Running Friends

I've talked about this before, but anyone who thinks running is a solo sport is doing it wrong. Running is a team sport, whether your team is Olympics-bound, sponsored by a major shoe company, a local running club, or simply a group of friends who run. 

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More than I've ever actually loved the physical act of running, I love the people of running. The spectators, the volunteers, the elite athletes (Love you, Des Linden!), the charity runners, the coaches, and all the "regular" runners. Of course, there's a special place in my heart for my fellow back-of-the-pack runners. We'll never win Boston or pick up an endorsement deal, but we're crushing personal records and achieving goals nonetheless. 

I went into Pittsburgh Marathon weekend feeling under-trained and just ready for the whole thing to be over. I knew it was going to hurt (thankfully, it wasn't as bad as I thought). I knew I wasn't going to have any sort of speed. I knew the whole weekend would be chaotic and would leave me feeling like I didn't get to spend any time with dear friends who were in from out-of-town. 

Saturday brought the 5k, where I saw some of my Crohn's & Colitis Foundation friends volunteering on the course. After that, it was back to the North Shore to meet up with my two favorite Kids of Steel. Aunt Chelsea and I once again accompanied Dex & Quinn in the Kids Marathon. This year, they ran the whole way themselves! (Last year included some piggy back rides and quite a bit of coaxing to keep walking haha). It was such a cool treat to two kids I love so much running in the streets of the city I love so much. 

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I had a whole bunch of stuff written here, but it somehow got deleted, so I had to try and remember what I wrote about. I feel like I'm missing a paragraph or two, but oh well. Here's the rest:

Chelsea and I had already talked about running the half together and just taking it easy and having fun. Until we actually started running that day, I wondered whether we were defining “slow” the same way or if I’d be holding her back. Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, we were in sync. We kind of followed a run-walk but took longer walk breaks whenever we felt like it (or whenever we were crossing a bridge that appeared to be 900 miles long). Towards the end of the race, I told her how glad I was that we had decided to run together because I knew I would have been much slower had I been on my own. Going into the race, I honestly thought anything under 3 hours would be a win, but that I could probably do under 2:50. We finished in 2:41:09! Certainly not my best time, but actually not my slowest either. I guess that goes to show that not all of my conditioning was lost.

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After recovering and seeing my family, we headed back out onto the course to find Coach Jeff. We had planned on running the last mile or so with him, but he was speeding along at a pace neither Chelsea or I could maintain (especially having already run a half marathon that morning), so we met up with him again in the Finish Line Festival, got some food, and once again headed out to the course to cheer on runners. By now, marathoners were coming through in somewhere around the 6-hour mark and it was POURING rain. Ashley from P3R graciously invited us up into (now) empty covered VIP Finish Line viewing tent where we were able to cheer for people.

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The finish line of a marathon is a magical place. There were people running solo, friends sticking together, and everyone with a determined look on their face. We met a 75-year-old man who just completed the marathon. A 75-year-old. Who ran 26.2 miles. In the rain. Like a badass. Seriously, runners are a rare breed.

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Here’s to crossing another finish line with my BRF and heading into summer ready to train for a fall marathon (or two? Am I that crazy?)!

Tell me about your running friends in the comments below!

The Training Plan That Wasn't...

Remember back in January when I picked out a training plan for my upcoming half marathon? Then the universe said LOL and the next few months did not go according to ANY plan, training or otherwise.

January brought 22 days of travel for work and volunteer obligations, a sinus infection, and bed bugs

February brought more travel and sub-zero temperatures. Without regular access to a treadmill, I was stuck inside.

In March came 18 days of travel, another sinus infection, and a kidney infection that turned to be e.coli (!!). I actually put a lot of miles in, but most were walking while traveling (I averaged 5-8 miles per day while in New Orleans). 

In summary, I haven't had a single week where I got all the runs on my training plan in. Oops. With that said, most weeks haven't been a total fail and I know I can finish 13.1 miles - it's just a matter of being able to finish in the time I want.

April finally brings warmer temperatures, and with it, the HIGH levels of pollen everywhere. April is also the month that some big miles need to happen, come hell or high water. If I can get a few good long runs in, I'll feel much better about May 3. Right now, I'm not sure I'll realistically be able to make my goal :( Right now the plan is to stick with Coach Jeff and Chelsea for the first 12 miles or so and make them keep me on track. 

Soooooooo if we could actually have some decent weather and I could not get sick or have my allergies make my head explode, that would be stellar. KTHXBAI.

What are your best tips and tricks for salvaging a disaster of a training plan? Comment below!

THE GOOD NEWS: Thanks to a very generous donation from my employer, I HAVE NOW SURPASSED MY FUNDRAISING GOAL! This is even better than any running could ever be because every dollar is a step closer to finding a CURE for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis! Think I can make my stretch goal of $1500 by May 3rd? If you haven't had a chance to donate yet, please do so here! On behalf of the approximately 1.6 million Americans living with IBD, we say THANK YOU! 



Preparing For a COLD Outdoor Race

Chelsea, Steff, Kelsey, Mike and I are all registered for the RSG1 Valentine's Day Race at North Park tomorrow. We've been chatting on twitter all week about the weather forecast and how we're going keep warm!! 


Saturday's Forecast - look at that wind forecast!
This may be the coldest/windiest weather I've ever run or raced in. I've been contemplating my options for clothing all week and testing out different layering combos on my runs this week. I want to make sure I'm warm enough, but not too warm. I also don't want to lose any fingers or toes to frostbite. 

Sparkpeople.com, an awesome health and wellness website, has a Winter Workout Layering Guide that I've found to be pretty helpful. 




This will be my first race since November 15 (eek!) so I'm excited to get back out there. I'm also looking forward to brunch afterwards haha! 


What's the coldest temperature you've ever run in? Do you have any tips/tricks for staying warm, but not too warm? Comment blow! 




P.S. Chelsea over at Pittsburgh City Girl is giving away a FREE pair of ProCompression socks - enter today!!!