kick-off to marathon training!

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The new year breathes fresh life into my running, and I couldn’t be happier! I have the pleasure of yet again being an ambassador for the hometown race I love – the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon! This is my fifth year (wow…I can’t even believe that as I typed it) as an ambassador, and it’s exciting as well as humbling. Part of me can’t believe people still want to read about my journey, but I’m thankful that you do. I’m also extremely appreciative of the race and its staff for allowing me another year to share my stories, help to motivate others, and promote this great race. If you’ve followed my blog in the past, you know I can’t say enough about everyone who work hard to make the Cleveland Experience the best possible. Each year gets better and better, and I know this will be no exception. This year is also the 40th anniversary of the Cleveland Marathon, so let’s celebrate!

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So…the big question for this year – what race am I running? There’s absolutely no freakin’ way I’m running anything besides the full marathon! I love everything about it – the training, the time commitment, the euphoria, the pain, and the wonderful accomplishment of crossing that finish line. That is something that can’t be taken away. And how can I pass up the marathon on the 40th anniversary?! Last year, I did the Challenge Series (8K on Saturday and marathon on Sunday), but I think I’ll stick to one race this year. The only way this will change is if my family wants to walk the race with me on Saturday (Mom and Dad…hint, hint).

Training kicked off in earnest this past weekend with the Kick-Off Run at Fleet Feet in Pepper Pike. It was quite a haul for us, but it was totally worth it to see my running friends, fellow ambassadors, and race staff. The arctic temperatures did nothing to deter the runners! We Ohio runners are a tough bunch, and hell, we survived “The Most Cleveland Race Ever” – the 2016 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon! Sleet, rain, snow, hail, wind, thunder, and lightening have nothing on us!

If you missed the Kick-Off run last weekend, there’s still another chance this weekend. The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and Fleet Feet Westlake are hosting the second kick-off run at 9:30AM on Saturday, January 14. Here’s more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/659262447578466/

Where do I go from here? Well, I’m in a pretty good position going into marathon training. I ran my second fastest and third sub-2 hour half marathon during the Santa Hustle in December. I needed that race to boost my confidence going into my training cycle, and it certainly did. Speed-wise, I’m not quite where I want to be, but I think that will come. If you’re wondering what kind of training plan I follow, the answer is the Stephanie Plan. I’ve found training plans are a little too restrictive for my life and leave me anxious. I know which runs need completed each week, and I fit them in around work and family life. It’s not going to win my any races, but it allowed me to run my best marathon ever. As far as races go, I have two on the calendar – the Lake Health Running Series 20 Mile Drop on April 23 and Brokeman’s 20/20 on April 30. I truly enjoy both of these, and they come at the perfect time during my training cycle. I highly recommend them if you’re training for the marathon. They are also perfect training runs if you’re running the half because both offer shorter distances. Lake Health Running Series offers the 10 Mile Drop, and Brokeman’s has a 20K option.

Looking for a little motivation to get you through training? Look no further than my fellow Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon ambassadors! Our team is made of speedy runners, slower runners, middle-of-the-pack runners (like me!). We have people running the full marathon, half marathon, and 10K. Some are gunning for a Boston qualifier. Others are looking to beat their personal best. Then there are some coming back from injuries and will be ecstatic to cross that finish line regardless of time. I believe no matter who you are, there is at least one ambassador you can look to for motivation, tips, and laughs. Check them out; they’re awesome! Also, did I mention each week a different ambassador will be giving away a free entry to a Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race of your choice?!

Good luck and best wishes with your training, and I look forward to sharing more with you!

WHAT RACE(S) ARE YOU TRAINING FOR THIS WINTER AND SPRING? ARE YOU RUNNING CLEVELAND, AND IF SO, WHICH RACE?

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