Monthly Archives: January 2014

My 2014 Race Calendar

One of my favorite parts of beginning a new year is planning out my race schedule. Last year I wanted to run at least one race a month, but I’m taking a different approach this year. Since I have specific goals in mind, I’m being a little more selective with the races I choose and each one has a specific purpose. As you know, I will be running the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February, then I plan to step back the distance a bit and train to PR in the half marathon later this spring. After that my schedule is pretty much wide open, with the exception of a couple races that I hope to do in the summer and fall. Here is my tentative race calendar for 2014!

2/15 – Myrtle Beach Marathon (Registered). You all know about this one! It’s coming up FAST and I can’t wait! I think it will be my last full marathon for a while, so I need to make it a good one.

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3/23 – Stafford Runway Runaway 5K (Registered). This is a local 5K at a small airport. It will be a little more than a month after my marathon, so I don’t expect my legs to be PR ready. I just want to enjoy a fun, flat race in the town I live in!

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4/5 – J. Brian’s Tap Room 15K (Registered). This is another local race that is new to me. I feel like I need to try the 15K distance again. My first 15K was an unorganized hot mess, and my second last year was REALLY hot and I know I can do a lot better than that. I’ll be training for a half too so it will be a good way to test my fitness. Plus there’s beer at the end! ūüôā

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5/4 – Potomac River Run Half Marathon (Registered).¬†This is my goal half marathon race. I picked it because it’s small, flat and local. It takes place on the C & O Canal Path near Washington D.C. I really enjoy smaller races and I’m really excited to see if I can finally break my half marathon PR that I set THREE years ago!

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5/18 – Historic Half Marathon (Registration opens on 2/19).¬†I have been wanting to do this race for a long time! It is part of the Marine Corps Marathon race series and it is in (HILLY) Fredericksburg. Two years ago I ran most of the race with my friend Amanda, who was running her first half. I wanted to do it last year but it fell on the same weekend as an out of town wedding we went to. I love Marine Corps races because they are super fun and organized. I’m looking forward to running this one with Amanda and hopefully getting her to PR!

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5/26 – Civitans 5K (Registration opens soon). I ran this race last year¬†and really enjoyed it. It goes through historic downtown Fredericksburg on Memorial Day. This year is going to be extra special because I’ll be running “with” my husband. He declared the other day that he could beat me in a 5K, even though he hasn’t really been running lately. So I challenged him to it and this will be our goal race. He’s starting to run again next week and he’s super excited about training again. I haven’t seen him motivated to run in a while, so this should be interesting!

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5/31 – Purple Stride 5K?¬†I really want to do this race. As I’ve talked about before, my mom passed away from Pancreatic Cancer ten years ago this April. She had 9 months from diagnosis to death, with a lot of difficulties in between including surgery, chemo, radiation, and eventually hospice. Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates and is one of the least funded cancers, so I would love to run this to raise funds and awareness for the disease that took my mom away from me. My sister did one of the Purple Stride events last year in Philly and I want to do this one with her too. I hope it works out that we can!

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7/26 – Deschutes Dash?¬† We are traveling to Oregon this summer for my cousin’s wedding in Portland. Afterwards we’ll be hanging out in Bend for a week or so, which is an awesome and active town. I was looking around for any races that would be happening while we’re there and I found this one, which looks like so much fun. Kevin would love it too because he’s a HUGE fan of Deschutes Brewery (and all craft beer in general), who is sponsoring the race. There is a 5K and 10K, and some different triathlon distances too. I think it would be a lot of fun!

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10/5 – Wilson Bridge Half (Registered). I was supposed to do this half last year but it was canceled due to the government shutdown, because the course was through national parks. They rescheduled it for the same date as the OBX Marathon so I deferred to 2014. I’m looking forward to finally running this race, that was named one of the best half marathons by Runner’s World!

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10/19 – Runner’s World Half?¬†This is a big maybe. I really wanted to do this race last year but it didn’t work out. It’s not too far from my dad’s house in Pennsylvania and I have heard nothing but great things about this entire weekend. It would be a great half to run for fun!

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Since I’ve trained hard basically all of 2013 and will be for half of 2014 as well to PR in the full and the half marathon, I really want to take the second half of the year to run shorter races for fun. I plan to add more of those in later as the year progresses. I’m excited for what’s ahead!

Anyone out there doing any of these races? Or are there any I should add to my calendar? I’d love to connect with you!

Myrtle Beach Marathon Training: Week 7

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Here we go on the roller coaster again. This week brought with it a lot of challenges that I couldn’t control, mainly due to winter weather and a trip we were taking over the weekend. I had to do my runs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday because of our weekend travel, which meant I had to cross-train on Wednesday and Friday and missed my Body Pump classes. I had to get to a bit creative and my workouts didn’t all go as planned, but it’s all good now. Read on for details!

Here is how the week went.

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Monday: XT – Body Flow (1:00:00).¬†I couldn’t wait another week to go back to Body Flow so I went the day after my long run. It felt AMAZING! My favorite part is the relaxation section at the end, where we literally just lay there, meditate, and relax every part of our bodies. I think I’m addicted!

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Tuesday: Key Run #1 – 6.25 miles in 52:48 (8:27 average pace).¬†We had a snow day so I went to the gym early to get my run in before the storm hit. Normally this is a cross-training day but I did my run instead because of our travel plans. I had speedwork to do- 10 x 400 @ 6:40 pace (that’s 9.0 on the treadmill!) with 400 meter recovery. When I started my legs still felt tired from my long run on Sunday, and also since I did this run a day earlier than I usually do. After the first repeat I really didn’t think I would be able to do all 10 at that pace, but somehow I did. A quarter mile doesn’t seem like much but it is when you are practically sprinting. I was really proud for doing them all at my goal pace!

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On my drive home… the snow was coming!

Wednesday: XT – At-Home Strength Workout (30:00). Since I was going to miss my Body Pump classes this week I really wanted to get some type of strength workout in. I was stuck inside due to yet another snow day, so I couldn’t get to the gym either. I decided to do an at-home strength workout and basically followed the order of class, doing various exercises to work all of my major muscle groups (squats, chest, back, biceps, triceps, lunges, shoulders, abs). I did some planks too and brought my new record to 1 minute and 27 seconds. It definitely wasn’t as good of a workout as Body Pump would’ve been, but better than nothing I guess.

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Thursday: Key Run #2 – Tempo Run. 8 miles in 1:06:14 (8:17 average pace).¬†Another snow day, so I did my 8 mile tempo run on the treadmill in the evening when Kevin got home from work (it was too icy to drive in the morning). I don’t mind snow, but I don’t mess with ice! My goal was to run at “marathon pace”, which was 8:22/mile. I ended up finishing at an 8:16 pace, and it actually felt good thanks to my new shoes. I really needed them!

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Friday: Stretching.¬†My plan was to do some cross-training this day, but another icy morning meant I couldn’t drive to the gym, and we traveled to visit my family in Pennsylvania after work. The only activity I really did besides teaching was a few stretches once we arrived in PA. My muscles were super tight after sitting in the car for a while so it felt good to stretch them out for a few minutes before bed.

Saturday: Key Run #3 – Long Run (CUT SHORT). 3 miles in 28:17 (9:26 average pace). This was supposed to be my 20 miler and the peak of my training before beginning my 3 week taper. Where my dad lives in PA got a lot more snow and ice than we did, but I underestimated how the roads would be. They’re used to that kind of weather there, so I assumed the sidewalks and roads would be treated and fine. Well,¬†I made it 3 miles before calling it quits. As runners, there’s a fine line between knowing when to push through and when to call it a day. The roads just were not safe to run on- the sidewalks and back roads were sheets of ice and the main roads had no shoulder due to the plows pushing the snow there. I was running super slow and terrified the whole time, and it wasn’t worth risking injury. I also had some other signs that I should stop: my phone dying out of nowhere (it was at 85% when I left the house), the tube to my Camelbak froze and it started snowing more (and sticking!). Strangely, when I made the decision to stop I wasn’t mad or upset. I knew it was the right choice and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I considered my options, which were 1) do 17 more on my dad’s treadmill (NO thank you- plus I didn’t bring any light running clothes, only winter gear), 2) try again the next day when we went back to Virginia, or 3) call this week a cutback week and do my 20 miler next weekend. I ended up going with option 3. I haven’t had a cutback week at all this training cycle so I knew it wouldn’t be the worst thing, and I felt like my body really needed it after 7 very challenging weeks of training.

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Sunday:¬†SNOW! So I know this doesn’t really count as official cross-training, but we went outside with Kevin while he played in the snow for the first time ever and had a BLAST! It was so much fun and made me really happy. ¬†Chasing him around was like a mini-workout, so I’m counting it towards my 365 days of fitness :).

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Week 7 Total:

  • Run:¬†17.25 miles
  • Cross-Training & Strength-Training: 1 Body Flow class, 1 at-home strength workout, stretching and playing in the snow!

Even though this week wasn’t my ideal “peak week” I am at peace with it. Like I said, I think my body really needed a break anyway.¬†This is the first time ever that I’ve only had a 2 week taper, but I will be okay. I’m going to take it a little easier during those last 2 weeks just to give my legs a break and make sure they’re fresh and ready to go on race day! Right now I’m focusing on this weekend’s 20 miler, and really hoping I get the confidence boosting run that I need before this marathon!

Love this quote of the week. Every run- good or bad- teaches me something and adds to my physical and/or mental strength. Stronger than yesterday!

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My pictures were taken with the FitSnap app- check it out!

Mother Runner Running Survey

I have done a couple of these “Running Survey” type posts before and I find them really fun to read and look back on. I discovered this one from Another Mother Runner (one of my favorite sites- LOVE their podcasts too!) while browsing running blogs and decided to do it for fun. This is a good one too, because the questions really made me think!

Best run ever. I think it has to be the Air Force Marathon. It’s always going to be a special race to me because I was finally able to finish a marathon with Kevin, I pushed myself harder than ever before, and I finally made my 4 hour goal, which was something I have wanted to do since my very first marathon. I felt strong and happy, the race was extremely well organized, and it was overall a GREAT day (even though it ended in the medical tent)!

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Three word that describe my running. Stronger than yesterday. I really have been thinking lately how every run, whether it’s good or bad, teaches me something new or adds to my physical or mental strength. ¬†It’s just like the quote below says, even the not-so-good runs leave me stronger than I was before.

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My go-to running outfit.¬†Probably my Nike running shorts and any kind of lightweight tank top. I get really warm when I run so I need light clothing, and I wear shorts as long as it’s 40 degrees. I always wear my Brooks Adrenalines with Experia socks too!

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Quirky habit while running. Hmmm. I had to think about this one. I’m so used to my ‘habits’ that I don’t really see them as quirky I guess. I think the biggest one is that I need my Burts Bees chapstick CONSTANTLY. Sometimes I don’t even reapply it on a run, but just knowing it’s there makes me feel better. If I don’t have it I will think about it the entire time, and my lips will annoy me and feel super dry. I’m addicted. I also have to transfer anything I’m holding to my other hand at each mile. So if I am carrying water or my phone, I’ll switch from left to right, then back to left, then back to right… is this normal? Also, I like to end my runs on a whole number like 4.0 or 5.0 miles. If I HAVE to I’ll try to end it on a quarter at least, at like 4.25 or 4.75. That still annoys me though.

Morning, midday, evening. I prefer running in the mornings- always have, always will. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out that I get to run in the mornings though, especially since I’m a mommy now. I’ll run in the evenings after work when I have to, but it definitely feels much harder and I have a hard time sleeping afterward if I do.

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I won’t run outside when it’s… I don’t mind running in rain, snow, cold or hot temperatures, but the one thing that forces me inside is ice. I actually had to cut my long run short this weekend because of it (more about that later), but I just refuse to take a chance on ice. I also am more careful when it’s dark, because of my tendency to fall. For a while I didn’t want to run in the dark anymore, but now I just use a flashlight and make sure to run in safe areas.

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Worst injury- and how I got over it. I never had a serious running injury until after the baby, then I fell a couple times and injured (and re-injured) my knee and my foot as well. I know this was because after having the baby I didn’t have as much time to exercise, and I chose to run with the time I did have. I neglected strength-training, cross-training, stretching- everything else- which led to an unbalanced body and that’s why I believe I kept getting injured and had a hard time recovering. The way I finally got over it was a lot of rest, followed by the Run Less, Run Faster program which focused on only running 3 times a week. My body has never done well with high mileage, especially after having a baby. Now that I am focusing on the quality of my miles rather than quantity, I get more out of my runs, I have time and energy left for cross-training and strength-training and I’m stronger overall. I definitely learned my lesson!

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I felt most like a badass mother runner when I…¬†I’ve actually had a lot of moments when I felt like a badass mother runner. Here are a few that come to mind: Running 9 races over my 9 months of pregnancy, including 4 half marathons and a 5K four days before giving birth. Every time I set a new PR after having a baby, when so many people told me I wouldn’t be as fast as I was. Pushing my baby in a stroller up hills.¬†Finishing a half marathon and immediately sitting down at the finish line to nurse my baby and relief my engorged boobs. Pushing through the OBX Marathon while thinking about how labor and delivery was so much harder than running 26.2 miles and that I can do anything I set my mind to. Sometimes it’s the little things, like simply getting up in the morning to run when I’ve been up with a baby who won’t sleep, but knowing it will make me happier and a better mommy if I get it done rather than skip it.

Before the 9-11 Memorial 5K, 4 days before Kevin was born

Before the 9-11 Memorial 5K, 4 days before Kevin was born

Next race is… the Myrtle Beach Marathon on February 15th! I can’t believe it’s only a few weeks away! I feel like I JUST ran the OBX Marathon. Am I really ready to do it all over again?

Running goal for 2014. I have already written about this, but it is to PR in the full and half marathon, continue to strength-train and cross-train to keep my body strong, and get my running coach certification. Whew, big goals!

I really liked this running survey because it asked some questions that really made me stop and think. Please feel free to answer these questions in the comments or write your own post! I’d love to read the answers.

Previous running surveys:

WIAW: Snow Day!

I have been wanting to do a “What I Ate Wednesday” post for a while now, but I always remember when it’s too late and I’ve already eaten a bunch of food. Today I had another snow day (I haven’t been to school since last Friday- and we are off tomorrow too!) so I decided today would be the perfect day.

This is more of a what WE ate post, since I was able to spend the whole day with my sweet boy. The temperatures were below zero so we just hung out inside in our PJs all day and kept things low-key. Life has been pretty crazy lately so this was the BEST kind of day and just what I needed.

Here is what we ate today!

Breakfast

I went downstairs to start making breakfast while little Kevin was still asleep. I decided to make a big batch of pancakes, some for him to eat today and some to freeze. We love to cheat and use the Kodiak Cake pancake mix. They are whole grain, have a short list of ingredients and all you have to do is add water. Best of all, they really taste homemade! I also had some coffee while I made the pancakes.

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While I finished up the pancakes little Kevin woke up. My husband Kevin went up to get him and brought him down before he left for work. He immediately said, “yum yum” when he saw the pancakes- he loves them! He ate almost 2, and I froze 8 more for later. He also had a cup of whole milk.

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While he ate his pancakes I made a green smoothie. I have been loving having these for breakfast lately! I made a little extra so Kevin could have some too. He’s really been enjoying green smoothies too, which makes me so happy!

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We brought our smoothies into the living room to drink them and relax. After playing for a while it was time for Kevin’s nap. I brought him upstairs, rocked him for a few minutes and put him down. Once he was asleep I went back to the kitchen to make part 2 of my breakfast: peanut butter and honey toast with 2 hard boiled eggs. I’ve been really trying to front load my day with more calories so that I’m not so hungry at night. I’m also making sure to get a lot of protein. It has definitely helped.

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After eating I decided to roast some chickpeas for us to have later. I used a recipe for Tamari Roasted Chickpeas from the cookbook Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. You can find the recipe here. My whole family loves these chickpeas. We use them in wraps, salads, pasta, stir fries, or just as a snack.

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Morning Snack

Since I ate my “second” breakfast kind of late, I wasn’t hungry for a morning snack. Kevin always eats one though, and when he woke up from his nap I gave him the rest of his green smoothie. While drinking it he stared longingly at the snow outside. He’s been sick this week though, so I didn’t think it was best to take him out in sub-zero temperatures. Instead I decided to bring the snow into him! He LOVED it! He did eat some of it too, so I guess it counts for WIAW :).

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Lunch

Kevin loves PB & J, so I made him a half of a sandwich for lunch, with some mandarin orange and a cheese stick on the side. He also had some more milk. Basically 4 of his favorite foods. He was in heaven! He ate all the oranges and cheese, and left a few bites of his sandwich (mainly the crust). I was so happy to see him eat so much. He hasn’t had much of an appetite since he has been sick!

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While Kevin ate I made my own lunch- a big spinach salad with onion, bell pepper, carrots, avocado, and chickpeas. I used a Zesty Lime Vinaigrette dressing by Kraft, which I really like!

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Afternoon Snack

When Kevin woke up from his second nap he snacked on some roasted chickpeas. I had a Cashew Cookie Larabar.

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Dinner

Later on while making dinner, I snacked on some leftover cornbread from dinner the night before. I gave Kevin a few bites too. Is there anything better than warm cornbread with butter? Mmmmmm.

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For dinner tonight we were having homemade black bean burgers again (recipe can be found in this post). I ended up having enough to make 4 adult-sized patties and 1 kid-sized. We had the burgers on whole wheat buns with sautéed veggies on the side. When I made our meal plan for the week we actually planned to grill all of this, but then the snowstorm and freezing temperatures came so we cooked it all inside instead.

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Little Kevin had his own black bean burger, some veggies and corn. He didn’t eat as much as he did at breakfast and lunch, but that’s okay- he still got a lot of good food in today!

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Late-Night Snack

After putting the baby to bed I did an at-home strength training workout, basically replicating a bunch of Body Pump moves and trying to hit all areas of my body. After finishing I felt a little hungry, and since I hate going to bed with a growling stomach I had a small bowl of cereal. It hit the spot! I think I’ve had cereal for my late-night snack in every WIAW I’ve ever done… haha! I really don’t eat it every single night though.

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And that’s what we ate today! I had such a fun, relaxing day with my boy, and tomorrow we get to do it all over again! Woo hoo!

Myrtle Beach Marathon Training: Week 6

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Like I said last week, marathon training is such a roller coaster. After a few downs in week 5 I’m back on top in week 6! Whew, what a crazy ride.

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Here is how the week went.

Monday: Plank work.¬†Because of my 365 Days of Fitness challenge I am trying to be active in some way each day, even on my ‘rest’ days. On this night I decided to work on my planks while watching TV during commercials. I have been working to get my core strength back after baby and it has been rough. When I first started I could barely hold a plank for 10 seconds… sad but true. On this night I did a few, but my best time was 1 minute and 16 seconds- with good form the whole time (I had Kevin checking and timing me). Progress!!!

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Tuesday: XT – Body Pump (1:00:00).¬†I made it to Body Pump at 5 a.m.! Even after staying up late to watch the Bachelor and drinking a (large) glass of wine! It’s a miracle. It was an awesome class. I really challenged myself and I felt strong. It feels so good to be consistently strength training again. It’s been 6 weeks now that I’ve gone 1-2x a week and I love it!

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Wednesday: Key Run #1 – Speedwork. 5 miles in 40:53 (8:11 average pace).¬†On my plan for speedwork this week was a mile repeat workout that I did during week 2 of training: 1 mile warm up, 3 x 1 mile with .25 mile recovery between, cool down. My goal for the miles was under 7:22 and I did them all in 7:19. This is a workout that I couldn’t complete 4 weeks ago. I only did two repeats at that time and had to stop early. It definitely wasn’t easy this time but I felt a lot stronger. I was dripping with sweat at the end. Yeah!!!

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Thursday: XT – Body Pump (1:00:00).¬†My second 5 a.m. Body Pump class this week. It’s so hard to get up when the clock says 4 something, but so worth it to have my evenings back again! I also love the energy boost that morning exercise gives me during the day!

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Friday:¬†Key Run #2 – Tempo Run. 10 miles in 1:22:23 (8:14 average pace).¬†When I saw that this week’s tempo run called for 10 miles at an 8:22 pace, I laughed and figured I would have to change it up. 10 miles before work at that pace? No way could I do that! But then I started to think that I could. Why was I limiting myself? I had to at least try. So I got myself to bed before 9 and set my alarm for 4 a.m. I got up, had some quick coffee and a piece of toast with peanut butter and honey, and headed out. I ended up blowing my expectations out of the water and had one of my strongest runs ever. I even beat my goal pace by 8 seconds per mile, finished at an average pace of 8:14. This run was actually only a minute and 10 seconds slower than my 10 mile PR! I have just started to learn that I need to BELIEVE I can do hard things and not underestimate myself!

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Saturday: Body Flow (1:00:00).¬†I decided to try¬†a new class called Body Flow. It’s a combination of tai chi, yoga, and pilates in a low lit studio with nice music, and I absolutely LOVED it! I can’t remember the last time my body felt this balanced, stretched, and relaxed. I can’t wait to go back!

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Sunday: Key Run #3 – Long Run. 18 miles in 2:55:02 (9:43 average pace).¬†My friend asked me to run with her during her long run of 11 miles. I had to do 18 so I did 5 before, 11 more with her and 2 after she left. I was going to do all 7 miles before but I ran out of time. My plan said to do my 18 miles at MP +15, but since I had a great 10 miler at marathon pace on Friday I wasn’t too worried about the pace of this run. I just went with my friend’s pace and enjoyed myself. It was her longest run to date and she did an awesome job on a hilly route. She will be running her first half marathon in Myrtle Beach while I run the full! While running I kept thinking of Meg Menzies, and dedicated my 18 miles to her. I saw a beautiful sunrise during the first solo portion of the run, and it made me teary eyed when I thought of her and how she’ll never get to experience the magic of running while the sun comes up again. When I got home I immediately gave my baby a big hug too. It’s just so heartbreaking, and a good reminder to never take anything for granted.

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Week 6 Total:

  • Run: 33 miles
  • Cross-Training & Strength-Training:¬†2 Body Pump classes, 1 Body Flow class

I am so happy to have had such a great, confidence boosting week. I also met my goal to get up in the morning to do my workouts, rather than saving them for the evening. ¬†It wasn’t easy but I think it made a huge difference in the quality of my workouts, my energy levels throughout the day, and how well I slept at night. I hope to continue this over the next weeks too. Another goal that I finally accomplished was getting to a yoga class! It felt so amazing and I NEED to make it part of my routine!¬†It’s hard to believe that next week is my peak week already. I have my 20 miler and then it’s taper time. Less than a month until I run marathon #9!

Thought for the week… this is what motivated me to attempt the tempo run I thought I couldn’t do on Friday.

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My pictures were taken with the FitSnap app- check it out!