Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2


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Weekly Recap

I know, I know… I’ve really been awful at this blogging thing lately.

I’m sorry 😦

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It’s been tough to get excited about blogging when my running has been so hit or miss due to injuries over the last 6 weeks.

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Things were going so well until mid-August, but the last six weeks have just been so frustrating. BUT, getting my final 20 miler in in such great condition really helped.

This week I was released from 2x per week PT!! This week and next week I’ll only go once, to get my hip taped, to use the PENS therapy machine, and to run on the Alter G. It was a huge mental boost to hear that I don’t have to go on Mondays anymore.

Yesterday we were still getting lashed by that coastal storm that’s been wreaking havoc on South Carolina. When I woke up it was 45 degrees, pouring down raining, and super windy, so I decided to skip my 12 miler – no need to risk pneumonia (or getting hit by a car…) this close to the marathon! Instead I did 8 miles on the elliptical while watching Spirit of the Marathon today (a must-watch).

Tuesday will be the first time I’ve gone to the track in 6 weeks. I’m still not allowed to do speed work, but I figure because we’re doing 1600s at 10 sec faster than marathon pace, that’s not really speed work, so I can do it. 🙂 I’ve really missed my Tuesday night track sessions – I think it’ll be good psychologically to get back there, even if it’s just for the last two sessions.

And Saturday will be my last long run! Whoa! Where has the time gone?? It just occurred to me this evening that I should start planning my race-week meals and acquiring the ingredients. Anal retentive, yes, but I’m not leaving anything to chance. I’ve put too much into this to screw it up with something stupid and easy to avoid.

What are your favorite race-week meals or snacks?? 

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Weekend Wrap-up

I had made my peace with my decision to sit out Philly – until I got my bib and corral assignment email Friday night. 😥 Skipping the race is the right choice, and I know this, but I’m still not completely okay with it. I know it’s not worth the potential long-term achilles injury. But it still kinda blows.

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I had hoped to get out for a run yesterday, but due to way too much time at the mall that just didn’t happen. Today was my usual Sunday trail walk with the beast. The best part about going out in the cold? No problem finding parking! There were four cars in the lot – two of which belonged to me and Aaron. It was overcast and pretty chilly (41 degrees), but we certainly won’t the only people on the trail.

This guy was walking along, reading a hardback book

This guy was walking along, reading a hardback book held open with one hand

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We ended up going over 6.75 miles (my mom went out this morning and ran/walked 5 miles with her running buddies – I couldn’t let her do more than me! 😉 ). Beast was, as always, a well-behaved dog – that is, until she decided to snag some road apples for a snack on the run :-X Ugh… dogs can be so gross. She looked so happy after her not-so-clandestine snack, though…

I've been past here dozens of times, but today was the first time I noticed that this sign has been eaten by a tree!

I’ve been past here dozens of times, but today was the first time I noticed that this sign has been eaten by a tree!

I’ve decided that since I’m not running Philly, I am doing a Turkey Trot (courtesy of a local Rotary chapter!) and am using that and Celtic Solstice to springboard me into winter training season. This time frame will be used to build my base back up gradually and to focus on strength to help stave off injury. I’m on the fence about putting my name in the hat for the NYC Half Marathon (March) but am planning on racing the Brooklyn Half, assuming I can get in, late in the spring, followed by a fall full marathon. I’ve got a lot on the line this year – I really need to focus on safely building my base and adapting my body to the new challenges it’s going to face this year.


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Race Report! NCR Half Marathon

Half Marathon #5 is FINALLY in the books! It only took a year and a half, but I finally did it.

When I did Baltimore in 2012 I was nervous as I liked up at the start, but yesterday was the first time I’ve ever been nervous the night before a race. I’m not sure why – I wasn’t planning on racing this. The only thing I can think of is because I had agreed to pace someone else. I was also a bit nervous that my achilles wouldn’t make it through the entire distance.

I was so anxious about this race that I got there even before the race director was there to set up the registration table! That’s okay though, because I got to see a gorgeous sunrise.

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Registration was at an old burned down school and started a quarter mile down the road.

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It was very cold this morning, so cold that I wish I had had throw away gloves. I was supposed to be on a Skype call with my girlfriends from Hopkins, who are spread out around the world, but I wasn’t able to get enough cell signal to connect to the call – kind of a crummy way to start the day.

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Being a low-key race, we all gathered right at 8:00am for a quick overview of the course from the race directors and then we were off! The way the race was structured, it was basically a 5k out, then we turned around and did a 10k, followed by one more 5k to finish up the day.

The woman that I was pacing uses a run-walk method of 5 minutes running, 1 minute walking, which was certainly new to me. Her goals for the race were a) to finish, and b) to not finish last. I told her if we ended up being the last people in that she would finish in front of me so she wouldn’t be last.

We kept a comfortable pace on the first 3.3 miles out. After the turn around, I convinced her to push the pace a bit, taking advantage of the slight down-hill grade. She was really strong through the first 8 miles but started to slow down a bit on 9. I remember my first half and how mentally challenging it was so I tried to build her up as much as I could and keep her moving – it’s always so much easier to keep moving, even at a slow pace, than it is to start moving again after stopping.

On the final 3.1 miles back she really needed to dig deep to find the extra gumption to push through the discomfort. It took a lot of cajoling, but she did it! We finished just about 2:39:00 – nearly 20 minutes better than my PR in 2012.

I’m really glad I did the race today. Aside from helping someone else to achieve their goal of finishing her first half marathon, I was able to get my scheduled mileage in for the weekend (first time all month!) and know that I can easily do the mileage I have coming up with Army. I also now know that my achilles is strong enough for this. With all the disappointments I’ve had this month, I really needed this. And it was also nice to hear from her that I had an annoying level of energy and optimism in the later miles 🙂 That really kinda made my day.


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So I did a little thinking…

After careful consideration and lots of advice from family, friends, and the amazing online running community (and, let’s face it, a smidgeon of peer pressure from my running group), I’ve decided to run the Baltimore Half again this year!

I really do think my legs can handle it this year, I just have to be extra vigilant in my training – I’m looking at you, Blerch.

But rather than just running the half (ha, right?) I’ve decided to give it extra meaning. This year I am running the Baltimore Half Marathon in honor of Back on My Feet. I fundraced with them back in 2012 and had a great experience – plus I truly do believe in their mission and work. It’s easy to get annoyed by the homeless people asking for money on the streets or think that they’re just lazy, but let’s face it – many of these people were are just like us. We all have setbacks, sometimes we bounce back from them and sometimes we don’t; sometimes they pile up and seem impossible to overcome. Some of these people never had  the support mechanisms in place to build them up while others have lost sight of that; regardless, the people who come to Back on My Feet want to change themselves and I believe that we should all support those who want to better themselves.

Please consider helping me in my mission to raise $1,800 for Back on My Feet by October – this is what it costs for them to not only clothe the resident members and get them running, but helps pay for housing, education, and job training. This isn’t a free handout – the residential members are expected to show up, be accountable, and maintain a positive attitude. More importantly, though, it’s a means to self-esteem and self-worth, and that’s invaluable.


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Fall’s a comin!

I just booked my room for the Army Ten Miler!! So excited to actually run it this year! 🙂

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We’re staying outside of the district and just taking the metro in to save on costs. However, that means we were able to get a room with a kitchen! Yay for no sketchy, gastrointestinally-questionable pre-race meals (and not having to jerry-rig a coffee maker in a bathroom – ew – as a toaster).


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Fall training

Now that the BWC is behind me, I’m focusing intently on fall training. With the Baltimore Half and the Army Ten Miler on back-to-back weekends, I can’t afford to fool around. With that in mind, I’ve decided to join a formal training group for the summer. Accountability, structure, camaraderie, and a more social setting all sound very enticing, especially as I think about those long late-summer long runs.

Last night I attended an info session for one of the local running stores’ half marathon training groups, focusing on the Baltimore Half. The coach seemed really great and like someone who could definitely motivate me. The format seems challenging but doable – two group runs (Saturday morning long runs and one weekday track session), plus a semi-personalized plan for the remainder of the week. The only reason I didn’t sign up on the spot is that they have another location offering the same program and I want to attend their info session and determine which coach and which group is more my style and more convenient, location-wise, to my life right now. That being said, I am super excited about joining a group and am looking forward to the first run on July 13th!


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ATM

atm

I got into the Army Ten Miler!

It took 35 very frustrating minutes last night after midnight, but I was able to get registered. I would have been done 15-20 minutes earlier if I hadn’t somehow ended up with two registrations in my basket – when I went to delete one and go back to the checkout cart, it booted me back to the main page and I had to start all over… Despite all of the troubles last night it looks like it sold out in just over 9 hours this year, about the same as last year.

Last time I registered for the ATM was in 2010, but I had to DNS because b-school orientation completely derailed my training and there was no way I would have been able to run the race, no less run it well. I’ve been wanting to do this race for several years and am really excited to be able to have the opportunity to do it this year! Everything I’ve heard about it makes it sound like a really fantastic event and I can’t wait until October!