Friday Five: Why I’m Running Marine Corps!

My last Friday Five as a marathoner in training. These past 16 weeks I have logged countless miles, had good runs and bad, experienced highs and lows, and enjoyed numerous bright spots to outweigh any hurdles. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m ready. And I’m grateful. Grateful that I get to be a part of this special race and this weekend for my first marathon. Goosebumps. MCM_Five

A year ago my Friday Five post was all about the MCM10K. We also had only 3 linker uppers (not counting our DC Trifecta!) What a difference a year makes! Today Cynthia, Courtney and I went with a theme of “5 Reasons to Race/Run…” I chose to give my 5 reasons for running the Marine Corps Marathon:

ONE: My 40th birthday. This was the underlying reason for wanting to run a marathon this year. Not necessarily this one in particular but a major reason why I’m running 26.2 at all.

TWO:  Um, because I got in? Seriously, after my injury earlier this year and failed first marathon attempt I softly decided to run one in the fall. I had a list and MCM was on it but they had also just gone to a lottery system. I silently entered the lottery (meaning, I told no one!) and wouldn’t you know – I was one of the lucky ones selected. 39th Marine Corps Marathon it was :)

THREE:  The atmosphere. Having done the MCM10K a couple of times I can say the amount of energy and excitement that comes through during this time of year is positively exhilarating. I have loved being just a small part of it with the 6.2 mile run and was always so envious of those who got to experience the full. Now I do.

FOUR:  The Marines. Do I have to explain this? really? ok, aside from some very nice looking men in uniform the Marines put on one of the most well run, organized and thoughtful events – hands down. And you get to see our service men and women on the course cheering you on, giving out high fives and at the finish – you are presented with a medal around your neck by a Marine with a salute and a hand shake. Gives me chills and warms my heart all at the same time.

FIVE:  It’s “home”. As much as I love to travel and run and explore new cities and racing environments, it is calming to know I’m running at home. There is something to be said about resting up from the comfort of your couch; sleeping in your own bed; and the familiarity of the start and finish lines. For this milestone race I am pretty happy that I can get up at a reasonable hour and know where I’m parking to catch the metro and get to the start on time. There is less stress about  the course and unexpected elevation or terrain. These are streets I run daily and DC is such a historic and monumental place that I can’t think of a better backdrop for marathon #1.

Official Marine Corps Marathon mile markers (source: Marine Corps Marathon Facebook page)

Official Marine Corps Marathon mile markers (source: Marine Corps Marathon Facebook page)

All in all I have to thank all of you for your support, advice, words of encouragement and for just following along on my journey to 26.2. See you on the other side of the Iwo Jima Memorial. Happy Friday!

**and don’t forget abut my giveaway for 2 motivational wrap bracelets from Words to Sweat By. Enter HERE and ends on Sunday night!

Putting the Mar in Marathon!

OMG guys just 4 more sleeps and it’s Marine Corps Marathon time! I almost can’t believe it is here. MCM4daysBut, before I get too, too excited (um, too late) here’s how I have been preparing to put the MAR in MARATHON.

Sleep: I have been so good to myself this week in the sleep department trying to be under the covers by 9:30 pm and asleep by 10. Luckily the Steelers Monday Night game moved in a positive direction so I was able to rest soundly to start my week right ;) All kidding aside since I had been so stressed sleep has been erratic and I’m feeling pretty rested so far so good.

Eats: I meal prepped Sunday and actually made breakfast (egg and veggie muffins) for the week plus fruit daily, crocked a pot of turkey chili and made some stuffed peppers with quinoa. All clean eating – no junk or unnecessary sugar and hydrating like a maniac. I had re-started on the multivitamin train a couple of weeks ago since I was slacking.

Playlist: Last Friday’s Friday Five was perfect timing for me. Thanks to your posts I got so many good music recommendations and have added a handful of new songs to build my marathon playlist. I’m still working through some of your posts but so many new additions already. I mentioned my intention is to not listen to music the entire time and at least the first 6 miles or so and the finish will be taking in the sights. But the iPod will stand at the ready when called. My favorite new additions:

  • Nick Jonas – “Jealous” (no judgement!!)
  • Imagine Dragons – “Radioactive”
  • Maroon 5 – “Animals”
  • And what I’m calling my marathon theme song, “Love Runs Out” by One Republic. I mean seriously these lyrics are PERFECT:
I got my mind made up, man, I can’t let go.
I’m killing every second ’til it saves my soul.
(Ooh) I’ll be running, (Ooh) I’ll be running,
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out.

 

What to wear: Asic GT-2170′s (new) √ Under Armour compression pants √ Ultimate Direction fuel belt √ throwaway shirt √ arm sleeves √ and I just may pick me up something pretty at the expo ;) .

Rest: My knee is feeling loads better after just dropping down to cycling and yoga, plus Jake and I had a nice active recovery / stabilization and stretching session yesterday which I followed up with an Epsom salt soak. Tonight is a massage appointment and then I’ll throw in another bike session before the week is out.

I took the day off on Friday (and Monday!!) so plan to hit up the expo either Thursday night or Friday morning followed by lunch with my DC trifecta crew Courtney and Cynthia! Yay, can’t wait!! Lastly, your contributions to my motivational mantras post are welcomed and so appreciated! Don’t forget you have through Sunday at midnight to enter my Words to Sweat By giveaway for 2 motivational wrap bracelets of your choice. RunwiththeMarines

It’s almost game time!! How’s your week going??

 

 

Week 15: Motivation (+ a Giveaway!)

Inside of a week to the Marine Corps Marathon and I’m pretty excited. I’m almost in disbelief I made it through 15 weeks. MCM one weekLast week I dealt with some knee issues so to avoid any setbacks or injury I focused on bike and yoga (well, and because Jake told me to!). I’m still going to take it easy this week and the stress of work has come and gone so ready to focus on what’s next. Quick recap of Week 15:

  • Monday: 30 minutes bike
  • Tuesday: Sports Massage – ooh, ow, yes
  • Wednesday: Personal Training w/Jake – upper body
  • Thursday: REST
  • Friday: Yoga Tone @ Mind Your Body Oasis
  • Saturday:  60 minutes bike
  • Sunday: Yoga Sculpt at Core Power (thank you Class Pass!)

It’s been a little hard to stay calm but I’ve worked hard these past few months and the marathon prize is just around the corner. As I move towards this milestone race I often carry my personal motivational mantras with me. Whether it’s just repeating over and over in my head or have it in hand somehow I believe they are truly helpful.

One of those mantras is “Just Keep Going” which I listed here the last Friday Five where we themed motivation. On a more personal level it’s simply “Faith”. I have a few pieces I wear with this one word and helps keep me grounded and focused in all matters of life.  Faith

Recently I discovered Words to Sweat By which offers motivational fitness jewelry and humorous fitness apparel.  When Dana, CEO and designer, reached out to me I was so excited to be introduced to them. Given where I was in the marathon training cycle the timing couldn’t have been better – feeling I needed all the motivation I could get. Disclaimer: I was provided with 2 wrap bracelets to try, any opinions of course are my own.

I ordered a custom wrap with the motivational mantra “Just Keep Going” and simply, “Faith”: WordstoSweatBy

I wore “Just Keep Going” on my PR distance run of 17 miles – which was a fairly happy day (relatively) And “Faith” is always with me. JustKeepGoing

motivational bracelet from Words to Sweat By.

motivational bracelet from Words to Sweat By.

So to help me celebrate RACE WEEK – I am teaming up with Words to Sweat By to bring you a giveaway. To win 2 wrap bracelets of your choice, enter simply by commenting below telling me what your motivational mantra is. Use Rafflecopter for additional entries: a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are plenty of motivational sayings/words to choose from including Run Happy, Pride is Forever, Soar and more.  You select your motivation and wrap color. Giveaway ends on race day, Sunday, October 26 at 11:59 pm. If you don’t have a mantra, just share some words of wisdom. I need all the encouragement I can get!

Friday Five: Favorite Tunes

8 days until 26.2. That’s kind of all that’s on my mind these days…. so let me let that sink in. MusicFF

Cynthia, Courtney and I chose Fitness Tunes for this weeks theme. Whether you’re at the gym or pounding the pavement tunes can help get you going. I know not everyone listens to music, particularly when they run but it isn’t all about the playlist. Sometimes it’s just the sound of a drop beat that motivates you to get going or keep going.

I’m working on a marathon playlist. My goal is to run a good portion of the marathon without music. Since this is my first and Marine Corps (hello?!) I want to experience the sights and sounds and just take it all in. That said here are 5 of my go to fitness jamz (yes, the ‘z’ was intentional!) when I’m looking for a little get up and GO! *click the links for the YouTube videos.

  1. Lose Control - Missy Elliott/Ciara–  “music makes me lose control, music makes me lose control / let’s go!” say no more, right?
  2. Not Myself Tonight – Christina Aguilera. X-tina (dumb nickname p.s. and by the way) is a bada$$ singer. Aside from her sometime brazen public persona her pipes are unbelievable. This song wasn’t too popular when it came out but it’s a punchy girl power tune that always gets me going.
  3. Wanna Be Startin’ Something  - Michael Jackson. No explanation needed.
  4. YEAH! - Usher. See #3 no explanation needed.
  5. This is How We Do – Katy Perry.  Ok, this is my guilty pleasure song (don’t tell me you don’t have one!) and fairly new. When I first heard it I was kinda like, ugh… what’s the point? But it’s grown on me. The beat is catchy and I’ve found my running during the song is very even and hits a good stride.

What are some of your favorite fitness tunes? What should I add to my marathon playlist??? 

Keep the Faith…

I had a completely different post lined up for today but haven’t been able to finish it. If this is what taper does to a person, consider me tapered. Seriously, I’m worn out over here. I don’t know if that has anything to do with taper (really, it doesn’t) but I’m trying to power through it.  YourHardestTimes

So I’m turning my attention to things I can actually manage instead of wringing my hands trying not to be stressed out. I mentioned before my knee was bugging me all through my 12 miler which was frustrating. I took to the bike during my lunch hour on Monday and followed that up with my first visit to an infrared sauna later that evening. I have access this month to the Yoga/Pilates studio - which includes the sauna – Mind Your Body Oasis in Arlington, VA. I’ll be reviewing my experience there at the conclusion so stay tuned :)

Following this, my knee felt a *little* better but still kind of stiff. After work Tuesday I got a deep massage from Alison at Mint DC downtown. I’ve said this before but she is amazing. After which she remarked that she could feel my stress. Ugh. That can’t be good. Let’s just say I promptly went home, drew an Epsom salt bath and had a mug of peppermint tea. recoverysalts

Now back to turning my attention to other things. After a super sweet email from my cheerleader and BRF Courtney, I visited the Marine Corps Marathon website to review some of the information for the race. I read through the description of the course details… and I got goosebumps and a tear in my eye. The history and the familiar streets that I will travel on like hundreds of thousands before me got me so excited for this race that I cannot let non race related stress get in the way.

I’m working on my playlist (I don’t intend to listen to music the entire time but a good bit of it) and today is package day! My shoes will be here (don’t worry, same pair/style I’ve been training in just less miles!) as well as a new pair of arm warmers (with thumb holes y’all) so my race day outfit is coming together.

Just 10 days separates me from my first marathon. Taper and stress be damned the countdown clock tells me so.

clearly this number is smaller as you're reading this!

clearly this number is smaller as you’re reading this!

What do you do to relieve stress? Anyone else tapering for a marathon right now? 

Week 14: Taper Town

STOP! Taper Time…. stop

After last weekend’s 20 miler I was still in pretty good shape physically. This week was more of a challenging one emotionally. A lot of activity personally and professionally that was simply put – draining. I entered into Taper Town satisfied with my training overall but definitely focused on the rest I need to be ready. Speaking of being ready…

SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!

SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!

I have a bib number (which obvi I’m not sharing!) but it is now so very real. I’m running a marathon folks :)

Weekly Recap

Monday – Sculpt 360 at ClassPass launch event (Yoga Sculpt at Sculpt DC) Read my recap here.

Tuesday – REST

Wednesday – 2 mile walk

Thursday – 3.5 mile run

Friday – REST

Saturday – Personal training w/Jake, upper body. I was really not feeling this workout. See challenging week ^^. I woke up late and was so tired and drained but Jake always gets me through. Thanks, man!

Sunday – 12 miles. Ugh. 12 laborious miles I might add. I thought tapering was supposed to be easy? This run, was not. I ended up running 11 and walking the last mile. My knee was not holding up well so I’m going to have watch that in the coming days. Sheesh. Looking forward to a new week.

How was your weekend? Congrats to all the Army Ten Miler and Chicago Marathon runners!

Friday Five: Fueling Your Fitness!

TGIF!!! Truer words have never been spoken. I for one am glad it’s Friday because I am SO tired. Is this what Taper Town gets you? FuelFitness

Anywho, it is that time for Friday Five with my gals, Cynthia / You Signed Up for What?! and Courtney / Eat Pray Run DC. We’re talking 5 ways to fuel our fitness be it running/racing or other fitness activities.

As I’ve been marathon training I’ve experimented here and there trying to figure out what works best for me. Even before that I was always a bit of a creature of habit. I’m not in to overpriced name brand “stuff” and am pretty basic about things. I tend not to stray too far from what I know and like:

First up is Coffee. Um, yeah…  I love coffee, I need coffee, there is no chance of me being anyway near a normal human being without coffee – run or no run. True Story. coffeecat

I often have to force feed myself breakfast so on long run or race day after I’ve had my coffee then it’s on to Pita Bread and Peanut Butter. If I’m out of pita, then either whole grain or whole wheat bread, depending on what’s on the shelf!

During the run or race water is a given for hydration but to replace electrolytes Ultima Replenisher has made its way in as a favorite. I received samples this spring as a ZOOMA ambassador and I’m in love with it. I will drink Gatorade as well but Ultima is lighter on the tummy and not as sugary. I found canisters in Whole Foods recently which makes me a happy gal! Ultima

My stomach cannot handle Gu at all. I had been using Honey Stinger Chews but the longer I’ve been running the more even those started to bother me. Enter Annie’s Fruit Snacks. Yes, they’re shaped like bunnies and yes I don’t care ;) They’re yummy and do the trick! Annies Fruit Snacks

After a long run the first thing I typically grab is a tall glass of chocolate milk. That satisfies me until I’m showered and ready for an actual meal, which can be awhile. Chocolate milk is known to aid in recovery, it’s also easy to make and inexpensive. I don’t need fancy protein shakes or smoothies when that’ll do. Easy peasy.

What do you like to fuel your workouts? Who else is happy it’s Friday?! :) 

The New Sweat in Town: ClassPass DC Launch!

Monday night I had the pleasure of attending the launch party for ClassPass which has just opened in DC. What is ClassPass you ask? ClassPass is a different kind of active lifestyle membership. For a monthly fee you get to attend unlimited classes in any participating fitness facility.  With locations already in Boston, LA, Chicago, NYC, and San Francisco – DC is the latest major city to join its offerings. ClaassPass Launch

Select bloggers and press were invited to the launch party which was held at Sculpt DC, a yoga and cycling studio, and member of the ClassPass DC network. As we entered we were greeted by members of the ClassPass team and had to sign up for one of three classes available: Sculpt 360, Cycling, or Boot Camp on the roof. Since I was fresh off the 20 miler, Boot Camp and Cycling weren’t exactly appealing to my aching legs so I decided to try my hand at a little Zen with some sculpting thrown in. And, oh boy…   Sculpt DC

Sculpt 360 is “a fast-paced, full body workout that combines the best of cardio, strength training and yoga” I have actually taken Yoga Sculpt before – heated – at Core Power Yoga so was familiar with the concept.  Our instructor Megan was one word: awesome. She was full of energy and really pushed us in this class with her consistent promises of “it’s only a 3 minute song!” as we had hip hop and pop tunes cranking out the back of the room. We went through Vinyasa (plank, chaturanga, upward facing dog) then pumped it up with sets of squats, cardio, and working every muscle group known to man with weights.   Sculpt360 DC

After an hour of class we were treated to some bubbly, yummy greens and fresh apples from SweetGreen, manicures, South Block Juice, music and a fun crowd. CP launch

I already knew Courtney was attending but we also ran into Jenny from Run Jenny Run, a fun surprise. Bloggers DC

As we departed we were treated to a swag bag full of fun surprises from UBER, Secret, Nuun, KIND Snacks, OPI, Rock These Socks and more! GoodyBags Class PassIn addition we were given a month access to ClassPass DC. I am so excited to try some new to me fitness studios in the area and will look to bring some fun fitness class reviews to the blog! I was doubly excited to see Core Power Yoga AND my own gym, Urban Athletic Club (formerly Roam Fitness) on the participating fitness center list. Yay!

Membership costs $99 a month and you can take unlimited classes in that cycle, though there is a 3 class limit at any one studio. You need to register and sign up for an account to view available classes. They can also fill up so you must register through your ClassPass account. I think this is such a fun and unique idea and gives you an opportunity to head out of your usual routine for a good all inclusive price without committing to one gym. Big thanks to Class Pass for bringing the sweaty life to DC!  If you’re interested you can view all the photos from the evenings event here: Class Pass Launch party, Jackie Garcia PhotographyCP

Have you heard of ClassPass? Do you living in a participating city? Would you try this new type of membership? 

MCM Training: Lucky Number 13

I am not going to beat around the bush with this post. Week 13 was HUGE! Not only because I am now inside of 3 weeks to the Marine Corps Marathon(!!!) but also because it was the peak week of training which meant – a 20 mile long run. And…. BOOM: 20mile

I met up with Courtney around 7 am.  We decided to run together since she had a 15 mile on the schedule and what better way to get through what would be my most mentally challenging run than with some company?  BRF’s kinda rock ;)

We started at Rock Creek Park near Peirce Mill. The temps said 65 but the humidity was all kinds of awful (goodness gracious DC!) But the landscape and the company were dy-no-mite! We did a 5 mile out and back to the start and then I did a quick change into a tank from the short sleeve shirt I was wearing (humidity fail).  We continued through Rock Creek for the duration turning around at Mile 10 to conclude the 15. At that point Courtney and I said our goodbyes, I refueled and stretched and continued on my way.

Not going to lie, I was tired and there were a few walk breaks in those last 5 miles. My knees started to ache a bit so I stopped at a picnic spot and stretched out. Then at Mile 18 I received a “happy long run day” text from my BFF in Chicago and started to smile. This was followed up with “you can do it!!!” so I did.  Week13

I was not worried about speed or time on this PR distance. I just wanted to finish and feel good about it. Even so, I was pretty happy with myself after this run. And surprise, I survived!

Weekly Recap:

I started the week in a bit of an energy deficit having worked out /run several days in a row. I felt sick mid week but it didn’t last (thankfully!) My M.O. these days has been “work eat run sleep repeat” so I tried to get as much rest as possible in this peak week of training:

  • Monday: personal training w/Jake – leg day!
  • Tuesday: 5.5 mile run
  • Wednesday: personal training w/Jake – upper body
  • Thursday: REST
  • Friday: REST
  • Saturday: 20 freaking miles!!
  • Sunday: 2.4 mile active recovery run/walk to complete the Running with Ollie Scavenger Hunt run (did you enter/participate?)

OllieRunThere you have it folks, Week Lucky Number 13. Marines – I’m coming for you :) Now bring on the taper!

Who ran long or raced this weekend? Who is enjoying beautiful fall weather?!

 

Friday Five: Fitness Inspirations

TGIF Friday Fivers! Long busy week for me and even longer weekend ahead with a 20 miler on tap. Crossing my fingers ;) This week Cynthia, Courtney and I went with a theme of “Fitness Inspirations”. Tell us who or what inspires you :)  FridayFive

1. My family. I recently had a conversation with my mother about my running habit. She couldn’t figure out where it came from because there are no runners in my family! Lol. I have seen too many serious health ailments though with my loved ones, some preventable and some not. While I can’t control all the things that happen in life, I can control my health and fitness effort. As someone who has gone through their own share of health woes I want to be strong for my family and friends to fully experience life!

2. My Lucky Brand jeans. Don’t laugh. You know how hard it is for short people to find jeans? This is the only brand that really fits me and I have a favorite pair about 3 years old, dark rinse and they absolutely motivate me to stay fit so I can you know, continue to fit into them. ;)

3. My accomplishments. This is my race medal collection in all it’s glory. It’s situated on a wall in my living room, pretty prominent as you walk through. Each medal holds a special significance to me and my own fitness journey which just further inspires me to stay on this path. medals

4. This quote. easy

5. All of YOU!  My DC Trifecta tribe of Courtney and Cynthia for starters. Both accomplished women and amazing athletes! But also having so many of you return day to day and read and comment on the blog is inspiring. And for those of you with blogs of your own being able to visit and share in your own journeys has been truly inspiring!!

What is YOUR biggest fitness inspiration?