Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2


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Outdoor Long Run!

It’s been a few weeks, but I FINALLY got a full-length long run in outside! It was a brutally cold 18 degrees and super windy along the water but totally worth it.

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All of Charm City Run’s groups met at the downtown location this morning. As much as I dislike running downtown (it’s so far away and the brick aggravates my achilles), it’s always so great to see so many runners along the waterfront.

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This week was a cutback week for us, but I was on a mission – I needed to get 9.37 miles in today in order to get my first 100+ mile month ever.

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I started off more or less by myself but picked up with some marathoners from the Annapolis store. Once I warmed up enough to not notice the cold (as much), it was a really nice day for a run. My pace was pretty comfortable and mostly in the lower 10s/upper 9s, even though it didn’t feel that fast.

I turned around in Canton when the Annapolis ladies stopped to gel up. In my 5th mile, the Promenade changed from brick to wood planks, like a boardwalk. Well, one of those planks was bowed up – and dammit if my toe didn’t catch it. I tried to stop the fall, but my legs were too cold for me to pull them high enough and yep, I ate it. Hard. When I stopped sliding forward, I hopped up, made sure my Nike Flash jacket wasn’t totally destroyed (which, surprisingly, barely had a mark on it!), dusted myself off, and kept going. The only thing I felt at the time were the scratches on my hand, which had sweat pouring in to them.

Down for less than 20 seconds and didn't even pause the Garmin!

Down for less than 20 seconds and didn’t even pause the Garmin!

The return trip was a bit lonely, as I turned around after the half marathoners but before the full marathoners, but there were so many other runners out there so I was never truly alone.

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My achilles were definitely a bit angry with me for doing such a long run on the brick, but I felt really great right up until the last mile. This was totally unexpected because I haven’t been on the road much lately.

When I got back to the store I immediately changed into some dry clothes and was able to survey the damage from my fall. My knees and hip are scuffed and bruised – I swear I can watch the bruise grow – but thankfully my clothes came out unscathed. Whaddaya know, running really can screw up your knees 😛

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The other great thing about these big group runs? Free brekkie when we get back 🙂 Bagels are good, but free, 10-mile bagels are awesome.

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Stronger Core = Stronger Runner

You’ve probably heard it a few times – runners need to work on their core – but sometimes when you hear something over and over and over it just becomes noise, part of the scenery. I, like so many other runners, religiously work on my core. I do planks and bridges and mountain climbers and supermans and leg lifts and yadda yadda yadda.

Tonight on my run, I realized that a strong core does actually make a difference.

Our track was iced over from the snow doom slight frosting we got this weekend this weekend so we ran loops on the college that so graciously allows us to take over their campus like a neon, neurotic, bouncing Las Vegas light show. The first loop (roughly 1.4 miles) was just a nice, comfortable warm-up. The second was half marathon race pace, and the third was tempo pace (basically 10k race pace).

Admittedly, I’m not the best at pacing, and the second loop was a fair bit faster than HM race pace (about 45 seconds faster per mile, but who’s counting?), meaning I was pretty tired by the time I got to the end of my (even faster) third loop. I could feel my form breaking down, but then I noticed something – my core muscles were holding me in and upright; I wasn’t collapsing like a tired, soggy wet noodle. I don’t really know how to describe it, but there was a very different sensation. It was one of those epiphany moments when you realize that hard work that isn’t all that visible (I’m looking at you, pudgy tummy) is actually worth it!

Once we commit to being runners, often times our progress plateaus or comes in fits and bursts. It can be hard when mother nature is mocking you and you don’t seem to be making progress. But then one night, when you least expect it, bam! Progress.

never discourage progress


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Winter Weather Blues

I finally made peace with the cold. I have lots of warm layers to bundle up in when it’s cold, vaseline for my face, mittens large enough for a small animal to live in… But this snow/sleet/ice nonsense is for the birds!

Last weekend I was supposed to run 8 miles, which worked out perfectly because the RR club had an 8 mile race planned for Sunday! So rather than running with my training group on Saturday, I planned to run on Sunday. I got up, got dressed, rolled out, and headed out at 7:45am. I stopped in town at 8:00am to use the restroom before heading to the start area (there are no bathrooms there and I do not squat in bushes) and just happened to check my phone – to find out that the race had been cancelled, along with tons of warnings to stay home because of ice.

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Ice? What ice? It wasn’t even raining where I was. Well, if you saw the news last weekend, you know what ice. I turned around and headed home (barely hit any ice but it was apparently a nightmare everywhere else – glad I stopped and checked my phone or else I would’ve been stranded like so many people were). No long run for me.

Tuesday I got out for a great track session, but because I had tweaked my achilles a bit at last week’s track session, I took it easy and just did the minimum workout. Either way, it was a great workout – each of my 800s was below an 8:30 pace!! Holy moley! And I thought I had held back my pace, too…

Today I decided to go out for an easy run because *dun dun dunnn* more snow is coming in tonight! One of my mom’s coworkers said the trail was fine, but he must’ve been there before Wednesday afternoon’s snow moved in because the trail was anything but fine! *sadface* I made it .2 mi before I decided it was just going to be a slushy, slippery, frustrating act in futility.

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THANKFULLY, though, my Yaktrax came today!! Not in time to get my run in, but I can’t wait to try them out on Sunday! We’re supposed to get some snow and ice overnight (in fact, it just started snowing), so I’m probably not going to make it to my group run tomorrow morning. At this point, it’s just easier to plan on a Sunday run. I’ve been wanting to get a pair for a while because once it snows, the trail tends to stay snowy/icy until spring, but have been dragging my feet. Well, I have two half marathon coming up and I’m not going to be unprepared because of my own stubbornness.

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I am so ridiculously excited to try them out! I’m hoping these work well on the packed slush/snow on the trail.

If you noticed, I mentioned above that I have TWO half marathons coming up. Yep! I got into the Brooklyn Half Marathon!! It sold out in less than 8 hours this year, so I’m super glad I got in. Registering via NYRR was super easy – I’d definitely consider doing more of their races if I lived closer (and if train tickets weren’t so expensive).

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I’ve never (knowingly) been to Brooklyn before, so I’m really looking forward to not only racing in a new location, but seeing a whole new place! The race ends on the boardwalk at Coney Island, so I’m really hoping for good weather so I can check out Coney Island after the race.

And in other good news – I booked my trip to Florida!! Ahh, warm, sunny Florida 😎 Being the total nerd that I am, I have already mapped out runs and created route sheets for my stay… and I promise, I won’t complain about the heat or humidity.

How is winter treating you this year?? 

Are you getting all of your runs in? 

What are you doing to make winter running more bearable/feasible? 


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Resolution Check-in

Today is January 21st. Three weeks into the new year. They say that it takes three weeks for a new habit to stick. So today’s a good point to to a little self-evaluation: How are things going for you so far this year? Have your New Year’s resolutions stuck? Odds are that by today, if you’re a typical American, your New Year’s resolutions are a distant memory. But I like to think more highly of y’all. After all, you’re not typical Americans. You’re runners, yogis, active people who already defy the odds. Yeah, there are days you’d much rather lay in bed watching tv all day, but you suck it up and get your workouts in and do what you have to do.

But even the most determined and motivated people can hit speed bumps. Life happens, time slips away, and somedays the lazy demon in our minds is just too strong to overpower. But that’s okay. We’re human.

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We’re only three weeks in to the new year. There’s plenty of time to get back on track, re-define, or re-frame your goals for the year. Personally I hate the word “resolution” unless it’s in the context of international diplomacy. Don’t resolve to do something – do it, damnit. Set a goal, give yourself a plan of action. Allow for hiccups and road bumps. No matter what your goal is, you have to be flexible. Those who steadfastly follow “the plan” without allowing for deviation or adaptation will fail more than those who hit bumps in the road.

If you need some motivation, I strongly recommend you checkout SweatPink’s #noexcuses challenge. There are tons of simple ideas for at-home workouts as well as stories of people doing amazing things – people just like you. Yeah, it’s snowy and icy. Yeah, your kid’s sick again. Yeah, it’s crunch time at work. Don’t let those bumps become insurmountable. Don’t ceed the power over your own choices, your own life. This year, nothing’s keeping you from smashing your goals.

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Product Review – Hammer Gel

On the morning of the Baltimore Half Marathon, our training hosts had a veritable smorgasbord of gels, chews, and other fuel available for us. Being the ever-vigilant runner, I opted not to try anything new on race day, but grabbed a few items for later. One of them was Hammer Gel.

24353-DEFAULT-lI have been a long-time Gu user – it’s admittedly not the most appetizing thing I’ve ever ingested, but it does its job well and has never let me down. My only complaint with it is that it can be a bit difficult to get down. Texture withstanding, it’s thick, and when you’re in the middle of a hot race and your mouth is getting dry, that thick texture can be a bit of a burden, no matter how much water you have to go with it. This is particularly problematic if you’re gunning for a PR and don’t want to slow to a walk to get the packet down.

When I went out for my long run on Sunday, I decided to try out one of the Hammer gel packs that’s been mingling with my Gus for a while. The packet is a bit bigger, but not substantially so. The gel itself was thinner than Gu, making it easier to get down, and not as brightly colored. The flavor isn’t as intense, though, which was a bit disappointing but not a deal breaker. My only real “complaint” about Hammer is that you can’t squeeze the tab back into the gel pack opening for easy trash disposal.

For a run of 7 miles I typically only have one packet before I head out, and Hammer served me well on the run. I never had a lack of energy or felt like I was verging on fatigue. Unlike Gu, I didn’t seem to be burping quite as much in the minutes after taking the Hammer gel.

Verdict: I have one more packet which I’m looking forward to trying again, to see if I get similar results. Based on this one-time experiment, I would definitely consider Hammer Gel in the future, especially if it’s price is comparable to Gu. It’s always nice to have multiple option. I would happily recommend Hammer Gel to long-distance runners or other endurance athletes.

For Your Comparison: 

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Gu Nutrition Info

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Disclaimer: I got this product free through my training group, but received no compensation. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own. 


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Big News!

I signed up for my first marathon today!!! Ahhhh!!!

I will be running my first 26.2 at the Baltimore Marathon this October!! So excited!!!

Running-Festival-15th-Anniversary-CrabTo celebrate I went out for a snow-packed 7 miles on my favorite trail 🙂 (Who have I turned in to???)

It was surprisingly nice on the trail. They clearly had more snow the other day than we did, but the snow was nicely packed without being slick or hard. My calves screamed for the first three miles, though, because of the irregular and not-so-grippy terrain. Once they loosened up, it was a really great run. I think it might be time to invest in a pair of YakTrax!

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I’m really glad I went out 🙂

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Race Calendar

Every year I put together an excel spreadsheet – my race wish list. I list each race chronologically, along with price, location, and any additional expenses (hotels, travel, parking, etc.) and then color code each race as either a top priority/non-negotiable, one that would be nice to do, or one that’s just caught my interest. I’ve been running long enough that I pretty much know which races I’ll run when and where. There are a lot of races in the Baltimore area, but I more or less know which ones I like and which ones I don’t (or which ones are worth the cost and which ones are harder to justify). If nothing else it gives me a good idea of how much money I’ll be spending on training and races and when to register for certain races to get the best rates.

Well, my wish list just got thrown for a loop. I had my nice anal-retentive color coded spreadsheet all laid out and then I found out about a new half marathon! In March! And it’s only $30! 😮 Back on My Feet apparently has a half marathon every spring on my favorite trail – who knew?? I love what BOMF does and want to support them as much as I can, so signing up for this one was a no brainer. I will now have a 10 miler, a 15k, and a half marathon all in March 😳 Still easier than October. Guess I need to get my butt in gear with strength and nutrition! 💪

(and yes, I did just discover that you can cut and paste emjois into blog posts 😜)

Photo Jan 24, 3 31 46 PM