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My running story

I honestly can’t remember the first time I ran, but I do have a lot of memories of running with my dad as a little girl. We used to go to Marco Island, FL for vacation every spring and my dad would run on the beach every morning. I loved to go run with him, but because I was pretty young, I couldn’t run quite as far as him. I would run as far as I could and then stop, and when I stopped, my dad would run a little bit and then turn around and circle back around me. He did this over and over until he finished his run. I loved running with my dad and as I got older I could eventually run the whole distance with my dad.

When I was 8 years old I started swimming competitively, and that became my main sport. I would still run with my dad when we went on vacation though. I also loved running the mile in school and started running track when I got to middle school. My favorite event was the mile, but I also found out I was pretty good at the 400 and 800. Since I swam year round, I didn’t have a lot of time to run, but I continued running track in high school and ran a little bit over the summers when I had time.

I knew I wanted to swim in college, so I went to Calvin College and swam on the swim team for all four years. I still loved to run though, so I started running in the off season. I ran my first 5K in April 2005, my freshman year of college. I had so much fun that I decided I was going to really get into racing. I ran a few more races that summer. I couldn’t run a lot during the school year because of swimming, but I would start running right after our national meet every year.

In 2007, right before my senior year of college, my dad asked me to sign up for a half marathon with him. I said sure! I was really excited about it. We trained together and did a long run every Saturday that summer. On race day, we ran the first 8 miles together, and then my dad told me to go ahead. I finished in 1:54 and was so happy crossing that finish line.

The next year I ran a 25K right before I graduated from college and then ran off and on the next year when I was in PT school. My second year of PT school I really started to get more serious about running. I decided to sign up for the Disney Marathon. I trained while doing my second clinical rotation. My big goal for the marathon was to qualify for Boston. I ran 3:33 that day and hit my goal! After that I decided that I wanted to run a marathon in all 50 states. I signed up for the Chicago marathon the same year.

2010 was a big year for me. I ran my first marathon and I also did my first triathlon! My dad bought himself and me a bike and we signed up for the Chicago Triathlon. After that I was hooked on triathlons too.

In 2011 I was finishing up my clinical rotations for PT school in Arizona and Alabama. While I was in Alabama I decided to run a few local races. At a local 10K, I met a guy that I talked to for a while after the race. I emailed that guy a few weeks later and we ended up falling in love and getting married! Now we both love running and are training for marathons and triathlons together.

Every year I try to run at least two marathons in different states and I do a lot of other races. I’m gradually moving towards my goal of all 50 states. So far I have 14 completed.

In 2015 and 2017 I was pregnant with my kids, so I didn’t do as many marathons, but I ran throughout both pregnancies. I ran a lot more during my second pregnancy because I felt a lot better.

After having kids I’m still running just as much, but it’s been a little harder. I don’t have as much time and it’s hard for me to run as fast. I’m gradually trying to work my way back to where I was. I just ran my fastest postpartum marathon a few weeks ago and qualified for Boston again! I’m really excited to go back next year!

I’m also working on scheduling some more marathons in new states. Running has definitely been a lifelong journey that has brought me a lot of happiness. I love that it really is a family activity. It definitely brings my family closer together. I hope it’s something that my kids love as much as I do.

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Head Over Teal 5K Race Report

I don’t usually like to do any races in the 3-4 weeks following a marathon. Those weeks are meant for resting and not worrying about mileage, but I agreed to do this 5K on Saturday because I’ve done it before and my husband really wanted to do it. I thought it would be fun to do a little 5K and see if my marathon training might help me break 20. I think I could’ve done it, but it was extremely hot and humid and miserable outside. I finished in 20:07, just short of my goal, but I’m actually happy with that, especially considering how I felt during the race.

During my warmup, I realized that the race would be tough because I was already sweating a lot. I did a mile with Zach and decided that was enough because I didn’t want to get too sweaty and my legs were still a little tired. Zach and I walked around a little bit after the warmup to keep our legs moving.

The race starts up a giant hill, so I knew that I shouldn’t start off too fast. I still ended up going faster than I wanted and realized it a little too late. I tried to keep a good pace without looking at my watch for the first mile. I had 2 guys right in front of me and I decided I would just stay with them. My legs felt good even though there were a lot of hills. I repeated my favorite mantra “Stay in the mile you’re in” and thought about getting to that next mile. I crossed mile 1 in 6:36. It was a little slower than I wanted to be, but I knew I was giving it my all.

The second mile was a little easier than the first because it was mostly downhill. I just tried to keep the same pace even though I was already feeling pretty fatigued. I could feel that I had just run a marathon 2 weeks before. I tried to keep telling myself to just get through this mile though. I crossed mile 2 in 6:47. I was surprised I had slowed down that much, but I knew I was hot and tired.

Mile 3 was pretty tough because it had a lot of uphill. My legs were also pretty dead by this point. I really just wanted to make it to the finish line. I pushed myself as much as I could and I was super happy when I finally saw the finish line. I saw I was so close to 20 and I tried to sprint, but I just didn’t have anything left. My third mile was 6:44 and I realized when I finished that the course was about a tenth short.

The race was pretty tough, but I’m still glad I did it. I’m pretty happy with the time as well, even if the course was short. I finished 1st overall female too, so that was pretty exciting!

I’m starting to build my mileage again this week to prepare for the Baltimore marathon, and I’m hoping I recover quickly from this race. I’m planning on traveling a lot in the next few weeks, but I don’t think I’m going to race again until Baltimore!

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Marathon Recovery- What I’ve Been Doing the last 2 weeks!

It’s been exactly 2 weeks since the Holland Haven Marathon and I think I’m recovering pretty well. It always takes me a few weeks to feel normal again after running a marathon because of the distance. I put so much physical and mental strength into finishing the race that my body and mind need to just relax for a little while. I usually keep my mileage low for the first few weeks and then gradually start building back up. This time, however, I decided to sign up for another marathon just 6 weeks after the last one! I know it’s a little crazy, but I also have a crazy goal of running a marathon in all 50 states, so I need to start getting some more states. I will be running the Baltimore Marathon on October 20th. I’m not sure if I’m going to race super hard or just have fun yet. It just depends how I’m feeling as the race gets closer.

Since the next race is so close, here are some things I’ve been doing to make sure I recover well.

1. Sleeping (or trying to). I know how important sleep is to the recovery process, so I’ve been trying to get a little more sleep. It’s been hard because of my kids, but I try to at least go to bed a little earlier if I can.

2. Stretching/ Foam Rolling. I’ve been making sure to stretch and foam roll when I have the time. It has helped to reduce soreness and I think It’s helping me build my mileage back up more quickly.

3. Hydrating. I’m not always good about staying hydrated at work. I get busy and forget to drink, but these past two weeks I’ve been really trying to drink as much water as I can. It is still really hot here too, so I get dehydrated really easily when I run at night.

4. Eating good, wholesome foods. I’ve been trying to eat enough and eat a lot of foods that help with recovery. I’ve been working with a dietician and she has helped me a lot. I’ve added a lot more fruits and vegetables to my diet and I’m making sure to eat healthy snacks between meals!

5. Taking Collagen Supplements. I’ve been taking liquid collagen that also has Branched chain amino acids in it twice a day everyday and I think it has helped with my recovery. It helps my joints feel a lot better and I think it helped reduce soreness after the race. Here’s a link to the one I’ve been using: Liquid Biocell There’s a $10 off coupon code through the link if anyone is interested in trying it.

6. Trying to gradually build my mileage back up. I ran 22 miles the first week and 30.5 miles the second week. I did a 10 mile run as my long (ish) run on Sunday at the end of both weeks. I’ll need to do a longer run next week, but I’m hoping that the last marathon will help me be more prepared for the next marathon. I don’t plan on doing another 20 miler because I want my legs to feel fresh and rested.

I’m hoping all of this will really help me recover and be ready for the next marathon. I really don’t have a lot of expectations, but I want to feel good during the race. I want to be able to finish strong and have fun!

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Holland Haven Marathon Race Report!

I’m so excited to write this Race Report because this was one of the best marathons that I’ve ever run! Even though it was not a PR, I ran pretty even splits, the temperature was pretty great, and I was able to sprint into the finish! I have run way too many marathons where I’ve hit a wall at mile 20 and have struggled to get to the finish line, so this race makes me happy. I also qualified for Boston by 12 minutes, which was my main goal in this race, so I’ve been pretty happy since I finished on Sunday.

On race morning, I woke up at 5:00, got dressed, ate breakfast, and drove to the finish line with Zach. We took a bus to the start and waited in an elementary school until about 10 minutes before the race started.

I felt pretty good when I started and I planned on keeping a pretty easy pace that I knew I could keep for the whole race. I got sprayed in the face by a cold sprinkler in the first mile, but so did a few other people, and laughing about it actually helped me relax a little bit.

I ran by feel for the first five miles and my splits were 7:37, 7:46, 7:34, 7:46, 7:45. I was running behind two people and decided to just run with them for a little while. I was feeling good and relaxed.

The next five miles got a little tougher because there were some rolling hills. My splits for miles 6-10 were 7:54, 7:47, 7:36, 7:50, 7:43. I took a gu just after mile 6 and I got it all over my hands and face. It was definitely not fun being sticky, but it kept my mind off running for a little while. Miles 9-10 were the toughest because there were quite a few hills and I was running with just one other guy at this point.

I started feeling a little more sore and tired during miles 11-15, but when I crossed the half at 1:41:33, I knew I could get to the finish line in under 3:30. I took another gu at mile 12 and managed to not get too sticky. It was the toasted marshmallow flavor, which is amazing!! My splits for these 5 miles were 7:49, 7:46, 7:45, 7:41, 7:47.

After mile 15, even though my legs were tightening up a little bit, I started feeling like I could keep up my pace for the rest of the race. I was running pretty much alone, but I started to see a few people in the distance that I was catching up to. That gave me a lot of motivation. I wanted to see if I could catch them. I also knew that I was going to see my mom, my aunt, and my boys at some point soon, so that helped me push through.

My splits for miles 16-20 were 7:45, 7:56, 7:51, 7:36, 7:46. I saw my family just before mile 19 and passed 3 people just after that. I think mile 19 was so fast because I was trying to catch the people in front of me.

Miles 21-26.2 were tough because we turned into a road going into Holland and there was a strong headwind. Some of the gusts were probably 15 mph. It was tough, but I was feeling good and strong. My splits for these miles were 7:52, 7:53, 7:40, 7:48, 7:50, 7:54, 1:44 for the last .24. I was smiling while I was running these last 5 miles because I knew that I was going to BQ and I was feeling good! I hardly ever feel good at the end of a marathon, so it was a good day! I rounded the corner to the finish line and saw Zach cheering me on. I was so excited to see 3:23:54 on the clock! I had qualified for Boston and run my fastest marathon since before I had kids!

Out of the 19 marathons I’ve run, this is definitely one of my favorites. Now I can’t wait to sign for Boston tomorrow! It will be my fourth Boston and my first one since having my kids!

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Chicago Triathlon Race Report

This race was tough because of the heat, but I had a lot of fun and I’m happy with how I finished. This was my eighth Chicago Triathlon, but I hadn’t done the Olympic Distance since 2014, before I had any kids. I was nervous before the start because I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go. I’ve been training hard for the Holland Haven Marathon, so I didn’t bike or swim as much as I wanted to this summer. I told myself to just stay positive and have fun though.

Race morning I got up at 4:00, got dressed, grabbed my bag, and headed out the door with my dad and Zach at 4:30. We biked over to the transition area, which was about 3 miles away. It was a little creepy biking on the Lakeshore trail that early in the morning. Right before we got to the transition my water bottle popped off my bike. I stopped and put it back on, but I was a little worried it wouldn’t be secure during the race. I put my bike and all of my things in transition, grabbed my cap and goggles, and walked over to the swim start. I still had about 2 hours because my wave didn’t start until 7:20.

After waiting around for a while with my dad and Zach, it was finally time to put my wetsuit on. It was hard work because it was super hot out already and I was sweaty. I got in line with my wave and got ready to start the race. At about 7:18, they let us jump into Lake Michigan. We treaded water for 2 minutes and then we were off. I felt pretty good during the swim, but it started to feel long at around 1000 meters. I finally reached the swim exit and started running towards transition. It’s about a half mile run to get to transition, which is tough with bare feet and a wetsuit on. I got there and had trouble getting my wetsuit off, so it took a little longer than it should have. My swim split was 25:27 and my first transition was 5:37.

I got on my bike and started pedaling and as soon as I started going up the ramp to Lake Shore Drive, my water bottle popped off again. I couldn’t stop, so I just let it go and kept riding. The first half of the bike was tough because the road was tough and it was really windy. I pushed myself as much as I could. After the first half, we went down to Lower Wacker and it felt amazing to be in the cool, dark tunnel. I felt like I could ride really fast! I started feeling tired with about 5 miles to go, but I think I kept my speed up pretty well. My bike split was 1:22:54 for the 24.8 miles.

I got off my bike and tried to get through transition as fast as I could. I also really needed a drink because i had lost my water bottle. This transition time was 2:38.

I started running and my quads were totally dead! It was also 90 degrees, so it was not a very fun run. I pushed myself as much as I could and drank water or Gatorade at every water stop. Every mile got a little slower, but I was just trying to finish. My splits ended up being 7:11, 7:21, 7:27, 7:32, 7:45, 8:01. I was really dying at the end, but I was so happy to see the finish line!

My total time was 2:42:33, which is my second fastest time at the Chicago Triathlon! Even though it was hard, I’m still happy with the results! I can’t wait to do it again next year!

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Holland Haven Marathon Training – Weeks 1 and 2

The first two weeks of marathon training are officially complete! I was planning on being better about blogging, but once again life got in the way, so here is a recap of the last 2 weeks.

I have still been in recovery mode since the Cleveland Marathon was just 3 weeks ago, so my mileage wasn’t very high and I didn’t do any speedwork. I’m amazed at how good I’ve been feeling though. Usually my legs are dead for several weeks after a marathon, but this time they are actually feeling ok.

The first week I ran 21 miles. This week I was really still trying to take it easy because I didn’t want to overdo it. Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday: 3 miles easy

Tuesday: 5 miles easy

Wednesday: off day

Thursday: 5 miles easy

Friday: off day

Saturday: 5 miles easy

Sunday: 3 miles easy

I ran super slow on all of my training runs and just tried to have fun with it. I got to run in Franklin, TN on Saturday since we were there for my cousin’s wedding.

The second week I ran 35.5 miles. I was feeling a lot better this week and was ready to push it a little more. Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday: 4 miles easy

Tuesday: 6 miles easy. This was a tough treadmill run!

Wednesday: 3.1 miles easy

Thursday: 6 miles. I ran this fairly easy, but ended up doing a progression run. It felt good to run a little faster.

Friday: No running. Swam 1300 yards and biked 20 minutes. It felt good to be back in the pool!

Saturday: 12.37 miles in 1:41:43. I averaged under 8:00 miles for the first 6 miles and then slowed down quite a bit. It was extremely hot and humid and I got a little dehydrated. I also ran about 1.37 miles more than I was planning to!

Sunday: 4 miles easy. My legs were really tired from my long run yesterday, but they loosened up during the run.

I’m tired after this week, but I’m ready to increase my mileage and really start training!!

How did your training go this week?

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Goals for the Holland Haven Marathon

Marathon training starts today! Since I didn’t qualify for Boston at the Cleveland Marathon, I’m going to try again at the Holland Haven Marathon. The race is September 9th, the last possible day to qualify. I know this means intense training in the summer heat, but I am physically and mentally ready. I want not only qualify for Boston, but I want to run a PR and sub 3:10 Marathon.

There are a few things I’m changing to make sure I’m as prepared as possible on race day.

1. Be more consistent with following my training plan. I say this because a lot of times life gets in the way and I don’t follow my schedule like I should. During this last training cycle, I did not do as many long runs as I should have. It was difficult because I had to push the stroller for a lot of my long runs, but I still should’ve finished them all. This training cycle I’m going to do all of my scheduled long runs and make sure to do a least 1 over 20 Miles.

2. Be better about my nutrition and hydration. I eat fairly healthy, but I know that I can eat a lot healthier. I love to cook and I want to make a lot of healthy meals for my family, so I’m going to make it a goal to make a meal plan at the beginning of every week. I’m also going to do some meal prep every Sunday so that I don’t have as much to do during the week when I get home from work. I’m also going to make sure I drink enough water everyday. I’m not very good about drinking water, and because I’m still breastfeeding, this is especially important! I’ve also added some liquid collagen to my diet because it is supposed to improve joint mobility, boost muscle recovery, and fuel physical and mental performance!

3. Be more consistent with doing strength and core exercises. I always start out a training cycle doing this, but then I start to increase my mileage, so I quit doing these. I don’t feel like I have enough time, but I know that doing core and strength will make me a better runner. I plan to incorporate some core and strength exercises 2-3 times per week.

4. Stretch and foam roll more often. As a physical therapist I know how important recovery is. I just don’t do it because of the lack of time. I’m going to try to do at least 5-10 minutes of active stretching and foam rolling every day after my run!

I’m really excited about this training cycle and I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish in September!! I will update my blog with my training every week to let you know how it’s going!

Are you training for any fall races?

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Cleveland Marathon Race Report

I went into this race hoping that I would qualify for Boston, but also wondering if I had trained enough. I put in a lot of hard work, but it was only 5 months after I had given birth to Zander, so I knew I wasn’t in the best condition of my life. I woke up feeling pretty good on race morning. I was tired from lack of sleep two nights before, but my legs felt rested. I got up about 6, had to pump breast milk (since we left Zander with my parents), got dressed, and walked to the race start with Zach. It was already raining a little as we walked to the start line.

When the race started I took off at a pace that felt strong, but comfortable. I was planning on running around an 8:00 pace so I could be right around 3:30 at the finish. It was pretty crowded in the beginning because there were people running the half marathon, marathon, and 10K. My first 5 miles felt really smooth. My splits were 7:45, 7:59, 7:45, 7:40, 7:57.

I ran a little faster than I wanted to in the first 5 miles, but I felt good, so I wasn’t too worried. My splits for miles 6-10 were 7:44, 8:01, 7:51, 7:55, 8:05. There was a very steep hill in mile 7, so that slowed my pace a little. I started to feel a little fatigued towards the end of mile 10, so I slowed my pace a little. By this time I was also soaking wet, so I was pretty uncomfortable.

Miles 11-15 started to get really tough. My splits for these 5 miles were 8:93, 8:10, 8:20, 8:09, 8:00. I felt much more fatigued than I wanted to. I got passed by the 3:30 pace group in mile 13, so I got a little discouraged. I slowed down in that mile, but then made the decision to keep pushing as much as I could.

Miles 16-20 were extremely tough, and in hindsight I probably should’ve slowed down to save my energy, but I just really wanted to stay under 3:35 pace. My splits for these 5 miles were 8:04, 8:09, 8:00, 7:57, 8:20. I felt extremely sore and tired, but so pushed through it as much as I could. That lasted until about mile 20. After that mile I just couldn’t push anymore. My legs just felt dead.

My splits for miles 21-26.2 were all over the place. I just couldn’t keep running the whole way because of the pain and fatigue I was feeling in my legs. My splits were 8:45, 9:33, 10:00, 10:44, 10:12, 11:16, 4:06. I stopped to use the bathroom during mile 23 and I just walked 30 seconds here and the last 5 miles. There were some hills in the last few miles that were really tough as well. I was so happy to finally see the finish line! I finished in 3:44:41.

Although it was not the time I wanted, I’m happy to have finished another marathon in another state. Now I’m deciding on a September marathon so I can try to qualify for Boston!

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Cleveland Marathon Training Update

I have less than 4 weeks until I run the Cleveland Marathon and I have mixed feelings about how the race is going to go. I’ve been feeling pretty good about my training, but there are a few things that haven’t been going as planned. Since I will be just 5 months postpartum, I know this will not be a PR race for me, but my main goal is to qualify for Boston. I ran my last Boston Marathon in 2015 when I found out I was pregnant with Zeke and I would love to go back there again next year!

My mileage has been pretty good over the last several weeks. I’ve had several 40+ mile weeks and although I’m tired from the lack of sleep and chasing after 2 kids, I feel like I’ve gotten faster and stronger. I’ve also raced a few times and have had some positive results, so I know that I can run a good race in Cleveland.

Here’s my mileage for the last 4 weeks:

March 26-April 1: 46.4 miles

April 2-April 8: 35.5 miles

April 9-April 15: 46 miles

April 16-April 22: 37.1 miles

The thing I’ve struggled with the most is getting my long runs in and getting speedwork in. My longest run so far is 16.2 miles, and with only 4 weeks to go until the marathon, that is not ideal. I am going to try to get in 20 miles this weekend as my last long run, but I still would’ve liked to do more long runs. I have also done some speedwork, but not as much as I should have because I’ve had to run on the treadmill a lot. I don’t love doing speedwork on a treadmill, so I don’t do it unless I absolutely have to.

Overall my training has been going fairly well, but if I’m going to do a fall marathon I definitely need to train a little bit harder.

Are you training for any races? How’s your training going?

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Tenacious 10 Mile Race Report

I ran my longest postpartum race yesterday and I loved it! Let me just say that the Oiselle Tenacious 10 was an awesome race and I hope I can run it again next year. I am very happy with the way my race went and I had a lot of fun before and after the race. I didn’t get to see and meet as many people as I wanted to, so hopefully if I decide to run the race next year, I can go for a longer period of time and participate in more events!

Zach and I got to Seattle on Friday and immediately went to pick up our packets at the Watertown Hotel. We picked up our packets, got a lot of free picky bars, and looked at some Oiselle apparel! After we picked up our packets, we went for a 3 mile shakeout run at Gas Works Park. It was a beautiful afternoon and my legs felt good. We then checked into our hotel and then went to dinner at an Italian place. We were pretty tired after dinner, so we went back to the hotel, I layed out my race clothes, and we went to bed.

I woke up on Saturday feeling tired, but ready to run. I got dressed and Zach and I headed over to Gas Works Park at around 6:45. We got there and did a 2 mile warm up. My legs felt great during the warm up and I was feeling excited to race. It was a little chilly, around 45 degrees, and pretty windy, so we went back to the car after the warm up. I had to pump before running, since we went on the trip without Zeke and Zander, so after I was done, we got out of the car and headed to the start.

When the race started I felt pretty good. I ran the first mile in 7:12 and it felt fast, but I knew I could maintain that pace for a while. Miles 2 and 3 were 7:11 and 7:06. I was still feeling good, but I struggled a little bit mentally because the pace felt harder than I thought it should’ve.

Miles 4-6 I felt fairly strong. My splits were 7:07, 7:09, 7:12. I started to feel like I was getting into a good rhythm and not thinking about pace anymore. I just picked a person ahead of me to focus on and try to catch up to.

Miles 7-9 were a little bit tougher. I started feeling tired and there were a lot of sharp turns that made it difficult to keep running at the same pace. My splits were 7:11, 7:32, 7:22. My legs were definitely getting fatigued and I was starting to slow down. As I got to the end of mile 9, I knew I was getting close to the finish, so I started trying to push myself through the pain.

My split for mile 10 was 7:04. Even though I was fatigued, I knew I had a little bit more to give, so I tried to run as fast as my body would let me. I saw Zach with about .1 to go and he told me to sprint, so I ran as fast as I could to the finish.

I finished in 1:12:13, not my PR, but a time I’m proud of since I just had Zander 4 months ago. Thank you to all my Oiselle friends that cheered for me after I turned around at the 7 mile mark! It was awesome seeing and hearing all of you and it really helped me get to the finish line!

I did a 2 mile cool down after the race and then got to enjoy the post race party for a little while. I had some amazing donuts and a lot of other fun food/drinks too! Overall it was a great race!