Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My plans for the 2015 Running & Triathlon Season

I am excited about the 2015 racing season and being part of the new Challenge Family Triathlon Team (formerly Rev3 Triathlon), Powerbar Team Elite as well as being an Official Ambassador of the Cleveland Marathon!

I plan to continue to focus on endurance running and triathlon with some shorter stuff thrown in as tune ups and for fun.

My main goals for 2015 are as follows:

  • Complete my first 50K running race at the Green Jewel in March
  • Try again for the elusive BQ (Boston Qualifying time) and at minimum PR the marathon
  • Set a new PR in the 70.3 triathlon distance
  • Complete my second 140.6 and set a new PR
You can check out my tentative race calendar below. The races that are bolded are key races for the season that much of my training will be focused on.

  • Jan 31  - Run for Regis Trail 1/2 Marathon - Peninsula, OH
  • Feb 21 - Road Apple Roubaix fun ride - Middlefield, OH
  • Mar 7 - Green Jewel 50K - Rocky River, OH
  • Mar 14 - St Malachi 5 Miler - Cleveland, OH
  • Mar 29 - Fools 25K - Peninsula, OH
  • April 12 - 10 Mile Drop - Concord Township, OH
  • April 26 - Toledo Marathon - Toledo, OH
  • May 9 - Nordonia Duathlon - Nordonia, OH
  • May 17 - Cleveland Marathon - Cleveland, OH
  • May 25 - Blossomtime Run - Chagrin Falls, OH
  • May 31 - Twinsburg Duathlon - Twinsburg, OH
  • June 7 - Lula 5 miler - Rocky River, OH
  • June 14 - Challenge Williamsburg 70.3 Triathlon - Williamsburg, VA
  • June 28 - Milton Man Olympic Triathlon - Lake Milton, OH
  • July 4 - Bay Days 5 Miler - Bay Village, OH
  • July 12 - Johnnycake Jog 5 Miler - Mentor, OH
  • July 26 - Fairport Harbor Sprint Tri - Fairport Harbor, OH
  • Aug 15 - Challenge Poconos Olympic or 70.3 Triathlon - Poconos, PA
  • Sept 13 - Challenge Cedar Point 70.3 Triathlon - Sandusky, OH
  • Oct 4 - Lakeland Clocktower 5K - Kirtland, OH
  • Oct 17 Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 - Wilmington, NC
  • TBD
So far the training for Regis and Green Jewel are going well thanks to a strong base from 2014 and a little guidance from my coach Chris Martino of New Level Coaching. I look forward to giving it my best this year! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Looking Back - The 2014 Running & Triathlon Season in a Nutshell

It's hard to believe that in a couple of days it will be 2015! This year went fast between work, kids and training and racing. It was a good year and I accomplished some new goals, made some new friends and shared a lot of ups and downs with my family. Here's a quick recap of all my racing in 2014:

Dirty Love - As all my Cleveland friends will recall last winter was a real doozy. My first race of the year was the Dirty Love Trail 10K. On that particular day old mother nature had dumped a fresh foot of snow for us. Needless to say it made for difficult race conditions. I had my slowest 10K time ever and still managed to win my age group but I learned a valuable lesson here: always have fuel with you even if you don't think you will need it because if you're out there working for a long time you will in fact bonk at an inopportune time like at the end of the race. Post race we went with our friends Mark and Phil to Willoughby Brewing for some much needed food & beer.

Fools 25K trail race - With the race being at the end of March the weather is definitely a major variable. For this particular year much like the Dirty Love race we received a gift of 6+ inches of fresh snow. From previous melting and the new snow this turned out to be a cold, wet and muddy race. I absolutely loved the race - especially the first 10 miles. It was a lot more difficult than I expected. The last hour or so I pretty much hated my life as I was cold, tired, wet and hungry. I nearly fell running the hilly pasture leading to the finish but luckily I did not. I was very happy to be done with this one and spent much of the day feeling sick afterwards. I managed to place in my AG and my husband had an awesome race, coming in 2nd overall! We did manage to hit up the Winking Lizard in Peninsula for some post race food & bevs on the way home.

20 Mile Drop - While preparing for the Cleveland Marathon I decided to run this little gem as a 20 miler as part of my prep. It ended up being a gorgeous, sunny day in the 60s and the race went even better than I expected, Partly because I was not supposed to be racing it according to my coach at the time. So, I started off slow for the first 3-4 miles and felt so good I decided to go for it. I'm glad that I did because I won my age group and made a new friend (Jillian). After the race my coach was pretty confident I would qualify for Boston at Cleveland.

Flapjack 15K - A little speed work the week before Cleveland, this race is down in the Valley on the Towpath so it is flat and fast. It was pretty competitive also. I barely snagged 3rd in my AG! I think we celebrated this race with a visit to Ray's Place after. Love that place!

Cleveland Marathon - We had perfect weather this year and a terrific new course and I was on pace to BQ until about mile 22 where I cramped up and lost my opportunity. I did however manage to have a PR and got to celebrate my husband's first BQ with him. We had a great time hanging with our friends Jillian and Bryan and ate the most delicious burgers ever at Luxe and they had Bodhi on tap. Complete post race bliss!

Blossomtime Run - This was our first time running this race in downtown Chagrin Falls and it definitely will not be our last! Loved this race. Starts and ends downtown and is a challenging 5.25 mile course. With this being a week post marathon I wasn't as fast as could but I managed to place in my AG and got to see many of my Cleveland Tri Club friends as well as some of my Team in Training friends as well.

Twinsburg Duathlon Relay - I had a blast racing the relay this year. My friend Laurie was not able to run due to a stress fracture so we paired up and she did the bike and I ran. We ended up placing in the relay and it was fun just to watch the competition at this one. This may be thee most competitive duathlon in Cleveland and the race director Mickey is my pal!

Girls With Sole Lula 5 Miler - I just love Liz Ferro. She is such a great person. I was happy to run this race to support her. It ended up being a soggy, rainy day but I almost think that made me run faster. I ended up setting a new PR and winning my age group, got the most adorable custom made trophy ever and had brunch afterwards at Sweet Melissa with my friend Jillian.

Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3 Tri - I just love this race and with the improved swim course this year going with the current and the updated run course with much of it on trails I was in heaven. I set a new PR and managed to place 3rd in my AG. I had a blast hanging out with my Rev3 teammates and made some new friends.

Milton Man Olympic Tri - This is one of my favorite local triathlons and I try to do this one every year because Greg and Julie from Champ racing are the coolest! The weather pre race was bad but fortunately it cleared up and we had good conditions albeit some wet roads on the bike course. I ended up setting a new olympic PR and winning my AG so it was a good race. After the race we got to visit Ray's Place and we met up with our friends Bill & Lynn, Tony & Nate.

Bay Days 5 Miler - Running in July you know it will be a hot race. This one is flat and fast. and competitive as I wasn't even able to place in my AG! The hubby did manage to place though! Afterwards we enjoyed a post race ride with some of CTC and Snakebite Racing friends and then headed over to Fatheads for some amazing beer and food!

Johnnycake 5 Miler - Another hot July race! This one in our backyard and also competitive. I was a little slower but I think the humidity zapped me. Was able to snag 3rd in my AG as was my friend Jillian. The hubby won his AG as well so after the race we went to Burgers & Beer in Willoughby for some food & beer.

Challenge New Albany 70.3 Tri - Loved this course! The swim was mellow, rollers for the bike and it was tougher than I expected and it was a scenic, hot run. Manged to PR and place 3rd in my AG despite some GI issues. I had forgotten my salt tabs and ended up drinking gatorade, which did not agree. Fortunately was able to work through it. After the race we got to hang with my teammate Maggs and checked out a restaurant called The Goat, which had good, hoppy beer!

Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6 Tri - This was my first full and it was humbling! I had quite an emotional week with my baby brother's accident. My main goal was just to finish but of course I had "ideas" about what my time should be. With a turbulent swim those goals quickly evaporated and I went into survivor mode. My bike time was not what I had wanted either as I bonked from lack of nutrition and over-exertion on the swim. My run was decent and I was happy with my effort there. I was so thankful to have my Rev3 teammates and Cleveland Triathlon Club friends and of course Steve there to cheer me on. Although this was a tough one I am proud of myself for sticking it out on a tough day. This race definitely taught me that attitude is everything and an iron distance race is just as much mental as it is physical.

Lakeland Clocktower 5K - For about 3-4 weeks after the 140.6 I just felt sluggish and slow but I wanted to see if the legs had anything in them so why nor run a 5K? I surprised myself with this one by running a new PR of 21:17 and taking 2nd place. Steve also PR'd by about a minute so it is nice to see that the longer stuff does not necessarily slow you down and that you can in fact convert endurance into speed.

Lake Health Northern OH Half Marathon - This was a toughie. With having bronchitis I pushed myself to the limit to try and PR. I ended up with a 1:40 and change so no PR but it was a PR for the course and I won my age group despite feeling miserable for the rest of the day. Lesson learned here is to know when to back off. I should have ran this easier as a training run or just sat it out. It was nice that a group of my friends were there and all did well and PR'd including my hubby.

Buckeye Half Marathon - Only ended up doing 1 loop of the 2 due to lingering bronchitis and foot pain. They can't all be wonderful, right? On to the next one!

Autumn Leaves 5 Mile XC Race - I love this race! It is a tough one too. Guaranteed to be muddy and slippery, part trail, part pasture, part pavement, part corn maize. This one is not a boring race and it is challenging. I was a bit slower than last yr but the course was harder. Placed 2nd in my AG and won a sweet pint glass that was filled later with some delicious beer!

Salt Fork 10 Mile Trail Challenge - When the words "trail" and "challenge" are in the race name you can expect it will in fact be a challenge. I fell very early in the race but luckily caught myself and got back up quick. I gave it all I had and definitely labored towards the end for a 2nd place AG win which got me a very cool cutting board. That combined with my "Built salt fork tough" hoodie and pint glass were probably the best swag I got this year! We also purchased a growler which we promptly filled after we got home but first we had to attend my cousin Michael's funeral.

Painesville Turkey Trot 5K - Crappy, cold, snowy, slippery weather conditions for a road race... Good thing it was a short race! Steve and I both managed to win our age groups and for that we won pumpkin pies and some sweet insulated travel mugs.

NERC Interclub Relay at Westwoods - Ending the season with a relay sounded more fun than another serious race so I put together a co-ed team "Blood, Sweat and Beers" with my friend Jillian, husband Steve and myself. The race consists of an 8, 5 and 3-mile leg. Steve ran the 8, I ran the 5 and Jillian ran the 3. It was a tough course! I definitely worked hard and still came in slower than I anticipated. Fortunately Steve and Jillian both did great and we placed 2nd in the co-ed division. It was a fun way to end the year.

Special thanks to my 2014 sponsors!!!



Now it's onto 2015! Just putting the finishing touches on the race calendar and will posting that in the next week or two. Already busy training for the first race of the year, which is the Run for Regis trail half marathon. My original plan was to do the 50K but decided to run the Green Jewel 50K instead!1





Monday, December 22, 2014

2015 is Shaping Up to Be an Epic Year!

2015 is shaping up to be an epic year. With all the excitement I had to share the details!


  • Team Rev3 Triathlon will now be Challenge Triathlon Team. I'm excited to be part of the newly branded national age group team! This will be my fourth season with this team and I just love them! If you're considering signing up for any of the Challenge races, all US races (except Rancho Cordova) and Canada races are 10% off if you use my code. Please message me with any questions or for the code. Additionally be sure to watch for other specials. Right now for the month of December Challenge Maine and Challenge St. Andrews are buy one get one 1/2 off! 

  • I have been selected as a 2015 Official Cleveland Marathon Ambassador. I am excited to represent my hometown race! If you're considering a spring marathon, half marathon or 10K, this is a great race. Last year the course was redone and it was awesome. We also had perfect running weather!

  • I have a new coach...Chris Martino of New Level Coaching. I am looking forward to working with Chris this season and pushing my limits in running and triathlon. I'm hoping for some shiny new PRs and podiums 2015! 

  • My husband Steve also has some exciting things going on for 2015! He has joined the Snakebite Racing Team for 2015 and is also now an official Boom! ambassador

Watch the blog for my 2015 race schedule, which is coming soon!






Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Blood, Sweat & Beers Relay to End the Season

It's official...the last race of 2014 is in the books! I had debated racing the last Ohio Outside trail race again as well as the Run Santa Run 5K in Mentor but decided to have some fun with things and make my last race of the season a relay! Northeast Running Club (NERC) hosts an interclub relay race at the end of the season and I've always wanted to run it so this year I got a team together for the co-ed division consisting of my speedy husband Steve and my speedy friend Jillian.

The race, which is free to run simply requires you to sign up and show up that day ready to run with your team and maybe to help make some chili for the chili cookoff. The race takes place at the West woods park in Russell Township/Newbury. It's a gorgeous park with some challenging and fun terrain.

Me, Steve and Jillian prerace
Steve and I got in a little mile warm up on what I thought was the start of the course, which was a good little climb up a hill. Fortunately the start wasn't uphill! We met up with Jillian for a quick team pic as the hubby had designed some fun shirts for us to run in.

The relay consists of an 8-mile leg, 5 mile leg and 3 mile leg for a team total of 16 miles. The starts are staggered with 3 minutes between each group so the 8-milers go first, followed by the 5 milers followed by the 3s. Steve volunteered to do the 8 mile leg, which I hear is pretty brutal! I did the 5 mile leg and Jillian did the 3 mile leg.

My race didn't go as well as I hoped but it went okay. I woke up battling GI issues and just loaded up on the pepto and tums and made the best of it. According to my Garmin I did 5.11 miles in 42:15 so about an average pace of 8:17. That's not bad for the trails but I was shooting to come in around 8 minutes flat.

Fortunately Steve and Jillian both did better! Steve came in just over 56 minutes in 2nd place for the 8 miler (fortunately for us some of the speedy men got lost!). And Jillian did around a 21:50 for the 3 miles.

post race team pic w/ our award!
Our team goal was to break 2 hours and we sure came close at 2:00:07! This was good for 2nd place in the co-ed and we won a custom award made out of wood. After the race we enjoyed some hot cocoa and chili and hung out among friends.

It was a nice way to end the season and I will definitely plan to do this again either as a co-ed relay or female relay! Thanks to NERC, especially Guy Gadomski and all the volunteers including my good friends Melanie Lynn and Christopher Miller!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014 Lake County YMCA Turkey Trot 5K Race Report

Steve and I had opted to do the Lake County YMCA Turkey Day 5K race instead of the downtown Turkey Trot since it is in our local community and was easier for us logistically. For it being a local 5k, it is a fairly big race with about 1200 runners coming out each year.

I was not happy to wake up to snow on Thanksgiving morning as I knew this would slow things down for the race. On our mile warm up my feet got wet and my warm up clothes were drenched in wet snow. Luckily Steve and I had both brought trail shoes in case the conditions were bad so we both changed after the warm up. This proved to be a good decision as the roads were snow covered for much of the race.

The race starts at 8:30 in front of the Painesville YMCA and heads east down Mentor Avenue towards Lake Erie College. It is a flat and fast course but with the snow it slowed things down some. I saw a few people slip and fall including one woman that tried to pass me around the halfway point. It was a cold, wet run but it went super fast. I wanted to break 22 minutes but I ended up being just over with a 22:07, good for 10th of 670 women and first in the 35-39 age group. Steve ended up running just over 20 minutes and winning first in his age group as well. Neither of us had a PR but in these conditions I think most people were close to a minute slower than usual.

Post race with our hard-earned pies!
The YMCA does an excellent job with the race. It is well organized and they give awesome awards! The age group winners received pumpkin pies and really nice travel coffee mugs so Steve and I each earned a pie and mug, which was awesome! We shared the pies with our loved ones but the mugs are ours! After the race we went home to cook a delicious Thanksgiving meal and enjoy spending time with our families.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Some Advice for Training For Your First 140.6 Iron Distance Triathlon

My life this past summer pretty much centered on training for the Rev3 Cedar Point Full, which was my first 140.6 iron-distance triathlon. It was a life-changing experience and I am looking forward to tackling a new 140.6 next fall. 

I thought it might be helpful to those considering taking on their first 140.6 next season to impart some of the things that I have learned and found to be helpful in my prep for Cedar Point:

  • Swim, bike and run often. Even in the off season you want to make sure that you’re engaging in at least one session in each discipline each week. This helps ease you into the training plan when it is time to get serious.
  • Have a plan and work the plan. An iron-distance race is too big of a task to wing it. You need to be both mentally and physically prepared. While no athlete can commit to 100% of the workouts (life gets in the way on occasion) you should commit to 95%. The plan will keep you focused even through life’s little setbacks.
  • Build endurance early on. But don’t overdo it in the training. Keep it easy on most days. You can challenge yourself by selecting a spring endurance event that you can focus on and it’s also a good idea to race a 70.3 half distance triathlon somewhere between 6-12 weeks out from your 140.6 race.
  • Seek the advice of elders. Never be afraid to ask your experienced peers that have already completed this challenge for advice. Most of the time they will happily share what they have learned along the way.
  •   Have some fun along the way. One of the best things about triathlon is the people you will meet and train with and cheer for. It is a fun and social sport. Make sure you have some fun along the way and don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Be well. When taking on a challenge like 140.6 it is so important to be well. Make sure that you eat to fuel your body. Treats are okay but eat the good stuff too…lots of fruits and veggies and lean proteins and whole grains or alternative grains like quinoa, buckwheat, etc. And sleep well. Aim for eight hours a night especially during your build periods. Don’t be afraid to nap or kick your feet up when you can. And take vitamins and supplements like probiotics and vitamin C to keep your body’s immunity up.
  • Don’t forget recovery. With such a physically demanding challenge you must allow your body some time to recover as well. Designate a day to rest and stretch each week especially during the build periods. For me it works out well to take Mondays off after a long weekend of training. I sleep in a little and then get up and stretch well for 20-30 minutes. If you’re really restless on recovery days you can always allow yourself a short one or two mile walk.
  • Be Flexible on race day. It's a long day of racing and things may not go exactly as you've planned or envisioned. It's okay, your real goal is just to get to that finish line. Forget the time goals or doubting yourself if one leg of the race doesn't go well. You have done the training and you can do it. Stay mentally strong. Focus. The finish line awaits!


If you decide to go the full distance know that it is okay to have moments of frustration, worry or doubt.  Just don’t let those let those little worries hold you back because you can do anything you set your mind to if you follow a good plan, take good care of yourself and believe in yourself. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

2014 Salt Fork Challenge Race Report - 10.4 miles and 1900 feet of rocks, roots, mud and beauty!

Years back the Ohio Outside Salt Fork Trail Challenge was my first trail race. Steve and I actually ran it together for fun and ended up walking a good deal of it. This year we both wanted to race it and see what we could do.

For a 10 mile trail race it is a very challenging race! Salt Fork is full of hills and single track and mud and beauty! I loved this race and will most certainly do it again!

Shot of the park on drive in
Steve and I had planned a little get away for the race so we headed down Friday afternoon through some yucky Cleveland weather to the snow-free trails of Southern, Ohio. Salt Fork is located close to Cambridge, Ohio, which was about a 2.5-3 hour drive for us from Mentor. We stopped for a smoothie at Robeks on the way down and checked into our room about 4:00. On the way into the park I couldn't help but snap some pictures so I could share this beauty with my friends and family back home.

After unpacking and relaxing for a little while we went to pick up our packets and then headed to dinner at the restaurant in the lodge. The beer selection was not too great, which was no big deal as we had come prepared!

Salt fork hoodies!
It was a relaxing and fun night and we were able to enjoy some of our own hoppy beers after dinner as well as some tasty snacks. Our Salt Fork hoodies came in very handy as they were nice and cozy to wear around that evening and post race! We were also able to sleep in since we were onsite already, which was an awesome bonus!

Race Morning:

The wake-up call came at 7 am and I felt well rested. Steve brewed us some coffee and we ate some breakfast, got dressed and headed out for a warm up mile before the race. It was really cold early in the morning by by the race start at 9:30, it had warmed up some. In fact I ran back to our room to change my shirt so I didn't overheat.

Steve and I lined up together and chatted for a minute before the race. The race starts in front of the lodge with a fast, downhill trek through the parking lot and then quickly heads off road into the grass and through some bushes heading into the trails of Salt Fork. I tried not to go out too fast as is often my modus operandi because I knew the later miles were going to hurt. The footing was tricky due to heavy leaf coverage and I managed to trip and fall early on within the first mile. I was right back up before I could even be passed but this instilled in me very early into the race to use light feet.

With it being a technical trail with a variety of terrain and conditions as well as elevation, it's not a real fast course so you can't really plan to just go out and run an 8-minute mile. Some sections are fast like that but most are slower going as you have to really watch your footing and what lies ahead. I really love this aspect of trail running because it is NEVER boring as it can be running on the road at times. You can't just zone out. This makes for a very zen and interesting run.

There were some muddy sections and I even passed a woman who had lost her shoe in the mud around mile 3.5 or 4.
Muddy feet after the race!
I used that as an opportunity to try to distance myself from some other women. I wasn't sure what place I was in until just after the road leading to the aid station where a man yelled to me "third place female". This gave me a boost and I was prepared in advance of the aid station as I had taken in my gel and just quickly stopped to throw away the packet and sip some water. I took off on the road because this is a strong spot for me and I wanted to gain some advantage over the woman right behind me. This worked well as I glanced down at my Garmin and saw that I was running in the lower 7's for that section.

Of course once we headed back into the hilly grass section things were not moving as fast. A young woman came out of nowhere around mile 7 and took off ahead of me. She was soon out of my sight and I was in 4th and just trying to stay steady within myself. The fatigue was starting to set in for me and the end of the race is not easy. I really started to feel myself weaken and fade in the last mile of the race and another woman had passed me but I would not allow myself to get into a walking pattern and throw it all away. My thoughts of food, beer and Steve kept me moving.

My Award!
The last section is challenging straight uphill through the grass and a woman tried to pass me but I was able to fight her off and push through to the end of the race. It was a painful finish but it was a nice feeling to cross the finish line and be handed an award for 2nd in the 30-39 age group and 6th female.

The 10-year age groups made it difficult as Steve didn't place in his age group of 40-49 but was the first over 45. In looking at the results it was a competitive race. I would have liked to have held onto my top 3 status but better luck next time. It was still an awesome race and a hell of a good workout!

Our other award! Yakima!
We had to get back quickly for my cousin's funeral so we were not able to enjoy a beer right away but we did stop for a quick bite to eat at Einstein Bagels on the way back. After the funeral we headed to Ray's Place in Kent for a hoppy beer and dinner. Then we stopped at World of Wine in Mentor to fill the awesome growler we bought with some Columbus Brewing Yakima Fresh Hop Ale! Yep, that was worth 10.4 miles and 1900+ feet of running and climbing!

Ohio Outside does a great job with their races and I definitely recommend this one if you like a challenge on the trails!