Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, toddlers, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something



I Have A Need for Speed (3/6-3/19)

I got behind again so its time for another combo post, but I haven’t done much exciting or much “formal” training since the Myrtle Beach Half.

March 6-12

Monday – cross. 45 minutes yoga. Only minimally sore (yay!) but still tired from the race.

45 min of yoga and this is what happens in my family room

Tuesday easy run. 4.75 stroller miles @9:41 average. One advantage of not following a training plan is more runs with the twins, who now spend a good deal of the run asking for their turn.


Wednesday easy-ish run. 6 miles @8:24 average. Some of the track group met to run some hills but I decided against it and ran the trail. It was a warm day, but I was pleasantly surprised that my pace didn’t feel awful, which gives me (some) hope about this summer.

Thursday cross. 30 minutes elliptical/25 minutes strength

Friday rest

Saturday long run 9 miles mostly easy with 2 5k miles for an 8:06 average. I had considered running the Shamrock Shuffle but decided I probably wouldn’t be sufficiently recovered, and I was right. The two 5k miles felt much more difficult than I’d anticipated.

Sunday cross. 55 minutes yoga. Still attempting to stretch out all my tight muscles.


March 13-19

Monday easy. 6 miles @8:19/mi The first part of this run was difficult thanks to my asthma acting up but a 2nd puff of my inhaler did the trick and then it was smooth sailing 🙂

Tuesday cross. 50 minutes yoga My hip started feeling achy sometime Monday night (yay), so I hoped some extra stretching would help.

Wednesday speed/easy. 5.5 miles total. Ran the Catch the Leprechaun 5k, and of course a warm up and cool down. 3.15 miles @ 7:06 pace, and the rest easy.


Thursday cross 30 minutes elliptical, 20 minutes strength. 

Friday rest

Saturday long progression. 10 miles @ 8:05. I was unsure on how to go about this run, and wise man told me to run a progression if I felt like my body could handle it. I went out with a possible plan to start at 8:50, knocking 10 seconds off per mile for 10 miles, which would end at a 7:20. The first couple miles felt great so I went for it, hitting my paces in 8:47, 8:41, 8:29, 8:21, 8:09, 8:00, 7:50, 7:41, 7:31, 7:20. I actually really enjoyed that the first few miles were pretty easy but that it packed a challenge at the end and I’ll definitely be doing more runs like this in the future.

Sunday ride. 12.5 mile ride/16.5 mph. I thought maybe I should get back on my bike since it had been almost a month. Unfortunately I picked a VERY windy day.

Running “season”, for me, is rapidly reaching an end, and I really need to get in the pool and on the bike more. I have one more 5k race and 10k race (well, I’m using race loosely here as its the bridge run and I have no PR expectations) on the calendar and then its time to start trying to not drown and not get run over.

Catch the Leprechaun Race Recap

Catch the  Leprechaun is a popular race held each year around, you guessed it, St. Patricks Day. Since the race is on a weeknight and a 40 minute drive, though, I’ve never raced it before. Luckily, this years’ race happened to fall on speed work night it was easier to justify the evening away.

The weather was calling for about 47 degrees, but a check in the morning revealed that it was also going to be windy. Like,  14 mph gusts windy. So, just in case, I packed 3 sets of clothes. (Hey, can’t say I wasn’t prepared). I left work wearing long sleeves and running tights. I arrived about 5:20 to pick up my number, confident I had chosen the right outfit. Walking to get my bib I was freezing. But when I left my car again to use the restroom, the wind had died down a bit and I got warmer. I discussed my options with 4 different people, because I guess I thought maybe they’d know my typical exercise body temperature enough to tell me if I should change (they didn’t). Upon my return to the car I made a last minute decision to change into my capris and the only t-shirt I had, the race shirt.


Melissa and I ran a quick warm up, threw our jackets into the car and headed for the start where we found John and hung out around the front with him. With 5 minutes to spare we posed for a picture. 17310749_10103652319793728_1681813024_o

But the sun was directly in our faces so we turned around and tried again.


Not much better. I just needed to grow about a foot to block the sun. Or maybe I should have had John stand in the middle. Hindsight.

Catching the Leprechaun is a little mis named, because in reality the person dressed as the Leprechaun waits until most of the group starts running and works his way up to the front. So really you’re trying to avoid HIM catching YOU.

I overshot my abilities at the last 5k, running 2 quick miles and then hitting a 3rd that was more than 15 seconds longer than the first two. So this time I aimed to see if I could run a steady 7:05.

Mile 1 (7:04)

The horn went off and the group began running. As always, I shot out too fast, saw my pace was at a 6:45 and started to slow down. That’s me, in the blue, looking pained. Note how the girl in front of me looks amazing. I hate her a little for that, but I caught up to and passed her before the end of the race so TAKE THAT RANDOM NICE LOOKING RACE PICTURE GIRL!


But I digress. The first quarter mile included a small hill, but overall I felt ok pace wise.

Mile 2 (7:05)

I stayed pretty consistent through most of this mile, and not much to report here. But I felt better than I did in Mile 2 of Charlie Post and hoped this was a good sign for the rest of the race.

Mile 3 (7:12)

Just kidding. I’m not sure what happens when I hit mile 3, but my body is like “sorry honey, this isn’t happening”. I actually started out the mile in the 7:20’s and slowly (and PAINFULLY) increased it to a 7:18, then a 7:18 – back down to a 7:18, and finally up to a 7:12. It was the LONGEST MILE EVER. It was also (dammit) windy.

Last .15 (6:52)

Lord knows where it came from but I was able to kick it a bit faster to the end. I’m sure the downhill helped.

I crossed the finish line in 22:25 – 13 seconds slower than my last 5k. My average pace was exactly the same, but since the course ran longer of course it added time. Sucks because I actually tried to run the tangents this time. Still, I wasn’t disappointed given the wind and wasn’t sure how I’d perform 10 days after the half anyway.

Melissa and I took a pic with the Leprechaun (who did not catch up to me!), where I took a particularly awesome picture with my eyes closed.


On the plus side I won 2nd in my age group and a couple of my speed work friends won something too, so we stood around freezing to death waiting for awards.




Race Time: 22:25 (7:06 average)

Overall: 65/734

Gender: 10/447

Age: 2/61

My Year in Running – 2015


1. My main goal for this 2015 was: finish a post twins marathon

2. My Running Shoes: Asics GT- 2000

3. Favorite running gear item of 2015: Garmin 920xt – technically triathlon but it tracks running too so it counts.

4. Playlist screenshot: My phone is currently not working, so here are my top 10 most played songs (usually while running)

  • Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd
  • The Hills – The Weeknd
  • Worth it – Fifth Harmony
  • Stressed Out – Twenty One Pilots
  • Stand By You – Rachel Platten
  • The Heart Wants What it Wants – Selena Gomez
  • Desire – Meg Myers
  • Politik – Coldplay
  • Most Muse songs
  • Black and Yellow (yes, it has a good beat) – Wiz Khalifa

5. Number of races- Break it down:
5k – 4 (Turtle 5k, Sanagree Sombrero 5k, Moms Run 5k, James Island Connector Run)
10k – 0
Half – 1 (Sweet Tea Half Marathon)
Marathon – 1 (Myrtle Beach Marathon)
Other: 2 sprint triathlons (James Island 1 and James Island 2) and 1 olympic distance triathlon (Kiawah)

6. Most difficult race & why: The Sanagree Sombrero 5k – it was humid that day and my sinuses were angry which made for an interesting race

7. Favorite fun run: Insane Inflatables!!!!!

8. Favorite course: eh, no favorites.

9. Race I want to run again: Mom’s Run

10. Best bling/shirt from a race: I won 3rd in my age group at sweet tea and got a nice glass 🙂

11. PR/PB: Half Marathon – 1:44:48/ Marathon 4:02:48

12. Longest run: 20 miles

13. Out of state runs: none

14. Total miles ran: 971.3 – I would have easily gotten 1000 if I hadn’t aggravated my PSOAS and had to skip some runs. Grrrrr.

15. Favorite motivational/inspirational quote of 2015: Nothing worth doing is easy.

16. Lessons I’ve learned: Don’t take finishing for granted!

17. Injuries I battled and overcame: still battling the aggravated PSOAS but getting better

18. 3-5 Most inspiring people: List their blog, twitter or instagram-wherever you follow them:

  • Tami – girl finished her 5th FULL ironman this year
  • Amy – she works hard, trains hard, and even when she doesn’t do as well as she’d hoped (which usually means she still did pretty well) she has a great attitude about it and just picks up and tries again. You can read her blog here
  • Nicolasa – she is training for the Boston Marathon with Team in Training. You can read her blog here

19. Favorite place on social media to connect with runners: Facebook

20. 2 goals for next year: 1. Finish a Half Ironman 2. PR 2 race distances

Getting My Speed Back (JI Connector 5k)

About six months before we started fertility treatments, I ran my second marathon. A few weeks after that, I ran my fastest 5k to date, albeit still 10-15 seconds under what my goal was. Since having the twins, I’ve been having trouble getting back to where I was before the pregnancy. Granted, I still have more than respectable 5k times, but it irritated me that not only was I was a solid minute slower, I just couldn’t seem to get any faster.

The sad part was, for the first few years of running, I didn’t pay attention to things like pace average – I was just looking a the final number. I am and never was an elite athlete by any means, but my 5k and 10k pace averages were pretty fast and I simply had no idea! Sometimes, I think it was better when I was ignorant, because I look at the pace averages I’d need to have now to meet my previous times and immediately think “crap, I dunno if I can do that”.

But I digress. Over the summer, a group started weekly speedwork, which I’ve been pretty consistent about going to. In starting to train for this marathon, I’ve also put more focus on speed and time.

The James Island Connector Run is a pretty popular run in the area. I ran the 10k a few years ago and swore I would NEVER RUN IT AGAIN. In fact, I referred to it as “the evil”, mostly because the out and back course not only had 6 inclines, but a RIDICULOUS headwind.

Then, amnesia set in. Well, kinda. The same friend was visiting again from Antigua and signed up for this race. I signed up for the 5k this year, thinking that perhaps based on the websites comment that it is a “fast course”, I might be able to see some improvement in my time.

The website lied. And I should have known. It is a bridge after all and so there is going to be at least some incline. There was a finishers medal though, so there’s that.


I was using this race as part of my long run for the weekend, and so the goal was to get as many miles in as possible. I figured I could reasonably race the 5k and still be able to finish the rest of the run, which turned out to be mostly true.

 I ran a mile warm up around the start line and then made my way to the front of the pack with just a couple minutes to spare. I stretched my pyriformis and calves and then got ready to run, wondering if I had missed anything (this will become significant later).

There isn’t a ton to report in a 5k, because its really just 3.1 miles of pain and discomfort (at least in my experience), or as my friend Amy would say “a ride on the pain train”. The first incline was the steepest though it didn’t feel too terrible (at the time) and I finished the first mile in 7:10. Too fast, considering the incline but I hadn’t really been factoring that in at the time.

This was advertised as a "fast" 5k course...with 3 hills. Liars.
This was advertised as a “fast” 5k course…with 3 hills. Liars.

It was also about this point that it was confirmed that I was overdressed. I tend to warm up quickly and the fact that I was already uncomfortable was not a good sign. But I pressed on, finishing mile 2 in 7:15. Again, probably too fast considering the second incline.

It was between miles 2-3 that the trouble started. The final mile had a tiny incline in comparison to the first two, but by the time I got there my quads were on fire (and that would be what I forgot to stretch) and I just died. I died a horrible 5k death. I walked not once, not twice, but THREE times in that mile, clocking in at a miserable 7:48. I was practically counting steps to get myself to the end without walking again when my eye caught the time clock and noticed it still reading 22:xx. I have no idea where it came from, but dammit if I was going to cross that finish line in a 22:59 even if it meant I puked at the end. Some poor dude was racing me to the end probably thinking I was trying to beat him, but I didn’t have the energy in me to tell him not to bother – I didn’t give a crap about beating HIM.

My watch read 23:02 at the finish. Crap. But then I realized my watch read 23:02 for 3.14 miles, and so I took my pace average and figured out that my finish time for 3.1 miles was 22:50, which I was totally counting as my time now. This is about 25 seconds faster than my most recent 5k time, and considering the hills, I was totally happy with it.

I jogged back with Kim in attempt to accrue some more mileage and went to wait for the awards with 9 miles under my belt. I had about medium hopes for an award and come to find out not only did I score 3rd place in my age group, but my finish time registered as 22:59 (and I didn’t even throw up)!

A wise woman mentioned to me that since I was racing, I could subtract 3 miles from my run that day (18 to 15) because I was working harder and the benefit would be the same. Sounds good to me, so after some water, food and chit chat I headed out for the final 6 miles.


By the last 2 miles I was REALLY struggling though, so even if I hadn’t been able to subtract some miles I likely would have been done at 15 anyway (Until I re-did the math later and realized I actually did 14).

In the end, not quite back to my old time yet, but I think I can get there!

Moms Run 5k

I think Mother’s Day will always be a little bittersweet. As excited as I am to now be able to celebrate it, I also think back to how much I dreaded it before our successful IVF cycle. Yes, it was a day to celebrate my own mom. Still, it and the several weeks before were a constant reminder that not only was I not yet a mother, but that there was no guarantee I’d ever be.

Anyone who has ever read this blog knows how important running is to me. It has helped me through stress and infertility. It has helped me stay healthy. I hoped to be able to share it with my future kids, and looked forward to the day when we could all run together.

The Mom’s Run takes place on Mothers Day weekend, and funds go to help Charleston Postpartum Depression Support. Although most 5k’s allow strollers, all (that I know of) require you to start in the back of the pack. This run not only allows strollers up front, but has awards specifically for those with strollers.

Ready to run
Ready to run

The race started at Blackbaud Stadium and ran through a few nice local neighborhoods.  Abby exclaimed “weeee!” I stayed with another girl pushing a stroller through most of it, though she was ahead of me more than I was ahead of her. I finished literally steps behind her, and thought that I had possibly even finished 3rd (stroller, that is). It was a nice course, with water every mile or so. There was an incline and headwind at the end, so that sucked, but otherwise I had no complaints 🙂

Bryan took a video:

Afterwards they had a “family fun day” with vendors and music.

We hung out for awhile. I put Abby in jump castle but she just sat there. She did enjoy some dancing:

Eventually I found the results and found that I had, literally, JUST missed third place. The girl who was two steps ahead of me took it. I was bummed because I would have really liked to add a Moms Run medal to my collection. Unfortunately for me, they don’t distinguish between single and double strollers so even though I was the first double through, I still missed it. I blame the extra 25 lbs I was pushing. 🙂 Overall though, I was happy with my 25:05 finish time, or 8:05/mile, especially considering I was pushing 55 lbs. (The girl who won ran in 20 minutes and some change – with a stroller).

Look forward to next year.

Sangaree Sombrero 5k

Races are fewer and farther between around here when the weather starts to get warmer, but if you look you can usually still find a good 5k to run. I had hoped to run one in April but opted out after I just couldn’t get the tightness out of my back. My running buddy that I met at Dicks Sporting Goods (not kidding) was also running this one, so what better than a race and an excuse to get together?

This, like my last 5k, was its first year. It was held at a local Middle School and funds from the race were used toward a digital road sign. It was small, but well put together. The race began at the school and from there basically did a 1.5 mile out and back. Water was offered around the halfway point and bananas at the end. Awards were given for male and female overall and then 10 year age groups.

After 3 weeks of track speed work and as part of my Plexus Trial, I was aiming to PR. I REALLY hoped to see a finish time in the 22’s.  Unfortunately, my sinuses hated me that morning, and I spent part of the run trying not to spit on people (gross, yes).

I started out at the front of the pack and passed a couple people, but could never quite catch the only girl ahead of me. I ended up placing 5th overall, 2nd female and 1st in my age group though, so I wasn’t complaining. And I did manage to PR with a finish time of 23:16. Lynnsey took home 3rd :).

Overall I felt that, for a first year, the Turtle put together a better race and better prizes (I’m never a fan of 10 year age groups). It was money being raised for the school though, and given the option I’d run it again.

One day I will see that 22 minute finish time again!

I Won a Race! (Turtle 5k)

I’ll admit it, I’m a little more than a little competitive. With other people, yes, but also with myself. I am no good at running races “for fun” have been known to not run one if I know I have no chance of at least achieving a personal record.

Sad, isn’t it?

So I wanted something to train for after the Myrtle Beach Marathon and thought that a 5k PR would do the trick, except I didn’t anticipate that it would take so long to not only get back into running, but more formal training (i.e. intervals, speed work etc). When I did run, I just wanted it to be easy, fluff miles. I did do some intervals but my heart wasn’t totally in it and my time showed. I wanted to have a race to run in March though, and it seemed like this one was small so I might have a chance to win something (see? competitive) so I stuck with the plan.

The Turtle 5k (ironically named if you ask me) supported Meals on Wheels and was in honor of Lena Cox, a long time volunteer for Meals on Wheels. She was nicknamed the turtle because she believed very much in the perseverance lesson involved in the story “The Tortise and the Hare”.

The race was an easy out and back on a local bike/running trail, with the awards at a church within walking distance (literally down the street). They made a few announcements and we were on our way.

I’m historically not a very smart racer because the adrenaline of running a race tends to take over and I end up running my fastest mile at the beginning and suffering through the end. After the success starting more slowly with the marathon I really tried to do the same here. I was mostly successful. I stayed behind another girl and ran Mile 1 in 7:34. The turn on a dime was slightly annoying but really no big deal, and I high fived the other runners on the way back to keep myself from going to quickly and ran Mile 2 in 7:36. I had hoped to speed it up a little, but you live you learn. Mile 3 I tried to turn it up and did but not as much as I had hoped, finishing in 7:21. I was literally one second behind some 12 year old kid the entire last mile and the poor kid kept trying to speed up to stay ahead, while I was thinking “no worries buddy I don’t have the energy to beat you.”

My clock finish time was 23:22, the EXACT same time as my last 5k, but my watch time was 23:21, so that’s what I’m going with. Hey, a PR is a PR, even if its only one second.

Post race they had water and a good assortment of food choices particularly for such a small race. Doughnuts, cupcakes, fruit, granola bars and water. It took awhile for all the runners to finish and awards to start, but my dad had come along to watch the twins so they kept us entertained while we waited.


I’m not a slow runner but I’m not amazingly fast either. Sometimes results in races are just as much in who shows up as how fast you run. This race was my lucky day because not only did I win a medal, I won OVERALL FEMALE! And as an added bonus, got a $50 gift card to a local restaurant!


We tried to take a celebration picture, but you know how those go.

Great mom, you won. Where's our snack?
Great mom, you won. Where’s our snack?

So, time wise, not my best race ever. I’m still struggling to get back to where I was before the twins were born, but it was a good time and frankly, it was awesome to win overall!

It is just fun to see my name here, even if I'm not SUPER speedy
It is just fun to see my name here, even if I’m not SUPER speedy

Marathon Training Recap – Week 11

You’d think by the 3rd go round I’d remember that trying to train for a marathon during the holidays is exhausting, but perhaps I’m driven by visions of all the cookies, chocolate and fudge I can eat guilt free. It wouldn’t be the first time chocolate has driven my motivation.

Monday – I broke my no running back to back rule this week because i knew that in order to get 6 miles on Tuesday I’d have to get up at 515am and run it on the treadmill. No, thank you. 3 easy miles today because my back felt tight. Ugh. I had a FABULOUS massage later, though, and the chiropractor gave me a complimentary adjustment. Win.

Tuesday – 3 treadmill miles. I ran without  my orthotics today, and didn’t notice any tinging in my leg.

Wednesday – I had planned to do yoga but honestly was exhausted, so I took a rest day.

Thursday – 7.5 miles The first few miles felt awesome, and then the characteristic tingling happened again around mile 5. ARG. The last two were uneventful, thankfully. I should note that I was running in my orthotics this time. By the time I was at the end of the day at work, I felt what I can only describe as pressure in my lower back. After the twins went to bed I hung on the inversion table for a few minutes and used the massager on my hamstring and pyriformis muscles. Huge help

Friday – rest day

Saturday – This weeks long run ended up split into an interesting combination. As I mentioned last week, Bryan is now teaching on Saturdays. I signed up for a 5k a few weeks ago and my sister so nicely offered to watch the twins since they were calling for rain (I had originally planned to push them). So my run was split like this:

1.7 mile warm up before race (honestly I was just trying to log as much as possible) at 8:44/mile

3.1 mile 5k race at 7:27/mile (I almost threw up at the end, for real)

.75 mile cool down at 8:55/mile

Pick up twins from my sisters, take them home and feed them lunch. Put them down for a nap.

8 torturous miles on the treadmill at 9:22/mile. Took a water and inversion break at 4 miles. Streamed Gilmore Girls on netflix to kill the hamster wheel boredom.

4.5 miles outside when Bryan got home (luckily right after I finished the 8 miles) at 8:50/mile

And NO leg tingling!! (and no orthotics….hmmm)

I mean, you do what you gotta do, right?

Sunday – I worked at a nursing home this morning and quite frankly, am still exhausted. I had planned to do some yoga today but may just end up doing some stretching and take another rest day. I am seriously pooped. Other than some muscle soreness though my back feels great! yay!

Total miles: 31.5

Why I’ll Never Be a Night Runner (i5k)

My brother in law registered me for this evening race months ago and honestly up until a few days before I completely forgot about it. I am generally more of a morning person. By that I don’t mean that I wake up, jump out of bed and jubilantly open the curtains while singing about what a beautiful day it is (you’re asking for at least a healthy shut up for that kind of insanity, and that’s only if the listener is exceptionally nice). I mean that I am most motivated in the morning. If possible, I prefer to start my day with exercise because I feel like it helps me through the rest of the day. Plus, I don’t then spend all day thinking “I still have to work out.”

In case the previous paragraph didn’t make it clear, I’m not much of a night runner, and this 5k proves that I’m also not much of a night racer. I looked forward to the downtown course that was supposed to take us by the Charleston Battery (but didn’t due to construction) as we don’t make it downtown nearly as often as we should. It’s one of the larger 5k races I’ve participated in (nearly 900 runners) and many sported some cool costumes (including an inflatable bull, which I forgot to take a picture of). I ran into my old running buddy who I haven’t seen in awhile and as with any race, the simple fact that it was a race pumped up my adrenaline a bit.

That’s about where the fun ended.

Thanks to my fairly recent asthma diagnosis, I start out most runs with a couple puffs of my inhaler. I must have had some kind of premonition though, because I decided to bring it with me this time.

asthma girl is ready to race
asthma girl is ready to race

Once the gun went off, I made the mistake (AGAIN) of starting out too fast – WAY too fast. There was a fairly strong headwind for much of the race, I had to stop and catch my breath twice and once had to pull my inhaler out of my belt to take a puff as I ran. I spent much of miles 2 and 3 trying not to puke (proving my theory that I don’t run well after eating, even though I had eaten 2.5 hours earlier) while fighting wind, inhaler in hand.

Still, by some miracle I managed to finish in 24:14 and earn myself a new post baby PR, trailing the 3rd finisher in my age group by a mere 10 seconds. Don’t ask me how, because I have no idea.

So, maybe it wasn’t so bad, but I think I’ll stick to morning races anyway.

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