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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    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.



My Running Journey

At some point during the summer of  2007, I finally decided that enough was enough.  I was tired of being pudgy and out of shape.  After four years of eating garbage in college, and three post-college years of beer and pasta (the only thing I knew how to make), I didn’t look or feel like I thought I should at age 26.  My best friend, Lindsey, and I resolved to start exercising together and we started out by taking lots of long walks.  The more we walked, the more we realized how long it took to get a decent amount of exercise in by walking.  For 26 years I had always been one of those people that said, “I’m just not a natural runner, it’s just not for me” – but to be honest I had never really tried.

I started Googling some beginner running programs and landed on the now-famous Couch to the 5K program.  I saw that the training was six weeks long, and coincidentally the local Race for the Cure 5k was exactly 6 weeks away.  Right then we resolved to give it our best shot, believing that with the right training anything was possible.  We started by alternating walking and running, and my pace was unbelievably slow.  But little by little, I got better every week – going a little bit further, or a tiny bit faster.  Six weeks later, I ran my very first 5k, and finished in a little over 30 minutes.

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Training for and completing the 5k gave me such a sense of pride and accomplishment, plus it was such a fun thing for Lindsey and I to do together!  After the 5k, we asked ourselves the same question ever new runner does – what next?  Cincinnati’s Thanksgiving Day Race is the oldest 10k run in the country, and was a little over 2 months away.  We decided to go for it, and drew up a new training program, this time setting our sights on a 6 mile goal – doubling our distance.  Thanksgiving came and we finished strong together once again – now officially bitten by the running bug.  We ran a few more 5ks here and there – I even ran one dressed as a bottle of ketchup!

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That holiday season was bittersweet, as we all mourned the loss of Lindsey’s dad who had passed from lung cancer in October.  I was as supportive of a friend as anyone can be in that situation, but I still felt a sense of helplessness, and wished I could do more.  At some point in December, I threw a crazy idea out there – “I think we should run the marathon this year – in memory of your dad.”

I got Lindsey on board with the idea, and to double the fun – Casey agreed to do it too!  The day we signed up for the 2008 Flying Pig Marathon, the longest I had ever run was 7 miles.  But once again, I believed that with training, anything was possible, and I forced myself to be confident and determined.  Our local newspaper was also asking for submissions for “Flying Pig Bloggers” at the time, and I told Lindsey I thought it would be a fun extra element we could do to add to our marathon experience.  I submitted an entry and offered to blog together as a duo, and a few short weeks later I heard back – we had been picked!

Getting the opportunity to write about our running and training was an experience that would bring me much more than I would realize at the time.  It ended up inspiring me to continue to grow this blog into what it is today!  But at the time, it also meant…holy crap, we actually have to run this thing.

Training started in January, and 16 weeks later I found myself standing at the starting line of a marathon, having not even been running for a full year yet.  Lindsey and I ran the marathon together from start to finish, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

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Three proud finishers after our first Flying Pig Marathon!

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The minute the Pig was over I was scrolling through Runner’s World trying to find what marathon I would do next.  Despite the pain and the soreness, there is something about marathons that makes you want to go for it over and over again.  I looked ahead to the fall and signed up for Chicago – one of the world’s largest marathons!

I will spare you the long version of the story (but if you want to read it here is my race recap).  It was one of the hottest, and worst days I can remember.  Five miserable hours of 90 degree heat, water stations with no water, and what seemed to be a never ending course.  Lindsey and I got separated at mile 2, and ended up running the entire race separately.  We were so thrilled to all finally reconnect at the finish line!

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After the hot meltdown of Chicago, I was determined not to let it break my running spirit.  For a few weeks I was sad, and a little bit angry, that I had put SO much work and dedication into training, only to see it all unravel due to bad timing with mother nature.  That December, I made the decision to train for the Flying Pig again – I loved the course and I loved running through my neighborhood.  The only obstacle?  The marathon was six days before my wedding.  Everyone said we were crazy, but Casey and I signed up and trained regardless.  Training for the marathon while planning and preparing for our wedding turned out to be a perfect stress release, and a fun thing to do together as wedding chaos set in around us.  Just six days before we said I-do, we ran the streets of Cincy once again, this time both running personal bests

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Casey finished in a smoking fast 3:11, and I smashed my old marathon PR by over 45 minutes, finishing in 3:50!  It was a perfect day, and such a great way to kick off our wedding week!  (Full recap found here.)

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Shortly after we ran the Flying Pig and got married, life got a lot more complicated for us.  We decided to take a big leap and go back to school, picking up our lives and moving to Charlotte, North Carolina.  I won’t bore you with the details now, since I’ve written about it all before, but transitioning to life in NC was tough, and running got put on the back burner for a few months.  I was supposed to run the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco in the fall, but because of the move and lack of training, there was no way I could do it.  Instead, I resolved to run Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon in December, and despite doing almost ZERO training, I ran 26 miles in below freezing temperatures on a frigid December morning.

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The run itself was slow and painful, and I finished in 4 hours 40 minutes.  But I didn’t care about my time.  Conquering Thunder Road helped me find my running legs again, and I knew I had regained my love for the sport, and found a way to finally make it work in Charlotte.

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In May 2009, I ran my third Flying Pig Marathon (and fifth marathon!) in the pouring rain and thunderstorms with my husband by my side.  My marathon experiences have ranged from freezing cold to sweltering heat, pouring rain, to almost ideal.  But I love the sport, and I plan to keep doing races and marathons as long as my body allows me!

At age 26, I started the couch to the 5K program by alternating running one minute and walking one minute, because that was all I could physically do.  And at age 29, just 3 short years later, I ran my 5th full marathon.  Hundreds of miles later, I am still the same girl that will tell you, “I’m just not a natural runner” because I’m not.  I work really hard to do what I do, and I push myself farther than I think I can go.  And I still believe the same philosophy that got me to the starting line of my first 5k – if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.


23 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Erin     at 2:08 pm

I to just started couch to 5k 2 months ago..and have ran 2 5ks so far…both under 37 min. I have also caught the running bug…I have another one this Sunday and one in 2 weeks. I am not brave enough to plan for a marathon yet, but I am thinking about a 1/2 in April 2011. Thanks for your blog…I am loving reading it!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

So cool – good for YOU! :)

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Sarah @ BikingNBaking     at 6:07 pm

I just started the C25k a week ago so I am super amped by this post! I’m a pretty terrible runner so thanks for the motivation to get out there and do it!
p.s. in the second to last paragraph, right after the last photo you wrote “The run itself was slow and painful, and I finished in 4 hours 40 minutes. But I didn’t care about my time. Conquering Thunder Road helped me find my running legs again, and I knew I had regained my love for the sport, and found a way to finally make it work in Charlotte.” Which is also posted above the pic! Not being nitpicky, just letting you know because I would want somebody to do the same for me on my blog!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Omg! I so love you for pointing it out! Just fixed it – thank you. :) Good luck with the Couch to the 5K!

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manasa     at 4:47 pm

you are an inspiration. I just started too at 26:) and finished a 5k this saturday. it was a trail run as my friend wanted to do it with me and she has knee injuries and needed to race on an unpaved trail. After the 5k I really know I want to run a 1/2 and planning to do it 1 day before my bday. Its a rodeo beach trail run on Feb 19 2011.

Will train for it and finish it. I just want to be able to finish what i start. All my life people have jeered, booed and told me to my face ” you can never run, its not in you” and this 5k proved them wrong and now I want to do a 1/2 for myself.

Thanks for your blogs. means a lot.

Manasa

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Manasa! Congrats on your 5k!

[Reply]

Lila     at 8:23 pm

So…I came across your blog through one of my friends’ blogs – Becca…who you inspired to go to culinary school! Reading through some of your posts excited me to start my own blog – I currently have a million words/phrases/clever saying running through my mind as possible titles. I too have been bitten by the running bug. I have never been a fan of running, but am always up for a good challenge. As a result, I had a friend talk me into signing up for my first 5k (which was this past summer – Race for the Cure)…and I’m now signed up for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in April! Not to bore you with the details…just thought I’d drop you a line to say ‘thank you’ for getting my creative wheels turning =)

[Reply]

Tricia     at 9:17 pm

This is exactly what I was looking for! I have been reading your blog for about a year now. And over the past yr and a half I lost 40 lbs and maintained it for the last 6 months. So I decided now that the weight was gone I wanted to do something I couldn’t do as easily with it. And that was to run a race. And now I am starting with no running experience and will be running a 5k in sept to run a race for childhood cancer research….

[Reply]

Brittany     at 11:11 pm

I have been a little glum since I am not the best runner that has hit the streets (or treadmills), but this post showed me that I can be a runner too! Very excited to start going through the Couch to 5k program!

Ever since I have been reading your blog, I have opened up more to eating new, healthier things, and have gotten MUCH more active. So I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me :)
Brittany

[Reply]

Sarah @ studiofood     at 10:42 pm

This sounds very similar! I started walking for 30 minutes a day (the only conscious exercise I had done since being a kid) when I was 21. Three years later, I have run a half marathon, play football for a work team and train at the gym 6 days a week. Baby steps are the way to do it, I laughed at your note about starting with a few minutes of jogging in your walk – I had to start with ten seconds jogging followed by a generous 2 minutes of recovery walking!

Sometimes it’s so great to look back to see how far we’ve come. Sometimes I forget. :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Awesome!! It’s definitely fun to take a look back. I’m eager to start up again post-baby!

[Reply]

Miss Minty     at 9:24 am

This post brings tears to my eyes. I JUST found your blog, I don’t know who you are, but I am so terribly proud of you. Thanks so much for sharing this story.

[Reply]

Jennifer     at 6:18 pm

Thank you so much for your post, you’re an inspiration! I actually ran my first(and only) half back in May. I was pretty disappointed in my time and haven’t really ran since. I am not letting those thoughts hold me back anymore I will be running a 5k on Dec 10th and your words have helped encourage me. Thank you.

[Reply]

Kristen     at 6:54 pm

Thank you for this post! I was really into running a while back and have struggled getting back into it with some new developments in my life. Reading your experience encouraged me that it it okay that I lost steam with it for a while, and that I can get back in to it! :)

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Becca     at 8:21 am

Cool post! I just ran my first 5k in March, after not ever having run much, and since then I’ve started running much more frequently and it’s become my new hobby. I’m happy to see that you also started off small and went far! I hope to do the same…

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Tricia     at 10:48 am

I just stumbled across your blog via a pin on Pinterest. I’m hooked:) I’ve been saying for y-e-a-r-s that I want to start running. I’ve always been athletic, but like you said never felt like “a natural runner”. After perusing your blog and checking out the Couch to 5K, etc. I’m gunna do it!

Thanks for the inspiration.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Welcome!! So glad you found the blog! :)

[Reply]

Natalia     at 3:07 am

I’ve been following for a little while, but I just want to say what an inspiration you are, and what a lovely person you seem to be :) I’m running my first half marathon this October… excited but nervous!

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Lisa @ The Valley Vegan     at 11:03 am

Hi Emily!
I’ve had a link to your site on my blog for ages, and I am kicking myself for not checking in more often.

About a year ago, I started running again after an almost 20 year hiatus. I had injured myself barrelling downhill while I college and figured I just wasn’t “built” for running and instead focussed on yoga. But now, I am addicted to running yet again! In the last year, I went from yogini to 10-mile runs, and have been feeling pretty pleased with myself. I patiently worked myself through IT problems and a failed attempt at minimalist shoes. I may try them again someday, but for now they are collecting dust in my closet.

Right now, I am struggling with a nagging foot/heel injury that I initially thought was PF, but it’s not. I think it’s just some sort of tendonitis (if that’s possible) but it has kept me off my feet for 4 weeks now with just a couple of 3 mile runs sprinkled in to keep me sane.

As you can imagine, I’m emotionally struggling with the idea of having gone from 10 miles down to 3, and painful 3 at that, so I was happy to have clicked on your link today and read about your running experience. It just helps to read other people’s stories and remind myself that I have my whole life to run marathons, just because I missed out on the LA Marathon this spring, doesn’t mean I can’t be ready by next year. Right?! RIGHT! :)

So thanks for the inspiration, thanks for letting me ramble, and I will be here much more often, I promise!

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