Medal No. 13

First of all, I’ve added a new page to this site dedicated to running – the races I’ve run in the past, why I started running in the first place, what it means to me to cross a finish line… If you’re interested, check it out.


I’m shocked to report that my 13th race went smoothly. More than smoothly. It was fantastic. The forecast for thunderstorms never came to fruition, the rolling hills of the course were scarcely hills at all, and my lack of training was trumped by muscle memory. I finished at 2:15, my third best time ever.

Medal No. 13

The medal is gorgeous and the biggest in size so far. Organized by Vacation Races, the Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon is one of eight races that happen alongside our National Parks, so as you can imagine, the views are amazing. The GSM Half was described in Runner’s World as “tranquil,” a term I found laughable because when is running 13 miles tranquil?

Sure enough, they were right – at least partly. The first nine miles were completely tranquil as we ran along the banks of the Little River. The earliest fall leaves fell gently overhead. The cool weather kissed my skin. I kinda didn’t notice how my knees ached. It wasn’t until we turned onto a four-lane highway (or rather, the pathway next to it) that I remembered, “Oh yeah. This is a road race. My knees ache. Are we only on mile 10?”

The race was well organized and seemingly well attended. The swag was worth the money because whoever is in charge of their illustrations rocked it. My favorite is this poster – all the racers names make out the shape of the park.

Race map with names

My name

Now I’m hungry for medal no. 14, so if y’all have any suggestions to grab another medal this calendar year with little to no travel, let me know.

Throwback to when I trained for races

I’m running a half marathon on Saturday and this is pretty much the most unprepared I’ve ever been for a race. The summer was blazing hot and humid, so I hardly ran, and when I did start running outside, life got busy. School started, obligations got heavy, and the last two weekends went in a way no one expected.

So I have 13 miles to run and I’ve not run more than 8 or 9 in the last month. Some might say it’s no big deal and I’ll do fine, and that may be true, but if you’ve ever run a race before then you know the challenge is mostly in the mind. My body may have the muscle memory, but my brain is saying, “You’ve eaten too many cupcakes.”

This Throwback Thursday is my own kick in the pants. I can totally do this. I may not have the most stellar time and I might have to do more walk/run intervals than I’d normally prefer, but I can do this.

Right? Three cheers for Lucky No. 13.

medals 2007-2009medals 2009-2014

In order: Country Music Half Marathon (2007), Louisville Half (2007), Scenic City Half (2008), Country Music Marathon (2008), Oklahoma City Memorial Half (2009), New Mexico Half (2009), Chicago Half (2009), Rock ‘n Roll Half in Dallas (2010), Knoxville Half (2012), Georgia Half (2012), Secret City Half (2013), and The Middle Half (2014).