about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.



That Other Half Marathon I Ran (See Jane Run 13.1).

I spent the first few months of summer training for, talking about, and eventually running the Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon.  It was my big postpartum goal, and something I’d worked hard for through the spring and early summer.  It was a good race, and I finished feeling strong, proud, and yet determined to still get faster. 

I knew I had another race on the horizon, so I told myself I’d buckle down and really dig into training for just a few more weeks.  And then Casey traveled almost non-stop for a month, we traveled ourselves for a week, and I ran exactly TWO times. 

In early July, we spent a week in Ohio visiting with family and friends.  Casey still does business there, but this was the last extended business trip he’d be dong for a while, and since he’d been traveling so much in the weeks prior – the kids and I tagged along.  I tried to run my old favorite three-mile loop while we were there and felt like I was going to pass out and die.  The Northwest sure has changed my ability to handle heat and humidity!

We flew back on a Saturday morning, and a few hours after landing I found myself at the See Jane Run Half Marathon expo, nervously picking up a packet.  I’d signed up for the race months prior along with my friend Lacey, and when I registered I didn’t know we’d end up traveling.  I felt dehydrated from air travel, sluggish from a week of indulgent eating, and extremely tired from a week of sleeping with a baby right next to our bed.  I absolutely did not feel like running.  I told myself to drink a ton of water, eat a big dinner, and to give it until morning before officially wimping out.

And then morning came, and I felt much more like myself again.  And so I found myself at Gasworks Park with about a thousand other women (and a few men!), lining up to run a half marathon. 

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Lacey and I hung out at the start together and I started to feel very nervous as the clock ticked down toward 8am.  I knew I hadn’t done much running in between races, but there was also a teeny part of me that thought maybe I could squeak out my sub-2:00 time because the course was much, much flatter this time around.  Although the rising temperatures definitely weren’t working in my favor!

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The gun went off and the runners got started!  I felt pretty good at the beginning, settling into a pace that hovered between 8:40 and 8:50/minute miles.  It felt good to be running a familiar stretch of trail that I have run a hundred times before.

In just the first few miles, I could tell the heat was going to be a problem.  All you southern runners will laugh, but we are just not used to running in hot sun up here, and my body has certainly adjusted.  It was about 75 and full sun – not terrible, but definitely not something I was well trained for. 

The first few miles ticket by and I felt comfortable and excited to be running.  We did an out and back on the canal trail, and then headed down and around the Lake Union loop for the middle miles.  For some reason, despite many emails warning about the heat and saying there would be extra aid, I saw saw zero water stations from miles four to eight.  On one hand, it kept me occupied – constantly looking ahead and hoping to see waving volunteers.  On the other hand, I was HOT and thirsty!

As we rounded the lake toward mile eight I finally saw a much appreciated volunteer station.  I grabbed several cups and downed them, and then grabbed several more and dumped them over my head.  Years and years of running in the Midwest taught me this trick.  A few of the volunteers looked at me like I was crazy – I don’t think North-westerners soak themselves as often!  I was wet, but much cooler, and it felt great.

Just after that water stop, I walked for the first time.  I keep telling myself that some day I will figure out how to give up the walking breaks, but I just haven’t been able to do it yet.  I walked up a massive hill and then willed my legs to start running again at the top.  They did, but I knew I was slowing down.

Just after the mile nine water stop – with another few cups of water over my head – a blog reader ran up along side me and said hello.  I embarrassingly blurted out WILL YOU RUN WITH ME before she could even tell me her name – oops!  Jess was also looking to run a sub-two half marathon, so I figured if I could keep up with her (she was looking super strong) I’d be in good shape.  We chatted for just around a mile before I saw Casey up ahead.  And instead of sticking with Jess, I wished her good luck and felt myself slowing down to a stop.

I should have given him a high five and kept going, but I felt all the energy drain out of my legs and I stopped completely.  I was so hot and so tired, and the sun was such a drain at that point.  He urged me to keep going, but I stood there for another minute or two before I finally plodded on.  At that point I switched to a run walk and was going much slower.

Miles 10 through 13 had us running AWAY from the finish line (which we had just cruelly passed), and even though this was a very familiar stretch of trail to me, I found it sapping what little energy I had left.  I got to the final turnaround at mile 11.5, and then scanned all the runners behind me looking for Lacey.  I was shocked when I saw her just a few minutes later – she was killing it!  And then I immediately regretted that we hadn’t run together, since we would end up finishing so close together after all. 

I did one final dunk of water over my head around mile 12, and a minute later my bluetooth headphones cut out – what timing!  I spotted Casey and the boys again but this time I forced my legs to keep moving.  I tore off my headphones and Garmin, and tossed them to him along with my phone (which I was using for music).  Just losing that little bit of added weight helped give me a small boost as I headed toward the finish.

I crossed the finish line in 2:03:14, and immediately poured ten more cups of water over my head.  I was so happy to be done!  And then I took my shirt off because I was so hot that I didn’t care anymore.  I saw Lacey cross the finish line just a few minutes later, and I ran back to the finish chute to shower her with congrats.  This was her first race ever and she ran so much faster than she expected – so, so proud of her!

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Many thanks to Casey and the boys for cheering for me on yet another early weekend morning.  I could never train and race without Casey’s support, and I am so grateful for all the times he freed me up for training runs and encouraged me to lace up and get out the door.   

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Hard to believe it took me so long to write this race recap!  And in the weeks since I’ve done very little running.  I think after back to back races, I just needed a bit of a break.  I have one more half marathon lined up for late September, so I need to get back into my running shoes sooner than later. 

I am really happy that running and racing has been so much fun this time around.  I’ve challenged and pushed myself, and I’ve been really happy with the outcome.  As far as this particular race goes, I didn’t beat my sub-2 goal, but when the race was finally over that was nowhere on my mind.  I was happy I raced as well as I did coming off a week of travel, and in unusual Seattle heat (it reached 90 eventually that day!).  And most importantly, I had a lot of fun running! Sure, it was miserable and I wanted to die the whole time, but I also enjoyed being out in the city and running in some of my favorite spots.

In looking at the breakdown of the results, I ran the first half of the race at an 8:41 pace, and finished with a second half at 10:08 pace – averaging a 9:25/minute mile pace overall.  It is clear that going forward, I really need to focus on maintaining my speed over a longer distance, and to do my best not to walk in those late miles. 

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Looking forward to a double stroller run this coming weekend.  Only six weeks until my next race – time to get serious!



2014 Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon Recap.

Whew!  Where do I begin?  My big race was this weekend, and after trying to mentally and physically prepare for it these past few months, it feels weird that it’s over!  Race-mode officially started Friday morning, when the boys and I headed down to the expo to pick out my packet and check out all the local race excitement.  It was super crowded and loud, and Graham’s diaper leaked all over me the minute we walked through the door, so we were in and out quickly! 

Casey traveled for work the second half of the week, and made it back just in time for bedtime on Friday night.  I was so glad he was able to get back in time to come cheer!  I tried to go to bed early in order to feel as rested as possible going into race morning.  Graham was up twice during the night, and before I knew it my alarm was going off!

I snuck downstairs and ate a pb&j and had a large cup of coffee.  I also dug out my old dinosaur Garmin that I haven’t run with in years.  It still worked! 

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I waited until the last possible minute to sneak upstairs and feed Graham before leaving, and then I headed downtown.  I texted back and forth with Meghann a bit so that we could meet up and say hi before the race.  There were almost 18,000 runners on Saturday – a giant sea of people milling around getting ready to run!

With about five minutes to go before the start, I finally found Meghann, Anne, and Janae in the starting corrals.  They offered to run with me, but I knew that they were doing more of a casual fun run, and this race was serious business for me!  I thought I’d do best if I just turned up my music, focused on myself, and took it mile by mile. 

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And just like that – we were off!  I didn’t do any of my training with a Garmin (I used the Map My Run app instead, which proved to be pretty inaccurate!), and I wasn’t sure if it would end up being a good or a bad idea to bust it out on race day.  I settled into a comfortable starting pace, which looked to be around 8:45/minute miles.

I spent the first few miles trying to loosen up, looking into the crowds for a few familiar faces I was trying to spot, and generally feeling really good.  Having run this race two years ago, I knew the course, and I knew that the first half of the course was relatively easy compared to what was coming in the back half.

The miles ticked by and my pace was hovering anywhere from 8:30 to 8:50, and I worked hard to just think about individual miles and to not think too far ahead.  Right around mile six, the course made a U-turn where runners passed each other.  As I approached the turn, I saw that Meghann and Anne were only about 100 feet in front of me.  We all waved and cheered, and I continued on – feeling comfortable and confident as I neared the halfway point.

At one of the next few water stops, I saw the girls ahead stopping to take a picture, and I ended up catching up to them.  They were a breath of fresh air – very motivating and encouraging.  I felt like I was running well, but I also knew that deep down I was trying to bank some cushion.  I knew that some major hills were up ahead, and I also know that hills in those later miles tend to be my downfall. 

We turned into Seward Park and I surged ahead, still feeling really strong and full of energy.  I forced myself to run the hills, and I ended up ahead of the other girls for a bit.  I wasn’t trying to pull away from them, but rather I knew that they would eventually catch up to me.  I figured that at that point, I’d probably be starting to slow down (or even walk, which I swore I wouldn’t do!), and from there on I’d run with them in order to try to keep up my pace.

Somewhere around mile eight, I slowed down to eat a Shot Blok, and I saw two familiar shadows come jogging up to me on either side.  Meghann and Anne grabbed me a pulled me along and got me moving again.  They assured me that they were going to finish under 2:00 hours (my goal!), so I decided to just try to stick with them.  They chatted and marveled at Seattle’s gorgeous scenery, and I did my best to point out local landmarks and be a tour guide, and huff and puff along with my headphones still blasting. 

I warned them that I knew the course was going to get really hilly and hard toward the end.  Mentally, I was starting to struggle.  And it was no surprise, because that’s how most of my training runs went.  I did really well up until around seven or eight miles, and then I’d hear the nonstop chatter of that little voice in my head who was willing me to walk. 

And then just as I remembered, the hills rolled in.

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I tried so hard to dig deep and I willed myself to hold my pace, but I just couldn’t find the energy to get it done.  We went through a sickly hot and humid tunnel (that felt like it would never end), and my Garmin signal dropped.  From that point forward, my average pace and total running time were way off, so I’d also lost sight of where I was in relation to my goal.  It turned out that I really liked running with the Garmin again afterall, so this was sort of a blow.  I hated not knowing my pace and overall time anymore!

At mile 10, I felt a bit of a surge – knowing it was the farthest I’d run in my training.  I also knew that Casey and the boys were going to be somewhere up ahead along the course.  I spent the next two miles willing my feet to keep moving, and desperately trying to ignore the itch to take walking breaks.

A handful of times, I felt myself slowing down to a walk, and every time Anne would grab my arm and encourage me to keep going.  She had all sorts of motivating energy, and I was so grateful that she and Meghann stuck with me even though I knew they could have been running faster. 

With somewhere around a mile to go, I finally saw a few familiar faces up ahead…

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This is the face of a crazed running mama who has just spotted the three loves of her life. 

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I veered off the course and over to the sidelines for some quick kisses and smiles.  It was totally energizing, and I was so happy they were there!

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And then the three of us made our way to the finish!

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The last mile was horrible.  Would you believe that I stopped and walked that close to the finish line?  It was such a mental struggle, and I just couldn’t seem to break through it.  We turned the corner toward the finish line and I saw yet another big hill, and I was just…done.  At that point I knew I was probably not going to make the two-hour mark, and my confidence just sort of crumbled.

Of course, days later sitting on my couch, it’s easy to say that I should have dug deeper and fought harder to push through.  But at the time, I really felt like I was leaving it all out there.  I crossed the finish line in 2:01:15 – one minute behind my goal, but eighteen minutes faster than I ran the same race after Cullen was born.  Certainly still something to smile about!

I crossed the finish line and stumbled my way to the family reunion area.  Casey gave me a huge hug and told me he was proud of me.  Cullen immediately asked for a snack.  And Graham was clearly ready for his next meal too.

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A million thank you’s to Meghann and Anne for slowing down and dragging me into the finish line.  I know that without their encouragement I would have ended up slowing down and walking much more.  And many thanks to Casey for getting up at the crack of down, managing two kids who were both awake before 6am, and for hauling everyone downtown to come cheer for me. 

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Despite the ugly hills in the second half, Rock N Roll is such a fun race, and it’s one I hope to continue to work into my race calendar in the years to come.  It was the perfect day to run through some of Seattle’s most beautiful spots, and I felt proud to show off my gorgeous home city!

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I left the race feeling really good about my overall effort and pace, but I’ll admit that missing my goal by one pesky minute was a bit of a blow.  I still feel really proud that I gave it my best effort, and while it wasn’t my fastest half-marathon ever, it was my fastest 13.1 since becoming a mom.  And that is definitely something to celebrate!

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Even though my legs and hips are still a bit sore and achy here three days later, I’m already thinking about my next trip to the starting line.  I’m actually registered for another half-marathon just three weeks from now!  It’s one I had planned to do much more casually, but looking at the nearly-flat course, I’m somewhat tempted to give my goal a second-go.  We’ll see how the next few weeks of running go in between!

It’s fun to be getting back into racing, and I’m excited to see what the rest of this season holds!

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