The Best View

This morning we were afforded an unplanned day date that involved coffee, shopping small, and picking up pizza for lunch. This morning, that day date also included getting caught in the rain…just like we did on a Saturday eleven years ago.

We were young and although we hadn’t been dating long, we just knew we were meant to be together. Within six months of dating + two whirlwind moves to Pennsylvania, this single mama found herself marrying her knight in shining armor.

For nearly ten years, we loved so much. We laughed a lot. We welcomed three more babies, two houses, a few cars, a few brand new careers, and a timeshare into our lives.

It was like we were on a mountaintop.

…and then it was 2019.

2019 was the hardest year of our lives for many, many reasons. We were tested in so many ways – our faith, our marriage, my health.

It was very much Psalm 38 “in the pit” life. The mountain of things we had to climb through TOGETHER was steep and rough.

2019 was the hardest climb.

…and then it was 2020.

This morning while shopping a local boutique, I found a canvas that just spoke to me with such forcce. I knew it had to come home and find a place in our bedroom.

…because on this day, July 11, 2020, we celebrate eleven years of being married. And while I never want to climb that mountain again, I’m so glad we put God in the middle and climbed it together, Greg. Because it is so true.

The best views can only be seen after the hardest climb.

Happy 11th anniversary, Greg. I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. xoxo

inspired home: Recharge!

Home is where the heart is -isn’t it? For the next four weeks, I’m going to be highlighting some of my favorite products from Thirty-One Gifts that are perfect for your home. This series will be “inspired home” and give you ideas to organize your spaces and refresh your style! Today’s products: The Glamour Case!

Relax and Recharge

Things are starting to open back up and I’m guessing you’re ready to head out for a little bit of time to relax and recharge. No matter where your travels might take you – near or far – I hope that you get the time to do JUST THAT soon.

Thirty-One believes that everyone needs time to relax and recharge. I’d love to help you reset your perspective and get ready for adventures ahead with cozy home styles and fresh on-the-go solutions.

How about a solution set that you can pair with our Glamour Case with for your next adventure?

source: Thirty-One Gifts

Glamour Case

Sometimes my work has me on the road and I can attest that (while it took some convincing) you can take everything you need from a health and beauty perspective in this case.

Source: Thirty-One Gifts

I LOVE that it holds my makeup brushes up off everything and then covers them with a little flap. Also in the top we have a clear PVC pocket for things like toothpaste, toothbrush, and floss. In the base, you can put your travel bath products and makeup. L O V E this for my travels!

So, where would your Glamour Case go with you?


Like what you see here?

Request access to my VIP Facebook Group to hear all the Thirty-One news first. Love it? Consider placing an order with me (May 2020 orders will support On Our Sleeves and AFSP Western PA). If you’d like to start your OWN Thirty-One business, check out this post to learn more.

And check out my other Inspired Home posts for more ideas!

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.


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


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!


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.


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.

inspired home: Refresh!

Home is where the heart is -isn’t it? For the next four weeks, I’m going to be highlighting some of my favorite products from Thirty-One Gifts that are perfect for your home. This series will be “inspired home” and give you ideas to organize your spaces and refresh your style! Today’s products: The Fresh Market Thermal and Keep It Cool Thermal Backpack.

Let’s Get Some Fresh Air

Has it hit you that next Monday is Memorial Day? This is a day that traditionally is spent outdoors enjoying picnic or party food with family and friends. This might look a little different this year, but here is to new traditions!

Thirty-One believes a little refresh (and a little fresh air) is good for the soul. Embrace the outdoors with stylish solutions for family outings and backyard bashes.

Let’s take a look at two of those options today.

Fresh Market Thermal

Our family usually packs up our Fresh Market Thermal with a meal or two then we hit the road for Clear Creek with our friends. As a family of six, this holds plenty of food for our adventures and keeps things hot or cold – depending on what we need.

source: Thirty One Gifts

What’s so great about it? Holds two 9×13 casserole dishes or a crock pot or six gallons of milk! So good. And bonus, if this is on your list it unlocks a Customer Special (50% off any item)!

Keep It Cool Thermal Backpack

I’ll admit, I was on the fence about this backpack. It is stylish but has the thermal lining – I think that’s what made me unsure. But that lining is leak lock which means you can put ice cubes in it and not worry about it leaking. After watching the quick video below about it, I could imagine carrying it with date night picnic supplies and enjoying some much needed alone time with the hubby.

source: Thirty One Gifts

Like the Fresh Market Thermal, the Keep it Cool Thermal Backpack can keep things hot or cold.


Like what you see here?

Request access to my VIP Facebook Group to hear all the Thirty-One news first. Love it? Consider placing an order with me (May 2020 orders will support On Our Sleeves and AFSP Western PA). If you’d like to start your OWN Thirty-One business, check out this post to learn more.

And check out my other Inspired Home posts for more ideas!

inspired home: Restyle!

Home is where the heart is -isn’t it? For the next four weeks, I’m going to be highlighting some of my favorite products from Thirty-One Gifts that are perfect for your home. This series will be “inspired home” and give you ideas to organize your spaces and refresh your style! Today’s product: The Market Crossbody.

Restyle with the Market Crossbody

As many of us are planning our first outings after stay-at-home orders were put in place, I bet there are some of you who are very excited to break out some of your favorite bags, shoes, and outfits! Or maybe others are like me and instead of looking for those old favorite pieces, I’m excited to show off a few of the new things I’ve bought while “quarantine shopping”!

Thirty-One believes in the magic of a style refresh. That’s why you’ll see our catalogs change a few times a year, bringing in new products in addition to the ones you love plus refreshed prints and patterns to keep up with trends.

This spring/summer, Thirty-One has introduced the Market Crossbody: an everyday bag you can take anywhere!

Market Crossbody

This bag has an easy, casual design and detachable, webbed crossbody strap. With a roomy, slouchy interior, it is ideal for hitting the shops or market. Add personalization on the natural canvas to make it mean more.

Do you change your style every so often or prefer to stick with tried and true styles? Is a refresh of your style on the horizon?


Like what you see here?

Request access to my VIP Facebook Group to hear all the Thirty-One news first. Love it? Consider placing an order with me (May 2020 orders will support On Our Sleeves and AFSP Western PA). If you’d like to start your OWN Thirty-One business, check out this post to learn more.

And check out my other Inspired Home posts for more ideas!

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?

inspired home: REJOICE!

Home is where the heart is -isn’t it? For the next four weeks, I’m going to be highlighting some of my favorite products from Thirty-One Gifts that are perfect for your home. This series will be “inspired home” and give you ideas to organize your spaces and refresh your style! Today’s product? The Close to Home Mini Table Gallery!


There is always a reason to rejoice, isn’t there?

This Sunday, we’ll be celebrating the moms in our lives. Maybe you have a wedding or graduation to celebrate this year. Or maybe you’ve been spending your days of the stay at home order snapping photos of your kids or pets. Thirty-One has a sweet ‘lil gift idea for you that is joy-filled:

Close to Home Mini Table Gallery

Spoiler alert! One of my moms will be getting this adorable Close to Home Mini Table Gallery to display a photo of her grandkids and it not take up a bunch of space.

Personally, I have the larger version of this sweet ‘lil photo holder and I find myself taking photos thinking about ones I can print on the iron inserts and swap them into our gallery. Our gallery includes photos from trips to local parks and attractions, Hawaii, and our 2019 Kids Marathon photo.

What are you rejoicing about right now? Share it in the comments so I can celebrate you!


Like what you see here? Request access to my VIP Facebook Group to hear all the Thirty-One news first. Love it? Consider placing an order with me (May 2020 orders will support On Our Sleeves and AFSP Western PA). If you’d like to start your OWN Thirty-One business, check out this post to learn more.

2020 Word of the Year: Strength (May 1st Update)

Did you set a Word of the Year in 2020? It feels like AGES AGO that I set the word STRENGTH as my 2020 Word of the Year. In this update, I’ll share with you a few ways the year has taken strength to get to this point. Check out my original post about my word of the year, strength, here. (This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

2020 Word of the Year – Quick Recap


Friends, I’m literally shaking at my desk as I write this post. This year has taken so much mental strength for all of us. With the introduction of COVID-19, a virus that has ripped our world, we all find ourselves in the same storm and different boats, grasping for strength.

But even before this all began, what seems to be 509 weeks ago, I set myself some goals to be strong, regardless of what came my way. I was just finishing out the toughest year of my life and felt like 2020 HAD to be the year I’d rise up from ashes and see a victory.

Not all hope is lost, but things haven’t totally gone as planned, either.

2020 Strength Goals – May 1st Update

Here is what I hoped that having STRENGTH as a word of the year is going to look like for me:

  1. Be strong, happy + healthy.
  2. Stop comparing.
  3. Be comfortable financially.
  4. Get over my fears.
  5. Say NO more often.
  6. Love my body regardless of a number.
  7. Make my brain stronger.
  8. Be in the Word.

And now to break it down…

Be Strong, Happy + Healthy

It takes a lot to solo run a virtual half marathon, but I can say I at the least I accomplished that. I don’t know how healthy I feel, I’ve still been making some bad food choices. For most of January I was good and stayed Keto, did some Intermittent Fasting even.

When I make poor food choices, I’m not happy. Carbs and I don’t really get along – they please for a moment then I crash into a bad mood. The last few days I set out to drink all my water (and set a goal to make some extra cash to buy myself this waterbottle that glows when it is time to drink up) and move more. Do you ever find that even small adjustments to the “routine” make you feel so much better?

How about that HAPPY part though? Mentally, I’ve been through a lot adjacent to me this year. Trying to remove the personal from the bigger things I’ve been part of is tough, but I am hanging in there.

Stop Comparing

This has been a struggle. At first I started to be proactive about this by having a pop-up show me when I’d been on Facebook for 30 minutes. Today I deleted the app from my phone. It is just so easy to compare, especially when you have time to sit and stir.

But I’ve been reading “You Are the Girl For the Job” by Jess Connolly and she’s been dropping some truth bombs about tribes and squads. Things I needed to hear. A challenge, even:

Will we choose people who provide safety and worldly comfort OR will we find the people who help us see the kingdom of Heaven come to earth?

Jess Connolly, “You Are The Girl For the Job” study

Deep, right? And I’m listening.

Be Comfortable Financially

This one is tough for me to share, but God has not only taken care of our needs in this stressful time but He has blessed us, too. Greg and I both deliver groceries for Instacart when we’re not working our regular jobs. We’ve been able to knock two credit card debts out and get some home repairs done. We are thankful.

Get Over My Fears

I’m working on this. Some of the things that happened in 2019 still keep me up at night, but way less than they had been. Again, I am thankful.

Say NO More Often

Well, this was sort of forced with quarantine, but now that my evenings are “my own” for the most part, I do find some freedom in saying no.

Love my body regardless of a number

This is taking some work. See my update about being healthy. I feel uncomfortable with my weight. I sit a lot. But I’m teaching myself to see beauty. Like in this picture.

Make My Brain Stronger

I’ve still got so many books mocking me and an exam to schedule. Sigh. But earlier today I sent a friend a text with my pile of curriculum on my side table + I’m diving in and learning some new things at work. Next week I might even dive in and ask to try to write some code because my to do list is getting way too long.

Be in THE Word

Every morning I start with a devotion then turn on some worship music. The books I’m reading (above) are helping me get closer + I’m doing a few video studies while I am in the car. THE Word has definitely helped steer my thoughts to a much better place.

Just Keep Getting Stronger

Four months of the year are done. We’ve survived A LOT already. And I just know God has great plans for what is ahead.

To end this, I’d like to thank the people checking in on me and letting me check in on them. Yesterday I posted a little bit of a personal struggle on Facebook and of course got some backlash for sharing my personal truth, but that’s okay too. If there is something I can pray about on your behalf, please let me know. Or if you’re working on any of the things above and want to reach out for accountability, I’m here, too. xoxo

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