50 State Challenge Map

50 State Challenge Map
States completed

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I've actually already completed three of 50.  This way everyone can be current on where I stand.

From left to right:  Virginia Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon, NYC Half Marathon, San Francisco Half Marathon.

My first blog post and introduction

So here we go.  My first blog post!  If you don't already know, this is a blog to record my races and travels as I attempt to run a Half Marathon in every state.  I'm not sure how long it's going to take but it certainly won't take a single year.  It won't take two.  Let's just say several at this point to be on the safe side.  I hope you'll join me on this challenge and enjoy my updates along the way.  And now a brief history so you know exactly how I got here.

I started running while attending Rutgers mostly because I needed something to do when I was stressed out.  I found it to be a good way to gather and organize my thoughts.  And depending on the situation to sometimes forget some thoughts.  The result:  a lot of running.

Now this wasn't just college stress but actually life in general.  I do a lot of thinking while I run.  In the years that followed after college I found I made a lot of important life decisions while adding up the miles on the pavement. 

My sister Carla was always a runner so when I'd visit her during college we'd run together.  During this time I had never run a race.  Not one.  But, my average run was usually between 3-5 miles.  So I always felt I could do one if the opportunity presented itself.

Then it happened.  It was Spring 2005 when my sister tossed out the idea of running the Marine Corp. Marathon with her.  That's right.  Not a 5K, 10K, or even a Half Marathon (although I ran my first NYC Half as a training run prior to the full that year).  I basically skipped the gradual progression of distance running and went straight to the top.

I quickly discovered the monumental challenge this presented. I researched, read, invested, and trained for months.  I sustained injury (IT band) and numerous setbacks. Mostly from discouragement.  But, I did it.  The marathon was among the most challenging experiences of my life then and up until this very day.  But, I finished in 4:29 and took away not only my first full marathon medal but also the realization that I truly enjoyed running, training, and everything involved in preparing for a race of that magnitude.

In the years that followed I'd complete four Half Marathons (NYC (2), San Francisco, Woodrow Wilson in Va.), two GW Parkway Classic 10-milers, two Army 10-milers (the largest 10-miler in the country), the NYC full Marathon (2009), and the Marine Corp. Marathon for the second time in 2011.  The second time I was aiming to finish it in under four hours.  I finished in 3:18 (my PR)

Today I find that the Half Marathon is the perfect distance for me in that it's not too short nor too long.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not simple by any means.  But, I find it suits me for a good and comfortable distance run.  I also enjoy traveling and have always had in the back of my mind a desire (and we can say goal) of visiting every state in the country.

Therefore, if you take my enjoyment of running, add to it a desire to travel the U.S., and then toss in my constant need of a challenge ... the end result is my 50 Half Marathons in 50 state challenge. 

I'd like to close this first post by thanking my friend Tim Yates.  It's because of Tim that I have "Tight Laces in 50 Places."  I presented a challenge on Facebook to help me think of names for this blog.  I got a lot of great suggestions from friends but in the end it was Tim's "Tight Laces in 50 Places" that stood out to me.  So thank you, Tim!