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

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.

Valentine’s Week Runs and Sick Again

Happy Valentine’s Week! It was a nice week here, minus a few of us (me and LM) being sick. I just had a cold, but LM had a double ear infection. She’s on meds now and hopefully gets better soon.

The week included some fun, including a visit to FW’s classroom.

I helped him do a craft.

While this one stayed home sick. She was sent home from daycare with a fever and after taking her to the dr we found out about her ears.

We also had a very thematic dinner.

I preferred the dinner B made me, though. White wine, grilled veggies and tuna are a few of my favorite things.

We had some more good eats this week, including Aladdin’s takeout. FW loves their pita quesadillas and I love their hummus so it’s a win win.

I also got in my first outdoor run in what feels like forever! I did take a spill at mile 2 – I was running up a small hill and I saw what looked like a water mane break in the road and it had splashed on the sidewalk. Just as I had stopped to run on the grass and avoid the large puddle/ice, I of course landed on a sheet of black ice and went DOWN. My leg got wet – and by the end of my run, it had turned into ice crystals on my pants!

Speaking of running, here’s how the week looked. Monday is when I started feeling sick again and Tuesday and Wednesdays runs were pretty slow and involved some walking as well. Thursday I was up earlllly with a sick baby (see above) and didn’t get in a chance to run. Weeks like these make me glad that I’m not yet training for the Cleveland half marathon – I was able to just take it easy and run or walk or do whatever I wanted, without feeling guilty for messing up my training.

Despite the spill, I was so happy to be outside for Saturday’s 5 miler. I’m grateful for the treadmill but also getting tired of having to stay indoors!

And that’s a wrap. Some questions for you:

  • Have you been sick this winter? This is my second time in a month!
  • Are you training for anything right now?

I’m linking up with the weekly wrap.

6 Things I Learned About Running While Pregnant

Fun fact-  it’s not training season for me just yet! I’m once again an ambassador for the Cleveland Marathon, and this year I’m running the Cleveland half marathon. Lately, my focus on running these past few months since having a baby has been to get back some base mileage and slowly start to build up to 5-6 miles at a time for a long run. Not a lot, I know, but since my official 12 week program won’t start for another month, soI have a few weeks to relax, take training easy, and just enjoy running (or try to when it’s not negative degrees and icy!).

I’ll be sharing my training plan soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to reminisce. This time last year, I was a few months pregnant and “training” for the Cleveland 5k and 10k. As the months went on and race day got closer and closer, it got harder and harder to run. While I’m glad it’s easier right now, I can’t help but forget the joys of running while pregnant.

So here you go. I share this with you – for all the pregnant runners out there – as well as those who aren’t – now you know what it’s like. And why I kept it up!

Imagine this – you just ate a HUGE burrito and drank a jug of soda. Your bladder is full, you’re slightly winded and your feet are swollen. And now, you decide you want to go for a run. Sound like fun?

That may be a slight exaggeration, but that’s pretty much what it feels like to run while 6 months (and beyond) pregnant. And you know what? I still ran throughout both of my pregnancies up until the week I gave birth. Am I crazy? Maybe slightly. But I’d argue that (most) runners are. And as a runner, I hated to give up a part of me just because I was pregnant. It was something that made me feel normal, while everything else in my life was changing. And after talking to my doctor, I even learned there were some benefits to running – and all exercise – when pregnant. Exercise throughout pregnancy is actually recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Why? Exercise may:

  • Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, preterm birth, preeclampsia, having a baby with high birth weight, and the need for a cesarean section
  • Improve your baby’s brain development
  • Help you experience less swelling during pregnancy
  • Lead you to have a shorter labor (fun fact: my second labor was so short she was born within 15 minutes of me arriving at the hospital!)

So, if you decide to keep running during pregnancy, here are some tips that I can offer based on my experience (NOTE: I am not a doctor. At all. I took a Survey of Bio class a semester at BC, but that’s as far as I got.  But fun fact, B was also in that class of 500 million people!):

1. First, talk to your doctor. See what he/she says is okay for you. I am not a doctor and I don’t pretend to be one.

2. Expect it to feel different. Even in the first trimester when you may not look different, your lungs are doing double duty and you may get out of breath easier or find your heart rate higher. And then as your body changes, your gait may, too. I found parts of my body hurt that had never been sore before. Listen to your body and do what you can do.

3. Don’t compare yourself. This is an important one. Don’t compare yourself to others or even to yourself. Both my pregnancies were very different, and I would sometimes find myself getting down because I was slower during the second pregnancy. Or, I’d be discouraged because I felt like my running was more hobbling/walking than sprinting. But remember – running while pregnant is HARD! Remind yourself of how amazing you are and all the benefits (above). Don’t expect to set any PRs. In fact, if you must wear your running watch, reset all the data. This will help you feel less discouraged and focus more on the enjoyment of being out there.

 

4. Be prepared to spend money on some new gear. Your feet may grow during pregnancy, leading you to need new shoes. Your running clothes? They maaaay not fit you when you’re 7 months in. I also highly recommend a support belt – this helped tremendously as I got larger.

5. Go early in the day. I’m lucky that I’m a morning worker-outer as it is, but during pregnancy, this was even more important. A morning run helped not only reduce my swelling later in the day, but I felt much less full (and not like I was running with a belly full of burrito) and it was easier to move my body. Immediately going for a run also helped with my morning sickness.

6. Stay hydrated. It’s much easier to overheat, get dehydrated, etc. during pregnancy. So if you’re going to be running or doing any exercise, make sure to keep up on the water.

Bonus: Have fun! Don’t forget why you’re doing it in the first place and enjoy your time running. Take photos so that you can show your future children the amazing feats you accomplished with them.

Are you training for the Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon or any of the other events right now? If so, don’t forget to use my 10% discount code – MC2019! 

NOTE: A version of this blog post first appeared from me on Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine’s website. Check it out, and check out all my posts with them.

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.

Kicking off Cleveland Marathon Training Season

Now that we’re in the New Year, it’s marathon training season! I am once again an ambassador for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, which means that I will be having a giveaway (THIS MONTH!) and have a discount code (MC2019) for you to use (see below):

I haven’t officially decided which race(s) I’m running. I’m a fan of the Challenge Series, where you run an event on Saturday and Sunday, mostly because you get 3 medals (a medal for each event and a special Challenge Series medal) AND a cool gift (my favorite was the year we got a fleece blanket!). I’m hoping that this year I’ll do the 8k / half marathon, pending sleep/nursing/schedules/no injuries.

If I do that, I technically won’t need to start training until next month, so this month I’m working on enjoying having no training plans but trying to keep my mileage up. This week, I got in one of my highest mileage weeks since LM was born and it felt great! Here’s how the week went:

Keep an eye out for my official training plan, coming soon. And in the meantime, I’ll be enjoying some casual runs without any commitment. Here I am after this weekend’s 5 miler. I was so excited to wear capris.

In Cleveland excited to kick off training? There are 2 kickoff runs planned, and I hope to be at at least one of them!

  • When are you planning to train for your next race?
  • What type of training plan do you follow?

I’m linking up with the weekly wrap.

2018 Running Recap

Wow, what a year! 2018 was a memorable year. And it was a hard year for running. I’ll be honest – I got in fewer miles than usual. I ran fewer races. I didn’t set any PRs. But, I have a few reasons – being pregnant for half of the year, having a baby and adjusting to the schedule and craziness (and lack of sleep) that is life with a toddler and a baby. So I’m proud of my accomplishments and happy to look back at the year.

Here are some of the highlights from the year:

I ran injury free, throughout my entire pregnancy. Pregnant or not, a year without injuries can’t be beat. In 2017, I had a minor (but painful) piriformis issue that kept me off running for a few weeks. But 2018 granted me health.

Running early on in my pregnancy with some of the Cleveland Marathon crew at a race kickoff run in January

Sometimes staying active meant run/walks

I did a few races while pregnant, including two 5Ks and a 10K a week before my due date. Thanks to B for convincing me to sign up for a 5K race Mother’s Day weekend, as well as for running beside me as I hobbled the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 5K and 10K four days before LM was born.

I’ve been able to return to running since LM was born, taking her or FW along with me. I enjoy running by myself, but also enjoy stroller running. FW has gotten to the age where we can talk on our runs and point out animals, etc. and LM typically sleeps. And thanks to our new neighborhood having more paved paths, I got in more stroller runs this year than ever before. While my mileage hasn’t been nearly as much as it was before kids (I ended with just under 800 miles – compared to 2013 when I had double that!), I am grateful to still be running and have been able to get out again shortly after giving birth.

first race post-LM this summer

after a 4 mile stroller run with FW (post LM’s birth)

stroller run with my niece and nephew (I pushed FW, B pushed LM)

I’ve been an Ambassador for some great brands and organizations that have helped me with my running. Some of them include Skirt Sports, Nuun and the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. This means I also have discount codes to share with you if you’re interested:

Skirt Sports: They make more than skirts and I wear them running all the time. I’m actually wearing their pants, jacket, tank top and capris in several of the photos above. In the 1st photo I’m wearing the Triple Pocket Tight, 2nd photo I’m wearing the Hangout Hoodie, 5th photo I’m wearing the Free Flow Tank, 6th photo I’m wearing the Jette Skirt, and 7th photo I’m wearing the Redemption Capri. Use 133Carn for 15% off. And check out their 

Cleveland Marathon: Use discount code MC2019 for 10% off any race entry. I’ll also have a race entry giveaway in just a few weeks!

All in all, I’m grateful for a happy, healthy 2018, running and otherwise. And I kicked off 2019 today with a 4.33 mi run in my new Skirt Sports leggings that I bought myself as a Christmas gift, so the year is already off to a great start!

Some questions for you:

  • How would you rate your 2018?
  • Do you have any 2019 goals?