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Memorial Day, Boston’s Run to Remember, Another PR in May

Happy Memorial Day, friends!

I just returned from Boston last night after participating in Boston’s Run to Remember — a half marathon that honors the city’s first responders killed in the line of duty. It was a beautiful race that started in the Seaport District and went through historic downtown Boston. I finished with another PR!

I’ll have a full write-up of the race and my trip up soon.

I hope you all are enjoying the long weekend.

Thanks, Boston, for giving me my 2nd PR this month. And THANK YOU to all who have served and sacrificed in the line of duty. We honor you.

Thanks, Boston, for giving me my 2nd PR this month. And THANK YOU to all who have served and sacrificed in the line of duty. We honor you.

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About 10,000 runners participated in this year’s Boston’s Run to Remember, a race that honors the first responders killed in the line of duty.

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This beautiful flag garden at Boston Common contains 37,000 flags — a flag planted in memory of every fallen Massachusetts service member from the Revolutionary War to the present.

18/50: Ohio — Flying Pig (Half) Marathon

Guys! I’m back from Iceland and Ohio! Both trips were amazing (each in their own way, of course). Will write more about Iceland in another post. For now, I’m going to tell you all about Ohio.

Personally, I think it’s an underrated state. We had a great time there. We visited Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Sandusky — all in three days. Pretty crazy. I’m still amazed we were able to pull it off.

There were many highlights of the trip, but the most noteworthy for this blog is… setting a new PR in the Flying Pig (half) and finishing strong!

It was completely unexpected. Unexpected for a couple of reasons: (1) the course is described as hilly and challenging (and it was!), and (2) I got only three hours of sleep the night before!

But somehow, things seemed to have worked out in my favor that day. No complaints here!

It was a great race — definitely in my top 10 favorites!

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Training for Flying Pig Half Marathon and 2017 race schedule updates

Hello friends, and hello April!

February and March flew right by, and I am now only one month away from my first race of the year — Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio (May 7).

I kicked off April with 16 miles this past weekend — 8 treadmill miles Saturday morning, 5 treadmill miles Sunday morning, and 3 fast miles at the C&O Canal Sunday evening. I did those 3 miles with a friend, and spent the entire time trying to keep pace with him. Wasn’t easy — I had a gasping for life moment at the end. But I survived! And I think it was good for me. I don’t push myself enough when it comes to speed and definitely need to add more speed workouts into my schedule.

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Happy New Year! Half Marathons for 2017!

Happy 2017, friends! Hope you guys had a great holiday and wonderful time ringing in the new year.

I’ve spent the last week trying to get back into routine — work, gym, chores, etc. I’m still playing catch-up. This is probably my least favorite time of the year (post-holiday blues, cold east coast weather), so while everyone’s out there making big resolutions to be amazing, I’m just taking it day by day. It’s what works for me. I do set goals for myself, but the main thing I strive for every year is to live a full life and do the best that I can in whatever situation I’m in.

Right now, I’m in a “blah, it’s January” situation, so you know, I’m working my way through it. 🙂

I finally got around to narrowing down the races for my 2017 line-up. I’ve got six on tap — my colleague, Kevin, (aka Coach Kevin) is pushing for me to do eight, so I’ll end the year with 25 states under my belt. Not sure if I can do it, but we’ll see.

This year, I’d like to keep each race destination under $500. I know $500 sounds like a lot, and it seems like it should be doable, right? But when you factor in airfare and hotel (and food and beers and food and more beers), it’s so easy to rack up the bill — personally, I think $500 for states in the midwest and west coast (when you live on the east coast) is a good deal! What do you think? Your thoughts and discount travel tips are welcome. 🙂 SEND MY WAY!

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17/50: New York – Half Full Rome

How is nearing the end of December already?! (AND ONLY 2 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS??!) The year has gone by so fast!

But let’s rewind back to October for a minute – my big month of travel. 🙂

I spent a couple of fantastic weeks in Southeast Asia (Cambodia and Thailand), and a day after returning (arrived home on a Thursday), I decided to drive to New York to run a half marathon and cross #17 off my list. I figured, why not? I didn’t have any plans that weekend.

I found a small race in a place called Rome, New York, about 30 miles north of Syracuse. There are plenty of races in New York City throughout the year, and I believe a couple were taking place that weekend, but it was too late to register online for them. And plus, I had never been to any part of New York outside of NYC, and wanted to experience a different part of the state anyway.

So, Rome.

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16/50: California – San Francisco Marathon (1st Half)

If you had to choose just one road race to run in California, which one would you choose?

Tough, right?

California is a big, beautiful state. Aside from the fact that there are hundreds of races taking place throughout the year, there’s also the decision of which part of the state to run in — Northern California? Southern? Or how about Central?

Here were my top choices (for a half marathon):

Big Sur Half Marathon in Monterey Bay (not the same as the popular Big Sur International Marathon)

San Francisco (Half) Marathon

Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon

Solid choices, right?? I think so.  🙂

I ended up choosing the San Francisco (half) Marathon. When I told people, they were all like, “but the hills!! Have you seen them?!” Yes, I’ve seen them. I was worried about those hills. But I figured, go big, or go home.

I was pretty nervous about the race, especially after the challenges I faced during Hatfield-McCoy in June. But surprisingly, the hills were not that bad, and the race was amazing — in fact, it’s one of my favorite races yet. I would do it again.

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14/50 and 15/50: Kentucky and West Virginia — Hatfield-McCoy Double Half Marathon

Have you ever been so miserable during a race that you wanted to stop and just quit right there?

There were two occasions where I was miserable, but not quite close to quitting or wanting to quit:  The Hottest Half in Dallas, Texas in August 2014 and the Savin Rock Half Marathon in West Haven, Connecticut in March 2015.  The former was just as advertised — it was hot as hell during that race, but at least the course was super flat and the heat was dry. I pushed through and thankfully, survived without any injuries, albeit some minor sunburn. The latter was the complete opposite of the former — it was freezing — in fact, it was snowing. Big fluffy flakes fell steadily from the sky throughout the entire race.  And the snow was falling on top of existing snow that had accumulated from the previous day.  At one point, I was even running along side a snow plow. Fortunately, the course was flat for this race as well, and I managed to make it to the finish line. (I remained cold for a good hour after that race though.)

I didn’t think it could get any more challenging than those two races…

But then, I did the Hatfield-McCoy Double Half Marathon last June.

I experienced a whole new level of challenge with that race. It was hot. It was humid. It was hilly. And it was high elevation.

I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it.  At every single water stop during the second half, I debated whether or not to quit and catch a ride back into town.

But surprisingly, I did make it — six (!!!) hours after the start time, I completed a half marathon in the hills of West Virginia and another half marathon in the hills of Kentucky, crossing states numbers 14 and 15 off the list.

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Recipe: Bulgur-spinach salad with roasted summer squash and peppers

Happy Sunday… almost Monday!

My coworker, Erin, brought in some beauties from her parents’ garden in New Jersey the other week. I snagged a summer squash and green peppers with plans to roast and toss them in a simple bulgar salad. I figured it would be a nice light, summery dish. 🙂

Have you ever had bulgur? It’s one of my favorite go-to’s during the week because it’s cooks quickly and can be incorporated into a lot of dishes. It’s a whole wheat grain that’s cracked, pre-cooked, and full of fiber, protein, iron, and B vitamins.

I tend to eat bulgur the same way I do rice — so basically, with veggies or meats. My favorite way to eat bulgar is with spinach or kale, tossed with a few seasonal vegetables.

This recipe was created on a whim — I wanted to use Erin’s squash and peppers, as well as a couple of other things I needed to consume before it went bad, like my tomatoes and spinach. Let me know what you think.

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13/50: Arizona – Phoenix Pride Run Half Marathon

If you’re attempting to run in all 50 U.S. states and one of your old high school friends invites you to her wedding in Arizona, then naturally you look to see if there are any races taking place the weekend of her wedding.

Because why not kill two birds with one stone, right?

And because the prices of plane tickets these days are not cheap.

So I did a quick search on one of my favorite race websites, Running in the USA, and lucky me — I found a race taking place the day of her wedding — the Phoenix Pride Run Half Marathon! Some friends thought I was crazy for running the day of the wedding, but hey, it’s better than running the day after the wedding!

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