Guest Post: Heather’s journey from lupus to 5k

I recently ran a 5k on February 17th in Nashville, Tennessee.  My niece Kayla challenged me to share my journey on her blog so here I go.

It all really started back several years when my niece decided to change her lifestyle.  It was like she took off running one day and never stopped.  Of course, as an aunt, I supported her wholeheartedly but from afar, kind of removed from what she was really doing.  I knew she was training for races and marathons.  She was making lifestyle changes with her eating habits, getting up early to run, and dedicating herself to reaching her goals.

None of it really sunk in until I attended her first full marathon she was running for St. Jude.  I showed up in the big city where thousands (I mean thousands) of runners showed up to do what they trained so long to do.  The energy was palpable to say the least.  Everyone looked elite to me.  I was wowed!  Runners of all sizes, shapes, colors, ages, and nationalities.  I wanted to be one of them right then and there.  I left there asking myself, “What are you doing with your life Heather?”  It answered back pretty quickly, “Nothing!”

After Kayla crossed the finish line and my heart swelled with so much pride, I decided I wanted to do what she did!  Not a full marathon of course but I wanted to start running.  I returned home and was so scared to tell anyone what I wanted to do.  Deep down inside I wasn’t so sure I could do it.  I didn’t want to tell anyone just in case I failed from the get go.  See, I had turned 50, survived stage one cancer and been diagnosed with Lupus all within the past 2 1/2 years. I let my diagnosis rule my life for two years.  I hurt all over my body.  Most days it hurts to even get up from where I’m sitting or laying.  My joints scream quietly from inside where no one can hear them.  On the outside, I look like a normal functioning individual but on the inside my body  attacks itself and wreaks all kinds of havoc.

I first told my daughter Madison about my crazy idea and ran it by her.  She was supportive from the beginning, believed I could do it and told me I was the only one who could make it happen when I was truly ready for it to happen.  I then called my niece a couple of days later and shared my goal with her.  I remember being super nervous.  She was fully in from the beginning.  The advice started pouring in from her.  She was a wellspring of information and support throughout the whole process.

My first step was to consult my doctor and get the go ahead to beat up my body more.  He was truly excited for me.  I remember him telling me at least a dozen times to take it slow.  So I took to the internet to find a training plan that worked for me specifically.  The plan I found started me out slow, it worked it’s way up gradually, it encouraged rest and recovery times, and most importantly it advised not training on consecutive days.  My body needed more down time in between.

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Next, I amassed a support team.  Everyone was so open to my goals.  My family was instantly behind me.  Friends at work were pulling for me.  But what really got me through were the people willing to train right alongside me.  They will never really know how much that kept me on my path to my endgame.  I mean they took time out of their schedules and weekends to sweat right next to me. In all kinds of inclement weather too.  All the while telling me “You got this!”  I started running around my neighborhood, then at my local civic center, and any greenway that was close to me.

I also quit drinking. This was huge.  I struggled with alcohol abuse for years.  It was my best and worst friend.  I knew I couldn’t train for a race and drink.  My body was already starting at a disadvantage.  Drinking would allow me so many more excuses not to reach my goal.  So I said bye to that relationship.

My last training day ended with a beautiful sunset, so beautiful, I took it as a sign everything was going to be just fine. I took it in with the ones who helped me train the most (Madison and Em) and knew my goal was waiting for me right around the corner.

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On the eve of race day I was so nervous.  I didn’t want to let anyone down but most of all I didn’t want to let myself down.  My support team was right there with me of course.  Then came race day.  My stomach was all nerves but I was actually calmer than I thought I would be.  I had my daughter and niece right by my side the entire time.  I was where I wanted to be.  I zoned out a bit while running.  My niece brought me back down when she told me I just ran an entire mile straight through.  I was so proud of myself.  I stayed focus on the route in front of me never forgetting the love that surrounded me.  My daughter ran out in front to make sure I didn’t trip over anything.  I was bummed at the one mountain (paved hill) I had to stop and walk in the middle of Nashville but I didn’t let it get to me.

Then my niece and daughter, with the biggest smiles ever, pointed at the finish line.  I couldn’t wait to get there.  All the times I had to push through the pain, all the calls and doubts my family had to get me through, all the afternoon training I had dedicated myself to was about to pay off.  I heard my family cheering me on from the sidelines and I think I pretty much floated across the finish line in a happy daze!!!  It was exciting!  I did it!!  I not only reached a goal, I had a plan and executed that plan with my own hard work.  What more can you ask for?

Does running a 5k change your whole life?  Probably not. It’s all the negative internal dialogue you stop listening to that changes your life.  It’s the realization you are the only thing in your way.  It’s setting a plan in motion that keeps you moving forward.  I have fallen in love with life and learned my family is the most important relationship I have.

My goals for the future are running a 5k comfortably without stopping.  I still plan to train every other day.  I’m going to start strength training also to get my body stronger for a 10k race.  I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me with kind words and encouragement.  Could I have done this without you?  No, I couldn’t have.  I love you all.

-Heather Kelly

Kayla’s Running Analysis

As some of you may remember, I had some hip/groin issues during the end of my marathon training. I went to physical therapy at Campbell Clinic here in Memphis. I had two great PTs Nicole and Phillip!

Toward the end of my therapy, they told me about this really great service their clinic offered, a running analysis. Of course, my first thought was Amy Schumer in Trainwreck when she visits Bill Hader at his clinic.

It was not like this, but I will say that every time a doctor tells me to walk normal, I strut for like a split second and have to remind myself I’m not Beyonce!

Instead! It was a wireless system that the analysis guru stuck on my shins that would communicate with a pager like device I carried in my pocket while I ran around the block for about 30 minutes.

 

The analyst, Drew, also watched me run for a bit to notate any physical markers the system might not track. When I got done running for 30 mins, Drew took the pager and connected it to the computer to get the details about my awesome running skills!

IMG_3189Then I was given a ton of information, that made me go huh?! But Drew was great in explaining. My cadence, which is steps per minute, is slow but this doesn’t mean I am slow. It just means that I do not open my stride wide to get more steps in per minute. I take about 100-120 steps per minute and I have an average speed of 6mph.

I favor my right side, which makes sense since I am always injured on my left side. In the photos below you can see that the time I spend with my left foot on the ground is more than the right. Some suggestions he had for this first eval was that I can download a metronome app for running that would help me increase my cadence and stride. This will also help the time I spend from foot to ground to back up. Like, I said, a lot of information!!

 

I had to come back for the final eval which included Drew watching my form on squats, push ups, wall sits, shoulder rotation, neck rotation, trunk rotation and more. All of this information is put into the system and then you are given an at home training plan through the Fusionetics app. Which is really cool.

They give you specific exercises to strengthen your weaknesses. They focus on the area you originally came into physical therapy for. So for me, the hip and groin area. Then they give you exercises to stretch, strengthen and stable your weak areas. They also make you foam roll! And each exercise comes with a video you can watch.

 

 

So all of this is sent directly to the app on your phone. It syncs with your calendar so you know what days you are supposed to be doing it. And the goal is to make a routine you commit to BEFORE running or working out. Which if you know me, you know I am bad about!

So I had to go buy some things, foam roller, resistant bands, exercise ball (which I still need!). I am trying to change my routine to carve out ten minutes before a run to do the stretches and exercises. Since I run at work I was told that you can split up the exercises. Do the static stretches and strength stuff before the run and then the ones that require props, do that evening at home. You can make it work for your schedule.

Now while it seems like a lot and you do have to change your routine I said something to the analysis like “How can I fit this all in?!” He said, “It’s only ten minutes once you get the hang of it. And think about all the time you spent in physical therapy, you don’t really want to come back here do you?!” Touché, Drew, touché.

So huge thanks to the crew at Campbell Clinic for keeping me in tip top shape. Now if I could stop hurting myself when I am not running! *cough* kickboxing *cough*

With healing,

Kayla

To another year

I absolutely love the end of the year. Reflecting on the past and projecting positivity towards the future.

2017 has been an amazing year for the badass unicorns. Running has been at the core. Throughout 2017, running has been apart of some of our greatest defeats and our biggest triumphs. A lot has happened, and yet we kept running.

blog coverWe started our blog in May. I am so thankful for everyone’s support. I absolutely love our blog. I am excited to continue with our blog and to see where else it will take us!!

10 NMThe 10 Nautical Mile race was a huge race for us this year. This was our first major race of the year. We were a bit rusty and struggled through it but we had a good time. We love supporting our military. Plus we got an awesome medal!!

sports bra squad dayJune 24th was Sports Bra Squad Day!

sports bra3 Throughout the hot summers, Kayla and I both ran in our sports bras, shedding insecurities, building confidence in ourselves, and encouraging other women to have confidence in themselves. Also because it was f*cking HOT!

run for texasIn August, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas really hard. Kayla and I really wanted to do something to help. Well we decided on what we do best which is run! This great cause was able to raise $49,000 for the American Red Cross and Texas Diaper Bank!

beach runIn September, Kayla and I went to the beach to celebrate my 30th birthday! And of course a run on the shore was a must! We had an amazing time! It was my best birthday yet!

turkey trotIn November, Kayla and I ran in the annual Turkey Trot race. This is our second year running in it together. I’m sure this will become an annual tradition for us. We are bound and determined to win a free turkey! lol

green fridayThis year instead of shopping on Black Friday we ran. First, we had an awesome, yummy, Thanksgiving together. Then we enjoyed Green Friday, which is where you go and enjoy outside, instead of being stuck in long lines at stores with crazy people! This will definitely become a new tradition for me!

marathon4Grand Finale! Kayla and I completed our first marathon on December 2, 2017! This was by far my greatest accomplishment this year!

Through out the year I also pushed myself to improve my pace. On December 28, 2016, I ran 5 miles at an 11:51 pace. On December 30th, 2017, I ran 5 miles at a 9:30 pace. Also in December of 2017, I’ve ran several miles under 9 minutes. Which is the fastest I’ve ever ran. I will continue to push myself in 2018. I plan on continuing to improve my pace.

I am very excited for 2018. I know it will be another amazing year. I plan to run a race every single month of the year. I will definitely run the St. Jude marathon in 2018. I would also like to run more marathons as well. Yes that is marathons, plural! I want to continue to improve my pace and run races with a new personal record best! I want to continue to inspire, motivate, and encourage others with running.  I am also excited to continue with the blog and to see what’s next for the badass unicorns.

2017 total milesSo, what all do you think you could accomplish in 126 hours out of a year? Well, in 2017  I accomplished running over 715 miles! I ran a marathon and I ran on the beach. I ran for a cause and to help others. I ran for fun. I ran to encourage and motivate others. I ran to build confidence in myself and to help others build confidence in themselves. I ran with my best friend and I ran to achieve new goals. I ran and surpassed my limitations. In 2017, I ran over 715 miles and with each step, I changed my life. I am so thankful for all the blessings of 2017 and I am so excited for what 2018 will bring!! Happy New Year!!

-Sarah

2017 was an interesting year for me. It’s hard for me to reflect back on it with happiness because now, it still causes me pain. But I am looking into 2018 with high hopes and determination. For the running aspect of my life, 2017 was a hit!

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The first race I ran, I did it solo for the Fort Pillow Trail Run in February. Thankfully, this year it was not freezing but the mountain you have to climb was still there. I love this race because it’s challenging to run on the trails but so worth it. It is also beautiful scenery.

In March, I was able to run with my best friend, Emmy, for her first three mile run ever! She was training for her first 5k which we were also able to do together. That is one of my favorite things about this running journey I have went on, inspiring others! I love when my friends or family tell me that they run now because of me. And that they continue to run because I work so hard which inspires them to keep working!

 

We decided to do the Wiked Wine Run for Emmy’s first 5k. It was in April and for some unknown reason, Nashville decided that it was going to be in the upper 80s for a day in April. And this race took place in the afternoon (cause they frown on drinking wine in the morning, I guess?!) so it was like the hottest part of the day. But Emmy still did it!! And we were rewarded with wine! So win! win! win!

Speaking of hot days, 2017 was the year I embraced my body and ran around in my sports bra! Cause when you’re hot, you’re hot. Take that anyway you please 😉

 

I was glad that Sarah finally joined me in the Sports Bra Squad movement! It really is freeing to ditch your tank and be able to breath a little better in the hot, hot days of summer. I challenge you to do it this year!!

Another favorite part about running, is all the cute animals I come across. Since I run in a rural part of Tennessee, I see a little more than Sarah gets to. So check all the cute animals below I saw in 2017. Not pictured: skunks, deer and raccoons!

 

Of course, the highlight of the year was completing the St. Jude Memphis Marathon! Which you can read more about here.

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Training for the marathon showed me that I really can do whatever I put my mind to. Which I plan on using that same determination in 2018 to move my life forward in my personal life and start my new life with strong will.

Running the marathon also inspired my aunt to start training for a 5k! Which I got to do a training run with her before the year ended!

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We ran and walked for 2 miles in a cold, rainy drizzle! I was so proud of her. I cannot wait to run her first 5k with her!

In 2017, I ran 770.5 miles, for 158 hours and burned 96,990 calories (roughly)! I had made a goal in 2016 to try and run 1,000 miles but I still beat my milage from last year so I am proud of that. We are planning on running a race every month this year so I am hoping with the constant training I can reach 1,000 miles for 2018. I am not a big New Year’s resolution person but I will say that one of my goals is to run faster this year. I have been toying with the idea of getting a running coach but I have some other priorities that need focused on first.

Another goal is to get back in my kickboxing routine. I went back to my kickboxing gym, CrossKick, a week after the marathon. It had been two months since I had went and oh boy! Talk about being out of that kind of shape. I am looking forward to getting back into my strength training and sticking to it!

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I am blessed to be able to run like I do and I am also blessed to be able to run across the country. I ran in Texas, California, Alabama, Washington, and Hawaii!! With my job, I am sure to add some more states this year.

 

So that’s a wrap on 2017 and now the Badass Unicorns will keeping doing what we do and sharing that with all of you beautiful people! Thanks for supporting us through our endeavors. We look forward to running and inspiring you all during 2018.

 

Love,

Kayla

Did you know a marathon is hard?!

But super fun, too?!

The above image is me after running for 5 hours 52 minutes!! Of course it was hard, but I trained hard for it too and this will always be something I will be proud of.

To start off, I have to give a huge shout out to my support system! These ladies came out and stayed in the worse hotel in Memphis (Motel 6 don’t go!). They were ran out by bed bugs at 3 in the morning and were standing at AutoZone Park ready to cheer us on bright and early at 6am!

Being surrounded by 26,000 runners to kick off the race was so crazy. It was just so amazing to be in that group of people who were running for so many different reasons.

I was really grateful to start the race off with Sarah since we would not finish together. Let’s talk about badass though! She finished this shit in 4:59!!! Like what? I’m just back here taking my sweet time!

One of my favorite things about the race was the city of Memphis! There were so many fans out there cheering complete strangers on. It was so fun. One street’s neighborhood showed up! They had donut holes, shots, beer, Bloody Mary’s, mimosas, chips, music! I was like Damn! Could you guys move to the end please?!

I also loved being able to run through the St. Jude campus and see some of the patients that I raised money for. Props to those people who helped me reach that goal!

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I didn’t have a goal for finishing by a certain time. I kept my pace around what I trained at, 11:30. Everything was good too. My hip didn’t hurt, my nutrition was working, I was having fun. And then came Mile 20. Which was the furthest distance I had done during my training.

For me to get to Mile 21, it took me 15 minutes! Like what happened? I have no idea. I guess my body just needed to get used to that distance. And it did. After that I picked my pace back up to my normal. Once I got to Mile 23, I was like “You are about to finish a marathon!”

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Photo By MarathonFoto

I told a guy next to me, “Mile 23 to 26 is where winners are made!” He was like “Or failures.” Ummmm, Boy, Bye!!

Once I got to that point, I knew I just had to keep moving. I was dodging so many walkers and one couple was like “You go girl! Keep it up.” I was like “I am just ready to be done with this!!”

At that point though, your body is numb. You’re hungry! And if you walk, you just think, RUN! So this will be over faster. Thanks to the tracking app, my friends and family were sending encouraging texts toward the end of the race which really helped me through.

As I crossed the finish line, I had tears in my eyes and thought, “I cannot believe I just did that. Wait, yes I can. Of course I did that!” It was so amazing. To be able to accomplish something that I had put so much work into was unbelievably gratifying.

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Ignore that time! Me crossing the finish line! Photo by MarathonFoto

After the race, I told people that there was no way in hell I would run another marathon. But now….I don’t know. I might do some more. I will definitely be running half marathons, especially the St. Jude. I highly recommend this race to anyone! The expo was top notch. The after race goodies were great! So many options! Oranges, water, bananas, foil human burrito maker, pizza, donuts, BEER!

And thanks to Sarah for waiting a whole hour after she was done for me to finish! It was great to see her smiling face when I came across. Then we had to walk up stairs to get to the food and beer! Like hello?! Whoever designed that has never done a marathon!

Life has been slowly returning to normal. It only took us the whole month to recap our races. The New Year is right around the corner and we hope you stick with us to see what we have in store for 2018! The Badass Unicorns are here to stay and run around!

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Photo By MarathonFoto

Peace out!

Kayla

Sacrifice.

Six days till we get in our little corral and nervously wait to cross the start line of our first marathon!!

It’s been six months of training which means six months of sacrifices! We thought we would share some of the things we gave up so we could make this goal a reality.

Kayla’s Sacrifices.

1. Alcohol

2. Sleep

3. Comfort

I didn’t give up alcohol for the entire six months. I would sacrifice drinking on Friday nights because I would have a long run, bright and early! I did give up alcohol in the last month though. I made a couple exceptions, like Thanksgiving! I thought it would be nice to cleanse out those toxins in the last month so I would feel extra healthy for the race. I made sure to keep drinks on hand besides water. I learned that there is a habit in drinking, just having that glass of wine in hand after work. If I dressed up a virgin drink after work, it was almost like I was satisfying that craving with just a fancy drink. I will definitely be thinking of the nice, cold brew I’ll treat myself to while running.

Training for a marathon while working a full time job is no joke! There were mornings I had to get up at 4 a.m. Sometimes I would be trying to beat the heat for a long run, others I would be trying to fit in a run before my work day started at 7 a.m. Usually with these early wake up calls would mean that I would be in bed by 8 p.m. asleep by 9. Now it’s almost like I can’t sleep past 7 a.m. and I really feel like it is a direct result of this crazy running lifestyle I developed.

Sacrificing comfort for me means that, at times, I was physically uncomfortable. Either having to wake up at 4:30 in the morning and make myself put my shoes on and get out the door. Or the aches and pains that your body goes through while training. Talk about getting up from sitting at work and every muscle in your body feels like it is protesting your movement! And of course, making yourself push yourself out of comfort zone while running. While I wasn’t able to get faster through training (damn hip!) I was able to push myself way beyond my limits. I remember when I could barely run three miles and in six days I will be running 26.2. So it may hurt and you may feel defeated at times, but push yourself, it’s worth it!

Sarah’s Sacrifices.

1. Excuses

2. Comfort

3. Giving up

I use to be good at making excuses. Then I became a runner! There are no excuses in running. December 2nd (date of the marathon) will come no matter how much training I have done. To make sure I was fully prepared for the marathon, I had to train, I had to run. No matter what life threw at me, I had to run. And if I absolutely had to skip a run, then I had to make it up later that week. Running has taught me that what I once thought were obstacles that were keeping me from doing things, were just my own excuses holding me back. Running teaches me how strong I really am and that there is nothing that can stop me from doing what I want to do, and nothing keeping me from becoming the strong, badass unicorn I am meant to be!

Running is uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable physically, emotionally, and mentally. I don’t like being uncomfortable(who does?). But I now believe that you will never know how much you are capable of, and how strong you are until you are forced to be uncomfortable. “Great things never came from comfort zones” Discomfort causes you to change, to grow, and to adapt. Yes, its uncomfortable, but did I die? NO! I got through it and I can do it again!

I had to give up on giving up. You can see the finish line, but you can’t feel your legs. You can’t just stop. You have to keep going. I remember when running a mile was hard, and now in 6 more days I’ll be running 26.2 miles. Will it be hard? Hell yes! But I know I will be able to do it because I haven’t given up yet, and I’m not going to start now! There would be no way I’d be where I am today if I had given up. There is no way I’d be the woman I am today if I had given up. Giving up is not an option. There is nothing like the feeling of when all you want to do is to stop and give up. You are tired, hungry, irritated, can’t breath, and everything hurts, but yet you still push through and keep going. You may think that you could never run a marathon (yea, I thought that too). But if you work hard, train, embrace being uncomfortable, stop making excuses, and never give up, then you could run a marathon too and anything else you set your mind to!!

Love,

Kayla and Sarah

What I learned at the marathon preview

Last week, I was able to attend the St. Jude Marathon Course Preview hosted by Breakaway Running and Can’t Stop Endurance. Coach Kevin Leathers did a very informative presentation about how to prepare, what to expect and how to recover.

I thought I would share some of what stuck out to me in case it could be helpful to someone else participating. Sarah was not able to attend so I took extensive notes to share with my fellow over-planning Virgo!

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First off, the marathon will be host to approximately 25,000 runners!! This includes participants in the 5k, 10k, half and full marathon. That is a lot of people at a starting line. Which is why it takes about 40 minutes for all runners to be released from their respective corral and cross the start line.

Sarah and I will be starting in the 11 minute per mile corral. We want to be able to start together because Sarah will be able to run faster, longer, and we won’t be finishing together. But we are starting off as a team, which I am pretty jazzed about! During the course preview, someone asked how do you stay warm in the corrals? You might need more layers while you are waiting to take off. So here’s a tip! Wear some throwaway clothes. Just some cheap layers you can take off when the race starts. The race volunteers will gather these and they actually donate them to the local community.

So the race starts and ends at Autozone Park. If you are wanting to watch any of your friends take off or finish, this is where to do it! FYI: Roads will starts closing by 7am!! Spectators can watch the runners take off on Second Street and you can catch them again on Front Street which is around mile four. The marathoners will pass the stadium area, on Danny Thomas Blvd. near Monroe, again near miles 23.5 and 25.5. This is great place for you to cheer your runner on before they finish! Friends and families can also sit in the stands and watch their runner cross the finish line. Friends and families will not be allowed on the field though. So cheer loud!!

Coach Leathers broke the race down into thirds. And this can be used for any distance. The first third is about Discipline. You are going to be excited and your adrenaline will be pumping. You have to keep in mind to keep your pace that you trained for so that you don’t take off too fast and burn out. The middle of the race you should have a Relaxed Focus. This is where you continue to take it easy. Make sure your hydration and fueling is working for you. Pay attention to your form during this time. And for the last part!! This is where you Dig Deep! You will be hurting. It will be hard but this is why you trained for six months. Welcome the Struggle!

So there are the important logistic points. Now for some fun stuff!

Mile 5.5 is where the runners will run through the St. Jude campus. The kids come out with their signs and cheer the runners on. I am really excited for this part. This is what it is all about. And you can still donate to the cause!

Kayla’s Fundraising Page     Sarah’s Fundraising Page

If you are running the half, around mile 11 is when you will leave all us crazy marathoners behind. If you are running the marathon, don’t panic! Most of the people you are running with will go left while you go right. Important note: if you don’t reach the split point by 11:20 a.m. you will be made to finish as a half marathoner. This means you must at least keep a 14 minute pace for 11 miles. It’s okay! If I can do it, you can do it!

One of my favorite parts of this course preview was that Coach Leathers covered what to do after and gave some good recovery points! Number one Don’t sit down or lay down once you cross the finish line! (SARAH) ! It’s not good for your muscles and you may not be able to physically get up! Change your clothes before you meet up with your group. You’ll be more comfortable for all the selfie taking you’re gonna do!

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He also suggested setting a new goal! Pay for a race and you won’t have a reason to slack off. You won’t have to restart your training. Rumor is we might register to do the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville half marathon in April!

You can find all this information from the source, Can’t Stop Endurance. Coach Leathers will also be doing the presentation again at the expo Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. And you MUST go to the expo to get your packet and bib. There is NO race day packet pick up!

If you aren’t running in the race, you can still be a part of race day! Check out volunteer opportunities here.

I hope this can be helpful for some people participating. If you can catch the presentation, I highly suggest it! It was very informative, as you can tell!

13 days!!

The more you know,

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!