Goofy Challenge Training Week 14: 12/4 -12/10/17

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there is just ONE MORE WEEK until I start to taper for the Goofy Challenge! My magic bands have arrived, all I have left to buy is Disney’s Photo Pass service, and our fast passes have been booked for a month (well, some I re-did this week). This week didn’t go quite according to plan, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!

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Monday: Rest. My quad was really achy, so I took an extra day to let it recover a bit.

Tuesday: 5 miles before work. This was my first morning run in forever that I really enjoyed and was happy that I got out of bed for. I kept it pretty easy on the hills.

Wednesday: Rest. I woke up feeling ill and stayed in bed. I thought about running in the afternoon, but ended up going home and sleeping through my break. My daily resting HR was about 6 BPM higher than normal, so I took it as a sign my body was fighting something and needed rest.

Thursday: 5 miles during my afternoon break! It was an absolutely beautiful day to be outside, and it really helped me keep up my motivation during my last work hours of the week.

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Friday AM: CRYOTHERAPY! I’m planning on writing a post on this experience soon, but I’m so glad I went. My quad does not feel 100%, but it certainly helped it feel better and also helped my calves loosen up.

Friday PM: 7.31 miles. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it that far, but I felt great!! If I didn’t need to get home to start making dinner (homemade sauce, yo!) I probably would have ran another 1-2 miles.

Saturday: 19 miles! Guys, this run was fantastic. I think it was my second fastest long run pace of this training cycle, and I felt like I could have gone on and on. Now that I look back, it was :23 sec/mi faster than any 20 miler I’ve done. I had almost decided to go for 20; however, it started snowing the minute I started to run and by the end I was sick of my eyes burning by being pelted with snow. Then I spent the day celebrating my Birthday! I had an amazing night out with friends. Now, I’m ready to “detox” without (almost any alcohol) for the next 4 months until it’s time to go to Florida!

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My phone was almost dead by mile 10, so no run picture happened. So you get this beaut instead!

Weekly total: 36.6 miles!

I’m so glad that I’m finally, truly starting to feel like myself again. This week is my “peak week.” I’m aiming to hit 40 miles in 4-5 runs. Then it’s taper time, just in time for the crazy holidays. Taking two trips in 2 weeks is going to be draining, but so worth it. I’m hoping work will be nice and quiet in-between so I have some good downtime.

Goofy Challenge Training Week 13: 11/27-12/3/17

Week 13 is over! Less than 4 more weeks until I am done with the Goofy Challenge! This is the week where I started to get over the feelings of overtraining/burnout that I was experiencing for most of November. I also experienced some pains in my right foot and quad that caused me to run less than I wanted to. Nevertheless, I’m feeling more like myself again.

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Monday: Rest day – unplanned. I couldn’t get out of bed and was busy during my mid-day break so a run didn’t happen.

Tuesday: 4 miles during my mid-day break. Instead of running at the gym, I explored the neighborhoods around my office! It was a beautiful afternoon and was a pretty decent run.

Wednesday: 3.68 miles at November Project. It was a little rough getting up and moving, but running with two different people helped keep me going. I went much easier than I normally would on PR day. However, my right quad was feeling very tight and I didn’t want to cause any more discomfort.

Thursday: Rest day. I considered heading to the gym to cross-train, but I ended up doing some extra work during my break.

Friday: Rest day – unplanned. I planned to run, but when I got up I had an aching pain in my arch that felt like deja vu of my plantar fascitis days. SO instead, I walked to move my car, then went back to bed. I spent half an hour in the evening using all of my self-massage tools.

Saturday: 13.25 miles.  My foot felt fine, and while my quad felt tight it was alright. I ran 60:30 not to hurt it more. I started out really slow and sped up like normal. While it took me a while to get out the door, I did enjoy the run! I just went to use my R8 roller and it’s so cold!!

No long run picture, but we had a mighty Friendsgiving!

Sunday: Rest day

Weekly miles: 20.9. Once again, totally not where it should be right now. But, it is what it is.

The next two weeks bring my 19 + 20 milers. I may not do 9/19 and 10/20, but will surely do doubles with at least 5 miles both days. With my mileage being so low, I don’t want to bring it up too quickly again and hurt myself (especially with how my legs are feeling now). I got burnt out at a really unfortunate time in training, and it’s getting to me because I was feeling so good through October. However, now I know how far I can/can’t push myself before I break and I’ve been taking much better care of myself to try and find more balance in my life. I’m planning for 5 days of running this week, which will probably be close to double the mileage of last week. That means slow and easy runs while I’m hitting “peak week(s)” at a really weird time fitness-wise.

Getting Lit — No, Not Like That!

Disclaimer: I received Knuckle Lights Colors to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Earlier this fall, I found myself with a pickle. It was obviously getting lighter later and darker earlier. With my crazy work hours, the rotation of the sun was not working in my favor. I disliked my headlamp, then it broke while I was trying to replace the batteries. I bought a new headlamp, but it wasn’t running-specific and I really didn’t like how it lit my path. About half of my morning route around my house isn’t well let, so I was in a tough spot.

Then I got the awesome opportunity to check out Knuckle Lights Colors! Seriously, this opportunity came at just the right time (Well, I needed lights. The burn out – not so much). These two lights would be handheld instead of having an uncomfortable headband and would have 120 total lumens. This was a little less than my two headlamps.

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I love lists, so here are some of the top reasons why I love my Knuckle Lights!

  • Hey – they light my path! Actually, I love how they light my path. They light up about 15 feet in front of me. I’m able to see the imperfections in the sidewalks (which are everywhere when I run in Baltimore) as well as other animals and people around me. On my first run with my lights I saw 3 deer, 1 fox and 6 bunnies!

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  • These are Knuckle Lights. Plural. I really like having two so I can move one if I want to see something to the side of me.
  • These puppies are light! They are small enough to fit my hands without making them feel weighed down.
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Start in the dark, end in the light.
  • The batteries (1 AA for each light) are easy to replace. Seeing how I broke a headlamp trying to change batteries, I’m super happy with this.

+1 Bonus: These make me feel very safe when I run in downtown Baltimore. It’s not the safest city and I panic easy. Running in these makes me feel like I almost have brass knuckles and could punch someone with them if I have to 😛

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Think you don’t need any running lights? Think again. Not only do lights help you see people/obstructions, but they help others see YOU. There’s a guy I see running on my route in the morning who never has any lights or reflection. He always scares the crap out of me and I’ve yelled at him multiple times to “light up.”  If lights make you and others around you feel better, use them!

I’m kicking myself for not getting Knuckle Lights earlier, but I’m sure glad I have them now. I will never go back to using a headlamp (aside from at a Ragnar). At $39.99 the Knuckle Lights Colors are about the same price as a decent running headlamp. If you’re in the market, I definitely recommend that you try them out! Knuckle Lights also have a set with rechargeable batteries. Use the code BIBRAVEPRO to save $15 off your order!

Goofy Challenge Training Weeks 11 + 12

So long, so quiet! Things haven’t been quite silent around here, but I’ve slowed down a lot since getting sick a few weeks ago. To be completely honest, November has not been what I was hoping for. I started off the month aiming for my first 150 mile month, and I’ll barely hit 120. However, things are starting to feel a little better. It’s just in time, because there are just 2.5 more weeks until taper time!

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Week 11: (11/13-11/19)

Monday: 5 miles of a “workout” on the treadmill. I was feeling pretty motivated. I ran with longer, harder run intervals and finished with a 10:12/mi average – my fastest of the training cycle so far. “Daily” plank and 30 burpees.

Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill, again. I could not muster up the energy to get up and out of bed. Again, the “daily” plank and 30 burpees that I was trying to start up again.

Wednesday: Literally no.desire. to run.

Thursday: Typical rest day.

Friday: 8 miles. 2 miles, 2.5 miles of hills at NP, then finished up the daily miles. It took a lot to get going, and I really hated it. I didn’t enjoy the run at all. When people asked me how training was going, I didn’t have a positive word to say.

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Mid-NP photo by Gio Vargas!

Saturday: 18 miles was on the docket. 0 happened. You could have paid me $1,000 and I wouldn’t have ran. I was done. No fire in me. Instead, I enjoyed a relaxing day and a friendsgiving. I tried so hard not to think about, or talk about running. When my friends kept asking/talking about it, I tried to change the subject (for once). It was very needed.

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Sunday: Rest

Week 11 total: 18 miles.

Week 11 was #rough. I was the first time since I started to run that I truly felt an aversion to running. I was exhausted, stressed, and was putting so much pressure on myself to train as hard as possible for the Goofy Challenge. It killed me that I was working so hard to run a race that wasn’t “for time,” even though my paces have been great lately. I needed a change in mindset, and I needed it fast.

On Saturday morning, I posted in a Dopey Challenge training group on facebook about the struggles I was facing emotionally. Finds out, I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. It felt great to rant about it to people who were training for the same (or a similar) event and I saw that I wasn’t the only one in this state of mind. I just need to finish the marathon. It may not be fun, but it will be done.


Week 12: (11/20-26)

Monday: 3 miles. It took all I had to get out in the morning and I ended up running without my watch! I wasn’t feeling well, so I turned around when I felt like it.

Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill. While I ran, I watched WDW marathon videos on youtube and it really helped keep me moving. I teared up a couple of times, even!

Wednesday: Rest day.

Thursday: 3.15 miles at a Turkey Trot with a friend from work. We went to have fun and finished in 31:54. We were aiming for under 30, but it was hard with all of the weaving we had to do, as well as a few good hills. We kicked it in good and finished the last .2 at under 7:30/mi pace!

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Friday: 5.1 miles in the afternoon, as I took the morning to do some shopping. Actually, I ran this after a lunch and movie with beer and lots of popcorn. I ran without structured intervals and it felt wonderful.

Saturday: 18.1 miles. The run was a little rough, with 3 potty stops (with no feeling of relief), an outfit change, and some wonkiness in my legs. I felt pretty weak, and ended up running 60:30 for the entire run. Nevertheless, I was proud of myself for running the entire distance.

Sunday: Rest.

Week 12 total: 34.35 miles. A bit more back on track.

I shortened my weekday runs this week, mostly just to run enough days, but not to kill myself in the process. I focused a lot more on getting good sleep and taking the pressure off of myself. As of Wednesday night, my legs still don’t feel 100% after Saturday’s run. I’m thankful this weekend only calls for 13ish miles – which I’ll be sure to run easily. Hopefully I’ll be back to 100% by next week. Just two more hard weeks of training!

Ragnar Relay DC Recap Part 2: My first-time experience

As I shared what seems like forever ago (sorry….I have a life!) I ran a very random, unexpected Ragnar back in September! I loved so much of the experience, but there were also parts of my experience that I didn’t love. While my race recap shares how the running went, this post will share more of the emotional and all-around team experience.

What I LOVED:

– I loved being part of a team. It doesn’t matter that I had just met these people the night before. I loved how we cheered for each other, supported each other, and talked about running a lot.

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– I loved the organization of the Ragnar race itself. The logistics that go into a 200 mile relay that runs into Washington, DC cannot be easy. The race “bible” directions got us to where we needed to be (except for when I was giving directions at night, whoops). Race command also was very helpful with finding ways for my team to make it to the finish in time. I also appreciated that some of the exchanges were near stores so we could get food! Also, having porta johns at almost every exchange was a LIFESAVER!

I loved the atmosphere of fun that really took a forefront over the weekend. I had no idea that “tagging” vans was a thing, but I thing it is a genius idea!

 

What I didn’t love:

– Not competitive enough (at least my van): By the time I was done my second run, I was a bit over the “fun” aspect. Not because Ragnar wasn’t about fun, but it is also a race. While we may not have ever had a chance of winning, it didn’t mean that we didn’t need to stop for 10 minutes to chat in the middle of a leg to chat and sit. We were behind pace the entire time (although there is a published average you need to keep) and it caused me a lot of stress. While it’s nbd that we weren’t going to win, I wish that people still gave their all, because I sure did my best to hit my expected paces. I felt weird when my team thought it was surprising that I was running my estimated pace, because I put in a good, honest estimate.

– (Our) organization (with my legs): Seriously, having hand-off after both legs 1 and 2 made me dread leg 3, especially because it was so short. While I was fine with not getting/needing support on my legs (2 were non-support, one was full support but I can run 6 miles), it sucked for my team not to be there/ready after giving my runs my all. Everyone else seemed to have seamless hand-offs except for me. And I know it’s selfish, but it was really annoying.

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“fake” handoff. Womp.

– Rule following seemed to be an issue for my van. If you know me, I’m a strict rule-follower, so this was really hard to deal with. Peeing in the woods is one thing, but pooping in someone’s yard (when it was shared MULTIPLE times that it was OBVIOUSLY against the rules, and just RUDE/GROSS) is just wrong. Also my van was very adamant to always support the runners. Great, awesome, support our teammate – on legs when it’s allowed. There were reasons why certain legs were “non-support.” I, once again, wish rules were followed for the safety of all participants.

– The finish line: We finally finished around 7:30pm on Saturday, and the cutoff was 8:00. When we got to the finish line, there was no pizza left, the vendor tried to make us pay for our “free beer” (I did NOT, tyvm), and there was seriously no energy left in the experience. We finished within the timeline, and felt that we deserved the same experience as the “fast” teams that finished earlier in the day. I was really looking forward to the finish line experience, but by time I got there, I straight-up wanted to leave.

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Us: “We can’t wait for pizza and beer!” Ragnar: “JK LOL JOKES ON U!”

Things I would change: 

– Actually build a team, or find one in advance! It was quite the experience running with a random group. I met a lot of great people, and had an overall fun time. However, stresses such as how I was getting home (that was a fiasco) and running differences definitely caused more anxiety than I was hoping for. I’d love to be on a team with runners who are there for fun, but also to run their best efforts and to try new things! (I think only 2 or 3 of us on the whole team ran our night legs alone).

Will I run again? OH HECK YES. I loved the experience as a whole. Most of my team was all, “I’m never doing this again!” I was the complete opposite. I was having the time of my life when I was running and at the exchanges, cheering everyone on. The night run was seriously one of the best running experiences ever. I’m definitely hoping to run Ragnar Pennsylvania in June 2018, and I’m trying to form a team with Bib Rave Pro’s for that. I would also love to run a trail Ragnar and/or Reach the Beach in 2018!

Goofy Challenge Training Week 10: 11/6 – 11/12/2017

Ladies and Gentlemen (okay, probably many more ladies, just sayin), Week 10 is over! In terms of my “training plan” that I loveeee it was supposed to be a “down” week, but it was much more “down” than was planned.

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I started feeling sick on Sunday night. It ended up getting better, than worse. I finally think I’m over the hump and hopefully in a day or two I’ll be nearing 100% again.

Monday: Rest. I wasn’t feeling well and had so much to do at work. I took it as a sign to work extra instead of heading to the gym.

Tuesday: 4 miles on the treadmill. I ended up doing a mini-workout (looking back, I totally should have taken it easier). I did 3 x .9 mi run with .1 mi walking recovery then 1 mile straight run. It was nice to just run instead of doing intervals. I need to do it more often!

Wednesday: 5 miles at 120:30 intervals (what I hope I’ll do marathon #4 at, if not Disney), then 2.5 miles at November Project. Once I got to the workout, I started to feel real crappy, so I ran laps with some girls who were tapering for a race weekend instead of hitting the stairs. 7.5 miles total.

Thursday-Friday: Rest. No typical gym on Thursday and no run on Friday. I ended up leaving work early on Thursday, which I never do. I just felt that crappy.

Saturday: 14.22 milesI originally had plans to run with a new friend, but I cancelled them when I was feeling pretty sick. But after a morning on the couch, I felt up to at least trying once it warmed up a little. I ended up having my best long run of this cycle so far. I ran a nearly 7 minute negative split and had some great reflection time. But it WAS cold and I was absolutely freezing at the end! (I also took many “gotta blow my nose” breaks.)

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Weekly total: 25.77 miles. About 10 miles less than was planned, but everyone gets sick sometimes, right? I’d rather it happen now rather than later.

As I was afraid of, I’ve started to kind of “dread” my double weekends, especially with working extra hours at work. I’ve been working Fridays on and off so I don’t use my PTO days for holidays (my office doesn’t close on Federal Holidays, don’t even get me started….) but thankfully I was smart enough to plan them on weekends opposite my really high mileage weekends.

This week my plan jumps up in miles to 5/8/5 for my weekday runs. Just 5 more weeks until taper time! 8/18 next week, 9/19 two weeks after that, then 10/20 two weeks later. It’s go time!

Are you training for anything right now? Will I see you at Disney?

I’m headed to the Philly Hot Chocolate 5K/15K!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate Philadephia as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I’ve finally come to accept that I am probably done with racing for 2017. As much as I want to race, nothing really fits into my training schedule for the Goofy Challenge at this time. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t look forward to 2018! I already have four races planned, with one of them being a race I’ve wanted to check out for a while now!

On April 7th, 2018, I’ll be heading to Philadelphia for the Hot Chocolate 15K! Here are just a few reasons why I’m so excited:

1. 15K (or 9.3 miles) is a new race distance for me. A new distance = automatic PR! There is also a 5K 🙂

2. A Philadelphia race didn’t happen for me this year (Rock N Roll Philly).  The race start/finish is near the famed Art Museum with the Rocky Steps, and the course runs along a riverbank, which is flat! I’m happy to finally be getting there to run.

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Art museum on the left, you will run a majority of the race on the right side of the river!

3. Have you heard about the awesome swag?! Hot Chocolate races are known for their incredible premiums and medals. The shirts for this year’s races are so pretty. I’ve been needing a purple shirt for my collection! I also like that the medals come with a city-specific key chain!

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photo: hotchocolate15k.com

4. Finish line sweets! Most of you know I’m all about the post-race beer, but  hot chocolate, and warm chocolate with goodies to dip in it? Sign me up! (I might have to run with a mini of Bailey’s for that hot cocoa 😉 ) There are also sweets on the course!

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photo: hotchocolate15k.com

5. I’ll be there as a Bib Rave Pro! I’m super excited to be back as a Pro in 2018. I ran three great races with them in 2017 and cant wait for more wonderful experiences and products to try! Don’t miss out: Bib Rave Pro applications for 2018 are open now, until 11/15! Don’t be afraid to apply to be a part of an amazing team. Feel free to tell them that I sent you!

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Do you want to run with me in Philly? Hot Chocolate races consistently sell-out, so sign up now. When you do, use the code BRHCPHILLY18 for a free hat!

Goofy Training Week 9 + October 2017 Recap

With week 9 being done, I am now officially halfway though training for the 2018 Goofy Challenge! Today I ordered my park tickets and booked Fast Passes – it is all feeing so real! The 7+17 double this weekend also made it feel real 😛 I definitely spent some time re-thinking this challenge this week, but I know it will be worth it in the end.

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Monday: 4 miles on the treadmill, with some arm/leg weights. My orange Hoka One One Arahi’s felt pretty dead, so I was happy that I had already purchased some new ones!

Tuesday: 4 miles on the treadmill again, because I was lazy AF in the morning. I made myself do a hill setting and got progressively faster. It felt mostly good, except for in my calves. I hate hills on a treadmill because I feel like my legs are always trashed after!

Wednesday: 7 miles fast (for me!). I don’t really have a goal race “pace” for the marathon, but I ran with 120:90 intervals, which is my goal interval setting for the marathon. I ran faster than I probably should have, ending with a 10:12 average pace. But I felt fantastic and had so much fun!

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Thursday: 25 miles on the bike, and leg day in the weights section!

Friday: 7 miles of hills- 2 easy, 3 miles of hill repeats with November Project, then another 2 easy. I loved the hill repeats, especially pushing myself to run without intervals. While still slow compared to a majority of the other tribe members, I ran near a friend most of the time and felt strong.

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Saturday: 17 miles – These were not the best, but looking back on it, 17 miles isn’t ever going to be easy, especially after 7 miles with 625 feet of gain (a lot for me)! I didn’t last as long at 90:30 as I had hoped, but I held a similar pace once I moved down to 60:30. By the end of the run, my legs were feeling pretty rough. Some miles were rough, but 6-13 were pretty smooth!

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Sunday: REST DAYYYY….and started to come down with something, I think. Crossing my fingers that it passes quickly!

Weekly miles: 39.06 miles

Like I mentioned before, I am struggling more during this training cycle than in my first two marathon cycles. I am just so not gelling with this plan, even with the modifications I have made to the “down” weeks. I am also starting to struggle with the idea of putting all of this work in, and not really running for a time on January 8th. I’m so tempted to sign up for a local marathon in less than 3 weeks just to see what I can do even though I would be undertrained. However, I don’t want to screw anything up going into WDW Marathon Weekend!


Also, October is obviously over! It was a really good month of running for me, although not all runs were perfect. I only missed one run, ran a few races, and crushed a goal.

Monthly miles122

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2017 miles to date: 1,009 <– A THOUSAND miles!!! Seriously, this has been a goal since I started running. I was about 30 miles short last year. I hit my 1,000th mile while running with friends at the Towson Homecoming 5K and couldn’t imagine it any other way. Seriously, if my running gets someone moving a little more, that makes my heart happy. I’m now working to meet my second mileage goal of the year, which is 1,200 miles!

Races: 4 miler (short) with my nephew, 2 5Ks, and the Baltimore Half Marathon. None were crazy good or bad, but I was happy I did them all. I don’t have any races coming up between now and Disney. I’m sad about it, but realistically, there aren’t many that fit with my training schedule and I’m trying to save the $$$ for new race experiences.

I’m looking forward to: DISNEY – of course! Also I’m looking forward to races I already have planned for spring 2018 and some potential hard halfs or a full in April/May. I want to keep up this momentum for a PR in 2018! I also just joined the Oiselle Volee, to try to make more running friends, hopefully people to travel to races with. I’m looking forward to getting to know other members of the “flock”!

Goofy Challenge Training: Week 8

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is now just 10 weeks away!! I’m excited to really get into the longer runs now and run some serious mileage!

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Monday: 4 miles at the gym. I was feeling a little down from the weekend, so I did some random speed work. 1 mi easy, 1 mi without intervals at moderate-hard effort (8:54!), 1 mi easy, then 1 mi w/ 4 x .2 mi at moderate pace with .05 walking recovery. It felt so good and I miss doing speed work! Did arm and ab weights after.

Tuesday: 3.16 miles easy in the morning, 4 miles progression run on the treadmill in the afternoon. I had a long commute this day, so felt nervous time-wise about getting 7 done in the morning but I got the miles done!

Wednesday: 4.75 miles at November Project. I worked hard during the 5:30 workout and set a small PR for PR day, then ran part of 6:30 with a friend. My legs hated me when I went up stairs at work after!

Thursday: 20 minutes on the bike, leg weights. I moved up the weights on all the machines, which made me super happy!

Friday: 5 miles easy. This one wasn’t on my training plan, but I really wanted to get in another run. It was cold enough to wear leggings! I was a happy, happy runner.

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Saturday: 6.7 miles solo then 3 miles during a 5K with friends. I should have ran the extra .3 to make it 10 even, but oh well. And in new shoes, my legs felt so great!

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Sunday: Rest dayayayay!

Weekly miles: 30.61 miles

My glutes/hips are starting to feel better, but I definitely need to do better with foam rolling this week to really kill it for good and to keep the discomfort from coming back! I’m also really struggling mentally with a desire to do another half marathon this year, but I can’t find one that fits my schedule and seems worth it. Meanwhile, I’ve picked out some potential marathons for later in spring 2018!

This week I’m linking up with Tricia at misssippipiddlin  and Holly from HoHoRuns for the weekly  Wrap Up. Check out their page to see other bloggers’ weekly wrap ups!

Baltimore Half Marathon 2017: Baltimoron Race Recap

What very well may be my last half marathon of 2017 has come and gone. It was quite the race day; but as always, I’m glad I ran! Yet again, this year was a reminder of why I love Baltimore so much, and also why I love running.

Friday, race-day eve: I got up on Friday morning (a little later than normal) and went out for an “easy” 6 mile run. The run felt like a little more work than I would have wanted it to, but I knew it was a sign that there was a good run coming on. I took my time getting breakfast and getting to the expo. While it is technically an “expo”, the Baltimore Running Festival is a little anticlimactic. I enjoyed trying and buying some Plow On energy gum (just found the rest of one of my packs in the dryer – womp), and a new shoe charm for my friend and myself. I spent the rest of the day relaxing in bed before going out for Harry Potter trivia night with my friends. My friend Kaitlyn was running the 5K with me and spent the night at Jake’s, so we both slept in the living room on couches. We were up until after 1 talking, then were repeatedly woken up by Jake’s roommates coming in the house and drunkards walking/screaming down the street. I most definitely did not sleep well!

Pre-race Saturday: With a severe lack of sleep, I was thankful that Jake lives less than a mile from the start/finish area. After about 1/4 of an english muffin and a bite of Kaitlyn’s protein bar, we were off for the 5K start. I was surprisingly feeling pretty awake but I was worried how my body would feel after little sleep on a very uncomfortable couch.

5k: When Kaitlyn and I got to the start line, it was a complete free-for-all. I estimate that it took us about 4 min to cross the start line. Thankfully, we weren’t going into the race with any goals other than to finish and have fun. Our plan was to run 60:30 run/walk intervals, like we had for the Baltimore Women’s Classic in June. The first mile was very crowded, which slowed us down, but I was okay with it.

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Approaching the halfway point.

It spread out a bit after the turn-around at the half-way point. I really enjoyed just taking our time and having some girl talk. My favorite part was running up Charles St towards the new finish line in the Inner Harbor. This was mostly because I got to point out Jake’s new place (official this week, hopefully!). We finished with me feeling fresh and Kaitlyn feeling good. We have another 5K this weekend that she needs to be ready for! Our finish time was about 38:00 (the picture below is wrong).

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The 1:15 in-between: Kaitlyn and I quickly got our medals and food and made our way through the finisher area. This wasn’t quite as quick as it has been in past years, but this was also a new setup. My favorite part was getting our medals from Baltimore police officers. As many of you know – Baltimore isn’t the safest city, and relations between many residents and the police are not always positive. It was an awesome way for the police to get out in our city and support people from all ways of life 😉 Nevertheless, we swiftly made our way south through the Inner Harbor to get back to Jake’s. Kaitlyn had to head home and I wanted to change into some fresh clothes for the half marathon. I was back to the Harbor within 40 minutes. After 2 trips to the porta-pots, a November Project bounce, and running into a friend, I was ready to go again!

My 3rd Baltimore Half Marathon!

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The IT Bands are good – I always tape them in races to be “safe” after MCM 2016

I shared my goals for this race last week, but I mostly wanted to have a decent training run! I ran into a friend while moving through the corral and was happy to keep her some company for as long as we could stick together (no picture = fail). Or really, I told her I was running 90:30 intervals and welcomed her to join me 😛

Miles 1-5: These miles were spent catching up with my friend and trying to keep a steady, modest pace. I didn’t want to run too easy, but also didn’t want to go out too hard. We did skip a few “walks” due to crowding and took some extra time at the first water stop because she didn’t bring any water with her. There was a good downhill around mile 3, but aside from that, the course was a gradual uphill. I didn’t pay much attention to my splits, but noted that they were all under 11:00/mi. Running with someone kept me humble, which really helped. I sadly lost her at mile 4 (she hadn’t trained, but she finished!) but kept on trucking along despite starting to feel a little warm. I knew if I kept it up, that I would set a course PR with the downhill slope in the final miles and my ability to negative split runs (#likeaboss). Splits: 10:56, :59, :55, :47, :52.

Miles 6-10: It’s weird splitting up the race like I always do, because these miles were so split. I finished the long uphill stretch from mile 3 – 6.5 feeling completely in the zone. I was quickly warming up and honestly thought about ditching my visor. I knew it was adding to that “slightly overheated” feeling, but I also didn’t want to lose it. I felt awesome until mile 8, coming along the end of the stretch around Lake Montebello. I suddenly got a massive headache and began to mentally feel weird. I got anxious about very little things and just felt like I was in a “fog.” I saw someone to the left of me who had dropped and was being helped by 4 runners with a police officer running to him. .75 miles later I saw someone on the side of the road getting an IV. At this point I was still running as steady as I could, but physically my body (head) was fading fast. I eventually took a prolonged walk break or two. I told myself I had to make it to the November Project cheer station, then I would re-evaluate. Splits: 10:58, :57, 11:04, :53, 12:18.

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Attempting to smile and wave (just after mile 9). Photo cred: Emily Bryson

Miles 11-13.1ishAfter I hit the NP cheer station, I definitely got a little bit of power. Once I made the right turn towards where the “tiger” always is (but was NOT) I truly re-evaluated. By this time it was about 11:30 and it was hot. It was “only” about 72 according to my phone, but with full sun (and non sunscreen) and how I was feeling with my headache, I was nervous. More and more people were stepping off the course and I knew I had not hydrated well the week leading up to the race. I decided to dial it back to 60:30 intervals and take walk breaks as needed. This was not my goal race. The Baltimore Half Marathon is hilly and I am fully aware that I will never PR there. I just wanted to finish upright and not derail my Goofy Challenge Training. While it was hard to step back, I was happy that I remained with the pack I was running with. I ended up stopping at a med tent for vaseline (holy chafing), but mostly kept a slower, but still steady pace to the finish. Pouring water over my head helped, and I was able to kick it in to the finish! Splits: 12:20, :23, :26, 2:19 (.24 nubbin)

The finish: While it wasn’t the same as finishing through Camden Yards, I was thrilled turning left and finishing on Pratt Street. The crowds were thick and the view was as beautiful as always. I was happy to have made it upright. I finished in 2:31:12. Six minutes slower than last year. It’s not what I was working or hoping for through the first half of the race. It’s my third slowest half marathon time. But I made it. I was happy to receive my half marathon medal from a police officer, but had to find my own way to my Baltimoron medal, which was just sitting on a table. By the time I finished, this process was quick, and I easily made it through the water/gatorade/food line.

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#holdmeupplease

Post race: The hours after the race were rough. I honestly felt worse than I had after either of my marathons and considered going to the med tent. I was planning on Jake to be there, but at the last minute he wasn’t able to be. I’ve finished many races alone at the finish line but this was a day that I really needed someone to be there. It took me about an hour to make it back to Jake’s house, which was just over half a mile away. Mentally and physically I was shot. I could hardly stomach anything and didn’t even have my typical post-race beer (#dehydrationprobs)!

Post-post-race: Once I started feeling better, I was able to reflect on the day. My half marathon time was slow, but still evened out to be a decent pace for a long run. My numbers may look like I crashed and burned, but I don’t look at it that way. I listened to my body and ran wisely. If I look at the statistics of the whole race, my performance increased percentile-wise, in both age group, gender, and overall place. I also came in the top 50% for the Baltimoron. While I normally am not sore after long runs, I was a little sore the next day. I felt back to normal two days later and the races of Saturday did not negatively effect my training. Overall, I take it as a win.

Verdict: I will never say anything bad about the Baltimore Running Festival. I love this event for so many reasons. The #1 reason is that it brings out such a positive spirit in the city that I love so much. The city shows up on this day and the race organization is impeccable. I would not run the 5K again unless a friend was running it with me. It’s an expensive 5K and while I get that you get a shirt and a medal, but for somewhere that I run all the time and during other (better) 5Ks, it’s not worth the price tag. So I would potentially do the Baltimoron again in the future, or just the half, but not the 5K. Baltimore peeps – you’re better off running Shamrock 🙂 Will I be back next year? We shall see….this year the race was the day before the Marine Corps Marathon…and I’m eyeing either MCM, New York, or Chicago for next fall…but I will be back for years and years to come.