2020 Paris Marathon Training: Week Cinq

Officially less than two months away! This week threw a few curve balls by way of some calve pain, rain and special OrangeTheory Fitness classes (a 12 minute benchmark prep class and the 2000m row benchmark.) So I didn’t do as many 5-7 miles run as I would have liked during the week… but I still clocked in at 52km/32 miles or a little more than last week with some shorter runs.  Here is the details: 

MONDAY

I ran to Pacers 14th street than ran 3 miles with the group (well, mostly with my friend Christina) for a total of 9.1km/5.6 miles. The weather was beautiful so we had a huge group!

TUESDAY

After the amazing Superbowl halftime show I could not not take Shane’s J.Lo vs. Shakira spin class at Cyclebar NoMa. It was awesome and I almost cracked the top 10, finishing 11th in the class which never happens to me.

Since it was basically run in t-shirt weather, I also could not not run that evening so I joined Pacers Navy Yard for 3 short miles, followed by a beer at Bluejacket next door. 

WEDNESDAY

I took the 12 minute benchmark prep class at OrangeTheory Fitness Mount Vernon Triangle. My time to beat is 1.2km/0.75 miles from back in September and I’m really hoping to crush it. 

That evening, Corey and I watched The Joker since it has 11 Oscar nominations. 

THURSDAY

Quick turn-around after a 4:30PM OTF class… I was back at 7:15AM the next day to crush that 2000m benchmark row. I beat my previous time by 37 seconds and at 8 minutes and 13 seconds I was the 3rd women in my age group. I guess this is 40 😉  

I had initially planned to take a 6PM yoga class since it looked like it was going to pour rain non-stop for 2 days… but then at 5PM the sky looked pretty clear and I felt like I needed to do a few more miles so I made the last minute decision to head to Pacers Navy Yard. Of course it started pouring rain as soon as we started running. Oh well.

FRIDAY

Rest day. 

SATURDAY

The rain finally stopped, and I joined the November Project Long Run Crew for their Lincoln to Lincoln run. Their route covered 10.5 miles and I had to do 16 so I covered close to 2 running there (my alarm clock didn’t ring so I got a later start than I meant to), then added 3+ miles at the end. Since I’m always slower than everyone that meant I missed coffee at Baked and Wired with the group afterwards. But I made my own fun and stopped at Ladurée for treats instead before taking the circulator back home.  

SUNDAY

Oops. I missed yoga (again). The weather was beautiful, especially after all the rain during the week, so Corey and I met up with two of his friends at Paradise Spring Winery. I had rosé outdoors it was glorious!

What I’m reading/watching/listening to:  I finished The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead and started On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane by Emily Guendelsberger. I have that one both on paper and audio so I’m going back and forth between the two but I mostly love listening to it during my runs. After Joker, I needed something a little lighter so I watched the Taylor Swift documentary on Netflix. You can judge me, but I thought it was quite good! And of course, I watched the Oscars on Sunday (I’m SO thrilled that a non-English language film won for the first time, especially since Parasite is such a good movie) and the Democratic debate on Friday. I mean, what else would I do on a Friday night? 

What I’m eating/drinking:  The owners of Daikaya just opened a new restaurant called Tonari in the former Graffiato space next door. It’s the first restaurant in Washington, D.C. to showcase Japanese-style or ‘Wafu’ pasta and pizza. My friends Kaoru, Cecilia and I went to check it out on opening night and I must say the Uni pasta with soy, mirin, butter, sake, and kombu dashi made for the perfect pre-long-run meal!!

What I’m looking forward to on week 6: More longer runs during the week. Only one OrangeTheory Fitness class and a shorter long run next weekend! I’m excited for next week 😉 Also, I need to make a doctor’s appointment so I can finally submit my medical certificate for the race! 

Back to linking with Kim of Running On The Fly and Deborah of Confessions of a Mother Runner for their weekly wrap-up. Check out everyone’s posts and join the community if you’re blogging about your fitness journey too!!

2020 Paris Marathon Training: Bonjour Février!

Four weeks down, eight more to go! Slowly figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t (ie. taking an OrangeTheory class on Thursday AND Friday AND doing your long run on Saturday is no bueno!) and tweaking my scheduling accordingly. Here’s what last week looked like: 

MONDAY

I took Tammy’s OrangeTheory Fitness class after work. She recently started teaching more 4:30PM classes at Tentleytown and these really work with my schedule. And while I don’t normally love the 3G format, I actually had an awesome class, getting almost half of my points on the rower (I rarely get any points at all on the rower usually !!)

TUESDAY

The fourth Tuesday of the month is neighbourhood Shake Shack night so I ran 5 miles with Pacers Navy Yard (well, with Allison really… we got left behind by all the fast kids pretty quickly lol) before enjoying a glass of rosé on the house at the local Shake Shack.

I’m SO excited that Shake Shack serves rosé now!!

WEDNESDAY

I ran to Summit to Soul, with Summit to Soul’s Hill Runners and then back home from the hill for a total of 11.3km/7 miles.

It was nice to have company for 2 miles.

THURSDAY

I had plans to catch up with my friend Colleen and celebrate my (belated) birthday after work so I took Tammy’s noon class at OrangeTheory Tentleytown. It was a strength day and I pushed myself both on the treadmill and with the weights. I thought I had a pretty awesome class though looking back at the report afterwards I saw that I spent 12 minutes in the grey zone and 14 in blue, which is a little more than I like… 

Dinner afterwards was  super fun. We went to Little Coco’s. They have a $35 salad, pasta and bottomless prosecco deal on Thursdays that’s pretty fabulous. 

FRIDAY

Rest day. 

SATURDAY

Last week’s H Street Runners’ Winter Sunrise Run (and bagels!) was postponed and I was actually excited to have some company on my long run for a change (downside is less audible time though…) so I got up super early to meet up with the group. It was a good 2 miles for me to run to H street then 5 miles to the Lincoln Memorial and 4 back to H Street. Since I had to cover a longer distance, I missed the bagel portion and ran a little more so I could cover my 14 miles.  

There’s such a feeling of accomplishment when it’s 9AM and you’ve tackled your long run. I was pretty lazy after though and binged Next In Fashion for quite a while 😉 

SUNDAY

Apparently there was a big football match going on… but February 2nd is also La Chandeleur ie. the holiday when French people make crêpes!! We had crêpes for breakfast then Corey, Stout and I headed out to Loudon County to visit a few wineries. I did a quick recovery run in the morning, rounding up the week at 55 km / 34.1 miles. Not bad! My January total was 171 km / 106 miles which I’m pretty happy with as well.

In the evening, Calla came over and we made savoury crêpes. We watched I Lost My Body, an animated film from France that is nominated at the Oscars and the Superbowl half time show while drinking cider. Overall, it was the best day!

What I’m reading/watching/listening to:  I finished Red to the Bone, which is good because it was waaaaay overdue at the library (sorry!) and started the Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. I binged all of Next In Fashion on Netflix and watched I Lost My Body and The Irishman.

What I’m eating/drinking:  I had some left over cherry tomato so I whipped out this delicious burst cherry tomato pasta (recipe from Bon Appetit) for lunch on #MeatlessMonday and Tuesday.

And I highly recommend the bottomless processo/pasta/salad deal at Little Coco’s! Obviously, I also had a lot of crêpes 😉 

And like many people, I’ve been trying to cut out dairy from my life, or at least reduce my intake of milk since I’ll never give up cheese and I do like yogurts. This article breaks down the better milk alternative options and explains which are better choices for the planet. Sounds like I need to give oat milk another try… 

What I’m looking forward to on week 5: I’m gonna be switching my schedule around a little bit again this week to accommodate some special OrangeTheory workouts (a prep class for the 12 minute benchmark on Wednesday and the 2000m row benchmark on Thursday.) I still didn’t take any yoga classes this week and that has to change!!

Back to linking with Kim of Running On The Fly and Deborah of Confessions of a Mother Runner for their weekly wrap-up. Check out everyone’s posts and join the community if you’re blogging about your fitness journey too!!

2020 Paris Marathon Training: Week Trois

Oops! Looks like I skipped last week’s recap 😦 I basically was recovering from the Charleston half marathon AND had to take 4 OrangeTheory classes to use up my monthly allotment so it felt like kind of an off week anyway. But I am back on track for week 3 and finally feeling like I found my marathon training groove!!! Now I just have to sustain it for 9 more weeks 🤣

MONDAY

I ended up skipping my long run on Saturday so I got my 10 solo miles done on MLK Monday instead. It was a beautiful, sunny day. But man, it was COLD! And windy. There were very few other runners out it felt a bit lonely. I finished listening to Chanel Miller’s Know My Name while on the run. It’s a great read, but a heavy topic so that didn’t really help lifting my mood…

TUESDAY

I took Shane’s 7AM spin class at Cyclebar NoMa as a recovery ride.

WEDNESDAY

Wednesdays are typically my date night with Corey so I had to be a little creative to get my run in. Before work was NOT happening (I’m slow so I’d have to get up at 5AM to get 6 miles in and still make it to work on time… and it’s just way too dark and cold for that right now!) leaving me with only one option: a run commute! Initially, I wanted to run to REACH at the Kennedy Center to see the Chinese New Years lanterns but I left work a little too late so I had to adjust my plans and ended up metro-ing home from Foggy Bottom after my 6 miles.

THURSDAY

Broke up my run in two: 4.3km during my lunchbreak, on the treadmill at OrangeTheory and 5.8km in the evening with Pacers Navy Yard.

It was Power Day at OrangeTheory 🍊 and since the longest push was 2 minutes and the all-outs just 30 seconds I decided to push myself and it felt awesome. It was also Robin’s first class (she’s one of Corey’s best friends and manages the CorePower studio next door to OrangeTheory Tentleytown) so that made the class extra fun.

In the evening, I (slowly) ran 5.8km with Pacers Navy Yard, with Anna and Allison for the most part, before meeting up with my friends Nicole and Madalene for a special Lunar New Year tasting at Ice Cream Jubilee nearby.

I loved the Red Bean Almond Cookie flavour, and got to take a pint home!

FRIDAY

So Monday-Thursday felt awesome… and I think I should have definitely taken a rest day on Friday or done a yoga class. Instead, I took an Orange Theory Fitness and my body hated me. To make it feel a little better, I had a lovely get together with my friends Kaoru and Cecilia for happy hour at SushiKo after work. I love sushi so much!! 

SATURDAY

I had initially planned to do a part of my 12 mile run with the H Street runners but that plan was pushed to the following week because of the weather. It ended up not actually raining so I headed out for another solo run (well, just me and Amy Klobuchar I guess…). I did bump into Seth from the H Street Runners outside of Georgetown and we ran a mile together (my fastest of the run for sure!) which was nice. Overall, it was a really slow run. My left calf is hurting me a bit and I still have a little bit of pain in my right leg too… but I got it done

At 5PM, I headed to Summit to Soul, a local woman-owned fitness boutique on Capitol Hill for their first book club. We discussed Confessions of an Unlikely Runner by Dana Ayers and it was pretty fun. The author is a local D.C. runner so it was neat reading about routes I’ve done and races I’ve participated in as well. It wasn’t a great work of literature by any means, but definitely a fun, quick read (it’s 150 pages!)

After that, Corey and I grabbed dinner and headed to a friend’s birthday party. I was pretty whipped from the week, so we didn’t linger too long.

SUNDAY

A most glorious and needed rest day!! Corey, Stout and I went to watch the planes take off at Gravelly Point for a bit.

In the afternoon, I went to pick up my first wine of the month order at Gran Cata, a Latin American focused wine shop in Shaw, and had a quiet evening setting things up for the following week.

What I’m reading/listening to:  I finished Chanel Miller’s Know My Name as well as Confessions of an Unlikely Runner by Dana L. Ayers, which we discussed at Summit to Soul’s book club and Amy Klobuchar’s The Senator Next Door, the almost-last installment in my attempt to read all of the democratic candidates’ memoirs. Cannot. Wait. To. Be. Done. With. That. 

I got tons of great books from the library (including Red at the Bone and The Water Dancer) so I’m looking forward to a good week of reading! 

What I’m eating/drinking: Nothing too exciting to report here this week so I’ll just leave you with this picture from sushi happy hour at SushiKo.  

What I’m looking forward to on week 4: Another week like week 3 would be great, perhaps with a little more yoga. My legs feel a bit sore and tight. I’m still trying to sort out my schedule and find a good decent work-life-marathon training balance, which is really hard (and is going to get harder as training ramps up, I know!) Has anyone here found the magic formula??

It’s been a while but now that I’m writing again, I’ll be back to linking with Kim of Running On The Fly and Deborah of Confessions of a Mother Runner for their weekly wrap-up. Anyone else getting started with their Spring marathon training??

2020 or the Year I Focus on Half Marathons

Well, it’s January 24th and I have already raced one half marathon! This is my third year running and I’m learning new lessons as I go. The biggest lesson from last year is don’t run two marathons in two weeks on two different continents 😉 This year, I would like to focus on the half marathon distance. I only ran in 2019 and I didn’t set a new PR… With that in mind, I’m signed up for three half marathons for the first half of the year and I have some idea of what races I would like to do in the fall, but as of now, my schedule is completely clear! Let’s see how long that lasts…

JANUARY

I ran the CHARLESTON HALF MARATHON on on my birthday. I was a bit under trained and didn’t deal with the heat and humidity really well. My time was 2:29 and I know I can do (and have done) much better. 

FEBRUARY

As of now, I am planning on skipping PACERS’ LOVE THE RUN YOU’RE WITH 5K so I have no races planned for February.

MARCH

I missed this race weekend last year, because it was at the same time as the  UNITED AIRLINES NYC HALF MARATHON in New York City so I’d love to do the PACERS FOUR COURTS FOUR MILER on March 14 and the ST PAT RUN FEST 5K and 10K on March 15. I still have to see how I can make this work with my marathon training schedule (I should be doing my 20-22 mile run the weekend of March 7-8 so it should be a dial back weekend anyway) so I haven’t signed up yet, but I have some cool St Patrick’s day themed running stuff and I’d love to have an excuse to wear them! 

On March 28, I’ll be running my second half marathon of the year, the UNITED AIRLINES ROCK’N’ROLL DC HALF. Of course, I signed up for this race way before I decided to run the Paris Marathon the following week, so the timing is not ideal. Clearly, this won’t be a goal time race and I’m planning on taking it easy, giving all the high fives and all the hugs (and drinking all the dranks!)

APRIL

If you’ve been reading some of my training recap, you know I’m running my hometown’s marathon, the SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC MARATHON DE PARIS on April 5th. It will be my first Spring marathon and I can’t wait!

And since I’m running a marathon in early April, I won’t be running the PNC PARKWAY CLASSIC 10 miler this year, but I’m toying with the idea of running the 5K on April 26.

MAY

In May, I’ll be headed to Maine with a group of running friends to run the SHIPYARD MAINE COAST HALF MARATHON.

And beyond that I don’t know and that’s kinda refreshing. Also nerve racking for a planner like me 😉 I’ve waiting (but not holding my breath that I’ll get in) to hear on the New York marathon to start thinking about fall races. Some of the races I’m considering include:

Obviously, I’m not going to do ALL of those races, but they’re the ones on my radar right now. Different ones could pop up. Or I won’t do any of them (in the very unlikely event that I get into New York for example or decide to be very crazy and do the MCM 50K). I’d also still love to do a relay type race, whether it’s a Ragnar or not. That’s something I’ve been wanting to do since I started running basically and I wasn’t able to make it the two times I was asked to join a team (I still regret not making the Ragnar in Sweden work).  I’d also love to do some trail races… The thing is I feel like this time last year, I was already locked in to two fall marathons and I had very little opportunity to be spontaneous if opportunities came up. I’d like to try and do things a little differently this year…  

What’s on your race calendar? Do you already have a good idea of what races you’re doing?  What are some of the races on your bucket list? 

2020 Paris Marathon Training: Première Semaine

New year, new me, new marathon training season! In 2020, I will be tackling my first Spring marathon, and I’m a little anxious to see how training through the winter goes. That being said, the race is officially less than 3 months away so I officially kicked off training this week. 

MONDAY

I signed up for the 8 classes/month membership at Orange Theory Fitness and since I was away for two weeks over the holidays I have a little bit of catching up to do. So I kicked off the week with a 7AM class.  I came back from London with a bit of a cold, though it was a bit rough but it felt good to be back in class.

TUESDAY

3 easy miles with Pacers Navy Yard. 

WEDNESDAY

Orange Theory Fitness class. 

THURSDAY

I had some class pass credits I needed to use so I took a spin class at Flywheels City Center.

FRIDAY

Travel day! I had an early flight to Charleston, SC and just enjoyed a nice day off exploring (and eating my way through) the city. The expo for the O2 Fitness Charleston Marathon was not the most exciting though it was in quite a beautiful venue! Oh, and of course, I turned 40. 

SATURDAY

I knew the Charleston half marathon would probably not be my best race so I treated it more as a long training run… one that came with cool swag and a medal 😉 It was uncomfortably humid in Charleston that morning and the course was not the most exciting, with basically no crowd support anywhere. It’s probably not a race I would recommend though I don’t regret doing it. I mean, when else am I going to have shrimp and grits at the finish line?

SUNDAY

Recovery slash eating our way through Charleston day 😉

Between being sick, traveling, racing, catching up on OTF classes and celebrating my birthday it was a bit of an unusual first week and I’m looking forward to settling into a bit more of a routine as training progresses.  

What I’m reading/listening to:  I’ve been struggling to go through Meg Wolitzer’s “The Female Persuasion.”

I’d hate to DNF it but I’m also not really enjoying it and I have so many other books waiting to be read (I just borrowed Chanel Miller’s Know My Name and I can’t wait to start listening to it.) How do you decide to give up on a book? 

What I’m eating/drinking: Charleston is an amazing food town and I had so many great meals there starting with biscuits at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, brisket and ribs at Lewis barbecue, beer at Palmetto Brewing Co., and clam liguine at Le Farfalle. And that was just Friday 😉

After the race, we had an amazing brunch at Big Bad Breakfast (the tomato gravy in the breakfast “crumble” was spectacular!) before capping off the trip with brunch at Husk on Sunday and oysters at both Leon’s Oyster Shop and The Darling Oyster Bar.

I feel like I was stuffed all weekend, good thing I also ran a half marathon in there somewhere 😉

What I’m looking forward to on week 2: Like I said, I have to take a lot of Orange Theory Fitness classes this week, 4 to be exact, so that’s going to take precedence over running. Tuesday is the monthly Shake Shack run with Pacers though, and I am looking forward to that as well as hopefully a nice, long trail run over the (three day!!!) weekend. 

My Running Goals For 2020

It looks like all I did in 2019 is run! At least, if you look at my instagram top 9 😉 I feel like I did a lot of other things too – I mean I read 74 books! – but it’s true, running was a very important part of my life and I want to keep it that way in 2020. Though I wouldn’t hate it if my #bookstagram posts got as many likes as my medal posts lol

With that in mind, and based on some of the goals I did or didn’t achieve last year, I jotted down my running resolutions for 2020. Here they are:

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 and 2019 not because I didn’t accomplish them but because I think they’re great goals to have every year and there’s definitely room for improvement (you can always have more fun right?).  I’ve met a lot of great acquaintances running, but I still don’t really have a core group of running friends I can call on for runs or to travel to races with (well, outside of my bestie Caitlin of course). Being an introvert is tough… and being a slow, self conscious introvert runner is even harder 😉  That being said, I did run a 5K in formation, dressed like a reindeer and pulling Santa and in sleigh in December… so I think I’m on the right track as far as fun and friends is concerned!

3. Run at least 2020 kilometers (1255 miles)

Last year, I ran 1665km or 1034 miles, just a little bit over my goal of 1000 miles — YEAH!! It would definitely be too much of an increase to shoot for 2020 miles in 2020 but 2020 kilometers (1255 miles) seems challenging enough, yet doable. ie. the best kind of goal!

4. Participate in a Ragnar Relay

Carrying this goal over from last year and maybe tying it to the be-better-at-making-friends goals. I was asked to participate in a Ragnar in Sweden last year at least. I just couldn’t swing it with traveling to Germany for the Berlin marathon but I really appreciated being asked and hopefully someone will ask me again to join their team. Or I’ll muster the courage to create my own team… ok, that might be a little much…

5. Cheer on Others and Volunteer with Local Races

I did a little bit of that last year when I volunteered at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler packet pick-up and when I cheered on the runners at the Rock’n’Roll DC half and full marathon. But I can definitely do more so I’m carrying this goal over from 2019 too.

6. Run my Hometown Marathon

Paris 2020 was supposed to be my one and only marathon. If all goes well with training, it will be my fourth marathon… and hopefully not my last. I can’t wait to run through the streets of my beloved hometown on April 5th!

7. Finish a Marathon in less than 5 hours

Speaking of marathons… I came kinda close but not really in Berlin so I’m carrying this goal over from last year. Getting through one training cycle injury free would be amazing as well.

8. PR in the Half Marathon Distance

Last year I only ran one half marathon… In 2020, I would like to focus on the half marathon distance again and I’m already signed up for three. I’m running my first spring marathon in April and I think I will dedicate fall to shorter distances and hopefully crush my current PR of 2:12.

9. Go On More Trail Runs

I live in the city and I don’t have a car so trails aren’t easy for me to get to (circle back to goal # 2 again about making friends who do trail runs and have cars!). I did my first trail race with Caitlin last year, a 10K outside of New York City, and I’ve been going on some weekend runs with Corey and his trail running friends occasionally. And it’s been a really nice change of pace and scenery. I would love to do more of that!

10. Be Kinder to Myself and to My Body

This is the hardest one perhaps… it means both listening to my body when it needs a break and not listening to my head quite as much 😉 I know everyone’s journey is different and that I am not competing again anyone other than myself, but it’s still difficult not to compare myself to other runners. And that really only hurts one person: me. Failing or not doing as well as you thought you would is always better than not trying at all.

I’m excited to keep working on becoming a better version of myself, both mentally and physically in 2020. And hopefully I’ll also do a better job at keeping up with this blog too! If you have a running blog or instagram account, please drop it in the comment and/or let me know what some of your 2020 goals are! (I’m laetitiabrock on insta btw) Yes, I want to make more IRL connection, but I also love following other people’s running/fitness journeys online 😉  

2019 Chicago Marathon Training: Race Week

Who thought running two marathons in two weeks, both requiring travel, was a good idea? Me apparently. So this week was race week… again. Here’s how it went:

MONDAY

I didn’t want to run but I did want to shake my legs after spending all of Sunday in planes so I took a Flywheels spin class.  

TUESDAY

The second Tuesday of the month is always Pacers’ Shake Shack Track and Shack. I ran 5.50km with the 14th street group, mostly with Gloria who is currently training for her first marathon (Marine Corps). I tried the Pumpkin Pie shake at the Shack and kinda loved it. I also love that Shake Shack now offers a smaller shake size. I can’t drink a full 16oz one!

WEDNESDAY

I tried Hot Power yoga at Illumin8. The studio is beautiful but I don’t think I loved the instructor and I enjoyed Corepower more (the classes were pretty similar). But I’ll try it again with a different instructor.

THURSDAY

Track! It wasn’t the most interesting track, we just ran around the track for 35-40 minutes. Everyone else did 4-6 1 minute sprints after that, but this was my shake out run so I took it easy, skipping the sprints and sticking with 5.90 km in 40 minutes (6:47 / km).

FRIDAY 

Back to Corepower. I felt very tight and none of the moves came in easy which worried me a bit pre-Chicago…. I had a big work event that night, our annual Space Oktoberfest party so I also didn’t quite have the relaxing night I wish I could have had before my 7AM flight! 

SATURDAY

Made it to Chicago by 8:30AM and met up with my friend Nicki. We dropped off our bags at Aloft Mag Mile and headed to the expo. Bib pick-up was a smooth process, though we didn’t love any of the official marathon gear from Nike, which is a bummer.

For dinner, we met up with Dan and Maria who I know from DC running for a fabulous carb fest at Coco Pazzo. We went to bed on the early side! 

SUNDAY

Race day! I’ll dedicate a separate post to recap the race but I will just say that the crowds were AMAZING and truly made the race a spectacular experience. Also, I understand why they call Chicago the Windy City 😉

Bilan de la semaine: Ran 53.6 km, including 42.1km at the Chicago Marathon. Took 1 spin class, and 2 yoga class. It was a good week! 

What I’m watching/reading/listening to: Still making my way through Americanah (I’ve got maybe a third left) and I also started listening to Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution. Doing that one on audio like I have all the other candidates’ book and it’s over 18 hours long! It’s gonna take me a while 😉 

What I’m eating/drinking:  I wish I had more time in Chicago to have more fun food, but that wasn’t in a cards for this race (neither was a PR apparently.) I did love the special Goose Island we got at the finish line. It tasted sooooo good after 26.2 miles!!

What I’m looking forward to next week: NO RUNNING! lol

Linking up one last time with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down. Now that I won’t be training for anything, I’m not sure I’m going to keep up with those weekly post and I don’t know what direction my posts are going to take in the next few weeks…

Ich bin ein Marathonläufer: Berlin Marathon Recap

16 weeks (well, 11 really because of injury).

625 km/ 388 miles ran during training.

6700 km / 4100 miles flight across the Atlantic.

8 hours unplanned lay-over in Charles de Gaulle airport.

42.7 km / 26.5 miles, mostly in the pouring rain.

5 hours and 1 1 minutes.

                  I earned my first Abbott World Majors stars and I am a marathoner (again!)                      Here are some more details about the end of my marathon journey: 

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 27th

I had a bit of a bumpy ride to Berlin… Since there are no direct flights to Berlin from DC, I  made travel plans via CDG. But, my giant A380 plane was late and as a result I missed my connection. I was stuck in Paris, normally not a bad thing, but I had to play the wait list game for hours — shocker: all the flights to Berlin were full! — until I manages to snag a spot on a 3 PM flight. It was a bummer because Caitlin and I were supposed to get to the airport at the same time initially and would have cabbed to the hotel together, dropped off our bags and met some DC peeps to go to the expo and get it out of the way on Friday. Instead, we agreed we would go first things in the morning, and as a result miss the Generali Breakfast Run. Womp womp.

Friday was also my parents’ 44th wedding anniversary and they had made dinner reservation at Pauly Saal, a really nice restaurant in Mitte. Luckily I landed just on time, went straight to their hotel to shower and change before heading out to dinner with my suitcase. Dinner was great though by the 5th course I was ready to fall asleep and by 10PM when I finally made it to the Westin Grand I was utterly exhausted. Not exactly the relaxing, settling in day I had anticipated!

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 28th

Caitlin and I made our way to the expo early. I’m not gonna lie, I expected Germans to run a tighter ship and be better organized but everything still went pretty quickly. We each bought a t-shirt (all the jackets in our size were gone by then…) and took a bunch of pictures.

After that, we headed off to Markthalle Neun, a food hall in Kreuzberg’s Eisenbahnstraße, to grab lunch with Adele, Austin and Rosie (they had to go back to Paris Sunday night so it would be our only chance to see them other than on the course cheering), Victorine and Calla and her parents.

Afterwards, we did a little sightseeing with them but Caitlin and I wanted to head back to the Westin to rest.

We also caught bits of the inline skate marathon, which is the largest inline skating marathon in the world and always takes place on the course the day before. 

In the evening, we headed to Vapiano (did you know Vapiano is actually a German chain?) to grab dinner to go (many many other runners had the same idea sadly ) and had a relaxing pasta dinner in our room.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 29th

RACE DAY!! It felt SO luxurious to be able to wake up at 7AM on a race day! I had picked the Westin Grand because a) I was able to pay for our stay using Marriott points b) it was a quick walk to the start and from the finish LINE. Caitlin did not have to be in her coral until 8:20am and me 9:10am so I was able to have a relatively relaxing morning. Breakfast was 2 packets of protein banana oatmeal with a banana and a cup of coffee. I had also brought a Fuel For Fire Fruit & Protein Smoothie Squeeze Pouch that I ate as I walked to the start. Since Caitlin had to leave earlier, I had made plans to meet with a couple other runners in my group at the Westin Bear outside my hotel. One of the girls, Laura, and I ended up staying together until the start and I even caught her as she was running towards the finish line at the end. It was fun to have people, even people I didn’t know before, to hang out with before the race, it made me less nervous and made time pass faster. I also bumped into DC-running celebrity Lien James while in line for the bathrooms! Berlin was her 126th marathon!!! 

I had a couple of goals for the race. Given how bumpy my training had been, just finishing was my main goal. Finishing in a slightly better time than my first marathon was the secondary goal with my reach goal being finishing in under 5 hours with a PR of 30 minutes. Clearly, that one was WAY too ambitious though for the first hour of the race I totally thought i could actually do it. I felt GREAT, I was running each kilometer well under 7 minutes and I was having fun. It started raining pretty early on in the race for me, at first lightly and then a little (and a lot) more strongly. The rain was ok for a while, the gushes of wind a little bit less… One of the cool thing that happened is that I bumped into Alexandra, a fellow Pacers Navy Yards runner that Matt, the group leader, had just introduced me to the week before. She was also on the lookout for her parents who had made the trip too and we ended up running chunks of the race together, sometimes losing each other to restroom or walking breaks then finding each other again. We actually finished around the same time too!

My initial strategy had been to stick with a 5:00 finish pacer but I stayed with Laura at the start so I had to catch up to them on the course. I did and that was good because I was running a little too strong for me and knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain it and could obviously use some help running a more consistent pace. I found the BEST pacer, a super fun lady from South Africa who was signing the whole time. I was so bummed when I had to go the restrooms and lost that group! That was about the half way point, when we were battered by wind and drenched by the rain and when things started to fall apart a little for me. I kept telling myself that I could do this but my body seemed to respond that I couldn’t. My whole body hurt and I was barely at kilometer 20… after that despite how hard I tried, I never ran a kilometer under 7 minutes and started having some really dark thoughts.

Seeing friends and family (my dad was super easy to spot with his French flag!) helped along the way, though I yelled at my mom for trying to take a picture of me at km 35. I was just not in the mood for pictures at that point 😉

Bumping into Alexandra here and there did too, we gave each other little pep talks along the way! I was pretty smart about fueling during the race which helped. I am that weird person who loves GUs. I always start my races with the espresso GU then move on to the caramel machiatto then salted caramel and finally s’mores which tastes a bit like Nutella. For hydration, I stuck with water since nothing-new-on-race day meant staying away from the ultraSPORTS Beetster they were serving. The water stops were total mess and the plastic cups on the ground were super slippery. I did try the “hot” tea at the end. Though it was lukewarm at best I was cold and tired and it felt amazing to drink something hot(ish). They were also serving bananas on the course and I love bananas and I had a couple of half bananas here and there during the race. I hope they have bananas in Chicago! (sadly, they won’t)

By the time I reached the avenue Bundesstraße 2 I had nothing left in me but I knew I was so close and the best way to get out of my misery was to keep going and finish as quickly as I possibly could. Something that helped was that the speakers were playing Voyage, Voyage by Desireless and while I was surprised they would play a French song at the finish line in Germany and at the time I was running there it *totally* gave me a boost just when I needed it.

In the end, I crossed the finish line in 5 hours and 11 minutes, 17 minutes faster than Marine Corps a year ago. Am I disappointed I couldn’t do better? Sure. Am I gonna complain about a 17 minutes PR, especially when I had to miss 5 weeks of training? No. I’m stoked especially since Berlin after all was technically *just* my last “long run” before Chicago.

I did a few things right and a few things wrong and those lessons will be super helpful in Chicago. For one, I will actually stick with a 5 hour pacer from the start to make sure I am consistent throughout the race and don’t start too fast. I also feel like I got a pretty good handle on my pre-race nutrition. I had some socks and bra issues during training and ended up running with another bra than the one I had used during training. That worried me but it worked out and I had minimal boob chaffing this time. My feet were fine too (wearing these socks again in Chicago — sorry cute Chicago marathon feetures!) I can’t say the same about my running belt! I had not trained with it since I had trained with a hydration vest and I had not used an anti chaffing stick on my back… so yeah, lesson learned here! I’m going into Chicago a little less freaked out. I haven’t felt pain since running Berlin and I *just* ran a marathon so I’m not as stressed about whether I can do this or not. I know I can do it. I’d like to do better, obviously, and I’d love to actually meet my under 5 stretch goal but if I don’t, it’ll be ok. I will have had a 17 minute PR for this marathon cycle and that’s not nothing. 6 weeks ago I resumed training after a forced 5 weeks hiatus and I wasn’t even confident I could built up to a full marathon on time for Berlin. But I did the best I could in the time I had. I never gave up and now I can say that I’m a marathoner… again!

2019 Chicago Marathon Training: Taper Week

So, I’ve been focusing on Berlin a lot, but I am also running the Chicago Marathon on October 13 which is a bit crazy, I know. But YOLO right!?! When I got into both lotteries I knew I had to participate in both. And just like that, recovery week from the Berlin Marathon was also taper week for Chicago.  Here’s what I got up to:

MONDAY

NOTHING 

We took the train to Potsdam with Calla and her parents and then took a river cruise there.

In the evening, we met my parents for dinner at Dudu in Mitte and I finally had the pho I’d been dreaming of for days!

TUESDAY

We checkedout of the Westin Grand and had the most amazing meal at La Soupe Populaire Canteen followed by amazing pastries at Five Elephant, also in Mitte.

It was the perfect foodie note to end our visit to Berlin. Not perfect was not realizing there were TWO airports in Berlin! After dropping my parents at Tegel Airport, Caitlin and I made a mad dash for Schönefeld Airport. We made our flight but learned a valuable lesson along the way. 

WEDNESDAY

First day in Copenhagen! We went for a recovery run in the morning and saw the little mermaid statue and Kastellet along the way. Running is a great way to discover a new city! 

After that, we took a rainy boat tour which had been highly recommended by our hosts, had a fabulous lunch at Geist and an equally fabulous dinner at BÆST followed by natural wine at Pompette.

THURSDAY

Another Copenhagen run. This time we planned the route along some of Copenhagen’s lakes (Pebble Lake, Saint George Lake — they look more like canals to me though!) so we could end at Hart Bageri for breakfast.

After that we headed to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, a 50 minute train ride out of the city. It was SO worth the adventure of trying to navigate the train system in a foreign country!

When we got back, we checked out one of the Mikkeler bar before having dinner at another farm to table restaurant, Manfreds

FRIDAY 

Time to hit the third country on our European adventure: Sweden! Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, and the Danish capital are only 40 km away and it was a fun and easy ride on the Øresund (Öresund in Swedish) Bridge, Europe’s fifth longest bridge and the star of The Bridge, a hit  Swedish/Danish crime drama that is set in both Copenhagen and Malmö and that I obviously need to watch now.  We wanted to get to Malmö for lunch so we could eat at Saltimporten Canteen. This restaurant is the very definition of a hidden gem (it’s basically on a half abandoned pier in the middle of nowhere) and is only open for lunch on weekdays. It was SO worth it!!

We spent the rest of the day exploring the city.

SATURDAY

Malmö has some amazing biking/running routes! I did a 8.5 miles loop through Kungsparken, Slottsparken, and along Rubersborg Beach.

I meant to go all the way to Sibbarp so I could get the best view of Öresund bridge but I was worried about not making it back on time before the end of breakfast at our hotel, the Clarion collection hotel temperance. Breakfast was free and amazing and I ate all the swedish things including herring! After that, we headed back to Copenhagen for our last afternoon there.

SUNDAY

Travel day. We both had early flights and spent most of Sunday in planes. Caitlin connected through London and me through Amsterdam.

Bilan de la semaine/mois: September was a big month, obviously. I ran 246 km / 153 miles, including 42.7 soaked wet kilometers in the streets of Berlin.

While I had hoped to do a little bit better, I’m very proud of my 17 minute PR and hope to shave off a few more minutes in Chicago next weekend. I’m also proud that I took 5 yoga classes this month, and did decent on cross training with 1 Orange Theory class and 3 spin classes. For the week, I ran 27.8km / 17 miles in 2 different cities/countries. I walked a ton too (57.8 miles total according to my tracker!!)  

What I’m watching/reading/listening to:  I had all intentions to finish Americanah during my trip but I only started it on the flight back. I love it so far though. I wanted some easier read/listens given all the traveling we were doing so I downloaded Too fat, Too Slutty, Too Pushy: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Peteren and Chelsea Handler’s Life Will be the Death of Me…and you too!

Loved the first one. Each chapter of the book focuses on a different celebrity or public figure, from Serena Williams (too strong) to Lena Dunham (too naked) which made it easy to pick up and stop. It was also very interesting. I hated the second one. So much me me me me me… 

What I’m eating/drinking:  I had amazing food throughout my trip. Each city will warrant a post of its own! 

What I’m looking forward to next week: Basically getting over my jet lag and getting back into a bit of a routine as I gear up for Chicago! And yes, I am looking forward to that marathon, of course, though I can’t believe I was crazy enough to sign up for two marathons in two weeks 😉 

Still linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down. Some of the other bloggers are also training for Chicago and I can’t wait to see all of their post race posts soon!! 

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Race Week

BOOM! Last Berlin marathon training recap! It’s travel week. And race week. And packing week. Here’s how it all went down:

MONDAY

Joined Pacers 14th street for one last run before Berlin.

TUESDAY

I went to the Anthem for the first time, to see Massive Attack. SUCH a good show.

WEDNESDAY

I’ve used this taper week to take advantage of Corepower’s free trial week. I took 5 classes in 7 days and actually really loved the experience. I’ll do the $99/month new members deal when I get back. I feel like after two marathons I won’t want to run and will be happy doing all the yoga. Anyhoo, took one last C2 class on Wednesday.

THURSDAY

Travel day !

FRIDAY 

Woke up in Paris and since my flight from DC was late I missed my connection to Berlin. Things got a little messy from there becauS (shocker) all the other flights to Berlin were full. After playing the stand-by game for 6 hours I eventually got on a 3:30pm flight. Immediately upon landing, I headed to my parents’ hotel, showered, changed and then the three of us headed to Pauly Saal for a fabulous five course dinner to celebrate their 44th wedding anniversary. It was amazing though I was ready to sleep by dessert. I finally made my way to the Westin where Caitlin was waiting for me with a glass of German wine, as friends do 😉

SATURDAY

We got the expo done right away then met some friends at Markethalle Neun for lunch. We did a little sightseeing but Caitlin and I wanted to rest our legs before grabbing dinner and going to bed early. We also caught a bit of the in-line skating race, which takes place on the same course as the marathon.

SUNDAY

Race day! I’ll dedicate a separate blog post to the actual marathon but let’s just say it wasn’t an easy race. It started raining around noon which means I ran most of the race soaked. I had an awesome first half, the second part was a different story. I still finished with a 17 minute PR, which I’m really happy about though the first half had me think I might be able to do a little better. Oh well, there’s always Chicago…. in two weeks 😉

Bilan de la semaine: It was stressful wrapping things up at work, packing and then dealing with flight delays. But I made it to Berlin! I PR-ed by 17 minutes in tough conditions and now I get to enjoy a week of vacation!

What I’m watching/reading/listening toI finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of Unruly Women by Anne Helen Peterson. I have his one on kindle and audio but ended up mostly listening to it, especially on the plane as I was trying to fall asleep.

What I’m eating/drinking:  I’ve had a lot of great meals in Berlin already. I’ll just highlight this dumpling soon. It warmed my soul in cold and rainy Berlin.

What I’m looking forward to on week 18: Recovery… and tapering for Chicago. I can’t believe I have to do this all over again in two weeks!! What was I thinking?? (it was something like YOLO). But most immediately, I’m looking forward to spending a few more days in Berlin and then traveling to Copenhagen and Malmo.

Still linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down. I love checking in on everyone’s week and training. Hope you do too!