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The one where I quit running.

stress fracture

This whole situation deserves a more thoughtful and thorough post, but for now I will leave you with just a simple update.

I’ve been running through some increasing discomfort the last few weeks, and after my long run attempt ended with me limping home in tears I knew it was time for a visit to the orthopedist.

stress fracture

A few x-rays later, I find out I’ve been unknowingly running on stress fractures in my tibia. Yes, that’s plural.

I’ll have to clarify the nitty gritty details of this at my follow-up since the rest of my appointment was a complete blur after the words tibial stress fractures, but either way I am sidelined for 12 weeks minimum.

I’ll be in this giant robot boot for the next 6-8 weeks.

(Good thing they didn’t x-ray both legs? Who knows what’s going on in the other one!)

Two weeks from now I hope to get the go-ahead to at least do some kind non-weight-bearing exercise (aqua jogging maybe?), because right now I’m going stir-crazy.

(I’m glad I did some Googling in advance because if I had been blindsided by this news I totally would have ugly-cried right there in the doctor’s office. I at least made it to the car first!)

In the meantime, I’ve been avoiding everything running related on the internet and eating a lot of Halloween candy. I can’t lie…there have been plenty of tears of frustration, anger and sadness too.

The Boot and I still joined the squad for our first half marathon of the Road Race Series…

Instead of running, I spectated with my camping chair, a cup of coffee and my Kindle. IMG_5999

It was hard to watch the runners set off on race number eight of ten in the series, but I enjoyed watching people cross the finish line.

I’m not sure how I’ll continue to write a blog about running if I’m not running, but I’m sure I’ll have no problem finding things to talk about.

Have you ever had an injury that has kept you from running? How did you stay sane during your time off?


MRTC Road Race Series 10 Miler #2 Recap

road race series 10 miler recap

This is a very long recap. It’s a little scary how much I wrote. Like, if I ever run a marathon I might as well just write a book about it. That kind of long.

If you just want to know the scoop about the race route and the finish line snacks, I recommend you check out my recap of the first 10 miler. If you want to know what I wore and how many times I cried, keep reading. (Just kidding, no tears on race day.)


Just two week ago, I ran one of my best and strongest races ever on this course.

My back was sore the morning after the race, but I figured that was due to the hills and how hard I pushed myself the day before. Over the next two weeks, the soreness remained. Heat and stretching helped, but only temporarily.

I did a short 1-mile run a few days after the race and things felt stiff and sore. I joined a group run last Thursday planning to go 3-4 miles. I had to stop after just over 2 miles and walk the rest of the way back to the store because my back was in so much pain.

Saturday night I was a mess. I didn’t want to give up on this race or the series because I’ve come so far. I was torn between racing and potentially escalating my injury or dropping out of the race and losing my chance to become a Road Warrior.

Race Day:

Sunday morning, I set out with a goal of just finishing — I would walk, run, jog or crawl — whatever it took to get it done. Finishing the series doesn’t mean running your best race each weekend, and it doesn’t mean every single race will be a PR. I needed to cross the finish line, nothing else.

I planned to listen to my body, stop and stretch if I needed to and not focus on time or pace or put unnecessary pressure on myself. (I also had plans to snap a ton of photos of the course for the blog, but of course I managed to leave my phone at home race morning.)

For the first time ever in a race, I kept my watch covered and didn’t check my splits once. This felt freeing. I’ve tried to do this on training runs before but I almost always cave and check my distance. Focusing on my form, posture and breathing really helped take my mind off my Garmin and made things less stressful. I already knew I wasn’t going to run a PR so why not enjoy it?

I dressed a little differently this time in a long-sleeve half zip top, throwaway gloves and shorts. This was perfect because I could roll up the sleeves or unzip my top while running if I got warm and pull the sleeves down and zip back up if I ended up walking. I kept the gloves on until mile 3 and dropped them off when we crossed by the start/finish area at mile 4.

I managed to run the first few miles and back felt tight but not painful. I told myself I would run until I couldn’t and then if I had to walk the rest of the way, at least I knew I wouldn’t be behind the cutoff time. (This race, and all of races in this series, is actually very walker friendly with a pretty generous 20 min/mi pace requirement.) After the first water stop I began alternating walking and running. I tried my best to run purely on feel and keep my pace as easy as possible. Miles 6 – 7.5 had more walking than I think I’ve ever done in a race, but it really helped my upper back loosen up. With the exception of one very steep downhill and the switchbacks I ran miles 7.5 through 10.

We need to talk about the hill in mile 5. I want to say maybe 5.25 miles in? I neglected to mention this in last week’s recap (I’m sorry!), and when we got to it I thought we were already to The Beast. Nope! This hill is just a little teaser of what’s to come later in the race.

I made a few friends along the way which helped keep my spirits up. I overheard two ladies talking about their almost-but-not-quite injuries and we walked together for a bit chatting about other local races.

Shortly after, I was joined by a coworker of mine (who is a stellar person and also happens to be 29 weeks pregnant and casually running the 10 miler. #beastmode). I was happy to have company and a distraction from how I felt!

We walked the hills and the switchback and kept it at a pretty easy pace the rest of the time. I know I could have run faster, but I wanted to finish safely and uninjured so as not to jeopardize finishing the rest of the series.

And now here we are a few days later and I’m happy to say that I did not have to be carried to the car during or after the race (small victories!).

I spent the rest of Sunday on the couch, but I’m able to walk just fine and my back doesn’t feel any worse than it did before the race. Actually, it might even feel a little bit better?

By the Numbers:

Race Results Say:

  • 748 finishers (Down from 882 last race!)
  • Time: 2:00:50 (Almost 15 minutes slower than last time, yay!)
  • 12:05 pace

Garmin Says:

  • Distance: 10.01 mi (Up from 9.92 mi last time)
  • Time: 2:00:56
  • Avg. Pace: 12:05 min/mi
  • Definitely not a PR

Smashrun says:

  • Longest duration run in 6 months
  • Most calories burned in 6 months.
  • Coldest run in 6 months.
  • Lowest avg cadence in 3 months.

Previous Recaps:

Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series:

5K #1

5K #2

5 Miler #1

5 Miler #2

10K #1

10K #2

10 Miler #1 

There’s still time to register for the one or both of our upcoming Road Race Series half marathons. Come run with us!


The Best Half Marathons Near Memphis

half marathons near memphis

I love researching races and reading race recaps from other bloggers. There are so many incredible races across the country that I would love to run. You should see the length of my bucket list!

Until I have an unlimited travel budget and never-ending vacation days, I’ll be running most of my races closer to home. Luckily, we have quite a few awesome half marathons near Memphis to choose from!

I haven’t run all of these races personally (yet!), so I’ve included recaps from other runners who have. If you’re looking for a half marathon close to home, I hope this helps!

Half Marathons Within a 1 Hour Drive of Memphis:

St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon

December – Memphis, TN

  • This is one of the most meaningful races you’ll ever run! Not only will you run through Midtown and Downtown Memphis, you’ll also run through the campus of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with patients cheering you on. If that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!
  • I’ve lived along the race route and there’s no shortage of spectators or spirit spots along the course.
  • Our local running store Breakaway Running offers amazing resources for local runners training in Memphis. Their Half Marathon & Marathon Training Group is huge and a really great community of runners.

Tip: The half marathon sells out quickly, so register early. And bring tissues.

Read race recaps from: Kyle of Running Large, Melissa of Now You’re Cookin’ and Jamie of Rise.Run.Mom.Repeat.

Shelby Farms Greenline Half Marathon

October – Memphis, TN

  • The Greenline Half Marathon is one of the largest fundraisers for the Shelby Farms Greenline, a 6.5 mile trail connecting Midtown to Shelby Farms. The trail runs right through my neighborhood and I love running on it. It’s a connector to a slew of other Memphis trails.
  • You’ll run much of the race along the Greenline and through Shelby Farms Park.
  • Finishers receive buffalo medals! (Buffalo design, not material.)
  • The weather this time of year is typically glorious, which makes things even better.

Read a race recap: Cami from The Brierfields ran this as her first half marathon and trained using the Hal Higdon half marathon training plan.

Germantown Half Marathon

March – Germantown, TN

  • The race is on the smaller side (1,500 participants), and the course runs through Germantown. It’s a suburban course but still pretty for a weekend run.
  • There are some rolling hills throughout, but nothing too crazy.
  • If you’re speedy, you could win some money!
  • Last year they had post-race showers available near the finish line (and Heatsheets!).

Read race recaps from: Tia of Arkansas Runner Mom (she came in 2nd place female overall) and Cecilia of Mommies Run

half marathon near memphis CMM

Half Marathons Within a 3 Hour Drive of Memphis:

Little Rock Half Marathon

March – Little Rock, AR – 2 hour drive

I ran Little Rock last year and while it was cold and rainy I still loved it! Everyone was friendly and the course was interesting and not too hilly. The volunteers and cheer spots were fantastic too.

  • Most of the hills are in the marathon course. There are a few smaller hills, but nothing too outrageous
  • The spectators are incredible. I was rarely alone on the course, and each mile marker is a party!
  • Little Rock a great place for a weekend getaway. We found some great restaurants (ZaZa, The Root Cafe and The Pantry to name a few) and there’s no shortage of things to do downtown.
  • Uh — the medal. It’s huge! Not quite as large as the dinner plate sized marathon medal, but’s still a nice sized bling.

Read race recaps from: Elizabeth from Running for Bling and Kelsey of Go Girl.

St. Jude Rock ‘N’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon

(Formerly known as the St. Jude Country Music Marathon)

April – Nashville, TN – 3 hour drive

  • Nashville is seriously the perfect place for a weekend getaway! The city has so many fantastic restaurants, great shopping and a million music venues. This is your chance to stock up on goodies from Trader Joe’s, too!
  • RNR Nashville is one of the largest races in the Rock ‘n’ Roll series and the course takes you through all the sights of Music City.
  • While I haven’t run this race, I did run the Women’s Running Series Nashville Half Marathon in 2014 and it had a similar course. There are hills, but don’t let them scare you! I found that the excitement of race day plus being surrounded by so many other runners distracted me from the uphills.

Read Race Recaps from: Kyle of Running Large, Jen of Jen Chooses Joy and Lakeshore Runner.

Mississippi Blues Marathon

January – Jackson, MS – 3 hour drive

  • The 2016 race will honor the late B.B. King. He’ll be remembered in different ways throughout race weekend and featured on race items including the finisher’s medal.
  • Race weekend includes a 10.5K quarter marathon called the “Quarter Note”.
  • The medals are a fan favorite and have won awards over the years for their size and design.
  • Live music is throughout the course and there’s a Blues Crawl after the race (admission is included for runners).

Read race recaps from: Tricia of Missipippi Piddlin’, Mike of Blisters, Cramps & Heaves (Mike ran the full marathon and his recap is very comprehensive and worth a read!) and Marathon Maniac Bryan of A Runner’s Journey.

An I missing your favorite half marathon? What would you add to this list?


Disclosure: None of this is sponsored, I just love to talk about races. All opinions I express regarding these races are my own.


MRTC Road Race Series 10 Miler #1 Recap

road race series 10 miler

Last weekend, I ran my first 10 miler of the Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series! This was my 7th race of the series and we have just 3 more before we’re done! Our crew has held steady and I’ve had a blast running the races together — and celebrating after we finish.

Be warned, the following race report is long. I guess I have a lot of feelings?
I also want to share as many details as I can to help other future RRS runners!


Leading up to the race, I was a little anxious about covering 10 miles.

This course comes with a reputation for being beautiful, but also incredibly challenging. My pre-race Googling didn’t help, since most race reports I found left out the details I was looking for (just tell me about the hills!!).

I’ve run 10 milers while training for my previous half marathons, and this race comes at a perfect time in my training right nows, but I was still nervous for race day!

Race Day:

Race morning started super early. We left our house at 5:15 and picked up friends along the way as we trekked north of downtown Memphis. No matter where you’re driving from, it will take longer than you think to get into Shelby Forest.

Race Day Weather: 54 degrees!!!

Sidebar here: Clothes stress me out. I don’t like to be hot, especially when I run.

I also don’t want to freeze while waiting at the start or through the first few miles. We had a quick cold snap last week and when Saturday rolled around with a high in the low 50s, I really panicked. This was the first time in months I’d considered running in anything other than a tank top and shorts.

A general rule in running is to dress as though it’s 15 degrees warmer than the current temperature. Even though you may feel chilly before you start moving, once you start running you’ll be comfortable and not overdressed.

I ended up in a tank top, my favorite running shorts and a pair of armwarmers I found tucked in the back of my dresser. This outfit was perfect! Yes, I was cold before the start (and I could have brought a throwaway sweatshirt), but as soon as we set off and the sun came up it was perfect.

The Race:

This race was turned out to be special for one simple reason. For the first time ever, I wasn’t alone.

Usually I stick by myself in races. I’ll chat with people around me or compliment someone on their running skirt or funny shirt, but generally I keep to myself.

Throughout the Road Race Series, I’ve found myself around the same people during each race. It’s comforting to see familiar faces (or backs, usually).

During this race, I ended up falling into step around mile 3 with two other runners. We stayed together for the majority of the race and it helped me have one of my best race experiences ever. I understand why people love group runs. 

The encouragement was exactly what we all needed! I wouldn’t have pushed myself anywhere near as hard as I did if I had been alone.

Both runners had raced this course before, so it was helpful to hear about their previous experiences. They warned me about the hill at mile 6 (affectionately called “The Beast”) and confessed that everyone walks the switchbacks at mile 9 (thank God). Finally, I got some answers!

There are a few smaller hills in the early miles. You’re early enough in the race that it’s easy to tackle the incline and you have plenty of time to recover. The uphill at mile 6 is steep and can be a morale killer if you’re not prepared.

It’s okay to walk the uphills. You don’t want to waste needless energy and tire yourself out. If you choose to run uphill, keep your head and shoulders lifted and pick up your knees and you’ll be fine!

Determined to keep up with the duo (did I mention they were both men with very long legs?), I kept running and made a promise to myself I wouldn’t walk until the switchbacks.

After we climbed The Beast, we picked up the pace as we ran deeper into the forest on paved winding trails.

As you get closer to mile 9, the scenery becomes even more beautiful but the quality of the paved surface deteriorates. There are a few mossy portions of the road that are super slippery, so keep an eye out!

As for the switchbacks…there is nothing I can say that will comfort you. They’re are as hard and painful as you imagine them to be. Maybe worse. The climb is steep but short (less than .25 mi) and once you’re to the top you’ll finish out the rest of the race on much flatter roads.

Our trio split up during the switchbacks, so I finished the rest of the race solo. I have to admit I took a few quick walk breaks to catch my breath. I was relieved to cross the finish line in one piece and with a smile on my face!

I’m not sure I’ll want to try a repeat performance when we run this course again in a few weeks, and I’m definitely looking forward to our upcoming fast and flat half marathons. Three more races to go!

Helpful Tips for the 10 Miler:

  • MRTC set up TONS of porta potties at the start line. Pre-race lines will be LONG so jump in line early. I didn’t see any other portapotties along the race route.
  • Be prepared to navigate the walk from your car to the start line in the dark. The sun rose just before the race started. MRTC recommends you bring a headlamp or flashlight to get from your car to the start, but we were fine without. (I had to use my iPhone flashlight in the porta potty!)
  • Parking can be a disaster. Be prepared for long waits. The race started late due to the traffic — give yourself extra travel time, it will take longer than you think to get into Shelby Forest.
  • You may be asked to park off-road. Luckily we were in a Honda CRV and had no problems parking off-road or leaving after the race.
  • This race has no gear check, however the course loops by the start line which was the perfect place to drop off your shits/hats/gloves. I chose to tuck my arm warmers into my shorts for a super fashionable look, but other runners dropped off their clothes and picked them up after the race.
  • You will walk the switchbacks. Everyone will walk — or crawl — the switchbacks. Just don’t let that mean you walk the rest of the race! Give yourself a minute to let your heart rate recover and then haul ass to the finish line.

By the Numbers:

Race Results Say:

  • 882 finishers
  • Time: 1:47:33
  • 10:45 pace

Garmin Says:

  • Distance: 9.92 mi
  • Time: 1:47:36
  • Avg. Pace: 10:51 min/mi
  • 10K PR! 1:06:00

Smashrun says:

  • Fastest 16k ever.
  • Most elevation gained ever.
  • Most elevation lost ever.
  • Longest duration run in 6 months.
  • Longest run in 6 months.
  • Most calories burned in 6 months.
  • Coolest run in 3 months.
  • Fastest mile split in a month.
  • Hardest hills in a month.
  • Best performance ever.

Previous Recaps:

Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series:

5K #1

5K #2

5 Miler #1

5 Miler #2

10K #1

10K #2

There’s still time to register for the second 10 miler or either of the half marathons. Come run with us!


MRTC Road Race Series 10K #2 Recap

Road Race Series Recap – 10K #2

7 days later and we’re back for the 2nd Road Race Series 10K! I had a great time at the first 10K, and I was really looking forward to our second run through Shelby Farms.

This race was on Sunday, just a few days after I ran the Cooper Young 4-Miler and I could definitely feel the fatigue in my legs. As I stood at the start line I could already feel the tightness in my calves and my ankles and feet felt every step I took during the race.

That being said, we still had fun and I felt great about the race and my time. Unfortunately, I’m writing this a few weeks later, so I may be a bit fuzzy on the details. If you’re looking for a more thorough recap, check out what I wrote about the 1st 10K.

The Course:

road race series 10K

I still loved this course! For a more in-depth chat about the course highlights, check out the recap of our first Road Race Series 10K. Now that I had been through the course once before, I was able to put a little more strategy into place and push during the downhills and flats knowing we had hills that would slow me down in the last mile of the race.

The Race:

We had great weather again — 61 degrees! I took a few walk breaks, but was able to make up for the time lost.

I didn’t use any fuel during the race or bring a handheld. The temps were cool enough that I never felt overheated and we had water stations at miles 2 and 4.

The Results:

Slightly slower than last week with an overall Garmin time of 1:08:16 and an average pace of 10:54 min/mi.

Smashrun says:

  • Fastest 6mi in 6 months.
  • Most negative mile splits in 6 months.
  • Longest duration run in 3 months
  • Most calories burned in 3 months.
  • Fastest finish in a month.

Here’s a peek at those negative splits:

road race series 10K

What’s next? Another race in the series, of course! I just ran the MRTC Road Race Series 10 Miler on Sunday, and I’ll share a recap of that race this week (more hills!!).

Want to read my other Road Race Series Race Recaps?

5K #1

5K #2

5 Miler #1

5 Miler #2

10K #1