Oh yeah, I have a running blog

So, it has been forever since I wrote and a lot of things have happened. Last year, after seven years at the same job, I switched. Then that didn’t work out, and I switched again in December. I went from years of working 7-3 to 8:30-5 and it wrecked havoc with my training. By the time I got home, it was dark and I had zero motivation to run. I was basically a lump through the spring training season and I just wasn’t into it. 7 months (and 10 pounds, ugh) later, I feel like I’m finally getting my groove back.

The fall training season for my running group, Tri-State Running Company began a couple weeks ago and I’m training with the full run/walk group. I’ve also made a plan to do cross training with PEAK twice a week and get back into my yoga practice. I actually wrote out a schedule on paper and hung it in my office. I’ve found that getting up early and working out before work is best for me. That way, it’s done and I have tons of energy for the work day. My fall race is the Stone Steps 27K. I know it will be hard but I when I doubt myself, I like to think of this quote:

 

“Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just start.” — Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Race Recaps: Aruna Run and Smoky Mountain Half Marathon

As I explained in one of my earlier posts, I went a little nuts and signed up for a ton of races this fall. I did one of the first of those, the Aruna Run, on September 3, Labor Day. I heard about the race from my friend Rae. The race benefits The Aruna Project, which is a non-profit that helps survivors of sex trafficking. When you register, you pick the name of a survivor and that is who you run for. My run was for Ayesha. It’s a great cause and the race was a new one to me. It was a hot one! The race had a five-mile and three-mile option. By mile one, we were wishing we had signed up for the three mile option instead! But while it was a challenging run, I had a great time running with my friends and knowing that I we were supporting such a worthy cause. There was a nice party afterward where you could buy bags and headbands made by women who had been helped by the organization.

 

After the Aruna Run, my next race was the Black Bear Double, which consisted of the Smoky Mountain 5k on Friday, September 7, and then the Half Marathon on Saturday, September 8. Brent and I headed down to Gatlinburg on Thursday, so we had some time to hike in the park and explore Cades Cove before the races (and drink some moonshine!) The 5k was Friday evening and again, it was a hot one. The course went down a paved path, then around a field and back again. It was fairly flat but running through the field in the heat was rough. The next day was the half marathon. Both races took place in Townsend, about a 45 minute drive from where we were staying in Gatlinburg. The 5k started and ended at a hotel called the Tally Ho in in Townsend. For the half marathon, you parked there in the morning, and were bused to the start. Since we had to drive into Townsend, we got up at the crack of dawn! The race itself was beautiful! You could see the mountains in the distance and there was a long stretch where you ran by the riverside lined with cozy cabins. It was hard running all by myself but I just listened to my music and took in the scenery. I felt strong and when the race ended I actually felt like I could have run a few more miles. Brent got 2nd place in his age group and I was so proud of him! Overall, I really enjoyed this race and would definitely run it again. It was a gorgeous course and really well organized. It started right on time and I liked that I was a cupless race. (They gave you the option to get a hydration flask when you registered.) It was nice not having to dodge a pile of cups on the ground at the water stops!

Cheetah Run Recap

Last Sunday,  I ran the Cheetah Run 5k at the Cincinnati Zoo. I have a soft spot for this race, since it was the first 5k I ever ran. Plus, it usually happens around my birthday, so I like to do it every year.

My husband Brent and I were registered, and once we got there, we ran into some other runners from our TSRC training group. I was especially lucky since my coach, Erin, and her sister Shannah were there. The race ended up being delayed a half hour because a woman had a nosebleed that started hemorrhaging and they had to clear the path to take her out in an ambulance! The late start seemed to throw everyone off, and by the time it started it was getting hot.

For a 5k, this is a tough one. You don’t realize how hilly the Zoo is until you run through it. The course starts in the Parking lot by the Safari area and goes through the Zoo, out onto the neighborhood streets, and then back through the Zoo to the starting point. There is one particular street (I should know the name but I don’t) that is super hilly. When you turn the corner, you hear people start cursing! It cracks me up every time.

After the race, we walked around the Zoo. We didn’t stay long but we saw the big cats, gorillas, and my favorite,  snakes and turtles (my spirit animal!) All in all, it was a great race, and I hope to do it again next year.

 

IMG_3812
Actual footage of me in action at the Cheetah Run.
IMG_3813
This danger noodle struck a perfect pose for me!

Race Crazy!

Fall training is almost half over and I’ve finally found time to write!

After the Pig, I was really burnt out. I’m glad I did it, and overall it was a good experience, but by the end of the training, it just felt like a chore, and not something I actually looked forward to.  Once Fall Training started, I decided to sign up for a few fun runs to try to get myself motivated again. Of course, like I tend to do with everything, I went a little overboard. Yesterday, I finally sat down with a list and mapped out all my upcoming races. Here’s what I’ve gotten myself into!

August 26-Cheetah Run-This was the first 5k I ever ran, back when that seemed like an impossible distance. It usually happens around my birthday, so I like to run it every year.

September 3-Aruna Run 5-miler-I heard about this run from my friend Rae, and it seemed like such a great cause. Plus, running a 5 mile race is a nice change of pace.

September-7 & 8-Black Bear Double-(Smoky Mtn 5k and ½ marathon)-when I was growing up, my family did not have a lot of money, so we rarely went on vacations. But when we did, it was always to Gatlinburg. My parents went there on their Honeymoon in the 70s and it’s always been a favorite of my family. This race will be a tough one, since I’ll be running basically by myself, but I’m looking forward to it. The Donut Friar is waiting for me!

September 22-Hudy 14k-I haven’t done this race for a couple of years but I won’t make the mistake I made last time. 2 beers and a coney does not a breakfast make!

Seprember 29 -Moonbow 10K-This one was a last-minute decision. Brent is signed up for the 50k. I decided to tag along but by that time the 10k was full and there was a waiting list. To my surprise, I ended up getting a spot. I’m definitely going to need to hit the trails for a training run or two before this one!

October 6 -CliftonFest 5k-My work friend Elizabeth is on the planning committee for CliftonFest. I love Festivals (I think that comes from growing up Catholic) so I thought this one would be fun. Plus, with it starting a 9 on a Saturday, I’ll actually get to sleep in a little!

October 13-Queen Bee 4-miler and Running Scared 5k-Two races in one day! I thought about doing the Queen Bee ½ but decided to play it safe and just do the 4-miler and then stay to cheer on my buddies doing the half. My other race that day, Running Scared is one of my faves! Halloween is my favorite Holiday and this race is so much fun! It’s in Reading, and there is a big post-race party in the Community Rec Center with an amazing spread. They have pizza, quesadillas, chicken fingers, homemade chili and more! There’s a band and tons of people from the community come out for the party. If you are a Parks and Rec fan, it totally reminds me of something they’d have in Pawnee.

October 20-Urban Bourbon Half-I wasn’t planning on doing another ½ after the Smoky Mountain Run, but I let my friend Rae talk me into this one. (She didn’t have to try very hard!)

October 27-Great Pumpkin Run-Another Halloween Race! Hopefully it won’t be as muddy as last year!

 

The Pig

So, I did it! All 26.2 miles.

It’s taken me over two weeks to actually sit down and write about it. It was hard. It was hot, and honestly, thinking back on it, it’s almost a blur. I ran most of it with my running group friends Kat, Peggy, Debbie and Mary Jane.  About halfway through we switched from doing 2:1 intervals (running two minutes, then walking one) to 1:1s and that really helped. The heat was awful though. Thankfully, there were a couple stops where there were wet towels which were a godsend. As we got toward the end, our group started to splinter, and I ending up doing most of the last two miles on my own. Those were these longest two miles of my life!

After the race, Brent and I went to the movies to see “Infinity War.” It was nice to relax in the recliner at the theater, but when I had to get up, my legs were not happy.

So what’s next for me? I definitely don’t see myself doing a marathon again. I’m glad I did it-that I proved to myself that I could. I had a great group to run with. Hanging out with them was so much fun, and I’ve looking forward to running with them again when fall training starts. I’ve been totally lazy since the race-resting my knee. In the fall, I’m signed up to do the Smoky Mountain Half and the Urban Bourbon half in Louisville. Now I’m easing myself back into running and I’m concentrating on cross training. I’m getting back out on my bike again, doing yoga, and next week, I plan to get back to attending classes at Empower.  But for now, I’m just lazing on the couch, watching the cats play!

Piggie

The joy of tapering, and one week till the Pig!

Well, it’s almost here! A week from now, I’ll be running the Flying Pig Marathon for the very first time.  The training was both harder, and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. At this point, I still think I’m one and done on full marathons. As much as I’ve enjoyed it, at times it felt almost like having a part-time job, with all the training runs. But then again, in this last week or so, as we’ve started to taper, I remember why I liked running in the first place. The weather has been great, and I’ve had so much fun on the last couple runs. Today, a group of us got together to run at Spring Grove Cemetery. It was colder than we thought, and we got lost, but we had so much fun and laughed so much! That’s why I do this, and even thought I know it will be hard, and even painful, I hope we have as much fun next Sunday.

 

20 miles down

20 miles

So, it’s been ages since I’ve written anything.  When I started this, I intended to chronicle the training for my first marathon. But life got in the way.

In late January, I left my job of seven years for a new one, and ended up getting the flu the very first week. It’s hard enough to make that type of a change to begin with, much less when you’re not feeling well. I recovered, but the cough lingered for weeks. Eventually, I started settling in at work, and now I really enjoy it. But those first few weeks I didn’t have any extra energy for anything, not even writing.

I also started to have doubts about whether or not I’d actually be able to finish the marathon. I was almost afraid to write about it, for fear that I’d then have to come back and write about how I didn’t make it. The last couple weeks have changed that. Last week we did an 18 mile run in the snow. And I mean, with snow and ice hitting us in the face. It was miserable, and I could never have gotten through it without my Tri-State Running family, especially my running bud, Beth, who lent me her gloves when my hands were freezing and I was about to hit the wall. It was rough, but we did it.

Yesterday, we did 20 miles. It started out chilly and foggy, but ended up being a really nice day. I noticed as the miles ticked by, that I felt good, and it didn’t seem that far. My knee gave me a little trouble on a downhill, but I walked 3 miles today and it’s feeling better. So, yeah, I finally believe I can really make it through those 26.2 miles.  We’ve got 5 weeks to go, and I’m ready. Let’s do this!