2019 Running Goals

A friend of mine recently made the following comment to me, “You made your goals so public this year and put it out there for the world to see. A lot of people crumble under that sort of pressure but it didn’t seem to affect you at all.”

I’ve always been the kind of person to write my goals down and share them with others. I don’t feel extra pressure to achieve those goals simply by telling others, but it does give me more accountability to follow through when others are aware of what I’m chasing. It also makes it all that more special when my goal race comes around and my friends and family are cheering for me knowing the goal and if successful are there to celebrate with me. The same can be said if I don’t meet my goal; they are there to pick me back up and help me with my confidence.

With that being said, I’ve laid out my current 2019 goals below. I’m still not fully decided on what I’ll be racing in the second half of 2019 so I expect to add to this list once I have more clarity!

Boston Marathon – 3:20 or better, negative-split. This goal is really exciting and special to me as last year I came in wanting to run a sub-1:40 half marathon and now I’ve set a goal to run 2 of those back to back. Pretty cool stuff.

Half Marathon – 1:32 or better; this happens to be the half marathon qualifying time for the NYC Marathon so YES, it was intentional!

Marathon Peak Mileage – Hoping to peak in the 70s for miles in the Boston training cycle if things are going well.

Year in Miles – 2019 miles in 2019; I was on track for this goal in 2018 until my injury in October and gave up the goal in order to heal. I’m hoping 2019 will be my year!

Fall Plans – 3:15 or better IF I run a Fall marathon; I signed up for a late Fall marathon to secure my place in the race but have also been having the itch to do a speed season (10Ks, half marathons) so I won’t be sharing which race that is publicly unless I fully commit to it. If I don’t run the Fall marathon, I’d like to target a sub-1:30 half marathon.

Strength Work – Do a pull-up. Seriously. I can’t do a pull-up anymore and it’s making me embarrassed!

Coaching – Have my LLC fully set up by the end of January and start taking on athletes soon after. Coaching has always been a passion of mine since I started running in high school and I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity to work with other runners to achieve their own running goals.

2018 Running Year in Review

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I was thinking about my goals for 2019 and realized I hadn’t yet thought through everything that happened in 2018. In many ways, 2018 feels like it’s been the longest year ever. In other ways, it feels like it flew by. My biggest running goal for 2018 was to qualify for the Boston Marathon at the Berlin Marathon and it was what was driving me through all my running endeavors this year.

At the end of 2017, I was disappointed with how my running had gone throughout the year; I had tried different workouts and plans but things just weren’t clicking anymore. I was frustrated but more than anything I was determined to make a change in the new year so during January 2018, I hired Jessica of Sugar Runs as my running coach. My confidence as a runner started coming back when I was hitting paces in challenging workouts and my excitement for racing returned. In March, I exceeded my goal of breaking 1:40 in the half marathon by nearly 3 minutes running 1:37:09 at the Carmel Half Marathon. My previous best was 1:41:44 set in May 2016 and this was a big breakthrough for me and my racing.

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April brought 2 weeks of stressful work travel and I was only getting a few hours of sleep a night to be able to fit in workouts between long nights of work and early morning starts. It was a rough time and I was unsure that racing the Illinois Half Marathon at the end of April would go smoothly. Somehow, I found the extra gear and was able to shave another 30 seconds off my PR running 1:36:39. I was elated, but certainly ready for a break before Berlin Marathon training began. I wasn’t running much or very fast for the month of May but managed to pull off a 10K PR in 43:35 at the Chicago Spring 10K. I won $250 for being the 3rd female to cross the line, a pretty nice prize for a 10K, and my confidence continued to build.

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It was a very hot summer in Chicagoland and I struggled for a couple months trying to adapt. I felt like I was breathing through a straw many days and wasn’t sure if the training was paying off since I was running slower and often having to stop to catch my breath (I have exercise-induced asthma that was really kicking in during the heat and humidity). I ran some of the hardest marathon training workouts and long runs that I’ve ever done in my life, but things really appeared to be going well when I ran another half marathon PR at the beginning of August in humid/hot conditions in 1:35:02 (those 2 seconds still kill me!). It reassured me that changes were happening in my body and that my goals for the Berlin Marathon were within reach.

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In mid-August, we bought our first house, repainted nearly every wall in the house, and officially moved in at the end of August. It was right around this time that I was running my peak mileage for Berlin training and things got a bit rough when I tried to do everything. After my 3-hour simulation run, I headed straight to the house to peel wallpaper off the walls and ended up with a terrible migraine. I completely overdid it and by late evening was in bed throwing up into a garbage can clutched between my hands. It was a lesson in not trying to do everything at once as my body just shut down and took awhile to recuperate after this incident.

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In September, we jetted off to Germany for the big trip. We arrived on Friday afternoon with quite a bit of jet lag and went through the hectic expo. The race wasn’t any less hectic and was congested until about 14 or 15 miles (tiny European streets aren’t super conducive to major marathons, as I would learn, especially when start corrals weren’t enforced) but I was still able to pull off a 3:28:06, a 10+ minute PR and my first BQ. I don’t write this to be bratty or ungrateful but it was the most frustrating race I’ve ever run. I crossed the finish line and knew I had my BQ, but I was just so mentally and physically drained from the race that it took me awhile to internalize what had just happened. There was a moment around 7K where I was nearly in tears as I couldn’t find my husband where he said he would be and I was being bumped left and right because of the congestion and having to weave in and out of people who had started in a faster corral than where they were seeded. The little tiny plastic water cups didn’t help either for being able to get liquids down and we had to slow down through the water stops as there were slippery piles of plastic everywhere. I still firmly believe I had more in me than the 3:28 but I just didn’t have any energy left by the end of the race from all the weaving in and out of people for about 13 miles. After talking to my coach, I found out that Boston will be similar in terms of people always being around so Berlin helped prepare me for that, but at least the corrals in Boston are heavily enforced and down to the minute so I’ll be running with other athletes who have similar times to me.

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3 weeks after the Boston Marathon I ran the Chicago Marathon. I was supposed to run it just for fun, but after feeling dissatisfied with what happened in Berlin, there I was going guns-a-blazing through 15 miles until I was stopped dead in my tracks with GI issues. I clawed my way to the finish line, stopping at every porta-potty along the way, and finished my 6th marathon in 3:53. It was stupid and as a result it probably was the cause of my hamstring injury and from this experience I learned the importance of giving your body time to recover between hard efforts and that even if my mind is ready to go back into battle it doesn’t mean my body is.

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I spent October and November rehabbing my hamstring and running a few miles at a time. It definitely messed with my motivation and my interest in running for awhile. Just last week I wrote about being in a running funk. But it’s funny, as soon as I aired how I had been feeling about running, things started going back to normal. I’m really looking forward to training for Boston and for the new challenge of hill training. It seems scary at times but I’m thankful to be healthy and happy training again. 2018 was my most successful year of running in a long time and I’m so appreciative of everyone who helped me have such an awesome year. As great as the year was, however, I’m excited for 2019 because while I’m still the same person I feel like a new runner and I can’t wait to see all that this body is capable of in the new year.

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Next week I’ll be posting about my goals for 2019. Check back into the blog to read more!

Running Funk

It wasn’t until I saw someone else refer to being in a “funk” with their running that I realized that’s the perfect name for what I’m feeling right now. A funk. I’ve been doing my workouts, checking each one off daily, but the excitement just isn’t there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and moving my legs, but something seems different this time and I’m hoping I’ll grow out of it soon.

It could be the comparison trap – I see friends and peers doing epic things this winter and feel like I’m sitting on the sidelines and not in the game myself.

It could be the cold air – it’s hard to get out of a warm bed in the morning wanting to go freeze outside. I’ve also noticed my muscles are a lot tighter in the winter and breathing is harder for me which makes it even less enticing.

It could be the hamstring injury – I feel like I’m just waiting for an issue to resurface and it messes with my mind when I try to push my pace at all.

It could be the paces – I’m doing nearly all of my runs at an aerobic effort or easier as I build a base back up so those little glimmers of hope that you get while doing speedwork and reminding yourself that your body can do hard things haven’t been as prevalent.

It could be the hills – we moved to a hillier place in August and what used to be an easier effort is now made more challenging by running on hills. I’ve been trying to remind myself that I will adapt the more I keep at it but it’s not fun while I don’t feel conditioned for it just yet.

It could be the fact that I feel out of shape – I was in peak shape just a few months ago and coming off the high of a BQ has been challenging.

It could be the BQ itself – for 6 years I was chasing the same goal and although it’s odd to say, I feel a little lost that I no longer have that “constant” in my life, the thing that was driving me.

Let’s dig a little deeper into that last point as that is truly what I think is going on here. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon in April. However, I’m having a hard time getting as excited as I used to be about training. I have goals in mind that I’m trying to get myself excited for but while I’m sucking in lots of air getting back into shape, it’s hard to even imagine getting back to that point where those goals are feasible. As of two days ago, we are only 4 months out from Boston and that scares the heck out of me. 17 weeks sounds a little less scary and more manageable. It’s funny how just reframing it can make a huge difference. But that excitement piece – I’m still working on it. My husband and I were talking about something totally unrelated the other night and one of the things he said to me stuck with me – “we don’t like to do things we aren’t good at.” Hmm. Good is a relative term; what’s good to me might not be so impressive to someone else and vice versa. But right now I don’t feel “good” at running. I feel like I’m just scraping by and being mediocre and that’s not a fun place to be. Writing this I recognize that it seems silly on paper, but you can’t shake a “funk” just by writing about it.

I’ve had some small victories along the way – a 10-mile run on hills after the stomach flu and after 2 months of no double-digit long runs my pace came in at just under 8:15. A stride workout where my legs got to move under 6-minute pace again and by the end the 7 teens pace felt comfortable. These little sparks help bring my confidence back and remind me that just a few months ago I was doing really hard things and that my body can’t have forgotten it all in that time.

Although this funk might be messing with my head right now, I’m going to keep showing up every day and doing my workouts. I’ve been adding in weights in the weight room to mix things up and have been enjoying seeing myself get stronger. I know in my heart I love this sport and the funk will only be temporary. I hope to start getting myself excited about the goals I have for Boston and that soon they’ll be just as exciting as the BQ goal.

Thank You, BWRC

Last night, I had the privilege of attending Busse Woods Running Club’s Second Annual Holiday Party. In 2017, we were ecstatic about the 50 people who came to our holiday party. In 2018, we had over 100 people come out for the party. It’s been an absolutely incredible journey over the last year and we’re just getting started. This year I saw so many of our members grow in their own running journeys. Between new PRs that were set, some running their very first marathon or 5K, a few people who came back to running after a long hiatus, and so many other stories, I was so inspired this year and grateful to be a small part of each of these journeys.

It’s been said many times that this club is like a second family. My own experience has been nothing short of that. Like a family, we have our ups and downs, our own “drama”, and our quirks, but each piece of this family is valuable and makes the culture of the club what it is. This has been the most welcoming and inviting group I’ve ever been a part of and while we all come from different backgrounds, different places, and different walks of life, we all share one thing in common – the love of running, and that binds us together. When I moved back from St. Louis 2.5 years ago, I was looking for a training group to be a part of. My running had plateaued, I was missing the aspect of “team” in running, and I wanted to meet more friends who shared this obsession of mine. From the day I first step foot on Ost Field, I was welcomed with open arms. What has meant the most to me, however, has been all of the support over the last year that I received when I set out on a very individualistic quest to finally catch my unicorn and qualify for Boston. It required a lot of time spent away from my running family, but I felt like they were with me every step of the way.

After I finished the Berlin Marathon and secured my spot at Boston, the texts and Facebook messages came flooding in. Mind you, Berlin was run at 9:30 a.m. Germany time, which was 2:30 a.m. Chicago time. How lucky am I to have such an amazing support system that was up at 2:30 tracking my race, posting about it to one another, and sending so many positive vibes my way? I get goosebumps just typing this now. Although I crossed the finish line and the BQ was next to my name, it took a village to get me to this point and I am eternally grateful for the words of encouragement, support, and inspiration from so many of the BWRC runners that played a huge role in helping me achieve my goal.

Serving as the Director of Marketing & Social Media for BWRC has been such an honor and I am excited for all that’s to come for our club in 2019. We have big dreams and hopes for our club, but without each and every one of our members, we would not be living this dream.

Thank you, BWRC, for one of the best years of my life. 2019 has a lot to live up to after everything that happened in 2018, but I know that with all of you by my side and the new friends that will join our club next year, it’s going to be a fun ride.



How to Continue Running Through the Midwest Winter


Midwest weather can be brutal. We can get extreme heat/humidity in the summers, and extreme cold and feet of snow in the winter. The 2018 winter was rough between the arctic temperatures at the beginning of January where temperatures didn’t make it out of the negatives and the foot of snow that came down during the second weekend of February; a lot of our runs had to be indoors on the treadmill. However, this winter I have been challenging myself to get outdoors more even when it has been cold (within reason; I won’t run outdoors in the negative temperatures because I don’t think it’s safe/I have a hard time breathing in it). I have been able to do this by learning how to dress appropriately for the weather and have a few “go-to” items for staying warm on these cold winter runs.

Base Layer

  • I run in a C9 base layer that you can find at Target in their activewear section. This helps wick the sweat and keep it from clinging to your body and making you colder.

Fleece Pullover

  • I usually pick one with a turtleneck to keep me even warmer but the fleece lining helps insulate you to keep you warmer.

Fleece-Lined Wind Breaker

  • This helps block the wind on particularly cold days. Even the slightest bit of wind on a winter day can send chills down your body so I think it’s better to overdress and be warm than to be shivering. My favorite one is from New Balance and they don’t currently carry it, but the one linked here is similar because it has the soft outer shell for breaking the wind but is fleece lined to keep you warm.

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North Face Gloves

  • These gloves were not cheap at $55 but they have been well worth the investment. These are the first pair of gloves I’ve worn to run in that keep my hands warm without having to wear mittens. I suffer from Raynaud’s Syndrome where my fingers will go numb and get very pale after I get inside from my run so a really good quality pair of gloves minimizes this. My only gripe about these is that they have to be hand washed so I typically rinse them off and hang them up to dry after a run.

Panther Vision Hat with LEDs

  • This hat is fleece-lined so it keeps me warm and it doubles as a headlamp to light the path in front of me on early morning or night time runs. The lights also make me more visible to drivers on the road that I’m sharing!


Winter Weather Tights

  • My favorite pair is made by Sugoi and are fleece-lined and wind-blocking. However, I also own a pair from Target that are nicer to my wallet. If you can make the investment though, I recommend at least one pair of higher quality running tights. They make a huge difference in keeping your legs warm.

Wool Socks/Ski Socks

  • I run in my regular running shoes even through the winter so it is essential to have a warmer sock on since the wind comes straight through the mesh in your shoes. I recommend wearing socks that come up over your ankle in the winter to keep the cold out; it’s the worst feeling to have space between where your running tights hit and where your socks end because you’ll feel the cold as soon as you step out the door! Ski socks keep my feet extra warm on those sub-zero days, but they don’t fit in all my shoes so I sometimes use a pair of thinner wool socks. My favorite pair is from Balega.


Please note the above opinions are all my own. I did not receive compensation for my post. I was gifted the Panther Vision Hat after posting a picture wearing another hat that I had purchased from them last year.