Well that didn’t go as planned

What a strange training cycle this has been! Back in December, I entered the lottery to be selected to run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and was so excited to get in. Honestly, I was in a bit of a running rut, which is pretty typical towards the end of the year. Having a date circled on my calendar really helped me find my motivation once again. I sat down and made a training plan and started tackling it. It was not easy. I had gained some weight (again – typical for the end of the year…a little too much cookie dough). I had slacked off on my runs towards the end of the year so I struggled to run 3 miles straight during those first few weeks and had to sprinkle in some walk breaks. But as the weeks passed, I found my groove and started feeling pretty good.


Then, in early February, I had a mammogram and the results were “suspicious” which prompted a biopsy a couple of weeks later. I thought the biopsy would sideline me a day or two and I would be back at it. Unfortunately, it took a little longer to heal than I anticipated and I ended up missing about a week of running. I have to admit that it was really tough mentally for me to get back to running. Between being super busy at work and having anxiety over the test results, I did question my desire to run a lot in the month of February. I felt like my heart (and energy and attitude) just wasn’t there. My desire to run has definitely been tested multiple times throughout this training cycle. I still continued to press on and complete my runs.


Then, some great news came the last week of February! No cancer!! My doctor did want me to follow up with a breast specialist so I was not feeling 100% at ease until I just met with her this past Friday (I’ve witnessed a patient go back and forth with her diagnosis before so I was still a bit nervous). She looked at everything and agreed with the results so I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER!

Now that I was feeling better mentally, I was prepared to race! Of course, by this time I had a feeling the race would be shut down due to the Coronavirus. And on Saturday morning, I got the official notice that it has been cancelled 😦 Such disappointing news…especially right when I got my running juju back. They are giving us the option to skip next year’s lottery and automatically be entered into the 2021 race, which I think I am going to do. Unfortunately if I choose that option, I lose this year’s race fees and still have to pay for next year, but I kind of expected that. I’ve been seeing some really angry posts on social media, but I try to look at it from the race director’s perspective. They have already purchased shirts, medals, paid for permits, etc, and they are a non-profit. I’m just going to suck it up as an unfortunate and unprecedented event. It’s not their fault, it’s not the runners fault…it’s just unfortunate. I will still be able to get my medal and shirt for this year. I would normally feel weird about getting a medal for a race I didn’t complete, but this one is a little different and I will gladly take it. I may just have to display it separately due to my OCD (I didn’t EARN it) – lol!

I do feel really horrible for the race community, especially for those who were set to complete their first marathon. Man…that’s a lot of training miles logged, a lot of dedication and devotion. I don’t like it when people are made to feel guilty for being disappointed. Of course, the health of this nation is definitely priority number 1, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t allowed to be disappointed. So many questions…do you continue to train? What kind of distance should you maintain until the races are rescheduled? Will the races be rescheduled? Will races be hard to get into when they re-open and everyone is trying to find a make-up race? For me personally, this race being cancelled is not at the top of my list of COVID-19 related disappointments, but I’m still pretty bummed!

Which brings me to my training plan, or lack thereof. My long-run Sunday came around this past weekend and I had 7 miles on the menu in preparation for the Cherry Blossom race. What to do, what to do? My first thought was that there is the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler at the end of April that could potentially be an option. I’ve ran it twice before and really enjoy it. BUT…that means I’m ahead of the game with my training. I considered skipping my run yesterday while I came up with a game plan (admittedly, I was feeling a little lazy). Finally in the late afternoon, I decided to just go for 4 miles with no pace expectations. And you know what? I had an excellent run!! I don’t know if it’s because I skipped Thursdays run, or because I tried to hurry because I thought a storm was a brewin’, or if it was because I felt like I was under absolutely  no pressure. Whatever the reason, I really surprised myself. I had been struggling with getting my pace to what it was last year (low 9’s) but I did it yesterday and was so happy! My first three miles were all 9:10 or below, with each mile getting faster. Mile 4 was slower because I did take a walk break, but it was still under 9:30. It felt amazing to see those numbers!

Last night, I got an email that the GW Parkway is being rescheduled for early summer. I’m really not sure what I am going to do now. I may just stick with 3 and 4 milers a few times a week to keep the fitness level up. This will help me eventually transition to distance training when (if) the time comes. But I’ve also been struggling on and off with my desire to run so I’ve been thinking about taking a break and finding some other ways to get cardio in. I have tried talking my husband into taking tennis lessons (we would probably have to learn online now), but we are a little older now and have potential injuries to consider – lol! I also used to love taking Body Combat (think kickboxing) at the gym. Obviously I wont be hitting the gym now (Maryland gyms were ordered to close at 5 p.m. today – I wasn’t planning to risk it anyway), but I am sure I could find some free at-home workouts on youtube. I do know that I will continue to work out in some capacity! Along with my ~3 runs per week this training session, I have been incorporating strength training at-home workouts using free weights . I’ve also tried a few other workouts that I plan to keep up with, but I’ll talk about that a little more in a later post. Do you have any cardio ideas? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

With swim meets, gala’s, and other activities I had on my calendar being cancelled for an indefinite period of time, I will hopefully have more time to keep up with this blog.

I hope you all stay healthy and we stop the spread of this virus soon so we can get back to our regularly scheduled lives!

Why are treadmill minutes so long?

We are almost 3 weeks into 2020 and I have 25 running miles logged so far. Most of those miles have been on the treadmill. I typically run in the evenings and I am not a fan of running in the dark, so treadmill it is! And boy what an adjustment that is! People will sometimes ask if I prefer running on the treadmill or running outside and I think the answer is whatever I have adapted to at that particular time. The transition is ALWAYS the hardest, whether going from road to treadmill or treadmill to road. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. I’d argue that running outside can be harder physically, but running on the treadmill can be more mentally challenging. No change of scenery often means the minutes go by so slowly and let me tell you those first 2 weeks of running in 2020 were a huge CHALLENGE! Between adapting to the treadmill and carrying a few extra pounds, I was really struggling to finish my runs. I’m finally starting to get back into a groove.

So, what do you do you to pass the time on the treadmill? I’ve used a combination of music, podcasts, and Netflix in the past. This go round, I was having a hard time finding new music that especially motivates me (and I need a break from my older playlists). I also love listening to any true crime podcasts but sometimes it takes a few episodes to really get into them. So, I decided to check out the series YOU on Netflix, since I had been hearing a lot about it. I found that the first couple of episodes were a little slow but now I’m really digging it. Its helping the treadmill minutes fly by. I find myself walking even further on my cool-down just so that I can finish an episode. What about you? Do you have a go-to show, podcast, or music to help the time pass? Do you people watch? Comment below…I’d love to hear your ideas.
Other than running, I’ve been going back to BodyPump semi-regularly (when Gabby doesn’t have a swim meet). I’ve been trying to find time to squeeze in some yoga/stretching and was so excited when Makayla offered to lead a “class” one night at home. She is taking yoga at school and is really interested in teaching one day so we rolled out our yoga mats on the living room floor and had a quick yoga session together! She did great and it was so much fun! I can totally see her being a yoga instructor in her future.
Looking forward to a short week this week with some great runs and strength sessions! What do you have on your fitness agenda for the week?

2019 Recap

Happy New Year! It’s been quite some time since I visited this blog but I thought it was time. You know, “New Year, New Me” and all that jazz? So, I decided that I’ll post a 2019 recap and see if I can keep it going in 2020!


So, how did 2019 go? Well, it feels like I logged less miles than ever before, but it turns out that was not true! I ran a total 433.2 miles in 2019! For comparison, last year I logged 427.64 and in 2017, I logged 420.5. So, I’ve been pretty consistent over the last few years. I definitely go through phases where I don’t run as much and some months only log 8-15 miles, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that my total mileage for the year was on par with previous years. Back in 2014 I ran 686 miles, but I seriously doubt I will see those numbers again anytime soon.

2019 – RACES

Part of the reason I didn’t feel like I ran a lot was because I only competed in 2 races!! Yup, can you believe it? That’s a far cry from the 16 races I ran in 2016. The good news is that I PR’d both of my races!! I ran the Philly Love Run Half Marathon in March and completed it in 2:06.21 (9:38 pace). I also ran the Hospice 5k (April) in 28:09 (8:57 pace). I finally earned a medal – I earned 2nd place in my age group. I really enjoyed both races and I wish I would have written a recap, but I do have some pictures to share!



Sam and I entered the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler lottery and we GOT IN!!! The race is on April 5th, so we have time to train for it! We ran it in 2016 (click here for recap) and really enjoyed it, despite the cold and windy weather. I remember it snowing on our way to the race!! I completed it with a pace of 10.11 so my primary goal is to beat that time (1:41.48). My next goal is set a PR for all my 10 milers. Currently that PR is a 9.44 pace that I ran at the 2016 GW Parkway Classic with a time of 1:37.13.

I’ll probably run the Hospice 5k (or possibly 10K) again this year as well. I don’t really have any other races in mind, but depending on how the Cherry Blossom training goes, I may add a half marathon in the spring. What’s 3 more miles when I’ve trained for 10, right?

I just got my new shoes in the mail and am excited to get some miles on them! I chose the Brooks Levitate 2’s. I really enjoyed them last year and I saw my fasted times in them, so I decided to stick with them. They have now introduced the Levitate 3’s, but the 2’s were much cheaper and I already know I love them, so that was a no brainer!

I also plan to incorporate some strength training back into my workout, which will most likely be Body Pump. I’ve been taking it on and off since the new World Gym opened, but I need to get more consistent. Consistent gym workouts will definitely be a challenge with our jam packed schedule, but it is doable – I just have to plan ahead and may have to incorporate some early morning workouts (sigh). There are plenty of strength workouts available for free on youtube,  so I know I can get in a 30 minute workout at home if I can’t make it to the gym!

So, here goes nothing! Let’s see where running takes me this year!

What are your goals for 2020? Do you have any races in mind? Comment below!






6 weeks till Philly!

T minus 6 weeks until go time!!  I’m feeling pretty okay.  This week’s schedule didn’t go exactly as planned.  Ah…life happens!  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Mon, Feb 4: OFF DAY
  • Tues, Feb 5: 4 treadmill miles (9:15 pace)
  • Wed, Feb 6: strength workout
  • Thurs, Feb 7: 3.5 treadmill miles (9:03 pace)
  • Fri, Feb 8: yoga (youtube in my living room)
  • Sat, Feb 9: strength workout
  • Sun, Feb 10: 6.5 outdoor miles (9:50 pace)
  • Mon, Feb 11: OFF DAY
  • Tues, Feb 12: strength
  • Wed, Feb 13: SICK – OFF
  • Thurs, Feb 14: OFF DAY (Still not feeling 100% + Valentine Heart Shaped Pancakes trump a workout)
  • Fri, Feb 15: 4 treadmill miles (9:23 pace)
  • Sat, Feb 16: – strength
  • Sun, Feb 17: OFF DAY
  • Mon, Feb 18: 7 outdoor miles (11:05 pace) 

I had originally rearranged my normal Tues/Thurs/Sun run days this past week because I thought I had a conflict on Tuesday evening.  It turned out that the Tuesday event was rescheduled so I *could* have gotten my run in, but I decided to just go with it and stick to Wed/Fri/Sun run.  Well…that backfired a little when I ended up coming home from work with a fever, body aches, and chills on Wednesday.  I was not feeling well at all and went straight to bed so no workout!  Thursday, I *could* have gone for a run but I opted to take another day off to eat Valentine’s day heart-shaped pancakes and rest instead.  Friday, I finally made it back to the gym.  It was tough.  I still have a nasty cough going on so I was just happy to be able to complete 4 miles!  

Sunday’s plan was to complete my long run with Sam.  Unfortunately, she has been having some issues with her feet so she wanted to push it to Monday since we were both going to be off anyway.  I was totally fine with that.  So, fast forward to Monday and we were on the hook for our long run.  Unfortunately, her issue with her feet going numb continued as we settled into the run.  She adjusted her shoelaces several times and we took some walk breaks, but nothing was really helping.  Finally, around 4.75 mile, Sam decided she was going to have to walk back home.  We decided to split at that point and I continued on to complete my 7 miles.  I’m happy to say that Sam got a ride back home, swapped out her shoes, and was able to finish her long run without numb feet!  We are hoping it’s just the new shoes that are causing the issues and she’ll be back to normal by her next run.  On a side note, I bought a pair of Brooks Levitate 2’s in January and am loving them so far!  Hopefully as my mileage increases, I will continue to love them just as much!


 My run felt pretty good.  The wind was a little strong on our way back up 235 so that part was tough, but otherwise I can’t really complain.  Starting next week, the mileage will increase by one full mile each Sunday.  I’m hoping to run much of the mileage with Sam.  Having a friend to chat with on a long run makes all the difference! 

6 weeks to go!  I’ll check in every 2 weeks up until the race and then hopefully have an exciting race recap.  Bring on Philly!

Running update

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, y’all!!  I thought I’d update you on my running progress since my last blog update.  I’ve been trying to push myself to run at an uncomfortable pace during the weeks on my shorter runs and then upping my total mileage on Sundays.

  • Mon, Jan 21: Strength workout
  • Tues, Jan 22: 3.5 treadmill miles (9:33 pace)
  • Wed, Jan 23: Strength workout
  • Thurs, Jan 24: 3.5 treadmill miles (9:24 pace)
  • Fri, Jan 25: OFF DAY
  • Sat, Jan 26: Strength workout
  • Sun, Jan 27: 5.5 treadmill miles (9:50 pace)
  • Mon, Jan 28: Strength workout
  • Tues, Jan 29: 4 treadmill miles (9:32 pace)
  • Wed, Jan 30: Strength workout
  • Thurs, Jan 31: 3.5 treadmill miles (9:18 pace)
  • Fri, Feb 1: OFF DAY
  • Sat, Feb 2: Strength workout
  • Sun, Feb 3: 6 outdoor miles (10:21 pace)

Today, I ran outside with Sam which is so different than running on a treadmill.  I generally prefer running outside, but it does take me a while to get used to it once I’ve gotten used to the treadmill.  I always forget how to dress appropriately for the weather.  I have read to dress like its 20 degrees warmer, but I inevitably start doubting myself and overthinking everything.  I settled on long pants, a lightweight long sleeve shirt, and a thin headband to keep my ears warm.  This worked pretty well, although I could have worn capris.  I also struggle with which hydration option to go with.  I have a handheld, but it leaks sometimes.  I have a camelbak, but it’s a little heavy and I really don’t need that much water for 6 miles.  I have a fuel belt that has 2 small water bottles, which is what I decided on for today.  Then you have to remember sunglasses and I like to have chapstick as well.  My point in telling you all this is that outside running requires a lot more thinking/planning.  At least it does for me!   But I really enjoyed getting outside and I think it’s important to get outside as soon as possible if you are planning for a race because obviously the race is going to be outside!

Today’s run felt surprisingly good.  Sam is trying a slightly different plan than I am this time around so she had to run 8 today.  We decided to start together and then pass by our neighborhood at 6 miles so I could stop and she kept going for 2 more.  I felt pretty strong…especially the first 4 miles.  The last 2 were a little tougher, but still not bad at all.  We had talked about running between a 10:20 and 10:30 pace so we did a pretty good job.  The only problem I had was chaffing!  I have some new sports bras and I have been chaffing pretty bad in the same spot.  I made sure to put some body glide on before I left, but I should have completely covered it.  I got home and realized I had chaffed so bad that I had been bleeding all over my new white sports bra!  That’s no fun!


I’m feeling pretty good so I think I am going to go ahead and sign up for the Philly Love Run Half Marathon at the end of March!  Eeek!  I hope it’s not freezing.  The course is pretty flat and I’ve read some positive race reviews so I’m excited!  8 weeks to go…

One last note…I’ve been trying to come up with a music playlist for the race and have some ideas but would love to hear your suggestions!  I like to think I listen to a wide variety of music so any recommendations are appreciated.  I spent my last 2 gym strength sessions listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival & John Cougar Mellencamp’s greatest hits, but I usually run to something a little more fast-paced.  Think Missy Elliott and Beyonce (‘Get me Bodied’ is a favorite…I think it stems from a Zumba class I used to take).  Of course, anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE my 80’s dance flicks so I have to throw in ‘Footloose’ and ‘Maniac’.   I have also taken a liking to some songs that were played in BodyPump & BodyCombat over the years.  Building a playlist that will keep me pumped for over 2 hours is tough!   Please leave a comment below and suggest a song or two that motivates you!



Busch Gardens Christmas Town 8k Recap

My family has fallen in love with the Christmas Town 8k at Busch Gardens.  Each year, we seem to have a bigger family turnout.  This year, my mother-in-law (Judi), cousin & his wife (Paul & Missy), and my sister’s stepdaughter (Olivia) joined us.  My mom, sister, brother-in-law, brother, brother’s girlfriend, and of course my whole family also returned to run the race.

Steven, Makayla, Gabby, Judi, and I headed to Williamsburg on Saturday to pick up our race packets and Busch Gardens tickets.  After picking up our packets, we checked into our hotel and then headed to the park.  It was chilly with a chance of rain in the evening.  We rode some rides, got some dinner while watching a show, walked around, and sat down for the outdoor ice skating show just as the rain started :/  It was cold and wet but we had umbrellas/ponchos so we decided to stay and watch it.  Afterwards, we caught an indoor production of Scrooge and then headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

Sunday morning was uncharacteristically warm for December (61 degrees was the high for the day!).  My mom had crocheted us some really cute Santa wrist warmer gloves and we still had our ponytail hats from last year, but it was just too warm for me to wear them during the run.  I did wear them afterwards and some chose to wear them during the race.  I hate being too hot during a race but I know I’ll get to wear them in the future.

After getting to the park and meeting up with the rest of our family for some quick pictures, we got to watch the little kids run their fun run! It’s always so stinking cute.  Then we wished each other well and lined up in our corrals.  The girls and I waited in the 2nd corral while Steven seeded himself at the back of the first corral.

Go time!  The girls and I started together but quickly settled into our own comfortable paces.  The first and last mile and a half or so are pretty boring as they are in the parking lot.  They do have a lot of direction changes, which isn’t great for running but it is nice to get to see some other runners you know as you pass them in opposite directions throughout the run.  The park itself is a very scenic run and I especially love running across the bridge that is lined with Marines on either side, giving their support. 



I passed Gabby towards the end of the race and knew I was about half a mile behind her.

When I finished, Steven and Gabby had already completed the race and were making their way back to the finish line to cheer everyone on.  I joined them and we had a blast cheering at the finish line.  Hot chocolate along with some chocolate samples are given out at the end of the race, along with the usual waters, pretzels, bananas, etc.

Congratulations to Judi on her first 8k!  She had been iffy about walking it because of a foot injury, but she was feeling good on race morning and decided to go for it and she did great!

After everyone was done, we grabbed a few photos and checked our finish times.  Gabby got 3rd place in her age group – woot woot!

Our official times:

Steven – 44:15 / 8:55 pace

Gabby – 45:30.71 / 9:09 pace

Kim – 50:31.36 / 10:10 pace

Makayla – 55:37.27 / 11:11 pace

Just as a side note, 8k is just under 5 miles.  According to my GPS, I ended up running 5.29 miles.  I think my GPS may have been a bit off and in addition to that, the course had a lot of twists and turns and I did not run the tangents. There are some great youtube videos that explain this well if you are interested in learning more information.  I was a little bummed because I did feel like I was running faster than a 10:10 pace.  Based on the mileage that my GPS logged (5.29 miles), my pace would have been 9:34.  I just ran a lot more than I needed to and my total official time is based off of 8k.  I need to be more mindful of running tangents in the future.

We headed back to the hotel to clean ourselves up, grabbed some lunch, and then headed home.

I love this race and hope to continue racing it every year.  The race swag alone is worth the cost of registration (reduced price ticket to Christmas Town, FREE ticket to Busch Gardens for the following spring, race t-shirt, and race medal for each participant).  As a bonus, I was finally able to fulfill my wish of the family wearing matching PJs on Christmas morning because we used our race shirts 🙂dsc_0295


Hello Again!

I’m bacckkkkk!  If you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from blogging.  I guess part of the reason for that is because I didn’t really have any exciting runs or races to share.  In fact, I only ran 4 races in 2018.  For perspective, I completed 14 races in 2014 when the race bug first hit, 15 races in both 2015 and 2016, and 8 races in 2017.  Surprisingly, I did manage to log a few more miles in 2018 than I did in 2017.  Much of that mileage was in preparation for the Shamrock marathon (recap here) that I completed back in March.  Since then, I continued running lower mileage on and off throughout the year and finished with a total of 427 miles for the year.

Other than random mileage here and there, I did run the Busch Gardens Christmastown 8k since my last update.  This was my 3rd year racing it.  I love that this has become a family event and each year we have a few extras join us.  I’ll cover more of that in a separate race recap post, hopefully soon.

I was hit and miss with strength training throughout the year.  I stopped going to Body Pump at the gym, but did sometimes do my own version at home with hand weights (Kimbo Pump, as I like to call it).  Unfortunately, our gym closed its doors at the end of November and we were forced to join another gym.  Ultimately, we decided on Planet Fitness and we are still adjusting to it.  I don’t like that there are no group classes and I find myself missing body pump (even though I hadn’t taken it in a while I’ve always ended up going back to it over the years).  Of course the gym has been super crowded.  I don’t think I’m the only one who over indulged a bit in December and gained a few (or 10) pounds.  Ughh…weight comes on so easily and then takes so long to shed.  But I’m a sucker for cookie dough and oreo balls so I think it was worth it ;o) 

Steven and Makayla have a membership as well so we try to go together a few days a week.  Gabby doesn’t usually have time to go because of swim but she managed to squeeze in a stretch/walk session with us once.  Sam is also a member so we try to help motivate each other.


On the food front…I’ve been scouring the web for healthy recipes and have found a few that look promising.  I found a delicious salad on Skinnytaste that I will definitely be making again.  I am not great in the kitchen so it took me FOREVER to prep the salad.  In the future, I think I’ll sprinkle the cranberries, almonds, and cheese (maybe feta) rather than rolling individual goat cheese balls into crushed almonds and cranberries.


As for my 2019 plan, I am still trying to decide which race I want to do next.  Sam and I would like to run another half marathon together in the spring but our schedules are crazy so it’s been hard to nail down the exact race.  We considered running Shamrock again but are kind of itching to run something different.  We were thinking about the Charlottesville, VA half marathon.  The date seemed perfect…Saturday race with the Friday off before would have been great.  But…she realized that it is prom weekend for our girls so we had to throw that one out.  Right now, we are thinking about the Love Run in Philly.  We are going to try to make a final decision by the end of the month.  This race also offers a 7k so it would be nice for other family to join us if they are interested!

P.S. Sorry about the quality of my photos.  I will be trying to step up my pictures game in the future.

Local Races

After completing the Shamrock Marathon, I decided to cut back on running a bit to give my body some time to heal.  I took off about a week or so and then started again with short distances.  I have been trying to get back to my old routine of 3 days a week, but keeping the mileage between 3 and 4 miles.  I don’t have any big races in mind so I plan to keep my mileage low through the summer.  I have completed 2 local 5k’s since the marathon and actually did better than I expected on both of them.  I was supposed to run a 3rd (a margarita 5k), but it conflicted with Makayla’s prom so (obviously) prom won!

On another note, I made it through my entire marathon training and completed the actual marathon without injuries.  Strangely enough, now that I’ve decreased my mileage, I’m battling hip pain again.  Go figure.  Luckily, it hasn’t been bad enough yet to halt my running entirely, but it is something I’m keeping an eye on. 

Below is a quick recap of the 5k’s that I completed:

Run for Hospice 5k – 4/14/18

The hospice race will always be one of the most important races that I complete.  Not only was this the very first race I ever ran (in 2011), but we also run this particular race in honor of our neighbor, Bubbies (Kevin) Lent.  Sam had shirts made the year after his death and we always wear our shirts and run in memory of him.  A lot of family and friends participate in this local race so it’s always a good time.  My company pays my registration fees for this race as part of their wellness program.  And the cherry on top was that we had fantastic weather this year!

I started the race too fast and it caught up with me over the last 2 miles.  I ended up having to walk a few times.  Here are my splits according to Garmin:

Mile 1 – 8:45

Mile 2 – 9:39

Mile 3 – 10:05

Mile 3.13 – 8:13

Total 29:33 / 9:26 pace

We had another great year and Gabby won another medal (3rd place in her age group) this year!

Leatherneck 5k – 4/18/18

This is another local race that I always enjoy.  The last time I ran this race was 2 years ago and it was pouring!  Last year, I decided not to register in advance.  I woke up on race day and it was pouring again so I decided not to run it.  This year, I waited until race day to register just to make sure the weather was going to cooperate.  Thankfully, it was a beautiful day!  Makayla decided to run it with me.  Gabby had swim practice and Steven wanted to run a longer distance later in the day.  Makayla and I met up with some other friends and family on race morning.  First, we watched Lilee and another race friends son, Gavin participate in the kids 1 mile run.  They did great!  Then it was time for the 5k.  I started out running the first half mile or so with Makayla.  She wanted to alternate running and walking so I ran the next mile with Ashlee and Sam.  At the turnaround point, I decided to walk through the water stop.  Sam had taken a quick break too so at this point we were all separated.  I ran the last half of it by myself and actually surprised myself!  Here are my splits according to Garmin:

Mile 1 – 9:25

Mile 2 – 9:40

Mile 3 – 9:16

Mile 3.1 – 6:55

Total 29:02 / 9:23 pace 

After all the runners finished, we stuck around the raffle, which Lilee SCORED big time!  Makayla, my mom, and Sam also won some great prizes.  Thanks mom for giving me the massage gift card!  I love that this race is local and benefits wounded veterans! 

I don’t have any more races planned right now, but I want to continue running 3-4 miles a few times a week.  I’ll start making my fall race plan within the next couple of months and will probably pick up the training mileage then.


Shamrock Marathon – 3/18/18

Last weekend, I participated in the 2018 Shamrock marathon.  This race in particular is important to my family because it falls during the same time of year that our neighbors across the street from us lost their 6 year old son.  These aren’t just neighbors, but Sam is also my best friend and her oldest daughter is my oldest daughter’s best friend.  They moved into our neighborhood when Makayla was just 4 years old.  Our families “grew up” together.  Losing Bubbies had a massive impact on our families and running has been very therapeutic in the healing process for Sam and I (and Steven too, I believe).  Two years ago, the race fell on March 20th, which is the date he passed away in 2013.  Steven and Sam ran the marathon as a way to honor him (recap here).  I had planned to run the marathon also but an injury prevented me from properly training so I ran the half marathon that year instead.  This year, I decided in January to give the training another shot and I was successful this time!!  Unfortunately, due to injuries and other issues, I had to run it alone this year, although I am confident that Bubbies was with me every step of the way.  Steven and Gabby came along to support me and I had many other cheerleaders who were sending their support from home.

Makayla decided to stay home because my niece was having a birthday / baby gender reveal party that same weekend.  I was really bummed I couldn’t make it but Makayla called us right away when the babies gender was announced and sent us videos so that we could feel like we were a part of the excitement 🙂 

Steven, Gabby, and I headed to Virginia Beach on Saturday.  We went straight to the expo and picked up my bib and shirt and then headed to the hotel to get checked in. 

The hotel was right near the finish line, which was so much better than years past!  After getting settled, we walked down the street to find a pizza and pasta joint.  Carb loading is so much fun!!  We walked around the finish area for a bit to scope out some places to look for each other.  Then we returned to the room and I tried to go to bed early.  Unfortunately the heat was extremely loud and kept cutting on and off.  That, along with race jitters (can’t believe it has been so long since I ran a race) made for a horrible night of sleep.

 I got up and got ready as quietly as I could so that I didn’t wake Steven and Gabby up.  I had brought my breakfast with me to make in the room (Ezekiel toast with peanut butter, banana slices, and honey on top – yum).  They started stirring as I finished getting ready.  The race was starting at 7:30 and the hotel was about a mile from the start so I decided to leave around 6:50.  At 6:45, I went to put my hydration vest on and realized I had left the bladder at home (drying from my last run).  Seriously?!?  I panicked for a moment but then decided to just take one of my 16 oz. Water bottles with me (I had brought a bunch from home to fill the hydration vest).  I was planning to see Steven and Gabby at the halfway point so I asked them to bring another bottle and give it to me at that point in the race.  They also had water/Gatorade stations set up throughout the race so I knew if I ran out before seeing them, I could always rely on those stations.  Also, the vest I chose to wear had deep pockets so I was able to hold everything that I normally put in my hydration vest (fuels, phone, gloves after I warm up, etc).  Crisis averted!!  I kissed my family goodbye and headed to the start line.

 As soon as I exited the hotel lobby, I could see the excitement of the race day all around.  So many runners were headed to the start.  I walked to the boardwalk side to take a few quick pictures, but it was too cold (windy) to stay on that side!  I made it to the start and hung out behind a wall of a parking garage to stay out of the wind as much as possible.  

I was so cold!  I guess this is good time to address the weather.  We had horrible weather 2 years ago.  That year, the half marathon began an hour and a half before the full and it was pouring at the start.  Luckily, the rain stopped for the marathoners, but they still contended with high winds.  We missed last year’s race, but word on the street is that the weather was even worse.  Snow, sleet, high winds, and sand blowing all over runners.  Eek!  So, although I complain that it was cold and windy I really couldn’t have asked for more perfect race weather.  Cold at the start is a good thing.  And wind on the beach is pretty much a given, so I can’t even really complain about that. 

I texted my family to let them know I made it to the start and ate my gu and stretched a little before finding a spot in my corral (10).  Before I knew it, it was time to start.  The corrals started about 2 minutes apart so I didn’t actually cross the start line until 7:54.

I had come up with a walk/run plan that would get me to my goal of a sub 5 hour marathon.  My first marathon was in 2014 and I finished with a time of 5.01.48.  So close!  I knew I needed to schedule walk breaks or I would burn out at the end.  I decided to take a quick (.10) walk break every 1.5 miles and then a longer (.30) walk break after every 4.5 miles so that I could fuel (alternating gu’s and honey stinger waffles. 

The first 4.5 miles took me north up Pacific Avenue towards Fort Story.  It took me about a mile to get into a good rhythm and another mile or so to really warm up.  My hat kept wanting to blow off so I ended up taking it off and carrying it.  I also came out of my gloves once I warmed up.   

The next 4.5 miles took me onto Fort Story.  This portion of the race was pretty boring.  Since it is a military base, there isn’t much crowd support.  I texted Steven and Gabby at my mile 9 walk break to tell them where I was.  They let me know where to look for them.

 After exiting the base, I headed back south.  The crowd support really picked up!  Just after mile 13, I started looking for Steven and Gabby and was able to find them waiting on the street.  Gabby had made me two signs!  She had told me the day before that signs weren’t really her thing so that I would be surprised when I saw them 🙂 

As a side note, I didn’t think it was cool that a lady stopped to correct her grammar.  Umm…how about “THANK YOU FOR STANDING OUT IN THE COLD AND CHEERING ALL THE RUNNERS ON”.  They even brought tissues with them to give to runners (great idea; runners always need tissues when running in cold weather) and also gave out a few water bottles.  They had so much fun they ended up staying outside for the duration of the race.  Most people were very appreciative!  I stopped in order to ditch my gloves, hat, and empty water bottle, and grabbed the other water bottle from them.  After a quick hug for each of them, I was running again.  I wish I would have got a quick picture with them, but I completely forgot.  I took my walk break to fuel at mile 13.5 and then continued heading south.

 The race took me back to the boardwalk for another mile and half and then we headed back to the road.  The only hill of the race was just before mile 16 to cross an over pass.  I ended up walking ahead of schedule to get through the hill.  I started really struggling around this point of the race.  I remember sending out a couple of texts around mile 16 to let them know I was struggling.  I got some encouraging texts back and then put my phone away.  At this point in the race, I honestly felt like I wouldn’t be able to meet my goal, but was also too mentally/physically exhausted to figure out the math.  It didn’t help that this part of the race was very boring to me.  We reached Camp Pendleton and again there was no crowd support.  Steven and Gabby received an automated text when I crossed a timing mat at mile 18.4.  At this point I was running a 10:53 pace.  Around this part of the race, I noticed that my phone was at 1%.  I had used airplane mode for most of the race so I was really surprised and bummed about this.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to send out anymore updates.  I was still able to listen to a podcast and I was really worried that if I sent a message that it would use up the remaining juice and I wouldn’t be able to listen to anything for the remainder of the race.   

By this point, I was not running according to my plan.  While my first water bottle lasted the entire first half of the race, I was finished my 2nd water bottle by mile 20 so I was having to rely on the water stops for the rest of the race.  I was taking walk breaks a lot more often and having a hard time getting back into a run.  I was so happy to finally cross back over the overpass and head back to the boardwalk.  Only 3-ish miles left and there was more crowd support (although still less than I expected).  I was also running into the wind now which was really tough.  I just wanted to be DONE!  I headed back out to the street for the last time and saw Steven and Gabby at 25.2 miles.  Apparently they were really starting to get worried.  They hadn’t gotten an update since the 18.4 mile update at 11:18 and it was now going on 1:00.  I LOVED seeing them, but I didn’t stop for hugs this time.  I just wanted to finish and knew I’d be seeing them in a mile.  At this point I knew I would break a 5 hours.  As bad as I wanted to sprint to the finish, I actually had to walk 2 more times.  I was so exhausted!  I finally could see the finish line and gave it everything I had!  It was great having Steven and Gabby cheer me into the finish!  My official time was 4:52:13 / 11:10 min pace.

 I collected my medal, beach towel, hat, snacks, water, and then headed to find Steven and Gabby.  Such an awesome feeling!  We headed to our hotel room so I could charge my phone a little and drop off a bunch of my stuff.  Then we headed back to the finish festival to hang out.  I rang the PR bell, got Steven and I a beer, some stew, and then we just hung out and took some photos. 

We didn’t stay too long.  We headed back up to the room so I could shower and then we decided to get some dinner and take Gabby to see the new Tomb Raider movie.  I could already feel the sore muscles setting in.  

We stayed the night and then headed home on Monday morning.  My quads and shoulder muscles were really sore.  Sitting/standing was so tough!  But it was worth it!

 I have now completed 2 marathons and have had something stand out at me at each one.  During my first marathon, I passed a building (not sure if it was an auto repair or something along those lines) that was called “Bubba’s”.  During this marathon, I passed a sign that said “Bubba”.  I can’t help but think that was more than a crazy coincidence.  I get so far in “the zone” that I don’t generally notice a whole lot so the fact that I noticed that particular sign seems crazy.  I really wish I would have stopped to take a picture.  I just know he was with me in spirit!

On another sad note, last week on March 20th (ironically, 5 years since Bubbies death), our entire community faced another tragedy.  The shooting at Great Mills High School left many of us feeling a sense of sadness/helplessness.  I highly suggest running (or some other form of exercise) to anyone who is having a hard time coping with this tremendous loss.  I truly believe that it is good for the soul (sole).

Christmas Town 8k

Gabby and I ran the Christmas Town 8k last year (read recap here) and we knew we wanted to race it again.  Except this time, the whole family decided to run!  This would be Makayla’s first 8k!  And since you get a discounted ticket to Busch Gardens Christmas Town, we decided to make a weekend out of it.

We headed to Williamsburg on Saturday to pick up our race packets and Busch Gardens tickets.  After picking up our packets, we headed straight to the park.  It really is a beautiful park, especially with all the Christmas decorations.  We rode a few rides and watched a couple of shows and then headed to the hotel to get some sleep.

We got ourselves ready for the race on Sunday morning.  My mom had crocheted festive ponytail hats for us to wear during the race.  After some obligatory selfies, we were headed back to the park to meet up with my mom, sister, future brother-in-law, brother, and sister-in-law, who were also running the race.

Steven lined up with my brother and the girls and I lined up together.  Everyone else was scattered amongst the corrals.  It was finally time to start and the girls and I started together, but quickly separated to settle into our own comfortable paces. 

I LOVE running through the park.  Although it is very hilly, the scenery makes up for it.  There were a few turnarounds spots where I would pass some family members headed in the opposite direction.  When I finished, Steven and Gabby had already completed the race and were waiting for me.  We hung out and waited for Makayla to update us that she was near the finish line and we cheered her into the finish line!!  Way to go, Makayla!  Everyone had finished at this point except for my mom so we waited to cheer her on!!  She never gives up!  She doesn’t let injuries, knee replacements, asthma, or anything else stop her from reaching the finish line.

Our official times:

Steven – 43:51.57 / 8:49 pace

Gabby – 47:30.79 / 9:33 pace

Kim – 48:31.90 / 9:46 pace (That’s an 8k PR for me!)

Makayla – 1:06:04 / 13.18 pace


After heading back to the hotel and cleaning up, we spent some time shopping at the outlets before heading home that evening.  The whole family has already talked about running this race again next year.  We are also excited to head back to Busch Gardens this spring for free, as those passes are also included in your race entry fee.  That’s definitely worth the cost of the race itself!