Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Recap of my 2016 Racing Season and a Farewell Blog Post

It's hard to believe it but this is the last post that I'm planning to write for Run Today Tri Tomorrow. Since I started the blog I've set and accomplished a lot of goals. I dreamed of running more marathons, an ultra and of completing an Ironman distance triathlon. I've done all these things and it's been a very fun and interesting journey. While I still plan to race for some time, I needed a change so I have launched a new blog that combines my love of running and tris with beer. Head on over there now to read it at: http://thehoprunner.blogspot.com/.

2016 went fast and so did my season. Here's a quick recap:


  • I placed 2nd at the Great Western Reserve Olympic Tri
  • I placed 3rd in the Munroe Falls Sprint Tri
  • I had my best 70.3 run ever at IM Ohio where I ran 1:46 for a finish time of 5:38
  • Milton Man Olympic Tri was rough and I was 2nd in AG
  • Nordonia Duo Relay - won co-ed although my bike time suffered due to a couple       mechanicals

  • Running:

    • I ran my second Green Jewel 50K and once again came in second place - albeit about 35 minutes faster this time thanks to better conditioning and weather conditions. 
    • I ran my first Boston Marathon and it was an amazing and unforgettable experience. I will be back for more but unfortunately missed my BQ this year by few minutes. 
    • I ran back to back marathons in Erie Sept 11 (3:44) and Lansing on Sept 18 (3:51). This was even harder than I thought it would be. 
    • 3 weeks later on Oct 11 I placed 1st in my AG at the Towpath Marathon in 3:42. 
    • I ran my first trail marathon at Run With Scissors. Ouch that was hard! 
    • I won my AG at the Hill Yeah 1/2 marathon and I placed 3rd in my AG in the inaugural Run for Chardon 1/2 Marathon. Both of these were hilly!
    • I placed 1st in my AG at Dirty Love Trail 10K, 3rd in my AG at Blossomtime Run and 4th at Run for Regis Trail 1/2 Marathon
    • This year I placed first in two 5ks, second in one and third in another. I should run more sprints as I tend to place better in these. Plus I wonder how much faster I could get if I focused on speed instead of aerobic work.
    • Cleveland Marathon I was fatigued and dropped down to the half. It was a tough day all around with that crazy weather!
    • My Trail 100K at Conquer the Castle became a trail 50K due to some lingering low back and hip issues.
    I have been running some base mileage, lifting weights, doing yoga, spinning, getting massages and going to a chiropractor for treatments to get me ready for the 2017 season. I plan to limit my racing early in the year to allow for some extra recovery. For 2017 I plan to go for a marathon PR and I am signed up for my first 100 miler in July so it will be a lot of running this season and hopefully some shorter tris in the summer once I recover followed by fall marathons if I am up for it.

    Friday, September 9, 2016

    It’s been challenging to find the time to blog as much lately but I wanted to take the time to post about the inaugural Ironman Ohio 70.3 triathlon. It was a race that I did not feel especially prepared for. Between running my first Boston Marathon this April, starting a new job in a new technical industry this May to spending the summer prepping for a move to a town an hour away, I just couldn’t dedicate as many hours as I wanted to in all three sports.

    Whereas last year I was swimming 2-3 x a week 2000-4000 meters each time and cycling religiously all spring and summer preparing for Beach 2 Battleship 140.6, this season it was maybe 1-2 swims a month of 1500 meters each and cycling as much as I could manage mainly 3-4 fast lunchtime spins of 35 minutes and some longer stuff up to 50 miles on the weekends. The run base was strong coming off of some long distance races so that was really the only thing I felt confident about. I debated even not racing with it being within a week or so of our planned move. But then I realized it was just a race and races are meant to be not just results but also fun. It’s not just what place you end up in but also seeing your friends out there and quite honestly taking in the whole experience. Racing is a Zen thing. Sometimes you are more fit than other times or more rested or more stressed out than other times. This was one of those races where I was stressed and feeling not as fit as last season but I could take some of the pressure off of myself to enjoy the race for the experience versus killing myself for a PR or a podium spot. This race was for me. It truly was about enduring and being. And it was one of the most fun races I can recall in recent years – especially the running part!

    My swim of 48:18 was slow but I expected that. The last couple of seasons when I practiced more a 40 minute half iron swim was average for me but with the lack of swimming I put in to train I am happy with this result. Especially for it being a non-wetsuit swim. I expect that with a wetsuit I would have been up to 5 minutes faster. One thing I took away a couple of seasons of Ironman races is confidence in the swim. I will never be a fast swimmer but I am a confident swimmer. I am not rattled by people kicking or bumping into me. I don’t worry if I’ll beat the cutoff time. I know I can swim for a long time at my slow pace and I am okay with this just as some are okay with being slower on the bike or swim. This is triathlon and what makes it interesting is our own unique mix of skills in each sport. So this swim I thought went fine. The water in Lake Delaware was warm and almost soothing. At times it was aggressive with so many people but it almost made it more interesting. It felt a bit long but without a GPS in the water I cannot say for sure.

    My first transition is generally slow. I like to sit and dry my feet off and I like to eat a snack before I hop on the bike this time was no different. 3-4 minutes average. This was 4:16 – not a big deal.

    My 56 mile bike had some challenges. Namely my bike computer was not working when I left
    transition. This was not good so I stopped to adjust the magnet to get my oldschool Cateye wireless computer to work. After a minute or so it was good to go so off I went. Then I hit a bump and here we go again. This went on a couple more times as the beginning of the course was bumpy. I finally said forget it for a little while and just went by feel versus mph. This explains why I had a negative split on the bike! I also lost one of my water bottles in the first miles so I was down to one for the race. I stopped at the first aid station to pee (I was hydrated) and I fixed my computer again (this time it lasted) and grabbed a water for my empty cage. Off I went to smoother riding for the rest of the race. And faster! I averaged 18.22 mph for 32 miles followed by 20.35 mph for remaining 24 miles for an average of 19.06 mph with a bike time of 2:56:16. This was somewhat an average half iron bike time for me so I was pleased given the little amount of work I dedicated to the bike this season relative to the last couple of years.

    T2 was 2:55. A bit faster but still a slower transition than I could have managed.

    My 13.1 mile run was most certainly the highlight of my day. I loved the course, which was a mix of
    flat and rolling hills with a good amount of shade. I went out faster than planned at a sub 8 minute pace for the first 10K or so and then slowed down to about marathon pace, which was the plan to try and use this 13.1 as a longer tempo run for my upcoming marathon in Erie this weekend. It was fun to see so many friends out racing and volunteering and that really gave me motivation to push to a personal best half ironman run split of 1:46:25 (8:07 pace). I was very happy with this leg of the race. I finished feeling strong and it was great finishing on the track!

    My final time of 5:38:10 was better than I expected given my training. My run being 10 minutes faster than usual certainly helped with that! This gives me hope that I can still PR this distance.

    Post race it was great to hang out with the hubby who also had a decent race and our friends from Snakebite Racing, CTC as well as Baucco Squad. Northeast Ohio had quite the showing of athletes and volunteers! Special thanks to Dan Hopkins from CTC for the race photos!

    I’m not sure what the next year will hold. Right now I am focusing on my crazy fall running schedule:

    Sept 11 - Erie Marathon
    Oct 1 – Doan Creek Trail 50K
    Oct 29 – Run with Scissors Trail Marathon
    Nov 12 – Conquer the Castle Trail 100K

    If I survive all of that, I am taking a long hard-earned break!

    Thursday, August 4, 2016

    Return of the Blog

    So...I am way behind on updating the blog. Between starting a new job and selling and buying a new home and racing, things have been a wee bit busy the last few months.

    Racing has been up and down this season - more good than bad. The Cleveland Marathon ended up being a bust for me. With the ridiculous weather we had that day and the cumulative fatigue I had from the season to date I made the call around mile 7 to just run the half. Some of my fellow ambassadors and my hubby had good races so I was happy for them.

    Following Cleveland I ran the Chagrin Falls Blossomtime run on Memorial Day weekend, which is always a competitive race. Was happy with 3rd in AG with a tough field. Then I ran the very challenging Hill Yeah 1/2 Marathon in Kirtland. I had a crappy day as I was struggling with a little hip strain going into the race. While I was happy winning my AG, I was not happy with my time.

    Next up was the start of Tri season at the Great Western Reserve Olympic triathlon at West Branch. It was hot as heck, I was not in great swim or bike shape, but I pushed as hard as I could and managed 2nd place female on a tough day. A couple weeks later was the Munroe Falls Sprint triathlon. That one hurt but I had a good day and finished 3rd female. My swim was crap, my bike was good and my run was on fire! My next race was Milton Man Olympic Tri where I had a crap day. It was my biggest running week to date leading into the race so I was probably doomed from the start but I wanted to at least get in a good training day, which I did. I raced nowhere near my potential but despite feeling like crap and wanting to call it a day I finished and earned myself some hoppy beer! Finally I raced the B'Nai B'rith 5K recently on a hot July day. I had no idea how this would go since I hadn't raced a 5K since March and really have not been good about my speedwork. I ended up running a 21:09 and placing 2nd female so I was pretty happy with that for where I am right now.

    So, what's coming up next, you ask? Ironman OH 70.3 triathlon is rapidly approaching! I debated sitting it out because I do not feel half-iron ready and we are moving a week later.  I have only put in a few swims, a few longish rides and then of course a boatload of running. I decided to say who cares and race it anyways. If I stink and it's just a training day, I will still have fun and get to see tons of friends and race the inaugural event. Following that I am hoping to race Erie Marathon again for the BQ. I am holding off on registration as long as I can to see what weather conditions will be. If it's 80+ degrees at the start...I won't hit my goal. I just don't do as well in the heat. If it is reasonable, I will go for it. Worst case, if weather sucks, I will run a later fall race and try for the 2018 BQ early. Lastly, I have that little trail 100K coming up in November at Squires castle! Yes, I am at that "what in the heck" did I get myself into phase of my training and thinking. At this point I still plan to attempt the distance and just try to finish in one piece. Wish me luck!

    Wednesday, May 4, 2016

    Run For Chardon Half Marathon Report

    prerace with my speedy husband!
    The decision to run the inaugural Run For Chardon 1/2 marathon last Sunday was last minute. I wanted to see how quickly I recovered from Boston. But I also wanted to support my local community. After talking with the RDs, I decided to go for it. I was not well rested going into the race as I had done a few harder workouts on the bike and run that week so I wasn't sure how things would go. Plus with the course having some hills I figured my time might be a little slower than average. Steve also signed up because he loves the half marathon distance.

    The race started at 7:15 at Chardon High School. We saw several friends that were racing so it was nice to chat with them before and after. The temperature was not bad although it felt very humid on our warm up.

    The race went pretty fast. Before I knew it we were on the Chardon Bike Path running along some flatter section with some rollers mixed in. Unfortunately it started raining and did so for much of the race. My first miles were all between 7:25-7:45 so I was hoping to come in around 1:40ish. There was a really fast, flat section for a couple of miles along Rt 44 on the bike path and then the rollers started around 8-9 miles in. My hips started to yell at me and I was forced to back off the pace.

    running on the course: photo by Kyle Johnson 
    The last couple of miles I was crushed by the hills. I tried to strategically sprint the downhills and walk the steepest part of the uphills as I do in trail running so this added some time to the clock but in the long run I was trying to be smart with the Cleveland Marathon being only 2 weeks out. I tried to tell myself that it was okay to not have my best race that day because really I was there to support Chardon and my local running community (Northeast Running Club and Great Lakes Race Timing). The problem is that I always want to do my best and place as high as I can. That can be a blessing and a curse.

    The race finish line was on the 50 yd line of Chardon High School's field. This made it a special finish. My time of 1:45:58 was slower for me than I had hoped but that wasn't what it was about anyways. Sure I would have liked to do better than third in my AG and 12th female but there will be plenty more chances to shine on a day when I am better prepared. In my heart I am just glad to have been a part of a special day for the Chardon community.

    Steve had a good race finishing in around 1:28, which is great for this course and he won his age group and placed 6th male overall so I was glad he had done so well. He certainly deserved a good one!

    some of the great race swag!
    Special thanks to Great Lakes Timing for putting on a first-class event. The medal was impressive and we also received nice long sleeve Brooks technical tees, pint glasses and AG winners also got commemorative coffee mugs. I would also like to thank NERC, Achilles Running and all the volunteers, the Chardon community and all who came out to support the race in some way, shape or form. I would add this one to your race bucket list for sure!

    Thursday, April 28, 2016

    Inaugural Run for Chardon 1/2 Marathon & 5K is This Weekend!

    Sunday, May 1 is a special day for the Chardon, Ohio community. It is the inaugural Run For Chardon 1/2 Marathon & 5K race. Proceeds from the race will be donated to the Chardon Living Memorial Fund to help remember the Chardon School Shooting victims and their friends and families.

    Chardon is a small and lovely community with an adorable town square and cute neighborhoods among the rolling hills. This should be a fun and challenging course and there is prize money up for grabs! Top Five males and females in the 1/2 marathon have a shot at $500 for 1st, $400 for 2nd, $300 for 3rd, $400 for 4th and $100 for 5th. So, chances are you could win your entry fee back if you sign up! If not you still have a shot at top 3 in your age group awards! 5K awards will also be given out to the top three males and females thanks to Achilles Running.

    Even if you don't want to run or just can't find the time, you can come out and cheer and make a donation here. Hope to see you there!

    Monday, April 25, 2016

    2016 Boston Marathon Race Report

    It's hard to believe it's already been a week since I ran my first Boston Marathon! The whole experience was incredible. First off I would like to thank my family and friends that supported me in getting to this big goal of mine. Your cheers gave me the energy I needed to have a good race!

    Day One:
    The whole race weekend was a blast. Steve and I made it a road trip and  drove in this year. We had nice weather for travelling both there and back. We rented a great condo in Navy Yard this year right by the Charlestown Marina. We loved our place and it was great to have our own kitchen. Our first night in town we found a cute bistro around the corner from us called the Brewers Fork. They had an excellent craft beer list and wood fired pizza - what more could a couple or carbo-loading runners ask for?

    Expo Day:
    We met Scott Jurek!
    Sunday was race expo day. The Boston Marathon expo is world class! After picking up our bibs and shirts we walked around the expo for a while. The highlight of the expo was meeting one of our running heroes - Scott Jurek! We also hooked up with our friend Jillian who was running her first Boston as well. Then we hooked up with our friend and fellow Snakebite Racing mate Mark for some much needed post expo beers so we crossed the street and headed into McGreevy's (bar owned by the Dropkick Murphys). After that it was time to head back to the condo for some prerace prep and we made a high carb dinner of pizza, garlic bread and roasted potatoes.

    Race Morning:
    Race morning went pretty smooth. We got up at 6am figuring that we would Uber over to the finish area to drop our bags and load the buses to Hopkinton around 7:15-7:30. We ate a big bowl of cereal, got dressed and headed out. The energy was electric as we walked to the athlete tents to drop our finisher bags. There were people screaming and cheering already. We bumped into our friend Karen who was running and then walked over to the commons to catch the bus. We were lucky to run into my friend Jen from Charlestown who I had met last year at the Cleveland Marathon. We hung out with Jen and her friend Siobhan as we waited to board our bus to the start in Hopkinton.

    pre race before loading the bus
    The bus ride went smooth and before I knew it we were in Hopkinton at Athletes Village. There were thousands of runners everywhere along with hundreds of porta potties, tents, snacks, etc. We ran into our friend Ryan walking in to the village and after using the bathroom we found a place under the tent to sit down in the shade. It was probably about 8:45-9 am but it was already getting warm quickly. Our time to leave the village was 10:20 or so with a wave start at 10:50. I was a sweaty, nervous mess. I had heard all the warnings about the race. Watch the downhill, don't go out too fast, beware of the Newton Hills. When the gun finally went off I was ready to get going.

    Focused look!
    Running Boston is unlike any marathon I've done. You are literally running with a sea of people for the whole race. Not to mention the hundreds of thousand of fans cheering. The crowd support was unbelievable...for the whole race! The miles ticked by quickly. I was overheated from the beginning and knew a PR was not likely and that a BQ might be a stretch but I had set a goal of 3:35-3:45.  I just tried to soak the experience in and keep within a pace that was comfortable given the heat and later the nasty headwinds that we battled.

    My favorite part of the race was Newton. I actually enjoyed the hills (does this make me weird?). I also laughed through Wellsley as I read all the goofy signs and listened to the loud screams. I also really liked the last few miles. I picked up the pace a little in the end hoping to run a 3:40 but came across the finish in 3:43:11. Not a BQ or my best time but a time I am happy with for my first Boston and on a tough day for many.

    Post Race: 
    Snakebite after-party!
    We  Ubered back to our condo to shower, change and eat and then met our Snakebite teammates Mark and Dan and Dan's wife for some post race celebratory beers and more food. Our first stop was a cool bar called Mead Hall in Cambridge followed up with the Cambridge Brewing Company. After that it was time for some much needed sleep.

    The day after we walked around Boylston Street and shopped and took in the city - the streets filled with Boston finisher jackets (including us). I was pretty excited to have my finisher jacket embroidered with my time at Run Base at no cost! They were also doing free medal engraving at Marathon Sports but there was a long line and we did not have our medals with us anyways.

    The next morning it was time to drive back. That was not much fun. Definitely not as fun as the drive there but we were ready to go home.

    Closing Thoughts:
    I was part of something special in Boston. It was the 120th year and the 50th year since the first woman Bobbi Gibb ran the race. I am pretty excited to say that I am a Boston Marathon runner! No doubt I will be back for more! My goal for the next Boston is to start in a faster wave (#2) and PR for the course.

    Thank you to my teammates, family and sponsors this year especially Pearl Izumi, Nuun and Freeplay Magazine. My next big race is the Cleveland Marathon on May 15. I am hoping to run a BQ time there. Fingers crossed for cool temperatures and no rain this year!

    Thursday, April 14, 2016

    Boston Marathon Weekend is Almost Here

    For years I have watched the Boston Marathon streaming on my computer each year on Patriots Day. Last year I was there in person for the first time as a spectator cheering for my husband as he ran his first Boston. The energy in the city on Boston Marathon weekend and race day is magnetic. Boston people LOVE their marathon and so do the thousands of runners who come from all over the world to lineup in Hopkinton on "Marathon Monday" as the running community affectionately refers to the race. In four short days I get to lineup in Hopkinton for my chance to run the best marathon in the country and probably the world!

    What makes Boston so special is that you have to qualify to be there, running with some of the best marathoners in the world. You can also run Boston for charity if you raise $5000+ for one of their charity partners but as a competitive runner I wanted to earn my spot there. My qualifying time as a woman in the 35-39 age group is 3:40. After four tries last season (Toledo 3:46), (Cleveland 3:52), (Charlevoix 3:42) and Erie (3:35) I finally got the job done. Prior to last year I had run the Cleveland Marathon three other times including the previous year. 

    I am both excited and nervous with the race being just a mere four days away! I have had a pretty good running season so far and I am hopeful that my Boston experience will be a good one. I am tapering and my body feels pretty good this week...for a taper anyways! I have been warned to take it easy for the first half of the race, which is largely downhill and to save some energy for the Newton Hills and of the course for the final miles. If you're interested in tracking me Monday I am in wave 3, which starts at 10:50 am and I am bib #19350. I want to enjoy the race and not put too much pressure on myself so goal for the race is to run between a 3:35-3:45 depending on the course and weather (right now forecast looks to be on the warm side at 72). 

    If I don't BQ in Boston that is okay. I will have more chances to BQ again for 2017 at the Cleveland Marathon on May 15 and then again this fall at one or two more races. My big marathon goal for the year is to run a 3:25 or close this fall in Erie. I still have some work to do for that but I don't mind hard work! 

    Special thank you to the folks that have helped me this season including Pearl Izumi, Freeplay Magazine, Nuun, Honeystinger and of course to my teammates and sponsors on Snakebite Racing! It takes a village to achieve big goals!

    Friday, March 18, 2016

    Cleveland Marathon Contest Winner

    It sounds like I'm not the only one that's excited to run the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon this year! There were 31 people who entered the contest for the free entry. There were so many heartfelt stories and all around terrific reasons to want to race with me this May in Cleveland. I wish I could give everyone an entry!

    To be fair I wanted to randomly select the winner so I used Random-ize. The winner is one of my fellow Northeast Running Club (NERC) members. Congratulations Annemarie Cvijanovic! You won yourself an entry to the Cleveland Marathon race of your choice. If you already registered you can pass it on to a friend or loved one so they can join you. I will be in touch soon with the registration code.

    Monday, March 14, 2016

    Reasons Why I Love the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon & Giveaway

    It has been an honor to be able to represent the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon as an ambassador for the past two years. The marathon staff are wonderful and my fellow ambassadors are some of my favorite friends. This week I am the featured ambassador, which means that I will be having a contest to give away a free entry to the Cleveland Marathon race of your choice. To enter simply read my post and leave a comment stating which race you would like to run and why. The winner will be randomly selected this Friday.

    There are many reasons why The Cleveland Marathon is one of my favorite races:

    First and foremost, it is our hometown marathon. I am proud that Cleveland has an awesome marathon that people from all over the world come to run! Some cities do not have the luxury of having their own marathon but we do. The marathon is good for the city because it brings in tourism.

    Second, Cleveland was my first marathon in 2010. That race sparked a love affair that I hope lasts a lifetime. The marathon is my favorite distance running race because it is challenging and fun. You have to train hard to meet your goals and the race experiences are so amazing.

    I also love the Cleveland Marathon because I love the course. It takes you through some of my favorite areas of Cleveland including Tremont, Lakewood and Rocky River as well as downtown. Probably the coolest part is running on the shoreway for the last few miles. It gives you a view of the city you don't normally get to experience while running.

    Cleveland fans are awesome! There are many Clevelanders out volunteering and cheering during the race, which creates a fun, party-like atmosphere. At the finish there is also a post-race party with beer and music.

    Cleveland is a great beer town so after the race you have a number of terrific options for post race lunch and brews!

    I could go on and on but you get my drift. The Cleveland Marathon is awesome! So, which race would you like to do for free this year? The full? The half? The 10K? Leave me a comment below and you might be selected this Friday! Goodluck!

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

    Green Jewel 50K Race Report & Training Update for Spring Marathon Season

    Saturday was the Green Jewel 50K, which was my first big race of the season. I am happy to say that it went well! I feel like the training I've done this year helped me to get to the start confident, stronger than last year and better rested.

    Steve and I parked our car at Oak Grove Reservation in Brecksville to catch the bus to the race start at Rocky River Reservation. We stayed on the bus to keep warm and use the bathroom before the 9am start. We quickly dropped off our bags for the halfway point in the race and said hi to some friends. We knew a number of people running the 50K and 50K relay. I was a little cold waiting for the start but as soon as we took off I was fine.

    early miles
    The first few miles were slick with some snow that had fallen in the middle of the night, early morning hours so this forced me to hold back a little and watch the footing. It felt great to be out there racing. I think I must have been smiling ear to ear as I had waited for this race for months. I took in a gel just before the first aid station and then started to pick up the pace a little. I caught up to my friends Jillian and Brandon and tailed them for a while as we weaved around the Emerald Necklace. At the 10 mile mark or so I did another gel and stopped for a drink and decided to slightly pick up the pace a little. I said hi to my friends and off I went back into my little running groove.

    I felt pretty good arriving at Wallace Lake at 15 miles in. I located my bag and reloaded gels, grabbed some salt tabs and my little handheld bottle for the rest of the race. According to my first split I ran the first 15 at an 8:11 pace so I was happy with that and figured I would end up slowing down the back part of the race to at least an 8:30-9 min pace. Getting going again here was a little tougher but I got back on track and ran a few miles with my friend Mike before hitting a burst of energy and speeding up around mile 18 or so.

    beautiful scenery!
    Around mile 20 I remember feeling like I was on top of the world. Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" came on my playlist and I was singing out loud and playing the air guitar. This is generally a sign that I am having a great run. This went on for a few miles and then I came back down to reality as I approached Ridge Rd around mile 24. That is a tough hill. I walked most of it and hit the final aid station for a quick potty break and some final fuel.

    The rolling hills of Brecksville were as hard as I remembered from last year. I got emotional a couple times as was the case last year. Something about these really long runs can dig deep into your soul. I love that feeling. It's like healing from the inside out - all the hurts and disappointments of my life just melting away bit by bit. This may be why I am in love with running and in some ways I feel it is a gift that was given to me to help make my life better and more rewarding.

    2nd & 3rd awards!
    Towards the end of the race I knew I had to make up some time so I picked up the pace the last 5k as I generally have been doing in my long runs this season. With the last couple of miles being down hill it worked out perfectly. I wasn't sure what place I was in - I actually thought I might be in first but with the relay it is hard to tell and when I crossed over I asked and learned that I was second again. Of course I wanted to win but the top spot went to a younger woman who certainly earned it with her 4:18. I was happy with 2nd having a nice PR with my 4:38. My friend Jillian ended up not too far behind me in 3rd.

    After the race we headed over to Fatheads to meet some friends. I really enjoyed the tangerine-infused Headhunter and food. Then it was home to shower and head in for a massage. Needless to say I slept pretty well! Special thanks to my Sponsors: Pearl Izumi and Nuun and to my teammates on Snakebite Racing and Team Freeplay that sent cheers!

    I have been recovering pretty well this week. Sunday we walked the dogs. Yesterday I did an easy spin on the bike trainer for 50 minutes and again walked. I also did the trainer today for 50 minutes and walked a couple of miles at lunch. Tomorrow I will swim and if I feel well enough  I will do a short recovery run otherwise I will walk and try to run Thursday. I would like to race this weekend but have to see how I feel later in the week and maybe I will go and use it as speed or tempo work. I am anxious to get back to the training! Boston is like 6 weeks away and Cleveland is about 10 weeks out so I still have some work to do to ensure successful races. Speaking of Cleveland, I am excited to see my fellow marathon ambassadors tomorrow night for a meet up! Love these folks!

    Monday, February 29, 2016

    Cabin Fever 5K Race Report

    I try to force myself to do speedwork, but sometimes I talk myself out of it in favor of longer, easier workouts that I like more. What can I say I am an endurance junkie! Running shorter races like 5ks forces me to get out there and get out of my comfort zone. Such was the case with the inaugural Cabin Fever 5K yesterday. I was both looking forward to it and dreading it! With Green Jewel 50K this weekend I knew it was my last chance to get in speed work for a week or two so I signed up.

    With the race being nearby at Mayfield High School and having a 9:30 start, it really was a laid back race morning. We got there to pick up our packets and bumped into some fellow Northeast Running Club (NERC) members and got in a couple of easy miles to warm up. One thing I did not like was the wind. In fact the race begins by running around the high school and then on the second loop you take a path over to some residential streets. The first half of the course was gradually uphill directly into the wind. I recall not being able to breathe very well but just pressing on. It appeared that all the young ladies struggled and I was surprised to find myself in the lead before the turnaround.

    Awesome prizes :)
    From the turnaround on the winds were behind us so I was able to get back into a solid pace after a not so stellar middle mile of fighting off wind. I was a little overheated and agitated but I knew I was close to the finish so I tried to stay on pace between 6:50-7. My goal had been 6;45s but with the winds it was clear that wasn't happening. I was happy to hit the high school parking lot and as I rounded the corner to the finish a gentleman yelled "first female" and I heard my husband Steve yelling for me. I pushed as hard as I could and was surprised my time of 21:49 was the best time of the day for the ladies but nevertheless I was happy with the outcome.

    After the race Steve and I went for a cool down jog and then headed into the school for the pancake breakfast and awards. We sat with our NERC friends Angela and Stephanie. It was fun because each of us had a good race. Steve had run an 18:22 and won his age group and Angela and Stephanie had each won in their age groups too. For placing first female I was awarded a $50 gift certificate to Achilles Running Shop so that was pretty exciting. I also was picked for a $25 Amazon giftcard in the raffle! Later on to celebrate a good day at the races Steve and I headed to Willoughby Brewing for some tasty brews including the sensational Nutsmasher Imperial Peanut Butter Cup Porter.
    Me, Steve, Angela and Stephanie w/ our awards  :)

    Monday, February 22, 2016

    Dirty Love Race Report & Training Update

    What running couple doesn't want to kick off their Valentine's Day with a race? Especially a trail race close to home such as the case with the Dirty Love Trail 10K. This was the 3rd or 4th time my husband Steve and I have run it. Last year we missed because we were on vacation but this year we were ready to tackle the sloppy, snowy trails again. And just as I recalled it was a tough one.

    Enjoying the down hill!
    Steve and I got in a little warm up, used the facilities and lined up in the field of snow to head into the woods of North Chagrin Reservation. As always the start was fun and crazy. Sprinting in a field of snow in cleats will sure spike your heart rate! I tried to position myself close to the front of the ladies. I think I started in 2nd or 3rd and pretty much stayed in that position until late in the race when a couple of ladies overtook me. I ended up finishing 5th female, 1st in my AG. This was pretty consistent with the last times I have run it. Steve also finished 5th or 6th male and 1st in his AG so it was a good way to start the Valentine's day festivities.

    Following the race we got in a cool down with our Snakebite Racing teammate Ken Hagan then we headed into the shelter for some food and the awards. After that we headed over to Willoughby Brewing with some Cleveland Tri Club friends for some hard-earned Peanut Butter Cup Porters! 

    In general my training for the upcoming Green Jewel 50K, Boston Marathon and Cleveland Marathon have been going well. I just wrapped up a close to 60 mile run week including a tough 20 miler on Saturday and a hard week of core work/lifting. This was the second 20 miler Steve and I have done in the last couple of weeks so I am feeling pretty good going into the Green Jewel next weekend. I am cutting back the running to about 40 miles this week and adding a little more bike then next week will be pretty light with a couple short runs and rides leading into the race on Saturday. I am hoping for a speedy recovery as I have been recovering from the 20 milers pretty quickly. We are running a local 5K this Sunday so that will be a nice change of pace to do something short and fast versus longer and slower. I am hoping for semi decent weather for that because in Cleveland in February you never know what to expect!

    Monday, February 1, 2016

    New Year = A New Challenge to Conquer

    My husband Steve and I have been talking for a little while about doing a longer ultra. With one of our big goals now being to complete a 100 mile ultra for his 50th bday in 2017, we decided to sign up for the inaugural Conquer the Castle 100K, which takes place conveniently close to our home in November of this year. This will be a big challenge for us but one that we can have a lot of fun training for all year. The timing is good since it's late in the year we can have a great spring running season, a fun summer triathlon season and then close out the year with a challenging fall running season and then hopefully shut it down for a little while.

    I am excited and also admittedly a little nervous about running a race that is 62 miles long, but I also have 9 months to prepare myself so I feel that it is doable. The goal will be to just finish in one piece with no major injuries. In order to reach the goal I have a plan. Lots of running, some cross training, weekly yoga and strength training, planned recovery weeks every 3rd of 4th week of training and some good old fashioned rest days/weeks. I will be posting updates on the training throughout the season. Wish me luck!

    Friday, January 29, 2016

    Run for Regis Race Report & Spring Training Update

    Prerace with my love
    Regis Race Report: 

    Last weekend was the the first race of 2016. Steve and I ran the Run for Regis trail half marathon in Peninsula. This was our second time doing the race or "fun run" as they call it. It was not as cold this year with temps in the 20s and there was not much snow on the trails but there were icy sections and the trails were frozen with jagged footprints that kindof hurt to run on.

    Prior to the race we had done a warmup and I twisted my right ankle pretty good so I was nervous about it holding up for the 13.1 but fortunately it was not an issue. The course is very hilly and technical in some sections and has several sets of stairs. This made for a slow run for me. I would have liked to have been faster but I was a little extra cautious with some big races approaching including Boston Marathon and I got lost on the second loop and had to stop and talk with the RDs so I lost some time here. It wasn't a huge deal since this was a "fun run" race anyways and really just an ass kicker of a race to get me toughened up for Green Jewel and Boston.

    Out on the course
    My time of 2:13 was a few minutes faster despite getting lost so I think I could have done a little better without the screw up. I ended up 4th female overall and in my AG. Tough AG! Steve ended up 3rd in the guys field.

    After the race we changed into warm, dry clothes headed over to the Winking Lizard in Peninsula with friends for food and beer. I felt okay the rest of the day but was pretty sore Monday and Tuesday so went easy with the running. By Wednesday I was able to get in a double run as well as today so I am back to good now.

    Quick Training Update:

    Overall my training has been going well. Two weeks ago I was up to 50 miles of running. Last week I ended up at 38 with the race and I will have 50 in again this week. I've been riding my trainer for 45-60 mins 3-4 times a week to keep the bike fitness and I am lifting at least twice a week. I have not been in the pool much yet this year as I had a neck strain for a few weeks and was working with my chiropractor to correct that. I seem to be better so I will likely add the pool back in at least once a week for now. With Green Jewel 50K, Boston Marathon and then Cleveland Marathon I am focusing more effort on running for obvious reasons. I am also doing the Great Western Reserve 70.3 tri in mid June so I will start to add longer bike rides by early March as I plan to use the bike and swim a good deal to aid in my recovery for all my long running races. This is where triathlon really pays off! This will lead into Ironman OH 70.3 in August followed up by some fall marathons and a new challenge I will be posting about next week so stay tuned for details!

    Thursday, January 21, 2016

    Recap of the 2015 Race Season

    2015 was a good year for me. It was also a challenging year. I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities. I hope to take some of that wisdom with me this year and hopefully have an even stronger season. 

    The year started off with Run for Regis in late January. I opted to run the trail half marathon. It was below zero degrees at the start, which made for a slow and frigid race for me. While its referred to as a "fun run" I still tried to push myself as hard as I could.  I ended up 5th in the race and 4th in my AG with a not so fantastic time. Steve finished 2nd male. After the race we rewarded ourselves with Winking Lizard food and brews with a group of friends. This was the "fun" part of the race!

    A week later (early February) I ran a cross country half marathon in Lakeland, FL called the Holloway Half Marathon. It was maybe 55 degrees at the start so naturally Steve and I raced in shorts and tank. The locals were in tights and long sleeves. This was also a tough race. I started fast and led the race for the first 7 or 8 mile before a couple of women passed me. The last miles I was overheating and fading and I slipped to 4th female but managed 1st in AG. Steve ended up finishing 2nd overall and 1st in his AG. After the race we drove back to Clearwater Beach where we were staying and flew home the next day.

    Next up was the Green Jewel 50K in early March. It was my first ultra distance race and it is a road race that starts in Rocky River and travels along the Emerald Necklace finishing in the Brecksville Reservation. It ended up being a snowy, cold and very icy day which made for a slower race than I expected. My friend Jillian ended up winning and my time was good enough for 2nd place female. Steve finished 7th male, 1st in Masters. After the race we headed to Fatheads for some hard earned food and hoppy beer! This was one of my favorite races of the season! 

    Then it was the Fools 25K trail race just before April Fools, which was painful. The ground was not snow covered or muddy this year but rather frozen and jagged and icy in spots, which really got into my ankles after 16 miles of running. I was a little faster than the previous year and finished 6th female, 1st in my AG. Naturally we headed to the Winking Lizard after this race with it being in Peninsula.

    Then I decided to run the 10 Mile Drop in mid April since I had done the 20 the year before as my last preperation for the Toledo Marathon. This was 2 weeks out or so. I had a decent race finishing 4th female and 1st in AG. My friend Jillian won the race and we headed to the Winking Lizard in Mentor for post race food and beers.

    The Toledo Marathon in late April was the first of 4 consecutive marathons I ran last year to qualify for Boston. I had high hopes for Toledo and ended up PR'ing by 5 minutes but still had a ways to go to BQ. My friend Jillian ended up getting her first BQ so that was exciting but I knew I had work to do. Overall I loved this course and would definitely run it again!

    A few weeks later it was time to run the Cleveland Marathon. I was lucky enough to be an ambassador for the race last year, which was a lot of fun. I am happy to be on board again this year! It ended up being rainy, hot and humid so I did not have the race I had hoped for here but still managed a decent time for the conditions that day. Steve ended up getting his BQ again for 2016 here. Afterwards a group of us met at the Winking Lizard downtown for post race food and beer. Typical M.O.

    A week later for Memorial Day weekend it was time for the Blossomtime Run in Chagrin Falls. We met up at my friend Ginny's house with a group of Cleve Tri Club folks before the race. This is a tough 5.25 mile road race and my legs were pretty trashed but I had an okay day and placed 3rd in my AG. Steve placed 3rd in his AG as well. 

    Then it was on to the first multisport race of the season, the Twinsburg duathlon. I did the first run and the dropped out of the race because Steve had flatted and I thought he said he was out. After a miscommunication and learning that he changed his wheel and jumped back in I had lost too much tine and opted to get in a longer run while they finished up the race.

    My first triathlon of the season was in June at the Great Western Reserve Olympic tri at West Branch. I would say I was definitely not in tip-top tri shape yet here with the big focus on running and also training for another marathon later in the month so I was pretty excited to finish 6th female and 1st in my AG despite a tough day.

    Rev3 Williamsburg, also in June which was Challenge Williamsburg has been one of my favorite races the last few years. This year I got a sinus infection a week before the race so it ended up being a last minute call to even race or not. Needless to say it was not my best day. Racing with a sinus infection in 90+ degrees and high humidity was a pretty icky experience. I did not even place in my AG here but just racing was a win that day. And of course seeing my teammates was fun.

    The Charlevoix Marathon in late June was a great race. I fell in love with Northwest Michigan. It is gorgeous and the race was perfect. I fell just a little short of my BQ but PR'd by about 4 minutes. Steve raced the half and won his AG so it was a successful race for both of us and we made a fun long weekend out of it.

    July was a month full of ironman training and short races. First up we ran the Johnycake Jog 5 Miler where I finally won my AG. The next weekend we ran the Painesville Sunrise 5 miler, which was a hot and hilly race. I ended up placing 3rd female there as well as the Mayfield Wildcat 5K the next weekend. This was all part of my plan to not let the IM training make me slow this season in preparation for Erie!

    The month of August started off with my first multisport win at the Greater Cleveland Olympic Triathlon. It actually turned out to be a duathlon with the swim being cancelled but this worked out for me since running and biking are my two strongest events. This was fun and afterwards we headed out for food and drinks with some Cleve Tri Club folks. Next up was the Miller Marut 5K in Concord Township on my birthday which was hot and hilly and I placed 3rd female there. The last race of the month was the inaugural Rock Hall Half Marathon, which I used as my final speedwork leading into Erie. I ended placing 4th in my AG here with some tough competition. 

    September was an intense month. First I ran the Erie Marathon and finally got that almighty BQ with a PR time of 3:35:15 - knocking about 7 minutes off my PR time in Charlevoix! Needless to say there was a celebration for Steve and I at Willoughby Brewing afterwards! Two weeks later it was time to race the 70.3 triathlon at the Deer Creek Fall Challenge. This was a tough race in terms of winds on the bike and it was a hot run. I started having some bladder pain about halfway through the run which caused me to slow down and even walk a couple times but I managed a PR time of 5:34 and ended up 2nd female so it was a great day and we celebrated afterwards at Matt the Millers by Polaris in Columbus on our drive home.

    October was a tough month as I fought some health issues with my bladder and trying to balance out the final training days for Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 Tri. I was not sure if I would be able to race and/or complete the race so when I got the go ahead from my urologist I was a happy girl. He told me to just go out there and race and we would figure things out after. Steve and I made a vacation out of the race in Wilmington, NC. It was a lot of fun as it is a great town, we had a terrific place on the water and lots of friends there. Despite having to stop a lot to pee and some discomfort I was able to finish in 12:17 a nice PR and just a little short of my 12 hour goal. I was totally smashed for a couple days following the race so it was a tough recovery. I guess that's what I get for racing while sick.

    A few weeks of recovery led into some shorter races in November and December to close out the year because it is too boring to sit around! First Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 miler, which did not go great for me due to some allergy/breathng issues and also probably some lingering fatigue. Still I placed 2nd in my AG and Steve placed overall. Then we both raced the Painesville Turkey Trot 5K to win our AGs again. Then we ran the NERC relay at Westwoods with our Snakebite Racing teammate Mark Erzen and placed 2nd co-ed team after losing by less than a minute to some high school XC kids! Next up a 4th place finish/1st in AG at the Jingle Bell Run 5K at Legacy Village, a 2nd in AG at the Frosty 5 Miler in Hudson on Xmas eve and finally a 5th place female/1st AG place at the Great New Years Eve 5K in Stow. 

    That was a busy season and 2016 looks to be the same with maybe a marathon less and no 140.6. Plus I am spacing my big races out more to allow some extra recovery time. I hate resting but I need to work on that because maybe I will race even better if I can learn the art of recovery! 

    2016 starts up this weekend with Run for Regis half marathon again. Forecast says 17 degrees, Brrr. Should be painful I am sure!

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

    Holiday Race Reports

    Because we had such great weather for December my husband and I decided to do a couple last minute races to end the year. First we ran the Frosty 5 Miler in Hudson on Christmas Eve then we ran the Great New Years Eve 5K race on New Years Eve. Below is a quick recap on both races.

    Frosty 5 Miler:

    The Frosty 5 Miler is put on by my friends at Western Reserve Racing. It takes place in downtown Hudson, which is a really cute area. This was our first time doing the race and I was not sure how challenging it would be. The weather was great a little chilly - in the high 40s/low 50s but warm enough to race in my Pearl Izumi ultra shorts and a tank top so that was great! The first mile was slightly up hill, the mid miles were flatter with some small hills and it seemed like the last mile was the most uphill but maybe I was just tired. I was hoping to break 35 minutes but felt a little sluggish towards the end so I ended up at 35:39 about a 7:08 pace. This was good enough for 2nd of 59 in my AG so it went fairly well. My friend Jen ended up winning our AG so it was nice to have some friendly competition!

    Steve ended up placing in his AG also. All in all it was a great race and the conditions were perfect to run that day! For our AG placings we both received medals, which have now been added to the collection! Overall we both liked this race and would definitely run it again!

    Great New Years Eve 5K:

    Several years ago I had run this Great New Years Eve race so I could not really recall what the course was like until running it again this year. It's a tough course but I liked it! I think the elevation chart has it at 300+ feet of gain over the 3.1 miles so it's not a PR course but it sure was a challenge trying to sprint up the hills! The course starts and finishes at the Stow/Munroe Falls High School. It is a fairly big race too with more than 700 runners. We were happy to see some friendly faces around. The weather was chilly in the 30s so I opted to race in my Pearl Izumi Ultra 3/4 tights and a tee with some armwarmers, gloves and a Snakebite Racing headband.

    The first mile or so it was sleeting in my face as I was running up the hills. I was with the leading ladies for this first mile before dropping back a little to a pace more comfy for me. At the turn around I felt okay so I just tried to maintain a decent pace. The last mile was hard. It was mostly uphill. My legs would not go as fast as my heart wanted to. But I vowed to run that stinking hill as best as I could after the blow up at Jingle Bell a couple weeks back. Taking the right back toward the school was a little downhill but it seemed far away and I didn't have much kick left in me so I was passed by a chick at the last second to finish 5th place female and 1st in my AG with a time of 21:44. After the race SARC had a nice spread of food including some veggie soup to help warm us up. Steve also won first in his AG. SARC gave the AG winners blankets versus medals, which was kindof cool.

    So that wrapped up the racing for 2016. It was a hard but fun and successful season for me and Steve. I will be working on my 2016 recap in the coming week or two. I am excited for another challenging season ahead in 2016 and lucky to be part of a new team (Snakebite Racing) and also have some great sponsors lined up including Freeplay Magazine (Team Freeplay), Pearl Izumi, Team Nuun and the Cleveland Marathon.

    Tuesday, January 5, 2016

    Pearl Izumi Champions Run Team

    I was fortunate enough to have Pearl Izumi as a sponsor for a few seasons when I raced with Team Revolution 3. Pearl makes fabulous products for running and cycling! I use a number of their products and have since I first learned about them. 

    I am pleased to announce that I will be am ambassador for their running group "Pearl Izumi Champions" for 2016! And I even have some of my old Rev3 teammates as fellow ambassadors with me so that is awesome!

    Check out the products Pearl Izumi makes and try them out. A few of my favorites are the Ultra running shorts, the Ultra jacket and the Tri Fly Carbon bike shoes. But then again I pretty much love anything they make! Trust me you will not be disappointed!