Since the 2016 Boston Marathon

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With the 2017 Boston Marathon just days away, I have been reflecting on this past year – and oh what a year it has been. In March 2016, right before my Boston race, we decided to start trying for a family. I assumed if we got pregnant right away then I would either not know until after the race or I would still be able to run it with no problems as I was already trained. I guess I just had a strong case of baby fever. On April 13, 2016 – I sat in a doctor’s office in tears not understanding what was going on with my body. I was having a miscarriage. This is the last thing I ever expected to happen to us, and after finding out how common it is I am surprised it never crossed my mind. You can read more about that here

The following day, we boarded a plane and headed to Boston for my first time running the Boston Marathon. It was finally a dream come true. I had spent the past two to three years trying to qualify to get in and then training for the race. I was also excited for it to come and go because I knew I needed a break mentally, and physically, and it was the perfect time to take a step back and have a baby. The Boston Marathon was the final thing on my ‘pre-baby bucket list’ and I was ready to check it off. You can read about my story to Boston here. It wasn’t easy for me to qualify.

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We had the most amazing vacation in Boston. Looking back, I feel a little guilty for having such a fun time after we had just learned about our loss, but honestly we left the doctor with hope that we can get pregnant and it just wasn’t the right time. Plus, I didn’t actually know I was pregnant until it was all over. I never had the initial excitement of taking a test and the days of knowing I was pregnant. I only found out we had a Chemical Pregnancy (early miscarriage) because of what my body was going through and I knew something wasn’t right. It wasn’t until months later and we still weren’t pregnant that I started to really feel sadness. So being in Boston was much-needed time away and I had the best time touring a new city with Andrew. We walked 15-18 miles each day (yes, before the race) just exploring everything! It really is one of my favorite vacations with him. You can read about our trip here, here, and here.

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The race was amazing! I just ran. I had no goals and my body was still recovering a little from everything that had happened. It was peaceful and amazing. I clearly remember certain spots on the course and my favorite was the final 4 miles as I was getting closer to the finish line and knew I’d get to see Andrew. It truly is an unforgettable and indescribable experience! You can read the race recap here.

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I came home with excitement about what the future held – although it took us quite a bit of time to get pregnant again. It was a hard few months that felt like forever. I gained some weight and cut back on running to try to get my body ‘in sync’ to have a baby. Without going into too much detail, my cycle was basically completely out-of-whack or non-existent. It had been this way for years. It was a really frustrating phase with a few trips to the doctor. On August 16, 2016, I was again sitting in a doctor’s office crying not understanding why my body ‘wasn’t working’ and looking for answers on how to fix it. I found out 10 days later I was actually pregnant at that appointment. God has a funny way of things falling into place and teaching us patience. You can read our announcement here.

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And for the past 8 months I have been pregnant and we just celebrated the birth of our baby Rowan on April 7th. What a sweet early surprise we had. You can read all my weekly pregnancy updates here as well as posts about things I have learned in pregnancy. I ran through a majority of my pregnancy. Well, more like a run/walk but stopped around 28 weeks. I had never felt more hardcore in any of my workouts than when I ran with a big belly. There is something about running while you’re pregnant that makes you feel totally awesome!!

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When Boston 2018 rolls around next year, I will have a one-year old and probably no where close the shape I was in when I first qualified. I do have goals to make it back there one day and I do have goals in my post-partum journey back to running. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself and stating planning as I have no idea what life will be like with a newborn – but I am so excited to begin this new journey as a runner mom.

Good luck to all of you 2017 Boston Marathoners. May your feet be quick and your minds be focused on having fun and enjoying the experience!!

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As much as I enjoyed my Boston experience, nothing beats the experience of becoming a mommy.

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Baby Cork: Week 36

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Today’s date: April 5, 2017

How far along: 36 weeks (28 days to go). If baby girl is just 4 days early, this is her birth month!!

How big is baby: Baby girl is getting close to 6 pounds and is about as long as a head of romaine lettuce.

Best moment this week: Andrew had to work all day Saturday so I had the house to myself. This probably shouldn’t have been my best moment for the week, but I got soooo much done!!! I was in full-on spring cleaning/nesting mode. It was nice to just turn on some music and check things off my to-do list.

How I’ve felt in my workouts: I feel like pregnancy just got hard all of a sudden. I have been so fortunate to have an incredibly easy 8 months and I contribute a lot of that to staying active. This past week though has been kind of rough. I am not complaining because I am so grateful for 1) being able to get pregnant, and 2) having a healthy and normal pregnancy – but I have been a bit more uncomfortable. With that said, I have been much more lenient in my workouts and skipped my long walks if I felt my body needed the rest. I only skipped 3 days of walking in the month of March!!

Cravings Food: It’s watermelon season!! I LOVED watermelon at the beginning of my pregnancy and now we have come full circle.

Favorite meals this week: Homemade white bean & broccoli pizza. I made this delicious white bean spread to be the ‘sauce’ on our pizza. I am not a huge marinara fan. The bean mixture is: navy beans + garlic + Italian spices + water. Toss in a food processor and let the magic happen. The second time I made the pizza, I added some spinach to the bean mix for some added fiber. The beans don’t have much of a ‘beany’ flavor like black beans, so it really just creates a nice and creamy sauce and takes on the flavor of the garlic and spices. I sautéed some broccoli and mushrooms, topped the pizza, and then baked it all.

Buys for baby: We bought the Owlet Smart Sock which monitors heart rate and oxygen levels while baby sleeps. I know this is unnecessary, but I also know it will help me have just a tiny bit more peace of mind. I have also started making a Montessori mobile set. I went the DIY route and it has really taught me a lesson in patience. I learned about this mobile series here.

Weight Gain: I was up about 23 pounds at my last appointment (2 weeks ago). I will find out my weight gain at our 36 week appointment tomorrow.

Prayer Requests: Baby girl has been hanging out with her feet down and we really need her to turn before she decides to arrive.

 

Week 36 Workouts

Wednesday

50 minute walk

Thursday

50 minute walk

Friday

Rest

Saturday

60 minute walk

Sunday

Rest

Monday

40 minute walk + lower body strength

Tuesday

50 minute walk

 

I didn’t take any picture this week so here’s a flashback to what I was doing around this time last year….

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Baby Cork: Week 35

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Today’s date: March 29, 2017

How far along: 35 weeks (35 days to go)

How big is baby: A Honeydew melon.

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Best moment this week: Andrew ran Baylor University’s annual Bearathon half-marathon. He finished with a shiny new PR with a crazy impressive finish time of 1:24:20. I have run this race every year for the past 6 years. I thought I might feel sad that I wasn’t lining up on the start line, but honestly, I really didn’t care. I would give up every single start line for this little growing girl. I have the rest of my life to run. It was a fun morning cheering on Andrew and then celebrating with the Waco Striders after a big race!

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How I’ve felt in my workouts: Working out has become a chore. I feel like pregnancy really hit me this week. I have been so fortunate to have such an easy pregnancy. I have had no complaints and very minimal discomfort or inconveniences. But all of a sudden, my feet hurt, it’s getting harder to maneuver around, and I am just so tired. It makes me excited though because it means we are getting closer to meeting our sweet baby.

Cravings Food: I swear my belly grew all of a sudden and I just have no room for food. Eating has also become a chore. I wouldn’t say I am having aversions like I did in the first trimester but just not a lot sounds very appealing. I have been enjoying honeydew melon and am looking forward to watermelon season.

Favorite meals this week: Our food was pretty boring this week. We were so busy and tired that I haven’t really felt like cooking. We have been enjoying a stir fry with rice noodles quite often.

Buys for baby: Nothing this week as we are still going through and putting things away from our showers. We got so many essential and cute things and are so fortunate to have a community who has helped get us started on the right foot with this baby girl.

Weight Gain: I am up about 23 pounds.

Prayer Requests: Energy and patience. I can tell I am starting to slow down.

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Week 35 Workouts

Wednesday

50 minute walk

Thursday

40 minute walk

Friday

45 minute walk

Saturday

30 minute walk

Sunday

40 minute walk

Monday

Rest day

Tuesday

40 minute walk

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Baby Cork: Week 34

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Today’s date: March 22, 2017

How far along: 34 weeks (42 days to go).

How big is baby: 4.7 pounds, 17.7 inches. A cantaloupe.

Best moment this week: We had so many great moments this week!! We were showered with love by friends and family this weekend at our baby shower. I have never felt more celebrated and supported. I never had a wedding shower so this was so special to me. Almost all of our shower guests were in our Waco Striders Running Club and it just makes me so excited our baby girl will grow up in that community. We are so fortunate to have so many friends!

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Andrew ran his first trail race, and placed first overall!

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How I’ve felt in my workouts: I can make it through my long walks, but that’s about all the motivation I have. I was already pretty tired going into our busy weekend from poor sleep and now I am just completely exhausted. It was so much fun though so well worth it.

Food/Cravings: At the baby shower, we played a game where Andrew answered questions and then I had to guess his answers. One of my questions was about my pregnancy cravings. I said strawberries and he said pancakes. I think they are probably both right. I eat my frozen strawberries almost every night and some blueberry pancakes every Sunday after church.

Favorite meals this week: A vegan cookie cake at my baby shower. This isn’t a meal, but when you’re pregnant anything goes. That cookie cake is just so dang good.

Buys for baby: A little swaddle blanket at the Magnolia Spring at the Silos event from the vendor Little Unicorn. I knew we had our shower coming up, but I just adored this little vegetable blanket and couldn’t pass it up.

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We got so many wonderful gifts at our shower. Some extra special gifts were a rocking chair my mom rocked me in when I was born and also a handmade quilt from my mother-in-law.

Weight Gain: I was sitting at 21 pounds gained two weeks ago, but we’ll find out tomorrow at our check-up appointment what I am currently weighing. I don’t feel heavier so we will see. It’s crazy to think I have gained 21 pounds but other than in the very beginning it’s just slowly packed on that I’ve hardly noticed the gain.

Prayer Requests: Patience in these last 6-ish weeks. Also that God will use this time to draw Andrew and I closer and to prepare us to become parents. As excited as we are for this next adventure, we have no idea what to expect…

 

Week 34 Workouts

Wednesday

40 minute walk

Thursday

50 minute walk

Friday

45 minute morning walk with Andrew + lower body strength

Saturday

40 minute morning walk with my mom

Sunday

50 minute morning walk with my mom and Andrew

Monday

45 minute lunch break walk

Tuesday

No walking – Upper body strength

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Boston Bound: Jessica (@sugarruns)

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This week we are meeting Jessica (@sugarruns) as she prepares for her first appearance at the 2017 Boston Marathon. Jessica is a runner who started off with the half-marathon distance for years before she doubled that and took on a marathon. She’s been on fire ever since!! I hope you enjoy reading her story and following her journey to Boston.

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Hi Jessica, tell us about yourself.

My name is Jessica Rinehart. I’m 31 years old and live in Long Beach, CA. I’m an insurance broker (full time job) and a run coach and blogger on the side. I started my blog to document my training for my first marathon in 2014 and fell so in love with the running community I met through Instagram and locally through my run clubs. I loved sharing my passion for running and decided to get RRCA certified in July 2016 so I could help others reach their running goals.

When did you start running and how many marathons have you run?

I started running about 8 years ago and primarily focused on half marathons. The distance was manageable for my life and the marathon distance scared me. I was pretty decent at halfs, finishing my first in 1:45 with no real knowledge of pacing or anything like that. I never really got out of that finish time range with halfs because I was mostly doing it to stay in shape and have fun.

I was 29 and had “Run a Marathon” on my bucket list to try to do before I turned 30. I signed up for Big Sur because it gave me enough time to train and was 2 weeks before my 30th birthday. I definitely made the mistake there because while Big Sur is a breathtaking course, its without a doubt one of the most challenging with the hills and headwinds. I learned that I was anemic during my training – I was exhausted all the time and eventually felt like I couldn’t keep going on with my training because I had such a hard time getting oxygen to my muscles. Once I went to the doctor and found out, iron supplements improved my running tremendously.

I ran 6 marathons in 18 months. I started with Big Sur in April 2014 and just recently finished Chicago in October 2016. Big Sur was a surprisingly good finish of 3:48. I then ran Portland Marathon 6 months later with a 3:37 (so close). Just 7 weeks later I raced CIM and qualified with a huge PR of 3:25. So, I qualified 8 months after running my first marathon. 

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Compare a typical week of running when you first started out to now. 

When I first started running it was about 4 days/week for about 2-3 hours/week. I used a training plan I found online and never knew my paces and only estimated miles based on Map My Run. 

Now I train 6-7 days/week for about 7-8 hours/week. This doesn’t include all of the additional things I do outside of running miles to take care of my body (chiropractic work, massages 1 x/week, foam rolling, strength training, cross training, stretching, etc.). I’d say I spend about 10-11 hours/week training. It’s so hard, but the joy I get from running and succeeding at my goals because of this time commitment is much more rewarding.

Compare your experience at your very first marathon to your Boston Qualifying race.

In my first training cycle, I went up to 22 miles. I don’t know many recreational runners who run a 26+ mile run during their training. So, you go into the race thinking, “I’ve never actually run 26.2 miles.” Fear creeped in a lot during the race. I waited to hit the wall and when it came (at mile 22), I felt like quitting. Finishing that first race is like no other though. I teared up seeing the finish and knowing what my body just accomplished. It’s very emotional. I wasn’t worried about time – I was overjoyed with what you’ve done.

The Boston Qualifying race experience was similar to my first marathon. I will never get that experience again. I turned the corner to see the CIM finish line and teared up seeing the clock well below what I needed it to be. Nothing will ever compare to that. I’m an emotional runner.

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At what point did you think, “I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon!”?

When I went into Big Sur, my goal was to finish under 4:00, which I thought was lofty given the course and I had no idea what I was doing. When I came in at 3:48, I thought, “Give me a good course, and I will qualify. I just need to cut 13-14 minutes off my time” It was an immediate obsession after that.

What do you think helped you qualify for the Boston Marathon?

Consistency and diligence. I had a huge goal and nothing was going to stand in my way. Dedication is key. Qualifying for Boston is hard. I’m glad I made the sacrifices I did to get there and don’t regret any of it.

Any advice for someone who wants to qualify for the Boston Marathon?

Don’t give up. It is so easy to get discouraged with the marathon. You spend months training and it doesn’t pay off sometimes on race day. Maybe reassess your goals. After qualifying for Boston, I ran 2 more marathons with the same finish time. I thought – “well, maybe that’s as good as I’ll ever be. I’m just a 3:25 marathoner.” I finally changed up my nutrition and started seeing a chiropractor weekly and hit my goal of a 3:20 at Chicago. Don’t give up on your dreams, but maybe try to figure out what you could be doing differently to get better if you feel stuck.

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Do you have any goals for the 2017 Boston Marathon?

Yes! I’d love to run a 3:15 at Boston, but more importantly, my goal is to have a strong race.

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I hope you reach your goal, Jessica, and have the best experience in Boston. Although your CIM finish will be hard to beat. Thank you for sharing in your victories and what it took to make it to that Boston starting line.

 

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Baby Cork: Week 33

Today’s date: March 15, 2017

How far along: 33 weeks (49 days to go).

How big is baby: A small Chihuahua!!! Speaking of Chihuahuah’s – meet Daisy. She thought it was a good idea to stand on the baby while we waited at the vet.

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Best moment this week: We were able to see baby girl on an ultrasound!! She was turned around with her hands covering her face, but we saw her little nose. Andrew says it looks like mine. The doctor measured her and said she was weighing about 4 pounds. We also celebrated my birthday with a road trip to Austin, TX and had an extra-long weekend.

How I’ve felt in my workouts: I don’t have much motivation for strength training. I just feel so weak and it really drains my energy. I can manage going for a walk, but I’ve really been slacking in the gym. I have kept my walks up this week and am still on my workout streak of at least 30 minutes of daily activity.

Cravings Food: I just haven’t had much of an appetite. Some days I have to make a conscious effort to snack and have meals. It certainly wasn’t like that before I was pregnant. I am guessing it’s because my stomach is all smooshed and just can’t hold as much food at one time. I am still loving my frozen strawberries and could eat them all day, every day. So maybe that is a craving….

Favorite meals this week: Our first stop in Austin was at Biscuits + Groovy for some vegan biscuits & gravy. I haven’t had something like that in probably close to 10 years. They were so good!!!

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Buys for baby: Andrew bought baby girl her first Patagonia jacket. He is so excited about it, which makes me love him even more.

Weight Gain: 21 pounds. I swear I feel like I’ve gained more than this.

Prayer Requests: For God to continue to grow me into the mother baby girl needs.

 

Week 33 Workouts

Wednesday

50 minute lunch break walk

Thursday

3.1 mile walk

Friday

2.9 mile walk for my 29th birthday (Andrew joined me because it was my birthday)

Saturday

4.8 mile walk with the Waco Striders

Sunday

30 minute hike in Cameron Park trails

Monday

3 mile walk + lower body strength

Tuesday

3 mile walk

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Boston Bound: Amber (@amber26.2)

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Let’s meet Amber! She’ll be running the 2017 Boston Marathon for the first time. She has an inspiring running story that took her from a 5:05 marathon to a 3:16. Say hello to Amber… And just wait until you hear about what happened at the finish line of her Boston Qualifying race.

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Hi! My name is Amber and I am currently living in San Diego California, but I am originally from Lake Havasu City, Arizona. I am 25 years young and am a fourth grade teacher. My running pals include my two pups, Nike and Elsa, and my husband and best friend, Aaron.

Amber, how many marathons have you run?
I have run 9 full marathons, countless half marathons, and a few 15ks, 10ks, and 5ks. I had never run in a race before running my first marathon, now that I look back I wonder what on earth was I thinking?!

Tell us about the race where you qualified for Boston.

My Boston Qualifying race was lucky number seven! It was Revel Mt. Charleston in Las Vegas, Nevada. My finishing time was 03:16:52. Previously I had run ( in order beginning with my first in November of 2013) 05:05:55, 04:13:00, 04:10:05, 04:02:00, 03:52:00, and 03:58:03. On race day I was aiming for under 03:45, knowing that the course was fast. I am not sure what got into me, but I decided to go for the elusive BQ. Thinking that if I fell short it was okay, since that wasn’t my “A goal” for that race. Around mile 5 I caught up with Kindal (@runningwithstrength. Read her Boston Bound post here.) and we instantly started talking. Let me tell you to, this girl is FAST. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would run with her, let alone side by her side for almost 15 miles. I remember her saying, ” you’re going to Boston“, and in that moment I knew I could not let her down. By mile 21 she was pulling away, but I stuck it out and made sure to keep her ponytail in sight until the finish. I finished a little less than a minute behind her and she gave me the biggest, most rewarding hug! I was in shock. I had just run a marathon in three hours and sixteen minutes.

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Like what?! I knew I could do it one day, I just didn’t know that was the day. The conditions were perfect and I raced smart. Having Kindal by my side helped me to push through. I can’t thank her enough. That is why the running community is so amazing. We are all out there supporting one another and rooting for each other. I remember running the last few miles and reminding myself to soak up this moment and take it all in. I kept telling myself “this is your moment, you earned this“. My parents were waiting at the finish line, my mom had just run her very first half marathon and my dad had come for a huge surprise I wouldn’t find out about until Aaron finished his marathon. While waiting for Aaron to finish (my boyfriend at the time), I just kept thinking that that day could not get any better…. until it did. Aaron finished, dropped down on one knee and proposed. This was absolutely magical and indescribable. This really was the best day of my life so far.

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Currently I am training for Boston 2017 and to return to Mt. Charleston in hopes of a BQ for 2018.

 

Compare a typical week of running when you first started out to now. 
I can remember my first run as clear as day. It was April of 2013 and I had the day off of work so I decided to go work out (something I didn’t do much then).

There was a beautiful 4 mile loop and I thought I’d walk it and get some fresh air. I walked part and decided to try and jog. I kept going and made it 2 whole miles. I had never run that far in my life. I had showed horses growing up and was active, but running never appealed to me. After that first day I made it a goal to make it around the entire loop. Once I mastered that I wanted to see how much farther I could run. It escalated from there. Before I knew it I had signed up for my first race… a full marathon. To be honest, I didn’t realize a full marathon was 26.2 miles, I just thought it looked like a fun local race. Boy was I in for a surprise. I worked my tail off but was running a 10:30/mile pace on a “fast day”.
I ran that first marathon with terrible shin splints and no idea how to fuel properly. I made every first-timer mistake in the book, but I FINISHED. That’s all that mattered that day.

Today I train and race much smarter. I strength train 3-4 days a week and run 5-6 days a week, with one weekly long run. I have added in speed training and strength training to make sure that my body can withstand the demands of running fast for 26.2 miles. I also try and do yoga when I have the time. It really helps to loosen up my muscles and joints.

What was your experience at your very first marathon like compared to your Boston Qualifying race.
My first marathon was so so so different from my Boston qualifying race. Since my first marathon was also my first race ever I had NO idea what to expect. I made all of the rookie mistakes. It was tough, but I finished! There was a point when I had no idea if I’d even make it. During my qualifying race I felt strong, and during the last few miles I was ecstatic knowing that unless I passed out or something I had it! Crossing that finish line was a huge victory and one that I was so proud of. I didn’t doubt myself in that race and there wasn’t a point during the race that I thought I couldn’t do it. I sometimes think back to that first race and it reminds me that if I can finish that, as undertrained and inexperienced as I was, I can finish anything.

At what point in your running journey did you think, “I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon!”
I realized I wanted to qualify after my first marathon while looking at races online, but I thought it was just some really far off dream that probably wasn’t feasible for me. As I became stronger and faster it became something within reach, and eventually I decided to go for it.

What was the most important thing you did to help you qualify for the Boston Marathon?
I was persistent. Even though every run and race wasn’t the best, I still believed it was possible. A few months before I qualified I ran the Phoenix marathon in hopes of getting close, but I was sick and it was hot. It just wasn’t my day and I felt defeated. I came to Mt Charleston sort of mad and looking for revenge, knowing that my training runs had shown I could do it.

Any advice for someone who wants to qualify for the Boston Marathon?
Just don’t give up. Keep at it. Your day will come and when it does soak it up and celebrate! Always believe in yourself and trust your training. Put in the miles and the speed will come! Imagine yourself on the course you plan to run your qualifying time on and visualize the clock reading the time you need! Chase down that unicorn!

Do you have any goals for the 2017 Boston Marathon?
My biggest goal is to have fun and really experience the race. I want to hear the crowds and remember the atmosphere.

 

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Fit & Faithful SALE — Everything must go!!

I am making room for baby so everything in the shop must go!!

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I began this tiny little shirt-selling hobby of mine about three years ago. It’s been such an experience and I have loved seeing the message of Christ come to life in the running community. I have met so many amazing people along the way.

With weeks away from welcoming a newborn into our lives, I’ve been told they are a huge time commitment. The Fit & Faithful shop is closing. Maybe not forever, but at least for now until I become adjusted to life as a new mom and the lack of sleep.

So shop the sale here!! Snag a top for you and a friend (they’re the perfect gift for your running buddy) !! No styles or sizes will be restocked so this is it. 

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On my birthday, I give stuff away

It’s my birthday!

Yay for me and yay for you – because I am hosting a giveaway of any top + a headband from the Fit & Faithful shop.

Check out my Instagram to enter. You know the drill, tag a friend…

 

Instagram is not affiliated with this giveaway. Winner announced Tuesday, March 14, 2017 on @fitandfaithfulfitness profile on instagram. Winner may choose any top that is available in the online shop. Not all sizes and styles are available. They can also choose either headband.

 

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