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Rock Hall Half Marathon 2017

When I signed up for the Rock Hall half marathon, I did so with the intention that this would no be a PR race and that it would be likely very hot. I figured a good hot August long race would be great training for a fall marathon that would likely be cool. However, race day was actually pretty nice and after running well at Hofbrauhaus I had hopes of running a good time.

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There are pace groups for this race so I decided to start right by the 1:40 pace group. I was hoping to stick with them til mile 10 and then likely slow down and run around 1:41. I’m not exactly sure what happened at the beginning of the race but the 1:40 and 1:35 groups were right by each other for the first 2 miles. For some reason that messed with me mentally. My watch was giving me a hard time and wasn’t trusting it so I decided to run by feel which meant leaving the 1:40 pacer.

Mile 1 – 7:42, Mile 2 – 7:50, Mile 3 – 7:59, Mile 4 – 7:54, Mile 5 – 7:59

I ran really smart at Hofbrauhaus so I was trying to tell myself to stay smart and not go too fast so that I could have energy at the end. Also, parts of the Hofbrauhaus and Rock Hall are on the same course so I was fairly familiar with it and was pretty sure it would be faster.

Mile 6 – 8:01, Mile 7 – 7:48, Mile 8 – 7:54, Mile 9 – 8:08, Mile 10 – 8:22

I’m not sure what happened but I dropped my pace between miles 5 and 6 but then when I hit MLK I started cruising with the slight downhill. However, I was pretty done at this point. Perhaps the humidity was higher but I just couldn’t hang on to my pace. I pretty much begged my body to push until mile 10 and then it could slow down but I started slowing down right after mile 8.

Mile 11 – 8:45, Mile 12 – 8:44, Mile 13 – 8:26

The last couple miles are on the marginal, in the sun and I was pretty much on a death march at this point. It took all that I had to tell myself to keep going and to hold on to an 8:45 pace. Which I did but it was not pretty. I ended up finishing with a 1:45:38 which was about 3 minutes off my goal. I probably lost at least 2 minutes the last 4 miles so I’m ok with it.

The best part about this race though was that Ryan won the whole damn thing!!!! I had no idea because I was kinda bummed after my race and he’s so humble that he didn’t say anything to me. I only found out when someone else came up to him after and congratulated him.

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Congrats Ryan! You won the whole darn thing!
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Hofbrauhaus Half Marathon

After training hard all summer and putting in some serious tempo miles, I was excited to take a stab at running the Hofbrauhaus half marathon. It would be the first half marathon since I ran the Cleveland half so I was excited to get some redemption on a half and also prove to myself that my training was working. My goal was to run a 1:45 half and to have it feel easy.
I wasn’t feeling so well before the race and took many trips to the bathroom so that added some extra nerves to my race. When the race started I was really careful not to go too fast and let a lot of people pass me. I wanted this race to feel easy and to run strong til the end.
Mile 1 – 7:55, Mile 2 – 7:54, Mile 3 – 7:57, Mile 4 – 7:45
I was really happy with how easy the first couple miles felt. I guy popped up next to me and we ran together for a couple miles. I was liking his pace so I was hoping he would stick around but he left me as we entered MLK.
Mile 5 – 7:50, Mile 6 – 7:44, Mile 7 – 8:07, Mile 8 – 7:50

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I ran through MLK the weekend before so I was pretty familiar with the stretch we would be running. I knew exactly where the hill was and was mentally prepared to pick up the pace on the way back. As you can tell by my splits, the hill was at mile 7. It’s short but steep and you turn around pretty quickly and get to come right back down it.
Mile 9 – 8:15, Mile 10 – 7:58, Mile 11 – 8:01, Mile 12 – 8:06, Mile 13 – 6:46
I was not familiar with the area outside of MLK and was taken by surprise by the hilliness of mile 9 and 10. I had to work really hard to get my paces down. The hills weren’t huge just seemed like a lot of small rollers or gradual incline that slowed my pace. I am fairly certain miles 11-13 were flat but I had lost my speed at that point. I held on as best I could and I am happy looking at my splits that I was not too far off and didn’t drop my paces too much.

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The course was a touch short, about 12.95 on most watches instead of 13.1. My official time was 1:45:12 and was lucky to snag first in my age group and 8th overall female. I’m very interested in running this course again next year to see how much I can improve. However, we did have great weather for an August half so you never know what next year will be.

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Escape on the Lake 5K

I have been wanting to run in this race for years but it has always fallen on a day when I was not free or was already committed to another race. However, this year, the stars aligned and I was finally able to run this race! Why this race though? Because it’s put on by my high school and my family lives down the street.

The weather for this race was perfect for July. Humid, yes but temperature wasn’t too high and there was a nice breeze coming off the lake. The race starts right in front of VASJ high school and continues to Wildwood park and back. As I was running this race it hit me, I have never raced in the neighborhood I grew up in! But also, I have not ran through this neighborhood since high school and I’ve become much more serious about running since then.

Mile 1 – 7:11

As the race went down Lakeshore towards the park, it’s pretty flat. However, once you turn into the park and start on the all-purpose trail, you start to get some rolling hills. Nothing major but definitely not flat. There is even a nice little climb at the turnaround point.

Mile 2 – 7:31

Mile 3 – 7:41

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I was actually okay with how I ran at this race, I felt that I ran smart. Hopefully next year I can run it a little faster….OR maybe I can get my sister to run in it since she now goes to school there!

Official Finish time was 22:26, 6th overall female and 1st in my age group. For this race they do 30-39 instead of 30-34.

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Bay Days 5 Miler 2017

One of the races you always roll the dice with the weather is the Bay Days 5 miler. A Fourth of July race in Cleveland is bound to be hot and humid. However, there have been random years where the weather was manageable or even one year I recall it being cold. This year, was not a cold year.

I didn’t have any crazy goals in mind for this race. Racing has been all over the place and with the heat I just wanted to run a race where I wasn’t dying from going too fast at the beginning.

The first mile of this race is always easy to go out too fast. There are some downhills and excitement from starting the race and you just can’t help it. I did a decent job of not going out too fast because I was really hoping to have energy at the end to pass people. I mean, that’s always kind of the goal, right?

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Mile 1 – 7:24 I actually felt like I went out faster than this but this is what my watch says I did. To be honest, that’s not a bad first mile, not too fast for once.

Mile 2 – 7:38, Mile 3- 7:43 It got a little hot for me at this point and I kinda just wanted to die. I was melting and getting nauseous. The one thing that got me out of my funk was seeing a coworker up ahead of me and I was hoping to catch up to her to have someone to run with.

Mile 4 – 7:37 I caught up to her. She was also dying and unfortunately, I passed her and didn’t have anyone to run with. But it did improve the last 2 miles of my race.

Mile 5 – 6:48 This mile was a little short, realistically it probably should have been around a 7:18.

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I had the distance for this race at a 4.91 with an official finish time of 37:13 a 7:37 pace. 5th in my age group.  This year they had awesome rewards where you got Mitchell’s ice cream gift cards as awards for placing. Unfortunately, neither Ryan or I placed at this race. However, I am already excited to run it next year and hopefully go sub 37. Baby steps.

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Race to the Maxx 5K 2017

A couple years ago I signed my little sister up for a 5K for Maxx Hayes. I’m pretty sure she hated it and has not done a 5K since. Which reminds me, I should probably start trying to get her to run again…

Anyways, I decided to do this race so I could get some speed on my legs but also so that I could finally race this race. Honestly, If I would have known the course, I might have changed my mind. When my sister did it, it was a flat race through some neighborhoods. When I decided to do it, it was a rolling hill downward to start but then you turn around and come straight back up that hill. Woof.

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This race had a ton of people who went out way too fast. There was one girl who sprinted out and was literally on Ryan’s tail, who was leading the race. She was tall and thin and I was like, maybe she’s really fast and I just didn’t recognize her.

About a ½ mile into the race, she was walking. I too went out too fast but was able to control it and enjoyed passing people who went out too fast. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. We all go out too fast and you have to learn to not do it. The only way to learn is to do it multiple times until you know to go out slower. I promise you, it will feel good to start slow and have the energy to pick it up as you go but also to pass people. It’s an awesome pick me up as you are running.

Mile 1 – 7:06 Actually exactly what I wanted, especially since I went out too fast.

Mile 2 – 7:31 We hit the turnaround and had to start climbing back uphill. Ouch

Mile 3 – 6:37 Yes this race was a tad short but even then it wasn’t a PR and I was using it more for speed on my legs and a workout than racing to PR.

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I ended up first overall female, it was a small race, with a time of 21:14. I will likely do this race again because as much as I dreaded that hill, it’s a great workout.

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Run Puritas 5K 2017

The Run Puritas 5K is a race I have looked forward to the past couple of years. It takes place in our neighborhood so I try to run this and any other races in our area. It is also just before the Cleveland Marathon so it is a perfect last minute speed tune up.

There were a lot more kids at this race than previous years which was great to see. Hopefully, they learn some race etiquette because I had the same boy barrel into me and almost knock me over, twice. The good thing about that was that I was able to quickly get out of the way and he didn’t keep up with me.

Mile 1 – 7:11

The weather was less than stellar this year and was more of a very cold rain. Not quite a down pour but it was very chilly and wet. This race thins out after the first ½ mile so I knew I was pretty much running by myself for this race. Which is kind of what I like. It helps me to push myself within my own limits and not go out too fast with someone else.

Mile 2 – 7:28

Even though I was in first for the females, it was hard to tell how close the next person would be behind me. So I kept pushing myself as hard as I could because it wasn’t about coming in first, it was about running a good time.

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Mile 3 – 7:11

There are a couple quick turns towards the end of the race which was nice to break up the course and gave me a quick peak to see that no one was immediately behind me and at this point I only had about .20 to go. I was pretty spent so I gave myself 10 seconds to slow down and collect myself before I picked up the pace to sprint it to the end.

I did end up finishing 1st overall female and 4th overall, it’s a small local race. My time was 21:54 and I was pretty happy with this and already looking forward to running this one again.

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Hermes 10 Miler 2017

For years the Hermes 10 Miler has been a favorite of mine. I’ve been running it off and on for the past couple years and even remember when they held this race downtown! Now I run it for a fast and flat 10 miler but also to help with spring marathon training.

This year I struggled with injuries and illness so I knew a PR was out of the question. However, I still had high hopes for a good race or at least a training run. I mean, either way, this race pace would be faster than if I was running on my own so it would be good for me.

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Hello awkward race photo

I started this race off pretty conservative for the first 3 miles. My hope was to have something left around mile 8 to push the last 2 miles. However, very quickly, my hamstring decided that it didn’t like running. The first 3 miles were ok but still felt like a struggle. At mile 5 I just started to feel tired and burnt out but at mile 6 I got a second wind and tried to pick it up.

 

Unfortunately, that second wind was short-lived as I struggled through miles 7 and 8 as well. In 2017 I ran a 1:13 on this course, I knew I wasn’t in that shape yet but was hoping for a 1:17. Looking at my watch, I saw that slowly slipping away and I was doing everything I could to not get passed by the 1:20 pace group.

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The pacer for the 1:20 group is a running friend of mine so it was nice to see a familiar face after a bad race.

As much as I kicked on the way to the finish line. I still ended up finishing right with the 1:20 pace group. I ended up running a 1:20:04. I was and still am very sad about my time. I put in a lot of work and training and a 1:20 doesn’t show half the work I put in. But I keep telling myself, you have to have those bad runs to get a good run. So I think those good runs are coming, just have to keep hanging on!

 

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Towpath Half Marathon 2017

Yes, once again I am very behind on blog posts. I am trying really hard to get caught back up!

I really wasn’t planning on running this race but after being really sick, I decided to do this one to see where my fitness level was at so that I could predict a goal finish time for the Cleveland Marathon. Spoiler: It wasn’t in a good spot.

I warmed up for the race and felt fine. I was aiming to try and run about a 1:45 half so it could be a goal time predictor but also a solid workout with out totally destroying my legs. As the race started, a nice downhill start, I focused on not going out too fast. Easy to do on a downhill start of a race when you are excited.

Unfortunately, I noticed right away a sharp pain in my hamstring/adductors. Sharp enough that I instantly thought about pulling out of the race. But not sharp enough to change my gait as long as I slowed down. Ryan came to spectate this race so I was trying to think where he would be if I wanted to drop out. But I also knew he was probably going to grab coffee and a newspaper so he would be gone awhile.

I eventually decided that maybe my legs had gotten too cool after the warm up and once they warmed up they would be fine. By mile 3 I was in so much pain but knew I couldn’t drop out where I was but promised myself I would drop out at mile 8. I was pretty sure the race looped close to the finish line around then and I could be done then.

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The pain came and went most of the race and I was constantly slowing down to accommodate my cranky leg. As I neared the spot I thought was mile 8, it was actually mile 9 so naturally I talked myself into running the rest of the race. I mean it was “only” 4 more miles at that point.

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This is what I call being “Over Doxied” Doxies in both arms and Doxie pants on!

 

I ended up finishing with a 1:50:11. Which was really hard for me to accept considering I ran a 1:40 in 2016 there. However, this race told me I wasn’t in the shape I thought I was in and this injury was holding me back more than I thought. Without this race, I probably would have continued training for the full marathon which would have been a horrible idea.

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Half Marathon #31 Complete

I have a feeling I will be back to run this race next year as I have some unfinished business in the half marathon.

 

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Cleveland Half Marathon 2017

Every year I look forward to the Cleveland Marathon and this year did not disappoint!

I thought I would be a little less enthusiastic with the hamstring issues I was having but there is so much going on during Cleveland Marathon weekend that I was easily distracted. Like with the Cleveland Marathon VIP dinner where I got to get dressed up and hang out with the other ambassadors.

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Excuse my stink face, we were smiling for a while and I needed to rest my face.

And when I was taking a picture of my friends and then this happened!!!!!

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Yep! That’s fellow ambassador Melissa or as I call her at home Melissa Jazzhands. (There are 2 Melissa’s so this makes it less confusing)

The race is on Sunday so we usually save the expo for Saturday and head out to watch the 5K and 8K race. However, a Hoka sponsored athlete that we have been following on Instagram for years was doing a shake out run at our local running store so we had to make an appearance there instead of watching the 5k/8k.

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Hoka athlete Tyler Andrews was running the 10K on Sunday so we got to meet and chat with him for a bit over coffee and bagels.

We headed down to the expo shortly after and by some miracle I didn’t buy anything. This is a first! I always drop some big money at the expo on shirts, jackets or gels but we’ve cut down on a lot of expenses this year due to crazy work schedules, paying the mortgage and saving for an adoption. But don’t you think I didn’t want to try on those Hoka Hupana’s I saw or those awesome t-shirts from Sole Clothing!

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Ran into some fellow Healthsource of Avon Ambassadors at the expo

Race Day:

After watching the weather for days, it was no surprise to feel the humidity on race morning. As we got downtown is was quite windy and I was a bit chilly with the wind. However, once I started running I was instantly warmed up and feeling that humidity.

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Pre-race with my Healthsource Homies

My goal for this race was to run a 1:45 half. Last year I was in shape for a 1:39 but after surgery I was stuck in the 1:50s and I’ve been struggling there since. I worked really hard on speed the past 6 weeks and felt like a 1:45 would feel easy for this race.

My plan was to stay just in front of the 1:45 pace group til after the Columbus Road hill. If you are not familiar with this hill, it is a tough one. Strava tells me this hill is at a 10.4% incline. But it also one of the only hills in the race as this race is now super flat. You can see the elevation below from my garmin with how flat it is.

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2017 Cleveland Half Marathon Elevation Chart

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I took my time getting up the hill but when I got to the top I just couldn’t get my legs moving again. My pace group had zoomed past me up the hill and I doubted I would catch back up. I was very warm at this point in the race so I slowed my pace way down to take it easy for the next mile.

The rest of the race I tried to get my pace back but it was just a little slower than I had hoped. I knew the course very well and had an awesome training run on the course so I felt prepared but things just weren’t clicking for race day. Even though things weren’t clicking for me, I was still having an awesome time running through Tremont, down W. 25th by the West Side Market, through Ohio City and past my friend in the speedo.

Normally when my pace drops off from my goal time I go to a dark place and question why I am running and then spend the rest of the race trying to talk myself out of walking the rest of the race. But I was having a good time seeing all my friends on the course who came out to cheer so the miles were clicking by.

My hamstring really started to bother me around mile 10 so I had to slow my pace down some more for that but my goal time was already so far gone it didn’t bother me too much.

I ended up finishing with a time of 1:51:21 far slower than I had planned and trained for. I had training runs that were faster than this pace so yes I was and still am disappointed with my time. But it is still early in the racing season so I have time to improve and grow this racing season.

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Post race with Ryan after he finished pacing the full.

And then there was another proposal this weekend! My friends Dan and Steph also got engaged at the finish line. It was such an honor to be there for them and to snap some pics!

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Congrats Steph and Dan!!!!

Cheers to another year of Cleveland Marathon fun. I am already looking forward to next years festivities. Who is with me????

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Race Week!

How is it race week already???

I’ve been stalking the race day weather for the past 15 days and telling myself that the warm temps and rain would move out. That 15 days out, the weather can change to anything. However, we are now 3 days out and I see anywhere from 78-76 for the high which probably means 60s for the start. Thank goodness for the 7am start time.

You can control your training as much as you want but the weather can always through you a curve ball. Especially in Cleveland. For the Cleveland Marathon, I have ran in some near perfect temps, 80 degree temps, rain, snow and extreme wind. This year it looks to be a combo of heat, humidity and possibly rain or a thunderstorm. But it probably wouldn’t be the Cleveland Marathon without some crazy weather to remember it by. Just have to roll with the punches and trust your training.

4/30-5/6 –    36.5 Mile Week 

Sunday –5.5 @8:39 pace
Monday – Strength Training
Tuesday – Speedwork – 1.25 mile WU, 2×800, 6×400, 1.25 mile CD
Wednesday – 6 miles @8:40 pace
Thursday – Tempo – (1 mile WU, 5 at tempo, 1 mile CD) 7 miles @8:14 pace
Friday – Strength Training
Saturday – 1.5 mile WU, 5K race, 8 mile CD. 12.5 miles total
Total –   36.5 miles

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Post Run Puritas 5K
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Stretch Class

5/7-5/13 –    32.2 Mile Week 

Sunday –Rest/Active Isolated Stretch Class at 2nd Sole in Lakewood
Monday – 4 miles @8:07 pace and Strength Training
Tuesday – Speedwork – 1.25 mile WU, 8×400, 1.25 mile CD. I really wanted to do 10 400s but I ran out of time
Wednesday – 5 miles @8:42 pace
Thursday – Tempo – (1 mile WU, 5 at tempo, 1 mile CD) 7 miles @8:13 pace
Friday – Rest and Strength Training
Saturday – 1.5 mile WU, 5K race, 5.5 mile CD. 10 miles total
Total –   32.2 miles

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Post Max Hayes 5K

Due to some hamstring issues, I dropped from the full to the half. Then I dropped my mileage from 50-60 miles a week to 35-45. The past 2 weeks I have added extra rest days or made my runs shorter to give my hamstring some rest. Some days it helps and some days it doesn’t, the hamstring remains a mystery but I’m still able to run so I will take it!

Who is excited for all the Cleveland Marathon activities this weekend???