Processing the Cleveland Marathon

I have had a hard time processing all the events from last week’s Cleveland Marathon. More than a week has gone by, and I’m still trying to put to words how I’m feeling.

The highs – the Ambassador race VIP dinner, working the Expo with fellow Ambassadors, and of course finishing the races under less-than-ideal conditions.

But the low – the passing of Taylor Ceepo – has been running through my mind all week.

I’ll start by saying I did not know Taylor. I had never met her. I do not know her family and cannot fathom what they are feeling. Unfortunately the only connection I have to her is running the same race – the Cleveland half marathon – and running by her after she collapsed.

So why do I feel so connected to her? Why on after the race did I have a hard time going to sleep, reliving the moment that I ran by her on the ground, her mom and boyfriend standing over her, each time I closed my eyes? Why did I find myself choked up on my first #RunForTaylor on Wednesday? Why did I find myself hugging my own daughter a little tighter as I thought about what Taylor’s mother must be feeling?

I can’t help but feeling like I don’t have a right to feel this way. I don’t have a right to write a post like this. Who am I to be talking about this at all? But after reading some thoughts from other local runners, I realize I am not alone. We are all grieving for this woman. Because we are all part of a community. One of my running friends and a fellow ambassador Andrew explained it this way:

We [runners] all have different routines, different speeds, and different backgrounds. But we all have two things in common; a goal to finish and a love for running. This is what brings us together.

We lost one of our own this day. And our hearts are broken. Our hearts are broken for the spectators who witnessed [it], the race staff, the runners who shared the course, the first-responders who were unable to revive her. Most importantly, our hearts are broken for the family and friends of this young woman.

So thank you, Taylor, for reminding us of the community that we are part of. For reminding us of how lucky we all are. I will keep on running for you and your family in the weeks ahead. #runfortaylor

LM Turns One

This weekend is brought to you by the letter F. F is for First birthday, Friends, Family and Food — all wonderful things and well, I’m still smiling over what an amazingly wonderful weekend it was.

Friday was LM’s first birthday. That’s right, LM turned one over the weekend and I can’t believe it! While I’m still emotionally recovering, we had a blast celebrating. Friday celebrations started off early – I took the afternoon off and we were able to get the kids early from daycare to spend some time at the playground. Both LM and FW loved the swings.

And then we took LM to get her first ice cream. No photos of her, but FW loved his 🙂

Friday night, B and I actually got in a date night. My parents came into town, so B and I snuck out to grab drinks.

And then we had tickets to see the Indians – they won!

We even made it out for an after dinner drink on East 4th.

Saturday came early (especially after staying out late Friday), but was filled with celebrations — it was LM’s party! She enjoyed her first cake.

B’s mom made the cake and cupcakes – isn’t she amazing?!

LM thought so. She got frosting in her nose 🙂

The weather was PERFECT and FW enjoyed playing with his friends, cousins and of course, me.

After Saturday’s perfect weather, Sunday turned out stormy. We managed to catch a break in the rain and made it to the Zoo with my parents.

LM is still a little too young to enjoy it, but FW had such a blast. His favorite animals are the giraffes and elephants, and he got in some quality time with both.

Monday morning my parents left, and we hit up the local Memorial Day parade. It starts about 2 miles from our house, so B rode with the kids on the bike and I ran over.

Post-parade included some hot dogs at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, followed by a run home.

Aftet naptime, it was time for bbq #2, this time at B’s uncle’s house.

FW had some more fun and food with his cousins and LM did some assisted walking.

And that was the end of our perfect three-day weekend. Cheers to the unofficial start of summer!

Some questions for you:

  • Did you watch a Memorial Day parade?
  • Did you get outside this weekend?

Cleveland Half Marathon Week – Post-Race Day Workouts

It’s been one week since I ran the Cleveland Half Marathon Challenge Series. Last Saturday, I ran the 8k and Sunday I ran the half marathon, and this week has been all about getting back into the swing of running, recovering, and also tending to my bruises (I rolled my ankle and scraped my knees during a fall at mile 2 of the half marathon … whoops!).

Here was a look at this week’s workouts:

And some highlights from the week:

Sunday’s race (full recap here) was a tough one. It was in the 80s and I was not used to running in the heat. But I kept it fun and finished strong, even if it was slower than I would’ve liked.

After taking Monday and Tuesday off, I decided to #RunForTaylor Wednesday through Friday. My runs were slower than they usually are, but warm weather and a recovering body make it understandable. I’m glad that I’ve felt good enough to get in as many runs as I did this week.

Some questions for you:

  • How many days do you take off after a race? A half marathon?
  • Do you prefer cool or hot weather running?

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

Cleveland Marathon -8K and Half- Challenge Series: Race Recap

I can’t believe the weekend is over. I have been training since January for this past weekend’s races, and just like that, it’s over. I’m feeling a little let down – after all, what do I do now?

I don’t have a normal training week to share with you. Did I run last week? Yes – I got in a few taper runs and a stroller run Sunday through Wednesday and took Thursday off. The bulk of my running last week was done Saturday and Sunday for the Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series!

Let’s just say that the weather was NOT in my favor for the weekend’s events. I was weather stalking for quite a few days, and each day, the forecast got hotter and hotter. I hadn’t trained in anything really warmer than 50 degrees, so I was obviously a little nervous as I saw it creep from 60s to 70s and the to .. gasp …  80s?! At that point, I knew the only thing I could do would be hydrate and hope for the best. Not a PR, but not my worst race.

Starting the Weekend with the 8K

I had signed up for the 8K/Half Marathon Challenge Series, which meant my race weekend started on Saturday with an 8K in Downtown Cleveland.

The weather, while NOT super hot, ended up not being the best either. This was the radar as we started to drive into the city.

The temps ended up being fine, but it drizzled as we approached the starting line, and started really raining while we ran. Still, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “At least it’s not too warm!” Yes, I prefer 50s and rainy to 80s, at least at this point in my training.

At the start, I ran into a few fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors, and it was just enough time to snap a pic before the race began.

I tried to keep it a little easy on the run, knowing I had the 13.1 miles less than 24 hours later. So, I kept my heart rate mostly in the green range and according to my Garmin, around a 9:08 min/mile pace. I clocked in at over 5 miles, so who knows if all the zigging and zagging gave me an extra quarter mile or if the course was a little long.

I felt myself smiling nearly the whole race. I was that person thanking the cops for being there and keeping the roads closed, high fiving some of the people spectating (including FW!) and really just enjoying being out there. Despite the rain, I was feeling good and hoping that I’d feel the same on Sunday.

The Half Marathon

Sunday started EARLY. And warm. I had set my alarm for 4 a.m. just to get ready, feed LM (I’m still breastfeeding and wanted to get in a quick feed before the race) and get downtown with enough time to meet up with my ambassadors at the starting line by 6:30. We had the whole morning planned. Leave the house by 5:45 a.m., get breakfast from Cleveland Bagel at 6 a.m., park in my office parking garage at 6:15 a.m. and be at the starting line for a picture with the ambassadors.

That was the plan, at least. What actually happened? We didn’t make it out of the house until 5:55, so we skipped bagels, and then the road we were going to take to get to the garage was closed, so we ended up parking almost 2 miles from the start, so I made a mad dash (a literal sprint) to the starting line to just make the starting line photo. But I made it! Sweaty since it was already getting warm – it was already in the 70s before 5 a.m.!

The race started and I wish I could say the first few miles felt good. But they didn’t. I was somehow a little sore/tight/tired (perhaps from the previous day’s race? Or perhaps from my sprint to the start? And I was hot.

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At mile 2, I took a spill, falling completely down on the ground and bloodying up my knees, shin, right ankle, hand and also rolling my left ankle.

I saw B at mile 5 or so (which was the third time I saw him and the kids – they were great at finding me and cheering me on!) and told him I wasn’t going to make it. I was too hot, my ankle was sore and my feet were starting to hurt. And my fingers were swelling. But all of a sudden  – I don’t know why or how – I realized that I was running this for fun. So I may as well try and have fun. So that’s what I decided to do! Every sign I saw that said “touch here to power up” I touched. Every person giving out high fives, I high fives. I ran through sprinklers. Ran under hoses. Walked through water stops and drank 1-2 cups each time. And before I knew it, I was finishing the race – not a PR at all – and crossing the finish line to meet my family, see some friends (including fellow ambassadors Andrew and Melissa!) and have a post-race beer.

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It was a hot one, especially for Cleveland this time of year where it’s usually in the 60s, 70s. Most of my fellow ambassadors found themselves running 10, 20, and even 30 minutes+ slower than usual. I saw several ambulances on the course, people getting sick and being taken off the course. Especially after the tragedy of the weekend (which I ran past and happened to see at the end of the race … ), I’m feeling especially grateful to have finished the race and had fun, despite the heat and less-than-stellar temps.

And in the end, I ended up with THREE medals for my 8K and 13.1:

Some questions for you:

  • Did you run CLE? What did you think of the course?
  • What’s the hottest race you’ve run? This was 81 when I finished. It was one of the hottest for sure!

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

How I’m Learning to Deal with Picky Eaters

I have a confession to make. Last week alone, I fed my kid “chik’n” nuggets, grilled cheese and quesadillas … and I’m okay with it.

I never intended to buy frozen food, heat it up and serve it on a regular basis. I know my mom never did that (did you, mom? Because the only thing I’m pretty sure you bought frozen was tortellini, but you made it with your homemade sauce so that doesn’t count, right?) … and before kids, our dinners consisted of grilled meats and fishes, healthy grains, homemade sauces and dressings, salads and even homemade bread. So what happened?

how to deal with a picky eater toddler

I have a picky eater. My (almost) 3-year-old doesn’t like vegetables. Not even the so-called “kid-friendly” vegetables like broccoli or carrots (yes, people have told me that these are the veggies kids like). He doesn’t even really like pizza!

So how are we surviving? Here’s how I’ve learned to live with it:

  • Stop comparing and beating myself up. Before having kids, I’d heard people say that if you feed kids what you eat then they’ll have to eat it. Let’s just say that that’s not the case. That’s what we’ve tried to do, but my son is perfectly happy not eating dinner. If we’re eating something he doesn’t like, he’s happy going to bed without eating and then waking up at 3 a.m. starving. For his well-being (and attempt not to wake up at 3 a.m.), I prefer that not be the case.
  • Never give up. Just because he doesn’t like something the first time (or the 5th time), doesn’t mean he always won’t like it. And, the more he sees us eating different foods, the more likely he is to try them. You can imagine my astonishment when one day he reached for a drumstick off my husband’s plate and took a bite. And now “chicken on the bone” (as he calls it) is something he loves.
  • Find a food your kid loves and sneak the good stuff in it. My son loves muffins. We call him the muffin man. So you’d better bet that we’ve made spinach muffins, lentil muffins, zucchini cauliflower muffins, etc. Is he eating spinach or lentils or zucchini on a regular basis? Not by itself, but definitely in a muffin. And, after he’s eaten the muffins, I do tell him what is in there. His favorite muffin is a banana, zucchini, lentil, chocolate chip muffin.
  • Make mealtime fun. The last thing I want is to make dinner stressful. So maybe we’ll put the peas on his plate in the shape of a letter C. Or maybe the roasted carrots will be standing up. OR, maybe I’ll hide a gummy fruit snack under a few pieces of vegetables for him to find. And if he doesn’t eat them, he doesn’t eat them – but at least they make him smile.

Do you have any tips for fellow moms of picky eaters?

Note: This post originally appeared on my page on Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine’s website. I blog for them on occasion- see what else I have to say there!

Cleveland Half Marathon Training: One Week To Go

It’s TAPER time! That’s right, race day is NEXT weekend and it’s time to taper.

What does that mean for me for a half marathon? Well, I decided not to do a long run this past weekend (mostly because I was tired … and busy). And this week I’m keeping my runs to 3-4 miles at most. And then I’ll take Thurs/Fri off before getting to run the Cleveland Half Marathon Challenge Series 8k/half on Saturday and Sunday!

Last week’s training was okay. I did just under 30 miles total, and my “long” run was 6ish miles. I did two six-milers and it was amazing how different each felt. Thursdays was done on less 5 hours of sleep and I could not MOVE my body at all. Saturdays was done on a little more sleep and felt so much better!

Here’s a look at my 10x400m. I tried to keep my 400 meters under 8 min/mile paces, but not all worked out.

And take a look at the difference in Thursday and Saturday’s runs. Thursday was done at a slower pace, too – but check out the difference in heartrate!

Saturday:

Thursday:

What’s race day forecast looking like?

Well, it’s not my ideal racing weather (48-52 degrees and party cloudy), but it could be worse, right? Let’s just hope it doesn’t get much warmer and stays in the 50s during the actual race time. What are the chances of that?

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your ideal race weather?
  • Do you take a day or two off of running before a race?

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

Partying the Weekend Away (Family-Friendly Style)

We had a jam packed, fun weekend in CLE. The weather finally turned nice (on one day), and it included a birthday party, Indians game, some running, some working on the house and a Derby party. Man, I think I need another weekend just to recover from our fun – I’m feeling pooped!

Friday started with a LONG run – I got up at 4 a.m. and got in 11.23 mi before the kids woke up and it was time to get ready for school and work. Cleveland half marathon race day is just two weeks away!

Work flew by Friday. It was a busy day and I got pulled last minute into a 2 hour meeting, which made my morning fly by. And my coworker brought her dog in – look how cute he is!

 

We ended the day with BBQ for dinner – I forgot to take a pic of the food, but we all (even LM) got in on the fun 🙂

Saturday was by far our busiest day. It included some indoor playtime while it rained in the morning.

And an Indians game – they won!

Also, a birthday party for our neighbor – they now have a 1 year old! Their baby is actually in LM’s class at school, too.

And a Kentucky Derby party. This hat stayed on for about 30 seconds.

Sunday included some work around the house – we got a delivery of dirt so we can finally start our garden soon!

And a stroller run with FW. I got in 5+ miles, which I think ism longest stroller run ever. He fell asleep around 3-4 miles in, so I was able to go a little longer than usual.

FW and I also made some spinach zucchini banana muffins. They’re not as sweet as the muffins I’ve been making, but I hope they’ll get him to eat some more veggies!

We ended the day with a Cinco De Mayo themed dinner … that i forgot to get a picture of. Oh well – I assure you it was delicious 🙂 And instead I’ll leave you with a picture of a taco I had on Thursday.

  • How was your weekend?
  • Did you do anything for Cinco de Mayo?