My First Race of 2015! (Barlowe Bolt 5K Race Review)

Yesterday I ran my first race of 2015, my first race in 6 months, the Barlowe Bolt 5K! This is my second time running this race, you can see last year’s race review here….It felt great to stretch out my legs and a great confidence booster to push the pace a bit! I was able to maintain a respectable 7:45 pace, by far the fastest I’ve ran since before my injury, and even took 1st place overall female in this small community organized race! ūüôā

Finish Line Photo. I've never took good race photos! ;-)

Finish Line Photo. I’ve never took good race photos! ūüėČ

 

We had an out of nowhere, first day of Spring, snow day on Friday so it was still uncomfortably cold at the 7 am race start time. Luckily they were offering free coffee for runners! I always appreciate free coffee! I also thought it was pretty cool that they now made the race stroller and dog friendly too! My friend’s Wiener dog, Rocket, ran a 35 minute race (with a poop break!!)…impressive for a guy with 1 inch legs! Next year they plan on advertising the race as dog friendly, which hopefully will attract more runners to the race. ¬†This race is one of the biggest annual fundraisers for “Friends of Olde Mill” to build a new neighborhood playground. They’ve finally reach 20K of their 50K fundraising goal, and plan on breaking ground next month!

Thanks to Rocket, I totally want to go watch a Wiener dog race now!

Thanks to Rocket, I totally want to go watch a Wiener dog race now!

Not only did I run my first race of 2015 this week, I also ran my first long run of 2015 this week! Overall, I’d say this was a pretty good training week!! We had a few days with perfect weather, which gave me the chance to get off the treadmill and run outside! I’m looking forward to more running outside and more Spring races!

Soaking up the sunshine after my long run!

Soaking up the sunshine after my long run!


My weekly run-down…

  • Monday-6 miles (At the Park)
  • Tuesday-Rest
  • Wednesday-¬†6.1 mles (At the Park)
  • Thursday-Rest
  • Friday-6 miles (Treadmill)
  • Saturday-5K + 3 miles (At the Park)
  • Sunday-10 miles (At the Park) + 1.25 miles (Around the Neighboorhood with Ilana)
  • Total Weekly Distance: 35.45 miles
  • Total 2015 Miles Distance: 190.57 miles

A new favorite: I started tracking more details about my daily runs in my Runner’s Diary so I can make tweaks/improvements as needed!

getbetter


How was your week? Any cool races this weekend?!? How do you log/track your mileage? Are you as excited as I am that the weather is finally warming up?!?! 

‚̧

Betty

Color Run+More Miles

On Sunday I ran the Color Run in D.C. with my daughter and one of my friends. ¬†It was advertised as “The Happiest 5K on the Planet”, and it definitely was that! It ended up being a great 5K to do with my daughter, it was very family friendly and not at all competitive…in fact it wasn’t even timed. ¬†It was a bit of a hassle driving down to Alexandria (45 ¬†minutes from my house) the day before the race for the packet pick-up. ¬†The race swag was pretty sweet though, and it was hard to still be irritated about the long drive once I was handed our colorful bags, t-shirts, race headbands, and temporary tattoos. ¬†I’m pretty sure it’s against the rules to frown when you have a temp tattoo that says “HAPPY” in all bold letters! ūüėČ

We made it to the National Harbor for the race with plenty of time to spare since there were waves starting every 5 minutes between 9:00-9:45. ¬†We were able to park at a nearby parking garage (Bonus: Parking was FREE!!) and wandered down to the starting area. ¬†We were distracted by the techno music and photo areas, and spent some time dancing around and hamming it up for the cameras. ¬†Finally we made our way to the starting line. ¬†I was happy to see a lot of families and young kids ready to get their “color run on”!

Colorrun

The course was nice, with most of it on trails bordering the harbor. ¬†It would have been absolutely impossible to really run this race, even if you wanted to, because there were so many walkers, some pushing strollers. ¬†That was what I was expecting going into the race, and was just there to have a good time, so this didn’t bother me. ¬†Every 1/2 mile or so they had different color areas where the race staff threw colored corn starch all over you. The first two color areas, purple and pink, the race staff did not seem very into it and they kind of lamely squirted each race participant once with what looked like plastic condiment bottles. ¬†Ilana sounded disappointed and told me, “This isn’t what I thought it was going to be, this isn’t fun.” I was really worried at this point that this race was going to be a bust. ¬†Then after the first water station, yellow did it right!! They were going nuts, running around in a giant yellow cloud cheering and throwing corn starch everywhere. ¬†We also caught up to a large group of 20-somethings, one carrying a backpack with techno music blasting out of it, cheering enthusiastically for all the other runners. ¬†At this point, Ilana started to have a blast. ¬†And the rest of the color stations did an awesome job!

Before we knew it, we had ran/walked 3.1 miles and were at the finish line. ¬†Ilana’s mouth dropped when she saw the finish line party. ¬†There was a large crowd surrounding a stage, with a D.J. spinning more techno music dancing, bouncing large balloons from person to person, and throwing colored powder all over each other. ¬†We each got our finisher goody, a small bag of green dyed corn starch. ¬†We made sure that every inch of us that wasn’t all ready covered with bright colors….was covered! ¬†We laughed, grabbed a couple free bottles of water and kind bars and hung out for a while. ¬†We also rode the Ferris wheel since they were offering discounts to race participants, and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon exploring the harbor.

Overall….the Color Run was a fun, family friendly event….but definitely not a race. ¬†If you’re one of those competitive running types or someone who can’t stand having to walk/zig-zag through crowds of people, this is probably not the race for you. ¬†If you’re looking for a fun/active day with the family, this race is perfect for that! ¬†This is definitely not a race is not one I would have done on my own, but I enjoyed doing it with Ilana. Plus, we got lots of great pictures!

Color Run D.C. 2014

Color Run D.C. 2014

 

http://thecolorrun.com/


 

So now to totally jump topics, I have been running consistently over the last couple of weeks but have been totally slacking on posting my weekly run down.  Here are my miles for the last couple of weeks:

Week 1:

  • Monday-Rest
  • Tuesday-Run 6.3
  • Wednesday-Rest
  • Thursday- Run 6
  • Friday-Run 6
  • Saturday-Run 6
  • Sunday-Rest

Total Weekly Miles: 24.3

Week 2:

  • Monday-Run 6 +Strength Training
  • Tuesday-Rest
  • Wednesday- Run 6 + Strength Training
  • Thursday-Run 2.2 and 30 minutes swimming (At YMCA with Lana)
  • Friday-Run 6.5 (Centennial Park)
  • Saturday-Run 10 miles (B&A Trail)
  • Sunday-Run/walk 3.1

Total Weekly Miles: 33.8

Total 2014 Miles to Date: 1024.55


Do you ever do races with your kids? Do you like running “fun” races or do you prefer more serious races?

 

 

My First Trail Marathon and A Solid Training Week!

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! I had a blast! Yesterday I ran the North Face Challenge Trail Marathon at¬† Algonkian Regional Park, just outside of D.C.¬†I can count the number of trail runs I’ve done in my entire life on one hand…..So how did I end up signed up for this race? ¬†I work with an awesome group of runners, all guys so there is a lot of trash talking involved.¬† Last year they ran the NFC Half Marathon, and a few of them said they were going to take on the full this year.¬† Of course I wasn’t going to let a group of men outdo me, so I signed up for the marathon¬†the day the registration opened, throwing down the gauntlet.¬† ūüėȬ† I had no idea how I’d do, I was just hoping to be able to finish within the 7 hour time limit.¬† I was excited to¬†try something different from my normal road races and wanted to take on a new challenge.¬† Long story short, a couple of my co-workers signed up for the half but a week before my race I knew I would be running¬†the marathon¬†solo.¬† I considered changing to the half but I had 1) Gotten myself way too hyped about running the full, 2) Have been running high enough¬†mileage that I thought I had a decent chance of surviving this race, and 3) I am too damn stubborn once my mind is made up about something.¬† ūüėȬ† Still, I was nervous enough about this race that I didn’t talk much about it before hand.¬† I didn’t want to come off as a drama queen talking about how scared I was that I might get lost in the woods, be bitten by a snake, fall into a ditch, break a leg….list of irrational pre-race fears goes on and on! Lol¬†Obviously I survived, and am in good enough shape to be blogging about it the next day!

Early morning, leaving for the race.

Early morning, leaving for the race.

 

The race was well organized, with race day packet pick-up available.¬† I¬† was SO thankful that¬†I didn’t have to drive into D.C. during the¬†work week, in rush hour traffic, to pick up my number.¬† I parked, shuttled to the park, and checked in with plenty of time to spare (45 minutes) before the 9 am marathon start time.¬† I wandered around talking to strangers, one of my all time favorite things to do! ūüėȬ† The other runners at this race were so friendly and super supportive when I told them this was my first trail race.¬† I had zero expectations so this was the first race I’ve ran in a while that I didn’t put pressure on myself.¬† My primary goal was to have fun and finish uninjured.¬† While it wasn’t really a goal, I told myself if I could run this race under 5 hours I’d be ecstatic!

I learned very quickly that Garmins are very inaccurate when calculating distance and pace on a trail.¬† I didn’t even pay attention to my watch, and I just ran by feel.¬† The trails included a lot of single track paths, rocks, stream crossings, mud, tree roots, and steep hills.¬† I felt like a gazelle hurdling over a few fallen trees within the first 5 miles of the race (I was NOT hurdling them on the way back though! Lol).¬† There were a couple of points during the race that were too steep for me to run; I walked while grabbing onto trees to keep my balance.¬† The race support was amazing, with some of the best aid stations I’ve ever seen on any race.¬† Each aid station had¬†big bowls of food including; fruit, pretzels, shot blocks, gels, candy, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken broth….And plenty of fluids.¬† They even had volunteers offering water refills, which was useful since there is an 8 mile stretch during this race that is totally unsupported.¬† I had to run with a camel pack, which I should have tried out before hand, because OH. MY. GOD. THE. CHAFFING!!!! It seriously looks like I had a zombie chewing on my collar bone, shoulders, and back! I’ll live though, and know better for next time!¬† (However my boyfriend did ask me to wear my hair down this week! Lol)¬† Oh, and when I said I took my time….I REALLY took my time, stopping to take pictures of the beautiful park scenery and to take mid-race selfies!

Race Photos from on the trail.

Race Photos from on the trail.

After getting past the half way turn around, I was so glad I did take my time because let me tell you something….trail running is tough!! As my legs started to fatigue, keeping my balance and footing on the varying terrain became REALLY difficult.¬† No more leaping through the air like a ballerina, flying over logs…I was just focused on keeping myself upright and moving forward.¬† About a mile after the turn around, I made a new friend! We kept each other motivated and chatted about life for the next 10+ miles.¬† It was her first marathon and she was a beast! At the last aid station, about 1.6 miles from the finish she had more left in her legs than I did, so I told her not to wait on me, that I was going to stop at that last aid station to regroup, and I’d meet her at the finish line.¬† She ended up coming in second in her age division!!¬† She totally rocks and is one of my new running BFFs!! I ended up finishing the race in 4:47:45! Yay, I finished the race, feeling strong, in under 5 hours! *Happy Dance*

Muddy, happy, and relaxing at the finish line!

Muddy, happy, and relaxing at the finish line!


 

After the NFC, I am totally hooked on trail running! Why?  Here are the few things NFC taught me about trail running;

  • Trail running¬†forces/allows¬†me¬†to be moment.¬† I was literally focused on every step I took and what¬†was right in front of me!
  • Being in nature is inspiring! I stopped a few times to take in the sites, smells, and sounds of everything around me!
  • Variation!¬† The¬†constantly changing terrain kept things interesting, and kept me challenged and focused.¬† I completely lost track of time during this race!
  • My competitive side got to take a break….I’ve heard trail runners say, “Don’t bring your ego on the trail!” Now I know first hand what they mean! The trail was unpredictable and keeping my balance required me to run much slower than I would normally run.¬† Also, since Garmins don’t work well on the trail any way, I had no idea how fast I was running and was not focused or worried about my pace.
  • Hydration and Fuel is Key! I learned a lot about fueling and hydrating during a race.¬† I was drinking water throughout the entire race and fueling up on peanut butter (in reusable camping tube), cliff shot blocks, and orange slices (from fueling stations).¬† My energy levels were high and I felt great!
  • Trail running is easier on¬†my legs.¬† Usually for a day or two after a marathon my legs feel destroyed and I’m walking with my “marathon limp”.¬† I do feel tired today, but my legs don’t hurt AT ALL!
  • The other runners! Trail runners are some of the nicest¬†people I’ve ever met! This race wasn’t overly competitive and everyone was running at a conversational pace.¬† We ran in packs for miles; joking, laughing, and motivating each other.¬† And as I mentioned before, I made a new running BFF! ūüôā

Not only did I have a great race, I had a great week of training.¬† I didn’t even slack on my cross training this week, like I normally do! ūüėČ

Recap of this weeks training:

-Monday: Ab Ripper X, 10 x burpees, 10 minute AM yoga routine.

-Tuesday: 6 mile tempo run (7:59 AP), TRX workout (3×15 each Chest press, Low-Row, Skull crushers, One arm bicep Curl) 11 x burpees.

-Wednesday: 8 mile track work out (Including 12×400 Repeats), Ab ripper X, 12 x burpees.

-Thursday: 6 miles easy, TRX workout (Same as Tuesday), 13 x burpees.

-Friday: Rest Day.  14 x burpees.

-Saturday: NFC Trail Marathon (26.2 miles)

-Sunday: 2 mile easy recovery run, Ab ripper X, 16 x burpees.

 

  • Total Weekly Miles: 48.2
  • Total 2014 Miles: 716.35

Another training cycle starts soon!! I’ll be starting Hanson’s 18 week Advanced Marathon Training Program in One Week!!!


Have you ever tried trail running? What do you love about trail running?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zooma Half Marathon (PR!) and Other Training News

Saturday I ran the Zooma Half Marathon in Annapolis. ¬†I signed up for this race last minute, since it’s right around the corner from where I live and I wanted to get a Spring half marathon under my belt for this year. ¬†I’ve been focused on my marathon for the last year, but the half has always been my favorite distance to race. ¬†I don’t have to at “puke inducing turbo” speeds like a 5K/10K and I’m finished before hitting the dreaded leg crushing wall.

I loved the race; it was well organized and had such a positive atmosphere. ¬†A majority of the runners were women and I love how female athletes encourage and support each other. ¬†They also had an option to have your race packet mailed to you, which I took advantage of since making it to a packet pick-up during the work week (I’m a commuter with lots of after school activities to take my daughter to) can be a stressful experience for me. ¬†I think all races should have either a mail or same day packet pick-up option so you don’t have to make an additional trip. ¬†The swag was awesome! ¬†In addition to an awesome race shirt, tech tee in an adorable baby blue color, I got a new running hat (Hats are a necessity for this fair skinned gal!) and new feeture running socks (one of my favorite brands of running socks!)

It was a beautiful day (perfect racing weather) and the race location was fantastic, starting and finishing near the Naval Academy Stadium. ¬†There were plenty of porta potties so the lines weren’t bad before the race. ¬†There were just over 900 half marathon runners and the 10K and half started together (then merged again a few miles before the finish line). ¬†I had a good start to the race; running just under 7 minutes for my first two miles before settling in at my goal pace of 7:20. ¬†For the first 5 miles, I was running with the “lead pack” of females and was enjoying the fast/flat route through down town Annapolis. ¬†The crowd support was good, and there were water stations every 2 miles.

Just after mile 5, we started to climb a steep bridge. ¬†This is where the other girls started to pull away from me. ¬†Unfortunately, the bridge took a lot out of me and I struggled on the rolling hills that followed for the next 4 miles. ¬†I let myself get discouraged, and mentally almost gave up during this portion of the race. ¬†I’m embarrassed to admit I let myself get in my head during this part of the race, and my attitude was terrible! I finally told myself (I talk to myself a lot when I run! Lol), “Snap out of it Woman!!! So you had a few bad miles out of 13.1 miles! Don’t give up on all of them!” Then I kicked my butt back into gear. ¬†The 1:40 pacer caught up with me with about 2 miles left to go, and I pushed myself to keep up with him (and the two runners pacing with him). ¬†They were amazingly encouraging and helped me get through the final 2 miles. ¬†I did my best to stay with them for the final stretch, but they pulled away a bit the last half mile. ¬†I kept them in my sites and was watching my Garmin. ¬†At 13 miles I was just under 1:38 so I thought I was going to run my first sub-1:40 half. ¬†At 13.1, my watch was at 1:39:30 and I still didn’t see the finish line. ¬†“Shoot!” I ran as hard as I could for the final stretch of the race. ¬†I ended up finishing in 1:40:26 (A new PR by just over a minute) and I found out later I was 4th in my division.

I was happy that I was able to get it together and finish my race strong with a new PR. ¬†But also disappointed that I was SO close to my goal of breaking 1:40 and SO close to getting a division award. ¬†I normally would have been ecstatic with my time (and a new PR) but I knew that I could have ran the race better than I did if I hadn’t mentally thrown in the towel for 4 miles of the race. ¬†However, I am NOT feeling sorry for myself and am focusing on all of the positives of this race. ¬†I am treating this as a learning experience. ¬†The #1 thing I need to focus on for the next race is to maintain mental strength and a positive attitude when I am racing, regardless of what curve balls are thrown at me (http://running.competitor.com/2014/02/training/7-traits-of-mentally-tough-runners_68365). ¬†In my training I also need to focus on more hill training (hills have been slowing my pace down over a minute per mile in my last few races) and my nutrition (I need to cut out some sweets and sodas and try to eat and hydrate like an athlete!).

After my half marathon.

After my half marathon.

Bottom line; I LOVE the Zooma Race series, if there is a race in your area it is totally worth checking out!!

http://www.zoomarun.com


The rest of my training for the week went well.

Weekly Run Down:

  • Monday-¬†TRX work-out, Ab ripper X, Bryan Kest Power Yoga
  • Tuesday– 5 Mile Trail Run (@10:30 pace)
  • Wednesday-6 miles (@8:10 AP)
  • Thursday-Rest
  • Friday-¬†Run 2 miles (8:30 pace on treadmill)
  • Saturday-Zooma Half Marathon, 13.25 (1:40:36, 7:36 AP)
  • Sunday– 7.1 miles Davidsonville Park (8:59 AP)

Total Weekly Miles: 33.35

Total 2014 Miles: 668.15


What is your favorite distance to race?  What advice do you have for staying mentally strong when competing?  

 

 

Warrior Dash Recap-It was muddy fun!

This year I ran my 3rd Warrior Dash with a group of friends, the same group of super fun people I ran with last year! Our fearless leader and creative director, Pat, came up with a great idea for our costumes! We all dressed up as convicts and were “Team Prison Break”. ¬†(And I thought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would be IMPOSSIBLE to beat!) ¬†I met my friend Christina at her apartment early Saturday morning and we tried on our black and white striped dresses (We wore running shorts underneath, In case you were wondering! ūüėČ ) and did some “functional testing”. ¬†We were cracking ourselves up doing squats, hurdling over chairs, and low crawling in her living room. ¬†We realized some alterations were needed, and took on the role of impromptu “fashion designers”….a cut here, a snip there….Voila! ¬†Perfection!

We gathered up our gear and headed over to Pat’s house to meet the rest of the team for a waffle breakfast and car pool. ¬†Pat’s teenage daughter and some of her friends decided to join us crazy old people this year, after hearing how much fun we had at the last Warrior Dash. ūüôā It took us a LITTLE longer than expected to get on the road….we had to perfect costumes, then do cute poses for our pre-race pictures! It’s all about priorities people! ūüėČ

There was this one….

"Team Prison Break" before getting dirty!

“Team Prison Break” before getting dirty!

And this Pre-race pyramid was TOTALLY necessary!

Pyramid2

 

After goofing off all morning we FINALLY made it to the race! ¬†It costs $10.00 to park and then you end up walking about 1/4 mile to the registration tents. ¬†They have waves running all day, so seeing the other runners walk back up the hill covered in mud got me hyped to run! ¬†Registration and bag drop off are well organized and went quickly. ¬†THANKFULLY! Since we barely made it in time for our wave! Haha ¬†And there were also plenty of port-a-potties for last minute pit stops before your wave. ¬†There was one major change for this years race, the Warrior Dash is no longer timed. ¬†My competitive side was slightly disappointed but after running the race I decided it was actually a positive. ¬†Runners were much safer and there was more of a “team work” mentality to the run this year compared to previous years. ¬†Everyone was helping each other over obstacles and making sure people who fell down along the course were OK.

We lined up for our wave in the starting coral, and did a “1, 2, 3….PRISON BREAK!” cheer as we ran across the starting line. ¬†It was pretty much impossible to run the first mile with the crowd of people trying to make it up some steep and VERY muddy hills. ¬†There were a lot of people slipping and sliding, falling over, helping each other up, and laughing. ¬†There were 12 obstacles along the course, that were challenging but nothing too insane. ¬†My favorite obstacle was the “Mud Mounds”….there was some rain earlier in the day so the hills were super slippery and the trenches in between the mounds were filled with water. ¬†Our costumes attracted a lot of attention; runners and volunteers along the course were calling out things like, “You better run faster if you’re going to get away from the Warden!” ¬†Haha…So clever and cute that I overlooked the fact that they were calling us slow! (No man left behind!!! ;-)) And it’s always fun when other people are getting a kick out of your costumes!

Other runners navigating the "Mud Mounds"

Other runners navigating the “Mud Mounds”

I like any race where it’s acceptable to get this dirty! It honestly makes me feel like a big kid! ¬†I had the biggest grin on my face, splashing through the mud and climbing over things the ENTIRE race! I even had one of the other runners nickname me “Smiley”! Haha This race is more about having fun and camaraderie than getting your fastest time. ¬†(Now that the race isn’t timed, that isn’t even an issue!) ¬†Our group started together, but ended up divided into two teams, “The 25 and Under Escapees” and “The 30+ Escapees”. ¬†The 30+ group crossed the finish line together, a low crawl through THICK mud!

At the finish line!

At the finish line!

Posing for Free Honest Tea!

Posing for Free Honest Tea!

With Christina in the "Facebook Photo Booth"

With Christina in the “Facebook Photo Booth”

I was free of responsible parental responsibilities for this dash, so we enjoyed some of the finish line festivities. ¬†The finish line party for this race is definitely a PAR-TAY!! The D.J. was playing awesome music and “Shock Top” had a very legit bar set up. ¬†We got our free beers (Not a huge fan of the citrus blended into the beer, but hey…. it was free!) and danced covered in mud long enough to satisfy my “Woodstock” fantasy! ¬†You can donate your muddy shoes at the end of the race, so we tie wrapped our shoes together and added them to the muddy shoe mountain before walking back up the hill for our “showers”. ¬†BTW…The people who volunteer to clean these shoes are Saints!

muddyshoes

 

So about the “showers”….this is one thing Warrior Dash almost failed on this year! ¬†The hoses that they had set up for runners to clean off with were broken! ¬†Yikes! We just happened to be lucky enough to get there at the same time as a water truck, an improvise, pulled up. ¬†We literally got hosed off with ice cold water out of a fire hose! It wasn’t the MOST pleasant thing….I was all ready shivering BEFORE my “shower”, but I have to admit…it was a LOT of fun! ūüôā

Hit the showers!!

Hit the showers!!

Overall, the 2014 Warrior Dash was a great event. ¬†There were lots of fun people and an awesome atmosphere. It is definitely more of a party than an actual race, but if you go into it with that expectation you won’t be disappointed!

Have you ran a Warrior Dash or another mud run? ¬†I’d love to hear about it! Did you have lots of muddy fun?

https://www.warriordash.com/

 

 

American Odyssey Relay (The Grande Finale of a VERY busy week!)

Last week insanely busy! ¬†Between everything I had going on at work, running, and Ilana had two days out of school (that I somehow overlooked on her school calendar! ) it was down right exhausting! ¬†Not that I’m complaining, I tend to get bored when I’m NOT going 100 miles a minute, and I managed to pack in a lot of great quality time and fun with Ilana! The week ended with me taking Friday off (from work and the rest of my life) to run the American Odyssey Relay (200 mile relay race) in Gettysburg PA with one of my running BFFs, Theresa!

This year our team name was “Van on the Run”; we were in Van 1 and all met at Charm City Run. ¬†We all had our sleeping bags, van party music, and were WELL stocked up on snacks when we began our drive to the starting line at 6:45 in the morning. ¬†This is one of the funny things about me; I am NOT a morning person and rarely make it to work any earlier than 8 am, but can somehow manage to get out of bed before 4:30 am on race days! Haha

The race was just as much fun this year as it was last year; with lots of scenic/historic views and some of the most AMAZING race volunteers. ¬†The runners get to vote for their favorite transition; this year one of the transitions had delicious oatmeal raisin cookies and another one had a fire pit (FYI…I LOVE fire pits!!!) ¬†A few of the runs in the middle of the night center around “The Oasis” where runners can camp out, get food (burgers, pizza, baked treats…), and take a hot(ish) shower. ¬† I’d sum this race up as a “mom and pop” version of Ragnar. ūüôā

Van 1 Runners and Course Views :-)

Van 1 Runners and Course Views ūüôā

After finishing up our first set of legs, it started to pour down rain! I feel bad for Van 2 for having to run in that “Tropical Storm” like weather while Van 1 sat in a warm, cozy restaraunt eating our “Linner” (Lunch/Dinner)……OK, I really didn’t feel bad, I laughed a lot, because I’m a jerk! Hahaha ūüėČ ¬†Let’s be real though, as much as they may have complained about it; it’s a well known fact that runners LOVE suffering…the worse the terrain, weather, distance the better the resulting runner “war stories”! So I know Van 2 loved being so bad ass during this race! Van 1 had to deal with some cold weather and light rain during our night runs, but overall we lucked out with nearly perfect weather for all of our legs! I earned my “bragging rights” in this race by tackling the hardest leg of the race, Andrea’s Ascent with a 1200 foot climb. ¬†My legs were screaming and Andrea slowed me down to a “snails pace”, but I earned my “I Survived Leg 6” beer glass. ¬†Which OBVIOUSLY is now my favorite beer glass!! In all seriousness, the whole VOTR team, including some newbie “ultra relay” runners did a fantastic job; kicking ass and taking names! We finished the race in 31 hours 11 minutes and 55 seconds, 31st out of 51 teams in our division. ¬†Not bad at all!

Partying like Rock Stars! Great job VOTR!!!

Partying like Rock Stars! Great job VOTR!!!

I also started the Coach to 5K program with Ilana and my friend Christina this week. ¬†We are all running the Color Run in D.C. this September; Ilana is super serious about training “like mommy does” for her race. Her goal is to be able to run the whole 5K without walking. ¬†She is a natural so I think she’ll be able to do it! ¬†We did our first run together at Davidsonville Park and enjoyed another beautiful day on Thursday. ¬†ūüôā

Ilana posing, she did great and was so proud after our run together! :-)

Ilana posing, she did great and was so proud after our run together! ūüôā

All the girls!

All the girls!

With AOR, and Coach to 5K in addition to my normal running; I had a solid/satisfying week of training last week.

The Run Down:

  • Monday-¬†Rest
  • Tuesday-¬†Run 5 miles outside
  • Wednesday-Rest
  • Thursday- Run 1.67 Miles with Ilana at Davidsonville Park (Training for Color Run 5K) + My¬†Run 6 miles
  • Friday-¬†Leg 1: 6.5 miles, Leg 2: 4.2 miles
  • Saturday-¬†Leg 3: 8.2 miles
  • Sunday-2.35 mile trail run/hike (Or attempt at it! Lol)

This ended up being a good training week with my fastest run for the year Thursday afternoon, and my biggest hill of the year Friday morning:

I was in the zone for this run, 6 miles at 7:18 pace! :-)

I was in the zone for this run, 6 miles at 7:18 pace! ūüôā

Leg 6 of AOR, a "leg crushing" 1200 foot climb!

Leg 6 of AOR, a “leg crushing” 1200 foot climb!

  • Total Weekly Miles: 33.92
  • 2014 Miles: 527.32

How is your Spring training/Spring racing season going? 

 

Garden Spot Village Marathon Race Recap + Review

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I meant to post this sooner (for the sake of doing this race justice), but I’ve been floating on cloud nine since the weekend. ¬†I’m finally coming back to reality enough to at least attempt to put together some coherent sentences that adequately describe what a wonderful weekend I had in Lancaster (Pennsylvania Dutch) county with Danny. ¬†It was serendipity that I came across, and decided to register for the Garden Spot Village Marathon (Organized by Garden Spot Village and Race Director, Scott Miller). ¬†I choose this race by searching for marathons in April, within reasonable travel distance, cross referenced race dates with my calendar, came across this small (relative to more local Baltimore and DC races) marathon that promised chocolate shakes at the finish line, and I was sold. ¬†(Yep, I that is about how much thought I put into most things in life! Haha) ¬†As the race got closer, I read race reviews (All great reviews) and looked at pictures of the local area, I got more and more excited. ¬†I also began to get nervous; that a small marathon field would mean many miles alone, without other runners to chat with and cheering crowds to distract me if things began to get rough. ¬†Well this race ended up surprising me; it far exceeded my expectations and ended up being my favorite race to date! (No exaggeration!)

Pre-race/Packet Pickup: 

After registering for Garden Spot, I began to receive occasional e-mails from the race director (For Clarification: Not to me specifically, but to all registered runners!) with training tips, updates on local road conditions, and cheerful chronicles of his training runs. ¬†To be honest, at first this struck me as rather odd (Remember, I typically run B-More and DC races…) but it kept me excited/motivated through a harsh winter of training and it made me feel like I personally knew Scott! ¬†I couldn’t wait to meet him and all the other runners on race day!

Danny and I drove up to Lancaster Friday evening. ¬†We went straight to Garden Spot Village Community Center for packet pickup. ¬†We arrived just as the “Kid’s Marathon” (1.2 mile race, too cute! I’ll have to keep it in mind for Ilana next year!) The volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful, and we had no problems finding the registration tent. ¬†For those runners motivated by swag, all runners got a cool tech t-shirt and running hat. ¬†I opted to do the pasta dinner, a great deal for $15.00 a person, and I am always worried about eating at restaurants before a race (too much butter and sodium!)….Aaaannnnd it was all you can eat!!!! (You know this greedy gal was happy! Lol) ¬†There was pasta, bread, salad, sweet potatoes (yes please!), coffee, and desserts. ¬†I’ll admit, I was eyeballing some cheesecake that looked to die for….and almost worth risking mid-race trots….almost….I opted for the chocolate cake (It was am-az-ing!!). ¬†I enjoyed chatting with some of the other runners, many local, and all incredibly friendly. ¬†Several of them mentioned how difficult the course was, and how this definitely was¬†“not a PR course”….I thought, “Uh Oh, maybe I need to look at that map again…” ¬†(Ummmm…yeah, I’ll get back to that!).

Morning of Race Day:¬†I didn’t sleep well because I kept having that “I slept through my alarm and missed my race” nightmare and woke up every hour throughout the night. (I swear, does¬†EVERY¬†runner have that nightmare?!) I finally got “permission” to get out of bed at 0430 (I was driving Danny crazy hopping in and out of bed all night, and he vetoed me trying to put on my running clothes at 0300!) and went through my pre-race rituals. ¬†I won’t get into all of the boring specifics, but I will mention one odd racing quirk/superstition/lucky totem I have adopted. ¬†I have to wear my nose ring, not my normal stud, when I race. ¬†I swear it makes me run faster because it makes me feel “more bad a$$”! And since running is 99% mental, it has to work, right? ¬†Like the circular logic on that one? As silly as this quirk sounds, it is 100% true, and I’m not one to ever make apologies for being a weirdo! Lol (What is one of your odd racing quirks?)¬† After a good breakfast Danny and I (and another runner we picked up at the Bed and Breakfast) drove to the race. ¬†Parking was easy, there was zero stress, and the weather was perfect…it was all adding up to a great race day! ¬†I decided I wanted another coffee and was surprised when the woman at the concession stand told me no charge for runners (for anything). ¬†All though I had read that online before hand, it was one of those things that seemed too good to be true, and I totally forgot. ¬†I finished my coffee, took care of business (Yessss!), and made my way to the starting line. ¬†Everyone was in great spirits, and I even saw “Marathon Man” entertaining the crowd. ¬†It was Go Time!!!

At the starting line!

At the starting line!

The Race:

This race experience was surreal…it was like traveling back in time. ¬†I was being passed by horse and buggies along the course, and there were many Amish families along the sides of the roads. ¬†Some doing their own thing, and others actively cheering on all of the runners. (There were also some competing in the race in traditional clothing + running shoes) Not to mention, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous! ¬†Miles and miles (literally) of rolling hills and farms. ¬†Of course, having perfect weather and bright blue skies didn’t hurt either! ¬†To think I was worried about not having enough “distractions” along the course! ¬†I had so many things to look at that time just flew by! ¬†There were enough runners that I occasionally passed or was passed by somebody, but it was actually nice having the space and freedom to just run, not having to zig-zag in and out of crowds. ¬†I had a fanny pack full of my pre-made concoction of honey stinger chews, mini marshmallows, pretzels, craisins, and gummy bears. ¬†I ate a hand full every two miles starting at mile 8, and in addition to drinking water (no Gatorade) at every water station. ¬†I found my sweet spot for fueling/maintaining energy/and not getting tummy cramps during this race! (Big success for me, since fueling during a run has always been one of my biggest challenges). ¬†The water stations were well organized and all the volunteers along the course did a great job at not letting me get lost! ¬†ūüėČ

Views on the course.

Views on the course.

Since every race is a learning experience, here are a few things I learned during this race:

  • Planning is so not my thing….the whole “race strategy thing” I did was a great meditation exercise during my taper, to mellow out some of my pre-race jitters, but I did not remember a dang thing! ¬†I’m definitely more of a winging it kind of girl!!
  • Even if I were able to remember¬†ANY¬†of my race strategy, it wouldn’t do me any good, because attention to detail (and reading elevation maps) is also so not my thing. ¬†Remember how I was talking about this nice flat course, with a couple of hills at mile something and something else….well, please see exhibit A……
Yeah, this is NOT flat!!

Yeah, this is NOT flat!!

Mmmm hmmm! Oh well, I made the best of it, and earned some bragging rights by surviving that last BIG (Not only) hill at mile 21-23!

  • This one is a two part lesson; stay humble and never judge a book by it’s cover! ¬†It doesn’t matter how fast/strong you are (even with your “bad ass runner chick nose ring” in!) there will always be someone faster and stronger. ¬†And that person may be a man in a pink tutu, passing you at mile 10 of a marathon!
There he is! And there he goes.....

There he is! And there he goes…..

  • But it’s all good, because I don’t take myself that seriously and I got a big laugh! (The British accent was a nice touch sir!) ¬†NEVER forget to have fun!
  • The people who love you will support you and love you, no matter how insane your goals and endeavors may be! ¬†Thank you to my mom and my boyfriend Danny, for being there for me and always being proud of me for even my smallest accomplishments.
  • Taking Danny to races with me rocks because I actually end up with cool race pictures afterwards to put on my blog! ūüėČ

I ended up finishing this race in 3:48:15 (8:39 overall pace), while 10 minutes slower than my goal (based on a “flat” course) I was (am) still elated because I beat my previous PR (In Richmond last November) by just over 2 minutes and LOVED the course so much! ¬†PLUS I still had the rest of the weekend with Danny to look forward to! ūüôā

Runners love bling! *Fact*

Runners love bling! *Fact*

Post-Race/Finish Line Festivities: A homemade chocolate milk shake after a marathon is EVERY bit as good as it sounds! I enjoyed two (before you judge, they were small! ūüėČ ) along with a banana and some trail mix. ¬†I was actually overwhelmed by the amount of food in the runner’s recovery tent, which included omelets being made on the spot! ¬†There was also a pool and hot tubs available for swimmers to take a dip/relax in (If ONLY I would have remembered to bring my bikini from the B&B!). ¬†It was over 70 at this point and still sunny/clear skies, so I lounged around on the grass and chatted with some other runners. ¬†I even introduced myself to Megan, a girl that I had been “leap frogging” throughout the entire race, and congratulated her for pulling away on that final stretch. ¬†I also thanked her for keeping me going in a couple of tough spots. ¬†She said I had done the same, we both were enjoying the game! ūüôā It turns out we both won our age division! Her F25-29, and me F30-34. ¬†One of the advantages of running a race with fewer runners and a generous race director! I’m looking forward to receiving my personally engraved coin with my finishing time in the mail!

That's Megan next to me in middle left!

That’s Megan next to me in middle left!

The Rest of the Weekend:¬†Involved a visiting a couple of local markets/shops and settling in on the patio at the B&B with a pizza and nice bottle of red wine. ¬†The bed and breakfast we stayed at was amazing too, The Artist’s Inn & Gallery, so I’d just like to give it a quick plug too! ¬†The inn and location were perfect; The owners, Jan and Bruce were very friendly and especially accommodating of the runners staying at the Inn. ¬†The Gallery portion included Bruce’s colored pencil drawings with quirky/funny captions, I ended up coming home with his “Phona Lisa” (A congratulatory gift from Danny! ūüôā ) I will definitely be booking a room when I’m in town again for another race; maybe “Bird in hand half”? ¬†I reeaaallly want that “Road Apple” award!

Relaxing at the B&B

Relaxing at the B&B

I always do “the run-down” for myself…..At the end of the week, between two 4 mile taper runs and the marathon:

Total Weekly Miles: 34.2 
Total 2014 Miles: 464.9

Next up….The American Odyssey Race with (hopefully) 11 other runners!

Links:

http://gardenspotvillagemarathon.org/

http://www.artistinn.com/

What is your favorite race to run?  What makes or breaks a race for you?