Training Tuesday: Pittsburgh Half Week 3

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.  This post also contains affiliate links. 

Alright, time to admit it. I am mad. Boldly mad. For the past seven years, I have known running as my outlet. It was the way I lost 130 pounds once and 60 pounds after having the twins. It was my community. It was the third best thing in my life (after God and my family).

But as much as it pains me, my relationship with running has changed drastically in the past six weeks since I injured myself on a treadmill. If you haven’t heard, all I did was run a few miles on a hotel treadmill then felt pain about 8 hours later when I went to bed. Meh. But it isn’t getting any better and to make things worse, getting an MRI to see what damage I’ve done has not gone so well.

So, what’s next in my half marathon journey?

My plan is to keep training as best as I can – I am able to walk at less than a 14-minute mile pace and would love to be able to run a few miles and then finish out with a walk to cross the finish line on May 5. The best case scenario is the weather breaks, I hit the trail, and everything works out. The worst-case scenario is I fully tear whatever is causing this pain and burning (and random cold spots on my shin) and then I get the surgery that I probably need. Praying for God’s will in whatever is to happen between now and race day – but know that no matter what, the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events will have me be part of it!

This sign was PERFECT to see on a run/walk I did last week!

How has “training” gone?

I’ve agreed to no CrossFit and no treadmill, so it’s been light lifting for the arms and some time on the bike for cardio. Unfortunately in the days since I made this plan it has been so cold and snowy that I decided the trail wasn’t safe enough to attempt. Ugh.

Can one train in two months? It will probably be possible if I can get my butt up and moving each hour so I’m sure I hit 10,500 steps a day (I’ve been bad about this). On Saturday, I took the girls to the Kids of Steel Training Kickoff (make sure you’re reading the ‘lil Burghers blog to hear how that went!) and then we went to the Home and Garden Show. That day I got in just shy of 14,000 steps and felt amazing. I know I can do it, it’s a matter of putting myself out there and getting stronger day by day to toe the line on May 5.

For now, I’m living on RockTape, Deep Blue Rub (available on my doTERRA site), and going to start taking Glucosamine Chondroitin with tomorrow’s breakfast. I’m sort of feeling that April birthday coming up! I also need a pedicure, now’s the time before I start to get some calluses built up! Go ahead and laugh at my toes, I did! 😉

How are the miles stacking up?

January 2019: 6 runs, 11.57 miles, 12’19″/mile

February 2019: 7 runs, 12.67 miles, 12’38″/mile

March 2019: 0 runs, 0 miles

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.

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Training Tuesday: Pittsburgh Half Week 1

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.  This post also contains affiliate links. 

Time to make things official and start numbering my weeks to the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events! In 2019, I’ll be earning my 2nd Steel Challenge medal (running the 5K on Saturday and the Half-my 4th Pittsburgh, 5th overall- on Sunday).

2019 Pittsburgh Half Marathon Training: Week 1

Being back to a “normal” routine felt super odd, but I was happy for it. I was home all week and my only hurdles to training were my brain and a little bit of snow. The mental game is going to be my biggest threat this round of training. I’ve put pressure on myself to get a course best and knock a few minutes off my overall half PR (achieved in October in Myrtle Beach). It might not be possible due to life changes (including traveling for work) and an injury, but I’m giving it my best!

Monday 2/11: Speed Work (based on my RunCoach plan), 3.28 miles in total

After getting my Ready. Set. MOVE. box, a Zwift pod, and new bands for my FitBit Versa (my originals rotted after about a year of use), I was amped to hit the treadmill for some speed work. This is so not me, so I took full advantage! I’ll post more about Zwifting another time, but I was not prepared adequately to use it for this run. 

So the plan called for a .5 mile warm up | 100m x 3 | 3 rounds of 5 minutes up pace followed by 3 minutes of walk/jog | .5 mile cool down. I was nervous because I was sweating pretty badly after my warmup. Maybe I do have a cold and not sinus issues, blargh! But when I hit a 9’06” average pace for my 3 100s, I felt on top of the world. The 5-minute rounds were all at a PR pace, two were even shaving over six minutes off my current PR, whoa. I had to walk the recoveries but decided to do them at a decent incline to imagine I was actually on the Pittsburgh course. All in all, this one rocked! Nike+ put the whole thing at a 12’19” pace.

Tuesday 2/12: CrossFit at Richard G Snyder YMCA

When an easy looking WOD appears on the board, I should know better. This one kicked my butt something fierce. I had to say a few prayers to get through it because my knee felt like it was giving out and you guys, I scale these things. (For example, instead of HSPU – handstand push-ups – I sit and lift dumbbells overhead. I had to go from 15-pound weights to fives to survive this one.) It was tough, but exactly the welcome back I needed after two weeks away.

 

Wednesday 2/13: 2.01 miles, 12’33”/mile

I had a meeting at the YMCA so I decided to get my miles in after that. It was just two miles, conversational pace. About 0.3-miles in, I realized I forgot my knee brace and it didn’t feel good. I’m stubborn, so kept on running. Being at the YMCA in the morning, there are some people who come in to walk to avoid the sideways snow. With 0.5-miles left, I happened to get a treadmill neighbor who had been smoking before getting on the treadmill. My asthma was not happy but I kept pushing. This one was tough but check, done! (No pictures because I needed to get to work.)

Friday 2/15: 3.10 miles, 12’53″/mile

gorgeous day in Kittanning called for my first trail run in a long time! Remember earlier when I said I’m thinking this is a cold? Yup. I was so congested and all the sudden out in the fresh air my nose decided it was done being stuffed. Awful! The trail was a bit muddy, I pressed on. I wasn’t too happy but remembered that my long runs need to be slower than my race pace so this is actually pretty on point.

Loving my goodr sunglasses from the Ready. Set. MOVE. Box!

 

That’s week one in the books for me! It’s hard for me to believe I’ve done this four (well, five) other times, but it’s even harder to believe I didn’t always do this. The past six years of training for Pittsburgh runs (including a break to have twins) has been a true blessing. God’s put some inspiring people in my path, worked me through trials, and given me this platform to share my journey. Even if I don’t PR, I’ve done what I set out to do – run the race with perseverance!

Hope you’ll stay tuned to see how the rest of my journey to the finish line goes. Come back every Tuesday for a wrap-up of my training, follow me on Twitter and Instagram for inspiration and updates on all things running and mom-life.

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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.

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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.