Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Charlottesville Track Club on Charlottesville Inside-Out

I was recently interviewed for a local PBS program, Charlottesville Inside-Out, to discuss running and my volunteer involvement with the Charlottesville Track Club. You can watch the amazing segment online here:

I was thrilled to be approached by Terri to talk about my volunteer involvement with the Charlottesville Track Club and my passion for running.

From the first contact she had with me to watching the piece air for the first time on TV, the entire experience was one of the highlights of my time in Charlottesville.

Being interviewed by Terri was like talking with an old friend. She helped make me feel comfortable and valued and it showed in the piece.

Terri was thorough and accommodating in finding the resources she needed, including photos and interviews, for a piece which I feel is an amazing and touching tribute to the running community in Charlottesville.

I've watched the segment three times already and it brings a huge smile and sense of pride to me every time!

Monday, January 11, 2016

c-ville-athon - Design Your Own 26.2 Mile Racing Experience

The c-ville-athon is the brilliant idea of my coach, volunteer race director, and running store owner Mark Lorenzoni. Created as a way to encourage runners to try a variety of local not-for-profit races as well as to track one’s progress over the year, the c-ville-athon allows participants to design their own racing experience by running at least 26.2 miles in charity events in a calendar year.

I worked behind the scenes to create a logo, flyers, website, and social media presence for this initiative and it was a huge success during its first year.

Of the 243 people who signed up for the challenge in the inaugural event, 83 runners submitted their checklists, running a total of more than 2,500 miles for worthy causes!

Currently we have 216 likes on Facebook and 46 followers on Twitter. We hope to increase our visibility and engagement over the next year.

Since I’ve been a race addict since 2007, it came as no surprise to me that I was at the top of the leader board for total miles raced with 98.4. Andrew Hersey came in 2nd with 51.1 miles and Kristin Morgan was 3rd with 46.9 miles.

Although I didn't PR in any distances during my c-ville-athon, I was the most proud of my Charlottesville Ten Miler time of 1:16:42 which is my 3rd fastest time in that distance (and the two faster times were on the flat Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run course).

I had a few really bad races this year especially in the 5K (for me, anything 24 or above is disappointing unless it's the week after a marathon :) which was the Chocolate Chase after the Chicago Marathon). Luckily, I was able to finish off the year with two 5Ks averaging 7:40 pace on my Garmin and finish times of 23:26 and 23:05.

I created an evaluation form to get feedback and suggestions from the 2015 finishers. Here is a sampling of some of their kind words:

"Fun idea :-) Enjoy participating in local events and supporting local organizations; motivation to participate in an extra event or three during the year!"

"This was a great way to stay involved, get healthy, and contribute to some very good causes. Please do this again in 2016!"

"Thank you for hosting such a fun competition! I look forward to participating next year.”

"It looked like a fun thing to do, since I was planning to run several races already. I love tracking my progress."

"Thank you for putting this together! It's been really fun!"

"I thought it would be fun since I was running enough races. I told all if my running friends and we did discuss our progress especially toward the fall."

"This was such a good idea! Thank you!"

"Thank you for sponsoring such an innovative way to encourage race participation in the Charlottesville community. It certainly kept me motivated!"

"That was fun! Thanks for organizing it!"

"It was so pleasant an experience to run all those races and learn of this recognition."

"I thought it was a neat way to turn lots of little events into a bigger event; it was also great for tracking progress (or, sometimes, the lack thereof). I considered it fortuitous timing, since I had only been in town for some months, and found out about it while looking for races to participate in last spring. Being in on the inaugural edition seemed pretty neat, and putting the focus on non-profit races is quite nice."

Click on links below to register for the individual races. RSVP on facebook to let other C-VILLE-athon participants know which races you are running!
Download a checklist!


1st -- New Year's Day 5K


5th -- Haven 8K
12th -- Sugar Hollow Bridges 5K & 10K Run
19th -- Charlottesville Ten Miler
20th -- Fix a Leak Family 5K
Camp Holiday Trails 5K

2nd -- Zeta Run For Life 5K
16th -- Run For Autism 5K
23rd -- Martha Jefferson 5K
30th -- Montalto Challenge
Lile Mile / Pi Miler
Masters Mile
Hoos Hea l 5K

May 7 — CHS Band/Cross Country 5K Fundraiser
14th -- Red Hill 5K
14th -- Batesville 10K
21st -- Keswick Hunt Club Foxtrot 5K
Oakland School Kids' Trail Race
Run & Remember 5K
Discovery Dash (Kids edition)
Mimi's Run 5K
Ramblin' Rabbit 5K

4 the Wounded 5K
Bruce Barnes Mile

4th -- Independence Day 5K
Fairview 5K
CTC All-Comers Summer Track Meets

Stagger Start-Predict Your Time 5K Trail Race
Firehouse 5K

3rd -- Women's Four Miler
17th -- Pepsi 10K
CCS All-Terrain 5K

North Branch School Dragon Dash 5K Run/Walk
Buzz by Belmont
VSA Color Me Cured 5K
Glenmore Volunteer Fire Department 5K Run/Walk
Chocolate Chase 5K
Jaida's Joy 5K Monster Run/Walk

24th -- Boar's Head Turkey Trot
Run for Shelter 5K
James Monroe 5K
Charlottesville Men's Four Miler
Race and Taste 10k by ETF to benefit St. Jude Children's Hospital
Honoring Our Heros 5K
Kelly Watt Two Miler
4th Year 5K

Monticello Classic 5K
Freedom 5K

Sponsored by C-VILLE Weekly and Ragged Mountain Running Shop.

Monday, November 23, 2015

2015 GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon Race Recaps

Malinda finished her 6th Philadelphia Marathon (19th marathon since 1995) on Sunday and tried for the 9th time to BQ. Unfortunately, Malinda didn't reach her BQ goal, but she did finish her 19th marathon (4:01:22).

Malinda is currently writing a recap and will post it soon. Although Malinda didn't reach her BQ goal, there is still time to help us reach her fundraising goal to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. No donation is too small to fight childhood cancer!

Donate $10 by phone: 
Text LEMONADE E1121983 to 85944

Donate $2 online: 

Thanks so much for your support!

In the meantime, did you run, cheer or volunteer at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday, November 22? If you wrote a recap, please share your link in the comments and we'll add to our list.

43 Marathon and Half Marathon Recaps Listed Alphabetically by Blog

Eight Keys to a Strong Marathon (BQ at Philly) by Another Mother Runner

Marathon Reflecsions by Adventure Awaits Me

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Recap by Believe in the Run

I was the Last Official Finisher of the Philadelphia Marathon by Be Well Philly /n Philly Mag

Race Report - Philadelphia Marathon 2015 by The Courage of Lungs

Philadelphia Half Marathon Recap by Cuse Runner Girl

Philly Marathon Recap by Dietian Jess

Philadelphia Half Marathon Recap by Fitness and Frozen Grapes

Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap Part 1 & 2 by Fitful Focus

Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:25:00) by Fuled by LOLZ

Philly Marathon Recap by I'd Rather Be Sweating

Philadelphia Marathon Race Report by I Thought They Said Rum

Philly Marathon Recap by Kate Runs Happy

Philly 2015 Recap by Kris Lawrence

Philadelphia Marathon 2015 Race Recap by Life by Tory

Philly Marathon 2015 Recap by Life is Runderful

Philadelphia Half Marathon Recap by Marathons and Macarons

Marathon Santa

Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap by Mar on the Run

Third Times the Charm by Megan Ulanichoverbey

Philadelphia Marathon by Middle Aged Runner

Philly Half Marathon Recap by Mom's Gotta Run

Philly Marathon Race Recap by Mom Swim Bike Run

Recap by Nicholas Piscitelli via run215 Facebook Group

Stream of Consciousness During My First Marathon by Primodelphia

Race Recap - Philadelphia Marathon by PRs & Chocolate Bars

Philly Marathon Weekend Recap by Rhode Runner

Philadelphia Marathon by The Road Less Run

Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Report byRun, Karla, Run

2015 Philadelphia Marathon by Runner in Denial

2015 Philadelphia Marathon by Running on Lentils

Philadelphia Marathon Recap by Running for My Life

Philadelphia Marathon Canadian Performances by Running Magazine Canada

Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap by Running with the Girls

Philly Marathon Recap by Sam Scaffidi

Barley's Philadelphia Half Marath Recap by Salty Running

Shack Track and Field Hits the Streets for the 2015 Philly Marathon by Shake Shack

2015 Philadelphia Marathon by Sisters Running the Kitchen

14 Best Signs from Philadelphia Marathon by Taking Mulligans

Goal Race in Review - Philly Marathon by Toronto Running Chiro

Spicy Salsa in Philly by Trevor Hofbauer - The Legendary Lucha Log

Philadelphia Marathon Recap by Tyler's Tales

Philadelphia Marathon Recap by Where's the Finish

Assorted Articles and News Stories

City Prepares Security Ahead of Philadelphia Marathon by 6abc

Philadelphia Marathon Runners Met with Extra Security by 6abc

Teen Accidently Runs Full Philadelphia Marathon by 6abc

2015 Philadelphia Marathon Photos by 6abc

The Philadelphia Marathon in photos by

Is Race Going the Distance by

How to Avoid Hitting The Wall at the Philadelphia Marathon by

Philly Marathon Santa Attempts Breaking Guiness Record by

Philadelphia Marathon Fireman by Philly Mag

Philadelphia Marathon Spectator Signs by Philly Mag

Clothing Donation at the Philadelphia Marathon by Philly Mag

Philadelphia Marathon by Philly Voice

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#Train2BQ with Team Lemon - 2015 Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon

Leah and Malinda are identical twins and masters marathon moms.

We deemed ourselves "Twins Run In Our Family" so we could share our experiences running together while supporting causes we care about like Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Since 2012, we have helped raise $2,757 to support Alex's Lemonde Stand Foundation in memory of our grandmother, GG, and Leah's brother-in-law, Michael.

Leah, the faster 1/2 of @TwinsRun, has qualified for the Boston Marathon (BQ) 4 times and finished 3 Boston Marathons (2013, 2014 and 2015).

Malinda, the slower 1/2 of @TwinsRun, is still trying to BQ after several unsuccessful attempts.

Malinda made her 6th attempt at the rainy Rock 'N' Roll DC Marthon on 3/14 (3:54:58) and her 7th attempt at the windy Charlottesville Marathon on 4/4 (4:19:12) and her 8th attempt at the muggy Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon on 9/12 (4:23:02).

Malinda didn't reach her 2016 BQ goal (3:45) but you can still help her reach her fundraising goal ($345) to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation!

Malinda hopes to reach her 2017 BQ goal (3:55) at the Philadelphia Marathon on 11/22 and her fundraising goal, too.

No donation is too small to fight childhood cancer - donate $2 (or more) online!

Or, text LEMONADE E1121983 to 85944 to donate $10 by phone.

Have you tried multiple times to BQ? Have you run to support a charity?

Share you experiences in the comments and thanks for your support!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Marine Corps Marathon Story

It has never been easy for me to write, especially race recaps. I admire all those who can eloquently and precisely share the details of their race stories.

To paraphrase Joan Benoit Samuelson - each race tells a story. I couldn't agree more - we all have stories to share to inspire others. Sharing stories of inspiration is one of the reasons I enjoy gathering links to race recaps. There are thousands of us - running, walking or rolling - along the course and we all have unique journeys and stories to share.

I'll try my best to share my story because I learned a lot about myself (and others) before, during and after this marathon. I'm going to post what I have now so that I can hold myself accountable and I will continue to add to my post as I gather my thoughts.

So, here is where the story begins...

Leah took this photo at the start of the marathon

My first marathon finisher's certificate

Twenty years ago I ran my 1st marathon - the 20th Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 22, 1995.

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to run the 40th Marine Corps Marathon to mark the anniversary of my 1st marathon. However, since I've been trying (and failing) to qualify for the Boston Marathon for the past couple years, I decided that I wouldn't enter the lottery and focus on training for the Philadelphia Marathon.

I continued to follow the Marine Corps Marathon on Twitter and Facebook and noticed a contest from Crystal City to win an entry. So, I entered and much to my surprise, I won!

Coincidently, I had already planned a trip to DC that weekend to celebrate my daughter's birthday. So, when I found out I won the race bib, I thought this must be a good sign.

I knew the Marine Corps Marathon course could be difficult. Although, in my "old age" I have absolutely no recollection of running the course 20 years ago. Even though I was still recovering from yet another disastrous BQ attempt at the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon, I thought that this could be another opportunity for me to attempt a BQ.

I was starting to get excited. Maybe this would be my race. I was already writing stories in my head - 20 years after my 1st marathon I finally BQ. Then, just as soon as I got my hopes up, I got sick with a horrendous cold. I couldn't breathe and hardly ran at all during the 2 weeks leading up to the marathon.

At the same time as I was huddled under the covers, I virtually cheered Leah to her 4th BQ at the Chicago Marathon.

I was excited for Leah but my anxiety and doubt began to build. I was still holding on to some hope that I would recover enough to run, but I also prepared myself that this marathon could be a DNS or DNF.

In my illness induced insomnia, I decided to Priceline a hotel for Friday night so that we could get to the Expo early on Saturday and then enjoy the day in DC. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to book another hotel room for Saturday night instead of Friday night. Fortunately, my mistake gave me the opportunity to invite Leah and her kids to meet us in DC. Again, I thought this must be a good sign. Now, I wouldn't have to hire a babysitter, our kids could spend time together and Leah would be there to support me (or console me).

We were one of the first ones to get to the race expo on Saturday. We enjoyed entering raffles, trying samples and even did some push-ups.

I was hoping to attend the Runner's World seminar but I was just too sick to go back and forth from the hotel and decided it was best to conserve my energy.

The best part of the day was going to Boo at the Zoo with my daughter. We love to dress-up.

My daughter the cat and me the skunk

There were lots of fun Halloween set-ups.

Getting some exercise done!

And, there was lots of candy!

When we returned to the hotel, I set out my outfit - with an option for wet weather.

Then, my anxiety began to build again. As usual, I wasn't able to fall asleep.

So, I was planned taking the first Metro available to the start.

And, I mapped my exit strategy back to the hotel, if necessary.

So, I finally got a couple hours sleep then got up at 3:30am to start drinking coffee to move things along. I probably drank too much and this is something I would seriously regret in 2 hours.

So, during my insomnia, I debated walking down to the Farragut West metro stop to get the 1st metro available from the blue line. But, when I woke up and checked the weather, it was raining, so I decided to just walk to the Woodley Park station less than a block from the hotel.

I got to the Metro at 5am even though I knew the 1st train wouldn't be there. Runners were starting to congregate and I was trying to rest while I could but I started to become aware that I had a bladder (curse you coffee and restroom-less Metro stations). Ugh.

By the time I switched to the blue line and got off at the Pentagon, my bladder was about to burst. Having just recovered from a bladder infection, the need to go was more painful than usual. By the time I spotted the 1st group of porta-potties, the lines were huge. I thought that there must be more coming up along the walk so I decided to wait. Big mistake.

By the time I reached the security gates, there was a huge mass of people already backe-up and not moving. I saw what I thought was a relatively short line for just 5 porta-potties, so I decided I should probably wait in line while I had the chance. I couldn't believe there were just a few porta-potties for 30,000+ runner and spectators. I kept thinking of the hundreds of porta-potties from the Pope in Philly and I wanted to cry.

So, I got in line and there was absolutely no movement in the porta-potty lines or the security lines. It seemed like everyone who entered the porta-potty spent at least 20 minutes inside. I've never experienced anything like it. The longer I waited, the more pain I was in and the more my anxiety began to build. I was in so much pain that if I could have forced myself to pee in my pants, I would have. Then, all of a sudden, a mass of people came up the hill and forced themselves through the lines for the porta-potties. It was utter chaos. Fortunately, since the lines became one free-for-all I begged my way into the next available porta-potty and at least the pain stopped.

Once I relieved myself, there was no relief from the claustrophobic crush outside the metal detectors. We were all huddled together like sardines and then it started to rain. We stood there for what seemed like forever with no information on what was going on. I was really anxious and stressed with the lack of information. I was in Boston during the marathon bombings, so I understand the need for security. However, it seemed to me that it was more of a safety hazard to have so many people crowded together with no way to get out. To make matters worse, absolutely no information was provided about what was going on. My mind started to race to worst case scenarios and my anxiety continued to build. I kept trying my best to keep myself calm - and stop myself from shivering - but nothing helped. It was absolutely the worst pre-race experience I've ever had in 20 years.

Around 7:50 we heard the planes overhead and the race start at 7:55. Then, just before 8am, it seemed as if there were just letting everyone through the metal detectors. I ran to the start and much to my surprise, I saw Rebecca (who started the Rocky 50k). Seeing a familiar face in the crowd of runners mad me feel a little better. It's amazing who you can run into (pun intended) at a race with over 30,000 runners.

Because it was raining, I turned off my phone and kept it in my top for most of the race. So, I ran without music and without texting Leah - which made running even more difficult. 

The texts to and from Leah before and during the marathon.

My official splits before they disappeared from the results. be continued.

Did you run, cheer or volunteer at the 40th Marine Corps Marathon? What was your story? Did you write a recap? I encourage you to share your thoughts or link in the comments. Thanks!

Monday, October 26, 2015

40th Marine Corps Marathon Race Recaps and Reviews

On Sunday, October 25, Malinda started her 19th marathon - the 40th Marine Corps Marathon. Malinda's 1st marathon - the 20th Marine Corps Marathon - was 20 years ago on Sunday, October 22.

Malinda is currently writing a recap and will post soon. In the meantime, here is the short story: after 2 hours in the claustrophobic crush behind the security gates at the Pentagon, Malinda ran 17 miles then left the course with her 1st DNF* (she then ran 3 miles back to her hotel & "beat the check-out clock" so all was not lost! ;-)

Did you #RunWithTheMarines? Did you cheer? Did you volunteer? Did you write a recap? Share your link in the comments and we'll add to our list:

Recaps & Blog Posts
(Listed alphabetically by blog)

Whine Now, Wine Later, Go Ann! by Ann K. Howley

Marine Corps Marathon by Athlete IQ

2015 Marine Corps Marathon Goals by Bailey Squared

Marine Corps Marathon on Bibrave

Volunteering at the Blue Mile via The Blue Room Blog

How I Ran Two Marathons in One Week by Capital Runner Girl

Marine Corps Marathon 10K by DC Dana

Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap by Eat Pray Run DC

Marine Corps Marathon - Oorah Mission Accomplished by E. James White

Official MCM Cheer Squad by Elbow Glitter

Marine Corps Marathon Race Review by Endurance on the Mind

The Marine Corps Marathon by Fanatical Runner

Marine Corps Marathon Audio Tour Expo - My First 26.2 Miles by Get Motigo

2015 Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap by Heart and Sole

Marine Corps Marathon Recap by Infactorium

Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap Parts 1 & 2 by I Should Run

Marine Corps Marathon Recap by Kim Run Miles with Smiles

2015 Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap by Live Run Grow

Marine Corps Marathon 2015 Race Recap by MCM Mama Runs

Marine Corps Marathon 10k Recap by Mile Posts

Marine Corps Marathon Review by Minnesota Don (Make it a Masterpiece)

MISSION Reflections - 2015 Marine Corps Marathon by My Pretty Brown Fit

Mission Accomplished by No Guilt Life

Marine Corps Marathon Recap by only26point2

The Marine Corps Marathon - Part 1 by Ordinary Marathoner

Marine Corps Marathon 2015 Race Report by The Pursuit of Awesome

Race Report - Lessons Learned from the Marine Corps Marathon on Reddit

Collection of Race Reports on Reddit

Race Report - Marine Corps Marathon on Reddit

Marine Corps Almost Marathon by The Glass Slipper Catalyst

Marine Corps Marathon Recap? No, Rather Short Story! by Runner Girl Me

Security Lines at Marine Corps Marathon Keep Some Runners from Reaching Start on Time by Runner's World

It Pays to Break Running's Rules by Runner's World VIP

2015 Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap by The Running Blonde

Marine Corps Marathon Team Chris by Running on Candy

Marine Corps Marathon 10k by Running and Enjoying the Journey

Race Recap - 40th Marine Corps Marathon by Running the States

Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap by Run Swim Bike Teach

Luckily, It's How You Finish via Run Washington

The Wheels on the Bus - Marine Corps Marathon Race Report by See Mommy Run

Mary's Marine Corps Marathon 2015 Race Recap by Sisters Running the Kitchen

Volunteer Recap Review by Sparkly Runner

2015 Marine Corps Marathon - Who I Run For by Still Easier Than Chemo

Goals for Marine Corps Marathon by This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

Marine Corps Marathon 2015 Recap - Mission Accomplished by Travelingsaurus

My Marine Corps Marathon Story by Twins Run in Our Family

Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap by Unapologetically You

Marine Corps Marathon 2015 | A Spectator's Recap from Laurentina Photo

My Goal Was to Run the Marine Corps Marathon... by Washington Post DC Sports Blog

Runners Take to the Street for Marine Corps Marathon by Washington Post

40th Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap by We Run Disney
Inspirational Stories

For Marine Widow Emotions are Biggest Marathon Struggle

Marine Corps Marathon will be full of reminders for Seamus Donahue


Follow official Hashtag: #RunWithTheMarines

Run the @Marine_Marathon yesterday? If so, would you run it again? @iRunFitDC

A big thanks... by @USMC

Results & Photos

40th Marine Corps Marathon Results**

Marine Corps Marathon on Fliker

Marine Corps Marathon on Instagram

Marine Corps Marathon on Facebook

Marine Corps Marathon on Twitter

Photos from the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon via Runner's World VIP

Marine Corps Marathon Photos by MarathonFoto

2015 Marine Corps Marathon Video by Devann Murphy

News Reports

2015 Marine Corps Marathon on NBC Washington

Marine Corps Marathon - 2015 Winners on CBS DC

2015 Marine Corps Marathon Results by Bleacher Report

USMC Major Son Runs Marine Corps Marathon in Honor of Slain Father

2014 Marine Corps Marathon Recaps and Reviews

Marine Marathon Part 1 by Casual Runner

Marine Corps Marathon Review by The Panda Post

*Malinda's DNF Theme Song

Have you ever had a DNF? Have you ever had a disappointing race? How did you cope with the disappointment? A few good posts about DNFs and race :

Emotions of a DNF by Happy Fit Mama

Recover and Retool: How to Overcome Post-race Letdown by ASICS

Three Ways to Cope with a Bad Race by Runner's World

When to Drop Out of a Race

Dealing with Disappointment

We Need a Medal for Dropping Out by Leah Connor

When Should You Drop Out of a Marathon by

First the Marathon Lottery Then the Pressure to Finish by NY Times

**You won't see Malinda's splits on results page since they delete the splits of those who started but did not finish. She finished just over 17 miles on the course and was on pace to finish in the same time as her 1st MCM (4:13) so it was a good long run. Just wish they had separate list of all those who started - we still ran even if we didn't finish. :-(

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

2015 Chicago Marathon Race Recap

2015 Chicago Marathon Race Recap by @LeahCville

So I've been procrastinating on writing up my race recap for the 2015 Chicago Marathon because I've been in a bit of a funk with the post-marathon blues. Many runners get a little antsy in the taper phase, but I find recovery is even worse. Taking time off from running gives me more time to over-analyze my race performance and find ways to criticize myself despite having achieved my goal of sub 3;50. Ugh!

I pretty much lost all confidence in my ability to ever BQ again after running my slowest of 3 Boston Marathons in April (4:08, previously ran 3:53 in 2013 and 3:53 in 2014), And when the news came out that entry into the 2016 Boston Marathon required a -2:28 BQ, I really started to panic. I had been hoping that a 3:53 would be good enough to get into 2017. Since I've run that time or better three times since 2013, I thought I could probably do it again, but trying to run in the 3:40s seemed daunting. However, once I accepted that the only way to BQ without extreme squeaker anxiety for the next year was to get a -5 minute time, I decided it was sub 3:50 or BUST!

I met with my coach twice in the the two weeks before the race because I needed a serious pep talk and reality check. My last twenty miler three weeks before the marathon totally sucked and I barely finished. It probably wasn't a wise idea to do that crucial long run the day after a 10K race, whoops! But I thought since my 10K wasn't as fast as I wanted, that meant I could still do the 20 miler. Yeah, I could do it, as my coach said, but I shouldn't have expected it to go well! #truth

He told me that my last long run should be 12 miles at marathon pace and if I couldn't do that then I needed to come back and talk to him and re-evaluate my goal. The next day I ran 12 miles at 8:15 pace and felt more capable of achieving the 3:50 time.

Since September I had been obsessively putting my race times into race prediction calculators to see if I could still run a decent marathon and also comparing my performances in the same races the other years I ran Chicago (2011, 2012, and 2013). My Women's Four Miler time 5 weeks before the marathon predicted a 3:33 in the Runner's Ally app (yeah right!), but my Pepsi 10K time 3 weeks beforehand predicted a range of 3:42 - 3:51 based on my coach's chart. When I met with my coach the second time I questioned whether I wasn't being aggressive enough with my goal, but he pointed out that even though I did have a couple decent races this summer, I also had some bad ones so it seemed right to go out with a conservative goal and if the weather was ok, maybe I'd surprise myself and run faster in the second half.

I've only run a negative split once in my life - my 2nd marathon when I finished in 3:54 and ran the first half in about 2 hours. I really wanted to get as close to a negative split as possible in Chicago. I knew the only way to do this was to go out with the 3:50 pace group.

I've had problems with my Garmin in Chicago before, and this year it was no different.

I knew the displayed pace would be almost useless when it beeped before 1st mile marker and progressively got worse as I made it through the race. I stayed with the 3:50 group for about 10K and then I turned around to look for them and couldn't find them. Another woman asked which group I was looking for and said they were definitely behind me. She said she was hoping to get a couple minutes ahead of her pace group.... as if that was a good plan of action. There's no such thing time in the bank in the marathon people! For ever minute you go too fast in the the first half it'll come back to slow you 2x or 3x as much in the 2nd half. #beentheredonethat

Since I definitely didn't go out too fast for the first 6 miles, I decided to listen to all those friends who told me "run by feel" and I hoped for the best as I ran without the aid of the pace group. I looked down at my watch a few times over the next couple miles and saw my overall pace go down by about 5 seconds per mile and thought, uh oh. I tried to keep it more consistent and knew that once I saw my half split I'd be able to better gauge how things were going. I hit the 1/2 way point just under 1:54 which is the slowest I have run the first half of my 3 Chicago Marathons and 3 Boston Marathons since 2011. However, I also knew this was a minute too fast for my 3:50 goal and worried that I would be slowing down in the second half, but hoped I wouldn't hit the wall.

I still felt pretty good through mile 18, but soon after that the sun and heat started getting to me. I couldn't bear another cup of Gatorade so I switched to water. I kept checking my fingers to see if they were puffing up, but I seemed to be handling the switch ok. I struggled with opening and eating the Clif Blocks and Gels, but I knew I had to consume some calories along the course.

Once I hit mile 20 I noticed my overall pace was slowing down and I tried my best to keep it from creeping up more than 1 second every mile. I knew the 3:50 pace group would be coming for me and I was trying my best to not let them pass me until there were less than 2 miles to go. And that's about when I saw the 3:50 flag that I started the marathon with. It looked like there was only once other woman with him. I talked with the pacer at the expo a couple days before so I knew he planned on finishing the race around 3:49;47. I figured that even if he was ahead of me, as long as I could see him I would still be able to achieve my goal.

At mile 25 started thinking about how I was going to explain on social media and to my friends how I let everything slip away in the final mile of this race. I already started to accept that I wasn't going to get get sub 3:50, and rationalized that maybe 3:51 or 3:52 wouldn't be so bad. I still had a shot of getting into 2017 with a -3 minute time.

I was thrilled to see the 1 mile to go sign and 800M to go signs, but somewhere before the 400M sign I had an intense wave of nausea which has never happened to me before. I started to panic, thinking OMG it' s ALL OVER with the equivalent of a lap to go! NOOOO!!!!! I was seriously worried that I might not even finish. I think I briefly stopped and dry-heaved a couple times and then realized I just had to push through it and puke once I got to the finish line. I remember wanting something to hurt so I could push through the pain and just get this damn thing over with. I'm not sure how, but somehow I made it... I crossed the finish line! And then I went to the side and threw up. Well,, I tried, but not much came out. And almost immediately a volunteer came to help me and make sure I was ok. I kept apologizing to her and she said it was ok, I just ran a marathon and I could lean on her. I walked with her a bit and stopped a couple more times to try throwing up. Then we saw some guy about to fall over and I told her go take care of him, because I was fine.

I was so focused on trying to stop feeling sick that I never even looked at the time on my Garmin. I took out my iPhone and saw I had a bunch of texts congratulating me which made me feel good. I still didn't know my official time, but I had to text my coach first, before anyone else. And at 12;32 I wrote "Holy f--k." And then typed a riddle: "What takes less time... Me finishing marathon or de licing Annaliviai's hair. I win". Yeah, i forgot to mention that during the marathon I was expecting a text from my husband to tell me if the Lice Doctors came and found anything on my daughter's head. And when he texted me "Oh yeah, she's got a full-blown case" all I could think of was the show "Life's Too Short" when Liam Neeson was trying to do improv and said he had full-blown AIDS. I laughed to myself and tried to text my husband back but the damn autocorrect was screwing everything up. At 10am my husband wrote back "How was yr race?" And my reply was "Dull inning" which I think was supposed to be "Still running" - HA! and "Only 1/2 way." At 11:11am he replied she was "only halfway through alps hair." That's when I realized that I was probably going to beat the lice lady and be done first. I was right. by A LOT. :(

So what cost more? Two nights in a Chicago hotel during marathon weekend or the Lice Doctors? Yeah, that was a tie. YIKES!

A few random thoughts:

I was so excited to get my photo taken with Deena Kastor holding my Flat Twin on Saturday morning. I had met her before in Boston 2014, but I had forgotten how small she is! I'm pretty sure my calf is bigger than her thigh. I couldn't help myself but say, "You're so tiny!" And she replied, "Don't let that fool you! I'm fierce!" I wished her luck with her race on Sunday. She's soooo amazing! Every time I looked at the blue line on the course (and I was on top of that line from about mile 3 on), I kept thinking Deena just ran these streets and I'm so lucky to be following in her footsteps.

There's only one post-race photo of me which shows you just how sick I was feeling that I didn't even stop for congratulatory photos. On the other hand, I got like 5 pre-race pictures!

I loved splurging on a ticket to the Balboa Hospitality Tent. I was the first person to use one of the portapotties and never had to wait in line before or after the race. The post-race massage was heavenly and even though I had absolutely no appetite after the race, there was great food.

I had the best time taking an architectural boat tour after the race, although it might have been a good idea to do that the day before the race instead.

I woke up in the middle of the night before the race with my foot hurting. I'm not sure how I did it, but I got a cut under my little toe on my right foot and it was painful. I was panicking wondering if I should go to the 24 hour Walgreens for a liquid bandaid, but I ended up running through it. Boy did it hurt for days after the race though!

I ended up walking for 4 hours on Friday because I thought it would be nice to walk to the Expo from my hotel on the Magnificent Mile, but then I couldn't find the shuttle to take me back. Whoops!

I'm probably the only person at the Balboa Tent who wanted a photo with race director Carey Pinkowski, but was too afraid to ask. As a marathon race director myself, I really admire the job he does!

I was happy with my race performance for about 24 hours before the negative thoughts started creeping in. I wish I could be satisfied and content with achieving my goals instead of second guessing and criticizing myself for shortcomings. This is something I'm working on, but it's hard to not expect more from myself.

When I finished the race I told myself I would never run another marathon until April 2017 when hopefully my twin will be running her first Boston Marathon and I just might be running my last. I really want Malinda to qualify this fall and for both our times to be good enough to get into the race. I've dreamed of running Boston with my sister since 2013 and want it to become reality.

Even though I said I'm done with marathons, within 48 hours after the race, I started thinking that if I got into the lottery for Chicago in 2016, then I will have run my 5th Chicago Marathon and will be considered a legacy and get guaranteed entry in the future. Help me! :)

Well, I didn't run a negative split, butI was just 2 minutes slower in the second half whereas in previous years I was 3-4 minutes or more!

My splits, from fastest to slowest. Yeah, my last 10K was my slowest!

Even though I was sad that my real twin sister couldn't be in Chicago with me again this time (she joined me in 2012 and 2013), I had Flat Twin to take around the town! :)

The last photo of me with LONG hair. Deena Kastor broke the American Master's marathon record!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Marine Corps Marathon

The 20th Marine Corps Marathon in 1995 was Malinda's 1st marathon! 

Twenty years later, Malinda has finished 18 marathons and 1 ultra marathon

When was your 1st marathon? Did you run the Marine Corps Marathon?

Will you be running the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 25?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Alex's Million Mile: Run. Walk. Ride.

Last year, more than 12,000 people logged miles as part of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation's 2nd Annual Alex’s Million Mile event to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer during the month of September (Childhood Cancer Awareness Month). 

This year we’re getting ready to do it again! To find a cure for childhood cancer, we’re going the distance – running, walking or biking one million miles and beyond. That’s a long way, but the way we see it, a parent of a child with cancer would go that far (and then some) to find a cure.

1 month, 1 cause, 1 million miles...

Kids with cancer need your help!

The goal is to collectively run, walk and/or ride one million miles during a single month: September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Our goals are to exceed a million miles, raise awareness and find cures for childhood cancer.

• Who can participate? 

Anyone, anywhere can join and fight childhood cancer!

• Do I have to do this myself?

Nope, you can choose to participate individually or you can start or join a team for added fun and motivation.

• How many miles do we have to complete?

There is no minimum, or maximum. You complete miles at your own pace. Every mile you log during September counts!

• So, why one million miles?

One million miles is 40 times around the equator or two round-trips to the moon. But it’s less than five miles for each kid or adolescent who will be affected by childhood cancer this year, worldwide. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States. That’s why it is vital that we raise money to cure it, now.

We hope you'll join us on our #Journey2aMillion!

If you're a twin or parent of twins, your welcome to join our team, "@TwinsRun in Our Family"

Or, you can register as an individual or your own team at