Manassas Runway 5K

A few weeks ago, I was asked by a friend/coaching client to run the Manassas Runway 5K with her and hopefully pace her to a new PR. I have been really loving my “downtime” from marathon training, because it gives me more opportunities to run with others and help them with their goals. Kevin had the kids that morning so I decided to take advantage and have some fun with my friends in my local Moms Run This Town group.

This race is unique because it takes place entirely on the runway of a small local airport. This means it’s super fast, flat and a great PR-maker! It was perfect conditions that morning as well – nice and cool and not humid at all. I was cold in my tank top and shorts at first, but luckily we were able to wait inside the warm airport. I knew it would feel amazing once we started running.

Shortly before the start the girls and I went out to do a little warm-up run. We ran a little less than a mile before we headed over to the start. I gave Dina (my friend who I was running with) a little pep talk about how hard she’s worked and how strong she is, and then we were off!

Dina’s goal was to come in under 25 minutes, or an 8 minute pace, to get her a new PR. She’s been working hard on her speed and has gotten huge PRs in the half marathon distance lately, but as we all know, the 5K distance is a whole other kind of beast. It’s short, fast, and it hurts! Unfortunately, our bodies had cooled down a bit after our warm-up because we had to wait longer than expected to start. I wanted to make sure we didn’t go out too fast because of that, and also because Dina has been working on her fast finishes. Starting slower and finishing faster is the key to success. Why did it take me so long to learn that? LOL.

We settled into around an 8:00 pace, which felt like a slightly uncomfortable tempo run for her at first. It was amazing to be running on flat ground since we’re so used to running hills around where we live. I noticed her tensing up in her upper body and looking at her watch a lot, so I tried to tell her to relax and not stress about pace. When I ran the Myrtle Beach Marathon, one of the best parts for me was running with a pace group. It took all the work out of thinking about maintaining a certain pace, and helped me save so much energy. Pacing someone to help them meet a big goal is a stressful job and I take it very seriously. I told her to trust me and she did:)

  • Mile 1 – 7:59

We came in right on target for mile 1, which I was super happy about and so was she. We ran along, passing people who started too fast which was a confidence booster. We even passed her teenage son, which was awesome. I don’t like to talk much during the shorter, faster races but I noticed her breathing was sounding a little shallow. She has asthma and tends to be a chest breather. We’ve been working on getting her air from deeper in her belly and taking fuller breaths. I reminded her of this and it seemed to help her get her breathing under better control.

  • Mile 2 – 7:58

We hit mile 2 right on target as well, coming in just under an 8 minute mile. Yeah! Dina was doing an awesome job and looking strong. At this point, I was really happy with my choice of clothing because it was getting warm and the sun was out. However, during the third mile, Dina slowed down some and told me she was getting a side stitch. I felt terrible for her because I know how hard it is to push through those, especially at the end of a race that already hurts like a 5K. Even despite the side stitch, she maintained a good pace and didn’t lose much off her overall time.

  • Mile 3 – 8:05

After we passed mile 3 we rounded a corner and it was a straight shot to the finish line. I told Dina that this is what she’s been practicing in her long runs and some easy runs… her strong and fast finishes! She amazed me by picking up the pace and sprinting ahead of me all the way to the finish line. I was so proud of her!

  • Final .1 – 6:51 pace!
  • Finish Time – 24:48 / 8:00 average pace

She came in exactly where she wanted, just under 25 minutes with an average pace of 8:00 per mile. After we crossed we got some water and reunited with our friends, and waited for some others to cross afterwards. Once they posted results we realized that many of our group members won age group awards (and one even won first overall for Women’s Masters!). I was happy and surprised to see that I also won first in my age group. This was one of my goals before turning 30- place in my age group before I enter a new one in a few months- so I was excited.



We waited around a while for the awards ceremony. There were some timing issues so it was delayed a bit. Luckily by now the weather was beautiful. Nice and sunny and warm. I loved being out in the sunshine.


After a tough couple of months, it felt really good to be out with some of the women who have been supporting me, and helping a great friend of mine reach her goal. It also made me want to run my own 5K soon! Off to do some research:)

Mom & Baby: 10/11 Months

WOW – Long time no post! With all that was going on in my life over the last couple of months, I just didn’t have the time or energy to write our 10 month update. While things are still very stressful as I continue to deal with a lot of BS on a regular basis, I need to write about my sweet boy because he is growing and changing so quickly, and I don’t want to let that be overshadowed. I decided this month I would combine his 10 & 11 month updates into one. Here we go!



I finally took Kyler to his well check when he was almost 10 months old. He weighed 18 lbs. 12 oz. and was 29 inches tall. Since then I know he’s gotten bigger because he’s sized up in clothing, and just feels so heavy!


His body isn’t the only thing that’s growing… so is his hair! I swear, his hair is going through a growth spurt of its own and is getting a bit out of control. We plan to take him for his first haircut soon!


Kyler’s sleep was a little rough over the last couple of months. He went from going down around 7:00 and sleeping until 4:00ish, to fighting me when I put him down, and waking up every couple of hours like when he was much younger. It was pretty exhausting. I think his disrupted sleep was partially caused by a big Wonder Week, and also because he got FOUR new teeth this month! He actually got all top 4 teeth in the span of one week… ouch! So weird to see my baby with a mouth full of teeth!


My poor teething baby😦


Big front teeth coming through!

Another thing that made sleep and really anything difficult was that he continues to be very attached to me. I am pretty sure Kevin went through a separation anxiety stage around this age too. He constantly wants to be near me or be held by me. It’s really sweet so I try my best to enjoy it, because I know it doesn’t last forever (especially since I now have a 3.5 year old who couldn’t care less about being away from me!).


Nursing is still going well. On a regular day he eats 5 times (unless he wakes up a lot at night for some reason, I usually nurse him back to sleep because that’s all he wants). He eats around 4:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 4:00 PM, and before bed around 7:00 PM. During the week at daycare, he has bottles at 8:00, 12:00 and 4:00. He still takes 4 ounces in each bottle, like he has for the last 8 months or so. I’m also still pumping three times a day at work. However, my supply has gone down some due to reasons I’ll explain later. I’ve started giving him a bottle of pumped milk in addition to nursing him before bed, since my supply seems to be the lowest at night. Since I started doing this he’s been sleeping longer at night too, so I think his disrupted sleep was due to needing more milk as well.


Feeding himself a bottle with Aunt Lauren

In addition to nursing, this kid can EAT. He now eats three meals a day, and we’ve given him pretty much everything except peanut butter at this point. He has liked almost all food he has tried, and when he doesn’t like something he makes it known by throwing it on the floor immediately. He loves cheerios, bananas, applesauce, waffles, peas, broccoli, green beans, corn, chickpeas, yogurt, and pasta. Lately he hasn’t been a huge fan of eggs and black beans. He LOVES feeding himself and using his signs to ask for more, or to tell us he’s all done.


First taste of ice cream!

Kyler’s development cognitively, socially and physically has really exploded over the past two months. He is definitely developing his own personality, and is interacting with all of us which is so much fun. He is super silly, smiles and giggles constantly, loves to make us laugh and loves playing games like peek-a-boo and chase. He also does a mean “lizard tongue.”:)

This month he started saying three words pretty consistently: mama, dada and bye bye. He loves to say bye and wave. Our daycare provider told me that he does it whenever a parent comes to pick up a kid too. So sweet!

He’s also learned how to respond to “How big is Kyler? SO BIG!” By spreading his arms way out. It’s so cute!


Physically we had two big milestones during month 10 and 11. First, Kyler went from scooting backwards to full blown crawling on his hands and knees. Not only that, but he is FAST! He can get up stairs now too, so we have to make sure to lock him in baby jail with the baby gate now!



He also has started to pull himself up on anything and everything. He LOVES to stand. He occasionally will let go of whatever he’s holding on to, which makes me a little nervous! He is also starting to cruise a little bit along furniture and things like that. Kevin didn’t walk until he was 14 months old, so I am curious when Kyler will!


Right now, his favorite toys are his activity table, the magnets that are on our fridge and dishwasher, his rattles and rings, and anything he can take out of his basket and then put back in. He also loves going outside for walks, and playing on the swings and slide. Another one of his favorite games lately is to hand us toys, and then put his hand out for us to give it back. He also “pretends” to hand us things. I think he just likes the reaction of us smiling and saying, “Thank you!”

He continues to love the bath as well!


He has some friends who he absolutely adores (along with his big brother). One is my friend’s daughter who was born a few months before him. And the other is a friend from our former daycare provider. The picture of the three boys kills me. He just looks like one of the big kids!

Sadly, Kyler has gotten sick a few times over the past couple of months. Acclimating to a new daycare meant exposure to new germs and some of them got us good. We all suffered from a nasty stomach bug that was going around my school. I can’t even tell you how sad it is to see a baby vomit and be confused about what is happening. It was so heartbreaking! He also had a couple of colds that made him a little unhappy and stuffed up. At the moment he’s healthy (knocking on wood!), and I’m hoping it stays that way.


My boys are so happy, even when they don’t feel well!

As always, Kyler is completely in love with his big brother. Here are some of my favorite photos of the both of them from the past couple of months.


My body went through a lot this month. First… the good: I ran a marathon! Not only that, but my fastest marathon ever – a 13 minute PR! You can read all about the race here.


In addition to the marathon, I did a 10K and a 5K (that I have yet to write a recap on) with friends.  Other than that, I’ve been running whenever I can fit it in. It’s been a challenge since I’m single parenting it now. I plan to write more about how I’m making time for running in the future, but it’s been tough. I’m REALLY missing my usual morning runs which just aren’t possible right now.


Ukrop’s Monument Ave 10K


Manassas Runway 5K – Recap coming soon!

I also spent a large part of the last couple of months sick. First I had the horrible stomach bug that went around our family, followed by a really bad cold/sore throat. Let me tell you, being sick while having two little ones to take care of is pretty much hell on earth. Ugh!  I also got my period a couple more times, which continues to be pretty painful. All of these things plus the other stresses in my life made my milk supply go way down and it still hasn’t quite recovered. I’m not sure if it will at this point. Luckily I still have a frozen milk stash, so that takes some of the pressure off.


Frequent baths were necessary during the stomach bug of the century

I’ve been trying very hard to take care of myself throughout all of this. It’s hard though, because things like eating well and sleeping and running are getting put way on the back burner, since I have so many other responsibilities. Since Kevin does not have a place of his own to live yet and nowhere to take the kids, I never really get a true sustained break. It’s exhausting to say the least, and I’ve felt pretty tired and rundown as a result. I’m trying hard to rest and fuel myself properly. That is my big goal for the month of May.


This is often how my nights end up…

As far as my body is concerned, things are pretty much back to normal. I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and I can tell my hormones are leveling off because some of the skin issues I had before are gone now. I need to get back to more consistent strength training and work on my core more too, then I know I’ll feel even stronger.


40 weeks 4 days in, 40 weeks 4 days out!


When I think about myself and my emotional state of mind over the past couple of months, it’s seriously been such a roller coaster. It feels like I’ve been in a fog full of anger, sadness, hope, hopelessness, and adjusting to this new life I was forced into. It makes me sad too, to think that so many months of Kyler’s first year are such a blur and have such negativity attached to them. My emotions are so conflicted. I feel guilty for wanting a break from the kids at times, but sad when they’re not here and I am missing out on parts of their lives. I feel angry at Kevin for turning our lives upside down like this, but I also miss him and feel extremely lonely since I lost my husband and my best friend. I feel thankful for all the support I have from friends and family, but overwhelmed when I have to talk too much about it and answer too many questions. I feel hopeful about the future, but then extremely anxious thinking about all the baggage (literally and figuratively) that’s left behind inside me, and inside this house that I need to deal with. And to top it all off, I can’t run as much as I used to which really helps me manage my crazy emotions. Most of all, I just feel very beaten down and hurt and alone. I am going to start seeing a therapist to help me through some of these emotions and hopefully start to heal a bit. It’s going to be a long road ahead of me thanks to the layers upon layers of betrayal and pain I’m dealing with, but I know the boys and I will be okay in the end.


One thing that has me feeling very positive about the future is that I am planning to celebrate my upcoming 30th birthday in October in a BIG way. I am going to be running the Chicago Marathon! I could not be more excited. I’m traveling with some ladies in my Moms Run This Town group, and I’m hoping to chip away at my time and get closer to my BQ. Training starts in June, and I have no clue how I’m going to do it as a single mama, but I’ll figure it out! I see lots of double stroller runs in my future:)


The bottom line is that I love my boys more than anything. They make me so happy and remind me daily to be strong and to try to be a good role model for them. They are my world!

Kyler James, I cannot believe that the next update I write will be when you are ONE YEAR old! Your happy personality and contagious smile bring so much joy to me every day. I love you!

Previous Mom & Baby posts:

Ukrop’s Monument Ave 10K – 2016

Yesterday I ran the Ukrop’s Monument Ave 10K for the second year in a row down in Richmond, Virginia. I loved this race last year and was really looking forward to it again this year. It has been a really long time since I have been able to race a 10K and my PR of 49:35 is really outdated. I’ve beaten it many times in other races and in training! I felt I was trained and prepared to take a few minutes off of that time at least.


After finishing the 2015 Monument Ave 10K at 33 weeks pregnant.

Unfortunately, the cards were not in my favor for it to happen this time. A week before the race, Kyler got a really nasty stomach bug that lasted a couple of days, then little Kevin got it, and it finally made it’s way to me on Wednesday night. It. Was. Horrible. I am pretty sure it’s the worst stomach bug I’ve ever had. It wiped me out and left me totally exhausted. I was super disappointed because I had planned a weekend away as a (much needed) gift to myself for this race. I took a personal day on Friday and booked myself a nice hotel room in downtown Richmond, right by the start and finish. I decided I was still going to go and make the best of it, even though I wasn’t feeling 100%.

I made my way down to Richmond on Friday morning and parked at the race expo. Even though this is ‘only’ a 10K race, it’s a HUGE event that brings more than 40,000 runners into the city. I have always been a fan of races here and this one is no exception. They’re well organized with easy logistics, and never feel as crowded as they are to me thanks to good planning. I was able to park easily and find my friend Pandita with no problem. I even ran into another friend while walking around, and another one who was working at one of the booths with Brooks. We had fun browsing the booths and started getting excited for the race.





After leaving my friend, I went over to the hotel to check in and get settled. I had to pump (one of the downsides of being away from the baby), and then went for a walk downtown. It was beautiful outside and I really enjoyed walking around the city. I passed the park where the race ended and saw them setting up the finish line and post-race festivities. I grabbed some food and brought it back to my room to eat and have a relaxing night.



Unfortunately, not too long after I ate I started feeling sick again. The relaxing night of uninterrupted sleep that I was looking forward to so much was instead spent in the bathroom. I was so upset. I finally fell back asleep around 2 AM and decided I wouldn’t be running in the morning.

I woke up around 6:30 and evaluated how I felt. I decided I felt okay, not great, but maybe I could at least participate in the race and have some fun. I got myself ready and then laid down in bed for a little longer. I knew I was in wave BA which began at 8:36, and my hotel was less than a mile from the start, so I had some time to kill. I FaceTimed my boys and tried to hydrate and eat some food.


I finally got myself up and out the door at 8:15. I ran over to the start to warm-up and test out how I was feeling. Surprisingly I didn’t feel terrible, and the nice cool air felt good, but I did feel pretty empty and knew I wouldn’t be able to push hard. I decided to go back a couple of waves to find Pandita. Once I knew I wasn’t going to get a PR she asked me if I would run with her and pace her to get one. She was still going for a faster pace that I thought I would be able to do, but I figured I would try to get her to the halfway point and then slow down. I was so excited to have some company:)


The Monument Ave 10K is a HUGE race with a ton of waves, but since they keep them small and release one every minute, it never really feels too overcrowded. Our wave went off right on time and we settled into around an 8:00/pace. I was a little worried about the weather forecast, which was predicting cold temps, strong wind, and even some rain or snow. We were hit by a big blast of wind within the first mile that made me a little nervous, but other than that it felt good and so did the pace.

One of the things I love about this race is that there is pretty much constant entertainment. Between the enthusiastic spectators, bands and music every quarter mile or so, beautiful houses lining the streets, there’s always something to look at. This really helped the miles fly by. Before I knew it, we were approaching the halfway point and I knew I was going to have to let Pandita go. We had gotten to the 5K mark at just over 8:00/mile and I knew I couldn’t maintain that much longer. I told her to go for it and finish strong, while I slowed down.


I watched Pandita’s bright green shirt disappear in front of me and for the remainder of the race I ran and walked when I needed to. I enjoyed myself, the music and all the cheering spectators. I thought about how time flies, and how this time last year I was running this at 33 weeks pregnant. I got rained on in mile 5. After that I picked up my pace because I was starting to get cold and I didn’t want to be cold and soaking wet!

I crossed the finish line in 54:29, an average pace of 8:46. After walking for a minute or so I saw Pandita, who informed me that she was able to pick up the pace for the last half and finished with a HUGE new PR 0f 49:16, an average pace of 7:56! I was so proud of her!


We didn’t stick around too long afterwards, but I grabbed some food and drinks and watched a few more people finish before walking back to my hotel. By the time I got there I was shivering and couldn’t wait to take a hot shower. I was so thankful for late check-out! I got right back into bed and just laid there for at least an hour:)


Even though I had higher expectations for this race, I’m still so happy I was able to get away for a mini-vacation and help a friend achieve a big goal. I know there will be many more races in my future. I’m already looking for another 10K I can do soon:)

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Recap of the 2015 race


Life Update


Okay, deep breaths! I think I am ready to talk a little bit about what has been going on in my life lately. As I have vaguely mentioned in past posts, this has been a rough time for me. I had to take a step back from blogging because I have always tried to be very honest during the last 5 years since I started Run Inspired. I didn’t know how to write about my life, my family, and my running without writing about what was going on. It was honestly hard to write my training recaps and about the marathon, and Kyler’s monthly updates, because everything was being affected by something I didn’t feel ready to talk about yet.

It has been a very difficult start to the new year. A couple weeks into 2016, things started to change in my household. My running got put WAY on the back burner, as seen in my training updates. I started really struggling to get my work done at school and within my coaching business. Certain people became absent from my pictures and my posts on social media. The reason for all of this was that my marriage suddenly fell apart. Kevin and I are now separated and he no longer lives with us. It all happened very quickly and left me feeling extremely broken. I don’t want to go into the details of what happened, but it has been devastating and heartbreaking on multiple levels.

I have a lot of extremely raw emotions that come and go as I work through this grieving process. It has been a roller coaster that goes up and down, between sadness, disappointment, anger, hope, hopelessness, exhaustion… and so on. Then in the middle of all of this I had to go run a marathon, and it was one of the most defining moments of my life. It was so much more to me than just a race. It was a chance for me to show my strength, independence and resilience. To show that I can do hard things, and that good things do come to those who work hard, stay positive, and don’t give up. It helped give me some of the strength and clarity that I needed to move forward.

Making the choice to continue to love, trust, and respect others when they have not given that to me in return has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But at the end of the day, I know that I need to do that for myself and more importantly my boys, to show them what it means to take the high road and to have good character. “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse the behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.” I refuse to let the actions of others destroy my heart.

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The dust is starting to settle a bit, and I’m now adjusting to my new “normal.” My family and friends have been EVERYTHING to me during this time. I am seriously blown away by the support and love we have received. Luckily, Kevin has always been an amazing father and that has not changed. He is still very much around and a part of their lives, and I am thankful for that. I never expected this for our family and for our boys and while it breaks my heart, I’m glad that we can at least co-parent together for them.


Now that spring has begun and the world is coming to life again, I feel like I am starting to as well. Things at home are still very hard as I learn how to navigate as a single parent, but I’m taking it day by day. In “real life” I’ve been slowly telling people what is going on, usually in person, because it’s a lot to explain and the questions that I’m asked about it all are emotionally exhausting. I plan to spend the next year of separation before we are able to file for divorce focusing on myself, but most importantly my sweet boys.


I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do plan to continue blogging about it. This space has been an amazing journal of the last 5 years of my life and I’m so thankful that I have it all documented. While I may not have as much time as I did before, it’s important to me to keep blogging about this journey. It will be interesting to see where I am a year from now and where life takes me. I’m ready for the next chapter.


The Myrtle Beach Marathon: Redemption!

I have never been more excited to write a race recap! The Myrtle Beach Marathon went better than I ever dreamed it would. Every single detail came together and I ran the strongest race of my life, both physically and mentally. I beat all of my goals by a landslide and scored myself a 13 MINUTE PR! Here are all the details.


Best race photo of my life! At mile 26 too!

This race kind of snuck up on me. I have been super busy with work and home stuff that our trip to Myrtle Beach felt like it came out of nowhere. All of a sudden it was time to pack up and head south, and before I knew it I was at the expo picking up my stuff and then at the starting line the next morning. I think this was a huge blessing in a way, because I didn’t really have time to get myself all worked up and stressed about the huge challenge ahead of me. I also went into it with sort of low expectations, since my #1 goal was just to finish this time after my DNF here two years ago.


I was very excited about the weather forecast, which looked absolutely perfect. High 30s at the start and low 50s at the finish, with minimal wind for a coastal race. I was so thankful that wind didn’t seem like it was going to be a big issue this year, because it has been really tough the last few years which caused me to expend too much energy. Everything seemed like it was starting to come together.


Even despite all of these positives, I still woke up on Saturday morning with a very nervous tummy. I focused on doing my pre-race routine – bathroom, coffee, eat, get dressed, bathroom again… but my breakfast made me feel a little nauseous so I couldn’t get much down. I left the house around 5:30 to drive about 20 minutes to the start, and once I got there I pumped (#momlife), used a porta-potty (there were a TON this year with no lines – so much appreciated!), and made my way to the start. I felt like I had a ton of pent-up nervous energy that I needed to get out. I couldn’t wait to start running to release it.


Luckily, I knew Andrew, who was pacing the 3:45 group, which was my ‘Gold’ goal, and I was able to say hi to him when I lined up in his corral at the start. Seeing a familiar face made me feel a lot more comfortable. I knew he would be running about an 8:30 pace, which I thought was doable based on my training and recent half marathons. However, I still had some fear lingering in the back of my mind from two years ago when I had to suddenly stop at mile 21, so I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to hold that pace the entire time. I decided to go for it and see what happened.

Finally it was 6:30 (super early race start!) and we were off. There was a big wall of people with the 3:45 pace group so I hung a little behind them to give myself some space. Since we started toward the front, the course wasn’t super crowded and it was easy to keep the pace I wanted. As expected, an 8:30 pace felt really easy, and almost too slow. I was SO tempted to pick it up a little bit – but I have made that mistake so many times before. I kept telling myself to be patient and hang out here at this very comfortable pace for a while. We ran out to a shopping area called Market Common, did a loop around there, and then headed back out toward the beach to start running back the other direction.

  • Mile 1 – 8:32
  • Mile 2 – 8:26
  • Mile 3 – 8:34
  • Mile 4 – 8:28
  • Mile 5 – 8:32
  • Mile 6 – 8:29
  • Mile 7 – 8:32

I passed the 10K timing mat at 52:06, but it was a little off from what my watch said. Actually, all the mile markers were about a tenth of a mile short from what mine and the other people around me had on their watches. Not a big deal, and I knew it would eventually even out at the end. I had set my Garmin to show my overall average pace while I was running and it stayed steady at 8:30-8:31/mile the entire time, so I knew I was right on track.

I have run the full (up to mile 21.5) and the half here a couple times, so I know the Myrtle Beach Marathon course very well. I practiced visualizing it on my long runs. I knew every long stretch, every turn, every mile marker, every timing mat. I knew there would be two parts of the course that would be the hardest for me. The first would be the 9 mile stretch along the water from mile 8-17. Not only can this be hard physically because of the wind that comes from off the ocean and between the buildings, but it’s also very tough mentally because you’re running straight for so long without any change in direction. I knew this was my first big test, and if I could get past this part feeling strong I’d be in really good shape.

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  • Mile 8 – 8:28
  • Mile 9 – 8:33
  • Mile 10 – 8:35
  • Mile 11 – 8:24
  • Mile 12 – 8:25
  • Mile 13 – 8:33

I passed the halfway point at 1:51:05, still keeping a very steady 8:30 pace. I have never run a more consistently paced race in my entire life, and I really owe that to our pacer Andrew. I have never run an entire race with a pace group before, but it was very freeing to be able to just run and not expend any extra energy worrying about looking at my watch and crunching numbers. It really helped me enjoy myself and take in my surroundings better. I also loved the pace group for the support and the camaraderie. The miles were just flying by as I spent time talking with the people around me and getting to know them and their stories. It was amazing!

  • Mile 14 – 8:36
  • Mile 15 – 8:34
  • Mile 16 – 8:31
  • Mile 17 – 8:30
  • Mile 18 – 8:33

From miles 15-17 we took a very slight turn bringing us even closer to the water, and the wind really picked up once we did that. I tried to focus on not fighting the wind too much so that I didn’t waste too much energy. I knew it would be over soon and that we would be turning and running inland at mile 17, so I just hung in there. I never let myself feel mentally defeated. Something that really helped me was to think of the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Yes, I realize that’s kind of funny to say since I am a vegetarian:) But for me, the mental part of running is huge and it’s very easy to get caught up in that and get overwhelmed. I kept reminding myself to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Rather than stress about the 26.2 miles ahead of me, I broke it up into smaller more manageable “bites” – just make it to the 10k timing mat, then the half, then mile 17 when we finally turn away from the beach and the wind, then mile 18.3 where another timing mat is, and so on. This made it seem less scary and more doable!


I passed the next checkpoint (18.3 miles) at 2:35:32, still right on my 8:30 target. By now my watch and the mile markers were perfectly in sync. I knew my next “bite” was to make it to the spot where I had to stop last time, at mile 21.38. This was the second part of the course that I was nervous about. I was feeling really great at this point, especially since we were now away from pretty much all wind. The pace still felt extremely comfortable and once again I was tempted to pick it up some, but I really didn’t want to push it until I got farther in the race. I think one factor aside from pacing that helped me feel really strong was my hydration and fueling. I actually decided to wear my Camelback just like I did in my last marathon two years ago, and I am so glad I did. I loved having water whenever I needed it, as well as a place to store my Honey Stingers (and my obsession – chapstick) that was out of the way. I never felt thirsty or like I had any sort of dip in energy the entire time. I drank when I felt like it and ate a half pack of Stingers at 1 hour, and then every 35 minutes after that. It was the perfect balance that left me feeling hydrated and fueled.

  • Mile 19 – 8:30
  • Mile 20 – 8:34

I really love hitting mile 20 in a marathon. To me, the two halves of a marathon are not 13.1 and 13.1. I think the first ‘half’ is the first 20 miles, and the other half is the last 6. If you run a smart race, both of those segments should take about the same amount of effort.  The last 6 miles were such an out of body experience. I kept waiting for the wall to come (either mentally or physically) and it never did. I kept telling the pace group that I couldn’t believe how good I still felt, hoping I wasn’t jinxing myself. I got a little worried when the spout to my Camelback fell off at mile 21 and I had to stop to get it, but I was able to pick it up and get right back into it. I also got worried when our pacer Andrew had some IT band pain at mile around the same time and had to slow down. But the best feeling of all was running past the exact point where I had to stop and get medical help two years ago. I remember so clearly how terrible I felt in that moment, and today in this moment I felt so strong and unstoppable.

From miles 22-26.2 I refused to let myself think about how much I had left, and instead just focused on working on the mile I was in at the moment. One bite at a time. It got a little lonely, since our pace team had broken up quite a bit and I was now running alone. We were also in a more isolated part of town that seemed to drag on a bit, and I saw my pace slow a little bit in miles 22 and 23. I gave myself a little pep talk and decided that it was all me now. No pacer to take me the rest of the way, nobody to talk to and distract me. Nothing but me and the road and my own determination. I knew I was going to PR at this point, and it was up to me to decide by how much.

  • Mile 21 – 8:27
  • Mile 22 – 8:39
  • Mile 23 – 8:38
  • Mile 24 – 8:31
  • Mile 25 – 8:35

I kept working on each mile, one at a time, and before I knew it I saw the flag for mile 25. I decided I needed to pick it up and finish strong, just like I had been practicing in my long runs. I gave those last 1.2 miles everything I had. Right after the mile 26 flag we turned right into the finish area, and I looked down at my watch and saw a time of 3:42. I could not believe that I had just run that fast. I started getting teary eyed once I saw all the people watching by the finish line, and when the announcer called out my name. I ran through the finish line and immediately burst into tears. I DID IT!!!!!

  • Mile 26 – 8:21
  • Last . 20 – 8:07 pace
  • Finish Time – 3:43:10 / 8:31 average pace



I think this is my shocked face:)

What went right in this race? Sometimes everything just comes together and conditions are perfect. It happens very rarely, but I think today was one of those days. Everything from the temperature, the wind, how my body felt, the familiarity of the course, my fueling and hydration plan, my mental strategies, my slower than usual pacing, my strong finish. I tried very hard to stick to my power words of patience, discipline, and trust. Patience to not go out to fast. Discipline to stick to the plan and keep going when it starts to hurt. Trust in my training and my body.


Like I said in my goals post, this was more than just a race to me. This was a chance for me to get my redemption from two years ago and finally cross the finish line of the Myrtle Beach Marathon. This was marathon #10 in state #10 for me, which allows me to officially join the 50 states club and start working toward the other 40 (however long it may take!). And most importantly, this race was an opportunity for me to leave some sad, angry, defeated feelings on the pavement, and remind myself that I am strong and can do hard things. I could not have asked for a better experience for my 10th marathon, and I am so proud and thankful.


What’s next? Well, first I’m looking forward to a few months off from hard training! I jumped into training pretty soon after baby, and my body and mind are definitely ready to cut back a bit. Then marathon training will resume this summer for an undetermined fall marathon. I plan to keep chipping away at my time in order to hopefully get my BQ sometime in the next couple of years. We’ll see! Running has taught me that anything is possible with time and a lot of hard work!

Taper Recap + Goals for Myrtle Beach

Well, it’s been a few weeks now since I have posted about my training and I am now 2 days away from running my 10th marathon. Truthfully, there hasn’t been all that much to talk about. When life got stressful and I had to shift my priorities to focus on my family, my training plan went out the window for the most part except for my long runs which I made sure to do. Besides that my running has mostly consisted of shorter easy runs whenever I had time and energy to do them (which wasn’t very often). Not an ideal way to end a training cycle at all, and I’m feeling nervous about that now that my marathon is so close.

Going into this training back in November, I was coming off a big new half marathon PR in Richmond, motivated and excited about what I could possibly accomplish next. My training for the first 10 weeks or so was awesome. I felt better than ever and was hitting my paces on all my workouts. I dreamed of getting closer to my BQ and maybe even running between a 3:40 and 3:45 in Myrtle Beach.

Now I don’t even know what kind of goal to set for this race. I feel pretty emotionally and physically drained and haven’t been sleeping or eating well. This is the race I was unable to finish two years ago when I got sick and had to stop at mile 21.38. The timing of this race isn’t great and it feels kind of insignificant right now, but at the same time I have worked really hard for this and I really need to cross that finish line.

With that being said, here are my goals for the race. I always like to set multiple goals (gold, silver and bronze or A, B, and C) so that I have many opportunities to feel successful, no matter what may happen.

Bronze – Just finish! I will truly be happy if this goal is met, regardless of how long it takes me to get there.

Silver – PR by running faster than 3:56:08 (9:00 pace)

Gold – Finish in 3:45 or better (8:35 pace)

I know the person who is leading the 8:30 pace group, so I hope to stick by him as long as I can. Based on my training and recent races, that pace should be doable and comfortable as long as I feel good and conditions are right. Wind has always been a factor here and at other coastal races, so I am expecting to have to deal with that. I know from previous races that wind takes a lot out of me and I may have to adjust my plan and expectations depending on how I feel. It will be in the 40s and 50s during the race, which is pretty much perfect, so I’m happy about that. If I can stay with the 8:30 group the whole time I would finish in just under in 3:43. That sounds crazy but not super out of reach either.

This is more than just a race. This is a chance for me to get my redemption from two years ago and finally cross the finish line of the Myrtle Beach Marathon. This is marathon #10 in state #10 for me, which will allow me to officially join the 50 states club and start working toward the other 40. And most importantly, this race is an opportunity for me to leave some feelings on the pavement, and remind myself that I am strong and can do hard things.

Patience. Discipline. Trust. Those are my power words for this race. Patience to not go out to fast. Discipline to stick to the plan and keep going when it starts to hurt. Trust in my training and my body.

Saturday at 6:30 AM… It’s go time!

Mom & Baby: 9 Months

Kyler’s 9th month was full of fun and awesome new developments. I am watching him transform from a baby into a little boy daily. It is sweet and sad all at the same time! This month also brought some highs and lows for me as well. Here are all the details.



Kyler has not been to the doctor yet for his 9 month appointment, but he’s starting to look longer and leaner. He is in mostly 9 month clothing at this point, but some pants and pajamas are getting too short. Time to break out the 12 month stuff I guess! Sad face.

His tummy has adjusted to eating food now, and he’s turned into quite the little eating machine. There has not been one thing he has turned down. He has breakfast and dinner right now (along with nursing about 6 times a day), and we are basically giving him modified versions of what we eat. We still haven’t given him any dairy yet. I think I’m a little nervous to because Kevin reacted so badly to it when he was his age (projectile vomiting). But he has shown no signs that he is sensitive to dairy, so I think it’s time to give it a try.

He is now on more of a sleep schedule, and I am thankful for that. He goes down around 7:30 PM and usually wakes up between 3 and 4 to eat, then goes back down for a couple more hours before being up for the day. Just in the last week or so he’s been waking around midnight, but can usually be settled back down without nursing, so I’m not sure what that’s about. He also has fallen into a nice nap routine of a solid morning and afternoon nap. Sometimes I have trouble getting him down, but he goes down fine for others.


He spent a lot of this month being VERY attached to me. I’m not sure if this is the time where separation anxiety gets worse or what, but most of the time if I am nearby he wants to be in my arms, and when I walk away he makes sure to let me know he doesn’t like it! This makes baby wearing a lifesaver, especially when I need my hands to deal with my threenager!

He has the sweetest smile of all time (maybe I’m a little biased!) and he still only really has his two bottom teeth at this point. There’s a small spot next to his two bottom teeth where another is breaking through, but it still hasn’t come all the way up yet. I was surprised to see that one coming next, since usually it’s the top two that come after those.


Kyler loves going out and about to anywhere he can look at people. I started putting him in the front of the cart in stores and he loves it. He just looks around smiling at everyone the entire time.


One of the most exciting parts of the month was that we finally got some SNOW! And a lot of it! In my last monthly update, I posted that we had a blizzard here in Virginia. After writing that we continued to have off from school for a total of a week and a half. It was like a second winter break to spend with my babies, and I loved it!


It was also fun to bring Kyler in the snow for the first time. He liked exploring it and tasting it, and watching his brother run around. Next year they’ll be able to play in the snow together:)


Another very exciting milestone from this month was that Kyler is starting to become mobile. He is not completely crawling yet but he’s managing to scoot himself around (usually backwards), and is starting to be able to get up on his hands and knees and rock.

I left the room the other day and came back to find him halfway across it and behind the coffee table. He also tries to follow me now whenever I go somewhere. It cracks me up, but also makes me a little nervous for this summer when I’m home with TWO mobile kids!

Kyler learned to clap this month too. He can now clap when you tell him to or when you say “Yay!”, and he will also wave hi and bye-bye when asked. I think his first official word is “bye” because when he waves he says “ba ba,” but who knows!

Kyler loves his big brother more and more as time passes and it’s so sweet to watch. Here are some of my favorite pictures of the two of them from this past month.


There were some highs are lows for me physically this month. On the plus side, I felt better and less tired thanks to adjusted thyroid medication. But on the flip side, I got my period back this month and that made me feel like absolute crap- physically and emotionally (hormonally). I broke out, was super moody and my milk supply went down some as a result like it did with Kevin, but it picked back up once it was over. It was also super painful this time around. I am not looking forward to next month at all!

The month started off pretty strong in terms of running and following my training plan. I was hitting my paces and feeling great in all my key workouts, and I managed to pull off great 20 and 22 mile long runs. However, some things started to fall apart around me in my life and running was forced to take a backseat. I’ll elaborate more on that at a later date, but it definitely was (and still is) a struggle to take care of myself right now. I am trying my best to get good sleep, eat enough and run when I can at this point. I feel pretty drained and I have no idea how my upcoming marathon is going to go, but I’m just in it to finish now.



Like I have also said in this post and mentioned in previous posts, this was a very hard month for me emotionally. I’m not really ready to share why because it’s very new, raw and personal. I have always been an open book on this blog and I really hate when people are vague on social media like I am being right now, but I think with time I’ll be ready to talk about it more. I  did take a last minute trip to Pennsylvania to see my family a few weeks ago, which was really nice. I went up with just Kyler and had a very low key weekend with some people that I love.

Right now I’m trying to surround myself with people that love me and that I know I can trust, and focusing on my two amazing little boys.

Kyler James, I love you, your contagious smile and the joy that you bring to my life. I cannot believe how quickly these last 9 months have gone by. I have a feeling that the fun has just begun!


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