Review: Sunwarrior protein powder

13 Nov

Disclosure: I was sent a container of Sunwarrior Classic Plus protein powder to review. I am not otherwise being compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

The weather finally has taken a turn here in the Midwest. We were experiencing a bit of an Indian summer through September and October, but we now are experiencing true fall–bright, but blustery days with a distinct chilly bite in the air.

I love running in the fall, but I do not love pushing the double jogging stroller in 20+ mph winds! So, I’ve taken my workouts to the gym…which means I’m not so chilled that I can’t enjoy a post-workout smoothie!


Representatives on behalf of Sunwarrior offered to send me a container of their Classic Plus protein powder in exchange for some play on my blog, and they challenged me to do more than simply review the product.

Of course, my first thought was smoothies. But then, my next thought was that smoothies are reserved for the summer.

Wait…what if we changed up the smoothie game with classic fall and winter flavors and/or fall and winter produce? Out with the fresh berries and tropical flavors and in with the apple, pumpkin, cranberry, pomegranate, and sunny Southern citrus and the warm, spicy flavors!


So what is Sunwarrior?

  • Great-tasting, raw, plant-based proteins that are perfect for muscle-building, weight-loss, recovery, and more.
  • Superfood supplements like greens, whole food vitamins, and liquid minerals.
  • Always free of GMOs, chemicals, acids, solvents, dairy, gluten, or anything artificial.
  • Silky smooth and delicious additions that enhance your smoothies and your life with nothing to slow you down!

I tossed around a few flavor combinations–apple-cinnamon, pumpkin spice, even peppermint mocha–but I landed on one of my favorite tastes.

My cranberry-orange smoothie combines the classic Thanksgiving flavors of cranberry and orange with vanilla Sunwarrior protein powder and old-fashioned oats for staying power and a shot of protein and fiber.


Cranberry-orange smoothie


1/2 cup milk (skim, almond, or soy)

1/2 scoop Sunwarrior Classic Plus protein powder – vanilla flavor

1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

Zest of one orange

2 small-medium oranges, peeled and segmented (about 1 cup)

1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Combine the milk, protein powder, and oats in the pitcher of a blender and let stand (while you peel and segment the orange). [This allows the protein powder to “dissolve” a bit and the oats to soften a bit.]
  2. Add the orange zest, oranges, cranberries, cinnamon, and vanilla and blend until smooth. [Because of the inherent texture of fresh cranberries, this smoothie will never be truly smooth; a higher-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, might blitz through them better than a standard blender.]


This smoothie has that wonderful, almost nostalgic cranberry-orange flavor with a hint of sweetness from the vanilla-flavored protein powder. It has a unique texture, because of the oats and cranberries, and it clocks in at fewer than 300 calories. It makes a perfect post-workout snack or light breakfast.

Now, it’s your turn! Share your own fall or winter smoothie recipe in the comments. Three randomly-selected people will win a Sunwarrior starter pack.

Edited to add: The giveaway expires Dec. 4.

Review: SLS3 HiPZiPP running belt

4 Nov

 Disclosure: I was sent an SLS3 HiPZiPP in my size and color of choice to review. I am not otherwise being compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

With three full marathons under my belt (pun absolutely intended!), including one in the spring and one in the fall this year, I’ve developed a system for carrying my personal essentials, water, and fuel during long training runs.

It goes like this: Strap on my two-bottle Fuel Belt. Strap on my SpiBelt. Stuff in a couple of gels or a package of Honey Stingers, then, after my music and RunKeeper are active, muscle in my phone. Turn my filled-to-capacity SpiBelt to my back, and maneuver it between the bottles of the Fuel Belt. Run.

It’s a little cumbersome because my SpiBelt just isn’t that big–certainly not for a fairly large phone and a few packets of fuel.

I considered getting a FlipBelt, but I just never committed to it. Then, SLS3 offered to send me a HiPZiPP in exchange for a review, and I jumped on it. I had a couple weeks left of training for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, and I thought I could take it out for a few test drives, in hopes of using it for the actual race.

According to the manufacturer, “Our high end, warp knit performance compression material is ultraflat, ultralight and you won’t even feel your HiPZiPP when you’re wearing it. It doesn’t bounce, there is no chafing and it hugs your hips. … The compression fabric holds the hipster belt in place securely no matter how far, how high and how often you jump, run, tumble, crawl or hike.”


I selected a size large; I wear a medium, but thought since the belt is supposed to sit lower, toward the hips, that the larger size might be best on account of my–ahem–more shapely figure. I should have asked for a medium. During one of my last runs (on the treadmill) before the race, the belt rode up immediately, and my phone made it sag in front and bounce against my lower abdomen. It was so annoying. Fast forward a few weeks… I used three large safety pins to cinch the belt about an inch. It seemed to fit better. Last week (again on the ‘mill) for a fast 2-miler, the belt still rode up, but my phone stayed relatively in place.


I’m not sure how low on the body this belt is intended to sit. If it’s supposed to sit at the hips, then I’m not sure how that works, because my butt (as my legs go back in my stride) pushes it up. If it’s supposed to sit around the waist, then I’m not convinced this is the product for me; when the belt rode up to my waist (and crept under my shirt), it made me very warm and slightly uncomfortable.


I was attracted to the HiPZiPP because it had larger pockets for larger phones and more gels, and might allow me to carry a car key or an ID. But after trying out this style, I’m not 100 percent convinced this is the right product for me. I’d like to see what a true medium feels like, but I might just pass altogether and opt for a FlipBelt, per the recommendations of friends. I won’t get rid of my HiPZiPP altogether, though; I think it could come in handy for adventures that might prohibit me from carrying a purse, such as a casual hike, a concert, or an amusement park.

If you’d like to give the HiPZiPP a shot, I am giving one away.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway ends Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Or, if you can’t wait or if you don’t win, I have a discount code for $10 off. Just type in “HZ10” at checkout on the SLS3 website.

The belt retails for $29.90 from SLS3 ($24.90 on Amazon). It comes in eight vibrant colors and four sizes (XS-XL) based on hip measurements.


And while we’re on the subject of new gear…

SLS3, which specializes in compression gear, recently launched a Trade-In and Trade-Up program; it ends Dec. 30.

How it works:

  • Send a pair of your old socks or sleeves to:
    SLS3 / Trade-In
    2613 Temple Heights Drive, Suite G
    Oceanside, CA 92056
    (Include a piece of paper with your e-mail address.)
  • Once the company receives your item, they’ll e-mail you a case sensitive code that allows you to purchase a pair of SLS3 compression socks or sleeve for only $15.

Race recap: Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon

13 Oct

The Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon was the race of a lifetime! It marks my third full marathon–my second this year–and my first race in my home city. And it marks a new personal record of 4:29:29.

KEH - finisher

This marathon was so different from the Bayshore Marathon in that I was kind of a lone wolf, both in training and during the race.

Part of me cursed the loneliness: I sometimes struggled to push through those early-morning long runs because I knew no one else was up before the sun running, too. I worried about racing without a partner–someone to keep me on pace, at least for half of the marathon, and someone to talk to, to help the miles pass.

But as it got closer to race day, another part of me embraced the loneliness: I had trained to my abilities and mostly alone (save for the standard last 6 miles of my long runs with Christopher and the girls ). I was prepared to run my race.

As such, I was very calm about the marathon. I knew I would hit my goal of 5 hours. I thought I might hit a more lofty goal of 4 hours and 45 minutes. But, I wondered if I could hit a pie-in-the-sky goal of 4 hours and 30 minutes.

IMG_20151003_134912The day before, Christopher and I met Mindy and Andi in Milwaukee to grab lunch and beers at the Milwaukee Ale House, then pick up our packets at the Italian Community Center. We had dinner back at home, then put the girls to bed. We shuffled off to our respective rooms about 9:30 p.m. and finally went to bed about 10 p.m.

I slept well, all things considered.

Mindy and Andi and I were up at 5:45 a.m., at which point, we promptly ate breakfast, then changed into our running gear. We headed out the door about 6:30 a.m.

20151004_065946 20151004_070716

My mom drove us to Grafton High School, where we pinned on our bibs, put on our other gear, and then headed outside to the porta-potties. We met up with my friend, Jillian, who waited in line with us; we were in line for about 20 minutes, then headed to the start line.

I dashed back to my mom to give her a hug and a kiss and tell her, “I love you.” She said, “I love you, too.” and reminded me that Oma was with me and she would give me light feet.

(My mom had given me a guardian angel–a white angel encased in a clear stone, about the size of a large marble–to keep with me during the race. It belonged to my Oma. She had it in her pocket the day her aorta ruptured and she later died. I found it–it fell out of her pocket into the washer–a few days later. My mom has kept it with her, in her purse, in the car, ever since. I tucked it in my sports bra, on my left side, close to my heart and frequently touched it throughout the race.)

I lined up in front of the 5:00 pace group, but behind the 4:30 pace group, about where the 4:45 pace group had gathered. The race director counted down, and we were off.

Somewhere between Mile 1 and 2, as the course ventured into its only truly “rural” setting, the breeze blew in the scent of cow manure and wet hay. I laughed. “Good morning from Wisconsin!” I said. A few people around me snickered at the smell wafting in the air. “Smell our dairy air!” one guy said.

Just after Mile 7, we turned onto the Concordia University campus and straight into the wind. Luckily, within a few more turns, we headed south and out of the wind.

KEH - midrace

Around Mile 8, I saw my dad, and then, steps away, Christopher and the girls! The line of spectators was crowded, as was the general pack of runners, so I opted to wave to them, rather than stop.


About Mile 10, I saw my blog friend, Jamie, who I saw again a few more times, including just before the finish chute. Basically I would see my family, then I would see Jamie, then I would see my family again, and then I would see Jamie again. It was a nice boost to see someone familiar every few miles.

Just before the halfway point, I stopped to use the porta-pottie. By this time, I had caught up to the 4:30 pace group and decided to hang with it for as long as it felt comfortable and maintainable. But, in stopping to pee, I lost them and lost maybe 2 minutes.

But then, at the halfway point, I saw Christopher and the girls again; the girls were out of the jogging stroller and so, ran into the street. I pulled off to the left, hoisted Anna in the air, then bent down to hug her and Elise together. I grabbed hands with my dad, then headed off again.

At Mile 15, I saw my mom again, then at Mile 18, I saw my mom and dad, and Christopher and the girls. And then about Mile 22, I saw my dad, Christopher and the girls for the last time.

At that point, the course had neared ultra-familiar territory–the UW-Milwaukee campus, Lake Park, and Lincoln Memorial Drive. It was an incredible sight to head toward downtown, toward Veterans Park, past Bradford Beach, Villa Terrace, Alterra (ahem, Collectivo) on the lake–all with the Milwaukee Art Museum in the background.

The finish area neared. The cheers of the crowd gathered on both sides of the path and then, at the end, the finish chute grew louder. The clock came into focus.

KEH - finish wide

I saw 4:31 on the clock, and I grinned like the cat who ate the canary. I was so happy with my time: I had come in ahead of my goal of 5 hours, and I was merely a minute off my pie-in-the-sky goal of 4 hours and 30 minutes. And I felt good–strong, even.

MKE Lakefront Marathon finish collage

After I had my medal around my neck, I headed into the milieu. I grabbed some snacks, including a giant soft pretzel, and I put on my newly-purchased Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon long-sleeve technical jacket.

In the runner-spectator meeting area, I finally found Christopher, the girls, and my dad, and at that moment, I found out my time was actually sub-4:30.

FB_IMG_1444073893408 FB_IMG_1444073899235

This was such an incredible race. I was so.freaking.steady. throughout: My average paces were 10:09, 10:27 (bathroom break), 10:19, and 10:16. My first half was 2:14:37, and my second half was 2:14:52–a difference of a mere 15 seconds!

I stopped at every aid station, but truly walked through only two or three of them. I took fuel every 4 to 4.5 miles. I just felt plain ol’ good, save for the typical aches and pains that come with running a marathon.

The Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon gets major points, not only for being the race where I set a PR, but also for being well organized, having wonderful spectator support, and having one sweet medal.

The spectators really made the race one for the books. There were tons of people at the designated viewing areas and major mile markers, where you would expect a lot of people, but there still were plenty of people at other places, even in the quieter residential areas. Everyone was cheering loudly and holding clever signs, and most everyone was calling out your name (It was printed on our bibs!). It was so unique to have complete and total strangers cheering for you by name. One woman even looked me dead in the eye and told me she was proud of me. I still have no idea if she is someone I should know or remember or not.

So…another marathon is in the books. I am so grateful to all who supported me–on race day and every day before it–especially my family; my best girls, Mindy and Andi; and of course, my amazing husband, Christopher, and sweet daughters, Anna and Elise. I am truly amazed at what my body, my mind, and my heart are capable of.


Distance: 26.2 miles
Duration: 4:29:29
Average pace: 10:17 per mile
Miles 1-7: 1:10:57
Miles 7-13.1: 1:03:40
Miles 13.1-20: 1:11:03
Miles 20-26.2: 1:03:49

Race recap: Reagan Run 5K

13 Jul

It’s tradition around here to run the Reagan Run. It’s a can’t-miss local race.

The race has a tough course, especially for the distance; it starts at the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan downtown, crosses the Rock River, winds through the woods and up some steep grades, and again crosses the river and ends in Haymarket Square downtown.

But the race truly is one not to miss. It attracts more than 1,500 runners and hundreds of spectators.

This year, the race was Saturday, July 4. The weather was near perfect, and the race brought a record almost 1,700 runners!

Christopher set a goal to run it in 20 minutes, which would have been not only a personal best for the race, but a personal best for the 5K distance, too. I went into the race with no specific goals, no specific expectations, except to run a good race.


Christopher lined up toward the front, near the highly competitive runners, while I lined up with the 8- to 9-minute mile folks.

I battled a side stitch through almost all of the race. I ran fast and hard.

I did the first mile in about 8:15 and the second mile in about 9:21. I skipped the first water stop, but I jogged through the second stop. I never stopped to walk, maybe only slowed a bit after ascending the steep hills in the woods.

I crossed the Peoria Avenue bridge and, with only a few turns left before the straightaway to the finish line, I kicked with whatever was left in the tank. I sprinted down the straightaway, passing a few men and a woman who had been in front of me for much of the third mile; I thought I would pass another woman who had been in front of me most of the race, but she scooted ahead of me at the last moment.

Watch @kaylabee0418 take down competitors at the finish line. #BeastMode #ReaganRun

A video posted by Christopher Heimerman (@cheimerman) on Jul 4, 2015 at 7:00am PDT

Upon crossing the finish line, I felt sick, and I wanted to vomit, but I sipped some water and felt better. After that, I wandered around Haymarket Square, looking for Christopher and his parents, who watched the girls during the race. We all finally met up and walked over to the art fair in the park.


Christopher missed his goal, but by only 83 seconds; his official time was 21:23–a PR by a pretty significant margin and good enough for seventh place in his age group.


I crossed the finish in 26:56–a PR by 56 seconds and a race-specific PR by 2 minutes and 42 seconds!


I had 12 miles on the docket, but temperatures soared into the 80s with next to no breeze for relief, so I put in another 4-ish miles while the girls took their afternoon nap, and a few more walking miles later in the afternoon, and called it good.

For posterity, here are the details:

Distance: 3.1 miles
Duration: 26:56 chip time
Average pace: 8:47 per mile
Mile 1: 8:15
Mile 2: 9:21
Mile 3: 9:05

National Running Day 2015

3 Jun

Happy National Running Day!

Those of you who read my blog or follow me on social media (especially Instagram) probably think I’ve always been a runner, logging mile after mile, running race after race, racking up medal after medal. But those of you who know me in real life or know I’ve only recently become a runner.


In high school, I managed the cross country team. I looked up to the coach and the athletes. I so wanted to be one of them. So to fit in, I did all the warm-ups and cool downs, and I kept ace statistics. I started my stopwatch in sync with the starting gun and bolted to the 1-mile mark, then hopefully the 2-mile mark, and always the finish line. I calculated splits in my head and knew the personal bests of a dozen or more runners. I congratulated our standouts and a buoyed our strugglers. I hung onto inhalers and sweatpants, and I offered sweaty hugs and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

It didn’t matter to the cross country team that I didn’t run. It mattered only that I showed up. I earned a major letter in cross country for my hard work and dedication, and I got as big of a round of applause and as many words of praise as the athletes.

After college, while working as a reporter for a newspaper, I made a decision to get healthy. I wanted to lose weight and feel better about myself. I wanted to be a runner. So, I ate fruits and vegetables, I drank 8 glasses of water a day, I weighed my food and counted my calories, and I exercised. I used the elliptical trainer, but I transitioned to the treadmill and learned to run by doing intervals of walking and running—a Couch-to-5K-type plan before Couch-to-5K was a “thing.”

Running reeled me in, hook, line, and sinker. I felt strong. I felt healthy. And I lost a few pounds.

I signed up for my first 5K race in March 2009—the Dick Lytie Spring Classic in Green Bay, Wis.—and my then-boyfriend (now husband) Christopher ran the entire 3.1-mile race alongside me. I vividly remember the experience: I crossed the finish line and dry heaved from over-exertion. Christopher assured the volunteers I was fine, I just had asthma. I did two more 5Ks that summer, and then Christopher and I did the Jingle Bell Run in Janesville, Wis., on Dec. 5, 2009—the race where at the finish line Christopher presented me with an engagement ring and asked me to marry him. aimg_2720 I did a few more races in Wisconsin in 2010. At the very end of 2010, after we had been living in Michigan for about 6 months, and after some blog interaction with a couple of girls from Grand Rapids, I found a true passion for running. We signed up for a 4-miler on New Year’s Eve, then a 5K each in February and March. michigan-023 Around that time, I decided to train for a big distance race—a half marathon (with Amy, who agreed to train and run with me). Christopher was working long hours and traveling with the hockey team, so I ran with Dexter to pass the time. We trudged through a cold, snowy winter. In poetic fashion, Amy and I crossed the finish line of the Oshkosh Half Marathon soaking wet and freezing cold; it was April, and it was snowing. img_0161 About a month later, Mindy, Andi, and Christopher and I ran the River Bank Run 25K. Then, around the turn of 2012, Christopher and I decided to run a marathon. It was a completely life-changing experience (my race recap is here). chris-kayla-2 We did some other races after the big one, then we got pregnant and had our twin girls, the loves of our lives.

Running took a backseat to everyday life. I yearned to run, to race, to add more bling to my collection. I missed the challenge, the rush. We ran a handful of 5Ks last summer. I was back in the game.

And then, around the turn of 2015, Mindy, Andi, and I decided to run a marathon together. It was another life-changing experience—but in a completely different way (my race recap is here). I trained well. I ran a solid race. I want to do it all over again. 11377218_647640052032898_6714283216273456172_n In the days leading up to the Wisconsin Marathon, I wrote this:

You [running] helped me find my strong. You make me feel tough as nails. You give me a rush of confidence unmatched by just about everything else.

Because of you, I get to hear my husband tell me, ‘You’re so beautiful!’ even in the midst of a run—sweat dripping down my brow, salt caked to my eyelids, spit stuck in the corner of my mouth.

Because of you, I get to see the looks on people’s faces when they find out I’m a runner; sometimes, they look at me like I’m crazy, but other times, they look at me with a hell of a lot of respect—especially those who are runners, too. I love telling them my story.

Because of you, I feel like I can do anything.

It’s all still true today. running-day-2015-e1433335063194 Today, 8 years after first learning to run; with 18 5Ks, 2 half marathons, a 25K, 2 full marathons, and a handful of other distances under my belt, and now with two daughters in tow, I run:

  • For the former fat girl who never thought she would be an athlete, let alone a runner.
  • For the quality time with myself, my husband, and my family.
  • For the stress relief and the confidence boost.
  • For the experiences it has given me.
  • For the friendships it has brought into my life.
  • For my daughters, to show them what it means to set goals and achieve them, to try and sometimes fail, to be strong, to be determined, and to be confident.
  • For myself, to prove that with a dream and some hard work, anything is possible.

Running really has changed my life. And I thank God every day for it.

Race recap: Bayshore Marathon

28 May

You might remember that three years ago, I ran the Wisconsin Marathon. And you might have heard that this past weekend, I ran the Bayshore Marathon.

Two completely and totally different race experiences. Three years ago, for the few days after the race, I was so high on the fact that I ran a marathon. But today, nearly a week after the race, I am high on the fact that I not only ran 26.2 miles, but also enjoyed it!

Let’s back up to Bayshore Marathon Eve.

Christopher and I loaded up the girls and all of our gear and headed up to Traverse City, Mich., on Friday morning. We broke up the 7-hour drive into two legs — Sterling to Three Oaks, Mich., where we stopped for lunch and to stretch our legs, and Three Oaks to Traverse City.

We checked into our hotel, gathered our group together (which now included Mindy and Andi), then headed out to The Filling Station for wood-fired pizzas and craft beers. We stopped over at the high school for packet pick-up, then headed back to the hotel to wind down and settle in for the night.



The three of us girls agreed that it really didn’t feel real until we had our red bibs in hand. We had talked about doing a marathon together way back in November, signed up in December and, for all intents and purposes, trained on our own from January through May. Mindy, Andi, and I finally were together, finally were going to do this big, scary thing called “run a marathon.”

I was very calm about the whole thing, to be honest — and had been for much of my training. Sure, I had some of the typical worries. And sure, I set a time goal that I wondered if I might actually be able to hit. But honestly, I just tried to go into it as relaxed as possible.

Christopher and I put the girls to bed, and then I shuffled next door to spend some quality time not freaking out with Mindy and Andi. We finally went to bed about 9:30 or 10 p.m. I slept pretty well, all things considered.

We were up at 5 a.m., at which point, we promptly ate breakfast, then leisurely changed into our running gear. We headed out the door about 6 a.m.

We waited in the warm high school gym for a while, then ventured outside, where it was 38 degrees, to the porta-potties; we were in line for about a half-hour, then made a bee-line for the race start and ducked into the pack after most of the 8:00- and 9:00-per-mile runners had taken off.

Mindy and I ran the first half of the race together. We maintained about a 10:30 pace, which was comfortable and maintainable. Those 13.1 miles are a relative blur. We talked. A lot. We stared at the stunning bay with its crystal clear, blue water to our right and ogled the quaint beachfront houses to our left. We stopped at every aid station.


Just before the turnaround point, we saw Christopher and the girls! It was so wonderful to see them — Christopher with his clever neon yellow sign and the girls standing in their stroller yelling “Go! Go! Go!”

It’s unbelievable just how encouraging it is to see familiar faces — family and friends — out along the course. It’s a whole ‘nother level of encouraging to see your husband and your daughters. Cue the tears. I thought about them a lot during the marathon — during the comfortable, seemingly easy miles, and through the painful, truly difficult miles…especially during the rough stretches. I reminded myself that I run for them, my girls, because I want them to see me as a role model, not just for eating well and exercising, but for setting big, scary goals and achieving them, for perseverance, determination, and drive, and for confidence. I reminded myself that Christopher, Anna, and Elise were counting on me to run my best race, that they would literally be by my side throughout the marathon. I told myself that I could not — would not — let them down.

At the turnaround point, Mindy took a walk break, but I ran. It was time to run my own race.

Just after the turnaround point, I saw Christopher and the girls again. I kissed the girls, I kissed Christopher, and then I ran.


At Mile 16, I knew I had only 10 miles to go, so I decided to stop not only at every aid station, but also every 2 miles to eat a few Honey Stingers to maintain my energy, as the temperature had climbed into the upper 60s, if not the low 70s.

About Mile 21, I saw Christopher and the girls again. I looked and felt awesome, aside from a wee bit of pain in my left knee — nothing that would hinder my race or my ability to hit my goal. They ran alongside me for a few strides; it was like so many of my long runs for just a few short moments — so comforting and familiar.

11151067_10102692804265728_7379342529419124881_nBut right after that, I experienced some excruciating pain in my right hip. My game plan changed: Run as much as possible (still stopping at the aid stations and 2-mile increments), but walk as needed and for as long as needed. I ran until my hip screamed. I walked to that mailbox, that tree, that bend in the road. I ran again until my hip screamed. I walked again.

I wanted to cry. Why? Why was this happening to me? Why now? I prayed. I begged God to get me to the finish line. I stared out at the water. “Do not waste your energy on tears.” “You can do this.” “You are strong.”


At Mile 23, I sidled up alongside two 40-something guys. “Wow, you’re still runnin’! I gave that up miles ago,” the one guy said. I chuckled. I made small talk. “Don’t let us hold you back,” he said. I didn’t. I ran.

I ran much of the last 2 miles, and I ran all of the last three-quarters of a mile.

As the finish area neared, amid the screams and cheers of the crowd gathered on both sides of the road, my aches and pains and doubts had gone. Just before the turn onto the track, I saw the whole gang — Christopher and the girls and Andi’s husband and his daughters — but I waved to my girls. Then, as I turned onto the track, I kicked it and passed not one, but two (maybe three?) ladies and streaked across the finish line.


After I had my medal around my neck, Christopher found me and helped me get some chocolate milk, ice cream, and a few other snacks that undoubtedly were for the rambunctious toddlers, rather than the girl who just ran 26.2 miles!


As the rush wore off just a bit, I refocused my energy on cheering for Mindy and Andi. This marathon was a big deal for both of them, and I wanted to make their finishes special.

Mindy came up the homestretch, and I made a beeline for the finish chute. I gave her the biggest, tightest, sweatiest hug, and we cried together.

Andi stepped onto the track, and we went to cheer her on. We each grabbed one of her hands, Mindy on the left, and I on the right, and the three of us — the original running girl squad — crossed the finish line hand in hand. Cue the tears again.

That moment was one for the scrapbooks. I thought about those girls so often during my training, knowing that they were pounding the pavement as often and as long as me, that they were excited and scared and in utter disbelief that we were actually going to run a marathon. I wanted to be a touchstone, a supporter, a cheerleader. I had done one of these before; I didn’t know a lot, as a result, but I did know that it is possible. I wanted to be the one who always assured Mindy and Andi that yes, they could and they would. That moment, the embraces that followed proved that my job was complete.


So, to recap: I did it! Again!

I want to dedicate another (shorter) post to the things that made this marathon so much better than my first one. But I would be remiss if I didn’t thank a few people:

  • Christopher: Thank you for encouraging me, for supporting me, and for believing in me. Thank you for running some really ugly miles with me. Thank you for stepping up with the girls and around the house to accommodate for my training. Thank you for being a beacon of light on that course, for your witty signs, and for toting those little girls around in that stroller all morning. You are my heart. I love you.
  • Anna and Elise: Thank you for babbling “Mama! Mama! Mama” during our runs, motivating me to keep going, faster and longer. Thank you for cheering on the sidelines during the race; your sweet little faces were the best shot of energy. And thank you for allowing me to be your mama; everything I do, I do for you.
  • Mindy and Andi: Thank you for being the best running pals a girl could ever ask for. You held me accountable, and you made me want to give all the training and, the pièce de résistance, the race my absolute best. Your friendship is so special to me.

I also have to thank my family and friends for their support, and thank all of you for your words of encouragement along this journey.

Distance: 26.2 miles
Duration: 5:06:18
Average pace: 11:41 per mile
Miles 1-4: 42:42
Miles 4-10: 1:08:09
Miles 10-13.1: 34:30
Miles 13.1-16.2: 34:07
Miles 16.2-22.2: 1:14:14
Miles 22.2-26.2: 54:11

Bayshore Marathon – I did it!

24 May

I’ll have a full race recap sometime this week, but for now, I’ll share a few photos!






I ran a really good, consistent, smart race. I battled excruciating hip pain after Mile 21, but I walked as needed and ran as much as possible that last 5 miles. I finished in 5:06:18 — a more than 25-minute PR from 3 years ago.

I could not be more proud of my accomplishment.

Mindy ran a really good race, too, and crossed the finish line like a boss. And Andi struggled but finished – with Mindy and I holding her hands and her stepdaughters in tow. It was a sight to behold.

We left everything on the course, to be carried off into the crystal blue waters of the bay.

Stay tuned for more!


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