Mom Musings

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post. I had planned at least half a dozen, but I haven’t sat down to put words to paper…eh, screen. I still have posts I want to write, mostly about the truly amazing happenings in my life since the start of 2019, but I will save those for when I have more time. I originally started this as a Facebook post but realized this was a better space. This is short, but I wanted to share.

As a parent, I feel I’ve taken for granted some of the everyday things I’ve done for my kids, not realizing they would be the last. The last ride in the red wagon. The last time wearing a special outfit or item purchased by a loved one who is no longer with us. The last time I pushed one of them on a swing. The last time I tied a shoe. The last time I routinely packed lunches.

Tonight, my son was sick and lying on the couch as I finished work. I asked if he needed help getting to bed and then asked if he wanted me to carry him. Mind you, he is nearly as tall as I am and around 25 pounds less, basically a mini adult. To my surprise, he sleepily said, “Yes.” I hoisted up my not-so-little baby and immediately felt the weight in my arms. I couldn’t tell you the last time I carried one of my children. I made the trek up 14 stairs, hoping I didn’t lose footing or let my son fall. We safely made it to the top, albeit a little tired and winded, and I tucked him in bed. My eyes teared a little as I descended knowing that, at least in this moment, I could still carry my child to bed but unsure of how many more opportunities I would get or if my arms would hold out much longer. Babies don’t keep. 

I think we get caught up in reaching the next stage or hitting the next milestone that we don’t realize what we have at the time. I often sit and reflect on this. Life was so busy, hectic, and stressed when my kids were little that I was in survival mode constantly. Making it to the next day was the goal. Now, I am conscious of how much I missed or overlooked, knowing I won’t get it back. I need to remind myself to slow down now and enjoy what life throws at me, fully aware that today’s first may be tomorrow’s last. 

Love,

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2019 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Weekend Recap

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It’s taken me much longer to write this recap post for a variety of reasons. It’s hard to put into words how extremely happy Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon weekend made me this year. I’ve been an ambassador for 7 years and participated in RACM races for 9 years, and this one, by far, was the best. With this happiness bring guilt and sadness for the unfortunate passing of Taylor Ceepo, a bright young lady whose life was just starting and whose fire was extinguished too quickly. This incident reaffirmed that life is short, and tomorrow is promised to no one. I’m not religious, so I instead of thoughts and prayers, I’m sending love to Taylor’s family and friends. May her memory live on in the lives of all who knew her. However, I do feel I am able to celebrate the accomplishments of the weekend while still paying respect to Taylor, and I know she will continue to be on my mind and the minds of others when they race in Cleveland in the future.

If you’ve followed my journey this training cycle, you’ll know this wasn’t a typical race for me. From the start, I was running with a greater sense of purpose – helping my dad, Steve, cross the finish line of his very first half marathon. Undertaking a half at any age is an accomplishment, but deciding to start running and selecting such a lofty distance goal at 60+ is a whole different level. What most people didn’t know is I was not only going to run the race with my dad. Brian, the man who loves me and makes me a better person, was joining us from Seattle.

Race weekend kicked off in its usual fashion. I had the opportunity to work the information booth again this year at the Expo and got to visit with Melissa, who has been an ambassador with me for the past few years, and Katie, who was a new ambassador this year. On top of chatting and helping people there for the race, we had a chance to visit, which is always fun. I was also thrilled I got to see Jill, a friend and former ambassador who is fierce as hell and I think the world of!

One of my race weekend highlights is the VIP Reception. I always laugh because it’s hilarious to see everyone dressed up when I’m used to seeing them in running clothes. And, goodness sake, did we clean up well! For the second year, my dad was my date, and we enjoyed good food, good drinks, and good company. Thanks, RACM, for the fabulous evening!

Saturday morning, Dad and I woke up extra early to pick up Brian from the airport. The man is such a good sport that he took a red eye to be there for the 8K with us. We had some time to chill back at the room (AKA I fell back asleep) before getting race ready. I love that my friend and fellow ambassador Andrew always got a kick out my dad’s race outfits. Before he became a “serious” runner, Dad would run/walk the Saturday event with me as a prep for my race on Sunday, and he was clad in khakis, a belt, cotton beer shirt, and carried jingling keys in his pocket. We couldn’t let Andrew down this year, so Team Khaki was out in full force! After having run a race in khakis in the rain, I can safely say I have no freaking idea how my dad did that in past years! Regardless of the weather and rain, Team Khaki successfully ran the entire 8K and had a great time on top of looking stylish AF.

The rest of Saturday was not spent resting as would be customary on race weekend. My mom, Susie, joined us downtown, and we visited the Expo and lunched at Southern Tier, one of my absolute faves! Also, I am proud to say we kept beer consumption to a minimum. My mom even got to hit the casino, which made her extremely happy. Brian and I capped off the night with a drink with Andrew and his absolutely fabulous wife Brittany before standing on the 4th floor of the Hyatt people-watching the wedding taking place below.

Finally, it was Sunday morning! The day we have waited and trained for for months!!!! Thankfully, Team Khaki morphed to Team Lesco, wearing much more appropriate attire for running any significant distance but staying true to our hydration roots. Thanks, Brian, for getting these great shirts!

Before the start of the race, I got to do a quick Facebook Live video for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon (again, thank you for the opportunity!), and the other ambassadors and I got our starting line photo. It always pumps me up to see my friends before a big race! After that, Brian, Dad, and I slowly made our way to the corral where we prepared ourselves to run 13.1 miles in the heat and humidity. I knew it would be a challenge, but we were ready.

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It took about 2 miles before we were able to comfortably run next to one another and not dodge people. It was also about that time that I said, “Screw it!” to the shirt and tucked it in like a cape. Sun’s out, muffin top’s out! Honestly, I couldn’t have cared less. It was hot, and I had more important things to worry about. We were clipping along at a steady pace, and I kept looking at my dad. He looked strong and calm, which didn’t surprise me because he trained his ass off. I loved that he had his music in and was in the zone while Brian and I chatted. He didn’t say much with his earbuds in, but I loved his response to that steep hill around mile 6.5 – “Oh fuck!” Yep, my thoughts exactly. Instead of burning a ton of energy running the whole thing, we took a short walk break halfway up the hill and started running again when we hit the top. Still consistent. Still strong.

The miles went fairly quickly, and with the heat and lack of shade, we slowed our speed a little. Better to slow down than burn out. Brian keep encouraging us. “Anyone can run 3 miles.” “Anyone can run 2 miles.” And he was right. Dad, although looking a little fatigued, never stopped, and before I knew it, we were at the Detroit-Superior Bridge, ready to make our way into the downtown. That’s when I got a little emotional. I kept looking over at my dad and then over at Brian thinking I get to do something I absolutely love – running RACM races – with two of the three men I love most (all that was missing was my brother, Steve). After we crested the bridge, I tapped my dad and told him to take out his earbuds, so he could fully experience the finish line and all the spectators’ cheers. We made our way to the finish were we first saw my Aunt Teresa, who also caught us at another spot in the race, and then my mom, sister Sarah, brother-in-law Rhett, and their kids. The look on my mom’s face was priceless. You could tell she was one proud wife.

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Then…we did it! The three of us crossed the finish line of my dad’s first ever half marathon and Brian’s first official half race. I grabbed both of them and hugged them so tightly, feeling a sense of pride and love. That race was, by far, my most favorite Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon experience, and I don’t think there is anything that could top it. Dad and Brian, I love you. Thank you for running with me and know it was so much more than that.

This post is getting lengthy enough, but before I close, I want to say thank you to my fellow RACM ambassadors. You have become family to me, and I appreciate your support and motivation. I love that each of us brings something different to the table, which is exactly how it is in the running community. Thank you, Jack, Ralph, Joan, Teresa, and the rest of the amazing RACM staff. For seven years you’ve allowed me to represent your race, and each year I am appreciative and humbled. You have also become family to me, seeing me at soaring highs and devastating lows, and your support has not wavered. To say I am grateful is an understatement. Thank you for another amazing year.

Love,

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Running Q&A

Sometimes you have a chance to connect with people on social media, and it makes your heart happy. That’s how I feel about Tiffany, known as @beckettsaunt on Instagram and Twitter. We met in person by chance a few years back at the CLE Marathon Expo after becoming friends on social media. I have to laugh because it was one of those, “Oh, hey, you’re stephplusfour, and you’re beckettsaunt” things while checking out vendors. I admire the fact she continues to train hard despite setbacks, and I can always count on her posts to be positive, which is a rarity on social media these days.

I was moved by one of her Instagram posts in February where she declared her commitment to run the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon half in May 2019. Although she said it wouldn’t be her first half, it would be her comeback half. This completely resonated with me because last year was my comeback half after breaking my back and battling C. diff for almost five months. As a CLE Marathon Ambassador, one of the perks is a free race entry for ourselves and one to have for a giveaway. Instead of holding a giveaway through my blog or social media accounts, I asked if I could give the other free entry to Tiffany, as I felt she was more than deserving. Everything worked out, and she will be lining up at that start line on May 19!

I asked if she wouldn’t mind doing a little Q&A for me to post on the blog. Thankfully, she obliged, so here it is!

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  1. Give some basic info about yourself: I am 46-years-old and live in Youngstown. Huge Cleveland baseball fan (likewise, Tiffany!!!!). Avid reader of everything. Vegetarian for 29 years and a kitty mama.
  2. When did you get into running and what led you to start? I wish I knew the exact date I started running. I started some time in my mid-30’s. I started because gas prices were increasing and it was becoming expensive to go to the bike path to inline skate. I could run right outside my door.
  3. When did you take part in your first race and where was it? My first race was the Human Race 5K in Jacksonville, Florida in May of 2011.
  4. What’s your favorite race distance? My fave distance is the half marathon. I love the challenge, the on-course support, and of course the finishers medal!
  5. What does a typical week of training look like for you? A typical week for me is 3 days of running (2 short and 1 long) and 1-2 days of cross training.
  6. What are your go-to pieces of running gear? My basic go-to gear includes my Mizuno Wave Inspires (shoe twins unite!), my Garmin forerunner 25 and music. If I’m feeling extra, I’ll include a DonaJo running skirt and my Orange Mud hydraquiver vest.
  7. What’s your best running/race memory? Wow my best running/race memory…it’s kind of a tie between finishing my first half and the 2016 Cleveland Marathon #alltheweather (ditto what she said about 2016…most Cleveland race ever!)
  8. How many times have you completed a Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon event? This will be year number 5 for me! This race is so much fun! I plan to run it as long as I can.
  9. Do you have a running motto or mantra, and if so, what is it? My running mantra would have “one more…” it stands for one more step, one more interval, one more mile. I say it to myself often during training run and races.
  10. If you could give advice, motivation, or inspiration to someone who is new to running, what would it be? My advice would be to get fitted for running shoes and it’s ok if you have to walk as long as you keep moving forward!! Oh, and have fun!

Thanks for playing along, Tiffany, and best of luck in CLE! You’ve got my support, and I am always appreciate of yours!

Best wishes!

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Favorite Things – Running Edition

 

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I feel as though every runner I know is particular about certain things whether they’re clothing, technology, shoes, or fuel to name a few. When I first started, I ran in worn-out shoes, cotton shirts, sports bras I had since high school, and whatever shorts or pants I could find. The past ten years have made me a little pickier to say the least. Here’s a quick rundown of some of my can’t-run-without items.

Oiselle Mac Roga Shorts: I have been singing the praises of these for about 6 years now. While they have gone through a few tweaks, I still find they are the best shorts out there and reasonably priced. Short inseam, wide waistband, zippered pocket, flattering cut. If you were to look in my closet, there isn’t another pair of running shorts to be found.

Oiselle Flyte Tank: I swear Oiselle doesn’t pay me anything to sing its praises. I just love their stuff, and the racerback Flyte Tank is no exception. It fits well without being overly tight, doesn’t ride up when I run, keeps me cool, and comes in a variety of colors. Plus I love the word “Fly” on the back, as in watch me fly right past you. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen too often now, but I’m working on it.

Feetures Socks: I know some people can get away with whatever they slip on their feet, but that is most certainly not me. Feetures are fantastic, and I’m so glad I found them. They keep me blister-free for many miles, and they come with a lifetime guarantee against rips and holes. I’m still running in the pairs I purchased 3 years ago and no issues.

Body Glide: Chafing sucks. Body Glide fixes that! This has saved my skin (literally) more times that I can count. Blisters, sports bra rub, thighs, arms. I refuse to run long without it.

MantraBands: I know this isn’t necessarily a running item, but who cares! I love these motivational bracelets, as evident by the stack that keeps multiplying on my right arm. They are a daily dose of motivation for me, and I never take them off. At around $25 each, they are also the perfect gift for a family member, friend, or yourself.

Honey Stinger gels: Can we collectively say most gels kinda bite? Not Honey Stinger! Honey Stinger Gold is my jam for long runs because it tastes just like I’m eating honey and not a gross lab byproduct. I find it gives me quick energy and also doesn’t upset my stomach like so many others out there.

Peace!

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What items are on your fave running list?

 

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Cheers to 10 Years!

Had it not been for a conversation with a coworker today about running, I would have completely forgotten this month is special for yet another reason. March marks my ten-year runiversary! To say a lot has happened in ten years is an understatement.

While some people have been running for most of their lives, I didn’t take up the sport until 2009. I was the girl who always said she wouldn’t run unless she was chased, but a few people at work were getting into it. I thought if they could do it, so could I! Plus, I needed something, anything to help with the daily pressure of raising four kids ages 4 and under and a marriage that was less than stellar. My first race was the St. Malachi 2 miler. I don’t remember a ton of details from that day, but there are a few that stick out. I was ridiculously overdressed, wearing layer upon layer of cotton clothing. I had shoes I previously wore when I worked in a testing lab, and I am not entirely sure of what inhabited the material. Music? GPS watch? Didn’t own either. Oh, and cotton socks were the norm. Not going to lie; the race was hard for me. I hadn’t covered that distance yet, and I remember feeling so accomplished as I waited and watched in awe as my friends finished the 5 mile race. Five miles?! It might as well have been 100. That distance seemed so unattainable. Twenty-seven year old Stephanie had no freaking clue what she was getting into.

My next race was a 5K at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. I trained harder, and this race felt surprisingly easy, despite the huge hill up to the aquatics building. Unfortunately, a race route error made the course long, and without a watch (oh, forgot to mention I also didn’t own a smartphone with a running app), I had no clue about my distance or time. After this race, I was a little discouraged but hooked. I signed up for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 10K, what I considered my first real “distance race!” On race day, I couldn’t believe the sea of people there to pound the pavement in the CLE all with one simple goal – cross the finish.

My early years of running were fueled by the desire to get farther. I loved the challenge of hitting mileage I hadn’t previously and distinctly remember the tears that flowed in CLE when I ran my first half marathon. My first marathon? It was equal parts wonderful and awful. The wonderful part – I got to run it in Hawaii for the Honolulu Marathon! How many people can say that, especially ones who live in Ohio?! The awful part – I had to stop at nearly every port-o-potty and by the end of the race, I couldn’t even tell you what was coming out of my body.

Not to be deterred, I signed up to run the CLE Marathon in 2012 as a sort of redemption race when I won a free entry from my friend Jess, who has been an ambassador with me since I was selected in 2013. That race was much like my first marathon, but at least my body decided to wait until after the halfway mark to rebel. It took my third marathon in Columbus to finally run a race I was proud of without any issues. Near the finish, I saw my girls who were there with my mom and brother, grabbed them, and the three of us crossed the finish hand-in-hand. It’s still one of my proudest running moments.

Within the last few years, I decided I wasn’t content just increasing mileage and thought I might as well work on speed. The increased training and newfound motivation brought personal gains that were evident by placing in events. I remember winning my first medal for placing 2nd in my age group in the Downtown Willoughby 5K! My only regret was I didn’t push myself sooner because quite frankly, winning stuff is pretty badass!

There have been many high moments in my running “career.” I ran my first sub-four hour marathon in 2016, which was known as the “Most Cleveland Race Ever!” Rain, hail, snow, wind, thunder, water spouts on the lake. The weather was absolutely awful, but that finish was so sweet. I completed two ultramarathons – the Green Jewel 50K in 2017 and the Bluff Your Way Endurance Run in 2018 where I hit 51 miles. I ran a sub-8:00 half marathon and placed first in my age group. It seemed as though the older I got, the better I ran.

As with anything, the high moments were contrasted by the lows. Early on, I was plagued by knee issues and other injuries and remember having to wear double braces to complete races. Thankfully, I became stronger, found shoes that worked better for me, and trained smarter. I had race heartbreak when I trained my butt off only to have it fall apart during the race. Don’t get me started on the shitshow that was the 2017 CLE Marathon. Then there was the broken back in November 2017 that set me back months. However, the comeback is always greater than the setback and shows true character.

So…here we are. Ten years older. Ten years wiser. Ten years happier. Although life has been ever-changing throughout this period, running has remained constant as my therapy, my outlet, my me time, my salvation. I don’t think I would be where I am today without it, and it’s paid dividends. Cheers to ten years, and I look forward to the next ten.

Love,

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And So It Begins!

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I’ll begin by saying I’m extremely excited about this blog post. This past weekend, Dad’s journey to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon half started in earnest! He’s been getting in training runs while he can, but Saturday, he and I both officially started our training season together.

My dad has never had a gym membership, but that changed a few weeks ago when he signed up at the new Planet Fitness in Painesville. Despite signing up, he hadn’t yet worked out because he was waiting on me to help him with the treadmills, signing in, etc. I love my dad, but he doesn’t really like new things. This was a little intimidating for him. After the first few minutes of feeling a little wonky and getting his treadmill bearings, he got the hang of it and cruised to an easy two miles.

 

After the treadmill run, we hit up Second Sole in Mentor. Dad’s been saying he needs new shoes, so we went there to talk with the staff and see what they would recommend. It was so fun for me to see him being all “runner-y” trying on shoes and walking around the store, and the young guy who helped us was great. He decided on a pair of Brooks Ghosts, and he bought me a new 26.2 car magnet for the one that got swiped a few months ago.

Dad’s plan for the day was five miles, so when we got home, we hit the hometown pavement for the last three. I’ll admit I got a little teary running through both of my childhood neighborhoods with my dad – the one where I grew up in until 9th grade and the one where I lived through high school and college. So many wonderful memories were had in those homes, especially good old College Hills. Aside from a new sign into the complex, it still looks the same although I am always shocked at how small it is. The neighborhood seemed endless when we were kids. Maybe it’s just the memories that are endless.

 

In addition to the official kick-off of half marathon training, I had a blast on Wednesday at the CLE Marathon Pub Run at Great Lakes Brewing Company! I had a chance to hang with some fellow Team RIOTers and make new friends; run with Leah, one of the awesome CLE ambassadors; and visit with Ralph and Joan who I adore. Oh, did I mention I got a free beer? Yeah, that never hurts.

 

Best wishes!

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P.S. Don’t forget to register for the race and use my code to save 10% off any event on Saturday or Sunday.

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The Seattle Half That Didn’t Happen

My girls and I just got home a few days ago from a great trip to the PNW. My brother lives in a suburb of Seattle, and that whole area is one of my absolute faves. For Christmas and their birthday, he bought them flights to visit him, and because it was cheaper to buy me a ticket instead of paying the airline to help them navigate flight to flight, I went too. I mean, twist my arm, right?!

As I’m prone to do when traveling, I like to run races. It’s usually nothing too ambitious, but this time, I was registered for the Seattle Sunset Half Marathon, which fell perfectly in line with my Cleveland Half Marathon training schedule and got me off my ass. With all of the lovely weather Seattle received the week before we arrived (hello, historic snowfall!), I wasn’t sure what would happen with the race. Obviously, the race organizers didn’t have a clue either. First, they canceled it, but then decided it was back on for those who wanted to participate at a scaled-back level, more like a fun run. Seeing as I was already trained up and needed the long run, I showed up on race day to give it a shot.

Race day was cold and rainy, typical for this time of year, but it’s exactly the type of weather I detest. In addition to me, there were six other people there. Yes, only six, and of those six, five were planning to run the half. Before the race started, I was already cold and wet but hoped to warm up a few miles in. I didn’t go into this with aspirations of greatness; I just wanted to get my long run in no matter how ugly it was.

Let me tell you; it was ugly. The course was full of mud and puddles, obviously something that couldn’t be helped due to the melting snow and rainfall. It rained the entire time, and I wasn’t adequately dressed for the weather, which meant I was freaking wet and freezing. Then came the stomach issues. Eff that. I haven’t felt this bad during a race since the CLE Marathon in 2013!!!! As I stood there in the porta potty swearing as I tried my best to pull up soaking wet tights with tears in my eyes, I decided to throw in the towel at nine miles.

So there’s that. I set out to run a half and didn’t. I feel bad about not accomplishing my goal and even more mad at myself for quitting on my friend who still had energy left for another four miles. As mad as I am about that, I know there was no way I was going to finish. I was just mentally and physically done. I am thankful it wasn’t a “real” race, and I am trying to chalk it up to having an off run. Everyone has those. It was unfortunate mine happened to be that time. At least the company was awesome.

Now what? Time to refocus and get ready for the 10 Mile Drop in April and the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon in May, both of which I will run with my dad. This bad run won’t define my training. It’s just a setback, and I’m better than this.

Best wishes!

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Playing Catch-up

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Time flies when you’re having fun…or being busy. Any others having a hard time wrapping their brains around the fact we’re already a week into February? Time for me to play a little catch-up here with the blog and half marathon training.

Although I haven’t been hitting the pavement much, I have been able to run at the gym. I’ll admit I had a hard time getting back into the swing of training with kids’ activities, work, the crummy weather (thanks, Polar Vortex!!!!), and feeling tired in general. It’s not that I wasn’t running before, just not to the level I needed to train for a major race. Oh, and I did I mention I’m running a half in about a week and a half when I visit my fam in Seattle? Yeah, good thing I got my ass in gear.

I have been pretty consistent for the last two weeks and noticed I’m getting a little faster. Not anywhere close to where I was previously, but I’m making strides and feeling good about it. Win-win in my book. I also knocked out a 10-miler last week, which was my longest run since my ultra at the end of September. I’m almost a little embarrassed to admit that but whatever. Such is life.

My favorite training runs have included my family. My dad, Steve, and the boys, Cole and Cael, joined me for the second Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon kick-off run on February 2. Despite the cold, we had a great time and knocked out three miles. Plus, it didn’t hurt there were Panera bagels, coffee, and hot chocolate with chocolate chip marshmallows I might add waiting for us at the end, a huge draw for Cole who said he was “here for the bagels.” Whatever, kid, as long as you want to run with me, I’m cool with you being enamored with free bagels. I can tell my dad is getting faster, as we hung in the low 10s for the first mile. He has also been sending me training updates via text (who doesn’t love Dad texts!!!???), and he’s up to about 4.5 miles. Super, super proud of him! He and I will start long runs together soon, and I can’t wait to blog about those adventures!

The kids and I plan to take advantage of the free fitness opportunities around Lorain County, which will also help mix up my training. Lorain County Public Health, my employer, and local partners have teamed up for United We Sweat, a collaborative that offers free physical activity classes and events throughout the county. One of our favorites is the Fit Walk at Splash Zone in Oberlin. We are able to use the field house track every Monday if we sign in at the front desk between 5:30PM and 6:15PM. I love this because I get to run indoors without the boredom of the treadmill, and the kids can walk and run, too. It made me so happy to see my daughter Adrianna, not a regular runner, dashing along the track as she ran sprints. She is also considering track when she is in 7th grade next year. How cool is that?! Oh, and Cole. I think the kid is a freak of nature. He knocked out five miles like it was nothing.

Back to that half I’m running in Seattle. I don’t have any goal set for this. Actually, I’m hoping it doesn’t get snowed out or something like that. Seattle area is experiencing uncommon weather. It’s almost like they swapped with Ohio and got snow, cold, and ice. The plan for Seattle is to have fun and enjoy the race, something I haven’t done in a while. There will be no PRs. Hell, I might not even come in under two hours, but I don’t particularly care. It will be a great time regardless.

Best wishes for an awesome February!

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P.S. There is still PLENTY of time to sign up and train for one of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon events! Register today and use my discount code to save 10% before the next price increase on February 10. The discount is good for any race during the weekend, even the Challenge Series!

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Training with a Purpose

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Khakis, beer shirt, jingling keys in his pocket, and a huge smile!

It’s official; Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon training season is in full swing! This is my 7th year as an ambassador, and I am doing something different that makes me so incredibly proud. This year’s training cycle won’t be about me because instead of training myself for the big day, I’m going to be training my dad, Steve, to run his first half marathon!!!!!!! YES, my dad, the guy who formerly ran in khaki shorts, is signed up to run the RACM half. Actually, he did one better than that; he signed up for the 8K and half Challenge Series!!!!! This runner’s heart is bursting at the seams.

Dad first mentioned something about taking the distance plunge about 2 months ago when I was talking about the race. For the past few years, he’s run the Saturday race with me, but he never really trained. After last year’s race, he really started to get into running more, was heading out the door on his own and increasing his speed and mileage. Now, he talks about his “Nike Run Club” and rocks a Garmin. As you can imagine, I effing love it. He asked about my plan for May. I said I wanted marathon redemption but couldn’t pass up the Challenge Series, so my plan was the 8K and full. He said he wanted to participate in the Challenge Series also by running the 8K and 10K, but the only problem, as I explained to him, was they didn’t offer that option. “Well, I will just run the half.” I think my eyes about popped out of my head. This guy was serious! I told him if he wanted to make that commitment, there was no way I was running the full and missing out of this (possibly) once-in-a-lifetime experience. I just had to cross that finish line with my dad. Less than a week ago, I sat down at the computer, completed my dad’s 8K and half Challenge Series registration, and smiled while a tear rolled down my face. WE ARE DOING THIS! (which is also my little motto for life at this particular moment)

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One of my biggest running supporters is now my half marathon training partner!

As a start to our training season, Dad, Cael, and I attended the RACM Kick-Off Run at Fleet Feet in Pepper Pike this weekend. It was cold, but we had a great time. The Kick-Off runs always breathe new life into my running, and this year was no exception. Dad’s getting a membership to the new Planet Fitness in Painesville, and I plan to go out there on weekend the kids are with their dad to help him train. Once it warms up a bit, you’ll see us hitting the streets of Painesville and the bike path, one of my personal fave places to run in my hometown. We’re going to work on a training plan, which will undoubtedly include rewards with a cold beverage, because we intend to work hard and celebrate the efforts. Enjoying the journey will be our theme. I can’t wait to see how this all unfolds, and I am looking forward to sharing our training with you.

If you’re sitting here reading this and feel inspired, I encourage you to give running a try if you aren’t already a runner, and if you are, push yourself to go a little farther, a little faster. Sign up for the damn race that scares you. Add an extra speed session to your current training. Get outside and walk the neighborhood. Whatever it is and whatever your fitness level, just do something. Your body and mind will thank you. If you want to run CLE with Dad and me, sign up now before the next price increase and save 10% using the code SL2019. We hope to see you there!

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Best wishes!

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Off and Running

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Happy New Year, my fabulous readers! Gonna let you in on a little secret. Today is January 7, and it is my first workout of the year. Yes, you read that correctly. First one and it was only 2 quick miles with an even quicker lifting session. Do I feel guilty? Hell to the no, not in the slightest.

If you’re wondering why, the answer is simple; other priorities took precedence over training. I spent the time between Christmas and now doing things that fed my soul and filled my bucket. I enjoyed a (mostly) stress-free Christmas at home with my kids soaking in their joy when they unwrapped much-wanted gifts and cooking a good meal. I spent time with the people I love most of all – my family. I ate and drank with reckless abandon because it was the holidays, dammit, and I wanted to indulge. I smiled and laughed and cried and felt something I have not for quite some time – true happiness. I got my personal life in check, which felt freaking amazing! Having a plan and something to work towards brings a sense of calming, satisfaction, and clarity. Lastly, I let myself just be in the moment and live instead of worrying about cleaning, work, bills, kids’ activities, workouts, etc., etc., etc. I know I worry too much about things I can’t change.

All of that being said, I am now ready. Ready to commit to a training cycle, to drop some of my unhealthy habits (but if you think I’m giving up on craft beer and cupcakes, you don’t know me well enough), to start 2019 with a clear head and newfound sense of focus and purpose. This is my 7th year as an ambassador for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, and there is something big in the works to commemorate the occasion. I don’t want to share the news until I am 100% certain it’s a go, but thinking about it makes my heart so damn happy it could burst in the best way possible. How’s that for a teaser?!

I know some of you who read this blog are die-hard workout folks, but there’s a portion who work out when they can or just don’t know where to start. If you fall into the latter category, I challenge you to set a goal for yourself and make 2019 the year you accomplish it. In a way, I am starting back right along with you. I’ve had progress only to experience setbacks not only in my physical activity but motivation levels and mental health. However, I am confident this is my year! I hope you can say the same.

Best wishes!!!!

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P.S. Signing up for a race is a great way to motivate yourself and stay accountable, just sayin’. The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon features multiple races for any fitness level. There are 8K, 5K, 1 mile races on Saturday, May 18, as well as the Kids’ Run. On Sunday, May 19, you can choose from the marathon, half marathon, or 10K. If you’re up for a challenge, register for one of the Challenge Series events, which has you completing a race on both Saturday and Sunday. Prices increase on January 10, so sign up today and save money. Speaking of saving money, as an ambassador, I am given a code to share to help you save even more! Use the code SL2019 when registering for 10% off your registration.

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