New Year…New Races…New Goals

New Year…New Races…New Goals must mean that it’s January!

I’ve been very lucky over the last few years to accomplish things I NEVER would have thought possible. It all started with 13.1 miles at Disney and a medal that looked like a crown. I never thought I’d make the friends I’ve made or been to the place that started it all in Greece. 2016 was an amazing year for me!

So what will 2017 bring? 2017 will bring the Chicago Marathon in October with several of my real friends that I’ve met through social media! Kristin will be running with me again in Chicago and Dani will be there too! Those are 2 that I’ve been lucky enough to meet in real life! There will also be many people who I know on social media but have yet to meet in real life and I can’t wait to meet them!

2017 will also bring another marathon yet to be announced. πŸ™‚ I promise it will be a good one!

2017 will bring many training runs with my friends here in Virginia. And man, I’ve missed that over these last 8 weeks that I’ve been “lazy” as my foot has been healing from a stress fracture.

2017 will bring a half marathon in Roanoke, Virginia in April. I can’t wait to travel for that one!

2017 will be a challenge. 2017 will bring new friends. 2017 will be amazing! And most importantly, 2017 will be an ADVENTURE!!!

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THE Authentic Athens Marathon

It was about 16 months ago that my Uncle said “Hey lets run the Athens Marathon!” I can remember this day vividly. We were up at my Grandmothers funeral and my sister, uncle and I went for a run. Fast forward 6 months, and we actually signed up for it after my Uncle did some research. Little did I know that 10 months later, I would be in Greece running THE Authentic Marathon…you know, the one we learn about in History or in my case Latin too. The one that started it all.

If you follow me on instagram, then you saw some photos from my adventures over there. We left on November 9th and traveled over to Greece. It was a L….O….N….G plane ride. It also happened to be my uncles birthday…the awesome 7…0. Yes, he turned 70 and ran a marathon a few days later. Who does that? Needless to say, my Uncle is pretty awesome.

The first day we were in Greece, we got to see the 1896 stadium, where the marathon finishes as well as the Acropolis, Mars Hill and had some awesome Greek food. It brought back lots of memories from my Latin classes and the Gods and Goddesses. And the history…things that I had forgotten but had been reminded about while we were there. It’s hard to put into words standing among buildings and things that have been around for so long. After we went to the marathon expo to get our packets and walk through. I have to say that they did a fantastic job at the expo. It was set up to funnel you through a certain path. It is definitely not like the expos here where you get your packet and then you walk willy nilly through the expo. The expo was in the Tae Kwan Do arena from the 2004 Olympics. That was really cool. To be in that building and the athletes that have walked through there. So cool!

Saturday was the second full day we were there and it was a more low key day since we were running on Sunday. We headed to the temple of Poseidon and it was interesting to know the history behind the temple as well as the “Graffiti” that was left on the Temple. I say “Graffiti” because it was not the graffiti we know, the spray paint (Although there was plenty of that in Athens). This was people who had traveled to the Temple and carved their name or something else in the marble. But it was usually their name and the date. Who knew? After we went for lunch at a local restaurant and we were seaside, but the kitchen was across the road, so it was interesting to watch the wait staff cross the road with our food.

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The Temple of Poseidon

 

Sunday! The day of the MARATHON! We loaded onto buses and left for Marathon. It was a nice drive to the start line and we actually drove along some of the course. That was daunting, you actually got to see the hills that we would be running. Yikes! There had been some talk about “THE HILL” which started at mile 6 and ended somewhere around mile 20. Yes, you read that right, a 14ish mile hill. It was a near perfect day for a marathon. Low 50s to start and ended up in the high 60s when I finished. Much different than the Marine Corps Marathon that I ran 2 weeks earlier. The race committee did a fantastic job letting everyone know what was going on and where they were suppose to be. We took in the sights and my Uncle, Sister and I all headed to our starting areas. Before long we had all started the race.

It was surreal starting the race, I had decided to run 5 minutes and walk 2 minutes. I was feeling good and so I kept chugging along. My music was going, and I would stop and take pictures along the way. Around mile 3, we hit the memorial hill and made a big circle around it. It is where the Athenian soldiers that survived buried the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice against the Parisians. Needless to say, quite the sight to see in your first 3 miles. The first hour went by no problem, but I did start to struggle so I scaled back my run/walk to 1 min run and 1 min walk. That worked for the second hour. I was still doing great and was working my way towards Athens.

Then the trouble hit. I started to feel sick. So I walked. I knew I could get myself under control but I had to make sure that I was on track for my personal time that I wanted to do. So it was fast walking. I was ok with that, mind you, we had that continuous hill to conquer. I have to say that the water stations were awesome. They were giving out BOTTLES of water, full bottles. I was able to stop and grab bottles of water and I did get into trouble a few times when I went by the water station and missed getting a bottle, But there was another station not far down the road. They had stops every 2.5ish kilometers. How awesome is that. For half of the race, I have to say that I had a bottle of water in one hand and a bottle of Powerade in the other with the occasional cup of coke. Yes, Coke. Coke was handed out on the course. I had gotten to the point that I would take a sip of water or Powerade and swish it around before spitting it out.

The towns along the course were amazing. They had come out to wish us luck and you would hear “Bravo” along the way. The kids from the towns had olive branches that they would want you to take and so you did, and ran with it for a bit before discarding it and picking up a new one. Everyone along the way was so incredibly nice.

Soon we were seeing signs for Athens and so I knew we were getting close, not to mention my Garmin telling me that I only had 6 or so miles left. I had been doing math along the way to keep my mind occupied and off how much more I actually had left. Even though I sometimes failed at how much we had actually done vs. how much we had left. OOPS.

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The Sign for Athens…Almost there!

I got to about 38km and knew that we were so close! I decided to start running again, 1 minute run, 1 minute walk and I was feeling good when running and terrible when walking. Which also lead to running when I needed to and walking when needed which I was ok with. I saw the glass runner that we saw when we stopped by the stadium a few days before so I was sooooooo close. So, I just kept running and walking. Before I knew it, I was at mile 40, 2 more Kilometers, 41, ok I got this. 42km! Could it be true….I had hit 42km. So what did I do, I took a selfie! HAHA yes, I was that runner that stopped to the a selfie with the 42km sign which was right outside the stadium. So into the stadium I ran and to the finish line. 42.219 km or 26.2 miles later, I finished in the iconic 1896 Stadium. The emotions were there for sure. The experience of running into the stadium was like no other. I made my way over to our group of runners and met my mom, sister, and uncle there. I had finished in just over 6 hours and 30 minutes. My goal was 7 hours. I DID IT! I was exhausted, but I did it. We did it, my uncle, sister and I finished the marathon.

We got back to the hotel and my sister, Mom and I headed to the Aegean Sea. My sister and I were going to get in the Aegean. It was cold, yes. But it felt soooo good! Not to mention we got some amazing pictures with the sunset we had. After, we had a banquet that the tour group I went with put on. We had Greek dancers and they wanted us to get up and dance with them. I don’t think they realized that most of us had run a marathon. We were blessed with olive wreath crowns and a hand made vase to remember this moment by. It was a good end to the epic marathon weekend.

Monday in Greece was spent at the Plaka. It is the oldest part of Athens and a lot of it is now shopping and closed off to cars. We were able to go into the stores and find items that we wanted or were looking for. My foot was not liking me so my mom and I sat at a local cafe people watching after we got done what we wanted. My uncle and sister walked off to the local Ouzo bar that she had been to before. I wish I could have gone, but my foot was angry enough as it was, so it was best to stay off it. It was hard to believe that we were leaving the following day to travel back to the states. It was a great trip for sure.

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Ouzo

We made it back and we were all exhausted. It’s still hard to believe that I ran the original course, the one that started it all. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and if you ever get a chance, don’t say no. The opportunity may only come once. The tour group we went with was amazing. They signed us up for the race, planned everything out and worked through every detail so all we had to do was show up. If you are planning on going and running the Authentic Marathon, look up Apostolos Tours or by clicking here. I’m so glad that I went to Greece and ran there. It will be a moment that I will never forget. It was a truly awesome life experience.

Marine Corps Marathon Weekend

Well it’s been almost a month since my first fall marathon! It’s hard to believe that it was that long ago. I have to say that this was one of the most awful experiences of my life but also one of the best.

Let me start off by saying that it was absolutely awesome FINALLY meeting @stlrunnergirl aka Kristin in person (you call follow her adventuresΒ hereΒ and here). We clicked right away and we set off to have a blast for the entire weekend. We were able to have lots of fun and enjoy getting ready for the race while she was here.

We both ended up taking over an Instagram account, Inspiring Women Runners, and we enjoyed every bit of showing our weekend for everyone to see. We got a lot of comments on our behind the scenes photo of our flat runners.

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Anyways, race morning was like perfect weather. mid 50s with a high that day being in the 80s, yuck! Kristin and I got to the start line no problem. We were waiting around with everyone else and all the anxiety. We both were injured during our training, so we knew that this marathon would be tough but we could trudge through.

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The race started and I was in charge of our run/walk intervals. We were set up to run 3 minutes and walk 2. We were feeling great and we made it through mile 4, the hill up Spout Run, ugh that hill. We continued on and Kristin was being a champ! I in the mean time, not so much. I started to cramp up in my legs and by this time in the day it started to get warm. We hit the blue mile which is always emotional. After that I was walking more than running. Luckily Kristin was there to help me and when we would try to run, my calves just weren’t having it. We were on the Mall by now, and every medical tent I saw, I wanted to stop and have them take me to the end. I was almost crying, and so ready to give up. Kristin was there and telling me that I couldn’t. But I so wanted to, every step was agony.

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At one point, I stopped by the medical tent and asked for salt. I ended up eating every bit of salt that was left in the bottom of a pretzel bag along with the pretzels. Kristin was being such a trooper with my negative Nelly attitude. We ended up walking the rest of the way and I have to say that she was right, the out and backs were insane. I was filling up my water bottle at most of the stops because I was going through water like crazy. We were literally counting down the miles and we made some new friends along the way.

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We finished the marathon, but it definitely wasn’t pretty! It was more like a survival. We both were like, never freaking again. I’m done with marathons and that’s it. But I still had one 2 weeks later. Are you kidding me….who’s bright idea was that?! We made it back to our hotel and I was texting with a few others that ran and found out that they came across the same difficulty. It was mind boggling that others had the same issues and hit the same troubles around mile 10. I was definitely glad to hear that I was not the only one.

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It wasn’t long after the race was over, that I started talking about a redemption race and having to run the Marine Corps Marathon again to redeem this last marathon I had with them. I could not let that marathon be the end all be all. True runner fashion!

So, what did I do, I signed up for the Chicago Marathon lottery. I told a friend of mine that I had signed for the lottery and he goes, “I thought you swore of the 26.2 mile distance.” Yeah well, never trust what a marathoner says after the most horrendous 26.2 miles. πŸ™‚

Saturday Morning Training Runs

I don’t know about you, but my sleep schedule has been messed up for the last week due to the Olympics. I absolutely love watching the Summer Olympics. I like Winter too, but being a former swimmer and now a runner and swim coach, there’s just something about the Summer ones that gets me every time. So as a result, my body is screaming at me for even attempting to get up at 5am to go workout.

But this past Friday night, I stayed up to watch the swimming events at night and with the heat that was taking place the next morning combined with the humidity, I just was NOT looking forward to a long run on Saturday Morning. It was the last thing I wanted to do. My running buddy on my Saturday mornings, texted and asked if we were running. Again I desperately wanted to so NO, I’m running inside. But I didn’t. I said sure and we set up a time to meet and get rolling.

Saturday morning came, and my alarm went off at 4:57am. I KNOW! It’s earlier than my weekday alarm, but I was up and ready to go in no time. I was excited to get out there with my new shoes and planned my outfit around the Olympics. I know what you’re thinking, who plans a training run outfit? Well this girl does, especially for long runs because why not?

Durning my Saturday run, my friend and I were talking about how easy it is for us to get up on a Saturday earlier than we should have to but have such a hard time during the week to get up. As we continued talking about it, we went on to say how we both enjoyed the early morning time to get our run in and to enjoy each other’s company all while talking about what happened during the week. It’s funny how the conversation goes from one topic to another and it lets the miles fly by. I’m so grateful for that.

And how perfect is this?!?! Another awesome friend of mine just texted this to me.IMG_2482

Marathon Training – Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

I’m the first to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with running. I use to cry when I would have to run for swimming. It was the DEATH of me. Somewhere I started to hate running a little less and starting to find the beauty of it. I don’t know when that changed but it did.

3 Years ago when a coworker asked if I would consider signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon, I didn’t hesitate. I said “Yes” right away. It was only after that I signed up that I began to think “Oh biscuits, what did I get myself into?”. Β The reality set in that I was going to run a marathon. Who was I? Who was this person that hated running and yet she signed up for a marathon?

There were lots of trials that went with that training. The wrong shoes were a big part of it. I was dealing with a lot of knee pain and didn’t know if I wanted to go through with what I had said “YES” to. I can, still to this day, remember my longest training run of 2013. 20 miles. 6.9 miles more than I had ever gone in a race. I had diligently mapped out my route and knew where these 20 miles were going to take me. I had chosen to run alone in 2013 because I was “slow” and because who else wants to spend 4-5 hours running on a Saturday morning. I walked in from that 20 miles, and my poor mother got the brunt of my tears and frustration. I walked the last 8 miles home. I still got those 20 miles, but in the process got blisters on my feet. I was maybe 3 weeks away from my race and I didn’t know how I was going to conquer these 26.2 miles. Luckily, the people that came out to spectate and my coworker helped get me through the first 10 miles. The last 16 were on my own since I started walking more. I would cry every time I saw my Mom and Sister along the course. I ended up walking the last 6 miles and still finished. I got that coveted medal.

Fast forward 3 years to 2016 and yet again I find myself training for a marathon (or 2). I am now looking for people who will run with me to help keep me accountable. I have my mainstays and definitely look forward to running with them. I’m slower than I was before, but you know what I’m still running. I’ve been laid up this past week with a hurt foot but hope to get back out there soon. I have races to run. I have my moments where I’m ok with my runs and other times, I’m thinking to myself, why am I doing this yet again. 13.1 or less is just fine. HAHA. I got new shoes, so I’m hoping that that was the issue that caused my foot to hurt and cause me to not walk all of Saturday after I came home from my 8 miles. And yes, I did everything you hear not to do and run injured. I totally knew my foot was acting different and ran anyways. OOPS!

So I’m planning to get back on track this weekend after a few days off. I know I’ve been struggling with staying up late watching the Olympics and then shutting off my alarms to get up early to sleep a bit more. Anyone else having that issue? Once swimming is over, I’ll try to be better about going to bed around my normal time so I can get up to go run.

#streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS – June 2016

If you’ve never heard of PinkCupcakeGirl she is defiantly one cool lady! She’s always posting inspiring things on instagram. Definitely check her IG out when you get a chance. Well she’s hosted some of these challenges before and I ALWAYS wanted to complete one but NEVER did. I had so many excuses that would pop in my head. So I never finished one of these awesome streaking challenges before.

Well this time…I did finish it. I completed the streak and even better yet! I’ve kept my streak going. It’s funny how once you get through 30 days of “having” to do something it becomes automatic. It’s been a great way for me to get back into my training plan and running. Which brought me to a total of 58.93 miles for the month of June! YAY!

Not to mention all the cool new friends that I’ve now followed on their streaking journey. AND this awesome cool app that you can create calendar collages with. How cool is that?

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Marathon Training – Week 8

I can’t believe we are are already in week 8 of training. I know I picked a 30 week plan so I have 22 more weeks of running before my first marathon. You know, just saying that makes it seem like it’ll be here in no time.

My training has been spotty due to work and injuries. But that is no excuse, well maybe the injury part. Just a little bit….ok. Next week I plan to get my act back in gear with the help of Jen from PinkCupcakeGirl.

We’re going streaking!!!! During June, I’m planning on running at least 1 mile EVERY DAY! 1 mile! That’s it. You can walk it, jog it, run it, skip, hop or jump it. Just 1 mile. If you run more…great! But the key is to keep going from June 1 all the way to June 30. Think you can do it with me?

Make sure you follow myself (runnerchick29 on IG) and Jen (pinkcupcakegirl on IG) and anyone else that you want to follow during this challenge. We’ll encourage each other and make sure that we get this streak completed and rocked!

Who else is is going streaking?!

Things Happen For a Reason

I’ve had quite the last few interesting months. At one point I was working 3 jobs a day, planning a weekend for my sister and her friends to celebrate her upcoming wedding, and not to mention trying to find the time to run or even just workout.

Coaching ended so I got some of my nights back, but I was still getting up early to work at the fitness studio 3 days a week so I could have my Sunday back. That was amazing. To have one of my weekend days back, YES! I could attempt to get things done after Church. But then I did the crazy (and some may even say stupid) thing of signing up for 2 marathons that are 14 days apart. Um, say what? Yes, I signed up for 2 marathons that are 14 days apart. You can read about that craziness here. So I knew that I had to really reign in my training knowing that I didn’t want to slack and have the possibility of getting injured so that I then couldn’t participate in the second marathon. I want my Marathon Maniac status!

So I did the only sensible thing, and turned in my resignation to the fitness studio. It was a sad day, I didn’t want to do it but knew that it had to be done. But I gave them a month to find someone to take my shifts. Lucky me, they found someone sooner and so I’ve been able to start running again in the mornings. It’s been a wonderful thing.

I also think that me signing up for these 2 marathons were telling me to stop and to slow down a little. I was packing my days so full that I didn’t have time to breathe. With me now training properly, I am able to sleep, eat, talk to friends and relax when I need to.

Everything happens for a reason, even those difficult decisions to take a leap of faith and know that everything will be fine on the other side.

Insta Friends to Real Life Friends

So I started this blog over a year ago and last year the post went a lot better than this year. I don’t know, I just feel I’m not as interesting. I promise to change that as the year goes on. πŸ™‚

We all have those friends that we know by their user name and come to look for interaction with. I have met some really awesome and wonderful friends, who I have not met yet because we met on social media but I hope that changes sooner rather than later.

I don’t know exactly when we became friends, friends, but I do know this past January I was IG stalking one of my most come to be known awesome friends as she was getting ready to run the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World. Stlrunnergirl! I feel like that’s a superhero name! Anyways, I direct messaged her for her last name asking for her last name so I could track her during her races. I know, stalker right? But by this point I had followed her training and told her that she had this, and all of this too! She kindly obliged and I tracked all of her races. Not to mention, she did phenomenal! And I’m totally jealous that she has done Dopey! It’s on my bucket list. Not to mention we found out that we have the SAME first name spelled exactly the same way!!! That NEVER happens!

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A few weeks later here in Virginia, we got SLAMMED with snow. I was dog sitting so I had to clear the driveway and sidewalks so the family didn’t get hit with some fines. Mind you we got 36ish inches of snow. And yes, you read that right, 36ish. While I was over at this house we were talking constantly through the direct message from IG. We quickly learned that neither one of us were harmful and I shared my number with her. I shared lots of pictures of the snow, and boy there was lots of it to share. It literally took weeks to melt and took several days for some roads to see plows. But I still talked to my friend @stlrunnergirl.

It’s been a few months and since then and we continue to text daily! And by daily I mean that we are talking throughout the day. From sun up to past sun down. I know right. I even somehow convinced her to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon Lottery. Which we both got in, and that will be the first time that we actually meet in person! I’m so excited for that. Kristin has been an amazing encourager and supporter for all of my events throughout the year so far. I mean she event told me that she was going to run 10 miles virtually while I ran my 10 mile race without training!!!! Who does that?

I’m so grateful that I’ve met Kristin. She’s been one in a million with encouraging me and helping me through my tough running times. I’m so grateful that she agreed to come out and run the Marine Corps Marathon with me. She’s a true friend and I can’t wait to meet her in person.

Do any of you all have a friend from social media that you can’t wait to meet?

 

Whole New Level of Crazy

I know it’s been a few weeks, months, maybe years (kidding) since I’ve written. My life has been pretty crazy so I needed to take a step back and work through the stress and then jump Β back here to fill you all in. So don’t hate me too bad! πŸ˜€

You all know that I’m having this awesome adventure this November and running the Original Marathon in Athens, Greece. You can read all about that here. I can’t wait for that and to be over there and running. I know I’m going to get tears when I finish because the finish line is in the 1896 Olympic Stadium. How cool is that?!

Well this is where the crazy comes in. I was talking with my friend K who had signed up for the NYC Marathon lottery. She was looking for a fall marathon that was a stand alone event to see what she could do without having other races around that day. So we waited and waited and sadly she did not get into NYC. Big Bummer! As we were texting back and forth she came to the decision to register for the Marine Corps Marathon lottery. I kept telling her to try because even if she did not get in, then there was the bib transfer process (Love this about the Marine Corps Marathon!). So she should just decide to come on out and stay with me and run the Marine Corps Marathon!

After much decision, she decided to do it. So that got me thinking. I have Athens on 13 November. Awesome right? Well Marine Corps Marathon is 30 October. Ok perfect, no problem. Never done a marathon 2 weeks apart. No problem, new challenge, Great. Well that would also qualify me for Marathon Maniacs! So yes, I totally entered the Marine Corps Marathon lottery too! Luckily the lottery is only open for a week and they let us know on 31 March if we were going to be running with the Marines or not. Whoop Whoop…I made it. I was selected to run with the Marines!! My friend K was also selected! Double Whoop!

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I qualified for half fanatics last year. Go me! So if I complete this years challenge and run the 2 marathons 2 weeks apart, I’ll get my Marathon Maniacs AND Double Agent status. Now I’m not winning any races, I just want to finish! get those medals and have awesome experiences.

So here’s to the training, and entering a new level of crazy!