This blog post was updated on September 12, 2014.


Nashville's Country Music Half Marathon

Run to one of these amazing races


I got
into running because I love to eat, but I don't love to count calories,
especially when I travel.  Now, every tasty indulgence can instead be measured
by the miles I run.  For instance, I know that the calories in one glass of wine are equal to
running one mile, so more miles equals more wine.  Running, jogging and walking are also
wonderful ways to explore a city. 


If you're new to running, don't let long distances intimidate you. 
When I first started, a single mile was a challenge and felt like a huge
accomplishment.  Then I signed up for a 5K and experienced the
enthusiasm and support of other runners and became hooked. 


Last year I
ran my first marathon, The ING NYC Marathon.  Though I had been to New
York City several times before, running 26.2 miles through all 5
boroughs, the excitement of onlookers cheering us on, and the thrill of
crossing the finish line in Central Park made it one of the most
memorable trips of my life.  I just signed up for my next race and plan
on doing one a year as long as my legs will take me.


So, if you're looking for a way to get in shape this summer and want
a great excuse to travel, here are 5 races worth packing your suitcase
for.  They're all half marathons, so you still have plenty of energy for
the rest of your trip.


Nashville's Country Music Half Marathon – This is a great
race to start with if you're new to running.  Music keeps you motivated
the way as every other mile has a live band for your entertainment. 
You'll also run down Music Row where all the major record labels call
home and many American dreams of becoming a star have come to life.  The
locals are really supportive, and as you run through downtown
neighborhoods you'll often find residents handing out treats such as
chocolate and mimosas.  If you're afraid of being too slow to sign up
for a race, then this is a great event to start with as there is a group
that walks while hula hooping the entire way.  They're called Hoops
For Hope and they raise money for charity.


Key West Half Marathon – This race is bucket-list worthy. 
How often can you say you ran around an entire island?  The race starts
in downtown, goes past Mile Marker 0 and the Southern Most Point, then
stays along the perimeter of the island giving participants a
breathtaking view of Florida's azure waters the rest of the way.  At the
end, finisher's receive a medal and a beer.  You can also sip water
straight out of a coconut, rehydrate and get ready to celebrate by doing
the Duval Crawl.


Strip At Night – This one has a catchy name one could only
credit to Las Vegas.  Basically, you run the strip … at night.  It
starts at twilight and wraps up around 9:30pm, so you still have plenty
of time to party the night away in sin city with a little extra runner's
bling around your neck.  That medal might even get you some free
drinks, but don't bet on it.


Nike Woman's Half Marathon – Open to both men and women, this
event takes place on the rolling hills of San Francisco with amazing
views of the Bay and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.  It starts at Union
Square and finishes at the Great Highway along San Francisco's Ocean
Beach, hugging the coastline most of the way.  At the end of the race,
finisher's receive a specially designed Tiffany & Co. necklace …
the ultimate in runner's bling.  


The Flying Pig – This race has been described by runners as
"the most fun race in the World."  It's name comes from the agricultural
and livestock history of Cincinnati, which at one time was known as
"Porkopolis."  The theme is celebrated throughout with support signs
such as squeal, hightail it, and crossing the finish swine.  Many
participants even dress in oinker costumes.  If you are the type that
always said you'd run a race when pigs fly, then this is the one for

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