Guest Blogger Jerry Allison

Turning 21 for most people is a night filled with many bar stops and many shoes. For me, it meant completing my first marathon in 28 degree weather in Phoenix. Odd to some. A tradition for me.

And although that morning of the race, I wanted to turn around and get warm. I stuck it out, saw my parents every 5 miles, ran through 3 Arizona cities and waddled to the car. That day is still burned in my memory.

For my 24th birthday I ran the 3M half in Austin. Next week for my 26, I’ll be running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Phoenix half, five years after my full.

And just like the full, my parents will be cheering me on. I’m looking forward to it and the warmer weather. And also, the possibility of my dad getting the DJ to wish me a “Happy Birthday,” a memory I hold dear.

There is something about completing a race for your birthday that is so fullfilling. Maybe it’s the medal or maybe it’s knowing that despite being a year older you can still run. It’s a tradition that I hope to continue for many years.

Are you looking for a race for your birthday or like the idea? Here are some tips.

Look for a race outside your current area: I like the mini-vacay that a race can give you. It gets you away from work and in a different city. Plus, there are not a lot of races on the East Coast in January, so I always head south (unless I’m already in Texas).

You don’t have to do a race on your specific birthday: My birthday this year is on a Tuesday, oddly enough like five years ago. So it’s hard to find a race on that specific day, but I always look at the weekend before or after for a race. That way I can be more flexible and find something fun.

Make it a group excursion: Sadly, my boyfriend won’t be making it out to Phoenix next week. However, my parents are coming out to celebrate and I’m seeing some close friends (hopefully some SF ambassadors as well), which means I’ll have people cheering for me on the course. This makes it more fun because it’s a group celebration.

Lastly, make sure there is cake.

Jerry Allison lives in the DC area. She can be found working the Pacers running store floor, fitting runners for shoes. If she’s not there you can find her running the trails, writing for her blog, Eat to Run Run to Eat, or watching the newest Bravo marathon. She ran her first marathon for her twenty-first birthday and will be completing her seventh half for her 26 birthday. If your looking for new shoes or gear, IT band advice, or just want to talk, find her on Twitter.