Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon Challenge Series Recap (2017)

Wow – I can’t believe this is my last Training Tuesday post for this year’s stint as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador. I feel so truly grateful to have been able to participate in the experience this year again and share my training with you and the other amazing ambassadors.

Said amazing ambassadors

This year I had signed up for the Challenge Series – the 8k and Half Marathon. This would mean that I would run an 8k Saturday morning, followed by the half marathon Sunday morning. (You may recall I did the Challenge Series last year, but the 5k/10k, since I was 30+ weeks pregnant)

8K

This year looked a little different. First, the races were downtown, which was great! They were a 10 minute walk from my apartment and the courses were wider and more open than last year. I didn’t run with FW but we did get a pre-race pic.

I wanted to “take it easy,” knowing I had a half marathon the next day; but of course I took it a little faster than I would’ve liked. About 1 mile in, I found fellow Ambassador, Sara, running with her boy and her stroller! We ended up running the rest of the course or 4ish miles together. It was great to have someone to talk to for those last miles – it made them fly by!

Saturday was PERFECT running weather. It was 50 degrees, overcast and a little breezy. I couldn’t have asked for better conditions for the 8k.

pre-8k with some other ambassadors

Half Marathon

Sunday was a different story for the half marathon. Looking ahead at the weather all week, I was nervous for race day. It was due to be upper 70s (one day it forecasted 78 … ick!) and 100% chance of thunderstorms.  Definitely not ideal running weather, especially for me, as I have not been training outside much during this training season.

But, luck was on our side.  I woke up and it was mid-60s and NOT raining. I made it to the start and then began to wait in the massive porta potty line. And by massive, I mean that I was still waiting when the race started. I ended up heading inside the Q to use the restroom and Mary and I jumped into Corral D (we were supposed to be B or C) for the start. We discussed our goals – we decided that it would be to “survive the humidity … or get a PR.”

For the first few miles, we spent most of the time running/walking/dodging people and walkers. But after a few miles in, we were finally able to get into a good pace and enjoy the course. This year was a new course and I LOVED it. It took us part of the way through downtown, into the Flats, into Tremont, throughout the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and then back downtown on Detroit (no dreaded running on the boring hot Shoreway!!).

How did I do? I felt pretty good for the first few miles. And B even surprised me by cheering us on with FW throughout the course! I knew he was watching, but didn’t expect to see him 4 different times, so that was great. About mile 6-7 I started to get pretty hot and thirsty and my fingers began to swell up. I took in part of an expired Salted Caramel Gu that I had found in our apartment but it tasted funny so I dropped it just in time to pick up a Vanilla Honey Stinger from the course around mile 8. I made sure to get water at every stop throughout and even dumped some on me.

smiles before the race

Around mile 11, I was spent. I told Mary she could go ahead of me as soon as we saw the bridge to back downtown; the thought of going up the hill made me nervous and more tired. Mary looked at me and said, “We will get under 2 hours!” She dashed ahead and I tried to keep up somewhat as I made it up the bridge and back into downtown.

I finished as strong as I could and was pleased to find out that my finish time was 1:58:07. Was it the PR I was hoping for in the weeks ahead? No. But it was under 2 hours, a solid race for my first post-baby half marathon, especially considering the humid conditions.

I’m feeling a little bit emotional now that my training is done. Or maybe it was the 2 engagements that happened this weekend during the running festivities? Either way, for some reason, this year’s race has left me a little misty eyed. Must mean it’s time to sign up for another race!

Some questions for you:

  • Did you run Cleveland? What did you think?
  • Have you ever done a Challenge Series – two day – race?

Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs!

Disclosure: As I mentioned, I’m an ambassador for the event. This means I got free race admission, entry to give away AND a cool shirt. 

Fun-Filled Race Weekend

Phew, what a fun, busy, active weekend. From an 8k to wedding shower to Cleveland Asian Fest to a half marathon, there was plenty to look forward to. I’m be sharing a full race recap tomorrow, but here is a quick summary of my weekend, one-sentence-per-photo style.

Started off race weekend with the Expo with Cari!

She didn’t win anything from this Care Bear prize machine.

Then, time for the Cleveland Marathon Banquet!

LOVE seeing my fellow ambassadors – and this year was especially special!

Saturday morning started off with the 8k – and the first medal of the weekend.

Then, a bridal brunch for my beautiful friend Ali who is getting married!

Look, it’s my name on a sign at the Marathon Expo!

Later in the afternoon, it was time to check out Cleveland Asian Fest (while FW dozed).

And my pre-race fuel – a veggie burger (from Phuel).

Pre-half marathon photo.

Finishing strong! (or at least trying to)

Post-race family photo.

Happy Dog post-13.1 eats (there is a veggie dog under that egg and chili).

A little local grocery shopping.

We bought some meat for this week!

And then took a walk by the water.

Love these two goofballs!

Some questions for you:

  • When was the last time you ran a half marathon?
  • Have you ever run an 8k?
  • Do you like veggie dogs?

I’m linking up with Katie and the weekly wraps.

Training Tuesday: OMG It’s Race Week

Yes, it’s RACE WEEK. We are here! Just 4 more days until it all begins. Eep!!

Am I excited? Yes.

Am I ready for training to be over? Somewhat?

Have I trained like I wanted to? Not quite … but not much we can do about it now!

This week I ended up with 24ish miles.  

But before I get into that, let’s look at a photo from this time last year … this was Cari and me at the Cleveland Marathon Expo!! I was nearly full term and ready to run hobble the 5k and 10k.

AND here’s a glimpse at this year’s course!

Okay, on to this week’s training. Here’s how it went:

Sunday: Rest! 

Monday: 6 miles on the treadmill. After taking Sunday, I was actually looking forward to this run. I had 5 on the schedule so after I did 50 minutes, I walked for a minute and then decided to run until I got to 6. I felt pretty good most of the time.

Tuesday: 4.6ish miles on the treadmill. 10×400 at 7.7 mph. The treadmill cut out after the first few intervals so I’m not 100% sure on mileage, but I think I finished at around 4.6 after doing a cool down from the intervals.

Wednesday: 4 miles.  3 miles on the schedule, I did 3.5 and finished with a cool down as well.

Thursday: 35 minutes on the elliptical. I did some reading and ellipticalling until FW woke up.

Friday: 9.5ish miles! I really wanted to get in a long run before the race and was aiming for 10. But, at about mile 3.5 I started having some serious stomach cramping and had to stop to walk. It continued on and off for the next mile or so and I knew I had to turn around. I ran/walked back and then felt semi-okay at the end so I did manage to finish 9.5 But wow, that was rough. I hope race day is a different story!

Saturday: 0 miles. I had to work from about 8:30-12:30 and then we had a busy afternoon planned, so I didn’t get in a run. I did manage to walk a ton thanks to my work event (which I walked to also) so I got in 16,000+ steps anyway!

And that was it for the week – 24ish miles for the week! 3 DAYS UNTIL RACE WEEKEND!

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Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs!

Some questions for you:

  • Are you racing this weekend?
  • What are some good race week tips?

First Mother’s Day Weekend

I celebrated my first Mother’s Day with B and FW this weekend! Last year, I was 30+ weeks pregnant and felt funny every time people told me Happy Mother’s Day. But this year, with a 10-month-old boy, things are a little different 🙂

This year, B, FW and I celebrated with a weekend full of things that I enjoy doing.

For example, Friday night we got a beer at one of our favorite local pubs. Oh, and my phone died Friday so all of these photos are from B’s phone – and I was pretty much sans technology all weekend!

Saturday, I had to work in the morning, but was able to meet B and FW for a late lunch. We met up with a friend at Great Lakes Brewing Company before doing some shopping at the West Side Market.

Then, after a little shopping and errand-running, we went to the Indians game! It was FW’s first game. 

 

The weather was great – it was a little chilly but sunny and mild the entire game.

And then, for dinner, B made me pizza!

Sunday morning was GREAT. We started out with a run on the Towpath.

Followed by some donuts from a nearby donut shop. They have a CASSSATA CAKE donut just for Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day and omg it is amazing (not pictured).

And then, some brunch. We feasted on some Mexican Eggs Benedict and shared a pancake as well.

While FW napped, we were also semi-productive; B helped me meal prep for the week and I caught up on some more work. It’s been busy and I’m trying hard not to get behind!

That afternoon, we went over to B’s family’s house for Mother’s Day dinner. We had small plates, a bunch of food that people brought over as a potluck. Some of the goodness included crab cakes, salad, cheese and bread, fruit, shrimp, open-faced steak sandwiches, bruschetta and more!

All in all, it was a great way to spend my first Mother’s Day.

Questions for you:

  • When was the last time you were without a phone or any technology?
  • Do you like cassata cake?

I’m linking up with Katie and the weekly wraps.

Training Tuesday: Out of Whack

Last week was a little bit out of whack. Not just from running, but life in general.

B was away all week on a work trip and didn’t get back until Saturday afternoon.  He was gone for six nights, not that I was counting.  This meant that I had to handle all the middle of the night wakings,  daycare drop-offs and pick-ups, dressing and changing,  preparing the food, and everything that he usually helps with.  It was harder and more tiring than I thought, and running  was an afterthought.

Luckily, in terms of running, it went a little better than I expected.  I typically run early in the morning when B and FW are still sleeping.  I usually go to the gym but I wasn’t going to leave FW by himself this week obviously. Still, I managed to get in a few runs while he was at daycare  so I did not and out the week with zero!

I rounded out the week with just under 19 miles:

Sunday: 0 miles. B and my parents left that morning/early afternoon and I was home alone with FW for the day. I did managed to go out for a few walks with him since the weather was gorgeous – it was 80 and sunny!

Monday: 3.1 miles outside at 8’36” average pace!  I was a little bit early on my way to pick up FW from daycare, so I decided to go for a quick run around the neighborhood before grabbing him. And quick it was – I was anxious to see him so I ran fast!

Tuesday: 3.1 miles. I didn’t plan to run, but a meeting I had scheduled after work suddenly got postponed, so I ended up having 30 minutes to kill before I had to pick up FW from daycare. I decided to hop on the treadmill and do some speedwork to make it count. I ended up doing 2×800 m at 7.7 mph, 1600 m at between 6.8 and 7.2 mph and then a final 800 m at 7.7 mph. I did a little walking in between each set and got to a 5k total.

Wednesday: none.

Thursday: 4.5 treadmill miles. 3.5 running and 1 mile cool down. Confession – this run did NOT feel good. Not sure if it was the peanut butter I had eaten beforehand (peanut butter does not agree with me and running), but my stomach hurt the whole time and I could barely go 6.2 mph – much slower than my Monday run!

check out my new kicks!

Friday: none.  Daycare was closed and I was home alone with FW and it was RAINY. We did manage to get in two short walks when the rain turned into a drizzle, but it was not the best day for being outside, sadly.

Saturday: 8.25 indoor miles. It wasn’t the 11 on my schedule, but considering how the week had gone, I was happy to get in any run. Plus, the weather was ICKY. I was supposed to do a long run with my sister-in-law, but it was 40 degrees, raining an 25+mph winds. She had done a 5k in the morning and wasn’t feeling going back out in the awful weather. As soon as B got home from his trip, I hopped on the treadmill. My goal was to get to 5-7 and I was pleased to get to 7.55 plus a cool down.

And that was it for the week – 18.95 miles! 

Yes, a little less mileage than I’d like a few weeks before the race, but more than I was expecting with B out of town and super soggy and windy weather all week.

Some questions for you:

  • When is your next race?
  • What’s your longest treadmill run?

 

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Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs!

Oh Hey, May

This weekend, B came home. And it stopped raining. So yeah, it was a good weekend.

B had been gone for 6 days for a work trip. And it rained for pretty much 5.76 of those days. But this weekend, FINALLY the sun came out!

I started the weekend with a treadmill run while B watched FW. I got in 8 miles while watching Bridget Jones’s Baby.

Then it was time for the Kentucky Derby party! I did have a hat that I wore but it didn’t get pictured.

That night, B and I had plans to go out for a belated anniversary celebration. We saw Something Rotten! and it was AWESOME. 

We got a late dinner and drinks after the show. 

Sunday morning it was FINALLY NOT RAINING, so we took a walk around downtown with FW. It was chilly and windy, but seeing the blue skies was great. 

American Ninja Warrior is filming in Cleveland this week, so we stopped by the set and watched them finish setting up.

We spent the afternoon cleaning, meal prepping and watching the Cavs sweep the Raptors!

We didn’t have our usual Sunday dinner, so B made us some. He cooked us his own take on fish and chips and mushy peas and it was great!! I’d have this over traditional fish and chips any day 🙂

I ended the night catching up on work and finishing a little cleaning. After a week without B, the apartment needed some TLC 🙂

Some questions for you:

  • Do you watch American Ninja Warrior?
  • Which NBA team do you root for?

I’m linking up with Katie and the weekly wraps.

Training Tuesday: Race Month is Here!

I can’t believe race month is here! Just a few more Training Tuesday posts before it will be time for my official Cleveland Marathon Ambassador wrap up post for half marathon and 8k!

BUT I’m getting ahead of myself. Speaking of being an ambassador, this week, we had a meet up with a few of the other race ambassadors. It was great to get some swag (check out my cool beer mug!), see some of the goodies (the marathon medal is HUGE!) AND  of course, catch up with my other running buddies.

Now, onto this week’s runs.

Sunday: None! B wasn’t home and I didn’t get a chance to get in a run with FW. Which was fine, my body needed to recover from the previous day’s 10 miler.

Monday: 5.85 miles on the treadmill. Had not much sleep thanks to a cranky baby at night, but was happy to be able to get in a run after Sunday’s off day.

Tuesday: 4.5 miles. 9×400. Did the 400s at 7.7 pace and did a warmup and cool down.

Wednesday: 3ish (?) miles. The treadmill shut down around 1.3ish miles, but in not sure exactly how much I had run. Got on a different machine for 1.7 more  and before I knew it, FW was up crying for me. Glad to have gotten in 3ish miles. minute tempo run on the schedule.  Started out super tired,  but ended up running a little longer- 40 minutes,  then cooling down. All done inside, on the treadmill.

Thursday: 5.15 treadmill miles. 4.15 or so running and 1 mile walking.

Friday: None – rest day!

Saturday: 6.29 miles outside!! 2nd Sole, a local running store had set up some training runs for the Cleveland marathon, half and 10k events. While I should have done the half marathon training run (12 miles), Saturday was my sister-in-law’s wedding, so due to timing (and not wanting to be super tired), I did only the 10k. It started out cool and rainy but ended up being decent weather for a few miles. AND it’s always nice to step outside my comfort zone and run with a group!

And that was it for the week – 24ish miles! 

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like to run in groups?
  • What’s your ideal running weather?

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Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs!