50K out. Marathon in.

Turns out I’m running a marathon on October 18th.  Something I distinctly remember saying that I would not do this year.

Months ago I registered for the Blues Cruise 50K after much research.  I scoured photos of the course and read every race recap I could find.  The course was hilly but not technical (per the race website).  And the terrain didn’t look technical in course photos (the leaves on the ground were hiding something).  I’m a terrible technical runner.  I have issues with uneven sidewalks. The Blues Cruise 50K appealed to my clumsy side…and the hills I could handle.

So for 10 weeks I logged lots of slow miles on trails (some technical), ran up and down hills, and got 2 20-mile runs under my belt.  A few Sundays ago I headed out to do a test run on the course itself.  I wanted to see if my hill work was adequate or if I needed to step it up a notch.


bad omen (and I was wearing blue)

Turns out my hill work was adequate and the course is technical (in my opinion)!  I did email the RD to see which portion of the course was the hilliest.  I didn’t really notice the hills too much since I was too busy dancing around tree roots and rocks.

So this picture does not show how technical the course was.  To add some perspective – I could only manage about 11:00 minutes/mile due to all the “dancing”.  Feel free to mock me and my clumsiness.


I drove home defeated and not one bit excited about the race.  I couldn’t imagine running 31 miles of terrain like that.  I do have access to some technical trails but not 20+ miles of them.  I emailed the RD (who was awesome) and found out they did offer refunds.  Score!  Now I could sign up for something else…

I knew another 50K around the same time and location would be unlikely so I settled for the Monster Mash Marathon in Dover, DE.  Local?  Yes.  Good timing?  Yes.  These were my top requirements.  The race had decent reviews on marathonguide.com but it’s the complete opposite of what I have been training for – flat, fast, and on roads.

I am excited though.  This will be my first marathon since December 2012, a few months before I got pregnant (which was oddly also a DE marathon).  Might as well rip off the bandaid and get back at it!  And it will be good prep for a PR/BQ in Spring 2015 (my goal).

I’ll write a whole post devoted to training soon, including the challenges I’m encountering with training post-baby.

Speaking of baby…an unrelated picture of Fiona!


lately and lesson learned

It’s been awhile…almost 2 months to be exact.

The past 2 months have been a whirlwind.  I’m going to do a seperate post on 50K training but first an update on life in general is needed.

I quit my job in early July to become a SAHM, running coach, and (former) barre instructor.  More on that last part later.  I was lucky to have 6 months of child care leave but I knew I wasn’t going back.  I started RTLR Coaching 4 years ago with the goal of devoting more time to it once I had kids.  And I loved staying home with Fiona more than I ever imagined.


In anticipation of leaving my job I decided to pursue any and every opportunity.  Because adjusting to motherhood, coaching runners through a busy Fall racing season, and train for a 50K isn’t enough (this was an actual thought of mine).  One of the opportunities that came up was a barre instructor position at a new studio.  This was perfect – I loved barre and wanted to start teaching classes anyway.  Win-win.

I started training back in April and teaching in June.  What an eye-opening experience…and kudos to all you fitness instructors out there.  A lot of work goes into an hour class (and a lot of work to make it look so seamless and easy).  Between taking barre classes, prepping for classes, making playlists, and getting up to speed in general, I was in way over my head.  WAY over my head.

The pressure to give 100% to everything was physically and mentally draining.  There was so much I wanted to do with coaching but didn’t have the time.  When I was with Fiona, I couldn’t turn off the to-do list in my head and just be present with her.


I finally admitted to Matt last week at dinner that I bit off more than I could chew and something needed to come off my plate.  He agreed (to say I was an anxious basketcase at times is an understatement) and wondered when I was finally going to wave the white flag.  The problem was that I truly enjoyed everything on my plate and, obviously, coaching and Fiona were non-negotiable.

Matt, always the voice of reason, reminded me of why I left my job in the first place:  to stay at home with Fiona and grow my coaching business.  Barre was taking time away from coaching and, to a much lesser extent, Fiona.  It had to go.  It killed me to give up such a wonderful opportunity that I loved.  Had this opportunity popped up before Fiona was born or even when she was a bit older, the timing may have been better.  So I slept on it, ran 20 miles on it, and then resigned.  I do feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off of me but part of me is still sad about it.

IMG_3535unrelated but makes me laugh

Lesson learned?  You can have it all but not at the same time.

ODDyssey Half Marathon Recap

I ran the ODDyssey Half Marathon for the second time on Sunday.  Last year I was 10 weeks pregnant.  This year I’m 5 months postpartum.  Same race but 2 very different experiences.

ODDysseyI love Fiona’s arm rolls

I’ll cut right to the chase – it sucked.  I ran a 1:57:42 – a far cry from my 1:53:08 in March.  And I try not to think too much about how far off it is from my PR.

I have only 1 excuse for my poor performance – utter exhaustion.  In hindsight I should have never attempted to “race” this race.  I should have kept the pace nice and slow – inline with my 50K training.  Matt was away for 2 weeks and came home the day before the race.  I had some babysitting help from my parents and niece but I was still exhausted.  Fiona is a good sleeper but likes an early start to her day (between 4:00 and 5:00AM in the days leading up to the race).  By the time Matt got home I was hurting.

My goal, as with the LOVE Run and Broad Street, was to hide the pace field on my Garmin and run HM effort.  I was struggling right from the start.  I thought it was the heat so I plugged forward.  By mile 5 I wanted to DNF or take a nap under a tree (preferably both).  I couldn’t get over how tired and worn out I felt.  I knew I had to slow my pace in order to finish.  I’d like to say I consciously slowed my pace down but, let’s not kid ourselves, my body shut down at mile 5 and my pace came to a halt.

Splits:  8:18 / 8:12 / 8:09 / 8:13 / 8:52 / 9:23 / 9:00 / 9:05 / 9:18 / 9:18 / 9:16 / 9:01 / 9:23 (hill climb to the finish)

Lesson learned?  I’ll never make it through 50K training (or the 50K) if I don’t make sleep a priority.  I felt like 5 months of not-so-sound sleep finally caught up to me.  Totally caught me off guard too.  If Fiona gets up at 5AM (her wake-up time this week), I need to be in bed (asleep) no later than 9PM.  (And if you’re wondering, that’s her wake-up time regardless of when she goes to bed…6PM or 8PM.)

On the plus side:  my pacing was pretty consistent, I kicked off 50K training, and was able to run a fun race which included a tasty beer at the finish (missed out on that one last year!).






a good year

Happy New Year, folks!

I am thoroughly enjoying my time off and perfecting my “lady who lunches” routine.  Next Wednesday is going to be cruel and painful.

First things first – RTLR turned 2 this week!  For those of you who have been reading from the beginning – (1) kudos, (2) thank you, and (3) you deserve a tall cup of coffee or a stiff drink (your choice).

I wouldn’t be a proper blogger if I didn’t reflect back on 2012 (in terms of running, of course).  If I could sum it up in one word?  WOW.

What could be better than kicking off the year with the Boston Marathon?!   90 degrees or not, it was an amazing ‘experience’ (due to the heat, the B.A.A. refused to call it a race but instead an ‘experience’).

finish_race photo
this picture says it all…

My Christmas ornament from Matt this year…


After Boston, I ran my first “ultra” (50K) and discovered that running on grass isn’t as fun as it was when you were a kid.  But…ultras ARE fun!


After that came a 5K, 2 HMs, and the Rehoboth Beach Marathon – all PRs (thank you, ultra training).  Some were surprise PRs and others (err, RBM) were I-could-have-done-better-PRs.

I also learned some things along the way:  (1) when in a rut, run an ultra and (2) drop waaay back on mileage during drop back weeks.  In the past I don’t think I was cutting my mileage back enough to really absorb the benefits of my training.

Your turn to brag!  Tell me about your best (or favorite) 2012 race or maybe something you learned about running in 2012?

Race Week

6 days until the Rehoboth Beach Marathon!

Tapering is in full swing and my legs are just beginning to get a wee bit antsy.

Operation Stay Healthy is also in full swing.  Matt (who is never sick) has been sick since Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately it’s viral and just needs to run its course.  Knock on wood, I’m still healthy.  Let’s hope it stays that way.

Running RBM sorta came out of left field.  Why RBM?  In a nutshell, timing.  After Philly RnR, I really regretted not registering for the Philly Marathon.  When I tried to upgrade my Philly Half registration to the full, it was already sold out.  Running and racing have been going so well these past 2 months I need to run a marathon.

Other perks of RBM:
– great reviews on marathonguide.com
– flat and fast –> with a rails-to-trails section!
– race day is Saturday – I’m already planning my lazy Sunday
– start time is 7AM
– my hotel is around the corner from the start line –> this may be hands down the best thing ever!  I can stay warm in my hotel room until the very end (and endless use of a clean toilet…but that goes without saying, right?)

I registered for RBM on Halloween…2 days before it became a very popular marathon (after the cancellation of NYCM).  It’s sold out now – both half and full – and I‘m excited for another chance to run with the NYCM refugees.

So that left me with 5 weeks to get my act together with training.  Truthfully my act was pretty much together since, after the Philly RnR in September, I have been quasi-ultra training.  Lots of miles, all slow.

Looking at my training log since January 2012…
Number of 50+ mile weeks = 16
Number of 20+ milers (including races) = 14

I feel good physically and mentally about RBM…despite not knowing exactly what my marathon pace will be.  That’s uncharted territory for this Type A girl.  But that’s exactly what I need. 

But more on goals in another post Winking smile

Do you prefer Saturday or Sunday races?  I love a Saturday race because I don’t like anything looming over my head.  Sunday races suck your entire weekend away. 

Live Greater

It’s race week!

My 50K is Sunday and I’m more excited for this than anything…

payback for a hot Boston Marathon

My legs feel fresh and my mental state is sound with only minor fits of taper crazies.

My list of items to pack is made and I’ve been prepping Matt about what he’ll need to do for 5+ hours.  He’s a lucky guy. 

I’m excited at the prospect of running further than I ever have before.  I feel silly calling it an “ultra” even though it technically is.  In my mind (and from what I’ve heard) real “ultras” are 50-milers and beyond.   

I’m not discounting the toughness of those last 5 miles (more like 5+ miles, since the course historically measures long).  No matter how many marathons I run, I’m constantly humbled by how far 26.2 miles really is.

I have some new inspiration though, something to repeat when the going gets tough…”live greater”. 

I have mentioned numerous times how much I love my college, St. Joseph’s University.  Love may not even be a strong enough word.  Obsessed?

Anyway, SJU launched their “live greater” campaign – during the Olympics no less – and the commercials are brilliant.

I love the title — “When Good Enough Simply Isn’t”

I have never been more proud to be a SJU alum. 

To an outsider the commercial may seem cheesy and a little Brady Bunch-esque but it’s an accurate representation of my 4 years there. 

So now I have the prefect mantra to help propel me during those last 5 miles. 

See you on the other side, folks!

Taper Talk

I thought that once I started to taper for this 50K, I would feel better and relax a bit.  Instead my motivation has hit an all time low. 

Last week was my “peak week” of training and I hit 60 miles.  A good chunk of that was my marathon training run.  After that it looked a little something like this…

26.2 (yeah!) –> 10 (my legs feel great!) –> 6 (my legs feel OK) –> rest day –> 10 (crap, my legs are bricks) –> 7 (I should have stayed in bed) –> and so on…

My legs have felt beat up all week (hello, DOMS).  I’m not surprised; I generally take a week off after running a marathon. 

My motivation is also lacking.  I just don’t feel like running.  Plain and simple. 

We are going away this weekend so I’m scrambling to fit all my runs in this week so I can take Saturday and Sunday as rest days.  That’s rough and I’m just…cranky. 

I’ve also been up way too late watching the Olympics.  I though the Olympics were supposed to motivate?

Speaking of the Olympics, does anyone else think Ryan Lochte is a tool? 


Why is Ryan Seacrest at the Olympics?

Did anyone catch this hurdler’s pre-race routine?  You better win after that!

Ryan Lochte – like or dislike?

A marathon as a training run

This weekend I ran a marathon as a training run.  My last big run to kick off my 3-week taper.

I was a bit giddy at the prospect of running 26.2 as a long run but also dreading it at the same time.  Mother Nature has been relentless with the heat and humidity and I was envisioning a repeat of Boston…without the amazing spectators, ice, and sprinklers.

I treated the marathon as a dress rehearsal for the 50K.  I tested out my sausage casings groove shorts.  I bring a whole new meaning to wicking fabric.

I was completely drenched by mile 10

I stuck to my hilly long run loop of 5 miles.  And around and around I went.  My car doubled as an aid station.

aid station
Shot Bloks and salt – the essentials

My legs were tired at mile 15.

At mile 18, I questioned (1) why I was training for a 50K so soon after Boston and (2) why I chose to do a 50K in August.

I fueled every 4 miles or so.  It was a mix of Shot Bloks, PB crackers, and PB-filled pretzels (my new favorite).  Add in a little salt and over 100 ounces of water, and I felt pretty well hydrated and fueled.  If you include my post-run chocolate milk, I consumed around 1350 calories.  I took care of the 1250 calorie deficit with 4 slices of pizza and some Miller Lite.

I don’t care how many times you run a marathon, 26.2 miles is tough.  It was hot and humid and I felt spent at the end.  I could not run another 5 miles.  Not in that heat.  I kept thinking that if August 19th is a day like today, I won’t finish.

Then I remembered to never, ever listen to the craziness that creeps into your mind after you run a marathon.  You are delusional and not thinking straight.  You say never again and then, 1 week later, start looking for your next marathon.

I did finish…in 4 hours and 28 minutes.  5 minutes faster than my Boston time.  Hooray for heat acclimation.


And, about those crazy thoughts, it sounds like someone is in desperate need of a taper, both mentally and physically.  Thank god it’s here.

Ever say “never, ever again” after crossing the finish line?  I said it after my marathon in 2007 and definitely said it after every 5K. 

22 in 102

So the high today will only be 98 degrees.  When I checked yesterday it said 102.  22 in 102 has a much better ring to it than 22 in 98.  So my title is inaccurate but sounds good.

This morning I ran 22 miles.  I prefer running in hot weather but today was a bit extreme even for me.  I finished in 3:51 (10:30 average pace).

If I were training for a marathon, I would have considered this run an absolute train wreck with all the walking I did.  But 50K training changes all that.  I was on my feet for 3 hours and 51 minutes.  Other than hot-as-hell Boston, I haven’t run that long in awhile which made today’s run the perfect 50K training run.

I gathered all my gear last night since I got up at the crack of dawn today.


Some things to note…a beach towel was 100% necessary.  The little baggie next to my Shot Bloks is table salt.  Today I experimented with potato chips and PB crackers as fuel.

Here’s how fueling went since I’m still trying to figure it all out.

Mile 4 –> 3 Shot Bloks
Mile 8 –> 3 Shot Bloks
Mile 10 –> potato chips.  I wasn’t even hungry but forced these down.  How can something so light and airy feel like complete lead in your stomach?  I’m officially crossing potato chips off my list.
Mile 15 –> 3 Shot Bloks (thankfully, the potato chips were beginning to digest).
Miles 17-18.5 –> PB crackers.  I think we have a winner here.  They didn’t bother my stomach at all.

Add to this a massive amount of Nuun-infused water and salt every couple of miles.  Add in the chocolate milk I drank immediately after my run and I consumed around 1000 calories.  But I burned close to 2200…so I have some eating to do today!

I began the run/walk approach around Mile 10 (yes, it didn’t take long).  I was able to run on a shady trail for miles 17 to 20 and when I reemerged into the sun I felt like a vampire.

It’s entirely possible that I could have weather like this the day of my 50K.  I’m glad I toughed it out and I’m so glad it’s over.

Now it’s time to eat (again)…

Has the heat changed anyone’s running plans this weekend?  Did anyone race?