In 2012 I set a pretty big running goal for myself. I’d been running road races for about five years – long enough to have tried every distance from the 5K to the marathon more than once – and realized my true distance love was the 13.1. What better way to celebrate my affection for the half marathon – I thought to myself while out on a run one morning in November of 2011 when I came up with this idea – than to run twelve half marathons in twelve months in the year 2012? And so the seed was planted, and the race scheduling began.
I’d heard about Rock ‘n’ Roll events, but hadn’t experienced one for myself yet. Since I was building a year-long calendar of half marathons, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to squeeze a couple fun destination races into my schedule.
I kicked my year of Twelve in ’12 off right with a girls’ weekend getaway to the first destination race on my list: Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona in January. Everything about that race was just perfect. The energetic vibe, the larger-than-life race expo, the course, the weather, the after-party in Tempe, Ariz., with my girls — all memories I’ll cherish forever. I crossed the finish line feeling so happy and excited about the goal I’d set, knowing that every month I was going to experience a 13.1-mile celebration of doing what I love.
Side note: the best way to stay in half marathon shape throughout the year was to run a long run of about 13 miles every weekend (in addition to my mid-week runs). One per month just happened to be in a race environment. I had a couple time goals throughout the year, but most of them were just “run for fun” races.
Each month, I successfully checked another half marathon off my list. A few were local. A few were built into a weekend getaway with friends. And I turned a few into excuses for my husband and me to get away together. They were all really fun.
By December of 2012 – exactly one year after I’d begun the process of making this wild idea a reality – I found myself traveling with my husband to my 12th half marathon and final destination race of the year: Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas. And boy, did we do it up right! We stayed at the Cosmopolitan (walking distance from the finish line). Upon check-in, we were upgraded to a suite on one of the top floors with a balcony that overlooked the Bellagio water fountains. The moment we saw our room and view, there was no doubt this was going to be a weekend we’d never forget. We’re not really into gambling, but we still knew how to have a good time in a city like Las Vegas. We splurged on amazing meals at a few of the fabulous, world-famous restaurants. We indulged in the incredible shopping. We sipped cocktails in swanky bars (including the stunning chandelier lounge in the lobby of our hotel). We even caught a Cirque du Soleil show. Oh right — and I ran a little half marathon on Sunday night!
I vividly recall the excitement I felt as my husband drove me to the starting line that evening. Sometimes I will plug away at goals so focused with my head down, checking the boxes off as I go. Then in the most unexpected moments, the magnitude of what I’ve accumulatively accomplished will hit me. Wrapping up Twelve in ’12 in a city like Las Vegas — running down the Strip at Night (one of only two times per year when the strip is shut down) with the glitz and glamour of the bright lights — was not only one of the most unique experiences I’ve had as a runner. It was also the most epic way I could have finished a fun goal twelve months in the making. I’m big on grand finales and celebrating milestones, and this one was like hitting the jackpot (bad pun?)!
In the years following my Twelve in ’12 feat, I’ve continued to set and achieve many running goals. Some have come easier than others. I joined a local racing team and trained to get faster. I worked really hard to qualify for the Boston Marathon (it took me three attempts) and had a blast running it last year. I’ve still made a point to run races “just for fun” because I strongly believe that hard work deserves rewards along the way.
When I sat down to work on my goals for 2017, as I do at the beginning of every year, I realized I was really close to completing my 50th half marathon. I knew that I had to make it happen this year — especially since this is also my 10-year anniversary since I became a runner in 2007! Before I scheduled a single race, I knew in an instant where I was going to wrap up the journey.
On November 12, 2017, I’ll be lining up at the starting line of my 50th half marathon on Las Vegas Boulevard in front of the Mandalay Bay hotel. It will be almost exactly 10 years to the day since my very first half marathon (11/11/07). It’ll be five years since I experienced this awesome Rock ‘n’ Roll event for the first time. I have so many incredible experiences to be thankful for during the past decade of running. And you can bet I’ll be celebrating every single one of them over the 13.1 miles of that course — and well into the night afterwards!
Who else is going to be there?? I hope to see you!