Saturday, August 29, 2015

Back 2 Racing for me & a race for you!

It is hard right now not to feel "insanely" happy.  And I don't by any means intend for that to come across as arrogant - - it's not like I won a major marathon or for that matter any major race.  I mean we're talking local 5k and 10k.  But after 5 months of a whole lot of nothing, 2 weekends in a row of solid races (2 wins and 2 PRs) is satisfying.
It is difficult when you are in the midst of "hell" to see the light (whether it be injury, illness, relationships, work, life, family, etc).  And quite frankly the majority of time when people say "hang in there" you want to either a) punch them in the face or b)  hang them on the branch if they like to hang so much :)
But that statement is true.  You have to HANG on, and just about when you are set to let go, you cannot take it anymore, BOOM, that's when it turns.  You have to hang on though, you cannot, cannot let go.
That's where I was only 4 months ago really - -rock bottom baby. Hanging by my pinky.  My ankle hated me.  I hated my ankle.  Nothing I would do would improve it.  No doctor, PT, insert whomever, really knew what was going on.
I remember one Saturday morning hitting my toe on the counter in the kitchen and literally getting tears in my eyes - not because the toe hurt (it did ) but because I was barefoot because I was icing my stupid ankle which wasn't doing anything anyway.  I was beyond frustrated.  I was ready to give up.  Then later that afternoon I ran into someone at yoga named Becky.  I knew of her, knew she worked with athletes.  But I was in a grouchy mood, and just wanted to be left alone.  She asked me how running was going.  I said it wasn't and she said I should come in and see her.  I didn't know how to say no, but I was sick of doctors, PTs, chiros, etc.  So what do I do, I say yes. I figured I could some how weasel my way out.  But something compelled me to go.  So I did.
And I kept pointing to my ankle, and she kept pointing to my hips, and I kept saying it was my ankle, and she worked on my arch, and I kept saying it get the point.  And just like that by looking at the whole chain, she solved it.  We worked hard no doubt, it wasn't a day fix, but I knew we were on to something when the next day the pain when running was almost nada?  She was vested too, she texted me before I got back from every run to check, she knew the workouts I had, and waited for the results.  She believed in me, and that's what I think I needed most.  She knew I wasn't done.  And she let me know that.  She was the gust of wind that gave me enough strength to get my other hand on the branch and pull myself up.

And after 3 solid months of training now, I was able to kick the cobwebs off and race!  So 2 quick race reviews for you!

Arizona Sunrise Series 5K
I haven't run a 5K in years, but it was perfect as a tune up for the 10K we really wanted to race the next weekend, so we figured game on.
Even at 6:30 am it was 94 degrees so coach said basically don't be stupid - start out conservatively this is not a PR day.  And I actually did manage not to be a moron, and ran 3 consistent miles, at about 5:52 pace for a PR and 1st (18:18).  I felt really strong throughout, body felt great, smooth in strides and follow kick which I have been working on.  I was in 2nd until the last 1/2 mile and have a little bit of a competitive OCD issue, so I red lined it and passed her - and felt that more in my head - which upon finishing felt so hot I thought it might pop off.
It felt great to be out there again, and net the race did exactly what I needed it to do - get the cobwebs off, play with my pre-race routine and nutrition, and build my confidence.

This was near the end where I red-lined it a bit - and you can also see my left arm out there in China - we're working on that :)

Ran this race for 3 teammates who are no longer, as they battle some tough stuff.  #alwaysteammates #Strongertogether
Actually one of the cooler medals I have seen and extra meaning after coming back from injury (net a keeper!)

Jet to Jetty 10K
Yes, I know the name is precious in itself, I actually am not sure why it is called that?  And quite honestly I don't have time to investigate it :)  Anyways, had a good week of training after the 5K - recovered pretty quick with an ice bath and good sleep/nutrition.    Wednesday track left me feeling excited to get after it on race day, and we decided to play it conservatively on miles 1-3 and then if feeling good at the end  - RIP IT.   Yea, I blew this one.  First uphill mile in 5:42 pretty much shot the conservative game plan out the window.  But, previously I would have let that mentally KILL me, I now have such a different perspective on everything, I actually caught myself smiling instead and said - well sister you best hang on :)  And I was able to  - 37:17, a huge PR for me, and a "W" as well.

Ran this one for Becky, she gave me back what I love more than anything - - I wanted to win this one for her badly.

The Jet to Jetty Baby!!!!!!!

This was my ice bath after the race!

My adorable Nephew, Connor, drew this for me before the race.  That's me, don't you see it?  I am very focused.  

This race was in my sponsor's backyard, and it actually turned out to be a Skechers Sweep!  We won the male/female 10K and the female 5K.    
So where to from here?  Essentially a whole month of back to training and getting stronger, and then I am stoked to test the legs out at the Chicago 1/2 Marathon at the end of September! Most folks know I love my home turf, and my mom always takes super good care of me on race weekends home!  Mom makes the best PB sandwiches :)  I cannot wait!  Who wants to join me?!  I am not sure the best way to do this, but I think FaceBook might be - so the first person to message me why they want to run the Chicago 1/2 gets to run for free!  I'll send you the code.

Check out the race via the link below!  You have a month to get ready -and the weather and course are epic! And if you aren't first, I have some sweet discount codes I'll send you anyway to make it much cheaper!


All the best,

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Because that is what I am going to do...

The past few weeks have found me digging in to heavy levels of training again and slowly re-entering some more quality work (400's, mile repeats, tempos).  As I get deeper into training and out of building my base, the reality of an encroaching timeline and my dream are starting to meet head on. It's a little different this time though, in all honesty I feel like most of the pressure is "off" - and after working so hard after the injury to just get back, there is this just insane sense of happiness running through me :)

Insane happiness even after 12 miles of hell in 118 degree heat :)
As I get my legs back under me, seeing the physical progress has helped give me a confidence boost; but also really knocked home the realization of my biggest struggle - the mental piece.  I think I tend, and always have given off an aura of "I got it - under control" - but to be honest as the saying goes, lots of times I fake it until I make it :)-  But the truth is just that like 95% of population I have the same insecurities and swirl as everyone else, and unfortunately it is strongest with the thing I love the most.  I think perhaps that's because dreams are fueled by the heart and the mind gets jealous when the heart gets to run the show.

Anyways I decided  - like anything else in life I have ever struggled with - to do everything I possibly can to address it.  So I decided who better to talk to then my very own teammates who have been highly successful.  And while on a run with one teammate, she basically told me you have the physical talent, it's your head.  You have to tell yourself what you are going to do, and then go do it.

And that is what I have been thinking about non stop for a few weeks.   Grinding comes "easy" for me - I burned the candle at both ends in High school and college (like so many do), I've worked the 80 hour weeks, I've finished races while literally seeing stars :)-, I've started races at WAY too fast a pace and hung on.  I have grinded through injury, through tough times in life, through transition - -  I know how to do that.  But Grinding is very different from saying "....because that is what I am going to do".  For example last weekend Justin and I had the honor to be the the Godparents of Baby Evelyn at her baptism (total below!!!) and that morning I had 16 with 4 X 1 repeats in it - well with the baptism at 9am, that called for a rather early wakeup call.  Dragging myself out of bed, getting ready to run, and getting out the door, and getting the 16 miles in  - was grinding. It is not a a skill, some have more then others, but it's a mentality.  On the other hand before I took my first step I said - I am going to run these 16 miles, and then I am going to do 4 mile repeats at 6:30 pace.  And so I did.  That is believing.  Truly believing you got it.  Prior to that crucible moment, I would have thought of every reason why I should just run 16, and not worry about the repeats, why I couldn't, wouldn't, shouldn't do it.  Not any more.  Just getting through it isn't going to get me to the trials.  But believing in myself  to do what I need to do is.

Post Baptism with Mom and Connor!

The God parents with the real parents (See I wear non running clothes too :)-
 Now, I fundamentally believe there are times in life when you have to grind - you have to dig deep and as they say "when you are walking through hell, just keep walking!" - - could be injury, could be starting a new role/job, could be having little kids and craziness of life, could be cancer, could be any battle you face internally - - and you have to dig deep and get through that. one of my favorite yoga teachers always say - love your way through life, don't struggle your way through life.

One of my all time favs yoga teachers - learned so much from here in a year - such a gift....
Grinding is struggling.  Saying you are going to do something because that is what you are going to do is loving.   I just discovered that.  I love running, I love training, I love chasing this dream.  I can grind through the tough moments of early morning wake up calls, or certain workouts, but from here on out 90% of my training is going to be me doing something because that's what I set out to do .  Because eventually I am going to run 26.2 miles at 6:13 pace, because that is what I am going to do.


Sunday, August 2, 2015


Love this month's blog topic - - sharing about my favorite places to run, and epic run, or something of the sort.  I thought it would be cool to play the 50 states game.  Either an epic run in that state, or epic running memory :)

CB Disclaimer***  This is NOT to brag about all the places I have run, I really have been nowhere extremely swanky or important, just been lucky to travel for running or work so hopped quite a few of the beautiful 50!  My hope is that you might be traveling to these same spots and decide to try one? (or avoid)!

Here we go!  In alphabetical order of course, how else would a highly Type A, anal runner do it?

  • Alabama:  Never been, hmmm, not a good way to start, perhaps Alphabetical was not the right way to start!
  • Alaska:  Crap, never been, ha this is turning out to be quite the blog post.
  • American Samoa:  Wha?!  Never heard of this - this is a state?
  • Arizona:  Ok, I live here, phew, I got this!  I would have to say the canal - hands down.  You can either take it into old Scottsdale and see lots of people, restaurants, etc.  Or go the other way (my favorite, which we rarely do) go into the farmlands.  Where you are literally by your self for MILES and MILES.  It is soft dirt that silently crushes under your feet and blazing sun that relentlessly shines down on you.  It's so quiet, so peaceful, it's almost heaven-like, or at least what I hope heaven is like.  Many a runs there where I have sorted through life's seemingly unsolvable problems.  
  • Arkansas:  Work trip, ran around the University Campus, and into the little downtown, I remember thinking about the University of Arkansas runners, as they have an esteemed program and thinking about Deena Kastor who ran there.  And then I remember finishing and saying, I am ready to go home :)
  • California:  I hope my most epic run is yet to come in CA :) But for now has to be Google;s campus, they have trails through there that are soft and just amazing to run on, got in a good 7 miler through the entire campus over hills, through the cafe area, by the outdoor pools, sand volley ball, place was amazing to see.
  • Colorado:  Magnolia Road with Adam.  It was a huge bucket list item, and the run was just magical for me.  If you go to Boulder, you HAVE To run this.  It's 15 miles in altitude, slightly uphill - all soft surface.  Great mix of sun and shade.  It's a perfect run.
  • Connecticut:  never been, not on bucket list :)
  • Delaware:  Ran here before a funeral  - in the dead of winter  - so not really good memories.
  • District of Columbia:  Cherry Blossom 10 Mile US Championship.  Amazingly beautiful run and weekend.  If you are a runner, this race is a MUST for your bucket list.  It's kind of the lottery as to whether the trees are in bloom or not, but either way a historic amazing course.  Also, day before I ran through Georgetown, amazing trails by the river.  Reco staying there and biking everywhere you need to be!

  • Florida:  Love, love Love the Tampa Clearwater Beach Area.  Favorite run would be staying in Clearwater, running over the bridge that takes you to the beach (so beautiful) then running on the beach and back - I think net is was 8 miles, and just perfect mix of soft, hard, sand, and back!
  • Georgia:  Was on a project for work that took me here every week for 5 months.  Never forget the first morning, I knew EXACTLY where I wanted to run - Centennial Park of course!  And as my work buddy told me - Atlanta is where I learned to "sprint". :)  Never run ALONE in Centennial park at 6am - - not nice.
  • Guam:  Never been, not really on bucket list either :)
  • Hawaii:  Bucket list!!
  • Idaho:  Go here for work quite a bit, starting at the Hampton Inn right downtown, run literally across the street on to their river path and takes you right to Boise State   - and you run right by the infamous "Blue" football field!
  • Illinois:  You would think I would say Chicago, or my hometown STC, but instead going with an epic run!  A recent epic run.  Went to Galena, Il for a wedding and had 13 miles, Justin and I figured out and back - can't do much harm right?  Hilliest HELL run I have ever done in my life.  Relentless hills.  Swear to you Illinois has hills.  I rarely get sore and it took me 1.5 weeks to recover from that massacre.
  • Indiana:  Oh this is one where I hope, pray in fact my mom isn't reading.  Driving home from Cincinnati one time, decided to take a break, park at a national forest and run a few miles.  And those who know me well know what happens next?!  Yep.  Lost. Epically Bad.  Ended up on some road had to get a ride back to the parking lot to my car.  Think I aged 10 years that day.  I would tell you about the park if it was worth telling you about....but just trust me, nothing on 65 is worth stopping for.
  • Iowa:  University of Iowa campus to visit old boyfriend at the time.  We broke up a few weeks later so must not have been that epic :)-
  • Kansas:  Work trip to Wichita - where no joke they have a Dorthy statue at the airport saying there is no place like home - - there is though :)  Remember lots of dust, fields, and running past an Amish restaurant that said they had the best hot buns in the world (I have a weird memory I know) 
  • Kentucky:  Believe it or not having lived close to here I only ran there once -  Anthem 5k Classic - had a great race - won some good stuff - so good memories.  It was around the Louisville Slugger Museum I remember that - and also thinking this is a nice area :)
  • Louisiana:  never been, not on bucket list :)
  • Maine:  Easiest of the 50 - If you have one thing on your bucket list - make it be Beach to Beacon 10k.  WOW!   This is Joan Benoit's race and it starts in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, all the elites come out for it, and it is be far the prettiest race you will ever run.

  • Maryland:  Ran in Baltimore for work on boardwalk - - I thought it was great but lot's of people say Baltimore is nasty?  Maybe I ran in the nice part?
  • Massachusetts:  Charles River Loop, love the soft gravel paths and just hundreds of people out and about, Boston is truly a running mecca.
  • Michigan:  Dad used to work in Grand Rapids, and remember going up there once to see him for something and running a few miles near a golf course, really really pretty up there - VERY GREEN!
  • Minnesota:  Where I really started to run!  I lived in Minneapolis on a soft trail, and this is where it all really began, I had been running a tad after college but the competitive scene here is what really sparked my curiosity.  Epic run would be The Boston Scientific 10K, not sure if still called that - but a great 10K around the lakes in August.  Lots of elites, well organized, fast course.
  • Mississippi: never been, not on bucket list :)
  • Missouri:  Not a huge fan of this state because the Cardinals are there (gross), but did run by the arch and stadium, just remember it being like 150% humidity  - but pretty downtown!
  • Montana: never been, not on bucket list :)
  • Nebraska: never been, not on bucket list :)
  • Nevada:  Las Vegas for work - yuck - dirty, people hooting and hollering at me, not a great experience.
  • New Hampshire: Loon Mountain Trail Run, day trip from Providence, the Fall, beautiful Foliage!
  • New Jersey:  never been, not on bucket list :)
  • New Mexico:  Bucket list for sure!  Want to go to the Hot Air Balloon Festival and run the trails around there and I think there is a 10K that weekend too that is pretty famous.
  • New York:  Easy.  Central Park, where I almost blasted Justin for taking forever to tie his shoe, when actually he was on one knee :)  Never forget that engagement run, ever.  Always a special place in my heart.

  • North Carolina:  Recruiting trip at Duke, ran through campus during Fall, and actually into Cameron Stadium, because the door was open!  Got the chills standing in there.  Very old and smelly.
  • North Dakota:  never been, not on bucket list :)
  • Northern Marianas Islands:  Wha?!   I need to go back to school, not sure what this is either.
  • Ohio: Cincinnati - - if you visit here try to time it with one of these great great races:  Hyde Park Blast (June), Ladies Distance Classic (August), or Mini Heart Marathon (March)    You would never think  Cincinnati for running, but they have a great race calendar for all seasons
  • Oklahoma:  Actually want to run here, just never been.
  • Oregon:  Pre's run for sure.  So 2 things if you go.  1)  Do Pre's Trail - this soft woodchip lined trail that takes you right by the football stadium, pretty cool.  2)  Run by Pre's rock, hill is a BOOGER, but another run that will give you the chills when you see where he was hit.
  • Pennsylvania:  Three Rivers Trail  -  takes you right downtown, in the Fall it's awesome, trees, bridges, water - good stuff.  
  • Puerto Rico:  Never been, but would for sure be up for it!
  • Rhode Island:  Having lived here for almost 2 years this was a tough call! I had a lot of great runs, but I think my most memorable was one morning when I got the call at 5am that my grandpa had passed away.  I couldn't go back to sleep so I put my shoes on and ran down Blackstone Blvd which is an all gravel path in Providence that the elites who train there (Molly Huddle, Kim Smith) cruise on.  It's the perfect length (5K) for some speed work.  Anyways I remember getting out there and mind you no one gets up really early b/c it's not 110 at 6 am :)  And literally just hearing my breath and my thoughts and tears just streaming down my face as I ran.  Not usually an emotional person, not sure why I was crying actually, I just felt like the older you get the more and more good byes you have to say, the more you have to let go to what was your life, and move on.
  • South Carolina:  Hilton Head - running vacation to get some training in a few years back,  ran on the beach which is a 'harder beach' so good for running.  Quiet, beautiful, definitely would go back there. Don't need a car, you can bike everywhere.
  • South Dakota:  Never been there, not on bucket list.
  • Tennessee:  Nashville for work -   Hit their bike path and then through downtown, very beautiful.  Another CB moment, left my keys under the wheel in a park parking lot - obviously the skate boarders saw me do it and moved them to another wheel.  Provided for a panic attack, but eventually found them, and heard them laughing :(
  • Texas:  Okay, hopefully no one from work is reading this b/c they will really think I am weird. I had a double the day I was in Tyler Tx for work so I ran in the AM, but then after my meeting I got dropped at the Tyler Airport (size of my kitchen) and asked "WELCOME TO TYLER" desk man to hold my luggage while I ran.  I ran 4 miles around the airport in 100 heat, and then went right on the plane.  I knew if I didn't get it in then, I wouldn't in 115 at home that night.  But it was one of those moments where I realized I have this sick drive, this sick heart that I know, I know will get me to my dream.
  • Utah:  Salt Lake City recently with teammate Natalie - been to SLC many times, but this was an epic run just for the peacefulness of the morning and the conversation - SugarLoaf park was the name if you are looking for a good spot!
  • Vermont:  Hiked - never ran, and if you are a runner you are anal and know that doesn't count
  • Virginia:  Never been
  • Virgin Islands:  Sign me Up!
  • Washington:  Seattle - remember it was raining and thinking wow how perfect.  Ran downtown, and remember it being rather hilly too?
  • West Virginia:  All I remember is running by the running store and the tshirts in the window said "West Virginia is for Lovers" with a picture of runners on it.  ?  
  • Wisconsin:  Work trip by Great Wold Lodge HQ (dont ask, it's what happens when you sell diapers :) - - Wisconsin is beautiful, very similar (I think) to Illinois - lots of trees, rolling hills type stuff.
  • Wyoming: never been, not on bucket list :)