The Great Race 2020 (Virtual Run – Pittsburgh)

Over the next few months, I’ll be training for my next running event – the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race. While this is a new to me tradition, Pittsburghers have known and loved this event for 43 years.

This year, while this runwill be virtual, the tradition continues and all of yinz (collectively, Pittsburghers and runners across the world) can join in the fun. With several options, there is something for the whole family to enjoy One Great Weekend of running wherever you are!

the  great race

Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race 2020: NEW TO ME!

Running is something I’ve been doing for nine years, but I don’t have too many 5K or 10K medals (and actually my only 10K was pretty memorable). I’ve been focused on endurance events and half marathons but want to start building up my speed at shorter distances to give me power for those longer runs.

The Great Race is definitely something that has been on my radar, but it seems like I’ve always had something happening the same weekend. As a P3Runner, I knew the dates early and made One Great Weekend a priority on our 2020 calendar. Doing something new as often as I can has been a goal this year and I was excited to check this event out.

In prior years, the 10K started near my Alma Mater, Chatham University. My mind tells me the course is mostly downhill, passing Schenley Park/CMU/University of Pittsburgh and the hospital where I had three of my babies – Magee – before going downhill to Downtown. That course sounded like a good trip down memory lane.

But then, like the 2020 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events, the 2020 Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race and Dollar Bank Junior Great Race announced they are going VIRTUAL as part of the city’s efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While I don’t really like running solo, I’m at a point in the “stay home order” that I am okay with the next normal and am looking forward to running #MYGreatRace in my own way with a bonus.

Run it VIRTUALLY!

Registration for all of the VIRTUAL Great Race and Dollar Bank Junior Great Race is open. When you run these races virtually, you will get your shirt and medal in the mail. What do do next? Three easy steps!

STEP 1: Pick your event!

Options include:

Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race

  • The Great Race 10K
  • The Great Race 5K

Dollar Bank Junior Great Race

  • One-Mile Family Fun Run
  • Tot Trot
  • Diaper Dash

STEP 2: GET REGISTERED!

GET REGISTERED: USE CODE GRBECKY15 to save 15% off the 10K or 5k. You’ll need to enter that code at checkout. If you’re not sure how to do that, check this quick video to show you how!

STEP 3: Complete Your Run

I’m going to leave this description from the team putting on the event:

You can complete your race whenever and wherever you wish, but we will officially host the Virtual 2020 Great Race and Virtual 2020 Dollar Bank Junior Great Race throughout the entire month of September! Beginning September 1, you will be able to submit your race time (although this is not required) via the Race Roster website anytime throughout September. Stay tuned to your email and our social channels!

Source: http://www.rungreatrace.com/

Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race

Save 15% when you use code GRBECKY15 to register for the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race VIRTUAL 5K or 10K.

What is this about a BONUS?

Medals are something I L O V E so you probably won’t be surprised to find out that I’m SUPER excited about this bonus, the One GREAT Challenge, benefitting Amyloidosis Research. This was something that was not possible when the “in person” event was in place – the 5K and 10K run at the same time.

One GREAT Challenge details:

As an extra — and BRAND NEW  — challenge, we invite YOU to participate in both the 5K and 10K in the month of September! One GREAT Challenge participants will earn the Great Race tech shirt, the 10K medal, the 5K medal, the One GREAT Challenge medal, as well as a One GREAT Challenge t-shirt. That’s THREE medals and TWO shirts!

Plus, $5 from each One GREAT Challenge registration will be donated to support amyloidosis research. Each year, the Great Race donates $1 from every Great Race and Dollar Bank Junior Great Race registration to the Richard S. Caliguiri Amyloidosis Fund, a fund held by the Pittsburgh Foundation that is dedicated to supporting medical research, and One GREAT Challenge participants will contribute even more to this important cause.

Source: http://www.rungreatrace.com/

I will be running both races this fall and am excited about logging summer training miles to get me there. Will you join me? GET REGISTERED today! Use code GRBECKY15 to save 15% off The Great Race 10K or The Great Race 5K. See you on social with #MYGreatRace.

Tips for Runners

Back when I started running (in 2011), I thought this sport was something that only required a pair of shoes and some motivation. In my years running as a “back of the pack” runner, I’ve shared a few tips for runners that runners of all levels might find useful.

Tips for Runners

What tips for runners would you add to this list?

3 Exercises for Runners to Prevent Injuries from Occurring

Today on this “Training Tuesday” – in what would have been the final taper week before the 2020 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon – I decided to take a break and share a guest post with you. Fellow Pittsburgh blogger Dr. Alex Tauberg is a Chiropractor and shared this post, “3 Exercises for Runners to Prevent Injuries from Occurring” with me. Considering I just tweaked my ankle, I think it is great timing. Enjoy!

For the most part, running is an incredibly safe activity, especially when compared to most sports out there.

But, certain biomechanical irregularities such as weak glutes, inactive or tight muscles, and side-to-side imbalances can cause some injuries either directly or indirectly (by worsening our running technique and leading to overuse).

So, runners should take preventive measures and avoid getting injured.

Today, we’ll take a look at three excellent exercises that focus on three underrated areas – the core, glutes, and hips.

Three Exercises for Runners to Prevent Injuries

1. Planks

The classic plank is an excellent exercise for runners because it trains the core, glutes, lower back, and hips. What’s more, the plank works isometrically (meaning, the muscles involved are contracted but not moving), which helps promote core and hip stability while running.

To perform it properly:

  • Get on all fours with your arms bent, and elbow directly underneath your shoulders.
  • Extend your legs back and plant your toes firmly.
  • Contract your abs and glutes. Your body should be straight as an arrow.
  • Hold the position for as long as you can.

2. Reverse Lunges

The reverse lunge is another valuable exercise for runners because it simultaneously trains and develops our glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core.

And, unlike the classic squat, lunges work our legs unilaterally (one at a time), which promotes stability and balance, while also preventing side-to-side imbalances from occurring.

To perform it:

  • Stand tall with your feet at hip-width level, chest out, gaze directed forward, and hands on your hips.
  • Step back with your right leg and sink into a lunge until you form a 90-degree bend on your front knee.
  • As you perform the lunge, make sure that your core is engaged, and your back is neutral.
  • Step back to the starting position and then repeat for your left leg.
  • Keep alternating between the two.

3. Single-Leg Deadlifts

The deadlift, while often overlooked, is among the best exercises for runners, because the hip hinge does a great job of developing the entire posterior chain – our hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back.

Also, doing it unilaterally (one leg at a time) will help fix any imbalances that might have occurred in your legs or hips. This will help you maintain proper running technique.

To perform these:

  • Stand tall with your chest up, feet at hip-width level, and arms to your sides.
  • Slowly raise your right leg back as you shift the weight on your left foot.
  • Hinge your hips to bend forward and simultaneously raise your right leg further back and up until your body almost forms the letter T.
  • Make sure to keep both legs straight throughout the movement, and don’t forget to keep your glutes and abs engaged. Your back should be entirely straight throughout each repetition.
  • Pause for a moment and return the right leg to starting position as you stand up.
  • Then, complete the remaining repetitions and repeat for your other leg.

Dr. Alex Tauberg is a Chiropractor Pittsburgh can trust to provide evidence based care. He primarily serves the Fox Chapel & Oakmont Areas. Dr. Tauberg uses an evidence based approach to get people out of pain and back to enjoying their active lifestyles. Dr. Tauberg has been certified by the University of Pittsburgh as a Primary Spine Practitioner, is a certified chiropractic sports practitioner, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and is an emergency medical responder.  He is also the team chiropractor for The Pittsburgh Vengeance.

13.1 To Remember

This year’s DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon / UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon was going to be 13.1 to remember. When I applied to serve as a P3Runner, I told the team this was going to be a year of comeback for me (following a 2019 back half filled with physical and mental pain). I’d see a victory. It would be a half marathon to remember. This post contains affiliate links.

Psst: Even though the 2020 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon has gone virtual, keep your eye on my blog for news about other events put on by P3REvents this year, including some exclusive deals, too!

I’m talking all in past tense here and some of you are probably wondering why that is. You’ve checked out my Facebook and Instagram and saw not a thing about the fact that my 13.1 has been run. You read my last training update (which was too long ago, back when the COVID-19 pandemic had just started to sink in) and it said I planned to run the 13.1 to remember, my first virtual race, on May 3 (the original race day).

Well, I’ve Ran My Race

One of the things I’ve learned in the past year is that I MUST pay attention to my mental health. To be honest, having the physical strength to run 13.1 miles (especially when you are an overweight runner) is one thing. To have the mental strength to do it is a whole different level. And part of my “see a victory” mindset right now is listening to my mental health. With that said, I’ve ran my race.

I was REALLY looking forward to May 3, I’d still take the day off from church, I’d still run my race just in Kittanning/Ford City instead of in Pittsburgh. Training continued, even after some long days at work, like when I ran 10 miles on a Monday night or 12 miles on a Friday after logging 46 hours of work that week (to avoid running on a weekend that was full of storms). Mentally, I was prepared.

And then came FOURTEEN

I remember seeing the 14 mile April 11 long run on my SCRR Galloway group training plan and thinking that it was going to SUCK (putting it NICELY) even with my group. Then COVID-19 sidelined our group runs and I’d have to run FOURTEEN MILES alone. Heh.

My decision to run the 14 miles on Easter Sunday, since we weren’t having church, might have been what shifted my thinking. I was actually LOOKING FORWARD to running 14 by the time that week came around. Nerves weren’t a thing…I was excited, looking forward to logging these miles starting at sunrise of the day of the GREATEST VICTORY (Resurrection Sunday), running the longest run of my life in preparation for my first virtual half marathon! The longest my watches have booked me running is 13.4 miles (the 2018 Myrtle Beach Mini).

In the days leading up to this training run, I set out my clothes (even got a new pair of my favorite running shorts that week), decided that running the trail in three different parts (with the option to stop at my house twice + have my family drive to meet me with water later) was the right thing to do. Everything seemed in line for what I was planning.

Even the morning of, it was beautiful. I wore shorts and a tank with my 2019 UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon long sleeve, filled up my Nathan running vest with plenty of water and Honey Stinger chews and gels. There was a forecast of rain, and even with some gray clouds, the rain never did break through.

It was time to run fourteen.

As the sun rose, I hit the trail for a 1-mile out and back just to be sure my body and mind were good. Those first miles were done at a 20/30 run/walk split and were 15:14 and 14:54. Pulling a negative split of that nature had me a little nervous – would I run out of steam?

I passed my house and ran my “little more than a 5K” loop that I discovered a few weeks back. All of my family was asleep but just seeing the house motivated me. I did those next 3.2ish miles over just about 45 minutes and even though (TMI ALERT) I’ve NEVER used a porta potty on course (I’m slow enough as it is, I don’t need to add the bathroom to my net time), I decided it was a good idea to run in the house “and go”.

Greg was just waking up, and I remember telling him I was feeling amazing with over 5 miles in and “just an out and back” left (9 miles). They’d meet me in a little over an hour at my final turnaround spot, give me some Nuun, and the kids would do some socially distant running with me for a few miles.

Back to the trail I went and it really did feel good. I was still SOLO on the trail, just me, God, and my thoughts. See, that’s when the wheels usually fall off. I’m running alone and can think.

And man, I’ve got a lot to think about.

I’m coming off a rough 2019. Physically. There was my surgery to remove an ovarian cyst, sidelining me for the majority of the year from May to December. Mentally. Adapting to 100% working from home as a consultant with several clients who have different work/life balance goals than I do. Losing my cousin Emily in June. Going through some pretty heavy stuff in my own home. It was a rough year.

And to be honest? The last five weeks haven’t been easy with crisis school, some heavy stuff in our church, and just not being able to live our normal lives. My mind got sidetracked on those 4.5 miles “out” by all these thoughts.

Strava was logging me in the mid 15-minute miles which is fine, I needed to save the energy for being with the kids, for runing my 13.1 to remember. But I won’t lie, I’ve always been a slow runner but not “this slow”. It was getting to me mentally.

And I was solo. There was no support, no looking forward to fans or being surprised by friends along the way. I mean, this was a training run, but even at that the original plan was to be with my group and we’d struggle through it together.

By the time Greg met me with the kids, I realized I was overheating and out of water. That 1.5L went fast. I took off my long sleeve and realized it was still REALLY COLD out and that the kids running with me was probably not the best thing. They still wanted to try.

0.3 miles in, the three youngest were clearly DONE. Cannot blame them. It was cold. Greg loaded the van back up, but Arianna wanted to stick with me. We were headed back toward home and I kept telling her she could get in the van at any time. Greg could tell I was struggling a bit and he stayed close by on the road.

After what should have been one mile based on my mapping, the trail markers, and past runs, my app never said we’d hit it. I was frustrated. It kept happening, miles getting longer by almost a minute each mile and we were way closer to home than the 2.5 miles the app was showing me we had left (where it usually says 2)…the wheels were falling off.

Arianna could tell and she vowed to stay with me, encouraging me throughout. She saved this run, that’s 100% sure.

Post-run. She lasted 4.5 miles with me!

The Final Straw

Greg met us one final time and fully expected Arianna to get in the van. She’d just ran three miles with me and I still had 1.5 miles to go (regardless of what Strava said at that moment). Leaning into the drivers window, I told him that I had decided mentally and physically I just couldn’t do it.

It being run my 13.1 to remember on May 3 on this trail alone. I was hurting and was just 1.5 miles way from running my longest run ever. There’d be time to sleep on it, to change my mind, but at that very moment, this was going to be where my 13.1 journey to May 3 would end…with a 14-mile training run. Back to the trail Arianna and I went.

That last 1.5 miles was tough. I looked down where Strava said I was at 13.1 (right or not) and it was 3 hours, 23 minutes, 50 seconds. My longest 13.1 ever, but I knew this was going to be the case this year.

When we finished fourteen, there was no finish line. There were no fans (they had just got home and were getting warm, didn’t really believe me I was actually logging this as my official virtual half because at the time I didn’t really believe me). There was just me and my oldest girl.

I ran fourteen miles, you guys. FOURTEEN.

And within that, there was most defintely a 13.1 to remember. After many nights sleeping on it, icing an ankle that’s felt tweaked ever since, and getting other things piled on my brain, I’ve decided that April 19 was definitely my 2020 UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

And that, that’s OKAY.

I guess this is my “official finish line photo”?!?!

What’s Next?

This girl has some big plans. I have to get my nutrition and fitness back to 2018 levels. There are some goals I have for our house and our finances that I need to focus on.

And most of all, I want to be able to…even when the wheels fall off and I don’t meet those goals…look at a picture of myself like you see above and love it just as much as I loved the picture of me on a sail boat in Aruba. I want to see the girl who has the endurance to run fourteen miles in 3 hours 37 minutes and be so dang proud of her.

That’s totally possible. 2020 might not be delivering me that victory that I thought I’d see, but God is working on getting my head and heart right. And that is indeed a victory.

BUT WAIT! I signed up for the Steel Challenge and will run my 5K with one of the big kids next Saturday and cheer on Greg and the other big kid + we’ll all run the Kids Marathon, too. We’re so excited to do this as a family!

Stay tuned – I’m still going to be run/walking and am looking forward to races once we are able to return to our new normal!

PSST! I ran these miles (and will keep running) in memory of Emily as part of the AFSP Western PA Team. Consider donating to AFSP as we remember her and to help other families impacted by suicide. Remember that you are loved.

2020 Miles to Date

April: 25.22 miles, 15:24 per mile average

March: 41.86 miles, 15:27 per mile average

February: 45.96 miles, 14:51 per mile average

January: 25.16 miles, 14:47 per mile average

Training Tuesday | March 17

Friends. It is with a heavy heart that I share with you that the 2020 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon has been canceled due to COVID-19 and the precautions being taken. I stand with this decision, but I won’t lie that I am sad. I totally bawled while listening to this announcement earlier today. That being said, I am still serving as a P3Runner and will be bringing you news about future events that P3R puts on (hopefully) in 2020.

And as for training…I plan to stick with it. Solo miles have been my thing for years, no reason to not run 13.1 on my own on May 3, right? And Evan and I will do a 5k on May 2 so he gets his first 5K checked off his running list, too. Pittsburgh is offering a virtual option so I’ll still be getting that medal!

March Training

This month has been tough, and not just COVID-19 related. This is my space, so I am going to take a moment and do some venting about life in general because it has impacted my training both positively and negatively.

As of last week, I had ONE March run. Then last week I had time for a whole 4 miles. Last week brought some tough church business on top of a heavy workload at work. Then COVID-19 hit and it meant trying to keep up with changes to websites & groups I manage and social media that I had scheduled. I didn’t do my best at it and it showed. I was tired. I didn’t run after Wednesday. I feel it. My family feels it. And I promise I am going to do better, friends.

With COVID-19, so many people are stocking up on groceries in case we are on mandatory lockdown. Greg and I both are Instacart shoppers as a side gig. He has been working really hard on our parking spot (which is DONE!) and an issue with our gas meter, so since we didn’t know if we’d have the side income from Instacart in the coming weeks, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday shopping out in the craziness of COVID-19 prep. He kept the fort down and worked more on the gas meter issue (which involved digging a 30-foot long hole in our front yard). That meant I skipped my weekend long run of ten miles.

So after working all day Monday + being homeschool teacher + getting told by Isla that I was a slow runner (GIRL), I hit the trail and logged my ten at 4:00 in the afternoon. Slow and solo. I did it. I fought serious mental battles – I forgot why I didn’t run EQT in November and it all came flooding back. All of it. The things you know and the things you don’t know. And it hurt. When I was done, my feet hurt and I just wanted dinner and bed. But I did it and smiled at the end.

I’ll keep running. I’ll keep smiling. And I hope that you will, too. Let’s keep moving, Pittsburgh!

Follow me on Instagram, sharing my selfies and glimpses into what life as a #fitmomintheremaking #strongnotskinny runner is like.

To Date Mileage

So far, here is how the miles training for 2o20 Pittsburgh look:

February: 45.96 miles, 14:51 per mile average

March: 19 miles, 15:16 per mile average

Training Tuesday | March 10

Join me as I chronicle my training for my sixth half marathon on May 3, 2020 through “Training Tuesday” posts. This year I am serving as a P3Runner and will be bringing you all the news about the 2020 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and other events put on by P3REvents this year. Watch my blog and Instagram for exclusive deals, too!

March Training

Have I told you that switching from “full out running” to running the Gallloway Method (30 seconds run, 30 seconds walk) has been tough? Physically, it is amazing but mentally I am breaking down. I feel so slow. I feel like I am not a runner. And then I go through this cycle of man do I have a crazy amount of endurance!

All that I have conquered this month is one run. We are ten days in and I’ve ran once. When I ran my eight miles on February 29, it was frigid – 18 degrees – and my lungs were not happy. I still don’t feel amazing, but I got out in the nearly 60 degree weather on Sunday and ran five (or a wee bit less if Strava is right).

I gave running with a hydration vest a try and I have decided I absolutely LOVE it! This is the one I found for myself on Amazon. Do you run with a hydration vest?

I have goals to run today, but life is kind of muddy right now. Okay, more than muddy. Let’s hope I get out there and run because I have really big goals for my running in the next year. I’m not ready to share because I’m waiting for a date for a certain goal race of mine but I have spoken it to a friend and Greg. Stay tuned!

Follow me on Instagram, sharing my selfies and glimpses into what life as a #fitmomintheremaking #strongnotskinny runner is like.

To Date Mileage

So far, here is how the miles training for 2o20 Pittsburgh look:

February: 45.96 miles, 14:51 per mile average

March: 4.99 miles, 15:15 per mile average

Keep following to see how things improve for me as I work toward May 3! Are you signed up to race? What race(s) and how is training going for you?

Did you hear? Save 15% on your race registrations for ANY P3R Pittsburgh running event during Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events…you race it, you save it…just use WILLIS15 when you check out. Registration for the Pet Walk, Toddler Trot, 5K, Relay, Half, and Full Marathon is open now here.

Training Tuesday | February

Join me as I chronicle my training for my sixth half marathon on May 3, 2020. This year I am serving as a P3Runner and will be bringing you all the news about the 2020 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and other events put on by P3REvents this year. Watch my blog and Instagram for exclusive deals, too!

February Training

In what was probably the warmest February I can remember, I am happy to say that I have (so far) logged every mile I was supposed to. This year I am following the Galloway Training Program which has me running 30 seconds and then walking 30 seconds. I have not logged every cross-training “officially” because life has been incredibly busy and if I need to skip something, it’s going to be cross-training, sadly.

I’m still over on Instagram, sharing my selfies and glimpses into what life as a #fitmomintheremaking #strongnotskinny runner is like. Reviewing my feed, there are lots of two mile runs that I’d love to get increased to three miles but I just need the time in my life. Don’t we all need that?

What’s this about not having time? My work client has increased demand to 50-55 hours a week which paired with family, my small businesses and church volunteer work leaves little time to get my exercise in. If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it is that I need to make my health and exercise a priority!

February Mileage Update

In addition to changing up my running strategy, I also changed where I am logging my miles. Because Strava links with my FitBit Versa 2, I’ve switched. I want to know – those of you who have Strava, are you using Summit and what do you think about it? I’m tempted to add this to my metrics because I’m a total metrics girl and want to know all the ways I can improve.

So far, here is how the miles training for 2o20 Pittsburgh look:

February: 35.8 miles, 14:55 per mile average

Keep following to see how things improve for me as I work toward May 3! Are you signed up to race? What race(s) and how is training going for you?

Did you hear? Save 15% on your race registrations for ANY P3R Pittsburgh running event during Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events…you race it, you save it…just use WILLIS15 when you check out. Registration for the Pet Walk, Toddler Trot, 5K, Relay, Half, and Full Marathon is open now here.

January 2020 Ready.Set.MOVE. Box

Do you remember when I first announced my excitement over the Ready.Set.MOVE. Box last January? Well, my subscription is BACK and this time I’ll be getting all four boxes in 2020 and sharing the details with you…starting with the fresh off the USPS van January 2020 Ready.Set.MOVE. Box!

The post below is part of my experience as a P3Runner – an ambassador for P3REvents.

January 2020 Ready.Set.MOVE Box

January 2020 Ready.Set.MOVE. Box | The Goods

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?!?! 

SAVE $10 off your first subscription when you use code WILLIS10 at checkout!

Included in the January 2020 Ready.Set.MOVE. Box:

  • Brooks Lunch Tote – to store your healthy foods – key if you’re working outside the home while training!
  • Run Fast. Eat Slow. A Runner’s Meal Planner. Written by Elyse Kopecky + Shalene Flanagan, this food journal gives recipe ideas and a place to track food for 52 weeks (starting when you’re ready, not when the calendar says it is time).
  • KT Tape – a whole variety pack with samples to support muscles, ligaments, and tendons
  • NuGo’s Perfect Cookie – as a Keto Runner I’m so excited to try this protein cookie with <1-2g of sugar!
  • Nuun Hydration Rest for Recovery – this is a new to me flavor with lemon chamomile and will help the body relax after those long training days. I have yet to find one of their hydration tabs that I don’t like!
  • 4Run2 Exclusive Beanie
  • Honey Stinger Protein & Gel – I’m not a big carb fan these days but I can’t deny the power I get from Honey Stinger Gel on long run days.
  • NATHAN LightBender LED Armband – excited to try this out on my next early morning or late evening run!
  • Ready.Set.MOVE. Resistance Bands
  • Vaseline – I’ll be fighting my kids to keep this cute little tub of our favorite way to moisturize lips in winter.
  • Goal Card – I’m still trying to figure out what I’m putting on mine!
  • $$ off the P3RStore – I’ve had my eyes on some of the cute 2020 shirts like “Run All the Miles. Eat all the Pierogies” – even if I rarely eat those amazing ‘Burgh bites.

What am I most excited about in the January 2020 Ready.Set.MOVE. Box? “Run Fast. Eat Slow.”, NuGo’s keto cookie, and the 4Run2 Beanie!

If you’re ready to buy, head on over to the P3R Gear store and start subscribing…and make sure you use code WILLIS10 to save $10 off your first box! Note – you’ll be getting the April 2020 box, arriving around April 25, 2020.

How will this help my training?

Speaking of “Run Fast. Eat Slow.”, I’m working on figuring out my nutrition this training round. Keto (low carb, I have to lower my cheese intake) running has helped the past few years, but I’m not sure it is 100% what my body needs this year. Writing my food intake and pairing it with my training might just help with figuring out the right things to eat to fuel my body.

Did you pick up the January 2020 Ready.Set.MOVE. Box and are ready to start using your planner but don’t know what to cook? Pick up the cookbook that the planner is a companion to here with free shipping.

As an arthritic runner, I rely on tape to hold my knee in a place it feels just right. The sample pack of KT Tape is going to come in handy! The resistance bands will be so easy to use to help stretch and strengthen in my home or anywhere that my training months take me.

Everything in this box has me excited – what do you think your favorite item is/would be?

Ready. Set. MOVE. Box – 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 any of the 2020 Pittsburgh Marathon events? Make sure you do and let them know I sent you by using WILLIS15 as your code when you sign up. You’ll save 15% when you do! Register now here!

Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race

Save 15% when you use code GRBECKY15 to register for the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race VIRTUAL 5K or 10K.

Jaybird Vista

VISTA earbuds from Jaybird Sport – Vista is Jaybird’s first true wireless headphone that meets IPX7 and MIL-STD 810G standards. In other words, Vista is waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, sweatproof—#EARTHPROOF.
Ready Set Move

Ready.Set.MOVE Box

Save $10 off your first subscription box with Ready.Set.MOVE when you use code WILLIS10 at checkout. This is a quarterly subscription box for those who love fitness + Pittsburgh. Boxes ship every January, April, July, and October.

2020 P3Runner

The post below is part of a series of posts about the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events. I will be serving as a 2020 P3Runner in 2020 and bringing you exclusive information and discounts about 2020 P3R races. All opinions are 100% my own.

The Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and P3R Events have introduced a new program to their “official blogger” ambassador role and I am so excited to announce that I will be serving as a 2020 P3Runner! That means I’ll be an ambassador here on the blog + social media + at P3R runs all of 2020. What’s in it for you, readers? Follow along with my stories of training and “racing” and use my exclusive cannot get this deal anywhere else 15% off race registrations all year long.

I’ll get right to the point – save 15% on your race registrations for ANY P3R Pittsburgh running event – Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events, FlyBy5k, GAP Relay, Liberty Mile, Great Race, EQT 10-Miler…you race it, you save it…just use WILLIS15 when you check out. Registration for the Pet Walk, Toddler Trot, 5K, Relay, Half, and Full Marathon is open now here.

Runners gonna Run

Even though I’m what most would consider a “back of the packer”, I have a history with running and a huge love for running in Pittsburgh. After six months off (see my post about 2019 taking C O U R A G E to get through), I have been back to the trail and dreadmill running for four weeks. In that time, I’ve already shaved 2 minutes / mile off my time and I’m quite happy with progress. Runners gonna run!

All runners of all body types have a place in Pittsburgh’s running events and I’m here not only to tell you about the options in 2020 but to cheer you on and encourage you that if this girl can do it, you can too.

2019 UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon + FedEx Relay + 5k = Steel Challenge

That was me in 2019. I ran that half marathon with a knee so full of arthritis and on a rainy day. I crossed that finish line with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face even though my fifth half marathon was my slowest yet.

What you probably don’t know from that photo:

  • 2019 was only my 8th year running and I didn’t run all eight of those years. I took time off to have babies and to get back to a healthier weight.
  • I used to weigh about 90 pounds more than I weighed that day. Thanks to running + a healthy relationship with food I lost that weight (plus some) while being a mom of two and working full time. After hitting 130 pounds lost, I had twins + went through two job changes. This mom of four had to work hard to get back to the girl you see there.

As a 2020 P3Runner, I’m looking forward to sharing more of my story with all of you. Be following my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and especially Instagram to keep up with my training and more news about the 2020 P3Runner Ambassador Program and running events in Pittsburgh.

And remember, save 15% with code WILLIS15 for ANY Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon 2020 weekend of events races!

Training Tuesday: The Half-termath

Three weeks have flown by in the time since the 2019 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events and although my duties as an official blogger for them are over, I’m still singing the praises of the event and the time my family had there. Does that mean I’ve been running? Well, that’s why you’re reading, right? This post contains affiliate links – if you click through to Amazon and shop there, as an Amazon Associate I earn a commisison at no extra charge to you. 

Missed my wrap-up? It’s in a three-part series starting here

Training Tuesday: The Half-termath

After we completed all the fun of ‘marathon weekend’, the family and I packed up the van in front of the Omni William Penn (which BTW – thanks to all of you readers and runners, I got to stay in as a prize, THANK YOU!) and hit 279 headed for I-80 and Wisconsin Dells (one of our top vacation spots). We didn’t make it far.

I was wrapped in ice and trying to enjoy my Starbucks when I sniffed the air and smelled something burning. We thought that our oil change on Wednesday had taken care of this issue (oil built up on a gasket), but nope. I asked Greg if he could confirm my thoughts and he said yes…so I brought up a battery light issue Arianna had mentioned over the weekend. Basically, our alternator was shot and we needed to get off the road ASAP or it could have ended badly.

But we had worked so hard to get to this vacation – we both have been working basically non-stop without a real “no stress” vacation – you know, one where both adults love what they do and aren’t job hunting/studying for exams/having to be on call just in case something goes wrong at work. There was NOTHING we had to do but relax and enjoy family time. Nothing.

So I quickly searched for the lowest priced rental vehicle I could find at the Pittsburgh Airport and we turned Waze’s route from Christmas Mountain Village to the Enterprise Rental desk. Our van would sit at the airport until we got back with a tow truck a week later and we loaded all of our luggage (way too much, we pack the kitchen sink) into a rental Suburban (aka my dream vehicle) and finally hit the road.

I wasn’t feeling getting any workouts in over vacation. My knee hurt from the running and travel and I just wanted to relax, so I did. Once we got home and had to deal with getting back to work, I decided to do some old Bob Harper DVD‘s and walk from the parking garage to work (1 mile) on the nice mornings. I just wasn’t ready to run again.

Then last Tuesday I visited the orthopedic surgeon praying with everything I had in me that they’d approve an MRI. Nope. This girl has arthritis. That’s what held me back! But friends – I won’t sugar coat it. It’s A LOT of arthritis and it is painful – I’m not being a wuss or trying to say that being cautious wasn’t smart. I just have had a lot of trauma to my right knee (four skin-breaking falls that I can remember) and am getting older. It’s my new reality!

So, I basked in that and finally cleaned up my Altras and headed out to the trail on Thursday evening. It was HOT, I’d worked and had a long week (windows replaced in the whole house, Marathon Volunteer Appreciation event/Pirate game, worship practice) BUT I FELT SO GOOD. I even pulled off a 30 second negative split from mile 1 to mile 2. I’m totally going the Galloway method for awhile! 

This new reality is paying off. Being back to working out for two weeks and solid keto eating (though I did NOT restrict myself on Sunday) and I see and feel a difference.

What’s Next?

You didn’t think I was giving up, did you? HA! No way. I was waiting to hear the results from my appointment last week, but I think that my summer/fall will include:

What are you looking for as your next (or maybe even first!!!) running event?