How Social Media will help me get to the Eugene Marathon

I am no stranger to loving social media and using it openly to share my running journey.  Between my Facebook blog, webpage and Instagram I have made a lot of new friends and been graced with thousands of followers who share my health, wellness and fitness journey with me.  Though I mostly use my social media to share pictures of cows I see on the run or the hundreds of selfies I manage to snag, I have also learned the importance of using social media as a tool to enhance my training.

I have an awesome running coach, Coach Patrick who has helped me progress very far in my mental journey as a runner, as well as physically through his challenging training plans.  Working with a Coach provides a huge sense of accountability, and to enhance that, sharing my training journey on social media and using it as a tool has provided me an even bigger sense of accountability and even furthered my running journey.

When I am able to write about my training on my blog or give a quick caption on Instagram, it offers me the opportunity to reflect on my run that day or where I am at with my training.  It is important for me to celebrate the good runs with a huge smile and a WOOHOO! just for me, but even more important is for me to be able to identify a challenging or bad run and be able to put it into words.  It is very valuable to be able to look back on my last few runs and see where I am at mentally and physically to ensure I am not so focused on the micro that I forget to look at the macro.

Additionally, using social media as a tool to enhance my running journey has benefit me greatly because I have found many online running groups and made friends through social media to help support my running journey to. It is valuable for me, as someone who mostly runs alone, to know I have a community I can share my highs and lows with. I am so very fortunate to have met some awesome people through social media who have become my best running friends, and will rock out some long runs or races with me on occasion when I need a friend or five to run with!

Right now I’m in the throes of training for the Eugene Marathon, half marathon. It’s my goal for 2019 to PR my half time and I’m starting my 2019 journey by using Eugene to see where I’m at. I have been able to use social media to openly express how my training is going, the good, bad and the ugly, and to find and feel support from a wide community of runners and non runners who are rooting for my success. The value of this is so beneficial, especially on the days where my runs are challenging and my frustrations are high.

I’m looking forward to continuing my training for the race and feeling the support and accountability from everyone I am friends with and followers on social media. I can’t wait to see how I do on April 28th! (If you’d like to join the fun, use VANESSAEM19 for a discount on the half or marathon!)

Cheers runners!


2019 Kaiser Half Marathon Race Recap

On Sunday I completed my 16th lifetime half marathon. How cool is that? It was a super fun weekend and though it’s a very chill event, was still super exciting. Here’s how my weekend went.

Saturday 2/2

I actually got to take over the Inspiring Women Runners Instagram account race weekend! It was awesome. My weekend started with a quick shakeout run in the rain. Glad race day wasn’t Saturday! It was wet!!

After my quick run my mom and I went out to breakfast. If you ever go to breakfast with me it’s likely I’ll get a bacon, cheese and avocado omelette with a side of salsa, dry sourdough toast and breakfast potatoes, not hash browns. I’ll also get water and sometimes will have 1 cup of coffee with cream. That’s my go to.

My mom gave me her avocado from her meal. That’s a good mom right there.

Then, I had a dentist appointment. I had all of my dental work done in one appointment. Do I recommend this? Not really. My whole mouth was numb for a good portion of the day! Good thing I ate that giant breakfast 🤣

Because the race is an hour from where I live, I spent the night at a family members house. Mr. Ftof drove so I could be lazy and browse social media 🤷🏽‍♀️.

My family made me a delicious dinner and we tucked ourselves in nice and early.

I had to think long and hard about what to wear for the race. It was potentially going to be raining but I also wanted to be warm. I decided a tank top with arm sleeves would be best so I could peel off the sleeves if I got warm rather than fumbling with a sweatshirt. I once ran in the rain with a sweatshirt during a half Mary and I was weighed down by wet clothing. I also wanted a hat with a brim to cover my eyes and a headband under that to keep my ears warm. It ended up being the perfect outfit. I laid it out before bed to make sure nothing was missing.

Sunday, 2/3

Full disclosure: I went into this race with my longest long run having been only 9 miles. I went out for a 10 miler but that day was a disaster and I screwed the whole run up and didn’t make it to 10. I was nervous about how this race was gonna go.

Being close to the race start AND having an 8:10 start time was AWESOME! I got to sleep in on race morning until 5:00 am! The last few races I did I had to be up by 4:00! I actually could have probably slept til 5:20. Anyhow- I got dressed and made my almond butter and banana sandwich to eat around 6:30. We loaded ourselves into the car at 6 and off we went to secure parking and have time to use the restrooms.

Most of the morning is a blur but it came down to:

  • Me trying to stay warm and dry because it rained on and off before the race began
  • Me stepping in a huge mud puddle trying to walk to the portopotty
  • Me trying to figure out what group photos I was supposed to be in and where
  • Me trying to figure out where to corral myself because the 5k started before the 10k/half

I made a very loose game plan for the race and knew I needed to stick to it to be successful

  • Run walk intervals
  • Fuel on my chews every 45 minutes
  • Take in Nuun starting at the mile 6/7 aid station
  • Save some energy for the miles heading out on the Great Highway
  • Gain some time on the miles back from the Great Highway

The race started at 8:10 and I had pretty smooth sailing out the gate. The first sixish miles are through Golden Gate Park and a neighborhood. Usually Golden Gate Park is really humid when I’ve run it but I think the rain helped. It was very comfortable.

I was saving a lot of my energy for when I got to the Great Highway. I new those miles were going to be windy and they were gonna tear me apart.

While I was running through Golden Gate Park there was one linkup where the 10k met up with the half I think around mile 5 and a gentleman doing the 10k saw me and his face lit up.

“You’re doing the half!”

“Why yes I am, it’s my 16th one”

“That’s so great! You have about 8-9 miles left right? I used to do triathlons but I had some heart problems as I got older. This is my second 10k now. Do it while you’re young and you can. Have a great race!”

Moments like that really warm my heart.

I hit the turn onto the Great Highway and I knew I was in for some great views but some horrible wind.

I wasn’t wrong. The moment I turned onto it my hat started to blow away. I laughed to myself and said “tighten your hat and let’s get going!”

The threeish miles out on the Great Highway were into headwinds. I had to fight hard for those miles and it wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve had to do but it was a challenge for certain.

It’s funny because even though I was in the back, I felt really strong and experienced and knew how to handle myself. I had a plan and I executed it. It was awesome seeing the fast runners on the return while I was going out. One day I’ll be one of those runners. One guy ran across the barrier and high fived me. I love the running community.

When I finally got to the turnaround a little before mile 10, I was so grateful but I was still feeling good. I’ve noticed that after training for two marathons last year I feel pretty solid in the 13.1 distance and often the miles fly by pretty quickly. They don’t seem to drag on or be as hard as they used to be.

Eventually I picked up some speed and miles 11/12 felt really good and I knew I was just moments from finishing. My friend Tony was the finish line announcer and he gave me the kindest most heartfelt announcement. It was rad!

And with that, it was all over. Half marathon number 16 was completed!

I had an absolute blast and though I don’t know what my schedule looks like for next year, I just may be back!

Thanks Kaiser half for such a fun event!

Cheers runners!