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?

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?

2013 Race Goals

Happy_New_Year_Charlie_Brown

In the spirit of looking back and forward, I am presenting my goals for the New Year.  These are what I aim to do with the hope of continuing to improve on myself.  After my health scares in 2012, I am blessed to be alive.  Every day that I am able to wake up, spend time with my family, and run is precious to me.  With that being said, I am grateful for the experiences that I had in 2012 and am looking forward to new experiences in 2013. 

12 months year of you

I will be aiming to run 13 races in 2013.  My cardiovascular strength and endurance has been building since my return to running post-hysterectomy.  I am up to ~15 miles a week.  I actually exceeded my 10 mile/week goal for December!  With this base, I am well poised to reach my race distance goals for 2013.  I have set up my races for the first half of the year to gradually build up to a half-marathon.  One year ago, I just wanted to run a 5K.  Now, I’m looking forward to becoming a Titanium Girl/Half Fanatic!!! Here are my January – June Race Goals.

resolution run 5k 2013

January 1 ~ Resolution Run 5K

January 19 ~ Winter Runnerland: Moms Run This Town Virtual 10K

 

 

 

February 24 ~ RRCA Club Challenge Ten Miler

March – ?

April 7 ~ Cherry Blossom Ten Miler 20121116203347

Isn’t this a cute pic of Amanda of the awesome blog www.runningonwaffles.com and I at the Cherry Blossom Kickoff?  Amanda is one of the social runners for the race.

 

 

 

 

April 28 ~ Athleta Iron Girl Columbia Half Marathon

This will be my first half marathon!!!! WOOHOO!!!

May 5 ~ Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon

2 races, 7 days, 3 medals = ONE TITANIUM GIRL!

 

June ~ Decisions, decisions, decisions…

There are 4 races that I want to run in June!!! I’ve already registered for the previous races which puts me at 5.  I can do 1 or 2 races in June and still be on pace for 2013.  But, I am not sure if I should race 4 times.  That being said, here are the ones I am considering.

June 1 – Zooma Annapolis ~ This is a Black Girls Run goal race for 2013 which means lots of my sole sisters will be running this one.  I’m trying to decide if to push for a third half marathon or the 10K.

June 15 – Baltimore Ten Miler ~ I volunteered at a water stop for this one last year.  I need to decide if to volunteer again or run it.

June 16 – Road Runners Club GPS 5K ~ It would be nice to do another RRCA race and it’s around the corner from my house!

June 23 – Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K ~ This is more than likely a definite.  The BWC was my first race in 2012.  I’m thinking of coaching newbies like I was last year.

Regardless of which races I choose in June, for 2013 I will be a …

girl-on-a-mission

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

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