2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 4

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

MONDAY

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

TUESDAY

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

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

WEDNESDAY

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

THURSDAY

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

 

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

FRIDAY

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

SATURDAY

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

SUNDAY

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

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

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

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

And nuun tablets and gu during my runs 😉

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

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 3

This is it! The 2019 Berlin Marathon is now officially LESS than 100 days away. Sh*t’s getting real y’all 😉

MONDAY

I’ve been working pretty much every Monday nights lately so I haven’t been able to make it to Pacers 14th Street runs 😦 It was good being back though it was hot and muggy (so your typical stormy summer evening in DC) and the run itself was pretty gross. 3 miles was good enough.

TUESDAY

Last BodyPump class at Gold’s Gym on 19th and L 😦 I met up with my friend Madalene who works nearby for coffee at Gregory’s afterwards. I love the almond berry toast there! 

In the evening, I joined Pacers Navy Yard for a five mile loop and ended up doing 9km with Ian and Aaron. I rarely have peeps running at my pace for longer distances and they were game to keep going despite the pouring rain. The rain wasn’t entirely unwelcome since it made for cooler running weather.

WEDNESDAY

Another day another social run. This time I ran for 🌮s! After a 4 miles loop in loaner Hokas, we headed to Chaia Taco. I had the spicy zucchini and it was yummy !

THURSDAY

Squeezed in my weekly OrangeTheory class at 7:15AM. It was an interesting workout with lots of rowing but I only got 7 splat points 😭 My legs felt pretty tight on the treadmill though. I then headed into work for a half day before getting on the train for Connecticut. One of my reading goals this year was to read more books by international authors (ie.: not Americans) especially French writers. I figured since I was going to a French speaking city, I should bring some French books along so I read a chunk of Ta Deuxième Vie Commence Quand Tu Réalises Que tu n’en as Qu’Une which I had started back in January but never finished.

FRIDAY

Travel day –> rest day! Elena and I drove up to Montreal from New Haven, CT. We made a couple of stops along the way, including… After checking into our AirBnB on the plateau and meeting up with Sara, we had dinner at Liverpool, the easier-to-get-reservations-to restaurant from the team behind Joe Beef. Duck should always come with a thick slice of foie gras on top of it !!

SATURDAY

First run in Montreal! I didn’t venture too far and did 7km around Parc Lafontaine. The temperatures are so much cooler in Montreal, sooooo much more pleasant for runs!

SUNDAY

For Sunday (long) run day, I really wanted to run the Lachine Canal so I did and bonus my friend Sonia who lives in Atwater joined for parts of the run which was super fun!

I ended my 18.5km / 11.5 miles long run in Westmount where I met up with my college friend Brett and his daughter.

Bilan de la semaine:  I did it! I ran 5 times this week!! Total mileage was 49.5 km/ 30.75 miles, (being 500 meters short of 50km is KILLING me!) at the bottom end of the recommended 30-50 miles you should be running per week during marathon training but within the margin at least….. And I did some decent cross training with BodyPump AND OrangeTheory all while traveling so I’ll call that a successful week!! 

What I’m reading/listening to: This week’s getting to know Dems had me listen to Off the Sidelines by Kirsten Gillibrand (got through 3 chapters during my runs). And I *finally* finished Ta Deuxième Vie, which I had started back in January but never got into.

What I’m eating/drinking: I’ll write a more detailed post on all the Montreal yumminess.  On Wednesday I attended a seminar and tasting focusing on Beaujolais wines. I had never had white wine from the region and my mind was kinda blown 🤯

What I’m looking forward to on week 4: Corey’s back! Also, my Thursday track sessions return on Thursday and I’m weirdly really looking forward to running around in circles at Wilson High school again! 

My Summer Running Plans

For the first time in a while, I don’t really have anything to answer when people ask me  when my next race is. My next race is Berlin. That’s in 15 weeks. Until then I’m just training and settling into a routine of workouts, tracks and long runs. Feels a bit weird 😉

Since we’re almost half-way through the year, it seems like a good time to look back at my running goals for 2019 and see what I have left to accomplish. One of the items I was able to cross off recently was running my first trail race. My friend Caitlin and I ran the Rockwod Ramble 10K in Rockefeller State Park. It was probably one of the smaller races I’ve ever participated in and one of the hilliest (though I think Paris-Versailles and its Côte des Gardes was still worse!) but it was super fun and not too too far from New York City.

I definitely want to do more trail running in general, though it’s always difficult since I’m a transportation challenged city-girl (ie I don’t have a car). 

I cheered other racers at the Rock’n’Roll half and full marathon back in March and volunteered at the expo for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler so I can technically cross off that item.

I’m looking forward to doing some more cheering at the end of October since Caitlin and basically every other runner I know will be running the Marine Corps Marathon (pretty sure some version of the “Pain is just Bread fr Pain” sign will be involved again!). Unfortunately I don’t think I can commit to volunteering at that one since I do want to be there for Caitlin and cheer her on at a couple of spots along the course and at the end but I’m going to see if I can volunteer at some smaller races here and there… 

Completing on the Abbott World Marathon Majors and running a marathon under 5 hours will have to wait until this fall. I have two opportunities to cross that one off since I’m running Berlin and Chicago but I just have to make it to those starting lines injury free first. And as I ramp up marathon training for these races, I’m well on my way to achieving my “run 1000 miles” goal. I’m currently a little over 700 kilometer (430 miles) in so I’m getting close to the halfway point. However I’m not doing great on running a Ragnar Relay. Corey is currently signed up for the Ragnar Trail Vermont mid-August and has extra spots on his team but the timing isn’t ideal for me and the trails may be a little over my abilities since I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve ran trails.  I may settle on getting a team together for the Washington DC Growler Relay on September 7th. Most legs are 6-7 miles, the race takes place over one morning and I would only have to travel to Reston so it wouldn’t be too disruptive to my marathon training while still giving me a taste of that team-in-a-van running thing. And that brings to one of my first goals for running this year: having fun, enjoying running and making some running friends! I participate in a lot of group runs because it just make running seem more social but I still struggle to go beyond having running acquaintances from the running groups. I hate being an introvert sometimes 😉 I also hate that I run so slow and can’t seem to get over feeling so self-conscious about it. I feel like I can’t really ask people to run with me because everyone is so much faster… 

So that’s where I stand with running right now… just settling into a marathon training routine for the summer months, hopefully running my first relay race in September (and then back to back marathons!) and trying to get over being shy, awkward and self-conscious and make deeper connections with local runners. 

What are your summer running plans?

ps: this is my first time doing a link-up post! I recently started following Kooky Runner, read her summer running plans post (she’s also running Chicago and just in the same holding/training pattern as me right now) and thought it’d be fun to participate in the Link-up  post she does with Zenaida.

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 2

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

MONDAY

Rest day!  

TUESDAY

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

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

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

WEDNESDAY

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

THURSDAY

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

FRIDAY

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

SATURDAY

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

SUNDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 Berlin Marathon Training: Week 1

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

MONDAY

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

TUESDAY

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

WEDNESDAY

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

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

THURSDAY

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

FRIDAY

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

SATURDAY

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

SUNDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, Look, a Race! My 2019 Race Schedule

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

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

FEBRUARY

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

MARCH

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

APRIL

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

JUNE

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

SEPTEMBER

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

OCTOBER

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

DECEMBER

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

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

My Running Goals For 2019

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

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

1. Make Running a Regular, Consistent Habit

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

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

3. Run at least 1000 miles (1609 kilometers)

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

4. Participate in a Ragnar Relay

They look so much fun. I really wanna! 

5. Cheer on Others and Volunteer with a Local Race

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

6. Complete one of the Abbott World Marathon Majors

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

7. Finish a Marathon in less than 5 hours

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

8. Stop Being Afraid of My Foam Roller

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

9. Do a Running Streak

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

10. Run my First Trail Race 

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

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

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

Race Recap: A Marathon Like Weekend for the Navy-Air Force Half

When I signed up for the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon back in February, I had no idea that two things would happen: first that my friend Cecile would get engaged and then that my friend Bianca would get pregnant. I mean, I was hoping these two things would happen at some point, don’t get me wrong. I’m talking more about the timing. Cecile is getting married in October and had her bachelorette party Saturday night and Bianca is due also in October and her baby shower was planned for Sunday afternoon. And somewhere in the middle of this celebration filled weekend, I had to run 13.1 miles 😉 

Busy weekend means I got my bib pick-up out of the way as early as I could. The expo at Stadium Armory was pretty small and not very exciting, though I still managed to spend close to $100 there.

Cecile’s bachelorette party kicked off with a rosé happy hour in the party room of her building, followed by diner. Luckily diner was at Osteria Morini, an Italian restaurant at Navy Yard, so I was able to get a generous plate of pasta. I tried to keep my wine consumption down (easier said than done) and skipped out on the earlier side to try and get a decent night rest. Mission semi-successful as I still went to bed a little later and drunker than I had planned….

On race day I woke up at 5:30AM so I could eat a proper breakfast (Kodiak cake’s flapjack cup blueberry and maple as well as a small cup of coffee — I needed it!) One of my favourite thing about D.C. races is that I can typically walk to the start from my place. I basically never check out bags so I didn’t feel the need to head out until 6:25AM. I met up with Lien James, who is a bit of a Marine Corps marathon celebrity having ran it 16th time (she’s 67 and so inspiring… she’s ran 122 marathon already!) and a few other girls at the Willard and we walked to the start together with just enough time to snap a few pictures!

I was in the second wave, of course, because I’m such a slow runner. I was looking forward to running this race because the course is basically the same as the National Women’s Half Marathon which I ran back in April: Hains Point then Rock Creek Parkway… it did have a MUCH better start line though (National Monument vs MLK memorial!). But it’s a pretty boring if standard course through some unexciting parts of the city, routes I’m pretty familiar with by now since I’ve been clocking some 12+ miles run for the last month and half. Like the Women’s Half, this race wasn’t well-attended by spectators and there’s nothing to distract you (sorry, East Potomac Golf Course). I’ve been training so much since June, religiously attending track sessions on Thursday and putting in the work on Sundays for my long runs. So you can imagine my disappointment when I crossed the finish line at 2:38, 14 minutes above my Brooklyn Half PR (recap here) and just 3 minutes faster than both the Women’s Half, a race I absolutely did not enjoy (recap here) and the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon, a race where I walk most of the course because I was dying of heat. It’s also just 6 minutes faster than the Rock’n’Roll half in 2013, which was my first marathon ever and for which I had barely trained. I’m basically crushed to see that I’ve made no progress whatsoever, which isn’t how I want to feel 40 days before my first marathon. 

I couldn’t linger too much on these feelings, or at the finish line, because I had a baby shower to go to.  After a quick shower and a recovery snack, it was time to head out to Southwest to help set up the event (did I mention I was one of the host?) It was lovely toasting Baby B’s upcoming arrival into the world with so many of Bianca and Branden’s friends (and my first time attending a co-ed shower, which was interesting.) Her friend Frida did such a wonderful job with all the food and the cake. I was SO hungry! 

Needless to say, I was pretty wiped at the end of the day/weekend. I know I “only” ran 13.1 miles but it definitely felt like a marathon weekend. The worst part though is that creeping self-doubt I just can’t shake off right now. I can barely handle a half-marathon, how am I supposed to run twice as much? Maybe I should have focused on becoming a stronger/faster runner before biting more than I can chew. I know they say for your first marathon your goal should just be to finish, but I know that’s not going to be good enough for me. And if I’m not going to feel good about myself at the end of the race, should I really be running it at all? I have about 48 hours to decide if I transfer my Marine Corps Marathon bib or not, which is basically choosing between two different ways to fail: I can try and fail or I can fail by not trying. I lose either way. Whichever I decide, I’m off to Paris on Friday and I’m just really looking forward to the break. 

 

Marathon Training: I went on my First “Run-Mute”

I’ve always had a fairly active social life but knew I would have to kiss it goodbye as I started training to run my first marathon. These days, I’m in bed by 10PM (at the very latest!) on Saturday nights so that I can lace up my tennis shoes at six the next morning. I turn down anything scheduled for Thursdays because that’s track night. Monday evenings are Pacers group run. Weekday mornings are for Cyclebar and Bodypump classes. With three weeks until the Navy-Air Force half marathon and two months until Marine Corps, I’m basically no fun at this point (unless you find running fun, then I’m a hoot!). So when my friend Bianca suggested we catch up over diner at the new Lupo Marino at the Wharf Tuesday night, I had to make a decision. I knew I couldn’t run Wednesday night since I had a going away party at the French Embassy (I also really wanted to take Haley’s 7AM class at Cyclebar that morning) so I *had* to squeeze in a run Tuesday at some point. Since I still struggle wit weekday morning runs, I decided I would try to run-mute (run+commute) home so I could do it all 😉

My office is around 6 miles away from where I live, a straight shot on the red line that takes me about 30 minutes per way. It’s actually a pretty good distance to run and fairly easy on Wisconsin and Massachusetts avenue so armed with my brand new Women’s Nathan Intensity Hydration Vest (which I absolutely love!) I decided to give this run-mute thing a try! My starting point: the Chevy Chase Pavilion in Friendship Heights:

Of course, in hindsight, I should probably not have picked 4:30PM on one of the hottest days of the year to set out on this mini adventure. The first two miles were pretty awful, as there was barely any shade at all going down Wisconsin towards the National Cathedral. 

Mile two of my runmute: the beautiful National Cathedral.

After the National Cathedral, I took a turn left on Massachusetts Avenue for a more shaded and quite pretty segment of the run. All the embassies provided a welcome visual distraction … and it was kinda fun seeing everyone else stuck in traffic. But still, yeah, it was hot. 

Made it to 5K! What up Churchill?

I continued sweating my way down embassy row until Dupont Circle. I was bummed the fountain was completely dry because I would have really loved to jump in 😉  

Almost at mile 5: would have loved to take a refreshing dip in the fountain!

The final stretch down Mass finally brought me home in 1 hour and 23 minutes for a pace of 8:32/km, definitely one of my slowest runs but it was SO hot.

Mile 6! I’s so sweaty and gross and I kinda want to die, but I made it 😉

Seriously the Dupont Circle temperature clock was showing 101 degrees!

Starbucks is selling PSL already… can we start having some fall temperatures please?

Occasionally, it’s definitely taking me longer to metro to work so I don’t think it was that bad and I definitely will do it again soon. Of course, a run-mute home takes a little less prep than a run-mute to work (and I do have a shower in my office building so I’m not ruling out giving it a try at some point). The 2 main things to prepare for are:

  • Your route: map it out in advance so you know exactly where to go and how many miles you’ll be able to cover. I typically count my runs in kilometer but the easiest route home was 6 miles or 9.7 kilometers down two large avenues with ample sidewalk space so I went with the miles.  I’m already plotting how I can take a slightly different route down Rock Creek Park next time! 
  • Your backpack: after wasting $ on cheap hydration packs from Amazon (they kept leaking after 2 or 3 uses!) I finally splurged on a $100 women specific pack from Nathan’s. I absolutely love it but the zippered rear compartments to organize additional items are on the small size so I had to be smart about packing very light that day. I brought my running clothes in a separate bag and abandoned my work clothes at the office to bring home the next day so I could run as lightly as possible. I didn’t bring a book to work or anything that day… I kept it to a minimum even stripping my wallet down to just what I needed for the day (and packing those in a small ziplock!)

After a quick shower, I ubered down to the Wharf to meet Bianca and definitely felt I had earned my pizza (I had the Calabrese with anchovies… it could have had more anchovies. I love anchovies!)! And it was so nice to have a social evening without feeling guilty that I’d skipped a run. On the downside, I basically went to bed the second I got home and my place is still a mess from Diner en Blanc Saturday. But I was so tired 😉