Baltimore Half Race Recap & Life Update

Again with the long gaps between posts!  Get it together Sara!  I’ve just been so busy with work, training, and raising a threenager that by the time I get some time to myself, I need to veg.  Some of you other bloggers with multiple children and crazy schedules that post daily?  I tip my hat to you.

Since I last checked in, I went to Disney World, I went to Cancun, and yes, fit a half marathon in there.  The weeks since the Chuck 12 were pretty standard, track night, tempo runs, long runs, and yoga.  However, during an 11 miler, right before the Chuck 12 actually, I had a horrible pain run down my butt and hamstring.  I stretched it and it seemed to go away.  I had a PT look at it and it turns out my left hip was out of alignment, causing piriformis issues.  Nothing serious, I could work on it at home, but at least I had an explanation for the pain in my butt.

Durning the taper, late September & early October, is when I went to Disney and Cancun.  I had intentions to get at least one run in while in Disney, but the Florida humidity did nothing for me.  Plus, I’m fairly certain I walked enough miles pushing a stroller to make up for it.  Besides, this made it all worth it.  #allthefeels


  
Cancun was the following week (and the week before the Baltimore Half) and basically recovery from Disney since it was just Brian and I.  Despite the timing it was a trip we couldn’t pass up for the price we paid.  It was beautiful and I’m determined to take more trips to all inclusive resorts.

On to the Baltimore Running Festival!  I went to the Expo on Thursday, 10/15, for packet pickup.  It was held at the Raven’s Stadium this year as opposed to the convention center like last year.  I was able to get my bib and shirt pretty easily, but the layout left a little to be desired.  I had bought some cute shirts from Charm City Run earlier in the week, so I wasn’t really in need of any new gear.  Of course I stopped by the Sweaty Bands booth and added to my collection.  I think I have a problem.

Flat Sara ready to go!

Race morning was expected to be cold.  That made me evaluate my goal for race day.  Being as burnt on running as I was, I just wanted to finish under 3 hours, and was okay without a PR.  I had been slacking and just not feeling it for the month prior.

When I saw the forecast, though, I thought I could try and PR.  I did 2:49:59 in Frederick in the spring, when had it not been for the heat, I could have done better.  I thought I could pull off getting close to that, so a PR was my going to be my goal.

On race morning, I took the light rail downtown to meet up with the others in my training group and to watch the marathon start.  The half started later than I’m used to running, 9:45, but that gave me plenty of time to hit the potty before the race started.  If you read my recap last year I was afraid of waiting and had to pee badly for the first 6 miles then waited in a crazy long line mid race.

I finished up in the porta potty line as my wave started walking towards the start, so I hopped right in and started my walk to the start.  As I crossed the starting line, I started my watch, started my Another Mother Runner podcast and got to work. About a 10th of a mile in I remembered that my watch was not set to Autolap and freaked out a bit.  Then I thought it might be a good thing, I decided to just run each mile, click the lap when I passed a mile marker and just not worry about it.

My plan was to take the first 9 miles conservatively (the uphill part) and then pick it up for the last 4.  I was afraid of working too hard on the hills and not being able to finish strong.  The first half of the race was uneventful, other than feeling good.  I passed the time by counting rats.  (Hello, I’m in Baltimore!)  I counted 10 up until about mile 7, when we hit Lake Montebello.  And those are just the 10 that I saw.  🙂

Brian and Charlotte we’re going to meet me at mile 9 by the YMCA, so I was really looking forward to that.  However, once I got there,  Brian asked me to watch Charlotte so he could go to the bathroom.  WTF?!  I kinda didn’t know what to say and agreed.  I thought it would be a quick in and out but it turned out to be about 3 minutes now that I’m looking at my splits.  Charlotte wasn’t even paying attention to me, so it wasn’t even worth it.  As soon as he came out, I took off again.

This is where in my plan I wanted to speed it up and so I did.  The last 4 miles (with the exception of mile 12 when I hit the Howard Street Bridge) were my fastest miles.  I had looked at my watch at some point during mile 10 or mile 11 and realized a PR was going to be out of reach – not that I slowed down or anything.  I still had some hope that maybe my chip start time was later or something that might make it work.  I’d be cutting it really close.  Once I hit the downhill on Eutaw street I was full steam ahead and ran strong all the way across the finish.  The clock time at the finish line was 3:08 and change.  My official time was 2:53:59 exactly 4 minutes over my Frederick PR.

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Now back to that bathroom break.  When I look at my “non moving time” it’s about 3 minutes, nothing scientific.  But the time was close enough to a potential PR that I kindly let Brian know how pissed off I was about his bathroom break.  While I understand he’s with Charlotte and taking her to the bathroom with him can be awkward – I told him I would have rather missed him on the course than had to stop.  He didn’t seem to understand that even though I wasn’t going to “win” I still didn’t want to stop.  When I told him how close I was to beating the other time, he felt really bad.  I’m okay with it now – I still had a course PR by about 15 minutes, so there’s that.  I’m headed to Cleveland in the spring for a flatter half, so that’s where I’ll get my next PR.

This was probably my best race ever.  I felt strong the whole time, I went into it with a plan and followed through.  Sometimes I think maybe I took the first 9 miles too conservatively, but I got my strong finish and that’s all that matters.

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So am I done for 2015?  I might have one more race in me – a 5 miler or something.  I’ll be traveling a lot in November, so I’m planning to spend some time on the treadmill, and come December come up with another plan like last year to get in some cross training and keep up my fitness.  Also – I’m going to the PT again to get the hip checked out and make sure the piriformis issue doesn’t become something bigger.

How has your training been going?  What’s next on your race agenda?  Have you ever been stopped in the middle of a race?

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Friday  Five – Running Tips for Newbies

TGIF!  And I mean that!  The first week back at work after vacation was a doozy.

It’s been a minute since I last joined in on a Friday Five.  I’m happy to have found a few extra minutes to join in on the fun today!  Thanks to the DC Trifecta, Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia, for hosting every week.

Friday Five

So what are my five running tips?  These are just a few things I’ve learned over the past 18 months of running – hopefully any newbie runners out there can benefit.

Stretch!  (and cross train) – I can’t stress stretching and rolling enough.  It definitely makes such a difference in how you feel and how a long run can make you feel the day after.  I have a stick roller and a foam roller that I use.  A rolling pin can come in handy too, there just isn’t any texture to it.  Cross training is just as important because it adds variety and can help keep your entire body strong for the repetitive motion of running (i.e. your core.)  One of my favorite forms of cross training is yoga, it can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be, you can do it virtually anywhere, and it helps out with the stretching.

Embrace your pace.  No matter what your comfortable pace is, embrace it.  I’m slow.  There I said it.  But I’m still running.  I’d like to be faster, but it’s not going to happen overnight.  Most of my other running friends are faster than me, and I’m not trying to keep up.  The one thing I’ve learned, this summer especially, is to run your slow easy runs, just that – slow and easy.   Last summer I was always trying to run everything as fast as I could, or at least at a faster pace than I was truly capable of, which resulted in a lot of walk breaks and not so fun runs.  So I’m taking my paces seriously, running slow when I need to and running faster when I’m supposed to.  It’s made everything seem much more manageable this training cycle.

Carry Water.  Even if I’m just going out for a few miles, I carry water (especially in the summer).  Even at races, I carry water (see above, in snow even!).  Some people rely on aid stations, but if I’m carrying water, I don’t need to stop.  It’s really just the comfort of knowing I can have water when I want it and not be thirsting until the next aid station.  When I’m out running in my neighborhood, there are no water stops.  There is a Dunkin Donuts, but I only step foot in there during a run if I need the loo.  (After my run is a different story – large iced coffee please!).  If you carry water no other time, at least carry it in the summer.  It’s so humid around here in MD that even at 60 degrees, I’m schvitzing more than a sinner in church.

If it hurts, stop. Period.  Running shouldn’t hurt.  I’m not talking the heavy legs, soreness from yesterday’s yoga class.  I’m talking pain.  Don’t run through pain.  Get it checked out.  You don’t want to make things worse.  Last summer when I hurt my knee, I rested a bit and then tried to run again and it was excrutiating.  I knew it wasn’t right.  I ended up having 6 weeks of no running, but had I continued to try and run through the pain, it could have turned into months of no running.  No bueno.  Get checked out, take some prescribed rest, and then get back out there (when you are given the go ahead!)

Don’t Beat Yourself Up.  Over your pace, over a missed workout, over your bad run, over your bad race.  Just don’t.  You are out there and doing more than someone who’s sitting at home with a bag of cheetos – so pat yourself on the back.  If you have a bad run, think about what you could have done better and aim to improve on that next time.  In the HR world we call those “areas of opportunity”.  If you are just too tired to get up and run or workout – it’s okay!  Sleep in and get up early tomorrow!  Just yesterday I had to miss my tempo run because I had to get up early for work and got home too late to fit in the run.  So you know what, I got up and did a couple miles today – it wasn’t a tempo run, but I got up and did something.  Running should be fun and if you are constantly beating  yourself up over mistakes or how slow you are, the fun isn’t going to last.  Then you’ll be asking your buddy on the couch to pass the cheetos.
Cheetos

So those are my tips.  I can’t wait to read everyone else’s!

 

Anything fun planned for your weekend?  If it wasn’t Cheetos on the couch, what would you be passing around?

 

Workout Review 7/6 – 7/12

Happy Monday!  It was a quiet, yet busy weekend.  Not sure why it felt so busy, but it did fly by.  My first run of training season was on Saturday morning.  Then I came home, took Charlotte to gymnastics, and then went to get my hair cut that afternoon.  Sunday I did a quick 2-mile run with my cousin (still sore from the day before), went to the pool, then crashed on the couch late in the afternoon.  Charlotte was insane yesterday, hence why I probably felt like I was so busy.

I did have a good week of workouts so here you go:

7/6 – PT & core – my usual routine of all manners of leg lifts along with some sets of the plank exercises I did during my plank challenge.

7/7 – 3 miles – this was just a plain old vanilla run.  I had thought it was going to be rainy and gloomy, but the sky actually cleared up a bit by the time I got outside.

7/8 – unintentional rest day – I was just to tired to get up.

7/9 – hills, 2.02 miles – I should have run a little bit after finishing the last one, but I was running on the mini hill in front of my building and after my last sprint, I decided against it.  Next time I’ll remember that I can’t do them in front of my house.  I did a mile warm up and then did 6 x 30 second sprints up the hill…some were 29.  I was pretty consistent with my sprints though, even negative splitting.

7/10 – PT, arms, core, stretching & rolling – I wanted to make up for my rest day on Wednesday, but not go too crazy since I had a long run scheduled the next morning, so I did some PT and some bicep, tricep, & shoulder work with dumbbells.  I did a few sets of planks and then did a lot of stretching and spent some time snuggling my foam roller.  My legs were feeling tight, particularly my glutes, hams, and calves (thanks hills) so I wanted to get them loose for Saturday.

7/11 – 4.52 miles – Six miles was the plan.  We met at the Charm City Run store and I met up with my pals from last summer.  Three of us had wanted to do six, the other has not been running and was only going to do three.  So I decided to take the 3 miler with her, then turn around and go back out to get my six.  While running and chatting though, I convinced her to run the big loop with me again and hopefully that would put us at 5.  She was game and we did that and finished up at the store…I was a little disappointed though that it only turned out to be 4.5.  I’m not going to sweat about the mileage today – I have 14 weeks to get to where I need to be for Baltimore in October.

7/12 – 2 Miles – My cousin had texted me Saturday asking if I was up for a run.  She’s just coming off a minor back injury and hasn’t been running so she was up for as little or as much as I wanted.  Since I was still beating myself up over the missed miles from the day before I figured a quickie 2 miler would be okay.  So we met up on the trail and did our 2 miles.  Then we ended up walking and chatting another mile.

Total Miles – 11.54

So now I’m officially in Baltimore Half Training!  Tomorrow is my 2 mile time trial to set my paces for the season.  This is an all out 2 miles that we will then plug into McMillan to get our training paces for the season for both long runs and the track.  I really want to get my paces down and understand pacing.  I’ve mentioned before that I run everything the same and my overall goals for the Baltimore Half this year is to get my pacing right so I can run a strong race.  My short term goal for Tuesday?  Just to run it faster than I did last year.

How was your weekend?  How is your training going?

Weekly Workouts 6/9 – 6/15

Happy Tuesday!  I don’t know when I started doing these workout reviews on Tuesdays – I must have missed a few Mondays and thought “what the heck?”  I’ll probably get back to Mondays when I start my half training again in a few weeks.

I had a fun weekend.  I did the Charm City Run Timonium Anniversary Run on Saturday morning.  Salt was there with little B. and so was my friend Anna from my half group (she signed up again this summer!  yeah!)  We went out for 4 hilly miles and those hills…oh the hills.  And the heat…and the humidity!  I’m glad I can just go out and run without layering up, but seriously, there was no spring, we went from winter to summer.  The humidity the past few weeks has been awful too and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight.  Get used to it or bust!

Saturday night my mom came up to watch Charlotte and Brian and I finally went out for our 9th anniversary.  (Our anniversary was actually at the end of May).  When I think about it sometimes, we were babies when we got married (26) and I still can’t believe it’s been 9 years already.  The time has flown by.  We celebrated by going to Ruth’s Chris for dinner.  We each got a house salad and a filet.  We split some mashed potatoes and I also had some broiled tomatoes which were fantastic.   After dinner we had a free movie pass so we went to see San Andreas (they wouldn’t take passes for Jurassic World).  Not bad for your run of the mill disaster movie.  I can count on one hand the times we’ve gone out for dinner and a movie since Charlotte was born.  It was such a treat!

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Yes, we totally housed the flourless chocolate cake.

Sunday morning we went to the pool first thing when it opened and came home after lunch.  We had the rest of the day to just hang out and do some Sunday relaxing.

Last week was tough.  My legs remained sore from the 10 Miler the previous Saturday so I was doing a lot of low key workouts and a lot of stretching up until this past weekend’s 4 mile run.

6/9 – Plank Challenge Day 14 – 2:02, stretching, foam rolling

6/10 – 2 miles, Plank Challenge D15

6/11 – rest day

6/12 – Plank Challenge D16, 20 minutes of Yoga for Athletes

6/13 – 4 miles

6/14 – Plank Challenge D18, PT Exercises.

6/15 – 30 minutes of Pure Burn Pure Strength

Total Miles – 6 miles

Week 2 Plank – 2:02

Since I do the Plank Tests on Tuesday mornings, it’s kinda silly to wait all week to see how long my planks are so here is my plank time from this morning – the end of week 3 test.

Week 3 Plank – 2:16

I’m finding with the planks that it’s not necessarily the strength to hold it, but the mental ability to keep holding it.  I’ve taken to putting on a song and just closing my eyes and singing along.  The minute I take a look at the timer and it’s not where I wish it was, I start to waver a bit – so back to the second verse.  🙂

This week my plan is to get 3 runs in, with Saturday or Sunday being a long run of 5 or 6 miles, and do cross training on other days.  I really need to get acclimated to this humidity.  I know I will – it’s not like I’ve never done it before.  This week will be my last week of the plank challenge.  I’m going to continue to plank, in addition to other core work, but I might try to find a glute / butt challenge.  I know I could use some work in firming strengthening that area up plus it will help with my running.

Do you like doing 30 day challenges?  What are your goals for the week?  At the risk of being redundant (I’m sure it’s being talked about all over the running blogosphere) – what’s your one hot weather running tip? 

 

 

Weekly Workout Review – 6/2-6/8

Another week goes by and I had another week of workouts.  I already told you about my weekend race, I’ve got lots to think about while gearing up for half training next month.  My plans for this month are to just keep up with cross training, keep up my base miles, run for fun, and maybe do a few runs without the Garmin, or put it in my pocket or something where I can’t look at it every 5 seconds.

Tuesday – Day 7 of the Plank Challenge!  Today I had to hold a standard plank for as long as I could and I made it 1:49.  Baseline was 1:33.  Next Tuesday will be the next Plank Test.  I also did 4 circuits from Jillian Michael’s DVD “No More Trouble Zones”  It’s a strength training DVD that is about 55 minutes total.  I didn’t have time to do the whole workout, but this DVD allows you to select each of the circuits individually.  Which I like so I can customize a shorter workout when I need to.  I chose Shoulders & Legs, Chest & Core, Biceps & Butt, Triceps & Thighs.  Additional circuits were: Core, Upper Body & Core, & Lower Body & Core.

Wednesday – Happy National Running Day!  I got up in the AM and did PT exercises and Plank Challenge D8

Thursday – 3 Miles – I wanted to take an easy run, but also wanted to run a little faster than usual, so the plan was to try for negative splits.  My legs did not want to run they were very heavy.  I went after work, because I was too tired in the morning, and I think I was still tired.  I ended up running 12:15, 12:15, and 12:05.  Not exactly what I wanted, but I felt good after not having run since Sunday.

Friday – a little yoga, a little stretching, plank challenge D9

Saturday – Baltimore 10 Miler!  Recap is posted here.

Sunday – Still sore from Saturday’s race, so I met up with my MRTT mamas to just walk.  I brought Charlotte along who wanted to run.  She was a little sad as everyone pulled ahead of us.  She turned around and told me ” They’re going to reach the finish line before us!”   She ended up tiring herself out, so I had to carry her back to the car to get our non-jogging stroller and then we headed back out.  I showed her how to eat honeysuckles and we listened music on the iPod as we walked along the trail.  I enjoyed her version of Shake It Off.  We ended up going a little over 2 miles.   It was a good morning…she enjoyed eating munchkins and spilling my coffee afterwards.

Sara Myer Lichter's photo.

Monday – Plank Challenge D12 – this was the first combo day of both regular planks & side planks.  I also did some stretching and foam rolling, my calves were still tight.

Total Miles – 13

Plank Time – 1:49

Overall it was a meh week.  I was taking it easy in preparation for the race on Saturday and with Brian out of town I was limited on what I could do on Tuesday & Wednesday.  I also missed a couple of the plank challenge days.  I missed a day, so I planked on a plan rest day, then completely skipped the plank on race day.  Monday should have been a rest day (Day 13 not Day 12), but I wanted to get the work in before my plank test this morning.  This week I’m committing to sticking to the plank schedule, getting in a few easy runs, and doing some PT & strength training.

What are your goals for the week?  What do you focus on in between training cycles?

Friday Five – How to Celebrate National Running Day Without Actually Running

Happy Friday and Happy Race Day eve for me!  I’ve got the Baltimore 10 Miler tomorrow and I’m excited!  It won’t be an easy race, but because it’s not a half marathon it doesn’t seem so daunting.

This week I’m linking up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia, again for the Friday Five Link Up.  This week’s theme is National Running Day!

Friday Five

Due to logistical issues, I didn’t get a chance to actually run on National Running Day.  So I’m going to give you 5 ways to celebrate National Running Day without actually going for a run.  Ready?  Here we go!

1.  Write a blog post about National Running Day.  I did that here.

2. Watch your kid run all over the place.  If I can’t run, at least I can watch her run up and down the sidewalk.  She’s a crazy kid.

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3. Pick up your race bib.  I conveniently enough was able to pick up my race bib on Wednesday.  If that isn’t second best to actually running, I don’t know what is.

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4. Win a National Running Day Facebook Contest.  CareFirst and I are soul mates.  I won a Rock n Roll DC race entry in February (that I ended up not using) and on National Running Day I won an iPod shuffle.  I’ve been thinking about getting one (since they clip on) for a little while now so to win one is pretty cool.

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5.  Buy more running gear.  Since bib pick up was in a Sports Authority and they gave me a 20% off coupon, I couldn’t resist buying a couple more running tanks for the summer.

 

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So you CAN celebrate a day of running by not actually running – let others do the running for you while you do other running related things.  I really did want to run though, I got mine in yesterday when Brian was home to watch Charlotte.

Did you do anything to celebrate Nat’l Running Day other than running?  Have any runs or races planned for the weekend? 

 

Happy National Running Day!!!

So as you may or may not know (my title kinda gives it away) but today is National Running Day!  “What is National Running Day?” you might ask.  According to RunningDay.org, National Running Day has been held on the first Wenesday of every month since 2009. It is a day when runners everywhere declare their passion for running.  You can spread your passion by organizing a group run, signing up for a race, or just sharing your love of running with family and friends. (source)

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I’m loving it here!

Today I’m linking up with Jonesin’ For a Run and some other Sweat Pink Ambassadors for a National Running Day Interview.

national running day

1. Why do you run?

I started to run to lose weight.  Surprisingly enough, I grew to like it!  For the first time in my life I was feeling like an athlete and doing something I never thought was possible.  I like running races, I like the challenge of a new distance or trying to go faster, and I like all the people that I’ve met along the way.  Now it’s just a habit.  I feel “off” if I don’t run for a few days.  I also run to set a good example for Charlotte.  I started running when she was 2, so she doesn’t remember me not running.  I hope that by watching me train and run and make time for myself, she’ll know she can do it too (or do whatever she wants to do.)

2. How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day?

This year is going to be tricky.  Brian went out of town yesterday and is not coming home until late tonight.  I have two options.  If I can swing it, I’m going to leave work early to get a run in before picking Charlotte up.  My other option is to just take Charlotte to a park in the afternoon and run around with her.  It won’t be a “run” per say, but it will be a run with my most favorite person in the world.  If all that falls through, I’m picking up my race packet today, that counts!

3. How many miles have you run so far this year?

258.12

4. What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year?

The races I have left for 2015 include the Baltimore 10 Miler this Saturday, the Charles Street 12 in September and the Baltimore Half in October.

5. Before I leave for a run I must have:

My Garmin, phone, a handheld water bottle lately, and my headphones.

6. Do you have one favorite app to track your runs?

I log my runs on Map My Run.  I’ve been meaning to try Strava though.  I’ve heard good things.

7. Who is your favorite running partner?

Me, myself, and I.  I run solo.  I’m not against a running partner, I just don’t have one to meet up with during the week.  I do like meeting up with a group though.  I like getting together with my MRTT group and in the summer I’m doing a half marathon training group again.  It’s nice to meet new people, learn from each other, and cheer each other on.

8. What races have you ran so far this year?

So far this year, I’ve run the Cupids Crush 10K, the White Hall 15K, the Kelly’s Shamrock 5K, Sole of the City 10K, the Frederick Half Marathon, and the Color Run.

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Finish line photo at Cupids Crush

9. If you had to give someone one piece of advice about running what would it be?

If you are just starting, start slow and give it time.  It will be hard at first and you will want to quit.  I promise, though, you will reach the day when your plan has you run 30 minutes straight with no walk breaks and you will do it!  And you will freak out and feel awesome.  Then you will want to go longer and do more.  Just be patient.

10.  Describe your relationship with running in one word?

Surprising.

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Why do you run?  How are you planning to celebrate National Running Day?

Be sure to visit the other blogs in the link up and share your love for running!