Race Recap: USATF Old Town One Mile Road Race

Last weekend, the US National 12k came to Old Town Alexandria for its second year bringing a slew of elite runners. Molly Huddle defended her title in the women’s race winning in 38:08 and Brian Shrader surprised everyone winning the men’s race in 34:11. The race gives everyday runners a chance to toe the line with elites and is a really cool experience. Last year I volunteered in the elite check in area and ran their bags to them as they finished. Oh yea, I also got to meet Deena Kastor as I cheered on runners at the finish.

usrrc6This year I decided I would participate on the running side. Being only one week after I got back from my honeymoon though, I knew I wouldn’t be up for a 12k that I would be proud of. Along with the 12k though, there was also a 1-mile road race option and a kid’s race. I figured even being slightly out of shape, I could push through the 1-miler. The 12k ran first so the 9:30 start time for the 1-mile race was also appealing!

Ian and I got to the race early so I would have plenty of time to get a warm-up in. I work in Old Town, so we parked near my office and walked to the start from there. I think our walk was as long as the race! As we neared the start though, I started to notice anyone else that had the same bib on as me looked to be under 10 years old. Panic set in as I was pretty sure I had signed up for a kid’s race. I refused to take my coat off and show my bib until I saw other adults – and not just ones racing with their kids. This definitely cut into my warm-up time, but oh well, I wasn’t in any shape to set a PR that day anyways, and it made for some good laughs. Thankfully more people my age did show up, so I wasn’t alone in getting shown up by a bunch of kids!

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That guy with the giant mascot head behind me – Woody Wilson – would go on to beat me. It was a touch demoralizing!

It was one of the first really chilly weekends here in DC, so I opted for my winter hat. I wore my Oiselle flyte longsleeve under my singlet along with stride shorts and high compression socks. I definitely overestimated how warm out I thought it would be though as I never took my warm-up pants off and ran the race in them. It it were the 12k I probably would have been OK in the shorts, but there was just not enough time in the 1-mile to warm up!

Ian headed down to about the quarter mile mark. It was a straight and flat out and back, so he was able to easily catch me going both ways. I know when he’s wearing a hoodie that it’s definitely cold out!

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I took off fast and paid dearly for it on the second half. I really didn’t think I could lose that much time in such a short race, but I did! I ran the first quarter at a sub-6 pace and was already slowing drastically before I reached the turnaround.

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For the last quarter mile I just kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other and not slow down too much. According to my watch, which I didn’t stop until I cleared both finish line mats, I finished in 7:18. That’s about a minute off my PR in the mile, but I thought it was respectable for my week and a half back to running after a few weeks mostly off.

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My official results say I finished in 7:25. I don’t know why, but this really upset me. I know it’s only 7 seconds, but I know I finished faster than that. They have a set of pictures you can see on their site from the time you finished and I’m not in any of them. I would like to believe that is because something went wrong with the timing and I actually crossed the line 7 seconds faster!

Regardless, I do love the adrenaline of shorter races like this and would love to find another one soon. I liked my track one-miler better, but I was also in much better shape for that one so I could be a bit biased!

How about you? Have you done a 1-miler before? Was it on the road or on the track?

Race Recap: Dulles Day 5k On The Runway

Last year I heard about a new race coming to DC – the Dulles Day 10k and 5k. It took place right on the runway – so cool! I was out of town for the race weekend though, so I wouldn’t get to do it. This past September, however, I would not miss out!

My biggest regret is that I was not in better shape for this race. It is the ultimate flat PR course. It still turned out to be a cool experience though.

Ian was out of town for the weekend, so I rented a car to make the early trip out to Dulles Airport on Saturday morning. The earliest public transportation could get me there was well after the race would have finished so that wasn’t an option. In a tiny Chevy Spark that was mine for the weekend, I made my way out to Dulles bright and early. Well, actually it was still dark.

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I needed to pick my packet up day-of so I got there an hour early thinking that would be plenty of time. It wasn’t. Parking for the race was at the Steven Udvar-Hazy Center – the companion museum to DC’s National Air & Space Museum. We got to cut through the museum to make our way to packet pick-up and the race start. I can’t believe I have never been out here before and now totally understand why everyone says it is so much better than the museum on the Mall.

The packet pick-up line wound around in circles making it a bit disorganized and hard to find the end. Once I got my place in line it slowly chugged a long as I watched the time click down towards the start. I finally got my bib and then turned to see a line for the bag drop. I finally made my way to the front of that as they announced 3 minutes until the 5k start.

I bolted off towards the start line and had to work my way up from the back of the field. I got about midway through when the race began. We made our way out onto the runway – talk about a flat course. There was one plane out along the way for us to run by before we shot down a straightaway. We made a slight turn and came back down the other side passing the start line and finishing back behind the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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The weather was perfect – a touch of chill in the air. I wore my Oiselle arm warmers for most of the race before pushing them down for the last mile along with shorts. Still, I felt slow and flat-footed. I wasn’t in shape and it showed in my time as I crossed the line in 26:12. That’s slower than my PR marathon pace!

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I did pick it up for the final mile, but wish that I’d had more to give. I did love the race though and will definitely go back next year if I’m in town. For you speedsters, the winners of the 10k get a pair of round-trip tickets from United and the top male and female 5k runners each get one round-trip ticket with United. Not a bad prize at all!!

What unique races have you done?

 

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

It was a fun week getting back into daily workouts after a few weeks off for my honeymoon. While my runs were slow, I didn’t lose nearly as much fitness as I would have expected over my little hiatus. That was probably helped by the fact that we were walking between 5 and 10 miles most days as we trekked all over Europe!

Anyways, here’s the day-by-day breakdown:

Monday: Thanks to continued jetlag I had no problem getting up at 5:30 and heading to the gym before work. 45-minute treadmill run. Upper body workout and core workout.

Tuesday: Another early morning at the gym for a 45-minute treadmill run, legs workout and core workout.

Wednesday: Rest day.

Thursday: I worked through my lunch today so I could take off running at about 4:15 and catch the last bit of daylight. I put in about 50 chilly minutes along the Mt. Vernon Trail.

Friday:  I got in a great 50-minute run today, again along the Mt. Vernon Trail, as I raced against the setting sun! Such a great way to start the weekend.

Saturday: Rest day.

Sunday: One mile road race in Old Town Alexandria – more to come on this, but my unofficial finish time was 7:18.

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Running Goals

I do my best, most consistent training when I have concrete goal races and times, so I put my credit card down and registered for my next big race. Putting it in writing makes it more real for me and keeps me accountable, so here goes…

I’m giving a BQ attempt another go this spring. I signed up for the B&A Trail Marathon on March 29 in Annapolis, Maryland. My goal is sub 3:32. I want to give myself a good cushion so that I don’t just qualify, but can actually register to run Boston in 2016 as well. My current PR is 3:37.

Putting a goal like that out there is a bit scary since I’ve failed before, but I am more determined that ever to make it happen. I came just more than two minutes shy at the Niagara Marathon before a humbling race at the Marine Corps Marathon after an injury-riddled training season.

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That was a hard blow to take and I took a long marathon break after that race, which involved a lot of sporadic training. Now it’s time to get over and get after it.

I’m going to follow the Hanson’s Plan for the first time. I’ve long been intrigued by this plan and am excited to see how it works out for me. It involves a lot of running on tired legs with six days a week of running. Long runs top out around 16 miles, but the plan is designed to make those 16 milers feel more like the last 16 of a marathon than the first. Most days will be at an easy, conversational pace with weekly track and tempo workouts as well.

The plan is 18 weeks with week one starting on a Thursday, so my training will officially kick off on Thanksgiving! Who couldn’t be thankful for that?! More turkey for me!

Honeymoon Recap – Ireland Part 1

We started off our honeymoon in Ireland. In this post I’ll talk about our first and third days, which we spent in Dublin. Part two, coming next week, will highlight our day trip to Ireland’s west coast.

Ian likes to say I vacation hard and notes that he often needs a week to recover from my vacations. He’s probably right, but I can’t help it. When I get to new cities I love playing tourist and want to see anything and everything that I can cram in. I’m also a big fan of walking everywhere we go, so you can really get to know a city. After averaging seven to 10 miles a day though for the first few days I gave in and discovered the wonders of public transportation when we got to Rome. More on that later though.

After a few hour delay in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, we were on our way to Dublin. This threw off my day one itinerary as we got in too late for the historic walking tour I had planned on attending, but we were able to fit that in on day three. We knew we had to power through the day, but ended up succumbing to the jet lag and napped for a bit before getting started. The first day after flying across the Atlantic is always brutal, even if you do sleep on the plane!

We stayed at the Fleet Street Hotel right in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar district. It wasn’t the nicest hotel, but the price was right for the location. Even booking one of the biggest rooms, we had just enough room in there for a double and a twin bed (either that or 3 twins were the only choices here) and not much walking space! It was clean and close to everything though, so I would recommend it to anyone wanting to stay right in the thick of it on a budget. Bars are open late and all around the hotel and neighboring streets, so not a great place for a family trip.

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The hotel advertises it’s affiliation with Sullivan’s Irish Pub, which is partially true as it is directly underneath the hotel on the backside. The front entrance shares an entryway with TGI Friday’s though, which left us chuckling. We did not fit in a stop there!

We quickly found our way right into an Irish Pub called O’Connells for beers and lunch. With our energy restored, we set off on foot for the Old Jameson Distillery.  We managed to avoid the rain during our lunch break and enjoyed pretty decent weather throughout our time in Ireland – especially for this time of year. It was mostly sunny and hovered around the mid 50s, although when the winds picked up it felt a lot cooler at points.

I read this sign wrong at first and was a little disappointed!

I read this sign wrong at first and was a little disappointed!

While we waited for our tour to start, I learned how much I like Jameson in hot chocolate and that Jameson and Ginger tastes great – how have I never drank that?! The tour walked us through the history of Jameson and the process to make it. We were also given a heads up that we should jump at the chance to volunteer if asked and that certainly paid off.

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Ian and I both got picked for the taste testing after the tour. We started with Jameson, followed by Johnny Walker Black and Jack Daniels. After giving the correct answer that of course the Jameson tasted best, we were awarded with official whiskey taste tester certificates!

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We then proceeded to close down the Jameson bar with more rounds of Jameson and Ginger until realizing we were the only ones left in the place and they were picking up around us!

On our hike back to the hotel we stopped at another pub (really, they are EVERYWHERE!) called Thomas Read for drinks.

Before calling it a night we had dinner and drinks at a pub near the hotel. The menus are pretty similar from bar to bar so if you enjoy pub food and a few pints you really can’t go wrong!

Day three of our trip was another day of exploring Dublin. We finally got to take that historical walking tour of Dublin, which started at Trinity College just around the block from our hotel. We also saw other points of interest including the Dublin Castle and learned a lot about Irish history. Our tour guide was entertaining and full of interesting stories.

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He showed us to an expensive restaurant called The Bank after our tour was over. We didn’t end up going in, but it sounded very cool and we’ll have to check it out if we ever make it back. It was an old bank that was converted into a restaurant but the interior was never really changed. He told us the bathrooms were in the vaults, calling them the safest bathrooms in Ireland!

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Exhausted and hungry after a two-hour walking tour turned into three, we stopped for lunch at the Vat House pub. More good pub food and more beers/ciders. I generally ordered a Bullmer’s Irish Cider while Ian’s most frequent drink of choice was Smithwicks. He also enjoyed the Guinness Dublin Porter.

From there we set off on another hike to find the Guinness Factory. I may have led us a bit astray and taken the long way, but we managed to find the entrance before it was too late. This was my second time doing the tour, but they’ve made a bunch of updates since my trip five years ago so there were plenty of new things to see. In addition to the history and the how it’s made, one of my favorite parts of the tour were the advertisements over the years. You could view both print and TV ads dating back to the 20s. I couldn’t help but laugh at the early ones touting the positive effects of Guinness on your health!

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After the tour we each enjoyed a Guinness at the circular bar atop the building. The windows are all glass giving you an unparalleled panoramic view of Dublin. It was a bit crowded up there so we didn’t stay too long but we did enjoy taking in the views and sipping on Guinness.

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Later that night we headed down the street from our hotel to Oliver St. John Gogarty’s Pub for an Irish Music pub crawl. Our tour group never showed, but we enjoyed some beers and Irish music on our own anyways. We hit up the Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Temple Bar for a late dinner. The food was just OK, and the service was really slow. I’d recommended sticking to pub food while there.

Dublin was a loud, fun city filled with pubs that keep the beers flowing. We had a great time there!

Bridal Shower Weekend

My bridal shower weekend was a whole lot of fun packed into a few days this June. Ian and I drove up to Syracuse Thursday night so we could get some wedding stuff done on Friday. When you plan a wedding long distance you have to pack a lot in when you can and also rely on those that are there to help a lot – thanks Mom & Dad.

My Mom and I figured why not kick the weekend off with a practice run for manis and pedis because well, why not?! I also did a trial run for my hair and picked my dress up from the tailor for my final fitting.

Since my brother was also getting married over the summer, my Mom threw a joint shower for my sister-in-law and me, which was perfect. Neither of us are great at being the center of attention so it took a bit of pressure off to be able to share the day! I’m sure our guests who would have been invited to both also appreciated the combined event!

The shower was at the Palace Theatre in Syracuse. A very cool venue that unfortunately is very poorly managed. They realized two days before that they had double-booked the room our shower was in. Seeing as the other event was a wedding reception they asked us to move to a smaller room. My Mom took things in stride though, and while a bit cozier, the front room worked out just great.

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To make up for the mistake they did offer us an open bar though, which we did our best to take advantage of and also invited the guys to make an appearance at the end to help out with that. :-) Their service day of was also fantastic as well, not to mention the food was great too, easing our frustrations with them. They also put our names on the marquee, which was very cool!

The decorations made the room. My Mom printed off pictures of Dan & Adrienne and Ian & me and spread them around the room. My Mother-in-law came up with an idea for potted gerbera daisies as centerpieces, which we surrounded by homemade jams that she made, which doubled as yummy favors for our guests! (I may have taken several home too!) She also added a few other nice touches to the room including an umbrella raining hearts as a play on the invitation I had designed.

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Bridal shower games are not my cup of tea so we passed on those giving us plenty of time to mingle before lunch and presents. I couldn’t believe how generous everyone was. Adrienne made the comment of the day after we finally finished opening up presents and she no longer had to sit in front of everyone. She said after seeing me on several Christmas mornings she was really disappointed in how politely and slowly I opened all the gifts since she was sure we would be done in a few minutes!  I’m a bit of a terror/little kid on Christmas morning and if you don’t go quick enough I will start to help you open your gifts too!!

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For dessert, we had half moon cookies from Wegmans. Half were frosted in blue and pink and the other half in blue and orange to match our wedding colors. My sister-in-law Britt also made us S shaped cookies too, which were a hit with everyone! We finished up a great afternoon with a few more drinks and laughs before the guys made their appearance.

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We wrapped up the weekend the best way we know how – dinner with family and friends at Mulligans. My family has been going to this bar/restaurant for more years than I can remember and my parents make at least one stop there a week still, so it’s pretty much like eating at home! Times like these are also our only chance to get a peak at the menus since they’ve long since stopped giving them to us!

It was such a fun weekend. Can’t beat making great memories with family and friends who feel like family!

Race Recap: Swamp Rat Run 5k

Time for a long overdue race recap. This June I headed home to Syracuse for my bridal shower weekend. The weekend happened to coincide with the first road race I ever ran, so I couldn’t resist signing up.

Ian & Me being goofy on the way to the race!

Ian & Me being goofy on the way to the race!

It was as fun as I remember it being the first time around. It reminded me of a cross-country race. We lined up across the parking lot behind a giant chalk line for the start, which turned into a free for all to a narrower paved path leading to the road that most of the race took place on. I went out hard on the first mile and tried to take advantage of a slight downhill on the way out.

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The roads were still open to cars, albeit very slow ones, so we had to stay on our toes. I slowed a bit for mile two but still felt pretty strong. The slight uphill on the way back wasn’t too painful and I was able to pick off a few runners. A short downhill gave me a nice boost before the final surge to the finish.

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I crossed the line in 23:53. A pretty solid effort and one of my better races in awhile. It wasn’t a PR, but it was a whole lot better than the time my 17-year-old self ran back in the day prompting my #FasterAt30 hashtag for the day!

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The tee shirts weren’t great, but nothing you can complain about for a race that inexpensive. It was well organized and I was a big fan of the little chocolate milk at the finish!

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