Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

OK, I know it’s no longer morning, but I’m finally getting around to last week’s recap. It was an up and down week with some great workouts, a tough 5k and an awesome trail relay run!

Monday: My legs were feeling real heavy after Saturday’s speed session and Sunday’s race, but I pushed through three easy miles along the W&OD after work.

Tuesday: P90X in the morning followed by teaching early morning boot camp.

Wednesday: Thanks to a work-from-home day I got my run in during my favorite time of day to run turning lunch into runch! I put in 6X400s along the trail with a 400 recovery between each. I was so pumped when I got home and saw I’d done each one progressively faster working my way down from a 6:57 pace to a 6:16 one. Here are the splits: 1:44, 1:40, 1:39, 1:37, 1:36, 1:33

Thursday: P90X in the morning followed by teaching early morning boot camp and a quick strength workout of my own.

Friday: Another day of getting in my P90X routine before teaching boot camp in the morning followed by the Crystal City 5k Friday race at night. Recap coming soon!

Saturday: I ran the North Face Endurance Challenge marathon relay with fellow Oiselle teammates and had so much fun out on the trails! Recap on this one coming soon too.

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Sunday: I had good intentions of getting a run in, but turned into a lazy, recovery day that I really needed and felt great!

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Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

This week got off to a slow start, but ended strong. I am really close to being back to where I want to be and feel like my speed work is paying off. Now I just need to keep turning it up a notch in the speed department and slowly build up my endurance as well.

Here’s the day by day breakdown:

Monday: Travel day – took a complete rest day.

Tuesday: I taught early morning boot camp followed by my own strength workout and my p90x core workout. I also put in three easy miles along the W&OD trail.

Wednesday: Today was supposed to be a speed workout and turned into a full rest day.

Thursday: I taught morning boot camp and got in a few miles taking them off site on a run. I had good intentions of getting another run in on my own but that didn’t happen. I did get in most of my p90x core workout though.

Friday: Another unplanned rest day, but I did make it in to D.C. to get my packet for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!

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Saturday: I got up early and finally got that speed workout in planned for Wednesday and it felt great. It was a windy, but beautiful morning for 200s along the W&OD. I did eight repeats with a 200 recovery jog – the first four were in to the wind and the last four I had a tailwind. I ran the repeats in: 49, 48, 49, 49, 43, 46, 43, 43.

Sunday: I ran one of my absolute favorite races on a perfect day in D.C. and had a great Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!! Well, it was actually a 9.5 miler, but I’ll explain that in tomorrow’s race recap. I ran just over an 8-minute pace and felt great!

Race Recap: B&A Trail Half Marathon

On Sunday I ran the B&A Trail Half Marathon in Annapolis put on by the Annapolis Striders run club. I will admit I had a really bad attitude about going to this race. I was already disappointed in myself since this was initially my target full marathon, but I didn’t put in the training to be able to give it a legit shot at qualifying for Boston, so I decided to opt for the half shortening my recovery time to go at it again.

After some pretty decent weather recently in the greater D.C. area, I was unbelievably annoyed when I saw it would be a feels like temperature between about 16 and 19 for the race. You all know I do not like running in the cold, so this news just sucked! Since I was doing packet pick-up day of (glad they offered that) I had to leave super early meaning a wake up in the 4s… mornings are right up there with the cold on a list of my favorite things!

Despite all this, I was pleasantly surprised with the race. The start and finish line were at Saverna Park High School, so they used that as their staging area. It is always nice to be able to hang out indoors before a race, but especially so when it is as cold as Sunday was. I arrived about 6:30 and had no trouble grabbing my packet. I got my bib on and shoe tag timing chip then found the bathrooms that surprisingly had a pretty short line.

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I wore my Oiselle portman pants and then all the layers on top starting with the verrazano sports bra and topped with the scantron tank, flyte long sleeve and tech hoodie. As race time got closer I ran my stuff out to my car since there was no bag drop for this race and put my car key in my back pocket of my pants and a Gu in the front pocket. For the second straight race I ended up not feeling like I could get anything down mid-race and again didn’t take it. I need to start practicing nutrition again.

I headed back into the high school and found a quiet hallway to do my warm-up. About five minutes before go time I made my way to the start line and put myself between the 8 minute and 8:30 minute pace corrals. It was pretty informal and self-selected pacing, but the signs with pace times were a nice guide. I really enjoy the ease of these smaller races.

Soon after the National Anthem was sung and we were off and racing. The start was a little crowded, but fortunately we didn’t link up with the trail till about a mile and a half in giving everyone enough room and time for it to thin out. This was a paved trail very similar to the W&OD for those familiar with the D.C. trail system.

I didn’t feel as cold as I worried I would, but all of my layers including my gloves and neck gaiter probably helped with that. The sun was also shining brightly, which upped my mood a little bit. Just like Rock N Roll DC a couple weeks ago, the miles just ticked by. It was a great feeling, especially since I was in such a negative mindset before the race started. Also, like RNR, I didn’t look at my watch once until I crossed the finish line, so I ran completely by feel.

I felt really strong for the first six miles or so. From about mile three on, I found myself running mostly alone or with just a few other people nearby. I actually didn’t mind this at all – it was relaxed and so similar to many of my training runs. The volunteers were also incredible, nice and enthusiastic. They had to be absolutely freezing, so a big time thanks to them.

I was expecting the race to be completely flat, but boy was there a tough hill between miles seven and eight or so. It really took the wind out of my sails for awhile and definitely impacted my overall pace – note to self: add more hill training in to workouts!

It felt like time had flown when all of a sudden volunteers were directing me off the trail at the split between the half and the full and down the homestretch back to the high school for the finish. I crossed the line in 1:48:07 (unofficial). According to my watch I ran 13.22 miles for an average pace of 8:11 – how I could screw up tangents in a mostly out and back race is beyond me, but I do always find a way! Another race day tactic I need some work on for sure.

Mile by Mile:

1 – 7:45
2 – 7:41
3 – 8:06
4 – 8:07
5 – 7:58
6 – 7:56
7 – 7:51
8 – 8:40
9 – 8:40
10 – 8:28
11 – 8:12
12 – 8:34
13 – 8:30
Final .1 pace – 7:40

I was really pleased when I saw that time and realized I’d taken almost four minutes off my half marathon time in just two weeks! It is about five minutes off of my PR, but is a time I felt really good about given my current fitness level. I’m continuing to see strides (pun intended) in my speed throughout my weekly workouts and it was nice to see that show through on race day.

After I crossed the finish line, I immediately made my way back into the high school to warm up. They were offering all racers a free massage and had a great food spread. If I weren’t so chilly I probably would have taken advantage of this, but I really just wanted to get home so I grabbed a banana and a water, jogged out to my car and turned the heat all the way up for the ride home!

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All in all, a pretty good race day. You can certainly tell the organizers have done this before and know what they’re doing. I thought the four water/gatorade stops along the half course were completely sufficient and well staffed. If it were a warmer day I probably would have worn my water pack though. If you like smaller races that almost have more of a Sunday long run feel to them, then this one is for you.

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

Last week was a great start at getting back on track. I put in 40 solid miles with a mix of speedy runs and one brutally cold long run! I’ll have a post later this week on my race schedule and updated goals for the spring.

Here is the day-by-day breakdown:

Monday: I put in just over 6 easy paced miles on the Mt. Vernon trail after work in some major wind gusts and chilly weather. There were a couple gusts that seriously felt like they stopped me in my tracks! P90X core routine.

Tuesday: I hit the gym after work for a full body strength workout followed by my P90X core workout.

Wednesday: I put in a 9 mile tempo run along the Mt. Vernon trail on a beautiful night. It felt so great not to have a winter hat on for a run! Quick core workout.

Thursday: As good as Wednesday’s run felt, today’s was awful. The temps were in the low teens with wind chill and the wind never let up. I was so cold by the end of my 14 miles – I don’t know that I’ve ever willed a run to be over so badly! My route took me over both the Memorial Bridge and the 14th Street bridge where it took all my energy to keep running forward and not get pushed sideways by the wind! It had to be amusing to onlookers! It was nice to have the long run out of the way early though!

Friday: Rest Day.

Saturday: My Mom was in town, so we hit the gym together. I put in a quick warm-up followed by five 1 mile repeats with a 2-minute recovery. I got it a quick upper body workout as well!

Sunday: Today was the highlight of my week. Temps reached 65 for my late afternoon 5 miler along the W&OD in shorts!! My excitement got the best of me on what should have been an easy run and after starting out at a 9 minute pace each mile got progressively faster finishing with a 7:20 one. Boy did it feel good though! P90X core routine.

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Getting Back on Track

Life has been a bit crazy these last few weeks and I have definitely let my training suffer as a result. My last recap had me tallying 53 miles in a week, which was almost as much as I totaled for the last three weeks combined. Yikes!

There is no sense if beating myself up for it though. That won’t let me add runs back in that I missed. I am two months out from my marathon and I need to get myself back on track and quickly. Sunday I recommitted to my strength routine and am going to really focus on that to keep myself strong and healthy over these next eight weeks.

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As for my 2,015 miles in 2,015, I ran 127.66 miles in January. I’m a little bit behind, but my plans for the rest of this training cycle should have me back on track in no time!

I’ll be back next week with my regular weekly check-in.

Here goes!

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!

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!