2020 Paris Marathon Training: Week Cinq

Officially less than two months away! This week threw a few curve balls by way of some calve pain, rain and special OrangeTheory Fitness classes (a 12 minute benchmark prep class and the 2000m row benchmark.) So I didn’t do as many 5-7 miles run as I would have liked during the week… but I still clocked in at 52km/32 miles or a little more than last week with some shorter runs.  Here is the details: 

MONDAY

I ran to Pacers 14th street than ran 3 miles with the group (well, mostly with my friend Christina) for a total of 9.1km/5.6 miles. The weather was beautiful so we had a huge group!

TUESDAY

After the amazing Superbowl halftime show I could not not take Shane’s J.Lo vs. Shakira spin class at Cyclebar NoMa. It was awesome and I almost cracked the top 10, finishing 11th in the class which never happens to me.

Since it was basically run in t-shirt weather, I also could not not run that evening so I joined Pacers Navy Yard for 3 short miles, followed by a beer at Bluejacket next door. 

WEDNESDAY

I took the 12 minute benchmark prep class at OrangeTheory Fitness Mount Vernon Triangle. My time to beat is 1.2km/0.75 miles from back in September and I’m really hoping to crush it. 

That evening, Corey and I watched The Joker since it has 11 Oscar nominations. 

THURSDAY

Quick turn-around after a 4:30PM OTF class… I was back at 7:15AM the next day to crush that 2000m benchmark row. I beat my previous time by 37 seconds and at 8 minutes and 13 seconds I was the 3rd women in my age group. I guess this is 40 😉  

I had initially planned to take a 6PM yoga class since it looked like it was going to pour rain non-stop for 2 days… but then at 5PM the sky looked pretty clear and I felt like I needed to do a few more miles so I made the last minute decision to head to Pacers Navy Yard. Of course it started pouring rain as soon as we started running. Oh well.

FRIDAY

Rest day. 

SATURDAY

The rain finally stopped, and I joined the November Project Long Run Crew for their Lincoln to Lincoln run. Their route covered 10.5 miles and I had to do 16 so I covered close to 2 running there (my alarm clock didn’t ring so I got a later start than I meant to), then added 3+ miles at the end. Since I’m always slower than everyone that meant I missed coffee at Baked and Wired with the group afterwards. But I made my own fun and stopped at Ladurée for treats instead before taking the circulator back home.  

SUNDAY

Oops. I missed yoga (again). The weather was beautiful, especially after all the rain during the week, so Corey and I met up with two of his friends at Paradise Spring Winery. I had rosé outdoors it was glorious!

What I’m reading/watching/listening to:  I finished The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead and started On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane by Emily Guendelsberger. I have that one both on paper and audio so I’m going back and forth between the two but I mostly love listening to it during my runs. After Joker, I needed something a little lighter so I watched the Taylor Swift documentary on Netflix. You can judge me, but I thought it was quite good! And of course, I watched the Oscars on Sunday (I’m SO thrilled that a non-English language film won for the first time, especially since Parasite is such a good movie) and the Democratic debate on Friday. I mean, what else would I do on a Friday night? 

What I’m eating/drinking:  The owners of Daikaya just opened a new restaurant called Tonari in the former Graffiato space next door. It’s the first restaurant in Washington, D.C. to showcase Japanese-style or ‘Wafu’ pasta and pizza. My friends Kaoru, Cecilia and I went to check it out on opening night and I must say the Uni pasta with soy, mirin, butter, sake, and kombu dashi made for the perfect pre-long-run meal!!

What I’m looking forward to on week 6: More longer runs during the week. Only one OrangeTheory Fitness class and a shorter long run next weekend! I’m excited for next week 😉 Also, I need to make a doctor’s appointment so I can finally submit my medical certificate for the race! 

Back to linking with Kim of Running On The Fly and Deborah of Confessions of a Mother Runner for their weekly wrap-up. Check out everyone’s posts and join the community if you’re blogging about your fitness journey too!!

2020 Paris Marathon Training: Bonjour Février!

Four weeks down, eight more to go! Slowly figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t (ie. taking an OrangeTheory class on Thursday AND Friday AND doing your long run on Saturday is no bueno!) and tweaking my scheduling accordingly. Here’s what last week looked like: 

MONDAY

I took Tammy’s OrangeTheory Fitness class after work. She recently started teaching more 4:30PM classes at Tentleytown and these really work with my schedule. And while I don’t normally love the 3G format, I actually had an awesome class, getting almost half of my points on the rower (I rarely get any points at all on the rower usually !!)

TUESDAY

The fourth Tuesday of the month is neighbourhood Shake Shack night so I ran 5 miles with Pacers Navy Yard (well, with Allison really… we got left behind by all the fast kids pretty quickly lol) before enjoying a glass of rosé on the house at the local Shake Shack.

I’m SO excited that Shake Shack serves rosé now!!

WEDNESDAY

I ran to Summit to Soul, with Summit to Soul’s Hill Runners and then back home from the hill for a total of 11.3km/7 miles.

It was nice to have company for 2 miles.

THURSDAY

I had plans to catch up with my friend Colleen and celebrate my (belated) birthday after work so I took Tammy’s noon class at OrangeTheory Tentleytown. It was a strength day and I pushed myself both on the treadmill and with the weights. I thought I had a pretty awesome class though looking back at the report afterwards I saw that I spent 12 minutes in the grey zone and 14 in blue, which is a little more than I like… 

Dinner afterwards was  super fun. We went to Little Coco’s. They have a $35 salad, pasta and bottomless prosecco deal on Thursdays that’s pretty fabulous. 

FRIDAY

Rest day. 

SATURDAY

Last week’s H Street Runners’ Winter Sunrise Run (and bagels!) was postponed and I was actually excited to have some company on my long run for a change (downside is less audible time though…) so I got up super early to meet up with the group. It was a good 2 miles for me to run to H street then 5 miles to the Lincoln Memorial and 4 back to H Street. Since I had to cover a longer distance, I missed the bagel portion and ran a little more so I could cover my 14 miles.  

There’s such a feeling of accomplishment when it’s 9AM and you’ve tackled your long run. I was pretty lazy after though and binged Next In Fashion for quite a while 😉 

SUNDAY

Apparently there was a big football match going on… but February 2nd is also La Chandeleur ie. the holiday when French people make crêpes!! We had crêpes for breakfast then Corey, Stout and I headed out to Loudon County to visit a few wineries. I did a quick recovery run in the morning, rounding up the week at 55 km / 34.1 miles. Not bad! My January total was 171 km / 106 miles which I’m pretty happy with as well.

In the evening, Calla came over and we made savoury crêpes. We watched I Lost My Body, an animated film from France that is nominated at the Oscars and the Superbowl half time show while drinking cider. Overall, it was the best day!

What I’m reading/watching/listening to:  I finished Red to the Bone, which is good because it was waaaaay overdue at the library (sorry!) and started the Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. I binged all of Next In Fashion on Netflix and watched I Lost My Body and The Irishman.

What I’m eating/drinking:  I had some left over cherry tomato so I whipped out this delicious burst cherry tomato pasta (recipe from Bon Appetit) for lunch on #MeatlessMonday and Tuesday.

And I highly recommend the bottomless processo/pasta/salad deal at Little Coco’s! Obviously, I also had a lot of crêpes 😉 

And like many people, I’ve been trying to cut out dairy from my life, or at least reduce my intake of milk since I’ll never give up cheese and I do like yogurts. This article breaks down the better milk alternative options and explains which are better choices for the planet. Sounds like I need to give oat milk another try… 

What I’m looking forward to on week 5: I’m gonna be switching my schedule around a little bit again this week to accommodate some special OrangeTheory workouts (a prep class for the 12 minute benchmark on Wednesday and the 2000m row benchmark on Thursday.) I still didn’t take any yoga classes this week and that has to change!!

Back to linking with Kim of Running On The Fly and Deborah of Confessions of a Mother Runner for their weekly wrap-up. Check out everyone’s posts and join the community if you’re blogging about your fitness journey too!!

2020 Paris Marathon Training: Week Trois

Oops! Looks like I skipped last week’s recap 😦 I basically was recovering from the Charleston half marathon AND had to take 4 OrangeTheory classes to use up my monthly allotment so it felt like kind of an off week anyway. But I am back on track for week 3 and finally feeling like I found my marathon training groove!!! Now I just have to sustain it for 9 more weeks 🤣

MONDAY

I ended up skipping my long run on Saturday so I got my 10 solo miles done on MLK Monday instead. It was a beautiful, sunny day. But man, it was COLD! And windy. There were very few other runners out it felt a bit lonely. I finished listening to Chanel Miller’s Know My Name while on the run. It’s a great read, but a heavy topic so that didn’t really help lifting my mood…

TUESDAY

I took Shane’s 7AM spin class at Cyclebar NoMa as a recovery ride.

WEDNESDAY

Wednesdays are typically my date night with Corey so I had to be a little creative to get my run in. Before work was NOT happening (I’m slow so I’d have to get up at 5AM to get 6 miles in and still make it to work on time… and it’s just way too dark and cold for that right now!) leaving me with only one option: a run commute! Initially, I wanted to run to REACH at the Kennedy Center to see the Chinese New Years lanterns but I left work a little too late so I had to adjust my plans and ended up metro-ing home from Foggy Bottom after my 6 miles.

THURSDAY

Broke up my run in two: 4.3km during my lunchbreak, on the treadmill at OrangeTheory and 5.8km in the evening with Pacers Navy Yard.

It was Power Day at OrangeTheory 🍊 and since the longest push was 2 minutes and the all-outs just 30 seconds I decided to push myself and it felt awesome. It was also Robin’s first class (she’s one of Corey’s best friends and manages the CorePower studio next door to OrangeTheory Tentleytown) so that made the class extra fun.

In the evening, I (slowly) ran 5.8km with Pacers Navy Yard, with Anna and Allison for the most part, before meeting up with my friends Nicole and Madalene for a special Lunar New Year tasting at Ice Cream Jubilee nearby.

I loved the Red Bean Almond Cookie flavour, and got to take a pint home!

FRIDAY

So Monday-Thursday felt awesome… and I think I should have definitely taken a rest day on Friday or done a yoga class. Instead, I took an Orange Theory Fitness and my body hated me. To make it feel a little better, I had a lovely get together with my friends Kaoru and Cecilia for happy hour at SushiKo after work. I love sushi so much!! 

SATURDAY

I had initially planned to do a part of my 12 mile run with the H Street runners but that plan was pushed to the following week because of the weather. It ended up not actually raining so I headed out for another solo run (well, just me and Amy Klobuchar I guess…). I did bump into Seth from the H Street Runners outside of Georgetown and we ran a mile together (my fastest of the run for sure!) which was nice. Overall, it was a really slow run. My left calf is hurting me a bit and I still have a little bit of pain in my right leg too… but I got it done

At 5PM, I headed to Summit to Soul, a local woman-owned fitness boutique on Capitol Hill for their first book club. We discussed Confessions of an Unlikely Runner by Dana Ayers and it was pretty fun. The author is a local D.C. runner so it was neat reading about routes I’ve done and races I’ve participated in as well. It wasn’t a great work of literature by any means, but definitely a fun, quick read (it’s 150 pages!)

After that, Corey and I grabbed dinner and headed to a friend’s birthday party. I was pretty whipped from the week, so we didn’t linger too long.

SUNDAY

A most glorious and needed rest day!! Corey, Stout and I went to watch the planes take off at Gravelly Point for a bit.

In the afternoon, I went to pick up my first wine of the month order at Gran Cata, a Latin American focused wine shop in Shaw, and had a quiet evening setting things up for the following week.

What I’m reading/listening to:  I finished Chanel Miller’s Know My Name as well as Confessions of an Unlikely Runner by Dana L. Ayers, which we discussed at Summit to Soul’s book club and Amy Klobuchar’s The Senator Next Door, the almost-last installment in my attempt to read all of the democratic candidates’ memoirs. Cannot. Wait. To. Be. Done. With. That. 

I got tons of great books from the library (including Red at the Bone and The Water Dancer) so I’m looking forward to a good week of reading! 

What I’m eating/drinking: Nothing too exciting to report here this week so I’ll just leave you with this picture from sushi happy hour at SushiKo.  

What I’m looking forward to on week 4: Another week like week 3 would be great, perhaps with a little more yoga. My legs feel a bit sore and tight. I’m still trying to sort out my schedule and find a good decent work-life-marathon training balance, which is really hard (and is going to get harder as training ramps up, I know!) Has anyone here found the magic formula??

It’s been a while but now that I’m writing again, I’ll be back to linking with Kim of Running On The Fly and Deborah of Confessions of a Mother Runner for their weekly wrap-up. Anyone else getting started with their Spring marathon training??

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. 

Where should I run my first marathon?

I loved running the Marine Corp Marathon 10K but if I’m honest, the whole experience was a bit of a downer. My previous race, the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon was SO fun and exhilarating,  from flying to Paris with friends to seeing everyone in costumes and of course running 26.1 kilometers in and around the parks where I used to work (you can read my race recap here). The Marine Corp Marathon and 10K are right here in D.C. and only ran the 10K, which is in the shadow of the bigger and more impressive  marathon. I consistently found myself downplaying the race. I wasn’t running the MCM 10K… I was “only” running the MCM 10K or “just the 10K.”. And that lessened my excitement for the race and my feeling of accomplishment afterwards. I had “only” ran 10 kilometers when everyone else crushed it and ran an impressive 46.2! Also, I didn’t really know anyone else that was running unlike Disney where I had Caitlin. This race definitely got me thinking again about wanting to push myself further and run an actual marathon. 

I haven’t been in a hurry to sign up for my first marathon because I always knew when and where I wanted to run it: in my hometown, the year I turned forty. And then I would run my second and last one the following year, the famous Marathon du Médoc, and drink all the wine and not really care about my performance! Well, it turns out I think I  don’t want to wait that long! And maybe I don’t want to run in Paris 😉 There are thousands of marathons organized around the U.S. and the world every year so I actually have a lot of options to chose from and I kinda love the idea of a destination marathon, especially in a place that’s either special to me… or completely new, maybe a bucket list place or somewhere truly amazing. If it’s not going to be the year of my 40th birthday, I still want to make a big deal of my first marathon! So I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and here are the marathons I have narrowed down my list to:

1. PARIS (APRIL 8, 2018) 
Of course, Paris is still my top choice! Leading up to the Disneyland Paris half marathon last September I joined the facebook group Runners France  and I’ve been having major running FOMO ever since. I really want to run a race in Paris, whether it’s the marathon, Paris-Versailles (September 30th 2018) a 16 kilometer run from the castle to the Eiffel Tower, the 10 kilometres l’equipe (June 10 2018) a race whose finish line is a few blocs from where I grew up and where my parents still live, or another. There are a few reasons holding me back from signing up: the timing of the Paris marathon isn’t ideal for me as I’d not only have to train in the winter but I also have a big work conference a few weeks before that would derail my training just as I’d be needing to do some 16-20 miles run. I’m also not sure I can be ready so soon. I still struggle through a 10K! But how amazing and special would it be? I mean, the start line is on the freaking Champs Elysees!!! So if it’s not Paris, maybe it could be another race in France? The Marathon du Mont Saint Michel (May 26 2018) has a better timing. And while I’m more of an urban runner,  the setting would be pretty incredible too! Along those same rural running lines, Run in Reims (October 21 2018) sounds super fun and is a quick trip from Paris. Also, champagne!!  That one also has a 10K and a half-marathon so I may do it anyway, but perhaps not as as my first marathon…

2. THE MARINE CORP MARATHON  (OCTOBER 28 2018)
The People’s Marathon is D.C.’s most prestigious local race and it would definitely be the easiest for me to participate in.  The timing in late October is pretty perfect. Other than those summer runs I’d be doing my longest runs in early fall when the temperatures are still nice but getting cooler. The crowd is always awesome and supportive and not only would I probably spot a few familiar faces on the sides cheering, I’d probably know a few runners too. I know quite a few people who have run it, so I’d have a pretty supportive network around as well. It’s definitely a top contender but it’s a lottery registration so I may not be able to sign up even if I want to.

Picture courtesy of Rock’n’Roll Oasis Montreal marathon

3. MONTREAL (SEPTEMBER 23 2018)
Obviously, Montreal holds a special place in my heart so I absolutely love the idea of running 46.2 kilometers in my old college stomping grounds. The timing is pretty good for me, though I’d have to do my longer runs in August which is really hot and humid here in D.C. The location is the main appeal though: it’s a short international flight, there’s no time difference and it’s in a big city (that i love love love) … Montreal basically has everything I want in a marathon AND French speaking runners as a bonus. I can already taste the celebratory Molson and poutine afterwards! Actually, the course ends at Parc LaFontaine where La Banquise is… convenient 😉 Being a Rock’n’Roll race, there’s not too many hurdles to signing up so if I don’t get a bib for MCM, I might fall back on this one!

4. BERLIN (SEPTEMBER 16, 2018)
I ran a half marathon around that time this year, one that also required some international travel, so I know I can work with the date and tag it along a trip to Paris. Believe it or not, I’ve never been to Germany, despite growing up one country over, so this would be a fun reason to finally visit! The course is mostly flat and passes along some of the city’s most important landmarks (it starts at the Bradenburg Gates!) so I’d get to see the whole city while running! Alternatively, still in Germany, I am also considering the Sparkasse Marathon  (October 7, 2018) which would bring me to Germany as well as Austria, and Switzerland. 3 countries in 46.2 kilometers… now that would be true international race! Bonus, it’s during Oktoberfest so I’d be guaranteed some pretty great post-race beer!

Picture courtesy of Honolulu marathon

5. MAUI (OCTOBER 14 2018) OR HONOLULU (DECEMBER 2018) 
Having visited 43 states already, I’m on a bit of a quest right now to cross off the last 7. I’m headed to Seattle in a few weeks, so Washington is getting off the list soon. I’ll visit Oklahoma early next year as well and my parents are planning a family trip to Alaska next summer. So as long as I can make it to Nebraska/South Dakota/North Dakota before October, I *love* the idea of running my first marathon in my 50th state! Alternatively, to give me a little more time to visit all these states, I’m also considering the Honolulu marathon which is in December. It’s a really big event with over 30,000 runners and a crazy 5AM start time (yikes!) but it’s a pretty flat course and there’s no qualifying time to enter, unlike some more competitive races. There’s also no cut-off time to finish which is really nice! And, you know, it’s in Hawaii so recovery will be spent lounging on a beach eating spam musubi and poké. On the other hand, I don’t know if I can get anyone to come to Hawaii with me (especially in december right between Thanksgiving and the holidays) and being by myself on these gorgeous islands might get me down, which isn’t how I want to feel during my race.

So these are my top 5 contenders for my first marathon. If you’ve already run a marathon, where was it? How did you decide which one to do for your first race?