The countdown is on

It’s hard to believe that my half marathon is less than a month away! It simultaneously feels like it crept up on me and like it took forever to get here. 

Even though I’ve followed training plans in the past, this is my first time really training. I ran with a running group, learned about proper fueling (and practiced it) and feel like I’m the most prepared I’ve ever been. It should give me confidence, but it also freaks me out a little. I can’t help but think “if I really tried this time, and still don’t PR, I’ll be bummed.” I know I shouldn’t feel like that, but I do. The early morning long runs before a full day of teaching; leaving Wednesday night to go to track practice, even though I work Wednesdays and don’t get to spend much time with Livi that day; and braving the trail alone Monday mornings to get in some distance or tempo work. Will they help me get to my goal?

Canyon run

It doesn’t help that I was running roadkill this past Saturday. My running group set out to do 10, and I made it 6 miles before my right knee started to throb. I walked the last 4 miles. I’m hoping it’s just weak from my fall -I really bit the dust- but I’m interested to see how it feels for next week’s 12-miler. That long run will determine my racing fate, which is a bummer to think that I might not be able to. It’s just not worth making it worse and missing out on all of the other things I enjoy. Fingers crossed it’s just mad at me for being a giant klutz.

Despite this bump in the road, I’m excited for the half -it’s been a while since I’ve done a race- and already have my eye on a spring one. Once the running bug bites me, which tends to happen when the weather cools down, there’s no stopping it. The only thing I need to do is get out of my own way, and stop competing with myself. A long time ago, I really burnt myself out with running because I always let like I needed to be better and faster. Whenever I feel that competitive edge coming out, I remind myself that running should be fun, and for me, it’s also a form of meditation. When I put too much calculation and pressure on myself, that’s when the fun seeps away. 


This time, training has been (for the most part) really enjoyable. I think a lot of this had to do with the group motivation. If you have a running group in your area, check it out! It’s an amazing way to find runners at your pace, along with professional guidance. My friend Monica also served as a virtual training coach, texting me to see how my long runs went and if I had any questions.

Here’s my plan gearing up for the race (hoping that I actually do get to race):

-Continue to focus on clean eats and proper fueling. It’s easy to justify extra desserts when you’re running + teaching, but it’s recipe for a sugar crash later. I’ve been working on choosing high-energy snacks without refined sugar -dates with almond butter are a favorite- and skipping the beloved vino the night before a long run. 

-Be smart about my knee. If it starts to hurt, I stop and walk. It’s not worth injuring myself and risking the fact that I could be out for the count for ALL of my activities. No exercise makes me super cranky pants. 

-Make a killer playlist. I’ve been working on a running-only playlist as our mileage has continued to increase, but will definitely add a few new power songs the night before the race. Please let me know if you have any new favorites!

-Relax the few days leading up to the race. I got the day before the race off from teaching, so I can be horizontal as much as possible. Racing with fresh, energized legs is going to be a special treat, since I’m usually running on tired legs from teaching. 

-Continue to strength train, foam roll and practice yoga. These three things are the magic formula to keeping my leg muscles strong, my flexibility intact, and my knees from hurting. Oh, and staying away from stairs. Derp. 

-Be prepared. Since I’m off the day before the race, I’ll be able to triple-check that I have everything, and make sure the Garmin and iPod are charged. 

-Have fun with it! Races are a blast. The adrenaline kicks in, you’re surrounded by motivational individuals, all with the same goal, and it’s a pretty incredible experience. 


Anyone else have a half marathon on the horizon? Who’s running in Tempe with me?!

What’s your favorite workout mantra?

I always tell myself that what you’re doing is temporary, but you feel amazing all day. Before you know it, it will be over and you’ll be enjoying the rest of the afternoon and the incredible endorphins. 

Hope you have a wonderful day!



I’m running the Women’s Running Series half marathon in Tempe as part of a compensated campaign with Fitfluential. As always, all opinions are my own– I’m just stoked to have the opportunity! Feel free to tweet along with us using the hashtag #beamazing and check out their website for races in your area. xo


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  1. Kaila @healthyhelperblog! on October 15, 2013 at 8:18 am

    You’ll do awesome Gina! I think your plan for preparing is really solid and that you are right on with not competing with yourself. We truly are our own worst enemies and we can mentally block our physical capabilities. So stay positive and just try to have fun! 🙂

  2. Captain Competition on October 15, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Sometimes you cannot control what happens on race day (weather and other stuff), all you can do is train and be prepared. Sounds like you got that part down. The important part is that you enjoy your run. Have fun with it. When I am running I tell myself that its the only physical activity I have to do that day and that I can relax for hours afterwards. Tends to get me through. Good Luck!

  3. Barbara on October 15, 2013 at 8:28 am

    The Women’s Series races are awesome! I ran St. Pete, Florida last year, loved it so much that I’m doing it again this year. I also did the Nashville race last month. Hopefully I’ll make it out to their AZ next year. I do have a few races coming up: Divas Half in Puerto Rico, Women’s Series in St. Pete and Women’s Half (not affiliated with Women’s Series) in Baton Rouge. I’m also running Miami ING in Feb. Happy Running! Remember, your race, your pace, and if you need to, intervals can be less taxing on your knee.

  4. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on October 15, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Wow, it’s certainly coming up quickly! I think the most important thing is to remember to have fun! Your training plans sounds great and you’ll do awesome!

  5. JennP on October 15, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I’m doing a 15k in February and tentatively planning a trip to wine country next summer (my 4 best friends and I are all turning 30) to run the Napa-Sonoma half! Living in Florida, it’s so much easier to train in the winter/spring. I just can’t run outdoors when it’s 96 degrees out! Off the top of my head, I have “Applause” by Lady Gaga, “Word Hard Play Hard” by David Guetta and “Timber” by Ke$ha and Pitbull on my running playlist.

  6. Annie @ Annie Get Your Run on October 15, 2013 at 8:46 am

    My goal is to do one half a month for a year, but we’ll see how that goes. I have the Gettysburgh Half this weekend. I’m a little nervous because it’s so hilly and where I run in Philadelphia, we don’t have hills. Fingers crossed! Good luck at your race!

  7. Lucie on October 15, 2013 at 8:51 am

    FUN it is! As soon as I pressure myself, the fun is gone. A rocking playlist definitely helps! Here’s my favorite ‘Kitchen-Playlist’; I know, but believe me, the songs are not only for kitchen booty shakin’ parties 🙂 they will give you the needed boost on your run!

  8. Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona on October 15, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Hopefully you\ll be able to enjoy your race and not put too much pressure on yourself. I can understand why you do though, I sometimes do the same thing.

  9. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More on October 15, 2013 at 9:07 am

    My second 1/2 marathon is on Sunday and I’ve felt the SAME way – that it’s come up so quickly but simultaneously taken FOREVER to get here! I’m not looking for a PR with this but I know if I don’t finish within minutes of my first time, I’ll be bummed. I’m trying to stick with clean eats, take the pressure off myself and just listen to my body when it comes to tempo. (This will be my first 1/2 completely off asthma medication)!

  10. Lisa on October 15, 2013 at 9:37 am

    It sounds like you will do awesome. Your mindset for the race sounds spot on, and I always believe that that’s one of the most important things when it comes to goals, workouts, or a race.
    I always do the same thing with thinking this is temporary, and that really does seem to work. And I’m always pretty pleased at the end as long as I stick with it.

  11. Emily on October 15, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I actually JUST signed up for a half here in NC on December 7. It’ll be my second, but I’m so so excited! Favorite running mantra? Your legs are not giving out. Your head is giving up. Keep going.

  12. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on October 15, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Oh no! Sorry to hear that your knee is still bothering you! Take care of yourself & I hope it feels better soon!

  13. Katie @ running4cupcakes on October 15, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I am feeling the same way about my half marathon coming up THIS WEEKEND!! I am going to be really bummed if I don’t make my goal after training so hard and so long. But there is always another race to train for and another day of running if this one doesn’t work out. . .

  14. Amanda on October 15, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I’m running Tempe! I’m sure your knee will heal it self up and you will be amazing! 🙂 (Hopefully) See you at the race!

  15. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on October 15, 2013 at 10:16 am

    My workout mantra is “how bad do you want this!?” That is what I will be using when running and when I begin cross training this week coming back from injury. No matter how much I don’t like having to do some of these things what I do will determine what kind of runner I will be when I come back. I continually repeat to myself “how bad to you want it” “how bad do you want your dream of Boston” and that usually gets me going 🙂

  16. Ashley V on October 15, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I just did my half this past weekend. I PR’d and beat my goal going into the race! I originally set an ‘A goal’ that was pretty ambitious. It made me a little anxious, but I recently heard a running coach say that he tells his athletes that a ‘B goal’ is just an excuse and a way to sabotage your ‘A goal.’ So I didn’t have a back-up goal. I was either meeting my goal or not meeting it. I am now a believer and feel certain I would’ve let myself ease up if I had a back-up time in mind. My mantra during the race was ‘pick the pain.’ In other words, I could either pick the pain of the race when I wanted to slow down or walk or I could pick the pain after the race knowing I could’ve tried harder. The pain of the race lasts such a short time compared to the pain of knowing you didn’t do your best. Of course, I know that pain can be an indicator of a serious issue, so I would never have told myself that mantra if I was in serious injury-causing pain. I hope your knee feels better!

  17. Stephanie @ BabeMeetsBalance on October 15, 2013 at 10:44 am

    My next half marathon is this weekend! Running the Nike Women’s Half in SF. I did my ususal training which means I had a plan and really only stuck to my long weekend runs. I would love to do another and really do the training like you have this time. I have a PR goal in mind but not pushing myself for it this weekend, especially with all the hills I’ve heard about on the course! I definitely think mantras help during long runs. I like “just keep running” (or swimming:) and “you are stronger than you think you are”.

  18. Cindy on October 15, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Have you tried Kinesio Tape on your knee? I have occasional knee issues when I run and it helps so much!

  19. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on October 15, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Yay! Good luck with your race. I’m sure your preparation will pay off! My favorite workout mantra is “Just keep going.” It’s the only thing I can think of when I want to quit.

  20. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on October 15, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I am supposed to be running a half in November but, now, plans are up in the air due to family circumstances that we can’t control! I just ran one in September and am hoping that I can shave some time off of my last finish! I try to not be so competitive with myself, but I just can’t help it!

  21. Sonia the Mexigarian on October 15, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I’ve got my first marathon in December. My goal is to finish before the sweep car can get me. That and survive the remainder of training.

  22. Greta on October 15, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Good luck with the knee issue! It should heal, right? If you’re still in Boston, you should try a run along the Charles river – a nice spot where I often enjoy long runs. Good times! I ran races the past 2 Sundays so I am trying to take a break (for my body, schedule, and wallet) but I am already itching to do another half…

  23. Shaina Anderson on October 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I’m supposed to be running an Olympic distance triathlon this weekend in Boulder City, but since part of it is in Lake Mead, its tbd because of the govt shutdown. They may cancel the swim/bike and go forward with the run, in which case I’ll bump up and run the half marathon instead of my 6 mile portion. My BIL was hoping they would just do a full cancellation and refund so we can sign up for the tri in Tempe, but who knows. We’ll find out Thursday! After that, I have nothing on the schedule except a looooot of yoga. 🙂

    I hope your knee gets better soon! <3

  24. Karen on October 15, 2013 at 11:58 am

    The fall must have knocked your SI joint out of alignment, leaving one of your hips slightly higher, which will put torque on your knee via the TFL and ITB. Most chiropractors still adjust the Sacro-iliac joint by basically twisting the patient left and right while lying down, however this adjustment rarely holds since the unilateral movements can negate the movement that came before (i.e. the twist to the left may undo the adjustment that just happened to the right).

    If you can find a chiro who uses blocks (wedges) the sacrum according to the DeJarnette method S.O.T. (Sacro-Occipital Technique) you are golden. Many, many chiros block patients lying prone (face down) with the blocks under the iliac crests. THIS IS WRONG. This is basically the “easy” way of learning blocking. Try to find a chiro who has been trained in the proper SOT method, where you will lie supine (face up) and the blocks are placed posterior to the iliac crests (hip bones). One can be blocked prone, but that is for lumbar/thoracic sprain-strain.

    This method is amazing because it allows the sacrum to adjust by gravity not force, and it allows both sides of the unique bilaterally jointed area to adjust simultaneously.

    So many knee issues are due to SI joint imbalance/ subluxation (e.g. the hips).

    “Affecting the Musculoskeletal System through Wedges or Blocks:
    DeJarnette developed the use of pelvic blocks to affect pelvic and whole body distortions in an extremely non-traumatic manner. He also developed a series of treatments using the blocks or wedges to affect the patient and by utilizing gravity as the slow force of correction. SOT orthopedic block placements can be applied under the rib cage, clavicle, lumbars, thoracics, knees, and in various directional positions. Aside from very specific manner of placement with the SOT category one, two and three distortions, the orthopedic block placement allows for the position of the blocks in any manner, which favorably affects SOT indicators.”

  25. Kari on October 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” was on repeat the last two miles of my last half- there is something about that song that seriously makes me want to run 1663738 miles per hour. 🙂

  26. Kelli @ HungryHobby on October 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I’ll be there (in tempe) too for my FIRST 1/2 marathon!!!!! I had some major hip pain for about three weeks which made my long runs = disasters. I’d usually get to 6 miles and have to stop and walk the remaining. Ended up in a running store desperately looking for new shoes, since they fitted me with new shoes and inserts I’ve been good to go (wish I’d known that was such an easy fix sooner)! However losing weeks 7-9 miles makes me feel way less ready than I thought I would be. I’m just hoping to be able to go with no hip pain and finish! If your able to go your definitely going to PR, no question about that 🙂 Good luck!!!!

  27. Crystal@TheFastFitRunner on October 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Running groups and new friends, in my opinion, are some of what makes running fun!

  28. Shay @ Many the Miles on October 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Race time really does sneak up on you fast! I’m running my first half in two weeks and will definitely be following your plan leading up to the big day! Good luck with your knee and PR!

  29. Becca on October 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I’ve got a half coming up in November.

    Two of my favorite songs right now for running are’s “That Power” and Britney Spears’s “Work Bitch”!

  30. Anna @ Fitness à la Anna on October 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    So excited for you!! I’m sure you will have a great time 🙂 I have been out of commission for about 2.5 weeks now after running a half marathon without training enough and put too much strain on my right foot (peroneal tendon), so I think you are being very smart by listening to your body – it sucks not being able to do anything active while you let your body rest!!!

  31. Holly G. on October 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Any song from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack makes for a great running song. “Jai Ho” and “O…Saya” are my favorites.

  32. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on October 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Love this! My favorite thing to think about when working out, especially on “off” days, is that it is a blessing to move, and anything is better than nothing.
    Best of luck as you prepare these last few weeks! You’ll be amazing.

  33. Taylor @ Single-tracked Mind on October 15, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I have a half this weekend! I think the best thing for you to do is try to feel good (hydrated, fueled, rested, in a good mental place, etc.) on race day and have fun with it!

  34. Paige@FitNotFad on October 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Ahhh good luck on your race! I admire runners so much….I thought about doing the Tucson half marathon but I just don’t enjoy running enough to do it for that long 🙂

  35. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat on October 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Good luck, I hope that your knee cooperates!!! Right now I am rocking my runs to Krewella – “Alive” is a favorite. Also the entire Zedd album is awesome for beats! but “Stay the Night” is great!

  36. Kristi on October 15, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    I’ll be running in Tempe with you! I just hit mile 11 on Sunday, it was rough! I’ll be in Tucson this weekend and I’m hoping to check out your beloved Sabino Canyon!

  37. joelle (on a pink typewriter) on October 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I recently ran my first half (in August) and I just loved it.. but same thing always happens to me — competitiveness sometimes sucks the fun out and i’m really competitive w myself…. but I love running, so long as I can avoid injury (which doesn’t happen often!).

  38. kim on October 15, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    So sorry your knee is still bothering you! I ran the Pittsburgh 1/2 injured in May (I’m still feeling the effects). Sounds like your treating it right. Have you ever tried KT Tape? Great product, offers support but also takes the pressure off the injury. Favorite running song- Proud by Heather Small (the Josh Harris Pride remix version) is an awesome inspiration song!

    Best of luck to you, can’t wait to read the outcome 🙂

  39. Stephanie @ Legally Blinde on October 15, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    This might be kinda cheesy, but I added “Roar” by Katy Perry to my running mix pretty much as soon as I heard it. Definitely a power song, in my opinion! You’re going to do so well. Hope your knee starts feeling better ASAP.

  40. Stacy Seraatt on October 15, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Find Your STRONG is my mantra. I have it posted on my bathroom mirror. It is the first thing that I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night.
    Running is such a different sport. It is about what you can do at this moment, on this day. Yes you put in the hard work, but each workout is different. A tempo you aced this week is the tempo that falls apart the next. Dont be so hard on yourself. You are such a great example to your daughter and that is what counts. Good luck! You have so many cheerleaders sending you good vibes!

  41. Kristen on October 16, 2013 at 12:35 am

    My current running power songs are:

    Dark horse – Katy Perry
    Burn – Ellie Goulding (really anything Ellie is good to me)
    Run – Pink

    Good luck it’s been inspiring reading your training progress. I just finished my first ever half a couple of weeks ago and while it wasn’t a stellar performance I had to just give myself credit for showing up:) I trained through summer in Texas and had a bad case of tendonitis 3 weeks before the race….totally throwing off my planned training.

    Hope to see the race recap 🙂

  42. Livi on October 16, 2013 at 10:43 am

    my half marathon is still a few months away- good luck at yours!!

  43. april on October 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    it sounds like you’ve done a fantastic job training for your upcoming half, especially joining your running group and focusing on proper fueling. i have no doubt that you’re going to have a strong race, but you’re right, what matters is that you have fun with it and enjoy the experience. 🙂 i love running half marathons because it’s an opportunity for runners to come together, plus the crowd support always pumps me up.

  44. Brianna K. @ Hungry Gator Gal on October 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    When I’m feeling the burn while working out, I often repeat to myself, “This too shall pass!” It always helps me work through the pain of any exercise.

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