formats

The Windshield

I’m pretty sure the universe mandates truckloads of parental advice to be delivered post-heartbreak. Maybe the delivery will help re-establish the PH-balance of the soil in my soul or something. Who knows. Right after the break-up my mom talked to me endlessly about love and life dispensing her thoughts and feelings on how great I am….. young I am… I’ll find someone new… so much life to live ahead of me blah blah blah.. Most of her words just wafted over my head and dissipated into oblivion. I’ve heard these things. I know these things. At the time I was just choosing to ignore them… well, some days I still do. Regardless she did say something interesting that stuck.

“Kass, you have to envision your life like that of a car. When you drive you look through the windshield, right? The windshield is your future. It holds future roads you haven’t ran, paths you have yet to uncover, memories that will unfold and people you have yet to meet. The windshield is big because there is SO MUCH to see.

The past, where you’ve been before, the roads you’ve traveled- well, that’s found in the rear-view mirror. It’s important, of course. The past memories you’ve made, the experiences you’ve had are what make you, YOU. Of course they are important. But they represent just a piece of who you are. YOU are in control of who you will become and where you want to go. The rear-view is small for a reason Kass. 

Your future has so much to offer but you have to look forward in order to get there. If you look in the rear-view too much you won’t get anywhere new. In fact, you’ll crash. You have to look forward Kass. Keep looking forward.” 

 

It’s been nearly three months since my mama uttered these words and yet here I am repeating them daily to myself. “Look forward Kass. Don’t look back, you’ll crash. Just look forward. I’ve been looking forward as much as humanly possible to create something new for myself in 2018.

 

The door is open, bitches…. even though it’s closed in this pic ~ getting ready for a full day of work at the Door is Open counseling center 🙂

 

In so many ways 2017 was an amazing, outstanding year.

Professionally I reentered the clinical field and have been working to develop my skills as a licensed therapist with a caseload of approximately 30-35 individual adult clients. The work is hard but the clients are amazing. Slowly but surely I’m chipping away at building my own career and standing on my own two feet.

 

The Lone Runner got a logo this year and tshirts for all athletes. Yay team. 🙂

Personally/professionally I developed amazing relationships with my Lone Runner athletes and coached many of them to PR’s

*Laura S PR’ed in the 5k and half marathon successfully completed her first MARATHON at Chicago!!!

*Jillian ran a 2 minute PR at Philadelphia 26.2 and a 5k PR.

*Kristi L PR’ed AND Boston Qualified at Hartford Marathon in October.

*Mary Beth completed her FIRST marathon at Chicago 26.2.

*Julie L in Florida PR’ed in the 5k, 10k, half AND completed first full marathon at Disney last weekend!

*Sarah M from Rhode Island took 20 MINUTES off of her previous marathon PR at Chicago this fall and PR’ed in the 5k and 10k in 2017.

 

It’s not just the PR’s that made 2017 an amazing year for coaching, it was the relationships that evolved out of working so closely with my athletes. Even though we live far apart together we tackle navigating how to fit in our runs as mothers, employees and even on RIDICULOUSLY cold (or hot) weather conditions. They are one amazing group of athletes and I am honored to be their coach and close friend.

 

That time I negative split the 2017 Boston Marathon. Wahooooo!

 

Running.  In 2017 I ran 2701 total miles, which is an average of 225 miles a month and an average of 56.25 miles a week! That’s a lot of miles!! I may not have ran a PR in 2017, but made some amazing memories. I ran the Boston Marathon in 3:25 and Chicago in 3:24 and countless other half marathons and other races including the Easter States 20 Miler, Black Cat 10 miler, Suftown Half Marathon in RI, Frosty Half Marathon, Iron Horse half in CT, Strawberry Shortcake 10k, etc. So many miles, so many memories.

 

***

 

Now that we’re in 2018 I’m committed to looking forward through the windshield. I’ve been working really hard over the past three months to rebuild myself. So much of my life and my identity was wrapped up in my previous relationship that when it collapsed I stood there among the debris with a blank expression on my face asking myself, “What do I do now?” The dust has settled and I know what I need to do during 2018.

All the races, bitches.

Seriously!! Well, sort of. I need to invest in myself. I need to live my life exactly how I want to live it. I will not wait for a relationship to evolve in order to start living my life. I can run races on my own. I can go to the movies on my own. I can make real live, adult decisions about my car, my finances, my parenting style on my own. I will not wait to be saved by a man. I will figure this shit out on my own, even if I make a crap ton of mistakes along the way (and I’m fairly certain I will, yay adulting!).

How does that translate into all the races? Well, it’s January and for the most part I have planned out the vast majority of the races I will run in 2018. I’m not waiting to be told how I will spend my weekends; I will create my own path, my own plan.

So, what races am I running??

 

SSYMCA Frozen 5k 2018 with several Lone Runners: Lisa G, Laura S, Laurie S and me. Not pictured: Flower.

*I started off 2018 with a 5k PR at the YMCA Frozen 5k last weekend!! It was -15 degrees out, by far the coldest I have ever raced in an miraculously I finagled a PR!!! I ran a 19:49, 6:22 pace (a solid 8 seconds faster than my previous 19:58 PR- I will take it!) .

*Next up: Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler with my athletes and friends, Mary-Beth, Sarah M and Eric W. 🙂 yay!!

*GUESS WHAT MOM AND DAD I’M RUNNING AN ULTRA! My friend and BADASS mother runner, Sarah Slater has been winning pretty much every 50 and 100 miler she’s been running over the past year. Since she lives in CT I don’t see her too often. Soooo, when she told me that she’s running a 6 hour timed trail race in Canton, MA in March (To Hale and Back) and asked me if I wanted in I couldn’t say no. I figure that at the very least I’m in for 20 miles and then I’ll see where I’m at. I’ll write more about this adventure in the future. How does this impact my current training? I’M KEEPING MY VOLUME HIGH. Much higher than usual for this time of year. But honestly, I’m just going to hang with my bud for as long as humanly possible and we’ll see what happens on the trail.

*Newport half marathon in April

*Sugarloaf marathon in May

*Next fall: the current plan is to do Philly Marathon!

 

And away we go!

 

So I have something else INCREDIBLY EXCITING to announce!!! I just started a 1.5 year long certificate program at John F. Kennedy University in California in Sport Psychology. My first course? Kinesiology. I have weekly reading, papers, tests- everything. I am determined to merge my passions of mental health and running to be able to work with mother runners and hopefully student athletes in the future to aid in improving mental fitness during performance based events. Registering for this program is a huge personal and financial investment. It’s a leap of faith, but it feels right. Sooooo we’ll see what happens!

 

Thanks for the easel and permanent paint grandma 😉

I am filling up my weekends how I want to fill them to be filled. On the weeks I have Lilly we read Harry Potter, paint, bake and make music videos when we’re trapped in the apartment during a snow storm. Muhahaha.. And the weeks I don’t have her? Well, I’m working hard to create a life I want to live, a life I’m proud of and one that feels nourishing. Signing up for this 1.5 year long certificate program in Sport Psychology and registering for all the races throughout the year is a start.

I will not wait for life to happen to me. I will happen to life.

I will no longer be passive in my life. I will be an active participant in my life. And I will choose how I want to live it. 🙂

If I happen upon a gentleman caller who (as my friend and athlete Lisa says…) is “worthy of me” then fantastic. I’m open to meeting and dating gentlemen. I’m open to being courted. TBC, girl gotta eat! But I’m not going to have my world center around finding a man. I don’t need a relationship to live a happy life. I don’t want to be alone, but I am learning that I CAN be alone if I have to. I can do this. I will do this. I am doing this.

Can’t stop. Won’t stop. (looking forward)

Yours truly,

The Lone Runner.

I hope your Sunday morning is full of rainbows, unicorns and many, many miles <3

formats

Frosty Half Marathon Race Recap

The Lone Runner team dinner.

 

This past weekend was EXACTLY what I needed.  It reminded me of why I not only love to run, but also how running can bring complete internet strangers together to become friends. Did I say friends? Because I really mean family.  My athletes, near and far, have seen me through a divorce,  leaving The Run Formula to start The Lone Runner coaching company, being a single mom, a new flame and subsequent heartbreak and I have seen them through pregnancies (Molly and Adrienne), nagging injuries, more tummy issues on the run than they’d care to admit ;), getting engaged and married (Dana, Kinsey, Grace and Bree in 2 weeks!!), new jobs, moves across the country, challenges with their own partners, post-partum depression, anxiety- everything. You name it and we’ve been through it together. No conversation is off limits. I aim to create a judgment free-coaching experience full of transparency where my athletes can (if they want to) share with me the challenges of their lives that are impacting their ability to focus on completely their training plan as written. Life stress is real stress and until runners can realize that the rest of your life will impact the quality of your runs (and vice versa too!) then there is an entire area for improvement that is missing from one’s running experience.

 

Me, Lisa and Sarah. These ladies are my EARLY runners. As full-time working mamas they are ON THE ROAD by 4:30 AM most mornings. They might live in different states, but the time stamp on their Strava motivates them to get their a** on the road. 😉 Sole sisters.

 

 

Mary Beth and Adrienne. These are my ladies with new babies!! ONE YEAR after having her beautiful daughter Mary Beth successfully completed the Chicago Marathon!!! I also had the pleasure to coach Adrienne through seven months her pregnancy. AMAZING running mamas. 🙂

 

The vast majority of my athletes are people who read this blog and simply reached out via email or message. At one point in time these athletes were complete internet strangers who share similar passions to my own: running, laughing, pushing forward no matter what. Well, internet strangers no more! About every six months I try to get my local athletes together for a team dinner to meet each other and welcome any new athletes into the mix. On Saturday night about 10 of my athletes came in from various parts of Florida, Rhode Island and Massachusetts to celebrate their hard work, meet each other and eat their faces off at delicious Rustic Kitchen in Hingham. I felt- heck, I continue to feel so honored to be the mama duck of this growing tribe of amazing runners. We all run different distances, paces and places- but WE. ALL. RUN. We all face difference challenges- emotional, financial, personal- but WE. ALL. RUN. We all know that if we don’t make time for our goals, then they will never be reached. We are tribe of passionate, real, goofy, fun-loving runners and I am so immensely lucky to be surrounded with their energy and spirit on a daily basis.

To be clear: we also fight like family. Oh yes! New chickadees often throw tantrums on the road and challenge authority – but I’m the mama duck. No one messes with BIG MAMA–so I just squawk at them a few times and put them in their place. BOOM! (as long as they’re not wearing aviator sunglasses and intimidate the crap out of me ;)).

 

***

Post Race smiles.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I ran the Chicago Marathon in October and my body has felt surprisingly spry since then! Why? I HAVE NO IDEA, but I’m rolling with it! Maybe it’s the small weight loss, or being more rested from not commuting to CT every weekend or maybe my body is truly adapting to the physical rigors of marathon training. Honestly, IT DOESN’T MATTER to me! Muahhahahaha. My conversational pace has been hovering in the 7:50-8 min pace range and a comfortable tempo has been at a 7:05-7:10 pace (as opposed to 8:20-830 and 7:20-730, respectfully). I feel like I’m getting fitter and very close to racing a half PR; when my athlete and friend Julie L. said she was going to fly up to Boston for Saturday’s team dinner and run Sunday’s Frosty Half in Raynham I just had to join in on the fun.

On Sunday morning Julie and I drove the 30 minutes down to Raynham Middle School to race the Frosty Half Marathon. My goal was to aim for 6:55 splits and theoretically break my previous PR of a 1:32:02. I was close!! Kinda… sorta…. well not really.

The race was a complete shit show. No, seriously.

Maybe it was race day nerves or the previous night’s pasta dinner with the team. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. Within 2 miles of starting the race I was in uncharted territory: I was going to need to stop for a (cough cough) bathroom break. First and second place took off down the road in their own speedy battle. I watched from afar as the ran side by side throwing down 6:45-6:50’s. Bye bye ladies. I’ll hang out here in 6:55-7 land in third place. Wait, I’M IN THIRD PLACE!!! Third place in a half- wahooooo!!  … Ohhhh my stomach… what on Earth is going on?”

I tried to ignore the discomfort for as long as possible, but by the time I was at mile 5 I knew I was going to have to use the facilities. But here’s where there was a problem: where exactly ARE the facilities??? I have never had this issue before so I didn’t look at the race map pre-race. So I did what any shameless runner would do: I hauled ass to the woods and dropped trou. I estimate that I lost about 30 seconds in this side hustle, just long enough for me to witness the fourth place female to zoom by me standing still. Oh no you don’t! I pulled myself together, hustled out of the woods and quickly took back third place.

But then it happened again. By mile 7 my stomach was in knots yet again. I can not believe this is happening. Where can I stop?  Can I stop? Should I suffer through? It’s only six more miles to the finish. Mayyyyybe.  I trotted along at a speedy, yet painful 7:10 pace as I did the math in my head. Six miles times seven minute miles…. that’s at least 42 more minutes!! Oh hell no. I won’t wait that long. Heck, I CAN’T wait that long!! Into the woods I went. Dropped trou I did. I shrugged my shoulders and shamelessly waved to the fourth place female runner as she spotted me crouched in the woods. And away she went down the road.

As I shuffled back onto the road to regain stride my mind began to battle itself. Should I even try any more? A PR is obviously out the window.. and yet the legs feel good and theoretically the stomach is *fingers crossed* settling down. While I was talking to myself I started to actually pick up the pace.  Even though my mind wasn’t sure if it wanted to put in the mental effort of racing for another 40+ minutes my body apparently did. I rolled with it. Sure, a PR was off the table. Who cares? It’s JUST a race. But, IT’S STILL A RACE! That means that I will do the best my body will allow given whatever crap happens. (See what I did there? bahahaha). A half marathon PR may have out of reach, but that didn’t mean that third place had to be gone too.

I told myself something I always tell my athletes: run the mile you’re in. I stopped worrying about IF I could hold the pace for the final five miles and focused on the mile and the moment I was in. I could see third place in the distance, maybe 20-25 seconds ahead. My attention shifted to closing the gap between us. At the tail end of mile 8 I came up behind her at the tail end of mile 8. Do I pass now? Do I hover behind her? Was she slowing down? Surging ahead? Where was she at mentally? If I pass her will she surge ahead to maintain third?  I typically run for myself and my own race times, so the mental component of racing against other runners on the road is fairly foreign. Ultimately I focused on how my own body felt in that mile and it felt GOOD. I threw down, surged ahead and took back third place just as we passed the mile 9 marker. Miles 8 and 9 were completed at a 6:52 and 6:59 pace.

Mile 11: A sweaty Kass is a happy Kass.

I wasn’t going to PR. I wasn’t going to have the race of my life. But I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to give my best effort!! To be clear- there are some dark moments when you’re pooping in the woods during a race. Of course I wondered if I should just stop running hard and run my comfy pace. But I couldn’t. That’s a cop-out. I was there to race! So, race I did.

The final miles were completed at: 7:20 (mile 10 hill), 6:58, 6:47, 6:52. And I felt GOOD. I felt insanely good out there for the final miles of the race. I held third place all the way through the finish and ultimately managed a 1:33:06 (7:06 avg) despite my two stops. I estimate that I lost about 60-70 seconds because of those stops. My PR is a 1:32:02. I’m SO CLOSE people. SO. DAMN. CLOSE. I. CAN. TASTE IT!!! Sunday wasn’t my day and that’s completely ok. I’m not angry or sad. I’m not going to dwell; I’m going to laugh my ass off. I crossed the finish line laughing hysterically because somehow I had a pooptastic day and was still able to come in third place at a half marathon!! Who does that??? I’m calling this one a win!

Just keeping it real folks!

Post race I ran back to find my girl Julie. I found her around mile 12 and ran her in to the finish! Somehow she ran the EXACT same time as her previous half PR! She’s amazing and I’m so proud of her. 🙂 You’re amazing Julie- keep pushing!!

Up next: YMCA Frozen 5k in January and you better believe I’m going after a PR (break 19:58). Here’s hoping!!

 

Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Never stop.

Kass

 

***

Overall race thoughts:

I can confidently attest that this race was incredibly well organized: hats to all participants, SO MANY happy, smiling volunteers/police out there on the road to direct the runners, plus a breakfast buffet after the race with sausage (I’m sure there was other food present, but I honestly just honed in on the sausage links).  The Frosty Half is put on The Colonial Road Runners; I would absolutely recommend this to any runners looking for a mostly flat (with a few rollers) half in December!!

 

I GOT AN ANDROGYNOUS TROPHY PERSON!! Please Note: I didn’t do sports in school so this is a BIG deal and makes me the happiest runner girl.

formats

Let the healing begin!

 

17 miles along Wollaston Beach as the sun rises. Photo cred: Greg who writes Soutiearuns.com

 

Let’s let the healing begin, shall we? Do you think I can follow the same post-marathon recovery plan to recover from a heart break? Why not give it a try. I’ve spent the past few weeks running endless miles alone under the bright blue sky, breathing the crisp air and hearing the fallen leaves crunch under my feet. Countless times my mind has fluttered to memories I made over the past few years. I’ll be honest- I’ve had to stop once or twice and cry for a few minutes but the sadness passes. It always passes. My mind, which a few weeks ago was churning over with a waterfall of endless worries, is finally starting to slow down so I can actually process the past 2 years and accept where I am and who I am today.

Right now running is to me like a a lovie is to a toddler who needs his/her snuggle toy to stay safe from the nighttime monsters. My runs are my therapy session, my safe place and my security blanket all in one. I’m also trying to use running to help me look forward to the future to create new goals for myself. Signing up for winter and spring races, creating my own training plan and even plotting out my runs remind me to look forward, not back. Looking back on the roads I’ve ran won’t get me anywhere new. As hard as it is right now I need to look forward. I need to find new roads out there for me to explore. I can do this. One day at a time, one mile at a time. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Yes,  I’m healing. Slowly, but surely I’m healing.

 

***

Post Chicago goal: Enjoy the sun and see the sky every day 🙂

Post-Chicago Recovery Running.

After I run a marathon my body typically feels like it has been hit by a mac truck. I usually have a hard time walking down the stairs or even sitting down on the toilet. But not this time. (whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!) I’m not entirely sure why, but my body feels REALLY GOOD since Chicago. After running 6 marathons maybe my body is starting to adapt to the stress of training and/or covering the distance of the marathon. Maybe I hydrated like a boss at Chicago and was able to run within my physical capabilities without doing too much wear and tear. Maybe it’s sheer luck. Either way I am absolutely LOVING RUNNING lately.

Here have been my mileages week by week:
Week 1 post Chicago: 16 miles

*Took 3 days off from running and then did an EASY 4. Felt surprisingly good and rolled with it.

Week 2: 45 miles

Week 3: 40 miles

Week 4: 60

*I had off from work this week so I was able to rest and recover more than usual, which allowed for a higher mileage

Week 5: 53 miles

Week 6: 53 miles

Week 7: 60 miles

 

I’m well aware that my mileages have been all over the place!! Typically after a marathon I take a week off and follow it with a week of 20-30 miles, then 30-40 miles. Finally, I will aim to hit at 40 miles a week for about a month to  safely build my base mileage back up. Not this time!  Running has felt absolutely awesome so I’m just rolling with it until December 4th when I’ll start a more structured training plan and begin integrating speed workouts. The vast majority of my running over the past 7 weeks has been completed at a conversational pace. I must say that since emotional distress is fantastic for weight loss and weight loss is fantastic for faster running my runs have been much speedier than before. In the past month I’d dropped a little weight and wow what a difference it has made in my running times.  Silver lining?? While 8:20s typically were my go-to easy run pace, I’ve recently dropped down to running 7:55-8’s with little extra effort. Last week I did my first post marathon workout; I ran 9 miles with 2 sets of 10 minute intervals at a 6:35 pace! Well helloooooooo there! I don’t know where this speed is coming from but heck yes I’ll take it!

I’m incredibly curious about where my racing fitness is at soooo I signed up for a half marathon on a whim! Next Sunday December 3rd I’ll be racing the Frosty Half Marathon in Raynham, MA. Here goes nothing! After the Frosty half I have my eyes set on the following winter/spring races:

*Frozen 5k in Quincy

*MV 20 Miler in Feb.

*Newport half marathon in April

*Sugarloaf Marathon in May

 

I want to do ALL THE RACES! It feels really good to have something to look forward each month. It’s hard but I know I need to keep looking forward, not back. I’m pumped!! Let the healing begin!! 

(If you can guess where that movie quote comes from you get extra, extra kudos! :))

 

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Never stop.

The Lone Runner

 

Cooking update: I cooked my first Kass-a-role!! bahahaha. But seriously. It was totally edible and I’m very proud of that. 🙂