so, it’s 2016. I can’t even believe it. A lot happened in 2015, and the year seemingly flew by. I should probably recap.


As always, school was my biggest priority. I spent the first half of the year at my dream internship and loved every minute. It was truly such an amazing experience and solidified how much I actually want to be in the career field I’m in.

I also managed to score a few more scholarships, which is always great. I did well in my classes and basically continued through the process that is 2L year.

I’m now halfway through with my final year. ONE semester (and one teeny tiny, 2 day, 11 hour exam) stands between me and being legit. It seems absolutely crazy that I’m in the place. I can remember thinking that three years would take SO long. Man, was I wrong.


Celebrating the end of this most recent semester


I think it’s safe to say that we all know running was my second largest priority. It’s been a bittersweet year that started out strong, and ended up sad. I started 2015 training for my spring marathon. Everything was going great. I ran my fastest 20 miler EVER. I was really looking forward to the race.

Then, during taper, everything just went downhill. I won’t recap my whole ferritin issues – I’ve documented it more than enough. My first DNF (and DNS) was in 2015.  That sidelined me until about June-Julyish when I began training again. I did complete a marathon this year – Erie in September. And while I was happy to have a 5+ min PR, I couldn’t help but feel like I had more potential.

And I proved that to myself when I ran the Grand Rapids half marathon and clocked 1:43 – a  time I could have never predicted for myself. It was truly a pivotal moment when I started to think instead of “not me…”, but “why NOT me?”.


Unfortunately, that period of elation passed quickly. I began struggling with hip issues in November (resulting in my 2nd DNF). I thought rest and easy running would alleviate the problem, but I just couldn’t seem to figure it out. Finally, this past week I went and saw a PT. Turns out I have severe muscular imbalances in my glutes and my pelvis is out of alignment. The joys of turning 30.

I have a solid plan of action now, and that’s great. But I won’t lie – it’s hard to watch my mileage and pace drop. It’s hard to go out and want to run so badly, but have to stop because of pain. It’s hard to think just a few weeks back, 8:xx paces were my easy paces, and now I tend to hover around 9 (which does NOT feel so easy all the time). It’s just… hard.

I want to be a healthy, lifelong runner. That is my main goal. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that also includes improvement for me. So it’s very difficult to feel like I’m regressing. And sure, I’m probably being a bit overdramatic. But it’s hard for me to feel that way right now. It’s humbling, to think I ran a sub 8 pace half marathon less than 3 months ago.

You guys know well enough to know that I do NOT like feeling down and out for long. I trust that once I get my muscle strength back to where it needs to be, the rest will follow suit. I am trying to focus on doing my exercises, getting in a little more yoga practice, and just waiting for the day to come where I don’t feel pain/ like it’s super hard to run paces. I have no clue when that day will come, but I hope and trust it is soon.

I haven’t spent much time thinking about what I want out of 2016. Professionally, it is the year that I will hopefully (pending I pass this previous and next semester!) graduate and take the bar exam. It is a HUGE year for my career. I hope to enjoy the last few moments of being a student and head into the path I’ve set for myself.

Running wise, I really can’t say. I can’t make plans until I’m healthy again. What would I like? To run another marathon. Maybe a few halfs. But mostly? I just want to be able to run as long as I want, at whatever pace that I want, and NOT feel pain. And, I want to take care of my body so that it can serve me for the long haul.

I really hope it doesn’t take me too long to get there. In the meantime, I will just keep trucking along, because well, that’s what I do.



Off Season

I haven’t written in awhile and while that’s been unintentional, it still feels a bit remiss.

After Erie, I felt sort of bittersweet. Actually, bittersweet is a good way for me to describe this entire year in terms of running. I’ve had more downs than ever when it comes to racing. But I also hit 2 PR’s in the half and full marathon distance.

I hit a half PR after Erie about a month later, at Grand Rapids. The last half that I raced was in 2013, and I ran around 1:51. I signed up for the GR half 3 days before, since I had friends running the race. It was kind of cool to run the half this year, since GR was my first sub 4 marathon last year. However, I was still a little nervous. My longest run prior was 10 miles (after Erie, I got sick and took some extended rest). I truly had no clue how I was going to feel (especially in that last 10k) or what I would run. When I registered, the website asked me to guess what my finish time would be, so I put 1:47.

On race day, I felt a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to hit the splits my coach gave me, but decided I would just try my best. I started out conservatively, then settled into a groove and hung on exactly to the pace she wanted (7:55). I focused on those splits the entire time while racing, not paying attention to my actual overall time. Around mile 6, a friend running the course ran with me a couple miles and we chatted. I was surprised at how easily I was able to talk at that pace! I felt pretty good, but continued to focus, because I knew that last 5k was going to be a wild card. When I turned off around 9 miles, I said goodbye to my distracting friend and pressed on to the finished.  Once I got to 11 miles, I kicked it up a little more because I knew the end was near. When I hit the finish line and saw 1:44:xx, I was very shocked.


What happened after I crossed was even more shocking — I was about a minute faster than that — 1:43:52 overall! 7:55 pace exactly.

To be honest, this year has not been my favorite year for running. I haven’t felt “fast”  and I’ve watched other friends gain amazing progress, and I just felt kind of… blah. On this day, for the first time in a LONG time… I felt fast. I felt like an actual contender in terms of what I believe I’m capable of. It was one of the few races I have ever finished and didn’t think “I could’ve done this this better”. I was just pleased with my results.

And now… I’m going through a bit of some other issues, that I won’t dwell on here about for now. Not because I enjoy vague blogging, but because I have spent enough damn time feeling sorry for myself and alone, and I’m sick of it. It’s my own figurative punch in the face. It’s off season. I’m grateful for being able to complete my third marathon and get a PR in the full and half distance. I’m trying to look forward to the future, instead of focusing on current setbacks.

I can be very hard on myself, as many of us are. It’s hard to focus on the here and now when you are the type that is always looking ahead. Truly, I believe that what is happening to me now is forcing me to realize the value in both. And to remember that even if things lapse, I can get back to where I was and be even stronger. I’ve watched friends endure terrible hardships and injuries and come back gracefully and triumphantly. It’s off season, guys! No need to take it so seriously for now.

Marathon #3 – 3:50:46

So…. I kind of decided to run a marathon a few weeks back. I just didn’t say anything about it. *insert monkey emoji*

Honestly, after having my iron deficiency in late April, May and June were super maintenance months. I barely hit 100 miles in May and was under 130 in June. That may sound like a lot, but as someone who averaged 150+ every month for the past however many I can remember, it definitely caused me to lose momentum.

I also wasn’t doing ANY speed work. When I first started supplementing my iron, I would just go out and run/slog as much as I could until I was too tired to go. Basically lots of 3-5 milers. In June, I started trying to implement the long run back into my regime. I ended up hitting 11 miles as my longest run for June. Then on the weekend of July 4, I ran a 20k on a whim with some friends. That went better than I was expecting, so I started thinking about working with my coach again. We began training the second week of July.

My friend Amy was very close to her BQ (off by less than 2 minutes) and I had convinced her to run Erie Marathon as a last chance BQ. She in turn said I needed to run it with her since I had been so influential on her running it. I kind of hemmed and hawed on it;  it was Sept 13 so only about 8 weeks away. I told her I would do it, and I planned to, but in truth I wanted a few decent runs before I fully committed and signed up.

July was a tough month to get acclimated. It was warm, and with a closer marathon, I had a more vigorous training schedules. IE ACTUAL SPEEDWORK. ?!?! I kept my head down and worked through it, clocking 160ish miles for the month.

August was harder. More training, work ramping up, and school getting ready to start. I was tired, kind of not sure why I agreed for the race in the first place. But I had one 20 miler and that went decently so I figured I might as well sign up at this point. Just over 200 miles clocked for August.

I will say that I am extremely grateful to have my ferritin seemingly recovered (I haven’t gotten retested since June) and have completed the training cycle. That said, for some reason I wasn’t totally “in” for this training cycle. I think it’s because deep down, I knew if I had more time, I probably would do better. In my heart of hearts, I would love to BQ (sub 335) but recognized dropped nearly 20 minutes on 8 weeks of training was unlikely for where my fitness was currently at. So I focused on a better goal: A. Finish B. Sub 4. C. Sub 3:55:50 (Aka PR).

Because of so many things that happened the week of the race and during taper, I really didn’t have too much time to get nervous about the race until the actual weekend. I traveled with Amy, my friend Karly and Julie (who graciously came to support us) and we made the trek to Erie, PA. This was the first marathon that Nate has not gone with me. It was definitely weird and I felt a little separation anxiety from him. I was able to talk to him, but it was not the same, so I will definitely plan on having him there next time 😉

The day of the race came quickly, just like my recap on it. I started out really strong, even though I felt decent at best. The course was beautiful, perfectly flat, and we had AWESOME weather – 50’s and a nice breeze, although there was headwind in some areas that kind of sucked. But all in all, couldn’t ask for a better day or course. Still, I just felt decent.

My first half was in 1:52 and some change. I actually hit 14 miles in under 2 hours. But at mile 11, I started feeling some weird cramping in my abdomen/diaphragm area. I’ve had it before (usually from breathing wrong) and tried to ignore it, but it would subside and then resume periodically. That made it VERY difficult to run.

Also, I truly believe my endurance wasn’t as strong as it needed to be for this race. I walked a LOT more than I would like to admit. My second half was around 1:58, so 6 minutes slower. That’s really not good. I had started out around the 3:45 pacer ant at this point, I was concerned I wouldn’t even GET to sub 4. The thought of quitting occurred a least a zillion times. It was basically me telling myself the entire way, convincing myself not to quit. And once I got to 20 miles (around 2:55), I knew I couldn’t quit. The option was gone.

I tried as hard as I could to hustle the last few miles, and made a pretty good effort. A volunteer said the finish was just around the corner, and sure enough, I could see the clock as I turned. I started sprinting, gutting it out and giving it all that I could to get there….. sprinting… dying… wanting to stop… where is the effing finish?! Is that clock a mirage!? it felt so far. I was running a 7:30 pace, which might have been why it felt so miserable, haha.

I finished a 3:50:46, a 5:04 PR. I was disappointed at the finish, I won’t lie. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect, I am proud. I could’ve called it when I started cramping, or when I wanted to a zillion times. But I didn’t. I pushed through a lot of tough physical and mental obstacles and still walked away with a PR. I went from a super solid training cycle earlier this year, had an iron deficiency that knocked me out of the running game for a few months, and started seriously training for 8 weeks and managed to knock this out. Who knows what I could accomplish on better circumstances? 🙂 12032115_10156153781385637_3157960242200031070_n

Saying Goodbye

When you lose someone, your mind always drifts back to your last interactions and moments with them. And then regret and guilt usually follow.

A friend of mine passed this weekend. He had been going through some pretty hard times, and though I wanted to reach out to him, I didn’t. Over a dumb fight.

We had this silly fight months ago, and I don’t even know that he was even that mad by it. I know that I wasn’t. But it made me feel awkward attempting to interacting with him, and I chose not to. I watched his posts on Facebook, as he went through more challenges, while presenting an upbeat attitude. Something tugged at me to write something, anything. But I just didn’t know what to say. To me, there was nothing you could really say. When someone is going through a shitty time, you can write the obligatory “that sucks” “I’m praying for you” “let me know if you need anything”. And I’m sure that in its own way, it helps. But it’s only on the surface.

We weren’t close or best friends, by any means. We went to the same high school and he was one of my brother’s friends. We worked together at a firm. He asked me out right around the time I started dating my husband. I turned him down. He joked with my husband (who he was also friends with) about that much later, as we shared joint wedding anniversaries. He was a brilliant man with an incredible future ahead after law school. Then it seemed like he hit one huge set back after another. It’s not my story to tell so I won’t. But I watched it all and maintained contact with him throughout it. Never really broaching the tough subjects, just talking about law school and help with exams. Small talk about our lives. Him joking that all my running made the rest of them look bad. Simple interactions when out at the same events.

Then we had this fight, which stemmed from him being upset with me for an irrational reason. But at this point, he was angry at life and felt that negative experiences were all he had. And in turn, the way he approached many situations attracted negative responses (such as me choosing to ignore him when he lashed out at me). My family often calls me selfless, the most generous of the bunch. Willing to drop anything for anyone whom I feel loyal to. Yet I watched him continue on with these many battles, and felt like my words of support would accomplish nothing, or if anything, infuriate him by reminding him of our last interaction. So I did nothing.

What’s crazy is this isn’t the first time I felt that pang to reach out to him. A little while back when he got divorced, he took it very hard. Understandably. He was clearly blind sighted. And I felt for him, especially when it was right around our joint anniversaries. It was bittersweet celebrating happiness with mine, while he was alone on the exact same day. I didn’t know what to say, and I didn’t reach out then. But we still floated along, in our random interactions, until this last one.

And now he is gone. There will be no second chances. I hesitated to make this post because it comes off more about me than this amazing life that is gone. It is NOT about me. It is about him. But he has shown me that I should’ve just done what felt uncomfortable and reached out. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered (it probably wouldn’t). But this hallow feeling that has sat in the pit of my stomach for the past 24 hours makes me question if it could’ve.

My point for this post is a reminder to myself, and all. Don’t wait to reach out. People are facing battles we will never understand. But we must try to. We must show love even when being pushed away. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I will get into a fight with someone. Nor will it be the last time I hold a grudge. All I can hope for is to get a little better each time.

I’m so sorry to say goodbye to you E.

A lot in a little time

Hi hi!

so my summer kind of started with a bang and I’ve been a little busy with other things. I figured now might be a good time to do an update 😉

First off, we went to Key West for 5 days and it was amazing! We did a ton of things – went to Ernest Hemingway’s home, parasailing, snorkeling, etc. It was so much fun!




our beautiful resort

I haven’t had a real vacation in several years (law school tends to take up a lot of time ;)) so this was just what I needed. It was nice to just relax and have a few days to do whatever we felt like. I also ran 3 of the 5 days I was there. It was HOT and very humid everyday, so I’d get up at 6am to go running. It still was 80 degrees at that time! It was kind of perfect because I just took things easy and didn’t worry about pace. With my ferritin already stressing me out, it was great to just enjoy running and remember why I liked it so much in the first place.

Anyways, after we got back, we had a quick weekend and then I started work that Monday. I’m working full time this summer and I really enjoy it! I had a couple school commitments to take care of the first week, and I’m also doing a directed study, so that made the start a little more hectic. Just how I seem to like! haha.

Towards the end of May I knew my birthday was coming up and that meant I would be in a brand new age group. I started feeling kind of bummed that my last two races were ones I wasn’t proud of. The half that I DNF’d because of my iron (which I had no idea at the time) and the marathon that I spent months training for and then didn’t start. I’d been having some decent short-ish runs so I figured there was no harm in signing up for a 5k that I could just run for my last race of my AG. I had no time expectations whatsoever – I just wanted to finish. I didn’t want my last race to be one I didn’t start or complete.

I signed up for a local 5k on Memorial Day. I felt SO nervous about it! It’s weird because I’ve never been worried when doing a race that I wasn’t planning to hit a certain time, but I think it was because I didn’t know how I’d feel with my iron levels still low. As I waited around the start line, I started feeling a little anxiety – what if it was too soon to do this? I’ve only been taking iron for a few weeks, what if I crash and burn? At that point I decided that I would not look at my garmin at all while running. Just finishing would be my entire goal (and not walking, if I’m being completely honest).

Pretty much the first mile I hated that I’d signed up for a race. It was warmer than I was hoping and the race had a later start (8am) so those two things sucked. I decided that I would just run an effort that I felt like I could maintain. True to my word, I didn’t look at my garmin the entire time. I got in a little groove at around 1.5 and started passing a few people, which pumped my spirits a bit. Then, as I turned the last bend, it was a straight shot to the finish line. I couldn’t see the clock right away (didn’t have my glasses on, LOL) but as I got closer I saw 23:xx and then I pretty much just all out sprinted because I was so happy. When I crossed, I looked down at my garmin and saw 23:47 (official 23:45). I was on cloud nine! No this is not even close to a PR for me, but it was such a shock. I didn’t think I was running a 7:40 average. I thought I would be much closer to 25 or 26 minutes (and those were optimistic goals for me) so this was really a much better outcome than expected. I felt a little spent after, but I know it was from all out sprinting + I haven’t been running a sub 8 pace in quite a few weeks 😉


After that, I found out I placed 2nd in my AG and that made me even happier. Sure, it was a smaller race but the person who placed 3rd was almost 5 minutes behind me. I felt really proud of my performance and like that was a solid showing that my recovery is imminent.

I got my levels re-checked several days later and am currently at a 25 ferritin level. That means it’s increased by 14 in 6 weeks! It’s still not optimal (for female athletes, it should really be 40-50), so I’m supplementing and slowly increasing my training, but I feel noticeably better. I won’t say I feel 100% yet, but I hope to soon.

All in all, I am happy with how May went and the end of my running career in the AG I actually started running in 25-29. I’ll have to do a whole separate post about my birthday and what being 30 means to me.

Talk soon!!

what I can control.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Finishing my 2nd year of law school, finalizing summer plans, and taking a moment to reprieve have been really positive for me. To that end, I’m really grateful.

Oh the other hand, it was also a really rough time to deal with my ferritin issue. On the surface it sounds so silly – low iron? Ok, just go eat a steak, 5 lbs of kale, etc. But by the time I finally realized what was going on, it really affected my running. So much that I was starting to think something was seriously wrong with me (cue melodrama).

Even after learning it was most likely due to low ferritin, I still was feeling pretty negative. In many ways, I felt like an imposter – is this even a real injury? I have friends dealing with stress and complete fractures right now that prohibit them from running. Me just being low on iron? Seriously? <—- these are the thoughts I had. I also felt disappointed in myself. Why couldn’t I just suck it up and push through it? Why did I have to miss my marathon? I’m strong in so many areas of life, I’ve pushed through so many challenges. Why not this one, now?

Finally, after a couple weeks of feeling sorry for myself, and blaming every possible thing I could think of, I realized that wasn’t working. I only felt more miserable and that’s not what I want.

Instead, I made the conscious decision to change my thoughts and focus.


Life is a series of events. Jack Canfield (who is one of my favorite personal development mentors) talks about a formula E+R=O. Event + Response = Outcome. Often, we have no control over the E (the weather, economic climate, broken bone, low iron, etc), but what we do have control over is the R. How we respond. And that can change the O.

When I first was struggling, no matter how I tried, my runs never felt good. Even ones where I didn’t care about pace or distance – I was just miserable the whole time. That’s because my response was treating myself negatively because of the event I was currently facing. I knew that had to change if I wanted to make any sort of progress.

So now, I’m focusing on what I can control.

-I can’t control how long it will take to boost my ferritin. What I can control is what I do to increase absorption – such as, avoiding calcium and coffee when taking iron, and trying to take vitamin C with it.

-I can’t control how every single run is going to feel. What I can control is working on being a better runner for when my training comes back. I’ve been doing cross and strength training about once a week and already noticing differences.

-Other things I can control include working on things to make me a better runner, even where I’m currently at. I knew that my form wasn’t the greatest, and had it in the back of my mind to work on it. I bought Meb Keflezighi’s book Meb For Mortals, and in it, he talks a lot about form. I have started doing form drills and implementing those changes in my runs. It’s actually easier to do so right now, where I’m not as focused on target pace. It allows me to slow down when needed to make sure I’m making the changes correctly.

-The biggest thing I can control? My attitude. For a long time I started feeling like maybe I just wasn’t meant to run anymore marathons. I figured, cut my losses and be happy that I at least achieved sub -4. WRONG. This is a set back, a road block, a hurdle. It certainly slowed me down but it won’t stop me. I visualize myself running, feeling happy, free and energetic. I know I will run another marathon one day. And I will be better for it because of this current time period in my life.

– Lastly, I focus on my successes, whether big or small. This week I ran more miles than last. I also had some decently paced runs. Instead of comparing my training to my pre-ferritin drop training, I focus on the now and being better than the week or day before.

I feel happier overall since adopting this mindset. I will keep moving forward. The only thing that can stop me is me, and I refuse to allow that any longer.

plan of attack.

yesterday marked the end of my second year of law school! I can’t believe how fast it’s going. When I first started 2 years ago, I remember thinking 3 years was so far away. Now I’m nearing my last year. Crazyness!

I really couldn’t be happier with how this year went. The first part of 2L year, I successfully trained for a marathon which I had a massive PR and finally went sub-4. I also somehow landed the internship of my dreams this previous semester. I won awards for trial advocacy skills, and was selected to represent the national mock trial team for my school. All while staying (moderately) sane!

The downfall for sure was Glass City. Having to back out of that during taper sucked. On the plus side, I did manage to get through my highest training cycle EVER feeling relatively well, aside from the whole iron issue. Which leads me to where I am now.

You might think that because it’s summer vacation that I’ll have a bit more free time. Well, probably not (big surprise, eh?! I don’t like staying busy 😉 ). I’m taking 2 summer courses as well as transitioning into full time employment in the next two weeks. So I get 2 weeks of play! And I plan to live it up. Starting first by actually blogging!! haha.

Where does that leave running? I am slowly starting to feel the affects from supplementing iron. As I said previously, I met with a dr who has been counseling me on the issue. I’m currently taking a pill and liquid iron supplement. I will likely just transition into the pill, because it’s a higher dosage (and liquid is expensive) but I’m on the liquid for the time being because it usually kicks in faster.

I am taking my runs day by day. Last week was the first good week I’ve had probably since before the half I DNF’d. Not as much fatigue, legs weren’t achy, no breathlessness. However, I ran significantly less mileage than I was in training. At this point, I’m not training for anything, so it doesn’t make sense to put pressure on myself or beat myself up for losing momentum. I am where I am. And if I can actually enjoy the run, that makes me really happy, because I was starting to dread running.

I ran 4 days last week and felt 80% good for the week. I also biked for cross training and took one day of complete rest. That’s another thing- I’ve changed up my workout routines. I’m not going to just rely on running. This iron thing kind of reminded me that, hey, I need strength and cross training as well. Because of that, I bought a pilates package and aim to take one class a week, as well as bike one day a week. If anything, it’s been helping me to not go crazy with the lower mileage.

I was leery to try pilates but I actually love it! I”ll have to do another post about it…..

My plan of attack is simple – keep trying to run while being easy on myself. I’m not doing any hard workouts or speed right now. I’m not eyeing my garmin and getting frustrated. Some of my runs have ended up much faster than I anticipated, but for the most part, I try to just run what feels comfortable. The only time I looked at my garmin was during yesterday’s shake out run because I wanted to make sure I was going slow enough. lolz.

In all actuality, I’m not going to lose a crazy amount of fitness/speed/endurance if I keep doing things that keep me strong and active. Even if it’s not running. So until I feel 100% better all the time, it doesn’t make sense to force it. I plan to try to transition into 5 days of running a week, low mileage, gradually increasing. I have a one month checkup with my dr to re-check my iron and evaluate my progress. If things continue to go well, I hope to build up my comfortable base to around 30-35mpw by June. At that point, I’ll start to think of other things. For now, I’m just happy to run and not feel exhausted.

I also want to continue to make strength and cross training a priority. EVEN if I feel amazing, those things can only help my running, not hurt it.

I’m sorry I don’t really have any pictures or anything, this is a lot of words. I’m very happy with how I’m doing, and willing to be patient and give my body the time it needs to heal.

Thanks again for all the comments, tweets, messages etc about this. It’s sounds so silly but it’s been really frustrating and heartbreaking for me. So I really do appreciate it.

Talk soon!

an update on my marathon training.

let’s be real, I haven’t been looking forward to writing this. And right now, I’m studying for finals so I don’t have a ton of time. But I figure it’s time to make a post, and maybe I can (hopefully) help someone else if they ever face the situation I did.

I was supposed to run the Glass City Marathon last Sunday. Emphasis on supposed to. My training was going well, I was working with my coach and hitting great milestones. I ran 2 twenty milers, both of which were faster than my 20 in the Grand Rapids full last year. I was feeling good, confident, and well prepared.

Fast forward to about 4 weeks ago. I ran a half marathon as a training run- I was supposed to hit my marathon target pace for a few miles, then kick it up if I felt good. That didn’t happen. I started off immediately feeling tired, and assumed it was just because I had stayed up later than I should have the night before, and had a couple glasses of wine. Figuring I could push through it, I kept on. But I was still feeling pretty fatigued, and it caused me to not pay attention to the roads, which had tons of potholes. I mistakenly stepped in one and felt a muscle in my quad immediately seize. Not wanting to sabotage my training, I pulled out. My very first DNF. I wasn’t *too* upset about it because I knew it was just a training run and not my goal race. I knew another run was on its way to bounce me right back.

That better run never came. In fact, even after resting 2 days to allow my quad muscle to heal, I still felt tired while running. It felt like I was running with an open parachute behind me. It was my last week of hard training, so I figured my body just needed to get into taper. I struggled through those runs, even having to stop and catch my breath at times. I ran my last 20 miler, came home and took several naps and went to bed early (this never happens to me on long runs – I usually am full of adrenaline all night). I just figured it was because I never ran 2 twenty’s in a training cycle before.

The week leading into taper, I knew something was off. I was struggling on 3 mile runs. A couple of my friends have had issues with low iron so I finally decided to check mine out with my dr.  I had a physical in February where everything was fine, so I was hoping to just re-confirm my iron numbers. Except, my iron was never tested in February. It rarely is unless you ask for it.

My dr wasn’t a great help (he asked if I was getting enough carbs/water/sleep/had realistic training goals etc) and I kept insisting on checking my ferritin levels. After speaking to my friends who struggled with anemia and iron deficiency, I knew that was test that would give me the proper answers. I got bloodwork done and they called me with the results the very next day. “Good news, you’re not anemic, everything’s fine!” the nurse told me over the phone. “What is my ferritin level specifically?” I asked. “Oh, it’s 11. The range is 10-80. You’re normal.” That still seemed odd to me, so I asked to have my results mailed to me and then began doing my research.

I won’t go into the ridiculous amounts of research and discussions I’ve had with running coaches and now my new running dr, but a ferritin level of 11 is very iron deficient for a female runner. Runners generally should strive to have ferritin levels of 60, and can have severe affects to their training when under 20 (check out here, here, here, here and here if you want more info). Women are at higher risk of iron depletion because we have periods, and lose blood every month. Also, the more you run, the more you lose iron in your feet from foot strike hemolysis, which essentially destroys red blood cells with every foot strike. Obviously, if you’re running or running high mileage, you can appreciate the irony (ha, a pun!) of losing more iron with every strike.

My mileage this year has been higher than any training cycle, maxing out at 224 miles in March (right around when this started happening) – nearly 50+ miles more than my max month for GR. I had no idea that I could deplete iron so quickly. If I had, I would have begun supplementing.

I started taking liquid iron a little over 2 weeks ago. I noticed marginal improvement but basically could only go for short, easy runs. I still felt tired and took more rest days than normal. A few days before Glass City, I started my period, which seemed to throw all my progress off (makes sense, low iron + losing more iron = not a great combination). I hated to make the decision that I did, but I didn’t want to put my body under more stress than it is. So I decided not to do Glass City. Who bails on a race during taper? *raises hand*.

I did go to the race with my friend Karly, who is also sadly benched from an injury. We walked the 5k and just enjoyed cheering people on. Our friend Amy ran a massive PR, after dealing with anemia early in the training cycle and getting those numbers boosted from supplementation. So proud of her!

I also got to see my friends Janet and Matt, who did the half, and I haven’t seen in forever. Sounds like they are right on track to begin training for their fall full 🙂

during the 5k with Julie and Karly

during the 5k with Julie and Karly

This past week I found a dr who is a Boston runner and deals with runners regularly. He told me the liquid iron was good, but due to my levels, I need to supplement even more. I’ve begun to take a pill along with the liquid iron, and seem to be feeling a little better. It should take about a month to notice a big improvement, so I’m not going to put more pressure on myself until then.

Am I bummed to miss the marathon? Of course. But I want to be able to keep running, and well, so I have to take care of myself now. Hopefully, I can find another race in the future to train for once I’m feeling like myself again.

If you are feeling exhausted a mile or two into runs, breathless, higher heart rate than normal, or just excessively tired that you don’t attribute to training, please go get your levels checked. Had I done that when I bombed that half, who knows? I maybe could’ve made it to GC. Hindsidght is always 20/20.

So, I better get back to studying now. Hopefully next time I update I’ll have more good news!

my next goal

January flew right on by without any entries. Sorry, friends!

I knew the first month of the year was going to be crazy, and it didn’t disappoint. Crazy in a good way. But crazy. I managed to log 181.3 miles (and that’s missing 2 runs due to a weird stomach issue) – my highest monthly mileage YET. My last month PR was 170 in the midst of training for Grand Rapids (we’re talking I ran 18-20 mile long runs at that time). Right now my longest run is 14. So yes, the miles are adding up. And I’m feeling surprisingly good, my easy pace has gotten a little faster. And I’m able to hit my speed work for the most part (save some crazy headwind and snowy days).

long running in the snow fall was surprisingly fun! the novelty has since worn off ;)

long running in the snow fall was surprisingly fun! the novelty has since worn off 😉

I’ve already mentioned that I’m training for a spring full. What I was vague blogging about last time was my goal. Since then, I’ve discussed things with my coach and we have a target in mind BUT I’ve decided that I don’t want to be so limited in the way that I was last time. Last year, my really (REALLY really) big goal {for me} was to run sub 4. It was all I thought about, hitting that target. It was a really great breakthrough goal for me to accomplish.

Now? Obviously I’d like to do better than my 3:55:50 time, but I’m not going to just focus on the number. Instead, I’m focusing on being the best version of myself I can possibly be, one mile at a time. We’ve had a tough winter here in Michigan. My treadmill and I have rekindled our on/off again relationship. I’m putting in the work – some days I have crazy energy and push past the paces my coach sets for me and others I’m a little tired and barely hit them. I’m not going to work the “full time law student/part time internship” excuse for that. We are all busy, and time management is something I’m working hard to perfect these days.

Another thing that I’ve welcomed back into my life? Planks!! Oh how I missed them. I joined a plank challenge for January and am happy to say that I completed it. I also learned a bunch of new planks that I’ve continued to work into my routine (instead of just holding a plank for as long as I can). I have noticed more results from these exercises than I ever did just holding the plank. It also seems to be complimenting my running so it’s really win/win/win.

So my goal is to try and beat my time for sure, maybe even by a lot, maybe by a little (who knows?), but I really just want to be the best version of myself every single mile. Even the miles I hate, when I’m wind burned and freezing. My mantra so far has been “one mile at a time” and it’s working for me.

And just remember:



Wrap up 2014 and thoughts on 2015

It’s that fateful time of year when everyone does their “Year End” blog post. I am no different.

2014 was a really productive year for me, in all aspects of life. I finished my first year of law school, got an amazing fellowship where I worked as a student attorney over the summer (and appeared in court on behalf of clients!). I started my second year and despite having a somewhat overloaded schedule, I made it through (still working on my last research paper 😉 ) and accepted a dream internship. I also just recently found out I was awarded an additional scholarship for excellence in trial advocacy! That was a nice little way to conclude finals.

The real highlight of this year, of course, was running. (Are you surprised?).

with my GR gangstas

The only picture I have from GR finish (funny how distracted you are after 26.2 😉 )

This year was definitely the most serious for me, in terms of running. Last year, I had 5 goals, and hit all of them. This year, I really only had one (huge) goal.

I began working with a coach and trained for that pretty crazy goal (for me), a sub 4 hour marathon.  When I first met with Brendan, I ran ~4 days a week and probably averaged 70-80 miles per month. Which was fine for me, it was a manageable base. Now, I run ~6 days a week and average 100+ miles per month. What’s crazy is that doesn’t even seem like a lot now. I remember thinking it would be so hard to handle, but in reality, you just keep one foot in front of the other and things kind of click.

I definitely battled minor setbacks this year, getting sick and also having such a heavy course load this past semester. There were some days that I was tired and didn’t necessarily feel like getting up earlier to run. But I had tunnel vision and kept my eye on the prize.

And then I hit it! On October 19, I ran my second marathon in 3:55:50. There was a brief period where I thought I wouldn’t do any more marathons. That period has passed. Haha!

For next year? It’s going to be busy busy again. I start my internship in January, I’m taking 3 classes and also will be competing nationally with the mock trial team at my school. I love having all these opportunities to lead me in the right direction for my career!

Also, I’m planning to do more marathons in 2015. I’ve begun training for the spring already. I am working with a different coach (Brendan has since qualified for the Olympic Trials, so I’m working with his assistant who I love!) and my running routine is getting a little more intense. But I’m up for the challenge because I’d like to see how far I can go from here.


The above was written before the New Year (oops, forgot to publish). I just want to add for those of you reading who may be ready to go and resolution-energized: inevitably, there will be times that you don’t feel like running. I hate when people just act like “I love to run all the time no matter HOW crazy my schedule is!” I do love to run. Most of the time. Not every run is stellar, speedy or pretty. I don’t always want to wake up super early so that I have time to run and wash my hair before class/work. I find that the times that I hate running the most are when I’m feeling overwhelmed by fear of failure or stress from other areas in my life. As cliche as it sounds, these are the most important times to get out there.

Don’t wait for Monday or the New Year to start chasing your dreams. Sure, given the time frame, New Year is a perfect time to start. But if you fall off the wagon? Brush yourself off and get back on it (even if it’s March). And no matter what happens, don’t be too hard on yourself. As long as you’re moving forward, you’re making progress (even if you can’t see it yet).


I hope you all had a safe and fun New Years Eve. I look forward to seeing what 2015 will bring.