Marine Corps Marathon Training: 7/18-7/24/16

Another Monday means the beginning of another training week and it’s time to process the week that just ended. I’d say “this week was a big week for me”, but I have a feeling most weeks between now and October 30th are going to be big weeks.

MCMtraininglogs

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6.2 miles, easy effort on the hills around my house.

Wednesday: AM: November Project – 1.9 miles run (workout and run to my car), but mostly strength work

13775955_1179436168786886_1929784695309638442_n
So happy! Today was a partner day and I ran with a friend that I made through NP and work!

PM: 2.9 miles “run date” at a monthly running group for a local animal shelter. We ran around Federal Hill and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor before ending at a happy hour. Let’s just say that there was another date after this, so it must have gone well😉

Thursday: 2.75 miles at super easy effort on the treadmill. It was way too hot to go outside after work!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4.75 miles super easy effort. Lower temps in the morning helped this be my fastest “super easy effort” pace in the past month. I felt great and like I could go forever! I also ran in my new Hoka One One Clifton 3’s which I surprisingly loved! (#workperks)

20160723_081206

Sunday: 14 miles!!! The first 4 miles were rough (I was coming down with a cold, no fun), but after that I felt much better. Around mile 10 the heat started to set in so that was challenging, but I was happy to bust it out feeling I could have gone at least 2 more miles.

20160724_112343
Earned the last medal of the One HRC Marathon for the Hogwarts Running Club. 21K = 13.1 miles

Weekly total: 32.5 miles

MCM Training so far: 172.7 miles

In all honesty, this week really was a big week for me and I’m not afraid to shout it from the rooftops. It was my second 30+ mile week, I ran my longest run ever, and hit 100+ miles for the month <– this goal has been haunting me for a year. I ran a few less miles than planned thanks to the #rundate, but it was so worth it.

The week wasn’t all sunshine and daisies though – there were moments of struggling to get out of bed, failing to take care of my body, and sheer exhaustion. There were also feelings of progress and improvement, self-love, and even some connection to the greater world.

What were a high and low of your week?

Connect with me! Find me on facebook, instagram, twitter, garmin connect & strava!

4 on the 4th (MD) Race Recap

The date + weather: July 4, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. 68 degrees with 98% humidity.

The night before: I spent the night before at a party with some (sorority) friends from college. While they were all drinking, I was super responsible and drank a whole six-pack…of LaCroix and had a hamburger with some pasta salad. I was bored (being the only sober one) so I headed home early to set out my clothes and hit the hay.

20160703_222839

The gear: Skirt Sports Lionness skirt, Balega Hidden Contour socks, New Balance Vazee Pace shoes, Danskin tank, Garmin Forerunner 235, Momentum Jewelry bracelet, sweaty band (switched out for my lobster one), Nathan hand held bottle …(don’t mind the socks)

Pre-race: I got up at about 6:30 the morning of –> don’t you just love close races? After getting dressed and stalling I grabbed a banana and headed out the door. It was about 10 minutes from my house to the parking garage to the start, where packet pickup was a breeze. My best friend and I waited around for about 45 minutes and then were ready to run!

20160704_081225

Miles 1-2: The gun went off a couple of minutes early and we were off. Unlike what’s recommended, I flew off for the first mile, knowing it was the only flat/downhill mile in the race. I was running 2:00/30 intervals (I’ve been training using Galloway style intervals) and kept that up the whole race – it worked well for me. For the first mile and a half I was running my intervals between a 7:30-8:30 pace. A long good downhill brought us to the end of the first mile (8:43). Miles 2 and 3 were on my college campus so I knew to just hold on as long as possible in the hills that awaited me. Mile 2 was largely a gradual uphill, gradual downhills, and a very steep uphill. (9:43)

Miles 3-4: Mile three was the second half of running through campus (more hills, if you couldn’t guess). While I started to struggle and lag speed-wise, I just kept telling myself to go as hard as possible during my run intervals. After mile 2, no one passed me, which was a big confidence booster. I came out of campus at the end of mile 3 (10:23) and knew I had a big climb waiting for me.

IMG_5018
At the end of the second to last hill – so dead!

After I passed Ben with about a half a mile to go, I knew the people who had almost caught me on the hill weren’t going to prevail. After I turned the corner to do a lap “around the block” I was ready to just go. Despite one short walk break I ran in the high 8’s/low 9’s to the finish and passed a couple of people right ahead of me. Despite a slow last mile (10:47) I was truly happy with how I finished with all I had left in the tank.

IMG_5024

Results: 39:51 (1:00 off of PR), 9/25 in AG, 43/152 femaleFor most of the race, a PR felt attainable and I truly gave all I had, even when I knew it was out of reach. On a course with hills, I know it would have been possible.

20160704_092218

In its inaugural year, this race was pretty good. They offered two colors of shirts (cool touch, even if they were cotton T’s), had free Chick-Fil-A and ice cold towels at the finish, and had nice quality medals. The course is a good challenge, winding through the Towson University campus. Anyone who is familiar with the area should have known to expect the hills. While it’s not a PR course, I would definitely do it again next year!

Most importantly….these post race donuts from the Fractured Prune. They were better than they look, I swear!

fpdonuts.png

Are you a lover or hater of hilly races?

Favorite post-race treat?

Marine Corps Marathon Training: 7/11 – 7/17/16

Week 2 of my MCM training plan is complete! As with the first week, this week brought new mileage territory for me. It was slightly less intimidating, but I still spent a fair amount of time wondering how I would make it through. The theme of this week was definitely hot and humid.

MCMtraininglogs

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6.15 miles at an easy effort on a hilly route around my house.

pokerun

 

Wednesday: AM – 2.5 miles at November Project, 1.5 of those miles being stairs. I loved it and I was the sweatiest I’ve been in my entire life.

PM – 3 miles super easy effort on the treadmill. I didn’t miss the treadmill at all, but it is nice to have free access to one when it’s disgustingly hot out.

treadmill

Thursday: 5 miles easy effort with 30ish second bursts. The run was alright until the last mile, when the heat rose. It felt like a death march back to my car!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4.5 miles super easy effort. This was horribly boring, as most of my super easy runs are. I ended up playing games based on my heart rate to keep me from just walking back to my car.

Sunday: 12 mile long run. This run was just what I needed. Started out slow and it was a perfect progression run. It was nice and cool when I started (the ice in my hydration pack helped) but by the time I finished it was 20 degrees hotter.

 

20160717_080952

Weekly mileage: 32.9

MCM Training total (including “base” weeks): 140.2 miles!!

Reaching 30+ miles in a week has been a seemingly unreachable goal of mine for a very long time, so I’m happy that I made it through and am still excited about running after it! There have been days where I’ve struggled getting up and out the door, but I attribute it to being so busy in my social life that I’m just exhausted. This week brings another big goal of mine – hitting 100 miles for the month. So many big things are happening!

When’s the last time you reached a long-awaited running goal? The PRs don’t happen often for me, to these mileage goals are great lately.

Connect with me! Find me on facebook, instagram, twitter, garmin connect & strava!

Hogwarts Running Club – Bloody Hell!

It’s no secret that I love participating in the Hogwarts Running Club almost as much as I love running and Harry Potter. Seriously, two of my favorite things combined! How sweet is that!? Seeing as I post tidbits of my activities here and there, I figured I should spread the knowledge so all of you can learn about how wonderful it is!

62663607

With 6 events (and a “challenge” medal) each year, the HRC donates thousands of dollars to charity. It is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity from race registrations alone. Running witches/wizards also regularly use Charity Miles to donate even more money to charities of their choice. HRC runners logged over 1,000,000 miles on Charity Miles in just the first half of 2016 – that’s $250,000 of money donated!

Virtual races mean you can complete the race wherever, whenever, however, and with whomever you want. It’s very flexible and doable, so runners and walkers of all levels can participate. You don’t have to submit your time or anything of the sort, so if you’re slow that shouldn’t stop you!

20160609_150510

The Harry Potter “bling is out of this world. The medals are beautiful and will look even better when I splurge on my themed medal hanger. They are big, beautiful, unique, and on-theme. The back of each medal this year has a surprise on it. If you’ve read the book/seen the movies, you’ll appreciate it.

The Hogwarts One HRC Marathon - broken up into 4 runs, each with a medal representing a Hogwarts house.
The Hogwarts One HRC Marathon – broken up into 4 runs, each with a medal representing a Hogwarts house.

The community is incredible. You can participate as little or as much as you want. “Common room” facebook groups for your chosen house lead to sharing your triumphs and troubles, rooting each other on in races, friendly competition with the other houses, and general comeraderie.

umbridgerun

It’s magical! Okay, so not really magical, but one can believe, right? I love running knowing that I’m learning “house points” for my Hogwarts “House” –> Ravenclaw, duh. I can work towards my ridiculous dream of becoming a Prefect by running every event in year. I love knowing that I can donate to charities I love by simply getting out the door in the morning. Even if we just run a little, or if we run a lot, our miles can truly make a difference! My favorite charities to run for: Team RWB, Special Olympics, St. Jude’s, Wounded Warrior Project.

Feel free to check out the Hogwarts Running Club on Facebook and get involved! Most events (all but 1 so far) are $25, which includes the medal (with an awesome ribbon), a personalized “race bib”, and the (tax deductable) charitable donation. What are you waiting for? The next event is announced in 2 days!!

Are you into virtual runs? I wasn’t so much at first, but Harry Potter brings out the true nerd in me. I love it.

More importantly – are you a Harry Potter fan? If not, you should be.

Connect with me! Find me on facebook, instagram, twitter, garmin connect & strava!

Marine Corps Marathon Training: 7/4 – 7/10/16

My second official “week 1” came to a close on Sunday! This was my first week with the plan that my coach made for me, which brought many changes. The truly hot/humid Maryland weather also made its first summer appearance this week. I was nervous about making it through this week at first, but I felt so good when I conquered my highest mileage week ever!

MCMtraininglogs

Monday: 4 miles at the Towson 4 on the 4th – Recap coming soon!

IMG_5026

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 2.25 miles super easy effort, 2 miles during November Project (and running back to my car). 4.25 miles total.

IMG_20160706_082543
This 6:15 AM weather though…

Thursday: 5 miles easy effort w/ 30 second bursts. My legs felt heavy after Monday’s race and NP on Wednesday, but they felt better after the run was done.

IMG_20160707_101625

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4.5 miles at a super easy effort. The weather was rediculous for this one – 75* with 98% humidity when I started, 83* with the humidity when I finished. It was rough.

IMG_20160709_085159
This heart rate training thing is working, but dang, it’s boring.

Sunday: 10 miles with Ben! While I know running at my pace kills him, I love running with him, especially knowing he’ll be at my side come Marathon day.

IMG_20160710_123300

Week total: 27.75 miles

MCM Training total (including “base” weeks): 107.3 miles!! <– In just a little over a month. While not a “calendar” month, this is the most I’ve run in 30 days since high school!

While I was apprehensive about this week at first, it turned out pretty great. I dealt with some top of foot pain at the beginning of the week, but after wearing my Asics Gel-Kayanos on Sunday that dissipated. My coach has me running in “minutes” but I still associate everything with miles. I also started drinking half a pouch (about a “scoop”) of Gen U Can before my runs instead of eating a banana, and it helped a lot. I was able to sleep a little longer before getting up and wasn’t starving after my run! This definitely makes morning running a bit easier.

Did you race on/for the 4th?

What was your best run of the week?

Connect with me! Find me on facebook, instagram, twitter, garmin connect & strava!

 

 

5 Reasons to get fitted for running shoes (Friday 5)

Yesterday I had someone ask me why it’s so important to take the time, spend the money, and get yourself properly fitted for a pair of running sneakers. With resale sites selling old models of shoes for cheap, or the temptation to just pick the shoes that look the coolest, it’s hard to want to sit and have someone recommend the right shoes to get. However, it’s worth your time and a few extra dollars to pay full price for a pair of shoes.

Five reasons to...

1. You’re probably in the wrong size: A majority of the people I’ve worked with come in saying they wear one size, and come out with a half- to full-size larger. It’s important to know that it’s good to have room in the front of your foot to swell and so your toes don’t smash the front of the shoe. Do you get black toenails? This could be the culprit.

2. Are you neutral, or do you need stability/support? Even experienced runners don’t know the difference between neutral or support shoes. They may think that adding support will add more comfort for longer miles, however it will change how you land and potentially lead to injury. Depending on how your foot moves, a neutral shoe and an insert may be better fitting for you than a supportive shoe.

3. You’ll get the newest model: Many resale sites will sell you a cheap shoe, but not necessarily a new shoe. For example, Footlocker is selling a Asics Gel Kayano 21 (Original retail at $160) for $143.99. For someone who doesn’t know better, this shoe is almost 2 years old! (The 23 comes out in September). Shoes disentegrate even as they sit in the box. If you’re getting a shoe that’s been sitting for a year or more, you’re not going to get full mileage out of them, therefore not getting your money’s worth.

4. Having a problem? Ask a question! A majority of workers at a specialty running store run themselves. If you ask them about your calf or knee pain, training questions, or about long run nutrition, they will likely have a good answer for you. If not, they’ll know someone around who can answer your question. Tell your sales associate you have plantar fasciitis or calf pain, and they’ll roll out your calves and teach you the benefits of it. Having a hard time starting to run? They’ll talk to you about starting slow, and maybe even about run/walk.

5. You’ll get the sense of true service, or you should. Within a conversation with a customer and completing a “fit process” I can normally have someone out the door with their “perfect” shoe in 15-20 minutes. Many sales associates can. This isn’t because they want you out the door so they can help someone else, it’s because they know what they’re doing. They want you in a good shoe as well as you do, because they don’t want them to be returned. The associates spend time in the shoes, so they know what they feel like, and should be able to tell what you’ll like by your foot shape, running style, and different comments throughout conversation.

Before you go online and buy a cute shoe that’s under $100, think of the reasons why it’s that cheap. Even if you only get fitted for one pair of shoes a year, it makes a difference. Your new shoes will more likely actually last the 400ish miles that they’re made to live.  It is even important to get re-fitted every couple of years, as your feet can change with time and through injuries.

Buying local at a running specialty store (not Dick’s, Nordstrom, or Sports Authority) can make a difference in how you feel when you run. It also keeps money in your local economy. It can also lead to participating in fun runs, training groups, and making new running buddies.

DC-Trifecta-Friday-Five-linkup

I’m linking up with Mar from Mar on the Run, Cynthia from You Signed up for What?, and Courtney from EatPrayRun DC for this week’s Friday Five today! Check out their pages to see some of the other posts!

Do you get fitted for your running shoes, or do you just buy the same thing over and over?

Do you have a favorite running store? If not, Find one here!

Connect with me! Find me on facebook, instagram, twitter, garmin connect & strava!

**Disclaimer: While I am not a running expert, I do have nearly two years of experience working at run specialty stores. This advice comes from my training, experience, and opinions but is in no way absolute.** If you find it intriguing, check out a local running store!

Baltimore Women’s Classic 2016: Race Recap

On Sunday, June 26th, I ran the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K, which is one of the largest women’s-only 5K’s on the east coast. It was the first 5K I ran in 2016 (and potentially the only one).

Packet Pickup: I went with my friend Beth to pick up our bibs the Wednesday before the race at a running store in the greater Baltimore area. Charm City Run has multiple locations, and bib pickup rotated throughout them during the week before the race. It was quick and easy – we had been emailed our numbers beforehand and we didn’t experience any lines!

20160626_073625

Pre-Race: I was so exhausted the night before the race I didn’t even put out my typical “Flat-Sam”. Normally Beth is the one struggling to get going race morning, but that morning I was the one not wanting to get out of bed! I eventually got up, forced down 75% of a Pro Bar Base bar before Beth, her aunt + friend, and I were out the door! We got to Rash Field in plenty of time to use the porta johns (plenty, and very clean!) take selfies, and stretch!

20160626_073704Miles 0-1.5: I felt so strong the first half of the race. I went out rearing and ready to go, hitting the first mile in 9:04, despite the steep hill around the .7 mark. While the temperature wasn’t truly that high, the heat and lack of shade very quickly got to me.

"Ohmygod I am running so fast wheee!"
“Ohmygod I am running so fast wheee!”

Mile 1.5-3.1: I struggled in the second half of the race, taking frequent but short (15 second) walk breaks. One of the ladies running with us caught up to me and I basically said to myself that no one in my “group” was passing me and I kicked it back into gear. While I kept the short walk breaks, I got a huge side stitch from mile 2.25 to 2.75. Coming around a turnaround I saw the people in my group close behind me and I found it in myself to get over the cramp and just go. For the first time in forever, the competitive edge came out in me!

Feeling good once the side stitch was over!
Feeling good once the side stitch was over!

Finishing: Despite a strong first two miles (9:04, 9:20), I finished in 29:3o (9:30 avg). This was good for 21 of 109 in my age group and 293 of 2876 overall. I was hoping for, and working for a faster time. With how slow I’ve been training lately I was happy to have two strong miles and to stay as strong as possible until the end.

20160626_084403

At the finish line we received water (from my horrible ex-roommate’s boyfriend, awkward) and ice cold towels. Considering how hot I felt, this was incredible! I grabbed a piece of watermelon and a bag of chips before heading to our group’s meeting spot. We hung around for just a little bit before heading back to make breakfast and mimosas. Lots of mimosas!

20160626_102411

The Baltimore Women’s Classic was a really fun race experience. It is definitely crowded, as it is a large race of almost 3,000 people and for many of these people, it is their first 5K. Also, being in June, it is bound to be hot. I paid $40 for my registration and would do so again. Participants received a quality New Balance tech shirt, a beautiful medal, and a carnation!

What’s your trick for working through a cramp during a race?