How I’m Cramming for the Berlin Marathon in 6 Weeks

Last year I trained for my very first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon. I had a vague idea of what I was getting into, no idea what I was doing and I learned a lot over 16 humbling training weeks. I felt a little more confident going into training for marathon #2… until I hurt myself. It happened fairly early on, as I was just building up my mileage. I ran a 14 miles / 22 km long run, my longest distance so far in 2019 and just felt terrible afterwards, my legs were so stiff. I thought maybe I had just tackled too many miles, too fast so I took it easy the following week hoping the pain would just go away. It didn’t really so the weekend of July 14, I cut my long run down to 8 miles. Then I started limping and it was clear something was off. I basically took a break from training and started seeing a physical therapist. With 6 weeks to go before the 42nd BMW Berlin Marathon, I am cleared to run again and facing the daunting task of picking up my training again and building up to run a 26.2 miles / 42.1 km without re-injuring myself. It’s not going to be easy (I can basically kiss the social life I’ve enjoyed while I was on a training break goodbye!) but I *can* do this! Here is a quick outline of the abbreviated training plan I came up with:

WEEK OF AUGUST 19-25 (J-6 WEEKS!)

During the week, 2 x 4 miles / 7km runs and 2 x 6 miles / 10km runs followed by a 13 miles / 21 km long run on the week-end. Pre-injury, I had actually signed up for the SeaWheeze Virtual Half Marathon and I have until August 24th to complete the distance so that will be my long run that week 😉 .

WEEK OF AUGUST 26 TO SEPTEMBER 2 (5 WEEKS UNTIL BERLIN!)

Stick with the alternating 2 x 4 miles / 7km and 2 x 6 miles / 10km weekly runs and increase my week-end long run to 15 miles / 24 km.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 2-8 (J-4 WEEKS UNTIL BERLIN)

Time to increase the weekly mileage to 2 x 5 miles / 8 km and 2 x 8 miles / 13 km and the week-end long run to 17 miles / 27 km.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 9 TO 15 (PEAK TRAINING WEEK!)

3 weeks out should be my peak week before taper… I’ll stick with the weekly 2 x 5 miles / 8 km run and 2 x 8 miles / 13 km and run 19-20 miles / 31-32 km for my long run. Since I only went up to 20 miles when training for Marine Corps last year, I had hoped to go up to 22 miles for this marathon training cycle. Well, 20 miles will just have to do again 😉 I’m also signed up for the Four Seasons Race to Beat Cancer on Saturday, September 14 but I’m not planning on racing it, I’ll just do it for fun and charity (and the amazing brunch afterwards!!)

WEEK OF SEPT 16-22 (2 WEEKS TO BERLIN, 1 MONTH TO CHICAGO)

With two weeks to go, it’s time to cut down a little… I’ll be going back to 2 x 4 miles / 7km and 2 x 6 miles / 10km runs during the week (I might actually even only do 3 runs instead of 4) and a 15-16 miles / 24-25 km long run on the week-end.  I’m actually planning on getting my long run done on Saturday so I can get an extra day of rest.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 23-29 (TAPERTOWN + RACE WEEK!)

Taper + travel week! I’ll probably do two easy 3 miles / 5K runs, including one with one of my running groups and the other the Generali Breakfast shake-out run the day before the Berlin Marathon. I’m flying Thursday night and arriving in Berlin Friday morning after a quick stop at CDG, so I can at least pretend I went to Paris! I’ll probably do some yoga as well and generally take it very easy.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 29: RACE DAY (… AND TWO WEEKS TO CHICAGO!)

Hopefully Ich bin ein Marathonläufer again!  Since I ran my first marathon in 5h23, my initial goal for Berlin was to do better than I did at Marine Corps, with a stretch goal of running under 5 hours. Obviously, those goals are completely out the window. The cut-off time for the BMW Berlin Marathon is 6h15 so I’ll be happy with anything under that really.

After Berlin, Caitlin and I will be traveling to Copenhagen and the week-end after I get back, I get to do it all over again when I run the Chicago Marathon! I haven’t quite come up with my plan for those two weeks… if you’ve done back-to-back marathons, how did you handle recovery to be ready to race again? I’d love your feedback!! 

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 10

Greetings from Utah! I spent most of the week in Logan, Utah attending the SmallSat conference at Utah State University. This was my third time so I’m starting to know the drill 😉

MONDAY

The first run in Logan was a little bit frustrating. I managed to find a little time after our press conference and did half an hour on the hotel treadmill alternating 2:30 min walk / run. I couldn’t figure out where the distance was indicated so I have no idea how much I ran though I estimate around 3.2 km / 2 miles.

TUESDAY

One of my colleagues told me about a trail right behind the hotel so I thought I’d take my runs outside for the rest of the week. The morning air was crisp and cool, perfect running weather. I ran 3.6km alternating 2 minute walk / 3 min run on the Logan River Trail.

WEDNESDAY

I picked up the Logan River Trail where I left it the day before, driving to Rendez-Vous Park then running 4 km / 2.4 miles alternating walk 2 minutes and run 3 minutes, same as on Tuesday. I decreased my pace from 8:40/km to 8:00/km and that felt good to see.

THURSDAY

Last run on the Logan River Trail 😭 I ended up going for a little more than the 30 minutes I’m supposed to do, running 5.5 km / 3.4 miles alternating 1:30 minutes walk and 3:30 minutes run. Funny how 5+ kms feel like a “long run” right now.

FRIDAY

Back in D.C. and back at physical therapy! We went over my progress with Jared and he encouraged me to keep up with the return to running progression plan and hopefully get to the 3x 30 minutes with no walking at the end of the week and resume training, progressively increasing my mileage. It’s going to be really hard to catch up though, obviously 🙄

SATURDAY

I had such an amazing class at Cyclebar. It was a 2000s themed class and I had had such a stressful week it just felt so good to let it all out on the bike. I *never* finish in the top 10 in class ! I really needed to end the week on a good note like this 😉

SUNDAY

LONG RUN SUNDAY REST DAY. I would have loved to go for a run but I forced myself to take a rest day. Besides, I had to stay home while I was getting a new AC unit installed. That was part of what caused all my stress this week. My AC died and it wasn’t an expense I had really planned on having this year (after getting a new water heater a few months ago — the joys of home ownership !).

Bilan de la semaine: It felt good to run outside again and have such a great spin class. I’m feeling a little more optimistic at the end of the week than I was at the beginning for sure. With that said, ran 16.3 km total, just a little over 10 miles. Took one spin class for cross training and did some PT strength exercises.

What I’m watching/reading/listening to: Did anyone else LOVE the 90210 reboot ?? I know a lot of people were disappointed that they were playing heightened versions of themselves and not actually their Beverly Hills characters but I thought it was a clever way to do it. For books, I *finally* finished Kamala Harris’ memoir (💤) And read Sweetbitter which I had been meaning to read for quite a while.

What I’m eating/drinking: I’m sad to report that I have NOTHING to show for this week. The food at the conference is better than at most conference but I basically ate free food whenever I could. I did have some decent Utah beers. They’re lower in alcohol which is kinda fun, you can drink more !

What I’m looking forward to on week 11: I’m taking another cyclebar class on Tuesday morning and I’m planning on doing the Shake Shack one mile run as well that day. It will be nice to go back to one of my running groups ! And yes, I’m hoping to be running 30 minutes with any walking by the weekend ….

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down. Have a great week!

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 9

Berlin is less than two months away and I’m barely back to running. Is it time to freak out yet ? Here’s how this week went down:

MONDAY

Kicked off the week at physical therapy. I ran 1 mile on the elliptical and 2.5 on the anti-gravity treadmill (alternating 3 minutes at 4 walk speed and 2 minutes at run speed 6).  

TUESDAY

Those who can’t run, spin? Or something like that… I went back to Cyclebar to take Shane’s class.

And apparently, since I can’t run, I spin and trivia! My friend Nickolas is living the dream and moving to Canada. We got together at Crimson to say goodbye, and apparently play trivia too. And it was super fun actually…

WEDNESDAY

Physical therapy AND last day of July. Time to look back and it’s not really pretty… at least it’s not where I should be and yes, I am absolutely freaking out because i am SO far behind right now and it still hurts when I run 😦

At physical therapy, I started with a 1.1 miles warm-up on the elliptical, followed by strength exercises and 2.7 miles on the Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill. I increased my running speed from Monday to 6.5 (run) and 4.2 (walk) and decreased my alternating walk time to 2:30 min walk/2:30 min run. That rounded me up 105 km / 65.6 miles for the months of July, down from 190km/118 miles in June. I’m trying really hard to be ok with this, and focus on recovery so that I can run pain free soon. 

THURSDAY

I kicked off the day with a Hips & Hamstrings yoga class at MINT Dupont Circle. I didn’t love the class (the instructor was a little scattered) but I should do workouts like this more often. And it was my first time at the MINT Dupont Circle gym and it is SO nice! I’ll have to try another class with another instructor soon.

In the evening, I did my 30 minute “return to running progression” exercise, alternating 3:00 minutes walk with 2:00 minute walk for a total of 3.7 km/ 2.3 miles before meeting my friends Nicole, Calla and Katya for dinner at Hanumanh. Hanumanh is the new bar-focused restaurant concept from the team behind Thip Kao and it was great to try SO many delicious Laotian dishes and catch up with Katya who just got back from 3 months traveling in Asia (though she didn’t go to Laos!). 

FRIDAY

I ran outside !!

Alternated 2:30 minute walk / run for 36 minutes / 4.3 km before dinner at Meiwah near my office with Kaoru and Cecilia. I kinda love having fun evenings with friends again. Though I also can’t wait for it to end and I can return to having to run 😉 

SATURDAY

I hadn’t taken an Orange Theory class in over two weeks so I thought why don’t I do a 90 minute class… I haven’t really been able to do the 90 minute classes because they’re always on Saturday and I have my long runs on Sunday… but since I have no long runs planned for this week, I figured why not? I used the strider for the first time instead of the treadmill and made the rookie mistake of not picking up a floor card so I ended up not having a spot on the floor / rower and had to cut the class in half. They’re not going to count the class and I still got a great workout on the strider so it’s ok but that was a bit of a bummer.

SUNDAY

LONG RUN SUNDAY REST DAY!

Bilan de la semaine: So I’m back to running, a little. At least I can log in a few miles right? Ran 12.2 miles / 19.7 km this week, which is a little more than last week. Two “runs” were on the anti-gravity treadmill during physical therapy and two were on my own, on the treadmill in my building and outside! For cross training, I did a spin class, yoga and half of an Orange Theory class.  

What I’m watching/reading/listening to: I finished Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, my first Kindle read!!

First, but not last… I’m taking my kindle with me to Utah and hoping to read Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler and Modern Lovers by Emma Straub while I’m on the road (I need some light travel reads!) And I finish them both I have two more books queued up AND they won’t take up any additional space in my luggage… kinda loving this and wondering why I didn’t get a Kindle sooner. Or, you know, a library card. Can’t believe I only got one last year!! 

What I’m eating/drinking: I had a couple of great meals with friends this week and the highlight was absolutely Hanumanh. I love that when we were deciding where to get together and “oh, why don’t we try the new Laotian restaurant” became the concensus we had to ask which one since there are now multiple options for Laotian restaurants in DC.

The red curry was absolutely amazing and I loved the meatballs (they were $6 during happy hour too !)

What I’m looking forward to on week 10: I’m in Logan, Utah for a work conference most of the week. I’m bringing my resistance bands in my suitcase and my running shoes. Hoping to go through week 2 of the return to running progression plan and end on a walk 1:30 minutes/run 3:30 minutes note. Trying to have realistic expectations though… my time won’t really belong to me during the conference… also, the altitude can be rough! 

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 8

Not going to lie, it was a difficult week. The temperatures dropped significantly and I just really wanna go out and run with my friends. I’m not a great runner to start with so falling behind like this is really freaking me out. But freaking out isn’t gonna help me get better so trying to focus on more positive thoughts and recovery! And I did get to feel active again this week which was nice.

MONDAY

OK. So last week I was resting and feeling sorry for myself. That ended today. I set up a nice little space for me to do my PT exercises (currently foam rolling, single leg squats and lateral walks with resistance bands) and decided to add some arms work. I found this 30-day arms challenge on health.com and will be doing those in addition to PT everyday.

Chloe loves my new set up and really wanted to be involved for moral support 😉

TUESDAY

I went through my PT exercises + 3×10 reps of bicep curls + isometric hold and 3×10 reps triceps pulses + hold. I had my second PT section, which started with 6 minutes on a bike, went through my current exercises and added three more: single leg 3-way HIP with resistance bands, lunges with 5 lbs weights, and non-weighted side lunges. I felt really good after the session and more optimistic than I have in a while! 

In the evening, instead of attending Pacers Navy Yards’ neighborhood shake shack run I went to Eaton D.C. for BYT’s bookswap with Nicole. Such a fun concept for an event! Here’s what Nicole and I picked up (she took Under the Udala Trees to read first):

ps: do you know about my Read & Rosé instagram account? Now you do 😉

WEDNESDAY

Today I added dumbbell overhead presses to my arms workout. I’m using 7 lbs weights. Since I felt good after Tuesday’s PT session and my limping is minimal now, I decided to do my first “Return to Running Progression” run: thirty minutes on the treadmill alternating 4:30 minutes fast walk and 30 seconds running. It didn’t feel great but it did feel good to log two miles into my running journal. It’s something …

In the evening (feels weird to be having non-running evening activities again!) I went to Audi Field to see the friendly match between D.C. United and l’Olympique de Marseille. I guess DC United played its reserve team and the game felt really lop sided (1-8 for Marseille). Also. It rained. Slash poured. That wasn’t on the forecast and definitely put a damper on our beer garden happy hour beforehand…

THURSDAY

I did some of my exercises in the morning, knowing I would do more at Physical Therapy later. At PT I did 1.5 miles on the elliptical, more exercises, and then 20 minutes on the anti-gravity treadmill, alternating 3 minute walk and 2 minute run. That’s the most I ran in a while and while it felt super weird I’m SO excited to have another 3 miles to log into my run journal.

FRIDAY

I felt pretty good on the bike at PT so I decided to take a spin class at Flywheels.

SATURDAY

PT exercises + hammer curls for the strong arms challenge. Coach Tammy had a few people over at her place for brunch to celebrate her 10 year DCversarry and later went to see 10 Things I Hate about You with Calla at the Shakespeare Theater. But it was the teenage film version with Julia Stiles, not the play! And it was SO fun (especially because of bunch of kids in the audience were seeing it for the first time!)

SUNDAY

LONG RUN SUNDAY Ok, not a long run Sunday but at least I ran! Summit to Soul, this awesome active women store in Barracks Row, turned three and they’ve been celebrating all week. It’s one of the first running group I ever went to so I really wanted to join them for their Capitol Hill loop. I cut it short a little to 4km instead of 5, alternating walk and run and managed to meet up with everyone for the group pic on the hill!

Afterwards we had a donut cake back at the store and that was brilliant ! Will run slash walk for donut cake apparently 😉

The rest of Sunday was spent by the pool until I headed over to my friend Philippe for a barbecue.

Bilan de la semaine: So I’m back to running, a little. At least I can log in a few miles right? Ran 7.5 miles / 12 km this week, which is better than nothing I guess. Did lots of good strength exercises through PT and at home and hope to keep a better routine on my own as I get back to marathon training. 

What I’m watching/reading/listening to: For books, I read The Sun Does Shine on my brand new kindle and listened to Kamala Harris’ book The Truths we Hold. Anthony Ray Hinton’s memoir of his wrongful imprisonment for 30 years for three murders he did not commit was devastating and I highly recommend it.

On the same topic, I watched Ken Burn’s Central Park Five documentary which was a great complement to the Netflix series Now They See Us.

What I’m eating/drinking: Nicole and I had dinner at American Son after the the book swap and I *loved* the shishito pepper dish was amazing!!! Closer to home I made this grilled pork chop with caramelized peaches 🍑 and basil (recipe here) and it was amazing and very easy to do on the grill!

What I’m looking forward to on week 9: More Physical Therapy and hopefully a little more running. As I start to feel better I have to remind myself that I can’t increase the duration or intensity of my runs too much if I want to minimize the risk of injury recurrence… but it’s hard!! I want to get back to my training and not feel like I’m soooo far behind.

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 7

We’re 10 weeks away from the Berlin marathon on September 29th and I’ve had a very frustrating week dealing with an injury. Honestly, I don’t have much to report, at least not on the running/training front. The heat wave canceled most of the fun plans I had for the weekend and it actually didn’t matter because I finally did see a physical therapist and I’m not running for the next couple of weeks. What am I going to do with myself?

MONDAY

REST DAY. My leg wasn’t feeling great after Sunday’s not-so-long long run so I decided I would sit Monday out.

TUESDAY

I did 6.7km/4 miles with Ian and Pacers Navy Yards. It was hot and my leg hurt throughout most of the run. Not good 😦

WEDNESDAY

OrangeTheory kicked off “Orange Voyage” with a row heavy workout. Like we spent half the class on the rower which never happens. I actually really liked this workout. My leg didn’t hurt on the rower though it did on the treadmill so I switched to the strider and felt fine. I rowed 5500m!

On the downside, I always have a harder time getting splat points on the rower and I barely got 3 splat points. But I felt like I had a good workout, especially given my limitations this week.

THURSDAY

TRACK DAY REST DAY. As much as my leg felt fine during the Orange Theory workout, it didn’t feel good afterwards and I was still limping when walking. With my first physical therapy appointment scheduled for Friday I decided to take a break. 

FRIDAY

I went to Physical Therapy and did some exercises. I’m basically off running for the next couple of weeks and I’m obviously freaked out and sad and frustrated but trying really hard to tell myself it will be ok. I hate falling so far behind in training. I’m not a good runner, I really can’t afford setbacks like this… But it wasn’t all bad that day. The mini-ragnar relay at DC Brau I was going to participate in was canceled so I didn’t have to feel like I was missing out and I made it to the mall instead to see the amazing celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that landed on the moon.

It was spectacular to see so many people on the mall ! You can see the full video/projection here. It was honestly one of the coolest experience I’ve had in DC since I moved here 14 years ago.

SATURDAY

I had planned to cheer the runners at the Crystal City Twilighter but that was canceled. I did some of my PT exercises. And in sort of keeping with my theme of training for a marathon in Germany I went to a German wine tasting at Weygand Wine Store. Not the same, I know… 

SUNDAY

Spent the day mostly IN my pool. Nothing to report.

Bilan de la semaine: This week felt like the worse. I barely ran 4 miles, did one Orange Theory class… I’m trying really hard to listen to my body and take a break so I can get better as quickly as possible but it’s very frustrating! 

What I’m watching/reading/listening to: Less running means more time for reading! I finished Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsonn which I loved, The Incomplete Guide to Running by Steve Sagal which I also loved and Brooklyn, which I loved as much as I loved the movie.

And I binged on the new season of Queer Eye. Gosh I love that show and it gave me a great excuse to spend a few hours indoors in the air conditioning! 

What I’m eating/drinking: I took Corey to Texas de Brazil for his birthday so we ate all the meats! Otherwise, I was really good about bringing my lunches to work this week, alternating between a feta salad with chickpeas and canned sardines and club sandwich. I made this simple and delicious quick chia seed strawberry jam using a recipe from The Kitchn. I’m planning on eating it with cottage cheese or whole grain waffles for breakfasts next week!

What I’m looking forward to on week 7: Physical therapy and getting better?? I hate feeling like I’m falling so far behind on my training 😦  

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 6

During marathon training you have good weeks and you have bad weeks. This week wasn’t a good week for me. I was actually in quite a bit of pain after last Sunday’s long run and so I spent most of the week trying to take it easy and recover. But it’s sooo hard to take a break! 

MONDAY

So Monday was interesting… starting with torrential rain/flooding and ending with pretty decent running temperatures. Like I mentioned in the intro, I was still a little sour from Sunday’s 14 miler and I have this recurring pain in my upper left thigh that is starting to worry me so I kept it short Monday and ran 5K with Pacers 14th street. We had a huge group for the 3 mile run!

TUESDAY

I hate missing the monthly Track and Shack run but I had a birthday party that evening so I ran a quick 5.3km all by myself like a big girl in the morning. My leg still wasn’t feeling great though 😦

WEDNESDAY

It was one mile benchmark at OrangeTheory and I didn’t want to miss it! I always compare myself to other runners and let it to me and get me down. Wednesday’s benchmark mile helped me remember the only comparison that really matters:

Me in January: 10:45/mile or 6:41/km

Me in July: 9:38/mile or 5:59/km

Of course it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t still find a way to beat myself up over that. Back in April, I ran one of the Crystal City 5Ks at a 9:18/mile or 5:47/km. So I know I’ve made a lot of progress and it’s great to see some concrete results, but I also know I can do better and have to ask myself what held me back during the benchmark… 

THURSDAY

REST DAY.

FRIDAY

It’s Britney b*tch! I had been really itching to take a spin class so when I saw that Christine, one of my favourite instructors, was teaching a BRITNEY themed class at Flywheel Dupont Circle at 8AM, I just couldn’t resist (though it was probably not the ideal “rest my leg” activity)!!

SATURDAY

My bestie Caitlin was in town visiting and helping me celebrate France’s national holiday in style. She’s also training for Berlin but we thought we’d have some fun today. First, we took a special Core Power class on the rooftop of the Pod Hotel in Chinatown. In the afternoon we headed to the Wharf to do some Stand Up Paddleboarding which was super fun.

There’s just something about being on the water on a got sunny day! Also, we worked out our arms and core so I’m totally counting it as cross training.

SUNDAY

A long day that started with my usual 6:30AM long run with PR =DC= DTP. I took a step back since I had barely ran this week and just ran 8 miles. My leg still doesn’t feel great 😦 I actually had company the whole route (we ran along the mall), not from Caitlin who’s much faster and ran with some of the other peeps in the group, but from another girl who had just gotten back from Sweden. We talked running, traveling… it was nice!

After that, we did a little recovery at the pool and then it was on! Full on Bastille Day celebrations starting with one drink at Opaline at the Sofitel, another drink at the rosé garden at the Four Seasons Hotel/ ENO Wine Bar, lots of drinks at the French Embassy and lots of food and dancing at Bistro du Coin. It was an ambitious agenda. I might need to call in sick Monday 😉

Bilan de la semaine: The low mileage (25km / 15 miles) is really frustrating and I’m not 100% sure it actually helped but I couldn’t just stop altogether (could I?). I’m happy I did different activities like SUP-ing, yoga and spinning but I need to get back on track next week.

What I’m watching/reading/listening to: My attempt to read more books by international authors took me to Japan for the second time. Hiromi Kawasaki’s The 10 Loves of Nishino is a quirky  love story told through the eyes of 10 different women who help draw a portrait of a mysterious ladies’ man.

I’m also listening to Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson and really enjoying that. 

What I’m eating/drinking: I had a lovely dinner with Caitlin, Calla and some of Caitlin’s friend at Zeppelin, a new(ish) sushi, yakitori, and izakaya bar  in Shaw. But the highlight was this cute little Bastille Day themed religieuse from Dominique ansel that Caitlin brought on the train with her. It was filled with Nutella so obviously I’m in love. 

What I’m looking forward to on week 7: I hated being forced to take a break this week and I’m looking forward to getting back to a 50+ km mileage week, if my leg allows it. Also, Wednesday is Corey’s birthday and there’s lots of fun stuff in DC planned for 50th anniversary of the Apollo missions.

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 5

How is it already July!?! But at least I’m happy to report as we have reached the halfway point of the year that I am a tiny bit more than halfway through my goal of running 1,000 miles in 2019! Wohoo! Here’s how I added some miles this week:

MONDAY

I hadn’t been to Pacers 14th Street in a while so it was nice to catch up with some of my running friends. It was too hot for leggings but since it was Canada Day, I dressed to celebrate 😉

I was thinking I would do 5 miles but I arrived late, just as the longer distance groups were leaving. So 3 miles it was!

TUESDAY

Another Tuesday group run with Pacers Navy Yards. This was a difficult run for me. Ian who usually runs with me wasn’t there and I was quickly left behind and ended up running alone which gave me plenty of time to feel sorry for myself. The sad part is I actually ran at a decent pace for me (6:23/km or 10:17/miles) but instead of feeling good about myself at the end of runs like this, I just feel inadequate and discouraged. I know I’m a slow runner but sometimes it’s just tough to be reminded like that…. 

WEDNESDAY

I ran to the November Project and back. Since Trump is taking over the Lincoln Memorial where the group usually meets on Wednesday, we met at the Library of Congress for an Independence Day themed workout (think 76 bicycle kicks — not 1776 luckily!). 

THURSDAY

Happy Independence Day America! Corey and I joined Pacers 14th Street for an 11AM 3 miles run. It was HOT 🥵

Also, I know this is a Berlin Marathon training recap but today marks 100 days until the Chicago Marathon, which I am also running. Don’t you love when race lotteries play jokes on you like that 😝 I’m training for Berlin since that one comes first and that will be my time goal marathon for the year (my goal is sub-5). In Chicago, I just want to have fun and soak up the experience! And eat all the deep-dish pizza post race!!!

FRIDAY

Guess who had to work today? Moi! But I did sneak out early to take Tammy’s 3:30PM class at OrangeTheory Tentleytown. It was endurance day and I didn’t get as many splat points as I’d like (though as a runner I never do lol) but it was still a good workout.

SATURDAY

REST DAY is the best day!

SUNDAY

Big run this week, I had to get 22-25 km / 14-16 miles and do it quickly enough so I could catch the US-Netherlands World Cup final! It was SO humid and hot, this was a rough one but I did run 23km/14.3 miles in the Custis Trail. This was my longest run to date this year !

Bilan de la Semaine: I feel like I struggled all week. The heat and humidity is really hitting me hard and my legs just felt tight the whole time. I know I need to stretch and foam roll more … I ran 50.4km/ 31.3 miles, still at the lower end of where I should be. My Monday and Thursday runs were 3 milers when they should have been 5ers… gotta work on loner weekday runs next week! 

What I’m reading/listening to: Officially met my goal of reading 30 books in 2019 when I finished Speak no Evil on Saturday. I guess I should revise that goal now 😝 I read a lot…. and I didn’t turn my TV on once (though I did watch the World Cup final, of course, at Brooklyn’s Pint. Congrats 🎉 🇺🇸). So nothing to report on the watch front. I finished listening to You Can’t Touch my Hair by Phoebe Robinson during my long run and also finished Exit West by Moshin Hamid by the pool Sunday afternoon.

What I’m eating/drinking: I had THE most amazing meal at Tail Up Goat Saturday night.

The formaggio ravioli with broccoli rabe pesto, sweet + spicy peppers, cherry tomatoes and fennel pollen breadcrumbs was the perfect dish to carbload with before Sunday’s long run. The rosé I had at Molly’s afterwards, well, not so much…

What I’m looking forward to on week 6: Sunday is France’s national holiday (you probably know it as Bastille Day but the French just call it le quatorze juillet) and my bestie Caitlin is coming down from New York to help me celebrate. Good thing she’s marathon training too 😉 We’ll be running our sweet 16 next week !

5 of the Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

BOOM! It’s July and that means we’re officially half way through 2019. My “reading goals” this year were to read more books by non-American authors, and particularly more books by French writers; to read more from diverse authors and to read at least two books a month. I set out 30 as the ideal number of books I would like to have read in 2019 since that’s just slightly over two a month. And guess what!? I just finished my 28th books (We Kissed Them With Rain by Futhi Ntshingila) so I think I’ll easily crush that goal 😉

Here’s a little summary of what I’ve been reading, some trends if you will, and the 5 books that have stood out so far.

Books by Diverse Authors

So far, I have read twelve books by diverse authors. In addition to books I already mentioned in this post, I read Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan; The Farm by Joanne Ramos; We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates (audio book); Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires and We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irb (audiobook). That last one was not my favourite…

Books by Foreign Authors

We Kiss Them with Rain by Futhi Ntshingila (South Africa) and My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Nigeria) were wild quick reads and I loved both of those.

I had more mixed feelings about North of Dawn by Nuruddin Farah. He’s Somali novelist though he lives in Norway where the story takes place. Finally I did squeeze in a French book: Ta deuxième vie commence quand tu comprends que tu n’en as qu’une by Raphaëlle Giordano. It was cute. And I definitely need to read more books in French the second half of the year!

Getting to Know DEMs (aka political memoirs)

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have books and I’m trying to read as many of them as I can, in the order that I can get them at the library. So far, I’ve listened to Cory Booker’s United; Pete Buttigieg’s Shortest Way Home and Kirsten Gillibrand’s Off the Sidelines.

They’ve all been snoozers, though Mayor Pete’s book was the best written of the bunch (you can tell he was a literature major at Harvard!) And yes, so far I’ve been able to get these as audiobook from the DC Public Library which is great since the candidates are reading their own work. Unfortunately, once I’m off the waitlist from Kamala Harris’ The Truths We Hold I will have to start getting hard copies since that’s all my library has for Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro. That’s a bummer because I was really looking forward to Bernie screaming his words at me!

Speaking of presidents…. 

I read three memoirs written by former presidential aides: Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump by Dan Pfeiffer (Obama’s former communications director and current co-host of Pod Save America); From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein (she was Obama’s stenographer) and Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House by Cliff Sims. I found Beck’s book surprisingly entertaining and fun and thought the other two were duds.

… and speaking of memoirs

So I’ve read a LOT of memoirs in 2019 it seems. In addition to the six books I’ve already mentioned I also read:

  1. Notes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi
  2. This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps **
  3. Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
  4. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
  5. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
  6. We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union **
  7. Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh **
  8. Educated by Tara Westover

3 of those were audiobooks (as noted by the **) and I loved all of those except Small Fry. It came with such great reviews, I was definitely  disappointed. I loved all of the other books.

Educated, Heavy and Notes from a Young Black Chef are probably three of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

Essays and Short Stories 
Essays have been my sweet spot this year, especially when I’m running. I *love* mixing it up and getting both the audiobook and hard copy versions of this type of book so I can go back and forth between the two. Read a few chapters here and there, listen to a few more during my runs. That’s really worked out for me. I Miss you when I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott is one I actually wish I had done in audio/hard cover but read exclusively. Otherwise, The View from Flyover Country: Essays by Sarah Kendzior was an absolute stand out in this category for me as was Heads of the Colored People (short stories).
So if I had to pick just 5…
  1. Educated. Shocker. Like all of America I devoured this novel and loved it. I got to discuss it in my bookclub too which was interesting.
  2. Heads of the Colored People. Nafissa Thompson-Spires’s debut short story collection was the DC Public Library’s pick for DC Reads, its literacy program that promotes reading for pleasure through citywide celebrations over one book in May. I had no idea what to expect when I picked it up and I was pleasantly surprised. My only regret is that I couldn’t make it to any of the talks with the authors or discussions that were organized around the city.
  3. The View From Flyover Country: Essays by Sarah Kendzior.
  4. Notes from a Young Black Chef. I’ve read a fair amount of chef’s memoirs and they tend to be even more blend than political memoirs. Kwame’s book is absolutely an exception to that rule and I highly recommend to check it out.
  5. My Sister, the Serial Killer. Sometimes you just need a quirky, fun read and that one is just that.
Tell me about what you’ve been reading so far? Anything I should add to my reading list? As I mentioned, I’m eagerly awaiting Senator Harris’ book and until then Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala and The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai are next on my bookshelf… 
ps: I’m looking to do these updates more frequently. But until the next one, are you on goodreads? Here’s a link to my profile, let’s be book friends! 

A la découverte de Montpelier… mais celui du Vermont !

Montpelier avec un L et pas deux c’est pas dans l’Hérault mais dans le Vermont, un petit état agricole dans le Nord des Etats Unis, avec le Québec au Nord et le Massachusetts au Sud. J’y suis passé récemment en revenant de Montréal et s’il n’y a peut être pas de quoi y passer tout un weekend, c’etait quand même une jolie petite ville pour passer quelques heures ou une après-midi. Voici quelques coups de coeur et bonnes adresses dans la “plus petite capitale des Etats Unis.” 

Avec moins de 8,000 habitants, Montpelier a donc la distinction d’être la plus petite capitale des Etats Unis. C’est aussi la seule où l’on ne trouve pas de McDonalds! Ce qui n’est pas trop grave, on ne comptait pas y aller 😉 Pour déjeuner, nous nous sommes arretées au restaurant Skinny Pancake, recommendé fortement par mon amie Caitlin qui a passé pas mal de temps à Montpelier (elle a fait son Master of Fine Arts au Vermont College of Fine Arts). La specialité là bas c’est les crêpes, pas du tout comme en celles de Bretagne et faites avec des ingredients hyper-locaux, surtout les fromages. C’est une chaine que l’on retrouve un peu partout à travers le Vermont d’ailleurs. 

Le Three Three Penny Taproom,  une véritable institution à Montpelier où l’on peut deguster des craft beer locales. 

La Vermont State House, siège de l’assemblée générale du Vermont, offre des visites gratuites toutes les demi-heures.

Le bar à gelati Chill, sur State Street, où j’ai goûté une super glace à la béterave! Bien sûr le Vermont est célèbre pour ces glaces puisque c’est de là que viennent Ben & Jerry’s qui ont d’ailleurs leur siège a Montpelier (mais pas la factory qui se visite à waterbury à 20 kilomètres au Nord — voir un peu plus bas).

Un tout petit peu en dehors de la ville, le Falls General Store met en vedette le made-in-Vermont dans son petit combo deli-magasin. Bonus: le pont couvert de Northfield Falls est juste derrière la boutique (et les ponts couverts Upper Cox Brook et Slaughterhouse Covered Bridge un peu plus bas sur la Dog River). Avec 106 ponts couverts dispersés à travers l’état, le Vermont s’enorgueillit de posséder le plus grand nombre de ponts couverts du pays. 

Après le Québec, le Vermont est le plus important producteur de sirop d’érable. La Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, juste en dehors aussi de la ville, se visite et produit du sirop d’érable depuis 8 générations.

En dehors de Montpelier, nous avons quelques autres petits arrêts. Voici donc quelques autres bonnes adresses dans le Vermont:

La brasserie Harpoon à Windsor. 

Ben & Jerry’s, la célèbre crèmerie vermontoise située à Waterbury, offre des visites guidées toutes les demi-heures qui se terminent bien sûr par une dégustation de glaces. J’adore aussi la petite visite du cimetière des parfums de glaces “décédés”.

Le Worthy Burger à South Royalton, minuscule village où se trouve la fac de droit de l’Université du Vermont. Les burgers sont décadents, cuits sur feu de bois et peuvent etre accompagnés de bières de microbrasseries locales (il y en a plus de 18 sur l’ardoise!) 

Donc voilà… un tout petit aperçu d’une petite tranchette du Vermont. J’aimerais beaucoup y retourner, visiter Burlington ou la region autour du lac Chaplain… En Septembre, il y a un demi-marathon des ponts couverts… ca pourrait être une bonne excuse!! 

 

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 4

Ugh. It’s hot and humid back in DC! Here’s how sweaty week 4 went down:

MONDAY

For my last (cool) run in Montreal, I ran to Fairmount bagel 🥯 with a 6 km detour through Mont Royal. I wish I had had more time in Montréal to discover more routes ! But I’m definitely happy I got to re-discover this city with my sneakers 😉 And I had such a great long weekend there.

TUESDAY

I met up with Pacers Navy Yards for their neighbourhood Shake Shack run (on the last Tuesday of the month each Pacers store runs to their local Shake Shack where every runner gets a free beverage — beer, wine or shake.) It was a great run, almost a tempo run for me as Ian kept me at a pace (6:16/km) that was a push for me (my run in Montreal was at 7:19/km) but that I could still handle. I wouldn’t have pushed myself as much on my own though !

After the run, I had a beer and headed home to do some post-trip laundry 😉 

WEDNESDAY

It was strength day at Orange Theory. We mostly did .1 mile at alternating speed between push and base pace with some all-outs in the end and increased incline too on the treadmill. The BOSU made quite an appearance on the floor. My abs are definitely gonna be hurting!

THURSDAY

My first track session with =PR= DC DTP called for 800s. There was only one slight issue: when we got to the track at Wilson High School it was closed due to some pretty major water damage and will remain unavailable through the end of July.

 

We did our 800s on the street outside of the high school, but it’s not quite the same, there are some pedestrians and also slight inclines here and there… hopefully we’ll come up with an alternative location for the next few weeks but I specifically picked  this training program in part because I loved the convenience of the Thursday evening track session in Tentleytown… 

FRIDAY

I knew I would be watching France-USA in the afternoon and that a run wasn’t happening after that so I ran solo in the morning, which was a bit painful after track the night before and staying up to watch the debate. Also, it was really hot! I meant to do more than 5.7km but that’s really all I had in me 😦

SATURDAY

Rest day ! I saw the film Yesterday with Calla in the evening and it was SO cute. 

SUNDAY

For Sunday (long) run day, I had to get in 16-20 km / 10-12 miles and I did the full 12 or 19.5km. My =PR= DC DTP did the Mount Vernon Trail, which is one of my favourite local routes. I just love getting to Gravely Point and taking a little plane-watching break! The heat was definitely an issue and I felt I had to drag myself at time but I did it! Recovery time at the pool felt magnificent afterwards!

Bilan de la semaine:  I got in 5 runs, including a long run, a tempo run and track. YES! Total kilometers covered for the week: 51.6 km/ 32 miles, just a nudge more than the week before. And since Sunday was the last day of June, I can say I round up the month with 190 km ran / 118 miles, quite an increase from 60 km / 32 miles in May! Also, I’ve officially passed the halfway point (831.4km/516.6 miles) in my goal to run 1000 miles in 2019.  

What I’m watching/reading/listening to: I’ve been quite the little reader in June! This week I finished When in French, Off the Sidelines and We kiss Them With Rain rounding out the month with 9 books read ! Wow. I watched both of the democratic debates, obviously and now I’m not-so-patiently-waiting to get off the waitlist so I can read Kamala Harris’ memoir. As I mentioned, I saw the movie Yesterday Saturday night. It was the perfect low-key (and air-conditioned) activity the night before a long run. 

What I’m eating/drinking: it is officially that time of the year when my entire diet consists of only rosé and tomato-buratta/mozzarella!

And nuun tablets and gu during my runs 😉

What I’m looking forward to on week 5: I’m honestly dreading this week a little bit. It’s going to be really hot again and holidays are always a little disruptive to one’s routine. Having NO July 4th plans whatsover and having to work Friday is also kinda bumming me out…