Race Recap: Jingle All The Way 5k

A few weeks ago I ran the Jingle All The Way 5k put on by Pacers right in the heart of DC. Initially slated to be an 8k like last year, road construction turned this year’s race into a 5k. One of the nicest things about Pacers races is you can generally pick your packet up earlier in the week at their various stores. I was able to grab mine at the Old Town store on my lunch break Thursday afternoon saving me time and hassle on race morning.

I was looking forward to this race and had planned to run aggressively thinking I could finish around the 23 minute mark. That would not be the case as I came down with some cold/flu symptoms late in the week making it more of a survive and finish race. I spent most of Friday night and Saturday on the couch, but still wasn’t feeling great Sunday morning when we headed into DC for the race.

On the plus side, Ian and I easily found a street parking spot just a few blocks from the start/finish line. The highlight of the morning was meeting up with a few fellow Oiselle birds also running inside the CVS near the start. I unfortunately had to pass on post-race brunch with them after as I had no desire to share my germs with everyone!

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It was so freaking cold that morning. People who ran last year kept saying what a nice day it was because the sun was out and apparently last year was pretty miserable cold and snowy out, but that wasn’t making me feel any warmer. I finally ventured out of the warm CVS for a warm-up run, but couldn’t seem to get warm. I ran into Ian on my way back to the start line as he was finding a spot along the course and actually grabbed my hoodie back from him that I had planned to only wear pre and post-race.

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You could self-seed yourself at the start based on signs with different paces. I set up between the 7:30-8 minute pace areas trying to stay warm and stop coughing. Sorry everyone around me! From the start it was a strugglefest and not in the good I was pushing myself to new limits kind of way. My stomach felt off, my legs felt weak and I was gasping for breath like I was running a much faster pace.

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My time wasn’t what I had hoped before getting sick, but it wasn’t all that bad. I finished in 24:58, but just felt so awful doing it that I couldn’t really enjoy the race. The course itself was great. The start finish area was on Pennsylvania Ave just a few blocks from the White House. We took off running down Pennsylvania towards the Capitol Building, which we passed in front of before a quick out and back along Independence and a loop around some side streets. We crossed in front of the Capitol again – although much closer (I love running in this city!) – before heading back up Pennsylvania to the finish.

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I spotted Ian again along my way to the finish and tried to find some energy for a final kick. Boy was I glad to cross that line. I got to cheer on a few more Oiselle teammates before we decided to make a break for the car and some heat!

It wasn’t my day for sure, but still a great race. Pre-race packet pick-up was a breeze, the course was well marked and those views of DC are hard to beat. On top of that, there were a ton of runners in costume and many with jingle bells on their shoes making for a very festive atmosphere! This is a fun, holiday race for those in the DC area – and hopefully next year will return to its 8k distance for an extra couple miles of jingling all the way!

Race Recap: TRR DC Biathlon

I realized in all my recent overdue race recaps in my return to the blogging world that I left out one of the most unique races I did this fall. On October 5, I took part in the 10th Annual Team River Runner DC Biathlon. This did not involve skiing and shooting as I first thought when a friend sent me an email inviting me to join a few of her friends in the race. Instead it involved a 1-mile kayak or stand-up paddle board trip along the Potomac followed by a 3-mile run.

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I cannot tell you the last time I went kayaking. It has been years and I can probably count the number of times I have kayaked in my life on one hand. Still, this sounded like fun, so I figured why the heck not and signed myself up. Team River Runner also has a pretty cool mission: provide healthy paddling adventures for healing severely wounded active duty service personnel and veterans.

Ian was out of town with the car for the weekend so I attempted to take a bus trip from the Pike into Georgetown to the race start under the Key Bridge. I was supposed to switch buses around Clarendon, but of course my next bus never came so I ended up just walking to the race. It was a bit brisk, but otherwise a beautiful sunny morning, so I couldn’t really complain.

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The race was split into several heats, so some competitors were already underway when I arrived. It was a great low key setup. I easily checked in and got my race chip before meeting up with others.The volunteers were exceptional and they had a great set up of snacks, coffee and food from the grill. It was really impressive for a smaller race.

Soon it was time for my heat to start so I grabbed a life vest, had to have a volunteer help me because I apparently didn’t fasten it correctly and headed down to the kayaks. We hopped in kayaks on the dock and waited for a volunteer to push us off into the water. I had a minor moment of “why am I doing this I have no idea how to kayak!” panic set in, but before I knew it I was in the water and there was no turning back!

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Not surprisingly I quickly fell to the back of the pack as the race began, but eventually I did get into a steady rhythm. We were going into the wind on the way out, so I thought things would be easier once I reached the turn-around buoy. I was not factoring in how helpful having the current push me along was however making the half mile back seem much more difficult. I finally made it though and happily accepted a hand pulling me up to the dock.

I handed off my life vest to a volunteer and grabbed a cup of water from another as I headed toward the run course. It was an out and back along the Capital Crescent Trail, which is one of my favorite DC spots to run. It’s paved and nicely shaded as it runs parallel to the C&O Canal Trail.

I felt pretty good on my run and was not too far off my pace from the week before at the Clarendon Day 5k, which was mostly downhill, so I’ll take it! I averaged about an 8-minute pace with my last mile being my fastest.

I came in 45th place out of 89 in my division finishing in 45:48 – not bad for my first kayak race! Not surprisingly I came in 83rd on the kayak portion finishing in 21:17 before a 32-second transition. I made up a lot of ground on the run finishing 17th in 24:10.

All in all it was a very cool experience. I cannot believe I had not heard about this race before this year and highly recommend it. It was so well organized, stocked with great food and an overall great time.

Tell me about any unique races you have run!

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

I just wrapped up my fourth week of marathon training and so far I’ve done a great job of staying on track. I’ve completed 22 of my 24 planned workouts and am almost completely recovered from my cold/flu that disrupted most of last week. My paces are still not where they need to be at all for tempo and track workouts, but the endurance is definitely back. I’m hoping when I reassess in four weeks that I’ll be feeling better about the pacing. All in all I would call this a pretty good week. I tallied nearly 45 miles and felt pretty strong doing it.

Here’s the day-by-day breakdown:

Monday: I ran home from work Monday putting in nearly 7 miles. I kept it at an easy pace and felt good. This also marks the 3rd run a stranger told me I looked like I was lit up like a Christmas tree. I’m never really sure how to answer that, so I just smiled and said thanks, I’m trying to get into the holiday spirit, haha.

Tuesday: Rest day.

Wednesday: I had planned to put in my interval workout on my run home today, but my stomach was feeling off all afternoon so I decided to just do another one of my easy runs. I made it the nearly 7 miles home from work, but it did not feel good at all. On top of my stomach pains I didn’t dress nearly warm enough for the cold temps and strong wind so I was absolutely freezing by the time I got home. This was really my only bad run of the week though and I’m glad I battled through it. It does help when that is your only way home!

Thursday: We had our holiday lunch at work on Thursday and then got to leave early. I was so excited about the chance to run in daylight on a weekday that I still did my tempo run despite having three kinds of pasta for lunch! I put in 8 miles total with 6 at tempo pace. Similar to last week, my tempo pace is still not where it needs to be, but I felt like this was a good, soild run and I will keep working on bringing the times down. The run was also followed with a Oiselle holiday treats happy hour and dinner at Shake Shack (Ian’s blog is back with a review of Shake Shack – check it out!!), which makes any day great!

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Friday: I made up for that missed speed workout on Tuesday and put in 7 total miles along the Mt. Vernon Trail. After a 1.25 mile warm-up, I cranked out 6 half mile repeats with quarter mile recovery jogs in between. My paces were a bit all over the place, but made sense when factoring in hilly sections. My fastest ones were right where I need to be, which pleasantly surprised myself a bit. Now I need to work on consistency.

Saturday: I was up early for an easy 8 miler and had a great run with some sunshine along Four Mile Run & W&OD Trails.

Sunday: Today was basically a repeat of Saturday with 8 easy miles. No sunshine today, but it was a few degrees warmer putting the feels like in the 30s instead of the 20s! I headed in the other direction for this run that took me along the W&OD and Custis Trails.

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

Last week was a tough one and a bit discouraging. I started out the week pretty sick and lost my motivation battling coughing fits while running, so I only ended up getting in four of my six scheduled runs for the week totaling 35 miles. I initially had plans to try to cram those missed runs into this week, but I know better than that and understand it won’t really help – and could even lead to injury. I just need to stick to my plan going forward and stay as healthy as possible.

Here’s the day-by-day breakdown:

Monday: Rest day – not feeling well.

Tuesday: Rest day – not feeling well.

Wednesday: I went to the gym Wednesday night thinking I could hop right back into things and do my speed workout on the treadmill. My warm-up went OK, but I didn’t even make it through one interval before realizing it was not in the cards for the day and put in one of my easy six milers instead.

Thursday: Today was the high point of the week. I had a 6-mile tempo run on tap and got that in en-route to DC for a Christmas lights run with some of my Oiselle teammates. I ran a one mile warm-up along the Mt. Vernon Trail, six miles hard continuing along Mt. Vernon over the 14th Street Bridge onto the Mall, followed by a 1-mile cool down to our meet-up point near the Chinatown metro. Tempo runs in the Hanson’s plan are marathon pace miles. I was admittedly a bit off my goal for these (nearly 20 seconds), but all six were consistent and I felt strong – given the week I had so far I counted this as a win. The best part was what followed – the roughly 4-mile jaunt around DC with the Oiselle girls checking out lights and trees at City Center, the Willard Hotel, the National Christmas tree, the Capitol Building and the Canadian Embassy – so much fun!

Christmas Tree Stop at the Willard

Christmas Tree Stop at the Willard

Friday: I put in 7 easy miles along the Mt. Vernon trail after work before grabbing dinner at Jimmy John’s and making a Wegmans run…not a bad Friday night!

Saturday: After having a lot of trouble sleeping Friday night I got a later than planned start on my Saturday long run and felt like my legs never woke up for this one. I put in my 10 miles though, so I’ll take it and move on to next week!

Sunday: Unplanned rest day. My sore legs and lack of motivation got the best of me today.

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

And just like that, week 2 of marathon training is done! Other than coming down with a cold at the end of the week it was a great week and I felt especially good about my first speed workout in a while. All told, I tallied just more than 40 miles last week.

Here’s the day-by-day breakdown:

Monday: I got 6 miles in on a beautiful day before heading back to D.C.

Tuesday: Rest day.

Wednesday: I had a speed workout on tap for Wednesday that had me pretty nervous since I hadn’t done one in quite some time and knew this would be a true test of where I was at. I decided to start just after work and end at my apartment. I put in about a 2 mile warm-up before kicking off my 12 X 400 meter repeats with a 400 recovery jog between each, followed by a 2-mile cool down for a total of 10 miles. I set my Garmin up for the workout so I wouldn’t have to look at my watch at all and could just run by feel. This worked out great and when I checked my paces after the run I had kept each repeat between a 6:35 and 7-minute pace. Ideally I would have hit them all around the 6:35 pace, but given it was my first speed work in awhile and that it wasn’t a flat course, I felt really great about it.

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Thursday: After a tough speed day, I put in 6 easy miles along the Mt. Vernon Trail after work getting to bust out my head lamp and light-up vest for the second day in a row.

Friday: The snooze button got the best of me Friday morning so it was another 6-miler post work. I was really starting to come down with a cold at this point so I almost bailed on the run, but it ended up feeling great!

Saturday: I woke up feeling awful and it was 40’s and rainy so I knew the only way I was going to get my run in was if I went right away. If I let myself sit on the couch and start watching TV – it would not happen. Once I was out the door the rest just flowed and I put in a nice and easy 8.5 miles along the W&OD and Custis trails. I then promptly spent the rest of my day on the couch!

Sunday: I had the Jingle Bell 5k race in D.C. on tap for Sunday. It was a little slower than I hoped, but a pretty good effort. Full recap coming soon, but I crossed the line in 24:58. I also got to see and meet some fellow Oiselle Birds, which is always fun!

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Race Recap: Clarendon Day 5k

Time for another overdue race recap! In September I ran the Clarendon Day 5k. You may remember last year I did the double at this race running both the 5k and the ensuing 10k. I have to say, I was pretty relieved this year when I was walking back up the hill after the 5k that I only had to cheer on the 10k runners and not join them this time!

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I love this course right in the middle of my old neighborhood. I’ve spent many early mornings running up the Wilson Boulevard hill, so I was really looking forward to getting to run down it for this race.

There were a lot of other Oiselle runners coming out for the race and for brunch after so it was great to see that crew as well and meet some of the newer flock members! I ran into a few before the race started and then hopped into the starting area.

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(I stole this photo from Courtney – check out her blog at eatprayrundc.com!)

The first mile is fast and all downhill from Clarendon to Rosslyn. The second mile continues the downhill out onto route 110 straightaway towards the Pentagon before reaching the turnaround point. The final mile goes from flat to a slight uphill to the finish. After barreling downhill for the first two miles this hill seems way tougher than it should be!

I crossed the line in 24:08 for a 7:46 pace. A bit slower than last year, but a bit faster than my run at the Dulles Day 5k the week before!

I met up with some of my Oiselle teammates after the race as we walked back up the hill to cheer those doing both on at the start of the 10k. I changed out of my sweaty clothes and enjoyed a hot chocolate before we headed to brunch at Lyon Hall. Such a fun morning!

 

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?

 

Workout of the Week

Yesterday wrapped up week three of my half marathon training plan. It was a mixed bag that started with some tough, hot and humid runs, included a couple missed workouts and ended with a couple great workouts. I put in a little more than 30 miles for the week.

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My workout of the week came on Saturday morning at the track. I warmed up by running the roughly mile and a half to the track on a bright, sunny day.

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I had 600 yard repeats on tap for the day with 400 yard recoveries. I decided to walk the recovery laps and really push on the 600s. Maybe I let myself recover too much by doing this, but I still felt like it was a great workout!

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I hit or beat my goal pace for every repeat and left feeling spent but great. I cooled down with about a mile run and a half mile walk home. This was the second week of training I added a speed workout in. This coming week the goal is to add a second speed workout with a tempo run in addition to intervals. And with that, training continues!

How did your workouts go last week? Any one race this weekend?

Workout of the Week

Last week was my first one back on a plan and boy did it feel good! I still haven’t decided on which half marathon I’m going to do – and even added another possibility into the mix – but all three are the same weekend in the D.C. area, so I have some time to narrow down which one I want to do.

Instead of breaking down the whole week day-by-day like I used to, I thought it’d be fun to switch it up a bit this time and share the highlights as well as my favorite workout – or workout of the week – as I go along. I’m trying to recap them each day on Instagram and twitter, so if you have any desire to hear all the deets, follow me on there!

Running in my brand new Saucony Kinvara 5s (they fit like a glove!) that I won in a Pacers contest, I put in nearly 40 miles over the course of six runs along with a spin class, some strength work (not enough), core workouts, stretching and a lot of rolling.

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It was one crazy weather week here in the D.C. area. I ran in near 90-degree, high humidity weather and also had a few perfect mid-50s, low humidity morning runs!

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My workout of the week was definitely my long run. Granted an 8-miler would probably be considered mid-week mileage during some of my old marathon training plans, it was a good distance to start out at for half training. I was up early on Sunday and greeted by sunshine and absolutely perfect running weather!

Gearing up for Saturday's run...the bum wrap Oiselle skirt made it's first appearance of the season!

Gearing up for Saturday’s run…the bum wrap Oiselle skirt made it’s first appearance of the season!

I put on a tee, my rogas and compression sleeves and was out the door to a nice, quiet Sunday morning. Other than other runners, the streets were pretty empty. I love how Sunday mornings in Arlington/DC are so sleepy and quiet – such a difference from the normal hustle and bustle of the area.

I set out on one of my favorite routes that I used to take from my old place all the time, but haven’t done once since moving last July! I scooted up to Wilson/Clarendon Boulevards, the main streets running through the Rosslyn to Ballston corridor, and headed down the hill and over the Key Bridge into Georgetown.

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After a jaunt down M street I briefly ran along the Rock Creek Park trail and headed off by the Kennedy Center before starting my return loop over the Memorial Bridge, past the Iwo Jima Memorial and back up the hill to home.

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Like all of my runs this week, it was at an easy pace, but without even realizing it, I ran 30 seconds a mile faster than my run that was 2 miles shorter the morning before. My last mile that included ups and downs, but mostly ups, was also my second fastest – only falling behind the all downhill mile – and I felt like I could have kept going. I love that feeling of finishing strong!

I’m counting week 1 of training as a success! How did your week go? Any stand out workouts you want to share? Do you have a goal race on the horizon? Let me know in the comments!