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!!

November Recap, December Goals! 

Before I tell you about November, let’s back track to October…

(For those who are new to the blog, here’s a quick recap of October. If you’ve been reading skip first paragraph.) 

October was such an amazing month! I closed October by setting a new marathon PR at the Marine Corps Marathon. This marathon was my 4th, and my first full marathon as a mother runner. It feels incredible finishing this marathon, knowing my daughter has been with me every step of the way. 

The week after I ran MCM, I got the marathon blues. My training program was such a time commitment, but then my race went by so fast. And with no more future races to train for, I felt a little lost. I ended up almost signing up for the Richmond Marathon, which was two weeks later. I ultimately decided not to do it, even though I was totally trained to.

Because I had just finished running a full marathon, November’s focus was on recovery miles and fun running. 

I went into November with out a plan. I  didn’t track all of my runs – some were tracked on my Garmin, others on Strava. I ran two shorter races for fun- The Operation Turbo 5k and the Alexandria Turkey Trot/ Del Ray 5 miler.  Both races I ran with Zoe, as I pushed her in the stroller. It was so fun!

Now it’s December! Although, it is just the beginning of December, 2016 is coming to an end. This year has been incredible and I’m hoping to end it as good as it began. 

Because I am currently in off season, with no races to train for. I think it might be fun to participate in Runner’s World run streak. It is simply run every day until New Years, even if it’s just a mile. Find me on Instagram @sweat1xdaily, if you want to follow along. Or participate by following Runner’s World on instagram @runnersworldmag and use #RWRunStreak when you post a run photo. 

This December, I also want to spend time focusing on strength training. It’s time to build some more muscle again and get stronger. 

So this December is all about streakin’ with Runner’s World, building some serious strength, and spending time reflecting on 2016. 

Has anyone done a run streak before?

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily 

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 

Bring it on, half marathon! A Guest Post by Susie

Hey everyone, 

I ran my final long run for this marathon training season. It was a 20+ miler this last Saturday, 10/15/16. I am officially in TAPER TOWN!  Because I have been tapering I have only been running shorter runs, and I have had a lot more time to blog. I am working on some really amazing posts for you guys, about my marathon training, my race day plan, and food. So I look forward to sharing those with you in the next days leading up to my marathon, the MARINE CORPS MARATHON. 

In the meantime, I would like to introduce to you my good friend, Susie. She is a fashion blogger and runner!  This is my first time having a guest blogger write a post at Sweat1xdaily. And she is talking all about her favorite running gear, which helped her comfortably run her 2nd half marathon, in the heat of August!  I hope you enjoy this post about Susie’s favorite running gear, and you can always learn more fun fashion tips from Susie over at Susie in Style.

Bring it on, half marathon! 
I recently ran the Madison Mini Marathon. This was my 2nd half marathon and I ran with my mom/running buddy in my beloved hometown Madison, Wisconsin.

My 1st half was in Madison in 2010 which I ran on a whim. I had just gotten back from a semester abroad in Spain and hadn’t trained. My mom was signed up for the half and she asked if I wanted to do the 10k race. I was eager to get back into running longer distances so I agreed. When we went to pick up her packet before the race and register myself, the 10k was full…It was decision time because the half still had openings. I thought “what the hell, why not” and signed up thinking I would just do a run/walk. But me being stubborn, true to my Virgo zodiac sign, ended up running the whole thing. It was an adventure, but I persevered and got it done. 
This time, I was much more prepared. I trained for 4 months, gradually working up my distance. Since I’m a runner AND a fashion blogger, a big part of preparing was making sure I had the right gear for both functionality and style. Functionality proved more important, but I’m glad the style was still there for my loyal fab fashonistas. 
Me with my mom and her friends after the race. I’m in the pink tank top!

When Race Day Came, Heres What I Wore:
Compression Shorts: If you run, you know about the horror of chaffing. For shorter distances, I always apply deodorant on the inside of my thigh area and that does the trick—sometimes even the most stylish runner has to use tried and trued methods. But I knew I couldn’t rely on deodrant alone for this one so I made sure to get compression shorts. My shorts have the compression layer underneath to protect from chaffing and on the outside theres a looser, mesh layer so I didn’t feel exposed. These shorts did the trick—they gave me much needed compression to avoid chaffing and provided a flowing exterior. Perfect for the fashion conscious runner!
Nike Cool Breeze Dry-FIT Tank: I got this tank at Macy’s. My race was in August and I can’t stand being too hot when I run so the lightweight material allowed me to stay cool. The only thing I don’t love is that its a little transparent. Luckily, I bought two (1 in pink and 1 in blue) so on race day I just layered the blue top under the pink one and that solved the transparency problem. 
Fabletics Sports Bra: See the Graffiti sports bra from my Fabletics Review. This was awesome for race day and I love the print. The colors also happen to match my running shoes. 

Brooks Ghost 8 Running Shoe: I get my shoes at Berkley running company in Madison but you can fond them at your local running store. I used to be an ASICS girl but over the past few years I’ve made the switch to Brooks because they feel lighter and have more of a cushion. 
Added value: buying local can be both functional and fun. My favorite salesperson from Berkley that sold me these shoes was on the course with a mic cheering people on at mile 10. 
My high school Cross Country team was also working at one of the water stations. It was awesome to have that support and community feel to push me those last few miles. 
Nathan Running Essentials Belt: It took me awhile to get used to running with a belt ,but I was really glad that I had it on race day. I carried energy beans, running GU, and Chapstick). I used the beans and GU at about 3 or 4 different points during my race. You’ve got to have fuel in the tank to compete! The belt was also essential for training so I could keep energy aids with me on my long runs and have a place to store my keys. 
Garmin Forerunner: For my birthday present, my mom bought me the Garmin Forerunner 15 watch so I could track my pace. Its comfortable and the teal/white color combo adds flare to any running ensemble. I had trouble getting it to find a GPS signal so it didn’t end up working until I got to the 1st mile mark, but I hope to work out the bugs soon. Anyone out there know why this might have happened? I’ve tried using it on several other occasions since but keep running (literally) into the same problem.
And lastly, here is a picture of the awesome medal that I got at the finish line. It also serves as a bottle opener because… well, why wouldn’t it? 🙂

The Climate

I was nervous about the timing of the race, considering it was in August, and Wisconsin weather can be unpredictable. The night before the race, I was checking the forecast constantly.
The good news was it looked like it was going to be in the 60’s around race time. Perfect running temperature. The bad news was it was supposed to storm right when the race started. The Madison-Mini Twitter account and website were both staying optimistic but encouraging runners to check back first thing in the morning and make sure the race was still on. I wasn’t sure what would be worse: the race getting cancelled after all my training OR running in a downpour with soggy socks and rain pelting my face. I went to bed that night feeling discouraged. 
I woke up in the morning ready to go—rain or shine—and fortunately the running gods were on my side. The storm had passed through earlier than anticipated during the night, and it was just drizzling at the start of the race. Soon after we started, the drizzle stopped and it was mid 60’s and overcast. My ideal running weather. 
One benefit I had of training in DC during the summer is that I got used to the humidity. After the race, I regrouped with my mom and her friends. They said that the humidity really challenged them, but I didn’t find it humid compared to the swamp that is Washington in May – August. 
The Course
Overall I enjoyed the course. It was great to run through some of my favorite parts of the city. There were about 3,000 people who ran the mini marathon. They organized us at the start based on our estimated finish time. They didn’t start in waves like some other races so I was nervous it would get crowded. Fortunately, I didn’t have trouble breaking out to my stride. 
The last mile was hard. Thats when my legs and knees were getting sore so I stopped at the mile marker to stretch which helped get me through the last leg. The finish line was on the University of Wisconsin campus. . My biggest complaint about the course itself was there were two hills on mile 12 and It twisted and turned around campus buildings, so I couldn’t see the finish line until I was about 200 yards out or so. I like to see where the finish line is around the last quarter mile so I know how much energy to exert.
Some parts of the course were off the beaten path. Around mile 11 we went down a trail that was quiet and difficult for observers to get to so there weren’t many people cheering. That was the point I could have used encouragement the most. 
I’ve heard from runners that have done this race multiple times,the organizers are very responsive to feedback so hopefully for next year, they’ll adjust the course so its not so hilly and remote towards the finish. 
Unfortunately, I forgot to apply bug spray before the race. As a result, I got a few mosquito bites when we ran through the arboretum trail. Luckily, I didn’t get bit up too bad but I heard other people who were also wishing they had sprayed.
I would do this race again. The hardest thing about it, was the timing being in August which meant training in the hottest months. Wisconsin is a lot cooler than DC though, and the race starts at 7am so even on a hot day, its not going to be too hot at that time. 
So What Were My Results?

Time: 2:18:32 
Pace: 10:35
Place Overall: 1677/2757
Divison Place: 151/258
I was happy with my time and I felt good and comfortable.
Traveling to Wisconsin 
If you’ve never been to Madison, Wisconsin before I encourage you to visit. Its a beautiful and active city. Its not too early to register for the 2017 Madison Mini Marathon on Saturday, August 17th. There’s also a 5k option.
Here are some other things to check out while you’re in the Mad City:
Union South – This is where the packet pick up and after party were. Union South is the “New” Union. Its a lovely building with lots of restaurants and activities. If you have more time in Madison you should also head over to the Memorial Union and have a Spotted Cow by the water while you listen to local music.
Babcock Hall Dairy Store – After the race, treat yourself to ice cream at Babcock Hall. You won’t regret it! They also have cheese curds to snack on and a breakfast and lunch menu. 
State Street Brats – This is a fun and laid back place downtown and a great spot to grab food after the race. 
Porta Bella Italian Restaurant – Looking to carb up the night before the race? Try this quant Italian Restaurant near State Street.
For places to stay, I recommend these hotels in the Downtown area, close to the race location:
Double Hill By Hilton – The official hotel for the Madison Mini Marathon. Check out the race site for information on discounted rates. 
The Edgewater Hotel
Sheraton Madison Hotel 
My Advice To You
If you’re training for a half, don’t underestimate the importance of preparing. Give yourself plenty of time to train, and be sure to find appropriate running gear. Its important to train in the equipment you plan to use for race day so you can test it out and allow yourself time to find the right outfit.
Question of the Day…
What running products would you recommend for long distance races that are both functional and fashionable?

So that’s all from Susie! I hope you enjoyed that! You can find Susie at Susie in Style! 

And again I can’t wait to share with you some details about marathon training, race day plan, and food! All of this will be up on the blog in the next days leading up to my marathon. If you can’t wait, you can always find all the details and inspiration through photos on Instagram, follow me @sweat1xdaily. 

Xo

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

A Recap: My first run post pregnancy. And the raw honest truth about running after having a baby.

I’ve written a little about my postpartum fitness journey. But I have yet to tell you about my experience with starting to run again after pregnancy.

Well I am back at it, running that is. As I said in previous posts the minute I got the okay to workout again I hit the gym, NOT the running trail. I chose to weight lift and try to build my strength back as much as I could before I went to pound the pavement.

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It is true what they say, if you don’t use it you loose it. I stepped in the gym and belly flopped attempting to complete a single push up – just trying to put in perspective how much strength I lost during my pregnancy. Anyway, it was important for me to put on some muscle gains. I have heard to many times before, woman running hard after pregnancy, ending up injured and in PT. I wanted to avoid this, by getting strong again first.

Anyway after exclusively lifting for 6 weeks at 14 weeks postpartum, I decided I was strong enough to run.

The 2015 holidays approached and I debated on signing up for a family friendly easy 5 mile turkey trot. After much thought I finally decided NO. I didn’t want to be rushing out the door to run a race (even though it was only 5 miles) Thanksgiving morning- the holidays are busy enough. Instead, I would find the time on thanksgiving, on my own schedule to take a short casual run while my baby napped.

This run would be my first postpartum run. This run would be my first real run since the 2014 Turkey Trot. Yep, I hadn’t really ran in a full year. After the 2014 Turkry Trot I found out I was pregnant with Zoe, and from then on and through out my whole pregnancy my fitness goals changed. It was no longer about me pushing hard, taking it physically to my ultimate limit, but rather about us, and making sure I brought a baby girl safely into this world.

So on thanksgiving, I ran my first run post pregnancy. I grabbed my Garmin and laced up my Newton Gravity running shoes. I started my run a little slow, but picked up the pace. I ran my regular 5k loop around the neighborhood – mainly flat- one uphill, one down hill. To my surprise it was pretty easy. I ran the whole way. I felt great. I was running a 9:30 min/mile. Not as fast as I use to be, but not bad I thought.

And then…

I woke up the next morning with the worst knee and ankle pain.

They say the main reason for knee and ankle pain in female runners is usually because of a problem with the hips. During pregnancy everything expands to make room for baby, this is especially true for your hips and rib cage. Hips can even get tilted forward during a vaginal birth because of excess pushing. 

Although I had a c section, I knew my body was different. Could this mean my form changed? Could this mean I needed a different running shoe?

When I woke up with knee/ankle pain I went to my local running store. They put me in a new pair of Newtons and got me on the treadmill to evaluate my form. Turns out (they said) my form is perfect… Which also means, there was no magical shoe to quick fix my problem. I was slow and just needed to keep practicing. It had been a full year since I moved my body like that and I just needed to get those fast twitch muscles moving again and strengthen my weak ankles.

Now at 5 months postpartum I am finally running more like I use to. The knee pain and ankle pain is gone – a fresh new pair of shoes helped. Also because of weight lifting, my lungs and heart are strong – the endurance is there. The endurance is there but the speed is not (and I was not a super fast runner before – I was average, not slow though.) I can keep going long and far on the trail, but my legs just can’t go any faster. So now it is time to strengthen my core and focus on speed work.

But here is the truth:

Any mama that seems to have jumped right back into it after they had a baby, is full of shit. 

The raw honest truth- it may hurt. It is going to take time to feel comfortable finding my stride. It is going to take time to rebuild, speed and endurance again.

But once I do, I’m going to be stronger, faster, better runner than I have ever been before.

And since we are being honest, I am already feeling stronger and faster.

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Happy Running!

Best Christmas Gifts for Runners – Part 2

Hey there!

I hope all of you are almost done with your holiday shopping.

But if you are not…

Don’t feel bad.

Did you know… according to statistics, Yesterday was the second most busy shopping day, of the year, (black friday being the busiest).

Anyway I have already posted last year’s awesome list which was Part 1.

Now I am going to reveal to you Part 2- this years list – The Best Running Gifts for Runners.

1) Newton Running Shoes 

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I wasn’t going to put shoes on the top of my list, because shoes are tricky. They are tricky because running shoes make or break your runner. The wrong shoe can cause major problems, even injury. However, if you know your runner, runs in a neutral or stability shoe then go head and purchase.

Newton running shoes are my favorite. They are a light weight, natural barefoot running shoe. I have convinced most of my running buddies to give them a try, and they fell in love. There is no turning back now. Above is a picture of Raiza wearing (yellow) Newton Distanceuniversal, Me wearing (orange) Newton Gravity neutral, Lina wearing (purple) Newton Motionstability.

The bright colors are awesome, and because 2015 shoes will be coming out soon, most 2014 running shoes, including Newtons, will be on sale.

2) Garmin Forerunner 620 

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I got this running watch in early fall, after I ran the summer w/o a watch because my old Garmin died. I still need to write a proper review. But this running watch is the Mac Daddy of all running watches! It is AMAZING!! Trust me it does everything, recording pace, mileage, cadence, heart rate, and much more. It is like having a running coach, because it actually evaluates your stride and running form. It is $400 w/o heart rate monitor, but find a bundle for $450 that comes with the heart rate monitor. It is way worth the money. This watch will bring a smile to every runner, because it becomes your running buddy and your running coach!

3) Pay for a Race Entry

Christmas doesn’t have to be all about material things. Races can be expensive and they start to add up. Paying for a future race entry is an awesome gift for any runner who is planning their 2015 race schedule.

4) Running Jar

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This was my favorite Christmas gift I got last year. My sister made it for me. It is a really fun gift because the jar is filled with pink paper, blue paper, and green paper. The pink paper has a song title on it. The blue paper has a motivational quote on it. The green paper has a yoga pose or stretch on it. The idea is when ever you are in need for a new song on your running playlist, you grab a pink paper. When you need motivation to get out there and run your grab a blue paper. When you are feeling sore and need a good stretch you grab a green paper. The jar also was stuffed with running accessories such as socks and headbands. I love this idea.

I hope that helps.

It’s crunch time! So go a head and get that one last gift for your favorite runner.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

xo

 

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Best Christmas Gifts for Runners – Part 1!

I hope you all had fun shopping on Black Friday, Small Shop Saturday, and Cyber Monday. I hope you found tons of great deals. However, if you have a runner on your list to shop for, I know your pain. Buying Christmas Presents for a runner can be difficult because we are so particular in what gear we like and need, and it all depends on what kind of running we are doing.

Well I got your back.

Last year I made a list of the best Christmas gifts for runners. The list was so good I decided to share it with you again. I am going to break this post into two parts. Part 1 is my last years list and Part 2 will be my top picks for this year.

So here it is Part 1.

click on the link below to see last years wish list.

It’s Crunch Time – Christmas Wish List for Runners!

Happy Running. Happy Shopping. Happy Holidays!

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Above is a picture of a fun homemade gift my sister made me last year. It was awesome! I will tell you about it in Part 2!

Attention Runners: I want to hear from you. If you have a favorite running item that is on your Christmas Wish List let me know by commenting below. 

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Kara Goucher struggles at the NYC Marathon

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Last Sunday was the New York City Marathon.

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

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

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

She suffered…

Hit the wall…

and struggled to finish.

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

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

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

Slowing down running the next 10 miles solo. 

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

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

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

Goodbye October, Hello November!

Halloween has come and went.

And, you probably feel like this right now…

halloween candyBut thats okay, because day light savings time gave us an extra hour of sleep… So now we are well rested and ready to take on November!
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November is here, and I am excited. It is probably my favorite months. 

These are my top 3 reasons why I heart November and my November goals…

 

1.    I love November because it is so damn colorful!

On the first day of November, my husband and I left the city to spend some time in the country. The fun thing about living in the DC area is that you only have to drive 90 minutes out and you hit beautiful country roads. Virginia is also very historical! Lots of history are among these country roads.

fall leaves country roads2.   Another reason, I love November is because it is so damn tasty.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And this November I will be doing lots of cooking. I want to come up with some fabulous new additions to our traditional Thanksgiving. So be prepared for lots of food posts.

3.   And the final reason, I love November is because it is the perfect month to run. 

I wake up every morning with a strong desire to hit the trail. There is only a short time that the leaves are this colorful and I don’t want to miss it. Plus, soon it will be really cold and I’ll have to pull out my winter running gear. So these are the last weeks where the weather will be perfect for running. Also, I must run, to counter act all of the cooking, food testing, eating, tasting I will be doing in order to find the prefect Thanksgiving addition. So I will be participating in Pile on the Miles. (More on that later.)

NYC MARATHONAlso CONGRATS to everyone who ran the NYC Marathon! You guys rocked it out!

What is your favorite thing about November? What dishes are you eating this Thanksgiving? Are you going to pile on the miles?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

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