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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Photo recap of 2013!

Here is a recap of 2013 in photos!
My running got back on track with a PR's at 3k, 2 miles, 5k, and 5 miles.

Ry got back to running in 2013.  This was him finishing in 2nd place in his first 1/2 marathon in 1:10.

I ran my first respectable 1/2 Marathon in 3 years!

I was surrounded by lovely ladies who planned a great bridal shower for me!  
Kasey, Ferf, me, Kelsey, and Carly.

And a incredibly fun bachelorette!
Carly, Ferf, Heidi, me, Annie, Liz, Kasey, and Kelsey.
Then this guy (on the right), my Popa, would walk me down the aisle,
In this dress,

With these stunning ladies by my side,
(Kasey, Kelsey, Carly, me, Ferf, and Liz)
And these handsome gentlemen by Ryan's,
(Tom, Jesse, Ray, Ryan, Alan, and Seth)

To marry this incredible guy!!

It was awesome!
They danced, 
(Mother Son Dance)

We danced,
(Grandfather, Granddaughter dance)
we danced some more,
(Our first dance)

then we had one hell of a party!!
The Spellman side of the family.

The Michael side of the family. 

2013 saw this lil one (my youngest cousin Kasey) off to college!

I found the best training partner a girl could ask for!  I love you Nicole!!

I made some questionable 4 liter sort of decisions.

I ate more nacho's than most humans would consider healthy.

We Ran an hundreds of #girlmiles and loved every step! Nicole, Lizzie, Aubrey and I.

I had the most adorable coffee dates! Jennie and I love coffee and have been to 36 of the mainland states just for a cup of Joe!

My sisters and I threw out a Cheers for our parents new condo in Florida!

We celebrated Carly and Kyle's Wedding!
We celebrated Kelsey and Brad's engagement!

Thanked Nike for awesome Pegasus and Neon.

Raced with some ladies I love

Placed 2nd at the USATF Club 8k Road Championships, with 3 ladies in the top 10! 

Watched my best friend from High School, Ashton, tie the knot!

Said see you later to a great friend, Andrea, as she left for an incredible job at LSU. 

Turned 30 with Jennie.

Went to visit Carol in Wisconsin.
Both Carol and I took falls that ended in our face looking like this. 

Drove to Minnesota.

Where I watched Nicole get a year older and run 2:37 for 7th place in the USA Championships Marathon and qualify for her 2nd Olympic Trials!

Watched Ryan run his first marathon in 2:30!!

Ryan and I got our first pet, Pegasus the Westiepoo! 

So I would say 2013 was a pretty good year!  While it wasn't perfect thanks largely to my questionable decision making, we made it to 2014 stronger, smarter, and ready to have another great year! I can't wait to see what all is in store!  I hope your 2013 was as full of as much fun as mine was, and I wish you all a fantastic 2014!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Faster Beginnings!

The Cleveland Elite Development group started our 2014 season a little early!  We raced at Kent State to see where our fitness was and to get excited about January and beyond.  Last year at this meet only Aubrey and I raced but this year we had Nicole and Barb there as well.  The day proved to be a good and fun one.   We got to the meet around 11 am to get situated and start our warm ups around 11:20.  Nicole and I were racing the mile!  Being a former miler in college I love this distance!  My goal was to go out around 75 and hopefully be under 5:00 when I crossed the finish line. I was right at 75 high through the 400m and already on my own.  I tried to tell myself that I could still run fast, but when it comes down to it. I am not very good at competing with just myself for the shorter distances.  I won in 5:04, Nicole was 2nd in 5:16.  For me that was 6 seconds faster than 1 year ago. But I was somewhat disappointed.  While we haven't run 5:00 pace for anything over 400m yet this fall/winter, I still thought I would be able to break 5.  Nicole wasn't thrilled with her time either, but she too was alone for he duration of the race, and we both knew it was a step forward from a year ago.

Nicole, Aubs, and I 
After some lunch and a show by Tswift Alexander, we were headed out to warm up again.  I felt terrible on the warm up, but I expected as much.  This time Aubrey and Barb would join us. There was one other gal in the race that I knew would help with the pace this time.  Ari Fisher, a former Toledo athlete with Nicole, and a 16:20 5k gal.  So that made me excited to race.  I hoped to go out around 5:16.  The gun went of and Ari took the lead.  Actually I was probably in 10th for 100m.  Then I got around a group of ladies that were out way too hard and on the back of Ari.  We were running perfect 79's. Just before the mile I got a little too close and clipped her heal.  I apologized and after hearing 5:16, put in a big surge to try and make a break.  I have to admit, the second I did it I thought "what the hell am I doing?  That was way too soon!  I won't be able to maintain this!!!"  So I pressed as hard as I could and ignored the lap counter.  
Just after the break, and about 1300m to go. 
With 1k to go I heard my split was 78, and a former college teammate told me I had a 20 meter lead!  I excitedly continued to push toward the finish.  With 400m to go, I tried to make start a decent kick, but I didn't really have much left.  Again since we haven't run anything over 400m at these paces it was hard to feel strong doing it! I won in 9:53, 27 seconds faster than last year, followed by Nicole in 2nd in 10:08, Ari finished in 10:11.  The best part of the day was the 5th place finisher though!  Aubrey ran 10:19 which is a 10 second lifetime PR!!! Barb finished up in 12:12 and a solid finish for her. 
Aubs, stud of the day, with a 10 sec PR! 
So we had a great start to the upcoming season, and I we are all excited to see where our fitness can go in the upcoming months!  We will be back in action in January although we will be all over the place and not 100% sure where.  Time to get back to training for now! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Meet Pegasus! Our New Puppy!

I LOVE DOGS!!  Ryan and I have been looking at puppies, rescue dogs, big, small short hair, and mostly skinny dogs for quite awhile now.  He isn't gaga over them, but I sure am. I used to have a couple Italian Greyhounds that I absolutely adored.  But I've been empty nesting it, dog less for about 3 years now. So last week we took the plunge and got a sweet lil Westiepoo named Pegasus.  I had chosen her name a few hours prior to picking her up and decided to name her after my 2nd favorite running shoe, the Nike Pegasus.  We picked her and a few things up last Wednesday, including her papers, and much to my delight her fathers name…Nike! I freaked out and yelled across the pet store to Ry.  The lady helping me looked at me like I was crazy, so I explained my excitement.  She just smiled.  I love coincidences so I was pumped. 

At first I had a lot of anxiety over house training and crate training her.  Like the kind that made me feel guilty for leaving the house.  Then during my tempo last Friday, I thought about the things I have given up for running.  The reality is I want to be a good runner, and if this lil angel face pup was going to stress me out so much that I can't live normally.  I wouldn't be able to keep her. So while running my tempo, I told myself if I was too stressed out to do it.  She would have to go.  GOOD NEWS!!! I rocked the tempo and came home to a clean crate with a resting puppy in it!  She has only had one accident in her crate since in the past 4 days and has taken a liking to being an awesome lil gal to train.  While it tests my patience to have to watch and care for something all of the time, it is good for me, and I am actually enjoying it.  Ryan is fantastic with her, and I think he secretly loves her more than he says he does.  Ill make him a dog guy yet! haha!!  

My training is going well and I am only a few days away from racing at the Perry Rotary Turkey Trot!  I can't wait to test my fitness level!  Last week at the track I had a pretty good session of 8x 1k repeats.  They felt hard from the first one, and never really felt settled, but I knew they were making me stronger for the upcoming track season and ultimately for the marathon I choose to run next year!  I was struggling on #7 but managed to only be 1 second off.  Finally on the last one, I knew it would take care of itself.  But for probably the first time I can remember, I was running as hard as I could and the last one didn't!  I was 6 seconds slow!  I really can not remember an interval workout where I couldn't hit the last interval, after making it through the rest of the workout prior.  It was a little weird.  I just looked at Glenn, shrugged, and said "well I guess I only had 7 in me" haha!  As expected the next 2 days I was tired, and kept the runs pretty easy.  Felt great on Friday once I got moving and ran a solid 8 mile tempo starting at 6:15 and cutting down to 5:34.  

I can't wait to get to the starting line on thursday and more excitingly to the start lines of 1 mile and 3k at an indoor meet at Kent Dec. 7th!  I am excited for a couple of races and then to get back to training for 5 weeks prior to my first track 5k of 2014!! 

Sleeping Beauty

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh I Just Can't Get Enough

When I am not running I am usually thinking about running in some form or another. I have planned the vast majority of the last 18 years around easy runs, races, workouts, core, and watching others run.  I work in run specialty as a manager of a shoe store, so my day looks like this most of the time.  Wake up, breakfast, run, work in a running shop, get to talk to others about running, lunch, talk to my co-workers about their running, run again, dinner, hangout with Ryan or my running buddies, and get to bed so I can get up and feel good (or as good as possible) for my next run.

My dreams even look a lot like this some nights!

When I am sitting around doing "nothing" I am usually blogging about running, looking up races, reading coaching material, working on plans for the athletes I coach, reading other running material like race results, season polls, or other runners blogs, and looking over the years of data I have collected.  I have kept a running log since I started running when I was 12, so I can compare my current fitness to the past and I often do.  Some people think it is overkill, too much, and would make them hate running.  But not me it makes me love it more, get more excited about the community I am around as a runner, and excited about upcoming races.  I have a pretty single minded focus on running.

I love having my life filled with running!  I enjoy learning through others running and being a part of other peoples journey toward their goals.  It doesn't matter if they want to run for fitness or become an Olympian, I love it. Yes I am a bit of a dork and the number side of running appeals to me a lot.  I enjoy looking at workouts and hypothesizing what that means for my athletes, friends and my own upcoming races. I even go as far as to secretly write down times I believe people will race and get giddy when I am close!  I love it. I play fantasy track and field with myself, and when I guessed the outcome of the women's MAC meet in 2008 within .5 points for every team (there was a HJ tie I didn't account for) I proudly posted my three pages of calculations on my bedroom door for my roommates to see.  Yep I am a running nerd.  It doesn't overwhelm me, it fans the flame to make me want to do more to see what can happen if you, me, or anyone pushes their limits and gets rid of the doubt and just goes for it.  It makes me want to dream bigger, train harder, recover more effectively (a little less going out wouldn't be a bad decision on my part), and put my nose to the grinding stone daily to see what I am capable of. Our limits as athletes give us chances, and for me chances are the fascination.  Even writing this got me a little excited for my tempo tomorrow! haha! The fact is I JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH!

Ry and I racing this summer.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Just a Few Weeks Until Racing Begins 2013-2014

Things are continuing to go well and I am getting excited about some upcoming races here in the near future.  As my mind drifts to the track day in and day out, I can not wait to lace up my spikes!  I love spikes!  They make me feel quick and ready to go! It is had to believe I haven't had these beauties on since August!
My Favorite spike Victory XC
I wear XC spikes for track, but these are no normal XC spike.  They don't have the standard rubber outsole, and they have a carbon plate for great energy return from all surfaces, yet they don't make me run on my toes quite as much, so my ever complaining Achilles keeps its little mouth shut! Plus who doesn't love purple and pink plaid?  

I will be racing in my flats one more time prior to lacing those bad boys up.  Thanksgiving in Northeast Ohio can be 60 degrees and sunny, well mostly sunny, we only have 51 days of complete sun here a year and the majority of them do not happen after September.  Or it can be 25 degrees and sleeting.  That was the case the last time I ran the Perry Rotary Turkey Trot in 2010.  None the less the course is quite flat and if you want to run fast, it is a great place to give it a go.  Either weather is fine, though I prefer 50 and overcast. I will grace the city of Canton in my spankies and sports bra once again this year and hopefully no one informs me to "put some clothes on".  You see, the last time I raced there my mom yelled that at me…she was joking.  But a good friend of mine didn't know she was my mom and nearly ripped her head off.  It was hilarious!  Thanks for having a good sense of humor about my attire mom! Ryan and Lizzie plan to race too and that will make the day even more fun! I am not sure how fit I am but since things are going well I will hope to run faster than I have there in the past 16:56. So my fingers are crossed! 

Last week's 10 mile tempo went off without a hitch averaging 6:07, and then tuesday's track workout was a little quicker, yet manageable with 12x600@1:56-1:57 so my legs won't be in shock coming though the mile around 5:20. Then its time to be tough, and see what I can do over the last 2 miles! 

After that I will get to lace up those beautiful spikes for a mile and 3k indoors at Kent on December 7th.   That for me is when the fun begins.  I set a goal of breaking 16:00 this year for 5k, and I hope to be seeing 16:teens indoors in order to get me into some bigger track meets during the outdoor season.  Being less than a month away from racing on the track has me feeling like Pavlov's dog when a bell starts ringing. 
Hopefully when we come across the finish line Glenn has a big smile on his face and keeps writing faster workouts to direct us toward our goals!  So over the next few weeks I head out the door, even in the snow I hate, because its almost time to let the fun begin!  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Finally seeing a little fitness!

As the weeks progress since my injury in late August, I am FINALLY starting to feel like my old self!  I had a little Achilles flare up, but only because it was cold out.  After a little TLC and a massage, it is feeling a lot better!  For a few weeks I felt pretty terrible.  My easy runs were fine, but my workouts felt like I was in way over my head.  The times my watch was showing me lead me to a bit of a panic during intervals and I was worried I would be in this awkward sorta fit, but not ready to race phase for longer than I had hoped. But last week's tempo showed up and proved me wrong!  I was able to average under 6:00 pace feeling in control and comfortable!  I was surprised and excited.  My long run went as planned and aside from my achilles being a bit tender was fun and uneventful!

Tuesday track workouts have been a struggle during longer intervals, and running much under 5:35 pace was quite a challenge, so when I saw the workout on Tuesday night, I was a little nervous! 1600@ 5:35, 4x400@80, 1600@5:30, 4x400@80, and 1600@5:25.  But as the workout went I felt great and for the first time in over a month in control of the paces I was asked to hit. Jess and I were even a bit quick for all of them!  It was awesome to feel like things are going back in the right direction!

I plan to race a turkey trot on Thanksgiving morning in Canton, and then it's to the track for a mile and 3k on Dec. 7th!  I am getting excited to see what sort of shape we are really in with some racing!
Relaxing with some pups while visiting Ry's family this weekend.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What A Day In Columbus!

It was a chilly morning in be a spectator!! But my oh my, was it a great day to race!  Nothing gets me more excited, nervous, and on the verge of tears like a marathon!
I have watched Ryan run or joined him for countless miles over the past few months and I believed he was ready to go.  Then again, it is the marathon and so much can happen.  We talked before the race about what I thought he could do.  I gave him what I believed was some pretty solid marathoning advice.  I told him he was in shape to run 5:30 pace, but it would feel easy and he couldn't let himself get carried away and run under 5:30's.  He agreed.

The gun went off and along with a wonderful firework display the streets quickly filled with runners chasing down their goals.  I held back tears and biked to mile one to see the first mile split. I quickly met up with Nicole and Jeffy (Jeff Sigmund), also on bikes to spectate. I was thankful to have them along!  We had 4 people we were really looking to watch, and numerous others to cheer for mixed in there.  Verrelle and Jesse, in the half, Ryan, and Heidi, who was looking for a sub 2:43 and her ticket to the Olympic Trials.  As you may assume they all looked great at the mile.

We watched miles 2 and 3 and still everyone looked awesome.  Then we headed over to mile 8.  While at mile 8 we watched a group of ladies stand in the middle of the road, obstructing the tangent, and despite having an athlete in the lead mens half pack run into one of them, would not get off the road.
Verrelle came through looking good, and on PR pace.  Jesse looked strong and still on pace.  Ryan came through under pace and looking good, but in no mans land, and I wished he was around some other guys.  At this point the ladies still had not moved out of the road, and I can get a little feisty when I am nervous.  I walked over and asked them to move, they informed me I was rude.  I said some choice words that cut to the core of what I believed would get their attention, and they moved. It wasn't my finest moment.  Sometimes the first time I hear the stuff that I am saying is as it comes out of my mouth.  Not pretty. Finally with a clear tangent to run Heidi came through!  She looked like she was on an easy run!  We hopped on our bikes and quickly got to mile 12.

We arrived just in time to see the lead half guys come through.  Shortly there after Verrelle came through and we knew he would be under 1:07!  Jesse was next and he looked tired, but I knew he would still run a respectable race. Ryan came along and he was with Joey, one of his former teammates, and Matt Folk, a good marathoner from ohio. Ryan was still under pace, and this was making me a little nervous.  I started cry/laughing and Nicole assured me that everything would be fine.    Before we knew it Heidi was coming!  She was under pace and looking great!  We cheered and got excited about how well this was going for everyone we were watching!
Heidi making it look easy (photo by Tayler Blake)

Ryan looking good and still enjoying the race! (Photo by Tayler Blake)

We rode along the course and stopped to cheer a few times, then decided to head over to 22.  Ryan came through in 10th place and looked rough.  I would later find out why.  You see he had decided to throw what his coach told him out the window (hehe I am his coach) and just go for it when he felt mile 8.  He started running low 5:20's-mid 5 teens.  It seemed like a good idea, but not anymore.  I left Nicole and Jeffy while trying really hard not to cry.  I was doing a bad job of not crying though.  I get soooo emotional watching others and understanding their pain.  Nicole text me how Heidi was doing and I think I said out loud "Oh my God, hang on Heidi, you are going to do this!".

At mile 24 Ryan was in 12th I followed behind him watching and choking on tears over the next 2 miles.  He stated at 24 that he wanted to walk, his quads were visibly misfiring and I told him no, I don't care how slow you have to run DO NOT WALK!  He hung in there and finished just shy of his goal of breaking 2:30. He ran 2:30:37 and I was a very proud wife and coach!
I rode back to 26 miles and waited to cheer for Heidi.  She looked so tough!  I reminded her to turn those tired legs over, that she was tougher than she thought right now, and she was about to be an Olympic Trials qualifier!

What a day!  Verrelle and Jesse ran well, Ryan got a taste of how fickle the marathon can be, and still ran great, and another one of the ladies I love punched their ticket to the 2016 Olympic Trials!  I felt overwhelmed by how amazing the day went and enjoyed chatting with them both after.

Another inspiring weekend.  I am so proud of all of you!