Nuun Hood to Coast in Photos

Post-Hood to Coast mortem is unlike any post-race depression I’ve felt before. It’s a strange concept, post-race depression. You’d think after working so hard over many months for a race, you’d actually be happy for it to be over. This is not the case with Hood to Coast. And this is especially not the case when you’re running with Team Nuun. I spent five days with 36 women (and six fearless men who drove us around) and I never wanted it to end.

The friendships I made over the five days in the PNW will for sure last a lifetime. At the risk of being cliché and sounding like a college student who just got back from studying abroad, I know the memories we made along the nearly 200 miles of the Hood to Coast course reignited not only my passion for running but my faith in the strength of the running community.

While I’m still deep in the throws of my Hood to Coast hangover, I wanted to do a very quick post to thank Nuun for the incredibly life-changing experience I had this past weekend. Thank you to Mason, CEO and President of Nuun, for creating such an incredible experience for all of us and teaching us more about Nuun and your company’s dedication to all runners. Thank you to Megan for organizing all of us and making sure we still had fun along the way! Thank you to all of our van drivers, especially Jeantel, for putting up with our stink and getting us where we needed to be.

And a special thank you to my Team Watermelon Van 1 teammates- Sarah, Mallory, Kara, Catey, and Megan– you all truly made this experience memorable and if I don’t take anything else away from this experience I’ll always have: What would Ke$ha do? :)

I will have a full race report to come very soon this week but to start, here is a photo recap of the week!


We arrived (slightly disheveled) to the PNW, notice the flipped over backpack strap. (Photo credit: Megan from

Pikes Place

We explored Seattle, namely Pike’s Place Market and the original Starbuck (cha-ching!) because runners love coffee.


We bowled, a.k.a. cross-trained.

Oiselle visit

We visited Oiselle, and flew. (Photo credit: Sally Bergesen from Oiselle)

Duck Boats

We quacked our way through Seattle on Duck Boats. Quack, quack! (Photo credit: Jesica from

Van Decoration 2

We decorated our vans with highly appropriate sayings like “Spit Don’t Swallow” with Team Watermelon. (Photo credit: Megan Fay)

Van departure

We woke up very early, packed, and embarked on our journey to Timberline Lodge at the summit of Mt. Hood. (Photo credit: Lindsay from

Mt. Hood Summit

We reached the top of Mt. Hood. So beautiful!


We got (Nuun) tat, tat, tatted up in our highly efficient tattoo train line. (Photo credit: Megan Fay)

Start Line

We began our 198-mile journey…

Check back for a full recap later on this week when I’ve finally processed the entire experience!

Marine Corps Marathon Training Week Six

I mean, basically.

I mean, basically.

Last week I came to a crossroads with my training. I was concerned about my pacing on my runs because I was running much faster than the prescribed pace. I wasn’t sure if I should adjust my goals for Marine Corps and maybe set a more aggressive time goal, or if I should scale back and stick with the plan of breaking-4:15. While I haven’t really decided yet on a more aggressive goal, I have readjusted my paces to accomodate my more comfortable, faster running. I know I still need to take it down a notch with my “easy” runs but I’ve decided to run my marathon pace runs at 9:05/9:10-mile instead of 9:44/mile. So far so good!

Monday: Rest/XT day

  • 50 minutes of Vinyasa flow yoga

Tuesday: 6 miles, hill workout

The schedule called for a hill workout today so I decided to run up 10th Street at work and my roommate joined me. I haven’t done this workout in a few months so I was fully expecting it to be pretty rough. While the 1-mile hill ascent was pretty rough and very slow I was surprised that it didn’t feel completely impossible.

I did this workout almost once a week when I was training for Big Sur and it definitely helps to build speed, strength, and improve form. While Marine Corps isn’t even close to being as hilly as Big Sur I think it will help to build more speed.

Plan: 6 miles, hills
Actual: 6 miles in 56:14 at 9:22/mile pace
(1) 8:54/mile warm up
(2) 9:59/mile hill ascent 500 ft elevation gain
(3) 9:22/mile more hill
(4) 9:19/mile
(5) 9:04/mile
(6) 9:36/mile cool down on the trail

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux

Wednesday: 4 miles, easy

It was insanely gorgeous out today: 70 degrees, sunny, and zero humidity. I was supposed to run an easy 4-miler but I was feeling so good that I made it into a progression run instead.

Plan: 4 miles, easy (10:32/mile)
Actual: 4 miles, progression, in 33:35 at 8:23/mile
(1) 8:53/mile (2) 8:24/mile (3) 8:21/mile (4) 7:57/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: 70 degrees, zero humidity, sunny

Strength Training- 1 hour


3×12 reps of rotating overhead presses (10lb weights)
3×12 reps of rows
3×12 reps of tricep extensions
3 sets of 21s- this is a workout my cousin showed me where you do 7 forearm raises, 7 bicep curls, and 7 overhead presses, with no rest in between

2×20 sec of isometric chin-ups


2×45 seconds of:
Side Planks
Supine planks

50 crunches

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 6 miles, with 2 miles at marathon pace (9:05/mile)

After going back and forth about what my goal marathon pace should be I decided to try out a new pace on today’s MP run. Last week I ran this same run with my two MP miles at 8:45/mile which is completely unrealistic because I won’t be able to hold up that pace for 26.2 miles. This week I tried for 9:05/mile and felt great but it’s still significantly faster than my plan’s goal MP of 9:44/mile.

Plan: 6 miles with 2 at MP (9:44/mile)
Actual: 6 miles with 2 at new MP (9:05/mile)
Mile 1 and 2- warmup at 9:31/mile pace
Mile 3 and 4- MP at 9:05/mile
Mile 5 and 6- cool down at 9:31/mile

Shoes: NEW Asics Gel Kayano 19

Saturday: 4 miles, pre-long run shakeout

Running in the Poconos is tough! Went for a very easy early morning shakeout with my roommate. The route we took was extremely hilly and hard but it was very quiet and relaxing.

Sunday: 18 miles, long slow distance

This run was a bit tougher than I thought it was going to be. I think it was mostly because of my lack of sleep this weekend and I forgot to take my allergy meds before the run. Then, halfway through the run it started to downpour which really sucked at first but once I got going it wasn’t too bad. My roommate ran the first half with me for her training and I have to admit I was pretty jealous she got to finish at 9 miles. Overall it wasn’t a terrible run but I was zonked at the end.

Plan: 18 miles, long slow distance (10:32-11:00/mile pace)
Actual: 18 miles in 2:52:27 at 9:34/mile pace
(1) 9:27 (2) 9:30 (3) 9:22 (4) 9:17 (5) 9:30 (6) 9:43 (7) 9:45 (8) 9:47 (9) 9:44 (10) 9:43 (11) 9:26 (12) 9:31 (13) 9:17 (14) 9:31 (15) 9:59 (16) 9:50 (17) 9:44 (18) 9:22

Shoes: New Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: 64, humid, rain – Ran on a gravel rail trail

Weekly mileage total: 38 miles

See all training recaps here.

{Monday Motivation} Be a Dreamer

Last week I decided to re-evaluate my goals for the Marine Corps Marathon. Nothing drastic just a little more challenging. I’ve always been fond of the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “If you’re dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” Well, I’ve always been a dreamer but I usually base my dreams on reality too much. If there’s a 50/50 chance I could fail, I lower my expectations. But I’m done with that. It’s time for me to dream big. What have I got to lose anyway? Happy running this week!

(Source: Oiselle on Pinterest)

(Source: Oiselle on Pinterest)

Hood to Coast Van Pump Up Playlist

logoWith Hood to Coast now less than a week away I thought, what better way to get excited for “the mother of all relays” than to make a mother of all relay vans pump up playlist? Am I right?

Why am I making a van playlist instead of a regular running playlist? The answer is multi-faceted.

  1. While I do really love running with music (as much as my coworkers may make fun of me) running with headphones during Hood to Coast is prohibited and will result in an automatic DQ for the entire team. No bueno.
  2. When it comes down to it, we’re going to be spending the majority of our time in that crazy van. Might as well keep ourselves entertained with some good tunes.
  3. Raise team morale!

This playlist is a little eclectic beginning with some of my hippie mountain music, moving into some hardcore EDM and finishing with a little beachy country. But it’s all part of the plan! We’ll begin our journey up on Mt. Hood (mountain music), then we’ll be running down the mountain and onto the roads in the middle of the night (EDM pump up, bass dropping music) and then we hit the beach for a party (country!). It makes sense in my head at least. Enjoy!

Hood to Coast Van Playlist

The Mountain– Trevor Hall

Fallin’– Braddigan


Backwoods Company– The Wild Feathers

The Night Out– Martin Solveig

Tongue Tied– GROUPLOVE

Wake Me Up– Avicii

Midnight City– M83

Pursuit of Happiness– Kid Cuddi ft. MGMT

C’mon– Tiesto

Safe and Sound– Capital Cities

Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites– Skrillex

Sweet Nothing– Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch

We Can’t Stop– Miley Cyrus

Memories– David Guetta

Daylight– Matt & Kim

Shore Thing– Luke Bryan (This one is super random but I love this song)

Any other song suggestions? Let me know below!

On Running Faster than Marathon Pace

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

I have a confession to make. A run confession. I think I’m selling myself short with my training for Marine Corps.

Let me explain. In the year and a half that I’ve been running, I’ve never once set a time goal for a race, and I’ve especially never set a time goal for a marathon. I mean with a marathon, there are 26.2 miles of opportunities to make a mistake that could completely sabotage any time goal you had at the starting line. Not only that, there are 16 to 18 weeks of training to make mistakes that could prevent you from even getting to that starting line. So yes, the marathon is an intimidating distance and honestly, setting a time goal has me freaking out a bit. Ok, a lot.

I ran my first marathon at Big Sur this past April, just over a year after I ran my first mile. I ran a very conservative (i.e. slow) 4:33. I went out very slow because I knew the hills that were ahead of me were going to be tough but thanks to my by-the-book training I was more than prepared for Highway 1’s hardest inclines.

When it came time to pick a training plan for the Marine Corps Marathon I wanted to set a time goal. I knew I would be able to beat my Big Sur time but I wasn’t sure by how much. Based on some advice from coworkers, I thought breaking 4:15 would be reasonable- that’s a 9:44/mile marathon pace.

I’m five weeks into the training plan and have been running all of my training runs much faster than the prescribed pace. I know this is generally a major no-no in marathon training but it isn’t feeling hard. When my plan tells me to run 4 miles easy at 10:34/mile pace and I go out and run 4 miles at 8:45/mile pace and it feels easy I don’t think I should have to scale it back.

According to my training plan I should be running my long runs at 10:40-12:10/mile pace, which to me feels more than painfully slow. I tend to average between 9:20-9:30/mile pace for long runs and that feels good.

So what does this mean? Do I need to readjust my race goals? Should I stick to following the paces on my plan? Or should I stick to my faster paces that feel comfortable and hope I don’t hit the wall on race day?

The reason I didn’t set a harder goal in the first place is because I was scared. I considered setting a goal of breaking or going just over 4 hours but then I came to the realization that would be a 33-minute PR, which is huge. I’m very new to marathoning and I still consider myself a beginner runner, but when I look down at the paces on my Garmin I realize, I am getting better. I’m getting faster.

I’ve decided to continue with this plan by following the mileage and most of the workouts but going with the paces that feel comfortable to me. If that means I’m running my easy runs at 8:45/mile instead of 10:32/mile so be it.

As far as any new time goals, I may just keep that one to myself for now!

What do you think I should do? Re-adjust my time goal or stick to this one and see what happens race day?

{Monday Motivation} Purpose of Running

Everyone has a different reason for why they like to run. Some runners are naturally gifted athletes who are able to kick it out in a race and win, like Tirunesh Dibaba did at the women’s 10K last weekend at Worlds. Other runners run to train for a goal race like the runners I ran with at Sunday’s Runner’s World Half training run. Other runners like to run for fitness and recreationally, not to race, not even to train, just to run. No matter what your reason to run is, your heart is what gets you out the door to take those first steps- and the heart only gets stronger with each step. Happy running this week!

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

Marine Corps Marathon Training Week Five

LVRR 5K 2This was another busy week of training but it went well. I went back to boot camp on Monday night for strength training- I hadn’t been in a few weeks due to scheduling conflicts- but it felt good to be back. The only problem is the session left me with dead legs for practically the whole week. It didn’t help that I had a high mileage week last week too and decided to run a 5K Wednesday night but my legs were thankful for the full rest day on Thursday

Monday: XT

Vinyasa flow yoga class- 45 minutes

  • Was able to do a full backbend. Yay!

Boot camp- 40 minutes

  • Did four circuits of no repeat exercises

Tuesday: 4 miles, easy

My legs were absolute DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) city after yesterday’s double strength training workout. I went on the run with my roommate who was also really sore from yesterday’s workout too so we decided to take it super easy. Then, the route we took had us go straight through Musikfest (a week-long outdoor music festival in Bethlehem) and there were so many people we had to dodge for about 1.5 miles. But it was good, we needed to take it easy.

Plan: 4 miles, easy
Actual: 4 miles in 37:40 at 9:25/mile pace
(1) 9:42/mile
(2) 9:24/mile
(3) 9:00/mile
(4) 9:24/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: 70 degrees, overcast

Wednesday: Double run day, 6 miles total

Run 1- 3 miles easy

Went for my first run of the day at lunch. I had 6 miles total on the schedule today but I wanted to run the free 5K in the parkway at night so I decided to split up my miles. My legs were still pretty tired from Monday’s strength training (pathetic, I know) so I may have to re-think doing a double strength training day going forward.

Plan: 3 miles, easy
Actual: 3 miles in 24:48 at 8:16/mile (kind of too fast)
(1) 8:58/mile
(2) 8:10/mile
(3) 7:40/mile

Shoes: Asics GT-1000 2 (not loving these)

Run 2- 3.1 miles at the Lehigh Valley Road Runners Summer Series 5K

I ran the Lehigh Valley Road Runners free 5K in the Parkway and felt really good. I went to this with the intention of not racing AT ALL and trying to just jog it, maybe 9:20/mile pace. Well, that didn’t happen. I ended up going faster than intended but definitely still not racing. I had more in the tank for sure at the end but I had a lot of fun. Just a fun little Wednesday night race!

Plan: 3 miles, super easy
Actual: 3.1 miles in 26:04 at 8:24/mile pace
(1) 8:22/mile
(2) 8:24/mile
(3) 8:34/mile

Shoes: Saucony Fastwitch 6

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 6 miles with 2 miles at Marathon Pace

I was really happy with the results of my first marathon pace run. I was supposed to do 6 miles with 2 miles at marathon pace, which for the break-4:15 plan is 9:44/mile. Well, my paces lately have been much faster than the paces my plan has been calling for so I decided to make some adjustments.

Plan: 6 miles with 2 miles at marathon pace (9:44/mile)
Actual: 6 miles with 2.4 miles at “marathon pace” (8:41/mile)
20 min warmup at 9:13/mile pace, roughly 2.06 miles
20 min at marathon pace, 8:41/mile, roughly 2.40 miles
15 min cool down at 9:13/mile pace, roughly 1.6 miles

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: indoors, I did this workout on the treadmill so I would have better control over my paces.

Saturday: 4 miles, easy

I was helping to cover Worlds for Runner’s World all morning so I didn’t get out to do my run until the early evening. I felt pretty good but it was extremely hot out. The sun was strong but it wasn’t as humid as it has been.

Plan: 4 miles, easy
Actual: 4 miles in 35:01 at 8:45/mile pace
(1) 9:18/mile
(2) 8:35/mile
(3) 8:50/mile
(4) 8:17/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19

Sunday: 16 miles, long slow distance

Today’s long run was a lesson in pacing. I did the first 10 miles of my long run with a group training for our Runner’s World Half. I felt pretty good but was very tired because we started early. We did the run on a rail trail and I was running with one of my coworkers who set a much faster pace than I’m used to for long runs and it showed toward the end of my run where my pace slowed drastically. I was kind of disappointed in myself during this run. I’m usually much better at holding a steady pace so maybe I’m better off doing long runs solo. After doing 10 with the group I added on with four of my coworkers to get the 16. I was completely cooked at the end.

Plan: 16 miles, long slow distance (10:40-11:30/mile pace according to my plan)
Actual: 15.6 miles in 2:25:37 at 9:20/mile pace
(1) 8:55 (2) 8:47 (3) 9:03 (4) 8:58 (5) 9:22 (6) 9:22 (7) 9:28 (8) 9:16 (9) 9:31 (10) 9:46 (11) 9:48 (12) 10:03 (13) 9:06 (14) 9:28 (15) 9:31 (16) 5:11 (for 0.60)

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19

Weekly mileage: 36 miles

See all training recaps here.

Hood to Coast in T-Minus Two Weeks

We be running around the mountain, here Nuun comes! (source: Wikipedia)

We be running around the mountain, here Nuun comes! (source: Wikipedia)

Holy jeez, in two weeks I’m going to be running (stumbling? falling?) down Mt. Hood in Oregon with a team of 24 ladies, on a quest for the ultimate beach party that awaits us in Seaside, OR. That’s the point of Hood to Coast, right, the beach party?

Just kidding! But seriously I can’t believe Hood to Coast is almost upon us. It feels like yesterday when I got the news that I was picked to run on Nuun’s team but alas, the summer has flown by at the speed of light, and race day is nearly upon us.

I’ve been so focused on training for the Marine Corps Marathon this summer, and documenting it on this here bloggy, that I’ve neglected to talk about HTC. For shame! Well, this week I finally had the opportunity to assess where I am with my operation-get-speedy and examine my legs of the “mother of all relays.”


First, operation-get-speedy is moving along and I am, in fact, getting quite speedy (in my book). Throughout the summer I’ve focused on staying consistent with speed workouts- mostly track workouts, tempos, and progression runs- as well as upping my mileage quite a bit from what I was doing for Big Sur. I’m five weeks into MCM training and I’ve already hit 37 miles/week which was my second highest mileage week for Big Sur. So, there’s that.

I’ve also noticed significant improvements in my interval splits (mostly 400s and 800s) simply because I’ve been doing them more often. My progression runs, a personal favorite, have been very good too with each mile decreasing evenly to come to a negative split for the total run.

But what’s even more amazing is my “easy/comfortable” pace is getting much faster. Last week I did a 3-mile shakeout run the day after my 13-mile (hilly) long run and my paces were incredible:

Mile 1- 8:46/mile

Mile 2- 8:13/mile

Mile 3- 7:45/mile

I think the true goal of my whole operation-get-speedy plan was to improve my overall fitness and lower my paces for regular, everyday runs. And to get faster for Team Watermelon!

HTC Leg Four Whoop Whoop!

Which brings my to my Hood to Coast leg: I will be runner four on Nuun’s Team Watermelon running a total of 15.16 miles out of our 198 mile run. I’ll admit, I have one of the “easier” legs but many of the women on my team have been running for much longer than I have so I’m fine being the token beginner.

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 5.48.53 PM

The first portion of my leg is the longest mileage run coming in at 7.18 miles and it is completely downhill. I’m still not sure what time of day I’ll be running it either but that will definitely play into the difficulty.

Leg four will be my first leg.

Leg four will be my first leg.

My second leg is shorter, just 3.78 miles and it’s relatively flat and described to be on gently rolling terrain on the should of Highway 30.

Leg 16, easy peasy

Leg 16, easy peasy

My final leg is also another short one totaling 4.20 miles and is described as a gradual uphill climb on paved road.

Leg 28 and I'm done!

Leg 28 and I’m done!

After those legs (and in between) you can be sure I’ll by cowbelling my little heart out for my teammates while chugging Nuun and pounding Picky Bars like there’s no tomorrow. Oh, and resting, I’ll try to do some of that too.

This will be my very first relay and I’m excited/scared/stoked to find out what lies ahead in the 198 miles from Mt. Hood to the Pacific Ocean. I know one thing for sure, it ends with a party and beer, so I’m in!

Have you ever run Hood to Coast or another relay? If so, what do I need to know?

A Blissful Run Was What I Needed

My view of the harbor for most of my run. (Source:

My view of the harbor for most of my run. (Source:

Last Friday I went for a 6-mile run. My plan told me to go at an easy pace (10:40/mile) but lately my easy paces have been sub-9:00/mile. I decided to set out and do what I could to enjoy the run.

I was on vacation with my family in southern Maine, a place we’ve gone every summer since I can remember. Before I became a runner in March 2012, I cherished walking along the beach, through the harbor, up by the lighthouse, and around a secluded island connected to the harbor by what us locals call “the Wiggly Bridge.”

Walking to all of these locations in a single walk would take light-years but now, by running, I can string together all of my favorite routes in Maine to weave a perfect run, which is exactly what I did last Friday.

I left my family’s beach house before they woke up and headed toward the harbor. There’s a pretty tough half-mile-long hill before getting to the harbor but I climbed it knowing the view I was going to get at the top would be worth it. And it so was. The harbor was beautiful and the park that sits overlooking the inlet is even better.

I then ran down the back end of the hill to a gravel path that runs along the docks for about a mile. All of the fishermen had already left port but some boats, the beautiful sailboats, were left anchored.

I came across one other runner on the path and some very friendly dogs before I came to the Wiggly Bridge. The suspension bridge is awkward enough to walk on because its rot iron rusted supports literally wiggle, causing the whole bridge to shake. But with almost no one around me, except a man fishing off the coast, I loved how much noise my pounding feet made as I crossed the bridge.

Photo of the Wiggly Bridge from last winter.

Photo of the Wiggly Bridge from last winter.

I was looking forward to the other side of the bridge because it would be a mile of trails through this tiny island. I’m slow on trails because I’m extra vigilant about my footing but this gave me an opportunity to truly appreciate where I was running. The quiet. The smell of the ocean. The absolute bliss.

By the time I made it around the small island and back to the gravel harbor path, more people were out walking and running. I’ve never seen so many happy people on my run. Everyone said good morning and gave the runner’s wave. After I came out the other end of the trail I decided to run down by the beach and take a break. I wasn’t tired, I just wanted to look out on the water for a while. Coincidentally, I came across another runner, an Ironman actually, who had decided to do the exact same thing. People were just getting to the beach but it felt like the town was beginning to wake up.

I ran up to the park again and had about a mile and a half left. This had been one of the most enjoyable runs I’d gone on in a long time. I felt no pressure for pace, I didn’t bring any music, I didn’t even have my phone. It was just me, the road, and the quiet.

With my run almost over, I was looking forward to getting home and heading to the beach for the day with my family. But I couldn’t believe how great I felt. As I rounded to corner to head back to our house, I stopped my Garmin (OK, I wasn’t completely running “naked”) and checked my splits.

So much for 10:40/mile pace:

Mile 1: 8:57/mile

Mile 2: 8:44/mile

Mile 3: 9:16/mile (I told you I was slow on trails!)

Mile 4: 9:01/mile

Mile 5: 8:29/mile

Mile 6: 8:14/mile

With the exception of the trail mile, I was completely shocked at my paces. I didn’t feel like I was working that hard, and I certainly wasn’t exhausted, but my paces were some of my fastest paces for a 6-mile training run ever.

I don’t know if it was the ocean air, the quiet, or just running in some of my favorite places but I needed this run. I had been feeling very tired lately and run down from training but this run reinvigorated me. It brought me back to the reason I love running. It was sheer bliss.

{Monday Motivation} Wonderful Things Happen

I saw this graphic on Pinterest and thought it would be the perfect back-from-vacation motivational quote for this week. I was lucky enough to be able to relax with my family last week in southern Maine. You’d think, being a runner, I’d be most concerned with getting all my training in but instead I was more concerned with spending as much time with family and loved ones as possible. To do so, I made sure to get my runs done early (some before they even woke up) so I could be with them. In doing so, some wonderful things did happen and even though it was only a week, I’m amazed at how little time you need to feel fully rejuvenated. Between time with my family, and some wonderful (and truly surprising) moments with others, I came back after my week away feeling alive. Happy Monday all, I hope you all take time to appreciate the wonderful moments this week!

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)