The Best Race of the Year! Marine Corps Marathon: Race Recap – Running in the Rain!

I never had the opportunity to write a detailed blog post about my experience at the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon. It was definitely my favorite race of the year. And now that today is 365/365 of 2019, I thought it was the last and perfect time to tell you my story. 

As you start setting 2020 running goals, and finalizing registration forms on future races, I hope you feel inspired and motivatedI mean, it was a decade ago, that I myself, found inspiration after reading an article on a flight to Massachusetts. It was about a man who set a New Years resolution to run his first marathon in Hawaii. Then I ran my very first 26.2 and got hooked, (this year I ran my 6th full.) So here you go, sit back and relax because this one is a good one.

Wow! Wow! Wow! – What a race!

Never have I ever, run a marathon in that kind of rain!

The week leading up to the Marine Corps Marathon, there was lots of chatter about the rain that was coming. It went from… “It’s not going to be a wash out. There is only a 50% chance of rain… to 80%, to 100% chance of rain. As more rain took over the forecast the temperatures also went up. The prediction: rainy, but warm.

It was all true. I woke up to rain drops making noise on the medal awning that covers my front porch.

“Oh, there it is – it truly is raining.” I thought.

It was 5:30 am, pitch black because the sun had yet to come up. I tip toed to the bathroom, where all my racing running gear was laid out, ready to go. I took a quick shower to wake up and warm up my muscles. I got dressed. After much debate the night before, I finally decided on my Oiselle team Volée crop and pocket joggers – hoping they would hold up in the rain comfortably without chaffing, or being to hot or to cold. 

Out the door I went, grabbing an umbrella and my breakfast – water bottle, applesauce pouch, and half of a bagel with peanut butter – it always does the trick.

Because my two daughters and husband were sleeping soundly, I drove to my mom’s house, who lives near the pentagon and I had her drop me off as close to the start as she could. Just like years in the past, I followed all of the other runners to the start, looking for familiar faces. But this year, it was hard to recognize anyone, because everyone was hiding from the rain under ponchos and umbrellas, desperately trying to stay dry. Even as I huddled under my umbrella, I could feel my socks and shoes starting to become soaked with rain.

“Well it is, what it is…” I told myself, “No matter what happens, I know one thing…. today we are going to get wet. Today we are going to be running in the rain.”

It was the mental talk I needed. I wasn’t going to let a little rain get to me. I’ve run in rain before and it can be refreshing and fun. I thought back to the 90 degree summer days when I was chugging along on the MVT during my long run, praying for any little bit of rain to cool me off.

Once at the start, I headed to the UPS bag check to meet my dad who also was running the marathon. When he arrived, I checked my bag and umbrella, and put on the plastic poncho, he gave me to stay as dry as I could.

THE START was rainy. We were all squished in, wearing ponchos trying to stay warm and dry, waiting patiently in the back of the 4:30 corral. But because of the rain it wasn’t as exciting as years in the past. There was no military jets flying above us, and no navy seals parachuting on to the course. No beach balls being tossed around. It was even hard to get photos, because my phone was tucked away in a zip lock bag.

However, the gun went off and the race began. And around 8:05 we were off heading down 110, through Rosslyn, and up Lee Highway.

My husband and daughters, along with my mom and friend, Elissa, were waiting for us at mile 2/3 on the right hand side. We saw them immediately, and after hugs and high fives, we were off again.

At this point, my dad and I decided that I should go on ahead. I was feeling pretty good and wanted to see what I could do. And because he had surgery in the middle of this marathon build up, he had to take a 3 week break from running. So he had no time goal in mind and was planning on “just finishing.”

I picked up the pace, and “politely” began to weave around other runners… “I got to find the 4:30 pacer,” I told myself.

Running up Rock Creek Park was beautiful, but the rain started pouring on us. Heavy rain drops made it hard to even see. At this point, I spotted the 4:30 pacer in the distance, but didn’t think I could catch him.

In the mean time, I realized that my watch was paused. Because I have a 5 year old Garmin – it is a touch screen. I must have wiped away rain to see the face and accidentally paused it. I wasn’t sure how long it was paused for, but once I started it up again my GPS was off. As I came to a mile marker, I realized it was catching up, and only 10-20 seconds off. Regardless, I wasn’t sure my exact pace and timing, and decided not to worry, and from then on I ran by feel.

On the Key Bridge, I ended up spotting two other Oiselle Birds, Meghan and Jen, from my running group Oiselle Volée. Which I chatted with them for a bit, but went on ahead.

Running over bridges is one of my favorite things, and the Key Bridge never disappoints. However, this time around, I forgot to take in the view, because I was more concerned about catching that 4:30 pacer.

Down Wisconsin to the waterfront, under the bridge, heading towards the Kennedy Center. Passing the Kennedy Center to the Memorial Bridge Stairs.

At mile 10, my pace was feeling good and consistent, and then I spotted Oiselle Birds, Courtney and Becca, cheering on the sidelines – it was awesome to see them.

Spectator support is what Marine Corps Marathon is known for, and is one of the aspects of the race that makes the experience so special. The fact that there might be a smaller “spectator” turn out, because of the rain had me worried. However, as I was running I only noticed it was a little less than years before. Because it was a warm rain, people still showed up to cheer, and I was impressed and thankful for it. Spectators are awesome – it makes a difference hearing their cheers.

Onward… I went running through the Blue Mile. The blue mile is a mile where we remember fallen soldiers. Their photos line the mile on both sides. It’s always an emotional mile. The rain really poured, almost as if the sky was crying, American flags blew in the breeze.

At this point I was half way through, leaving Hains Point and heading to the National Mall. The rain was still coming down, and my iPhone headphones completely stopped working. No music, at all! But the crowd was supportive enough, so I didn’t let it agitate me.

On the National Mall, I saw familiar faces cheering at mile 16. And then I noticed the 4:20 pacer. I asked how accurate he was, turns out he was on point. I couldn’t believe, I caught up and was splashing through puddles with the 4:20 pace group at the Marine Corps Marathon. – I might not break 4 hours, but the possibility of setting a new PR wasn’t far out of reach.

At mile 17, I was still rocking it with a smile. This marathon training cycle, I trained using the Hanson’s marathon method which has a 16 mile long run instead of the typical 20 miler. It has a focus on quality volume and balance. I customized the plan to fit my needs and did one 20 miler, however most of my long runs were 16 milers. I’ll write a detailed post about this training method and the benefits later. However, with that being said, when I hit mile 17, I knew I only had 9 miles left – entering single digits, and only had 3 more miles, until I BEAT THE BRIDGE – hitting mile 20, leaving Washington, DC, heading up and down the 14th street bridge to “Crystal City” Arlington, VA.

At mile 19, I pulled off to the side to text my husband, to let him know I was running towards the bridge. I was going to be in Crystal City in no time. The rain had stopped, so I ditched my plastic bag that was covering my phone, so I could continue communicating with my husband if needed.

At mile 20, BEAT the Bridge. It was slightly up hill, then on the flat service of the bridge I ran onward. The sun really started to shine bright, and it was getting hot. The bridge is always a hard spot because there are very few spectators, and a lot of runners “hit the wall” and start to walk. There was a self serve water station, but I didn’t need water, I could wait until Crystal City. Down hill I ran as I approached Virginia. I kept my eyes open for my Oiselle Volée running group who had a cowbell corner set up at mile 22.

Off the bridge a ran, and not long into Crystal City I spotted them, at mile 22, my Oiselle Volée team. They are the loudest most supportive running group of them all. Their cheers and high-fives definitely lifted me up.

Next up, looking for my husband and daughters. They were at mile 23. I pulled off to the side to chat with them. They gave me well wishes as I headed to the finish, and told me they were going to hang back to see if they could spot my dad, aka Grandpa Poppy.

Leaving Crystal City and looping near the Pentagon, at mile 24/25, I was then on 110… I could see the finish line in the far distance. At this point my pace was slowing a little, but my mental game was still strong. “Just get to the next street sign.” I whispered my mantra, “I got this! I was born to run.”

I saw the Memorial Bridge street sign and knew it wasn’t much further before I would be making a left up the hill to the finish.

Mile 26/26.2… I was there under a balloon filled arch with a sign that said HILL, heading up to the finish. It happened so fast, that the next thing I realized a Marine was draping a finishers medal around my sweaty neck. We shook hands, I thanked him for his service, and we snapped a photo…. It’s tradition!

As I wondered around the finishers village, I had received a text message from my husband saying he didn’t see my dad and that he was getting the car to meet me. I started tracking my dad and saw that his estimated finishing time was in 20 minutes! But it was too crowded to head back to the finish line.

The finisher village… I proudly walked around the finisher village with my medal shining. I went to the beer tent, and drank a cold one. I enjoyed the live music playing in Rosslyn. I headed to the UPS trucks to grab my checked bag. I chatted it up with some friendly runners from Boston who told me that the Boston Marathon has a lot of egos (first negative comment I’ve ever heard about Boston) and that there is nothing like running the Marine Corps Marathon.

Finishing Time … So how did I do?! I know you want to know. I didn’t break 4 hours, but I am very happy to say I finished in 4:18:06, which I actually didn’t know when I crossed the finish line. It wasn’t until my sister told me my official time (because she was tracking me) that I had set a new PR on this course. Wow! That was such a hard race, and I ran totally by feel, no accurate watch to show me time and pace along the way.

I eventually want to break 4 hours, but for several reasons, Marine Corps Marathon is a tough course to run fast on.

Overall, I am happy for a new PR and the experience and privilege to Run with the Marines! Plus look at this medal!

In 2019, I ran my 6th full marathon. I trained using a different training plan, the Hanson’s Marathon Method, while trusting in myself to customize the plan based on my own needs. I also (with my girls in the stroller), reached my goal of running a total of 1000 miles for the year. And I did that, while balancing work and motherhood (my babies always come first.) Maybe 2020 will be my year to break 4 in the marathon!? We shall see, one thing I know for sure, I’ll be running a lot, and mothering a lot, and having a whole lot of fun while doing it!

Happy New Year!

Boise Running ~ Marathon Training

~ BOISE RUNNING ~ Marathon Training Yesterday, I went out for my long run with no real goals, I’m in an area that I’m not familiar with on a family vacation. Mom guilt is real, and I didn’t want to be out there running for over 3 hours leaving the family. I can always squeeze one last long run in once I’m home. So game plan has changed slightly, and I confidently switched next week and this week’s long runs. So I will be running a 16-20 mile long run when I get home, then start properly tapering.

This running community of ours is pretty amazing! One of my favorite things about it is connecting with other runners! The running group I run for is the Oiselle Volee is nation wide. And because of how awesome social media is these days it’s so easy to be able to connect and stay in touch with others all over the world. Because I’m more active on social media now than before, I was able to get referrals of where to run in Boise and look up information, maps, etc through google and Instagram.

I ended up reaching out to Oiselle’s Idaho Volee seeing if there were any meet ups. And yesterday, I got the opportunity to meet up with another Oiselle Bird, Nicole from the Idaho Volee. She ran the first 50 minutes with me for my long run! It was awesome because she pushed me to run a little faster – which I know I can. I ended up easing into a rhythm and keeping my pace up – running a speedy 12 mile long run along the Boise River Green Belt.

It felt so good and easy, which is what

it should feel like at this point in my training. The Marine Corps Marathon is 3 weeks out.

Running in Boise has been an amazing experience. (For those who love numbers) I ran 40 miles this week in Boise. Started the week with a 10.5 stroller run + 2 mile cool down walk, ended the week yesterday with a speedy 12 mile long run, and ran plenty of miles in between mostly stroller miles. I mainly stuck to running the gorgeous Boise River Green Belt, but I did do one East Boise neighborhood run, with views of the Foot Hills and Canal!

Next time I come out, I definitely want to explore running the foot hills, or heading out further on the Green Belt, honestly any direction you turn the views are spectacular! Thanks for being so gorgeous and fun Boise! Now off another adventure – up next Idaho Falls, then Yellowstone, and ending the month with the Marine Corps Marathon.

Breastfeeding + Marathon Training

(Disclaimer: I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL NOR AM I A LACTATION CONSULTANT. ALL OF THE INFORMATION IN THIS POST IS BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE AND WHAT I FOUND TO BE TRUE.)

Eight months of breastfeeding my little Miss Ava, hoping to make it one year, but no exact end plan in sight. I’m still a strong believer in FED IS BEST.

I have had one of both. My first was mainly bottle fed, my second has been exclusively breastfed with bottles of breast milk when we are apart. Every baby and mama are unique, so feed your baby whichever way works. With that being said, unlike my first born, breastfeeding Ava has come very naturally to us.

Although, breastfeeding is a huge time commitment, I am very proud that I am able to provide for Ava in this way, especially since being a busy working mama of two, while also training and running a fall marathon.

When I first started my marathon training in July, I was 13 weeks postpartum/post c-section. Because of the summer heat, I became paranoid that I might see a dip in my milk supply, once I started to increase mileage. I had heard stories of women who exercised too much, very suddenly, and just as suddenly they found their milk supply drop. I told myself that my main priority was (is) my baby (babies), and if my milk supply became jeopardized in any way, then I would stop training for the marathon.

I began researching breastfeeding and marathon training, but I couldn’t find very much information on this topic. So I reached out to other mother runners on IG and in Mom’s Run This Town running group, to see what other mother runners experienced. I also asked my daughter’s pediatrician who is a certified lactation consultant for advice.

This is the knowledge I gained while exploring the topic of Breastfeeding and Marathoning. This is my experience.

Hydrate + Fuel = Breastmilk

First thing first – according to my pediatrician and lactation consultant, as long as baby continues to drink milk from the breast, emptying the full breast, my body will make the exact amount of milk that my baby needs. This is true even if one is marathon training. However, the proper nutrition and fueling is very important during marathon training, even more so for a breastfeeding mother runner, such as myself. It is very important to consider hydration and calorie intake, because they are crucial components to making milk.

During a twenty mile training run, the body burns close to 2,000 calories and as a breastfeeding mom an additional 500 calories is burned a day. So those calories must be replaced to make milk.

My experience …

Because I stayed hydrated and well fueled, I never saw a dip in my milk supply. I found this true when asking other mother runners from IG and MRTT.

Take Your Prenatal Vitamin

Another important factor is taking a prenatal vitamin. A prenatal vitamin is recommended three months before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding. It will help provide all the necessary vitamins mama and baby need. This is extremely important for breastfeeding mamas who are also marathon training, because these extra vitamins will help prevent injuries.

My experience …

I took my prenatal vitamin all through out my training, and I am continuing to take it, until I stop breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding + Running Injuries

As a breastfeeding postpartum mother runner, I am more prone to running injury. There are several reasons why… but the main reason is because of the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is created by the pregnant body to soften and loosen ligaments and joints, so the body will be capable of giving birth. This hormone is still present several months after giving birth, and makes a marathon training mama more prone to injury.

Another reason is Calcium and Vitamin D. This is where it is important to take a prenatal vitamins and eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. If the body is not getting the sufficient amount of calcium and vitamin D, it will provide what it has to for baby first, through breastmilk, making mama more prone to stress fractures.

And healing from injuries may take longer as well.

My experience …

During marathon training, I personally never experienced any major injuries. I had a sore calf muscle after my first run over ten miles, but rest is all I needed. Regardless if you are breastfeeding or not, always listen to your body, and back off the training when you need to and rest. With that being said, always remember rest days are part of training. Rest and recovery are as important as your long run.

Foods for Breastfeeding Mamas + tricks to get your supply back up

If for some reason you do experience a drop in your breast milk supply, know this, breast milk supply can go up, down, and back up. DO NOT WORRY… Stress can make things even worse. Just relax and use these tips to help bring your supply back up.

Rest and breastfeed baby- If possible take a day or two of rest, meaning decrease mileage or rest from training entirely and be with baby. If baby is able to breastfeed on demand or you have the opportunity to offer the breast to baby, your body will be able to determine the exact amount of milk your baby needs. Breastfeed baby often. Ideally breastfeed baby every 2-3 hours. Never go more than 5 or 6 hours with out breastfeeding or pumping, especially if you are experiencing a supply drop or low supply.

Hydrate- Drink tons of water. If your body is dehydrated it can’t make milk. The more you drink the better. For an extra boost in milk supply, drink Mother’s Milk Tea.

My experience … I drink Mother’s Milk tea. I use the brand Earth Mama Angel Baby, but you can find this type of tea at Whole Foods and MOM’s Organic Market. It really does help milk supply. My supply never dipped during training, but I drink this sporadically and always find my supply boosted the next day. (Not an ad, not sponsored.)

Fuel- Make sure you are eating enough calories. But for a boost in milk supply, eat oatmeal.

My experience …

I tried to eat oatmeal regularly during my training, and still love to eat oatmeal, and oat based foods. This definitely helps keep my supply boosted. I buy the organic instant apple cinnamon flavor. It is very fast and easy for me to take on the go. Never ate it before a long run though. Try eating every morning for breakfast especially during a marathon training build up.

Other foods I eat are green smoothies enriched with fennel, and soups. Fennel is very good for breastfeeding moms. And smoothies are both calorie and hydration. Soups also do the job because again, soups are both hydration and calories.

Pump- If you can’t be with baby to breastfeed or you just want to add additional feedings… get your pump ready. There are a couple different ways you can use your breast pump to increase your supply.

One way to increase supply when you find your supply dipped is feed baby on both breasts, and then immediately pump after the feeding for a minimum of 5 minutes on each side. This will insure you empty the breast completely. If milk does not come out while pumping it means your baby successfully emptied the breast, however keep pumping for the addition time, it will trick the body into thinking baby is still there and needs more milk.

Another way to increase or bring milk supply up is to pump in between feedings. For example if you are feeding every two hours then pump an hour after breastfeeding baby.

Do not play the comparison game. If another mama gets more ounces than you, that’s what her body does. You focus on you, and every drop of milk counts, so take what you can get and store that milk.

My experience … I’ve done both of these pumping strategies and they both work on increasing milk supply. However, I have a very consistent pumping schedule for the days I work, and a very consistent breastfeeding schedule for my baby while I’m at home with her. I find the more consistent I am at feeding my baby and pumping the more consistent my milk supply becomes.

Breastfeeding + Pumping + Race Day

Schedule 15-20 minutes extra in the morning on race day to either breastfeed or pump. Or if you are traveling a further distance to your race, bring your pump with you, and pump in the car. Whatever decision is made, make sure the breasts are empty before you toe the line.

My experience … I ran the Navy Half Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon, as a postpartum breastfeeding mama. Both times, my baby, Ava, was asleep, before I left for the race… So I pumped. The expressed/pumped milk went right in the bottle and then the refrigerator, that way it was ready for Ava, first thing, once she woke up. This also made it easier on my husband, who also had to get the baby and my three year old dressed and ready to spectate my race.

In the early days, when my daughter was a newborn, I breastfeed her on demand. As she became an infant I breastfed ever 2-3 hours, never going longer than 3 hours. Now that she is taking on solid foods, I normally breastfeed every 3 hours offering her solid foods at least 3 times a day. I normally offer milk first and then food.

When I’m at work, my pump schedule mimics my breastfeeding schedule. I do not have a huge breastmilk stash in my freezer. I normally pump exactly what she will need for the next day. My goal is to be consistent and on schedule, that way my body is never guessing.

When I ran my half marathon, I had no problem. I pumped in the morning right before the race. I ran a 2:10 half marathon, and then got home right after to breastfeed Ava. It was probably 4 hours between feedings, which is totally fine.

However, I was a little worried after my full marathon. I pumped in the morning. Then I ran my marathon in 4:44:21. Although, I tried to get to Ava as fast as I could. If you add up the time before and after the race, it was probably 6 hours between feedings, maybe a little longer. Of course my husband fed her bottles ofbreast milk and solid foods while I was gone, so she was content with a full belly. It was more about me needing to empty the breast. Because I don’t run marathons everyday, and there normally is not a 6 hour gap between feedings, it didn’t effect my supply in anyway. One day out of the norm isn’t going to be a problem. Plus Ava was seven months old, and my milk supply was well established plus, never took a dip during training.

Nursing Tents at the Marine Corps Marathon

Although, I didn’t take advantage of the tents, because my husband brought my baby to me as soon as he could. I was very impressed with the Marine Corps Marathon this year, for having nursing tents at the finish line. This was a huge help for breastfeeding mamas who ran the marathon and either needed to breastfeed baby right after the race, or had to pump immediately after.

Proud Marathon Mama

This year’s Marine Corps Marathon was my slowest, but my most accomplished. Very few people run marathons, and even fewer run marathons at 7 months postpartum while still breastfeeding their baby, and I did all of that. (Not trying to brag, just so proud.)

I managed to successfully continue to breastfeed and marathon train. I managed being a mother of two small children while also making time for one of my life passions, running. It’s incredible what the female body can do, and I’m so very proud of mine.

One day, when I was heading out the door for a run, my three year old begged me not to go. She said, “Don’t go running, mommy!” Normally, she comes with me in the double Bob running stroller. But that day for some reason she didn’t want to go, and she didn’t want me going either.

I told her, “Nope, I got to go run.”

“But… why?” She asked.

“Because Mommy, made a commitment. When you make a commitment, you have to stick with it. I signed up for a race, and paid money to participate in it. I set a goal, that I need to achieve. I’m committed.

I then told her she could come with me or stay home with daddy, but I was going running and would be right back.

One of my biggest hopes is that one day, my little ones will find something they are truly passionate about, and that they will understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. I have little eyes watching my every move, my ultimate goal is to set the best example I absolutely can.

Thank you!

So that is all that I experienced as a breastfeeding marathon. If you have an question please contact me.

I want to shout out a special thanks to the Marine Corps Marathon. You put on a great race yet again.

And thank you Marines, for supporting Breastfeeding marathon mamas!

Marine Corps Marathon 2018 : Race Recap

“So he educated me on the long run…

The Marathon is an energy game… a game he had my attention. Going out to hard and surging wastes energy. You want to be smooth and economical. In the long run we are training the body’s energy system, to more readily burn fats over carbohydrates. You see this kind of efficiency in animals that migrate long distances, whales and birds notably- who glide with minimal movement slowly releasing their energy.”

~ Deena Kastor

My white board which hangs from my fridge reminds me of my mantras, as I head out the door … I whisper to myself… Fight + Keep Moving Forward, celebrate my pace every five miles, smile + run happy.

Here I am again, walking over to the Pentagon, under the dark early morning sky, waiting for the sun to make an appearance. Ready to toe the line at the Marine Corps Marathon, for the 5th time.

This time is a little different than the last. Last time, I had a solid training cycle, starting when Zoe was 10 months old ending when she was 14 months. I was able to fit in seven weeks of strength training after my c-section to rebuild my core, before attempting to run. Then I had seven months to build a solid base. I had three previous races under my belt, two ten milers, and a half marathon – in which I broke 2 hours. I set a new PR in the marathon.

This time, I only raced one race previously, the Navy Half Marathon, which I used as a time trial. Making it to the finish line in 2:10, I knew that realistically I could finish the marathon around 4:20:00.

This time around, Zoe – my very smart and energetic three year old, and Ava my “cuddle bug,” 7 month old baby, keeps me busy. Plus, I only had 5 weeks to base build after my c-section recovery. No time to strength train or work on speed. And now on race day, I am only 7 months postpartum, still breastfeeding, a mother of two.

There has been plenty of busy days, and sleepless nights. But I made it! I managed to fit in another marathon training cycle. Although, not as consistent as what I normally accomplish, the work still got done.

On race day, I quietly walk over to the start. I follow all the other runners. I over hear them nervously chatting among themselves, as I reflect on my training, and run through my game plan for the race. I continue to whisper to myself, “When things get tough I will … Fight, keep moving forward, celebrate my pace every 5 miles, smile, run happy.”

This is NOT a goal race for me, so no pressure to PR. I used this marathon training cycle, to regain my fitness after pregnancy, plus I was desperately craving the long run.

I recently listened to the interview of Paula Radcliffe, on the I’ll Have Another Podcast. She is the Marathon World Record holder, running it in 2:15:25. In the interview, she talks about the importance of building season upon season. One marathon training cycle and marathon is part of a series of steps, to your next goal race. So often, we focus to hard on one race, never thinking about the future ones or the big picture.

There is a season for everything. And this season is not about setting a new marathon PR, but rather regaining my fitness after pregnancy, and learning how to balance my life while including my two passions – running + motherhood.

This season Marine Corps Marathon, marathon number 5, is one of the series of steps to build upon. During this Marine Corps Marathon, I’m running for the experience. Instead of racing right passed everything, it’s time to take in the whole race – high five every Marine’s hand and thank them, gain energy from the spectators, laugh at every funny sign or T-shirt. Next marathon I’ll run for speed.

This whole marathon training cycle, I consistently, just showed up, to see what I could do. Now, I’m at the start of the Marine Corps Marathon, doing the same thing showing up to see what I can do. Let’s go!

THE START

After standing in the porta potty line waiting behind forty so other runners, I begin to run to check my bag. The porta potty line was moving so slowly I wonder if I’m going to miss the race. Finally at bag check, I meet my dad and we head to the corral. It’s pretty cool to run this marathon with my dad! I’m excited to cross the finish line with him.

My dad and I get down to the start, but it’s already crowded, we zig zag between people, but the best we can do is squeeze in at the 4:45 corral. Normally, I would have stood with the 4:15 corral or even the 4 hour, but it’s so crowded, so this will have to do.

Just as in years in the past, standing around in the corral waiting for the gun to go off, brought on all the exciting energy. I really love a big race. Nothing feels better than running a marathon on a beautiful day, with 35,000 other runners. It feels amazing.

Miles 1-5

Finally I hear the gun go off and the race begin.

Our first mile is slow, but I’m glad, because I want to give my husband a little more time to get my babies to mile 2, where they will be waiting and cheering. Down 110, through Rosslyn, up the Lee Highway hill. I spot them smiling!

A quick photo with Daddy and Ava, and I’m off again! (Ava’s first time cheering mommy on. Zoe didn’t want a picture.) Next time I will see them is in Crystal City at mile 22.

Mile 3-4 , we are looping around Spout Run, down and over the Key Bridge – leaving Virginia and entering DC. The Key Bridge is so beautiful to run over. Mile 5, the crowd support in George Town is over the top. So far we are running a pretty steady pace, and there is enough space to zigzag around some people, but still I pay attention to the fun. For example this runner dressed up in a Red Skins outfit dragging a Cowboy’s jersey.

MILE 6-10

Up Rock Creek and then down, to Hains Point. When mile 10 approaches I yell to my Dad, “double digit time!” Still feeling really good.

MILE 11-15

At mile 12, Blue Mile makes an appearance. The mile is lined with American flags, and photos of military men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country and freedom. It’s quiet, and emotional.

MILE 16-20

Running along the National Mall, Washington, DC is always a treat. The view of the monuments take my breath away. It reminds me of how lucky I am to live in the DC area.

At mile 16, as I’m running, I tell my dad, “All we have is four more miles until we make it to the bridge, and leave DC entering into Virginia.” Once I run passed mile 17, I tell myself, “Back to single digits. Only 9 more miles to go.”

Soon I see the bridge – the 14th Street Bridge, mile 20. Two marines stand there yelling, “Time to Beat the Bridge.”

On the bridge, I start to hit the wall and start to walk. My legs and mind need it. It’s sunny and windy, but I know I have to get down to Crystal City looking good, so I start running again… My two running groups are cheering in Crystal City, and my husband, GiGi, and babies will be there too – can’t wait to see them.

Finally, off the bridge, nothing feels better approaching Crystal City. I’m out of DC, and back in Virginia. I’m passing mile 21, and I think to myself… “Only five more to go, my five mile easy run.”

Mile 21 – 22 is impossible to miss, my Oiselle team is there waiting to cheer … at their famous cowbell corner. I hear them screaming my name – “MEGHAN!!!” They are the brightest, loudest, and most electric, group I know. I high-five every single one of them. Their energy LIFTS ME UP and I truly begin to soar high.

Among the crowd I see a neighbor, so fun to say hello to another familiar face.

I keep going looking desperately for my husband, GiGi, and babies. They are here outside of Good Stuff Eatery. It’s like a mosh pit of people, so I was afraid I might miss them… but then there they are. After some quick hugs and sweaty kisses, I continue on.

As I approach the turn around, on Crystal Drive, I hear my name again… “MEGHAN.” It’s my friend Raiza and MRTT (Mom’s Run This Town) group. After a big hug, and asking if I need anything, she yells, “Go, Go, Go.” And I begin to run faster to the finish.

MILES 23-26.2

I feel a second wind, a burst of energy. It’s amazing how the excitement and positivity from spectators can really up lift you and get you moving. Now my dad and I are leaving Crystal City, and heading to 110.

On 110, I see the finish line in the far distance. It’s time to count street signs. To the Memorial Bridge street sign, I whisper to myself… the finish line is right passed that sign.

Then up the hill, we climb.

And the finish line is so close I can taste it. Finally my feet run over the finish, my dad right by my side. A Marine places a heavy red finishing medal around my neck.

We are Marathoners, #5 done for me and number 30 something for my dad.

On October 28th, 2018, I ran across the finish line proudly, of the Marine Corps Marathon for the 5th time. I showed up to see what I could do, and at 7 months postpartum, I finished 26.2 miles in 4:44:21.

My goals for this race were to fight, keep moving forward, celebrate my pace every five miles, smile, and run happy… so that’s what I did.

Goal accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

FUTURE GOALS

Although, I’m still smiling and running happy, I’m already thinking about my next marathon, my next season. And next time there’s going to be less smiling and more speedy miles accompanied with a whole lot of GRIT! Stay tuned!

CONGRATULATIONS

A special Congratulations to everyone who ran/raced the Marine Corps Marathon this year. And also congrats to those who ran/raced a fall marathon!

15 mile long run, at four months postpartum/post c-section.

⚡️1 5 M I L E R ⚡️

On Saturday, I woke up early, and hit the MVT south side for my 15 mile run. It had rained, Friday night, so everything was wet, and although it was humid, it felt cooler than the summer scorcher the day before.

I started my run around 8 am. The trail was already buzzing with other runners and cyclists. Finally, I wasn’t alone. I even saw Potomac Road Runners out there, and water stations set up if one needed water, making me smile. “That’s a kind gesture”, I thought. It reminded me of why I love the running community and at that moment I felt thankful to be a part of it.

The trail had some rolling hills, which I actually prefer – it kept things interesting.

Wow!

When looking back, I have come to the fact that this is the longest run, that I have run since my 2016 marathon! That alone is something to celebrate, especially since I’m only four months postpartum/post c-section. And the cherry on top, is that it went well. Not my fastest 15 miler, but I’m not racing my training runs.

“Marathons are extraordinarily difficult, but if you’ve got the training under your belt, and if you can run smart, the races take care of themselves. When you have the enthusiasm and the passion, you end up figuring how to excel.” ~Deena Kastor

This marathon training cycle has been my hardest so far. I have the enthusiasm and passion, but I often question if I am running “smart.”

I’m in a different season in my life, now as a mommy of two. I took the fourth trimester very seriously. And took that time to rest, heal, connect with my new little babe, Ava, and help my Zoe transition to big sister.

It has been harder than I thought it would be to find time to fit in my weekly runs, being a working mom, with a 3 year old and 4 month old – but other mother runners do it.

I have the double bob and almost all of my weekly training runs have been stroller miles, running pushing my babes. The stroller running has definitely helped me gain core strength, and although, there is still strength to gain, this is great progress for me, considering I couldn’t even do one sit up weeks after labor.

I’m still breastfeeding Ava, and that alone demands a lot of my time. And lately during her four month regression/growth spurt, that also means sleepless nights.

As expected, at four months postpartum I’m still getting my fitness back, after having baby Ava. I still have 8-10 pounds to loose. And I don’t have my speed back yet, which makes my runs slower and more time consuming.

But guess what…

I’m still running.

Lightning before the Thunder!

“I was lightning ⚡️before the thunder ⛈.”

Hello there,

it’s been a while… I’m one busy mama of a 3 year old and a 4 month old. I’m currently training for the marathon, and update daily on instagram. However, plan to start updating the blog with a lot more running content, including my marathon journey postpartum. Hope to have you follow along!

Lately, if you have been following along on my Instagram @sweat1xdaily, you’ll know… I have been running my long run on Friday night. However, this last Friday, thunderstorms were rolling in at night, and my training plan called for a 14 mile long run.

I decided that I was going to run 7 quick miles to get done before the heavy rain started, and run my 14 mile long run on Saturday instead.

My 7 miles felt amazing on Friday night, the breeze came and rain sprinkled during my last mile. Saturday was a different story, I didn’t wake up early enough, and had a long day of errands. I headed out at 5:30 pm to get my 14 miles done. I’ve never run a long run on a Saturday night, because in the past marathon training cycles I always run long on Saturday mornings.

And let me tell ya, the vibe of the trail on a Saturday night is really QUIET and LONELY. I hardly saw any other runners, why? Because they either already got their long run done in the morning and were probably out enjoying dinner, or they are planning on a Sunday morning long run. I saw a couple of cyclists, but really the trail didn’t buzz with the energy it normally does. If I don’t have the stroller + my babes with me, I normally run solo with no problems. But on this long run, I kept wishing for a BRF.

I’m in two running groups, I could have easily found someone to run with…

So as you can see, I was mentally checked out, during this run – it’s so funny how the weather and vibe of the trail can really determine the mood of my run.

I started my first mile slowly to warm up with the idea that I would pick up the pace, I never did. Physically my legs felt heavy. I was definitely running on tired legs, probably because of the faster 7 miler I ran the day before. Totaling 17 miles in two days, and running back to back.

So at 5 miles, I decided to turn back. I ended up doing a total of 10

miles instead of 14. When I got home, my baby was ready to breastfeed and head to bed.

After that run, I was feeling a little discouraged… Maybe marathon training is too time consuming for me as a working mom of a toddler and 4 month old baby who is still breastfeeding?!

But then I saw some really great quotes and stories from other runners on IG, that totally changed my mindset.

For example “Never let one run or race own your mood.” – Hollie from @fueledbylolz… or If you are tired, rest, don’t quit.” And these quotes really rang true to me.

So what, I had a bad run because I ran 10 slow miles instead of 14 fast miles. Maybe that was a hard run for me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to have a bad marathon, and it doesn’t determine my marathon training this cycle. Also if I feel tired, I’ll rest more, and cut back to running 3 days a week, a short run, a mid distance, and a long run. I’ve done this in the past, and it has made me feel well rested and helped me avoid burn out.

So with that being said… it’s time to celebrate this 10 mile long run, and the fact that I had my highest weekly mileage postpartum and hit around 30 miles for the week!

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!!

The Race Recap: Marine Corps Marathon 2016

“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.”

Scott Jurek

In honor, of the Marine Corps Birthday, (that was on Thursday), and Veterans Day Weekend, I thought it would be a perfect time to post my race recap on running the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon. 

(Warning: This is a long detailed post about my experience, mile by mile.) 

On Sunday, October 30th, 2016, I ran my fourth Marine Corps Marathon. Although, it was my fourth MCM- this marathon was my first full marathon I ran, 14 months after having Zoe, and my fourth postpartum race.

When I registered for this race, I kept it a secret. I was really worried if I would be able to fit in the training,  being such a huge time commitment, new mom, and working mom. Would I be able to juggle everything? Turns out I could and did. Running mamas let me tell you… It is totally possible to train for a full marathon after baby! I did it and you can too. I ran all the miles! (Curious about my training read all about it here.)

Marine Corps Marathon 

THE EXPO

The Expo was held at the Gaylord Resort in National Harbor. At first, I was a little annoyed that they moved the Expo to Maryland instead of having it in DC. There is no metro located on National Harbor, so I feared there would be a lot of traffic and no parking. Turns out it was perfect. Not to much traffic, plenty of parking, and beautiful views of the Potomac river. 

We normally see these view from across the river, from the VA side. 

The Expo was held on both Friday and Saturday. I went on Friday afternoon hoping it wouldn’t be to busy. There were no lines getting in and no lines to get bibs. However, there was a line to the check out to get MCM gear, and because I had my 14 month old with me, there was no way I could wait in it. 

I ended up just getting my bib and skipping the MCM gear area. (I’ll purchase some gear later online. 

I wore my Oiselle sweatshirt to the Expo, talk about flystlye. This sweatshirt is so warm, cozy, and stylish.

Again, I brought my daughter, Zoe, with me to the Expo. The majority of my training was done with her by my side, so I wanted her there with me to experience the excitement of the Expo. It feels great to be a BAMR. (Read about being a BAMR at the Navy Half Expo, here.) 

Some runners hate expos and avoid them if they can. I, on the other hand, love the Expo. The Expo always gets me pumped! Plus, who doesn’t want to shop for more running stuff?!

I ended up shopping around, and purchased a running skirt from Mana Threads. I bought a sports bra and tank top from them at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Expo, and I was excited to see them again. I’ve never run in a skirt before, and honestly, never thought I would. I actually use to “roll my eyes” at runners who wore skirts. But I’m at the point that I’ve been running for 8-10 years now, and it can be difficult to find something new and different. So I’m going to give the skirt a try. Might as well… I might love it. 

I also checked out HOKA shoes. The guy was very knowledgeable. I’m pretty loyal to Newton, but want another type of shoe in my shoe rotation. So in the future I might give HOKA a try. 

NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE

The HEAT

Every long run I ran this summer was in record breaking heat conditions. Just my luck… the weather man was predicting unusually warm summer like conditions on race day. 

In my running groups, everyone was worried about the heat. We even received an email from the Marine Corps Marathon organizers, saying – to slow down race pace, and to hydrate and dress for hot conditions.  

Every time I run MCM the weather is perfect. I checked back on my blog post from a couple of years ago, when I ran my 3rd MCM and it was 30 degrees cooler that day. 

I don’t do well in the heat, and I also was pretty congested because of a cold. However, I trained in a heat wave of a summer in 80-90 degree record breaking weather, so I wasn’t too worried. I also wasn’t going to put my mind in a negative state. Positive vibes only.

I was just going to run my best and see what I could do. I was confident. I put in all the miles during training, and I knew once I got around the energy of the other runners, my excitement would keep me going strong. 

A lot of runners chose to wear their hydration packs on race day. I thought about it, but I really didn’t want the extra load. So my game plan was to rely on water stations, hoping they wouldn’t run out. 

I also planned on starting at 7:55, when the gun went off. Because the metro wasn’t opening early for us, due to safe tracking, MCM organizers were leaving the start open for a full additional hour. This meant late runners could cross the start line as late as 8:55. But this also meant that these late runners would cross the finish line later in the day in hotter conditions. My game plan, get there early, start my race when the gun goes off, run my race during the gorgeous morning, cooler temperature, and finish my race before the afternoon heat. 

NIGHT before RACE RITUAL

Saturday night, I spent some time trying to decide what running outfit to wear on race day. I decided on my oiselle singlet, and I’m so glad I did!

I stayed comfortable and cool up until mile 24. And wearing the oiselle singlet helped my oiselle teammates see me easier. I really love running for oiselle. I joined the team after having Zoe, and the support has been amazing. 


I did my,”Night before Race Ritual,” which is laying out my race day outfit and taking a picture. Above picture is my, “Flat Meg.” 

I also laid out Zoe’s outfit. My sister had a shirt made for her that said, “My mom runs faster than your mom.” 


I also carb-loaded for two days straight with spaghetti and sauce that I made homemade.

I was as ready as I could be. 

So it was time to just try to get a good night sleep. But before shutting my eyes, I checked social media to support other runners and gain some inspiration. 

This is what I found on the Marine Corps Marathon facebook page. 


I laughed when I read it! Because no one sleeps well before a marathon. 

MORNING OF

My alarm went off at 5:20 am. I tiptoed through my dark house and got dressed and ready. Grabbed my iPod shuffle (which I didn’t use, I just had it as a back up) and Garmin.

By 6:00 am, I was off to my mom’s house. Because the metro wasn’t working- I parked my car at my mom’s house, and she dropped me off in Pentagon City. A ton of other runners flooded Pentagon City, so I just followed the crowd walking over to the start, eating my pb&j. 



THE START

Like always, the Marines greeted us, and welcomed us with excited faces. They checked our bags, getting us through security quickly. 

I was there pretty early, and because I had time, I decided to hit up the porta potty, making conversation with the guy in front of me. It was his first time running MCM, so I let him ask me all of his nervous questions.

Unlike years in the past, I wasn’t shivering. It was close to 60 degrees already at 6:30 am. I was in long pants and my long sleeve zip up MCM shirt from the previous year. It was time to strip down into my race clothes and drop my long sleeves at baggage claim. 

(Side note: I saw a lot of people wearing bath robes. Have you seen that before? I’ve seen people wearing trash bags in the past, but never bath robes. I don’t see the point. But to each their own.

When I was at baggage claim the sun began to rise. 

My dad was also running the marathon. I received a text message from my saying he was on Memorial Bridge running to the start. He asked for me to wait for him so we could get a picture together. 

CORRAL AND START LINE

My dad and I walked down to the start line at 7:30ish. We squeezed our way up to the 4:10 and 4:15 corral – standing with a view of the 4:15 pacer. 

The Marine Corps Marathon is The People’s Marathon – which means they do not assign corrals, instead they allow the runners to choose a corral. Because Marine Corps Marathon has 30,000 runners, the first three miles can be crowded and slow, so I always try to stand in the corral ahead of my ideal finishing time. 

Let’s talk about timing… 

My goal finishing time for this race was 4:15. Maybe I could run it faster, because I ran my last half marathon, a month before, in 1:53, and felt good! But I finished my last full marathon in 4:19, (2 years ago) so I would be happy running that, or a faster PR. 

So standing in the 4:10-4:15 corral seemed to be a good place to start. 

The actual start didn’t seem as exciting as years past. It actually didn’t seem crowded at all. But maybe that’s because of the option of starting later. But in the years past, people are normally packed in, clothes going everywhere. One year a beach ball was going above our heads. Everyone cheering! 

The EXCITEMENT 

The real excitement happened when they flew military planes over our heads. 


And then we were off… 

Mile 1-3

We ran down 110, up through Rosslyn, up Lee Highway. My husband, daughter, and Mom were waiting for me at mile 2-3ish on Lee Highway. It was easy to spot them because my little Zoe was on my husband’s shoulders. It was so fun seeing them, especially Zoe!! She was excited seeing her Grandpa aka Poppy. My dad showed everyone his 1989 MCM race shirt. As I looked at my watch, my dad made observation that we climbed that hill pretty fast. We were on our way to Spout Run.

MILES 3-5 

We ran through Spout Run during miles 3-5. This is one of my favorite parts of the marathon because it is by far the prettiest part of the race. Trees shaded us while we ran up and down slight rolling hills, as we approached the Key Bridge. My Dad and I were still running side by side. 

MILES 5-7

Over the Key Bridge we went, leaving Virginia and entering D.C. I love running over the Key Bridge. And Georgetown is usually a very exciting spot during the race because the spectator support is so huge and energized. There is normally a band playing from Georgetown University, and a group from Lululemon cheering while sipping mimosas. However, this year I didn’t see any of that and to my surprise it seemed like a ghost town. But, we continued on, down Wisconsin we went, and up to Rock Creek park we headed. My dad and I were making great timing! 

MILES 8-10

Usually, Rock Creek Park is up one huge hill and then a crowded turn around, then a down hill. But this year they cut it short and it wasn’t crowded at all. My dad and I both looked at each other with a smile, when we realized we didn’t have to run the hill. 

MILE 11 – The BLUE mile


Mile 11 is called the Blue Mile. This mile is lined with photos of fallen soldiers. It was very emotional. Many people stopped in front of their fallen solider to cry, or get a picture. American flags lined the end of the mile to uplift us. 

MILES 12-14

Haines Point is normally the boring part, but we got through it – still feeling really strong and on pace.  

During one of the water startions, my dad grabbed a GU (energy gel) and I lost him. But my cell phone rang, and it was him, and he was coming up on the left hand side. Off we went to the National Mall. Dad shouted we were over half way through. 

MILES 15-18

At mile 15, I told my dad we only had 2 miles until mile 17. Mile 17 is a significant mile in the marathon, because you only have 9 miles left which means you enter single digits. We were both running on pace, but it was then that my dad told me to go on ahead, if I thought I was going to break 4 hours. I didn’t know if I could do that, but I was going to try. So I picked up the pace on the National Mall and headed to the 14th street bridge. 

It was awesome that my dad and I ran 15 miles together. 

MILES 18-20

I left the National Mall and was heading on to the 14th street bridge. The bridge is normally mile 20, but because of the late start, and the eagerness to open DC streets, we had to leave the city on time. So they made the bridge mile 18 instead of the normal mile 20. 

The goal to the bridge is to, “Beat the Bridge.” Many people hit the wall here and begin to walk. It can feel really hot, or super windy. But I actually always love the bridge. And I never walk. 

Once I was on the bridge, still running, I texted my husband to let him know I was on the bridge heading to Crystal City. He was shocked I was calling so early, ahead of schedule. He was on his way to meet me in Crystal City. 

I also knew my Oiselle teammates had a cheer station at mile 21. So I was keeping a look out. Mean while, I was still on pace and feeling strong. 

MILE 21

There they were! My Oiselle teammates cheered the loudest cheers ever at mile 21! So happy I saw them. I was now super pumped and on my way down Crystal Drive to see my husband, baby, and mom. MILE 21 was the longest distance I ran during training. This mile marker is significant for me because during the week I run a 5 mile easy run, and during the marathon when I hit 21, I tell myself, “Its just my 5 mile easy run.” 

MILE 22

I ran through Crystal City, eyes wide, looking for people I knew. Around mile 22, I saw my husband, mom, and baby, again, waiting to cheer me on. Zoe was so cute having fun watching all the runners, smiling big when she saw me. I got some pictures and I told them I was feeling good and making great timing! 

MILE 23-24

After leaving my family, letting them know I would see them at the finish, I kept on pace.  I started looking for the mile markers.  It wasn’t until mile 24, that I started to feel really hot. 

But at mile 24, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It ended up being one of my runner friend, Raj Running Yogi! It was such a fun surprise seeing him. I hope I was friendly! At mile 24, looping around the pentagon, I was just trying to stay focused and look for my street signs, that always helps me get to the finish. 

MILE 25 – 26.2

I could see the finish line in the distance. Then the street signs appeared. I told myself just get to the Memorial Bridge street sign. Next thing I realize, I’m running passed it and seeing the Key Bridge street sign. Passing the Key Bridge sign, I made a left heading to the Iwo Jima memorial, uphill to the finish. Although, the finish line was moved to the right this year, it felt amazing crossing it! 


THE FINISH

This Marine gave me my finishing medal! 


Took a photo near the Iwo Jima memorial.

I met up with my family. And got to show my daughter Zoe my finishing medal. 


All of our hard training paid off! It felt amazing showing my daughter my medal. 

After the race was over, my husband, daughter and I enjoyed bunch at Lyon Hall.  

THE RESULTS

A NEW PR

Although, it was hot running conditions, and  a “difficult” course, I felt great most of the race. 

I ended up finishing in 4:17:01, which was a little over a 2 minute PR. I am very happy with this time, and over all had a very successful marathon. 

The most fun thing about this race was running the first 15 miles with my dad. I am very impressed with how fit he is! 

I’m also most proud of the fact that I trained for this race with my daughter by my side. Yes, my identity has changed now that I am a mother, but it has not changed my passion for running and living a healthy lifestyle. It is very important to me to show and teach my daughter- that with passion, dedication, and hard work, anything is possible. 

WHAT IS NEXT? 

I will be running a Turkey Trot this thanksgiving with Zoe in the stroller. But as of that, I’m still trying to decide which marathon I want to run next. 

In the mean time, I’m hitting the weight room again consistently. Its time to get stronger again.

THANK YOU

Thank you to everyone who inspired and supported me through this marathon training season, and the marathon. This includes MRTT, Oiselle, and everyone that followed along on IG, FB, Strava, and this blog. 

Also I want to give a special thank you to the Marines, race organizers, volunteers, and race spectator support for another amazing Marine Corps Marathon experience.

Thank you!

It’s so amazing to be a part of something this big!! And the running community is incredible! 


Now let’s set new goals, and run all the miles! 

copyright 2016 sweatdaily 

Marathon Training Recap for September Miles. 

Oh September

I was envisioning September to be cool and crisp, but instead it continued to be a scorcher. Actually, there were even several 90 degree days. 

Honestly, the heat was really starting to exhaust me. The game plan was to increase weekly mileage so I would complete 148 miles total for the month. 

But because I was feeling so tired, I changed my game plan. I decided not to increase weekly mileage to much, with the hope that I would be more rested for my weekly long run. So I dropped my average weekly runs, from 5/6 to 3/4. Running one short, one mid/long, and then one long run a week. This plan was so successful. Honestly, for my body, sometimes less is more

I also switched my usual Saturday long run to Monday depending on the which day had cooler weather. This made me feel less rushed to hurry on Saturday morning to get out there and get my long run done. Plus, I was running on the cooler day, so all of my long runs felt really good. More rested + less rushed + much cooler weather = a successful long run.

My long runs this month consisted of a 17 miler, 18 miler, half marathon, and 20 miler. All of them went went well and my half marathon race was very successful, bringing me my confidence back.

October is Marathon month. 29 more days of training. This month my monthly goal is 148.2 miles. I will be running one more super long run, which will be in the 20s. And then I will be in taper town. 

This week I am heading out to Idaho, and I plan to continue with training. Which means I will be running there in altitude. It will be hard to train in altitude, but hopefully it will just make me stronger when I get back. My motivation is that all of the Olympic marathoners trained at altitude. Look at how awesome these ladies are. (Amy and Shalane.)

I’m planning on running all the miles, work on some speed to keep my legs light, and weight train occasionally to add a little more strength. I also need to keep my nutrition on point. I have been cooking a lot of recipes from the book, Run fast, Eat Slow.

I have a little longer in training so might as well give it my all. Let’s run all the miles. Soon I’ll be running with the Marines.

What’s next on the blog: I plan on writing some posts about Idaho and running in altitude so stay tuned. 

Who else is running a Marathon this month? 

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 

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