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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

From Chasing Down My Big Sis To Now

I was born into a family that encouraged sports, although I was NOT particularly good at any of them! I had this lovely sister to chase after.

  Liz aka "Peep" and I goofing off and doing our own hair at Mamaw's house in Westerport MD.

Liz was good at everything. She is fast, athletic, and FEARLESS! I mean 2 weeks ago I watched her jump onto her own head 3 times on the trampoline trying to remember how to do an arabian! It was hilarious! Liz is only 10 months older than I am and I wanted to be just like her! But I wasn't. I was scrawny, extremely clumsy, and well if it "made my legs hurt" I was out. But in 7th grade Liz started track and I was eager to be her teammate the following year.

Racing in my MHS jersey just like my Sis!
Thanks to Peep, I found out that I was pretty good at one sport, and ONLY ONE SPORT. At 30 I am confident she would still beat me in anything 300m and under, but I was lucky to have her pushing me! I had a great D2 team around me at Marlington, and good coaches who encouraged us (at 20 miles a week) to be good athletes with room to improve in college!

Marlington's frist State Qualifying 4x800m team in 2002 (Me, Ashton, Coach Dagendardt, Katie, and Jill).
In the fall of 2002 I took my talents to the University of Akron! LOL, just kidding I was probably the least talented person on that team!!! Being a Zip was hard. I had to do long runs, keep up with ladies that were faster than me, and actually fight to be 5-7 on the team. I LOVED being a Zip and while I had many struggles with injuries in college, it shaped me to be able to handle the ups and downs that come with post colligate running.

My frosh year as a baby Zip racing 1500m in the worst yellow uniform ever!

As time passed, I knew that running post colligate was the only thing I really wanted to do. Just kidding, since I was 12 I knew running would always be the only thing I wanted to do! Shortly after college I started working with Matt Woods and he pushed me toward the marathon.

2nd place finish running my first marathon at Austin in 2008. I was pretty excited to get the Olympic Trials 'B' standard running 2:43:44

The Olympic Trials in 2008 came only 2 months after my first marathon. I was pretty banged up going in, but it was an incredible experience.

 2008 Olympic Trials race. I ran 2:53:38 107th place.
In 2008 I would later DNF my first, and hopefully last marathon, at mile 11 with a broken foot. But in 2009 I came back fit and ready to go at USA Championships. Despite puking 5 times over the last 4 miles, I would finish 13th in a PR of 2:40:16. A few less enjoyable marathons, and quite a number of life lessons, I FINALLY raced my hometown marathon in 2011.  I wanted to race well at Akron to give back a little to the people who have supported me though the many ups and downs that had transpired over the few years prior. I was blown away by the support, and the memory of that race is something I pray I never forget.   For a full race recap read my blog entry AkRUN Marathon.

Winning Akron in 2:45:56 on a hilly course, and finishing in front of my hometown crowd made me proud.

Since Akron in 2011 I had quite a few downs before finally having some ups.  In 2012 I finished a disappointing 121st at the Olympic Trials, and 3rd at Akron in my only marathon over 3 hours, 3:00:02 (see blog post Akron Marathon 2012 for a recap).  But through those races I learned that people love me just the same winning or losing.  In 2012 I could not break 17:30 for 5k.  I ran no PR's in regular races in 2012.  Finally in November I began working with Cleveland Elite Development, coached by Glenn Andrews, and since I have run PR's for every distance I have raced 2-5 miles.  I know the best is yet to come.  I look forward to continuing to share that journey with you all!

If you have a topic you would like me to blog about send me a message at or post a comment on here!  Good Luck in all of your upcoming races!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Decisions, decisions.

Once a year, for the past 11 years, the city of Akron refreshes a beautiful blue line through our streets. Beginning on Broadway street near the courthouse, and Inventors Hall of Fame Museum and running downtown past Firestone, through the campus of the University of Akron, into the Cuyahoga National Forest, and back UP (and i mean up!!) to Highland Square, then back Downtown to our Minor League Canal Park Stadium. The city lights up with 15,000 runners, and thousands of spectators. I was a freshman in college and didn't even know how far a marathon was in Akron's first year. But 9 years later I would toe the line for what would be one of my fondest running memories. It was incredible to race and win before my hometown crowd that day. Last year as final preparations were underway the flu and a nagging hamstring injury would take me to the line in tears. How could I let down a city that has done so much for me. So I raced with the knowledge that I would have to work harder for a sub par performance than I have ever raced. The race, left me feeling a bit mangled, and at first heartbroken that I would be unable to excite the stadium in Canal Park the way I had the previous year. But the most amazing part was that NO ONE CARED! Not in a bad way, the people involved in the running community here supported me just the same on a "slow" day as they had on my best.

So when I hurt my knee about a month ago my reaction was panic. Then I remembered the love that everyone has shown and the support through good and bad. At first I did not want to race. But then I realized that I don't have to run a PR EVERY TIME I RACE. So, as I am back running and have a decent level of fitness to work with I have decided to toe the line once again. I am not running the full, I am not going for the Olympic Trials B standard in the half, but I am going to race! I feel pretty blessed to be getting out the door and getting in some miles. Knowing how lucky I am to be able to race that morning is going to allow me to race with excitement. I will do all I can to run to my current fitness level and enjoy the race and the city that I love so much!

My City loves me back! haha! Marathon banners throughout the city.

A picture from 2 years ago. Right about 12 miles!

Good luck to everyone racing! I will be cheering!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Set Backs aren't always a step BACK.

My training has been coming along very nicely. I have had some great workouts, probably the best I have really ever had. And aside from one tempo Nicole nor I could seem to hit, we were stringing things together pretty well and feeling decent doing it. I had my 30th birthday Aug 17th and decided to stay away from crazy nights until after Akron, so I wouldn't risk messing up training by a lack of sleep and simply not taking care of myself. So the following weekend when we went to Columbus for Carly (sister in law) and Kyle's (brother in law) wedding reception, I had on my Sober Sally pants and had a great time! It was fun seeing Carly and Kyle surrounded by the people who love them and seeing them enjoy it so much! We goofed off and laughed a lot with Ryan's family and all in all had a pretty low key yet fun night! Around 1 am and my 10th bottle of water later, I was ready for some sleep. In the middle of the night I woke up to a calf cramp. This is something I haven't experienced in 15 years! No big deal...but then I stood up in the morning. Something behind my knee was popping and not feeling too good with every step. I ran that evening and when I was done I knew one thing. This was a bigger problem than I had thought in the middle of the night!

So I took a day off, went to Ohio Sports Chiropractic, and slept as much as I could stand. My leg felt 100 percent fine on Tuesday. I had a solid track workout and believed it was over. Shew...then I woke up Wednesday morning. Needless to say it has been a battle since. I have spent time on my Elliptigo enjoying the valley and the wonderful weather we have been having (aside from the past 2 days) and wrapping my mind around being injured. I have been able to maintain some semblance of working out thanks again to Ohio Sports Chiropractic and the AlterG treadmill. But I know I have lost some fitness.

At first I was in a rather bad mood, but then I thought back to the injuries I have had in the past. How they have made me more excited for when I do get to run pain free, and more excited to race. It stinks not being able to train the way I expected but I honestly feel like I will come back stronger than before because of the set back.

My best example of coming back stronger is 2009. In January I had pretty bad achilles pain and 3 doctors and 3 months later I was still not able to run. Turns out that on a run I had cut my Achilles area because a zipper on my tights. A bacterial infection had embedded itself in my achilles and when I got a urinary tract infection the medicine took care of the bacteria in my Achilles...what a ridiculous injury! But during those 3 months I was on the elliptical as much as I could stand and 3 weeks after starting back to training I ran 17:05 for 5k (4 second PR), then 17:02, then 10:37 for 2 miles (my first time under 11:00), then a 1 min PR for 4 miles. 4 months later I ran my half marathon PR and 1 month after that I qualified to my 2nd Olympic Trials in the Marathon in a 3 minute PR.

So I am keeping my head up, working hard and praying for the passion I need to allow this "set back" to be a step forward!