Just One More Mile

Still reeling from this marathon high...

When I think back to the pain I felt and my growing desire to quit as I ran 10 miles uphill, I am impressed that I was able to push my body through boundaries it had never passed before. I kept telling myself "Just one more mile, then you can quit." Once I reached that mile, I let it pass knowing that I could endure the pain for a bit longer. My hips burned, my ankle screamed, and my fingers were numb. Still, I grunted through it. Cursed even. I found myself speaking to the pavement about how badly everything hurt since there was not a single runner around me I could talk to.

Then I saw the the sign for mile 25 and realized that I was at the end of this grueling race. After 4 hours and 20 minutes of running, I had only 10 minutes to go until I crossed the finish line. In 10 minutes, I would be able to sit down, I would see my husband, and I could shovel whatever food they had in my mouth. Are those few things worth the pain of running a marathon? Absolutely!

You never realize how amazing the visual of your spouse or your family is after putting your body through hell. The sight of them can bring tears of joy to your eyes because you know that you are okay and they are there for you! You never realized how good food tastes until your body is starved from hours of exercise. You never realized how good it feels to relax on a couch after being on your feet for 26.2 miles.

I have become more thankful of my body and how strong it truly is. I feel like a machine sometimes! I have become more thankful of my mind and how powerful it really is. Five years ago, I didn't know if I had the strength to continue living each day, but after pushing myself through 26 miles once again with the simple thought, "just one more mile," I was able to get through something that was so challenging for me.

Race Recap: The Queen City Marathon for Active Water

I did it! I finally got around to running marathon #2 after an entire year!

In all honesty, I never truly got amped up for this one since it was just in the training plan for the Rock n Roll Marathon in San Diego, but I was wrong about how meaningful that finishing this race was to me.

The week prior to the race, that's when I actually decided to research the course. I knew it was on the C&O Canal and that it would transition on to the Great Allegheny Passage, but what I did not know was that this so-called "gradual, steady incline" was a bit more than I expected.

That there, my friends, is an incline of about 800 feet for 10 miles! So I took to Facebook and asked those who have run before what to expect with this 10 mile battle. Here are some of the responses:

"Not steep, but unrelenting for the better part of 10 miles. So, not easy either."
"It's roughly an average of 4 to 5% with some spots of 7%. Your typical Interstate off ramp is about 4%. The up side is that the last 10 miles are downhill and flat to the finish!"
"It's a grind so be mentally tough."
I'm just going to pretend it's flat." - My favorite

I got a bit nervous, but I tried to remind myself, I have run some pretty steep inclines in my time and have conquered them. A gradual incline shouldn't be a bad thing...right?

On marathon eve, I carbed up (gluten included!) so I was ready to conquer this 10 mile hill. I was more worried about that than distance or time!

We went to Olive Garden where I pigged out on breadsticks, flatbread, and seafood alfredo!

I also threw in a 2 miler just to reactivate my legs for the big day.

I went to bed early that night, as I needed to get up to travel over an hour to get to the race on time. I was NOT prepared for the cold.

Literally, the day before it said that it would be around 40 degrees at 8am. So, I packed shorts and a t-shirt to wear. Thank God I had a running jacket and opted for compression socks because that race did not see anything over the 20 degree range. I also wore wool gloves since I didn't think I would need my running gloves.

Don't be fooled by my smile, I am freezing!!!

The race started promptly at 8 and I was relieved to be running. At least the blood would start pumping through my freezing veins.

The course started on mile 184 of the C&O Canal (I typically run around mile marker 81 at home). This part was relatively flat and follows along the Potomac River. I must say, I was expecting the canal portion to be much like my usual route at home, but it was not. I was not surrounded by trees and wildlife, which is what I prefer. Everything was quite open and the path was just...different. Needless to say, I was disappointed that it was not like home, but hey, it was a great warm up, still scenic and no hills. Yay!

After about 3 miles of canal running, you are prompted to turn around and return near the start. I was able to catch a glimpse of Peter and told him how cold it was.

He just laughed and told me that I would get over it.

I made my way towards the Great Allegheny passage, which was, from what I understood, to be where that "gradual incline" was waiting for me. I was worried but tried to remember that as soon as I climbed that hill, I had 10 miles to run down it.

At first, it didn't seem so bad. You could barely notice that you were even going uphill. Yet, it seemed that after a few miles of the climb, it started to wear on you. For me, that wear was on my hips.

You can barely see an incline in pictures, but it is there!! Oh and don't worry, that smile...


I was so uncomfortable. At some points, my cheeks stung because of the frigid wind blowing directly in my face. At times, my legs were so numb it didn't feel like I was wearing shorts (nothing is worse than thinking somehow you lost your shorts during a marathon). Hell, it even snowed while making my way up!

At about mile 10-12, my bottle froze as I made my way up in elevation. I couldn't drink through the nozzle which was super frustrating. I stopped only once to unscrew the cap to sip out of it, but I hated stopping and restarting because I ultimately wanted to walk back to Peter.

Yet another fake smile.

Since I was ahead of my set pace, I played with the thought of walking for a few minutes, running for a few, etc, but I knew better. I knew that if I started walking, I would give up.I just trucked on until I reached about 16 miles. That was where the long-awaited turn around spot was.

Three lovely ladies sat atop the hill and cheered as I reached the turn around. I managed to say aloud "Oh thank the Lord that's over!!!" I started sailing down the hill, but it only provided some relief. The damage that hill did to my hips was done. They hurt so bad and although I was able to get some of my miles under a 10 minute pace (my average pace goal was 10:30-11), my hips screamed.

With every mile that passed, I continued to play with the thought of walking for just a few minutes and starting again. I thought that the walk may reset the pain, but I pushed the thought away as I reached every mile. The only time I stopped was to grab a sandwich cookie (I haven't had one in months!) at an aid station at mile 21. I deserved it with the pain I was experiencing. The volunteers were like "Do you need water?" I answered honestly, "I'm just here for the cookies."

As I started loosing elevation, my bottle finally began to melt and I was able to drink again and somehow, I was passing people left and right. I didn't understand how it was possible since I was in some serious pain.

Yet, I still managed to smile AND give a thumbs up!

Once I reached flat land around mile 24, I was in no-man's land. I didn't see a single person in front of me and I couldn't see anyone behind me either. This allowed me to talk out loud about the pain I was experiencing. I think it helps to verbally talk about pain. I definitely let out some audible grunts and curse words as I went from gravel to concrete and pavement, but the finish line was right around the corner so the pain would be over (in a sense) very soon!

I don't know what it is about finish lines, but I get a boost to tear through that finish line like I just started the race. Once I stopped though, I felt like I was hit by a bus. All the race volunteers looked at me, asking if I were okay, if I needed a blanket, but honestly, stretching was the first thing on my mind. I wasn't even cold anymore. It was probably because I was numb.

So after getting my medal, which was pretty sweet...

I sat myself in the grass, did a few stretches, and then decided it was time to go. I grabbed a cookie and a cup of soup to join me, but I was ready to be on my couch. My hips were killing me so walking to the car proved difficult. Once I sat down on those heated seats, ah, it was a feeling like no other.

Here's the stats from my run.

My goal for this race was 4:45 only because that is the women's JFK 50 qualifying marathon time. Since my only marathon was at 4:47, the only way I could participate was running for charity. I have no problem doing so, but there is also joy in running a race because you qualify! So the fact that I not only beat the qualifying time by 15 minutes, I also beat my best by 17 minutes! I also got second in my age group (though there were only 4 of us...still!). So I think I deserved eating a whole large pizza to myself yesterday.

As for my review of the marathon, I loved the volunteers. They were ultimately what made this race come alive. They stood in the bitter cold cheering us on and I NEEDED that. But I don't think I will participate in Queen City in upcoming years. Not because it wasn't a great race, but because I told myself last year, no more March marathons! The weather is unpredictable and it's hard to properly train when there's snow storms coming at you every few days. Still, I give this race a 7/10!

1. What is the worst incline you have ever dealt with in a race? What made it so hard? Aside from this race, one of the worst inclines was at the Freedom Run 2013. They had to alter the course due to the Government Shutdown. We had some dramatic climbs, one which was at the end. It ultimately led to the slowest half I ever ran in a race.

2. How do you cope with pain when barely halfway through a race? I try to remember what is waiting for me at the end. Like Peter or pizza. I also try to keep the mentality "just one more mile." It has helped me in several 20+ mile runs.

3. Do you try to stretch immediately after finishing a race? I don't typically. But this year, I have made it a point to stretch after runs and running a marathon race is no exception to this rule!

4. What body part do you find hurts most after competing? Almost always, my hips get really sore. And my lower back.

5. What is your favorite food to eat after a completing a race? Pizza is my go to when I run anything over 20. Or Chipotle.

Silent Saturday: Marathon #2 in the Books

So I ran a marathon this morning. And it was freezing. Don't be fooled by my shorts.

Not gotta lie. I kinda kicked ass. More later!

Marathon Training: Week 5, 20 miles & Sunburns

So let's rewind back to March 8th, Week 5 of marathon training.

MARCH 8-14
13.1 MILES

We start the week with the time change (I love Daylight Savings, by the way) and a 20 miler. It would be my last 20 miler before my "practice" marathon on the 28th and I was running out of ideas of where to run. I feel like I have literally run every where in Boonsboro, Sharpsburg, and Williamsport. I have been forced off the canal due to areas which were closed off due to ice from the river, so I decided to try something new: an out and back from my house to Shepherdstown, WV. It would be the first time I took a long run over statelines, so that seemed pretty cool.

It was a lot warmer than what I was used to. It was like we had a heat wave hit us. I believe it was in the high 40s or low 50s that day. Yet, I wasn't ready to sacrifice my long sleeved shirts and running capris.

The run to Shepherdstown was...ok. Though the weather was warm, a lot of shoulders and sidewalks were still covered in snow and ice. It took a lot of energy from me to avoid tripping. It had me wondering if I could make it the whole way once I reached the halfway point.

At least it was pretty out, right?

When I made it back into Sharpsburg around mile 15, I was ready to call it quits. I stopped to eat some almonds and chocolate, but my body felt as if it were at its limit. Yet, I didn't want to give up. I needed this 20 miler. It was the plan. I had to stick with it despite my desire to quit.

Around mile 17, I was walking the hills. I would try my damned hardest to make it as far as I could up the hill without stopping, but my body wouldn't have it. I felt a little guilty for the walking breaks, but I reminded myself that many ultra-marathoners do this and in November, I will be an ultra-marathoner. This is my preparation. I also had Chipotle waiting for me. Great motivation!

When I finally made it home, I wanted to just lay down and cry. Instead, I stretched and then gorged myself in burrito bol goodness. 

Later that evening, I received my first sun burn of the year from that run...

Anyway, since my 5 milers weren't that exciting and my half marathon was already recapped, I won't go over those! All I hope is that my marathon next Saturday will go a lot smoother than my 20 miler. In the very least, it won't have such crazy hills as the 20 miler did. 

Time to taper!!! :)

Race Recap: The Saint Patrick's Day Run Fest Half Marathon

The blog entries are just going to be BOOMING for the next few days! I have a race recap and 2 recipes to share! Also, I need to cover the last week of my marathon training. But, I am going to start with the recap as it is fresh in my mind!

The Saint Patrick's Day Run Fest has been going on in Hagerstown, Maryland for a few years now, but I have not participated yet. I am all about local races, but this one was always at a funky time in a training schedule. Like last year, it was the same weekend as my first marathon in DC. This year, I was tempted to skip it as they normally only offer a 5k. I didn't like a 3.1 mile run would really benefit my marathon training.

To my surprise, Hagerstown decided to add both an 8k and a half marathon! To my knowledge, Hagerstown has never offered a half marathon, so I was super giddy about registering. I wanted to be a part of the inaugural half marathon in the town. I have never been able to participate in any 1st annual half marathon, so this was something I had to do!

I was even more amped about the course.

It guided you through downtown Hagerstown into Halfway, which is a small town that sits halfway between Williamsport and Hagerstown (get it?). Just a small part of the course actually gave you view of my family's store and farm which was another reason I had to do this race. It also took you through Halfway's Marty Snook Park. I have run that a few times over the summer so I knew what to expect.

Later in the race, you would also be running through Hagerstown's City Park, which I have many memories at! It was the cool place to go to get your prom pictures taken or hang out at after school.

Lindsey of 2006

 Fun fact: I fell into one of the ponds as a kid when I tried feeding the ducks.

Lindsey of 2006
Anyway, race day started at around 8:45 for me. I had to get there for packet pick up at Bulls & Bears Restaurant and before road closures were implemented at 9. Most of the participants stayed in Bulls & Bears due to rain. It was not ideal racing conditions, so we wanted to remain as dry as possible. I remained indoors snuggling up to Peter until they called us out to the starting like around 9:45. At that point, the rain was just spitting at us, but it was chillier than I anticipated.

I stood among very excited and green participants. I seemed to stand out from wearing my black jacket and yellow running hat.

Found from a fellow participant on the race's Facebook page
I don't get nervous pre-race like I used to. Especially for this one. It was a part of my training schedule and whether I did well or not, I was there to get my miles in. So when the gun went off, I wasn't going peddle to the metal. I just casually went for it, but things got a little hairy early on.

Since there were 3 races going on at once, we all had to separate to achieve the correct distance. I ended up taking the 8k route until I got turned around by one of the race volunteers. I was a little angry that it happened, but I later thought that this was an inaugural race, there were going to be some hiccups. Later, I ended up having to stop for traffic, which also angered me a little. The cops manning the intersection apologized, but it was the drivers. They continued driving through to avoid waiting. How rude!

Once I got through those areas, it was smooth sailing. There were very few hills for the first half. Those came more frequently once you arrived to Marty Snook Park. I expected one of the good ones which was on the trail, but it was the ones which followed in the surrounding neighborhoods which caught me off guard, but everything leveled out from about mile 8-11. It was when you reached City Park that there was a bit of a grueling climb.

This was when I past my first runner in miles! I ran up the hill when I believe he stopped. Then, I was greeted by a water stop near the crest of the hill, but skipped it to catch the next runner. I trailed her for a good half mile, but was able to pass her at another hill nearing the end. I could hear her tailing me as we came down a steep hill, but the competitor in me came out. No matter how exhausted I can feel nearing the end of a race, I will push it through the finish line with a smile on.

The official finish time was 1:51:39. It's not my best, but PRs have been few and far between. I am not going to get up in a rut about it! Besides, this was never a race I was trying to be really competitive with anyway. Not with a marathon right around the corner!

Anyway, despite some of the course confusion and traffic issues, I can't complain about this run! It was fun, challenging, and went right around the areas which I grew up! I would hope they would receive more half marathon participants in future years because it has potential to get huge! I could definitely see myself competing there again.

Recipe Time: Peanut Butter Bananarama Cookies

No Sugar. No Flour. 100% flavor with only 4 simple ingredients! Since I have greatly reduced my sugar intake, I have had to get a little more creative (and healthy!) ways to help kick cravings. This one, did not disappoint!

Have any of you ever tried those 2, 3, or 4 ingredient recipes? I exposed myself to my first this past holiday season. It was a three-ingredient peanut butter cookie. They were super heavy, but delicious nonetheless. So, I decided to take make my own rendition of the recipe to make it more delicious and nutritious!

The first ingredient: 2 bananas. I opted out of using a super ripe banana so it wouldn't make them too sweet (I am trying to avoid too much sweetness anyway). I put this in my mixing bowl first to mash it up. I left it somewhat chunky though to give a unique texture to my cookies.

The next ingredient we have here is obviously peanut butter! For this recipe, I used an all natural creamy peanut butter. Any peanut butter would do though, creamy or crunchy!

The third ingredient was Gluten-Free Rolled Oats.

Finally, I added 1 tsp of cinnamon. It is my new favorite spice lately! Because I am not adding sugar, I feel that this flavor is the next best thing!

I mixed the ingredients in a single bowl with the mashed banana. Then, I rolled them into about 1 inch balls and placed them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

After baking at 350 for 12 minutes, I had these mini treats, which looks exactly like the photo above! But as you can see, they don't flatten out like pancakes, which is a plus!

I left them cool so that they could hold their shape, but they still have the consistency of a no-bake. Baking them just allows the sticky-ness to subside and so they don't easily fall apart. They were absolutely perfect! Filling and would satisfy your sweet tooth! And not to mention, they are gluten-free, vegan friendly, and have no additional sugar other than what comes in your banana or natural peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Bananarama Cookies
Recipe makes about 18-20 cookies

2 Bananas (Ripeness is at your discretion)
1 C Peanut Butter
1/4 C Gluten-Free (or regular) Rolled Oats
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, mash banana until desired consistency. Add peanut butter, oats, and cinnamon. Mix until well-blended.
3. Using a spoon place a spoonful of the batter on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool before enjoying so that they hold their shape.

Runners LOVE Yoga, The Yoga Collective Membership Contest

One of my goals for 2015 was to do more yoga. I have become envious of those I see posting photos of their back bends, headstands, and array of flexible poses. I, on the other hand, am probably one of the most inflexible people in the world. This quality (or lack thereof) has more than likely helped contribute to my numerous running injuries. So, I thought that I would give yoga a try and see where it would take me.

This is not how you do a back-bend.

I am truly a beginner, so I have been sticking to the basics for the last few months in effort of perfecting them. The best I can do is pose good while laying on the mat, so that's all you are going to see from me until I get better.

Although I have a long way to go before I would ever consider myself a yogi, I have noticed major improvements in my flexibility. Not only that, yoga has really helped clean my mind. I find that I feel refreshed mentally when I do it. It's perfect for before or after work just to put yourself in the proper mindset! I couldn't imagine life without it!

Just the other week, I was given the option of having a year membership to The Yoga Collective, an online yoga community with high def classes which you can access at any time! I did not hesitate in accepting the offer. They have wide variety of videos that can satisfy any yoga enthusiast. Whether you are a beginner (me) or an expert, have all day or no time at all, they have a yoga video for you! The Yoga Collective even has online yoga videos that focus on balance, flexibility, back bends, meditation, and more!

When I logged in for the first time, I was overwhelmed by all of the videos that filled my screen! I wanted to try them all! But, I started with my major concern, flexibility! I went for the Yin Deep Stretch video which was great for a beginner, like myself. It was very slow-moving and relaxing. There it didn't change from pose to pose to quickly which I loved. In videos I have tried in the past, I felt that they moved me out of a pose too quickly and I never was able to take full advantage of it. The instructor was also amazing. She was confident and walked you through every move. She never advised to move too quickly or push into a move past the point of comfort.

I believe that The Yoga Collective is something great to take advantage of for both mind and body health, which is why I am giving away TWO 1 year memberships to the Yoga Collective (A $130 value!). All you have to do is follow the steps using rafflecopter below! The more you do, the more entries you get!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway ends 3/21, so enter now!

Marathon Training: Week 3 & 4, Reduced Sugar Update

Got a little behind in updating you all on my marathon training. So here's the breakdown of the last 2 weeks!


I had some mishaps during week three. I skipped a run and a day of yoga, but I blame that on going to the Ralphie May show on Wednesday night. I didn't want to do next to anything on Thursday. I was a grump! It is hard for me to stay out late on a weeknight and having the ability to workout the next day.

Week 4 went a lot better though! I think that is because I finished up my class early in the week, so I didn't feel as mentally drained. In fact, after my final exam, I immediately came home and hit the treadmill! That I was not expecting.

I have gained back some of my sanity, I suppose. It's a relief class is over. I think that will definitely help me get back on board with my training plan. I also was able to hit the road on Saturday for the first time in weeks!!! Outdoor running, warmer weather...I am ready to get some miles in!

I also wanted to update you all on my no reduced sugar attempt. It has gone REALLY well! I have allowed myself fruit and a piece of Dove dark chocolate every day, but other than that, I have been sticking with veggies and protein. I have even started taking Omega 3s. I have increased my water intake and have been drinking more tea when I have a sugar craving. Surprisingly, tea without sugar has been really good! I also packed myself up a jar of almonds in the case that I have a craving tea will not cure.

I have started drinking dryer wines as my alcohol intake to also help reduce sugar.

I guess I could just kick alcohol together, BUT I look forward to decompressing after a long week. So instead of having rum and coke, Irish trashcans, or long island iced teas, I am drinking some red wines. Of course they will still have some sugar content to them, but it is greatly reduced from what I was drinking.

I definitely recommend anyone make the attempt to reduce their sugar intake. You will feel better and look better. My skin is already beginning to clear up, my stomach bloating is going back down, and my energy is spiking. I cleaned the house on Thursday evening after running. I NEVER do that on a work night. What's wrong with me?

Anyway, I am off work today and am taking advantage of the extra time! Getting my garden seeds started and am going out to buy more this afternoon after lunch.

I cannot wait for garden fresh veggies! They will be here before you know it!

Have a great Monday all!

What is your favorite sweet that would be hard for you to get rid of in a diet?

What is your wine preference?

What fresh veggies are you looking forward to growing/eating?

The Sugar Free Challenge

***I actually wrote this entry on Sunday and had no idea that I didn't post it! So it is a little dated!***

I have fallen off the deep end. At least, that is what it feels like to me. I am one who suffers from eating copious amounts of food when I am stressed and it's starting to show.

From acne, to weight gain, to just feeling bad, my eating habits have really taken their toll. Not to mention, I've strayed a little fair from my training plan. So with that being said, I am doing a major renovation to my system this March.

I am attempting the "No Sugar Diet Food Plan." I have adopted a lot of the ideas I have read about, but am creating it so it works for me and what I like to eat! I've had to do some major renovations around my house in order to get copious amounts of sugar out.

  • Goodbye refined sugar. I ran out about a week ago and was stealing Peter's (he and I enjoyed different kinds). I will no longer be adding it to coffee, tea, cereal, baked goods, etc.
  • Unsweetened almond milk instead of vanilla. This will more than likely be the biggest challenge for me. I love my vanilla almond milk, but it really does over-sweeten my already sweet cereal and also adds that sugar to my coffee, smoothies, baked goods, etc. 
  • No more pop-tarts on Fridays. As a part of becoming GF, I was still eating GF pop-tarts by Glutino. I have decided it is just better to go our separate ways completely. Regardless if it was GF or not, it made me feel sluggish afterwards (most likely the SUGAR). Besides, they are like $5 for only 5 in a box!!!
  • Cereal, no more! I will be doing away with my honey Chex. I will try to sub it with oatmeal or even a protein smoothie in the morning. 
  • Alcohol! I will still enjoy it, but there will no longer be drinks which incorporate 6 different liquors with a red bull on top (Irish Trashcan). I will try to find satisfaction with keeping things simple. I guess I will have to cozy up to the dryer wines.
  • Above all, I think I need to eat a variety of veggies. I suck at this. Not because I don't love veggies, but because I honestly get too lazy to pack them for work. Well, I am making sure that this doesn't happen because I will make sure I have everything portioned out for the work week ahead of time!
  • Fruits are allowed! Whether fresh or dried. They just cannot have any added sugar!
  • I will most likely be ravenous during the first week or two, so I will have a jar of almonds on hand.
It's going to be a long process, I am sure, but I truly believe that my body requires this. It deserves to be treated better. Also, I cannot let my races suffer because I don't "feel like" training. It is pure laziness. 

Wish me luck on this new challenge. I will definitely keep you updated!!!
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