Weeks 8 & 9

Coming to you live from the elliptical in my gym because well, I’m a busy gal and if I don’t write this during my work out it probably won’t get done.

So again, nothing spectacular happened in the last couple weeks, specifically with running. Winter hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s actually spring time so I’ve been doing almost all of my runs inside on a treadmill which has not been ideal. As far as lifting, I signed up for another 4 weeks of online coaching and I’ve finally started to see changes in my body. Thank goodness because I was starting to get frustrated, but obviously changes don’t happen immediately.

Most of my clothes are now a little bit loose and I feel so much more comfortable in my skin, I’ve been waiting a really long time for that. My legs feel more defined and my core and back feel strong, which as a runner those are super important. I got weighed last week and my hard work is starting to pay off because I lost 2.5lbs of fat in 4 weeks.

If I can keep this up, which I intend to, I’ll be at my goal weight by my marathon in October. Losing weight will significantly help my average pace and my efforts to cut an hour off my marathon finishing time.

The Pittsburgh half marathon is only a few weeks away now, so I’ll be posting weekly until then!

Till next time!

Week 1

Half marathon training officially started last Saturday, so I’ve made it through week one of training. It went well, could have went better but for the first week I’m happy with it. I’m writing my own plan this time, solely for the purpose of saving some money, so I have to really be self motivating and disciplined for the next few months.

This weeks workouts were 3 easy runs and 1 long run with 2 days of cross training thrown in. I do plan to go from 4 runs a week to 5 and incorporating speed workouts starting in March. Right now I’m working on building back up my base since I didn’t do really any running for the last couple months. Yesterday I met up with a few people running for ACS and got some miles in with them. I definitely went out too fast, I woke up so sore this morning so I decided to skip today’s run and take a rest day. I regret nothing and I’ll do some stretching and foam rolling before bed tonight.

I even took it up a notch this week by making a menu and meal prepping for the week last Sunday. I can’t even tell you how much of a game changer that was. I wasn’t tempted to eat anything unhealthy or spend money on going out for lunch or dinner. I felt very prepared and every meal was delicious. It’s like finally after 3 years of seeing a nutritionist everything he’s ever told me clicked.

This coming week is going to be super crazy so I’m making more of an effort to stick to the plan by doing things like setting workout reminders and even moving some workouts around because I’d rather change my schedule than miss workouts. What methods do you use to stick to the plan??

 

Till next time.

Why you should run for a reason

As you know, last year I ran the Chicago marathon for Team DetermiNation, the American Cancer Society’s charity. I had nothing but wonderful things to say about the organization and the support they offered both throughout training and on race day.

Recently the American Cancer Society came back as one of the charities to run for at the Pittsburgh marathon. They approached me in the fall and asked if I would be a coach for them. Obviously I said yes, then I started thinking I should fundraise again and dedicate my 5th half marathon to my grandma Betty again and everyone else I know who’s lives have been impacted by cancer. So I figured this week I’d write about why you should run for a charity if given the chance.

First of all, you’re helping to raise money for a great cause. With the American Cancer Society the money I raise is going towards things like their Hope Lodges, cancer education classes, rides to treatment, and so much more. If you’re interested in a bigger race that’s hard to get into, like Chicago, you have a guaranteed entry which is also appealing. You’re also helping to get the charity’s name and mission out there. Since I’m a back of the pack runner, I see a lot of people running in their charity singlets and it was the first time I had heard of some of them, you’re helping to reach a bigger audience.

You’re also making your miles more meaningful. When I was training for Chicago last year, every time I wanted to quit I kept thinking “I can’t stop, I’m doing this for Grandma” and thinking of her always helped me push through those hard times. On race day I wore a bib on the back of my shirt that said “I run for Grandma Betty” and the amount of people who were behind me and said they were proud of me and to keep going for her was overwhelming. I cried several times, and when it got really hard I’d tap that bib on the back of my shirt and kept pushing through.

Lastly, the support you get from the organization is great. For instance, I’m now a coach for ACS which means I’m a resource for other runners. That’s super helpful if you’re fairly new to whichever distance you picked or you need someone to help get you through training. We also have weekly group runs where you can get to know others who are running with a similar purpose, so there’s a sense of community. You can never have too many running friends. 🙂

If you’re in Pittsburgh, consider running with us for this years marathon, half marathon, or relay team! You can also donate below if you wish.

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

 

Till next time!

 

 

New year, new goals.

Oh hey there! I know, it’s been a while. Now that the holiday’s are over I’m starting to focus on another training cycle and my goals for 2018.

I know it’s kind of cliché, but I totally buy into the whole “New year, new me” thing. This year I have some pretty big goals for myself as far running goes. Last year my 3 big goals were to get RRCA certified, run a sub 3:00 half marathon time, and PR at the Chicago marathon. I guess two out of three isn’t too bad, but this year I’m going to see how much more I can push myself.

My biggest goal this year is to PR at the marathon distance this fall by an hour. Yes, an hour. The goal for the Chicago marathon was to run in 6:00 or less, obviously that didn’t happen because it took me 7:07. A sixty minute PR would put me at 5:57, and I’m going to be putting in the work to make that happen.

Another goal that’s really important to me is to PR again at the Pittsburgh half marathon this May. Last year I cut twenty (20!!!) minutes off my time, coming in at 2:56 and some change. The new goal for May 6 is 2:45, which means I’ll have to run 12:35 minute miles. Slightly terrifying but I know I can get it done. I’d also like to exceed my fundraising goal for the American Cancer Society, I’m once again dedicating a race to my Grandma Betty who has stage 4 colon cancer and just spent, what we think, her last Christmas with us. You can find the link to donate in my last post, if you can’t donate thoughts and prayers for my grandma are appreciated.

The last two would be to travel for races more, whether they’re only an hour away or across the country, and to acquire more athletes to train which is pretty self-explanatory. I’m currently registered for the Napa to Sonoma half marathon in July. I never imagined I’d be going to California to run but I’m really excited to get out and see new places through running. I’m still undecided about my fall marathon but I’m heavily leaning towards the Toronto marathon on October 21. You’ll also see me posting here more consistently, training starts in a few weeks so I’ll be taking you guys with me through that journey.

Because I care about things outside of running; some of my personal goals this year are to finally finish my associates in Business Management, continue to lose the 25-30lbs I’ve already started to get rid of, and to make myself a priority. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and this year I’m going to learn to do that.

 

What are your 2018 goals?

Embracing the offseason

Hey there, I know it’s been a couple of weeks but I decided to spend the last couple weekends enjoying my family and celebrating Thanksgiving. Sometimes it’s nice to step back from something for a little while and just live life.

With that said, I’d be lying to you if I said I was running regularly right now. In fact, the last time I ran was on Thanksgiving morning at my local 5k Turkey Trot where I had a 18 second PR and finally held onto a 13 minute pace for more than one mile. It’s a small victory but I’ll take it. Instead I’ve been spending time with my parents, sisters, friends, and of course Henrik. I recently started dating again so I’m allowing that to take up some time as well. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break, sometimes we need to regroup and truly miss something we’re passionate about so we don’t burn out from over doing it.

I’ve been getting my miles in, but in different ways. Henrik and I walk for 2-3 miles every night and 4-6 on the weekends. A couple of nights a week I try to get down to my gym to spend an hour on the elliptical which usually gets me to 5 miles. I know some people don’t really have an “offseason” and train all year round, and that’s fine. But for me, I get physically and mentally burned out by the time November hits. In an effort to enjoy the holidays with my family and to look forward to next years races these couple of months off of an official schedule are critical for me.

This will also allow me to be fresh by the time half marathon training starts in February. I’ll be running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon again for the 4th time but this time I’m making it more special by running with the American Cancer Society, the charity I ran for in the Chicago marathon almost 2 months again. I’m really excited to be apart of that group and helping out the other charity runners with their training. If you’re able to, please consider donating at the link below. Next weeks post will touch more on running through a charity and why it’s so important to me.

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

 

Till next time..

Race weekend recap

Coming to you live from Chicago for this weeks post. I’m currently enjoying a matcha latte and kombucha at The Goddess and the Baker, this place is so cute, check it out if you’re ever here.

Alright, so back to what you’re all here for…a recap of my marathon weekend. I landed Thursday night and enjoyed dinner with my parents so not too much excitement. We went to the expo on Friday and ended up spending like 4 hours there, seeing all of my favorite companies: Vital Proteins, nuun, Brooks, Honey Stinger, and of course Nike to get some official marathon gear. Friday night my little sister flew in and we went to the team dinner for DetermiNation (American Cancer Society). It was beyond inspiring and emotional to hear and see why people chose that charity and who keeps them going.

Saturday morning was the Chicago International 5k, and if you ever want to bring people together from all walks of life, this is how you do it. There were so many people from different countries and it was amazing to see people come together for a common goal. I didn’t race this 5k, it was simply a shake out run and it was very enjoyable. Chicago has some seriously stunning views. After attempting to nap for a little bit, my dad and I took a bus tour around the city. We went up to the John Hancock Tower for the 360 view, I still can’t get over how beautiful that was, afterwards it started pouring so we headed back to the hotel. I enjoyed my last carb load at Pizano’s which wasn’t that great but it got the job done.

Now, onto the big day. Sunday morning I didn’t need to get up until 6 since my corral didn’t close till 8:10. I was a ball of nerves as usual but you kind of learn to use that as fuel. I enjoyed my usual pre race PB&J with my parents before heading out to the corral. After some dynamic stretching and making friends with some ladies in corral L, we finally crossed the start line at almost 9 am. We were suppose to go out at 8:35, so that was a little annoying but what are you going to do? I started off pretty strong, holding onto a 14:30-14:45 pace. The wheels fell off for me around miles 12-14, the heat became too much to push through. No matter how much Gatorade and water I drank I never felt like I was properly hydrated. At that point I abandoned the time goal I had and the only goal was to finish. I met a lot of first timers along the way and gave them some advice for recovering, helped them to push through, and really enjoyed the remainder of the race. I cried going over the last bridge, partly because the view was so beautiful but also because this wasn’t the time I had trained for. I ended up finishing 10 minutes slower than last year and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t disappointed but I finished and really that’s all that matters at this point. I’ll get that time I was training for eventually but in the meantime I had such a memorable weekend in my favorite city.

I’m really looking forward to a month off from running to spend with my puppy, family, and friends. I have some things planned for the future but I need to process everything that happened on Sunday before I make any crazy decisions.

Until next time Chicago…

One week out!!!!

Holy smokes, where did this training cycle go?!?! It feels like it took forever but flew by all at the same time. I’m so excited to get this done and have a nice rest period once I get back home to Pittsburgh.

I’ll be in Chicago from Thursday afternoon to Monday night, and for the most part the entire weekend is already filled. Friday morning I’ll be at the expo, that afternoon I’m hoping to do some kind of tour of the city, then that evening I’ll be at the team dinner for Team DetermiNation- I’m running through the American Cancer Society this year. Saturday, the day before the big day is going to be limited to the Chicago International 5k in the morning and resting most of the afternoon/evening. Monday is for exploring before I head back home to my puppy.

I figured I’d share my travel essentials for a trip like this. My parents are driving out again this year so I am leaving all of my stuff with them and just taking a purse with me on the plane (thanks mom and dad!). Obviously your race outfit is super important to pack; mine includes a tank and capris from Lululemon, feetures socks, Brooks running bra, my Brooks ghost 10s, and my flip belt.

Aside from the most obvious thing to pack, I’m also bringing along a ton of other essentials. In my bag will be:

  • My vital proteins collagen peptides, I do not drink coffee without it.
  • Foam roller, because no one likes a tight back and hamstrings before race day.
  • All of the snacks! I’m bringing a few rxbars, epic bars, and gomacro bars.
  • My own bread, jelly, and PB for my pre race PB&J sandwich. I eat one of these before every long run ever and it totally throws me off if I don’t have it.
  • Imodium! I see a lot of people waste a lot of time at the port a potties, I take a couple before bed and a couple when I wake up the morning of the race and I have yet to have a problem.
  • My TENS machine, compression socks, and magnesium. All of these are for after the race to help me recover.
  • Honey Stinger chews and nuun. The chews are for during the race and nuun is for before and after. Hydration is so important these next 6ish days.
  • Note cards to writing inspiring messages to myself to put around my hotel room.
  • Lastly, I’m bringing along my Clean Sport Collective temporary tattoos to put on my shoulders for Sunday morning. CSC’s mission is to end doping in sports, although I am only an amateur/recreational runner, I still want to do my part to help end doping in running (and all sports really).

 

Next time you hear from me will be after the race! Good vibes are much appreciated!