Aug 20

What I Ate Wednesday

You would think that marathon training would make you hungry ALL THE TIME. But honestly after I do my pace runs on Saturday and my long runs on Sunday, I don’t eat very much for hours and hours. I just don’t have the stomach for it. I love chocolate milk after I run but not much else. During the week my hunger goes in cycles; sometimes famished and sometimes not in the mood to eat at all.

Typically when I start running miles and miles a week, the weight starts to come off effortlessly. But this time around, not so much. As a matter of fact I’ve gained a few pounds. So, natuarally my first instinct is to start tracking my calories closely. Not just the calories, but also the breakdown of calories. It’s always hard to wrap my mind around the following concept, but the truth may be that I’m not eating enough for my current activity level. The dietitian told me this last training cycle and I responded by upping my caloric intake by 400 calories. And, it worked.

I’m no sure if I’m doing so good packing on the calories, but I’m working on it. Here were my meals yesterday:

Pre-run meal: black coffee and a Health Warrior Banana Nut Chia Bar

IMG_0612Post Run: Mara Natha Almond butter and banana sandwich with a huge water (one of my favorite things I ate this week)

IMG_0637Morning snack: no day would be complete without my almonds (1/2 cup)

IMG_0638Lunch: Spinach salad with chick peas, 1/2 hard boiled egg and tuna, cottage cheese and peaches.

IMG_0639I was too busy with meetings in the afternoon to grab a snack, so it was straight to dinner, which was a pretty great treat; Field Roast grain meat frankfurters, topped with southwest bean salad and Daiya Vegan cheese, corn and sweet potato fries.

IMG_0654IMG_0644That was pretty much it for the day. I typically don’t get hungry again before bed unless I stay up later than usual. Here are the stats for the day below.

IMG_0658IMG_0660IMG_0659My ultimate goal is eat somewhere in the neighborhood of 1800 calories. I fell short of that and burned 486. Doing this on a regular basis will tech the body to hold on to everything it takes in. However, I also have to mindful of eating the right calories as opposed to just packing them on with whatever.

Question: is it always a given that you lose weight during training?

Aug 19

Half Way Through! Columbus Marathon Training Wk8

il_340x270.464454484_24seYes! Half way through. It’s a good feeling to be half way through training, until you consider the fact that the hardest weeks are ahead. Most of the weeks up until the taper, 6 weeks from now, hover right around the 40 mile mark per week. If you’re training and have friends who are training, some of them may either be (1) injured or (2) can’t hack it and simply drop out. These weeks separate the people who really want it from the people who just thought they did! You have to be all in.

I’m hanging in there and still feeling strong – that’s the good news! Last week I had a couple of great runs and this week started out the same. This is the part where I explain that running is SO mental. It only took me 5 training cycles to really allow this fact to sink in. One bad run and it knocks you down a few notches. So much so, that your next runs start going south because the little voice inside your head screams YOU SUCK!

On the other hand, a couple of good runs and bam! You can conquer the world.

For part of last week, I didn’t have a watch, OR a phone, so no documentation on my runs, but I DID do them.

Tuesday – 5 miles in the pouring rain – no watch – ruin phone

Wednesday – 3 miles hill sprints on the treadmill – without falling off the back :)

Thursday is typically the most boring day of the week for running because it’s a recovery day (filler miles), but it was kind of exciting because I had a new watch to use. The Forerunner 220. I’ll go into more detail about the watch in a later post, but so far I like it. 5.25 miles at an easy 9:20 pace.


New Watch!

Saturday – 8 miles at marathon pace. My goal was an 8:45 but I ended up with an 8:40. The best news about this run is that I ran the exact same 8 mile course as last week, but this week it was easier. Now that’s a confidence builder. All I can hope is that each week I see improvement.

IMG_0495Sunday – Long Run Day. This was a tough one. Sunday always is after Saturday’s run. Your legs are tired and when you first start it seems like such a LONG WAY to go. But I had Brianna with me and we chatted a bit so the miles ticked off at a reasonable rate. It did rain again this Sunday which kept everything relatively cool. I never mind a little rain. We did 16 miles at a 9:17 pace. Our long run pace range is 9:15 – 9:45, so it’s nice being able to stay in the low end of the range.

IMG_0551So as I mentioned, all good runs. I’m feeling confident, staying injury free and looking forward to another great week. I started today feeling very strong, but I’ll save that for next week.

The schedule this week:

  • Monday – rest
  • Tuesday – 5 miles (9:00-9:15)
  • Wednesday – miles repeats (4 miles) at 7:55 per mile or less
  • Thursday – 5 miles (9:15-9:45)
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – 8 miles at marathon pace (8:45)
  • Sunday – 17 slow miles (9:15-9:45)

Question: if you have a good run/bad run how does it influence your training? 

Aug 18

Monday Motivation


Aug 13

Gotta love technology – Columbus Marathon Training Wk7

IMG_7214-1024x1024I’m going to start my little tale two Sundays ago while out on my 14 mile run. I was at North park, famous for the perfect 5 mile loops around the lake. These loops make it ideal to stop at your car every loop to refuel and hydrate. Well, on this particular Sunday, I stopped after the first loop to grab some water and GU and attempted to stop my Garmin (Forerunner 405) without success. As I stood there drinking my water, waiting for someone to use the bathroom and whatever, the minutes ticked by and the average pace went up and up, pretty much ruining my stats for the remainder of the run. it had been doing that a lot lately so I decided it was time for a trade in.

I called Garmin and packaged up my old watch the very next day to ship it off for a newer model. Garmin has a pretty decent trade-in deal which can really save you a few bucks. As I was wrapping my old watch up I hesitated before I sealed the envelope and to my astonishment, got a little teary eyed. I mean, over a watch! The watch went approximately 3,000 miles with me, through 4 marathons, 6 half marathons and countless other races. It was with me on all three ridiculous tumbles I took, with me when I was disappointed and when I was elated about my performance. I guess I was a little sentimental about shipping it off. But I did it anyway. ;)

So there I was, week 6 of marathon training, without a watch. Ugh! I used the Nike plus app, which is a decent stand in on runs when I was alone and during the group runs, just used the stats off another runner’s watch. THEN, yesterday I went out for my 5 miler at 5:30am and during the last 1/2 mile was caught in a horrific downpour. I mean, I had never run in rain like that. 2-3 inches of water on the streets. AND, yes, I had my phone with me because, of course, I had no watch. It was in a “waterproof” Spibelt which wasn’t that waterproof. So now, no watch AND no phone.

This leads me to wonder if carrying all this stuff is really necessary. Is it better to just run out the door, without worrying about pace and specific distances? Do we really NEED to photograph every run as if we are Olympic medalists?

The answer to these questions…HELL YES!

My runs have a purpose now. There are specific guidelines to how far I should be running and at what speed. No wavering from “the plan”, the plan that will take me across the finish line of the Columbus Marathon in 3 hours and 50 minutes. End of story.

The technology problems have been resolved. The new watch has arrived and is set to go, and the phone – well, lets just say it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought. It’s back too. Tracking mileage and pace will NOT be a problem tomorrow morning. And as for the endless parade or running selfies. I like them, other people like them and I like other people’s, so they will continue. :) Plus, they are a really fun way to visually track progress.

Here are a few pics from last week.

Tuesday – Medium Day

IMG_0407Wednesday – Track Work

IMG_0431Thursday – Easy Miles

IMG_0445Saturday – Marathon Pace run documented in detail HERE

Sunday – Long Run with Frank and Brianna

IMG_0486 Last week totaled 36 miles. They’re really starting to pile up and I find myself a little more tired in the evenings and hungry!

This weeks schedule is another hard one, but at least I have my new watch to mix things up a little. :)

  • Monday – Cross Training
  • Tuesday – 5 miles @ 9:00 – 9:15
  • Wednesday – 3 miles hill sprints
  • Thursday – 4 miles @ 9:15 – 9:45
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – 8 miles at marathon pace 8:45
  • Sunday – Slow Long Distance 9:15 – 9:45

We’re half way through the week and I’m almost half way through training!


Aug 11

Monday Motivation


Aug 09

Marathon Pace Runs, how to run them properly.

IMG_0480When I was handed my training plan for Columbus, the schedule included a marathon pace run every Saturday. My goal marathon pace is an 8:45. Sounds easy enough right? At the end of the run I should end up with an 8:45 pace.

That’s what I thought until I mentioned to a more experienced runner a few weeks ago that my marathon pace run ended up being an 8:53 because I started too slowly. He was confused and asked me to clarify and I told him that I started around a 9:10 pace and worked my way down, trying to catch up a little in the back half of the run. This is the part where I realize I’ve been doing them….


The goal of the marathon pace run is two-fold. One, it’s supposed to get you physically comfortable running at the pace you plan to run on race day, and two, it’s designed to get you to ” feel” that pace. In other words, at any given time during the run, you should know, without the assistance of a watch, that you’re running your correct marathon pace. By learning what marathon pace “feels” like, paces either too slow or too fast are quickly felt and adjusted accordingly. The proper way to execute is to run mile after mile at marathon pace, exactly, or as close as possible (within a few seconds)

Ahhh, now that makes sense.

So last week, I was excited for my marathon pace run. I felt slightly sluggish that morning after the Liberty Mile, and I wasn’t quite hitting my pace. At mile two the earth jumped up and smacked me (yeah, I fell – remember that?) so I didn’t finish my run. :( That was a first.

Today, I gave it another go, with much better success. Paces over the course of 8 miles were as follows: 8:34, 8:42, 8:42, 8:51, 8:44, 8:51, 8:40 and 8:34. They were pretty darn close. Despite the fact that I was very close to hitting my pace and learning what it “feels” like, I wasn’t happy with the level of effort it took. My breathing was a little more labored than I would like it to be. I’ve experience that a lot this summer and not quite sure if it’s humidity, heat, dew point, or allergies or something. But I have 10 weeks to figure out what will make this pace more comfortable.

IMG_0479I’ve done some research and found an article on Increasing Lung Power so I am going to work on that. I’m also planning on incorporating a tempo run into my plan on Tuesdays to add another day of faster pace running. Between these two things, I’m hoping in 3 weeks to see some progress. I’ll keep you updated. ;)

Hope everyone’s summer training is going well.

Columbus Marathon – 71 days and counting.


Aug 05

It’s a Rocky Road – Columbus Marathon Training Wk6

I-dare-you-to-train-for-a-marathon-and-not-have-it-change-your-lifeMarathon runners are a uniquely tough breed. Not because on race day we can push our bodies through 26.2 miles, but because we can endure approximately 16 weeks of rigorous training in preparation for those 26.2 miles. Training, that most definitely includes lots of miles and sore muscles, but may also include: frustration, injury, doubt and overall fatigue, both physical and mental.

Every time I’ve trained for a marathon, I’ve experienced all of the above. I know what it’s like to wait all week for that one long run, only to have a poor performance force me to just get though the week until the next one. I’ve finally, after 5 years learned how to really push (when I’m alone) out on the track, even when it hurts, because that’s what it takes to get better. I’ve fallen (on a rocky road/trail) during this training cycle and wondered to myself if I’m really cut out for this sport.

However, when I sit back and think about all the positives I’ve experienced, it wipes out all the bad. Often times when I’m taking those first steps during a run I think about all the things people who don’t run are missing.

  • The way the air smells at 5:30am
  • The first hint of the sun peaking over the trees or reflecting off the water
  • All the animals just waking up and out eating breakfast
  • The feeling of a downpour on your skin as you run through puddles on mile 12

All of those things and so many more make me happy I’m a runner. Yes, the road may be rocky at times and hurt when you fall on it :) (that story here) but I feel like I get to experience so much more of what nature has to offer because of my sport, good and bad. It makes me feel alive.

Now that I’m done being sentimental, last week went well, for the most part. Here are a couple of pics:

Tuesday: 5 medium pace miles

20140805-123405-45245046.jpgWednesday: 3 miles plus track work 4x400s

20140805-123405-45245265.jpgThursday: 3.5 easy recovery miles

20140805-123405-45245446.jpgFriday’s race and weekend miles (19 total) are recapped HERE. I got to do what I loved for another week, so it was great!

This week’s schedule looks like this

  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – 5 miles at medium pace (9:00-9:15)
  • Wednesday – 4 miles including 4x800s @3:50 or less
  • Thursday – 4 mile recovery run (9:15-9:45)
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – 7 miles at marathon pace (8:45)
  • Sunday – 15 miles long slow pace (9:15-9:45)

Hope you’re having a wonderful week and enjoying your runs like I am. :)

Aug 04

Monday Motivation


Aug 03

Liberty Mile Race and Weekend Recap

Friday: Liberty Mile Race Have you ever raced a mile? If you have, you’ll sympathize with what I’m going to say. Running in a mile race HURTS! You would think, “just a mile”, how bad could it be? The only explanation that makes sense is that this type of race forces you to use muscles you don’t normally use. As a distance runner, I typically don’t have to go out fast at the gun, I don’t have to sprint at top speed for any of the miles, like this one. So, again, it was hard. But it was really fun. The whole evening was fun. First, our team met and got together for a quick team picture. Unfortunately, Jessica had to skip the race due to illness, but we ran our hearts out for her. After we got our picture, we watched the One for Fun wave and the Kids of Steel /Jr. Elites Wave. We had several friends running in the One for Fun wave and cheered them on (Jeff, Chelsea, Gloria, and Steffany from Run Steff Run.) 20140803-195223-71543202.jpgI ended up running a 7:25, which for me is pretty fast. I had NO idea how to run a mile race. I know I went out way fast for me – sub 7 and knew I couldn’t sustain that. By the 1/2 mile mark, I was already feeling like I was done. LOL. But considering speed isn’t really my thing, I did okay. Our whole team did as a matter of fact. We all ran better than we expected and won fist place in the Open Co-Ed division. Of course we were the only Open Co-Ed Team :) Like I said, it was fun. I also ran into a few other local runners that I’ve met through running groups and one from blogging. Below: Me and Mike from Fleet Feet and Jen from Running on Lentils. I LOVE building my running network.

20140803-200555-72355813.jpgSaturday: 7 Miles at Marathon Pace

Well, that was Saturday’s plan. I was really sore from Friday’s race. Yes, from that mile. My calves were sore which is unusual. At any rate, I started the run a little slower than marathon pace, but I decided early on that I wasn’t going to push too hard, considering I was really sore and because I had 14 miles scheduled the next day. I ran up the North Shore/Riverfront Trail towards Washington Landing. I ran basically the same route as the Man Up Father’s Day 10K and was making my way down the rocky trail when I tripped on a rock or something and fell and slid about 2 feet on the gravel. What a klutz! I got up and brushed myself off and surveyed the damage. My hands, elbows, knees and legs were scraped, cut and bloody. Just great! I decided to run the 2 miles back to my car and end the run. I’d had enough. I felt beat to hell and just wanted to go home. It ended up being a 4 mile run at a 9:10 pace.

20140803-201645-73005850.jpgI was really trying to stay positive, but it was hard. I felt like a clumsy fool who really isn’t cut out to be a distance runner. I got home and cleaned up and was putting on my favorite soft tee shirt for an afternoon nap when the saying  the the tee caught my eye and made me think. It was perfect and at just the right moment.

20140803-202009-73209973.jpgI decided I was NOT going to be average, I was going to rise above this fall and start preparing for Sunday’s long run. I put ice on my knee and took a nap.

Sunday: 14 slow, long distance miles.

I was a little concerned about my knee when I woke up this morning. It was pretty swollen, black and blue and very sore. Going up and down the stairs was painful. I decided I was going to meet Frank and Brianna anyway. We were running 5 mile loops at North Park so I figured if it hurt, I would just quit after the first loop. To my surprise, I felt fine during the run. After the first loop I was feeling great. There was a fine mist falling during the first five miles which kept things very cool – just how I like it. Into the second loop, and for the remainder of the run, the sky just opened up with pouring ran, thunder and lightening. It made for an interesting run, but I was so excited to feel good due to the cool temps that I could care less about the rain.

20140803-204053-74453120.jpgThe three of us, once again had a great run. All of us were pleased with our times and look forward to running together next Sunday. That wraps up the weekend. The knee is quite swollen after today’s run, but another round of ice and a day of rest should help it out tremendously. Marathon training week 5 is over! Hope you had a great weekend!

Jul 31

Liberty Mile “Dream Team”

2014-runner-legs-bannerI am pleased to share with you my team for tomorrow’s GNC Live Well Liberty Mile. This is the first time I’ve ever participated in this race so I’m pretty excited to see how fast these little legs can move. LOL. I’m also excited to get together with this great group of people and have some fun. While I was away in Chicago, they arranged to have team shirts made as a surprise to me! I am so excited to wear them!

20140731-200541-72341758.jpgSo here’s our team!!


shawnShawn has completed the Pittsburgh Half Marathon 5 times, the Virginia Beack Rock-n-Roll half marathon 3 times and the Disney FULL Marathon as well. This year he participated in another team effort and completed two legs of the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay. He also snagged 2nd place in his age group at this year’s Just a Short Run (8.1 miles) in North Park. Shawn is currently training for the Columbus marathon where is hoping to grab his Boston qualification. We’re expecting great things from this guy because he can move! Above: Rock n Roll Virginia Beach half marathon with his wife and a bib with hi PR proudly displayed.



Great_RaceDerek has run the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon twice and both chips times were quite impressive. He’s also run the Great Race and many, many local 5k’s in the surrounding areas. He also tackled the FULL Pittsburgh Marathon this past May. Derek has been doing some speed work to prep for tomorrow’s race and will continue to run until training starts later this summer into the fall for his third showing at the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon. Like Shawn, this guy is fast! Left: crossing the finish line at Pittsburgh’s Great Race.








20131021-192401Jessica has participated in many races, some of them with me :) She has run the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon, the EQT 10 Miler and the March Mad Dash. She’s also participated in the Frigid 5 miler and multiple 5Ks including the Jingle Bell 5K, Take a Step for your Heroes 5K, and The Freaky 5K. Most recently she was part of a Pittsburgh Marathon Relay team this past May (with Shawn) and ran leg 3 of the course. Left: pictured with me before the start of the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon.




KelseyKelsey was the winner of my raffle for the last spot on the team! I’m super excited to meet her and add her to my network of running friends in the Pittsburgh area. Kelsey’s stats are quite impressive, here goes; Kelsey has completed an incredible 25 half marathons and 2 full marathons since 2011. She has a goal to complete a half marathon in all 50 states. Some of her favorite half’s include: Country Music Marathon Half in Nashville, Rock’n'Roll New Orleans Half (her PR race), Cleveland Marathon, and of course the Pittsburgh Marathon Half. She is currently preparing for a very busy fall schedule with 5 half marathons within a two month time frame. Left: mile 16 of the Cleveland Marathon in May.



So there you have it. Quite a well rounded team if I say so myself. Please look for us tomorrow in our blue This Runners Fuel shirts and be sure to cheer us on. Better yet….take us on. SAME DAY REGISTRATION IS AVAILABLE starting at 5:30pm in Market Square.



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