Monday, January 28, 2013

Running Solo #CLEMarathon

I like running in groups, with a running partner, and solo. Even though I belong to a few running groups, I probably run the most miles in solo mode. There are several reasons for this – time, training needs, and schedule challenges.

I’ve got a full spring ahead of me with a 50K and 2 marathons scheduled culminating at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.  My next big race is the Cowtown Ultra Marathon which is 5 weeks away.  My mileage needs are definitely higher than my running group.  Yes, I could run some initial miles with them and then finish out on my own.  However, I’m not crazy about repeating loops to get to a bigger number.

On Saturday, I needed to run 22 miles per my training schedule. My running group was only running 5 miles as most are training for a half marathon.  There are others that are training for a full, but again, I’m not crazy about adding multiple loops.

Running on my own also has some advantages – I can sleep in a little if I want.  I can create my own adventuresome route.  When I ran the 22 miler, I ran a new route.  The tool that I used to map it out was  If you haven’t tried it, you’ve got to check it out.  Here’s the 22 miler that I mapped out.  It was cool to check out the new route.  I was pretty familiar with the area as I have driven all over Plano & Allen before, but you get an entirely new appreciation of the scenery and elevation changes when you’re running.

A challenge to running on your own for a really long run is hydration.  I usually have cash on me so that I can grab a Gatorade at a gas station.  I’ve even been as bold as grabbing some work from water spigots on the outside of an office building.  However, you go about it, you have to plan for it, since you won’t have the luxury of the running group’s water.

Having completed 9 marathons – I have never once ran a complete marathon with a friend.  In some shorter races, I’ve ran the entire race with someone I know.  Why is this?  Whenever I start a race with my son, Cairo, or a running friend, I always wish them well in the race.  We agree that we’ll stay together, but it’s a race and we all need to run our own race.  Some run in negative splits, some bank time in the beginning, and some run a steady pace throughout.  I’d really hate to hold somebody back from what they’re capable of.  I’m looking forward to the Cleveland Marathon as I’m sure that my son, Cairo and I will definitely stay together for his first marathon.

61294_4936883859889_1549853744_nWhen some runners hear that I do some long runs on my own, they’re surprised and state they could never do it on their own.  What they don’t know is that they should do it on their own every once in awhile.  Running solo allows me to simulate the race without the hundreds or thousands of runners and spectators.  I’m not simulating the race pace, but the solitude of having to battle through this on my own.  I’ve got to move my legs on my own, I’ve got to battle the negative thoughts through my head, I’ve got to come up with the landmarks to keep running to.  Running a long run solo not only trains you physically, but mentally for the upcoming race.

Does it get lonely?  Sure, but I get so much out of solo runs – as some say… running is cheaper than therapy!  When I run, the world seems to slow down and I get to be in my own thoughts.

Now don’t me wrong, I love running with a group!  I love the comradely, sharing experiences with each other, encouraging each other and pushing each other.  I especially like running with a group when doing speed work at a track.  I don’t think that I can adequately do track speed work on my own.  I like being pushed and trying to keep up with others.

Into the thick of a training season, I’d definitely prefer to run with a group, but priorities don’t always allow it.  In the fall, Cairo, my son, has his Cross Country season.  My family takes priority and I’d hate to ever miss seeing him cross the finish line at a cross country meet.

If your schedule doesn’t line up for the group long run, embrace the solo long run!  You might learn something about yourself!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Back in CLE! #CLEMarathon

I’m very honored to be selected as one of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Official Bloggers for 2013.  This year, there was more interest from runners to blog about their experiences.  So, there was a bit more of a structured selection process.  This is the only marathon that I know of that has runners blogging about their training experiences.  Behind all of those thousands of participants and thousands of finishing times, there are real stories of triumph!

Super excited to get back to CLE for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon for multiple reasons!

Mile_Marker_1.svgI’ll get some revenge on the course for last year’s challenging weather woes.  It was definitely warmer than the normal Cleveland weather.  Everyone likes to get revenge especially when it’s conquering something that beat you down.

250px-Mile_Marker_2.svgI get to see my family.  I was born in Cleveland, lived there for the first 5 years of my life and then grew up in North Ridgeville, Lorain County.  After I graduated from high school, I spent 8 years in the Air Force.  I then found my new home in the suburbs of Dallas, TX.  I get back home to Cleveland at least once a year.  Lately, my Cleveland trips have been centered around the Cleveland Marathon.  That’s a good reason!  My sister, Denise has been a pacer for the Cleveland Marathon in previous years.  She’s one of the main reasons that I got into this running thing! :)

20130105_074701250px-Mile_Marker_3.svgMy 17 year old son will be rocking his first marathon.  I’m super proud of Cairo for wanting to take on 26.2 miles.  When I was his age, I definitely was not as active as he is.  As most know, training for a marathon takes a huge amount of commitment.  We’ve definitely discussed what it’s going to take and he’s agreed to the training plan.  He definitely enjoys the races more than the boring training.  To make training more exciting for him and me, I’m always creating new routes for us to go on.  It’s always fun to say, “Cairo, have you ever run on this road?” to which he replies, “Yes… YES, I have!”

We chose the Cleveland Marathon so that he could run it during his off season from Cross Country.  It’s hard to build up a base of miles when every weekend you’re running a full speed 5K in the fall.


Marathon Maniac! The Cleveland Marathon will be my 3rd marathon within 90 days which will be enough to entitle me to a Marathon Maniac status.  Why do this?  I want to tackle this since it’s achievable and I don’t think I’m pushing myself too hard to do it.  Here’s my spring marathon race schedule:

  1. February 24th – Cowtown Ultra Marathon – 50K
  2. April 28th – Eugene Marathon
  3. May 19th – Cleveland Marathon 

I’m so looking forward to running for the above reasons and so many others!  If you’re running the Cleveland Marathon, let’s connect via Twitter, DailyMile, and/or Facebook.  I’d love to hear from you about your training, goals, and Cleveland Experience!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Years Double Videos

NewYearsDoubleLogo_d5-2Hats off to everyone that ran the New Years Double race! Y’all are incredible! It was so cool to see you as you ran through the Frisco Running Club water station.  We had a great time volunteering and goofing off.  Hopefully you enjoyed the many ways that we offered water and the Black Eyed Peas on New Years’ Day.  Yep, I definitely think that we’re the only aid station that offers Black Eyed Peas.

It took me awhile, but I finally have videos from the race posted.  Hopefully you spot yourself in the one of the several videos.

Looking forward to next year!