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!

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Purely Epic

Nothing like an epic Boston Marathon to bring me out of my blogging hiatus. (Sorry, life has been a bit busy lately!) While I would have loved to have been in Boston cheering in person on Monday, the flight prices were just a bit too much. Still, I had so much fun watching the live-stream online and following along on twitter – while getting lots of work done of course!

I was really pulling for Shalene, and while it’s a shame she couldn’t get the win, she had one heck of a race. You can’t ask for anything better than a personal best. The guts and determination she showed were just awesome. I hope she wins it someday. Jeptoo is just unstoppable right now though! That was an unreal display of endurance and speed.

When Meb, one of my favorites, first started pulling ahead I tried not to get too excited. I thought, “could this really happen?!” His lead kept getting bigger though. I sat there praying he could hold on and was so unbelievably excited when he crossed the line – the first American male to win the Boston Marathon in my lifetime!

What an awesome day for Boston and for America! It was so awesome to see so much joy and happiness after last year’s tragedy. This gif sums it all up for me…

 

It was also so much fun to see all the Oiselle birds flying to the finish and running Boston – so many PRs and great races!

Hope everyone that ran and cheered had a great day!

My plan is to get the blog back on track. I have a couple race recaps I still need to get to and some trail running fun. Posts will probably still be sporadic though as I navigate a busy summer filled with lots of travel plans, prep for my work’s big annual conference, multiple weddings and wedding planning of my own! And, of course, lots of running!

 

Resolution Check-In

And just like that…it’s October. I can’t even believe my marathon month is here. Commence freaking out now!

I’ve made it a point this year to look back on my New Year’s Resolutions each month so that I don’t let myself forget about them. I also pick one thing each month that I’m going to focus on to help me reach those resolutions/goals. Last month I turned my focus back to core workouts after letting them slip a bit. I did a great job getting back on track with these and will continue to do so throughout the next month as I get ready for Marine Corps Marathon.

This month my big focus will be back on drinking less soda. The fridge full of free soda just steps from my desk is killing me! I only have one can a day, but still, I don’t need to be drinking soda every day! Most times I just drink it out of habit, so I’m going to try make myself do something else whenever I hit that point in the afternoon that I start craving caffeine. I drink a ton of water so sometimes I get bored and just want some taste, so I’m also keeping my desk stocked with Nuun and Crystal Light type drinks.

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Staying healthy this year was another important goal. I’ve been doing a great job maintaining my stretching, rolling and icing routine, but have had some aches and pains creep in especially with my calf muscles. I don’t think it’s anything serious, but I’m going to be proactive and get things checked out early this time instead of waiting for it to become something serious that puts me on the sidelines. Learning. 🙂

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My biggest resolution/goal for this year is a Boston Qualifying time. I’m admittedly not as confident about this as I was during the first half of the year, which I hate. Initially I thought I could crush the BQ time I needed and shoot for a time in the 3:20s, but I’ve had a tougher than expected training cycle and that doesn’t seem possible to go for. Still, I’m shooting for that sub-3:35 time I need to BQ, and will run my heart out at MCM at the end of the month trying to get it.

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How are your resolutions going this year?

Resolution Check-In

And another month down. Wow. This year is just flying.

Time to check in on my New Year’s Resolutions and make sure I’m still on track. Five months in and I’m still running pain free! While I’ve had a few slip-ups here and there, I’ve been pretty good about sticking with my stretching, rolling and icing routines. I’ve also stuck with a couple days of cross training each week instead of running 6 days a week, which has played a role in keeping me healthy this year.

My streak of P90X core workouts came to an end at 127 days. At first I did a good job of still doing it 4-5 times a week, but that has dropped off the last couple weeks, so I’m making core workouts my focus again for the month of June. May’s focus was on strength workouts, which I did a really good job with. My new program from my running coach has me doing these twice a week, but I used to do about 10 minutes of strength stuff and call that a workout. Now I’m doing 30-45 minutes each day and am already noticing a difference. I’m sure this will help make me a stronger runner too.

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The drinking less soda thing disappeared last month and I was back to my soda-a-day routine. I need to do better at this!

Three weeks into my new running program I feel like I’m building a great base to kick off my Marine Corps Marathon training so I can go after my BQ.

I’ve got some work to do, but overall I feel pretty good about my resolutions for this year. How are you doing on your resolutions?

 

Working With A Coach

I recently hired a running coach to help me reach my goal of qualifying for Boston this fall at the Marine Corps Marathon. I’d heard good things about DC Running Coach and in a strike of good timing just shortly after I gave up my gym membership at Washington Sports Club, a deal came on Zozi for a 3-month program with Mike of DC Running Coach.

I had an initial talk with Mike about my running background, my current training, upcoming races and my goals. Next up I went to a group track workout and after joining in for a few laps and the dynamic warm up, we worked on my running form. I’m still doing a good job of keeping the mid-foot strike I worked on with my physical therapist, but he identified a couple things – increasing stride length and a more compact arm swing – I can work on to get faster and run more efficiently.

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We had another talk about my goals and what I can realistically accomplish this year, and I’m now in my first week of the three month program he created for me. I’ve been creating my own programs for years and while I think I’ve done a pretty decent job, I have a tough time not second guessing on what the best training runs to include are. There is so much advice out there so it can be tough to know what’s best. It’s nice to have someone just give me a plan that’s tailored directly to me and to help get me where I want to be. There are also weekly group track workouts and I’ll turn in weekly recaps to help hold me accountable. I’m really excited to see how much I can improve working with a running coach and I’m happy to be back in a training program! Now it’s time to put in the work so I can get that BQ this fall!

Have you ever worked with a coach? Do you think it made you better?

Resolution Check-In

I know I say this every month, but how is another done already?! With the beginning of the month here it’s time for me to check in on how I’m doing with my New Year’s Resolutions, and choose what my focus will be for this month.

Even with a lot of running so far this year I’ve been staying injury free. I’ve spent a lot more time stretching, foam rolling and icing than ever before, so I’m sure this is playing a major role. Building a stronger core was also a major part of this and I’ve been doing great with that. I’m on day 124 of my consecutive days streak doing my P90X ab ripper workout and also completed a 5-minute plank challenge last month. The craziest thing about the plank challenge was that I wasn’t sore the next day – so this core thing must be working!

Drinking less soda was April’s focus since I was reintroducing it to my diet after giving it up for Lent and didn’t want to overdo it. I had a few bad days with this when I was tired and traveling and craving caffeine, but overall I’m getting a lot better about not drinking too much soda. Definitely still something I need to work on though.

My last resolution for this year was more of a goal – Boston Qualifier. As I’m sure you can imagine and as many others feel, I want this more than ever now. My marathon isn’t until late October so I won’t be able to get in for 2014, but I hope to be there cheering on next year’s runners knowing I have my ticket punched for 2015. I just hired a running coach thanks to a Zozi deal, and am really excited to have someone to work with to help me navigate my training plan and hold me accountable. I think this will be a great step towards getting my BQ this year!

May’s focus is going to be all about strength. My goal is to do at least 3 strength workouts per week to work on toning and strengthening my upper and lower body, which will only help me become an even better runner.

What are your goals for this month? How do you plan to get to them?

Run For Boston

Last week was quite the emotional roller coaster. It’s still hard to believe it all really happened. I found myself glued to the news and twitter after the bombing happened Monday. Friday I woke up at four in the morning and my boyfriend told me they were on the trail of the bombers. I couldn’t go back to sleep or pull myself away from the news as Boston went into lockdown. It was pretty tough to focus at work Friday and get everything done before my trip for my company’s annual Convention this week.

Friday night things took a turn and I started to feel some optimism. I volunteered at packet pick-up for the Crystal City 5k and was blown away by how awesome the running community is. So many people showed up wearing Boston shirts and colors and everyone showed up with a spirit that nothing could stop this community. When I got home it was back to watching the news, and I can’t even put into words how incredibly happy I was when they caught the second suspect. The many emotional tweets and blog posts I saw since Friday though show me that a whole lot of people were feeling the same way.

The DC Capital Striders organized several Runs for Boston including one I went to in Dupont Circle. The famous Kathrine Switzer quote circulated a bit last week: “If you want to restore your faith in human nature, go watch a marathon.” For runners, I think going on a group run does the same thing.

On a selfish level, I needed this run and it did wonders for my heart. There was a huge turnout – many first timers to the group like me. Baylee, the group leader for this run, had printed off race bibs in support of Boston for us all to wear. We started things off on a beautiful, sunny morning with a moment of silence to honor the victims.

I met some awesome people along the way. One girl I met is running a local marathon in a couple weeks that I’m volunteering for and happens to be volunteering at the half that I’m running next weekend. She’s hoping for a BQ! I started struggling and probably would have really slowed down had I been on my own, but I paired off with another runner and we chatted away the miles and were done in no time. I love how easy it is to talk with and get to know people along a run that started out as complete strangers. It may have just been a single group run, but it made me feel so much better. I love the running community.

Big thanks to the DC Capital Striders for organizing Saturday’s run! I hope to join them for more group runs in the future.

Pictures below were posted in the Meetup group by Baylee, the group leader, and Caroline, who blogs at IHeartRunning.com and runningbloggers.com.

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