That’s all she wrote, folks!

Why do people start a run streak? For many it starts with a social media challenge. That’s how it started for me. Runner’s World had a holiday runstreak that was going to run from Thanksgiving through the New Year. I figured what the hell, it couldn’t hurt to try, right? I mean, if I made it the entire streak great! If not I gave it my best shot. It was all good.

I met a lot of people also taking part in the challenge at that time. A group of us decided to carry on. A Facebook group was created and the runstreak continued to Valentine’s Day. Then Saint Patrick’s Day. Then May Day. Then it just took off from there. It was fun and exciting and challenging. Just how far could I go? How long could this streak last? It was, after all, started rather inadvertently. I was curious to see so I just kept running.

I received the opportunity to be a brand ambassador for a few different groups during my streak. It was a wonderful experience sharing my story and encouraging others in their own journey. I also started racing again. It started with a virtual 5k I found with a tiger on the medal…how could I not enter that?!? Again, it became an exciting challenge to see just how far and fast I could go. In the end I estimate I ran about 115 races in total including 28 half marathons. I traveled and ran and had a great time.

My streak reached 100 days, 500 days, 1,000 days. I couldn’t believe that before all this started I was coming back from an injury. I ran in every type of weather imaginable. Races from 5k to 25k, during illness, early morning, late at night, after 15 hour work shifts. It was amazing fun.

At some point, though, it wasn’t as fun as it once was. I had incredibly low points where it took everything I had to run that one mile to keep my streak going. I saw people obsess over things like “Does walking during part of your mile disqualify you from your streak?” (The answer from the group where this was posted…not the original group of streakers I started out with, but another…was an overwhelming yes.) or “Should I base my run on my time zone or the one I’m currently in?”, or “If I start my run before midnight but finish after midnight does it count?” It started occurring to me more and more that maybe this kind of rigid streaking wasn’t what I came to enjoy. I still ran my streak my way, but the whole experience with this group of hardcore streakers left a foul taste in my mouth. This is when I started debating letting my streak go.

In the end I kept running. Up to today. I’ve enjoyed my streak, it’s been a great experience, but I think it’s time to move on to the next. I know I said I was going to wait until the end of the month, but my hip is still dodgy and in all honesty, I don’t think running a mile for the sake of adding a few more days is really what I want. So 1,700 days it is. In the end I am getting what I want. What is that? Well, I’m ending on a nice round number. My type-A personality loves that, but even more importantly I’m ending it on my terms. I remember a podcast where a streaker was being interviewed and when asked when their streak would end, their reply was they weren’t sure when just that they wanted it to be on their terms.

I think that’s the best way. Not to have to give up because of injury or illness or unforeseen circumstances, but to say, “I did good. I’m happy and I’m done.” That’s how I’m ending my streak. I’m happy, no I’m more than happy with myself. With my accomplishments. With all I’ve been able to do. I’m satisfied and ready to let it go. I’m at peace with it.

What now? I’m not quite sure. I’d like to get a gym membership. I’d like to get my bike tuned up. I’m definitely not giving up running…I do have a 50 half marathons before I turn 50 goal after all, and just because I’m not running every day doesn’t mean I’m not going after that goal. Actually, I plan to crush that one 😉 I’m ready to try some new things. I’m ready to enjoy some extra time with my family doing leisure time stuff. I’m ready to just walk with my hubby and enjoy it without thinking, “Oh, I still need to get a run in today.”

To all the streakers our there, do your thing. As long as that fire burns you keep going. But don’t be afraid to let it go either. Life has so much to offer that if and when that flame goes out there are millions of other possibilities to keep your soul happy. I guess in the end my big though is this…You only get one go round on this planet, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, do what makes you happy. And if anything doesn’t spark that joy in your soul anymore, find what does. Don’t be afraid to change, and grow, and live happy.

All that said I’m honestly looking forward to not running tomorrow. I think I’ll go for a nice walk, maybe do some yoga or Pilates, or maybe I’ll just take some time to sit and breathe. I know when I get out for that next run it will be all the more sweet…and who knows, maybe I’ll try a streak again someday!

The Wadsworth Matchstick Challenge Half Marathon

I can hardly believe that spring has come and gone! It seems like just a few weeks ago we were saying goodbye to the winter snows and the trees were just starting to bud. I have to say that in my little corner of the world our springtime, while blooms having added a pop of color, was full of gray skies and rain. I mean lots of rain. In our area we’ve been dealing with flooding, damp basements, waterlogged everything, and lawns growing wild because it’s nearly impossible to get out to mow. But every once in a while we get a glorious, not too hot, sunny day. One of those days just happened to fall on June 21st…Matchstick Challenge Half Marathon race day!

Scrolling my Facebook feed a couple weeks ago I was surprised when a post for an evening half marathon popped up. I was hoping to get one last spring half in before taking a break for the hot summer months, and this one was nearby (only 35 minutes away) and affordable (I think it was $45 when I entered and I entered kind of late) so I took the plunge. I mean, a race on a Friday evening? No early wake up? No interfering with my work schedule? A festival going on at the same time so my hubby/support crew would have something to do? Could it get any better? Turns out, it was as perfect as I thought it could be and more!

I went on Thursday evening to pick up my packet early. I figured it was one less stressor on race day. I’d know exactly where I needed to be on race day and ready to go. The volunteers were beyond friendly and helpful. It was a quick process and I was on my way home pretty quickly.

Race day arrived and it was nice to not have to get up early or rearrange my schedule. I work a restaurant lunch shift, so I just brought my gear with me, worked my shift then changed afterwards. My hubby picked me up after my shift and we were on our way!

We arrived in Wadsworth with plenty of time to park and find the starting line. It was less than a mile away so we just skipped the shuttle and walked there. We arrived with lots of time to settle in and relax before the race.

This was a smaller race (around 160 runners) so it was a nice change from the big races I had run earlier this year. It was well organized and friendly, which I really liked. We started promptly at 6:15, and once on the course you realize that they aren’t kidding when they talk about rolling hills and it not being a course for a PR. The first 7 miles were an out and back past the matchstick factory, through neighborhood streets to a gravel park walking path and it was hilly! The streets were beautifully shaded and welcoming, and even with all the climbing, it was incredibly enjoyable.

The course ran back past the stadium around mile 7. We ran past the participants of the 5k and 10k races which were also being run in conjunction with the half. The other runners were cheering us on, giving us high fives and so supportive. It was a great pick me up at the halfway point. I also liked the fact that since the shorter races started later, it gave us a little bigger crowd to run with at the end. Being such a small half we were getting pretty spread out, so I liked having some runners added to the mix.

The second half of the course was all neighborhood streets filled with lots of residents cheering on us runners. I have to say, the support for this race was amazing!! I was starting to feel the miles toward the end (I forgot to bring any fuel and probably should have grabbed a second GU from the aid station just before the stadium) so I was happy to see a couple kids from the neighborhood handing out tootsie pops. I very happily thanked the girl and took one for the extra sugar I needed. I was also able to grab a small bottle of water from one of the aid stations which I could carry with me to the finish which was pretty awesome too.

Ah, the finish! We finished at Art Wright Stadium and it was awesome! As you entered the stadium there were people cheering, ringing cow bells and holding signs. My goal for this race was really just to enjoy myself. I told my hubby I planned on maybe a 2:30, but as I neared the finish line I couldn’t believe my eyes. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I really enjoy running hills, or that this race was run when I normally do my daily runs or what, but the clock said 2:17! I crossed the finish line, got my medal then made my way to the water, food and my race crew.

We made our way to the festival area where we took in the sights and gots some festival food before the drive home. It had been a long time since I had funnel cake or fried Swiss cheese on a stick…and why not get some, I’d been moving all day long. I kinda earned it, right? 🙂

After checking the results I found that I had placed 3rd in my age group! There were no age group awards at the race this year, which is kind of disappointing, but on the other hand I know I placed and really, do I need a trinket to remind me? Not really, I know what I earned with my effort and that’s what matters. Overall this was a great race, and I’d totally recommend running it. From the organization, to crowd support, to the unique start time and after race festival, it’s well worth running!

As for summertime, well I’m not very good with hot weather and my body is telling me it needs a break, so my plan is just to run to run for a while. I’m going to work on more general fitness as well. More stretching, Pilates, maybe some heavier weight training and even getting the bike out for some miles. I’m not signed up for any races until November at this point, but we all know how things can change, lol. For now, however, I’m just going to enjoy the summer months and whatever adventures they bring my way!

The Indy Mini, challenge week 5, and lessons learned

What a week’s it’s been! Going back to last Sunday where I ran the Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon to this past Saturday when I ran the Indy Mini Half Marathon, it’s been quite a whirlwind! So much has happened and I learned a lot about myself and things I want to work on.

So let’s get started with the exciting stuff. I will write about the Hall of Fame Half a bit later, right now I want to tell you all about the Indy Mini while everything is still fresh in my mind. I’ve never stayed in Indianapolis before so everything was new. We stayed at a hotel right next to Lucas Oil Stadium so everything was within walking distance and we were near an easy to find landmark, so that was cool.

After settling in, my hubby and I did a little walking to familiarize ourselves with the area. While more industrial than Tulsa, where I ran this past November, Indianapolis was still clean and pretty with lots of pedestrian friendly areas and art to enjoy. Not to mention a huge 4 story mall and lots of great places to eat!

I found out when I got there there was going to be a shakeout run on Friday morning. I’m usually a solo runner, but thought what the heck, a chance to run somewhere rather than the treadmill…I’ll do it! Well, this was one choice I made that I actually second guessed until I decided to take it as a learning experience. It was a small group, and I got to meet a Rob, Twitter friend who I have known through social media for a while, which was super awesome. Not so awesome? It made me feel so slow and inadequate running with this group. I ended up a good ways behind the main group, and had it not been for Rob checking back on me and Shane (another ambassador I had just met that morning) dropping back to run with me I totally would have turned around and ran back on my own. It was kind of spirit crushing, especially when the run says “all are welcome”. I know I take things way to personally, and this was one of those times. Believe it or not I’m tearing up thinking of it now. I did stick with it, however, and did enjoy the opportunity to not run inside.

After the run we made our way over to the expo, which was very well organized and efficient. There were lots of vendors there with samples, coupons and great stuff. The rest of the evening was spent with my hubby enjoying the city.

Race day we woke to gray skies and the local weather calling for rain. I wasn’t worried as I tend to run better in not-so-great weather anyway. The starting area was well marked with plenty of portable toilets. For the size of the crowd it was a comfortable atmosphere. After getting into my corral I just focused on relaxing and reminding myself to have fun and to take in the scenery.

The course itself is pretty darn flat, through the city to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Without a doubt the coolest part of the race. To get to run where they race the Indy 500? How awesome is that!

We wound our way back to the city, and this is where I hit another “lesson learned” point. Because I tend to start conservatively, I also tend to run negative splits from about 6 miles on. Well, because of the size of the race this was also the point where I started to get frustrated at the size of the crowd and my inability to pass runners I was gaining on. It’s not anyone’s fault that this was the case. I know how I run, and everyone is focused on their own race, so it was what it was. It did make me wonder, though, if things might be different if I actually trained to race the distance. Would being further up in the crowd work better? Would there be less crowding in a different part of the pack? Like the shakeout run, I tried my best to brush it off and enjoy the race.

After winding through the streets the downtown skyline cane into view and the atmosphere was electric. I love the finish line energy! We raced through crowds of cheering spectators (who were braving the light rain that had started falling as soon as my wave took off!), balloons and checkered flags, and lots of upbeat music. It was awesome! I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 2:23:03, not too bad!

I collected my medal and goodies, and made my way to where the after party was. I have to admit to not sticking around for the party, although it did look like there was lots of things to do and lots of room to spread out. I was just cold and tired and soaked to the bone…not to mention on a timeline to check out of the hotel in time. One thing I will be changing next time I go on a racecation, no more leaving on race day.

Overall it was an excellent experience, and while there are things I would have changed, I would definitely make the trip back to give the Indy Mini another go!

Now, as for my challenge…well, not my best week. I only did Pilates 3 times and my diet wasn’t the best, but in all honesty enjoying the time with my hubby and being in a new city took priority. I did try to not overindulge, but I did enjoy myself. I was able to keep my sugar intake under control, and with the exception of a monster pastrami and corned beef sandwich, my portion sizes in check as well. No guilt here! I truly enjoyed myself and feel totally ready to get back to doing things 100% now that we’re home 🙂

So there you have it. Week 5 has been an adventure and I loved (and learned a lot from) it all! See you next week at the half way point!

The Get Lucky 50-50 and a 12 week challenge

It’s springtime and new beginnings are everywhere. The birds are coming back, flowers are blooming, the temperatures are rising, and spring races are here!

This past Saturday I ran the Get Lucky 50-50 in Canal Fulton, Ohio. When I saw this event show up in my Facebook feed I noticed that this was the inaugural running. I have to admit I have a love of running inaugural events, and just couldn’t resist signing up! After hitting the “submit payment” button, however, I felt a little wave of panic wash over me (I really hadn’t been training for a long distance race. To be honest, I really don’t follow a training plan ever *insert embarrassed grin and nervous giggle here*) but the excitement of running the longest distance to date since my divorce at a new event was too great to not enter.

The race featured a 50 mile, 50K, and 25K option. I chose the 25K because I knew with my base fitness (and a 15 hour cut off time) I could totally finish in time. There was also a 50/50 drawing for all participants with a pretty nice purse. I didn’t win, but it was a very cool little extra. Now I’ve never entered an event where ultra distances are run, so it was a new experience to see such a friendly, laid back atmosphere. And with about 118 registered runners over all three distances it was a comfortable, enjoyable run. Like running with a huge group of friends. Very cool!

The race was ran entirely on the towpath trail with a few road crossings. At around three miles I saw a couple runners split off which made me nervous. I thought I had missed a turn, so I picked up the pace a bit to catch up with a couple runner who I ended up running the next 5 miles with. They were experienced ultra runners who were kind and gave me all kinds of tips on running long distances, good races to try and just plain fun chatter.

One of the surprises for me was the aid stations. There weren’t nearly as many as a road race, one station every 5 miles or so, but oh the FOOD! Eggs, bacon, cookies, soup, sandwiches, fruit…you name it! The runners I had run with told me the longer the distance the more you want real food on the run. I opted for some Nutty Buddies which tasted amazing.

The weather was perfect and I felt great the whole way. The only pressure was the pressure I put in myself, which really only came in the last half mile where I wanted to finish strong. My finish time was 2:46:24 which was 5th of 15 in my age group and 24th overall. Not too shabby!!

After crossing the finish line and collecting my finisher’s medal I made my way to a little local tavern that was serving up free corned beef, cabbage and beer for the runners. It was a warm, super tasty way to wrap up a terrific morning!

I had such a great time running the Get Lucky 50-50 that I’m already planning on running it next year. I loved the laid back atmosphere, well stocked aid stations, and beautiful course. It has also made me consider seriously looking in to running some ultras. Overall, it was a fun time that I would recommend to someone looking for a first taste of the ultra running world.

Next up on the calendar is the Run For Home Half Marathon. One of my favorites because it’s local and doesn’t start until 11am!

Now, as much as I LOVE running, I know I’ve become a terribly unbalanced athlete. My flexibility stinks and I’ve noticed too much softness in my body due to lack of cross training. This past month I took on the Blogilates monthly workout calendar and feel like I’ve made some progress there. Add to that Cassie’s infectious energy in her videos and the fact that she offers her workout plans and videos for FREE, and I had absolutely no problems with ordering a 12 week fitness journal from POPFLEX to continue working on my overall fitness.

Some fun stickers and new pens never hurt either. The pages are perfect for planning and tracking everything. From goals to measurements to food and workouts, there’s room for it all. My biggest goals are to improve my flexibility and increase muscle mass, and I’m excited to see just what I can accomplish in 12 weeks. Stay tuned for updates 😉

With that I’m looking forward to spring and all the changes it brings. Here’s hoping we all have a great springtime season!!


Well, it happened again. I put myself out there to be an ambassador for something and got rejected. And yes, I’m going to write about it…all the feels and everything because, well, this is my blog and I can. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like it doesn’t hurt a bit, it does, but it also is a great opportunity to grow and realize a lot of positives.

I know that most organizations pick very few ambassadors to represent them. They have their reasons…I’m sure it gets expensive for them with the premiums they send to ambassadors, they want the ones that will spread their product/service to the most people, etc., but it amazes me when I see the same few people with several ambassadorships. Sour grapes, maybe a little, but it is what it is. And honestly, once my own initial disappointment wears off, I am excited for those chosen. It is an honor for sure.

All that said, my hurt with this last bout with rejection didn’t last all that long. Did I want this ambassadorship? Heck yeah! Did my world end because I didn’t get it? Heck no!! As a matter of fact, It’s been a blessing in disguise. How is that? Well, for a couple reasons.

1. It frees me up. As much as I would have promoted the crap out of what I had applied for, I wasn’t what they were looking for…and that’s ok. Now I don’t have to feel tied to social media, or a date, or a product or anything like that. If I want to step away from social media, I can. If I want to do something else, I can. It’s actually a pretty good feeling.

2. I proves to me that I have grown and am stronger than before. There was a time when I would have been crushed by rejection. I would have cried, binge eaten, just plain withdrew from everything. Now? Not so much. I was able to acknowledge the disappointment and hurt, then move on. That’s some serious progress for me and I’m proud of that.

3. It’s motivated me. It’s motivated me to support others. It’s motivated me to continue to work toward my goals. It’s motivated me to continue working on my personal growth.

Rejection is something we all deal with. It’s something I fear that more and more people in our modern era of “everything is great, always be positive, you are the best” are losing the ability to cope with. It’s something that isn’t as bad as people want to think it is. It’s ok to be upset, angry, or bitter for a little while. That’s human! But it’s important to learn and move on. That’s healing…that’s healthy…that’s progress.

So, what will I do now? Well, I move on! Do I try to change because I didn’t get chosen? Nope! I wasn’t what this particular organization wanted, but that doesn’t mean I’m not good enough in any way. I have been (and AM) what other organizations have been looking for, and may be again in the future. I will continue to be myself, to work for what I want, and strive for my goals. I would much rather be who I am and not be chosen for something, than be something I’m not just to have a title.

Here’s to all of us who have dealt with rejection and came out the other side stronger, wiser, and better. Keep being your awesome selves!!

Unexpected situations and blessings in disguise

Life rarely ever goes as planned. Have you ever been blindsided by life? I’m sure you probably have. We all have. About a month ago, life ran me over like a semi truck…then put it in reverse and ran me over again. As much as I thought my world was falling to pieces when it first happened, I now look at everything and realize there really is truth in my favorite phrase, “everything happens for a reason”.

Yes, I know that sounds all kinds of overly optimistic, warm fuzzy, cliché, but in all honestly I truly believe in that philosophy with all my heart. As time marches on and while I’m still dealing with fallout from a not-so-great last month of 2017, I’m seeing more and more how it’s helping me set myself up for a better year and better self.

I’ve had the opportunity this past month to really focus in on what is important. I’ve had to watch our budget closer than ever before. I’ve not been able to register for races like I have in the past, or splurge on new crafting things that catch my eye. At first I felt disappointment. I was going to miss out on things. What things? I don’t know, but things? FOMO is real. But as this month has worn on, I’m getting more and more comfortable with the fact that I won’t get to do as much as last year…and that’s OK! It’s helped me to realize the joy is in running itself. In the freeing experience of feeling the ground move under your feet. The races, the bling, that’s all icing! As for my craft supplies? Well in all honesty I have nearly enough to stock a small craft store! After some thought, I’m really excited to challenge myself to see what I can make with just what I have on hand. Time to flex those creative muscles 😉

The other big thing I’ve noticed is that my current situation has made me more aware of needing to be more aware. To be present in the moment. To spend more time actually doing things rather than looking at more things I could put on my to-do list on line. To spend more time with friends and loved ones and not on my phone. To really sit down and enjoy a movie or book or the process of making something.  We have become such a distracted society. We have lost the practice of mindfulness and I don’t know that we really realize it. We’re so concerned with what others are doing (and trying to keep up with them), or what we could be doing that we don’t live in the now. That’s something I want to change in myself. 

That said, while at first when things happened in early December last year I thought “How much more horrible can things be?” I’ve decided to shift my thinking to, “This is my chance to self evaluate and make the changes I’ve needed to for a while…and that’s a good thing!”

So what will 2018 bring? How will my current situation change my life? I don’t know. All I know is there will be change, there will be growth, and somehow, some way everything will be just fine…and I’ll be all the better for it!

Until next time, live happy, smile more, run lots, and be kind ❤

The North Canton YMCA 4th of July Race

July is always a busy month at my house. Both my birthday and my hubby’s are this month, my kids have summer activities, work is generally busier, and of course there are family get togethers and the hope of travel. Fortunately I have a job where I can actually get vacation time (the previous restaurant I worked for would push you off the clock and out the door at 31 hours to avoid having to give benefits) so this week has been a splendid week of doing next to nothing! Speaking of my job, they played a part in the last race I ran. 

Every year there are tons of July 4th races across the country. My city is no different. When I can I love to run them because, well, the 4th of July is my birthday. Is there any better way to spend a birthday? I had considered signing up for this race, but had decided not to both because I usually work on Tuesdays and I am currently considerably over the race budget I had set for myself. I figured “maybe next year”. Then something awesome happened. 

My boss approached me and asked if I was running this year. “No.”, I told him. He asked if I wanted to. “Heck yeah”, I replied. He then informed me that our restaurant was a sponsor this year and he had an entry for me! I couldn’t believe my ears! He gave me a code (and the day off) and I happily went home and clicked the “register” button.

This race is always so fun and festive…and huge! It’s one of the biggest races in the area. I arrived on race morning and caught up with a couple of my coworkers who were also running. We had all decided to run the 5 mile race. We had time to hang out with the crew getting the food ready and visit some of the tents set up before it was time to line up.

My biggest goal was just to finish faster than the last time I did this race. I had run it on my 40th birthday and it was truly my return to racing after a very rough time in my life. Secretly, however, I really wanted to finish in under 45 minutes. Either way I was going to have fun!

The gun went off and away we ran. I have no explanation why, but the first mile felt ridiculously long! I kept looking at my watch thinking “One mile had got to be close!” I finally saw the first mile marker and crossed a bit under 9 minutes. I already felt like I was pushing as hard as I could so I just settled in and told myself to keep this effort and see how it goes.

The course is through neighborhood streets with gently rolling hills. It also has a considerable amount of neighborhood support. I enjoyed seeing the people out cheering us on and before I knew it I was at mile 2, split 9:03. I decided to pick it up a little bit as I was feeling better. I passed by the water stations, which some may think is crazy, but I train up to 9 miles without water, so when the racing conditions are right I just run. I also passed up the several resident provided sprinkler showers just because I didn’t feel like running soaking wet. When my Garmin beeped for mile 3 I was almost in shock at my split, 8:42! Mile 4 was rather uneventful and came in at 9:03. Now it was time for “The Hill.”

Me at “The Hill” not the most flattering picture, but hey, I was racing 😉

I had forgotten how hilly the last mile was! There is a steep, medium length hill at the start of the last mile, then a couple turns that continue the uphill trend to the Main Street finish line. I was tired, but knew my goal was totally attainable if I just kept pushing. I know racing at your top speed toward a PR comes down to how long you can keep going while being uncomfortable. Sometimes it took all I had to keep reminding myself “only x thenths of a mile to go”, but that’s just what I did. When I finally created that last little hill on Main Street and saw the finish line, I knew I had it!

Not the prettiest finish line picture, but it’s real…and it shows my effort, which I’m proud to say netted me an official time of 44:47 (chip time). Goal met!! A bonus? They had finisher medals this year! Yes, the blingaholic in me was very, very happy😉

After finishing I cheered on my fellow runners and made my way to the food tent. Some yummy, yummy stuff, and the warm chicken, ravioli, and tomato mozzarella skewers were a nice change from the usual after race fare.

Will I be back next year? I sure hope so! This is by far my favorite kind of birthday celebration. Running, food, music, friends, and red, white, and blue everywhere!!

Next on the race schedule? The Up, Up and Away 5k that’s ran in conjunction with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival. It times out perfectly with my half marathon training. I’m also excited to be part of another inaugural race with what promises to be some terrific scenery. Until next time, happy running!! ❤

The Youngstown Half Marathon

In my last post I brought you almost up to date. I wanted to make the next race it’s own post because of how amazing it was. 

Very early in the year I somehow came across an ad for the inaugural Youngstown Marathon. Now first off, let me say that for some reason I love being part of inaugural events. Maybe it’s the excitement of being one of the first to ever run a course or earn a medal or just to say “Yeah, I ran that!”, but I love it. I ran the inaugural Flying Pig Marathon, the inaugural Gold Jacket 5k, the inaugural Akron Half Marathon, and a few others, so when the opportunity to run this race appeared I jumped on it!

The expo was small, it was a first year race, but easy to find. Parking was a breeze and we had my packet in no time at all. I did pick up a souvenir mug while we were there. What can I say, running and coffee are like breathing for me.

The race was the following day, and again, easy to find. There was ample parking and there was race day packet pick-up which was nice because once home I realized the shirt I was given was too small. I tried to exchange it, but was told they were going to have to order shirts because there were so many last minute registrants that they ran out. Not a bad problem to have if you ask me 😉 so with that I left the shirt I received with the pick-up table in case it could be used for someone else and figured if I can get a shirt then great, if not, well, it’s just a shirt and I was ok with that.

The staging area was spacious, and the announcer easy to hear. I made it with plenty of time for one last porta potty break then waited for the start. We lined up and at 7am started our journey.

The first .75 miles was on city streets then we made the turn into Mill Creek Park. I was blown away! It was so quiet and shaded and beautiful. I don’t usually take a ton of pics on the run, but I just had to get my phone out for one. The first 2 miles or so we’re pretty flat. I had a friend warn me of the hills there (that’s why she didn’t run it this year) but thought to myself, “Hey, this isn’t so bad!” Well, she was right, lol! First, let me say that I love hills. I’ll take them over speedwork any day. So for me the hills were challenging, but enjoyable. I stuck with the hill mantra that has gotten me through every race I’ve run since my first marathon, “keep your effort the same, let your pace adjust”. By doing this I was able to actually run all the hills, so I was super happy.

There were plenty of aid stations, which I did walk through, because well I’m a klutz and running and drinking from a cup doesn’t always end well for me. They had water and Gatorade as well as Clif shot Gel which was nice. I stuck with my plan of walking the water stations and Honey Stinger chews every 60 minutes or so which I’ve found work very well for me.

The last couple miles of the course weren’t quite as hilly, and it pretty much being a loop meant there were plenty of new sights to see around every turn. The last mile or so was on city streets again, although I was totally drained when I crossed the finish, I was absolutely satisfied with my finish of 2:12:19. 

I took my time at the after party, which was awesome, enjoying a beer from Paladin Brewing, pizza, bagels and coffee among other goodies. Then decided that after conquering those hills there was no way I was heading home without a shirt that day, so I made my way to Second Sole and got a super soft and comfy Run Youngstown shirt from Sole Clothing Co. On the drive home I had already decided I’m running this one again next year!

Let me just finish up by saying I’ve truly fallen in love with this race. On the way home I was even saying that I would come back and run it again in the fall. Just a week later I was ready to run it again. If you get the opportunity to run this one next year TAKE IT!! You won’t be disappointed. Hope to see you there. 

Playing catch-up

Ok, first off I have to say it hasn’t been as long since my last post as I thought, but I’m still a little embarrassed by the gap in posting. Totally not my plan. Don’t let that fool you into thinking I haven’t been running, though 😉 Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do! So without further delay, here’s what has been going on in my corner of the world…

Let’s jump back to April 30th when I ran the Pro Football Hall of Fame half marathon with a dear friend of mine. This was her first half so I ran the entire distance with her. Although it was my slowest half (I finished in 2:55:51) it was better far one of the most rewarding races I’ve ever run! There is nothing better than seeing someone accomplish their goal and knowing you were part of it.

Jumping forward to Mother’s Day weekend, I got to run my first ever Mother’s Day run! Working in the restaurant industry this is usually one of the busiest weekends of the year and I usually work the whole thing. This year was different. I was able to get Saturday off so I signed up last minute to the Mother of all Races 10k. It was a beautiful run done half on city streets, half on the towpath trail in Canal Fulton. I ended up setting a new PR of 57:20 (good enough for 4th in my age group) and earned double bling when I paired this race with FitFam’s Miles for Moms 10k. The bling for this race was extra special because it was handmade by the local high school’s ceramics class. Very cool!

Flash forward to Memorial Day weekend. I got to run the Pvt. Heath Warner Memorial Run to Remember 4 miler. It’s run in honor of a local soldier who was killed in action. I love this race both for the course and the cause. I try to run this one without headphones or other distractions so as I run each mile I can really focus on the meaning of the race and holiday weekend. To Remember those who willingly made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the freedoms we hold so dear. I ran a strong race and finished in 36:11, which netted me 2nd in my age group. 

Next up, another last minute race. Restaurant life usually involves no Friday nights off for me. Well, when I checked my schedule last week what did I see? A Friday off! Not just any Friday, the Friday of the Shearer’s Chip Chase 5k 🙂 Now this race has special meaning for me. My very first race ever was a little hometown 2 mile race. My sister’s friend had talked me into running with her. I never thought I would be much of a racer, but after that one 2 mile run I never looked back. Flash forward 23 years and this is the reincarnation of that race. Talk about memories and all the feels while running a race!! Running by houses of people I knew, business we shopped when I was a kid, the factory my dad worked at, my old high school. I felt like I was flying…and I was. I ran to a 26:26 finish, a new PR, and first in my age group! 

That almost catches me up, so for now I’m going to leave you with a few more pictures from the Chip Chase and a promise of another post soon about my most recent half marathon. Happy running everyone!