2018 York Half Marathon Recap

Happy long weekend! I hope that you all are enjoying the warm weather 🙂

I want to take a moment to thank all service men and women who have fought for our freedom and continue to fight today. Thank you for all that you do.

Last weekend, I took part in the York Half Marathon, a fun local race.

Leading up to the weekend, I was still recovering from the Pittsburgh Half. I was taking my time with recovery since I ran harder than I ever had before. Additionally, on Friday, I started feeling REALLY bad…like horrible stomach cramps, nausea, and headaches bad. The stomach pains were enough to make me stay in bed after work on Friday and most of Saturday morning. I did make sure that I watched the royal wedding, however! How beautiful and sweet was it?!

After I got ready for the day on Saturday, I told Steve that I was going to play the race by ear…if I felt better, I would do it. if not, I wouldn’t worry about it. I had already PRed, so I didn’t need this race.

As the day went on, I began to feel slightly better, and I even got to help my sister get ready for her senior prom. She was on Prom Court. Isn’t she stunning?!

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Also, I chopped my hair two weeks ago, and I love it!

After the prom festivities, I made my way home and got to bed. I set my alarm and promised myself that I’d listen to my body in the morning.

When I woke up, I was surprised that I felt much better. I got ready, ate my breakfast, and then Steve and I drove down to the race area.

When we got there, I picked up my packet, which included a great race shirt and bag. I was so impressed! I then took my swag back to the car, put on my bib, and started to stretch out.

My goal for the race was simple: to finish. I wanted to take my time and truly enjoy my surroundings.

As the start time approached, I lined up at the start area and waited to begin.

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As ready as I was going to be! 🙂

Before I knew it, it was time to begin. I started off slowly and settled into a comfortable pace. We started in the heart of York and quickly headed to the York Heritage Trail, a beautiful rail trail that stretches a wide area.

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We mainly rain on the gravel trail roads (as you can see here), which were a nice relief for my legs after months of pavement and treadmill running.

The miles were going pretty quickly. I was feeling good so I neglected my run/walk and kept running. I did stop for water breaks and took my time through those.

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The course was an out and back trail, which I liked. I knew what to expect towards the end of the race. The course was also pretty crowded for a local race. Because the course is so flat, many runners travel to try to qualify for Boston (there’s also a marathon during the weekend). But, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of runners by any means.

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I was feeling pretty good through mile 10.5, and then the sickness started coming back. I began to have stomach cramps and get pretty nauseous. I knew that I was almost done, so I decided to keep moving and get the race over with as quickly as possible.

The rest of the race was honestly a blur. I put my head down and kicked it into gear.

I quickly made my way to the finish line and crossed it with the smallest fist pump. I was just so happy to be done.

I got my medal, grabbed some water, and made my way to find Steve. He snapped this really sweaty photo of me before we headed home. At that point, I just wanted to go home, shower, and lay down.

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I spent the rest of the day in bed before venturing out for lunch with Steve’s parents for their anniversary. I was not able to eat much, however. I made sure that I got to bed early that night because I was so exhausted and felt so poorly.

I later learned that I had a 72-hour stomach bug. It was AWFUL!

I’m proud of myself for pushing through this race, and I can honestly say that it’s one of my hardest earned medals. I finished with a time of 1:57:50, which I am very happy with considering the circumstances. Because of this, I can always look back and smile when I think of this race, even though I felt so crappy.

So, what’s next? I actually am happy to say that I’m taking a slight break from half marathons. Nothing major, just a few months to let my legs rest after Dopey and the harder spring races that I completed. I’m hoping to get back into it in the fall or next spring!

Do you have any upcoming races? What are they?!

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2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon Recap

Hi, friends!

It’s absolutely beautiful outside today…at least in Central PA! As I admire the blue skies outside my window, I thought it would be a great day to recap my Pittsburgh Half Marathon experience.

Steve and I traveled to Pittsburgh the Friday before the race (May 4). We left after work, so we got to our friends’ house in Pittsburgh pretty late. We did get to spend a few hours catching up with our friends, which was great! We went to high school and college with a lot of our friends there, so it’s always great to catch up and share old memories.

We woke up pretty early on Saturday to get to the expo when it opened. I was really looking forward to this expo because in previous years, it’s always been full of awesome vendors and free samples.

We ubered down to the Convention Center and got in line at 8:45 (the expo opened at 9). Luckily, they let us in a few minutes early, and we raced over to the packet pick-up area to grab my bib. Three of our friends were also running the half, and we were able to go to the expo with one of them.

After picking up our packets, we headed toward the main expo area to check out the official merchandise and other vendor booths. Overall, I was sort of disappointed in the expo this year. I did buy two items (a “Runner of Steel” tank and a metal rack extender for my current metal rack), but it just seemed like the entire expo was taken down quite a few notches from the last two times I visited it. Not terrible, but not as great as I remember….and definitely not as many free samples.

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After we finished up at the expo, we headed to Smallman Galley where we ate a delicious brunch! I went to the Banhmilicious booth and got the egg and avocado rice bowl. IT WAS SO GOOD! I also got a raspberry herbal tea to help calm my nerves from the impending race.

We then took a leisurely walk through the Strip District, which I had never done before! We got so many free samples, and I was sure to purchase a bottle of wine and a homemade cannoli – YUM!

Then, we headed back to our friends’ house to drop off our stuff and hang out for a few hours before dinner. I took this opportunity to take a nice nap and keep my feet up. I knew I needed it!

After my nap, we headed down to Benny Fierro’s to get my pre-race tradition of pizza. I had never been to Benny’s before, and boy was I in for a treat! I wish I had taken a photo of my pizza slice – it was GINORMOUS!

I also made sure to get a milkshake from The Milkshake Factory…because…..when in Pittsburgh, you get a milkshake from The Milkshake Factory…always!

We made our way back to our friends’ house and I got ready for bed. I knew that I wanted to go to sleep fairly early since we had to leave the house early the next morning due to traffic.

We woke up around 4 the next morning, got ready, and ate our breakfasts. Then, we called an Uber and headed down to the race area. We got there about an hour early and chatted as we warmed up and stretched.

When it was about 30 minutes to race time, we all split ways and headed to our respective corrals. I was B, so I knew I wanted to get a good position so that I could run pretty quickly after starting. I knew going into this race that I wanted to PR. I had worked hard for it, and I was ready.

Before I knew it, we were off! My goal was to NOT do my typical run/walk interval and instead run the entire race, minus the water stations. How people run and drink at the same time completely blows my mind….that’s talent!

I honestly didn’t take any photos during the race because I was trying so hard.

The miles flew by as we ran through the different neighborhoods (Strip District, North Side, etc.). I honestly didn’t even look at my watch until we headed across the river around mile 6.5. I was feeling great and knew that this was going to be a great day for a PR.

It was definitely humid, so I focused on my breathing…slow and steady, especially while running up the notorious Pittsburgh hills.

I kept my spirits high and my feet moving as I ran through the Southside and up the Birmingham Bridge. YIKES! I definitely forgot about how long the hill is from the beginning of the bridge to the other side of the river (it’s almost a mile long!)! But, I got through it, and I knew that it was all downhill from there.

In the meantime, Steve texted me when I was at mile 11 and said that he was at mile 12. I kept my eyes open as I was flying through the streets. I passed the mile 12 marker, but I did not see him. I didn’t text him back because I knew that I would be finishing soon and could get him after. He would have never made it to the finish line in time any way.

As I quickly approached the downtown area, I knew that I was so close to the finish line. I tried to avoid looking at my watch during this stretch, and instead, I focused on running as fast as I could. So, I had know idea how far ahead I was…I knew I was making good time though. I passed the mile 13 sign and really kicked it into gear – I mean FULL OUT SPRINTING!

This part of the race is always so fun – the crowd is so loud and you truly get chills as you cross the finish line. As soon as I crossed, I stopped my watch, and to my surprise, I had PRed by 4 minutes! My official time was 1:48:29! I couldn’t believe it!

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I immediately texted Steve and made my way to the finish line festival area where he was waiting. We celebrated with a few photos of course.

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We then met up with our friends and headed to brunch/lunch on Mount Washington. I got a pierogi bowl, a typical Pittsburgh dish, and I was given a free beer from my waitress for participating in the race. How sweet?!

Then, we headed back to our friends’ house so that I could shower. Because Steve worked the next day, we knew that we had to get back fairly quickly.

I, however, took the day off on Monday. I spent time with my pup , relaxed, and celebrated my PR.

Overall, my experience at the 2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon was FANTASTIC! I always love this race and the crowds that it draws. It’s definitely an experience like no other.

But, that’s it for now. Next up: my recap of the York Half Marathon, which I completed last weekend!

Have you ever run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon? Tell me about your experience!

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Another Half Marathon?!

Yep…you read that right…I signed up for yet another half marathon. What?!

This time, I’ll be competing in the Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon on Oct. 22. Yes, I’m still in the midst of training for my very first Dopey Challenge in January 2018, but I really wanted to find a way to break up some of my longer training runs in the middle of the cycle.

A few weeks back, I was searching for half marathons that occurred on the same days as my long runs this fall/winter. The only one that fit this requirement in my area was the Blue-Gray Half Marathon. And, I actually did this race in 2014 – which was a bonus!

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This race occurs on the same day as my 16-mile training run in late October. My plan for the day is simple: run 2.9 miles at home and then head to Gettysburg for the race and take it EASY. No PRs and no competing for prizes. I honestly am going to treat this race like a RunDisney race, using an easy pace and truly taking it all in. Fall in Pennsylvania is absolutely beautiful, and this race takes you on a scenic wooded tour of the town of Gettysburg and the historic Gettysburg Battlefield, so I don’t want to miss out!

While I’m not setting any goals, I’m still going to treat this as a serious training run, with the proper fueling, water and intervals. I don’t want to mess with a good thing!

I am VERY excited for this race! I had such a great time back in 2014, and it looks like the race coordinator has made a ton of updates since then, including more race time on the battlefield and a post-race beer garden. How cool is that?!

If any of you are planning on running this race, let’s chat! I’d love to meet you 🙂

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Dopey Challenge Training Is Starting!

Hello, all!

IT’S TIME! Dopey Challenge training starts this week, which means that my regular workouts will be changing slightly.

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As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I will be following the Hal Higdon training plan. The plan officially starts on September 5, but some additionally training is required before then.

Higdon’s training plan is 18 weeks long and consists of 4-5 days of running per week. The first long run is 13 miles and occurs in the first week. The plan then builds to include two virtual Dopey weeks (running Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), and ends with a long run of 20 miles three weeks before Marathon Weekend. This plan is definitely intense!

To prepare for the first Higdon week in September, I plan to spend the summer building up my endurance, starting this week.

Here is what my training/weekly workouts will look like:

  • Mondays: 30 minutes on the elliptical and some strength training
  • Tuesdays: 3 miles and some strength training
  • Wednesdays: 4 miles
  • Thursdays: 3 miles and some strength training
  • Fridays: 30 minutes on the elliptical and some strength training
  • Saturdays: long runs every other week (the pattern will be 7 miles, 4 miles, 8 miles, 4 miles, 9 miles, 4 miles, 10 miles, 4 miles, 11 miles, 4 miles, 12 miles, and 4 miles)

As you can see, this mini plan greatly resembles Hal Higdon’s 18-week plan, which means that it will be a great starting point.

While I’m nervous for the long training miles ahead, I’m excited to finally begin the journey to Dopey Challenge.

Are any of you running Dopey Challenge in 2018? When does your training begin?

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#GlobalRunningDay

Hi, friends! It’s #GlobalRunningDay, and I thought I’d celebrate the occasion by sharing some of my favorite race photos. Running has truly changed my life over the past 5 years – it’s helped me to lose weight, deal with my anxiety/stress, and it has given me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people. I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to run every day, and I can’t wait to see where running takes me in the future!

Enjoy!

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Happy running!

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