Richmond Marathon Recap!!

Warning…. this will probably be long. I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you: I finished my first marathon in 3:59:57!!! I honestly didn’t think breaking 4 hours was a possibility going into this race, but now I’ll give you the run down of how we (me and my dad) made it happen.

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Friday

Thomas and I took off work on Friday to drive to Richmond and got to the expo around 3:00. We walked around picked up my bib and my dad’s and then I had to do a double take when I saw Bart Yasso just standing there. I introduced myself and took a quick picture with him and then told him how this was my first marathon and how nervous I was. He told me to run steady and smart and that I would be fine.

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After the expo we waited on my dad to get to the hotel and then went out to an Italian place for dinner. Dad and I both got pizza. I don’t eat pasta a lot so I went with a thin crust white pizza (basically dough and cheese) and showed some real restraint while Thomas and my dad drank their beers. I was being really good about my hydration all day, so I wasn’t about to give in and drink anything but water or gatorade. We went to bed around 9:30/10ish and I slept pretty good Friday night.

Saturday

My alarm went off at 5:45. We did a quick check of the weather – 40 degrees and clear skies. I ate half a bagel, some coffee and gatorade. I wore a tank top, shorts, Tiux compression socks, and my fuel belt. I bought some throwaway clothes from Walmart – a fleece jacket, gloves, and a headband for my ears. Let me just say, Walmart has seriously stepped up their activewear game. They had some pretty good stuff in there! But I went with the $8.99 fleece because I knew I was going to throw it away.

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Thomas dropped us off near the start and then went back to the hotel for a while. I made a quick porta potty stop and then we found a good place near the start to finish stretching and warming up. I was technically supposed to be in Wave 2, but I snuck into Wave 1 so I could start towards the front. I hate getting caught up in crowds and tripping over people.

This meant we started way ahead of the 4:00 pace group, which I’ll come back to later.

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There were about 6,000 in the marathon and over 10,000 running the half marathon. The half started somewhere else at 7:30, so we didn’t run into them at all. Before we knew it we were off! I was soooooo excited and nervous at this point, but as soon as we started I saw my pal Bart Yasso again and ran over to him to give him a high five. He said “RUN SMART AND RUN STRONG” and I decided I was going to take his advice.

Miles 1-10

We were running a really steady 9:00 pace and staying ahead of the 4 hour pace group. I loved running in a new place where I had no idea where I was. The crowds were awesome and there was a lot of support throughout the whole race. Also, there were TONS of puppies! I loved seeing so many dogs wagging their cute little tails. My dad and I both had to take a quick bathroom break right after the mile 4 mark, but it only took us about 30 seconds. I may have overdone it with the liquids that morning.

I got to read a lot of sweet texts from friends and they helped me a lot! I took my first Gu around mile 6 and drank water/powerade every two miles at the water stops.

Splits: 9:04, 9:03, 8:55, 8:58, 9:40 (bathroom break), 8:57, 8:48, 8:56, 8:55, 8:56

Miles 11-20

I still felt really good through the halfway point. I knew I would see Thomas at mile 16 so I just kept going. I think I took another gel right before mile 16. This was my reaction when I saw Thomas.. I was really excited.

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We stopped for a few seconds so my dad could change his shirt and I got a good luck kiss. We passed by more puppies, free Jim Beam shots and a table of Miller Lite in little paper cups. I was tempted, but I knew I would throw up. Spectators were handing out donuts and candy but I didn’t have any of that either. I put my headphones in somewhere around mile 18 and listened to music for a few miles. Then I took them out around 21 because I wanted to take in those last 5 miles

Splits: 8:54, 8:54, 9:05, 8:49, 9:02, 9:12, 9:38 (Thomas), 9:15, 9:08, 9:13

Miles 21-26.2

This is where it got kind of tough. I had been feeling really good. My legs felt strong and healthy and my breathing was fine. I slowed down through every water stop to drink some powerade and took one more gel around mile 21 for some energy. My body was just getting tired. But then I looked around and thought to myself EVERYONE is tired. No one feels good right now. They are all still running so you can keep running too.

I knew the last mile was downhill, so I just kept telling myself to make it to mile 25 and then you’re done. I think mile 23 was the hardest. Once I passed mile 25 I just took off. We passed the 4 hour pace group, but then we remembered that they started way behind us, so we had to beat them by about a minute. At this point I knew I had to break 4 hours… I trained hard and came all this way and I wasn’t going to accept anything less. I saw Thomas right at the top of the hill near the finish and he took a quick picture. Game face.

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I was sprinting FAST down the last quarter mile stretch (which is a pretty steep downhill). I knew my legs would pay for it later but I didn’t care. Everyone I passed was yelling at me to go faster and I heard Thomas cheering, so I just sprinted harder and harder. I crossed the finish line and immediately paused my watch and looked down – 3:59:56!!! I could not believe it. I knew there was a chance my watch was off so I looked up my official time before even grabbing my medal. 3:59:57. I was so happy.

Splits: 9:14, 9:16, 9:25, 9:12, 9:14, 8:12

After the race we got fleece blankets and hats with our medals and headed straight for the pizza and beer. Pizza has never tasted so good.

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I could not have done this without these two guys. I’m so lucky to have a husband who will give up his weekend and wake up at 6 am on a Saturday to watch his crazy wife run for 4 hours. I’m also so lucky to have a dad who enjoys running as much as I do.

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Oh and of course I have to thank my other training partner. Dixie spent the weekend with my mom and Greta. She gave me LOTS of good luck kisses and was very excited to see us on Sunday when we got home. She obviously loved the fleece blanket.

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I feel like I’m forgetting a lot of details but I don’t want to make this a novel, so that’s it! For the first time in my life I’m really contemplating buying race photos.

Anyone else race this past weekend? How did you do?

Have you ever bought your race photos?

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The Richmond Marathon is TOMORROW!

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I’m running the Richmond Marathon tomorrow! This is my FIRST marathon, and I’m scared and nervous and excited and have no idea what to expect, which makes me not so excited. I like planning and being prepared and knowing how things are going to unfold and what is going to happen. When I don’t know what to expect, I freak out a little bit. I feel confident in my training but I’ve had a lot of trouble setting my goals. So I just decided to take the pressure off and run a goal-free race.

I honestly get emotional thinking about crossing the finish line. This is something I have worked SO hard for this year, and even when I thought about giving up during my injury, I pictured that moment at the finish line in my head over and over again and it kept me going. No matter what the clock reads when I cross the finish line tomorrow, I will know that I worked hard for that time and that I earned it, and I will be proud of it.

Training has not been easy and at times has been extremely frustrating for me, but it has been a learning experience and I already know a few things I will do differently if I decide to train for another marathon next year. I’ve had some really great runs and I’ve had some really bad ones, but overall I’ve become a MUCH stronger runner and have pushed myself harder in the past 9 months than I ever have before.

Thankfully I will have my dad by my side for this race to push me along, just like he has done throughout this whole training cycle (although he did tell me about a month ago there was no way I was going to be able to do this race… and of course that motivated me more than anything).


This post is all over the place, I know, but I do feel like I need to address all you wonderful people who have been reading my blog. The best decision I made this year besides deciding to do a marathon was deciding to blog about it.

Blogging is a weird thing. At first I cared way too much about everyone’s approval and making sure people wouldn’t get the wrong idea. Some might assume people blog just to get attention for your accomplishments or for self promotion, but that’s really not the reason I decided to make this blog. Before I started blogging, I read a lot of running blogs because I was interested in people’s experiences, and reading about their experiences with marathons motivated me to run one myself. I decided to write about it to hold myself accountable for that decision and I didn’t really think anyone would read it or care about it. What I ended up with was an amazing community of online friends that have helped me so much this year.

Although I haven’t met any of you in person (yet), you guys are my friends and I think about you all the time and care about you. I tell my husband all about your lives and your families and how you did in your races. I look up your results and wait patiently for your recaps and support you 100%. You’ve helped me through injuries and stressful situations and you calmed my nerves before my first half marathon. So thank you for being kind and motivating and inspirational with your own stories and for finding the time to listen to mine.


If you would like to track me during the race, my bib number is 3144. My name for the race is my maiden name, Maddie Fager. I signed up wayyyyy before I got married and forgot to use my future name 🙂

You can sign up for runner alerts here, or you can use the Richmond Marathon app to track me during the race. I will be running with my phone, so motivational tweets/messages are welcomed!!!

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Hello there.

Hi guys. I’ve been a VERY bad blogger lately, I know that. I’ve been trying to keep up with reading everyday, but I’ll admit that has slipped too. We got so busy after the wedding and I was so up in the air about whether or not I was going to run my fall marathon that I just couldn’t find the time or the words to get myself organized and put something out here. Well, let me give you the run down.

I’m running the Richmond marathon on Saturday! Dixie and I finished our last real run on Sunday – 7 miles on our favorite trail. I’m looking forward to some rest this week and a few short slow runs to loosen up a few days before the race. I have no time goals because my training just didn’t go the way I wanted it to. After being out for 5 weeks with an IT band injury, I focused all of my energy on just being able to build up my mileage. I didn’t care about speed, just miles. Last weekend I did an 18 miler and I did 14 milers both weekends before that.

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The weekdays were filled in with various runs of 4-8 miles and I honestly wish I would have kept up with them on here because I have no idea what my weekly mileage was. I did run a half marathon a few weeks ago, so that was fun (finished in 1:53 something)!

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Anyway, I feel ready. I feel ready enough to try it, and I would hate just throw away all of my hard work and try again in the spring. I’m going to try to run it, but I don’t care how long it takes me. If it takes me 4.5 hours, I’m cool with that. If it takes me less than 4 hours I’ll literally jump for joy, but I am fine with settling anywhere in the “4 something” category. This is my first marathon and by letting go of my goals I’m totally taking the pressure off of myself so I can actually experience it and understand what I need to do differently next time to have a better training cycle and race. Thank you for all of your supportive words and for checking in on me throughout my injury and my unexpected blog hiatus. If I didn’t have this blog I know I would have completely thrown in the towel as soon as that IT band injury started. So thanks… you guys really are awesome.

Life update: I’m still married!! It’s been two whole months. I’m so lucky to have such a supportive husband. I promise I’ll do a blog post about our wedding after the marathon when I have nothing else to talk about, but for right now I’ll leave you with our wedding video. It’s my favorite thing and I watch it every day because it makes me so happy.

 

Anyway, enough about me. Since I have been gone for a while, please just give me a brief update on you! What are you training for, what’s going on in your personal life, anything!! Missed you guys.

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The Late Weekly Recap and the Run I Needed

I always intend to post my weekly recaps on Monday morning, but then your photographer sends your wedding pictures late Sunday night and you get distracted and then you stay up way too late watching football because you may or may not have a sports gambling problem (just kidding…. maybe) and then all of a sudden it’s morning and you can’t get out of bed and then it just gets delayed until Tuesday. I stayed up way too late again last night too… thanks Steelers.

So, last week. Here is the run down:

Monday: 6 miles, 8:55 pace
Tuesday: 3 miles, 9:00 pace
Wednesday: 5 miles, 9:00 pace
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 14 miles, 9:00 pace
Sunday: Rest
Total: 28 miles

I decided to take two days of rest before my long run just to be on the safe side. I think it helped, especially since I ended up running it way faster than I intended, but the weather was perfect and I was feeling good so I just went for it. No IT band pain!!!!

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I was so excited about this. The last time I ran 14 miles was back in May, right before my first half marathon. This run made me feel like Richmond is still a real possibility, as long as I stay focused and get in a 20 miler in the next 3 weeks.

Post long run necessities:

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Let me just tell you about my flavor choices because I know you’re dying to know. Carrot Cake, Vanilla Bean Latte, Pumpkin, and Butter Pecan. I tried them all and they were all amazing. After picking up our Saturday essentials, Thomas and I spent the day at my parent’s house hanging out with my sweet nephew.

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We have a lot in common. I always finish my meals like this…

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I was exhausted all day and this little man wore me out even more than my run did. I was really jealous of his bedtime.

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I think I went to bed at 9:30 Saturday night. The exciting life of marathon training.

So, what’s the plan going forward? Well, I am running the Bull City Race Fest half marathon this Sunday. I’m not tapering or anything like that, just using it as a training run. Including this weekend I have four more opportunities for long runs. They aren’t a possibility for me during the week because I don’t have time with work, so I have to make time for them on the weekend. I’m going to shoot for a 20 miler on Halloween and then if that goes well, I will run Richmond on November 14th.

Congrats to everyone who ran Chicago or another race this past weekend!!! I was stalking you guys and searching race results all weekend! I’m still getting caught up on reading everyone’s posts from yesterday.

Do you have nieces or nephews? (Aren’t they the best!?)

Who has have a race coming up?

If you ran Chicago or another race this past weekend, how did you do?

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Dixie’s Birthday and Why I Want to Move

I’ve been feeling very good about my IT band this week, thanks again for all of your encouragement and advice! It’s healing up quite nicely. Monday I did a 6 mile run after work (8:55 pace) and it felt great. No pain or tightness at all… I think keeping my pace slower has definitely helped me heal faster.

Tuesday was a very special day. Our baby girl turned 4 years old!!

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She is the most spoiled dog on earth on all days, but her birthday gets a little out of hand.

I decided to take her for a run when I got home from work, but unfortunately we had to cut her run short. After we were about a mile into our run, a dog down the street was standing in the middle of the road growling at us with all of his hair sticking up and wouldn’t let us go by him. This is not the first time this has happened with this particular dog. One time he ran up to us and tried to attack Dixie, but luckily the owner was outside and ran over to grab him. The craziest part is they have a fenced in backyard, but decide to just let the dog roam around instead. So frustrating.

Dixie and I turned around and I had to put her back in the house and finish my run solo (3 miles, 9:00 pace). She’s had a few incidents where she’s been attacked by dogs, one of which she had to get stitches, so she’s terrified of most dogs that she doesn’t know and gets really defensive. For this reason, I hate running in my neighborhood, but there is nowhere else to run unless I want to drive somewhere or go to the treadmill. I can’t wait to move.

Which leads me to some more exciting news, which I will get to in a second. But first, more about Dixie’s birthday celebrations. Since her run was cut short we let her have some of our chicken and dumplings and gave her some bacon and peanut butter for dessert. After she was nice and full and tired we dumped warm laundry on her… it’s her favorite.

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Okay, back to the moving thing. Thomas and I have been renting our current house for a while now. We moved into this house in a super small town (population of 5,000, ugh) away from both of our families so we could live together. At the time we moved in, our jobs were over an hour away from each other, and this house was right in the middle. Now Thomas has started a new job in the same city where I work, so we are finally able to start house hunting!

I hate that I don’t have a nice greenway or even a sidewalk close by where I can go run. On the weekends I drive over 30 minutes to the lake to do my long runs. On the weekdays I usually run right after work (I work near a college campus and all of the streets have sidewalks) or go to the treadmill, but neither option allows me to take Dixie with me 🙁 Good running options will be a definite factor when we are looking for a house. I’m also going to try to pick a neighborhood without crazy mean dogs running around.

Wednesday was another run after work day, and my legs were not cooperating with me. They felt so heavy and tired, but I pushed through it and got 5 miles in at my favorite pace right now…. 9:00. The whole time I just kept telling myself that this is supposed to feel hard, that I’m building up my strength and mileage right now, and it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. It’s all going to pay off when I HOPEFULLY run Richmond in a little over 5 weeks.

This pretty much sums it up… the part that wants to keep going usually wins!

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Have a great Thursday!!!

When you were looking for a place to live, did you make sure there were plenty of places to run?

Ever been attacked by a dog while running??

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Cautious Optimism and Dixie Loves me Again

Happy Monday friends! I’m usually not too happy on Mondays, but I am happy about my running last week and I feel like I’m almost out of the woods with this IT Band injury. I’ve been very cautiously building my mileage back up over the past 2-3 weeks, and I think I’m finally getting back to normal. I haven’t had any painful running, just a little bit of tightness that can easily be stretched out. I still haven’t decided if I am going to run Richmond or defer my entry, but I’m being optimistic at the moment.

So, here’s how things went last week:

Monday: 5 miles, 9:00 pace
Tuesday: 3 miles, 8:50 pace
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 5 miles, 9:20 pace
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 10 miles, 9:20 pace
Sunday: Rest
Total: 23 miles

I don’t see the point in trying to run any faster than 9:00 pace. A lot of the time I realize I’m running too fast and I have to make myself slow down. My goal here is to run Richmond and finish it, so I’m focusing 100% of my energy on building miles, not running fast.

Someone else is very excited that her mom is running again… She did my three shorter runs with me last week and is loving the cooler fall weather. I think she was kind of mad at me while I was injured, but she’s back to loving me again. Every time I put my shoes on she goes absolutely nuts. It’s hard to say no to her sweet face…

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She also loves post run recovery snacks:

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A lot of you have probably heard about the storms we had over the weekend in the Carolinas. We didn’t have anything too severe, but it was raining all weekend, so my 10 miler was done on the treadmill on Saturday. Sometimes I love the treadmill because I can run a steady pace and keep my run totally flat, but I would almost always rather run outside. Luckily I had a few episodes of Pretty Little Liars to keep me distracted.

Saturday night I was reunited with my girlfriends who I haven’t seen since my wedding

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Speaking of my wedding, I’m going to do a full recap sometime next week. I can’t wait to share this day with you guys. I’m just waiting on all of our pictures from our photographer!

Do you love or hate the treadmill? What’s your longest treadmill run?

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A Weekend in Nashville and Taylor Swift Things

Thank you all so much for your advice and encouragement last week. Dealing with an injury is never fun, but you all have helped me realize that it’s not the end of the world if I can’t run Richmond in November. Still TBD.

This past weekend I was in Nashville for a wedding, so my dad and I did a little exploring on our Saturday run. We ran through downtown, around the Titans stadium, across some bridges, and down a greenway along the river. The view was great and we got in about 7 slow miles (9:30 pace). My leg felt pretty good. There was some tightness towards the end, but no real pain.

At one point during our run we were on a greenway and a couple was running about the same pace as us, so we started talking with them. I asked the woman if she was training for anything or if she had ever run a marathon. She said she’s run 36 marathons and “a few” ultras, but that she was just running to explore the city that day, just like us. My jaw just about dropped. I proceeded to ask her a million questions and told her all about my leg. She had experience with IT band injuries and told me not to do Richmond unless I felt 100% healed and confident in my training. She said she will never forget her first marathon and that you want it to be enjoyable. That really stuck with me, probably because it’s something a lot of you said in the comments on my last post.

This woman has done 36 marathons and she said her best memories were from her very first one. I don’t want my memories to include hobbling across the finish line. Lots to think about in the next few weeks!

We had a really fun weekend hanging out in one my favorite cities. Nashville is just the best. Taylor Swift was in town all weekend so I was taking pictures with her face every chance I got. I’m going to see her in a few weeks when she comes to Greensboro and I can barely contain my excitement!!

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The wedding was Saturday evening so we had some time to explore the Country Music Hall of Fame and the streets of downtown Nashville during the day. I continued to take pictures of all things Taylor.

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After spending some time at the Country Music Hall of Fame, we went and got some lunch and drinks downtown since we still had some time to kill before the wedding.

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It was such a beautiful wedding on a farm just outside of downtown.

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The two who got married are family friends so I was happy to have my parents and my brother there with us!

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My mom drew the artwork for these super cute cocktail napkins (this is their dog, Larry). He was also the ring bearer.

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On Sunday we had a very long, rainy drive back to North Carolina and I was also hit with some really bad news about Ben Roethlisberger. Hopefully my Steelers will be okay without him for the next 4-6 weeks 🙁

I haven’t done an actual running recap in so long, but I have been logging everything on my training tab. If I’m going to run Richmond, I have to be healthy. I’m really trying to show some restraint with my mileage as I ease back into training and I’m trying hard to keep my runs slow.

Monday: 5.5 miles, 9:00 pace
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 3 miles, 8:30 pace
Thursday: 3 miles, 8:45 pace
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 7 miles, 9:30 pace
Sunday: Rest
Total: 18.5 miles

In other news, I think I’m going to run the Bull City Race Fest half marathon in two weeks! This was always on my training schedule but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it with my injury. A few of my friends are doing it and I think it will be a good confidence booster if it goes well. I’m not going to try to PR or set any time goals, but I think it will feel good to just race again.

Ever been to Nashville? 

Anyone else obsessed with T Swift?

 

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Yet another injury update: the good and the bad

Good news. I’m running again! Not full on training, but definitely running. I got in a 6 mile run over the weekend and 3, 4 and 5 milers last week. I got in another 5.5 miles on Monday and took a rest day on Tuesday. Right now I’m trying to run every other day so I can use my rest days to focus on stretching and strengthening.  I’m confident that I’m finally at the end of this injury.

Bad news. I don’t know if the Richmond marathon is realistic or not. It’s in about 7.5 weeks, so it really depends on when I can start running really long again. Losing 5 weeks in the middle of your training for your first marathon is not really much of a confidence booster. Right now I am keeping my runs SLOW and being really cautious. I’m going to try for a long run this weekend (8-10 miles) and see how it goes. I’ll probably make a decision in the next week or two based on how I feel during that run.

Other good news. Cross training really helped me out during this injury. I don’t feel like I’ve lost much cardio fitness at all. The only thing that has been stopping me on my runs is the tightness in my legs, not a loss of breath or feeling tired. All of those stair stepper/elliptical sessions really paid off.

I’m trying to find a silver lining here, but what it comes down to is I really wanted to run Richmond. I’ve been thinking about this race pretty much every day since February when I decided I wanted to run a marathon. Now that it might not happen I can’t help but feel a little down about it. I know there will be other marathons, but when I get my mind set on something I have a lot of trouble letting it go. I know it’s an injury and it’s not like I just decided to rest for 5 weeks for no reason, but it still makes me feel like I failed in some way. I think since this was going to be my first marathon it means a little bit more to me. I’ve already imagined myself running it and crossing the finish line, so I’m going to do everything I possibly can to get there.

Have you ever had to sit out of a race because of an injury? Did you have trouble letting it go?

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Help a Sweet Pup!

Happy Friday everyone!! I was scrolling through Facebook the other night and came across a post from a friend about her dog, Lennon (Lenny). Lenny is only 3 years old and has torn his ACL and needs surgery to repair it. Unfortunately, those surgeries can costs thousands of dollars, especially on a dog of his size.

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She is young and living on her own and paying her own bills, and I think a lot of us can relate – we don’t have thousands of dollars just sitting around. She set up a Go Fund Me page to help pay for Lennon’s surgery, and I wanted to share it with you guys. If you have a dog or if you’re like me, your pets are your children and you would do ANYTHING to make them feel better. This story hit close to home with me because I had a yellow lab when I was younger who tore her ACL and she had a very successful surgery to repair it, so I’ve been through a similar situation.

Please consider donating anything to help her reach her goal so Lennon can have his surgery!

Here is her page. I’ve also copied and pasted the content below:

My dog Lennon, a three and a half year old Golden Retriever/Irish Mix, has been diagnosed with a ruptured Cruciate Ligament (Torn ACL Equivalent). While other options have been exercised, surgery is the only effective treatment for him (three different vets have looked at him), as he is so large in size. At such a young age, it is deemed necessary for his well being in years to come.

He was born with Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease, making his knees a little more special than that of the average dog. He lives to fetch, and play with other animals, however he is greatly inhibited by his condition, and is unable to walk after playing for five or so minutes. They are giving him a two month time frame on anti inflammatory medicine and pain killers, before he will be taken off (It is bad for their liver) and back in severe pain. The doctors are going to be performing a TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) which runs about $3000-$3500 for a dog of his weight.

I, Corinna, Lennon’s owner, am a 24 year old paying all of my own bills. While I do not have children, I treat all animals with great care, as if they are humans. I am using all resources I have available to help pay for what the medical expenses may be, however I am reaching out to others for help, as I do not believe I will have close to the total amount needed in the given time frame. My dog being hurt makes me hurt. Getting this surgery done in a timely matter is of the essence for my puppy and the future of his knee joints. Any contribution would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

Have a great weekend!!!

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The Honeymoon!!

I know that the wedding recap is supposed to come before the honeymoon one, but I don’t have my pictures back yet from my photographer so that one is just going to have to wait.

We decided to not take any downtime between our wedding and honeymoon, and I must say I do not regret our decision. We were still on cloud nine from the best day of our lives as we hopped on our plane in Charlotte the next day. We flew from Charlotte to Miami, then Miami to Cancun, and we were in Mexico by 6:30 that night. I love that it was a relatively short trip, only a few hours and we crossed over to central time so it felt even shorter.

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On our ride from the airport we were talking about how crazy people were driving in Mexico. The speed limit signs were in kilometers, so I was trying to convert in my head what speed we should be going (“if a 10k is 6.2 miles, then 90km is…”). We gave up but decided that our shuttle driver was going REALLY fast. Before we knew it we were being pulled over by the police!

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What an interesting start to our honeymoon. The driver just got out, walked back to the police car and paid him 500 pesos right there. No ticket or anything… a slightly different experience than in the U.S.

We stayed at the Valentin Imperial Maya in Riviera Maya. I can’t recommend this place enough. It is all inclusive and the staff is AMAZING.

When we got to the hotel we were so excited to explore! We were greeted with champagne at check in and then got taken away on a golf cart to our room (this resort was HUGE).

The room was all decorated for us in true honeymoon fashion…

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Thomas went into the bathroom and said “We have a DUVET!!!!” I was confused as to why there would be bedding in a bathroom, and walked in started cracking up when I realized he was talking about the bidet. He’s so silly.

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We walked over to the main plaza where we saw a mariachi band performance and enjoyed a yummy Mexican buffet for our first dinner. They said they do these buffet/performances twice a week, and they just so happened to be having one the night we arrived. We even got called on stage and had to dance with a bunch of other honeymooners.

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We spent the next few days laying by the pool, going to the beach, drinking margaritas and enjoying each other’s company. It was so nice to just relax and not have to worry about work or wedding planning or anything.

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We did get some good activities in. This resort was adults only so the games and activities were super competitive and a lot of people got involved. We played a lot of water polo and now I understand why people say pool running is such a good workout. I was exhausted after every match! On the very first day, Thomas got a little too into water polo and lost his wedding ring. We were walking around the pool searching for it and slowly people started asking what we were looking for. Word travels fast and before we knew it we had a full on search team and we found it on the bottom of the pool! I needed a few drinks after that…

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The days were long and slow, just the way we like them, and we typically ate dinner pretty late. The food was AMAZING. Since it was an all inclusive resort, we overate at pretty much every meal. Which I’m totally fine with. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and dinners were all formal and seated meals with several courses. This was my FAVORITE lunch combo…

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We were in a building of “swim up suites” with our own personal lazy river. This was a much more quiet environment compared to the main pool with the swim up bars. The service here was awesome – as soon as you stepped out of your room a waiter would come over and ask to bring you drinks or anything you needed.

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On Wednesday we did a fun excursion for my birthday (my birthday was Thursday, but the Steelers were playing on Thursday and I wanted to make sure we were back in time). We took a catamaran out into the ocean and went snorkeling. We saw a ton of sea turtles that swam right up to us and let us pet them! The snorkeling instructor was giving them hugs and it was the cutest thing ever.

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They fed us lunch on the boat and then it turned into a full on booze cruise. They found out it was my birthday and made everyone on the boat take a tequila shot with me. The staff was awesome and watching drunk people dance on a boat that is swaying back and forth is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen!

Thursday was my birthday, and we spent the day hanging out at the pool/swim up bar, playing water polo, and meeting a lot of new people.

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I chased some lizards around but Thomas wouldn’t let me keep one as a pet 🙁

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Thomas loved taking me out to my birthday dinner because he didn’t have to pay for anything! And I could have ALLLLL the wine I wanted 🙂

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The Steelers played later that night and we headed over to the sports bar to watch the game with some friends that we had made during the week. They were Patriots fans, and the Steelers unfortunately lost, but we still made it a great night! They have a DJ in the plaza until 1 am every night, so we spent the rest of the night dancing and trying to forget about the game.

The last few days were spent just like the others… pool, beach, food, more food, lots of siestas and fiestas. Overall, it was just a great 7 days with my amazing husband. I still just can’t believe how blessed I am to be married to this guy!


Now, in RUNNING news…

I got in TWO 3 mile runs on this trip without any pain. I’ve been very good about my rehab exercises for my IT band, and have been stretching/foam rolling/strength training my hips and legs almost every day.

It’s been 5 weeks and I am FINALLY able to start easing my way back into training, which is so exciting. Originally my goal for Richmond was to break 4 hours. I know that isn’t going to happen now, and I’m okay with that. I still think I can run the race if I am careful enough with the rest of my training to keep my IT band strong. The tough part is going to be finding the balance between overdoing it and not doing enough.

Married friends – did you honeymoon? Where to?

Ever been to Mexico??

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