PR’s, birthdays, and what’s next

So last weekend was Pittsburgh marathon weekend. Can’t believe it’s already been almost a full week. I participated in the Steel Challenge again, 5k on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday. The half marathon here is easily one of my favorite races to participate in, there’s a lot of crowd support, the course is beautiful (hello West End Bridge) and there’s something special and gritty about calling yourself a Runner of Steel.

If you remember I mentioned that I was running for the American Cancer Society again, our team dinner was on Friday and that itself was an emotional night. I think that kind of set the tone for the weekend, there was a lot of love in that room and I cried for a good bit of it. There are some truly amazing and special people out there who are running for loved ones and raising awareness.

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Last weekend was also my 26th birthday, May 5 to be exact. I’ve gotten into a tradition over the last few years to run on or near my birthday and this year the 5k fell on it. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate another year on Earth than to do what I love most. I started out with the 13 minute pacer because this was supposed to be a shakeout run, not to be raced. I wore a sticker on my shirt that said “It’s my birthday!!” and so many people walked up to be to tell me happy birthday and I was loving every minute of that attention. I ended up getting a course PR or 39:42, my second sub 40 5k this year, only 3 weeks apart from the last one. I got emotional at the finish, like I always do, because I realized I’m improving. Yay! That night I had dinner (and margaritas because Cinco de Mayo) with my parents and little sister to celebrate/carb load. Overall it was probably my best birthday yet.

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I didn’t sleep much saturday night because no matter how many races I do, I still get those pre race jitters. I got up pretty early because I needed to get downtown to take a team picture with the ACS, plus I kept having this dream that I would over sleep and miss the race. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to PR, my training didn’t go as planning thanks to the never-ending winter we had here. I have a really hard time running in the cold, and some days it would get so cold you couldn’t feel your legs or hands, so most of my runs were done inside. Luckily I was still lifting 3-4 days a week because I really felt like that played a huge role in sunday’s race. I started out with the 2:45 pacer since that was my goal, but she started out too fast for me so I fell behind. I had a lot of fun out there, I live on the course so most of my runs are course preview runs but something about race day makes it even more spectacular. And since I live on the course my dad brought Henrik out so I could stop and see him, that made my whole day.

Anyway, I ended up getting a PR. I finished in 2:54:59, last years time was 2:56:33, so not too much of an improvement but like I mentioned my training wasn’t really what I wanted it to be. In typical me fashion, I cried at the finish line. I was okay with not getting another big PR because this wasn’t my big race for the year, I’m running in the Napa to Sonoma half in July so that will be my big half marathon for the year.

So what’s next? Well, I’m currently taking the week off to rest and recover. The plan is to maintain mileage for the rest of May, so running 3-4 days a week but not really getting over 5-6 miles for a long run. I don’t want to burn myself out before the July race so my weekly mileage will be around 13-15 miles and I’ll be lifting 2-3 days a week, lifting played a huge role in last weekends activities so I’ll be including that for all training cycles from now on. Full marathon training will begin in July and I’ll be working with a coach again, I’m pretty excited about that and excited to get that PR I should have gotten last year.

 

Till next time..

P.S. Donations can still be made to my fundraising for the American Cancer Society. Please donate if you’re able to, I would really appreciate it!

https://www.crowdrise.com/acspitt2018/fundraiser/christinapier1

Training my first athlete

Happy Sunday everyone, can’t believe we’re almost half way through November. It’s been a pretty quiet week for me, trying to get back into a work out routine and really be mindful of what I’m eating because I’m so focused on being better next year.

I wanted to discuss coaching this week and what it’s been like to train my first “real” athlete. As I mentioned in one of my first posts, I got my RRCA certification earlier this year and I’m really passionate about helping others and becoming a resource for them even if they decide to not work with me. This past June my athlete reached out to me via email because he wanted to run a marathon this November, after asking several questions to see if we’d work well together and go over his goals we decided it was a good fit. I’ve trained myself for several races and I’ve helped out family/friends but never had an actual client so I knew I’d also be doing some learning.

It’s been an incredible learning experience over the last few months, I can honestly say it’s probably been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. I’ve learned to give advice based on logic instead of emotion, which is something I usually struggle with because I am an emotional person, and I’ve also learned that I don’t know the answer to everything (shocker). Since working with him I’ve learned so much more about the sport because if he had a question I wanted to be able to answer it correctly. He crushed every work out I gave him, if he had a question he’d ask so he wouldn’t risk injuring himself, and most of all he’s inspired me to pursue running and coaching even more. By watching him never give up and grow as a person it’s inspired me to do the same.┬áHis marathon was yesterday and he did so well! I’m so proud of him and his accomplishment.

It’s definitely not easy getting into coaching as someone who isn’t as seasoned as others because you’re asking someone to trust that you know what you’re doing. I’m not going to lie I was nervous that I’d fail at this and I’m so happy it went well. I strongly encourage everyone to either work with a coach or at least seek their advice because they can offer so much insight and hold you accountable. On days when I wasn’t feeling it my coach would reach out to me and give me words of encouragement and just that little boost made all the difference, that’s something I tried to mimic with my athlete.

I’m hoping that I’ll have many more awesome clients next year and that I can make an impact in their lives as well. There is truly nothing more rewarding than helping someone achieve their goals.

 

Till next time..