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VO2 Max Test and Heart Rate Training

This post — like many of my posts — is long overdue. When it comes to blogging, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not very good at it. I tend to get long winded and want every post to be “perfect” before posting. Sometimes this leads to me NOT posting at all (PiYo Runners and P90X3 reviews to name a few. I’m terrible, I know.) But this topic is not one I feel I can ignore. There is a growing number of runners in the community who push well beyond their limits, and as a result damage is caused. I hope that sharing my experience will help someone to avoid the same mistakes I did.

Running is so simple and beautiful. However, the amount of injuries that sweep across the running community seem comical at times. It’s that same thing that makes running so simple, that can also make it so dangerous to our bodies. Anyone who has the will to run, can RUN – regardless of ever having a lesson. Nobody needs a lesson in running in order to pound the pavement. Sometimes a person’s will is stronger than the body — which can be a good thing — but sometimes it can push us too hard. Yes, YES there IS such a thing as pushing too hard. You see, my problem has never been that I don’t push enough, my problem is that I always push too hard. So this post is ENTIRELY directed at those who like to give 110% at life.

First, a Little History

My maternal Grandfather died of a heart attack suddenly at age 63, five years before I was even born. My mother suffered from high blood pressure from 1984 (when my childhood home burned to the ground) until 2.5 years ago. My maternal Aunt died from cancer when she was 55. My Uncle had a heart attack when he was 44 years old, 4 years later he had triple by-pass surgery. In 2006, he had another heart attack. Today he has multiple stents and a pacemaker/defibrillator. My youngest Uncle, had quadruple by-pass heart surgery at age 59. He passed away at age 65 due to pancreatitis and also had type II diabetes.

To type that all out is a bit eye opening, and scary. We have control over our choices, but we can’t choose our genetics. All of that history, is on my maternal side… my mother’s siblings. (My dad is an only child.)

I experienced these events from the outside looking in because so many of them were just part of life (never meeting my maternal Grandfather), and I was so young when some of the other events happened. Even still, they definitely played a huge role in shaping who I am today and why I am so passionate about health and fitness.

The first step is admitting…

It took me almost 3 years to admit the heart palpitations I kept experiencing were caused by my running; not stress, anxiety, food triggers or my occasional alcoholic beverage. Being the stubborn runner that I am though, I was in total denial. How could something that was “strengthening my heart be bad for me? I never wanted to connect the dots, despite having a whole map of them laid out before me.

It wasn’t until I went through a period of no running, crappy nutrition and emotional stress that I accepted once and for all it was the running. My paternal Grandmother passed away in December of 2014. We traveled home to spend time with family; which lead to eating like crap, sleeping like crap and feeling heartbroken at the reality of losing my last remaining grandparent. No palpitations though. Not a single one.

It was time to stop being stubborn and start making some changes.

I started reading the book “80/20 Running” by Matt Fitzgerald on the plane ride home from the funeral. So much of what he said made sense — that most recreational runners push too hard on the majority of their runs without realizing it. Instead of doing 80% of their runs at low or moderate intensity, they would do 80% of their runs at high intensity, with only 10-20% at moderate or low intensity. Recreational runners get caught up in pace.

We are innately built to want to push for a faster pace. Yet, when we train with a heart rate monitor we manage to keep our beats per minute under the recommended number. It’s an overall healthier way to train. Pace is good for pushing our limits during racing and heart rate is good for not going past our limits; to aid in recovery and maintaining proper fitness, without over extending.

I suspected I was pushing too hard on all my runs, despite thinking I wasn’t. In the past two years especially, I always felt I had become the type of runner who listened to their body and didn’t push too far beyond my limits. I felt I had a good balance. I was about to be schooled.

Dabbling in Heart Rate Training

In January of this year, I started wearing a heart rate monitor. I didn’t change much in regards to my running, I mostly just wanted to get a baseline. I also attempted a week of slow which Matt prescribes in the very first chapter.

“The point of the week of slow is to get you ready for 80/20 training by setting you free from your habitual pace and teaching you to embrace running slow.”

I was not — however — ready to embrace it. Not yet. Admittedly, I curbed the book for a while after that, but still wore the HR monitor. It went well and I did slow down a bit, but “thanks” to a couple of races, I started focusing on pace again.

In April I went on a trail run with one of my fast, strong runner friends. It was 91°F and I had the brilliant idea of doing a killer hill, twice. 941 feet of elevation gain. You can see in the graph below, that my average heart rate was 170 beats per minute (bpm) over the course of 6.5 miles. The grey blobs represent the elevation changes, blue is my pace, red is my heart rate.

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If you are new to heart rate data, the average max heart rate for someone my gender and age is around 183 bpm. Your max heart rate is when you are using 100% of your hearts capacity to pump the blood through your veins. So, my 170 bpm was using 89% — with my max being 184 bpm on that run. Needless to say when we got to the parking lot and finished our run, my legs were shaky and I felt very uneasy. The sun had set mid run, so the last half of the run was with headlamps, in the dark.


Over the next 3 days I had heart palpitations so bad, I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest. Why did I let myself do this again? It was the final confirmation I needed to admit I was still pushing too hard, and that while wearing the HR monitor was a good first step, I needed to get serious about heart rate training.

80/20 Training Begins

By June 1st I had started the full 80/20 Running training plan. I mapped out the rest of my training for the year, based on races, vacations and 2 cycles of the half marathon training plans provided in the book. I made a goal to PR on my December half marathon in Tucson, but that I would do it the RIGHT way by focusing on heart health and low intensity runs.

For the 45 days in between starting 80/20 training and the torture hill repeats, I kept my HR under 160 bpm during ALL my runs. The heart palpitations slowly started to go away, and I noticed I was also less short tempered. Because oh yeah, having heart palpitations makes me anxious and therefore irritable. Once June 1st hit, I felt like I had been hitting the brakes enough in April and May, that I could tackle the actual 80/20 training plan. It was my month of slow, versus just a week of slow.

The first week kicked off with 6 days of running and 1 day of cross training. I had no idea if I’d be able to do it, but the whole goal of 80/20 running is to build a base slowly. Running every day at a low intensity is better for your form, your daily routine, your muscle memory, etc. than running every other day or even every third day at a high intensity (like I was doing).

One day while out there slowly chipping away at the miles, and trying to stick within zone 2 for low intensity (129-142 bpm) I kept thinking ‘How on EARTH is this going to help me become a better runner?!’

Then, I had a moment of clarity. 

I remembered my family history of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. My heart is my most important muscle to strenghten — not my legs, not my core or arms, but my heart. Working out every day at a slower pace, not straining my heart or pushing it to it’s max, was going to be more beneficial than what I was doing before.

It seems like absolute common sense now, and it was even hard for me to type that paragraph out… because I cannot believe this wasn’t a priority for me before. My priority was always to be healthy and run happy, sure — but I thought that by having certain pace goals, I was creating more health and strength. Never, did it ever occur to me, that I could potentially be doing more harm than good — particularly given my family history. I started to realize that my goal of a PR in December no longer mattered. That if I ever had hopes of another PR happening, I would first need to strip myself down to nothing and rebuild from the ground up. Past PR’s were just that, in the past — the old me. I was starting fresh; starting over. It was both scary and invigorating at the same time.

Taking it to the next level…

It wasn’t until my 4th week of heart rate training that I finally talked myself into getting the VO2 max test. Up until that point, I was using the talk test and the average HR zones in the 80/20 book as my guide. I was definitely trying my best to stay within the zones. But it created such a significant decrease in my pace, that at least every other run I would struggle mentally with pace — despite my lightbulb moment. I’m far from perfect friends. Also, for the record, I have decided not to share my paces at this time for multiple reasons, but mostly because I don’t want to discourage anyone from giving HR training a shot. If you really want to know, you can ask to follow me on Strava. If there is ONE thing I’ve learned with 80/20 running… it is NOT a quick fix; it is a huge, huge commitment that is a struggle to stick with every day I pound the pavement. Old habits are hard to break. Anyway, back to the test…

I hesitated to get the VO2 max test for so long, because I didn’t like the idea of running on a treadmill with a mask over my airways — it didn’t seem natural and I thought I knew my body better than a machine. I’d still argue that I do. However, I’m glad I went forward with the test despite my reservations, because I’m also a data geek when it comes to my running.

What is VO2 max anyway?

VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that can be transported and used by the body, during intense physical exertion. It is used as an indicator of overall cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. In theory, the more oxygen that is accessible to an athlete during exercise, the more energy they will have during those intense workouts. VO2 max testing is used as the gold standard for cardio fitness, because our muscles need oxygen for aerobic exercise and our blood carries that oxygen to the muscles via the heart. These things can all be measured during the VO2 max test.

By covering the nose and mouth with a mask, they can measure the air that is inhaled and exhaled. It can be done either on a treadmill or on a bike, depending on the type of athlete. The intensity increases incrementally until you reach exhaustion or maximal effort. There is a fancy equation that gets you to the below numbers, but I’m not going to attempt to explain that. Basically, the higher the number the more oxygen you can carry in your blood, to your muscles. 

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 6.56.07 PM

Click here for the men’s chart.

Cutting to the chase, my VO2 max was 44.2 on the treadmill. I have to say I was relieved when I learned that, because in addition to the heart issues in my family, I also have asthma. I’ve been determined in the last year to take myself off all prescription medications for it as well. I took Singular for almost 15 years straight! When I was in college I was taking a steroid inhaler, nasal spray, allergy shots, and allergy meds — it was ridiculous. In recent years, the only remaining medications were Zyrtec and Singular… but thankfully I’ve been off both of those for almost 8 months now. Of course I still carry my rescue inhaler with me on runs, but I’ve barely had to use it over the past two months. Before starting 80/20 training, I would use my inhaler before every run.

To have my test completed, I went to Endurance Rehab in Scottsdale. Anna Sanders did my test and from the moment we met, she made me feel comfortable about what I was about to endure. We talked for about 10 minutes before I even got on the treadmill.


This was my first time running on a Woodway treadmill too, and I ABSOLUTELY loved it. I finally was able to feel first hand what all the hype was about.

She explained everything thoroughly and made sure I would be comfortable wearing the mask. I said, “We’ll find out!”

After a quick walking warm-up on the treadmill, without the mask, she stopped the treadmill and placed the mask over my nose and mouth and securely fastened it so the seal around my face was tight. It didn’t bother me at all actually, so in my mind the worst part was over! This is where the test actually begins, and the treadmill was at a 2% incline. She started off at a very slow pace and asked me to give her my rating of perceived exertion (RPE), I gave a 3. She then told me she thought the readings were off, and that we needed to stop and refit the mask. We started back up again after she checked some things and she said we were good to go.

The whole time I felt very comfortable, not stressed and was really loving the Woodway! Anna would let me know every time she was about to increase the speed a bit, and every time I was ready for it. She did a really good job of keeping it positive for me. As we were nearing the end of the test, I felt like I could be pushing harder… she was giving me a visual of being at the finish line of a race and pushing to cross the line… it was at this point that I told her I could keep going, keep pushing harder… so she said, OK and increased the speed from 7.5 mph to 8 mph. In my mind, according to what I know I’m capable of when sprinting to the finish of a race, I still felt like I wanted that damn treadmill to go faster (I didn’t know the speeds at the time, just my PRE)! haha But instead she just kept me at that pace for a longer amount of time and eventually I felt myself hit the wall and max out. My final max HR during the test was 187 bpm.

I remained on the treadmill, hooked up to the mask through the whole cool down. Once I was done with the treadmill test, it was time to review the results. There was good news and bad news. She started off by saying I produced a “truckload of lactic acid”. To which I replied, my legs felt fine the whole time. haha She said it was because my brain was just so used to the feeling. That’s why she had to stop the test in the beginning, my readings for respiratory exchange ratio (RER) were completely elevated from the moment the test started. Rather than try to explain this in my own words, here is what RER is according to

RER – Respiratory Exchange Ratio

This is the ratio of carbon dioxide production to oxygen consumption (VCO2/VO2).  At rest and during low intensity exercise the RER reflects the type(s) of fuel substrates being used by the cells for the production of ATP (energy).  For example, an RER closer to 0.70 suggests that primarily fats are being used for the production of energy, whereas an RER closer to 1.0 suggests that primarily carbohydrates are being used.  During high intensity exercise some of the COthat the subject is blowing off comes from buffering of the blood and thus no longer reflects solely cellular metabolic events.  The normal range for RER at rest and during low intensity exercise is .7-1.0 but values may exceed 1.2 during high intensity exercise.

My RER values ranged from .99 at the start of the test to peaking at 1.49, during the first 45 seconds of the recovery segment. Ironically my RER was at 1.34 at my VO2 max. In essence, my body starts burning carbohydrates immediately during exercise, no fat gets burned for energy at all. Not good for an endurance athlete.

My numbers exceeded the normal range so much, because additional CO2 was being exhaled as a result of buffering within the blood to maintain a balanced pH. 

About a day after the test, Anna sent me all the final data in an Excel spreadsheet. It included new, personalized heart rate zones based on my VO2 max test. Below is the comparison of the average HR zones I was using, compared to my new zones. To say I was disappointed would be putting it lightly.

              Average     Corine’s
Zone 1   120-128      113 or below
Zone 2   129-142       114-140
Zone 3   153-160       141-144
Zone 4   163-168       145-149
Zone 5   169+            150+

It was hard enough for me to get into zone 1 and run at 128, but 113 or below? Are you kidding me here?! The first try at that didn’t go well at all. Not to mention, I was at elevation, wearing a hydration vest full of water and on a trail. Eventually, after about a week of trying I was able to find a pace where I could still run AND have my heart rate at or below 113. Granted, this is only for recovery runs and the first 5 minutes of every run as my warm-up, but still tough all the same.

Tomorrow I will be starting week 10 of my 80/20 training plan and I can say the journey — while difficult — has been worth it. I stumble often, but considering where I came from, I’d say I’m making huge strides. What’s most important to me is my health, not a PR. It sure has been hard getting here, so there’s no way I’m giving up on the process now. I will try to be better at keeping people posted on the progress. 🙂 I also plan to get retested in October or November to see if my RER has improved. Happy running friends!park_run_HR



Phoenix Marathon Race Recap

The key to this race was NOT overtraining. I have trained for 3 marathons in the past, and for ALL of them I mentally struggled with finishing because I wasted all my mental strength on my training runs. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a little background on those races, before recapping Saturday’s race… I’ll try to be brief. 😉

My first marathon, I finished because my whole goal was JUST to finish.

It's kind of embarrassing to see how much heavier I was back then!

It’s kind of embarrassing to see how much heavier I was back then!

My second marathon my partner and ROCK, got sick 24 hours before the race… which put me into a mental panic (I didn’t want to get his stomach bug… now I needed to take care of him… who would take care of the freaking out, pre-race ME??). By the time the race started (30 minutes late) I was over it. I knew I could do it already, there was no challenge, I was exhausted – mentally. But I put on a brave face for those that came to cheer me on.


I love, love, LOVE #3251 rockin’ out to her music.

That’s when I learned JUST how important it is to rest your mind as well as your body before a marathon. I finished race 2, but only with Dan pushing me on the entire time. (Turned out he had a 24 hour bug and showed up at mile 13, 18 and 22 to cheer me on. Amazing guy.)


Literally, he came onto the course two times to run side by side with me. <3

Race 3 was my redemption from race 2 since I was extremely disappointed in my race 2 performance. I knew I could beat a sub 4 hour marathon, even if it was by seconds under 4 hours! I kept my mental state relaxed and positive the morning of race 3 and was having a GREAT race, right on my target pace (20.54 miles at 8:42 pace). Then moments after this photo was taken, I unraveled when an injury that crept up a week beforehand locked up my whole knee.


Little did I know what was about to come… 🙁

The dominos collapsed on that race: my Garmin died, my knee died and after a mile+ of hobble-walking in the last 10k section of the course, I decided to drop out with only 3 miles left. My phone died so I couldn’t call Dan to let him know. I was devastated and have regretted that moment ever since. Some redemption.

So, Saturday’s race was my redemption, from race 2 AND 3. But really, by this point, I was beginning to think the marathon distance was just NOT for me. So over time, Saturday’s race really became my test race. To see how I would do and see how badly I really wanted it. I have always said, if you really want something you will find a way. If it doesn’t happen, you don’t really want it. Simple.

Well, race 4 – which really, technically is race 3 since I got a ‘DNF’ on the real race 3… so let’s say race 3a (original race 3) and 3b (Saturday’s race). So, race 3b I took a very different approach to training and applied ALL that I had learned over the last 3 races. After many discussions with both myself and Dan over the months – much soul searching too – I decided the real reason I wasn’t doing well during these races was over-training. I think many runners over train and I wasn’t the exception to that rule – until race 3b. It was hard to go against the grain and only do a very small number of long runs versus my usual training. And believe me, at 6 pm the night before the race, I started doubting my process – but quickly pushed those doubts aside – ‘just focus on the finish, nothing else matters. Don’t over-think it’. Aaaaaaand on the drive to the race at 4:30 a.m., I started to FREAK OUT and question the process as well. Thank you No Doubt for helping to distract my wandering mind. I didn’t care that I was jamming out to “Hey baby! Hey baby, hey!” in my dark car, alone, on the freeway. It worked.

At this point I should probably mention that back in September I got really sick and simultaneously also got an injury in my hip flexor area. Basically, I was out of the running scene for almost 3 months. When PT didn’t work, I got desperate and tried everything else I could think of. Chiropractor, acupuncture, supplements, expensive CW-X pants, an even more strict diet which helped me to drop an additional 10 lbs making for a total loss of about 30 lbs. since race #1. I just wanted my body to be the best it could be. I was sick of getting sick – that was my 3rd time in 2012. I was sick of dealing with injury – I have a revolving door relationship with my physical therapist. So I also looked into Chi Running. The last 6 months for me have really been about getting my body and mind in the best shape of my life. It has felt amazing. At 35 I feel better than I did at 25. And I don’t ever want to look back.

Then a week before marathon 3b, I. GOT. SICK. AGAIN.

{Cut to visual of me, screaming at the top of my lungs, in the middle of the desert, saying WWWWHHHHHHYYYY???!?!?!?!}

It made me SO mad, that I was calm. Have you ever had that feeling? I was so upset that if I would have allowed my body to feel how upset I was, I would have crumbled.

I made a choice.

I was going to fight this cold off and I was going to run that race. If I had to crawl on my hands and knees across the finish line, I would do it. I didn’t care.

I would do whatever it took to run that race, because I knew how painful it was to quit and I would rather endure 4 hours of pain than months of regret.

This also told me, I DID really want it. In a way, I think getting sick was the best thing for me and this race. It showed me just how badly I wanted it. All week long I kept visualizing myself running across the finishing mat and just buckling over, hands on my knees and crying. That was the image I focused on. Nothing else. Not HOW I would do it, just that I WOULD do it. {spoiler alert}


That’s me, crossing the mat, and crying.

So, HOW did I do it? Two simple but major changes.

1. Keeping a positive mental mind space the entire time. I never once let a negative thought get past the point of anything other than a wandering thought. I stopped them at the gate of what I like to call the absorption spot where thought becomes reality. I never let those negative thoughts become my reality. As quickly as they popped up, I flicked them away like tiny little gnats. (70%)

2. Not letting my watch tell me how I should feel. After my 3 month hiatus from running, when I came back, I had lost any speed I had gained over the summer. Instead of getting frustrated, I quickly focused on what I could control and that was simply mileage. I had reached a point in my fitness and running that I could run “forever” at a slower pace so I focused on that and ignored my watch DURING my runs. My pace is constantly wavering and if I happen to look down at a slow bump, it messes with me. So, over the last 4 months I’ve let ME tell ME how I should feel on my runs. I let the watch do it’s work, but I don’t review it until I’m home and done. (30%)

Down and Dirty Details

On race morning, I pulled into the full marathon parking area and saw all the buses lined up, ready to take us to the start. 26.2 miles away. {don’t freak out, don’t freak out}. The bus ride was stuffy and very loud and the whole time I was trying not to cough for fear of freaking out other racers on this tightly packed bus. ‘No, I’m not sick anymore. I’m just getting over a really bad head cold that has me coughing up a bunch of phlegm  Don’t worry, it won’t get you sick.’ 0_O As I sat talking to a nice older guy who was running his first marathon, I remember thinking how small the seats on this bus seemed. Or had I just gotten bigger, hmmmmm…

At the arrival at the start area, I had the opportunity to hang out with my brother and sister-in-law (Dan’s side). It was really nice to have family there and be able to cough freely. 😉 At this point I also ate a Nature Valley granola bar, the rest of my banana and the rest of my plain gluten free bread slices. FUEL UP!

When it was time to line up, there were no corrals for specific finishing times, so I just picked a pace group slower than what I wanted, to help me not speed out of the start too fast. I honestly can’t remember, but I THINK it was near the 4:15 pace group? With fighting a cold all week long, I had no idea what to expect. I had let go of my hope of finishing under 4 hours, but knew that I could still PR from race 2 (4:17). I mean seriously, I stopped during race 2, took off my shoe and sock and sat on a big rock to call Dan to come get me. It wouldn’t be that hard!! The cannon went off and the front of the pack started moving! ‘Keep it slow. Keep it calm.’ I told myself. I crossed the start mat and hit the start button on my Garmin.

Immediately I could tell I was going uncomfortably slow. I was breathing totally fine, was totally relaxed and was focusing on my Chi Running form. I was also passing everyone. I looked at my watch just to make sure I wasn’t having a false sense of calm; common at the race start. Nope, I was right where I should be – even a little slower than my normal training run warm-up pace. It helped that it was all downhill… 🙂 I soaked in the view of the desert, the city in the distance and the sounds of runners all around me.


For the first 6 miles of the race I was coughing and hacking up lung goo. But I was still passing everyone. I passed the 4:05 pace group… then the 4:00 hour pace group… then on the uphill at mile 5 I passed the 3:55 pace group. I couldn’t believe it. At this point I just decided to go with the flow. I thought, ‘enjoy it, if you blow up later, you can deal with it then’. I didn’t let fear or doubt reach me. I just lived in the present moment and I felt great in the present moment.


I’m pretty sure this was around mile 6.

I didn’t look at my watch the rest of the race… at least not until the very end. I didn’t need to; the mile markers were enough and every now and then people around me would give it away. 🙂 Besides, that’s not how I ran anymore.

Once the coughing stopped, I seemed to forget I was ever sick and just ran the race. I walked through every single water station (14 total) while drinking two cups of water – most of the time they were only a 1/4 to 1/2 full. Every station that had bananas and oranges, I would take at least one banana (they were cut into a bite or two). THAT was amazing. I took 2 of my Carb BOOM energy gels; mile 9 and mile 21. I also had to ask for Vaseline at this station because my lips were cracking apart. They took a little longer than I would have liked, but that’s ok, it helped.

You can see the spikes in the blue lines are my water stops.

You can see the spikes in the blue lines are my water stops. The green is elevation change.

Once I hit mile 13.1 and ran under the start archway for the half marathon, I hit the lap button on my watch. It was at this point that I said to myself, well, you are almost done – you are halfway there – only 13 miles left – just do it. Push it. Give it what you’ve got. I was still passing people and still feeling great despite the cramp/pain in my right hip flexor area; but I just tried to breath into it, relax it the best I could and adjust my form. When I made it to the 10k start, I hit my lap button again on my watch and told myself I could just coast in at this point. I wanted to conserve my energy because I knew what was coming in the final 6 and especially that last 3 of those 6. The wall. I could see people all around me hitting it and I didn’t want to be there. Been there, done that (See race 2 above!). So, I changed my stride to small rotations, with little heel pick-ups. It worked. I kept on cruisin’.


My splits for the 13.1, “give-it-more” section and the “cruise control” section. 🙂

In those final miles of the race where doubt would start to raise it’s ugly head, I would quickly smash it out. I’d say, “That’s not gonna happen” or “It doesn’t matter” depending on the negative thought. I just refused to let myself go there. Instead of thinking, “WOW. I have to run a whole half marathon still?” I said, “WOO HOO! I’m halfway there, so close!” And in the last three miles, I kept saying, “IT’S ONLY THREE MILES!!!” Versus, “I have 3 miles. That’s so far. I’m so tired. WHY ISN’T THIS OVER YET?!” I even remember thinking, “It’s better than being sick and on the couch!”


Downtown Mesa, mile 21.5 – I take ceramics class right down the street!

When I was about to turn onto the final stretch of the course, I decided to look at my watch. To be honest, I don’t remember what it said, but I remember I started to cry because I KNEW for certain I was going to come in well under 4 hours. Then I immediately stopped those emotional tears because I still needed to finish this sucker up! I turned the corner and cranked up the speed. I didn’t care how far the finish was, I didn’t care! I just wanted to get there faster. I knew it wasn’t more than a half mile. The closer and closer I got, the more people I saw and the more cheers I heard.


Dan was cheering me on from the sidelines at the finish! I told him multiple times, “I’m running this race for me. Just be there at mile 22 and the finish. I’ll do the rest on my own.” He listened. He’s awesome.

Then I saw the finish line and just gave it everything I had left in me. I heard the announcer say, “CorEEN Green is coming in for her finish!” And I huffed and puffed and fought back tears and crossed that mat and burst into tears. The medic at the finish asked if I was OK and I said, “I’m SO HAPPY!!” and we both started laughing.

Then I heard Dan yelling for me saying, “You CRUSHED it love!” and I replied with, “That was the easiest marathon I’ve ever run!” LOL I was so happy. Then they snagged me for my finishing pic.


At this point I’d like to THANK everyone in my life who is so supportive of my crazy running hobby. 🙂 I know the week before a race I become very disconnected and don’t like to talk much; that couldn’t be more true this race. I needed this personal victory and I was very focused on making sure I did what it took to make it happen. The good news is I’m back to normal right after the race! haha

One final thought…

During my soul searching I took a hot yoga class. At the end during relaxation pose, the instructor said, “Feel that sense of calm you now have and take it with you as you go through your day and practice non-violence towards yourself.” It took me by surprise, because I thought she was going to say, “…towards others.” I was so mean to myself when I didn’t finish both those marathons how I wanted to finish them. As humans, we really need to treat ourselves as we treat others. I would never say the things I said to myself, to anyone else.

Without knowing this, my mom said to me a week before the race, when she found out I got sick, “Well honey, what advice would you give to yourself?” I love my mom.