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Finding Half Marathons:

Halfmarathons.net is the best resource for finding races.  The race calendar makes it really easy to locate races in a given month, and if you scroll to the bottom of the race calendar page for any given month you can select individual states!  The first stop for race information, but it is critical to visit individual race sites as some of the races are stale (i.e. the Mount Rushmore half marathon in South Dakota has not been run for 2 years but still shows up on the site) and some races are super small (i.e. less than 20 people).

RunningintheUSA.com is another good resource for finding races, but is definitely second best to halfmarathons.net.  Good functionality and a lot of races are on the site, but for some reason a lot of larger races are no where to be found.  Sort-able by race distance and state, which is nice.

Travel Resources:

3 Perfect Days produced by United Airlines in-flight magazine Hemispheres' this is a great resource to learn about and discover some highlights of your destination.  In addition to providing some local and off the beaten-path eateries and attractions the trips provide great advice of what to see in a new city during a short trip (3 days) which tends to coincide well with a race weekend adventure.  A great place to start your research.

Frommers is always a nice reliable source to find and read about local attractions and restaurants.  You won't always find the unique local places through Frommers but it has proven time and again that it is a valuable travel/reference guide when visiting a new city.

Race Apparel:

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Running Warehouse is a fantastic source for all your running related needs (everything from socks and shoes to gels and watches).  Not only does the store provide some of the absolute lowest prices on a great selection of running gear, they also have free 2-day shipping on every order, no minimum (it always feels like your gear is more likely to give up on you the week of a race), free return shipping, and just awesome customer support.  50in100 offers members 10% off all purchases, no minimum (hover over the image above for our 10% off code).

Nutrition and Health:

Body Basix, "performance nutrition for every body".  Simple to follow nutrition and supplements for pre, during and post workout recovery.  I especially like the water energizer tablets (a slight fizz and perfect for a long bike ride or run, no brick in the stomach feeling I get from Gatorade) and the oatmeal raisin power snack bites.  Both are available online at www.mybodybasix.com and through GNC. In open disclosure, Kristin and I have both served as unpaid brand ambassadors for Body Basix since early 2010.

EAD (Elite Athletic Development) in Arlington Heights, Illinois is a fantastic facility which helps athletes of all ages, shapes and sizes improve performance.   I can personally attest that the "cross-fit boot camp" will not only show you have bad of shape you are in within 30 minutes, but it will constantly push you to become stronger and faster through a variety of dynamic drills and strength training exercises.  One hour a week may not seem like a lot, but you'll feel the workout for the next few days after!  Don't live near Arlington Heights? No problem checkout a cross-fit location near you at www.crossfit.com

Training Groups

Buehler Y Tri is a great group of triathletes who train, race and party together!  Linked to the Buehler YMCA in Palatine, Illinois the Y Tri offers a variety of classes and seminars ranging from an introductory swimming class (swimming will improve your lung capacity while running), to track work-outs, to endurance cycling classes (90 minutes will get you sweating like you never dreamed possible during the "off" winter months), to nutrition clinics and trips across the country - in November 2010, 10 members of the Y Tri club visited San Antonio for a weekend of good food, laughs and of course half marathon racing!

Alpine Runners is a fun group of runners who get together every Saturday morning at Lake Zurich high school in Lake Zurich, Illinois for a run.  A variety of "pace" groups set off from the high school for runs from about 6 miles to over 20 miles.  The "pace" groups are not set in stone and for a first-timer I would suggest going one group back of where you expect to run as the groups tend to run a bit faster than plan (i.e. if you want to run 8:30 pace I would start with the 9:00 group).  Water and Gatorade are provided along the run and the members are all really nice.  Beautiful area to run in with some challenging but manageable hills.


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