Post PGH Marathon Update | The Strength Returns

Post PGH Marathon Update | The Strength Returns

If you haven’t read my recap of the race, make sure you read that first!

It’s been nearly two weeks since my very first marathon – the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. I feel like these first few weeks post-race should be more of a rollercoaster, but they’re really not.

In fact, they’re kind of boring and predictable in the best of ways. I like it. I’ll take it. I’m the posterchild for Type A personalities, so it kinda makes sense that I’m fine with the predictability. Honestly, I just didn’t expect it to be this way.

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RECAP: The Life Changing 2019 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

RECAP: The Life Changing 2019 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

Before we get started, I want to sincerely thank the staff and volunteers for the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. Serving as an official blogger has been one of the best experiences I’ve had. From the community to the referral rewards, the blogger program is top-notch. Special thanks to Event Directors Patrice Matamoros & Troy Schooley as well as Public Relations Specialist Erin Carlin.

And now, let’s talk about that time I ran 29.3 miles across two days.

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PGH Marathon Update |About that hay that should be in the barn…

PGH Marathon Update |About that hay that should be in the barn…

On yesterday’s Instagram post, you probably imagined a burnt-out Courtney. I’m not talking about well-done…I mean…at this point, I am extra crispy and someone forgot me in the oven.

Screw it. Ya girl is CHARRED.

The marathon is May 5, and I am starting to get cold feet. I’m nervous. I’m afraid. I’m currently battling a cold and barely sleeping at night because my kids are sick and #momlife.

Logically, I feel like running 26.2 miles in a few weeks is the worst idea ever. But damn you, 26.2 — every time I feel like giving up because of a nagging pain/illness/burnout…you find a way to keep me hanging on.

This, my friends, is marathon training.

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PGH Marathon Training Update | 5 Recovery Must-haves

PGH Marathon Training Update | 5 Recovery Must-haves

As many know, I am now in the peak weeks of training for my first full marathon – the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon on May 5, 2019. This week, my long run is 18 miles. Next week…it’s the dreaded (but necessary) 20 miler.

Throughout training, I have made a few mistakes (okay, maybe more than a few) when it comes to recovery. When I began to take the rest/recovery days more seriously, I realize I was using a few key items and developing a few key habits that would probably help others.

Here are my top 5!

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ALL The Tiger Balm. Tiger Balm is an OTC pain reliever that comes in a tiny glass gar (and trust me, guys – that tiny jar has lasted me nearly two years!). It works a lot better – and smells a lot more heavenly – than some other typical OTC analgesics. Tiger Balm is made from camphor, menthol, and (my fave) clove oil among others. There’s actually a pretty cool history behind this stuff, and you can read about it here.

In addition to using traditional Tiger Balm, I’ve also begun using the Tiger Balm patches and active gel. I use the patches on areas that typically tighten up, cramp, or knot easily (like my quads or IT bands).

That one day when I thought I was pretty much out of the game for my 16 miler, Tiger Balm helped me get it done. Highly recommended!

Plyopic Massage Ball Set – for Deep Tissue Muscle Recovery, Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Crossfit Mobility and Plantar Fasciitis Relief
Click me!

Textured roller/tennis ball. Foam rolling is great for larger areas such as the quads, hamstrings, and IT bands – but sometimes, you really need to work out a knot or focus on a smaller area/muscle group.

The texture of these massagers works better than a tennis ball; this recovery tool doesn’t slide around and stays put. So, if you’re rolling your foot for plantar fasciitis, you’d definitely want something like this. I’ve used it to roll and massage the heels of my feet, focus on certain areas of my quads or IT bands, etc. It’s great to have something smaller that can really target tight areas (that’s what she said).


Ice ice, baby. No really – a friend suggested I dip into an ice bath after running my 16 miler, and it helped immensely. Icing muscles can help with the following:

  • Ice reduces blood-flow which means it stops inflammation.
  • Because it can decrease inflammation, it can therefore decrease pain and soreness
  • A few different students have shown that a 15 ice bath increases coordination abd muscle strength.

I sat in the ice bath for about 15 minutes and I recovered A LOT quicker this week as far as soreness. I’m actually not sore at all today, and I even ran hill repeats 48 hours after my sixteen miler. I followed the ice bath with a hot shower because once you get the inflammation under control, heat can help get blood flowing which is also important for recovery.

PS: Stake N Shake has cheap and big bags of ice available through the drive-thru!


Simple carbohydrates + protein immediately after a long run. If you’re like me, you’re not starving when you finish your long-run. Hunger usually hits me later in the day. I have to force myself to eat after my long run, and if I can only stomach something small, I am going to make it worth it.

For me, that’s a simple carbohydrate (like white bread) and protein (like peanut butter). I find that by eating this combo, I am able to get some energy back and don’t feel quite as exhausted.

The next day is a different story – I literally eat everything in site.


Tylenol. Disclaimer: Do not start taking any new OTC medication without first discussing it with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

I usually take aspirin, but after my long runs, I take Tylenol. I’m usually a bit nauseated after all that running, and Tylenol is very easy on the stomach. I’m not a fan of Tylenol for any other ailment (I honestly think it sucks for everything else), but popping two Tylenol help the soreness.

Side note: Ladies, give me ideas for a new sports bra because mine cut into my shoulders so much that my neck hurts after running.


Hopefully these items help you as much as they help me!


Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something from a link in this, I may receive a commission.
I am not sponsored by any company in this post, but I did receive free items from Tiger Balm (although I have been using it and swearing by it long before).
The Ultimate Guide To Turning Every Conversation Ever Into How You’re Training For A Marathon

The Ultimate Guide To Turning Every Conversation Ever Into How You’re Training For A Marathon

.Option 1: The Piggy Backer

Friends, Male, Men, Outside, Winter, Cold, Bench
Bill maintains a friendly facial expression and uses his hands to talk as he changes the conversation from the weather to his marathon.

This option is best used to build on someone else’s point even when it has nothing to do with running or marathoning. The truth is that your marathon training cycle is probably more important than anything others have to say, anyway.

How to use it:

  • Listen to someone else’s point closely.
  • Transition by using words and phrases that express interest in what others are saying, and then BAM – piggy back on that point and connect it to marathon training.

If the transitional words or phrases are used properly, you can legit convince anyone that the point they’ve made relates perfectly to marathon training.


Speaker 1: I love watching the morning news lately. It’s a nice break from social media.

Runner: And the best part about it is that I can watch it while I’m on my treadmill as I train for a marathon.


Speaker 1: My dog ran away again last night!

Speaker 2: Seriously? I can’t believe it.

Runner: That’s nuts! I can’t believe he ran away again. You should text me next time…I can definitely keep up with any dog who runs away because I’m hitting my highest mileage weeks during marathon training.


Option 2: The Memory Jogger

Sarah thinks about Jenn’s point and uses laughter to buy herself some time as she plans to interject her marathon training into their fond college memories conversation.

Ah, the good ol’ days. There’s nothing like spending time with old friends and talking about how great your younger years were…followed by interjecting how your current years are better because (drum roll please) YOU’RE TRAINING FOR A MARATHON! The memory jogger option is best used when reminiscing with family and friends.

How to use it:

  • Laugh at your friend’s story and nod in agreement that it was funny/a great time and that it’s a wonderful memory.
  • Agree by using a phrase such as, “Man, you’re right – those were some good times…”
  • Interject a transitional word that shows disagreement (such as “but”).
  • Make a point about how you’re training for a marathon.


Speaker 1: Do you guys remember the time we went through the car wash and forgot the windows were down?

Speaker 2: Oh my gosh; I forgot all about that until now!

Runner: *laughs lightly* That was definitely one for the books. I was soaked. Nowadays, I wish I could run myself through a car wash to cool off after my 16 milers during this marathon training cycle!


Speaker 1: Remember when I used to have a brain? This mom brain kills me now. Remember when Gracie was first born and I accidentally put the tea kettle in the fridge?

Runner: Yes I do remember that! I couldn’t figure out why that thing was in your fridge. I feel you, though. Nowadays, all I can keep track of is how many miles I am supposed to run for marathon training!


Option 3: The Sympathizer

John brings flowers to the funeral and plans to hand them to Erica as he comforts her and brings up marathon training. Photo: @joaph

Having sympathy for others doesn’t mean it has to be all about them. After all, you’re training for a marathon, and everyone needs to know about it. This option is best used at calling hours and when pets pass away.

How to use it:

  • Look the other person in their eyes and express your sadness over his/her loss.
  • Make a dedication that involves running OR generate a memory about the deceased that has to do with running.
  • Slip in that you’re training for the marathon distance.


Runner: *in the funeral line* Janet, your husband was such a great man. I’m so sorry for your loss. I am going to dedicate my next run to him. The next training run that’s part of my marathon training cycle.


Runner: I’m sorry that your dog passed away. He was so fun and he was definitely wild. He bolted so fast! He could have run with me. It’s too bad I won’t be able to take him on my next marathon training run.


Option 4: The Empathizer


Amanda takes her long-time friend, Jesse, on a walk to comfort him during his hard time. She uses her phone to open Strava and find a segment on her marathon training route that she can show to Jesse. Photo: Mabel Amber

It’s important to be empathetic and try to understand what others are going through. However, just because your friend is going through a divorce or your mom has a cold doesn’t meant that you need to stop talking about marathon training. Your training obviously doesn’t stop because other people have things going on, and they should be made well-aware of that.

How to use it:

  • Listen to what the other person is going through.
  • Make a statement such as, “I totally understand.”
  • Interject how what they’re going through is nothing compared to your long run for the week.


Speaker: I just don’t understand. I thought he loved me.

Runner: I know, Jess. I totally understand how you feel. This shit is hard…almost as hard as running 15 miles at one time during a marathon training run.


Speaker: This flu totally knocked me down. I never felt that exhausted before.

Runner: I totally get it. I was super exhausted after my long run this week for marathon training. It was killer!


Option 5: The Over-dramatizer

Jared’s co-worker asked him about his marathon course, and he whips out an elevation chart along with data about his recent cadence and foot strike.

Others need to understand that nothing is as difficult as training for a marathon. Your job is to make sure you fluff up just how tough it is when someone asks you something simple such as how training is going. If someone opens the door for you to discuss marathon training, you need to make the most of it.


  • Listen to the question someone asks you about marathon training.
  • Answer in a way that over-dramatizes what it’s like to train and/or provides way more information than necessary.


Speaker: How far is your long run this weekend?

Runner: It’s 16 miles, but I know that it’s going to feel more like 20. I have a lot of elevation gain on my route [this is the perfect time to pull out an elevation map]. I’m starting near my home and I’m not sure if you know about the area where I live, but the pavement is really uneven and that can aggravate my IT band. Because of that, I will definitely need to foam roll as soon as I get home.


Speaker: What kind of shoes do you wear to train?

Runner: I wear the Mizuno Wave Horizon 3. When I first began running, I wore ASICS. I like them, but I realized I was wearing a neutral shoe. Have you ever had a gait analysis? You should definitely get one. You can learn more about your arches and if you pronate. Once I figured out that I needed a support shoe, I tried the Brooks Pure Cadence 4. They were great, but they’re low drop. I don’t do well in low-drop because I get pain in my Achilles sometimes. I’ve tried New Balance, too, but I ultimately went with Mizuno.


Option 6: The Hunger Buster

Tim (first person on the left) tries not to feel awkward when no one wants to further discuss how and why he’s carb-loading.

Anytime you go out to eat or you talk about food, you should absolutely discuss the hunger that comes with marathon training and/or the concept of carb-loading. Otherwise, what is the point of the conversation? Everyone should know that you eat more than them, obviously.

How to use it:

  • Whenever someone makes a point about food, one-up them by talking about how marathon training makes you eat more or eat better than that person.
  • You can also use this option to inform your server why you’re ordering your choice.


Speaker 1: I’m really in the mood for pizza.

Speaker 2: Let’s order one!

Runner: I’m all for it. I ran 22.7 miles this weekend alone, so I am starving and need the carbs.


Server: What can I get you?

Runner: I’ll take the shrimp pasta. It seems like a good combo of carbs and protein, and I’m training for a marathon, so I need both of those things.


Option 7: The Advisor

Allie explains to her fried, Kristen, that activites like skiing and hiking are terrible workouts compared to training for a marathon.

Training for a marathon basically makes you a physical therapist, medical doctor, and the equivalent of Runners World. You know everything, and you should make clear that training for a marathon is how you solve every problem ever.

How to use it:

  • Listen to what the other person is asking regardless of whether or not you’re part of the conversation.
  • Interject your unsolicited advice regarding what caused the problem and that running will solve it.


*You overhear two strangers talking in the grocery store*

Speaker 1: So great to see you! I just left my doctor’s office for lower back pain.

Speaker 2: Oh no! What did he say was the —

Runner: Sorry to interrupt. Over 70% of Americans experience back pain because they’re not physically active. You should consider running and training for a marathon. It’s changed my life, and I know it will change yours!


Speaker 1: I joined the gym. I want to start spinning.

Runner: Spinning is great, but it’s not as good of a workout as running. You would be much better off training for a marathon.


Option 8: The Quantifier

smiling woman holding white android smartphone while sitting front of table

Emily is perplexed, but she fakes understanding as she works through math homework. Her mother turned every word problem into something that has to do with Garmin or Strava routes. Photo: Anastasiya Gepp on

Numbers can only REALLY equate to one thing: miles or kilometers or race-related spending. Regardless of what your child’s homework is about or what your tax consultant is trying to tell you, it’s essential to equate those numbers into anything running as it relate to marathon training.

How to use it:

  • While the other person is spitting out quantitative data or numbers, try to do some simple math in your head to see how you can convert said numbers into mileage or race fee equivalents.
  • Relate the numbers to where you are in marathon training.

Example 1:

Speaker 1: Mom, I need help with this word problem. The mailman has to deliver to six houses over the course of four streets. What is the average number of pieces of mail he delivers on each street?

Runner: Hmmm…well, let me think. Each street is about one tenth of a mile, so the mailman treks about .4 miles, which is 1/3 of my warm-up during any run for marathon training. Does that help?

Example 2:

Speaker 1: Based on our records, it looks like you’re owed a refund of $500. How would you like to receive it?

Runner: …can I have a voucher for running shoes since I go through so many pair during marathon training?


If someone tells you that you talk about your marathon too much, you should just get rid of that person. You don’t need that kind of negativity.

Looking for a marathon to talk about to everyone, everywhere, constantly? There’s still time to register for the May 5 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon (and half!). Click here to register and use code POULLASDSGPM19 to save $10.