Vermont City Marathon Training: Weeks 10-12

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Vermont City Marathon 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!

Hello from RACE WEEK! AHH! The first time I wrote that this morning, in a message to my cousin, I about freaked. I am running a marathon. This weekend. Goodness gracious.

These last 3 weeks of training have had some serious ups and downs. Taper has not gone great for me, in fact, it’s been my worst marathon taper so far. I’m trying not to let it get me down and to control the controllable. Thankfully there have been some high points lately to focus on!

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Week 10 – peak week (4/30-5/6): 4 miles hills @ 9:29 avg, 5.65 miles at November Project @ 9:45 avg, 7.17 mi progression run at 11:02 avg (12:13 –> 10:01), 3.1 miles @ 8:13 avg + 1 mi WU, 20 miles @ 11:13 avg. Also: 2 Peloton rides.

DID YOU CATCH THAT BOLD TYPE? I ran a 25:27 5K at the Frederick Running Festival – a 1:33 PR! The next day I ran 7 easy before running a 2:22 half for my 20 miler. Best. Peak. Week. Ever.

Week 10 miles: 41.23 mi run, 21.52 mi spin

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I kicked it in at a 6:30 pace. Pure joy. That’s an attempt at a smile, I swear.

Week 11 – first taper week (5/7-5/13): Over the last two years of marathon training, I’ve learned that when work is stressful my running takes a hit. That was the story of this week. I was disappointed I didn’t get in my last big weekday run (8 miles with 6 at MGP) but work stress won.

The (fitness) work: 4 miles @ 10:27/mi avg, 12 mile easy long run @ 12:10 avg, 3.1 miles @ 8:15 avg. 2 Peloton rides.

Yep – I ran another 5K and almost PR’d. I ran a 27:29, and I’m convinced I would have broke the PR if it weren’t for someone cutting me off when I started my kick.

Week 11 miles: 19.01 mi run, 25ish mi spin.

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My friends both PR’d and I just missed another PR! Then we wined. It was wonderful.

Week 12 – second taper week (5/14-5/20): This week was rough, again. I’d been feeling some discomfort in my achilles over the past few weeks, but it was nothing terrible, just a nagging pain. Well, this week, it ramped up pretty bad. Was it actually bad or was it just the “taper crazies”? We may never know. But a few rest days had me feeling better!

The work: 5 miles @ 11:36 avg, 3.1 miles easy @ 12:23 avg, 8 mile long run @ 11:26 avg (4 MGP miles @ 10:52, 10:58, 10:36, 10:47). 2 peloton rides. LOTS of rolling and stretching.

Week 12 miles: 16.1 mi run, 21.4 mi spin.

And NOW it’s race week. I have 3 easy runs left – 2 on Coach Lisa’s schedule and I’ll do 1 on Saturday because I always struggle the first run after flying and I need to get that done before the race – before heading to Vermont! I’ve been weather stalking like crazy, hoping for a decent racing day. Whatever the day may be, I know I’m prepared and a few good runs in heat lately have me confident that a warm day won’t completely ruin my chances at a big PR.

What are your racing tips for a rainy day? A hot day? A rainy, hot day? Because those are the three possibilities right now…

 

Rock N Roll DC 2018: Race Recap

On March 10th I ran my 19th half marathon, which was the Rock n Roll DC Half Marathon! I ran this race last year as a training run and had a fun time. This year, I went into this race hoping to see where my fitness was two months post-marathon. I also tend to have mixed results running “repeat” races, and was curious as to how I would do!

Expo day: The Rock N Roll races require you to go to the expo, so I headed in mid-day on Friday. Packet pick-up was a breeze. When I entered the expo floor, I was very underwhelmed. Last year, I had an amazing time and spent 2 hours there. I even fell in love with one of my favorite snacks, Krave Jerkey, there. This year I was very disappointed. I was in and out in about 20 minutes, pretty perturbed at the half-empty floor, no music, and overall lack of energy. The only money I spent was signing up for  next year because you can’t beat a $59 half marathon. After the expo, I went into race day very under-enthused.

Friday night: For dinner I went to one of my favorite restaurants – Nando’s! I had grilled chicken wings and mashed potatoes with tons of yummy sauce and a glass of red wine. I was thankful to spend the night at a friends’ house to cut down on some driving on Saturday morning. After a glass of wine and some game-playing, I was upstairs at about 10:00 to “lay out my flat Sam” and was asleep around 11. I ended up choosing to go with three layers on top (thermal Nike layer, Oiselle flyte long sleeve, and Oiselle Volee singlet) due to the projected start temperature of about 30 degrees with some wind.

Pre-race: I was “up an at’em” around 5:30, out the door at 6, and in the parking lot at the New Carrolton metro station for 6:30. Once on the train, I met two other runners who kept me occupied until just around race start! I almost ran with one of them, Marie, as it was her first half marathon and she asked if she could pace with me. Unfortunately, right before our corral was about to go, I really got the urge to use the restroom so I left the corral and sprinted the two blocks to the porta-john’s. I’m so glad I made the choice to do so, although it meant leaving Marie. The sprint to/from the porta-johns worked as a good warm-up, as it was cold and I didn’t stretch well!

Game plan: As I mentioned, my goal for this race to see where my fitness was at. Following the strategy of Elizabeth at Running for Robert I put tape on my watch so while I could hear each mile ding, I would be just running off of feel. I set my interval timer to 2:00 run/:30 walk intervals and hoped to keep that up for the entire race.

Miles 1-5: The first few miles brought runners past some of DC’s famed monuments over and under a bridge, and into Rock Creek Park. There were some slight ups and downs, but nothing too hard. The worst part was the crowding, especially between miles 2-5. From watching the clocks, I knew I was running around a 10:00 mile pace, and didn’t feel like I was taxing myself too hard. I wanted to make sure not to expend too much energy because I knew the dreaded hill was coming up at mile 6. Splits: 9:55, 10:00, 9:52, 10:01, 9:49.

Miles 6-10: These were some more interesting miles. First, mile six brings a giant hill with about 150 feet of gain in a quarter mile or so. YUCK. I did a little better on this hill than I did last year and wasn’t as dead at the top. While climbing up the hill I caught up with Marie! I was happy to see that she was doing well. I told her she could follow me but I lost her quickly as I was boogying. Once at the top I started to feel super over heated from my physical exertion as well as the sun. I ended up stopping on the side of the road to de-layer. After losing about two minutes, I got about a mile before there was a fire truck ripping down the street – as it was coming behind me I lost about 30 seconds stopping to the side to be cautious. After those two events, mixed with some rolling hills, it took me a while to get back into a groove. By the time I hit mile 10, I was feeling good again but also felt like I had to push harder to keep my speed where it was. Splits: 9:52, 12:23 (de-layer and fire truck), 10:03, 9:50, 9:43.

Miles 11-finish: This is where I made myself proud. My legs felt so tired, I had no clue what time I was running, but mentally I fought through the pain and the doubt to keep going. I had never truly tapped in to my mental power like this in a race before. I kept telling myself that I was strong and I could do it. Passing the Volee’s cowbell corner around mile 11.5/12 or so, someone yelled “You look so strong!” I’m glad they said that because I was afraid I looked like I was riding the pain train – which I totally “thought” I was.

Mile 11.5ish of RNR DC! Thanks Holly (The Thrifty Runner) for the picture!

Around mile 12.5 I found someone from NP DC that I talked to before the race. That was a nice distraction for a bit as I was curious how she’d picked up a whole box of girl scout cookies! (LOL). I tried to kick it in to keep up with another Bib Rave Pro who I started with, but in the last .25 mile she had a better kick and came in before me (nice job, Vanessa!). While I was bummed I didn’t have the kick I wanted, I was happy with a 2:14:45 finish, my 3rd fastest half marathon ever! (Splits: 9:55, 10:07, 9:49, 3:29 for .36 nubbin).

My finish experience was so much better than last year because I wasn’t stressing about finding someone else who had my warm clothes. I sat for a few minutes with some water and chips before grabbing my bag. I was so impressed with the presence of changing tents – being able to completely change from my wet shirt was a game-changer! While it was a bit chilly, I stayed long enough to enjoy (most of my) post-race beer. I was pretty sore after, but a mile walk to the post-race brunch with the Oiselle Volee helped me loosen up a bit! I loved meeting other Birds (some I’d talked to/followed online for years), the food was delicious, and the mimosa(s?) were wonderful. Another mile walk back to the subway was needed for the legs, and I spent the night relaxing! (Actually, I went on a date? But alas, he “disappeared” shortly after that night).

Athlinks – a favorite way to track races

Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks 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!

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I have been an avid Athlinks user since I started participating in races in 2014. I won’t lie, when I meet new people who run I totally look up their results (e.g. recent Bumble match – lol!). When I learned that BibRave was partnering with Athlinks this year and learned about the improvements that Athlinks recently made, I was stoked.

What is AthlinksAthlinks is a race “library” of sorts, where you san search your name, or a race, and find your results. You can claim your results as your own, so they will be on your profile.

Once on your profile, not only can you see your race results, but at the top of your page your PR’s will be listed, as well as the number of races you’ve claimed and the amount of miles run in those races and your Athlinks percentile ranking. While not all of my results are on Athlinks, I love knowing that I’ve run at least 464 miles in races!

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Okay, so you probably knew all of this, so what’s NEW and IMPROVED on Athlinks?

Friends: You can now add friends on Athlinks! This is a great way to keep track with your running buddies locally or from your broader social life (Bib Rave Pro’s, ambassador squads, Oiselle Volee, etc.).

Rivals: These may be friends, or other runners that participate in the same races as you. Who tends to win? I wish I could tell you, but I have no rivals yet!

Race Results: I started noticing this last year or so – Athlinks has great data regarding your placement at races in which they partner with. For example, last year’s New Jersey Marathon. When I view this race on Athlinks not only can I see my race splits, but my rankings per split. LOVE IT!

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Upcoming Races and Goals: More and more races are being added to Athlinks and it is easier than ever to line up your race schedule in advance. This lets you see who else is racing and what goal other people are shooting for. As you can see, I’ve added my goals for the Frederick Half Marathon and the Vermont City Marathon.

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You can find Athlinks at www.Athlinks.com or via an iOS or Android app. Will you be my friend and/or rival? Add me here.

Are you an Athlinks user? What is your favorite part of the website?

Vermont City Marathon Training Update #1 – Weeks 1-4

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Vermont City Marathon 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!

It’s already been a month since I signed up for the Vermont City Marathon (VCM) and it’s just two months away! This weekend I ran my longest long run so far, 16 miles. Before we get there, let’s get into how I’m training for the VCM and what some early goals are!

How I’m training: I had spent the last two months really setting my sights on lots of fun spring races and a half-PR. When I added this marathon to my schedule, I was flustered as to how I was going to fit everything in! I quickly reached out to Lisa at Mile by Mile to coach me on my way to my first sub-5:00 marathon. Working with Lisa has been great so far! I’m running 4 days per week and integrating more strength and mobility than ever before (which wasn’t much). I’m still using my run-walk intervals, using mostly 90(run):30(walk) aside from recovery days and/or fartlek days. I plan to focus on 90:30 and 120:30 intervals for long runs to get that run time up for marathoning!

For the first time ever, I’m also super in to cross-training. Yes, me! That’s because back in February I got a PELOTONThis spin bike is changing the game for me. I absolutely love getting on the bike, whether it’s for a 20-, 30-, or 40- minute class. I feel so fit and faster paces are feeling easier and easier. I try to get on my bike at least 3 times a week for a variety of different classes. I also love the stretching and strength classes that they offer!

Goals: When I started working with Lisa, my goal was a sub-5:00, meaning that I’d be happy with 4:59:59. After my performance/experience in Disney, I know I am very capable of meeting that goal. Then the Rock ‘n Roll DC half marathon happened (recap coming, I swear). I finished with an average pace that was just over 10:00/mi. It was the first time that I mentally fought the entire race and it really boosted my confidence. That, combined with great long runs, has led Coach Lisa and I to aim higher, towards the 4:48-4:50 range (4:48 = 11:00/mi)!

Here’s how it’s going so far!

Week (before the official training plan started): 21.5 miles running, 5 peloton classes, 8 mile hilly long run at 11:36 avg. pace.

Fartlek run during week 1 of training!

Week 2: 21 miles running, 2 peloton classes, 13.3 mile long run (RNR DC) at 10:06 avg. pace.

Mile 11.5ish of RNR DC! Thanks Holly (The Thrifty Runner) for the picture!

Week 3: 25 miles running, 3 peloton classes, 15 mile long run (almost a perfect progression) at 11:41 avg. pace.

Week 4: 27 miles running, 3 peloton classes, 16 mile hilly long run at 11:04 avg. pace.

YASS treat yo-self (marathon nutrition starts this week??)

And with that, I’m one run (and one peloton class) into week 5 and exactly 2 months out from my 4th marathon! I have high hopes for the next two months of running and racing (or not racing at races?) and hope that this training cycle as a whole will put me in an amazing place for what I have coming up in the fall!

What are some of your spring races and goals? Are you a spinning fan?

 

Vermont City Marathon – a Welcome Change in Plans

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Vermont City Marathon 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!

Following the Walt Disney World Marathon I had quite the post-marathon blues. This wasn’t because my dream race weekend was over. It was because I knew I had unfinished business with the marathon. While I wasn’t upset that I didn’t break the 5:00 mark, the idea that I know that I can do it overtook my mind.

I looked around and around for the right marathon – one that fit my race and work schedule, one that wasn’t going to be too hot or to cold, and one that had a favorable course. I knew that my next marathon was going to be the one where I finish with a time starting in 4. The only one that fit 2/3 of my needs was the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, Vermont. However, because I was planning to travel to NH the weekend before when my office is closed, I didn’t think it was in the cards. I settled on training for a PR half-marathon attempt. I liked the plan I had chosen to follow, but I couldn’t truly get into training because I really just wanted to train for a marathon.

Fast forward to late-February. I’d just gone through a tough breakup and was looking for something to keep me going. I was with some friends one night and my phone dinged with a Bib Rave update – they needed someone to run the Vermont City Marathon. YES! – ME! PICK ME, PICK ME! I suddenly had a new pep in my step and a renewed reason to run.

If you haven’t guessed it yet – I’m running the Vermont City Marathon on May 27th!

I’m so thrilled to get to run this race and to go full force for my sub-5:00 in Burlington. Guys, this is going to be my sub-5:00. I just know it.  The course is mostly flat, aside from a moderate hill around mile 9 (I’ve run it in two races – not fun, but do-able) and one big hill at mile 15 (it’s a doozie). I also love that it’s almost clover-shaped, which enables your cheer squad to easily see you multiple times (while grabbing some good grub in the Church St. area). While past years have been hot, I can vouch that late-May in New England can also be pretty chilly.

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Course map from vermontcitymarathon.org

Burlington, VT is just amazing. It’s a place full of amazing food, some of the best beer, beautiful lake views, and wonderful people. When I was stuck in upstate NY for grad school, Burlington was an escape for me. I can’t wait to go back and head to Vermont Pub and Brewery, get bagels on Pine St., have some Ben & Jerry’s right where it originated, and have Heady Topper at Manhattan Pizza after I cross the finish line. I’ve run two races put on by RunVermont, who puts on this race – so I know to expect a very well organized event centered on the runners. I also can’t wait to visit my former employer at the expo – Fleet Feet Burlington/Plattsburgh!

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Most of my VT pictures from grad school are lost – but I ran a (former) PR on part of the marathon course!

Need another more information than me vouching for how much I love Burlington? Meb will be present at the expo and will be running the 5-person marathon relay. I also love that the on-course fueling is provided by Untapped – maple syrup used in/as energy gel. Maple syrup is a very natural sugar, and it is simply, quintessential Vermont. While I’ve never tried it myself, it sold like hotcakes when I worked in the running store in NY (I’m going to order some to try!). Oh, and they have food from Moe’s at the finish! I love these touches to the race!

Doesn’t this race sound awesome? Join me! Use the code “BibRave10” for $10 off registration for the Vermont City Marathon. For all of you 50 State-ers, this is a great race to check Vermont off of the list!

Be Seen with Brilliant Reflective – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a Brilliant Reflective multi-pack 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!

We all know that with winter and early spring running comes increased time running in the dark. With the amount that I run on my neighborhood streets as well as in Baltimore, I’m always looking for ways to be more visible to cars as well as other people. Unfortunately, some of my favorite gear is minimally reflective…

That’s where Brilliant Reflective comes in!

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Brilliant Reflective makes highly reflective strips that you can add to all of your favorite gear: from jackets to hats, shorts to hydration packs. You name it, you can stick your reflective strips on them! They make two kinds of strips in a multitude of colors: iron-on (non-repositionable) and stick-on (repositionable) and both are made with high-quality 3M Tape!

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Look at these GLOW!

I was sent a multi-pack from Brilliant Reflective: two packs of iron-on strips and two packs of stick-on strips, each in a different color to use. I was immediately drawn to the stick- on sheets for two reasons – I wanted to put strips on some of my cherished jackets and I’ve used an iron maybe three times in my life. I was really nervous to damage my MCM Jacket (with the iron, not the strips). I also had a stick-on Bib Rave graphic that I was stoked to put on a coat!

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Right now my needs were more reflective outerwear, because I hate messing with a reflective vest and it’s been cold in Maryland! I very easily applied the strips and the BibRave graphic to the back of two of my jackets. Running in both jackets feels great and I don’t notice the strips at all. Another use I would have to for the stick-on strips would be for my bike and helmet! More reflectivity on a bike is never a bad idea.

While I haven’t used the iron-on Brilliant Reflective strips yet, I opened up the packaging to share with you how great it is! The instructions are very concise, yet detailed. So if you’re anything like me and don’t ever use an iron, you shouldn’t burn holes in anything. I love that they added in graphics to show where on different garments you will benefit from adding the reflective strips!

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As I get dig deeper into marathon training (a spring marathon?! more on that soon), I will be running the dark of the morning more and more. I can see myself adding Brilliant Reflective strips to my running skirts, which have zero reflectivity, as well as my hydration pack and water bottle. Heck – I could even put them on some of my headbands! The possibility are endless.

Check out Brilliant Reflective for yourself – Use the link bit.ly/BRP25 to save 25% off of all Multi/Assortment Packs! Another added bonus is always free shipping! If you try them – let me know what you think! I’ve love to hear what you put them on and how you chose to apply them!

 

Goofy Challenge Training Week 15: 12/11-12/17/2017

I’m coming to you all straight from taper town today. With the completion of my 20 miler this weekend, I officially made it through the bulk of training for the Goofy Challenge! I’m ready to enjoy the next few weeks of less running, more sleep, and eating well. That won’t be hard with the holidays! I indulged in cookies yesterday. I don’t deny myself sweets, I’m just not a huge fan of them (give me doritos or cheese and crackers any day). However, I ate 8 cookies last night and I’m totally okay with it.

Let’s look back at how week 15 was.

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Monday: Rest. I was planning to run, but my quad was bothering me so I played it cool.

Tuesday: 5 miles during my afternoon break. I used 90:30 intervals for the first time since my period of “burn out” and ran pretty fast for me (10:47 average pace) and felt good!

Wednesday: Rest – I was planning to go to NP, but it was a windchill of 9 degrees when I woke up. NoThankYou.

Thursday: 5 miles during my break again. I made a conscious effort to run easy. I didn’t fuel well in the morning, and I felt really bad when I finished.

Friday: 8.13 miles. My plan was for 10, but it started snowing as soon as I got to the trail. By the time I was done, I was running on two inches of snow. I didn’t have my trail shoes, so I was slipping everywhere and kept having to de-clog my treads. Man, I forgot how much harder it was to run on snow. I was beat.

Saturday: 20.01 miles at 11:17 avg pace! GUYS, I RAN  20 MILES AT FASTER THAN GOAL MARATHON PACE!! That wasn’t even a goal or on my mind. I just wanted to finish. This long run was weird, though. I ran 6.2 miles to a race, ran a 4.9 mile race, then ran just over 8.8 to finish it out. Running to the race was almost all uphill, and the conditions were pretty icy. The race was full of hills. I ran some miles fast (like a 9:40ish first mile) and some slower (11:30). I kinda did my intervals, but ran the downhills straight. I didn’t want to screw myself up for the rest of run, but wanted to push a little. Then I ran 8.8 miles back down towards Jake’s house and finished around the harbor. I was tired when I finished, but could have kept going. My body felt great, aside from my tight quad.

When I got to Jake’s I saw his roommate outside, and he said “I’d invite you skiing, but you look thrashed.” Yes, Andrew. I felt pretty thrashed, but also pretty stoked that I was officially in taper town.

Sunday: REST. My legs were a little sore in the morning, but felt better as the day goes on. As I write this (about 7 pm) I feel fine. I’ve been ravenous all day, but I normally am after that long of a run!

Weekly total: 38.x miles. Not the 40 I had planned, but with plenty of miles atop snow and ice, I’m cool with it!

How was your week of running? Have you had any snowy runs yet?

Facing My Holiday Hurdles: A Day in the Life

*Disclaimer: I was originally provided with a pair of Aftershockz Trekz Titanium as part of my work as a BibRave Pro. However, all thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!*

I love when people post “A Day in the Life” posts, and I have even shared a couple myself! I think it’s great to look into others’ lives and see how their days go. Especially people who are super social media and blog savvy – seriously. Do you gals work?!

As we all know, this time of year is especially crazy. Not only are we in the depths of the holidays, but I’m also in my peak week of training for the Goofy Challenge. I’m trying to get all my reports at work done before Christmas and subsequent vacation. I set yesterday (Thursday) as a great day of my life to share – busy, but typical. Who knew that things would change a little!?

Wednesday, 10:30 – settle into bed, charge my Aftershockz, and watch my nightly Disney marathon/half marathon video. They’re keeping me going these days!

Thursday, 6:00 – I finally get up and out of bed (planned wake-up: 5:30). I hop in the shower and make the most of my morning. These days, instead of running, it’s grocery shopping and chores. This morning I have laundry to fold (it had been sitting for three days) and tried to meal plan for the days ahead. I was hoping to find a dessert to bring to Jake’s family’s Hanukkah dinner this weekend, but failed.

7:30 – I look out the window – we got snow last night? A whole dusting? I find out that my morning pre-schools are on a 2-hour delay. This saves me a commute to east Baltimore and gives me more time at home!

8:15 – Clean off my car and head to the clinic (it’s a private practice, speech, occupational and physical therapy clinic for kids). This morning I’m listening to Christmas music. Many days, it’s podcasts. I’m at the office by 8:45 to make coffee and clean my office a bit.

9:00 – Start to work. I had 5 kids scheduled for the morning between 2 schools and the clinic, but with the delays and cancellations I’m down to only one – so crazy! I have lots of time to get paperwork done. I didn’t get anything submitted, but I’m very close on three out of my 8 reports due. I make some more pictures for a visual schedule for my one kiddo, and he screams my ear off for 30 minutes. While I’m doing paperwork, I’m listening to Star Wars music with my Aftershockz! I love these headphones because the signal reaches when I’m walking around the office, and I can still hear what’s going on while I listen to my music!

12:30 – The start of my afternoon break. I work split shifts, which makes for a really long day. I try to make the most of my 2:15 in between my shifts. I used to go to the gym most days, but I’ve started to run from the office more often. I’m changed and out the door just after 12:40. I use my run to get a dose of Harry Potter on audiobook.

1:40 – I’m back to the office after my run. I’m seriously light-headed because I had hardly ate that morning, oops. I have a salad in the fridge but need more so I run out for lunch and bring it back to the office. I try to keep my door closed so I’m not bothered during my break, and it actually works today! I listen a a little more Christmas music before I need to get back to work.

2:45 – My second shift starts. I typically have 6 kids on Thursday afternoon. I have one cancellation, but also have one random kid that was dumped onto my schedule. We play some verb games, read some books (There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell this week), work on some sounds, and play with Play Doh and Mr. Potato Head. The toys have purposes, I swear. In the middle of all this, my friend bails on our plan for the evening, which adds some stress to my day.

6:45 – Since my last client cancelled, I leave work early! I’m off to the movies to see the new Star Wars!! Thankfully, my roommate came and met me, which lessened the blow of another friend bailing. I planned to eat an overpriced dinner there, but their menu was broken and they refused to tell me prices. So I ended up with a dinner of popcorn and an icee. Not ideal.

10:45: The movie’s over (it was fantastic) and I’m home within 10 minutes! I should have had some real food, but I was beat. I opened my mail to find my secret santa gift from the Oiselle Volee DC/MD/VA gift swap. It really brightened my day! I still feel like I have so much to do. My room’s an absolute disaster and I can’t decide if I’m going to do a race on Saturday as part of my 20 miler.

11:15: Realize that I can’t get everything done in one day. During the Holidays, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I listen to some  music (more Star Wars, duh) while I get ready for bed and crash, hard. I set alarms for 6:00 on Friday (my day off!) but deep down, I know I won’t be up until 7 or 8.

The holidays are great. You get to spend time with family in friends, hopefully get a little break from work, get to shop and give to others, and eat delicious foods. They’re stressful as well. Make sure to take care of yourself. Eat well (which has been my struggle this week), get enough sleep, and understand that you just can’t do everything in one day! Today I still have to run 10(ish?) miles, get car insurance/registration straightened out (I need to register my car in Maryland by the end of 2017), make Christmas gifts, prep for 20 miles tomorrow, and do more laundry. But I also want to work on my Christmas puzzle, go to Old Navy, start getting stuff together for Disney, write some more posts, bake some treats and make a nice dinner. Will it all happen? Probably not. What I do know, is that my aftershockz will make it all a little more festive and manageable!

What are some of your holiday hurdles?

What are some of your favorite holiday albums/songs? For me it’s Hanson – Finally it’s Christmas (song and album), Straight No Chaser, and the Barenaked Ladies Christmas album!

Running in 2017: A Look Back

With December almost halfway over, it’s time to reflect on the year that has been 2017. I can’t put into words how good 2017 was to me in many ways. In terms of running, it was my best year yet. I’ll be sad to see it go, but 2018 also has a lot in store for me!

Throughout the year, I stayed healthy and injury-free for the first time. GUYS. I RAN A YEAR INJURY FREE!!!!!!!! Sure, I took extra days off here and there for aches and pains, but I was never hurt. I ran more miles than I ever have. I started to cross train regularly (then stopped, oops). I also experienced my first period of “burnout”, but I made it through.

January – March: In late 2016, I signed up for my second marathon. I started training the week before the new year began. Aside from a cancelled half marathon I ran relatively consistently. The worst part of these months was stepping away from November Project due to work-related stress. I remember one, 18-mile run that went very poorly but besides that, running was great. I ended up running 93.8 miles in January, 98.4 miles in February and 125.1 miles in March.

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With two of my fave pals (who run) at the trail half!

Races: Little Patuxtent River Run Trail Half (2:32), Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon  (2:19:35), Shamrock 5K (27:01 – PR), Baltimore Road Runners Club St. Patrick’s Day 5K (27:51)

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April-June: April brought peak week for the New Jersey Marathon, the taper, and of course, the race! I was so proud of myself for setting a huge PR. It took longer than I had hoped to recover from the marathon and I kept a pretty low running profile in the following two months. I ran my personal worst half marathon at Zooma Annapolis on a very challenging course. I also started to ride my bike more in preparation for my first Duathlon! I ran 134.1 miles in April, 46.4 miles in May and 74.8 miles in June.

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Sole of the City 10K (easy run before a 20 miler)

Races: Oldfields Half Marathon (2:12:43), Sole of the City 10K (1:12:22), Columbia 5K (aka Hangover 5K – 33:19), New Jersey Marathon (5:03:42 – PR), Stoneleigh Stampede 5K (28:52),  Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon (2:33:27), Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K (38:56)

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*don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry*

July-September: Once July hit, I really started to get back into the swing of things. My mind started to get back into training. I worked really hard to set a PR at the Charles Street 12 miler and went straight into training for the Goofy Challenge. I also completed my first multi-sport race and won an age-group award for the first time. Things got a little funky when I started my new job, but I was able to keep going strong. Summer seriously felt like it would never end, but it made me a stronger runner! I also ran my first RAGNAR! I ran 81.9 miles in July, 125.4 miles in August and 106.8 miles in September.

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Post Ragnar DC leg-3. I ran so hard my bib belt broke!

Races: Towson 4 on the 4th (39:44), Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon (2:29:08), Maryland Sprint Duathlon (1:43:04), Too Hot To Trot 10K (58:55 – short), Charles Street 12 Miler (2:03:33PR).

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October-December: These were, without a doubt, my hardest months of the year. In September and October I went full force training for Goofy. I was running doubles and putting in a lot of strength- and cross-training time at the gym. That, combined with work and putting tons of pressure on myself in my relationship, led to getting really burnt out. I thought about giving up on Goofy and just not running any more after. I stopped cross/strength work and really minimized my training – I began to do just enough to make it to the finish line but took all pressures off of myself. It took 3-4 weeks, but I finally found my way through it. During these months I’ve experienced some quad pain, but it’s nothing that made me take more than one extra rest day a week. I ran 121.6 miles in October, 116.8 in November and I have run 54.8 miles in December as of December 13 (I have 35 more on the plan for this week – HAH!).

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Favorite race photo ever – my nephew’s first finish line!

Races: 4 Miles for Eli 4 miler (38:XX – short, but with a stroller!), Baltimore Running Festival 5K (38:06) and Half Marathon (2:31:12), Towson Homecoming 5K (37:17 – short), Towson Turkey Trot 5K (31:50).

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October + November = 3 5Ks with friends!

In 2017 I ran 1 marathon, 6 half marathons, 1 10K and numerous other races. I set PRs in the marathon, 5K, and 12 mile. I will also hit my big goal of 1200 miles for the year in mid-December! It’s hard to pick out a favorite moment from the year, but if I had to choose it would be the entire New Jersey Marathon. I trained well, trusted my race plan, and ran my race. Or maybe hitting the 1,000 mile mark for the with friends by my side – it was amazing to share it with others, even if they were just a small part of it.

I also loved being a Bib Rave Pro in 2017! I ran three great races with them and tried numerous great products. I’m really looking forward to another year as a Pro!

As you know if you’re a regular reader, my 2018 is going to start off with a huge bang with my 18th half and 3rd full. I’ll be back soon with racing plans for 2018 as they are largely set in stone already. Crazy – right?!

What were some of your running highlights this year? What was your favorite race?

Charles St 12 Miler 2017: Race Recap

Okay I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing about the Charles Street 12 miler by now. But all the oversharing is worth it because the race itself was (almost) just as good as the first time I ran, and I did better as well! Here’s my last talk of it for a while.

Friday: On Friday afternoon I went to the local Charm City Run store to get my packet. It was quick and easy. My favorite shorts (the only shorts I wear) were on sale, and I needed new inserts and more GU. I left much poorer but with some “running necessities”. This includes the Marshmellow and Smore’s flavored GU that I’d been searching for, for forever!

I got to Jake’s before he got home, so I hit up happy hour for a couple of brews to relax a bit. We had a nice dinner in of pasta with homemade sauce and meatballs, and watched some movies. By 11:30 I was ready for the morning and out like a light!

Pardon Jake’s horribly messy room…I’m working on it/him.

Pre-race: It was raining as I woke up, which was expected. I got ready, and while I waited for Beth to pick me up I cracked open a red bull. They’re so bad for you but SO GOOD. The busses/finish line was just a mile from Jake’s, but it was nice not to walk in the rain. I also had a Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookie, and on the bus I had my UCan. Before we knew it, our bus had arrived in Towson!

Porta-john lines were short, thankfully! The rain was still coming down and we waited the rest of the pre-race time inside. When we came out to line up the rain had stopped!!! Beth and I lined up around the 2:10 pacers. I didn’t stretch well, and I’m not sure why. Realistically, the hardest decision was what to do with our rain coats! I put mine around my waist, because I expected it to rain again.

Miles 1-6: Beth and I ran together with 90:30 intervals, keeping it easier through the hills. Making sure she stayed with me was great to keep me from going out too fast. Unlike in 2014, the big hills in the first 4 miles passed with little issues. As it always is with run/walk intervals, it was so hard getting passed by seemingly everyone during these miles. But, I knew if I stuck to my plan, I’d pass them later. While our effort was even, our splits weren’t, due to the elevation changes and intervals (when you hit a mile on a walk break = THE WORST). Splits: 11:02, 1o:26, 11:12, 10:33, 10:22, 11:05.

Miles 7-9: After mile 6 I upped the intervals to 120:30, as planned. I was feeling great. I wasn’t struggling with the extra running time on the rolling hills and my run pace started to speed up. I also have to mention the amazing Toasted Marshmellow GU I had – it seriously was the best. I did eventually lose Beth around mile 8.5, as I apologized for getting in the zone and not really being able to slow back down! Splits: 9:51, :38, :52

Miles 10-12: At mile 10 I finally caught the 2:10 pacer, and yelled “gotta catch the 2:05!” It kept me going. It felt so good to be running strong, and passing the people who passed me during my walk intervals earlier. For the last mile and a half, the course flattens. After a lot of downhills in miles 7-10, it honestly felt like I was climbing a mountain to keep my speed up. While I never started to hurt, I was definitely starting to have to push a little extra. At mile 11.5 I passed the 2:05 group, and while I knew I wouldn’t catch the 2:00 group (I was at like, 1:54) I set my sights on it to keep going strong. I tried to nix the walk breaks in the last mile, but kept them to keep my run speed up. Before I knew it, I was chasing the finish with a great kick (.06 with 7:59 pace) and I was done! Splits: 9:28, :51, :39, 0:29 (.06 nubbin)

I might have to buy this, it’s fantastic! Photo cred: Chessie Photo. I’ll likely buy (They always take good ones of me!)

Final time: 2:03:32 (10:14 avg)

Post race: This is where I had the only issues with this race, and also where there were the most changes since I ran in 2014. The race ended at the Under Armour World Headquarters, which was awesome. I loved that we got a meal from the food truck as a refreshment, however, that’s all there was for food. And the lines were ridiculous. Ridiculous as in I waited in line half an hour for a small funnel cake and a piece of bacon, because that was the shortest line. There were no bananas/oranges/pretzels/simple foods for finishers right after the race. I’m thankful it was a cool day, because if it was hot and I had to wait that long for food, I would have been at risk of passing out without any nutrition. The beer line was long, but it went quickly, and the selection was local and fantastic. So really the worst part was the food, but that needs to be fixed!

Rain-wise, it thankfully held off for ALL of the race! It downpoured as I got my food and we sprinted back to the car. It poured for a while then cleared up in time for me to go to the Towson football tailgate (and game).

Photo cred: Kanji Takeno

Takeaways: I’m so proud of myself for getting the revenge on this race that I wanted needed. I had a great summer of training and put a lot of work into my speed, and it paid off. (I also think the unintentional taper helped) My one regret was starting out so slowly. My interval plan was great, but I could have started picking up my run pace sooner. I still had a lot left in the tank at the end, and felt like I could have kept going at the pace I was running for at least two more miles.

 

Will I run this race again? Definitely. I don’t love that it’s on Labor Day weekend, but it makes for potentially more mild weather than when it was in Early August. The course is moderately challenging and runs through beautiful areas of Baltimore (and my alma matter!). This year I ran the race as part of the B3 challenge. I won’t be doing the challenge again next year, as the 5K is on a Sunday (work) and the premium isn’t very unique, compared to this year’s amazing sweater. I am planning on this race for next year though!

Charles St. 12 and Baltimore B3 medals