Author Archives: Michelle Richards

What’s been going on?

Before the Looney Midnight Marathon. My husband/race partner getting some sleep.

Before the Looney Midnight Marathon. My husband/race partner getting some sleep.

Since my last post I have been very busy. With 8 Marathon’s now under my belt for 2014 I am well on my way to completing my goal of a marathon a month for 2014. The Looney Marathon in Livingston, TN was indeed Looney. With a rain storm and midnight start time it was both challenging and fun. The course was 5 loops of the same route so fighting boredom was another issue. My husband was my race partner, he rode his bike, and he kept me company, gave me fuel and hydration, and also became my doctor when I became sick. YES, at mile 24 I started throwing up.

My continued issues with sickness in my later miles has been an issue for me since I suffered from food poisoning during the Space Coast Marathon in December 2013. Answers have to be found or I can kiss any chance of lowering my time good bye.

So I let the questions flow. First to my Massage Therapist, then my chiropractor, and then research and online searches. My theory, an ongoing parasite left behind from the original bout with food poisoning. So I have started taking probiotics, eating raw garlic, and supplementing with protein shakes to try and reboot my digestive system and get control of my body again.

Research has led me to find some of the best supplements, probiotics, and other health aides that are really affective tools to help improve your performance on the run.

Watch for upcoming blogs about these products.

The Life of a Running Blogger

RunningWOW! I really want my blog to take off and be successful. I have so much knowledge to share and great secrets to pass along to each and everyone of you.

My life is much like any American Runner. I work, eat, take care of my three beautiful children, oh yeah and I train for Marathons. Where is there time to really have a great Blog. Monday Morning Run, yep that is what I called it and why you ask? Well, to be honest it was thrown to me and it really stuck. You see the Monday morning run is either really loved or really hated. For me I love it in the Winter and I hate it in the Summer. Honestly I despise Summer running at any time of day. Florida is just plain hot, humid, and miserable at times for running.

Time? Yes that is a question. When, when, when? Ultra

Marathon? Marathon? Trail Marathon? Marathon Marathon? All of these require miles and miles of training. Miles and Miles of training require many hours of running, many hours of nutrition preparation, hours of gear research, and then there is the never ending saga of what shoe for which race. Which will be the lightest and help me perform the best? Which will hold up under the elements? Which will be best for my feet and not cause blisters and hot spots? See all of these questions go back to TIME. There just is not enough TIME in a day to do what needs to be done. The answer you ask? Well most of us have to pick and choose and prioritize these matters. No they won’t get sorted out in one day, one week, or even a month, but some how each and every one of us figure it out and make it all work.My Answer? I trust in God and give it all to him. He never fails me, he always makes it happen, and he always carries me through. Through my training, through my diet plan, through my marathons, He gets my through. Bet you didn’t see that twist coming did ya?

Two of God's greatest gifts. These both took a lot of time to be who they are. My Dad, the most Godly man I know and the best Dad ever. My baby Rane, a gift from God after many years of failing to have a child. God gave him to me and in his TIME!

Two of God’s greatest gifts. These both took a lot of time to be who they are. My Dad, the most Godly man I know and the best Dad ever. My baby Rane, a gift from God after many years of failing to have a child. God gave him to me and in his TIME!

As I sat preparing to write my blog for today I just felt the need to share from who and where I get my strength to push ahead and achieve all that I have achieved. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is my answer. When life seems too busy, and there is never enough time, simple prayer can pull you through. Stop Drop and Pray I Say! I can honestly say that in every race, every marathon, and every tough situation in my life, God has brought me to it and he has brought me through it. So today I urge you to turn to him for strength and the ability to succeed in everything you wish to accomplish. Whether it be to walk for 10 minutes or run an Ultra Marathon. You can do all things through Christ.

I have a new tradition that will be born at a race I manage for the 4th of July. Every shirt that we print will reflect a simple verse. ISAIAH 40:31

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall RUN, and not be weary, and they shall walk , and not faint.

This verse is a constant reminder in my mind that I have the strength in him to achieve all things.

photo by:

Getting Stronger

stepThe latest addition to my training program? Strength training! I have been putting this off for months now and finally took the plunge. Weight training is now back in my training program. Talk about being worn out.

My early morning 5 mile run was following by a pretty intense leg workout this morning. Now as I sit here typing I feel like I am the owner of jello legs.

What have I already noticed? Well, let’s talk. I have notices that in my runs my large muscles in my legs, those being the hamstrings and quads, are pulling there own these days. I have also noticed that when I do stadiums I can power up those steep steps with added energy and strength. And in my trail marathon this past weekend, I noticed that I actually enjoyed the brutal  jungle like hill terrain that was set out for me to conquer. I am now challenged instead of crumbled by those sugar sand hills and intrigued by the long miles instead of baffled.

Weight training. It is a must for everyone, whether you are an athlete or just living life to the fullest doing nothing. You must get up and move and build the muscle that God has so richly blessed you with. This life is gift. Live it full of Love, health, fitness, and faith.

Step Fitness in Lake City, Florida is my home gym. If you are ever in our little town stop by and check us out.



Number 7 Complete

Alex running to meet us at the finish with cold water

Alex running to meet us at the finish with cold water

TRAIL Marathon! Have you done one? Are you a Marathoner but you only run on the roads? Well take it from me, you MUST do a trail run. If you have never run a trail marathon then you are not a TRUE MARATHON RUNNER. Trails are brutal, hot, dry,  and wet. They are mentally challenging, physically challenging, and so very rewarding.

This past Saturday, two of my favorite men in my life and myself took part in the MASTERS OF ALL TERRAIN TRAIL MARATHON in Seminole State Park. I have to admit as we arrive the evening before to set up our camp site I had not considered that in Sorento, Florida, where this event was held, they have BEARS. So when we saw the Bear crossing signs reality really set in a bit. We set up camp and got into bed. The morning alarm would be going off really early for this race weekend.

This event offered a 5 miler, a half marathon, and or course the marathon itself. My 12 year old son Alexander would be doing the 5 miler, my husband Tony the Half Marathon, and I would be setting out for the full Marathon, my 7th in 7 months. Start time 6:30AM! We awoke at 4:30am, prepped ourselves for race time, and headed out. We camped only 1 mile away so it was very nice to just drive across the road to the start line. We left the girls and baby Rane asleep in the camper so that they could enjoy the additional 1 hour of sleep that we missed out on. Tony, Alex, my dad Buddy, and I were there bright and early to pick up our packets and get ready to start our races.

Count down finally began and before we knew if we were in the final seconds. Runners set, 5, 4, 3, 2, GOOOOOOO!

The pack headed out. Each and every runner getting into their own pace for their individual races. For us there were the three of us. See I was using this race as a trainer for Boston and I had decided that for health reasons I would run relaxed every other marathon to prevent becoming run down and injured on this marathon a month for a year quest.  Tony and I ran with Alex and then he split off for the remainder of his 5 mile race. The youngest runner in the entire event, I just glowed with joy at how he has progressed in his racing. It was a bitter sweet moment for me secretively as he went off to run his own race.

Then there were two, just Tony and I, well not really, there were quite a lot of people running the half marathon and we found ourselves packed in single file behind whoever fell in that spot going into the trails. The trails were skinny, steep, and challenging. The roots were brutal and the trees were low and sometimes even became hurdles for us to jump. After the trails there were sugar sand hills, grass fields, rocky slopes, and then wet swamps. As we approached the finish of the Half Marathon for Tony and my half way point. I would begin to feel a bit sad, though I never let it show. As Tony finish his race I would be starting my second half of the full. As he stopped and got his medal, water, and basked in the knowledge of his completion. I realized I would now be on my own, and all alone.

SO there I went,  set out ALONE, and when I say alone I mean alone. When I looked ahead there was no one, when I looked back there was no one. I pushed forward and eventually would catch up to a woman and man running together. She must have known she was the lead woman because once she saw me she quickly started trying to get her running partner to speed up so that I would not catch up. Little did she know I had no idea what places we were and really had not thought about it once the entire race. They grabbed water at the water station and quickly started back on their run. As they were taking off I was getting to the water station and grabbed hydration and threw water on my head as the heat was starting to get pretty brutal. When I headed out on the trail ahead they were just in site. No one behind so I tried to just focus in on them. You see running alone is very boring and you have to keep your mind on something so you don’t get bored and have the wall sneak up on you. I ran the same trails, hills, and flats as Tony and I had just run. See the Marathon was simply two loops of the half marathon course. Although I had already run this loop, the second time felt a lot different. With brutal heat baking down and hot water and Gatorade at the stations, I could feel the stress setting in on my body. Then it happened, mile 20, only 6 miles from happiness, I threw up. And I threw up and I threw up. WOW. It was an answered prayer looking back but no one wants to throw up during a marathon, especially in the last 6 miles of it. HYDRATION is key to any successful completion and I knew I had to regain the fluids that I had just lost. My problem? No water station for at least 4 more miles……WOW, right?

No Water station, no water I could steal from any other runners, and of course I do not carry water on me when I run. I was setting myself up for failure. I pressed forward pausing occasionally to regain my composure. See I am the type of person that if I think about how I just got sick, I will again get sick.. Finally I got to the water station and again HOT water and HOT Gatorade. YUCK! I asked the volunteer if there would happen to be any COLD hydration available or ice? The nice volunteer went to his personal cooler and gave me his cold Gatorade. He truly blessed me at that very moment. Then it happened, another women had finally caught me. I finished my hydrating and walked a bit to let it digest. I knew she was right behind me but my health had to be the priority at that very  moment. With only 2.5 miles to go  she would pass me. She was right in front of me until I had to compose my self again and that’s when she disappeared. I kept reminding myself that this was a training race for me anyway, do not kill yourself. BUT….. I am so competitive it really bothered me. I kept pushing forward and honestly those last 2.5 miles where the longest I have ever run. Then it happened. There he was…..My husband had run back to help me run it in. See he knows marathon running and he knew the heat was brutal. He knew I would need him to help me pull this one out. Little did he know how sick I had become and how amazing that was to see his bright orange shorts and smiling face. Just to hear his voice saying you got this and come on babe. He helped me complete my Marathon this past Saturday. God gave me the strength to persevere and my husband gave me the motivation to push harder. I finished, I had done it! 7 Marathons in 7 months. But then the amazing news hit. My name was called to come to the finish line. See I was the 3rd overall finisher. Yes you heard me… Those two women that had been with in my reach, yep that’s all that had beaten me. I had not raced it but I had finish on top and that was amazing. But then it gets better…. My son Alex , remember he was the youngest runner in the events, well he placed 6th OVERALL in the 5 miler. My husband Tony, who I had run the first half with, he finished 7th overall in the Half Marathon and would have won the Overall Ruck Division if I had registered him correctly.

It was a great weekend and one that we will cherish forever. See this was also Father’s day weekend and I was so blessed to have my all time biggest fan cheering for me at the start and finish, that being my DADDY. God is good. He is good all the time. He answers prayers and gives us strength even when we don’t even realize it. I give God all the glory in all I do and this Marathon is no different. In him I continue to succeed, and through him I will reach my goals.


Busy Mom Makes for a tough training week

WOW, we survived!

This past week was the last week to finish up all Florida Virtual School classes. We did it, but we were right down to the wire. I have amazing children but their discipline when it comes to completing school work is a little lacking.

With school on the agenda from sun up to sun down my running was brutal and not at regular times for what my body is use to. I noticed that when I push my body to achieve a run at different parts of the day I become more fatigued and the run seems way harder.

My theory is that I am a MORNING RUNNER and for me to run mid day or in the evenings is brutal. Each day I ran at a time that I was not accustom to and every post workout I was beat. By the time the weekend arrived I had already logged 22 miles, two night stadium sessions, and 4 spin classes.

With only Saturday off from running, not that it was a rest day (We had an all day swim meet for my son that was brutally hot and very trying mentally).My Sunday Long Run was quite a challenge. This would be the second of two very hard hilly long run training sessions. My first I did the Monday before and now this one.

With every additional hill I became more and more fatigued and my muscle were screaming. I just kept telling myself, BOSTON STRONG. See, I am a Boston Qualified Marathon Runner for 2015 and if it is God’s plan that I get in to run Boston in 2015 then I have to be in the best shape of my life.

That means I have to cut off 23 minutes from my time to beat my Personal Best Marathon time of 3:22, which I set at Boston in 2009. Needless to say, now that school is OUT and summer has begun, I will be full on for Boston training.

TO sum it up, I will have many more painful and trying sessions ahead. Praying for strength and endurance and the ability to push myself to schieve my goals. God’s will I will be in Boston April 20th on that famous Starting Line!

Buffalo Marathon Weekend

This Memorial day weekend was absolutely great. We flew out of Tampa for a great family adventure. I would run the Marathon on Sunday but the days before would be filled with Niagara Falls and sight seeing in Buffalo, NY. The flights were a concern because this would be the first time Rane, our 22 month old, has ever flow. Well turns out he did amazing and we had great flights the entire way. We arrive in Buffalo, rented a Ford Flex, and off we went for our adventure.

First day we awoke to screaming and horns blaring. Seems the local senior class decided to have a graduation parade at 7am. I was a little upset at first but then you actually became entertained by the decorated vehicle and the joy that filled their heart. It threw you back to that graduation day of your own. I think my mother even recorded the parade so we could look back and laugh some more.

Once we were out for day one we headed to Niagara Falls. WOW! Descriptions and photos do not do this place justice. God is an artist for sure. From the beautiful falls to the amazing squirrels and birds, there are no words to get the description just perfect. It was just breath taking.

Day two we had to go to the Runner’s Expo for the Buffalo Marathon and pick up my race packet and get the boys registered for their 5k race. The expo was a bit of a let down. Seems our Runner Expos in Florida are top notch because the runners in Buffalo thought their expo was great. All I can say is they should visit some marathon expos in FLORIDA for sure. Race packets in hand we headed out to drive the route. What a headache. Thinking back I should have let my mother take the kids to the zoo and I should have taken the bus tour of the route and not been so cheap.  Lesson Learned!

Day three was MARATHON and 5k day. We got up early and headed out. Parking was a breeze and everything was just perfect for race morning. My son Alex and Husband Tony raced the 5K at 6:45am and I started my Marathon at 7am. I hated the fact that I didn’t get to see them start or finish their 5k. I had to be in my corral, ready to start the marathon. The 5k gun went off , I could hear it from my corral, and I had a rush of adrenaline for them sweep over me. I love having my family run with me in races.

Then it was my turn. The national anthem was sung and the gun went off…WOW, here I was running my 6th marathon in 6 months, and on top of that I was trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon at this one. The route was a mental challenge. The first half went out and back and at mile 13 we had to pass by the finish line and continue on for the last half of the marathon route. That few moments were a bit of a struggle for me. Most of the runners around me fell off to finish their half marathon and here I was all alone to continue for the remaining 13.2 miles. So I started digging deep for the endurance I needed both physically and mentally at that point and I pressed on. My husband met me at mile 13.5 and gave me my fuel for the second half of the race. He also ran about a mile with me which was a nice help with my mental endurance.

The second half of the marathon went up the same road as the first half which was kind of boring but then we split off and the new scenery was a pleasant change. We went by Forest Cemetery and the Buffalo Zoo. During the last 10 miles I struck up conversation with some of the other runners and that helped keep me focused and going. I had a lot of other runners encourage me and even people on bikes passing by gave encouraging words. Around mile 24 I started having some issues with my health and it became a little hard to focus. I grabbed a cup of ice and started eating ice to help. It did for a while and I was able to push through. My husband met me again at mile 25 and ran most of the last of the marathon with me. He broke off just before mile 26 which helped me push harder to have a strong finish.

My goal was to beat 3:40 and I fell short of that and at first I thought I had not qualified for Boston. So I wrote this post on my Facebook page as I knew many of my friends and family were awaiting my results.

Facebook post:

Even though I fell short of qualifying for Boston today I am still very proud of my marathon race. My heart is so very full. My sweet husband was there at mile 13 and then ran back to get me at mile 25 and ran me almost all the way to the finish. There was a moment of disappointment as I crossed the finish line but the happy faces and hugs that met me there quickly diminished my sad thoughts and turned them to pure JOY> God has a plan and this was his plan for today and in that I AM BLESSED.

Later I would be notified by a Facebook friend that I did indeed qualify for Boston. It seems that I was mistaken on my time for qualification and she was quick to research and show me that I did indeed qualify. My time for qualification had to be 3:45 or better and I DID IT! Turns out I had already qualified before even starting the Buffalo race as I completed the Five Points Marathon in Gainesville in 3:41:33. Looks like we are headed to Boston, April 2015.

This Memorial Day weekend I was thankful for freedom and for all those that served. I was also so very thankful for my kids, husband, parents, friends and family that continue to support me in all my runs. See, not only did I have support in Buffalo, I had a run group in Florida watching the live feed and cheering me on there. It was very nice to have texts and posts telling me “I just saw you finish”, “You finished like a true champion”, and many many more. WOW! To be loved is the best accomplishment you can ever have, and today I know I am truly LOVED.

PHOTOS coming soon!



Stadiums, they are great! WELLLLLLLL………

Stadiums are great for training but I honestly do not like them much less love them. Stadiums do play a vital roll in training and fast twitch muscle training and endurance.

My running group started implementing stadiums about two weeks ago and we are already feeling the strength increase in our legs. Cardio wise it is brutal. I can not honestly say that I feel like the cardio part of Stadiums has gotten any easier. YET!

Tonight is the beginning of week three with the addition of stadiums. Tonight the goal is 16 actual stadiums or 8 tiger laps, this is where you run the curves of the track and head up the stadiums on each side of the track. 4 laps of this is known as the “Tiger Mile”.

Time is fast approaching, wish us luck, lets go spank those stadiums!


As I sit here I still can not believe that I have registered for the 2014 Buffalo Marathon. Yes, in New York. WOW! I am totally and completely excited but at the same time I am sick with fear.

Why an I sick with fear? Well, I seem to always get that way right after I register for a race that I have set out to finish under my qualifying time for Boston. Yep, BOSTON! I know I can accomplish this goal but to actually sit here and write about it, well, that is a bit nerve racking.

My marathon a month goal for 2014 has been going pretty awesome. I have done 5 marathons and will do my 6th in Buffalo, New York on May 25th. They say the Buffalo Marathon Route is FAST. Well there I go, fast is what I need. So now I start the trip planning and YUCKO…..Flights are too expensive, train takes too long, and the Motor Coach? let’s just say driving the motor home to Buffalo would be ideal. Getting around in that huge thing when we get there is what I am stressing about. So this week is the week I will set out to find the answers to how this road trip will go down.

MARATHONS take a lot of preparation. Thousand of preparation musts keep flooding my mind. I must eat good and get my nutrition right, I must hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Training? When to taper and what cross training to keep and what to cut at this point. Do I use man made fuel or do I go natural for this race.

See everything is essential for a perfect race. And is there really a perfect race? My answer? I have no idea any more. I do know one thing that has never failed me. No matter how much I fret about prep, and racing, and qualifying. I will always have my family supporting me and my God guiding me, and if it is the Lord’s will then I will fly like angels are carrying me through to the finish line, and I will once again race Boston in April 2015.

So for now I hand it all to God and trust that he will calm my mind and my heart and he will give me the guidance to have two amazing weeks that lay ahead. Followed by a  finish at this marathon that will be one of my very best.

A Super Hard Week of Training

So sorry I have not been posting. I have been super busy training and working this week. I believe this week has been one of the hardest training weeks I have done in quite a long time. I added stadiums to my routine and weight training (serious) and my legs and especially my calves are screaming.

Screaming calves are worrying me because RACE DAY is tommorow and I am racing here in my home town of Lake City. I have not been able to race here at home for about 6 years. See, I am a race director and when I  direct races I don’t have the time to actually run the races. The Derby Dash 5K is the first race that I have been available to race that I am not the director. So I am a bit excited, even though worried as my body is achy from stadiums, squats, lunges, running, spinning, etc…….

Today is a pre race day and so far my diet for it has not been ideal. Slept in a little late, ok I won’t lie, ALOT late. Baby Rane was enjoying the bed as well so I took advantage of it. Need to up my fluid intake and get some good nutrition in me to combat this lactic acid build up and restore my system depletions.

Wish me luck everyone. Race start is 8am so say a little prayer that my legs and mind will come together for a personal best :).

Happy Weekend!10170836_625780307500089_8877926468509027156_nThese are just a few of my running buddies that will enjoy racing this Saturday! LOVE them!

Boston Strong United We Run 2014

10258794_626113444133442_4404711069181275075_n 10170836_625780307500089_8877926468509027156_n 1509095_10203806368458615_6312770035216576204_nThree runs were organized and took place to honor the Boston Marathon and it’s victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.  We had great turn outs for each run and I enjoyed the company and conversation held between runners.

These runs means a lot to me personally and I was greatly touched by each and every person that showed their support.

The group was a wave of Blue and Yellow, the official colors of the Boston Organization. We ran different paces and different distances but we all ran for the same reason.

We ran for Boston, we ran to show we are not scared, we ran because we love our sport, and we ran because we are blessed to have health to do so.

WE RAN UNITED to show support but to mostly show our love for other runners.

Boston 2015? YEP, that’s still my goal and even though I have missed that goal by only 1 minute in my attempts to qualify under my new time.

I have complete faith that God will give me the strength and health to achieve this goal. BOSTON STRONG!