2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 2

Slowly getting into the grove of things with week 2. To be honest, I was feeling a bit down all week, so it felt good to get out and run it out. Here’s what training looked like the second week of June:

MONDAY

Rest day!  

TUESDAY

Back to Body Pump. I’m going to try and go every week until the 19th & L Gold’s Gym closes. 

Since Tuesday was the second Tuesday of the month, it was also Track & Shack. We had a *huge* group out of the 14th street Pacers store!!

I opted to do the three miles run (5.36 km) since I had already worked out in the morning and it was super fun running with Tammy (she’ll be running Berlin in September as well) and meeting Myles the Doodle (and his owner Susan) IRL. It was also a bit of a bittersweet night because it was the last night I got to see Corey before he headed out on his super fun Viking adventure (he’s running the Ragnar in Sweden and I’m super jealous!) and we got into a weird fight 😦 

WEDNESDAY

The weather was perfect for a run, sunny with low humidity. I was still upset over the stupid fight with Corey and dealing with other things at work so I also really wanted to clear my head! I ran to summit to Soul on 8th Street (3.5 km) and then joined their running group for a three mile loop around the Capitol (total 8.4km). I did feel better afterwards.

THURSDAY

I’ve been running with Pacers Pentagon City on Thursdays since that’s the group Corey leads. But no Corey means no need to go to Virginia (no offense to all the other fun runners in the group!) and instead, I joined Pacers Navy Yards for an almost 5 miles loop (I cut it a little short at 7.7km). It was awesome having two runners at my pace for the whole route… I’m usually all by myself in the back. Since I’ve been basically alone in the office these days it was nice just having a little company for a change. We had drinks at Bluejacket next door afterwards and it was also nice to feel a little social for a bit. 

FRIDAY

Shaw Yoga was offering a free restorative class at 5PM so I squeezed that in before heading out to Silver Spring for my friends Kevin and Julien’s going away party. Since they couldn’t ship out their opened bottles of liquor we all volunteered to help them finish them

SATURDAY

…. ouch! I remembered why I don’t go out that much anymore. I was signed up for a 90 minutes OrangeTheory class and it was rough. I mean 60 minutes are hard enough on a good day. 90 minutes with a bad hangover did not feel good 😦 Laying by the pool reading a book afterwards did though. It was a beautiful day in DC!

SUNDAY

Sunday officially kicked off my =PR= DC  Distance Training Program (known as =PR= DC  DTP from here on). My group meets at 6:30AM on Sundays (le gasp!) at the Georgetown waterfront. The route for this week was Rock Creek Park and I “only” had to do 6-8 miles. I ended up doing 12.6 km / 7.8 miles.

Bilan de la semaine: Overall it was a good week. I ran four times for a total of 37.4 km / 23.2 miles. For cross-training I did bodypump, yoga and OrangeTheory. I’m a little mad at myself that I wasted a good 90 minutes OTF class though.

What I’m watching/reading/listening to:  I watched Ava DuVernay’s new Netflix mini-series “When They See Us,” about the 1989 case in which five black and latino teenagers (the Central Park Five now the Exonerated Five) were wrongfully convicted of the violent rape of a jogger. I knew nothing about the case or story prior to watching the four episodes (and Oprah’s interview with the cast and Korey, Kevin, Antron, Raymond and Yusef) and it’s a devastating watch. The final episode which focuses on Korey Wise’s story (Korey was slightly older than the other boys who were sent to juvenile detention centers. He was tried as an adult and send to Rickers.) was particularly difficult.

I read this article (in French) about a journalist that faked a runner’s instagram account, bought 15K followers and fooled brands (and the city of Montreal!) into wanting to enter into sponsorship agreements with her. Fascinating read!  (<click to read!) As far as books are concerned, The View From Flyover Country: Essays by Sarah Kendzior turned out to be THE perfect, if slightly depressing, companion for my solo runs. I finished it in two days mixing paperback and overdrive and I definitely wish it had been longer!

I also finished I Miss You When I Blink (hardcover) which I had started a while back and is one month overdue at the library (oops) and started When in French (mix overdrive + hardcover). So far it’s a snoozer.

What I’m eating/drinking: not much fun to report here though I did make this amazing Seared Beef with rice vermicelli from Mark Bittman’s latest cookbook “Dinner for Everyone.” I am really loving that cookbook!

What I’m looking forward to on week 3: I’m off to Montreal on Thursday so I’m definitely looking forward to that trip and to hanging out with my college besties. Of course,  traveling is always a bit disruptive to one’s routine BUT I’m also super stoked to run through my old city (I lived in Montreal for four years) and I’m already trying to figure out a good route for a 10-12 miles run! I’m thinking Canal Lachine but if anyone has some good Montreal recommendations (running related or not! Girl’s gotta eat too. And drink.) please share them in the comments!! 

What I Talk About When I’m *not* Talking about Running

Spoiler alert: not much 😉 Seriously, it’s starting to feel like I have nothing to talk about beside running…

Until recently at least I could always fall back to talking about books. But guess what? I’m currently reading Haruki Murakami’s  “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” so even that’s no longer a safe space lol. 

It’s particularly upsetting because I wouldn’t even call myself a runner. Sure I run a lot, but I’m not really good at it so I think of myself more as someone who runs than a runner per se (something along the line of drawing versus being an artist I guess…) I always knew marathon training would take a toll on my social life. That was kind of the point anyway. I wanted to go out less, add more structure to my life. Mission accomplished on that 😉 But I don’t think I was quite prepared for that feeling you get when you start turning down invitations and even worse when you’re no longer turning them down because, well, no one is inviting you to hang out anymore.

Since my divorce, I don’t have anyone beside my cat to come home to. I don’t have any family here. My friends are my only support system so I was determined to hang on to them and chase that elusive run-life balance. I mean, there had to be a way to prioritize exercising without turning into a complete running hermit right? I got creative. I squeezed in some run-mutes home so I could catch the tail end of happy hour. I got up earlier to catch a spin class before work and free up an evening. I make 8PM dinner plans on Thursdays on the red line so I can go there straight after track. I had friends over to my pool on Sunday so we could be lazy together after my long run. It wasn’t easy but I eventually found some kind of marathon training – social life groove.
But then I ran into a different issue. I couldn’t seem to put running out of my head. I became that person who can only talk about one thing: running. What have I have been up to? Marathon training. What was I doing this weekend? Running (duh, did I mention I’m running a marathon?). That’s cool(ish) when you’re around other runners but not so much everyone else. And it didn’t get better after the Marine Corps because obviously I had to make sure everyone and their mother knew I had just ran my first marathon. I was prbably the world’s most boring date… until I started dating a runner. Yeah, we could talk about running together!  On the downside though we both had to fit each other around our running schedules which sometimes meant that yes, we went on a group run on Valentine’s Day. So romantic 😉

I learned a lot last year training for my first marathon. I learned a lot about myself, of course. What I can endure, how strong I can be. TBerlin mrhat was kind of the point. But I also learned a lot about the training cycle and I have a better idea of what to expect this time around. I am keenly aware that I turned into a bit of a marathon-monster and deeply appreciative of the few friends that stuck with me as I turned down fun plans and bored them with running-talk when we did get together. At times marathon training sucked. But clearly not enough for me not to want to do it all over again.  Now I just need to figure out what to talk about instead of only talking about running. All tips are appreciated …. 

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 1

The 2019 Berlin Marathon is 110 days away and since it’s not going to run itself, I officially kicked off my training this week. And while I tried to have fun in May and do a ton of non-running focused workouts, I was definitely getting antsy and I’m thrilled to get back into the routine of marathon training! Here’s how week one went down:

MONDAY

Rest day! I had ran two races over the weekend, a 10K trail race in Rockwood, New York and a 5-miler in Central Park. My body needed a rest so I met up IRL with my insta friend Anja for drinks at Le Diplomate. She lives in Berlin, so it was sorta marathon related 😉 

TUESDAY

I hadn’t been to Body Pump in ages so I went back to Gold’s Gym for a morning class… and found out that the L and 19th street location is closing at the end of the month. Sad. I loved that class and it was just 3 credits on Class Pass. 

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday was Global Running Day and I did a couple of things to celebrate. I went for a run, of course. Courtney organized a morning run around the monuments (I ran to and from home as well so it was a 9km run for me / 5.6 miles) and it was super fun to meet some new gals and snap lots of pictures. We also bumped into Kevin Plank at the Lincoln Memorial so I was glad I was wearing Under Armour shorts! I also bought new tennis shoes! Sticking with Brooks but went with the Ghost this time around… 

And I signed up for two 2020 races: the Charleston Half Marathon which will be the day after my birthday in January and the Washington, DC Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon in March. Busy day! 

THURSDAY

I joined Corey and the Pacers Pentagon City group for a 7KM / 4.3 miles run in the evening. It was really hot and there was a really big hill but it was a good run. 

FRIDAY

I have not been sleeping well lately (I tend to fall asleep very easily but then wake up after 3 hours as if my body doesn’t need any more rest… which it definitely does!) and I finally had a great night sleep so I had a lazy morning and a kick-ass spin class at FlyWheel City Center with Christine, one f my favourite instructor. I don’t know about you but I *love* closing out the week with a post-work Friday workout, followed by a nice relaxing evening.

SATURDAY

So Saturday was another rest day… since I had a double workout day scheduled for Sunday (more on that in a sec) I decided to take it easy. I could probably have done a yoga class but I was spending the night at a friend’s near Annapolis so I skipped working out altogether. 

SUNDAY

My friend Tammy is fundraising for Team for Kids ahead of the New York Marathon in the fall (she’s running Berlin as well too!!) and she had organized a donation class at Orange Theory Tentleytown. I’ve actually taken many of her classes and I wanted to support her so I signed up. But I also wanted to do a long run that day, so I knew I was up for a little more than I should. But that’s ok once in a while… I was worried about doing that long run since I didn’t know the area where I was staying but it turned out the B & A Trail was right there and it was a great running route! I cut my 10 miles run a little short at 13.3km/8.3 miles since I know I would get a few extra miles on tread later on, which I did. I ran 2.6 miles on the treadmill in class which round up my day at 10.8 miles and my week at 33.5km/20.8miles. 

I think it was a good first week. I’d have liked to do an additional run and maybe a yoga class to force myself to stretch but I also think I properly listened to my body and took some appropriate rest day. Next week will be the first training run with my long distance training program on Sunday and I’m definitely looking forward to that! Not looking forward to waking up at 5AM 😦

What I’m reading/listening to:  this week I finished Joanne RamosThe Farm (in hardcover) and Pete Buttigieg‘s The Shortest Way Home (on Overdrive) and started The View From Flyover Country: Essays by Sarah Kendzior (mixing paperback and overdrive for this one.)

I think I definitely found my sweet spot for books to listen to while I’m running and that’s essays (celebrity memoirs are pretty great too!). The View from Flyover Country was the perfect companion to my long run! I’m hoping to be done with that book tonight so I can (finally) finish Miss You When I Blink. I’m doing that one on hardcover from the library but I think it would have been a great one to listen to. 

What I’m eating/drinking: I really struggled with how to properly fuel my runs and my recovery when I trained for Marine Corps last year and nutrition is definitely an area I want to work on this time around. That being said, I don’t have much to report on that this week though I did *love* sipping DC Brau‘s Lavender Lemonade Berliner Weisse by the water in Annapolis. The brewing company teamed up with local author & illustrator Marcella Kriebel to design the prettiest cans for their purple beer! And the beer is actually really good and refreshing too! 

What I’m looking forward to on week 2: more of the same really. I’d like to run at least 4 times this week though and maybe find a way to squeeze in a yoga class somewhere…. stay tuned!

It’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Time !

Allez les Bleues (avec un E)!!! The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off today, Friday, June 7th at Paris’ Parc des Princes (home of the PSG soccer team) with France facing South Korea. The United States Women National Soccer Team are the defending champions, of course, and one of the best team in the world but France, England and Germany are hoping to give them a run for their money over the next month. 

The Women’s World Cup kicks off in Paris, but the main hub for the action is actually Lyon which will host both semi-finals (July 2-3) and the final (July 7). Other host cities include Nice, Montpellier, Grenoble, Rennes, Reims (will they be serving champagne at the stadium?), Le Havre and Valenciennes. 24 teams are competing, divided into six groups of four teams for group stage, which lasts from June 7 to June 20. France is facing off South Korea (June 7), Norway (June 12) and Nigeria (June 17). The US is facing Thailand (June 11), Chile (June 16) and Sweden (June 20). 

You’ll basically be able to catch the US games everywhere… other games might be a little trickier but I pulled together a mini-guide of places where you catch matches, especially the French matches, and a list of Women World Cup events, which I will update throughout the month. 

FIRST THING FIRST: OPENING CEREMONY AND FRANCE-SOUTH KOREA MATCH

Can’t make it across the Atlantic for the opening match? Well, you can at least be on France soil since the French Embassy is hosting a viewing party. The event is free (though you have to register here) and there will be a cash bar. The Embassy is also promising donuts because, well, it’s also National Doughnut Day in the US 😉 Doors open at 2PM and the game starts at 3PM. I’m stoked for Jain’s performance, I *loved* her concert here at the Rock’n’Roll Hotel last year. Dont know who Jain is? Check out this profile of her in Hollywood Life and check out the super fun video for one of her biggest hit Makeba.

Don’t want to slug all the way to Reservoir Road? I don’t blame ya. If you’restill looking for that French ambiance head to Opaline at the Sofitel. Executive chef Kevin Lalli has designed a fun menu featuring stadium fare representing the countries participating in the World Cup. For the opeing match that means a lamb merguez hot dog ($10) and Jambon Beurre sandwich ($11) for France (YUM!!!) versus bibimbap ($15) and Korean BBQ Lamb Ribs ($14) for South Korea. Man, can I just put kimchi on my jambon-beurre and call it a day? Opaline will also show all the France and USA matches. USA vs. Thailand on June 11 promises to be a tasty match-up!!  

Honorable mention: I have never heard of The Airdale but thanks to some pretty good facebook targeted marketing I know they are throwing a Team USA Party Friday at 2:30PM (I hope they know team USA is not in fact playing that day… because FRANCE is!!) and they will have Kronenbourg (so at least they know France is the host!) and most importantly half-priced Aperol Spritz. OK, you’ve got my attention Airdale …. 

WHERE TO WATCH ALL THE OTHER MATCHES

When it comes to football, you can never go wrong with Lucky Bar. The Dupont Circle bar will show all of the matches AND on many days you’ll be able to catch some Eurocup and Copa America qualifiers as well. For example tomorrow (Saturday June 8th) you can catch Spain-South Africa (Women World Cup) at noon and then catch France-Turkey (men Eurocup qualifier) at 2:45PM (and Italy-Greece too… you can basically spend your entire saturday at Lucky Bar and watch soccer from 9AM — Women World Cup Germany vs China — to 5PM.) You can check out their website for a full schedule of the matches they show (which is a lot of matches!) Fado Irish Pub in Chinatown is also always a solid bet for sports and they will show all games with sound. 

Not nearly as expected as Lucky Bar or Fado, The Fairmont Hotel is going all out on the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup. The West End hotel is screening all matches live in its lobby bar, and then showing replays later in the evening. Like Sofitel, they are designed a menu of $9 snacks from World Cup countries including French Duck Confit, Brie & Fig Chutney Spread Flatbread (yum!). And there will be foosball tournaments!!  The dress code for the bar is “smart casual” so I’m already plotting ways to dress up my **TWO STARS** French Jersey (sorry ladies, I own like 8 men team jerseys at this point and as much as i loooooove the polka dot jersey, i just can’t buy one more $90 jersey…) You can find more details on their facebook page here.

Franklin Hall is doing a pretty cool celebration of the US Women’s National Team. The beer tavern is  collaborating with District Sports, Pink Boots Society and Girls Who Pint Out for a woman owned/operated TAP TAKEOVER. I dig it! Starting June 11, they will have a rotating list 8-10 breweries highlighting beer made by some kick-ass women in the craft beer scene. They’ll show every US Women game with full sound (I watched a pretty low sound game at Dacha last year and trust me, I know seek out whether sound will or will not be on! It makes a HUGE difference) and proceeds from sales will be donated to Pink Boots Society and Girls Pint Out. 

And then for some country specific events… Last summer, I ended up watching a lot of World Cup matches at Wunder Garten and the NoMa beer garden is once again teaming up with the British Embassy to host a viewing party for the England and Scotland game on Sunday June 9 (doors open at 11:30AM, kick off is at noon). The World Cup watch parties last year were a ton of fun last year, but having Scotland and England face each other off basically take it to the next level….  

I’ll update this post as the tournament progresses. Are you excited about the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup? Rooting for a particular team/country? After reading this New York Times article about the Jamaican team, I’m rooting hard for the Reggae Girlz. Well, at least as long as they don’t face Les Bleues 😉 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Links: It’s Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Time!

It’s peak bloom in Washington, DC and the city is so pretty in pink right now. It’s also race time for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and I can’t wait to run it for the third time in a row. It’s not my goal race for the distance this year, that will be the GW Parkway Classic at the end of the month so I just want to soak it all up on Sunday and have fun running. Until then, here are a few reads that I enjoyed this week:

Have a great weekend! Are you running any races? 

 

Voyage ~ Highlights from the Yucatán

I don’t know about you but winter has been really rough for me. Luckily, I got a bit of a much needed break a few weeks ago when I got to spend a few hot and sunny days in the Yucatán Peninsula with my parents. We landed in Cancun after spending a long weekend in Mexico City, rented a car and headed out for a short road trip through the Yucatán and the Quintana Roo. Here are some of the highlights from this trip and some great spots we visited along the way. 

COBA

Cobá is about an hour drive from Tulum. The main reason to visit are the Coba ruins, which are set in the dense jungle and are quite fun to explore. 

Coba Ruins Archaeological Park ~ the site is so big you can actually rents bikes to pedal from from pyramid to pyramid, including to Nohoch Mul, the tallest pyramid in Quintana Roo (and the second tallest in the peninsula). Nohoch Mul is actually one of the only Mayan pyramid you can still climb and the view of the jungle that surrounds it is breathtaking from the top. 

El Cocodrilo ~ I admit, I picked that restaurant because it was close to the ruins, had colourful tablecloths AND it’s a ton of fun to say Cocodrilo. It’s also the closest you’ll get to “lakefront” dining at its nicely shaded terrace. It’s also where I had my first pollo pibil and the most amazing chaya-orange juice that began my obsession this chaya, a Mexican tree spinach like leafy green. 

 Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha ~ these cavern-like cenotes, just 6km from the ruins, were the perfect spots take a break from the sun and to cool down with a refreshing dip. 

UXMAL

From Cobá we headed to Uxmal, site of another UNESCO-listed Maya ruin. 

Uxmal Mayan ruins ~ I was blown away by this site and it was SO much less crowded than Chichen Itzá. 

Hacienda Uxmal Plantation & Museum ~ we stayed at this historic resort just across the street from the Uxmal Pyramids. The outdoor pools were a great spot to relax before hitting the road. 

Cenotes X-Batun and Dzombakal ~ these two cenotes on the way towards Merida are practically on the same site but are very different, one being open-aired and the other more cave like. 

The Pickled Onion ~ this charming eco-boutique Bed and Breakfast with traditional mayan huts is a ten minute drive from Uxmal, in the small town of Santa Elena. The restaurant was lovely and perfect for lunch (though I wish we could have eaten pool-side!)

MERIDA

Mérida is the official capital of the state of Yucatán, but it is also considered the cultural and culinary capital of the region.  The city used to be quite wealthy from the production of sisal and I loved its big avenues (its Paseo Montejo was often compared to the Champs Elysees) lined with at times beautiful and at times crumbling colonial era mansions. 

K’u’uk ~ Chef Pedro Evia celebrates the gastronomic history of the Yucatán peninsula with a tasting menu that can feel weird and wonderful at the same time. The mansion that hosts the restaurant is stunning though it could use a new interior designer!

Ki Xocolatl ~ The bathroom at K’u’uk had the most amazing chocolate soap which we traced back to this shop tht specializes in chocolate. It’s in the Santa Lucia plaza, next door to Apoala, one of the best restaurants in the city (which we didn’t have time to go to unfortunately.)

IZAMAL

Izamal is known as the yellow city and for good reasons. It’s a quiet little town 70km east of Merida and yes, all the buildings including the impressive Franciscan monastery, are painted yellow.

Kinich ~ touristy restaurants known for its dzic de venado (shredded venison dish – we had it, it was great) and its leafy courtyard. It was a great spot to try Yucatecan cuisine (and have agua fresca de chaya!)

VALLADOLID

Cenote Zaci ~ I’m an urban baby so I can appreciate a cenote smack in the middle of town 😉

Mercado municipal ~ it wasn’t as overwhelming/crammed as some of the other markets we visited on this trip. It’s a great spot to grab fresh juice and a quick, inexpensive meal at one of the many taquerias that line the building like El Camaron Vagabundo. 

The first time I went to this part of Mexico, we didn’t venture much from the beach (we were staying in Cozumel) except for a quick day trip to Chichen Itzá. I’m so glad I got to see more of this spectacular region and would actually love to go back, maybe in a few years, perhaps at a more relaxed pace… if only because there are over 6,000 cenotes and I barely saw like 5! Have you been to this part of Mexico? Any towns/experiences that stood out?

Oh, Look, a Race! My 2019 Race Schedule

Last year was my first full year running and I went all in. I signed up for all the races. My first marathon. Seven half marathons. Three 10 millers. A 17.75K. A 15K. Two 10Ks. Two 5Ks.  I definitely overdid it as I wrote in this “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Signing Up For All The Races (And Why That’s Not Good)” post. In short, I felt burnt out and like I was just going through races instead of actually racing them. My performances were frustrating. I ran 4 half marathons in practically the exact same time, around 2 hours and 40 minutes. And that played with my confidence as I questioned why I wasn’t progressing and getting any faster despite all my running. So for this year I tried to be more strategic, pick goal races more wisely based on an anchor marathon. And I was doing really well for a while… until I got into both the Berlin and the Chicago marathons. They’re two weeks apart and I’ll be running both which goes against that whole run less run better resolution, I know. But what are the odds I would get into both via lottery? I can’t possibly turn down running two majors, on two different continents in two weeks now can I? I could. But I won’t 😉 

Other than that, my schedule looked very reasonable until last week. I had the NYC Half in March, the GW Parkway Classic in April, the Berlin Marathon in September, the Chicago Marathon in October and the Rehoboth Half that I deferred last year (because I was so burnt out of racing) in December. 5 races. Very manageable. Of course, I signed up for two 5Ks in February. But those are short! And then a Cherry Blossom 10 miler bib kinda fell on my laps (OK, I entered a facebook contest for a free bib so it wasn’t entirely unsolicited) and I didn’t realize how much I wanted to run that race until it did. And then my friend Caitlin messaged me about a Nutella run in June, which I just couldn’t turn down. And since she was already signed up for a trail 10K the day before I also signed up for that. Obviously. So now my racing schedule for 2019 looks like this:

FEBRUARY

I hadn’t planned on running any races until March, focusing on training instead. But I ended up signing up for two 5Ks: the RUN TO THE PLUNGE 5K in Rehoboth, DE (I happened to be in town that weekend, and did not actually take the plunge!) and PACERS’ LOVE THE RUN YOU’RE WITH 5K in Pentagon City, VA. I really wanted to complete one (or both) of those races in under 30 minutes but that didn’t happen which was a bummer. I clocked it at 31:27 and 30:52 which is very frustrating since I ran the Pacers’ Crystal City Twilighter 5K in 30:58 back in July and thought I’d at least be able to shave off a few seconds if not a whole minute. Oh well, I’ll definitely give it another try but it won’t be for a while…

MARCH

The UNITED AIRLINES NYC HALF MARATHON in New York City is my goal half marathon for the spring, except winter training has been really tough. As a result, I’ve been adjusting my goals and expectations. I probably won’t beat my time from Richmond and that’s ok. I do hope to do a little better than I did in Brooklyn, so anything under 2:24 will be great… I just don’t want to revert back to those dreaded 2:40s!

APRIL

Double ten miler month! I had meant for the GEORGE WASHINGTON PARKWAY CLASSIC  to be my goal race for that distance this year but then I won a bib for the CREDIT UNION CHERRY BLOSSOM 10 MILE RUN  so now I’m doing both. It happens. 

JUNE

Running a trail race is one of my goals for the year so I’m stoked to do the ROCKWOOD RAMBLE 10K in Sleepy Hollow, NY with my bestie Caitlin. 10K is not too overwhelming a distance to start with. And then we’re running the NYRR’s ITALY RUN BY NUTELLA CAFE  in Central Park, NY the next day. That’s a five miler. Not sure I’ve ever done one of those so automatic PR! Also Nutella!  Yeah!

SEPTEMBER

For the past two years, Caitlin and I have ran a race in Paris in September (the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon in 2017 and the Paris-Versailles La Grande Classique last year) and paired it with a nice fall vacation and visit with my parents. This year, we decided we would either run the  BMW BERLIN MARATHON in Germany or the Marathon du Medoc if we didn’t get in to Berlin. We entered as a team and we got in so Medoc will have to wait (why are ALL of the marathons basically at the same time!?) My parents will meet us in Berlin so we’ll have a little bit of a cheer crew, which will be nice for our first international marathon. And then we’re spending a few days in Copenhagen, Denmark. I’m stoked for my first major…

OCTOBER

… which will be quickly followed by my second, the BANK OF AMERICA CHICAGO MARATHON.  This one will be a little rough since I’ll have just gotten back from Germany Sunday. I’m actually just doing a quick in and out… I fly early Saturday morning and back on the last flight Sunday. It will be exhausting but YOLO right? Unless something happens in Berlin, my plan is actually to just run Chicago, not race it. I’ll just prance around the city for 42+ kilometers and get an awesome medal, have Goose Island beer and eat deep dish pizza afterwards. It’ll be fine. Also, good thing I only ever wanted to run one marathon in my entire lie right? I think I’m hooked lol

DECEMBER

I was signed up for the REHOBOTH SEASHORE HALF MARATHON  last year but ended up deferring after my PR in Richmond. I was tired and I wanted to finish the year on a high note. Which is hopefully what will happen in Rehoboth this year! 

How do you set out your running schedule for the year? Do you start with your big goal races or the ones that are competitive to get into or is it more ad hoc? Do you typically run the same races every year or try to switch it up a bit? Already thinking about 2020… obviously 😉

My Running Goals For 2019

“If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you.”

Last year, I embarked on a challenge to turn my life around and went all in in becoming a runner. I set an ambitious goal for myself, to run a marathon, and I worked hard to make it happen. The idea was to make a permanent lifestyle change and to keep pushing myself so with that in mind, I jotted down some new goals for this year. I tried not to focus on speed too much. Obviously, I’d love to be faster, but I don’t want that to be my main concern. With that being said, one of the first thing I would like to accomplish in 2019 but that I didn’t include in my goals is completing a 5K in under 30 minutes. Officially, my faster 5K on record is the Crystal City Twighlighter which i ran in 30 minutes and 47 seconds. Here’s the deal. I have ran 5K in less than 30 minutes, but not in a race so my first couple of races this year will be in that distance so that I can have it on record. Here are the running goals that made the cut for this year:

1. Make Running a Regular, Consistent Habit

2. Have Fun, Enjoy Running and Make Some Running Friends!

I’m carrying these two goals over from 2018 not because I didn’t accomplish them but because  I think they’re great goals to have every year.  Becoming a faster runner is also staying on there, though not officially. That’s never really done right? But really, having fun and enjoying running should be on the list every year 😉 Also while I have made some running friends, I don’t really see them socially outside of the running groups (there have occasionally been a party or two I’ve been invited to though). I don’t really have anyone I can run with outside of my training groups or social run clubs. And maybe all that would take is me asking someone to go on a run with me (duh!) but first I’d have to get over the mental hurdle that I don’t think anyone wants to run with someone that would slow them down or can’t really carry a conversation halfway through the activity because I’d be completely out of breath trying to keep up. It’d be nice to have people to meet up with before or after races, maybe travel to races with etc. too And yes, I am aware that perhaps all that would take is me reaching out and suggesting that we do…

3. Run at least 1000 miles (1609 kilometers)

I didn’t have a mileage goal for 2019 but after looking at the distance I had run after Marine Corps, 1194.3 km, I realized 1000 miles or 1609 kilometers wasn’t that out of reach. I had ran over 200 kilometers a month in September and October and reasoned that as long as I kept up that kind of mileage I could totally get to 1000 miles so I penciled it in as an additional goal. Of course, as a rookie marathoner I had overlooked one tiny detail: I didn’t want to run that much now that I didn’t have a big race to train for. And I was tired. And I wanted a break from running non-stop. I only ran 120 kms in November and 116 in December, rounding up the year 160 kms / 100 miles shy. But I think I can do it in 2019! I mean, I’ve already ran more in the first 10 days of January 2019 than I had in the whole first month of 2018 so I think I’m off to a promising start.

4. Participate in a Ragnar Relay

They look so much fun. I really wanna! 

5. Cheer on Others and Volunteer with a Local Race

Last year I ran all the races and I missed simple little pleasures like cheering on strangers (and the occasional friends) when they’re running. I loved seeing familiar faces in the crowd at the Rock’n’Roll half, Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and especially at Marine Corps so this year I want to sit a few races out and cheer but also volunteer. It takes SO many people behind the scenes to put on a fun experience for runners the day off and I really want to give back and help out this year. 

6. Complete one of the Abbott World Marathon Majors

Good thing I was only planning on ever running one marathon in my life because I’m currently signed up for two marathons next year, Berlin ad Chicago, and yes they’re both majors!  It’s a little crazy to be running two majors on two continents in two weeks but I’ve been on quite the lottery winning streak and just couldn’t pass down the opportunity. Hopefully I’ll make through training season injury free and will get to complete them both. And then I totally get to join Marathon Maniacs! Yeah!! 

7. Finish a Marathon in less than 5 hours

It took me 5 hours and 23 minutes to run Marine Corps so I feel like shaving off 23 minutes in a good goal for me for my second marathon. It’s going to take a lot of training and work, but that’s kind of the point. 

8. Stop Being Afraid of My Foam Roller

I really really need to foam roll more. Doing more stretching/yoga etc. is definitely in there with the foam rolling too.

9. Do a Running Streak

I did one last year for 6 weeks and it was a good exercise so why not make it a formal goal for 2019? 

10. Run my First Trail Race 

Since I’ve now ran most distance, I’d like to focus on running different types of races including relay and trail (ultra will have to wait, maybe indefinitely). Last year, I ran the 17.75K race to qualify for Marine Corps and that’s as close to a trail as I got and I’d like to challenge myself and try a trail half marathon or ten miler. 

There you have it! I’m excited to keep getting stronger as a runner in 2019, both physically and mentally. As I said in the intro, I really want to focus on racing fewer races but running them better, though that’s hard because I want to run all the races and get all the medals 😉 

What are some of your running goals for 2019? Any advice on how I can tackle some of mine?

My 2018 D.C. Holiday Season To Do List

Last year, Tammy Gordon of Florida Girl in DC made this awesome #DCChristmasChallenge Holiday To Do List. I crossed off many items on her list but thought I’d make my own this year!

1. Attend a Christmas Tree Lighting
I didn’t enter the lottery for tickets to the 2018 National Christmas Tree Lighting so it won’t be that one but there are lots of options like City Center (November 24 at 6PM), the Norwegian Christmas Tree at Union Station (November 29 at 6PM) or the Capitol Christmas Tree (December 5 at 5PM) or  to list a few. Have a fave? Let me know!! This year I’m leaning towards attending the Canadian Embassy’s La Soirée – A Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration on December 5th which benefits the United Way of the National Capital Area. 

2. Visit Zoolights at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

 

3. Try Every Cocktail on the Menu at Drink Company’s Miracle on 7th Street 
Stealing that one straight from Tammy’s list because it’s a good one! I cannot wait to see how Derek Brown and his Drink Company pop-up elves decorate the bars this year… and try all the festive cocktails of course! And speaking of Derek, don’t forget to pre-order his book Spirits Sugar Water Bitters: Cocktail: An American Story on amazon. I know  it only comes out in March, but it’ll still make a great belated Christmas gift! Of course this isn’t the only bar doing something special for the holidays. There’s also “Chai-vy and Cohen-y” that will host menorah lightings at 7:30 p.m. on each night of Hanukkah (December 2-9) with dreidel-spinning and latkes and Archapelago that’s going tiki for the holidays. 

4. Cuddle up and watch a Christmas Movie
What’s your favourite? I’m biased towards Love Actually for English-language movie and Le père Noël est une ordure, of course, for french films (check out this hilarious scene!) but there are lots of great options on Netflix now too. 

5. Buy Someone (or myself!) a gift at one of D.C.’s Christmas Markets
SO. Many. Christmas. Markets. From the more traditional Downtown Holiday Market to the Heurich House Museum Christkindlmarkt, the Swedish Christmas Bazaar or DC Brau’s 5th Annual Holiday Market, there are LOTS of options. 

 

6. Sing Christmas Carols at the Willard 
No hotel does Christmas quite like the historical Willard InterContinental. The Pennsylvania Avenue hotel (which also plays hosts to the White House Thanksgiving turkeys during that holiday!) has the best decorations and every night in December, a different vocal ensemble performs in the lobby between 5:30 and 7:00PM. Bonus: grabbing drinks afterwards at the Round Robin Bar and there’s usually a really fabulous gingerbread house to admire too! You can check out the full schedule here.

7. Go say hello to Old Ebbitt’s Giant Nutcrackers
Maybe have some half priced oysters during happy hour while I’m there 😉 

8. Go on a holiday themed run 
I had a blast last year’s at Pacers’ Holiday themed run. I only did the three miles route, but of course, I’m a more experience runner now so I hope to make it to the 5 miles route that goes to more Christmas trees now! Also, I hope to have a better costume this year 😉

 

9. Check out how Alexandria, VA does Christmas
Last year, I really wanted to check out the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, when dozens of brightly lit boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront in Alexandria. The timing just didn’t work out… and I’ve also never seen the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade 😦 Luckily, Port City Brewing Company is giving me an extra incentive to go this year with a Pop-Up Beer Garden During Parade of Lights on December 1 (4:00-8:00PM). Sounds super fun. The Scottish Christmas Walk Parade is also earlier that day (11:00AM) so hopefully I’ll make it to one or both! But Alexandria’s Boat Parade of Lights has some competition since the District is also having one at The Wharf later that day… (6:00-8:00PM) and let’s be honest, it’s the same boats and that’s a lot more convenient (and there are some fab restaurants I haven’t checked out yet!)

10. Do Something Good for Others
As much as I love soaking up the festive spirits of the holiday season, Christmas can be a stressful or downright sad time for many families and people. Whether it’s volunteering some of my time, donating food or gifts or all of the above, it’s important to do something for the less fortunate this time of year. 

11. Stroll along the streets of Georgetown during Georgetown GLOW
This year, the neighborhood-wide public art exhibition will take place from December 1, 2018, to January 6, 2019, and feature the work of local, regional, and international light artists in public and privately-owned spaces. Glow is one of my favourite public art display in D.C. I can’t wait.

 

12. Get my photo with Santa
Just throwing that one in there because why not? Also, Santa will be at Wundergarten’s Winterfest December 8 from 2-4PM so that might be a good time to catch him… 

13. Get all Dressed up for a Christmas Party
Someone invite me to a fancy Christmas party please!! Bonus: wear an ugly sweater. I bought a pretty neat one last year, would love to find an opportunity to wear it 😉

14. Check out Mr. Holidays and the Barbie Pond on Q Street Holiday Displays
Christmastime is Greg Nelson’s favourite time of year and he goes all out decorating his house on 16th street. And I love it! The Barbies don’t disappoint either usually.

 

15. Find a Small Way to celebrate Hanukkah
While my mother’s heritage is Jewish, I wasn’t brought up in that faith (or any actually) and I never really celebrated Hanukkah. I do like to find little ways to mark the festival of lights, from going to a menorah lighting (public or someone’s home), cooking latkes (Gather DC has a great round-up of recipes), attending Sixth & I Synagogue’s My So Called Jewish Life (great event event if you’re not Jewish! This year it’s on December 5) or donating to a Jewish charity. And if all that fails, I can also head to “Chai-vy and Cohen-y” or  attend Cassarole’s Second Annual People’s Hanukkah Party 😉 

Let’s see how many of these I can cross off during the holiday season (which I will generously start the day after Thanksgiving!) What’s on YOUR holidays to-do-list? 

Weekend Links for October 13

Last Sunday, I went to the Audi Field, D.C. United’s brand new stadium, for the first time. I *loved* the new stadium and it was the perfect opportunity to debut my brand new TWO STARS Equipe de France jersey but, in hindsight, a very poor choice of recovery activity after running my very first 20 miles training run. 

And speaking of Equipe de France, look who’s on the cover of Time!! Mbappé is just the fourth footballer after Lionel Messi, Neymar and Mario Balotelli to grace the cover of Time magazine, though the article draws some harsh comparisons with his teammate Neymar who’s had quite a lackluster year. 

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, Army 10 Miler, Marine Corps Marathon... The military is one of the major industry organizing races in Washington. And speaking of “The People’s Marathon,” Coach Tammy Whyte shares some useful tips with Washingtonian for people running it in a few weeks. People like me!! I just got my bib assignment… sh*t’s getting real y’all 😉

You need to have 20/20 vision to be an astronaut but a space camp in Alabama offers blind children a small taste of what it’s like to go out into the cosmos.

The United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. To mark the occasion, the New York Times asked young photographers to show us what 18-year-old girlhood look like around the world. 

Millennials are killing everything: politics as we know it (CNN) and this just in, cheese (Bloomberg). Well, Kraft Single and other over-processed American cheese at least. So I say kill away millennials. That crap deserves to die!

Just in time for Halloween, Drink Company’s latest Pop Up Bar has a true crime theme. I got a sneak peek on Thursday ahead of its October 11th opening. And by sneak, I mean I drank all the drinks! make sure you swing by before November 3rd. 

An estimated 11 million horses, donkeys and mules were requisitioned during World War I, as well as 100,000 dogs and 200,000 pigeons. Paris is going to build a national monument in the 6eme arrondissement to commemorate their service

That’s all for this week. I’m off to Leesburg, VA to celebrate one of my good friend’s wedding. Good thing I’m officially TAPERING and “only” have to run 14 miles on Saturday!