A New Challenge: 13 Half Marathons in 2013

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Today’s guest post comes from Jessica Daniels, a Spanish teacher at a small rural high school and avid runner of 5ks, half marathons, and marathons. She lives in Dover, Ohio with her husband, Nick, and a rescued greyhound named Casper.

Who Am I? I’m Jessica. I’m 29. I’m purebred Ohio. OH-IO, Hang on Sloopy, Scarlet and Gray proud.

I love Running. I began running as a 19-year old in the throes of puppy love. Boyfriend ran, ok me too! But I found I liked it, and it calmed me down and made me feel good – once I got past the shin splints and burning lungs. I continued running to blow off steam, look cool on the treadmill, and eventually to lose 50 pounds and develop a lifestyle of taking care of my body for the long haul.

Running has brought me closer to my husband, has gained me confidence, grown many new relationships, and allowed me to stay slim and sane (most of the time) for the past 10 years. This year brings a new challenge: I’m running 13 half marathons in 2013. My goal throughout the next 10 months is to run 13 half marathon races, starting in April and ending in November, two days after I turn 30.

Running 13.1 miles 13 different times in 10 months may seem crazy pants to some people, may seem old hat to others, and it seems like a sweet challenge for me.  The basic, three-fold celebratory reasons for doing what I am doing seemed to come together so perfectly, I couldn’t deny a need to mark the occasion.

Numero uno: It’s 2013. 13.1 miles? 13 races? Duh.

Thing number 2: On November 28 of this year I am turning 30. That’s whack. But, it’s the first milestone birthday where the temptation to “make it one to remember” has really been nagging at my mind. 16 got me a license, 18 gained the right to vote, 21 allowed a (yucky) apple-tini from a local restaurant, but 30, well, 30 doesn’t have that obligatory “first.” Might as well do my “first” 13 half marathons in one year!

Object three: 2013 celebrates 10 years since I turned 20. What’s the big deal there? Well, 20 began the decade where my running practice turned into more of a hobby, a hobby into a lifestyle, and a lifestyle into what some would argue an obsession.

So, to celebrate the number 13, an aging Jess, and a mild obsession in my life, why not run a whole lot?

While I would love to make some of those races PR times, the goal is finish, enjoy, and relish the accomplishment of what I am doing.  Be grateful for my health, my abilities, my supportive family and friends, and my life. That’s what I’m starting to see as the reason for running – not times and competition and beating “that girl” in front of me.

As of right now I’ve completed 6 half marathons. I’ve raced, I’ve struggled, I’ve PR’d, I’ve had good weather, bad weather, and in-between weather. I’ve trained hard and continue to do so. And I’ve got 7 more to do (Columbus being one of them).  I’m coming back to Columbus after completing the full marathon there twice, in 2008 and 2011. I’m excited to be back to run the half and really enjoy it; Take in the sights. Shout with the German Village fans. Gaze at the mansions through Bexley. Hear the roar of the downtown crowds as I run up High Street. I’m coming back to Columbus, and I can’t wait!

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