July Recap

1Happy Monday! July is just about over, and it was a crazy one. The month was filled with a lot of happenings, and I can’t really think of any negative ones. I’ll take that as a success. The last week has brought a lot of excitement and realizations, and I’m excited for what’s to come.

Traveling…We (Jake and I) started the month in Ocean City, MD, spent a long weekend in New Hampshire, spent a day in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and finished with another week in Ocean City, MD. I loved bringing him home to meet the family, sitting on the beach, meeting his extended family, jet-skiing for the first time, and even catching a wild looking fish.

At the top of Cannon Mountain, NH

Jobs: I finally recieved my speech-language pathologist credentials that I spent last year earning. Both Jake and I landed new jobs this month, and we both start today! I’m excited to be starting at a private clinic, hopefully with a whole lot less paperwork and stress than I was dealing with in the school. After the school year starts, I’ll also be working mornings in a Head Start (federally funded pre-school). I’m hoping this is a step in the right direction towards finding a spot in my career field that I enjoy more.

Running: I ended July at 85 miles, 15 miles short of my 100 mile goal. I missed 5 runs: 3 at the beach (2 due to too much fun the night before (oops), and one due to really just liking my bed),one due to needing a rest day after a race, and also one due to a huge calf cramp that happened as I woke up and went downstairs. While I got my other runs in, it was a struggle. I’m lacking on the motivation, which I think is due to Goofy being so.far.away. I’m bummed about not running a fall full. While I have races coming up, I’m not truly excited for anything. Last year, training for my first marathon was so exciting, and now I feel like I’m just moving through the motions.

I also completed 3 races:

Towson 4 on the 4th: 39:46, 6 second course PR

Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon

Maryland Sprint Duathlon: 1:43. 3rd place in AG! Planning to recap this at some point….

 

I’m excited for August and hopefully getting my running motivation back. I’m beginning to plan my trips to Nevada/Arizona for the Run Laughlin 13.1, and to Disney for the Goofy Challenge! With the new job, I’ll be working Sundays once September hits, so unfortunately, I’ve written off the Rock N Roll Philly Half. I only paid $50 to register, and I really don’t want to use a day off for that so early in my employment. However, I’m excited to work towards a course/12 miler PR at the Charles Street 12 on Labor Day Weekend!

Race Recap: Baltimore Half Marathon 2016

When planning out my Fall race schedule with the Marine Corps Marathon in mind, I knew the Baltimore Running Festival was a must again this year. Despite a race that didn’t go as planned last year, I loved the course and I knew I had to be back. This is how it went down this year.

Expo: I ran to and from the expo from my boyfriends place, making it a quick and easy experience. Within 15 minutes I had my bib, shirt, and another shirt I purchased. With only a quick glance at the expo it seemed to be alright. I was sad that Sweaty Bands wasn’t back, but my goal was to save my $$ for the MCM expo anyways.

Friday night: I missed being with my best friend and her aunt like last year (and many other races), however I had a nice night in with Jake. Pasta with meatballs and some wine were consumed, movies were watched, “Flat Sam” was prepared, and I was in bed around 11:30.

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Goals: I kept it to myself, but aside from having fun, deep down I really wanted to beat my time from last year (2:24:47).

Pre-race: The race started at 9:45, just four blocks from Jake’s house (SO CONVENIENT). I planned to sleep until 8, however was up at 7 with super pre-race anxiety. I had my UCan and made my way to the race area around 8:45. I was happy to spend some time with my friend/coach before the November Project bounce. Seriously – a bounce was just what I needed to calm my nerves and get my pumped to run in my favorite city. I met up with another friend, Erin. I’m so glad I found her because being alone at such a big race made me anxious. We started together but split early on so I could do my run/walk intervals.

Miles 1-7: I started out doing 2:00/:30 intervals, which I did the entire race. I did a lot of weaving, and got stuck behind groups of people running together and at water stations, but nonetheless I felt great. The hills were long, but they didn’t kill me like they did last year. My paces averaged between 10:42 and 11:21, about what I typically run during the middle of my long runs. I reached Lake Montebello, which is a bit past half way and felt tired, but good.

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Miles 8-13.XX – Things started to go awry once I left the Lake around mile 8.5. Really, if you look at my splits I didn’t slow down all that much, but everything felt hard. The hills, while not horrible, never ended. The sun was super warm and I could tell I wasn’t hydrating enough. Getting to the November Project cheer station at mile 9.5 kept me going. BOY did I need it when I got there and it fueled me for a good mile. I really struggled in the last mile and a half – going over a bridge and coming back into  downtown. I walked much more than I would have liked in the last mile, including stopping and keeling over for 20 seconds in Camden Yards. I felt like I just couldn’t move any more. If it wasn’t for seeing/hearing Lauren when I started running again, I would have cried from defeat the rest of the way to the finish.

Thanks to Kevin G from NP for a couple of pictures!!
Thanks to Kevin G from NP for a couple of pictures!!

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Finish time: 2:25:11 (13.21 miles, 11:00 pace – time matches the BRF website exactly).

Last year: 2:25:48.

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Running/finishing alone = no photographer.

I set out and met my goal to get a course PR. The race wasn’t perfect, and there was a point around mile 11.5 when I just kept saying out loud “You CAN do it”. While I set a slight course PR, I also ran a more consistent race. Last year my first mile was 10:18 and my slowest was 12:11. This year my miles ranged from 10:42 to 11:44. I was much more consistent, and with a marathon in my reach, that’s super important to me.

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This medal, though. It opens to show the Baltimore Inner Harbor!

Will I do this race again?  Yes. Always. Every year until I can’t. I love this race. The spirit of the city reminds me why I love it here so much.

Zooma Annapolis 10K Recap

This past weekend I had the great opportunity to run at the Zooma Annapolis Women’s Race Series in Annapolis, Maryland. I had initally looked forward to this race as my first “goal” half marathon of the year, but moved down to the 10K due to the quad/hip issue I dealt with throughout the spring. While I was at first disappointed this wasn’t going to be half marathon #9 for me, I was happy I was able to downgrade.

Packet pickup: I got my packet on Thursday at a running store in downtown Baltimore, which was a very easy experience. I was given my number, shirt, and a small keychain. I didn’t expect to go to the expo on Friday, but made it with my friend and her aunt. It was teeny tiny, but their packet pickup was easy. I was disappointed that they had a bag with samples but those who picked up their packets early didn’t. Barefoot wine was there for a “party” but by the time we got there there wasn’t much left – but the sparkly wine was good!

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Pre-race: We stayed up a little late on Friday so the 5:00 alarm came really early. I was a little spontaneous and had 2 pieces of cold pizza for breakfast and headed out! Thanks to easy traffic and parking, my friend, her aunt and I got to the Naval Academy Stadium at 6:15. There were plenty of porta-johns (for once!) and there was morning-of packet pick-up, which is a nice touch. I joined up with the ambassadors for a photo before it was time to get into the corrals (self-seeded). It was nice to get to talk to a few of them!

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Miles 1-3: The first half of the course brought us around the Naval Academy stadium and then into downtown Annapolis. There were a couple of gentle hills, but it paid off when right before mile 3 there was a good downhill going into the harbor. Right off I realized it was humid. Oh so humid. I was running at a hard, but challenging pace, saving some energy in case the heat and humidity killed me.

Miles 4-6.2: This is when the heat/humidity and then the hills started to get to me. I walked for a quick minute to take an unplanned Gu (Thanks, AK!) and was still able to keep along, just a little bit slower. The hills were long and gradual, but I was happy to be passing plenty of people who were walking up them. The worst was running up the Naval Academy Bridge! It was just straight up at around mile 4.75, when I was starting to struggle a bit. The last .5 mile was uphill too, which was rough!

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Finish Line: I finished at 1:04:30, which I was a tad disappointed with. However with the hills, heat, and humidity, I’m just happy I finished and that I did so without pain! The finish chute was easy – medals and water was given to us and it was just a short walk to the food. I had Pirate’s Booty for the first time and boy was it good! There were a few vendors out, but you know me – I headed right to the wine with my friend and her aunt! There was a great band playing and we were given two small (and I mean small) “glasses” of wine. I wish we could have stayed for longer but I had to be at work for 11!

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Verdict: The race itself was pretty good. The 10K course was challenging and everything was well organized, aside from the water stops. They weren’t well spread out which lead to a lot of congestion. For the (few) people that choose to run through them, it really slows you down! (I lost at least 30 seconds from congestion).  I would have liked there to be more wine available at the end, as that was a big promotion for whole “girl’s weekend” aspect of the race. The medal is cute and while the shirt isn’t a typical “tech tee” it is a nice tri-blend shirt that I’d wear on a short run. And there were free race photos!! Would I do it again? Yes! Will I do it every year? Probably not. It’s the same day as the Baltimore 10 Miler, which I also love.

I’d like to thank Zooma for having me as an ambassador! I had a great time at the race and can’t wait to be back again. Don’t forget that you can continue to use the code SAMANTHA16 for Zooma Cape Cod or Zooma Amelia Island!

Disclaimer: I am a Zooma Women’s Race Series ambassador and received a complimentary entry into this event. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Week of (Workout) Firsts

It’s hard to believe I’ve already been back in Maryland for two weeks! I’m feeling more and more settled each day and I’m also starting to explore and leave my comfort zone more. As much as I loved college here, I don’t want to limit myself to things I did in college. I’m trying things to meet new people and find new things I love to do, and working out is how I did it last week.

Monday: 3 miles on the NCR trail. I’d heard so much about this trail and finally checked it out. It is so beautiful and completely flat, which is nice since I live in a hilly neighborhood. Ran 2 miles easy, then pushed on the last mile to run my fastest mile post-injury (fastest all year, really).

Tuesday: OrangeTheory Fitness class with the one and only Salt. This class was incredibly challenging but also fun. I ran about 1.75 miles of intervals on the treadmill, as well as rowing, weights, TRX things and bosu ball exercises. I was dead after. Dead.

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Wednesday: I finally went to my first November Project workout. The workout was tough and I swear I’ve never done so many stairs or burpees in my entire life. I also knew absolutely no one there but still found people to talk to. So it was both a workout and social success. (2.63 run/stair miles)

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I swear I’m in there somewhere. Not looking at the camera #typical.

Thurs-Sat: Nothing. Thursday I could hardly move my arms. I went to bed at 2am on Friday so there went a morning run, and Saturday was a planned day off. Oh well.

Sunday: 8 miles with a group of women from work. We did 1 min : 30 sec  run/walk intervals and while it was great for my first long run post-injury, I found the company more enjoyable than the running. With where I am now the intervals helped me go longer without pain, but they just seemed so short and kept the pace really slow. I may join the group again on occasion, but it won’t be a weekly thing.

Weekly miles: 15.38 (Highest in almost 2 months! Take that, leg!)

Weekly fun: LOTS. I loved November Project and it will surely be a weekly occurence for me, at least until I start my school job (commuting. Blech). I loved OTF as well and would like to join, but I need to make sure I can fit it in my schedule and still have 3 other dedicated run days during the week. It’ll take some planning before I take the plunge and join!

What was your best workout last week?

How you you feel about run/walk intervals?

Charm City Wine Run: Race Recap

This weekend I had the best time running a race for fun with one of my best friends. When I saw this race, I knew it would be a perfect way to celebrate my graduation without actually going to it! What’s better than running, with my best friend, with a food and wine festival after!?

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#FlatSam with a new Plattsburgh State shirt.

We got to the race about 45 minutes early and had time to relax and catch up at Rash Field in the Federal Hill portion of Baltimore. There was plenty of good peoplewatching and many pictures were taken, with and without my cute little graduation cap headband (courtesy of my momma!)

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The race started on time and was pretty straightforward, 1.5 miles out and back with a little extra at the end. I ran with K, and it was only her second 5K! We ran the whole first mile, then took some walk breaks for miles 2-3. Our running was at a comfortable pace for where I am, coming back from my injury. The course was beautiful and ran around the Inner Harbor, which was a great “welcome back” to Baltimore. There were two aspects of the race I didn’t like. The water stations were not prepared and we waited at least a minute for water each time we stopped (I’m still adjusting to the heat here), and there were multiple pedestrian bridges on the course. After the faster runners had hit the turnaround, these were very congested and really unsafe when the race leaders were pushing others to the side.

The best part was sharing this run with K, who I never thought I would see running a 5K, let alone with me! When she wanted to give up I was able to push her along, and she got a 1:xx PR!

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The race finished into the Baltimore Wine and Food Festival with a great band at the finish line. K needed some time to recoop. As she may have said “I’m gonna puke/die/pass out”. So I took the good friend route and went and got her food and such, returning with those and BEER for me. Yes, BEER at a wine festival. I like wine, but I love beer.

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Beer in a wine glass. (Unpictured: K riding the struggle bus, you’re welcome K.)

After a while, K finally felt better and we were able to roam around! There were many great drink options, she sampled from most wineries and I sampled about half of the breweries available. They even had some distilleries! Shopping was great as well, and there were about half a dozen food trucks. We got some pasta and called it a morning before the rain hit.

All these before noon! Love it! (I forgot to tag one, Angry Orchard Gumption, which is always good)
All these and more before noon! Love it! (I forgot to tag one, Angry Orchard Gumption, which is always good)

The race and festival were put on by The Trigger Agency, who also puts on some other festivals in Baltimore and DC metropolitan areas including the Beer & Burbon Festival and Crab & Beer Festival. While these runs are definitely more of a “fun run” I would gladly do one again because I had a great time!

I’m linking up with  PattyErika, and Marcia today for Tuesdays on the Run! Check out the other posts to see how other runners are getting a hold of their favorite running gear!

Race Recap: Baltimore 10 Miler

On Saturday I ran my first Baltimore race of 2015, the Baltimore 10 Miler. I was so excited to run this race with my friends, although I knew it would be a hard one.

Race Day Eve: Beth, Ben and I went to the Baltimore Zoo on Friday to get our packets and pick up was super easy. We spent the evening having pasta and good times at Beth’s aunt house with some of her family and it was a great time. Heck, I even fell in love with some dogs (I am not a dog person). Beth and I may have stayed up a little late talking, but it was so worth it.

half-made "flat Sam"
half-made “flat Sam”

Pre-Race: 5:30 came way too early on Saturday, and we were all out the door around 6. It seemed like it was no time before we were parked and in the starting corral near Druid Lake. There were pretty long bathroom lines, but we found some short ones before we lined up. We ended up being in the second or third wave, starting about 6:30 after the first runners.

Our group included some pro photobombers...
Our group included some pro photobombers…

Miles 1-5: 4 of us all just ran together for the race. We ran a little slower than my normal pace, but knowing the course was to be full of hills, I was okay with it. While I don’t talk much when I run, I was so happy to be out with 2 of my favorite people, in my favorite city. The best thing was when the leaders passed us on their way back. Everyone cheered and I had never experienced cheering in a race like that. It was so BaltimoreAfter seeing the destruction in the news weeks earlier, it reminded me why I love this city and why the people are best. We got to Lake Montebello around mile 4. I’d never been there before and it was beautiful. And flat. Finally, some relief. After going around the lake I was ready to finish the second half strong.

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Miles 5 – 10: After we headed back to the Zoo, things started getting hard. My heart and lungs felt fine, but my knees started killing me. It wasn’t even my IT Band, which I was worried about with the hills. They just plain hurt. I had originally planned to speed up around mile 8, but at that time I really started struggling. The sun had come out, I got hot, and my knees felt like they were on fire. I got to a point where I just wanted to stop. But my friends were slightly ahead of me and there was this guy behind us who was so motivating and really kept me going. In the last mile I found it to finally catch up with Ben and Ben but those last two miles were probably two of the hardest miles I’ve ever ran and I was so so glad to finally cross that finish line!

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While I’ve ran 10 miles 13 minutes faster before, this was definitely the hardest 10 miles I’ve ever ran. However, it was so worth it in many ways. I got to run with my best friends, and I’ll be running much of this again a few months during the marathon. When I sometimes felt like I just wanted to run a little faster, I mentally told myself to think of the run as a training run for the marathon, as I’ll likely be running a similar pace at that time and I’ve got to somehow prepare for the Baltimore hills.

Post-race: After finishing, we had a little walk but then there was plenty of food and ice cold, wet towelsI’ve never felt any relief like that before. We got our wonderful, beautiful premiums, and some people were lucky enough to get medals if they were doing the King Crab Challenge (not me…). We hung around the race for a bit after, which I normally don’t after a race. There was a pretty good band, free beer, and of course wonderful company! The morning ended up to be beautiful, and I loved sitting around with everyone. I can’t wait to celebrate my Marathon with all of them (we are all running either the Baltimore half or full).

 

This race was incredible. It was challenging, but who doesn’t like a good challenge. Everything was spot on-about the race, except for maybe the water stops. There were plenty, but they were short and very congested. I wasn’t able to get water at the first two because there were simply too many people. But that could be easily solved by making them longer/changing the setup. I will without a doubt do the race again, and can’t wait to do the Baltimore Marathon, which is run by the same company. 26.2 here I come!

A Maryland Weekend and Running Recap

I can’t believe just 24 hours ago I was in Maryland and now I’m back in NY. This was an absolutely crazy weekend but it was without a doubt, the best weekend I’ve had since I visited Maryland last. It’s always hard leaving, but knowing that I’ll be back in 3.5 weeks was very comforting on my long drive home. Because it was so marvelous, I am linking up with Katie today. Thanks for hosting!

On Friday morning I woke up feeling like I’d never left Maryland in the first place. I simply felt at home. Beth and Ben are incredible and took the day off to run around with me. I was thrilled to go to Towson, see some old co-workers, and of course go to Bateman’s. We even had my favorite bartender from college. LOVE IT.

BOHHHH
BOHHHH
Nachos w/ crab dip and lump crab meat. I LOVE MARYLAND.
Nachos w/ crab dip and lump crab meat. I LOVE MARYLAND.

Saturday morning was filled with Baltimore 10 Miler fun! I’ll share more about the race later, but it was awesome to spend some time doing what I love with my best friends (and BRF) and also some new ones. Beth really was a huge inspiring factor in getting myself running again so it was perfect to run it with her!

No cool medal for me. Womp.
No cool medal for me. Womp.

Oh, and we got Chic-fil-a after. I’m never going over a year without it again!

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Saturday night brought me to my first Bachelorette party for my other best friend, and my first time going to Annapolis! Beth was amazing and planned a really great night. We all had a great time (or at least I did)!

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Sunday was the Bridal Shower! It had been a really stressful week, as I am a bridesmaid and the planning for the event was all over the place. It was much harder to participate from 400+ miles away than I thought it would be. But it went off without a hitch and I think the Bride had a wonderful time. I can’t wait to be back in Maryland in less than a month to see her get married!

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After about 11 hours in the car I was finally home. I ate way to much junk food, drank too many energy drinks and talked on the phone more than ever before. The worst part of the drive was being lonely, so my mom, grandma, M. and Ben kept me company for probably about half the ride and I made it home only having yawned 3 times.

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When stuck in traffic, eat WaWa

In terms of running this was a light week. Although a little sore, I recovered just fine from my half marathon.

Tuesday: miles at a comfortable pace. I didn’t bring my watch or phone and I loved it. I had ordered some new inserts for my Pearl Izumi N3’s that I was sent at work. They were comfy but definitely not as much as my Brooks. I’ll still wear them on occasion because they’re cute and they were free but they’re not my favorites.

Gotta love some superfeet
Gotta love some superfeet

Wednesday: 3 miles at a comfortably-hard pace. I definitely regretted not bringing water with me on this one.

Saturday: 10 miles of hills, hills, and more hills. The pace was easy for me for the first 8 miles, then I struggled keeping up with Ben and Beth due to some knee pain. Nothing felt/feels injured, I think it was just a combination of the hills and the amount of impact on them. I really liked the pace, knowing it was similar to what I want to hold for the marathon, and much of the course will be part of the marathon as well. It was great preparation!

Total: 15 miles.

I intend on keeping it pretty easy this week as well, as my marathon plan starts next week. As amazing as the weekend was, I am thoroughly exhausted and need a few days to recover, as well as catch up on stuff for school and other personal stuff.