Signing Up For Your First Half Marathon

It’s been a while since I’ve officially raced a half marathon (just a little over two years to be exact) but Rock n Roll San Francisco is just around the corner so its time, once again, to suck it up buttercup. While my end goal this year is full marathon number two, believe it or not, 13.1 still makes me nervous. As I pondered the race this morning in the shower (you know, the place where we ALL get our best ideas), I thought back to my very first half marathon, which ironically, was also in San Francisco. What did I do to prepare? What would I have done better? Why did I decide to eat an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on the drive home afterward? (See also: why WOULDN’T I do that?!)

I remember having all of the questions, and none of the resources. Running was still somewhat new to me so I didn’t have too many friends that I could reach out too. Of course, there was the internets, but who reads blogs and trust strangers? Thus, I present you with some helpful tips for preparing for your first half marathon.

  1. Picking the race: go with a run that includes some fun! Pick somewhere that you’ll have to travel to, but not too far or tricky to get to. I’d go with a place you are somewhat familiar with, but will still present you with some new scenes to pass the time on your run. That’s why I went with San Francisco – it was a short 3.5 hour drive from home that I had been to a few times, but hadn’t seen enough of. I knew how to get there, could plan a strategy around booking a hotel and the finish line and had a few pre and post race restaurants already planned out.
    • Part two: One thing I love about the Rock n Roll Races is that there’s always a free concert that coincides with it. At my first RNR, I got to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis before the race and was so pumped on the show that it fueled the rest of my run! Find something that has a fun component to it. Tiffany necklace? Beer garden at the end? Running through Disneyland? This just gives you some extra motivation for getting across that finish line.
  2. Pinterest allllll the training plans. Seriously – look at a few and decide which one is most feasible for you. I tend to go with fewer short runs during the week, one long weekend run and three to four days of strength training. Why? Because it better protects my hips and I don’t get burnt out from running as quickly. The best way to figure out what will work for you is to just go for it. There’s nothing wrong with changing your plan to better conquer your challenges and Pinterest is there to help you get it done! I guess I am too – so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help picking a plan.
  3.  Buy a new pair of running shoes. DON’T be like me and think you can run long distances in $30 sneakers from Payless or classified “running” shoes from the Nike Outlet. Take an hour to visit your local running or sports specialty store and ask someone to help you find the perfect pair. My life (and my feet) changed the second I stepped foot into Reno Running Company for some new kicks. The right store will analyze your running style, narrow down the type of shoe you need and even try and find something that fits your style (hello purple and pink Mizunos).
  4. Make a running playlist. Making a new one of these has been on my to-do list for a while. My personal computer recently died and with it went years and years and years of my favorite songs. What’s left of it, are my iTunes purchases and a very minimal list. Thanks to Spotify, I’ve been able to at least quickly select some playlists made by others (Punk Rock Workout being my favorite). Pick out 20-30 songs that make you dance, smile and move and group them together. They’ll keep you going along the way and help you pace out your miles. Don’t be ashamed to add whatever it is that will get you going – remember, this is for YOUR ears and feet. (queue Esther Dean’s “Drop It Low” in the background of my life).

I’ll never forget that last half mile of my first half marathon. I cried, I pep talked, I even picked up the pace. It helped that a fireman in a tuxedo was waiting at the finish line with a Tiffany’s necklace for me, but that’s not why I’ll never forget it. Me, who at her heaviest was 263 pounds, was conquering the world. My hope for every aspiring runner is to have their finish line moment, there are few things in the world quite like it.

Sign up for Rock n Roll San Francisco, April 8 in the Bay! Use the code RNRRNB2018 to save $15 on registration. See you there! 

The Power of Ten

Happy New Year! It’s January 2nd and I’m still suffering from an NYE champagne hangover. I blame it on the fact that from Christmas till NYE, I got whatever cold is going around along with the fact that I need to realize I just cannot drink like I did in my early 20s. Needless to say, January 1st was supposed to be my first official marathon training day, but that did not happen.

Back to that cold thing… man – I thought I got off easy with just a terrible sore throat, but it got worse Thursday night, so I went to bed at 7 p.m. and literally could not leave my bed (except to go to the bathroom) until 9 a.m. Saturday. It was rough and I have never really been happier to breathe fresh air. Between that and a week of bad eating, my body is certainly feeling the repercussions. Everything from a food belly to an awful case of acne is happening, but of course, its time to kick all of that in the ass. As such, I was up dark and early to begin training with a three mile treadmill run and a one mile cool down walk. While it wasn’t my best due to the aforementioned circumstances, it felt a hell of a lot better than laying in bed all day.

As I enter 2018 with a positive outlook and a big goal in mind, I set up a few smaller, attainable goals to help me get there. Ten to be exact. They are daily action items that will keep me focused on the bigger goals ahead. And since you asked, here they are:

  1. No alcohol until Valentine’s Day
  2. Only black coffee or tea (no sweet, sugary coffees)
  3. No eating out unless previously scheduled or necessary for work
  4. Meet 10,000 step goal daily
  5. Go to sleep by 10 p.m., if not earlier
  6. Drink a gallon of water per day
  7. Take vitamins daily
  8. Take an Epsom Salt bath at least once per week
  9. Make extra time for stretching and foam rolling
  10. Make your shopping list on Friday and grocery shop by noon on Saturday

What’s your goal for 2018 and what are you going to do to get there?

Well, I did it…

Marathon number two is official.

In May of 2016, I didn’t think there’d ever be a marathon two. I said, “No way. Absolutely not. Never Again.” The rest of 2016 was spent without mileage boosts. I’d mostly (never) remember to go to the gym. The weight gain was fierce. The insecurities were arise. But no worries, I ran a marathon. That instantly makes me skinny and fit for the rest of my life, right? If only.

Then, come Fall 2017 I started to seldom say that if the right race came along, in the right place, at the right time of year, then maybe… just maybe I’d do it. This turned into, “okay, I think I’m gonna do it.”

A few months back, I happened to stumble upon a tweet from the Rock n Roll Marathon Series looking for bloggers. Thinking I didn’t have much to lose, and that it was likely a long shot, I took my chances and applied. About two weeks ago, the best surprise landed in my inbox in the form of being notified that I had been selected for the Rock n Blog team! As I scoured the list of RNR runs for ’18, the word “marathon” stood out like a sore thumb. It was my sign, my calling, my fair warning of lots of chafe ahead.

San Diego caught my eye and soon after, my ducks were in a row  – I had a good friend I could stay with down there, I could fly in the day before and back the evening after and not miss any work, the weather is seemingly always perfect and the altitude was on my side (seriously… going from running in the Northern Nevada altitude to sea level is always heavenly).

At approximately 4:30 p.m. yesterday, I did it. I made it officially official followed by Facebook official. In 2018, I’ll be running Marathon #2. Training starts 1/2/18.

Dear chiropractor, we’ll see each other monthly. Dear friends, I’m sorry, I can’t go drinking, I have to run 18 miles in the morning. Dear boyfriend, I’m sorry I have to go to bed at 7 p.m. to make my long run in the morning. Dear Pawko, hope you will enjoy the first or last miles of my run with me. Dear everyone else, I’m sorry you’ll have to listen to me talk about this from here until June 2.



What’s Next?

After two weekends of 10Ks, I told myself I’d keep going. Long runs on the weekends, strength training through the week. While I’m still grumbling at my 5 a.m. gym alarm, I’m still facing issues with my hip which have left me unable to run, and some days, unable to even bend over. I know it will get better in a short time (like tomorrow after a panic call to my chiropractor) but I fear I’m going back down the damn rabbit hole for the tenth time over.

I’m also sitting here with that recurring stomach pain I’ve often written about. Since cutting my beloved tomatoes and apples out of my diet, the pain has been fewer and farther in between, but still here. Still a literal thorn in my side. It didn’t stop me from the gym this morning, but will it let me reach my 10,000 step goal? My ass in my work chair for the last three hours says no, but my OCD says “FIGHT THE PAIN!”

So, maybe I just need to commit to something. You know… make a plan. Normal people do that kind of thing, I suppose. Pick a half marathon (or maybe a full??) and get to the pavement. I have been pondering another full more and more. I am not sure a half would be as satisfying to me anymore (though the 10 miler did the trick just fine). Some days, I feel weird calling myself a “marathoner” or “marathon runner” when I’ve only done one.  I’m in the runner’s abyss, lost in translation.

What’s the best Race you’ve ever participated in?


Crack, crack goes my neck

Holy crack… I mean crap… I just went to get my hips adjusted only to find out that my entire spine was out of place, from those things that don’t lie all the way up to my neck. I am more sore than leg day, more sore than after a marathon and more sore than food regret on Thanksgiving. I’m pretty good at knowing when I need to go to the chiropractor but thought this time around my body was handling things a little better and I waited a while in between visits. Next time, I’ll listen to the four to six week recommendation.

Oh hey there. Sorry that I (yet again) went absent for a while. Last we left off, I was training for the Reno 10 Miler. Well, that went phenomenally and it was the first (and only) time I ran double digits since my 2016 marathon. What a feeling. The sun was shining, the course was hilly and the all-you-can-drink beer afterwards was absolutely worth it all.

I’ve spent the time since then focusing more on strength training than anything, but with the colder weather outside and my work schedule slowing down a bit, I’m working on ramping that mileage back up. In addition to the 10 Miler, I completed my fastest 5K in three or four years, coming in at 30 minutes flat, as well as two consecutive Sundays of 10Ks. The first of which, the Dirty Wookie 10K, is where this post’s featured image comes from. (Side note, I wasn’t going to post this image because I don’t find it to be very flattering, but running isn’t supposed to be pretty). The second of which, Girls on the Run, was six minutes faster than the first and was the final in a series, so I dual-medaled! Getting a series medal is now off the running bucket list.

23331485_10101512283868038_7639121445123841923_oOh, and on an unrelated-to-running note, I also was honored as the 2017 Chapter Member of the Year for the Public Relations Society of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter for which I got to do a pretty sweet photoshoot with my dog.

Now that I’m done with races for the year, my goal is to keep up with 5-6 mile runs on the weekends until I can pick another half or full marathon that I want to do in 2018. Perhaps something early on in the year so I can slack off for the final 75% of the year and just claim I was an early to bed, early to rise goal achiever. Just kidding.

I’ve also been following along with the Tone It Up 21 Day Challenge in which I’m doing 21 reps of five different exercises for three rounds, four to five days a week. Every once in a while, I’ll join a blacklight spin class that may or may not be becoming my new obsession. Perhaps one day I’ll get used to the soreness in my unmentionable space from the bike seat. And through it all, I still have 10,000-steps-on-my-Fitbit OCD. Moral of the story, I’m doing my best to stay active, even if its not running!

You’ll see that I’m doing more posts on my Instagram (hence why I felt it was due time for a blog update). Please follow along as I do enjoy connecting with everyone.

What have you been up to? What races are you training for?

Until next time, which is hopefully not six months from now.

(PS; my new-found love for the “My Favorite Murder” podcast wants me to end this by saying, “Stay sexy, don’t get murdered.”)

B. Robb and the 8th Mile

If you’re just tuning in, I’m training for the Reno 10 Miler. My last true race was May 1, 2016 when I completed my first marathon. Since then, I went through fitness struggle after fitness struggle, finding no true motivation and perhaps even losing my lack of love for running. Don’t worry, I read that happens to a lot of runners, I just never thought it’d be me. Signing up for this race, seems to have been just what I needed. However, I’ve been worried about whether or not my body would let me even properly train for it as right hip likes to come at me in all-out war similar to the end of last night’s Game of Thrones episode (spoiler alert, only not really).

I’ve been a week ahead of my training schedule as one day I just kept running so on the new schedule for this past weekend, I was scheduled to run eight miles. When I began training, I said that as long as I can get up to an 8-miler, I should be fine. So in essence, this was a make-or-break weekend. I started off broken thanks to some vodka tonics Friday night, which not only derailed my training plans, but also derailed my plans to not drink for a while (see: Portland trip). However, as punishment, I ended up at the gym after a homemade hangover breakfast and treated myself to kettle bell swings, hip thrusters, plie squats and other various booty breakers.

After that bit of torture (just kidding, it was actually a GREAT workout), I was determined to prep myself to run tomorrow. Also, the fact that I was neck-and-neck with someone in a Fitbit Weekend Warrior Challenge, really irked my competitiveness so I was determined to kick some cement ass the next day. Just like the old marathon training days, we went out for sushi later that night so I could get SOME carbs in me (still working on that “giving up” thing) and at 10 p.m., I hit the sack. Man, what a wild Saturday night. I normally don’t feel the need to wake up early to run unless it’s a work day, so to set my alarm to 5:15 a.m. on a Sunday was a pretty mean accomplishment. Not the waking up the next morning part, the actual setting the alarm part. I did almost hit snooze, but the thought of running eight miles in 100 degree heat had me on a hop, skip and jump outta bed.

When I realized I hadn’t charged my headphones the night before, I prayed to the running Gods that they would survive at least half way otherwise I’d be miserable without them. Luckily, they survived until I was a half mile away from being done and from there I just blasted New Found Glory at an appropriate “blasting music at 7 a.m.” volume. Hey man, I may be selfish, but I ain’t rude!

Anywho, I felt GREAT on this run. Very minimal hip pain, great stamina, great hydration and high energy levels. Not once did I feel like quitting. Not once did I try to walk… well, not once till the last quarter mile… but, why quit then? When I finished, I let out a big sigh of relief as I not only beat the triple digit weather, but I powered through in a mind-over-matter mentality and conquered my goals for the weekend… and then some.

The 10 Miler isn’t until August 13 so I may try for another eight when I’m in Sacramento next weekend – I do love me some lower altitude running. But we’ll see. I don’t want to push it for fear I WILL injure myself. But, as I sit here writing this, I’m really realizing that my passion is back. I’m focused, determined and ready to rock.

PS; I also won that Fitbit challenge… I apparently even intimidated someone enough to quit before it was really over. Whoops.

So how exactly do you start over?

You do. You just do. You get your happy ass out of bed at 5:30 a.m., you lace up, you procrastinate a bit, but then you go. You just go. I have started over at least 12 times since running a marathon. But you know what? That’s okay. It means I still care. It means I still have goals to achieve – and I do – but failure is a part of every success story.

Those close to me know that my job has brought on a crazy, ever-changing schedule, endless great meals including free peanut butter cookies always at my finger tips and a slew of stressful-just-want-to-sleep nights. But you know what? Not an excuse. I set out to prove that to myself last week when Festival Season kicked in. I set a goal to workout or hit my 10,000 steps every day, stay on track with my food, get a lot of sleep and hydrate and you know what? 90,000 steps later, I did it. I even managed to have a social life after a few 10 hour days. Fast forward to post-festival and I erased all that hard work. So you know what I did this morning? I started the fuck over. I grumbled and groan as my alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. but three miles later, I forgot about the “dammits…” that ensued as I was risin’ and not-so-shinin.’

At mile one, I told myself “it’s never too late to start over.” It’s cliche but so damn true. So I may have had a pastrami Reuben sandwich (work lunch, I promise) and some gelato the day before (not a work lunch, piss off), but before those slip-ups got out of hand, I knew I needed to step back to zero and just run. Just run.

Going forward, I plan to increase my runs to 2-3 per week, with a lengthier one on the weekends so as to work my way up to the Reno 10-Miler. It’s a lot closer than it seems, but I have faith I can kick some ass.

My other obstacle ahead is learning how to fuel for longer runs without carbs. I’ll save that story for another day…

Hey, I was once a blogger.

To sign up or not to sign up. That is the question that’s been roaming through my head for the last 13 months. I’ve missed the miles. The medals. The milestones. I’ve slowly tried to become a runner again (yeah, yeah once a runner always a runner). But truthfully, I haven’t gone a single month with more than 13 miles logged since May 2016. It’s hard. I never believed it could be. During my entire training process, I never thought I’d want to quit once I was done. But my body was tired, and sore, and frankly just didn’t have the will. When this year started, I thought I’d reset and refuel. And while I’m consistently at the gym (give or take a week here and there), I’m still struggling to face the course. I re-injured my hip in April to the point where I thought that the looming hip replacement was going to come 30 years early. My weight, like mind, has been complacent despite any healthy efforts.

While doing a blacklight boxing class yesterday (yes, as cool as it sounds) I decided – here’s where that changes. The second my paycheck clears tonight, I’m signing up for the Reno 10 Miler. I’m also signed up for the Reno Race for the Cure (join Sara’s RaRa for TaTas today!) I’m craving, itching for that double digit run SO badly. From there, perhaps another half marathon, maybe some more blogs in between.  And perhaps that’s where you come in. What questions do you have? What do you want me to write about? Go ahead, post below and let me know! I’m here, happy to help. Not an expert, but I’ve lived, breathed and trained the pavement so you can consider me the generic version. I’m the Great Value to your Kraft.

Better late than never.

Three months ago yesterday, I became the 1% – a marathoner, a person who has run 26.2 miles, a goal achiever, and the absolute best version of myself. The days, weeks and months after led to a lot of contemplating, nostalgia, laziness, pride, a return to self-doubt, and feelings every-which way. It was hard for me to sit down at a computer and write about May 1, 2016 because every time I did, so many emotions came about. I just couldn’t find it in me to do it, to get all the feels out on the screen and to share with everyone how amazing that day went. I can’t explain why, and I’m not even sure I know myself why, but know that every step I took that day (just over 50,000) was met with accomplishment, gratitude, tears and thirst for the finish line. I finished in five hours and 43 minutes – just shy of the six hour limit. I was number 92 out of 100. And at the finish line, waiting for me was a group of people to whom I’m forever grateful for (and a box of donuts).

Aside from crossing the finish line, the most imperative part of that day was at mile 23 when a complete stranger was waiting for me to give me the pep talk of a life time. He was tipped off by my friends who knew I’d need the encouragement. He gave me gummy bears and told me that in just three short miles, I’d be something forever – a marathoner – and that I will only get to be a ‘first time’ marathoner just this once. All I had to do was run aid station to aid station (which was a lot harder to do when one discovers that the next aid station was shut down early). He let me know it was okay to cry and yip and holler, but I had to finish the race before I truly could. When I crossed the finish line, a friend was on the phone with him and he was one of the first to congratulate me. Stranger (who’s real name is Michael), to this day, you’ll never know how crucial that moment and your pep talk was to me.

Writing this is bringing back all the feels. My eyes are watering as I replay stand-out moments, as I think of turning that last corner and being cheered on by more strangers, letting  me know I was almost at the finish line. The entire 26.2 miles was met with such support, people honking from their cars, aid stations asking how we were holding up, friends texting along the way. I will never forget that day, no matter how delirious I was at times or how much my vision was blurred by the tears in my eyes. I can’t imagine a moment in my life where I will be more proud of myself.

Fast forward to present day and time – I have found it hard to get myself back on track. I’ve gained weight and lost muscle. I’ve enjoyed one too many delicious meals. I’m ready to be the healthy me again, the strong me again, but maybe not the runner me just quite yet. Yesterday, three months post marathon, I restarted my journey with a healthy eating and exercise program. I look forward to regaining my confidence and fitting in my clothes again, to not being so tired and grouchy all the time, and to making and meeting new personal goals.