Tag Archives: marathon

Today is the Day…

18 Jun

Day one of the next sixteen weeks of my life…

16 weeks that will probably have you sick of hearing the words “Chicago” and “Marathon”

16 weeks of torturing running with Kevin because he told me he’d run my training plan with me (if only the race wasn’t sold out…*evil laugh*)

16 weeks of kicking ass and taking names because I plan on owning this race come October.

Week 1 is an easy week:

Monday: Upper body/core workout

Tuesday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace

Wednesday: Upper body/core workout (a.m.) 4 miles of hills (p.m.)

Thursday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace (a.m.), yoga (p.m.)

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace

Sunday: 9 miles @ 10 pace

Aside from a quick treadmill mile with my very first personal training client on Saturday morning, and some yardwork, I took the entire weekend off in preparation. My legs are really happy right now, I’m completely healed from my injury, and I’m ready to run.

We have 4 weeks until the Jamestown Half Marathon – the first race of the summer! That week will also be the beginning of the high mileage weeks involved in the plan I’m following – it tops out at 48 miles a week toward the end of the plan. I’m a tad nervous about that, since it typically takes me two weeks to run that many miles, but I trust in this plan and my body, I’m ready for it!

Is anyone else training for a fall marathon? What type of plan are you following?

Running after Baby

8 May

/Disclaimer: I love the concept of Stacey’s post, but I am in no way, shape, or form with child. This is, however, extremely important and useful information for those of you that may be pregnant and/or may be thinking about it for the future (I know a few of you who fit into both! *squeal*) /end disclaimer

Hello readers of Running & Cupcakes! I’m so thankful for Samantha for allowing me to guest post today! I’m Stacey and I blog over at Here’s to Life which is a blog about giving thanks, fitness, celebrating life, beer (mmm), and, most recently, becoming a new mom. That’s me below at the height of my running career (post-marathon!).

Me_Photo1

My baby boy arrived eight weeks ago via c-section and, per doctor’s orders, I’ve been doing a lot of resting, recovering, and relaxing. While I waited for the man with a medical degree to tell me it was okay to exercise, I had dreams about running again and took my little baby on a lot of walks. Although, I do have to admit that it was kind of nice to have a break from my usual sweat sessions. And, spending all my time with the sweet little guy took my mind off jogging.

When I got the okay to start exercising again, I eagerly laced up my sneakers and hit the pavement. Turns out….it was hard. Like, really really hard. I only ran 2.2 miles (in about 25 minutes) and it took a lot out of me. I had to take walking breaks, I was extremely thirsty, and I started….uhm….leaking through my sports bra.

During my cool down, I realized I made a few rookie mistakes. To help other new moms avoid a not-so-pleasant first post-partum run, here’s a few tips:

1. Get permission from your doctor to start running again. Regardless of the type of delivery you have, it’s important to let your body rest and heal after having a baby. Be sure to get the OK from your medical provider before you lace up.

2. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Obviously runners need lots of aqua but, if you’re breastfeeding, you are already in need of extra H2O. Make sure to drink up before you head out and bring a small water bottle with you.

Hydrate_photo2

3. Feed the baby before you run (breastfeeding moms). You’ll be a lot more comfortable if your jugs aren’t full of milk when they start bouncing around. Plus, you can avoid the embarrassment of springing a leak.

4. Dress appropriately. The running shoes you wore while still hitting the pavement at 7 months preggo probably need to be replaced. Your foot has most likely swelled while pregnant, stretching your kicks and breaking down the support, so invest in a new pair.

Dress_Photo3

Also, be sure to wear a supportive sports bra. If pre-pregnancy you were small-chested and are now enjoying the ‘perks’ of being a mom or were big-chested to begin with and just trying to manage your mondo-boobs, you’re going to need more support. Get fitted for a running bra to keep the girls comfy.

5. Be patient. Your body just went through the ultimate endurance test….childbirth. While you may be mentally prepared to log miles like you did before getting knocked up, hormones are still surging through your body causing all sorts of changes physically. Start slow and take breaks. It’ll take awhile to get back to where you were pre-baby, so don’t put high expectations on your body. Pat yourself on the back for getting started and you’ll get your stride back in no time.

Race Day Giveaway

6 May

Hey everyone!

While I’m off basking in the glory of my 7th half marathon you have an opportunity to win a truly ass kicking prize.

Yup, I’m still giving stuff away. It’s craziness around here.

I am giving you the opportunity to win a Coaching Plan from 26.2+ LLC

Seriously. A full blown Coaching Plan – You choose the distance (from 5k to marathon), they provide the rest.

26.2+ LLC is an online running business dedicated to the working athlete that exists to keep you training strong, see you reach your running goals from 5K to the marathon, grow, and strengthen the running community.

Check out their Coaching page for all that they offer.

Phil is a local guy, who I haven’t had the opportunity to actually meet yet, but we run a lot of the same routes, so it will happen. I am so pleased to offer you guys a giveaway from a local company! SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS!

So, now that you are all fired up about getting your very own custom training plan, here’s how you enter:

1) Follow 26.2+ LLC on Twitter (Required) https://twitter.com/#!/26point2plus

2) Follow me on Twitter. (Required) https://twitter.com/#!/runcupcake

3) Tell me what training plan you’d choose if you’d win, and what race you’d use it for. (Optional)

4) Tweet about this giveaway: @runcupcake is giving away a coaching plan from @26point2plus for her 2-year raciversary. Enter here: http://wp.me/p25oLf-Km (Optional)

This is a seriously wicked prize – thank you Phil, for offering this up to my readers!

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Giveaway is open to all US residents.

Giveaway ends at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 12th.

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An Open Letter: To YOU

29 Apr

Dear Running and Cupcakes Readers:

On April 29, 2011, when I wrote my very first blog post I never dreamed I would be where I am today. You see, when I started writing this blog, it was just my little way of keeping myself accountable on the journey to my first marathon.

I had a lot going on in my life leading up to the days prior to the start of this blog, and I needed something fun and light hearted to keep my mind at ease. So, I ran. Then I wrote about running. And it was fun.

As the days went on, I wrote about food. I wrote about races. I wrote about my new dog (who is now my dog of almost one year). I wrote about Coachy, and I wrote about my family.

And through it all – there was you. You the readers.

You were there to support me when I had a bad run.

You were there to cheer me on when I had a great run.

Bad day, bad run, good day, good run – it didn’t matter. Day in and day out, you guys tune in to whatever it is I have to say.

You give me advice. Sometimes you just listen. Whatever words spill from my fingers onto this page, you read, and you respond.

And I want to thank you.

Thank you for helping me through this past year. You see – I was doubted. I was told “You can’t run.” “You have bad knees.” “You have asthma.”

Well guess what? I’ve done it all. I’ve run from 5k to marathon.

I’ve broken through boundaries I never dreamed of.

All because of you. Your support, your love, knowing that you’re all here for me no matter what.

So, on this day, one year from the day I decided that sharing my life with a bunch of strangers was a good idea, thank you.

THANK YOU. So many of you have become friends – some still just internet friends (but that WILL change), many of you now in real life friends.

Some of you, very close friends that I now cannot imagine my life without.

And none of this would have happened without the support of all of you that tune in here, to Running and Cupcakes, to see what I’m up to every day.

I’m honored.

I’m humbled.

I’m about to cry – this really means so much to me.

I’m living my dream. And it’s all thanks to you.

I love you guys. As long as you want to continue to read, I will continue to write.

XOXOXO

Love,

Samantha

P.S. This song came on Pandora while I was writing. It’s fitting. I hope you all had a great Sunday!

 

Saucony #FindYourStrong Event

18 Apr

Friday night I had the opportunity to attend the #FindYourStrong event hosted by Saucony. If you have not heard of the Find Your Strong Project – watch this video. I get goosebumps every. single. time.

The event was held at the Boston Center for the Arts. Upon arrival we were greeted with some cool swag, a Find Your Strong bracelet, and 3 drink tickets!

FindYourStrong BraceletSaucony Swag

I met up with Veronica initially to head to the event where we met up with Amy, Dani (and her wife, Tori), and Nancy (and her friend Jill).

The event opened with the above video (goosebumps), and immediately went into a tribute to Micah True (aka Caballo Blanco). It was heart wrenching to watch, but so inspiring in the same sense. Caballo Blanco was an amazing man, who did amazing things. He will always be remembered. 

His friend, Luis Escobar, (who’s name may look familiar to you if you’ve read Born to Run) spoke about Caballo, about how he lived his life, and about the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon. It was great to hear about Caballo from a friend, as he was supposed to speak at the event, but unfortunately passed away prior to it. A free spirit such as his should not have been taken from the world so early in life (he was 57) – he will be deeply missed in the running community.

Side note: {If you haven’t read Born to Run – do it. Seriously.}

Next speaker was the ever so hot Mark Herzlich. He does play for the Giants (blah) but we like him anyway (hehe). While he was attending college at Boston College he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma (bone cancer) in his leg. Doctors told him he’d never run again, never play football again, and he’d be lucky if he was able to ever walk without a limp. His reply, “These doctors know cancer. They don’t know me.” He went on to tell us how he kept himself strong through chemotherapy and radiation by working out every single day. He concluded his story by telling us about the day that he was able to run through the tunnel and out on the field at Boston College and rejoin his team that had supported him through his cancer journey. That is STRONG.

After Mark we heard from Karen Smyers. She has seven national triathlon titles (six of those in a row), and she has won the Ironman World Championship in Kona. But not without some major setbacks. She suffered a sliced hamstring from a freak accident with a storm window, she got hit by an 18-wheeler while on a training ride, AND she suffered from thyroid cancer. Yet she still runs, bikes, swims, and competes. She doesn’t let anything stop her. Her motto is “Passion. Perseverance. Positive Attitude. Perspective.” You can’t argue with that. She is an amazing athlete, and I am truly inspired by her.

The final speaker of the night was Bill Rodgers. He has won both the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon 4 times each. But what’s even more impressive is how many times he’s stopped running a race.  He has 8 DNF’s (did not finish, if you don’t know…) to his name. EIGHT! A marathon WINNER has quit running a marathon 8 times. I got to talk to him a bit after the event, and he explained it. He said, (and I can’t quote but it was something to this effect) sometimes you just have to stop. For the sake of your body it’s not worth it to continue. Don’t risk injury just to finish – protect yourself, and stop. He told us about how he’d walked off the course in Boston, while being recorded by a news crew, and straight into a bar. It’s good to know that even elite athletes are truly as human as the rest of us, and enjoy that post-run beer (which was an ongoing theme in all of the talks!).

Me & Bill

I took so much away from this event. I spent the entire night with goosebumps on my body and a lump in my throat.

Perspective – Many times throughout this little leg injury of mine I’ve wanted to cry, bitch, moan, whine, and complain about only being able to run a couple of times a week, and only being able to run the half. This event – and these amazing speakers – really slapped reality in my face. It could be worse. It could be much worse. Never take what you can do for granted.

Reality – You never know what is going to happen in your life and when it is going to happen. Love, live, and dream. We only get one chance at this life.

Strength – Strength to persevere through my setbacks. Literal strength – to push myself harder, farther, and faster – to my limits, and to create new limits. I feel unstoppable (more on that and the two runs that followed this event in the days to come).

It’s already been almost a week and I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything I heard/learned at this event. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about it.

If you want to read about this event from other points of view check out Nancy’s post and Amy’s post.

Oh, AND, I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention. I also got to meet Dorothy, from Mile Posts. To me, she is real, true life inspiration. Not only because I “know” her (she’s also a FitFluential Ambassador) but because she is so down to earth, so sweet, so normal every day girl. If you don’t know who she is – watch the video again. See that face at the end? Yup, that’s Dorothy, and she’s bad ass.

I hope to have the opportunity to attend more events like this in the future!

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Boston Marathon–Hydration Station #5

17 Apr

Yesterday, thousands of runner descended on the streets of Boston to run the 116th Boston Marathon. I’ve already read half a dozen recaps from the runners’ point of view – here’s how it went down behind the scenes of Hydration Station #5.

I arrived in Framingham around 6:45 a.m., which made me super happy because the last thing I wanted to do was be late for my assignment (this may have something to do with missing out on a supremely awesome jacket if late…). I had seen one water station on my way in, but then saw a guy that parked where I parked walking another way. I checked my map on my phone – good thing, I would’ve shown up at the wrong station!

Boston Marathon Map

First amazing thing of the day – almost all of the volunteers were already there/showing up, before 7 a.m. It made me feel warm and fuzzy inside that this many people were that motivated to be on time to hydrate and support the runners.

We immediately got to work – placing tables, hanging Gatorade and Poland Spring banners, moving cups, pitchers, and cases of concentrated Gatorade. 

Gatorade Sign

Gatorade sign at my station

Then it was team meeting time! We met our team captains – Shelby and Irvina, as well as Ed, the coordinator. The team I was working for is the Alzheimer’s Association – which is an amazing association to work for. My great grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s so I know first hand what it does to a person and a family. They gave us some cool purple Alzheimer’s Association hats, which just so happen to match my planned outfit for the Cox Half on May 6th (I know, I know, such a girl…).

We were instructed on how to fill the cups, how to stay sanitary, and how to hand the cups to the athletes. Then we were sent on our way to find the station we wanted to be at.

I chose the first Gatorade station on the left hand side of the road. My teammates – Beth and Donna – were amazing ladies. They were motivated, great team players, and between the three of us we had some really good ideas for how to operate. We received a fourth teammate at some point – Tim (I believe…) – I don’t remember when he came to help us, I think it was after the madness had begun.

We set to work mixing, setting up cups, pouring, and stacking. The Gatorade girl came by and tested our product – she told us we were “Spot on.” Three cheers for proper Gatorade mixing!

Gatorade Girl

Gatorade Stack

Once we were set up, things were slow for a while. We the begun to see the mobility impaired, push-rim wheelchairs, and handcycles. These people are amazing and so inspirational to me. To participate in the Boston Marathon in a wheelchair, or a handcycle, or with a prosthetic leg – I said more than once “That’s the last time you’ll hear me complain about my IT Band.” We clapped and yelled and cheered for each and every single one of them.

Next up were the elite women – it was pretty surreal. We were watching up the hill and all of a sudden a pack of women just came barreling at us. They were HAULING ass. It was amazing to see first hand – so fast, so focused, so determined.

Then the course was quiet again for a bit.

Then it was time for the elite men – same as the women, a big pack (except for one guy who was way out in front, I can’t remember who it was though…) of men barreling down the road.  No sooner did they get by when the first wave of runners started coming at us.

And like that – things got CRAZY. We flew threw our first two tiers of cups – so, being the control freak that I am, I immediately ran behind the table and started stacking and pouring and stacking and pouring (I believe this is when Tim joined us…). I felt like I was moving at the speed of light. Luckily we were prepared – we had a (lined) trash barrel full of Gatorade and 12 pre-made gallons ready for the barrel. It’s a good thing!

Cups, Gatorade, and everything else you can imagine was flying! I was soaked in Gatorade – it was in my shoes, down my legs, all over my jacket. The jacket I was glad I was wearing at this point (even though it was already pushing 90 degrees).

Runner’s in this wave were already soaked in sweat, but still strong because it was only Mile 5 and they were fast (You have to be fast to be in Wave 1).

I was having so much fun – I kept saying how much I love working under pressure, I was just cranking out the cups of Gatorade as fast as I could while Beth and Donna handed them off to the runners. We were yelling things like “Gatorade”, “Two more tables of Gatorade behind us”, “Water is 3 tables down”, etc. to instruct runners, especially as we started to run low on our supply.

There was a brief hiatus between Wave 1 and 2 – we were able to restock our table and prepare for the next barrage of thirsty runners.

Next thing we know Wave 2 runners are headed our way – another wall of people running right for us! This wave was just as crazy as the first wave and next thing I knew, Irvina was at our table telling us to shut down and move onto the next table. 4 people couldn’t keep up with the demand for Gatorade at our table, so there was no point in trying when we could double staff the next Gatorade table and crank it out that much faster, and indeed we did. We were stacking, pouring, and handing like crazy. There wasn’t a still body to be seen anywhere!

Having to work that hard, that fast, and as that much of a single unit when you’re dealing with 8 individuals was a giant adrenaline rush. I loved every. single. second. The communication between all of us was beyond amazing – I wish everyone in the world communicated like our group did!

There was no hiatus between Wave 2 and Wave 3 – the people just kept coming. About 75% of the way through this group, people were starting to look run down, tired, hot. We were slowing down in our Gatorade delivery, and I was able to take notice of the runners for the first time all morning.

My heart ached for the people running – it was BRUTAL. Temps reached 90 and there was not a cloud in the sky. I cannot begin to fathom how they felt, I am just so honored to have had a part in helping maintain hydration.

I want to send a HUGE shout out to Poland Spring water – they were on the ball. As soon as we started breaking down our station, they picked up all of the remaining full water jugs and (I assume) brought them down the line to the remaining water stations. I’m sure water stations anywhere from Mile 10 on were in desperate need of extra water.

I will do this again next year, I’d love to do it with the Alzheimer’s Association team again, as they were phenomenal people to work with. Clean up was as much of a breeze as set up, everyone was just so motivated to continue working until everything was 100% done.

I now plan on volunteering as much as I can at races I’m not running – now that I realize what it is like to be behind the scenes taking care of runners versus being a runner, it is something I feel that I need to do, something that I know I will always enjoy doing, and most importantly it will always be a humbling experience.

If you have never volunteered at a race – I urge you to do it, even if just once, and make a difference in the lives of thousands of runners.

Congrats to everyone who ran yesterday – whether you finished or not – you got out there, you ran, you tried, and gave it your all. That’s all that matters – it was a crazy brutal day.

XOXO

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Monday Love: Marathon Training Edition

19 Mar

HAPPY MONDAY EVERYONE! Seriously, it was 72 here today. How can you NOT be in a good mood when it’s 72 in March?! All this great weather has me thinking about my next marathon (of course!) – Cox Rhode Races! Here’s what I’m loving so far into this marathon training:

1) Planlessness. Now I’m not going entirely planless – I’m going week by week, which makes me SO happy. Especially now that I’ve vowed to take a few days off of running until this calf heals.  Here’s what this week looks like:

2012-03-19_20-29-21_210

I’ll play the weekend by ear – depending on how my calf feels. Hopefully I’ll get a couple decent runs in and can get back to normal training next week.

2) Choosing my colors. Yeah, I’m ALREADY thinking of colors for this race. My shoes are white/black/silver/purple. Zensah compression sleeves come in purple – so I’m thinking black and purple this time.

Mirage II-1

Purple Calf Sleeves

Asics Core Singlet – I think this is the right color, I’m going to order it and hope it all matches! I love these singlets – I have 3 and they’re super comfy!

Core Singlet Purple

3) Massages. I finally got my post marathon massage tonight. Hurts. so. good. My incredibly terrible post RnR NOLA sunburn was one reason I put it off for so long. My massage therapist told me my calf is “cranky”, then loaded me up with Biofreeze and sent me home with instructions to hydrate extra, ice, and take Advil if necessary. Yikes, I did a good job this time.

4) Running my first “home-turf” marathon. This one is particularly exciting because none of my family or hometown close friends have been there when I’ve run a marathon. Now, I know a whole bunch of people who are coming to spectate and have lunch post-race. It’s going to be an amazing time! (Not to mention people like Coachy, Jess and her hubby, Jo and M, and many more who are also going to be there to run and spectate!)

5) I think I’ve *finally* found shorts. It’s times like this I’m not so grateful for my thighs (most of the time I love them – I know they’re super strong and powerful) but when it comes to buying shorts – no thigh love there. I have to have something that comes down at least mid-thigh (and I have pretty long legs), otherwise I chafe – Bad. So something with a 6” or so inseam is what I need – but I’m picky and I want spandex, not loose. Which limits my choices…but I’ve narrowed it down to:

Nike Tech Tight Shorts

Nike Shorts

The North Face Women’s GTD Short Tight 7"

North Face

Moving Comfort Women’s 7 1/2" Compression Short Moving Comfort

Yup, three choices. Oh, did I mention they have to have pockets? It’s a requirement, which makes my choices even slimmer. And yes, I realize they all pretty much look the same.

That’s why I’m hoping someone else has one of these and can give me some insight? Anyone have any experience with any of these three shorts? If so, what are your thoughts?

6) New (old) music. I finally offloaded my iTunes library from my old desktop computer onto my external hard drive – I know one thing: there’s 2000 something songs. What’s in there? I have no idea. I can’t wait to explore it and makes tons of new fun training and racing playlists!

What are you loving this Monday? Do you have any shorts advice for me? Fave running song? Anything? Talk to me!

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