Archive | July, 2014

Bix’ing it up!

27 Jul


The Bix 7 is one of my favorite races, run off in Davenport Iowa.   It is a classic race that features top runners from across the US, and draws in thousands of runners with the historic course that starts by running up a ginormous hill…I don’t know if they all come for the hill?! Maybe, but  probably for the atmosphere, its circus like events afterwards,and the challenging course is what makes it the Bix and a race I didn’t want to miss this year.

I have run it several other times and always love it. I have just started a marathon build-up and my legs are kind of dead dog like.   I didn’t really focus on this as a goal race, and just decided to do it a few weeks ago.  But, with it only being a 4 hr drive to get a chance to compete head to head with other ladies who are training towards the Olympic Trials, and this year it being the USA 7 mile Championship, I couldn’t not do it.  I also wanted to see how I am progressing towards my goal of the 2016  Olympic Trials, and how I fared against the other runners who have been to the trials, Olympics, and are also training towards 2016.

I drove down Friday after work, no stops, all business, to get straight to the expo to pick up my packet.  I knew the timing would be tight since the expo was only open until 9.  I wanted to get my number though the night before because there is around 20 thousand running, and wanted to be ready to go race morning not fighting through getting it at the last minute.  As I was pulling into the expo, I casually see Joan Benoit Samuelson walking down the sidewalk, winner of the 1984 Olympics Marathon.  I remember first meeting her here at the Bix three years ago, she beat me lol and told me nice race.  The next year, I beat her lol.  She is in her fifty’s and still qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials!  She is still the real deal! Anyway, I grabbed my number, and was in and out of that expo in 10 minutes, drove to hotel checked in, did a short shake out run, and grabbed some to-go sandwich at a restaurant right by my hotel, and got it all done in under 2 hrs to be in bed by 10:30pm.

Race morning, I get to the course bright and early.  I was kinda nervous, only due to the fact that one year I got trapped out of my right corral because of the gates, and then again had to hop it several years ago to get to my right spot.  This year, I found the right elite entrance and was ready to go, no problem.  I did my warm-up and all the elites , Molly Huddle, Amy Hastings, etc are all running around right by me.  I used to think it was kind of crazy to be running with them or even be in some of the same races as them, like how on earth?  Now, today was different.  Today at the race, I was badgery as heck.  I was confident, I believed that I deserved to race them.  That I can run and compete against the best runners. Yes, Molly Huddle the American Record holder in the 5k, will still beat me, but that doesn’t mean I am not gonna give it hell and see how much I can improve and bridge the gap over the next years.  I am training for the Olympic trials in 2016 and so are the other elites.  There are others like myself  who are stepping up to bat for the trials too, and lots of them were here.   Perfect opportunity to see where I am at.  While I was stretching, my old running pal Serena Burla (2:28 marathoner & previously placed 2nd at the USA Half Marathon) goes “LISA!” and gave me a hug.  We used to run together when she lived in STL, now she is currently training & living in Virginia.

Next run in, almost literally, was with Bill Rogers. HA!  I was doing strides, and I almost ran into him.  I go “HEY!!” really loud.  LOL.  He says, “Hi!’ and shakes my hand and we start talking like we are best buddies lol.  He wished me good luck! It’s not every day you get wished good luck by Bill Rogers (multiple time winner of the Boston Marathon!)  I have also met and talked with him a few times before at different races, always a super nice guy.  I still remember when I met him the first time at a race, and asked him to sign my race bib afterwards, and he told me he saw me run, and that I had a nice stride!  That is framed and hanging up, and when I see it I think “Man, that’s pretty cool that Bill Rogers thinks I have a nice stride?!”

Race time!  We are all corralled into the starting line area, and I see another familiar face Amanda Bales Dunne.  We did some of the same track meets back in 2012 while hunting trials goals.  She ended up qualifying for the 5k and running in the Olympic Trials.  We started talking, and lined up next to each other. After 20 minutes of pre-race speeches, anthem, guard brigades, and plane fly overs we were off!

My plan was to take it easy up the massive hill to start, when I ran it before I didn’t.  I was starting off conservative today because I didn’t know what my legs had in them with the start up of marathon training and figured it be best according to Coach to warm up into it.  I hit the first mile, as planned, conservative, if a little slow at 6:2o.  I was all around and surrounded by pack of men.  I pushed my way through a little bit, had to elbow just a tad so this one guy would quit cutting me off.


I hit the 2nd mile, too quick.  Which oh well, I still felt good.  The middle part of the race I rolled through the hills, and not normal hills, Babler Park like hills.  I started to hurt pretty bad, around mile 4 in the hills and was feeling like I was slowing down.  I wouldn’t have it today, I just had been to a book signing earlier in the week for Ironman, cancer fighter, Teri Griege.  To say she inspires me , is an understatement. What she has achieved and done is amazing, fighting cancer, training for Ironmans, while going through chemo, helping others, by talking about cancer and taking screening precautions.  I really felt a connection, for some reason, that we are like kindred spirits.  I love her zest and personality.  I thought of Teri & also Bill Rogers that wished me good luck, and told myself to dig deeper!  SO I ratcheted it back up a level, and cruised through the next couple of miles.

When I hit mile 6, I thought to myself, there was just 1 more mile to go.  I hammered through it and ran rabid badger like all the way to the finish trying to catch this one girl. I just ran out of ground, but still finished with a new PR of 42:37, which was a minute faster than I have run that distance in.  I raced hard, and dug deep that last mile to pump out a 5:33 or so.  Immediately after I crossed the finish line, I kept on walking, and needed to pull over to the side and puke.  LOL.  Yep, I ran hard alright. I was happy with my results and that I ended up in 21st place overall in the USA 7 mile championships (original results had me 22nd, but was updated to show 21st).  I closed the gap down on my competitors, and was surprised to see I was only 1 minute behind an Olympian 10k runner in 2012, Lisa Uhl. Serena placed 14th, Amanda was just ahead of me by 20 seconds or so, in 18th place, Joan Benoit Samuelson was 24th in 43:40.

While I walked to my car, to head home I ran into Isaya, who is Serena’s coach.  He is buddies with Tim and we all hung out before.  He told me good job, asked me how my race went.  I said I was happy with how I did and he asked how training and competing was going etc.  He re-emphasized some training/racing things that sounded familiar ..that Tim has told me before lol.  It is good to hear another coach that I respect say the same things though and say that he sees me achieving my goals.

I have been very lucky in getting all these words of wisdom, and running into so many inspiring people lately.  I feel like this dream of qualifying for the 2016 trials is now a goal, and do-able for sure after this race.    I am  lucky to have the Runnababez team mates, with Jackie already being to the trials, and training towards same goals.  It’s so nice to have someone else pushing hard and trying for big things.  As the saying goes, it’s not about the destination… it’s about the journey.  Everyone’s journey is different.  Everyone’s journey to a goal will be unique. I am enjoying my journey and the people in it: my hubby, my coach, family, my Runnababez, & my support crew!





Fast Friends

22 Jul

                                                           Fast Friends 

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ― C.S. Lewis

What we have is rare. It happens in an instant. Chemistry. Trust. Friendship. My heart swells as I think about these certain relationships in my life. It’s like the first time I met my husband. The experience was like two heart magnets, and I instantly knew I had to experience life with this one man. I think this might be rare. This intense chemistry. And although I believe there is just one soul mate in the world to fall in love, I do know there is a force that draws us to certain people in our lives. When I was younger, I had lots of friends, many who I had nothing in common or attraction, but as I got older, my time became more valuable and my confidence grew, I honored the need to foster those relationships that made me a better person, and those people who attracted me. I surround myself with those who I want to surround myself with. I don’t have time for fake. I am certainly not one to be crass or mean, but heck, you don’t live long enough to spend your time with people you don’t love and admire. Which brings me to the Runnababez. The whole reason Lisa and I decided to start this team was we both experienced other teams of post collegiate competitive women running at high levels together and at the same time, laughing and loving each other. Celebrating each other’s accomplishments. Helping each other reach one another’s goals. Sharing each other’s lives- all while running fast! We needed this in St. Louis. We wanted to line up and get competitive and fight, but after put a genuine smile on our faces no matter what the outcome and go back to our balanced lives of boyfriends, husbands, babies, family, friends, and careers.

Back to my heart swelling… we have these seven seriously amazing women on this team. I have been so blessed to share my early morning runs, races, and funny facebook threads with them. And even though we all have different lives outside of running, we are all the same. We are in sync. We dance to the same beat. We “get” each other. An instant attraction and respect for one another. It’s so rare to find one friend like this, much less seven and growing! Seven other women that are so much like me, yet each teach me something different about life, running, and myself. I can tell anything to them on a run, and they get me- no judgment; they get my craziness, my happiness, and my sorrow. I love them. They are my teammates-who keep me running because that’s what we do. Run. Together. I often think of this quote, “True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable.”– David Tyson Gentry. Even though we talk A LOT on our runs about everything, sometimes the soft pitter patter of our worn shoes on the trail is all we hear for a mile or two- when we each get lost in our individual thoughts- and then of course come back each fighting to get in the next word!

I sometimes refer back to my training build up for the Olympic Trials in 2012 and think or say, “there is no way I could train like that again…it was too intense.” That statement is currently being obliterated. I am no longer alone climbing this next mountain- it amazes me how enjoyable and easy my training has been so far because of my teammates lifting me up (I know it’s summer and I’m only 7 weeks into a 9 month build up!) On a side note: I’m just starting to train with some intent again after a baby in the fall and a long spring of iron deficiency. My eyes are on the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon in April 2015 where I’m aiming to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon in L.A. I’m attempting to qualify a different way this time just for fun and to have new experience by running sub 1:15 in the half. Last time I ran like a billion marathons in order to chip away at my PR before finally qualifying at the last minute – which was so fun. But this time is going to be entirely different – a new goal.

Back to fun and enjoyment in running. Enjoyment and fun are mandatory in this process, this journey. My coach, Sheldon Webster, doesn’t just put workouts together for me to execute- I could do that myself. He mostly reads my temperament at any given time and adjusts- he takes the thinking out of the equation and makes sure I’m happy. He is so freaking good at this- it amazes me. As soon as I inadvertently give him a sign that I am not enjoying the process, he knows just what to do before I burn up literally!

This entire blog is backed by my running bible; Run The Mind-Body Method of Running By Feel by Matt Fitzgerald- thanks Jill for recommending this to me back in 2010! I re-read this book all the time and even go back to the highlighted sections for a quick tune-up of my mind and perspective. He says, “Do more of what you enjoy most and less of what you enjoy least in training. The feeling of enjoyment is your body’s way of telling you that your training is working…increasing levels of enjoyment were as likely to predict improved performance…indicating that enjoyment influences fitness improvement as much as fitness improvement influences enjoyment (Fitzgerald, 44).” Many elite runners let there passion for running get destroyed with the idea that more is better, even when it causes them misery…that passion gets lost. (Fitzgerald 43-45).” So I reply to that thought of “how will I ever train that hard again as I approach this new training chapter? My response to myself, “I will enjoy and love what I do.” And just how will I accomplish this enjoyment? By training, racing, coffee drinking, BBQing, and spending time with people that make me better…my attraction. My friends. My teammates. Thank you Tim and Lisa for finding these women tucked away all around St. Louis just waiting for someone to inspire them- offering a way they can still train and race for fun after college and that there are other women out there just like them! Thank you Fleet Feet for believing in us and sponsoring our individual journeys. Thank you Dr. Fader for keeping us healthy, and Emerge Fitness for keeping us strong and straight. Thank you Runnababez-Lisa, Amanda, Juli, Amy, Cheryl, Carrine, Lauren, and new member Teri Griege (hey, you said you wanted to join Teri!). Here’s to us for the many years ahead of lots of personal bests, qualifications, and even disappointments, because without the lows, there can be no real intense highs. We are the Runnababez. We are Fun. Fast. Fabulous.


XC Camp day 3

16 Jul

The FLEET FEET/Runnababez Cross Country Camp enjoyed yet another beautiful day.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather throughout these first 3 days.  Day 3 started with Coach Cary going over the importance of proper fueling before practices and races.  Everyone got to try out different nutritionals (GU’s, Sports Beans, Honey Stingers, etc).  After a nice warm up and drill work, everyone headed out for a 40-60 min run.  We enjoyed a mix of wooded dirt and chip trails along with open asphalt.  It was awesome to see all the friendships being made at camp.  The amount of chatter among the group on the runs has definitely increased.  The end of camp found the Runnababez talking to everyone about goal setting.  Lisa, Jackie, and Juli talked about the importance of goal setting along with how to set different type goals.  Camp has been a blast and gets better every day.  We can’t wait for what tomorrow has in store.







FLEET FEET/Runnababez Camp Day 2

15 Jul

Talk about a gorgeous day for a run.  Cross Country camp day 2 could not have had any better weather.  The day kicked off with Dr. Feder talking with the group about the importance of stretching, foam rolling, and eating healthy.  After a nice warm up through the Big Muddy Reserve trail, the campers got rolling running Endless Relays.  Coach Cary was so impressed and happy with everyone’s effort, he stopped it at 35 minutes.  The Runnababez then led everyone through a great stretch at the end.  Day 2 was a packed day.  We can’t wait to see how great tomorrow will be.






Runnababez & Runnadudez Fleet Feet XC Camp is Underway!

15 Jul

Runnababez & Runnadudez XC Camp is underway!  Camp kicked off yesterday in the Chesterfield Valley Levee trails. Runners learned proper form in doing speed drills, and headed out on a an easy run on a beautiful afternoon!  Coach Cary also was the keynote speaker of the day, by explaining the importance of taking the first steps towards summer training and implementing everything learned at camp for training.

Coach Tim Cary Talking to the XC Runners

Coach Tim Cary Talking to the XC Runners

Lisa Cary 2nd female-elite in Newtown Triathlon!

14 Jul

Lisa Cary competed in the Newtown Triathlon (.65 swim/20 mile bike/4 mile run) yesterday.  Lisa a previous All-American Triathlete back in 2008, came out of the swim in 5th place.  Jumping onto the bike she averaged faster than she ever has on the bike leg ,at 21.9 mph for the 20 mile bike!  She found herself into 3rd place after the bike.  Once she hit the run, she was in her wheel house, and ran into 2nd place female overall in the elite category running the 4 mile segment in 24:26.

Fellow friend Shawn O’neal won the men’s sprint distance triathlon (.32 swim/10 mile bike/2 mile run)! Lauren Nystrom, placed 5th overall rounding out the top 5 women overall in the long distance event.

Women's Top 5 Newtown Triathlon - Lisa Cary 2nd Place

  Women’s Top 5 Newtown Triathlon – Lisa Cary 2nd Place, Lauren Nystrom 5th place

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Runnababez Blaze Like Fireworks!

5 Jul

The Runnababez had a blazing fast weekend all around!  Jackie Pirtle-Hall & Lisa Cary kicked it off with a bang Friday morning by winning the O’Fallon Firecracker 5k/10k.  Jackie cruised to the overall female win in the 10k with a 36:11!  Lisa busted out to the overall female win in the 5k with a 17:44!

Jackie Running to the O'Fallon Firecracker 10k Win

Jackie Running to the O’Fallon Firecracker 10k Win

Lisa Running to the Win of the O'Fallon 5k

Lisa Running to the Win of the O’Fallon 5k


That same morning over in Illinois, Juli Stults continued her winning ways at the Steeleville, IL Firecracker 3k.  She earned the female overall win with an awesome 10:41!

Juli Stults 3k Women's Winner

Juli Stults – Women’s 3k Champion

Not to be outdone, Amanda Albrecht dominated the Freedom 4 Miler in Forest Park on July 5th.  She ran away with the female overall win in yet another PR of 25:14!

Photo: Great picture Andrew!

Happy 4th Weekend!

Fun. Fast. Fabulous!



Lisa WINS the Macklind Mile- Elite Women! Juli WINS the Open Mile!

2 Jul

Last Saturday at the Macklind Road Mile in St. Louis.  The competition was good, weather hot with a bit of wind, and the Runnababez were running fast. Lisa Cary ran away from the elite women after 1000 meters, & brought home the women’s elite mile win,  she put down a big kick,  closing at a speed of 68 seconds for the  last 400! Running a clock time of 4:53, gun time 4:51.

Amanda Albrecht stepped up to bat in the women’s elite field in her very first mile race, badgering away, she continued on her PR streak, of running in a 5:20 (5:17 gun)!

Juli Stults a newly minted Runnababe, continued on her come-back rampage racing scene by running away with the women’s open win, in 5:16 (5:12 gun)!


Fun. Fast. Fabulous.


Lisa Cary

Lisa Cary Running to the Win @ Macklind

Lisa, Amanda, and Juli @Macklind Mile

Lisa, Amanda, and Juli @Macklind Mile