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?

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. His 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..

Post marathon recovery and plans for the rest of October

I cannot believe it’s already been a week since the marathon, where is time going?! I’ve done a lot of reflecting, stretching, sleeping, and eating since last week. I like to celebrate for the entire week after a big race before I get my life together and make healthier choices. You put your body through a lot during training so splurging is always welcomed. I’ve also been sleeping every chance I get which Henrik hates me for because all he wants to do is go outside and play.

Monday-Wednesday were pretty rough. But once I finally got through that and I could finally move normally again, I’ve been walking during lunch and after work (with Henrik of course) and I’m glad I’ve been forcing myself to get up and move. I made the mistake last year of not doing anything for the 3 days after the race and the recovery took so much longer. I’m also so ready to start eating like a normal human again, carb loading gets old real fast and this last week has just been an excuse to stuff my face any chance I get. I went grocery shopping on Saturday and I’m so excited to get back to healthy eats and focus on losing some weight.

As far as what my plans are for the rest of the month they include mostly resting, spending time with Henrik, and exploring our neighborhood. I won’t be doing any running until the last week of the month to give my body a decent break until my next race, the EQT 10 miler, on November 5. It’ll be my 3rd year doing this one and I absolutely love it, it’s not too long and it’s not too short, I highly recommend it if you’re in the Pittsburgh area. This will be my last “real” race of the year. I always participate in the 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving but that’s more of a fun run.  I’m so looking forward to having a social life, or at least the option of a social life, for the next couple months. I’ve literally been training since February with a 6 week break in between the Pittsburgh half and training for Chicago so it’s much needed.

I have a lot of plans for next year that I’ll be discussing in the coming weeks but in the meantime I’ll be documenting my weight loss journey, pupdates on Henrik, and ways to be active that don’t include running since it’s almost offseason!

 

Until 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!

Two weeks out

Two weeks from now I’ll be in Chicago eating deep dish pizza and having a beer at Lou Malnati’s while proudly wearing my medal. Visualizing the finish line and afterwards always help me get past the anxiety of race day.

This year I’m doing a two-week taper, as opposed to last year’s one week taper. Tapering is such a weird feeling, you’re still as hungry as you are during the weeks leading up to peak week but you aren’t doing anywhere near as many miles. I’ve found it’s very important to be extra mindful of your diet at this point, you don’t want to over eat for two weeks and show up to race day bloated. Not fun.

I find that I also get crazy emotional at this point. You put in so much time, effort, and work and you’re getting so close to showtime. It’s very easy to let the emotions get the best of you and turn you into a crying mess (not that I’ve been doing that or anything).

There’s a few things I’m doing during taper this year that I wanted to share with you. Now is the time to really take care of your body and make sure you’re good to go for the big day. (Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, you should speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.)

  1. Increasing my collagen consumption. Collagen is a great supplement for us runners. It helps with your joints, bones, tendons, cartilage and so much more. My favorite is from Vital Proteins. You can find more information about their collagen on their website.
  2. More Iron! Did you know runners lose iron through their heel strike? I’ll be eating more red meat and spinach, in addition to taking an iron supplement every other day.
  3. Better quality sleep. I’m aiming for 7-8 hours of good quality sleep. Sleep is so important for muscle recovery.
  4. All of the hydration. Obviously don’t go overboard here, but I’ll be increasing my water consumption over the next 13 days and adding nuun tablets in for extra electrolytes.
  5. Calf compression sleeves and TENS machine. Compression socks/sleeves have been a game changer for me in the last year. I’ll usually wear them while using the TENS machine on my quads. I like to do this before bed a few nights a week to keep my legs feeling fresh.
  6. Stretching, stretching, and more stretching. I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. Tight muscles are no good.
  7. And lastly, carving out time for myself to do something non running related. It’s so easy to obsess over race day being so close that we can forget to step away for a moment and take a mental break. For me this might include doing a face mask, taking a hot bath, taking Henrik to the dog park. Whatever you want it to be, but it’s always nice to do something for yourself that’s outside of the sport to keep you mentally sane.

 

What are your tips for tapering?