Marine Corps Marathon 2018 : Race Recap

“So he educated me on the long run…

The Marathon is an energy game… a game he had my attention. Going out to hard and surging wastes energy. You want to be smooth and economical. In the long run we are training the body’s energy system, to more readily burn fats over carbohydrates. You see this kind of efficiency in animals that migrate long distances, whales and birds notably- who glide with minimal movement slowly releasing their energy.”

~ Deena Kastor

My white board which hangs from my fridge reminds me of my mantras, as I head out the door … I whisper to myself… Fight + Keep Moving Forward, celebrate my pace every five miles, smile + run happy.

Here I am again, walking over to the Pentagon, under the dark early morning sky, waiting for the sun to make an appearance. Ready to toe the line at the Marine Corps Marathon, for the 5th time.

This time is a little different than the last. Last time, I had a solid training cycle, starting when Zoe was 10 months old ending when she was 14 months. I was able to fit in seven weeks of strength training after my c-section to rebuild my core, before attempting to run. Then I had seven months to build a solid base. I had three previous races under my belt, two ten milers, and a half marathon – in which I broke 2 hours. I set a new PR in the marathon.

This time, I only raced one race previously, the Navy Half Marathon, which I used as a time trial. Making it to the finish line in 2:10, I knew that realistically I could finish the marathon around 4:20:00.

This time around, Zoe – my very smart and energetic three year old, and Ava my “cuddle bug,” 7 month old baby, keeps me busy. Plus, I only had 5 weeks to base build after my c-section recovery. No time to strength train or work on speed. And now on race day, I am only 7 months postpartum, still breastfeeding, a mother of two.

There has been plenty of busy days, and sleepless nights. But I made it! I managed to fit in another marathon training cycle. Although, not as consistent as what I normally accomplish, the work still got done.

On race day, I quietly walk over to the start. I follow all the other runners. I over hear them nervously chatting among themselves, as I reflect on my training, and run through my game plan for the race. I continue to whisper to myself, “When things get tough I will … Fight, keep moving forward, celebrate my pace every 5 miles, smile, run happy.”

This is NOT a goal race for me, so no pressure to PR. I used this marathon training cycle, to regain my fitness after pregnancy, plus I was desperately craving the long run.

I recently listened to the interview of Paula Radcliffe, on the I’ll Have Another Podcast. She is the Marathon World Record holder, running it in 2:15:25. In the interview, she talks about the importance of building season upon season. One marathon training cycle and marathon is part of a series of steps, to your next goal race. So often, we focus to hard on one race, never thinking about the future ones or the big picture.

There is a season for everything. And this season is not about setting a new marathon PR, but rather regaining my fitness after pregnancy, and learning how to balance my life while including my two passions – running + motherhood.

This season Marine Corps Marathon, marathon number 5, is one of the series of steps to build upon. During this Marine Corps Marathon, I’m running for the experience. Instead of racing right passed everything, it’s time to take in the whole race – high five every Marine’s hand and thank them, gain energy from the spectators, laugh at every funny sign or T-shirt. Next marathon I’ll run for speed.

This whole marathon training cycle, I consistently, just showed up, to see what I could do. Now, I’m at the start of the Marine Corps Marathon, doing the same thing showing up to see what I can do. Let’s go!

THE START

After standing in the porta potty line waiting behind forty so other runners, I begin to run to check my bag. The porta potty line was moving so slowly I wonder if I’m going to miss the race. Finally at bag check, I meet my dad and we head to the corral. It’s pretty cool to run this marathon with my dad! I’m excited to cross the finish line with him.

My dad and I get down to the start, but it’s already crowded, we zig zag between people, but the best we can do is squeeze in at the 4:45 corral. Normally, I would have stood with the 4:15 corral or even the 4 hour, but it’s so crowded, so this will have to do.

Just as in years in the past, standing around in the corral waiting for the gun to go off, brought on all the exciting energy. I really love a big race. Nothing feels better than running a marathon on a beautiful day, with 35,000 other runners. It feels amazing.

Miles 1-5

Finally I hear the gun go off and the race begin.

Our first mile is slow, but I’m glad, because I want to give my husband a little more time to get my babies to mile 2, where they will be waiting and cheering. Down 110, through Rosslyn, up the Lee Highway hill. I spot them smiling!

A quick photo with Daddy and Ava, and I’m off again! (Ava’s first time cheering mommy on. Zoe didn’t want a picture.) Next time I will see them is in Crystal City at mile 22.

Mile 3-4 , we are looping around Spout Run, down and over the Key Bridge – leaving Virginia and entering DC. The Key Bridge is so beautiful to run over. Mile 5, the crowd support in George Town is over the top. So far we are running a pretty steady pace, and there is enough space to zigzag around some people, but still I pay attention to the fun. For example this runner dressed up in a Red Skins outfit dragging a Cowboy’s jersey.

MILE 6-10

Up Rock Creek and then down, to Hains Point. When mile 10 approaches I yell to my Dad, “double digit time!” Still feeling really good.

MILE 11-15

At mile 12, Blue Mile makes an appearance. The mile is lined with American flags, and photos of military men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country and freedom. It’s quiet, and emotional.

MILE 16-20

Running along the National Mall, Washington, DC is always a treat. The view of the monuments take my breath away. It reminds me of how lucky I am to live in the DC area.

At mile 16, as I’m running, I tell my dad, “All we have is four more miles until we make it to the bridge, and leave DC entering into Virginia.” Once I run passed mile 17, I tell myself, “Back to single digits. Only 9 more miles to go.”

Soon I see the bridge – the 14th Street Bridge, mile 20. Two marines stand there yelling, “Time to Beat the Bridge.”

On the bridge, I start to hit the wall and start to walk. My legs and mind need it. It’s sunny and windy, but I know I have to get down to Crystal City looking good, so I start running again… My two running groups are cheering in Crystal City, and my husband, GiGi, and babies will be there too – can’t wait to see them.

Finally, off the bridge, nothing feels better approaching Crystal City. I’m out of DC, and back in Virginia. I’m passing mile 21, and I think to myself… “Only five more to go, my five mile easy run.”

Mile 21 – 22 is impossible to miss, my Oiselle team is there waiting to cheer … at their famous cowbell corner. I hear them screaming my name – “MEGHAN!!!” They are the brightest, loudest, and most electric, group I know. I high-five every single one of them. Their energy LIFTS ME UP and I truly begin to soar high.

Among the crowd I see a neighbor, so fun to say hello to another familiar face.

I keep going looking desperately for my husband, GiGi, and babies. They are here outside of Good Stuff Eatery. It’s like a mosh pit of people, so I was afraid I might miss them… but then there they are. After some quick hugs and sweaty kisses, I continue on.

As I approach the turn around, on Crystal Drive, I hear my name again… “MEGHAN.” It’s my friend Raiza and MRTT (Mom’s Run This Town) group. After a big hug, and asking if I need anything, she yells, “Go, Go, Go.” And I begin to run faster to the finish.

MILES 23-26.2

I feel a second wind, a burst of energy. It’s amazing how the excitement and positivity from spectators can really up lift you and get you moving. Now my dad and I are leaving Crystal City, and heading to 110.

On 110, I see the finish line in the far distance. It’s time to count street signs. To the Memorial Bridge street sign, I whisper to myself… the finish line is right passed that sign.

Then up the hill, we climb.

And the finish line is so close I can taste it. Finally my feet run over the finish, my dad right by my side. A Marine places a heavy red finishing medal around my neck.

We are Marathoners, #5 done for me and number 30 something for my dad.

On October 28th, 2018, I ran across the finish line proudly, of the Marine Corps Marathon for the 5th time. I showed up to see what I could do, and at 7 months postpartum, I finished 26.2 miles in 4:44:21.

My goals for this race were to fight, keep moving forward, celebrate my pace every five miles, smile, and run happy… so that’s what I did.

Goal accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

FUTURE GOALS

Although, I’m still smiling and running happy, I’m already thinking about my next marathon, my next season. And next time there’s going to be less smiling and more speedy miles accompanied with a whole lot of GRIT! Stay tuned!

CONGRATULATIONS

A special Congratulations to everyone who ran/raced the Marine Corps Marathon this year. And also congrats to those who ran/raced a fall marathon!

15 mile long run, at four months postpartum/post c-section.

⚡️1 5 M I L E R ⚡️

On Saturday, I woke up early, and hit the MVT south side for my 15 mile run. It had rained, Friday night, so everything was wet, and although it was humid, it felt cooler than the summer scorcher the day before.

I started my run around 8 am. The trail was already buzzing with other runners and cyclists. Finally, I wasn’t alone. I even saw Potomac Road Runners out there, and water stations set up if one needed water, making me smile. “That’s a kind gesture”, I thought. It reminded me of why I love the running community and at that moment I felt thankful to be a part of it.

The trail had some rolling hills, which I actually prefer – it kept things interesting.

Wow!

When looking back, I have come to the fact that this is the longest run, that I have run since my 2016 marathon! That alone is something to celebrate, especially since I’m only four months postpartum/post c-section. And the cherry on top, is that it went well. Not my fastest 15 miler, but I’m not racing my training runs.

“Marathons are extraordinarily difficult, but if you’ve got the training under your belt, and if you can run smart, the races take care of themselves. When you have the enthusiasm and the passion, you end up figuring how to excel.” ~Deena Kastor

This marathon training cycle has been my hardest so far. I have the enthusiasm and passion, but I often question if I am running “smart.”

I’m in a different season in my life, now as a mommy of two. I took the fourth trimester very seriously. And took that time to rest, heal, connect with my new little babe, Ava, and help my Zoe transition to big sister.

It has been harder than I thought it would be to find time to fit in my weekly runs, being a working mom, with a 3 year old and 4 month old – but other mother runners do it.

I have the double bob and almost all of my weekly training runs have been stroller miles, running pushing my babes. The stroller running has definitely helped me gain core strength, and although, there is still strength to gain, this is great progress for me, considering I couldn’t even do one sit up weeks after labor.

I’m still breastfeeding Ava, and that alone demands a lot of my time. And lately during her four month regression/growth spurt, that also means sleepless nights.

As expected, at four months postpartum I’m still getting my fitness back, after having baby Ava. I still have 8-10 pounds to loose. And I don’t have my speed back yet, which makes my runs slower and more time consuming.

But guess what…

I’m still running.

Flash Back Friday – Race Recap : The Parkway Classic 10 Miler

~ Photo taken by Swim Bike Run

The Parkway Classic 10 Miler (2017)

It is still dark, but I feel the vibration of my phone, (my quiet alarm). I tiptoe into the bathroom while my loved ones are still dreaming. Get dressed – my race outfit was already laid out the night before. I grab an applesauce on my way out, and sneak quietly off, to the start of the race.

The sun is starting to rise as I arrive. It is still pretty cold, so I wait until the very last minute to strip down out of my sweats, and check my back – my race outfit perfectly on, my bib number already pinned to my Oiselle singlet. I use body glide one last time as a precaution.

Five minutes to spare, bag is checked, so I hustle to my corral.

The gun goes off, and my feet leap over the start, as my garmin goes on.

I hear thousands of quick feet pound the pavement, as I turn on my iTunes playlist.

The views are breathtaking.

A canopy of green trees shade us as we go down hill.

The sun shines on the river making it sparkle as we go up hill.

These hills are rolling but mild, so they actually help my legs turn over faster.

It is such an amazing feeling, running fast, on a beautiful spring day, with a couple thousand of other runners.

Before I know it, I’m approaching Old Town, mile 8-9.

Up a hill, down a hill, and a sprint to the finish.

I hear my name announced as I cross the finish line.

A volunteer places a finisher’s medal around my neck.

Official time – 1:23:46.

2018 Goals

  • Support Community
  • Race a new and different 10 Miler

The Parkway Classic is one of my favorite races, and I run it most years. However, this year 2018, I won’t be able to run it… I have two good reasons though, 1- I’ll be at my sister’s wedding. 2- I will be 4 weeks postpartum cuddling a new born, and won’t even be cleared by my doctor to exercise yet. However, supporting the running community is very important to me, so even though I won’t be in town for this one, I do plan to watch and cheer at more races from the sidelines.

And just because I won’t be able to race this one, the 10 mile distance is one of my favorites to race and I know I can go faster. So as of now I’m on the look out for a different new 10 miler. I hope I find one as rejuvenating and refreshing as The Parkway Classic.

And as for the Parkway Classic… I can’t wait to race you many times again in the future.

Happy Running!

What’s your favorite race distance? Have you ever ran the Parkway Classic?

Reflecting on 2017

On instagram Best nine of 2017 was trending. Mine is in the far left corner, the rest are a few of my personal favorite photos of the year.

After looking through my photos and review my yearly stats on Strava. I discovered something very cool about 2017.

In 2017, I spent time outside everyday… running and mothering.

I ran all the miles…

Under clear skies and cloudy skies…

I ran solo miles, stroller miles, and pregnancy miles.

I ran early morning miles to see colorful sunrises…

I ran late evening miles to see colorful sunsets…

I ran city miles…

beach miles…

trail miles…

When I wasn’t running… I kept moving forward…

I marched for what I believe in.

I hiked to see waterfalls.

I jumped waves, and felt sand between my toes with my loves.

Ultimately…

2017 has taught me that you don’t have to travel far or experience something huge and impressive… in order to be challenged, learn new lessons, feel love, and find beauty.

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you can reflect on 2017 in a positive light, and create more beauty in 2018.

Happy Holidays and Happy Babies!

Hey there lovelies!!

It’s been a full two months of busy holiday excitement, from hosting thanksgiving to cutting down a Christmas tree, and everything in between… writing had to take the back burner. But oh my, it feels good to be back on the blog!

So let me tell you guys a HUGE HUGE UPDATE… (If you follow me on Instagram you definitely already know the news.)

The above photo was taken on Friday, October 13th, 2017.

That’s me running on Martha’s Vineyard, running 6 miles, with my 2 year old cozy in the BOB running stroller… and my second baby girl cozy in my belly at 17 weeks pregnant!!

I am now 27 weeks pregnant entering my third trimester on Friday. And unlike my last pregnancy, I have continued to run through out this whole pregnancy. I’m definitely slower, and not running as far, but I’m still out there, moving.

Our new baby girl is due on March 23, 2018. Zoe, my two year old, will be two years and 7 months when she arrives.

My plan for this blog for the next 3 months is to update regularly about my experience running while pregnant and living a fit pregnancy lifestyle. Feel free to leave comments and questions, here on the blog and on instagram. I’m ecstatic to share this chapter of my life with you.

Xo Meg

Marine Corps Marathon : Tips and 2014 & 2016 race recaps.

MARINE CORPS MARATHON IS TOMORROW MORNING!

This is my all time favorite race, the marathon being my all time favorite distance! I want to wish everyone a great race tomorrow! So I’ll share a couple things with you.

FLASH BACK – These are some of my favorite race photos from the 4x I have run it.

Make sure you smile at the camera! Enjoy it, take it all in. You will get emotional, especially at the blue mile, but that’s what this race is all about.

• CHEERLEADER – I will be out there cheering at mile 22 with my Oiselle Teammates. This mile marker is right after the 14th street bridge. On the runners right side. If you need to see a friend at this point to up lift you, look for me!

• TIPS – If you are a marathon virgin, or if this is your first time running MCM, check out the tips below and race recaps from previous times I ran it, including last year’s race recap.

QUOTES- ‘m going to leave you with 2 of my favorite quotes!

“Run for 20 minutes and you’ll feel better. Run another 20 and you might tire. Add on 3 hours and you’ll hurt, but keep going and you’ll see—and hear and smell and taste—the world with a vividness that will make your former life pale.”

“Whatever song you have in your head had better be a good one. Whatever story you are telling yourself had better be a story about going on. There is no room for negativity. The reason most people quit has nothing to do with their body.” ~ Scott Jurek

Good luck and have fun!! You are going to be awesome! *Side note: 3 special people that I’m cheering on is my Dad, my BRF Lina, and my Oiselle teammate Adrienne! See you guys at mile 22. 👏🏻

Now read below for tips and race recaps.

Here are my top 26 tips for all of the Marathon Virgins out there running Marine Corps Marathon tomorrow… 1 NIGHT BEFORE: Check social media for inspiration and updates, this includes facebook and instagram. Marine Corps Marathon pages always have a count down. And the night before race day facebook status always gets me pumped.

2 NIGHT BEFORE: Always prepare your race outfit, and everything you will need for the race, the night before. (That means tonight if you are running MCM tomorrow morning.)

3 Never wear anything you haven’t worn before.

4 Make sure your ipod and garmin are charged and ready to go.

5 Eat protein and carb race morning, good option – Bagel with Peanut Butter.

6 GETTING TO and FROM: If you are riding the metro in the morning, you will be getting off at the Pentagon. But honestly if you get confused just follow all the other runners. If you plan to metro after the race make sure you get enough money on your metro card for both ways, getting there and coming back. Metro will be really busy on the way back. The Rosslyn Metro stop is the one closest to the finish line.

7 THE START: At the start, strip down and check your bag. If you are one that gets cold easily then make sure you have throw away gloves and shirt. It will be cold in the morning but warm at the finish.

8 Oh and don’t forget to BODY GLIDE everything.  9 CORRALS: Because Marine Corps Marathon is the people marathon they do not have any assigned corrals. Instead you choose where you want to be, by looking for the sign that says your finishing time on it. Try to get in the proper corral or the one a head of you. For example if you think you will finish in 4:30 then hang with the 4:15 group. This race is a very crowded race with 35,000 runners.

10 WATER STATIONS: Have a game plan. Are you going to walk the water stations? When are you going to take your sports beans?

11 ROCK CREEK PARK can get congested. But stay light on your feet and use momentum to fly down the down hill part.

12 FOCUS ON RUNNING FORM. 13 13.1:  Once you hit the half way point start to break your race into pieces. At this point, you are in Hains Point, the most boring part of the race.  It is time to start counting. 2 more miles and you will be at mile 15 and out of the stupid park and on to the National Mall.

14 MILE 15: Enjoy, look around you are running the National Mall.

15 MILE 17: This mile is significant meaningful mile in a marathon because it takes us into single digits, only 9 more miles to go.

16 SIGNS: Don’t forget to look at funny signs. The spectators are the best at this race.

17 MILE 20: Beat the Bridge. The bridge is long and slow. A lot of runners HIT the Wall here. There aren’t very many spectators here. Sometimes it feels brutally hot with sun shining on you. Other times it feels really windy. This is the time when a lot of runners start walking and stretching out. This is when I tell myself to keep running, don’t walk. At the end of the bridge you are in Crystal City. Leaving DC and entering VA.

18 MILE 21: This mile is significant for me because in training my longest run is 21. During my weekly training I do a 5 mile easy run. When I reach 21 in the marathon, I tell myself, “Only 5 miles to go, my 5 mile easy run.” Everything is mental at this point.

19 CRYSTAL CITY: Once I’m at mile 23 looping around Crystal City I am looking at the spectators focusing on seeing people I may know. I also am saying my mantra.

20  Always have a Mantra. For example, when things get rough, I always repeat, “No matter what… Just keep moving forward. Keep moving forward.” Another good one is … “One More Mile.”

21 HOME STRETH: At this point I am focused on the traffic signs, I try to get to one traffic sign then the next. You’ll see signs that say, “Memorial Bridge.”

22 The last little bit is up a hill and then the finish line. But who cares there is a hill, you made it to the finish.

23 Enjoy getting your medal and check out all the hott marines. You earned it.

24 MILE 27: Walk, Walk, Walk. The most important mile is mile 27. The mile you walk after the marathon. This mile walk helps avoid cramping.

25 Eat an awesome brunch to refuel and celebrate.

26 Take it easy for the rest of the day. Consider taking hot yoga later in the week.

SO there it is!

Good luck to all of the Marathon Virgins out there running tomorrow for the first time. Good luck all runners. Look for me, I’ll be cheering for you.

Also if you want to read about my experience running Marine Corps Marathon, you can find the 2 full Race Recaps.

Last year’s: Marine Corps Marathon 2016 Here Marine Corps Marathon 2014 here.  Have fun Marathoners!!

Shoe Review: Newton Gravity 6

Hey there lovelies!

Hope all is well…

I have been having a super busy summer, so the blog had to take the back burner, but I’m hoping to be more consistent with writing – so stay tuned for many more posts.

My daughter, Zoe just turned two!! I can’t believe I’m a mother runner of a two year old. Along with chasing a super active two year old, I have been running tons of summer stroller miles. This summer has been a mild one, which has made for some perfect running weather.

I also finally got my new running shoes, the Newton Gravity 6. I’ve been running in them all week.

Review: side note – I’m currently running in the Newton Gravity 6, but in this review I’m going to compare the 6 to both the 4 (my favorite) and the 5 (last year’s Gravity.)

Newton Gravity 4

Let’s begin by talking about my favorite shoes. I still love love love the Newton Gravity 4s – best shoe ever. When I opened the box it was love at first sight. They were the first running shoes I put my feet postpartum and they were the shoes I trained and ran my last marathon in. The newton gravity 4 had a roomy fit, that was totally weightless. Roomy fit is ideal for long distance runners, because feet might swell as the miles increase. This shoe let my toes spread and my foot move. The tongue on the shoe was so thin you never noticed it there. Not that it matters, but I also loved the look of these shoes! They were orange and pink with silver details.

Newton Gravity 5

The 5 was okay, but the tongue on the shoe was so thick and large, which was unnecessary. It had a very snug fit, which made the shoe feel stiff. And although, it might have weighed the same, or less than the previous Gravity, it still felt heavier. It was the first time I was unsure about the Gravity. It made me question what’s going on with Newton, the company – especially since the co-founders are no longer with the company and the shoes are no longer sold in any local running stores. I also have been seeing less runners on the trail and at races wearing Newtons. I use to wave at every Newton runner. However, the color on the Gravity never disappoints. These were yet again a badass looking running shoe.

Newton Gravity 6

After running in the 5 for months, it was definitely time for new running shoes. And because the 5 didn’t impress me, it made me a little nervous to try the 6. I loved the 4 so much, I thought about looking online to see if anywhere was selling it in my size. Turns out after lots of debate I made the decision to give the new Gravity a try. I really don’t want to just run in one shoe, and get my foot use to one shoe. I ultimately want a shoe rotation, and although, I didn’t fall in love with the 5, I never had any injuries.

The Newton Gravity 6 is definitely an improvement from the 5. The tongue is still a little thick, but they made improvements by making it shorter. The shoe still feels a little snug, but not as stiff and snug as the 6. I normally where a size 6 in regular shoes, and a size 7 in running shoes. In these shoes, I’m wearing a size 7, but sometimes feel my toe hitting the end of the shoe while running. This makes me question, is it my foot (your feet can change size due to having a child) or is it the shoe? I am missing that unique feel that the original Newtons gave me back when they first came out. Did they change? Or maybe I’m just use to wearing them after years of running in them.

Otherwise, they still have everything that I love about Newton. They are light weight (6.5 ounces) with the 5 lugs, and a 3 mm heal to toe drop. They are a badass looking running shoe with the trademark bright color combination.

I just hope Newton continues to keep the shoe as minimal as possible. Although, they don’t want to be in the category as a minimalist shoe, they are all about perfecting a naturally barefoot running stride and getting a runner to run more efficiently by landing on their forefoot. Us runners who are loyal to Newton love that they don’t have too much added to the shoe, and that the shoe allows the runner to feel the ground and let their toes spread in a wide toe box. Less is more, when it comes to a running shoe.

So that’s it for now! I can’t wait to run all the miles in the Newton Gravity 6.

What shoe are you running in?

Have you tried Newtons before?

I love connecting with other runners, and would love to hear from you. Comment below, and follow me on Instagram @sweat1xdaily.

1 year of Running for Oiselle! 

I haven't written a Running post in a while… I've been totally slacking on the writing part not the running part. If you want to follow my daily running journey then head over to my Instagram page @sweat1xdaily and follow along. I post running training and racing updates almost every day.

Oiselle

I often get asked, "What is Oiselle?" Oiselle is a women's running apparel company that focuses on empowering and supporting women athletes. They have a very strong focus on community. And because they find community to be one of their number one priorities, they created Oiselle Vollee, a nation wide team for female runners.

My one year anniversary of Running for Oiselle came and went, and I couldn't be more excited to be part of the team for another year. These team photos were taken back in April and I am so glad to finally have the chance to share them with you. 

To be completely honest, I have never been part of a team or ran with a group. I have always been a solo runner. Every now and then, I would run with a friend, but most days I train alone, (or with my two year old daughter.) Not because I prefer one way or the other, solo running is just more convenient, (and I love running with my daughter.)

For those new to reading this blog, – in 2015, I gave birth to my daughter, and once she turned 6 months old, I began running with her. Ever since then, I have become a stroller pushing Mother Runner, with a permanent running buddy.

I am so thankful for my running stroller, it gives me the opportunity to run whenever I want. This is crucial for a busy working mom. Because of my running stroller, I was able to train for the Marine Corps Marathon at 10 months postpartum. 

However, joining the Oiselle Vollee team had been a desire of mine for a year or so, but I didn't know how to get involved. I finally reached out to some Oiselle birds on Instagram and got answers quickly that signing up would be happening in the spring. I finally got the opportunity to join the team in April of 2016.

Being part of this team, has helped keep me inspired and motivated, and pushes me out of my comfort zone. However, I haven't met up with the team as much as I would have liked, so this year I'm hoping to meet up more, and run more often with friends. Running with others, will only make me a faster, stronger runner. And I hope to inspire and motivate other team members as much as they have for me. 

In these photos, I wore my Oiselle singlet and the Aero tights, along with the American Runner trucker hat! 

This outfit makes me feel powerful because I am proud to wear my Oiselle singlet and represent a company that empowers and supports women athletes, while also creating a community.

My Aero tights fit me perfectly and allow me to perform to my fullest potential, (they have a new colors in their new fall line, the Eclipse a collection.) The American Runner hat, defines who I am. 

As runners we may run for different reasons and set different goals, however we all share the same deep passion for the sport. As a Oiselle runner our experiences and running journey is each unique, but we share the same singlet.

My running goal for this year is to connect with other runners especially those running for Oiselle. I also want to continue to find joy in running, instead of getting so wrapped up in what my garmin says.

Do you prefer to run solo or run with a team?

2016, the year I became a badass Mother Runner! 

2016 was a very SPECIAL year! 

Zoe was born, August 2015, so by the start of 2016, she was 4 going on 5 months old. By this point, I knew my daughter pretty well. And although, she was constantly changing and growing, my confidence as her mother had grown.

It is a weird thing to say, but in the beginning even the most confident woman in the world, feels, life is a little bit out of control when they become a new mom. But eventually, I discovered a new normal, and created a consistent, but flexible routine, that brought order to our busy household. (Side note: This routine and order also allowed me to train for my fourth full marathon.)

Also by the beginning of 2016, my fitness level had finally started to improve. At this early part of the year, I wouldn’t say my fitness was totally back to the way it was before Zoe, but I was feeling a lot stronger, and my runs were more comfortable and enjoyable. I knew by the time Zoe was 6 months old, I would feel confident running with her in the BOB running stroller. I was so excited for that day!!

2016 MADE me a MOTHER RUNNER!!

Before I became a mother, I always admired the BAMRs on the trail. Effortlessly running, all while pushing a stroller and caring for a tiny human. I only hoped that once I had a child, I too would be out there running those stroller miles. 

In late February 2016, this dream came true, and I was finally able to include Zoe on my runs. We went out for our first stroller run together, and we both loved it! 

I feel so fortunate to be able to work out with my child by my side, instead of having to find a babysitter. It makes it so much easier to just bring her along.  I now have two tiny eyes watching every move I make… so making healthy choices is very important, now more than ever. Living this healthy lifestyle is a priority to me, and I am so glad I can include Zoe at such a young age. 

However, it wasn’t easy at first, it took some time to adjust to running with the stroller, but I got the hang of it. Again, runs became enjoyable, and I felt strong and confident. Nothing feels better than passing another runner on the trail while pushing a stroller. Plus, Zoe loves being out there, taking in all of the sounds and colors of nature, and the fresh air is great for both of us! 

Soon, with Zoe by my side, I began to train for all the races I had lined up for 2016.

Race Recaps
In 2016, I ran six races! Each of them, were VERY special. 

Race 1 – The Cherry Blossom 10 miler was my first postpartum race. It was so cold and windy that day, and I really didn’t know how I would do. It was more of a test race. I decided not to look at my watch and just run by feel. I ended up surprising myself running it faster then I thought I would, finishing in 1:31:12. (Side note: At the Expo, I met Meb, the Olympic marathoner, Boston Marathon winner, and I discovered Mana Threads a new awesome athletic clothing line.) 

Race 2 – The Parkway Classic was my second postpartum race. This was a beautiful run, and again I ran it faster then I though I would. My goal was to finish under 1:30, I reached that goal finishing 1:28:49. 

Race 3 – The Navy Half Marathon was my 3rd postpartum race. This was also my first time running this half marathon. I registered a couple of weeks before because it fell in place with my marathon training plan. A lot of other runners I knew used this race as a training run for marathon training. I ended up racing it and I’m so glad I did. I ran it faster, then I thought I could, I finished in 1:53:54, which made this my 3rd half marathon under 2 hours. Woohoo! 

The summer heat was making me have some long slow training runs. I was getting worried about running the Marine Corps Marathon. Would I be ready? After running the Navy Half, I felt great! It felt amazing running that fast, and it brought my confidence back. My marathon training was paying off, and I was ready to run with the Marines. 

Race 4 – The Marine Corps Marathon was … my fourth full marathon, my fourth MCM, my first full marathon as a mother runner, my first race that I ran a portion with my dad. Overall, this race is my all time favorite, and was the most special I ran this year! I ended up with a new marathon PR, finishing in 4:17:01. I loved this race so much, that I slowed down a bit, just so it wouldn’t end. 

The marathon distance is my favorite distance! And once again, this race reminded me of that. 

I had so much fun at MCM, that I experienced the marathon blues after, and almost signed up for the Richmond marathon which was two weeks later. 

Race 5  – The Operation Turbo 5k was a race that a friend of mine was organizing in order to raise money for her foundation. I signed up a couple of days before hand in order to show my support. I couldn’t remember the last time I raced a 5k.

I was very excited to do it, because it was my first opportunity to race with Zoe. Although, I had done most of my marathon training miles with her, I had yet to race with her. 

It was awesome and we placed second for females. 

Race 6 The Alexandria Turkey Trot was by far the most crowded race I ran. It was my second race with Zoe. It was hard to maneuver the stroller around the crowd for the first two miles. But once we got around the crowd, we started to fly. The best part was hearing Zoe laugh, pointing out the doggies and demanding me to run faster, shouting, “Go, Go, Go mama!”

Some other RUNNING highlights!

2016 was a year of connecting with others.

I’ve always been a solo runner, and now because I am a working mom, sometimes it is hard with my schedule to meet up for runs. However, in 2016, I found ways to connect with other runners and other mothers. 

*I joined two running team/groups in 2016… I joined Mom’s Run this Town, (MRTT) and Oiselle Volee. Both of these teams were inspiring and motivating in different ways. I didn’t get the chance to run with these groups because of my work schedule. However, I did follow along with them through social media. 

Oiselle Volee is a team I run for. I had been wanting to join this team for a while and finally in 2016 I got in. I love what this team stands for… it is all about empowering women. 

It is also nation wide, so I was able to follow most of my fellow Oiselle teammates on instagram. And I was able to meet some birds at races! They had an awesome cheer station at mile 20/21 at MCM. I am hoping in 2017, I will be able to go to more Oiselle runs and events! 

I also joined Mom’s Run this Town. Again I only had the chance to meet up with them once, however I followed the MRTT facebook page, and was very active on it. Again I hope to meet up with these ladies more in the upcoming year.

Even though, I was only involved through social media, these groups inspired me and held me accountable

*I started using a running app in 2016… I also found ways to connect with other runners by using Strava. This running app is awesome. I still wear my Garmin 620, but Strava allows me to follow other runners training, while they follow mine. It also immediately shows me my mile splits! I love Strava and I am so glad I started using it in 2016. Again helps inspire, track, connect, and holds me accountable.

I have a couple of favorites for 2016

*My favorite piece of running gear for 2016… was with out a doubt my BOB REVOLUTION PRO! 

This running stroller allows me to take my daughter with me on my runs! It is the reason why I was able to train for the Marine Corps Marathon and set a new marathon PR. 
*My favorite race of 2016… was the Marine Corps Marathon. 

The marathon is my favorite distance. I trained hard for that race, training in the record breaking heat. All of the hard work paid off and I was happy with a new marathon PR. Plus, I made a very special memory running with my dad. 

*My favorite cookbook of 2016 is Run Fast Eat Slow. 

I am always trying to find new fun recipes, even more so now that Zoe is eating solid foods. 

Also nutrition is huge, especially while training for a marathon. This was my go to cookbook! I love the story behind the book. The authors are inspiring on their own, and each recipe is based on fueling the runner’s body. Every recipe I have made is easy, delicious, and healthy. 

*My favorite place I ran this year… was the Green Belt in Boise, Idaho. 


In the beginning of October, my husband, daughter, and I took a trip out to Idaho to visit family. I brought all of my running stuff, knowing I had to continue marathon training and find some place to get my long run done. 

Turns out I ran almost every day when I was in Boise, even running a 12 miler. I ran on the Green Belt and it was one of the most beautiful refreshing trails. Running in Idaho felt amazing because the cooler temperatures was a great break from the heat wave we were having back east. 

(Side note: I also had the opportunity to run in Martha’s Vineyard which is my favorite place to run. It too was refreshing because of the ocean breeze.)

*My favorite training moment… was all of the stroller miles I did with Zoe.

In 2016, stroller running became my thing! I never knew I would love it so much, but I do.

*My favorite things I saw while running, were not necessarily the gorgeous views, but rather when I randomly came across this amazing piece of street art. 

After seeing one mural, I started to notice them everywhere. I decided to make it my thing. Instead of always focusing on the mileage, I decided to also embrace city running and try to discover more art. 

Then while running in Martha’s Vineyard I randomly came across a huge spider web. I didn’t see any street art because it’s the beach life up there. But after seeing this spider web, I was reminded that nature has its own little artists always creating. 


I later saw a spider web on almost every long run. When you are out there running a 15 or 20 miler you are going to see some interesting stuff. 

*My favorite Running Podcast is… Another Mother Runner. I couldn’t get enough of these BAMRs. 

I never really listened to podcasts in the past. But in early 2016, while taking Zoe on walks, I needed something to listen to. So I came across Another Mother Runner Podcast. These ladies have a couple of books, which I bought and read while I was pregnant with Zoe, but once I found out they had a podcast I was hooked. I tune in every week and I am now a pretty loyal listener. 
*My favorite most inspirational runner of 2016 was Shalene Flanagan. 

Olympic Marathoner Shalene Flanagan was the most inspirational runner for me. And her moment at the Olympic marathon trials with her bestie Amy Hastings was by far the most inspirational moment

There were other inspirational runners as well such as Jen Shelton, the Ultra marathoner from the book, Born to Run. On some of my long runs I would listen to the chapter about her over and over again. 

Speaking of books, I read a couple of running books and reread Born to Run. 

*My favorite new running book I read was… My Year of Running, Dangerously by Tom Foreman. 

I also read a Running a Love Story, by Jen A. Miller. Both of these books were inspiring because they were about mid packed runners. 

Goodbye 2016, you were great! 

So that sums up my Running the Year 2016. For me, 2016 was a year all about my two favorite things: motherhood and running. The highlights were definitely watching my Zoe grow into this incredible, smart toddler. And as for running finishing the Marine Corps Marathon, with a new marathon PR. 

I am very proud that I was able to time manage and fit marathon training in, while also being a new mom. 

This proves to me, that you don’t have to sacrifice the things you use to do, because you have a child. It is possible and important to continue to do the things you love, while also being Mom. 

2016 has been an inspirational year, which built my confidence more than ever before. I became confident and comfortable in my new role as a mother.  I regained my fitness and began to run stronger with more confidence and passion. 

Ultimately, 2016 was a teacher. The most important thing I have learned is… that I don’t have to travel to an exotic place, or hit a huge life milestone, to have an incredible year. The year doesn’t have to be a huge one… It is the small, everyday, ups and downs that are so beautiful. 

And although, running a marathon is a pretty big deal, I ran that marathon in my backyard. My point is … as I watch my daughter grow, she has taught me… you don’t have to go far in search of greatness and growth. This greatness and growth is right in front of your eyes or with in yourself.

Thank you 2016 for making me a BAMR!! 

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

Christmas Gift Guide for Mother Runners

Christmas is right around the corner! And you are still trying to find the perfect gift for the mother runner in your family. Well, do not stress! I have the perfect last minute gift guide list. Let’s go shopping! 



1. BOB Revolution Pro (Find it at REI store.)

$559.99 

If your mother runner has a infant or toddler, but doesn’t have a running stroller yet, or maybe she does, but needs an upgrade… this is the stroller!! 

Here is why…

WHEEL

It has a swivel front wheel that you can adjust to a fixed wheel for running, or swivel for everyday use. 

BREAK

It also has a hand break on the hand bar so you have more control on down hills. 

SEAT

Adjustable seat for comfort for baby. Lay baby/toddler, all the way down for a nap, or prop the seat straight up so baby/toddler can see the world on all your adventures! 

CANOPY

Extra large canopy that shades your baby/toddler from the sun with SPF 50! 

STORAGE

Huge oversized storage compartment, so you can bring whatever you and your child needs.

For more details read my review on my top three running strollers

So your mother runner already has the stroller. Well what about some awesome accessories to make her running experience better and more comfortable.

2. Snack Tray ($29.99) and/or Weather Shield (Find it at REI)

As your baby becomes a toddler the Snack Tray is a must! 

The Weather Shield is a protective shield for bad weather days. That way you don’t have to worry about your child staying dry or warm, and you still can get your run done. 

3. Skip Hop Grab & Go Stroller Organizer $22.99 ( Find it at Nordstrom or Buy Buy Baby)

This item is my favorite stroller organizer. It holds water bottle, and all important items right up front with you. 

4. L.L. Bean : Ultra Plush Snow Bunting $89.95 (Find it at L.L. Bean)

This is a must have for winter running. It is the ultimate piece of gear to keep your child warm and cozy on winter runs. It’s basically a sleeping bag for the stroller. Every mother runner needs it! 

For more details read my review on the Ultra Plush Snow Bunting

5. Another Mother Runner Books (Find them at Barnes and Nobel or online at Amazon.) Download the audio on iTunes.

Run like a Mother, Train like a Mother, and Tales from Another Mother Runner, are must reads for a BAMR. If the mother runner in your family doesn’t have time to read, give her the audio option. This allows her to listen while she runs. 

6. Newton ($120-175)

(These are hard to find. The website might be the only option.)

Newton running came out with the black series. It isn’t a typical neon bright color, but the black is totally badass for a BAMR! It is a limited edition so grab a pair while you can. 

For more information on Newton Running read my review

7. Every Mother Counts at Oiselle 

(Find these at Oiselle)

Every Mother Counts is an organization founded by Christy Turlington Burns, that supports maternal health. There are a lot of great Tshirts and sweatshirts on sale over at oiselle and 40% of the proceeds goes to Every Mother Counts organization. Want to support the organization 100% go to the actual website!

8. Garmin 

The Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire in Rose Gold and White. ($449.99) 

(Find it at your local Running Store)

This watch is absolutely the prettiest fitness tracking watch. Again, I say fitness (not running) because it is a multi sport fitness tracking watch. Although, it does track your runs, you can also track other forms of fitness, including swim. It’s great for the tri athlete as well as the runner in your family. 

I personally own the Garmin 620 and it is great too! 

Below are some quick ideas if you don’t have time to go shopping! 

9. Race Swag
This year at the Marine Corps Marathon Expo I had my 14 month daughter with me. There was so many awesome finisher swag, shirts, jackets, etc. but there was no way I was going to wait in a long line with my little one. So I skipped it and went straight to shopping the other vendors. 

If this same thing happened to the mother runner in your family, then going to the race website and seeing if they still have some finisher swag to purchase would be an awesome Christmas present. 

10. Race Entry Fee

Another great idea is figuring out which race is the next up, and cover the registration fee.

I hope that helps complete your shopping! Your mother runner will be so happy with these gifts!! 

Happy Holidays!!

What is on your wishlist?

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily 

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