Tag Archives: Running

Stuff I Did to PR

All this marathon talk isn’t over. I have another one at the end of the month that I was way more jazzed about when I registered for it than I am now. So get ready for some more bitching, particularly about my shoulder because that issue hasn’t gone away. *cries*

With any big race or PR, I like to reflect on what I did differently during training so I have something to look back on. First, let me say that I know everyone trains differently. I read Michelle’s post on what she did to PR and thought, “no way that would work for me” but it worked for her and she got a massive PR. So I realize this is mostly for my benefit. Selfish post comin’ at cha.

Here’s what I did for an almost six minute PR:

I ran three days a week.

I ran three days a week for my last marathon too (one easy, one speed, one long) and it’s about all I can take. I barely have time to do my laundry much less increase my running so I kept it at three days. I also cut my Crossfit from three days to two days a week. One thing I will never do is completely cut strength training. I am a firm believer that is helps prevent injury.

I cut my training time.

Last time around, I trained for five months and was burned out six weeks before the marathon. This time, I trained for three months and started with a 10 mile base. I enjoyed my long runs so much more. I also ran two 20+ milers instead of three. I was worried it wasn’t enough at first, but it definitely was.

I walked every mile during long runs.

It’s nasty hot in Orlando. If I don’t walk, I’m not getting through a long run. So I walked between .10-.25 of every mile. The time on your feet is what’s important so I tried to kept that in mind when I saw how much those walks killed my pace. Some people have a hard time with the stop and go but I find that it gives me more energy.

I skipped runs and that was ok.

I missed a bunch of weekday runs and one or two long runs. Almost all of those were because of social plans. I used to stress out about skipping runs but this time around, I enjoyed the occasional break.

I kept up with speed training.

If I missed a weekday run, I made sure it was my easy run. I always tried to get speed work in. The first time around, I followed my running group’s speed work schedule. It was a lot of “2 x 4 x 400” or “2 x 1200 x 800 x 600 x 400” type runs which I think did absolutely nothing for me. This year, my speed runs were the same every time. I ran one slower warm-up mile and then 2-4 speed miles at the fastest pace I could without needing to stop, usually between 8:45 – 9:10 depending on how I was feeling. Consistent speed works much better for me.

That’s about it. Nothing really crazy in there. Of course, I also had that giant knot in my calf (must start stretching) that I got rid of with sports massages. I’m hoping my shoulder can make it through this next race because another 26 miles of that pain is not something I want to go through again. This next marathon should be interesting.

What’s your favorite PR strategy? How do I go about detaching my shoulder for this next race? Isn’t that selfish panda the cutest thing ever?

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Inaugural Lake Nona Half Marathon

I ran a half marathon today.

I registered for this race maybe six months ago and was going to use it as my first training run after Chicago. Seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, only I don’t really use races as training runs – I run them faster – and who knows how I was going to feel after Chicago. So in retrospect, not my best laid plan.

A lot of friends were running this race too and I love running with friends, so it wasn’t all bad.

Next to Michelle is one of our friends/co-workers, Keith, and to the right of him is Tyler. Tyler picked Michelle up at Best Damn Race and they’ve been running soul mates ever since.

The race took place in Lake Nona, which is about a half hour South of Orlando. Lake Nona is a cute little town and I’m sure there’s got to be a lake in it somewhere, but I didn’t see it. The race took place on a pretty, long, out and back road. It wasn’t scenic but it gets pretty points for having well maintained shrubbery in the median.

The race started at 6:00am. I don’t think I’ve ever run a race that started that early but I liked it because the first six or seven miles were in the dark. Plus, the weather was a perfect 61 degrees. This is the time of year when I don’t want to kick Florida in the junk. I will not miss you summer.

The race went a lot like Chicago: my legs felt great; I didn’t feel the need to walk; my shoulder started to hurt at mile 2; and the top of my left foot hurt. That foot thing I didn’t mention in the Chicago recap because I noticed it after the race, but it’s still hanging around. Maybe my shoes were laced too tight? I also had to poop from mile 6 on. (Didn’t think you’d get away from poop talk, did you?) I thought about stopping at a port-o-potty but then just decided to power through it. I got my first negative split ever because of it!

Poop makes you run faster. My colon just keeps on giving.

Those aren’t the prettiest of negative splits, but it’s the closest I’ll ever come to them. My Garmin crapped out in the first mile and I didn’t notice it until almost a mile in, so that’s why the mileage is off. My goal was to finish the race in under 2:15 (my Chicago half time) and I came in with 2:08:36, so I’m really happy with that.

After the race, we all hung out for a few hours and chatted and waited for Keith’s wife to finish.

Tyler got third in his age group with a PR, Keith PRed, and Katy hasn’t run more than 4 miles since August and still ran a sub-2:00. Let’s hate her together.

Overall, I had a great time. The race was well done and my only complaint is that there was no toilet paper in the port-o-potties after the race. I know, because I checked them all. Some nice lady gave me two of her Kleenex. I shall forever be grateful to the Kleenex lady.

I really enjoyed the race. It’s a great course for a PR, so I might be back to run this one again next year.



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October 12, Get Here Already

I’ve been meaning to talk about running more than I have been but [insert excuse here]. It’s four weeks until Chicago. Or less. I don’t even know anymore. Basically, it’s gotten to that point where I’ve gone from supercrazyexcited to uncomfortably nervous.

Shameless Hannibal plug right there. Someone start watching that show so we can talk. That’s Hugh Dancy if you didn’t know and he is so ahh-maze-ing. He makes everyone else who has played the Will Graham character look like amateurs.

Anyway, running. I’ve been really good at finding excuses to skip my Tuesday runs, which I’m sure is doing wonders for my overall training. While I am so over training, I still feel like I might be running too few miles but I’m not motivated enough to change that. My long runs have been going ok, but they’re slow. I know that’s normal, I know I’m running on the face of the sun down here, and I walk at least .10 of every mile which all factors into my pace, but seeing my pace at the end of a run still hurts my ego a little.

This past weekend, Brad and I hit our peak 22 mile long run which I ran with a cold, thankyouverymuch.

Even sick, it was still better than our first 12 and 14 milers, which was surprising. The “highlights” – Having Fools Gold by Fitz and the Tantrums in my head for 10 straight miles (I was not amused) and Brad describing a whole horror movie plot he made up involving runners who are systematically killed off. That was a fun story at four in the morning in the pitch black next to the woods.

Also making me nervous is the thought of 1.8 million spectators at the race. ONE.POINT.EIGHT.MILLION. I don’t even know how that number is possible. Spectators stress me out with their cheering and their happiness and their motivation. It’s the worst when all you need to do is walk but there’s a group of cheering people making you feel like an ass for it.

I’m trying to decide whether or not to wear my Camelbak during the race. I’ve run one marathon with it and one without. I wear it during all my long runs and fill it with a mixture of half water/half Powerade Zero but it’s empty around mile 18 and becomes this annoyance because it no longer serves a purpose. I thought about carrying a water bottle with my half/half mixture (I can’t drink the regular Gatorade on the course) but this past weekend I found that I kinda like the Hammer Perpetuem powder for running nutrition.


That’s a problem because you mix it with water, which is something else I’d need to carry. It tastes like licking an old chalkboard but I prefer drinking to chewing. Chewing during runs makes me nauseated. If I want both drinks, I would need to carry a water bottle while wearing a Camelbak, which is a lot of weight and super annoying. Plus, I hate having anything in my hands while running.

My other option is no Camelbak, holding a water bottle, stuffing a bunch of PB&Js in my sports bra, and not using the Perpetuem. I don’t love that idea either. You know me, I’m never happy. What I need is for volunteers to be at specific miles of the race to hand me things exactly when I need them so I can be the snobby running princess I’m meant to be.


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Marathon Training in July

So, marathon training. That’s still happening. I’ve been meaning to update more regularly but I’m always so busy with something else, like watching four seasons of Archer and live-tweeting Sharknado 2.


Seriously. Did anyone watch that? It was all I dreamed it could be and more.

Anyway, things have been going pretty well on the running front, all things considered. My calf issue was over until it wasn’t. On my 14-miler a few weeks ago, I jumped a curb and felt a little twinge again. The pain wasn’t terrible and I didn’t need to stop but it also didn’t feel good. So, I pushed August’s calf raking to last week and things seem to be back to normal. I also had the massage therapist work on my shoulder because that pain has been back since I started wearing my CamelBak again. Whoever said running is free can kiss my ass because this crap is expensive. That massage was $25 short of a new pair of running shoes. Luckily, I just don’t know what to do with it all.


The only thing that makes me feel better about dropping money I don’t have is that the massage was good. Really good. And so, so helpful. Usually I go to massage therapists and think hub’s massages are 10x better. This guy is worth it, so I guess I don’t feel like it was wasted.

I also did a Crossfit workout a couple weeks ago, on a Monday, that made me crazy sore all week long. In case you’re looking for a workout that will make you think twice about wanting to stand up or sit down or stand idlely.

4 rounds:

  • 400m on the rower
  • 50 squats with the bar (45lbs)
  • 25 forward lunges
  • 25 backward lunges
  • 25 stiff-leg dead lifts with the bar (45lbs)

I swear my trainer told me he was going “lighter” before he gave me this workout since we weren’t using any significant weight. I could barely move for two days and I was still sore by my run on Saturday. I think my trainer feels bad because I’ve been getting some easier workouts since that one which I have been more than okay with.

Last weekend was supposed to be a 16-miler but Brad wasn’t able to run. I suppose I could have run on my own but I’m not that motivated so I slept in. I didn’t even know what to do with my Friday night.


Oh, right. Yes I did.

We changed our 16-miler to this weekend and next weekend’s 10-miler is now 18 so we won’t have a drop in mileage for a few weeks. High mileage = 3am wake-ups to beat the sun because we usually walk a mile or more of all our long runs. #noshame

Since I’m not on Daily Mile anymore, I’m tracking my shoe mileage on a note app on my phone. That’s working pretty well.

Yes, I’m a spoiled brat with three pairs of running shoes. I’m hoping I won’t need to buy new ones until after this running season because I hate changing shoes in the middle of training.

This time around, I’m also tracking all my runs and paces with a calendar to check my improvement over the months and to be able to look back and do it again if I kill this race. (The c’s are crossfit days.)

That’s assuming I’ll run another marathon after this year which is unlikely because…

I skipped a few runs because of calf pain and unexpected schedule changes. I used to beat myself up over missing runs and now I couldn’t care less. I’m following my plan about 85% and I think it’s making training way more enjoyable this time around.


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A Decent Run and a Good Cause

I mentioned that marathon training started last weekend. I met up for my first long run with my training bud, Brad, on Saturday. I guess the run went ok for my first 10-miler in three months. My shoulder was hurting again (it’s been a year since that’s bothered me), my calf ached for miles 5-10 because of all the uneven pavement and brick, it was face-of-the-sun hot, and the humidity made breathing suck but, I didn’t wish for actual death so I’m going to consider that one a win.

Since my calf is still the bain of my existence, my Crossfit trainer recommended a massage guy to me that “rakes” calves. I don’t know what “raking” calves means and I’m scared to look it up. Raking anything sounds terrible.

I finally made an appointment, which I’ve put off for a month because I know it’s going to hurt and I’m a big baby. Why can’t problems just disappear if you ignore them? I would rather get a pap smear if that tells you how much I don’t want this “massage” but I would also rather not limp the marathon. So, I sucked it up. I’m tempted to live tweet the massage so we can see what new swear words I invent.

You probably know by now that I’m running Chicago in support of the American Heart Association. Well, I’m also supporting another charity event – the Taste of the Nation Orlando – which raises money for the Share our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger. This is the same event that Michelle and I supported last year.

Back in the days of long hair and new boobs. This year I’ll support them with short hair and old boobs.

This is also the event in which I ate and drank my face off and posed with food.


Ok, that’s all events but this one has all sorts of different food and drinks from awesome restaurants in the Orlando area. Plus, everything that is left over is donated so nothing is wasted.

Taste of the Nation Orlando is running its final discount code. So if you’re in the Orlando area, you’d like to support a great cause, and want to test the limits of your stomach and liver with me, you can get $10 off your ticket through the 11th. (Buy tickets with this link.)


The deets:

Saturday, August 9, 2014
6:45 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Orlando World Center Marriott
8701 World Center Dr., Orlando

Now, who knows what raking calves is and what am I in for?


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I'm Sorry Sugar

I have been super busy lately. Busy watching TV and neglecting social obligations! (High five?) Well, neglecting this blog for sure. It even went down for a few days when my web host’s server was hacked. But no one noticed – including myself until well into day 2.  Anyway, it’s back up so I can tell you the important things like how I finished season 2 of Orange is the New Black. Hubs made me stay up until 2am on a school night just to watch the last three episodes. If there’s anything I love more than TV, it’s sleep. So trust me when I say that was not my choice.


And because animals falling asleep are adorable.

I need a duck and a meercat.

I loved season 2 as much as season 1 but I think it took 3-4 episodes to get going. Those first episodes didn’t have any direction, which really bothered me, because my entertainment bar is set too high apparently.

Then I finished season 2 of Orphan Black. On demand is a beautiful thing. I didn’t really care for the finale, but then again I didn’t really care for the season 1 finale either. It’s still a great show and you should watch it so we can talk about it.

Now I’m moving on to season 8 of Weeds. Where have I been that I didn’t know Weeds ended two years ago?

After Weeds, I will be out of shows to watch so I’ll either need to find something new or do something with my life.

Last weekend, hubs threw a pool party at the house for his work peeps because he’s an appreciative guy like that. He set up the whole thing, cleaned the house for weeks, picked up some BBQ catering, and spent the whole party making frozen pina coladas and margaritas for everyone. I did nothing. Ok, I helped in the only department in which I am useful – booze and desserts. I made this s’mores dessert.


It was delicious and just so bad for you. You could feel a future heart attack with every bite. I did use fat free Cool Whip, so I guess it was kinda healthy. Plus, Cool Whip is basically dairy and dairy has protein, which is good for you. Logic.

I also made these “swimming pool” blue-raspberry Jell-O shots with coconut vodka.


I know. Adorable. But it doesn’t end there. I also made these giant “beach” Jell-O shots.


I’m quite the hostess. It’s true.

The sweets kept on coming as people arrived. My friend, Jamie, made boozy pudding pops with Kahlua that were pretty amazing and these roasted s’mores shots. I repeat, roasted. s’mores. shots.


Basically I ate sugar all day long. I’m not proud. Well, I kinda am proud because it was impressive, but no. It was bad news. It made me reasses my eating habits because the party was not a one-time thing. I eat a lot of crap. So after the party, I decided to quit sugar.

I know.

I know.

Sugar is the the reason I exist so don’t think I’m happy about it. It’s only been 8 days and I want to make it to 30, which is like a year in Paula time. So we’ll see. I’ll write more on my complete misery without sugar in a week or so. The good news is my work twin, Cheyanne, quit sugar with me so it makes my heart happy to know she is miserable too.


I’m definitely drunk there.

Oh and lastly, marathon training officially started Saturday with a hot 10-miler and an early wake-up. I will miss my sleep-ins and leisurely runs at the gym while watching bad TBS movies. Now that training started, I’ll be updating my FB page a little more than usual with running bitching updates since the blogging thing seems to happen once a week these days.




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Four More Sleeps

I reached my fundraising goal, guys.


I have the feels. All of them. Relief that I made my goal when I wasn’t so sure I could going into the fundraising thing for the first time. Happiness that I might be helping someone out in need. Gratitude that so many people in my life were willing to give. ALL THE FEELS. There is no way I’ll run this race without crying. I can already tell I’m going to be a hot mess. So thank you all who donated again. I swear I’ll stop thanking you at some point. Maybe. Probably not.

It’s almost June so that means I have exactly four Saturdays left to sleep in until marathon training starts.


I’m trying my hardest to make them count by drinking as much as possible so I’m unable to get out of bed. It’s the little goals.

I’m actually looking forward to training this time around. I say this having not run in humidity in a year, so plan on that perspective changing.  My runs lately have been short and all sorts of crappy because I have this giant knot in my left calf that hurts like a bitch. I told my trainer about it (I thought it was a pulled muscle) and he worked it out as best he could while dealing with all my squirming and complaining.


I legit broke a sweat while he was “massaging” my calf. I use the term massage lightly because the next day, I had a 3-inch long bruise on my calf from his thumb. The good news is, it’s 70% better but I need it to be 100% before I start this long run business back up otherwise it’s just going to get worse. It’s getting better way too slowly for my taste so now I’m icing and stretching and foam rolling. All the things I hate.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but I’ll be doing all my training with my friend, Brad, this time around.

I met Brad in my running group a few years ago and he ran the Savannah Rock n Roll marathon (my first) with Michelle and I. We’re pace twins and we both have no problem walking if the other one is dying, so we’re a good training match. If you’re wondering why I don’t train with Michelle – it’s because she needs to do her long runs on Sunday because of her hub’s work schedule and mass quantity of children, and Saturday runs work better with my schedule. It’s not because I hate her.


Anyway, Brad and I have one goal for marathon training this year: not gaining weight. So we’ll see how that goes. I’ll try to remind myself that burgers for every meal on days I run over 10 miles isn’t a good plan.

Speaking of that goal, my work is trying to kill me with delicious food and desserts. We had a Memorial Day potluck. Who does that?


Well, I did. But besides that. (Stole that pic from Michelle.)

I’ve never worked at a place that has so many damn potlucks. My last job had one a year, at Thanksgiving. I have been at my current job for eight months and we have had EIGHT potlucks. A breast cancer awareness potluck (not kidding) and then one for Thanksgiving, Christmas, two going away potlucks, one baby shower potluck, and one team potluck. Even when I avoid them, the leftovers are in the kitchen afterwards. And don’t even suggest using “self-control” and “not eating the food in the kitchen” because that isn’t a thing in which I’m capable.

In addition to the potlucks, we have breakfast on Friday, birthday cake once a month, and random donut bringer-inners. I can’t win this fight.



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Getting Faster

It was nice pretending this was a vacation blog for awhile, but it’s time to get back to some running stuff mmkay? I’m taking some time off for the next two months before marathon training starts, so the most I’m running are three milers. Nothing really to report there. But a bunch of you asked what I did differently to PR my last three races since I’ve been so good about not PRing crap for three years. So I thought I’d share my deep, dark secrets.

Oh, and when I say a bunch of you asked, I mean one.


I didn’t follow a plan, I just changed a few things that I thought could use improvement. I all but gave up on PRs, so I didn’t really expect these things to work. In any case, here they are:

1. I ran outside more and on the treadmill less.

I know a lot of you hate the treadmill but I love it. I like AC and I like nearby toilets to poop in and I like TVs in front of my face. So as much as I hate running outside, I swapped one (sometimes two) treadmill runs a week for an outside run. Not for speed. Just for more outside running.

2. I added one tempo run a week – on the treadmill.

My speed runs were sporadic at best so I made sure I did one  a week. I ran all my tempos on the treadmill so I could keep my pace consistent. I ran one warm-up mile (always a 10:00 pace) and three miles at a faster pace (usually a 8:50). I picked a faster pace that was challenging but not so hard that I needed to walk. Some weeks it was easy and others I could barely make it though.

3. I was uncomfortable during all three races.

None of the races were easy, even at the beginning. I feel like, in order for me to PR a race, I’m going to hate the during part. I know it’s not like that for everyone. Some people feel omg amazing the entire time. Some people can’t believe they magically got so fast when they were just running the race “for fun.” That’s not me. I’m putting in a lot of effort the entire time and it sucks until I cross the finish line and see my finish time. And then it’s amazing.


I did the first two things for two months and it worked somehow. Not really crazy or complicated, which I like, so I’ll make sure to add it to my training plan for Chicago.


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Out of Retirement

You might remember my friend and former blogger, Melissa.

She lives in DC and wrote Hungry, Healthy, Happy for awhile. We met through our blogs, decided to take our online stalking relationship to real life stalking and the rest is history.

Well, Melissa just finished her first marathon and because I’m selfish and wanted to hear all about it, I asked her if she wanted to guest post. She totally fell for it. I don’t normally accept guest posts. In fact, this is my first one. Probably my last one. But I love hearing about this kind of stuff and I was thinking you might too.

So without further adieu…

Out of blogging retirement to tell you all about my marathon?!?! Yes, please! After all, the only real way to validate my achievement is to toot my own horn via the internet, amirite? 😉

So, those of you who read my little old blog back in the day may remember the following chain of events:

  1. Run a 20 minute PR in the half marathon (1:34:38) to my complete and total shock. Qualify for the NYC Marathon.
  2. Train for a different marathon (because NYC couldn’t possibly be my first <eye roll>). Become horribly, debilitatingly injured to the point that I could barely walk. Cease marathon training. Avoid the doctor because: uninsured.
  3. Rest and (sort of) heal injury. Train for NYC Marathon.
  4. NYC Marathon cancelled due to devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
  5. Be salty about NYC Marathon cancellation.
  6. Run Richmond Marathon the following weekend only to have my bastard knees soul-crushingly give out about 8 miles in. Fight through until mile 20. Hobble off the course feeling extra super sorry for myself.
  7. Continue to feel sorry for myself and not run again for 4 months.
  8. Run another (slower) half. Get injured again.
  9. Get insurance. Go to PT. Have my body beat into submission so it will work as designed.
  10. Be HEALED!

The PT really worked. I got back to running in November of last year and joined P and Michelle (among many lovely others!) for the Celebration Half Marathon in January. When I mentioned to my co-worker that I was thinking of running the DC Rock n’ Roll Half in March, he asked, “Why not the full?” I didn’t have a good answer, so I signed up. Seemed like a well-thought-out plan.

I proceeded to tell myself my goal was simply to finish–not for time, not for glory, just for the achievement of actually RUNNING A MARATHON (<–yes, that requires all caps in my world). Running a marathon is a pretty sweet accomplishment, and I wanted to be part of that club.

If you followed me in the past, you know I was militant about my training. This time? I was so un-me, it was mildly baffling. I made a training plan, but if I missed a workout, I didn’t really think about it. (It was a long, cold winter, yo.) I slowed down my runs to 9ish minute mile pace (instead of the 8 minute insanity that likely caused all my injuries) and did exactly 2 speed workouts. Not 2 speed workouts per week. Two speed workouts TOTAL.

HOWEVER–in typical Melissa fashion, I fell. A lot. Well, twice. Once on the ice just one mile in to my 18 miler. I got up and finished the run, then went to urgent care for a pretty seriously sprained right arm. It was really fun not being able to feed myself or fasten my bra for the two weeks following that. The second fall, sweet baby Roo (that would be my dog) got under my feet, and I fell on my face. Because I have no shame and needed to be coddled, I took selfies of my scraped fat lip and posted them on Instagram. The world needs to see that kind of thing. I also tore my favorite running tights and made mincemeat of my knee in that fall. I actually had to sit down and put my head between my legs because I was seeing spots and thought I might pass out. So that was super fun. Oh, and that happened just a week before marathon day. Naturally, I went out the next day and blew through 11 miles like I had something to prove. I know that if you don’t post it on Instagram, it didn’t happen, but I took a picture of my Garmin, which is almost the same. Also, running fast miles less than a week before my race might not have been the smartest move, but since when do runners do smart things?

Roo sees me taking selfies and needs to get in on it. I understand.

After serious taper crazies (I have never had so much nervous energy in my life), I woke up on race morning completely terrified but also strangely ready. I was able to meet up with Steph, an old friend from Michigan and my training partner, before the race, and seeing her calmed my nerves a tiny bit. I still felt like I was going to throw up, but felt better that a friendly face was nearby to hold my hair back.

When my corral finally set off, I was so cold/nervous that my teeth were chattering. I know–I’m not dramatic at all. But after about a half mile, I settled in and just felt excited that I was RUNNING A MARATHON.  I tried not to run too fast and reminded myself that my primary goal was to FINISH. Still, I did have a secondary goal in mind of finishing in 3:45–Chicago qualifying time–so there was a fair amount of people dodging going on. In general, though, I tried to enjoy the energy and not lose sight of the fact that we were running along the National Mall, which in itself is pretty cool.

About 6 miles in came a killer hill. I’d run it before and knew it was coming, but we’re talking at least a quarter mile of steep incline, so I basically hated my life for those three minutes. There was a ton of crowd support, though, so that ensured I wouldn’t wuss out and walk or anything. Around mile 8, I spotted a co-worker who’d come out to cheer me on, so that made me pretty happy, and shortly after that, I caught up with the 3:40 pacers. While I said my primary goal was to finish, and my secondary goal was to qualify for Chicago, my tertiary goal (I’m so annoying) was 3:40. Or–more specifically 3:38. I have no idea why I picked that number, but I wanted it. I wasn’t going to be heartbroken if I didn’t hit it, but I knew I could, and I was going to try for it.

Mike and Tim, the pace group leaders, introduced themselves and made me introduce myself to the group (Melissa, from Michigan, Project Manager, first time marathoner). Now, I have never been a particularly social runner–or person, if we’re being honest. I’m a little shy and usually feel awkward and like I’m talking too loudly and saying stupid things. But this group felt different–safer somehow. They were supportive and interesting and actually super helpful. Mike and Tim told us when to ease up on the pace, gave us tips about the course, and were generally entertaining throughout. Miles 8-20 flew by. I’m not even exaggerating. I was smiling obnoxiously the whole time.

I also saw my parents a few times and a couple other co-workers who’d come out to cheer, which was the best. I got so excited when I saw them, and it was really nice to have people there for me–I’ve never had that before, and I was surprised at how much it helped! I also pointed out to my spectators that I was “running with the fast people!!!” I am so embarrassing.

About mile 21, we headed out to a long and lonely loop around a park, and my legs started to get tired. I kept up the pace, but I started to feel a new kind of pain around my upper thighs that I’d not experienced before. This is where it got pretty mental, and I really had to talk myself through. The pacers were about 20 yards ahead of me, so I told myself to run my own race. That I knew it was going to be hard. That if I wanted to hit my goal, I was going to have to work for it. That I could slow down, make it easier, still finish in 3:45, but I wanted that 3:38, so I kept pushing.

Then, it got hilly. I was displeased. After 3 rolling hills, I figured we had to be leveling out. Nope. Another hill loomed a half mile ahead as I crested what I had hoped was the last hill, and a rather loud expletive escaped. Pretty sure I just shouted what everyone else was thinking. While the hills were probably good for my body because they forced me to change pace, they were not good for my mind, which didn’t want a challenge at that point. I wanted to be done.

But even though I was tired and even though the pacers were closer to 40 yards ahead by now, my Garmin told me I was still running in the 8:–teens, which was PLENTY fast for me. And while the last few miles should’ve felt long and endless, they weren’t. Before I knew it, I was rounding the bend to the stadium with the finish in sight. My Garmin clocked the course about a half mile long (running through a tunnel confused it), so it was just slightly infuriating when I thought I should be done, but still had a half mile to go. When I realized where the actual finish was, though, and how close I was to it, I bolted. I have never been so happy to see a finish line in my life. Evidence: last mile: 7:21. I may have been a tiny bit excited. I saw my parents as I entered the chute, too, which made me even more excited, if that’s possible. I think I yelled to them, “I RAN A MARATHON!!!!” So much cheese.


When I crossed the finish line, I was handed my medal. I saw my pace group leaders right away and went over to them to give them hugs and fall all over myself with gratitude to them for helping me through. Mike took my medal from me and put it around my neck and told me I’d earned it. I kind of got all weepy, but recovered quickly when he revealed that he was actually a Secret Service Agent. I guess that makes sense given the horrific events in Boston last year and the fact that we were in the Nation’s Capitol and all, but still. Took me right off guard. Oh, and his name wasn’t Mike, either. Heh.

Official finish: 3:38:06.

What’s next? Not sure. If I never run another marathon, I will always be happy with the one I did run. The fact that I did it is enough. Reaching my goal is the icing on the cake, and honestly, I don’t know that I can top this experience. And after several (ahem, three) false starts in the marathon distance, I’m just so freaking proud of myself that I finally finished one.


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That Time I Didn't Totally Hate Running

My work had an ugly sweater contest yesterday. I came in third!

(If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen this.)

That’s not a sweater. It’s a t-shirt. This is Florida people. Don’t go thinking we own actual sweaters around here. I had a hard time deciding between this shirt and the one that said “Merry Christmas Bitches!” Obviously, I chose the more work appropriate holiday humping shirt and it paid off handsomely. And by handsomely, I mean not at all because I didn’t get jack for third place.

I didn’t let the lack of a (deserved, if you ask me) prize get me down because my new Mizuno Wave Rider 17s came in the mail!

So pretty! So shimmery!

I went for a four mile run and the jury is still out on if I like them. The ankles are comfortable but the top of the shoe is really tight, which I’m not sure I like. They also might be a touch too narrow, but that could be in my head because the blood blister on the bottom of my pinky toe (from my last race) is aggravated by running in general.

I’m going to loosen the laces for my next run and see how it goes. I may or may not return them for the wide version. I’m a little apprehensive because I’m afraid they’ll be too wide. #neverhappy

Anyway, I’d like these shoes to work out for me. They’re light, cute, and make me feel like prancing. Also, I don’t want to go around presuming they are magical or anything but…

I’ve never had an outside run where most of my miles were in the eights. Usually I hate running outside. It almost never goes well and I’m miserable, but yesterday wasn’t so bad. Well, my face was covered by at least 40 gnats at the end, which was disgusting. I don’t want to think about how many made it in my mouth. That is probably #6 on my list of why I hate running outside. I’ll go ahead and answer the question you’re probably already thinking besides, “how could a runner hate running outside?”

Reasons I Hate Outside Running

  1. Humidity
  2. Heat
  3. Lack of available bathrooms to poop in
  4. I have to carry water or run a boring loop with water fountains
  5. I might get shot
  6. At least 40 gnats in my face

So what I’m saying is, either the shoes are powered 9:00 minute mile cheetahs or I became amazing within one week.

I’ll keep you updated on that answer.


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