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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

No BS!

As runners we all know the feeling of needing to use the bathroom at very inopportune times. It happens, we try to mitigate by getting up earlier, drinking and eating appropriate foods at appropriate times, planning bathroom stops into our runs, and making A LOT of shit jokes. Because, shit happens!  I have had issues with "taking a Spellman" as my Akron run family likes to call it, for quite some time in training runs.  Every once in awhile it would happen in a race, but it was usually a fault of my food choices prior. Then a few years ago it started happening more often in races, like in ALL races over 10k. I knew the catalyst was the type of calories I was consuming while running. But I went to a Dr. to make sure.  After many tests, the answer was, your shitting because of the gels. So I sought new gel options, with no success. I quit taking them in training, because every training run was stop, go, stop, go, stop, GO!  I eventually started to rely on Immodium to STOP the shitting. Because I needed fuel. The Immodium upset my stomach, but I wasn't leaving a mess all over the streets, so win...right?  Wrong. I would then feel terrible for 2 days post race with stomach pain and needing to clear out, all I had stopped up. Not shitting, was shitty too.
A rather "shitty" situation finishing 2015 Columbus Marathon

This summer I was super lucky and got to go spend some incredible weekends hanging out with my Oiselle Volee teammates at a few Bird Camps.  After speaking with the ladies in Wisconsin, our conversation turned to the "shitty" side of running, literally. We talked about our woeful GI moments for quite some time. The following morning, during our long run, I suffered from another bought of needing many bathroom breaks after taking my gels. I was in a lot of GI pain for 3-4 hours following the run. We didn't have great cell service, but I told myself I was going to find something different when I got home. I was sick of half of my weekend being spent worrying about shitting, and the other half being spent actually shitting.   So a few days of searching, reading about how XYZ brands were different, only to compare ingredients and feel let down that they were including darn near the same things. I came across Spring Energy.  I read the ingredients and felt excitement!  It was just plain and simple food!!

Here is an example of the ingredients found in Spring Energy Long Haul.

A few days later I had them laid out on my counter for the following mornings tempo.   I had 2 "Long Haul" gels and one "Power Rush" ready to slip into my Koala Clip (a wonderful phone carrier made by a Oiselle Volee, that happens to be awesome for gels too!) and tuck into my stride shorts in the morning.   I took one "Long Haul" during my warm up. It was different than other gels right away. It was a little chunky. But the taste was good. It had a subtle taste of peanut butter, and it wasn't overpowering and went down very easy for me.  40 mins later I had warm up and 4 miles tempo behind me and took another "Long Haul".  To my surprise and sheer excitement 2 miles later I still had not needed to shit!  With 2 miles left of tempo effort,  I took a "Power Rush" this was plum and also somewhat chunky.  The subtle taste was great and again went down easy with no weird after taste!  I arrived back at my house 15 miles later, and couldn't stop talking about how excited I was about this. I haven't used a gel and not shit myself in years, I wouldn't have dreamed of taking 3 gels on a run that was shorter than a marathon.  I could hardly contain my excitement.  I had a 28 mile day on tap later that week and I knew that would be the real test. Well you can guess what happened since I am writing this post. I took a total of 3 "Long Hauls", 2 "Power Rush", and 1 "Hill Aid", and 2 "McRaecovery"  during the duration of 28 miles and recovering between and after.   I never had an GI issues. That right there is no BS!  100% no bull shit, as a matter of fact, no out of place shit at all! I could hardly contain my excitement and after a few conversations, I was honored to announce I would be an ambassador for the Spring Energy Brand.

Spring Energy nutrition is different. The "flavors" (which are just the flavor of the food that is in each gel) each have a specific purpose. Unlike most gel brands where you choose any flavor option, and get the same gel with different flavoring and coloring added, Spring Energy gels are real food specifically designed for times and circumstances within race and training settings.  There are different needs for different demands and Spring Energy's gels are designed to meet them. Below you will find a diagram explaining!

I have been asked what I like, and what is my favorite flavor.  In all honesty I like the taste of all of the products. In particular, I love the taste of the Mango "Hill Aid", and I think the "Electroride" drink is addicting. I love it. But what I really love is the food itself. It is just food, plain and simple.  I believe this is what I had been searching for.  If you are looking for a brand that makes nutrition that is food, or won't mess up your GI tract I strongly suggest giving Spring Nutrition a shot. If you are struggling through trying to figure out what will work for your in your upcoming races, grab a variety pack, and I believe you won't regret it.  It has been awesome for me, and I am so thrilled to be a part of the #springtribe! You can use code "BeckiS" for 10% off your purchase!  If you have any questions is full of videos and information, or you can email me at

Follow along for race updates as I run the half at the Akron Marathon on September 23rd,  followed by the Columbus Marathon on October 15th! I am excited to race, and watch all my teammates and friends tackle their fall goals over the next few months! 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Summer Recap

Woah!  Where did summer go?  The past few months have been a whirlwind of miles, vacation, mom's surgery, more miles, Bird Camp, laughter, miles, Bird Camp, Bird Camp, all the miles, all the smiles, all the tears, Sam's liver surgery, and you guessed it...more miles! Running hit a speed bump mid August with some knee pain and a huge emotional let down. While there was a lull in my parents health issues.  I sighed, and couldn't wake back up! My mind felt like total mush and I fretted I wouldn't be able to pull things together in time for a fall marathon.  So I gave myself some mental health days.  I took two days off, ran for sanity, and then took another day off. I gave myself a month to see if things would turn around, and if they did I planned to continue to channel my fall goals toward the Columbus Marathon on October 15th.  It only took 2 weeks to feel confident again.  After a 22 miler with miles 7-18 averaging 6:07, I stopped worrying about my fitness, and began to build the mental focus I will need to achieve my goal of qualifying for a fourth Olympic Trials Marathon in Columbus.  I have 6 weeks of training until Columbus!  Here is a photo recap of summer!

Spellman Family vacation with photos early 2000's style. 

Volee Meet Ups! 

The Spelltwins turned 3! 

DMV Bird Camp was a blast!

Prediction run at DMV Bird Camp!

Corra raced 400m and said "Mommy, that made me so happy" in response to the Hilliard Davidson gals cheering for her. Cue all the happiness my heart could hold. 

Pre-race fun! Nolan doesn't like bib numbers! 

Michigan Bird Camp wins for most beautiful run of the summer! Yes I am talking about the scenery, not just all the incredible women! 

I met a Birthday Twin, and laugh-cried with joy! 

Treier wedding

Haley was a stunning bride! 

The 22 mile workout that returned some of my confidence for my fall goals! Thank you Kelsi, and Ben for all the miles, and Ry for all the water!

Great Lakes Bird Camp Wisconsin seeing old friends! 

And making new!  
It was a fun, challenging, and incredible summer! Meeting so many teammates and getting to follow along and cheer for them on their journey is always incredible, and very fulfilling to me.  I love the support they give me as well! Thank you ladies for your kindness, love and strength.  I look forward to seeing you all in 2018!  My mom's mass was benign and her recovery has gone very well.  My step Dad is currently  in the hospital recovering from a successful liver surgery, and we hope to see him healthy soon! For now it is time to gain a few more weeks of fitness prior to taking on the Akron 1/2 marathon on Sept. 23rd, and my goal race of Columbus on Oct. 15th.  Closing out the summer, and looking forward to a fast fall.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Columbus 10k and Training Recap

Summer is starting to warm up, and I am finally feeling normal getting back to some more mileage and thinking about big races.

Training Recap

Two weeks ago, May 22-28, I was still feeling the struggle of getting back into things and the lag and general fatigue that follows.   The week went well with 70 miles covered including a 14 mile long run, a track session with 3200, 4x400, 1600, and 4x400 that I struggled to hit the times on but knew plugging away was the right answer, and a tempo that was very very hard of 3x3 miles.    I always hate weeks of 70 miles.  In general they are ramping up, or coming down weeks and they usually feel pretty bad. This week was no different. The struggle felt very real.

Last week May 29-June 4  I covered 72 miles feeling much better than the week prior. My track session was still somewhat a grind vs. a strong feeling session, but the intervals were shorter and I was running faster. The workout was 400, 1600, 2x1k, 4x300 and 4x100.   My long run/tempo were squished into one 16 miler on Sunday as a race.

Columbus 10k recap

Columbus 10k always puts on a great event.  Back in the years when it started late in the morning, and it was way too hot, it was still great.  The more recent 8 am start makes the event more fun and enjoyable for all of us!  Thank you Cbus10k and Hoka One One for a great event!   Race morning came and it was nice and cool out. Upper 60's and not too humid. Stark contrast to the days prior watching the state meet and my mind drifting every once in awhile to my own race, and hoping for a cooler morning.  The morning did not disappoint and we were given great running weather this time of year!  Warm up went by uneventfully and I chatted with Samantha Bluske prior to the start.  I wanted to go out around 5:40 and be able to work from there. I went out a little quick 5:29, and settled down a bit.  I tucked in with a group of guys around and was thankful to have people to work with.  I was leading the race, but not really sure where any of the women were. 5:40's for the next 2 miles felt good, and I was happy to be on goal pace and feeling no pain.  I was worried after the half in April that my achilles could be a problem, but nothing!  A Oiselle teammate and her family were around 3-3.5 miles cheering and making me smile!  Cowbell corner is always such a lift!
Happy to be racing healthy! I can't help but smile at a Cowbell Corner!

Sometime after the fourth mile things really started to get hard, and the wheels seemed to fall off pretty quick.  I was still trying to fight for it when Sam passed me.  I tried to go with her, but it was short lived. Sammie and Emma both passed shortly prior to the 5 mile marker.  I believe this was a place I made a big mistake.  I should have immediately gone with them and done all I could to not allow a gap to be created.  Instead I settled for a minute and I couldn't make up the ground I had given away.  I should know better than to let these things happen.  None the less the mistake was made.  I finished 4th in 35:47 my fastest 10k in 7 years (I had to look this one up, I race 10k maybe once a year)!  While I was irritated at my racing mistake, I feel very happy with where my fitness is, and where it is going!  A very good step forward this weekend, and a lesson remembered; yes, I have made this mistake before.  

I came away from the weekend, knowing my fitness is coming along, and I am closer than I have been in a very long time to seeing some big races soon! I have a long way to go to Columbus in 19 weeks.  I am feeling excited to tackle the coming months, and see what I am capable of!  I am looking forward to some upcoming races along the way.  On June 17th I will be in Duluth to race the Garry Bjorklund 1/2!  I look forward to testing myself in Duluth and over the coming months of marathon training!  Thank you all for the cheers along the way.  On the great days it lifts me up a little more, and on the tough ones it gives me the inspiration I need to keep chasing!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

2017 Spring Update

I have been struggling to get a blog out, and for most of 2017 I have felt stuck.  But with a new goal, comes new passion, and all the exciting feelings.  Shortly after my last blog, my Step Dad was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, and I couldn't seem to find anything to say aside from it was hard to accept, and I felt sadness.  Between back and forth trips to Mom and Sam's(my Step Dad) home things were going well, and training was coming along.   Sam started chemo, and seeing him tolerate it well helped me to feel hope.
Poppa Sam and Corra swinging.

During this time running was a really nice outlet for me to clear my head and feel normal when things felt uncertain.  The next thing I knew I was having some of the best workouts I have had in a very long time.  I began to dream of fast times and a PR at USATF 1/2 marathon championships on April 29th.  On April 21 Ryan and I ran a local 5k in support of on of our neighbors and local schools.  Things went really well and my feeling that my fitness was on was solidified.  I finished 18 seconds under my prior road PR and felt pretty strong doing it.  Ryan won and pulled me along to second.
Look at those smiles!

Eight days later I felt really excited about my chance at a PR even in less than ideal weather.  I knew I was ready to go.  I enjoyed some coffee with Anna Weber the day before and we encouraged each other to chase our goals fearlessly the following morning.  I went to bed knowing I was less than 1 hour 16 mins of hard work away from the PR I had been chasing for nearly eight years.

The gun went of, and Andie Cozzerelli and I came through the mile together in 5:41.  I felt comfortable and we went through the next 2 miles in a similar pace. Suddenly, my left achilles felt very weird.  I backed off a bit and tried to adjust thinking maybe I was running a bit too fast, and a small adjustment would go a long way.  I had no sign of anything wrong at all in training so I was really surprised when it happened.  Even more surprising was when the pain kept increasing.  I tried running 6:00 pace, I tried doing a hard stride, nothing was changing it.  For 3 miles I tried to fix whatever issue had popped up.  No luck.  I ran back to the hotel with Ali Morgan.

Turns out I had a nerve entrapment and after about 10 days off and some dry needling, I finally was feeling pain free and ready to run. I have started back slowly at 50 miles and have worked back up to 70 this week and some workouts.

This weekend marks 20 weeks to the Columbus Marathon and I have good base fitness and ample time to prepare this summer/fall.

Follow my blog to get weekly training and racing updates between now and the Columbus Marathon on Oct 15th!  I have a number of races coming up starting with Columbus 10k on June 4th and Garry Bjorklund 1/2 on June 17th!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Unconditional #RUNLOVE

It is fitting that my very first pinterest board I created, a long long time ago was named "Run Love", full of fast horses, motivational quotes, pictures of our super stars like Shalane, Kara, Kate, and Joanie.  Running and I don't have a complicated relationship like many describe.  Running and I truly have something that over the past 21 years has been unconditional.  

In 1996 I started running, and quickly feel head over heals for the sport.  As a kid I was always told I was smart, I excelled in the classroom and was somewhat proud of it. But I didn't have to work very hard to get an A.  I had to pay attention, and there it was.  Otherwise the common words I heard that were used to describe me were "obnoxious", "loud", and "bossy".  While it didn't change the way I chose to take on the world, they weren't exactly uplifting or kind words to define oneself. When I started running I wanted to be a 200m runner, but quickly was moved to the mile after running 6:14 in gym class.  I won one race, and I was hooked.  As running took over my life, and I poured my heart into the sport I began to hear new words used to describe me. Instead of "bossy", and "loud",  I was now referred to as a "leader".  Instead of "obnoxious", and "has too much energy", I heard "fast", and "has potential", and "tough". Yep I could get my team warmed up, and ready to go before practice, or a meet.  I felt pride in this leadership role.  It gave me more and more confidence, with each passing day of helping to lead my team.  I felt that running was my domain. A sanctuary of sorts where I was able to define myself in a bright new way.  I believed I was fast, and I knew I was tough. If I was beat in a race, it pissed me off.  So running quickly taught me to work hard, and be disciplined in a darn near religious way. I loved running with every ounce of my being, and I knew it loved me back. 
Racing for the Marlington Dukes in High School

Through the years it hasn't always been easy.  I have broken my foot four times, partially torn both my achilles and my hip flexor, hurt my sacrum, and had a hamstring issue that lasted 3 years, and just flat out had years I could not race well to save my life. But none of those things were running's fault. I overtrained, wore inappropriate footwear, didn't sleep enough, and treated my body like a trash can. I never felt that running let me down. I felt I had let it down.  But sure enough when I healed, it was there waiting for me, filling my heart with all the flutters, bringing tears to my eyes, showing me the same love it did years and years prior. 

2008 Olympic Trials

Running has given me incredible friendships, the chance to see incredible places, and most importantly the opportunity to reach out and be a meaningful part of peoples lives.  For those things I could never be more thankful.  Looking back on the past 21 years that running and I have shared together, and all of the amazing, hard, fun, challenging, heartbreaking, and freeing experiences it has given me, brings me 
such joy.  My life would look totally different if it were not for the amazing #RUNLOVE I was so lucky to find. 

Best Friend from High School--XC Teammate

College Teammates, University of Akron

The best training partner and friend a gal could ask for Nicole Camp.

My fun, weird, and goofy Cleveland Elite Development Teammates.

Heidi Greewood, my #runlovechallenge partner of 2016.

 Oiselle teammates at the 2017 Olympic Trials

The list of incredible people who are and have been a part of my life thanks to running would go on, and on. So to me #runlove is the unconditional love that I have for this sport that has shaped my life, and given me more than I could ever give back. 


I love you. Thank you for embracing my weird, quirky, outgoing, loud, obnoxious, and high energy personality and giving me a place to comfortably be me, and feel at home in my own skin.  Thank you for being you. 


Monday, January 30, 2017

Austin 3M recap

Austin 3M Half Marathon has been a race I wanted to do for a number of years, after kicking off my marathon career there I always wanted to return and race the downhill half I had heard so much about.  So when the opportunity showed up, I got on the plane, and couldn't wait for the race.

My VolĂ©e teammates picked me up from the airport, bought my dinner, gave me a place to stay, made me coffee, drove me to a run in the morning, laughed with me, watched me tear up at the inauguration, drove me all over for all my needs, cow belled their knuckles off, shared lunch with me, and got me back to the Airport.   Talk about southern hospitality...the Lone Star Bird have it coming out their ears!  I felt so welcomed, and supported every minute I was there!  Thank you ladies for putting up with my needy race week self, and loving me none the less! You are exactly what Oiselle envisioned when they put together a team of women uplifting one another! 

Race morning showed up, and we had 30 MPH winds with some stronger gusts, but otherwise perfect weather.   3 miles into the race when we turned into the wind, I pushed back, but eased off the gas a bit to follow the race plan. Two miles later, after a couple more bouts with the wind, and being alone, I gave up on the race, and let the wind break me.  I recalled my time goal for this race. Broken.  I had already given up knowing I wanted to be there to run a fast time, and I boohooed my way through 8 miles at a moderate pace. I finished in 1:20:10 in 4th place. I shook my head in irritation with myself. How could I be so near sighted?! Why did I come all this way, and allow all of these people to do so much to help me just to throw in the towel because of the wind?
I started to beat myself up. I jogged a bit to clear my head. While I was jogging I remembered what I wanted to let go of this year.  Negativity- to choose to view life from a more positive perspective, celebrate the great, and GROW FROM THE CHALLENGES.   Being realistic when I wrote that I was really thinking about the celebrating the great part...who knew I would be faced with the second half so quickly! But I choose right then to drop the negative attitude, and take the time to note how I felt, and the number of things I could have done differently to position myself for a more favorable outcome the next time I am faced with unfavorable conditions. To remember this feeling and remind myself of my goal to race with no regrets in the future. 

So instead of writing about my PR's and blazing fast splits, I will tell you what I learned and want to be able to take with me from this next race. 

For me, rigidity leads to discontentment.  I couldnt see the forrest for the trees, until the race was over.  Then I realized I missed an opportunity because of my rigid goals. 

Missing the goal isn't the only thing that happened on the day.  I got to be a part of something much bigger than myself.  Being a part of the Oiselle family is such a supportive and loving experience, and racing to my ability level is a way to show my love back.  I will be thinking of the passion this team has, and use it as fuel in the future.

Thank you Lone Star Birds for reminding me to smile! The love you showed was incredible! 

We all make mistakes, in life, in races, in our job, in many things, but using those mistakes to grow allows us to become stronger, and more brave.  I made mistakes in this race, and will use them to grow as I chase my goals through 2017!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 Recap, 2017 Goals

Closing out at year always has a fun new start feeling for me. I love getting to start fresh, and feel like I have a blank canvas looking into a new year.  I also enjoy looking back on a year past, see where we have come, and then think about where we hope to go.

2016 was a bit of a weird year for me as an athlete.  It started off great with a good step forward in the Jax bank 1/2 and a sign that I was going in the right direction heading into the Olympic Trials. I felt that I was in PR shape, and ready to roll.  I did a 16 mile simulation run, and had a very weird feeling. I told Ryan, I don't know why, but I just feel like that was my race.  It was too easy, it went by too effortlessly and that workout in the past had been a real grinder.  Three days later I would have very bad back pain that would allow me to hobble through the Trials in 3:11, and keep from training again until May. Throughout all of the time I was injured the Oiselle team was so supportive, and encouraging.  What a great place to lay your running head! In the arms of people who are proud of you even when things don't go to plan.
It felt like an eternity to cover the miles to get this medal. But I knew I was stronger for it.
Our family had a fun filled beach vacation, and the kids loved it this time! It was a great trip!

Once we got home it was time to get ready for the Akron Marathon. July and August were filled with a lot of running, and some very slow races as each race was run in over 80 degrees and high dew point.
Somehow I managed to win these races, and keep plugging away with goals for September's Akron Marathon.  I trained my butt off. It was a strength cycle for sure, seeing over 100 miles a week a number of times, and doing my longest day of 28 miles under 6:30 pace.  I rarely saw any work under 5:55 pace. Just loads of miles and a lot of time on my feet. Oh and thousands of core reps. THOUSANDS!!! Have I mentioned how much core I did!  All to get back to pre baby healthy, and stay strong enough to manage the demand of running and staying healthy!  And it worked!
It was a hot, and muggy training cycle, but worth every drop of sweat.
Three weeks prior to Akron I flew to Minnesota for Bird Camp. WHAT A WEEKEND!  Showing up to a camp with 30 strangers, and feeling like you have 29 new best friends 3 days later?!?!  The women who make up the Oiselle Volee are unlike any other.  They are kind, selfless, and supportive.  I flew home with love in my heart, and a huge group of ladies to support and feel supported by! 
I love you gals, and hope our paths cross soon! 

Finally race day in Akron came and went, and while the very challenging course, and 70+ degrees again yielded a much slower time than I would have liked, it was thrilling to win my hometown race for the second time.  
A feeling I won't soon forget. 
After Akron, I was back to training, and chasing down some leg speed.  After 4 marathons in 1.5 years I wanted to pretend like I was a 5,000m runner for awhile. So I did.  From mid October straight through Dec 31. I trained like I was planning to race 5k or 10k.  My legs feel fresh again.  I feel full of passion and love for the sport, and can not wait to chase some big goals in 2017! 

I am running under Steph Bruce Rothstein now, and really excited to see what we can do together! I think we can make a good match for training!  My goals for 2017 are big, and scary, but I am excited to chase after them.  For now they look like this: 
Austin 3M Jan 22nd- Run a new 1/2 marathon PR (under 1:16).  Race tough, and give myself a chance to run a PR. Don't be afraid of "failure" because it isn't real, and this false sense of reality has never made me stronger, nor faster. 

USA 15k March 11th-Put myself out there and in position for a top 10-15 spot, and roll with the punches. Bring home a new PR (under 53:00) and a strong race, full of begin fearless (not stupid, I will use my intelligence as well, but know I gave myself every chance to race well here). 

USA 1/2 Marathon April 29th- Pretty much the same as USA 15k.  Stick my nose out there and come away stronger!

USA 25k May 13th- Run under 90 mins and be in the top 10. 

Bjorklund 1/2 June 17th- Run under 1:15. 

Fall Marathon-  Qualify to the 2020 Olympic Trials. Put myself in a position to race fast, and come home with a new PR 2:36-2:38 sounds nice! 

So there you have it!  I have a lot of work to do to make them reality, but I have never been one to shy away from working hard to reach a goal. I have hope in my heart, and a passion for this sport and the people who make it so great. I can not wait to chase down some goals, and watch others accomplish theirs along the way!   Good bye 2016!  Cheers to a brighter, stronger, and faster 2017!