Twenty. Venti. Zwanzig.

Yesterday marked 20 days till our marathon! Ahhh! Speaking of 20, this past weekend Kayla and I ran our longest mileage run ever! We both ran 20 miles! Did you know Zwanzig is German for twenty?!

The 20 mile mark in our marathon training was a major milestone. This was our final test before the race. This is where we see if we could actually make it, if our bodies can actually run 20 miles or more.

I thought of the 20 mile long run as the closet comparison to the actual race day. I was nervous. Not only was I nervous to run 20 miles but I decided to run my long run differently this time. Breakaway Running is an amazing supporter of the St. Jude Marathon. They have a training plan you can follow as well as weekly group runs. So I decided last minute that I was going to run with the Breakaway running group. I had no idea what to expect. I knew they would have water stations set up along the route and I looked at the course but I didn’t really study it because I thought that there would be enough people that I could just follow. Also the course was set up for 11 miles. People training for the half marathon would run the course once and people training for the full marathon would run the course twice. So I would actually have to run 22 miles! 22 miles!! Ahhh! Crazy right!?! The run was also at 6 am and the temperature was going to be 34 degrees. Two more running conditions that I was not use to.

So on the day of the long run I arrived at the Breakaway store only about 10 minutes before the run. I stretched a little but not that much. I was so overwhelmed with all the people and trying to figure out what was going on that I didn’t pay attention much to what the speaker was saying about the course. There had to be over 100 people there. It felt like race day. It was super cold and my fingers were freezing but I knew I would warm up once I started running.

22 mile route

 Once we started, I was in the middle of the group. I was trying to pace myself based on how they were running. Everything was going great. As I came up on the 11 mile mark, everyone that was around me stopped and turned into Breakaway. I was totally confused. I knew that I had to run the course twice so I kept going forward.  There were literally only a few people in front of me that kept going but they were pretty far ahead. I was scared that I was going to lose them and get lost on the course.  The course was actual streets going through downtown Memphis, so we were running on busy roads and under overpasses. I was nervous to be running alone. I kept running ahead and after a while I noticed that there several people in front and behind me which made me feel better. At around the 12 mile mark, my tummy was really upset and I had to stop at a gas station and use the restroom. When I got out, I continued to run and noticed that there were only a few people behind me now. At mile 13, my legs were starting to hurt. By mile 16 my feet and legs were becoming so painful. I was almost in tears because I was in so much pain. I had to keep running though. I didn’t quite know where I was and I didn’t want to lose the few people that were in front of me. There were a few times that I was the very last person with no one behind me. That was scary. I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was running so slow that I was almost walking. Everything hurt. Then I hit 20 miles! I knew I couldn’t stop now. Only 2 more miles left to go. I kept pushing, kept going till I finally made it! 22 miles!! I had tears in my eyes because I was so proud, also because I was in so much pain. I did it. Only 4 more miles after that and that would be a marathon. At that moment, I finally knew that I would be able to run a full marathon. I was scared and nervous before, but now there was no doubt in my mind that I would be able to complete 26 miles!  I was ready!

22 miles

-Unstoppable, Sarah

Now for the country girl’s tale of running in the middle of nowhere! Much like Sarah, I was pretty nervous to tackle 20 miles. The Friday before the run, I had visited a doctor so that I could get a physical therapy order. They ended up doing a bunch of X-rays on my hip because it has been hurting for a month or so now. The doctor thinks I have abductor tendonitis, which pretty much means overuse of the muscles there. Of course! Then the doctor asks me, “How important is it for you to do this marathon?”

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Like 100 percent important doctor!! Anyways, he totally understood and gave me some anti-inflammatory and ordered for me to start physical therapy. So with this knowledge, I knew that going into this marathon, my only goal was to finish without completely injuring myself.

Which is the same goal for the remainder of my training. Thankfully, my hip doesn’t completely stop me from running. I made sure to keep my 20 mile run at a steady pace averaging at 12:52 a mile. Which is really slow and I really wish I could run faster but I have to accept that I physically cannot. So that will most likely be my pace for the marathon.

My run was pretty uneventful. I did see some puppies and piggies! I didn’t experience too much pain throughout the run. Toward the end I think my mind wanted to give up but not my body. I just kept telling myself just keep running till the next mile. If you keep running, you’ll be done soon. And sure enough, I was done soon! Jk this shit took 4 plus hours!

 

Being able to finish a 20 mile run though is something I never thought I would do. Once you are done, you know that you can finish a marathon. We have been training since July and now here we are less than a month away from the start line!

During this time, I have learned that I am capable of achieving hard goals. I have a lot going on in my life but somehow I still managed to stick to my training and not give up when the miles seemed too much. I don’t even know what I am going to do with myself after the race. Like I get my Saturdays back!!

As the race approaches, we are going to be doing some fun countdown stuff over on our Facebook page. So make sure you go like us and follow us to Memphis where we will run for the children of St. Jude! (And for the food and beer!)

 

With determination,

Kayla

How Unicorns Run Far

We have made it to November, meaning one month until we toe that start line and put all of our training to the test! Now that we are up to 17, 18, 20!!! mile runs, we thought we would share our long run routines. We thought it would be interesting to share the differences between our routines. If you didn’t know, not all runners are the same. We’d also love to hear about your long run routines! So leave us a comment when you’re done reading.

Okay, so this first part is how Kayla preps for a long run. I thought about referring to myself in third person but I think that would be weird.

I usually wake up an hour before sunrise to give myself time to get ready. So the first thing for me is COFFEE! I take about 15 minutes to drink my coffee and scroll through the social world. Then I make myself something to eat while I finish up my coffee.

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This is my absolute favorite pre-long run breakfast. When I don’t have this, I like to have a toasted peanut butter and jelly. It’s important for me to get enough on my stomach to give me some energy but not too much where I am feeling full.

Next, I make sure to Glide Up! Is it too much information to talk about the chaffing of running? Probably, but it’s reality. This training cycle I found out I can chaff under my arms where it rubs against my shirt. So weird! Just thought my thunder thighs were the issue!

 

Another reason, I have to wake up before the sun is so that I can take my water bottles out to my running route and drop them off. I live in a pretty rural part of Tennessee and do not live around any running trails. (I am pretty jealous of Sarah’s convenient Green Line! Even though I get some great nature shots!) Anyways, I take two water bottles out, one to the halfway mark and one to the two mile mark.

I also carry my handheld water bottle with the strap with me. When I get to my other water bottles, I refill with some nice ice cold water. They make for pretty good rest stops!

Last but not least, I take my first nutritional gel. I used to use Gu Energy Gel but recently I have switched to Huma Plus Energy Gels. They are more natural, lighter on my stomach and seem to give me more of an extra boost. I take my gels at the top of every hour. I have also learned that I need some type of electrolyte drink during the really long runs. So I try to have Gatorade mixed in my waters at the pit stops. This nutritional routine is what has worked best for me. But like I said, everyone is different!

And then finally! I am ready to run! I would love to hear about other’s long run routines. Leave us a comment!

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Kayla and I are perfect examples of how runners can be completely different.

Here’s my long run preparation check list:

The day before a long run:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Stretch
  • No alcohol at all
  • Eat a carb loaded dinner- now that I am eating gluten free this meal usually contains rice, or potatoes.
  • Charge my wireless headphones!!! – I Always forget to charge my headphones the night before so I usually wake up in the middle of the night and remember to charge them or plug them in as soon as I wake up.
  • Get a good night’s sleep

The morning of a long run:

  • I wake up about an hour before I want to start my run
  • stretch
  • make sure headphones are charging lol because I probably forgot to plug them in the night before
  • Eat a granola bar- the best for me is the Kind brand.kind bar
  • Go to the bathroom – a definite must!!
  • Apply Glide to chaffing prone areas
  • I can not drink much of anything before my run – helps me avoid having to go pee during the run
  • Eat an Energy Gel on the way to my run- I am currently still trying to find the best Energy gel for me. I have tried Gu, Huma, and now Hammer. All pretty good. Huma and Hammer contain more natural ingredients and are lighter on my stomach.
  • I make sure I bring enough Energy gels with me on my run- I consume an Energy gel about every 5 miles.
  • I bring my handheld water bottle with the strap with me on my runs. I refill my water bottle with the water fountain at the beginning of Shelby Farms Green Line and at the Tap Routes along the green line.
  • tap route2  tap route

After the long run:

  • stretch
  • refuel immediately- meaning lots of water, Gatorade, and FOOD!
  • post results on Social Media because I am proud that I am I runner!greenline

-Sarah

How do you prepare for your long runs? Leave us a comment!

Running in Life Pushing to Progress

 

Kayla sent me this text.

 kayla text

And this got me thinking. Same time last year we were training for our half marathon and we were running 11 minutes or less per mile. Right now we are running 12 minutes or more. What happened? Yes it’s been hot and we know the heat slows down our pace but we both were not satisfied with our time. 

Kayla’s text motivated me to push myself. (That’s what good running partners do) This week I was determined to improve my pace. As I pushed myself to this goal, it reminded me of how the process of running is the same as our journeys in life.

Running in Life Pushing to Progress

You have to push yourself to progress. You can’t run at the same pace and expect to get any better. Kayla and I got complacent with our pace. Yes we motivated ourselves to run every day but we weren’t really challenging or pushing ourselves.

Even when you have challenges and obstacles stacked against you, you have to continue to push yourself. Prepare yourself for the obstacles. One day it was really hot and I wanted to achieve a new goal of under 11 minutes per mile. I went to bed earlier the night before and drank plenty of water before and during my run. I made sure I was prepared.

It is okay if you stumble, fall, or fail. On my under 11 minute goal, I had one mile over 11 minutes but I also have 4 miles under 11 minutes. This didn’t deter me. My overall average was 10: 30 mpm. I was very proud of myself.

Keep going. Achieve one small goal then another, go one more mile, then another. Keep going and pushing yourself till your main goal is achieved. 

Sometimes in life and running you just have to take your shirt off  (#sportsbrasquad). Have confidence, be free, and don’t care what other people think. It’s your goal, push yourself to be better. In the end you will be more proud of yourself because you pushed yourself without relying on anybody else. One of your biggest motivators will be yourself and your past accomplishments. My greatest motivations are the goals I’ve already achieved. I know can do better because of all the things that I have already accomplished. I did it before, I can do it again. 

Throughout the week I continued to push myself. I was determined. I had to push myself with each step. When I could feel myself starting to run slower I would push myself to keep running at a faster pace. You have to listen to your body, your gut. When making decisions use both logic and intuition. I use logic to not push myself into an injury and I use my gut to push myself to accomplish my goal. 

You can take breaks. But know that even when you are taking a break you can’t completely quit working or pushing. I still walk in between my miles. But I know I can’t walk very slow nor very long or it would ruin my pace. 

On my 11 mpm (minutes per mile) goal, it got really tough on mile 4 and 5, and I really wanted to give up and just run at a slower pace, but I didn’t. You will face your biggest struggles and obstacles when you are close to accomplishing your goal. Keep pushing through till you cross that finish line. 

If you have a major goal or dream, then everything you do must contribute to that. I cannot eat unhealthy and drink a lot of alcohol the night before a big run because I know it will negatively impact my run. Same as your dreams or goals will suffer, I know my run will suffer because of the unhealthy decisions I made.  

Look at my progression over the past few weeks. I am so proud of my progress and all that I’ve accomplished just because I pushed and I was determined.

6 mile 12.558 mile 11.085 mile 10.356 mile 10.44

12 mile 10.12

August 25th: Today’s mantra was Step with Purpose. Push with every step. I just kept repeating that in my head. I kept pushing. I made sure every single step was purposeful. This was my best run yet! Not only did I run 12 miles, but every single mile was under 10:33 mpm. (Blows my mind just typing that) My overall average for all 12 miles was 10:12 mpm. Wow! This just proves to me that I can do anything I set my mind to.

It is hard. It is a struggle. But because of my struggle I grow stronger. Running has changed my life not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard. If it were easy, I would be the same person I was years ago. But because it is hard, I have grown into someone I am proud to be. I am strong. I am confident. I am a badass unicorn!

-Sarah

100 Miles Later

I’ve been in the trenches of marathon training for a month now. I’ve ran 103.78 miles. I’m sore. I’m tired. I’m hungry. All. The. Damn. Time.

I don’t know if I mentally blocked what training for a half marathon was like but this seems different. I am not even up to the super long distances. Next week I will be hitting 12 miles. Of course, 13 is the longest Sarah and I have ran so we are getting close to new territory. The level of hunger at 25 miles a week is literally ravishing. I can’t imagine what it will be like in another month. I want to eat all the foods!

Other than the never ending need to consume something delicious, the training is going pretty well. I have only skipped one run and one cross training session. I think it was from the sheer fact that training is exhausting. I don’t remember being this tired last time I trained. It may have to do with the fact I get up at 4:30 in the morning. But it comes with some beautiful sunrises, so it works out.

If you are ever thinking about running a marathon, just know, you will be tired and hungry. Very hungry. And sore. I have come to realize how important stretching is. If I do not stretch after a run, I will pay for it by the end of the week. I get horrible lower back pain. So I have been making sure to take the 15 minutes after a run to stretch it all out.

So far, this training has been a good way for me to focus on a goal. It’s been a good way to let my mind wander. I have been able to center my thoughts and focus on a path moving forward. A positive path that will allow me to move on. Training is hard and so is life. But I’ll get through it. And after I cross the finish line, I’ll eat and eat. And eat and eat and eat.

 

Don’t forget, all this training is for a great cause! The children of St. Jude! Donate today!

 

With love,

Kayla

Summer Running

kayla hot runIt’s summer time in the South which means it is ridiculously hot and humid! Kayla and I are continuing our marathon training but this heat is not making it easy. When it comes to running in the summer heat, we both had to learn how to run in hot, humid conditions and how to stay safe. Here are a few quick tips to running in the summer heat!

  1. Run before the sun or after the sun! Waking up early is probably the thing I hate most about running. But I rather wake up early than run in the blazing sun and heat. If you can wake up and run before the sun fully rises (like Kayla 4:30 am! *Crazy I know) then that is most ideal. I don’t get off work till late at night so I can’t wake up that early. But I still try to wake up around 6 am. And yes I do take naps during the day! Naps aren’t cheating! Avoid running mid day. This is the time of day that temperatures are the hottest and the sun is beating down on you. If you can’t wake up early then run after the sun has set!
  2. Choose a route with shade! I absolutely avoid routes in the summer time that have no shade. Shade makes a huge difference. It gives you some relief from the sun. I was so thankful for the shade on the green line during my 10 mile run this past weekend. Also asphalt and concrete retain heat, so running in the grass can help as well. shade greenline*Green line on my 10 mile run
  3. Join the Sports Bra Squad! Wear light weight clothing. I try to stick with mesh type, breathable shirts. I prefer not to wear thick cotton shirts because I feel it’s hotter. Try to wear as little as possible or whatever you’re most comfortable with. Join the Sports Bra Squad. OMG! It’s so amazing and most of all cooler!
  4. Hydrate before, during, and after! I feel hydrating and refueling is the most important during the heat! The heat just takes so much out of you, literally! It is recommended that you hydrate every 20 minutes during exercise. I drink water constantly during my summer runs. If you are going to run outside in the heat, please have water on you or very close by. I know it may be annoying to carry water during your run but it’s definitely a must! Try to drink water or sports drinks an hour before and after your run as well. Sports drinks are sometimes better than water because they contain electrolytes. Be careful with all the sugar in sports drinks though. Kayla and I like to water down our Gatorade. We also like using Nuun tablets* in our water. They have electrolytes without all the sugar. Can you drink too much water? Yes, you can actually. It’s called hyponatremia which is when you drink so much water that it dilutes your blood sodium levels. Crazy right! So make sure you don’t drink more than 32 oz of water per hour. Make sure you are also refueling with electrolytes and food within 30 minutes after your run! The heat will take a lot out of you but hydrating and refueling makes it better. water bottle*Water bottle I use. Fits around my hand so I don’t have to worry about holding onto it. It also has a pocket on the front to fit my phone and Gu. Nuun*Nuun tablets Kayla and I use.
  5. Slow your pace! “Every 5°F rise in temperature above 60°F can slow your pace by as much as 20 to 30 seconds per mile”-Runner’s World. Crazy right. Lately Kayla and I have been running in 75°F – 80°F weather which means our ppm (pace per mile) has decreased by as much as 2 minutes! Just reading this makes me feel so much better. Just recently I was getting frustrated with my 12+ minute miles. Now I know that it’s to be expected. I love what Kayla told me recently “Don’t worry about pace because the heat affects it so much. So were gonna be like so fast in December!” And she is right. Don’t try to try push yourself too hard. Just put the miles in and don’t worry about the pace.
The summer heat can be tough on your running but if you stick it out you will become a stronger runner and a badass unicorn!!
-Sarah

The Marathon Training Officially Begins

Today is the day that our marathon training officially officially starts. I say officially twice because we kind of started last month in order to give ourselves room to miss a run or get in longer runs if we needed to. But today, July 17, is the day that our plan lines up with the date of the full marathon, December 2.

We wanted to share our plan with everyone. I, Kayla, simply Googled a first time full marathon training plan and found this one on Women’s Running. The plan explains what some of the terms mean like XT=Cross Train, H=Hilly Run aka DEATH!, EZ=EASY Effort and so on. Hopefully by sharing this plan with everyone we will hold ourselves more accountable. I know that when I have a structured plan I do much better than just running freely. Something about being able to cross the run off my calendar gives me a sense of accomplishment. Or I just like highlighting things!

qoXBIB-First-Marathon-Training-Plan-2

So there it is! So many miles! During this training, we are going to share with your our successes, our struggles, our funny stories, what we do to prepare, what we eat, how we fuel and more. As some of you may know, we are registered for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon which raises money for the Children’s Research Hospital here in Memphis. We are really proud to be raising money for this great cause. If you didn’t know, patients and families that visit St. Jude never receive a bill for the care they receive. This means that the hospital functions on donations. How amazing is that. At the end of this post, you can find both of our fundraising pages. We hope that you will donate to each of us. Any amount is helpful!

So, we may be crazy. And we may regret having to run more than 13 miles! But I know it is going to be worth it. I also know that it is going to be hard. A lot of people ask us what our goal is for the marathon. My goal is to finish it. I am not a fast runner. This is going to be an all day thing. Someone will need to carry me to food and beer! But I know that I want to say that I have run a full marathon. This may be my only one. I am glad I chose a local one that is for such a great cause. So don’t forget to donate!

Love,

Kayla

stjude marathon

So today may be the official first day of the training plan but I, Sarah Burns, am already on week 4. Now to be honest with you I have not followed the training plan exactly and I will not follow it exactly. And that it totally ok. Find a training plan you like then tweak it to fit you and your schedule. So on this training plan, I’m trying to focus on the miles. I’m not too focused the type of run (Ex: hills, easy, etc.). For my shorter runs throughout the week I run on trails at Shelby Farms Park (my favorite place) which contains several hills. Then on my long runs I usually run on The Green line (also at Shelby Farms) which is flat. I also TRY to include going to the gym at least twice a week.

My goal for this marathon is the same as Kayla’s which is to finish. We want to try to stay within an 11 minute to 12 minute pace but if that doesn’t happen we aren’t stressing about it. We want to say we ran a marathon and survived!

stjude how much does it take

I am just so excited to be able to participate in this awesome race. I absolutely love St. Jude and all that they do. I have a close friend with a daughter that regularly goes to St. Jude. So this hospital is very close to my heart. Not only do they not have to pay a cent, the staff at St. Jude is amazing. Always so nice, helpful, and truly cares for the patients. I am so glad that I am able to help support this amazing hospital. stjude marathon kid cheer

I was told that some of the patients come to cheer on the runners during the race! Wow that will be a site to see. I’m not sure if I should include bawling my eyes out during a run into my training plan in order to be more prepared! lol Please help us raise money for this amazing cause by using the links below! Every little bit helps and is appreciated! Thank you so much! Continue to follow our blog for updates on our marathon training mishaps and successes, life, and everything in between.

Love,

Sarah

Donate for Sarah

Donate for Kayla

Me, Myself, and My Sports Bra

Today marked a milestone. Today was my first official day running in a sports bra all by myself. I have ran twice with Kayla in our sports bras but today was different. Today I didn’t have the amazing Kayla for motivation and support. I had to do it all on my own.

So this is how it went. When I first woke up this morning it was thundering. I didn’t want to start running and get caught in a down pour so I waited. When the rain stopped, I started to head out but it started pouring down again. So I just decided to go to the gym. I ran 1 mile on the treadmill (sooooooo boring) and worked out my arms. Then I noticed that it was sunny outside so I decided to put in my 6 miles for the day (marathon training).

sports bra1

It was 12pm after a storm, on July 4th, in Memphis, Tennessee. Which means it was f*cking HOT and HUMID!!!!!! Humidity is the worst!! So I decided to run in my sports bra. When I got out the car I felt like people were looking at me and judging me. I took off running. Not having a shirt on felt better already. It was so hot and I was so thankful to not have on another layer of clothing that would be sticking to me and drenched in sweat.

I was still feeling insecure though. I went around the first turn and there were these two ladies walking towards me. As we passed each other, I did my little smirk smile to be polite and this lady smiled so big at me! It was like she was proud of me and cheering me on for running in my sports bra. I know it seems silly but it worked for me. I then started feeling more confident. I soon realized, no one really cared that I was running in my sports bra.

I decided to run in my sports bra today because it was hot as hell period. Then it turned into more than that. I didn’t run in my sports bra to be sexy. I ran in my sports bra to be strong. Strong, brave, confident. I ran in my sports bra to show women that we need to stop being so hard on ourselves. I ran 6 miles today. Not many people can say that, but I can because I have worked hard. I know I’m not skinny but I know I can run and I’m strong. And I am proud of that.

sports bra3

A proud member of the Sports Bra Squad -Sarah-

Thank you to the lady that smiled so big at me, not once but twice when I passed you again! You made my day. Just another example at how smiling at someone can make such a huge impact!! Smile! Pass it on!