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!

Bondi Band Winner!

Yikes, so I meant to post this awhile ago, but life has been a bit crazy lately!

A few weeks ago I got to test out Bondi Band headbands. Check out my review here. They were also kind enough to give me two bands for a giveaway.

And the randomly selected winner is…

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…commenter number 2. Congrats Sara Epp! Please email me at heartandsoleColleenATgmail.com with your address to claim your prize and I’ll ship your Bondi Bands out to you!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Bondi Band Review & Giveaway

Through my SweatPink ambassadorship I was given the chance to try out a Bondi Band headband. My long hair is a mess when I run so I always wear either a hat or a headband. I am also always looking for a good headband that won’t slip and keeps my hair out of my face and off of my neck.

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When my Bondi Bands first arrived for testing I have to admit I was a little turned off by the silly sayings on them. Even though I always love motivational quotes these just didn’t do it for me. This had me already thinking I wasn’t going to like these headbands. It turns out they’re pretty great though.

I tested out my Bondi Band over the past week including a tough track workout and a 10-mile long run to see how it would hold up. It’s extremely light weight and feels like it’s barely there. The stretchy material made of a nylon, lycra and spandex blend fit perfectly on my head. The biggest plus – I did not have to adjust or fix the band even once during my workouts. It stayed perfectly in place and kept my crazy hair in place as well from start to finish!

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It also didn’t feel too tight. In fact I barely noticed it was there even during my 90-minute long run, which was followed immediately by a 20-minute walk.

While I might not love the sayings, I am a believer in Bondi Bands, and saw on their site that they have plenty with different designs too. On top of that, they seem like a pretty cool company. Every year they donate 10 percent of their pretax profits to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

In addition to my complimentary band they have given me two more bands to give away to one of my readers!

Giveaway Bands!

Giveaway Bands!

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For reference – the blue one I’m wearing is the same size as the larger one shown, but I wore it rolled up.

Here’s how to win:

  • Earn 1 entry by commenting below and tell me how you like to sweat or why you’d like to try Bondi Band.
  • Earn 1 entry by liking Bondi Band on Facebook. Leave a separate comment telling me you did.
  • Earn 1 entry by following Bondi Band on Twitter. Leave a separate comment telling me you did.
  • Share this post on twiiter via the share button below. Leave the link to your tweet in a separate comment.

Entries will be accepted through 11:59 pm ET on June 6. The winner will be randomly selected and announced here on June 7. Only entrants in the continental United States are eligible to win – my apologies to those readers from other areas!

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 I wrapped up week 2 of my half marathon training program. I’m putting it in the books as another successful week and am really starting to feel like my fitness is coming back.

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I got in a little more than 40 miles, although technically my long run didn’t happen until this week, I’m still going to count it for the last one! It was supposed to happen on Sunday, but my bachlorette party was also over the weekend and well, let’s just say I didn’t really feel up to running long on Sunday!

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My runs this week took me through D.C. in the early morning, along some running trails I haven’t hit up in awhile and by the waterfront in Hoboken featuring stunning views of the NYC Skyline, so needless to say there was a bit of competition for my favorite workout this week.

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Hands down it was my lone speed workout of the week, which took place after work on Wednesday. I made an unfortunate decision to sleep in that morning instead of going to the track. I set up a workout of 400 yard repeats with 400 yard recovery jogs in my Garmin and watched anxiously as I waited for the clock to hit five and saw the skies turning increasingly gray!

It was just sprinkling when I set out for the trail though that leads from the office to my apartment. After roughly a mile warm-up I started my repeats. As I progressed though, so did the rain until it was monsooning and I was getting pelted with rain. It might be the hardest rain I’ve ever run through. My clothes were drenched and my shoes were sloshing with water.

For some reason though I could not stop smiling. Everyone else on the trail was so friendly and seemed to be having the same experience as me – well except for the bikers, they seemed pretty grumpy. There were high fives, laughs and smiles exchanged and jokes yelled out about what a beautiful day it was to run as I passed others along the trail. It was a blast.

I questioned my sanity a bit more when I finished my repeats and got ready to do the roughly 2 mile cool down that would take me the rest of the way home – ALL UPHILL. Fortunately the rain had let up by then and I was able to stop by the Iwo Jima water fountain for a quick sip before the last push.

When I do the speed workouts on a trail on my Garmin, I don’t see the split times as I go along. Instead, I listen for my watch to signal the start and end of each repeat and don’t get to see how long each took me until I finish. I was really pumped with my times and very glad I didn’t resort to a treadmill because I would not have pushed that hard. I was mostly consistent with just a few slow ones in there, but given the rain and the not completely flat terrain I wasn’t worried about them. It was one heck of a workout!

Do you like running in the rain? What was your favorite workout last week?

Back to Where it All Began…

The first 5k race I ever ran (at least that I can remember) was the Swamp Rat Run in Cicero, New York. I was 17. My older brother Dan found out about it and asked if I wanted to run it with him. To say we were newbies is, well, a bit of an understatement.

I remember stopping at a gas station on our way out that morning so Dan could get a red bull to pound before the race for extra energy. If only I knew then what I know now I could have advised him this was a bad idea!

I lined up at the start line wearing a basketball practice pinny, shorts that came down to my knees and were likely not made of any kind of wicking fabric and…basketball sneakers (they were low tops if that makes it any better). I wish there were pictures. I can guarantee you that none of my ensemble was nearly as fashionable or functional as any of my Oiselle duds I race in now!

Dan, who was always a pretty good sprinter, bolted off with the front-runners leaving me in his dust at the start. That red bull would come back to bite him though as I actually ended up passing him along the way to my 25-minute finish! I remember it was really hot out and I can vaguely picture the start/finish area, but the only clear memory I have of that race was how cool it felt to cross that finish line. The results were even published in the local paper the next day. I was hooked.

This year that same race coincides with my bridal shower weekend, so I’ll be home in Syracuse for it. I know it’ll be a busy weekend, but I couldn’t resist and had to sign up. Thirteen years later at 30 years old, I’ll be back on the same start line where my love affair with racing began. The race experience will probably be a bit different, but I am pretty sure about one thing – that I will get that same feeling of pure excitement and joy as I cross the finish line that I’ve gotten to enjoy time after time in the last 13 years of racing everything from 5ks to marathons!

From SwampRatRun.com Website

From SwampRatRuns.com Website

Do you remember your first race? Have you ever gone back and run it again?

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!