The Great Virtual 1000K Across Tennessee

This summer, I ran and completed The Great Virtual 1000K Across Tennessee. Here’s how it all went down…

It started with the Tokyo Marathon. All runners who were not considered elite were no longer qualified to race, due to COVID-19. The next up, LA marathon, it slipped under the radar, and went on as planned. But the following weekend the New York City Half Marathon, cancelled with out hesitation. It became a domino effect and all the races seemed to be cancelled with a few postponed. And even though it was just a race, when each race cancelled, it stung. It was March when things began to close. COVID-19 was here in the States, but it most likely had been circulating for a while.

Business has to continue, but in a new way. To be innovative race directors started to promote a virtual option for their race, or create a new virtual race that would excite the runner. The one that really appealed and motivated me, was The Great Virtual 1000K Across Tennessee.

Virtual races were not unheard of. They have been around, and are a great “fund raising” option, but in the past, virtual races just didn’t do anything for me.

However, when I heard about, The Great Virtual 1000K Across Tennessee, I signed up without hesitation. It was the first of it’s kind. It was created by Laz, the creator of the Barkley Marathons, so there was no doubt in my mind- It was going to be the most EPIC race of the summer. Oh, what’s that you say – you haven’t heard of the Barkley Marathons, well let me clue you in.

The Barkley Marathons is a marathon distance race in the back country, mountains of Tennessee. It is a mystery race, with very little marketing. The date is a mystery. Runners have to apply and be accepted to run the race. Once accepted, and at the start, runners are required to camp out the night before. The start time is a mystery, but you know the race has begun when the race director, Laz, lights his cigarette. The race course is a map that runners have to follow, and very few runners actually complete the course and make it to the finish line. If that’s not a unique challenging race, I don’t know what is.

The Great Virtual 1000K Across Tennessee was not the Barkley Marathons but created by the same race director, I knew, after all of the races being cancelled, and nothing to look forward to, this was just what I needed.

A 1000K is equivalent to 622 miles. That is a lot of miles, especially for me, who normally on average runs 100 miles a month. However, the race started May 1 and all miles had to be logged by September 1 which gave me four months to complete the distance. That means, I would have to run 155.5 miles a month, which would up my monthly mileage by 55 miles (give or take) to what I’m use to running. With that being said, walking counted toward the total mileage, which in the later months the walking mileage became a necessity to log in order to complete the race.

I am a marathon runner, who over the years while training for long distance races, realized extremely high mileage burns me out. I actually feel my best mentally and physically with lower mileage training plans – I’m talking about 25-30 miles a week, maybe peaking at 40 miles a week during peak week during marathon training. I’m one who believes in quality mileage, over quantity mileage. I’m one to believe in every mile should have a purpose behind it. So I have never done a run streak because I believe rest days are an important part of training. However, at this point in the year 2020, there are no “live/in-person” road races happening, so I decided to not follow any organized training plan, and to just go for it.

When May passed by, and I realized I was slightly behind on mileage, I doubted myself. I thought, “Well if I don’t finish this thing, at least the registration fee went towards a good cause, an organization called Feed America.” But being doubtful, didn’t mean I was quitting. It was then that I realized, if I’m going to play catch up, it’s time to start a run streak, and run EVERY DAY. So my first run streak began.

Running during this Pandemic has really saved me. When there is nothing open, and nothing to do, the one thing I could do was grab my running stroller with my girls in tow, and hit the trail to log some miles. It gave us the opportunity to be outside every day. We soaked up the summer sunshine and heat, as I pounded the pavement up rolling hills. We spotted all sorts of animals on the trail – turtles, deer, snakes, butterflies, caterpillars, lizards, ducks, geese, and many more. I stopped to let the girls pick wild flowers, and feed the ducks. After many of our runs, I allowed my girls to explore the sandy beaches right off of the trial barefoot. One day, we found tea cups that had washed up on shore, and took them home, as my four year olds treasures.

As the memories continued to be made on these daily stroller runs, my mileage became easier and easier. Soon I realized I had run 150 miles for the month of June. Most weeks I ran, 35 mile weeks, some were 40 mile weeks. My girls were enjoying being a part of this running challenge, just as much as I did. And to tell you the truth, I was feeling amazing, and extremely proud that I was running this type of mileage. I wasn’t feeling burned out, I was feeling energized.

July came and went, and I had another awesome month, averaging out 140-150 running miles, most days with the stroller. When we weren’t running the beautiful trail, I had discovered a really fun 4-6 mile route in my neighborhood, that included some gigantic hills, and views of the Monuments, Pentagon, Capitol, Arlington Cemetery.

August rolled in, and I was still going strong, but decided to start including all of the walking miles that we had done in order to guarantee my finish. After almost every single run, we would walk at lease a mile, sometimes two miles depending on where we were. We have a wildlife habitat, called the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Habitat, right off of our running trail. My kids call this “The Forest.” We would hike this after every run, it is about 2 miles. This was important to do, to give my girls that chance to explore and get their own exercise.

I also ran a couple 9 mile runs with the stroller. I couldn’t believe my kids sat in the stroller for that long, but they did without a complaint. Sometimes, Ava my 2 year old would fall asleep. Other times, Zoe and Ava would play with one another. When we ran under bridges they would yell, “Gecco,” “Owlette” and play PJ Mask. Sometimes they would play flaries, someone being Shimmer, Glimmer, or Shine.

Seriously, my girls were so good, and I am forever thankful. I love them being there with me on my runs, and will cherish this time for now, because there will be a time when they will out grow the stroller.

The system used for logging miles for the 1000K was on an honor system, but the best part was you were able to see a map of where you were running in Tennessee every time new mileage was updated. Another fun part about the race was connecting with others on social media. I followed quite a few runners on instagram who also were logging miles, some were friends in my local area, others were people I had just discovered, some were actually in Canada.

I finished the Great Virtual 1000K Across Tennessee on August 26th, 2020, after a 100 day run streak. I received a congratulation email from the race director, and a couple days later my race BUCKLE arrived in the mail.

I am now considering myself a Virtual Ultra Finisher.

Along with many other industries, COVID definitely rocked the running community this year. There is no doubt about that. And although, races were cancelled, it is very cool to see how resilient the running community is, and how innovative this community became, in order to keep us all connected and running. It is actually a very powerful positive thing. I probably would have never run this type of mileage, or started a run streak, if it wasn’t for the whole situation, but I did with my girls at tow.

I did it, and I have the BUCKLE and race T Shirt to always remember, the summer of COVID, when I ran all the miles, across Tennessee.

Virtual Ultra Runner, with my Buckle.

Running and practicing Social Distancing, and when should you wear a mask or face covering!

These are very weird and interesting times. Never did I think, I would be living through a global infectious disease pandemic, but here I am trying my best to cope with COVID-19, along with the rest of the world.

At first, I wasn’t to concerned about the Corona Virus, the Tokyo Marathon was canceled to all foreign runners, but LA was still on. “Of course, the Tokyo Marathon would be canceled, there is an infectious virus outbreak happening in Asia right now,” I thought. But then the weekend after LA, New York City canceled their half marathon. After that, with in a week, the NBA postponed their season, and more running races were canceled or postponed. School closures happened and then by the end of the month of March, the governor of Virginia temporarily closed all essential businesses, and put a STAY AT HOME order in place, until June 10th.

Now, that I am temporarily unemployed because my salon is temporarily closed, there is no excuse, but to get in high quality running mileage, and start consistently weight lifting again. I have the time and need to make sure I am productive, plus living a healthy lifestyle, running and weight lifting is a priority for me, has been and always will.

With that being said, we as runners can not run like we use to, because SOCIAL DISTANCING, is more important than ever.

From day one, the CDC has strongly recommended we social distance. However, at first, there was not a clear guideline on what social distancing meant. Many people thought – school is out, but my kids can still have friends over. My yoga studio is closed but I can participate in an outdoor yoga class. My gym is closed, so I guess it’s time to take out my old bike that lives in my garage and grab a couple fiends to go bike riding. We’ll stay six feet apart and we will be outside.

No! No! No!

Social distancing means stay at home and and only go out for essentials, avoiding a possible exposure to COVID-19 at all costs. When in public because you are out for an essential need, stay six feet or further away from people. Wash hands, or use hand sanitizer. Sneeze and cough in a tissue. Avoid touching your face.

Mean while runners and cyclists are still running in groups, but six feet a part. Trails and parks are busy, seriously it looks like Spring Break. Most people are working from home, so even on off hours people are out – walking, biking, running. It is really hard to feel safe when running outside if you live in a city, like I do.

After the governor of Virginia placed a STAY HOME order, the parks and trails, have locked bathrooms, and closed parking lots. They have strongly warned NOT to use the parks or trails if you can not enter them by foot or bike. I agree with this, in hope this will prevent people traveling to the area to use them and to help them become less busy and crowded.

The trail that I normally run on, I can get to an entrance by foot, but lately I can’t stand it, because it’s so unpredictable of whether it will be busy or not. I’ve been choosing to run on off hours, super early or later at night, which is guaranteed to be less crowded. I’ve come up with a couple of new running routes through my neighborhood, where there are wider sidewalks, a bike lane and a wide street.

Now, as of a couple days ago, the CDC is strongly suggesting all people in public wear a mask. They want to leave the N95 masks for medical workers because they are in short supply. Also these medical certified masks need to be fitted to each individual to work properly. However, experts are suggesting all people wear a face covering or a handmade mask. They are finding COVID-19 can be transmitted from little droplets that are created through not only a cough or sneeze, but also from talking or breathing. The person must be infected with the virus, but many aren’t showing symptoms and are spreading it without knowing. Iceland did a study where they tested the majority of their people and they found 50% of people tested positive did not show symptoms. Because we do not have sufficient testing here in the USA we do not know how many people have recovered from COVID-19, or even how many people show no symptoms, since we are only testing those with symptoms.

So even if we are “healthy” new guidelines are being considered that all wear a mask in public, not necessarily for protection, but rather to prevent more community spread. COVID-19 is not airborne like measles however, they are just discovering the little droplets humans produce even when talking can be enough to hold the virus in some cases. Also this data was discovered mainly in the hospital atmosphere where people had high exposure.

With that being said, does a runner need to wear a mask or face covering when running? This question is one of the most commonly asked questions from all of my running groups I’m in. It literally is asked multiple times a day.

So here is the thing…

I personally started wearing a buff or skida neck warmer, and I have seen many other runners do this as well. I pull it over my nose and mouth, tuck it under my sunglasses for a tighter fit. I only suggest this if you live in a city or you are running on a trail that is busy, or even on a neighborhood run, on a sunny day, and you know a lot of people will be out. If you are not going to be in close contact with other runners, walkers, or cyclists then you do not need to wear a face covering.

Also just because you are wearing a face covering this doesn’t mean you can stop the use of social distancing. Please continue to practice social distancing by avoiding busy trails and paths. Do not run in groups. Continue to leave six feet or further between you and other people. Run at off hours to avoid crowds, this means early morning or late at night.

Also here is the thing… different masks and face coverings protect in different ways depending on the material it is made from. A buff or any other athletic material is breathable so it will not be as sufficient as cotton or tea cloth material. Experts say, a breathable material will catch the big particles of virus, but only some of the smaller particles. Also when running, if you are quickly running pass someone, the odds are it’s not enough time and exposure to catch a virus or spread one. However, COVID-19 is an unknown virus we haven’t felt with before, so wearing a buff gives some protection to others, when worn properly and that’s why I’m choosing to wear one while running on times I just can’t avoid people 100% even when I’m trying desperately too.

There are also important ways to wear a face covering. One of the most important things is to commit, and keep it on. Do not move it up, when you see people or move it down, when you are by yourself. Your hands may be dirty and this is TOUCHING YOUR FACE. Also these buffs or face coverings need to be washed after you used them. Do not put a used face covering or mask back on your face, wash it first before using again.

But I can not stress this enough, social distance and staying home is the ultimate way to protect yourself and others.

I hope these tips helped! Happy running solo everyone! Run all of the mile while social distancing!

The Best Race of the Year! Marine Corps Marathon: Race Recap – Running in the Rain!

I never had the opportunity to write a detailed blog post about my experience at the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon. It was definitely my favorite race of the year. And now that today is 365/365 of 2019, I thought it was the last and perfect time to tell you my story. 

As you start setting 2020 running goals, and finalizing registration forms on future races, I hope you feel inspired and motivatedI mean, it was a decade ago, that I myself, found inspiration after reading an article on a flight to Massachusetts. It was about a man who set a New Years resolution to run his first marathon in Hawaii. Then I ran my very first 26.2 and got hooked, (this year I ran my 6th full.) So here you go, sit back and relax because this one is a good one.

Wow! Wow! Wow! – What a race!

Never have I ever, run a marathon in that kind of rain!

The week leading up to the Marine Corps Marathon, there was lots of chatter about the rain that was coming. It went from… “It’s not going to be a wash out. There is only a 50% chance of rain… to 80%, to 100% chance of rain. As more rain took over the forecast the temperatures also went up. The prediction: rainy, but warm.

It was all true. I woke up to rain drops making noise on the medal awning that covers my front porch.

“Oh, there it is – it truly is raining.” I thought.

It was 5:30 am, pitch black because the sun had yet to come up. I tip toed to the bathroom, where all my racing running gear was laid out, ready to go. I took a quick shower to wake up and warm up my muscles. I got dressed. After much debate the night before, I finally decided on my Oiselle team Volée crop and pocket joggers – hoping they would hold up in the rain comfortably without chaffing, or being to hot or to cold. 

Out the door I went, grabbing an umbrella and my breakfast – water bottle, applesauce pouch, and half of a bagel with peanut butter – it always does the trick.

Because my two daughters and husband were sleeping soundly, I drove to my mom’s house, who lives near the pentagon and I had her drop me off as close to the start as she could. Just like years in the past, I followed all of the other runners to the start, looking for familiar faces. But this year, it was hard to recognize anyone, because everyone was hiding from the rain under ponchos and umbrellas, desperately trying to stay dry. Even as I huddled under my umbrella, I could feel my socks and shoes starting to become soaked with rain.

“Well it is, what it is…” I told myself, “No matter what happens, I know one thing…. today we are going to get wet. Today we are going to be running in the rain.”

It was the mental talk I needed. I wasn’t going to let a little rain get to me. I’ve run in rain before and it can be refreshing and fun. I thought back to the 90 degree summer days when I was chugging along on the MVT during my long run, praying for any little bit of rain to cool me off.

Once at the start, I headed to the UPS bag check to meet my dad who also was running the marathon. When he arrived, I checked my bag and umbrella, and put on the plastic poncho, he gave me to stay as dry as I could.

THE START was rainy. We were all squished in, wearing ponchos trying to stay warm and dry, waiting patiently in the back of the 4:30 corral. But because of the rain it wasn’t as exciting as years in the past. There was no military jets flying above us, and no navy seals parachuting on to the course. No beach balls being tossed around. It was even hard to get photos, because my phone was tucked away in a zip lock bag.

However, the gun went off and the race began. And around 8:05 we were off heading down 110, through Rosslyn, and up Lee Highway.

My husband and daughters, along with my mom and friend, Elissa, were waiting for us at mile 2/3 on the right hand side. We saw them immediately, and after hugs and high fives, we were off again.

At this point, my dad and I decided that I should go on ahead. I was feeling pretty good and wanted to see what I could do. And because he had surgery in the middle of this marathon build up, he had to take a 3 week break from running. So he had no time goal in mind and was planning on “just finishing.”

I picked up the pace, and “politely” began to weave around other runners… “I got to find the 4:30 pacer,” I told myself.

Running up Rock Creek Park was beautiful, but the rain started pouring on us. Heavy rain drops made it hard to even see. At this point, I spotted the 4:30 pacer in the distance, but didn’t think I could catch him.

In the mean time, I realized that my watch was paused. Because I have a 5 year old Garmin – it is a touch screen. I must have wiped away rain to see the face and accidentally paused it. I wasn’t sure how long it was paused for, but once I started it up again my GPS was off. As I came to a mile marker, I realized it was catching up, and only 10-20 seconds off. Regardless, I wasn’t sure my exact pace and timing, and decided not to worry, and from then on I ran by feel.

On the Key Bridge, I ended up spotting two other Oiselle Birds, Meghan and Jen, from my running group Oiselle Volée. Which I chatted with them for a bit, but went on ahead.

Running over bridges is one of my favorite things, and the Key Bridge never disappoints. However, this time around, I forgot to take in the view, because I was more concerned about catching that 4:30 pacer.

Down Wisconsin to the waterfront, under the bridge, heading towards the Kennedy Center. Passing the Kennedy Center to the Memorial Bridge Stairs.

At mile 10, my pace was feeling good and consistent, and then I spotted Oiselle Birds, Courtney and Becca, cheering on the sidelines – it was awesome to see them.

Spectator support is what Marine Corps Marathon is known for, and is one of the aspects of the race that makes the experience so special. The fact that there might be a smaller “spectator” turn out, because of the rain had me worried. However, as I was running I only noticed it was a little less than years before. Because it was a warm rain, people still showed up to cheer, and I was impressed and thankful for it. Spectators are awesome – it makes a difference hearing their cheers.

Onward… I went running through the Blue Mile. The blue mile is a mile where we remember fallen soldiers. Their photos line the mile on both sides. It’s always an emotional mile. The rain really poured, almost as if the sky was crying, American flags blew in the breeze.

At this point I was half way through, leaving Hains Point and heading to the National Mall. The rain was still coming down, and my iPhone headphones completely stopped working. No music, at all! But the crowd was supportive enough, so I didn’t let it agitate me.

On the National Mall, I saw familiar faces cheering at mile 16. And then I noticed the 4:20 pacer. I asked how accurate he was, turns out he was on point. I couldn’t believe, I caught up and was splashing through puddles with the 4:20 pace group at the Marine Corps Marathon. – I might not break 4 hours, but the possibility of setting a new PR wasn’t far out of reach.

At mile 17, I was still rocking it with a smile. This marathon training cycle, I trained using the Hanson’s marathon method which has a 16 mile long run instead of the typical 20 miler. It has a focus on quality volume and balance. I customized the plan to fit my needs and did one 20 miler, however most of my long runs were 16 milers. I’ll write a detailed post about this training method and the benefits later. However, with that being said, when I hit mile 17, I knew I only had 9 miles left – entering single digits, and only had 3 more miles, until I BEAT THE BRIDGE – hitting mile 20, leaving Washington, DC, heading up and down the 14th street bridge to “Crystal City” Arlington, VA.

At mile 19, I pulled off to the side to text my husband, to let him know I was running towards the bridge. I was going to be in Crystal City in no time. The rain had stopped, so I ditched my plastic bag that was covering my phone, so I could continue communicating with my husband if needed.

At mile 20, BEAT the Bridge. It was slightly up hill, then on the flat service of the bridge I ran onward. The sun really started to shine bright, and it was getting hot. The bridge is always a hard spot because there are very few spectators, and a lot of runners “hit the wall” and start to walk. There was a self serve water station, but I didn’t need water, I could wait until Crystal City. Down hill I ran as I approached Virginia. I kept my eyes open for my Oiselle Volée running group who had a cowbell corner set up at mile 22.

Off the bridge a ran, and not long into Crystal City I spotted them, at mile 22, my Oiselle Volée team. They are the loudest most supportive running group of them all. Their cheers and high-fives definitely lifted me up.

Next up, looking for my husband and daughters. They were at mile 23. I pulled off to the side to chat with them. They gave me well wishes as I headed to the finish, and told me they were going to hang back to see if they could spot my dad, aka Grandpa Poppy.

Leaving Crystal City and looping near the Pentagon, at mile 24/25, I was then on 110… I could see the finish line in the far distance. At this point my pace was slowing a little, but my mental game was still strong. “Just get to the next street sign.” I whispered my mantra, “I got this! I was born to run.”

I saw the Memorial Bridge street sign and knew it wasn’t much further before I would be making a left up the hill to the finish.

Mile 26/26.2… I was there under a balloon filled arch with a sign that said HILL, heading up to the finish. It happened so fast, that the next thing I realized a Marine was draping a finishers medal around my sweaty neck. We shook hands, I thanked him for his service, and we snapped a photo…. It’s tradition!

As I wondered around the finishers village, I had received a text message from my husband saying he didn’t see my dad and that he was getting the car to meet me. I started tracking my dad and saw that his estimated finishing time was in 20 minutes! But it was too crowded to head back to the finish line.

The finisher village… I proudly walked around the finisher village with my medal shining. I went to the beer tent, and drank a cold one. I enjoyed the live music playing in Rosslyn. I headed to the UPS trucks to grab my checked bag. I chatted it up with some friendly runners from Boston who told me that the Boston Marathon has a lot of egos (first negative comment I’ve ever heard about Boston) and that there is nothing like running the Marine Corps Marathon.

Finishing Time … So how did I do?! I know you want to know. I didn’t break 4 hours, but I am very happy to say I finished in 4:18:06, which I actually didn’t know when I crossed the finish line. It wasn’t until my sister told me my official time (because she was tracking me) that I had set a new PR on this course. Wow! That was such a hard race, and I ran totally by feel, no accurate watch to show me time and pace along the way.

I eventually want to break 4 hours, but for several reasons, Marine Corps Marathon is a tough course to run fast on.

Overall, I am happy for a new PR and the experience and privilege to Run with the Marines! Plus look at this medal!

In 2019, I ran my 6th full marathon. I trained using a different training plan, the Hanson’s Marathon Method, while trusting in myself to customize the plan based on my own needs. I also (with my girls in the stroller), reached my goal of running a total of 1000 miles for the year. And I did that, while balancing work and motherhood (my babies always come first.) Maybe 2020 will be my year to break 4 in the marathon!? We shall see, one thing I know for sure, I’ll be running a lot, and mothering a lot, and having a whole lot of fun while doing it!

Happy New Year!

Boise Running ~ Marathon Training

~ BOISE RUNNING ~ Marathon Training Yesterday, I went out for my long run with no real goals, I’m in an area that I’m not familiar with on a family vacation. Mom guilt is real, and I didn’t want to be out there running for over 3 hours leaving the family. I can always squeeze one last long run in once I’m home. So game plan has changed slightly, and I confidently switched next week and this week’s long runs. So I will be running a 16-20 mile long run when I get home, then start properly tapering.

This running community of ours is pretty amazing! One of my favorite things about it is connecting with other runners! The running group I run for is the Oiselle Volee is nation wide. And because of how awesome social media is these days it’s so easy to be able to connect and stay in touch with others all over the world. Because I’m more active on social media now than before, I was able to get referrals of where to run in Boise and look up information, maps, etc through google and Instagram.

I ended up reaching out to Oiselle’s Idaho Volee seeing if there were any meet ups. And yesterday, I got the opportunity to meet up with another Oiselle Bird, Nicole from the Idaho Volee. She ran the first 50 minutes with me for my long run! It was awesome because she pushed me to run a little faster – which I know I can. I ended up easing into a rhythm and keeping my pace up – running a speedy 12 mile long run along the Boise River Green Belt.

It felt so good and easy, which is what

it should feel like at this point in my training. The Marine Corps Marathon is 3 weeks out.

Running in Boise has been an amazing experience. (For those who love numbers) I ran 40 miles this week in Boise. Started the week with a 10.5 stroller run + 2 mile cool down walk, ended the week yesterday with a speedy 12 mile long run, and ran plenty of miles in between mostly stroller miles. I mainly stuck to running the gorgeous Boise River Green Belt, but I did do one East Boise neighborhood run, with views of the Foot Hills and Canal!

Next time I come out, I definitely want to explore running the foot hills, or heading out further on the Green Belt, honestly any direction you turn the views are spectacular! Thanks for being so gorgeous and fun Boise! Now off another adventure – up next Idaho Falls, then Yellowstone, and ending the month with the Marine Corps Marathon.

Brave like Gabe

We lost @gigrunewald this week, and the running community and world was totally heartbroken.

All week, I’ve been running and thinking of her. I didn’t know her personally, but I have been following her inspiring journey since she was on the cover of Women’s Running.

She is one of my absolute favorite professional runners. She was super fast on the track, breaking records, while battling a rare cancer – literally had treatment set a PR on the track.

When you define BRAVE with an image – she is it, #bravelikegabe.

Running was something she would not give up, it always made her feel alive… I can totally relate to that, most runners can. However, she didn’t just use her platform to crush it on the track, but by openly sharing her health issues she raised cancer awareness and the importance of supporting/funding cancer research.

Although, the passing of Gabe totally crushed me, I donated to @chipgaines in honor of Gabe, and within 24 hours the running community raised $2 million towards St. Jude – how INCREDIBLE!! Kelly over @moremilesmorefun also set up a virtual 5K or 10K option and %100 of the funds will be donated to Gabe’s foundation @bravelikegabe. It’s not to late to join the movement, so head over and sign up, I’m registering today for the 10K.

Heaven received a brave one this week. One who shared her story honestly, teaching everyone who listened to be brave and seize the day.

You made a difference Gabe and will continue to. xo

Kisses after a 4 mile run

Nothing is better than a salty kiss from my three year old, after a four mile run. Little Miss Zoe made me a mother runner, and I am so thankful this child still asks to go running with me.

However, she did got through a phase where she hated it. She would strand up in the stroller. She was scream and fuss to get out. She would beg to do the running part.

I would try to engage with her, but at the end it was more time consuming and mentally challenging than it was worth. So I took a break from running with her.

Then this spring she started asking to come along. Our stroller runs became enjoyable again. She still talks my ear off most runs, and we always go to the playground after. But honestly, nothing makes me happier than to have both of my girls with me. They are my biggest cheerleaders, and their little high fives and kisses are the best!

The 35th GW Parkway Classic 10 miler – race recap.

It’s medal Monday, and I ran/raced one of my all time favorite races yesterday morning, 4/28/19 – the GW Parkway Classic.

One of my first blog posts or maybe it was the first post for this blog was a recap of this race. I run/race it every year, in exception for the years I was either pregnant or a month postpartum. With that being said, I didn’t run it last year because I was 4/5 weeks postpartum, recovering from a c-section birth and I was actually out of town in Nashville/Chattanooga, being a MOH at my sister’s wedding.

The last two months have been great running months for me. I was consistent, increased my mileage volume, and worked on running faster. And now that my youngest daughter is 13 months, I’m finally feeling stronger and faster with every run. So I was ready to race this 10 miler, plus I wanted to get a faster time than my previous 10 mile race, the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, that I ran earlier this month. I normally always have a faster time at this race and do really great on the rolling hills.

The morning started with me realizing I didn’t get a good night sleep, but I got going anyway at 5:30 and quietly tip toed out of the house.

At 6:00, I met my dad at the shuttle bus, then we headed to the start. This was my dad’s first time running the Parkway Classic (he normally runs longer distances,) but I knew he was going to love this race.

I ran into a ton of people at the start, but meeting up with my Oiselle Volee team was by far one of my favorite groups to see. It was fun catching up with them. A lot of them ran the North Face Endurance Challenge Relay the day before.

The vibe at the start line is awesome such a relaxed vibe. Because it’s a local race, it feels like everyone is just from the neighborhood – most people probably are. I love that about this race. It is also super organized and well planned, because it is put on by runners, Pacers to be exact.

Start- Once we started running, I didn’t get to start my Strava or garmin right away. So my timing was a little bit off, but I didn’t worry, I just went with it.

First 5K – I ran the first 5K or so with my dad, and then he pulled off to grab water and told me to go on ahead.

I really love a rolling hill course because it’s fun to strategize. I decided to stay relaxed and run fast, but smooth on the downhills, and then climbed the uphills. I took in the stunning views and it was perfect weather.

Mile 5 –Unfortunately, around mile 5, I fell. Like literally fell down on the pavement. This has never happened to me during a race, but there were so many pot-holes on the parkway. My right knee was bloody, and my left hand skinned up. My phone was fine – thank goodness. I got right up and started running again, people around me asked if I was okay, and I totally was, just clumsy that’s all. However, it did slow me down. I eventually got my pace up again, but it slowed me down.

Mile 7-8 –Then around mile 7-8, I stopped at a water station to pull out my honey stinger chews for fuel. I couldn’t get the bag open. So I said, fuck it, grabbed some water and continued on. That wasted a lot of time fiddling around with the bag and then trying to get it back in my pocket – it ended up being one of my slowest mile. At the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, I never stopped for fuel, and I skipped some water stations, I just didn’t feel like I needed them. But this time I was hoping to have that sugar, to get me going so I could finish strong.

Mile 9 – Turns out around mile 9, I found Meghan, my Oiselle teammate. I asked her if she wanted to run the last mile and to the finish line with me. She said she did, so off we went “Head up, Wings out.” Honestly, it was so great racing side by side, and crossing the finish line with a friend. I probably would have slowed down, but instead we both finished strong!!

I finished in 1:25:28 which is not a PR and 20 seconds slower than the Cherry Blossom 10 miler I raced earlier this month, but I’m still very happy with this time and my race overall. If I had gotten a good night sleep and started my garmin/Strava right at the start… If I hadn’t fallen down at mile 5 or fiddled around with my chews at mile 8, I would have definitely set a new PR.

On another note, my dad crossed the finish line right after me. He set an awesome time! He crossed in 1:29 running right under a 9 minute mile, which is really speedy.

What a race!!!

Finish line party – Another great thing about this race is the finish line. It’s in a really gorgeous park with green grass and water front views. They have a beer garden, so my dad and I grabbed a beer. I normally don’t drink that much, but it felt great to have a cold beer after, and chat it up with some of my Oiselle teammates.

Overall Cheers to another great race and another race medal to hang up.

Head up, Wings out!

Hi there, my name is Meghan! Let me introduce myself with some fun running facts about me.

(Photo taken at mile 26 at the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon.)

There are a lot of new friends around here, reading my blog and following along my mother running journey on Instagram @sweat1xdaily. So I thought it was time to introduce myself and share some fun running facts. Enjoy!

✨hello there, My name is Meghan!

✨ I live with my husband, two baby girls, and my miniature pincher. We are located right over the bridge from our Nation’s Capitol, Washington, DC. I was born and raised here.

✨I’m a runner, who prefers roads over trails, and almost loves the training build up more than the race itself.

✨ My absolute favorite distance to run is the MARATHON! No matter how hard you train, anything could happen during 26.2 miles.

✨I love the excitement and energy of a huge road race. There is something really special and magical about toeing the line with several thousand runners who traveled near and far to be there. Everyone at the start, with a different running goal, but the same passion for running.

✨I run with two running groups, Oiselle Volée and MRTT, but most days I’m running with my own little running squad, pushing my daughters in the double BOB running stroller.

✨I’ve been running for 10 years, and have completed 5 full marathons. Two of those marathons were completed when I was postpartum. The last marathon I ran was this October, while I was 7 months postpartum and still breastfeeding my littlest babe.

✨I took a break from running when I was pregnant with my first daughter in 2015. It just didn’t feel good, and was no fun running that slow. I found other ways to stay active. I started running again at 12 weeks postpartum and ran the Marine Corps Marathon that October, with a new PR.

✨During my second pregnancy I never stopped running. Because I loved running pushing my toddler in the stroller, most of my pregnant miles were stroller miles. I took 7-8 weeks off from running, after I gave birth, but then started running again, and ran the Marine Corps Marathon at 7 months postpartum.

✨I’ve had two c-sections.

✨I love travel, and my bucket list marathons are Big Sur, New York City, Paris, Hawaii, and of course Boston. But running the World Marathons would be a pretty amazing experience and accomplishment… so a part of me wants to do that.

✨My favorite running documentary is Spirit of the Marathon. I usually watch it as part of my marathon race ritual and it always inspires.

✨I don’t have much of a desire to complete an Ultra, (but never say never…. The Marines are now including a 50K along side of the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K.) At this point though, I just want to run more marathons and run them faster. I have a huge goal to break 4 hours in the marathon, and eventually get fast enough to BQ. But the ultimate goal is to run a lifetime.

✨I read a lot of running books, but my two favorites are Born to Run and Eat and Run. I’ve read them a couple of times.

✨My favorite running podcasts are Another Mother Runner or I’ll Have Another.

✨I recently became a certified running coach through RRCA, and can’t wait to start coaching.

✨When I’m not mothering or running, I’m probably at the salon. I’m a hairstylist. Or… I’m knitting, you can’t keep me away from color, texture, and natural fibers.

✨My guilty pleasure is an iced Soy Chai Tea latte and a beautiful hand dyed colorful skein of yarn.

✨One day, I will own and live in a small beach cottage, on a hilltop, that overlooks the sea. But until then you can find me running all around DC, with views of the river that always sparkles, and the Monuments that leave me in awe every time I see them.

Now it’s your turn to share… what’s a fun fact about you?! I’d love to here it!

TIPS to get your Toddler to sit in the RUNNING STROLLER with out an IPAD or device.

ZOE joined us today for our stroller run, and it was the best – just like old times!

Zoe was my first little running buddy. I ran with her starting when she was six months old. I trained for the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon with her sitting in the stroller.

However, lately, when I run with the double BOB, it’s just Ava in there. Why? Well for one, instead of swapping out for my single, the double is way more convenient. And two, the last time I ran with both girls, I ended in a major time crunch which left me stressed and caused Zoe to have a total melt down. It was so bad, that I told myself, “THAT IS IT!!!” Zoe has out grown stroller running, and our running journey has come to an end. I remember whispering under my breath, “I’ll just take Ava with me, for now on.”

Stroller running is easy and fun when you have one child under 18 months old. But when you have two children along for the ride, and one is over the age of two, it is HARD and extremely TIME consuming. The simple days of lacing up my shoes and running out my front door is long gone. I now have to bring all the stuff and gear, and enough time to avoid a tantrum.

Today, however, we had no obligations and all the time in the world. The sun was shining and although a little cold, there was no snow, ice, rain … it was actually perfect weather for a nice winter run.

When Zoe woke up she asked me, “Mommy, What are we going to do today?” I told her, “We are going to hit up the running trail. It’s too gorgeous of a winter day, to not go. I don’t want you to miss out.” I told her, that it’s been a long time since we ran together, and that I miss running with her. I told her that I love running with her and that she makes me so happy when she comes along.

Then we started our day. I filled her belly with a bagel. We went to Barnes & Noble on her request to play with the toys and books. After I gave her, her turn, I told her it was time for my turn, and off to the running trail we went.

I let her bring crayons and paper so she would keep busy. I bundled Ava up, and wrapped Zoe in a blanket and placed them both in the running stroller.

I then placed the weather shield over the stroller to shield the cold and the wind. I told Zoe it was her little fort. She called it her tent and was super excited to try it for the first time.

The combination of having a full belly and being warm and cozy under the weather shield, wrapped in a blanket made her happy and comfortable. Plus having crayons kept her busy.

Yay! It worked. Zoe was happy in the stroller. Ava fell asleep. And, I had a lovely successful run, with my two girls. It was definitely hard work pushing my three year old and my ten month old, but totally worth it.

I personally will never give my child an iPad while running. (If you do, you do you!) But for me, No, I won’t do it! In my eyes, there is just something so wrong about being glued to an iPad while playing outside.

Plus, there are a couple of lessons I’m trying to teach my girls by running.

First things first, PASSION. I’m trying to show my daughters what it means to live a healthy active lifestyle. I’m teaching them what it means to be passionate about something, in hopes that they will follow their passions one day. When I train for races, I’m teaching them about goal setting, hard work, and commitment. When I told a non mother runner, this, she chuckled – but guess what, it’s never to early or young to teach these things.

Second thing, PATIENCE. I’m teaching patience, sometimes in life we need to wait. The longest stroller run I have done is 8 miles, however, normally I’m taking the babes with me on short 3-5 mile runs, saving my long runs for my “me time” on the weekends.

30-50 minutes is not that long at all. Any child can sit patiently for 30-50 minutes, plus I normally take a sip of water half way, if the babes are not napping by then, I check on them, and tell them the plan. “Mommy’s drinking water, and turning around now to head back to the car/home.” I offer them a drink and snack before turning back.

Third lesson is taking turns. Lately, instead of heading out for a run first thing in the morning, I’ve been spending the morning focused on what my babes want to do – Playing at Barnes and Noble, going to Story Time at the Library, etc. Then I tell them, “Okay, you had your turn, now it’s mommy’s turn.” I also tell them if we hurry and get our running done, we can go to the playground after if we have time. No problem at all with bribing them with the playground.

With all that being said, I have had a lot of people ask me tips to share of how I get Zoe my three year old to sit patiently in the stroller while I run.

We definitely went through a phase around two years old, where she did not want to sit in the stroller. She wanted to do the running part. The minute we arrived to the trail, she would tell me, “I’m going to walk, mommy! Okay?” When I would try to put her in the stroller she would fight it, and pout. Sometimes, she didn’t want to get buckled in and she would try to stand up in the stroller. It finally came to the days where I was running with her less and less, because it became so time consuming and it was an exhausting and a challenge just to get her to sit down and stay seated for 30 minutes. That was two, and that was a phase. Again I never handed her an iPad, I actually just stop taking her. I would arrange my runs later in the day when my husband was home.

Now that she is three years old things are much different. She really gets the concept of taking turns. I can reason with her much easier. So let’s get to it…

These are the TIPS that have worked best for my babes and I.

One PREPARE: Zoe is three years old. No matter the age, days always go much smoother if we follow a regular routine. At age three, she feels comfortable and confident when she knows what we are doing for the day, our schedule, our plan. I spend the hours leading up to the time we run, preparing her, letting her know that we are going to the running trail, and running a couple of miles. I tell her what I expect from her. If we are going early morning, I let her know the night before, and go over the plan as part of her bedtime routine.

Two – Engagement: If I find that Zoe is getting bored while we are out on the run, I start engaging with her, maybe even play a game of Eye Spy, pointing out different things on the trail. I’m hoping once Ava gets a couple months older the two sisters will engage with each other.

Three – Play Games: As I said above, one of our favorite things to do is play Eye Spy. We have seen plenty of baby ducks, turtles, spider webs, interesting flowers, birds, and even a snake, while playing Eye Spy. Another fun game is Simon Says.

Four – Taking Turns: At three years old, especially because Zoe goes to preschool, she understands that it’s mommy’s turn to do something. Or I will tell her that her sister, Ava, is just a baby and loves stroller rides... “It’s Ava’s turn, now!”

Five – Bribery: Sometimes I need to use good old fashion bribery. I tell Zoe that after our run, I’ll give her a special treat. Normally it’s a trip to the playground, or we will go feed the ducks, or I’ll give her a small piece of chocolate.

Six – Snacks: I always make sure Zoe has a snack to munch on, or just ate so her belly is full. During the summer to keep her cool, I give her a popsicle. It becomes a huge sticky mess, but she loves it. I just wipe her and the stroller down after.

Seven – Activity: I let her bring an activity, such as a small note book with stickers or crayons. Play dough to sculpt or during the summer, bubbles to blow. Sometimes bubbles spill and get messy, but it doesn’t bother me, I just wipe her down after. Again an activity will keep her busy.

Eight – Helper: Some days I’ll ask Zoe to be my helper. I’ll let her carry and keep track of my water bottle.

Nine – Seasons: In the DC area we have four distinct seasons. I run through all of them. This winter, I started using the weather shield on the stroller, Zoe loves it and calls it her tent. In the spring, the weather will be nice, and I’ll point out beautiful flowers on the trail. Zoe normally loves going on runs with me on beautiful days. In the hot summer, I normally take off her shoes and put cold water where her feet rest on the stroller. It creates a pool for her feet where she can splash. In the fall, I normally point out the different colors the trees have turned and I let her pick out a cool, colorful leaf.

Ten – Nap Time: Not all three years olds are still napping, but if we had a busy morning of playing, or I just picked up Zoe from preschool, sometimes she will get tired and fall asleep in the stroller. Most of time on our stroller runs, Ava is snoozing. So some days, it’s all about choosing the right time to run.

Eleven – Independence + Inclusion: I let Zoe climb into get stroller herself, and buckle herself in. Honestly, she is a little big now, so some days I let her sit without being buckled. I also let her choose the direction we run in. “Which way should we go?” “Should I turn around or keep going!?

Twelve – Variety: If possible we change our running route. This keeps things interesting.

Thirteen – Communication + Listening: Most of the time, when Zoe has a meltdown it’s because of a miscommunication or I wasn’t listening. One time, we had a lovely run on the trail, I let her out of the stroller to pick some fall leaves, then she climbed back in her stroller and we headed back to the car. Once we were back at the car, she had a meltdown, and didn’t want to go home, didn’t want to leave the trail, didn’t want to get buckled in her car seat. Turns out after all the kicking and screaming, all she wanted to do was run herself. She told me she didn’t get a turn to run, and that all she wants was to run with me. A tantrum could have been avoided if I had understood that she expected to do some of her own running after I was finished with mine.

Fourteen – Safety: When Zoe requests to get out of the stroller, in the middle of a run, in most cases I have to say no. When she asks why, I explain to her the running trail is to dangerous because there are cyclists or bike commuters. Or it could be getting dark and I need to get us back to the car before the sun sets. If we aren’t on the trail and we are doing city or neighborhood running, I talk about the dangers of busy roads and cars. The stroller keeps you safe.

Fifteen – Thankful: I always tell Zoe how much I love running with her. I always thank her after for coming along.

*A tip that I have yet to try is time. I have thought about giving Zoe a watch or timer so she can be a part of keeping track of how much time we run. Counting the numbers go down, or waiting for the timer to go off is another way she could be engaged, and included. I love numbers and watching my pace or time on my watch, so why wouldn’t she?!

So those are the things I have tried, and found successful!

Also remember I have been running with Zoe since she was six month old, so she is pretty use to the idea of stroller running. I have been running with Ava since she was 8 weeks old and she absolutely loves it. I find the sooner you start running with them and make it part of your morning routine the more successful you will be.

Good luck and always remember if you want to stroller run with your toddler, make sure you have plenty of time, just in case things don’t go as planned.

Also if you are having a difficult time convincing a toddler to sit patiently or come along with you, some mother runners just don’t give their child a choice. It’s time to run, and that’s that! I understand that this is the only option for single mamas, parents that run together and don’t have child care, or just a parenting style. Personally, my goal is to never make the stroller or running a negative experience so that doesn’t work for us.

With that being said, don’t give up! If you are having a difficult time convincing a toddler to sit in the stroller and go running with you, it may just be a phase. If possible give running together a break and then randomly try it again. I find that around age two, kids want to do all the running and walking by themselves, but around age three they cry and pout that they don’t want to walk and are excited to climb in their stroller and take a seat. So don’t give up. Kids go through phases. Try again. One day they may hate it or just don’t feel like going along, but another day they might love it!

Good luck! Hope this helps! Happy Running!

Breastfeeding + Marathon Training

(Disclaimer: I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL NOR AM I A LACTATION CONSULTANT. ALL OF THE INFORMATION IN THIS POST IS BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE AND WHAT I FOUND TO BE TRUE.)

Eight months of breastfeeding my little Miss Ava, hoping to make it one year, but no exact end plan in sight. I’m still a strong believer in FED IS BEST.

I have had one of both. My first was mainly bottle fed, my second has been exclusively breastfed with bottles of breast milk when we are apart. Every baby and mama are unique, so feed your baby whichever way works. With that being said, unlike my first born, breastfeeding Ava has come very naturally to us.

Although, breastfeeding is a huge time commitment, I am very proud that I am able to provide for Ava in this way, especially since being a busy working mama of two, while also training and running a fall marathon.

When I first started my marathon training in July, I was 13 weeks postpartum/post c-section. Because of the summer heat, I became paranoid that I might see a dip in my milk supply, once I started to increase mileage. I had heard stories of women who exercised too much, very suddenly, and just as suddenly they found their milk supply drop. I told myself that my main priority was (is) my baby (babies), and if my milk supply became jeopardized in any way, then I would stop training for the marathon.

I began researching breastfeeding and marathon training, but I couldn’t find very much information on this topic. So I reached out to other mother runners on IG and in Mom’s Run This Town running group, to see what other mother runners experienced. I also asked my daughter’s pediatrician who is a certified lactation consultant for advice.

This is the knowledge I gained while exploring the topic of Breastfeeding and Marathoning. This is my experience.

Hydrate + Fuel = Breastmilk

First thing first – according to my pediatrician and lactation consultant, as long as baby continues to drink milk from the breast, emptying the full breast, my body will make the exact amount of milk that my baby needs. This is true even if one is marathon training. However, the proper nutrition and fueling is very important during marathon training, even more so for a breastfeeding mother runner, such as myself. It is very important to consider hydration and calorie intake, because they are crucial components to making milk.

During a twenty mile training run, the body burns close to 2,000 calories and as a breastfeeding mom an additional 500 calories is burned a day. So those calories must be replaced to make milk.

My experience …

Because I stayed hydrated and well fueled, I never saw a dip in my milk supply. I found this true when asking other mother runners from IG and MRTT.

Take Your Prenatal Vitamin

Another important factor is taking a prenatal vitamin. A prenatal vitamin is recommended three months before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding. It will help provide all the necessary vitamins mama and baby need. This is extremely important for breastfeeding mamas who are also marathon training, because these extra vitamins will help prevent injuries.

My experience …

I took my prenatal vitamin all through out my training, and I am continuing to take it, until I stop breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding + Running Injuries

As a breastfeeding postpartum mother runner, I am more prone to running injury. There are several reasons why… but the main reason is because of the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is created by the pregnant body to soften and loosen ligaments and joints, so the body will be capable of giving birth. This hormone is still present several months after giving birth, and makes a marathon training mama more prone to injury.

Another reason is Calcium and Vitamin D. This is where it is important to take a prenatal vitamins and eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. If the body is not getting the sufficient amount of calcium and vitamin D, it will provide what it has to for baby first, through breastmilk, making mama more prone to stress fractures.

And healing from injuries may take longer as well.

My experience …

During marathon training, I personally never experienced any major injuries. I had a sore calf muscle after my first run over ten miles, but rest is all I needed. Regardless if you are breastfeeding or not, always listen to your body, and back off the training when you need to and rest. With that being said, always remember rest days are part of training. Rest and recovery are as important as your long run.

Foods for Breastfeeding Mamas + tricks to get your supply back up

If for some reason you do experience a drop in your breast milk supply, know this, breast milk supply can go up, down, and back up. DO NOT WORRY… Stress can make things even worse. Just relax and use these tips to help bring your supply back up.

Rest and breastfeed baby- If possible take a day or two of rest, meaning decrease mileage or rest from training entirely and be with baby. If baby is able to breastfeed on demand or you have the opportunity to offer the breast to baby, your body will be able to determine the exact amount of milk your baby needs. Breastfeed baby often. Ideally breastfeed baby every 2-3 hours. Never go more than 5 or 6 hours with out breastfeeding or pumping, especially if you are experiencing a supply drop or low supply.

Hydrate- Drink tons of water. If your body is dehydrated it can’t make milk. The more you drink the better. For an extra boost in milk supply, drink Mother’s Milk Tea.

My experience … I drink Mother’s Milk tea. I use the brand Earth Mama Angel Baby, but you can find this type of tea at Whole Foods and MOM’s Organic Market. It really does help milk supply. My supply never dipped during training, but I drink this sporadically and always find my supply boosted the next day. (Not an ad, not sponsored.)

Fuel- Make sure you are eating enough calories. But for a boost in milk supply, eat oatmeal.

My experience …

I tried to eat oatmeal regularly during my training, and still love to eat oatmeal, and oat based foods. This definitely helps keep my supply boosted. I buy the organic instant apple cinnamon flavor. It is very fast and easy for me to take on the go. Never ate it before a long run though. Try eating every morning for breakfast especially during a marathon training build up.

Other foods I eat are green smoothies enriched with fennel, and soups. Fennel is very good for breastfeeding moms. And smoothies are both calorie and hydration. Soups also do the job because again, soups are both hydration and calories.

Pump- If you can’t be with baby to breastfeed or you just want to add additional feedings… get your pump ready. There are a couple different ways you can use your breast pump to increase your supply.

One way to increase supply when you find your supply dipped is feed baby on both breasts, and then immediately pump after the feeding for a minimum of 5 minutes on each side. This will insure you empty the breast completely. If milk does not come out while pumping it means your baby successfully emptied the breast, however keep pumping for the addition time, it will trick the body into thinking baby is still there and needs more milk.

Another way to increase or bring milk supply up is to pump in between feedings. For example if you are feeding every two hours then pump an hour after breastfeeding baby.

Do not play the comparison game. If another mama gets more ounces than you, that’s what her body does. You focus on you, and every drop of milk counts, so take what you can get and store that milk.

My experience … I’ve done both of these pumping strategies and they both work on increasing milk supply. However, I have a very consistent pumping schedule for the days I work, and a very consistent breastfeeding schedule for my baby while I’m at home with her. I find the more consistent I am at feeding my baby and pumping the more consistent my milk supply becomes.

Breastfeeding + Pumping + Race Day

Schedule 15-20 minutes extra in the morning on race day to either breastfeed or pump. Or if you are traveling a further distance to your race, bring your pump with you, and pump in the car. Whatever decision is made, make sure the breasts are empty before you toe the line.

My experience … I ran the Navy Half Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon, as a postpartum breastfeeding mama. Both times, my baby, Ava, was asleep, before I left for the race… So I pumped. The expressed/pumped milk went right in the bottle and then the refrigerator, that way it was ready for Ava, first thing, once she woke up. This also made it easier on my husband, who also had to get the baby and my three year old dressed and ready to spectate my race.

In the early days, when my daughter was a newborn, I breastfeed her on demand. As she became an infant I breastfed ever 2-3 hours, never going longer than 3 hours. Now that she is taking on solid foods, I normally breastfeed every 3 hours offering her solid foods at least 3 times a day. I normally offer milk first and then food.

When I’m at work, my pump schedule mimics my breastfeeding schedule. I do not have a huge breastmilk stash in my freezer. I normally pump exactly what she will need for the next day. My goal is to be consistent and on schedule, that way my body is never guessing.

When I ran my half marathon, I had no problem. I pumped in the morning right before the race. I ran a 2:10 half marathon, and then got home right after to breastfeed Ava. It was probably 4 hours between feedings, which is totally fine.

However, I was a little worried after my full marathon. I pumped in the morning. Then I ran my marathon in 4:44:21. Although, I tried to get to Ava as fast as I could. If you add up the time before and after the race, it was probably 6 hours between feedings, maybe a little longer. Of course my husband fed her bottles ofbreast milk and solid foods while I was gone, so she was content with a full belly. It was more about me needing to empty the breast. Because I don’t run marathons everyday, and there normally is not a 6 hour gap between feedings, it didn’t effect my supply in anyway. One day out of the norm isn’t going to be a problem. Plus Ava was seven months old, and my milk supply was well established plus, never took a dip during training.

Nursing Tents at the Marine Corps Marathon

Although, I didn’t take advantage of the tents, because my husband brought my baby to me as soon as he could. I was very impressed with the Marine Corps Marathon this year, for having nursing tents at the finish line. This was a huge help for breastfeeding mamas who ran the marathon and either needed to breastfeed baby right after the race, or had to pump immediately after.

Proud Marathon Mama

This year’s Marine Corps Marathon was my slowest, but my most accomplished. Very few people run marathons, and even fewer run marathons at 7 months postpartum while still breastfeeding their baby, and I did all of that. (Not trying to brag, just so proud.)

I managed to successfully continue to breastfeed and marathon train. I managed being a mother of two small children while also making time for one of my life passions, running. It’s incredible what the female body can do, and I’m so very proud of mine.

One day, when I was heading out the door for a run, my three year old begged me not to go. She said, “Don’t go running, mommy!” Normally, she comes with me in the double Bob running stroller. But that day for some reason she didn’t want to go, and she didn’t want me going either.

I told her, “Nope, I got to go run.”

“But… why?” She asked.

“Because Mommy, made a commitment. When you make a commitment, you have to stick with it. I signed up for a race, and paid money to participate in it. I set a goal, that I need to achieve. I’m committed.

I then told her she could come with me or stay home with daddy, but I was going running and would be right back.

One of my biggest hopes is that one day, my little ones will find something they are truly passionate about, and that they will understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. I have little eyes watching my every move, my ultimate goal is to set the best example I absolutely can.

Thank you!

So that is all that I experienced as a breastfeeding marathon. If you have an question please contact me.

I want to shout out a special thanks to the Marine Corps Marathon. You put on a great race yet again.

And thank you Marines, for supporting Breastfeeding marathon mamas!

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