Sunday, February 18, 2018

Why Did I Ever Take a Break? Why?

After two marathons, a 16.5 mile leg at Burning River, and several half marathons and assorted other races, I decided at the end of my season to take a break. I told myself that if I continued my high mileage, I would burn out both physically and psychologically, so I allowed myself to back off the running and do other things that I enjoy. Starting in November I substituted some of these workouts instead of short runs:

Tae Bo. Oh, Billy Blanks, you make my heart go pitter pat.
Masala Bhangra Dance. This is EXACTLY how I look when I do Indian Folk Dancing. Notice how both my feet magically lift from the ground. Damn, I'm graceful.
I kept my long run at no more than 10 miles, and most of my long runs were on the trails with the Burning River Goddesses.

Here I am with some Goddesses. . .Oops. We aren't running here. We are drinking. Let me try that again.
Here I am freezing my TRAIL off (see what I did there?) with some Goddesses.
I think it was a good thing for me to let go a little bit, but now I'm training for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, and shit just started getting real. Today I ran 14 miles--4 miles solo and 10 more with Mandy--and it just about killed me. I remember when 14 miles was my minimum long run, and I breezed through it. Not today.

I'm trying to think about why it felt so hard. Aerobically, I felt great. My legs didn't hurt at all. My feet didn't hurt at all. I just think it's hard to get that mileage in all at once. I tend to bore easily, so even though Mandy is excellent company, I couldn't get in the zone I needed to enjoy the run. That is where the mind games started. Incentive #1 was the banana I ate after my first 4 miles while I waited for Mandy. Incentive #2 was the Mint Chocolate GU I had at Mile 9, but even moreso it was the promise of walking while I fueled. After that point it got a lot more difficult, so I had to give myself more incentives. Incentives #3 and #4 were short walks for the first .10 of Miles 11 and 12.

I got it done, but I feel wrecked. I'm back to those days where I took a two hour nap after the long run (well, I will be there after I finish this post).

Starting over. SMDH.

It's worth it though, Peeps. In three months I'll be running one of the funnest races in my season: The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Will you join me? Register by clicking here, and use my code, SICLE10, for 10% off whatever races you choose, including the challenge. Train with me! Tell me I'm not alone! Also, tell me that I still look beautiful, even when my face is red and I'm sweating like a pig.

However you feel during your training, I hope you run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Winner of Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Giveaway!

Here it is, Peeps! My kids will reveal the winner of one free race registration to any single event with the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon:

Congratulations, Renee! Contact me with your email address, and I will send you a code to register.

This has been a fun week, Peeps! I've enjoyed the interaction with you on various social media channels.

Didn't win yet? There are still many chances. You can follow my fellow Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors and enter their giveaways.

Don't want to take your chances? Register now with my code, SICLE10, for a 10% discount on anything, including the challenge!

I am exhausted, Peeps. I did 13 miles this morning, and I still need to finish laundry. I'm looking forward to wings, pizza, and the Super Bowl commercials. I hope you enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday. Meanwhile, I hope you run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @itibrout!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

It's My Giveaway!

That is right, Peeps! This week I get to give away one entry to any race for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon! Let me spell this out for you so I don't have to answer a bazillion questions:

1. This entry is good for the 5k, 8k, 10k, Half Marathon, or  Marathon. One race only--no challenge series.

2.  If you already registered, thank you!  I can't reimburse you.

3. Look for opportunities during the week to enter this giveaway.

I am Ambassador of the Week with Pam (@hoprunner).  Pam and I met when we first became Ambassadors several years ago. I remember meeting her at an Ambassador party, and she was super-friendly and chatty, as was her husband, Steve.

Ambassadors at VIP Dinner in 2015. Pam is right behind me in the blue dress.

I remember realizing that Pam raced for Snakebite Racing, and that she is in fact a sub-elite. To a middle-of-the-pack runner, this can be intimidating. The thing is, Pam isn't intimidating at all. She is super-open and friendly. In fact, this year she mentioned running with me while she was training for the Canal Corridor 100 Mile Race, and I was gobsmacked. Pam inhales 7 minute miles for breakfast--how could I run with her?

This is EXACTLY how Pam looks when she inhales 7 minute miles for breakfast.

The answer is that Pam knows a lot about training. She knows that for a 100 mile race she is not going to be running 7 minute miles, so she was super-flexible about running my 10+ minute miles on the long run. The first time we ran together, I screwed it up by doing tons of goblet squats the day before, so I was very sore, and I was basically a crybaby in the last part of our 15 miles. Pam never once showed any exasperation with me, and in fact, she offered to run with me again. And she did. It doesn't get any nicer than that, Peeps.

While we run, Pam talks to me about proper training and nutrition, and I soak it up. She once told me that if she could get me into a pool to cross train and then do speed work with her, I could break the 25 minute 5k time I'm thinking about. My response? I don't think I want it enough to get into a pool.  Sorry, Lady.

Another way that Pam and I bond is through beer.  Pam knows her beer, and I don't; I am a wine snob. Pam got me to try a beer flight at R.Shea's Brewery (right near where we live), and I loved it. I still don't know what the heck I'm doing in a brewery, but I really enjoyed trying different beers and figuring out what I liked.

Pam and I celebrate her husband's birthday.

Anyway, this is the point, Peeps: You never know what people are like until you get to know them. Pam (and her husband) intimidated me until I let down my guard and got to know them.  I'm so glad I did because I now have new friends at a time in my life where I thought I didn't want or need new friends. Are they better athletes than I am? You bet your dupa they are.  Does it matter? I don't think so. I am proud of my friends, and I don't need to compare my results with theirs.

Pam and I are suffering after the Home Run for the Homeless 5 miler.

Think about your friendships, Peeps. When did you take a chance and meet someone who was completely different from you? How did that work?

For one entry in my giveaway, tag one running buddy for whom you are thankful during your long runs. If you run alone, let me know in the comments.

Look for other opportunities to enter this week through Instagram and Twitter.  Want to enter the race, but you don't want to enter the giveaway? Use my ambassador code, SICLE10, to get 10% off any registration (5k, 8k, 10k, Half Marathon, Marathon, AND Challenge Series!). I hope you run happy this week, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @itibrout!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Cold Air Sucks

I am the annoying Ohio person who always claims, "I love all seasons! I love the change of seasons in Ohio!"

I am also a high school English teacher.

These two traits combined SHOULD mean that I have been happy with the below-zero temps lately.

I am NOT happy.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am not happy with the temperatures.
I had a just-less-than-two-week Christmas furlough from my job. That would have been amazing if I could have gone outside at any time. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, and I ended up on my treadmill more often than not. I actually ran outside three days out of all the Christmas break days, and one of those days almost killed me.

It was a trail run with Philip's Phlyers, and I thought I was prepared, but I was wrong. I was so wrong. My first mistake (and the worst) was trying to keep up with the Phlyers. I should never have done that because they are just naturally faster than I am. That is ok with me, but I should have acknowledged that right from the beginning instead of being immature and trying to keep up.  Right away I got heart palpitations (something that hasn't happened to me in months), and I had to walk it out about a mile. It was embarrassing, but that is the price I must pay for being a dumbass.

Two of the other times I ran with Marta, and it all turned out ok because I made sure to go super-slowly.

Both of these runs were in 20-some degree weather. I must have repressed the other runs.

This week was really difficult, Peeps. I am so sick and tired of the treadmill--especially when I know that my treadmill season is probably already getting started. I can't get motivated to gear up and run, no matter the weather. I've got to get my act together.

Today was helpful. Mandy messaged me and asked if we could run together, and that made me SO PUMPED for Sunday. I'm used to being the person who organizes runs (that everyone else ignores), so I felt really special when Mandy told me she'd like to run with me.

I ran 4 miles by myself to feel out the roads, and then Mandy joined me for an additional six miles. We were able to catch up and it felt fantastic to be together again. I'm looking forward to many future training runs with Mandy. Maybe I can make her a Goddess!

Post 10 miles on slippery roads

I didn't make my minimum mileage (that I set in my own mind, Peeps) this week, but I have to be ok with that. Every week is not going to feel fantastic. I will get back on the road/treadmill and keep training.

How is your training, Peeps? Are you following the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors to enter their giveaways for a free race?  If not, WHY NOT???? Too nervous to wait for a giveaway? Register for any Rite Aid Cleveland race (Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 8k, 5k, Challenge) using my ambassador code, SICLE10, for a 10% discount!  Why are you waiting?

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Pay Day 2017

It is once again my Running Pay Day, Peeps. This means that I need to do a bunch of math to figure out how much money I can put into my special running savings account.

The background to Running Pay Day is this:

I once read of a running blogger who pays herself for each mile she runs. Needing some motivation that doesn't involve food, I thought this was a wonderful idea. Of course, because I am complicated, I must have many rules about how to pay myself. So, here is how it works:

First, I calculate the number of miles total I have run in 2017. This is easy because I log my miles into This year I ran 1,694 miles. Not bad considering my goal was 1,500!

30 more miles would have taken me to Salt Lake City, UT!

Next, I subtract the number of racing miles I ran because I pay myself $1.00 for each racing mile. I love going over the races I ran this year because it brings back ALL THE FEELS for each race. Here are the races I ran this year (Click on the links to revisit my recaps):

Pro-Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon: 13.1
Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon: 26.2
Medina Half Marathon: 13.1
Green Jewel 2-person relay: 14
Burning River 8-person relay: 16.5
Leave No Trace Half Marathon: 13.1
Medina Race with Grace 5k: 3.1
Akron Marathon: 26.2
Run with Scissors Half Marathon: 13.1 (I actually ran 16.5 miles for this, but that is another story.)
Home Run for the Homeless: 4

I have a total of 142.4 racing miles. I'll round that down to 142. That means I've earned $142 in racing miles--but wait! There is more!

I subtract my racing miles from my total miles, and I pay myself $.50 per training mile:

1,694-142= 1,552 miles x $.50= $776 dollars.

Then I add that to the racing miles:
$776 + $142 = $918 dollars

Wow. That is a chunk of change! Unfortunately, that is not how much I get paid.

Now I have to deduct the amount of race fees I paid this year. Booooo. I didn't keep EXACT track of the racing fees (because it is painful), but I do have a good idea. One note: for two of these races, I paid more in order to donate to a race-affiliated charity, but I will not count that as a racing fee since it was voluntary.

The total for these races comes to about $446.  Honestly, not bad for ten running events that gave me hours of pleasure (WHAT????).

Ok, 918-446 = $472.   BUT WAIT!!!!

I award myself a $5.00 bonus for every PR, and I had two this year, soooooo. . .

$472 + $10 = $482

This is the most I've earned in a year. I am super-pleased with myself, particularly since the 300+ extra miles I've run this year have clearly made a difference in my paycheck.

Here is the thing:

I realize that I'm paying myself in my own money, but I am going to put that money into a savings account that I've had for years, and it will go toward my dream race: the Paris marathon. Normally, I wouldn't dream of spending any of that money on myself.  Too often women, especially mothers, refuse to reward themselves or put themselves first in any situation. I will not be a part of that. I worked damned hard this year, and I will reward myself with the promise of something that will be just for me.

Not only that, but the hard cash that I earned actually benefits me twice: All of those training miles helped me to build my endurance and (rarely) speed. I learned so much about what I'm capable of doing by training and racing, and even though there was some pain involved, I wouldn't change any of it. . . even getting lost in the woods during a trail race. I deserve to celebrate me.

How can you celebrate yourself, Peeps? What goals have you set for 2018? How can you reward them? It doesn't have to be as complicated as my system (Lord knows there are easier ways!), but you should find a way to fete your accomplishments and reward your work. It can make the difference between getting outside in the snow. . . or staying in bed and regretting that decision.

As for me, I have goals for 2018, and I am already getting started on them! This will be the best year. . . and the best ME yet!

This is clearly not the best me. . .but I'm working on it!

Whatever your goals and rewards are, I hope you run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

End of Year Running Review

I am typing this on the last day of 2017.  This is the moment where I review my running goals for the year. Let's get to it, shall we?

Goal #1: Run the Cleveland Marathon all by myself without freaking out.

Melissa, Rachel, and me at the Expo

The Ambassadors at the starting line

Mission Accomplished! I definitely had moments of insecurity at the VIP Dinner, but I ran that sucker all by myself like a boss. From this race, I learned that I don't necessarily need to rely on anything (like music) or anyone to run a marathon.

Goal #2: Run more trail races.

Me, Candice, Kristin. Burning River, Leg 5

Goddesses + Mother Runners. Leave No Trace Half Marathon

Marta, Me, Nicole, Spooky Ghost. Run with Scissors Half Marathon
Mission Accomplished! I had counted on running Burning River, but the other two trail half-marathons were kind of spur of the moment decisions.  I'm really glad that I ran them. From these races, I learned that I don't have to kill myself just to run a race. I can just enjoy it.

Goal #3: PR at the Akron Marathon.  This was a stretch goal, I admit. The weather on the day of the race was incredibly hot and humid, and I was tempted to drop to the half. I really freaked myself out. . .and then I got my shit together and got the job done. I told myself that I would just run easy because it was silly to believe that I could PR in that kind of weather. . .but I still wanted to meet that goal.

Still freaked out at Expo

PR, Baby!

Mission Accomplished! I PR'd by about 90 seconds, and I consider that an incredible accomplishment. I learned that I am much stronger than I think, and I think I'm pretty badass.

Goal #4: Run at least 1,500 miles.

Mission Accomplished! I learned that the best way for me to train is to put in lots of longer miles, one of which must be a midweek long run of 7-10 miles. This was the best way for me to run two marathons without getting injured. 

I finished my running year with eight miles on the Towpath with Marta. It was bitter cold, and the snow wasn't packed, so we got a great glute workout.

We look like we are about to rob a bank, but really we are gearing up for the run.
I have had a successful running year, and now I'm thinking about my new goals for 2018. I've got some ideas, but I will leave that for another post. For now, I'm going to bid you a Happy New Year. I hope you met your goals for the year, and I hope you have some challenging goals for next year. Whatever your goals, I hope you run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

So Much Fun at Night!

When I approach the end of the semester, my stress heightens, and I find myself looking for ways to blow off steam so I don't punch someone in the throat. This is where the night runs came in this week.

On Tuesday I ran the annual Christmas Lights Run. It's a 4-mile run to Stan Hywet Hall from Lock 3, a walk through the lit up gardens with lots of photo-opps, and then a 4-mile run back to Lock 3, where we finished with holiday cheer. There were at least three big clubs joining this run, and I belong to all of them: Phillips Phlyers, the Canal Rats, and the Crooked River Trail Runners. Over 100 runners showed up, decked out in Christmas Lights and elf and Santa running gear.

Lock 3 before we left. I'm standing on a chair in the back, but of course I turned my head to the side at the wrong time.

The weather was perfect--in the 40's--and the traffic wasn't too bad, so we had a safe and fun run to Stan Hywet Hall following the Blue Line. I had a great time talking to everyone on the way there (when I wasn't sucking wind).

When we got there, we took lots of photos. The grounds at Stan Hywet were all sparkly with holiday lights. So beautiful!

Crooked River Trail Runners. I am wearing the Santa outfit on the right.

Phillips Phlyers in front of the mansion
Katrina and I passed the time by taking selfies, and of course, Doc Craino had to get in on the action:

Before shot: The Pretty Picture of Katrina and me

I feel like someone is behind us. CRAIN????
 We ran back to Lock 3, with Katrina and Crew trying to kill me by running 9-minute miles (which, for them, is like a stroll in the park). All three clubs were meeting in different bars for our holiday cheer, so I was a bit torn on what to do. I went to 69 Taps to see the Crooked River Trail Runners, but without my glasses, I couldn't see anyone I knew with my quick peek, so I headed to Barley House and ate burgers with Phillips Phlyers.

Post-Run Shenanigans with Joey Phillips
This was an incredible night; 8 miles is exactly what I needed to relieve some end-of-semester stress, and it was so fun to hang with such kind and fun-loving people.


The week's celebrations were not over!

Thursday night was the Crooked River Trail Runners group run and White Elephant Gift Exchange. I knew I would show up for the run, but I didn't intend to participate in the celebration after because it was for 2017 members, and I only just joined for 2018.  I ran 3 miles through the woods and then through Lock 29 with the elves and Santas for the Polar Express. It was a bit surreal to pass about 20 Santas cheering us on.

We arrived at the clubhouse, and I ordered a beer and sat back to watch the exchange around the table. Right away, my new friends encouraged me to join them at the table, even if I didn't participate. This meant that I got some great pics:

Cari got the hot-ticket item of the night. There was a lot of fighting over the onesie.

Kelleigh seems to be VERY SERIOUS about the rules of the game. Was she negotiating for the onesie? Marta seems ready to step in if necessary, and Ken is too busy looking at his own gifts to care if there might be a cage-match going down.

Highlight of the Night: As I'm drinking a Christmas Ale and waiting for everyone to set up the exchange, a young man approaches me. No, it's not what you might think:

Young Man: Mrs. Itibrout? Are you still teaching at Medina?

Me: sigh. Hi, Darian! It's good to see you! Wow--you are an adult now!

I'm like a gazillion years old.

Today, Christmas Eve, I ran 7 miles of Boston Run with Marta. We decided to do our photo opp with a little help from a friend:

Can you guess where we are?
Marta and I focus on the important parts of the statue.

This week was all that I could want in de-stress running. I look forward to running what I like, when I like for the next week or so. In the meantime, I will be calculating my running paycheck next week. What's that? You don't know what a running paycheck is? Check me out next week, and I'll explain it.

Have a wonderful holiday, Peeps, and don't forget to run happy!

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