Started running in my early 20s and ended up running my first marathon 15 months later. Managed to break 3 hours in my 12th marathon. Pilates instructor passionate about the importance of your powerhouse in running and the mind/body connection. One husband, zero kids, mama to one Australian Shepherd.
Crisp air, cooler temps … it finally feels like marathon season! The Chicago Marathon is October 13 and more than 40,000 runners — including our own Angelica! — will wind through 29 Windy City neighborhoods led by some of America’s top female marathoners.
The elite women’s field features five women with PRs under 2:25, led by 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and 2019 London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei (2:18:20 PR/Kenya).
But the next-fastest PR in the field belongs to Jordan Hasay, who finished third at Chicago in 2017 with a 2:20:57. She’s actually finished third in all three of her marathons — including Boston 2017 and Boston 2019. She holds the American record for fastest marathon debut, but after her two 2017 marathons, she missed her next two planned marathons with repeated fractures in her left heel. Hasay ran 1:12:35 at Rock ’n Roll Philly in mid-September and posted on Instagram that she was “really excited” about the effort while in the midst of heavy mileage.
So you woke up Tuesday morning, logged on to social media and thought, “What is an Al Sal?” Dear reader, an Al Sal is a mythical beast, much like a Chiron, that is known for having superlative abilities to train running demigods but—allegedly—way, way, way less noble. Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar has been part of running lore for decades and on Monday night, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency semi-surprised us all by announcing a four-year ban on Salazar.
Why a semi-surprise? Well, because many people thought sanctions were in order in 2015 when Kara Goucher and Steve Magness first went public with allegations of rule-breaking at NOP in 2015 as part of the ProPublica-BBC report.
Want to skip to the video? Click right here, baby.
I first took Pilates in college—for credit, because I was at a bougie Northeastern school—and I loved it. It spoke to my dancer spirit, and I loved the specificity of the practice, connecting breath with movement and being precise and intentional about every action.
I came back to practicing about the same time that I started running, when I joined a gym that offered mat classes. But after some life upheaval I stopped going and just ran more. Ultimately this resulted in stress fractures in both shins and a strained hamstring. Lesson learned! Once my injuries healed I joined a new gym, in part, because it also offered Pilates mat classes. I loved the classes and the gym so much that I decided to get certified to teach about three years ago.
Pilates can do wonders for runners. Its focus is on the entire powerhouse, not just your abdominals, but all the supporting core musculature including your hips and lower back. It can shore up your body to ward off a ton of common running injuries.
I recognize Pilates can be cost-prohibitive and intimidating, but I promise it’s not all graceful women hanging upside-down on what looks like a torture apparatus, and a lot of the exercises are simple things you can do at home. Starting right now!
Here are five of my favorite Pilates exercises for runners.
After a training log hiatus, I’m going to jump back in this season. Hopefully, anyway. Starting with a pretty light log of the two three weeks post-Grandma’s Marathon. The irony is real, guys. I wrote two weeks of logs last Saturday and then was going to post on Sunday after I worked out … and then never posted. *face palm* But, it’s okay because this really my last down week so we’ll put ‘em all together!
Surprise, I did not run the day after the marathon. I had an early flight out of Duluth and left the hotel around 5 a.m. which sucked but I was home by 1 p.m. and all the afternoon fights were cancelled/delayed because of weather. (My friend had to rent a car and drive 8.5 hours home, another friend slept in O’Hare.) Got lunch with the hubs and dog and ran some errands, took Morgan on a longer walk.
For the two weeks after the race, Coach told me to do as little as I could stand to do. Literally his instructions were to run as close to zero miles as possible. I ran 6. That’s close, right?
6/24-6/30 — plan calls for 0-12 miles, did 6.
Monday – walked 2.5-3 miles with Morgan and did 20 minutes of Jasyoga.
- Tuesday – walked a couple miles with Morgan.
- Wednesday – got a massage! More walking. Taught Pilates.
- Thursday – more walking, more Pilates. Thought about running but didn’t.
- Friday – 3 miles quicker than I would’ve guessed with a friend in the morning.
- Saturday – more walking.
- Sunday – 3 miles super easy on trails with a friend, 29 minutes of Jasyoga (Booty Lock Mitigation)
7/1-7/7 — 9-15 miles as I want, did 10.
- Monday – walking and 20 minutes Jasyoga (Hip Strength & Stability plus 5 minute Hamstring Reset)
- Tuesday – 3.25 mi easy solo from home in the morning. Dewpoint has been hanging around 70, it’s like running in warm soup. Can I go back to Minnesota? 20 min Jasyoga — Preventative Medicine for Lower Legs and Feet plus Hamstring Reset
- Wednesday – walking and teaching Pilates (incorporated some Jasyoga for the Jasyoga July challenge!)
- Thursday – 4 mi easy. My plan was to do 3 miles and finish at a coffee shop and walk home but they were closed for the holiday so I ran the extra mile. Explored a creek and trail near our house with Mo.
- Friday – walking and a yoga class.
- Saturday – 3 mi easy trail run, ate a bug and got several facefuls of spider webs. Regretted not wearing my trail shoes.
- Sunday – Slept about 9 hours and walked with the dog.
7/8-7/14: 25 miles
Structure is back but still low and easy miles and lots of off days.
- Monday – Supposed to be 4 easy but went with RM and ended up with 5 moderate, felt good to get moving a little quicker. Early morning run, subbed Pilates in the evening. Had a great call with my coach to plan for fall and I’m feeling excited about the training ahead!
- Tuesday – 6 miles moderate in the evening, about the same pace/effort as Monday, treadmill watching So You Think You Can Dance. Jasyoga Hammy Time.
- Wednesday – No running, taught Pilates in the evening.
- Thursday – Slept in instead of running, had decided to take the day off and push the run to Friday (optional off day), but got home and decided to run. 6 miles moderate in the evening, treadmill watching Big Little Lies (no spoilers, I’m in season 1).
- Friday – Rest day, dog walking only.
- Saturday – 8 miles moderate with SH, hilly, felt good, minimal stoppage time. PIG ROAST ALL DAY after that. We roasted a whole pig in a pit and had 50-70 people over. 17 weeks until Indy Monumental.
- Sunday – No running, strength and Jasyoga Sunday Reset.
I’m going to start this race report with two lists. First, a list of lessons I learned. We’re all here for the takeaways, right?
- Don’t trust people who tell you races are flat.
- Always wear sunscreen.
- Don’t part your hair down the middle for marathons.
- Don’t skip the warmup ever ever ever.
- Go ahead and pee in the bushes.
I always say it’s a bad idea to sign up for a race on the tail of another race, especially a bad one. But last fall, after a whole season of never feeling good (running or otherwise, which might’ve been iron, life stress or both or neither) I scrapped my fall marathon and running a half instead, and not particularly well. My husband was signed up for the full and ended up DNF’ing, so it was a rough day all-around. On my way home I was texting about my poor performance with one of my best friends. She replied that she was planning on Grandma’s, and over the next few days I did a little research. I knew a bunch of girls had run hella fast there last year, the weather should be okay, and it was net-downhill. Plus my friend was going and Mr. Chic doesn’t usually run a spring full. What the hell! I figured. Time to get myself sorted out, to get in some good training, take a fun girls’ trip, run a new race and see a new city. I signed up within a month.
Not only was the entry cheap-ish, but you get a jacket if you sign up early. A JACKET!
Which brings us to the second list, a list of things I did not know, that you may want to know before signing up:
- The race entry is cheap, but nothing else is.
- Hotels are expensive and sell out fast.
- Flights are pretty limited into Duluth.
- It’s a net-downhill course in the same way Boston is. The hilly way.
The Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon was my first half marathon and it’s my current PR course (from 2017). With Grandma’s Marathon on the schedule for June, the late-April race was a good fit for a tune-up and check-in.
I was training pretty well all spring, not setting any workout records but building back up after a crappy fall season. My mileage and paces were more “normal” (these things, of course, being relative) and I was feeling pretty good. Maybe not quite PR shape, but at least faster than the mediocre halves I ran in the fall.
A couple weeks before the race I headed to Chicago for work, just for an overnight; up Thursday afternoon, to return the next night. Friday I woke up early to squeeze in a run and didn’t feel great, but I had been out until 1, had a few drinks, didn’t sleep well because of noisy neighbors (my boss called security three times) … all that jazz. I thought the easy run would help, but a headache persisted all day. As our flight got delayed three times for a total of three hours—bumping our 5:15 p.m. arrival to 8:30—I grew more and more irritable and tired. I just wanted to go home.
The next day, I postponed my long run, still not feeling great. I was developing a little bit of a cough, but didn’t think much of it. The cough was worse on Sunday and I still didn’t get my long run in, but the next day was Marathon Monday and I had taken off work to watch the race and thought maybe I could do it then.
As it turned out, dear readers, I did not. By Monday afternoon I was diagnosed with Flu A. I laid on the couch for most of the day because I wanted to watch the race, alternating between sweating and shivering and groaning from joint pain. Monday was really bad, Tuesday wasn’t great, but I was able to run again Wednesday (probably shouldn’t have).
Crap, I thought, I do not have time for this.
We all love the freedom of running outside — being in nature, covering entire cities on foot — but sometimes our outside runs don’t quite look like freedom. While I suspect none of us would choose running inside over a glorious park on a 50º day, sometimes the treadmill makes more sense. Maybe you have to run during rush hour and your route is jammed by distracted drivers and traffic lights. Maybe you’re too crunched for time to drive to a favorite park or path.
Or maybe you’re just sick of dew points above 70º. Yes, it’s spring now, but summer is coming. Professional runner and South Carolina resident Esther Atkins calls it the “dreammill,” because in southern summers it can be the best option for those workouts crucial to fall racing season.
That philosophy helped me learn to appreciate the treadmill as another training tool, and not only for avoiding winter weather. It’s a great place to practice pacing, nutrition, or race day outfits that might be impractical outdoors (like running in racing buns through my neighborhood, as if people don’t already think I’m crazy), while also eliminating stoppage time.
When we moved into our house, we knew eventually we’d get a treadmill. It wasn’t an urgent need, but we spent about a year researching and testing. Here’s what I learned from choosing a treadmill for our home and setting up our workout room.
Pittsburgh will host the USATF Half Marathon Championships on Sunday — following the city’s 2019 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon on Saturday. This is the second straight year for the event to be held in the City of Bridges, with the top 15 finishers in the male and female open divisions earning guaranteed prize money. The male and female national champions will take home $15,000 each, plus additional prize money for time and record bonuses. Full prize money info is here.
So who is vying for that cool $15K?
featured image courtesy of Indy Women’s Half Marathon, ©2019. Look at that hotty, #12!
It’s happened to all of us: you’re having a great run and about an hour in, there’s a bit of a stinging situation. You tug your shorts down, adjust the waistband, try to scoot a seam. But you know already: they’re not the perfect shorts.
Or, you buy a pair that is totes cute but lo-and-behold, there’s nowhere for your key — much less anything else.
Recently Sesame posted on social media about looking for spandex short suggestions, and I am so about this type of crowd-sourcing! I chimed in with a few of my favorites and fails, and then we starting collecting more suggestions. All for you, dear readers.
Just kidding, this research was 100% done for my inner thighs. But by all means, reap the benefits!
Happy Patriot’s Day, possibly the most important running holiday of the year! Last year I wrote about the crazy-stacked women’s elite field — I declared it was going to be a good year and I was definitely right even though there were plenty of surprises.
American women’s marathoning is a whole mood right now.
So, who to keep an eye on this year? Of the 22 women in the elite field, half of them have PRs under 2:23:00. The weather is forecasted to be similar to last year, although looks like a tailwind this year.
It’s hot. It’s humid. I’m in the southeast so from May until August, at least, this is the norm. Sometimes longer than that. Training for a fall marathon, reciting the mantra “humidity is the poor man’s altitude” and downing electrolytes.
But have you ever gotten late into a long run, somewhere past the 90 minute mark, and found yourself completely confused about how far you have to go before you turn around? Or not sure how you ended up in that neighborhood? Can’t remember that guy’s name as he waves and runs by?
It’s not you. It’s your hydration.
OH HI GUYS I’M BACK. It’s been a while and while I haven’t been posting, I have been running. Mostly. Let’s save that for another day and just jump straight in with this really long recap (!) from my second race of 2019.
It’s always fun to line up for the Louisville Triple Crown series — a 5k, 10k and 10 miler each two weeks apart. While we have lots of races throughout the year, the Triple Crown is when everybody turns up. It’s a big reunion!Read more >>
I used to be scared of the half marathon. Too far to fake it, not far enough to be comfortable. I worried if I ran a half marathon before a marathon, I’d use up all my fitness. That doesn’t even make sense.
This year I’ve run three half marathons in the first half of the year. One was two weeks before my marathon; the other two after.
So what’s changed?
As runners, maybe we just can’t help but be uncomfortable. After all, racing is an exercise is being uncomfortable.
So when my sports chiropractor came out with a new myofascial release tool … I was in.
I went by his office, Kentucky Sports Chiropractic, for a demonstration and explanation of this new torture device, which looks like a therapy band with four golf ball halves attached.
Launched about six months ago, Dr. Kyle Bowling created the CTM Band to improve on tools already on the market. It stands for “compression, tension, movement” — the three things required for actual myofascial release. Read more >>
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