GIVEAWAY: Run CLE with Me! Cleveland Marathon Entry Giveaway

The cool weather, shorter days and snow outside only means one thing for runners — it’s spring marathon training time!

That’s right, just when the weather is at it’s pique for running (sense my sarcasm?), it’s time for us runners to start training again. Lucky for us, we’re a crazy crew and we’re ready to take on the challenge! That’s why I’m excited to share that once again I’m returning as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador!

That means that I get to promote one of my favorite race series – the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, happening May 19, 2019. Not ready to run a marathon? Race weekend has plenty of options, including a Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 8K, 5K, 1-mile and even a Kids’ Run. And there’s my favorite – the Challenge Series events, where if you run both Saturday and Sunday, you get 3 cool medals and a special gift (gifts have included a fleece blanket, hoodie, etc.)!

What’s in it for you? I get to give away one race entry! This year’s giveaway is taking place somewhere new – my Instagram account. That’s right, head on over to @koskim on Instagram to enter.

And while you’re on Instagram, check out the @Clevemarathon account – I’m taking over their stories today!!

Some fun facts about the Cleveland Marathon:

  • The Cleveland Marathon is one of the 50 oldest marathons in the country – it began in 1978 and had the same course until 2004!
  • The race was the first to invite elite runners from the Soviet Union to the marathon during the Cold War.
  • The 10K was added in 1978, the half marathon event was added in 2005 and the 5K added in 2009.

Ready to run? Check out @koskim on Instagram to enter today. The giveaway will run through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, 1/20. And you get a bonus entry just by commenting on this blog post!

Some questions for you:

  • What was the last race you ran?
  • Do you like winter running?

And if you don’t win, you can still get 10% off! Use discount code MC2019 when you register.

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. 

Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon Recap (2015)

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

I’m not going to dwell on this week’s training, because really – you all want to hear about the race, don’t you? Instead, I’ll tell you that it included a last tempo run (Tuesday) and some outdoor runs with my ladies the other days (and temps from 70s to 30s…because that’s what Cleveland is like):

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Anyway, Sunday was race day. Earlier in week, Nicole had asked me if I had a goal for the race. ‘To PR,” I said, almost confidently. Which is NOT me. I don’t have running confidence, even after running 8 or so half marathons, training for a full, and logging miles nearly every day, I am not confident about my running. It was only this year that I even started to consider myself a runner! So, I was surprised that I said that.

BUT I feared I jinxed myself. As race day got nearer, the weather was not looking great. I do well in 40s-50s and it was supposed to be 70s, 80% humidity and – well – not my ideal running weather.

this is what was posted to Facebook a few days before the race:

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So yeah, let’s just say that come race eve and morning, I was not expecting a PR. All week I prepped. I stayed hydrated as much as I could, drinking water, nooma and more water with a splash of Crystal Light.

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My desk at work. Staying hydrated!

The night before the race I followed my plan to the T. Despite being on my feet for much longer than I would’ve liked during the day (from about 10-4:30 due to a work event and then at the Expo), I ate well, drank my fluids and was in bed by 9 to watch a pump-me-up movie (B chose Run For Your Life about the beginning of the NY Marathon).

Race morning started out well. I somehow managed to sleep nearly full the night getting more than 7 hours and woke up at 5 a.m. feeling ready to go. The rain looked like it would hold off, so I opted to go with a tank top and shorts. I hate running in tank tops because of how tight they often are but I knew that I’d have to with the humidity.

I was supposed to meet the Ambassadors at 6:30 at the starting line for a pre-race photo opp. Of course things didn’t go as planned. After finishing my normal pre-race fuel (1/4 of a bagel with honey and a few bites of a protein bar), I realized I had no idea where my license was. And then my keys. And then one of my nails from the Expo fell off. Let’s just say that I didn’t leave my apartment until about 6:45.

The start!

The start!

As we walked to the start, it started pouring. We found some shelter and it somehow stopped just a few minutes before 7 a.m. and we hustled to the starting line. The start was SO efficient! At exactly 7 a.m. the race began and we were surrounded by cheers, people taking photos, and we made it into our corral and so we began.

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Here’s somewhat of what was going on in my head:

Miles 1-4: This is great! I love half marathons. I love the crowds, the people running, the sounds of the garmins going off each mile ere great. I was feeling amazing, not running too fast, not feeling too hot, and stopping for water at each water stop. B and I were running together and I loved the crowds at the start, in Ohio City and Tremont.

Selfie at the start

Selfie at the start

Mile 5: This is rough. I hit a wall, early, and felt my minerals draining. Was it too early to take a Gu? Or my new favorite – Boom (apple cinnamon is my fave)? It was okay running down Clark but I was losing momentum and the people were scarce.

Mile 6: Yay! People are cheering. I love Ohio City. Oh hey- I see Joey! Hey Joey. And the Ignatius band. You’re awesome! Thank you! I even said to B – I needed that cheering, I was starting to feel myself lose momentum.

Mile 7: There HAS to be Boom gel soon, right? I mean – I need it. But wow, Gordon Square is awesome. These crowds. Oh wait – they’re gone? Thank goodness for water – and that hose! Ok, I’m giving in – definitely need some of my Gu I brought with me. Oh my goodness- I love Salted Caramel Gu!

Mile 8: Oh THERE’s the Boom. Apple Cinnamon – my favorite! If I just hold this in my hand and keep squeezing it, maybe my super swollen hand will get back to normal.

This is not a flattering photo but you can see my hair whipping AND the gel in my hand. Squeezing away!

This is not a flattering photo but you can see my hair whipping AND the gel in my hand. Squeezing away!

Miles 9-10: So long marathoners – hello Lakewood. Oh my. I have to do another 5k?!

Miles 11-12.5: I hate the shoreway. I hate the shoreway. Let me repeat myself. These rolling hills. The steady incline. The lack of crowds. Well this is better than last year I think?

Mile 12.5-13: B tells me to go ahead. He’s been pacing me the entire time but the heat has taken a toll on him.  “You may PR” he says. “Really?!”I say in disbelief. “Well, not really…err…maybe?” So I do it. I go ahead. I run and realize I’ve started running too hard too pace. I can no longer push it. Or can I?

Just after leaving B. Feeling like I can do this - I can push it!

Just after leaving B. Feeling like I can do this – I can push it!

Mile 13.1: I see the finish clock. It says 1:59. I can do this. Under 2 hours again. And maybe … just maybe, my chip time will be a PR? I’m done!

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And so – a PR. Was it as fast as I could have gone/ Probably not. But with the heat and humidity was I happy? Yes, yes, yes!

B took this of me after our race

B took this of me after our race

I have so many mixed feelings now that the race is over. I truly loved my experience as an Ambassador. I loved wearing my Ambassador shirt this weekend- I got people at the Expo and even in the streets coming up to me and asking me questions about not only the race, but also the city I loved the support system of the fellow ambassadors – everyone was so nice and motivational.

Post race with B and Mary

Post race with B and Mary

Looking back at the race, how do I feel? I loved the crowds at the beginning, in Ohio City, Gordon Square, Tremont and Lakewood and I even enjoyed the new part of the course and seeing a part of the city I’d never seen before. I enjoyed the post-race party and of course the cheering at the finish line. I guess it helps that I got a PR – of course that makes the race pretty happy as well – but I am SO proud to be a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador. I felt proud of the city and the race and can’t wait to run it again next year!

with some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race (photo from The Tambura Runner: http://thetamburarunner.com)

with some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race (photo from The Tambura Runner: http://thetamburarunner.com)

Two Words: Stress Fractures

This time last week, I was anticipating my next Saturday night. I’d imagined myself chowing down on some pasta and bread with some other runners, getting pre-marathon jitters and feeling excited and proud about completing my first marathon the next morning.

That’s all changed. As you can probably guess from the title of this post, I found out what was ailing me — stress fractures. That’s right – plural. All week I’d been having some pain in my left foot and even after icing and taking NSAIDs, it wouldn’t go away. There was a nagging feeling that something was wrong, so I took some people’s advice and headed to an orthopedic doctor who specializes in sports medicine.

I had X-Rays on Friday – my left foot and my left lower leg – and sure enough, I had not only stress fractures in my metatarsal, but a large stress fracture in my tibia. That pain that I assumed was shin splints? That was the stress fracture. That weird bump that was growing on my shin? That was my tibia bone, growing back onto itself. I left the doctor’s office wearing an air cast (or as the dr told me, “the most expensive boot I probably owned”), an appointment for an MRI and a strict order NOT to run the marathon for fear my tibia would break in half mid-race.

That’s right, TWO days before the race, I was told not to run. Seventeen weeks of training, hundreds of miles, including a twenty mile training run — and the race was off. I would be cheering on my husband, sister-in-law and friends from the sidelines.

I know that I shouldn’t feel so bad, but I can’t help but feel that all my training was for nothing. All those Friday nights I stayed in, all those Saturdays I spent pounding pavement — what was it for? Maybe next week I’ll be feeling a little better, but right now, instead of pre-race jitters I’m feeling disappointment, sadness and frustration.

Have you trained for a marathon or another race but been forced to back out a few days before? Have you had stress fractures (of course I have them in multiple places). How did you recover – how long did it take to get back in the saddle and start running again?

Marathon Training: Week Seventeen Recap

The second to last week of marathon training is done. I can’t believe it. That means only one more week until the big day that I’ve been counting down for 5 months. My teeth hurt just thinking about it.

Sadly, it was the worst week of training ever. After last week’s 12 miler, my tendon just wasn’t getting any better. The one good thing about the pain getting worse, and even hurting when I just walked to work, was that it was easier to tell where exactly it was hurting – and it wasn’t my achilles. The pain is actually in between my achilles and left ankle, leaving me to believe I may have posterior tibula tendonitis (self-diagnosis, I haven’t been to a dr yet). Look it up – every symptom that is described, I have. So, this week, not really by choice, I took it easy and only ran 10 miles. No, not 10 miles at once – 10 miles total. Ouch.

As I sit on the train from NYC to Albany (more on that later), I hate typing this update. I feel so defeated, so crushed and so destroyed. The week only called for  21 miles total – 3 mi, 6 mi, 4 mi and then 9 mi. Here’s what I did instead:

Monday: 6 mi – Wasn’t due for anything on Monday, but instead went out and ran my 6 for the week. And it felt great! While I was running. Post-run, and for the rest of the week, I was in pain. Hm, maybe the running the 6 on an off day wasn’t the best idea?

Tuesday: 35 minute elliptical – Was not feeling so hot in my tendon, so opted for a post-work elliptical workout. Probably again not the smartest – I put it on the highest incline, so after the workout I could feel my tendon inflaming. Note to self – using the elliptical on an incline is not great for a tendon pain.

Wednesday: 1.25 mi run (at just sub 9 min mile pace!) and then 20 min on the elliptical and then 30 min on the bike – Still trying to get some activity in instead of running. Biking and ellipticalling will help, right?

Saturday: 3ish (didn’t clock it) mi run around Central Park – Was in town to visit my family and celebrate Mother’s Day and it was beautiful out. Felt great to get in a run on the trip, but my feet were killing. I’m still getting used to my orthotics, so I’m hoping that was the reason for the pain.

Of course the weekend included a good amount of walking, including walking from our friend Jared’s apartment to my brother’s dorm (about 30 blocks or 2 miles) and walking the High Line with my parents … but still, I wish that the pain would go away and I can’t help but feel nervous about next week’s race. What if the not running these last two weeks doesn’t actually help me (and help me heal) but hurts my stamina instead? Can you get out of shape in 2 weeks?

End this post on a happy note – on the beautiful High Line with my parents:

What I’ll Miss About Marathon Training

While running twenty miles, I had a lot of time to think. While running all my miles, actually, I’ve had a lot of time to think – and what do I think about? Running, of course. With the race just three weeks away, I began thinking of all the things I’ll actually miss about marathon training.

7 Things I’ll Miss When Marathon Training is Over:

  1. Not having to think about what I’m doing for a workout. Some days, it’s all I can do to get out of bed and workout. Those days, it’s nice not to have to think “Hmm, what should I do today? Use the elliptical? Lift? Spinning class?” and instead just look at my schedule and get in my miles.
  2.  That feeling of accomplishment I have on Saturdays. After a 14 mile run, it’s hard to feel guilty for just sitting on the couch and napping. No matter what else I do that day, I still feel pretty good.
  3.  The camaraderie of a long run with friends. Not only is it nice to spend time and run with B (before training, we didn’t usually work out together – I’m more of a morning runner, and he’s a late-night gym goer), but it’s been nice to run with Dave and B’s sister, Mary. Even online it’s amazing what great support I’ve found – fellow runners and running enthusiasts on Twitter, Dailymile and here!
  4.  Not feeling like a poser when I go to Second Sole or Dick’s and browse through the running clothes/shoes/sports drink section. I may not look like a runner, but I can at least claim to be training for a marathon!
  5.  The sights – when you have to cover 10-20 miles any given weekend, you take in a lot of new scenery. Whether it’s been running around downtown Cleveland, trying out new routes on the East Side, running to Lakewood – or even running while traveling (remember my informal half marathon in Atlantic City?) – I’ve gotten to see a lot of new places while covering my miles.
  6.  The food! There’s nothing like a pre-run meal (hello pasta parties!) or a post-long run feast (I’d like to thank Jimmy John’s for keeping me alive and full after runs) or a post-race celebration (free food and drinks) to make me happy. Sure, the food will still be there after training is over, but it won’t feel as well-deserved.
  7.  This. I know I’ve blogged before marathon training, but it was never as regular. I’ve gotten used to and started enjoying compiling my weekly marathon recaps, reading other marathon training blogs, following the comments and so on. I know I’ll keep up the writing, but I may have to find a new hobby to write about!

What about you? What did you miss when your marathon training was over?

Marathon Training: Week Fifteen Recap

Last week marked week fifteen of my Cleveland marathon training. The week’s training called for Tuesday: 5. Wednesday: 10. Thursday: 5. Saturday: 20, for a total of 40 miles.  Yipes. Forty miles! Again, I didn’t follow the running schedule. 😦  After standing up all day on Monday and Tuesday and walking around a trade show in not-so-comfortable shoes, I was hurting. That, plus my on and off ankle and achilles pain during and after runs, made me decide to run every day but not complete the mid-week 10 miler.

Monday: 5 –  Pre-work run on the dreadmill at the hotel gym.  As I mentioned, I was in Orlando for work last week from Sunday through Wednesday, meaning I knew it’d be hard to fit in my normal workout schedule. Luckily, the hotel gym was awesome – it was like a full gym with rows of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and a weight room. I decided to hit the gym before a day on the Convention floor and was glad I did!

Tuesday– Pre-work outdoor run in Orlando with my coworker Leslie!  Leslie is another runner who has trained on and off for various marathons and whenever we travel together we like to run together. It was 55 degrees before the sun was up and it felt great to have someone to run with and explore the area where we were staying.

Wednesday: 6 – Another morning run in Orlando with Leslie. I didn’t think I’d be able to make the full 10 miles without being in some serious plane, but decided to see how 6 would feel. Not bad! After landing back in Cleveland, I spent some time icing.

Saturday: 20– 20 miles. Yes, 20.  WOW. Longest training run before the marathon (3 weeks!) and longest run in my life. Had to set the alarm for 5-something to get outside and get in 10 miles before completing the Cleveland 10 miler. It wasn’t great – Friday night I had started feeling sick, coming down with a cold, and Saturday morning it was there. What could be worse than running 20 miles? 20 miles with a cold. AND in the rain. Luckily the rain held off somewhat until mile 16ish where it started freezing rain/sleeting for about a mile. But by then, I was just happy to be at mile 16. We had our worst times ever in the race (woops!) but am SO happy it’s done!

No photo of the hotel gym, but here’s a photo of my bathroom. Love it when there’s a TV in the mirror!

Plus, a photo of me during the trip. Working hard of course!