MNB Challenge Week 3–BELIEVE

This week was the final week in the Lorna Jane Active & Fit Approach Move Nourish Believe Challenge. It was quite timely that this week’s focus was BELIEVE and it was the week I celebrate my birthday! I tend to do some introspective looks at myself and some soul searching around this time of year so the challenges were helpful to me in doing so.

Monday, 2/17 – Spoil Yourself!

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As I like so many others had been trapped in the house for 4 days thanks to the polar vortex, I went to work on President’s Day rather than work from home again.  At lunchtime, I spoiled myself with a pedicure treat for my runner’s feet. After work, there was still a bit of sunshine so I took the opportunity to get in an afternoon run by myself with my music on loud.

Tuesday, 2/18 – 5 Mindful Minutes

Finding my zen usually includes daily prayer and meditation. Each morning, I try to stay in the moment as I pray to God for everyone in my life and for everyone whose life touches mine in any way. I try to keep everyone in prayer.

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Wednesday, 2/19 – Be Happy!

My happy place is not really a place but a space in my heart and mind of stillness.  However, in order to be happy, I have to be comfortable.  SOCKS are important to my comfort. I wore my Marine Wife socks because they are comfortable and make me happy. I also wore them because it was the opening day for registration for the Marine Corps 17.75K and I got in! Woohoo!

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Wednesday was my Birthday Eve! To celebrate, I met some friends at a club so we could see Black Alley perform live.  They are an awesome push the limits band whose sound is a fusion of funk, jazz, soul, and rock known as “Soul Garage.” Besides their own songs, they did an awesome cover of Pharrell’s song, Happy. How appropriate!

Thursday, 2/20 – Thankful Thursday – It’s my BIRTHDAY!

I am so thankful to be alive. Focusing on reasons why I was thankful all day was important to me.  One of the things I did was play the song Happy every hour in honor of my #24hoursofHappyBirthday! LOL! The video is literally 24 hours long. The version most people see splices together scenes from the extended version. I got a great run and workout in with my husband while my son was at school.  Then, I ran some errands and scored some cool boots with a gift card before heading out to a nice dinner with the family.

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Friday, 2/21 – Share the love!

Shout out to my #1 supporters/motivators – my husband and my son! If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have the strength some days to get out there and get my fitness on. There are days when I’m in a funk and my husband kicks me out of the house to make me go work out. My son is my biggest cheerleader. They both run with me at times.

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Maryland Road Runners’ Club Challenge – 2/23

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All of this believing culminated with me running my birthday with a 10-mile race today! Last year, I ran the Maryland Road Runners’ Club Challenge as my first 10 miles ever.  It was a tough race which left me with my first blister. This year I was ready for a comeback. I’m faster than I was then and have learned a lot about my abilities as a hysterrunner.  I finished much faster than my times at both this race and the Cherry Blossom last year in 2:18:35. I was aiming for 2:10:00 but my left knee has started to bother me lately so I walked more of the last mile than I planned.  Something that I am definitely going to have to invest in to make it through full training is a knee brace. I believe that I am ready for a full marathon this year.

Did you race this weekend? Did you take advantage of the break in the weather to get some outdoor exercise in? How did you BELIEVE in yourself this week?

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.

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

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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?

2013 Race Goals

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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.

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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 …

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

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