2017 Parkway Classic 10 Miler Recap

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hi guys!  April is flying by! I ran the Parkway Classic 10 Miler this past Sunday in Alexandria, VA.  This race is definitely up there as one of my favorite races. It’s always well organized, the course is a point-to-point with some nice rolling hills, and is a BEAUTIFUL course. The houses you run by are absolutely stunning! The only “drawback” is there isn’t spectators along the entire course, but the last mile is packed with a cheering crowd.  That’s okay, because the beautiful course helps distract you from the pain. 😉

My running partner and I arrived the night before and stayed at the Sheraton Suites in Old Town. The hotel price was comparable to others but the location of the hotel couldn’t be beat.  It was 3 blocks from the finish line and 2 blocks from the shuttles that transport runners to the start line in Mt. Vernon. I like to keep things stress free where I can. 🙂

Packet pickup, located at the Pacers Running Store in Alexandria, was only about a mile away from our hotel. I love how Pacers organizes packet pickup. First, you can pick up for multiple runners without any kind of signed permission slip or ID.  They also always have multiple people handing out packets so there are no lines to wait in.

Later that night, after a quick dinner at T.J. Stone’s, we settled in and I took a picture of my race day outfit so my boyfriend would be able to pick me out of the crowd during the race. I definitely suggest doing this if you have someone coming to watch your race.

Race morning came and after loading up on bagels and coffee, we walked two blocks to the loading area to catch the shuttle to the start line.  These buses were brand spankin’ new! They even had seat belts! #safetyissexy LOL

We got to the start area about an hour prior to the start, which left plenty of time to use the porta-potty (a must!) and check a bag.  I am so glad I decided to check a sweatshirt because it was freezing again once you crossed the finish line. No one wants to stand around sweaty and cold!

Just before the 8 a.m. race start, I lined up at the 7:00 to 7:59 minute per mile group and we were all smiles event though slightly cold.

At 8 a.m., the gun shot rang out and we were off! Apparently I was feeling pretty good!  Here is my mile split breakdown according to my Polar:

NOTE: I wasn’t wearing my heart rate monitor haha

Here are my official results:

Danggggg!! 😛 That was 16th out of 511 females ages 30-34, 59th out of 2,635 females, and 298th out of 4,482 people!! Even though I didn’t break my goal of a 1:09 performance like I had wanted, I am still proud of myself.

A performance like that calls for a nice cold one, so my boyfriend and I stopped at Port City Brewing Company to celebrate.

How do you celebrate a good run? What races did you run this month? Write in the comments above, under the post title 🙂

Sole of the City 10k Race Recap

Hey friends! How was your weekend? On Saturday I ran the Sole of the City 10k in Baltimore!

 

My goal race is actually the Parkway Classic on April 23rd, but this race happened to work with my training schedule.  Plus, a bunch of my friends do this race and they told me I absolutely HAD to register. Okay, twist my arm 😛

Packet pick-up was earlier last week and I got to pick up this sweet premium from Under Armour.

Do not be deceived.  This hoodie is VERY thin. Basically I would only wear this walking around in 65 degree weather. Yeah, so not really a hoodie LOL. The packet pickup itself was at Charm City Run was pretty well organized per usual.

Race morning came and it was a freezing 35 degrees out!  Brr!!  But then the high for the day was 60 degrees. Even though we lucked out with sunshine, this weather is hard to dress for. In order to be warm, I wore a crappy goodwill hoodie to the start area, which was located at McHenry Row. When I woke up that morning, I really had no desire to “race.” I thought I would just enjoy the run.  But then of course, my friends egged me on! They wanted me to win. Well, I guess it didn’t take much to get me all fired up because I easily agreed and felt the fire in my belly!

After hanging out at McHenry Row and chatting/shivering, around 8:45 a.m. we made our way to the start line.  It was a short walk and not overly congested.  I said goodbye to my friends and headed to the front of the starting line.  After a BEAUTIFUL rendition of the National Anthem (seriously that girl had some pipes!), we were off!

Mile 1 ran through Federal Hill and to the Inner Harbor.  I was feeling good and was trying to gauge the competition around me.  I did have a guy run next to me panting like a dog.  There was no way I was going to let him beat me! So off to mile 2 I went!

Mile 2 was around the Inner Harbor and running toward Harbor East and Fells Point.  I noticed there was not much of a crowd, which was a bummer.  The cold air probably didn’t help. I still felt pretty good at this point as captured by this race photo. I mean look at that stride!

Mile 3 was pretty much the turnaround point at the edge of Fells Point and took us back to the harbor.  At this point in the race it started to warm up I was feeling a bit warm.

Mile 4 was when I really started to feel the heat! We just left Harbor East and was entering the Inner Harbor. Mile 4 basically got you from Hard Rock Cafe to the Science Center. Which honestly, was a little awkward because you were running on the harbor amid the crowd. Like, the bystanders literally had no clue they were in the middle of a race haha. So many confused looks…

At mile 5, I was hot.  Like, nearing overheating.  But with one mile left I was determined not to slow down.  I wanted to place dang it! Mile 5 was back through Federal Hill and the finish line was back at McHenry Row, where we started. Here is a shot of me crossing the finish.

No, I normally don’t look that good 😛 I was WIPED! I gave that race everything I had! Note how the gloves came off. Literally and figuratively, ha!

After the race I waited for my friends to gather again.  I grabbed a free beer but frankly I do not want beer after a race.  I pretty much take three sips and give it to a friend.  Unfortunately the food after the race was seriously lacking. We got chicken salad, but really it was an onion salad.  You can just smell the stench through the box. It didn’t appear anyone wanted an onion salad after a race because most people didn’t eat it lol.

We waited around to see if I placed, but no dice! I was disappointed initially.  Then I got an email with my results.

BOOM! Like 25% percent of the field was female 30-39. Lots of competition!  But considering that, I feel pretty darn good about my race.

So would I do it again? Meh, the jury is still out. I didn’t think the course was anything special. I am leaning toward “yes” but only because I would like to get on the podium next year. Let’s see what I can turn out at the Parkway Classic!

Back to Basics: How to Fuel for a Run

Happy April everyone! Running season is upon us and it’s the time of year where I receive the most questions.  So in the spirit of the season, this month I am going back to basics with (the appropriately named) Back to Basics Series. Yay!!

Last week, a coworker and I got into a discussion about fuel.  He scored an amazing deal (like $3?! Normally $33) on a 24-count box of Honey Stingers that were “about to expire”…in August! If you’re training for a half marathon you could definitely eat all those by August. What a lucky dog…

Long story short, I get a lot of questions about fueling. How much? How often? Which kinda? Well if you haven’t figured it out by now, today I want to talk to you about…

Do I need to consume fuel during my run?

It’s important to know that fuel is only necessary for runs longer than 60 minutes, regardless of the distance. Doesn’t matter if it’s 3 miles or 7 miles, after 60 minutes your body needs carbs.

How often should I take in fuel during my run?

The ideal rule is 1 package every 45 minutes. So if you plan to run over an hour, start at minute 45, then another an an hour and 30 minutes and so on. If your stomach is feeling “off” or you feel full, don’t feel like it is mandatory to take something.  Listen to your body.

Which kind of fuel should I consume?

Beer!  Kidding.  Don’t do that.  I did that once during a race. I immediately regretted that decision. The most popular fuel is gel. They come in a variety of flavors and are easy to carry with you. Next are chews, which are pretty much like gummies. They are a nice way to switch it up if you get tired of eating gel and want something to chew, hence the name. Next up, sport beans!! Basically jelly beans you feel less guilty about eating. Sport beans are a favorite of mine around mile 17 of the marathon when you are losing your mind and all you can do is count beans…yeahhhh. Frankly, none are greater than the either. Experiment and see which one works/tastes best for you!

So there you have it!  The basics of fueling!  I didn’t include hydration in this post because that is a separate post in itself 🙂

Happy running!

 

Snow Day Workouts!

Hey friends! If you live in the Northeast, you are getting slammed with snow!  Makes sense after last week’s 70 degree days right? One morning I’m running in a tank top/shorts and the next morning I’m in a winter jacket/running tights. Cray.

Well, just because the roads are covered in snow and ice doesn’t mean we have to hit pause on our training. Besides I don’t know about you, but I reaaallyy don’t want to be this girl….

Here are some ways to get in some training without running….and subsequently falling.

#1 Yoga 

About a year ago, I bought a Groupon for a subscription to online yoga classes for $8. Even if you only use it once it pays for itself versus going to a studio and paying $16 for a class. The nice thing about yoga at home is you can do it any time you want.  So if you want to sip some coffee and watch the snow fall, before working out, go for it! Also, you don’t have to worry about looking cute in your latest Lululemon.  Yeah I said it!

#2 Strength Training

Now I’m not talking about anything heavy duty here.  I mean a snow day is meant to be a relaxing day right? This is actually the perfect opportunity to do what I call “maintenance training.” Pretty much all of the little stuff that is going to help prevent injuries later down the road that runners tend to neglect.  Currently I am doing the workouts (an 8-week training plan) from “Quick Strength for Runners” by Jeff Horowitz. These are simple but effective exercises like squats and push-ups.  Oldies but goodies!

#3 Shoveling!!!

Ok so this isn’t fun for everyone but shoveling is a great conditioning workout.  Not only is it cardio (gets that heart pumping!) but also strength training (squat to scoop the snow, wood chopper to throw the snow). It’s really a great total body workout.  Just remember to stay hydrated…don’t eat the yellow snow 😛

#4 Call it a Rest Day

Like I said, there’s something about a snow day that brings hopes of hot beverages and sitting by the fireplace under a blanket.  If you don’t want to work out then guess what?  Don’t workout! Remember rest days are a healthy part of your training.  Yes, rest is just as important to your training as running is.

So tell me, how do you workout on a snow day?

Race Travel: How You AND Your Family Can Stay Sane

Hey friends!  Happy Tuesday and last day in February! To end our partnership theme month, today I want to talk about how to travel to a race with your family. Sounds simple at first right? You’re probably thinking, how can this be any different than a vacation? Well it is VERY different. Here are some tips to help you make the best out of race travel so that everyone leaves happy!

Pre-Race

Tip #1: Set expectations

Well before your big race, it is important to set expectations for the trip.  Is this a race you want to take seriously?  Is this just a bucket list race? Your fellow travelers need to know these things.  If you are taking the race seriously, your family needs to understand that the night before the race you need to be in bed early, time will need to be spent at the expo to pick up your race bib, you may need to eat a very specific diet leading up to the race, etc.  Your family is probably thinking this is no different than a vacation. Also explain what you need from them.  Do you want them to spectate the race? Do you need them to drive you to the start line? Do they need to have a large fountain soda waiting for you when you cross the finish line?  Ok, that last one is really one of mine 🙂 Luckily my boyfriend is gracious enough to make sure I have one after every race.  Thanks honey! He also knew it was important to me to take a picture of the Boston Marathon finish line prior to race day.  How amazing is this picture he took?!

FinishLine

Tip #2: Create a spectator map

If your family is spectating your race, it is critical that you create a spectator map so they will know exactly where to be, at what time, and when to expect to see you.  Your family likely has no clue what the course is or the race start. Make it easy on them by writing down all the details.  This past October my boyfriend and some friends were spectating the Marine Corps Marathon to see myself and another friend.  I made a cheat sheet of what time to be at the train stop to get to D.C., what metro line to hop on once in D.C. and the times, where to catch breakfast before the race, and what intersections to be at and what time.  I have to toot my own horn.  It took a LOT of work so I suggest doing this at least one week in advance. I also suggest checking the race website for spectator tips.

Post Race

Tip #3: Have a meeting point after you cross the finish line

If you are running a huge race with thousands of people, you need a meeting area. If you only listen to one of my tips, it needs to be this one.  The last thing you want to do after a race is walk (er, limp) around trying to find your family. Some races have a family meeting area.  Frankly I do not find this to be useful because usually they are too far from the finish and that is where everyone else is meeting.  I suggest picking a landmark near the finish such as a store or restaurant. I always have my phone on me as well, that way my boyfriend and I can touch base and find each other.

Tip #4: Celebrate WITH your family, not just your achievement

You may have endured some grueling miles, but your family has endured waking up super early on a Saturday, shuttling you around, transporting themselves through the race course, and being extra nice to you even though you were stressed and moody before the race. Be sure to thank them and treat them to dinner or an event. You want them to keep supporting you, don’t you? 😛

That’s it for now!  Share any tips or stories you have in the comments below.  Happy running!

 

How to Deal with Conflict in a Running Partnership

Hey gang!  I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day! I had to giggle when I realized this was the topic I planned for today.  Maybe some of you are dealing with conflict depending on how your Valentine’s Day went. LOL! But just like in romantic relationships, conflict exists with running partnerships as well.

About a year ago in a life coach class I was taking, each student had to present a conflict we had to the class. Turned out, one of my fellow classmates was a runner and the conflict she brought up to the class was one with a fellow runner in her club. We’ll call the fellow runner “Sally.” Apparently, during all the group runs, “Sally” would gloat about her children.  If one runner was talking about how their child made the volleyball team, “Sally” would 1 up them and say, “well my child is going to make the teen olympics for volleyball!” [Insert groan and eye roll here.] So my classmate asked the group for advice.  I jokingly mention that she should run faster to get away 🙂

So what should you do if a conflict boils to the surface?

First, assess the situation. It’s critical to have the facts instead of acting on raw emotion.  How long has the conflict been happening? Is it affecting my well-being? If it has only happened once or twice, catalog it in your mind. Maybe something else is going on in their world right now to cause this behavior, so be understanding. Is their behavior putting you in danger in any way? Probably a good time to speak up if your running partner insists on meeting for 5 AM runs in a sketchy back alley. You may have to call upon this guy….

Second, find an appropriate time to discuss the conflict. Word to the wise, do NOT bring up the conflict at the very beginning of a run.  It could make for an awkward run if you bring it up at mile 1 and you’re on a 10 mile training run. You might want to bring it up at the very end of a run or a non-running time. Be prepared if the person’s feelings are hurt and they need a break from your runs.

Third, it might be time to break up. Breaking up is hard to do, but if a resolution cannot be reached it may be time to end the partnership. That’s okay!  Be thankful for the time you all had together, accept it and move on. She wants to run at night, but you want to run at the crack of dawn. He runs slow but you run fast.  Not everything can be resolved. If the running partnership ends on a good note, you can still check in and see how their running is going, wish them luck on races, etc. Life goes on.

If you want to talk about your conflict without broadcasting it in the comments below, feel free to email me.

Any other tips for handling conflict? Have you resolved a conflict between you and your running partner?  Do tell 🙂

How to Find a Running Partner

Happy Wednesday gang! I am hoping for a snow day tomorrow for us Baltimoreans.  We all could use a fun day off to frolic in the snow! Weird thing is, it got up to 70 degrees today. Say whhhhaaaa?! I ran this morning in a tank top and shorts!

Can you spot my little troublemaker in the photo above? 🙂

But tomorrow with snow in the forecast, I’ll be back in my winter jacket and fleece tights!  Crazy!

In the spirit of February and all things relationships, I want to talk to you today about how to find a running partner.  Last week I talked about why you should have a running partner, which got you psyched, right? That’s all great, but finding a good running partner can be challenging.

You can find a running partner by:

#1- Joining a Running Club

Your local running store will likely have weekly training runs/meet-ups.  This is a perfect way to make friends and train with someone around your fitness level. I guarantee there is going to be at least one person running your pace, so do not be afraid of being left behind.

#2- Meetup.com

Meetup.com is an online website where you can join or create a group that has similar interests. You can easily search for many small, informal groups to run with. Remember there’s safety in numbers!

#3- The gym

This was kind of a ballsy move for me, but I randomly approached a stranger at the gym…who is now my running partner.  If you go to the gym often enough, you’ll quickly figure out the runners.  They are pretty much the ones killing it on the cardio equipment but barely lifting weights haha

#4- At a race

I actually became friends with someone I sat next to on the bus to the start line of a race.  We struck up conversation and became instant friends!  We do not train together, but it’s fun to check-in with each other through Facebook to see if we are running the same races. Last year we ran the same half marathon and ended up running next to each other for most of the miles.  We both pushed each other harder and it definitely paid off with fast times.  It was like having a cheerleader/coach right next to you!

Well that’s all for now folks!  Tomorrow I might be back with a picture of myself in winter running gear 😉

 

 

MCM Runners Club + Benefits of a Running Partner

Happy Friday Eve everyone! It’s February and I can’t believe us Marylanders have made it this far without one snow storm! I hope mother nature is just saving it all up for one massive blizzard 😛

This month, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I want to talk about a special relationship that no one talks about, a running partner! I have had a running partner for about 9 years and he has been critical to my training.  So each week in February, I will be writing a special post about running partnerships.

For this week’s post, let’s start out with the basics, the benefits of a running partner.  There are a TON of benefits I could put down but then this would become a novel and not a blog post 🙂 So here we go!

Reason #1: Accountability

I run outside year round.  From every weather condition from 85 degrees to 9 degrees, sunny to rain and wind, you’ll see me out there.  How do I do this consistently? Easy, my obligation to my running partner.  If someone is waiting outside for you in the freezing cold at zero dark-thirty, you are not hitting the snooze button. Period.

Reason #2: Support

It’s nice to have a cheerleader AND be a cheerleader for someone else.  When I’m going on my first 20 mile training run of the season, I know I can count on my running partner to say “you got this!” and make sure I am hydrated and fueled. Let’s face it, not everyone is going to be excited about your running (haters gonna hate) but you know your running partner is going to be there every step of the way (pun intended).

Reason #3: Fun!

Through the miles, you will see and do lots of funny things. My running partner and I constantly bring up the time we were at a race and the volunteers (cough paroles cough) were, well, I guess out doing community service?? There was a street that runners had to cross to get to the starting line and a volunteer was placed there to help assist with traffic.  There were these two tiny cones that apparently you had to cross between.  But with the large crowd, you couldn’t see them.  The volunteer would yell aggressively “I SAID CROSS BETWEEN THE CONES!!!” At some point we were almost certain he was going to take out his glock and start shooting in the air LOL!

Reason #4: Safety

This is probably one of the best reasons to have a running partner. As a young female, it can be nerve wrecking to be running in the dark and hear a wrestling in the bush or see a silhouette walking down the street.  It’s especially scary after this past summer when 3 women were brutally murdered while running. My running partner always walks me to my house after our run and checks on me during a run. I’m definitely thankful for my running partner!

Ok that wraps up the first post for our running partner series, but in other news…

I was accepted into the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) Runners Club!!!

I am BEYOND excited about it.  By completing 5 Marine Corps Marathons, I am now guaranteed annual access to early registration for the Marine Corps Marathon.  No more worrying about the lottery process!  I am still undecided about running this year’s race because I am holding out hope that I actually made it into the New York City Marathon.  Fingers crossed!

So do you have a running partner?  If so, what other benefits can you think of?

 

Enjoying the Journey

Those who know me, know that I listen to Joel Osteen every morning on my way to work.  I absolutely love his inspirational messages and it’s a great way to start the day.  Today the topic was enjoying the journey.  Joel told the story of a famous pro-football player who, after many years of hard work and dedication, finally won the super bowl. You would think at that moment he would have felt invincible.  I mean this is what the man has dreamed of for years! But in that moment, he kind of felt like, is this it? Yes, he was happy but he thought it would mean more.

Funny, because I can say the same about crossing the finish line at my races.  After I crossed the finish line at Marine Corps Marathon this fall, did I fall down dramatically on my knees, with my arms raised in the air in glory like in the movies? Not even close! Of course I was happy and extremely proud, but those feelings quickly pass. Actually, when I think back I cannot remember any particular highlights from my finishes.  What I do remember however, are those small moments during my training…the journey. It’s those moments that bring fulfillment. A few examples of this would be:

  • Stopping in the Nature Center on NCR Trail in the middle of a long run. Why was this memorable?  Well lets just say this guide came out of nowhere and held a looonngg snake in front of my face asking if I wanted to hold it.  I quickly bolted out and had everyone roaring with laughter.  I did stick around for a minute and the guide and I got into an interesting conversation about snakes in the local area. It was definitely a funny and enlightening experience!
  • Appreciating mother nature during a run.  I very rarely run on a treadmill. I love taking in the beauty of mother nature; running in freshly fallen snow, hopping in large rain puddles, seeing the beautiful stars on a clear (and early) morning, seeing all the baby foxes and deer.
  • Small accomplishments within a run such as finally running up a monster hill or hitting a certain pace and remembering how strong I felt.
  • The social aspect.  It means so much to me when my boyfriend comes and spectates my races. I remember how I felt when I would see him. Or when random friendships are created from hanging out before the start of a race when everyone is on the shuttle bus trying to wake up. Or when talking and laughing with my running partner during a cold and dark run. Or Coaching someone and seeing their progress.

Friends, there will always be “the next thing.”  And there’s nothing wrong with setting goals and accomplishing them.  But just don’t forget to appreciate everything in-between.

I saw the quote below at a conference I attended this past fall.

Quote

“I am not any good at (blank), yet.” By adding the simple word “yet”, you are creating the journey. You are setting forth a goal and then writing out the steps to get there.  The word “yet” adds that excitement and element of a challenge!

So, what are you not any good at, yet? 😉

Goals for 2017

Hi guys!  Hope everyone had a wonderful New Year!  I like to spend New Years Eve partying it up….in sweatpants, drinking champagne, stuffing myself silly with pasta, and in bed by 9 pm. #winning

But once January 2nd rolls around, I get antsy. What do I want to accomplish this year? Did I accomplish what I wanted to last year?!  I NEED ANSWERS PEOPLE! 😉

So today I sat down to come up with a fun yet challenging goal list for 2017.

#1- Break 1 hour and 9 minutes at the Parkway Classic Ten Miler.

I ran this race in 2010 and scored a personal record (PR) in a huge way. I ran ten miles in 1:09:48, averaging 6:59 min/mile pace. For the ten mile distance, the fastest I have ever run was 1:13:00. How the crap did I run three minutes faster?! I want to get back to that. I know I can! I’ll definitely be posting my training over the next few months.

#2- Continue to grow the blog.

For yeearrrsss I really wanted to start a blog. I wanted to share my passion for running with the world! So I am glad that in 2016 I finally committed to starting a blog.  But in 2017, I would really like to ramp it up with fun challenges and content. Even learn some cool blogging tools! Yes, I am an old millennial LOL

#3- Take a cooking class.

My boyfriend and I really enjoy cooking. I enjoy the eating part just as much if not more 😉 We wanted to go in 2016, but time slipped away so this year I am committing to taking a class. There are two cooking schools here in Baltimore, Schola and Baltimore Chef Shop. Heard good things about both, so really it’ll just come down to our schedule and the cuisine being cooked.

#4- Read at least 7 books.

Every year I participate in the Good Reads Reading Challenge. Last year I read 6 books. I know what you’re thinking….slow down scholar! Well I am going to knock your socks off when I read SEVEN whole books! For my first book of 2017, I have chosen to read The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan. Yeah, how about that for some light reading? LOL!

#5- Take a fashion illustration class.

You guys…..I have no creative outlets.  There I said it.  God help me when my children come to me asking for help with their diorama. I lack serious artistic abilities.  I am pretty sure I got straight C’s in Art all throughout school. Well now is the time to redeem myself! I seriously LOVE fashion and Project Runway. Fashion illustration is definitely something I am drawn too (no pun intended).  I’ll be sure to post my artwork to the blog.  My only request is that you laugh to yourself 🙂

Well that’s it folks!  What are your goals for 2017? Please share in the comments section.