The Philadelphia Marathon


I haven’t posted too much this training cycle, but if you follow me on instagram, you have probably figured out that I ran the Philadelphia Marathon this past weekend. I have a lot of mixed feelings about the race, which hopefully I can sort out through this post.

The goal for the race was to qualify for Boston, but the weather had other plans for me. I ended up with a time of 3:35:24, which is TWENTY-FOUR seconds short of qualifying for my age. Most of you probably know though, that the bare minimum qualifying standard almost definitely would not have been enough to be accepted into the race. That actually helps cushion the blow.

course map

As you can tell by the map, a large portion of the race is along the river. That did not work out very well with the wind. Those miles were brutal. I was on track for a 3:30 pace, which would be 8:00 pace, until mile 18. All the fighting against the wind finally took its toll. I think what I felt is what is commonly referred to as “the wall.” I noticed some shaking and decided to walk for just 1-2 minutes. I took a gel and drank half of my water bottle. Then, I slowly eased back into running because I knew I couldn’t let it end that way. I managed to get back on track for the most part, but I never fully got all the way back down to 8:00 pace. I finished with an average pace of 8:13.

While I am disappointed that I did not get the BQ time I wanted, I did manage to pull off a 19 minute PR from my marathon last year. I am trying to focus on that. It was a challenging training cycle, and I worked really hard for that PR. Under ideal weather conditions, I really think I could have done it. I know that I did the best that I could under the circumstances, and that it really took a lot of grit to overcome that wall and the desire to give up. The question now, though, is whether or not to give it another try so that I can run Boston 2017 with my friends who did qualify, or to wait another year or more.


For now, I am going to try to reflect on the positives and relax a little over the holidays. I can’t lie and say I haven’t researched all the flattest marathons that are scheduled before the Boston 2017 deadline, but only time will tell what the future holds.

How do you handle remaining positive despite missing your goals?



Goodbye Summer!

Summer is officially over. (Well…at least for teachers.) It has been a whirlwind of a summer, so I will post a little recap of what I have been up to this last month. First off….


I got married! It was a great day with just close friends and family. We decided to get married at Miami University in Ohio, where we both went to school. Planning a wedding from afar was a little challenging, but I am so glad we picked our old college. We had a lot of fun visiting our old favorite places. The old buildings on campus made for nice locations that required minimal decorating.


There were also beautiful gardens on campus for pictures.


Then, after the wedding, we headed back to Jersey and left for our honeymoon to….


BORA BORA! It was a very long flight, but worth every minute. It is exactly like the pictures and what you see on TV – absolutely perfect.


We stayed in one of the over-water bungalows with our own deck. There was coral right under the bungalow which made for amazing snorkeling. The water was a beautiful clear turquoise.


I ate and drank a lot and didn’t run at all. I did ride a bike once, though! I figured I can run more marathons in the future, but I probably won’t be back to Bora Bora. It was a nice little break too. Really, once you are in Bora Bora, you just feel like relaxing all the time. It’s paradise – literally.


Now, the fun is over. Back to work. I can’t complain too much though. It was the greatest summer of all time. Besides, I do actually enjoy teaching. But not only is it school time, but a new semester of grad school starts today, and marathon training is really getting intense now. Time to step it up!

How are you handling the end of summer?


What I’ve Been Up To

Well, for starters, I am getting married in 20 days. So that is coming quick! The only thing really stressing me out right now is RSVPs. The deadline was forever ago, but some people seem to think that doesn’t apply to them…It makes drafting a seating chart a bit of a pain. Otherwise, things seem to be coming along!
ring making 4

We took a little trip to Boston last week, which was a ton of fun. We did all the fun touristy things, including putting my foot on the Boston Marathon finish line. More importantly, though, we made our own wedding bands! We literally sculpted them from a hunk of gold.

ring making 2

It was a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work. We worked on the rings from 10 am to 6 pm, with just a thirty minute lunch break. Now I understand why rings cost so much. The sculpting and carving is no joke.

ring making 6

It was worth it, though, because now we have one of a kind rings!


In other news, I am the worst at running in the heat. I feel like I am dying every single time. This week was particularly hard, and I didn’t really use common sense. I had a speed workout on Wednesday, which I did in 90 degrees with 95% humidity. That was dumb. I learned from my lesson, though. On Saturday, I had some alternating tempo miles at the end of my long run. I actually started early to avoid the heat, ran the first five miles easy so as not to overexert myself, and was actually able to successfully complete the workout as a result. At least I learn from my mistakes?

In other news, I have a summer cold. Womp. Womp. Better now that the wedding, right?

How is your summer running going?


Peanut Butter – My Greatest Weakness

5545cb4c2c677485f8b00fc169ae8b12I am not really sure when I became obsessed with peanut butter. It is fairly recent. I think I just stayed away from it because people always said it was fatty. But then….once I started running everyone said you should eat peanut butter. Suddenly all inhibitions went out the window. I try to limit it to 2 tablespoons a day, but that just doesn’t always happen. It just makes everything better. I look forward to my long run breakfast of peanut butter on toast with a banana all week. Then, I buy peanut butter gels and look forward to my long run. Peanut butter is basically responsible for my marathon.


Well, the kind folks over at My Protein were nice enough to send me some peanut butter and instant oats protein powder to test out. Any excuse to experiment with new peanut butter recipes is fine by me!


The first thing I made was peanut butter granola. The recipe was from The Racing Weight Cookbook. If you have not read this cookbook, it is brilliant. Matt Fitzgerald comes up with a variety of balanced meals made just for endurance athletes. The recipes range from simple to advanced.

IMG_20150702_121557_161The granola went perfect with berries and plain Greek yogurt. Now, while the peanut butter made an excellent granola, I also tasted it straight out of the jar. I like that it is natural peanut butter. There is no added sugar like many brands. The only ingredient is peanuts. The peanut butter was creamy. (You can also buy crunchy.) It is natural peanut butter, though, so expect to have to stir it up. It is also best kept in the fridge.

IMG_20150702_150526_266As for the instant oat protein powder, I made a smoothie for after my speed workout last week. (8 x 400s at a 6:50 pace) This was a great recovery drink. I felt ready to go the next day. The shake had the instant oat protein powder (chocolate flavor), banana, blueberries, spinach, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. The protein powder tasted pretty standard to me. I am really no expert on protein powder, but it was not overly sweet like some protein powder can be. The price is reasonable as well. One main reason I don’t buy protein powder is the price!

I would recommend these products to anyone looking to boost their protein intake. I am really working on getting my nutrition levels just right for upcoming marathon training. I think I need to add more protein and healthy fats. I am working on it.

Are you obsessed with peanut butter?


My Protein provided the products for review, but all opinions are my own.

I’m Back!


Exactly how I feel!

Sorry that I disappeared there for a bit, but I am finally on summer vacation! Now life can begin again! I have been a tad busy with teaching full time, going to grad school, planning a wedding, and running. What was I thinking? I am hoping to be a little bit better of a blogger for the summer…but I make no promises!

Here is a peak at what I have been up to!


My amazing coworkers threw me a beautiful wedding shower on the second to last day of school. The picture above shows the wonderful decorations!


I have been experimenting with some baking and cooking. Right now I am hooked on peaches baked in the oven with cinnamon. Then, I add plain nonfat Greek yogurt and drizzle with chocolate balsamic vinegar. It is a tasty treat without the guilt.


I am having trouble keeping up with all the veggies in my CSA each week. Best way to not waste produce? Throw it all into a frittata. It tastes great and then I have breakfast for the rest of the week!


I have had an insane amount of zucchini. A person can only have so many salads and eat so many zoodles. So….I made healthy zucchini muffins. I used this recipe from a Pinch of Yum. I substituted applesauce for oil.

What have all of you been up to? Are you enjoying your summer?


The Broad Street Run and Running Friends

              Matching team singlets!

Last weekend, I joined 40,000 people to run the infamous Broad Street Run 10 Miler in Philadelphia. I love seeing the whole city and the energy the race brings, but I think I am going to have to cross it off the list for next year.


This is what 40,000 people looks like, for your reference. I just cannot handle that kind of crowd, I decided. Several fights broke out as people tried to make it to the start corrals. People went through a man’s yard and he came out and threatened them. We made it to the start corral, literally with minutes to spare. I was actually a little scared for my safety. Now, I can say I have had the experience twice, cross it off the list, and move on.

Overall, the race was a pretty good race for me. Last year, I ran the race at an average pace of 9:22. This year I ran a 7:40 pace. I wanted to be able to run it at a 7:25 pace, but I am trying to focus on the positive, the improvement from last year. It was close to 80 degrees when I finished. I had been doing great keeping the 7:25 pace for the first 6.5 miles, but then I had to stop for water, and that has never happened to me. Then after getting the water, I never really got back down to 7:25 again. It was hard because we never really got to train in heat. The heat came out of nowhere that day.

TAOLife-Comarison-is-the-thief-of-joyAlso, I tell myself this all the time, but yet I never really listen. I train with one woman who is just a bit faster than me. We are great during training, even most (not all) speed workouts, but then she always smokes me at the races. She was able to pull off the 7:25 pace, but I wasn’t. It is a catch 22. Training and racing with her brings out the best in me, but it can also leave me a little disappointed when I compare myself to her. I need to remember to run my own race. I am working on it…


On the plus side, training buddies make for the greatest friends. Even though the marathon was over six months ago, our core training group still gets together. Our Cinco de Mayo celebration was pretty great last week. It’s funny how similar our lives can seem, even though we all are such different people. There are few people I would rather spend time with than these guys.

How do you keep from comparing yourself to others?


Speed and Compression Sleeve Giveaway!


With teaching, grad school starting up, wedding planning, and assistant coaching middle school track, things are starting to get pretty busy around here. I don’t know a lot about coaching, but I am really enjoying working with the kids.


Things are also pretty crazy in my training right now. I feel like I am seeing some of the gains from my work this winter. I honestly never expected to do be doing tempo workouts at a 7:20 pace this spring!


All of these speed workouts have had me feeling the burn. I have been rocking the compression sleeves under the dress pants to work. Once it gets warmer, I don’t know what I will do! I got some new compression sleeves to review from Compression Sleek. I like the sleek look (no pun intended) of the black style. I also like how they are long enough to cover my entire calf. The price is pretty reasonable at $21.99. The only downfall is that they come in one size. I am pretty small, so I would have liked them to be a little tighter. I do believe they still helped with my soreness.

Lucky for you, Compression Sleek is running a giveaway for a $1 pair of compression sleeves! Two winners will be announced. Just click the link below. The only downside is that you need Amazon Prime, or you have to pay shipping. The giveaway ends May 6th.

What sort of speed workouts do you like to do? How do you recover after?


Compression Sleek provided me with this pair of compression sleeves to review. All opinions of the product are my own and unbiased.

giveaway roundup

Love Run Philly Race Recap!

I am a little late in posting my half marathon recap from last week. Last Sunday I ran the Love Run half marathon in Philadelphia. It was a very chilly start – low 30s with wind. The course was also hillier than expected. I guess I didn’t pay attention when they said they changed last year’s course. They added a giant hill!

0329150549Despite all of that, I managed to snag a 17 minute PR! It has been a year since I ran a half marathon, and I was able to cut my time down to 1:44:51!


I was hoping to go a little faster, but my mental game really was thrown off by that second hill. The last three miles felt like a struggle, even though it seems I kept a steady pace.


Updating the PR board!

I ran the first 10.5 miles with someone, which I think really helped. They really forced me to keep pace when I wanted to slow down after the hills. Granted…they did fly off the last three miles. This is the first time I really raced with someone for that long.

race photo

My real finish time was 1:44:51!

After the race, we went to the bar to celebrate with a much earned beer! This is the hardest I have ever raced a half marathon. I can honestly say that I could not have gone any faster. This was also coming off racing a 5k as fast as possible the weekend before. I am still unbelievably happy with a 17 minute PR!

group pic

How do you celebrate after a race?


A New 5k PR!

adrenaline 5k

Giant potholes and chunks of snow falling off trees couldn’t stop us from PR’ing yesterday! The Adrenaline 5k is a bit of a community staple here in south Jersey! It is a 5k put on by the local running stores with a giant after-party. The race really brings out the local running community.


I had a great time running with my friends and managed to snag a PR. I ran a 21:56! I am really happy with this time. Just a month ago I PR’ed with a 22:40, so I took over 40 seconds off my time in one month! I really pushed it to the limits. This is absolutely, with no doubt, the fastest I can possibly go. I was feeling the burn the entire time!


It felt amazing to erase and add my new PR to the board my fiance and I made. I am feeling very inspired now that I am really seeing tangible results from all of my training. Now, foolishly, I am running a half marathon next week. I hope I am not still sore by then! Every year I promise myself that I am not going to run ALL THE RACES, and yet here we are…

Do you sign up for too many races?


Big Dreams

Sorry I fell off the face of the earth. I have been busy sewing like a fiend. I finished my bridesmaid project and now am moving on to something new, and even more exciting! I am going to attempt to make my first piece of workout apparel!

sewing pattern

A vest! I just ordered some material online that I am super excited about. There will be a wind and water resistant outer layer, some lining, and then a moisture wicking inner layer. I even ordered some reflective ribbon to add. I can’t wait until the fabric arrives so I can get started!

dream bigIn other news, my running coach completely threw a curve ball at me this week. I guess it was one of those ideas that was always lurking in the back of my mind, but she put it out there, front and center. And…now, it’s real. She gave all these scientific pace reasons for how Boston is now in the realm of possibility.

impossible quoteNow the very reason I never said this aloud before was because I do NOT want to be devastated. I guess that is the thing about big dreams, they are scary. Luckily for me, I have a training buddy going through all the same emotions. I will keep you posted as I process this information and make training plans for my next marathon. Which I wasn’t even considering until the coach dropped this load on me!

In the meantime, I’m just going to watch this trailer until I make sense of my life.

Do you set really big goals? How do you handle them?