Race Recap: Baltimore Marathon

This was it. This was the big thing. The race I’ve been training for for months. All of that time, energy, effort and now it’s over. For what it’s worth, it was a really amazing event for me. No, I didn’t PR. Not even close. But despite that, or perhaps in part because of it, this race was the perfect culmination of this training cycle.

The course was really tough, others words didn’t prepare me. But I got through it. And I had more fun at this marathon than I did since probably my first one, maybe more than that even. I got a pep talk text from one of my buddies on race morning that reminded me to have fun. And that I did.

I ran the first two miles (uphill) with someone I’ve been friends with for a very long time. The initial 3 mile ascent (I kid you not, the first 3 miles are all uphill) puts you in the zoo, where some of the animals were out with handlers. I stopped for selfie with a penguin. I didn’t wear my headphones, instead I just took in the city, I talked to strangers running near me. I had headphones with me in case I felt like I needed them, but even when it got rough I never put them in. I said thank you to as many police officers and volunteers as I could. I smiled at signs and talked to the people holding them. Slapped five with anyone who had their hand out, and tapped every single “power up” sign that I saw along the way. Chatted about being from Pittsburgh and in ‘enemy territory’ when people noticed my Terrible Towel. I took a dixie cup of beer and a shot of tequila when offered. And though I really fell apart between miles 18 and 24, I crossed the finish line running with my Terrible Towel twirling overhead.

penguin selfie

This wasn’t a PR race. It was warmer than it was supposed to have been (though mercifully it wasn’t humid). I wasn’t as ready for the hills as I should’ve been. But I am REALLY proud of myself for this race. I trained hard for it. I stuck it out even though I really wanted to downgrade to the half. I relaxed into it and had a ton of fun. And I EARNED that medal.

awesome medal

All of that said, I’ve been saying through almost this whole training cycle that I was done with fulls for awhile after this, and that was cemented for me during this race. And surprisingly it wasn’t during miles 18-24 when I was really struggling. It was around mile 16, somewhere after the tequila shot. It was all very clear to me that I need to be done for awhile. I’ll never say never. I may take a couple years off and get the itch again (like I did this year). Or maybe this was it. I won’t speculate on that, but it is safe to say that I will not be doing a full next year. Half marathons and shorter for awhile. I really want to work on speed and seeing what I’m capable of there. This was a good race to end on.

approaching the finish with my Terrible Towel

Thanks for sticking by me through this journey, friends. On to the next…

What if you fly…

“What if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly” ~ Erin Hanson


There’s a lot going on in my head that I need to unpack. So let’s just start: The truth is that I’m scared to run this marathon. I wish I’d only signed up for the half (or really, the half and the 5k). I’m over the training and the long runs. I’m over being hungry all. the. time. My pace isn’t what I want or think it should be. I haven’t done anywhere near enough hill work, judging by the stories I have heard from others who have done this race. Oh, and forever nagging at the back of my mind is the whole “you don’t look like a runner…” thing (which I admittedly have not heard for awhile, but I have had it said to my face and if you’re like me, that sticks with you).


Lots of people have been abuzz about this ‘you don’t look like a runner thing’ lately. Most non-runners imagine that all runners look like the elites they see on TV or news clips. The fact is that most runners don’t look like that. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to running. And performance and ability CAN NOT be judged based on what someone looks like. It just can’t. It’s not a determining factor. People of all shapes, sizes, ages, etc. can be found throughout the pack at any race. Reminders of this have come at a time when I’ve been particularly hard on myself, when I’m already doubting myself and echoes of that person saying to me ‘no offense, but you don’t really look like a runner’ ring through my head. (Have the words “no offense, but…” ever been followed by something that wasn’t offensive? I think not.) Looks aside, I AM a runner. That is a fact. I have been running for 8 years. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but I have been running for 8 years. I have completed 6 (soon to be 7, for better or worse) full marathons, 50k on trail, and countless shorter races and runs. I AM A RUNNER. This is a runner’s body:

It’s not “perfect” (whatever that means). It’s been bigger. It’s been smaller. It’s been beaten up and abused, and yet mile after mile it continues to carry me. I’m not always nice to it, not always fair. But still it delivers for me, time and time again. I’m proud of it. (And for the record, it’s faster than it was when it was smaller…you can’t judge a runner by their body.) I have a troubled relationship with my body, I have struggled with it for longer than I care to admit. But yet it continues to do the things I ask it to. And when I can step back from the world telling me to critique every inch and finding myself in constant excess I’m amazed at what it can DO. It’s gone for 10 hours straight on trails. It’s plugged away for 7 hours on roads when I was so depleted I should’ve just quit. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. And the truth is that I’ve wanted to post a photo like this since this spring when I first got brave enough to wear a bikini on vacation, but I lost my nerve. I got scared and I backed off. Which is, unfortunately, my MO. And so now, even though I’m struggling, I’m putting it out there.


I’m scared of this marathon. I don’t know that I’ve trained hard enough for it. My initial time goal is out the window, but if the weather cools off some (please, for the love of all that is holy) I still might actually be able to manage a PR. The fact is that I’m overall faster and in better shape than the last time I ran a full marathon. So even though this is a tough course, I can’t count myself out. I’m going to go out there, give it my best, have as much fun as I can, and see what happens. I need to just stay in the moment and go with it.


I still haven’t broken 30 minutes in a 5k. I’ve excused it with the summer weather being awful. That I’m working on distance not speed right now. But the truth is I get scared and I back off. There comes a point when I could keep pushing and I don’t. I pull back. I let myself walk. I give myself minutes when I could just take 30 seconds and press on. The truth is that I’m scared of my potential–I don’t know who I am without the insecurity and what ifs. If I do it, if I pull it off, it’s one less thing I have to hold against myself. One less can’t. The world opens up, and that terrifies me. So I back off. But I’m seeing friends of mine break through. And then crush the next barrier. And I have to face myself and the truth that I am the only thing standing in my way. I can do this. I have to push through my potential and go for it.


And it starts with this blog post. And then the marathon. And then I’ll see where it goes from there. I know that I’ll stumble, I know I’ll get in my own way again, but I have to figure out how to push past



Til next time, friends.

Race Recap: PIT Fly By 5k

Missing some race reports, but clearly if they’d been particularly noteworthy I would’ve found it in me to post…so no sleep lost. This weekend I completed race #30 for the year (so far)…10 more to go to meet my goal.

This is a fun race, I did it last year. 5k with a medal, and you all know I love the bling. Flat and fast course at the airport. I did not PR this year, I was about a minute off, but it was better than my past few 5ks had been so I was happy with it. I *might* have PR’d, but my phone fell out of my belt at one point and I lost some time doubling back to get it. That doesn’t account for the whole minute, but there also came a point that once I knew I wasn’t going to PR I didn’t dig as deep as I could’ve if I’d been close.  So oh well, is what it is. Overall I’m happy with it. I’ll probably do this race again because it’s fun and kinda different.

After the race I made a whirlwind trip to Ohio for the day for a much needed visit. Really low mileage last week, and its making me vaguely crazy. Definitely need to log some more miles this week. That said–I’ll be happy when marathon training is over. A few more weeks and the race will be behind me, which I’m really looking forward to. I’m excited to move onto the next set of goals and adventures. Big plans in the works for 2018…

Happy Monday, friends.