Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Race Recap

On Friday March 16th , I had the pleasure  of heading to Virginia Beach after being asked to be a Shamrock Marathon social Ambassador! I was so excited! Having run this race 2 times before (the half distance in 2011′ & the full in 2016′); I knew what a fantastic race it was & immediately accepted!

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This year I chose to run the half distance as I was training for the Boston Marathon on 4/16. After a 6 hour drive with my hubby which included a beautiful, scenic drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge we arrived to the Virginia Beach Convention Center where the expo was being held! I had plans to meet up with friends that I follow on IG so when I arrived, I texted them to set up a meeting spot! I picked up my bib & went over to the registration desk when I met Kristy. Kristy works for J & A Racing! She & I communicated a lot by email prior to this weekend! She played a huge role in putting everything together for this amazing weekend! I then met Amy Frostick; the race director! It was so awesome to finally meet her. Having run this race before; I know just how amazing it is & I was so thankful to again be a part of it. After picking up my packet, I headed over to where Bart Yasso & Kara Goucher were speaking! Now, Kara Goucher has been a huge runspiration of mine since I began running 9 years ago! I have yet to meet her, but I had hoped that this would be the weekend I finally did!! I headed over the where she was about to take the stage. I heard “Meri, Meri!” It was Donna & Lisa! Two inspiring runners that I follow on IG that are originally from NJ! How cool is that? We chatted for a bit before asking Kara to take pics with us! I was so excited to meet all of these ladies! We sat through a Q & A session led by Bart Yasso while we all asked Kara questions! It was so great that both Adam Goucher & there son Colton was also there! So sweet! After the Q & A session we all got to take pics again with Kara!

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The last few days I had contemplated racing the half or simply using it as part of my 20 mile training run for Boston. I thought, what better person to ask than Olympian Kara Goucher. Well that is exactly what I did! Kara suggested that I use the half as part of my training run, she said “don’t race it – save it for Boston.”

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 That night I had the honor of attending the Shamrock Marathon VIP Dinner led by Amy & Jim Frostick. I met Jim & Coleen whom I have followed on Instagram for years! It was so great to finally meet them! Also at the VIP dinner were Bart Yasso, Kara Goucher, Adam & Colt!  Bart Spoke to us about race weekend with Amy and Jim.

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Kara then spoke to us about running, spoke about Shamrock weekend and answered any questions she had! At one point Kara sat at my table; right next to me! So cool! She was super sweet and so genuine! Of course I asked her to take another pic with me! Hey, when you meet you runspiration two days in a row – you need to document it!!

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The dinner was delicious & the event was just unforgettable! It was so wonderful to hear all of the amazing things that J & A racing has done for the children in the community. That night I headed back to my hotel feeling so unbelievably inspired! I just couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I woke up the next morning bright and early & headed out onto the boardwalk to log some miles prior to the race as I planned to use the half as part of my 20 mile training run! As I ran I saw other runners heading to the start, the course being set up & just enjoyed watching the sunrise! I ended up logging about 5 miles before heading to the start to meet Rebecca & Gabby! I quickly found them & within seconds the race began! I was feeling good sticking with high 7:50’s to low 8:00’s. I saw Gabby and ran beside her. After each mile; we compared paces – both of us feeling really good! As we ran, we chatted & just enjoyed taking in the beauty of the course! There were spectators out there cheering us on; the energy was just contagious! As we ran through the base; the wind picked up a bit but we stayed strong – maintaining the same splits that we ran the whole race. I knew that day was going to be a huge PR for Gabby & I was so excited to see her accomplish her goal!! As we approached the beach area; you could feel the ocean breeze! Spectators cheered us on & I cheered for Gabby saying ” you’ve got this girl – we are almost there!” We stayed together & as we approached the finish I knew Gabby had crushed her half PR!!

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We finished in 1:46:01!! I paced her to over a 4 minute PR & I am so proud of her!! After the race, I finished up my final 1.9 miles to make 20 miles @ 8:05/mile! A very strong training run for me!! 2 mile warmup (8:23, 8:21) followed by 18 miles @ 8:02/mile average! (8:10, 8:11, 8:07, 8:02, 8:07, 8:10, 8:05, 8:04, 8:02, 8:04, 8:03, 8:03, 8:05, 8:09, 7:57, 7:55, 7:42, 7:48)!

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After the race; I had the pleasure of meeting Heather, Patrick and Holly! Hubby and I then headed over to the VIP tent. There we grabbed a bite to eat & I tasted the newest Yuengling Beer! I saw Eileen & Harry two runners also from NJ! We took selfies with Bart Yasso and chatted about running!

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I also got to see Colleen; who I met the day before & she introduced me to Kara – another inspiring runner that I’ve followed on Instagram for years! Hubby and I hung around in the VIP tent for a little before heading back outside to cheer on the marathoners finishing the race! There was so much positive energy & support as each runner crossed the finish line! It was truly incredible! Hubby and I had to head back home that day so we said good bye to everyone & we headed back to our hotel.

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Before getting on the highway; we made a quick stop at for a post run protein smoothie for me – it was just delicious! We then stopped off at the nearby Acme for some snacks for the 7 hour car ride ahead of us! As we drove home; I couldn’t stop talking about all the highlights from this weekend! From the amazing expo, to meeting Kara Goucher not once but twice; to meeting so many positive – like minded people to running one of the best, most organized races out there! The whole experience was truly magical! Without a double; Shamrock Marathon weekend will forever be remembered as one of the most memorable & incredible weekends of my life! 🍀💚

Thank you as always for following my journey! Next up – Boston Marathon!

@meretherunner14

 

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NYC Marathon 2017′ – Race Recap & More

Fourth time’s a charm. Well that is not exactly how the saying goes, but sometimes that’s exactly how it works out! That is exactly how I describe my 4th TCS NYC Marathon (13th marathon) on November 5th! I went into this race completely different than I’ve gone into my prior marathons & mentally – I think it was just what I needed! In April, I ran my 5th BQ IN 3:35:38!

 

I promised myself if BQ’d in April that my fall marathon would not be about running a specific pace but instead enjoying every moment with no goals! I promised myself, I wouldn’t put that pressure on myself but instead just take it all in! In July, my hubby and I took a trip to Bermuda for our 10th anniversary.

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Although, I was running 5 days a week; maintaining a good base – I didn’t yet start training or even have a plan in place. I did a lot of running through the summer in the summer heat; enjoying early morning miles just chatting with friends or logging miles by myself before relaxing on the beach for the day. In Bermuda I continued with my normal running and strength training. When we returned, I felt refreshed and was officially ready to be in “training mode.” Only I still didn’t have a solid plan written out for myself. I visited the track 1x a week,. I did my long runs very early on Saturday morning – many miles logged with my running buddies Jennifer, Steph and Jeff on the trails

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or along the beach.

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I kept my weekday runs easy paced and I even raced a bit through the summer! September rolled around; still no plan in place but I was increasing my mileage each week with a combination of recovery weeks. My focus this time around was to have fun with the full and focus on a fast half! On September 17th, a couple of days after my 37th birthday, I ran the Newport Liberty Half.

 

Another unseasonably warm, humid day – I wasn’t quite sure how things would go but I ran safe & finished strong. I finished in 1:44:24! It was my fastest half in 5 years! I quickly wondered what could have been in ideal temps but was very proud! Even got to enjoy this awesome morning with my family including my my sister in law; Jess and some friends (Laura and Mary)  who ran as well!

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Picture above with the inspiring Laura and Mary!

I continued doing exactly what I had with still no written plan in place. October rolled around and on 10/15 I took another go at racing the half distance! Yet, another unseasonably warm/humid day. I had hopes of going sub 1:40, but with the warmer temps I wasn’t sure how this would go! My hubby did the 5k so I cheered and waited to see him cross the finish line before it was time for me to start my race! I saw him coming, yelled his name, snapped some pics & watched him cross the finish line of his 6th 5k!!

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I quickly lined up to start my race and stood with the 1:40 pacer! I introduced myself and we were off! I felt good, some miles quicker than others but I was sticking with them. Around mile 8, the pace was quick and I decided I better slow down a bit to save some energy & not overheat. I felt strong! I heard “top 10 female!”

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I thought to myself – no way!! I pushed, although it was warm, I knew I could do this!!

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The whole time, I repeated to myself “I’ve got this!” Finally the finish line was in sight! I flew through in full sprint crossing the finish line in 1:42:59 in the top 10 females and 2nd in my age group!

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This was my fastest half marathon since 2012!

 

A huge confidence booster of a race; I continued training just as I had been with no set plan written out. Race week arrived! My sister in law Jess was running her 1st marathon so I planned to drive us both into the city to the expo! So much excitement! We both worked a half day then headed in to the expo.

 

We picked up our bibs before meeting up with running buddies & Instagram friends we had yet to meet in person!

 

It was so awesome to finally meet Tiffanie and Jill!!

 

And to see Jennifer & Vivian!

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We took lots of pics, did lots of shopping before heading home to rest up for Sundays race!

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I had my outfit all ready for race morning; of course!

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Sunday morning , hubby and I woke up at 3am to get ready & head over to Jess & Mike’s house! I drove us to the Meadowlands where we took a bus over to Staten Island! Upon arrival we found our corrals; I hung out in the orange corral with Jess & ate my breakfast before heading over to my corral.

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While walking walking over to my corral, I ran into my inspiring friend Sashea who was running her 1st marathon since having her little girl last fall!! We met in 2013′ & have very similar running journey’s! She is so sweet! Of course we took a pic then gave each other good luck hugs & headed to our corrals!
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I arrived to my corral with about an hour until go time!! I took a seat on the ground as I waited for Wave 2 (my wave) to be called to line up. I had been texting Lindsay; a long time IG friend in hope of finally meeting her! I told her where I was sitting and within minutes she found me! Lindsay was one of my 1st followers when I started my page 5 years ago! I was so excited to finally meet her!! We took a selfie, chatted for a bit and wished one another good luck!
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I sat and waited and out of nowhere saw my friend and running buddy Steph!
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She, myself, Jennifer and Jeff logged many miles together training for this race! I was so excited to see her! We took a pic, chatted for a bit – deciding we would run together! Within minutes our wave (wave 2) was called to line up! We headed over to line up. The excitement was building and adrenaline pumping! We moved closer to the bridge and it started to rain a little. I didn’t mind one bit because the temps were perfect, the wind was calm and I was about to conquer my 13th marathon (4th NYC)! Within minutes, we were off! I remembered not to let the adrenaline get me on the bridge (I’ve definitely failed to do that in the past). This time was different; the crowds on the bridge didn’t allow for us to take off. It was so jam packed that many of us were tripping over one another. We kept the pace easy over the Verrazano (in the 9:20’s) just saving it all for the next 25.2 miles to come! The first mile actually ended up being our slowest mile of the race by about 1 minute, but crowds are definitely to be expected when running NYC! I hear it all the time & I say it all the time; NYC is not a PR race – it is a race all about pure enjoyment, the experience & taking it all in & that was my goal that day! As Steph & I ran we smiled, we gave high fives, we chatted (just as we did on our morning long runs) & we had a blast!
I felt amazing, energy level was fantastic, fueling with 1 gel every 5 miles with water & Gatorade at every station and salt as needed! Steph and I ran together until about mile 22 when I looked back & didn’t see her. I kept looking and didn’t see her. I thought, I must have lost her in the crowd. I realized that the next 4.2 miles would just be me and the streets of NYC! I still felt great! As I ran I saw Cynthia, I saw Janet who took this pic:
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I heard complete strangers cheering my name! This is what I love so much about NYC; the support, the energy – it truly is incredible! As I ran, I thought a lot about how far I’ve come, I thought a lot about my past marathons, I thought about my sister in law running her 1st marathon, I thought a lot about my sister & truly believed that she was right there running beside me & saying “Go Mer Go!” As I ran mile 23; I remembered the struggle I’ve had conquering that mile in past years & I wasn’t sure how it would go. As I ran up that incline, I repeated to myself “I am strong” “I’ve got this!” I made it to the top; entered Central Park & thought to myself, wow! I’ve never felt that strong tackling that hill. At first I was shocked, I didn’t do any hill training, my running routes are mostly flat, I asked myself ” how did I just conquer that incline that has always almost left me in tears so strong this time?”
My only answer was lots of speed work leading up to the race & just plain trusting the process! I ran the final miles of the race; not wanting the race to end. For the first time in my 4 NYC Marathon’s I didn’t struggle in the final miles. Before I knew it, I was entering the park with the finish line just a short distance away. Although I didn’t all out race that day; I wanted to sprint through the finish line so I picked up the pace; finish line in sight and gave it everything I had! I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face & a tear in my eye! I looked down at my watch and quickly realized that I finished just 19 seconds short of a BQ in 3:40:19.
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I had no goal to BQ in NYC and had no idea coming so close was even a possibility. Yes, when I saw that for a moment I wished that I had all out raced that day, but I quickly reminded myself that not all races are about a BQ or about running a PR. They are about so much more! I crossed the finish line that day with over a 15 minute NYC Marathon and ran one of my strongest marathons to date!
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After the race; I immediately called my parents & my hubby to let them know how I did!
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After picking up my baggage; I ran into Steph! I was so excited to see her & so glad everything was ok! She finished just minutes after me and again BQ’d!! I was so happy for her!!
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I found my hubby and brother in law in the family meeting area and we headed over to Columbus Circle to go wait at the finish line to see my sister in law Jess finish her 1st marathon.

 

It started to get really cold, windy and rainy as we cheered for the runners! It was so exciting being there in the final mile of the marathon watching all of the faces of determination as the runners came by! We kept our eye out for Jess as we received updates on the live tracker knowing that she would be coming soon! Then, there she was!! I quickly turned my camera to video and did a live streaming video on IG so that others could see! She saw us, gave us hugs as she cried tears of happiness and I screamed so loud cheering I almost lost my voice! I was so excited for her! I know that one thing that was top on her bucket list was running her 1st marathon in NYC and here she was less than one mile away from that becoming a reality! Such an unforgettable moment! We quickly rushed over to meet Jess at the family meeting area where we took lots of pics!

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After the race, we headed to a restaurant to grab a bite to eat with our hubby’s and share a celebratory glass of wine!!

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After completing my 13th marathon that day; I took 5 full days off and slowly returned back to running maintaining a base.

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I’ve enjoyed running and racing with running buddies/friends (below with Jennifer & Steph at the Jingle Bell 5.3 mile Run ).

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Last week, while on Christmas vacation I began training for the 2018′ Boston Marathon! I kicked off Boston training with a trail run with Jennifer and Jeff who with also be in Boston in April along with Stephanie and me!

I have yet to write out a solid training plan other than my long runs; I am thinking that the way that I trained for NYC is the best option for me. I took it day by day; getting in every required run, getting my long runs done bright and early but never stressing or feeling overwhelmed. In the end; I enjoyed every single training run; developed some wonderful friendships and ran a  race that I was content with! That is what running is all about isn’t it?

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Do you go into every single race with a goal time? Have you ever gone into a race with the goal to simply enjoy every single moment?

Do you write out a solid plan for every race? Does this approach work better for you as well?

Do you do most of your training with friends or on your own? Which do you prefer?

I am excited to share my journey to marathon # 14 – Boston 18′ with you all!

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Thank you for reading my recap & as always thank you again for following along on my journey!

Mere   @meretherunner14

 

3 things that helped me run my fastest marathon in 5 years – 5th BQ!

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18 days ago I ran my 12th marathon & fastest marathon in 5 years earning my 5th BQ. After my marathon, I looked back and jotted down everything I did differently this time & what worked. Below I am sharing 3 things that I did differently this time that I haven’t done or done as well in past years. I believe that they truly made a difference this time around!

1.) No Pressure.
After running Boston in 2013′; I immediately jumped back into training only to end up completely fatigued. Running began to feel like a chore & I was burnt out and soon after injured then injured again. This time I took a different approach – I stuck to my plan but instead focused on running for joy! Yes, I had paces I needed to hit in my workouts but I took my training day by day & run by run & guess what? I got that BQ!!

2.) Treat Yo-self
My diet is super healthy, it has been for years. A healthy diet is so important while marathon training but in the past I restricted myself from cheating at all! This time – I allowed myself that Sunday night post run glass of wine, I allowed myself that slice of pizza 🍕 once a week & if I wanted some fries 🍟or Froyo – I had it! 🍦

3.) Hit Snooze (allowing myself extra zzzzz)
Sleep – extremely important for marathoners! Our muscles rebuild while we are sleeping – skimping on sleep will not benefit you in any way while training!  Every Friday night; I went to bed without setting my alarm – allowing myself to sleep 10, 11 and sometimes 12 hours into Saturday morning. It was glorious!!!

Do you treat yourself while you are training or do you follow a super strict diet?

Do you also allow yourself a sleep in day?

What changes have worked well for you?

Thank you as always for following my journey! Mere @meretherunner14

NJ Marathon Recap – My 5th BQ – A Dream Come True

“All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” “Walt Disney.
One of my favorite quotes & I couldn’t think of a better was to start this blog. Last Sunday, I ran my 12th marathon – getting there wasn’t an easy journey but with persistence, determination and dedication I made it happen & I got much more than I hoped for!
After running the Philadelphia Marathon in November with a BQ in 3:39:01 (BQ by 59 seconds); I knew I’d have to run another marathon & work hard to secure my spot for Boston 2018!

Running Boston in 2013′ – for years I’ve been “Chasing the Unicorn” in hopes of being there again.

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I decided I would run the Shamrock Marathon in VA. Last March; I ran it through wind & rain in the midst of a storm finishing in 3:48:49. Running Shamrock Marathon (a March Marathon) meant I’d have to start training again 6 – 8 weeks post marathon. I was determined! Training was going well; I ran one of my fastest 16 milers (8:05/mile) – smooth sailing right!? Wrong! A few days later I started feeling tightness down my right leg (through the knee). I stretched, tried running = pain. I decided to see my chiropractor – it was better but not great. I saw the podiatrist wondering if it was my orthotics – still pain. It was mind boggling – what could this be? I knew for a fact my calves were tight, I knew I had very weak hips/glutes – could that be it? I decided to try a few things on my own & go from there. I couldn’t continue training through the pain so I decided to take 2 weeks off from running! In that time; I incorporated lots of hip/glute exercises 3 – 4x a week (exercises I will share in a separate blog). I focused on extra stretching, yoga & foam rolling. I also received a pair of insoles from Enertor – they worked wonders. Within 2 weeks I was back to running & even better running with minimal pain. I kept the mileage lower for a week or two to be cautious; I continued my hip/glute strengthening and continued to run pain free. At this point; I had missed 3 long runs & decided it would be best to defer my marathon. My heart was set on going for a BQ & with the training runs I missed – I didn’t want to risk it.
I decided to continue training & if all went well – register for NJ Marathon which is where I ran my PR (3:33:34) in 2012′! The race that earned me a spot at the Boston Marathon in 2012′.
I continued training, my speed workouts were going well, I had no pain on long runs, I continued strengthening my hips & glutes – I was feeling great!! 4 weeks prior, I finally registered for NJ Marathon!!
I decided again on a 2 week taper doing my final of 3 20 milers just 15 days out from race day! My body responds best to a shorter taper, anyone else?
Race week, I focused on extra sleep, less stress (basically planning meals prior, getting work done ahead of time at work, keeping myself from anything that could cause me stress including the weather – which I refused to look at). I planned my meals the week prior – focusing on extra carbs – lots of carbs. I planned to leave work early the Friday prior to the race, visit the expo & pack my bag that night so Saturday would be strictly for a shakeout run followed by relaxation. Friday I visited the expo, picked up my race bib then headed home to relax on the couch before getting 12 hours of sleep.

Saturday with temps nearing 85 degrees – I headed out for a 2 mile shakeout run. I was ready!! My legs wanted to fly but I resisted the urge! I stretched and spent the rest of the day relaxing; imagining myself crossing the finish line with a BQ! I wasn’t nervous this time, but instead felt confident; knowing that I put everything I had into this training!
Sunday Runday had finally arrived!!!! I was so excited!!! We arrived about 90 minutes before the start.

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I decided that my goal was a BQ more than anything so I chose not to risk a PR (after chatting with a friend). My BQ time is 3:40 so I decided to stick with the 3:35 pacer & if I felt good in the later miles go for it. I quickly found the 3:35 pacer & we were off.

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I felt really good! It was cloudy, 58 degrees and humid. I thought to myself, “should I  speed up? Go for a PR? I quickly reminded myself – “this is a marathon & anything can happen in 26.2 miles!” I am definitely no stranger to this. In 2013′ in Boston I cramped up so bad I had to stop at a medical tent, in NYC 2014, I took a huge fall at mile 18 & was brought into a medical tent, at NJ Marathon 2015′ – the heat got to me and I dehydrated. On that note, I decided to continue on with the pacer! We crossed the 10k with an 8:12/mile pacer. I was feeling great, giving high fives, cheering. Paying close attention to fueling & hydrating as I ran. At mile 11, I saw my friend Martina!! She ran out on the course with an ice cold water bottle for me! I sipped some & poured it on my head to cool off!! Martina ran with me for 1 1/2 miles; at that point we were a bit ahead of the pacer & she reminded me to pace myself & stay with the group! She reassured me by saying “you’ve got this girl!” By mile 13.1 I was right on pace crossing the 13.1 mark in 1:47:40 (8:14/mile). Still feeling great, but in the back of my mind not forgetting that I was only halfway there. I continued to pace myself, staying right beside the pacers. We headed south toward Asbury Park – I knew just a few miles up we’d be greeted by large crowds & the adrenaline kicked in!! So many people cheering for us through Asbury Park then Ocean Grove as we looped around and headed onto the boardwalk! I looked down at my watch at mile 19 & my pace was 7:46 (my fastest mile yet). As we ran through Asbury Park – the pacer picked up the pace a bit. I crossed the 20 mile mark at (8:13/mile). I was feeling good but worried if I pushed too hard I may pay for it later so I continued on at the same pace. Running North back to Long Branch, I was feeling good!! I was right on pace but didn’t for one minute lose focus! The race wasn’t over until I crossed that finish! The pacer was a bit ahead of me & noticed them picking up the pace. I decided to pace myself – my goal was a BQ – my A goal a sub 3:36! I knew if I could hold the pace I had for the next 5 miles – I had it!! I stayed focus paying close attention to signs from my body. I hydrated, took my gels and took salt. At mile 24 my legs felt a little heavy but I focused on just keeping myself relaxed and focused! As we came up to mile 25; we approached the boardwalk. I knew I’d again see Martina; there she was! My legs were burning but I felt so determined. I yelled “Martina – I need ya!” She dropped everything & ran out onto the course yelling “Meredith, you’ve got this!” “You’re so strong!” “Follow the unicorn!’ as she pointed to the unicorn on her Boston jacket! 💙💛

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She yelled “pump your arms!” At that moment , it was all mental for me – mind over body!!! I wanted this more than anything!! She ran off to the side and said “Girl, this is your moment – go get that BQ!”

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She ran down the sidelines watching as I left it all out on the course, sprinting through the finish!! I then heard my hubby yelling “Go Mer, go!!!”

At that moment my dream became a reality – at that moment I became a Boston Marathon Qualifier for the 5th time (2nd time on this course) finishing in what my Garmin said was 26.69 miles in 3:35:32 (official time – 3:35:38 – 8:13/mile – a BQ by 4 minutes 22 seconds)!!

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I crossed the finish line 2 thumbs up – filled with so much joy!! I did it!! I accomplished my A goal; running my fastest marathon in 5 years! It was truly incredible; I wish I could take that moment & just hold on to that feeling forever. 💖

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I know my sister was running beside me that day, there is no other way to describe the strength, determination & power I felt that day! It was my strongest race to date & I know she played every part in making that day as magical as it was.  Here I am 8 days later still on cloud 9!

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After the race I was greeted by my hubby, who was so proud!! I then immediately saw Martina!! She was so happy! I thanked her for all her support! She is the best & truly such an inspiration to me!

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I then met my sweet, inspiring friend Michelle who’s hubby was running his 1st full marathon! He finished in 4:19!! So awesome!!

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Damian and I then headed over to our favorite little beach bar that we go to every time I run a race there!

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We met up with friends; including my awesome & inspiring friend Mary who I met 5 years ago at our local gym. She ran the half marathon & will be going for her 2nd BQ this September; I know she will do it!!

I spent the day just riding that runners high & believe it or not – I am still on cloud 9 today!

After the marathon I took 5 full days off; something I’ve never done before but I knew my body needed it. I am back to running; just easy miles for right now.

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So what’s next? Hmm. In November I will run my 4th NYC Marathon (13th Marathon). I have one goal for NYC – to have fun (no time goals)! For now its just recovery & shorter distances as I set new goals for myself!  I can’t wait to see what’s next!
The road isn’t always easy & doesn’t always go as planned. Dream big, never lose sight of your dreams & never give up because “dreams do come true if you have the courage to pursue them!” I know mine did!

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Boston 2018′ here I come!!

Questions about my training etc? Comments? Please share!

Thank you as always for following my journey!!  @meretherunner14

Chocolate, Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes

I’ve got the day off due to a blizzard that was supposed to hit here today! We ended up getting a few inches of snow followed by a wintery mix and lots of rain! Well, I figured today was the perfect time to try a new recipe & here I am to share it with you guys because it was so darn delicious!

I am a huge fan of Kodiak Power Cakes! Not only are they easy to make, they are:

  • High in protein – 14g per serving
  • High in Fiber – 5g per serving
  • NON-GMO 
  • Contain no preservatives! 

nutrition

Here is what you will need for this recipe:

  • 1 Box of Kodiak Power Cakes – Protein Packed (pictured below)
  • 1 .85oz. packet of Chocolate PB2 or 4 tablespoons (pictured below) – for extra flavor add more!
  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 can of cooking spray
  • 1 non-stick frying pan
  • Approximately 1 cup of water

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Directions:

mixture

  1. In a mixing bowl combine 1 cup – 1 1/4cup pancake mix with 1 cup of water & 4 tablespoons of Chocolate PB2. Mix vigorously until you get a battery consistency. Add more water or mix as needed – should look similar to photo above.
  2. Spray frying pan with non-stick cooking spray and turn stove on low.
  3. With a large tablespoon add pancake batter to the pan. I cooked about 3 at one time – recipe makes 7-8 pancakes.
  4. Cook until lightly browned then flip to other side with spatula.
  5. Once both sides are lightly browned; remove from pan with a spatula & place them on a plate to cool.

They should look similar to the picture below:

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 VOILA! ENJOY! Let me know what you think!!

Thank you as always for following my journey! @meretherunner14

Belcorva Giveaway

Just a few more hours to enter my giveaway from Belcorva Clothing – contest ends at 11pm EST! Head over to my Instagram, @meretherunner14  under this photo for details! Good luck! IMG_20170306_194446_156

My 4th BQ – Finally A Reality – Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap

On Sunday, November 20th I toed the starting line of the Philadelphia Marathon excited to run my 11th marathon & 2nd Philadelphia Marathon!!

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For days; I avoided watching the weather forecast knowing that was the one thing that would send me into a complete frenzy! Every time someone would ask “When is your marathon?” and I would reply with “Sunday!” I’d stop them before they could even say a word about the weather, but the expressions on their faces told me it wasn’t good! I stayed calm, knowing in my heart that I put in 16 weeks of the toughest training I had done in years. I trusted my training going into this race with the motto “everything I need is already inside.” A friend of mine saw the forecast and said to me “you are stronger than the weather, remember that!!” That was another motto I took with me that day as I ran the streets of Philadelphia! Going into this race – I had no pre-race jitters which is completely abnormal for me. I took my place in the black corral, made sure my shoe laces were tied tightly (something I always do before a race) and waited for our corral to start!! Although I didn’t watch the weather forecast; I could tell it was not going to be an easy race judging by the wind gusts! The temperature was around 42 degrees, which in my book is ideal marathon weather! Within minutes we were off! I knew I’d have to pace myself properly because I didn’t want the wind to tire me out! I maintained a pace of 8:15 for the 1st 10k running mostly throughout the city where the tall buildings blocked the wind. We then ran through the rolling hills of Philadelphia which I don’t remember from the last time I ran Philly! At the half marathon mark I was at 1:48:10 – averaging a pace of 8:16. Just before mile 14 we passed the art museum and we greeted by a huge crowd of spectators, cheering our names and giving us high 5’s!! I then spotted my husband and gave him a high 5 as he cheered “Go Mer Go!”

I was so excited to see him out there! At this point the wind really started to pick up as we headed into Fairmount park running along the Schuylkill River! I repeated to myself “I am stronger than the weather!” At this point not only was I conquering the wind but also the rolling hills in Fairmount Park. I held strong taking water and Gatorade at every single aid station. At the 30k mark my average pace was 8:18. I pushed through still feeling so strong despite the wind and the hills!! At mile 20 was the turnaround point & I wasn’t sure if the wind would calm down or pick up. At times I thought to myself “ok this is tolerable” but by the next minute I was thinking “am I going to blow away?” So unpredictable! I pushed through and kept repeating positive mantras in my head! Around mile 22; I spotted an Instagram runner friend; Bennett! I told him I was on target for a BQ! He said to me “you’ve got this!” Deep down; I knew I could do it! I felt so strong & if I could just push these final 4 miles the goal I’d been chasing for 4 years (running my 4th BQ) would finally become a reality!! I pushed through, some moments tougher than others as Bennett encouraged me to push through! We approached mile 26 and the crowds of spectators grew larger & larger! We were greeted by lots of smiles, motivational signs & encouraging words!!! I spotted the finish line; Bennett said to me “come on you’ve got this!”

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I kicked the pace up running beside Bennett & crossed the finish line with a BQ; running my fastest marathon since 2012′!!! I am still on cloud 9! I can only imagine what I could’ve done in perfect weather conditions but I am completely ecstatic!! I not only accomplished my goal, but I earned myself another BQ!

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Official time – 3:39:01!!! Almost 10 minutes faster than my March Marathon on a more challenging course!

Definitely a proud moment for me!!

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2 Philadelphia marathons – 5 years apart – both BQ’s on the same exact date – 11/20!!

I am still on a runners high!

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A huge thank you to my husband who puts up with the madness of marathon training; waking up early on weekends for races, carb loading with me etc. He is truly the best & I am so lucky to have him in my life! None of this would be possible without his support!

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Thank you as always for following my journey!! Mere @meretherunner14

NYRR France 8k – Race Recap

Another hot/humid summer day in NYC. I drove into the city bright and early; called my friend H & we headed to Central Park for our long run. I was running the France 8k as part of my long run so I decided to log a few miles before. I logged 2 miles in the park with my amazing friend Haley before looping around to head back to the starting line & wait for the race to begin.

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My only goal for this race was to enjoy the run. I had no time goals as I was using this toward a 12 mile long run while earning credit toward my 9 + 1 for TCS NYC Marathon 2016. I took my place in my corral and minutes later the Star Spangled Banner was sung. Halfway through the song; it started to rain. In minutes we were off! By mile two it started to downpour and my sneakers began to fill with water. They got heavier and heavier with each mile! I had no goal time so my only goal at this point was to finish without slipping. I refused to give up no matter how heavy my sneakers got. I kept moving! I crossed the finish line, took a quick photo and tried to dump some of the water out of my wet shoes.

I was soaked & it was more humid than it was before the race began, but I knew my work was not done! I had a few more miles to go to complete my 12 mile run so I got to it. I continued running in Central Park in & logged my 12 miles! Not a bad pace for running in soaked clothes. 🙂

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After I completed my run; I met up with Haley & we grabbed some protein smoothies before heading back to her place to watch the Men’s Olympic Marathon. H was nice enough to give me dry clothes to change into so I didn’t have to drive home completely drenched! She’s such a good friend!

By the time I left the city; the sun was shining and it was just beautiful outside!

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It was a good day!! Next up – 5th Avenue Mile!

Thank you as always for following my journey!! @meretherunner14

 

Neptune City 5K Race Recap – 1ST in Age Group

A little behind with my race recaps – racing, marathon training and a busy work schedule have kept me from blogging as much as I’d like to. Thinking back to August 6th; a cloudy, humid morning. As many 5k’s/races as I’ve done – this distance still gives me the pre-race jitters. The thought of going all out for a shorter distance gets my nerves going, but I continue to register for them constantly testing my limits!! It was a hot/muggy morning – high humidity so I quickly took the pressure off myself by simply saying to myself “Be safe let’s see how this goes in the heat – listen to your body!” Before the race start we all said the Pledge of Allegiance. I took my spot at the front of the pack & within minutes we were off. It was hot/humid so I made sure to pace myself! I was feeling good at mile 1 and continued to pace myself through mile 2. With 1 mile left, I picked up the pace a bit in hopes of a strong finish. I don’t run well in heat/humidity but I crossed the finish in 23:07 feeling strong!

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I felt like I still had something left in the tank & that was a good sign considering I had my long run the next day!!

I found my hubby & we headed over to check the results. I placed 1st in my age group, 4th female and 24th overall.

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I received my medal on stage and after I went to breakfast with my hubby to celebrate. I am so thankful for his constant support!!

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Next up – NYRR France 8k.

Thank you as always for following my journey! @meretherunner14