Friday, November 15, 2019

Hi From Greece!

This is a pre-written post to remind you to stay tuned for a recap of Athens Authentic Marathon coming soon!

I downloaded this picture from the Athens Authentic Marathon website. I'm guessing our start looked something like this! More on the race soon!

In the meantime, check out my Instagram and Facebook pages for updates! Hopefully, I've had a chance to share a few adventures!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Marathon Bound: We're in GREECE!

Sera: IllumiNITE Tahoe jacket/
Powerstretch pant
Mike: IllumiNITE Mercury pant
This post has been pre-written because...

While you read this, we are in Athens, Greece, gearing up for the SOLD OUT official Athens Authentic Marathon THIS SUNDAY!  60,000 runners will be running the various races this weekend, 20,000 of which are running the marathon! That's a lot of runners!

Running Friends Are the Best Friends!

I cannot believe this weekend is finally here! My dear friend, Richard, and I have been planning this trip for over a year! Rich has been my running and destination-race partner since my very first relay back in 2015, and I'm so honored he asked me if I'd like to run the original marathon route!

Group training run back in August
Sera: IllumiNITE Eclipse headband/
Dovetail tee
I'm so excited we convinced our friends Juliette, Eric, and Cybele to join us. Races are much more fun with friends!

And I'm even more excited that my boyfriend, Mike, who has never run more than a 5k race or hiked more than 18 miles at once, agreed to let me train him for his first ever marathon! What better marathon to train for than the original marathon route from Marathon to Athens in Greece!

This is...Dating In Your Forties!

Sera: IllumiNITE Inspire Pullover/
Comet pant
Mike: IllumiNITE Hartford jacket/
Endeavor shorts

I don't know what I was thinking when I said I'd train Mike for his very first marathon! Mike and I have spent hours upon hours of running in the daytime, nighttime, rain, sun, heat, and cold! Long gone are the dress-up dates at fancy restaurants with cocktails and fabulous food! These days, date night consists of running in sweaty, smelly clothing and then devouring massive amounts of food before crashing on my couch to mindless shows. Somehow, we still like each other! Thank god!

I did make one rule while training him. I said: "As your girlfriend, I don't expect you to do whatever I want whenever I want. But as your coach, you better do as I say...or else!"

Mike, being the ever-so-intelligent man that he is, often asks: "Who is speaking right now: my coach or my girlfriend ?" hahahahaha

Friends! Trust me when I say, if you'd like to put the strength of your relationship to the test, train for a distance race together!

Track Us Live!

Sera: IllumiNITE
Savannah short sleeve tee
All joking aside, I feel so blessed to have a partner by my side who is willing to go on new adventures with me! I'm so honored to run by Mike's side on the original marathon route! It will be so amazing! We are not going for speed because we want to be tourists and take tons of pictures along the way! But you can follow our progress by tracking my bib number: 18638 on the official Athens Marathon App!

Mike: IlumiNITE
Sentinel short sleeve tee
And now, without further ado, I present to you our team IllumiNITE race shirts! Thank you, IllumiNITE for outfitting us on race day! Love these colors and the design is so fun! And let's not forget REFLECTIVE, too!

Stay tuned for a recap of Athens Authentic Marathon and other Greece adventures when we return! In the meantime, if you're looking for new running gear, be sure to use my discount code Sera15 at IllumiNITE for 15% off your entire order!

Where are you running this weekend? Comment below!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Just Us Gales: 2019 Cape Cod Marathon Recap

Always running late! That's ME!
I just ran the worst race of my life! And I'm so glad I did! And yes, I want to go back and run Cape Cod Marathon again!

Not all races can be blue skies and rainbows. In fact, I believe that it's the terrible races that remind us that we are stronger than we think, that we can endure so much more than we think we're capable, that we really can accomplish anything we put our minds to.

What made this marathon the worst race of my life?

30 mph gales of wind that knocked my feet together and threatened to tear out my contacts! Freezing cold rain that down-poured, up-poured, and side-poured (craziness!) Giant ocean waves that crashed onto the marathon route and soaked us unknowing racers!

But first, let's talk about what made this weekend so great!
RYH Group Photo!

On Friday, Run Your Health gathered together for poster-making, team-building activities, and a group photo! It was so great to see everyone and connect! My schedule doesn't allow me to socialize as much these days! Thank you, Laura, for organizing such a fantastic weekend!

On Saturday, we all set off to support the Half Marathoners! We had a blast waving signs, high-fiving runners, and dancing in the street as we cheered everyone on! I even ran into my friend Dave Jenness, who I met at this very race a few years ago! That was a great surprise!

Sue from IllumiNITE and me at the Expo
 After the race, I stopped by the expo to pick up my bib and to hang out at the IllumiNITE pop-up store for a bit! It was so much fun helping runners find windproof and water resistent clothes for the incoming storm!

While at the expo, I got to hear global advocate for amputee rights, Adrianne Haslet, talk about surviving the Boston Marathon bombing and share her journey to recovery and beyond. Then she gave us marathoners a fantastic pep talk. I'll paraphrase because I was so engrossed in her speech I didn't write it down:

Adrianne said that when someone tells you that you cannot do something, they are coming from their own limitations, not yours. Adrianne said to ignore this advice, even if it's your own voice that's speaking. Her words carried me through the last few miles of the marathon on Sunday when everything in my brain told me to QUIT! Thank you, Adrianne, for inspiring us runners!

Saturday night, I had a wonderful dinner with my sponsor Sue from IllumiNITE. It was so great to just sit back, relax, and share stories about running and life! And the food was amazing! We went to La Cucina Sul Mare, who made sure that my meal was Whole30 approved. I'm officially finished with Whole30, but I'm trying to stick to clean eating while I'm training! I highly recommend this restaurant!

Before I knew it, it was Sunday morning! The weather held off for the most part—early on. I walked the mile to the start in my IllumiNITE Windbrite pants, IllumiNITE Featherlike jacket, and IllumiNITE Velocity gloves...and my big, fluffy bathrobe for extra warmth so my muscles could properly loosen up!

Almond-encrusted Salmon and shrimp
on a bed of greens
My goal was to run this marathon under five hours! My fastest Cape Cod Marathon was in 2017 when I did the Chowdah Challenge. I came in at 5:33:06. My fastest marathon ever was Green River in 2018 at 4:38. I knew I wasn't Green River speedy this year, but I felt under five was a good goal to push myself without pushing too hard since I'm running Athens Authentic Marathon just two weeks after Cape Cod.

Then we were off, and I felt the surge of energy from the 1,200 racers and thousands of supporters cheering us on! I hit 13.1 at 2:23, and I was going strong. Most of my miles were under 11:00 minutes (moving time), and I was only walking to quickly eat my fuel! I was set to finish under five!

Then the weather took a drastic turn (as you'll see in the video). Gales of wind hit so hard I could barely run! At mile 24, the conditions got so bad, it was too dangerous for me to run. I had to give in and walk. I was at about 4:30-sh at that point. It was really frustrating to know that the finish line was just 2.2 miles away, but I couldn't get there in under five hours!

Until that point, my IllumiNITE gear kept me warm and protected from the wind. But after walking for a mile, even the awesomeness of my windproof clothing couldn't stop the cold from seeping through. When I finally turned a corner and escaped the gales of wind, I tried to run. My legs locked up from fatigue and cold! I was forced to walk the rest of the way. I cried the last two miles. I questioned the insanity we runners must have to do this to ourselves.

Race Director, Jack Afarian, walks me in
But then, something amazing happened when I turned onto the final stretch and saw that finish line. Despite the bitter storm, the community of Cape Cod stood along the sidelines cheering! Friends screamed out my name! People hooted and hollered and clapped! It was just what I needed to make this final stretch.

And then a man walked over to me. He asked if I was okay. I told him yes, I was just cold. He said, "May I walk you in?"

He told me how proud he was of me finishing. He said I was almost there. I did it! He said a bunch of other encouraging words that I don't remember because I was so miserable and I had to focus on putting one foot in front of the other so I could finish! I found out later he was the race director. Thank you so much, Jack Afarian! Your dedication and support and all your hard work is so appreciated! I am honored that you stood outside all day while we ran in this crazy storm and cheered us on to the end.

When I crossed the finish line, my dear friends Rich and Juliette welcomed me in the warmest hug as my friend Dave took video of my finish. Watching that video later, I see that I look so much happier and stronger than I felt inside. Further proof that that little voice in my head that said I couldn't do it is a liar! Thank you, again, Adrianne. I needed your words of encouragement! and thank you Dave for capturing this epic finish on camera!
Grateful Me, the morning after
Thank you EVERYONE for your support!

Juliette and Teresa helped me get food and took me to the medical tent to warm up by space heaters while my friends Kim and Rich got the car for me. A very special THANK YOU to you all for your extra support and care after my race. Your love and support made all the difference to me! It means more than you could possibly imagine. And thank you to everyone else who encouraged me and helped me along the way. Apologies if I missed your name. My brain was not working that well and most of that race is now a blur! But trust me, I appreciate ALL who supported me.

When I got my race results, I was floored! My marathon time was 5:10:57. I have no idea how I finished so fast, despite walking the last two miles! I am so proud of myself! I may not have met my goal, BUT I still ran my fastest Cape Cod Marathon in some pretty crazy conditions! Also, I'm proud of myself for not quitting BUT making sure I didn't injure myself, which is most important. Yay, ME!

All in all, Cape Cod Marathon weekend was a blast! It is still my favorite race weekend of the year! And now I feel so ready for my Athens Authentic Marathon on November 10th! Stay tuned for our IllumiNITE team race shirt reveal happening in the next few days!

Without further ado, I present to you my Cape Cod Marathon Weekend video!

Where is your next race? Comment below!

Weather You Run This Summer

The first time I signed up for the Mike cooling down near the end of our 13-mile run. IllumiNITE's Endeavor Tank and Long Running Shorts...