Monday, June 19, 2017

Outta My League

Have you ever looked at a group of runners (probably completely cut, shirtless or wearing only running bras) who pass you chatting and laughing with each other while seemingly-effortlessly running 4 minute miles?  Have you looked at them and thought, "Whoa. Those runners are WAY OUTTA MY LEAGUE," yet you couldn't help but get a small twinge of wondering, "What if? What if I tried to hang with these machines? How far would I get before I cough up lung butter?"

You know, like this guy, who for one glorious mile got to hang with Meb and the elite pack at the Boston Marathon. Sometimes we just have to try to hang with people way out of our league, and that is what I did this week.

Example #1: I belong to quite a few online running groups, and while I lurk there, snooping on their runs and pictures, I have never run with many of them because. . . well, look at the title of this post. Phillips Phlyers is one of those groups.  They run at all times of the day and night, and there have been many times I've seen them at races or the same running route I'm taking that day. Last Tuesday, Joey Phillips (the leader of the Phlyers) posted a hilly 7-miler at 9:30 in the morning, which was just the time I was trying to kick my butt in gear. I first posted to Joey about pace because my main concern is I don't want to jack up someone's run. He told me to join them, so I did. After an interesting initiation ceremony that involved some group chanting, a selfie, and an American flag, Joey, John, and I got going.

This is EXACTLY how I look before running with Joey and John. 
We ran up the biggest hill ever. I tried to give up, but Joey and John weren't having it. I made that hill my bitch (you knew it was coming), and then Joey and I split off to the trails while John continued on the road. To take my mind off the fact that I was dying, Joey told me about his running history, and boy, am I glad he did! This man ran the Boston Marathon 20 TIMES!!!!  He trains hard, he is an amazing runner, and he is super-kind.

We met back up with John at the end, and he had water for us. I was feeling a little guilty because I knew they had run more slowly than they are used to, but they were both so kind about it that I got over myself. Thanks, Joey and John for letting me run with you on a super-hot day!

My Instagram Post after the run: I survived a run with Phillips Phlyers. I'm going to go throw up now.
Example #2: I needed a recovery run the next day, and I saw a post from the Canal Rats. I've run with the Rats a few times, so I should have known what I was getting into there, but, well, I'm not that smart. The Canal Rats meet before dawn to run the Towpath and/or Sand Run. They have a set weekly schedule, so I know that if I run with them on a Tuesday or Thursday, I could use it as a tempo run. This post was on a Wednesday, and it said "Relaxed Pace," so being gullible, I showed up at 5:50 AM to run "4 easy miles" on sore legs after my hill run with the Phlyers.  Umm.  Yeah.  The easy run was sure enough at my half marathon pace, and I had jumped into it with my eyes wide open.  Dumbass.  I ran the first two miles steps behind the pack (on the struggle bus the whole time), and then at the turnaround, Mary Jo ran back with me. This is usually what happens when I run with the Rats; they are so kind that one of them takes one for the team and runs with me for a few miles. I stayed with Mary Jo for one more mile, then I told her to catch up to the pack because I was going to cool down with run/walking.

My Instagram Post after this run: Aaaand today the Canal Rats kicked my ass.
Example #3: My friend Pam (@HopRunner), a fellow Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador, is training for the Canal Corridor 100, and she has been putting in serious miles each week. She is a real badass, so I knew this was the time to try to run with her, while her legs are seriously tired before the taper. We made a plan to run 15 miles together on the Towpath on a hot Sunday morning. Pam needs to run slowly, so I thought I'd be able to keep up with her.  Unfortunately, I made a really stupid rookie move by doing lots of lunges and goblet squats the day before our run.  GAAAAAAA.  My legs hurt SO MUCH on our run. I have NEVER punked out by walking so much at the end of a run in my life! After mile 12 I was over-heated and my legs were toast. I felt terrible for Pam, but she was a great sport about it. We had a great conversation over the 15 miles, and I'm so grateful to her for letting me run with her and soak up some running-wisdom along the way.

This is the before pic. No way was I going to take an after-pic.  Look how fresh and pretty and cool we are here!
Ok, so I really stretched myself this week by running 47 miles, 15 of them counting basically as speed work. I'm pretty proud of myself; I ran a lot, I ran hard, and I didn't injure myself. I attribute the non-injury to my secret recovery drink:

Most importantly, I spent time with some inspirational people this week, and I learned a lot. As you have read, I learned that runner peeps are the best peeps, even when they are Outta My League.

How are you handling the heat? However you are doing it, I hope you Run Happy, Peeps!

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

Green Jewel Recap: I Don't Read Directions

This week I ran the Green Jewel 50k relay with my friend from high school Marsha. She is a real trooper to step in at the last minute and do this with me, especially on such a hot day. How did we do? I'll let you know soon, but FIRST, I need to tell you how badly I failed at paying attention and following directions.

Normally, this isn't me. I am the one who reads the directions on the box, both in French and in English so that I don't mess anything up. I roll my eyes when my husband, the master of Oh-Hell-Let's-Just-Look-at-a-YouTube-Video-and-Wing-It decides he is going to fix something or put it together. My pet peeve as a server (16 years!) was adults (not children, children always listen to the server) who don't listen when I give them choices. For example:

Me: What would you like to drink? We have Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Pink Lemonade, Root Beer, and Iced Tea.

Customer's Kid: I'll have a root beer.

Customer: Do you have Mountain Dew?

Me: DID I FREAKING SAY MOUNTAIN DEW????

This is EXACTLY how I looked as a restaurant server. Creepy, right?


I digress. The point is that I am usually the person who reads the directions carefully, especially when I get any information about a race.  Not this week, Buddy.

My first directions-fail was in not paying attention to packet pick-up information. I found the location, Vertical Runner Brecksville, and I went there after I finished whatever it was I was doing at the house. I couldn't find an address on the webpage, so I plugged the store into my map and took off.  And got lost. Siri kept directing me to a bunch of buildings at the store's address, and none of them were Vertical Runner! Then I decided to drive around to see if the store might be nearby.  Nothing. Finally, I called and explained that I was lost, got the REAL address for the store, plugged it in, and arrived to pick up my packet only to find out that. . . it didn't start for another hour.  Sigh. Seriously? I was certain the hours were after 1:00 pm, but when I checked again, I could see that it started at 4pm.  Nothing to do but go to Starbucks and slowly drink a Midnight Mint Mocha Frappucino while reading my daughter's copy of Divergent for the second time. (Hey, it was the only book I had in the car.) Ok, no big deal. I just took up more time than I probably should have, but maybe this was the Universe's way of letting me know I had to relax a little bit.

Do I look relaxed here?



Next fail involved the Green Jewel relay legs. I ran leg two, which I understood to be 16 miles. I don't know why I thought that; in my head I can picture myself looking at the webpage and seeing that distance, but it turns out that I'm the only one who thought it was 16 miles. This really affected how I ran.

It was sooooo hot on the day of the race, and as leg 2,  I started a bit later in the morning, so the temperatures were rising quickly. My partner Marsha was a real badass; she finished her leg and gave her all, giving us a great time. Plus, she said she would move my car to the finish line for me! You may remember that I put it out to the Universe last week that I would need to find a way to my car. Well, first, Kelly, a Burning River Goddess, said she was volunteering at the finish line, and she offered to drive me to my car. This was so awesome of her, and I accepted. Her offer put me in a bit of a worry, though. I didn't want her to have to wait too long for me to arrive, so I was trying to figure out how to rev my engines without dying of heatstroke.  When Marsha offered to move my car, this took the pressure off; I knew it didn't matter at that point how long it took me to run the leg. In retrospect, this is one way I veered offtrack in my running strategy for that day. I texted Kelly at the first aid station in my leg and told her she didn't need to wait for me.

The Green Jewel is a beautiful course. My part ran from Berea to Rocky River to Lakewood, all in the Cleveland Metroparks on a paved path. I was mostly in the shade, thank GOD, and there were really only two hills that I could remember. I know Marsha had lots of uphill work in Leg 1; I know this because she texted me about it. My response: Better you than me, Sister.

There was an aid station at my Mile 5 and another at my Mile 11, and the volunteers were really great. There was plenty of water, Tailwind, pretzels, endurolyte tabs (lifesaver), and GINGER ALE, which is my ultimate favorite running treat.

Here is where things get iffy in my head: Remember that I thought my leg was 16 miles.  At the second aid station, people coming the opposite way were telling me that I was almost done. I brushed it off as their knowing that I looked like I was dying and wanting to encourage me. It was incredibly hot at that point, so I decided to incorporate some walking if I felt like my heart rate was getting too high. I also decided to stop at a bathroom and later at a water fountain to splash my head with water. When I got to mile 14, I saw a hill, and I decided I was going to walk that hill when I reached it. A third of a mile later, a volunteer told me he was going to cross me at an intersection because of all the cars around. I thanked him and started toward the hill, but he stopped me. "Hey," he said pointing down into a parking lot, "there's the finish. Go for it!" Wait. What????

So, yeah. I didn't pay attention to directions, and it kind of cost me some time. I figure I lost at least 6 minutes to screwing around either by walking, hanging out in the aid station, or going to the bathroom.

When I got to the finish, I saw my fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors Pam (and her husband Steve) and Stephanie.

Stephanie took 2nd place AG;Pam took 1st AG. I have a bug on my face that nobody would tell me about.
I didn't bother to check the awards or time sheets, but I should have.  Marsha and I placed 2nd in the Women's Relay!  Yay for us!

There is no way that we could have come in first place; I checked those times, and that duo was CRAZY-FAST, but I am still a little disappointed in myself. Could I have shaved off some time if I had been paying attention? Yes, I'm sure I could have. Ultimately, though, it doesn't really matter. My true goals for this race were to 1. Compete a long run to keep up my mileage, 2. Make sure I don't shame my partner, and 3. Try something different.  I did accomplish those three goals. For my next spontaneous race, I will add a 4th goal: PAY ATTENTION TO DIRECTIONS!!!

Cute medal and shirt!
I hope you pay attention to directions, too! Regardless, make sure you Run Happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Another Race? What?

So, on a whim I signed up for the Green Jewel Relay. The price was right, and I thought this would be a good motivator to keep up my mileage instead of starting from scratch to train for the Akron Marathon. I put out a call to every running group I know, and eventually a sucker nice runner volunteered to join up with me for a total of 50k. Beth, race director for the Medina Half Marathon, will be running the first 15 + miles, and I will be running the next 16 miles. I've never done this race, and I have no clue how it works, but I'm not going to sweat it, Peeps. I'm going to show up at the relay point and hope that I find a way back to my car when I finish. This, by the way, is not a smart strategy, but I have never claimed to be smart. I am putting this out into the Universe: I need to 1. survive the Green Jewel Relay and 2. find a ride back to my car. If you see me, Peeps, I would appreciate some help.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm pathetic and needy.
Today I ran 8 miles with the Goddesses. Everything kind of derailed for me on this run. I had meticulously packed my bag anticipating running 8 miles on the trails with the Goddesses and then finishing about 6-8 more miles on the Towpath. That just didn't work. There was some rain and some thunder and lots of conversation, so when we finished I had run out of time. I had to go home and garden, Peeps, which is THE WORST.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm avoiding gardening.
I saw Pam (fellow Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador) and her husband Steve on their long run completing a 100-mile week. I was really tempted to ask them if I could run with them, but they sensed the desperate-ness and told me that I was technically in taper for the Green Jewel, since I had run a marathon two weeks prior and a half marathon the previous week. It was nice of them to phrase it that way. Anyway, I called it a day.

Now that school is out, I'd like to share my new strategy:

1. Track all my food AGAIN. Always. If I can lose 10 pounds, I can be back to my racing weight.
2. Increase my weekly mileage instead of starting from scratch when training for the Akron Marathon. Of course, I trained for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon during the school year, so I had limited time, but now my goal is to increase my during-the-week mileage (without injuring myself). My theory is that I need much higher mileage to better my time from the Cleveland Marathon.

As I continue to write this summer, I'll show you how I am increasing my mileage safely.

What are you training for? Running any trails lately? Check back next week to see if I got stranded during the Green Jewel.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Race Recap: Medina Half Marathon

The Medina Half Marathon is a tradition for me. I am a teacher at Medina High School, and this race takes place the Saturday after school lets out every year. It is my way of saying goodbye to the school year and to Medina for a brief vacation. It is my way of letting go of the stress and the tears and the sleeplessness of grading and worrying and juggling schedules.

This is part of Medina Square. The course begins and ends here.
Each year I sign up for next year's race at the expo because it is only $38, which is an amazing price for a half marathon with an awesome medal. So, when I signed up for the race for this year, I didn't realize at the time that I would decide to run the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, since I have been running the half for a few years. This meant that I would run 26.2 one week and then 13.1 six days later.



I was committed to both races, so I figured I could walk as much of the Medina race as I needed to if I was still suffering from the marathon.  It turns out that I felt fine after the marathon, so I decided to run the half. Notice that I didn't say that I decided to RACE the half. I think that might have caused an injury, and I didn't want to do anything stupid. Well, more stupid than usual.

As a bonus, Marta from the Burning River Goddesses messaged me and asked if I wanted to run the race with her; she was also still recovering from the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.  Su-weet!

We decided to just run how we felt. . . and we felt pretty good! We decided about halfway through that we could probably shoot for a 2:10 finish.

The course has changed each year, and this year brought fewer hills, which surprised me greatly. I had warned Marta that we would be feeling the hills, and then I kept wondering when we would find them!  One other change from previous years: the race course was much safer in the residential neighborhoods this year. I think that our Medina friends have finally realized that the race is here to stay, and they have learned to live with it. In previous years, I have seen cars weaving among runners, and it was super-dangerous. This year when there were drivers, they listened to the course directors. Kudos to the Race Director for working on this problem.

As we came to the end of the race, I heard my friends shouting my name (thanks, Ailene!), so I found the energy to kick it in gear and sprint. Marta and I finished in 2:10:01.  I'll take it!




It looks painful, right?
 Now for the worst photo finish EVER:

Hahahahaha! So dramatic.
After I walked off the feeling of wanting to throw up, Marta and I took some happy pictures by the Gazebo (which is a Medina-thing):





Then we went to the best after-party EVER: Pizza and beer and a great band sponsored by Stand up for Downs. I drank some Fat Tire (no crappy Michelob Ultra here) and ate some pizza and basked in the sunshine with Marta:

Before we were faking it. Now that we have beer, we are truly happy.
And check out the awesome medal:

There are little sparkles embedded in the medal.
All in all, I give the Medina Half Marathon a big stamp of approval. This race gets better every year. The race directors listen to our feedback and work really hard to make any necessary improvements for the next year, and honestly, there is a lot of bang for your buck. I will continue to make this half my traditional hello to summer.

How do you say hello to summer?  Whatever your tradition, whether it involves racing or not, I hope you run happy, Peeps!

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Race Recap: Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon

I started training for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon without even realizing it. I was doing long runs with a friend, who was training for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and there came a point where I realized I should just go the whole way.  So, I did.

Here is my disclaimer: This is my third year as a Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador. This means that in exchange for sharing my training for the race, I got a free entry, one to give away, and some sweet swag.

I have always enjoyed being an Ambassador, and I ran the Cleveland races before I ever officially blogged about them. You can read about my 10k experience here. I loved that race!

Anyway, this year I upped the ante, even though I knew thorough training for a marathon would be difficult for me given that most of my miles take place before 5:30 AM.  I did it, though:

I ran the miles, sometimes on a treadmill, but more often not.

I did the speedwork.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I do speedwork. I am often chasing a gazelle.


I did the strength training.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I lift weights.  I use my moustache to wipe the sweat from my face.


What I did NOT do was watch my weight, which is what I should have done. I ran this race 10 pounds over my racing weight, and I could feel that difference. In fact, I'm feeling it now!

Anyway, let's not talk about me; let's talk about the race.

I got into Cleveland at 5:30 AM. I was nervous about finding parking at that time, so I decided to park in the Muni lot. This was silly for two reasons: 1. It's a mile away from the start and finish lines. 2. There was PLENTY of parking available.  Anyway, I'm a dufus, and it was probably good for me to walk the extra mile back to the car to stretch my legs a bit.  Yeah. Right.

The weather prediction was thunderstorms, but the sky looked ok at the start, although it was humid. I lined up for pictures with all of my amazing peeps, some who are Ambassadors:
Stephanie, Melissa, Sara, Pam, Jessica, Me, Jamie

and some who are teachers:

Laina, Me, Katie. What is up with my hair???
I started in corral F, and I found the 4:55 pacer there. I asked him about his pacing strategies, and while he seemed like a really nice person, I realized he was a wild card when it came to pacing. My goal was to start with his group and then pull ahead if I was feeling it. It took me all of two miles to decide that I wasn't sticking with this group because a woman kept cutting me off in order to run RIGHT NEXT TO THE PACER. God forbid she get two steps behind or ahead. It didn't matter where I went; she would cross in front of me. I pulled ahead.

My goal was to stick with 11:00/miles, especially in the beginning miles. I felt super good, but I managed to stay between 10:45 and 11 most of the time. At Mile 4, we hit the Flats. This may be my favorite part of the race. We ran up the hill to the Columbus bridge, and the hill was pretty awesome. I am used to hills, so I kept my pace and breathing steady, and I watched the spectacle around me, namely the Pope (or a bishop?) with a pitcher of beer, a man yelling, "Get up that hill!" and some fun signs. Check out this awesome video from Share the River that shows exactly what it was like:




When we reached the top, I made my signature move: I threw my fists in the air and yelled to the almost-silent runners, "YES! I MADE THIS HILL MY BITCH!"

I also enjoyed running through Ohio City, Tremont, and Gordon Square, where I found a man in a Speedo standing on a wall yelling, "Let's have some laughter and fun! C'mon! I'm wearing a Speedo! Look at me!"I am also grateful to Didi (with whom I ran Burning River last year), who found me and cheered for me there.

My second favorite part of the route was the out-and-back on Clifton, even though it started to rain when I got to Mile 14. I like out-and-backs because they give me the opportunity to look for my friends, who are all faster than I am. For the miles going down to Rocky River, I was able to spot Steve (pacing), Ed, Andrew, Stephanie, and Marta. Coming back I concentrated on the gorgeous houses, which definitely helped me take my mind off the pain I was feeling in my legs and feet by Mile 18.

I found a burst of energy at Mile 21 because I had reeled in a man with cool dreadlocks. For a minute we ran side by side, and then I started to drop back and let him go so I could fuel, but I noticed that he also dropped back with me and kept pace. At this point I wondered if we were pacing or racing each other, so I sped up a tiny bit. He sped up with me but didn't pass me, so I realized I had a new running buddy. He kept me going for that mile at a faster than usual pace, and then I decided to go through a water station, so I lost him. I found him after the race and thanked him for getting me through a tough mile.

Coming into the city was hard, but not because of the route, which was fabulous. Aerobically I felt fine, like I should have picked up the pace, but my legs and feet were really hurting, and I knew it wasn't possible to run any faster than I was going. I saw Didi again, and I yelled to her, "I'm dying, Didi, seriously!" but she assured me that I wasn't.

By now I was in the last two miles and it was pouring (but no hail or lightning, thank goodness). I found Lyndsey, who was running this after the Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon, and I told her that we were going to finish strong. I was thinking of walking a few steps, just to stretch my legs, when I heard a dreadful, familiar voice behind me: It was the 4:55 pacer. WTF!!!! I looked at my watch; he was ahead of schedule. I KNEW that guy was a wild card. That was when I decided to get my ass in gear because there was NO WAY that pacer was going to finish ahead of me.

Coming in to the finish was amazing. I heard John Adams, the Indians' drummer, and that was definitely enough to put a smile on my face. I LOVE hearing the drum at the Indians' games.



I ran through a row of American flags, and I found the energy to pick up my legs and the pace for a strong finish. I got my medal, my food and water, and a super-cool towel, and then I got my gear and started back the mile to my car before the stiffness could set in. I looked absolutely pathetic draped in a beach towel, carrying a bunch of stuff and a gear bag, and shuffling painfully to the Muni lot.

I did it. I ran this marathon all by myself like an adult, and I did it without crying and without music. My fellow Ambassadors encouraged me and told me that I had it in me, and they were right. Thank you, Friends, for believing in me when I found it difficult to believe in myself.  I PR'd that bitch by almost a minute and a half. I am proud of myself.

Overall, I have to say that I LOVED this experience. The race course was so interesting and fun for me that I didn't need any music or conversation. The medal and the swag are fabulous. There were plenty of water stops, fuel (including waffles!), and portapotties. The spectators were kind and fun. This has been the best Cleveland race experience I have ever had.

As the race amnesia sets in, I realize how difficult it was for me to train for a full during the schoolyear, but honestly, if the race next year is like this year, I intend to do the full again. Thanks, Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon for an empowering race!
Look at my medal! LOOK AT IT!!!


I'll be back! Will you be there with me? Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

This Is the Moment!

This is it, Peeps. This is the moment for which I've been doing 400s at dark o'clock. This is the reason why I have been putting in insane miles on Sundays when everyone else is eating bagels and reading the newspaper.  This is the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, and I'm running it tomorrow.

I'm not panicking. I'm not. I'm also NOT sitting in the corner in the fetal position, rocking.

The end of the school year timed with tapering has been a bit stressful for me. It was really nice to meet up with my fellow Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors on Friday evening at the VIP Reception after visiting the Expo.

I saw Rachel and Melissa first at the Expo (after I caught Holly on her way out):


We are like Charlie's Angels. . . only more badass.
I also spotted my name on the Ambassador list:

"I'm kind of a big deal." I can't even write that with a straight face.


And I bought a signed copy of Jill's book.
Get your copy and check out the back. You may find a blurb written by someone you know. *cough*



Then I hugged and laughed and took as many selfies as I could with my fellow Ambassadors:

Andrew is so serious now that he wears a tie.

Stephani(e)s squared!

Emily and Jessica

Melissa and I are together again!

The Hyatt Regency. So beautiful

Rachel, Sara, and Melissa

Our traditional group shot.

I missed some Ambassadors, and I hope to get pictures with them tomorrow. . .if I am not hiding under my bed. It was so overwhelming to see everyone, and I got confused about which pictures I took.  I'd like to thank Jack Staph and Ralph Staph for including me in this wonderful experience of blogging for a race I love. I would like to thank Joan Freese, Kayla Henderson, and Mary Sutter for being my guides as a Rite Aid Cleveland Ambassador. Of course, I would like to thank all my fellow Ambassadors, YES, EVEN YOU, ANDREW. You all came into my life at a time where I was certain that I didn't want or need any more friends. I was so wrong.  Most of all, I'd like to thank you, Peeps. It really gets me through the dark times when you tell me that you enjoy my blog or when you comment on any of my posts. Thank you.

Today I spent most of the afternoon working Commencement for Medina High School. This helped me not to fret so much. Then I did some housework and took a looooong nap. I so needed it. Now I'm trying to settle in because this is where the scary head game starts. I've applied my tattoo:


And I've laid out Flat Stephani:

This is the moment, Peeps, the moment where there is no room for self-doubt. I've trained really well; I need to trust the training. I got this; I do.

Will I see you at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon tomorrow?  I hope so. If you do see me, yell something--ANYTHING--at me, even "Your blog sucks!" I will take it as encouragement.

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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

Sunday, May 7, 2017

20 Miler!

This was my second 20 miler ever. The first was the Akron Blue Line run just before the Akron Marathon, and with the heat and the sidewalks and the concrete and the chafing. . .it was brutal.

This is the Blue Line.


This time I decided to run 20 miles on my own terms.

Normally I should have run the 20 miles last week, BUT I DO THINGS ON MY OWN TERMS; didn't you just read that? Instead I ran the Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon, and yes, I know you are waiting for Part Deux of the race recap, but that isn't happening this week, ok?

A few months ago when I was running with Jen and Renee, they both volunteered to help me with the 20 miler, and they suggested I invite the Burning River Goddesses. I did, and they generously stepped up. I did a bowtie of five miles in each direction from Lock 29, and I had a crowd to help me along in the beginning.
I'm a Goddess! I'm the Goddess of NO CHILL!



Marta, who has run OVER 30 MARATHONS and is running the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, stayed with me for the full 20 miles.

We saw deer.

We saw turtles.

We saw herons.

The weather was beautiful, sunny with a chilly wind. Marta and I ran when we wanted to and walked when we needed to, and it was a great time overall.

Marta and I took a pic at the Beaver Marsh (14.44 miles in)


One thing I like about running with the Goddesses is that they are incredibly chill. We all know that I have NO CHILL WHATSOEVER, so it is important to me that I have someone to calm me down.

For the first time in a long time, I woke up this morning excited for a long run.

When we finished, I hugged Marta repeatedly and thanked her and told her how much it meant to me to have someone so experienced running with me. Then she gave me candy. WHAT????
You want this awesome Goddess with you when you run 20 miles.


So, now I am trying to relax with a recovery drink while my intuitive husband takes the kids to the mall and then to dinner so that we can have a nice dinner of steak and wine together.



Today was a good day. If the weather holds out, I feel I will be ready to tackle the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Will you join me? Click here to register!  Don't want to run? Try the link to volunteer; it's so fun to be in the midst of the action without having to hurt yourself.

I feel good, Peeps. I feel like I want to run. I want to run with you. Will you run with me?  I'm waiting to hear from you.

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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


Monday, May 1, 2017

Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon Recap, Part I

The thing about me is EVERYTHING is about me, right? So, Part I of my race recap will be what I learned about myself today.

It's ALL about ME.  Always.


First, my finish time for the half marathon was 2:14:29.  This isn't fabulous, but it isn't totally disgraceful either. A part of me had hoped that I would PR this race, even run it in fewer than two hours, but I knew from the first step that this wouldn't happen.  Why?

1. It was SUPER-HOT today, and it was very muggy, too. I knew that I should readjust my pace when I started sweating profusely in the first two miles. Scary moment: at mile 11 I passed a woman who had collapsed and stopped breathing. Someone was administering CPR. It was awful.

2. I had stomach cramps starting at mile 5. This was because I didn't have adequate bathroom time before the race. You know what I mean. Anyway, I spent a good 3-4 minutes in the portapotty at mile 7.

Guess I shouldn't have eaten this the night before the race.


3.  I am 47 years old. This is a fact. I have not been in super-great shape my whole life; in fact, I started running after I turned 40. I may have hit my PR in the half when I did Akron in 2:00:52.

This is EXACTLY what 47 looks like.



4. I am carrying at least 10 pounds that I shouldn't be carrying, and that isn't even going by race weight. In that scenario, I am carrying at least 15 extra pounds. I feel those 10 pounds every day, so I know they affect my pace. I hope to lose them while training for the Akron Marathon, but we will see.
This is EXACTLY how I look when I need to lose 10-15 pounds.


5. I am currently experiencing a lot of anxiety and stress, and today I started the race completely stressed out. This definitely affects my performance.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm stressed out.



6. I'm just not hungry to race anymore. I don't know if it's marathon training or trail running or age or what, but I don't care to run balls-to-the-wall anymore.

I did learn something positive about myself today. As you may have read, I have been worried about having heart palpitations at unexpected moments of running, twice during races. This has made me reluctant to race; that is why the Pro Football Hall of Fame is my first race of the year. Today I strapped on my heart rate monitor because I wanted to have data in case I experienced any problems.

There were a few times that I felt like I was going to have heart palpitations, so I checked my heart rate during those times. . . and I was completely normal. When that happened, I felt reassured that I wasn't going to have to walk and wheeze for the rest of the race. I told myself that it was in my head, and the feeling passed. Does this mean that it's all in my head? Maybe. I suspect that it is, especially since I've had an electrocardiogram and a blood test with perfectly normal results, but I'm still going to see a cardiologist to make sure. Anyway, it made me feel so much more secure in pushing myself a little bit. . .not that my finish time reflects that.

Also, this is my first race after the implantation of my urethral sling. I can't tell you how my life has changed for the better because of this surgery. Let's leave it with this: no screaming in the shower because of chafing caused by incontinence pads. You know what I mean.

Anyway, I haven't touched on the actual race, so I will save that for a another post. For now, I'm prepared to accept my results and think about how to improve them for future races, specifically for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, which will be my A-race this year.  Wanna join me? Click here to register or volunteer.

Will the Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon be one of those future races? Check back soon to find out.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Psychological Thin Line

This post is late, by my standards, and YOU DON'T CARE AND NEITHER DO I.

I ran 16.2 miles last Sunday. 13.1 of those miles were with Kristin, who is amazing and I love her. The Medina Half Marathon course was the focus for most of our morning.
Kristin and I are front row, second and third from left.


I should have kept going after 16, but I just felt. . .done. So, I stopped.

This is EXACTLY how I look after I run 16.2 miles.

I wanted to remind you about the title of this Blog: Run away from Trouble. I try very hard to keep this blog upbeat and positive, even when circumstances seem glum (see when I broke my foot!), but you need to know that there is a reason that I started to run: I have a lot of crazy to burn off, and I need to run away from my troubles.

Today, after lots of thinly-veiled hints from my daughter that I suck as a mom, and after a long phone call from school about my son (not my first, I might add, and unfortunately probably not my last), I decided I needed to run away.  I strapped on my phone, turned on the music, braided my hair, and took off.

Screw this. Screw everyone. I just want to run away.

It was 81 degrees during my run, and I chose a route with hills, lots of hills. At one point I wanted to cry, but I reminded myself that I was running AWAY from all of that. . .so I tried to live in the moment.

Breathe in for three. . . Breathe out for two. I am strong. Runner. I got this. Runner. Relax-er. Runner.

I ran for five miles, and when I came back, I felt better. My troubles were still there, but I was better equipped to deal with them. I talked through the school day with my son, and I helped him plan a better day for tomorrow. I warned my daughter that until the end of the school year I am psychologically unstable, so she needs to think twice before poking the bear in any way. I showered, went grocery shopping, put the kids to bed, and finally ate some dinner.

Look, I have a lot of crazy in my head. Running is one of the best ways for me to cope. Sometimes running (especially racing) can be equally as stressful for me, but quitting isn't an option. Today I told myself that if quitting the run wasn't an option, quitting my family can't be an option either. We all have miles to go before we sleep; we need to figure out how to best get through those miles. If we are lucky, we can enjoy them.

How do you view running, Peeps? I hope you can Run Happy this week!

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