RnR DC Training: Week 3

Sunday – Today was my long run – 9 miles – and it was also LR’s 8th birthday.  After breakfast and presents, I hustled out to get my run done before it was time for his party.  I won’t lie, I was hurting by mile 2.  It has become painfully obvious that I need new shoes as mine felt like they had 0 give in them.  I wanted to quit and head home but I am trying so hard to stick to this training plan!  Instead, I decided to dedicate the run to LR!  I spent every mile thinking of where he was and what he was doing in that year of his life.  I finished mile 9 as “one to grow on” and thought about all I hoped for him for the coming year.  Then we went and ate a ton of cake!

Half chocolate/half vanilla - all yum!
Half chocolate/half vanilla – all yum!

Monday – Rest. I had a migraine and we had to take LR to the clinic for the dreaded pink eye (a direct result of Sunday’s party at a trampoline park, I’m sure!).

Tuesday – Hill repeats. Everyone begged off so I stuck close to home.  I ran over a mile of ladder repeats.  I was able to stick to a 7:20 pace up through the second “rung” 2/3 of the way up and was at 8:40 when I crested the quarter mile hill.  It’s not a monster hill, just under 5%, but I was super excited to see that time on my watch!  It also felt much easier than it did when I did the same workout on this hill a month ago.

Wednesday – We were able to leave work early so I enjoyed the novelty of a mid-week run in daylight. It was our first snow so, of course, I had to run in it! It was fine for the first mile but then the snow turned to sleet and then rain. I was a bit miserable but my new tights kept me toasty!

Thursday – Gobble,gobble!  The family joined me for a local turkey trot. We had a lot of fun and I was glad my husband was able to join us for his first official, timed, race.

Friday – self-directed swim. I was tempted to blow it off but I went and cranked out my mile. My shoulders felt super strong and I loved it!

Saturday – 5 lovely miles. It was chilly but not windy, my favorite running weather! I did a little experiment with positive self-talk and finished the last mile at 9:37, 30 seconds faster than my first mile (which was all down hill). It was pretty interesting and I’ll write more about it later in the week.

Bring on week four and a new month!
Miles for the week: 25.1

Total training miles: 72.3

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Best Fleece Tights for a Curvy Girl

Can you hear it? I think there are angels singing because I finally found a pair of fleece tights that will work with my man-calves, big thighs, and (relatively) narrow waist!

This has been a long time coming! I kid you not, I once had to finish a race much faster than I planned because I was losing my tights! :0

I give you the SUGOi Mid Zero Tight.
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They are actually cycling tights but they don’t have a pad so they are perfect for running. They have a high rise in the back, a drawstring, a small key pocket, and grippers at the ankles. I am 5’7″ and wear a 12/14. I bought an XL because smaller sizes strangle my calves. These were perfect! I might have been able to swing a smaller size but these are not noticeably loose and I’m happy to not feel like a sausage! The legs are also long enough that I think they would for someone up to 5’10”.

I have worn them twice, once for a 5 hilly miles, and they did not budge a bit. My only small complaint is that my ankles are thick (shocking) so the ankle grippers pinch a bit. Put the tights on over my socks fixed that problem.

I think I’m going to buy the sub-zero version next!

What is your favorite cold-weather gear?

RnR DC Training: Week 2

Sunday – Sunday was thankfully not as cold nor as windy as Saturday.  I was scheduled for an already registered trail run, the hardest in the series (!), and was feeling a bit nervous because my legs were a bit tired from Saturday’s adventures.  I had planned to run solo but unexpectedly ran into a friend at packet pickup so we just did a slow tour of the 5.5 mile course together.  This trail has a lot of rocks, steep declines, and a couple of stream crossings over narrow logs so I was more than happy to slow it down.  On the plus side, I felt absolutely great when I was finished and not once did I want to just lie down and die 🙂  ETA: the results were just posted and we were actually 2 minutes faster than when we ran the course in March.  I’m absolutely shocked!

Monday – “Rest” day so that means taekwondo with Little Runner.  At least it’s not running…  I got a little “show-offy” when doing leg lifts and my lower abs were still screaming murder on Wednesday.  Oops!  I guess I need to focus on them a bit more!

Tuesday – Hills.  It was a balmy 27 degrees but I met up with 3 other BAMRs and did a 3 mile workout with a horrible monster hill that I could not crest to save my life.  I now have a new goal!

Wednesday –  5 miles on tap but I didn’t want to run solo so I went to the local track to run loops while some of my running friends did speed work. Unfortunately, my legs had other plans and I only managed 3.

Thursday – I took the day off from work for an event at LR’s school so I was able to unexpectedly join some of my running friends for an easy 5 miles mid-morning.  Oh, the luxury of it all! It was a Very Good Day.

Friday – Swim.

Saturday – I decided to pull out of the Marine Corp Turkey Trot in favor of my running group’s November group run because LR has an early birthday party to attend and I didn’t think I could easily manage both.  I ran an early 7 miles and then my husband brought LR to the meet-up point and we ran, along with a shit ton of awesome mothers, 3 miles.  There were many yummy treats to be had at the end but I stayed strong.  LR greatly enjoy the donut holes, though 🙂

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Side note: The purpose of the run was to collect food and coats for one of the local shelters and we were able to stuff 2 SUVs full! How awesome is that?

Anther week done!  Woot!

Miles for the week: 22.5

Total training miles: 47.2

A Good Day

Today was a good day.

I had problems with my run last night and was feeling a bit sorry for myself this morning. Luckily, I had already made plans to run with a group who calls themselves the Goldilocks crew – not too fast and not too slow. I see their posts every week while I am sitting at my desk so I knew I had to check out their run on one of my rate days off.

I was so glad that I did! We did 5 miles of intervals along an interesting trail and even had a photo op in a teepee! This was a super fun group of ladies and I am so glad that I was able to join them today. My funk was definitely gone by the end of our run!

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After a quick shower it was time for the reason I took leave – Thanksgiving lunch with Little Runner! The food wasn’t stellar but the company was top notch 🙂

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We capped the day off with a family movie and some together time.

It may not have been super exciting but it was very, very good.

5 Quick Tips

1. When it is really cold and windy, wrap a piece of Saran Wrap around each foot (on top of your socks!) before you put on your shoes. It will keep the wind from blowing through your uppers.

2. If you need to count intervals or laps, have a Baggie filled with that number of treats and eat one with each count. When the bag is empty, you’re done! I use jumbo raisins but jelly beans or other small candy would work well, too. (Thanks to Shut Up and Run for that one!)

3. Target has cheap knit gloves that work with touch screens. Buy a bunch at the end of the season and then you won’t feel bad if you lose one or toss them at an aid station. You can also double them up on extra cold days.

4. If you have a bade chafe point that Body Glide won’t help, put a small piece of KT Tape on the spot for extra protection.

5. Hang a small basket by your door for your hats, gloves, lights, etc. so they are easy to find as you head out for an early run. Keep extra batteries there, too, in snack bags with the size and number you need for you lights. The batteries always die when you have the least amount of time to hunt for more!

Do you have any quick tips to add?

RnRDC Training: Week 1

Well, the first week of marathon training is in the books!  Here’s what went down:

Sunday – Ran 6.2 miles across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  I wore a shark hat and almost hit a PR 🙂

Monday – Rest day so no running but I did take a taekwondo class with Little Runner

Tuesday – Hills!  I met two running friends and we did hill repeats on an overpass and freaked out all of the rush-hour drivers who were coming home.  3 miles total, including warm-up/cool-down.

Wednesday – 4.5 foggy and humid miles at 4:15 am.  I had to cut it short because my glasses were constantly fogging up and I was tired of stopping to wipe them off but didn’t want to break my ankle on something, either.

Thursday – The cold found us so I just ran 3 miles on the treadmill at home.  I was trying to spice it up so I started at an easy pace and then bumped the speed up a notch with every new song.  I ended at a 9:06 pace.

Friday – Cross-training day with my Master’s swim class.  We did a mile of form drills with paddles and a pull buoy.  My arms were tired and my legs were like “glad it’s not us for once!”

Saturday – I moved my long run so I could join my Moms Run This Town chapter friends who were running through DC and around some of the monuments.  It was below 30 and windy when we started but it ended up being a really great run! I practiced my race pace and did a total of 8 miles at 11.11 mins/mile average.  My pace goal is 11:20 so I’m pretty happy with that! The family is also did a local Snowball Stampede under the newly lit holiday lights tonight in one of the regional parks. We ran and walked a total of 2.5 miles. I have no idea how long it took but we had a lot of fun!

Total mileage: 24.7 training miles + 2.5 family miles

Holiday Sweat Challenge

As I said a few posts ago, one of my goals during this marathon training cycle is to lose a bit of weight before the training gets too heavy and then at least maintain until the finish.  Last year I gained 11 lbs by the time I crossed the finish line!  Considering that every pound lost can take up to 2 seconds off your pace, it adds up quickly!

One thing I’m doing is tracking in MyFitnessPal (and trying to not lose my mind).  Another thing that I have done is sign up for the Holiday Sweat Challenge. It is a 6 week nutrition and fitness challenge that runs from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, just when I need it most!

HolidaySweatChallenge2014SideBarWhen: Nov 24 – Jan 5
Cost: $16

For less than the cost of a gym membership:

  • 3 emails a week: Clean eating tips/recipes/guides + Motivation + Workouts
  • Content created JUST for you from registered dieticians, world class running coaches, personal trainers and physical therapists {nothing repeated from previous years}
  • Facebook support group – This group is like no other! Everyone checks in daily and provides a true support system
  • Over $3,000 in prizes {Lorna Jane, Vega, Milestone Jewelry and more to be announced}

The basics of how it works:

  • Earn points for being active
  • Earn points for eating your veggies
  • Compete against people at the same level as you
  • Enjoy an awesome support network
  • Have questions answered by experts
  • Meet other like minded folks to help you stay on track
  • Win Prizes!!
  • Clean Eating Holiday Menu ideas

I have never done a challenge like this before so I’m very curious as to how it will work for me.  I have heard good reports about this particular group.  I plan to post weekly updates here, so you can follow along.  Of course, if you’d like to register and give it a try yourself, I’d love the company!

Race Report: 10K Across the Bay 2014

So, late last year I saw something on Facebook about an inaugural 10K across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  I have traveled that bridge many times and thought it would be a hoot so I signed up – and convinced one of my adventurous “not a runner (but secretly am)” friends to join me.  And promptly forgot about it because it was over a year away!

Then the emails started rolling in. Boy, did they.  Because it was the inaugural race and they were expecting 20,000 runners AND they were shutting down half of a major artery to the Eastern Shore, the race organizers were trying to be as careful and cautious with the planning as they could.  The sent out more email blast than any other race I have ever done.  A few times I thought I had my dates wrong because they were talking about the race-day details in mid-October! They even brought in Dave McGillivray, the race director of the Boston Marathon, to direct this race!

The onslaught of emails was a bit much but, apparently, needed as everyone many individuals started panicking about parking and basically broke the race’s Facebook page…  I, however, had purchased a parking pass ages ago and knew to pick it up when we got the packets and managed to stay sane. Sometimes being able to read and follow directions helps! Due to weekend conflicts, I asked my husband to pick up our packets for us.  He was there right when it opened at noon on Friday and was in and out very quickly.  He did not look around the expo very much so I have no insight there.

My friend and I were inexplicably placed in two different waves, even though we gave the same finishing time, so we decided to drop back to the later wave since it is a bit of a hike to Annapolis and a little more sleep is always good.  We met up at 6:15 and hit the road.  We decided to park at the second largest lot at Anne Arundel Community College.  It was a good call that we chose AACC over the Army-Navy Stadium.  I think things were more congested there.  As it was, we pulled right in, quickly found a spot, donned our shark hats, and immediately boarded a waiting bus.

Hats from Crochet by Sweat Pea -  they were super cute and we received a lot of compliments!
Hats from Crochet by Sweat Pea (https://www.etsy.com/shop/CrochetBySweetPea) – they were super cute and we received a lot of compliments!

We were shocked by how easy the parking/shuttle was!  The bus took us the 15 minutes to the starting area and we were dropped off in front of a huge group of portajohns.  No lines!  We quickly stopped (there were some short lines when we exited due to more buses arriving) and then made our way to the water.  There was a photo op with the race sign and the bridge in the background but the morning sun was right behind us.  I hope the professional photographer had better luck than the guy who took pictures with my phone!

So bright!
So bright!

We then decided to wander to the start, even though it was only 8:10 and we weren’t due to start until 8:30.  The group moved up a bit and the next thing we knew we were going over the starting line!  Whoops!  That is the first time I have “accidentally” run a race!

The course is short because I didn't have my watch ready when we crossed the start!
The course is short because I didn’t have my watch ready when we crossed the start!

There was a little 3/4 mile loop and then we were on the bridge and heading into our 2 mile hill.  Honestly, it wasn’t that horrible, but I was glad to hit the top!  We paused at the top to try to take a selfie but my camera crapped out 😦  We cruised at the top for a bit (and I swear mile 3 was long) and then started the slow descent to shore.  There was one water stop with huge cisterns but it was a cupless race so I think a lot of people still had plenty and not many stopped.  There were also portajohns and I thought about stopping, just for the novelty 😉

We hit land right before mile 5 and then ran on a side access road for a bit.  It was pretty beat up in spots and my broken toe was not happy with that part – I apologize to my fellow races for dropping the F bomb 😦  We then ran across an overpass over Rt. 301 and we were done!  I was dragging a bit by the end and didn’t really believe the support crew when they said the finish was “just around the corner” but, lo and behold, it was!  And I was very happy to see it!

The finish was super well organized!  We received our medals and then water and a space blanket before heading to the finisher area.  They had bananas and bags of snacks that included Snyder’s pretzels, a bagel, and a Nature Valley granola bar.  The finisher’s village had a ton of food and beverage stands – including hot coffee! – and they also had a live band playing and a “finisher’s” gear store.  The line in the store was long and the merchandise didn’t really catch our eyes so we decided to head for the shuttle bus.  We were expecting a long line but we walked right onto the bus and away we went!  It took a while to cross back over the bridge due to one side being closed but it was fun to say “hey, we just ran this!”

It's a puzzle piece. Now I MUST run it next year!
It’s a puzzle piece. Now I MUST run it next year!

Good

Parking was super easy and only cost $10

The shuttles were numerous and clearly marked

Very organized finish

Cute shirts that run true to size

A TON of safety personnel on the course

The view was spectacular!

No sharks! 🙂

Areas for Improvement

It would have been nice if there had been some music on the course.  If I had been running by myself, it would have been pretty dire.

I hope they consider a gear drop and/or allow for CamelBaks/backpacks next year.  At lot of people bought shirts at the finish so they would have something dry to put on.  The space blanket was nice but it would have been better if I could have just stuffed a shirt into my CamelBak and, bonus, not have to carry a handheld bottle for 6 miles.

Things I Did Wrong

I overdressed.  I wore a long sleeve shirt and capris and I was regretting the shirt before mile 1.

I forgot my sunglasses and didn’t wear a visor.  Duh!  I was running east.  In the morning. Over water.  I’m very lucky I didn’t get a headache.

I forgot to take my electrolyte tablets and felt pretty pukey by mile 5.  It was surprisingly warm.

I stopped to take a failed selfie and missed breaking an hour by 17 seconds.  Gah!

Overall

So much fun!  I would definitely do it again next year, if I can score a spot.

[Holy crow! I just looked at my detailed results and we passed 1017 runners and were only passed by 16!  I’m in the top 25% for my age and 30% overall!!]

Bring on Marathon #2

So, this came on Monday…

RnR DC!
RnR DC!

And I can’t wait to wear it this weekend, the official start of my training season for Marathon #2!

The Marine Corp Marathon last year was quite the experience and I learned a lot from it.  I’ll admit that I really struggled, in my training and in the race, because I did not have a very broad running base at the time.  I think the past year of additional running has really helped to set me up for a much better experience.  Last summer, trying to run a sub-10 minute mile was a real effort and I would want to die at the end of one.  This year, my “conversation” pace is in the 9s and now a mid-8 minute mile is my “gasp and puke” effort.  I don’t blanch at the thought of a half marathon and I’m not scared to death of double digit runs.  (I’m still scared of the 20 milers, though.  I’m not insane.)

I think my overall fitness is much better this year.  The cross-training I do for triathlon fitness is a huge bonus.  I have knocked quite a few percentage points of fat off from my frame.  Until training really ramps up in January, I am going to focus on my diet to try to bring my overall weight down.  Ideally, I would like to lose 15 lbs, but we’ll see.

Injury-wise, I’m maintaining.  My plantar fasciitis is gone in one foot and almost gone in the second.  My broken toe is… still broken (maybe again, after having too much fun bouncing around in taekwondo last night) but I can still run.  My back/hip is its usual wonky self but I have a line on a new chiropractor that I want to try.

The training plan I’m using this time is Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 program.  I chose it for the two twenty mile runs.  I am adjusting it a bit because he doesn’t call for any speed work or hill work.  I know that the RnR course has a nasty hill at mile 7 and a few other hills later in the course and I need to be ready for that so I’m throwing in a day of hill repeats on Tuesdays and choosing hillier courses for most of my long runs (not a difficult thing to do in NoVa!)

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My life for the next 18 weeks.

My big, scary, A goal is to finish in less than 5 hours.  That would be a 50 minute PR (I told you I struggled!).  I think I’m ready to do it!