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! 

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 16

Well… I had a 16 weeks marathon training plan and it’s week 16… but Berlin is next week. Now sure how this happened, but let’s just say I’ve never been good at math. After building up for the past 5 weeks, I’m starting to dial back the effort. Here’s what that looked like this week:

MONDAY

Rest day! It was a beautiful day so I just went to my pool after work and enjoyed a book and a martini while I soaked my feet. Le bliss.

TUESDAY

Easy 5K on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail with Pacers Navy Yards.

WEDNESDAY

45 minute spin class at Flywheels City Center. In the evening I worked a screening of the new Downton Abbey movie. It was like a very good two hours special episode. If you loved the show, you’ll love being reunited with all the characters!

THURSDAY

I’m doing my free trial week at Corepower and squeezed in my first C2 class before heading out to H Street to celebrate the opening of the new Pacers pop-up shop.

FRIDAY 

I hadn’t been to Orange Theory in forever but I didn’t want to miss the 12 minute benchmark run.

I know I could have done a bit better than 1.2 miles so I was a little disappointed in myself. In the evening, I took another Corepower class.

SATURDAY

Rest day.

SUNDAY

Last long run before Berlin and my first run with =PR=DC DTP in a while (also probably my last lol). I ran to the meeting point in Georgetown from my place and then I ran 12 miles with Charlotte who’s training for Marine Corps for a total of 15 miles.

Bilan de la semaine/mois: It feels weird to go from running 50 miles one week to barely 20 the next but I guess that’s tapering for you 😉 I actually really enjoyed the 2 Corepower classes I took, doing other workouts besides running and overall not feeling like a slave to my runs…

What I’m watching/reading/listening to:  I finished Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Singaporean author Balli Kaur Jaswal. It was a fun book, but nothing spectacular.

I also started Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and that is a spectacular book exploring the impact of the slave trade down generations, following the descendants of one Asante woman from 18th-century west Africa to the modern-day US. I’m about half way through the story (each chapter follows a particular descendant) and hope to finish it before I head out to Berlin because it’s WAY overdue at the library!  And I actually did watch some TV this week too. I binged the entire Netflix series Unbelieveable In addition to being an excellent crime drama, its portrayal of how victims of sexual assault are treated is both difficult to watch and important. I highly recommend everyone watches this series, though it can be triggering for many.  

What I’m eating/drinking:  I *finally* had a GREAT pumpkin beer! 

What I’m looking forward to on week 17: Well, traveling to Europe… and running all over Berlin!! I’ve got a few more days in D.C. where I’ll be doing more Corepower classes but I’m basically as ready as I’m gonna be. So this is it! Wish me luck!!! And if you have any last minute tips for preparing for an international marathon (and a rainy one too!) I’ll take them!!!

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! 

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 15

I guess slugging through last week’s increase in mileage paid off because this week’s training felt a lot easier despite increasing my run days and mileage by close to 12 miles. Here’s a recap of Peak week:

MONDAY

Since I had done my long run on Saturday instead of Sunday the previous week, Monday was not a rest day but a run day. I hadn’t ran with Pacers 14th street for a while so I ran to the store, then ran 3 miles with the group and then ran home for a total of 8 miles.

TUESDAY

One of my favourite group run every month is Shake Shack Track & Field. I ran with the 5 miles group and earned my burger! 

WEDNESDAY

Run-muted 8 miles down the Capital Crescent Trail. I was worried about the heat and while it was hot and humid, the trail is pretty covered. I should have worried about cyclists more! Clearly the route is popular with bike commuters.

I was passed by a gazillion bikes but didn’t see many other runners. Oh, and it rained actually towards the end. I didn’t mid that at all 😉  

THURSDAY

We had a small group at track and the workout was rough (2400m, 200m, 2x 1600m) but I actually really enjoyed it and got to catch up with my neighbor Kara (Kara literally lives next door to me!). Afterwards I ran (figuratively this time) to Calla’s to watch the democratic debate. We had pizza from Tino’s Pizzeria (I loved the Can I Smoke? with tomato, finocchiona, smoked scamorza, aged provolone, fennel <– love fennel so much!) and drank Ricky Rosé, a barrel aged sour with blackberries by 3 Stars Brewing Company and Other Half Brewing.

FRIDAY

Time to take a break from running! I tried a new (to me) spin studio, Zengo Cycle. The first class was free so I figured I’d give it a try (the studios are on class pass too.) It was a good workout but I couldn’t get over the lack of technology — no screen, no way to tell my RPM or how many miles I had biked. I think Flywheels and Cyclebar are definitely more up my alley but I’m glad I tried something different. 

SATURDAY

Racing the day before your 20-miler is probably not ideal but I really wanted to participate in the Four Seasons’ Race to Beat Cancer. Pacers had an awesome team and I didn’t push myself too much, finishing the 5K in 32 minutes.

SUNDAY

I was dreading running my twenty miler and debated until the last minute if I would run with my =PR=DC DTP group or not. I was kinda set on a route I had mapped out and, in the end, my friend Jessica humoured and ran it with me. This was two weekend in a row running with another person and I don’t know why I haven’t been doing it more often (well, I kinda know and it has to do with being slow and not having a ton of people I can run with.) Jessica did 18 miles and I did 20 in 4 hours. I guess I’m kinda ready for Berlin now (and looking at a 5+ hours finish again sadly…)

About the route — one of my favourite local trail is the Mount Vernon Trail but I’d never taken it much further beyond Ronald Reagan National Airport. Last weekend one my insta/strava friend Ned / airbus777 posted his running route from National Harbor back to DC and I was kinda obsessed with doing something similar, though I wasn’t sure about crossing Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge. Ned had actually ubered to National Habor then ran home and I wanted to do it as an out-and-back so I tweaked it accordingly. We ran mostly along the water — and got quite a bit of real estate envy, there are some gorgeous townhouses facing the water! — all the way to Jones Point, south of Old Town Alexandria. Back when D.C. included bits of Virginia, Jones Point was the tip of the federal district and we got to check out the original stone markers that marked its historical boundaries.  There used to be 40 of those stone markers and 36 are still standing, including 2 right by my office in Friendship Heights. I actually totally want to run my way to more of them now!

Bilan de la semaine/mois: I did everything I set out to accomplish and felt much better checking off items on my training plan than I did the week better. I ran a total of 81.1km/50 miles (up from 62.4km/38.7 miles the week better) and took one spin class for cross training. I’m feeling a lot better going into taper and Berlin! 

What I’m watching/reading/listening to:  So I actually really enjoyed doing last week and this week’s long run with company BUT making conversation also means not listening to audio books… as a result I don’t have a lot to report on the book front. I did turn on my T.V. to watch Chelsea Handler’s documentary Hello Privilege, It’s Me Chelsea! on Netflix. Like Chelsea, I’ve been on a bit of a journey to understand how I’ve benefited from white privilege and from a system of systemic racism so I can be a better ally to people of color. I still have a long way to go… and I think so does Chelsea Handler… 

What I’m eating/drinking:  

I’m still on a bit of a vegan baking kick and made Chocolate Covered Katie’s pumpkin banana bread ahead of my long run. I had two slices prior to my long run and didn’t feel as hungry as I did the weekend prior. Also, it’s delicious!! Katie runs with pacers Navy Yards sometimes and her blog has gone a long way to make me think than vegan food can be fun and tasty!

What I’m looking forward to on week 16: It’s finally time to slow things down and start tapering!! 

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! 

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 14

Hello September (a.k.a. MARATHON MONTH!!) Here’s how the first week of fall went (yes, there was pumpkin spice involved lol):

MONDAY

Rest day 😴

TUESDAY

Ran 3 miles to Pacers Navy Yards and then ran an additional 5 miles with the group for a total of 12.91 km / 8 miles. It was rough. 

WEDNESDAY

Run-mute down Wisconsin and Massachusetts avenue. I struggled the whole way (when I saw that the Bank of America thermometer at Dupont Circle showed 96 degrees I understood why!) I hated everything about this run, but I got it done which was basically my theme this week. 

THURSDAY

I had a work event at the French Embassy in the evening, so I knew I would miss track AND had to get my run done early. I did 8.5 miles / 13.7 km along parts of the mall and East Potomac Park and hated every minute of it, though it wasn’t as hot at least.

FRIDAY

Since I was having such a hard time with my runs, I thought I could use a little break before tackling longer distances on Saturday and took Christine’s 8AM spin class at Flywheels. I definitely think that was a good call! In the evening, I had a quiet dinner with Calla at Nicolette Italian Kitchen, a new(ish) Italian restaurant close to my place so I could be all carbed up and well rested before my long run in the morning!

SATURDAY

I decided to join the November Project DC’s Long Run Crew for the first time and that was such a good decision.

The route was a bit weird, two 8 mile loops, one pretty straightforward going around the capitol, along the mall to the Lincoln Memorial, up Rock Creek park until Pennsylvania Avenue then down K street and Massachusetts avenue back to Union Station (that loop meant I was able to stop home for my bathroom break!!). The second had us go to the Arboretum and then run around there for however much we needed before ending at Union Market for some post run treats.

It *never* happens to me, but I had people to run with!! Manuela, who planned the route, and Ari who is training for the Marine Corps Marathon, both ran at my pace. We lost Manuela at the Arboretum but Ari and I ran the whole 17 miles together which was awesome.

It forced me to push myself, not give up and take walk breaks, make small talk… I should clearly do this more often 😉

SUNDAY

Rest(ish) day. Corey and I ended up walking 10 miles that day… 3 in the morning walking his dog Stout, then almost 5 miles shadowing the GO Ruck light 911 commemorative work out around the Pentagon. And then a few more along the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria.

I kinda wish I could have done a bit of a shake out run, but it was a fun day (though deceivingly hot!)

Bilan de la semaine/mois: I started the week feeling so sluggish, dragging through my runs but ended on a solid note with a great long run (stats for the week: 62.4km/38.7 miles)! I’m feeling pretty good going into peak training week! Though I’m a little worried about that 20 miler!

What I’m watching/reading/listening to:  I finished Modern Lovers (I was doing this one half on my kindle, half on audiobook) during my 8 miles run on Thursday and I don’t really have another audio book queued up… since I had someone to talk to during my long run on Sunday, that was fine, but now i *need* to figure out a new read before all my runs this week…. help!

What I’m eating/drinking:  First pumpkin drink of the season! I tried Starbucks®’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew now that it’s September and I can do fall things. It was ok… at 250 calories a grande, I won’t be making this indulgence a regular habit.

What I’m looking forward to on week 15: Peak week!! Last week, I only did one of the two 5 miler I was supposed to do so this week, I am doing all 4 of my runs (2 x 8 miles, 2 x 5 miles), track + my 20 miles long run. Taper is just around the corner, I just gotta push it through one more week of increase! Wish me luck! 

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!