26th Birthday Celebration: Running 26.2 Miles!

This past year was a memorable one, to say the least. I scored a shiny new half-marathon PR, finished my first (and second) running relays and reached my long-awaited goal of becoming a group fitness instructor. Away from the fitness world, I moved halfway across the country into an apartment I adore, was lucky enough to meet some amazing new friends, checked off a few items off my bucket list (starting a gratitude journal, joining a book club…), refreshed my blog and was able to enjoy some quality time with family and old friends.

Of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and puppies, but my M.O. is to focus on the positive, so why stop now? Typing that all out, however, is a great reminder of how incredibly blessed I was to have such a wonderful year. The most exciting part: I think I can make year 26 even more epic. How?


If we’re friends on Facebook, you may have seen a sneak peek, but I’m ready to fill you all in now that I have more details in place—and am in a celebratory mood for my birthday! In just six short weeks, I’ll cover 26.2 miles as part of the Million Dollar Marathon. I’ll be joining three new friends in Colorado as we each complete a marathon on July 4 to raise funds to fight cancer. It’s a very unique event in which cancer survivors and advocates run in a cross-country relay. Once the event’s creator, Steve, sat me down to tell me all of the specifics, I knew I couldn’t say no to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…especially after he told me I could split up my 26 miles into a couple different legs as long as I completed them within a 24-hour window.

The money our team of 160 runners raises—the total goal is $1,000,000, hence the name of the event—will be split between Above + Beyond Cancer, an unbelievable local group that I’ve been lucky enough to get involved with since moving to Des Moines, Livestrong and American Cancer Society branches along our relay route.

I’ve started training and am incredibly passionate about this project (you can learn more about my personal connection and WHY I was especially motivated to participate here), but I can’t succeed without your help. While I’m hoping to have a few opportunities to get involved via Healthful Bites throughout the summer, I thought if anyone might be looking for birthday ideas, or simply a way to get involved right now, I could share a few options today:

  1. Sponsor one of my 26 miles for my 26th birthday! For $200, you’ll get your name on my race day shirt, plus my extreme gratitude. No pressure to donate at that level, though, I’d be so grateful for whatever you’d be comfortable with sharing! Click here to donate now.
  2. Buy one of my spiffy new Rundefeated T-shirts (pictured above). They’re currently on the way back from the printer in white, silver and gold versions, all with the blue logo. Comment below to express interest and reserve one of these limited-edition tech tees for $25! I’ll post again when the shirts have arrived and my official online storefront is up and running. [Edited to add: The T-shirt shop is now LIVE! Browse and order at rundefeated.storenvy.com.]
  3. Spread the word about this project on Facebook, Twitter or your own blog. Whether your friends feel compelled to donate or even share a supportive word to motivate participants in training…it would be so appreciated.

Thank you all for making this year my best yet. Together, I think we can make 26 one for the record books. :)

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  1. Please put me down for a t-shirt! So proud of you!

    • Thank you so much, Maddie! I so appreciate your support and will be following up right away once the store is live so we can get you your top color and size pick. :)


  1. [...] I’m definitely getting behind this week is in support of my friend Karla and her upcoming Million Dollar Marathon! To celebrate her 26th birthday, Karla is taking on 26.2 miles in a cross-country relay. If [...]

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