Marine Corps Marathon Course Change Announcement

On August 20, the Marine Corps Marathon announced a flatter course with the return of Rock Creek Parkway. I for one am thrilled about the change. It makes the course flatter and hopefully faster, while taking out a tough early hill that was way too easy to go too hard on and pay for later.

The removal of the Canal Road/Georgetown Reservoir section of the course makes it similar to the first time I ran the race in 2006 when I first fell in love with this marathon, and at the same time takes away my least favorite part of my 2011 run there. That’s what I call a win-win!

Check out the interactive course map here!

Run Washington did a story on their website covering the announcement and were nice enough to include me in it:

Run Washington Banner

RunWashingtonArticle1

RunWashingtonArticle2

Check out the full article on their site.

Advertisements

Fall Races!

While I hate that summer is almost over meaning less daylight hours and winter just around the corner, fall is my hands-down favorite weather season of the year. It also means it’s fall racing season! I haven’t raced throughout the entire month of August and am getting a little stir-crazy, so I’m excited that my fall line-up of races is almost here.

This is where I’ll be racing this fall…

September 14 – Navy-Air Force Half Marathon
I’m a little terrified that I have a half marathon so soon, but then when I think about it I’ve been running further than that during my long runs for a month and a half now including a couple 17 milers. I’m a little concerned about keeping the pace I want so this will be a great test of my fitness. Most of the course is along the Marine Corps Marathon route as well, so it’ll be great practice!

September 28 – Pacers Clarendon Day Double
I’ll be running both the 5k and the 10k put on by Pacers as part of the Clarendon Day Festival. I’m so excited for this race. I’ve never done two races in one day before and I’m really looking forward to the speedy, mostly downhill courses. The 5k is up first so I’m going to shoot for a PR in that and then just see how the 10k goes after I’ve gotten myself back up the hill for the start of that one!

October 13 – Undecided
Acumen Solutions Race for  A Cause 8k … OR … Boo! Run for Life 10k
My coach suggested I look for an 8k or 10k this week and I’ve found one of each – both pretty close to home and roughly the same price. The 8k is closer but the 10k is flatter and a familiar course for me. Advice is appreciated! If you’ve done either of these races in the past, let me know what you think about them.

October 27 – Marine Corps Marathon
This is the big one – the race I’ve been waiting all year for since I had to defer my entry last year while stuck in physical therapy. It’s my chance to finally get my Boston Qualifier in my 10th marathon. I simultaneously can’t wait for it to get here and am terrified of it getting here too soon. I love this race though. It’ll be my third MCM and I LOVE the course change announcements recently unveiled that make it more similar to my first go at MCM in 2006. They’ve done away with  the Canal Road portion of the race, which I was never a big fan of, and added in Rock Creek Parkway. Let the countdown commence!

Here I was near the finish two year’s ago after Marine Corps…

After - wrapped in my space blanket, happy to be done!

After – wrapped in my space blanket, happy to be done!

Let me know where you’ll be racing this fall!! Any big PR goals?

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.

Newton4

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?

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.

20130424-215522.jpg

20130424-215548.jpg

So Sad

I’m still trying to process what happened in Boston yesterday and don’t really know what to write. I wasn’t there and have never run Boston, but I was really shocked, hurt and saddened when I heard the news yesterday. This is supposed to be such a joyous event and a huge celebration for runners. The finish line – especially that finish line – is supposed to be really special.

Why? I just don’t understand.

I’m so saddened to see this happen to my sport and to see so many injured and to think about the three who were killed. I can’t help but think about the what ifs …if I hadn’t been injured last year and had run 2 minutes faster to qualify, I may have been there and my family may have been at the finish line. I was relieved that everyone I knew who had been at the race as a runner or a spectator was OK, but felt so sad for people who didn’t get that good news yesterday.

One tweet I saw really summed things up yesterday. I don’t remember who it was from, but it said, “As a runner, I feel like someone just attacked my friends. As a person, I’m just horrified.”

I also saw this Mr. Rogers quote going around yesterday: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Seeing the videos of all the first responders and others running towards the blast to help out, and hearing about runners continuing past the finish line straight to the hospital to donate blood was at least heartening. The running community is a strong one and it will stay strong despite this.

I’m wearing my blue and yellow today in support of Boston and anyone affected by yesterday’s events. I wish there was more I could do. Sorry this post is a bit all over the place, but like I said I don’t really know what to write, I just wanted to get my feelings out.

Hug a runner today …and runners, hug your friends and family who cheer you on and spectate at races.

Wearing my blue and yellow for Boston today.

Wearing my blue and yellow for Boston today.