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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    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.

2015 Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon Race Weekend.

Last Saturday was my big race!!  I’ve been training all spring, and it’s kind of hard to believe that it’s already June and the race is over.  I’ve done this race twice before (in 2012 and 2014), so I was excited to give it another go.  The last two times I did this race, it was my comeback race after having both boys (and I was still breastfeeding when I ran the previous races).  I was excited to do it again now much farther removed from the whole postpartum experience.

Another thing that made this race very different from the last, was that this year I’m part of the Brooks Run Happy Blog Ambassador Team!  The entire weekend was a total Brooks experience, and it was incredible.  I’m the only local runner in the group, so it was a treat to get to spend the weekend with talented runners from all over the country, some of whom I’ve known for many years!

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The weekend kicked off on Friday at lunchtime, and Casey graciously worked a half day so that I could sneak away to the Brooks headquarters and meet the rest of the crew.  We started with lunch on the rooftop patio overlooking Lake Union – one of my favorite spots in Seattle!  We ate with Jim Weber, CEO of Brooks, and it was really neat to hear him talk about all things running, Seattle, and even – blogging!

Next up we got to meet with all the different product designers for different shoe lines, men’s and women’s apparel, and Moving Comfort sports bras.  We saw all the new merchandise and colors coming in Fall 2015, and I seriously cannot WAIT to get my hands on some new pieces.  Check out these amazing neon tights for fall – the brighter the better, right?

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A few things that stood out to me during the product presentations that I thought were worth passing along:

Brooks is moving into a new system of categorizing their shoes utilizing four quadrants – cushion me, energize me, connect me, propel me.  The hope is that these will help runners to choose the perfect footwear for their needs!

Athleisure – the style they are looking to create that blends fashion forward designs with comfortable, quality athletic gear.  I feel like athleisure is the definition of my comfy mom wardrobe – I’m basically always trying to wear sweatpants without looking like I’m wearing sweatpants…

Brooks has revamped consistency across all sizing, and is now offering sizes 0 to 22 in apparel, as well as A to F cups and 30 to 44 bands in Moving Comfort sports bras.  Love that there is something for everyone!

Of all the things we looked at over the course of the afternoon, my favorite was checking out all the new colors and styles in the Heritage Collection.  The next collection of colors and designs was created around the theme “mother nature” and it is beautiful. 

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I have three pairs of Heritage Chariots myself, and have to talk myself out of buying another pair on a consistent basis (these are next on my list!.  They are the perfect shoe for walking with kids or dogs, or for heading out to a yoga or barre class in – much cuter than a pair of traditional running shoes, but much more comfortable and functional than something like TOMS. 

After we looked at merchandise for a while, it was time to stretch our legs on a tour of the building.  I had actually toured it once before when I first joined the Brooks team, but it was neat to see some other spots that were new to me, and to check out some of the product labs.  

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It was really interesting to see just how MUCH testing goes into creating the perfect shoes.  There were molds and pieces of shoes everywhere!

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At the end of our tour it was time for a quick shakeout run along the Burke-Gilman trail with the rest of the crew! (From left to right:  Meghann, Lora, Tina, Kristen, Jesica, Janae, and me!)

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I jogged a bit with the group and then walked back to the Brooks HQ with Meghann (who is pregnant!).  At this point the rest of the girls went to the expo (which I had already been to that morning), and I snuck home to squeeze in some time with the boys before bedtime.  After they went to sleep, I headed back downtown to meet everyone for a pre-race dinner at Serious Pie.

The rest of the blog ambassadors flew in for the race and were staying at a hotel downtown.  They offered me a hotel room for the weekend even though I live right here in Seattle, which was incredibly generous.  I only opted to use it for one night – the night before the race – because I thought it might be easier for both me and Casey if I was already downtown in the morning.  My running buddy, Lacey – who was running the 8k, crashed with me and we stayed up way too late talking and having sleepover fun.

Race day morning came very early and I was up and ready to meet the group at 6am on the dot.  The Brooks team made us these amazing shirts with our names on the back – it was so easy to spot each other throughout the morning!

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We had access to the VIP area before the race, which was pretty awesome.  It was stocked with hot coffee, a full breakfast buffet, clean bathrooms, and plenty of space to get ready and stretch out.  Just before the start, we all headed into our different corrals to get ready for the race.  As the gun went off for the elite runners, fireworks shot out of the Space Needle!

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I took zero pictures during the race, so the following pictures are all borrowed from my blogging buddies.  I’ve been running slower this year than I have the past few years, so I wasn’t expecting a personal best.  That said, my training has gone really well and has been very consistent, so I was feeling confident and hopeful that the race would go well. 

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I had no pace goal for the race, and I don’t run with a Garmin anymore (I need to get one of the new fancy ones!).  I do use the Map My Run app on my phone so that I have a general idea of how I’m running.  We got started and I felt great through downtown and into Rainier Valley.

  • Mile 1:  8:50 pace
  • Mile 2:  8:10 pace
  • Mile 3:  9:02 pace
  • Mile 4:  9:05 pace

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Despite fueling how I always do, I could tell very early on in the race that my stomach was a hot mess.  I knew there was no way I’d make it the whole race without stopping, but I tried to hold off as long as possible.  I felt pretty good otherwise and was mentally high fiving myself for adding some good new stuff to my playlist the night before.

  • Mile 5:  9:12 pace
  • Mile 6:  9:04 pace
  • Mile 7:  9:47 pace

Somewhere between miles 6 and 7 I finally stopped and took a much needed break.  I felt a million times better afterward, and was really glad I’d decided to just lose a few minutes rather than be miserable for another hour. 

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Casey told me he was planning to be cheering at mile 8, so I spent most of my race fixated on just getting to that point.  There was a really intense memorial mile lined with American flags and photos of soldiers who died in combat.  It was right along the shore of Lake Washington in Seward Park, and it was absolutely beautiful.  Also, this float – amazing!

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I came out of that mile and looked around and realized there was no way Casey would be cheering nearby – it was a section of the course that headed into the highway tunnel and through areas with no spectators.  Just then we headed up the biggest hill of the course, and I was actually relieved Casey wasn’t there, because I felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace.

  • Mile 8:  9:13 pace
  • Mile 9:  10:04 pace

My one goal for this race was to run the whole thing.  For years and years, my races have all started strong and then ended in a crash and burn (with lots of walk breaks).  It has been frustrating to not be able to shut down this voice in my head that always convinces me to walk.  But like I said, my training has gone really well and there was little to no walking on any of my runs, so I knew this was finally a real possibility.  Despite the massive hill in the 9th mile, I kept running. 

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I passed a lot of points on the course that I could vividly remember walking through last year – shaking my head in frustration that I just didn’t feel like I could run anymore.  This year, I turned my music up and plowed straight through.  I still hadn’t seen Casey, but we were running along I-90 and the 99 Viaduct, so I knew it would be a few more miles before spectators lined the course again.

I finally saw Casey and the boys at mile 11, and it was a huge energy boost.  I ran to the sideline and gave all three of them kisses, yelled that I felt great, and kept on going.  At that point I knew there was no way I was going to walk no matter what – I had already run 11 miles! 

  • Mile 10:  9:23 pace
  • Mile 11:  9:11 pace
  • I think if I had seen Casey at mile 8 like I expected, I would have had an adrenaline crash going into the big hill, and I would have been a lot more likely to walk.  It turned out perfectly that I saw him going into the homestretch!  The last part of the course has some brutal inclines, and despite honestly feeling like I might vomit at the finish line, I focused on taking one step after another. 

    • Mile 12:  8:30 pace
    • Mile 13:  9:21 pace
    • 0.67 miles:  8:54 pace

    My watch clocked me in at 2:05:01, which is a 9:09 pace over 13.67 miles.  However, my official Rock N Roll time was 2:06:47, and a 9:41 pace over 13.1 miles.  It’s frustrating that they are so far apart in pace and that the course measured a half mile long for me.  But despite any of that, you couldn’t wipe the smile from my race as I ran across that finish line.  It was the first race I finished in years where I felt strong and proud and like I’d really given my best effort – both in training and in racing. 

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    I found Casey and the boys and was on such a runner’s high – I felt SO happy.  The kids had done great, and poor Casey was a total trooper who hauled the kids all over downtown so they could cheer for me (and forgot to take the stroller – oops!). We were all able to go to the VIP area afterward together, which was amazing.  I was so excited to introduce my family to the other Brooks girls, and hear how everyone else’s race had gone.

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    We all hung out for about an hour afterward – swapping stories, sharing pictures, and hearing about everyone’s race experience.  One of the Brooks PR guys ran his first half marathon and ended up 5th male overall – finishing in 1:15 – is that not insane?? 

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    I feel so lucky that I got to share this race experience with the other girls – a few who I just met, and others I have known for years and years.  Meghann and I have been friends since 2009, and this was the third time I’ve been lucky enough to see her out in Seattle.  Next time I see her she’ll be a mama!

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    I’ve been running for a long time and have done this race twice before on my own.  Something about being part of this Brooks community has been so inspiring and motivating to me throughout my training, and I think it had a big impact on me truly embodying the Run Happy message. 

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    I’m one of the slowest runners in the group, and it doesn’t matter to me at all.  Being surrounded by such talented and like-minded women was really powerful, and it reminded me all of the reasons I love both running and blogging. 

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    I have another half marathon in just a few short weeks, so I’m hoping I can hang on for dear life and continue to get my runs in each week, and hopefully have another successful race. 

    I feel better about running than I have in a long time, and I’m really proud of myself for getting up to run at 6am almost every Saturday morning for the last three months.  I’ve run pushing a double stroller, I’ve run after bedtime, and I’ve run in the pouring rain.  I’m hopeful that more mileage and more training will eventually make me even faster, but for now I’m content to just Run Happy.

    Brooks Trailhead 15K 2015 Race Recap.

    On Saturday morning, I got up early and pulled on my running gear – as I have been doing most Saturday mornings over the last few months.  But instead of my normal training run, this time it was a RACE DAY!  I haven’t done a race of any distance since last September, so I felt a bit rusty. 

    I was running the Brooks Trailhead 15k, which I’ve actually run twice before under different names – the Seattle’s Best 15k in 2012 and the Emerald City 15k in 2014.  And while I’ve certainly run much farther many moons ago, these days running a nine mile race feels like a pretty big deal!

    I’m going to write more about my training later in the week (as part of celebrating National Running Day!) – but overall I’d say my training this spring has been…average.  Not terrible, but not good – pretty much the same it has been every year that I’ve trained for something since having kids.  Officially, I’m training for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon and the See Jane Run Half Marathon coming up in the next few months, so this 15k fit perfectly into my training plan.

    One thing I have done really WELL this time around is fueling for runs.  This was a major area of weakness before (due to laziness), but I’ve carefully planned fueling and hydrating this time, and it’s made a big difference (imagine that!).  I’ve noticed that morning running is much better for me.  I run best on an empty stomach, so I’ve been fueling with only Gu’s and Shotblocks, rather than things like bananas or PB&J’s.  While I’m running slower this year than I have in the past, my runs have actually felt better and I’ve been able to last all of my mileage, rather than burning out toward the end. 

    So with that said, before the race I fueled with coffee, a Gu, and a really concentrated sports drink that Casey made me.  I brought another Gu with me to eat just before the race, and I planned to take advantage of the two Gu stations that would be out in the course. 

    I had actually registered for this race a few months before I signed on for the Brooks Ambassador program, but they still hooked me up with VIP access for race day.  This meant I got a VIP parking pass, which was HUGE!  Parking at Gasworks Park can be really tough since it’s a good sized race, and I was thrilled to not have to leave extra early and circle for spots.  I picked up two friends on the way who were also happy to take advantage of my parking spot!

    It was freezing cold and windy and I immediately regretted being in shorts and a super thin tank top.  I had an internal shiver that I couldn’t shake.  But the forecast predicted 70 and sunny for Saturday, and I’ve been overdressed too many times to make that mistake again. Thankfully, the sun came out right as we made our way to the start.

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    This was my first race in my Brooks Pureflows, and I can’t say enough good things.  Actually, now that I think about it, I have NOTHING to say about the shoes – when I’m running, I don’t even notice them. Not a single rub, or blister, or area of discomfort – I lace them up and don’t think about them again.  That’s a perfect running shoe, right?

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    As for the race itself, my strategy was to run a comfortable pace and not push it.  I really wanted to last the distance and not end up walking (as I have so often in the past).  Like I said before, I’m running a little slower this year (thoughts on that later this week!), so I knew I wasn’t going to break and personal records, and that’s okay with me.

    The course started down the canal – a trail I’ve run so, so many times before.  I felt strong and comfortable and the miles went much faster than I expected.   My fueling felt perfect, and I had plenty of energy and my stomach felt great. 

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    • Mile 1:  9:15 pace
    • Mile 2: 9:04 pace
    • Mile 3: 8:48 pace

    I plodded along the out and back section of the course looking for the faces of my friends who were also running, and spotted most of them.  Little did I know that just up ahead were two tiny people that would make my heart leap out of my chest. 

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    I knew Casey and the boys would be out on the course somewhere, but I had no idea where I hadn’t expected to see them so early.  I yelled and hollered like a fool. 

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    And when I started to peel off toward them, Cullen ran straight toward me.  Having them out there was such a huge boost right at the beginning, and I’m pretty sure it kept me smiling through the rest of the race. 

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    • Mile 4: 9:14 pace
    • Mile 5:  8:44 pace
    • Mile 6:  9:19 pace

    Somewhere around mile 6 I started to feel the mental struggles creep in – the finish still felt far away, my headphones were acting up and the sound kept cutting out, and I just felt kind of blah.  Luckily I got a Gu station shortly after, and I think it helped give me a second wind.

    Having run this course many times before, I was well aware of the hills through miles 7 and 8 – brutal and STEEP.  For some reason they put a water station directly at the bottom of the first hill, so when I stopped to grab a drink I found myself walking up most of it.  I think they need to move this one to the top to motivate people to run toward the water! 

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    The hills were painful but I kept running and held to my promise that I wouldn’t take walking breaks (other than to get drinks and Gu’s!).  I knew I slowed down but didn’t really care.  The last mile back toward the park felt reaaaaally long, but I also knew my fan club was waiting there. 

    • Mile 7:  9:07 pace
    • Mile 8:  9:56 pace
    • Mile 9:  9.34 pace

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    I saw Casey and the boys, along with friends who were cheering and friends who had already finished.  I yelled and waved and charged on toward the big blue pads!

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    I was tired by the end, but felt surprisingly good. I might be slower, but I feel better about the way I’m running.  It feels smarter and more balanced, and hopefully continuing that will make me faster again bit by bit.  The only frustration I had with the race is that I think it measured long.  My running app logged 9.79 miles (instead of 9.3). and the two other friends I ran with both logged 9.6+ miles with their Garmins.

    0.79 mile – 9:26 pace

    According to my running app – which I forgot to stop for about a minute after I crossed the finish line – I finished in 1:30:26 – an average of 9:15 pace.  Not my best ever, but about what I thought it would be, and a time I’m proud of at this point in my training.  The official results say I finished in 1:30:15 – but since that’s based on a 9.3 mileage – the pace is a 9:24 average.  Womp womp.

    This actually happened to me last year too on the same course, by almost the same difference in average paces.  Last year I blamed the Map My Run app, but this year the Garmins read long too, so who knows.  The course does a lot of winding and looping around the lake, so guess it’s possible to have run an extra half mile in all those curves, but it’s still frustrating.  Either way, I finished!

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    And along with a few other friends, I had my best running buddy, Lacey, out there with me.  We’ve done a lot of training runs together this spring, and she’s kept me really accountable and motivated.  I feel so lucky to have friends who enjoy running and keep me looking forward to running together each week. 

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    I ran in the Brooks Versatile Lite Tank and Epiphany Stretch Shorts, which I’ve been wearing (and loving) on my training runs.  The tank is really thin and sheer and perfectly lightweight.  The shorts are light and swooshy and great for hot days.  I only wish it had a bigger pocked for my clunky phone!  Good running gear makes a big difference, and I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to figure that out!

    We all hung around and chatted for a while after the race, because despite having already done my big run, the best was still yet to come.  They had a 1K kids’ run and Cullen told me he wanted to do it, so I signed up him early that morning!  It was very official, with banners for the kids and even pint sized race shirts – BEYOND adorable. 

    I asked Cullen if he wanted me to run with him and he proudly started he would be running “BY HIMSELF!”  So I said I’d just line up in the back in case he changed his mind.  Ready, set, GO!

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    And as expected, the minute the kids started charging ahead he got overwhelmed, turned around, and said he didn’t want to do it.  So I grabbed his hand and told him we’d do it together. 

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    And after the initial nerves wore off, he dropped my hand and smiled the rest of the way.  Having just watched me do my race, I think he was really excited to do the same thing on the same course – he was so into it and so excited.

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    He has only done one other kids run before, and during that one he fell flat on his face and finished in tears.  This was a much different experience!

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    As we got close to the finish where Casey was standing with the camera, he kept shouting “I have to wave to my dad!!”  It was so much fun, and so impossibly cute.  I just love this age, and I love him so much.

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    I finished just behind him and he grabbed his medal, which he then wore for the rest of the day, including out to eat. 

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    It was a great day for both of us, and I loved sharing it with him.  Although for the rest of the day he asked no less than 100 times, “Mom I won my race!!  Why didn’t you win yours?”

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    I didn’t win the race itself, but it felt like a win to me.  I had a great day and felt very loved and supported being cheered on by friends and family.  A wonderful race around the water in the city that I love so much.

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    Two more weeks until the Rock and Roll Half Marathon, and I’ll admit – I’m nervous.   I’m not sure I had four good miles left in me, but hopefully two more weeks of solid training and cross-training can only make me that much more prepared.  Here’s to National Running Week!

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