I promise I will get better at updating…

I have the tendency to forget to blog a bunch of stuff then just pile everything into one post. Which is going to happen again. However… I will definitely start blogging more. For reals this time.

I was happy to finally have a long weekend off from work. Work has been getting me down lately, and I’m completely mentally exhausted EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. But I constantly remind myself… just take it one day at a time. Do your best and give it your all every day and be satisfied with your performance.

We spent Memorial Day weekend just kicking back and relaxing for the most part. We let the hills kick our ass on our new 5 mile out-and-back route on Friday and drove down to Alexandria on Saturday.

We signed up for the Alexandria Half Marathon a few months back. It seemed like an easier race, with a flat course and seemingly small crowd. Packet pickup was pretty smooth. The location was easy to find (Trademark Building) and the volunteers were very friendly. We got a short sleeved technical shirt and a baggie filled with random stuff–fruit leather, water bottle, men’s deodorant, etc. So far, so good. We spend the rest of the day hanging out in Old Town and then finally settled into our hotel… which was across the bridge, but only about 15 minutes away. Best part of the hotel: THIS was present.

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Love me some potatoes. And it wasn’t real. I checked.

Free parking in an almost empty garage on race day. THAT was probably the best part about the race. On the way to the race, I decided to read some reviews about the race (why didn’t I do this earlier?). It turns out that the race is notorious for starting late and being an overall shit-show on race day. Great. Oh well. We were already there and ready to race. I even (finally) bought some body glide to use and was fully glided-up that day. (SIDE NOTE: No chafing. No blisters. Where have you BEEN all my life, body glide? Especially during ruck marches?! Dang!).

Surprise, surprise. We started about 30 minutes day. I don’t mind that it was a late start. Hey. Things happen. The reason that I was annoyed was the fact that they had THE EXACT SAME ISSUE LAST YEAR (roads weren’t closed in time, cones weren’t set up, security wasn’t in place) and the race coordinators didn’t seem to capture the lessons learned from the LAST race and implement some fixes into the race this year. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as hot at the start this year (70s) as it was last year (80s).

The race WAS very flat. A couple of rolling hills here and there, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. There was also a mix of road racing and trail racing. I took the trails a little slow because I am incredibly clumsy and didn’t want to totally biff it on the course. One thing I didn’t like about the course was the long stretches of the route that had absolutely NO shade. I drank a TON of water the day before but still needed to stop at EVERY. SINGLE. WATER. POINT. Which I rarely have to do. I can usually run at least 6 miles or so without needing water but the heat and the sun totally zapped me during this race. I ended up finishing at 2:10ish, which I wasn’t pleased with, but I also went into this race with the mentality to just ENJOY it and not kill myself.  The medal was also kinda blah. Meh.

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We spent the rest of the day just relaxing and rehydrating. On our last day of the mini break, we decided to go hiking and do a recon of a potential trail-running route. We headed down to Big Gunpowder Falls and did the 5ish mile loop. It was so beautiful and so great to be back in the woods. I grew up in the country with woods behind my house and I loved every minute of this hike. We were totally soaked by the end but it was nice to get out and shake out our legs after the half. I’m not sure if we’re going to be able to actually RUN it entirely (lots of large, steep, narrow, root-infested hills) but I’m looking forward to incorporating it into our routine, especially when P gets here for the summer.

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Can you tell how sweaty we are? PS. My teeth are getting closer and closer together!!! YES INVISALIGN!

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He’s thrilled. I promise. And about the clothing choices…. we had to make a target run after this hike. Don’t judge us!

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I suck at hills.

Straight up. I suck at hills. Regardless of how much I have been running or what shape I’m in, hills always kick my ass. (and stairs. Freaking eh. Always winded going up stairs, even if I’m running every day… they always get me).

Lately, as mentioned before, I have been really struggling to get back into my running groove and make progress. I’m trying to make little gains in each race I do, trying to shave off a minute here or 30 seconds there (depending on the distance). Since I’ve been traveling a lot, I have been confined to the use of a treadmill but I still make sure to thrown in intervals to try to help get my speed work done. But I still feel like I’m not getting any better (probably getting worse).  My race times show that I am making progress because each race this past year has been an improvement from the previous race.  However, I feel that during my day-to-day running, I just cannot get my speed to pick up. And I think running lots of little rolling hills has been killing me.

While I’m out running, I FEEL winded and I FEEL like I’m constantly going up and down hills. It has been really frustrating because when I was living in NY, I ran a specific route that had a HUGE hill that I had to climb every day. To me, if I could run that route comfortable in the 9:00s, then I shouldn’t be struggling in the 10:00s running the route here. Yesterday, I decided to map the route and check the elevation and compare the two running routes to see why I am struggling so much.

This is the 5ish mile route I would run in NY:

NY Elevation

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This is my new 5 mile route:

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MD Elevation2

Uh… yea… I can see now why the runs here have been kicking my ass. Stupid small, frequent hills.  (SIDE NOTE: my 3 and 4 mile routes are also along similar roads / hills).  The only way I can get better at running hills is to continue to run hills… so I guess I will keep pushing myself. I just have to remember not to get frustrated and that progress isn’t instant…. If you want something, you have to work for it!

Marine Corps Marathon

I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon with an honest belief that I probably wouldn’t make it through the lottery process… Well, luckily I was wrong! I was delighted to get this email:

…. And then the panic set in. I remembered how badly it hurt to push my body through 26.2 miles during the Boston Marathon Shadow Run in Afghanistan.  But the panic soon subsided and I found out that the fiancé would be running with me. I decided that I would use the Hal Higdon Novice 2 program to train and do about 6 weeks of pre-training prior to that. I finished my last marathon in 4:27, so my goal is currently set for 4:15ish. It seems really aggressive… but to be honest, I didn’t really train for the shadow run. I ran daily and did some long runs here and there… but didn’t really dedicate myself to any sort of training plan. This time, I am going to train harder and smarter and work slowly to get myself in a better running position. Even if I only can shave off 5-10 minutes, I will be happy!

It’s been difficult to set a schedule and keep up with my diet and fitness while I’m traveling so much for work. But I WILL do better about managing my diet, my weight and making sure that I stick to my running schedule.

This is what I’m looking at for the week:

M: Off

T: AM: 3m run ; PM: 5x400m intervals (treadmill)

W: 4m pace (9:40-9:45)

R:  3m run

F: 3m run

S: Cross

S: Alexandria Half Marathon

Here goes nothing!

Current Status: 30 Races in 2015

I need to really keep track of all my races. Doing 30 races in a year is a lot and I want to be able to track them all and push myself to get better and faster (and not get hurt)!

Here is where I’m at:

1. January 4th, 2015: Camarillo Half Marathon (Camarillo, CA)

2. January 24th, 2015: Zoo Run Run (Nashville, TN)

3. January 31st, 2015: Birmingham Chocolate 5k (Hoover, AL)

4. February 8th, 2015: Winter Winds 2 Mile Race (Huntsville, AL)

5. February 8th, 2015: Winter Winds 4 Mile Race (Huntsville, AL)

6. February 14th, 2015: Hot Chocolate 15k (Nashville, TN)

7. March 14, 2015: Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon (Washington, D.C.)

8. March 15, 2015: Kelly St. 5k (part of B3 Series) (Baltimore, MD)

9. April 4, 2015: Hartford Quarter Marathon (Hartford, CT)

10. April 18, 2015: Sole of the City 10k (part of B3 Series) (Baltimore, MD)

11. April 25, 2015: Glo Run (Washington, D.C)

12. May 2, 2015: Twilight 5k (part of Nut Job) (Frederick, MD)

13. May 3, 2015: Frederick Half Marathon (Nut Job / King Crab Challenge) (Frederick, MD)

14. May 16, 2016: Patriot Pride 10k (Fort Meade, MD)

I am nearly halfway through… but the races will start to slow down. It is beginning to get really hot and humid here and I don’t think there will be too many races that I will take part in until the fall.

I have been really bad about keeping up with this blog lately… But I will do better. I think writing things down and having a reference point help keeps me accountable and makes me really take a look at how I am training. Lately, I have been putting my running goals to the side and just … been lazy. I get exhausted from work and use that as an excuse to let my running go to crap and let my weight creep up. I need to stop using work as an excuse and start using running as an outlet.