Coming Attractions…

So here we are at the end of 2019, on the cusp on not only a new year, but a new decade. Damn, time really flies. This has been a really interesting year for me–full of personal highs and lows, and overall it’s been a real time for deep soul searching and reflection. Figuring out what I want and need, what I really want to–and should–be doing with my life. Figuring out a new direction for myself in the wake of some personal…issues. I won’t call them tragedies–they aren’t–and I can’t really call them setbacks, because while they might appear that way from the outside, I do firmly believe that things happened how they were supposed to. I needed the negative events to propel me forward or I would have stayed in the holding pattern–and that is no way to live life. There are multiple things at play, but the most significant of which at this moment is finding myself without a job–and realizing how incredibly unhappy I was in the position I was in. It wasn’t what I hoped it would be, and I wasn’t who they hoped I would be in the position. But I couldn’t admit that I was unhappy. So while it was certainly a blow to the ego, it forced me to take a real hard look at my life and the direction I was headed and to figure out what I want going forward. And I’ve made missteps, even in the journey of figuring it out, but I’m finally confident that I’m heading in the right direction.

Running and the things related to it are my passion. It’s the thing that I love. It’s what most of my waking hours revolve around. Even when I’m not running, I like to learn about it and talk about it, do things that will better me for the sport. While going pro is not really in the cards for me, I do want to follow this passion of mine. As of December 17, I am officially a RRCA certified running coach, and I am working to officially launch my business and website in the next couple of months (that said, I would love to help people in the meantime, so if you’re looking for a coach or advice on getting started with running, PLEASE reach out to me:

I have had my personal training certification since 2015, and while I keep it up to date, I have not actually been in the training world, using my knowledge mostly for my own benefit (and the occasional internet smackdown…). The fact is that I don’t love strength training–I just don’t. I don’t love lifting weights. I love the results. I love the impact it has on my running-and that’s why I do it. Recently I’ve discovered that I love creating workouts though, finding the right balance of push/pull, upper and lower, cardio intervals, etc. to keep it interesting and challenging. I want to pursue my group fitness certification so I can teach classes–because I know that classes have made such a huge difference for me, and I know far too many runners who get trapped in only running, which can be detrimental to their sport (I have experienced that first hand with overuse injuries before I added strength training elements). Running and fitness have been my passion for years–and I’m FINALLY going to pursue making them my life.

Going this direction feels right for me. I truly am passionate about running and the transformative power it can have on a person’s life–far beyond any physical changes (which are not guaranteed–runners come in ALL shapes and sizes), the effects it can have on you as a person–confidence, discipline, focus, building integrity momentum…and many other things. I want to help others experience these things, meet their own goals, and perhaps even exceed their own expectations.

As far as my own training goes I have just one big goal for 2020–to get my 100-mile buckle at Burning River. After insisting that I was NOT going to do BR as my first hundred, I couldn’t get that little voice saying “front 50 followed by the back 50” out of my head (thanks, Lori). So that’s what I’m doing. There will be other races and events along the way, but the only thing I’m training for, the only real goal, is finishing BR100 upright and before the cutoff. I’m both confident and terrified, which I think is appropriate for a big undertaking like this. I told my coach (yes, I’m still working with a coach!) that I am not to harbor any delusions of fall goal races. This fall will be about recovering and figuring out what I want to do next and building other things–I love the grind of training but I get burnt out and while a fall race sounds amazing on the adrenaline and endorphin high of spring training, I’m questioning my life choices long before I get to race day.

There are some other things in the works, of course, and other transitions that will take place. I’ll talk more about those things as they develop and come to fruition, but the biggest things on the horizon are by far my training for BR and my coaching endeavors.

I’d love to hear it–what are your big, scary goals for 2020? What are you chasing?

Wishing you all a safe and happy New Year, more soon.

Richmond Marathon 2019

Way overdue with this post…imagine that. Lots going on in my life right now, but that’s a post for another day (coming soon, I promise.) For now, we’ll start with a race recap…

I ran my first race in June of 2009, and since I don’t actually remember the date I started training for it I consider the date of my first race to be my “runner-versary”. June 2019 marked 10 years of running for me, and I also realized that with the Two Rivers Marathon and the Pittsburgh Marathon this year, I would be sitting at 9 marathons–why not celebrate my 10th year of running with my 10th marathon? I’d heard amazing things about Richmond so when some friends decided they wanted to run it too, we all signed up and made a road trip out of it.

Knowing that this race has a fantastic downhill finish–and that I’m stronger on downhills than your average bear–I was excited to train for another PR. At first, things were great, but as the training cycle wore on the grind of back-to-back-to-back training cycles wore on me. Physically I was okay, but mentally I was just done. This happened last year too and I thought it was just from chasing speed and doing something that I don’t love. Turns out my brain can only take so much, regardless how well I am holding up physically, or how much I enjoy what I’m doing. Lesson learned.

I was still on track to PR, though. Until the weekend before the race…when I contracted a 24-hour stomach bug. I was ravaged. I knew then my goal would simply be to finish the race, however I could. I was sick all of Sunday, and though I was on the mend, I couldn’t eat “normally” until Thursday…so I was definitely not going into this race at my peak. Oh well, such is life. I was just glad I was well enough to go with my friends and run the race.

We drove down on Friday and made a very quick trip to the expo. At a certain point, expos just aren’t that exciting…and we had dinner reservations with friends that we needed to get to. So we made a quick loop, got what we needed, and headed for the hotel to check-in and unload. Went to dinner at a true speakeasy (the password changes weekly). Such a cool experience. I rode in an Uber for the first time (sad but true, haha). Then went back to the hotel and prepared for race day.

Race day was a little windier than I would have liked–temperature was fine aside from the wind, which was wicked at times, especially when I had to walk (which was more than I wanted *sigh*). Overall though…I LOVED this race. I literally have no complaints about the race itself. The course is great–really pretty, there’s great crowd support throughout, aid stations were on point, even for those of us at the back of the pack, finish line festival was great, and the swag is awesome (shirts and medals, of course, but also hats and fleece blankets). Just being frank–we all know that if there is something to complain about with race execution, I will. I literally have NO Complaints about this race. None. I would go back in a heartbeat…just not next year–I have big things on the horizon and have learned a valuable lesson about back-to-back-to-back training cycles.

So I finished my 10th marathon. The downhill finish was GLORIOUS, I just wish that I personally felt better during the race. Had dinner that night with friends again at a taproom, and had a delicious gingerbread beer. It’s been a really amazing year in so many ways…I’m so thankful I got to share this celebratory moment with my friends.

I promise another post is coming soon with some details about where this is headed and what I’m going to do in the coming year. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.