Monthly Archives: August 2014

Run Streak: Week 13

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Another great week. 4 runs with friends, another amazing (and spontaneous) race, and my last week of summer break. Read on for details!

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Katie’s Miles (8/18 – 8/24)

  • Monday: 3.5 miles @ 8:30 pace. I wasn’t sure how my usual Monday morning track date would go since I really pushed myself in the Hartwood 10 miler the day before. I normally wouldn’t do two harder speed workouts back-to-back but it was my last “Mommy Monday” with Gina before going back to work next week and I didn’t want to miss it! I got there earlier than Gina so I started by running a little over 2 recovery miles to warm up and loosen up my legs. Once she got there we did our sprints- running fast on the straight sides of the track and walking the curves. We were so caught up in conversation that we lost count of how many we had done, so we think we ended up doing more than usual, but that’s okay! It felt great to spend time with her and sweat it out on the track. I’m really going to miss our weekly dates when school starts next week!
  • Tuesday: 4 miles @ 9:55. The best kind of running buddy is one who convinces you to spontaneously sign up for a half marathon that’s in 4 days! The funny part is I was already secretly thinking about it. My husband said when Laura (my running buddy) isn’t pregnant anymore we are going to be trouble. Our race PRs are very close, we love to push ourselves and she’s pretty much as crazy as I am. Bonus: she lives right down the street! We had a great run that went by fast with our half marathon planning. I finished the run really excited for the race!
  • Wednesday: 2 miles @ 9:43 pace. I was looking forward to running with my hubby and little Kev in the stroller but as soon as he got home from work it started pouring rain with thunder and lightning We went ahead and ate dinner, put Kevin to bed and by that point it had cleared up so my hubby went out for a quick mile. I left once he got back. It was SUPER humid and I did see one lightning strike which freaked me out, but I got my run in! I planned to take it easy the rest of the week and only run 1-2 miles a day since I decided to do the half marathon at the last minute. I really wanted to do well in it and I pushed myself in the 10 miler a few days before, so I wanted to make sure my legs are ready… well, as ready as they can be after running for almost 100 days straight!
  • Thursday: 2 miles @ 10:11. If it weren’t for my running buddy I definitely wouldn’t have gotten up this morning! After running late the night before I couldn’t fall asleep (that always happens to me!), and then right when I was about to Kevin woke up crying from a bad coughing fit. It took forever to calm him down and he ended up in our bed ninja kicking us. Eventually my husband got him back in his own crib and we were finally able to sleep around 1 a.m. Alarm went off at 5:30. Wahhh! Laura and I ran an easy and slow 2 miles since we had our half marathon in a few days. I also had a pretty nasty blister on my left foot that I needed to hurry up and heal before the race!
  • Friday: I just did one mile today before my race to keep the streak going. The good news was that my blister was feeling so much better!
  • Saturday: 13.1 miles @ 8:36. Wow! This was a great race, but a tough one for me. I finished feeling super proud. Full recap is here.
  • Sunday: 2.4 miles @ 9:26. Little Kev was up bright and early at 5:30 AM so I got my run in while everyone in my neighborhood was still sleeping. It was a ghost town out there but I liked the peace and quiet. It was a cooler morning with nice breeze, which felt great! I wore my shirt from the race yesterday and did 2.4 easy recovery miles. Had to do the extra .4 to round up to the next whole number (OCD), bringing my mileage for the week to 28.
  • Total Miles This Week: 28
  • Total Miles So Far: 369
  • Total Days Streaking: 93

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Kevin’s Miles (8/18 – 8/24)

  • Monday: 2 miles @ 8:23 (Team RWB group run)
  • Tuesday: 2 miles @ 8:35
  • Wednesday: 1 mile @ ? (Didn’t take the Garmin)
  • Thursday: 2 miles @ 8:00
  • Friday: 2 miles @ 8:26
  • Saturday: 3 miles @ ? (Didn’t take the Garmin)
  • Sunday: 1 mile @ 9:26
  • Total Miles This Week: 13
  • Total Miles So Far: 176.3
  • Total Days Streaking: 92
Monday's group run with Team RWB

Monday’s group run with Team RWB

From Kevin: After last week which was tough, it was time to step up my game and increase my mileage a little bit.  I did a lot of runs with the stroller and felt really good so I pushed myself at the same time. Right now I’m trying to decide if I want to keep streaking or if I want to start following a different type of training plan- or both.

Saturday's run with my boy

Saturday’s run with my boy

The end of week 13 is definitely bittersweet. It marks the end of my summer and the beginning of a new school year, since I went back to work full-time this past Monday. This means it’s going to be tougher to fit my runs in with my commute and daycare drop off/pick up but I just need to make them happen! Can’t stop streaking now!

Previous Updates

Patrick Henry Half Marathon

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On Saturday morning I ran the Patrick Henry Half Marathon with two of my running buddies. We decided to do this race only a few days before and I am so glad we did! After having such a great time at the Hartwood 10 Miler on Sunday, the thought had crossed my mind to do this small, local half marathon the following weekend and keep riding the endorphin high. But I didn’t know if that was crazy or not. It’s been a long time since I’ve raced any substantial distance besides a 5K, let alone two back-to-back longer races. I’ve been doing long runs of 10-12 miles all summer long to maintain my base but haven’t been doing any real speed work except for short sprints at the track with a friend.  So I was undecided about attempting a half and was leaning toward waiting for the one I had already registered for on October 4th.

It wasn’t until I was out for a run on Tuesday night with my friend Laura that I changed my mind. She is currently 20 weeks pregnant and had also done the Hartwood 10 Miler a few days before and felt great. I asked her if having a good race was giving her the urge to do more, and she said, “Well actually, there’s a half marathon I’m considering doing this weekend…” I laughed because I knew it was the same one, and I should have already known she was thinking about it! I told her I wanted to do it too but I didn’t know if I was crazy or not. Within the 40 minutes we were running we had decided to go for it. We got home and registered that night, and also convinced another running buddy Leslie to join us.  A spontaneous half marathon in 4 days? Sure, why not!

After Laura talked me into the half :)

After Laura talked me into the half 🙂

I told myself that since I had just raced and PRed at a 10 I really needed to go into this race with no real expectations for a PR or anything like that. I definitely wanted to do my best, but I knew there would be some difficult conditions I would have to work through. The course was very hilly (but beautiful!) and the weather forecast was warm and very humid. I figured if nothing else it would be a fun way to spend a Saturday morning and give me a good idea of my current fitness level as I start preparing for my October half.

The race started at 7:00 a.m. and took place in Ashland, Virginia, which is about 50 minutes away from where I live. This meant my alarm was set for 4:30 (!!!), so I could do all my pre-race routines and be ready to leave by 5:30. We still needed to pick up our race packets and go to the bathroom one last time (very necessary!), so we wanted to make sure we had enough time for all of that. We got a little bit of a late start due to a mix up about who would drive, and then a stop for gas, which put us behind. We arrived at the start around 6:40 and quickly picked up our stuff, ran the race shirts back to the car, and went to wait in the longest port-a-potty line I’ve ever seen!

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Waiting in line!

The race was actually bigger than I expected, so I started to get nervous we would miss the start. Even though I didn’t expect much in terms of how fast I was going to run and I knew the race was chip timed, I still didn’t want to be stuck behind a big crowd of people and have to weave my way through. As the time ticked closer to 7:00 I knew we weren’t going to make it, but people slowly started leaving the bathroom line to go to the start. Unfortunately I HAD to pee before starting to run (and so did my two friends), so we continued to wait.  We heard the gun go off and shortly after it was our turn. We quickly did what we needed to do and then ran over to the start, crossing about 2 ½ minutes after the official start time.

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My first mile was spent mainly trying to get past everyone who had chosen to start in the back because they were running at a slower pace- which is exactly what they should have done! I felt frustrated that I had to do a lot of weaving but I knew it was my own fault for starting late. I still ran a pretty decent first mile despite all of that and was feeling pretty good. Mile 2 was even faster- probably a little too fast! But I was just happy to have some breathing room. During the third mile I realized that I was already sweating quite a bit and feeling thirsty. The humidity was already starting to affect me and I knew it would be tough to maintain the pace I was running, even though it was already slower than my race the weekend before. It just felt a lot more difficult! I stuck to the same nutrition plan that worked so well for me at the 10 miler- eating half a pack of Honey Stinger Chews 25 minutes into the race and then again every 20 minutes after that.

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  • Mile 1 – 8:25
  • Mile 2 – 8:02
  • Mile 3 – 8:19

Rather than focus on conditions that I couldn’t control, I tried to look around at the beautiful farmland we were running through, the pretty sky, the runners all around me, and all the reasons I love to run. It definitely helped me maintain focus on why I was doing this race and I was really enjoying it, even though my pace was consistently slowing down.

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  • Mile 4 – 8:23
  • Mile 5 – 8:26
  • Mile 6 – 8:36

I passed the halfway point (mile 6.55) at a little over 55 minutes. I was actually doing better than I had expected, but I knew I couldn’t maintain that for the second half since it was only getting warmer and more humid. The sun was behind clouds and there was a nice breeze that came through every once in a while which helped, but I kept getting distracted by my pace that was slowing down. So I decided to turn off my watch once I hit mile 7. I just wanted to keep enjoying myself rather than allowing myself to feel pressured by what my watch said. I knew I wasn’t going to PR at all. When I turned off my watch my average pace so far was 8:25, and my half marathon PR was run at an 8:18 pace. However, I knew that I still wanted to finish feeling proud of myself and my effort so I kept pushing.

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  • Mile 7 – 8:48

After turning it off I focused on getting up and over the (many) uphills, relaxing on the downhills, and talking to runners around me when I needed a little boost. It didn’t feel easy at all and I really did have to fight for each mile, especially since I was having a lot of pain due to my shoes. I knew after this race they would be officially retired- they are so worn out and just DONE. I could feel it in my feet, ankles, calves, the blister on my left foot- everywhere! It was very painful but I kept pushing. My mind wanted to stop and walk so many times but I knew physically I didn’t need to. I reminded myself that I wanted to finish feeling proud and that I gave it my all given the conditions that I was in, so I kept going.

I ended up getting a little second wind during the last two miles and was able to pick it up once I knew the end was near. Finally we turned right and ran alongside the railroad tracks where we started, making the final long stretch to the finish line. I was shocked when I saw the finish time on the clock as I got closer to it. It said 1:54 and counting and I knew that I was a little over two minutes behind. I couldn’t believe I actually did that well and didn’t slow down as much as I had thought I did after turning off my watch!

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The finish line is in sight!

  • Finish Time – 1:52:47, 8:37 per mile

As soon as I finished the race my official finish time was texted to my phone (love modern day racing technology!) I realized that I ended up running the second half not too much slower than the first. There was about a 2.5 minute difference between my two splits, but I thought it would be much more than that. I was actually thinking I would be finishing around the 1:56-1:57 mark. My finish time was a little less than 4 minutes slower than my PR, but I was so happy with it!

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After getting some water and my medal I went back to the finish line to wait for my friends. I was so shocked to see Laura (my friend who is 20 weeks pregnant) come through just over 2:08, which is a sub-10 minute pace! Her goal was around 2:15 and she killed that!

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Just a couple minutes later my friend Leslie came through looking strong!

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Once we were finished, we headed over to get some food and talk about the race. We all really enjoyed it even though it was challenging, and decided we would love to do it again next year. I actually feel more proud of this race than last week’s PR at the 10 miler, where an 8:04 pace felt relatively effortless. Even though my pace was a good 30 seconds slower per mile this time, I had to fight for this one more due to things that were out of my control, and I overcame them. It is a great feeling ☺

Laura @ 20 weeks pregnant

Laura @ 20 weeks pregnant

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Now, which other races can I sign up for? The fall racing season is THE BEST!!!

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Anna Runs America

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A couple weeks ago I had the honor of meeting an amazing person- Anna Judd. Anna is currently running across America as part of Team RWB, which is the running group Kevin and I recently joined. Team RWB consists of veterans, current military personnel and civilians, and its mission is to support and connect veterans and the community. Anna is running across America to raise awareness and support for veterans’ issues. She started her journey on March 22nd in Venice Beach, California, and is scheduled to finish it in New York City in just a few days on Saturday, August 23rd. By the end she will have run a total of 3,400 miles!

Anna with Team RWB of Fredericksburg (our group!)

Anna with Team RWB of Fredericksburg, Virginia

We were lucky to live right on Anna’s route as she passed through Virginia on her way to NYC, and were able to see her in action! Our Fredericksburg chapter of Team RWB did an amazing job of supporting her as she passed through our area. There was a large organized group run and dinner (that unfortunately we couldn’t make), and one of our members ended up running with her 3 days straight, covering 79 miles total! WOW!

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Even though we weren’t able to run with her and the group we still had a chance to meet her and show our support. Kevin met her right as she finished up running for the day at the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico on his way home from work. They were able to talk for a few minutes and she gave him one of her signature dog tags to thank him for supporting her (see above photo by her talented sidekick- Miss Robot).

Anna Runs America

The next day I caught her as she headed north from the Marine Corps Museum. I was driving up to Pennsylvania to visit my family and stopped a couple times to get out of the car with little Kev and cheer her on along route 1 where she was running.

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Each time we saw her she was so friendly and gracious- thanking us for coming out and supporting her- even though she was the one who deserved to be thanked the most! She stopped running when she got close to come over and talk for a minute. Little Kev gave her a high five and said, “Go Anna go!” On this day she was running with a couple female Marines and one of our RWB Fredericksburg teammates (in the red holding the flag). He is the one who ran 79 miles total with her! They did an awesome job on our Virginia hills and in the heat. I was so impressed.

Our second time seeing Anna

Our second time seeing Anna

Anna is TRULY an inspiration. When I think about what she is doing it gives me chills and a tremendous feeling of pride. I love that one of our own in the running community is accomplishing something so amazing and using running as a form of activism. She was also in the running for the Runner’s World Cover Photo contest. I really hope that her journey and the message she is sending gets noticed- if not for that contest than at least as a feature story. She definitely deserves it in my opinion!

Here are some links to learn more about Anna and her run across America:

Run Streak: Week 12

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I am so happy to report that week 12 was SO MUCH BETTER than week 11. I still had a couple runs that were difficult, but for the most part I felt back to my old self after my sickness. I was also able to run with other people almost every day, and finished the week off with a surprise PR at one of my favorite local races!

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Katie’s Miles (8/11 – 8/17)

  • Monday: 2 miles @ 9:18. I still wasn’t feeling 100% after being sick all weekend but wanted to get out and join the Team RWB group run with my husband and friends Chanda and James. The guys took the strollers and I ran 2 miles with Chanda. I wanted to take it easy plus it was raining so we kept it short and sweet. Afterwards we watched the kids play together in the rain, which is just something all kids should do! It was a nice evening that took my mind off still feeling a bit sick!
  • Tuesday: 1 mile @ 10:07. There were thunderstorms in the forecast all day along with heavy rain, so I knew I had to get out early if I was going to run. It was still raining but not too much, and I only did 1 mile because my knee started to ache a little after my run the day before. I wanted to play it safe and take it easy and slow. On the positive side, I was starting to feel better and recover from my never ending stomach bug! Woo hoo!
  • Wednesday: 5 miles @ 10:07. I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling like myself again! I was excited because I had a running date with my friend Laura in the evening. We ran 5 pretty hilly miles and I tried to keep up with her while we had girl talk the whole time (did I mention she’s pregnant and almost at the halfway point? She is awesome!) The miles flew by and before I knew it we were done. I’m so happy to have a running buddy that lives in my neighborhood! Oh, and my knee felt fine too!
  • Thursday: 3 miles @ ?. I made a lot of rookie mistakes during this run. #1: I chose to sleep instead of getting my butt out of bed to run in the morning, telling myself I would just go later. #2: I helped a friend paint her apartment all day and drank hardly any water. #3: We ate Mexican food for lunch. Note to self- this is NEVER a good idea before a run. Ever. #4: I went out to run during the hottest time of day with no cloud cover whatsoever, and #5: I chose the stupidest most hilly route in my neighborhood just to make an already hard run even harder. I didn’t even record my time because it wasn’t really the truth, due to how many times I stopped my watch to walk or answer the phone when Kevin called. I actually stopped right before mile 2 and talked to him on the side of the road for like 10 minutes. Haha. I was so unmotivated. The point of this long post is that I know better, and I need to make sure I DO BETTER!!!
  • Friday: 4 miles @ 10:10. So much better than the day before! I got up before sunrise to run with my friend Laura again before she had to go to work. When I got out there I realized it’s been a long time since I ran in the dark since I have been off all summer! Luckily it was only dark for a little bit before the sun started coming up. It was a picture perfect morning, cool and breezy and Laura said it smelled like fall, which I LOVE! We did 3 miles together and I did a little more on my own. So happy to have had a good run after my tough one the day before!
  • Saturday: 2 miles @ 9:50. The fam ran with Team RWB at their new location by our house again. We knew we just wanted to do a short and easy run since I had my 10 mile race the next day. I ran with Kevin and the stroller and we just enjoyed each other’s company on a beautiful Saturday morning.
  • Sunday: 10 miles @ 8:04. Amazing day, amazing race! Read my full recap here.
  • Total Miles This Week: 27
  • Total Miles So Far: 341
  • Total Days Streaking: 86

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Kevin’s Miles (8/11 – 8/17)

  • Monday: 1 mile @ ?
  • Tuesday: 1 mile @ 9:30
  • Wednesday: 2 miles @ ? 
  • Thursday: 1 mile @ 7:37
  • Friday: 2 miles @ ?
  • Saturday: 2 miles @ 9:50
  • Sunday: 1 mile @ ?
  • Total Miles This Week: 10
  • Total Miles So Far: 163.3
  • Total Days Streaking: 85

From Kevin: I had a tough week. I decided to cut back on mileage a little bit because my body was feeling sore and I had a lot going on. I didn’t wear the Garmin a lot because I just wanted to run and not care about my time. I did familiar routes so I knew what mileage I was running. This week I hope to get myself back up to where I was running before. Katie and I signed up for a 5K in September so that is motivating me now.

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That wraps up week 12! One of the most exciting parts of this week was that we got a little glimpse of fall weather, which I cannot WAIT for. There is nothing better than running in the fall in my opinion. Bring it on!!!

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Previous Updates

Hartwood 10 Miler [2014]

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Yesterday I ran the Hartwood 10 Miler for the second year in a row! I ran this race last year and loved it even though it rained the whole time. Last year I scored myself an almost-8 minute PR and had a great time. I was excited to run it again, but I wasn’t sure how well I would be able to do this time around. Last year I was in the middle of marathon training and doing a ton of speedwork. This year I am not training for a marathon or doing speedwork- except for short sprints at the track, but no tempo runs or anything like I usually would do for longer races like this one. I didn’t really know what to expect from myself, but I had a bunch of running buddies at the race so I was just excited to be there with them! Luckily it was a beautiful morning this year- crisp and cool and NOT raining! It was a little bit humid but overall, the conditions were awesome for mid-August. I couldn’t wait to get started!

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My running buddies and I were busy chatting and didn’t even realize we were about to start until we heard the gun go off. We all ran together for maybe a tenth of a mile and then we broke off at our own paces. After a mile or so I checked in with my body to see how I was feeling. The pace I was holding (low 8:00/mile) felt pretty effortless and comfortable. I decided I had no reason NOT to try my best and run the best race I could.

  • Mile 1 – 8:16
  • Mile 2 – 7:48 (<– too excited!)

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The race course is basically a big loop along country roads, through wooded areas and alongside farmland. It was beautiful, the sky looked amazing, and I just felt so happy and lucky to be running. There was one small out-and-back section early in the race where I was able to see my friends. Leslie was right behind me, then Chanda, then Cynthia & Laura who were running together – and are also pregnant and due just a few days apart in January!

  • Mile 3 – 8:03
  • Mile 4 – 8:06

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Since I decided to race, I focused on trying to run evenly (after my too fast second mile) and keeping my energy levels up by eating a half pack of Honey Stingers every 25 minutes. I knew from last year that the second half of the race is harder and hillier than the first, so I needed to make sure I wouldn’t burn out. I passed the halfway point at a little over 40 minutes, which I knew was about an 8 minute pace. My 10 mile PR (that I set at this race last year) was run at a 8:07 pace. I started to wonder if a PR was possible.

  • Mile 5 – 8:01

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The big hills started around mile 6. I felt like I was either running up a hill or down a hill from miles 6-9, but I actually kind of liked it. I’ve always been strong at running hills and I like how the different elevation changes keep all of my leg muscles engaged. I focused on powering up them and then trying to relax going back down, over and over and over again! I was running either in front of, next to or behind another guy from Team RWB the entire race and I tried to stick with him- he was a great pacer! You can see him in the background of the photo above :). Miles 6-8 were a little slower due to the hills, but I knew based on my overall time that I was still on track to PR if I stayed strong the last two miles.

  • Mile 6 – 8:07
  • Mile 7 – 8:15
  • Mile 8 – 8:19

I got a boost of energy during mile 9 when I saw Kevin and the baby drive by. They had come to meet me at the finish and I remembered from last year they passed the runners on their way to the park where the race ended. I was so excited to see them and that adrenaline carried me through the last 2 miles. When we turned to head back into the park toward the finish line, I told the guy from Team RWB that he had been a great pacer, but that I was within a minute of my PR and needed to push it to the end. He told me to go get it and so I did!

  • Mile 9 – 8:10
  • Mile 10 – 7:43 (<– my last mile was my fastest!)

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I was so focused at the end that I didn’t even see Kevin on the side of the road taking pictures of me. All I saw was the clock ticking away and getting closer to the 1:21:00 mark. That last stretch seemed like it took forever, but I got my PR by 30 seconds!

  • Finish Time – 1:20:43, 8:04 average pace

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I was so excited, so proud and so shocked that I pulled a PR out from somewhere inside of me. Why do I always do the best in races that I don’t have any expectations for?

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After collecting my cool glass and some water I went over to where Kevin was hanging out with Chanda’s husband James and the kids. We watched other runners finishing, and then my running buddies started coming through!

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First was Leslie, who finished in 1:37! She is training for her first marathon and this was her first race ever in the United States. She just got back after living in Germany for 3 years!

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Then came Chanda, who came in right at 1:39. I was so excited for her because she ran at her goal half marathon pace (9:55) on a course that is much tougher than the half marathon she has in October. She totally killed it!

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And then these two amazing mamas came in right after Chanda, a couple seconds past 1:40. I was so impressed that they ran 10 miles at a 10:00 pace, almost halfway through their pregnancies. Plus they looked adorable in their Running for Two shirts! Does Laura’s look familiar? It’s actually mine 🙂

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We all decided that we love this race and would definitely do it again. Smiles all around!

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The Hartwood 10 Miler is a race I want to continue doing every year. Beautiful course, friendly runners and volunteers, small, local, and for a great cause. What more could you ask for?

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365 Days of Fitness: July Recap

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OMG you guys. It’s August 17th and I still haven’t written my 365 Days of Fitness recap for JULY! Wow. I am so behind on so many blog posts. The truth is that this summer has kept me insanely busy- in a good way! I have chosen to spend as much time as I can with my toddler who craves (and deserves) my attention rather than in front of a computer screen.  July was another amazing month. I finished it off with 134 miles, which is the most I’ve done since before pregnancy! We traveled to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and across the country to Oregon. I scored a new 5K PR and finally beat my husband! I also reconnected with a lot of my old running buddies and was able to run with them a ton which made me super happy.

Here’s the picture recap!

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I say this every month but time is flying. I can’t believe we are on the downward side of 2014. 7 months down, 5 to go!

Previous Months

All of my pictures were taken with the FitSnap App (it’s free!). Check it out!

Our Summer Vacation to Oregon, Part 2: Bend

The second half of our west coast adventure took place in what is probably my favorite place in America: Bend, Oregon! Here’s how we spent our time there.

Monday, July 21st (continued)

We arrived in Bend around 3 p.m. after our road trip from Portland. My aunt and uncle hadn’t arrived yet, so we parked downtown and walked around for a bit. We ended up at Drake Park by the water where we sat and relaxed while little Kev ran around collecting pinecones.  Once my aunt and uncle got there we all headed to their house where we would be staying. They live on a huge cliff that looks down into the Deschutes River. It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I love their house so much!

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Once we got into our rooms and settled me, my husband and my sister all took turns going for short runs. We thought about going together but decided we could all use a little time to ourselves after being all up in each other’s business for the last 5 days. Running in Bend is more challenging than running in Portland because we are at 4,000 feet elevation, but the scenery just can’t be beat! It just doesn’t get more beautiful than this.

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After my 3 mile run and a shower I put little Kev to bed. It was so nice to be able to put him in a separate room and then go do something else while he slept- and not have to worry about whispering! Not possible in a small hotel room! We all ordered pizza and ate it outside on the deck while talking about everything under the sun and drinking wine. Perfection 🙂 After that Lauren and I watched the Bachelorette with more wine. It was so nice to be able to watch it with her, since usually we’re in separate states and texting each other the whole time. I love my sister!

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Tuesday, July 22nd

All night long I heard it raining and it continued into most of the next day… which is weird for Bend! While we were there, Oregon was actually experiencing very bad wild fires due to the dry climate and not enough rain. So the rain was very much welcomed but it made us change our plans a bit. In the morning we went out to the store to pick up some food for the week, and then we hung out and relaxed for a little while. Later on we started to get stir crazy so we went to the Old Mill to do some shopping. Right as we pulled up it started to thunder, lightning and hail like crazy. It was insane! Then all of a sudden it stopped and the sun came out. So crazy. We did some shopping then went back home to get ready for the main event of the day- the Float Run!!! This is reason #273846 why I love Bend. On a random Tuesday night they had this “Float Run” event, where we were going to run from the local running store to the river, floated down it on rafts, then had root beer and Deschutes brewery Black Butte Porter floats. Unfortunately there was still some lightning around that time, so we couldn’t float down the river, but Kevin, my sister and I still did our run and had ice cream floats. It was so much fun!!!

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Wednesday, July 23rd

I had been itching to get out for a longer morning run since we got to Bend, and I was finally able to on this day! It was a beautiful and cool morning, and I ran from my aunt’s house down to the river trail and came back. It was a LOT of uphill on the way back but I felt surprisingly good. I didn’t feel as out of breath due to the altitude as I did on my last few runs. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous. I decided we need to move here ASAP!

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When I got back from my run Kevin and Lauren went out for theirs, then we got ready to embark on the Bend Ale Trail! Another reason why Bend is awesome is that is has a TON of great breweries. The “Ale Trail” is a self-guided tour of all 14 of them (including one in a nearby town). It was another rainy day, so it was a perfect time to go for it.

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The first 5 or so breweries were on the outskirts of the town and the rest were all closer and within walking distance of each other. Since my dad is the best, he drove us around to the ones that weren’t walkable and dealt with our annoying-ness as we progressively became less sober. He also took awesome pictures for us!

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Once he dropped us downtown to explore the others we were definitely feeling good.  We really only shared flights or small tasters at most of the breweries but it did end up being quite a bit more than I am used to drinking these days (I am definitely NOT at Penn State anymore!). It was so fun to try different types of beer, learn about each of the breweries and collect our passport stamps- especially since last time we were in Oregon I was pregnant and couldn’t try anything! We got appetizers along the way and ended up eating a full dinner too at Deschutes Brewery, so that helped keep us going without passing out entirely :).

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While we were Ale-Trailing, little Kev was back at home having a blast with his Oma!

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Once we started to look like this (see below picture), we knew it was time to call it a day. We were so tired! Beer tasting is hard work! We made it to a grand total of 11 breweries in one day. I was very proud.

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Here are the breweries we visited (in order):

  1. Cascade Lakes Brewing Company
  2. GoodLife Brewing
  3. 10 Barrel Brewing Company
  4. Riverbend Brewing
  5. Worthy Brewing
  6. Boneyard Beer
  7. Silver Moon Brewing
  8. Deschutes Brewery
  9. Bend Brewing Company
  10. Brew Werks
  11. McMenamins Old St. Francis School

Whew! And then I promptly fell asleep when we got home 🙂

Thursday, July 24th

After a lot of sleep that night I woke up feeling great. The whole family wanted to walk on the river trail, so my sister, husband and I decided to run and meet them there. It was about 2.5 miles from my aunt and uncle’s house, but I went a little farther to make it 3. After the run we did a 3 mile walking loop on the trail alongside the beautiful Deschutes River. It felt great to do something active with the entire family and to sweat out some alcohol!

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After we got cleaned up we made it our mission to finish the Ale Trail. We had 3 stops left, two in Bend and one in the nearby town of Sisters where my other uncle and cousin live. We did the last two breweries in Bend (Rat Hole Brewing and Crux), then stopped at the Visitor’s Center to collect our prizes!

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We still had one brewery left, but we knew we would never get back to the Visitor’s Center in time after going out to Sisters and back, and we were leaving early the next morning. The nice women who were working there understood and let us get our prizes anyway. We were very excited! We got stickers, silicon cups, bottle openers and t-shirts.

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After that we were off to Sisters! Sisters is a small, ridiculously cute town. It feels like you are stepping back in time when you go there. We went to my uncle’s house first and then walked around downtown, got some coffee and hung out in the backyard of the coffee shop for a while.

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Next we went to visit Mahonia Gardens, which belongs to my cousin Benji and his girlfriend Carys. I was amazed and so proud of all that they have done with their business! Kevin enjoyed some fresh raspberries straight off the bush and was in heaven!

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We started getting hungry so we headed to the last stop on the Ale Trail, Three Creeks Brewing, where we had all had dinner and tried a beer. It made me a little sad because I knew the trip was coming to an end and it would be a while until I saw everyone again. I love my Oregon family!

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Once we were back in Bend we ended our night in my aunt’s hot tub. So amazing to be out on the deck listening to the loud river while relaxing in hot and bubbly water. Aahhhh… I slept so well that night.

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Friday, July 25th

I only had time for a quick run before we left for the airport early that day to go back to Virginia. It was a beautiful, crisp and clear morning- only 44 degrees which actually felt amazing! I ran around my aunt and uncle’s neighborhood and took in one of my favorite views- the river that runs behind their house. I wished I had more time to run on our last day, but we had to leave the house by 8 a.m. and Kevin had to run too!

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We packed the car, said goodbye to my aunt and uncle and made the drive back to Portland to catch our flight. I was nervous about this day because it was going to be longer than our travel day the first time around. We had a 4 hour drive, 2 flights, and an hour long drive back to our house in Virginia.

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Surprisingly, Kevin did AMAZING. I guess he finally got the hang of this traveling thing? We kept him busy with snacks and moving sidewalks, and got lucky with an extra seat on BOTH flights back home (score!!!). He ended up sleeping most of the time. I guess the trip really tired him out.

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We arrived back in Virginia a little after midnight, and after getting baggage, driving back to our brother-in-law’s house where our car was waiting, then driving back to our house which is farther south, it was after 2 a.m. We were greeted by the biggest moth of all time on our door (see below picture, although it doesn’t look that big there! It was HUGE!)

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And then Kevin decided after sleeping all day that he was wide awake and wanted to play until 4 a.m. Fun times 🙂

It really was an amazing trip and the memories we made will always have a special place in my heart. Until next time, Oregon!!!