Thursday, June 7, 2018

Leadership Spotlight - Allison

Name:  Allison

I am from Owensboro, Ky, but have lived in Louisville for 16 years.    

My husband of 9 years, two girls (5 and 7 yrs old) and our new little puppy.

Why do you Run?
My first 2 mile run was actually at basic training, back in August ’97.  For 21 years, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with running. I swore I’d never run again after the Army, only to pick it back up several months later. In my 20’s, I completed several half-marathons, with limited training because I really didn’t enjoy running. I took 7 years off from running when I got married/had children. I started running again because I got tired of setting goals that revolved around a number on the scale. I wanted to lose weight, so I signed up for 3 races and started training. My most consistent running streak has been the past two years!!! I started running again for health, to set a good example for my girls and to maintain weight….BUT, I keep running because of the friendships I’ve formed. Running has become a social outlet…and an opportunity for ME TIME.  I LOVE the camaraderie of the running community, especially within the MRTT/SRTT group! 

Favorite non-running workout:
Cycling, indoors or outdoors…I also enjoy strength training, but don’t do it nearly enough. I’m trying to learn to love swimming.  

Favorite Training Plan:
I usually refer to 2-3 training planning plans, bounce around ideas with friends, and then create a plan to fit my preferences/schedule.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
Any run on a dirt path through the woods is my favorite…a big bonus if there is water nearby and friends by my side.   

What is the one thing you absolutely need to run?
Good shoes should probably be my answer, but I might *need* my watch just a bit more…and black clothes…and my hydration vest.

What is your favorite post-run indulgence?
Mexican – shrimp tacos and chips with salsa/ guacamole.  

Favorite running song that gives you strength?
I don’t have a favorite song; when running solo on the roads or spinning, I usually just listen to iHeart Radio.

What was your favorite race and why?
Just one???  Run the Bluegrass happens to be my half-marathon PR for both time and amount of laughs during the race. Hillbilly Half was my first trail half-marathon, and I finished feeling very proud and empowered! Though I am not a strong swimmer, I felt completely in my element at my first triathlon, Tri Indy. Many friendships and lifelong memories were made at my first overnight relay, Ragnar Trail - Kentuckiana. Though the races listed above are very different, there is one common thread that made all these races my favorite… for each of these events, I trained and raced with friends.  Running has brought truly wonderful people in my life…races (and training runs) are so much more enjoyable when completed with friends!

What is your bucket list race…
A half ironman…I want that swag!

At what point did you start to call yourself a “runner”?
To be completely honest, it still feels weird. 

What do you tell yourself to keep going during a tough run?
I tend to get very reflective during my runs. I often think of my father, and how proud/excited he would be to follow my journey, cheer me on and help me select new races/adventures. I focus on my health and ability to be active, something he longed for his final years. I run for him; to feel a connection with him.

What have you struggled with during your running journey and did you find a solution?
For about 6-8 months, my biggest struggle was GI issues. I tried increasing certain foods, eliminating certain foods, adjusting calories, modifying macros, running fasted, eating before runs, only liquid nutrition during runs, only real food during runs, etc.  You name it, I tried it…and I saw a couple of doctors along the way. Focusing on plant-based, whole foods really helps, but probiotics have been the major change that improved my running life!  For months I worried I would never be able to run long-distance carefree, but I’m happy to report I think I’ve finally found a solution!

What three things do you most want to accomplish (running or non-running related)?
  1. Strive to find/maintain balance between household responsibilities, work roles, relationships with family/friends and taking care of myself.
  2. Be a positive role model for my girls; raise them to have confidence, strength, courage and passion to follow their dreams, enjoy their journey and live a life full of health and happiness!
  3. Continue to set goals which take me out of my comfort zone, challenge me to be my best version of ME and keep life exciting/full of adventure!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Amy - Leadership Spotlight

Name:  Amy

Hometown: St. Matthews, KY

Family:  Husband Chris of 13 years and 2 children – Roan 9, Elliot 5. Fun fact, I met Chris on the internet in late 2002.

Why do you Run? I run because it brings me joy and because I get to spend time with some of my best friends whom I met through MRTT. I’m mostly a trail runner and the woods and trails bring a peacefulness to my life that helps renew my mind. Best way to start my day and best way to decompress after a log and possibly stressful day. I love introducing people to the joy of trail running.  

Favorite non-running workout: Racquetball. I love racquetball so much but never get to play. So, if you are looking for a racquetball buddy and have a place to play, hit me up!

Favorite Training Plan: One that involves running with my friends every week, hill training and my favorite: Fartleks. I love the plans that I downloaded from

Where is your favorite place to run and why?  All Trails. Trail running brings a peacefulness that you can only understand once you do it. I love Jefferson Memorial Forest, Seneca Trails, Cherokee Trails, Waverly Park Trails. I basically love all trails.  

What is the one thing you absolutely need to run? Running shorts, or capris or pants with pockets. Gotta have the pockets. And really prefer if its big enough for my phone. Why is anything ever made without pockets anyway?

What is your favorite post-run indulgence? Beer or when it came to my last run at Ragnar, a fresh mimosa. YUM.

Favorite running song that gives you strength? I can’t really pick out just one, but I love Alt J, Macklemore and anything Widespread Panic.

What was your favorite race and why?  Ragnar because it has everything I love. Time with friends, camping, running, food, beer, etc. Wonderful Memories.

What is your bucket list race….  Don’t have a specific bucket list race, but I’d love to do a trail run in Hawaii.

At what point did you start to call yourself a “runner”?  Interesting question. Not long after I joined MRTT, I said I wasn’t athletic and I wasn’t a runner, I just ran sometimes. The inspiring duo of Stephanie B and Marian S gave me so much strength and courage to understand that if you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter the length, speed or how often, if you run, you are a runner and them along with many other encouraging wonderful ladies have helped me to continue my journey.

What do you tell yourself to keep going during a tough run? I think about how far I’ve come and how far I have left and all the other tough times I’ve encountered in life that I’ve made it through. I know I will make it and sometimes it’s tough but that I know my body’s limits and what I can do. Also I like to think about my inspiring friends who have gone so much further. I also think about the strength messages people have shared with me and I hear my friends encouraging voices in my mind.  If I am with a friend on a tough run, it’s so much better because we can pull each other through the tough times.

What have you struggled with during your running journey and did you find a solution?  
I hit a point somewhere about ¾ of the way through each race I train for where I just don’t want to run anymore. As long as I utilize my friends for accountability and companionship, I pull through that just fine. It just takes getting out there. Also, understanding that some runs are just going to be BAD. And understanding that it doesn’t mean I should stop or that all runs are going to be BAD. It will get better and it takes the bad to appreciate the good.

What three things do you most want to accomplish (running or non-running related)?
  1. Involving my whole family in activities more.  Hiking more, running with my boys. And semi-regular running dates with my awesome husband who got me into trail running in the first place.
  2. A healthy weight and exercise combination that I can stick with that not only makes me healthier but a better runner. (Not emptying the fridge in my mouth after a run).
  3. Incorporate yoga in my life more regularly.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Stacey - Leadership Spotlight

Name:  Stacey M.

Hometown: LaGrange, Ky           

Family: Husband of 10 years...I believe. Mother of three kids 7,5,3.

Why do you Run?
I run because I enjoy it. I love the friendships it's brought me, the strength it’s given me, confidence I’ve gained, and I’m continuing to learn more reasons why I run. 

Favorite non-running workout:
Strength Training. I have committed two days a week to strength with my good friend, Jeanette, for almost a year now, I think.

Favorite Training Plan:
I don't really have a particular one. I’ve used a couple here and there. What I have done this current plan, was taken one from Jenny Hadfield used hers as my base and rearranged it for myself and my life. Once I did that, I double checked it with a more experienced runner to make sure I didn't screw it up.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
I run roads mostly during the week due to convenience but I prefer any trail. Of course, I wouldn't pass up a run with a friend or new friend just because it's on road.

What is the one thing you absolutely need to run?
A capri, skirt or shorts with pockets to hold my water and or phone.

What is your favorite post-run indulgence?
Always a beer. I have recently learned on my last long training run, I crave a grilled chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a. It was THE best sandwich I ever had. 

Favorite running song that gives you strength?
Honestly, I don't run with music. I have found I run better without it.

What was your favorite race and why?
I have a few that come to mind, The View, Queen Bee, Ragnar just to name some. The only reason I have come up with to why, is because of the people that I have run them with. They made the race worth it!

What is your bucket list race…
I haven't found one yet. I think after September I will have more of an idea of what I want to do with my running self.

At what point did you start to call yourself a “runner”?
Probably shortly after I started running again. I was running with some awesome ladies from MRTT/SRTT. The positivity and acceptance I gained was amazing.

What do you tell yourself to keep going during a tough run?
I try to think of someone (a friend, family member) who has accomplished something just as difficult or even more difficult. It puts my tough run into perspective and it also reminds me I’m not the only one out there doing this. I can get through it just keep moving.

What have you struggled with during your running journey and did you find a solution?
I allow my mental game to get the best of me.  I let it kick my a** so many times running and non running. I am slowly learning tricks and strategies to help when I get down into a “pit” that I can’t get out of.

I have started listening to podcasts about running, reading books, and talking to other runners about what they have learned. I then go and keep it all in my mental notebook and test some of them out on my long training runs.

What three things do you most want to accomplish (running or non-running related)?
  1. Make sure my kids are kind to everyone and are strong enough to stand up for themselves and what they believe in.
  2. Help my husband find the time to do what he loves and support his hobbies.
  3. Continue to learn how to be a better runner, which helps in life all around.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mandy H - Leadership Spotlight

Name:  Mandy

Hometown: From Louisville, but live in Jeffersonville, IN

Family: Husband and 7 year old daughter

Why do you Run? For "Me" time and exercise. I run races for the bling :)

Favorite non-running workout: Pure Barre

Favorite Training Plan: Galloway

What is the one thing you absolutely need to run? Garmin

What is your favorite post-run indulgence? Pizza

Favorite running song that gives you strength? ROAR by Katy Perry

What was your favorite race and why?
WDW Half Marathon because it was my first half marathon! It proved I could do anything I put my mind to!

What is your bucket list race… NYC

At what point did you start to call yourself a “runner”?
After my first half marathon (January 2013)

What do you tell yourself to keep going during a tough run?
Not to give up, I want to be a good role model for my daughter to not quit when things get hard.

What have you struggled with during your running journey and did you find a solution? Feeling guilty about time away from family -- realize that taking care of me was important.

What do you most want to accomplish (running or non-running related)?
Run a full marathon before I turn 40

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Flying Pig Marathon - Race Recap

I started running in January 2015 because I got the idea that I wanted to do something epic for my 40th birthday. I signed up for a 5K and went to buy some running shoes. Then, kept running and ran my first half marathon on my 40th birthday in June. When anyone asked if I was going to run a marathon, I always said “I don’t think so but never say never.” Fast forward to December 2017….I was trying to figure out what race I wanted to train for. I was considering a 50K trail race and figured I’d just skip the road marathon. I wasn’t getting any faster so figured I’d run farther. What’s another 5 miles at that point? However, I did not realize how much time would be needed to train for a 50K. I had let my training slip since my half in September so a Spring 50K was not realistic. I started training for Flying Pig before I’d even registered…just in case. I knew Suzy was signed up and she and I were similar paces and we both do Galloway run/walk so it was a no-brainer. Flying Pig Marathon here we come! 4 months of training, approx. 400 miles run in snow, sleet, and lots of rain. 

Race weekend! Suzy and I left Louisville around 1pm on Saturday of race weekend. After driving through the rain all the way to Cincinnati, we arrived in downtown along with many others as we pulled up to the Millennium Cincinnati and waited for valet. After getting through the crowds, checking in, and finding our room, we headed to the expo. It was a very large expo but no lines to get our bibs! Suzy’s person gave her a lot more information than mine but we found our way. It was a bit overwhelming at first so we decided to walk through to get our shirts and race blanket which was some nice race swag! After checking shirt sizing, we headed back into the expo and looked for some freebies, signed up for some drawings, bought a Flying Pig wine glass, and got our first-time marathoner bib from Buckeye Running Company. At their booth, they gave all first-timers a free Brooks shirt and a first-timer bib. I was a bit confused by this but you are supposed to put that bib on your back and that way people know it’s your first and people offer encouragement all day long! I wish I had worn mine but I wore a hydration pack and didn’t know where to put it. Oh well. I took lots of pictures at the expo but the big numbers 26.2 were my favorite picture spot.

We headed back to the room and rested for a little bit before meeting up with Amber and her friend, Julie, from Detroit. It was just a short walk to Midici’s where we enjoyed lots of pizza, I had my first Cidergeist Bubbles Rose (yum) and we watched the Derby! After dinner and a quick trip to Walgreens, we headed back to the hotel, laid out our flats, set our alarms for 4am, and went to bed!

I did not sleep well. I rarely do the night before a race. I had read earlier in the week to make sure you get lots of rest on Friday night so it’s not as big a deal. So I did.

Suzy popped out of bed at 4am and started coffee and getting dressed, she made me coffee (because she’s awesome), and we headed down to the race breakfast that the hotel offered. We just needed spoons and cream cheese and I needed some hot water for my oatmeal which I was able to do in the hotel room using the Kureg. We ate, took care of business, dressed, and headed out about 5:30am.

The actual start line was a short walk from the hotel…it took a little longer to get to our corral aka PigPen H. There was some confusion. Luckily, Suzy asked for directions as I was still half asleep and there was a lot of loud music which was a bit overstimulating. We finally wound our way down and around to Pigpen H and the porta-potties. We arrived in the potty line around 6:10am and the race was starting at 6:30am. We were still in line when the race officially started but it was still going to be a few minutes before we started to move so we were able to go to the bathroom and still had time to find Abbi who was pacing the 5:15 group, get some selfies, and stand around with race jitters. 

As the earlier pigpens started, we slowly started to make our way to the start line. At 7am, they finally called for our group and set off some crazy fire bursts to get us started. And we were off! Suzy and I planned to stay together and had agreed ahead of time that if we needed to go single file, I’d follow behind. There was a lot of weaving as we headed over the first bridge into Newport, KY, ran through town, past some funny older folks from the nursing home with signs through Covington like “Run faster, I’m late for Bingo” and headed back over another bridge to Cincinnati and the steady incline I’d been anticipating. This was a steady hill that covered miles 6-9 and gained 300 feet of elevation. I told Suzy I needed to adjust my intervals for the hill and did my thing while keeping her in view. She kept looking back to make sure I was nearby. Eden Park had a beautiful view so I had to stop and take a selfie. Then, there was the Elvis impersonator near the Cincinnati Art Museum.

There was water and Gatorade at every mile plus different groups at “Fun Zones” and music playing in addition to other people out cheering. It was a lot to take in and my legs felt heavy from the very beginning so I was getting worried. Starting temps were around 54 degrees and 100% humidity at 8am. Then, the sun came out. My Goodrs were fogged up so I couldn’t wear them yet. I was wearing my hydration pack with Tailwind and a small bottle of water with Stinger waffles, visor, and a buff on my wrist. When it started to heat up, the Goodrs stayed on and finally stopped fogging, and I doused my buff with water and continually wiped my head and neck with cool water. There was one lady “cheering” at mile 8 saying only 18 more miles which was not helpful. The half and full parted ways around miles 8-9. I thought it was pretty clear but I guess some people missed the turnoff. They had started yelling about a mile earlier for marathoners to get to the right…so I did.

The course goes through many neighborhoods, there are lots of people out along most of the course, many more hills, and some spots were brutally sunny. We saw Suzy’s friend around mile 10…then Suzy started hurting. Her hip was not happy. We slowed down for the next few miles. She was already telling me to go ahead but I didn’t want to leave her. We were still sort of doing our intervals but walking more than running. I had gotten slightly ahead on one run and when I held up to wait I realized she was really upset. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to get us both through this. Mental wall is one thing but I had no idea how to judge the amount of pain she was in and whether she’d be able to finish. The next run interval beeped and we ran and then walked. The next run interval, I ran and didn’t realize right away that she wasn’t running. When I did realize it, I just kept going. I felt so badly leaving her but I was also worried I wouldn’t be able to finish. We were only at mile 14-15 and I was starting to feel it. I hadn’t been able to get into a groove and the sun was getting more intense, my Tailwind tasted awful and hot at this point so I started drinking water at every stop, dumping water on my buff, eating orange slices from anyone offering, and dumping ice cubes down my shirt. I’ve never been so happy to be wearing a sports bra. The various “Fun Zones” offered quite a variety that were all pig themed….there was a stop with sunscreen, vaseline, bacon, gummy worms, cookies, beer shots, you name it, it was on the course. Mile 22 had the Hogwash with cold, wet towels which were AMAZING! My favorite spot was an older gentleman in his summer, linen suit playing Chariots of Fire.

My watch was ahead of the course mile markers the entire time and I learned later I wasn’t the only one. I was barely looking at my watch and barely doing my intervals. My head was okay but my legs and feet were not interested in this race. I’d started taking salt tablets around mile 9. I had three of them total and spaced them out about every 5 miles. I didn’t want any food on the course and completely forgot that I’d brought stinger waffles. I had mentioned to Suzy to remind me that if I was sick of Tailwind and only drinking water to remind me I had waffles. I didn’t remember this until Tuesday when I was texting Marian about my nutrition. I’m not sure if it was the humidity and heat but I did not feel strong. I was still running happy even though my feet hurt when I ran and my legs hurt when I walked. I just tried to keep moving forward. I wasn’t paying any attention to my intervals. Sometimes I would find people to keep track of which would help but near the end, when I saw the 25 mile marker, I decided I had to finish strong (or as strong as I could). I started running and kept repeating in my head “If not now, when?” I knew I had to dig deep. I was still mentally feeling pretty good. I was just having trouble keeping focused and moving forward at a faster pace. When I finally turned and saw the finish line, I could hear cheering and people yelling my name. I couldn’t really make them out with all the people there but knew (hoped) it was Julie, Heather and Heidi cheering me on to the finish. I forget how important people at the finish are. It makes ALL the difference. I’ve never had much family support at the finish line. It’s such an amazing thing when you have people to share it with.

I crossed the finish line, found water, my awesome and so heavy medal, and even was aware enough to get a finishers photo. None of the food looked appealing so I passed and kept walking…there was even free pizza but I just couldn’t eat. I finally got to the end and Julie, Heather, and Heidi were there and ready to help with anything I needed. I just knew my feet hurt and I wanted water. They needed to get back to their hotel to shower. They had been waiting awhile from when they’d finished their half marathon to when I finally crossed at 12:45pm. They’d been tracking both Suzy and me and knew something had happened. Julie read my texts for me because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, they led me towards the gear check buses, and they headed back to their hotel shuttle. I was sad to say good-bye so soon but so happy they’d stayed.

I got my bag, found some shade, sat down and attempted to mix my Tailwind recovery drink (which I spilled all over myself) and changed my shoes. My feet were so sore. It felt like they were covered in blisters but there were no actual blisters. Weird. I sat there for a little bit, changed my shirt and hobbled off to get my finishers jacket. I couldn’t see well enough to track Suzy so I had no idea where she was. Why I just didn’t wait I have no idea. Marathon brain is a funny thing. The walk to the jacket was so far. And it was so hot. But I finally got it and then Suzy called and said she was finished. Then, while I was trying to walk back she texted that she was in the medical tent. I found her there getting water and getting situated. We sat there for a few minutes. I got more water. She changed her shoes. Then, we walked back to get her jacket and then all the way back again for our free beer, We finally got to sit in the shade, drink our beers, and stretch a little. We sat there for awhile enjoying the beautiful day on the waterfront in Cincinnati before finally getting up and making our way to the hotel shuttles. I couldn’t walk another step. Soon, we were dropped off, got our showers, and headed home as marathoners.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Stephanie - Leadership Spotlight

Name:  Stephanie Boyd

Hometown:  Simpsonville, KY

Family:  My two boys, my husband, and 2 boxer babies (Bo and Ella).

Why do you Run?  I really started running as a way to get back in shape after being in the postpartum doldrums when my youngest son was almost 4. My husband was a runner and encouraged me to get out and walk/run.  I ran my first 5K within that year. I have never looked back. Almost 5 years later, my reasons for running are different! I do run to stay fit and set a healthy example for my boys, but I also have a young lady that I run for through the IRun4 Michael organization.  Her name is Jessica and she has a diagnosis of Rett Syndrome. I dedicate all of my training miles and races to her.

Favorite non-running workout:  My favorite non-running workout is definitely cycling. I also LOVE yoga.

Favorite Training Plan:  I don’t have a favorite although for road running plans I tend to stick to Hal Higdon for a base and modify as I like.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?  I love running the Big Four Bridge!  I love being up high in the sky, near water and have the ability to people watch all at the same time.

What is the one thing you absolutely need to run?  An open opportunity and/or an invite from a friend

What is your favorite post-run indulgence?  A cold beer.

Favorite running song that gives you strength?  I prefer not to run with music, but if I need a pick me up, I put on my running playlist that has a lot of female vocalists, everything from Kelis to Heart.

What was your favorite race and why?  To date, my favorite race hasn’t been because of the race itself, it was the people I ran with who made it great.  I don’t typically repeat races but I’ve done the KDF Mini or Full Marathon multiple times because of the local support it provides and so many awesome people in our running community are there!  

What is your bucket list race… Can I only list one?  I have several: NYC Marathon, which I am running in November, but also any Half Ironman and the Grand Tetons Half Marathon.

At what point did you start to call yourself a “runner”?  

I think it took me a couple of timed chip races before I felt like I wanted to be a runner. I do remember seeking out this group when my circle of friends thought I was crazy for racing more than once a year. I joined MRTT in 2014 and our members took me in and called me a runner from day 1. I’ve believed it ever since.

What do you tell yourself to keep going during a tough run?

I have a running buddy I was matched with a few years ago through the IRun4Michael organization.   When a run or race gets tough, I usually think of Jessica first. I will say, “She cannot run. She cannot walk.  I cannot complain because I can walk and run.  I run for Jessica. Let’s do this, Jessica!” and then I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

What have you struggled with during your running journey and did you find a solution?

My biggest struggle early on was comparing myself to everyone else and not having the confidence to be my own runner. When I first started running, I put myself into a box with a certain pace and type of race to run. Then, I met ladies in this group who were doing things I had never even thought of attempting and they encouraged me to try new things. This type of support allowed me to run trails, complete triathlons, and run ultra-distances.  Stepping out of my comfort zone and believing in myself as much as the women around me did was really the solution to growing in my running journey. I am currently training to run my first 50-miler! After that race, who knows what is next, but I am always dreaming about new adventures.  I think letting go of everyone else’s expectations for running and just finding my own running identity has been a huge success for me personally.

What three things do you most want to accomplish (running or non-running related)?

  1. Encourage as many women as I can to start their own running journey in a way that fits their individual needs and lifestyle.
  2. Continue to maintain balance while wearing “all of the hats” (runner, mom, wife, sister, friend, professional, etc).
  3. Inspire my children to be good and kind people.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

May Monthly Callenge

Welcome to the May Monthly Challenge! 

This month’s challenge is all about being aMAYzing! You know how they say that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”? Well, May is all about tackling the small steps that are just as worthy of celebration as the big stuff! Here’s how it works:

  • Each week post a small goal that you want to accomplish over the next 7 days-it can be running related or contribute to your overall health and well-being.
  • Think about your “why” (why does accomplishing this matter to you?) and include it in your post. Too personal to share? That’s Ok-just write it down somewhere. 
  • Think about your “how” and include that in your post, too. At a loss? Ask our other members to help you out. There’s a wealth of information, motivation, and support in this group.
  • Post your progress however you feel most comfortable (daily, weekly, even hourly if needed).
  • Other members: feel free to weigh-in and offer advice and support along the way.

At the end of the month, look back at what you’ve accomplished and remember that the small steps are just as important as the big ones and that you are aMAYzing! As always, feel free to set a mileage goal for the month, too.
Not up for the challenge? No worries! We’d still love to see you post your running achievements/selfies/and shenanigans here so we can cheer you on! Tell us about your pile of miles in May!