Marine Corps Marathon : Tips and 2014 & 2016 race recaps.

MARINE CORPS MARATHON IS TOMORROW MORNING!

This is my all time favorite race, the marathon being my all time favorite distance! I want to wish everyone a great race tomorrow! So I’ll share a couple things with you.

FLASH BACK – These are some of my favorite race photos from the 4x I have run it.

Make sure you smile at the camera! Enjoy it, take it all in. You will get emotional, especially at the blue mile, but that’s what this race is all about.

• CHEERLEADER – I will be out there cheering at mile 22 with my Oiselle Teammates. This mile marker is right after the 14th street bridge. On the runners right side. If you need to see a friend at this point to up lift you, look for me!

• TIPS – If you are a marathon virgin, or if this is your first time running MCM, check out the tips below and race recaps from previous times I ran it, including last year’s race recap.

QUOTES- ‘m going to leave you with 2 of my favorite quotes!

“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.”

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

Good luck and have fun!! You are going to be awesome! *Side note: 3 special people that I’m cheering on is my Dad, my BRF Lina, and my Oiselle teammate Adrienne! See you guys at mile 22. 👏🏻

Now read below for tips and race recaps.

Here are my top 26 tips for all of the Marathon Virgins out there running Marine Corps Marathon tomorrow… 1 NIGHT BEFORE: Check social media for inspiration and updates, this includes facebook and instagram. Marine Corps Marathon pages always have a count down. And the night before race day facebook status always gets me pumped.

2 NIGHT BEFORE: Always prepare your race outfit, and everything you will need for the race, the night before. (That means tonight if you are running MCM tomorrow morning.)

3 Never wear anything you haven’t worn before.

4 Make sure your ipod and garmin are charged and ready to go.

5 Eat protein and carb race morning, good option – Bagel with Peanut Butter.

6 GETTING TO and FROM: If you are riding the metro in the morning, you will be getting off at the Pentagon. But honestly if you get confused just follow all the other runners. If you plan to metro after the race make sure you get enough money on your metro card for both ways, getting there and coming back. Metro will be really busy on the way back. The Rosslyn Metro stop is the one closest to the finish line.

7 THE START: At the start, strip down and check your bag. If you are one that gets cold easily then make sure you have throw away gloves and shirt. It will be cold in the morning but warm at the finish.

8 Oh and don’t forget to BODY GLIDE everything.  9 CORRALS: Because Marine Corps Marathon is the people marathon they do not have any assigned corrals. Instead you choose where you want to be, by looking for the sign that says your finishing time on it. Try to get in the proper corral or the one a head of you. For example if you think you will finish in 4:30 then hang with the 4:15 group. This race is a very crowded race with 35,000 runners.

10 WATER STATIONS: Have a game plan. Are you going to walk the water stations? When are you going to take your sports beans?

11 ROCK CREEK PARK can get congested. But stay light on your feet and use momentum to fly down the down hill part.

12 FOCUS ON RUNNING FORM. 13 13.1:  Once you hit the half way point start to break your race into pieces. At this point, you are in Hains Point, the most boring part of the race.  It is time to start counting. 2 more miles and you will be at mile 15 and out of the stupid park and on to the National Mall.

14 MILE 15: Enjoy, look around you are running the National Mall.

15 MILE 17: This mile is significant meaningful mile in a marathon because it takes us into single digits, only 9 more miles to go.

16 SIGNS: Don’t forget to look at funny signs. The spectators are the best at this race.

17 MILE 20: Beat the Bridge. The bridge is long and slow. A lot of runners HIT the Wall here. There aren’t very many spectators here. Sometimes it feels brutally hot with sun shining on you. Other times it feels really windy. This is the time when a lot of runners start walking and stretching out. This is when I tell myself to keep running, don’t walk. At the end of the bridge you are in Crystal City. Leaving DC and entering VA.

18 MILE 21: This mile is significant for me because in training my longest run is 21. During my weekly training I do a 5 mile easy run. When I reach 21 in the marathon, I tell myself, “Only 5 miles to go, my 5 mile easy run.” Everything is mental at this point.

19 CRYSTAL CITY: Once I’m at mile 23 looping around Crystal City I am looking at the spectators focusing on seeing people I may know. I also am saying my mantra.

20  Always have a Mantra. For example, when things get rough, I always repeat, “No matter what… Just keep moving forward. Keep moving forward.” Another good one is … “One More Mile.”

21 HOME STRETH: At this point I am focused on the traffic signs, I try to get to one traffic sign then the next. You’ll see signs that say, “Memorial Bridge.”

22 The last little bit is up a hill and then the finish line. But who cares there is a hill, you made it to the finish.

23 Enjoy getting your medal and check out all the hott marines. You earned it.

24 MILE 27: Walk, Walk, Walk. The most important mile is mile 27. The mile you walk after the marathon. This mile walk helps avoid cramping.

25 Eat an awesome brunch to refuel and celebrate.

26 Take it easy for the rest of the day. Consider taking hot yoga later in the week.

SO there it is!

Good luck to all of the Marathon Virgins out there running tomorrow for the first time. Good luck all runners. Look for me, I’ll be cheering for you.

Also if you want to read about my experience running Marine Corps Marathon, you can find the 2 full Race Recaps.

Last year’s: Marine Corps Marathon 2016 Here Marine Corps Marathon 2014 here.  Have fun Marathoners!!

Baby, it’s F*cking Cold outside! 

It is cold here, in DC. We had our first snow, just a dusting, but it still brought wind and temperatures in the teens. 

I will admit the cold weather has me very unmotivated to run. I really want to accomplish a run streak for 2017, (New Years Resolution) but I keep missing a day, because I’m too cold. (Excuses.)
I’m already missing summer. When the days were longer, and I would wake up super early and hit the trail with Zoe. 

This summer I trained for my fall marathon, in record breaking heat. On race day, it was very warm and officials advised us to dress for hot conditions. And although, it was difficult to train in 90 degrees, I always got out there because the sun was shining. On race day, I set a new PR. It’s obvious that I prefer warmer conditions.

These winter days are not only cold, but the sun is covered by clouds. I look in my closet and my running shorts still hang from the top bar. (Again missing the days where I would run in a tank top and shorts. The more minimal the better.) As I look through my wardrobe I question… Where is all of my winter running gear? Turns out I don’t really have any. No wonder I’m not enjoying my winter runs. 

They say that in the middle of this week, freezing rain will make an appearance, ugh…but then it should warm up to 50s and even 60s. Thank goodness!!! Maybe I will not have to wait until summer to get to wear my running shorts again.

But in the meantime I have begun my search for the perfect winter running gear. Layering is key. Time to experiment and see what works. Plus, I’ll be doing tons of stroller miles… I have my 16 month old who I’m running with. She stays really cozy warm in her L.L. Bean Snow Bunting, …once I start moving my body warms up pretty quick but my hands  not do much. They were numb while pushing the stroller because I didn’t have the proper gloves. 

I’ll up date you on this experiment, and share what winter gear I find. 

Happy Running!

Now let’s RUN all the winter MILES!

Do you prefer running in the cold or the heat?

What is you favorite winter gear!? 

2016, the year I became a badass Mother Runner! 

2016 was a very SPECIAL year! 

Zoe was born, August 2015, so by the start of 2016, she was 4 going on 5 months old. By this point, I knew my daughter pretty well. And although, she was constantly changing and growing, my confidence as her mother had grown.

It is a weird thing to say, but in the beginning even the most confident woman in the world, feels, life is a little bit out of control when they become a new mom. But eventually, I discovered a new normal, and created a consistent, but flexible routine, that brought order to our busy household. (Side note: This routine and order also allowed me to train for my fourth full marathon.)

Also by the beginning of 2016, my fitness level had finally started to improve. At this early part of the year, I wouldn’t say my fitness was totally back to the way it was before Zoe, but I was feeling a lot stronger, and my runs were more comfortable and enjoyable. I knew by the time Zoe was 6 months old, I would feel confident running with her in the BOB running stroller. I was so excited for that day!!

2016 MADE me a MOTHER RUNNER!!

Before I became a mother, I always admired the BAMRs on the trail. Effortlessly running, all while pushing a stroller and caring for a tiny human. I only hoped that once I had a child, I too would be out there running those stroller miles. 

In late February 2016, this dream came true, and I was finally able to include Zoe on my runs. We went out for our first stroller run together, and we both loved it! 

I feel so fortunate to be able to work out with my child by my side, instead of having to find a babysitter. It makes it so much easier to just bring her along.  I now have two tiny eyes watching every move I make… so making healthy choices is very important, now more than ever. Living this healthy lifestyle is a priority to me, and I am so glad I can include Zoe at such a young age. 

However, it wasn’t easy at first, it took some time to adjust to running with the stroller, but I got the hang of it. Again, runs became enjoyable, and I felt strong and confident. Nothing feels better than passing another runner on the trail while pushing a stroller. Plus, Zoe loves being out there, taking in all of the sounds and colors of nature, and the fresh air is great for both of us! 

Soon, with Zoe by my side, I began to train for all the races I had lined up for 2016.

Race Recaps
In 2016, I ran six races! Each of them, were VERY special. 

Race 1 – The Cherry Blossom 10 miler was my first postpartum race. It was so cold and windy that day, and I really didn’t know how I would do. It was more of a test race. I decided not to look at my watch and just run by feel. I ended up surprising myself running it faster then I thought I would, finishing in 1:31:12. (Side note: At the Expo, I met Meb, the Olympic marathoner, Boston Marathon winner, and I discovered Mana Threads a new awesome athletic clothing line.) 

Race 2 – The Parkway Classic was my second postpartum race. This was a beautiful run, and again I ran it faster then I though I would. My goal was to finish under 1:30, I reached that goal finishing 1:28:49. 

Race 3 – The Navy Half Marathon was my 3rd postpartum race. This was also my first time running this half marathon. I registered a couple of weeks before because it fell in place with my marathon training plan. A lot of other runners I knew used this race as a training run for marathon training. I ended up racing it and I’m so glad I did. I ran it faster, then I thought I could, I finished in 1:53:54, which made this my 3rd half marathon under 2 hours. Woohoo! 

The summer heat was making me have some long slow training runs. I was getting worried about running the Marine Corps Marathon. Would I be ready? After running the Navy Half, I felt great! It felt amazing running that fast, and it brought my confidence back. My marathon training was paying off, and I was ready to run with the Marines. 

Race 4 – The Marine Corps Marathon was … my fourth full marathon, my fourth MCM, my first full marathon as a mother runner, my first race that I ran a portion with my dad. Overall, this race is my all time favorite, and was the most special I ran this year! I ended up with a new marathon PR, finishing in 4:17:01. I loved this race so much, that I slowed down a bit, just so it wouldn’t end. 

The marathon distance is my favorite distance! And once again, this race reminded me of that. 

I had so much fun at MCM, that I experienced the marathon blues after, and almost signed up for the Richmond marathon which was two weeks later. 

Race 5  – The Operation Turbo 5k was a race that a friend of mine was organizing in order to raise money for her foundation. I signed up a couple of days before hand in order to show my support. I couldn’t remember the last time I raced a 5k.

I was very excited to do it, because it was my first opportunity to race with Zoe. Although, I had done most of my marathon training miles with her, I had yet to race with her. 

It was awesome and we placed second for females. 

Race 6 The Alexandria Turkey Trot was by far the most crowded race I ran. It was my second race with Zoe. It was hard to maneuver the stroller around the crowd for the first two miles. But once we got around the crowd, we started to fly. The best part was hearing Zoe laugh, pointing out the doggies and demanding me to run faster, shouting, “Go, Go, Go mama!”

Some other RUNNING highlights!

2016 was a year of connecting with others.

I’ve always been a solo runner, and now because I am a working mom, sometimes it is hard with my schedule to meet up for runs. However, in 2016, I found ways to connect with other runners and other mothers. 

*I joined two running team/groups in 2016… I joined Mom’s Run this Town, (MRTT) and Oiselle Volee. Both of these teams were inspiring and motivating in different ways. I didn’t get the chance to run with these groups because of my work schedule. However, I did follow along with them through social media. 

Oiselle Volee is a team I run for. I had been wanting to join this team for a while and finally in 2016 I got in. I love what this team stands for… it is all about empowering women. 

It is also nation wide, so I was able to follow most of my fellow Oiselle teammates on instagram. And I was able to meet some birds at races! They had an awesome cheer station at mile 20/21 at MCM. I am hoping in 2017, I will be able to go to more Oiselle runs and events! 

I also joined Mom’s Run this Town. Again I only had the chance to meet up with them once, however I followed the MRTT facebook page, and was very active on it. Again I hope to meet up with these ladies more in the upcoming year.

Even though, I was only involved through social media, these groups inspired me and held me accountable

*I started using a running app in 2016… I also found ways to connect with other runners by using Strava. This running app is awesome. I still wear my Garmin 620, but Strava allows me to follow other runners training, while they follow mine. It also immediately shows me my mile splits! I love Strava and I am so glad I started using it in 2016. Again helps inspire, track, connect, and holds me accountable.

I have a couple of favorites for 2016

*My favorite piece of running gear for 2016… was with out a doubt my BOB REVOLUTION PRO! 

This running stroller allows me to take my daughter with me on my runs! It is the reason why I was able to train for the Marine Corps Marathon and set a new marathon PR. 
*My favorite race of 2016… was the Marine Corps Marathon. 

The marathon is my favorite distance. I trained hard for that race, training in the record breaking heat. All of the hard work paid off and I was happy with a new marathon PR. Plus, I made a very special memory running with my dad. 

*My favorite cookbook of 2016 is Run Fast Eat Slow. 

I am always trying to find new fun recipes, even more so now that Zoe is eating solid foods. 

Also nutrition is huge, especially while training for a marathon. This was my go to cookbook! I love the story behind the book. The authors are inspiring on their own, and each recipe is based on fueling the runner’s body. Every recipe I have made is easy, delicious, and healthy. 

*My favorite place I ran this year… was the Green Belt in Boise, Idaho. 


In the beginning of October, my husband, daughter, and I took a trip out to Idaho to visit family. I brought all of my running stuff, knowing I had to continue marathon training and find some place to get my long run done. 

Turns out I ran almost every day when I was in Boise, even running a 12 miler. I ran on the Green Belt and it was one of the most beautiful refreshing trails. Running in Idaho felt amazing because the cooler temperatures was a great break from the heat wave we were having back east. 

(Side note: I also had the opportunity to run in Martha’s Vineyard which is my favorite place to run. It too was refreshing because of the ocean breeze.)

*My favorite training moment… was all of the stroller miles I did with Zoe.

In 2016, stroller running became my thing! I never knew I would love it so much, but I do.

*My favorite things I saw while running, were not necessarily the gorgeous views, but rather when I randomly came across this amazing piece of street art. 

After seeing one mural, I started to notice them everywhere. I decided to make it my thing. Instead of always focusing on the mileage, I decided to also embrace city running and try to discover more art. 

Then while running in Martha’s Vineyard I randomly came across a huge spider web. I didn’t see any street art because it’s the beach life up there. But after seeing this spider web, I was reminded that nature has its own little artists always creating. 


I later saw a spider web on almost every long run. When you are out there running a 15 or 20 miler you are going to see some interesting stuff. 

*My favorite Running Podcast is… Another Mother Runner. I couldn’t get enough of these BAMRs. 

I never really listened to podcasts in the past. But in early 2016, while taking Zoe on walks, I needed something to listen to. So I came across Another Mother Runner Podcast. These ladies have a couple of books, which I bought and read while I was pregnant with Zoe, but once I found out they had a podcast I was hooked. I tune in every week and I am now a pretty loyal listener. 
*My favorite most inspirational runner of 2016 was Shalene Flanagan. 

Olympic Marathoner Shalene Flanagan was the most inspirational runner for me. And her moment at the Olympic marathon trials with her bestie Amy Hastings was by far the most inspirational moment

There were other inspirational runners as well such as Jen Shelton, the Ultra marathoner from the book, Born to Run. On some of my long runs I would listen to the chapter about her over and over again. 

Speaking of books, I read a couple of running books and reread Born to Run. 

*My favorite new running book I read was… My Year of Running, Dangerously by Tom Foreman. 

I also read a Running a Love Story, by Jen A. Miller. Both of these books were inspiring because they were about mid packed runners. 

Goodbye 2016, you were great! 

So that sums up my Running the Year 2016. For me, 2016 was a year all about my two favorite things: motherhood and running. The highlights were definitely watching my Zoe grow into this incredible, smart toddler. And as for running finishing the Marine Corps Marathon, with a new marathon PR. 

I am very proud that I was able to time manage and fit marathon training in, while also being a new mom. 

This proves to me, that you don’t have to sacrifice the things you use to do, because you have a child. It is possible and important to continue to do the things you love, while also being Mom. 

2016 has been an inspirational year, which built my confidence more than ever before. I became confident and comfortable in my new role as a mother.  I regained my fitness and began to run stronger with more confidence and passion. 

Ultimately, 2016 was a teacher. The most important thing I have learned is… that I don’t have to travel to an exotic place, or hit a huge life milestone, to have an incredible year. The year doesn’t have to be a huge one… It is the small, everyday, ups and downs that are so beautiful. 

And although, running a marathon is a pretty big deal, I ran that marathon in my backyard. My point is … as I watch my daughter grow, she has taught me… you don’t have to go far in search of greatness and growth. This greatness and growth is right in front of your eyes or with in yourself.

Thank you 2016 for making me a BAMR!! 

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

Now that’s a wrap! Marine Corps Marathon 2016 TRAINING recap

It is really bitter sweet that this marathon training season is coming to an end. This will be my fourth Marine Corps Marathon. And although, I have trained and run this race before, MCM training 2016 has been by far the most special training season I have ever had.

Most marathon runners, train with a running group or running buddy. But for me, I have done every weekly run pushing my baby girl in our BOB running stroller, and every long run completely solo.  It truly has been the most fun, most challenging, most special training season because I did it all, while caring for a tiny human, pushing my daughter every mile of the way. 

Regardless of whether I … PR or not, I am most proud of the fact that I was able to manage a beautiful life-balance of wife life, motherhood, marathon training, and working. 

When I signed up for this race, at 6 months postpartum, I was unsure I would be able to manage training for a marathon while being a new working mom/wife, but I did it. Once again, the marathon has taught me, that anything is possible. 

Physically

I am so proud that after 40 weeks of pregnancy and no running, a c-section labor, breastfeeding, sleepless nights, etc. that I was able to physically get my body strong enough to begin to train for a marathon. And then continue prepare for this race during a record breaking hot summer, with an infant/toddler by my side. The female body truly is amazing. 

A lot of people have asked me, how did I do it physically. How did I get strong enough to even start training for a full marathon, after 40 weeks of pregnancy and no running. 

This is what I did… 

At 7 weeks postpartum, I got the okay from my doctor to start working out again. I desperately wanted to start running, but I knew I had lost a lot of muscle. I knew I was weak, so I decided to exclusively weight lift/strength train for 6 weeks. I had to get stronger before I laced up my running shoes. 

At 13 weeks postpartum, on Thanksgiving day, I went for my first postpartum run. It was a three mile run, and it felt amazing. But the next day I woke up with the worst knee and ankle pain.

I later went to my local running shoe store to get my form evaluated and fitted for new shoes. My body had changed, there was a great possibility that my running form was different. 

Turns out my form was perfect and my shoes were a great fit, it was just going to take time for me to strengthen my ankles again.

For the next 3 months, I hit the pavement running a short 2 miles a day. On the weekends, I would try for 3-4 miles. Slowly, I was improving.

At 6 months postpartum, my daughter was ready to run with me in the stroller. She had strong neck control and was sitting up independently for two and half weeks. She was ready, and I was too. I was so glad I took the time before to build up my strength and perfect my running form solo. It made me ready to push that stroller.

At first while pushing the stroller, my stride was different – longer, slower cadence, but over time I found my mojo, and running with Zoe became one of my favorite things. Pushing a stroller and passing people on the trail made me feel strong and empowered. I have become a BAMR!!

Although, I always put my focus on how well my body preforms vs. what it looks like. Another great perk to training for this marathon is that  running totally transformed my body.  I have lost all the stubborn baby weight, and my body is leaner and more athletic.

My advice to any new mom…

Do not rush into it, and expect you will have your pre-baby body back. Actually, the truth is, YOU WILL NEVER HAVE YOUR PRE-BABY BODY BACK, but that doesn’t mean your body can’t be stronger, leaner, or even better than before. Just know that it takes time to get strong again, and embrace the process. And forget about what your body use to be, and start creating an even stronger better body. It is possible. Hello fit beautiful mom-bod!

Mentally

I am most proud of beating the record breaking summer heat mentally and physically. And becoming better with time management. Everyone is on a “flexible” schedule in my house. The demands of marathon training, and the time commmitment was possible because I made it part of our morning routine.

When it came to the heat… 

This summer was the hottest summer I have ever trained for a marathon in. It had record breaking heat, so it was definitely a physical and mental challenge to train in. All of us runners were out there together, chugging along with our hydration packs, giving eachother the thumbs up. There were times the heat got the best of me, and although, I made it through every long run, there were times I questioned, “Should I even run this race?” 

Because of the heat my pace was significantly slower… It made me question, “Can my body run this race at the pace I want?”  But, physically, I knew my body could do it, I just needed to get my mind prepared.

I am so happy I was organized enough. Planning a head is key to having good time manage. Making running part of our morning routine made everything doable. 

Expo Energy

I’m still mentally preparing. However, it will feel more real once I pick up my T-shirt and bib. The energy at the expo is always such an amazing feeling. This year Zoe will be with me. She’s my little side kick and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Mantras

I also mentally prepare by coming up with race day mantas. This year’s training mantra is, “Let’s Run all the Miles.” I’ll use this during the race. I also like to wisper while going up hills, “climb climb climb, and fly down. And when the miles get tough, “keep moving forward.”

Training Highlights

My favorite runs are always the ones I do during the week with Zoe. During this training it was amazing to run when she napped peacefully, or run when she was interactive- pointing at everything, waving at the cyclists. She talks to me, and she absolutely loves going over the wooden plank bridges on the trail. She is always a great help holding my cold water bottle on hot days, that would keep her cool. Then we would stop for a water break, she loves drinking from my water bottle. 

However, I had some really great long runs too. 

My favorite long runs were, my 12 mile runs, my 15 mile runs, my half marathon, my 18 miler and my 20 milers. 

12 Mile Run – One of my first 12 mile runs, I ran with my sister Emily. This run was the only long run I had company for. The weather was overcast, and I felt great the whole run. We ran passed a really cool piece of street art and it made me obsessed with finding more are to run past. 

12 Mile Run- Earlier, this month when my husband, Zoe and I visited Idaho, I went for a 12 miler on the Boise Green Belt. It was perfect running weather, such a refreshing treat compared to the heat wave we were having back home. I found a dirt path to run on, the sun was shining and the view of the Boise River was so gorgeous. So perfect! 

15 Mile Run – In August, while I was in Martha’s Vineyard celebrating my daughter’s first birthday, I ran a 15 miler along the beach. It felt amazing, running along the ocean, with the sun shining and the ocean breeze. 

I also saw a huge spider web, and kept seeing spider webs on every long run after.


15 Mile Run – All of my runs during this summer were done in 80 or 90 degree heat. I had a 15 miler on my schedule, but the weather man was calling for record breaking heat, and advised that everyone stay cool and drink plenty of water. Well, that’s not going to happen, when I am in the middle of marathon training. 

I was dreading this long run. I don’t do well in the heat, but who does? I headed out early and went in the direction on the trail where it was the shadiest. Tree branches canopied over my head and I basically was running through the woods. The shade was good, but the humidity still made it sweltering, plus the shadiest part of the trail ended up being the hilliest. 

I decided to turn my music off and listen to the audiobook, Born to Run. I listened to the chapter that talked about Scott Jurek running the ultra Badwater. It helped me get through the last tough miles. 

I also found the other runners on the trail very motivating. One guy even gave me a thumbs up and hollered , “Nice Job.” This kind gesture, made me remember that even though I ran my long runs solo, I wasn’t ever really alone. There were other runners out there in that very hot day, running high mileage, just like me.

18 Mile Run- I chose to do my 18 miler on a Monday instead of Saturday because the weather was a little cooler. My mom watched my baby as I hit the trail. It turned out being a beautiful run, and I made great timing. 

Half Marathon – My training plan had a half marathon scheduled for the same day that the Navy Half Marathon was scheduled in DC. Because the Army 10 miler is a couple week later (which is very popular) the Navy Half never fills up. So last minute I decided to register for it. Most of the other people I knew running it that were also running MCM were using  it as a training run. I decided to race it and boy am I glad I did. I ended up running an awesome time, 1:53:54, and felt great the whole time. This race brought me my confidence back. 

20 Mile Run – It is just 10 miles down And then 10 miles back. I decided to run this one from my house. It ended up being an awesome run. I came across another mural in Roslyn. 

Then I jumped on the trail to have some gorgeous views of DC. 

I finished in 3:40 so my timing was on point. It was good to get a really nice 20 miler done. 

20+ miler – I normally always do a 21 miler, just because mentally it helps me finish. I run 5 mile easy runs during the week, 21 ends up being my longest run. Then during the race when I hit 21, I tell myself, “Oh good, it’s just my 5 mile easy run.” It works every time. 

This 20+ miler was suppose to be my 21, but I was rushing out the door and didn’t get enough to eat. So around mile 15 my stomach started growling. I was starving. I ended this run at my car around 20.40 miles. I immediately went to Starbucks and grabbed a kind bar and a venti soy chai latte. Besides that, I ran through the sprinklers in Georgetown and hit up all the bridges including the 14th street bridge. 


This training season I tried to be very active in the online running community. I joined two running groups, Oiselle Volee and Mom’s Run this Town. And although, I only went running with them once, I was able to get support from them by posting online. 

I also noticed through Instagram that many runners were setting monthly goals. I decided to do the same.

JULY – AUGUST 


AUGUST – SEPTEMBER 


SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 

Although, there were days that I dreaded running in the heat, and days that I worried if I could fit my runs in my busy schedule… Overall, I really enjoyed this training season. 

You are dear to my heart Marine Corps Marathon. Always teaching me that the possibilies are endless. 

No matter what happens race day, this training season has been unforgettable. And the best part is having Zoe by my side every mile of the way. She is not my EXCUSE… She is my REASON. 


Now let’s run all the miles, with the Marines! 

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

Marathon Training Update: 17 miler & why RUNNING slow is important. 

Yesterday, I ran a lovely 17 miler. Finally, Mother Nature gave us a break from 90 degree weather. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the 75 degree air was such a sweet gift.

I always have to remind myself to RUN SLOW, especially in the beginning of my long run. 

I am following the Hal Higdon intermediate marathon training plan. And Hal normally recommends that runners run their long run 30-90 (or more) seconds slower than marathon pace. 

Why is this so important?  

Hal says, “The physiological benefits kick in around 90-120 minutes, no matter how fast you run. You’ll burn a few calories and trigger glycogen regenesis, teaching your muscles to conserve fuel. Running too fast defeats this purpose and may unnecessarily tear down your muscles, compromising not only your midweek workouts, but the following week’s long run.”

The above statement is so true. So I’m trying to do my long runs at a nice comfortable slower pace, and saving my fast running for the marathon itself. 

There is also the marathon strategy of… Jogging the first 20 miles of the marathon and racing the last 10k. Desi the female Olympic marathon is one known for running her marathons like this. 

I will not be running my marathon like this, but Hal brings up the point of running your long runs slow, if not for the whole thing, at least in the beginning. This is easier said then done. But it is a technique that I want to try during my next couple long training runs. 

It would be so awesome to be able to run the last couple miles of my long run, fast and strong. 

I need to remind myself that my long training runs are just an opportunity to practice for my actual marathon race. So if I have a bad long run, brush it off and move forward, there will be plenty of other times to practice leading up to my marathon. 

And of course, if I have a great long run, then I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. I’ll keep practicing the way I have been. 

Anyway, that’s it for now! I hope you guys have some great long runs this week. And just remember a common mistake runners make is running their long run to fast. It is okay and actually quite beneficial to run your long runs slow. There are other days during the week that you can run fast or at marathon pace, but use your long run, as a practice run for your marathon. 

Run ALL the Miles!!

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily 

July training Recap & August Goals plus tips on Smart fitness Goal Setting.

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July Mileage
July – It was hot and sweaty, but I followed my marathon plan and I am now use to the heat. I am seeing distance progress every week.

I have run 96.8 miles for the month of July.

This is great, but I know I can do more, do better, run further, run faster.

I am looking forward to increasing my mileage for the month of August, as my marathon training gets more intense.

AUGUST GOALS:

My main fitness focus right now is training for my October marathon, The Marine Corps Marathon. This means following my training plan by Hal Higdon (Intermidate plan.) For the month of August I will be running at least 138 miles.

Along with the training plan, I will also try to work in some strength training, hill repeats and track workouts. Although, I am passionate about weight lifting, it is definitely not the priority at the moment, running those marathon training miles is. Plus, because I am running with my baby during the week, running with the extra weight of the stroller has really helped strengthen and use my core/upper body muscles in a different way. However, strength training is so important for running further, faster, and injury free. So I am going to make more of an effort to fit it in weekly, and take it to a more intense level on my lower mileage weeks.

To make it easier for me to fit in strength training, I have invested in gym equipment and made a space at home for my own personal gym. (Look for a post in the future about how to set up a home gym.) Two years ago, before I got pregnant with Zoe, I was a regular at my gym easily lifting weights for an hour or two 5x a week. Now just the idea of driving to the gym, parking, and then waiting for a bench to lift at makes me stressed, it takes up to much of my valuable time, and I felt like I was always rushing. Plus, I am now much more self motivated. I still have my gym membership, but as of now, my home gym is the perfect fit for my busy working mom lifestyle. I don’t feel rushed, and I can workout at night, after my baby goes down for the night. Run in the morning, lift at night.

So now that you know how July went and some of my plans for August…let’s talk about goals.

My Ultimate Goal- Run the Marine Corps Marathon, in under 4:19:00, on October 30th 2016.

Serious Goal for August – For the month of August, I plan to run 138 miles, also incorporating strength training, hill repeats, and track workouts, high knees and plyometrics.

With that being said lets talk about smart goals…

How To Set a SMART goal…

Setting a goal is easy, but reaching it is hard. That is why you want to make sure your goal is smart.

What makes a goal smart?

The difference between a goal and a smart goal, is that a smart goal is specific with a plan of action.

EXAMPLE 

(This is NOT a goal of mine, it’s just a common goal.)

I want to loose weight – is NOT a smart goal. Change this goal to a smart goal it would look like I will loose 15 pounds by November 1st, by meal prepping and eating organic whole foods. You have exactly the amount of weight you want to loose and a time frame to achieve the goal in, with an idea of how you are going to reach your goal.

Once a smart goal is essablished you will need a plan to put into action to help you succeed at reaching this goal. The more detailed your plan the better.

Now that you understand a smart goal we can talk about mine.

MY SMART GOAL

I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon, in under 4:19:00, on October 30th 2016. (This is a smart goal, because I am registered for a specific race, with a specific finishing time, scheduled on a specific day.)

This goal is my ultimate smart goal, however, my August goal is to run 138 miles for the month. (Again this is smart because it has a specific amount of miles to run by a certain time.)

Another thing about my ultimate goal is the finishing time goal. 4:19:00 is what I am planning on running the marathon in, so I am pacing myself during my training runs to prepare for this goal. However, race day is unpredictable and anything could happen, so I will reevauate during the race whether I run slower or faster. I have other time goals in mind for if I end up running slower (4:30:00) or faster (4:15:00).

MY PLAN of ACTION

I am following the Hal Higdon Intermediate marathon training plan. In the plan I am running 5x a week – 2 easy short runs, 2 mid distance runs, and 1 long weekend run. I am cross training 1 day a week and resting one day a week.

I am increasing mileage for two weeks, (higher mileage weeks) and then tapering down every 3rd week (lower mileage week).

I am running with my daughter pushing the running stroller on my week day runs. I am running my long run on Saturday morning solo. My baby and I have a morning routine. We wake up early, eat breakfast, and get ready and hit the running trail. We have to because it has been so hot.

Additional goal: My body is ready to take on more so I will add hill repeats and track workouts to the mix and do strength training on lower mileage weeks. High knees and plyometrics is also something I will be adding for speed.

I am wearing my garmin 620 to record my pace, distance, cadence. With that being said, I am keeping my long run pace at marathon pace, nothing faster than 9:30 min/mile nothing slower than 10:00/mile.

I am also recording my progress using the Strava app.

I will run 138 miles for the month of August because my plan says I will.

TIP

My training plan is an 18 week training plan. I write each workout, each training run, on my calendar, as if each workout/training run is an appointment I have that day. 

There is no guessing, every workout/training run is written down for the upcoming weeks until race day.

Another tip: 

If you need motivation find a running buddy or running group. If no one is interested in running with you, which I have found in my case, then read running blogs or find an online running community. There is an amazing running community through Instagram.

Always keep it fun!

Fun – Along with my serious goals, I always like to have a fun one. A fun goal helps motivate me to complete the serious goal. For the month of August, while I’m running 138 miles, I want to see more sunrises, see more sunsets, and find more street art and city murals.

Below is a picture of me running along side of a mural in my neighborhood.


What is your monthly mileage for July?

Do you have a run goal for August?

Lets run all the miles!!


Marathon Training Update: Week 4

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

– Born to Run

Even, with the extreme heat conditions in the DC area, I ended week 4 of marathon training on a high note.

Monday, July 18th – Distance: 3 miles, Time: 28:27, Pace: 9:27, Type: Stroller Miles 

Tuesday, July 19th- Distance: 4 miles, Time: 39:38, Pace: 9:52, Type: Stroller Miles

Wednesday, July 20th- Distance: 6.1 miles, Time: 57:36, Pace: 9:23, Type: Solo running 

Thursday, July 21st- Distance: 3.1 miles, Time: 29:15, Pace: 9:29, Type: Stroller Miles

Friday, July 22nd- Distance: 6 miles, Time: (5 miles – 47:26, 1 mile – 10:16), Pace: (9:34, 10:16), Type: Stroller Miles

Saturday, July 23rd- Distance: 11.4 miles, Time: 1:54, Pace: 10:01, Type: Solo Running/Long Run

Total miles for the week – 33.6 miles

RECAP

I ran 6 days this week. 4 out of the 6 runs were stroller miles, with Zoe. The combination of stroller miles and the extreme summer heat is finally making me stronger and faster.

STROLLER MILES

Running a 6 mile (mid distance run) with the stroller, the day before my long run, made me confident and strong during my 11 mile long run.

LONG RUN

I was a little nervous about the heat. It was all over the news that the DC area was under a heat advisory, and that because of extreme humidity, the air quality was at dangerous levels. So I made sure on Saturday for my long run, I was out on the trail by 6:30 am. When I started my run it was in the high 70s, when I finished my run it was in the 90s. Most of my splits were at marathon pace, between 9:30-10.

I’m actually really enjoying running early mornings. The city is quiet while everyone is still sleeping, but the trail is busy with all of us morning runners getting our long runs done. It’s such a great vibe, and the sun rises are so pretty.

I hope everyone had great runs this week. Run Happy!!

Stroller miles, Mother RUNNER, Marathon Training

Hey lovelies,

I forgot to tell you, I am registered for the Marine Corps Marathon!

I have just finished week 3 of my marathon training. And, although this will be my 4th time training and running the Marine Corps Marathon, things are very very different this time around.

My running buddy is Zoe, my 10 month old daughter. And because we are inseperatable, we do everything together… It is not all about me anymore. This has made training a little bit more challenging, but also way more fun!

WEEK Day Training with the stroller.

During the week, I have been doing my shorter runs pushing Zoe in the running stroller. Pushing the stroller is definitely harder than running solo. (For those who are interested, I am running with the BOB revolution, pro. I intend on writing a blog post about the product so stay tuned.) Not only do I have the extra load, the stroller itself weighs 25 lbs, plus Zoe, but my running form is different when I run with the stroller.

If you have been following my running journey for a while now, you may already know, that I’m obsessed with proper running form, especially since I run in a natural barefoot running shoe, with a low heel to toe drop. (Newton)

And although, I have gotten faster running while pushing the stroller, it is impossible for me to pick up my cadence. Which means I must be over striding. When I run solo my cadence is a perfect, 180. But when I run with the stroller, it is low 130-140 spm.

I also usually use my right hand to steer/push the stroller. I need to work on switching arms, so both sides of my body are balanced.

The longest run I have done with Zoe, is an 8 miler. My legs didn’t hurt, but my arms did by mile 6.

Weekend running, long run.

The plan is to run my shorter miles during the week with Zoe, but run my longer runs on the weekend solo. Well, of course the first week of training, I told my husband I was going out for my long run, and he told me he had tons of things to do, and he needed me to take Zoe.

Week 1- long run 8 miles

Because according to my training plan my long run for the week was only an 8 miler, I decided it was doable to bring Zoe along. So off we went for an 8 miler. This was the longest run I have done while pushing the stroller.

It was also late afternoon and 80+ degrees. I knew this was a big mistake. I should have gotten out there earlier, but I had to get the miles in. I chose the shadiest part of the MVT, however, the shadiest part is also the hilliest part.

My plan was to just chug along up and down those hills, stopping briefly to check on Zoe every 2 miles.

1-4 miles went really well. Miles 4-6, I mentally broke down. Miles 6-8 I pulled it together and finished strong. So strong that I thought I could have kept going for another mile or two.

Zoe absolutely loves going on runs with me. It is really nice for her to get fresh air. She loves all the views and the trail gives her lots of trees and water to look at. It is also important for her to see me living an active, healthy lifestyle, enjoying nature.

However, with that being said. It takes me between 1 hour and 25 minutes and 1 hour 35 minutes to run 10 miles.

I will take Zoe out for a 10 miler, but I really don’t want to take her out longer than that. I am very lucky, that she loves her stroller, and like I said above there are some amazing, healthy benefits about stroller miles, but I can’t keep her strapped in a stroller for longer than 10 miles.

Now that she is scooting around and pulling herself up, it is important for her to move, and play. It’s my job as her mama to give her that time and opportunity to play and move, to problem solve and discover. She needs her exercise too.

Week 2- long run 9 miles

Again, I didn’t get out there early enough, however I was excited to see what I could do running solo, (with out pushing a 10 month old in a stroller.)

The heat was killer, a lot of runners were falling apart on the trail. But I had my water, and kept chugging along. Over all it was a fine run, mainly slower because of the heat.

Week 3- long run 6 miles

Once again, I will have more success if I get out there earlier when it is cooler. The heat is definitely taking its toll on me. Getting out there around 9:30 am is just way to late.

The more I practice running in the heat, the more my body will get use to it. However, lately it has been a heat wave and it’s just not healthy to run in, because of the high humidity levels.

I had a really slow 6 miler and thought to myself, goodness, maybe I can’t do this marathon training. If I’m feeling bad doing 6 miles, what am I going to do next week when I have to do an 11 miler.

Although, my 6 miler felt bad during, I felt great after.

Later, that night a fellow mother runner, Lina, asked me to do 4 miles with her. It had just stormed which cooled the 90 degree day to 70 degrees and there was a breeze.

This was my chance to test myself. It was only a 4 miler, but I wanted to see how I would do. Turns out I ran just fine and all of my negative thoughts from earlier were erased. It was just the heat and running in cooler weather made all the difference.

It was also great doing a double, running 6 miles in the morning, and 4 miles at night which gave me a total of 10 miles for the day.

Training PLAN and Apps

The training plan I am following is the Hal Higdon Intermidate training plan. I am interested in heart rate training, and considered following the heart rate marathon training plan by another mother runner. However, for this marathon, I am following Higdon’s plan because I have used his plans in the past and I have always found success. So I’m sticking to what I know works, while throwing a baby into the mix.

Although, I love my Garmin, I am also tracking my mileage using Strava! The Strava app is awesome! I love that I can follow other runners and they can follow me. When training for a marathon alone, it is important to check in with other runners and be inspired by their training and give/receive encouragement and support. I will also be reading more running blogs. I read tons of running blogs two years ago when I trained for my marathon and I didn’t feel so alone.

Another feature that I love about Strava is how it breaks down your running stats. It also records your PRs.

So if you are on Strava please follow me! I’m on there under sweat1xdaily. You can also find me on Instagram @sweat1xdaily.

Well that’s all for now!

Run Happy!
Which marathon are you training for?


Motivation Monday, Marathon Monday

Here is a little Motivation Monday for ya…

Look who is running Boston!

11178273_10153366772075329_5932238360212199409_nScott Jurek (one of my favorite runners of all time) is running Boston this morning. I got this photo taken by John Segesta, off of Jurek’s fb page. But I had to share it with you because it is so inspiring.

I love this photo because just by looking at this inspiring image you can see that running is so much more than just putting one foot in front of the other!

Scott Jurek says, “I used to run for my mother who couldn’t run and now I get to be the eyes for Thomas Panek who can’t see.

As you can see, there is reason behind why a runner runs?

Why do you run?

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© sweat1xdaily 2015

Kara Goucher struggles at the NYC Marathon

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Last Sunday was the New York City Marathon.

Kara Goucher one of my favorite female elite runners ran it. She went to New York, not in it to win, but hoping for a solid 2:28 race.

I remember my run last Sunday. It was windy. So windy my lips got chapped. While I was running, I was thinking… I hope it’s not this windy in NYC. If it is, there aren’t going to be any PRs, marathon times are going to be slow.

I constantly talk about the weather on this blog, as a runner the weather really does make or break us. In Kara Goucher’s case, it broke her.

She suffered…

Hit the wall…

and struggled to finish.

I recently read her blog post, A Bitter Sweet Return, and it almost brought me to tears. As I read her post, I felt like I was running the marathon with her, right by her side. There are so many emotional moments. Ones that include…

Deciding to run the first ten miles with the lead pack.

At mile 9, realizes the others aren’t intimidated and slowed down by the wind. Her game plan back fires. She went out too fast, causing her to burn out.

Slowing down running the next 10 miles solo. 

Goucher spots Edna Kiplagat at mile 18, and uses her as a target. Unfortunately, she barely passes her, and never regains energy. 

Continues running to mile 24, knowing her coach would be there. But being too delirious that she runs right by him, never seeing nor hearing his support.

Finally, Goucher makes it to finish line.
There is a quote that goes something like, “The only run you regret is the one you don’t do…” Goucher says she has no regrets… As a runner, we run races. Some end up good, while others bad.
“I have at times been criticized for showing so much emotion.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and have never been good at “keeping it together.”  
Goucher poured her heart out on her blog. And the reason why I found it so important to recap her race and blog post is because of that reason. She is so passionate. And I have always put elite runners in a whole different light. On a different level. Physically they are on a different level, but after reading her blog post I realized elite runners are really not much different then you and I. They have the same mental strategies, and the same mental break downs.
  • The wind effects them.
  • They go out too fast.
  • They don’t want to run alone.
  • They use other runners as a focus target… to run faster in hopes to regain energy.
  • They look for familiar support at mile markers.
  •  They get delirious…
  •  They make it to the finish line.
  •  They never regret running.
  •  They have determination that the next run will be better.
As a runner, I read Kara Goucher’s emotional blog post and totally got it.  I’ve been there, and done that, but of course 2 hours slower. 
© 2014 sweat1xdaily
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