13 Races-10 Medals

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Not every race I ran had a medal but aren’t these a great collection!

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Iron Girl + Frederick Half Marathons = Titanium Girl

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Frederick + Baltimore Half Marathons = Maryland Double

Do you like to run for medals?  If so, what is your favorite one? What do you do with your medals?

Best Race Weekend Ever–BRF 2013

I did it! On October 12, 2013, I ran the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon and completed the 13 races in 2013 challenge! I promised myself that I would celebrate my new lease in life by running 13 races, including my first half marathon.  I ended up running FOUR half marathons!

BRF2013 finisher medal

What made the weekend awesome was not just the fact that I completed the race but that I got to run it with my run boos! Since it was a race in our own backyard, literally, we planned the weekend in a way to run well and recover well.  The girls met at my house at 7am to carpool downtown.  We were able to park at my job and walk over to campus.  The Dean had a special breakfast for all of the runners in his office where we had a great view of the start of the marathon, team relay, and 5K races.  The joy in this is that we got to use real bathrooms before heading down to the staging area for the half marathon.  A race without seeing a port-a-potty is a blessing for me!

On our way to the staging area, we stopped to cheer on the 5K runners on their way to the finish line.  There were quite a few Black Girls Run ladies out there.  It was great to show support to other runners even before we started.

The good and the bad of the start/staging area was that it was sandwiched between the turnaround point for the full marathon/ marathon relay route.  This meant ducking through runners already in the zone to get to our corral.  I was afraid that we would either get run over or throw someone off their game.  Neither would have been good.  The good thing about this start area was that once we were situated we could cheer on the runners while waiting for our corral to start. 

We started out together as a group with the knowledge that we would eventually split up to our own paces.  That being said, we all ended within a short time of each other.  Two of my girlfriends were running their first half marathons.  One of them like me is a hysterrunner who had run Iron Girl, Frederick, and now Baltimore.  So she too is now a Titanium Girl who completed the Maryland Double.  

BRF Collage

I may be biased but this half marathon was the best one out of the four I have run.  There was crowd support throughout the race not just in the start and end areas.  Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods and each neighborhood along the route had its own way of cheering and supporting us.  Because a part of the route runs around Lake Montebello and through our Twilight Tuesday route, it really was like running in our own backyard at one point! The great thing about this is that my two best friends stationed themselves to cheer at different points around the lake.  Then my husband and son were at the entrance/exit point. They ran with me from the lake for about a mile to coach  me on and keep me motivated.  Once they left me, the rest of the route really was all downhill.

The race food and fun afterwards was great.  But the thing that made this race weekend awesome is that afterwards we headed to the spa for ice baths and sauna time.  The day after I was sore but not as sore as I usually am.  Going to the spa after 13.1 miles was definitely one of my best ideas.

Have you had an awesome race weekend? How are you doing with your 2013 goals?

What A Difference A Year Makes…

Today is National Running Day 2013!

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Last year, after my high blood pressure scare, I was cleared to run on May 30th.  My first run with Black Girls Run was the next day – June 1, 2012.  It was a celebration run as BGR: Baltimore was celebrating its one-year anniversary with a fun run hosted by Charm City Run.  It also coincided with National Running Day.  I was just excited to be running again.  I did my first 3 miles using the Galloway method that day.  Two weeks later I ran my first 5K at the Baltimore Women’s Classic.

Today, I ran just under 3 miles in less than 40 minutes which after the year I’ve had is incredible.  I may have been sidelined by health issues but I have come back.  Throughout my recovery, running has been key.  Whether I run 1/4 mile or 13.1, I am a runner.  Running has helped me to stay sane despite my health challenges and to become healthier in the process.  I am several pounds lighter and my HBP is under control.

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The pic on the left is from 6/1/2012; on the right is from 6/5/2013.

To celebrate National Running Day, besides my run, I registered for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia.  Last year, I would have never thought anything longer than a 5K was possible for myself.  This year, I have already run 6 races out of my #13in2013 goal, including 2 10-milers and 2 half marathons.

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I am truly proud of how far I have come.  I am looking forward to continuing to become that fit chick!  I love being a hysterrunner!

Did you go for a run for National Running Day?  How has your running progressed in the last year?  Share your responses in the comments.

I am an IRON GIRL!!!

I am truly humbled by my journey over the past 8 months.  When I got the idea for this blog.  I was still on bed rest post-surgery.  In fact, when I decided to run a half marathon, I was in the middle of a hormonally charged crying jag and in extreme pain.  During the ugly cry, I was babbling about never being able to run again. My husband convinced me to take my pain meds which I was afraid of taking by assuring me that not only could I run but I would be able to run longer distances than before. (Long story short – I’m allergic to a lot of meds and am leery of them as a result.) Being that I had been hemorrhaging for the better part of the previous 5 months, I had been limited to 3-4 mile runs.

When my hormones started to return to normal and the pain subsided a few weeks later, I decided to run one 5K a month for 2013.  Then, I heard about the Iron Girl and the #13in2013 challenge and decided to go a bit farther.  I would run 13 races, including my first half marathon.  I planned my earlier races for the year to gradually build up to this distance.  The Cherry Blossom Ten Miler was actually my second peak long run for the training period.

So to recap a wonderful weekend…

Saturday morning, I was up at the crack of dawn not to head out for a long run but to take the mini to a Boy Scout STEM event which was actually held 20 minutes away from the start of the race.  I made sure to bring my water with me to stay hydrated.  When they broke for lunch, I left to pick up my race packet and hit the Expo.  I learned my lesson from the Cherry Blossom Expo and limited my time there to only about 45 minutes.  I picked up a magnet for my car and some cool arm sleeves. On my way back to base to pick up the mini, I ran 2 quick errands, including picking up some coconut water to aid in my continued hydrating, as well as to be prepared for post-race hydrating.  We headed home where I put my feet up for a few before heading to my girlfriend Betsey’s house.  She lives in Columbia so I stayed at her place to make race morning a bit smoother.  After pasta at Bertucci’s, we headed home and I prepared for a good night’s sleep.  Before going to bed, I posted the following tweet.

night before ig

Race morning, April 28, 2013 – I woke up, got dressed, and had oatmeal for breakfast. I hit the bathroom before leaving.  After a slight detour, I got to the start and needed to use the bathroom again.  I spent the next 20 minutes on line to use the Port-A-Janes and missed all BGR pre-race pics in the process.  I lined up with some friends in the 12-minute pace group just to chat but fell back to my 13-minute mile pace right as we exited the parking lot. My long slow distance runs were at a 14-minute pace with the intention of running at 13-minutes for race pace.  I was confident that this was pretty doable.  With the rolling hills of Columbia to slow me down at some points, I figured I could be done in about 3 hours.  I finished the first 5K and developed a slight stitch in my side, something that happened in longer runs during training so I was expecting it.  I lifted my arms and took deep breaths to get past it while I kept going.  At the 10K split, I was at 1:35 on point with pace and feeling pretty good.  Then came the serious hill.  Even though I trained on hills all winter, it was still hard.  The downhill had me staying in control but picking up the pace to make up for slowing down a bit earlier.  However, I run/walk on a 1:1 ratio and it was 3 intervals before I could stop running and walk.  You get to the bottom of the hill, turn the corner and have to go up a steep hill.  Most of us walked up that sucker!  The rest of the course was pretty much average rolling hills but my effort on those two steep ones definitely had me feeling the burn.  That being said, I finished strong with a final time of 3:06.12 just over my estimate but still a PR!!! LOL!!!

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Thirteen point freaking one baby! & yes, that’s a #RunChat tattoo on my shoulder!

Have you ever challenged yourself to do something new?  Have you ever run a half marathon?  Tell me about your experiences in the comments.

2013 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Recap

This week has been very interesting for me – personally and professionally.  I am quite happy that it is the weekend!  I can catch up on lots of stuff and get this post done.

Race weekend started with a special BGR Event at Port Discovery Museum in Baltimore.  BGR has partnered with United Healthcare and REI to do a series of clinics across the country.  I was glad to be able to participate. Besides getting great information on running hydration and nutrition, the event culminated with Bellydancing for Runners! This was an awesome event! I even got to meet one of the founders of BGR – Toni Carey.

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Following the running clinic, my BRF Rhandi and I headed to the Metro to DC for the Cherry Blossom Race Expo.  We were supposed to be helping each other to not spend too much money.  But somehow, we managed to register for the Baltimore Ten Miler in June and buy matching skirts to wear in addition to a ton more running gear! LOL!  The only downfall of the Expo was that I didn’t get a chance to meet up with my virtual running buddy Amanda. Amanda was one of the social runners for the Cherry Blossom.  Read her race recap here.   Somehow with all of the excitement about the running clinic and the Expo, Rhandi and I managed to go the whole day with nothing since breakfast.  I think we were on a shopper’s high.  At least, we had water most of the day.  When we finally got back to Baltimore, I made a beeline for french fries – something that I had been denying myself for months.  I figured they were carbs so for once I was ok.  Although, I know they would have been better if I had made them in the oven instead of bought them from the local sub shop.

The next morning I was up at 4:00am.  Rhandi came by to pick me up at 5:00am to carpool to the Metro back to DC.  We got on the Metro and was surrounded by a sea of runners.  It was AWESOME!  Here is the view as we emerged from the Metro at the Mall to start the race.

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We made it to the bag drop to leave our warm sweats right before the first wave was scheduled to begin.  I had never been in a race this large before.  There were so many runners everywhere.  We were in the Purple Wave – last but not least.  It’s in this wave where the magic happens! Literally, there were jugglers and a dude jumping rope the whole way! Amazing! 

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I can’t wait until my prints from MarathonPhoto come in the mail.  They turned out great.

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We had so much fun running this race.  At the beginning, we were way ahead of our goal pace.  We used a 1:1 run/walk ratio and maintained about a 13:00 mile which was good for us.  We got to the 5K mark in a little over 30 minutes – fastest ever! About mile 4.5, we took in our nutrition – Gu for me – so that it would kick in by mile 5.  At about mile 6, I worked out a stitch in my side on one of our walk breaks.  Throughout the race, we got tons of encouragement from our BGR Sole Sistas – not only those who were there with signs to cheer but also those who volunteered as race guides and at water stops.  They were really supportive especially when we thought our energy was waning.  At mile 7, we gained a new pace partner, Amanda.  We ran with her until she caught up with her cheer section after mile 9.  I’m glad we were able to help her push through the rough patch she was having.  That loop around Hains Point gets lonely and is always better with running buddies.  We still had enough energy left to sprint the last 1/2 mile and I shaved more than 5 minutes off my last 10 mile race time.

cherry blossom results

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I am glad that I was able to run the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Race this year.  This marks my fourth race for 2013 – on track for 13 in 2013.  I definitely feel ready to run my first and second half marathons on April 28th and May 5th.  Titanium Girl, here I come!

How about you?  Have you ever run a really large race before?  Did you run the Cherry Blossom?

February Race Recap

Thanks to all of you for my birthday wishes! I ended my birthday celebrations on a high note.  So much was going on in the month that I haven’t posted since my birthday on February 20th – not even a Faith and Fitness Friday!  I intend to make up for that today.  I will be giving you a recap of my first 10-mile race.

To celebrate life, I have been working towards running 13 races in 2013.  For February, that race was the Maryland Road Runners Club of America Club Challenge.  A 10-mile race in Columbia, MD with runners from RRCA groups from all over Maryland.  I was very excited for this race because it was my first chance to run 10-miles ever.  I’m running the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in April so this was my chance to get used to the distance.  I was quite excited that this race was 4 days after my birthday and continued my birthday week celebrations!

Two weeks before I had run my furthest difference in preparation for the race – 9 miles.  I kept up with my tempo and speed work in the week following.  Then, in the week leading up to the race – my birthday week – I was overcome by shin splints during my tempo run and had to finish by walking.  (Shout out to Candace @cherishedflight for walking with me!)  My running shoes were overdue for replacement and I had been holding out until after the race.  For my birthday, I bought myself a new pair of Sauconys – same style & size but different color.  I spoke with the awesome folks at Charm City Run about whether or not I should run in the new ones.  We decided that risking friction and chafing was better than shin splints, especially since my feet were used to that style.

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20130306192811Old in pink on the left followed by new in blue on the right!

The Good – I finished in 2:30!  I wasn’t last!  This was a decent time being that it was my first time at this distance.  It is a 15 minutes shorter than the pace that the sweeper truck at the Cherry Blossom picks people up at.  Focusing on speed the next few weeks to insure that I meet my 2:20 goal for 10 miles.

The Bad – I started to feel the friction in my new shoes at about mile 4.  I didn’t have any moleskin or bandaids on me. Lesson learned.  At the mile 5 water stop, someone had 2 tiny bandaids which I placed on the area to try to reduce the friction.  I stayed focused on finishing.  I kept reminding myself of how far I had come.  Instead of a 2.30/1 run walk ratio though, I began walking more as the pain increased.  Even still, I managed to get to mile 7 without even noticing when I passed 6!  Then, right at mile 8, one of my BRRC running buddies started calling my name from the sidelines.  She was a sight for sore eyes.  She didn’t run the race because she is dealing with some injuries.  But, she walked and ran me in the rest of the way! Dechen was extremely encouraging.  She made sure to tell everyone we saw on the last 2 miles that this was the furthest I had ever run.  She definitely made the end of the race worthwhile.  The next best moment was right before mile 10 when I saw my coach Jen. Jen is who took the picture of us below.  I hid Dechen’s face because I forgot to get her permission to plaster her face across my blog.  I guess Dechen and Jen made it not too bad!

 

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The Ugly – An angry red blister on my left foot.  Really never want to get one of those again.  Moleskin is now added to my kit of things to carry during a race.

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So that’s it – the good, the bad, and the ugly of my first Ten Mile Race experience.

Tell me, how far have you run? Raced?  Have you ever had a blister?  How did you treat it?

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!