Wordless Wednesday – 4 medals in 30 days!

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Can you tell I’m proud of my progress? Tell me about something you’re proud of.

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?

Faith & Fitness Friday

Hebrews 12:1

Hebrews 12:1

As I prepare for my first big race ever, this Scripture phrase is becoming more and more of a friend to me.

My hysterectomy and the events leading up to it and recovering from it was a race which I have already endured.  I know that running a foot race is possible.  I know that God has strengthened me in every way to prepare me for this race.  I just need to put my training – physical, mental, and spiritual – into practice.

Good luck to everyone running races this weekend! No matter what kind.

Travelling & Tapering

I wanted to post another Wordless Wednesday but this one needed words to go with the pictures.  I spent the weekend in Brooklyn, New York visiting my family.  Erika at Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss was kind enough to share a running route with me.  However, we didn’t have enough time to do a full route.  So my husband and I set out on a shorter, make it up as we go along, route which covered about 1 1/2 miles around my Mom’s neighborhood on Monday morning.  The route took us around Brower Park so we had to stop on the playground to get some core work and strength training in.

My core work has SUCKED since I started back about 2 weeks ago.  The night before my surgery I did my last 175 crunches (different styles).  Now, I can barely do 10 at a time of any kind.  UGH!!! Anyway, I have managed to get 2 Bikram Yoga classes in in the past 2 weeks which has helped me to ease into core work.  At the park, I worked on some push-ups and planks.  I got 5 planks in of about 30 seconds each.  My core still hurts!  Here we are:

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Me- Planking in Brooklyn

Hubby - Pushups in Brooklyn

Hubby – Pushups in Brooklyn

Since I’m tapering for the Cherry Blossom on Sunday, I have one more run left on the schedule for this week.  I will probably get about 3-4 miles in tomorrow at lunchtime around the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore.  Then, no more running to have fresh legs for the race.

What about you?  How do you train when you travel?  Any one tapering for the Cherry Blossom this week?  Let me know!

Ice Bath Haiku

ice bath haiku

As I have been training for middle distances, my mileage has increased as expected.  When I sat down to write down my training schedule, I wrote the word ICE next to each run that was longer than 8 miles.  I had heard from one of my BRFs, Real, that 8 miles was the distance that brought out the aches and pains during trains.  Anything more than 8 miles and you really feel it.  However, Real trained for her first half-marathon during the summer and raced it in the Fall.  I’m training for Spring races in the Winter.  The thought of coming in from a frosty (20-40 degrees) run and getting into an ice bath just didn’t fly with my brain.  The last thing I wanted after running next to an ice covered lake or pond was to come home and get into ice water.  No way, not me!

In February, I started doing runs longer than 8 miles but did I ice bathe after?  Nope!  I ran 9 miles the Saturday before my birthday.  On my birthday, I had a therapeutic massage.  The masseuse commented on how tight my calves were.  She is a runner herself and spent extra time getting the knots worked out.  I ran the RRCA 10 Miler a few days later to celebrate with no ice bath.  Then, my mileage dialed back a bit for a few weeks.

Fast forward to this month, I ran 9.5 miles 3 Saturdays ago and 10.3 miles last Sunday.  Following both of those runs, I came in and took my warm shower.  I wore my ProCompression Marathon socks to recover.  I made sure to stay hydrated, paid attention to the macros and micros of my diet, etc so that I would recover well.  However, for most of last week my calves were TIGHT!  My speedwork was more like slow-work.  My 7 mile easy run was cut short to 5 miles.  I did Bikram Yoga on Friday with the hopes that the heat and the stretching would help.  It didn’t.

So this Saturday’s long run of 10 miles – the last long run before the Cherry Blossom on my schedule – was BRUTAL!!!  Instead of my calves loosening up after the first few miles, they felt tighter.  I do 1:1 run/walk intervals.  I mostly walked the last 3 miles.  I finished in my worst time ever since February.  I knew it was time to embrace the ice bath.

If you haven’t taken an ice bath before, check here for some Do’s and Don’ts.  I climbed in to my tub filled with cold water, sat down and winced.  I stayed in for a little over 10 minutes.  When I climbed out and warmed up, not only did my calves feel better but aches in my hips which I had only just begun to realize existed were gone as well.  Even more important to me as a hysterrunner, the aches in my lower abdomen around my incision which I have felt since I started running again were also going away.  I thought that they were a permanent ache to deal with.  Turns out they too were just muscle aches due to running!  I’m a believer – cue The Monkees!

The Monkees–I’m A Believer

Have you ever taken an ice bath?  What do you do to recover from intense effort?

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 15, 2013
Aiming for a PR!