Ready. Set. MOVE. A Great Gift For Runners!

The post below is part of my partnership with the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events for which I have been selected to be a 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon official blogger. I’ve received the January Ready Set Move box in exchange for promotion of the Pittsburgh Marathon events. All opinions are 100% my own.  This post also contains affiliate links – meaning if you decide to make a purchase based on this post, I might receive a small compensation in exchange for your telling you about the product. 

When the P3R Gear announced that they would be offering a quarterly subscription box service for runners who also love Pittsburgh, I was super excited. I’ve not jumped on many subscription box bandwagons, but I knew these boxes would be a great treat for someone addicted to running – like me. *wink* The Ready. Set. MOVE. Box has arrived for those who subscribed for the first quarter and I’m glad I was gifted one – I’m hooked!

Ready Set Move

Ready. Set. MOVE. A Great Gift for Runners

When I first started running, I most definitely said, “I’ve chosen a pretty inexpensive sport! I’ve got my feet, some shoes, what more do I need”. I was so wrong. The race entry fees, good shoes, and the swag at expos…I had no idea what I was in for before I got hooked on running.

What I love about the Ready. Set. MOVE. subscription box is that it is affordable, gets me a sampling of some of that awesome expo gear, and surprises me four times a year. At $49.99 a quarter, you get gear from the P3R Gear store and a sampling of some of the products offered by official Pittsburgh Marathon race partners. I cannot guarantee that you won’t get even further addicted to the fun gear and not buy more, but isn’t this a great option?!?! 

So where does the gifting come into play? Well, this is a great gift to give yourself, to surprise your running buddies with, or to ask for as a gift – I am hard to shop for and my husband even saw it and asked if it was something I might like [before we knew I’d be getting one as an Official Blogger].

If you’re ready to buy, head on over to the P3R Gear store and start subscribing!

Ready. Set. MOVE. January 2019 Box Details

The January 2019 Ready. Set. MOVE. Box got me motivated to hit the treadmill – that should tell you a lot. (If you’re new around here, I had an MCL injury in 2012 and an MCL sprain this year, both due to the treadmill.) I’m a sucker for all things BLACK AND GOLD, especially when it is gear that I can use for not just running. This box delivered!

Included in the January 2019 Ready. Set. MOVE. subscription box:

My favorite? I really, truly cannot pick. They were all awesome and I’m excited to see what comes in the April box!

Ready. Set. MOVE. – the Details

You can find the following information about the Ready. Set. MOVE. Subscription Box on the P3R Gear website, too:

Ready.Set.MOVE. is a quarterly subscription box filled with health and fitness goodies that you can use throughout the year as you workout and train. Boxes are distributed on the 30th of January, April, July and October and are charged automatically on the 25th of each of these months.

Subscribe to Ready.Set.MOVE for just $49.99 a quarter! You will be charged on the 25th of each month the box is distributed (January, April, July, October), and it will be shipped out on the 25th of that month.

Each box will contain various products and merchandise from P3R gear and our official race partners valued at $100. Plus, select boxes will feature a golden ticket and include a premium surprise item.

Exciting, right? There is still time to get registered for the April box (arriving in time for the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend!), so what are you waiting for? Did you get the January box? What did you think?

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Thinking about signing up for the Marathon or Half? make sure you do and let them know I sent you by using WILLISDSGPM19 as your code when you sign up. You’ll save $10 when you do! Register here.

Training Tuesday: A Two-fer

The post below is part of a series of posts about the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events for which I have been selected to be a 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon official blogger. I’ve received my race registration fee in exchange for promotion of the event. All opinions are 100% my own.  

I apparently thought that last week just didn’t exist because not only did I think we were already 12 weeks away and I needed to really dive into training for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events but I totally forgot to share with you!

Ok, being honest, I really didn’t want last week to exist, I’ll get that off my chest first. The day after my last training post, it was minus two and I was frantically re-booking a flight to Raleigh and just made it so that I could get to go live week — aka the week that my 2nd Salesforce “Baby” was decommissioned and replaced with someone else’s parenting. Sigh. But that’s the nature of my job as a Salesforce Consultant and I was actually pretty excited to be doing the work, sad as it was.

January 28 – February 3: The Week That Wasn’t

Take some time for you, my boss said as she wished me luck on the third and final trip to Raleigh. I listened, even when it was hard.

Monday 1/28: CrossFit

I knew it would be my last WOD for a while but I was excited to get this one in. Many of my fellow Richard G Snyder YMCA evening Y-Fit crew are also taking part in the Marathon’s weekend of events (many in the relay) and so the WODs are going to have a bit of running with them from here out. This one called for 1800m but I couldn’t leave it at that and added an extra 200m to my checked off list.

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One of the hardest things I've faced since changing jobs is finding my balance again. Everytime I think I'm set, I start over. Every week…every DAY…has been new. I tackled the task of "starting over" #ontheblog yesterday for #TrainingTuesday and got back to the box for a YFit #crossfitwod on Monday. I'm going to keep moving and making positive changes and that's me living my best life. . . . @pghmarathon on May 5 will be my 5th #halfmarathon and as someone who used to only run after the ice cream truck, this is pretty big. If you are considering joining me for the weekend of @p3revents, be sure to use code WILLISDSGPM19 to save $10 off registration > I'm excited to know who is joining me on the course! #MOVEPittsburgh #ad

A post shared by Becky Willis (@mrsgregwillis) on

Tuesday 1/29: Rest …and took Arianna to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was AMAZING.

Thursday 1/31: 2.01 miles, 12’13″/mile

Settled into the Hilton Raleigh North (aka where I spent the first 6 nights of February), it was time for some me time before I started the work. I took it easy on the treadmill and was happy with a quick 2 miles before starting the day.

Friday 2/1: 1.52 miles

For some reason, I can’t really remember what I did on the treadmill but I know that something started to hurt and so I ended up running one mile and walking a half. My body knew that long days were ahead.

Sunday 2/3: 1.75 miles, 13’13″/mile

Aww, yeah! I am proud of this run. The thing is that it was uphill and followed getting less than four hours’ sleep after working 19 hours the day before. I run to Starbucks to get myself a treat and kinda-sorta got fat-shamed while I was there. Whatever. I’m proud of this one, even if someone else sees this and my latte as bad life decisions.

Go Live Week & Half-Marathon KOTR

So after my run on Sunday, I didn’t make the time I needed to at the gym but I spent a good chunk of the week working or in bed. I had a terrible time with my sinuses, celebrated the successful go-live a little too hard (grilled Nashville hot chicken, local ciders, and YES a deep fried pretzel that made me sick), and traveled to the airport twice to try to get home. I’m having some grace on myself for this week and know that this is all just part of the training.

Monday 2/4: 2.1 miles, Speed Work

The RunCoach plan called for 0.5 miles warm up, drills, 100m x3, some rounds of a run then walk, then 0.5 miles cool down. Check!

Tuesday 2/5: Walk to CVS

It was clear I was sick and I needed medicine so I took the time I had been spending at the gym to walk to get some options.

Saturday 2/9: 2.0 miles, 12’32″/mile

Part of my duties as an Official Blogger of the Pittsburgh Marathon is to attend their training events, but let me be clear, I love these events and would have gone no matter what! I fell in love with them at the Warmup on Walnut in 2013 (then again in 2014), affirmed that after my fall last year, and even in temps over 70-degrees, so it was no surprise that I would get out of bed and take on something even after 73 hours of work, little sleep, and a horribly stuffy nose.

I got to catch up with someone who was there in the room with me in 2013 when I decided to become a half-marathoner and to meet another Official Blogger IRL. We did the dynamic warmup and while I knew I probably shouldn’t have done it, I set out with the 12:00 pacer for the four-mile loop (proof is here on Cara’s Instagram, that’s me all marshmellowy bundled up there on the left). About 0.5 miles in, I let the majority of the group go around me and I started to listen to my breathing. I kept the group just ahead of me but at 1 mile turned around and headed back to starting line. Two miles was just enough for me and I got a chance to check out some of the sponsors and be part of the kickoff training run for the Half. Goal achieved!

And this week is already off to a good start, but you’ll have to come back next week to see how it goes.

PSST! If you’ve read this far and are ready to sign up for the Marathon or Half, make sure you do and let them know I sent you by using WILLISDSGPM19 as your code when you sign up. You’ll save $10 when you do! Register here.

Training Tuesday: Starting Over

The post below is part of a series of posts about the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events for which I have been selected to be a 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon official blogger. I’ve received my race registration fee in exchange for promotion of the event. All opinions are 100% my own.  

With less than 100 days until go day, I’m proud to say the recommitting to myself has felt amazing! Even with a work trip, this week of my “unofficial” training rocked!

Final Base Building Week

Monday 1/21: 1.53 miles, 12’29″/mile

These were treadmill miles, following a plan from RunCoach. (Psst, if you are signed up for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events, you can get this app and training plan, too!) I did some speed work and strength on these achy legs and it felt great! Unfortunately my days were full of work so I sat A LOT during the week, so kicking it off like this was perfect!

Tuesday 1/22: 4.5 miles cycling

The knee was not feeling it, so I was happy for this cross training, but it was also good for pushing through a busy morning at the gym. Yay for moving!

Wednesday 1/23: 1 mile, 11’51”

I felt it and I still hate the treadmill. End.of.story.

And that was that. I came home with a good amount of steps under my belt and rest needed. I took down the Christmas tree and spent time where I needed to, with the kids. But in my heart, I knew this week moved mental mountains!

PSST! If you’ve read this far and are ready to sign up for the Marathon or Half, make sure you do and let them know I sent you by using WILLISDSGPM19 as your code when you sign up. You’ll save $10 when you do! Register here.

Training Tuesday: The OUCH Edition

The post below is part of a series of posts about the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events for which I have been selected to be a 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon official blogger. I’ve received my race registration fee in exchange for promotion of the event. All opinions are 100% my own.  

Yinz know that the last few months have been filled with some tests and trials for me. I set intentions to make 2019 a bigger and better year for me, including attempting a PR in my 5th half marathon.

But sometimes there are plans that are bigger than our plans and things happen that sideline us and cause us to focus elsewhere.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. 

Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)

While traveling for work two weeks ago, I ventured to the hotel gym instead of taking to the streets. There was a line for the treadmills, so when it was my turn I decided to run a quick mile with some speed work (90 seconds running, a minute jogging). I logged a fairly fast for me mile and then stretched. There was something that bugged me while stretching but instead of listening and figuring it out, I rushed off to a shower then dinner with colleagues.

That night, I didn’t sleep very well. My knee was throbbing. The same knee that gave me MCL issues after a treadmill run 6 years ago before my first half. No. No. No. Not now!

When casually as I do mentioning it to my chiro, she suggested it was likely a light sprain and that I needed to rest and ice for a bit. I got it scraped with Deep Blue then actually listened and stayed off it all week.

That brings us to this past Friday. At that appointment, I felt better even though I admitted that long hours sitting had led to related pain in my hip and ankle. Not good. When the practice owner/other chiro checked out the knee, same pain, same instructions to take it easy.

Guys, this puts me to only being able to do light work and stretches and here we are just about 14 weeks until race day! I was sad but knew I needed to listen and heal.

So the next day, I decided to step on the scale. I needed to know what other damage I’d done to my progress in the time since October 4 (the last time I weighed myself). I was feeling good, clothes were fitting and keto with intermittent fasting seemed to be working. My waist was down 2 inches in the week, so the scale couldn’t be that bad, could it? Besides, I needed to know if I should keep up my diet or switch it up.

Welp. This is tough to swallow. My lack of dedication to myself has led to a gain of 22 pounds since October and that’s after what I thought was a great month so far. Ouch.

So what is next? I am going to re-committ. I will work out 3 to 4 times this week, easy for that knee and with a brace. I am going to stop IF and eat breakfasts again. I think I’m eating too much too late in the day, paired with not working out, this has been a mess on my body. And prayerfully, I will find myself back to *me*, ready to go for the Half Marathon Kickoff Training Run on February 9. No more setbacks or excuses!

PSST! If you’ve read this far and are ready to sign up for the Marathon or Half, make sure you do and let them know I sent you by using WILLISDSGPM19 as your code when you sign up. You’ll save $10 when you do! Register here.

Training Tuesday: 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon Official Blogger

The post below is part of a series of posts about the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events for which I have been selected to be a 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon official blogger. I’ve received my race registration fee in exchange for promotion of the event. All opinions are 100% my own.  

Ahh!!! I could barely contain my excitement when I found out that I had been selected as an Official Blogger for the 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon! The announcement got around on social media a little casually and then the holidays came but now it is time to get to training and telling you all about this year’s journey. I am thrilledblushing, and blessed to be part of this team of 2019 Official Bloggers for the Pittsburgh Marathon!

Read the official announcement and meet the rest of the team here: Meet the 2019 Official Bloggers

Pittsburgh Marathon Official Blogger
source: Pittsburgh Marathon

2019 Pittsburgh Marathon Blogger: What Does That Mean?

I’ll be documenting not only my training journey here on mrsgregwillis.com but will also be sharing posts on ‘lil Burghers about ways that the family will be training for and participating in the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events (earning another Steel Challenge medal with the 5k and Half Marathon). Watch the official Pittsburgh Marathon blog for my posts, too!

I’ll be encouraging everyone around me to MOVE and be part of the weekend of events (May 3-5, 2019) which really includes something for everyone. There is an expo, a pet walk, a toddler trot, a mile run for kiddos, a 5k, a relay, a half, and a full. Exhausted? Great! Let’s hit the trail together and MOVE Pittsburgh! Bonus, you can save $10 when you register for the Full or Half and use code WILLISDSGPM19 at checkout.

I’ll be training. And obsessing. Yep. I admit. I obsess over my running from January until May. It’s not something that my family ever imagined was in my blood, but it sure is. Instagram is my jam when it comes to sharing my training runs and you’ll also be able to find me at some of the upcoming events:

Saturday 2/9/19: Half Marathon Kickoff Training Run (more details to come)

In case you don’t recognize me! 😉

Thank you to my friend Kait (Storytellers Photography) who took my headshots for these posts and my new blog header! xoxo

Why This Means So Much To Me

I’ll address this right now – because I am sure I’ll get the questions. Why does being part of this mean so much? 

In 2011, I was at my heaviest weight – somewhere over 300 pounds. I didn’t step on the scale because who needs that negativity in their life. What I did instead was lace up a pair of $25 cross trainers and hit the pavement, 30 seconds of running at a time three times a week. I got to the point where I was able to run a mile, then two. Then I ran an obstacle race and a 5k. The running bug hit me.

In 2013, I was him-hawing about running part of a relay or the 5k as a starter to that year’s running goals. I listened to a talk by Patrice Matamoros, Race Director of DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and decided that doing Run for a Reason and running the HALF was what I was going to do. I was eight weeks away from race day.

But I was 30 years into a life that wasn’t healthy – a life fueled by carbs and couch sitting. I needed to make a change that would make a difference in the life of my family, so this was a huge step toward that. When I crossed that finish line on May 5, 2013, a half marathoner, I never wanted to look back. I’d did what I set out to do and I wasn’t going to stop.

Friends and family, I know I obsess. But I obsess because my life, my health and happiness, depends on running. It makes me a better me for my family and has given me over 6 years of amazing memories with my kiddos that aren’t marked by difficulty wanting to exert energy. And if I can instill that, if I can inspire just one more person to MOVE, then I’ve done what I set out to do. And this, being a 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon Official Blogger, is going to help me meet this goal.

So thank you, thank you for letting me share and inspire you. Here is to an amazing training season that starts now and to getting us to MOVE.

xoxo

 

PSST! If you’ve read this far and are ready to sign up, make sure you do and let them know I sent you by using WILLISDSGPM19 as your code when you sign up. You’ll save $10 when you do! Register here.

 

 

2019 Word of the Year: Courage

Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting

Source: Take Courage, Bethel Music

2019 has been ushered in! For the Willis house, it happened quietly, just like any other night would. Except nights around here have been different – the mister and I go to sleep at the same time (by 11 PM) and most days he is out of bed before me. This new reality (as I’ve lovingly joked) is actually quite blissful. So we were asleep by 11 and woke when it was time for him to be at work. Bliss.

Each year, I like to proclaim a word of the year to set on my heart. It helps me to focus my thoughts, my prayers, and my decisions. This year will be no different.

2019 Word of the Year: Courage

Whoa, right? Courage. This coming from a woman who has conquered quite a few things – worked her childhood dream job as a teacher, survived two years of a mentally and physically abusive relationship, was a single mom, fell in love, had more babies, lost many pounds, fell into a true dream job, ran many miles, speaks about her faith – this woman needs courageYup. I do. 

You see, the last quarter of 2018 threw us some curve balls that we didn’t see coming. I mean, God had been planning something big but we had no idea that would mean me failing the test that would have made me a wee bit more advantageous out on the job market and then coming back to work to find out I needed to be on the job market. But God has plans and this was a blessing and a half of a plan.

Greg dove in head first to a complete career change when we got this news. He saw it as his time to step into something a little uncomfortable and will test next week to become a CNA (he’s working now as a Nursing Assistant) at a care facility in Kittanning which means we have our evenings together and slashed a good $400 a month out of our gas budget. Glorious. And not just the money – this man is motivated to wake up and serve for his family and the residents he works with. It is truly a blessing to watch him grow.

And me? I’ve joined M&S Consulting (based in Morgantown, WV) and am a Salesforce Consultant which means every day there could be something new and different on my plate, depending on my client’s needs. But I get to work from home or on-site with my clients which is making for some changes for the kiddos – we’ll be hiring a mama’s helper to get the kids on the bus and to pre-k starting at the end of this week. Travel starts soon and we’re all a little nervous about the changes but excited.

It will take courage to make all these wheels turn, so I figure what a great word to set as my word of the year for 2019.

Oh, But There’s More

The word doesn’t stop at needing courage for the changes, because truthfully we are about six weeks in (how did time fly?!?!). Courage is going to come into play in many ways…I’ll be running at least one more half marathon this year (watch for a BIG announcement on that) and now that I don’t commute I feel all these words will come out of my brain and onto the computer. Not sure what that means yet – more blog posts? a book? more speaking? Not sure, but there is something that is going to take courage to put on paper and this is the year. I feel it.

And it doesn’t stop at me. Courage is going to flow through our family – courage to step up in sports, at school, at work. Courage to be bold about our faith and our love for all people. And that means all of you reading this. Yep, there are already some special prayers on our hearts for some of our friends and family who need 2019 to be an amazing year and then some.

Take Courage

That song that I started this post out with – “Take Courage” – it proclaims that God is in the waiting. I watched a video interview with Kristene DiMarco, writer of this song and she mentioned 2 Chronicles 20:17 where Jehosophat was told he did not have to fight the battle, that God would deliver. She goes on to say that this is a language of hope, and goodness, isn’t it? Courage in the waiting is big, that triumph that is unfolding is even bigger!

Exodus 14:14

It confirmed a verse that’s been on my heart since October 4 – “The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:14).  And He is. He rescues us so that we can rise to victory, if we just lean in and let Him unfold his plans. If we don’t let our words and thoughts get in His way. And I am standing just a little taller here on January 1 to tell you that yes, He does and He will.

So will you join me and take Courage this year? Will you make 2019 a year that you are waiting and standing still for the victories about to come to you? I pray you will.

Love and peace!

2018 Word of the Year: The Wrap-up

As 2018 comes to a close (gosh, we are so close), there are so many feelings going through my head. Between thoughts of reflection on 2018 and expectation for 2019 (thoughts my church family affirmed yesterday), there is this space. This space here that I launched last year and a space where I proclaimed my 2018 Word of the Year would be worthy.

I wrestled with taking the time tonight to sit with my computer in my lap and write this wrap-up. Truth be told, sorry Mr. Greg Willis, writing is where I feel most me and while I know you are anxious to get us to watching a movie before we turn into working adult pumpkins, I want to reflect on this year! #LoveYouForeverLikeYouForAlways

What better time than in the quiet of the last hours of the year to write! 

Oh, 2018. Admittedly, I cried way more tears this year than I had expected, way more tears today than I’d hoped. But as we enter 2019, I know that this year was all part of the amazing plan that God has in store for our family. And honestly, things weren’t as bad as my head likes to make them. I’m ending the year with a job that I love, a motivated husband, and healthy kiddos. It really wasn’t that awful in the end. So let’s take a look back at what made 2018 for me and how I made it worthy.

Shall we start with my “Top Nine” from Instagram

A Worthy Decision: Food and Fitness

Looking at my top photos of the year, it is clear that fitness played a big part in my year. Yeah, I’m a little sad that none of the photos of the kids or Greg made it, but when you look at that collage hopefully you see a woman who has changed for the better for those kiddos and their daddy. A woman who started the year heavier, a woman who planned on running one, not two half marathons.

2018 was full of moments fueled by healthy food (I’ve found that Keto eating is best for me – going off it the last three months has wrecked my gut and body) and committed fitness. I chose to be healthy for my family and we made it through two training cycles that led to PR’s in both races. My kids got to watch both Greg and I cross the finish line in Myrtle Beach and be inspired by our accomplishments. We started to go to the chiropractor as a family (thanks to my 2017 Christmas WOD injury) and are all feeling the advantages of these life changes.

Total Miles Ran: 450.23

Races: Pittsburgh Marathon: 5k, Pittsburgh Marathon: Half Marathon, Richard G Synder YMCA 10K, Myrtle Beach Mini (Half) Marathon, EQT 10-MIler

Worthy: Family and Fun

As a family, we pulled through a lot of things together, ending the year together and smiling. Highlights included:

  • Arianna’s spring softball season; Evan’s spring soccer season; both played fall soccer
  • Our pond
  • Monster Jam
  • Glamping at Yogi Bear
  • Ava and Isla started Pre-K
  • Family vacations to Myrtle Beach and Virginia
  • Running the Kid’s Mile with the Bigs
  • Running the MB Mini with Greg
  • Mom’s getaway with Missy to Williamsburg
  • Dreamforce (and yeah, that includes seeing Metallica and Janet Jackson and running the Golden Gate Bridge)
  • New jobs – yes, it was sad to see the end at Excel4apps but starting a new job at M&S led to positive changes too! Greg enrolled in and graduated from a CNA program and has started a job at a local care facility – no more long nights on the road!

It really has been a year where we had to pull together for each other!

Worthy: Faith

Without faith, this year would not have ended as well as it did. There were a lot of hours on our knees that led to rejoicing and thankfulness. It was a big year of faith for us – Arianna was baptized in January, Greg saved in February, Evan baptized in April, then Greg and I baptized in August. I joined the worship team and the Bigs kept at Girls’ and Rangers. I gave my testimony at Women’s Ministries and then spoke at our women’s conference.  We’re a family with souls on fire for God and it shows through our tests and difficulties and then blessings. We are counting every blessing and so thankful for our faith, our church, and most importantly God.

Medal Monday: 2018 EQT 10 Miler

It wasn’t my intention to plan to run a half marathon and then follow it up with the EQT 10 Miler, but my head and heart felt it was something I could handle. And if you had asked me within the three hours after finishing yesterday’s EQT if I would ever do it again “back to back”, the answer would be been a solid no way. But now that I’ve let the feelings aside, that answer just might change! Read on to hear why the 2018 EQT 10 Miler was full of lessons and memories.

The Training

Pretty much all of my training for the 2018 EQT 10 Miler was my sixteen weeks spent training for the 2018 Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon, which I ran exactly two weeks before.

What should have happened? The plan was to reverse taper the week of vacation/post-half (2, 3, then 6.2 miles) then taper (3, 2, 2 miles) last week. Eating would have been as close to Keto as possible.

What really happened? I enjoyed life. I rested. I didn’t feel like I had run a half marathon in the days following MB, so instead of running, I enjoyed two full days in the sand and water with the kids and then realized I was sick with a cold. I kept resting. We went on an all-day date that involved two wineries. I felt like my lungs were shut but only took store brand day and night cold meds for four days. I ate glutens and trick or treat candy.

I came back to reality with a plan to eat Keto and run. There were two run days that were two miles each (and pretty fast for me, at that). Still feeling sick, I spent the 2 days before relaxing and making better food choices but it wasn’t enough to fix my enjoyment from the last 2 weeks. Life happens.

Race Day 2018 EQT 10 Miler

The day started out cold so my fans didn’t come along with me to the city. I didn’t put out my clothes the night before and take a “flat Becky” photo. I felt off of my game in general, but still tried to make it work. Things really went south when I was in line for the porta potties and I spotted my work team waiting together but then didn’t catch them after I was finished up in line. I always feel alone when in Corral D but really felt it after that – the reality that I am soon to be without the job I’ve known for the last two years started to sink in.  But that wouldn’t be the last time of the day…

We runners had to wait until about 8:20 to cross the start which was a major blessing to me – I had forgotten to take my inhaler! As cold as it was and as cruddy as I felt, I needed it, so taking it at 7:55 ended up an okay deal.

Being in Corral D, my hope was to keep the 11:30’s off in my eyesight and the 12:00’s behind me. Welp, I started behind the 13:00’s because of the jam packed way we were all in the Corral and figured this was just like everything else lately just going to be my own dang race. I got around the 13:00’s pretty soon after the start but still felt so slow. When I got to mile one, my app said I did it in an 11:23, but the 12:00’s were still nowhere in sight and I started to feel like an awful runner. The race clock said 15:19, so I didn’t know if I should trust my app or my gut – I had just run up two decent hills at a good pace was the reality.

In the West End, I climbed the hill alongside a kind gentleman who heard me let out a huge sigh at the top – “but we made it!” I said to his “I heard that!”. We laughed and talked about the hill then I pressed on like Lee Nails. This PR wasn’t going to happen if I was going to be chatty. Mile 2 across the West End Bridge was slower by about 10 seconds but I was still doing amazing considering where I’d started.

Running past the stadiums in Pittsburgh is pretty awesome, but one thing really stuck out – a dancing police officer by PNC Park! High fives! It felt like forever to get from 3 to 4, still at an okay pace but I was confused why I was slowing a little on the flats of this section. Time to cross the 2nd bridge (7th ave, right?) and I finally saw the 11:30’s and 12:00’s in the double back. I was nowhere close to them and decided this wasn’t going to be a PR race for me so just run for running.

By the time I climbed the hill to mile five, my lips were sore and my hands were back to freezing. I clung to a vaseline stick an aid gave me along the route for all of mile 5 to 6 then put the gloves back on. That climb up to six always kills my hips, but this year it wasn’t a stopper for me. I knew *MY* bridge, 16th Street, was waiting for me.

Crossing 16th Street Bridge might be where the wheels started to fall off. I don’t know how many more times I’ll get to run that bridge unless in a race. And the last two times I ran this, my family was waiting for me at the end of this bridge. They wouldn’t be there today. My heart was sinking fast.

Mile 7 to 8 were the end of me. During this mile, I glanced at my office and the tears came. I was finally letting reality set in and it set in hard. I was miserable and thought about just logging a DNF. It had nothing to do with the time and everything to do with my reality. Reality is that I am sad and scared and hurt and want to be sure I make the best choices for my family and I don’t feel the confidence to make one more decision. But in that moment, I decided to press on, again, for those kiddos waiting to wear my medal around the house.

Tears, walking, it continued in cycles until the mile nine marker. I knew I had to pull it together for the finish and ran that whole last mile like it was the last mile I’d ever get to run. The crowds were almost non-existent for those of us who take more than two hours to run our race and it fueled me to just keep moving even though it felt like no one was watching or cared.

Crossing the finish line at 2:03:26 hurt. Physically (my lungs, my hips, my knees) and emotionally. Going from an 11:58 at the five-mile mark to a 12:21 overall truly sucked, but I did it. I got out of bed when I didn’t have to and ran ten miles. I ran through pain and tears and ran although it felt so alone.

And when I got home? Those kiddos gave me some of the biggest hugs ever because they are so proud of their mama. And that feeling that they believe in me? That’s what counts and that is what is going to fuel me to my next race and the next chapter in our lives.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2018

Things have been honestly hectic in my life in the last four weeks.  I cannot believe that two weeks ago we were driving down I-95 for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon which my husband and I ran on October 21, 2018. (This post contains affiliate links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you opt to buy through my links.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week 16 (October 15-20)

A crazy life means I never got around to posting week 16’s dedicated post. Good thing it is quick and easy!

Tuesday 10/16: 3.12 miles, 11’28″/mile. Get me angry and I will run like I mean it. This run felt SLOW which is insane considering that speed AND that I ran through the Strip District > 31st Street Bridge (0ver and back) > then down Liberty Avenue and encountered some non-pausing street light stops. My first half mile was done at a 10’57” pace then I climbed the bridge and slowed a little bit, ending that mile at 11’33”. The third mile was 11’18”, so there is proof I can run faster than I let myself. Again, I was angry and felt like I wasn’t moving. This made me think a big PR was coming my way.

Thursday 10/18: 2 miles, 11’07″/mile  This one was with Greg who had been having some knee pain. Even at that, I’m sure I held him back on our quick out and back on the trail through town. We talked the whole two miles and while I struggled a little, it was tough to think that I would be anywhere near my 12’04″/mile pace from Pittsburgh 2018. (I should note here because it becomes important for my next big run, it was in the low 40’s for this run and I felt a cold coming on.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2018: Prep Days

We left after my work won Best Places to Work Pittsburgh: Medium Sized Business (talk about a gut-puncher) and the twins got off school. We were surrounded by angels for the drive down, narrowly missing be part of at least two known accidents and another few that could have been. It took Friday evening and Saturday most of the day to get there.

Saturday 10/20: 

The Expo. Call me spoiled. The Expo wasn’t much to write about – maybe 12 vendors and nothing really caught my eye. The kids got some water bottles from Publix and we had a fun photo opp.

It was a Clemson game day, so we booked it to Conway (where Greg’s parents live) and watched most of the game before I got super cranky pants (I barely slept the night before, Greg and I had shared a teeny double bed that my feet hung off, but the suite we got was great for all the kids).

We went to House of Blues for the “carb load dinner” but there wasn’t anything gluten free so I had some plain salad (ie no dressing) and watched Greg eat some boring pasta and sauce. Wendy’s for some MEAT was on my list, but first I needed to find my Gatorade Chews and we headed to Walmart – and came out empty. (Don’t #bebecky – get them here before race day.) Another Walmart (because Myrtle has like 8, one around every corner) near our hotel did.

Checking into the Extended Stay, we called it an early night after I foam rolled the 10-hour car ride out of my calves.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2018

Sunday 10/21: 13.1(++) miles, 11’59″/mile 

Waking up with about an hour before race time was a complete bug out for me. We didn’t have to travel far – staying less than a mile from the start helps – and the race was small (1246 participants) with no corrals. I ate my race day essentials (sausage links and a cheese stick) and shook while watching Greg drink his aminos because I’d ran out and had to settle for some Propel instead. (Bad planning, again, don’t #bebecky and get your aminos in advance from BPI Sports.) Greg had breakfast too. Breakfast isn’t his norm and that came to bite him in the first few miles, but this isn’t his story. 😉

We got to the Coastal Grand Mall at 6:45 and I started to hyperventilate. It was cold and I was in a tank top and shorts. I think it might have been my coldest half start YET. Really. And I needed to pee but the porta potties weren’t as close to the start as I would have liked and they were NASTY.

We snapped a picture at 7:00 just before the gun went off then plucked ourselves into the crowd and we were off. Within feet of the start we ran into our friend Ody and her family, cheering us on and Facebook Live’ing the race (Rico was running too). Hugs then I completely lost Greg which was fine by me.

There were pacers, but I didn’t want to settle into a 12-minute pace. I’d hoped for 11’45” but didn’t know how it would go because within the first half mile the crowds were gone and the tight running was already dispersed. So weird to me, but this is what smaller races are like I guess. At mile one, I knew I was on my own here – there were no clocks at the mile marker so I took my own note of the time via text and carried on.

My splits, while unofficial, were mostly 11’40” to 11’51” consistently with the exception of three miles that were 12’15” to 12’25” and a complete mind boggle to me because I’d drop back to the 11’40″s pace the next mile. I’m thinking, based on some results from others’ watches and apps, that the course was a bit longer than 13.1.

About the crowds…Along the course there were a few dedicated fans of some of the runners near me + Ody and the kids kept popping up which I loved + my doTERRA upline was cheering me on just after mile 10 + my family (kids, Mom-in-law, and sister) were just past mile 12. I knew Greg would be waiting for me at the end. Other than that, I had no energy to feed off of.

Other runners near me were pretty consistent too. There were some run/walkers who made my time in mile 6 a bit of a pain because we go up a pretty decent hill (don’t let them tell you it is fast and flat) then down to a narrow trail for a bit. It wasn’t made for more than 2 people across so stoppers would be a hindrance to those trying to run the whole way. I survived.

Water was plentiful but it was not sitting well with me. I clung to my Gatorade Gels like they were saving my life.

The truth is, this one was kinda tough! It wasn’t as flat as I expected, I wasn’t getting energy, my legs were tired from the driving, and I knew Greg wasn’t feeling quite in form to run it at the pace he wanted. I just wanted to say I’d done number four and in a new place after I finished mile 10 and started to try to calculate my finish time. But when I crossed mile 12 and saw my family? All bets were off and I was PUSHING.

That last “half mile” back to the finish was mentally painful. You pass the finish then loop back to it, so you’re hearing cheers that aren’t for you. Then you twist up a sidewalk into the WIND (which was rough the whole first 7 miles, blew sand in your face at mile 10-11 then again after 12) and onto a boardwalk that needs some new boards.

But crossing the finish line in my “2nd home” to “Let It Go” and knowing all four of my kiddos saw Mama complete Half Number Four even if I crossed it at 2:38:09 and missed my PR by 5 seconds was priceless. After I had a momentary lapse of my brain and took a bite of a bagel (which I threw up immediately – gross), I realized MY CLOCK TIME WAS GUN TIME AND NOT CHIP TIME AND HOLY CAMOLY I SET A PR!!!

This one was a 1:07 PR officially finishing at an 11’59” pace in 2:36:57. Boom! And my hubby is a Half Marathoner now, too! LOVE IT!

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Keep up with the blog to see where I am running next and check out past posts from this training cycle.

Total Miles to Date:

July: 10 runs, 26.39 miles, 11’33″/mile

August: 14 runs, 48.96 miles, 11’17″/mile

September: 13 runs, 68.59 miles, 12’00″/mile

October: 9 runs, 49.46 miles, 11’49’/mile

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Training Tuesday: Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Week 15

Normally this is the week the taper crazies set in, but because my mind has been so focused on LinkedIn, I’m pretty amped that week 15 is in the books. Read on for an update on how things are going as I train for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon on October 21, 2018. (This post contains affiliate links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you opt to buy through my links.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week 15 (October 7-14)

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Tuesday 10/9: 4.01 miles, 11’48″/mile. Four miles of tears on my beloved North Shore Trail because I’m not sure how many more runs I have to take on this path. It was a beautiful day for running in Pittsburgh, so I headed toward dahntahn instead of north as I have been recently. The trail was packed with people out enjoying and I couldn’t do anything more than soak it all in.

Thursday 10/11: 3 miles, 11’47″‘mile  The day was extremely long at work and I decided it best to end the day with a run. Ending it after eating a giant crab cake for lunch might not have been the best idea, but alas I did it. Again, I cried through most of this run and it didn’t feel amazing but it was done and I somehow smiled at the end.

Sunday 10/14: 6 miles, 11’54″/mile On Saturday I was sitting by the soccer field and it felt so cold and damp that I decided it best not to run my six between soccer and a hayride later in the day. I’m so glad I held out for Sunday because it was absolutely GLORIOUS out there. I wore shorts and my Pittsburgh Marathon long sleeve and head wrap because it was just chilly enough to need them. This time, I didn’t track with an app – I just ran to where I knew three miles down the trail was and back, using my FitBit Versa’s stopwatch feature. I wasn’t focused on time or tears. I just prayed and ran and was amazed to see what I pulled off.

Okay, one little lie. I looked down at the end and know that my last mile was an 11’36” based on one mile from my house down the trail and my ending time. Wowza! As the last long run before the big one, this one was something great.

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Stay tuned to see what the last two runs of this training cycle bring or check out past posts from this training cycle.

Total Miles to Date:

July: 10 runs, 26.39 miles, 11’33″/mile

August: 14 runs, 48.96 miles, 11’17″/mile

September: 13 runs, 68.59 miles, 12’00″/mile

October: 5 runs, 29.09 miles, 11’57’/mile

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