Learning to Celebrate the Small Running Victories

Last week felt meh but this week was a good one so let’s dive right into it!

  • Monday: I went back to Pacers’ 5 miles group and while I was still the slowest runner, the run felt easier. Maybe it was the shoes! I ran on a loaned pair of On Running Cloud X and they felt great! I’m still in the market for a “good” pair of running shoes and love it when reps come and let us test out different pairs for runs. The Cloud X is definitely a contender, though I still want to try out a few more.
  • Tuesday: I went to Cyclebar in the morning.
  • Wednesday: Since I was invited to preview Drink Companys latest spring pop-up bar, honoring the city’s iconic cherry blossoms, I had kind of written off Wednesday as a potentially rest day. But in a move that rather surprised me, I couldn’t wait to get out of there and go for run! So I only had a few sips of some of the cocktails, took tons of pictures, and headed out for a solo run on the mall. I have really struggled with running outside of a group setting but this run felt good. I think that in addition to some me-time to clear my head of negative thoughts, a part of me was motivated to get in one last February run so I could add a few kilometers to my monthly “mileage” as well 😉 I wrapped up the month with 92 kilometers, which may not seem like a lot, and is short of the 100 km I was aiming for, but is still 3x more than what I ran back in January. I’m really trying to focus on that small victory and not the falling short part!
  • Thursday: I went to Cyclebar in the morning. Shane was back, though he was not wearing his fab Golden Girls cropped top this time…
  • Friday: Rest day! 
  • Saturday: I joined Elyse from the Pacers 14th street group for a special Biker Barre class benefiting Girls on the Run — DC, a fantastic running non-profit that helps young girls build confidence through accomplishment and encourages them to develop lifelong health and fitness habits. I thought the class was great and definitely want to incorporate more of that type of workout into my weekly routine (after Satellite though!). Afterwards, we headed to Summit to Soul and I dropped some major $ on this fabulous pair of eco-friendly disco camo leggings. They’re so comfortable and already my new favourite!
  • Sunday: Race day!! I skipped my usual training group long run to participate in my first race of 2018: Pacers’ St. Patrick’s Day 10K.  I was expecting the run to feel a lot easier than it did since I’ve been running at least 8 kilometers per run for a few weeks now and long runs of 10 to 11 kilometers. I finished in one hour and 7 minutes, just 2 minutes short of my time at the Marine Corps Marathon 10K back in October (race recap here). I’ll be honest, I felt a little defeated, like all I had to show for four months of running was two minutes. But as my friend Madalene  (check out her awesome blog Musings of Ms. X!) pointed out, that’s still a PR and I should still feel proud of myself.Easier said than done of course but I still have a few weeks before the Cherry Blossom 10 miler to train so I that can put myself in a position to feel good at the end of *that* race.

The next two weeks, though, are going to be tough. I think I already mentioned that I am running the Rock’n’Roll half marathon here in D.C. next weekend. This will mean missing my Sunday long run with my Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Potomac River Running Training program group. Instead, I will treat that run, for which I am grossly under prepared, as a training run. I should be running 8-9 miles as part of my training and that is what I will strive to do, walking the rest of needed (especially that incline in Rock Creek Park!) After that race, I am very unlikely to have any time as all to run or even go to Cyclebar. Satellite 2018 will pretty much suck up all of my time. But I’ll deal with that next week. For now, I’m mostly sticking with my usual routine with a few edits. I’ll be running with Pacers tonight and doing a fun run with Medstar Sports Medicine on Tuesday (you can still sign up here) followed by sessions on hydration during running, nutrition and other fun topics. Wednesday and Thursday will be cyclebar and then rest day before race day.

Do you have any tips for carving out time to work out when your work schedule is just absolutely nuts (during a big conference in my case…)? Send them my way please 😉 

 

Running (Slowly) with the Marines: MCM 10K Recap

The Marine Corps Marathon is a huge running event, with thousands of runners from all over the country coming to DC to run with the Marines. Since I’m a long way from being ready to run my first marathon, I decided to sign up for its little sister event: the Marine Corps Marathon 10K. I figured after the Disneyland Paris half marathon a few weeks before, 10 kilometers would be a breeze. I had a simple goal going into the race: to run a faster 10K than my previous one, the Capitol Hill Classic. Since it took me an hour and sixteen minutes to complete that course back in May, I also added a stretch goal of finishing closer to the 1 hour mark this time.

How did I do? Well, by the first kilometer I knew that stretch goal would be impossible to achieve and I even questioned whether I’d even make my goal… or complete the whole run! My legs were so heavy and so tight from the beginning on and, more worrisome, I had a nagging pain in the back of my left knee. I considered that I might have to walk the whole course… except walking hurt just as much as running 😦 The pain in the back of my knee actually went away so I decided to keep running, slowly, with a few walk breaks every mile. That got me to the finish line in 1:09. Technically, I made my goal though I was really hoping to do better and it’s hard to feel satisfied with the run. I guess I have a hard time celebrating little victories 😉

Despite that, I loved running this 10K and I had an absolute fantastic day. First of all, the weather was gorgeous! I know it sucked for those running the full marathon… but it was a perfect for a 10K! I had initially planned to meet a few people from the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K Club facebook group for a photo opp by the Capitol reflecting pool but the location was changed at the last minute so I ended up just snapping one sola.

The picture turned out great, though I was looking forward to meeting some of the people from the group IRL. I don’t have a ton of runner friends yet, well at least not ones that are just starting to run like I am…  My friend David who was staying with me for the weekend walked me to the security point (gotta love a race with a start line 10 blocks from your apartment!) and then I joined the other runners for the pre-race celebrations. We started 10 minutes later than we were supposed to and by 8:10am I was off running on the National Mall. I was doing a great job keeping up with everyone around me… but as I mentioned, I was in pain. Unlike the Marine Corps Marathon which draws so many spectators, there are not a ton of people lining the course for the 10K. I could have used a little bit of cheering early on! I did love seeing the Batala ladies right before the 14th street bridge. They rock for being there for us so early! 

The 14th street bridge is notorious for being one of the hardest part of the course for those running the full marathon. It’s slightly uphill, long and there are no spectators to cheer the runners on. It’s also typically around mile 18-20 when  they’re really starting to feel tired. But for the 10K it comes at just the 2 miles mark so it’s not so bad. I did slow down a bit though, especially since my legs really hurt. After that, the race takes us to Crystal City and the course’s only water station. I definitely could have used one more somewhere in there because it was quite warm. I could tell early on from my time (4.3 kilometers at the 30 minute miles and a 6:58/km average pace) that I wouldn’t hit my goal and that I would probably get a worse time than I had back in May. I was so discouraged I felt like walking the rest of the course but then I received a very well timed text message from my friend Emily who had just ran the Navy 10 miler the weekend before. 

So rather than give up, I picked up my pace. I went down to 6:30/km (6:26/km at K6, 6:38/km at K7 and 6:27/km at K8) from 7:03/km at K4 and 7:09/km at K5. I walked a little bit when we got near the Pentagon which brought my pace back to 7:17/km for K9 but finished strong (for me!) at 6:36/km at K10. The finish line of the MCM 10k is the same as the full marathon  and while it was still early, there were already a lot of people cheering, which was definitely something that was missing from the rest of the course.  That was great! Of course, the finish line by Iwo Jima is notorious for being super steep and that was rough! But I kept running because at this point there are a lot of spectators (and Marines!) cheering so walking isn’t an option, especially so close to the end and with so many people watching. I spotted my friend David (good thing he’s SO tall) though he clearly completely missed me 😉 I cannot imagine doing that finish after having run 26 miles… I’m really in awe of everyone that runs the full course!

Once you’re done, there are tons of Marines congratulating, high five-ing you and fist bumping you and you get your medal from a Marine too. The atmosphere at the finish line was great, though it was a bit of a bummer to see the Iwo Jima memorial covered in scaffolding. I snapped a few souvenir pics then had the nice surprise of seeing my friends Nicole and Calla who had come to cheer me on, though clearly thought I’m a much much slower runner than I actually am because they completely missed me at Crystal City. That’s too bad, because it’s such a nice boost to see a familiar face when you’re running but I was still SO happy to see them at the end. 

David, Calla and I actually headed back to Crystal City to cheer on the runners in the marathon. We got there by the time the 3:15/miles pacers were arriving and stayed through to the 5/miles pacers. I was trying to spot two of my friends who were running but failed miserably. I did spot Elyse from the 14th street Pacers store looking strong on the course! After that, it was time for a little celebrating! I love that it was still rosé on the roof weather at the end of October! 

While I had a great day, I can’t help but not feel satisfied with the race. Running is part mental part physical, and I clearly still need to work on both, train more and push myself to accomplish the goals I set for myself. Of course, I don’t want to end this year on a sour running note, so I did the only thing one can do in this situation: I signed up for another race! I’ll be running Pacers’ Jingle All the Way 15K on December 10th, which will force me to keep running, even as the weather gets colder. I can’t wait to prove to myself that I can do better! Also, how much fun is planning a cute Christmas running outfit going to be? And the snowman medal is adorable. Can’t wait to add it to my (small) collection! 

Anyone else race this weekend? How did it go?