Marathon Monday: Week 16 of 16

Where did SIXTEEN weeks of Half Marathon Training go?!?!? It has been an incredible journey, capped off with everything I accomplished on Sunday. I’ll spoil it and tell you that Sunday was incredible, but today’s post is just going to focus on my final six days of training/taper. The Half deserves a whole post itself! Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 16! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 16 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 4/30: 3 miles, 12’22” per mile- This run didn’t start out too tough, which completely surprised me. If you’ll remember from last week’s post, I got sick. My allergies kicked it in high gear on Friday then attacked my sinuses. I was battling a horrible sinus infection and seriously considering how I’d run the Half six days later.

So a taper training run that stayed pretty much in line with my training of recent made me pretty happy. Mile three back to the office was a bit of a struggle, but I did it and even pulled off a negative split from mile 2.

Wednesday 5/2 – 2 miles, 11’55” – Two days of medicine in me, I put the kids on the bus and headed up to the Trail for one more easy run. I didn’t listen to my pace and just ran. The weather was perfect, eh, maybe a little sunny. It was in the low 50s and I gave this run a “let’s do this for fun” attitude.

Even being sick, I amazed myself again. A 12’02” mile one without checking pace and then an 11’47”. That’s another 15-second negative split for the week!

Friday 5/4: Marathon Expo
I spent the entire day dedicated to Marathon Prep. Between packet/bib pickup, dinner finalization for Saturday, and answering logistics questions, I put in a busy day. I needed some time to myself to explore the Expo, so after work, I returned. My timing was incredible…

First, at the Brag Swag, Inc. booth, I bumped into Chelsea. I haven’t seen her in person since PodCamp 2011, I think! We’ve been following each other’s running journeys on the blogs/Twitter/Instagram for years. She is super inspiring and really passionate about making the running community here in Pittsburgh a family feel. Oh, and I had to buy myself a shirt…do you blame me?

Oddly enough, just after I passed my previous employer’s *unmanned* booth, I ran into my old boss! It was nice to see him and his family and get a chance to catch up a little. Hoping his half went well!

Next up was finding pacers. I visited the NuGo pace booth to confirm my sad puppy that there wasn’t a pacer between 2:30 and 2:45. My heart felt like anything below a 2:44 was realistic the way I was still feeling stuffy, but I knew I couldn’t go with the 2:45 pacer. (They were doing run/walk and since I don’t train like that, I would have done poorly for me.)

I decided I should find the SCRR booth and see if anyone knew if anyone would be doing around a 12:30 (that 2:44) that was running and if I could meet the 2:30 pacer just to see who I needed to make sure I stayed behind.

By doing that, I ran into Carla who paced the kickoff training run that had me realizing I had a potential to do around a 12’12” in the first place. I was excited to find out she was pacing the 13’00″/mile for the 5k and decided it would be best to run with her group the next day and see if anyone there was aiming for a time like mine. Huge relief.

Before I left, I got to thank Coach Betsy who helped with my taper plan and encouraged me on that 10-mile run in 76 degrees. If she hadn’t set my expectations for that day, I might have fallen apart after pulling the pace I did that day (12’55”).

Then it was off to home to “rest”…or take care of the four kids and pack everything for the next day. We’d run as a family – me the 5k, Greg and the Bigs the Kids’ Mile, Ava to the Chic-Fil-A Cow, and Isla away from the Chic-Fil-A Cow.

Our Flat Family!

Saturday 5/5: 3.125 miles, 12’50” – I used this run to get all the nerves out. I’d been warned I might not be too smart to do this then do the 13.1 the next day, but it was so tempting to get the extra shirt, glass, and two medals as part of the Steel Challenge. The jury is out whether or not I’ll do it again next year…

First up, I met up with We Run Social and took a photo with a bunch of other social media addicted runners (swipe through Steffany’s Instagram post to see the group). It was great to meet some of the bloggers/IG superstars I’ve been following in real life.

Next, I needed to find my pace group and get this race going. I was so excited to get the nerves out that I must not have stepped on the chip reader at the start. My Nike+ app says we did 3.3 and the announcer says we did 3.125, so I’m going with the announcer’s mileage and basing my time off that – we kept it a little “fast” but super comfortable. Frankly, it felt too easy to me and I wasn’t sure if I should run ahead. Good thing Carla is smart about this and said all the right things to make me remember to hold it back today for tomorrow’s big race.

During the race, I realized why this might not have been a good idea. There were people out there going for their personal glory, which I get it. I used to be a short distance runner. But this wasn’t about a time for me. It was about getting the nerves out. There were so many runners out there that were either running their first “big” race or really wanted to beat a clock. Add that to a bunch of potholes and my feeling that I was going super easy and I could have easily gotten hurt.

And crossing the bridge into the city? All the tears. This city has my heart.

Other than not having an official time that matches what I do and not really trusting what the distance of the run was, this one felt amazing and was exactly what I needed – fun!

After my race, the kids and Greg tackled the one mile at a 9’14” pace! I’m so proud of my ‘lil runners.

 

And with that, my training for the 2018 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon – UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon is finished. For the spoiler, follow me on Instagram or else wait until I get the time to put words “to paper” to tell you how amazing Sunday felt.

Total Training Miles of This Cycle: 196 miles
April totals: 72.82 miles, 12’21” pace
March totals: 59.06 miles, 12’24” pace
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace

January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace

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Marathon Monday: Week 15 of 16

It is the final stretch! Spoiler alert – I am sick. A nasty sinus infection has taken residence in my head, so week 16 is not off to a great start. Hopefully, the medicines get to working and I can feel about 90% myself by late this week. Sigh…read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 15! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 15 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 4/23: 4 miles, 12’17” per mile- Hello, sun! I actually questioned wearing the double tank top, but figured I’d be a little modest on my lunch break. Afterall, I was debuting my ghostly white legs in my Happy Puppies running shorts (I got the Mandy and listened to their size guide and perfection).

My loop was a simple one, across 16th Street Bridge, to the Trail, and down almost to PNC Park and back. Everything felt pretty perfect about this one.

Wednesday 4/25 – 3.19 miles, 11’31” – Next year, I run with people to train. That’s going to take dropping a few more pounds and running a few more miles, but I know I can pull it off. This one was a warm one again. Greg and I took the twins out – he pushed the double stroller like a beast – and I talked the whole time. That proves that I should be pushing myself more. Our last mile was just over 11 minutes/mile. Welcome back, early 2014 Becky. Welcome back.

Friday 4/27: 6.28 miles, 11’57” – Well, the warm weather decided to stick around for all three of my workouts (runs) this week. I couldn’t stop smiling on this one, that pace! As of the end of this run, I decided I want to push myself to run with the 12’00” group (if there is one) and aim for a sub 2:40 half. I know I can, I just have to be healthy enough for race day.

So about that intensity decreasing. Sigh. I tried. I really did. Praying for strength – today’s run is done (not as good as any of last week’s but not that bad either, considering I can’t breathe and have a numb jaw and cheekbones). That leaves 2 miles then the 5k on Saturday. Next time you hear from me, it might just be Medal Monday instead! 😉

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

Total Training Miles of This Cycle: 190.92 miles | 5.1 miles remaining
April totals: 72.82 miles, 12’21” pace
March totals: 59.06 miles, 12’24” pace
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace

January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace

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What’s in My Race Day Bag – Verizon Tech

Verizon Tech provided me with products for the purpose of testing and sharing my experience. All opinions expressed in this race day bag post are 100% my own.

Technology is one of my weaknesses – I love checking out the latest and greatest gadgets that can make my life easier. When Verizon Tech shared with me some tips on technology for spring travel, I saw three items that I thought would be perfect to add to my race day bag when prepping for Pittsburgh Marathon weekend.

What’s in My Race Day Bag – Verizon Tech

Last year, I don’t think Greg and I used gear check because my work had a tent at the Finish Line Festival. This year, our team is part of the Corporate Challenge, so we’ll be in the Hospitality Tent when the race is done. I hope to spend some time celebrating, getting a massage, and checking out what all is around the park this year, so we’ll be checking a bag with all the things that I want to have on hand.

Verizon Tech had some awesome gadgets that would be perfect for packing in a marathon race day bag:

Tile Style – these stylish squares of technology are great for attaching to things you might lose (like your keys). I’m usually pretty good about knowing where my keys are, but I was thinking it might be good to toss one of these in the bag since it will go to Gear Check (which I trust, but you still never know).

When I was testing out this gadget, I happened to misplace my phone. A quick click of the tile icon and my phone started to make a noise – even though the sound was off! I’m intrigued at how these work without a charger and amazed at how easy they make finding all the lost things!

mophie powerstation – I’ll be drained of all my power (or on a super runner’s high) and I’m sure my phone will be, too. The mophie will come in hand when I am trying to snap photos or call to check in on the kids (and tell them how great the day goes). With battery backup that lasts up to four charges, Greg and I both could charge our phones while getting our fill of post-race yums. (Note – if you are a “house divided” and one of you has an Apple and the other a Samsung, you’re in luck as this charges both!)

JBL Free wireless in-ear headphones – Ok, these might be in my ears (or ear, I have been running with just one for safety and it still works great), but the case will be in the bag for safe keeping post-race. These headphones are splashproof so they joined me on some of my snowy and rainy runs this training season. The sound is incredible – maybe almost too much because I couldn’t hear outside noises while using them!

(Note – the Pittsburgh Marathon Course recommends against wearing headphones. I’ve never run a Pgh event with them in because the bands are awesome, but I’m not ruling out the idea of wearing one bud this year.)

While running usually just requires your feet and a good pair of shoes, there are some things we tech-crazed people can’t live without! What technology do you use to make your life easier?

Marathon Monday: Week 14 of 16

Friday of this week’s training plan officially brought me to the taper. Oh, boy is this going to be rough! Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 14! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 14 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 4/16: CrossFit > Final WOD of the Training Cycle- I fully braced myself for this to be awful emotionally. Last year when I hit taper time, I cried on nights I couldn’t go to CrossFit. This year, I don’t think it will be as bad since the nights are going to be filled with soccer and softball for the kids, so I won’t have time to worry about what I am missing out on. Also, I know full well that I can easily hurt myself, and I don’t want to.

So this last WOD. It was a partner WOD and again I am so grateful for Chris who has always been a source of strength and help while I’ve been learning how to do this CrossFit thing. She and I were partnered up and we tackled this bugger:

Instead of rowing, I tried the arc machine but felt like I might fall so swapped over to the treadmill and pulled off 24 calories at a sub-nine one of the rounds – there was no repeating that and I went to a 10 for the second time on the treadmill.

Afterward, I gave these fun compression socks a try. They definitely aren’t as supportive as my Feetures socks, but for an extra option to have on hand they work!

Tuesday 4/17 – 5.16 miles, 12’11” – I am seriously not sure what to expect for race day weather. At this point, I’m convinced it will be snowing as much as I’ve trained in it. The temps were just over freezing but I couldn’t put on all the layers because how did we drop 40 degrees in four days??!?! Keeping a little chilled for my “recovery miles” seemed to work. I needed a redemption from Satuday of last week and I sure got it.

The only thing is that I started to worry about my pace. For awhile, it was consistently 12’30” which made me mad – I wanted to do a 12’12” half. Adding that extra 18 seconds adds a few minutes to my overall time, and just when I was content with that, I pull of this and it felt so good (and actually slow). I keep tossing around the idea to just stay between the pacer for the 2:45 half and the next slowest pace group and see what happens and where I’m able to kick it in. You’d think that my third half would be all figured out.

Wednesday 4/18: 3 miles, 12’18” – I was like a kid at Christmas…it was the day my FitBit Versa arrived and the temps were back in the 40’s! For this run, I wanted to test out my new technology, but since it doesn’t have a built-in GPS, it argued with my Nike+ which I was running to check the results. Oops. Luckily the map matched my work, but I spent more time than I meant to fussing with my watch.

Friday 4/20: 11.29 miles, 12’12” – When I looked back at last year’s 11, I realized it didn’t happen because I had a stomach bug. Knowing that my longest run was 10 last year and I did it just fine without the eleven. That totally took the pressure off me, which shows in that pace!

For this one, I wore my running belt and carried an extra bottle of water. I drank it all. It was in a way another dress rehearsal, I wore a lighter pair of capris and the work running shirt. If temps are like they were Friday (high 50’s), I might be okay but still a little hot. Just have to keep hydrating!

For this one, I started at my office and then did the route from Saturday’s run plus a loop up 16th Street to East Ohio then down to Stanton and around the Commons Square and back a few blocks to pass the Warhol before starting the North Shore trek over to West End Bridge. I stopped to take it all in on West End Bridge and praise God for how much better this run was going at about six miles in.

The Station Square section of this run flew by, but going up the steps to Smithfield Street Bridge, I knew I’d need some leg rest that night. Surprisingly, I got back to the office and looked like I’d barely broken a sweat. What a great one!

And now to taper. I’m already struggling – how to decrease intensity when the mileage is shorter and the days are warmer!??! More to come on that in next week’s post.

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

April totals: 60.34 miles, 12’26” pace
March totals: 59.06 miles, 12’24” pace
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace

January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace

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Pittsburgh Must: Fogo de Chao

I was invited to a media opening night of Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh in exchange for sharing my experience. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh

Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh

Is there a better date night location for Greg and I than a Brazilian Steakhouse? The answer is nope. When I told him that I’d be treating him to dinner at an all-you-can-eat meat restaurant in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, he was all in.

Opening on Monday, April 23 at the Luminere building (Oliver and Smithfield Streets, Pittsburgh), Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh is going to attract many couples for date nights, families for celebrations, and groups for events. Fogo de Chao is a chain Brazilian steakhouse, but if I didn’t tell you that, you probably wouldn’t realize it when you first step into the building.

The Bar Experience

We actually arrived on time to an event, early even, which was perfect because it gave us a chance to enjoy the front of house bar. While I’m on a Keto lifestyle (hence my excitement for a night of meat), I couldn’t indulge in the custom cocktails even though I really wanted to give them a try.

Instead, I opted for a delicious red wine while Greg went for the Carmelized Pineapple Old Fashioned. I watched on as a bartender carmelized the pineapples and tried not to think about how amazing they’d be with the cane sugar.

There is a Happy Hour at the bar Monday to Friday from 4:30pm-6:30pm with Brazilian Bites and Beers, wines, and Brazilian inspired cocktails like the one Greg enjoyed.

The Service

Before I dive in to tell you about the food, I have to stop and tell you about the service. It was so good, we had to ask the Manager over to thank him for the experience. From the host station to the bartenders, to the wait staff and Gauchos, not one person disappointed us. They worked together as a team like magic.

I’ll let Greg describe it to you – “The operation is pretty fluid, seamless. Seems like the staff is operating in a hive mind fashion. So much going on at once but they impressively keep it together.”

Incredible. We’ve been to Brazilian steakhouses two other times (in Aruba and Myrtle Beach) but never felt this connected to the team that was there to make us happy at Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh. Once I told a gaucho how I liked my meat, they remembered. The gaucho with lamb knew not to ask me if I wanted it again after I told him I didn’t prefer the taste of lamb and would not like to try it – but he did remember to continue to visit Greg with the cuts of lamb. And another realized how much I loved the top sirloin and just kept bringing it on repeat. Amazing.

The Food

Dinner starts at the Market Table, a selection of fruits, veggies, salad, soup, and some cold cut meats and cheeses. It is modeled after the feasts that villages would have at harvest time, each family bringing to the table what they had grown and were proud of. I was particularly drawn to the different hot peppers and (no surprise) chorizo cuts. Bonus? EVERYTHING on the Market Table is gluten-free. 

Back at the table, a basket of rolls has arrived. Greg noted that they were light and fluffy – a little thicker than a croissant – but not so thick that you might fill up if you had one before the meat. He cautions you to take it easy on the Market Table and rolls and/or don’t eat all day before. Because when you turn your token green…

bring on the meats. (via Churrasco style service)

And by meats I mean 17 glorious cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. (There are seafood options, but we didn’t experience those in our preview.)  The Gauchos are quite vested in you enjoying it – and no surprise, as they are selecting it and part of the cooking process. They bring the rack of meat to the table and cut your choice of done-ness right in front of you.

Try not to be too anxious to use your tongs to grab the meat off and chow down while they are still there – I dare you. Or if you do, they’ll know how much you love it. (Someone might have had to be reminded to calm down her yinzer, we were on a fancy date, you know. That didn’t stop me from throwing up big praise hands more than once when I ate a cut of meat that I thoroughly enjoyed. No shame.)

This bacon wrapped chicken was worth waiting for! Our gaucho special made it for me!

The table also receives sharing sides – garlic mashed potatoes, polenta, and fried plantains. I can’t tell you how they were, but Greg made sure not a crumb was left behind. Two dipping sauces (one chimichurri, the other a delicious mystery to me) are also given.

When you are ready to “tap out” and have the meat take a break from coming to the table, turn the token red and the Gauchos will know you’re done (even if just “for now”).

After you’ve had your fill of food from the Market Table and Churrasco service, you can indulge in dessert (just ask your waitress) and/or coffee. I had to go with a coffee and yes, they had heavy whipping cream. Greg was tapped out, so I can’t tell you about the choices but I know from being nebby n’at they looked pretty darn amazing.

Will We Return?

Absolutely. I am already scheming a way to experience the brunch and another dinner. I want my parents to try it, and I think the kids would even enjoy (kids 6 and under eat free, seven to 12 are half price).

And of course I tried to scheme a way to change our carb-load pre-marathon dinner from the club to Fogo asked about the event spaces so I can convince my co-workers to come try for a future party. (There are three rooms, the biggest holds up to 100 guests, and you can enjoy the menu items and or get Churrasco service!)

Treat yourself and your family to this experience, it is absolutely a Pittsburgh must.

About Fogo de Chao

With 52 locations across the United States and others worldwide, Fogo de Chao has been around since 1972. If you are not lucky enough to be treated to the amazing service we experienced in Pittsburgh, add Fogo to your list of restaurants to look for while traveling (locate the nearest to you here).

Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh opens April 23 for seven days a week with lunch and dinner plus weekend brunch. Prices start at $15 for a lunch option (without churrasco experience) up to $48.95 for the experience described above. More details on this location available here.

Marathon Monday: Week 13 of 16

This week, I turned 35 – I’m now five years older than I was for my first Half Marathon. It is really starting to sink in that I really changed my life in my thirties, and it sure feels good! Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 13! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 13 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 4/9: CrossFit > BIRTHDAY WOD- With two WODs left until I enter the taper, of course it is a good thing that one of the two was my birthday WOD! While we were *cursing* my being 35, it sure was a good one. The heat in the annex was a bit unbearable, but I didn’t know it was about to prepare me for something really unbearable later in the week.

Thank you to my FitFam for celebrating with me!

Tuesday 4/10 – 5 miles, 12’25” – I ran for tacos. Not lying. The LA Taco truck is in Ford City on Tuesdays, just a little over 4.5 miles from my house. Perfect! I decided to run there (and a little past) then have Greg meet me there to get tacos (keto for me) and drive me home. It was sort of breezy and I was feeling being alone (not in a good way). What a good run for my mentality!

Wednesday 4/11: 4 miles, 12’14” – It was another breezy, dry dusty day in the Strip District, pushing me to do my best. Knocking 9 seconds a mile off my previous run? It sure did work!

Saturday 4/14: 10.02 miles, 12’55” – This one might just be the run that makes my training. I set out to run with Steel City Road Runners after a class on “the taper” (eek), but there weren’t pacers for my goal pace. Because it was hot, they advised running 30-60-90 seconds slower than you’d set out to. I heard, but I am not sure I listened. I set out with a group that had goals of 12-13 minutes per mile and did a speedy 12:17 first half mile and could feel it. I backed off a little and did a little over 1.5 miles with another runner then kept meeting up with others at stoplights. We hit the West End Bridge and had to do some steps. We made it through the heat of Carson Street. We navigated downtown. Then after the Seventh Ave Bridge…I lost everyone.

If I’d been smart, I would have stopped at the garage (mile six) and grabbed some water. I only had 12 ounces on me and the heat was rising. I had this feeling if I stopped, I’d stop for the day and only get 6 in, not 10. I’m not sure which would have been the bigger mistake…okay…stopping would have been now that I know how it went.

So at mile six, I was all alone, navigating my “home base” of the Strip District. I got to Liberty and realized I was simply too hot. Water. Nope, didn’t work. Tried to pull my shirt up a bit, still not enough. I was steamy and had to start to walk. By the time I passed my office, I had 2.5 miles left and started walking every other block until I got to 31st Street Bridge. I power walked that half mile up and over the bridge then tried to take the downhill back to the trail. At this point, my fingers were so swollen I was scared.

While I made it back, this one was tough. My splits were all over – mile six (all alone out there) was my fastest – 12’12”, into the 13-minute miles. Eep. But still, I made it, 25 seconds slower than my goal and 30 seconds faster thatn 2017’s Half. I think I have this, and this run sure did teach me some lessons.

This week is my final long run, eleven. I’ve got this, and you do too. xoxo

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

April totals: 36.88 miles, 12’33” pace
March totals: 59.06 miles, 12’24” pace
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace

January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace

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Marathon Monday: Week 12 of 16

This week, those of us training for the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend hit the one month mark until race day. It’s so hard to believe how close we are! Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 12! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 12 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 4/2: CrossFit – This was a partner WOD, and due to Rubens and I working through some injuries/me starting to taper, we partnered up and found a good balance between wanting to workout like usual and playing it safe. I’m so thankful he understood and pushed *just* enough. Good work, friend!

PS: Can I talk about the fact that I am a mom of four and the youngest two, twins, turned three this day? Pretty proud of how far I’ve come on this journey!

Tuesday 4/3 – 5 .12 miles, 12’21” – Just like last Tuesday, this run started (then ended) in rain. I wore my jacket and got super sweaty so off it went midway through. Took the same path as last week (Liberty to 16th to the trail then past PNC Park and back).  It was less muddy and I slowed down to enjoy this reminder…

Wednesday 4/4: 3.5 miles, 12’24” – Who else ran in the wind? I tackled 31st and 16th street bridges and my abs still hurt on Friday morning from that. Fighting the wind (I hear it was 21 mph + gusts?!?) and some flurries, I’m pretty stoked about this one.

Thursday 4/5: REST! – Because the forecast said there’d be snow Saturday, I took a day off out of schedule so I could do my long run a day early. This might have been one of the best decisions of my training plan.

Friday 4/6: 9.22 miles, 12’33” – Another one in the sun and some warm weather! There was less wind than Wednesday, but still a lot of dust flying about and some struggles when I was headed south. I mapped out a run that would challenge me – Penn to Butler to 40th Street Bridge then to 31st, Liberty, 16th and out past PNC again and back to work. Super proud, and pretty sure 2:43:45 is my goal (12’30” and a 9 minute 10 second PR for my 3rd half).

After this run, I am a little fearful my toe is broken again (just like it’s done in all but one of my past distance runs). =( Spent some time in my Feetures compression socks and hope that will help!

This week, particularly Wednesday and Friday, proved to myself that I am a Runner of Steel. Sure, I have a medal rack with 10 medals hanging on it (3 of which are Pittsburgh Marathon medals + 2 EQT 10-miler ones, all saying I am a Runner of Steel). Sure, I figured out a running shoe that worked for me. Sure, I have plenty of running clothes that say I am a Runner of Steel. But this week, it hit me.

I’ve run all but five miles of this training cycle (over 120 miles) alone. I let nothing stop me – stomach issues, back injury, snow, rain, wind, being alone. It is grit, passion, and steel. This year is so redemptive for me, and I hope I’m able to keep this up until my littles can start to join me!

I’m already dreading how I’ll feel with tapering, but my plan calls for a 10 then an 11 before that. Can’t wait to see how those turn out!

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

April totals: 17.84 miles, 12’28” pace
March totals: 59.06 miles, 12’24” pace
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace

January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace

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Marathon Monday: Week 11 of 16

While last week’s training for the upcoming Half Marathon didn’t go as planned, with five weeks to go I am feeling so ready!  Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 11! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 11 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 3/26: CrossFit – Mondays are always tough, but when they are a birthday WOD they are even tougher! I was still recovering from 5 days of not really eating, so finishing was a pretty big thing for me. I also was able to split jerk 75 pounds in the strength portion – yay for healing vertebrae!

Tuesday 3/27 – 5 miles, 12’46” – It was pouring down a cold rain, but I needed this run mentally and physically. Things felt pretty good! The path was Liberty to 16th to the trail then past PNC Park and back. Things were still a bit muddy/floody, but it felt good to be one of the few out there getting lunchtime miles in.

Wednesday 3/28: 3.66 miles, 12’14” – I was ready for a break and just as I did, out came the rain again. This one was warm enough for the tank top. Something was up with my running app, so I went a little farther than I had planned. Love coming back from a run and the twins greeting me with, “Mommy? You go for a run?”.  I sort of hope the weather is like this on race day – 50’s and a light mist. Nothing to soak the feet, just something to keep it cool.

Thursday 3/29: CrossFit – This was the WOD that made me decide only three more until Half. My knee popped out of place at one point and I had to scale way more than I would have liked. It’s for the best, but still a little heartbreaking. So close, no sense getting hurt!

Saturday 3/31: 8 miles, 12’30” – This might just be my new goal pace, or at least the group I’ll stick with for most of the Half. It felt right, but I know I can push harder. There was a lot of wind and brilliant sunshine. I ran 4 miles to Ford City and back, encountered a few other runners along the way. I had my running belt but didn’t hydrate, which was a lesson I needed to learn. I guess if I didn’t feel thirsty I was okay? My keto breakfast of sausage and pickles just might be my race day meal, too…

Through the week, I gained back about 4 of the 8 pounds I lost while sick (which in my book is good). Week twelve is going to be a challenge – there is snow in the Pittsburgh forecast!

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

March totals: 59.06 miles, 12’24” pace
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace

January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace

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Marathon Monday: Week 10 of 16

This was my toughest Half Marathon Training week ever in the course of three Half Marathons. Ugh! Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 10! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 10 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 3/19: 1.5 mile + CrossFit – The CrossFit WOD called for 6 400’s which I thoroughly enjoyed. The rest of that workout was crazy and I needed to scale due to current limitations of not being able to do pull-ups. I still beat the 40-minute limit by about 5 minutes, phew! What I didn’t know was this was going to be my best workout of the week.

Tuesday 3/20 – 4 miles, 12’29” – I almost didn’t do this run. A snowstorm was rolling in and it was icy rain. What haunted me about this one was Greg’s words to me – you want to PR, don’t you? So I hit the pavement and headed out around the Strip and across 31st Street Bridge for a frigid four. This one hurt, but I thought it was just because of the cold hitting my lungs. What I didn’t know was the next four days I’d be down for the count, battling some type of sickness. Luckily, it doesn’t seem that it was viral (whole family is okay) and I lost 8 pounds while fighting it (meh). Let’s hope it doesn’t put me back too far in training.

Sunday 3/25: 4.35 miles, 13’54” – To be honest, I shouldn’t have done this. Sunday was the first day I felt like I could eat, but I ran this on only an egg and two pieces of bacon and about 8 ounces of water. My goal was to run home from church, and while I didn’t run it all, I wanted to at least get part of the 7 I was supposed to. Two miles in, I took my first sip of water and it hit my stomach like a brick. I had to stop and breathe and tell myself not to lose it. This was rough. I then started walking and would jog every so often. A mile later, the trail got super muddy and even snowy/icy, so I was okay with this change in plans. When I got back to town, I probably logged half a mile of running in the last little bit, but it definitely didn’t feel good or normal. Miles, even if slow, are still miles, right? It was home to hydrate and nap!

Let’s hope my modified plan (to get back to eating and training) in week 11 works out.

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

March totals: 42.39 miles, 12’20” pace
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace

January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace

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Marathon Monday: Week 9 of 16

When I see there are less than two months to go until race day, I don’t panic. I am so excited for this day, maybe to the point of obsession. So happy that I’m a day into week ten as I type up this traning recap!  Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 9! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 9 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 3/12: 1 mile + CrossFit, 11’00” – Can’t remember why, but I needed to do my WOD on Monday this week, so to the Y I went. It was a partner WOD and it went a little something like this:

2 miles, when Partner 1 is running Partner 2 works on their share of 100 Bear Complex…then when you’ve finished, 15 minutes of Max Wallballs. 

Since I’m in training for the Half and my partner was too, we decided to do longer runs and split the 2 into half miles each (twice). I totally threw on Nike+ and grabbed a selfie because I knew I’d push myself knowing my partner was waiting. And push I did. 1 mile, 11’00” added to the training miles this month. Boom. (for me)

Tuesday 3/13 – 4.07 miles, 12’15” – My legs felt the bear complexes and this run was what it was – but still amazing for me. I honestly don’t remember too much of it because I was in the zone. So much I forgot to snap a selfie until I got back to my desk. This week, I wore black every day I think.

Wednesday 3/14: 3.28 miles 11’50”– I cracked my screen protector and my phone was doing all sorts of silly things, like telling me I wasn’t to my first mile until I’d completely crossed the 16th Street Bridge and was up behind the Sarah Heinz House and dialing people while I was running. I was pretty miffed but kept running until I was almost midway between East Ohio Street and 31st Street along 28.

When I turned around, I knew I’d been moving it and was so mad to hear my “halfway point” about halfway back to 16th Street. This one had to be mapmyrun’ed because GAH. But that pace makes me happy! I know I can do this thing.

See my confusion?!?!

Thursday 3/15: CrossFit – Thursday is one of the best WODs because you know the week is almost done. I also got to work out with one of my first CrossFit friends and she pushed me through our Partner WOD. I had to scale the 200m runs to 175m because whoa fast. And the burpees. I am still not ready for those. Sigh. My rib might need another adjustment after this one. Eek!

Sunday 3/10: 6 miles, 12’02” – I was so glad to see “abundant sunshine” on the forecast, so I held out for my long run to Sunday afternoon. The plan was I’d run home from church then go a little further, but things happened. Our van broke down again and it kinda was a crappy weekend. I tried to stay positive and went for my run. Greg met me at three miles with water but it was a bottle and I didn’t gulp it right. That sat on my crossfit rib and I slowed things down in miles 4 and 5 but there was no stopping me in mile 6. And the twins ran about half a mile of the trail as Greg worked to meet me again after my 2nd turnaround. Ava is a runner – check out some sweet pics of the three them over on Instagram. (My older runners were with Pappy and Grammie.)

Next up? Week TEN!!!

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

March totals: 34.04 miles, 12’07” pace
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace
January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace
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