Thursday, September 19, 2013

My 20th Half Marathon

This weekend, I am traveling back to Appleton, WI to run my 20th half marathon. TWENTY!

It's not a new state or even a new event, but I'm still really excited about it. Will there ever be a race I'm not excited for?  The Fox Cities Marathon was home to my 2nd half marathon, back in 2010. It was a special run for me that I remember with uncanny fondness. Since it is Throwback Thursday and I wasn't blogging back in 2010, let me reminisce...

My 2010 Fox Cities Half Marathon
My run three years ago at FCM was the first race that I finished with that "I just killed it" feeling. I trained relentlessly and came to the starting line stoked. It was the only time I was 100% confident of a new PR. (I completely fell apart at the end of my 1st half.)  There was an unexpected drop in temps that week, making race morning perfect in the low 40's. Coincidentally, forecast is calling for the same temps this weekend.

I lined up with the 2:15 pace group (my goal then), but separately quickly.  Instead I latched onto a couple gals who seemed to be having the time of their lives. They were eagerly waving and chatting with spectators. They were hilarious and I found them to be pure entertainment. I quietly became their running shadow. Unfortunately, I slowly lost the endurance to hang with them, and let them go around mile 8. 

I grew up in the Fox Cities area, a graduate of Winneconne High School, but had also worked and lived in Appleton/Neenah/Menasha during my post-college twenty-somethings. The FCM was a run down memory lane for me... I ran past my brother's old house, the gas station I stopped every day for cigarettes, the bar that was always 'one more' on the way home, and the park that I slept in the grass one night. Not the most pleasant of memories or my proudest moments - but a reminder of how much I've changed my life. THAT was my motivation; my drive.

My parents were there with my little kiddos, bouncing around town and cheering me on. (Hubs was deployed.) Looking back at photos, I can't get over how little they were. How did I ever find time to train? Sadly, this year will be different since none of my personal cheerleaders can come.

I remember crossing the last bridge and making the turn onto Wisconsin Ave towards the finish line. The crowds grew big and I got a short-lived second wind. I had no idea of my time (that was my pre-watch days), but was determined to empty the tank for my best time possible. I practically cried during that last mile because I wanted to be done so badly. And then I saw the finish line clock - a 2:09 brought about a whole different set of tears. I had blown away my goal by 6 minutes and PR'd by 24 minutes. I was sore as hell the next day, but walking on Cloud Nine!!

It really was my first taste of relentless determination for a goal. Since then, running has been an absolute constant for me. I may have tough runs, bad races, even injuries, but I never ever quit. To taste such delicious satisfaction again... is 100% worth the effort.

* * *

Sadly, I won't be running a PR (1:56) this year. A PR was my initial goal for a FCM repeat, but I've had a lazy rough summer. I'm not trained properly to even attempt that kind of pace (8:50). At this point, I would be delighted with a sub-2 performance, but even that may be a stretch.  I will shoot to beat the 2:05 I ran last weekend in Wichita and just see how I feel. Whatever happens, this will be a milestone - half marathon #20 for me!!

If you are running FCM, I'd love to meet YOU!  
I am meeting several other bloggers at 6:30am at the Pace Setters tent (start line) on Sunday. Please come join us and say hello!  I'll be sporting my pink Run With Jess tank and black capris. Odds are most likely I'll be wearing an old throw for warmth before the start too!
Iron-On Decal courtesy of

I will have a wrist full of my RUN HAPPY bracelets. 
Come on up and say "Run Happy" to score a free one!

You can also TRACK ME here.
My bib # is 4649.
You know how I love to dissect bib #'s... My conclusion is that 4649 is a good one. First, it's odd, has doubles (4's) and the remaining numbers are multiples of the same number (3). It's just good - trust me.


  1. See you Sunday!!! I'm so excited! Did you see they did a sneak peak of the medals today?!

  2. ooh 20! That's awesome. I have no idea what number I'm on. I'll have to go count.

    See you Sunday!

  3. Congrats on #20! You never know, you may surprise yourself. diaper's full. Best sign ever!

  4. Good luck, and congratulations on the positive changes you've made in your life! Having a reminder of where you were and where you are is such a fun way to celebrate your growth, isn't it?

  5. I'm also running Fox Cities on Sunday. It's my 3rd half marathon and my 2nd Fox Cities. I had a similar experience on my 2nd Fox Cities. It was very cool start and I knew I was going to do well with those temps. I also blew away my previous PR by 30 minutes and a new PR of 2:12. I also have had a rough summer with injuries on two separate occasions that iced my training for about 6 weeks each time. My goal for the year was to beat 2:10. With all my injuries and lack of long runs this summer it's going to be really hard Sunday. I am going to run as hard as I can and give it my best shot.

    Hope to see you Sunday Morning.

  6. Congrats on a HUGE milestone. Have a great race!

  7. I can't wait to see you!!! How did you get your Bib already??????

    FYI...I hope you have time to wait around for me to finish. I'm thinking 240 is a goal, would love anything below. Quite sad since 2 years ago I finished in 217 but life was different then, and my body way.

    Kill it!

  8. 20!! Way to go chickie!!! Go out there and run your race!

  9. Congrats on hitting the big 2-0! Good luck this weekend.

  10. Good luck on #20! I'm sure you'll do great!

  11. Good luck! I will be there as well running the half marathon! Might have to snag one of those "run happy" bracelets from you :)

  12. Hehehehe! I'm running #20 this weekend too. I think we are run twins for sure. :o) Good luck, girlie! Kill it!

    1. Okay, I misspoke. SAT will be #22 for me (forgot about quad cities & a RNR race from way back). Sorry. You'll have to run a couple this week to catch up!! LOL!


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