Tag Archives: Runspiration

Anna Runs America

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A couple weeks ago I had the honor of meeting an amazing person- Anna Judd. Anna is currently running across America as part of Team RWB, which is the running group Kevin and I recently joined. Team RWB consists of veterans, current military personnel and civilians, and its mission is to support and connect veterans and the community. Anna is running across America to raise awareness and support for veterans’ issues. She started her journey on March 22nd in Venice Beach, California, and is scheduled to finish it in New York City in just a few days on Saturday, August 23rd. By the end she will have run a total of 3,400 miles!

Anna with Team RWB of Fredericksburg (our group!)

Anna with Team RWB of Fredericksburg, Virginia

We were lucky to live right on Anna’s route as she passed through Virginia on her way to NYC, and were able to see her in action! Our Fredericksburg chapter of Team RWB did an amazing job of supporting her as she passed through our area. There was a large organized group run and dinner (that unfortunately we couldn’t make), and one of our members ended up running with her 3 days straight, covering 79 miles total! WOW!

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Even though we weren’t able to run with her and the group we still had a chance to meet her and show our support. Kevin met her right as she finished up running for the day at the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico on his way home from work. They were able to talk for a few minutes and she gave him one of her signature dog tags to thank him for supporting her (see above photo by her talented sidekick- Miss Robot).

Anna Runs America

The next day I caught her as she headed north from the Marine Corps Museum. I was driving up to Pennsylvania to visit my family and stopped a couple times to get out of the car with little Kev and cheer her on along route 1 where she was running.

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Each time we saw her she was so friendly and gracious- thanking us for coming out and supporting her- even though she was the one who deserved to be thanked the most! She stopped running when she got close to come over and talk for a minute. Little Kev gave her a high five and said, “Go Anna go!” On this day she was running with a couple female Marines and one of our RWB Fredericksburg teammates (in the red holding the flag). He is the one who ran 79 miles total with her! They did an awesome job on our Virginia hills and in the heat. I was so impressed.

Our second time seeing Anna

Our second time seeing Anna

Anna is TRULY an inspiration. When I think about what she is doing it gives me chills and a tremendous feeling of pride. I love that one of our own in the running community is accomplishing something so amazing and using running as a form of activism. She was also in the running for the Runner’s World Cover Photo contest. I really hope that her journey and the message she is sending gets noticed- if not for that contest than at least as a feature story. She definitely deserves it in my opinion!

Here are some links to learn more about Anna and her run across America:

How to Get Out of a Running Slump

I’m an open book on this blog. I try to keep my posts very honest, and I have always believed that it’s important to share when things are going well and also when they’re not in order to paint a true picture of my life. Running, and life in general, is a roller coaster. If all we ever had was good runs we would never learn those important lessons about how to overcome, how to reflect and how to get stronger. We need the bad runs to put our successes and achievements into perspective.

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I mentioned in my last post about the running slump I’ve been in lately, which really is nothing new to me. I usually experience one of these in every training cycle. During these times I feel more tired, unmotivated, heavy, and just burnt out. It can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Along the way I have learned some tips for how to deal with this type of issue, and come out of it happy, healthy, and stronger because of it.

Here’s how to get back in your running groove!

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1. Reflect. The first step is to do some reflecting to figure out why you might be having a hard time. Are you overtraining? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you stressed out at home or work? Have you recently been sick or are you coming down with something? Has the weather changed to be warmer or colder? How is your diet? Are you eating too much? Too little? If you are a female, is it your time of the month? The answers to these questions are very important and can provide clues into why you are feeling the way that you are. Once you figure out the cause(s), you can start taking the steps necessary to fix them.

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2. Remember that every run teaches you something. When things get tough, I try to remind myself that every run, good or bad, has something to teach me. Keeping this in mind gives me a different perspective on the ups and downs of running and training. Even after 10 years of running I still learn lessons from each run. Lately I have learned that I absolutely cannot eat dairy the night before a race or important training run- especially not a ton of pizza. I have learned that for me, running 3 miles with a stroller takes the same effort as running 6 without. I have learned that there is a difference between pushing yourself and pushing your body past it’s physical limits. Recently I have relearned how important it is to let your body acclimate to running in warmer temperatures before expecting a lot out of it. Whether the lesson is big or small, they all help us grow and improve as runners.

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3. Focus on the positive. Sometimes I have runs that are so bad they make me question why I do this. Sometimes I feel like the slowest, worst runner out there. To battle these thoughts, I try to focus on the positive and remember what I have accomplished.  I think about past races and happy memories of running with friends and family. I think about the people I’ve helped get into running and progress as runners. I think about the runs I’ve had that make me feel like I am on top of the world. I think about all the new PRs I have gotten recently, and how I continue to get stronger and faster even after having a baby. This helps me realize how far I’ve come, and that what I am experiencing is just a little bump in the journey.

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4. Mix things up. In order to get out of a running slump, try doing the opposite of what you are currently doing. If you are feeling burnt out and overtrained, take it easy for a while. Some people will argue that a running slump during training is the time to push yourself harder in order to get out of it and learn to run on tired legs. I disagree. Running is a hobby that should be enjoyed. Do we have runs that we don’t like very much? Yes, but at the end of the day, most runners do what they do for the endorphins, the stress relief, and the feeling of accomplishment at the end. If you are finding yourself struggling through your training runs, unable to hit your paces, and feeling unmotivated, it might be time to take a step back and give your body a break. This is what I did last week. I took it easy for about a week until I felt like my body was ready to jump in again, and it worked like a charm. On the flip side, maybe you are in a running slump because you are bored and need a new challenge. In that case, switch things up and try something new. You could register for a race that is a new distance to give your runs more purpose and something different to train for. You could try running with someone new, do a little speedwork at the track or try fartleks, step out of your comfort zone and take a new class at the gym, try yoga- the possibilities are endless!

5. Look for Runspiration. One of my favorite things to do when I am feeling down or defeated is to look for some motivational “runspiration.” It is everywhere- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, books, blogs, etc. You can find inspirational quotes, movies, blog posts and more! I have a board on Pinterest dedicated to runspiration, and I also get daily running quotes emailed to me from Runners World. These types of things really help to inspire me and remind me why I love running so much.

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6. Run naked. While I was pregnant and my pace began to steadily climb, I decided to ditch my Garmin and “run naked.” I am the first to admit that I can be pretty Garmin obsessed at times. I love numbers, data and analyzing it all, but sometimes I get so caught up in all of that that I forget to enjoy myself. If you are finding yourself feeling frustrated with your pace or burnt out, try running without a watch sometime. It is unbelievably freeing, and I have found it allows me to connect better with my surroundings and also with how my body is feeling. This is something I plan to do more when the temperatures start to rise this summer, because I know I will need to inevitable slow my pace and there’s no need to upset myself over that.

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7. Try a new route. This is one of my favorite tricks. Besides a good running buddy, nothing excites me more before a run than trying a new route. I am a Map My Run junkie, and I am always trying to figure out new places to run to keep things interesting. I like routes that stimulate my mind and my body at the same time, and I am not opposed to driving to another town or area for a long run if it makes me feel excited or motivated. Map My Run has a searchable database of running routes that people have created too. Check it out!

I searched "Washington, D.C." and got more than 32,000 routes!

I searched “Washington, D.C.” and got more than 32,000 routes!

8. Make a new music playlist. I don’t listen to music much anymore when I run, but we all know how motivating it can be- especially if you are in a running slump. New or inspirational music can put a pep in your step for sure! RRCA certified coaches are not supposed to endorse running with headphones, but I think if done safely (not in the dark or while running on busy roads, etc.) and used in moderation, music can be a great tool to help you through the “bumps” in our running journeys. I say use in moderation because I was formerly addicted to running with music and literally would not run if my phone or iPod was dead. Running without music strengthens your mind and allows you to be more in tune with your body, so it’s good to practice running without it too!

This used to be me.

This used to be me.

What are some of your favorite tricks to help you get back in your running groove? I’m always looking for new ones! Have you tried any of these and did they work? Share in the comments!

26.2 Dedications

Getting to Myrtle Beach was an adventure. With a big snow storm coming to our area, we decided to leave Wednesday after work, a day earlier than planned. The snow started a little sooner than expected, came down fast and was sticking. We made it a couple of hours before having to stop at a hotel for the night because the highway was covered with accumulating snow and we didn’t think it was safe. The next morning the roads were clear thanks to rain and warmer temperatures. We finally made it here on Thursday afternoon, and I could finally breathe a huge sigh of relief!

Needless to say I had quite a few stressful hours in the car on the way here. While trying to distract myself from the weather I decided I was going to dedicate each of my miles this weekend to someone or something special in my life. So I made a list of the people who inspire me, have supported me, who make me laugh, anyone and anything I want to think about during the race to help me get through it. While coming up with my list I actually got emotional a few times. Even though running is an individual sport, I could not have progressed as a runner without the love and support I have received from these people. I am so excited to dedicate my miles to them tomorrow!

26.2 Dedications

1. Fellow Myrtle Beach Marathon Runners. I love the first mile of a race because it signifies the start of a journey we are all about to go on together. No matter what our individual paces are, we will all run the same course and finish as marathoners. I wanted to dedicate my first mile to all the runners around me because of that.

2. Mile Posts (Dorothy Beal). Dorothy’s blog has been a huge source of inspiration for me. She is a mother of 3 who has brought her marathon time down from 4:20 to 3:11 and encourages runners to “find your strong” and “dream big, run long.” Her positive words and phrases are the ones that go through my head when I’m running, especially “I run this body,” which has been my mantra during this training cycle.

3. My New-to-Running Friends. I wanted to dedicate mile 3 to all my friends who are new to running. When I was just starting to run, I couldn’t imagine running a whole 5K (3.1 miles). It’s a very significant distance, and to many people, accomplishing this is when they truly start believing that they are ‘runners.’ I know so many people who are just beginning their running journey, and this mile is for them!

4. All the Mother Runners. Running is always challenging, but running after having kids (or just one, in my experience so far) is hard on a whole different level. Getting back into it after having a baby is tough. We have to deal with things like a body that is not the same as it was before, less bladder control, leaking and engorged boobs… it’s not pretty. It’s also harder to get out of the house with less sleep, a schedule that revolves around your kids, and the feeling of guilt that sometimes comes with spending time doing something for yourself. I have loved being part of the community of mother runners who share in my experiences and support me throughout my journey, and this mile is for them!

5. Pregnancy. This mile is dedicated to the amazing journey that was my pregnancy.  Pregnancy made me appreciate my body more than ever before and being able to run and stay active during pregnancy made me stronger. It helped me develop a healthy and positive relationship with my body. I will always be thankful for having the experience of carrying and giving birth to my beautiful baby boy.

6. Finley. Finley is my friend’s little boy that has CMD- Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. Because of this disease, Finley will most likely never walk, let alone run, and he faces many other health issues as well. There is currently no cure or treatment for this disease. His mom Ashley is currently raising money for Footsteps for Finley, to help fund research towards finding a cure. She told me that she thinks of him when she is running and it pushes her, because she knows he is not able to run like other kids his age. It is a good reminder not to take our bodies abilities for granted. I will be dedicating this mile to him!

7. Marisa. Marisa was our Bradley Method birth class teacher and also our doula. She has quickly become a close friend of ours too. Through our classes and Kevin’s birth, she has taught me that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I will always be thankful to her for that because it’s what has helped me push myself harder in my running too.

8. SBSS. SBSS is the nickname of the group of friends I grew up with back in Pennsylvania. Christy, Sandy and D.J. have always been there for me, even though we went to different colleges and then I moved away to Virginia 6 years ago. I want to think of them during this mile because they are ALWAYS supportive, and thinking of our memories make me laugh and smile.

9. Ashley. Ashley is one of my best friends that I met during my freshman year of college, and now we both live in Northern VA. I will never forget when she met me at mile 20 of my first marathon in Philadelphia and ran to the finish with me. She did it again a year later when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. She traveled with me to Virginia Beach for the Shamrock Half Marathon, and because she had a knee injury she walked the WHOLE 13.1 miles while I ran. She is an amazing, selfless friend and I love her!!!

10. Cynthia. Cynthia has been a friend through elementary, middle and high school. Then we went to the same college and moved to the same town afterwards to teach. We both started running around the same time, and we’ve done many races together. I am super proud of her because this year she has taken to her training to another level and pushed herself to PR in the both the full and half marathon. I am hoping to draw some strength from her during this mile and do the same!

11. Gina. I met Gina at my gym a few years ago. She taught Cycle and Body Pump when I was very new to both of those classes. She was always positive and encouraging, and has since become a friend who does many of the same races as I do. I now go to a new gym since I moved, but she continues to motivate and inspire me with her energy and positivity on social media and the rare occasions I get to see her. Her words go through my head a lot when I run, especially one of her favorites: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

12. My Work Family. I am so lucky to work with such amazing people. I have coworkers ask me daily about my running, most of them don’t even care about running but they care about me and want to support me. There are 3 especially who have become my personal running buddies and cheerleaders: Darla, Amanda, and Danielle. These three women are amazing and I am so thankful for them!

13. James and Chanda. Our friends who we met in our Bradley Method birth class. They are running their first half marathons tomorrow here in Myrtle Beach. I am dedicating mile 13 to them because of that, and because they have worked hard during their training. I’m so excited for them!

14. In-laws. This mile is for my in-laws. They have always been supportive of both mine and Kevin’s running, and have traveled all over to go to our races. They’ve come with us to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Nashville, the Outer Banks, and here in Myrtle Beach where they live. My mother-in-law is a spectating pro. She can somehow get around to multiple points on the course, even in an unfamiliar city. She’s always stocked with water and other supplies, and takes the baby so that Kevin can jump in and run with me.

15. Sacha. Sacha is my aunt from Oregon who has come to visit us several times. Even though she lives far away, she’s been like a second mom to me since my mom passed away. I wanted to dedicate a mile to her because she is who I want to be like when I grow up 🙂  You would never know she’s in her 60s by how healthy and active she is, and how young she looks as a result. She’s also extremely strong, and is a breast cancer survivor. I am excited to run this mile for her!

16. & 17. Two Special People. These miles will be run for two special people that I know that are currently battling cancer. I don’t want to share too much about their stories because they are not mine to tell, but I am running for them to send them some positive energy and strength. I thought they each deserved their own mile.

18. Grandparents. All 4 of my grandparents have passed away. My Poppy and Grammy were the only ones who knew me during the time I was a runner and they didn’t entirely understand it, but they were always asking questions and telling me they were proud of me. All 4 of them passed away from some sort of health issue, which is all the more motivation for me to be as healthy as I can be. I love thinking of them and the memories we have had together. This mile is for them.

19. The people who said I couldn’t do it. I am running this marathon to prove to myself that I can do it, and do it better, after having a baby. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t also a little bit to prove other people wrong. I heard from many people while I was pregnant that I could basically kiss my marathon running days goodbye. “You won’t have the time for that,” “You won’t be as fast as you were,” “Your body will never be the same”… I could go on and on. Well guess what? I DO have time, I have gotten FASTER, and my body is even BETTER. This mile is for all of those Negative Nancies who didn’t believe in me!

20. Lauren. Watching my sister grow up into the beautiful, strong, and independent woman she is now has been amazing. She is hilarious, creative, caring, and has recently gotten into running too. She did the Couch to 5K plan and now runs regularly. She has lost 30 pounds as a result and now I’m trying to talk her into doing a race with me 🙂 I love my baby sister!

21. Dad. My dad is one of the strongest people I know. After my mom died, he was left to raise two girls, a 17 year old and a 14 year old, on his own. Mile 21-22 are usually tough for me, so I wanted to think of my dad during this one to draw strength from him. He has always supported my running, and although coming to races isn’t really his thing, I’ll never forget how he showed up at my first marathon and sprinted alongside me as I went toward the finish line. He also supports me in more subtle, sweet ways- like getting me one of my favorite Philly soft pretzels and leaving it on the counter for me to eat after my long run. Love him ❤

22. Meg Menzies. Most people have heard about Meg, a mother of 3 who was running in Richmond and killed by a drunk driver. She was training for the Boston Marathon. Her story really affected me. I cannot imagine going out to do something you love like running, something that makes you feel so happy and stress-free, and then one person’s selfish decision to drink and drive causes you to lose everything. As a fellow mother runner, I feel so badly for her family and how she will not get to see her kids grow up. I have a feeling I am going to get emotional when I run this mile for her.

23. Boston. I don’t really need to explain this one, do I? It’s been almost a year since the bombings at the Boston Marathon, and I have thought about it countless times since then. Every finish line I cross, every time I see bomb-sniffing dogs at the races, every time I see them searching backpacks, every time I see families at the finish line waiting for their loved ones, I think about the horror that happened that day. I can’t even imagine how terrifying that day must have been. I will be running mile 23 for all of those people who were affected by the bombs that day, especially those that lost their lives and were injured.

24. Mom. I wanted to save my mom for one of the later miles when I will need strength.  She didn’t know me as a runner, but she was always fiercely supportive of anything that I wanted to do. I know she would have been my biggest cheerleader if she were still here. I know she is with me constantly, but especially when I run. Sometimes I have very distinct moments when I am running where I feel her with me, like she’s transferring her strength and the enthusiastic energy she always had to me. It’s hard to explain. I want to run this mile for her because I know that whatever pain I feel at the end of a marathon doesn’t compare to the pain she went through. Cue the waterworks already, and I’m not even running yet!

25. Kevin II. The love of my life and my original running buddy. We have so many memories running together. He has always been my biggest fan, my best cheerleader and an amazing coach. He has believed in me and my ability a lot longer than I have. When I doubted myself and whether I would ever get back to where I was before pregnancy he didn’t even blink before he said of course I would. He is my rock and I love him so much.

26. Kevin III. By far my greatest accomplishment. Being his mom has taught me so much. I want him to grow up surrounded by positive examples of health, fitness, and the attitude to never give up. He is the light of my life and thinking of him will definitely help me get through mile 26. I will be so excited to see his sweet face at the finish line.

.2. Me.  The last .2 miles can be the hardest and best part of the whole race. I am dedicating this part to myself for all of my hard work, and for doing something for myself that makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mom.

I plan to write these dedications down on a small piece of paper and carry it with me. I am excited to draw strength and motivation from all of these special people during my race tomorrow. The next post I write will most likely be a recap!

National Running Day: Top 11 Running Posts

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Happy National Running Day! I celebrated today by thinking about all the reasons why I run, reflecting on my running journey, and running 4 wonderful miles after work.

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I also wanted to do something on the blog to commemorate this special day, so I decided to choose my top 11 running posts (because I couldn’t choose just 10 and 11 is my favorite number) from the last 2 years that I have had this little blog.

11. Marathon #7- The Air Force Marathon: My last marathon and the most memorable, mostly because I ran the entire thing with Kevin, got a huge PR, and felt amazing (until the very end).

10. Blood Blister Surgery: Weirdly, this post is one of my most viewed of all time. I don’t really understand that but hey, whatever!

9. Running Naked: Another one of my most viewed posts, probably due to the name of it 🙂 This one is about how I ditched my Garmin and started running free!

8. Cover Girl: That time I was on the cover of a running magazine!

7.  9 in 9: A recap of the 9 races I did over my 9 months of pregnancy.

6. The Power of Mantras: The mantras I have used for each of my marathons and how they have helped me.

5. What is a “Real” Runner?: Why you should celebrate all running accomplishments- big and small!

4. Kevin’s Journey to Running: How I got Kevin to come over to my side 🙂

3. Bad Race Photos: This just makes me laugh! Never gets old.

2. My Running Story as Told by Facebook Timeline: A fun (and long) post about the status updates that tell my running story.

1. A Love Letter and a Tattoo: A letter written to running and why I love it so much… and how I display that love permanently on my body.

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Happy National Running Day everyone!

Runspiration

I fought off Pinterest for a long time. Why? I’m not really sure. I think I was just afraid to get addicted to one more thing on the Internet since I already have hardly any free time anymore. Eventually I gave in and decided to see what it was all about. Now it is safe to say that I am addicted! I love the inspiration, new ideas, and creativity that it gives me. My favorite board is definitely my Runspiration board. On this board I have collected a ton of quotes, sayings, and photos that inspire and motivate me to run and be the best athlete I can be. Here are some of my favorites.

Don’t you love it?! Looking at all of these makes me want to go out and run immediately (even at 11 p.m.) I have a feeling I am going to have to make a part 2 to this post eventually. I am constantly discovering and repinning new ones!

Do you love Pinterest too? Have your own Runspiration board or inspirational quotes that you would like to share with me?