Running in 2017: A Look Back

With December almost halfway over, it’s time to reflect on the year that has been 2017. I can’t put into words how good 2017 was to me in many ways. In terms of running, it was my best year yet. I’ll be sad to see it go, but 2018 also has a lot in store for me!

Throughout the year, I stayed healthy and injury-free for the first time. GUYS. I RAN A YEAR INJURY FREE!!!!!!!! Sure, I took extra days off here and there for aches and pains, but I was never hurt. I ran more miles than I ever have. I started to cross train regularly (then stopped, oops). I also experienced my first period of “burnout”, but I made it through.

January – March: In late 2016, I signed up for my second marathon. I started training the week before the new year began. Aside from a cancelled half marathon I ran relatively consistently. The worst part of these months was stepping away from November Project due to work-related stress. I remember one, 18-mile run that went very poorly but besides that, running was great. I ended up running 93.8 miles in January, 98.4 miles in February and 125.1 miles in March.

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With two of my fave pals (who run) at the trail half!

Races: Little Patuxtent River Run Trail Half (2:32), Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon  (2:19:35), Shamrock 5K (27:01 – PR), Baltimore Road Runners Club St. Patrick’s Day 5K (27:51)

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April-June: April brought peak week for the New Jersey Marathon, the taper, and of course, the race! I was so proud of myself for setting a huge PR. It took longer than I had hoped to recover from the marathon and I kept a pretty low running profile in the following two months. I ran my personal worst half marathon at Zooma Annapolis on a very challenging course. I also started to ride my bike more in preparation for my first Duathlon! I ran 134.1 miles in April, 46.4 miles in May and 74.8 miles in June.

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Sole of the City 10K (easy run before a 20 miler)

Races: Oldfields Half Marathon (2:12:43), Sole of the City 10K (1:12:22), Columbia 5K (aka Hangover 5K – 33:19), New Jersey Marathon (5:03:42 – PR), Stoneleigh Stampede 5K (28:52),  Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon (2:33:27), Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K (38:56)

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*don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry*

July-September: Once July hit, I really started to get back into the swing of things. My mind started to get back into training. I worked really hard to set a PR at the Charles Street 12 miler and went straight into training for the Goofy Challenge. I also completed my first multi-sport race and won an age-group award for the first time. Things got a little funky when I started my new job, but I was able to keep going strong. Summer seriously felt like it would never end, but it made me a stronger runner! I also ran my first RAGNAR! I ran 81.9 miles in July, 125.4 miles in August and 106.8 miles in September.

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Post Ragnar DC leg-3. I ran so hard my bib belt broke!

Races: Towson 4 on the 4th (39:44), Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon (2:29:08), Maryland Sprint Duathlon (1:43:04), Too Hot To Trot 10K (58:55 – short), Charles Street 12 Miler (2:03:33PR).

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October-December: These were, without a doubt, my hardest months of the year. In September and October I went full force training for Goofy. I was running doubles and putting in a lot of strength- and cross-training time at the gym. That, combined with work and putting tons of pressure on myself in my relationship, led to getting really burnt out. I thought about giving up on Goofy and just not running any more after. I stopped cross/strength work and really minimized my training – I began to do just enough to make it to the finish line but took all pressures off of myself. It took 3-4 weeks, but I finally found my way through it. During these months I’ve experienced some quad pain, but it’s nothing that made me take more than one extra rest day a week. I ran 121.6 miles in October, 116.8 in November and I have run 54.8 miles in December as of December 13 (I have 35 more on the plan for this week – HAH!).

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Favorite race photo ever – my nephew’s first finish line!

Races: 4 Miles for Eli 4 miler (38:XX – short, but with a stroller!), Baltimore Running Festival 5K (38:06) and Half Marathon (2:31:12), Towson Homecoming 5K (37:17 – short), Towson Turkey Trot 5K (31:50).

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October + November = 3 5Ks with friends!

In 2017 I ran 1 marathon, 6 half marathons, 1 10K and numerous other races. I set PRs in the marathon, 5K, and 12 mile. I will also hit my big goal of 1200 miles for the year in mid-December! It’s hard to pick out a favorite moment from the year, but if I had to choose it would be the entire New Jersey Marathon. I trained well, trusted my race plan, and ran my race. Or maybe hitting the 1,000 mile mark for the with friends by my side – it was amazing to share it with others, even if they were just a small part of it.

I also loved being a Bib Rave Pro in 2017! I ran three great races with them and tried numerous great products. I’m really looking forward to another year as a Pro!

As you know if you’re a regular reader, my 2018 is going to start off with a huge bang with my 18th half and 3rd full. I’ll be back soon with racing plans for 2018 as they are largely set in stone already. Crazy – right?!

What were some of your running highlights this year? What was your favorite race?

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Goofy Challenge Training: Week 8

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is now just 10 weeks away!! I’m excited to really get into the longer runs now and run some serious mileage!

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Monday: 4 miles at the gym. I was feeling a little down from the weekend, so I did some random speed work. 1 mi easy, 1 mi without intervals at moderate-hard effort (8:54!), 1 mi easy, then 1 mi w/ 4 x .2 mi at moderate pace with .05 walking recovery. It felt so good and I miss doing speed work! Did arm and ab weights after.

Tuesday: 3.16 miles easy in the morning, 4 miles progression run on the treadmill in the afternoon. I had a long commute this day, so felt nervous time-wise about getting 7 done in the morning but I got the miles done!

Wednesday: 4.75 miles at November Project. I worked hard during the 5:30 workout and set a small PR for PR day, then ran part of 6:30 with a friend. My legs hated me when I went up stairs at work after!

Thursday: 20 minutes on the bike, leg weights. I moved up the weights on all the machines, which made me super happy!

Friday: 5 miles easy. This one wasn’t on my training plan, but I really wanted to get in another run. It was cold enough to wear leggings! I was a happy, happy runner.

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Saturday: 6.7 miles solo then 3 miles during a 5K with friends. I should have ran the extra .3 to make it 10 even, but oh well. And in new shoes, my legs felt so great!

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Sunday: Rest dayayayay!

Weekly miles: 30.61 miles

My glutes/hips are starting to feel better, but I definitely need to do better with foam rolling this week to really kill it for good and to keep the discomfort from coming back! I’m also really struggling mentally with a desire to do another half marathon this year, but I can’t find one that fits my schedule and seems worth it. Meanwhile, I’ve picked out some potential marathons for later in spring 2018!

This week I’m linking up with Tricia at misssippipiddlin  and Holly from HoHoRuns for the weekly  Wrap Up. Check out their page to see other bloggers’ weekly wrap ups!

Running in 2017 – Halfway There and Updated Goals

This weekend brings July, as well as the halfway point for 2017. While personally life has been pretty good, it also has been a great year of running so far. I haven’t quite hit post-marathon goals yet, but overall I’m happy with where I am. Let’s look at the goals I set out for myself at the beginning of the year, and how I’m progressing.

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Back in December, I set some running related goals:

  • Run 1,000 miles: By the time the calendar turns to July, I’ll be around 580 miles. I was averaging 100 miles through April, but May and June brought reduced mileage. It took me much longer to get back in “training mode” after the marathon than I imagined, and to be honest, I’m not completely “there” yet. I’m giving myself this last week in June to do what feels good before starting to push more.
  • Run a marathon by myself: Done and done. I had an amazing experience at the New Jersey Marathon. I’m glad it was a great race, as it will be my only marathon for 2017, with the Disney World Marathon falling in January 2018!
  • PR in one distance: Well – I’ve beat this goal because I PR’d TWICE! First was a :27 5K pr at the Shamrock 5K in March and then a 28 minute PR at the New Jersey Marathon.
  • Run 2 sub-2:15 half marathons: I have run 4 half marathons (3 road, 1 trail) and ran a 2:12:xx at the Oldfields Half in April (never recapped this…whoops). I went to this race with no expectations aside from getting in a good long run. This is my second fastest half so far! I’m confident that if I don’t get a 13.1 PR by the time I start Goofy training, I will meet this goal.

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  • Get back to blogging, reading blogs, and communicating with readers and ambassador groups more regularly – Yeah, about that. I like my little space, but unfortunately it’s just not a priority. I’m okay with that. I still read blogs, but I’m treating this more as a journal of experiences to look back on.

So what’s next? I’m trying to keep chipping away at those post-marathon goals for now, with the Old Port Half Marathon just over a week away, and the Maryland Sprint Duathlon a week later. I’m looking to build up some speed before I start officially building up for the 2018 Goofy Challenge in September!

I’m going to keep goals I haven’t met, and also update/add some

  • Run 1,000 miles –> Run 100 miles/month each month for the second half of the year, and also, hit 1,200 miles for the year. The only month I see this being a challenge is July, when I’ll be traveling a lot!
  •  PR in one distance –> Run at least 1 more PR this year. I’d be happy with any distance. For this I’m not counting the Charles Street 12, because unless I collapse and crawl to the finish, I will run a course/12 mile PR at this race. I’d be very smitten to run another half marathon PR.
  • Run 2 sub-2:15 half marathons: Gotta keep chipping away at this one! I’m hoping to meet this in the fall, and to run another sub 2:10 in Laughlin in December.
  • Run a running club race: I joined the Baltimore Road Runners Club in March, and have only run one race with them so far. I want to start getting more involved with them.
  • Foam roll/injury prevention 2-3 times a week. I’ve been very bad with this so far this year, only using my tools once I start to hurt. Goofy training is going to bring high mileage and I have to take care of myself!

In the next few months, I’m really looking forward to running some new races, especially the Old Port Half and Rock N Roll Philly. It’s weird to look at August and not have any races on the docket, but I’m going to use that time to push hard for Philly and enjoy my time going to more November Project workouts!

 

New Jersey Marathon 2017: Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the New Jersey marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Just a few days ago I finished my second marathon! It was an amazing day and I’m still on an emotional high from it. The weather worked out perfectly and it was an all around wonderful day. Spoiler alert: Goals were crushed.

Race day eve: The night before, my boyfriend and I enjoyed a dinner at Olive Garden, played some mini golf and billiards, then settled into our hotel. Harry Potter was on tv all night, which was great – however, the partiers throughout our hotel were not. I didn’t fall asleep until 1 and I woke up around 5.

Pre-race: By reading other runners’ recaps,  I knew that traffic has been an issue at this race in the past. I arrived at the Monmouth Park race track just after 6 (for a 7:30 start) with plenty of time to use the porta johns (there were plenty), and wait. I started the morning a tad grumpy due to my lack of sleep. Checking my bag and getting settled into my corral (7, the last one) was painless. The race started right on time, and I crossed the start about 10 minutes later.

Miles 1-5 brought us on a long loop through neighborhoods around Monmouth Park. My plan was to run in the 12:00/mi range for the first 5, but I ended up being a little faster. I spent a lot of time on my phone trying to figure out tracking. The AthLinks app wasn’t working for my mom, so I turned on MapMyRun (I’m glad I paid for the MVP plan!). My heart rate stayed reasonably low, and after a couple of miles I was able to run with plenty of room around me. Splits: 11:21, :38, :51, :48, :47

Miles 6-10 – “mighty, strong, powerful”. I upped my intervals from 60:30 to 90:30 as I hit mile 5. I contemplated waiting, but my goals weren’t going to be met by me sitting back. These miles brought us closer to the water and through some nice neighborhoods with people cheering on couches that they brought outside to sit on. I felt great during these miles, despite a dull ache in my left ITB that almost sent me into a panic. This was eventually settled by finding the right place on the road to run. I lost about 90 seconds during a potty stop at mile 8, but aside from that, these 5 miles were pretty uneventful and (mostly) below goal pace. The best part? There was a girl singing potty songs outside the porta johns! Splits:  11:17, :18, :22, 12:23 (potty break), 11:08.

Miles 11-15 – “this is NOT Marine Corps (Marathon)”: I mentally faded a bit during these miles, especially 11-13. The half marathoners turned off, leaving the course much emptier. I struggled with remembering that this is where I started to lose it during Marine Corps, especially with my knee still bothering me a bit. I wasn’t really paying attention to my watch, but if I had been, I would have seen that it felt hard to run because I was running faster than goal pace. I kept repeating out loud “This is NOT Marine Corps!” and it really helped me keep going. I came out of it when I hit 15, and knew it was time for the last of “four 5-milers”. Splits: 11:10, :19, 10:58, 11:01, 10:43.

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Miles 16-20 – “You’re doing this!” – As soon as I hit 15 miles, I started processing that a sub 5:00 was very possible if I kept running as well as I was. I was entertained by beautiful seaside houses and before I knew it I passed the 5:05 pace group, which started about 1:30 before I did. Next was Asbury Park, which was not nearly as nice as I had imagined. However, I was on cloud nine. I started passing people left and right. I also started feeling pretty hot, and dumped water over my head every 1-1.5 miles. I struggled a bit around mile 19, wondering when the turnaround would hit. Once I turned around, my quads started burning and I started to truly feel fatigued. Splits: 11:02, 10:57, 11:20, 10:52, 11:24.

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Miles 21-26.2 (or 26.49): The miles north were riddled with challenges. I definitely hit a sort of wall. Around mile 22.5, 2.5 miles of side stitches began. I struggled so much during miles 22-25. People around me were having a rough time, and I started to feel like them (although I was still passing them all). At mile 24.5 (I think), the 5:05 pacers passed me. Oh no, I’ve lost my sub-5:00. At one point they got to be almost out of my view. I decreased my intervals to 75:30 and pushed forward. Around the 25 mile marker, my cramps subsided, but my legs were still dead. I turned off my interval timer and decided to do what I could. I caught up to, and passed, the 5:05 pacers! While I realized the sub 5 wasn’t happening, I was going to fight for a 5:05. The last mile or so is a blur of me looking for Jake and wondering where the finish was (my watch had been about .2 miles ahead all race long). As soon as I saw the chute, and Jake, I gave as much as I could. I just remember the announcer saying “Look at her smile! She is so exhilarated!” Yes, yes I was. Splits: 11:15, :44, 12:19, :19, :43, 11:26, 5:17 (.49)

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Final time: 5:03:43. I met my C, B, and A goals and set a PR by 28:32. I can’t say that I “couldn’t believe it”, because I could. I trained hard, was in great shape, believed in myself, and executed my race plan pretty well. I had the race that was truly for me, and despite having a 5 at the beginning of my time, I couldn’t be happier.

Post race: I made my way through the chute pretty quickly, getting boxed water (why boxed?), gatorade, and a snack box. I skipped the photo station, which I regret, as I decided to buy my pictures. Reuniting with my boyfriend and getting my bag was painless, however the fact that you couldn’t bring bags into the finish festival just created a hassle that I wasn’t up to. I changed out of my shoes, ate some potato chips that I had packed in my checked bag, and left pretty quickly. I felt great, but I was ready to go get some FOOD. Jake kept asking me if I felt good and said I “looked like I was in a lot of pain”, but I really was just so happy that I couldn’t do anything but smile and laugh. It wasn’t until after food and a nap when my body caught up with my emotions!

Swag: The medal is absolutely beautiful! It is a spinner with beautiful colors. I love that all of the towns the course runs through is on the back as well. The marathoners received a long-sleeved shirt that matched the medal (the half-ers got a tee that matched their medal).

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Overall, this race was wonderful. The course support and volunteers were amazing. The course was mostly beautiful, aside from Asbury Park (which also smelled) and a stretch in Long Branch. The course was virtually flat, with only 2-3 gentle inclines over bridges. You also can’t beat boardwalk miles and a beach finish.

While the field was mostly half-marathoners, I actually liked that the course emptied out. It allowed me to focus on my run more. I also loved the out and back. Seeing the marathoners coming back was really motivating and kept me moving. I could also see how much time I had gained on those who I had passed!

Just a few days out, most soreness has subsided, aside from some quad stiffness. I’m already yearning to run another 26.2. I love the training and the pain that comes after mile 20, along with the pride that comes with meeting your goals. I’m not running until Sunday at the earliest, but I’m ready to get back to the grind. While the Goofy Challenge is the next marathon I have on my schedule at this time, I’m contemplating an October/November marathon as part of my prep.

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Read my review of the race on Bibrave and review your races to help other runners choose which ones to run!

 

NJ Marathon: Goals and Race Prep!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the New Jersey marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Everything for the last 4 months has been about this race. I’m so ready for Sunday! I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days trying to think of realistic goals…

I’ve been so emotional over the past two days. This marathon is just for me. In October, I ran side by side with someone and it greatly changed my experience. I made the mistake of not taping both of my knees and my ITB locked up. I adjusted and proudly finished, but it wasn’t what I imagined after a great training cycle.

Outfit: There will be a “Flat Sam”, but help me pick my skirt! Seriously – I can’t decide!

Race plan: 60:30 run/walk intervals, around a 12:00/mi pace for the first 5 miles, to make sure I don’t go out too fast. After 5 miles, I’ll switch to 90:30 run/walk intervals. Typically my “easy” pace with 90:30 intervals is around an 11:30. I plan to hold this until half-way, when I’ll speed up to a pace I feel I can hold. Every one of my long runs was a negative split, and I’m gunning for that again. I feel so confident after two-three hours now. Plus, I’ve promised myself that if I run a negative split, I’m buying myself this….

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Image credit: Sarah Marie Design Studio

Time goals: In my heart, I truly think I can, and want to go after a sub 5:00:00. However, the fear of hitting “the wall” and failing pushes me back (I didn’t really hit a “wall” in my first 26.2). However, if it is an absolutely perfect day, I think I have the ability to do it. I know with my whole being that I have a 5:15 in me – none of my long runs (60:30 intervals) have been with slower than a 12:00/mi avg, and I’ll be running 90:30 intervals instead of 60:30 for a majority of the race.

C Goal: PR (current PR: 5:32:17)

B Goal: 5:15:00

A Goal: 5:10:00

A+ Goal: Anything with a 4 in front of it!

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While I have races planned for the summer, I’m already struggling with thinking that my next marathon isn’t until the Goofy Challenge in January 2018! I really do love training for a marathon – the long runs are my only time I let myself “slow down” (HA!) during the week.

But really, I’m just hoping for a fun, successful, positive race experience come Sunday. I’m excited for a little road trip out of town, and to explore a new place. And for extreme bagels and blackjack on Monday. #allthebagels

If you’ve run multiple marathons, how did your time differ between races 1 and 2?

Skirt advice, anyone?

 

 

New Jersey Marathon Training: Week 16 + Monday

Week 16 of training is complete and there are now just 12 days between me and my second marathon! Watching the Boston Marathon yesterday was so inspiring. While I am nowhere near chasing a BQ, I am chasing my own unicorn and can’t wait to have my turn to get to the starting line!

For my first week of tapering, I took the mileage down a bit, but not too much. Most of my runs felt great, aside from the very end of my long run.

Monday: This was the first rest day in a while that I was emotionally/mentally dying to get out for a run! But alas, I was good

Tuesday: 1.7 mi. Anxiety plagued me all day, to the point where I almost bailed on Girls on the Run. I ended up being with girls who were walking more, but it felt great when I was able to motivate them to try to run more. I’m happy I went, but I missed a run after due to prepping for my mom’s visit.

Wednesday: 5.14 mi at an easy pace. It felt so wonderful to run a few minutes later and not have to wear my headlamp!

A fresh pair of Balegas makes for a great run!

Thursday: 4.26 mi. I planned for them to be at marathon pace, but it ended up being a strong progression run with my fastest “training run” pace of this cycle.

Friday: rest day

Saturday: 5 miles super easy (avg. HR – 140). I was bored stiff, but I knew I needed to keep this run easy!

Sunday: Rest day — I planned to run but Jake and I were out late and I really just wanted to be home with him and make breakfast. Sooooo after I drank my UCan I just went back to bed. Whoops.

+1 Monday:   13.5 miles. I am on Spring Break through today, so I had Monday to run! I felt great until mile 12, when I started feeling horrible. I bonked for the first time in a long while, and I’m not quite sure what went wrong. My run turned from 15 miles into 13.5 and I felt so relieved when I got back to Jake’s without passing out/vomming.

Because my phone won’t upload my skyline photo you get this…

Weekly (+Monday) Total: 29.6 mi

This week I’ll be dropping the miles even more, and I know I’ll start to go a little crazy! I’m starting to think more about my concrete goals, and finding it in myself to believe that I can achieve them. I signed up for a 5K, as my friend is an ambassador. The participant list and expected finish times is posted, and there’s only one other girl in my age group at this time with a similar “expected time”. So I’m very tempted to race-race even though it’s just a week out from my race. We’ll see what happens!

New Jersey Marathon Training: Week 15

After 20 miles on Sunday morning, I am now in the taper zone! I don’t remember feeling this excited during my last training cycle. However, these next three weeks are stacked. I’m behind on paperwork at work (LOL I’m always behind on paperwork), my mom is visiting, and I need to apply for (summer/new) jobs. So, the taper is hitting at a great time and our trip to the Jersey Shore will be a nice little reward for getting through it all.

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My “peak” week wasn’t perfect, with an unplanned rest day due to some elevated anxiety. All in all, it was decent.

Monday: Rest dayyyy

Tuesday: 4.5 miles super easy/easy in the morning, 1.5 miles at Girls on the Run.

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One day. Two skirts. Love.

Wednesday: Impromptu rest day spent researching trips for the day after school ends….

Thursday: 7 miles of a speed workout. 1 mi wu (60:30), 5 mi of intervals – 2 x 9:00 mi/range, 1 x 8:00 mi/range, 1 easy (90:30), then 1 mi cd (90:30).

Friday: Rest day. Jake and I walked about 3 miles at night to check out Light City!

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Saturday: 7 miles running – .7 miles to the race and 6.3 for the Sole of the City 10K. There may not be a race recap for this one so here it is – ran 5ish miles slow and was out of my mind bored, sped up and ran my last mile in 8:00 and passed at least 150 people. #seeyabye (yes I tried to count). Fun course, though! Ended up walking another 3ish miles that morning.

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Congrats to Beth on her PR (on a long course)! Also love seeing AK and UT!

Sunday: 20 miles. Not my greatest 20 miler, which sucked because I looked forward to it all week. I struggled with quickly rising heat (40 degree difference from start to finish), and a lot of self doubt. I fought a headache the entire way and spent the last 5 miles telling myself I wasn’t going to pass out. Nevertheless, I got it done.

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Weekly miles: 40.2

Training miles so far: 386.28. While training isn’t completely bummed yet, I’m already self-conscious about my mileage this time around is so much lower than for Marine Corps, and I’ve seriously slacked with NP this winter as well. While fast race times and long run paces make me feel confidence that I am in shape enough to succeed come race day, I hope my body will perform at its best.

Now it’s time to peel back a bit and take care of my body (and mind) as race day approaches!

What’s your next race? Any taper tips? This is only my second “real” taper.

I’m linking up with Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC for her Training Recap linkup. Check out how other runners are training this Spring!