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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. 

Running, 

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. 
XOXO, 

Becki






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!  



Monday, November 28, 2016

Fueling for Success

Back in June I went for my first test with Insidetracker.  I was nervous and excited, but mostly relived with I saw my results were pretty decent.   I needed some work on my fasting glucose, and my lipids, but I really wanted to see my DHEAS increase, and cortisol levels decrease.  DHEAS is defined by inside tracker as "Dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate, or DHEAS, is a hormone precursor that is synthesized in the adrenal glands from cholesterol. The body uses DHEAS to make different steroid sex hormones, including estradiol and testosterone, as well as other sex steroid precursor molecules. DHEAS levels increase from childhood until age 20-30, then decline steadily with age. Healthy DHEAS levels in women are associated with a healthy immune system, increased energy, better bone and muscle health and good sexual function. Having lower levels of DHEAS throughout life is associated with decreased immunity, poor cardiovascular health, and unstable blood sugar levels."  I took the advice given to me on ways to improve my diet.  All of which were small changes.  To see the changes suggested see my blog post entitled "Getting Stronger From The Inside Out"I was far from perfect in my pursuit of eating "healthy", but I would day 75 percent of the time, I used the recommendations and put effort into eating to better fuel my body, and went back to work to chase down some goals. 


My training ramped up, and about 2-3 weeks after making those small changes, I started to feel quite a bit better.  Racing was going pretty well despite less than ideal conditions.  I wasn't racing very fast, but I was feeling good, and winning. So I was happy with the way things were going.  I won all three Akron Rubber City Race series races. An 8k in June, and the half in August were scorchers.  Over 80 degrees, and just gross.  The final race, the full marathon had better conditions of mid 70's and less sticky.  I felt great from gun to finish line and despite it not being fast, I knew I was very fit. You can see the recap of The Akron Marathon here.  My recovery was very easy, and I felt pretty good with very minimal down time.  The main changes I made to my diet were eating avocado nearly every day on a turkey or chicken sandwich.  Switched from rice or noodles to quinoa.  My snacks were dark chocolate in a scoop of peanut butter, and chia seeds on my yogurt.  It is incredible the difference that small of a change can make!





Since then I have been training for some faster turn over, and working to get my aerobic threshold lowered, and have my sights set on USA 15k in Jacksonville Florida on March 11th.  I have been feeling really good, and seeing very consistent improvements in training.  So on November 18th I had another blood drawl to see where things were. My feeling better was no fluke!  

My test results came back with better lipids, slightly lower glucose, though it could still use work.  A nice jump in my DEAHS levels (15 pts), a small increase in my testosterone levels, optimal inflammation indicators, and a 4 pt decrease in cortisol levels. My ferritin levels have improved, and instead of being just inside the optimal level, they are near the middle, and up almost 60 pts!  They gave more suggestions, and I am going to take them to heart and work toward another step forward in my fueling game! 

I had a bit of a scare seeing my iron (different and much more finicky than ferritin) levels, but after consulting with a dietitian, I am fairly confident those results were skewed by having taken an iron pill before bed and then having my blood test in the morning.   I will test again soon to be sure it is not something that needs further attention. 

A few days following my test, I laced up and raced the Powell Turkey Trot 4 miler.  I felt great, ran 22:29  (5:37 pace), on a rolling course, and won.  I knew fueling my body correctly was a huge part of the movement forward I have had over the past 4 months. 

I look forward to working with Inside Tracker in 2017 to help me reach some ambitious goals. 

Check back on the blog in the next couple of days for my Turkey Trot Recap, and goals for 2017!

Monday, November 14, 2016

My Midwest Holiday Flystyle Guide

I have had a number of friends and family ask for advice on what Oiselle picks are the best for various situations over the past couple weeks.  So I thought a Midwest Flystyle Guide was in order. Here are my top pics for the Fall 2016 season to help get us through a Midwest winter.


 The perfect sweatshirt. It is my single most favorite piece from the Fall 16 line.  It is soft like cream cheese frosting.  While some liken it to butter, I don't want to rub butter all over myself. However, cream cheese frosting?  Now we are talking my language! It has a great lifestyle look to it, perfect with jeans and some sneakers to run errands, but is totally runnable!  I have put mine through a 15 miler and many a workout warm up and cool down.

Perfect post race warmth.

Perfect for my High School HOF induction with a pair of kaki pants.

When it is below 30 degrees, windy and slushy, A.K.A. everyday from December- March in much of the Midwest.  We will be left with two choices; suit up, or DREADMILL.  My go to cold weather outfit will have any runner ready to go on the snowing and blowing days.
Aero Jacket, Moto Tights, Soft Shell Mittens, Lux Earband, and Wazzie Wool Gaiter make up my weatherproof look



Start with any base layer (I prefer a Lux Raglan Long Sleeve or Lux Raglan Short Sleeve and don't forget the Lux Verrazano Bra ), then add an Aero Jacket.  This Jacket is a soft, slightly fitted and just thick enough to really stay warm in wind and even some of the wet stuff. I also love it to wear for XC meets, its flattering, and comfortable through a long day.

Looking for the perfect cold weather tights? My choice is the Moto Tight.  They have a fun color block look with flattering pintucking, to keep me looking snazzy.  Throw in their soft fleece lining to ward off the cold, and they are a perfect combo of fierce and functional. 

Accessories make this outfit!  My favorite glove of the season has to be the Soft Shell Mittens.  When the wind and the snow is coming down. I have to have mittens, no glove will do.  The soft shell mitten is wind and water resistant, and the perfect mitt for any distance in the elements.  The thumb is touchscreen ready so you don't have to worry about any chill getting in! These are a great addition to anyone's toolbox in the midwest!  They are roomie enough to fit a pair of lux gloves in for some added warmth on the really cold days. 
Lux earband- For some reason most hats slide up, and don't keep my ears covered when I am running, so I am an earband girl all the way (maybe I have a big head?)!  Make it in Lux and I want to wear it!  Light enough it doesn't make sounds muffled, and warm enough for even the coldest day.  
Finally finish off this warm, weatherproof look with a Wazzie Wool Gaiter.  This gaiter is clutch on a cold windy day.  Keeps your neck warm and into the wind, just pull it up to keep your face toasty too.  The wazzie wool is breathable, yet strong enough to ward off Jack Frost's best attempt to at your nose! 

The sloppy, too dangerous days will happen, but tackling the treadmill is much more fun in the right gear.  For me a Hi-Ten Bra, and Mac Rogas are the way to go! This "less is more" approach leaves me feeling like I am flying...
Ok, maybe not, but I don't overheat, and feel as comfortable as possible on the hamster wheel.  *Full disclosure- I am a 36 AA bra size so any covering will do.  If you need a little more support check out any of the great bras Oiselle has to offer here

So now you have it, how to stay comfortable in the Midwest from December- March...or April...or May! All that is left to do, is choose which colors you want!  If you ask me, anything in heather shine or oba blue is a safe bet! I am 5'4"tall and weigh 115 lbs I wear size 4, or small in everything described, except bras I am a size 6. If you have any questions, please send them my way in the comments or email me at beckispellman@gmail.com!

Have a safe and runderful winter!