Races for the ‘Bucket List’

By Megan Cox

Well, I had fully intended to blog about safety in this post (and don’t worry, that’s still totally going to happen). However, after my recent attempt at ranking the toughest half marathons was panned by the critics, I decided that list-making was way too much fun to abandon just yet.

Note to readers, I like criticism. It makes me feel loved. My two-year-old scolds me a couple times a day, and I know it’s a sign of affection.

But this next list won’t be controversial. Unfortunately. I’ve decided that I would like to post the top five half marathons that are on my racing wish list. The formula for this list is location + location + bragging rights = perfect race. Criticize it if you want!

#1. NYC Half Marathon

I love New York City. I’ve visited it in every season—winter, spring, summer, and fall. It’s the only city where I had so much fun one January that I didn’t even complain about the subzero temperatures. I’m certain in my next life that I will have a chance to live there (even if it’s in a shoebox-size apartment) and perform on Broadway (even if I’m just a tree in the Lion King).

Therefore, I can’t think of a more fun place to run a race. I’d carb-load in Little Italy, take in an inspirational show, and hum “New York, New York” while running through all the fun sites the city has to offer. Heaven.

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What’s the toughest half marathon?

By Megan Cox

The other day, someone asked me what the toughest half-marathon were. I actually had no idea. I mean, I ran the Baltimore Half five years ago, and let me tell you something, I did not realize there are mountains in Baltimore (okay, well, they felt like mountains).

Anyway, I’m fairly certain that the Dallas Half Marathon, the race I’m gunning for, isn’t the toughest. Then again, tough is relative. After two babies and a hiatus from long-distance running, this may be the toughest race I’ve ever done.

But I got to thinking—what half is the hardest? Down the road, when I’m looking for more ways to top my last racing achievement, which half-marathon will give me true bragging rights?

Well, if you’re looking for a list of the toughest halfs, it’s not easy to find. There are lists of the “best” halfs and the “toughest” marathons, but I had trouble digging up the list I was looking for. So I decided, independent woman that I am, to make my own list of the toughest half marathons.

How, you ask, did I do this?

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Here Comes the Sun

By Megan Cox

As this mama of two little ones puts herself through the paces and has started the hard work of preparing for a half marathon, she’s had to learn (and relearn) all kinds of things about training for a road race.

Between conditioning muscles, eating right, and picking the perfect training plan, I’ve had quite a bit of homework. And that’s wedged into playdates, nap times, and watching The Muppet Movie at least once a day.

Waka waka waka.

Anyway, one of the things that’s starting to really hit home now that I’m in my thirties is the subject of skin care. Runners are outside. A lot. Long distance runners are outside even more than that.

So it’s no surprise that I am candidate numero uno when it comes to sun-damaged skin. And as someone whose body has refused to understand the meaning of tanning, sun means freckle explosion. That means I’m super sensitive. Yay for me.

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Getting Up Close and Personal with GPS

By Megan Cox

Over the past two weeks, I’ve finally managed a few outside runs. This is a welcome break from the treadmill, which puts new meaning into the phrase, “going nowhere fast.”

Of course, running outside during an Oklahoma August means getting up at the buttcrack of dawn, before the one-hundred degree temperatures even think of making their unwanted appearance.

These are the sacrifices we runners make.

So, I’m enjoying the wind in my face (sort-of), the big open sky, and the lack of an electronic panel in front of me on these early morning journeys. That doesn’t mean I leave technology behind, however.

No, I’ve got a big, fat GPS watch that keeps my run times and distances honest. Painfully honest. But he is my first GPS watch, and I do love him. My hubby and I purchased him when we took on our first marathon, and he’s given me several good years.

But as much as I love old GPS watch, I can’t help but wish for something new and flashy. I just adore cutting edge technology. In fact, I’m most content when I’m sitting with my laptop, Kindle, Blackberry, and Ipod all at the same time. And I’m certain I need a fancy new tablet. (Hint, hint. Can someone forward this to my husband?)

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Making Lemonade

By Megan Cox

Why am I making lemonade, you ask? I’ll tell you why. Because I’ve got some lemons.

In my last post, this mama of two little ones urged you to take a look at some Olympic athletes who defied the odds. When one is training for a race, especially a half marathon, it’s good to remember that we have little reason to complain. Sure we’ve got obstacles, but often, we are fully capable of hurdling them.
This week, I had to take my own advice. Sometimes, that’s bitter medicine.

As you may know, I’ve been slowly working my way up to running the distances that at one time were peanuts to me. This week I completed my first five mile run in three years, with an average of less than nine minutes per mile. This was an achievement, to be sure. I was so pumped because I was able to do it with no one wailing at me, courtesy of the YMCA childwatch. Kids were happy, I was happy. Everyone’s a winner.

Enter the lemons.

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Channeling Olympic-size Motivation

By Megan Cox

London, baby.

Cue the music.

That’s right. The best athletes (and that includes runners!) in the world have assembled in our neighbor across the pond. As someone who was brought up to watch the games with a healthy dose of respect and excitement, I’ve been humming the Olympic theme all week.

Even though my affliction—ahem, I mean sport—of choice is running , I will admit to a long-time fondness for the artistic gymnastics. I lived in Atlanta in 1996, the year Kerri Strug made an incredible landing to clinch the team gold medal. Besides, I identify with gymnasts. They balance on a beam, and I balance two young children with my work and a passion for running. They earn medals, and I earn, well, a pat on the back for keeping my kids fed and clean (well, mostly clean).

However, because I’ve grown into a running enthusiast in the past ten years, I’ve added two new events to my list of favorite Olympic sports . As you probably know, there is no half marathon distance at the games, but there are athletes whom half-marathoners can look up to. The marathon and triathlon events feature runners who are truly inspirational, and I can’t wait to watch these events (on my DVR, late at night, when my two children have finally given up the good fight and gone to bed).

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