Monday, November 28, 2016

BQ or Bust...Spoiler Alert, I Chose BUST!

Sometimes it's more about the finish line than the finish time.  Unfortunately it has taken me several years and a lot of heartbreak to truly understand that.  It's so easy to get caught up in the competition of races and PR chasing that you lose sight of why you even bother lacing up.  My unsuccessful three year (and 5 race) journey to qualify for the Boston Marathon has been a true testament of that.  Most of the races during that time period, I crossed the finish line with my head down, grabbed my medal and sulked all the way back to my car and the drive home.

Simply put, I was a big brat whenever I didn't BQ.  And thanks to my "brattiness," I missed out on so much.  I missed out on the beauty and awesomeness these courses had to offer.  I missed out on the spirit of the runners around me and how exciting they all were for each other, including me.  I missed out on the fun after parties and the bonds that could've been formed with my fellow runners.  And most importantly, I missed out on the appreciation and respect for the full marathon distance I had just accomplished.  After all, despite no BQ, I was still a freaking marathoner.  But that just wasn't enough.

7 weeks ago I ran the Chicago Marathon.  I put my heart and soul into training during the hot summer months here in Florida.  Early mornings, weekend long runs, the speed work, the strength training, all of it was in hopes to finally secure my BQ.  It was a tough summer and I went into the race uncertain I would reach my goal, but I was going to give it my absolute all.  Which is what I did, but I still came up a few minutes short.  Close but still not enough, so it was on to the next one...or so I thought.

I had planned to run the Space Coast Marathon less than two months after Chicago as a Race Pacer, so I kept my mileage up after I got back.  When I learned I was on the reserve list for the half instead of the full, I decided to go ahead and sign up for it and race it.  I had all the training miles in the bank, so many of my friends would be there (including a bunch of Moms Run This Town mamas) and plus I would receive and extra medal for running it three years in a row.  So why not right!?!
Moms Run This Town pre-race
I took a very non strenuous and stress free approach to "training" for Space Coast, in hopes it would have me prepared but relaxed for race day.  Though I had the miles, I had not specifically trained for a particular time, so I wasn't sure what race day would have in store for me.  Since I feel goals are uber important for anything, I knew I needed to make some for this race.  Normally I would have up to 4 goals and I would try to stick to that game plan, in fact, I originally did that for Space Coast.  But during the week leading up to the race, my body and mind were just burnt out from all the miles and pressure over the past several months.  So I decided to take a different approach for this one...BQ or BUST.

I figured if I was feeling it, I would go balls to the wall and try to get that BQ.  But if at any point I realized it just wasn't in my cards, I would let go of any time goal and have myself a good ole time out on that course.  I was ready to give it my all but also to prepared to accept the fact that it just may not happen.  So it was all or nothing, and by "nothing" I simply meant time didn't matter as long as I was enjoying myself.

The first 9 miles of the race, I was able to follow my original plan.  I was hanging out somewhere between the 3:25 and 3:30 pace and feeling pretty good.  The sun was just starting to come up, the weather was nice and cool and my legs, though sluggish, where holding pretty strong.  Around mile 10, however, my legs started to feel incredibly heavy and they started to cramp up a bit.  I had a nice "cushion" with my time, so I was able to pull back a bit and still hang onto a pace that would guarantee me a BQ.
Starting to "not feel it" any more
The slower pace did absolutely nothing for my legs.  They began to feel worse and worse and I still had a whole lot of miles ahead of me.  The sun was up by this point and it was starting to get pretty warm and I knew it was only to get hotter and hotter.  I am very familiar with this course, I know how daunting that second half is and I could feel myself starting to check out.  So I went ahead and made the decision around mile 14 to just go with my BUST goal and it was the best decision I think I have ever made during a race.

At this point my head phones came out and I started making friends along the way.  I was high-fiving anyone and everyone coming through on the other side of the course (it's an out and back with the half marathoners too).  So many of my runner friends were out there and for once I got to see their smiling faces because I wasn't staring down at the ground in agony.  I got to run a bit with several friends who were pushing to PR that day (which they did whoop whoop), friends who were coming back from injuries, and even strangers who became friends.

Best of all, I got to run the last several miles and cross the finish line with a fellow Moms Run This Town mama, Cristina, who was having a rough day and could use the company to get through.  Though she thanked me so much for my support, it was her that totally made my marathon experience yesterday worthwhile.  I had wanted so bad to have a fun race, one that I not only could enjoy that day, but look back on and be proud of.  Her allowing me to be a part of her journey during that last 10k, supporting her and pushing her to finish is exactly what I needed.  It forced me to let go of any pressure I had on myself at that point and be able to help a fellow runner.  We laughed, we cried, we got to know each other along the way and we even stopped to take some liquor shots and some selfies out there.  Crossing the finish line with Cristina was one of the coolest things I have ever gotten to do at a race and I am so grateful for that whole experience.
Cristina and I at mile 23ish (after our vodka and whiskey shots)
So unlike many of my other "failed" BQ attempts, yesterday I proudly crossed that finish line with my head held high next to my new friend.  I didn't just snatch my medal and walk to my car, rather I let them hang it on my neck, then I grabbed me a beer and skipped on over to the after party.  I reunited with many of my friends I saw along the course and I proudly told them my time and experience out there. I got to know some of my "friends" I only see briefly at races and made a bunch of new ones.  It was probably close to two hours before I made my way back to my car and I was filled with nothing but pride and excitement from the days events.
This story would have had a significantly different ending if the second half of the race went as well as the first, as far as running goes.  I would have FINALLY, after 5 attempts, been able to claim my spot in the Boston Marathon, and I could only imagine how I would be feeling today if I had made that happen.  But it didn't and I have absolutely NO regrets.  There will be other races and other chances to qualify.  Through all of my previous attempts, I learned so much about myself as an athlete.  But at yesterday's race, I learned so much about myself as a person...and for that, Space Coast was all I could have hoped for and more!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Marathon #7: Ready or Not, Here I Come

I have been training like crazy over the past several months and not just myself, I've been super busy working with our athletes at the Factory as well as getting my Strength2Run program off the ground!  It's been such a hectic couple of weeks since getting back from the Chicago Marathon, I almost completely forgot I was training for another marathon.  Well, maybe that's a bit of a stretch, I certainly have been running.  But I haven't had much time to really think about the race to be honest, and I have been slacking on my weekly training logs.

With my next marathon in just 6 days, I figured now is as good as time as any to get back to my journal entries.  So here is a recap of last week's training and what's to come for race week...

Monday: Upper Lift
Normally I teach spin on Monday's but we are conducting interviews for a new coach at our gym, so I had to be there.  So rather than spin, I taught our adult group that morning, had the interview then got in a little lunch time lift.  Hunter went for a run while I was lifting and I thought about going with him or having him wait since we've been running together most Monday's lately.  But my hamstring has been a little tweaky since Chicago so I figured it best to take it easy in hopes it feels better for Space Coast.  I did upper with some mobility work and foam rolling.

Tuesday: 7 @MGP
I suppose I could or should have done speed work on the treadmill like I do most Tuesday's on my lunch break.  But the weather was absolutely GORGEOUS, so I had to take advantage of that and get some miles in outside.  Plus with an iffy hamstring, I figured the easier pace would be better than pushing the limits with speed work.  70 degrees and overcast, the miles flew by and the hamstring held up ok, but became pretty tight as the day went on.

Wednesday: Upper + Mobility + Yoga
Another busy day with work so I snuck in a quick upper body lift with the hubster on our lunch break.  I did (finally) take some time to work on my hamstring with some mobility work and a lot of foam rolling for my quads (specifically VMO), adductors and little over into my IT band.  That along with the Yoga class I taught later that night really seemed to help with the hammy.  I was starting to think the hamstring thing may just be in my head, I am tapering after all so something has to go wrong, right!?!

Thursday: Easy 5
Another gorgeous weather day, so I again had to take my run outside.  Knowing I wouldn't have much time to get my race day essentials race week because of the holiday, I figured I would make the trip over to Fleet Feet and Whole Foods and run at Cranesroost Park near by.  It's a really nice paved trail around a lake that is about a mile around.  With the perfect weather and the Christmas decorations up, it was definitely a nice run.  Unfortunately all that work I did for my hamstring the day before didn't seem to stick and it was giving me a little trouble again.  I was getting a little frustrated and bummed out, but I was prepared for something like this to happen when I jumped right back into marathon training after Chicago.  Fortunately it is not a major issue that I can totally treat, and if I were not running a marathon in a few days, I wouldn't be in the slightest bit concerned about it.  And besides, I am not putting any major pressure on myself for Space Coast, so no reason to get too bummed about an annoying hammy.

Friday: Upper Lift + Core
It's important to taper strength training too in preparation for race day, so I'm really having to pull back in the weight room.  Friday was a lot of accessory lifting, aka The Gun Show, and some core work.  As a strength coach and athlete, my training focuses primarily on performance.  But I would be lying if I said I don't do it for the muscles too ;-) so it's fun to "waste" some time in the gym on shoulders, bis and tris every now and then.  Later that evening I spent quite a bit of time with The Stick to roll out my legs.  I really wanted to get a good run in the next day and a lot of that depended on how the hamstring would hold up.

Saturday: 10 miles + Taper Time!
Decided to do my last double digit run of the training cycle on the treadmill, so I was able to sleep in with the family, enjoy some coffee and head over the the gym a little later in the morning.  I woke up feeling a little tight in my hamstring and sore from all the rolling, so I was a little apprehensive how the run would go.  I started off at a pretty conservative pace and just as I suspected, my leg felt pretty tight.  After a couple of miles, however, it started to loosen up some, so I was able to push the pace a little.  At about 6.5 miles, I had virtually no issues with my leg and was able to pick up the pace even more.  I finished the 10 miles out pretty strong with an over all average pace of around 7:30.  I rolled the legs a little after the run and went on about my Saturday with little to no hamstring concerns!  I'm not convinced it's completely healed but that is definitely a great sign that it's getting much better and should hopefully hold up race day. (fingers crossed)

Sunday: REST Day
Sunday's are the only days we typically have no work and are able to spend the entire day as a family, so I have made it a point to make that my rest day to maximize my time with the hubby and kiddos.  We had a fun filled day of going to see the movie Trolls, visiting a friend and her sons at a new park, then food prepping and football for the rest of the evening.  A much needed day with my favorite people to recharge the batteries and head into a busy week of work, Thanksgiving and of course a marathon!

Goals for Race Day
Oh and speaking of that marathon, I just wanted to revisit my goals one last time now that it is officially race week.  Since I just ran Chicago last month, I have to be realistic about my goals for this race.  Also, Space Coast has always been a rough race for me, so I feel like I am going into it aware that it could be yet another tough one.  But with all that being said, I still need to have goals, so here they go...
A. Swing for the fences.  If I happen to be feeling it that day, why not freaking go for it and make that BQ finally happen at the race that has defeated me so many times before!?!
B. Push a little and clock what has become a consistent marathon time for me in the low 3:40's.
C. Run with a friend (or a stranger for that matter) who is trying to break 4 hours.
D. Just finish that damn thing with my head held high and a smile on my face.  2 marathons in 2 months is certainly something to be proud of!
Well, that's a wrap as I enter into race week.  I will try to recap before I head out Sunday to get my marathon on, but definitely be on the look out some time next week for a race recap!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Introducing Strength2Run: Online Strength Training Specifically for Runners

Whether you’re a novice runner or seasoned runner or even a competitive athlete, there is no greater feeling than hitting the trail or treadmill and of course, crossing the finish line.  But as runners we also know there is no greater disappointment than coming up short in your goal or worse, being sidelined due to an injury.  That is why many runners are starting to take their cross training much more seriously.  But when left to their own demise, many a runner is left uncertain as to where to begin and how to stay on tract with an effective strength and conditioning program.

That is why I have designed the Strength2Run coaching app, a personalized strength and conditioning program designed specifically to meet the needs and demands of runners, offered directly through your phone or mobile device!  With my knowledge and experience in strength coaching as well as running, I design individualized training programs to suit your needs, goals, current fitness level, equipment available and of course, your schedule.  You will get all the perks of a personal trainer (program design, accountability, motivation, etc.) but with workouts done on your own time!

By now, you may or may not already be aware of the many benefits a well rounded strength and conditioning program has to offer runners.  Here are some of those awesome benefits you can expect to experience through my programing:
  • Improved strength
  • Improved flexibility
  • Better form and running economy
  • Injury prevention
  • Improved body composition (weight loss, increase lean muscle)
  • Improved running you get that PR!
Working with me through my Strength2Run training app, you will get personalized training programming to coincide with your running, your very own coach (me) and all the great benefits of a personal trainer, all from the comfort of your own home or gym done on your own schedule.  Strength2Run provides the following:
  • Strength training program designed specifically for you
  • Initial phone consultation to discuss current fitness level, health history, goals, etc.
  • 2 workouts per week tailored to your goals and needs
  • Fitness tracking
  • Accountability and motivation
  • Nutritional support
  • Safe and effective programing, that keeps your run training and racing in mind
  • Basic run programming (5k to full marathon)
  • Monthly phone check-in
Why online coaching?  As I mentioned above, you get all the perks of having a trainer...specific programing, accountability, coaching, the list goes on, but with workouts you can do during your own schedule and at your own facility, home or even while traveling.  All through your phone or mobile device!  Not to mention it is much more cost effective than hiring a personal trainer at a gym (see below).
And through the app, you will get not just your workouts, but videos along with descriptions of each exercise, weight suggestions, reps, sets, rest and more!  You, of course, will be held accountable to completing your workouts with check ins and I will also be available for support through the app messenger as well as via email.

You get all the programing, accountability, coaching and support all for the low price of just $99 for one month of training.  And guess what, unlike gyms, personal trainers and other online programs, Strengh2Run offers month to month programing.  There is no sign up fee, no contract, no auto draft.  Receive coaching for as little as one month or for as like as you need!  (FYI: To train one on one with me in my gym, The Athlete Factory, you would expect to pay upwards of $80+ per session, with a minimum of a three month commitment, so my Strength2Run app is quite a deal to say the least!)

Ready to get started?  Simply visit my Strength2Run site to purchase your first month of training (payment made via PayPal) and be sure to click the "Become a Client" tab on the top right of your screen.  You will receive your link to download your app as well as welcome email from me to set up your initial phone consultation within 24 hours of payment.  Then we will be ready to roll, getting you stronger, faster and achieving your goals in no time!Don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any additional questions.  I look forward to working with you soon!

Meet Coach Christina...
As graduate of East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology and a wide range professional certifications, I have worked with a variety of clientele from youth athletes to active adults since 2004. Currently, I along with my husband, own and operate a performance training facility in Central Florida where we work with competitive athletes youth to professional. Running has always been one of my biggest passions, so I have combined my knowledge and expertise for both running and strength and conditioning to design programs to meet the specific demands of runners.

B.S. in Exercise Physiology
Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM)
Certified Personal Trainer (NASM)
YogaFit Level 1
Certified Spinning, Kickboxing and Boot Camp Instructor
Group Fitness Instructor (AFAA)

12 years experience in fitness industry
6 years fitness entrepreneurship
2+ years gym ownership
20 years running experience
Over 100 races from 5k's to full marathons, and triathlons

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

5 Reasons Why Every Runner Should Strength Train

Running is such a great form of exercise.  Not only does running offer many great physical benefits, but it has many great mental and emotional benefits as well.  Whether you’re a novice runner, a seasoned runner or even a competitive runner, there is no greater feeling than hitting the trail, treadmill and of course, crossing the finish line.  Running, however, because of its singular plane motion and repetition, can eventually start to take a toll on your body if you are not properly cross training.

Strength training is an often neglected form of cross training but one of the most crucial forms of exercises for runners.  Finding time to get runs and other forms of cardio in each week isn’t always easy, so runners often skip out on the weights, thinking they do not have enough time or it is not necessary.  But strength training should be a part of every runner’s training regimen.

To understand the importance of strength training for runners, here are some key benefits to keep in mind:

Increased Endurance: Strength training helps your body better deal with the stresses of running. Your muscles will be able to perform longer before getting fatigued, which will help you maintain your proper running form. Improving your strength will help you fight off hitting the wall during the late stages of a long-distance race.  (Also, the mental strength you get from pushing in the weight room certainly comes into play out on the course as well.)

Injury Prevention:  Being sidelined by a nagging injury can often be avoided through a proper strength and conditioning program.  Many running injuries, especially ankle, knee and hip-related issues, are a result of muscular imbalances and weak joints.  When you increase strength, you also improve joint stability (or mobility) in these crucial areas, leading to less aches and pains and more importantly, less injuries.

Increased Speed:  Strength training is an excellent way to get faster.  It will, of course, improve your overall form and endurance, but also your body's efficiency to use energy and oxygen.  By becoming not just stronger and but also more conditioned through strength training, you will see improvements in your overall pace, which is pretty fun, right!?! 

Better Recovery:  Because strength training makes your body more efficient at converting metabolic waste into energy, you'll also be able to recover faster from those tough training runs.  And with your stronger muscles and joints, your body will better adapt to the stresses of running thus making your recovery a significantly less uncomfortable process.  (You won't be dreading the stairs quite as much after a long run.) 

Weight Management: The lean muscle mass built through strength training boosts metabolism, helping your body to burn calories more efficiently not just during exercise but also at rest.  Not only will this help to make you feel like a lean, mean calorie burning machine, improving your overall weight and body composition will help you to run at peak performance.

So now you understand why you should be strength training, are you certain you know how?  Whether you are a beginner or self-proclaimed gym rat, we could all use a little coaching, especially when it comes to designing a run-specific strength training program.  Coach Christina can help you will all of your strength training needs, contact her today to learn more about her Strength2Run mobile training app!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Now You Can Train With the CoachRunnerFitmom

It's pretty obvious from my blogging and InstaLife that I love me some running and fitness.  My daily posts about my training are not only there for me to reflect on and keep me accountable, but also hopefully serve as inspiration and motivation to some of my InstaFriends.

But what many may not know is that fitness is not just my passion, it is also my livelihood and has been for over a decade!  I have been a part of a wide variety of fitness endeavors from personal training to clinical exercise physiology to gym management.   Today, my husband (Hunter) and I own and operate a performance training facility here in Central Florida called The Athlete Factory.  In our facility, we train competitive athletes from youth to professional, as well as "weekend warriors."  This had been a dream of ours since we met back in our college day and has been such a crazy ride to make it come true!
Being involved in sports my whole life, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in the filed.  I attended East Carolina University, where I received a degree in Exercise Physiology.  While there, I obtained my first ever certification as an aerobics instructor and began teaching classes my Junior year, and my senior year, I interned as an exercise physiologist (which is where I met my husband).  After college, I moved to Orlando to pursue a career in sports and fitness, and soon became a fitness manager at one of the area's premier health clubs.  Hunter, who was working at the same club, built an impressive clientele of many of the area's most elite athletes and soon landed a job in management as the sport performance team leader.

When our first son was born, I took some time off to stay home with my him, and worked part time with a few clients and taught group exercise classes.  About a year after our second son was born, Hunter, and I decided to open our own facility and I returned to work full time with him.  Already certified in personal training and a variety of group fitness genres from yoga to spinning, I added a Strength and Conditioning coach certification to my repertoire and began coaching athletes of all ages, sports and skill level.

I absolutely love getting to work with a wide variety of athletes in our facility, helping them achieve their performance goals, but I have also wanted to reach even more people, specifically in the running community where I feel most at home.  So I began blogging and posting about my own personal journey, as well as share some knowledge and expertise in hopes to educate, motivate and inspire others.  Over the past year or so, it has been brought to my attention by friends, followers and former colleagues, how much I could truly help fellow runners by combining my passion for running with my strength coaching background.

So I am pleased to announce, I am currently working on a program that will do just that!  A strength and conditioning program designed specifically for the needs and demands of runners.  And unlike other programs where you just download a cookie-cutter collection of exercises and left to your own demise, you will receive personalized program design (based on your goals, needs and current level of fitness), as well as coaching and accountability from yours truly.

And guess what, you do not even have to live anywhere near me to be able to train with me!  This program will all be done through an easy to use app that can be downloaded right to your mobile device.  Through the app, I will provide you with all the programming, a workout schedule, videos of all the exercises, 24/7 access to me through mobile messaging, accountability and much more!  In addition to the app, there will be an initial phone call to discuss your goals, availability, medical history and any other information that helps me set up the most effective plan for you.  Then there will be a monthly follow up call to ensure we are on the right path to get you where you want to go.

Program launch is projected for later this month and more information on program details, pricing and how to sign up will be coming in the very near future.  I will only have limited space, so if this is something you may be interested in, contact me ASAP so you will be the first to know when you can get started training with me!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Space Coast Marathon, I'm Coming For You (Sort of)

I'm not a very superstitious person.  I don't put much stock into good luck or bad fortune.  Of course I, like most runners, have my little rituals I like to do before a race, but I honestly do not feel as if they have much if any bearing on my performance.  So for the most part, I feel as if I control my own destiny.

With that being said, looking back at my experience with the Space Coast Marathon over the past several years, I may just be convinced this race is cursed.  Well for me at least. It seems like despite my best efforts, it just hasn't worked out for me each and every year I attempt this race.

And every year I swear I will NOT do this race again, yet here I am, 23 day until blast off (they like to play on to the whole space theme so I figured I'd roll with it).  So why am I running this "cursed" race again this year?  Well I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.  That and I get an extra medal for doing it three years in a row.  Bust most importantly, I am bound and determined to break this alleged curse and finally have a good Space Coast experience!

Before I get into how I plan to do that for this year's race, let me reflect on the last almost 4 years and why I have (somewhat) jokingly dubbed this race cursed...

My youngest son was about 9 months old and my oldest was about to turn 2.  I had two kids in 14 months and had taken a little break from distance running during that time.  Though I was a new mom, had yet to lose all the baby weight and hadn't had a full night's sleep in close to two years, I was eager to get back into the marathon game.  I had done a few half marathons but nothing is quite like the full distance.

I came across this local race in August and thought it would be a good one for my first race back.  I drug my feet on signing up for it for a few reasons (a. money was tight with me out of work and b. I was procrastinating because I was nervous to run another full).  But I began my training any way, figuring I could sign up when I was confident I could do it.

I got pretty deep into my training with several double digit runs under my belt and was starting to get really excited for the race.  When I finally decided to go ahead and sign up.  I had my credit card out, the website opened up and I was about to register when I realized one major problem.  The race had sold out!  I was pretty bummed and angry at myself for not signing up sooner (lesson learned).  Luckily I found a race about two months later (The Celebration Marathon) that I was able to continue training for.

The Celebration Marathon earlier that year went really for me.  I had a 35 minute PR and it propelled me into a running season of PR after PR.  By the end of the summer, I had cut minutes, yes minutes, off my over all pace.  I couldn't believe it and decided I wanted to do another marathon before the end of the year.

Not waiting til the last minute this time, I signed up for Space Coast and looked down a solid training program.  With each passing week, I was feeling stronger and faster and before I knew it, I was on pace to potentially qualify for the marathon of all marathons!  I just couldn't believe it but now that was all I could think about it.

By the time race day rolled around, it was BQ or bust.  I was feeling good and confident I would make it happen out on that course, no questions asked. 

But mother nature had other plans for me...what I thought to be nerves turned out to be a stomach bug I got from one of my sons and made for a rough day with me coming up 18+ minutes short on my goal. Though there was nothing I could've done differently, I my spirit was broken and I beat myself up over it for weeks.

After such a rough experience the year before, I swore I would not run this race again.  But as the months went on and the disappointment wore off, I set my sights back on this race and decided to make it my redemption run.  It would be the only full marathon I would run that year and I would put all my time and energy into crushing this course and getting my BQ.

I studied all things distance running for months and hammered down what I thought to be a great program.  Things started off well and I was feeling myself getting faster and faster.  But with such a lofty goal in mind, I was pushing myself to the limits and not listening to my body.

About 6.5 weeks before the race, I suffered an injury to my heel bone that caused me to develop Achilles Tendonitis and Plantar Faciitis.  I had to take almost a whole month off of running and I was devastated!  I tried to keep up my fitness with swimming, biking when it wasn't painful, upper body lifting and yoga, but nothing could fully supplement distance running and I was pretty out of shape by the time I was cleared to run.

With just a few weeks til race day, I tried getting my mileage back up, but it was pretty humbling.  Though I was no longer in much pain, I had become so deconditioned I just couldn't handle the distance and pace I was working for.  I knew I would eventually build back up, but not in time for race day.  So I had to let go of any goal I had and just hope to finish that day.

Having no where enough training miles to run a full marathon, I gave it my best effort that day.  I actually started out pretty well but by the half way mark, I just knew it wasn't happening.  I took several walk breaks and eventually limped through to the finish line with my worst marathon time in years.  Though I was disappointed by the whole experience, I was certainly not defeated.  I had fought through adversity and finished and that was certainly something to be proud of.

2016 thus far
I had a kick ass Spring this year.  I had some great races, a PR in every distance I ran, and I even got to start pacing half marathons.  By the beginning of the summer, I was riding high and ready to tackle some big goals.

I was asked if I would be available to pace the 2016 Space Coast Marathon and though I was pretty much over this race, I jumped on the chance.  Around the same time, I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon, which I was hoping to BQ at.  I figured I would get my BQ in Chicago and then have a fun time helping fellow marathoners 7 weeks later at Space Coast.  Nothing to it, right!?!

Whelp, I missed my BQ by a few minutes up in Chicago and then learned I was put on the back up list of pacers for Space Coast (and they most likely will NOT need me).  I had pretty much planned my entire fall around running both of those races and had actually become pretty excited to go back to Space Coast.  So, I figured what the heck, I'll just go ahead and sign up for it and run it any way.  A bunch of my friends are going to be there and I get a special medal for running it three years in a row.  I'll just go have some fun with it, or will I?  Lest not forget the curse!

And my plans for 2016
Several people have asked me if I will try to BQ at Space Coast since I am not pacing it and I missed it in Chicago.  My simple answer, it's not my goal but it's worth a shot.  7 weeks between marathons is not enough time to recover from the first one and prepare for the next one.  Jumping right back into training is tough both physically and mentally.

The optimist in me wants to take all the pressure off and just have fun, with the rest of my training training and of course on race day.  But the competitor in me wants to keep pushing and fighting until I reach my ultimate goal.  I guess it's all about finding a good balance of hard work and dedication, but still listening to my body (so I don't get burnt out or worse, hurt) and knowing when to let go and have fun.  So with all that being said, here are my goals for Space Coast this year...
A. Swing for the fences.  If I happen to be feeling it that day, why not freaking go for it and make that BQ finally happen at the race that has defeated me so many times before!?!
B. Push a little and clock what has become a consistent marathon time for me in the low 3:40's.
C. Run with a friend (or a stranger for that matter) who is trying to break 4 hours.
D. Just finish that damn thing with my head held high and a smile on my face.  2 marathons in 2 months is certainly something to be proud of!
Regardless of what goal I accomplish that day, one thing is of the utmost importance...break the "Space Coast Curse."  Whether I BQ or walk half the race, I am NOT going to let Space Coast defeat me yet again.  It's all about attitude and I plan to keep mine positive from now until I cross the finish line, and beyond.

So yes, Space Coast, I AM coming for you!