Monday, February 5, 2018

Cleveland Marathon Contest Winner & Discount Code

Thank you to everyone that entered my Cleveland Marathon race giveaway this week! I wish I could give an entry to all of you - but unfortunately I can't (boo). I can however share my discount code, which is good for 10% off your registration. Before checkout just enter code: PMCLE10. Feel free to share the code with any of your family or friends that sign up!

For the contest, I used an app called Name Picker Ninja, which randomly selects a winner to make it a fair shot for everyone. So drumroll please...Congrats to winner Evan Close! See you on May 20th for the race! Just send me a PM and I will get you your special code to register for the race at no charge!

Have a good week everyone and Happy Running!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Exciting News and Training Update

It was an exciting week because I am officially on board as a 2018 Skirt Sports brand ambassador! I
have a few friends that have been ambassadors and I am late to the party but better late than never, right?!

Who is Skirt Sports you ask? The Skirt Sports brand was started by former pro triathlete Nicole DeBoom. She was frustrated by the lack of cute and functional women's specific clothing available to train and race in so she created the company to help women feel confident and excited about their clothing choices. I can relate to this because some of the cycling and tri kits out there are not flattering at all - no matter what your size is. Nicole also wanted to create a brand and community for ALL women - not just the ones that look perfect. We all have our own body types, shapes, sizes, athletic abilities and that's really where the #realwomenmove campaign stems from. Real women - real bodies - real inspiration.

Now since learning more about the brand and trying more of the products and getting to know some of the fellow ambassadors I am sure that this is going to be a great year! I'll be doing some product reviews for some of the items I really like such as the Redemption run capris and knickers and the Lioness skirt in the coming weeks and months so stay tuned! If you do decide to purchase something use my code: 588McGo for 15% off your purchase!

Speaking of training, January is gone and I calculated my training mileage (see image below). I biked a lot more than I thought I did (mostly on the trainer - boo), ran a decent amount (lots of dreadmill), got in a decent amount of core work including some barre classes and started to swim again (albeit not enough). I've been feeling tired this week and now I see why! February I have some work trips to Cancun and Chicago so I will get in as much as I can but when I travel I am lucky to get in one workout a day versus my normal two or three. Maybe the downtime will be good for me so I can come home and really build up again in March.

Monday, January 29, 2018

It's Cleveland Marathon Giveaway Week & Quick Training Update

January is nearly gone and before we know it May will be here! And you know what May is right?! On May 20th I'll be running the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon with my fellow marathon ambassadors including my friend, running buddy and craft beer snob in the making - Stephanie Itibrout who writes a blog called Run away from Trouble (@itibrout on IG) and about 20K other people!

Are you thinking about running Cleveland this year? If not you should be! If so, it could be your lucky week! Stephanie and I are both giving away free entries this week to the Cleveland Marathon race of your choice. You can go long with us and run the full and then drink a tasty Great Lakes Brewing beer in the beer garden post race, or run the super fun half or 10k - totally up to you (and there is still beer available after these races too)! All you need to do to enter my contest is leave a comment below. One lucky winner will be announced on Sunday via the blog and my social media channels! And if you don't win - no can still save! Use my code PMCLE10 for 10% off your registration!

To enter Stephanie's contest head on over to her blog and enter there as well because two chances to win are better than one! Plus you should follow her because she is fun and is always getting herself into crazy exploits like running the Burning River 4-person Relay this summer!

In terms of my marathon training so far I'm feeling pretty good. I have been getting in speed work and my long run every week as planned (including sprinting 12 x 400 last Tuesday and 16 miles at a 9:00 avg yesterday on the roads in Akron-Peninsula). I ended the week yesterday with 46 miles of running so I am taking my time to build up the run mileage. I'm also cycling quite a bit usually between 75-100 miles a week, swimming and doing core work such as lifting or barre. More to come on the training but for now enter the giveaway!!!

Dreaming of summer running days w/ Steph!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Building up for the Spring Racing Season

The new gym aka pain cave!
If you live in Ohio or anywhere in the Northern part of the country then you probably know it's been a cold and snowy winter so far meaning that most of my training has been indoors. When you work 8-5 in Ohio in the winter it does not leave a lot of daylight hours to get the weekday workouts done but that's no excuse to skip them. Thanks goodness my awesome husband Steve finished remodeling our basement into a nicer indoor gym we can utilize during these long, cold months! I'm also getting in outdoor training as the weather allows such as last week's thaw out.

I am excited to once again be back as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador for 2018! I think this will be my fourth year as an ambassador and I always look forward to this race and seeing my fellow ambassadors. This year the race is on Sunday, May 20th and I will be doing a giveaway contest in the coming months so stay tuned for a chance to win an entry to the race distance of your choice!

In addition to Cleveland I will be running the Hall of Fame Marathon again as a warm up for Cleveland. I am hoping for better weather conditions this time around and a faster time! I will also try to get in some shorter races in February/March/April in preperation for the spring BQ attempts. Last year I missed by about a minute in Cleveland but since I turn 40 this year I now have an extra 5 minutes if I need it (yippee).

I also am planning a return to multisport racing this season since I am on a multisport team and all (Snakebiteracing). I missed the fun of triathlon last year and especially logging all the bike miles. I think I must have went a year without even swimming but I have been back in the pool at least once a week this month and will increase that frequency soon. I don't know exactly which races I will do yet but am considering a bunch of sprint to longer races. I also bought a new tri bike so that's exciting! I really love my new Blue Norcross SP Cyclocross bike so I purchased a Blue Triad SP tri bike. So far I really dig it and feel like I will be speedy on it  especially with my race wheels.
My new bike :)

Here's a glimpse of my training for the last couple of weeks below:

Week of 1/1:
1/1 - Bike 14, Run 3.5 easy
1/2 - Core for 40 mins, Bike 16, Run 6.5 Speed ( 5 x 5 @ 7:30-7:45 pace and 4 x 1 min at 5k pace)
1/3 - Run 4.5 medium effort
1/4 - Run 3.25 easy, Bike 21 medium, 45 minutes Barre class
1/5 - Run 9.5 medium effort
1/6 - Swim 1600m easy, Bike 26, lift 30 mins
1/7 - Run 10.25 easy
Weekly total: Run 37.25, Bike 77, Swim 1 mile, Core x 3 days

Week of 1/8:
1/8 - Core 40 mins, Bike 20
1/9 - Run 9.25 with speed (tempo run with 400s alternating pace MP, faster than MP), Core 20 mins
1/10 - Run 9.5 easy
1/11 - Run 4.5, Bike 14
1/12 - Run 5.25 easy, Bike 10
1/13 - Run 2.5, Core 40 minutes
1/14 - Swim 1300m, Bike 27, Run 10
Weekly total: Run 41, Bike 71, Swim 1300m, Core x 3 days

This weekend is supposed to be warmer so I am hoping to get my longer run in outside! We'll see how it goes. Happy training everyone!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Looking Back on 2017's Race Season

Last year was an interesting year for me. I basically ran a million miles training for spring and fall marathons and some crazy ultras like the canal Corridor 100 miler in July. I did not participate in any multisport races, which was weird since I have been doing tris since 2010. Here's a recap of my racing season below.

  • Austin Marathon - This was an early season (February) marathon to see where the fitness was and start building up the mileage for the ultra training. The race went okay. I overheated and came in about 10-15 minutes slower than my goal, finishing in 3:50. It was at least a good training run and Steve and I got to experience Austin for a long weekend.
  • Shamrock 15K - This is a tough early season road race around St. Patrick's Day with some good climbing. I was not feeling it before the race due to some "female issues" but was able to run decent anyways at about a 7:29 pace - good for 5th female, 1st in AG. 
  • Run to the Beach 5K - I need to force myself to get in my speedwork sometimes so I signed up for this 5K to get in some fast running and test my fitness leading into the Hall of Fame and Cleveland Marathons. It did not go as well as I hoped. The last mile was more trail and beach running so I ended up running over 22 minutes on the course, which is not great for me. I ended up 3rd female overall with Steve also being 3rd male. The awards for this were pretty cool!
  • Hall of Fame Marathon - This was one of those races where you can almost perfectly execute but still not hit your goal due to outside forces as with this case unexpectedly hot weather for April in Ohio. My goal was to PR with a 3:30 and I was on track until about 20 but just overheated, cramped and felt a little dehydrated. Steve paced me for this one and our splits were dead on for most of the race so this was disappointing to run a 3:46. Hint - PR will be one of my goals again for 2018. 
  • Cleveland Marathon - This race went better for me than Hall of Fame. I really liked the new course. I thought it was a humid day and then of course the rain later in the race was not ideal. I was close to a BQ here with my 3:41 finish. This was my fastest time I've run in Cleveland so it was a good effort for me.
  • Green Jewel 50K - This race nearly killed me. I was originally planning to run as a training run and then at the last minute decided to attempt to race albeit in the heat of June and on extremely tired ultra training legs. Not my best idea or effort. My first half was okay but the back half was not pretty. I added about a half hour to my time from 2016 finishing in over 5. Somehow I managed to win my AG but this was a rough one for me and so was the training run I had to do the next day!
  • Canal Corridor 100 Miler - This race also almost killed me as you can imagine. I trained as much as I could for it and as luck would have it I got a bladder infection two days out from the race. That made for an even harder effort than it should have been. I debated dropping at mile 75 but somehow convinced myself to walk basically most of the final 25. I was glad to finish this one. It was hard earned and just an awesome and difficult experience. This was definitely the highlight of my season as was helping Steve with his BR100 finish! 
  • Moebius Green Monster Trail 50K - I was probably still recovering from my 100 and then pacing Steve for his 100 but I decided to run this 50k in August. I really liked the course. It ended up raining for a while and making footing slick and then it heated up and got pretty hot. I ended up missing a turn on one of the loops and added an extra mile too. This is a nice, little ultra and I did better than I thought I did when I checked the results I was 3rd female.
  • Potato Stomp 9 Miler - After a summer of slower running this was my first attempt back at speed. It's a great little race that draws out some competitive runners since they hand out cash awards to the top finishers. It's also a hilly road course. I finished 9th female and 5th in my AG (ouch) so I did not win anything this year with my pace of 7:39. 
  • Northern OH Marathon - This race was in early October and I felt pretty strong but was having some low back/hip pain similar to the issue I had last fall. My first half was on pace at 1:46 but by mile 16 I knew it wasn't my day. I had to walk some to relieve the pain and I debated dropping out entirely. At mile 19 my friend saved me with some ibuprofen and I was able to run the last few miles. Still I think I walked almost 5 - leading to my slowest ever marathon time of about 4:30. It was still a finish and I am thankful I could suck it up and get it done. Needless to say I did not win my AG :(
  • Beechbrook 5K - This was a last minute race and another opportunity to get in some speed work. It was a good weather day to race and I ran okay - finishing in 21:40ish and actually placed first female, which was a nice surprise. This was fun because my friend and fellow marathon ambassador Steph finished 2nd!
  • Buckeye 1/2 Marathon - This was the first 1/2 marathon I've raced in a while and I forgot how much they hurt. I had set a goal to break 1:40 but was unsuccessful - finishing in 1:41 and 3rd in my AG. The two runners ahead of me were both within a minute so at least I was close.
  • Made in America 1/2 Marathon - This one kicked my butt. I liked the course it starts with rolling hills on the road and then the rest is on the Towpath. I really faded at the end but I held on to run 1:39 and change so I was happy and I won my AG so it was a good race for me! 
  • Bills Badass 50K - Bills is a tough race that follows the Perkins loop of the CVNP. The weather was pretty dreadful as it ended up being rainy and muddy. After 3 of the 6 loops Steve and I decided to call it a day and head to the Winking Lizard to warm up and refuel. Kudos to all who stuck it out and finished this one. This was my one DNF of the year. Some days are just better running days than others. 
  • Home Run for the Homeless 4 Miler - This was my first time running Akron's famous turkey trot, which is a challenging 4 mile course. Cool temps and hills made this one a toughie. I was hoping to be a little faster than a 6:57 pace but was happy to place 3rd in my AG. There is some strong competition at this race. Steve won his AG and brought home a turkey!

  • Miracle on Erie Street 5k - This was the last race of the year and we decided to do it because they had a finish party at Willoughby Brewing after. I wasn't sure how it would go but I felt pretty good for most of the race and was able to win the female race in 21:07. It was a nice way to wrap up the year.
My plans for 2018 are still in development but I will write a post in the next week or two with an update. I plan to add multisport back in so that I am cross training regularly and not just running 24/7. I'm excited about next season and building my base as we speak for spring marathons!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Training and Racing Update - from Rainy Trail Runs to Fast, Fun 5Ks

It's been a busy few weeks of training and racing and I've been all over the place just enjoying the run again. Here's what I've been up to:

1) Bills Badass 50K

A week after the Made in America half marathon my husband Steve and I took on the famous Bills Badass 50K trail ultra in the CVNP trails of Peninsula. This is a not a race for the faint at heart. We had decided to run it together since we had both been nursing injuries (bad hip for me and ankles for him). It was a miserably rainy day and the 5 mile loop we had to run several times was a real doozy with multiple stream crossings (some deep enough to be level with my hip) and some gnarly, muddy uphills and downhills.  3+ hours of running and slipping and sliding was enough for us and we made the decision to just do 25K of the race and call it a day. It was lovely to see a couple of our favorite local RDs Wild Bill and Rich and all the crazy runners who came out to run on a tough day! Getting changed into dry clothes and refueling at Winking Lizard Peninsula after the run was glorious!


2) Home Run For the Homeless 4 Miler

We earned our turkey by racing the Akron Home Run for the Homeless 4 Miler! This was our first time running it and it is a tough course! I nearly died the last mile. I wanted to break 7-minute miles and I was barely able to do it finishing in 27 and change (6:58 pace). I was happy to place 3rd in my AG and win some Smuckers Jam since this is a bigger, competitive race and I did not feel too great during the run. Steve won his age group and won a big turkey so that was exciting!

Post race with my jam

3) Vertical Runner Trytophan 2 hour Run

Each year VR sponsors this run the weekend of Thanksgiving and I have wanted to make the event every year but have had things going on. This year Steve and I put it in the plan and went out to support VR since they are a sponsor of the Snakebite Racing team and some of our friends would be running there as well. Our plan was to get in an easy 12-14 miles and then grab a coffee with my friend Stephanie. I ended up running a little harder than I planned but I felt good. We decided to run the 4 mile loop as many times as we could and for each completed loop we would get 4 tickets for a chance to win prizes from VR after the run. The first loop we went out about a 7:15-30 pace slowing a little to 7:40ish second loop and then I kindof bonked and we averaged about an 8:30 for the last loop and finished with a cooldown mile for a total of 13 miles in 1:45. So it ended up being a nice training run and I won a hat in the drawing! After we had coffee with my friend Steph we headed over to Hudson's for breakfast with our friends Tracy and Paul and Hasani. That food hit the spot and no it did not involve adult beverages! That was later ;)

4) Miracle on Erie Street 5K

Last but not least Steve and I decided to run the Miracle on Erie Street 5K in downtown Willoughby last Saturday. With nice weather, an 11am start and a free beer from Willoughby Brewing after, this race was made for us. Plus it was nice to go "home" and see many of our friends from Northeast Running Club. I wanted to push myself and see what I could do but I was really sore from my first Barre class I had taken at Tru Barre in the Valley two days before so I was not sure how it would go. I lined up in the front of the pack and a couple other females were there too. Starting out two others were in front of me for about 1/2 mile but I thought the pace was too slow and passed them. I was shooting for 20:59 or 6:45 pace and I was pretty close. My first mile was a 6:46, second mile was a 6:50, last mile was a 6:47 and I just tried to hold on for the last .1. I was excited to break the tape as the first female finisher with my time of 21:07, 6:48 pace. I'm very close to my goal and think it will happen soon. For the win I received a stocking with "First Female Overall" on it and a mini Christmas tree to decorate but the best part was the free beer at Willoughby Brewing! It was nice to see our Snakebite Racing teammate Natalie and our friend and RD extraordinaire Rich.

Post race with Natalie and Steve

What's Next? 

Since then I've been running pretty well but cycling a good deal more and doing barre and strength work. I am trying to lean out now for vacation and spring marathon training so that I will be faster next season! I am excited for next season and looking forward to a long off-season. I may do another race or two if weather allows but after New Years Eve it's the off-season and I am not racing again until March! This is a much needed off season since I have run high mileage most of the year prepping for marathons and the 100 miler.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Made in America Half Marathon Race Report

Yesterday I raced the Second Sole Made in America Half Marathon in Massillon, OH. It ended up being a good day for me and I enjoyed the race. I would say this was a harder course than the Buckeye half that I ran a couple of weeks back. This course starts near the Massillon Rec Center on the roads. The first 4 miles are rolling hills with some good climbs and downhill. I went out pretty fast the first couple of miles with my first mile around a 6:40. I wish I could hold that pace for a half but that's more like a good 5K pace for me. Still, I wanted to start a little faster this time and see if I could hold on and improve on my time from two weeks ago.

After 4 miles the race moves onto the Towpath Trail. The first couple of miles on the trail I felt pretty good and was on autopilot running a 7:30 pace. Around mile 6 or 7 I started to feel a little fatigue and my left hip area was noticeably tender. I remember thinking to myself I wish this was a 15K. I knew it was going to be a painful second half. At mile 9 I took out my gel and it fell on the trail so this was not good. I thought about leaving it but felt like I wanted the boost so I stopped and looked for it and lost a little time her, ending up with my only 8-minute mile.  About four people passed me, a couple that I was able to repass later.

The last couple of miles were hard for me and I labored around 7:40-7:50, just trying to hold on for the finish. I had really hoped to end the day with a new 13.1 PR but came up a little short. Still I was very excited to break 1:40 after a long time. My finish was 1:39:50ish so I was able to win my AG in a tough race. There were some seriously fast ladies out there and I ended up being 13th of 181 females, which is good for me right now. I hope to knock a minute or two off next season with some focus.

There were plenty of snacks at the finish and they were giving out Coors Light beer but I was too cold and tired for that. Steve had raced too and also won his AG! We ended up just taking the shuttle back to our car and changing and then heading home to shower and make a hot brunch. I felt a little under the weather afterwards so I too it easy for a couple of hours. Later we headed out to have a post race celebratory beverage.

I am pretty pleased with my last few races this season and feel that I am getting back on track. This Saturday is the Bills Badass Trail 50K. I think I will attempt to run it. I originally planned to sit it out with my hip issue but I feel I am getting stronger and it will be an easy effort for me anyways as I can just run it and not worrying about racing. Just finishing this one would be a victory for me right now. Then we have a Turkey Trot in Akron on Thanksgiving day and maybe a holiday race or two around Christmas if I'm up for it.

I am excited about next season. I have some big goals and I will just chip away at them one by one. I will not be taking on anything super long next year. My body needs some time off from that so I likely will not do anything longer than a 50k.

Post race with my handsome hubby!