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 😀  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!

Race Report: Ragnar Trail Relay Appalachians, WV

AKA: the One With All of the Mud

For over 28 hours, I and 7 other lunatics hearty souls who comprised my team joined 349 other teams and ran.

We ran through cloudy skies, we ran through torrential rain.

We need a boat!
We need a boat!

We ran through heavy mist, we ran through the dark with faulty headlights.


We ran through mud.  So much mud.  Big mud puddles, slippery mud slides, sticky mud holes that threatened to take our shoes.

All three loops joined for the last 3/4 mile or so.  This picture was after it drained enough so we could run on the sides of the trail.
All three loops joined for the last 3/4 mile or so. This picture was after it drained enough so we could run on the sides of the trail (an improvement, believe it or not!).

We ran up endless hills, we ran through beautiful pine forests, we ran past illuminated disco balls that the race organizers hung in lieu of the “scenic overlook” for those running that trail overnight (I don’t even know!), we ran through swamps. We ran past monster ferns that were straight out of the Cretaceous Period – but we did not run past any bears!

We ran  climbed up monster boulders and managed to not break anything as we slid down them in our muddy shoes.

Mud + huge rock = "fun". This was a tiny rock compared to others on the Red Loop.
Mud + huge rock = “fun”. This was an itsy bitsy rock compared to others on the Red Loop.

We ran back to our campsite to save it from blowing away in the wind during the storm.  We ran to the food tent, in desperate search of coffee.  We ran to the bonfire where we had to wedge our way into the circle of warmth to stave off hypothermia.

Everyone trying to warm their booties!
Everyone trying to warm their booties!

We ran, we limped, we hiked, we walked for a total of 118.4 miles.  We cursed – A LOT!
F-ing Mud!
Best. Sign. Ever.
Best. Sign. Ever.

We survived!  Ragnar.medal

Would we do it again?  Some say no but others say… maybe!

"Hey, I heard about this great race!  It's a relay and it's in the woods and there's a bonfire!  It will be great! Come, join me!"
“Hey, I heard about this great race! It’s a relay and it’s in the woods and there’s a bonfire! It will be great! Come, join me!”

My heart-felt thanks goes to the rest of my team for joining me on this insane adventure and for not throwing me off the side of a mountain (or drowning me in a mud hole).  Oh, and I also stole their pictures because I didn’t take a damn one!  Thanks, guys! 🙂


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.

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!

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?