Kerstetter 5k: My runniversary race

Runniversary isn’t a word, per se, but it is part of my runner vocabulary.

In March 15, 2010, Elyria police officer James A. Kerstetter was shot and killed in the line of duty. At the time I was working for the newspaper full-time. While I was off work the night it happened (a Monday), I covered everything following: the vigils, press conferences, family interviews, and funeral. Although I never personally met Officer Kerstetter, I felt like I knew him from hearing stories from fellow officers, family and friends. He seemed like an amazing person I wish I could of had the pleasure of knowing.


In July 2010, the inaugural Kerstetter 5k was held. They planned to hold it near his birthday, July 9. I knew of the event, but really had no intention of participating. The weekend prior to the race I was chatting with a few ladies I had recently met at Splash zone at the outdoor pool. I knew the ladies from spinning. They were both runners and at the time I had been running off and on to stay in shape. They mentioned that a group of them were running the race and said I should run it as well. I let the idea bounce around in my head for a day or two and then decided, yes I will run this race. It would be an awesome tribute to Jim and his family.

I think I ran once that week, on the treadmill at Splash Zone. I signed up the day before the race at the police station. The day of the race I was pretty nervous because I had never run an official race before. Although my time wasn’t the fastest, I remember more all the emotions surging through the pre-race ceremony and on the course after the gun went off. That day I dedicated that run to Officer Kerstetter and ran with him in mind. The course was tough, mainly the drop into a small park with a narrow drive and uneven terrain, I did my best and used Jim as my motivation to keep going.

As I ran down the hill on Kerstetter Way towards the finish line for the first time, the rush and overwhelming emotions that flooded over me was such an amazing experience. I completed my first official road race. And I did it to honor a man who lost his life doing his job to serve and protect.


And today, July 12, 2014, four years later, I ran the fifth annual Kerstetter 5k.

Me and Karie before the race.

I was nervous waiting to start the race. But once the gun went off and we took off I just felt great weaving my wave through the crowd.

Can you find me in this photo? Source.

I ran the race with Jim in my thoughts and ran a strong race. I caught up with the Elyria PD, Lorain PD and OSP officers who ran in formation the entire 3.1 as I made the final turn back onto Kerstetter Way. It was a crazy mix of emotions running beside them as the crowd stood and applauded them as they ran toward the finish. Again, I became overwhelmed with emotions for the moment. I used it to push hard at the end to cross the finish line. I finished proud, just like I did four years ago.

This race, like every year will be, will be my way to continue to honor and remember Officer Kerstetter and show support to his family that he will not be forgotten.

This race also symbolizes my start in my running journey. I have promised to myself that I will run this race annually not only to honor Jim, but to allow myself to reflect on my journey and celebrate all I’ve accomplished, gained and experienced by choosing to make running a part of my life.

While in the past six months I’ve grown to enjoy other types of fitness workouts, I know running will always be apart of me. A way for me to relieve stress, give me time and space to think and allow me to enjoy the beauty of the world around me.


What a fantastic weekend!

Summer officially started this past Saturday. And I can honestly say the first weekend of summer was FANTASTIC!

My weekend in photos:


I kicked off the first day of summer with my first 5k of the year.


Running with a Mission at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. It was my first race at the zoo, but I knew it would be a hilly course. Two laps of the zoo meant one ginormous hill ran walked up twice. But what goes up must come down, so the down hill was refreshing and much welcomed especially to finish. The weather was overcast, cool but muggy. It started to sprinkle right before the gun went off, but it stopped before reaching the first mile marker. I saw many familiar faces at the race, which was nice since I decided the day before to register. There was also a special guest roaming the crowd right before the start.


I was happy with the pace I ran and finished in 33:42 (10:43/mile). I haven’t been consistently running and my average pace was under 11 min/mile so I’ll take it.


Post race I treated myself to a bomb pop because it was so muggy and I knew it would help cool me down.


They also had bananas, apples, nature valley bars and kind bars. I was super happy that they had Kind Bars because they are super yummy but made with natural ingredients. I chatted a while after the race with my friends John and Lisa. But I had to leave so I could make it to Crossfit on time.

I got to Crossfit a few minutes late, but I ended up being the only one to show up for Birdtown Crossfit’s community WOD, so one of the coaches did the workout with me. It was hard and tiring, but I felt amazing afterwards.



How I felt after back to back workouts.

After I showered and refueled, I headed to the beach to try my hand at searching for beach glass.
This is what I found on my first time out


Saturday ended with a long over due roomie dinner and drinks. We grabbed dinner from The Fever in Oberlin and took our grub to Matus Winery to enjoy the fabulous weather.


After getting to sleep in for the first time in what felt like forever, I did some grocery shopping and then went off to Hingetown in Ohio City for some rooftop yoga with Sarah from Inner Bliss Yoga as a part of Harness Cycle‘s community yoga.



This view was awesome! Looking at Lake Erie when we lifted our hands to the sky, and got to say hello to the CLE skyline when we prayer twisted or moved into warrior two. The best thing was that you could even hear the music from the Parisian fair happening a block away. Truly calming.

I’m in this photo, top right. Gray bottoms with magenta and white tank.ūüôā

I will definitely be making a point to getting to this as much as I can this summer.

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The long lost race recap

The Medical Mutual Glass City half marathon was 16 days ago. And as the CLE half marathon is 5 days out, I figure now is better than never to give a recap on my first spring half marathon of the season.

After an AMAZING final long run before the race, I was excited to crush Toledo. Unfortunately, as the week began, my allergies began to flare up. A flare up turned into a head cold! Not good! Not being able to nip the cold in the bud, I was forced to rest all week and not do any final short taper runs. My focus the week leading into the race was to get healthy and be able to run the race. I was NOT going to let a stupid cold ruin 12 weeks of hard work!

Come Saturday, I was feeling a little better, but still had a stuffy head. When I woke up I did two shots of nasal spray. Then I took some cold medicine with breakfast, and then right before my nap I took my daily allergy medicine.¬†I decided to go back to bed and rest for a few more hours before I had to head west. ¬† When I got up to shower after my nap, I felt a little off. As I was in the shower, I was working myself up about not being healthy enough to run and started freaking out that I would have a DNF. ¬†A mild anxiety attack in the shower and too much meds, I had a moment where I thought I wasn’t going to be able to race. I started seeing colored spots, felt woozy and got too hot from my shower. I got out of the shower immediately and laid down. After laying down for a bit I felt better and went back into the bathroom to finish drying off and get ready. But then I got a rush of the same feeling again and I had to go lay back down. This was NOT good! I was really scared at that point because I could see a DNF becoming a true reality. ¬†Luckily after laying down for a second time, I felt better. I decided I needed to get ready, get some food and get on the road. I decided that I would not pack any cold medication or nasal spray to take with me because I did not want another episode.

Once I got some food in my stomach and got on the road I felt much better.

Fast forward to Sunday morning.

I was lucky enough to stay with my friend Taylor who lives in Toledo and pretty close to UT campus. She was running the 5k so everything worked perfectly! We got to the campus in plenty of time and found parking pretty close to the stadium (the start/finish line). It was pretty chilly and windy, but I knew once the sun came up it would warm up a little bit. We walked around to keep warm, talked with some members of the local media that my friend knows (she is a badass crime reporter for the Toledo Blade). After using the facilities, it was time to line up in my assigned corral and wait for the start of the race. I was excited but definitely nervous because I hadn’t run in a week due to being sick. But once the gun went off, my nerves subsided and I took off with the other half marathoners and marathoners.

The way out was definitely chilly because we were running into the wind. I had on a long sleeve shirt I planned on ditching once my body temperature got warmer. I ended up holding onto it until the 5k mark. Around mile 2, my left knee started to ache. I wasn’t happy about this happening so early in the race, but I tried to push it out of my mind and clip on at the good pace I started out on. But after the 5k mark and ditching my long sleeved shirt, I stopped to walk brief. My knee pain wasn’t subsiding and I knew I was going to have to race smart to make it to the finish without completely injuring myself.

At the 10k mark, I again stopped to walk more to relieve my knee. It felt like it was swollen to the size of a softball. It didn’t look so, but it definitely felt like it. I kept my thoughts positive and told myself run when you can and walk when you have to. This race was all about crossing the finish line and not pounding out a PR.

The runners and race supporters were awesome! They helped keep my mood up and helped the miles go by quickly. The course was relatively flat, with a few rolling hills through some pretty awesome neighborhoods and through the metropark.

Around mile 12, I saw my friend Taylor chatting with some firemen. I was surprised and excited to see her. I yelled to her “My knees hate me right now” and she responded back “but I love you!” That made me smile and helped me push forward. I approached closer to the campus of UT and could start to see the top of the stadium, I recognized fellow blogger Emily ahead of me. I was determined to catch up to her and say hi since I did not have a chance to meet her in person prior to the race. I caught up with her when she stopped to walk briefly. I ran up beside her and said “let’s go Emily” and we ran together the rest of the way into the stadium and across the finish line. I finished 2 minutes faster than I did in Akron last fall. A successful race despite the knee pain. My pace in the beginning of the race helped me finish in the time I did, and made up for my slower pace on the second half of the course.

After collecting my medal and taking my finisher photo, I was in search of the medical tent. I wanted ice and ibuprofen for my knee. I could not find a marked medical tent around, so after grabbing a finisher’s bag, water and a banana, I decided getting a massage would be the next best thing. I waited in line for almost 25 minutes, but it was worth the wait and the shivering. The sports masseuse was awesome! He really focused on my left leg since that’s where my knee pain was, but was extra careful around my knee. I hadn’t ever received a post race massage before because the thought of someone touching me as I’m sweaty, salty and just gross after 13.1 didn’t sound appeasing. However, it was definitely the right decision. I was able to walk a lot better afterward. When I got back to my friend’s house, I took ibuprofen, iced my knees and took a nice hot shower.

Taylor took me to an awesome local diner for brunch and we chowed down on some AWESOME food!


Oreo pancakes, turkey bacon and chocolate milk!





Food smashed!


Overall, the Glass City half marathon was a GREAT race! It was well organized, the course was lovely and the weather was awesome! I highly recommend it if you are looking for a new spring race!


5 days and counting until my next half marathon. I am definitely nervous. I took the entire week off from running after my first half. I wanted to let my body, especially my knees, recover. I got in tons of cross training– cross fit, boot camp, spinning and yoga.

Last week I got in a total of 14 miles. I ran 6 miles on Saturday as a mini long run. I wanted to run 8, but 6 is what Celina and I ran. Celina ran the Indy Mini the weekend after I ran Toledo and we are running the CLE half together. It will be the first time for both of us running two big races within a short period of time.

The plan for CLE is to run smart. In the past, CLE has traditionally been warmer than earlier spring races which dictates the pace I run at. However, I’m hoping with the cooler forecasted weather and feeling much healthier, I can run a great race like I did in Toledo minus the knee pain and hopefully shave a few more minutes off my time. But my main goal is to have fun and actually¬†enjoy¬†CLE. My past experiences with this race haven’t left me with the best post race feeling, so I’m looking to change that this year.

Here’s to another 13.1!

It’s here! Medical Mutual Glass City half marathon week!

The last three weeks of training have flown by! I can’t believe I’m tapering this week! After an awesome 10 mile run, and then all the excitement and inspiration the Boston Marathon provided me with today, I am PUMPED for my 7th half marathon this weekend.


(Source) Seriously, how can this not inspire and make you proud to be an American and a runner?


Last week’s training was awesome! I felt like everything was clicking and I was peaking at just the right time. I had a KILLER run Tuesday which accidentally turned into an unintended speed workout. It being the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, I decided to dedicate my run to those who did not survive, those who did and all those who would be running the race on April 21 (today). Even though I completely fell apart on mile 3, I did not quit and cranked out my fastest mile in almost two years!


After such an epic run on Tuesday, I was hoping Thursday’s 5 mile run would be just as great. It wasn’t by any means, but I still logged 5 miles, about 1 min/mile slower than Tuesday. I wasn’t going to let that discourage me and affect my final long run on Saturday.

I went to Indiana over Easter weekend to visit family, so my final long run would be done in my hometown. Fort Wayne did not have much in the way of bike paths/towpath/multipurpose trails while growing up there. But in the past 7 years since I’ve lived here, they’ve really stepped up their game and built an amazing series of multi-purpose trails that connect all over the city. After asking a girl I met in college who I knew was a runner for advice on the best place to run 5 miles out and back, she immediately recommended the towpath trail. Luckily it was within 10 minute drive from my dad’s house. I scoped out the trail online prior to leaving for Indiana and mapped out in my head where I would have to park and how far out on the trail I’d have to run out before turning around. The only thing that made me nervous was that there was not a bathroom or water fountain between the two points I was running. The lack of bathroom didn’t concern me as much as not having a water stop on the path. I only carry one hand held bottle with me that carries about 12 oz. of water. I would just have to conserve my water to stretch out over the entire 10 miles. ¬†

I got up Saturday morning at 6am, before the sun was up. I left my dads house and it was slowly starting to get light. As I took off at a few minutes before 7 am, it was COLD! I anticipated that 40 degrees to start so I just packed a tshirt and capris. Although it was 40 degrees at 7am, the real feel temperature was 30. Yeah, a light long-sleeve tee would have been nice, especially since I had a chilly headwind out the first 5 miles. I started on the trail that winds through the hospital campus and then crosses over a busy road (well actually highway) and then goes down behind medical buildings and assisted living homes and on the other side is a nature preserve. I was able to watch the sun rise after my watch beeped for mile 1–10:42. Eeep! Way too fast for this long run. I had to tell myself to slow down.¬†

After I crossed another busy road (thankful for stop lights and pedestrian crossing), I ran along a short boardwalk over the North Eagle Marsh and saw this beautiful sight! I had to stop and take a picture (sometimes in life things are so amazing you have to capture it so you can remember it later :)).


The trail was so nice! I everything was marked well, especially every time I had to cross a road! There wasn’t a ton to look at since it went through marsh land, but it was peacefully and I felt AWESOME! I passed a group of ladies running a little past mile 4. I was quite surprised I didn’t come across more runners that early since I’m so used to it here in NEO, but my guess was that part of the towpath wasn’t as busy with runners early like other trails may be. After I hit the 5 mile turnaround point (which is about where I thought it would be), I stopped to stretch briefly and took a small suck on my Gu pouch. Even though it was my preferred flavor (peanut butter) I had a hard time choking it down. Luckily I had put a few Starburst jelly beans in my Spi Belt to use as fuel so I could use those a few miles later. Around mile 7, my knees were starting to ache but I was focused to keep going and keep my walk breaks to a minimum. I’ve learned the more I walk, the more my knees hurt when I go to run again. My pace was about where I wanted it to be between 11-11:30. I had one really slow mile, but I couldn’t get mad at myself because I felt AMAZING while running. The last two miles were the toughest, but I kept the positive thoughts going in my head and out loud to push me through. After completing 10 miles 5 minutes before 9:00 a.m., I was on cloud nine! The runner’s high I got from my final long run was unlike any I’ve gotten before while training for a big race.¬†

The past three weeks, I have made some changes to my lifestyle that have made some significant difference to my training. (Keep a look out for a separate blog post about that ;-))

I have such a good feeling about Sunday and can’t wait to run in the Glass City!

Week 11 by the numbers:

Monday: 60 minute bootcamp

Tuesday: 5 mile run (inside–stupid snow and cold)

Wednesday: 60 minute bootcamp

Thursday: 5 mile run (outside)

Friday: rest/neighborhood walk

Saturday: 10 mile long run/2 dog walks

Sunday: rest


The week leading up to the race is always challenging for me. I want to remain active and stick to routine, but I know my body needs to rest, recover and prepare for Sunday. Its also the time where you’re short taper runs begin to mess with your head and crazy weird pains spring up everywhere. I just need to remind myself I’ve done everything I can to prepare myself for this race, trust my training and don’t freak out.


Do you get anxious during the week leading up to a big race during taper time? How do you deal with it?

Glass City half marathon training: week 8

I can’t believe I’m 8 weeks plus deep into training. Where has the time gone?!

Here is a snapshot of my training last week:
Monday: 35 minutes of yoga
Tuesday: 4.5 mile run inside
Wednesday: 50 min spin
Thursday: 3 mile run
Friday: 45 min spin in the am/ 8 mile long run after work
Saturday: 1 hr cross fit
Sunday: rest


I decided to dip back my run on Thursday because I was really tired and knew I wanted to get my long run in after work Friday.

Thursday I had pain in my right foot at the bottom of my big toe, almost on the ball of my foot. I had it for the entire time during my long run on Friday and it really started to concern me. After thinking about it and doing some research, I discovered that I have developed a bunion on my right foot. If you don’t know what a bunion is, Google it. Unfortunately, these suckers are hereditary. I can thank my mother for passing this “blessing” on. Good thing though is that I can still run with it, just need to be more aware of certain things. I’ll also eventually need to buy some items to help add more support during my runs. I did find, however, there is a stretch I can do to help alleviate pain and tension. (Thanks you Runner’s World) Also, after searching around for quite some time on Saturday, I learned that I’m not alone. Many people have bunions. I’m just bummed that mine has developed at such a young age. I just need to stay on top of it and take better care of my feet. Good bye pointy-toed shoes! I need to find better every day and work shoes with a roomier toe box so my toes can have adequate space.

But today during my run, I didn’t start to feel pressure until mile 3. I need to take these next couple of weeks and work on my footing while running and purchase something to cushion that part of my foot so I can make it through the remainder of my long runs and 13.1 miles without hobbling across the finish line.

Do you have something that is hereditary that affects your running? How do you coupe with it?

Glass City half marathon training: weeks 6 & 7

Oh, hi! I didn’t forget about you blog! I know I didn’t recap week 6, but it wasn’t √ľber exciting.

Week 6 by the numbers:
Monday: 60 min spin workout
Tuesday: 4 mile run outside
Wednesday: at home WOD (got sent home early due to crazy snow and had to cancel spin class)
Thursday: 4 mile run inside
Friday: 30 min swim. 1000 yds (250 kick board warm up; 500 yd breast stroke; 250 yd kick board cool down)
Saturday: Fight Gone bad WOD
Sunday: rest

Week 6 was a step back week for the long run, 5k. Totally skipped it. Was it a good idea? Maybe, maybe not. But my Saturday cross fit workout was a total ass-kicking so I think it was about the same.

Week 7:

This week weekday run mileage increased. Not a lot, just a half mile, but it makes planning a route to run outside kind of tricky.
My week day runs weren’t the best compared to weeks past. More knee pain and trouble finding my stride and pace. I’m thinking it has to do with getting used to running outside again after spending so much time training indoors. And my knees are definitely feeling the pain of pounding the pavement again. But I didn’t give up on my runs and used my music to push me through and pump me up.

I’ve been trying to do my long runs on Fridays so I can attend the community WOD at Birdtown Crossfit on Saturday mornings. This past Friday was gorgeous. Sunny and in the 40s. That morning I taught a spin class at 6am before being at work at 8. So that means waking up at 5am, a whole two hours earlier than I normally wake up during the week. I felt great all day until after lunch when the early wake up time started to take its affect and I got really tired. I still wanted to push through and get my 7 mile long run in. I set off from my house to begin my run. No joke, I ran a tenth of a mile before I stopped to walk. Seriously?! This can not be happening. I tried to run again and only went a short distance before I stopped to walk again. I just could t get my body to do what my mind wanted. I knew I couldn’t do this for 7 miles or I’d be really pissed and make for the longest run ever. By time I finished one mile, I decided that even though I wanted to do this run today, my body wasn’t having it. So, I turned around and headed back home. I walked most of that mile home, but ran in spurts. I ran the last .3 mile to the driveway (easy because it’s downhill). I was bummed I’d have to give up going to cross fit to get in 7 miles and run in temps colder than what Friday provided. But at the same time I was happy I listened to my body and gave it proper rest.

Saturday. I slept in until about 9. Got up and dressed to run. Ate toast and PB2, my typical pre-long run snack. It was cloudy, chilly and windy and about 34 degrees. It was a pretty run. I had knee pain, some kind of scary around mile 3 that made me take a walk break for a few minutes until I could run again without feeling any weird twinges in my right knee. This was the first long run this training cycle I took water and fuel with me. I took my Gu around the 45 min mark. However, I wish I would have taken it later because I felt like I was running on empty the last mile of my run. But these long runs are just practice for the big day, so I will have more fuel with me on eh course for sure.

Week 7:
Monday: boot camp at Debi’s Personal Training
Tuesday: 4.5 mile run outside
Wednesday: rest day
Thursday: 4.5 mile run outside
Friday: 45 min spin am/ 2 mile run/walk
Saturday: 7 miles
Sunday: rest

Total mileage: 18 miles



Thursday’s run and fun tights and shoe combo

These past two weeks have been rough. I’ve felt like my progress has slid backwards. This week I’m hoping to get back moving forward in the progression department.

I made this the wallpaper on my phone as a constant reminder to never give up.


Glass City half marathon training week 5

Five weeks down already?! Man, this training is flying by! April 27 will be here before I know it!

Last week’s training was definitely my saving grace. Everything else last week was pretty rough, so each day my workouts were¬†my time to zone out and do work.¬†

Wednesday and Thursday were the worst days of the week for me, so fueling my body was very challenging. It was hard for me to get the proper food I needed because my stomach was not having it. 

Thursday’s run was definitely not pretty by any means. Knowing I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted, I kept telling myself, “just get what miles you can in today. There is no sense hurting yourself since you don’t have the energy to go full out.” I was scheduled for four miles, but I felt if I could at least get two in that would be better than not running at all. The first two miles were rough. But as I completed my second mile I told myself, just keep pushing, get one more mile in. The third mile was even tougher than the first two. Many walk breaks because I couldn’t get my mind right to just zone out and run, plus I could start to feel the effects of my lack of food intake over the past two days set in. After I completed my third mile I just wanted to stop, go home and refuel. However, I knew that I ¬†would be so disappointed that I stopped one mile short of what I planned. I decided to push myself even farther to finish that last mile. Exhaustion had set in by now and I was running on pure fumes. The last couple of laps I could start to feel myself get light-headed and dizzy if I stopped for a walk break, so that was motivation enough to keep running and stop to walk as little as possible. After finishing four miles, a whole four minutes slower than I ran them on Tuesday, I was completely spent but I was happy I pushed myself. It may not have been my fastest run, but it definitely was a “character building” run.¬†


Friday’s long run was AWESOME! I FINALLY got to run outside! 6 miles in the fresh air and on the pavement felt great! However, following the run my knees did not feel so great after suffering all the pounding on the pavement it was not use to since I’ve been training inside on the treadmill or the indoor track so far. I’m hoping that the weather slowly starts to improve in the second half of my training so I can get outside more.¬†

Here is how last week’s training shaped up:

Monday: 40 minute swim

Tuesday: 4 mile run

Wednesday: taught a 50 min spin class

Thursday: 4 mile run

Friday: 6 mile long run

Saturday: Cross fit 60 min


Sunday: rest
Also, I am excited to announce that I won a free entry from Jessica for the Cleveland Marathon and will be running the half marathon on May 18! This is the first tIme I’ve ever run to longer distance races so close together, so I’d appreciate any advice to help keep me prepared after I run Toledo in April.¬†