I swim. I bike. I run...usually covered in boogers and crayon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hot Chocolate 5k/15k DC



The Hot Chocolate 5k/15k is a race series that started in Chicago and is now in several cities. This was the first year it came to the DC area. It was extremely hyped up and seemed to appeal to beginner runners as there was a lot of swag touted and much chocolate to be had after the race. I decided not to register because I knew it was going to be a cluster and I really, really, hate crowded courses. Well, lo and behold, three days before the race, I got the itch to get out there with the other 20,000 runners. I bought a 15k bib off of Craigslist for $40 and my name was Alayna for all intents and purposes the day of the race.

The race was not actually held in DC proper. Rather, it was held at National Harbor which is a tourist trap on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. It has several hotels including the Gaylord, restaurants, and stores. It is easily accessible over the Woodrow Wilson bridge from Virginia. Being as how I live less than 1 mile from the bridge on the Virginia side, I decided to run with Bridget to the packet pickup on Friday. I had decided to bike to the race so I found a bike rack to use on the day of the race and figured I had the best plan of anyone.

The race expo itself was not an issue for me. I got there at 10:30am even though I knew it wasn't open until 11. I figured I could wait in line for a few minutes but the doors were open and I got in and out in ten minutes.
The weather for Saturday was posted on a dry erase board at the expo and it said the temperature at the start would be thirty six degrees. Brrrr!(It hasn't been that cold here all fall.)

The 5k (3.1 miles) was scheduled to start at 7:30 and the 15k (9.3 miles) was supposed to start at 8. With this in mind, I left home on my bike at 6:30. I saw the traffic backed up immediately. The exit for 495 to cross the bridge was PACKED. No cars were moving. It was brake lights as far as the eye could see. (Thank you, thank you, WW bridge for your pedestrian onramp from route 1!!) I passed all of the cars and rode the 3.75 miles to National Harbor in twenty minutes. It was a little before 7am and I saw the 5kers headed to the start which was a twenty minute walk from the harbor. I locked up my bike at the harbor and started to walk up to "the plateau" which is the top of a hill behind National Harbor from which you can see over the WW bridge and into Virginia. It was the staging area for both race starts/finishes, the gear check, and the after party. It was 7:30 and the 5k hadn't started yet. I heard that there was a car accident by the entrance to the race and that the race would be delayed indefinitely. I was still waiting to meet my friends so I was standing by the gear check, freezing, and checking my phone incessantly. At 8, I met up with my friends who I knew were running, I checked my stuff, and we walked to the 9 minute mile corral which was quickly filling up. (Keep in mind that it is freezing. I couldn't feel my toes by now.) The 5k hadn't started yet. I don't think it started until 8:30. The announcer was trying to keep everyone excited but we were just getting annoyed at standing in the cold for over an hour without our coats. (Note: I prefer not to look like a homeless person as I run with jackets tied around my waist after stripping them off once being warming up. I stick with a throw away shirt, a tank top, and arm warmers.) We no longer gave a crap about hot chocolate or fondue fountains. At 9:15, we heard the horn and assumed that the 15k had finally started. It was still 16 minutes later before we crossed the start line which was a quarter mile away. (Shuffle, shuffle, stop. Shuffle, shuffle, stop.) A wide corral gave way to a narrow start line and the bottleneck was impossibly congested. After a long wait, we were off! Uphill!! Yay. We ran out a quarter mile and turned around. Some (dumb) girl next to me insisted that the people running the opposite direction next to us were already on mile five. (In 20 minutes? Really?) We turned down a road, ran another two miles downhill and turned around to go uphill. We were like a herd of cattle. People were WALKING in the middle of the road. If you're going to walk, move to the right, or don't enter a 9 mile road race. I got some nasty looks from people as I weaved in and out of slower runners. It was rather impossible to have a pace so I just sprinted in and out of people until I could get into an open space. (Oh, did I mention that there was still traffic? Yes, for some reason, dump trucks were trying to get past us. Some guy in a BMW almost hit me and I was not outside the cones.) At mile 4, my time was 35 minutes. I skipped the first water stop. It was lacking volunteers, cups, water, etc. It wasn't worth the hassle. At mile 5, I grabbed a cup of Gatorade. BLECK YUCK WHAT THE HECK IS THAT? They were serving gatorade concentrate. No one had mixed it with water. It did nothing for my thirst. It was salty! I was ahead of my friends and I was focused on getting the thing over with by this point. The rest of mile five was downhill and on the other side of the road were people finishing. (I hated them.) The 10k was marked by a large, daunting hill that went on into mile 7. We ran around National Harbor, along the water, down a street. Finally, it was mile 8. (I passed the bike rack. I was relieved my bike hadn't disappeared.) Almost...done...It was shoulder to shoulder somewhat and still hard to get around people. This was the only place with crowd support. Around 8.5 miles, we started the uphill climb into mile 9. I was falling apart and didn't know how I could do another 3/10 of a mile. Suddenly, there was a sharp left hand turn and the finish line was about 25 yards away. It wasn't .3 miles in my mind...this is my 40th something race. I know what a mile is and I know what a third, a quarter, a half mile feels like. Ohhhh well!! I was done in 1:23:15. My friend was right behind me. We walked to our meeting place together and waited to get into the staging area behind hundreds of other people who had just finished. After we were all reunited, we went to get in line for the fondue and hot chocolate but, honestly, I was so sick to my stomach, I couldn't bring myself to eat or drink much of anything. We didn't stick around long and not many other people wanted to, either, because it was a mess trying to exit. We jumped a fence along with a bunch of other people to get out of the walkway down to the parking area.

We felt relieved to have gotten there on time, to have survived the long wait in the cold, and to be finished with it all. I was looking forward to the short bike ride home.

Overall, I wasn't majorly inconvenienced by the race. It was disappointing to have to wait for the race to start and therefore making us stiff and tight before the race. I am more sore today (Sunday) than I would normally be after a hilly nine mile run and I do believe it was from being improperly warmed up. The jacket that we got fits me well and, yes, it's cheap. So what? If you only wanted a jacket, spend the $65 on a jacket, not a race. I didn't have to swap sizes, fortunately, which I realize people did thus creating a shortage. There are hundreds of complaints on the Facebook page. I think some people have legit complaints but I think some people are just whiny. It was an INAUGURAL race. Meaning, it hasn't been done before and there are problems with any plan once it goes from paper to implementation. I can't speak to the parking or transportation issues. All I would suggest is encouraging people to park in Old Town Alexandria and riding a bike or walking to National Harbor. I only passed a dozen people walking over the bridge on the way home and I definitely did not see any bikers. People were complaining that it isn't in DC. If you looked at the website or saw the course (like I checked out beforehand) you would know that it's not a scenic tour of DC. If you want that, run a race in DC like National, Cherry Blossom, or Army Ten. I was home by 12pm so considering the timing of the race and the massive amounts of people, it wasn't too painful.

A Positive note--As we were walking back to the harbor, a lady overheard me talking about my bike ride there. She asked if I was a member of the Old Town Tri Club (I am.) She said she had seen my post on the message board about biking to the race and was amused that I had done so. We talked for a few minutes and now I have a new tri friend :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Where did 2011 go?

Happy Holidays! Already?? I can't believe it. I'm running in the Hot Chocolate 15k tomorrow. I remember back in July seeing it advertised on Facebook. It seemed like ages away! What have I done since then? Well I ran the Montgomery County Parks half marathon on September 11th, the Army Ten Miler on October 9th, an 11k on Veterans Day (11/11/11), and the Alexandria Turkey Trot 5 miler on Thanksgiving day. So I think I covered all of the major holidays with a race. Phew!

My plan tomorrow is to bike over to National Harbor where the race is. There are 20,000 runners and a few thousand parking spaces so I am doing everything I can to avoid THAT insanity. Although riding a bike in the cold at 6am might be equally insane. I guess I am up for the challenge! This race has been hyped up so much around here and I can't wait to see the fondue fountain at the end!

Wish me luck on getting there in one piece! (I'm not even worried about the actual running part.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Running Like the Wind

Since the hot weather has backed off, I can proudly say that I'm a runner again. I slacked a lot during the summer but we (the H and I) are registered for several races this fall and must get back into our routine.
For the past two weeks, I've met my friend to run at 5:30am twice a week. We usually do 3-4 miles but she's aiming to do a 7 mile leg of the Baltimore Marathon relay so we will be running longer (and faster) soon (we hope).
I'm still hosting the group run every Wednesday night for the DC Capital Striders (check it out here: http://www.meetup.com/dccapitalstriders-NOVA/events/31720582/)
I ran 10 miles on Saturday which is the longest and furthest I've run since I ran the North Face Endurance Challenge in June (I told you I was slacking.) The Husband also ran 10 miles today. We ARE, after all, running the Parks 1/2 Marathon on September 11th...6 days from now. And we are so hardcore about training. Hahahaa.
Wish us luck...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to Normal

I haven't been doing much blogging. Let me sum up the past few months: It's hot. I haven't been running or biking much. It's hot.

However, the husband and I are presumably running a half marathon on 9/11 (not in any anniversary sort of way...it's for the Montgomery County parks and we've run it the past couple of years.) Anyhow, we started running again recently in the vein of not needing medical attention at mile 5. So I can say, in all honesty, that I ran today. And Saturday. And last Wednesday. Woo hoo!

And now I will talk about what I feel like talking about even though it's not necessarily associated with athletics. Although, if I can say that I am still here to run, and talk, and blog, then I guess it is somewhat associated.

Yes, I survived The Great Virginia Earthquake of 2011.

It was a charming (aka cool) Tuesday in August. I ran at 5:30 am with my friend Kelly and we chatted about how marvelous it was to start the day on such a high note (read: not dreading it later.)

Bridget was up and on the go as soon as I walked in the door at 6:33. We played. Ate. Watched the news, ran errands. Blah, blah, blah,...

Fast forward to 1:40something pm. We were in my walk in closet hanging clothes when I heard rumbling above us. As we live in an apartment building (on the 11th floor!!!!!) with a relatively high turnover, I assumed it was people moving furniture and bumping every corner on the way out. But then that same rumbling sound was reverberating down the walls. This is weird, I thought. I turned to B, who was looking at me like "WHAT THE HECK, MOM?!?" And then the ceiling, walls, and floor were shaking. B started crying. The shaking was up and down, side to side. I walked out of the closet to look out of the window and I didn't see the other buildings moving. I figured it was just us. I was mad!! How could they do construction on our building without telling us!?!? This is unacceptable, I thought. I grabbed B, grabbed my purse and keys, and stumbled into the hallway to see my neighbor, Jessie, who has an office on the 14th floor but who lives across the hall from us with her husband and son, walk out of the stairwell. She was in tears. Seeing her so visibly upset made me upset. I started crying. "What the F is going on?" I said. She was crying too hard to answer. We walked into her apartment where her husband and two year old son, still in pajamas from his nap which he was awoken from, were about to leave. We all left the building and retreated to the parking lot where there were maybe six people. "What now?!?" we were thinking and saying. Calls were not going through. I had access to Facebook and it confirmed that we had, indeed, experienced an earthquake. I couldn't reach the husband for an hour at which point he said he was waiting to get out of his parking garage.

Well, there was no way we were going back in anytime soon. Uh-uh! Several people came and went from the parking lot. We decided to walk into Old Town and hunker down in a restaurant. It was one story and we were too jilted to walk back into sixteen stories of potential rubble in the event of another earthquake.

So there we sat, eating and having a couple of beers until we figured we had to go home at some point. I saw recently that there was a 4.2 magnitude earthquake at 4:36pm. We didn't feel it. (Maybe it was the beer or chasing around toddlers that distracted us).

Anyhow, I am glad to report the DC area is relatively unharmed aside from the ceiling cracking at Union Station and some falling bricks from a parking garage in Reston, VA (both reported from NBC Washington.)

I still can't believe the east coast had an earthquake and I was in a high rise to experience it. I suppose tomorrow everyone will be back to work and life will go on...and in that vein, join my running group tomorrow night...Belle Haven Marina, 6:30 pm :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Bike!


Friday was my birthday and my husband brought this home for me on Thursday night. It's a 2011 Scott Contessa Speedster 35 and we bought it new-in-the-box off of Craigslist for less than what it is going for in the stores. It is mostly assembled but our cyclist friend is going to finish setting it up later this week. I ordered my first pair of padded cycling shorts and they are here so I can't wait to go for a ride!
This weekend was soooo busy and I haven't run in a week and am feeling very out of sorts. My exercise today was scrubbing the laminate floors. I guess whoever lived here before waxed them which just makes them sticky and it has taken this long to annoy me to the point of actually fixing it. (But seriously, who waxes a fake wood floor??)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fall Races

I would feel too guilty if I spent the summer lounging by the pool so I'm figuring out what the next challenge will be. My husband and I are registered for the Army Ten Miler on October 9th but I need something else, something that will get me out of bed in the morning thinking "I have to train!" How about an Olympic distance triathlon? I've had my eye on the Half Full Triathlon in Ellicott City, MD that takes place on October 2nd. It's a .9 mile swim, 32 mile bike, and 6.7 mile run. I think it's completely attainable! I plan on discussing it with the husband tonight and I will definitely let you know when I (we) register. (I told him it was a marathon or this and we're leaning towards a triathlon.)
In other news, my birthday is in two weeks and I'm getting a bike!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaay. I know which one I want but we'll see which one I actually get. The husband has been very generous in lending me the use of his but it's high time I ride on my own two wheels...and in my own shoes...and helmet and maybe some new clothes...(Too much?)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Let's Run, Alexandria!

If you are in the Alexandria, VA area, you should join me on Wednesday evenings for a group run! In conjunction with the DC Capital Striders, I will be hosting this run every week at 6:30pm at the Belle Haven marina parking lot (by the Mt. Vernon trail). As a group, we can decide how far to run and in which direction but will try to keep it to an hour.
And here is the link: http://www.meetup.com/dccapitalstriders-NOVA/members/12284156/
Off to recruit runners...

The North Face Endurance Challenge (Half Marathon)



What. A. Weekend. It's almost noon on Monday and I'm still getting my bearings. Friday night was low key since I volunteered to be a course monitor at the Wine Country Half Marathon in Round Hill, VA (read: practically West Virginia.) I had to be there at 6:30am on Saturday morning and since I can't be late (I think I'm allergic to being late), or even on time for that matter, I was there by 6am (I left the house at 4:45.) The race didn't start until 7am and the runners wouldn't be showing up at mile 6 (where I was) for some time so it was a longgggg morning of waiting, watching, and then waiting some more (come on walkers!) I got home around noon and then it was time to head to a pool party.

Saturday evening, I had to get ready for my first trail race: The North Face Endurance Challenge. I was lucky enough to receive an entry from the DC Capital Striders earlier in the week for this sold out event (thank you!!!) I was all set to show that trail who is boss until...
...the race: Now I know that if an event offers a 50 miler, a 50k, and a marathon, they are NOT going to go easy on you. This race was HARD. I think I've already blacked some of it out of my memory due to the pain but let's see what I can relive:

Mile 1: paved road, five foot wide rocky path. Doable. It's crowded and shoulder to shoulder about 4 people wide.

Mile 2: First water stop was at 1.3 miles. The path is still pretty wide.

Mile 3: The "path" narrows. I say "path" because it looks like the weeds were stomped down just for these races. It's single file. About 8.5 minute pace. If this is too fast for you, sorry. Just have to keep up with the group. More single file with brief openings to pass people whose heels you have been clipping. Watch out for golf balls hitting you. (Yes, people were driving balls at us as we were, at this point, running past the green. No one was hit that I'm aware of.)

Mile 4: HOLY CRAP. You want us to run up THAT? More single file up the side of a cliff like hill. It's muddy. We are zig zagging our way up and down. People are trying to keep their balance and not trip on tree roots. Jump over huge logs.

Mile 5: Water stop! People are passing us on their way back. It's an out and back course so we run in the brush and weeds to stay out of their way. A girl behind me bites it down a ditch and is covered in mud. She refuses my help. Jump over some more logs.

Mile 6: Why did I wear my new shoes? WHY? There is no leaping over this six foot wide stream. The water is a foot deep. The next half mile is a slippery mudslide and some unlucky people end up covered in mud.

Mile 7: Turnaround!! Do it all over again.

It took me 2:30 which is my worst half marathon time but this was the most grueling half marathon I have ever done, as well. (2:30 is actually the women's average time for this race.)

I was too sick and tired to even be relieved that it was over. We spent about two hours at the post-race festival eating, drinking, and getting my The North Face shirt screenprinted with the event logo (I didn't work that hard to not get the premium!) before we rode the shuttle back to the car for the hour drive home. I spent most of yesterday sick and exhausted.

Of course I would do it again but I need to get some more practice before then. The woods are no joke!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

RedStar Worldwear Sunglasses



Remember that marathon I ran in March? While I was rifling through my race packet, I noticed a small card that said "$500 value" and I thought "Huh? How did I end up with a $500 gift card? For...something?" I looked closer and it said "redeem at redstarworldwear.com". I googled Redstar Worldwear and it appeared to be an attempt to sell you sunglasses. The website shows different styles of sunglasses retailed between $80 and $200. The caveat is that for every pair of sunglasses you buy, you pay a $10 fee. (The company claims to be marketing styles to see what is popular therefore offering reduced prices but I'm not clear on the whole story.)
Two months later, I find the gift card and show it to my husband. We decided to go for it and see if the sunglasses are actually any good. So we spent $100 (including shipping and handling which was $11) on nine pairs of sunglasses and we got to pick out a watch for spending at least $450 of the $500 gift card.
I know a lot of runners have seen this card and figured it was a gimmick. Well, it's not a gimmick but the sunglasses are definitely not worth the "retail" price. They are still stylish and functional but I wouldn't pay the full price. I have owned expensive sunglasses and these are pretty flimsy and don't seem as durable.
Hope this is helpful to some people who know what I'm talking about!
FYI, I took a picture of the glasses we received but two pairs (aviators) are currently on backorder so these are the ones we got today.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My New (Expensive) Hobby





As a runner, I appreciate the simplicity of tying your shoes and going. Triathlons, to me, have always been events where people show off their high tech gear whether or not they possess any athletic ability whatsoever. So what is a runner to do when running is taking its toll but you still want to compete? You jump in any pool you can get in, ride any bike you can find, and sign up for your first triathlon (judgments aside.)
A month ago, I was debating signing up for another half marathon or doing something completely different. I looked at a few tris in the area that took pace this month and chose the Bristow Area Tri and Swim "Salute to the Military Triathlon" which took place in Warrenton, VA this morning. It was a 300 meter swim, 12 mile bike ride, and a 5k run. I had a few friends sign up as well so I wouldn't be completely lost and bewildered.
We got there at 6am this morning. I took my bike and gear to the transition area and set everything up. I was going to wear my bathing suit for the swim and throw on some bike shorts for the other two events. I put some Lock Laces in my new running shoes last night so I wouldn't have to deal with tying them (as it was, it took me 2:39 to transition from swimming to biking which I am sure is a lot of time.)
There were 175 registered for the sprint triathlon and I was number 155 to get into the pool. I don't know WHAT time I said I could swim it in when I registered but I basically passed ten people in front of me so I could have easily been closer to the front. It took me 8 minutes to swim. I jumped out of the pool and ran to the transition area, put on my shorts, socks, shoes, helmet, and walked my bike to the mounting line and left for the 12 mile ride. The roads were rural with rolling hills but there was a lot of "out and back" requiring us to make sharp u-turns in the middle of the road which I'm sure added time.
I made it back to the transition area and walked my bike to the rack remembering not to take off my helmet until I was dismounted (yay...no DQ for me! I was very nervous about all of the rules and made sure I followed all of them.) It only took me 55 seconds to transition into running. I didn't wait for my friends who were behind me. I just wanted to get it over with! I felt like I was crawling during the 5k but I still managed to pull it in at 27:01.
I finished 3rd out of 8 in my age group and won an award (or would have had we stuck around to receive it.) My time was 1:29:19. I was 101/152 overall (guess not all 175 made it to the race) and was 70/152 for the run (not bad since I'm a runner and not a biker or swimmer.)
Now I want to do another one. I figured I would learn some lessons today but I didn't mess up too badly. I guess the best lesson I learned is that you don't need fancy equipment to compete in a triathlon!
(Photos compliments of my husband who cheered me on and kept the baby in tow!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Swim/Bike/Run (Without the Swim)

Sunday, I took a 20 mile bike ride. It was the first time I've been on a bike since we went camping Memorial day weekend 2009. It wasn't bad! I went on a hilly portion of the Mt. Vernon trail that goes along the Potomac river all the way to Mt.Vernon. It was a nice day so the trail was packed with families, bikers (some fast and some painfully slow), walkers, runners, dogs. I nearly clipped someone off of their bike while passing them. Oops! How do you go fast with so many people around?
After I got home from the bike ride, I went out for a run. I didn't know how far I would make it as my legs felt like jell-o and running after biking makes you feel sooooooo slow. I managed to go four miles.
I need to go for a swim sometime soon. I took a masters class last summer and I felt pretty confident at the end but it's been 8 months since then. The triathlon is next weekend and my friends and I are excited for it. I just want to finish it and see if it's something I want to keep doing. But maybe I'll hate it and we'll be able to save a bunch of money :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Shoes and...Triathlon?


Helloooo!! The weather has been awesome and the family and I have been doing some running. Yesterday, we ran to the local running store and I got new shoes which I have desperately needed! I got Brooks Ravenna 2 (pictured above) which I would not have bought or worn to train for a marathon in since they don't have much medial posting but they are cushy and lightweight and perfect for the shorter runs I've been doing (fewer than 10 miles). I have been wearing my old Ravennas that I got for free and after trying some other shoes on (including my beloved Nike Structure Triax), I decided to get the updated version of them. The new Nike's just seemed like too much shoe--heavy and bulky. I also tried on the Nike Lunarglide 2 for s&gs and they were so flat and hit my feet in the wrong places. I am definitely not a minimalist runner. I like to feel my shoes and their support.
In other news, I registered for my first (sprint) triathlon! It's May 29th (Memorial day weekend) and about 40 minutes from where we live. It's a 300m swim, 12 mile bike, and 5k run. The swim is in an outdoor pool so it's perfect for a newbie like me. I am nervous about the transitioning. I am already figuring out what to wear. My husband has a wetsuit that I can wear and a bike I can ride (I don't even have my own bike. Shame.) But I'm so excited!!! I need to get in the pool and fit some bike rides in in the next four weeks. Woo hoo!!!! There is a triathlon in Annapolis on the 14th but it's $140 to register and I was hoping that would be my first one but the one I entered is $65 and seems better for someone who is new to the sport since the swim is in a pool (and not off of city dock.) The bike is what I am most worried about. I took a Masters swim class three days a week last summer so it's the bike I am probably most rusty at. So that's the news!! I had a month off after the marathon and now I have the itch to train for something new. Wish me luuuuuuck!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hi there! It's been a few days since I've written. I just haven't been doing too much recently to warrant writing about. I haven't been running regularly. I guess I'm just waiting until my body doesn't hurt at all after running a few miles and I know resting will help with that. I've been doing my stroller workouts and still get soreness after doing 50 lunges and squats. My left arm is twitching from seeing how many push ups I could do in a minute the other day (it was 40ish.) But other than that I've been laying low. I would like to run a race next weekend for Mother's Day but I can't decide which one. There are a lot of 5ks in the area but I would rather run a longer (slower) race. Maybe if I do a 5k, I can find one that allows strollers. How apropos that would be.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hurray!

What an emotional week! I got a call on Wednesday from a nurse that I DID have a stress fracture. Then I went to have a followup with the doctor on Friday and he said after looking at my bone scan results that I did NOT have a fracture and that if I feel pain free, I can run. Well, I have been feeling good since taking it easy. Apparently, all I had is some irritation which showed up on the scan but isn't as serious as a fracture.
So, instead of my husband running the ten miler for me this morning, I ran it! I went alone as it is pouring rain today and wouldn't be much fun for spectators. The last ten miler I ran was the Annapolis 10 in August. My time was 1:40:00 (10 minute pace) and I was twenty five pounds heavier and not running much. I was anxious to see how much my time would improve after running all winter. My PR is 1:25:32 and while I didn't expect to break that time, I was hoping to at least be back in the 1:20s.
The race was small. I think there were 700 runners in the 10 and a couple thousand running the 5k (it was a running festival with several distances). No one wanted to start at the front. I guess there weren't any elite runners in the pack so I basically started with the clock. I ran the first mile in 8:10. I ran the next four miles at roughly the same pace. The clock at mile 5 said 43 minutes (and change). Wow! Mile 6 took me 52 minutes. Mile 7 was 1:01. Alright! "I can do this" I thought. But mile 8 was pretty much all uphill and I lost a lot of time. I went from running for time to running to finish (insert sad face emoticon). At mile 9, it was 1:21.
Icandoiticandoiticandoit...I pushed it and I crossed the finish line at 1:30:33. Oh well. I tried!! During mile 10, there was a guy walking and I said "come on! you can do it" which is what people say when you walk in the last mile of a race. He thanked me at the end and told me it really helped. That's what's fun about races--urging other people on and knowing that you're all in it together. Even when it's sucky and you can't see the top of the hill, it is worth it in the end.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Waiting...

Hello! So I don't have the scan results yet. Big booooo to that. My foot feels great, however, so I tested it a little tonight. I ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes (I didn't want to get too crazy). So far, so good. I am registered for a ten miler on Saturday and I really, really want to run it so I REALLY hope the results are good. My husband keeps teasing me about him running it instead but I hope it doesn't come to that. Plus, the premium is a really cute half zip jacket that I would love to wear haha.
We'll know tomorrow...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hi, all!! I thought I would update you on the status of my injured foot. Well it no longer hurts which is good but I haven't run in 8 days and I'm afraid if I start again, it may hurt. That's why I went and had a bone scan today. The doctor (and I) wanted to rule out a stress fracture. So I had an 8am appointment at the radiology center today. I got there and was taken back right away. I laid on the imaging table and was injected with radioactive pigment which was dispersed throughout my bones in a matter of minutes. The pigment pools in areas of fracture. The pictures took about ten minutes to take. I could see the images of my bones on the screen and there were defnintely "hot spots" where there was more pigment. Anyhow, I was free to go after the pictures were taken but I had to return at noon to take more thorough images. Fortunately, my brother's girlfriend is off on Mondays and was able to babysit for me. I don't know the results yet but I am anxious to call my doctor tomorrow and see if he has them yet. Please don't let it be a fracture!! If it's not, I am ok to run and may just need some physical therapy. If it's a fracture, I may need to wear a walking boot and I won't be able to run for several months. Keep your fingers crossed for me!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good afternoon! Well, my foot is still hurting. I made an appointment to see a sports doctor on Friday morning. I know I'm going to be told not to run for weeks, maybe months. *Sigh* I guess my husband may be running that ten miler for me next weekend after all...
In the meantime, I am trying not to gain back all of the weight I lost while training for the marathon. I decided to lift more weights and eat low carb (but still under my caloric limit). My brother is starting the paleo diet today and I've been reading about it and I am curious. I told him I would try. I'm more of an "everything in moderation" person so cutting out entire food groups isn't real appealing to me. But I wonder how my body will react to it. So far today, I've eaten two scrambled eggs for breakfast, some barbacoa for lunch (like the pulled beef from Chipotle but this is homemade and yummmm), and some fruit. I need to buy some veggies from the store. From what I've seen, you should eat half meat and half vegetables with a little bit of fruit and nuts thrown in. We'll see...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Peroneal Tendonitis...?

*Phew* what a weekend. The party and my husband's race (and recovery) made the weekend fly by. Now I am dealing with debilitating pain in my right foot. Well let's back up a bit. The marathon was last Saturday. I took the week off from running so by Saturday morning (three days ago), I was itching to run again. I ran five miles before setting up for the party. Afterward, I wore some new sandals and felt fine all day. Sunday, I was walking fine until I had to go eight blocks to find a coffee shop in downtown DC and I started getting a sharp pain on the outside/bottom of my right foot. (I know it's not plantar fasciitis. I've met tons of people who suffer from plantar fasciitis and my symptoms are not similar.) This is nowhere near my heel. It is on the outside wrapping around to the bottom (opposite side of my arch). At first I blamed my new sandals but I'm thinking it's more likely residual wear and tear from the marathon. I did some internet diagnosing and it seems possible that I am suffering from "acute tendonitis of the peroneal tendon." Yuck. It looks like some rest from running is in my future and also maybe a doctor's visit even though I hate going to the doctor because it always seems like a waste of time (rest, ice, reduce inflammation, etc.) I get it. I'm thinking more and more that the weight room is my friend. In the mean time, I am wearing my oh-so-supportive running shoes and insoles and seeing if it will alleviate the pain in the next few days. If not, then it's off to the doc.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler



Hiiii, cherry blossoms! It was a gorgeous morning in DC today. I didn't run but my husband did. The Baby and I saw him off to his starting corral and then headed off down 14th St. to find a Starbucks because it was FREEZING. We got to Starbucks and to my dismay, there were two large, marble steps and two heavy doors to open once you got up the two, large marble steps. What the heck? I have a BOB Revolution stroller which means SUV/off road aka LARGE. Thankfully, a friendly guy held the doors for me (I wasn't so lucky on the way out.) Anyhow, aside from being annoyed at Starbucks, the morning was good and we were able to see my husband finish his first race since October. Which inspired me to sign up for a ten miler in two weeks. Whaaaat?! I can't help that watching other people race makes me want to race. How do you think I got into the marathon business after all? (Who knew watching my friends run the Marine Corps Marathon would change four months of my life). So anyhow, it's a new race put on by the same people who manage the Baltimore 10 Miler (which I will run this year for the 4th consecutive year--whaaaat). They always have the best premiums. This race will take place in Charles county, MD (basically La Plata, MD.) I can't wait! I ran two ten milers last summer as a slow, out of shape-newly-unpregnant mother and am anxious to see how my marathon training translates into a ten miler (85 minutes?!? Please? That's my single-lady-in-shape PR.) We'll see!
Congrats to my husband on his ten miler finish xoxo. Hope you got to relax today...a little. Hey, where's my dinner...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Now What?

After the high of the weekend, I am sitting here wondering "what next?" I accomplished one fitness goal; now on to another, I suppose. But what? I want to continue running so I think I should focus on getting faster for shorter distances like the 10k. I've always had trouble with 10ks. I can run them just fine but nowhere near as fast as I would like. My personal best is 53:10 and that was in a half marathon--not in an actual 10k (I don't get it!) I usually finish around 55 minutes so it would be nice to PR in the 10k this spring. In order to do that, I have to do lots of track workouts. I haven't done track workouts since high school so it will be fun to do them again (I think.)
Anyhow, that's the plan. The week following a marathon is kind of depressing and it's important to look forward to new goals.
I've tried to not be too lazy in the past few days. Today, we did a stroller workout with the moms group in a local park. I was going to run a few miles after but the baby was grumpy and I hadn't eaten lunch so we came home and didn't make it back outside. Also, when is this weather going to change?!? So tired of the 40s and 50s and tomorrow it is supposed to SNOW. WTH? I just want to put away the parka and forget about it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Marathon Recap






I did it! I ran the National Marathon!
My day started at 4am when I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. My friend picked me up at 5:30, we picked up someone else, and we made it to RFK by 6:15. We hung out in the armory until 6:45 since it was about 29 degrees outside and indoor bathrooms were preferred over the hundreds of porta potties. I found the 4 hour pace group and, at 7:03am, we were on our way.
Everyone was in a good mood. The first 13 miles flew by (although, I did lose the 4 hour pace group at mile 10). We were joking and laughing and taking tons of pictures. The crowds were thick and there were bands or djs every few miles. We drank water at every stop and walked for a few seconds each time. At 13 miles, the half marathoners turned right to go to the finish line and the marathoners went straight. My friends were running the half so we said goodbye and I was on my own.
I have run five half marathons but never the full so when I was half way done, I felt like my body was saying "Where are we going? Why aren't we stopping?"Mile 13 was decidedly one of the hardest. Miles 14-19 were easy. I had a good pace, I walked all of the water stops and I felt good. Mile 20 took us to the waterfront in southwest DC and there were hardly any spectators on the course. There was a steel drum band here that sounded awesome but not too many people standing around. Mile 21 took us by the Nationals stadium and across the Anacostia river. We ran along the river in Anacostia park and mile 23 took us across Pennsylvania avenue. We ran down Alabama avenue until mile 25 when we turned and ran down a ramp to East Capitol street and looming in front of us was RFK stadium--the finish line! It was the longest 1.2 miles. It felt like forever and I couldn't run very fast and I had to alternate walking and running. I heard someone yell that it was only half a mile and I started running and was determined not to walk. I ran up the hill and through the finishing corral and people were shouting my name and the announcer said "Hello, Mrs. Walden! We've been waiting for you. Congratulations on your first marathon!" I started crying. I knew I would cry when I finshed. When I ran my long runs, I would often tear up at the end just thinking that I was actually going to run a marathon. I hadn't seen my parents on the course but my mom popped out of the crowd as I crossed the finish line and gave me a hug. I was very emotional and happy and relieved to not be running anymore. My official time for the marathon is 4:31:34. Not too bad considering I wanted to finish between 4 and 4.5 hours.
Afterwards, I had a delicious lunch of pizza with my parents and brother. I didn't feel badly at all except that the bottom of my feet were very sore (they still are.) Today, everything is sore. The tops of my shoulders are even sore.
Now to recover. I was told to walk today so I should probably do that if I can ever get up from the couch. At least I have today to relax before my husband and daughter get home tonight. I can't wait for that! Until then, it's a movie marathon to recover from the running one.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm Running 26.2 Miles Tomorrow!!


Holy cluster, Batman. I'm glad I don't have a full time job that I had to rush back to because, unless you have all day, you don't have time to pick up your packet for the National Marathon. It opened at 11am and I got there at 11:30 to MASSIVE lines outside of the DC Armory. I waited and waited and waited outside in the cold and--tada--you have to go through a security check. So that's why it took so long. I got inside and found some friends and we went to our respective packet pickup lines--mine for the full (which was a significantly smaller section of lines) and them to the half. But, alas, why are we being pushed around and why can't I seem to stay in my line? Oh, because they have the late registration lines perpendicular to the marathon packet lines. So there were a dozen lines going in all directions. What the heck? If you are claustrophobic, you would have freaked. In yet another line, I picked up my shirt. Now, I ran the half marathon in 2009 and loved the shirts we got. They were brightly colored, easy to read, and the back said "13.1 FINISHER". THAT'S what you want in a race shirt--simplicity and a feeling of "look what I did!" Well the shirts are white, have nothing on the back other than the sponsors, and the front is just a busy scene of words, numbers, some fuzzy picture of the Capitol dome, and in small, tiny letters "26.2 finisher." What the heck? I should design race shirts for a living. Hmph.
So I guess I'm all set. Clothing. Check. Bib. Check. Headband that says "I thought they said RUM". Check. Alright...I guess I'm ready. Wish me luck!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gearing Up


What a day! My husband had a 2pm flight to St. Louis and around 9am, he decided to take The Baby. We figured that his mom, who lives in Dallas, doesn't get too many opportunities to see her and she has been pretty distraught over the loss so I wish I could see her reaction when the two of them walk in! (We told his mom several times that The Baby would not be going.) The only caveat is that the funeral is actually in Springfield, Missouri but flying there is not feasible since their airport is so small so my husband has to drive four hours once they land. They probably won't get to Springfield until late tonight. (I guess I should say what a day for them!) I just want to say that seeing a father haul a car seat, baby, stroller, and luggage through an airport makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I love that he took it on. I, on the other hand, am free! This is definitely an odd feeling.
On the way home (and after going "wheeeeeee!" all the way out of the terminal), I stopped at Michaels to buy some heat transfer letters to personalize my marathon shirt. I heard it is really motivating to hear strangers cheer your name so that's what I decided to do. I also made a shirt for my friend who is running the half. She volunteered to run the first half with me and I just so happened to know someone who was giving away their entry so tada!
Now I am sitting at home wondering what to do next...seriously, this is weird. I might go to this Italian place next door and order takeout pasta. It's that or go to the grocery store and then I still have to cook so...easy decision, in my mind.
Well tomorrow is the race expo. I'm gonna run my 2 miles and then head over right when it opens at 11. Race expos are a zoo and I don't feel like being herded like cattle if I can help it. I also want to check out the vendors. Sometimes you see the best running items at expos that you wouldn't normally see anywhere else.
Let's hope I take advantage and get some good sleep tonight! I know tomorrow night is probably a wash so tonight has to count.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Two (2) Days!!!

Wow wow wow. I have two days until the marathon. I feel much less stressed since last night. I talked to my mom on the phone and we came up with a plan and this morning my friend offered to pick me up and drive me to the race so I don't have to go alone. I've created a checklist of things I can't forget and started throwing items in a bag so that they are there waiting to go on Saturday. (4:30 am isn't the time I want to have to remember things.) I figured out for SURE what I'm wearing and laid it on the dresser so it's ready to go. I even pulled out The Baby's cold weather bundler and made a checklist for my mom of things to bring so everything goes smoothly while they watch the marathon. I also decided on a place to have lunch (brick oven pizza...mmmmm.)
My husband leaves tomorrow for Missouri for his grandfather's funeral so hopefully The Baby will cooperate and sleep for a long time tomorrow night. Friday, we will go to the expo for the packet pickup and run the last, final run of a whopping two miles.
I can't wait for Saturday but despite that, the week still seems to be zooming by. Hopefully, so will the race.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BIG YUCKY

I wish tomorrow was Saturday so I could run this marathon and get it over with because it's hanging over my head and mocking me right now. Last night, we found out that a member of my husband's family passed away and now my husband has to go out of town and won't be here to see me run. The weather is looking to be dismal at best: 40s and rain/snow showers. I was really excited to have my parents watch but now I feel bad that they will be standing in the cold waiting for me while holding The Baby the whole time.
Waaaaah. Hopefully this will pass...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Running LOLZ


I shouldn't blog at 8am because inevitably something will happen during the day that I will want to talk about. I was supposed to run 3 miles today. I decided to run to the trail and head south and run to a shopping center with a post office to drop something off in the mail (yes, I could drop it off downstairs, but where's the fun in that?) So it was roughly 3 miles there and it would take another almost mile to get home in what would be a loop. There were some random signs that I had to take pictures of. I guess someone wanted to spread some cheer? I wonder if there were more further down...
So anyhow I got off of the trail and headed down a sidewalk to go to the shopping center and I passed some woman pushing a stroller and she GASPED and said "Well I NEVER" to me like I had just rammed my jogging stroller into her behind instead of just passing her like I did. Crazy lady. I think two strollers can fit on one sidewalk. So I just ignored her and sprinted away. I got to the post office and the same lady was walking towards it and I was thinking "please, please don't come in here and be crazy" but she kept walking.
I was planning on going down another road that would lead straight to home but there was no shoulder at that point so I just went home the way I came and it wound up being just over 6 miles. Oh well!! It felt good, though, and it feels great outside. I regretted wearing long sleeves.

Nerves and Weather


It's Monday and only five more sleeps until the marathon. I hope I DO sleep. Apparently, it's normal to not sleep much the night before the race due to anxiety so Thursday is supposed to be the night I get the most sleep. I only have to run 7 miles the rest of the week (3 today, 2 tomorrow, and 2 on Friday). I checked the weather for Satuday and it will be in the lower 50s and rainy. Ugh! 50s is the high so I bet at the time I'm running, 7-11am, it will only be in the 40s. Seems familiar...when I ran the same race (the half marathon) in 2009, it was 29 degrees at the start and only made it to 39 by the time I was fininshed. Brrr. This is not fair considering that the forecast for next weekend's Cherry Blossom Ten Miler is 70s and sunny. At least it will be nice while I stand around and watch everyone else run.
I am working on the shirt for The Baby to wear. It is very cute so far! I haven't done the back yet so I need ideas. Help!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday!

What a glorious day today is! The weather is perfect (for March) and we have gotten so much accomplished. We visited a new church this morning, well, new to us. We have been slacking on finding one. We were pretty spoiled with our last church and I feel like nothing can compare but I did some research and found one just as contemporary, young, and energetic as our last. I mean, how awesome is it that the nursery is just outside the sanctuary and one way mirrored windows let you look in on them but the babies can't see you. I know those aren't the important things but you can't help if you walk in and feel completely at home (I mean, that has to be good, right?) The high schoolers run the worship every fifth Sunday and today was one of those Sundays. There were probably fifteen teenagers playing instruments and singing (and they were really good!)
Anyhow, we ran 3 miles as a family this afternoon. We ran halfway across the Woodrow Wilson bridge and back. Despite the brevity, it was a very hilly 1.5 miles but The Husband is running in the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler on April third (he was one of the "lucky" lottery winners) and he has seemed to conveniently forget about it until recently so it's time to get him in shape!
Now pulled chicken bbq is cooking in the crockpot for dinner. We try to cook a lot of something on Sunday and eat it throughout the week so that's the selection for the next few days but from the smell of things, I don't mind.
Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

17 Weeks Down, 1 To Go


I'm running again! Yesterday, the three of us ran 3 miles. We ran to the running store down the street so I could pick up a few things like Gu and a new knee strap. Today, I ran 8.5 miles and it was pretty comfortable but I was still relieved when I got home. Running 26.2 miles still seems pretty daunting to me right now. My plan is to walk through the water stops so I'm sure I'll keep telling myself "just get to the next stop." They're every 2 miles so hopefully it won't be TOO painful.

On another note, I am creating a shirt for my one year old daughter to wear during the race. Any ideas on what it should say? I'm thinking along the lines of "Run Mommy Run" on the front and then maybe something funny on the back (like "Full Marathon, Full Diaper"). Haha. I probably won't get around to making it until later in the week so let me know if you have any thoughts.

Enjoy your Saturday night!

Friday, March 18, 2011

It is a gorgeous Friday in the DC area today! It's 77 degrees and overcast and I forgot that you can still get sunburned even when it's mostly cloudy. Oops. The Baby and I went to a stroller workout with my moms group and then we stuck around to have a picnic lunch. Just imagine twelve moms, babies, and strollers doing lunges, planks, squats, and push ups across a parking lot. I'm sure we were a sight! So now my butt feels sore instead of painful. I feel the best today out of every day this week. I haven't tried running this week but I think when The Husband gets home from work, we're gonna go on a family run for 2 or 3 miles just to see how it goes. Plus, we have to take advantage of this weather since tomorrow it will go back to being rainy and in the 50s.
I can't believe a week from now I will have my bib for the marathon! Aaack.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Keep Calm and Ice Away

Must...not...freak...out. So I've been to the chiro three times in the past three days. I still have a dull ache in my lower back. I have been icing three times a night. The marathon is in 8 days. It hurts. My hip hurts. I will need to have 28 appointments before I am healed. What will I do about the marathon?!? OMG. The thought of not running it or not completing it just brings me way down. I know that long term being healthy is far better and blah blah blah. That will make me feel warm and fuzzy in about a year but right now it just sucks. I have the OK to run. I am not going to do any more damage; it's just the pain that is, well, a pain. Since the weather here tomorrow will be in the 70s and I haven't gotten much exercise this week, I plan on taking the baby in the jogger for a few miles and based on that, I will decide if I will run the 8 miles on Saturday.
I can't believe this is happening. The problem I anticipated having at this point is my left knee (I have patellar tendonitis or "runner's knee") and even it doesn't hurt.
I know...whine, whine, whine. I think I need some wine to go with my whine.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

T Minus 9 Days

The marathon is in 9 days and I am one day closer to feeling good enough to run it. I went to see the chiro again today. (She wants to see me pretty much every day until next Saturday.) I seem to have a serious case of degeneration in one of my vertebrae and it is pinching the nerve that sends pain down my right side. This is the fourth day in a row of not running and it feels very weird. (I hope I haven't gained too much weight! So long eating with reckless abandon and still losing weight.) My next run will be on Saturday so I can't wait to see how that goes. It will be 8 miles. In the meantime, I am going to be a good patient and ice and take it easy. Please, please, please let me have a good run on Saturday!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Feeling Better...?

I went to see a chiropractor today. Namely, one that my friend recommended. So I drove an hour one way to see her hoping that she could work a miracle. She took x-rays and did an adjustment on me. Honestly, it hurts less now. I can walk without cringing in pain or limping. It still throbs a bit but I'm going back tomorrow and she swears that I will be cured by next week. (She said I'm "twisted" and that it's pinching a nerve.) Hurray for adjustments! My homework tonight is to ice for 20 minute increments. I'm optimistic that I will feel better soon. The thought of not running the marathon because my back hurts just makes me sad. Cross your fingers for me!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Searing Pain

The last thing you want to happen after training for a marathon for four months is to get injured in the last two weeks before the race. But I think I may have hurt myself. After my run on Saturday, I could barely walk. I rested yesterday and felt much better so today so I tried running four miles. I ran one mile and had to stop. I couldn't ignore the pain in my lower back anymore and got off of the treadmill to stretch. Unfortunately, it's hard to find a position that stretches that area. The pain seems to be localized on the right side of my lower back and, when I run, it radiates through my butt and down to the back of my thigh. It. Hurts. I think it may be from limping the past two days and I put stress on an area that isn't used to it. Perhaps? Does anyone know? I may have to make a last minute appointment with the sports doctor. I will cry big fat tears if I feel this way in a week. For now, I am going to stretch the heck out of everything, take ibuprofen, ice, and rest and cross my fingers that I feel recovered in a week. I may even go get a massage. Anything to alleviate this pain! The good thing is that 90% of my training is done so I feel competent that I could run the marathon fine even if I don't run this week. Well, this evening, I'm gonna go hang out on the foam roller and hope for the best. Please, body, don't quit me now!!!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

12 Mile Run

Today was my last double digit run before the marathon. I made it count, too. I ran it at a 9 minute pace (marathon pace, perhaps?) and told it where to go. Now, my body is saying "what the heck, you fool?" My right hip flexor HURTS and after I stretch and stretch, 5 minutes later, it still hurts. I have a pain just under my the right side of my butt (yes, it's literally a pain in my butt.) Also, I'm gonna have to write a post about sports bras. I have some knowledge about bras and fit but for some reason, no matter what bra I wear, it chafes me in the back or at the top of my chest (where there is usually a seam).
Well that's all for my run today! I think I'm gonna do some research on bras...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sony Walkman Review, Ya'll



When I heard that I was going to get a Sony Walkman to review, I was like what? They are giving me a tape player? Haha. Well things have changed at Sony since I was 5 and walked around with mine clipped to my acid washed jeans. My experience with mp3 players goes all the way back to 2000 when I got a Rio 600 and I think it held 12 songs (who else knows what I'm talking about? Anyone?) Since then, I've gone through 3 Apple iPods and now use my Nano (Gen 6) with the touch screen which is a paaaain when you are running and your fingers are sweaty and you want to change the song. So that is my background and where I'm coming from when I tell you that the new Sony Walkman W-series is really, really great for running. I hate anything bouncing or shifting or riding up when I run and earphone cords are no exception. I usually wind my cord 80 times around my shirt to keep it out of my way but with the cordless Sony player, you fit it around your head and forget about it. It is not out of the box ready (what is?). It took a few minutes to load the software and figure out how to get music on to it using the Content Transfer application. I loaded 20 songs on to it from my iTunes (yes, it's compatible.) The Sony Walkman holds 2 GB (or 1.68 since the functions take up some memory.) It's comparable to the iPod Shuffle in that regard. That amount of memory is perfect for creating workout playlists but won't replace your every day player.
Then I took if for a run. There are three sizes of ear buds that you can switch to get the perfect fit and I realized pretty much right away while I was running that my right ear is cavernous and the medium sized ear bud just wouldn't stay put. Other than that, the buttons are easy to access and use while running. One thing that I LOVE is that when you change songs back and forth, it beeps and when you go back to the first song on the list, it gives a lower beep to let you know that it's the end (whereas, on an iPod, you hit the end of the playlist and it takes you to the main menu requiring you to reset the playlist and fiddle with it with sweaty hands. Booooo.) The volume won't blow your socks off but, if you're like me and gradually max out the volume on your headphones as you run, it's probably safer that way. One cool feature is that the two ear pieces are magnetized so when they are attached, the player is off. You turn it on by pulling them apart. (A plastic case comes to store them in when not being used so they don't accidentally pull apart.)
I will definitely be using this on my runs from now on! It kind of looks like you're wearing a bluetooth in the gym if people can only see one side but I didn't feel too silly wearing it. I love that it is no muss, no fuss.
If you are interested in purchasing one, go to sony.com/runningmate and you can purchase one for the discounted price of $48.99.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

They're Here!

The Sony MP3 players arrived! I just spent about an hour installing mine and transferring music to it. I plan on using it when I run tonight (in the rain!) so I am sure I will figure out my feelings towards it (and put its water resistence to the test.)
Two of you will be lucky enough to win one. I am still figuring out what kind of contest to do but I will post it tomorrow along with the full review. Also, for those who do not win one, Sony is doing a special promotion where you can buy one from their website for $48.99 (they retail for $60.)
Wish me luck!

Is It Saturday Yet?

This week has been weak as far as running goes. I didn't run last night because of a stomachache and headache. I didn't run on Sunday because I was still so exhausted from Saturday's run. I HAVE to run 6 miles today despite the rain before I get too off track. (Yoohoo, motivation--over here!)
On another note, I got an email last night that the Sony players will be delivered today so hopefully I will figure out how to work it and use it tonight or tomorrow. I have to think of a good contest to give two of them away. Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Taper Time

There are 17 days left until the marathon and it's time to taper! What's tapering, you ask? It's when you decrease, or taper off, your workouts in order to be as rested and recovered from training as you can be in order to perform optimally during the race. Since I've been averaging around 40-50 miles a week, this week I will run around 30 and next week I will only run around 15.
I ran 5 miles tonight outside and when I was a mile from home, I realized I was following a guy in front of me. I followed him all the way into our elevator. It turns out he's running the same marathon. (So this thing really is happening. Hmm.) So I'm NOT the only one who's been running in the dark all of these months. I guess I will have some stiff competition!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Running Clothes


I decided today what to wear during the marathon (I think.) I still need to run in the outfit I picked out to make sure everything stays in place but it's exciting to know what I'll be wearing when I cross the finish line on that epic day :) I ordered the capris I am running in from runningfunky.com. (I will let you guess as to what pattern I picked out!)
Since I worked in running retail for a couple of years and have two dressers dedicated to running clothes (almost), I am somewhat of a running clothes elitist. I cringe when I see people wearing cotton t-shirts or running in pants and a jacket when it's 60 degrees outside. You don't have to spend a fortune to be comfortable (and not look like a newbie) when you are running. Target has a nice selection of clothes and you can get a polyester t-shirt for $9.99. Cotton is rotten. It absorbs moisture and does not wick it away from your skin therefore it is cloying and do you want to run in the cold in a wet shirt? I didn't think so. It's also better to dress as if it's 20 degrees warmer than it is. It's ok if you start out cold--you will warm up quickly. You probably should always be a little chilled when you first get outside otherwise you will wind up overheating later on.
Don't forget about your socks, too. No cotton socks! Running in cotton socks is a good way to blister up your feet. I recommend Dry Max, Balega, Thorlo, etc. Heck, even Old Navy has wicking socks for $3.50 a pair.
The goal is to be comfortable and to keep your skin dry. I know it's tempting to run in that shirt that was given to you at your recent 5k but keep it for post-run relaxing. I passed a girl yesterday who was wearing the long sleeve t-shirt we got in the Valentine's Day 5k. (It's a cute American Apparel shirt but definitely not made for exercise.)
Ok, I will get off of the soapbox now! Some things I just get riled up about. Like people who wear the race shirt IN the actual race but I will save that for another rant some other day...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Last long run!

Hi, everyone! Today I ran 23 miles. I only had to run 20 but I just needed to have a taste of that last 10k in the marathon so I pushed it further than I had to.
The weather here today is perfect for running: overcast, no wind, 60 degrees. I ran up to the Key bridge, ran through Georgetown to Pennsylvania Ave. to 17th St. to the Washington Monument and then hung a right to the Lincoln Memorial and ran across Memorial Bridge back to the Mt. Vernon trail. The Husband and The Baby met me at a park near the airport (mile 16) and I refilled my fuel bottles for the last 7 miles. (I got there in two and a half hours! I actually beat them since I didn't expect to run so fast and I had to run around the parking lot for 5 minutes before they got there.) I got into Old Town and most of the roads were closed (to vehicles) for a St. Patrick's Day parade and I had to cross the parade route. With less than two miles to go, I just stared at the ground and kept trucking. It was definitely difficult but I kept up my pace. I finished it in 3:45 (or 3:40, since I had to wait for 5 minutes.) I want to know how I will finish another 3 miles in the actual marathon. Hopefully there is lots of crowd support and cheering to take my mind off the miles.
Well I'm off to veg and eat ice cream. Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Headbands!



For the past couple of years, I have been a huge fan of Sweaty Bands (http://www.sweatybands.com) for keeping my hair out of my face. They come in so many colors and varieties that I have some just for outfits when I'm NOT running. But with the advent of The Great Bang Grow Out of 2011, I need something like a hat; otherwise, my bangs blow into my face. Enter Bondibands! (http://www.bondiband.com) I received a Bondiband last year and haven't worn it much until recently but it's a godsend with my bangs. I usually wear a Sweaty Band underneath and put the Bondiband on top since it covers more area. I found a new selection of Bondibands at my local running store today (when I went to stock up on Gu for Saturday's 22 miler--what?!?) and one is a cute pastel floral design which is perfect for spring! Anyhow, just wanted to share! It's nice to have hair but sometimes it's a drag when you want it out of your face and I think these products rock!

Top Picture: Sweaty Band (yes, that's my ugly mug, don't laugh.)

Bottom Picture: Bondiband

How to Buy Running Shoes


I was thinking last night on my run that all I really do on here is go blah blah blah about my running progress and that maybe I should actually write about something that will be helpful to readers. What better place to start than informing people on how to start running? Running is free and that's pretty much the beauty of it BUT it's probably wise to buy some decent shoes before you get going. I spent two years working at a local running store and I definitely learned A LOT about, well, everything that has to do with running.
You might think that running shoes are running shoes, right? Wrong. Every brand makes excellent shoes and every brand makes some not so great shoes. Let's start with the types of running shoes out there. There tend to be two categories of running shoes: neutral shoes and stability shoes. Neutral shoes are softer and have less dense foam in the insole. Stability shoes have a denser foam on the inside and keep your feet rigid. Neutral shoes are built for people who don't over pronate (their feet don't roll in.) Stability shoes are for people whose feet roll in. The stability will help you stay efficient and keep your body in alignment. To find out what kind of shoes you need, I highly recommend going to a running specialty store and being fitted. Sometimes you can tell from sitting to standing how much your foot spreads out and changes in size. There is something out there called "the wet bag test." It says that if you put your wet feet on a paper bag and look at the outline you can tell by your arches what kind of shoe you need. (The theory is high arches=neutral shoes, flat feet=stability.) Don't do it!!! It's very often inaccurate. For instance, I have high arches but guess what? I over pronate a lot! I ran in neutral shoes for years and seriously hurt my knee so it is really important to get into the right shoes.
You can find running shoes for any range of price but it's probably better not to get the $45 shoes from TJ Maxx. Go out and spend $100 on your shoes. I know you're thinking "what a racket!" but for the extra $55 you are getting a shoe with more cushion, more features, less time sitting on the shelf so the materials aren't disintegrating, and a knowledgeable sales associate (gasp!). Your feet will thank you.

(That shoe above is my holy grail running shoe. I love you Nike Triax! xoxo)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One More Thing


I would like to take this time to say (to no one in particular) that this is my race pace! Hmmmph. Do people really run their long runs super super slow? Like 12 minute miles? Or is it that everybody is ridiculously fast and their slow runs are 9 minute miles? Because I pretty much always run 9-10 minute miles no matter what and that will most likely BE my pace. Anyhow, I guess that's what more advanced marathon runners with time goals do. Those of us who just want to wear a shirt that says "FINISHER" tend to not mess around with times. Anyhow, just needed to share!! I definitely need to order this shirt.

5am Runs


I knew going into marathon training that life would interfere and occasionally I would have to fit in runs whenever and wherever I could. Well that whenever comes in the form of 5am mornings. I ran 8 miles yesterday morning. Since it's still dark, I leave the music at home and just enjoy the sound of silence before people and things interrupt my thoughts. (Also, I can hear if some lunatic is chasing me down.) It was unseasonably warm but I didn't pass hardly any runners or bikers! I passed a guy on the trail in the dark, each of us wearing an led headlamp and saying good morning. It's kinda like we were both in the same exclusive club (crazy people who run in the dark alone before any sane person would even be out of bed.) I passed an elderly guy walking two HUGE dogs and they weren't leashed but I was relieved when he gave a friendly hello and his dogs ignored me. Starbucks had a line and people were on their laptops inside! (I checked my watch--it was 5:43.) The sun was starting to poke through the clouds over the Potomac river when I got home at 6:39. It feels great to start your day like that and enjoy the peacefulness of a typically very busy urban area! But don't look for me that early every day--I still prefer to run in the evening with everybody else :) Be safe out there and don't forget your pepper spray if you do run in the dark!

P.S.--I was contacted by Sony today to review some of their products for runners so stay tuned for my review and some great giveaways!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trying Tuesday

I have a 10 month old and she has never had a fever. Until today. Apparently when babies have fevers, they want to sleep in your arms for hours and hours. Well that's what I've been doing all day. Fortunately, I had the remote and cell phone close by. Now her dad is home and I escaped to the gym to run. Well, it snowed/iced last night so naturally, every machine was full except for one treadmill so I get on it and adjust everything. My ipod wouldn't turn on. Nooo!! ALSO, this is my backup ipod since my NEW one BROKE yesterday when I was running. (I took it to the store and they had to "order a replacement." Huh? You mean you don't have a pink 16g ipod nano in stock or any acceptable replacement? Whatever.) So now I am waiting several days for my new one. Well, my old one, which has never not turned on before, would not turn on. And neither would the treadmill. So I said forget it!! Time for sweats and a beer.

Oh, and the baby seems fine but her temp is 100 degrees. I should say, she's fine if she's being held. If it's still elevated tomorrow, I'll take her to the doctor. Just a bad day for both of us, I guess.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

20 Miles: Run, Done, No Fun

Yesterday I ran 20 miles. It had to of been the windiest windy day that ever winded. I ran from our apartment up the Mt. Vernon trail, across the Key bridge, and into Georgetown. My turnaround point was the intersection of M St. and Wisconsin Ave. I almost blew off of the bridge! Not really, there are high metal bars to prevent that but thankfully they were there! When I was a mile from home, I saw a street light that had crashed to the ground (and created a massive traffic jam). I also saw a metal newspaper box that had blown over. Crazy!
I left at 7:30am and didn't get home until 11:15. The ten miles out weren't bad. The wind gusts came every few minutes but it was bearable. When I turned around to run the second half, the wind just wouldn't quit. It slowed me down considerably. I was almost home when I saw my husband drive by. My mother in law and some family friends are visiting us from Texas right now so they told me when I got home that he went to look for me to see if I wanted a ride home since it was so blustery. I called him and told him he didn't do a very good job of finding me if he drove right past :) But fortunately I made it home (in almost 4 hours!) The one good thing about yesterday's run is that it wasn't cold. Windy yes; cold, no.
At least I only have to run 5 miles today! Only...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Who has my mojo?

I'm in a rut. I actually think I ran myself into a rut. This is week 13 of marathon training (of 18) and I feel like I have nothing left to give. What is going on? My 13 miler was so painful on Saturday. I ran a 5k on Sunday and called it a day (when I was supposed to run 8 miles that day). I rested yesterday and today I was supposed to run 5 miles and at 3, I called it quits (I blame female problems for today.) *Sigh* I guess there are just days/weeks like this? My legs feel like jello. Or lead. Or lead and jello. All I can do is hope tomorrow goes better! I just needed to gripe right now...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

5k Sunday


Just like a good run can put you on a high all day, a bad run can make you feel hopeless. I ran 13 miles yesterday and it was soooo difficult and slow--I was cold, tired, hungry--and I did everything the same as usual. I will blame the portion of the trail I ran on since it was VERY hilly and I sprint up the hills as part of my training but there were just SO MANY of them! I had to run/walk the last mile just to make it home and it took me two and a half hours.

On the other hand, today I ran a Valentine's day 5k (see the graphic above) and PRed. I'm not very fast in short races and I usually run the same pace regardless of if it's a 5k or half marathon. I tried pushing it today but last night was my friend's birthday and we were out too late so I did the best I could considering...I finished in 25:09 which beats my previous PR of 25:34 so that's good! I don't run a lot of 5k's because I prefer longer races but sometimes it's nice to see how fast you can be for three miles.

I am supposed to run five more miles today but I think I'm gonna call it a day...it's been a long weekend!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tunnel Tuesday

Every time I run through this tunnel, I imagine I'm in Europe or somewhere fabulously old. (I suppose Old Town Alexandria is as old as it gets around here.)

I've been enjoying my couple of days off after this weekend. I didn't run today because The Husband got invited to a hockey game at the last minute so it's just myself tonight (and The Baby but she goes to sleep at seven.)

I've been toying with the idea of advancing to the "intermediate II" training schedule. I am currently using the "intermediate I" plan but after this past weekend, I think I can handle a few more miles a week. However, I'm not real familiar with the parameters of switching it up two thirds of the way through and what the physiological impact of that may be. I should go read up on that...

Since I skipped today, it looks like I'll be running straight through Sunday the rest of the week. I hope this wind lets up!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

18 Miles +1


I ran 19 miles! Whaaat? I can't believe it. I mapped out 18.8 miles since running around the tidal basin was a bit longer than 9 miles and then I had to detour around some construction which added .25 miles. This is what I think is spectacularly crazy: It was easy! There were maybe a couple times where I thought I had no steam or was going to fall over but you know what? It was temporary, both times. I fueled with gatorade and GU shots at miles 6 and 12 and walked at these times but that was the only time I rested. I finished just under 3 hours which is on par with running a 4 hour marathon...I think. I am pretty sure in another month and a half I can do it.
It drizzled cold rain the whole time and I think I only passed a dozen other runners. I love it when other runners wave or hold out their hand for a high five. It really helps with morale out there and on days like today it definitely helps. We're all in it together I guess!

I attached a picture of the dreary weather. It's still drizzling out there but it's definitely better than freezing rain or snow.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

T Minus 50 Days


There are a mere 50 days before my first marathon. I found out today that the owner of the running store I worked at will be pacing the 4 hour group and of course we discussed running together. Rather, he said, "run it with me!" Ok....This begs the question of...can I run a 4 hour marathon? A 4 hour marathon requires a 9:10 pace. I ran my first half marathon on the same course in 1:50 which is an 8:25 pace so...can I run 13 miles further one minute per mile slower??? Having never run a marathon before, it's hard to say. There are so many variables like hills, weather, starting out too fast (though running with a pace group would help with that), anything, really. I am afraid I am venturing into the unknown (for me) and all I can do is train my best and run my hardest.
Oh and did I mention that it is supposed to rain all day on Saturday? 18 miles in the rain. Running. Well, it beats running in August heat. (Yes, it does. Trust me.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Windy Wednesday!

Good evening, everybody! This week feels like it's dragging! I had an eight miler tonight. At mile three, I thought I was going to blow away so I turned around and ran home. I did six miles which is better than no miles but sometimes there are just nights like that. I kinda put it in my head before I left that it was going to suck. (Well, YEA! When you can hear the wind rattle the windows, you know it's not going to be fun!) My foot seems to be holding up. I don't really have any complaints right now which is good. We'll see what I have to say about that on Saturday after I run eighteen miles. (9+9, 27-9, 36/2. You get the idea.)
Have a good night and stay warm!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another Week Down...Almost.


Despite running on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and tonight, I still feel like I'm slacking. I think it was because I rested yesterday when I normally run long on Wednesday. I decided because of the five inches of snow we got to stay inside last night.

When I went to the gym tonight to run, I taped my foot to see if that would help my possible neuroma and it didn't hurt at all! So that's my unattractive foot up there. Yea, it's pretty, right? I wish I could say my big toenail suffered a casualty of running but...no. One fine afternoon in October, I was looking for a Phillips screwdriver to replace the batteries in one of The Baby's toys. I reached up onto a shelf in our hall closet to pull down a toolbox and a big, huge metal tape measure slid off the top of the box and landed square on my toe. Immediately, I knew it was bad. Let's just say it was messy, we spent five hours in the ER, and ultimately the toe had to come off with three stitches occupying the nailbed. The day I had a c-section, I tried to stand up straight and let's just say this hurt worse (Ok...maybe not. They both suck, though.)

Now I'm trying to gear up for the 17 miler on Saturday. Can I just say real quick: UUUUGGGGHHHHH.

Good night!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mixing It Up


Newscasters here were touting all week that this would be the coldest weekend of the winter. Indeed it was. The high yesterday was 25 degrees! I ran 11 miles at 10am hoping that it would warm up somewhat by then but it was 18 degrees when I started. It took an hour to thaw once I got home. If I had my camera with me, I would have taken a picture of the sweat-ice building up on my gloves. I couldn't feel my tights on my legs. It was brutal and miserable but it felt sooooo good to be finished that it made it all worth it. I ran 7 miles today and it was downright balmy at 30 degrees.

I usually run on the Mt. Vernon trail which travels beside the Potomac River. It starts at Mt. Vernon (the home of George Washington) and goes all the way to the Key bridge which connects Rosslyn, Va. to Georgetown, D.C. I typically run towards D.C. but last Sunday, yesterday, and today I took the trail south. Week ten of marathon training has required me to mix it up a bit. The same scenery (even if it's scenic!) can get stale. I also realized it is much hillier in this portion of the trail which is terrific because I feel like I'm cheating since hills haven't really been in my repertoire thus far (I know---bad, bad, bad.) There are also bathrooms along this part of the trail which is awesome! Unfortunately, the water fountains don't work. Or they are frozen which is somehow more depressing.

The soles of my feet have been pretty sore. I know it is due to running 6 days a week but I pulled out another pair of running shoes to see if switching would help and it did. So now I'll rotate my shoes and see how it goes. You're supposed to let your shoes "rest" for 24 hours in between use anyhow. (Since you compress the foam, it needs to decompress or you will wear them out faster.)

This past week was pretty easy but this upcoming week is pretty intense: 3, 5, 8, 5, 17, 9 (!!!). I could skip the 3 miler since it's just a warm-up for my weight training class but 17 miles, really? At once? I guess it's just another chance to surprise myself again. I did 14, I did 15, I can do 17.

Well let's hope we don't get any snow or ice this week. I CANNOT run on the treadmill every day! Also, as another aside, I'm finally below my pre-pregnancy weight. Hurray!

Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday night!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday Weather


It feels like spring today! ...Or at least early March. It will definitely be a pleasant run as long as it holds up into the evening. I have a 5 miler scheduled and then I am going to my first book club meeting. Yes, I have been busy the past few days cramming in about 200 hundred pages but I finished it this afternoon. (The book is called "The Weight of Silence". It's about two girls who disappear and it takes place in Iowa--which is cool since that's where I'm from.) The book club is made up mostly of sorority sisters of mine that live locally and, lucky for me, the meeting is being held in my apartment complex. (Three of my sorority sisters live here!)

Anyhow, The Baby and I hadn't really left the apartment much this week and I decided I definitely needed some diet Pepsi despite my best efforts of cutting back so we went to the store this afternoon. We got back and I was carrying The Baby and the soda to the building. Well, the box of soda broke and spewed cans all over the sidewalk and some even exploded on us. Of course, The Baby had kicked off her socks and I had to set her on the cold sidewalk, sockless, hoping no one would walk by and see how unfit a mother I was as I scooped up the rolling cans. I had another bag and shoved them in there and was able to carry everything in quickly. This is why I am not really a fan of going out without my husband, at least when it comes to carrying bags inside. Oh, and it would have helped if I had a stroller in the car, but I didn't. Lesson learned?