Running Through a Fulfilled Life


A Little Speed Goes a Long Way

The secret to running faster is simple.  You must run faster.  Idiot.  Duh.

However, this is a lot easier said than done.  Training your body to enjoy that “I think I’m on the verge of puking and my lungs are about to explode into a colorful array like a pinata and my legs may simultaneously fall off” feeling is not easy.  In fact, it’s downright awful.  I like being comfortable. I enjoy wearing pajamas at any hour of the day while eating a 2 pound chocolate bar while snuggling up with my heated blanket while watching all the seasons of Gilmore Girls in a row.  I hate the uncomfortable unknown.

My goal this season was to become faster.  And that meant I had to suck it up, toss my chocolates aside, and buckle down into a zone of being uncomfortable.  My short lived running career has been a battle with overcoming this.   Case in point, my “Best Times” for a 5K across the years (thanks Athlinks):

  • 2005 (as a soccer player that hated long distance running)–24:18 (7:49/mile)
  • 2009–24:26 (7:52/mile)
  • 2010–23:15 (7:29/mile)
  • 2011–22:57 (7:23/mile)

Over this time, I ran 41 5K’s (yes that is disgusting and I don’t want to calculate how much I spent on my semi-expensive hobby) and of those, 14 were >25 minutes, 17 were in the 24’s, 8 were in the 23’s, and 2 were a smidge under 23 minutes.  I knew was capable of more.  I just hate making things hurt unnecessarily.

But this year, I invested in speedwork.  I made it happen every week.  I did 1600’s, 1200’s, 800’s, 600’s, 400’s, and 200’s.  I fartlek’ed.  I tempo’d.  I ran fast on the treadmill.  I ran fast on trails.  I ran fast on the roads.  I ran fast when I was running between patients in the clinic.  I ran fast in my sleep.

Who is this girl that knows how to run a 3:15 800? What have you done with the real Eli?

And it paid off.  When I looked back across my races this year, I noticed today that I really made steady improvements.  Not just with my times, but how I feel about each race when I reflect back upon it.  I can honestly say I give a full effort.  I don’t hold back anymore.

The face of a person confused if they should be running a 5K or vomiting while the super fast Matt Folk acts not impressed.

 I have learned to embrace the pain.  And embrace wearing compression sleeves.  *#&W@^@*($ Calf Strain.

I was going for the look of a “running bruise” today

Happy Running!



Race Recap: Green Professional’s Association Turkey Trot

I selected my annual Turkey Trot based on one thing and one thing only: location in relation to my parent’s house.  I wanted to be able to book it home as quickly as possible to start stuffing my face with turkey and all the fixings as soon as possible.  I always have my priorities in order.

Normally, I have run the Perry Rotary or Tusc Valley YMCA Turkey Trots.  Perry’s race has grown to 2,000+ and the YMCA’s race continues to grow as well (plus is a nice 45 minute drive BLAH).  I am a fan of smaller races and I like to support up and coming races as well.  Green’s race was a first.  And for it being a first, it definitely received a big draw from the Akron area.  509 runners in the 5K and probably 100 runners for the 1 mile “Fun Run”.

I had targeted the Turkey Trot as being my “all the chips thrown in” attempt at a 5K PR.  I did speedwork and tempo runs like a fiend over the past 3 weeks.  And then last Saturday, while PR’ing the heck out of a 5 Mile Training Run, I tweaked my left calf.  With the way my running form is, being a mid- to forefoot striker, a calf strain was just not going to cut it.  So I sucked it up and bought some CEP Compression sleeves so I could have some support during the race.  I didn’t care that Hubs started referring to me as a schoolgirl.  I felt well supported and ready to run.

All lined up and ready to race

I may or may not have stolen all of the photos.  I give all credit to the watermarked photographer.

The race was a nice out and back that looped through all the Green Schools.  It was mostly flat, with several rolling grade changes that I would not really classify as hills.  I got off the line when the turkey gobbler went off as quickly as I could.

You can see my leg in there somewhere *hint I have on my blue sleeves*

I ignored my Garmison the best I could.  I didn’t check my mile splits.  Instead I ran like it was going out of style.  I ran like someone had lit a fire under my rear end.  I thought only of PR glory and Turkey.  And…it worked.

T-Rex Dad Race Walking to a PR


I enjoy the fact that it looks like I don’t want to stop running. Thought in my head: “where’s the next race?”

Hubs finishing up with his Turkey Stroll as he referred to it. He was content to just jog and burn some calories.

Final Finish: 21:28.16 (6:58/mile pace)
Overall: 39/509
Overall Females: 5/287
Age Group: 1/82





So I Majorly PR’d on a Training Run

Running is such an individual sport.  Most people don’t give two craps whether you ran 1 mile or 10 miles.  And they definitely don’t care how fast you did it in.  Most people don’t even understand what a “fast”, “medium”, or “slow” pace is.  When I tell my patients that I ran “like 5 miles” they are just impressed at the fact that I can actually run.  They like that I live a lifestyle of fitness that I preach.  So really, the only person that cares about any of this endless streaming of data is the one creating it…YOU.

Today I went out for a 5 mile training run.  My goal was to do a progression tempo run.  Due to daylight savings time, I have been confined mostly to the treadmill since it usually is pitch black when I get home from work.  Thus, it was infinitely awesome that I got to run outside today.  The air was nippy, the grass was covered in frost, and I could see my breath.  Just the way I like it.

I went over to my favorite condo community to run laps like it was going out of style.  There was only an older woman and her dog also out walking.  And they were the only witnesses to my PR.  And probably could have given less of a crap that I did.  I am pretty sure she kept muttering things about me to her dog.  Go me.

This is why running is an individual sport.  She didn’t care.  Her dog definitely didn’t care.  It was giving me the stink eye.  But I PR’d on my 5 mile time.


Mile 1–8:10
Mile 2–7:42
Mile 3–7:27
Mile 4–7:21
Mile 5–7:08
Average Pace: 7:34/mile

Which leads me to my next question: is a PR still a PR even if it occurred during a training run?  Does it have to happen during a race? 


The Runner’s Creed

I went to my first CEU Course this past weekend.  In order to maintain licensure, I must obtain a bunch of CEUs in order to stay “up to date” on the latest and greatest trends, treatments, and information in relation to the PT World.  The nice thing about CEUs is that you can select topics that pique your interest; whereas in school you have no choice in topic selection.  The course I went to was an entire day devoted to Running.  I learned the best ways to analyze gait patterns, correct form, modify form based on various camps of thought, diagnose injury, come up with new treatment plans, administer K-Taping techniques, and how PT’s can be more involved in the running community.

 I came back from the course very inspired and ready to put my knowledge into action.  My first project is going to be helping my Mom change her running form in order to decrease stress on her low back.  There is some rhyme and reason to the whole “heel striking is bad” theory from all the studies we looked at this weekend.

 When done correctly, like Meb Keflezghi, a heel strike does not ellicit a “spike” in the force that must be attenuated through the limb and body.

But when done incorrectly, like how I USED to run, it can lead to injuries down the road.  The main difference between Meb and my old form is twofold: 1) He is ridiculously fast, awesome, humble, has lots of sponsorships, awards, sweetness, running ninja skills and 2) He lands his heel strike on a slightly flexed knee.  I never landed on a slightly flexed knee.  Instead I chose to land on a firmly extended knee like a big idiot.

So moral of the story is, if you are going to heel strike, flex your knee.  Heel striking isn’t necessarily evil voodoo magic, an extended knee while doing so is.   If anyone ever has any questions about their running form, injuries, or needs advice on why it’s important to not have a farmer’s tan when running in a sports bra, you can always e-mail me. This stuff really interests me and I like to put it to good use!




Race Recap: Rich Dalessandro Memorial Turkey Trot 5K

The Rich Dalessandro Memorial Turkey Trot takes place in Dalton, OH every Fall and it has become a local favorite for the Fall Racing season.  I have only run it once, but that was 2 years ago and all I could recall from that day was that the course was super hillish hell hills.  In summary: the race starts downhill and finishes downhill.  Which equates to a TON of climbing in between.

My only goals for the race were to A) PR the course B) Have fun C) Attempt to get back “up to speed” as I find my legs not loving 5K’s after all my Half Marathon training D) Finish in the top 15 Females

The race starts downhill, as previously stated.  I did my best to “bank” time (is that possible on a 5K?) and push the first mile in preparation to endure the hills.

5K Start…running over 700 strong!

Find the Eli

Don’t mind me. I only was attempting the coveted “double wave”. Instead I look like the garden gnome in front of me is possibly robbing me.

It was obvious that the 6:41 first mile split would help cushion my inevitable hill collapse.  I haven’t done hill repeats in probably a year, so I was expecting the worst.  I think over the course of the next 2 miles we went up and down a series of 6-7 decent hills including the one dubbed “Hallelujah Hill” at the end.  Why Hallelujah?  Because it made you say that when you got to the top.
Mile 2–7:48
Mile 3–7:41
Mile 0.1–5:23 pace

Some views of the hills that do not include my mug in them.

Hallelujah Hill

How I felt after the race (not me, obvs my legs arent that hairy even if it is almost winter time tee hee) and what I wished I had done when crossing the finish line

You can almost see me if you get out a magnifying glass!

Final Finish: 22:56 (7:23/mile)
Overall: 59/388 (5k Race)
Females: 11/224
Age Group 2/33

I hit on all of my goals for the race.  I found my fast legs even though my goal is still to clock a low 22 race this season.  I had fun.  I finished in the top 15 females.  And I PR’d the course!  Case in point…also this race has gotten so much bigger!

   59   2/33    11/224    386 5K   Elizabeth Mason  27 F OH 22:56.21  7:23 
   39   3/22     7/116    698 5K Elizabeth Marchand 25 F OH 23:42.75  7:38