CrossFit Opens 2019

I’ve put in a ton of work this year. I’ve made progress on the peg board, gotten leg-less rope climbs, and gotten the muscle-up! So I was definitely excited to see how I would do in the Open this year. My goal is high 60th percentile (67-69%), which might be too ambitious, but gotta have goals, right? Here’s how it went:


Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
19 wall-ball shots, 14lb ball, 9ft target
19-cal. row

I had attempted it three times. I didn’t feel like I did my best any time, but I did continuously do better and, in the end, I’m happy with my score. My initial submission was 216 reps, then I upped it to 217, and then I ended with 219 reps. My goal was 6 rounds and I fell 9 calories short. However, I still ended up in the 71st percentile, so goal accomplished!


Beginning on an 8-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of:
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  15 squat cleans, 85 lb.
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  13 squat cleans, 115 lb.

And continue… (but I didn’t)

This one was tough! 115lbs is my max squat clean, so I was really hoping to get to that round of squat cleans and get… one? My toes-to-bars and double-unders have massively improved since last year. In my first attempt, I did my dubs on the wooden platform and that was… a mistake. Did it again, but I still got in my head with the toes-to-bars and only finished the first set of dubs 30 seconds faster. But I still got 8 more TTB in my second attempt. Just not enough to get to the second set of cleans. I ended up with a score of 103 which was REALLY not where I wanted to be, but I do feel like that is my best for right now. I think, maybe if I could have done it outside, I might’ve done better because I ended up getting way too hot in the gym. Ended up in the 67th percentile, which is MUCH higher than I thought with that score.


For time:
200-ft. dumbbell overhead lunge
50 dumbbell box step-ups
50 strict handstand push-ups
200-ft. handstand walk

35-lb. dumbbell, 20-in. box 
Time cap: 10 minutes

I cannot do handstand push-ups. I am ok with this. I am never going to the games and it is ok if I have a weak spot. Last year, I tried to do the HSPU, this year I didn’t bother. I didn’t want to spend any time slamming my head on the ground. However, I did the first 90 reps in 6:59 and that got me to the 73rd percentile!


For total time:
3 rounds of:
  10 snatches
  12 bar-facing burpees
Then, rest 3 minutes before continuing with:
3 rounds of:
  10 bar muscle-ups
  12 bar-facing burpees

Women snatch 65 lb.
Time cap: 12 minutes

I barely finished the first 3 rounds. With my past shoulder issues, snatches are pretty tough and 65 is close to my max. Snatches + burpees? Definitely the worst combo possible for me. I finished the first 3 rounds in 11:40 and I had to be ok with that. It was definitely my worst performance, putting me in the 50th percentile.


33-27-21-15-9 reps for time of:
65-lb. thrusters
Chest-to-bar pull-ups

Time cap: 20 minutes

AHAHAHA this was a total beast. I’ve only recently gotten chest-to-bar pull-ups, so being able to finish 60 is just… incredible to me. I finished the round of 27 right within the time cap, ending in the 73rd percentile.

Overall, I ended up in 41,918/145,363, so 71st percentile. I’m really happy with my performance, definitely improved a load since last year. I’m pretty excited to keep working this year and do it again in October, which, really, is WAY too soon.

Diet Matters, Y'all

I’ve known diet matters when it comes to fitness for a long time. However, for the past few years, while I would say that I’ve been a healthy eater, I still haven’t been able to really meat my goals. As someone who is both a lifter and runner, I want to be gaining mass to make lifting gains, but I need to lose the fat at the same time to not be carrying too much weight while I run. I’ve managed to lose weight in the past, but I wasn’t hitting new gains in the gym. I looked into Renaissance Periodization this past summer, but the templates alone were a little intimidating to me. I decided to signup for coaching in November and it has been going better than I expected.

The gist of RP is basically tracking macros. But not all macros! I effectively can ignore what’s in my vegetables, I just have to have 1-2 cups of vegetables with almost every meal. Depending on the meal, I have a set amount of grams of lean protein, set amount of healthy carbs (my favorite being Dave’s Killer Bread Powerseed), and a small amount of healthy fats. I eat four meals a day, not including whey protein plus gatorade before I workout in the morning and casein at night. I’m generally only hungry when it’s about time for another meal and I’ve been feeling pretty great.

Since I’ve had an injury recently, I can’t really compare how my running has been going. However, Crossfit has been going GREAT! I made a 15lb gain on my split jerk, a 20lb gain on my front squat, a 20lb gain on my deadlift (255lbs YESSS), and a two round increase on Cindy. Obviously, all these gains weren’t entirely completed in this month because I have been working consistently for a long time. However, I will give RP a fair amount of credit because only recently have I been feeling good enough to hit these. Also, with most cut diets, you end up losing muscle. As you will see next, that did not happen!

I did a bod pod test on November 9 to get my base levels and another on December 14. I was not super shocked the first time and SUPER SHOCKED the second time. Here are the numbers (with BMI added for comparison so you can extra see that it is not an accurate indicator if you have a lot of muscle!):

Date Weight (lbs) % Fat Fat Free Weight (lbs) BMI
11/9/18 141 27.7 101.9 23.49
12/14/18 137.1 20.8 108.6 22.8
Change - 3.9 - 6.9 6.7 - 0.69

I had been looking at my scale and been fairly pleased (about 4lbs lost in a month is pretty solid. But when I did the bod pod and found that it was actually about 10.6lbs of fat lost, I was astounded. In the past, when I lost fat, some muscle definitely went away with it, which was not what I wanted. This just absolutely astounded me and I am really pleased and can’t wait to see where I go next! Caveat: definitely not expecting as big a loss this month or next because women shouldn’t go below 15% body fat. I do want to make it into the ultra lean category, but I still need some fat on my body!

Penguins 6.6K and Urban Bourbon Half: A Tale of Two Races

Two races, back to back weeks. I did the 6.6K and totally crushed it. I did the 5K in 25:22 and slowed down just a small smidge for the remainder. I did 7min/30sec run walk splits. My final time was 34:10 and I placed absurdly well (for me).

Overall: 412/3371 (top 12%)

Women: 109/1842 (top 6%)

F30-34: 14/302 (top 4.6%)

I have never done better comparatively in an actual race. And then the next week happened. I was in San Diego for work and I did two long runs. After the second one on that Wednesday, my foot hurt a bit. I went to urgent care on Thursday to get it x-rayed and they confirmed that it wasn’t broken. So I figured I was good to do the race on Saturday. I was running with a friend, doing 3min/30sec run walk splits. Made it through the first four miles and then it all went to shit. My foot was hurting like crazy. I kept hobbling along at a pretty decent pace and hit the med tent at mile seven. The medic found the one spot that really hurt and told me it was likely muscular. He said I could be picked up by the sweeper car whenever it comes or go to the next water stop. I decided to keep going and asked at the water stop if they could call anyone. They said they couldn’t and, at that point, I decided to just finish the damn race and get my medal. I walked the rest at about a 14min/mile pace and finished in 3:04:44. If I take out the time at the med tent, I was slightly under 3 hours, which, considering I didn’t think I was going to finish at all, felt really good! Except now I’m 100% sure that I sprained my ankle and I’m hobbling around and ordered some crutches. Was this my best idea? Absolutely not. Do I have regrets? Ehhhh, not really.

Great Race 10K Recap

Last year’s Great Race was hot and miserable. This year was actually great. I had done a hard squat workout on Friday (which was a TERRIBLE idea), so my quads were still really sore on Sunday. I decided I wanted to PR my 5K and try to get under 25 minutes. Which isn’t the best plan for a 10K! But it worked out! I ran as hard as I could during the first half, hit my goal, then had to walk for a bit because I was DYING. After a minute of recover, I started running again and was mostly able to keep it up. The fifth mile was definitely the hardest for me and then I was able to push harder at the end to PR both my 10K and 5K by about 30 seconds each. My official 10K time was 53:19 (8:34/mile) and my 5K time was 24:55 (8:00/mile). I was 92/464 in my division (top 20%), 540/2,974 women (top 18%), and 1,715/5,776 overall (top 30%).

Mile Pace GAP Elev
1 7:56/mi 7:40/mi 12 ft
2 7:31/mi 7:52/mi -145 ft
3 8:20/mi 8:20/mi -13 ft
4 9:09/mi 9:28/mi -103 ft
5 9:42/mi 9:08/mi 37 ft
6 8:15/mi 8:18/mi -128 ft
0.32 7:08/mi 7:08/mi -5 ft

Pier To Peak Half Marathon Recap

I guess I shouldn’t have expected any less from “the world’s toughest half marathon.” I wasn’t sure if I should do it to begin with… I hadn’t done much hill training and I really haven’t even been running that much. A few friends convinced me to attempt it and I made the bargain with myself that, if I woke up in time, I would do it. Friends… I woke up at 3:30am, with plenty of time to drive from LA to Santa Barbara and arrive before 5:30am. It was cool and misty for the first two hours, so I really have no complaints. The first two miles were also pretty mild as far as elevation, so I kept a good steady pace. My goal was to stick with 90/30 intervals and I did that through about 8.5 miles. Mile 9 got a little tough and I had to start walking. I walked a lot of miles 9 through 11 because the elevation just got to be a bit too much. Then I finally got a bit of a downhill and that helped me start to run again and push the pace, no matter how tired I was. It definitely had a bit of a twist in the end: my watch said I was .2 miles from the finish, so I really started pushing it. I heard the people at the end… but then I just kept rounding corner after corner. In the end, my watch was 1/3 of a mile off. I ended up finishing in 3:03:01. Slower than I wanted (goal was sub 3), but I was almost never passed and was able to stay pretty consistent given the elevation (see my Grade Adjusted Pace in the table below).

I think the biggest thing was once I got to the top. When I looked down, it was completely overwhelming. I also know I couldn’t have pushed myself any harder because my calves were shaking, which has never happened to me after a half before. I also could not believe how far I had gone as we were taking the shuttles down. The climb was steep enough that even the shuttle was going pretty slow on the way down and, with every turn, I kept realizing how high we really were. At one point, during mile 10, I think I said to the person running next to me “why did we sign up for this?”. I still stand by that and am not entirely sure what drove me. You can see the full results here (fastest was 1:35 and the fastest woman was 1:50!). I managed to be 227/288 , 72/100 women, and 16/22 in my division. And I was 1 of only 16 people who weren’t from California! I think this crowd was probably a bit tougher than the average half, so I’m pretty happy with how I did.

Mile Pace GAP Elev
1 10:06 /mi 9:51 /mi 40 ft
2 10:05 /mi 9:21 /mi 135 ft
3 12:01 /mi 10:01 /mi 266 ft
4 11:50 /mi 10:18 /mi 217 ft
5 14:34 /mi 10:55 /mi 409 ft
6 14:11 /mi 10:43 /mi 400 ft
7 13:34 /mi 10:28 /mi 377 ft
8 13:57 /mi 10:47 /mi 366 ft
9 14:57 /mi 11:24 /mi 396 ft
10 14:54 /mi 10:10 /mi 425 ft
11 18:20 /mi 12:58 /mi 482 ft
12 11:14 /mi 11:20 /mi -111 ft
13 16:46 /mi 12:42 /mi 380 ft
0.37 17:33 /mi 13:07 /mi 145 ft

Two Face 10K - Not Great Y'all

The Two Face 10K is a two-part 10K in North Park: first, you do a road 10K, then about 30 minutes later, you do a trail 10K. Y'know how sometimes you are feeling pretty good but then ten minutes into your workout you feel like total garbage? That is basically how I felt during the road race. Felt like a total drag and like I was going full effort to just barely scrape by with a 10min/mile pace some miles. It ended up being my second slowest 10K and I ended up solidly middle of the pack with a time of 58:26. The only positive I can say about my performance is that I felt good on the hills and barely even noticed them. Oh well... there's always the next race!

Presque Isle Half Marathon Recap

I decided to do this race oh... one week ago. A friend of mine was planning on going down and I decided to join her last minute. It's been really hot so I've been missing track and haven't been running as much. I knew I could still run a half, but I didn't want to go too crazy. I say that a lot, but this time I actually stuck to it. I started off a little faster and then actually pulled myself back, slowed down, and kept it at a nice 10:30-11min/mile pace. I did 90/30 intervals and felt pretty good throughout the whole race. It was between 73-78˚F during the race and pretty muggy. My hip flexor did get pretty tight early on (around mile 4), so I was also just happy when the road straightened out so it didn't get any worse.

Overall, it was a pretty fun race and I think I would definitely do it again next year. Here are my stats:

  • Time: 2:19:08
  • Pace: 10:37
  • Overall: 601/1076 (top 56%)
  • Division: 58/102 (top 57%)
  • Gender: 280/601 (top 47%)

Pittsburgh (Half) Marathon Weekend Recap

Well, that was surprising. Let's start with the 5K.


I... did not do well in the 5K. Or at least I didn't quite get the time I expected. Which, granted, might have been a bit ambitious. But I'd been feeling pretty good and felt like I should be able to do three 8 minute miles in a row. I was wrong. My splits were more like:

Mile 1: 7:57
Mile 2: 8:23
Mile 3: 8:54

Totally the opposite of negative splits. Luckily for me, no one else was trying on the 5K, so I actually did pretty well comparatively!

Overall: 443/3789 (top 12%)
Women: 122/2219 (top 5%)
Division: 19/347 (top 5%)

Beggars can't be choosers, so I'll take it.

Half Marathon

I did not think I would do well in the half. My training has been mediocre ever since I switched from the full to the half. I haven't done well in recent, shorter races (looking at you Pirates 10K and the 5K I did the day before!). So I lined up a little bit closer to the back, put some music on, and just did my best. And about midway through, I realized that my best this race might actually be my best ever. The one thing about Pittsburgh is that it has SO MANY HILLS. Every time I crested a hill, I thought "surely that will be the worst one". And yet, every time, I was wrong. According to my Garmin, the worst hill was actually at mile 12, which is also where I had the slowest pace. I still had energy, but my quads were feeling dead from hills. I've got a table of my pace/mile, but I also included what Strava calls "Grade-Adjusted Pace", which I think just exists to make me feel better about myself? Ok, maybe it actually helps determine if I put in even effort over even pace. Which, I think I did? According to the GAP, my pace only varied by a minute over the whole 13.1 miles.

Mile Pace GAP HR
  1 9:20 /mi 9:18 /mi 146 bpm
  2 9:04 /mi 9:04 /mi 147 bpm
  3 8:54 /mi 8:53 /mi 158 bpm
  4 9:07 /mi 8:59 /mi 167 bpm
  5 8:57 /mi 8:56 /mi 173 bpm
  6 8:41 /mi 8:39 /mi 172 bpm
  7 9:34 /mi 9:20 /mi 173 bpm
  8 9:05 /mi 8:57 /mi 169 bpm
  9 9:17 /mi 9:13 /mi 168 bpm
 10 9:30 /mi 9:24 /mi 173 bpm
 11 9:18 /mi 9:16 /mi 173 bpm
 12 9:55 /mi 9:14 /mi 172 bpm
 13 8:16 /mi 8:30 /mi 174 bpm
 14 7:13 /mi 7:31 /mi 176 bpm

I ended up coming in at 2:00:44, which is just SEVEN SECONDS slower than my personal record. Considering my PR was set at Run to Remember which had a total elevation of 138ft (this one was 454ft), I'm counting this as a personal record. I beat my previous time by over four minutes! I think I also did better comparatively than I ever have before in a half:

Overall: 3433/12795 (top 27%)
Women: 1342/7495 (top 18%)
Division: 238/1265 (top 19%)
Apparently I both run AND do double-unders with the same slack jaw and blank stare 😛

Apparently I both run AND do double-unders with the same slack jaw and blank stare 😛

Pirates Home Run 10K Recap

This race felt like the best example I've had recently of how tough I am on myself. I really thought I could PR this race, or at least do "well". Looking back, I did do pretty well! But during the entirety of the race, I just couldn't stop thinking about how much I was sucking. That I should be going faster. That I shouldn't be so tired.

I started off feeling good, but pretty quickly, I faded a bit. Part of it was on purpose (went out a bit too fast). But then I couldn't quite maintain the pace I wanted. It's a bit weird because my pace chart looks sorta like a V - not quite negative splits, but not entirely positive splits either. I did: 8:16, 8:39, 9:00, 9:49 (what happened mile 4???), 9:13, 8:56, with an overall pace of 9:06min/mile. Given that I was shooting for 8:20... I was just a bit off. I was really beating myself up until I looked at all my past times (not just my best). I actually landed right in the middle. And compared to the other people running, I crushed it. I was in the top 20% of both my division (25/122) and gender (73/365), and ending in the top 34% overall (235/692).

Here's what I learned:

  1. I should not be so hard on myself. Sometimes races don't go the way I expect them to and that's ok. That's what I love about shorter races: if I don't do as well as I want one week, I can do another race a few weeks later.
  2. I need to lower my expectations for the Pittsburgh Half in a few weeks. Since I had to switch from the full to the half, I've been a bit bummed and my training has suffered.
  3. I need to start doing track again. I've gone twice in the past month and I think I need to keep it up. My speed has definitely suffered since I stopped doing track.

Fat People Running

Apparently, I hate myself because I started off this morning looking at reddit. What was near the top of my feed? This post about Mirna Valerio. For those who don't know, Mirna is the author of Fat Girl Running and has completed dozens of marathons, from half to ultras. And instead of celebrating someone who is doing great outreach for the sport of running, r/running decided to fat-shame her. The very top comment complains about her slow pace in one race and then says:

Good on her for doing what she likes, exploring the outdoors, and hopefully inspiring plenty of people to take up running/fitness, but I hesitate to consider her (as she is now) an "athlete" or even call her close to being fit.

Pardon me, but what the fuck is wrong with people. Even if she is slower, are hikers not athletes? I also looked at her times and one of her faster half marathons on ultrasignup was 2:45, which equates to 12:37/mile. For a trail half, that's a damn good pace! My trail race paces are between 10-13min/mile, so I'm pretty confident that Mirna could crush me... and I would definitely consider myself an amateur athlete, or at minimum "fit". But that is all beside the point.

Mirna is doing a great thing because she's showing that you can be fat and active and that's ok! I'm guessing most people on r/running that were making these comments have never been fat because, if they had, they would know how hard it is to start working out. I went running with one of my larger friends a few times and she ended up stopping, partly because a random guy yelled "you're fat!" at us while we were running. How do you motivate yourself to keep going when that happens?

I also think that Mirna is an inspiration to everyone. Even if she is walking a lot of those races, those distances are no joke! Most people train for months just to do a single 60-mile 3-day walk for breast cancer. Mirna is doing that repeatedly... and not walking the whole time. It enrages me that people are trying to tear her down because she's getting attention.

TL;DR Don't judge people based on their body type and absolutely, under no circumstances, should you fat-shame people at all, especially while they are working out.

Participating in the CrossFit Games Open

Since this is my 10 year anniversary of starting CrossFit, I decided to actually put down $20 and participate in the CrossFit Games. I know that I am definitely not going to make it regionals or anything like that, but I did want to see how I would stack up against other athletes. So far, I'm not doing so bad! I am trying to keep in mind that I'm recovering from bursitis. This means I'm trying to push myself, but not push myself so hard that I reinjure myself. It's been an interesting experience so far, 


I ended up doing 18.1 twice. I initially did the scaled version (with a 20lb dumbbell and knee raises), but I forgot to record it. Since I don't go to an actual affiliate, I have to take video of all my workouts, with a timer visible on the screen. Scaled wasn't too bad, so I picked up one of the 35lb dumbbells, decided I could make it work and attempted it again two days later. I was able to complete 191 reps. Unfortunately, I messed up the video link, but luckily I'm so far down in the rankings no one has even looked at it!

Workout 18.1

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
8 toes-to-bars
10 dumbbell hang clean and jerks
12-cal. row

Women use 35-lb. dumbbell

Score: 191 reps, Rank: 65125, Percentile: 62


Since I did 18.1 Rx'd, I decided to go Rx'd for 18.2 too. I haven't done squats for three months, so I was thinking this might be rough. AND BOY WAS IT. I did it Friday morning, it is now Monday, and my legs are still burning. I hate burpees and the burpees were the best part. I am definitely bummed that I didn't finish and couldn't quite get to the cleans, but I haven't done cleans in about 6 months, so, really, it probably wouldn't have gone very well. I did manage to do an 85lb clean prior to starting, so that was an accomplishment in itself for me right now.

Workout 18.2

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 reps for time of:
Dumbbell squats
Bar-facing burpees

Women use 35-lb. dumbbells

Score: 87 reps, Rank: 97998, Percentile: 43

Workout 18.2a

1-rep-max clean

Time cap: 12 minutes to complete 18.2 AND 18.2a

Score: 0 lb, Rank: 86022, Percentile: 49


This was just a total beast of a WOD. I still haven't seen a video of anyone who actually finished it. I originally did it scaled just to see how far I could get. It went ok, but it wasn't my best day for pullups. Then I ran 20 miles on Saturday, felt ok afterwards, so I decided to try it again as prescribed on Monday morning. The weird thing with the Opens is that you score better even for just attempting Rx. My max overhead squat previously had been 75lbs, so I wasn't sure about the 80lbs. At best, I would get through to the second set of double unders and, at worst, I'd get a score of a 100. I managed to PR my overhead squat and get three of them. It was worth it to attempt because this was my second best place and helped pull me back up from a poor showing last week. I hate burpees.

Workout 18.3

2 rounds for time of:
100 double-unders
20 overhead squats
100 double-unders
12 ring muscle-ups
100 double-unders
20 dumbbell snatches
100 double-unders
12 bar muscle-ups

Women perform 80-lb. OHS, 35-lb. DB snatches

Time cap: 14 minutes

Score: 103 reps, Rank: 69761, Percentile: 59


I ended up doing this one Rx first and then scaled to get my actual workout because I absolutely cannot do handstand pushups. The 155lb deadlifts weren't that bad, but I don't know if I could've done all the deadlifts at 205lbs coming off my hip injury. However, I am definitely not alone, since I still places in the top 42% by just getting the initial 21 deadlifts. Watch near the end of the video for my hilarious attempts at handstand pushups.

Workout 18.4

For time:
21 deadlifts, 155 lb.
21 handstand push-ups
15 deadlifts, 155 lb.
15 handstand push-ups
9 deadlifts, 155 lb.
9 handstand push-ups
21 deadlifts, 205 lb.
50-ft. handstand walk
15 deadlifts, 205 lb.
50-ft. handstand walk
9 deadlifts, 205 lb.
50-ft. handstand walk

Time cap: 9 min.

Score: 21 reps, Rank: 71273, Percentile: 58


Relative to everyone else, this was my best workout. I also did it twice. For my first attempt, I had gone climbing the nigth before so the chest-to-bars were a little rought and my grip was not my friend. I ended up with 42. I rested up during the weekend and tried again on Monday and improved by 6 thrusters and 3 chest-to-bars. Caveat: I can't do overhand grip CTB pullups. When I looked at the movement requirements, I noticed that it said underhand and mixed grip are also acceptable. I found that, with underhand grip, I could get my chin over the bar with a kip and then squeeze a bit extra to hit the bar beneath my collar bone. It got dicey for a few, but I made it and did 21 total! Plus all the thrusters. This is definitely something I want to work on for next year. I've definitely increased my upper body strength over the past year, so I think getting actual CTBs is a good goal.

Workout 18.5 = 12.5 = 11.6

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of:
3 thrusters
3 chest-to-bar pull-ups
6 thrusters
6 chest-to-bar pull-ups
9 thrusters
9 chest-to-bar pull-ups
12 thrusters
12 chest-to-bar pull-ups
15 thrusters
15 chest-to-bar pull-ups
18 thrusters
18 chest-to-bar pull-ups

This is a timed workout. If you complete the round of 18, go on to 21. If you complete 21, go on to 24, etc.

Women use 65 lb.

Score: 51 reps, Rank: 55710, Percentile: 67

End Result

Worldwide: 70,490 (out of 172,008), 59th percentile
Mid-Atlantic: 4,910 (out of 11,836), 58th percentile

Basically... much better than I could've hoped. I'm sure there are some people who just did scaled who are maybe better than me, but hey that's the way they score it! I ended up in the top 41% of female CrossFit athletes in the world. Feeling pretty good about myself!

Running in 4°F (Or How To Not Let Winter Get You Down)

Preface: I get no money from this, I just really like these products.

I hate the summer. It's too hot and there's no way for me to get away from it other than running at 4am. Winter, on the other hand, can be relatively delightful if you have the right gear. As someone who has run all through three winters in the Northeast, here is the gear that gets me through:



You absolutely must get some solid winter socks. If you normally run in crew socks, you can probably stick with the same ones year round, but, as someone who wears ankle socks if not every inch of skin needs to be covered, I buy socks just for colder months. This year I've been really enjoying the Smartwool PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew Socks. I've also got a few pairs of the Darn Tough Vertex socks. It's hard to go wrong with either brand.


Generally, I just wear normal running shoes. Sometimes winter does not let you. Over the past few years, I tried using Stabiliciers, but, in addition to sometimes falling off, they did not dig into and grip patches of ice, so I would still slip. This year, I decided to buy a pair of the Salomon Speedspike CS. Like I mentioned in my post on summer running gear, I love my Speedcross 3 W. These had almost the same fit but with spikes. And the spikes are small enough to really dig into ice. A few days after I got them, I had a 14 mile run in 4°F with snow and ice on most of the ground. They were fantastic in the snow and ice and perfectly acceptable on the street. I also didn't get any blisters, despite them being brand new shoes.



Alas, my favorite jacket is now two years old and I can't find a place where they sell it. For reference, I love my Nike Shield Full Zip (near the bottom of the post). The key is to find a good water-resistant and wind-resistant jacket. The Nike Shield has served me well for the past two years, keeping me warm without even a base layer down to 10°F. If I was getting a new jacket right now, I'd probably try the Oiselle Flyout Jacket. But the good thing about jackets is that, even though they cost a good deal, they last at least a few years.


I love Oiselle's Plya Reversible Beanie. It's warm, lightweight, and reflective. For super cold days where I need some face cover, my favorite is the Oiselle Wazzie Wool Neck Gaiter. Like most neck gaiters/balaclavas, you probably don't want to run with it over your mouth the whole time. However, this one is so warm that I could put it up over my nose for a minute or two to warm it up and then put it back down around my neck for the next 20 minutes.


They stopped selling my favorite winter bottoms, but my second favorites are the Oiselle Tech Suede Tights. I actually wear these out and about more than I do for just running (again, second favorite), but they are pretty warm and do well down to about 20°F. Below that, I layer them with Arc'teryx Trino Tights. Secret: they aren't actually tights... more like pants. Usually, for 5-20°F, I wear them with shorts or normal tights. Below 5°F, I layer them with winter tights.


I've become such a dork for Oiselle. My absolute favorite base layer is the Oiselle Wazzie Wool Baselayer. I wear it while I'm running, while I'm working, all the time. It's so delightfully warm and comfortable without being too warm. If it's too warm for my jacket and too cold for a tank (between 25-40°F), this is what I'm wearing. 

Well, that's me in the winter.

Manchester Road Race 2017 Recap

This is still one of my favorite races but DAMN was it not a great one for me this year. I thought I could get under 40 but I totally ate it on the hill. Y'know how some days you just aren't feeling it? That ended up being me. My legs felt dead after just one mile. I was pretty sure I wasn't even going to hit 42 and I was going to have to run a fast 5K to get seeded again. I sprinted down the hill and it was a bit better, but then my fourth mile wasn't as fast as it should've been. I thought I couldn't make it, but I pulled it together and ran the last .748 miles at a 8min/mile pace. Somehow (somehow) I managed to get a personal record for the course by about 20 seconds, finishing in 41:18. Comparatively, I did better. This year, I got in the top 15% in my division (152/1007), top 13% in my gender (688/5349), top 25% overall. Maybe next year I can actually reach my goal.

Chicago Marathon Recap - NEVER AGAIN

The marathon has finally defeated me. I trained as hard as I could (with a full-time job), the course was flat, and the weather was decent. However, I still ended up with knee pain during the race. I ended up planning well for it: since I expected it to happen, I went out a bit harder at the beginning. That ended up allowing me to get a PR even though I walked a lot of the last 6 miles. But, let me start from the beginning:

I got up at 5am so I could eat a Honey Stinger snack bar that I grabbed at the expo. I took my time, got ready, and jogged over until I hit the crowd. My wave started at 8:35am and I got there around 7am. I hung out near the 4:45 pacer with a friend of mine, getting pumped up. I ended up starting near the 4:20 pace group. I wanted to hit a reasonable pace, but also wanted to push hard enough to guarantee myself a PR even if my knees started hurting late in the race. I posted decent times for my 5K, 10K, and half. Just a little over two years ago, that 5K pace would've been a PR for me and the half time is better than 3 of my other halves. My overall pace through mile 15 was a 10 min/mile pace. I started slowing down a bit (got a little tired, go figure). Somewhere around mile 17, I knew I was definitely going to finish and definitely finish under my previous time of 5:55. I kept up decently until my knee started hurting around mile 19-20. At that point, I had to start walking a lot. Usually, when I started running, my knee would hurt even more and I had to stop again. It was a little demoralizing because I'd have people try to encourage me, but the problem was that I couldn't run more without seriously injuring myself. I managed to save up enough energy and push through the pain to run the last 200m across the finish line. It felt great to finish, but I immediately knew that I was never going to do that again.

I finished in 4:59, 11105/21476 (top 52%) women, 1974/3587 (top 56%)  in my division, and 26,777/44,257 (top 61%) overall. My knees hurt and I may or may not have a stress fracture in my ankle.

Split Feeling Time Diff min/mile
5K 😄 00:29:19 29:19 09:26
10K 😀 00:59:28 30:10 09:43
15K 😀 01:30:19 30:52 09:56
20K 🙂 02:02:25 32:06 10:20
HALF 🙌 02:09:41 07:16 10:39
25K 😎 02:36:19 26:39 11:00
30K 🙏 03:12:12 35:53 11:33
35K 🤕 03:53:04 40:53 13:10
40K 💩 04:40:49 47:46 15:22
Finish 💀 04:59:22 18:33 13:36

Since it's been a few days since the race, I've been thinking a lot about what I could've done to make it better. I think I would have to be unemployed or working part-time and training almost full-time. My best halves have happened when I've been running longer in training. Running longer than a marathon in training is pretty impossible given my current schedule. Plus, I love racing! I'm going to go back to doing shorter races, probably a bunch of halves, maybe a few longer trail runs. It was a good experience, but I think it is not for me... at least not right now.

The Great Race Recap - Possibly My Hottest 10K?

When I signed up for the Great Race, I did not imagine that it would be this hot in late September. Well... today has a high of 89 and yesterday, it was between 75 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The course was only about half shaded, so I ended up getting beat up by the heat pretty quickly. Admittedly, I started out a little bit too fast. But when I realized that I was on track for a 5K PR, I just decided to keep pushing it. It paid off and I finished the 5K in 25:13. If I had been running the 5K, it would've put me in the top 11% overall. I had to slow down a bit after that, but really not by too much! What really got me was mile 5. There was no shade, it had a bit of an uphill, and I was just spent. If it had been a bit cooler, I think I could've kept up my pace and finished two minutes faster overall. Next year! End result of the 10K was a finish time of 53:48 (pace of 8:39/mile). I finished top 18% in my division, top 14% of women, and top 25% overall. I was a bit bummed that I didn't hit my goal of 50 minutes, but I think I can do it next year!

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Run Around the Square Recap

I did Run Around The Square this past Saturday. It's an annual 5K in Regent Square (my neighborhood). It's pretty brutal and includes a tougher climb than I have ever done in a 5K, with 285 ft of elevation gain. I crushed the first mile and then the second mile started straight uphill and totally crushed me. I was able to really pick up the pace again at mile 2.3. I ended up finishing in 26:27 (8:31I didn't PR in this one, but I'm pretty happy since I only did one minute slower than my PR and that was at only 10 ft of elevation gain. I was 23/104 in my class (30-35 women, top 25%) and I was in the top 33% overall. It definitely really smoked my legs. I did a 17 mile run the day after and I was smoked after 12 miles and had to push through.

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DMV Bird Camp 2017 - A Recap

I may have been silent on this blog, but I have been far from inactive! Just racing less... a lot less. The upside of not having races every weekend is that I could attend Volée's Bird Camp! What is Volée? Oiselle created a nationwide women's running team that I joined last year and it has been awesome. I had a teammate come and cheer me on at the Roxbury Marathon, even though we had never met before. I've met new friends in Pittsburgh through the team and I always see people in the singlets at races and can cheer them on.

What is Bird Camp? Volée set up a number of weekend retreats just for female runners throughout the US. Since Pittsburgh is close to DC, I went to the DMV camp (DC, Maryland, Virginia). It was absolutely life-giving. I loved spending a weekend surrounded by other women with similar goals. I got advice from former Olympian and current Crossfit coach Anna Willard Grenier.  She helped me realize that I *might* be doing too much right now by going to Crossfit five days a week and running six (who knew?). Getting to run every day with all these great women was my favorite thing I've done so far this year. I think I'm going to try to go twice next year.

If you are interested in joining Volée, registration is going to open up soon. Come join us!

Pittsburgh Half Marathon - The Comeback!

I know I haven't written in awhile, but I haven't been completely dormant. I went back to Crossfit in March and didn't run during that month. We moved to Pittsburgh at the beginning of April and I also started at Pittsburgh Fit. It's been great there so far, a little more balanced than a normal Crossfit gym. I've been going there five times a week and running four times a week, taking either Saturday or Sunday as my rest day. I also signed up for RunCoach and it's been pretty helpful as well! It basically gives me the same schedule that my former running coach gave me. Since I hadn't run much from December through March, I was pretty worried that I wouldn't be able to finish this half. I was worried that my knees would start to hurt again.

But then Sunday came and I just ran my own race. I put my podcasts on and ran a 7min run, 1 min walk iteration the whole way. The hills definitely got to me a bit and I slowed down a bit near the end, but I never had to switch to a 3:1. Overall time was 2:05:13, which was my second fastest race since Run To Remember (this race had 300 ft more elevation gain). My fastest mile was actually my last one at 8:39/mile, which I was pretty stoked about. I ended up in the top 35% overall and top 25% in both all females and in my division. I didn't start this race intending to go hard, but I was feeling good and I just ran my race and it turned out pretty darn well. I got a small amount of knee pain at the end of mile 13, but luckily that went away as I sprinted to the finish. I also got a few "nice tights!" shoutouts from the spectators. Which, fair... my tights are awesome.

2016 in Review & Looking Forward to 2017

I ran a total of 17 races in 2016: 1 marathon (DNF, 19.25 miles), 6 half marathons, 3 10Ks, 5 5Ks, and two random distances for a total of 159.2 miles. I ran 1,297 miles including training runs over the past year, which helped bring my 5K pace down by 2 minutes. I dealt with a couple of mostly minor injuries (including the never going away plantar fasciitis). Overall, I'm proud of what I pushed myself to achieve this past year.

For 2017, I only have two races planned: the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May and the Chicago Marathon in October. The Pittsburgh Half Marathon will mostly be an excuse to explore my new home city, so the Chicago Marathon is what I am going to put most of my focus toward. I know I can do better than I did in December if I stay healthy and train properly. Right now, I'm still focused on recovery. I'm doing pretty well, but I only ran 68 miles in January (plus the 3-6 I'll run today). I'll keep posting about progress and how training is going. I'm probably overdue a post on my experiences taking two months of spin classes...

Roxbury Marathon Recap - DNF

First up: even though I did not finish this race, I still am very proud of my performance. And I'm also proud that I was finally smart enough to know when to quit before I really injured myself.

I have a long history of knee injuries. I first got diagnosed with patella tendonitis while playing ultimate frisbee my freshman year of college. I have not been able to play competitive ultimate since. I did 8 months of physical therapy and was finally able to get back to working out. I was told that I shouldn't run, so I started crossfit and mostly did a bunch of rowing as a running substitution. A few years later, my stubbornness got the best of me and I decided (without talking to a doctor or PT) that I was now healthy enough to run again... so I signed up to run a marathon. I trained for 4-5 months, did a mediocre job, missed some training ones, and totally ate it on race day. I finished in 5:55:50, limping across the finish line. Got myself another 6 months of PT and took another year off running. When I started running again in earnest in May 2015, I decided to take it slow. I did mostly just 5Ks in 2015 and did my first half in May 2016 after running all winter. I've had a few setbacks, but overall my knees have been doing pretty well. Which bring us to...

This past Saturday at the Roxbury Marathon. The route is pretty brutal and it was 18-20F that morning. The water in my hydration pack actually froze! I started off strong. My coach had recommended that I lean forward (really, resist leaning back) while going down hills. That really helped me gain some speed without killing my muscles. I was able to keep up a 9:30 pace for the first 16 miles. Sometime near the end of mile 17, my right knee started to hurt. It was a familiar feeling and I immediately started walking. I tried running a bit more, but then the pain got worse. I walked the last 1.75 miles and called it quits at 19.25 miles (my third out of five loops), a total of 3:26:46. Had it not been so cold, I still could have finished in under 5:30... even walking the last 8 miles.

I have never run that fast that far, so I'm still really proud. My second fastest half was at a 9:33min/mile pace, and I managed to keep that up for an extra 3 miles. The cold plus the hills plus my knee just did not end up being the best day for me. I'm feeling pretty good today, so after another couple of days of rest, I'm going to keep running and try another marathon in the fall.