Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I LOVE this race! It is an awesome course, an extremely well organized race and this year the we even got to take in the cherry blossoms at peak bloom!

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After work Friday I took the metro in to D.C. to the National Building Museum to pick up my packet. I was able to zip in and out without waiting in any lines for my bib or my t-shirt. I went with the regular cotton shirt instead of paying for the upgrade and thought this year’s was a pretty cool design.

Saturday, I kept the race weekend fun going by meeting up with fellow Oiselle teammates for a day before lunch at Vapiano. I seriously love being a member of this team – such an incredible group of women!

I was up at 5:15 Sunday, had a quick breakfast and headed out the door to drive to Rosslyn where I could metro in to the starting line. With 50-degree temps and no wind on tap I wore my Oiselle rogas, singlet and arm warmers.

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I got in to D.C. well before the race started and made my way to the bathroom lines which were a whole lot shorter and easier to access than at Rock ‘n Roll a month ago. Bag drop was a breeze and then I got in a solid warm-up before getting into my corral. I probably got in a bit early and ended up having to stand around for 15 or 20 minutes before we started.

Shortly before the race there was an accident on the course that forced them to change the course at the last minute. Race management did an incredible job of communicating this change and the race still went off on time completely seamlessly. Between miles four and six they ended up cutting out about a half of a mile.

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We set off down Independence Ave and out and back over Memorial Bridge. I promised myself I wouldn’t start out too fast for once and made myself stay behind the 8-minute pacer for the first mile. I felt really good and strong. The miles ticked by as we ran out on Rock Creek Parkway and back toward Hains Point. Miles four through six especially flew by!

By mile seven my legs were definitely starting to feel the fact that although I’ve been doing a great job working on speed, I haven’t been running much more than three or four miles at a time. I felt like I was crashing hard. I tried to pump my arms hoping my legs would follow, but around mile eight the 8-minute pace crew caught up to me. I did my best to keep them in my sights and tried to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossom trees lining the road.

I was really relieved to hit mile nine and leave Hains Point behind and head to the finish line. I always think of the last mile in terms of just having to run four laps around the track, so I loved that they had signs signifying the last 1200, 800 and 400 meters! I also love that the final sprint to the finish line is a slight downhill!

I crossed the line in an unofficial time of 1:16:28 for roughly 9.5 miles averaging just over an 8-minute pace. They are still re-measuring the course to come up with an official distance and will give us projected finish times, but I’m fairly confident I would have made it under 1:20.

I was so pleased with this time. It’s still a little bit off my PR on this course, but so much better than I’ve been doing and I really feel like my speed is coming back. I’m so close to getting back to where I want to be and seeing where I can take it from there!

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The mile-by-mile breakdown:
Mile 1 – 7:50
Mile 2 – 7:44
Mile 3 – 7:50

Mile 4 – 7:55
Mile 5 – 8:03
Mile 6 – 8:04
Mile 7 – 8:11
Mile 8 – 8:37
Mile 9 – 8:28
Mile 10 (.5 miles) – 7:44 pace

After I crossed the line I grabbed a water and made my way back to bag check. They were so well organized that they spotted my bib number as I was walking up and had my bag ready by the time I was at the table. I changed into a dry shirt and a hoodie and headed back to the finish line to see friends cross, but there were just so many people there I finally gave up and headed home.

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Instead of dealing with the metro I took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked back down the Mall, over Memorial Bridge and into Rosslyn where my car was parked. I went straight to my favorite bagel place in Courthouse – Brooklyn Bagel Bakery where I enjoyed an everything bagel with egg and cheese and a hot chocolate! Pretty good way to start off a Sunday!

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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!

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

I’m a bit late with my morning recap today, but figured better late than never as I fly back to DC after a weekend away! I had a pretty decent week as I started my 5k training. I only put in three runs as opposed to my usual 5-6 as this was also a recovery week from my second half marathon in the last few weeks.

Here’s the day-by-day breakdown…

Monday: I put in an easy 3-miler at about a 7:55 pace after work on the Mt. Vernon Trail. P90X core routine.

Tuesday: P90X core routine plus I taught morning boot camp.

Wednesday: Full Rest Day

Thursday: P90X core routing and I taught morning boot camp to kick the day off. After work I took advantage of a beautiful day to get some quarter mile repeats in on the relatively flat W&OD trail. After a quick warm-up I went quarter mile on quarter mile off for five repeats keeping them all between a 6:25 and 6:58 minute pace – with my fastest being my last one at 6:25! I felt really great about this workout, especially since my stomach wasn’t feeling so great beforehand since I decided a fountain coke, jimmy johns sandwich and salt & vinegar chips were good pre-run fuel!

Friday: Travel/Rest Day.

Saturday: I took today off so I could drive down to Boston and have lunch with one of my closest friends before dragging her an hour south of Boston to watch Ian do his coaching thing. His Plymouth State Panthers beat UMass Dartmouth to go 7 and 1 on the season!

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Sunday: I hit the treadmill for a 30-minute progressively faster run. I started at an 8-minute pace and worked my way up to a 6:58 pace. The best part about this run was I ended feeling strong like I could keep on going rather than counting down the seconds until the clock hit 30!

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

Once again I’ve been MIA for awhile, but I’ve been busy with lots of good things happening. This week started off awful with no runs Monday through Wednesday, but then I had a strong end of the week, so I’ll focus on that for the recap!

Here’s the day-by-day breakdown:

Thursday: I taught morning boot camp then got in my P90X core workout. After work I put in just under 4 relatively quick, but still felt easy miles along Four Mile Run & W&OD trails. I was motivated for this run thanks to the arrival of my new Oiselle tool belt roga shorts and wazelle halter tank – the near 70 degree temps didn’t hurt either!

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Friday: I put in a speedy out and back negative split run along the W&OD for 4 miles.

Saturday: I was up early and all bundled for a very easy nearly 4 mile shake out run along Four Mile Run & W&OD. After 70 degrees two days earlier, a feels like of 22 felt awful!

Sunday: I ran the B&A Trail Half Marathon up in Annapolis and had a pretty good race – more to come soon. I also got in my P90X core routine and a Pure Barre class with my fellow DC Oiselle teammates in the afternoon. Pretty good day for working out!

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

Sorry I was MIA last week. It’s been a busy few weeks at work and at home, but I’ve had a pretty successful last two weeks of training. I decided to switch to the half marathon for the B&A Trail race at the end of the month since I just wasn’t where I needed to be to attempt a BQ. That has allowed me to switch my focus to speed and strength and I already feel like it’s been making a difference. I’ve also had more fun running the last two weeks than I have in quite some time – which could also have something to do with the improving weather!

Anyway here’s the day-by-day breakdown from last week:

Monday: I put in 3 speedy miles along the Mt. Vernon Trail after work followed by my p90x core routine.

Tuesday: I taught a boot camp class in the morning and also got in my own full body strength work along with my p90x core routing.

Wednesday: Today was my birthday and also a late night at work so I took the day off from running, but did get my p90x core workout in for the third straight day this week.

New Oiselle hoodie - bday present from my husband!

New Oiselle hoodie – bday present from my husband!

Thursday: I taught another early morning boot camp, did my p90x routine first thing along with a full body strength workout and then got in 3 speedy miles after work along the W&OD Trail – such a beautiful night out for a run!

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: I ran the DC Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon in the pouring rain, but came away pretty happy with my performance! I finished in 1:51:58 and will have a full recap up soon. All told, I put in closer to 15 miles Saturday and still managed to fit in my p90x routine.

Sunday: I started my morning off with p90x and 5 easy recovery miles along the W&OD. I felt a bit stiff at first, but loosened right up and was feeling great by mile three!

Marathon Training Check-In

I’m 12 weeks in to my training plan for the B&A Trail Marathon in Annapolis with six weeks to go. The first seven weeks went really well in terms of mileage and workouts. My lowest mileage week was 35 miles up to my highest mileage week of 54 miles. With plans to run six days a week, I was very pleased that I had only missed a small handful of planned runs over those first seven weeks.

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I came into things after a bit of time off from consistent running though, so my base was not what it should be (read: mostly nonexistent). The lack of base really showed through in my speed workouts. They were all a struggle and off pace. I certainly started feeling better as the weeks went on and noticed some serious improvement, but I couldn’t seem to hit the marks I needed.

The next three weeks the wheels came off. I put in an 18 mile week, followed by a 27 mile one and then just 12. I missed most of my quality workouts and was eating great either as I was spending a lot of time on the road and eating out. It was really frustrating to watch that momentum slip and admittedly there were a few workouts I should have gotten in, but just didn’t because I wasn’t feeling it.

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I’ve done a good job at getting back on track the last two weeks and putting in some quality mileage with back-to-back 30 – 40 mile weeks. Still, if my speed was hurting before, it is definitely hurting now.

I’m completely confident in my ability to finish the B&A race barring something totally unexpected on race day, but I have had to reassess my goal or reaching a BQ on that day. I’m going to continue to work hard putting in the miles over the next six weeks, but don’t think I can get myself to the speed I need without risking injury in that amount of time.

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I hope to come away from this with a great base though and am on the hunt for a back up qualifying race sometime May or later. I love running in the heat, so summer marathons don’t bother me. I’m eyeing Steamtown as my fall marathon, but want to take one shot before then if possible. I’d love to hear your suggestions. My ideal would be something semi-local to DC or at least within a 5 or 6 hour drive tops.

I hope your spring race training is going better than mine has! Tell me about your goal races and how your training is coming along!