Blue Ridge Training: Week 4-5

Life went sideways for a bit so I didn’t have time to do much besides take care of my family and get my runs in.  We’re back on track now so here’s my recap for weeks 4-5!


Planned:  Cross training plus 3

Actual: Rest


Planned: 3

Actual: 3 with my Muffin Runners in the freezing cold!  Then the personal shit hit the fan and it took me a bit to find my legs.  I also had my first lap swim class with a new coach.


Planned: 35 minute tempo

Actual: Rest


Planned: 6 miles

Actual: 3 mile slog on the treadmill


Planned: swim

Actual: swam 600 yds


Planned: 6

Actual: 6. My friend was running her last long run before her final half marathon in her quest to do 12 halves in 12 months.  Despite having horrible workouts most of the week, I just had to join her!  And I was so glad I did!  The run was hilly and the company was fantastic!  It was just what I needed to find my bearings.


Planned: 13

Actual: 13, with some detours.  My training partner and I decided to set out at 6 am for a hilly long run but we were quickly thwarted by a washed out trail.  A quick re-configuring of the the route and we were still able to get our full 13, even though 2 were at the nearby track because we couldn’t figure out where else to go and we couldn’t stomach another hill :D  Our average pace, even with the nonsense, was still 11:04.  I’ll take it! Oh, and oddly enough, it was a HOT and steamy run and I was down to a tank top by mile 2.  Wait, weren’t we just freezing a couple of days ago?

Little Runner was fascinated by the thoughts of the trail being submerged so we walked back later that day to see but it was dry.  He did try his hand at some boat racing, though.


The water was down but it was still fast!


This was entirely underwater when we came to it a few hours earlier

Total for the week: 25


Planned: Rest

Actual: Rest


Planned: 3 + swim

Actual: 7, due to poor planning, plus a mile swim.


Planned: 4 x hill

Actual: 4 x hill plus I tried not to eat everything that wasn’t tied down!


8 was scary! 


Planned: Rest

Actual: rest and Paint Nite with some running friends!


Always a class act!


I think my first attempt at being a bit more well-rounded went well.


Planned: Swim

Actual: Swam a mile in 45 minutes


Planned: 7

Actual: 7 but my legs hated me for the first half.


Planned: 15

Actual: 15.5 as part of the MLK 5K and JFK 20K at the C&O Canal towpath!  I ran the first race too fast and paid for a bit in the second but my pace was still where I wanted it.  It was a lovely day and I even got the snow I wanted at the 6 mile turn around in the second race :)  I decided to run the whole thing without music and I just had the best time taking in the sounds of the water and the birds, runners, walkers, etc.  Just lovely!


5K finish.  I was trying to jump but, not quite.


So pretty!


It had started to snow but you can’t see it.  I think my polar bear hat brought me the snow :)


20K finish


And, exactly one year apart, on the same course, at the same time (and wearing the same pants!)  Wow!

Total: 32.5

They are calling for Big Snow on the east coast this weekend.  My polar bear and I stand at the ready!

Surviving the Big Chill

First, you drink a lot and hope to break into stardom by playing an uncredited corpse… Oh, not that Big Chill!

The unseasonably warm weather (shorts on Christmas day!) has left us and we are in a  little arctic snap right now on the east coast.  The change in weather has left a few of us confused on what to wear so I thought I’d break down what I wore on today’s 3 mile run (13 degrees with strong winds for a real feel of 0 or negative 5, depending on the weather app).

Bottom, up…

I knew I was only going for 3 miles and wasn’t sure of my pace so I wanted to keep my feet warm.  I wore wool Balega socks and wrapped a layer of saran wrap over them, to block the wind.   I would not do this on longer runs because my feet would over heat.  It was nice for this distance, though!  My toes stayed warm!



I wore fleece lined Sugoi tights with Asics wind resistant pants over them.  The Asics were too small when I bought them a few years ago and I’m happy I was too lazy to return them!  They fit fine today and the swishing noise was worth the extra wind protection.

Up top, I wore a long sleeve tech shirt, a matching flocked half zip (both from Target courtesy of some retail therapy this weekend), and a long fleece vest ($5 from Old Navy a few years ago. Ugly but long and helps keep my butt warm).  I was just fine in this and almost got a bit warm on the fast first mile today.

Hands were cheapo Target gloves with a  disposable handwarmer and covered with wind resistant Saucony gloves.  My finger tips were cold for the first mile but then warmed up.12489870_10153140704222470_294271007_o.jpg


Head was a long Buff around my neck/face (though I pulled it down rather quickly) and a heavy hat that comes over my ears.


Post run. I think my nose matches my top!

This combo worked quite well for me.  I usually run pretty warm and, as I said, my core got a little warm so I would have either unzipped the vest or even removed it if we had gone longer.  My butt was a bit cold but that’s to be expected.  Everything else was pretty comfortable!

Tell me: what is your favorite piece of cold weather gear?  Or do you prefer to stick to the treadmill when the temps drop?

Blue Ridge Training: Week 3


No relevant pictures this week so I’ve included a few things that made me smile.


Planned: Cross training + 3 miles (option)

Actual: I’m back in the Monday doldrums so went with cross-training only


Planned: 3 miles

Actual: 3 miles with the Muffin Runners


Planned: 4 x 800 repeats

Actual: Confession time.  I have done sprint intervals but I have never done repeats like this!  I was a bit worried going into them but I was happy that I was able to do them all. I was between 4:11 and 4:30, which is where I thought I’d be.  Higdon says to run them like Yasso 800s. Now, according  to that, I should be able to run a marathon around 4:30.  While I’m not 100% convinced of this, it is food for thought!

Oh, and special shout-out to my running buddy, H, who also did 800s for the first time!  We’re going to rock our races this year!


New tights from Just Live make me happy!


Planned: 6 miles

Actual: Fairfax Four Miler.  You all know how that went.


Farro with Shrimp, Lemon, and Spinach makes me happy! Not being able to finish my fire cider does not.


Planned: Swim

Actual:  3 recovery miles with a friend who is rebuilding her base. It was a delightful way to start the new year!


Planned: 6 miles

Actual: 6 miles with a Magic Mile at mile 4.  Boy, that was stupid.  I want to try a magic mile again but not after a fast race and not after already running 3 miles and not when it is 27 degrees!  I came very close to a full-on asthma attack and the pace wasn’t much better than my fastest mile at the four miler two days before!  Oh, and it also indicates a 4:35 marathon time for me… I’m sensing a pattern.


Crocuses make me happy! Even if they are confused by the crazy weather.


Planned: 8 miles

Actual: 7.25.  Have I mentioned my hamstring issues?  That I’ve been having since MCM 2013?  Sometimes it’s not bad and sometimes it’s very bad.  It’s been acting up lately (hello, track!) and was cranky going into the run on Sunday.  I was having emotional issues (again!) and had finally gotten my head in the right space when I tripped over a tree branch at mile 6ish.  While I didn’t go down, nor did I push my running buddy into the street, I did land with all of my weight on my bad leg and felt a pop.  I managed to run/hobble back to our starting point and iced it while having my coffee.  Visions of a ruptured hamstring were dancing in my head.  Luckily, I think they were just hallucinations.  I’m still sore but it’s not that much more than my “normal” level of soreness (yes, I am a bad runner. please don’t lecture.)  I’m resting a bit but I don’t think it will affect my overall training or race plan.  I may rethink this week’s hill repeats, though…


New trail shoes for cheap make me happy!

Week total: 26.75

I feel like this week’s theme is “There’s nowhere to go but up!”


Goodbye, 2015

This is another long and rambling post…

Due to a few different factors, I have been battling a pretty severe case of depression since the end of November.  This is the worst it has been in quite a few years and I have been a bit worried.  Not only can I hardly keep it together to get through the entire day without needing to walk out of the room and count to ten before I start crying, I also am having a hard time completing my workouts without wanting to sit down on the curb and just sob.  I always manage to keep going, but just barely.

Last night, I was scheduled to run the Fairfax Four Miler for the third year in a row.  I was seriously not looking forward to it.  Right up until we started, I was extremely tempted to just walk back to my car and go home.


Even Batman and a glowing tutu weren’t doing it for me

I was surrounded by a huge group from my running group but I think I said about ten words before the start.  I was so miserable.

After a brief wait, we were off!  Since I knew the course, I knew it had the potential to be fast but that there were some hills.  Mile 1 was 8:43 and mile 2 came in at 8:11!  I couldn’t believe it!  The hills at mile 3 were tough but I still finished with an overall (unofficial) time of 8:56 average!  That was a huge course PR for me!  Even going by the official times, it was still a 1:08 PR.

I am pretty darn proud of this race.  Not only did I do it completely alone – I didn’t even have music – but I feel like I raced my depression and won! At least for now.

I don’t know what 2016 will bring but I am already making a concerted effort to start things on the right foot.  I intend to foster existing friendships and forge new ones, on and off the road.  I want to give as much as I receive and find a real place in my community.

To that end, I started the year off with 3 recovery miles with a friend who is coming back from a very difficult year.  Nothing like some good conversation and Starbucks to set you off to a good start!  I think I’m ready for 2016 now.12366083_10153922355969379_5919816650605742540_o.jpg

By the way, the tutu was a huge hit (which is funny because the last time I wore it, I just got weird looks) – this is the one I have

Blue Ridge Training: Week 2

Christmas, and the insanely unseasonably warm weather this week, about did me in!


Planned: 3 plus cross training

Actual:  Cross training only. I counted Sunday’s lights run as my 3 miles for today.


Planned: 3 easy

Actual: 3 easy. I’m digging the easy Muffin Miles!  We had a run and cookie exchange and it was a blast!


An impressive crew for 4:55 am!


Some shenanigans on our route


Planned:  30 minute tempo run

Actual: Cross training only.  The day just got away from me. Basically, if I don’t do my run before 7 am, it is unlikely to happen.


Planned: 5 miles

Actual: 3 painful miles.  I was feeling a bit stressed and decided to squeeze in my 30 minute tempo run from Wednesday.  Everything was great for the first mile and a half and then my left calf totally seized up and was a block of wood for the rest of my run.  It still hurt the next day!  I blame the sudden lack of bananas in my diet plus being a bit dehydrated.


Planned: swimming

Actual: 4 fast Christmas miles with a speedy momma.  I wasn’t sure my leg to handle it but I managed to hang on.


It was raining like crazy and insanely humid but these ladies (and Reggie!) still joined me for some miles 


One of my favorite presents – a 30lb kettle bell :)


Another favorite! From Another Mother Runner/Run Like A Mother


Planned: 5 miles

Actual: 5 early miles with some bunnies.  They were very kind to wait for me on the hills.  I hate being slower in reality than I am in my head.  And yes, I do think running a marathon on a mountain is a good idea (in response to a question I received after I huffed up a big one)


Planned: 11 miles at race pace

Actual: 11 hilly miles (again! And I included one road called Hillside!) at 11:05 pace.  AND!! I hit my mileage goal for the year!


Blue Ridge Training: Week 1

My first week of training for the Blue Ridge marathon is done!  I really liked looking back on my log when I mapped everything out for Rock n Roll so I think I’m going to do it again.


Planned: 3 plus cross training

Actual: 3 small loops around my house with 25 kettlebell swings each loop and planks as part of a plank challenge.


Planned: 3 easy

Actual: 3 easy.  I was thrilled to be able to join the weekly “muffin run” this week!  Also, 75 KB swings, a plank, and week 2/day 1 of an 8 week “strength for runners” plan.


Planned: 3 hill repeats

Actual: 3 hill repeats on the treadmill.  I warmed up for a mile at a 10 minute pace and then did three repeats of incline set to 5 and speed set to 6.5 for a quarter mile (which, according to this chart, is a 7:47 pace :o).  I recovered for a quarter mile and then did it again.  It was actually really good!  Also, 75 KB swings and a plank.


Planned: 5 miles

Actual: 0 miles.  It was just one of those days.  Just a plank today.


Planned: swimming

Actual: nothing.  I forgot both my goggle and my back up goggle at home!  #fail  Just a plank today.


Planned: Celtic Solstice 5 Miler

Actual: Five miles in my neighborhood with friends.  When I went to lay out my “Flat Momma” on Friday, I couldn’t find my bib!


My poor polar bear was very sad

We literally tore the entire house apart with no luck :(  I’m now certain that I jinxed myself by wearing the race pull-over on Friday.


Pretty sweet premium!  A Brooks half zip, with thumb holes!

My neighborhood run was a lot of fun, though, and I got to visit with some ladies I haven’t seen in a long time so it all worked out.

Also, 75 KB swings, a plank, and week 2/day 2 of the strength plan.


Planned: 10 miles, race pace

Actual: 10 hilly miles, 10:45 pace.  I ran it solo and it was tough but good!  I then ran 3 miles with Little Runner with my Moms Run This Town running group.  We had a holiday lights run that was a blast!


LR taking a break, mid-hill. Yes, he was running while wrapped in battery-powered Christmas lights.


My polar bear is happier now

Also, 100 KB swings an a plank.

Overall, I think the training plan started out well!

Marking My Territory

when I was very young, I was married for far too long to an abusive asshole. About a year before I found the courage to leave him, I began piercing myself (by a professional!). At one time, I had 9 piercings.  It was my way of reclaiming myself , of reminding myself that I was more than he tried to allow. After I met the man I would eventually marry, I slowly let the piercing go since I no longer needed that reminder. 

Fast-forward a few years and I find that I am still in an abusive relationship. This one, though, is worse than the first because the abuser is ME and I can’t very well divorce myself. Honestly, the verbal abuse I heap on myself can be stunning and if anyone calls me on it, I just say that I’m saying what I know others are thinking. 

I’m fat

I’m slow

I have cottage cheese thighs

I have man-calves

I have flabby arms

And so on and so forth. So “not good”. 

This shit has to stop so I decided to put a permanent reminder of my strength on one of my least favorite areas, my big ol’ thigh. 


A star for each marathon


Yesterday, I hit the gym in the morning for some speed work. One of my running friends, who is known for sneaking pictures, got this one of me during my warm up. I knew she was back there and I knew I would hate how it looked.  Queue mental barrage. 



Then I looked down and saw my tattoo sticking out of my shorts and thought “screw this, let’s get it done!”  So I did. 

I still have a long way to go but I am closer than I was!

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! :)