I left a piece of my heart in....PHOENIX!

If you had asked me 6 years ago if I wanted to run, I would have laughed in your face & (kindly) said HECK NO. I grew up playing softball and HATED running the bases. There was no way you were getting me out there to "run for fun".

And then this happened:

June 19, 2011 I went out for a walk. I saw a couple girls running and thought, Hmmm…..ok, that kind of looks fun. So off I went running down the street and back to my house. That was my first mile. On June 26, 2011 I ran my first 5k (28:18) and haven’t stopped since.

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Fast forward from June 2011 to last week. (one day, I'll post about everything in between). Until then, let's chat about how I got to Phoenix and how I left a piece of my heart there.

DID SOMEONE SAY PARTY IN THE DESERT?

What started out in February 2015 with a few friends meeting up & running a marathon, turned into a social (running / party) event in 2016. I kept seeing the hashtag on instagram: #ItsGoingDownAtPhx . It caught on like wild fire and next thing I knew - I was simply missing out. Shortly after 2016 Phoenix Marathon,  #WeRunSocial: A crew with the sole purpose of running all the miles and winning life on the interwebs, was born. ((you can read about all that here))

2017 BMO MESA PHOENIX MARATHON RECAP TIME:

Without boring you with all the details - I signed up for what would be my 3rd marathon, I made plans, I booked a hotel, flight, trained for MONTHS and off I went. Marathon #3..... am I crazy? Maybe a little bit. But who isn't really. And, in case you don't know, #IRun4Mataya . You can read about that here  (go ahead, I'll wait for you).

Thursday, February 23rd: THE ARRIVAL

@pavementrunner and I caught the same flight into Phoenix. Once there we grabbed lunch, checked into the hotel and ventured out for a beer and a movie - The Great Wall. Ya, lets just say I probably would have fallen asleep but I was scared Brian would have done an Instagram live featuring me snoozing, so I muscled through. (I'm not a movie go'er so I was pleasantly surprised with the comfy recliners!! )

Speaking of Instagram live, when we got back to the hotel that night, Brian thought it would be fun to do an IG live session. So we did- and it was fun and should happen more often.

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Friday, February 24th: RACE DAY EVE

**MORNING**

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@pavementrunner and I picked up @fitfam6 at the airport, grabbed breakfast at Starbucks and headed to the Lululemon outlet. I'm not much of a shopper and the only Lulu item I owned at the moment was gifted to me. Buuuuuuut, when in Rome right....I picked up a pair of shorts on discount. (and now I'm obsessed. I blame THESE TWO!)

**NOON**

Bib pickup and a quick walk through the expo (which was extremely easy to navigate and lots of great vendors) .  @WeRunSocial and @ProCompression hosted a meetup which was awesome. I was able to finally meet some of the awesome peeps I've been following online.

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**NIGHT**

After the expo, a few of us headed over to  La Grande Orange. They have great pizza, delicious dessert, beer and then some! And of course, we took more pictures.

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Back to the hotel,  laid out my clothes, and tried to get as much sleep as I could. 3:00am wakeup was going to come fast.

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Saturday, February 25th: RACE DAY 

Alarm was set to go off at 3:00am. The course was a point to point so we needed to catch the shuttle at a certain time. @Pavementrunner and @carleemcdot had done this before, so I just followed the leader and rolled with them.

I trained for 4 months and was ready to run. Only thing I forgot to do......Check the freaking weather. It was a tad chilly, but thankfully, they let us stay on the bus until it was time to head to start line. (which would end up hurting me. I'll explain, keep reading)

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What should have happened was 20 minutes of stretching and warming up -- sadly, I lost track of time chatting & keeping warm on the bus that by the time we got off of it, we had 3 minutes until race time. YIKES! I did a few jumping jacks, found the 4:40 hour finish pace group, connected my garmin and off I went.  Almost immediately after crossing the start line, the feeling of defeat, sadness, and mostly ANGER came over me.  My left shoe wasn't tied tight enough, my right shoe seemed to be a little too tight, my quads weren't loose, I felt defeated and I hadn't even run a quarter of a mile. It was over before it had even began. Or was it...I had two choices in this moment. 1) give into the defeat & be miserable  or 2) pull my shit together, dig deep and remember why I am doing this.

I run for Mataya. She is a year old and has gone through far more than ANYONE should ever have to in life.

In the past year she has: ▶beaten cancer! ▶had 2 helicopter rides ▶5 surgeries ▶7 rounds of chemo ▶51 blood product transfusions ▶almost 1,000 labs/scans/images done ▶spent 5 months inpatient at a hospital 2.5 hours away from home ▶been a resident in the NICU, PICU, and PEDS.

I pulled over, re-tied my shoes, pulled it together, got OUT of my head and carefully caught back up to the pace group. It was dark for the first 3 miles which is too bad because I'm sure the scenery and the views were amazing. It was also downhill so I had to make sure I pulled back a little and didn't go all out or I'd be regretting that later.

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I stayed with the pace group through mile 16. We stopped for a quick bathroom break. With 10 miles to go, I knew it was time to listen to my body. I had maintained an average pace of 10:30 minutes per mile to this point. I was starting to get tired and my quads never really loosened up. I chose to take the time to stretch as I watched the pace group take off without me. I had told myself that there was no goal for this race other than to just finish with my head held high.

“If I run with no regrets and no excuses, there is no way in hell I will finish and feel like I failed. I will be so proud of myself.” - Kelly Roberts  ( Run Selfie Repeat podcast, episode 4:  "Fear of Failure")

One of the many things I loved about this marathon, the free race photos!! They caught me at mile 19, mile 23 and the finish line.

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Mile 23 was tough. My legs were tight. Mentally I was in it, but my legs just weren't having it. Concerned about injuring myself, I chose to walk at a 15 minute mile walk and then gave it my all coming down the chute for the finish.

My friend Linda was there cheering for me at the finish line and handed me yellow roses (my fave!) as I crossed. We ran our first marathon together (Big Sur) back in 2015, so to share finish line #3 with her, was special.

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The Celebration

@ProCompression graciously hosted a party with the ambassadors. It gave us all a chance to see people we didn't catch at the finish line, enjoy a well - earned beer, yummy food, race day stories, what's lined up next and who is coming back next year.

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Will I be back next year? OH HECK YA. Redemption baby. I won't make the same mistake twice. I missed 2016 (which is a huge bummer because the medal from 2016-2020 half or full marathon all match up to create a copper star). SIGH! I also won't make the mistake of not taking the time to stretch.

This was mine and Mataya's first marathon together. It won't be our last.BMO Harris Bank Mesa-Phx Marathon stole a piece of my heart that day. I can't wait to go back, give it my all and HOPEFULLY, cross the finish line and ring the PR bell.

Registration is already open for 2018. I'm registered.

So now the big question , who's coming to the party in the desert with me?

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my LA Moment (2-14-2016)

"The marathon represents more than just 26.2 miles, it symbolizes the adversity we face in our lives and our ability to overcome the greatest odds."

365 days later and I still get teary eyed and emotional thinking about the LA Marathon last year. 26.2 miles from Stadium to Sea - on Valentines Day.

Friday February 12th: arrival to LA, the Expo, walk around / check out Santa Monica & Venice.

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Saturday February 13th:amazing morning - a run with the fabulous Julie Weiss (this was her 100th marathon! She has been pounding the pavement to raise awareness for the beast that is Pancreatic Cancer) followed by an amazing and oh so inspirational talk with Jimmy Dean Freeman. EXACTLY what I needed.Back to the hotel to watch the Olympic Trials which were happening back down by the LA Convention Center. Followed by the #WeRunSocial meetup and back finally back to the hotel to rest and relax before the big day.

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Sunday, February 14th: THE BIG DAY! Yes this was my 2nd marathon. But it was my first one alone. I made a new friend (shocker I know!). We met up bright and early, chatted about our game plan and goal for the race. I told Jeff I MIGHT try to run with the 9:30 pace group, to finish in 4 hours and 30mins. It was him who really pushed me to go for it. What did I have to lose really. So I did......

I ran strong and only stopped once - at mile 22. I had hit my wall, HARD. The leader of the pace group was amazing, but I needed to fall back and go at my own pace. Half a mile later, kneeling on the ground, bawling my eyes out, I called my husband, Kyle. No words were coming out of my mouth, just my sobbing cry - as usual, he was there for me. Now at this point, I had no clue what my pace or time was. "You're freaking KILLING IT!" he said. "Don't stop. You can do this."  It was at that moment I realized, I was just in my head and I could actually do this. Picked myself up and repeated the words: I Can and I Will. And that I did....

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I crushed my goal and managed a PR (of roughly an hour!). Unofficial Finish: 4:38!

“Everything you ever wanted to know about yourself you can learn in 26.2 miles”.

Yup. That’s the truth.  I had big {scary} goals. I put a plan into place, I followed it and I did as I set out to do.

The photos above are a reminder that I am capable of ANYTHING I set my mind to. As I told myself REPEATEDLY with every single step “I CAN & I WILL”.

I have never in my life felt so strong, so powerful, so unstoppable. THAT is #myLAmoment

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Happy Valentines Day to the best and most supportive group of friends a girl could EVER want. (A HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to my amazing husband. I love you 💖💖)

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HOLY SH*T! I'm in.. #werunSF

I have a routine - get up disgustingly early, catch up on social media while I wake up & wait for my computer to update. Typical Monday.  As I'm scrolling through this morning I come across Run Nike Women Series. Think to myself, hmmm, I haven't seen an email saying if I was selected for the random draw I entered June 4th for the San Francisco race 10/19 /14. Well apparently on June 26th they sent out emails to those selected.  (I've been busy. Work, moving, wedding planning, life etc. I learned something this morning. I receive WAY to many emails. I have to add clean up / unsubscribe to my already to long to do list) Quick search in gmail and BAM. There it is. The email I had been so hopeful to receive sitting in my junk mail.

Nike Womens Half Email
Nike Womens Half Email

I'm excited for so many reasons.  Nike has a great website for this race that includes a 12 week training plan.  Training starts today. First up, 3 miles, later this afternoon, I've got this. But first, I have to go to work.

Have you ever run Nike Women's Half Marathon?

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Recap: #RnRSF Course Launch Party, Boston Sports & Hot Chocolate 15k = action packed weekend

What a weekend, and it's not over yet! Saturday was the #RnRSF Course Launch Party at Sports Basement, Presidio (610 Old Mason St.)  I got there early so I could grab my Hot Chocolate 15k swag bag and bib for the race Sunday.

While waiting for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon San Francisco event to start, I met and chatted with Zari. She started running last June and decided that this year, her goal would be to run a Half Marathon! Go Zari, Go! I look forward to following her training and meeting up again at the race on April 6th (if not sooner)

Zari & I at Chrissy Field before the 3.5 mile fun run. Can barely see Golden Gate Bridge, it was so foggy
Zari & I at Chrissy Field before the 3.5 mile fun run. Can barely see Golden Gate Bridge, it was so foggy

I also finally got to meet Pavement Runner, aka Brian!  Was nice to finally meet the man behind the twitter handle @pavementrunner and learn his real name. After we watched the video of the course (which looks like it will be fun & hilly!) we went out for a fun 3.5 mile run with Mario Fraioli & Marathon Matt Pace Team.

Headed home after that and down to San Jose. We caught most of the New England Patriots on tv  and then made our way to the SAP Center to cheer on the Boston Bruins vs San Jose Sharks. Both Boston teams won! WooHoo!

After a late night (didn't get in until Midnight), 4:45am came very quickly today. I crawled out of bed and made my way over to Golden Gate Park for the  Hot Chocolate 5k/15k . With 10,000 participants I thought I would have a hard time finding my twitter friend Brie, who is a Boston transplant here in the city. We have been social media friends for a couple of months so it was great to finally meet her! After chatting for a bit we wished each other well and made way to the starting line.

My personal goal for this 9 miler was to run the entire thing, no stopping. (primarily because I had to hurry and get back home for work, and I also wanted to catch the San Francisco 49ers game.)   As the race started, I quickly realized that this goal was most likely not going to happen, I couldn't feel  my feet, they were so cold. It was very chilly this morning I had a hard time warming up.

Finally after we exited Golden Gate Park (roughly mile 2.5) and made our way to the Great Highway, the sun was shining along the ocean front and I finally warmed. At mile marker 5 I was still going strong. Checked out my Nike Plus watch and I was right on track, averaging a 9:30pace. I've got this! At mile 8 the volunteers were cheering us on and pushing us to step it up and finish strong. I looked at the girl behind me and playfully said "I'll race you..."  I ended running the last 1.4 miles at an 8:20 min pace. It's amazing what a little motivation can do. As I approached the finish line, the announcers called my name out and asked for a wave to go along with my smile. So cool.

Thank you Brie for tweeting me into running this. It was a great race, It was great to meet you, It was a great morning. I will definitely do it again next year.

Watched the sunrise, met a new friend, ran 9 miles with beautiful ocean views & was rewarded with chocolate fondue at the finish line.
Watched the sunrise, met a new friend, ran 9 miles with beautiful ocean views & was rewarded with chocolate fondue at the finish line.

What do you think of my blog so far? I'm new, so be kind. :)

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#RnRSF Course Launch Party, Boston Sports & Hot Chocolate 15k = action packed weekend

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I am really looking forward to this weekend. It is going to be a busy one, but a great one. It starts Saturday morning with the official Course Launch Party for the 2014 Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon that I am running in April (4/6/14 here in SF). If you haven't signed up yet, click here for details. Very excited seeing  Pavement Runner announce on his blog today that he will also be at the #RnRSF Course Launch Party. I "met" him via twitter, but have yet to meet in person, #TweetUpMeetUp !

Course Launch Party Details:

Date:Saturday, January 11, 2014

Time: 9 am – 11 am

Location: Sports Basement, Presidio (610 Old Mason St.)

What:

  • 5K Fun run led by Mario Fraioli & Marathon Matt Pace Team
  • Post run snacks and beverages
  • First viewing of the course route video
  • #RnRSF & Sports Basement discounts
  • BIG Raffle full of gift cards, gear, and more
  • Live DJ
  • Mini-Expo with vendors and local charities

Ample parking is available, so spread the word! RSVP HERE

After the launch party, I have to boogie home and get ready to head down to San Jose for an evening full of Boston Sports! We have the New England Patriots on at 5pm (PST)  to catch on tv before we head to the SAP Center to catch the Boston Bruins vs San Jose Sharks. I can't wait.

Sunday morning 5am will come quick. I'm sleepy thinking about it. Sunday is my first official race this year. The Hot Chocolate 15k course looks great. The run starts in Golden Gate Park and then down along the Great Highway (it's along the beach for anyone who doesn't know) I wasn't going to run this race, but my new twitter gal pal Brie (http://runfunfood.com/) tweeted me into it. Look forward to meeting her on Sunday as well for my second #TweetUpMeetUp of the weekend. We will lace up our #sweatpink laces and enjoy the race! A portion of the course is the same as the Kaiser Permanente half marathon I am running in February, so this will be good practice.

Sweat Pink
Sweat Pink

Happy Hump Day !

recap: 8 mile trail run

I'm posting a recap, so clearly I survived. At mile 1.5, I wasn't sure I was going to. I know what you're thinking -- is she serious? 1.5 miles in, she was complaining??? Yes I am completely serious. Allow me to explain. Justin (my neighbor)  is the one who told me about the Meetup.com group he found. They were doing this 8 mile trail run and it sounded fun. We met up in the morning and made the trek down to the muni bus stop. (Riding Muni & Bart was a first for me today. Can you believe I have been in the city for just about 10 months and this was my first time on public transportation?!? It was dirty and stinky just like I thought it would be!) We made our way over to the Rockridge Bart Station . We were excited to get going. Weather was perfect!

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Justin & I

We begin down College Ave over to Claremont Ave where the climb began. I literally wanted to cry by mile 1.5. (the Meetup.com description of this run said it started off  with An unforgiving 2-mile climb on Claremont Ave) Unforgiving was a COMPLETE UNDERSTATEMENT. Not only was it a complete understatement, but it was also off by 1 mile. The first 3 miles were the absolute worst. We ran as much as we could. Sadly we walked most of it. Now if I was in shape (which one day I will be and I will conquer most of this hill) I wouldn't have had a problem. For someone who just got back into running - this was painful and not fun. (constructive criticism for the meet up creator: let your runners know this is an intense run. I would have prepared by fueling differently this morning.)

Justin and I thought about turning around and heading back home by mile 2.5. We pushed ourselves a little further. We thought this run wasn't for us. Just as we were about to surrender, we saw the rest of our group waiting for us around the bend. WHAT? They waited for us? They were cheering for us to finish. Okay, we got this.

After a couple high fives were tossed and we caught our breath, I asked the group leader if there were more intense hills. I told him we just were not prepared. He was honest and said yes, 400 or so more intense feet and the rewarding panoramic view of the bay was just up ahead.  He was right. We sucked it up and boy am I glad we did. What a view!

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Before we started our 5 mile downhill trail, we needed a little boost. I was VERY thankful I remembered to pack some Extreme Sport Beans. I like these. They work quick and don't irritate my stomach. No Cramps = Happy Sarah

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jelly belly

We were amply rewarded by a downhill trail with more panoramic Bay views spanning from Richmond to Emeryville.  The trail spills out by Strawberry Canyon pool and Memorial Stadium. No complaints along these miles. Justin and I chatted the whole time (and were surprisingly feeling really good!)

After what felt like hours, our run came to an end right back where we started - Rockridge Bart Station. All in all it was a good run even though we were severely unprepared.

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I look forward to conquering that massive hill in the future. Here's a link to the route: Happy Saturday!

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