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Richmond Marathon, the 3rd and Last Attempt.

This was it. The final marathon of 2018 I trained to race and finally see the red digital number I had worked so hard for, appear as my foot crossed the blue and red timing mat…

Richmond Marathon took place on November 10th, 2018 and I was as ready as I could have been although I was beginning to grow tired of racing marathons. I’ve never been one to “race” more than 1-2 half marathons per year, so racing 3 marathons was a lot and after all is done, probably too much mentally and emotionally to handle.

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When i pick out a race and start miles of training, I truly throw myself eyeballs deep into it. It will take a lot to skip a scheduled run. I will wake up before the sun or go out in the pitch dark evenings of the icy, winter to get the training it in. Nothing will hold me back, nothing will conquer me. But with each race after Boston, I found myself kinda falling out of love with racing, especially the marathon distance.

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Pre-Race!

Richmond training was different. The miles were there, the speed was there, but my heart wasn’t. I was supposed to run a 3:15 marathon at Richmond because it’s what I trained for. On paper my training looked excellent, but I was struggling between the ears.

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On the morning of Richmond, I was happy and content. Stephen was running the 8k that morning which started about 30 minutes prior to the marathon, which kept my mind busy and off my race. I got to send him off and watch his start. Then I got myself ready and dropped my bag (as well as allllll the extra layers) at the bag trucks. It was supposed to be 45 and sunny. I was excited to be running in shorts, in a new city, running my 7th marathon.

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37:32 (7:33/pace) after flying in from FL the night before!

The start of the race was nothing new, just familiar and meditative. Getting the crowd energized, the National Anthem, last minute stretching, eating, sipping, lace tying, watch beeping, then the start. Hearing thousands of shoes pelting the ground, people cheering in stereo along the barriers, we ran together forging a bond, ready to complete a 26.2 adventure through Richmond.

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It was beautiful. The sun peeked out, the weather was perfect, my legs felt alright. Not perfect, but alright. First miles don’t dictate the outcome of a race, usually the first miles are big, fat liars.

Somewhere around mile 5 someone who looked like Bart Yasso gave me a motivational “you’re looking great!” I found myself flowing in and out of race pace, 7:30s good, 6:55s slow down! The plan was to stick around 7:20/pace and speed up after the halfway mark.

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After 13 miles, I couldn’t find the push to go any faster. I was still on pace for a PR (anything faster than 7:40/p) and decided not to push, but to feel out a few more miles and adjust. I’m thankful I did because the park had tree coverage and I didn’t realize how windy it was. There were 14 mph headwinds for the remainder of that marathon. And it just crushed me and my already worn down spirit.

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I hate admitting that. The wind really deflated me. I always try and push as hard as I can when the going gets tough, but I saw pace slow and I kept getting side stitches from swallowing too much air from the wind flow and breathing hard. I had myself a little pity party, pretty sure I walked a few times, but I made sure to finish the marathon strong. I wasn’t getting my time goal, I wasn’t setting a personal record that day, but my god, i’m running in shorts and a tshirt and the love of my life is waiting for me at the finish. Life is good.

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I barreled down that final half mile (mostly because it was a downhill finish) crossed the line, felt a giant relief come over me and I walked on. Bart Yasso again my angel for the day, high-fived me and said, “GREAT BQ! CONGRATS!”  3:24:41 Oh man… Did I qualify for Boston, under the new time constraints? That was pretty cool. I kinda forgot about BQ’ing since the wind wouldn’t shut up. I use to dream about what it would be like to qualify for Boston, and now i’m doing it on a bad day. I need to stop taking that for granted.

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Finally I made it to where Stephen was. I don’t remember exactly what I said verbatim, but it was along the lines of, “I’m done with the marathon.” As soon as those words left my throat, I felt that heavy heart I was carrying for so many months disappear. I cried and laid into Stephen’s underarm while we walked toward the beer tents. Then he asked what most people ask as soon as you cross a finish line, “so what’s next?” And I raised my right hand with 5 fingers and the left with an “O” shape. He laughed, seemed excited and said “OK.”

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50 miles it is.

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We’re both signed up for this years JFK50! A new distance for both of us!

Then we hit a few local breweries up to refuel before heading home. This race, city and atmosphere was really great. I don’t know if i’d run the course again, mostly because there are SO many other places and races to run, but never say never!

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Ever get burnt out on a single distance or activity?

What is your favorite distance? 


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Happy Trails <3

Monday: 8m easy 8:57/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 5m easy 9:00/pace

Wednesday: 5 rounds of 25cal row, hang snatches 3 @ 65#, handstand against wall + 5m easy run 8:47/pace after workout.

Thursday: Crossfit

My last post was an ode to coffee, and i didn’t realize until after I posted that I didn’t even mention how coffee is a big part of my pre-race rituals! What kind of terrible running blog is this?! I’ll have to do a “part 2” regarding all the fitness/nutritional benefits! Now we can just talk about another love of mine…

Elise. Seriously, if you have a moment, follow Elise on Instagram, she’s a photographer, a runner and an amazing cupcake baker. Since i’m in the cupcake mecca of DC you know I know a good cupcake. Especially those with homemade fresh marshmallows on top…

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I’m obsessed with marshmallows so of course she sends me fresh homemade ones through the mail…File_000 (542)

and I of course the first thing I do is this..

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I call this masterpiece Fluffernutter Bites. And they were glorious. Elise forever ruined Kraft marshmallows for me, i simply cannot go back after having these. I’m having way too much much fun trying them with everything. Speaking of Whey too much #slapsknee #dadhumor

1 scoop vanilla bean A Better Whey Protein, 1 large marshmallow, 1 banana, 1 cup almond milk, cinnamon & ice. This marshmallowy goodness was a staple last week.

File_000 (549) I’ve put the marshmallows in coffee, hot chocolate, ate them by themselves and last but not least a smores’. User tip: spread peanut butter on the graham cracker for an even better experience. You’re. Freaking. Welcome.

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Okay, so if that doesn’t make you hungry or marshmallows aren’t your thing, I went to happy hour at Society (downtown Silver Spring) with my Crossfit girls, Andrea & Yomery. We had some tasty sliders, sweet potato fries and great conversation. And of course margaritas. 😉 What can i say, it’s rooftop season. Time for long sweaty runs and post recovery burgers and beer!

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And last but not least, but kinda last (minute that is) I jumped on a Ragnar Trail team for this weekend in Richmond, VA! Super stoked that i have a running event on the calendar and they’re providing SMORES!

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Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 8:53/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 5m 9:10/pace

Wednesday: 4m easy 9:40/pace

Thursday: 13.4m easy 8:40/pace

Friday: 5m easy 9:00/pace, 5 rounds of 6 x 135# back squat, SA DB snatches 30#, 8 pushups

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 1hr upper body

Total Miles: 33.4

Anyone running VA Ragnar this weekend?

Have you had homemade marshmallows?


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Roller Coaster Race @ Six Flags!

Tuesday: 8m intervals (400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400)

I was going back and forth with wanting to run the half marathon at Baltimore’s Running Festival- but it’s about a month out from the Philadelphia Marathon i’m training hard for and I can’t risk doing a hard half that close to the marathon. Instead, I was invited to run a 10K at Six Flags America (Upper Marlboro, MD) on Sunday, October 16th.

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Im excited about the Roller Coaster Race for a number of reasons:

1) I haven’t raced a 10K since 2013! It’s not a distance i race often, so i’m excited to hopefully update a new PR.

2) With the entry purchase of the 5k or 10k you get a free ticket to the park (good for the day of the race) and free parking! Cameron and I have wanted to go to Six Flags all summer, but it’s been so humid we haven’t ventured out that way. October sounds like a more enjoyable time to be walking around a theme park. And i’m never going to turn down a post-race funnel cake.

3) If you have friends or family who want to participate, but aren’t runners there is a Roller Coaster Ride challenge they can sign up for. Then they complete a 5k’s worth of roller coasters throughout the day to snag a custom medal!

4) The race starts at 9:30am. Hello beautiful.

If you’re interested in signing up do it today! Price increases tomorrow. Check out more information here and let me know if you plan on going so we can meet up! I’m so excited about a day at the park!!!

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Remember a while ago Cameron and I ran a Color Me Rad 5k through Six Flags? It was fun, but they didn’t give us a free park ticket! We both thought it was odd to bring all these runners and walkers to a theme park and not offer a discount or ticket for the day.Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 10.50.26 PM

Ever run a race through a theme park?
Roller coasters? Love em or leave em? 


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Marathon Things

Monday: 6m easy 9:24/p, Crossfit

I don’t know where all the summer days went, but i’ve started Week 7 of marathon training. Seven!! I love being on a schedule and each workout (especially the marathon paced tempos) scares me a little. Marathon training is soooo different than half marathon training, which i’m usually signed up for.

This training cycle has me waking up at 6:00am to fit in mileage. Which makes me feel like an 80 year old who’s ready for bed by 9pm. Sad thing is that I’m beginning to like these early morning miles. But I’ll be dead honest with you,  I’m still not a morning person. I can’t get myself to do speed or tempos that early because I like being awake and alert, so those types of runs happen mid-morning or early afternoon.

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The bulk of marathon mileage needs to be run EASY (two minute-per-mile slower than race pace) which leads me to another strange thing. Sometimes I go out for easy runs in the middle of the hottest, most humid days just because the heat will force me to slow down. I thought marathon training was going to be horrible, but training for an ultra in the dead heat of summer has helped with both the mental and physical side of the sport as well as learning to run slower.

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Now the normal marathon stuff: Increased appetite. Holy mackerel, the runger hits like a baseball bat sometimes. I definitely do not deprive myself of seconds to vegetables or an added snack during the day. The key is to eat substance and add healthy calories (like an extra serving of avocado with my breakfast or a protein shake in the day or a bigger helping of sweet potatos at dinner) and not just looking at all the mileage as an excuse to eat crap. I most definitely indulge in dessert or a beer, but it’s not where all those excess calories are going.

Sleep and recovery! It’s a necessity to prioritize sleep! Recovery is a HUGE part of marathon training AND general fitness! I aim for 8-9 hours a night. The elites, the NBA stars, the Olympians you just watched in Rio–all of them have coaches, trainers, massage therapists, chiropractors, cupping therapists etc– there is a TEAM to help them with recovery because it is that important. I’m not saying you need a full team, but have a place to get the kinks worked out and utilize those foam rollers laying under your couch!

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remember when I cupped during Christmas? before Phelps made it cool. That’s right. #coolerthanphelps

Of course I’m experiencing the normal marathon stuff– smelly piles of laundry, weird looks at the gym when i hog a treadmill for 1.5 hours, dry skin peeling off my feet, extra time on foam rollers, naps, weekend plans revolving around long runs, candy cravings, saying the word just before the number of miles you have to run, crying during a run as you picture finishing the marathon, feeling stupid for said cry, the elusive runner’s high, the constant questioning of holding xx:xx pace for 26.2 miles, dreaming of a fresh pair of running shoes, and brunch–oh the brunches you will have, and the afternoon coffee pick me ups…

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I love marathon training.

Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 9:11/pace, Crossfit

Tuesday: 8m interval (5 x 1000s @ 6:45/p)

Wednesday: Crossfit

Thursday: 10.5m tempo (7m @ 7:50/p)

Friday: 6.1m easy 9:35/p

Saturday: 10m long 8:46/p, Crossfit

Sunday: 8m easy

Total Miles: 48.6

Add to the list! What always happens to you during marathon training?

How do you spend time recovering?

 


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The 50K Course!

Ultra training is finally coming to an end! I’m happy because I know all these weekend miles have prepared me to run 31 miles for my 31st birthday next weekend. I’m sad because I just started feeling comfortable with these crazy double long runs, but with Hanson’s Marathon training plan I’ll still be doing back to back weekend runs. The volume will be scaled down though. I’m ready to run 31 miles and get right back to the marathon. My head is in the right place for the training and hopefully a fall PR.

I finished scoping out the course for next weekend and it is pretty cool. It kinda connects all the trails i’ve been running since I moved out here 4 years ago. I can’t believe i’ve been living out here for four years and that i never knew how all these trails connected.

I’ll start on Sligo Creek Trail which is an asphalt trail, then head into downtown Silver Spring which is a huge switch from the shaded trail.

Then I’ll cross the DC border and head onto another connector dirt trail. Hopefully the change of surface will benefit me during this later part of the race.

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pretty horse stables near the trail

I have one 5 mile out and back portion that will be on the Georgetown Branch Trail, again a dirt path. Once that out and back is done i’ll be on Rock Creek Trail heading north on my normal stomping ground ending at Lake Needwood.

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I’m trying to take one day at a time right now, but i can honestly say i’m getting really excited to see what I can do with the marathon in 15 more weeks. Sounds like a lot of time, but i know it will fly since i’ll be having so much fun.

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OK, now i have to give a GIANT thanks to all the people who donated to the National MS Society. I was able to raise $940.00!! And since I’m a runner i have to make sure i’m ending on an even number, i’m donating the final $60 so I can write a big fat check for a thousand dollars.

I can’t tell you guys enough how thoughtful and gracious you all are. This was exactly what I wanted for my birthday. We’re giving to a great cause and all of you helped make it possible. I will be doing a small giveaway containing a few of my favorite running essentials for those of you who donated. I will contact the winner at the end of the week. Keep passing along the good vibes! Remember it’s the small things in life that make it worth living.

Monday: 5.3m easy 9:50/pace

Tuesday: 8m interval (8 x 600s @ 6:22/pace), 20 min upper/core

Wednesday:  Crossfit

Thursday: 8.5m marathon tempo (6m @ 7:49/pace)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 15.5m long 9:30/pace, 5000m row

Sunday: 14m 9:53/pace

Total Miles: 51.3 (weekly mileage PR!)

Any tips for running a 50K?

Who’s marathon training? 

 

 


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I Broke Her!

Every Saturday this summer I have been out for my long run. Every person, biker, walker, runner, stroller, doggie I pass I try to say “hi” or give a smile or small wave. If i’m not completely out of breath, I’ll happily say, “Good Morning.”

Now let me paint a small picture. I’m from Indiana. I’m a midwesterner. I grew up knowing my neighbors, my manners, being friendly and polite, especially to strangers. (Trump could have used a midwestern upbringing but don’t get me started.) When I moved to the east coast, and i know i’ve mentioned this several times through my blog, many people just keep to themselves and don’t say hi. It bothers me. Maybe it’s because i’m a people pleaser, or maybe because i believe it’s the little things in life that make the world go round.

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from saturday

There’s a woman, maybe in her 50s, that walks the trail every Saturday around the same time I’m out. She’s always alone, no friends or walking companions, no headphones or ipods. Just quietly shuffling along the trail to get her morning exercise in. I’ve said hi to this lady at least ten times this summer. There was even a day I ran past her twice (remember i do a lot of out-and-backs) and she has never said a word. However, she stares like i’m a little harlot with no shirt on. She sneers at me. Her eyes go wide then narrow all in an instant.

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runner’s saving grace!

Naturally I think this lady (and i have to call her lady now cause i’m pissed) is a total B. How many times can i look a person in the eyes and say, “Good morning.”? I’ll tell you how many. As many as it takes because i’m NICE and I’m from the Midwest!!!! And of course I understand that sometimes people are just generally distracted in their own world. Listening to headphones, or concentrating on their workout, or maybe don’t hear or see me. I understand that.

I think it’s super strange that i’ve been working at the same gym for almost 4 years and there are MANY people I see on a daily basis that ignore me completely. And again, it’s me saying, “Hello” “How are you” “Good to see you.”As persistent I am with being polite they are just as persistent at ignoring me. I totally understand where Adele is coming from.

But then, I had a small victory this past Saturday. The old lady softly spoke, hi when I passed by with the weekly greeting. She almost stopped me dead in my tracks because it was so unexpected. I could have hugged her. I didn’t because it probably took a lot for her to say hello to me.  I finally broke her down.

Killing people with kindness works. For every person that doesn’t say hi, i will forever think of her and remember that being cold and unfriendly is never the way into someone’s heart. Please, please be nice to strangers. You never know what kind of day, week or year they’re having. A kind gesture can turn someone’s day around and with so much hate in the news this is all we have to fight back with.

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What are you looking forward to this week?

Do you smile, say hi, nod, wink, peace sign while passing people? 


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In 48 Hours a Lotta Life Happened.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6m easy 8:40/pace

Wednesday: 8m tempo (2m warm up, 5 @ 7:30/pace, 1m cooldown), 45 min upper body

July 4th weekend we were due in Chicago for a family wedding. Friday morning we loaded up a few bags, our pup and drove to the midwest! We made it in early enough to grab hotdogs & fries and head to a local NWI (northwest Indiana) fireworks show #Merica. Also just because I have to say it, the midwest does fireworks right. Best show i’ve seen in years. DC you need to step up your game, it’s quite embarrassing being the nation’s capital.

Saturday morning started with an easy eight mile run. I was so thankful this was a cutback week. I’m finally feeling these 40+ weeks! My best friend Marie (she’s been on the blog a few times before) was due with her first baby boy on July 4th. She invited me to her last ultrasound that morning. I missed so much of her pregnancy so being there at the last appointment felt very special.

Everything seemed like it was going well, we were discussing brunch and catching up on life. The doctor stepped in the room and let us know Marie’s amniotic fluid was extrememly low so they had to move her into labor & delivery. I think the doctor’s exact words were, “We’re going to get things moving along.” Which made us both a little confused. Marie needed to hear exactly what was going on. The doctor clarified that she was about to be induced!

I hung out with her while she made calls and facetimed her family. Cameron and my sis-in-law Trish came up to the hospital to bring food and keep us company for a few hours. Marie’s mom made it up to the hospital soon after and I felt better about going to the wedding with Cameron. Induction takes a while and the doctor was confident she wouldn’t have the baby until the next day.

We rushed home to change for the wedding and headed to Chicago!

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The venue was at City View Loft and was so pretty! We had a blast catching up with family and the bride and groom looked amazing! (The bride is Cameron’s first cousin Lexi, groom is CJ!)

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The weekend just kept rolling on… the next morning at 9:00am Marie had her baby and little Philip entered out world!

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We made a quick stop to the hospital to drop of gifts and see little Phil then we were off to the cottage for a 30th birthday and 4th of July festivities!

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Josh’s 30th (on the left!)

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Pro compression socks for all sports! (or recovery from wearing heels all night!)

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The next day we turned around and drove back home. That was a FAST weekend! Another congrats to new parents Chris & Marie!! And a happy life ahead for Lexi & CJ!

Last Week

Monday: 35min legs (deadlifts, kb swings, front squats, lunges)

Tuesday: 7.5m easy 9:48/pace

Wednesday: 10m easy 8:55/pace, 20 min shoulders/core

Thursday: 6m easy 9:23/pace

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 8.6m easy 8:51/pace

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 32.1 (cutback!)

Have you had a day or weekend with several life events?