Friday, April 28, 2017

Five Things Friday - 4.28

HAPPY FRIDAY!!! I am traveling this weekend for my best friends bridal shower and I'm really excited! We have been planning this for months and I'm ready to see it happen! Plus, I get to run on my favorite rail trail for my last long run of this marathon training cycle. It should be a fun weekend.

I am linking up with Running On Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for this weeks Five Things Friday. It is a free week this week so why not a crazy random five things that are just on my mind. I think that sounds fun!

1. I know this happened over a week ago, but I am still really mad about the Boston Marathon finisher who took an extra medal for his wife because "She deserved her own medal". Give her your medal. That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. I guess he apologized but still, not cool.

2. I have been stuck on the Food Network all week. Beat Bobby Flay is my current favorite but I will ALWAYS get suckered in to Diners Drive Ins and Dives. I know I am not alone.

3. We booked our Fast Passes for our Disney trip in June for my 30th birthday!!! I need this trip so bad and cannot wait until we get there. It's just the two of us going and I am really looking forward to it!

4. I found my first drivers license yesterday. From 2004. Omg guys, 2004 was so long ago! It was fun to see and I'm glad I stumbled across it.

5. I just want to put this out there, I don't care if you want a fancy unicorn drink. You do you. I really don't understand why we as a culture must judge people for these time of petty things. I don't care if you don't drink or eat something. You will find me with a Mountain Dew and a donut more often than not. Do I care? Not one bit.

Since next week is race week, be ready for a week of Pittsburgh Marathon themed posts. A week out the weather looks amazing and I can't wait to take to the streets of my city!

What's on your mind this week?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gone For A Run One Awesome Mother Runner 5k Information

I got a text a few weeks ago from a friend of mine who wanted to run a virtual 5k for her birthday at the end of May. I told her I would look in to it and get back to her. Then I remembered Gone For A Run was offering a Mother's Day themed virtual 5k! Problem solved! It is time for the One Awesome Mother Runner 5k!

Let me give you a little background on my friend Teil. First off, she is one awesome mother. In November 2014 she weighed in at 356 pounds. She decided she was ready to change her life. In July 2015 she underwent weight loss surgery, the gastric sleeve, and never looked back. Today, she is down to 190 pounds! She is still monitoring her food intake, keeping up with her vitamins and most importantly exercising! It has become a huge part of her life. She has such an amazing attitude and is the most motivated person I have ever met. I am so proud of her and her journey.

Really guys, it's amazing!

Together, we are going to complete the One Awesome Mother Runner 5k May 14-20. There are a few options you can pick from when you register, one with a shirt and one without. In both options you get a medal and your race bib.

I also got my Gone For A Run Virtual Race Team tank! I can't wait to wear it for our 5k.

Gone For A Run virtual races also support amazing causes. For this specific race, proceeds benefit Star. Star is an organization that supports individuals of all ages with development disabilities.

So join Teil and I May 14-20 as we hit the road and earn our One Awesome Mother Runner 5k medals!

Disclaimer - I was provided entry in to this virtual race as a member of the Gone For A Run Virtual Race Team. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tunes Tuesday - 4.25

Welcome to the Tunes Tuesday link up! I co-host this link up with Kim from KookyRunner and Janelle from Run With No Regrets. If you are new to the link up, all of the information you need can be found here. We hope you will join us!

Fourth Tuesday of the month is current favorites. I have really been in to Paramore again this month. I'm such a big fan of the band and a lot of their songs are on my running playlist. Such a great upbeat style and something I can rock out to in my car. The two songs I have had on repeat are "Misery Business" and "That's What You Get".

Here are some of my other favorites I have shared from the past few months.

I want to know your current favorite music! Add your Tunes Tuesday post to the link up below!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Pittsburgh Marathon Training - Week Seven

I am normally not a person who is affected by the taper. At all. I love it. It is my time to catch up on sleep, get things done I've been putting of and really just relax. This taper, has kicked my butt. I'm super cranky and bloated. I'm also having some serious issues at work that aren't helping. Pretty much, this week was hard all around.

I usually rest on Monday's but I would not have time to run on Tuesday. So I took out for 4.6 miles of run/walk. Nice and easy and my legs felt really good. Even after a 20 miler the day before. I was pleased.

I worked all day on Tuesday so it was a rest day. Boy was I happy for rest day.

Wednesday I had a massage to try to work out some of the fluid I've been retaining. Magic. It was pure magic. I even scheduled my post race massage. I felt human again and could stop wearing my stretchy pants.

Thursday I met with Kelsey to run a loop at North Park. It has just got done thunder storming and it was HUMID. We ended up run/walking 4.4 miles and called it a day.

I went out by myself on Friday and just took it easy. My brain would not shut off. At all. I was everywhere but the run and five miles was all I managed. I was mad. Mad I couldn't turn off my brain. Mad that everything else is getting in the way of "my time". Most of all, I was mad that I was mad about it. Ugh.

Saturday was rest day. I ate a whole pizza and drank more water than I can count. I threw myself a pity party. I needed it.

Sunday I woke up early for my long run. I only had time for 12 miles because I had to work. I was panicking that I dropped my mileage too much after my 20. Then I got over it and just ran. Didn't look at my watch and just let me body go. I was shocked when I was done and ran a 9:14 average pace. Just when you think you have running figured out. I'm done questioning it. My brain can't figured it out.

Weekly Total: 26 miles
April Total: 100.4 miles
2017 Total: 443.8 miles

Again, this week was all mental. I'm traveling next weekend, but I'm thrilled my body seems to still be responding well. I get to step down on my medication again (yay!) and I've been sleeping a little more. Still have a swollen eye ball but not nearly as bad. Let's hope things keep progressing. Just under two weeks to go!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017 Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend Tips and Tricks

It's taper time! One of the things I do during the taper is really cement the last minute plans for the race. I read a ton of race recaps, watch any course previews and if I can I will drive the course. If this is your first big race, it is also good to familiar yourself with some practices that happen during a race.

This is where I can help! Pittsburgh will be my sixth full marathon and I have completed 23 half marathons. I've done this before, learn from my mistakes/knowledge! Today I am going to share some general "race rules" and some that are specific to the Pittsburgh Marathon!

General Race Rules:

1. Line up in your assigned corral - I don't think I can stress this enough. You are put in a specific corral for a reason. If you want to run with someone and they/you are in a slower corral, move to the slower corral. This is not just for pacing, it's for your safety.

2. Raise your hand - If you are going to walk, put your hand up. DO NOT just stop. You will get run in to. If you are running intervals and you know it's almost time, move to the side and keep your hand up for a few seconds. It will make everything so much easier.

3. Use the water stop - As much as you may want to take the first cup you see this can cause a crazy log jam. Grab your cup and move along. If you are not taking a cup move towards the middle of the road. A lot of people walk the water stops to begin with, there is congestion and it is slippery. Be careful.

4. Use the crowd - People are there to cheer you on. Feed off of it! Running a race is a big deal. Treat is like it is. You are the athlete they are coming out to see. Take candy from a stranger, give that little kid a high five and thank all the volunteers.

5. Make friends - You have been running right by this same person for miles and you both are keeping amazing pace, introduce yourself! They always say misery loves company. Everyone has a story, and making some new friends during the race could be all the motivation you need. If someone is wearing a charity bib/singlet make sure you congratulate them! Some people might even be celebrating a milestone, it's all of these moments that will make your race that much more memorable.

Pittsburgh Race Tips:

Pittsburgh Marathon weekend is broken in to four races. Saturday is the 5k along with the kids races and dog walk. Sunday is the half marathon, full marathon and marathon relay. Each race is different and has its own strategies. I have run all of the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend races, and here is what I can share from my experiences!


This will be the fourth time running the Pittsburgh Marathon 5k. It was my first "adult 5k" back in 2012. I love this race. It is in my top three Pittsburgh area races. It is a pretty easy course that starts on the North Shore by PNC Park and ends at the usual marathon finish line on the Boulevard of the Allies. The best part about this race is that you still get to run across a bridge!

Wow, five years ago! I got second in my age group that year!

There are usually pacers for this race, and a water stop about half way through. The best advice I can give for this race is HAVE FUN! It's the kick off to race weekend and it should be a celebration. There is a We Run Social meet up planned for the morning of the 5k and when everything is set in stone I will share it with all of you. It's time to make those connections with the people who you have virtually trained with.

Marathon Relay

I ran the last leg of the marathon relay in 2015. It was hot and a very long day. I had enough time that I actually cheered the first few miles of the race right off the strip. Hopefully by now you know what leg you are running, but you need to know how you are getting to your exchange zone. You can find the relay information for Pittsburgh here and I would highly suggest reading it.

I am begging you, if you are running the relay DO NOT BRING YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY TO THE EXCHANGE ZONE! This is a starting corral. It is not meant to hang out it. Across the street, sure, but not in the actual exchange zone. Relay exchanges are usually on the left side of the street. There will be signs but make sure you are paying attention. If you are one of the later legs, bring water and a snack. Like I said, the year I ran the relay it was very hot and I was glad I took my own water bottle. Know what your bib number is because they will be yelling numbers out as your teammate is coming in. It can be confusing, but can also be very smooth.

Make sure you have a meeting area set for the finish and get an awesome group shot. You earned it!

Half Marathon

I ran the half marathon in 2014. The course has changed A LOT since I ran it. The biggest advice I can give for the half marathon is to take the beginning easy. When you get to Station Square, the fun really starts. The hills become a little more rolling and, at least to me, it seems a little more crowded. There are also a lot of spectators out around this point. Feed off of it. Make sure you take any extra hydration in these miles as well.

As I said in the marathon relay section, relay exchanges are usually to the left. Make sure you stay to the right when you start seeing signs for the relay exchange. It just makes things easier. Also, when you get to the South Side, stay to the left! You will go across the Birmingham Bridge on the left side of the road. Full marathoners will be on the right.

When you finish, please be mindful of the other people on the course and DO NOT take handfuls of finish line food. I remember when I finished the marathon there was very little left and I ran a 4:29. Be courteous of the other participants still out on the course.


Pittsburgh was my first marathon in 2013. I finished the Pittsburgh Marathon exactly one year to the day of my first "adult 5k". Despite a mild foot issue, I ran a pretty good race. I probably should have done the half before the full, but in any case I finished.

The full marathon can be a very lonely place. There are a lot more people that run the half. You have to be prepared for it. It can be a huge mental block if you are not.

For me, Shadyside is the worst part of the course. It is quite rolling and not as much crowd support. I have worked a lot more rolling hills in to my training this time around, so I feel ready for it. There are bands out too and that should bring more spectators out.

I promise, when you get to the final relay exchange at mile 22 it is all downhill from there. It is the most amazing feeling and use it to your advantage! A lot of times this is where towels and sponges are being passed out as well. Take them. Also, take the beer around mile 24 from Church Brew Works. Trust me.

I know this is a lot of information, but I hope it can help ease your mind going in to race weekend. There is still time to get out there, drive or walk part of the course and get a feel for how things will be race weekend. I guarantee it will be one you will remember forever!

My collection of all the Pittsburgh Marathon medals!

If you have any other questions about Pittsburgh Marathon weekend please leave a comment and I will answer them!