Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2


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My First 20 Miler!!

Yesterday was about as perfect of a day for a run as one could hope for in late August. It was 58 when I got out of my car with low humidity. I was nervous about this run and it was making my stomach a bit upset, which made me even more nervous, but at least I didn’t have to worry about the conditions.

We ran in the neighborhood near the store, which was a blessing and a curse. It’s great because there are many places in which to rack up miles and is hilly, which is great prep for Baltimore, but it can also get monotonous. Our first loop ended up being nearly 14 miles. My right calf was tight through the first 3 miles, which caused my right foot to fall asleep on the uphills, but it worked itself out. Around mile 8 I noticed that my left knee was feeling a little weak laterally, but nothing earth-shattering. Near that same time one of the women I was running with was dealing with some hip tightness while another was dealing with abductor tightness, so we took a stretch break which helped us all.

When we returned to the store to fill up on water, I tried a new fuel, the Clif pouch of Sweet Potato with Sea Salt. In theory it’s a pretty good idea, given how sweet most fuels are, but it took 10 minutes and half a bottle of water just to get down half of the pouch. And the taste left something to be desired. A lot, really. The volume of the fuel plus the water made my stomach feel all sorts of off, and I ended up having to walk for .25 mi to let my stomach settle. For about a minute I thought I was going to throw up along a rather busy major road…

Once I got through that I actually felt pretty good. We only had 5 miles to get through at that point. Totally doable, but also some of the hardest 5 miles I’ve ever run. We purposefully took a hilly route (Baltimore is basically straight uphill from mile 15-20), which was challenging but I think successful for all of us. It wasn’t until about mile 18.5 that the wheels kinda came off the cart. My left thigh starting aching and then hurting. I knew stopping wasn’t an option. I also knew that the direct route I was on wasn’t going to get me to 20 miles. So I ran in circles to get closer to 20, even running in a broad circle while the girl I was with stopped to get a drink. When we finally made it back to the store, my Garmin read 19.93 – and you’re damn straight I ran around the parking lot until it turned over.

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489 is not 5 miles

I immediately cleaned up and changed into dry clothes and made a bee-line for the bagel table and chatted with some people for a bit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t actually hungry, so I took the bagel to go.

The only thing standing between me an that amazing 20 mile bagel was the long trek across the kitchen to get a knife from that drawer....

The only thing standing between me an that amazing 20 mile bagel was the long trek across the kitchen to get a knife from that drawer…. #thestruggleisreal

Although it didn’t hurt that bad during the run, my left leg was killing me by this point. I needed to lean on something just to use my left leg; stairs were nearly impossible. For only the second time ever, I took an ice bath. Things didn’t turn out well last time. 

Thanks, mom....

Thanks, mom….

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Later last night I spent nearly an hour in the hot tub, which really helped my right leg. Honestly, my right leg feels so great today I could run another 10 miles if both legs felt that good. My left leg, however…. feels like it was repeatedly beaten with a baseball bat.

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This morning I substitute coached my mom’s 5k/10k group with another girl from my group, and then met Aaron and Katie afterwards. I warned him I might not be able to walk, but i tried – I only made it .25 mi out before I had to turn around. 😦 The poor dog seemed horribly frustrated to be walking so slowly haha

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I’m not really sure how to analyze yesterday’s run.

It was a success because a) I RAN 20 MILES, b) I ran it faster than I expected to, c) I felt physically and mentally strong throughout nearly the whole run, and d) I learned that the Zealots are keepers.

It was less than stellar because a) I tried a new fuel halfway through which made me have to walk and b) I could barely put weight on my left leg afterwards. I still can barely walk.

The biggest takeaway is that I RAN 20 MILES!!!! Mentally that’s a HUGE hurdle. I’m still nervous about that extra 10k that I’ll have to run to finish the marathon, but that’s another issue for another day.

The biggest problem is that I’m not even sure what exactly I injured or how I injured it, but my left leg and knee are not happy with me. At all.

I already had the PT on the schedule for tomorrow morning, but I may be calling the ortho for a proper injury eval. Not words I wanted to utter this late in training.

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Follow the red brick road… follow the red brick road…

I both love and hate running downtown. I love it because Baltimore, for all of the issues it has, is a gorgeous city first thing in the morning. It’s truly enjoyable to watch the city wake up. I hate it because, well, where do I begin – it’s super far away so I have to wake up super early, it’s flatter than a pancake, and there’s brick. So much brick.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to run on brick, I can’t honestly endorse it. It’s hard. It hurts. And sometimes bricks heave and create a tripping risk – and lends to you spending more of your run looking at the ground than the scenery.

Saturday was a rather perfect day for a run in Baltimore. Upper 60s/low 70s, a nice breeze, a gorgeous sunrise. As I drove from the countryside into the city, all of the farms were covered in a gentle fog, which flowed across the road to the next field like a thin veil.

This was to be my longest run to date – 18 miles! Whoa!

We started off nice and easy, knowing the trek ahead of us. Our first “landmark” was a spin around the Under Armour campus and Domino Sugar facility (which had a rather unsettling smell…), then we headed for the Inner Harbor, running past the Ritz Carlton, the Science Center, the Constellation, the Torsk, and the Aquarium, meandering up and down every pier to squeeze in as much mileage as possible. We were up and out so early even the ducks on the harbor were still curled up and asleep!

After a quick water stop at the Aquarium, we headed east through Harbor East, past my b-school haunts, and Fells Point, through the Fells Point Farmer’s Market, and on towards Canton.

When we reached the end of the Promenade at the Canton Waterfront Park, my Garmin read 6.98 miles. That’s it?!?

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So we started back, past the sleepy dog walkers clutching their coffee and early-bird tourists. Through the upscale waterfront homes, past the Pirate Ship, and back to the Farmer’s Market we went. Up and down each pier, arms stretched out like wings on the tight turns.

We were told the Aquarium water stop would still be functional when we returned, but alas, the well had run dry. As our water supplies dwindled, we aimed for as much shade as possible, hugging the west sides of buildings and running perhaps a bit too close to the folks sitting on the benches (hey, it’s where the shade was). One more lap around Domino and Under Armour and we made a pit stop back at the store to refill. Despite all of the running, we still had 3.75 miles to go!

So back out we went, heading west for Fort McHenry. The last time I had been here was almost exactly 15 years ago to the day, and I was really looking forward to seeing it again.

Boy, how times change!

Boy, how times change!

We ran down Fort Avenue, enjoying all of the shade from the trees lining the road, saying hello to the old men sitting on the benches. A bridge loomed in the distance, mocking our tired, achey legs. And then the Fort. We ran through the gate, as others ran out, and followed the path around the Fort – a wonderful, 360 degree view of all that is Baltimore.

End to end: the Canton Waterfront Park, seen from Fort McHenry

End to end: the Canton Waterfront Park, seen from Fort McHenry. It looks so much closer from here!

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As the sun blared down on our shoulders, we made our way past the visitor’s center and back out of the gate, over the bridge, and past the old men on the bench.

My feet were screaming, my shoulders ached, and my mind tried every coercive method it had in its bag of tricks to get me to stop, but I kept going. No matter how much I hurt, I was not about to stop this close to the goal.

Yes, we looked silly, and yes, we thought about stopping more than once, but we kept going, back and forth, up and down Fort Avenue as the Garmin slowly crept closer towards the goal. After the third pass, we turned in towards the store, and it finally beeped. 18 miles. 18 miles!!!

We stopped running, and our walk was as slow as a crawl – a horrible, painful crawl – but we did it. 18 miles.

There wasn’t a spot on my body that didn’t hurt, but my mind felt nothing but pride. 18 miles!! The girl who used to come up with every excuse in the book to get out of gym class voluntarily woke up at 4:45am on a Saturday and ran 18 miles.

Damn straight the runner’s high is real! 😀

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Running in the Rain

It’s funny how something so simple can completely change your day.

Yesterday was a shitty day, for a whole host of reasons. I’ll spare the details (they’re really not all that interesting), but it ended wonderfully.

To try and console myself midday, I turned to a shit ton of sugar. Hey, sugar = carbs, right? Just go with it. At least it was fuel for my track session.

judgmental bitch.

judgmental bitch.

I got to the track extra early – the traffic gods were on my side – said hello to everyone (it’s one of the few times the HM and FM groups have been at the same place at the same time this summer), but mostly kept to myself and waited for our session to get underway. It was sunny and hot, but not humid, when I got there. Not too shabby for the first week of August.

Our workout was simple: 2 miles at HM pace, 5 min of recovery, and 2 miles at 10k pace. I ran the first two or so laps with a guy who has been battling injury, which worked out surprisingly well because it kept me from going out too quick. He fell off after the second or third lap, and I ran the rest of the workout by myself. Usually I prefer to run track workouts with someone, but this was the perfect workout and the perfect night to just run by myself and get lost in the zone.

My target for the HM segment was 10:15 pace, and a 9:45 pace for the 10k segment. And dammit if I wasn’t on target! With negative splits, to boot! *happy dance*

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I was feeling damn good at the end of the session, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Throughout the workout, the clouds moved in, providing us a rare bit of shade on an otherwise scorching track. Just as I was finishing up my cool down, I felt a few little drops of rain. Not surprising – they were calling for scattered showers. I walked out from the track to start my easy jog back, and a few more drops came down; then a few giant, cold drops plunked down on my head. Another 20 seconds – the deluge. It was like being at Brooklyn all over again.

For about 7 minutes it poured so hard I had a hard time keeping my eyes open, but I couldn’t help but smile the entire jog back to the car 🙂 The rain came down so hard that the road began flooding – a perfect excuse to aim my brand new shoes for each and every puddle 🙂

It’s amazing how something as simple as an awesome workout, running in the rain, and splashing in puddles can completely turn around an otherwise craptacular day 🙂

Mother Nature was quite accommodating, though – the rain stopped just as I got back to my car.

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The last weekend in July…

I swear the summer just started… how is the end of July already?? ☀️ I’m not ready for this.

Thursday night I took a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspires out for a test run around the track. Despite not being sure about them while standing (they hit my ankle bone), they felt surprisingly good. I did 3×1600 in them, one at a warm up pace, one at a speedy pace, and one at an easy pace and they felt good in all three conditions. Seeing as they passed the first test, I decided to hold on to them for Saturday’s long run.

Yesterday we set out for 14 miles – my third time at this distance. I loaded up my hydration vest with 3 16.9 oz bottles of water and three Gus (I always like to have at least one extra on hand) and off we went. The run felt pretty good through the first couple of miles. The hill work is clearly paying off because the hills on the course weren’t so bad. We stopped at mile 5 to Gu and watch a few rabbits chase each other through a yard, and then crossed the main road that divides our zip code. We weaved our way through some neighborhoods, and then decided to wing it a bit – the route sheet had us going back up the road we take out from the store, something none of us wanted to do. As we came upon an elementary school, I noticed that my vest was getting light (and the group water tanks were getting low) so we ran around the school looking for a water fountain; we found two, but both were turned off. Luckily my running partners are more well prepared than I – we stopped at a convenience store for water. Lesson learned – always carry cash or a credit card.

Just before we stopped, around mile 9, I had commented on how great the run felt. Apparently the universe wanted nothing to do with that. As the clock approached 10:00am, the sun was getting noticeably hotter and shade was becoming more and more scarce. Almost the entire last 4 miles were in the direct sun; we hopped between shady spots as often as possible, but that only helped so much. I didn’t fall apart, but I didn’t feel good. I had a hard time finishing, but we all cheered each other on and did our best.

I followed my usual fueling plan before and during the run, but I just felt so drained – and unusually hungry after the run. I’m sure the sun had something to do with it, but it wasn’t all that hot or humid out. I’m going to try a few fueling strategy this upcoming week (16 miles!) – I picked up some Honey Stingers and I’m also going to pack some stroopwafles (which I hear the guys on the Tour de France love for fuel on the go) and see if they help out any. Carbs the day before also need to be upped. Either way, after I cleaned up and chatted with some group members, I made a beeline for Dunkin Donuts and did some damage to a turkey cheddar bacon flatbread. Healthy? Not so much. But it’s got carbs and protein and is super yum.

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Unfortunately I also found out that my Garmin had broken 😦 The band half popped off.

IMG_1290I’ve been told that Garmin’s customer support is pretty good, so I’m going to call them first thing tomorrow morning.

I had planned on going to a picnic yesterday afternoon, but I got home so late and was just so zonked that I fell asleep and didn’t even make it into the shower until after 2:00pm…

This morning I woke up earlyish (okay not really but I sleep like a log after these long runs) and took my mom out to my favorite hill! She’s running a race in mid-September that ends on a pretty sizable uphill. I had her run .75 mi on flat trail, then 3 repeats up the hill. She did a whole lot better than I expected! That’s a tough hill! And it was her first time on a real hill.

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I should’ve been meaner, though – she made fun of my compression socks 😦

IMG_1294I think she’s just jealous.

How was your weekend? 
Has this summer absolutely flown by for you, too?? 


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Summer Running

Since the weekend, much of the east coast has been slogged in under some miserably hot, humid air. It’s funny how even a slight uptick in the heat and/or humidity – no less both – can make an easy run feel anything but.

Last week was a cutback for me and my group. We had built up for 4 long runs, and the easier week was certainly welcomed by all. Because of the pressure in my tibia, I had taken all last week off. My PT cleared me to run this weekend – if any only if there was no pain. So Saturday morning I woke up at 4:55am, not quite so bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed, and took my new shoes out for a spin. The trail was unusually packed for that time of morning, but I suspect that’s because it was almost exactly 3 months until race day! I’m sure lots of people were starting their 12-week training programs, while others were trying to get in the miles before the temps rose too far.

My marathon group, along with the half marathon group and 12 miler group were there, running all sorts of different distances. I had originally intended to do 10 miles, but Jennie said she was only doing 8, which sounded like a brilliant plan.

The new shoes gave me some troubles in the first few miles, causing an old shin splint to flare up for the first time in several years – but there was no bone pain, so I kept going. We were holding a 10:40-ish pace, which would normally be perfectly comfortable, but the humidity was so oppressive I just couldn’t hold that for the duration. I felt so silly asking Jennie if we can slow down at mile 3, but I just knew there was no way that I could maintain that.

When we got to the first water stop at 3.3 miles, I was soaking wet. We stopped in the shade for a few to grab a drink and cool down a bit, then headed on our way. We stopped again at the same spot on the return trip. I had brought a gu with me but decided against using it. I could’ve used the electrolytes in it, but I also wanted to do a bit of a modified depletion run (modified because I did have a small brekkie before the run). It was definitely one of the tougher runs of my life, averaging only 11:04 and having to walk for a few in mile 6, but we got it done.

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As hot as Saturday was, my friend Lauren was a total beast and ran the New York City Triathlon on Sunday – a day which was probably even hotter and more humid. It was her first triathlon and she totally rocked it!

My mom’s new 11k training group also started Sunday and she went out there and totally killed it in conditions that left me sitting indoors all day. Woohoo!!

bikram runningAlthough the temps were technically lower yesterday, it didn’t feel any less oppressive out there. My group was running a ladder workout at a local high school. Unlike our usual track, though, it actually had a little bit of shade on it (hallelujah!). Of course the night we’re supposed to be running specific paces, I left my Garmin at home. Ugh. But it was okay. The distances were set and I just decided to run by perceived effort, which was probably a better idea anyway given the sweltering conditions. It was hard, no doubt, but we did awesome. I can feel it in my glutes today 🙂

In between each ladder segment we ran 400 m recovery – and in between every ladder step and recovery lap I stopped and drank water. I was a little concerned about the dreaded sloshing, but it was so hot I was practically sweating it out before it hit my stomach…

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Luckily last night some storms came through (just after I got into my car!) and cleared out the oppressive humidity – it should be a good week for running! Tonight’s plan is cross training and strength while watching the Tour de France (so sad about Tejay… he was doing so amazingly well), and tomorrow I’m going to take another new pair of shoes (Mizuno Wave Inspire) out for a spin to see if maybe they’ll do the trick.


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A New Day

So this happened.

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It’s really happening! Marathon training starts this Saturday morning and I couldn’t be more excited and terrified. There’s a good mix of first-time marathoners and veterans, as well as people that I know from previous groups as well as newbies. It’s going to be a very challenging summer, that’s for sure, but I am really looking forward to this!

life changing

They say that training for a marathon will change your life, so it seems apt that training starts this week. As those of you who have been following me for a while know, I ended my marriage last summer. Well, yesterday I filed for divorce. (My state requires you to waste a year of your life in limbo before you can even file – for the record, I’m only bitter about this rubbish, not about the divorce itself) It’ll take another couple of months before it’s finalized, but the process has been started. The best part about all of this is that I can devote as much time and energy to training as needed without having to worry about feeling like I’m neglecting anyone. The worst part, though, is that I have no one to massage my achey feet and legs.


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Retribution

All week I’ve been nervous about today’s run. Not because of the distance or the locale or the weather. No, because this weekend last year was the run that landed me in the boot. Truth be told, I purposefully scheduled our girls’ weekend in Connecticut for last weekend so I could skip the long run on the extra-hard brick promenade downtown without guilt. I just needed to make it through today’s run in one piece. I didn’t care how, I just had to do it. 

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Yesterday evening I was trying to explain the runner’s high to a friend of mine. 

I wish I could have bottled up how I felt during/after my run today and passed it along 🙂 

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Sometimes a week off is exactly what the doctor ordered. My legs have been feeling a bit rough this week – the track workout Tuesday left them surprisingly sore and they were still heavy Thursday morning, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from today’s run.

We couldn’t have ordered more perfect weather. It was 56 when I left the house at 6:15am (I actually woke up shivering at 1:00am this morning and had to hunt for more blankets! Seriously, this is August?!). The sun was a glowing orange ball of fire as it came up over the fog-ladden farm fields on my drive in. 

N was running a race this morning, so it was just M and I today. I was undecided as to my distance when we set off this morning, but when we got towards the turn around I decided to be brave and go for 9 miles. And I’m glad I did. I had an AMAZING run – including my first sub-10:00 miles during a long run (the last two miles, no less!!)

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I added on the last .1 mi as a big ole middle finger to last year’s ill-fated 9 mile run.

I could have gone to 10. I should have gone to 10. But my guiding philosophy this year is an overabundance of caution and avoidance of unnecessary risk. And I would have had to’ve crossed the main road, which I really just didn’t feel like doing. I have plenty of weeks ahead to hit 10+ miles. 

If I can keep this up, I am on target to beat my pie-in-the-sky goals for both Army and Baltimore. Holy cow!! 

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After the run I treated myself to two well-earned donuts (I know, you shouldn’t reward your workout efforts with food, but whatev.) and a bath for my car. 

Tonight I plan on celebrating further by rewarding myself with a dip in the hot tub and a glass of wine. I had a bottle in the fridge for Thursday night’s Ravens game but totally forgot about it. Last night it would have gone perfectly with my broccoli and pasta dinner, but I have a strict rule about not drinking before a run. But tonight? Tonight’s fair game. 

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And in totally unrelated news, my ex sent me the prettiest picture of our beast 🙂 She was watching a humming bird flit about their back yard. 

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Did you run long today? How was it?? Or are you more of a Sunday Runday kinda person?