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: 


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!


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.


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:



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!


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. 


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.


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


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.


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.


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:


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


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


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.


Travel day !


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 😉


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.


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:


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.


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


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!


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.


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.


Rest day.


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:


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.


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


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 😉  


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.


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. 


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.


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):


Rest day 😴


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. 


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. 


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.


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!


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 😉


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! 

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 13

So Berlin is less than 30 days away now. Can I freak out now??


Rest day.


Double work out day! I kicked off the day at Cyclebar NoMa with a spin class and ended with an 8.41km/5.2 miles run with Pacers Navy Yards.

I should have cut it at 6.5 km/4 miles but we were running the Brooks Best Fest DC segment again and I just didn’t have it in me to make it a 6 miler… 


Yoga on the run is one of my favourite local run here in D.C. We start at Summit to Soul on Capitol Hill and run to East Side Yoga for a 20 minute stretch session. And then we run back.

I *really* needed the stretch, I felt super tight. I actually ran to Summit to Soul as well for a few extra miles, rounding it up at 6.6km/4.1 miles.


Made my “triumphant” return to track. We ran 1000m’s so it was a tough workout! I did 5 rounds + warm up and cool down for a total of 6.2km. And didn’t get hit by a football or kicked by a cheerleader. Major victory !


Is Friday runmute becoming a thing for me? I ran home from work down Reno Avenue (where I am reminded that I am poor by all the glorious mansions and fancy houses) and Rock Creek Park (6 miles/9.6 km). It was 90 degrees. It was miserable. Once I got to 6 miles and not one feet more I jumped in the circulator. I didn’t have anymore miles in me 😦


I spent the night in Crystal City. Corey had his own trail run that morning and I wanted to go to the National Book Festival so I ran home from his place (7 miles/11.3 km). I love the Mount Vernon Trail and bumped into a bunch of fellow runners, which was fun. I had *just* enough time to grab a Call Your Mother bagel from the farmers’ market, shower and find a seat in the Rebecca Makai presentation! It was a beautiful afternoon, so after that it was pool and reading time!


LONG RUN I’m trying to be mindful about not increasing my mileage too much so I did 15 miles / 24.4 km for my long run. It was not an easy run and I took lots of small walk breaks. But it was my longest run so far this year and I got it done!

Bilan de la semaine/mois: Solid week (66.5 km/ 41 miles — up from 55 km / 34 miles last week) though my legs definitely feel tired. I wrapped up August at 144.3 km /89.6 miles, which isn’t bad given how much of it I sat out but is still not where I should have been at this time in my marathon training.

What I’m watching/reading/listening to:  I have not turned on my television in sooo long 😉 But I have been reading. This week I went through 4 books pretty quickly: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by maria Semple (SO fun!), Wish You The Best by Mason Deaver (a YA book about a non-binary teen) and Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America by Alissa Quart (<– that book was an interesting complement to maid and A Fighting Chance though it definitely left me feeling gloomy) and White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for white People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo.

Squeezed and White Fragility were audiobooks. More running means more time to listen to more audiobooks 😉 

What I’m eating/drinking:  So I’m really trying to nail down my pre-marathon breakfast, especially since I’ll be traveling and staying at a hotel in a foreign country where I may or may not have access to a fridge/microwave. Before Sunday’s run I had a buttermilk and maple flapjack cup by Kodiak (my go-to pre race) and a banana. I was starving mid-way. So I’ll be trying something different this week…

On Sunday, Calla and I went to an apple festival at Great Country Farm. It was fun but a little too kid-focused. There was a brand new brewery across the road though, Dirt Farm Brewery, so we checked that out. The views were fabulous, but the beers just ok. We stopped by B Chord Brewing Company as well. The drinks, pictured above, were MUCH better!! 

What I’m looking forward to on week 14: I’ll be increasing my week day distances: 1×5 miles and 2×8 miles with a 17-18 miles long run on the weekend.  I’ll be trying to do my long run on Saturday for a change and so I will only be able to do 3 runs during the week, which is ok I think, I’ll still end the week at 38-39 miles and hopefully be better rested for a full last week of training (then tapper!!!) 

I posted this recap a bit late, so I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down, but you still check out their posts and everyone else’s! Have a great week!

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 12

Week 12 of my 18 weeks training plan… and 1 of my “cramming for Berlin in 6 weeks” new plan! Here’s how it went:


My friend Rico had his annual BBQ Sunday afternoon. He’s in the business of making people drink (at Tiki TNT & Potomac Distilling Company right now). Most of his friends work in the industry. I had a lot of fun. Most of them have Monday off… and yeah, Monday was an unplanned rest day for me 😉


Back to the plan! Since I had skipped Monday I thought I’d do the 6 miles run instead of the 4 miles run to kick off the week. I tried to run the “Brooks Best Fest DC” segment, a 0.8km segment of National Mall that earns you a special badge and “World’s Best Runner” mug, but failed. I still had a good, if slow, 10.4km run. It was soooooo hot though, but it was good to get back out there.


I did the “Brooks Best Fest DC” segment right this time during my 6.6km run. In addition to earning a cool mug, this training run helped me reach a milestone: I have run 1000km to date in 2019. 619 to go to reach my 1000 miles in 2019 goal!! 


Last week I was all about the running group to remind myself that running is fun as I was getting back into it. This week I wanted to focus on me and what I needed to do, without stressing out about being slow and running so far behind everyone. Also, it was really hot in DC and most groups meet after work when it’s super hot… and I thought morning runs would be better at this point. I slept terribly Wednesday night, so I didn’t feel like running in the morning and set out on my own around 6PM instead. I looped around the capitol, decided to go down towards Navy Yards and along the water to the Wharf. My plan was to make my way back home via the Mall but I bumped into the group from Pacers Navy Yards at the Fish Market and so I ended up running back to the store with Ian. That meant my run was a little short at 9.6km / 5.96 miles. But it was nice chatting with everyone at Bluejacket afterwards though…


So back a few months ago, I signed up for the Lululemon Seawheeze Virtual Half Marathon. It was $25 and you got a medal and I figured I’d be running over 21.1km during that time frame anyway. Well, fast forward to me not really being able to run for the past 5 weeks and suddenly running a half marathon felt like a bit of an insurmountable chore. But I was determined to do it, even if I walked a bit of it. Since I had a busy weekend ahead, I decided to do it (and my long run for the week) as a run commute. I thought it might be too hot at 4PM but it was actually kinda cold and if it weren’t for the pouring rain at time it would have been perfect running weather. It wasn’t pretty… but I got it done (and a lot of A Fighting Chance while I was at it!)


12 Stories, the newest addition to the bar scene at the Wharf, teamed up with its namaste-loving neighbor, Yoga Factory, for a free rooftop yoga class. After my long run the day before, it was JUST what I needed… and the nearly 360-degree view of the Potomac and the Washington skyline are just stunning. I absolutely will have to come back for a drink soon (maybe after marathon training lol)!

Saturday night, of course, was the annual Diner en Blanc. After last year’s disappointing event at Nats Stadium, the 2019 edition — back on Pennsylvania Avenue but near Freedom Plaza this time — was everything DeB is supposed to be and I had so much fun! 

Photo credit: Eric Vitale Photography. I’m in there somewhere lol


LONG RUN RECOVERY SUNDAY I really wish this could have been a rest day, but since I already took Monday off, I had to get a run in. Managed a slow 6.9km to round up the week at 55 kilometers!

Bilan de la semaine: Finally! A good week. I stuck to my plan: 2 x 4 miles, 2 x 6 miles and a long run of 12+ kilometers for a total of 55 kilometers / 34 miles. I took a yoga class.  And most importantly: I felt good throughout the whole week. Of course, I’m taking it pretty easy, running slow(er than usual). But I’m running and getting it done!

What I’m watching/reading/listening to:  I finished two books this week: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai and Elizabeth Warren’s A Fighting Chance, which I listened to on Overdrive during many of my run.

I don’t know if this reflects personal preferences at this point, but most of the other candidates’ books felt like chores I had to force myself to get through and this one was almost a page turner. Going to take a bit of a break from the political books and then tackle Bernie Sanders. Can’t wait to have him scream in my ears 😉

What I’m eating/drinking:  Calla and I wrapped up the weekend at Anju, which was having a preview event before its official opening. I love trying all the Korean food. The restaurant (in the former Mandu space) is SO inviting. I loved the Yukhoe (I love me some raw meat!) and the mandus, which were completely different from the ones from Mandu. 

What I’m looking forward to on week 13: More of the same really, and more painfree running. I’ll be sticking with the same distances during the week (2x4miles and 2×6 miles) and hopefully a 15 miles long run. I didn’t do much cross training this week, focusing on getting back into running instead, so I’m definitely looking forward to some spin class and maybe an Orange Theory class next week.

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

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 11

This week was my last week of “run to recovery” progression runs. Here’s how it went:


I’m only supposed to run 30 minutes at a time as part of my run-to-recovery progression but I’ve been doing a little more lately, basically rounding up the mileage to 5K. Monday morning I ran exactly 5K alternating 1 minute walk with 4 minute jog. I must say I wasn’t a fan of being back in the D.C. humidity! 


It was an Avicii vs Little Mix themed class at Cyclebar and though I have no idea who Little Mix is, I took the class because I was still on a high from Saturday’s awesome 2000s themed class and Shane is my favourite instructor anyway. It was definitely a great class, though I finished in the middle of the pack, as I usually do, this time. 

In the evening, it was Shack and Track with Pacers! I did 2.2 km (a little over a mile) with Elyse, stopping only at traffic signs. It was hot and humid but this is always a super fun group run!


My grand return to run clubs continued today with Summit to Soul’s Hill Runners. I stayed mostly in the back of the pack, running 4:30 minutes and walking 30 seconds. How I missed those Capitol Hill pics (but not the hills!!).


Another day, another run club, this time Pacers’ Navy Yards which was doing a special event with Vida Fitness that allowed us to go to their pool afterwards. As part of my return to running progression plan, I ran 30 minutes without stopping ( 2.5 miles / 4.1 km) mostly pain free though I feel like my endurance is completely shot at this point. The pool afterwards was super fun.



Fingers crossed, last physical therapy session slash rest day even though it wasn’t entirely a rest day! 


Workouts are better with friends and Saturday it was all about my friend and new mama Bianca! First we took a 60 minute Flywheel City center Class at 9AM.

At 4PM, our friend Brian was teaching his very first class at Bhatki Yoga.

And in the evening, Bianca had a bunch of her girlfriends over for bites and drinks. So yeah, super fun Bianca filled day!


LONG(ISH) RUN SUNDAY Not exactly a long run but I signed up for the Race for the Cure 5K organized by the Four Seasons on September 14th with the Pacers team. Sunday morning, we had a training run, and I actually ran to the Four Seasons to add a little bit of mileage for a total of 7 km / 4 miles which I am counting as run # 1 for week 1 of my new marathon training plan: cramming for Berlin in 6 weeks.

Bilan de la semaine: For my last week of run-to-recovery progression, I ran 23 km/ 14 miles, took two spin classes AND a yoga class.  And I was all about the run groups this week …. it was nice to make my semi triumphant return 😉

What I’m watching/reading/listening to: Former President Barack Obama just shared his summer reading list on Instagram and I happened to be reading one of the books he recommended, Stephanie Land’s maid.  Such a good read, I really found myself rooting for Stephanie and (spoiler alert) I’m so glad she finally got a break, though I know there are many hard-working single moms out there who never do and never get out of this vicious cycle of being a working class poor!

What I’m eating/drinking: I’m still all about the buratta-tomatoes combo! 

What I’m looking forward to on week 12: You know how they have that Couch to 5K program? I actually used it to train for my very first 5K. Well, I’m sort of on a 5K to marathon plan right now… I was a little disappointed that my =PR= DC Distance Training Program coaches were not more helpful in steering me towards a plan to cram for marathon training into 6 weeks. I mostly came up with it on my own with lots of internet research and I really hope it’s good enough. I’m both excited and completely freaked out to get started! And I most likely will not be signing up for this training program in the future ….

Have you ever had to recovery from an injury right before a race like this? I’d love to hear about it (especially all feel good, I did it type of stories!!) and, as usual. I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down. Have a great week!

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:


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 😉 .


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.


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.


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!!)


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.


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.


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!!