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 ‚Äúkeeping it together.‚Ä̬†¬†
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

Marine Corps Marathon Virgins: Here are some Tips and a Recap

Marine Corps Marathon is tomorrow morning!

This is by far my favorite race.

I am registered to run it, and I am extremely disappointed that I will have to sit this one out.¬†Unfortunately, ¬†my training this summer, didn’t go as planned, and to top it off, I got my wisdom teeth pulled on friday. So I am now on painkillers and swollen like a chipmunk. ¬†UGH!¬†But I always have to remind myself that it is way more important to listen to your body. There will always be another marathon to run. There will always be next year, to run MCM.¬†And the most hilarious part is the dentist who pulled my teeth will be running the marathon tomorrow. She was telling me how nervous because it will be her first time running 26.2.

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. Enjoy!

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I’ll be cheering you on! Look for me at mile 23. xo

For a full race recap check out my Marine Corps Marathon experience from last year.

© 2014 sweatdaily

 

The time I kind of ran the Chicago Marathon.

It is the weekend of the Chicago Marathon.

I am not running it this year, but I will be running, The Army Ten Miler, a very popular local race here in the DC area. Although, the ATM has the same amount of runners as the Chicago Marathon, it is no 26.2.

In 2011, my sister and I signed up for the Chicago Marathon. I had run Marine Corps Marathon two times before. The 2011 Chicago Marathon would have been my 3rd full. Unfortunately, the summer was brutally hot, and I ended on antibiotics, because of stomach issues most of my training. It was hard to fuel my body for my long runs. At the end of the day, I decided I just couldn’t continue training. I was really disappointed, but I run to be healthy and have fun, not to injure myself.

Because hotels and flights were already booked, I decided I would still go to Chicago. My mom and younger sister were coming with me. My older sister was running the full marathon, and we all wanted to be there to support her. My mom had a brilliant idea. She told me to go to the expo, get my bib number, and run a portion of the race. I paid for the race, so why not? I decided to meet my sister at mile 16 and run the last 10 miles with her, as a pacer, as support.

So I went to the expo. It was the best expo yet! 313001_10100216570772486_192728463_n

I got to see Hal Higdon. Hal Higdon is guy who created the marathon training plans I follow. I have always had success. It was cool seeing him!

 

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315509_10100216570483066_1713784094_n-1We took a selfie together.312941_10100216568921196_1160650670_nHe signed my bib!

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Em had fun at the expo too.

The next morning I woke up early with my mom and little sister and we headed to mile 2 to cheer my sister on. She was doing great. Once we saw her, I jumped on the ‘L’ waited around mile 16. Once, I saw my sister I jumped in and ran the last 10 miles with her. It was a hot one! But she made it to the finish.

301209_10100218174598406_769512413_nThe picture is small, but there Em is wearing her Chicago Marathon Medal. I am hoping to run the full Chicago Marathon sometime in the future and get a medal of my own.

The Spirit of the Marathon

Today in honor of the Chicago Marathon, I watched The Spirit of the Marathon. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should watch it, especially if you are running Chicago tomorrow. ¬†It is about a couple different people who decided to run Chicago. They are of all different fitness levels, and have different running goals.

So go ahead, rent it off of itunes or amazon. It is only 1 hour and 40 minuets, so you still have time to watch it. Crawl into your hotel bed, get comfortable, and I promise you will be inspired.   The documentary will totally get you pumped to run.

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As for me, I am doing my night before race ritual, laying out my race clothes. And getting a good night sleep. I am very excited to wake up at 5 am tomorrow morning and run the ATM. I haven’t raced since April, and this will be the first race since my running buddy had a baby, that we will be running together. Can’t wait!

G O O D    L U C K   C H I C A G O   M A R A T H O N E R S ! ! ! ! !

Have fun! 

and to everyone running Army Ten Miler! See you at the start!  xo

 

Questions for you…

  • Whose running a race tomorrow?
  • Which race are you running?
  • Have you ever seen The Spirit of the Marathon?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Will the Apple Watch replace your Garmin?

The newest addition to the Apple family will be the Apple Watch, which will be released early 2015.

They have a couple different models, including a Sports model!

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When Apple first announced they were releasing a watch, I thought the idea was stupid. But now that there is a sports addition I am very curious.

 

It looks really cool, but will it function as good as some of the leading brands?

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Some of the Features…

  1.  Band is durable and strong. Yet surprisingly light and soft.
  2.  Sport models are as light as possible.
  3.  Made with strong scratch resistant alumina-silicate glass.
  4.  There are a variety of apps that will do things such as monitor your activity through out the day.
  5.  Heart rate sensor.
  6.  There are reminder features to tell you when your next workout is.
  7.  Data sharing.
  8.  It is unclear whether the GPS feature to track runs will be used from the iPhone. In this case runners will need to run with your iPhone.

The watch will retail $349.

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Being a serious runner, my watch has become my running buddy. I am
pretty loyal to Garmin.

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Above are the facts, but it will be interesting to hear reviews once the watch comes out.

Will the Apple Watch replace your Garmin? Which running watch is your favorite?

References:

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Summer Running… Why I may defer my MCM bib.

I can’t believe how fast this summer has been flying by. Honestly, it has been really busy and I can’t believe this summer girl is saying this… But I am ready for summer to end. Normally, I love summer, but because my wedding was at the end of June, my first month of summer was consumed completely with planning our big day. I definitely had a love/hate relationship with the planning process.

I loved everything about my wedding, but because of my wedding, I took off 9 days of work, which has made it swamped for me once I got back. So I am ready for things to slow down, and for the crisp air to make an appearance.

I know I haven’t blogged much this summer. And most of my blog posts have been about my wedding. It has seemed like I have been pretty obsessed. But, in all honesty, I have been. Every bride-to-be or newly wed is… It only happens once so might as well be.

Anyway, I haven’t had much free time this summer. In the small amount of free time I have been squeezing in runs, cooking up a storm, knitting, reading, and trying to do some design changes to my home.

This summer has not been too hot. In fact, I’m considering this summer straight up cold. Being from the DC area, I am use to sweltering record breaking, code red days. But this summer has actually been perfect running weather. Most runners have been in heaven. That is why it disappoints me that I have no desire what so ever to run far. Instead, I have been enjoying faster shorter runs. Unfortunately, I also have been having some minor health issues, that I have seen the doctor about. Because of this, I may defer my bib for MCM until next year. I have until August 31st to decide.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. A couple years ago, when training for the ¬†Chicago Marathon I had some digestive track issues which left me unable to fuel my body for long runs. When it comes to running and training, I do it to be healthy and have fun, not to injure myself. Plus, I have run MCM 3 times before, I have already proved to myself that I can finish the 26.2 distance. With that being said, if I can’t train to PR, and my training isn’t at the intensity level I want it to be at, then it is best to defer until next year when I can really train at the best of my ability. In other words, I don’t half ass my training, and I definitely do not run a race I don’t train for. The training is part of racing, and it is one of my favorite parts.

So the year before last I felt the same thing about long runs. I was tired of running slow and far. So I decided to switch it up and sign up for half marathons and 10 milers. I switched to a natural barefoot running shoe, (out of being bored) and focused on running form. I worked on speed, cadence, and started lifting weights. I became a faster, stronger runner. This change made me happy. And being able to change… is also the reason I love running. If you are bored switch up your shoe. If you are tired of running slow and far, start running shorter and faster. If you are tired of city running, hit the trails. This sport has something for any runner’s mood, for whichever type of runner you choose to be. And it is perfectly okay to be a marathon runner one year and a half marathon runner, or ultra marathoner the next year. Switch it up, keep things exciting.

If any of you have been reading my blog over the years, you would know last year, was quite the opposite. I was pretty excited, and ready to really consume myself with marathon training. I looked forward to longer runs, and higher mileage weeks. I was sooo obsessed about my marathon training that I annoyed a few people with my daily  facebook and instagram running posts.

Anyway, one thing I want to make clear, is that I love MCM. This race is my absolute favorite! And I’ll be involved in it in some way, whether that means running it or showing love and support.

A lot of people are running now. My coworker just started training for her first half marathon (Go Katie). My other coworker is running as well. ¬†My running buddy is doing her first full marathon (MCM.) Seems like everyone is running and racing. And although, training for a race and then racing it, is my favorite thing to do, I don’t feel the need to run every race in the area.

Racing all the time can be fun, but it also is expensive and time consuming. Trust me I know, last April I ran two 10 milers and 1 half marathon. It was fun, but it was expensive. But, once April had ended I was happy to sleep in. I will admit I definitely got tired of waking up early and trying to get to a race, then rushing into work right after.

This fall I only signed up for MCM. When I train for a marathon, I am very disciplined. I run long runs when I am scheduled to, I taper when I am scheduled to.¬†Because of this, when¬†I run MCM, I don’t normally sign up for any other races, unless it lines up with my training plan.¬†

I’ve come to the conclusion that signing up for a race and running it, doesn’t make you any more of a runner than someone who is still running daily to stay in shape and have fun.

And at the end of the day, even elite runners and professional athletes sometimes need to pull out of a race…¬†

So with that being said, I’ll keep you updated on what I decide about MCM.

If I decide NOT to run MCM….

there is always next year!¬†There are always other marathons to run… Trust me I have plans… Plus, I have some other fun exciting things I will be doing to get my running fix…

But in the mean time enjoy some of these summer running photos below…

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That’s it for now… Hope you are enjoying your summer.

Do you have a race this fall? Who is training for a marathon?

© 2014 sweatdaily

Do you want to be a faster runner? Here’s the Secret…

There are lots of ways to become a faster runner.

Hill repeat…

Track workouts…

Speed work…

But the one thing that most runners neglect is their upper bodies. It is a strong upper body and core that will significantly improve a runner’s speed.

Why?

Upper body strength helps improve your posture and running form. Your legs are not the only thing that moves you. You use your arms, core, back, shoulders for guidance and balance. 

“Upper-body strength is essential for boosting your speed?”¬†– Jeff Horowitz author of Quick Strength for Runners.

My experience:¬†Last year, I hit the weight room, and found a new passion for lifting. I knew a stronger body would help prevent running injury, but I didn’t know it would improve my pace significantly.

During my April (2013) 10 milers, and half marathon, I began setting new PRs. It was an amazing feeling to be running an 8:30 min/mile. Nothing in my running training plan had changed. In order to fit my weight lifting sessions in, I was actually running less.  The only thing  I was doing different was focusing on getting stronger and lifting weights. Turns out it made a huge difference.

I loved the way my body looked. I loved the way I felt. I didn’t just look stronger, I felt stronger. And the cherry on the cake, I was running stronger, faster, and with better form.

This last marathon season, because my milage increased significantly, I lost some of my muscle. It was hard to fit in both weight lifting and running. During marathon training my main focus was getting those long runs in, so my weight lifting sessions decreased to once a week.

But now I am back at it.

I did 4 weeks of lifting heavy and super sets. Then I did 3 weeks of active rest periods and super sets.  Now I am doing 2 weeks of circuit training. I am also running 25-30 miles a week. Sometimes on rainy days, I will do some HIIT on the t-mill.

I’m finally getting some of my muscle back!

Articles you may like…

  1. Nike Women Half Marathon DC
  2. Running Form Clinic
  3. Back in the Gym and running 18 miles

What’s your favorite thing to do in the gym?

© 2014 sweatdaily

You Race Photos are Important…

A week after Marine Corps Marathon, an email from Marathonfoto was patiently waiting for me in my inbox. For me, this is like Christmas. I am always excited to to receive my race photos. The image of me sprinting to the finish line just like an elite runner always flashes across my mind. Maybe, they’ll snap a photo of Erik waiting for me so I can smooch him in celebration of a new PR, just like elite runner Emma Coburn did in this photo.

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Or maybe this time, I’ll look just like Kara Goucher, my arms in the air, breaking the tape with a smile of victory across my face. I’m patriotic, I’ll carry an American flag too.

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Well turns out I can keep dreaming, because my race photos never turn out that good. However, because of the improvement in my running form, they have been looking better and better.

Your race photos are important and can actually be very beneficial for you. So even though, you may not look like Kara Goucher, do not ignore your race photos. It is important not only to look at your race photos, but also analyze them. It is your race photos that will reveal the truth to you, about your strengths and weaknesses in your running form.

Have you been feeling pain? Have you had the same running injury over and over again? Well there is a reason why, and maybe you can find the answers to all of your questions by looking closely at your race photos.

So lets take a look at mine and start critiquing my running form. 18 months ago, I switched my shoe to a natural barefoot running shoe, and since then I have really focussed on transitioning my form from a heel striker to a mid foot/forefoot natural barefoot running stride. And although, my running form has improved significantly, it still isn’t perfect.

WEAKNESSES FOUND

In some of the photos you can see that I lean back instead of forward. This is something that I was doing and didn’t even know it. In the photos that I am leaning back in, it looks like I may be over striding. Another interesting thing is that I land on the outside of my foot. ¬†I already slightly knew this by examining the wear and tear at the bottom of my shoes, but it is revealed as well in these photos. In order to get my foot landing more even on the ground, I am going to have to strengthen my gluteus medius. Sometimes it takes strengthening a muscle or stretching a muscle to solve a problem.

STRENGTH FOUND

As for strengths, the biggest thing I am proud about is that I am consistently landing on my forefoot. I am very balanced in every photo. In most photos, my stride is short and bouncy with high knees.

Overall I am happy with how far my running form has improved. I can’t stress enough how important running form is. You wouldn’t go play golf without knowing how to properly hold the golf club, so if you are new to running, do not just head out for a run, learn how to properly run. If you can improve your running form, in most cases, you will stay injury free.

So go ahead, take the time, to examine and analyze your race photos. They are one of the best tools to use, to reveal the truth about your running.

” The beautiful thing about running barefoot or in minimal footwear is that you are working with your body’s natural proprioception, the ability to sense your own position in space. With nothing between you and the ground you get immediate sensory feedback every step, which encourages you to stay light on your feet and run with proper form.”

– Scott Jurek

This was my first time running this distance in a natural barefoot running shoe. There was a time durning my training that I was nervous about running that far in my Newtons. But I built up to it and had an awesome marathon in them.

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© 2013 weatdaily

Race Report: Marine Corps Marathon

“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¬†

Below is the song I had in my head, the story I told myself. Below is my experience running my 3rd Marine Corps Marathon, revealing everything to you, including my mental strategies.

NIGHT BEFORE

Around 10:00 pm, I read the Marine Corps Marathon Facebook page status. It said something along the lines of, “It’s bed time! Sleep Tight runners.” I laughed at the idea – no one sleeps well the night before a big race.

I curled up in bed, everything prepared exactly the way I wanted it, totally ready for race day. My alarm was set for 6:00 am, but I knew I would wake up before it went off. I wasn’t nervous, I was more excited and anxious. It was definitely bitter sweet, this marked the end of my marathon training, and when I woke in the morning, it would be the beginning of my race day.

MORNING OF 

As I predicted, I tossed and turned through out the night, checking the clock. At 5:50 am, the text messages started. Friends and family wishing me good luck for my big race. I turned off my phone alarm and headed to the bathroom where all my race stuff was laid out. After getting dressed in my race clothes, body gliding everything including the bottom of my feet (my problem area), I grabbed my bag, my Garmin, my iPod, my peanut butter sandwich, and a bottle of water, then I was off to my mom’s.

I arrived at her place, at 6:30 am, gave her a map of the course and a game plan of where to meet me through out the race. My little sister, even rolled out of bed to give me a quick pep talk, it was super helpful. I was already starting to feel pumped.

THE METRO 

Mom gave me a ride to the metro. And when entering the metro, I started to see all the other runners, what a relief, how exciting. MCM METRO¬†I got off at the pentagon, and just followed the crowd to the start. The sun started to rise, and the Marines were there, (and they were cuter than ever) welcoming us, and hollering, “Good morning, runners!!”

Because of Boston, security was tight, everyone had to have a clear see through bag, but the Marines kept it organized and checked bags quickly.

At this point it was 7:20 am, so I stripped down- peeling off my sweats. I checked my bag with the UPS trucks, stuffing everything except for my phone and sports beans into my bag and then handed it over. I was wearing shorts and a tank top and people began to comment, “Wow, looking at you makes me cold.” I answered back,” I am more concerned about overheating and being hot.” I had thought about wearing an old shirt, and old socks on my hands as gloves, but honestly, I didn’t think it was that cold out there, and I knew it would warm up quick. I saw people wearing long pants, hats, ear muffs – I thought they were crazy. It’s not January guys.

MY CORRAL

So I headed down to my corral. The last two times I ran this race I stood with the 4:30 group. This time I wanted to try to hang with the 4:15 group as long as I could. This race has 30,000 runners, so it is going to be packed, crowded. My sister thought it would be best to start with the 4:30 group so that way I wouldn’t go out too fast in the beginning. I however, was planning on running most of the race at a consistent pace that would get me to the finish line, with a new PR, which meant anything faster than a 4:30, but I was hoping for around a 4:15, and because of how crowded it can get I didn’t want to get stuck running to slow in the beginning. So my advice to you, when running in a crowded race, and you are debating between corrals, start with the faster one.

Once in my corral, I spotted the 4:15 pacer, she had a sign with red and white balloons. MCM 415¬†My plan was to run my own race, but keep my eye on her through out the race. I had my Garmin, and I had a pace bracelet (which I highly recommend), both of these would help me finish strong, with a new PR, so if I lost sight of the pacer, it wouldn’t ruin my race, plus she was passing the start line before I would be.

THE START

In the past, right before the gun went off, they would announce that, “The Marines are watching over you, on the ground and in the sky,” then they would fly military jets over our heads. This year they had people sky dive in to the corse. Everyone had their phones out trying to video tape and get photos, trying to capture the moment. It was really cool,creating an excited energy. Everyone was jumping up and down, and ready to cross over that start line. The gun went off at 7:55. At 8:10, I was across the start line, my Garmin was ticking.

FIRST 2 MILES

Down 110, up through Rosslyn, up the Lee Highway hill… Then on the right hand side, around mile 2, outside my sister’s apartment, I spotted my mom, Erik, Erik’s mom, my sister, and her friend Erin. They cheered loud, I cheered back, waving and continued on my way. They had really funny signs, that got them tons of attention.

MCM EM AND SIGNS

MILES 3-9

Down Spout run, up to the Key bridge, over the bridge, down M street, down Wisconsin. George Town was fun and full of spectators. Then to the waterfront, up Rock Creek park, I ran.

Running up Rock Creek was a new part of the course. It was fun to run up, and then see the faster runners running down. The loop around was a little congested, though, and then it took a little while for people ahead of me to pick up their pace. I guess people don’t run fast down, the down hills, but I like to, that is part of my strategy – as long as you don’t pound the pavement and you stay light on your feet, use momentum and physics to fly down the down hills.

MILE 10-12

Before I knew it I was at mile 10. This marathon was flying by. I checked my watch, I started to get concerned maybe I was running too fast. But I was right on time.

My family was suppose to meet me at mile 11, but around 10.5 I saw my sister sprinting next to me. What the heck… She screamed at me, that I had missed them and that instead of being at mile 11 they were at 10. She asked me if I had been receiving her text messages. I ended up moving my cell phone from my back pocket to my sports bra, so I would be able to read and respond to her text messages. Haha, I can’t believe I was texting and running – too funny.

HALF WAY DONE – Mile 13.1

The next mile marker my sister would be at was mile 16. She would text me when she got to her exact location. Next, significant mile marker I was passing was 13.1. I couldn’t believe I was already at the half way point. And while I was there, down in Hains Point, I realized I was running right behind the 4:15 pacer, balloons and sign. I turned off my music to listen to her pep talk.

THE PEP TALK

“We are not going to think that we still have a half marathon to run, but instead we are going to break the rest of this race up in pieces.” Perfect I thought, that was one of my original game plans. She continued,”First we are going to think about getting through these next two miles and making it to mile 15. Once we are at mile 15, we will be out of Hains Point, which means we will be out of this stupid park.” I couldn’t help but laugh, because it was so true, no one running the Marine Corps Marathon, likes running Haines Point. “Once we are at mile 15, we will be running on the National Mall. At mile 15, we will think about getting through the next 2 miles and making it to mile 17. This mile is a significant meaningful mile in a marathon because it takes us into signal digits.” Perfect that was another mental strategy I had been practicing. Then she told us, “From 17 we will run the next three miles and make it to mile 20, then we will beat the bridge and head out of DC and into Crystal City.” She told us she would stop talking now, and give us another pep talk on the bridge. Some guy who was totally out of breath desperately said, “Just get us there!” Haha this pacer has a lot of people depending on her. I loved her pep talk, it definitely motivated me, but I didn’t desperately need her to get me to the finish line. Her pep talk was helpful and got me even more mentally focused, but I still wanted to stick to my game plan, and watching my Garmin, running my own race.

MILE 15 

I then felt a vibration, and read a text from my sports bra. Em was waiting for me at mile 16 right passed the water station. I was at mile 15, I had easily made it out of the oh so boring Hains Point. I was running towards mile 16.

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MILE 16

Just like she said, I spotted Em right passed the water station at mile 16. Erin snapped a photo of the two of us.

MCM MILE 16

They were impressed with my timing, and told me that they would meet me in Crystal City next to the Cosi. So off I went.

MILE 17

I had made it to mile 17, and thought, single digits, single digits, 9 more to go. I was feeling great!

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MILE 18-20

I kept running, checking my pace bracelet, checking my Garmin, jamming out to my iPod. Then I realized I was leaving the National Mall, and approaching the 14th street bridge. I had made it to mile 20.

MCM BRIDGE

BEAT THE BRIDGE

In my previous Marine Corps Marathon, a Marine stands at mile 20, the start of the bridge, and he yells, “Mile 20, beat the bridge.” This year the Marines were there but they didn’t say anything. I was a little disappointed, but I kept my head focused. The bridge is almost 2 miles long. It can be super sunny and hot, or really windy and cold. This time around it was sunny and hot. This is also the spot where there are normally no spectators. It is just too tricky for spectators to get on the bridge. Ironically though, there were more this year, than the previous times I have run it. But because there aren’t that many spectators, this is the spot that a lot of runners, begin to walk, or stretch.

HITTING THE WALL

They stretch and walk, because they just ran 20 miles and no one is up there to see them walk. This is the spot that runners “Hit the wall.” I on the other hand was not hitting the wall, I was determined to beat the bridge. I stayed focused and promised myself I would not walk. I just wanted to run the bridge and get to the next water station. Plus I had just passed mile 21, only 5 more to go…

MILE 21

Mile 21 is a significant mile for me, because my longest run in training is a 21 mile run. (This year it might have been 22) During my weekly marathon training, I do a 5 mile easy run. When I hit mile 21 in my marathon, I told myself, “Only 5 mile to go, my five mile easy run.”

MILE 22

Finally, I got off the bridge. I was out of DC and in VA. At mile 22, I decided to take some sports beans and walk the water station. But I didn’t hang there too long, I started running again, and told myself that I need to get to Cosi, to find Em. I kept my eyes open for other people I recognized, but I didn’t see anyone.

MILE 23

Em was right where she said she would be, she is really good at spotting me. She jumped in just as we had planned. She was going to run the last 3.2 miles with me. She was going to be my Dusty. I was excited to have a buddy pace me to the finish line, especially since mile 23 was when I started to feel tired, and blistery on my left foot.

Lululemon was also cheering in Crystal City.  Along with some really funny signs, their energy made me get a second wind.

MCM COOL SIGN

As we ran, through Crystal City Em, told me that mom, Erik, and Erik’s mom were standing out front of Legal Seafood. They had changed the course from the previous years, and instead of looping all around Crystal Drive, we ran Crystal Drive and then turned up 23rd, passed Legal Seafood. I didn’t look at the corse map too closely, so this was a surprise to me, but it made more since and I liked it better.

Once I saw my family, I waved to them as they took my picture, and they screamed, “See ya at the Finish line.”

The finish line would be my last and final stop. I grabbed one last water cup at the final station, popped some sports beans, and told Em, “Let’s get this bad boy done.” She ran a little ahead of me, but I was totally fine with chasing her, it made me try to keep up my pace, blisters and all.

MILE 24

At mile 24, I though only 2 more miles. I will be done with my 3rd Marine Corps Marathon in less then 20 minutes. Although that seemed so short, at the same time the finish line seemed so far.

ONE MOE MILE

But just like in my previous two MCM, I saw the road sign that said, Memorial Bridge Exit. “Just get to that sign,” I thought. Then I was there. The next road sign I read said, Iwo Jima Memorial. “Just get to that road sign,” I thought. Then I was there. I made a left and saw the hill. Em wanted me to sprint up the hill as fast as I could. I had run this hill thousands of times before, because it is a part of one of my regular weekly running routes. I was familiar with this hill and new the finish line was right after it. So I ran as fast as I could up the Iwo Jima hill. And then, to the right of the hill, there it was the Finish line.

MCM race times

I had crossed over the finish line, finishing my 3rd Marine Corps Marathon, 11 minutes faster then my previous. My official time was 4:19:26. I had finished, I had set a new PR, and couldn’t have been happier!

THE FINISH – 26.2

Marines were there to greet us at the finish line. I was lucky to get a very cute one to put my marathon finisher medal around my neck. After, I walked around the finisher’s area, collecting all my goodies, I headed to brunch with my family. I sucked down two Blood Mary’s and ate donuts, at Lyon Hall. It was the perfect post race meal.

MCM HOT MARINE

MCM Finisher medal

MCM me

“One of the things I appreciate about running was how it strengthened and deepened friendships.” ~ Scott Jurek

I signed up for this race with L, but right when marathon training started she found out that she had a baby on the way. So I ended up training for this race totally by myself. This wasn’t the first time I had trained for a marathon totally alone, my last MCM I ran it solo as well. People have asked me, “Who did you run your marathon with?” ¬†I simply answered, “No one I can personally name off the top of my head. But I wasn’t bored or lonely. I ran with ¬†30,000 other runners, several spectators, the Military, everyone who read my blog, all of my family and friends who showed their support and love.”

So… Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

“In some ways, an ultra isn’t even as hard as a marathon.” ~ Scott Jurek¬†

© 2013 sweatdaily

* I have purchased all of my race photos from marathonfoto.com. I have not received my downloads and that is why I have the proof photos up. When the professional photos come, I will post those.

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