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.

Things to Love about the Cleveland Marathon 10K

CONGRATS TO Jenna S! Jenna was the winner of my Cleveland Marathon giveaway and has shared that she’s going to also run the 10k.  AND, since I’m doing the 5k/10k challenge series (fingers crossed!), I thought it’d be fun to share a few of my favorite things about the Cleveland Marathon 10k.

Some of my fellow CLE ambassadors!

  1. The course and energy. You’re running the same race as the half marathon and full marathon (with shorter distance, obviously), so you get to enjoy so many of the same perks! The same crowds, the same (partial) course (HERE’s a link to the course), same entertainment, same refreshments — you get to enjoy it ALL. The 5k is the day before and while I do enjoy it, you don’t get the perks of running the same day as the main events.
  2. You’re done early. You’re likely done before many of the half and full marathoners, which means you get to 1) start the after-celebration sooner (yes you can enjoy the music and beer too!) and 2) get showered/freshened up and still be back in time to watch the finish! This was a little easier when I lived walking distance from the start, but at least you can get changed and freshen up even if you’re just doing it in a bathroom near the course.
  3. You FEEL amazing. Okay, I admit it. Sometimes when I’ve run the 10k in the past, I feel like I’m somewhat slacking off because I’m among all these amazing runners who are running 2-4x as long as I am. BUT a 10k is an amazing feat and you should be proud of your accomplishment!

Bonus: If you’ve signed up for the Challenge Series (5k/10k), you get to enjoy so many more perks, like an amazing hoodie, a challenge medal AND a gift.

NOTE: Today is the LAST DAY to sign up for the Challenge Series so get on that NOW if you’re interested! There is NO registration at the Expo! AND TODAY is the last day for online registration in general!

You may have missed my giveaway, but if you haven’t yet registered for the 10k (or another race), don’t forget you can use my discount code, MCCLE10 for 10% off your registration.

Some questions for you:

  • How do you feel about the 10K as a distance?
  • What’s your next race on your calendar?

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

Tuesdays on the Run: 2017 Year in Running in Review

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I can’t believe the holidays are over; it’s my favorite time of year.  But as we head into the New Year, it’s time to look back and reflect on 2017.

As I look back a the year in running, if I had to give myself a grade, I’d give myself a B+. It wasn’t my best year in terms of mileage quantity – I’ve run more miles in years past, but I still ran more this year than last year.  Some of the highlights, number wise (NOTE that these numbers should go up still, as is does not include any mileage that I run between now and the end of the year):

  • Total mileage for 2017: 1,111+ miles
  • Average weekly mileage: 22 miles
  • Most popular day for a run: Tuesday (I ran 46 Tuesdays this year)
  • Least popular day for a run: Friday (I only ran 28 Fridays)
  • Average number of days run/week: 5

Some visual highlights from 2017:

I started the year out finding that I had been selected as a Skirt Sports Ambassador and even ran a race (The Chili 5K in Cleveland) with some of my fellow local ambassadors!

I also found out that I was selected as a Sparkly Soul Ambassador! I love their headbands – they are the only ones that don’t fall off my slippery head/hair.

I trained for and ran the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 10K/Half Marathon Series in May. I ran it with Mary and FW and B cheered me on!  I was close to a PR, too – finishing at .

B and I have done some stroller runs with FW. B tends to use the stroller more when we run together or in races, but it has been great to be able to get outside and run with him, too! (and yes, he sometimes falls asleep, which is also a plus)

I JUST found out that I’m now also a 2018 Nuun Ambassador! I can’t wait to stock up on some of my favorites to keep me hydrated as I continue to run this winter.

And speaking of winter, I’ve already broken out the Yaktrax and run in the snow. This is a big deal for me – I hate winter and winter running as well, so I’m pretty proud that I was able to get out there a few times when we had some snow. I stayed inside most of last winter, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep up going outside sometimes this winter as well.

B and I moved. While this isn’t necessarily a running highlight, I now have many new running paths! I miss downtown living and running in downtown CLE, but there are so many beautiful places for me to explore.

Here’s to hoping that 2018 is another good year of running! Some questions for you:

  • How would you grade your 2017 year of running?
  • Any tips for getting through winter running?

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

Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series 5k/10k Race Recap (subtitle #1- rain, sleet, wind and hail and the most Cleveland race ever; subtitle #2- 35 weeks pregnant and still running!)

As you know, this past weekend, I completed the 5k/10k event of the Inaugural Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series. When I signed up for the event just a few months ago, I admit that it sounded easy peasy. Over the past several years, I have run the Cleveland half marathon; however, this year, being 8 months pregnant, I decided to sign up for some shorter races. Truth be told – it was much more difficult than I had thought!

Friday night I got in some good carbo loading at the VIP Marathon Reception. As an ambassador, I was lucky enough to get an invite. B and I got to see Jack Staph, the marathon president, speak, enjoy some delicious food and hang out with some of my favorite running buddies!

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PSA – I LOVE these people. They are all so inspiring in their own stories and I have thrived on the support and encouragement of them this year!

Saturday morning started early with the 5k, at Edgewater Park. The conditions were not REALLY ideal – it was 50 degrees (YAY!) but super windy (20+ mph winds) and on and off cold rain. I knew it wasn’t going to be a great race when my legs started hurting immediately from he start. Lately I have been feeling sore during or after runs – but after having a few good runs this week, I was hoping to feel good this weekend.

I may be smiling in this photo but it's only because B told me that a camera was on my left

I may be smiling in this photo but it’s only because B told me that a camera was on my left

But I pushed myself and B and I finished the 5k in under 10 min/mile pace, which had been my goal.

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look how windy it is!

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Sunday morning the day started even earlier and cooler and windier.

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Of course I had to use the bathroom and we waited in the porta potty line for ages. We were finally ready to head to the start as the last of the runners and walkers were beginning – so at least we had the time to take a starting line selfie!

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The course was new this year! It was the first year I had done the 10k, but the 10k, half and full all run the first 3ish miles together. And I liked it! We ran through my neighborhood, Playhouse Square, the Campus District and some other flat terrain before hitting up the hilly bridge and Shoreway. B ran with me the entire time, so he was able to snap some photos.20160515_074817

I took it easy. I was still sore from the 5k and wanted to keep my heart rate lower than the day before (it got into the 160s a few times), so we played it safe and slow. Despite it RAINING, SNOWING AND HAILING and it being super windy and getting a few cramps and BH, I felt pretty good the entire time! Even as we were finishing, B goes to me “maybe you could have run the half marathon!” Um, who knows 🙂 Anyway, we finished the race a lot slower than I typically run, but I’m sure it was for the best. And we still got our three medals!

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All in all, it was a good race! Despite the not-so-great weather, there were still some people out cheering the runners on, which was great. AND my friend/running buddy Erica even came out with this AMAZING sign!

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Finishing the 10k confirmed that I CAN still run. I’m stronger than I think and even at 35 weeks pregnant I haven’t lost myself – I’m still a runner. Just a pregnant runner 🙂

I’m feeling really good about completing the Mini-Challenge and the new Challenge Series for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. I know so many people who did the 8 km and the half or even the 8k and the full, and I know that I’ll be back and one of those combos one day soon!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have any races coming up?
  • Have you ever done a two-day race series?

I’m linking up today with ErinKatie and the weekly wraps.