HALFway there…A State and Bling Check-in

A few weeks ago, I received an email asking if I would be interested in interviewing with the Wall Street Journal about running bling. Um, OF COURSE. I talked to Kevin for about 15 minutes about why I like it, which bling is the best, and why I think that bling matters more now (personally I think it’s because more women race and we seem to notice these things). I wasn’t sure when the article would hit the press and was SUPER excited to find out it made the WSJ. I originally thought it was just online, but later found out it was in the REAL paper on the FRONT page. My name. In the WSJ. About RUNNING BLING. That is pretty freaking cool.11078042_10153199209285782_4951114430630000059_oIn addition to the WSJ, Rich and I spent some time the other weekend updating our bling wall with our new York Sign Shoppe medal hangers. I’m obsessed with my 50 state one. It has my medals (in order of course) of my 26 states so far and each state has been colored in. The hanger above is for additional bling, repeated states, AG awards, shorter distance races, etc. And the top one, with the Swim, Bike, Run is obviously for Rich.10988310_10153195550120782_4463211332165880893_nIt was really fun to go through each medal…which brings me to this post that I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I’m about to check off states 27 and 28 in May so I figured while I’m halfway to my racing the states goal, now is a good time to check in on some questions I get the most often.

1. My most favorite bling: This is so tough. I truly don’t know if I could pick a favorite- but right now based on emotion and experience it has to be NYC Marathon. Based on aesthetics alone it is Big Sur Marathon (and I have two of them- the base design stays the same but the colors change each year). Based on a metal medal design, Run the Bluegrass.IMG_9362IMG_0984 IMG_09932. Least favorite bling: Most of my RNR bling. The only ones I like from them are New Orleans (who doesn’t like Mardi Gras beads for a lanyard!?!) and Vegas. Chicago, Virginia Beach, Seattle, Providence, Savannah– they are all just ho-hum and all look the same with a standard round medal that has a small theme/design about the city.IMG_09893. My favorite destination race(s): SO hard to choose. Top three would be Mayor’s 1/2 Marathon in Alaska, Big Sur in California, and New Orleans.

4. Least favorite race: Asheville 1/2 Marathon. I actually did well in this race but it was HARD. Insanely hilly, not scenic, and I ran literally next to 18 wheeler trucks on some highway. I’m glad I didn’t travel to run this race, I just happened to be in Asheville for work and decided to run it.

5. The state I’ve raced the most: Georgia of course! 5 GA races, 4 RNR New Orleans, 3 in Alabama. Those are my most repeated for location reasons. I’ve also done NY, CA, and NC twice.

6. Coolest bling material: Glass, clay, and wood. The Big Sur Marathon uses clay for their medal and I love that. I also have several glass medals from Kiawah 1/2 Marathon, Park City 1/2 Marathon and the Wineglass Marathon and one wooden medal (from a bourbon barrel) from the Oak Barrel 1/2 Marathon.IMG_09857. Hardest earned bling: 3M 1/2 MarathonI say it’s the hardest earned because I fought to finish- literally. This is where I think my labrum tore the most. I’ve NEVER stopped in a race in pain and it brought me to my knees and I cried. I limped for miles, fought my way to a finish, and then ended up having surgery two months later. Second runner up is NYC Marathon.IMG_28608. Bling I’m most proud of: Wisconsin 1/2 MarathonThis race was a turning point in my confidence as a runner. I had a huge PR and executed the race perfectly. I also loved this race course and the post race treats and the company for this trip. The bling itself is pretty cool- stained glass cheese that is also a bottle opener? Yes, please. They always have a cheese themed medal. Love it. I think NYC Marathon is right up there on this list of proud bling, too, for similar emotional reasons.IMG_68309. Bling that cost the most: The Goofy ChallengeHow you Disney loyalists afford their races is beyond me. I did this race for Team in Training and I think the entry alone was $375 for the 2 races. PLUS the cost of just being in Disney adds up. NYC Marathon is a close second at the $260ish range but those 3 medals from Disney were expensive and very much earned.IMG_390310. Bling that lights up: I surpringly have two. NC 1/2 Marathon and Omaha 1/2 Marathon.

10. The state that surprised me the most: Nebraska and South Carolina. I really didn’t expect much out of Nebraska, but we ended up making a really fun trip out of it. There is enough to stay busy for 2 days, which is nice. South Carolina was the Kiawah 1/2 Marathon, a beautiful vacation spot about 45 minutes or so outside of Charleston. Even though the race was in December, it was still gorgeous and I did plenty of great eating and shopping to go along with the flat race course.

11. The state(s) I would like to repeat: Washington, Rhode Island, Illinois, Virginia, Texas. I ran the RNR Seattle Marathon back in 2010. It was my first marathon and looking back, it was pretty dreadful. I would love to do a different race there and since Rich’s family is there I’m sure that won’t be a problem. Rhode Island is just a trip I would do over again. I did RNR Providence in the pouring rain with a crappy pacer who was having a bad day. Then my flight was delayed for hours and hours. It was a pretty bad trip. I would love to find a smaller, more unique race to RI and do it again.

I did RNR Chicago the same year as the last two (I did 5 RNR’s in 2010 to be a RockStar) and it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it- but I would definitely choose the Lincoln 1/2 Marathon to get that penny medal instead. It sounds like a fun race. And, Virginia. I didn’t mind Virginia Beach, I just think there are better races to choose from so it’s worth repeating.

I think one day I would repeat Texas, too, based simply on the fact that I couldn’t enjoy the race because I was in so much pain. I would like to change my thoughts on Texas races.

12. Worst weather at a race: I’m the queen of racing in shit weather. I think I’ve raced in 7 or 8 races in the rain. The absolute worst was Garmin 1/2 Marathon Kansas lived up to it’s name with wind, hail, lightening and rain. Thank goodness there wasn’t a tornado!IMG_673813. Best post race party: RNR Las Vegas and Run the Bluegrass 1/2 Marathon. When Bret Michaels is the headliner, and you are on the front row, it’s entertaining. But for overall- Run the Bluegrass had a post race party and then a post-post race party that night.

14. Most fun race to dress up: Garmin 1/2 Marathon. I LOVED dressing up with Kim at this race. We were kinda surprised that there weren’t more dressed up as Wizard of Oz characters, but we got lots of compliments on our homemade costumes. I also loved the Superhero’s 1/2– but the whole goal was to have an entire race of superhero’s, so it was less exciting. I also expected more costumes at the Little Rock race, but there were only a few of us there, too.IMG_6710 IMG_1437IMG_0493

15. Quickest trip to race: Superhero 1/2 Marathon in New Jersey. Poor NJ. I was only there for about 24 hours (maybe less?) and didn’t really care. I’ve been to NJ plenty of times for work and was okay just meeting friends, running, and heading home.

16. Biggest bling: Little Rock 1/2 Marathon, MS Blues 1/2 Marathon, and Rehoboth Beach 1/2 Marathon.The shapes are different so it’s hard to say, but Little Rock is the biggest round medal, MS Blues is shaped like a guitar, and Rehoboth is shaped like a life preserver. IMG_0983 IMG_099217. Smallest Bling: Super Hero 1/2 Marathon.IMG_4400

18. Heaviest Bling: Little Rock 1/2 Marathon. I’m actually glad I don’t have the marathon one. This one is big enough!

I think I will get some pretty cool ones this year and I’m excited to keep adding to the collection. I tried to link to all of the races, but if I missed some, click on my “races” tab to see all of my recaps.

Your turn: Pick one or two from my random list of 18 and tell me where your bling fits in. Do you have a favorite? A least favorite? Any cool materials? Any other bling/race questions for me so far in my 50 state quest? 

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  • Love it! I’m obsessed with bling too… I’m the same way about my RNR medals! I did my two RNR races before they updated the ribbons (STL and CHI) and now I really want to redo those states at some point! Luckily, I live in Illinois and my sister lives in Missouri, so it makes it easy!
    I cannot wait to see you at the PIG! 13 days!! Hopefully they’ll be releasing the bling soon… I’m getting way too antsy!!

  • I love this! Your wall looks great, I’ve been waiting for you to post pictures 🙂 I didn’t realize you ran Big Sur….I remember you talking about maybe doing Boston to Big Sur next year and I’m sure you mentioned it, that’s awesome. It’s a race I definitely want to do at some point. You have some pretty cool medals. I heard the compass on the LR full medal actually spins. LR is definitely my biggest and Chicago is definitely one of my favorites for the race experience. You need to do Chicago!

  • Love it! What a fun way to look back at all your hard work. I keep my bling under my bed (I know, I know), but NYC marathon is one of my favorites as well for the memories (I ran it with my brother).

  • when i moved into my townhome in june I never brought out my bling when unpacking. I’m looking forward to next month getting settled and finally having a home so I can figure out how I want to display the accomplishment.

    From memory since I don’t have them available:
    Smallest bling- tie between Huntsville 1/2 and my Alaska
    Light up bing- Legacy Midnight run in Utah (LOVED running at night)
    Bling most proud of- obviously Hawaii since its the last hoorah, otherwise hands down NYC (13.1 series) as that was the first time I was able to break 1:50 and I destroyed it and finally found my groove as a runner.

    Man.. trip down memory lane is making me want to get back into the 1/2 game again. Maybe in the fall!

  • What a crazy/awesome recap of the halfway point. You’re set to take on a couple more states this year, right?

    I don’t race as much as I’d like (still working on being in regular half marathon shape but dealing with a mysterious hip issue), but this definitely inspires me to get there! I love travel and running, so to combine the two sounds great. I hope to run the Mayor’s Half for sure.

  • Love, love, love this! It’s fun to look back and see all the races you’ve run! Congrats on the first half. Can’t wait to see what the second half has in store for you! Hoping I can run a destination race/state with you soon 🙂 xo

  • This was so fun to go thru your bling and the WSJ picked the right girl for their article. Congrats! I agree with you NYCM is a fave of mine for many reasons. I still don’t have a glass medal and Big Sur is on my bucket list. Need to get after that one. Your bluegrass medal is gorgeous!
    Totally agree the RnR medals are meh.

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