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Back to Asheville!

I lived near Asheville in the small town of Black Mountain, NC during a few months of my 8th grade year. My mom and sister both lived there when I was in my 20s so i’ve visited plenty of times. It is such a refreshing and unique place to go and I couldn’t wait to take Steve for his first time!

We started our first morning in Asheville with a hike up to Mount Mitchell. If you recall this is where my mom took me on my trip from last June. Mom and me did a short half mile out and back on a very pretty trail near the summit of Mount Mitchell, and I’ve wanted to come back and go further out ever since… go figure, endurance runner wants to go longer.

We took a few pictures at the top then started on our trek.

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“What’s your goal for this hike?” Stephen asked, walking a few paces in front of me.

“I don’t know, what do you want to do?” I replied with a typical female response. I knew Stephen well enough to know he already had a set plan, and I already knew I’d go along with it.

“I want to go four hours. Two hours out, two hours back and negative split on the return.” said Stephen, happy and full of energy.

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My view for the next 4 hours was pretty spectacular ūüėČ

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Up, up, up we go! Our total elevation was just about 2500ft

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Quads were killing me, but the weather was perfect and the views were outstanding.

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And down, down, down…ropes were in some steep areas and much appreciated!

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Looks like we were standing in front of a painting. Also this must have been way early on in the hike for us to be so smiley.

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After our 4 hour hike…Actually 3:55, we did in fact, negative split! We cleaned up and drove to Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen, a place we had to hit up since the owner and chef is an old friend of Steve’s.

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Steve & Jill
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We ordered several things off the menu and all of it was to die for! I apologize for the lighting, but we needed to sit outside. The weather in Asheville was beautiful in early September compared to the oppressive humidity back home.

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You can’t really see, but there’s an egg in the middle of this cast iron skillet of cinnamon roll goodness… I declared this in my Top Five Favorite Breakfast Dishes of All Time. And if you know me and my love for breakfast, this was a big deal.mvimg_20180907_200157.jpgSo much of a big deal that the next morning we showed up when Ivory Road opened for breakfast. What? We needed to fuel our morning hike…with donuts that they bake fresh and special on Saturday mornings. Travel Tip: get there early, the fresh donuts sell out fast!

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Our breakfasts, and coffee and a lemon donut! Don’t get me started on my lemon love.MVIMG_20180908_092434img_20180908_091228.jpg

After we carbed up we left for a much shorter waterfall hike at Pisgah National Forest that Jill suggested we try. Since the route was shorter we ran most of the trail until we got to the waterfall where the hike turned into a climb and ascended, what seemed to me as, almost vertical. It actually scared me a bit, not the heights, but my legs were in garbage time from the day before and I didn’t have much confidence in the going down part after all the climbing. You know how after a marathon or long run going down stairs is the tough part? Yep, that’s kinda what I was experiencing. I just didn’t trust my legs that morning, so we made it up about 3/4 of the way took some fun pictures on the way down near the falls, and ran back to our car.

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It was finally time to head to downtown Asheville and hit up a few breweries. One I’d been dying to try was Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium which features a ton of sour beers.

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not Funkatorium, but still out for a good beer

This place had a great outdoor area with bocci ball and cornhole. I absolutely will go back.

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And that was our trip! 2 great hikes, a ton of amazing food and new beers! It will not be our last trip out there. Til’ next time…

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What’s your favorite place to hike?

Who’s running a fall race?¬†


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Ragnar DC – Sentence Per Picture Recap

Hi guys! I’m still plowing through the remaining fall race recaps, mostly to scrapbook and keep pictures organized. I apologize these races are old, but I can’t not post these. Too many great picture and memories that absolutely need to be on the blog.

I wanted to do something fun/different with the Ragnar post. Giving you mostly pictures and less chatter. Plus, I think i’ve recapped enough Ragnar’s for you to get the gist. 2 vans, 2 days, 12 people, little sleep, and a lot of fun and peanut butter. Enjoy!

Our fridge always has fun things to say…

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Time to decorate the van!
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Bff’s for life…Steve & Clint21766782_10101940021887533_837669613674356631_n

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So many amazing views!IMG_20170922_140728

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Clint, Steve, Josh & Me.

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Josh, Jen & Me. We had a really fun breakaway finish line we used during the race. Big hit, highly recommend getting one made!

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So happy when I’ve been under slept and fully caffeinated.¬†21766353_10100166942469848_7765123196585653957_n

I have to what? Run 900ft up a mountain? 21767965_10100166942619548_5829279076512379710_n

Guess I should stretch…21618039_10100166942599588_6921656752472737216_n

What goes up must come down. On the backend of the 800ft incline, the 800ft elevation loss helped me PR my 5K time with 20:04. A nap was deserved. 21761960_10100166943258268_2722906189281368055_n

No sleep, makes us all a little silly.

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Finishing leg 2 of 3.21766373_10101940022067173_6907849611830540212_n

Everyday i’m…21762029_10101940022012283_4094527894663939797_n

Chillin’ at the finish line/port-o-potty line.22008482_10101940021827653_2883613740745346470_n

What are Hot Shots?

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Running at night.

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Oh man, is he really running with me up the mountain? My life = complete.22007801_10101940021702903_1751003791167305673_n

The handoff to Clint…

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Off I go on the last leg…21764939_10100166974919818_1918494675656913503_n

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And all of us together at the end!

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Barbara, Nick, Normalied, Andrew, Me and Steve.

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Anyone doing a Rangar this year?


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The Tale of Two Ten Milers

(Okay not so much of a tale, but more of a few humble brags and fun running pictures.)

Soon after Boston the questions, “Are you taking time off running?” and “When’s your next race?” pop up. Friends and co-workers all kinda laughed when I said Steve and I already signed up for two back to back 10-Miler weekends.

Six days after the marathon we had the Columbia 10 Miler on the schedule. I was using this as a shake out run and didn’t want to push hard so soon after Boston. And Steve hadn’t been running more than a few 5k’s each week. He sacrificed time out on the road to be sure I got in all my marathon training miles. (If I haven’t said thank you, Thank You Stephen.) Our Columbia 10 Miler goal was to finish in 1:30-1:40 which breaks down to 9-10:00 minute per mile pace. We thought that would be doable for the day.

If you can spot us below, I’m pretty sure we were chatting about pace, downhill felt awesome!

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I had to wear my Boston shirt, but I didn’t know we’d be matching… oops.

We cruised. Hitting much faster paces than we had talked about, and working hard without over doing it. That’s key for distances over the 10k.

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We took a gel at Mile 5 and later learned that Steve needs more nutrition for that type of duration. We maintained a good pace, slowed just a bit, but there was a point around mile 8 where he just felt out of energy. He needed more fuel. Lesson learned!

We crossed the line in 1:22:41 (8:16/pace)

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Steve is a lot like me with running and fitness, he’s a workhorse. Even low on energy he never lost steam. It’s the part of running where your mind takes over and you ignore the body. You can do anything for a mile or two. I broke down the end of the race in minutes instead of distance. So i’d tell him, “We have about 5 minutes left to run.” To me, minutes are easier to wrap the mind around than distance. Time goes down, distance seems far. I’ve been using this trick for the last year, especially during the final miles of a marathon.

Stephen PR’d his 10 Mile and I finished feeling pretty good. I was so proud of him, but little did I know a week later he’d do it again…

The following weekend we headed south to St. Mary’s for the next ten. Last year this race was a half marathon and we ran it the day after completing a Ragnar Trail event. I will never forget how it felt waking up that morning, like a truck had run us over and we were about to go run another 13 miles in the heat. Haha.

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We both don’t normally run in compression socks, but we were brutally sore and thought it was a good idea, even in the heat and humidity.

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Anywho, we headed down, settled into a Comfort Inn, grabbed dinner and relaxed in the hotel. I knew I wanted to run this ten miler hard. I wanted to see if the training I had put in for Boston was still there. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t and still don’t feel like I got to use the training because the weather in Boston held me back that day. I was still hungry to see the Garmin flash numbers that showed the training.

It was a cold breezy morning and both of us seemed ready to work. We warmed up, stretched and soon after some encouraging words to each other, we took off.

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I went to work immediately. I knew the 10 mile tempo workouts I had been doing once a week since January were paced between 7:10-7:20s. My goal was to do a normal for me tempo and try to stay near those paces, hopefully finishing between 1:10-1:15.

The picture below is me thinking “oh god, wind.”

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I tried not to think about the wind. I kept reminding myself that Boston’s weather was 10000x worse and it was sunny and mild out. I could deal with wind.

I could also deal with the pace. 7:05s were showing up on my watch and it didn’t feel too bad. I knew it was going to hurt for a bit until I settled into the pace, and I was right.

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Below: notice the wind in my hair haha. We had it at our sides on some roads, but on the open country roads it was head on terrible wind.

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There were a couple out-n-back turnarounds where I got to see Stephen and get a few high fives in passing. It definitely helped my morale. I was running even paces, I felt good, but like any race, it’s hard to run hard for extended periods of time. And almost every turn was into headwind, which I was so over.

Can you spot Steve below? These are the open, flat, boring, windy roads I was talking about.

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A left turn happened and the wind died finally. The camera guy caught the moment of sweet relief going into mile 7. About 21 more minutes of work.

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I chased the few guys in front of me, never letting anyone pass. My pace started hitting 6:45s, I just had to push for a few more minutes.

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I finished in 1:09:13 (6:55/pace) 1st Female

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Steve finished in 1:19:57 (7:59/pace) 3rd in his age group! He absolutely crushed the Columbia 10 Miler, PR’d AGAIN and if post race memory serves me correctly he said to me,¬† “I’m coming for ya.” That’s my man.

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We had two very good races back to back which were great practice for the future. Stephen’s 2nd gel at St. Mary’s obviously helped his energy and finishing speed and I learned that my Boston speed wasn’t a fluke.

Neither was this picture I took. Always happy to catch the fun moments.

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Have you ever raced a 10 Miler?

What’s your favorite race distance?


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RAW: A Boston Marathon Recap

It was like running on a treadmill in a freezer, with someone throwing buckets of water at you with a high velocity fan to the face and another person is just fucking with the incline button for 26 miles.
-Cori Maley

Yep, that’s me describing the Boston marathon either on the ride home to the hotel or at dinner that evening. I honestly can’t remember, the entire day was such a cold, wet blur.

The day before marathon Monday the tv weather forecast read: “RAW” (where it usually says cold, warm, ice, snow etc.) I pointed at the tv and asked Steve if he knew what the hell that meant. Raw. 40 degrees, real feel 22 degrees, 15-20mph sustained E/SE wind (that means headwind for the duration of the marathon), gusts up to 50mph and oh yeah, watch for falling trees. Splendid.

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I woke up in Boston Monday, April 16th feeling excellent. Better than I thought i’d feel, even though I knew the weather was going to be a disaster. My head was screwed on right. I was going to face the hardest race conditions of my life head on for 3+ hours. Stephen reassured me that morning (and all the weeks leading up) that I was well trained for this, and a very strong runner. I’d finish the race and run the best I could. Like I always do.

I had good feelings until we got on the busses taking us to Hopkinton. All I heard for the hour drive were runners throwing their goals in the trash, talking about how hard this was going to be, how awful the weather was, they “can’t believe this is their Boston experience” etc. I stayed as positive as possible. I knew my goals were lofty and I would have to shift to effort based running depending on the wind, but my god people… rain isn’t a big deal and to throw your race, to throw 16-20 weeks of tough marathon training down the drain because the weather wasn’t ideal? In my head as I sat silently amongst some very negative runners, I knew I was mentally tougher than most.

I’m not delusional though. I do understand the affect of the elements. Temperature, weather, wind, cold, the sleet that started coming down while I waited the 40 minutes for a port-o-potty were going to slow my pace. While standing in line, a girl from Charlotte, NC caught my eyes under the mylar blanket i hooded myself in and went off like a cannon. “Can you believe this sh*t?? This is going to be *expletive* horrible! I can’t believe I flew in from NC!!!” …yada yada more expletives, you get it, she was NOT happy. I turned to her, red faced, purple lipped, shaking and said, it’s not going to be that bad once you get moving. Yeah this weather sucks, but you know what, we get to run a marathon today and when we’re done we get to say we ran Boston. It might not be that bad, try to stay positive.

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It might not be that bad. <—This was about as close to rainbows and butterflies as my morning went. Once I finally made it to the bathroom, my corral was already 15 minutes ahead, walking down to the start, which was a .7 mile walk away from the mud pit ahem i mean, Athlete’s Village.

I sat down on the mylar blanket. If you don’t know what this is, it’s the shiny space blanket runners get after marathons to keep their body temperature warm. It was a life saver and I just so happened to find it on the bus that morning. Alright, so, I’m on my blanket to try and stay out of the mud, to change socks, get my ipod ready, my fuel belt on. Last minute details which should have been easier had my fingers worked. It took longer than normal, I fumbled and cursed. I wish I had more clothes, I wish I had Hot Hands, I don’t want to run like this. I don’t want to run. It might not be that bad. Walking to the start corrals, it felt good to get moving, and was entertaining to see so many people trying their best to stay dry. Like walking to the corrals with grocery bags around their shoes. News flash: in rain like that, your shoes don’t stand a chance. In ankle deep puddles, which we hit in the first mile, your shoes don’t stand a chance. Just pray you wore the right socks to avoid blisters.

Am i boring you yet? I just think it’s important to set the stage as to what went on before the race started. This was the first and only time in my running career I wanted the race to end before I even stepped foot on the course. I can’t tell you how uncomfortably cold I was before the start. But once the gun fired, and our corral was off, I did get excited to start running and hoped to warm up, still optimistic things would get better.

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I embraced the rain. It honestly never bothered me too much. I kinda enjoyed running through the puddles, except when I got splashed from the runners at my sides: It felt like my crotch was getting water boarded. That was COLD rain. Cold. Icy cold. The rain was coming down. Off and on it would let up and drizzle, then in the next minute would downpour where I couldn’t pick my head up to look around. Notice I’m not describing the small iconic towns leading to Boston like most articles and recaps would normally detail. It’s because I didn’t see most of it. I wore a hat to shield the water from my eyes, which helped a ton, but looking up and around was mostly out of the question.

I remember seeing a train station in Framingham (i think) and thought it was pretty cool, then my head went back to looking ten feet in front of me. This is why I felt like I was running on a treadmill. I stared at asphalt for 3 hours. About 5-6 miles into the race my feet and fingers regained feeling. This isn’t so bad and my splits were looking alright. I kept reminding myself not to go too fast, stay conservative for the Newton Hills and the cold/wind which will zap energy. I needed to save all the energy I could to get to the finish.

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Around mile 8 I saw a Medical Tent and asked myself if I wanted to drop out. I started doing time/distance/Uber/How-mad-would-Stephen-be math in my head, then looked at my watch, hitting 7:30-7:40s pretty consistently and not actually feeling bad isn’t enough of a reason to drop out. But I wanted to. A lot. Also, I thought I might have to pee… but getting into a port-o-potty was completely out of the question. I knew if i sat in something out of the wind and cold I wouldn’t get back out, and didn’t want to worry anyone watching the app, getting mile splits and wondering what the heck happened if I just stopped.

I told myself to get to the halfway mark and assess. I tried high fiving kids, but my fingers hurt too much. I still gave my best smiles to volunteers, officers and to the crowds that lined the course. They were all so awesome, so needed, so necessary. 13 miles came and I hit the halfway mark at 1:40, which meant if I negative split somehow, I could squeak in a small PR today. I wasn’t running happy, I did NOT have a good time out on the course, but I was super pleased with my effort which reflected my training paces more than the clock would show that day. In hills, I slow about 25 seconds per mile, the same in winds above 15mph. The fact that i was going 22 seconds slower than my marathon goal pace in wind, cold, rain, etc says a lot. And I would have had a great PR if just one of those dang elements were absent that day.

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Alright back to the epic cold run. The Newton Hills. I saw the sign that said you were entering Newton (about mile 15-16) and i knew there would be some climbing until Heartbreak Hill at 21. My head went down and I went back to work. Watching the asphalt fly under my feet, feeling the gentle grade changes, up and down. Finally, I looked up again and saw a Nuun tent! Woo! Picked up my one and only cup from the race (I was holding a small 10 ounce bottle with Tailwind that took me 13 miles to drink) and shortly after I glanced up and saw a brown banner that said “Heartbreak is Over!” This was the only time on the course I laughed, I can’t believe i was holding back for this… Heartbreak hill was easy, the Newton Hills were just a few grade changes, knowing the last 5 miles were generally downhill, I hit it and tried to run faster. Tried.

My legs wouldn’t open up. I couldn’t finish as strong as I wanted, I couldn’t feel my quads at this point. The cold and wind were holding me back quite literally. I still pushed and maintained, fought and rallied. I was keeping an eye out at Mile 23, my friend Jordan and her husband Jake were going to be on course, and I desperately needed a pick me up. Somewhere around 22 (I think, it could have been earlier, this was all such a blur) I saw a woman holding a sign with a cartoon beer mug and what looked to be a dixie cup of glorious pilsner. I did a middle of the road 90 degree left turn and asked, “IS THAT BEER?!” She smiled and handed it me. I chugged the 6 ounces of liquid carbs and pain killer. Sorry mom, I take candy, booze and other things from strangers. Quite often now that I think about it.

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The 23 sign came and went and I was a little disheartened, but not more than a few moments later I heard Jordan and Jake screaming my name and holding a wet, white sign that read Cori Maley Whiting, IN! (my hometown and where I know Jordan from) I stopped to hug her and started crying/hyperventilating and she yelled at me to keep going. It took a few minutes to stop gasping for air (crying and running is not easy).

I needed that. I could run a 5K. I will finish. I tried to pick up the pace, I suppose I did here and there, but my legs were ice cold and still couldn’t open my stride. When I tried, the wind was quick to put me in my place. I saw my watch, did quick math and knew I was close to a PR, but I didn’t think it was smart to attempt to push 7:00 minute miles just for a few seconds off my current best time. I chose wisely and tucked my headphones away (my 10 year old ipod nano is now broken btw) and took in what I could of the last half mile of Boston. The iconic, “Right on Hereford, left on Boylston” repeated in my head.

And like that, it was over.

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I crossed the Boston Marathon finish line, profusely thanked the volunteer who slung a medal over my neck and to the women who wrapped me in the very fancy velcro hooded mylar coat and heard my group yell to me. Steve, Clint & Matt were right there behind the barrier. I left the food, drinks, free Sam Adams beer for the other runners, I just wanted to get out of the weather.

3:21:54 (1:05 slower than my PR)

Steve was so proud of me, my effort and impressed with my splits. I felt the same, I was pleased with my effort, even though I did not have one ounce of fun. I never gave up and I stayed positive. That in itself was worth starting and will make me an even stronger runner for future races.

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After marathons I usually cross the line with a new version of self worth, appreciation and knowing I can accomplish big things. But after that day in Boston, I feel unbreakable. I truly feel like I can get through anything. I have run in rain, heat, snow, sleet, hail, wind, ice, 9 degrees, up trails, down mountains, through mud and in the middle of the night. Stephen has pushed me so far out of my running comfort zone during the last year so I could become a better runner. He saw potential in me during our first trail runs together where I was SO uncomfortable and afraid and constantly rolling ankles and sobbing because it was just too plain hard. Why am I gushing so much over him? Because I wouldn’t be the runner I am today if it weren’t for him. I’ve never had someone believe more in me. I owe him. He just made me fall more in love with a sport i’m already obsessed with and gives me the courage to constantly do my best.

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My final thoughts on Boston: It was that bad. And totally not fun but I’m so glad I didn’t skip it or quit along the way and so happy with my effort and the time I crossed the line with. As much as I didn’t want to go back and repeat Boston, I may just have to…I would kinda like to see the course. haha.

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Tuesday morning I gazed out the hotel window at the Charles River one last time before we drove back to Maryland. It was dry, cloudy, 45 degrees and with my head cocked to the side like a dog, I noticed the waves on the river were moving the opposite direction. A western breeze. Absolute perfect marathon conditions with a tailwind. Funny how life works like that sometimes.

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Almost to Boston; but First, a Pit Stop To NOLA.

Two months ago, i found myself overwhelmed at the dining room table looking online at running shoes.¬† I was panicking about not having shoes I’m in love with, exhausted from battling physical and emotional fatigue and mental anguish over possible race strategies, chafing, life balance and found myself in tears in Stephen’s arms. (Yeah, he’s always there for me.)

Then I checked the calendar– halfway to race day. I forgot how incredibly hard marathon training is, specifically the last 6 weeks where the mileage piles up, the tempo runs get longer and the taper is still too far off for comfort.

I’m going to repeat this. Marathon training is hard. And I make it hard on myself because i want to beat my PR. I make training hard so that it will feel somewhat easier or sustainable on race day no matter the conditions. I do this to myself and I don’t make money for it. <–is this why people think runners are insane? Perhaps.

Fast Forward into the final days before Boston. I feel much better about my training, my shoe choice, general stress and anxiety. The work is done. The hay is in the barn, there’s nothing left to do but trust the training. So that’s where i’m at right now. I feel good, besides feeling like absolute taper garbage. (Where all your easy runs feel way too hard, you doubt every step and phantom pains appear.)

I have several goals for this race, regardless of weather conditions (wind/rain) and a hilly course. I’m ready for the challenge, I’m ready to put it all out there. But I was asked last week from a good friend how I was feeling. If i was nervous, excited, happy, scared… And i answered not really knowing I was figuring out feelings as the words fell from my mouth. I am happy and excited, but i don’t feel the desperate desire or need to prove myself anymore. I’m so happy in my home life that I don’t need anything else to make me feel good. I run now because I love to run, not because I need it for validation or to feel good about myself. The best part of this marathon training so far is Stephen telling me he’s already proud of me. I’m not even in Boston yet, and he’s proud of the hard work i’ve put in. That kind of support is all i need when I toe the line. It doesn’t matter if I PR or bomb the race.

That being said, i, of freaking course am going to run my best on the day given. And for those of you out there running Boston, I found a great article that breaks the course down and almost gives you a guide on how to pace and fun landmarks to look for. This gave me a great peace of mind when I found it, i hope it helps you too!

https://www.runnersworld.com/boston-marathon/boston-marathon-course-tips-for-runners

Right as i was getting uber stressed over training a much needed vacation to New Orleans with my best, favorite people happened. Enjoy some fun pictures and Happy Saturday!

Jackson Square.

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Not Jackson Square.

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Banksy!

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Quiet French Quarter.

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Lively French Quarter!
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Bars for music and drinks!IMG_20180329_222304.jpg

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Buzz Nola Bike Tours (we did the electric bike tour) Such a great time! Learned a ton and got to see more than I would running or walking, or pedaling for that matter.

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Airboat Adventures– This was AWESOME.

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Baby alligator!

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Big Gator. IMG_20180330_130316.jpg

And Steve who has no fear…

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Couples that gator together, stay together!
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They put a lot of powered sugar on the beignets at Cafe du Monde.

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I preferred them with local craft beer at Morning Call.IMG_20180328_134059.jpg

And Morning Call had great muffaletta’s. Just check out Steve’s reaction to how good they were.

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Palladar 511. Another great place to eat. Super trendy menu. Everything was fantastic.

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Our air b&b. Left to Right: Joe, Amanda, Patrick, Pat, Liz, Josh, Steve, Me, Kathy. Can’t tell you how much I love each person in the photo below.¬†FullSizeRender (4)

And they brought the game, “Hearing Things.” I haven’t laughed this hard in a while.

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New Orleans was amazing, we’re already planning to go back (hopefully next year). We did so much, but there is so much more to do and see. It was way better than I was expecting or what i thought I knew from movies, tv, etc. There’s a vibe out there different than any place I’ve ventured thus far, and I need more of it.

Last minute taper tips?

Ever been to NOLA?


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5 Things Friday, Vol. 7!

Well hey there again! It’s time for another 5 things Friday. These are things I’m digging right now that shouldn’t be kept secret!

  1. Altra Escalantes. I’ve been racing in the Saucony Kinvaras for years now, but the last two versions (7 & 8s) have been tighter than usual. Even after sizing up, the toebox is still snug, giving blisters and making my pinkie toes go numb. A few weeks ago I found The Shoe.¬†FINALLY. The Altra Escalantes are super lightweight (just under 6 ounces) and cushioned just right! The knitted upper moves well with my feet and most importantly during downhill running, my toes do not crowd or move to the front of the shoe. I highly recommend these – they even have a special Boston edition of the shoe I plan on purchasing when I rack up miles on these bad boys.

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2. Compete Every Day. By far my favorite motivational clothing brand. I feel like a badass in their gear and they have such positive messages about life and training. I’m a big fan of the brand and am on their team as an Affiliate Coach. So get used to seeing me repping their brand hard. (a few pics of CED tanks below)
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3.¬† Rocket Pure Friction Therapy Anti Chafe Balm¬†IT WORKS. I’ve been chafe free for months now. Even though it’s winter, I’ve survived sweaty humid gyms and outdoor humid New Orleans runs with this miracle cream. You can get it on Amazon.

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4. Ali on the Run Podcast. I stumbled on this and I wish i knew about it earlier! Ali is a great interviewer (I started from the beginning) and has kept me company during the bit of marathon training this year.Ali-on-the-Run-Show-min-1-768x768

5. These songs I added to my “BOSTON” playlist. They all make my heart very happy. If you need some good running music, go Youtube them, you won’t regret it.

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What tunes should I add to my playlist?

Who’s coming to Boston?!!


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How to Pretend to Balance Lifting & Running.

I get asked often about how I balance running and lifting.  I wanted to share with you guys how I do it.

The truth is, I don’t. And I definitely don’t do it well, I don’t always balance it, and I don’t know exactly what the right prescription is yet. With each marathon I’ve been experimenting.

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Living an athletic, disciplined lifestyle is not always glamorous. The PR’s, the smiling Instagram photos and the details of workouts can be deceptive. It’s a beautifully brutal and torturous lifestyle. It’s finding your pain threshold over and over again and then again the next day. It’s constant muscle soreness and fatigue on the way up to heavier weights and faster paces. It’s tapping into emotions of feeling on top of the world and complete utter weakness.

With that being said, I wouldn’t change the way I throw myself into training. I love hard workouts, I love two-a-days, eating better, sleeping more. I know this won’t be sustainable through different periods of my life, but for now, getting stronger, faster and fitter is keeping me, above all, happy.

I will try and answer your questions about pairing lifting and running, but feel free to ask anything else in the comments below!

Q: How many days per week do you lift and run? 
A: Right now I lift 2-4 days per week, one heavy lower and one upper body lift. The other days are usually supplemental/auxilary or a Crossfit day. I run 6-7 days per week averaging about 55 miles per week.

Q: What does your typical two-a-day look like? 
A: I’ve experimented a lot with this, my ideal double workout starts with speed work or a tempo run, the 2nd workout being a heavy lift. It doesn’t always work in my schedule that way, sometimes it’s reversed or on opposite days. I find when I separate my hard running (speed days) and heavy lifting I don’t get an “easy” day inbetween. Ideal Example: Monday/Wednesday/Fri easy running. Tues/Thurs speed & lift.

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my barbell

Q: How do you recover?
A: Eat, Sleep, Repeat. I try my best to eat real food and drink tons of water (about 80-100oz daily). I wear compression socks and full compression tights often since I stand all day at work. I try and get 7-9 hours of sleep. That’s it. No fancy story there. Oh, and sometimes I foam roll… sometimes.

Q: Aren’t you sore all the time?
A: You betcha! All. The. Time. But that’s half the fun right? Waking up each morning with a different muscle group screaming.

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Q: Should I train like you?
A:¬†Probably not/maybe/depends on where your fitness level is. It might seem like I just started running a ton of miles and lifting heavy recently or all at once, but it’s been a real slow build over years and years of consistent training and running. And I’m in a constant lifting or running cycle and take down weeks or deload weeks, so I can continue to get stronger without getting hurt or burnt out. If you’re looking to improve your performance, work on being consistent first, and then start sprinkling in intensity.

Q: What would you recommend if I wanted to lift on top of running?
A: I would start with two days of strength training on a base of easy running. After 4-8 weeks deload or pull back on your strength a bit and start adding speed work slowly into your running. Then mix it up and find what days you can do workouts that don’t completely annihilate your legs. Once you’re about 10-14 days out from your race, pull the reins on the strength (lighten the load, up the reps!) and really allow yourself to have fresh legs on race day.

Just remember it will take time for you to get used to the cumulative fatigue and embrace running on tired quads and calves. If you’re training to race faster, this is the way I do it. Running on tired legs will simulate the end miles of a race. Hansons marathon method said it best, “You’re not running the first 16 miles of a marathon, you’re running the last 16. We’re duplicating that final-miles feeling.”

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Q: This seems hard, what if I can’t do it?
A: The most important thing to remember is that all of us runners go through the same emotions. At some point we will have a string of crappy runs or a period of time where every step feels impossible. Keep a journal of how you feel during both strength and cardio sessions and be flexible with yourself. Sometimes your paces may not reflect your effort because of muscle soreness from the strength, and that’s okay! Adjust, experiment, and repeat!

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Do you experiment with different training styles or plans for races? 

What race is next on your schedule?