Tag Archives: half marathon

Rock n Roll USA Half Marathon – Race Recap

Another half marathon is in the books. Looking back on it, I had fun. But honestly, it was the first race that ever made me question why I run. I was pretty much miserable the whole race. Everything that could be off, was off – my head, my legs, my stomach. It was a text book bad run.

All I have to say, is thank goodness for Sam. She kept me going through so many times moments when I was struggling. She was a rock star and powered through the whole 13.1 miles – even the crazy rolling hills.

But bad run (on my part) aside, it really was an awesome race. I was skeptical. Rock n Roll is notorious for overselling races and really just being in the business to make money. I knew it would be crowded. I knew the Metro would be a mess. I knew we would need to be patient.

Rock n Roll ended up pulling it out. The crowd control was great. The corrals allowed for a decent, wave start.  Yes, there were lots and lots of runners. But I think it was a very well put together race, especially for being ran completely in DC. That meant lots of closed roads, lots of police and volunteers, and lots of logistics and planning.

Our day started nice and early. In order to get to the Metro right when it opened at 6, we left my house at 5:30. The Metro ride was long since we got on at the first stop of the Blue line. By the time we got to the Stadium Armory stop, the Metro trains were packed to the last inch with runners.

As soon as we got off the Metro, we got in line for the porta potties. There was a lot of waiting that morning. While a wave start is good for crowd control, it also means we didn’t cross the Start line until 8:30.

My race was bad but everything else was great – the course, the support, the volunteers. There was never a time that there weren’t people cheering us on and there was always something interesting to look at. I have never run a race with such an exciting course. I am a total nerd for DC so it was so fun to run through neighborhoods and see lots of awesome architecture up close.

There were lots of water stations, plenty of volunteers, and every runner I encountered was super nice. The best part of the race was running through the tunnels and neighborhoods. There were SO many people cheering, giving out high fives, pouring beer for the runners, and blaring music. At some moments it felt like we were running a legit race, like it was the New York Marathon or something.

I wish my run matched the atmosphere. That would have made it the perfect race. But some runs are bad and some are good. I snagged a PR, ran with my best friend, and at the end of the day, I still love running.

The finisher’s chute was pretty amazing. They had LOTS of food for the runners and the band, Switchfoot, was rocking and rolling. I was majorly dehydrated (it was an unseasonably warm day for March, almost too warm for a spring run), and we were both starving, so we made our way back to Springfield and immediately drove to Chipotle.  It was the perfect ending to our morning of running.

After the endorphins set in, all I could think about was the next race. Next up is the George Washington Parkway Classic in April and the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in May. All of these races are getting me prepared for the big daddy of em all – Marine Corps Marathon in October. This race showed me that I have a long way to go. Fortunately, I have a few months to train and lots of races in between.

I will definitely run Rock n Roll USA again. Hopefully, Rock n Roll Virginia Beach in September will be just as organized and fun.

Advertisements

Lucky Number Seven

Rock n Roll USA complete. It was a great race made even better because I ran it with my best friend. Recap to come tomorrow.

Oh yeah, Bill had fun too!

image

image

13.1…That’s Really Far

I have had a few readers leave comments asking me how I train for half marathons. So I decided to write a post about it in case more people out there were interested. Let me just preface this by saying – Running is a hobby. I am in no way informed enough to be an expert on the topic. I am just here to pass along some info and tips from my own personal experience. 

For those of you out there who are beginners…I mean straight up, “I can’t even run a mile without stopping,” beginners…I have been there. It is possible to go from no miles to 13.1 miles. My first piece of advice is to not look at the big picture. Tackle the miles a little at a time. The best way to slowly build up your mileage base is with a beginners plan.

I think Jeff Galloway has an awesome approachable method that can turn any non-runner into a racer. His plan slowly builds you up from run/walking a few miles to completing 13.1 miles.

source

Galloway’s plan makes it so that you are only running three days a week, so your life is taken over by training. The plan is long but it allows you to slowly increase your miles without overdoing it. I am a big advocate of this training plan for beginning runners.

If you are looking for a shorter plan with actual mileage on weekdays, here is a good one from Marathon Rookie.

source

This plan is shorter so it includes one more day of running, and it builds up the mileage a little quicker. The second plan may be good for someone who already has a bit of a running base and is looking for a way to build it up safely and effectively.

I think the key to training for a half marathon is consistency. You cannot expect to run a good race without proper training, so I like the idea of having some sort of plan. It helps keep you accountable and gives you small goals every week.

Personally, I am also a big fan of cross training on non running days. I get bored of doing nothing but running, so I also like taking a spin class or going to body pump. This helps break up the monotony of training. Here is a plan from Shape that allows for two cross training days, three running days, and two rest days.

source

Rest days are extremely important when training for a race. You are putting your body through something it’s never experienced before. So taking the time to heal and rest will improve you as a runner and prevent injuries.

Along with having a plan, it is important to learn how your body responds to longer runs so when race day comes you are prepared. This includes proper fuel, plenty of hydration, and clothing. Your training runs are when you experiment. Can you eat before a run? Do you warm up quickly? Do you need a long time to stretch before running?

These are the things you find out about yourself with each training run. So when race day rolls around, you are wearing the right clothes, your stomach is relaxed, and your legs are ready.

If I could offer one overall piece of advice about training for a half marathon, it would be to create a plan (or find one online) and stick to it. If you put in the work, your legs and mind will know what to do when it’s time to race.

And at the end of the day…have fun! Running is an amazing thing. Racing is even better. So take in the experience and really enjoy it. 

I hope this helps! If there is anything else you want answered or clarification, let me know.  I’m no Jeff Galloway but I can try and find an answer. Have a great weekend!

11/11/11

It’s November 11, 2011…make a wish! Is that how it works? I don’t know. But, I’ll go ahead and wish anyways. Come on Lady Luck!

Image Detail

First off, thanks for all the kind words and prayers about my mom’s surgery. She was able to go home last night. She sounds really good and says she feels a lot better after this surgery then her pervious one’s. I’m going over there tonight after work. I know all your good vibes and well wishes helped. Keep em coming!! 🙂

You thought I forgot didn’t you? I didn’t talk about it yesterday, but it was the Marine Corps Birthday. Of course I didn’t forget! November 10, 1775 will be forever ingrained in my head, seeing as that my brother is a Second Lieutenant, oh and I ran this crazy hard race called the Crossroads 17.75k.

Happy Birthday Marines. Semper Fi!

It’s also Veteran’s Day. I come from a big ol’ family of veterans.

Grandpa

Grandma

Uncle John

Mom

Dad

Thank you, veterans and current active duty men and women for all that you do to support and protect this country. I am proud to come from a family of veterans. You guys all deserve appreciation, not just today but every day of the year.

One last thing…from 11:00am to 11:00pm today, all Rock n Roll races are $20 off. I plan on signing up for RnR DC promptly at 11:00am.

Along with RnR DC, I am signing up for the Virginia if for Lovers 14k. Actually, Marcus is paying for the race registrations as a birthday present for me. I remember when I used to want Coach bags and Tiffany jewelry for my birthday. Now I just want race registrations and running gear. 😉

Ok, this is really the last thing…Starbuck holiday cups are out! Now, can Christmas trees hurry up and go on sale?! I’m ready to decorate!

Have a fab Friday and a wonderful weekend! ❤

Just Run

I know I’ve been talking about running and races a lot lately, but I can’t help it. I’m obsessed. I feel like I got my groove back – my fire, determination and heart. I don’t know where it went this summer. Maybe it was on vacation, but it’s back.

I didn’t talk about it a lot on the blog because I was trying to remain positive. But I went through a major workout funk during the summer. After the Marine Corps Half last May, I kind of took some time off from running and didn’t pick it back up again for a long time.

For some reason, I stopped looking forward to runs and even questioned if I actually enjoyed running. It started to feel like a chore. Was I really passionate about running? Or did I just fool myself into thinking it was something I loved?

As Austin Powers said, “I lost my mojo.”

Well, it’s back baby! Running my latest half and stepping up my workouts made me feel more like my old self. I just want to run 100 more races. I never want to stop collecting medals. I want to fill up my wall with race bibs. That’s what endorphins will do for you.

My 2012 race calendar is filling up quickly. I have to keep in mind that I am in two weddings next year (my best friend’s and my own), so I am going to far as to plan races around those two important dates.

My ultimate goal is to run the Wilson Bridge Half again in early October and then a very important HUGE race at the end of October, with our wedding in between. *I am being ambiguous about the big race because it sells out quickly and I want to register before I talk about it for real. But anyone who runs, will know what I’m talking about. 😉

Yes, I am planning my life out a year in advance. How very Type A of me. After the Hot Chocolate 15k, my next big race is the Rock n Roll DC in March. For anyone familiar with the Rock n Roll series, they added a DC date! I am SO stoked.

The main reason I am excited about RnR DC is because I plan on running that in March then RnR Va Beach in September. If you run multiple races in the RnR series, you get a “Heavy Medal.” As someone who runs for the bling, the possibility of getting another medal totally makes me want to run more. What can I say? Positive reinforcement works for me.

(source)

Hopefully, a race or two will pop up in between December and March. There aren’t a lot of local options during the winter, so most likely I will be putting in a lot of time at the GW Parkway.

SO amped for the 2012 season. Just run! 😀

Race Recap – Wilson Bridge Half Marathon II

Truth – Chuck Norris never beat the Wilson Bridge.

Race weekend began with a road trip to Southern Va to go wedding dress shopping with my best friend, for her not me. While I was fulfilling my Maid of Honor duties, mom went to pick up my race packet. Thanks mom!

It was the first time I missed a pre-race expo. I was a little bummed because expos always get me hyped for a race. But mom made sure to bring me back lots of race gear including a hoodie and three headbands. They say: “Keep Running,” “Cats Rule,” and “Marathon Girl.” Obviously, “Cats Rule” was my favorite. I’ll start wearing “Marathon Girl” after I register for my first marathon.

I was back to Northern Virginia in plenty of time to rest before race day. For some reason, I had major anxiety about over-sleeping. So I was up almost every hour checking my phone. I was up before my 5:00am alarm because I was just too amped to sleep.

I did my usual race morning routine – stretching, water, banana, sun butter and Gatorade. Then I got dressed. All week long, I was hoping the temps would rise a little. They never did, so I ended up wearing Under Armour, a tee, running vest (from the Crossroads17.75k instead of tech tees), capris, a hat and gloves.

 
I wore a hat and the vest in case it rained. I knew they would keep me semi dry. I also planned on taking off the gloves once I warmed up. Mom couldn’t come to this race, so Marcus was my solo cheerleader.

He dropped me off at the start at Mount Vernon. It was cold, windy and dark. I wanted to stay warm in the truck, but knew I needed to get outside and get my body used to the chilly weather.

I spent the hour before using the bathroom, chatting with another runner and jogging to warm up my legs. My muscles felt extremely tight no matter how much I stretched. The abnormally cold weather was a shock to the legs, definitely.

The time passed quickly, and before I knew it we were being called to line up. The butterflies turned to pure adrenaline and my warrior runner came out. With my music blaring, I crossed the start line with a big smile and a fist pump.

The first few miles passed pretty quickly. My legs took a really long time to get loose. The rest of my body warmed up pretty quickly and I took off my gloves and headband (which I was wearing around my ears).

The runners dispersed well and I had lots of room to run. I was able to find my stride with no problem. Some of the small hills along the way were giving me issues because my legs were just too tight. Plus the cold was affecting my knees.

Miles 5-8 were the best for me. I finally got into my zone and the miles seemed to go by quickly. Those miles are always my favorite on training runs too. I guess it’s when I finally turn my brain off and just run.

Since I ran this race last year, I knew miles 8-9 were on the bridge. I was ready for the long incline of the Wilson Bridge, but it still wasn’t easy. All around me, people were dropping down to a walk on the bridge. But I just kept yelling at myself in my head. I said, “You will not walk this bridge.” And I didn’t. Even though it wasn’t fast, I didn’t let the bridge beat me.

Also, how cool are these twins? Apparently, running is their thing and their parents sign up just to run with them. They were dressed alike and totally professional. Legit.

As we neared Maryland, the bridge turned into a welcomed downhill. We had 3 looping miles in Maryland around the National Harbour, before we made it to the home stretch.

Of course, more hills were thrown in. By this time I was just wanted the race to be over. My legs were not happy. And down by the river, the wind was vicious and cold. I knew once we got near the hotels, we were almost done. So I gave it all I had for the last bit.

I saw Marcus and gave him a huge smile and high five. He gave me the boost I needed to finish.

So I thought…they moved the finish line from last year. So I sprinted past Marcus thinking I was about to reach the finish line. Well, the course kept going and looping through the skinny sidewalks by the river. I was gasping for breath, trying to keep my sprint going.

The course kept going for another 1/4-ish of a mile and I finally saw the finish line behind the beer tent. It was in a totally random place and pretty small. Not at all like last year. So I pushed with whatever I had and crossed the finish line, totally gassed out.

I found Marcus and the first thing I said to him was, “They moved the finish line!” But I got over it quickly when I realized that my 6th half marathon was officially finished.

I was super excited about my bling. And my Mercedes…I wish!

I love the hand and bridge symbol that inspired the medal – so hard core.

The wind and cold really set in once I stopped running. But Marcus didn’t complain. He handed me my flip flops and hoodie and told me he was proud of me. 🙂

Once we got to the truck, the runner’s high set in and totally canceled out every other pain. I felt awesome. It was a tough race, especially in the unseasonably cold weather, but I did it.

The Wilson Bridge Half is still one of my favorite races. It’s well organized. The volunteers are super nice and encouraging. The medals are badass. And I love the course. I can’t wait to run it again next year!

Wilson Bridge- Dominated

image

And just like that, my 6th half marathon is over. It was an amazing (and cold) race!

Recap coming tomorrow. Time to relax!