2020 Paris Marathon Training: Première Semaine

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

MONDAY

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

TUESDAY

3 easy miles with Pacers Navy Yard. 

WEDNESDAY

Orange Theory Fitness class. 

THURSDAY

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

FRIDAY

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

SATURDAY

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

SUNDAY

Recovery slash eating our way through Charleston day 😉

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Running Goals For 2020

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

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

1. Make Running a Regular, Consistent Habit

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

I’m carrying these two goals over from 2018 and 2019 not because I didn’t accomplish them but because I think they’re great goals to have every year and there’s definitely room for improvement (you can always have more fun right?).  I’ve met a lot of great acquaintances running, but I still don’t really have a core group of running friends I can call on for runs or to travel to races with (well, outside of my bestie Caitlin of course). Being an introvert is tough… and being a slow, self conscious introvert runner is even harder 😉  That being said, I did run a 5K in formation, dressed like a reindeer and pulling Santa and in sleigh in December… so I think I’m on the right track as far as fun and friends is concerned!

3. Run at least 2020 kilometers (1255 miles)

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

4. Participate in a Ragnar Relay

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

5. Cheer on Others and Volunteer with Local Races

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

6. Run my Hometown Marathon

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

7. Finish a Marathon in less than 5 hours

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

8. PR in the Half Marathon Distance

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

9. Go On More Trail Runs

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

10. Be Kinder to Myself and to My Body

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

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

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.

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?

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 😉