Today is my 33rd birthday and I’ve had a variety of blog posts in my mind this week on marking this occasion. My birthday, though, is not something I tout too much. I’ve even taken my birth date off Facebook because I HATE to see Walls filled up with generic “Happy Birthday” posts. So to mark today, which is just another day closer to a new age bracket in races, I thought I’d share 33 random thoughts about running – from lessons learned, to favorite moments, to pieces of advice, to some very random things, I feel like this is a good way to mark the beginning of a new year in my life.

1. If I ever stop calling running fun, I’m quitting. From sights and sounds, to pushing myself, to a new level, to running with my dog, there’s an element of fun in even bad runs.

2. I want to break 1:40 in the half marathon. Part of me doesn’t want to train for another marathon and instead focus on that distance.

3. With No. 2 being said, I want to run a marathon and not be injured afterward. Thus the reason for my drive and desire to run the Baltimore Marathon in October.

4. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I once ran 5:45 in the mile in high school, good enough for next to last place – the only track meet in which I wasn’t last in the mile.

5. For no real reason, Guns 'n' Roses "November Rain" is my favorite song to run to, on the rare occasion I listen to music.

6. When hydrating for a race, you shouldn’t really do anything different than you did while training.

7. When doing a long-distance race, see what type of gels they’ll hand out. Don’t be surprised. Try it out on a couple of long runs to see if it settles well with you; otherwise bring your own. And don’t complain if you don’t like them.

8. If you need to stop to walk in a race or slow down, MOVE OUT OF THE WAY. Or you may get a slight elbow from me.

9. A year and a half later, I still look at an adventure I took in the mountains as a game-changer.

10. Don’t wear the event shirt until you earn it.

11. Injinji socks are the best. And if anyone gives me birthday money, I’m buying more to wear every day.

12. Wear sunscreen if you’re going to be running in the sun for a while.

13. While I’ve been blogging for four years about running, there’s about 3½ years worth of stories before the blog that I’ve only mentioned a few times. I’ve thought about doing retroactive race reports, but I don’t know how much I remember about those early races.

14. This photo from last summer is my most favorite picture that I’ve taken on a run:

Peaks of Otter, Bedford, running

15. And this photo is my most favorite from after a run:

trail nut 10k, Bedford, running

16. And, quite sadly, I don’t have a favorite race photo.

17. Fitz at Strength Running has a great post this week about seven things that changed his running forever. I suggest checking it out HERE.

18. My 5k next weekend in Ohio is just my third out-of-Virginia race. The other two were also in Ohio and were two-mile Turkey Trots.

19. I’ll have a separate blog post on this, but I did buy the Brooks Ghost 3 that I wrote about a month ago. I’ve had four good runs in them so far.

20. I think there are a lot people out there who get caught up in thinking/saying “my favorite weather is now,” but I will forever say “bring on the cold.” Perfect conditions for me would be in the low 40s and cloudy. Still warm enough for shorts. I can certainly handle colder. BRING IT.

21. I’ve never publicly questioned the 10 percent rule – in fact I have embraced it many times – but this old article confirms what I’ve said many times: different things work for different people. Here's an even newer article on the topic. It's another subject for another blog post.

running, weight loss

22. Whenever someone asks me why I run, I talk about how I needed to lose weight. I do have a “before” photo of me on my About Me page, but the inset photo tells an even better story.

23. The next #runchat is this Sunday on Twitter. Head over to iRunnerBlog to read about this week’s great giveaway.

24. My post after my first marathon is still my favorite post ever. I am a marathoner and no one can ever take that title away from me.

25. My Stung in the eye post still picks up a lot of page views. People enjoy it when other people suffer.

26. I never knew how the Yasso 800s worked until recently. Now I just need easier access to a track to do them.

27. If someone tells you their product is “scientifically proven,” that doesn’t mean it will actually work for you.

28. If you’re looking for an alternative to ice, use a bag of frozen peas.

29. I really want to have a 40-mile week this summer. That’s a distance that still eludes me.

30. The best thing I’ve ever done to help my running: buying all non-cotton gear.

31. My son wore his race medal for nearly an hour after his race the other day. That makes me proud in many ways:

Presbyterian Homes 5k, running

32. I want to run an ultramarathon one day. In particular, one of these.

33. Did I mention to make sure you have fun? No matter how far you go, or how fast your are ... HAVE FUN!