Category Archives: Running

Let’s do two more!

The end of spring always makes me a little sad because it’s the end of racing season. I love racing. I love racing more than I love running in fact… so I race a lot. I thought Broad Street would be my last race this Spring but, oh what the hell, let’s do two more. I’m keeping them simple and short… it’s the theme of the Spring!

I will be running the North Face Endurance Challenge 10K Trail Race in Sterling, VA on June 2nd

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Aannnddd the Lawyers Have Heart 10K in Washington, DC on June 9th (I am not a lawyer, but I too have a heart)

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I talked Mike into the trail race but I doubt he will get on board with Lawyers have Heart. He doesn’t like summer racing because he’s basically a human popsicle (he melts in the sun).

Questions for you guys:

  • What’s left on the your spring racing calendar?
  • Thoughts on summer races?
  • Sun lover or sun hater?
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Broad Street Run 10 Miler – Race Recap / Review

Totally tried to get this up yesterday but it just didn’t happen for me. Too much fun this weekend made for a SLEEPY Monday. Also, it’s raining and cold here which doesn’t facilitate getting pumped up for a Monday. This weekend Mike and I participated in the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia. I jump at the chance to run races in Philly because that is where my best-friend and lady-life partner Sarah lives. Over the past three years of her living in Philly and me in DC, we’ve gotten really good at making the trip and I feel like her friends in Philly are my friends now too! Friday night, we made the trip up I-95N. Saturday included breakfast at Schlesinger’s, a good stretch out at Philly Power Yoga (post coming later this week), a trip down to Lincoln Financial Field to get our race packets, watching the Derby on South Street, and dinner on Rittenhouse Square. Also, Juno was on TV. Whoot whoot! Sunday was, of course, RACE DAY. Here’s how it went.

The race didn’t start until 8:30 pm but you had to take the Broad Street Line subway to get to the start. Races that involve taking public transportation make me nervous (I had an almost calamity at the Baltimore Half Marathon) so we were up and on a train at 6:15 am. We arrived at about 6:40 and then just waited around for almost two hours, which was not my favorite part. Add to that… it was FREEZING and WINDY. Also, they claimed that bag check closed at 8:00 am so I had to part with my warm layers (I should have just done throwaway clothes) for a whole 30 minutes before race start.

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The starting area was CROWDED. Huge lines everywhere, massive crowds trying to move around, and people were getting restless / feisty. It wasn’t my most pleasant pre-race experience. At one point, I was trying to get to my corral and I just stood, stuck in a massive, unmoving crowd for legitimately 15 minutes. I never actually made it to my corral. I saw a break in the fence and just hopped in. The corrals were not being strictly enforced at all anyways, and I was getting cranky so I needed to RUN.

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Mercifully, I finally crossed the starting line and got going. However, at that exact moment the clouds broke and the sun starting beating down hard. By mile one, I was baking in my long sleeved jacket. I knew I was going to be miserable if I kept it on so I pulled over for a quick minute to remove my layer (I was wearing a tank top underneath), quickly re situate, and get back on the road. I ended up losing about a minute and a half of time, which is fine but kind of annoying. The race course and the crowd support was EXCELLENT. You start all the way up Broad street in North Philly and run a straight shot down Broad, around City Hall, through Center City, and down to the Navy Yard in South Philly.

You know how some days are just great running days? This was not one of those days. My legs just felt tired pretty much the whole race. I was holding a great pace but it felt tough. By mile 5, I was getting tired and I thought to myself “Uh oh, I still have 5 miles to go and I’m already tired.” When I start getting tired during a race, I try and use my ego to my own advantage. I stuck to the outside of the course, so I wouldn’t be tempted to walk in front of all the spectators. Hey, whatever you gotta do right? Coming around City Hall was awesome and I knew that my friends would be on Broad between City Hall and South Street. I saw Sarah (and gave her a high five) but missed Kristy (womp womp). Then it was another ~ 4 miles to go. I was on pace to meet my 10 mile PR from December and, even though I was tired and my knee was starting to hurt a little, I was not going to let up. I kicked it into high gear for the last half a mile and flew to the finish line.

Unfortunately, there was a HUGE backup of people at the finish line, so I was forced to stop completely 1 step across the finish line. Not ideal. I clicked off my watch and didn’t even look at it while I tried to navigate this massive clog of people. When I finally got funneled into the finish area and looked at my watch, I realized that I set a new PR by 4 seconds! 1:31:47 by my clock. However, this is an unofficial PR since my chip time was a 90 seconds longer thanks to my stop to change my shirt. Irritating, but that’s ok. I’ll keep my PR from December for now but I am gunning for a sub 1:30 10 miler this Fall.

I picked up my medal and my finisher food (which was BALLER by the way. Major points for this Broad Street Run. Soft pretzels and a bag of delicious goodies) and made my way into the finish area. If the start area was crowded, the finish area was worse. Mike and I had decided to meet up at the Dunkin Donuts tent. I realized immediately this was a huge mistake, because they were giving out free drink and donut samples. It was mobbed. It took us over 30 minutes to find each other because apparently our bag check bus was late and Mike had to wait for a while to get his cell phone back. After we met up, we took a couple pictures and high tailed it to the subway. Thankfully, that was not as bad as I thought it would be. We got on a train easily and were back in Center City by noon. [As a note, many runners at Broad Street wore Red Socks as a tribute to Boston. It was a really nice touch! And for interested parties, Mike ran approx 1:10. He’s really coming back from his injury and doing great!]

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In summation: Broad Street was super fun and energetic! You really get a taste of Philly and that rocks. Logistically, this race is challenging because of the huge crowds and small start / finish areas. I’m so glad we did it and maybe we will in a few years, but not next year.

After bagels and showers back at Sarah’s, we cabbed up to the Northern Liberties for a post race celebration of beer, jenga, and ping pong at Frankford Hall. I wasn’t feeling 100% (I got an exercise induced headache after the race) so I stuck to soda and agreed to be our designated driver. I didn’t mind at all, we had so much fun! By 7 pm, Mike and I were on the road back to DC. We hated to leave Philly (and Sarah) but we’ll be back again VERY soon!

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Questions for you guys:

  • Have you ever run Broad Street? What did you think?
  • Did you race this weekend?
  • Favorite beer?

Mud Dog Run – Race Recap / Review

This weekend I finally bit the bullet and did my first mud / obstacle race. And let me just… believe they hype because they are SO MUCH FUN. This Saturday, my friend Haley (from Bring it Om) and I participated in the Mud Dog Run at Ceresville Mansion in Frederick, Maryland. This was a 5K race with 21 obstacles throughout. Despite being pretty bruised and scraped up today, I would do it again in a heart beat.

We were running in wave 2, which started at 10:45 am. This made for a VERY leisurely race morning. We left around 9 am and arrived right around 10 am. After signing a pretty extensive waiver, we got our numbers and took the obligatory “pre-race” photo. Mike was, once again, amazing and served as our photographer / bag holder during the race. I wore a super old pair of sneakers that I retired from my running rotation about a year ago. I didn’t mind if they got totally ruined. I decided that the less clothing the better, since I didn’t want to get weighed down in heavy wet clothes. Since Saturday was the one year anniversary of my marathon, I decided to wear my geeky 26.2 tech shirt and spandex shorts. People were wearing all KINDS of awesome costumes. Haley and I always forget to coordinate our outfits or plan costumes … rats.

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Registration was a breeze and well set up. Since the race went off in waves, there were never big lines for anything (bathrooms, food, beer, NOTHING). I loved this.

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We watched the winner from wave 1 come across in like 25 minutes, which was pretty impressive. Haley ad I decided that our goal should be to not double his time. Then it was time for us to line up for our wave. This guy led everyone in a little warm up but it was kind of too crowded for everything he wanted us to do. I completely skipped the burpees because I saw like 5 people get kicked in the face. I love burpees but I’ll do them on my own time. The horn sounded and off we went!

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Very naively, I thought this wouldn’t be that hard. It was only a 5k and you never ran very far without stopping at an obstacle. Built in running break, right? WRONG. It was so much harder than I thought it would be! The obstacles were awesome and SUPER fun, but they were challenging. We ran between every obstacle but at times we were feeling pretty tired! I obviously didn’t bring a camera out on the course with me so I borrowed the following photos from the race’s Facebook page. Photo credits.

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All the obstacles were stupid fun. Some were definitely harder and scarier than others, but we went through every single one! The balance beam was great because almost everyone around us fell in except us! Hooray for yogis who have sweet balance. Before the second mile marker, we ended up kind of adopting this little girl who was out on the course by herself. She ran ahead of her sisters so we kept her with us and helped her through the obstacles. She was so cute. At one point I found myself thinking, “Hmmm I dunno I mean I’m more wet than muddy…” but then in the final 4 obstacles there were two giant MUD PITS. It was like wading through sludge but the hardest part is getting OUT of them. The hills getting out were super steed and completely slick with mud. It was really hard for me to do it and the little girl was totally stuck. We ended up pulling her out of the pit with Haley at the top of the hill holding my ankles, me on my stomach reaching in, and a third person giving the little girl a boost. It was a serious team effort, I loved it!

We got out of the last mud pit, jumped over the fire logs, and headed to the finish line!

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Mike had a great spot for pictures and got this gem of us crossing the finish line together! 44:29 not too shabby for us! And we met our goal to not double that guy’s time 🙂

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Post race we were looking pretty fantastic with our Mud Dog Run pint glasses (awesome finisher item in my opinion).

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You can’t really see from the picture but my right knee is actually bleeding. BAD ASS.

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First order of business was to CHANGE. We went over to the car to peel off our muddy clothes, towel off, and change. Mike was pretty impressed by our ability to change modestly in public with just one towel each. Girls are so multi-talented.

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After we changed the first order of business was BEER. The race was sponsored by Flying Dog which is one of my FAVORITE beers ever. I had the Woody Creek Belgian Whit and it was… amazeballs. My favorite is the In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen but they didn’t have that at the race.

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We found a couple chairs to plop down and drink our beers. I wasn’t super hungry but Haley and Mike both got the pulled pork sandwich, which was apparently delicious.

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All around… an amazing way to spend a Saturday. We had SO much fun at this race and I can’t wait to do another one. Cleaning up was of course a very different story. I washed my clothes and towel separately TWICE with sport detergent. After a took a shower, I had to then clean the tub with bleach to get all the dirt and mud out. My shoes are outside on the balcony right now and I still haven’t decided what I am going to do with them. I’m thinking let them dry, bang them off, then wash them in the washing machine?

Questions for you guys:

  • Have you ever done a mud / obstacle race before? Which one?
  • What is your favorite beer?
  • How do you get sneakers clean after a mud run?

Solo Run for Boston

Last week was… a train wreck. By Friday night, I was a mess of emotions all tied up in one slightly bizarre and wholly confusing package. After drinking many more beers than usual with a group of friends and then braving a rainstorm and a hectic metro ride home, I crawled into bed more than ready to close the book on the week. Saturday morning, I decided to do what I do when I’m sad or angry or frustrated… I ran. I went into this run with no expectations. I decided to just go out and see how far I got.

I’ve seen so many great events around DC and other cities where runners are getting together to Run for Boston. I chose to run solo for Boston. Just me, my sneakers, and my city. I decided to bring you guys along for a little tour because the weather was perfect and this was just what I needed to work through some emotions and emerge with a renewed spirit.

My first stop was the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington. I also checked out some beautiful spring flowers.

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Then it was down onto path for a quick view of Arlington Cemetery.

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Up off the trail and heading towards the Memorial Bridge.

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And down onto the Mount Vernon trail for a run along the Potomac River. Mount Vernon is one of my favorite trails in the entire area. The views of DC are the best.

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All the way down to Roaches Run (which I hate the name of because roaches are my biggest fear). I had a lovely view of some kids playing soccer and the planes taking off from Reagan Airport.

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Then I turned around and headed back towards the Memorial Bridge. I love running under the highway. Gorgeous views abound.

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I continued on Mount Vernon Trail under the Memorial Bridge towards Rosslyn and the Key Bridge.

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This is my favorite place ever… a short stretch of boards running adjacent to the highway. It’s like a mini-oasis.

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A quick hello to Roosevelt Island… another favorite place.

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And up the ramp to Rosslyn. I took an unintentionally creepy picture of this guy… sorry dude!

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Through Rosslyn and up the hill towards home! I have come to love ending my runs on this hill. It’s the perfect sense of accomplishment for the end of a run.

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End of the day I covered 8.5 miles and it was the perfect way to start my weekend off right.

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Questions for you guys:

– Do you exercise when you’re feeling down?

– How did you get active this weekend?

– Thoughts on running solo?

Monument Avenue 10K – Race Recap / Review

I had this post scheduled for yesterday but elected to cancel it in light of the tragic events that occurred in Boston. I am a person first, runner second and I am, as we all are, heart broken over these events. Julie at PB Fingers wrote a post this morning about ways to help for those who are interested. Amid the confusion and sadness yesterday, I was so relieved to hear my friends at Lavender Parking and South Harlem Runner were uninjured (though certainly frightened and upset). My support and love are with the people of Boston, runners, spectators, first responders,  and volunteers. The strength and resiliency of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me, and I have already seen some truly amazing examples in the wake of this senseless tragedy. That is where I find solace today.

I declared this spring was… THE SPRING OF SPEED! I set a goal to get a new PR in the 5K and 10K distances and after this weekend… I’ve done it! I set my new 5K pr in Crystal City and now my new 10K Pr of 55:00 belongs to the Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond. I would link you to my official results but sadly I did not get chipped in at the starting line so my race time is 14-15 minutes off. I’m working with racing officials to get this corrected.

Friday afternoon, Mike and I took off for Richmond. Under normal circumstances, it should take 2 hours tops. But this is DC and the traffic is like the worst in the country so we sat in this for hours and it took us like 4 hours to get there.

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After finally arriving and picking up our packets, we headed to Carytown where were staying (courtesy of AirBnB… if you haven’t tried it but consider yourself a more “adventurous traveler” I’d seriously recommend it. Especially for runners traveling to major races. A hotel would’ve EASILY cost us $200 and be miles from the start line. This was $50 for a night and we were less than two miles from the start). And it came with some quality time spent with the family dog… Squeaker!

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The remainder of the evening consisted of pizza at Mary Angela’s, frozen yogurt from Sweet Frog, and being asleep by 11:15.

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Since the race didn’t start until 8:30 it made for a rather leisurely race morning. We left the house at 7 am and leisurely walked down to the start line. We arrived around 7:40, checked our bag, used the bathroom, posed for a quick pic by the fountain, and made our way to the corrals.

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Confession time… I snuck into a different corral than the one I was assigned! They were like actually checking too so this was more difficult than I was expecting. I do not advocate changing corrals BUT I was going for a PR and I knew I could hold the pace, so I jumped in a couple corrals ahead of my own. And before I knew it… we were off! Mike ran with me again and we were aiming for 8:45 – 8:50 min / mile.

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It was challenging but I held the pace. My legs felt kind of heavy at the beginning of the race but thankfully they loosened up after a couple of miles. The course was awesome… a straight out and back on Monument Avenue complete with beautiful houses, basically pancake flat road, tons of crowd support, and live music EVERY block. Right at mile 6, I realized that I might be able to break 55 minutes if I really hauled it in to the finish line. I managed a really decent kick (in fact, my pace for that .2 miles was 7:40 min/miles) but ended up finishing at exactly 55 minutes. KIND OF wish I had gotten 54:59 instead but that’s ok. I’m taking this 4 minutes PR and cherishing it!

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Mike is, as always, the best racing buddy. I’m really not looking forward to him recovering from this injury… who is going to pace me in for new PRs now???

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The post race festivities were really great! Very family friendly for my racing buddies with kiddos. There were inflatables and characters roaming around!

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We went picked up our bags and let me just say… this is by far the best bag check solution I’ve EVER seen. It was so quick and easy for pick up and drop off. You dropped off in one big group, then the bags were placed around the perimeter of a large fenced area. You just went to the fence that corresponded with your number. No lines AT ALL.

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The post race food was kind of meh (soft rolls instead of bagels… no thank you) but the people from Martin’s were handing out fresh apples and they were DELICIOUS.

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Quick race review – for such a HUGE race, this was so amazingly well organized it’s ridiculous. The corrals were excellent, the course didn’t feel THAT crowded, aid stations were perfectly stocked, and it was AWESOME. I would HIGHLY recommend this race. It is very first-timer and walker friendly as well. You won’t feel alone no matter where you are in the race.

Questions for you guys:

  • Did you race this weekend? Where?
  • What is your favorite race you’ve ever run?

Crystal Run 5K Friday – Race Recap

In honor of the Spring of Speed… I ACTUALLY raced my very first 5K this weekend. I’ve done it a number of times in training (a 5K “time trial” of sorts), but I’ve never raced an actual 5K race. To be honest, last week kinda stunk just for a number of silly little reasons. It wasn’t “my” week and I was VERY grateful when it was after 5 on Friday. I didn’t have high hopes for this 5K even though I really wanted to do well. I was having a crappy week, I accidentally brought long pants thinking they were capris (it was kind of warm) and my hair tie broke as I was putting my hair in a race ponytail. I also neglected to charge or pack my Garmin. I didn’t really feel ready.

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But luckily, Mike agreed to run with me since he isn’t really in racing shape right now (Mike’s 5K PR is like 19 minutes and change, so we’re not really in the same league usually). I showed up, picked up my number, ditched my bag, and I even went for a warm up jog (which I don’t normally do… but now I’m thinking perhaps I should?).  We saw / chatted with a couple people, including my brother’s roommate (who is like super hardcore / in the military so we definitely weren’t running with him).

I decided to shoot for a pace of 8:45 min / mile, but had to rely on Mike b/c he was wearing the Garmin. I took off at what I thought / hoped was a hard but maintainable pace. I had to work hard to think about this race differently than I normally do my longer distance races. Even if I went out “too fast”, I wasn’t going to totally bonk / not finish a 5K. I ended up clocking 8:25 for the first mile and I felt good. My legs felt great and could definitely hold that pace. I figured I’d try and hold it for as long as I could and just see how things went!

Around mile 1.8 I started getting this weird burning sensation in my stomach. Normally, I would back off if I felt something like that, but I tried to remember that this was a 5K. According to Mike… the “hurt” of a 5K is different than the “hurt” of a half marathon. I pushed on despite the feeling in my stomach. We clocked mile 2 at 8:25 as well. The final mile was definitely the most challenging, but I did everything I could to dig deep and pull this out. I almost bulldozed a little kid on the course by accident… sorry kid!

Mile 3 clocked in slightly slower at about 8:30, but overall I was really pleased with my ability to hold a steady pace over the course of the race. Mike was, as always, an amazing racing partner because he pushed me when I needed it but also backed off and let me run my race (I can be kind of mean when I’m really focused but he knows it comes from a place of love haha). My legs felt perfect but I was definitely feeling that burning sensation in my stomach / chest. My breathing was hard but not strained or shallow, which was good! (Apparently, these are all feelings you should have while racing a 5K? I dunno I just repeat what people say to me). I was able to muster up a little surge to the finish line, which is always nice.


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As you can see, I raced with my hair down (thank god I had a headband at least!) and I rolled my ankle length tights up to my knees to create makeshift capris. These things were like a vice on my legs though. I’m shocked I didn’t have to amputate both of my legs below the knees to get them off.

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My official finish time was 26:45! Considering before this race the other 5Ks I’ve run were all over 30 minutes, I feel pretty good about that 🙂 New PR to start the weekend!! As always, thank you Pacers for putting on an AWESOME event.

After the race, I enjoyed some Corner Bakery cookies, Vita Coco water, and caught up with a few friends before heading home. It was a lovely night of homemade pizza, beer, and falling asleep by 10:15 pm 🙂

Questions for you guys:

– Do you prefer shorter or longer races? I think I still prefer longer races, but I’m enjoying the new challenge of short.

– Have you ever done a night / evening race before? Thoughts? 

– What is your favorite cookie?? I have a weakness for black and white cookies, but other than that I think my favorite is the snicker doodle!

The Spring of Speed

My identity as a runner is not rooted in speed. I have been perfectly happy as a solid middle of the pack runner and get my kicks from distance not time. However, last spring I noticed that I was getting a little bit speedier from not really trying at all. I think I was just getting better at running and training for the marathon, so I was naturally get a little faster. Mike is a speed lover. He loves to push himself to meet new time goals and do track workouts. He pointed out that if I was getting faster without trying, maybe I was more capable of speed if I actually did put some effort towards it. Since my distance game has been off recently (you can read mournful posts here and here), I have officially decided to deem this… THE SPRING OF SPEED!

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Some commonly accepted ways to improve speed are:

  • Run consistently – this means both during the week (3 – 6 days of running) and throughout the year (don’t “stop running” or get completely out of shape)
  • Include speed and hill workouts – Speed workouts are typically slightly shorter and more intense effort than mid-distance or long runs. Some examples of good speed workouts here, here, and here. Hills can mean just including more hills in your running routes or doing specific hill workouts. Some examples of hill workouts here and here.
  • Strengthen your legs and core – I don’t think this requires a lot of explanation. Read more here and here.
  • Do more plyometrics / sprints – I love plyometrics (I’ve talked about this before) and “jump” training is definitely associated with improved speed. Same with sprints! Read more here and here.

 Here’s what I’m doing to get faster:

  • Four runs per week. Monday is short, hard speed work. Wednesday is slightly longer, moderately hard effort. Friday is easy. Saturday is long run. 
  • Lady Ripped. I’m hoping that in my quest to get lady ripped and heal my knee injury, I’ll also get faster! I’ve been doing 100 x more strength training in the last month than I have like… ever. Hopefully I’m on the right track.
  • Boot Camp style workouts. I’ve been attending a bunch of different classes and incorporating boot camp style circuits with plyo into my solo workouts.
  • Actually racing 10Ks and 5Ks. Right now I’m signed up for one 10K and a couple 5Ks this spring. I normally never sign up for these distances and focus more on distance. I really want to improve at these shorter distances so I’ve gotta race them!
  • Hills. I incorporate hills into pretty much all of my outdoor runs (I don’t live in a particularly flat area) but I’ve never done a proper hill workout. I want to give one a try sometime and see how I do.

Questions for you guys:

  • What kinds of fitness goals are you working towards this spring?
  • Have you ever worked on improving your speed? How did you do it?

D.N.S.

This weekend I D.N.S.ed (Did Not Start) my first race ever. There… now it’s out there. It’s Tuesday and I’m still not 100% “over it”. You guys know that my knee injury has had a flare up this winter and I made the decision back in January to defer down to the half marathon from the full for the Rock’n’Roll USA race. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to do the half. But that’s exactly what happened.

Friday, I was certain I was running this race. I picked up my packet, chatted about running with other coworkers who were racing, and even enjoyed some pasta for dinner in preparation. But slowly over the course of the evening the doubt started creeping in. My knees were hurting. Now, for some unknown reason, my right ankle has also started hurting. Was I really ready to run 13.1 miles? As much as, in my mind, the half marathon isn’t an intimidating distance for me (I’ve run like 10 before… not exactly new), it’s still a lot of miles for your body.

A year and a half ago, I pushed myself to run the Rock’n’Roll Savannah half marathon injured and it was freakin’ miserable (not to mention it took me like 2.5 hrs to finish, felt like a very painful eternity). Did I want to do that again? Cue… the… FREAKOUT.

Thankfully my bff Sarah was there with me (she is my lady life-partner) to talk me down off. I set my alarm, laid out some clothes, and got into bed still thinking I was going to run. But I laid there… and laid there… and laid there. I couldn’t sleep. My mind my racing, my joints were throbbing, and suddenly my stomach was hurting (just nerves I think). At 5:30 am my eyes were wide open again (even before my alarm, which NEVER happens) and I knew I shouldn’t run this race. I crawled back into bed in miserable defeat and lay there in a pathetic pile of self pity.

Intellectually, I know I did the right thing. Could I have finished? Definitely. Would it have been fun? Probably not. Would it have been the kindest thing I could do to my body? Definitely not. Could I have potentially injured myself? Extremely likely. I run a bajillion races … what is one race in the grand scheme of things? Even though I intellectually knew all of this… emotionally, I was still super bummed. I was SO embarrassed at the thought of telling people I hadn’t raced (which let’s be honest… no one actually cares except me). I was disappointed in myself because I felt like I had “given up”.

But I remind myself that holding back is a sign of running maturity. I remind myself that running for many years to come is more important than running one race. I remind myself that I am human, I am imperfect, and that is absolutely fine.

So that is my sad, melancholy eulogy for  the race that just wasn’t meant to be. I am shifting my focus to healing my knees and getting back in the game. Everyone loves a good comeback story right?

Questions for you guys:

– Have you ever D.N.S.ed a race before? Tell me about it!

– How do you show kindness to your body?

St Patrick’s Day 8K Recap / Review

Woohoo racing season is upon us!!! The St. Patrick’s Day 8K has now kicked off my spring racing season for the past three years. It’s a fun race (great excuse to wear green) and 8K is such a manageable distance to wade into the season. However, I’ve never actually “raced” this race before. For whatever reason, there’s always something that makes me do this race “just for fun” and take it really really easy. In some ways I like that about it. Keep this fun race… well… fun! But this is really the only 8K I ever run, so my 8K “PR” is really out of whack for my other race times. But that’s ok 🙂 This year was no exception…

Mike and I met up with my friend Sarah at about 8:30 am (the race started at 9 – major plus of this fun race… doesn’t start too early!). For the second time with this race, I’ve almost overslept / missed it because of daylight savings time. Will I ever learn? Everyone was decked out in their green and fun gear. I always end up wishing I actually took the time to go buy something fun to wear but alas my go to green / white striped arm sleeves will have to do.

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We lined up at the balloon arch and before we knew it we were off! Mike went ahead of us and Sarah and I stuck together. Mike has been having major IT band issues, Sarah hasn’t been training much, and I was having some weird ankle pain so needless to say all of us were a little down for the count on this race.

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I love the scenery in this race though. It was super sunny or else I would’ve had a PERFECT picture running down Pennsylvania towards the Capitol building. Alas, the sun was too bright so I settled for a distant pic of the Washington Monument. Nothing like a clear DC morning 🙂

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Sarah and I stuck together through the majority of the race (4 miles out of 4.98) I haven’t really mastered the art of the self portrait while running. Or really pictures while running I just kind of snap at random and hope for the best.

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As we rounded the corner to head back towards the finish line, I was able to snap a decent picture of the Capitol building. My composition could use work but that’s ok 🙂 We caught a glimpse of Mike during on the of the out / back sections and he seemed to be doing pretty well. I was super nervous about his knee injury (his complete refusal to wear green to this race ended up making him SUPER easy to find). I left Sarah at mile 4 and took off for the finish line. I had been keeping a very easy pace so I wanted to really push the last mile just for good measure 😉

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As I turned into the final out / back section of the race right before the final stretch of Pennsylvania Ave to the finish line, I saw Mike again. This time he was walking so I knew he wasn’t doing well. Mike is a huge competitor. There is no way he would walk at all (let alone this close to the finish line) unless he was really hurting. I ran harder to catch up with him. I caught him literally a minute before finishing, and made him try to run it in with me. He ended up finishing a few steps behind me and was definitely in a lot of pain… poor guy!

My “official” time was 53:09 which is totally fine by me 🙂 I just love to race, so I definitely don’t make each one a “have to push it to the max” mentality. Eventually the stars will align though and I will actually race an 8K just to see what I am capable of! The spring racing season is officially open and I can’t wait for what this year is going to bring 😀

I was super proud of Sarah for pushing it out on this race and reignited her running flame a bit. I’m so glad I was able to be with her during the race!! I don’t have many friends who run / race so it’s so much when I have a buddy.

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My armpit sweat is clearly why I never race in cotton shirts, but it was the only clean green shirt I could find!! I turned my arm warming into leg sleeves for a little variety which was definitely fun. There’s Mike in his non-St.Patty’s day gear.

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Quick Race Review! The wonderful folks at Pacers put on this event, and I have expressed my love my pacers in the past. I think they are a great local group that puts on very well organized races. They even upped their game this year with the race shirt (used to be a cotton t-shirt, now its a technical blend t-shirt. Definite improvement). Packet pick up is always exceptionally easy at their stores and this year it happened to coincide with a huge sale (which I totally scored BIG on). Water stops were well stocked, course well marked, and there were plenty of bathrooms. These are very important for a good race 🙂

After we finished they were handing out bottles of water, which was awesome. My one complaint was the lines were RIDICULOUS for the food tent. I didn’t even bother because I wasn’t hungry but I was slightly bummed to not even have a chance to grab a banana or granola bar for later. What was up with these lines??? (in the pic below… we were at the end of the line and the food was in the white tent WAY down the street… definitely did not wait in that line)

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My favorite part was the Irish dancers by the bag check (which was very smooth as always). I studied abroad in Ireland so I have a soft spot for Irish folk music and dancing 🙂

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Questions for You Guys:

– Have you ever run at St. Patty’s Day race before?? What did you wear??

– Do you always “race” or do you ever go out just for fun to take it easy? Have you ever raced injured?

How do you write a running blog… when you’re not running?

I suppose I should rephrase that title. I’ve been running… some. But I haven’t been training… at all. The last couple weeks I’ve been feeling so great about my workouts. I’ve been enjoying them and pushing myself in new ways… making some really fun gains in the area of strength. But I haven’t been training. And I’m running a half marathon in two weeks!

You may recall that I was supposed to run the marathon but elected to drop down to the half when my knee injury started acting up halfway through training. I decided, at the time, it was best for my body to back off training. Apparently, I took that to mean I should stop training all together! I also didn’t have much to write about besides some fun treadmill speed sessions. There’s nothing particularly interesting about my 3 mile warm up to a strength training session or an easy 5 miler while watching the news. Hence… we haven’t been talking a lot of of running on Pennies ON THE RUN.

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I’m really glad I’ve given myself this break from training, because I have honestly enjoyed it. And my knee really wasn’t feeling great (I wouldn’t say its 100% now, but it’s MUCH better). AND honestly, I’m so over the cold right now. I’ve reached that point in the winter where I am like EFF THIS. My body doesn’t react well in extreme cold. I did a 10 miler on Saturday when it was 27 degrees out and my paced dropped steadily about 10 seconds every mile as I felt my body just tighten and tighten up under me. GIVE ME WARM WEATHER OR GIVE ME DEATH! (I’m completely aware that once DC’s swamp-like summer sets in I will be whining about that too)

But it’s MARCH now. Which means it’s almost Spring and its RACING SEASON. Nothing makes me want to run more than racing… I just love it. I’m opening my spring season this Sunday at the St. Patrick’s Day 8K and I’m really excited! Since I’m not really trained for the half, I’m definitely going to just take it easy and enjoy it. I put together this workout plan just to get me through the next two weeks / let me finish the half without hurting myself:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5M Steady State Spinning + Strength w/ Trainer Boot Camp + 30 minutes Speed Work 3M Steady + Strength Yoga + 3M easy 10 M St. Patrick’s Day 8K
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5M Steady State Spinning + Strength w/ Trainer Boot Camp + 30 minutes Speed Work 3M Steady + Strength Yoga + 2M easy Rock’n’Roll USA Half Marathon Rest