November 16, 2019 - Richmond, VA TIME: 2:05:58
Oh man this was such a long time coming. I set my PR for the Half Marathon in 2013. I had trained hard for Disney and then got chewed up for the heat that year, so about 2 months later I tried another half- Nike Women's and crushed it.
Since that day I have tried many times and failed to beat it. In 2017 I trained smartly all winter and spring - but then pulled something in my hip during my spring 5K. I PR'd that race and went on to PR my 10 miler the following weekend. But after that I was hard-cord injured and had to defer my late spring half. Months of PT later, I was finally cleared to run and then BOOM pregnant with twins. Soooooo I have been waiting for this day for a long time.
After the twins were born I started working with Becki Spellman. First to rebuild my core, and then next to train smartly. She got me to a point where I was able to complete my deferred half last October. I did intervals and was so proud of completion 7 months after twins. Then she stuck with me all winter/spring when I was just not into running and my body was NOT cooperating. This past summer she asked me if I was going for any fall races and I told her I was considering Richmond. She made me feel like it was possible. So I registered and committed myself to going all in on training.
I have never had a more successful training cycle than for this race. I worked hard on my speed sessions, took my runs easy when necessary, and lifted weights and did core like never before. I went all in.
And FINALLY FINALLY I did it. I bested that time from 2013 but more than that I proved to myself I could do it. I CAN DO HARD THINGS.
So race recap.
My plan going in was to attempt a sub 2 knowing that I would also be happy if I beat my PR. I started with the 2 hour pacer and hung on as long as I could before settling back in a hard but comfortable place. I took my GU around 4.5mi, drank some water and settled in. I was feeling good until about the park when I started having some issues with numbness in my toes. I slowed back a little and tried to curl them as I ran. Then we hit some decent hills that my body just did not want to go over. My slowest miles were here: 10:20, 10:05. Once we got out of the park, I was continuing to curl my toes from time to time to keep them going but we had some decent downhills so I just kept trying to pick up my speed. I took another GU around 9 miles, more water, and told myself to buckle in until the end. From there I counted down each mile, focusing on the one I was in and completing it just a little faster than the last. I'm pretty sure I had a progression run on the back half of the course. I realized about 2 miles away that if I could just keep going I was going to PR. I teared up a little thinking about how much work I put in and how it was finally paying off.
I sprinted downhill toward the finish, careful not to fall because the steepness is real y'all and finally claimed my new PR of 2:05:58. SO FREAKING HAPPY.
October 6, 2018 - Raleigh, NC
First race after babies. I had to use a credit with the race series so at 7 months postpartum I took on a half marathon.
I was not up to racing shape but was looking to prove that I was able to do it. I worked with my coach on a plan that would get me to a good place to complete the race. Of course she had more faith in me than I did- giving me paces for the race that were really scary.
Race morning dawned hot and humid (my nemeses). The race started out on a downhill so I started with the paces Becki prescribed for me. I felt fine for the first few miles but once we hit the greenway section we were shrouded with trees and there was absolutely no air flow. It was like running with a warm blanket on. In that moment I made the decision to slow down and just enjoy being able to run this far again.
It wasn't a super interesting course- a lot on the local greenways. And had it not been 99% humidity I think it would have been really nice. But I kept going knowing I was capable AND that my babies would be at the finish waiting for me. :)
The remaining miles weren't my prettiest but I got through them and pushed on to the finish. And when I was reaching the final turn I saw my parents each holding a twin and cheering for me! It totally made me cry.
But I DID IT. I completed a half marathon at 7 months postpartum. My babies got to see me do something really hard. I was so proud of my body. I'm looking forward at what I can really do with an entire training cycle behind me.
Richmond, VA - November 11, 2017 | Time: 59:31
Pregnant running is no joke!! I took this on at 20 weeks pregnant with twins?! I wasn't sure how it was going to go- but then on the day it went great!!
The weather was ridiculously cold so dressing was harder than expected but I had on my running for three tank over various layers. :) My plan was to run to the mile marker and then walk a couple of minutes (repeat) until I made it to the end. Jon's mom stayed with me the entire time to make sure I made it ok. We ended up finishing in under an hour which had been my tentative goal... I just wasn't sure if I was going to be able to achieve it. But yes.. 59:31!! BOOM. I felt like such a badass afterwards. :)
Jon ran the half and totally rocked it out of the park and his dad ran the marathon and qualified for Boston in 2019!
It was a great weekend with family and I'm so proud of how far I've come with pregnant running. Anything past this point is just icing on the cake!
Asheville, NC - May 19-21, 2017
What was supposed to be a fun race weekend with the Oiselle ladies actually turned into a fun getaway weekend with no running to be had. HA.
As previously mentioned I was having hip issues and had started PT but wasn't going to be up to running the Biltmore Classic. I had originally registered for the 15K and then downgraded to the 5K planning to walk the three miles on race day.
Jon and I drove down from Blacksburg that morning- with him planning to drop me off in Asheville to meet up with Brooklyn, MaryEllen, and Amy for the weekend. He was heading on to his parents and would pick me up on Sunday after the race. We met up downtown, wandered a few shops and then ate some yummy lunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe. We decided to venture down to Wicked Weed for a quick beer before heading up to MaryEllen's cabin outside of Weaverville. And fun story when we got there- her keys didn't work to open the door!! It looked like a very nice cabin from the outside- haha. Luckily for us the official race hotel had a few slots left so we were able to get a room for two nights that her mom paid for since she didn't have the right key to get into the house. Doubletree even felt bad for us and gave us a complimentary cheese and fruit plate since we were homeless until they took us in! What a day! We crossed the street from the hotel to grab dinner at Texas roadhouse before calling it a night.
Day 2 dawned much better as we opted for a hike along the mountain to sea trail, before grabbing our race packets back at the hotel. Then we took quick showers and decided to do a little uber and brewery hoping that evening. Our first planned stop was to New Belgium but then it turned out that Tour de Fat was there and we didn't want to pay the cover to get inside. I got some local suggestions from Jon's Dad- starting with the Wedge across the street. We walked over the river and down to the brewery (boy was it hot out!!) before settling under some fans, in the shade, with a couple of pitchers of beer. RELAXATION YES.
Then we ubered over to Salvage Station as our second stop, another round of beers and some exciting scenery/music. This place was huge!! After that we decided to grab food just down the road at White Duck Taco. SO FREAKING GOOD. I ate two amazing tacos, took a quick break with some water before it was time to head to our next location: Burial Brewing. Our final stop of the night as we were supposed to be at the race the next day (oops). We had another round before throwing up the white flags and uber-ing back to our hotel. More snacking (thanks to our grocery run prior to realizing we were locked out of the cabin) and I took some flat runner photos before we passed out asleep.
The next morning we woke up for the race and it was monsooning outside. Like thunder, lightning, downpour the whole nine yards. We though for sure the race would be cancelled but they claimed it was going to pass and still be on so we finally got dressed and headed out the door. We got to the start line- where it was still pouring and decided to hard pass on this one. I wasn't really looking forward to walking the 5K alone and they weren't interested in running the 15K in rain and mud. We headed back to the hotel, took quick showers, opted for breakfast at Biscuithead (also amazingly delicious) and then Jon picked me up and I said goodbye.
So while not the weekend we expected by any means, we had a blast anyway!! These Oiselle ladies are some of my favorites- glad the NC team brought us together :)
Radford, VA - April 29, 2017 | Time: 1:01:43
Well this race was not my race. As I mentioned in the last post, Krysten stuck with me through this race and was the only reason I got to the finish line!
Sally was also running the race so we took some team shots at the start before lining up for the race. This was the first time this course was being done so it was a pretty small crowd. I knew it wasn't going to be pretty but thought I'd give it a go. We powered up the first hill and I made it probably half a mile before bringing in walk game. From that moment on we decided just to enjoy being out there, walk up and run down the hills.
Radford is much hillier than originally thought but we got through it. I have to say it was pretty depressing to not be able to really run at all since I had two killer PRs the previous two weekends.
Thankfully Krysten grabbed brunch with me afterwards at Radford Coffee Company. A yummy burrito and a smoothie later I felt better but knew it was going to be awhile before I got to run again.
Oh well- off to PT and hopefully some solutions!!!
April 23, 2017 | Alexandria, VA | Time: 1:32:29
Another new PR!!!! Finally busted my 5 year old PR at this distance.
I wasn't sure how this race was going to go to be perfectly honest. I had been training since February for my A Goal: 1:30:00. And while I fell a little short I'm totally happy with a new PR considering how I felt earlier in the week.
After crushing it in Boston I noticed my right hip was a little tender. I took it easy on my Wednesday run and it seemed ok but on Friday I was just supposed to do a 3 mile shakeout but it hurt so bad that I quit at 2. I figured better to rest it as I had put in the work at that point. So icing and heating and aleeve were my friends. I was crashing with JJ (who I convinced to run as well) and we kept it pretty low-key. The weather helped as it rained all day Saturday. We worked on a puzzle (perfect rainy day activity) and ate healthy the whole time. :) I got my flat runner together that night and then crashed.
We were hoping it wouldn't rain but that it wouldn't be humid and muggy either. Turns out we got perfect weather. Started in the high 40s and stayed in the low 50s with overcast skies the whole time. I couldn't have asked for anything better. I think this is partially why I was able to get through it and PR.
Mile 1-3 9:11, 9:17, 9:24
I went out a little quick but we were on really nice downhill for about the first mile. Then I slowed myself down to make sure I would have enough in the tank for the rest. The first few miles my hip felt ok and so I just kept moving myself forward.
Miles 4-5 9:28, 9:36
It was hillier in this section and I was really worried I had pushed to much at the start. My hip had started to have a dull ache and I just though 'run the mile you're in' and if I had to walk I would. Again just kept on moving forward until crossing the 5 Mile mat.
Miles 6-7 8:57, 9:03
We went through a nice flat/downhill area and I was feeling ok so I started to push a little. My original plan (before the hip drama) had been to take the first 3 at 9:30, middle 4 at 9:00, and close the final 3 at 8:30. So since things were feeling alright I pushed a little here.
Mile 8 9:19
Did not like this mile. My hip was really hurting at this point and I was feeling defeated. All that work and once again injured. UGH!!! So I just made a promise to myself to get through the race and then I'd take a break, figure out what was going on... if I could just finish.
Mile 9: 9:03
More downhill thankfully and I was able to pick back up a little speed but really I was just trying to finish at this point. It wasn't until the end of the mile that I realized if I could pick it up a little more I could still PR!
Mile 10: 8:43
I knew my A goal was out the window but the realization that I could still get away with my B goal even with the hip problem was so joyful that it pushed me to crank it even harder towards the finish. Now you can see the finish line about a half mile from it (cruel) but I just kept moving forward (almost there, almost there) until I crossed the line beating my old PR by 1:15.
That beer never tasted so good. :) Was incredibly proud of myself for leaving it all out there. Taking the week off is the best choice while I rest this cranky hip. I know 1:30 is in me and I think I could have done it if I wasn't hurting. So hopefully that goal will be crushed very very soon.
Thanks GW Parkway and Pacers for a fun race!
Saturday, April 15, 2017 | Boston, MA | TIME: 26:16
Wahoo! A new PR!!!
Now I've been working pretty diligently on my training plan for the 10 miler I have this weekend and it was really nice to see that work pay off at last Saturday's 5K. I wasn't sure I could pull it off considering my previous PR I achieved on a mostly downhill course. But I put on my powersuit, started in a much earlier corral (thank you Courtney!), and crushed it out there.
That morning was breezy (58 degrees) and very sunny. I had laid out my flat runner the night before committing to wearing the 3/4 team crop. I'm not the tiniest runner but I decided I didn't care I wanted to #rockthecrop and I figured if anything could get me a new PR it would be the confidence from wearing that beauty. Jon's mom and I were running while the rest of his family cheered us on. We were all in town because Jon's dad qualified to run the marathon at age 62!!! So I mean we all had to come right?! It's Boston!!
Anyway we got over to Boston Common that morning, picked up our t-shirts (which by the way I fit into an XS- I'm definitely not that size- sorry to all the actual tiny people out there!!), and visited the potties a few times before lining up in the start corrals. I'm so used to running races alone that I had forgotten how nice it is to have someone watching- to hold your stuff and of course cheer you on! Jon's mom and I split ways- she headed back to the 11:00 min group and I went up to the 7:00min group. I was definitely not going to run that fast but had been warned that with self seeding it would be really crowded at the start.
The first wave (and elites) led off and then a few minutes later my wave headed through the start line. And yes crowded was an understatement. At first I got trapped behind walkers... really?!?! walkers- in the 7:00min group. UGH!!! So my first half mile pacing wasn't the best as I was trying to dodge around people but then I was able to settle into a brisk but manageable pace.
I do think I kicked it a little hard for that last half of the first mile because my pace still averaged out at 8:21. And I'm pretty sure I was 9:30 in the beginning... oops! The course was nice and flat with only a little down and up hill under the overpass to transition us onto the marathon course. Of course even the slightest bit of elevation change slowed me a little bringing in my second mile at 8:30.
The last mile was awesome though. We got to take the famed "right on Hereford, left on Boylston" and then run right through the marathon finish line. I have to say I'm not sure I've smiled so much during a 5K before. Even though I was pushing myself pretty fast something about that finish line just makes you want to smile. It was glorious. Then it was about a half mile more to get back to the commons and through the finish!
Now I should also mention my other favorite part (besides the marathon finish) was hearing all the 'Go Oiselle" calls from my teammates!!! I rarely get to run with people cheering for me and hearing this so many times during the race definitely made me push even harder toward the finish. Especially the really loud group right before the finish- you all rock and thank you for making me feel awesome as I rounded the corner and grabbed a new PR!
Mile 3 came out to 8:22 and then :56 for the point one. Such a fun race! I'm not sure when I'll be back to Boston but this will hold as my favorite race for quite some time. I had a blast!!!
February 12, 2017 - Blacksburg, VA Time: 27:54
Busting the rust off my racing legs!
I had taken a couple of weeks off at the beginning of the year to aid in the healing from tendinitis. It had been a slow build back to where I had been pace wise and I'll still not 100% there but I'll take this race time!
Mile 1: 8:19
I went out a little too hard and fast. I was eager to see what my legs would do but I forgot about my lungs keeping up. I continued to push forward cruising on the down hills and leaning into the uphills. I felt ok til the end up this mile on a steep uphill climb- that's when the sidestich started up.
Mile 2: 8:58
I had a massive cramp in my right lung that I couldn't seem to shake. We went through a nice long downhill and I tried to pick up speed a little but was having a hard time working out the cramp. We turned the corner and a small uphill about did me in and I slowed down massively for a minute or so.
Mile 3: 9:41
As you can see from my pace I never recovered. We moved onto a decently flat stretch of road and then onto the Huckleberry Trail- which is also flat at this point. I could not get my legs to turn over and was still having trouble breathing. I was mentally chanting to myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I was actually surprised I was under 10mins for this mile because I seemed to be crawling.
Final Time: 27:54
So not my best but not my worst either. This was actually in my top 3 of 5K finish times despite how bad I felt toward the end. AND in surprising news I found out later that I placed 3rd in my age group!?! I've never won an award for anything so that is pretty darn cool. I don't have the award yet but hopefully soon and boy you'll know it because I'll definitely be Instagramming it. :D
Moral of the story: Don't take it out so fast at the beginning. If I had held back some at the start I could have kicked it at the end. And who knows maybe even have been 1st in my age group!
Next 5K on the schedule is in Boston. I hope to be stronger and faster by then. I also hope to be rocking the Oiselle crop.
Raleigh, NC - November 26, 2016 Time: 46:39
Once we knew our plans for Thanksgiving this year I went ahead and registered for a turkey trot. I feel so much better stuffing my face later in the day if I've run that morning. Since we started in Raleigh this year I ran one there. I also got to meet up with Brooklyn and Mary Ellen too. Brooklyn has graciously picked up my bib and t-shirt so I met up with them prior to race start. I had originally planned to wear a long sleeve shirt under my singlet but then it ended up once again being unseasonably warm so I ditched the longsleeve for the run.
We took a few pre-race photos and then we were off! It was crowded in the beginning and I lost the girls in the shuffle and was on cruise as we headed down many hills. I figured I would get going here as I knew the hills would slow me down coming back. I actually felt pretty good running and was enjoying myself. Then we hit the hills. UGH. It was rough pushing back up but thankfully a light rain began to fall which cooled me off a bit. And then boom through the finish line. Not a PR but a nice, solid race for me.
Saw the other girls come in and then we all headed out and onto Thanksgiving festivities! A fun way to start the day!
Raleigh-Durham, NC - November 4-6, 2016
Quite the weekend for a runner!
I had been told in April to save this weekend for fun running times with the Oiselle ladies. And then it was announced that Lauren Fleshman would be joining us! In case you aren't a runnerd, she's a really awesome track and field athlete, who among other things was a 5K champ and is one of the owners of Picky Bars. Basically she's a lady hero and one of Oiselle's sister birds. I was stoked to be able to come down to Raleigh to meet her and hang for the weekend.
Friday night we had a big team dinner at Primal and then headed over to Ladies Night at Bull City Running. I got stuck in some traffic but wasn't too late getting there and got to sit with Kristi, Brooklyn and some of the other ladies I had met and some new. The best part of the team is meeting other like-minded obsessive runners so I love it when I get to meet new members. As Brooklyn and I discovered we eat similarly we opted to share a dish for dinner (good choice- since portions were ridiculous). Then we all headed next door to basically take over ladies night. There were snacks, drinks (even a nuun cocktail) and we grabbed raffle tickets and hoped for the best. There was a little fashion show featuring some of BCR's newest running apparel- including lots of Oiselle with some of our favorite ladies. It was fun and hilarious time. Then I won a prize! This never happens. Of course it was not my size but I was able to exchange for a pair of arm sleeves. WINNING! Super fun night with the ladies!!
Saturday morning I drove back over to Durham for a fun run and breakfast. Really any excuse to hang with Lauren and I was there :). Of course we started out at a fast pace for me and I kept up for awhile before hanging back. It was fun to run with Lauren- even if she was floating while the rest of us were huffing and puffing. I ended up doing about 4 miles with some of the ladies and then we got picky bars for snacks! There was a little Q&A afterwards and we learned more about Lauren's journey and what she's up to now. She's so great- I think we were all hanging off every word. LOVE.
And then on Sunday- no more Lauren, BUT we had 5 relay teams running the City of Oaks Marathon. I was originally supposed to run leg 3, a 5 Miler which Kristi was also assigned to but Rachel wasn't feeling her best so I was asked to switch. No problem! Luckily Myrtle Beach had been a couple of weeks back so I was able to hold down an 8 miler. We all met early at Bruegger's for some breakfast, to pass out numbers, and to take a giant team photo. Then we broke into legs and headed to our respective start spots. I was now on leg 2 with Sara, Nicole, Sarah, and Marie. We carried all the bags and found a good place near the exchange to wait. I took a quick potty break and on my way back ran into Nicola- so of course we took another photo! Love the team :). Then runners started coming in- first up was Brooklyn and Mary Ellen so Sarah and Nicole took the timers and they were off. A few minutes later Julie, Caitlin and Rose came up and the rest of us took off. Sara is faster runner than either Marie or myself so she stayed with us for a bit and then we told her to go ahead. Marie and I are pretty similarly paced so we stuck together for the 8 mile stint. She had a brief issue with some gatorade near mile 7 but after a quick pause we kept on til we got to the next handoff. Kristi and Rachel took our timers and headed on. Rachel (not feeling her best) had some trouble near the end of the run- so of a the birds ran her in. A flock of sisters indeed. Since it was only the last leg at this point we all grabbed our things and headed toward the finish area. Soon enough our birds started coming through! It was a fun time!! I don't think I would have ever wanted to do that marathon but breaking it into a relay wasn't bad at all! After Kristi and I got brunch to catch up at Cafe Carolina- it had been awhile since it was just the two of us so this was much needed. Great Oiselle team time!
A really really fun weekend. So much running, so much team, so much happiness.