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.


Why Team RMHC?


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.


*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.


* 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…


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


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


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

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


johnhamm yeah right






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…


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?

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!



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.


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.


Looking entirely too happy – bonking at mile 21.


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.


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


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!!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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)

Space Coast Medal

That’s the Challenger

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


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.


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

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

*Deep sigh*

Tips for PRing Your Second Marathon After Your First One Sucked

When I added the Chicago Marathon to my “must run” list, a lot of people told me it was a PR race. My reaction was usually, “Sweet – who doesn’t love to PR?”

After my crappy Savannah experience and missing my goal time by 3 minutes, I knew I was out for revenge and WHY NOT make it Chicago?


I also knew I wanted to train differently. As I previously (and potentially stupidly) declared, I didn’t want to do speedwork. I’m not against speedwork, but I worried that my body just could not handle both speedwork and significantly increasing my mileage. It was a risk that I took. On top of that – shortened my training schedule and jumped RIGHT in to upping the mileage. This could have been an incredibly dumb decision.

BUT, that was my PR plan. Run more in a shorter period of time — and pray for nice weather.

Good thing it all worked out!

So what REALLY helped me? A few things, actually. Get ready for a list…

1. Enjoying my runs.

When I trained for Savannah, I remember hating my weekly runs. Now, I’m not going to say I love getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to run a 9-miler on a Wednesday before work (especially because E always picked those nights to wake up several times), but once I got up and got up there — I really enjoyed it. I think it really helped that I didn’t stress about how fast I was running. Sure, there were times when I upped my pace so I was pushing myself, but for the most part I turned up my iPod, peaced out, and just ran.


Those were some great runs.

2. Running a 20-miler solo.

The hardest run I did this summer was 20 miles –  by myself. It was mid-August and probably close to 95 degrees outside when I finished. I wanted to quit at mile 18.5. I completely bonked. I considered calling my family for them to come get me because I was THAT done, but I remembered that at dinner the night before the kids told me they didn’t think I COULD run 20 miles by myself. So, I sucked it up and finished. It was painful.

Having that experience in the back of my mine, pushed me to focus on nutrition and water during Chicago. I knew I could bonk and it could happen very quickly if I didn’t eat and drink enough. Without that experience I might not have grabbed a banana at mile 22 — or chugged that cup of water.

3. Running with a friend – a fast friend.

After running that 20-miler by myself, I was so ready to find a running buddy. At the time, Tyler couldn’t run Sundays and I couldn’t run Saturdays. It sucked. Thankfully, all of the stars aligned, Dan started a new job with weekends off (I’m still so excited about this!), and I was able to run with Tyler.


He’s also really good at playing ponies.

Now Tyler is 11 years younger than me and has waaaaaay more energy than me (although he does have a busy schedule) – yet, he still runs at my pace. Why? I’m not sure. I’m a good listener? He likes it when people whine to him? Whatever the reason, while he’ll run in my comfort zone, he’ll also push me to run faster at times. I need that push and as much as I bitch at him, I know I’m capable at going faster.


I’m planning on PRing the crap out of my half marathon time this spring – and Tyler is definitely part of that plan (as soon as he forgives me for posting that pony picture).

4. 1/4 Long Runs

I know I said I skipped speedwork – but one thing I did do, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND is 1/4 long runs (this is what I’m calling it – go with it). The first 3/4 of the run I would run at a normal long run pace (about a minute slower than race pace — for me this was between 10:20-10:40/mile) and then the last 1/4 I would pick it up and run race pace (9:30-9:40/mile). I didn’t necessarily do this every long run, but a good chunk of them. This approach was a huge confidence builder during my last 22-miler. I ran the last 6 miles on wet (it was pouring), tired legs at a 9:30 pace and it KICKED ASS. I did not feel ready for Chicago until that run.

5. Ice baths

Ice baths are….


But, they also helped me recover so much faster.


I didn’t ice bath after ever long run – just runs longer than 14 miles. I usually needed about 30lbs of ice and would shiver in it for 20+ minutes. The kids thought my torture was hilarious.

6. Running, running, and more running.

This is the non-expert, vague advice you were looking for, right?

When it comes down to it, just running and lots of it is what helped me PR. I peaked at 45 miles — I did a 5-mile recovery run, two 9-milers, and a 22-miler. That week kicked my ass, but I was 100% ready for it. I’ve always heard that if you want to run faster, you just need to run – and I didn’t necessarily understand it. But now, I kinda do. It’s still hard for me to run more than 5 days a week – but upping the mileage really did build up my endurance. I am not in my fastest half marathon shape right now — but I think I can easily get there.

7. Recovery Runs

I hated these runs with a passion. HATED. But, they were so important to my training. Most of my recovery runs were painful. I slogged for 5 miles the day after a long run – feeling it in my feet and in every leg muscle. Miraculously though, after that run I felt great. Instead of feeling like I just ran 18 miles the day before – my legs felt rested and ready to go. I will continue to do recovery runs for any future marathons (except this stupid marathon I’m running at the end of the month).

8. Cute Cheerleaders

Have cute people waiting for me at the finish line – and after every run, really, was a huge motivator.


Even if they would tell me how much I smelled after every run. That however, just made me realize that the people who love you the most are also the most honest.

9. Horrible training weather.

As much as I hated. HA-TED. running in the humidity this summer, it did nothing but help me.

I also ran 22-miler in the rain. I actually love running in the rain, but I’ve never run that far in it and I worried about slipping, chafing, and God knows what. Thankfully, that didn’t happen – I just looked like a drowned rat. And an idiot.


It was worth it – especially since up until race day, the weather-people-who-are-never-right were predicting rain — and it didn’t terrify me.

10. Running for Charity

Anytime I thought — I CANNOT DO THIS. I was reminded that there were millions of families that could not do this and mine was NOT one of them.


That’s pretty much the biggest kick in the ass you can give yourself, especially at mile 24.5.

11. Friends

They listened to me bitch and moan for 3 months – and they were super excited when I crushed my goal. That’s true friendship, if you ask me.




It’s also true friendship when they dress up with you on Halloween.

12. Luck

Who am I kidding?  You can have the most perfect training cycle and a million things could go wrong on race day. It could have been hot. It could have rained. I could have gotten sick or sprained my ankle waiting around the city. My kids could have boycotted sleep (oh wait…). As much as you can train for a marathon and feel 100% ready (although – does anyone feel ready?) — you can still have a horrible race. Me? I was lucky.

The big question I have now is — how will this training plan hold up with Space Coast (which I am no way looking forward to – why did I think a second marathon would be a brilliant idea?). While I am still running, it’s taken me a little bit to recover (oh, and I ran a half two weeks after my full — kinda dumb). It is mentally challenging me to put in higher miles – and I plan on capping my long run at 16. I’m going to get over this, right? I don’t plan on PRing, but my goal IS sub 4:30. And to have fun. Or something. Maybe my goal should be to complain less than 100 times on race day? That plans sounds more accurate.

Any tips for PRing?? What’s your dream race? Best Halloween costume?