I run. A lot. It makes me happy, gives me time to think, and lets me work out more than a little stress. A few years ago, I learned that I also like to race, and on a good day, I can do pretty well. Thus far I have completed ten half marathons, five 10ks, 5 8ks, and a lot of 5ks. In April 2014, I ran my first marathon in California from Big Sur State Park to Monterey–it was amazing. In fact, I liked it so much, that I registered for the next 26.2 miles not 24 hours later: Paris! Thanks to a metatarsal stress fracture, that training cycle was a real challenge, both physically and psychologically, but I got through it and finished the race smiling. The third was Los Angeles 2016. Watching the 2015 LA marathon on TV made me very homesick for Los Angeles, and that weekend, Valentine’s Day, not only featured the LA Marathon on Sunday but also the Olympic Trials race on Saturday. The two were on different courses, and my own race was a bit of a disaster, but it was really cool to have the chance to fangirl for some of the best distance runners in the United States, including my current coach Katie Kellner and many of my Oiselle flock mates!
The Phoenix Women’s Half (1/29/2017) Another Oiselle weekend. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to race this one or just run it with my team. But the night before, a voice somewhere inside whispered, “I think you should go for it.” I hadn’t been doing any kind of speed work or trying to run fast since my return to running post-shin splints, and I hadn’t raced a half since Kiawah more than a year before, so I wasn’t entirely sure what “go for it” might mean, but the plan was to go out conservatively for the first mile or two and stay super-relaxed and easy until mile 8 or 9. I had to stop to tie my shoes just before mile 2, so I guess I got the conservative part down . . . but I was running just behind a few teammates for the first 7 miles or so, and then I started to pick it up a bit, and then a bit more. The race really began around mile 10, where the half runners split off from the rest and had a mile and a half out and back in the sun. This part was lonely. I picked off a couple people, but I was mostly on my own until the last mile and a half or so when one of my favorite Nesters, Volée Superstar Feather Stephens, started to run with me. Feather is really fast and she’s also a wonderfully positive person. She told me that I looked strong, and I told her “It’s all about the ugly.” (One of her race mantras, which I had adopted, is “Dig Deep, Get Ugly.” Her face lit up, and she said, “Come with me.” So I did. It was hard. And it hurt. And I really wanted to stop. But I told that voice that urged me to quit to STFU, that I was tougher than it was, that I wasn’t stopping until I crossed that finish line. I occasionally saw a teammate running the other way, and they all cheered us on, cheered me on, and then the team cowbell corner, and the finish. And a new personal best of 1:43:16, which earned me 9th woman overall, and 3rd in my age group. It was a great day.
The Run Hard Columbia Half-Marathon. Shiny new PR (1:42:14) and Master’s woman winner! Pretty exciting. I was chasing down a few other runners through the course, which was one loop for the half and two for the full, so it was less lonely. I also got a boost from my friend Ben, who was volunteering in the final mile of the race.
I placed 13th in my age group at the 2017 Cooper River Bridge Run. Out of over 32,000 registered runners and walkers, 1,274 of whom were in my age group. The Bridge Run is the biggest and the most popular race in South Carolina, so that’s pretty awesome.
Tread Nightly / Tread Brightly July 21-22, 2017. I ran 13.1 for Tread Nightly and 4 miles for Tread Brightly. Another fun meet up with some of my favorite Carolina Volée friends. The night half was really challenging. I knew it would be in the abstract, but even so, I completely underestimated the difficulty of a trail race in the dark in the heat and humidity of a Carolina July. Even so, it was a really cool experience, and I’m already thinking ahead to next year. The morning 4 miler was easier in some ways (daylight) and harder in others (hot! and more technical trails), but I felt way more confident after the night before, and I took 2nd in my AG. More details in this post.
Upcoming in 2017
Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon (Oct 22, 2017)
Richmond Marathon (November 11, 2017)
A few of my favorite things:
Oiselle: If you see me out running, I am wearing Oiselle. Oiselle is a super-cool company by women runners for women runners. They make some of my favorite running clothing. I especially dig the Verrazano bra, the Toolbelt Rogas, and the Flyte long-sleeve. I’m also proud to be a part of the Volée, an amazing community of women runners from across the United States (and increasingly across the globe) of all ages, sizes, and paces. I’ve been the South Carolina team leader since November 2015.
Nike Zoom Odyssey: My current go-to shoe. TBH, I wish that I could wear shoes by someone other than Nike. I disagree with the stranglehold that Nike has on the USATF and its athletes. But when I stray, bad things happen. Blisters. Shin Splints. Black toe-nails. So Nike it is. I recently learned that my shoe has been discontinued, so I may be hoarding a few (dozen?) pairs . . .
Zensah calf sleeves. After this most recent bout of shin splints, it’s likely that my lower legs may never see the light of day again, at least not while I’m running. There are lots of different calf sleeves and compression socks to choose from, and I’ve tried a lot of them but I always find myself returning to Zensah. Currently, I alternate between the Merino Wool version and the Pop.
Picky Bars: All-natural, gluten-free, and seriously yummy. My favs: Fudge Nuts & Need for Seed
Nuun: I’m a salty sweater. That means, among other things, that I need to replenish electrolytes after I run especially in the summer when the heat index is sky-high in South Carolina. Nuun is an easy way to do that, and it’s not as sweet or high-calorie as other sports drinks. To be honest, however, I like the new plant-based formula less than the original. But I haven’t found anything else I like better, so here we are.
Running Warehouse: My favorite online running store!
Underwater Audio Waterproof iPod: On July 31, 2014 I got a stress fracture in my third metatarsal. After throwing myself a several-day-long pity party, it became clear to me that any workouts I did for the next several weeks were going to involve a swimming pool. I have come to enjoy swimming laps. Not as much as I enjoy running, but much more than doing anything while standing upright or laying around on the couch. Aquajogging is another story. I know that aqua jogging is supposed to be a great way to maintain running fitness, but I really don’t like it. Unlike swimming laps, time passes ever-so-slowly when I aqua jog, and I have a very hard time getting my heart rate up.
Audible: I have become an audiobook junkie. Some of my favorites: Night Film By Marisha Pessl. Note: the audiobook doesn’t deal especially well with the multi-media format of the novel (which contains “screenshots from social media, comments from an online newspaper article, and more), but the narrator, Jake Weber, is FANTASTIC. I loved this audiobook so much that I listened to it a second time. Revival by Stephen King, and everything by Tana French, but especially Faithful Place, which features the same narrator as Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Trilogy, the amazing Tim Gerard Reynolds.
- 1 mile: 6:48
- 5K: 21:40
- 8K: 33:40
- 10K: 46:17
- Half-Marathon Road (2017) 1:42:14
- Half-Marathon Trail (2013) 2:15:56
- Marathon (Richmond 2017): 3:42:54