Category Archives: Running

I’m back! With a (Half Marathon/Relay/5k) Recap!

So, yes …yes I know it’s been ENTIRELY too long since my last post. I was still running since last October, but got completely engulfed in work, wedding planning, moving to keep any kind of motivation of my blog. But now, with a renewed sense of “running being” I feel like I’m ready to come back! In the coming weeks I’ll explain all the craziness that has happened (HELLO, MARRIED NOW!?) but for now I REALLY want to bring you a recap of an awesome weekend of running!

May 4th was the annual UPMC Pittsburgh 5k. Brian and I did this race last year as my first EVER road race. This was the race that inspired me to come back this year and run the half marathon! We woke up early at 6am and headed down to PNC Park around 7.

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t remember much of the actual 5k. I was too busy trying to run as slow as possible (We finished in 37 and some change, so mission accomplished) but it was just so much FUN to be running with Brian again. I think we might make this a yearly thing. It was also a great shakeout race for me!

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We left shortly after we were done racing, and it was actually amusing because we walked down one of the closed of bridges that carried the famed “Runner of Steel” banner. I wanted a picture with it, and we weren’t entirely sure if we could walk in the road. We decided to anyways since the barriers were still up, and a cop actually drove down the road. As he passed us, Brian screamed “YES!!!!!” and the cop cycled back asking if everything was alright. We had to shamefully say that we were just happy he hadn’t yelled at us for taking the road. He laughed and congratulated us, then went on his way. Oh his big mouth…..

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The rest of the day I plumped myself up with CARBS CARBS CARBS!!! I ate so much sushi and rice I was also vomiting. I counted on MyFitnessPal and I had around 70% carbs to like everything else, so I must have done something right. With all those carbs coursing through me, I was so ready for bed at 9.

4:45 AM on Sunday the 5th came WAY too early. I didn’t sleep well, taking multiple bathroom breaks and a strange twinge in my back. Needless to say, I was still excited and hurried myself up. I ate maybe a quarter of a plain bagel (not my smartest idea) and a starbucks espresso + cream (my signature pre-long run drank). I was out the door by 5:30 to meet my mom to drive me to the start.

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Since my parents live maybe 5 minutes from downtown it was a piece of cake to be dropped off. I was there by 6:15. I walked to gear check and headed to my corral (D since I was running a relay leg). Oh yeah, that was another thing. A friend of mine’s relay team ironically lost their first leg runner and asked me to pick it up since I was doing the half anyways. Um, of course! All it required me to do was wear another bib, a shoe tag and get another medal and shirt and swag bag. Sign me up! And …hold on, speaking of swag bags ….you must see this;

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RIDICULOUS. For some reason I was signed up for the half TWICE, so they gave me two bags, one for the relay, two bags for the 5k and my charities bag. YEESH!

Anyhoo ….back in the corral. I was FREEZING. I planned on wearing my arm warmers which saved me, but boy was I cold! We didn’t move until around 7:15 when our corral finally lined up at the start.

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Finally we were off. I started off way too quickly, running a 9:18 mile. I kept yelling at myself internally to SLOW DOWN, but I couldn’t! I was too excited, and it ended up biting me in the butt later on. I listened to Marathon by Rush for the first few miles on repeat, it helped me get into a groove, albeit a much faster one than I wanted. I REALLY had to pee, and around mile 3.5 I darted for some open potties. I was in and out and kept on trucking. About the time we were headed over our first bridge was when I started shedding the arm warmers. They came down to look like guantlets at first, and then I eventually got one off. Since my pants had pockets I just stowed them there.

The relay exchange came at mile 5.5. I was so confused and disoriented when I headed into it that I had ZERO idea where my team member was. Thankfully she saw me, handed me my medal and was off. I had to flag a volunteer to help me take off the relay bib on my back and my shoe tag. He was kind of confused as to why until I said I was continuing on. It was a little hiccup, and I ran with the relay bib for a bit since I wasn’t sure if I was gonna pitch it or not. I ended up stuffing it in my pocket. Miles 5.5 to the West End bridge were a huge blur. I don’t remember this section at all except “DAMNIT WHERE IS THE F****** BRIDGE?!” By now my legs were like, WTF Robyn …why you run so fast? Ugh. The lemon lime gatorade was also not helping my spirits.

When we finally got there I said to myself, just run this whole bridge then you can walk ….just this bridge. Well, the bridge turned into running through all of the section of crafton til we got back on East Carson. I was feeling rough, and finally got my other arm warmer off. By now I had eaten half my bag of chews and was feeling OK.

By now we were at about mile 7. I walked at every mile marker from here on out, give or take that and a potty break. I went to the bathroom THREE times during this race. What the heck! Anyways, I will skip ahead to the South Side and the Birmingham bridge where i finally could see the end in sight. For those of you who don’t know, this half marathon ends on a HUGE grade for the 11-12 mile. I have to admit, I walked it. My legs could not handle it. I hadn’t trained well for this race at all and I accepted it. But when I hit that 12th mile marker, I ran. I’m NOT going to walk the last mile!

Running down BLVD of the Allies was thrilling. You kept hearing EVERYONE scream and holler, some heckling saying to run faster, and everything just was going so fast! It was everything I envisioned finishing this race would be. I even got a PR! 2:32:59 🙂 Haha. Had I not gone to the restroom I probably would have been about 2:24, but oh well!

After I was done I grabbed some food and headed to the finishers circle to hook up with the relay team. Found them in the grass napping, and I of course could not pass up the chance to join. All in all, it was an awesome weekend of running …and my legs are certainly feeling it. I’m on the mend, and ready for my next challenge! That challenge is the AKRON MARATHON this September! I have been signed up for two months and my training plan has me starting May 27th. So, here we go onto the next challenge!

All in all, I loved Pittsburgh. I’ll be back next year, hoping to do the full marathon in 2014 🙂 LOVE THIS CITY!

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OKAY, OKAY, I’M BACK!

PLEASE forgive the long absence. I definetly underestimated the toll that moving would take on me! It wasn’t just the move itself, but adjusting to a longer commute, having to do ALL my own chores/errands and getting sick in the process.  I’m all better right now and ready to give you a recap of my running life + real life!!!

Last Saturday was OKTOBERFEST!!!! I drank a half gallon of Penn Brewery Penns Gold and had a grand old time. I love Oktoberfest so much!!!

I did decide to get a Lululemon Define jacket. I fell in love with the color and fit and just had to grab it. It also didn’t hurt that when I sold my Great Race bib I doubled my money (got 40 bucks, only paid 20!). I went straight to my store to pick it up. I love it!

This past Monday the 24th Brian had to work at 6am. I took this opportunity to get up with him and go to the gym to bang out some miles. I did and felt GREAT! I wasn’t even tired the rest of the day and would totally go again at this hour.

Saturday was my next running day but I didn’t take any pictures. It was actually a very impromptu trip. Brian and I decided to go around 7pm that night and I had eaten TONS of spicy food and cheese. My body hated me after that run, but during it I felt OK.

And today after doing mounds of laundry I hit the ‘mill again for three more miles. After the three I hit the balancing ball and did some crunches and planks. My abs hurt.

That’s my second Lululemon jacket, I think it’s called the In Stride. I fell in love with the neck on it because it comes up and covers your mouth and nose when it’s fully zipped, perfect for chilly mornings 🙂 Again, I need to cool it with the Lulu but I sense a very, very bad addiction coming. At least they are good quality I suppose.

This past week was also my pup’s SECOND BIRTHDAY!

I can’t believe he is two years old!!! Craziness.

Anyways, I think I am adjusting to apartment life well. My running right now is sparoadic and with no plan. I have no races planned yet , so I’ve been running on feel and how much I feel I can push myself to that day. I do have the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on my radar (5/5/2013). It’s about a month and a half after our wedding, so I need to map out the training plan and see if it’s doable (I think it will be OK though if I keep my mileage up). They are having a sale on registering on Tuesday of 15 off the standard price of 80 ….tempting!!!!

Hopefully I’ll keep up with this better than I have been, but thank you for being patient!!!

Comparing

Unles you are brand new to my blog, you’ll know I’m not the fastest runner in the world. I can’t run 8s or sub 7 miles, and I barely break a 9:30 on a GOOD day. I read a lot of other running blogs where they constantly bombard me with times I find out of my reach. People running 10 miles in a little over 1:10? YEESH! For a few months I found myself comparing myself to them, wondering ….when will I get that fast? When will I break the 1o minute mile for longer than a four mile run?

I’m here to let you know, DO NOT compare yourself to other runners. It will never end good.

I am guilty of it, hard. I’ve realized that I’ve been doing it, and now I read running blogs for encouragement and motivation to become faster.

Let me start from the beginning of my running journey, when I was on the Couch to 5K. I would dread the runs that I had to run more than 5 minutes. I LOVED the walking portion. As the weeks went on, I wondered how I would ever run 2 miles straight. And then the day came I had to do it, and I did it. I didn’t run it fast, but I DID IT. It was an accomplishment for me.

Then I came home and read my usual blogs, and began to think if it really was such a big deal. I mean, two miles? Big whoop. People are here busting out 10 miles before breakfast! You’d think that I would have stopped comparing myself to others at this point.

Nah.

I began beating myself up. Wondering if it was even such a big deal that I was trying to run a 5K. My parents didn’t really help, either. We are a sarcastic family and when I told them my plans to run one, they just responded “big deal”. Well, it was a big deal to me.

I remember hitting the 3.1 mark for the first time. It was amazing, I was on cloud nine. I couldn’t stop talking about it to Brian, my coworkers, any unfortunate soul who would listen. And then I got back on the blogs.  I ran that first 3.1 in around 37 minutes. Got on the blogs, sub 8s, 7s ….what am I doing, being so slow!!!!

Then one day, I decided to actually read their past posts. Two years before ….their times were much higher. It finally hit my dumb little brain;

People improve over time. Everyone is different.

I am injury prone. I’ve had two stress fractures before, and being on my feet alot for running was a potential problem. I have to take things slow (at least before I did) and I should be OK with that. No need to push myself to 8s or 7s until MY BODY IS READY. What a shock!

I wanted to make a post on this topic because I KNOW a lot of people tend to only talk numbers when they run, and I’m very guilty too. I beat myself up when I don’t run an even 40 minute 4 miles …but I’m beating myself up in a different way. I want to challenge myself and be better than the day before. I don’t worry so much about the numbers in comparison to others. Heck, I ran a half marathon in 2:33:44 (which is about an 11:30 min mile) BUT I RAN A DAMN HALF MARATHON IN THE DAMN POURING RAIN. And I will be DAMNED (how many times can I use this swear?) if anyone takes that pride away from me!

The long and short of it, take the numbers from other blogs at face value. Even if you compare mileage instead of time, take my advice and stop. Those people have trained for a long time to be that fast ….and we are all running for the fact of RUNNING, the enjoyment and therapy we receive from it. Not just digits and data from our Garmin’s. 🙂

The Half Marathon Recap

Miles Today; 13.1

Miles This Week; 18.2

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You may want to sit back, grab a bowl of popcorn and beer, and get comfortable. This is going to be a long and picture heavy post.

This morning I woke up at 6am. Actually, I was awake since 5am but I forced myself to “sleep” until 5:45. I sat on running blogs until 6am when I finally got up. My first order of business was grabbing my coffee. I decided to do some multitasking and drink my espresso in the shower. I know, crazy. I wanted to give the most amount of time between waking up and the race for the coffee to “do it’s thing” ….i.e. clean out the system.

After the quick and actually useless shower, I got ready. I heard thunder as I was getting ready and kind of freaked. I hadn’t planned for rain. Lucky for me though, I had my Solomon jacket. I broke rule number 1 of running and that’s to NOT wear something new on race day. It worked out OK for me but I was a bit worried. I decided on wearing a visor as well, and again, this was a smart decision. I ate a Honey Stinger waffle and was out the door by 6:30.

Pre-soaked, I had no idea what was in store for me this morning.

When I arrived at the mall it was 7am. I was pretty loose actually from doing a bit of “sticking” in the morning, but I decided to take a quick walk around the mall as a test run for the jacket. I actually ended up not using my Spibelt for my gels and instead threw all my gels and phone into the pockets on my jacket. Again, good decision.

It was so dark out, it was almost weird. Before I took my quick walk I made sure to hit up the porta-potties. Again, good decision. This whole post should just be about my good decisions from the day. The lines got SUPER long as it neared 7:45 ….like, I kid you not there were maybe 100-150 people in line. I was super happy I decided to get that out of the way.

I’m not really sure why but I was shocked at the amount of people at this race. I think they said there were around 1500 runners, and for whatever reason I just can’t fathom what that amount of cars looks like. Evidently, it’s this amount.

After my quick walk it was back to my car to sit and warm up a bit. It was a bit windy and sprinkling and I wanted to take in as much heat as I could. As I sat in the car I contemplated not wearing my jacket ….SO glad I did (more on that later).

I lined up at the start around 7:55. The race began a bit after 8, but nothing crazy late. It was actually different that the other races I’ve ran because there was no National Anthem….we just kind of began advancing forward. Weird. But we were off!

The first mile was all down hill. The race begins in the mall parking lot and the first mile leads down to the trail. I tried my best to stay slow going down and not beat my legs up. This part seemed to go by forever though …and when we hit the bottom of the hill I SWORE we had already done 2 miles. Yeah …not even one mile yet.

That’s how the first few miles felt to me. I felt like I was running much faster than I was and that we were farther along than we were. I specifcally remember looking down at my Garmin at the 2nd mile thinking….wait, only 20 minutes? Really?!

After hitting mile 3 was when it finally hit me that I was running a half marathon. Before this I’ve only done a 5k ….I remember thinking “Well, this sucks.”. I didn’t really HATE the fact I was still running, but the fact I still had nine miles to go was not the best thing in the world. Then another thought popped into my mind ….my fueling. I need to drink water with my Clif shots and GU’s, so I had to wait for the first water stop. I didn’t know when it was …but was praying it was soon because I could already feel myself running out of gas.

Mile 4.5 was the first water stop I used. Except, I accidentally grabbed gatorade. Oops? I didn’t want to drink that and my gel, so I just drank the cup and figured the next stop I would take my gel. It was lemon lime gatorade which I ABSOLUTELY HATE, but for some reason it was like nectar of the gods at this point.

Mile 5-6 was when I was feeling really good. After I took my gel around 6.5 I started really chugging along. Getting to mile 7 seemed as if it took forever though. The course is an out and back so you begin to see the elite runners coming back. I kept trying to see where they were coming from and if it was close …but it just kept dragging on and on and on! Finally I hit the turn around and this is where I began to hit the proverbial wall.

My back was KILLING me and it was obviously from bad form. At this point I allowed myself to walk at all water stops and all mile splits. I would stop, stretch a bit and be on my way. Mile 8.5(???) was the next water stop and I actually took two gatorades. Again, the lemon lime tasted supreme. I wanted more!!! Miles 9-10 were painful and I just wanted more than anything to walk and be done.

And then ….it happened.  Torrential downpour.

THIS is why I was happy to have my jacket. The whole race I saw people who had their jackets on prior had ripped them off and thrown them. I kept mine on …I saw the sky, I KNEW something was coming…and it did. At this point I wanted to say “fuck it” and just walk the rest, but I couldn’t let myself do that. I kept thinking “Just a 5k on tired legs, that’s all!!!” It worked until about mile 12.

I kept pace with one other girl for a while who seemed to also be having back issues. She will never know but she got me through the back end of the race. There were puddles inches deep and at points I couldn’t even run on the trail. My jacket was soaked and my socks and shoes were so heavy …yet I kept trudging on.

Mile 12.5 was where I kept thinking HOW am I going to finish. It was only .60 from the finish but I could NOT keep running. I just stared at the ground and counted my steps til the end. Finally, at 2:33:44 , I passed the finish. I actually passed the first pad and walked to the second. I was so out of it ….I grabbed my medal, two gatorades and headed for the bus pick up station.

I was actually so out of it I forgot to get my chip taken off, oops!

I also forgot to shut my garmin off at the end …I actually let it go for the duration of the walk to the bus….oops! But I WAS DONE!!!! The worst part was walking to the busses. While I understand the premise and why it was necessary to walk, IT STILL SUCKED! I Just ran 13.1 miles, I don’t want to walk ANYMORE than I need to !!!! Haha. The bus also didn’t smell wonderful either, but oh well!

Awful, awful AWFUL pacing, but I was just glad none of my miles ever hit 13 minutes. I FELT like I was running 10s after the 6th miles, but boy was I wrong!!!

When we got back to the starting area it was actually kind of dead. That was the sad part of this race is that everyone kind of cleared out since it had been pouring. I actually didn’t even get a picture out there because I was so cold and needed to change. That’s another thing, I was reaaaaaaally hoping for those space blankets (I read from those in the past they don’t give them out so I didn’t hope for much) But boy did we need them today … I was shivering the entire walk to my car!

But I did it! My first half marathon, and while it was tough, I will definetly be doing another one! I just simply cannot imagine a better feeling than crossing that finish line today. On more than one occasion I thought of my celebratory Blue Moon and sushi that was awaiting me.

Icing time, take 1!

Assuming my favorite post-LR position; leg drain on the wall!

Post run foodage …Blue moon and sushi with Miso. MMMMMM!!!!

Jordan also ran a half marathon, he was very sleepy.

And that was my show. I had a great time, will totally be back next year if time permits …Weirdest of all, I can call myself a half marathoner. Hope you all had a great Saturday!

2:33:44

I’ll post a recap once I have fully recovered from the highs, lows, and dried off from a downpour. For now, I finished. I survived….and surprisingly want to run another half.

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I am a half marathoner. What?!