Before & After: DIY- Transform a Vintage Dresser

The DC area is extremely expensive, and it is known to have some of the worst traffic in the nation. So when house hunting, you need to set your priorities. Some desire a bigger place so they sacrifice location. While others sacrifice size, to be conveniently closer to the city, avoiding hours of traffic. The choice is yours.

Our priority were definitely location, but we also wanted to make a smart investment. It was going to be tricky to find something in the location we wanted for the price we wanted to pay.

So the hunt was on for the perfect place. Location was ideal, I wanted to be so close to the city that I could enjoy a morning run around the monuments. After two years of looking, and putting several offers on different properties, finally we closed on the perfect place.

My husband and I have been proud homeowners for 2 years now.

One of my favorite things about living in this area is that Washington, DC and Northern Virginia is full of history. The neighborhood we live in is a historical neighborhood, and our house is a 1950’s duplex. Our place is ideal because of it’s location and historical charm. However, what comes along with urban living and old places is… tiny living spaces.

When we moved into our new place, we started completely fresh, leaving most of our old furniture on the curb. It was fun having a completely blank canvas to work with, and to buy pieces together, that expressed us as a couple. There was nothing from our past, everything was new.

However, our place is small, and this has been our biggest challenge.  When it comes to interior design, nothing quite fits.

Old places has limited closet space…

And this is a major problem for me.

I am a runner with way to many RunOOTD (Run Outfit Of the Day) and I am a hair dresser who has to be trendy and fashion forward at work. So as you can see, I do a lot of laundry and I have a lot of different kinds of clothes. These clothes need to be put away. My husband built me a beautiful walk in closet, but it still wasn’t enough. I needed a dresser.

The hunt was on yet again, but instead of house hunting it became dresser hunting. I started looking at the basic stores, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, Pottery Barn. But nothing fit,everything was at least 20 inches deep, when I could only¬†accommodate something a big as 17 inches deep. I then moved my search to ¬†George Town and Old Town desperately looking at each furniture store… still no luck.

I didn’t want an old antique, and I definitely didn’t want a DIY project. But I wasn’t able to find anything to fit my space, and older pieces of furniture are a lot smaller.

Turns out the perfect dresser was right under my nose, living temporarily at the boutique right down the street from where I work and live.  Turns out the perfect dresser was a piece from the early 1900s, that was crying for a make over.

In honor of Transformation Tuesday, I will share with you my new dresser… Old is on the left and new and improved is on the right.

dresser before and after

This project was not hard at all.

SANDING

  • Because the piece was real wood, we sanded down any rough edges.

PAINTING 

  • It¬†makes a huge difference. It makes an old piece look clean and as good as new.¬†So we painted the dresser with a fresh coat of white paint.

REFRESHING MEDAL DETAILS

  • We also refreshed the medal key holes with gold spray paint.

CHANGING HARDWARE

  • All of the above was great, but what really updated this piece was changing the hardware. I went to Anthropology and fell in love with the hardware they had to offer. After much debate, my husband and I decided on replacing the original handles on the dresser, with the ones from Anthro, made from amethyst stone with gold detailing. This hardware really eliminated the old antique feel that the piece once had and made it totally updated and current!dresser2

Do you like DIY projects? What do you think of my dresser transformation? 

If you are interested in seeing my fitness transformation click here.

 

 

DC VegFest

Today was a fun and fulfilling Saturday.

The sun was shining and there wasn’t a drop of humidity in the air. It was the perfect day for a quick five mile loop around the monuments. 10653611_10102009897351646_5078060190360476724_nI wore my new running shoes, Newton Gravity. I also wore my new running watch, Garmin 620. It was my absolute first time wearing the watch and I loved it. ¬†However,¬†I will be writing a detailed review on the Garmin 620 later this week so stay tuned.

10702231_10102009114106276_1414548754899070551_nThen it was off to DC VegFest

The DC VegFest was located in South East DC at the Yards Park right along the river. Growing up in the DC area, South East was a part of the city you always tried to avoid, it was poor and dangerous. But now, it tells a different story. The famous Eastern Market is located in South East, and eastern market is one of my favorite markets in the area. There are also some really cool bars and restaurants on the neighboring streets.

But today, the VegFest took me to another area in South East. I would have never thought to go down to the waterfront. Wow! Things are changing everyday. Check out how cool the South East waterfront is…

dc water

DC waterfront

DC water rest

After walking around the waterfront my friend and I headed over to DC VegFest. 10625143_10102009396749856_5438624594030666857_n

DC VegFest

DC Veg Fest

At the DC VegFest, there were some fabulous vendors, delicious plant based food, free samples, and amazing guest speakers.

SPEAKERS

I didn’t get to see all of the¬†speakers, but I saw a couple. They discussed the health benefits of living a vegan lifestyle. They also touched on politics, and environmental reasons for becoming vegan. They touched on animal cruelty, and some told their personal stories of why they went veg. The last speaker of the event was actually on the October cover of Runner’s World, wearing vegan compression socks.

VENDORS

Veg Fest soapsThere were some awesome vendors at the festival, but this soap vendor was by far my favorite. I have been using this sugar based shower gel from Blue Mercury which has been irritating my skin. Sugar is bad for you in every way.¬†¬†So when I saw this vendor, I thought perfect just what I needed. Buying soap here, saved me a trip to Sephora or Blue Mercury. All of the soap is free of animal products and both of the bars of soap I purchased have coconut oil in them. Coconut oil is my new obsession… (I will be writing a detailed post on the health benefits later this week so stay tuned.) The only negative thing I saw is that some of the soaps contain palm oil. Palm oil is in everything, and although it is not an animal product, it is not very vegan. Palm Tree farms in South East Asia, are taking away food and habitats from Elephant, Tigers, and many other animals. Anyway, I went home with two soaps a coconut one and and oatmeal one. The coconut soap is free of palm oil, but the oatmeal one may have some small amounts. Unfortunately, palm oil is hard to avoid.

FOODVeg Fest lunch

Going Veg is all about eating your veggies. If you go to DC VegFest next year, make sure you come with an appetite. There were tons of amazing food vendors and food trucks. A lot of the vendors only took cash, so make sure you bring cash. However, there are ATMs for those who forget. The food ranged from pizza to Indian, Ethiopian to mexican. There were sweets, and southern cooking, even greek.

Overall, I enjoyed DC VegFest!

I highly recommend VegFest for anyone who is already living a plant based lifestyle, and for those who are just interested to see what it is all about. At DC VegFest I learned a little more about animal cruelty, politics, and the environment. I also got the chance to eat some awesome plant based food, while learning how I can help create a better food system for the USA. And in my eyes, at the end of the day that is the most important thing. You are what you eat.

‚ÄúThat‚Äôs when I heard part of the secret. What we eat is a matter of life and death. Food is who we are.‚ÄĚ ¬†~ Scott Jurek

Stay tuned for some upcoming posts…

  1. Review on Garmin 620
  2. Coconut oil health benefits.

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Anniversary: 7 years of running, 2 years of blogging

Yesterday, was a very special day! It was not only my 2 year blog anniversary, but it was also my 7 year run anniversary.

Yesterday, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler for the 7th time. It was my very first race ever, and I have run it every year since. It is fun, flat, pretty. The 10 mile course loops around the DC monuments, taking you over memorial bridge and putting you under a canopy of Cherry Blossoms.

This race is one of the most popular races in the DC area. I like it because it screams spring, which means off season is finally over and race season has officially begun.

I use this race to test my fitness level, and see if my off season training paid off. Off season training consists of lifting weights and running shorter faster runs.

EXPO
Like always I headed over to the expo. Normally, I go on the Friday before the race in order to beat the crowds, and to be one of the first people to get my hands on new merchandise. However, my Friday was packed busy, so I had to settle for heading to the Expo on Saturday.

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I will admit I was a little disappointed in the expo this year. Maybe it was because I went the second day. But everything was picked through and some of my favorite vendors, such as Newton Running and Pacers were NOT there. Damn I really wanted a “lug it out” shirt or a Newton running hat.

Plus there were no free samples in our swag bag. There was no paper info on the race. Maybe they were trying to go green and didn’t want to waste paper.

Anyway, I did run into Vibrant Health company. I recognized the same guy from last year. I really wanted to buy some of the products last year but passed up on it. This year he was sold out of the product I wanted and only had one protein powder left- so I grabbed it! I’m excited about the protein, and ordered the Green Vibrance, the product I wanted. I’ll write a review on them once I try them.

NIGHT BEFORE RACE RITUAL

Like always I preform my night before race ritual. This ritual consists of choosing my race outfit, pinning on my bib, laying out my race outfit, updating my playlist, charging my iPod, getting fuel ready. Taking a picture of everything!

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THE RACE

The morning of the race I headed over to the start by metro, and followed the crowd. If you are new to this race or running solo, don’t worry, there are 15,000 other runners running this race so it’s impossible to get lost.

At the start I stripped down to my shorts, checked my bag, and ran over to my corral. This year they were really strict about staying in your assigned corral. In the past, they have had people complain about the race being crowded because slower people will sneak up to run next to a faster friend. This causes a lot of faster runners weaving around slower runners. This year they had volunteers holding up a color sheet dividing each corral. I was in the blue corral near the 8:30 min pacer. I wished I could have been in the red corral with the 8:00 min pacer. But I squeezed to the front of my corral getting as close as I could. Turns out I was in the very front. They let the red corral go and made the blue corral wait 5 minutes.

This was different and something I never thought I would be a part of. I literally felt like I was an elite runner at the start of the olympics. It was an amazing feeling to be at the front of the start line like that. I had my watch ready. A photographer took our photo and when the gun went off, we were off.

I started off with an 8 minute pace, but towards the end of my race I was running an 8:31 pace. I ended up making it to the finish line in 1:25:19. This wasn’t a new PR, but it was very close.

It was an absolutely beautiful day to run. I couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions. An although, I did not PR I felt great like I could have run on forever. It is also crazy of how far I have come. In 2008, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler was my very first race. I finished it in 1:38:09, running it at a 9:53 pace. Now, I am running an 8:00-8:30 min/mile.

I can’t wait until next weekend, when I yet again run another 10 miler, this one being the Parkway Classic. I can’t wait yet again to see what my mind and body can do.

My advice to you: Push hard people, don’t get discouraged. With the right mind set, your body can go further and faster than you ever imagined.

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As for my blog anniversary. I can’t believe my little blog is 2 years old. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it!

In celebration I would like to thank you!

Cheers!
Happy Running

And let the long runs begin…

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I just finished the book, The Cool Impossible. Wow, I learned a ton from this book. It is definitely on the top of my list of favorite running books, right up there with Eat and Run, and Born to Run. You should read it.

There is really great stuff in this book. The first half of the book focuses on preparing you to run physically. The last half of the book focuses on preparing you to run mentally. The advice and knowledge I obtained from the last half of the book is also something I can use in other parts of my life. Some things you learn about running and from running, you can take beyond the trail.

The above photo is a great example. Don’t let the day run you… One thing I am going to work on is better preparation for my runs and for my day.

By reading this book, I have learned that before I run a race or long training run, I do things that mentally prepare myself for the distance. These things, mantras, visualizing, and rituals are things I do and didn’t realize I was doing them. Now looking back, I am more aware of these helpful tricks for the mind. Because these have helped me find success, it may be helpful to use them in other parts of my life, including other sports.

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I am a very positive person. However, the above photo reminds me so much of the book, The Cool Impossible. What I like most, is that the author Eric Orton, says negative thoughts are not a bad thing. Negative thoughts are a normal thing. However, become aware of your negative thoughts, identify them, and realize they are just thoughts, NOT truths.

Update on my Running

I ran the day, the day did not run me. This weekend my long runs began. I love running my first long run of the season.

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All winter, I have been lifting weights and running shorter faster runs. It felt good to get out there and run far. I ran a 10 miler, to help my sister prepare for her half marathon coming up in April. As for me, I have two 10 mile races coming up the first two weekends in April.

On this 10 mile training run, I wore my new Newton Gravity. It has 5 lugs instead of 4, which makes it feel like the toe box is wider.

My sister and I ran MVT over the 14th Street bridge and then to Hains Point.

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Have your long runs started yet? What are some mental tricks you use that helps you find success during running?

Yoga: The Art of Transformation- an Art project at the Freer Sackler

MY YOGA STORY 

Five years ago, I went to my first Bikram yoga class. There were only two Bikram yoga studios in the area, so I ended up at the Falls Church location which was a hole in the wall studio that smelled like burning incense. It was love at first sight and immediately, I became addicted to this sweltering hot sweaty form of Hatha yoga.

YOGA BECOMES MORE POPULAR

Since then, three more Birkam studios have recently opened in my area. And yoga is everywhere. You can even find the DC yoga community practicing on the National Mall during the Cherry Blossom Festival, every spring. I also have opened my mind to other forms of yoga – practicing inverted poses, and arm balancing poses.

Is Yoga trendy? No I don’t thinks so. Yoga’s existence is old very old, but yoginis world wide are now more than ever spreading the word, of how healing yoga is. The word is being spread in many ways, including through art.

YOGA ART EXHIBIT

Yesterday, my sister and I headed to the Freer Sackler Gallery, to see an art exhibit on the history of Yoga. The exhibit was called Yoga: The Art of Transformation.

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The collection was made up of statues and painting borrowed from 25 different museums form India, Europe and the US. It explored the diversity, history, and how yoga evolved over time. The exhibit touched on philosophies, transformation goals, and the importance yoga has in multiple other religions. It revealed how yogis and yoginis effected society.

From the exhibit, the idea that one can find enlightenment through extremes, such as heat or freezing cold really stuck with me, because I love Bikram and other forms of hot yoga. I also liked the idea that yogis would wash themselves in water to gain purity, because it reminded me of a Christian baptism. It is interesting how much similarities are found in one religion to the next.

WHAT YOGA MEANS TO ME

The world can be a negative place sometimes, full of critical people that are constantly judging. It is a human’s nature to be competitive, striving to be the best person one can be. And what I like best about yoga is how accepting the yoga community is to all people. It is not about who can do the best scorpion pose, instead it is about the process, the journey, to enlightenment. It is about the constant trying, the life long practice, to perfect each pose, and heal the body.

What does yoga mean to you?

If you are in the DC area check out the Yoga exhibit at the Sackler.

© 2013 sweatdaily

Marine Corps Marathon Expo and the GAME plan!

EXPO

Yesterday, Friday, October 25th, I hit up the Marine Corps Marathon Expo. I got the DC armory around 1:00 pm and it was obvious that everyone else decided to come at that time too. It was packed.

Getting my bib number was a breeze. No lines at all. But entering the actual expo had a line because security was tight. They had to check people’s bags. While in the line I met a girl who came from Pittsburgh to run the race. One of my favorite things about MCM is that so many people from so many places come to run this race. Once inside, I wished her luck and went on my way.

When approaching the tables to get my race shirt, the Marines called me over, waving an XS shirt at me. I thought it was funny. I guess I am XS. I also want to say that I am really happy they changed the race shirt. It is still a turtle neck but at least the material is not cotton and the color was quite nice. I continued on, got my picture taken with my bib number, and collected all the other free samples that they were handing out.

 

I ran into the mid atlantic sales rep for Newton running. It was fun seeing here considering she got me into wearing Newton shoes, and tomorrow I will be running a full marathon in them.

I went to the Brooks running area. Brooks is sponsoring the race. I picked up a Marine Corps Marathon hat, and running jacket. I also got a pair of brooks running socks that I am super excited about. It was a crazy long line to pay, but was worth it because I love my new gear.

I finally got out of the Brooks running area and walked around to see what else the expo had to offer. I checked out, Nuun, Honey Stingers, Cliff, and many other venders.

Overall the expo was fun, well organized, and got me pumped for race day. I also picked up a race bracelet that has my pace for each mile.

GAME PLAN

Tonight, my mom made me a homemade pasta dinner. I definitely loaded up on carbs. Now, I am sipping on water, trying to stay hydrated.  After, I am done writing this blog post I will update my iPod and make sure my Garmin has full memory. Then it is bed time for me.

Race night ritual РI am planning on running in my Newton Gravity, my neon green lululemon shirt, and my black lululemon tank. I will cover myself in body glide, wear my garmin, iPod, pace tracker bracelet, brooks socks. I will refuel with sports beans.

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Race morning¬†– I am planning on waking up at 6:00 am. Because all of my race clothes are laid out an ready, I will quickly put them on, grab my race bag, and a peanut butter sandwich, and head over to my moms. ¬†She offered to give me a ride to pentagon city metro. I’ll jump on the metro, get off at the Pentagon, and follow all the other runners to the start!

Race Strategy –¬†Normally, I watch the documentary, The Spirit of the Marathon, to get me pumped the night before my race. If you haven’t watched that movie, it is a must, especially for first time marathoners.¬†But tonight I skipped the movie and reread some of my favorite quotes from Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run. This was really helpful, to get me mentally ready.

The first quote I came across was…

“The mountain reminded me that races are not run all at once that the only way to survive an ultra was piece by piece. So I ran Mount Si piece by piece.”

This quote is exactly how I have been practicing my long runs, and how I am ultimately going to run this race. I will break it up piece by piece, every 5-6 mile taking sports beans, and water at every available water stop.

“Rhythm and form, Jurker. Rhythm and form. C’mon, stretch it out. C’mon, you want to fucking be somebody? Let’s do this… “

I have been working on my running form ever since I started running in the newton shoe. Focusing on form has been a huge part of my training. Finding your rhythm is also important, because soon you get into that rhythm and your able to run and run and run.

“Hey, Jurker!”

“When’re we going to Vegas? When’re we going to see the strippers. You fucking promised.”

“Lets get this bad boy done,” Dusty said. “I need a nap.”

Dusty was my favorite character in the book. He is the ultimate pacer, the ultimate best friend. He always knew how to “work his magic” and get Scott to the finish line. I love the words he chooses. My sister, E, is planning on jumping in with me at mile 23 to push me to the end. Maybe towards the end, I will say to her, “Lets get this bad boy done.”

“As powerful as our legs are, as magnificent as our lungs and arms and muscles are, nothing matter more than the mind.”

The above quote is true, and it is one that helps me remember, that a marathon more than anything is a mind game. I need to keep my mind positive. Because when it comes down to it, I have trained hard for this race, and physically my body is ready. You would be surprised what your body can do.

“I realize that no matter how much something hurt I could gut it out.”

When I start to feel any pain at all, I will keep this above quote in mind.

“Run for 20 minutes and you’ll feel better. Run another 20 and you might tire. Add on 3 hours and you’ll hurt, but keep going and you’ll see and hear and smell and taste- the world with a vividness that will make your former life pale.”

The above quote has been on this blog before. It is my all time favorite, and the quote from the book that touched me the most. It is the truth, and the reason why I run.

Mantras –¬†At mile 17, I will tell myself, I am entering single digits. When in doubt I will tell myself to keep moving forward.

So there it is… ¬†I don’t think I left anything out! Good luck runners. This is going to be an awesome race!

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© 2013 sweatdaily

Marathon Update: 20 plus miler

“Whatever song you have in your head had better be a good one. Whatever story you are telling yourself has better be a story about going on. There is no negativity. The reason most people quit has nothing to do with their body.” ~ Scott Jurek

I have realized that during this marathon training season, the times that I had not so good runs, weren’t really about my physical strength, but rather my mental weakness.

On Saturday, October 5th, I ran my final super long run, with the mind set that it is going to be a good run. I just knew it was going to be that way, I felt excited and eager to get out there.

My garmin recorded 20 miles, however I think I ran at least 21 or maybe even 22. The reason I say this is because while looping around the Jefferson I looked down at my watch, and it had been stopped.

Anyway, whatever, 20, 21, 22, its all the same. They are all in the 20s and so is 26.2. What I mean by this, is at this point in your run, you pretty much are either hitting the wall, or in the zone. The zone is where you want to be. It is when you are preforming at your peak ability. This is why we run, as runners – this is what we are all chasing.

On this 20 plus miler, I must have been in the zone… because during this run I didn’t desperately want it to end like I do sometimes when I feel bored or hungry. After I finished this run, even though my legs were jello and in pain, I could only describe myself as good, happy, excited even.

This is how it all went down…

Because of the Government Shutdown, the running trails that I normally run on were closed. I did see people sneak on the trails, but I decided to avoid them. This took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to find a new and exciting route.

The night before I decided to use the Map my Run app to figure out a way to fit 20 plus miles in from my house to the National Mall. I live right on the other side of the Potomac… being so closed to DC, made me concerned I wouldn’t have enough miles, and my run would end just short of 20.

Another dilemma, the October Heat Wave. Because it would be 90 degrees by noon, this forced me to get out of bed bright and early. I struggle in the heat. In my early 20s, I use to be able to do runs on code red days without eating breakfast, but now in my late 20s, that just sounds like torture.

So I crawled out of bed, grabbed my iPod, Garmin, Camelbak, and I headed out the front door.

THE ROUTE:

  • I ran from South Glebe to North Glebe.
  • Then I made a right down North Quincy.
  • Made the next right down Wilson.
  • I passed North Side Social heading toward Clarendon.
  • Ran through Clarendon down to Court House.
  • I passed Court House, running down to Rosslyn.
  • Made a left at the bottom of the hill, ran straight over The Key Bridge.
  • At the end of the bridge I made a right on M street.
  • Ran through George Town on M until I hit Wisconsin.
  • Made my next right on Wisconsin and ran down to the George Town Waterfront.
  • Made a left and ran passed the Waterfront.
  • Ran passed the Kennedy Center towards Memorial Bridge.
  • Right before the Bridge I crossed the street to hit the National Mall.
  • I made a right and headed to 14th Street.
  • On 14th Street I headed towards the Jefferson and then jumped on the 14th Street bridge.
  • I ran across the bridge (South) towards VA.
  • At the end of the bridge I turned around and ran it again back towards DC. (North)
  • Then I ran the Tidal Basin.
  • I passed the WWII memorial.
  • I passed the reflection pool.
  • I passed the Lincoln.
  • I headed over the Memorial Bridge.
  • I made a right and ran through Arlington Cemetery.
  • I ran up to the Iwo Jima memorial.
  • I ran down through Rosslyn.
  • Then I ran up hill.
  • ¬†I ran up Wilson.
  • Passed Rosslyn.
  • Passed Court House.
  • Passed Clarendon.
  • The hill finally ended.
  • I made a left on S. Quincy.
  • I made a left on North Glebe.
  • I finally arrived back at South Glebe.
  • 20 plus miles in 3:30ish.¬†
The Jefferson!

The Jefferson!

The Lincoln, Reflection Pool, WWII memorial.

The Lincoln, Reflection Pool, WWII memorial.

This run was really fun because it was a new route. I also hit up a lot of the monuments and memorials that I normally see from the other side of the potomac.

After I stopped my Garmin. I walked a half mile back to my house. It felt good to walk, even though it was up hill. I live in a very hilly neighborhood. But walking after a long run is very important.

When I got home, I chugged a bottle of water. Although, I drank plenty of water while I was running, it is very important to stay hydrated in order to avoid lactic acid build up in your legs, which later causes soreness.

Then I took a shower. After long runs I always put my shower on as cold as I can. Cold ice water is good for the muscles and helps reduce inflammation. Oh wow, this felt truly amazing.

GAME PLAN: 

This long run was bitter sweet. The reason why is because it was my last super long run before the marathon, which means my marathon training is coming to an end. However, I also felt excited because now my super long run is over and the marathon is right around the corner. ¬†Yesterday, marked 20 more training days, which means taper time – it’s all down hill from here on out. Woohoo!!

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So for the next 20 days, I am going to be doing short faster runs. I will also include hill work in most of my runs. Because my runs will be shorter, I am going to put a more intense focus on weight lifting, doing active rest periods, and circuit training to build endurance.

According to my training plan this weekend my long run will be 12, and the weekend after that my long run will be 8 – if you even want to call those long runs…

I will keep my training and nutritional goals on point. It’s grind time!!

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

Getting Lost while Running!

Yesterday, I got lost running!  

I started running on one trail, then I ended up in a neighborhood, then I realized I was lost. Being lost was not a scary thing, it was actually really fun. It gave me the opportunity to explore.

I ran hills I hadn’t run before. I discovered new neighborhoods I hadn’t been to. I saw some gorgeous houses, gardens, I even randomly ran passed my old pool club, I use to swim at when I was a kid.

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I wished I had my pool pass. Jumping in the pool would have felt really good. I miss being a member of AFC.

Although, DC is a “Running City” full of runners, and running trails. ¬†Running the same paths everyday can get really boring, especially after 6 years of running here.

But running totally lost, was very refreshing. It mixed things up. Not knowing where you will be the next turn, made my running route unique. This is something I am going to try more often, I actually tried it again today.

Have you ever gotten lost while running? Do you ever just run, not knowing how far you are going or where the path might take you?

© 2013 sweatdaily

My favorite kind of running…

971127_10101120647779916_445663003_nDC is definitely a place cool enough to consider as a Rave Run.

I use to never bring my phone with me when I went out for a run, but ever since I got an iPhone, I can’t resist when I am running – I have to take a photo of my view.

Today, I woke up at 6:00 am and hit the trail by 6:30. I was able to get this shot, of the sun hitting the potomac. It is times like this that I am so thankful I have become a morning runner.

Soon after I had completed my morning run, the clouds rolled in and it began to storm. If I had slept in I would have missed out on not only the view but simply the opportunity to run.

© 2013 sweatdaily

Nike Women Half Marathon DC

The Nike Women Half Marathon is a famous race in San Francisco. It has always been on my list of races to someday run. However, in the fall of 2012, there was a rumor floating around, that the race was coming to the East Coast. And just my luck, to my very own home turf, Washington, DC.

For a while the rumor, stayed a rumor. There was no information or advertising on the race. The only way people found out about the possibility of the race was through word of mouth – one girl runner telling another.

Race organizers kept us in suspense.

REGISTRATION

However, finally the day came when race registration became available. It was interesting because they did not have a website, instead you had to “like” their facebook page, and click on the registration link. Getting into the race depended on a Lottery system based on a random drawing. The registration was very long, asking questions about ethnicity, income, and what shoes you run in. I am guessing this was a marketing tool for Nike to discover who their consumer is, and what brand is used by the majority of female runners. The registration fee also came close to $200.00, which by far is the most expensive race I have run.

Anyway, two weeks went by, and finally I was notified that my registration was accepted, and thankfully L and E got in as well. During the time between registering for this race and finding out if I got in, registration opened for my 2 other favorite spring races, so I registered for those as well. Cherry Blossom 10 miler is also a lottery, and race day was scheduled for the first weekend of April. The Parkway Classic 10 miler, a first come first serve registration, had a race day scheduled in the third weekend of April. And then Nike Women Half Marathon race day scheduled for the last weekend of April. That means the Washington, DC area would have races 3 out of 4 weekends in April. The only reason why they left the second weekend free of races is because that weekend is the weekend the Queen of all Marathons is scheduled, the Boston Marathon (Boston Strong.)

I ended up getting into all three races I registered for, which was perfect because my 10 milers became my training runs for the Nike Women Half Marathon!

TRAINING

At the end of January, I started the Livefit trainer. The first 4 weeks of the Livefit trainer (Phase 1: weeks1-4) it is advised that you do NO cardio of any form. So I took a month off of running (not running was torture for me) but I focussed on lifting weights and building muscled (and loved it.) The next 4 weeks of the trainer (Phase 2: weeks 5-8) I still focussed on building muscle but was able to include my running. Currently, I am on week 9 of the Livefit trainer (Phase 3.) I should be further along, but because of my races I am starting from the beginning of Phase 3 repeating week 9. I am ready to complete this phase as intensely as I can!

I do want to say this though, building muscle has taken my running to the next level. I always thought when it came to training, the more running I did the better I would be. But by doing the Livefit trainer I have proved that, this is not always the case. Training is not about how many miles you can log a week, but rather are the runs you do, high quality. Too much running, can lead to over training, and injury- which gives running a bad rep. More muscle and a stronger body, along with high quality training runs, leads to faster and stronger running, injury free. Running less, does not mean I did not train hard. I did high quality training runs, and intense lifting. My PRs are my proof.

EXPO

The expo for the Nike Women Half Marathon, was available to runners on Friday and Saturday. Because L and I both have friday off from work, we headed to the expo on friday, so we could beat the crowd. The location of the expo was perfect, right along the Georgetown waterfront. This allowed us to park in the neighborhood and do a quick training run along the MVT before walking over to the expo.

Of course we hit up the Nike Georgetown store on the way down to the expo. 3580_10101094792828446_1237519482_nWe had to stock up on our Nike Women Half Marathon apparel. I loved how Nike didn’t have a trace of pink in the store. Yes! We are women, but enough with the pink, we like other colors too. My favorite color combo that Nike had available was blue and orange!

orange

They also had a variety of Nike Frees available. I have always been interested in the Nike Free, for weight lifting, but when it comes to my runs, I am pretty obsessed with my newton shoes. Anyway, they created a Nike free in a light turquoise color with white ribbon as the shoe laces. ¬†The inspiration behind these shoes came about, because the finisher swag for the Nike Women Half Marathon is a Tiffany’s necklace.417839_10101090212467526_1523067281_n I think this is a really fun idea. I also like how they included the phrase, We Run DC on the tongue of the shoe. This phrase was important because the original race is held in San Francisco. There were tons of ladies, from California, Denver, and other places who had already run the Nike Women San Francisco, who were excited to now run the race in DC, and was on the hunt for any race apparel that had this phrase on it.

After we hit up the Nike store, we headed down to the waterfront. On the way down to the expo they had a huge wall with every race participant’s ¬†name on it. What a cool idea! L and I searched for our names and finally we found them.

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we run dc

The photo below is a photo of the expo. Picture found on the NWM facebook.
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They also had nuun available to sample. Instead of gatorade, they would be providing this on race day! I actually prefer this over gatorade, but when it comes to hydrating during my races, I stick to water. Nuun was really delicious post race though.

nuun

After the Expo L and I had an amazing lunch at Farmers Fishers Bakers located along the Georgetown waterfront. This is a “must try place,” So delicious, especially the sushi.

Night Before the Race

Just like every other race, I have my night before race ritual, where I lay out my race clothes, and prepare/organize everything for race day.

Night before race clothesRACE MORNING

I always have a hard time sleeping  the night before a race, not because I am worried about running the race, but more worried about waking up on time. Turns out that this race started at 7:00 am, an hour earlier than most races. Plus because I had never run this race before I decided to wake up by 4:30 am.

I ended up throwing E off a bit when I showed up at her house at 5:00 am, 15 minutes earlier than I said I would be.

We then met L at the metro and headed to the start of the race. 
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When we got to our corrals, we packed on in.¬†I knew it was going to be a crowded race. While I was at the expo, I actually tried to get my pace corral changed from a 9:00- 9:30 minute mile to an 8:30. I wasn’t able to change my corral, so L and I squeezed as close to the front of our corral as we could.

While waiting for the gun to go off, we took some race photos. 217537_10101092698036426_292698585_n

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THE RACE

After the National Anthem and a moment of silence in honor of Boston. We started running. Immediately, I was annoyed and wished I had moved to a faster pace corral. It was extremely crowded, and impossible to run at the pace I wanted. I sucked it up and politely weaved in and out, trying to pass slower runners. It started to space out around mile two, but there still were times through out the race when I felt squished. Although, this is a negative aspect about the race, this is also something that is totally out of race organizers’ control. Really this is just how large popular races are, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. I totally expected it and wasn’t shocked when it happened.

Below is a picture I found on the NWM facebook page, proof to show how crowded the race was at the start. 934153_541121825926278_1618223195_n

MY SPLITS

Finally, I was able to get up my speed. My first split, 5K (3.1 miles) mark was 0:25:19 which meant I was running around an 8:12 min/mile. My second split, 10K (6.2 miles)  mark was 0:51:48 which meant I was running between an 8:30 Р8:48 min/mile. I was feeling really good about this pace, and refueled with water and beans at this point.

It was around the 15K (9.3 miles) mark, when I¬†started to slow down a little. I got to the 15K mark at 1:21:05, it was then that I realized I wasn’t going to PR at 10 miles. At this point my legs started to feel heavy and my feet started to hurt a bit. This annoyed me, because my lung capacity was perfectly fine, I just desperately wished my legs were capable of moving faster, but they really couldn’t. I tried to focus on my form, and even did some high knees, but could only maintain that for a short bit. The only thing that could cure my heavy legs was a down hill.

Most people really love fast flat courses, I on the other hand love hills. It was at this point that I desperately began wishing for an up hill then a speedy down hill, just to mix things up a bit. But the hills were nonexistent, there was one small hill towards the end, but no down hill to follow. So I was just chugging along with heavy legs, on the boring flat pavement of Washington, DC.

Picture below from NWM facebook page. 

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My 20k (12.427 miles) split was 1:50:49 – not bad, but not a PR. I could see the finish line straight ahead, but I kept chugging along with heavy legs, and I finally made it there 13.1 miles in 1:57:03.

This is not a PR for me, but it is my Second Best half marathon time! Yay for that!! My last half, the Annapolis Half Marathon, that I ran on 12/1/12 was a PR 1:51. But before that I had never ran 13.1 in under 2:00:00. So to run two half marathons in a row in under 2 hours is a big accomplishment. I think I am done with running 2 hour half marathons, and on a different level now. Both of these races were also run in my Newton shoes, after months of focusing on my natural running stride, it proves that working on running form really does pay off in the end.

The Course

course

Honestly, most races that are held in DC, the course always ends up being the same that I train on daily. So there are really no surprises.  Sometimes this is an advantage, while other times it ends up being a disadvantage.  Why? The advantage is this is my home turf, and I know it inside and out. The disadvantage is that I have run it a million times, so it can become very boring.

Picture found on NWM facebook page.

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We ran over Memorial Bridge, which I have run in many other races including Cherry Blossom 10 miler earlier this month. I also run this bridge often in one of my regular 5 mile training loops. We ran Hains Point, which again I ran during the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. The only point of the race that I had never run before was when we ran in the 3rd street tunnel. This tunnel is a very long dark tunnel, a never-ending tunnel. Most of the girls, including E, thought this was the best part of the race. We ran through it in the beginning of the race, probably with in the first mile, and then again towards the end. The first time running through it, I hated every minute of it, and actually experienced a bit of anxiety. The reason for my anxiety was that in the beginning of the race it was so extremely crowded, I couldn’t run fast and I was behind slower runners, so we were all squished in there elbow to elbow. It was also extremely dark and loud. They had a band under there, made up of drummers, the noise was so loud I had to turn off my ipod. The sound echoed over and over again. On the way back though, the tunnel wasn’t as bad. I knew what it was going to be like, and at this point the crowd spaced out so I had more control on how fast I wanted to run. It also provided some shade which at that point was nice to get out of the sun for a minute or two.

Other than that the race was extremely flat, and since I love hills, there were times during the race I was wishing for more of a hilly course. Although, it was small I actually enjoyed the hill towards the end of the race. Hills mix things up and is good for runners, mentally and physically.

FINISH LINE and RACE SWAG

I could see the finish line in the distance, it seemed so close, but took forever to get there. But once I got there, I noticed they had put out a red carpet. Sweet move Nike! red carpet

Then there were a bunch of hott guys, handing out our race swag Р Tiffany & Co. necklaces, on a silver platter. The nice gentleman below was the one who handed me mine.

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tiffany

finisher nike

We also received these awesome finisher shirts. I love the wicking material and the Tiffany themed color.

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The necklace was really stylish too. It says NWM Half 2013 on the back and it has a runner girl on the front. I think it would be fun to run the race several times just to collect the different necklaces.

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In the end, I really enjoyed this race and thought it was an amazing experience. It also was really different to run an all women’s race. I had only run an all women’s race one other time before, which was my first half marathon, the Zooma Half, and I couldn’t really judge the vibe because it was my first 13.1. But the energy for this race was definitely positive and¬†enthusiastic.

E said, “The race was about women empowerment.” I couldn’t agree more. With out men there, it felt less competitive. There were also a lot of runners there that were not running competitively, but rather running for a cause, such as raising money for cancer. Team and Training was one of those groups. In the end, we all raised money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This being said, there were tons of runners running for people they knew who had cancer, and some were cancer survivors, themselves.

One of the best things about running a large popular race is all the spectators that come out to watch, cheer, and support the runners. This race’s spectators did not fall short. Along the course, there were Team and Training coaches looking for the runners they coached. There were also tons of cool signs, that were more than inspiring, some even made us laugh. There were bands and dancers, that had one two many red bulls. There were kids , who sat as you approached the finish line, I probably high-fived, five of them.

Picture found on NWM facebook page.

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Spectators make such a difference for runners, during the race. And it was very comforting that people still came out, even after the tragedy that happened two weeks ago, during the Boston Marathon.

It was also very impressive how well organized the race was.  This was their first time in the DC area, but everything was beyond my expectations. There were tons of amazing volunteer. There were tons of porta potties, with short lines. I never had to wait in line to check my bag, or pick it up. And again the swag for this race was the best I have ever had!!

When I first heard the Nike Women Half Marathon was coming to the DC area, I thought to myself – Perfect, now I wont have to run it in San Fran. But after running this race, now more than ever, I want to run it in San Fran. I love running hills, so it would be interesting to see if I could do a better time running the Nike Women race in San Fran. It would be fun to compare the two races, and getting another Tiffany’s necklace wouldn’t be a bad thing!

However, when it comes to running an all women’s race, I have to admit I’d rather run with men mixed in the group. It is always fun to pass them.

Well done NIKE!

Thanks for a great race! 

Pictures found on NWM facebook page.

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