Friday, May 24, 2013

Flashback Friday: Marathons 1-5

I've wanted to do this post for a while, but figured I would wait until Marathon #5 was over. Kristy over at PGHrunner also did something like this, but hers is celebrating 5 YEARS of marathons (16 in total!), she is extremely accomplished and it's definitely worth a read! Jamie also did a post a while back of race superlatives, which was cool to see how she broke things down as well. We all have different stories to tell, different journey's as athletes, but we all have things in common too, we love this running thing. :)

I knew going into Cleveland 26.2 it was going to be special as #5, who am I kidding, they have all been special. But the morning of the race, my mom sent me some messages, and called me about 45 minutes before the start. The one thing she kept telling me is "I can't believe it's number 5, I am so proud of you and I hope you are proud of yourself". I feel like over time we forget to take the time to stop and see how far we have come. So here's a brief insight into my journey as a marathoner.

Sun Trust National Marathon (Washington, DC) 3/26/2011
Age: 23
Time: 3:46:25 (8:38/pace)
Fastest mile: 7:45 (mile 8) Slowest Mile: 9:15 (mile 24)
Favorite moment: Getting a grilled cheese at the finish (priorities people.)
Worst moment: Falling over at mile 24 while trying to tie my shoe.
Thoughts: It was my first, and a big learning experience. Found out a few days following the race that I had severe ITBS and spent 8 weeks in PT (this explain the pain I felt during the race)
This was me pretty much the whole time, going with the flow.
Best grilled cheese at Finish...ever.
1st Marathon done!
( At that point I didn't know if I wanted to do more)
Rochester Marathon (Rochester, NY) 9/18/2011
Age: 24
Time: 3:41:40 (8:28/pace) [1:40 away from BQ time]
Fastest mile: 7:43 (mile 1..ha!) Slowest mile: 11:28 (mile 26)
Favorite moment: Seeing my friends at mile 17 waiting to jump in and run last 9 miles with me, I am forever grateful for them.
Worst moment: I feel like most of this race was a worst moment. Between crying at the start line, having to walk/run the last few miles from quad pain and mental breakdown....hard to say which gets the worst title.
Thoughts: I wasn't prepared for this race, it was miserable and looking back this really affected me mentally. First mile fastest and last mile slowest is clear proof that I ran this all wrong and I made a lot of mistakes. I was so mad about the race (even though it was a PR), that I went home that night and registered for another marathon 8 weeks away for redemption (see number 3)
My parents came to cheer, so I had to greet them properly.
This is now my signature marathon pose
This is when I was really struggling toward the end, one of the few times I wasn't walking in last few miles.
 That is my friend Thomas and his son Zak who ran the last 9 with me.

Harrisburg Marathon (Harrisburg, PA) 11/13/2011
Age: 24
Time: 3:37:01 (8:17/pace) [BQ by old standards, not the new though]
Fastest mile: 7:58 (mile 13) Slowest Mile: 8:48 (mile 26)
Favorite moment: Sitting on the curb after finishing and feeling like I got my redemption. Although I missed BQ (because of new standards that took effect a few weeks before this), it was another PR and a much stronger run race than Rochester. 
Worst moment: Throwing up at mile 26 mile marker (no joke), the GU had finally done me in. 
Thoughts: I was going through a lot at this time, and the race was about much more than another marathon. It was about getting away for a few days, and doing something for myself and figuring out what I wanted to do to make MYSELF happy. Another PR, but more than that it was redemption and a sweet victory.
Slow and steady lead me to a nice shiny PR and consistent pace race.
Redemption never tasted so sweet.

Marshall University Marathon (Huntington, WV) 11/11/2012
Age: 25
Time: 3:21:27 (7:41/pace) [BQ & 16 minute PR)
Fastest Mile: 7:07 (mile 25!!) Slowest Mile: 8:11 (mile 4)
Favorite moment: oh there are a few...Watching a cop react to me putting glide on my inner thighs at mile 5, seeing my fiance every few miles (he was on his bike), the signs and chalk he put on the course as little reminders. I think by far my favorite moment though was mile 20-21...I was on a path that ran parallel to the road and John was able to ride the entire mile next to me. We didn't talk, but knowing he was there was amazing. It was really symbolic of our relationship. We had just gotten engaged a week prior, and him being next to me at mile 20 when things get rough was just perfect. Being by each others side no matter what. Oh and crossing the finish with a football in hand (they give you one shortly before) and chucking it on the ground knowing what a strong race I just had. Okay, basically I loved everything about this race.
Worst moment: Almost getting hit by a car because cop wasn't doing his job (he was literally standing their talking and drinking coffee and not stopping traffic). I swore very loud at him (I didn't care) and told him to do his "effing" job among some other expletives I threw at the driver.
Thoughts: I trained so hard and SMART for this race. Months prior when I had my broken foot I was told this wouldn't be possible anytime soon. I did everything to prove them wrong. I trained so well, and it paid off. I'd also like to think that this was just proof that I made the best decision by choosing to accept John's proposal a week prior, he brings out the best in me in so many ways.
I was stopping my watch, and also squinting to read it not sure if I was reading it right.
Stunned, happy, emotional, and just overwhelmed.
Cleveland Marathon (Cleveland, OH) 5/19/2013
Age: 25
Time 3:25:50 (7:51/pace) [another BQ]
Fastest mile: 7:16 (mile 13) Slowest Mile: 8:46 (mile 25)
Favorite Moment: Every time I got to stand in front of someone and let them spray me with a hose to cool off. 
Worst Moment: The last few miles weren't great, no shade direct hot sun, and I walked a few times...I HATE walking in races, it takes a LOT for me to do that.
Thoughts: In all honesty, I wasn't trained to run the time that I's proof that I have just gotten stronger though. What that tells me is, that with another strong/smart training cycle like I had last fall I could easily get my time under 3:20 where I want it to be. I am proud of my time, and feel like despite the heat and not feeling 100% physically, I did what I went there to do. 
My signature marathon pose again (I saw the photographer and made sure he got this that way I could show it to Mom and Dad since that's the look they got in Rochester)
Definitely can see in my form I was struggling, that heat took a big toll on me.

3 Highest placing races (female): 
5th female out of 225 in Marshall Marathon (Top 2%)
23rd female out of 845 Cleveland Marathon (Top 2%)
24th female out of 216 Harrisburg Marathon (Top 11%)

3 Highest placing races (AG): 
1st AG Marshall Marathon
4th AG Cleveland Marathon
4th AG Harrisburg Marathon

Favorite Course: Marshall Marathon (loved the double loop)
Least Favorite Course: Rochester ( I hate the canal path)
Hottest: Cleveland
Coldest: Sun Trust National DC
Best Expo: Sun Trust National DC, it was huge!
Best swag: For DC we got 'training' shirts AND 'finisher' shirts. Marshall was awesome in that if you registered early enough, you got a BROOKS jacket AND a tech shirt!
Which would I want to do again: The DC one (it's since changed names into RNR race) as it was my first I think it would be cool to go back and redo the course and see how far I have come. Rochester, for a long time I said I wouldn't do the full here again (even though I live on Rochester) because I had such a bad experience, now I want to do it again for redemption!
Highest Entry Fee Paid: DC ($120 I think?)
Lowest Entry Fee Paid: Marshall ($60 I think?)
Most expensive trip: DC
Least Expensive trip: Rochester (home, duh)

5 things I learned in 5 marathons
1. Anything can happen on race day.
2. Your support system is just as important as how well you train.
3. Training for the course you will be running is important
4. Marathons hurt, but you'll get through it.
5. They're addicting. You usually say at one point or another, "why do I do this" or "I never want to do this again" but the fact is, you will go back for more. Runners are sadistic, we like the pain we like the challenge and no matter what we always go back for more.

If there is something I have learned over the years, it's that beating yourself up doesn't do anything. I am my own worst critic, I take things personally and I invest a lot into the things that I do. I have gotten better over the years about learning to not accept disappointment or failure, but not to let it eat away at me either. I'm a much happier person the more I embrace that. I try not to let 'bad' races get to me, it's not fair to me or the people around me to deal with.

One of my all time favorite quotes:
Handsome and Smart, Will smith...marry me?
Looking back at these races, I feel successful in what I have done, but I also feel the desire to do better. Do I think I am a strong runner, yes...Do I think I have accomplished  a lot, yes...but I know that I can do more, and I know that I am not the best or anything close. I could spend my time comparing myself to all the people out there who demolish my times, or I can take pride in the fact that I have improved over the years and I am working on being the best I can be and not the best for anyone else. When things get hard, I think about all good things I have done and that helps push me through. I used to get down when things were hard, and beat myself up for my failures and mistakes. There's no point in that, thinking backward and negatively isn't going to help move you forward. At the end of the day we all go the same distance in a race and all cross the same finish line, regardless of the journey or time it takes to get there. I am proud to be a runner, and to know so many amazing people in this community.

What is something that you have accomplished that you are proud of and use as motivation?

Do you tend to beat yourself up when things don't go as planned?


  1. I really like reading about your experiences with each marathon in one post. It's easier to see the progression and you're able to really focus on what you learned at each one so you know where to go with the next one. I can't wait to see what you do with the next. I absolutely believe that marathons are addicting especially since running itself can be addicting. i know I'll get race-happy after my first one. I do that already after 5ks, even.

  2. After I ran my last half marathon #5 I really started reflecting on all five of my races to see how much I improved. It's so easy to get caught up in where you want to be and forget to look at where you came from. You made some serious improvements over those 5 marathons! I think I value the lessons learned from each the most.

    I ran the Harrisburg Marathon last year as my first full and I wasn't a big fan of it. Great organization but terrible course

  3. I'm proud that I've committed myself to a healthy living lifestyle :)

  4. Thanks for the shout out!

    Loved this post! Your marathon times improved so much, so fast. You should definitely be proud!

    When you ran 3:41:40, you really only missed the BQ by 41 sec, as you could get in with 3:40:59. I also missed at my last chance before the new standards, by 12 sec. with a 3:41:11. It made me feel better when I found out that I wouldn't have gotten in anyway. It would have sucked to qualify and not get in.

    Again though, great job!

  5. You are so stinking cute!! I love the photos and the signature pose :)

    The way you talk marshall up, I want to do it too!! It's pretty amazing to see how we improve over time at the marathon. Experience pays off.

    I do tend to beat myself up if things don't go perfectly..but I am learning to look for the small victories. You might have a bad race, but still have something that you did really well at within the race.

    Betting on a sub 3:20 next time :)

  6. You are so inspiring!! Love this flashback. Our first few marathons were very similar (I've done two total), and I'm hoping to inch toward the 3:20 next time as well. Congrats!!

  7. They are so addicting. At some point during every race I think why do I do this? Then I cross that finish line & start planning the next. Wow you are speedy! Love you recaps!

  8. isnt this so great to look back on?? I can't wait til I can do a few more halves and look back and see the improvement. somestimes it takes doing this to see how far you've come! :) and I like that you did the Harrisburg Marathon! I live about 40 minutes south of there :)


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