Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Cleveland Marathon Race Report - That was a Doozy!

This year's Cleveland Marathon was bittersweet. It was a fun running weekend of seeing so many friends (my fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors, Skirt Sports Ambassadors, Akron folks, etc) before and after the race. I kicked off the weekend festivities with the Cleveland Marathon VIP dinner at the Arcade. This is always a great event and this year was no exception!

Sunday I met up with the ambassadors for a pre-race photo by the start line. We had a nice group running both the half and full this year. Everyone was excited and there was a lot of energy. I also ran into some old friends and made some new ones while we waited in the corral for the race to start.

This year's marathon was a tough race with many people including myself falling short of our goals. The heat was relentless. According to my garmin data it was 75 at the start, reaching 91. Some said it only got up to the mid 80s but either way it felt like a million degrees out there - especially the last 8-10 miles!

While I've been training this year for a 3:30 full I decided to go out a little easier with the 3:35 group and just go for my BQ (3:40). I knew with the weather it was not going to be a good day to try for my A goal. I hydrated as best as I could and carried a bottle with me along with some salt tabs. Still, by mile 8 or so I was struggling to keep the pace. I had debated dropping down to the half but I needed the long run anyways since I have a 100K in a few weeks. So, I reluctantly drudged on in the heat for some more miles.

I stopped at all the aid stations to fill my bottle, took in gels maybe every 5 miles but I could not hit my goal pace and around mile 16 I really started to fade. Around mile 17 or 18 my husband passed me (he was passing the 3:45 group). I ran into my friend Connie Gardner from Akron and just tried to keep up with her. As an elite ultrarunner, Connie knows how to run a smart race. So we ran, chatted, walked the hills and aid stations to keep our heart rates down and counted down the miles. I was hoping to break 4 and we were close - coming in at 4:01.

Post race w/ Akron peeps
I was elated to hit the beer garden where the Great Lakes Brewing IPA was flowing! That may have been the best tasting beer ever...so refreshing after such a long, hot run! It was fun to hang out with our running friends and my fellow Cleveland Marathon ambassadors post race and we also stopped at Masthead Brewing on the way home for some more beer and tasty Pizza.

While I am a little disappointed in my time, on a hot, miserable day like that it was a win just finishing in one piece. I can recall seeing a lot of people getting medical attention during the race from mile 8 on. Upon finishing we learned that a young woman Taylor Ceepo had lost her life near the finish. That was so sad to hear and my heart aches for her family. I can't imagine what they must be going through and I am keeping them in my thoughts this week.

More friends & ambassadors hanging post race 


I'm recovering this week and need to get in a back-to back long run this weekend as well as nest in preparation for the Eagle Up 100K on June 8th. My goal is to get to the starting line healthy and just do my best that day. Last year I ran the 50 miler and did pretty well so will see how I do in the 100k. I sure hope that it is not as hot as Cleveland was!


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Marathon Season is Underway & Cleveland is This Weekend!

It's been a busy spring and I am long overdue for an update on training and racing! Since my last post I have run the Boston Marathon on April 15 and the Canton Hall of Fame Marathon on April 28. This weekend I will be taking on one of my all time favorites...the Cleveland Marathon! This will be my 10th time running this race - 3 times in the half and 7 times for the full!

I've also been lucky enough to be an ambassador for the race for the last 5 years. I will be attending the awesome VIP dinner with my fellow ambassadors tomorrow night so I am looking forward to seeing everyone all dressed up in something besides our runner attire! :)

Boston Recap:
Photo by Akron's own Joey Phillips!
Boston did not go as planned for me. My goal of 3:30 was way off. I ended with a 3:54, a pretty crappy time for me but with rain, heat, humidity, GI issues and cramps I am lucky to have just survived. To be honest it is a privilege just to be there in the first place and I tried to remind myself of that during my struggles. It was great to see so many fellow Akron runners out there as well as friends from all over - even some of my fellow Skirt Sports Ambassador ladies!

Canton Recap:
Canton went better but still missed my BQ. I was on pace for maybe 14 or 15 and then dealt with some calf cramping that resulted in a stop at the Mercy Health tent around mile 17. I got back on track for the most part after that but ended up with a 3:42 and change versus the 3:40 I needed to BQ. The weather was rainy and chilly for this one. I was happy that Steve got his BQ - although he didn't have a great race either.

Cleveland Goal:
This weekend is trending hot as of a few days out. I am prepared to try for my BQ and know that I will have to dress and hydrate appropriately to have a shot. I'll do my best but I will never sacrifice my health for a race because there is always another one! I will also try to enjoy the journey because I am know I am fortunate to be healthy enough to even take on another 26.2! And I will have another chance to BQ for 2020 in Erie early September!


Canton - special thx to the Mercy nurse who gave me this tee!
Next up:
On June 1 I am running a new trail race in Cleveland called The Forgotten that our friends at Running Forward & Giving Back are hosting. Steve and I plan to run this together as one of our last long training runs for our Eagle Up 100K on Saturday June 8! After that I am resting and cross training a bit before ramping up again for Erie and Akron Marathons in September!




Monday, April 8, 2019

Cleveland Marathon Giveaway & Training Update

This is an exciting week because I'm giving away an entry to this year's Cleveland Marathon this week! If you follow the Cleveland Marathon on instagram you may have seen my takeover Saturday. If not here's your chance to win. Simply reply to this post and let me know why you want to run Cleveland and which race you want to do? I'll be announcing the winner this Friday! If you don't win but still plan to run use my code PM2019 to save 10% off your registration!

Use code PM2019 for 10% off your registration!


It's also an exciting week because we are a week out from the Boston Marathon! At this time next week I'll be getting prepped to take on the course for my second time- woohoo! That means this is a super easy taper week for me. I'm planning an easy 15 miles of running, some light core and maybe one easy bike ride. If you'd like to follow along next week I'll be running in Wave 3/corral 2 at 10:50am and my bib # is 17187! Now all that's left to do is to pick my race day outfit, which will definitely consist of one of my awesome Skirt Sports skirts!

Wish me luck in Boston! And goodluck to you on winning my free Cleveland Marathon entry!!


Monday, April 1, 2019

A Long Overdue Training & Racing Update

I know...I've been absent from my blogging this season. I launched the new Run and Zen blog but it has lost momentum for the time being. It's just easier for me to keep up with my Blogger account so here I am back on the old Hoprunner blog to post a quick update on training, racing and life.

It's been hectic with a new job that I started in February, marathon training and racing! My training has been up and down this cycle and I had lost motivation and hope for a while but things started to come together again about 4 weeks ago, thank goodness!

I ended up racing a last minute 5K early March that our friends at Great Lakes Race Timing had called the Leprechaun Dash. It started and ended at Willoughby Brewing at 11am so I could not resist! After lack of any recent speedwork I really had low hopes of placing but figured I'd get in a good workout at minimum. I ended up running 21:30ish and 2nd female so I was beyond happy with the result for where I am right now. I won a gift certificate to Achilles Running Shop and a sweet new pair of Goodr sunglasses - that along with the two free beers was worth the trip! Ended the week with 50 miles.

Next up I ran the Hinckley Buzzard 25k again this year. Again I did not have high expectations as my long runs had been crappy as of late. It was a messy mudfest and I really suffered and wanted to walk a lot more than I allowed myself. I had won the race last year but there was a speedy female in front of me this year that I just couldn't catch so I ended up in second and was happy to get it done in one piece this year! It was a good hill workout as I prep for Boston and it was great to see so many of out running friends out on St. Patrick's Day weekend!  Ended the week with 50 miles.

Finally I raced the new Get Lucky 50/50 race that our friend Eric from Brimstone put on. I figured running a 50K hard a few weeks out from Boston would be good prep for race day. It was super cold that morning but clear and I ended up finishing the 50k with a slight PR of 4:37 and finishing first female, which was a bonus. My marathon time was 3:45-3:50is, which was great since my goal for Boston is like 3:30-3:40ish. After the race we got a free beer and food at the Canal Boat House and then got some free Donuts from the gift certificates we won from Peace, Love and Little Donuts! Ended the week with 54 miles.

After a bit of recovery it was back to it. I finished off the week with 13 miles on the dreadmill yesterday with 10 at goal marathon pace. Ouch. Ended the week with 43 miles. This week will be mostly easy with one hill workout planned mid week and an 8-10 miler this wknd for a total of 30-35 miles and then one more easy week until Boston!

I am hoping for decent weather on April 15 and fresh legs. Send me all those positive vibes. Again this has been a tough training cycle for me but I am feeling more like myself these last 3-4 weeks! I'll be in wave 3/corral 2 and i am # 17187 if you care to track me!

I am also really looking forward to the Cleveland Marathon on May 19th! If you haven't signed up yet you can use my code PM2019 for 10% off your registration! Also, watch the Cleveland Marathon instagram account (@CleveMarathon) this weekend as I'll be taking over their story this weekend and offering up a chance to win one free entry to the race of your choice!! Start watching Saturday the 6th and leave a comment telling me why you want to run Cleveland.


Friday, January 11, 2019

Kicking off the 2019 Training and Race Planning!

It's January, which means the race planning for 2019 is in full swing. I am thankful to once again be on board as a Cleveland Marathon ambassador as well as a Skirt Sports ambassador! I'm also excited to run the Boston Marathon for the second time this spring!

Save 10% off registration with code PM2019!

My marathon training is underway and I must admit I'm having a tougher time getting into it physically and mentally this year. In addition to my foot injuries last summer, I had some health issues in the fall and I am still not feeling 100% myself. I have lacked my normal strength and energy levels, which means some of my workouts have suffered or been postponed. I am doing my best to get in my planned mileage and workouts. I hope in the coming weeks I will feel stronger and more confident in my training.

I must accept that as an athlete there will be ups and downs. Clearly I am in a down period at the moment but this too shall pass. I am strong and I will persist! I am planning a fun race season and will do my best every time I toe the line (even if that means not being as fast as I want). I would love a shiny, new marathon PR in the spring but if it does not happen I can try again in the fall...or next season.

Here is what I have planned out for 2019 so far:

The season will most likely start with the Hinckley Buzzard 25K in mid March unless I jump into something sooner to test my fitness.

My big race in April will be the Boston Marathon of course!

May will be the Cleveland Marathon about 4-5 weeks after Boston. If you are thinking about running feel free to use and share my code PM2019 for 10% off your registration.

In June I will be running a new race called The Forgotten 25K followed up with the Eagle up 100K in (if I can swing it otherwise I will run the 50k or 50 miler).

I am leaving July and August open for now for recovery and lots of summer bike rides! I may sign up for a 1/2 marathon and some shorter stuff to help with my training for the Akron Marathon in September but will play it by ear. I then have Doan Creek 25k in early October.

The rest of the year is TBD or rest if needed. As much as I wish I could commit to more I am learning that my body needs some rest periods too. I will wait and see how I feel later in the year. At minimum I hope to run the Akron Turkey Trot and maybe a Christmas and/or New Years race.

What races are you planning in 2019?


Monday, January 7, 2019

My 2018 Racing Season in Review...as a Skirt Sports Ambassador

As some of you may know, I was fortunate enough to become an ambassador for Skirt Sports in early 2018! At the time I had a few products that I liked by Skirt Sports but in the last year those few items have multiplied into a fun, new wardrobe of cute and high-performance women's athletic attire. I thought it would be fun to highlight my races from 2018 and which Skirt Sports products I was wearing for each one.

The season started off with a fun St. Patty's Day-themed race called St Malachi. It's a 5-miler through the streets of Cleveland followed by a big after party in the Cleveland Flats. For this race I wore my Skirt Sports Redemption Capris and managed to set a new 5 mile PR of 34:35 and snag 3rd in my AG in a competitive race so I was very pleased.


Next up was the Hinckley Buzzard 25K trail race, which was a last minute add that turned out very well for me. I got in a great workout once again in my Skirt Sports Redemption Capris and my Skirt Sports Trucker hat and managed first female overall! Of course I went out to celebrate with my hubby and friend Stephanie afterwards!


Then it was the Run for Home Half Marathon in Dover, OH, where I had high hopes of a 1/2 PR but came up just a little short. I raced this time in my Skirt Sports Pocketopia Capris and Trucker Hat along with my Cleveland Marathon Ambassador tee. With a time of 1:40 and change and I placed 2nd in my AG so it was a good effort for me.





Then about a week later I really surprised myself at the 20 Mile Drop race in Chardon, OH where I placed first female overall with my fastest ever 20 miler of about a 7:40 pace! It was really a nasty day to race weather wise and I debated sitting this one out but forced myself to line up and do. Once again I raced in my Skirt Sports Redemption Capris and my favorite brightly colored Skirt Sports trucker hat.



I was able to wear my Skirt Sports Lioness Skirt in romance print with my ambassador tee and hat as I set my Marathon PR of 3:29:33 at this year's Hall of Fame Marathon! I crushed my BQ and we definitely celebrated with beers at Fatheads Brewery after! 



The Cleveland Marathon is always one of my favorite events of the year and I am lucky enough to be a race ambassador for them as well! This year I raced in my Skirt Sports Lioness Skirt in holiday print and my ambassador tank and trucker hat in nightdive print. The race started off very strong for me and I thought I was on pace for my second sub-3:30 but I struggled in the later miles and ended up with a 3:38 (still good for a 2nd BQ this year). It was fun to celebrate with Steve and my fellow ambassadors and friends after the race at the Great Lakes Brewing beer tent!



I raced the Eagle up Ultra in Canal Fulton for the first time this year and it was a great event! I opted for the 50 miler and most of the race went well for me, except one loop where I needed to walk about half of it to work through some issues. I ended up finishing first female in the 50 miler in 8:44 so I was definitely happy with my effort. It was great to have Steve and so many friends out there running and fellow Skirt Sports ambassador Mary Sutter even stopped by to cheer for me! My outfit was the Skirt Sports Lioness skirt in holiday print and Freeflow tank in black and my nightdive trucker hat. I got many compliments on the outfit!



I probably overdid it by racing the Charlevoix Marathon 2 weeks after the 50 miler. I did not feel the greatest during the race but I guess my Skirt Power helped me! I ran another 3:38 and managed 2nd in my AG and got a 3rd BQ this season! I ran in my Skirt Sports Lioness skirt in romance print with my freeflow tank in Razz and my Skirt Sports ambassador visor. My husband Steve set a new PR and also BQ'd so we celebrated afterwards at a local pub that had great IPAs...and food.



The Canal Corridor 100 Miler did not go as planned for me this time around. I completed 50 miles due to some foot pain and took the DNF. I wore my Skirt Sports Lioness in Wave print but I did not have my Skirt Power that day :(





The Potato Stomp 9 Mile run was my first race back after about 2 months off of working through foot issues so I was very pleased that I ran a 1:07 and placed in the top 5.  My Skirt Sports freeflow tank and Ambassador visor must have made me strong!



I had a tough day at the Northern Ohio 1/2 Marathon as I suffered through some nasty GI issues the day before and race morning as well as lack of sleep. How I was able to muscle through in a 1:46 I am not sure, but I looked like a zombie. I managed to place 2nd in my AG, which was a definite win for me on this day. 




The Run With Scissors Trail 1/2 Marathon was a blast. I dressed up like a Skirt Sports Unicorn and harnessed the magical powers to come away with the female win. Yay! My Take 5 tank in Temper Tantrum print made the outfit I think!






Not long after I ran the Conquer the Castle 25K Trail Run in Willoughby Hills and also enjoyed this race despite some bad GI issues leading into the race. I raced in my very cute Skirt Sports Lioness in Safari print and my ambassador tee and nightdive trucker hat. I ran as hard as I could and ended up with 2nd female overall so I earned myself a post race beer at Willoughby Brewing!





And finally I closed out the year at the Akron Hime Run for the Homeless Turkey Trot, where I felt like I was going to die literally of bad GI issues pre-race and somehow ran a semi-decent race. Good enough to win a turkey for 1st in AG 40-44! Once again I raced in my Skirt Sports Redemption capris to close out a very fun season of racing!



So there you have it - my first year as a Skirt Sports Ambassador is in the books and it was a good one. I am looking forward to racing in 2019 as a Skirt Ambassador again! Cheers!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Conquer the Castle 25K Race Report & Training Update

I'm finally getting around to my race report for the Conquer the Castle 25K, which is a trail race that takes place in North Chagrin Reservation in Willoughby. Steve and I used to run there all the time when we lived in Mentor and Concord Township and of course we did the inaugural race, which was a 100K (for him) and a DNF for me since I only completed 50K.

Since I am just rebuilding my endurance I did not want to take on the 50k or more this year. The 25K was a good distance for me to race because it pushed me a little farther than I had gone recently but not so much I would hurt myself. I had done a trail 1/2 marathon a week before and a road half marathon a few weeks before that so this 25K was my longest run since summer I think as I have had lingering tendonitis in booth feet.

This was a tough course for Northeast Ohio standards anyways and it was a very wet course! I think my feet were wet pretty much the whole race. Luckily it was cold but not freezing. Temps were around 35-40 degrees so still warm enough for a skirt and I actually overheated and lost my armwarmers and rolled up my shirt sleeves once we got warmed up.

For the first 8 or 9 miles I just tried to keep up with Amanda Debevec, she is a strong runner and I figured she was in better shape them me right now so I held on as long as I could and it was nice chatting with her for a bit about races. Once we got to the bigger hills she took off as I ran/walked the steep sections. At that point it was back to my own race. I ended up pacing about the same as a guy in front of me for the last 4-5 miles so that worked out pretty well because I mentally just tried to stick with him.

post race with my Sir runs a lot medal!
My time goal was 2:30 and I ended up with 2:25 and change so I was happy with that and came in second female. I was also pleased to hear that Steve had a decent race, finishing in around 2:13 and third male. I like the course - the beginning 1/2 of the loop is flatter and less technical than the second half I think but it's a great loop. The 50kers do it 2 x and the 100k 4x. I was glad to have been a 25Ker this time around!

After the race Steve and I got changed and went back to pavillion to say hi to race director Eddie and some of the other people we knew. We couldn't resist the post race pizza and of course we ended up stopping by Willoughby Brewing for a peanut butter cup porter on the way home!

We were originally planning to race the Made in America 1/2 marathon again the week after Conquer the Castle but to be honest my body needed a break. I have been  rebuilding my mileage to 30-40 miles week but have been struggling with GI troubles since early October and will soon be going to visit the gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy to see what the issue is (doctor thinks it is some form of IBS but won't know exactly what it is until after the testing). I've been training as much as I can and resting or going easier on days that I feel yucky.

This week has been a little better because I have been vegan/vegetarian (no meat besides eggs and no dairy) to see how I feel and it has been an improvement. Next up it's the Akron Turkey Trot 4 miler next week - hopefully my GI cooperates (fingers crossed). Then we will probably do some sort of holiday races TBD.