A reflection on 2013 in photos…

2013 was a very special year for me. I ran a lot of miles. I found a new passion for weight lifting. I cooked a lot of food. I spent the spring in my veggie garden. I hit the slopes in the winter. I traveled to some pretty amazing places. I read some awesome books. 

These are some of my top highlights, saving the best for last. 

I started 2013 off running…

Of course, doing my traditional New Years Eve night run and New Years Day morning run – striking a yoga pose in between.

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I am a runner, so of course I spent the rest of the year running…

On my runs, I captured some breath taking views…

January, February, and March is what I call my running off season, because I am not following a disciplined training plan. This time off from training for races gives me the opportunity to focus on other forms of exercise and nutrition. In 2013,  I spent this time getting very serious about weight lifting. I did the Livefit trainer, which I still basically follow. I learned about clean eating, supplements such as BCAAS. I learned about supersets, active rest periods, circuit training, lifting heavy, and HIIT. I also bought a heart rate monitor that took my training to the next level. All of this helped made me a faster stronger runner.

In February, I  hit the slopes.

April was a busy fun month for me.

I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler finishing in 1:24:33.

I ran the Parkway Classic 10 miler finishing in 1:24:16.

I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, finishing in 1:57:03.

The weekend of April that I didn’t run a race was the weekend of the Boston Marathon. The tragedy that happened there touched me, the running community, and the world. Boston Strong always and forever.

In 2013, I traveled.

I went to Miami for the first time.

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I went to Vegas for the first time.

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I went to Martha’s Vineyard.

I joined the Under Armour What’s Beautiful community, which inspired me, everyday. What I love most was all the yoga challenges.

In July, I started training for the Marine Corps Marathon. It was intense, but I loved it.

On October 27th, 2013, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon finishing  at 4:19:26 Рnew PR . This was by far my favorite race of the year!

Although, running my marathon comes in a close second nothing can top what happened on August 29th, in Martha’s Vineyard.

I got engaged. 

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Looking back on 2013 makes me smile. It was a fabulous year in which I challenged myself physically, emotionally, and mentally.  However, thinking of all of the amazing things planned for 2014 makes me smile even bigger. I am excited to start this year, the next chapter.

Thank you for all your love and support.

Bring on 2014!

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© 2014 sweatdaily

I donated my Running Shoes this Holiday…

There are many people who make donations to their favorite charity, during the Holiday season.

When I was asked what I wanted for Christmas, I realized there is not much that I want or need. It made me feel really fortunate. I am so thankful for this- I am one lucky lady. Because of this I felt a deep desire to help someone in need. So this year, I decided I wanted to donate, and because I am a runner, there is nothing better to give, then my retired running shoes. So I donated them to a company I love supporting, Kind Runner.

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I am a runner who has a shoe rotation.

I am a runner who retires her shoes on average around every 400 miles.

This means I end up with a huge pile of retired running shoes.

So to avoid looking like a shoe hoarder, I now donate my retired running shoes to Kind Runner.

It is really simple.

  1. Purchase your next pair of running shoes from Kind Runner.
  2. You will receive your new running shoes in a box with proper postage and address.
  3. Remove your new shoes from the box and put your old shoes in.
  4. Ship it out for free with UPS.
  5. Once Kind Runner receives your donation they will e-mail you.
  6. Make sure you set up your account with Kind Runner so they can give you kind runner rewards.
  7. Every pair of shoes you donate you will receive kind runner rewards which can be used towards your next purchase.

Always remember to be kind! Happy Running!

Questions for you…

  1. Do you donate your retired running shoes?
  2. Which charity do you donate to, during the holidays?

© 2013 sweatdaily

The best Christmas present a Runner could ask for…

Tis’ the Season

This year’s holiday season was non stop. It actually was the busiest holiday season I have ever had at the salon. Busy is good, but it is also exhausting, and stressful.

Christmas Eve

So when I got to leave the salon early on Christmas Eve, I decided to hit the trail hard. Snow flurries were among the wind blowing, but it was sunny, and I made it just in time to get a good run in before the sunset. 1511366_10101518148575136_1184233541_nI love running at this time. You see a ton of wild life on the water, and this time the sky turned pink- so bright it matched my jacket.

My family never does anything on Christmas Eve, so we ended up all at my mom’s and ordered Chinese. Honestly, there are no good Chinese Restaurants in the DC area, so we ended up ordering from Charlie Changs. I haven’t eaten Chinese in over a year. It was a true test to my taste buds. Once you start eating clean and eliminating added sugar your taste buds totally change. This food tasted way to sweet,and processed- like a TV dinner. YUCK! If you are from DC and know of a good Chinese Restaurant clue me in please…

My Tree

This year was the first time that I cut down my own tree. I went once with my family as a kid, but my fiance and his parents have been cutting down their tree for the last couple years so this year I joined them.

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I asked the farm if they had Douglas Firs. They didn’t, but they had other types of Firs, that looked similar. It was a fun outing, and really awesome having a fresh cut tree.
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Because work was so busy, it took a whole week to decorate. But it finally got done. It is so relaxing to sit next to a beautiful lit tree. The tree part is one of my favorite things about the Christmas holiday. I also love Christmas Cards!

The Best present a Runner could ask for…

Of course a lot of the stress about this Holiday is finding the perfect gift. And for some reason my family says I am the hardest one to shop for. Honestly, I think the receiving presents thing is getting a little bit old. It’s much more fun when you have children around who get excited about Santa. However, because we have no children in my family, it is just adults exchanging presents, which feels a little weird since we are all lucky that we are able to buy our own things. This is why it becomes even harder, to find that fun creative thoughtful gift. I made my Runner’s Wish List, and never thought or heard of this wonderful idea my little sister came up with…

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This is a jar of pink, blue,  and green pieces of paper rolled up into scrolls.

PINK

When I am in need of a new song to add to my running mix on my iPod I choose pink, unravel it and there will be a song title and artist. This is perfect because I am always desperate for new music.

BLUE

If I am lacking motivation, I choose blue. I unravel blue and a motivational quote will be there to help me get my booty moving.

GREEN

If I am sore from miles and miles of running, I can choose a green scroll which will teach a yoga pose or stretch. The jar also had socks, and headbands in there as well.

This is a home made thoughtful gift and I love it! So creative. My favorite part is the phrase on the front, “Its a runners world, because 26.2 is my lucky number.”¬†This gift is definitely making my Runner’s Wish List next year.¬†

Christmas Morning Running…

So after breakfast and gift exchange, my sister and I went for a quick 5K loop. It was a great neighborhood run- towards the end of the run, I realized how peaceful it was outside. It was also nice to check out all the houses decorated for Christmas.

Another Exciting Gift…

Pacers is the local running store in the DC area. They posted on facebook a status wanting to hear what kind of milage everyone was running for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Whoever had the best mileage won a race entry for February or March. Guess what… I WON!!

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I am so excited! I never win anything! Can’t wait to run a St. Patty’s day race. Thank You, Pacers!!!

Now that Christmas is over, I am feeling much more relaxed, and very excited about the New Year! New Years is my favorite! I can’t wait to share with you my highlights for 2013, and my new goals for 2014. ¬†So stay tuned…

Questions for You…

  1. Are the holidays busy, stressful, and overwhelming for you?
  2. What cool running presents did you receive?
  3. Have you ever won a free race entry?
  4. Do you enjoy New Years?

© 2013 sweatdaily

I want to say a special thank you to my sister, mom, and of course my fiance, his parents, and stepsister who gave me gifts this year.  All of them were amazing and I have been so spoiled. Thank you!

 

It’s Crunch time! Christmas Wish List for Runners!

It’s CRUNCH time! You have a little less then one week until your shopping deadline, December 25th is here. If you have a runner on your buying list. I am going to help you, by revealing my Runner’s Christmas Wish list.

There are definitely some awesome universal running gifts but there are some that are particular to certain types of runners. Don’t worry I’ll walk you through it.

Let’s start with great ideas for stocking stuffers. Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference, especially during a long run.

Here are my top favorites…

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These little tablets help your runner refuel. They dissolve into your runner’s water with in minutes giving instant energy. Once dissolved it becomes your runner’s source of hydration, giving them everything they need from sodium to electrolytes. The brand also has an ALL DAY option with a¬†lower sodium level,¬†for those runners who want to sip on nuun all day. ¬†Nuun comes in a wide range of flavors to satisfy every runner’s taste buds, for only $6.50 a pack. This product is for all types of runners and endurance athletes.

Sports Beans by Jelly Belly

ea2c1629-afec-4113-a6dc-842499df1040These beans are magical beans, at least to a runner that is. They are different from nuun because they don’t dissolve in water. Instead you chew about four beans every hour, washing them down with a gulp of water. And like magic, instantly, your runner feels energized. They refuel and replace everything your runner looses while sweating during a long run.

These beans have been with me during every training run and every race from 10 miler to marathon. These beans come in a variety of different flavors. They also come with ¬†the option of caffeine or with out. I normally use the ones with out caffeine, because caffeine gives me the jitters while I run and messes up my stomach. ¬†So keep this in mind- it is important to ask your runner if they perform well on caffeine or not. These sports beans are only $1.25 a pack, that’s a pretty good price for magic.

Honey Stingers Waffles

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Imagine this… Cyclists in Belgium training for the Tour de France, eating waffles as fuel on long training rides. This is how Honey Stingers Waffles were born. These waffles come in strawberry, vanilla, honey, lemon, and chocolate and the best part is they are Organic. My favorite is the honey flavor. They come in handy when you are crunched for time and need a quick bite before a run. I also like to keep them in my camelbak for a snack while on a long training run. The brand Honey Stingers also has gels and other refuel items. These waffles are $1.39 per waffle.

Body Glide

DownloadedFile-3This may not seam like a very exciting Christmas present, but to a runner it is. Body glide is a protecting layer that can be put on any part of the skin. This helps prevent chafing and blisters. I am that runner who always misplaces her body glide. So I am always buying new ones. I don’t go on a long run or to a race with out it, and honestly can’t get enough of it.¬†Body glide has saved me from a lot of stinging, bleeding, and painful miles. It comes in a small travel size and a regular size. Depending on sized Body glide is $6.00-$10.00. This is for any runner who experience chafing and blisters, but mainly for the long distance runner.

Bondi band

401849_10101091606728416_1103647335_n-1I first discovered bondi bands at a race expo and I fell in love. They are the ultimate running accessory. It keeps your hair out of your face, stays put, and absorbs sweat. They also are very personable, coming in different colors with different fun phrases written on them. $8.00 a band, for all types of runners, male or female.

iTunes Gift Card

unnamedMaybe your runner is a sprinter who needs some fast pace music to get their feet speedy… Maybe your runner is an ultra marathoner who spends hours chugging long miles on the trail. Which ever it may be, all runners need some new tunes to keep them motivated and help them push through that last part of their training.

Now for your presents under the tree…

Garmin Forerunner

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The Garming Forerunner is the heart rate, GPS, watch which takes your running to the next level. Use this watch as a tool to understand your heart rate and record your pace, distance, and cadence for all training runs and races. There is a wide variety of different Garmin Forerunners, to meet the needs of all the different types of runners out there. There is ¬†even the forerunner 310 that is for the triathlete and can record under water. ¬†Which ever Garmin you choose, know this… Garmin is the leader in the running community for GPS and Heart Rate. These watches range from $129.00 – $399.99.

Newton

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Newton running is a natural barefoot running shoe that helps you mimic your stride as if you were barefoot. They are light weight, have a low heel to toe drop, but because of their unique lugs they are able to absorb shock.

I have been running in these shoes for over 18 months and ran my fall marathon in them. Their motto is Hello Better and it is so true.  My running form has significantly improved, I am running faster and better. These shoes range from $119.00- $175.00.

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There are a lot of different ways to stay hydrated. Some runners prefer a running belt. Others prefer a vest that holds two water bottles one on either front side. I however use a camelbak.

When running on trails, or through the city it is impossible to rely on water fountains. I always bring my camelbak for runs 10 miles or longer. My camelbak holds 2 liters of water and has additional pockets for all my other belongings. This is ideal for marathon runners, or anyone running 10 miles or more. Camelbaks range from $50.00 – $150.00, depending on the size and model of the camelbak you choose.

Injinji 

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A runner will appreciate a high performance sock. It sounds weird, but socks do make a huge difference. I tend to get really bad blisters. But these socks are wicking and sweat absorbing. And although they may look weird, they will save your runner from blisters. These run around $12.00 and they are for all runners, even those wearing the Vibram Five Fingers.

Runner’s World Magazine SubscriptionRunners-World-South-Africa-December-2013

I have been reading this magazine every month for the last 7 years. As a runner, Runner’s World is your source of information. It is for all types of runners, from the rookie to the veteran. It touches bases on all types of running from 5K to ultra marathons, revealing the most current gear from shoes to hydration packs. It has inspiring stories, tips for racing, exercises and nutrition advice. It also has a race calender to keep you updated on popular races.¬†¬†If your runner does not have this magazine, they need it. Subscribe for $19.99.

Other good reads for your Runner…

Eat and Run by Scott Jurekscotts_book_big

This book is by far my favorite book. It is written by ultra marathon Scott Jurek. The book tells the story of his life as an ultra marathoner, who eats a plant based diet. However, it gets a lot deeper then running, when he talks about his friends and family. My favorite part is that this book also has pages of great recipes.

Born to Run by Christopher Mcdougall born2run_coverpb

This book has been out for a couple years now . It is a national best seller, so odds are that your runner may have already gotten their hands on it. However, if not this is a must read.

This book is about the epic adventure Christopher Mcdougall goes on to answer the simple question of why his foot hurts when he runs. He discovers that what we thought we knew about running was all wrong. We are born to run, barefoot. Read this book and your will not only be inspired, but all your questions about running will be answered.

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The Cool Impossible by Eric Orton and Christopher Mcdougall

If your runner has already read, Born to Run, then The Cool Impossible is the next book to read. This book will become your running coach. Teaching you how to strengthen weak areas, so you can have proper running form, and transition safely into a barefoot runner.

 

 

So there is my list of the best running gifts. However before you buy anything…

Make sure you are a Kind Runner! Check out kindrunner.com.

“The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other… But to be with each other.” ~ Christopher Mcdougall

I wish you the best this Holiday Season, and although, there is tons of pressure to give the best presents, in the end it is not that important. Always remember the true meaning of the Holidays is to be with each other.

© 2013 sweatdaily

I got lucky!!

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I’m in!! The Cherry Blossom 10 miler was my very first race and I have been running it every year since. Because of popularity the last couple of years race organizers have changed the race from first come first serve to a lottery. I am always nervous I might not get in, but thankfully I got lucky. This will be my 7th time running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler! I now have spring fever. I am super excited for this race and more to come. I am also looking forward to announcing my future races for my running season with you guys after the holidays!

Is anyone else running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler? Do you have a favorite race you run every year?

New workout challenge #29daysofIWill

Lately, I have been posting a daily work out photo on Instagram and Facebook. Because of these daily work out photos, I have gotten a lot of questions and comments from curious followers wondering what this new challenge is.

Let me start out by saying I am not an Under Armour ambassador or work for Under Armour in any way. I am simply an athlete who loves Under Armour and is a part of the Under Armour fitness community, What’s Beautiful. Along with the motivation and support this community gives me, there is also a new challenge called 29 Days of I Will. This is how it works…

Set up a profile page on What’s Beautiful. Every day for 29 days one of the Under Armour ambassadors will announce a new workout challenge that you will complete. You can find this workout video and/or photo on What’s Beautiful, but also on Instagram. You will then take a photo or video of yourself completing the workout challenge. Post this photo/video on Instagram using #29daysofiwill. Also post it on your Whats Beautiful profile. To see other athletes completing the challenges too you can search #29daysofiwill.

I have been doing these workout challenges in addition to my other workout routine. Some days I simply can’t fit it in at the same time of my other workout routine so it forces me to do night workouts. What I love most about these challenges is that they get me out of my comfort zone and get me to try new things that I would have never considered trying.

Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3
Today was all about suicides. I haven’t done suicides since I was on the tennis team in high school. I remember hating them. But surprisingly this time I found them really fun. I did 3 tennis courts worth. And plan on hitting the tennis courts more often.

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Day 4
Today was a pool workout. 5 50 meter laps. After each 50 meters do 10 dips and 10 push ups adding 10 more reps after each lap. Example lap 3 would have you do 30 dips and 30 push ups. I didn’t have a pool so I substituted laps in the pool with laps around the track. I went to the local high school’s track and surprisingly it was really busy. I was happy about this because I love being surrounded by other runners. It was definitely a different vibe from the trail, but it was a good vibe. There was also a local running club there too doing track work outs. I have always wanted to hit up the track but just never got to it. I am thankful I finally got there and look forward to doing more track work outs. I was also lucky it was a warm night in December and I was able to wear shorts.

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Day 5
Today I learned a new Yoga Pose called Fallen Triangle! I love this pose.

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Day 6
Was to sign up for something you have never tried before. I am still deciding on what this will be so I skipped this day. I promise I will get back to this.

Day 7
Today was a circuit workout.

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So this is what I have done so far. Today is day 13 for this challenge. So as you can see I have some major catching up to do. Hopefully, I’ll get caught up soon. The one negative thing about this challenge is that I am a morning runner and do most of my workouts in the morning before work. Unfortunately, the ambassadors post the daily challenge mid morning. This does not work for me because I like to plan my work outs the night before. Other than that it is fun to learn new yoga poses and workouts to include with my runs and current weight lifting plan. It’s not to late. Check out this challenge!!

Do you use social media to learn new workouts and find inspiration and support?

Turkey Trot and Pies…

“My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and my favorite part is the Turkey Trot.”

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for so many reasons. Although, I have heard from others, it can be stressful, for me everything about it is relaxing.

After a really busy month at the salon – coming in early, staying late, and squeezing clients in… I finally get to leave work early on Wednesday- Thanksgiving Eve, and ¬†stay home, Thursday- Thanksgiving day. The best part is I don’t have to return to the chaos of Holiday Season at the salon, until Sunday. A couple of relaxing days off is just what I need, to rest, get refocused, and organized.

Some people get stressed over cooking a huge feast. The cost, the work, the clean up, but I love it. Cooking my own food, relaxes me. I am able to get creative, and stay in complete control. It is fun for me to discover new recipes, that are healthier alternatives then the traditional ones. All of my thanksgiving dishes and sister’s dishes, this year were organic, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, raw. Together we dominated the feast with healthy flavorful dishes.

You don’t have to have an unhealthy holiday. They say the average person consumes over 4,000 calories on thanksgiving. No wonder everyone is sleepy! Blame it on the turkey, but it is really your body trying to digest everything. You don’t have to indulge in that many calories, if you don’t want too. But if you do want to, don’t feel bad, it is a holiday – you can get back on track tomorrow. Just be happy with your choice. If you cook your own food, you can control everything.

A quick tip:  for this holiday season research some new dishes to try. By cooking yourself instead, of ordering out, you have the control of all of your ingredients. You then know exactly what you are eating.

This year I contributed quite a few dishes to my family’s feast.

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I decided I was going to make stuffing from scratch. So I made it from a whole wheat loaf, with rosemary from my garden. I also added, figs, cranberries, Tawny Port, and topped it off with hazel nuts.

In my family, we always have a couple appetizers so we can munch on something while the rest of the food finishes up. The bottom left photo are the two dips I made. One is roasted beet and lentil dip, the other one is Scott Jurek’s Salsa Verde. Both are vegan and gluten free.

I also made three pies. The bottom right photo are the two pumpkin pies I made. However, this year was fun because we ended up with a total of five pies. Two were pumpkin (raw, vegetarian.) Heather brought the fabulous pecan (gluten free, vegetarian.) I made my specialty date pie, (raw, vegan, gluten free.) Jackie made her famous grasshoper, which was not healthy, but a tradition in my family, so we all ate it anyway. Everything was delicious.

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People get so worked up and forget the true meaning of the holidays. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and share great food with family and friends. However, Thanksgiving, for me because I am a runner, also means Turkey Trot time.

The traditional Turkey Trot I usually participate in on Thanksgiving morning is the DC 5k put on by an organization called SOME (So Others May Eat.) Normally 11,000 people run it every year. There is a DJ at the start.  The route circles around the Capital.

However, this year, I decided to run the Alexandria Turkey Trot. This Turkey Trot is a 5 miler instead of a 5k. It also is a little closer to my house. I thought it would be nice to run a little further, and drive a little less. It also started at 9:00 AM, which is late for a race, but more sleep in the morning for me.

On Thanksgiving Eve, I went to the local school to pick up my bib and t-shirt. E was going to run this race with me, so I grabbed E’s bib too.

Thanksgiving morning was a cold one. It was around 30 degrees. So E and I bundled up. Other friends that were planning on running the race, bailed on us last minute because of the cold. E was really nervous about the cold, but we have run really cold races before, and I know that in the right running cold gear we would warm up quick. I have worn this hat, coat, and scarf snowboarding before, so I knew it would do the job, and keep me toasty.¬†1452077_10101469313900216_915473531_nTurkey Trots are fun because just like the Thanksgiving holiday, they too are relaxing. It’s a 5 mile turkey trot, and although, I am competitive person, I think of this as just a fun run.

There were hardly any other runners out and about, because a lot of the running community on Thanksgiving is doing some sort of Turkey Trot. I love it when the running community gets together. I also love seeing non runners and kids getting out there running. I saw Facebook statuses in which people claimed the Turkey Trot they ran yesterday was their first race. It is fun races like Turkey Trots that can help one find a passion for running. Maybe someone runs a Turkey Trot, then they love it so much, they sign up for another type of race. Then a new runner is born.

I love running! And running a Turkey Trot is my favorite part of my Thanksgiving celebration – It gets me in the spirit. Running in the morning, getting my work out in, and then filling my belly with amazing food, with great friends and family equals a perfect Thanksgiving!!

Do you run a Turkey Trot? Do you make any vegan or gluten free dishes on Thanksgiving?

© 2013 sweatdaily

My friend went on a date with another runner… and it didn’t go well!

THE DATE

A friend of mine went on a date with a guy the other night. They were chatting and having a great time. Because they were both runners, the conversation naturally gravitated towards their race experiences. The guy, being an ultra marathoner, finally asked my friend, “Why did you downgrade from running full marathons to halves?” It was then that my friend knew a relationship between the two of them would never work…

DON’T ASK STUPID QUESTIONS

The question, “Why did you downgrade from running full marathons to halves?” was a deal breaker for her, and honestly it annoys me to pieces.

I just completed my 3rd full Marine Corps Marathon (read all about it here.) I have run all distances excluding the ultra marathon, however I am considering trying one in the near future. My favorite distances to run, and the ones I run most often are 10 milers, half marathons, and the full marathon. However, I do not think the full marathon is a harder distance to conquer then the half marathon. All of these distances are equally challenging in their own way. All of these distances are challenging, but the training focus is different. In other words, ¬†it takes a different kind of running depending on the race distance. And here is why…

HALF MARATHON

When I am training for a half marathon, my goal is to run faster. My training focus is on pace and speed work. I am doing shorter runs during the week, at a faster pace. I am running hill repeats. I may, even though, it is rare, jump on the treadmill to do some HIIT. I am also focusing on running form, and strength training. When training for a half marathon, I have more time to weight lift and do yoga. And last time I trained for a half marathon, I ran less, but when I did run, my runs were quality runs. The running less left more time to weight lift. The combo of more quality runs, and more weight lifting, made my body stronger and my runs faster.

FULL MARATHON

When I am training for a full marathon my ultimate goal is to build endurance by running far. My training focus is on increasing my weekly milage by running longer runs. I am not worrying too much on running a fast pace, and actually my pace slows down significantly. When it comes to pace, I am just trying to stay consistent. I practice negative splits on my longer runs. Nutrition and proper hydration plays a huge role when training and racing this distance.

HOW IT EFFECTS MY BODY

Depending on the sport you play, your body may take on a different shape. Gymnasts have a distinct gymnast’s body, Swimmers have a swimmer’s body… and you may have heard people say Runners have a runner’s body… but when it comes to runners, it becomes a little more complicated, because there are different types of runners. Sprinters or those running shorter distances then the marathon ¬†at a faster pace tend to be more muscular, then those running full marathons and ultra marathons. This is definitely true for me.

When I train for a half marathons I have more time for other exercises, such as weigh lifting, cycling, and yoga. When I train for a half marathon, I am able to fit in 4-5 times a week of weight lifting. Therefore, I maintain more muscle. I am stronger and overall look more fit.

When I train for a full marathon, my weekly milage has significantly increased. The mileage has increased so much that it is nearly impossible to fit any other exercising in. During marathon training, I was able to squeeze one weight lifting session in a week. And out of my four month marathon training, I went to yoga once. I tried to maintain as much muscle as I could during marathon training, but it was hard because I wasn’t lifting as much as I usually do, and because I didn’t have much fat to burn. When running long distance the body uses fat as energy. If there isn’t any fat to use, it will then use muscle for energy. This is why marathon runners, and ultra marathoners are so lean.

So as you can see, one distance is not more challenging then the other, they are just very different, even effecting the body differently.

Stop having an ego!

Just because you run a full marathons, or ultra marathons, it doesn’t mean you are more fit or a better runner then someone who chooses to run half marathons.

I choose to run a full marathon when I am craving to run far, consistent, slower, longer runs. Marathon training is a huge time commitment, and because I usually get really into my training, it is important for me to have the proper time to train. Yes, you can always make time, and make marathon training a priority but things get in the way, for example wedding planning, getting pregnant, traveling.

I am tired of hearing, “Oh I just ran the half…”

Don’t feel like less of a runner, because you only ran the half marathon. Feel proud, running a half marathon is an amazing accomplishment.

Honestly, sometimes I choose to run a half marathon. It lets me focus on running a faster pace. For a travel race, I may choose to run the half marathon over the full marathon, if I am in a cool city that I want to visit and explore, and not be too tired after racing. Sometimes, I choose to run a half because I want to be able to fit in weight lifting and yoga.

SO at the end of the day, I like to switch things up, and that is healthy physically and mentally.

‚ÄúIn some ways, an ultra isn‚Äôt even as hard as a marathon.‚ÄĚ ~ Scott Jurek¬†

Questions for You…

  1. Have you ever dated a runner?
  2. Which race distance is your favorite?
  3. Have you ever come across a runner with an ego?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Race Report: Marine Corps Marathon

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

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

NIGHT BEFORE

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

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

MORNING OF 

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

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

THE METRO 

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

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

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

MY CORRAL

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

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

THE START

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

FIRST 2 MILES

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

MCM EM AND SIGNS

MILES 3-9

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

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

MILE 10-12

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

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

HALF WAY DONE – Mile 13.1

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

THE PEP TALK

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

MILE 15 

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

mcm-thumbs-up

MILE 16

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

MCM MILE 16

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

MILE 17

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

mcm-1

MILE 18-20

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

MCM BRIDGE

BEAT THE BRIDGE

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

HITTING THE WALL

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

MILE 21

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

MILE 22

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

MILE 23

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

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

MCM COOL SIGN

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

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

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

MILE 24

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

ONE MOE MILE

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

MCM race times

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

THE FINISH – 26.2

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

MCM HOT MARINE

MCM Finisher medal

MCM me

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

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

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

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

© 2013 sweatdaily

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

Marine Corps Marathon Expo and the GAME plan!

EXPO

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

GAME PLAN

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

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

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

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

The first quote I came across was…

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

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

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

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

“Hey, Jurker!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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© 2013 sweatdaily

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