Monday, October 31, 2016

Race 13.1 Baltimore training week 9

The Another week of training in the books!  Since my knee held up well with the tail run last weekend, I cautiously added more activity in for this week.  And it went well :). So here's the summary.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - yoga for runners and strength training at home with squats, crunches, clamshells, glute bridges, calf raises and planks.

 Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - 40 minutes at the gym.  I lost about 7 minutes because my wedding ring fell off, I had to get off the machine to find it, and the machine reset.

Friday - my knee was being a bit cranky so I decided to go for a walk instead of a run.  My phone died before I made it back but I think it was only an additional .2 mile at the end.

Saturday - long run of 11 miles with a 1 mile cool down walk. Technically there was 12 miles on my training plan but my last long run was only 9 miles with. 1.5 mile walk at the end due to my knee.  So I didn't want to increase too much.

I felt great on this run!  Miles 1-6 were on a paved section of the trail and 7-11 were on a dirt/gravel section.  My knee hurt a little bit at miles 4 and 5, I think because of the uphill, but it was fine the rest of the time.  In fact, I was thinking about how good I was feeling somewhere between mile 8 and 9 when I tipped on a rock and fell flat on my face!  Thankfully just some scrapes and a bruised knee.  But I dusted off and finished the run feeling good for the most part.  And the splits make sense with the elevation changes and the slowest mile was where I had my spill.

Sunday - yoga for runners and strength training in the evening.  Plus spectating at the Marine Corps Marathon in the morning followed by a yummy brunch.

So that was my week, and it went well for the most part.  I'm planning to get back to regular activity this week though we also have a work conference on Thursday and Friday so that may be a bit tough.  I'm going to make those my rest days and try to get in more activity at the beginning of the week. 

I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday 5 - Lessons from my first trail run

It's Friday!  It's been a busy week here and I'm glad that we're finally on the verge of the weekend :)  But first, I'm linking up for the Friday Five 2.0 with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy

As mentioned in my training recap, I had my first trail run over the weekend.  It was a bit of an accident so I didn't really research much in advance.  But here are some lessons learned during the course of the run.

1. Maps - Ok, we weren't in the middle of nowhere.  We parked at a county soccer park and the trails were right off the park.  So we kind of figured it wouldn't be a big deal to explore the trails haphazardly.  But once we were out of sight of the park, we might as well have been in the middle of nowhere.  We got lost. ended up on the wrong trail entirely, made it 6 miles and found our way back to civilization, though at a different location in the park from where we got on the trail at the beginning.  In hindsight, we should have had a better idea of where we were trying to go.

Back to civilization!

2. Slowing down _ I learned really quickly that it's important to slow down on the trails.  We pretty much didn't have a choice.  The trails were covered with fallen leaves hiding the rocks.  There were a couple times while we were running that I almost turned my ankle or jammed my foot on to a hidden rock.  At least I managed to avoid tripping on a root!

Leaf covered trail

3. Go with friends - It was pretty isolated.  I definitely wouldn't have been comfortable out there by myself.  It was beautiful and peaceful and during the whole 6 miles, the only other people we saw were a couple bicyclists.  So I was very happy to have a friend with me.

At least we had each other in our sights the whole time :)

4. Being present - One of the things I ended up loving about this trail run is that I definitely had to be more present in the moment.  There was no zoning out as sometimes happens when I run on pavement.  Don't get me wrong, I love the zoning out.  But I also really enjoyed the feeling of having to be hyper-present in the now.  I felt like I was alert but also really able to appreciate the beautiful surroundings.

The trail included a couple beautiful bridge crossings over water

5. Different muscles - It was only 6 miles and it was slow, so I was surprised to be sore the next day.  But I definitely felt like I was using different muscles, or more likely the same muscles in a different way.  There was more balancing required, more side to side than in my usual runs.  And it felt better on my joints due to the softer surface.

The start of the trail looked so deceptively easy

I will definitely be trying to incorporate more trail runs in the future!  I've always been kind of afraid to try it but this was kind of by accident so I didn't have a chance to psych myself out.  Though if I begin to do this regularly, I may need to look into trail shoes and perhaps gaiters since I did get rocks in my shoes.

How do you guys feel about trail runs?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

First marathon thoughts?

There seems to come a time in the running career of most runners where they begin to think about whether to do a Marathon or not.  I've been sticking with the half marathon distance a couple years but I'm wondering if it may be time to seriously think about trying a full marathon.  Next year happens to be my 40th birthday so it seems like a momentous time for something big.  And I don't think I have anything on the horizon next year that would make it a bad time for training.  But then, of course, I start thinking about which marathon it would be.  Here's a snapshot of my current thoughts.

1. Big city marathon like NYC - I would love to do the NYC marathon.  But is a marathon that huge right for a first timer?  I worry about crowds and difficult logistics.  But if it's going to be a one time thing for me, I'd love for it to be a big bang.  Another con is that it's lottery so no guarantee of that plan working out.  On the other hand, I could go through a charity and add extra meaning to the endeavor at the same time.

2.  Marine Corps Marathon - Our big hometown marathon has the advantage of being local.  It's amazingly well organized and though there would still be crowds and logistics, at least I wouldn't have to add travel to that.  There is still the lottery issue and I worry about beating the bridge since I'm pretty slow.

Marine Corps 10k last year

3.  Richmond - The Richmond Half Marathon was my first half so there would be something cool about having it be my first full marathon too.  It isn't super huge and Richmond is close so the travel would be pretty easy.  There would be no lottery worries.  I could enter early and then it shouldn't be too expensive either.  It's really well organized, great crowd support, in November so very low chance of it being hot.  They also have a generous course time limit.

My first half marathon

4.  Disney - I'm also excited about the thoughts of Disney as my first full marathon.  It would be fun, well organized, and they have a generous course time limit.  But the big con here is that it would be expensive (but again, it would be a belated celebration of my 40th birthday) and I worry that if this is a one and done thing for me, I would regret not choosing a different marathon.

Wine and Dine - my last race at Disney

Of course, before deciding on which marathon I have to be sure that this is something I really want to commit to and make sure I'm not putting the wagon in front of the horse!  But it's always fun to day dream... Any thoughts on first time marathons and which options would be the best?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Race 13.1 Baltimore - training week 8

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  As I mentioned, I decided to rest last week so that hopefully my knee improved.  And I stuck to it hard core.  Basically, nothing during the week other than walks.  So I'm just going to share some photos of my week instead of the usual day by day summary.

Scenes from my walks this week

This ice cream is high protein, low sugar and it actually tasted good!  We were pleasantly surprised.

A fun night out in Baltimore Saturday to see Leslie Odom Jr. and the Roots in concert

And Sunday was my big return to running (ok, that may be overly dramatic since I had only rested for a week).  I met up with a friend to explore a new trail.  It was supposed to be partially paved and partially natural surface.  I wasn't sure what that meant but I figured it would probably be good for my knee to mix it up a bit.  And I know it's slower on trails so I figured I wouldn't worry about time this way either.  Well, this was definitely a trail.  It was a narrow path through the woods covered in roots and rocks in many places.  We also got lost, ended up on a completely different trail, and never found the paved section.  It was super slow but I figured that's ok for my first trail run :)

Even more important, I made it through the 6 miles without knee pain!  My knee feels ok today too.  It still hurts a bit when I go down stairs but that's about it.

So the plan for this week is 2 strength training sessions at home, yoga, one run on the track, one run on the treadmill, and hopefully then I'll be ready for 12 miles on the weekend for my long run!  Sunday, Mike and I are planning to go downtown to cheer on Marine Corps Marathon runners.

I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday 5 - Things to do when alone

It's Friday and it has sure been a long week over in my corner of the world.  I'm definitely thankful for the weekend, and for the Friday 5 2.0 link up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.  I'm so glad these 2 bloggers decided to pick up the Friday 5 and host a new link-up!


Mike was at a concert on Wednesday that I didn't want to go to (mid-week and all that) so I had the evening to myself.  At first, I felt a bit lost with that alone time but then I began to relish the idea of some time alone.  So here are 5 things I like to do with alone time to fully enjoy it.

1. Food - I take the opportunity to enjoy food I like but that my husband doesn't.  The last time my husband was out of town for a couple days, I think I ate avocado every day.  Mike is allergic to it so we don't tend to have it at home otherwise.

My last solo meal out was at Roti...yum!

2.  Work out - it's nice to work out without the time pressure in the evening to get home, have dinner together, etc.  Don't get me wrong, I like having dinner together but just once in a while, it's nice to not have to worry about a schedule when working out in the evening.

Still resting my knee but I did take a leisurely walk on Wednesday and saw some fun decorations

3.  Music - I will admit that I have used occasional evenings alone to blast music and dance around crazily in the living room.  No photos of that one :)

4.  Cats - Kitty cuddles are always ideal but I admit to getting sillier with them when I'm alone.  Baby talk... not me!  Well, just when no one else is around to here anyway.

Being left alone with the cats may also result in them wearing costumes

5.  Cheat! - This week, I admit I cheated and didn't enjoy the alone time for long.  I invited a friend over, we got take out, and caught up with some girl time.  

How do you feel about alone time, great or not a fan?  And I hope a lot of you will link up with the new version of the Friday Five :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Army 10 Miler Review - Part 2

Back to the Army 10 Miler!  We left off part 1 with being in the corral holding area.  We listened to the first 4 waves go off and then waves 5 to 8 walked to the finish line in order.  We were in corral 7 so we slowly walked toward the start line as waves 5 and 6 went off.  And then it was our turn!

A view of the monuments in the distance from our corral

The race was huge, I heard more than 30,000 people. So it was crowded.  No way around that, especially at the beginning.  There was a spot in mile 1 where we were taking a ramp up to a bridge where the course narrowed so much everyone had to walk.  But I think that was the only part that was quite that crowded.  The rest of the course was full and I had to weave quite a bit but I never felt like I couldn't go my pace.  But I was in the back of the pack.  I imagine it was worse in the middle of the pack.  One place the crowds were really felt, even in the back, was at the water stops.  I'm really glad I had my hand held water bottle so I could ski most of the stops.  They were really crowded with an unbelievable number of cups on the ground.  It seemed to verge on dangerous.

Mile 1was a road from the Pentagon to the Memorial Bridge.  And then mile 2 was Memorial Bridge over to DC and this started the scenic part of the course.  It was absolutely beautiful.

Crossing the Memorial Bridge into DC

Mile 3 was through a bit of the city and mile 4 was a beautiful section by the river and the Kennedy Center.

Beautiful stretch by the river

Miles 5 and 6 were by the mall past the Smithsonian museums and the Washington Monument.  This section was also an out and back so it was cool to see runners on the other side.  I gave as many high fives as possible!

Lots of runners were stopping on the side to take photos during the race

Miles 7 to 9 were the hardest for me.  This was a bridge back to Virginia and no longer scenic.  The bridge was also steeply banked and this started up the knee pain again.  A lot of people around me seemed like they had given up and a lot of them were just walking.  I kept to my regular run/walk intervals but I was definitely flagging.

Miles 7, 8 and 9 were not pretty

Mile 10 perked me back up because I knew I was almost to the finish.  It also had a section in the Crystal City neighborhood where there were a lot of spectators and that was a nice boost as well.  The last bit of the race was another stretch of highway back to the Pentagon and we ended on the other side of the building from where we started.

So this was about my long run pace which had been my plan so I was ok with this time.  Especially when you add in the knee pain and the high wind.  It was windy for most of the race and there were parts with a rosette strong head wind blowing debris at us.  Add in the stops to take photos and I'm actually ok with my time on this race.  The only other 10 miler I've done was the Tower of Terror 10 miler in 2014 at Disney World.  That was my first big race, super crowded, and took me 2:30.  So this was actually even a PR!

After crossing the finish line, the organization continued to be efficient.  I didn't experience any bottle necks.  I walked along at a comfortable pace, got my finisher coin, water, a pre-package box of food in a plastic bag (so convenient!), and a banana.  I met up with my friends and then we found Mike at the family meet up area.  He had carried extra clothes for us so we didn't have to use bag check.

So there was a long walk from the finish area back to the start.  There was a shuttle but the line was huge, so we just decided to walk.  I think it took us 20 minutes plus another 10 minutes to walk to the garage where Mike had parked the car.  It seemed like everyone had parked there as it took forever to actually be able to drive out of the garage.

So that was my race experience!  We had a great time overall and all felt we would do this race again.

Pros - great pre- race communication, well organized, beautiful course, mostly flat, 15 minute per mile pace requirement, really smooth post-race area, plenty of water stops, military bands along the course, and supporting the military and the environment that comes along with that.

Cons - difficult race morning logistics with the start at the Pentagon, crowded, long walk or shuttle line to get back to the start

Monday, October 17, 2016

Race 13.1 Baltimore - training week 7

Here's to the start of a new week!  And today is my spotlight day in the blog hop hosted by Runaway Bridal Planner, so welcome to any new readers!  I'm excited to share a bit about my week with you.  But first, a bit about myself.  I live in a suburb of Washington, DC with my husband, Mike, and 2 cats.

First dance at out wedding reception

About as close as our cats get to each other

I started running in January of 2014 and have grown to love it.  Currently, I'm training for half marathons number 4 and 5.  I'll be doing the Rock and Roll Vegas half in November and Race 13.1 in Baltimore in December.

Crossing the finish line at my first half marathon

Here is the last About Me post if you want to learn more about me :)

And here's the review of my training for the week.  I've been having knee pain plus I strained a muscle in my back so it's still sporadic.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - rest day

Wednesday - strength training, squats, clam shells, calf raises, planks and crunches.  I ended with 30 minutes of yoga for back pain.

Thursday - 40 minutes on the elliptical

Friday - rest day since the previous 2 days seemed to bring the back pain back.

Saturday - a beautiful run with a friend.  It was supposed to be 11 miles but I ended up doing 9 and then walking 1.5 home due to knee pain.  And it was super slow too :( even with taking a Tylenol in advance the knee did not feel good.

Sunday - A walk in the morning since I was still having knee pain.  I think I'm going to have too try to rest most of this week in order to hopefully let me knee and back get better.

So that was my week!  I hope you all had a great week as well and I'm looking forward to connecting with those of you from the blog hop over the next couple weeks :)  Here are some ways you can hear more from me. 

I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Five - things about my week

It's the last Friday Five link up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia.  These ladies have been so gracious hosting this link up for years and I am definitely grateful.  Thank you, ladies, for everything you've done to host the link up!

I also wanted to make sure I participated in this last link up.  So here are five things about my week.

1.  My back and knee pain is much better but still kind of there.  The back pain seems like it's mildly aggravated by activity and my knee seems aggravated after long periods of sitting still.  So lots of walking around this week.

2.  Sleep pods!  A weird thing from work, we got these weird pods in the lobby.  I had no idea what they were at first but I learned this week that they are nap pods.  I don't know that I'll ever be comfortable enough to use them but I've definitely noticed people in there this week.  I guess it's good that the option is there.

3. I'm looking forward to my long run tomorrow.  I'm doing 11 miles with friends.  And the weather should be nice and cool in the morning.  I've even needed gloves when heading to work in the morning this week.

4.  The cats have been suspiciously well behaved this week.  They've even been seen sharing the same space with each other without a fight breaking out.  This is an improvement over last week when there was a fight so bad that fur was literally flying.  Thankfully those types of fights are rare and I'm happy to enjoy this moment of peace.

Peaceful co-existence

5.  Another thing I'm looking forward to this weekend, starting the work on our shirts for RnR Vegas!  We each bought our own dark colored tech shirts and I'm planning on getting some fabric paint this weekend and working on the stencil.

So that's it for my week.  I hope you've all had a great week too and have a fun weekend ahead of you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Army 10 Miler Review - Part 1

Here is the start of my Army 10 miler review.  I'm going to split it into 2 parts so that it's not super long.  This first part will concentrate on things before the race.  Part 2 will probably be up next Wednesday and talk about the race itself.

Pre-race communication

I thought the race did a great job with the pre-race communications.  The information about the wave start, the timing for each wave, the expo and packet pick up, the maps for the start and finish as well as the course were all really clear.  This race was going to be different than previous years in that the metro would not be opening early.  The race did a good job of communicating this change and suggesting alternatives.  I feel like they also did a great job with social media and ramping up excitement for the race.
Example of the post-race map


 The expo was held the Friday and Saturday before the race.  There were morning hours open to members of the military and then later hours that were open to everyone.  As mentioned above, I feel like the race did a good job about communicating about the expo in advance.  The only think I couldn't find on their website was information about what vendors would be at the expo.  I thought that would have been useful.

I went to the Expo Saturday afternoon.  It was unfortunately raining so that put a bit of a damper on things.  The expo was held at the DC Armory so you have to go through security to get in to the building.  Security consists of bag check and a metal detector.  So there was a bit of a line to get into the building leading to us standing in the rain.  Not for long, the line moved quickly, but still something to be aware of.

Once we got into the expo, the packet pick up area was clearly labeled.  And it was split up by bib number.  There was no line at all here so I was able to pick up my bib as well as the bibs for 2 friends.  All I needed was a copy of their driver's license and the process was very quick.  Next, there was a separate table for shirts.  The bib had a tag for the shirts with the size listed on there.  So I knew exactly what size to get for each of my friends.  There was no line here either.

We moved on to the expo area itself.  I had initially wanted to look for some arm sleeves and maybe a headband.  But it was super crowded!  It was a surprise since the packet pick up area itself hadn't been crowded at all.  We saw that there were some cool things like a helicopter on display.  But the crowds were so bad that I just decided to head out since I didn't need anything that badly.

Blurry pre-race selfie, we'll just blame it on the wind!

As mentioned above, the metro was not going to open early for this race.  The race did a good job of communicating this in advance so we had time to figure out the best option.  There was no way that we were going to be able to get to Virginia on time for the race from Maryland using metro if it didn't open until 7am.  So I decided to get a hotel room for the night before with 2 friends.  The cost wasn't bad at all split between the 3 of us.  We couldn't find a room in walking distance to the race but we found one that was only a 5 minute drive away.  We stayed at the Key Bridge Marriott and it was a great option for this race.

We were worried about parking the morning of the race given that there were more than 30,000 runners and a lot of them were going to decide against metro with the late start.  Rightfully so it turned out because there was a huge wait to get into the Pentagon City Mall parking garage that was near the race.  So we took a lyft from the hotel to the race.  This was great because we could just have the driver drop us off in front of the mall instead of having to wait for the line into the garage.

But still leave early!  We left early knowing that some of the roads would already be closed for the race.  I told the lyft driver about the road closures in advance but she still ended up going that way and it did delay us a bit.  But it turned out fine since I knew we had left ourselves plenty of extra time.


 The race started at 8am and are wave was scheduled to start at 8:48.  We reached the Pentagon (where the race starts and ends) at 7:45.  We had to go through security to enter the area but thankfully, there was no back up at all.  I had thought we would have to go through metal detectors, but nope.  There was just people doing bag check.  I didn't have a bag, but runners were asked to open the pockets of any belts they were wearing.  I was wearing a flip belt so I just opened it a bit but security didn't seem to worried about seeing everything that was in there.  Also, headphones were technically not allowed during the race but no one seemed to be enforcing that either.

There was plenty of time to get to our wave's holding area.  It was easy to find your respective wave because it was marked by balloons that were color coded to match your bib.  So we looked for the purple balloons and other people that had purple bibs.  There was security stationed at the entrance to each holding area and they seemed to be checking bibs pretty carefully, which was great.  While we were waiting in our holding area, we huddled together for warmth (it was windy and a bit chilly) and listened to the announcer.  It was a little weird because the things he was talking about were on the other side of the building, where the start line was.  But because our wave was 2nd from the last, we couldn't see anything up near the start.  But we did get to see the helicopters that were circling, which was pretty cool.

The purple balloons for our wave along with a circling helicopter

And that's it for part 1 of the recap!  Long story short on the logistics, I would recommend getting a hotel near the race if at all possible, considering alternative modes of transportation such as ride shares, and leave yourself plenty of time for everything!  My race experience itself should be up next week.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Race 13.1 Baltimore Training Week 6

Well, last week was a mixed bag.  If you remember, I had hurt my back and cut my last long run short because of some knee pain.  The good news is the knee pain went away fast with some icing.  The bad news is that the back pain continues.  I think it's a strained muscle but it's definitely gotten better and the pain is manageable with advil.  And I was able to complete the Army 10 Miler so yay!  But here is a summary of last week.

Monday- Rest day

Tuesday - Yoga - I searched You Tube for yoga for back pain and I found that Yoga With Adrienne has one.  So I did 30 minutes of yoga and it really seemed to help.

Wednesday- Walk plus 1 mile run - I did a 10 minute walk in the evening and since I felt good, I tried a brief run.  I was happy to experience no knee pain and minimal back pain.

Thursday - 40 minutes on the elliptical - since the mini run Wednesday went well I decided to try the elliptical on Thursday.  It felt ok at the time but it did seem to exacerbate my back pain later.

Friday - Rest day

Saturday - Yoga for back pain again.  The back pain was bad again Saturday night so I was a little worried about the race on Sunday.

Sunday - Army 10 miler completed!  I took some tylenol before the race and afterwards and it seemed to hold the pain at bay.  I really enjoyed the race and should have my full review up later this week.

Even more good news, the race didn't seem to exacerbate the back pain.  It doesn't feel worse today at all.  I treated the race as a training run and ran my long run pace and it seems fine.  I hope everyone else had a good week.  I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow