Happy Veteran’s Day

Just wanted to post a shout out to my fellow veterans. It’s not easy being away from your family, juggling demands of family and work, and wondering when your next deployment is going to be. I am proud to serve and thankful for the experiences that I have received through the Army.

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Race Recap Catchup: 2017 Army Ten Miler

Now that it has been about a month… Might want to post a review of this year’s ATM race. Bottom line- it wasn’t the most pleasant race. But it WAS a great weekend for me.

Columbus Day weekend is our annivarsary weekend, so we decided to fuel up for the race (and celebrate our anniversary) at the Charleston , where we held our reception last year. It is our favorite restaurant (and place) in the mid Atlantic region and we have yet to find a place that compares. The food, the staff, the ambiance… it is all just perfect. I limited myself to just one glass of champagne and let my husband try out some of their new cocktails (I mean… SOMEONE had to drive down to DC). I didn’t take pictures of every course, but here are a few of the most delicious (and seasonal) ones:

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My husband had fois gras for one of his courses. Normally, the fois gras has a more sweet prepartion, with brioche and some sort of delicious fruit glaze or compote. But this time, the dish was savory, with black beans. I LOVED the taste of it.

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However, I have to say that mine was even better… This is the scallop “BLT,” with thick cut bacon strips and a fresh heirloom tomatoe. It was incredible! Their scallops are always perfect (we even had them in our wedding menu), but this was my favorite preparation that Charleston has done to date. Now…back to the race.

Packet Pickup:

As with the last couple races, I haven’t been in Maryland/DC to pick up the packets- I left that to my husband. The packet pickup takes place at the Armory near the RFK Stadium. Husband reported that packet pickup was smooth… DC traffic (which never really ceases) was the only bad part of packet pickup.

The Goods:

I forgot the shirt at the Maryland condo, but the shirt was the same as usual- long sleeve technical shirt. And with previous races, you receive a challenge coin at the end (rather than a medal).

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The Race:

Weather reports were not good for the race. Rain was expected and the humidy was really high. I made a call to just take it easy and enjoy the race, with an intent to keep my HR below 165 for the race. I didn’t want to hold my husband back (even on our anniversary), so we snapped a quick selfie and split after crossing the starting line.

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(Clearly we were still kind of asleep….)

I kept my pace pretty slow and even with the weather, I genuinely enjoyed this race! I’m usually pushing so hard that I don’t take the time to actually look around and enjoy the monuments… But I was able to this time and it made the race so much more enjoyable.

As mentioned before, the weather was terrible for this race. It was in the 70s with extremely high humidity. It started to rain a little during the beginning of the race, but it quickly passed (and added to the already terrible humidity). There were times when it felt like I was suffocating, not because I was exerting myself, but because the humidity was so terrible. There were water points every couple miles, which helped… but I feel like the volunteers should have spread the tables and waters out to every mile once the weather started to turn. After around 10:15 or 10:20am, I overheard another runners saying that the course was downgraded and would be a “fun run” without official times for runner on the shortened course. There were several heat injuries, seemingly a lot more than usual…

But… other than the weather, I really enjoyed the race and will run it again next year.

We were staying at a hotel in Crystal City, so we made a mad dash (walk/run) back to the hotel to shower and check out… Just in time! It was a pretty great weekend.

Garmin Results: 10.12 Miles, 1:50:09, Average Pace: 10:53 Average HR: 166

Actual Results: 10 Miles, 1:50:06, Average Pace: 11:00

 

 

 

Training Recap for March 13-19, 2017

Another week in the books. Another week of training that is focused on keeping my heart rate at a reasonable level.  I took the time to read Hanson’s Marathon Method this week and tweaked my current running plan to resemble the “Beginner” plan in the book. The mileage is a little more than I am used to, but I think as long as I keep my easy runs easy (key word being EASY), then the mileage should be just fine. I jumped in about 3 weeks into the plan, since I already have a pretty solid HR base built over the past month. The next race on the agenda is the Hot Chocolate 15K in Philadelphia on April 1st. I ran the race last year, so I am hoping to make some improvements this year (and hoping the HR training will pay off)!

Here’s what my week looked like:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Easy 4m on treadmill (1% incline) [11:15 min/mi avg pace, 151 bpm avg HR] + Jillian Michael’s Shape Up Front  (affiliate link)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Easy 4 miles outdoors [11:37 min/mi avgpace, 159 bpm avg HR]. Looked like this:

Thursday HR and Pace

(HR in red, Pace in blue)

Friday: Intervals on the treadmill (2 mins @7.0mph, 2 mins @ 5.0mph) for 4 miles [10:39 min/mi avg pace, 165 bpm avg HR] + Legs/Back Lifting + 10 minutes on the StepMill

Saturday: Rest (and St. Patrick’s Day recovery…)

Sunday: Fitness Blender Total Body Workout + easy 5 miles [11:33 min/mi avg pace, 156 bpm avg HR]. Looked like this:

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Baltimore 10 Miler

Hills. Small hills. Moderate hills. Some more hills.

That about sums up my experience during the Baltimore 10 miler. My body was totally dead from the race, but I might have myself to blame for that partly. I did stay up until almost midnight the night before… had a couple margaritas… So yea… Not the best discipline when it comes to racing. I DID drink a lot of water though so that’s a good thing right…

Anyway, we got up around 6 am to get to the race. Luckily, the race start/finish was only a 10 minute drive from our hotel and getting there was really smooth. The race started (and ended) at Druid Hill Park. Even though we have been in the area for a few months, we still have a lot of Baltimore to explore and experience. The park was really beautiful and the weather was pretty good. It was slightly overcast and mildly humid, so I can’t really complain about the weather.

The course was a lollipop course, starting at Druid Hill Park and heading out to Lake Montebello, running around the lake, and then ending back at the park. The only really flat portion of the course was the loop around the lake. Otherwise it was a lot of ups and down…. Which I definitely felt. Even fiance was complaining about his IT band bothering him after the race. The course was a little boring overall.

Pros:

Very well organized start… The race organizers separated the runners into waves and people actually adhered to the waves! It didn’t bunch up a lot like normal races.

There was a lot of support from the Baltimore Police and Fire/Rescue. And a lot of the runners took the time out to thank the police and fire/rescue personnel. It was really nice to see that out on the course.

COLD. TOWELS. I loved that they handed out cold wash cloths at the end of the race. Definitely hit the cool-down spot!

Cons:

We didn’t get the premiums until AFTER the race. I would have liked to avoid waiting in a line at the end of the race to get our shirts… I’m not quite sure why they didn’t distribute them at the packet pickps.

Lots of hills. But it’s Baltimore… so I just need to accept that there are hills everywhere and learn to embrace my burning leg muscles.

Overall, I did enjoy the race. I hated it DURING the race, but I secretly loved how tired and spent I felt afterwards… Sign of a good, tough run for me. (Even though I sucked and my pace sucked and it just was a sad, sad day of facing for me…). Being a King Crab Challenger, I also was able to get a medal! Only the King Crab peep received a medal for this race. I felt kind of bad for the other runners who were protesting and asking how come THEY didn’t get a medal. I guess that’s part of the perk of paying a chunk of money at the beginning of race season for three Corrigan Sports races. Ch-ch-check it out!

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Weekend Highlights

I feel like time has been flying lately. I think a lot of it has to do with being so busy at work… I get in at 8:30 and DO NOT STOP working until at least 5. And yes, that includes eating at my desk while reviewing documents for work. Welcome to my life for the next 2+ years. I actually feel like I’m starting to enjoy my job, stress and all. The hours are not too bad, the travel is tedious but I’m glad to get out of my office. And the location is pretty good. It’s nice being able to get to a few major cities within an hour of driving. What I DON’T like is the lack of daily mass nearby during lunch hours. It used to be my routine to go to mass at lunch every day, but the closest Church only offer lunch hour Mass on Tuesdays and Thursdays… and even that schedule is intermittent (depending on when the Priest is actually available). But I can’t complain. Being here offers me amazing, fun filled weekends like the one I just had.

Let’s start with Friday. We got off early at work (WOO!!) and I took advantage of it! Fiance and I got ready and headed down to Baltimore in the early afternoon. After all my travel for work, I was able to use rewards points from IHG to score a free room at the Holiday Inn Express downtown. It was a pretty great location for the cost (nothing!)–it was just a 15 minute walk down to the inner harbor and the Baltimore Soundstage. We headed out to Power Plant Live to grab some dinner before the Less Than Jake / Reel Big Fish concert. We ended up going to Mex’s Tequila bar and took advantage of their happy hour margaritas! Over the course of the dinner, we had 3 margaritas (black cherry, mango and regular flavored) and it only cost $12 for all three. Gotta love happy hour! I had a salad (which was REALLY filling, even without meat) and fiance had a giant burrito. Which he loved. Which we will probably go back and eat every time we’re at Power Plant.

We headed to the show and the venue was PACKED! The announcer said that the show was sold out and it definitely felt that way. We had gone to a concert on Wednesday of the week before and there wasn’t a huge crowd… but that wasn’t the case on Friday night. It was a fantastic show, lots of energy and lots of fun! I love seeing Less Than Jake live… they’ve been my favorite band for over 15 years and I will probably never get sick of them. Even fiance seemed to enjoy it! A few (crappy) shots from the show:

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(So dark, so terrible at picture taking)

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They really are an incredible band.

The fun didn’t stop there! We got up early and ran the Baltimore 10 miler (more on that later) and then hobbled back to our hotel. After a quick rest and shower, we headed to Bristow, VA for the Lady Antebellum concert at the Jiffy Lube Live Amphitheater.

For lunch, we had some boring Olive Garden. But I was craving massive amounts of salad and bread and this place delivered!  We picked up some chairs after lunch and headed to the concert.

Again, it was a great show! I didn’t really care for the first artist (Sam Hunt, I think his name was) but Hunter Hayes was great! The sun finally set and Lady A came to perform. It was so beautiful having all the lighting and stage effect with the dark, outdoor backdrop. It was an awesome show! I recommend seeing them. It was also fiance’s first country concert! YEE HAW!

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And now we are headed off to mass! I hope everyone had a great weekend!

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!

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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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!