Chicago Marathon – Running for Team RMHC

I’m not running the Chicago Marathon this year (*sniff*), but if I was going to do it (I’m not gonna lie — I’m SO TEMPTED!) I would without a single doubt run for Ronald McDonald House Charities once again.

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Why Team RMHC?

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Because the obvious – why not? I’ll give you a few reasons:

* The money you raise goes where you want it to go. It’s not spend on someone’s salary or unnecessary costs – it’s spent on the millions of families that RMHC supports.

* They are organized, supportive, and foster an amazing community always willing to provide support, offer motivation, and are a wealth of knowledge for race day. They have an amazing Facebook group where perfect strangers cheer each other on daily.

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*They offer free virtual training and (at least they did last year) paid for my bib.

* They treat YOU and your family like rockstars. They literally roll out the red carpet when you finish – and you get a high-five from Ronald McDonald, himself. They fed me AND my family twice (and my kids can eat A LOT) — and the after party was just amazing.

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* You are never alone. I got cheers from endless runners and supporters during last year’s marathon and I always knew a teammate was close by. Maybe it was the adrenaline high, but this was by fast my favorite part of the entire race weekend and something I’ll never forget.

 

So happy I met Angie through RMHC!

In all honesty, I would run for this charity without all of the perks because ultimately it was run by great people doing amazing things. The intrinsic motivation alone and knowing that I was raising money to help a family JUST LIKE MINE helped me wake up at 4am to get my booty out the door.

Why am I telling you this?

Because as of today, registration for Team RMHC for the Chicago Marathon is open — and last year I searched for a post like this to tell me I was making the right decision and picking the right charity (short answer: YES!).

Is it killing me a little that I’m not signing up? Yes. Will I be back, eventually (hopefully in 2016). YOU KNOW IT. I loved every minute (or most minutes – maybe not mile 24) of the Chicago Marathon – and I cannot wait to get back to that city and run again (running endorphins are strong yo!). And also, I’m super excited about hang out with Ronald again…

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Please, please, PLEASE let me know if you signed up to run for Team RMHC – I would love to donate.

<3

It’s Hard To Get Faster… When You Don’t Run

Ugh.

Remember when I proclaimed my big, bad, 1:50 half marathon PR dream?

This is how I’m feeling about it right now…

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Yeah, my training is going well.

I could offer you a million excuses (and there are TONS) – but I’m calling bullshit on all of them. Yes, I am EXTREMELY busy at work, superbly busy at home, and it’s cold season (I am about to rip my sinuses out of my face), but I’ve trained in similar circumstances with great results. I think it just comes down to this… I’m burned out.

And I’ll say it, as hard as it is to say, I’m not really into running right now. Which is kind of a bummer because this is best time of year to be into running! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???

Instead, I’m really enjoying short(er), intense workouts — especially kettlebells. I’m also enjoying sitting on the couch drinking wine. I heard that’s the new workout?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still running – but it’s maybe three times a week (max) or maybe just once a week (more likely) and it’s never fast like it should be to obtain these dream PRs.

I’m actually trying to figure out why these PR thoughts even came out of my brain in the first place?

And guess what? There’s a secret to ALLLLLLL of this…. If I want to run faster — you know what I NEED to do?? Well, for starters I actually need to run – but I also need to push myself to run FASTER. I know. The logic is so shocking.

Then there’s this…

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Probably not happening any time soon.

So in summary these are the things currently going on in my life right now:

  • I’m a whining like a little bitch,
  • I’m tired
  • I’m slightly stressed
  • I’m always worrying
  • I’m possibly attempting my own medical procedure to rip my sinuses out of my face
  • I’m putting my PR dream is on hold right now

I’m still running Best Damn Race at the end of the month, but the pressure is off to be awesome. It’s totally ON to be mediocre. I feel like I need to get my ducks in a row, or my panties out of their bunch, or something productive like that.

Speaking of productive, I AM growing my bangs out, so that’s something…. right?

ZOOMA Florida – 12K Recap

This is the third year I  have been lucky enough to be a race Ambassador for ZOOMA.

The first year, I was pregnant and uncomfortable — oh, and ran my slowest race ever.

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But look how adorable my hair looked! And those boobs!

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The second year, I ended up having to skip out at the last minute because Dan had to work. Lame.

And this year, I finally got my shit together and actually finished in time for the group photo.

Seriously, this was a group of some really amazing ladies – not that you can see any of their faces in this picture.

I left work “early” on Friday (I was supposed to leave at 2 and I’m lucky that I left by 3:30) and drove up to Jacksonville to pick up Devon. We were shacking up for the night, so we decided that it would a good game plan to avoid any added costs and to drive together to Amelia Island. Traffic was a little hairy leaving Orlando (as always), but it was smooth sailing once I got past Daytona Beach — until I hit downtown Jax. Oh, that was fun. We were SUPPOSED to be there 6 to enough a champagne cocktail hour hosted by Feetures, but we didn’t end up arriving until closer to 7.  Oops.

We immediately (and painlessly) picked up our bibs…

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After a little freshening up, headed to the Mocktail hour that we were hosting – along with the rest of our ambassadors.

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Ok – this one is better — meet Devon, Sharon, Mary Beth, Kristen, Char, Meghan, and Jenn.

After the event, Devon and I were STARVING (seriously, I ate a sleeve of crackers for lunch because I didn’t have time for anything else) so we ate at the world’s most expensive sports bar and ate $18 hamburgers (and fries). Only at the Ritz.

At they also gave us the world’s cutest condiments, so I guess it was worth it?

After the most hilarious dinner (and a few beers), we stocked up on “breakfast food” (Devon and I BOTH forgot to bring our traditional pre-race Clif Bars because we are apparently special) and then headed to bed. Yes, bed. Even thought I requested a Double room, we ended up with a King bed. Nothing like sleeping together on the first date.

The next day we were up and at ‘em at 6:15 — which is really late for a race, but was still painful. We were in the lobby by 6:50, which still felt really early.

Kristen kindly volunteered to drive us to the start, so we skipped the buses. Now, I took a bus my first year and it was great — but traveling together in a car? That was so much better.

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About 10 minutes before the race started we finally all got out of the car and headed over to the start (a mere 100 feet away #roughlife). It was probably hovering between 40-45 degrees (maybe even colder with the wind), so at that point I was ready to start.

For some reason, I thought I would need to run in my jacket the whole time — which in retrospect was dumb, but I went with it and I regretted it when I was super hot at mile 5. Sometimes you never learn.

Char (my new Orlando friend!) and I pushed our way up closer to the front as we were hoping to run fast. I was aiming for 1:05 12K. Ha. If I had continued at the same pace I ran the first mile – it would have been obtainable, but yeah, that didn’t happen. I also haven’t run much lately (that’s now changing!), so that was pretty much a pipe dream.

So onto the course itself! It was different than the half in that it cut out all of the Fort Clinch State Park. Instead you run up (and up) a road towards AIA for about 2 miles – and then run the same last 5ish miles of the half marathon – including the beach finish, which is pretty much my least favorite part (but at least the views are pretty).

I ended up finishing in 1:09:03 — to an instant PR! Admittedly, I’m not psyched about the overall pace (9:12ish), but it just gives me room to build my endurance again — and hopefully quickly.

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All in all, this race was very much like the last time I ran it. Small, well organized, and fun. There were less aid stations than I’m used to on a course, but it didn’t necessarily bother me as I wasn’t doing the half marathon (the best decision I could ever make!).

As far as the after party went — it was definitely one of my favorites! First off there was wine. So much wine.

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Then, there was an amazing band and party atmosphere.

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It’s shocking that the views from the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island are just soooooo ugly, right? Just kidding. I want to live there.

And lastly – subs from Publix (at least they tasted like Publix subs).

How can you go wrong?

It was a teeeeeeny bit chilly (especially after the race where my sweaty jacket turned into a natural air conditioner) — AND I had to minimize the wine consumption so that I could drive back home — but those are minor complaints. I mean, I got to hang out with a bunch of awesome women, drink bubbly, and wrap myself in a tablecloth for warmth, how is that not winning?

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I will say that the WORST part of the entire weekend was not being able to share it with two of my favorite runners — Paula and Tyler. Those two need to get their act together next year – because I plan on coming back.

I’m Alive! 2014 Space Coast Marathon Recap and Other Ramblings

Hey there – remember me?? I’m still alive! Barely. Life has been insane — between endless events, the holidays, and being busy beyond belief at work, blogging has obviously taken a backseat. I thought about quitting this blog about 20 times, but then realized that I missed it and here I am.

Let’s get this out of the way… I survived the Bad Idea Marathon. Obviously. It wasn’t easy and I wanted to quit about 800 times, but I got it done — and I’m SO HAPPY IT’S OVER!

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Worth it.

I also surpassed my goal (which was officially “Don’t quit/die.”) and I also beat my 1st marathon time, which I have to admit surprises me immensely. It really just goes to show that my conditioning/training for Chicago was so much more effective than it was for Savannah.

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Looks like someone else is happy I’m done.

I finished in 4:20:07. The most impressive (to me) part is that I ran/walked the last 5 miles because my heel hurt SO badly. Kinda makes me wonder what I COULD have done if I wasn’t haven’t plantar fasciitis issues. Damn heel.

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Looking entirely too happy – bonking at mile 21.

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Pretty much the view the entire time. Not horrible.

I would do a full recap of this marathon, but to be honest, I have mentally blocked the misery out of my mind. I will say that I enjoyed the first half much more than the second half and that I will never do Space Coast as a marathon again (I haven’t ruled out the half though!). I’ve also decided that I DO want to run more marathons, but one a year is sufficient. Half marathons are more my thing.

Also, I am incredibly proud of both of my running buddies – Paula and Tyler.

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Paula was in the same boat as me — she just did NOT want to be running this race and kicked ass anyway.

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At one point we lost Tyler and took selfies.

As for Tyler — he was aiming for sub-4, which I KNEW he could do as long as he didn’t go out too fast. Not only did he sub-4, but he came in 3:54!!

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Tyler just loooooves this picture. 

I’m going to guess that he trained with someone even faster (not me!), that he would be able to many, many minutes off of that time. I’m not ready for him to quit me yet though. I have some serious spring half marathon PR goals and I need him to push me! #selfish

Oh, and another person I’m INCREDIBLY proud of? Victoria. She’s speedy.

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As for what’s next — well, my heel is STILL bothering me, despite taking a month off from running. It’s definitely better than it was, but I need to get back into higher mileage (or any mileage) very slowly.

I AM running ZOOMA Florida (you should join me — use my code to save!) in January – probably the 12K (insta-PR!), and I have Best Damn Race Orlando February 28th where I have a major A+ goal — a 1:50 half. In order to hit that goal though I need my heel to be better AND I need to do some serious speedwork training. Ugh, I’m already dreading it. 

I have zero intentions run a marathon in 2015, BUT it’s still early. I could be talked into it. Maybe.

I do need to find some more half marathons to run in the next few months. Taking this month off of running has been great for my mojo, I definitely MISS it.

So here’s to 2015 – a year of running and other fun challenges, little injury (*fingers crossed*), and lots of fun. And maybe a little blogging.

Also… From my family to yours… Happy Holidays!

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Next Stop… Bad Idea Marathon

I know, I’m just as shocked as you… I’m posting AND in a few days, I’m running a marathon. Again.

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I just want to put it out there that I’ve coined this race the Bad Idea Marathon. It was a fantastic idea about 8 months ago – when my running mojo was going strong and I was high on PRs and sub-9 minute miles.

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Those were the glory days.

A lot can happen in 8 months.

I knew this marathon was going to be tough to mentally get into when I thought at mile 22 of the Chicago Marathon (aka the Good Idea Marathon) – WHY DID I SIGN UP FOR SPACE COAST?

Seriously though. WHY?

These past 7 weeks have been fraught with burn out, negativity, and unfortunately… injury. I’ve self diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitis thanks to running in shoes that were slightly too big. My left heel is very tender after a shorter run — and about three weeks ago I had to stop at mile 16 (of 17 — my longest run since Chicago) because it just hurt too much to continue. I’ve been stretching, icing, rolling, and stretching again — AND I haven’t been running (instead I’ve been spinning and boot camping) — and it’s still sore.  The only thing I haven’t really tried is taping, which I plan to do — as soon as I find my tape (for realz – where did I put it??). The irony is that I felt REALLY GREAT on that run. Of course.

So given all information, am I still doing Space Coast? Yes, because that’s what runners do. I will line up at the start one race day and give it my all. I will run as far as I can and push off any pain (that hopefully I won’t have) for as long as possible. Hopefully, until I cross the finish line.

I just want to put it out there that as nice, welcoming, and fun as runners are… we are also stupid and stubborn. I mean really, REALLY stubborn. So, it should come as no surprise to you when I say I am still running this thing.

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What’s my goal? To finish. Deep down it’s to finish faster than my first full (4:33), but that’s pre-injury Michelle talking. I don’t expect to PR. I didn’t even sign up to PR. Why did I sign up? I WISH SOMEBODY WOULD TELL ME!

(OK, so the medal is pretty cool)

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That’s the Challenger

(Plus, Tyler is running his first marathon that Paula and I convinced he should run with us)

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Back in the day, when I was fast(er) and made poor decisions thanks to endorphins.

So, after I stuff my face and give thanks for everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) I have — I’m going to do some additional carb loading and I’m going to run this bad decision marathon. And I’m going to learn from it. Or realize I’m a bigger idiot than I ever imagined.

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At this point, I think a (talking) tree might make better decisions.

Either way, I guess I’m learning. And torturing myself.

*Deep sigh*