Friday, July 31, 2015

My Running Story

It has been awhile since I have posted a blog and I am now a mother of two amazing children Stevie 2, and Cali 3 months. Time has flown by. Cali is a great baby and Stevie has been such a good Big Brother to her.  

Stevie and Cali
My return to running has been going well and I will be posting more about my training soon. I was recently featured in a New York Times article where I went head to head with a guy named Rob Brink in a track workout in New York city.  This workout definitely jump started my training for the marathon trials and I will be writing more about it in upcoming blogs.    

Today, I wanted to post about my running story.  I was recently asked by my good friend Tina Muir to write a blog for her website about my running story.  Tina and I met at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler last year and I am honored to share my story on her blog.  So, here is my story.      

To understand my running story you have to understand my background and where I came from. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona with my parents Terry and Helen Gorton and my younger sister Lindsey. My parents grew up in Michigan and had a blue collar, hardworking, and humble attitude. My parents started their own sign company and worked hard to make it a success.  They started their business out of our living room and built it into well-known business in the local community.  My sister and I watched my parents put their heart and soul into growing the business and making it successful and it made us want to work hard in whatever we did.  

I grew up playing several sports (t-ball, soccer, softball, basketball and swimming), and I had early success and really enjoyed swimming. I started by swimming on the local summer recreational team and became one of the top age group swimmers in the state. By the age of 9,I joined the club swim team to train year round.  It was by far the best sport to be involved in growing up in Arizona to avoid the heat!   However, it was also a tough sport that showed me how to work hard, set goals, and gave me an amazing aerobic system. By the age of 12,  I would often have two hour practices twice a day. Eventually I became one of the top age group swimmers in Arizona and qualified for the Junior National Championships.  
My first introduction to running, came in 6th grade PE class when we had to run a mile for time.  I ended up running a 5:45 mile and beat everyone in my class including the guys(which made me love the sport right away). The cross country and track coaches recruited me to run on the middle school teams.  I joined the teams, but continued to swim on my club team.  I ended up winning our District and State middle school championships in 7th and 8th Grade for cross country and track.  When I went to Mountain Point High School, I was recruited to run cross country, however it was the same season as swimming and I decided to swim. I told the cross country and track coach I would run track in the spring.  In my freshman season of track I was 4th in the 800, and 2nd in the 1600 and 3200m at the state meet. The next year, I decided to concentrate on running. I had accomplished more in one season of running than I had in 8 years of swimming.  I was very successful in a short amount of time without a lot of training and I wanted to see what I could do with more training and hard work.  I ended up having a very successful high school career where I was a 10 time State Champion in track and cross country, a Junior World Cross Country team member, Junior National and Junior Pan American Games Champion in the 3K.  
Running at the 2003 NCAA Championships
with Mollly Huddle and Sara Hall
After high school, I ran at the University of Colorado where I went on to be a 11 Time Big 12 Champion, 9 Time All-American and won two NCAA Championships team championships as well as two individual titles.  Since graduating, I have been running professionally.  I have made a World Cross Country Championship team, was the USATF Runner-up in the 10K in 2006, Pan-American Games Champion 2007, 4th at the Olympic Trials and the US 8K Champion on the road.
Winning the Pan American Games 2007
What is funny is when you look back at an athlete's career or a person's resume it only lists the successes.  What I think would be much more interesting and inspiring is to see the list of “failures” or struggles they had along the way.  In my career, I have had my biggest successes in running and life when I haven’t been afraid to fail.  In my running career I have had:
  • Countless Lost Toenails/Blisters
  • 4 Stress Fractures
  • 2 Posterior Tibial Tears
  • 1 Posterior Tibial Surgical Repair
  • 1 Appendectomy
  • 1 Year of Mononucleosis
  • 2 Cesarean Sections

Most of these struggles have been followed by a breakthrough and have made me much stronger, and hungrier to succeed. I know that I am not an anomaly and many others have had similar experiences. 3 months ago I gave birth to my daughter Cali and in 7 months plan to compete in Olympic Marathon Trials.  Coming back from pregnancy and running at an elite level is not easy and can be very humbling. I know there will be a lot of sacrifice and struggles along the way.  As a new Mom, I want to inspire my son and daughter as well as other Moms to never be afraid to go for their dreams. I want to show them that it doesn’t happen overnight and it takes a lot of miles, hard work and sacrifice to get there. It is important to me to have them watch me work hard for my goals like I saw with my parents work hard for their dreams and inspire them to do the same in their life.  Stevie will be old enough to remember the Olympic Trials and I want him to be proud of his Mom. I also want my little girl to understand that she doesn’t need to be afraid to go after her dreams like I am chasing my dreams of becoming an Olympian.   
Slattery Family 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Must Have Runner-Mom Items

Since becoming a Mom and now expecting my second child,  there have been several essential items I used during my pregnancy and in my return to running.  I have been asked by my running friends and other Mom's what are the must have items for Moms on the run.  So, here is my list of items that have kept me active and helped me return to running strong: 

1.  Compression Tights/Socks
Both pregnancies have gone pretty smoothly and I haven't had many problems either time.  However, one of the lovely experiences for me during pregnancy was the development of varicose veins. Awesome right? Not really. They were painful and not that attractive.  So at about 6 months along, in both pregnancies I started wearing compression tights.  During my first pregnancy I partnered with 2XU who makes amazing compression products. Their compression tights and socks saved me during my pregnancy.  They increased the circulation in my legs and  reduced the swelling and pain of the veins. The varicose veins have returned during pregnancy #2 and I wear my compression tights or socks everyday.  I have also found the benefit of using the compression for recovery from training.  They have been a lifesaver, especially for most Mom's like me who are on their feet chasing around their little ones! 

2.  Healthy Snacks
Like most expecting or breast feeding Moms, and as an athlete I am constantly hungry.   I always keep healthy snacks packed in my running bag and diaper bag so I don't end up eating junk.  My favorite snacks to pack are Trail Mix Nut Natural Powerbars, gala apples, and roasted cashews.  I also keep a tube of Nuun with me.  Living in Arizona dehydration is always an issue.  Not only do I get tired of water, but I often need to replace the electrolytes I use working out in the hot Arizona sun.   My favorite flavors are Strawberry Lemonade and Lemonade. 
3.  GPS/Heart Rate Monitor
 Since becoming a professional runner in 2005,I have used a heart rate monitor to help guide my threshold and tempo workouts to make sure I was hitting my threshold heart rate and not over or under training.  As most expecting, active Mom's know it is important to monitor your heart rate while exercising during pregnancy.  During both my first pregnancy with Stevie and my current pregnancy with Cali, I was able to run up until 6 months of pregnancy. Most doctors recommend keeping your heart rate below 140.  This is a general number given by most doctors based on the average persons heart rate.  I have friends that naturally have higher heart rates and some that have very low heart rates.  I tend to have a lower heart rate.  For example my Threshold heart rate is between 165-170, and my husband has a threshold heart rate of 180.  That is a huge difference.  So, I always keep that in mind when I am monitoring my heart rate during pregnancy.   There are a ton of heart rate monitors on the market ranging from very basic to very complex.  I began using the Soleus GPS Sole during my first pregnancy and have continued using it in training post pardum and now in my second pregnancy.  It uses a fabric chest strap and is a rechargeable unit that allows you to customize 3 viewable lines of data that track your speed, distance, pace, and heart rate.  It is very user friendly.  Which is really important to me because I am not the most tech savy girl.  It is easy to set up and gives you the option of having up to 6 interval timers, count calories, and store and upload your data for later review.  It is an awesome watch and was a huge tool during and after my pregnancy.


4.  Supportive Sports Bra
As a girl sporting a voluptuous 34A most of my life I never really understood the importance of a supportive bra until I was pregnant.  My 34A chest shot up to a D in a matter of months.  I won't lie, it was fun to have a glimpse of what Pam Anderson feels like.  What wasn't fun was exercising with the new girls.  Most sports bras didn't support me and left me with boob chaffing (yes that's right your boobs can chafe) and my back hurting.  About a month after delivering Stevie, I finally found a sports bra that would support me and  not allow chafing.  It was the 2XU Ultimate Endurance Bra.  It has adjustable non slip straps to support your girls as well as an antibounce panel to keep them in place.  It is the only bra that really kept me comfortable when I was nursing during my training.   
5.  Jogging Stroller
As a professional runner, it seemed like a necessity to have a jogging stroller.   However, I wasn't convinced on how much I would actually run with it or need it for running.  I wanted my running for myself and I thought I would be losing quality running if I was running with a stroller.  I was very wrong.  My stroller became a lifesaver.  When I started back running, Steve had started a new job as a pharmaceutical sales rep in Tuscon.  This meant he was gone early in the morning and not always home before dark.  I didn't always have someone that could watch Stevie so the stroller became my new best friend.  I reached out to Baby Jogger when I was pregnant with Stevie.  I was really lucky to form another partnership with a great company.  I was given the X3 Summit Jogging stroller.  In my opinion it is the best stroller on the market today.  When I was looking at strollers on the market most of my friends had the Bob stroller.  It moved great but it is pretty bulky for storing and traveling with.  And often you had to take the front wheel off to collapse it down and fit it in tight spaces.  The X3 Summit is amazing smooth when pushing and folded down really easily and was much smaller than other strollers on the market.  I have now upgraded to the Double Summit X3 for Stevie and Cali.  I can't wait to run with it!
Stevie testing out the new Summit Double X3

6.  Strength Training/Core Stability Plan
One of the most important things I did to get back running quickly after having Stevie was develop solid hip and core stability. During my pregnancy, I made sure to keep my pelvic floor strong (lots of kegels).  After pregnancy, before I started back running, I met with my Therapist John Ball at Maximum Mobility Chiropractic.  He assessed my hip and core strength and watched me run to see if there were any instabilities in my stride.  We developed a core and strength plan to get me back running strong.  I continued this plan and would follow up with John every few weeks.  I didn't have any injuries in my come back and attribute it to having a great assessment and strength plan. 

7.  Sunscreen/Hat
As most of you know, during and after pregnancy your hormones change.  It is super-important to wear sun protection while you’re pregnant. Thanks to the hormonal changes going on inside your body the pigment-producing skin cells (melanocytes) react more strongly to the sunlight and cause dark-brown splotches on your skin — and you want to look all glowy, not splotchy!  So while you’re pregnant, never leave the house without wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Not all sunscreens are safe. Many chemical sunscreens can enter the bloodstream and could your baby.  The chemicals can also irritate your sensitive skin and can cause allergic reactions. Instead, use physical or mineral blocks, which are safer options. These are the ones made with either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.  During and after my first pregnancy I began developing dark spots from the sun and my skin was much more sensitive.  I have always tried to wear sunscreen but after pregnancy I didn't go for a run without wearing sunscreen and a hat.   
Posing after my run in my running hat on a warm day four months after Stevie was born.

8.  Good Quality Running Shoe
A quality running shoe is really important if you are going to seriously train.  It is even more important during your pregnancy.  As you are adding weight to your frame each day you want to make sure you are in a well fitting shoe that is going to support you while you run.   I have been lucky enough to be sponsored by Brooks for the last two years.  I wear orthodics and don't need any stability in my running shoes.  I prefer a neutral cushioned shoe and love the Brooks Ghost 7.  They have great cushioning, and don't feel bulky or heavy while training. I also make sure to get new shoes every 400-500miles. 
  Brooks Ghost 7 Women's Neutral Running Shoes

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Big News for the Slat Family

Slat Baby # 2 Due April 10, 2015

Yes, it's true Slat Baby #2 is due April 10, 2015.  Steve, Stevie and I are so excited for the new member of our family.  We have always wanted to have two kids and to have them close in age.  We feel so blessed that it is really going to happen!   I have a sister Lindsey who is 18 months younger than me and Steve has a brother Pat who is 21/2 years younger than him.  Lindsey and I were so close growing up and to this day call or see each other everyday.  Steve and Pat did everything together too.  I hope that Stevie and the new baby will have a similar relationship.

I am probably one of the least consistent bloggers out there. I haven't posted since April (Jeeze!).   What's funny is I work with bloggers everyday with my job at Modcraft.  I make sure bloggers get to use, see and talk about our clients products on their blogs and social media platforms.   It is an awesome job especially since I get to work with some incredible companies and people and I get to do it from home with my little guy Stevie.  I guess after reading blogs all day, I don't always feel excited about writing in my own.  I also haven't been racing much and didn't want to spill the beans about our new little bean on the way.  So, let me catch ya up on what's been going on the last 5 months since I last blogged. 


Finishing RNR San Diego 1/2
On June 1st, I ran the Rock and Roll San Diego 1/2 Marathon and qualified for my 4th Olympic Trials.  This will be the first one I have qualified in the marathon. I ran 74:13 on a pretty hot and humid morning.  I felt like I had gone swimming when I finished. I was hoping to run a PR of 73:45 but fell off pace on some of the hills toward the finish.  I was still really happy with how I ran.  It has been a tough year juggling my training with running my parents business, working for Modcraft and being a new Mom.  I am also happy because I really found my love in running again.  Before I had Stevie I had become burned out with running and really lost some of my passion in training and racing.  This year it returned and I really enjoyed pushing myself again in both training and racing.  It was so much fun and I qualified for the trials again.  It is both exciting and scary since I have yet to run a marathon.  However, I always get pumped up for new experiences and this will definitely be a big one.  Especially, since I will have 10 months to get back in shape after having the new baby for the trials.  It will be a fun journey!

Steve and I post race at RNR San Diego


After my half marathon, my training was really coming together and I was excited to do another race.    I decided to run the USATF 10K Championships at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on July 4th.  Steve and I were planning on this being my last race of the season, because we wanted to try for Baby #2.  I wanted to have one more hard race before I got knocked up again.  I was really excited because based on my workouts after the half I was in shape to run 32:30-33:00 depending on the day.  I thought I would place well and I was really excited to race.  Unfortunately, it wasn't my day.  1200m into the race I was running in a pack of about 12 girls and my shoe got stepped on.  I thought I might be ok, but it started to fall off.  I stopped and put it back on and lost about 30-45seconds.  I lost the main group of runners and ran in no mans land for the remainder of the race.  I struggled to make up ground on the pack ahead. It was really disappointing because I felt ready to run a great 10K and really wanted to get a hard race in before I had Baby #2.  I was thinking of running another race after Peachtree however, I was ancy to try to have another baby and I didn't want to put it off another month.  Especially, if I am going to get back in shape for the Marathon Trials.  So, I decided to stick to our plan and end my season after Peachtree.  I was a little disappointed but I was excited for our next journey. 
Steve and I in Vegas

At the end of July, Steve and I took our first trip without Stevie.  Steve and I went with our friends Matt and Mel Lincoln to Las Vegas for 3 days.  It was hard leaving Stevie, but we are lucky we have my Mom and My Aunt Jan and Uncle John to watch him.  Stevie loves them so much and knew he was going to have a good time with them.  Steve and I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed having a much needed weekend together.  Vegas was awesome and two nights was the perfect amount of time. 
At the end of July and beginning of August, we took at trip to the Jersey Shore on Long Beach Island with Steve's parents and his brother Pat, sister in law Megan and our Niece and Nephew Ava and Jackson.  It was a great week weather wise at the shore.  It was also amazing  how much had been restored since the hurricane.  You would never have known a hurricane had hit the island  less than two years ago.  We had a great time with Steve's family and got plenty of great East Coast food  in our belly's!  There is something about the bread and pizza on the East Coast that just can't be replicated out west. 
The Slats at the Jersey Shore
At the end of the month we took an awesome trip to Seattle to watch our great friend Chris Schafer and his new wife Kei get married.  Seattle is an incredible place to visit in the summer.  We had so much fun catching up with our college friends.  It was a gorgeous wedding filled with a lot of funny stories, great food and fun people.  My good friends Cate, and Shawn and I got our hair and makeup done too!  I hadn't done that since my wedding 10 years ago.  It was so much fun! 
Liz, Me and Cate at the Wedding

Steve and I all dressed up

CU Buff Alumni at the Schafer Wedding
Right after our trip to Seattle, we found out I was pregnant.  We were both excited and very grateful it happened so quickly.  So far, this pregnancy has been much different than my first with Stevie.  I have been much more nauseous and I have tried almost everything to help it.  I have been eating saltines nonstop, sipped ginger ale all day, ate peppermint candies, drank herbal tea, worn sea bracelets, tried eating small meals frequently, ate bland food, and nothing seemed to help.  All of my friends and family keep telling me I am having a girl, because girls make you more nauseous.  I am not sure how true that is but I do know it scares Steve quite a bit.   I have also been much more tired than I was with Stevie.  I definitely think this is because I haven't been able to sleep as much as I did the first time and I am chasing around little Stevie. I am continuing to run about 30-35 miles/week(more than half of my normal mileage) at a pretty slow pace.  I have found that the days I run I have a bit more energy and my stomach feels a little better.   I am now 12 weeks pregnant and about to enter my second trimester.  Hopefully, it will bring me more energy and my appetite back.  Today, is also my 33rd Birthday!  3 is my favorite number so this has to be a great year with an awesome gift coming in April! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Things are starting to click

It has now been a year in my return to running since having Stevie. We celebrated his first birthday this two weekends ago with our family and friends.  I say this constantly, but I can't believe how fast the time has gone and how big my baby is already!  He is no longer a baby anymore and is a little boy, a toddler, walking, babbling and exploring everything in his sight!
Stevie's Motorcycle Birthday Cake
Homemade Motorcycle Sugar Cookies
It has been a few months since I have last blogged and so far 2014 has been pretty awesome.  Life has been much less stressful and things just seem to be coming together much smoother this year.   Our family has been doing great.  Steve, and I have been having a blast watching Stevie learned to walk, and play.  He has a such a nutty and happy personality that makes him so much fun to be around.  His smile is contagious.
Stevie the Birthday Boy
Running has been going really well too.  I finally got over the cold I had for 6 weeks (yikes!)  and have been able to train consistently since the beginning of January.   I was sick for so long I forgot what it felt like to be able to breath and feel good.   I was lucky because around the same time I got healthy there were a lot of my professional running friends out in Phoenix for winter training.  Molly Huddle, Katie DeCamillo, Julie Culley, Lauren Fleshman, Mel Lawrence, Christine Babcock and Betsy Flood all came out for January and February to get in some warm weather training.  It was great timing for me because it really helped boost my training having more speedy friends to meet for runs/workouts each day.  I finally started feeling stronger and more and more like myself again.
Julie, Molly and I icing in my pool after a 15mile Run
I decided to race the Mountain to Fountain 15K in Fountain Hills on March 8th.  The race ended up going well and I finished 2nd to Sara Hall in a competitive elite field.   Going into the race I felt I was in shape to run 5:40pace based on my workouts.  I ended up running 5:38 pace (52:50).  I surprised myself with my fitness and felt strong for most of the race.  I went through 5K in 16:53, and 10K in 34:00 and it felt very controlled and easy.  However, I lost a lot of time on the hills in the last 5K.  I know with more training and racing I will gain that strength to finish stronger.  
Sara Hall and I warming up at Mountain to Fountain

A week after the race, I took an incredible trip for four days to Maui for my friend Lesley's wedding.  Steve and I were college teammates with Lesley at CU and we both wanted to be there for her wedding.  However, with Steve's work schedule and Stevie being so young it was going to be a little more difficult for all three of us to travel.  I also found out a group of my girlfriends (Lisa Aguilara, Ann Gafigan, Cate Robbie and Jeanna Composoti) were going to go on their own and share a condo together.  So, I decided to go solo.  It was my first "Girls Trip" I have ever taken and it was so much fun!  I don't know why I hadn't done this sooner.   It was so relaxing, I had a blast with all the girls and Lesley's wedding was beautiful.  All of us decided we need to do an annual "Girls Weekend".  There is just something about   I also got in some good training while I was there and by the end of the trip felt so relaxed and grateful to have such an awesome husband, who wanted me to take this trip and enjoy a relaxing fun weekend with my friends.  I was also wondering why Steve and I didn't have a destination wedding.  Great wedding Josh and Lesley!
My awesome Maui roommates (Lisa Aguilara, Ann Gaffigan and Cate Robbie) minus Jeanna 

When I got back from Hawaii training started to come together even more.  I've been starting to show fitness and look like a runner again.  I decided to enter the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 miler, which is the USATF 10 Mile Championships.   The race went well.  I ended up averaging 5:30 pace for ten miles (55:14) and was the 9th American in a very deep field. Janet Bawcom ended up winning the US Championship in (52:20) a new American record.  I felt strong most of the way and ran with a group of American women through 8 miles and fell off the pack and ran the last two miles solo.  I went through 5K in 16:40, 10K in 33:40 and 15K in 51:14---90 seconds faster than I ran 15K at the Mountain to Fountain a month ago.   I was a little disappointed because I fell off the pack at 8 miles, with only two miles to go.  However, it was the first race I have ever puked after.  Steve has always teased me that I have not run a race hard enough because I haven't puked at the end.  So according to Steve's standards I ran hard.
Top 10 Men and Women at the USATF 10 Mile Championships

I am looking forward to more racing this season.  I am a runner that needs to race more often.  I usually get better with each race and relearn how to push myself.  The races also help boost my training to another level and I get more confident and feel much stronger and faster each race I run.    I am excited for this season to be competitive again and back in the racing scene!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014



2013 has flown bye.  I can't believe we are already 21 days into 2014.  I am starting to agree with what my parents used to say, as you get older time seems to go bye much faster.  Obviously, the measurement of time has not changed, but as we get older our lives become more occupied with family, work, friends, hobbies and events and time really to does fly bye.   In the last 12 months, I have taken on more than I have had to in all my years combined. It has felt much like a roller-coaster ride of events with exciting highs and some real painful lows but I am grateful it has gotten me to wear I am today.   Here is my 2013 in a nutshell:

-  Founded South Mountain Striders Running Group
(Yeah!  I love these girls and I am proud to be a member and founder of the group!)

-   Gave birth to my son Steve Slattery 3.0 (Stevie) on March 19th
(Woo hoo, I did it!  Definitely the most rewarding thing I have done in my life.  He brings me so much happiness I can't explain it)

-  Returned to running after a 6 month break from running during my pregnancy
( So excited to be back running and it has been a lot more fun than I thought it would be.   After nine months away, I was so excited to get back in shape and start competing again!)

-  Started sponsorship with 2XU compression wear and Baby Jogger
(Really excited to be working with two great companies with awesome products!)

- Lost my Father Terry Gorton to ALS
(One of the most difficult things I have gone through.  My Dad and I were very close and he was always my biggest cheerleader and motivator.  It is still hard to believe he is gone.)

-  Accepted a position with Modcraft Studio as an Account Manager
(Really excited to be working with my college Teammate Shanna Burnett and her talented husband Kevin Burnett in their innovative PR company!)

-  Ran my first race post pregnancy at Hood to Coast Relays with Nuun
(Had a blast with a great team of women on the Nuun team.  I was proud of myself, I averaged 5:45 pace for 18 miles 4 months after having Stevie. )

-  Took over management/ownership of my parents company Mountain States Specialties
(A large role to take on.  It is a sign company with 10 employees that has been in business for over 25 years.  My Mom was struggling with health issues and mourning and was no longer able to manage the company.  I have a economics/business degree and have had an understanding from a distance of how the company was run.  However, I had to learn the details very quickly and step into a leadership position.  A bit overwhelming at first.)

- In a Car Accident with Stevie and totaled my Dodge Dakota
(A really scary experience that made me realize how quickly your life can change.  Luckily, Stevie was healthy and ok after the accident the only thing I received from the accident was whiplash. )

- Became the Eliptigo World Champion
(Pretty awesome race up a gnarly mountain starting at sea level and climbing to 5000ft.)

-Went to Boulder, Colorado with Stevie to do training for Modcraft and watch the PAC 12 XC Championships.
(First trip with Stevie solo.  He did great.  Had a lot of fun learning my new role with Modcraft and spending time with Shanna and Kevin.  Awesome weekend watching the Buffs kick butt at PAC 12's with other fellow Buff Alumni!)

-  Mom undergoes brain surgery for hydrosephalitis
(Another scary low. The doctors scoped a blockage in her ventricle that was causing fluid to build in her brain. Not sure how much more emotionally I can take right now.  Praying that this will help my Mom and she will fully recover.)

-  Attend CU Teammate, Liz's Wedding in Denver, Colorado
(A fun weekend away from the stress at home.  Really fun to have a date night with Steve catching up with friends and letting loose on the dance floor!  I love Weddings!)

- Attend TRE(The Running Event) Conference with Modcraft
(Exciting to meet all of our clients; Nuun, Oiselle, Soleus and all the editors to
showcase the new products for 2014.)

-  Ran USATF Club XC Nationals.
(Hindsight, honestly not the most intelligent idea during this time.  Going into the race I was both physically and emotionally tired with everything outside of running. However, my team South Mountain Striders, had been planning on doing this race all year and I didn't want to let them down.  It was one of the hardest races I have run and the worst finishes I have had.  I didn't realize how tired I was from juggling everything(Stevie, work, traveling, health of my parents and running) and how much it would effect my race.  It was one of the hardest courses I have ever run as well and I had no energy to really push myself.  It was the first time I have ever felt this way in a race.)

-Christmas in NJ for 10 days
( Stevie met all of his family in NJ.  All of Steve's family live there and Stevie had only met his Grandpa and Grandma.  It was  fun to have a white Christmas.  It was nice to see family and relax a bit too!)

 2013 was one of the most stressful but fulfilling years of my life. There have been extreme highs and lows throughout the year. What I thought would be the most stressful thing for me this year, having Stevie, has actually been much easier and he has helped me to stay sane through this whole process.  He has brought me so much joy and happiness during both the difficult and fun times and I am so grateful to be his Mom.   However, by the end of the year I was exhausted both physically and mentally.  I realized I was very strong for getting  through this period but I also realized could not sustain another year like this again.

Now that we are already 21 days into 2014, I am really looking forward to a year of "normalcy".  This year I learned that I am stronger and able to handle more than I ever thought I could.  I was able juggle and accomplish quite a bit in one year.  However,  I am ready to focus on doing things at a high level and not spreading myself so thin.  I have already put things in place to help me accomplish and stick to a less hectic and stressful year.    I have had to learn to delegate things more and to prioritize the important things in my life. I am going to race as an Elite again and run my first marathon this spring and  I am going to be a great Mom, Wife and focused employee.  2013 taught me a lot and I am excited for the things to come in 2014!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Eliptigo World Champion

Eliptigo World Champion!  What does that mean?  Some of you may be asking what the heck is an Eliptigo?  The Eliptigo is an Elliptical bike used for cross training.  It is an awesome cross training tool that I started using a year and a half ago.  It is by far the most fun cross training tool I have used.  Over the last 15 years of my running career I have had several injuries and done quite a bit of cross training.  The most miserable part of cross training for me is being confined indoors on a machine.  The Eliptigo allows  you to enjoy the outdoors and not be forced to stare at a screen or a wall.  Not only is it fun it is a really great workout.  I can get my heart rate close to 170 on hard rides, which is really high for cross training, without any pounding on my body.

During my pregnancy, I rode the Eliptigo frequently because it felt much better on my body.  I also rode it a lot in my return to running from pregnancy as I built back my mileage.  It was a great way to build back my fitness along with running.  About a month ago, I was asked to ride in the Eliptigo World Championships in San Diego on October 12th.  The race is a 11.65 mile hill climb up Palomar Mountain.  You start at sea level and climb to 5000ft of elevation.  I agreed to do the race and was excited and a little nervous for a new challenge.  I really hadn't rider with many people on the Eliptigo and was curious on how I would stack up in a race and especially on a crazy hill climb like this.  I had cross trained hard when I was injured but how good was I really compared to others?

Climbing Palomar Mountain at the Eliptigo World Champs

The race turned out to be awesome.  It was one of the most beautiful roads I have ever been on and the ride was really tough but fun.  From the start of the race until 92minutes later when I finished my legs burned climbing the hill.  It was a feeling I have never had in a running race.  My breathing felt pretty easy I just had to get used to keeping my turnover going while my legs burned.  One thing that did help is Steve and Stevie drove up the mountain and were able to cheer me on at several points during the race.  Seeing them made me want to get to the finish faster.  I ended up winning the women's race finishing in 92 minutes and breaking the previous record by 7 minutes.  Overall, it was an awesome experience and I am so glad I participated in it.  I had a great weekend meeting the Eliptigo family and other enthusiasts.  And I found out I am a decent cross trainer after all.

Steve, Stevie and I post race at La Jolla Cove

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hood to Coast First Post Baby Race.....What a Blast!

It has almost been two weeks since I ran Hood to Coast Relays and this blog has been in the works since I was on the plane home. It has been a crazy couple of weeks since I have been back at home.   I have taken on a bigger role at my parents company with the passing of my father, Steve started his new job and last Thursday I got into a  car accident(thankfully Stevie and I are both ok).  I could write several blogs about last week, but I am just happy it is over with and hope that my life can return to some form of normal soon.  Thank god I have running, it has been the best form of therapy for me lately! 

Anyway, back to Hood To Coast.   In April, about a month after I had Stevie, I was invited by the NUUN hydration team to be a member of one of the three teams of women they were sponsoring for the Hood to Coast Relays .  I was excited for the opportunity, because it has always been a bucket list race that I have wanted to run and I thought it would be a great first race back after having Stevie.  I was a bit nervous for the race.  It wasn't because it was my first race in a year and a half.  It was the thought of leaving my 5 month old son for 4 nights.  It sounded crazy to me because I haven't spent more than 6 hours away from him!  However, I knew it would be a great chance for him and Dad to bond and for me to have a weekend to myself.  So, breast pump in hand, yes I  pumped in the van between runs, I set out for my first HTC adventure!

NUUN had three teams of women running HTC, made up of Women's Running bloggers. I didn't know any of the women  coming in other than Julia Webb, whom I invited to run on the team with me.  I was a little nervous to meet the other women, and tell them I had a blog especially since I don't even have my own domain name.  Hopefully, they could help me improve my social media skills.   The team I was placed on was a competitive team that was shooting to win the Women's Division of Hood to Coast. I was chosen to run leg 6 of the relay and was in van 1.  My other van 1 teammates   ,"were Dorothy Beal, Robin Hefner, Katie Edwards, Jenny Poore, and Julia Webb.  The women in my van were awesome and I felt so lucky to be a part of such a fun team especially since we would be sharing close quarters for close to 24 hours straight.   Mason Reay the CEO of Nuun was our van driver.  How cool is that? Not many CEOs would drive a bunch of crazy runner girls around for 24 hours straight.   That is what makes the company so awesome.  They not only have amazing products but they are very connected with and care about their customers.  I was very excited to run on their team for Hood to Coast.  

Overall, the relay went well.  With just over three months of running, I averaged 5:35 pace for my first 6.75 mile leg and 5:49 pace for the last two five mile legs.  I was really happy with my runs.  I had only done a month of workouts going into the race and had only run two weeks at 60 miles per week.   I have a lot of work to do to get to my goals this year but I know my fitness is not that far off and I have a lot of room for improvement based on the small amount of training I have done so far.  I wasn't sure how I would feel after running three legs in a 24 hour period faster than any of my workouts this year.  However, I never really felt too tired or sleepy, I think Little Stevie prepared me well for that part of the race!  The hardest part was fitting in pumping in between my legs.  It was a bit strange pumping in the back of the van, and made me sad every time I had to throw out all that valuable milk.  Our team didn't quite reach our goal of winning the  Women's division, due to a mishap with an exchange we lost close to 80min.    But, the navigation and driving is a key part to the race and I am sure there are hundreds of similar stories of missed exchanges, van problems and navigation issues from other HTC teams.   The highlight of the relay was after I finished the final leg for our van, we stopped at a small bar advertising  amazing  bloody mary's.   After a year and a half without alcohol and over 17miles of running, the spicy bloody mary was amazing and so was the plate of bacon  Robyn ordered.

I had an amazing time running Hood to Coast and really enjoyed getting to know all the women on the NUUN teams as well as the all the NUUN employees that helped organize and put our teams together.  It was a great first race back after having Stevie and makes me excited for the year of training and racing I have coming up.