Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2


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You Can Call Me Coach Doodle!

This summer I’m going to be coaching my first group!! Ahh!! This is something I’ve wanted to do for the last year and am SO excited to finally have the opportunity!

I’ll be coaching a group of runners for ~6 weeks in preparation for a 5k. Presumably, this group will be a mix of true beginners, first-time racers, and experienced runners/racers, but I’ll obviously find out more this summer.

I’ve been in this running game for a while and have lots of experience and knowledge to pass along, but I want to make sure I’m doing it in a way that is appropriate for all types of runners, specifically beginners. I’m feeling pretty confident on how to help the experienced runners (but I’m open for suggestions for them, too!), but never really trained exclusively for a 5k myself. In order to do this best, I would LOVE to get some feedback from all sorts of different runners!

  • What was the most intimidating thing about joining a training group for the first time?
  • What do you wish had been explained to you better when you first started running?
  • What did you like (or not like) about your first training group experience?
  • What worked best for motivating you (or what was a total flop)?
  • What do you wish your first coach knew that they didn’t?
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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.

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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.

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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 😉

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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…


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Race Recap: YMCA Turkey Trot (and Thanksgiving)

Although I decided to sit out the Philly Half this past Sunday, this week wasn’t a total loss running-wise. Last week I was given the opportunity to run in the YMCA’s annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot on a complementary entry from a local chapter of Rotary International, one of the race’s sponsors, and I jumped as soon as I heard about it.

I haven’t run a Turkey Trot since 2008, when I ran at one of the YMCA’s other locations. Unlike that one, which began in a parking lot, this one began and ended at the Y, which has a really nice facility – meaning we got to wait around inside rather than outside. My dad is a Rotary member and was manning their table, so we got there super early, making the warm, indoor facilities all that much more appreciated!

I wasn’t terribly impressed with the last Turkey Trot I did (which is why I hadn’t come back since), but this one was so much better – nice, warm facilities, food and drink before and after the race, a great course, and just a really good atmosphere. There were about 2,500 participants, roughly 1,300 of which were in the timed race. Having been out of commission for the last 5 weeks I had no goals going into this – I just wanted to have a good time and not re-injure myself. I started uncharacteristically close to the beginning, mainly out of an attempt to avoid strollers and little kids.

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The first mile was flat-to-downhill and a number of people whizzed past me while I just ran my own race. Of course, I was passing many of them, walking or whining that they were tired (mostly kids, but surprisingly not exclusively…), by the time we hit 1/4 mile. The downhill portion was one of the steeper downhills I’ve run and was covered in wet leaves, so I focused on keeping my footing, which helped the mile fly by. I didn’t know it at the time, but I maintained a 9:43 pace for the first mile.

The second mile was a long, slow uphill. I knew I wasn’t going to be as strong on it as I would’ve been a month or two ago, but I pushed through it, knocking off more and more participants. I did have to stop and walk for less than a .1 mile at one point because my lungs were beginning to hurt (they haven’t had time to acclimate to the cold, dry air), but other than that I ran the whole race. I lost approximately 25-30 seconds by walking, finishing mile 2 in 10:35. Mile three was rolling hills to a slight downhill finish.

Just about a 1/4 mile before the end I got a sharp side stitch, but there was no way I was going to walk then. I rounded the corner and was shocked to see the finish clock: NEW PR!! Not too shabby for having been injured and not running for over a month. My official time was 31:27.6. 🙂

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After the race I got myself half a bagel with cream cheese and some water and hung around for the awards ceremony before making our way home.

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Because they had been calling for up to 4-8″ of wet, heavy snow on Wednesday afternoon/evening, my mom and I cooked the turkey (based on this recipe) and roasted potatoes on Wednesday. We didn’t want a repeat of the turkey power-outtage incident from a few years ago! (We had the bird in the oven when the power went out. When it didn’t come back on we loaded the turkey, in it’s roasting pan, into the back of my car and drove it 40 minutes to my friend’s apartment downtown, only to find out after almost 2 hours of cooking that her oven wasn’t getting hot enough to actually cook it. We then reloaded the bird back into my car and went home after getting word that our power had returned). Luckily, the forecast was off and we only got about 2″ of snow, most of which melted as it laid on the ground. We had some crab dip and brie for appetizers, then reheated the turkey and potatoes and cooked everything else.

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It was just me and my parents, so it was a very low-key, but very good, dinner.

It seems like nearly everyone ran a turkey trot yesterday – so how did yours go? How was your Thanksgiving?
I hope everyone had an enjoyable, happy Thanksgiving!! 


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PT update

I was discharged from PT today!!!!!

*happy dance*

I logged a 5k on the AlterG (in 29:54, no less! and that’s including 2 minutes of warm-up walking) at near-full body weight, did my strength and stretching and learned a new exercise and was told I didn’t have to come back!! I need to follow-up with him in a few weeks, but I’m on my own now. Wish me luck!!

There’s a small part of me that says not that I’m healthy I should totally give Philly a shot, but then the other part of me smacks that part back into submission. But that small part is putting up quite a fight.

With this development I now need to think about whether or not I want to do a Turkey Trot and if so, which one… So many decisions… haha


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Weekend Wrap-up

Why can’t I ever get the kind of injuries that respond to heat therapy? These ice packs are getting old quick! 0776

I got to play around on the AlterG a bit this week, my first time running since Baltimore. My achilles was achey, but what surprised me was the hip flexor – apparently I also pulled my psoas or illiopsoas, which is part of the hip flexor but feels like it’s up in the abs. It’s been bugging me when sitting up from a laying position but no other time, until I started running. omg. (Speaking of running, I’m watching Parts Unknown and am seriously jealous of the Massai guy running at the end)

It’s officially fall in my book – yesterday was the last day of the local farm market. With the musician playing, it almost felt like a scene out of Gilmore Girls. Although I didn’t go very often this year, mainly because of Saturday morning training runs, I always enjoy having the option. The locally grown produce truly is so much more flavorful than the mass-produced products at the grocery store. Some of the farms and vendors have their products available through the winter, so I’ll have to keep an eye out.

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My week of total rest is over. This morning I accompanied my mom to her second 5k! She ran the Race for the Cure with a friend of hers from her training group. It was a great morning for a race. It was bittersweet getting up early for a race and not be the one running, but I still had a great time. Her goal was to beat her previous PR from June, and she did! I am very proud of her for doing that.

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My mom, in the vest, and her training partner

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After the chilly race we went home and grabbed some breakfast before I headed out to meet my ex to walk our beast. We try to meet up for these walks weekly so I can see her – it’s the only time I see her anymore. It’s not much, but I miss her and I always look forward to these walks 🙂 It makes me sad to see how white her muzz is getting though 😦 Despite the chill in the air, the trail was surprisingly crowded today.

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I managed 3.5 miles with only minimal achilles discomfort. It’s such a tease – everything else has felt fine since Tuesday, but the achilles (and hip flexor) are just holding me back. I’m thinking this week will be light on impact (mainly AlterG and elliptical), but I need to keep my cardio and strength up – only four weeks until Philly!!


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Race Report: Baltimore Women’s Classic 5k 2014

After last year’s debacle with the course being .2 short, I honestly hadn’t planned on running BWC this year. I enjoy the race, but the organization last year left a bit to be desired. But, when my mom expressed interest in doing the BWC training group this year, I decided to give them another go.

The race has been taken over by Charm City Run this year and they usually put on awesome races. After 8 weeks of training, yesterday was race day. We really could not have asked for a more perfect day. It was  in the low 70s, overcast during the race, and the humidity was low. The only snag in the day was that the highway into the city was closed for construction, so we took the “scenic” tour into the city. To allow for potential delays, we left super early, which meant we ended up with lots of time to kill in the race village.

The village seemed a bit smaller this year than normal, but then we walked across the grass and think we figured out why – it was a giant mud pit (impromptu mud run!). As always, the portapots were plentiful and smelled like roses. Okay, not really. But for portapots they were damn nice and there was basically no wait.

Before the race began they had the usual ceremonial stuff, including the National Anthem (great singer this year) and the group jazzercise warm-up (thanks but no thanks – the music was great though). I got in a quick warm-up, running up and down Key Highway, then made sure my mom was situated for her first 5k, took my place, and we were off. It really did all happen that quickly. Odd, but nice to not have to stand around forevvvvvvvvver waiting to start.

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Like last week, I decided to run with the metronome set to 170 bpm. It was a bit hard to hear, especially with all the noise and commotion of the beginning, so I ended up running with the phone in the water bottle up to my ear a bit. I’m sure I looked bizarre, but I’m okay with that.

The first half to three quarters of a mile runs along a road with raised medians and curbs made out of cobblestone (hello, twisted ankle) – because it was so crowded I ended up running on the sidewalk a bit until I could safely get back into the pack. About 3/4 of a mile in, though, there’s a hill that lasts about 2 blocks – guaranteed to thin the pack out every time. I take no guilt in enjoying that because when I ran BWC two years ago, I was one of the flies dropping early on that hill; last year and this year, however, I powered on up it past everyone else. At this point it became a lot easier to hear the metronome and I settled into a pretty good rhythm for the rest of the race.

The course support was fantastic, and before I knew it, I had passed mile 1 and then mile 2. The last mile-ish repeats the starting line area and then veers off onto the Promenade, a (mostly) brick-paved walking path that encircles the entire Inner Harbor. I love running along the Promenade, but my legs hate how hard brick is. Just as I was about to turn off of Key Highway to enter the Promenade, I saw a woman who had tripped on the curb – a few other women and I stopped to help her up, and when she got back to her feet she looked really wobbly and seemed to have trouble getting her balance and moving again, so a few of us tried to get up upright and stable before moving on with our race. I didn’t see her in the race village afterwards, so hopefully she’s okay.

Before I knew it, I had reached the Rusty Scupper and was at the finish line! My primary goal for every race this year is to not get injured. Check! My secondary goal for this race was to PR. Check! My tertiary goal was the come in under 34:00. Check! My the-stars-are-all-aligned goal was under 32:00. Well, technically I didn’t hit this one, but that was only because I stopped to help a woman in need. If I possessed the ability to be a heartless bitch, I would have. I finished in 32:02, which is damn close enough for me! No matter how  you look at it, I PRed by 2 minutes and 31 seconds – just three months after my last PR – and am very proud of myself for this. Now I just have to find a good, flat fall 5k to sign up for to officially beat the 32:00 barrier. 😉

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In the finisher’s chute, all runners get water, a cold, wet towel, a medal, and a rose. Waiting for us just beyond that is the food trough – whole bagels from Panera (yum!), Nurti-grain bars, bags of pretzels, bananas, and cold watermelon. I got my share of these items (plus a bagel for my mom, in case the food was picked clean by the time she finished – I’ve been a back-of-the-packer, I know how it can be…) and then visited my training group’s tent, where they had MORE food for us! I got a smidgeon of a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera and some OJ – an odd combo, but really satisfying. Most of our coaches were there as well and all were eager to hear about how the race went for us.

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I scarfed down my bagel smidgeon, my OJ, and some water, and then my dad and I walked over to wait for my mom to cross the finish line. Her primary goal was to finish in under an hour, which she easily did! She finished in 52:28! The first time I “ran” a 5k  (at age 23, mind you) it took me over 45 minutes, so I think she had a great first showing.

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After the awards ceremony they had all of the mother-daughter teams come up on stage for a group shot, something I’ve always secretly wanted to be able to do. Somehow we ended up smack-dab in the middle of the group 🙂

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(my dad’s attempt at a selfie)

After the race I got on social media to brag about my accomplishment to the world (cuz you know if you don’t, it never happened. duh.) and I noticed I suddenly had a lot of notifications on twitter – so I investigated and OMG BART YASSO MENTIONED ME IN A TWEET!!

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Sorry, amazing PR, you’re now the second most awesome thing to happen to me yesterday.

This week is going to be another easy week – I’m going to let my legs recover and get my achy hip under control so I can be good and ready for the Dreaded Druid Hills on Saturday!! I fully admit I am undertrained for this one, but I’m going to go have an awesome time any way. I just found out my good friend Lauren is going to be running it with me, as well as other woman I know, so it’s going to be a blast regardless. I’m fully anticipating an ice bath in my future, but that’s okay. All the in the name of fun 🙂


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Weekly Wrapup

This week was another light week. Our Tuesday track session was cancelled due to thunderstorms. I feel kinda bad – earlier that day, because it was so ungodly hot and humid, I joked that it would be perfect if we got a cloudburst while we were in the middle of the workout to help cool us down. Well, we did. It came in just as we were gathering for our pre-workout powwow. It was cloudy, and then all of a sudden our coach was like “it’s down pouring right over there” – and then not ten seconds later it was down pouring right over us. Like a biblical-style downpour. So we all huddled under the bleachers until we heard thunder, and then ran back to our cars as quickly as possible (although a nice woman from our group gave my mom and I a ride back to our car so we didn’t have to sprint 3/4 of a mile huddled under our teeny, broken umbrella).

I woke up was startled awake Saturday morning by my mom, after getting maybe 4 hours of sleep (I’m looking at you, insomnia). We had agreed to walk the dogs early so she could get in her workout, which would double as my extended warm-up, and then I’d head out for my run. I eventually dragged my exhausted self out the door and we got in a nice 2.53 mile walk , which pretty well exhausted the westies but just energized the Beast, who spent the rest of the day zooming around the house. After the horribly humid and rainy week we had, a storm rolled in Friday night and cleared the air – we really couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather for a walk/run. I seriously hope the next two weekends are this nice for my upcoming races.

Once my mom headed back home with all of the doggies, I went off for my run – in my new shoes (and new KT Tape)!! Woohooo! They’re just as marshmallowy as I remember my first pair of PureCadences feeling.

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Because of the new shoes, the addition of the KT tape, and the extended time off, I decided to keep my run shorter than I had planned, but to also try out something new-ish. When I was in PT, my therapist had me run on the Alter G with a metronome to keep my cadence quick and steady throughout the run – so I whipped out the metronome app on my phone, dialed it up to 170, and set off on my way. I tried to focus only on my pace, breathing, and mechanics, avoiding my Garmin whenever possible; however, I couldn’t help but notice that my pace was a fair bit quicker than normal. I was astonished when I hit the end of my 3.1 mile run – 31:51! I have NEVER run that fast!!

I am definitely going to be using this method again next week in my 5k race. I’m a bit concerned about the nuisance the metronome might be for other runners, but the way I figure, it just might help them reach a new PR too 😉 (“ahh! run away from that annoying woman!”) Eh, whatev. Plenty of people do far more irritating things during races. And it’s only a 5k – it’s not like someone else will have to listen to that for hours on end.

Later Saturday evening I went out to visit an old friend of mine who was in town for the weekend. Lauren and I have known each other since we were in 2nd grade and it was great to catch up. She lives in NYC, which while it’s close, is just far enough away that we really don’t see much of each other. It was a nice chill evening – she popped a bottle of wine, I brought over cannolis to celebrate my awesome run and her kicking ass in the Baltimore 10 Miler that morning – and we just drank and chatted all night. It’s funny how much things change over the years, but how much they really do stay the same.

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And of course, lest I forget – Happy Father’s Day to my daddy!! He detests cards, so this counts as the official non-card acknowledgement of fathers day 😉

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