Liebster Award

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Briana at Mat.Miles.Medals. It is a way to support bloggers with a focus on those with 200 followers or less.  I definitely fit the bill 🙂  Thank you so much, Briana, for including me in the fun!

liebster

The “rules”:

  1. You must link back to the person who nominated you.
  2. You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
  3. You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award.
  4. You must create 10 questions for your nominees.
  5. You must go to your nominees blogs and notify them.

Ready for my Q&A?

1. How did you get started running?  I was tired of being overweight and sick all of the time.  I also was in a very stressful work situation and was dealing with infertility issues.  I started the Couch to 5K program just over two years ago because I knew I had to do “something” and never looked back!

2. What are your must-have distance running accessories? I really like my Roo Sport Pocket (and I stuff all sorts of crap things in there!)

3. Compression socks… yes or no? For recovery but not while running.  I have large calves so I have problems finding socks that fit properly.  I want to try a pair of calf sleeves but haven’t ponied up the $$ yet.

4. How does your normal clothes budget compare with your workout clothes budget? I buy most of my workout clothes from Target (I like the C9 line) in order to save money but I definitely spend more on workout clothes (and socks… and shoes…)

5. How far out do you create your race plans? It depends.  I put tons of potential races in my calendar and then drop (and add new ones!) as my goals change.  I think I am pretty well set through the rest of the year now, with the potential for little extras here and there.

6. When you run… music or no music? If music, what genre is your playlist? I am all over the map!  I try not to run too much with music so I’m not overly dependent on it as I can’t use headphones on trail races.  I prefer a mix of classic rock and Top 40.

7. Finish this sentence, “If time and money were no object, I would…” Work with my trainer every day!

8. What advice would you give to your younger self? You are so much stronger than you think and you can do so much more.  Stop holding yourself back!

9. For day-to-day fun, what do you do outside of work and fitness? I read.  A LOT.  I am a bit of a book whore as I am rather indiscriminate. 😉

10. What’s something we wouldn’t know about you from reading your blog? I have struggled years with depression (at times, rather serious) but significant physical exertion helps me keep it at bay.

Okay, here are my nominees. Some of them have been around for a while and some might have larger followings but what can I say? I’m a rule breaker 🙂

  1. Chocolate Runner Girl
  2. Diary of a Slow Runner
  3. Dreadmill Drummer
  4. Meandering Echoes
  5. Press on and Run
  6. Running Through the Castle
  7. The Happy Running Momma
  8. Will Run for Ice Cream

… and I obviously need more blogs to follow because I came up short!

And my questions:

1. Road, trail, or mud?

2. What is your preferred distance?

3. What is your “dream” race?

4. What fitness app do you use the most?

5. What do you do for cross training?

6. What is your funniest running or race story?

7.  If you have one, who is your favorite running partner? If you don’t have one, what celebrity would you most like to join you on a run?

8. How many pairs of exercise-related shoes do you own?

9. What is your favorite snack?

10. What is one thing that you can do today that you never thought you would be able to accomplish?

 

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(Trying To) Train Smart

My hip/SI joint has been problematic since … well years, but the most recent flair-up is due to it popping out right before the 17.75.  It has been very angry and inflamed since then.  Last week it had settled down by mid-week so I keep a date for a group run of 6 miles on a very technical and hilly trail.  That sounds like a good choice, right?  </sarcasm>

I love, love, love that trail!  It is super tough but so pretty and peaceful and I just couldn’t say no to it even though I was thinking that maaaybe it wasn’t such a hot idea.  The run went great without too much pain.  Our group then did a lot of prolonged stretching in the parking lot immediately following the finish – you knew we were all in pain because we were sitting right in the gross lot instead of moving to the nice grass.  I iced, Adviled, and rested and had total rest on Sunday.  Monday was tolerable so I ran 1.5 miles to my personal training session (where I limited my movements) and then ran 2 miles back home.  Everything was totally locked up with severe muscle spasms within the hour.  Sadly, I’m still in pain so I decided to finally do the right thing and call off my 10 mile trail race on Sunday.

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So frustrating

This is so annoying because I finally have my plantar fasciitis resolved and now this!  Bah!  I’m trying to take the long view and focus on improving my bike/swim for the May 11 triathlon.  I just hope my body gets this all out of its system soon because marathon training will be here before I know it!

Anyone else currently benched or limping along?  Feel free to commiserate in the comments!

Race Report: Prison Break Dash 5K

So, when we left off, I had just run the MC 17.75K with a crappy hip and lots of hills.  On Sunday, Little Runner and I ran the Lorton Prison Break Dash with some friends. It was his second 5K and was being held on the grounds of the old Lorton Penitentiary (now an arts complex).  Costumes were encourages so, of course, we were happy to oblige!

Packet Pick-up, SWAG

We arrived early enough to get our packet before the race.  They had the option of doing it the day before but I didn’t think it would be a problem – and I was right.  We received our packet in a re-usable cloth “back sack” (what the heck are those things called? It’s not substantial enough to be a back pack).  We also received a cotton race shirt (LR’s is waaay too big for him.  They didn’t have kids sizes even though the 5K is open to 7+).  We then went to the timing tent and received our timing chip (on a neoprene strap).   They had various photo ops with a line up backdrop and ball and chain, etc.

Start

The race consisted of a 10K, 5K, and kids dash.  There was a slight delay because a Prius was blocking part of the course in the parking lot but we started reasonably on time. The 10K runners started first with the 5K runners split into three waves.  We were in the last wave, and that was fine.

Course

The course took us around the complex, past the old guard towers, up two hills, and back. It was fun to run past the old guard towers and some of the old prion buildings.  It was a bit crowded in some spots when the stroller runners were acting a bit crazy and then the 10K runners, on their return lap, shared the course with us.   There was one water stop at mile 1.5 that we hit twice.  My 10K friends said that was the only water for the entire course.  Not great, considering it was pretty warm that morning.

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Finish

The pain in my hip/back from Saturday was almost unbearable and it was hotter than we had thought it would be so I was getting a bit concerned about LR.  We walked quite a bit on the second half of the course but he perked up when we hit some shadows coming back into the complex and ended up finished strong.  Our time was 41 minutes.

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We immediately found water and he was very pleased with the free ice-cream truck that was on site 🙂  I had half a banana but they also had PB&J sandwiches, granola bars, and fruit snacks.  There were a few other vendors but I didn’t see what they were since we had found shade and LR was too hot to move.  They also have free massages, which was a nice touch for a small race.

Good

Family friendly

Novelty race

Good after race support

A ton of volunteers on the course

Quick timing results

Free pictures

Not as Good

The two way traffic on the course wasn’t handled well

Not enough aid stations for the longer course

Overall

This is a little race that grows a bit each year.  I give it a solid B and would do it again next year.

 

 

 

Race Report: MC 17.75K 2014

On Saturday I ran my second Marine Corp 17.75K in an attempt to gain access into the full marathon.  Since I wrote a review last year, I will focus mostly on what changed for this year.

As before, I parked at a nearby commuter lot and took the shuttle to the race start.  As I was sliding out of my seat, my hip popped quite audibly but I was so caught up in everything, I didn’t pay close attention to it.  That was a mistake.

The start was moved closer to the entrance to Prince William Forest Park.  They also had shuttles from several different sites so people were being dropped off on either side of the busy highway.  I liked that we only had to run on open road for a quarter of a mile or so but I found the start to be very confusing.  I didn’t find my running group for the group picture (they were across the street) and the lines for the inadequate port-a-pots was insane.  I was able to quickly check my bag before getting in line but, as last year’s marathon, I was “occupied” when the actual race started.  Thankfully it was chip timed! I hustled and made my way to the inflated arch, thinking it was the start but no!  it was actually a bit further down the road.  I didn’t realize where the start was until I hit the mats!

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Not the Start

We made our way down the main road and then turned into the park where we ran on a fire road and then a very compact trail for just shy of two miles.  Even though it was the same number of runners as last year, just over 1,700, it was very crowded until we dumped out onto the main road in the park. It was almost impossible to pass anyone.

As promised, there were a lot of hills!  My hip was not happy.  I kept a pretty steady pace until we hit the monster ones at mile 8.  After that, I walked all of the hills.  The course didn’t seem to be as pretty this year.  Maybe it was just because of the funky weather we have been having but I’m pretty sure we were in a totally different section of the park last year.  I feel like I spent most of my time just looking at the road instead of the scenery.

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Sarcasm, so much sarcasm!

The course was a lollipop so the trail and fire road (with more hills) was waiting for us again at the end.  I beat last year’s time by 3 minutes, which is a bit frustrating as I know I can do better.  Ah well, every race can’t be a blow out.

The finish was decently organized.  They had food set up right at the end of the chute.  I was immediately given a bag with two bottles of water, a leftover snack box from last year’s marathon (expired by a couple of weeks but it was crackers and fruit cups so no biggie), plates of greasy pizza (no thanks), and a thin throw-away jacket (also leftovers from the marathon).  I was also given my Warrior Chip and instructed where to go to exchange my ticket for the my marathon entry code.  There were some vendors with tents but I was hurting pretty bad by this point and just wanted to go home.

Good

Small enough race so packet pick up and most logistics were simple.

Organized bag check.

Efficient finishing area.

On course aid – plenty of water!

Since it was a lollipop instead of a point-to-point like last year, there was no long waits for the shuttle buses at the end.

Not As Good

Disorganized start.

Not enough port-a-potties.

Fewer Marines on the course this year.

Best

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Oorah, Baby!

I wore a tank top (with sun screen!) and compression shorts.  I wore my Asics Gel and have come to the sad conclusion that they are not for me.  My big toe always starts to hurt in the joint around mile 8 when I wear these shoes – so much that it feels like I’ve broken it but the pain stops immediately as soon as I stop running.  Such a bummer! I wished I had worn a hat or sunglasses as it was pretty bright at times.  It was also pretty humid so I sweated off all of my Body Glide and had some awesome chaffing going on at the end.  I carried my Simple Hydration bottle (AKA, my butt bottle since I carry it in the small of my back) with a strong mix of EFS. I refilled the bottle at one of the last aid stations and felt my hydration was spot on for the temperature.

Tomorrow

I know I need to write my race report from the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler (they really need a shorter name) but my heart hasn’t been in it.  All of my thoughts right now are on tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I will run my second Marine Corp 17.75K, as part of my long build-up to the marathon.  In fall of 2012, my husband told me that he received an email from his school that the school had charity spots for the Marine Corp Marathon.  After I almost died laughing, I decided that I would run the 10K with them that year but, in 2013, the marathon would be mine!  At packet pickup for the 10K, we were given a little brochure that listed all of the Marine Corp races for the coming year and I saw that completing the 17.75K race guaranteed entry into the marathon.  I knew that the marathon would sell out quickly so I wanted the guarantee of the “golden ticket”.  So, even though I wasn’t quite ready, I lined up on that cold March morning and did my best – and received my reward!

This year, after it was announced that the marathon would be a lottery, I knew I HAD to get the “golden ticket”, no matter what.  I also knew that the competition would be fierce for this race.  Last year, it sold out in a few hours but this year it sold out in 7 minutes!! My registration was accepted at minute 6.

Tomorrow I will be lining up again, ready to spend the morning with the Marines.  They have changed the date and the course so it’s a bit more “friendly” but I’m still expecting a good butt kicking.

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Hills! My favorite!

I can’t wait to run this race and get my entry code!  I can’t wait to get back to sweaty long runs and ice baths!  I can’t wait take on the marathon again – because I have big plans for this year’s race!

Bring it, baby! Oorah!

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I’m coming for you!

April Races

If April showers bring May flowers, what do April races bring?  A lot of running!

Here’s my schedule for the month.

April 6 – Cherry Blossom Ten Miler – this will be my first time running this race but I have run the course in various iterations many times.

April 12 – Marine Corp 17.75K, the “golden ticket” to the Marathon! I ran this last year and enjoyed it, even though it was very cold. They moved the race back a month so this time should be more comfortable.

April 13 – Lorton Prison Break – a little 5K that I’m running with Little Runner

April 19 – a trail running clinic at one of my favorite trails

April 27 – 10 mile trail run as part of the EX2 Backyard Burn series – this will be my first time on this trail.

I will be running 40 miles in organized runs this month.  Chances are pretty good that I’ll hit 200 total miles this month!

And, May will bring my second tri plus my first half marathon in another state.  Good times 🙂

How is your month shaping up?