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

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!