run any distance from 5K to marathon. We have found that running the smaller 5ks has brought us to some of the absolutely most meaningful running experiences we’ve had. Several of these small races have supported very meaningful but less “flashy” causes and we’ve felt that our participation really made a difference in supporting the specific cause and we have met some wonderful people. We have also traveled to some fabulous out of the way places that we would otherwise never visited.

    Two of our favorite half-marathons are 13.Wine in Baroda, Michigan (run through miles of vineyards and orchards) and 13 Dot 1 in Green Lake, Wisconsin.

    We ran in Idaho and Utah this summer and completed races in our 37th and 38th states. This quest has truly been life changing!

    Have a blast!!

  46. Dubuque half is a great challenge as you start and end in a park along the Mississippi at the top of a large hill. The majority of the race is in town and flat but getting back up the hill at mile 10 or so is tough but the views are amazing.

  47. My fav all time Half is the Hershey Half in Pa – you already have Pa, but if you feel like doing one in October, that is amazing!

  48. Hurrah!!! You’ll need that medal display board now too! Can’t wait to see all the suggestions. Yes to Alaska and Yes to Humboldt through the redwood trees!

  49. Ms Adrienne. How fun. I gave you covered for California and Nevada. For Nevada, there is nothing like the Las Vegas Rock N Roll half. Truly epic. For Sacramento, you can be my buddy to run the CIM relay which is festive as all get out. There are also a number of half marathons in San Francisco that go over the Golden Gate Bridge. I did the Rock N Roll event. Do your hill training for that one.

  50. Be careful . I started out that way. Ending up doing one marathon per state. Now I’m at #39. This bug can bite real hard

  51. I am only here to call dibs on NJ! Like you, I have done a number of halves (18) but kept it to a limited number of states (NY, NJ, PA, OH, AR, and however one counts DC). I do endorse Little Rock as my favorite among all of them. (NYC half is a close second but that’s not helpful for your map.)

  52. After my first year of running halfs I decided on that goal. I was 50. I’m at 18 states now (and 56). It keeps me motivated. And it’s a great way to see the country. I like to make mine true racecations so I’m not just going for the weekend & I don’t know if I’ll finish . . . but I have fun trying!

  53. I hear you…I have friends collecting Marathon states but ima doing a combo. Check out RuntheBluegrass in Lexington Kentucky for a great weekend. And any of the national park races sponsored by Vacation Races…

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