Hey Pittsburgh Half Marathon – I’m Back! #GameOnPGH!



I’m excited to say I’ve been accepted into the Elite Field of the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon this year AND I’m an Official Blogger for the Pittsburgh Marathon! This will be my second year running the half marathon here in Pittsburgh and I’m pumped to see how fast my legs can carry me through my wonderful city! Last year I was 7 months postpartum when I raced the half and came in 5th place. This year I hope to be a few minutes faster and compete for a top spot once again.


Pittsburgh is a stunning city and I love running over the bridges (5 bridges in the half, 3 rivers!), taking in the sights, and hearing the cheers/music/cowbells around the course. I’m fortunate to also have friends who will show up and add to the cheers in each neighborhood. And I’m very lucky to make this race a family affair! My daughter ran the Toyota of Pittsburgh Kids Marathon (1 mile) last year. She asks about the race multiple times every month and can’t wait to run again this year. You can read her post about it here. Easily the best post ever featured on this blog! My husband ran the half last year and will run it again this year. My older brother ran the full last year. I might even talk a sibling or two into racing this year!

As I mentioned in my last post, this will be my final big race of the spring – the icing on the cake! My full marathon is now just 3 weeks away so my training is well underway. I will take a week off running after my full, then start gearing up for what I hope to be another half marathon PR!

I will do follow up posts talking about things like my preparation/hydration/fueling/nutrition in general or anything else that pops into my head. And please feel free to ask me any questions you might have!

Thanks for following along!


Rock N Roll NOLA, Taking Chances

I ran the Rock N Roll New Orleans half marathon a month ago, on 1/25/15. I was 3rd female, (15th overall) and ran a PR of 1:15:59. I am overjoyed with this race because I took a chance, had confidence in myself and executed the race plan.

Proud to share the podium with these 2 sweet & speedy gals!

Proud to share the podium with these 2 sweet & speedy gals!

As far as a race recap goes, this could get really boring. I ran a pretty evenly split race, every mile between 5:40-5:50. I was in 3rd place (females) most of the race (mile 5 on), I ran most of the race alone, and nothing spectacular happened as far as racing was concerned or what anyone could see. But something very exciting was happening inside me. I was on a mission to run down my old PR of 1:18:05. I had a fire burning inside. I had a lot to prove to myself, and this was my big chance. All the races I’ve finished feeling like I had something left in the tank, all the races where my stomach (uh, intestines?) revolted, all the doubts I’ve faced from others and even myself… all of those things needed to be left behind to become the runner I know I am.

I had the common A,B,&C goals. My C goal was just to get a PR. I ran 5:57 pace at the EQT Pittsburgh 10 miler in November and finished with way too much in the tank, feeling awesome, yet horrible for feeling so awesome. 2 months later looking at RnR NOLA I knew that even on a bad day I could run that pace for 13.1 and could kick it in for a PR. My B goal was sub 1:17. I had a good base, my workouts were going pretty well other than the 3 weeks in December when I was down mileage and workouts with the flu, but on a good day, there was no reason I couldn’t run 1:16:xx. My A goal was to run sub 1:16. I wasn’t going to taper for this race since it’s in the middle of marathon training, and this goal honestly scared me a bit. Run 5:48/mile pace for an hour and fifteen minutes?! WHAT? Then, “wait, why not?”

Taking the turn in the EQT Pittsburgh 10 miler in November

So, I went to New Orleans with my husband (Jeff) who was also racing the half. We left the kids with the grandparents and I looked forward to a weekend of sleep (and fast running)! Well, I slept more than usual, but I also enjoyed the alone time with Jeff. I also had to drag my breast pump to NOLA as my little guy (who was 15 months old at the time) is still breastfeeding.

The Fam

The Fam, yes my son is a giant baby!

Jeff was a good sport, letting me play out race thoughts, scenarios, dreams over and over. Every time I said something about sub 1:16 being crazy, he simply said something like, “why is that crazy?” and then backed it up with some facts about how hard I’ve been working.

I settled on my race plan after a few discussions I had with Jeff. One was the night before the race when he said something to the effect of “I’d be much more impressed with you going out hard, dying, and having a really slow time, than running another 1:18 that you’re not proud of.” Touché.

So my plan was to go out hard, at my A goal pace and run a pretty evenly split race, with my fastest mile being mile 10, just to kick it back into gear for the end of the race. Would you believe I went out hard and ran a pretty evenly split race, and my fastest mile was indeed mile 10?  (I rarely look at my watch during the race but like to wear a GPS watch to check splits afterward and see where things went right or wrong!)

Pain face!

Pain face!

I didn’t check my watch at all until mile 11. At that point, I did the math (and I’m one of those people who gets MUCH WORSE at math when I’m running fast) but I could think clearly enough to know I was going to have a big PR. I was going to run 1:15:xx! And then I started to seriously consider, oh my goodness, the Olympic Trials Standard is 1:15:00! Can I do it? Oh wait, I think I have to close with like 2 x 5:20 something mile pace, probably not going to happen today. I fixed my eyes on the woman ahead of me and thought maybe I could catch her. I noticed I was gaining a bit. Then at mile 12 I looked at my watch again. I had a moment of weakness. I knew I wasn’t going to catch anyone. I knew I was already going to have a big PR. I didn’t need to keep going so hard. I relaxed a bit. That relaxing almost cost me my A goal! Thankfully, I pulled myself out of it, picked the pace back up.  Within minutes, I saw the finishing clock 1:15:40, 41, 42… I had made it this far, I was going to get that A goal! I starting sprinting my little heart out and I squeaked to the finish in 1:15:59!

The top 3 ladies were escorted to the stage for awards immediately (very cool!) and then brought to the VIP area. My feet started cramping on the walk and I had to smile, knowing I haven’t finished a race feeling this worn out in awhile. I couldn’t stop thinking about the race, my PR… it felt 100% believable and also 100% unbelievable. Did *I* really just do that?

I guess I want to end this post by saying, don’t be afraid to take chances! You could come up short and fall on your face. But you could also soar! It is very exciting when you succeed. But it’s incredibly FULFILLING knowing you were willing to risk a complete failure of a race to make that success happen.

I have a big spring coming up with lots of races that I’m pumped to be running! My goal marathon is the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach on 3/22. Then I’ll be doing Glass City Half Marathon and Pittsburgh Half Marathon later in the spring. More to come on those events!

Thanks for reading and following along!

Finally Feeling Fast, 3 Races, A 5k PR

Whoa! Time is flying!

I’ve raced 3 times since my last update. The Deschutes Twilight 5k on 8/14/14 (17:14), Boy Scout Half Marathon on 8/30/14 (1:22:19 *workout*) and Steelers 5k on 9/1/14 (16:38). Despite my best efforts to post race recaps, some training updates and some general this-is-how-I’m-feeling-postpartum running, I just choose sleep over everything else. So let’s start with that:


Wells is 11 months old and covering the whole couch!

Wells is 11 months old and covering the whole couch!


My baby just turned 11 months old! He was an expert sleeper from almost the very beginning, sleeping through the night very early. Then he started getting teeth and little colds here and there and I have been up with him at least 2 times a night almost every night for the past few months. Some nights, we are up much more! I try to take a 15-20 min nap each day while he is napping and while my 4 year old is doing something quietly but it doesn’t always happen. Long story short, sleep is still something I need to work on, but I don’t have a lot of control over that right now.

Postpartum feelings towards training:

Right around 10.5 months postpartum, approximately 3 weeks ago, my training started to feel right again. I started feeling like running was less of a struggle and more of *my thing*. I wouldn’t say running and workouts are easy – I’m training hard! I just think it’s all starting to feel right and I’m feeling like myself again. Coming back from both pregnancies, I had time where I was struggling to feel fast and then one day it clicked. That clicking point was right around 10-11 months postpartum both times for me. It might be different for you but if you have the desire, keep trying! (And let me just add here that if you don’t feel great after having the baby, just use the time to enjoy your baby and stop stressing about being fast again! The speed will come, and running will be there waiting when you are ready, but you really never will get that teeny tiny snuggle bug time back from your babe. Don’t feel guilty if you aren’t loving postpartum running. It’s ok to be patient and enjoy the early months/years of motherhood.)

Wells at 10 months. He's walking and my life just got more interesting...

Wells at 10 months. He’s walking and my life just got more interesting…


Do you even care about my workouts? I don’t know. I go back and forth about posting times, distances, splits because I hate the comparison game. What works for me might be the wrong path for you. But, for those who want to know, I’ll tell you about some of my workouts lately.

I’m ultimately training for a late fall marathon, but a few weeks before the Deschutes 5k, I wanted to whip my legs into some speedy shape. I had been running 60-65 miles a week with one workout and 2 days of a few 20 second strides. Two weeks before Deschutes 5k (my first 5k since baby #2!) I did 6×400 meters at the track. It started with a 2 mile warmup, then I ran 71, 71, 72, 71, 72, 72. I had a 2 minute walk break between each rep. The workout was a big shock to my system. My breathing was like wheezing. My legs were like jello. My body hadn’t run anything like that in about 2 years! But I was pretty happy with the paces. Ok, I wanted to dip below 70, but it wasn’t happening. I finished with 2 miles cooldown with the double jogging stroller and that was my workout that week.

One week before Deschutes 5k, I ran 5x1k with 2 minutes walk rest on the track. I was supposed to hit an overall pace faster than my 5k PR (16:40). I was terrified of this workout. I didn’t feel like I was ready for it at all. I pumped myself up by talking (to myself) about the paces every day. “You just have to hit 80 second laps. You ran 71s and 72s last week. This will feel much more comfortable”. Then the little devil on my shoulder told me “but last week it was only one lap. This week it will be 2.5 laps!” I kept squashing that negative voice with positive ones. Sure enough, on workout day, I hit my paces just as planned and had an overall 5k time of 16:36. My legs remembered they are fast and I felt ready for a 5k.

Deschutes Twilight 5k:

Pre-Race shot of #birdcamp racers! Photo credit to Thomas and Velo Photography!

Pre-Race shot of #birdcamp racers! Photo credit to Thomas and Velo Photography!

I ran this race, my first 5k since baby #2, when Wells was 10 months old 8/14/14. I finished in a time of 17:14 and was ecstatic to feel good and strong. I decided the race was going to be painful and I needed to accept it and I think that powered me through to the time I wanted. I would have been excited about anything under 17:30, so I was very pleased with this time. Since it was an evening race (7pm) I ran 3-4 miles that morning, then a 3 mile warmup, then the race, then another 3 miles for cooldown. I shared all of those runs with Heidi, aka “The Goddess”, which made them even more enjoyable!

Close to the finish. Another Thomas and Velo Photography gem.

Close to the finish. Another Thomas and Velo Photography gem.

Boy Scout Half Marathon:

I ran the Boy Scout Half Marathon about 2 weeks later on 8/30/14 and was 1st female in 1:22:19. This was the slowest half I’ve run since I started training for half marathons. (I ran a few slower when I signed up on a whim while running 4 miles a day in my 20s.) I originally planned to race this half all-out, aiming for a PR. Then I decided to also race the Steelers 5k 2 days later and decided to make a race-day decision on how fast I would run the half.

The night before the Boy Scout Half, I was up all night. Ok, that’s not true. I slept one hour, from 4am-5am. My little guy, in true night-before-a-race fashion, got a bad cold and couldn’t breathe out of his nose. He couldn’t get comfy and couldn’t fall asleep so I rocked him, snuggled him, played with him, breastfed him, over and over again and he just cried and cried. He fell asleep a few times and as soon as I put him down, he woke up wailing. At 4am, I saw my mom in the kitchen and she saw me and Wells awake and told me “Go to bed! Why didn’t you wake me up!?!?!” So, I went to bed and slept until my alarm at 5.

I didn’t feel too bad after getting that hour of sleep. I think I was riding some sort of SuperMom rush mixed with so-tired-I’m-not-tired energy. We arrived at the race and I realized it was going to be hot, very humid, and windy! I did a warmup with my brother Josh, ran into my friend from high school (Breezy), saw another running friend (Emily) then it was time to race. I had decided the plan was to just run fast enough to win. I knew the lack of sleep was going to get to me (especially since I didn’t get more than 6 hours of sleep in the few days leading up to the worst night). When I realized no women were lining up in the first 10 rows or so, I had a feeling I’d be racing alone. I was right.

I needed a bathroom break before the start, but didn’t feel like waiting in line and figured I’d probably be doing more of a workout than race pace so I skipped that last restroom break. This was a poor choice as I was forced to run fartlek style (ha) from mile 8 on. The first 8 miles were uneventful. Me running, sometimes catching up to guys and saying a few words, no one wanting to chat back, then loneliness. I was really hot and the wind was against us on those country roads which was good because it had a cooling effect, but bad because we were running against the wind! The last 5 miles had me picking up the pace when my stomach could handle it, then slowing way down trying to calm the #poopprobz. I kept eyeing porta potties but didn’t want to stop because I wanted to just finish, get the course record of 1:21:53, and be done. By the last 2 miles, I was looking anywhere to stop. I knew there was going to be super slow walking, stopping, or a big problem. By this time we were in town and people were everywhere so I couldn’t just duck in a cornfield. Long story short, I made it to the finish without an accident, but the last mile involved slowing to a strange tip-toe walk at certain points, missing the course record by about 30 seconds, and jogging slowly into the finish. Ugh, at least I had a smile on my face at the finish. Thanks to my awesome sister-in-law Megan for taking this photo!

A few meters before the finish line!

A few meters before the finish line!

I have to say the course support was awesome for this tiny race in Bowling Green, Ohio. Boy Scouts were all over the course handing out water, Gatorade, and Gu! They were so cute and I took something to drink/eat at every location. I would definitely run this race again (I’ll just make sure to use the restroom next time!) I walked away without the course record, but with a good workout under my belt and $500 richer. I ended the day with 17 miles.

After the race, I went to my parents’ house and took a 15 minute nap, then took the kids to meet my sister and her family for their county fair. The cousins rode rides and I tried to survive my exhaustion. This was a poor move on my part since I really needed sleep, but luckily, it turned out ok. I had promised my daughter we would go to the fair and I didn’t want to back out, even though I was exhausted. I filled my thermos with coffee and had a nice afternoon with my sister and kids. Then we made the 4.5 hour drive back to Pittsburgh (my parents and my sister’s kids drove their car to Pittsburgh and my sister rode with me and my kids to help keep me awake on the drive. They wanted to spend more time with us for the long Labor Day weekend and I was happy to have them). I passed out just after midnight, got 6.5 hours of sleep and somehow woke feeling rejuvenated.

Steelers 5k:

Post 5k PR race!

Post 5k PR race!

After the Boy Scout Half, I had a day of recovery before the Steelers 5k. I did 5.2 miles easy with 1 stride on the CMU track. I was running in a downpour, rain so heavy I couldn’t see and had periods of running in water up to my ankles, so there was no point in running any other strides or trying to go longer. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, laying low with my family and celebrating my mom’s birthday and Wells’ one year birthday a month early since part of my family was in town!


I woke up on Monday feeling pretty good, legs feeling light and happy. At that moment I was happy I took the half easy so I could hopefully race a 5k PR. I stepped outside and was a little bummed with another day of extreme humidity. I described it as “soupy” outside. Pretty gross. I raced in my newest Oiselle singlet and Flyte shorts. I almost pulled off the singlet at the last second because the humidity had it sticking to me, but decided 3 miles is too short to matter much. Before I knew it, the race started.

I took the first mile out harder than I wanted. I got excited, passed the girl in front of me, and kept my eye on Tim, who helped me push through the finish at the Pittsburgh Half this year. I passed Tim and tried to keep pushing the second mile, but it was slower. There was a hairpin turn during this mile and right after that turn, the girl who ended up winning passed me. She dropped me like I was standing still, and I was really slowing down! I caught up to my husband Jeff and he encouraged me to go up and get that girl, but I just couldn’t… or wouldn’t. I had a loser attitude and decided I was hurting badly enough and 2nd place was fine. I don’t like having that loser attitude and it always gives me race regret so hopefully I won’t get in that mindset next time!

I was lucky enough to have Steph out on the course cheering and my dad as well! They both lifted my spirits and helped the finish line feel closer! When I finally entered Heinz Field, I looked at the clock and saw 16:20s! OMG! I can PR! Speed up! Go get it! I sped up just a tad and got that PR, 16:38.09 to be exact! Woohoo! My hard work is finally paying off.

I ended up getting Steelers tickets, VIP tent buffet on race day, a football, a Steelers hat, a huge bouquet of flowers, and a medal.  Currie quickly claimed everything but the tickets. I hid those!

Top 5 women, photo cred: Steelers.com

Top 5 women, photo cred: Steelers.com

Currie with my winnings

Currie with my winnings

Jeff and me post-race!

Jeff and me post-race!

I did a cooldown with my new running group the Pittsburgh Pharaoh Hounds before heading to Sandcastle Water Park with my family for their last operating day of the season.

Wow, thanks for reading all of this rambling and thank you so much for all of the cheers and encouragement!

My next race will most likely be The Great Race (10k) here in Pittsburgh on 9/28/14. (You know, where my water broke under the start line 2 days before last year’s race?!) Wells will be 1 year + 1 day old for this race and I’m excited to race a 10k and see what I can do!


San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon

I ran the San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon on Sunday and was 1st Female, in 1:20:08. I felt good the whole race and thoroughly enjoyed the event! I ended the week with 57 miles, my highest since Grandma’s Marathon 5 weeks ago and I’m feeling strong.


We left for San Francisco (from Mountain View) on Saturday afternoon via the Caltrain. We hit up the expo just before closing, around 4:45pm. I picked up my bib, met up with some Oiselle teammates, had some Thai food for dinner, and picked up some snacks (soft pretzel, 2 bagels, and some almond butter) at Whole Foods. The pretzel and one bagel were for an evening snack and the other bagel was for breakfast in the morning! We did more walking than I’d usually want to do before a half marathon, but this race was all about fun and seeing how my body felt, not running a PR.

Bret, Michelle, Emily, me, Robin, Paulette!

Bret, Michelle, Emily, me, Robin, Paulette!

I was once again behind on sleep, so my goal was to try to get 9 hours the night before the race. I ended up with 8 which is the most I’ve had for awhile, but woke feeling a bit tired. Still, I got up with my alarm, 3 hours before race time, and had that bagel with almond butter and a k-cup of whatever coffee the hotel had in our room. An hour later I had maybe 4-6 more ounces of coffee shop coffee.

My bud Robin, Jeff and I got an uberX to take us about 3/4 mile from the race start and we walked the rest of the way. We used the restroom, did a short warmup (actually only a half mile for Jeff and me because we didn’t do bag drop yet and warming up with a bag is annoying!), and got to the start line. I was able to high five Michelle, Bret and Robin before the gun. It was hotter than expected and Michelle told me it was about 85% humidity and I made the last minute decision to ditch the singlet and run in the Scantron bra and competition brief.


I was going to wear my Garmin during this race so I could have splits, but as I’ve mentioned on Twitter, it’s on its final days and although it was fully charged when I left the hotel, it went dead before the race started so I went without. I spent the first 1-3 miles (not sure how far because I didn’t see mile markers or have a GPS watch) with the 2nd place woman. We chatted briefly, and she was really sweet! I always enjoy a little small talk in the early miles of longer races. I learned she trained some with Lauren Fleshman after college and I later found out (while googling her – yeah, I admit that!) she ran at Princeton just like my older brother and husband and overlapped with them one year there.

The next few miles were uneventful other than the crowds we were fighting. Something I should explain about this race is there is a full marathon option, a 1st half marathon option (where you run the first half of the marathon course) and a 2nd half marathon option (where you run the second half of the marathon course). I ran the 2nd half marathon which starts almost 3 hours after the marathon start. So, we start and join up with marathoners in the 5.5 hour range. The cool thing about that is you pass people the entire race. The part that makes it rough is the roads are crowded and I found myself weaving a lot, taking the curves long, completely stopping at every water stop (because there were big backups and I take in fluids at every stop), and sometimes just coming to a dead stop because you are behind someone who suddenly stops with a tight muscle or someone who moves unexpectedly for some unknown reason. I gave and got a lot of unintentional elbows on race day, but I think it’s something everyone expects! I’m sure I ran quite a bit longer than 13.1, but I enjoyed having people around, cheering for others, and having them cheer for me!

Around some unknown mile, maybe 7, a guy ran up beside me and asked if I knew I was the first female. We chatted for a bit and I found out he has a son who was born just 3 days after Wells! We talked about training after having kids, goals for the current race and goals for the fall. We leapfrogged back and forth (it was hard to stay beside each other and pass full marathoners) and I eventually lost sight of him and I’m not sure if he finished in front of or behind me. When we were together, he looked at his GPS watch and said we were on a solid 1:18 pace. I was feeling good and happy to hear that.


All of a sudden, maybe around mile 8, we were running in the bright, hot sun. I didn’t feel too hot, I just remember thinking it was gorgeous! The crowd support was awesome. It was a great day to race in San Francisco! As people around me cheered more and more that I was the first woman, no one else in sight, I decided to run it in a little easier and enjoy the day. I didn’t completely shut it down, but I did slow down and enjoy the sights around me. I rarely take the chance to do this and it was a nice change (probably won’t do it again for awhile, either!)

This race was by no means "comfortable" though, as evidenced by my multiple pain face photos.

This race was by no means “comfortable” though, as evidenced by my multiple serious and pain face photos.

Hello, tongue! This is the face I oftentimes find myself making as I pass people on training runs. #awkwardTonguePhotos

Hello, tongue! I’m actually glad the photographers caught this face a few times! This is the face I oftentimes find myself making as I pass people on training runs. #awkwardTonguePhotos

Somewhere in the last 3 miles, I saw a Oiselle singlet ahead of me and started cheering! It ended up being Sophia who ran the 1st Half Marathon and was running a few more miles with a friend. That was the first point in the course where I was feeling a little lonely as I found a clearing in the constant group of full marathoners and it was so nice to see her!

With about a half mile to go I heard the lead cyclist calling in to someone at the finish line that the female winner, #252 – me, was approaching. I have to admit, that was exciting to hear. I felt like I was just gliding into the finish and I couldn’t wait to break the tape. Before I knew it, they were announcing my name, I saw and heard Paulette screaming for me and I was finishing!


After the race I immediately downed 2 boxes of water (I think they were each a quart), a banana, and some Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator (they had a booth after the finish line and I wasn’t too proud to keep filling the tiny cups they provided until I felt I had almost a real serving! HA!) Jeff and I got our gear from gear check and headed to the beer garden for our one free beer. We both enjoyed our IPAs, while chatting with other runners we met in line. Then we found some Oiselle team friends and talked a bit about our races before I realized we had to get running back to the hotel before checkout. Ahhhh!




A lot of people asked me “was the course hilly?” Well, it was in San Francisco so I think you know the answer! But, the course skipped a lot of big, steep uphills and favored more long gradual uphills and steeper downhills. I have to say I’m horrible with downhills, in particular steeper downhills, so the downhills were probably my least favorite part of the course. Other than that, I really enjoyed every minute of this race!

Thanks for all the encouragement and well wishes! My next race (unless something else pops up!) will be the Deschutes Brewery Twilight 5k in Bend, OR on 8/14! Guess that means I’ll hit up the track for a few workouts sometime soon!


San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon Preview

What a strange feeling. I’m running a half marathon on Sunday and I have NO IDEA what finishing time to expect. I’m 5 weeks post-marathon. While I know some people run distance races that close together, I’m not one of those people. My body needs time to recover. While Grandma’s Marathon wasn’t an all-out effort due to the restroom situation, it was a very hard, almost all out effort.

I’m obviously not PR ready. First of all, I took a week off after Grandma’s Marathon then ran easy for another 1.5 weeks. I’ve done 4 short workouts that didn’t feel awesome, but didn’t feel horrible either. I feel much more recovered after this marathon than marathons of the past, but it’s hard to say how I really feel until I get into a racing situation! After doing a few intervals at 6:05 pace a few days ago, I joked with my husband “don’t they always say ‘if you can do it for 6 minutes in practice, you can do it for 13.1 in race conditions’?” I know, I’m hilarious…

In 2011, I ran a 5k just 3 weeks after a marathon and my legs felt trashed from the half mile mark. It was my first speed attempt after that marathon and I definitely felt I needed more recovery (ran 17:56 when I had been consistently running low 17s). Anyway, all that being said, I think my time will be somewhere between 1:18-1:25. I think on a good day (and I have every reason to believe it will be a good day!) I will run in the lower range. I’m excited and so ready to suit up in my racing gear again! But now the dilemma is… what will I wear on race day?

"the original". This was my first Oiselle singlet from when I joined the team in late 2010.

“the original”. This was my first Oiselle singlet from when I joined the team in late 2010.


The first elite singlet and the one I originally packed for this race when we left Pittsburgh for the summer.

The first elite singlet and the one I originally packed for this race when we left Pittsburgh for the summer. Oh, hey Frank Shorter!

Most recent pro kit - won't actually wear this because it's in Pittsburgh, but had to include.

Most recent pro kit – won’t actually wear this because it’s in Pittsburgh, but had to include.

The latest singlet!

The latest singlet!

Pull a Kate Grace and race in the Rizzo suit? Just kidding! My milk-filled chest wouldn't stand a chance RUNNING in that! :)

Pull a “Kate Grace” and race in the Rizzo suit? Reference here. Just kidding! My milk-filled chest wouldn’t stand a chance RUNNING in that! :)

That decision will be made tomorrow, I suppose!

Finally, here’s a link to my San Francisco Half Marathon preview post on Oiselle’s blog. Thanks for the words of encouragement, everyone!

California, Here We Are…

A lot has happened since my last post. I’ve done 3 workouts, traveled to Seattle, moved into an apartment in California with my family, had my 33rd birthday and did some #RUNootd!


After Grandma’s Marathon, I ran easy for over 2 weeks, then decided it was time to bring a little speed back since I’m running the San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon on July 27th. My first workout back was just strides at the track. My second workout was another light day and one of my favorite workouts, 1 min hard, 1 min easy. My third workout was a 4 mile tempo! It was supposed to get progressively faster each mile, but I accidentally started at 5:50 pace so the miles got slower. This wasn’t supposed to be a 4 mile race, just a nice, controlled tempo run. Oh my… I was happy with the workout anyway. I actually attempted another workout just one day of rest after my tempo but my body was saying “NO NO NO!” so I shut it down soon after it began. I will probably do 1 more light workout before my race next weekend.


We love Seattle (used to live there) and usually make it back every Jan/Feb and then again in the summer. (All of this travel is related to my husband’s work – so yes, there are perks associated with his intense work & travel schedule.) This summer, we had work plans in California, so we thought we wouldn’t be able to squeeze in the Seattle trip. Luckily, we were able to spend a few days there afterall, actually in Bellevue this time, so we kept our summer Seattle streak alive.

Kids picked (& ate) blueberries in Seattle!

Kids picked (shared & ate) blueberries in Seattle!


Headed from Seattle to California. Currie *just had to* take this pic!

Headed from Seattle to California. Currie *just had to* take this pic! Wells is not impressed.

Every summer, we pack up our lives and spend time in another state so my husband can do some consulting work (and so we can have some summer adventures). Every year I say “sounds fun this year, but next year life will be too hectic.” Then the next summer approaches and I decide things aren’t too crazy afterall and we might as well take the opportunity. We usually end up on the west coast. This year, the opportunity was in Mountain View, California so that’s where we are living!

I was partly excited and partly stressed about this opportunity because we moved to Pittsburgh less than a year ago, I’m finally meeting friends and running buds, I have 2 small children and I sort of wanted a summer of getting more comfortable with my new city. But, the excitement of traveling and being somewhere new for the summer won me over as usual so here we are! I wouldn’t say leaving for the summer is all fun and games, but every *problem* is SO *first-world-problems* that I won’t even think about complaining. :)

When I found out we would be here for the summer, I reached out to a few Oiselle teammates who live in the general area and Robin *convinced me* (as if I ever need much convincing to race) to run the San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon. That’s how I ended up signing up for a half marathon so soon after my marathon. I am running the race for *fun* with no goal time but will obviously run my fastest, compete and place as high as possible!

33rd Birthday!

I spent my birthday running, playing with the kids at a playground, swimming with the kids, then relaxing until dinnertime when we went out for sushi. I even had dairy (a big ice cream cone) for dessert then had a few meals since with cheese. Hello mexican restaurants! Wells has been waking up at least every single hour at night (last night we had a few 15-20 min of sleep between scream-fests so I’m going dairy free again)!

Anyway, my birthday was a good day. My husband showed me the bank where he wired the funds for my engagement ring. :) I got 2 bags of free Pop Chips at the grocery store. Sure, I spent way too much money on mostly fruits and veggies at this overpriced market before the cashier said “here take these for free”, but I was very thankful!


Finally, Runner’s World is featuring reader submitted Run Outfit of the Day #RUNootd and I was featured on July 14th! (Scroll to bottom of the link to see my #RUNootd.) All you have to do is take a picture of what you wore for your run and hashtag #RUNootd on Intstagram or Twitter. I think it’s a cool idea!

I’ll leave you with a picture of my baby wearing a “hat” because it’s hilarious!




Keeping it Cozy & Cute

I’d like to start by saying thank you for the kind words on the blog, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and text regarding my last post. I learned a lot from your comments and stories and I know others did too. Thank you!

I’m running again and feeling good! My first few runs were as expected – delighted to be back at it, but felt a little rusty. Saturday was my first run where I felt good – light, fast and free! It made me excited to start workouts again – just not yet. I’ll probably try something fast again later this week.

In other news, it’s summer (like you didn’t know)! I usually spend my summers in cheap flip flops, but not this year! My main problem and injury-prone-ish area is my feet. I haven’t had any “real” injury for years *KNOCK SO HARD ON WOOD* but I get weird tightness problems that start in my feet or calves that eventually mess up my hips/back/hamstring area. I decided to put an end to that this summer. Cue “the summer of keeping it cozy and cute”.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know I can usually be found running around doing fun stuff with my 4 year old all day, and now I have a mobile and energetic 9 month old too. I find myself constantly on my feet and on the go. I think of it as good cross training (HA), but I feel the effects on my feet and legs by the end of the day. I started a quest for the perfect summer footwear routine, where I could mix practical style and comfort and I think I have it figured out!! I’m sharing my choices below!

Birkenstocks – Lucky for me, they are apparently back in style. You can wear them with anything, from shorts to jeans to dresses! They mold to your feet after some wear, are comfortable and supportive! Cozy – check! Cute – check!

Look at those beauties!

Look at those beauties (the shoes, not the feet!!)

Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 – These sandals are fairly light and super comfortable. The footbed is made from a yoga mat (for real!) and the sling is made of stretch knit.  For me, new shoes usually take a few days of wearing before they feel comfortable, especially shoes that have a piece between the toes, but these felt great right away! The people involved with the company seem really fun and laid back. I think we’d be friends IRL. Cozy – check! Cute- check!

Imagine I'm sitting cross-legged on the beach instead of my kitchen floor.

Imagine I’m sitting cross-legged on the beach instead of my kitchen floor. Or at least pretend my kitchen floor is clean :)

Sketchers GOwalk 2 – I decided to try some Sketchers shoes (for daily wear, not running) after Meb won Boston. I decided even if I hated the shoes, I love Sketchers for believing in Meb. I found these shoes and thought they were pretty cute as far as slip on athletic shoes are concerned. When they arrived, I decided they were even cuter in person and they were so comfortable I didn’t want to take them off. I have a hard time wearing any other shoe – they are that awesome. They do run a half to a full size big so order down, especially if you aren’t going to wear socks. Cozy – check! Cute – check!

Fog on the plane!

Ok, I know this is a strange picture, but I wanted to use this to show the fog on the airplane on my way to Grandma’s Marathon. The flight attendant said “it’s just condensation!” then walked away angrily.

Asics Gel Cumulus – My good old standby running shoe! My body feels happiest when I’m running in them, so I stick with this shoe. Cozy – check! Cute – well, I LOVE the current colors (blue/orange combo) so check!

Cool running shoes plus my little darlings on the 4th of July!

Cool running shoes plus my little darlings on the 4th of July!

currexSole RUNPRO – I’m not one to add anything new to my running routine unless I feel it will benefit me. I mostly live by “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. But, when I hear about something that could potentially help a problem I’ve been facing (sore feet), I’m glad to try something new! Insert the currexSole insoles. I had to opportunity to start wearing these early this spring and they have been really good to my feet. I started out wearing them when walking and transitioned them into my running shoes when I could trust they wouldn’t mess up my running!

I was pleasantly surprised immediately with how comfortable they felt. They weren’t stiff, heavy or bulky like every other insole I’ve tried! They have a zero mm drop so they won’t interfere with shoe construction and they are designed to move with your feet instead of restricting movement. They were easy to insert into my running shoes – just slip out the insoles that come in the shoes and slip in the currexSole (the instructions on the box show you might have to trim the tip to fit properly, but mine fit great without altering them at all).

The insoles are made based on foot type, body weight and leg/knee angles to ensure that you get a proper fit for your body. My fitting showed I should wear the RUNPRO HIGH - hello high arches – but the best way to know what will work for you is to go through the fitting system yourself. I wouldn’t say my feet are 100% ache & pain free, but they have definitely improved since using the currexSole! Cozy – check! Cute – well, no one sees them, but they have moisture/odor management built in and don’t smell so we’ll give them some cute points!

currexSole RUNPRO HIGH

currexSole RUNPRO HIGH

So tell me – do you keep your feet cozy in the summer? Do you go strictly on style and forget about comfort? (I used to wear fashionable high heels constantly except when running, but those days are long gone!) Do you hang out in cheap flip-flops all day? Any cozy & cute shoes you’ve found this summer that you can share with me?

*I was given the currexSole to review on my blog but all opinions are my own.

Breastfeeding and Pumping While Racing (and Training!)

I’d say one of the most frequent questions I’m asked when talking about my training and racing during the first year postpartum is: “are you breastfeeding?” And then, “how do you do it?”

The answer is yes, I exclusively breastfeed (haven’t used formula) and started my little guy on some “solids” starting at 6 months. He’s currently eating a few ounces of food (mostly purees) at mealtimes and the rest of the time he’s breastfeeding or taking bottles of breast milk.

Like training at a high level, breastfeeding is hard work. It takes a lot out of you, physically, mentally, emotionally! But it’s something that I am able to do and I’ve always wanted to, so I don’t see it as a burden or a hassle. I just make it work in my life. I understand it’s not for everyone, but for anyone who is interested, here is how I make it work for me. I’m going to start with a few tips, then go to what I did at my recent marathon which was 8 months postpartum, then go back to how I handled breastfeeding/pumping and training in the early months.

First of all, if you plan to train and race plus breastfeed you HAVE TO EAT. You will feel like a glutton, but if you don’t eat enough you won’t produce enough milk and you will end up injured. The baby weight will come off. This is not a time to diet!

Just a snack for a breastfeeding runner mom... only half joking here.

Just a snack for a breastfeeding runner mom… only half joking here.

Next, (if you have enough of a supply) I’d recommend starting to pump an extra bag/bottle of milk every day starting sometime in the first month or two postpartum. I used 6oz bags and froze them. If you store the bags flat in the freezer, you can stack them and fit quite a few, even in a small space. With both kids I had around 300 six ounce bags full of milk by the time they were 5 months old. This gave, and still gives, me freedom to leave the house to run and travel to races. While I hate pumping with every ounce of my being, I enjoy the freedom it gives me so I do it when necessary.

I have the Medela Pump in Style Advanced in the backpack version. It’s my only pump. I also bought a battery adapter so I don’t need to plug it into an outlet when I’m in an unfamiliar place. I bring it with me everywhere I go, but these days I only pump before races or if I’m going to be gone for many hours. I’m no longer storing any breastmilk as my little guy just turned 9 months and he can transition off my milk within 3 months if we decide. (I breastfed my daughter 17 months and plan to let my little guy self-wean as well). Feeding him straight from me is much more pleasant and rewarding for me, so my pump hasn’t gotten much use lately. However, let’s talk race day… the last time I used my pump.

For Grandma’s Marathon, I left my kids at home and Wells got my supply of frozen milk. Although it’s so hard for me to “pump and dump”, watching all my body’s hard work go down the drain, I don’t save my milk when I travel. You can, and I applaud anyone who does, I just don’t. The few days leading up to the race, I tried to pump a lot in the morning, then not pump again until 2pm, then pump one more time before bed. (Wells usually eats 5 times a day, then 1-3 times at night, so I try to slow my milk production slightly and alter it so I don’t produce as much during the race. Who knows if 2-3 days of doing this really makes a difference, but I feel it sort of does.

At Grandma’s Marathon, I pumped in my hotel room at 5am for a 7:45am start. I had to be ready to catch the bus at 5:45am and just wanted to get the pumping done. By the end of the race, around 10:35am, I was feeling pretty full of milk. Sometimes when I have a hard effort, I don’t produce much milk at all, other times it seems like my body produces like normal. This race had me at normal production and I went back to the room and pumped 12 oz before I was comfortable! I would have brought my pump with me, but race security and the clear plastic gear check bags, I’m wasn’t sure what kind of extra screening I’d have to go through and I didn’t want anything to worry about on race morning. That being said, I’m sure it would have been fine and I could have easily pumped before the race. It was just something I didn’t want to deal with on race morning.

Speaking of screening, you CAN bring a pump as a carry-on in an airplane, or tucked into a carry-on suitcase. It will have to go through extra screening most likely (I think I’ve made it through one time without extra screening.) I always declare, “IT’S JUST A BREAST PUMP!” but TSA still wants to check it out.

I did bring my pump to gear check at Gate River Run when I was just 5 months postpartum. I pumped just 30 minutes or so before the race and I think I went behind a curtain or faced a wall, but I don’t make too big of an effort to hide my pumping. You gotta do what you gotta do! I know people will go to great lengths to hide their breastfeeding or pumping, but I’m just not going to do that. I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a porta potty or similar space and I figure if someone is uncomfortable they can turn their head away. (If you feel uncomfortable but would like to get more comfortable with breastfeeding and pumping in public, let me tell you it’s just like anything else. Practice makes it easier! If you would have told me even 4 years ago that I’d be breastfeeding while walking down the aisle at Target, while hiking, while sitting or standing at a baseball stadium, or while waiting to start a race, I wouldn’t have believed you. Each time I nurse or pump in public, I realize how normal and natural it is. I’m completely comfortable with it now. Be proud Mama!) If you aren’t comfortable you can always bring a nursing cover or find a quiet, somewhat secluded place. There’s always somewhere to go where you can get some privacy.

Breastfeeding my little guy at the Pirates baseball game this past weekend, waiting in line for the kids to run the bases.

Breastfeeding my little guy at the Pirates baseball game this past weekend, waiting in line for the kids to run the bases.

A few thoughts of starting to run and breastfeeding:

I started running about 4 weeks after giving birth. At that time, my breasts were a good 2 sizes larger than usual, leaking all the time, and very painful. I found it easiest to feed the baby and pump any remaining milk right before my run. That way, I was storing milk for future use AND making my chest as light and comfortable as possible! I definitely wore (and still have to wear) 2 sport bras to be comfortable running. Dark colors (think black) are best in case of leaking. You can also slip breast pads or wear a sport bra with built in padding or liners for this stage.

Your body (and most likely your baby) will love a schedule, eventually anyway! It can still be hard to meet up with others as a feeding might take longer than expected, you aren’t able to pump enough milk, the baby is crying and you can’t pull yourself away, etc. I definitely miss running with people. In my situation, I’m also in a new city and didn’t know many runners when the baby was small. Now that I’ve been in Pittsburgh for 9 months and my baby can go 4-5 hours between feedings I have more freedom and know a lot more local runners!

Breastfeeding might make you very emotional! For some reason, pumping is even worse for me. Sometimes, I’ll pump a bottle before a hard workout (and before hard workouts I make sure to pump out every last drop of milk!) and I will feel so sad about leaving the baby that I get teary eyed. Sometimes, I’ll agonize over leaving my baby to run for the whole warmup, maybe even longer! I know it’s crazy while the thoughts are in my head, yet I can’t stop the feeling. This feeling is always worse after I’ve pumped myself dry. Just a warning in case that happens to you. You will be happy you ran long before you get home from your workout!

For the local races, I fed the baby and pumped right before leaving, then headed home as soon as possible after the race to feed him again. Yes, breastfeeding takes a bit of the social aspect of your running life away, but it can definitely fit into an intense training plan!

I hope this is helpful and please ask away in the comments or by email if you have any specific questions. I’m not an expert, but I know what has worked for me!

Grandma’s Marathon 2014 Recap

I ran Grandma’s Marathon on Saturday, June 21st! I was 8 months postpartum and ran 2:53:28. I was 40th female (talk about a stacked field) and am mostly happy with my race! I was about 5 minutes slower than the time I thought I would run, but I did what I could with what I was dealt on race day.

My little guy!

My little guy!

I will start by saying a few words about my training leading up to the race. I think it can be summed up by telling you about a conversation I had with my broach (brother-coach) before the final few workouts of the cycle. He said something like, “well, I’m not going to yell at you but it would be nice if you would finish a workout.” Ah, good point, broach. Looking back, I only finished 2 workouts as prescribed. The rest were either shorter or slower than the plan. I could insert a bunch of excuses here: lack of sleep, getting used to life with 2 kids, husband traveling constantly, me traveling (and driving a lot), lots of stress, breastfeeding, shall I go on? Or I can say I’m just doing the best I can every day with what life throws at me and I am proud of getting to the start line healthy! I didn’t beat myself up about missing workouts, completely throwing in the towel some days or running less mileage than planned. (I did have a 5 minute sob-fest in my basement when my back/hip started bothering me, but I got over it quickly.) I ended up running an average of 47.25 miles/week this training cycle.


I went into taper feeling like I didn’t need a taper. It felt more like I was just gaining momentum and I should be starting a training cycle, not finishing one. Even without perfect training, I was (and still am) sure I could run sub 2:50.

Here’s the RUNdown of race weekend:

I arrived in Duluth about 1.5 hours later than scheduled on Thursday night (for Saturday morning race) thanks to flight delays. I got to the hotel and ran into a few awesome runners I know then headed out to get some food. I took a nice soak in the tub, read a bit and went to bed. Boy, did I miss my kids but it felt heavenly to sleep for 8.5 hours straight! Ok, I still woke up 4 times because that’s the schedule Wells has me on, but I fell right back asleep each time and woke feeling rested!

On Friday I did a nice little shakeout of maybe 3.7ish miles with my super stud buds (and both 2016 OTQs) Heidi and Aubrey. Heidi ended up running a 1:17 and Aubrey ran a 1:13 half this weekend! Rocked it! We went to the expo, met another Oiselle teammate (Kristine) had some lunch and went back to the hotel to chill.

Kristine, Heidi, me, Aubrey!

Kristine, Heidi, me, Aubrey!

That night I joined Aubrey and Melissa for the pasta dinner located at the race expo. On the way out we quickly cheered for the 5k, then retired to our rooms for the night.

Aubrey, me, Melissa!

Aubrey, me, Melissa!

I woke on race morning feeling rested! No kids, no roommate, and a good 10 hours of total silence was just what I needed. I probably slept 8.5 hours straight for the second night in a row! My alarm went off 3 hours before race start and I devoured my 2 Smooth Caffeinator Picky Bars, half a cup of hotel coffee, 20oz water, plus 16 oz of water mixed with Lemonade Generation UCAN. I went to catch the bus to the start line (it’s a point to point course) and found my friend Heather who I know from my Rochester running days. We chatted the whole bus ride as I sipped on another coffee.

Pre-race hotel selfie!

Pre-race hotel selfie!

It was a foggy morning with misty rain and around 50 degrees at the start. I did about 1/2 mile warmup, broken up with a bathroom break and we got to chat with one of my running heroes, Carrie Tollefson! I took a Vanilla GU around 15 minutes before the race start, did a few dynamic stretches and the race was off!

Pre-race with Kristine and Heather!

Pre-race with Kristine (who had a PR and broke 3 hours!) and Heather (who had a tough day and still ran 2:49!)!

Miles 1-10

In the first mile I spotted a girl decked out in Oiselle and running with another girl and I tucked in behind them. It turns out the ladies were twin sisters, running their 2nd and 4th marathons, but first time racing together. (They finished in 2:48, together! How cool! Great job Lucinda and Claudin!) We ended up talking a good portion of the first 20 miles.

The first 10 miles went exactly as planned as far as pace was concerned. I was running 6:20-6:30 for each mile and feeling good. Well, feeling good except I had a crazy side ache along my left ribcage that I just couldn’t shake. I tried different types of breathing, pushing on it, trying to ignore it, drinking water, nothing was helping. I took an espresso GU around mile 7. The side ache was nagging, but I could still run through it. I took a few sips of water at every water stop and one sip of powerade.

Miles 11-20

I was happy to feel so strong and have ladies to run with. We had a little pack of 4 women and a few guys and we were just chatting every so often and clicking through the miles. I took a vanilla GU around mile 14. Around 15, I felt some rumbles in my stomach and was immediately taken back to Cleveland Marathon 2011, when I had stomach issues that had me stopped on the side of the road, pooping my guts out at mile 16, not able to replenish all I lost, and finishing much slower than expected. I told myself I would be fine and wouldn’t be stopping to use the restroom. I would make it to the finish without stopping! I was still taking a few sips of water at each water stop.

Unfortunately, my stomach was getting angrier and angrier with each passing mile. By 20.4, there was no choice. I had to stop, or finish with a load in my pants. Seriously, let’s just say it was on its way out, and I was freaking out. No porta potty in sight! Gotta find one this time! (At Cleveland in 2011, I dropped my pants right on the side of the road, and have told the story to many runners friends. Most people responded “find a restroom next time!”) I drastically slowed, and finally, at 20.92 according to Garmin, I found one! I was in the restroom for about 2.5 minutes, trying to calm my stomach. It was squeezing and churning out of control but I knew I had to get back out on the course. At the time I didn’t know how much time I lost (checked Garmin later), I just knew I wanted to get passing a lot of the women who went by while I was in the restroom.

Miles 21-26.2

I didn’t feel great when I started back up. It’s hard for me to gain momentum when I’ve stopped very suddenly, especially since I was stationary for a few minutes, and my stomach still wasn’t feeling right. My next mile was about 6:50 and then my Garmin went dead. I was hoping my Garmin would motivate me and get me back on track, but now that plan wasn’t going to work. I think I was passed by the most people during mile 22. I was feeling rough, I had no idea how much time I’d lost and I was a little defeated for a moment. I had 2 more GUs with me but was afraid to take in any more fuel or hydration.

Luckily, I remembered some positive self talk! I told myself “you are strong, you are courageous, have faith”. I remembered my Erica Sara Designs “run” and “one mile at a time” charms and just told myself to make it to the next mile. I realized I wasn’t being passed by any ladies and in fact, even though I felt like a snail, I was passing a few!

At mile 23, some little kid made a comment about my belly button looking strange. He was yelling it to his parents and I was reminded of my umbilical hernia. I took a moment to feel weak. Then I squashed that thought and told myself I’m actually really strong!

Shortly after that, I was thrilled to hear a group of young, cute guys yell “number 51! (My number) you are beautiful!” I assumed I was looking pretty haggard so this comment immediately lifted my spirits. Then I saw the PITCHERS of beer they were all individually holding, 2/3 of the way empty, and thought “argh, beer goggles!” Either way, it gave me something to think about.

By mile 24 my stomach was calmed down and I just wanted to be done. The crowds picked up at that point and I was getting back on pace. At mile 25, I heard and saw some running friends cheering and I gave them a big smile and realized I only had a mile left! I started picking people off there and didn’t get passed by anyone that last mile. I passed 5-6 women and a few guys and wished I picked up the pace earlier!

Thank you, Kristine, for this photo!

Thank you, Kristine, for this photo from the finish!

I was pretty happy when I crossed the finish line. I didn’t give up and I stayed mentally strong. My time was about 5 minutes slower than I expected, but I now know half of that time was spent in the restroom and at least another minute was spent trying to feel normal again after abruptly stopping.

I’m taking this week off, but already getting excited about my next training cycle. I’m considering a handful of fall marathon options right now and once I plan that I will start to fill in some other races.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement!



Running a Spring Marathon!

I guess with all the running, recovering, and new mom-ing, I never really told anyone – I’M RUNNING A MARATHON! Yes, I’m running Grandma’s Marathon on June 21st, less than 3 weeks from now. Wells will be 8 months old! (I did my first postpartum marathon after having Currie when she was 8 months old as well!)

First postpartum marathon after having my first baby!

First postpartum marathon after having my first baby!

I didn’t originally plan to run a marathon this spring (I guess summer officially starts on my race day, but I’m still calling it a spring marathon). When I was pregnant with Wells, I decided to “get fast” and race a bunch of shorter races AND half marathons, ending with a goal race of the US Half Marathon Championships which I assumed would once again be in Duluth in June during Grandma’s Marathon weekend. Then I gave birth to my sweet little guy and quickly learned the US Half Championships were in January in Houston and I wouldn’t be ready to race a great half just 3 months postpartum (especially when I took the first month postpartum completely off from running). All of a sudden, I had no goal race.

Life brought races my way. I ran a 5 mile Turkey Trot when Wells was 2 months old and beat my time goal. I raced a local 5 miler with a big hill at the end a few months later and did ok. I did a local 10 mile race and jogged another 5 to complete my first 15 miles postpartum. I did a last-minute 4 mile race near my hometown after forgetting my sportsbra and having no racing flats. I ran the Gate River Run 15k in Florida and had an awesome time with my friends, HollyAllison D and Allison K! The “Allisons” planted the seed for Grandma’s Marathon. We all decided that same weekend we would run the marathon together. IT WOULD BE FUN! It would be fast! Girls weekend! YES! Just like that, I was committed to running a full marathon this spring and in the same city and same weekend I originally planned for my goal race! (Since then, a few things came up and my buddies aren’t able to race the full, but we are still making it a girls weekend and they plan to race the half!)

Allison K, me, Allison D, and Holly post Gate River Run!

Allison K, Allison D, me and Holly post Gate River Run!

Next, I raced back-to-back half marathons - Glass City and Pittsburgh. I ran both half marathons in 1:19:24 and was very pleased with those times.

I took training really easy the week between my back-to-back half marathon weekends (strides after an easy run and one workout which included just 12 minutes “hard” but slower than half marathon pace). I took 3 days very short and easy after the 2nd half. I was being smart… as far as training was concerned. But other parts of my life were messy and hindering my recovery. I was eating poorly. I wasn’t sleeping more than 4 broken hours of sleep a night because Wells started teething and both of my kids had horrible colds. I was hosting a few gatherings at our place. I was pretty stressed out in general. The next thing I knew, I tried to do my first workout post half marathon weekends and my hip said “no way!!” I ended up taking the next 2 weeks running short and easy. I missed 4 workouts and a long run. I missed about about 60 miles of running on my training schedule. Thankfully, I’m also smart enough to shut things down at the first sign of “injury” because pushing through won’t get me to the starting line! I was just under 7 weeks out from Grandma’s Marathon when the hip pain started. I knew 2 weeks of missed training wasn’t ideal at that point, but it would be ok.

I did a lot of stretching. I did yoga. I made an appointment for Active Release Technique (ART). I got a little more sleep (hard with a teething, sick baby, but I did what I could).

I had run one 18 mile long run, one 16 mile long run and a few 15 mile long runs at the point when I had my hip flare up. More than missing my workouts, I was worried about missing the mileage and the long runs. Thankfully, by 5 weeks out from Grandma’s Marathon, my hip was feeling 100% better and I was able to do my first 20 mile long run. The following weekend, I did another. I wanted to quit from the first mile, but I finished the solo 20 miles with some positive self-talk! The next weekend (this past weekend!) I did 22 miles. And that’s the longest run I’ll do as my long run taper has begun!

GPS watch comparison after the mentally tough and hot 20 mile run.

GPS watch comparison after the mentally tough and hot 20 mile run.

This training cycle has been very positive overall. I’ve had a lot of success, and just as many days where I wanted to quit. But like I said in a post a few months ago, every time I want to quit, but continue on, something wonderful happens. So here’s to the wonderful, hopefully happening on June 21st at Grandma’s Marathon!

Thanks for following along on my journey!