Giveaway: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Guaranteed Entry

Facebook is being ridiculous so I am sharing my fun news here, to make it easier to share with others!

I have a guaranteed entry code to the 2016 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!  The 2016 entry fee of $43 for the 10 mile and $33 for the 5K Run-Walk (plus an online service fee) must be paid online with the entry form but you can bypass the lottery with this code!

If you are interested in receiving this code, please comment on my Facebook page with your favorite running mantra and I will select a random winner on the evening of Monday, Nov. 30.

Good luck!


Death by Running

Once again I seem to be trying to #runallthemiles at one time and it is not doing my body any good.

My calendar for the past few weeks:

October 25 – Marine Corps Marathon – met my A goal, plus some!

October 31 – Anthem Wicked 10K and Monster Mile

November 8 – Across the Bay 10K –  massive PR with a sub-9 average

November 11 – Cross Country Trail Half Marathon – 2 minute PR

November 14 – Rock n Roll Las Vegas 5K – 2 minute “official” PR (but not according to my Garmin)

November 15 – Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon – Very tough race with rain, high winds, and extreme cold.  Slowest non-trail half in 2 years.

That, my friends, is a lot of running.

After the half on November 11, my left hip started to hurt.  It was feeling better when I would stretch and roll it but, on Sunday, it hurt non-stop during the race and affected my gait.  Add in lingering right knee/IT band problems and, well, I need to rethink my spring plans before I cripple myself.

I am supposed to be in week 2 of training for the Asheville Marathon right now but I have decided to defer to 2017.  It was going to be my “goal” race but, MCM was so amazing, I’m not sure I can top it right now – especially going in to training injured.  By dropping that race, that allows me another 3 1/2 weeks of “easy” running/cross training before I begin training for the Roanoke Blue Ridge (Foot Levelers? what the heck is the name of the race?) Marathon.  Considering that is going to be a very difficult race up a freakin’ mountain, I would rather not be totally incapacitated when I hit the start line.

So, what am I going to do for 3 1/2 weeks?  Not run for the rest of this week (gasp!), and then add in more cross training with short, easy runs.  I’m actually looking forward to a bit of a break.  I think it will do my body, and spirit, good.


Race Report: Across the Bay 10K 2015

Well, last year was such a fun event, we ran across the Bay Bridge again this year!  Seriously, I could pretty much copy and paste last year’s report and call it good :)


  • The race organizers had the option to have our packets mailed to us this year so we did that and picked our shirts up at the finish.  Luckily, they had our sizes.  I guess they ran out of shirts (Which I thought they might since the volunteers weren’t collecting the bib tickets). I also heard stories of some people not receiving their bibs but can’t confirm that. We had no problems in either area.
  • The food at the finish had problems – moldy bagels and bruised/old bananas.  I was still happy with the pretzels, though!  There were also a lot of food trucks so people had options. It’s not like we were stuck in a food wasteland.
  • There were about 6,000 more runners this year and it was pretty obvious.  Parking was a big mess, again (but not for us!) and some people were turned away because they missed the last wave.  Very disappointing for them.
  • There were two water stops – one at the top and one right before the shore – and hydration vests were allowed this year.  If you do this race, it is cupless but they rigged up PVC pipe and had a long row of “drinking fountains” along with the spigots to fill your bottles so no one went dry.
  • Personally, I finally learned my lesson and wore a very short sleeve shirt and light capris with a visor and no knit hat.  So much better!  The arm sleeves were off before the first mile marker.

Still a bit sharky, even without the hat

  • There were a ton of photographers and we will get our pictures for free!  I can’t wait to see them!
  • No aborted selfie attempts at the top.


  • Great view!
The morning sun is not our friend at this race

The morning sun is not our friend at this race

  • Great running company!
  • Great weather!
  • A lot of fun!
  • Still no sharks :(


I have been trying to break an hour for the 10K distance for A LONG TIME.  Like, over a year.  I would get ohsoclose but no cigar.  Ms. S knew I was gunning for a PR but I was worried about her lungs (it was chilly at the start and very windy at the top of the bridge) so I had no idea how things would turn out.  I decided to just run and see what the morning brought.  Well, we started off nice and strong up the 2 mile incline (again, it didn’t feel that difficult) and then picked it up for the descent.  The section after we hit the other shore and had to cross over the highway was a suffer-fest again and was pretty bottle-necked but we keep the pedal down and…. 55:41!!  That’s an 8:58 average, boys and girls!!  I still can’t believe we did that!!


Thank goodness for the running store tent that had rollers for us to use. We may have enjoyed ourselves a bit too much :)


That’s better!

We have already signed up for year 3, because we need to finish our medal puzzle, naturally!  We’re not quitters! :)


Race Report: Marine Corps Marathon 2015

Okay, I’ll just remove all suspense and say that I had the race for which I trained!

If you follow my Facebook page, you know that I made major progress in my pace this training cycle, especially the 20 milers.  While I wasn’t 100% true to my plan, I definitely hit 95% of the runs and ALL of the key ones (unlike last time).  I had high hopes of coming close to 5 hours this race and my secret goal was to break 5.  For reference, MCM 2013 was 5:50:24.

Expo and Packet Pick Up

As usual, the actual packet pick up was a breeze.  They moved it to the Convention Center this year but it still felt pretty cramped and crowded.  After getting my awesome ruby red mock, I entered the Brooks race gear section and couldn’t deal.  There were just a few shirts that I really liked and there were none in my size.  I almost got a larger size until I realized that the line to check out was about an hour long!  No thanks!  (Luckily, one of my awesome running friends was going first thing in the AM and she snagged one, in the right size!, for me :) )

I spent a bit too much money at the expo but I did make a conscious decision to have a shadow box made for me.  My name and time will be engraved on it.  I was debating if I should do it, just in case I had a crappy race, but I went ahead and got it.  I’m now happy with that decision!

Race Eve

I tried to rest as much as possible but that didn’t really happen.  I was running around a lot and didn’t even have time to make dinner so my husband and I went out while Little Runner went to a Halloween party.  My husband picked him up at 9 and we got ready for bed.  I had just gone upstairs when I realized I forgot to turn down the heat so I went back down and walked through the front room and looked out the window and said “What the hell?!”  The yard was covered in signs!  I thought some joker had put a bunch of political signs in the yard so I went out to look.  And then spent five minutes crying!!


One of the many signs that were in my yard!

BridgeI later found out that one of my very dear friends, and her poor husband, decorated my yard for me!  They must have moved fast because they weren’t up at 9 but were at 9:20.  I’m so lucky to have friends like this! <3  I felt like the football star who got his locker decorated!

Race Morning

I woke at 4 and prepared for the day.  Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of 4 am runs so it didn’t seem too awfully painful. I had some coffee and an avocado and a banana and headed off to the Metro.

I think I need more coffee!

I think I need more coffee!


My reminder for the day!

I was running with Team Fisher House so I went to Rosslyn and walked to the finish area where they had a huge tent on Charity Hill.  It was nice having a tent, since it was raining, and no lines for the port-a-johns, short line for security, personal bag drop, and breakfast!  I grabbed a mini bagel with peanut butter and another banana.  We hung out there until about 7:12 and then the bulk of the runners made their way to the start.



Amazing parachutists!


Osprey fly-over. Very cool!  and loud!

Osprey fly-over. Very cool! and loud!

I’m so thankful that I ran with Fisher House for a variety of reasons but, after hearing about the nightmare lines trying to get through the main security check-point, I was doubly happy!  One of my MRTT buddies was planning to meet up with me so we could run together and she was stuck in the mess.  Thankfully, I found her right before 8 am!   We passed under the arch around 8:10 and settled in for the day.

The Race

It was raining intermittently for the first hour or so and that was okay.  It kept the temperatures down for a bit.  As it was, I  removed my gloves and arm warmers well before mile 2.  We were running intervals of 3 minutes run/30 seconds walk – at least when the crowds weren’t too incredibly heavy to do it safely.  That put us pretty much in the middle of the pack.  Last time I ran this race, I was squarely in the back so I was a bit shocked, and a little overwhelmed, by the number of runners and the crowds of spectators!  My co-runner and I did our best to stick to our plan and I think we did a good job.  We did have one pit stop on the way back down Rock Creek Parkway and we had to skip a few intervals due to the crowds but our splits were pretty consistent.

We were very lucky in that we had a ton of MRTT support on the course!  From random chapters that cheered because we were wearing our MRTT visors to seeing some dear friends who were holding flags at the Blue Mile (thank you for the sweaty hugs!! <3) to the craziness to come later, it was fantastic to feel so much love and support!!

I surprised my husband and LR right before the Watergate.

Best spectator ever!

Best spectator ever!

The crowds were heavy and we just had time for a quick round of hugs before we were off again.  The second stop at mile 15 didn’t happen due to the crowds and that bummed me out quite a bit.  I was really worried we wouldn’t see them again before the 14th St Bridge right at mile 20.  My pace was definitely off in those five miles as I kept looking on both sides for them.

We were coming up on Mile 20 and I was really getting worried.  I knew the drum troupe was coming up and my husband isn’t a huge fan of really loud noises like that so I was positive that they wouldn’t be there.  I had just taken my phone out of my pack and looked up and … there they were!!!!

Okay, I cried a little

Okay, I cried a little

See you at the end!!

See you at the end!!

Next up, The Bridge!  The Bridge turned out to be a non-event for me!  I have been working very hard on my internal dialogue and visualizing it as just another road and it really worked! I just kept my head down and stayed calmed and put one foot in front of the other.  It wasn’t nearly as demoralizing as it has been in the past.  Now, the section after we came off the bridge and before we turned into Crystal City was a bit of a bitch but, what can you do?  Luckily, we knew we had all sorts of MRTT craziness waiting for us!


These ladies are NUTS and FANTASTIC!


Who knew Snow White was such a hottie?


So much awesome!

There were a few other groups of supporters along the course and they certainly helped to give me a great boost for the end!  Around mile 24, my friend started to flag.  She knew I was trying to get a sub-5 so she encouraged me to go ahead.  I felt horrible but went ahead after she promised me she was okay.  I was really gunning for that time so I skipped my intervals until it was clear that it was impossible for me to get that time.  It was also the time when the sun decided to appear and the heat was on the rise.  I kept a good pace until I found my family for the last time and then took a few minutes with them.

Almost done!

Almost done!

I powered through the end of the race as fast as I could go.  I like to think I charged the hill to the Iwo Jima Memorial but it was likely a determined power walk at that point ;)  And, just like that, I was done!

Official time: 5:03:42 Garmin marathon time: 4:58:19 (I added an extra half mile from dodging people)

Official time: 5:03:42
Garmin marathon time: 4:58:19 (I added an extra half mile from dodging people)


I think that one thing that really helped was my consistent fueling strategy.  I cannot do math of any kind during a long run so I wrote on my right arm the miles that I was to take fuel and I did it! Every four miles I had a packet of something.  I had one peanut butter and chocolate chip Bonk Breaker cut into quarters (took two at a time), one packet of Clif Banana Mango food pouch, a baggie with pretzels and raisins, and right before the bridge, a salted caramel Gu.  I also drank electrolyte water and took two Hammer Endurotabs before the last 10K.


Like I said, I think I ran the race that I trained for!  Just about everything went as planned and I reached my goal.  My knee was twingy around mile 8 and I was a bit worried but then it settled down to a low crank and didn’t really give me too much grief.

This all feels a little anti-climatic! There was no big cry fest, no “will overcoming the desire to quit”, no miles of banishing mental demons.  Just a few hours of hard work and the joy of reaching my goals!

Sorry for the lack of profanity or overly wrought emotions. I’ll try better next time ;)

My Team!

My Team!

Next Stop: Marine Corp Marathon!

Compared to Rock n Roll DC, I’ve kept my training for the 2015 Marine Corp Marathon very much “under the radar”.  I’ve been focusing a lot of my attention internally and really working to improve my foundation.  I’ve overhauled my nutrition (and dropped 11 pounds in the process!), I’ve nailed my long runs, I’ve worked on my turnover rate, and I’ve really worked on being a “lighter” runner, in every regard.

Is that enough?  Good question!  While I think I’m successfully juggling all of the variables that I can control, you just never know when the race is going to throw you a nice, heavy wrench!

None of these, please!

None of these, please!

I have two concerns right now.

  1. My knee.  It has been problematic ever since RnRDC (yes, that was in March…).  I had a cortisone shot two weeks ago and that has definitely helped but there is still some issue there.  No, I have not gone for my MRI yet.  Denial is more than a river in Egypt!  I pinkie-swear that I will get it scanned early next week.  Until then, I’m taping the crap out of it and hoping for the best.
  2. The weather.  It’s been very seasonable, if on the chilly side, the past few weeks.  Sunday?  High of almost 70.  I’m not getting too antsy yet, though, as it can still change (pleasepleaseplease)

My Big Ass Scary Goal is to *finally* break 5 hours (I’m keeping my Bigger Ass Scarier Goal to myself ;) ).  To do that, I will focus on not going out too fast, actually following my nutrition plan and take something every 40 minutes and half a mile before the bridge, and not walking that F-ing 14th Street Bridge.  I am going to run that bastard right into the ground!  (every time I go over it, be it on foot during a race or in my car, I tell it off – usually with a generous helping of profanity.  It’s NOT getting me this year!!)

What happens if all of my goals go out the window and it’s hotter than Hades on the bridge and I do a death march from Crystal City (again)?  Nothing.  I know I can finish.  It won’t be the finish that I want but I know that I am a much stronger runner than I was when I ran MCM in 2013 or even RnRDC earlier this year. That knowledge, alone, is worth all of the work I’ve done over the past 17+ weeks.  If I don’t hit my goals this time, it just means I need to keep working.

Impossible only takes longer

Impossible only takes longer

So, that’s it! I’ll be back with an epic recap early next week.  If you’ve been around my blog for a bit, you know it will include inappropriate humor, bad language, and a lot of crying :)

Catch you on the flip side!


I, no, My weight, was back up to 195 Monday morning.

I’ve been sick for over a month, on various meds, and my digestive system is off.

After weeks of thinking I’ve gotten past the number on the scale determining my self-worth, I discovered that I was wrong.

I had a great 20 mile run on Sunday.

That number should be the more important indicator of my progress.

As always, I’m still a work in progress.

Coughing, and Crying, and Getting It Done

The past six weeks have been unkind to me.  My laryngitis turned into a nasty case of bronchitis that hit me harder than I realized.  I finally saw the doctor after 4 weeks of coughing and misery and she was quite dismayed by my lungs.  I started antibiotics, plus a ton of other stuff, dialed back my running a bit and just tried to maintain.  I still attempted my long runs but the 17 and 18 milers were pretty much horror shows for the last quarter of each one.  My pace was WAY off and I kept pulling the muscles in my stomach from coughing while trying to run.  It didn’t help that I was a snotty mess, too.  Real pleasant!

I’ve been using the treadmill quite a bit, due to the unrelenting humidity.  Bonus, from Wednesday through Saturday, my stomach was rocking and rolling and making things even more unpleasant (thank you, Zpak :( ).  Saturday had me down for 8 miles.  I was going to meet one of the groups from my MRTT chapter but decided not to because of my stomach.  I finally got on the treadmill and could hardly do 4 miles!  That short time included 2 bathroom breaks, many coughing fits, and a complete breakdown that had me sitting and crying.  I had 20 miles on Sunday!  And company coming this weekend. And a half marathon the next two weekends.  Gah!

If you don't stop crying, I'll keep attacking your feet!

If you don’t stop crying, I’ll keep attacking your feet!

To say I was feeling pretty low on Saturday was an understatement.  I had planned to run the Revenge of the Penguins 20 mile race/training run along the C&O Canal.  I did it in 2013 and it was not my favorite run but I liked the option of not having to think up a course and having a lot of support.  I told my MRTT family late that I was doing it.  I knew there would be a ton of them there but I felt like hiding in my cave.

Caption on my post: Everyone has these cute little outfits and I look like I'm preparing to lay siege to the city. Oh, well. 20 miles, coming up! Team Fisher House shirt, so I can remember why I'm doing this. MRTT visor, so I can remember that my friends support me. All of my nutrition, because I'm a touch obsessive. It won't be pretty but I WILL get it done!

Caption on my post: Everyone has these cute little outfits and I look like I’m preparing to lay siege to the city. Oh, well. 20 miles, coming up! Team Fisher House shirt, so I can remember why I’m doing this. MRTT visor, so I can remember that my friends support me. All of my nutrition, because I’m a touch obsessive. It won’t be pretty but I WILL get it done!

One of my long-run buddies texted me late and asked if she could run with me.  I tried to demure but she said her knee was bothering her so she was okay slowing down if we needed to.  I decided to give it a shot.

I’m SO GLAD that I did!  We had a great run!  The splits were nice and even. The weather was decent. My stomach didn’t revolt.  My lungs behaved.  I took 40 minutes off from my 2013 time!



An event that I was sure would be a miserable walk actually turned out to be awesome!

One of my big problems is last 10K of the marathon.  I feel like I do okay until mile 20 and then I check out and/or start verbally abusing myself.  My goal this year always is to NOT DO THAT!  I am now actively planning to be smart the first 20 miles (don’t go out to fast, fuel properly, fuel early (!), etc.) and keep my wits together for the end.  After Sunday, I think I can actually do it this year!  I’m feeling more positive about this marathon than I have for some time now.

Five weeks to go!

Nutrition Plan: Week 3

I just finished week 3 of my Eat All the Things nutrition plan and my body seems to really appreciate it!  I had a couple off “off plan” meals due to extenuating circumstances but I tried to follow it as close as I could.  Overall, other than this lingering cold that has been going on for two weeks, I feel great!  I feel like I have more energy for my runs and I am recovering more quickly.  I’ve gotten over the feelings of guilt when I eat as planned on a rest day and I’m not feeling as tied to the scale as I was the first couple of weeks.  I also being careful to refer to this as a nutrition plan and not a “diet”. When I’m on a diet, it all about what I can’t eat.  Everything is off limits.  The food is bland.  I can’t have chocolate.  Guess what!  On this nutrition plan, I can continue to have my Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mint every day with lunch and NOT FEEL GUILTY!  And that one is all I need.  I’m not even tempted by the bag of Oreo’s that I buy my son!  Previously, I would definitely sneak one three whenever I could. I think I’m finally getting the swing of the idea of giving my body high quality fuel and not a bunch of junk!

Hardly a deprivation diet

Hardly a deprivation diet

Even though I have a couple more weeks on my free plan, I went ahead and signed up for the 12 week special Max Muscle was offering (buy 6 weeks, get 6 weeks free).  Twelve weeks will get me through the Marine Corp Marathon and into the first few recovery weeks.  I’ll be curious to see how my body reacts when the mileage isn’t quite so insanely high.

The Numbers

Week 0 – 196 Starting body fat: 31.3%

Week 1 -194 / 30.3%  and gained .5 lbs of muscle

Week 2 – no data

Week 3 -191 / 29.3% but lost just a smidge of muscle

Week 1

Week One is done!  I am still struggling with knowing what/when to eat on my long run days but, overall, it has gone well.  It’s a bit odd to not be hungry all of the time and I have not done any mindless nibbling. I confirmed with my nutrition counselor today that the calories consumed and burned are viewed cumulatively for the week so I think I need to cut back a bit on non-run days so I have more for the long runs

My typical menu includes:

Breakfast – granola, banana, protein shake

Snack – 3 hard boiled eggs and almonds

Lunch – meat, rice, 2 cups of veggies.


I often go with a homemade lean hamburger patty and a mix of tomatoes and fermented sauerkraut

Snack – apple, almond butter, jerky

afternoon snack

Dinner – meat, veggies, 1/3 c. beans


Fajita chicken and onions/peppers that I made for my husband. I just omitted the tortilla on mine

Late evening – protein shake

The Numbers

Starting weight: 196 Starting body fat: 31.3%

Week 1 194 / 30.3%  and gained .5 lbs of muscle

A new look at (my) nutrition

I’m still here, running, training, nursing a bum IT band, but I don’t want to talk about that right now.

What I want to talk about is my new nutrition plan.  For the past several years, I have been using MyFitnessPal to stay pretty close to 1700 calories, as adjusted for the day’s workout.  Though I have slowly lost a tiny bit of weight, it’s been pretty stagnant, even with my increased activities.  Honestly, I’m frustrated by my body’s inability to lose fat.  I see people who lose 50 pounds in a year (or less) and I want to scream!  I have always been a super slow loser and my body fights me for every ounce.

Two weeks ago, I won a four week personalized nutrition plan with Max Muscle Sports Nutrition, Springfield as part of my Mom’s Run This Town chapter’s anniversary party.  I was a little leery of changing my diet in the middle of marathon training but Corry, the owner, and Zach, the consultant with whom I would be working, were emphatic that this is a good time to make the change.

My initial consultation with Zach lasted an hour.  He outlined the five “laws”  that they follow: consume protein first thing in the morning, consume 10g of protein every 3-4 hours, don’t eat carbs alone (always pair with protein), drink 1/2 oz. of water per pound of body weight, and stay within 500 calories of your daily expenditure. He then took a body comp reading and went over my typical diet.  Finally, he started plugging in numbers into his massive spreadsheet.  Bottom line – I need to eat more, by A LOT! Huh.

I am on my third day and I am mentally having a tough time with this.  This is a lot of food!  I am struggling with the desire to add additional workouts.  I’m also confused as to how to stay within 500 calories if my daily diet is an average of my exercise for the week.  For example, I did not work out yesterday but I ate the same as I did today when I will run 4 miles.  Yesterday I was within 500 calories but I will not be today unless I eat more.  I obviously need to ask more questions!

I’m going to follow the plan and their advice, to the letter, for a month and then reassess.  For the sake of transparency, I’m letting it all hang out here and will update each week.  I already told Zach that I have very low expectations but he is certain that I will see results.

The Numbers

Basal Metabolic Rate: 1,629

Previous Calorie base: 1,720

Average Caloric need, adjusted for average exercise amount: 2,348 (with 186 g of protein!!)

Starting weight: 196

Starting body fat: 31.3%