Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2

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Race Report: Oldfields School Half Marathon, Powered by Back on My Feet

Late last year I decided that I wasn’t going to run any early spring races – a wonky winter can totally throw your training off and I had bigger goals for the year. Well, that all went out the door when I heard that Back on My Feet was hosting a half marathon at the end of March. 🙂

When you think of running in the end of March, you think of warm(ish) weather, daffodils, sun, and birds chirping, right? Ha! Nice try. I woke up to snow. Snow! The meteorologist on the morning news assured her viewers it would only be intermittent and pass pretty quickly. Ha! Right.

Knowing it was going to be a cold race, I wore the same kit that I wore for the Father Time Frolic on New Year’s Day, as the temperatures were forecasted to be pretty similar.

Yeah, I don’t care what the thermostat said – it felt way colder than the New Year’s Day race. It was a damp, bone chilling 32 with snow and about a 10-15 mph wind. Even standing around the snow blew right into your eyes and the wind just cut right through whatever you were wearing.

I got there pretty early and only left my car for the portapot and the BOMF pre-race circle.


The race started at 8:30, and I finally crawled out of my car at about 8:20 to do some quick dynamic flexibility warmups, run a quick bit to see how everything felt, and then joined my friends at the starting line. One of the women from my summer and winter training groups was there, as was an old friend of mine from high school.


It was as cold as we all look.


The first .63 mi of the race was downhill, from the school to the trail. In an effort to warm up and keep up with my high school friend, I (surprise, surprise) went out a bit too fast. My first mile was 9:15, and the second wasn’t too much slower. At around 1.5 miles I decided to try and pull back the pace, but I had a really hard time with pacing for some reason. I honestly don’t know if it’s from the cold or from the wonky winter training season, but I just couldn’t get it under control. It didn’t matter if I went by feel or by Garmin.

We passed by the first relay point at about 3.3 miles – and surprisingly there was a really big crowd! That was a much needed mental boost. The rest of the outbound trip was pretty quiet, as there’s really no where for spectators to stand, but I was well with the pack. The leaders started passing back on their return trip somewhere around mile 5. En route I managed to tie my 5k PR and set a new unofficial 5 mile PR (48:42). Awesome, but not good. This wasn’t a short race.

I hit the turn around point, which was a cone with ridiculously, but much welcomed, large smily face ballon in about 1:03:45 – which kinda shocked me. I’m not sure what happened at this point, but I kind of got into a dark place. My achilles was starting to hurt, my piriformis, which I admittedly have gotten lazy about, was tightening up, and my legs were just feeling heavy. And I was cold. Really cold.

As I watched my pace plummet on my Garmin, that place just got darker. I stopped to stretch two or three times, walked through the remaining water stops, and watched as the pack in front of me got thinner and thinner; and then I got passed, by more than a few people. I presume some of them were relay runners, fresher than I, gunning to get to the exchange, but the sting is still the same. The wind never ceased, the snow kept falling, and it felt like the temperatures were mimicking my pace. I high-fived the racers that were still heading out to the turn-around, but I’m not sure if I was doing that more for them or for me.

I had hoped to see a big crowd again at the relay exchange point, to get that little bolt of energy, but it was pretty quiet. Not that I can blame them – it was #$)@(ing cold. I wouldn’t want to stand around either.

The last 3.3 miles were very quiet. The snow had started to lay on the adjacent fields, and parts of the trail, which had been perfectly clear just an hour or two ago, were now covered. I tried to take a picture, but even my phone gave up – the cold sapped the battery and I was left with a shiny paperweight.

It turned out to be a good and a bad thing that I knew this part of the trail well. Good, because I knew where I was and how much further I had to go. Bad, because I knew where I was and how much further I had to go. But being this close, I couldn’t let that dark place bully me in to slowing down.

In order to distract myself I kept taking sips of water, “in preparation for the hill.” Yeah. That hill that I sped down at the beginning? It’s an out-and-back course.

As I got closer, I could see the other smily-faced balloon bobbing in the wind like some deranged bobblehead, telling me it was time to climb the hill. I swung wide and transitioned from packed stone to pavement, reminding myself that there was only .63 mi to go. Trying not to look too far ahead, I focused on the snowdrops which were blooming next to the road – the only sign that spring might actually still consider happening. As I slowed down, the cold only got more pronounced, so I tried to push harder and faster, making an extra effort to run the tangents, just to get to the finish sooner.

When I came upon the last bend in the road, I could hear the crowd at the finish line cheering people through and I kicked it into over drive. It didn’t matter how much my achilles, my piriformis, or my pride hurt, the finish line was mine. As I turned the corner and hit that slight downhill, I broke out into a sprint – and then I was done.


I didn’t even stop when I crossed the line – I made a beeline for my car, where fresh clothes and a warm second layer awaited. Once dressed for the weather, I went back to the finish area, grabbed some food and drink and chatted for a bit before heading home with dreams of a blisteringly hot shower dancing in my head.

The less-than-stellar winter training definitely took a toll on a few of us, but we had our first half of the year in the books, a good baseline for the rest of the year.

I should be much more ecstatic than I am. I got an awesome new PR – 2:11:21, officially – but for some reason I just feel kind of deflated. That feeling from the second half of the race just took over the joy of the PR. Even today, I just can’t shake it and still don’t feel pride in the PR.



Product Review – Tegaderm

After my failed attempt at flying during the Kelly St. Patrick’s Day 5k the other week, I was left digging dirt and UA fibers out my sizable road rash and figuring out how to best protect it. I’ve never had road rash before, so this was completely new territory for me. Like I would with any cut, I cleaned it out (and nearly fainted more than a dozen times from the pain), slathered it with enough Neosporin to cover a small child from head to toe, and put a giant BandAid on top.

If you’ve ever had a large wound on a moving joint, you probably know this – BandAids hurt! Every time you move that joint, the bandage moves across the wound, rubbing and poking that sensitive spot all the live long day. Umm, not fun!

I also tried using a sterile gauze pad with Neosporin and Rocktape as an adhesive – while that was better, it still wasn’t great. Every time I straightened my leg, the gauze would bunch up against the wound; when I bent my leg, the gauze would pull taught against the wound.

Being the nerd that I am, I spent an embarrassing amount of time researching road burn – what it should look like, what it shouldn’t look like, how to best clean it and protect it, and how to make sure I don’t end up with a giant scar (I know chicks apparently dig scars, but do guys dig scars on chicks?). I read medical journals (I told you, I’m a nerd – with access to loads of academic databases), medical-advise websites (legit ones, not Dr. Google), and athlete forums (fyi – cyclists compare road rash war stories the way runners compare chafing, blistering, and missing toenail war stories) and the common thread among all of them was this thing called Tegaderm. It’s supposed to be way better than a BandAid and not require gobs and gobs of Neosporin or any other product.

Tegaderm is a thin film that is waterproof yet highly breathable – it keeps out water, dirt, germs, and other nastiness you don’t want in a fresh wound, but allows moisture to escape and oxygen through, to help the healing process. It doesn’t come off or get nasty in the shower or while you’re working out and can be worn for up to 7 days.

This is what the consumer packaging looks like

This is what the consumer packaging looks like

So while I was laying in bed contemplating chopping off my leg (can you tell I don’t like pain?), my mom stopped at the pharmacy and picked up a box of Tegaderm for me. After taking off my BandAid, I mopped up the Neosporin, cleaned the wound with saline solution, and cleaned the surrounding skin with baby oil followed by rubbing alcohol to remove the residual gunk that BandAid tough strips tend to leave behind. Word to the wise – be extra careful with that rubbing alcohol, because it helped me find loads of teeny tiny nicks I didn’t know I had.


Choose a patch size that will leave at least 1″ of film on all sides of your would. Yes, it will likely be ridiculously huge, but it is necessary. When you take the Tegaderm patch out of it’s sterile package, and it will look like this: IMG_9570

The backing peels off and you’re left with a window-frame application – meaning the thin, clear film will have a white perimeter, which is what you hold on to in order to place the film. Start by gently tapping/pressing the film down on the wound itself, making sure to avoid air bubbles, moving outward from the center in order to get a nice airtight seal over the wound itself.


It may freak you out a bit to put a sticky film right on the the wound, but trust me – it all works out 🙂 It takes a little bit longer than slapping on a BandAid, but it’s totally worth it. When you get the film completely adhered, you peel off the white window-frame and are left with an nearly-invisible wound dressing.


If you’ve never used on of these before it can feel a little weird at first, but there’s no pain or discomfort – the film is so thin you barely even feel it on the wound, and it’s super flexible, so it moves with you rather than pulling on the skin. The nice thing about it is you can easily observe the health and progress of your wound without having to constantly stick and unstick a BandAid, and it offers a thoroughly-sealed dressing to keep dirt and germs out without suffocating the wound or your skin.

The only down side to Tegaderm is this – if you use it on a wet wound, the liquid will collect under the film. You and everyone else can see the liquid collecting; if you let it go too long it can feel like a teeny tiny colostomy bag attached to you. The film may need to be changed more frequently in the first few days because of this, but once the wound stops expelling liquid, one patch will easily last up to a week.

I have worn these through several runs and workouts and never had any issues with it. I barely noticed it and aside from some sweat collecting under it (yes, my knees sweat…welcome to my personal hell), haven’t had any issues with it peeling up or shifting.

When it’s time to remove it, it comes off super easily. I use a tiny bit of medical tape, which, when stuck on the corner of the patch, will gently remove it. Just gently work your way around the patch, peeling the film off in the direction of hair growth.

IMG_9567That’s it! I highly, highly recommend these for road rash or any other larger cuts, abrasions, incisions, or wounds you may get and need to protect. I’ve also heard they’re great for using over top of fresh tattoos. The patches can be a bit hard to find (only one pharmacy by me carries them), and a little expensive, but they are totally worth their weight in gold. They are also available with an absorbent pad for use on wet wounds. I restocked via amazon and got them for a much, much more reasonable price.

I am still wearing one on the road rash on my knee, but have been without it on my elbow, where I got a much smaller, more superficial spot of road rash, for a few days now. That spot is looking really great and doesn’t seem like it’s going to scar up or anything. Hopefully you never need these, but if you do, they’re really great.

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Race Report: Kelly St. Patrick’s Day 5k

My training group!

My training group before the race!! I’m in the closed orange jacket and my mom is in the opened orange jacket.

After last year, I had decided not to run this race anymore. Not that it’s not fun, but it’s just too crowded to really race it and, honestly, I just don’t like the insane emphasis that’s put on drinking beer and getting trashed in order to “celebrate” St. Patrick’s Day in this country. I changed my mind, though, because my mom wanted to run this race – I didn’t want to come all the way down for the race and not run it myself! 😉 So I signed up.

Prior to the 5k I ran in Florida a few weeks ago, this was going to be my target 5k for the season – where I ran my butt off for the sub-30 5k. Well, seeing as I already did that (!!) I had very few expectations going into the race. I would’ve liked to have PRed, but it wasn’t going to ruin my day if I didn’t – after all, I’m a long distance runner, not a short(ish) distance runner! 😉

The weather was darn near perfect for a race this morning, except for one small detail: insane winds! It was about 50 degrees or so, sunny with lots of clouds, and winds like no other.


After meeting my training group at the finish line area, we walked to the start together. The start is always super congested, but I did my best to get close to the front of the pack so I would have fewer people to dart around (although looking at throngs of runners in front of me once the race started, I think it’s safe to say I didn’t get close enough to the front). My mom and I met my dad and one of his employees near the start to pass off our extra layers. At the last minute I decided to ditch my long sleeve shirt and run in a tank top and heatgear pants. I’m glad I did.


The race began at 1:15 and I, predictably, spent the entire downhill portion darting in between and around slower runners. Despite all of that, I had managed to get about an 8:58 pace, which is right where I wanted to be to set a PR – quick, but not exerting a whole lot of effort.

The first 6/10 of a mile is down hill. How do I know this? Just after the course flattened out, I fell. Hard. Again. The pack had opened up a bit and I felt like I was getting into my groove, and then all of a sudden I felt my left toe catch on something, and then I felt like I was flying; I tried to catch myself, frantically trying to get my feet back under me, but instead landed squarely on my left knee, then right knee, right hip, and right elbow, as I skidded down the road. I laid on the course in the fetal position for what felt like a minute, but was only about 2-3 seconds, trying to internalize that I had, in fact, fallen again, before a kind gentleman helped me back up to my feet. After making my way to the sideline, I tried running again, but was in too much pain – at which time I looked down and realized I had ripped my pants and was bleeding. As much as I wanted to go on, I knew it would’ve been too painful, so I made the difficult decision to take my first ever DNF. Walking hurt, but was doable – there was no way I could’ve run another 2.5 miles.

I made my way back to the finish line area (which luckily was pretty close to where this all happened) to get cleaned up. I made myself a sandwich (which I felt like a fraud for eating because I totally hadn’t earned it) and waited for my mom to finish her race. She got herself a shiny new PR!! 🎉 By over a minute and a half!! 🎉 AND can finally say she beat me in a race 😉



Poppy was dreadfully concerned about the sounds I was making while pouring hydrogen peroxide on my road rash

Poppy was dreadfully concerned about the sounds I was making while pouring hydrogen peroxide on my road rash

Walking up and down the stairs (hell, just sitting and standing) hurt so I’m going to give me knees a few days to recover before I run again. I have a half marathon in just 13 days, so I need to focus on taking extra good care of my body. And maybe on finding one of those self-deploying airbags…


Disappointing Long Run

Sometimes, no matter how jazzed you are about a run, the floor just falls out. Today was one of those days.

I had planned to run 14 miles today, which would’ve made it my longest run ever. When I got to the store to meet the group, no one planned on going over 5 or 6 miles (most people are running their target half marathon today or next week, and there’s a big 5k tomorrow). I checked in with the marathon group, and the few of them that showed up were only going 10-12 miles, which would be close enough, so I set off with a group of them. Well, their pace was about 9:45-10:00, which is just a bit too fast for me for a long run, and I faded pretty quickly, especially on the hills. Not terribly surprising considering how little outdoor running I’ve done in recent weeks…

Fortunately, I did manage to get in close to 7 miles, despite the cold, bone-chilling rain. It was 42, but my legs were just as red after the run as they are after an 18 degree run. I can’t be too upset, because I did get some mileage in, but it really was a disappointing day. Hopefully the next two weeks will be more enjoyable and successful.

hardcore rainy run

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#tbt Florida, Part II

So after spending a really great week in Miami and Naples, we headed north to spend some time with family in Central Florida. We had planned to stop in at Sanibel Island, just outside of Ft. Meyers, but the traffic was beyond insane. Really. It’s like the entire state decided to cram on to that one little road. An hour to go 16 miles? No thank you. So we grabbed lunch and hopped on the highway, heading up the west coast of the state.

Honestly, I-75 is really kinda boring. Like, insanely boring. The only saving grace is that the speed limit is 70 – and this adorable little manatee haven south of Tampa Bay. There was a little sign for the “Manatee Viewing Area” on one of the roadside signs, so we decided to stop and see what it was, expecting some hokey, over-priced touristy place. Driving into it from the highway doesn’t exactly make you feel all warm and fuzzy – it’s kind of a podunk rural “highway” with a school, a few buildings, and smokestacks off the in the distance. Well, those smokestacks are what you’re aiming for, believe it or not. It’s the Tampa Electric station, which keeps the near-by water ways warm – just like manatees like, especially in this colder-than-average winter we’ve been having all up and down the east coast. The parking and admission was fee (although I’ve heard that parking can be a bit tight) and you were free to walk about as you wanted. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures – but check out their site because it’s really quite cool.

While in Central Florida we visited Cocoa Beach and the Jetty Pier on the east coast.

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my mom and my aunt :)

my mom and my aunt 🙂


Apparently sea turtles are quite common along the pier, but the waves were very heavy that day and the water was quite cloudy, so we didn’t see any of them, but we did get to see a dolphin sliding between the waves near the Pier! 🙂 The Jetty beach was nice (and the sand was super soft!), but Cocoa Beach wasn’t my cup of tea. Check it off the list, move on.

The next two days were spent in Disney! Okay, so I’m not really a huge Disney person (if you choose to overlook that fanatical Little Mermaid phase in 2nd and 3rd grade), but there is something kitschy-fun about Disney as an adult. We went to Animal Kingdom first, where we froze our butts off! Oh my gosh! Not only was it cold, but the wind just whipped right through any layers you had on.

Animal Kingdom was pretty cool and I’d actually like to go back when it’s less crowded to explore it some more. Expedition Everest was lots of fun, but that was pretty much the only ride I did there because the line for the safari was way too long. Oh, and we did the Bug’s Life show in the Tree of Life, mainly just to get out of the cold and see the cute bug-themed movie posters they have in the waiting area 🙂

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Believe it or not we actually had some pretty decent food there! The cinnamon almonds are amazingly addictive (I’m going to try making them at home) and the chicken curry in the African section was surprisingly good – although they didn’t give you nearly enough flatbread to eat it “properly,” so I ended up breaking out the fork half way through the meal. Oh, and the pineapple whips! Mmmm…. The pineapple whip is good, but I highly recommend getting it with coconut rum – super yum!

Later in the afternoon we found our way over to the Magic Kingdom. Like I said, totally not a Disney person, but dammit, if we’re going to Disney, this princess wants a tiara! 👸 And I found one! Well, really, I found like twenty. 😉 But I got one.


And yes, I wear it around the house when no one is looking.

We wandered around there a bit but it just got too cold when the sun went down, so we called it a day and drove back home.


The next day we spent the whole day at Epcot! This was my whole reason for going to Disney – I am a huge international nerd and loved the World Showcase area when I was a kid, so I definitely wanted to see it as an adult.

We went to each and every country, except the USA, and had enough time to really spend wandering around each one. Some are better than others, but in a surprisingly un-Disney way, they manage to pull each one off without being overly cheesy or offensively cliche. No, it’s not even close to being a suitable substitute for visiting each country, but it’s a really great introduction for those who may not have thought of visiting one of those countries or trying the cuisine, or a really great way to experience the world for those who may never get the chance to go abroad.

We had lunch in Morocco (I highly, highly recommend Restaurant Marrakesh, especially the goat cheese with crispy bread, which we recreated when we came home, and the sultan sampler – way more food than any one person should eat, but who cares?? you’re on vacation!) an afternoon snack in France (the strawberry tart at Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie was honestly to die for). If you’ve never tried Moroccan – or any Middle Eastern cuisine, for that matter – I highly recommend you check a good book out of the library and give it a shot. The recipes are super simple, but loaded with flavor!

IMG_9298Then we had dinner – on Chinese New Year – at the Nine Dragons Restaurant in the Chinese village. I was admittedly disappointed that Epcot didn’t do more to celebrate Chinese New Year, but unfortunately being in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year (aka Spring Festival) pretty much ruined any other celebration for me. It was okay though because the food was quite good. And I got to use a little bit of my Mandarin with the waitress 🙂 Something I don’t get to do very often anymore. 😦



Yes, I was massively stuffed by the time we had to roll our way back to the parking lot, but it was so totally worth it. Like I said, I really only came to Epcot for the international section and, of course, the food.

IMG_9308I’m hoping to run the Disney Princess Half with one of my Hopkins classmates this upcoming winter, but one of my goals in life is the run the Wine and Dine Half and then gorge myself at the Wine and Dine Festival – I’ve heard it brings out some top notch chefs and you can really get some of the most amazing foods there. If I could afford to do both in the same year, I totally would, but I think the latter goal is going to have to be put off for a year or two.

All in all I’m really glad I went down south this winter. I’m slightly less ashamed to admit that I might be slowly becoming a Florida-in-the-winter kind of person… as long as the cold promises not to follow me like a lost puppy next time!

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#tbt Florida, Part I

As I watch the snow pile up outside my window, it seems like a perfect opportunity to blog about my recent trip to Florida. Ahh, sun… how I miss thee…

I have never been a Florida person. Never in my past did I wake up and say “Ooh! Let’s go to Florida!” No, there are far too many other places I want to visit in this world than the place where old people go to be eaten up by sinkholes.

Well, that all changed last year. Some great friends of mine purchased a vacation house in Naples a few years ago. They had invited me down in the past, but with school and work and tight finances, it just never worked out. Then he asked again last year, as we were being stared down by two nasty winter storms and my marriage had begun to fall apart. I desperately needed a change of scenery (and warmth!) My answer this time? “Yes, please!”

It was love at first sight. So naturally, I got invited back again this year and didn’t even have to breathe before saying yes. But, one of them had just been transferred to Miami for work – so I got to see two great (warm, sunny) places. AND my aunt and her husband just relocated to central Florida this past summer – three places! Two weeks! Adios, frozen tundra!

I traveled with my mom this year, stopping in Miami first. The weather was darn near perfect – low 70s, no humidity, perfect sun. Heaven.






We visited Miami (South Beach) last year and I didn’t really care for it – it was just too frenetic and jam packed and honestly, kinda trashy – but I must admit, I LOVE Coral Gables. I could totally move there.


Two of my favorite places in Miami are in Coral Gables as well – Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens and Matheson Park Beach.








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On Friday we drove across the Everglades from Miami to Naples, stopping half way through to check out some gators.



Saturday morning I had my race, which I totally kicked ass in.


And then we got to see some seriously cool cars at the Cars on 5th show along Naples’ main street, had some super yummy gelato at Adelheidi’s and walked along the (unseasonably chilly) beach. It was “cold” enough that we had to turn on the heat in the house in the evenings, but out in the sun it was darn near perfect.

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The couple we stayed with in Naples is the couple we got our Westies from over 11 years ago (how is it possible that that much time has passed???). They are true dog lovers, with 6 pups of their own, who stay with them in Naples all winter.




And all of this was while it was near zero at home. 😂


Part II will be coming later 🙂


I am so over winter.

The end of February means the end of brutally cold long runs, right? Right?? *sigh* a girl can dream…



Saturday was long run day here in Baltimore 🙂 We met downtown and, in between bone-chilling wind gusts, were treated to gorgeous views of the frozen Inner Harbor. This is only the second time that I’ve seen this much of the harbor freeze (last year being the first time).

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Much of the Promenade was bone dry for us, but in more than a few locations our long run turned into an obstacle run as not all venues had cleared the snow away sufficiently (I’m talking to you, Pier Five Hotel and Bond Street Warf) or at all (that marina down by Aliceana and Boston).

Because of all the walking tip-toeing we had to do over these icy patches, we decided to take a more direct route home, avoiding many of these icy bits and instead continuing our run all the way down to Under Armour before heading back. Post-run Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate has never tasted so good.


It was painfully cold, but it was a 11.1 mile run. I ran with J, one of my usual running partners this winter, as well as two other women and we just really had a great time being out there. This was the first time one of the women had run this long and she easily smashed it. Because I missed my long run outdoors last week I planned on taking this one a bit slower than usual and that strategy paid off – I had no achilles discomfort during the run or for the rest of the weekend.

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(The mileage doesn’t add up because I paused my Garmin to take a photo in the second mile and forgot to restart it until it threatened to go into power-save mode 5 minutes and .45 mi later 😣)

With the end of February that means that my first half of the year is just 4 weeks away and I couldn’t be more pleased with where my training stands right now. I don’t want to jinx it just yet, as I still have two more long runs (12.5 and 14, I hope) left, but I really think things are lining up for a great spring racing season 🙂


That’s particularly impressive given this horrible winter we’ve been having. My 5k training group has cancelled nearly every training session due to weather or brutal cold (which worked out well for me while I was away on vacation!) and my half group has cancelled more than a few sessions as we hit the height of our mileage. I’ve been doing my best to get in quality indoor miles and keep my strength training up, but also make the most of any and all outdoor miles without doing too much.

Do you have any early spring races coming up? How has this winter affected your training? Are you feeling confident going into the spring racing season? 

Anyone get into NYC??