Category Archives: Uncategorized

Things that make me SMILE

After spending a few years in braces… I really like to show off my smile. Unless I don’t like the super awkward poses that I have to hold for countless minutes while having my First Holy Communion photos taken…

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But that’s a whole other story for a different day.

So here are some items that currently make me smile THIS BIG—

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1- Tailwind Nutrition  Let’s get real… feeling like you may crap your pants is no fun during a run. With my stomach giving me issues recently, I was happy that my friend Sarah mentioned them to me on a run one day while she was visiting. I’ve drank the “koolaid” y’all and now I am that cray-cray person that hands out samples in plastic baggies like some junkie who can’t get enough of the white powder… so for realz…. go order yourself some of their white powder that you just mix in with water and it’s ALL the nutrition you need to fuel you for your runs, bike, whateves! And no more gut bombs and waddlin’ to find the nearest portalet during a run 😉

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2- North Face Terra 55 Pack   I went over to Half Moon Outfitters in Savannah where my friend Thomas showed me the science behind fitting backpacks. They actually measure from your hip bone (like the “hello, Ryan Lochte bones”) to your C7 vertebra in your neck) to find out what size pack works for your frame. I am a small, almost extra small… yeah, I almost made him say that again 😉 He was SUPER amazing and answered my bazillion questions during the whole process. I settled on the North Face, not because it was super cute and matched my other NF gear but because it fit well and was comfortable when he stashed in 20lbs of weights.

I brought it with me to Oregon last week and with 34 lbs of crap in it…. and lugging through the airport and all around…. it actually felt like a breeze!! Thanks, Thomas!

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3- Wild by Cheryl Strayed I got this book for my travels to Oregon. I loved everything about it. Her journey, her passion, her spunk and her candidness. And now, I too, want to get a PCT map and strap on some boots and go…

4- Hunter Really, does this cutie patootie need an introduction…

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{post bath lounging…}

5- Coffee. Except this morning, when I realized I was out of coffee. Ugh. But I have a new coffee grinder at home and love the smell of fresh grinds… and lattes. Or anything that makes me want to wrap up in a blanket with a great book or magazine and not go to work. Thank goodness I workout in the mornings, otherwise I would probably never be at work 😉

What makes you SMILE??!!

MIA Runner

So what happens when a blogger doesn’t blog for almost two weeks….. well a whole lot of life happens. And sometimes that life happens without photos. And that’s alright too!

I never started my blog with the intention that it would be a daily account of what I do. That was never my intent and never will be. And while I actually enjoy reading blogs of those that do, it’s just not my jam.

But here’s the world’s quickest recap of what’s been going on….

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Went camping with the girls for the night….

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Found out that apparently golf is really big in Augusta, Georgia…

Plus a quick trip to DC with a little bit of running in between! But now that June has sprung upon us, it’s back in gear for fall race season…. but more on that later.

June is going to be a little crazy, so my posts may be a little more infrequent, but you always know that I am on my Victoria Runs Facebook  Page with almost daily content. And when I get my new iPhone, my instagram will be back in the game… as I have been living a deprived photo sharing life without filters 😉

But I am pretty excited for a few posts that are coming up. I have some topics that people have asked me to cover, so stay tuned!

Make it a great week, y’all!

Jeff Galloway Interview

Better late than never 😉

While at the Pittsburgh Marathon, I had the opportunity to interview Olympian Jeff Galloway at the expo!

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{VIP, what! what!}

Once I got checked in all VIP style, Abbey (who works with the marathon) walked me over to meet Jeff. I was super excited to meet him, because as you know, I am an interval runner! Abbey found us an office to conduct the interview, because as you can assume, Jeff had a long line of people wanting to talk to him!

Before I headed up to Pittsburgh, I emailed some of the runners in our group that I had mentored previously to see if they had any questions. I had received some great questions from others who do interval running! So thank you all for your questions 🙂

1- Do you run intervals 100% of the time? Or only on long runs?

Yes. Every single run Jeff does he runs intervals and very seldom runs more than two minutes at a time. He usually runs  30 seconds/ walks 30 seconds. He also mentioned that he doesn’t incorporate much traditional speed work due to the higher injury potential for him, BUT he does have some amazing tips on speed work and pacing for speed work in his newsletter. I found this gem which reviews mile repeats.

2- What is the most bizarre place you have run?

While Jeff served in the Navy during Vietnam, he would enter port and immediately go for a run. His runs would lead him into some areas he was sure he probably should not have been… abandoned train tunnels, sides of mountains, anywhere he could find a place that his two feet would take him.

3- One race you will never forget?

The 1996 Boston Marathon that he ran with his father. Of course, Jeff could have ran his own race– but the look in his eyes meant this race was so much more to him. They ran it side by side the entire race until…. his dad saw the finish line and took off! Jeff had a glimmer in his eye that I believe everyone has of that one fond memory of a parent. He stated “that it was more special that any medal could ever be”.

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{Jeff and I}

4- What is your dream run location?

Jeff answered with ease- Lake Tahoe. Every July, he hosts a run clinic there and says the scenery and terrain are unmatched anywhere. I have already checked it out…. summer 2014??!!

5- Best piece of run gear he never leaves home without?

His interval timer! We spoke a lot about intervals and what is the perfect interval ratio for a runner. The magic mile comes into play and the pace calculator, which can be found HERE.  I have to admit that I just stuck with 4:1’s and didn’t think much of it; but as I approach some new running goals in the next year, I am going to have to reevaluate my intervals.

6- I hosted a quirky survey last year about runners- do you or do you not brush your teeth before a run?

After Jeff laughed and said he had never been asked that question before, he admitted that he does not brush his teeth before a run because he usually has a cup of coffee in one hand as he walks out the door. But his wife, Barbara does!

7- Run dates? Yay or Nay?

A big YES! He met his wife by running. He did have a few good tips for the gentleman out there. Run at the ladies pace! Don’t assume anything!

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{expo was crazy busy!}

8- What do you say to those interval runners who may hear that they are not “real runners” because they use intervals?

I must say, this really lite a fire within Jeff. Jeff said he typically responds by stating, “Really, I’ve been running for 56 years and in that time I have never seen a rule book on how to run.” He reiterates that running is a freedom activity and full of empowerment.

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I really enjoyed my time with Jeff and the side conversation with him! He is such a gem to the running community and such an advocate for that community.

Jeff did want everyone to know that you can sign up for his free newsletter on his WEBSITE {right sidebar). For free tips monthly!

{as you can tell– I summarized our conversation based on my notes from an hour long interview}

Thank you again, Pittsburgh Marathon for setting this up!

Pittsburgh Marathon Recap

The Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon was amazing. Simple as that.

I flew up to Pittsburgh late on Friday night to meet my parents at the hotel downtown. And was greeted by approximately 40  ba-jillion Penguins Fans that were drowning their sorrows in a few beers since they  had just LOST to the Islanders in Game Two of the Conference Quarter Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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After a good night sleep, it was an early morning to go cheer on my dad at the 5k! There were about 2,000 runners that took to the streets of Pittsburgh on Saturday morning. With so much energy surrounding me, I was getting excited for my race {ahem… “training run”} on Sunday!

And apparently, my dad was super excited too!

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Daddy-O did fabulous and even PR’d despite the slight inclines (his PR was from a 5k in Virginia that took place on a airport runway— ie flat as a pancake!). He is really working on his training plan and doing super!!

Look at him kicking it in to the finish line!!!

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After some breakfast, showers and checking out Dad’s 5k medal…. we went down to the Expo so I could pick up my packet!

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I got to interview Jeff Galloway at the expo, but more on that in a later post!

After the expo, I toured around Pittsburgh and relaxed in the hotel room with some Subway and a few re-runs of NCIS. Did you really expect anything else from me?!

Race day came bright and early! I had to be at the VIP Tent at 6am for a Live TV interview with WTAE.

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I still can’t find the clip, but just imagine that I sounded really awesome and completely articulate at 6am without an ounce of pre-race jitters 😉

After I answered a few questions, I went to Heinz Hall for the VIP Pre-Race area. Greeted by men in tuxedos with a full range of yummy goodies. I mainly just ate my pre-race peanut butter sammie and stared at the gorgeous ceiling…. hey, I am easy to please!

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Once it was time, I found my corral and waited. For once, I didn’t have the pre-race jitters. I felt calm. I was ready to run.

I didn’t carry my phone or camera on the course, because I wanted to do just that. Run.

The first 5-6 miles were amazing. I stayed ahead of the 5:00 pace group and was feeling on top of the moon. I started to slow down a bit as the “inclines” started to take a bit of a toll on me. I didn’t really hit a wall the whole marathon, I just didn’t fully prepare for the rolling hills after mile 12….

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I know what I really need to work on (more on that in a subsequent post), but my back really bothered me from leaning too much into the hills. I felt that my back pulled on my legs and I couldn’t turn them over, if that makes sense. BUT, good news is…. I know what I can do to work on it (besides avoiding hilly courses, ha!).

Aside from the hills, I LOVED everything about this race. Seriously, I want to rename Pittsburgh from the City of Steel to the City of Oranges. I swear, every neighborhood (we ran through 13) gave out fresh cut orange slices.!

The people stayed and cheered on the back of the pack runners (yep, that’s me!) and were super supportive and kind! The fireman had fire hydrants turned on to spray during the latter part of the course because it was getting hot out… the little touches made it a spectacular day despite not a time PR. But I am still really pumped, because I know my legs would have flown and PR’d on a pancake flat course!

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A big thank you to my parents for coming up, stopping at numerous points on the course and always being my number one cheer squad!

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**A special shoutout to Abbey with the Pittsburgh Marathon. Abbey was such a pleasure from day one of my partnership with the marathon. In exchange for a few blog posts I got to experience the marathon VIP style**

A Mostly Wordless Weekend…

With summer approaching, that means weekends are being spent outside more and more. And I couldn’t love it more!

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{running through the set up of SCAD’s Sidewalk Chalk Festival}

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{G’s First Birthday party… a Hungry Caterpillar theme! Her mama had the cutest little touches, but G’s tutu was the cutest}

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{1 mile open water swim off Tybee… we hit some fun white capped waves, which added some extra FUN to our swim}

Short, sweet, and with a dose of sunscreen!

Happy Monday!

Pittsburgh Marathon Mental Strategy

It should come as no surprise to anyone, that I am not an Elite Runner. But I am a runner nonetheless.

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A recent article, reiterates that a mile is a mile and it’s all a state of mind for us slower runners. It really doesn’t matter what your splits are or what place you come in. Who cares if you finished 11,459 out of 14,392 runners in last year’s marathon, right?!

I am a big fan of positive thinking and constantly tell others mind over matter. Until it comes to my own running. I am my own worst enemy. Especially on race day.

Race day is like test day. I despise tests. And I despise racing. I get nervous, I doubt my training and I want to run to the hills and away from the start line.

victoria3{RnR 2011- Full Marathon- let my mind get the best of me- 6:15 finish time}

I usually start off too fast (which I have since remedied by practicing on my longer training runs and a few races over the past few months) and about half way through a race the self doubt kicks in. So this is my plan to kick the self doubt in the ass and rock this marathon:

Step One:

Sign up for the 5:30 Pace Group and mentally pretend it’s my hometown run group. I am a big fan of mental games on training runs, so don’t be surprised if I start calling people Nancy, Marian, and Jennifer… just sayin’. Running is a mental sport and we are all insane 😉

Step Two:

Pretend this is a training run (minus the 30,000 other running) for my “ultra”** two weeks later. I do really well on training runs. So don’t be surprised if you see me in person this week and ask if I am ready for my marathon and I respond really coyly about my 26 mile training run. I just need to believe with my heart that it’s just that. A training run.

Step Three:

Step away from the social media that morning. I get really antsy and nervous about letting people down, even though I know that is not the case. My parents are going to be up there that weekend {big shout out to my dad who is running the 5k the day before} and they will be along the course cheering me on so that will help immensely.

Step Four:

Have fun! It is ok if I get behind the 5:30 pacers. My 3 main goals are to 1) finish the hilly course 2) PR and 3) come in under 5:40.

That’s it. That is my mental strategy. Any tips??!! Next week, I will be asking for music suggestions on my FaceBook page…. so get your DJ hats on and start thinking.

**There was an ultra scheduled with Low Country Ultras for two weeks after but it has been moved to a later date AND I am probably not going to be running long distance much anyways because of my knee. But more on that later**

OH and before I leave you to go about your day… and HUGE shout out to my dear friend Joe….

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He is also traveling back to his hometown of Pitt to run the marathon as a seeded runner. And since he won’t brag about his speed, I will! He is headed for a pretty big PR with mile splits around 6:20-6:40’s. Speedster, I tell ya. I get stoked when I see a 7:anything on my Garmin for speedwork, so to pull those numbers for 26 miles just boggles my mind. I’m just hoping he doesn’t drink all the beer at the VIP tent afterwards! Rock it out, Joe!

Cross Training

My first marathon two years, I focused solely on running. Now, this was my own doing. I didn’t listen to my coaches who pushed for swimming, spinning, and adding resistance training in. I just didn’t listen. Obviously, I can be stubborn at points.

Well, fast forward two years and I have grown as a person and an athlete. I have mixed in spinning, yoga, swimming, TRX, and HIIT workouts. My speed has increased, my runs seem smoother and I am looking forward to this marathon.

With my partnership with the Pittsburgh Marathon, they have introduced me to the Thrive Series  by  Dr, Vonda Wright, MD! What I like about the short, 90 second video segment series is that you can honker down on a particular topic.

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Topics range from hydration to race day prep and particular cross training moves to mastering running hills. This is great for newbie runners to those that are mentoring groups and may need a quick refresher on items that your group has questions on. I like the cross training move videos because I can pull material for my HIIT workouts that I like to use when I travel for work.  HIIT workouts really ramp up my heart rate and make me a hot, sweaty mess.

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My favorite HIIT workout to date is the one I did last month in Atlanta with my friend and industry peer, Katie…

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{Do this at your own risk. Y’all know I am not a trainer and whatnot. I just like to sweat, because sweating makes people happy and I like to smile}.

So pop on over to Dr Wright’s site and check it out! I think you will like her tidbits of information! Have a great Monday!

**I was not compensated for this post, but was given a free race entry and some swag from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. But you know opinions are always my own!**

Winner, Winner….

So before I get to who won the Dick’s Sporting Goods $25 Gift Card… let’s talk about TRX.

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I went to my third class on Monday night and am still really digging how my body feels…. except my ankle. In Monday’s class we did a bunch of ’50 Shades of Grey’ stuff.

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About half of the 45 min class was spent with our feet in the handles. My right foot/ankle kept slightly hurting, but I just assumed it was the pressure of body weight. Fast forward a few days and my ankle (outer/top side) hurts to flex my toes up or roll it, but does not hurt while weight bearing.  I hope I just twerked my ankle and a little RICE helps! I am 5 weeks away from Pittsburgh Marathon, this is NOT the time for an injury.

And speaking of the marathon…

THE WINNER OF THE $25 DICK’S SPORTING GOODS CARD IS…

Mary Owen says:

I would get a fuel belt! I need one…..

Congratulations Mary!!!! Send me an email at victoriaruns1{at}gmail.com, so I can get your mailing address!

Beaufort Twilight Run Recap

What a difference two years makes!!!

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Two years ago I ran the Beaufort Twilight 5k  with only a goal of coming in under 40 minutes. Thankfully my friend Ashley (in the middle) ran me in at the end and I came in just under my goal!!

I was excited that Beaufort Twilight offered me a complimentary entry AND one that I got to give-a-way to one of my lucky readers for this year’s race. The reason I was so excited was because this race is GORGEOUS! Winding through a beautiful subdivision that is flanked by water and streets lined with oak trees covered in Spanish moss.

And if you want the party to continue post-race, just sign up for the Oyster Roast!  They have a full-on oyster roast and chicken platters that are to die for! Nicole, Kiz and I all stepped up to the plate in 2011 for them. This year, I did not partake only because having run 15 miles in the morning I didn’t know if I would have the energy to thoroughly enjoy. But if you sign up, I would urge you to pay for the dinner and enjoy the awesome bands they have going in the square! Perfect Spring evening!

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And even though this event happens just over the river from Savannah, you will see many of your friends’ faces in our neighboring state of South Carolina…

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Friends like Robert {owner of Fleet Feet Savannah} and Chris {wicked fast ultra runner}.

I would love you all my local readers to join me next year and run either the 5k or 8k, while winding through the beautiful Habersham Properties. I personally like to house hunt while running… maybe that is why I didn’t PR 😉

Have you run the Beaufort Twilight Run before? If so, which race? Or did you do the challenge and run BOTH the 5k and 8k?

**Winner is being picked TONIGHT at 10pm for the $25 Dick’s Sporting Good Card… make sure to enter!**

Pittsburgh Marathon Update & Give-a-Way

As you may remember I am running the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon on May 5th! With the marathon looming over my head, I have been putting in my good miles on the weekends. Now to just make sure I get my tuckus up for my weekday runs….

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen quite a few photos from this weekend. Since I had the Beaufort Twilight 8k {recap coming on Tuesday or Wednesday!) on Saturday night, I knew I had to get 15 miles in during the morning hours to bring my total to 20 for the day.

Not going to lie… my morning 15 were hard. I had a great pace going for the first 10 and then I bonked. This is the second 15 mile run that I have bonked after 10 miles. I am starting to assess my fuel intake and pacing strategy off the bat. I always feel great for the first few miles, but I think I am going out about :30 too fast per mile. So I am going to try some better pacing for this Saturday’s 12 miler.

Surprisingly, the 5 miles at night were not terrible and I was about 3 minutes or so off my PR. I will take that while running on tired legs!!

But all these long run talks make me want to host a GIVE-A-WAY!! Thankfully as an “Official Blogger” (their terminology not mine…. I would of picked “Sassy Blogger” ha!) for the Pittsburgh Marathon, they were kind enough to send me a $25 Dick’s Sporting Good gift card to give-a-way. I am already eyeing these bad boys after my amazing trip to Durango, Co…

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To enter…. leave a comment below about what you would want from Dick’s Sporting Goods if you won!!

That’s IT! Pretty simple, right?? Winner will be chosen on Wednesday after 10pm!