It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Bling

Like it or not, it’s here. The end of a year and a time to reflect back, as well as look forward to new beginnings, new happenings, and new opportunities. In many ways, I can look back on this year and think…meh. It hasn’t been perfect; sometimes not even great, but I did accomplish some things I am really proud of. I ran a few races, worked on some personal goals, and made a few new amazing friends along the way. This past week I hung a new medal rack in my workout room to accommodate my new bling. From a running perspective, it was a pretty good year! Except for the Berlin and Chicago marathons (color me lame), you can click on the headings for full recaps of my races this year:


Naperville Women’s Half Marathon, Naperville, IL, April 22, 2018

I ran this inaugural race in 2016 and absolutely loved it! It was close to home, the weather was perfect, and I felt fantastic running through neighborhoods I am very familiar with. I signed up to run it again in 2017, but an out-of-state family wedding thwarted those plans. I ran this race again this year and it once again did not disappoint! I am running again in 2019, this time as an ambassador since I love it so much! Will I see you there? Prices increase on a rolling schedule, so register now using this link!



Grandma’s Marathon, Duluth, IA, June 16, 2018

I’ve heard so much about this race in so many groups, I just had to run it myself. My marathon buddy (AKA my eldest son, Mark) and I registered for the race and off we were to sunny cold and rainy Duluth! Terrible storms came through Iowa the day before the race, and things were not looking good for race day. Still, I put my big girl pants on and got my butt out there. We took the historical train to the start and went our separate ways just before the race would start. Unfortunately it was cold, gray, and drizzly throughout most of the race, but we got it done nonetheless. The clouds were so thick we could barely see Lake Superior, even though the entire course followed the lakeshore. The following day was (of course) sunny and beautiful, so we drove the route and got to see what we missed! I honestly didn’t love this race (I’m sure the weather didn’t help). It’s a one-and-done for me, but I’m glad I did it at least once.



Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon, Sonoma, CA, July 15, 2018

If you’ve ever even just glanced at my site, you know this is my race! I ran it for the first time in 2016, the year it sold out in 17 minutes flat (in fact the photo header on my homepage is me coming in at the finish that year)! I loved it so much I became a Destination Races ambassador! I ran it again in 2017 and 2018, and will be running it in 2019 as a BibRave Pro! Spots are still available but they won’t last long, so register now using this link!



RnR Chicago Half Marathon, Chicago, IL, July 22, 2018

Hands-down, the RnR Chicago Half Marathon was my favorite race of the year. Maybe not so much because of the race itself (it rained the entire time!) but definitely because of the epic blogger meetups throughout the entire weekend. We even got to meet Kathrine Switzer! It was so great to meet so many of my online running/blogging friends in person. A number of us will be meeting up again in Washington, DC in April for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!


Naperville Sprint Triathlon, Naperville, IL, August 5, 2018

This is the race I’m most proud of completing this year, mostly because I didn’t drown. Seriously, I can’t swim! Okay, okay, I can swim enough to save my life, and apparently enough to survive a sprint-distance tri. But other than that? Not so much. I think my smile in this picture says it all. I was so happy to have finished! I hoped to practice my swimming leading up to the race but in a shocking development, that didn’t happen. So…I am signed up for this race again next year. Maybe this time I will get some swim practice in before the event!


BMW Berlin Marathon, Berlin, Germany, September 16, 2018

As part of my goal to complete all of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and become a Six Star Finisher, I ran the Berlin Marathon this year. I was fortunate to get a spot in the lottery on my first attempt. My husband and I arrived in Berlin on Thursday, September 13, three days before the race. This was the start of a whirlwind trip through Europe that included Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Kraków. We had a fabulous time and were thoroughly exhausted (and stuffed to the brim) by the time we returned home on Friday, September 28th. Two days later I came down with a horrible cold that lasted through the cold and rainy Chicago Marathon the following week. Hence, no full reviews of these races from me!

Long story short:  Berlin was my least favorite city of the places we visited (as in ‘it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there’). No offense to my German friends, but I found Berlin to be dreary, and the people were not necessarily always friendly – especially the waitstaff in all but one restaurant we visited. The race itself was just okay, but of course running through the Brandenburg Gate was amazing (and didn’t I forget to heed every warning that this was NOT the finish line and stopped when I passed through the gate, only to realize my mistake and eventually make my way to the finish line). Another one-and-done for me, this marked my second star on my quest to finish all of the Majors.


Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Chicago, IL October 7, 2018

Chicago is my hometown and the 2013 Chicago Marathon is the first race I ever ran, so this will always be one of my absolute favorite races. I ran it for the sixth consecutive year this year, and again loved every minute of it. I will be running it again in 2019 because…well because I can! My plan is to run each of the other Majors just once, but I will continue to run Chicago as long as my legs will let me!




Naperville Turkey Trot, November 22, 2018

And last but not least, all of my sons and my daughter-in-law and I topped off the year with our local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. Despite a few grumblings (I’m not naming names), we all made it out there and had a blast. Being a local race that starts and ends at my kids’ former high school, no matter where we turn we run into people we know, so it is always a fun race for us.

And that, my friends, ends my 2018 running year! I didn’t get a ton of mileage in (I haven’t even checked my numbers), but I sure had some fun along the way!

How was your 2018 running year? What races are on tap for you in 2019? Happy New Year to you!


  1. Wow. A great year with many amazing accomplishments and races.

    I would love to run another race in Europe (ran in Paris in 2018) and also run one in Chicago.

    I have registered for 5 halfs in 2018. None really special. I have never run a full. Will 2019 be the year??? NYC??? Have you run it yet?

    1. Author

      I haven’t run NYC yet, but it is on my bucket list! I want to finish all of the Majors, then I think except for Chicago I will stick to mainly halfs. Paris would be amazing!

  2. Our Chicago weekend was a highlight of my year as well. Your first time running in the rain!! LOL

  3. What an interesting year you have had! So many races and travel opportunities. I hope you have a wonderful 2019 and collect lots more shiny bling! Cheers!

  4. I feel like I did great for 2018. I got injured twice but I still was able to beat my goal time for my half and meet a lot of goals.

  5. Maybe you didn’t do so much running, but you ran some great races in great places with great people. 😉 Here’s to more of the same in 2019!

  6. Looks like a great year of races! Berlin and Chicago are goals of mine! No races planned until summer/fall, hoping I can bounce back right away after this baby! Happy new year to you and your family!

    1. Author

      I was surprised to have done as much as I did! I have several races already planned for this year and I just keep adding and adding as I go!

  7. I always love your honest and funny posts and recaps! You had a good year with quite some rain it seems but also blogger meet ups and travel! As I’m sitting in Berlin at this very moment I’m sad that you didn’t love it here but I understand your perspective. I have lived in Europe half my life now and the unfriendliness to me is just normal behavior and it no longer bothers me. On the contrary though, in Chicago the Midwest friendliness is like a big hug from an old friend! Both places are my favorite for various reasons!

    Looking forward to finally meeting you in October next year since that will be my one and only marathon! So far though I seem to already have 18 other races in the planning …

    1. Author

      Thanks, Renée! It was also gray and drizzling the day we arrived in Berlin, so that didn’t help. I can’t wait to meet you (and Ron) as well! Here’s to a year of pain- and injury- free running!

  8. It was such fun meeting you in Chicago! Every time I see pics of the weekend, I feel all warm and fuzzy 😉 I”m looking forward to seeing you again in DC!

  9. Love seeing all the bling! It’s my favorite part of racing!

    My favorite this year included BDR Orlando and the Daytona Beach Half Marathon. THere are just so many great medals out there.

  10. What a lovely year and I love the final family runners picture – fabulous! I really want to run Chicago when I can come to America again, such a great city. I’ve done a 10k with a cold though and that was horrendous so kudos to you!

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