Race Recap: Zooma Annapolis 2017

It’s been a few weeks, but I can’t not share the experience that was the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon. Last year I ran the 10K, and decided to challenge myself and move up to the half this year. Aside from the trail half marathon earlier this year, it was my hardest half yet.


As with many local races, I spent the night with my friend, Beth, and her aunt and uncle. Beth was able to get our packets in Annapolis on Friday, which was a huge help and stress reliever. Our pre-race nights consist of a good meal and some wine, always. I feel so relaxed after a night of socializing. Typically I go to the race with them, but as I was running the longer distance, I decided to drive myself in case they didn’t want to wait for me after the race. Later than planned, I set out my “Flat Sam” and headed to bed.

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Basically the same outfit as last year.

I was up around 5:15 and out the door by 5:45 to drive to Annapolis. I met up my friend Erin, who was running the 10K, and her boyfriend (one of my best friends from college) before meeting up for the ambassador picture. I conversed with a couple of ambassadors, which I didn’t really do last year. It was such a great group of strong runner women!

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credit: Cynthia 

After the picture we all headed towards the porta johns. Last year, the lines moved quickly. This time, not so much. I waited for 20 minutes and had to sprint to make the start of the race. Not. Fun. Whether there were more people or less porta johns, something was wrong. It led to a very anxious start our races.

 

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I knew this race was going to be hard, as Beth and I had run the hills on the back half of the course a few weeks prior. Pair hills with a warm, sunny day, and it’s not a recipe for a “fast” day. I was ready for a challenge. I set out saying I’d be happy with a sub 2:20, but I ended up being happy to finish.

Miles 1-5: The first few miles were very similar to last year’s 10K, as well as the Annapolis Running Classic 10K. There are some small hills, but they are managable. While I knew I could run fast for these miles, I stayed at an easier pace to save myself, with 90:30 intervals. I found a great spot around my friend Erin, and I paced myself just behind her until the half split off from the 10Kers. At about mile 5 we started crossing the Naval Academy Bridge for the first time. I stayed with my intervals most of the way up, then walked a little extra to save myself.  (Erin looked strong coming down the bridge towards her finish!) Splits: 10:57, :49, 11:03, :03, :04.

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Going away from the finish – the “easier” side.

Miles 6-10: The bridge is where the hills start, and they don’t stop for the rest of the race. While in most races I’d want to speed up at this point, I was hoping to stay steady through the hills. I felt strong until the out-and-backs started, around mile 8. By then, the heat started to get to me. I had trouble taking in fuel and also felt a bit over-hydrated. I also was dumb and put sunscreen on my forehead, which meant I had sunscreen and sweat running into my eyes (should have worn a hat!). I struggled through 90:30 intervals from mile 8 until about mile 10, where I felt like I was just slogging. I was managing to make it through my intervals, but was very out of breath, so I knocked them back to 75:30. At mile 10, I reached the top of a hill where I could see the Naval Academy Bridge once more, one of the last big hills. Splits: 11:19, 10:53, 11:29, :50, :42.

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LOLOL

Miles 11-13.1 (.32) – If the slowing paces and shorter intervals didn’t clue you in, I was struggling for the last 5K. I couldn’t take fuel without feeling like I was going to puke, so I started to “bottom out”. And frankly, my legs were just dead from the hills. I try to run some hills each week, but only on shorter runs (which I should improve on). People passed me left and right, and I walked more than I would like to admit. When I realized that this was going to be my slowest half ever, I just focused on finishing in one piece, uninjured. Splits: 12:09, :29, :49, 3:54 (last .32).

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Final time: 2:33:27

Despite running my slowest half ever, I still felt very accomplished. I knew this was a hard course – the old me would have run the 10K, but I wanted the challenge. This is NOT an easy course, and no half is going to be easy during June in Maryland. I found pride in running very steady for the first half of the race, and making it through 4 miles of hills before I started to really struggle. While it wouldn’t have made any speed records, I think the last few miles would have gone better if my fueling had been better.

Post race: I know my fueling and hydration was off, because I felt horrible after I finished. Almost “med-tent” horrible. I sat with water, gatorade, and some chips. I was so relieved when Beth said that her and her aunt were still around. While they got massages and shopped, I had 4 more cups of gatorade and another bag of chips while sitting in the shade. I haven’t felt so poorly after a race since my first few long races (cough cough Chuck 12 2014).  I didn’t even partake in the wine – shocker. After a few pictures, I headed home and had a feast of Taco Bell (my first in YEARS!). After a nap and another plate of nachos, I was feeling much better and was ready for a night at the ballpark.

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Beth had a solid race and her Aunt Kate finally hit a big goal of a sub-60 10K! I was very happy for them both! Despite my slow time, this race lit a fire under me to do more hard races in order to truly challenge myself a bit more.

Before I forget – the SWAG. I was disappointed with it last year, but this year the swag was improved. The t-shirt was a grey, tech-cotton short with a simple design. It is very comfy. The half-marathoners got a running hat, which I love and was great during my recent Las Vegas trip. It came in a “lululemon” style bag, which I always like to have around! The medal featured a sail boat, was pretty, and was of a nice quality!

All in all, the Zooma Annapolis 13.1 is not for the faint of heart, or for someone who expects a fast time at every race. It is a challenging course and is typically hot and humid. The race atmosphere is positive and the post race party is fun. If you like to run with a pack, run the 10K – which is the biggest race out of all three distances offered.

I was a bit bummed about the food spread. Even though I was a “late” finisher and some food may have run out (not an excuse), I only saw potato chips, bananas, and some trail mix. I love a good post-race spread, and it didn’t live up to last year’s Pirate Booty. Seriously, I’m now addicted to that stuff. However, as much as I enjoyed this year and last year’s races, I won’t be back next year. The Baltimore 10 Miler is always the same day, and I’m ready to take on that course again as part of the King Crab Challenge. But I will be back in time!

DisclaimerI received a complimentary entry for Zooma Annapolis as an ambassador. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Race Recap: Race 13.1 Baltimore

On December 3rd, I finished my last race as a member of the 20-24 age group. Okay, so I’m not “competitive” in my age group but it is still a fun way to remember the race. In actuality, I almost didn’t even run this race. I wasn’t feeling confident due to a lack of a consistent running schedule and was dreading being up at 5 am to run in the cold! Like the Annapolis Running Classic, I hoped to do well in the back of my mind, but I really ran to have FUN.

The night before: I had a wonderful night out with my boyfriend (as well as my roommate and her BF) doing everything you probably shouldn’t do before a “race”. We enjoyed some Christmas lights, went square dancing and ordered gourmet french fries at 11 pm. I wasn’t in bed until 1 AM, and I was afraid I’d regret it in the morning. (I didn’t even do a Flat Sam!)

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Meet Jake!

Pre race: I was up at 4:50 to get dressed and head out the door. The race organizers offered race-morning bib pick up, which was great.  You were even allowed to change your race distance, which I almost did. I was slightly turned off by the fact that it was advertised to close at 6, which meant I had another 45 minutes to sit in my car and have my UCan before lining up. I met another runner to chat with, which was fun and took my mind off of the race. There were plenty of clean porta jons, and the start of the race was very organized.

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No flat Sam = car selfie

Miles 1-3: I started slightly behind the 2:15 pacer, figuring that if it was a really good day, maybe I could handle that. I’d try to run without walking, but if I had to add some in, I would. I felt sluggish and very slow during these miles, and was so nervous about covering the whole distance. I was pretty socked in for the first two miles, but the course opened up after that. I lost the pacer after about a mile, and never found her again. Splits: 1o:30, 10:09, 10:24 (no intervals).

Miles 4-7: After mile 3 we were on the Promenade, where I now run quite often. Even with the lack of confidence in myself, it was nice to know where I was and where the course would take me. I started feeling a little better and knew I could push a little harder so I sped up while also adding in a :30 walk break every .5 miles. It was just enough to compose myself and catch my breath a little. During this part we ran through the Under Armor World Headquarters – something I’ve been trying to do for a while but I could never figure out how to get there! Around mile 6 I knew a PR was in reach – I was feeling good and I was gaining speed. At the turn around at mile 7, I kicked my butt into gear. Splits: 10:19, 9:55, 9:34 (with a 20 second stop to refill my bottle), 9:34.

Miles 8-13: Things continued to go smoothly after the turnaround – the course was the same on the way back aside from the last mile (on the promenade instead of the road). I kept myself going by setting my sights on someone and passing them. I kept knocking them off and it felt freaking fantastic.  I didn’t gain any speed, but I stayed very steady. Around mile 10, I realized that not only a PR was in my reach, but so was a sub-2:10 if I could just hold on. I’d never felt so good in a half before, and I felt so energized with this possibility. The miles ticked by and I only checked my watch because it was a reminder that I WAS doing it. In the last mile I knew I would be so close to a 2:10. While in some races I get really emotional at the end, this time I was just so intensely focused. Splits: 9:35, 9:38, 9:38, 9:41, 9:43, 9:43.

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I couldn’t NOT buy this race photo. 

Mile 13 – 13.1 nubbin: :42. 7:47 pace, y’all. I had a kick! I didn’t get passed at the end! (Actually, I remember only one person passing me, and staying in front of me, in the last 3 miles.) At the end I wanted to jump. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry happy tears. And really, I didn’t do anything. I was in complete shock at what I just did. Not only did I PR, I PR-ed by 6:30 and finished with my first sub-2:10 (also my best time of the year by 10 minutes).

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After getting my medal, stretching, and grabbing a bagel (from Panera) I headed to my car to leave, as I had commitments in the afternoon. Long story short – this part was horrific. I waited over an hour to get out of the lot, and paid $50 to park instead of $15. Not fun and so not cool.

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Aside from the parking situation (great getting in, horrible leaving), this race was wonderful. The start/finish area was well organized, the aid stations were full with friendly volunteers and entertainment, and the course is FLAT (which is rare for Baltimore). Knowing that this was Race 13.1’s first year, I look forward to see how they can grow in the future!

Check out my Bib Rave review of the race itself here!

Disclaimer: I won an entry to this race through a #Bibchat raffle on Twitter. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Have you ever run a race for fun and ended up with a PR? Do you count the people you pass/who pass you at the end of a race?

Race Recap: Annapolis Running Classic 10K 2016

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of being chosen to be an ambassador for the Annapolis Running Classic in Annapolis, Maryland. This had been on my radar as my first race post-Marine Corps, and I was so excited to run the 10K as part of their “A-Team”.

Friday night: I headed straight to Annapolis right after work, and with traffic it took me about 1:15. The Navy-Marine Corps Stadium was easy to get to. I got in and out of the “expo” with my bib quickly and painlessly. There wasn’t too much for the expo, just a few vendors and some race merch. I spent the night with friends who live a mile away. It was a much needed night of friend time, chicken parm and wine, and games. My boyfriend even made an unexpected appearance! I got to bed around midnight – later than I had hoped but not the end of the world.

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Brooks top (Dash 1/4 zip, I think), Balega Enduro socks, Janji capris, Brooks Pure Cadence 5. Not pictured: Garmin 235, Nathan handheld bottle, sweaty band, momentum jewelry sparklets

Pre-race: I was up and out of my friend’s house by 5:45 and parked at the stadium just 10 minutes later. In hindsight, I probably didn’t have to leave so early. But I’d rather be early than sit in traffic. I took a short nap and had my UCan before heading out. I first tried a porta jon that was FULL. I mean, FULL. It must have been from the last Navy football game. After meeting some ambassadors at the Blue Angels plane (it was great to meet you, Jenny!), I was happy to find the race’s porta jons. I waited for just a few minutes, but they were fresh and still had *TP*.

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Some of the A-Team ambassadors. Thanks for the photo, Jenny!

Corral thoughts: The corrals were self-seeded and I seriously had no idea what to do. I was completely winging this race. The furthest I had run since the marathon was 5 miles, and my intention was to just have fun and finish with a smile. I ended up lining up just behind the 2:15 half marathon pacer (approx 10:15 mile) to see if I could stay with them for a bit.

Miles 1-2: I caught right up with the pace group after the start, and aimed to stay with them for as long as I could without needing to start the intervals I used for marathon training. The first mile was fast (9:40) but I trusted the pacers. (The back half of the half is hilly, so they needed to bank some time). At first I felt like I couldn’t keep up, but about midway through mile 2 I realized that my body wanted to run. I left the group right around the 2 mile mark (10:10).

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Free race photos? Sure, I’ll cheese it up.

Miles 3-6.33: I didn’t even think when I first left the group, I just went. This portion of the race brought us down a slight downhill, around the state Capitol and into Downtown. It was so beautiful, and the downhill was welcomed. This is where I started to struggle during  the Zooma 10K, but here I kept feeling like I could go faster. I hit mile 3 (9:38) and knew I would be close to a PR if I could hold that pace. Miles 4-5 were a series of out and backs though town. I didn’t mind it, as it allowed me to see the people in front of me. Mile 4 was a bit of a mental struggle due to a slight uphill. Mentally, I wanted to walk so badly, but all of the stairs at November Project made my legs feel untouched going up that hill (9:40). I had a GU that I nibbled on not because I needed the sugar, but because I was hungry in general.

Mile 5 is when I started to get competitive with myself. I knew a PR was in reach, and I was feeling good. Like, real good. I had a fire that I don’t normally feel during races. I started focusing on people ahead of me and kept passing them, left and right. It felt so good. I hit mile 5 in 8:58. This is when I knew a sub-1:00 was in reach, and I was going for it. The last mile was tough. There were slight uphills the whole way, with a short, steeper one as you entered the stadium parking lot. I kept checking my watch, and when my mile 6 chimed in at 9:14, I knew I would be so close.

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Apparently I run with my eyes closed.

Unfortunately, the course was a tad long (6.33 mi), and that cost me my sub-1:00. My watch was right on with the markers until the parking lot. I saw 6.2 come up with a time of 59:17, but I was just breaking away from the cars and nearing the chute. I seriously could have cried! Nonetheless, I finished with a time of 1:00:20, a 2:19 PR.

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SINCE WHEN DO I FINISH IN THE TOP 25% (25.4% to be exact…)

 

 

Finisher’s party: The Annapolis Running Classic is known for their great afterparty. The dozen oysters is super unique, although not to my liking. I did LOVE the unlimited beer. However, one beer at 8 AM after a hard run left me with a headache, and I had to drive home anyways. The band that was playing was fantastic and if I didn’t have somewhere to be I would have stayed all day to listen to them. On another note, I liked that the premiums were picked up AFTER the race – so that you had to finish to get your shirt (#sorrynotsorry). The 13.1 runners received a sweatshirt while the 10K runners got a t-shirt.

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Post-race thoughts: I was so high on emotions after this race. I earned a PR for the first time since April 2015. This wasn’t a PR by being my first race of a certain distance, I worked hard for it. I felt so much redemption after running a 1:02:39 at the Wildman Biathlon and coming in dead last in the 10K leg of the race.

Most importantly I felt like all of my hard work was finally worth it. I often put so much pressure on myself at races, and when I flop I hate myself and consider giving up. I went into this race with zero plans or expectations. Actually, the night before, I told my friend “The night before races I always get lost in dreaming that I’ll wake up and be fast.” While I may not be “fast”, this was the fast I have been waiting for and knew that I was capable of. And it felt awesome. 

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Verdict: This race had some flaws, but all in all, I really liked it and will be back. It’s a great fall race to either finish off a racing season with, or to do just for fun. A review of the race itself (not just my experience) will be up on BibRave.com soon.

Disclaimer: As a Annapolis Running Classic A-Team member, I received a complimentary entry into this race. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Are you a lover or hater of hilly races?

Favorite post-race treat?

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!

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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.

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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!

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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?

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.

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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.

 

 

 

Race Day: Brigance Brigade 5.7K

I spent the morning of April 5th in beautiful Canton running 5.7 kilometers for an awesome cause! Alongside some of my classmates/fellow NSSLHA members, we ran in support of ALS. ALS is our group’s philanthropy, and the race was ran in support of the Brigance Brigade organization. It is named for O.J. Brigance – a former Baltimore Ravens player who has ALS. His number was 57, which is why it was a 5.7k!
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Brigance Brigade 5.7K!

It was the first year for this race. It was extremely well run and course was awesome. The first half of it was mainly uphill, and about two miles were set in Patterson Park. I’d only been there once before and never knew how beautiful the park was! I’m a little disappointed in myself because I did walk a couple of times – those hills took everything out of me!

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I finished the 3.54 mile course in 35:20 – a 9:59/mi pace! I was hoping to hit 10:00 so I am very pleased that I hit it after walking for about a minute of the race. I was so proud of myself for training so hard that I got a little choked up when I saw the finish line at the waterfront. One of the girls in our group knew someone who was working for the race, so we were able to hang out in the VIP tent for a while afterwards! I was hoping to meet Ray Lewis – but we didn’t feel like waiting around all day for him to come. All finishers got an awesome medal (the middle swivels!) and a nice tech t-shirt. It was a wonderful race and I would gladly do it again!