6 Comments

Richmond Marathon, the 3rd and Last Attempt.

This was it. The final marathon of 2018 I trained to race and finally see the red digital number I had worked so hard for, appear as my foot crossed the blue and red timing mat…

Richmond Marathon took place on November 10th, 2018 and I was as ready as I could have been although I was beginning to grow tired of racing marathons. I’ve never been one to “race” more than 1-2 half marathons per year, so racing 3 marathons was a lot and after all is done, probably too much mentally and emotionally to handle.

f6484498-3035-4fad-8267-9cf52227c806

When i pick out a race and start miles of training, I truly throw myself eyeballs deep into it. It will take a lot to skip a scheduled run. I will wake up before the sun or go out in the pitch dark evenings of the icy, winter to get the training it in. Nothing will hold me back, nothing will conquer me. But with each race after Boston, I found myself kinda falling out of love with racing, especially the marathon distance.

0028

Pre-Race!

Richmond training was different. The miles were there, the speed was there, but my heart wasn’t. I was supposed to run a 3:15 marathon at Richmond because it’s what I trained for. On paper my training looked excellent, but I was struggling between the ears.

ef797e2d-34ef-4354-8eaa-5a17bcaec717

On the morning of Richmond, I was happy and content. Stephen was running the 8k that morning which started about 30 minutes prior to the marathon, which kept my mind busy and off my race. I got to send him off and watch his start. Then I got myself ready and dropped my bag (as well as allllll the extra layers) at the bag trucks. It was supposed to be 45 and sunny. I was excited to be running in shorts, in a new city, running my 7th marathon.

00300033

0010

37:32 (7:33/pace) after flying in from FL the night before!

The start of the race was nothing new, just familiar and meditative. Getting the crowd energized, the National Anthem, last minute stretching, eating, sipping, lace tying, watch beeping, then the start. Hearing thousands of shoes pelting the ground, people cheering in stereo along the barriers, we ran together forging a bond, ready to complete a 26.2 adventure through Richmond.

0032-1

It was beautiful. The sun peeked out, the weather was perfect, my legs felt alright. Not perfect, but alright. First miles don’t dictate the outcome of a race, usually the first miles are big, fat liars.

Somewhere around mile 5 someone who looked like Bart Yasso gave me a motivational “you’re looking great!” I found myself flowing in and out of race pace, 7:30s good, 6:55s slow down! The plan was to stick around 7:20/pace and speed up after the halfway mark.

0033-1

After 13 miles, I couldn’t find the push to go any faster. I was still on pace for a PR (anything faster than 7:40/p) and decided not to push, but to feel out a few more miles and adjust. I’m thankful I did because the park had tree coverage and I didn’t realize how windy it was. There were 14 mph headwinds for the remainder of that marathon. And it just crushed me and my already worn down spirit.

0040

I hate admitting that. The wind really deflated me. I always try and push as hard as I can when the going gets tough, but I saw pace slow and I kept getting side stitches from swallowing too much air from the wind flow and breathing hard. I had myself a little pity party, pretty sure I walked a few times, but I made sure to finish the marathon strong. I wasn’t getting my time goal, I wasn’t setting a personal record that day, but my god, i’m running in shorts and a tshirt and the love of my life is waiting for me at the finish. Life is good.

0007

I barreled down that final half mile (mostly because it was a downhill finish) crossed the line, felt a giant relief come over me and I walked on. Bart Yasso again my angel for the day, high-fived me and said, “GREAT BQ! CONGRATS!”  3:24:41 Oh man… Did I qualify for Boston, under the new time constraints? That was pretty cool. I kinda forgot about BQ’ing since the wind wouldn’t shut up. I use to dream about what it would be like to qualify for Boston, and now i’m doing it on a bad day. I need to stop taking that for granted.

0018

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 8.02.33 PM

0027

Finally I made it to where Stephen was. I don’t remember exactly what I said verbatim, but it was along the lines of, “I’m done with the marathon.” As soon as those words left my throat, I felt that heavy heart I was carrying for so many months disappear. I cried and laid into Stephen’s underarm while we walked toward the beer tents. Then he asked what most people ask as soon as you cross a finish line, “so what’s next?” And I raised my right hand with 5 fingers and the left with an “O” shape. He laughed, seemed excited and said “OK.”

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 8.02.49 PM

50 miles it is.

Screenshot_20190301-061941_2

We’re both signed up for this years JFK50! A new distance for both of us!

Then we hit a few local breweries up to refuel before heading home. This race, city and atmosphere was really great. I don’t know if i’d run the course again, mostly because there are SO many other places and races to run, but never say never!

46086810_10102388076252993_7742289939634585600_n-1

Ever get burnt out on a single distance or activity?

What is your favorite distance? 


Leave a comment

Zion, Knights, etc. Vegas Part Deux!

After our Tough Mudder, Valley of Fire & the Las Vegas Beer Fest and a little bit of this…

IMG_20181024_173405IMG_20181024_173358IMG_20181024_17340045843856_10213517969403395_8623791217898946560_nIMG_20181022_194646IMG_20181025_234705

We made it to a Vegas Knights hockey game which was a BLAST. For a brand new team they have quite the fanbase and of course, a theatrical opening sequence.

IMG_20181024_185733IMG_20181024_185219

Then we made our way 2.5 hours to southern Utah, Zion National Park! I don’t have words to describe just how breathtaking this place was. I need to go back and do more hikes, but the one we did was enough to hold me over until next time. (and thank you Kyle & Elise for telling me about this place. If it wasn’t for the two of you, i’d never know just how awesome Utah is.)

IMG_20181025_155809IMG_20181025_132106IMG_20181025_131209IMG_20181025_134510-EFFECTSMVIMG_20181025_132124

We were in awe from the different colors and textures at every turn.
IMG_20181025_152817IMG_20181025_125544IMG_20181025_143940IMG_20181025_150242IMG_20181025_131226IMG_20181025_131043_1img_20181025_152534.jpg

Four miles hiking up and four miles running and sprinting down!
IMG_20181025_152056IMG_20181025_151917_1IMG_20181025_144035IMG_20181025_143838IMG_20181025_152614IMG_20181025_153227_1IMG_20181025_131039IMG_20181025_142118IMG_20181025_131043_1IMG_20181025_131226

IMG_20181025_150201

Do you like to hike, camp, tent, glamp? or no?

Anyone ever venture outside of Vegas while visiting? 

 

 


8 Comments

Mud, Vegas, Fire (Part 1)

Holy cow. Life is awesome. I FINALLY did a Tough Mudder. Remember a while back I did a Spartan Beast and it made me feel like a badass? Well, the Tough Mudder gave me those similar fluttery warm, iron feelings. Spartan and Mudder are definitely different events, but they both test strength, grit and endurance all while getting dirty in mud. I loved them both and happy I have another obstacle course race in the books.

The special thing about this particular Mudder is that it took place on the same course I pitted for Stephen last year at the World’s Toughest Mudder. The familiarity helped, and I was stoked I got the chance to run around the rocks and hills. I was super jealous of Stephen knocking out miles upon miles on such pretty terrain and happy I finally was able to experience the course firsthand.

Pre Mud, clean and sunscreened! Our friends Matt and Erin came out to Vegas for the race and all the other Vegas activities. It is so fun traveling with friends!img_20181020_090439

That sun got hot pretty quickly on the course…

img_20181020_090250

Stephen

img_5650-cea969db4b7afcbd5962d6b5f5a0ba57

Me (and look at how proud Steve is) —————————————– >img_5656-b293bbf5d46f61fb88240de3bb7c020a

Out of 10 miles and lots of obstacles, I completed all of them! Felt strong with my grip strength and even stronger with hill and trail running. Check out the elevation for our run! 2,320ft gain! (loss was 2,238)Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 5.39.06 PM.png

Obligitory ugly face picture.

img_20181020_124521_1

And our finishing picture. I earned an orange headband which i’m sure is the first of many more to come!

6111

So we spent some time in Las Vegas where our hotel was, but about half our time we tried to get off the strip to do adventure/outdoorsy stuff. Hence the Tough Mudder. That night after the race we hit up Las Vegas Beer Fest, which was SO much busier than the local brew fests i’m used to back in Maryland.

img_20181020_181739We’re ugly photo professionals. If you need tips feel free to email me!img_20181020_190053

The next outdoor activity was hiking around the Valley of Fire (1 hour outside of Vegas). We did several short hikes on an incredibly beautiful day. I’m not going to narrate this, just take a look at these pictures and go the next time you’re near Vegas. It was SO WORTH IT.

img_20181023_135556img_20181023_133015

img_20181023_105122

These were called “beehives”mvimg_20181023_104520img_20181023_105343img_20181023_113426img_20181023_104348mvimg_20181023_133948

Stephen, Me, Matt, Erinimg_20181023_135111img_20181023_115637mvimg_20181023_122717img_20181023_114923img_20181023_115240mvimg_20181023_134348mvimg_20181023_134223mvimg_20181023_122350img_20181023_125457img_20181023_125636img_20181023_123801

I felt like I was in Mad Max following behind Stephen, every picture I took made him look like an action star.img_20181023_125114img_20181023_125009

Vegas Part 2 is coming early next week! Hope everyone is enjoying these photo dump posts!

Ever Been to Valley of Fire?

What’s your favorite thing to do in Vegas?


4 Comments

The Best Snow Weekend Ever

Saturday started out with good company on a 12 mile run.

(This is how Laura and I start each of our runs, creating an album cover for our next rap album)

50080991_10104223223253791_5235287373994000384_n

Later that evening Maryland finally understood it’s January and instead of the rain we’ve been used to, we got a ton of fluffy, powdery snow. So Steve, Clint and I bundled up and wandered around the extremely silent neighborhood.

mvimg_20190112_210018The sky was SO bright from the snow!

img_20190112_210302Once we got back home we lit a fire and enjoyed staying warm while the snow kept falling. (picture below is from a week ago, not Saturday- but it’s a cool picture!)

img_20190106_131928-effects-1

Sunday morning Steve and I woke up way too early because we were so excited about playing in the snow again. After breakfast and piling the winter clothes back on, we walked to Clint’s, pounded on his door and said “COME PLAY!” (Yes we are all 30+ years old) We threw snowballs, lit another campfire and tossed Steve in a tree to get a loose branch down…

img_20190113_111959jpeg-imagimg_7723

Then we wanted to hike near the river again.

img_20190113_142339img_20190113_162031mvimg_20190113_161956img_20190113_161920

This was amazing. The temperature was perfect and we got to do some urban exploring.

img_20190113_154559img_20190113_155716img_20190113_155431

img_20190113_155115

Steve’s album cover:

img_20190113_155247img_20190113_154748

img_20190113_160136img_20190113_160325img_20190113_160446img_20190113_160559

img_20190113_162757

We made a beef stew and white chicken chili, watched movies and played Nintendo. Pretty sure this was one of the best weekends i’ve ever had. ❤

 


3 Comments

Nevertheless She Persisted, but Seriously Didn’t Want To.

Oh man. Okay. I know this is an old recap, but it’s super important that i write about it. I’m coming to terms that blogging is a dying animal, but I still use archived blog posts for help with training, mental training and remembering all the sweaty bad details to help with future races and training cycles. So as long as it’s helping me, I’m gonna keep writing. I hope this stuff is still helping some of you out there.

The Brokebabes Marathon was a last ditch effort to try and PR and see if my potential, my peak, had passed for the Boston Marathon training cycle. I’m still bitter about Boston. I’m still cold from April. Literally and figuratively. Even now, running in the east coast winter wind, it takes me back to some awful memories of Boston. It still makes me angry that my time didn’t reflect the training. Even Des Linden, winner of that race, said the conditions made the race equivalent to running 30 miles, not a marathon. As in, we couldn’t “race” a marathon, it was about survival, like during an ultra marathon. Those conditions shook the best of the best. As bitter as I am, that race has carved me into a much more resilient runner and I learned a ton about myself that day. I have a TON more to get out of these 33 year old legs.

Two weeks after Boston I won a 10 Miler race in southern Maryland at a blazing fast (for me) pace. I thought that I could possibly try and hit another marathon hard and the PR I’d worked so freaking hard for, would appear on a time clock. I found a local marathon where my extended relatives live, asked for a place to stay and signed up. The race was exactly a month later than Boston, if I had anything left in my legs this was the last shot.

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 6.59.07 PM

I made it to Ohio. Carbed up with Emmeline (we suck at taking pictures together btw). Did my normal night before race rituals while stuffing my face full of chips and candy, drinking a ton of Nuun and laying out a flat racer.

IMG_2262

Eating brunch leftovers

The course consisted of two 13.1 mile loops on generally flat, paved asphalt with a bit of dirt trail. However… dun Dun DUN!!! Thunderstorms in the forecast led to a last minute course change. Runners would be doing shortened loops around the park closer to covered shelter if needed.

I was mentally prepped for a 13.1 mile loop, the course change ended up being NINE 2.8 mile loops. Nine. 9. I’m not speaking German. Regardless of the change, I stayed calm about the whole situation and race morning went smooth as ever. I drove myself to the start of the small, local running event.  I warmed up on what started off as great weather, cloudy and cool. I felt good, strong and ready to work. I was excited!

IMG_2274

We all lined up, I set myself up at the front, and the race started. I followed directly behind the bike that was leading runners on the first loop so no one would get lost. My first miles were about 7:10/pace and felt easy. I remember hitting the first 3 miles, holding back and thinking, “Today is my day. I can do this.”

Very quickly after the 3rd loop, 6-ish miles in, things started feeling hard out of nowhere. My breathing was labored and it scared me a bit, so I slowed down, thinking I had plenty of time so early on. But nothing changed. Mile 7 and 8 came.  I stopped at my cousin’s stake out point with her husband and kids where I found myself hyperventilating. Becky told me to put my hands up over my head and try to relax. I didn’t realize it, but she told me a huge fog rolled in and it was extremely humid.

IMG_2271

Below is a snapshot of the race loop, the temperature and the humidity. I wasn’t imagining anything, 100% humidity. I’ve never raced in 100% before.

Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 8.07.52 AM

Once I could talk to Becky between the wheezing, I told her I might drop out. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever said out loud during a race. It made me tear up, and my cousin did her best to keep me calm and moving. After her pep talk,  I continued. I slowed quite a bit, and even with that adjustment to pace, I still had to take walk breaks to catch my breath and stop wheezing.

The time goal was no longer on my mind. I just wanted to finish. But let me tell you something, when you start walk/running a marathon at mile 8, you’re not going to have a good time. I felt like I hit a wall over and over again, yet I willingly kept slamming my body into it. As runners, we are taught that there are easy miles and hard miles, you just don’t know what order they’re gonna come. I stayed positive, thinking I was just going through a rough patch, and hopefully I’d be able to run (albeit not at my racing pace) but I’d be able to enjoy myself and do an easy long run. I didn’t drive all the way to Ohio, have my family watching me do an insane amount of circles just to be like “eh, I’m done.” So again, I continued on. Or should I say, “I persisted.”

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 6.36.35 PM

Zone 5 for the majority of the race is no bueno.

This marathon was about staying present and putting one foot in front of the other, whether i was running or walking. Just continuing on, quarter mile after quarter mile. (yes, i was checking my watch that often.) Every several minutes felt like an eternity, seeing the same course turns, markers, the water fountain on the left, the metal sculptures on the right, were driving me insane. The thing that kept me going was Becky, Josh, Gabby & Pierce cheering for me. I kept apologizing for how long this was going to take (must be that weird Midwestern, Catholic, probably should be Canadian problem I can’t shake).

Each loop they cheered me on like I was winning the race. Like I was the best runner they’d ever seen. The fun thing was… I was winning the race. If I’m not mistaken, there were 5 women in the marathon and most of the event were half marathoners. I received cheers and “keep going” “you’re looking awesome” etc, from a ton of people. And that, quite honestly, kept me mentally in it. I didn’t check out, I wasn’t giving up. Marathons are hard and humbling. Somehow through it all, I was having fun and enjoying a very long Sunday run.

32375957_10216865221525576_3702312416751648768_nI finished in 3:47:44, the course was short (25.7 miles) but I just didn’t have it in me to go beyond the finish line.  Just tack on the excess mileage from all the other marathons and we’ll call it even. I’m proud I was able to finish. Proud I can walk/run a sub 4:00 marathon. And proud of my first ever marathon win!

IMG_2279

The biggest takeaway from this? I set a positive example for some awesome young kiddos. My second cousins, Pierce & Gabby won’t forget the day I ran a marathon and for that I don’t regret pushing on for a second.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 1.17.41 PM

The nicest FB post, from my cousin ❤

The second learning experience, especially as I start to dip my road weathered toes in the ultra world is that during longer endurance races “the wall” isn’t predictable. It won’t always come between miles 18-22 as it often does during a marathon. And sometimes, it won’t be a bad couple miles, it might end up being a bad 20 miles. I scored a lot of mental points, knowing I can still go on and move forward, even when the body rebels and conditions aren’t ideal.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 2.06.42 PM

And if all else fails, Ohio has some great places to stock up on beer.

IMG_2959

What are your big plans for 2019?

Any races on the schedule?


3 Comments

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.

IMG_20180907_115432

IMG_20180907_120155IMG_20180907_115509

“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.

IMG_20180907_121304

IMG_20180907_123445

My view for the next 4 hours was pretty spectacular 😉

MVIMG_20180907_123447

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

IMG_20180907_121833

IMG_20180907_122516

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

IMG_20180907_142243

41413809_10102322831863273_3201936803938435072_n

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

IMG_20180907_122149img_20180907_152112.jpg

img_20180907_1243081.jpg

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.

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 5.57.14 PM

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.

IMG_20180908_090953

Steve & Jill
IMG_20180908_092526

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.

IMG_20180907_193823

IMG_20180907_194603

IMG_20180907_205812

MVIMG_20180907_200233

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!

IMG_20180908_090839IMG_20180908_090834

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.

IMG_20180908_114938IMG_20180908_112311IMG_20180908_105712-EFFECTSMVIMG_20180908_112837

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.

IMG_20180908_172126

IMG_20180908_194748

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.

clone tag: -6282837955100101204

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…

IMG_20180907_111812-COLLAGE

What’s your favorite place to hike?

Who’s running a fall race? 


6 Comments

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…

22007598_10154964988522135_2505691705404846310_n

Time to decorate the van!
IMG_20170922_115143IMG_20170922_115201
Bff’s for life…Steve & Clint21766782_10101940021887533_837669613674356631_n

IMG_20170922_104917

So many amazing views!IMG_20170922_140728

IMG_20170922_140830IMG_20170922_142010

Clint, Steve, Josh & Me.

22046798_10101940024242813_8293038296072353790_n

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

21765219_10101940023414473_7186836973272265504_n

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.

22046546_10101940025954383_3971585067487933282_n

21764771_10101940022401503_2660913952164783196_n

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?

21762175_10100166943288208_5225877753323723733_n

Running at night.

IMG_9619 (1)

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

The handoff to Clint…

22046148_10154964983387135_4025240733275720042_nAnd the handoff to me…21768136_10100166974131398_6189094536953477190_n

Off I go on the last leg…21764939_10100166974919818_1918494675656913503_n

IMG_20170923_071123

And all of us together at the end!

21765167_10101940028434413_4015258811692984614_n

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

IMG_20170923_182856

IMG_20170923_183304_1

IMG_20170923_183307

IMG_20170923_184306

IMG_20170925_182741

Anyone doing a Rangar this year?