My Favorite race of 2012, the Annapolis Half Marathon.

Because today is the first day of 2013, I find it quite necessary to recap my favorite race of 2012, The Annapolis Half Marathon.  On this day, a month ago, I ran my fastest half marathon. I have been meaning to write this post for a couple weeks now, but I have decided to save it for the first of the New Year, which is the perfect day to look back on some of the highlights of 2012.

The Annapolis Half Marathon was not the first race I have ever run in Maryland, but it was by far the best! I’m going to start out by telling you a little bit about my past races I have run in Maryland. Because I have a bit of history when it comes to running races in that state.

In June of 2008, I ran my first half marathon, the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon. I remember thinking – I needed to slow down because it was hot and hilly. At the end, I had enough energy to sprint to the finish line, finishing in 2:09:38.37742_772558339986_8135770_n

In 2009, in part of my marathon training I ran a 21 mile training run in Baltimore and then a week later ran the Baltimore Half Marathon. I remember thinking – this is not a race, this is a training run in preparation for The Marine Corps Marathon. Although, cooler, it was still very hilly. The best part of this race was running the last mile downhill to the finish line. I finished this race in 2:03:36.

In August of 2012, I ran the Annapolis 10 miler. It was576866_10100747687225856_912276774_n-3 rolling hills the whole way, and Hurricane Isaac swept through brining us strong winds and torrential downpours. It was one of the worst 10 milers I have ever run, finishing in 1:33:23.

So when my sister said the only free weekend she had available to run a half marathon was the weekend of December 1st, and the only local race was The Annapolis Half, I had mixed feelings about registering.

PROS and CONS

I was a little disappointed because we had already run a race in Annapolis this year, only a month before. Would this be boring? Would we have bad weather again, maybe not another hurricane, but a blizzard could be a possibility. These were some of the thoughts that were running through out my mind. But because the Annapolis 10 miler had been one of the more challenging races I have run, I decided that this would be my second chance to try to conquer the rolling hills of Annapolis, Maryland. I also thought it would be interesting to run a half marathon in the winter – the cold winter weather might be an advantage for me. Plus I would have the opportunity to train for a race in the fall time, which is my favorite season to run in. These ideas made me pumped to register for this race, train, and then run the dang thing.

TRAINING

If you have been following my blog, you most¬†definitely have read all of my training run posts, so I will only touch briefly on my training ¬†for my new readers. I have been running in the Newton shoe since April/May. This shoe is a natural running shoe. It is super light weight and has a 2mm-3mm heel to toe drop. I run in both the Distance U and the Gravity. With this transition, I have worked very hard on my running form. I finally feel very comfortable, with a short quick bouncy running stride, striking my forefoot/midfoot instead of my heels. This race was the ultimate test, to see if all this hard work has paid off… and let me tell ya… it totally did.

RACE 

One of the fabulous pros about this race was that the race was scheduled for a Saturday. This may not matter for people, but it does for me because my days off form work is Friday and Saturday.

So on Friday, I made a pasta dinner for my sister and I. She came over right after she got off work. We ate and then hit the road. Another fun thing about this race was that I rented a Fiat for the drive up! I love that car!29358_10100867389666206_1964257829_n

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When we arrived to the hotel, we prepared for the race by laying out our race outfit and set our alarm for 4:45 am. My race night ritual is laying out my race clothes and everything I need for race day.

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We woke up from the sound of the alarm, not thunder like the previous race we ran in Annapolis (Annapolis 10 miler). This race started at 7:00 am and they advised us to get to the Naval Academy parking lot no later than 6:00 am, because of road closures.

When we arrived, we stayed warm in the car until 6:15 and then we headed over to the start. I found L in the line for the bathroom. Thank goodness. At the Annapolis 10 miler there were no corrals so we ended up missing each other at the start. But we found each other this time, and although it was 40 degrees out we stripped down and ditched our long sleeves. I always want to keep my long sleeves on but I always later get too hot and regret it. I was cold for the first mile but eventually I warmed up and felt perfect.

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At 7:00 am the gun went off and The Annapolis Half Marathon officially began. It was super foggy. I was barely able to see what was ahead. For the first few minutes it was a tad squishy, but I stayed to the outside and found space. For the first 3 miles or so I was flying, running 7:30 minute miles. Then I continued doing an 8 minute mile. I refueled at the mile six mile water station. I was feeling so good and couldn’t believe that I was already half way through. Mile six already… I thought.

The course was rolling hills, and some of those hills were really steep, while others were gradual but never ending. However, because of the fog you couldn’t really see what was ahead, but I knew the hills were there. I felt pretty prepared though, because I had included tons of hill work during my training. But while I was running I realized I don’t hate hills. I am actually really good at hills. Mentally, I started to break the race up by hills. I ran with control going up hill, then I used momentum to pick up speed without wasting energy while going down hill. We got to run over the really big bridge, which was one of the foggiest and prettiest parts of the race.

I continued to keep my pace in check. I looked down and saw 9 minute mile so I picked up the pace again and made sure I was running no slower than 8:45 and no faster than 7:50. When I hit the 10 mile marker I was shocked. I looked down at my watch and saw a 10 miler PR 1:23:00. Could this be true? I felt good, strong, fast. I was excited because I knew I was going to PR! My goal in this race was to finally break 2:00:00, there was no doubt in my mind… I was doing that.

Around mile 12 I felt like I was slowing down a bit so I pulled out my trick. When I feel like I am slowing down I always imagine myself running over hot coals. I kept telling myself, “hot coals, hot coals.” This kept me light on my feet, bouncy and quick. I ended up having enough energy to sprint to the finish line. I got there with a big smile on my face with an official time of 1:51:21.

 

running annapolis

run pics AnnapolisI wanted to post these running pics because I think it is important to evaluate my running form. Trust me no one looks sexy, in their race photos, so keep in mind these aren’t the most beautiful photos of me, however, my running form is right on. And after all that hard work transitioning my stride into a natural runner, I not only ran my fastest half marathon, but I am very proud that I accomplished good running form.

Good Running Form

  • Short strides, trying to land under your center body mass (do not over stride)
  • forefoot/mid-foot striking (do not heel strike)
  • cadence of 180 or higher – tip: imagine your running over hot coals
  • light, quick, bouncy
  • leaning slightly forward, (lean from your ankles, not your waist or hips)
  • head and chin up, always look forward. (do not look down)
  • engage core strength
  • keep shoulders relaxed and arms at a 90 degree angle

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There I am after the race, see what I mean about the fog. The end of the race party was really fun. They had beer, pulled pork bbq, a raw oyster bar. They also gave us a medal, a really high tech long sleeve running shirt, and a hat. Lets just say, “they hooked us up with some awesome swag.”

32322_10100867993780556_2072329249_n-1We spent the rest of the day shopping around along the waterfront of Annapolis.

29566_10100868125017556_206629310_nWe also went to lunch. Of corse I had a crab cake sandwich. Maryland bay crabs are the best, but crab season was over so I went for the crab cake. It was tasty, but the bloody mary was the best part.

16195_10100868127258066_144749273_nNext time you have a bloody mary try it with Absolute Pepper Vodka!

So that was my favorite race of 2012. As of now, for 2013, I am registered for three races in April. I am super excited for all of them but mostly the Nike Women Half Marathon scheduled for April 28th.

Happy New Year and Happy Running!

Questions for you…

  1. What was your favorite race of 2012?
  2. Do you like hilly races?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

 

 

 

I crushed it!

This weekend was absolutely fabulous!¬†I ran the Annapolis Half Marathon. And although, I am beyond excited to share how the Annapolis 13.1 rocked my world, I cant – not yet, not until I can get the professional race photos to post. So until then, I’ll just tell you this – I crushed it!

And this is what they gave us at the end of the race...

And this is what they gave us at the end of the race…

One of my close friends commented on this photo on fb. He said, “Good Swag.” Yes I agree.

~ race photos should be posted on 12/4… so look forward to reading an exciting race post from me.

© 2012 Sweatdaily

Running the A-10. A race in the rain!

I have been waiting to write this blog post because it just wouldn’t be as good with out photos. So here it goes…

Races around here fill up so fast. Marine Corps Marathon has a total of 30,000 entries and filled up this year in 2 hours and 45 minutes. Army 10 Miler has a total of 50,000 runners and filled up over night. The Color Run 5K filled up in 2 days. The Cherry Blossom 10 miler is now a lottery entry, just like the NYC Marathon, because it is that popular.

If you really want to run a popular race in the DC area, your best bet is to stay awake until midnight and register the minute the race opens. There is still that frantic feeling that your computer will freeze and the race will sell out. This was the feeling Lina (my running buddy) was having.

It all began in June, while I was on my vacation in Idaho. I received a phone call from my sister saying that Lina had contacted her through Facebook. She told me that Lina was trying to get a hold of me. We had just run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and The Parkway Classic in April, but Lina was ready to sign up for her next race, and honestly I was too. She was debating between the Spartan Run or the Annapolis 10 Miler. Both of these races fill up fast so she wanted to sign up ASAP. So immediately the three of us got registered, for the A-10.

All summer, Lina and I ran.  However, this was the first summer in three years that I was NOT intensely training for a Marathon. So although I did run, I will admit,  it was a different type of running. It was shorter runs. It was faster runs. It was running experiments in my Newton shoes. It was runs focused on form.

Well after three months of this type of training it was finally the weekend of the Annapolis 10 miler. On Saturday, August 25th, around 1 pm, my sister and I left DC and headed to Annapolis. Unfortunately, the predicted forecast of Sunshine changed. And although, Hurricane Isaac, was swarming around the Florida Keys, winds and tropical storms were all over the Annapolis Harbor.

The expo was really small, but I accepted that because the race was organized by a local running group. It was also outside under a tent and it started to drizzle so people were getting their bibs and heading on out. My sister and I had to rush on through because we had reservations to go sailing.

Me at the Expo getting my Bib for the A-10. I got a cool hat too!

When my sister and I got down to the Harbor to catch our boat, we both were a little annoyed about the weather. Questions like, Should we go? Should we get our money back? It sucks that it is not sunny. It is horrible weather? But we sucked it up and got on the boat. And I am glad we did.

Sailing in Annapolis.

Me Sailing!

So let me tell you about this boat ride! ¬†It felt like we were on an amusement park ride. I felt like I was going to go over board several times. The sail boat tipped to one side and then the sailors would change the sail and it would aggressively tip to the other side. The sailors were loving it. They would yell, “Wohoo! This is the best wind we’ve had in months.” This was definitely not a peaceful boat ride, but it was fun, and actually the best boat ride I have ever been on.

We got off the boat looking like we had just came from Gilligan’s Island. We tried to clean up the best we could in the Marriot Hotel’s bathroom. And then we headed to an Italian restaurant for dinner. The food was amazing. We both ate¬†vegetarian dishes and they were delicious.

After dinner we walked around the harbor and checked out some of the boutiques. I of corse hit up one of the local tea shops, called The Spice and Tea Exchange.

Finally we arrived at the hotel. We prepared our running stuff for the morning and set our alarms for 5:30 am.

My running stuff! Newton shoes and Lululemon!

RACE MORNING

I woke up the morning of the race not to my alarm but rather thunder.

Thunder in the morning!

OMG, I thought the race would be canceled for sure. But we got ready and headed to the start. We were lucky because we had saved our ponchos from sail boat ride we took the day before, and we had umbrellas.

At 7:45 right on time, the race started and we began to run. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have corrals, because I had seen Lina in the parking lot and told her to meet me at the 8-9 min corral. So we didn’t start together, but I did see her later in the race.

At the start we thought, maybe the rain would stop, but boy were we wrong. It just came down harder and harder. This rain was the type of rain that when you are driving your windshield wipers can’t keep up and you have to pull over to the side because you can’t see.

My sister and I running in the rain!

 

MY iPOD

At mile 2 my iPod’s volume got really low and then it just shut down because it was that wet. My sister and I actually pulled over to the side of the race because she thought her iPod was dying too. I ended up moving my iPod to the outside of my shirt, in hope that the crazy hurricane like winds would dry it off. This actually worked and at mile 7 my iPod randomly started playing again.

MY GARMIN

All week I had been training without my garmin because it had a full memory and I needed a new USB plug. I purchased a new one on Amazon and received it that week. Well I went through all that trouble for nothing. When I started running, I looked at my garmin and noticed the numbers were all fucked up. It turns out that I am an idiot and didn’t realize until mile nine that my watch was programed for km and not miles. So I basically was clueless the whole race about my pace and milage.

NEWTON SHOES

As you may know from previous posts, I was using this race as the ultimate test for my Newton shoes, and I was expecting to run it super fast, however I did not PR.  I do want to say this though, my Newton shoes felt awesome, and in the end, I love them, and will continue training and racing in them. I was also very surprised to see so many others wearing Newton shoes.

No Regrets!

So although, this race was not a¬†PR for me, WOW what a race! ¬†Thunder, lightning, torrential downpour, hurricane like winds, iPod dying from being wet, and garmin programmed for km, not miles. I ran across the finish line soaked and muddy in 1:33:23.¬†I have come to the conclusion that you just might not PR in every race and I am totally fine with that. And like the above photo says, “I really regret that run. -Said no one. Ever.” I have no regrets.

Me with my game face on!

Let me hear your stories…¬†Questions for You…

  • Have you run through bad weather?
  • Have you had a race when all your electronics died on you?

© 2012