Friday Five: Halloween Themed Races!

Last week Cynthia, Courtney and I met up for a long overdue DC Trifecta get together. We noshed on AH-mazing burgers from Thunder Burger and Bar in Georgetown (I keep looking for excuses to get us back there again) and did a little plotting which we dubbed a “business lunch”. (In addition to selfie shenanigans)selfieshenans

If you haven’t checked out the Friday Five Linkup page you might wanna head over there now (well, after you’re done reading this post!) as we set themes for the next few Friday’s through November (and beyond which we’ll release later). We know you guys like to get themes as early as possible – though it wasn’t always possible. I’ll munch on ginormous gourmet cheeseburgers (with bacon!!) every day all day just to make your Friday Five lives better. You’re welcome ;)

This week the subject is HALLOWEEN because today is actually Halloween (to which I’m dressing up as Queen Obvious… I digress.)FF Halloween

I admit, I don’t get into this holiday as much as others and certainly not since I stopped trick or treating as a kid but have listed 5 Halloween/costume themed races to compensate for any leftover candy:

1. Wicked 10K. From the same team (J&A Racing) that brings you Shamrock and Crawlin’ Crab this VA Beach themed run has been on my “to do” list for a while, timing just hasn’t worked out for me. Next year I swear.

2. Monster Mash Half. This is in Delaware and I was thisclose to registering for it last year but opted for Crawlin’ Crab instead. Located at the Dover International Speedway it just looks like FUN! There is also a full marathon option.

3. Super Hero Half. Ok, so this one is in May. I signed up a couple of years ago when they were trying to set a world record for most super hero capes in a race but had to cancel last minute due to illness. BOO! My friends went anyway so sad for me but it’s still in my cross hairs.

4. Hershey Half. AHH! I wanted to do this race this year but, well, marathon happened. While the race itself isn’t Halloween themed all finishers get tickets to “Hershey Park in the Dark” their premier Halloween experience. Chocolate and Halloween, what could be better?

5. Healdsburg Wine Country Half. Ok, all you had to say was wine and California and you had me. If you want to combine your love of vino with Halloween, check out this late October destination race. While  I do not have my 2015 calendar even close to mapped out – this just shot up on the list.

Happy Friday folks! Anyone running or racing this weekend? In costume? Better yet – who’s going trick or treating?! :) 

39th Marine Corps Marathon Recap

Gosh – where do I even begin here? Before I get to the heart of the recap let me give you a bit of a preamble. A few weeks ago I tweaked my already sore from training knee during my 12 miler and even with yoga, bike and rest I was not convinced it would make it through 26.2. It made me extremely nervous. I found the gift that is KT tape and along with a brace patched it up for Sunday with fingers crossed. MCMstartIn addition to the knee, I was stressed but doing my best not to be. Work had been crazy and on Thursday evening received a call from my mother who because of a sudden medical issue needed to cancel she and my dad’s trip to DC. I was sad of course but understood and just prayed she’d be ok. I told my BFF in Chicago about this change in plans and fast forward to Saturday morning when I received a text that she was booked on a flight that afternoon and would be there to cheer me on at the race: cue the tears.

When we met up Sunday I was BEYOND excited to see her! She alleviated my need for bag check, we took a quick photo and then I shed my throwaway jacket. With my keys in the pocket I might add. HA! Luckily I remembered I put them there (after I lined up of course) so she ran back to dig through the pile of donated items. My BFF is awesome you guys but thank goodness the jacket was hot pink!

The start was amazing and I did get a bit emotional but even with a bit of pre-race butterflies I was ready to do this. MCM startSemperFiWithout going into the details of every single mile, here are the high and low lights of my first marathon:  Miles 1-4 began in Rosslyn (ie. hilly) over the Key Bridge and through Georgetown. I was getting my pace down, shed the arm sleeves and was feeling pretty good. I will say Georgetown is such a hot spot for tourists it was almost eerie to see the streets so quiet except the sounds of cheering spectators. But along the way, what a view: GeorgetownU The familiarity of Rock Creek Park was the backdrop for Miles 5-9 and I was still feeling pretty good. Around Mile 9 though I pulled to the side to remove a rock and adjust my shoe. Had I not done that, I would not have witnessed a gentleman passing out directly behind me. I turned to see if he was ok and he said yes. Then he tried to get up only to fall down again so I and others stopped to help. He was able to make his way to the side rail on his own but we motioned for assistance. I did not care this took some time from me. It was a scary sight and I hope he is now ok!!

Trying to get my bearings after that took a bit but I continued on towards the Lincoln Memorial and onto Hains Point (ugh!!) I actually hadn’t been listening to music this entire time (I know, what?!) but decided this long boring stretch was where that was happening. But not before first passing the touching tribute to fallen soldiers. My half marathon time was 2:30 and my phone was buzzing with text messages (thanks, guys!) but I also did some math in my head all the while thinking “I can’t believe I am running a marathon right now”.

I’ll be honest, I don’t remember much else from Miles 13-17 except an attempted love connection as a male runner was trying to pick up a female runner. She rebuffed his advances but I told him it was awesome and gave him a thumbs up! We were passing all the DC hot spots at this stage and Jenna surprised me again around 17 which was so helpful. Rounding by the Capitol and Mile 18 I started to tire. I realized at this point my quads were doing all the heavy lifting, overcompensating for my lack of confidence in my knee. Jenna reappeared again before hitting the bridge (have I mentioned my BFF is a rockstar y’all?!) and I stopped to stretch knowing my seeing Courtney wasn’t too far off.

The good news is I beat the bridge and saw Courtney at Mile 20!! She had planned to run a few miles with me but they wouldn’t let her (or anyone) on the course from that point on. Even so seeing her gave me a little pep and I kept on. By Mile 22 though my legs were still feeling pretty heavy. But the spectators in Crystal City were great and we were given Munchkins at Mile 24 (HOLLA!)munchkinMunchkins aside my legs were spent and walk/ran those last 2 miles. I saw the 26 mile marker and my eyes welled up with tears. Even though my Garmin had just died I made the final push up the HILL to the finish at a clip of 5:31:16. I was adorned with my medal and a “Congratulations Ma’am” from a Marine. Then reality set in – I just finished a freaking marathon!! IwoJimaEven with my legs on fire I was pretty happy that my knees didn’t give in (silver lining, right?) I stood in line for my official finisher photo just as Courtney called and the tears formed at my eyes again. I never actually cried (shocking) but was definitely full of emotion (still waiting for my official photo downloads). MCMemotionFor a first marathon 7 months after getting out of a foot brace I really had no time expectations. I kind of wanted sub 5 hour but after this knee thing and the fact it was a little warmer than expected I just wanted a FINISH. I had kept pace with the 5 hour pacers and was ahead of them for much of the course until the last 10K. As much as I would have liked a slightly better result, I can’t bring myself to be even a little disappointed.

There are certainly lessons to be learned and reflections to be made from this moment but that’s a later post. Overall I am super proud, feeling accomplished and wouldn’t change the experience for anything. This race was special in so many ways and I’ll never, ever, ever forget it. The Marines along with having Courtney and my BFF there was priceless…39MCM

Mar_JennaMar_CourtWill I run another? Only time will tell but until (or if) that moment comes I will bask in the glow of the 39th Marine Corps Marathon with pride and stare at this guy until my tears dry:  medaland I’m dedicating this race to my mom…

Week 16: Mission Accomplished!

So many emotions and thoughts going through me right now following the 39th Marine Corps Marathon. It may take several days for me to put them all together so bear with me and let me leave you with this…

I AM A MARATHONER!!

Thank you ALL for your kind words, messages, thoughts and comments. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say a special thank you to Courtney for the support both on and off the course and my BFF Jenna for making a special trip from Chicago to join me in this milestone occasion. Not enough words to express my gratitude. And an even bigger thank you to the Marines, volunteers and organizers. Amazing, amazing day. OORAH!  MissionAccomplishedMCM

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?! :)