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!

2018 Goals!

Now is about the time that many people are falling off the wagon with their new year’s resolutions and goals, so I figured now was also the perfect time for me to share mine. I don’t really ever set resolutions, but I like to have some goals to focus on.

I’ve actually got some pretty big goals that I’m keeping private for right now (but if we’re friends IRL, please ask me about them!), but here’s what I’m putting out there for the world:
 

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1. Read every day.

In 2016, I set a goal to read 52 books, or one per week. I actually surpassed this goal and read 53! I knew I wanted a slightly less aggressive goal in 2017, but I read even less than expected and probably read somewhere around 25-30 books (which is still a lot!).

To get back into reading more regularly, I’ve set a goal to read every single day (and so far I’ve still got a perfect record!). I use Goodreads to track my reading, and I’ve set a goal on there to read XX books, so I’m hoping daily reading time will help do the trick!

I’m not putting further parameters on what “read every day” means - so some days it may be a chapter, or other days might be a bit more, like the day recently where I had 3 hours of flights and read a few hundred pages.

I’m also committing to reading all of the unread books on my bookshelf (as opposed to the hundreds of unread books also sitting in my kindle app haha!)



2. Run 2 marathons.

I’m already registered for the 10th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Marathon in May (on my birthday!), so that’s one for sure. I’ve got a free entry for Akron in September and had a great experience there in 2017, so I’m definitely considering it again as well. I’m also tossing around some other ideas!

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I'm also participating in the Run for a Reason program once again and am looking to raise $1000 for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. I'm currently 15% completed with my goal. I'd love to see my friends and family sponsoring my race at $1 per mile (that's 26.2 miles, folks!). Even $0.50 per mile is a HUGE help and goes a long way towards funding a cure. You can donate by clicking HERE!

First things first - I’ve got to get back into a rhythm with running. The past few months have not included much running and while I’m ok with that and know I’ll get back into it, I also know these next few weeks will probably be rough, particularly with all the gross weather we’ve had.

 

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3. Create a plan and budget for a trip to Europe.

A Eurotrip has been high on my bucket list for many years, so I’m determined to finally start making some plans!

I won’t be going on the trip or setting dates until I’ve met some financial goals I’m working towards, but I’m also hoping that making more concrete plans will help keep me focused on those goals.

 

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4. Stick to my #powersheets.

I haven’t used a planner in many, many years thanks to technology because I keep my calendar and task list in Google Calendar, but I decided to try one out this year in hopes that seeing my goals in writing, on paper, in my own handwriting, will help me stay focused on them and not lose momentum. I figure if I’ve got to drag this book everywhere with me, I may as well smash the goals and plans written in it, right? :-p

After looking at a few options, I settled on the #powersheets planner from Cultivate What Matters. Unfortunately, they were sold out of the 12-month planner and aren’t restocking their inventory, so I purchased a 6 month calendar. I’ve been chipping away at it a little bit at a time and hope to have all of my action plans laid out by the end of next week!

This goal also encompasses achieving those other goals I vaguely mentioned at the beginning of this post, so it's actually more than just writing in a planner (though I'm definitely going to buy some fun new pens to write in it!)

 


Do you set New Year’s resolutions or goals? Share them in the comments!

My Marathon Training Plan!


Today's post is dedicated to marathon training - my plan, my gear, etc. 

In the fall, I followed Hal Hidgon's Half Marathon Training Plan to train for the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon, which was my goal race for the fall. While I ended up not being able to race that day due to injury, I NAILED training with that cycle. Part of it was the weather, part of it was my light travel schedule, but most of it was just things finally coming together for me. It was pretty upsetting and disappointing to not get to see all of my hard work pay off with a new half marathon PR at Buffalo Creek (or ANY race time that day), but I still came away from that training cycle with new 5k and 10k PRs. 

For the Pittsburgh Marathon, I'm sticking with Hal Higdon as I like that he gives set mileage to run each week. I also use the Gymboss timer app on my phone so I can use the Run-Walk-Run method. I use MapMyRun to log all of my training runs (and walks). 

So far, training has been going...ok. Coming back from an injury sucks. Coming back from an injury when you have activity-induced asthma and your lungs forget how to work while running sucks even more. But I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things and hoping I can keep up with the weekly mileage as it continues to increase (and as I get back out on the road for work). 

I've had my first sub-20 degree run of the season and my face hurt just as much as I thought it would. I've got a fleece neck gaiter that is awesome, but I feel like I'm suffocating when I put it over my mouth and nose, so I may need to look into a different face mask/gaiter (comment below if you've got suggestions!). 

A few months ago, I won a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 12s in a Twitter contest sponsored by Fitfluential. I have been running in Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s for a little over a year now, so I was excited to try out the latest model. As it turns out, I like the 12s so much I've all but stopped running in my last pair of 10s. I'll be using my Elite Runners and Walkers Marathon Training Group discount to purchase another pair of 12s in the near future so I can rotate shoes. I LOVE that MapMyRun has a Gear Tracker that tracks how many miles I've put on each pair of shoes. 

Do you have tips/suggestions? Do you have a favorite training plan? Comment below!

Want to join me at the Pittsburgh Marathon? Or Half Marathon? Or 5k? Use code HOPKINS2016 for $10 off your registration! You can also use that code for 15% off in the P3R Gear Store

2015 in Review

2015 was a pretty good year. 


1. I ran my first half marathon! (And then ran 2 more as well)




2. I went to Alaska
Riding ATVs on the beach on Kodiak!

Whale watching in the Kenai Fjords and the Gulf of Alaska

The gate of Denali National Park

3. I visited 5 states for the first time (taking my total to 40!)


Beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans

Japanese Gardens in Portland, OR

Tulips at Pike Place Market in Seattle

4. I got a promotion at work.
5. I presented at a professional conference for the first time.




6. I was selected as a Pittsburgh Marathon Blogger



7. I taught myself how to make grits (and they turned out amazing!)


Cheddar jalapeno grits with poached eggs

8. I read a ton of great books, my favorite being Otherhood by Melanie Notkin




9. I was on TV to promote a CCFA event.

10. Also, I raised over $1000 for CCFA!

With some fellow committee members at CCFA's Opening Night event


Check back tomorrow for my 2016 goals and plans! Happy New Year!

#GivingTuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday and I hope you are making donations to all of your favorite charities today! As you know, CCFA is my favorite charity and I would LOVE it if you would show your support for this awesome cause by donating to my Pittsburgh Marathon Fundraiser! I have a lot of exciting things to share with you all in the coming weeks related to the Marathon, my training, and raising money for CCFA! 



Thank you! Besides CCFA (THANK YOU!!), who else are you donating to this #GivingTuesday? Share in the comments below! 

26 until 26.2!

The countdown is on! It's the 26th of the month and there are 26 weeks until I run my first 26.2! I'd like to kick off this countdown by reaching 26% of my $1000 fundraising goal! If 21 people donated just $10, I'll reach my goal! 



I appreciate every dollar that is donated and it all goes directly to fund the Western PA/WV chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. 




Big News!

I am returning from my completely unscheduled and unplanned blogging hiatus to announce some news: I am officially registered for the 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon! That's 26.2 miles, folks. EEEK! Once again, I will be participating in the Steel Challenge (by also completing the 5k the day before) and once again, I am participating as a charity runner for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/WV chapter. Who wants to be my first donor?!




I'm sure I'll have more to say about the marathon over the next several months, but for now I want to plug something else I'm working on - CCFA Western PA/WV's movie premiere event, Opening Night! It is taking place on November 5 at the AMC Loews at the Waterfront and tickets can be purchased here. Come join us for food, drinks, fun, and a premiere showing of the new James Bond movie, Spectre. I am on the planning committee and we've got a great evening planned! Hope to see many of my friends there that night! 

I ran a Half Marathon!

I ran a half-marathon. I did it! It wasn't a great run, or even a fun one, but crossing that finish line was the best! Sorry this is coming so late, and that there's not much of a recap, but here's some pictures! 

Race day outfit!

Steel Challenge Completed!



First Half = PR and PDR!


My favorite little fans!


Happy to be done!


5K, Steel Challenge, HALF MARATHON medals!

Thanks to the Pittsburgh Marathon for featuring this one on their Facebook page: 


Things I Will Do This Week

The week is finally here. It's Marathon week in Pittsburgh! Here are some things I'll do this week:

1. I will go for a quick run with some of my fellow CCFA runners and get my CCFA race day shirt! Unfortunately, I think they decided to make these shirts orange, so it will probably be a one-time-wear shirt for me. Though it should make it easy for people to spot me on Sunday!



2. I will post a photo of my race day outfit so that people can find me on race day! Let me know in the comments if you will be there this weekend so I can look for you! 


3. I will see my running Ohana. I am so excited for everyone to arrive in town and to spend time with so many people who inspire me in my running (and life) journey.



4. I will attend the Expo and fight like hell to get a green men's shirt instead of the STUPID pink women's shirts. I will also be following up with the Marathon people to see why they thought sexist shirt colors were a good idea in 2015.



5. I will attend a Meet-Up at 7:30am by the main entrance of PNC Park on Saturday. Steff will be giving away some Sparkly Soul headbands!


6. I will run Pittsburgh Marathon 5k, which was my FIRST-ever race last year! (Medal count: 1)
Chelsea and I after the 5k last year - my first race! 

7. I will enjoy carbs and good company at dinner Saturday night.


8. I will run my FIRST HALF MARATHON! (Medal Count: 2)



9. I will collect my Steel Challenge Medal and hopefully visit the FedEx Ground Hospitality Tent for a complimentary massage and some treats! I will have access to this tent thanks to all of my amazing donors who helped me to raise over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia chapter! (Medal Count: 3)




10. I will go out to eat with my family to celebrate my birthday that is next week! 



11. I will do NOTHING for the rest of the day haha. 


See you all this weekend! Good luck to all of my fellow runners! 

P.S. Sarah at Sparkly Runner featured me on her blog today - check it out

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! 



30 Days to go!


I can't believe that in only 30 days, I will run my first half marathon! I can't believe it - the time is going by so fast!


To continue with preparations, here are some more tips from Jeff Galloway!

Training and Motivation Tips
by Olympian Jeff Galloway
www.runinjuryfree.com
PROMOTIONAL NEWS!
Register now for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 with no risk!  The 2nd annual half marathon on Dec. 13, 2015 is currently $95. You can sign up with no risk! Take advantage of this low price, and if you can't make it, you can roll into the virtual option with no extra charge!
Register today at

Why do we get injured?

1.  Be aware of irritation of weak links.

The Key Weak Links are body parts where my runners tend to experience injuries are these: Knees - Feet -Calf - Achilles -Hip - Glute/piriformis/sciaticia

But the body parts that YOU need to be aware of are the sites where you are injured or suffer more aches and pains.

So if you're sensitive to the first indication of irritation in these areas and take immediate action it's possible to avoid injury.

2.  Stress buildup due to the way we train.
  • Training schedule is too intense-not enough rest between stress.
  • Adverse Training Components-speed is too fast or has too much, too soon.
  • Running form-too long a stride, forward lean, bouncing too high off the ground.

So staying focused on the way one runs and following these guidelines, can often allow runners to maintain a manageable increase without injury

__________________________________________________

Top 5 ways to avoid stress buildup-and avoid injuries

1.  Take walk breaks more frequently, and run shorter run segments
2.  Form: shorter stride, feet low to the ground
3.  Slower long runs, with more walk breaks
4.  Avoid Stretching
5.  Be careful when running speed sessions

  
Jeff Galloway
4651 Roswell Road, I-802
Atlanta, Georgia 30342
WEST COAST EVENTS
RUN/WALK/RUN CLINICS 

Carmel, CA                                                                     Lake Tahoe, CA
"Re-Charging Your Running, Fitness and Nutrition"       The Perfect Summer Running Camp
April 23-24, 2015                                                            July 23 - 30, 2015 (week)                           
 Click here for more info.                                                 July 24 - 26, 2015 (weekend)
                                                                                        Click here for more info.
                                                                                                         

P.S. I am still fundraising for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia Chapter - please help me reach my goal and work towards a cure for Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis!


Coach Jeff and Coach Jeff!

In honor of MY Coach Jeff who is running his first ULTRA MARATHON tomorrow (!!!!!), here are some tips from the other Coach Jeff, Jeff Galloway! 


Jeff and I after the St. Barnabas 5k in August 2014 - I PR'd that day thanks to Jeff's coaching! 



Training and Motivation Tips
by Olympian Jeff Galloway
www.runinjuryfree.com

Runners from Austin, Duluth, Denver, Metro Dc, NW Indiana, and Montgomery County, MD - We are coming to you! There is a Galloway Training Program starting near you in the month of March! Check the calendar for more information.


Most injuries experienced by my runners are due to 1) pacing long runs too fast, 2) increasing the weekly mileage too quickly, 3)lengthening stride and 4) stretching.

The principle in staying injury free is to balance gentle stress with the right recovery periods-allowing for rebuilding. (for more information, see my book RUNNING INJURIES)

Finding the right Run Walk Run strategy from the beginning of a run has been the best way I've found to stay injury free, come back from an injury and in some cases, continue to run while the injury heals. (See my book RUN WALK RUN)
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  • Are you concerned that running will damage joints, and other body parts ? I was told this regularly, from my first week of running over 50 years ago but the research shows the opposite result: Runners have healthier joints, etc. than non runners as the decades go by.
  • While researching for my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU'RE 100, I reviewed dozens of studies and could not find one showing that running harms legs, feet, joints, etc.
  • It may surprise you to know that many studies show that runners have fewer orthopedic issues compared with non-runners as the years go by.
  • A respected and large population study out of Stanford following thousands of runners over 50 who had run for more than 20 years concluded that runners had less than 25% of orthopedic issues compared with non runners of the same age.

_______________________________________________________________________ 

As long as you stay below the threshold of irritation you can often continue to run while the injury heals.


Good luck tomorrow, Coach Jeff! I will be cheering you on from the Great St. Charles Avenue Road Race in New Orleans, LA - I'm going for a 10k PR! 




Don't forget that anyone who donates $13 or more to my half marathon fundraiser between now and March 25 will receive a postcard from NOLA! 


#tbt

Instagram users love #tbt, or Throwback Thursday. 



Every week, it's fun to see the pictures people post from years past - sometimes it's spring break photos, or wedding candids, baby pictures! 

Others use the #tbt hashtag to show off weight loss success or other dramatic transformations in their appearance. 

Today, I'm going to share a few Throwback Thursday photos of my own. These are from my graduation from Gannon University (Go Knights!) in May 2008. This was about a year and a half after my diagnosis in December 2006 and at this point, we were still trying out different treatment options to find something that works. 



One of the most common short-term treatment options for a lot of Crohn's and Colitis patients is steroids - Prednisone is pretty common. These pictures show just a glimpse of what steroids do to your body. The "moon face" happens because Prednisone causes your body to retain sodium, causing bloating in the face and mid-section. Prednisone also causes your body to lose Potassium, leading to painful muscle cramps. Prednisone also causes an increased appetite, fatigue, and sluggishness. 



If you're thinking this is superficial vanity thing, you couldn't be more wrong. While Crohn's and Colitis have serious symptoms, their treatment options also come with their own set of negative side effects. Long term steroid use can wreak havoc on a person's body, so it's important to find treatment options that lessen these effects and also provide long-term remission. 

This is exactly the kind of work and research that CCFA supports every day. There is no cure for Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, and while they've made great strides on treatment options, there is still a long way to go. You can support this important work by making a donation to my half marathon fundraiser today!! 

Anyone who makes a donation of $13 or more between now and March 25 will receive a postcard from New Orleans! I will be there for a conference and am excited to explore a new city! 


50 Days!

In only 50 days, I will run my first half marathon! Yikes!

Today, I'm in Washington, DC to run the Rock n Roll Series 5k! Chelsea, Steff, and Kelsey are running the half, and Mel and I are doing the 5k! After the race, we're going to enjoy a girls weekend in DC and meet up with other runner friends Lauren and Mandy

As you know, part of my preparations for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon includes raising money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia chapter. All of the money I raise will stay within the local chapter, meaning it will have a direct impact on patients like me! 



I recently received a facebook message from a sorority sister telling me a friend of hers has a young daughter, a beautiful fourth grader, had just been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. The mom and daughter were both feeling overwhelmed and wanted to learn more. The first place I directed them to was the CCFA website. It has so many awesome resources to read and learn more about Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and IBD. It also directs you to regional chapter pages, where you can learn more about in-person seminars and workshops that may be happening in your area, as well as support groups. I actually attended a support group in Erie for a little while after my diagnosis - it was a great way for me to learn from others who had experienced the same things as me. One of the coolest things CCFA does for kids is Camp Oasis - a camp just for kids affected by IBD! 

There is no cure for Crohn's Disease...yet. I am confident a cure could happen in my lifetime, and you can help make that possible! Please donate to my fundraiser and help CCFA find better treatment options and a CURE! 


To honor the 50-day countdown, anyone who donates $50 or more will receive a personalized thank you card (in the mail! snail mail!) from me - it may even include an additional surprise!! 



More Tips From Jeff Galloway!

As you'll recall, I am blogging for Jeff Galloway Productions throughout this training season. I received another set of tips from him and I am excited to share them with all of you! 


The training journey for a marathon or half marathon raises your body's physical performance capability and your sense of what you can do in life.

Running helps to bring body, mind and spirit together in a unique and wonderful way

In researching my book MENTAL TRAINING I discovered that running turns on brain circuits for a better attitude more vitality and empowerment better than other activities studied.

In researching my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU'RE 100 I found numerous studies showing that runners have healthier orthopedic units than non runners even after decades of running.


On Training:

When a runner takes walk breaks early and often enough for the individual the muscles are strong to the end.  See RUN WALK RUN at www.jeffgalloway.com for recommendations by pace per mile. (Note from Lauren: The Magic Mile calculator is very helpful!!)



The "exhaustion wall" can be avoided by running longer long runs up to or beyond race distance-using the appropriate run-walk-run strategy.

Marathoners tend to improve time by an average of more than 15 minutes when they increase their longest run from 20 miles to 26 miles.

To recover fast, run the long runs at least 2 min/mi slower than you could currently run in a marathon

The right run-walk-run strategy from the beginning of each run, gives any runner control over fatigue, injury-elimination, and recovery.

In numerous surveys, runners improved over 13 minutes when they shifted from running continuously to use of the right run-walk-run strategy.


LAST CHANCE to participate in the Inaugural JG Virtual 13.1 Half Marathon and 5k!  
Last chance to become a "Legacy" participant!  
Closes March 1, 2015.
    ** Register at https://jeffgalloway131.com/registration/ **

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!!! 

Who do you run for?

As you know, I am training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon that will take place on Sunday, May 3. It will be my first half marathon and I am also using this occasion as an opportunity to fundraise for an organization very near and dear to my colon heart. 

I am a charity runner for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia Chapter. All of the funds I raise will stay directly within the local chapter, meaning it will benefits those suffering from Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis right here in Pittsburgh! To learn more about all the awesome things the CCFA does, click on the picture below! 


My goal is to raise $1000 and thanks to some of my awesome friends and family, I am already 28% of the way towards my goal! I am optimistic that I can surpass this goal by May 3! Who has an extra $10? $15? $25? Every dollar counts! And remember your donation is tax-deductible! Donate today

Hello 2015!!

2015 is already shaping up to a pretty great year! 

I finally selected a half marathon training plan - I'm going with Hal Higdon's Novice II plan. I like that the plan includes daily mileage as opposed to other plans that just list an amount of time you should run (because there's a big difference in running 2 miles in 30 minutes and running 3!). My training plan is 12 weeks long and will begin on February 9! This may change, but right now my goal is run the half in under 2.5 hours.

I would also like to run at least 20 races this year. I ran 10 last year and the first one was not until May, so I absolutely think I can do this! I think January's race will most likely be a virtual one as I will be traveling for 23 days of the month for work (ugh). 

I ran 278.77 miles in 2014, my first year of running. In 2015, I would like to run at least 600 miles! All those half marathon training runs should certainly help contribute to this! 

I will visit at least 3 new states for the first time this year - Delaware, Louisiana, and Oregon!

I also want to be more intentional about actually using vacation time this year - since I didn't use any vacation days in 2014 :(. Though, to be fair, we are given quite a bit of time off throughout the year that doesn't count against our vacation time, including time over the holidays). I've been thinking a lot about trying to arrange a Walt Disney World trip with friends - who wants to come?! 

Thank to all of the friends and family who have already contributed to my Half Marathon fundraiser for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation! I ended 2014 already at 28% of my goal and I still have 4 months left to fundraise!!