One week out!!!!

Holy smokes, where did this training cycle go?!?!┬áIt 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!

Why running?

As I continue to introduce you to myself, I figured I’d explain why I chose running several years ago and why it’s become so important to me. I get asked this question several times a week, in fact my dad asked me again last night, “Why do you torture yourself? Cycling is so much easier.” My answer was something about how I like a challenge, and that is true but it goes much deeper than that.

Prior to this point in my life, going back to high school here, I had a really warped view of myself. I was constantly trying to lose weight and going to extremes to get there, this peaked the year after I graduated when I started to restrict my calories to maybe 700 a day and working out for 3 hours a day at minimum 5 days a week. I was miserable. I eventually got burned out and turned to drinking to quiet that negative self talk. After I turned 21 (and finished my first half) I really relied on alcohol to self medicate and fell into a funk of depression. A year later my weight had peaked to over 200lbs (I’m only 5’3!!) and later in the year I had gotten sick and discovered I had fatty liver.

Things changed after that. I slowed down my alcohol consumption considerably, went to a psychiatrist for medication and started seeing a nutritionist. We worked on getting over my disordered eating habits and getting back to eating healthy. Once I got my diet in order and I lost some weight I worked on getting comfortable running outside again. The more races I signed up to do the less I “fell off the wagon” because I just didn’t have the time to go back to old habits.

It’s been a few years since all of that happened but I now run 4-5 days a week, I’ve learned to control alcohol consumption to 2-3 drinks a week (if that), and as of July I came off of all my anxiety and anti depressant medications. Running helped me through all of this. It’s helped with my self confidence, my mental health, my diet, and made me a better person all around. I’m so glad I picked this crazy sport as my passion.

 

Why do you run?

What is a “runner’s body”?

I wasn’t planning on talking about this subject until after the marathon, but something happened the other day that made me feel compelled to touch on the subject this week. I received a message from someone whom I don’t know, have never met, and never plan on meeting. The message went something like, “you don’t need reflective gear when you run, no one could ever miss you”.

Now for those of you who don’t know me in real life, I don’t look like the “average runner”. I’m short and overweight, not tall and skinny like so many other runners I see out there. I’ve heard my share of rude comments about my weight and I’m very aware that I am not what people think of when you say the word “marathoner”. Yet here I am, training for 26.2 number 2. The thing that irritated me most about this person’s comment was that they don’t know me, they don’t know how hard I work to be a distance runner, and they certainly don’t understand the struggle of being a short overweight person in a sport full of tall and/or skinny people.

The point of this post is to encourage others who aren’t their ideal size or height, that those things don’t matter. I once went through a phase where I refused to run outside because I was worried that people driving by would judge me, but at the end of the day you’re doing something good for your body that you love. Who cares what anyone else thinks of you? The only opinion about yourself that should matter to you is your own. We can’t change our genetics so we have to learn to work with God has given us. So if you run and have a body, then you have a runner’s body.

I have one, do you?