2015 Race Goals Recap 3- Running Between the Vines 1/2 Marathon

If you’re just joining and want to catch up on the races I’ve recently recapped from my 2015 running year, check them out here: Part 1 + Part 2!

June 27- Lake Michigan Seaway 1/2 Marathon or 15K (we’ll see, this is coming up quick!)

July 18/19- Either the Petoskey Bear River Crawl 10k or Chicago RnR 1/2 Marathon (These two are still VERY tentative) DID NOT RUN

August 15- Running Between the Vines 1/2 Marathon

August 29- Hard Cider Run 5k  DID NOT RUN

September 12- Holland Haven 1/2 Marathon DID NOT RUN

September 26- Tough Mudder!!! I’m actually already registered for this one with a team and borderline terrified for my life!

October 18- Detroit Free Press MARATHON! {oh hey, did you hear I signed up for a marathon? ;)}

THIS. RACE. WAS. TOUGH.

Again, I had no idea what I was getting myself into (maybe I should start doing a little more research before I sign up…), so I didn’t really have any expectations going into this race. Running Between the Vines 1/2 Marathon is on the east side of Michigan, and I had never run a race over there before- I’m more of a lakeshore runner, so I was already out of my comfort zone! I ran with a friend who had just had a baby a few months prior, so our plan was to just do what we could and have fun while we ran.

The course was all dirt, back-road style with the exception of the end, which was through a really, crazy nice neighborhood. I am SO glad I didn’t pick this race with a goal to PR because in the 13.1 miles that we ran, there were rolling hills (ranging from medium to hard intensity-wise) for at least 10 of them. Luckily, I had already been training with the Gazelle group for a few months, and hill/speed work is incorporated into the training plan, because it took everything in me not to stop and walk up a few of them. My training in the past had been mediocre at best, with a focus on quantity over quality, which usually waned toward the end of the training cycle. I’m so happy to have had some quality training sessions under my belt to keep me motivated to power through. It also helped to have someone running with me to push me through as well!

We crossed the finish line together in 2:07:58 and I can honestly say I didn’t have a lot left in me at the end. Maybe it would have been a little different had I mentally prepared myself for those hills, but I just kept thinking ‘this has to be the last one’ as I looked a quarter mile ahead, in shock, and saw another monster and knew that I was dead wrong.

The medals themselves were pretty cool- wine stoppers- and each runner got an engraved wine glass as well. So the bling definitely made up for the pain from the hills (okay, sort of). All in all this was a fun race, but I don’t know that I’d love to repeat the course again. That’s maybe probably just me being scared, but it certainly wasn’t one of my favorites.

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2015 Race Goals Recap 2- Lakeshore Miracle Run

Check out my first recap of the Lake Michigan 1/2 Marathon here if you missed it!

Again, these were my planned races going into the 2015 season:

June 27- Lake Michigan Seaway 1/2 Marathon or 15K (we’ll see, this is coming up quick!)

July 18/19- Either the Petoskey Bear River Crawl 10k or Chicago RnR 1/2 Marathon (These two are still VERY tentative) DID NOT RUN

August 15- Running Between the Vines 1/2 Marathon

August 29- Hard Cider Run 5k  DID NOT RUN

September 12- Holland Haven 1/2 Marathon DID NOT RUN

September 26- Tough Mudder!!! I’m actually already registered for this one with a team and borderline terrified for my life!

October 18- Detroit Free Press MARATHON! {oh hey, did you hear I signed up for a marathon? ;)}

As you can see, I didn’t end up running the Petoskey Bear River Crawl 10k or the Chicago RNR 1/2 Marathon. I can’t remember why, but I’m guessing it has something to do with not being able to travel that weekend/not wanting to spend another weekend away because our summers fill up FAST!

I did, however, end up signing up (on a whim once again) for the Lakeshore Miracle Run (now the Lake Michigan RTS – Road, Trail Sand) and called the ‘toughest race you’ll ever love’. This beast is a 10k that takes you through 2 miles of road racing, 2 miles of trails and 2 miles of sand…one of which is straight up a sand dune (yeah, ouch). It was hot, humid, and I’d run in sand a whole ZERO times in my life, so it was extremely challenging.

It started on the road, which was fine and just like pretty much any other race. It was relatively small, so there weren’t a ton of participants, and I didn’t think it would be tough navigating around people if need be. I proved myself completely wrong once we got into the trails about a mile later, as the course became a single lane ‘follow the leader’ style run. So if you ended up behind someone who was running a slower pace, you were stuck until you got out of the woods (or until they were nice enough to step aside). Additionally, it was literally in the woods, so I had to hang onto my sunglasses that I started with (and knew I’d need for the sand portion) since it was so dark and I was desperately trying not to break my neck on a tree branch or root. It wasn’t my favorite part of the race, but I ended up appreciating the little break in pace before we got to the sand.

I was warned to wear tall socks and old running shoes since the terrain was not forgiving and would leave sand/dirt/mud EVERYWHERE. So I dressed accordingly in knee-high compression socks, shorts and an older pair of shoes that I didn’t mind getting ruined. This was definitely GREAT advice because the socks prevented me from flinging sand into my socks with ever step I took, and I didn’t care about my shoes getting SOAKED within the first 5 seconds running along the beach. The lakeshore had a tilt to it, so everyone ended up running as close to the water as possible to get some relief. Plus, it was a lot more packed down and ‘trail like’ versus the soft, deep sand that was further a way.

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And then came the dunes…. I’d say about 1.5 miles into the sand portion and about 2.5 miles into the race.

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The picture doesn’t even do it justice. It felt like we were on a straight vertical climb for HOURS. It once again turned into a ‘follow the leader’ style run because everyone tried to stay in the previous person’s path/footsteps where it was a little more packed down, bit I didn’t even care and thanked the little breaks that I was ‘forced’ to take when someone stopped ahead. I tried not to look up or down, because every time I did it felt like I hadn’t made any progress. Woof.

We finally made it to the top and I have never been more excited to see a water station (the first and ONLY ONE of the race!!!).fullsizerender1

After a much longer than normal water stop (where they would only let us have one small cup because they were afraid of running out… didn’t love this poor planning aspect) we began the descent back down the dune. This part was actually kind of fun and I felt like I was flying. You just had to sort of jump down because there was no way you could run, especially someone as clumsy as me who would have for sure broken their neck.

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We got back into the woods with probably 1.5-2 miles left to go in the race at this point. My legs were EXHAUSTED but the shade felt great. It was even harder to see this time since my eyes had adjusted to the bright sun that we’d just been running in for the last few miles, so it was even trickier to navigate around anything that may be lying on the trail. We finally got back to the pavement with maybe 1/2 a mile left in the run. There was not a lot of crowd support (mostly due to location), so you really had no indication of whether or not the finish line was close. We turned a corner and saw a fire truck spraying runners as they went by- this was probably the greatest feeling ever because I was drenched and way overheated and dehydrated at this point.

I crossed the finish line at 1:18:05. I didn’t even care a little bit about my time for this race as it was all about finishing. It felt like one of the hardest workouts I’d ever done and I was just so relieved to be done running. I’ve never had so much sand on me before or been so relieved to shower.

I definitely recommend this race to someone looking for a fun but challenging run. Don’t go into it with any time goals in mind, just have fun and get ready to sweat! And definitely bring a water bottle with you!!! I would have done it again this year had I not been pregnant, and I’ve definitely got it on my radar for 2017.

2015 Race Goals Recap 1- Lake Michigan 1/2 Marathon

The last blog post that I wrote last year detailed all of my race goals for the 2015 calendar year. You can find it Here!

I’ll go through it a few posts at a time and try to recap them as best I can! Not having raced them in over a year makes it a little difficult to recall all of the details (and I’ve deleted most pictures), but I will definitely try. If you want to skip ahead to just the results, check out my Race Results tab!

From 2015 post, these were some of the races I had in mind:

June 27- Lake Michigan Seaway 1/2 Marathon or 15K (we’ll see, this is coming up quick!)

July 18/19- Either the Petoskey Bear River Crawl 10k or Chicago RnR 1/2 Marathon (These two are still VERY tentative) DID NOT RUN

August 15- Running Between the Vines 1/2 Marathon

August 29- Hard Cider Run 5k  DID NOT RUN

September 12- Holland Haven 1/2 Marathon DID NOT RUN

September 26- Tough Mudder!!! I’m actually already registered for this one with a team and borderline terrified for my life!

October 18- Detroit Free Press MARATHON! {oh hey, did you hear I signed up for a marathon? ;)}

The Lake Michigan Seaway 1/2 Marathon actually held my 1/2 marathon PR for the remainder of 2015! I set out to ‘just have fun’ and signed up on a whim. I knew I’d be racing alone (my friend, Katie, was a pacer so we both ran this race but didn’t end up running together). I knew nothing about the race going into it, whether or not it was hilly, etc. (I usually do a little research beforehand, but decided to just wing it) and had JUST started marathon training with the Gazelle Sports group, so I want to say 6 miles was the longest I had run going into this race since the Riverbank Run 25k about 2 months prior.

From what I remember about this race, it was HOT (thank you, Michigan summers)! It was a small race that started through more of a residential neighborhood. I remember specifically having to jump over a dead raccoon that was in the middle of the road about a mile into the race and thinking what the hell is this!?

Here’s the current map from the race website (from what I can tell this is the same route as 2015):capture

The race ran along the Lake Michigan waterfront, and I recall there being A LOT of water stations (about 1 every mile!), which was amazing, and the volunteers really got into it and were SO supportive- some had their stations decked out in themes, which made it really fun. I distinctly remember this race as having the best water station support that I’d ever seen. The crowd support, however, was seriously lacking. Other than the volunteers, you didn’t see many people out cheering (probably since it was such as small race) so it got a bit lonely at times and you had to dig deep to find your own motivation.

I remember it being a relatively flat course, with one large downhill section. Some of the course was on a wooden boardwalk by the beach (the hottest part), but then alternated between shaded and un-shaded sections. I got about 10 miles in and remember looking at my watch and thinking OMG I COULD BREAK 2 HOURS! I remember sprinting HARD for half mile intervals at a time, but since my training was definitely not up to par, it was really hard for my legs to keep up. I also wore a running skirt and had some really bad chaffing going on, which I had never experienced before (since then, body glide has become my bff). I kept telling myself to push as hard as I could for as long as I could and then back off a little bit. I knew it would be close, but I didn’t have any gas left in the tank as I reached the finish line and knew I wasn’t going to make my goal, but I ended up crossing in 2:01:50, a HUGE PR over my previous time earlier that year of 2:06:05, exhausted but super happy with my results considering my lack of training.

 

Hey, Stranger!

Hi Friends!

It’s been a LONG time! I’m embarrassed that my last post was June of 2015….aka over 1.5 years ago. A LOT has happened since I last posted, and I’m not even sure how to put into words all that I’ve been through in just 2016 alone. I’m going to make it a goal of mine for 2017 to start blogging more, but you’ll have to bare with me because something CRAZY is going to be happening and time is going to be pretty non-existent.

I feel like I should just jump right in with the good news, and then I’m going to go back and recap some other really fun stuff that’s happened over the course of the last year and a half, like running my first full marathon, finally breaking a sub-2 hour half marathon (lucky #7, woohoo!) and graduating from grad school!

I’m getting a new running buddy!!!

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First, this happened (yeah, pee everywhere):f3288f03-a84f-4a68-9560-a49eae52c370

Then, 4 weeks later, when we had finally regained consciousness, this happened:

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Fast forward a few months and I went from waking up one day and telling my best friend “OMG WE HAVE TO START TAKING BUMP PICTURES, I’M GETTING HUGE!!!” (insert eye-roll here because umm what bump?!):

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To actually having a bump and my @$$ literally tripling in size in the span of 7 weeks:

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And then, the most beautiful day, when we got to see that little nose and confirm that yes, it’s actually a little human in there and not too much pizza (okay, it’s probably both):

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Our beautiful little baby (more affectionately known to us as Cub, and what you will probably hear me call it 99% of the time) will be here at the end of February! I’m still in total disbelief, and I’m as positive as that pregnancy test that I will be one of those people who doesn’t really know they’re having a baby until they go into labor. So for now I’m taking it one day at a time, trying to enjoy the holidays with my amazing husband, family and friends, and prepare for the craziest adventure to come! We are waiting until we deliver to find out the gender, which has been so exciting and horrifying for a crazy, OCD planner like myself, but I’ve come to love the mystery.

So I sit here, 27.5 weeks pregnant, being kicked in the bladder by this beautiful little creature, about to enter my third trimester on Monday. I’m so grateful to be able to share such exciting news.

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27.5 weeks pregnant

 

I promise to still keep this blog running, fitness and clean-ish eating related as much as possible, but again you’ll have to bare with me because I’m pretty sure trying to figure out how to keep a baby alive is going to take up a lot of my time!

xo