Tag Archives: Marathon

Woodlands Marathon Relay recap

Just realized this did not post!  Oops! So here is a little recap from my last race 😉

Since my last race of 2014 I have felt like a bit of a running failure.  I know I am not alone when it comes to having hiccups with fitness and running.  In November and December I finally felt like I was getting my running groove back.  Then my back had a few issues which caused my hips to go whacky and boom, running was slow and painful again. And having to drop out of my last half at mile 7 was really frustrating.

I didn’t run for a few weeks.  I tried to elliptical but even that was painful at first.  After a few weeks I finally was able to elliptical and then a few slow runs.  My plans to get faster again were out the window.  The pain was slowly getting better, so I was/am thankful for that.

Before all the horrid hip issues I decided to be part of a local race, but was not sure which distance I wanted to run.  After the hip flare up I decided the half was a no-go.  I ended up deciding to do the marathon relay.  I gathered a few friends and we made the most of it!

Race day came and I really was not sure what to think.  My hip was feeling so so, but mentally I was really not feeling it.  The weather was cold (for TX) and rainy and not exactly my ideal running weather.
I am glad I was part of a team or I am sure I would have spent the morning in bed.

Flat Esther

Flat Esther

Our team gathered at the start line to cheer off our first teammate!  IMG_8098 IMG_8102
Jamie was off and Brandon, Stacie and I headed to the first exchange point!
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Jamie ran a first great leg and then it was time for Stacie to run! And run she did!
While Stacie ran, Brandon and I took Jamie back to her car, got some gas and coffee.  Then headed to the next exchange point.  I was starting to get nervous about running.  According to the race information my leg was 6.65 miles.  So I made myself suck it up and realized I was going to finish my leg no matter what!

We met up with Stacie at mile 13.1 and I was off.  As soon as I started running it began to rain.  I chugged along for a few miles and felt ok.  It was a bit strange to see mile markers for 15, 16, 17 as I have never run that far in my life.  From the front you could see my bib as a marathon relay member, but from the back no one could tell.  I had a lot of people come up behind me and tell me it was awesome what I was doing and how inspiring I was to them!  All I could say was thanks.  They had run 15 miles and I was on mile 2, so of course I had fresh legs, but they didn’t realize that.

The reason I picked leg 3 was that it ran by the park the Hubs and I were married at!  Sadly though I did not see it while running.  The rain and the cold had me distracted.
At one point when I was starting to feel tired I saw someone waving and cheering while looking at me.  I was positive they were cheering for someone else, but no one was around me.  It was one of my friends I met through the gym!  It was SO sweet of her to come out and cheer me on, especially in the yucky weather! (THANK YOU ANNE!!!)  After we said hello and a quick hug I was off again. And then I started crying!  The emotions of running again and having such wonderful friends to run with me AND cheer me on just hit!  I was around mile 18 on the course (mile 5 for me) and people in their cars rolled down windows and clapped and cheered.  So many emotions!

As I approached where the next exchange point was supposed to be I started to get excited and happy!  I was so close.  My hip was a little tight but overall feeling pretty good.  I turned a corner and it was supposed to be the exchange and no one was there!!  I thought maybe my GPS was off, but then I saw the official race mile markers and realized that no, I was indeed at the right mileage…and no exchange!  I had sped up quite a bit but then slowed down when I realized I did not know where the exchange was or how much further I would have to run!
I texted my team but they were not sure how far they were from me.  Blah, that was for sure really frustrating.  I had to walk a little since the sprinting had irritated my hip.
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About a mile later I ended up finally seeing the exchange!  YAY! It was a fabulous sight to see!
So even though I was not thrilled be have run 7.45 miles vs 6.65 miles, I think it was good for me to see my body can still handle more than 7 miles, and my mental game also received a boost.

Stacie and I headed back to the finish line and waited for Brandon!  He had a great run and we were able to run the last .10 miles and cross the finish line together!  They announced my name as we crossed since my bib was the only visible one 🙂
After we finished we walked a little bit and had some lunch.

Before we started the race my goal was to just finish.  I was hoping we could keep it under 5 hours for the marathon.  Since I was the slowest runner (and the longest leg) I was not sure if we were going to make it!  But…
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Yay 🙂

Got some good steps in for the day, and was thankful for Epsom salts and essential oils to ease my sore muscles.

A BIG thank you again to Jamie, Brandon and Stacie for rocking the marathon relay with me!
Can’t wait till next year when we tackle the half 😉

Have you ever participated in a marathon relay?  Or any relay event?

PS, Don’t forget to check out the current giveaway!!!



Motivation Monday: Tom’s story

It is Monday, so you know what that means, it is time for another motivational story!  Today we have Tom from Runs and Places sharing his story!  Tom and I connected on Instagram, and he is always on the run!  Find out why below!

Tom’s Story:
Having to hold your breath so you can bend over and tie your shoes is not fun.  Neither is breaking out in a sweat and feeling like your heart is going to pound out of your chest after you walk up a single flight of stairs.  But these are some of the things that I started noticing were happening to me when I was only 25 years old.

This isn’t something that happened overnight.  When I was a teenager, I played a few sports in high school and was in really good shape.  Then I graduated, started going to college, and quickly learned how much I enjoyed staying out all night drinking and eating junk food.  So as the years went by, my weight started to increase and any athletic prowess that I had built up when I was younger started to gradually vanish.  By 2001, I was in terrible shape…. but luckily for me I had started a new job working for a boss who happened to be a runner.  When he invited me to go out running with him at lunch time, I jumped at the chance and even though I couldn’t run more than half a mile without stopping to catch my breath at the time, I kept at it.  After a few weeks, I felt myself starting to improve.  It was a slow process at first, but every time I went for a run, even if I was only able to make it a few steps further or a few minutes longer than the day before, I considered it to be major progress and it kept motivating me to push myself even harder.  Before I knew it, I was going for 3 and 4 mile runs at lunchtime and still finishing up with enough time to take a shower, eat, and be back at my desk within an hour.  No more holding my breath to tie my shoes… no more losing my breath when I walked up the stairs.  I felt like a completely different person.
Not long after that, I noticed that there was a 5K in my neighborhood so I decided to sign up for it. Even though it was a local race, I instantly hooked on the feelings I got when I lined up at the start line with all of the other runners and then pushing myself even harder than I did in my normal workouts and then having a medal placed around my neck when I crossed the finish line…. as soon as I finished, all I could think about was when I would get to do another race.
It wasn’t long before 5Ks turned into 10Ks, which turned into half marathons and then full marathons…. and then I started setting some longer term goals: mainly to run at least a half marathon in every US state and a full marathon on every continent but I have a couple others as well (complete all of the world marathon majors, all of the Canadian provinces, and there are also a few specific races that I also want to do).  So far I’m up to 38 half marathons and 6 marathons in 29 different states, 3 different countries, and 2 continents.  During my time as a runner, I’ve had the opportunity to run through some of the most amazing cities in the world and I’ve also seen some stunning scenery on a variety of different terrains and environments.  I’ve run across the Golden Gate Bridge, done a lap around the Indy 500 track and the infield at Churchill Downs, run near the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and past the vortexes in Sedona, Arizona… I’ve run down both US coasts, through all of the Disney parks and down the Las Vegas Strip and the Atlantic City Boardwalk…. and those are just a few highlights.
With all of the different changes that have gone on in my life over the past several years (moving, changing jobs, the birth of my daughter, my mom and some other friends and family members passing away, etc…), running is about the only thing I can say that’s really been consistent.  It’s what I do when I need to motivate myself or when I just need to get away from things and clear my head for a little while.  It’s what I do when I need to cope with something that I’m struggling with or when I want to celebrate an accomplishment.  Most of the solutions to problems that I’ve needed to solve at work life or in my personal life have come to me while I was out running and whenever I meet another runner, I find myself sharing stories about past runs, favorite types of gear, and future races and becoming friends with them within minutes. Ten years ago, I never would have thought that running would play such a big part of my life, but today I have no plans to ever stop.
Go Tom!!!

Look at all that amazing bling!!!

You can find Tom here!
Blog: http://www.runsandplaces.com
Twitter: tomruns_262
Instagram: tomruns_262

Thank you for sharing your story Tom!  It is making me want to go run right now!


October running recap…

This year overall has not been stellar for me with running and racing.  I managed to squeeze in a few races early in the year. Then I had some knee pain and back issues. I found a wonderful and affordable chiropractor in April and I started to see improvement with my pain. Over the summer I focused more on strength training with body pump and stretching to get rid of the pain. In September I was starting to feel much better, and started slowly running again. Then my hip began to have pain! UGH I was so frustrated. I had started training for a few 5/10ks and another half marathon and I really wanted to get back into running again. It is a good stress reliever for me, and I know it helps to keep me healthy!

During October I was on running restriction, but I had already signed up for a virtual 5k race through Joggermom. This race was one I really wanted to complete since I was in honor of breast cancer awareness month. It was very close to my heart as two of my dear friends have been bravely fighting this year. Sadly one of them passed away on October 20th. I was allowed to walk, and walk I did! It took me pretty much the entire month, but I finished the 26.2 (plus a little) on the 31st. It really made my heart happy that I was able to walk in honor and memory of such brave women!





Needless to say I am a bit nervous for the remaining training time before my next half. I know that Dec 22 is going to be here really fast. It may not be a stellar race, so I have changed my goal to just finishing! I doubt I will PR, but that is ok. Finishing the race and staying healthy are more important to me!!

And I finally got some new shoes in my favorite color!!  They are super comfy and pretty! So win-win!


Motivation Monday!

Happy Monday all!  It has been a little quiet over on this end.  I have been really busy with work and am finally getting a chance to sit down and share an amazing story with you all!!  My friend Becky is an inspiration and motivation to me, and a reminder to never give up on any dreams, especially when they have to do with your health!
I went to high school with Becky, but we didn’t really connect till a few years ago (thank you Facebook).  I am so glad we did connect! She is a wonderful girl who has worked REALLY hard to get where she is!  I am so proud of you Becky 🙂

Here is her story followed by a few pictures!

“I should preface this with the fact that all my life I had been a little bit chubby. However, it never stopped me from being active. My parents had me in all sorts of activities–dance, ice skating, swimming, intramural sports and marching band. I always enjoyed a little activity. I actually stayed with ice skating and swimming for quite some time–spending about 8 years on the ice and 4 in the pool (and it was quite busy when Swim season overlapped with ice skating season). I never let the fact that I was always heavier than the other people get in my way or bother me. And the people I was skating or swimming with never really minded that I was heavier either.

Something changed when I hit college. I was nowhere near the activity level that I was at in my pre-university days, but I certainly was not sedentary. I loved to take walks and had 2 jobs–one those jobs kept me on my feet the whole time. I ate a fairly healthy diet, but knew it could have been better. After college, I started running thinking well I hate running, but it might help. The pounds wouldn’t budge. No matter how much I restricted food intake and increased exercise would the pounds come off.

I decided I’d run my first half marathon in 2009. I teamed up with Team in Training which is an offshoot of the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. I was getting really frustrated because I was running about 20 or so miles per week, eating a lean/clean diet but still as heavy as I was before I started training. I still ran and finished that first half marathon, but couldn’t help but be a little jealous of my training buddies who were sporting more trim bodies. I KNEW something was wrong. I later found out my thyroid had shut down. It certainly explained why I was feeling SO miserable and not able to lose weight despite my best efforts.

Since that diagnosis, I have lost about 97 pounds, run 2 more half marathons and started working at fitness facilities in addition to my full time job. I am certified to teach SilverSneakers, which is a fitness program geared towards the elderly to help them keep and/or get back strength and fitness for daily life activities. I am also certified to teach Les Mills Sh’bam (dance based cardio) and as of yesterday (4/26/13), I am now certified to teach Les Mills CXWorx (30 minute core conditioning). I am gearing up to train for Les Mills BodyAttack, which is 55 minutes of high intensity/interval/sports inspired cardio and also planning my next half marathon (perhaps the Hershey Half since this is chocolate runner girl’s blog..wouldn’t that be appropriate?). When I’m not teaching, I enjoy a few miles here and there and also take BodyPump, BodyStep and RPM through Les Mills as well. They are great additions if you’re looking for cross training activities while gearing up for a distance running event.

I’ve always had a passion for sports, fitness and exercise. Heck, my major was Kinesiology at Penn State. I’ve always wanted to share my love of fitness and nutrition with others. I am hoping to take my American College of Sports Medicine exam for Health and Fitness expert. I would love to pursue a career in health coaching or corporate wellness coordination. I want people to know that everything is possible.”

Becky at her heaviest
Mile 10 in the first Half Marathon she ever ran in Jan 2009–the Disney World Half Marathon.Beckydisneymarathon 044
Her last half marathon which was December 2011 in Miami Beach (for her birthday–race day was on her birthday).
Becky in action while taking BodyAttack
A gym candid..one of the more recent photos of Becky.


~ Chocolate Runner~