columbus marathon recap


I’m a little late writing this recap, and I didn’t want to procrastinate any longer. On Sunday, October 19, Dan and I ran the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon. The race didn’t go as planned, but I still think we had a good time.


nothing like a little road-tripping selfie

We left on Saturday morning to make it to the Expo by noon. There was an important item of business that needed taken care of that day. I was meeting with Jack Staph, Executive Race Director of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and owner of the Cleveland Marathon, at 1:00. You read that correctly; Jack is so awesome he owns the marathon and is president of Cleveland Marathon, Inc. Pretty cool, right? Anyway, we were meeting to discuss the 2015 race and my involvement with it (spoiler alert…I will help promote the 2015 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon!) Dan, Jack, and I had a great lunch, and I am VERY excited for next year’s race. Thanks again, Jack, for a great afternoon!


The other exciting part of the Expo was the Children’s Champion booth. With the help of friends and family, I was able to raise $700 for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and combined with last year’s donations, I have raised over $1,500! Because of this, I received a special shirt to wear on race day, two tickets to a catered lunch after the race, and two tickets to a special pre-race breakfast with many of the patient champions and their families.


all smiles with my children’s champions shirt


After the Expo, we checked into our hotel and did a little shopping. Knowing it would be chilly that morning, we needed some throw-away clothes. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to score any at the Goodwill booth at the Expo (genius idea, by the way), so we went in search of inexpensive places. Hence, Shopper’s World! My brother and sister-in-law introduced me to this gem a few years back. The store and location are sketchy to say the least, but the deals are awesome. And I couldn’t wait to see Dan’s reaction, which was priceless. Shopper’s World was a success in all aspects. The best part – setting off the alarm when we walked out, the sales lady not evening giving a crap, and finding a security tag on a $5.99 sweatshirt the next morning. Gotta love it.


The alarm went off on race day, and I just wasn’t feeling it. I knew this was going to be a challenge because we weren’t as well-trained as we had been for Cleveland in May. About an hour later we were out the door and on our way to downtown. Thankfully, we left early enough, and parking and traffic weren’t an issue at all. The walk to the start was memorable because we had one of the elite runners ask us where the start line was located! I mean, what are the changes that you’ll even bump into an elite let alone give directions?!

The start was buzzing with activity as we made our way to the Children’s Champions tent. We flashed our VIP tags and stepped inside. I started to get excited because a lot of the patient champions were there with their families and friends who were running in their honor. It’s so motivating to see those children, and I have to admit when they read through all of the names and gave a little bio, I got teary.


rockin’ my breast cancer awareness Sparkly Soul in honor of my friend Sarah who kicked cancer’s butt


After breakfast, we found corral C and tried to mentally prepare for the race. The fireworks, music, and lights gave me something to focus on other than race worries. And then, we were off! Our plan was to just take this one slow, not worry about pace, and enjoy the surroundings. We clipped along the first few miles, high-fiving the patient champions and their supporters at each mile. Then, at around mile 7, it got really hard for me. I haven’t had knee pain since the 2013 Cleveland Marathon, but it came back in full force in Columbus. We had to stop and walk, which killed our momentum. I knew we weren’t going to make it through 19 more miles of this. A marathon just wasn’t in the cards that day, so we ripped off our time chips and made the decision to finish the half instead. Race over, and I was happy.

Did I feel bad about this decision? Well, honestly, a little. My goal was a full, and I didn’t accomplish that. However, I accomplished a lot more in the way of fundraising, and that meant more to me than the race itself. I would like to thank those who donated to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, so I’m sending a huge “THANK YOU” to

  • Steve and Susan
  • Steve and Tracy
  • Sarah and Rhett
  • Lynne and Ben
  • Vanessa
  • Patrick
  • Halle
  • Emily
  • Rachel
  • Cherise
  • Dan
  • Candy
  • Mary
  • Alison
  • Everyone who purchased Scentsy from Sarah during my fundraiser

things i can learn from my seven-year-old


As we grow up, we learn from others and take a little piece of them with us. Sometimes we learn how to eloquently handle certain situations. Sometimes we learn what not to do by using them as an example. Usually, these are our peers or those older than us. In my case, there are quite a few things I can learn from my seven-year-old daughter, Adrianna, who also happens to be my middle child. Technically, she’s my second out of four, but with one older sister and a set of younger twins, she qualifies.

Lesson 1: Don’t give a crap what people think of you.
Annie is her own little person, and she doesn’t care what people think of her. I don’t always appreciate that she doesn’t care that I think she is being a little bit of a brat, but she has her personality and is unapologetic about it. Love her or hate her, the girl knows who she is. If only we adults could be lucky enough to say that.

Lesson 2: Be honest.
Tip-toeing around things just isn’t Adrianna’s style. The kid is blunt and will tell it like it is. If my hair looks bad, she tells me. If the outfit she is wearing isn’t fabulous, she speaks up. If she doesn’t want to do the same thing that her brothers and sister want to do, she says so. If dinner is, in her opinion, “disgusting”, you better believe she says something. While I hope she learns a little tact later in life, she can’t be faulted for being truthful. I like to compare her to my grandma and can’t help but think she is chuckling looking down on Annie.

Lesson 3: Be independent.
Sure, she needs me to take care of her just as any other child needs her mom, but I admire Annie’s independence. She enjoys doing things on her own, such as teaching herself to ride a bike, and has always been this way. I know this is a characteristic that will stick with her, and I feel a sense of pride knowing that my daughter will be able to take care of herself just fine.

Lesson 4: Don’t be a people-pleaser.
The three previous traits of Adrianna’s contribute to the fact she is not a people-pleaser. She does what she wants and what makes her happy. She also has no problem telling others, “NO!” (which happens to be her favorite word). Do I hate this when I am trying to discipline and guide her? Hell yes! Am I happy that my daughter isn’t going to be someone’s doormat? ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY!

Sassy, opinionated, and fierce are some fabulous adjectives to describe my Annie, and I wouldn’t have her any other way (except when I want her to listen to me). Thanks, little Adrianna Banana, for teaching your old mom a thing or two.


little miss sassy pants

help make a difference at nationwide children’s hospital

Children's Champion

I’m sure you’ve seen my previous posts (…and FB updates…and tweets) about the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, but did you know that race day is almost here?! As a Children’s Champion, it was my goal to raise as much money for the hospital as possible. With the help of family and friends, I’ve already raised $300, but I think we can do better than that. Please consider making a donation to help the children of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. A donation of any amount can make a difference. One dollar provides a pair of non-slip socks for a child, and $25 provides 5 packs of diapers. Do you have any idea how many of those they go through? Try 9,000 pair of socks and 31,000 diapers each year! Did I mention that your donation is tax-deductible? So on top of helping others, you can get a little write-off on your taxes. The way I see it, it’s a win-win.

Check out my Children’s Champion page and make a donation, and thank you in advance for your support! P.S. Race day is Sunday, October 19.

we have a winner! – hot chocolate 15k/5k race entry

Hot Chocolate 15K

Before I announce the winner of my Hot Chocolate 15K/5K entry, I would like to thank everyone who entered and shared the race info. I think RAM Racing puts on a great event, and I am happy to support the Columbus race. Now, on to the good stuff. Using, I added the total number of comments (52, which is the total number of entry comments minus the two that I added to reply to questions), clicked generate, and let it work its random magic.


The winner of the race entry is … LINDSAY (comment #49)! You have 48 hours to confirm your prize, or another winner will be chosen.

Giveaway winner

Not a winner? You can still register for the race and use my code, StephPlus4Hat, to receive a free running hat when you pick up your packet. With races throughout the country, there shouldn’t be one too far away from you.

win a free hot chocolate 15k/5k race entry!

Hot Chocolate 15K

You have already heard me sing the praises of chocolate and running, so find out for yourself how amazingly awesome the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K is by running it! A perk of being one of their blog ambassadors is getting a free entry to share with my readers, and it’s giveaway time! Here are the details.

Although I’m running the Columbus race in November, the free entry is good for ANY Hot Chocolate race throughout the nation during this race season! Totally cool, I know. Since Rafflecopter doesn’t play nicely with my WordPress blog, we’re going to do this the old fashioned way – leave a comment. Here are the ways you can enter.

1. Like Hot Chocolate 15K & 5K on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you did (1 entry)

2. Follow HotChocolate15K on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you did (1 entry)

3. Follow hotchocolate15k on Instagram and leave a comment telling me you did (1 entry)

4. Follow me on Twitter (@stephplusfour) and leave a comment telling me you did (1 entry)

5. Follow me on Instagram (@stephplusfour) and leave a comment telling me you did (1 entry)

6. Leave a comment below and answer the question, “What is your favorite chocolate item?” (For me, it’s probably dark chocolate covered pretzels, but any chocolate will do) (1 entry)

7. Tweet about the giveaway, something like “I will #runforchocolate with @stephplusfour & @HotChocolate15K #giveaway” and leave a comment (1 entry per day)

8. Share the information about the giveaway on Facebook and tag Hot Chocolate 15K & 5K in the post. Leave a comment telling me you did (1 entry per day)

As you can see, there are lots and lots of ways to enter. The contest goes until Sunday, September 28 at 11:59 PM. The winner will be notified on Monday, September 29, and he/she has two days to confirm. If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

Also, don’t forget I have a code for a free running hat with your registration. Just use StephPlus4Hat, and you’ll get your running hat when you pick up your packet.

will run for chocolate – i’m a hot chocolate 15k & 5k blog ambassador

There are few things I love more than chocolate and running, so when I have the opportunity to merge the two, it’s like a match made in heaven! That’s why I’m happy to announce that I have been asked by RAM Racing to be a blog ambassador for the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K in Columbus, which takes place on Sunday, November 16!

This will be the third year I’ve taken part in this race (my second as an ambassador), and I’m just as excited as I was the first time I participated. The first year, I did the 5K with my mom, and we had a great time (despite freezing our butts off and losing our car on the streets of Cbus). The highlight was the fact my mom actually ran some, and I was so proud of her. Last year, I ran the 15K with a group of my friends, and although the weather wasn’t fabulous, it was a lot fun. And seriously, who doesn’t love a finisher’s mug with chocolate and dippable goodies at the finish?!

That brings us to this year, and I’m planning to run the 15K. The course is fun and scenic, and the longer distance makes it worth my while to travel to Columbus for the weekend. An awesome thing RAM Racing is adding to this year’s Hot Chocolate races is a finisher’s medal for the 15K. I don’t normally run races for the bling, and although I think medals are awesome, they are not a necessity. However, there is NO WAY I’m passing up this gem. Check it out! Did I also mention you also get chocolate at one of the water stops along the race? I don’t know about you, but I’ll take chocolate over gels ANY DAY!

Hot Chocolate Medal

Another great perk of the Hot Chocolate races – the goodie bag! Forget the short sleeve race shirt that only manages to take up more space in your drawers. Hot Chocolate races go all out. This year, you’ll receive a full-zip, fleece lined hoodie (pink for girls and green for guys), as well as a reusable drawstring bag, and these are for both the 5K and 15K. I’m pretty much in love with it.

Hot Chocolate Hoodie

So now I bet you’re wondering, “How do I register?” Here’s the link for the Columbus race: Not living near Columbus? No problem! RAM Racing holds Hot Chocolate runs throughout the nation, and some of the locations include Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle (hint, hint Stevie and Tracy). For a complete listing, check out

AND you have a chance to get a free running hat when you register if you use the code StephPlus4Hat. I have one of these by the way, and it’s actually cute. So when you register, use the code and receive your free hat when you pick up your packet and goodie bag at the Expo. Lastly, be on the lookout for a contest I’ll have coming up to win a free entry to any Hot Chocolate 15K/5K during the season!

For more info on everything chocolate, Like the Hot Chocolate 15K & 5K on Facebook, follow @HotChocolate15K on Twitter, and Follow hotchocolate15k on Instagram.

milk run 5k recap – cole and cael’s first 5k


I’m really late writing this recap but no less proud because my newly-minted 6-year-olds totally rocked their first 5K at the Milk Run at Lorain County Community College about a week and a half ago. Yes, you read that correctly. Cole and Cael both ran an entire 5K…in less than 30 minutes. Another awesome little tidbit – Lex ran it, too, also in less than 30 minutes, which is about 3 minutes faster than her previous 5Ks. Needless to say, they brought home a little race bling that day.

Where was my (semi) sweet little Annie Bananie? She opted out of the run, and I respect her for that. Running isn’t really her thing, which is totally fine with me. The girl knows what she likes and doesn’t like and won’t be forced to do what she really doesn’t want to do. While this can be a total pain the ass when it comes to parenting her, I appreciate that she isn’t going to be a doormat when she’s older.

Race day was Sunday, August 3, and I woke the kids up early to get them ready and fed. Breakfast was the usual race-day staple – toast with peanut butter and bananas. Gotta start them off right. Then it was off to the college.


pre-race smiles


I was pleased at the turnout when we pulled in the parking lot. I knew that a lot of people weren’t registered, so it was nice to see a full parking lot and lots of race day registrations. We grabbed our bibs and shirts, chatted with a few people that I work with, and got ready to race. The kiddles and I took our place in the middle of the pack. I knew we didn’t belong in the front with the fast people, but I wanted to make sure we were in front of the people who were walking. While lining up a comment was made by a man who seemed a little perturbed that kids were lining up in front of him. “Are they really going to run this race?”, he asked me. “You bet, and they have been training, too. This is their first actual 5K, and this is her 3rd, and they will run the whole thing,” I proudly quipped. His mood softened with this, and words of encouragement were offered to the kids. Now it was run time!

The gun went off, and we started on the course. The boys wanted to take off right away, but I kept telling them to stay with me as this was going to take a while. I think between the excitement of the race and the energy gel (yes, guilty, I gave them all a gel just in case they needed a boost…does this make me a bad mom?) they were having a hard time containing their energy, but we settled into an easy pace and cruised. Other runners were shouting encouraging comments to them, and everyone we passed seemed pleased to see such young kids running the race. Before we knew it, we were at the first mile, and it only took us a little over 9 minutes. My kids were flying.

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Second mile came and went, and they were still holding strong. Our time increased a little because the kiddles haven’t learned the fine art of drinking at the water stop while running (truth: I only recently learned how to do this without making a complete mess). After the stop we were able to pick up the pace a little. Cole and Cael were making this run look effortless, but Lex was struggling a little. She hadn’t trained as hard as the boys. When we would go to the park, they were the ones running 3 miles with me, not her. The most she trained to was 2 miles, so it was obvious that she was going to get tired before they did. Plus, the boy are just more athletic than she is, which really gets her panties in a bunch.

We were on the last stretch, and I kept telling Lex to breathe and find her kick. I knew she had it in there. The finish line was close, so I unleashed the boys, who were still brimming with energy. They took off in a sprint as Lex and I followed behind. As they ran toward and crossed the line, I kept yelling to them and smiling like a crazy lady. My baby boys just crushed this race! Lex kicked it in, and we finished a few seconds after them. They did it!

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So, how did they do? People were coming up to them after the race to congratulate them on a great job, and some even commented on how the kids passed them along the course (I was really proud of that one). I’m also very proud to say that the boys each got a medal (Cole first and Cael second), and Lex came in first in her age group, in addition to setting the age group record!


no thanks to the clown who photobombed this pic with my winners…the girl on the left does not approve!

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milk run results

What’s next? Well, as soon as we got home, the boys asked me if we could go to the park and run! Seriously, they just ran and wanted more? Those are my kids! They all also want to do another 5K, so I think I’ll look for another small, local one for them. The Skeleton Run 5K in Amherst is great, although cold, and I don’t know if they want to wait that long. Better sign them up for something soon!

And then there’s Cael, my little running buddy who has logged more miles with me than any of the others. He chooses running with me at the park over riding his bike, playing on the playground, riding his scooter, or throwing the baseball. He and I are going to run a 5K, just the two of us, because I want to see this kid at full performance. He may have been listed as second place at the Milk Run (no chip timing, so the boys were directed down the chute and Cole got in first), but he would smoke the pants off of the others. We ran 3 miles at the park the other day, and our pace was under 9:00/mile! I’m really curious as to the times he could throw down in a race if it was just him and me. I’ll keep you posted.