2014 Army Ten Miler Recap

Last Sunday I ran my last major race of 2014: the Army Ten Miler.  This was my second ten miler (my first being the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run back in April), and after a great summer of training for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach, followed by a couple intense weeks of training this fall, I knew that I was capable of crushing my Cherry Blossom PR, which I did.  But it didn’t come easily.

After reading several race recaps from last year and reading about the Metro crowds and the start area crowds, I knew that Preston and I needed to get to the Pentagon very early.  We debated driving vs. Metroing, and ultimately decided to drive.  We’re so thankful that we did, and when we arrived at 6:30 a.m. had no trouble finding parking in the Pentagon City Mall parking garage.  We hung out in the car for a bit to keep warm, and then eventually made our way towards the staging area.  We met up with Team RWB for a pre race photo, and received last minute words of encouragement from our chapter’s captain.

Team RWB Eagles ready to soar through the race

Team RWB Eagles ready to soar through the race

After the photo, we made our way towards the start line.  Unfortunately, it was getting close to the start time of the race, and by the time we tried to get to our corral (the Red Wave, which was the third corral), we found that we had to weave through the Blue Corral in order to do so.  There wasn’t a clear walkway, and we wound up having to climb over a stone wall, which resulted in my scratching my hand up pretty badly.  Having a bloody hand at the start of the race wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t want to miss our wave’s start time by trying to find a medical tent.  So alas, I dealt with it.

And while waiting in the corral for the race to begin, I noticed these ladies to my left.  Tutus have their place at races, even at military races.

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If there’s anything that I’ve learned about the military, its that start things on time.  The Wounded Warriors started at 7:50 a.m., followed by the first corral at 8:00.  We were in the third corral, which started at the advertised time of 8:16.  Each wave was signaled to start with the sound of a canon being shot.  I can’t think of a much more patriotic way to start a race.

Preston and I in the corral before the start of the race

Preston and I in the corral before the start of the race

Running through DC never disappoints.  One of the things that I loved about the Army Ten Miler was that we started and ended in Virginia, which gave me a slightly different course experience than what I experienced during Rock ‘n’ Roll USA and the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run.  Running across Memorial Bridge towards the Lincoln Memorial will never get old.  And running along the National Mall is one of those things that I take far too much for granted since we live in this area.

Just having some fun while running across Memorial Bridge towards the Lincoln Memorial

Just having some fun while running across Memorial Bridge towards the Lincoln Memorial

This guy was so inspirational.  Somehow he had the energy to run and play patriotic music!

This guy was so inspirational. Somehow he had the energy to run and play patriotic music!

The highlight of the Army Ten Miler course for me was running on Independence Avenue.  Not only do you cross the halfway point of the course while on the National Mall, but more than a mile of the course doubles back and runners get to encourage one another along the way.  Although I had been mentally struggling during the race for the first half, once we hit Independence Avenue the energy of both the fellow runners and the crowd helped me to fight the mental battle that I had been facing.  As we turned left off of Independence Avenue onto 14th Street and were headed for the dreaded bridge, I knew that all of the energy that I had been conserving had been for that moment.

The energy running along  Independence Avenue was absolutely amazing!

The energy running along Independence Avenue was absolutely amazing!

As we started the first uphill towards the bridge, I kept reminding myself that I had done all I could to prepare for this part of the course.  I had put in the adequate time doing hill training, and that all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other.  As I looked around me, I saw that others were struggling.  But I kept reminding myself that if I maintained my run-walk intervals (I had been doing 2:15 run/0:45 walk up to this point of the race), that I could get across the bridge with enough energy to increase my intervals to 3:15/0:45 once I reached mile 8.  On the bridge, a fellow Team RWB noticed that I was starting to struggle a bit, and passed off a Team RWB wristband to help encourage me to keep at it.  I almost felt as though he was giving me power to push forward.  And that was the last push I needed to help get myself over the bridge.

The start of the 14th Street Bridge

The start of the 14th Street Bridge

As we ran off the bridge, I knew that I could PR (which was my B goal), but that it would be close for me to reach my A goal.  I gave the race all that I had for those last two miles, and before I knew it we were nearing the finish line.  Preston and I crossed hand in hand at 1:53:02, just 48 seconds faster than my A goal finish time.

Nearing the finish line

Nearing the finish line

I’m beyond thankful that Preston decided to run the race at my pace instead of at his own.  He hasn’t been training much lately, and decided that instead of risking injury that he’d take it easy and run with me.  Because this race wound up being more physically and mentally challenging than I anticipated it being, I cannot thank him enough for how much he encouraged me before and throughout the race.

Just after crossing the finish line

Just after crossing the finish line

My other big encouragement during the race were the many wounded veterans who I saw out on the course.  It is beyond inspiring to see these men and women out pushing themselves physically and overcoming the obstacles that they’ve faced that have caused them to loose limbs and face physical limitations.  As I passed each one, I kept thinking to myself that if they can do it, so can I.

With the encouragement of so many, I had done it.  I crossed the finish line of my last major race of 2014.  And while there were some cons to this race (I’ll recap the pros and cons in a separate post, as I don’t want that discussion to take away from how meaningful this race was), this is one race that I cannot wait to run again!

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QOTD: Have you ever run the Army Ten Miler?  What about any other military races?

Don’t forget that today is your last day to enter my Hemp Hearts Giveaway!

Posted in Milestones, Races | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Weekly Training Log – Week of October 13th

Its been quite awhile since I haven’t been “in training” for a race.  Since the end of April to be exact.  My body and mind were definitely ready for the break, and I allowed myself the rest that I needed this past week.

Despite it being my first week in a long time of not being in training, it was still a busy and eventful week.  With this past week being Homecoming Week at school, lots of extra activities at school kept me super busy.  And if you didn’t see on my Facebook page or on Instgram Saturday morning, I revealed the secret activity that I’ve been up to for the past two weeks.

I was a part of my school’s flash mob dance, which we performed on Friday during our Pep Rally.  Although my participation in the dance caused me to be more active the week of Army Ten Miler than I had wanted to, it was definitely worth it.

flash mob

I’m in the red shirt and black capris on the left side of the photo

Some of you may be wondering why I kept it a secret on the blog.  The goal was for the student body to be surprised with the dance, and since a couple of my students have told me that they (and some of their parents) turn to my blog for fitness inspiration, I knew that I needed to keep things quiet on here.  If you want to check out the dance, be sure to head over to my Facebook page to see the video.

Other than dancing, what else was I up to this past week?

Mon 10/13 – Rest day

Tues 10/14 – One hour of dance practice, 1.92 mile walk around the neighborhood with Riley

Wed 10/15 – Rest day

Thurs 10/16 – 35 minutes on the elliptical, kettlebell squat swings, abs, arms, shoulders, glutes, chest, back

Fri 10/17 – 15 minutes of dance practice, Flash Mob performance

Sat 10/18 – 3.44 mile run around the neighborhood, 0.36 mile cool down walk

Sun 10/19 – Rest day

Total Weekly Mileage – 8.90 miles

QOTD: When was the last time that you weren’t in training for a race?  How did you handle it physically and mentally?

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Friday Five – October 17th – Five More Favorite Running Songs

Last month I shared my five favorite running songs.  My list of five classics have always been on my playlist, no matter how many times I’ve changed it.  So when I saw that this week’s theme for the Friday Five linkup was favorite fitness tunes, I knew that it was time for an encore performance of last month’s blog post.

running songs encore

Without further ado, here are five more of my favorite running songs:

1.  “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams
2.  “Evacuate the Dancefloor” by Cascada
3.  “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green
4.  “September” by Earth, Wind, & Fire
5.  “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne

As you can see from both last month’s and this month’s playlist (as well as from my Favorite “Love” Running Songs post from back in February), I’m definitely an 80s/90s music junkie.  I’m in desperate need of updating my playlist, and am very much looking forward to getting some ideas from fellow Friday Five linkup participants.

QOTD: What is your favorite running song?

As always, thank you to the DC Trifecta Bloggers (Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, Mar from Mar on the Run, and Cynthia from You Signed Up For What?!) for hosting the weekly Friday Five Link Up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well!

DC_linkup

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts review, and enter my giveaway for your chance to win a bag of Hemp Hearts!

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

My Remaining 2014 Races

I had originally planned to share my Army Ten Miler recap with all of you today, but I’m finding myself struggling to put into words all of the emotions that I experienced that day.  Instead of rushing to slap a recap together, I’d rather take some time this weekend to work on it.

The Army Ten Miler was my 13th race of 2014, which puts me only one race away from reaching my big 2014 goal: to complete 14 races in 2014.

Originally race #14 was going to be another repeat race: the Veteran’s Day 5k that benefits Team RWB, the veteran’s organization that Preston and I both belong to (its an organization for both veterans and their loved ones).  However, we’re now going to be out of town the weekend of the race.  I’m sure it’ll be held in future years, and I’ll eventually be able to rerun that race again.

However, it now looks like I’ll actually surpass my 14 in 2014 goal, and will cross the finish line of 15 races this year.  With Army Ten Miler being race #13, I’d like to officially announce what races 14 and 15 will be:

Race #14: City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Turkey Trot

Preston and I will be visiting my family in Illinois for Thanksgiving this year.  We’ll kick off Thanksgiving morning with a three mile race through a local park.  My parents plan to complete the walk option of the trot.  You may recall that they joined us at Disney World back in January for my first half marathon, and I can’t wait to share another race experience with them.

Celebrating the completion of my first half marathon with Mom and Dad

Celebrating the completion of my first half marathon with Mom and Dad

Race #15: Christmas Town Dash 8k

The weekend after Thanksgiving Preston and I are planning to head to Williamsburg.  For a couple of years we’ve been wanting to visit Busch Gardens during their annual Christmas Town celebration, and we thought that running the 8k would be a great addition to a weekend there.  This will be my first 8k race, and although the course is advertised as being quite hilly, it’ll be an instant PR.  I’ve already started working on my costume, and I can’t wait to share the finished product with all of you!

CTD8K_generic_mirror

And there you have it: my final two races of 2014.  I’ve already started plotting out possible races for 2015, and can’t wait to start finalizing which races will definitely be on my 2015 race calendar!

QOTD: What will be your final race(s) of 2014?

Posted in Races | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Hemp Hearts Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received this product for free through my affiliation with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador in exchange for a blog review.  I received no other compensation.  All opinions are my own.

hemp hearts

As part of my ongoing effort to eat as healthy as possible, I’m always looking for nutritious, but tasty, ingredients to use in order to keep my taste buds pleased, and thus, having me reach for healthy foods instead of non healthy alternatives.  So when I heard about the opportunity to try out Hemp Hearts, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.

These nutty seeds are packed with protein and Omega 3s, and are similar in taste to sunflower seeds and pine nuts.  Each 30 gram serving contains 10 grams of plant based protein and 10 grams of Omegas, making them a great protein option for people that follow a variety of diets.

I found them extremely easy to add to foods that I already eat.  They’re the perfect addition to one of my favorite snacks: Greek yogurt and berries.  Instead of putting my usual granola on top, I substituted that for a handful of Hemp Hearts.

hemp hearts on yogurt

Yesterday I also added some to my morning Shakeology shake.  I enjoyed mixing up my morning routine by adding a bit of a nutty flavor to my usual shake.  At dinner, I also topped my salad with a handful of them.

Hemp Hearts can easily be added to a variety of dishes: salads, cereal, yogurt, vegetables, the possibilities are endless.  Or they can be eaten straight out of the bag.

Want to give Hemp Hearts a try for yourself?  Head on over to Manitoba Harvest, where you can save 20% off Manitoba Harvest products.  Just use code HHSweatPink14.  Discount code expires November 30, 2014.

The kind folks at Manitoba Harvest are also offering one lucky reader their own 2 oz bag of Hemp Hearts.  Be sure to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win.  This giveaway is open to residents in the United States and Canada, and will end at midnight on Tuesday, October 21st.

Manitoba Harvest is also hosting a contest on Twitter and Instagram.  For your chance to win a 5 pound bag of Hemp Hearts get creative in the kitchen, tag @manitobaharvest, #hemphearts, and #sweatpink in your Instagram and/or Twitter post and you’ll be automatically entered.  Contest ends November 30, 2014.

QOTD: Have you ever tried Hemp Hearts or any of the other Manitoba Harvest products?

Posted in Food | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

2014 Army Ten Miler Expo

With the Army Ten Miler being my last major race of the year, it was also my last race expo of the year.  The expo was held at the DC Armory, which was the same place that the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA expo was held.  Given how much I’ve enjoyed my previous expo experiences, I was very much looking forward to this expo.  Since Preston ran the Army Ten Miler last year, he knew what the expo was like and had warned me that if the expo were like it had been last year that I’d be underwhelmed.  Unfortunately, he was right.

atm expo sign

Since I proctored the SAT Saturday morning, I was a bit worried about us not being able to go to the expo until the afternoon.  My worries wound up being for nothing, as we easily found street parking only a couple of blocks from the armory and didn’t have to wait in the long line of cars trying to get into the parking lot.  We waited less than five minutes to get through security.  Our first stop once inside the armory was packet pickup.

Both Preston and I immediately walked up to pick up our bibs without having to wait in line.  We walked across the test sensors in order to ensure that our timing chips worked, and then made our way to t-shirt pickup, where I found out that they were out of the size shirt that I had requested.  Why did they bother to have us select a t-shirt size if they weren’t going to order enough of them?  I saw several comments on the Army Ten Miler Facebook page about this same issue, and that this has been an issue in past years as well.  My disappointment with the shirts didn’t end with the sizing though.  Although the shirts were tech and not cotton like they had been in past years, the material was of very poor quality and despite the fact that I got a shirt a size bigger than I requested, the sleeves were too short.

In addition to the shirt ATM runners also received a 2015 calendar

In addition to a shirt ATM runners also received a 2015 calendar

Preston knew how disappointed I was with the shirt, and suggested that I browse the Army Ten Miler official merchandise and see if there was something else that I wanted.  I quickly browsed the merchandise, which was a bit sparse, and decided that it wasn’t worth it.

The sparse official merchandise area

The sparse official merchandise area

After leaving the official merchandise area we browsed the expo booths for a bit.  Unlike at other expos, there were very few samples to try (just an energy bar and some multigrain tortilla chips).  The one booth I knew I wanted to stop at was Sweaty Bands, where we made our one and only purchase at the expo.

After walking around a bit more and being unimpressed with the other vendors, we decided to call it a day.  While the expo was well organized and the longest line we had to wait in was to get through security, the expo itself left a bit to be desired.  However, I was still excited to be running my big fall race the next morning and to have the opportunity to participate in the 30th anniversary of this annual DC tradition.

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QOTD: Have you ever had a disappointing or underwhelming expo experience?  Which race was it at?

Posted in Races | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

Army Ten Miler Training Log – Week 6

And just like that, I’m no longer in training!  I tried to take it as easy as I could this past week, so that my legs were as rested as they could be for yesterday’s race.  It was another busy week (with activities that I can’t share publicly yet, but hopefully you’ll understand why when I can share in another week), which made it difficult to rest up.  Nonetheless, everything seemed to work out since I PRed at yesterday’s Army Ten Miler and met my A goal!

At the finish line of yesterday's Army Ten Miler

At the finish line of yesterday’s Army Ten Miler

Mon 10/6 – 35 minutes on the elliptical, kettlebell squat swings, abs, arms, shoulders, glutes, chest, back

Tues 10/7 – Activity to later be announced

Wed 10/8 – 3.25 mile run around the neighborhood, 0.18 mile cool down walk

Thurs 10/9 – Activity to later be announced

Fri 10/10 – Activity to later be announced, 3.32 mile run around the neighborhood, 0.32 mile cool down walk

Sat 10/11 – Rest day

Sun 10/12 – Army Ten Miler

Total Weekly Mileage – 20.87 miles (1.31 mile mores than week 5)

Total ATM Training Mileage – 87.85 miles

Of course, I’ll be recapping my entire race experience at a later date.  This race was much more physically and mentally challenging than I anticipated that it would be, but thank goodness Preston decided to run the race at my pace.  If it hadn’t been for his encouragement and support throughout the race, I’m not sure that I would have knocked five minutes off of my previous ten miler personal best.

Many of you have been asking me what’s next.  For now, I’m looking forward to the mental and physical break from training, and although I’m pretty sure that I know what’s next, I have yet to register.  Once I do, I’ll make the big announcement as to what my next major race will be!

QOTD: What is your next major race?

Posted in Army Ten Miler Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Friday Five – October 10th

It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I’m running my big fall race in just two days!  Maybe that’s partly because I’m not currently registered for another goal race after the Army Ten Miler, but I’m hoping to commit 100% to my next major race soon, and then of course I’ll share the news with all of you.  I don’t want to share on here what race it is until I’ve pushed the registration button.

Despite it being taper week, this past week has been quite exciting.  I have so many exciting things to share with all of you!

1.  New shoes arrived!

new shoes

The mailman and FedEx delivery man had a busy week at our house this week.  One of the packages that was delivered was a new pair of running shoes.  I’ve been wearing Mizuno Wave Inspires since I was fit for shoes last fall.  Last month Zulily ran a great sale on Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s, and although my current shoes are fine I’m putting these new shoes in the closest for when I need a new pair, likely in late winter or early spring.

2.  Watching the Carlton Dance on DWTS

Photo Credit: ABC

Photo Credit: ABC

It should be of no surprise that I’m a huge Dancing with the Stars fan, and since I found out that Alfonso Ribiero would be on this season, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the return of the Carlton Dance.  Alfonso and Witney Carson’s performance to the Tom Jones hit “It’s Not Unusual” is, in my opinion, the best performance yet this season on DWTS, and quite possibly, since the show began.  I’ve been watching their dance nonstop all week and reliving childhood memories of watching “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”

3.  Watching Josh Duggar run the Firecracker 5k

Photo Credit: Jennifer from Run Jenny Run

Photo Credit: Jennifer from Run Jenny Run

You may recall from reading my Firecracker 5k recap that Josh and Anna Duggar were at the race that morning, and that Josh ran the race.  It was fun watching the race on Tuesday night’s episode, and seeing Jennifer from Run Jenny Run run past the camera just after the race started.

4.  My Shakeology post went viral!

shakeology

On Monday, my one month reflection about Shakeology went viral after it was shared on the Girls Gone Sporty Facebook page.  Having read Courtney’s Blogger Tip post last week with tips for what bloggers should do when their posts go viral, I immediately reread the post and added an additional blog link to my post.  Talk about perfect timing!  Thanks again Courtney for the great tips!

5.  We’re volunteering at the Marine Corps Marathon!

mcm

Preston and I registered last night to volunteer at the Marine Corps Marathon in two weeks.  We’ll both be stationed at Food Station #2, where we’ll be handing out Clif Shot Bloks.  We’re looking forward to cheering all of the marathoners on, and if you see us, be sure to say hi!  The last race I volunteered at was last year’s Army Ten Miler, and I’m definitely looking forward to volunteering again.

QOTD: What exciting things are going on in your life right now?

As always, thank you to the DC Trifecta Bloggers (Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, Mar from Mar on the Run, and Cynthia from You Signed Up For What?!) for hosting the weekly Friday Five Link Up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well!

DC_linkup

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

My Goals for Sunday’s Army Ten Miler

Its hard to believe that my big race of the fall season is in just three days!

army10miler_logoIn just three short days I’ll be toeing the start line of my second ten miler.  Many of you are probably thinking that I’m bound to PR since I’ve PRed at several of my recent major races.  And while I’d love to PR, there are a couple of factors working against me:

  • This is course is hillier than the course that I ran for my first ten miler, the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run.
  • The weather forecast for Sunday morning is a bit questionable.  Some weather sources are predicting a high probability of rain, while others aren’t calling for rain at all.
  • The day before the race is going to be pretty busy.  I’ll be at school Saturday morning proctoring the SAT, and then we’ll be headed to the expo downtown Saturday afternoon.
  • I’m nervous about getting to the start of the race on time given the number of issues that runners had last year because of back ups on Metro and issues with the security lines at the Pentagon, which is where the start and finish lines are.

Despite what I have working against me, I’m trying to remain as optimistic as I can about running a solid race.  I know that I’m well prepared physically, and I’m trying to be as positive as I can.

With all of that said, here are my goals for Sunday’s race:

Goal A – Finish the race in under 1:53:50 (11:23 pace) – my pace from Saturday’s eight mile training run

Goal B – Finish the race in under 1:58:44 (11:52 pace) – my Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run finish time

Goal C – Finish the race in under 2:00:00 (12:00 pace)

QOTD: What was the last race that you ran that you were a bit uncertain about your ability to PR?

 

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Mussels and Chorizo in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

Last Friday, Preston and I decided to have a date night at home.  Back in August when we went to Charlottesville for our anniversary, I had a mussels dish one night, and since then, I’ve been wanting to recreate that dish.

mussels

Ingredients:

2 pounds of mussels, rinsed and scrubbed
12 oz chorizo, sliced thinly
2 shallots, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 can petite diced tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp margarine
4 tbsp dried parsley

Instructions:

1.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Once pan and oil are warm, add the shallots and garlic.  Cook until browned (about 2-3 minutes).
2.  Add the diced tomatoes.  Cook another 2-3 minutes.
3.  Add the wine, mussels, and 2 tablespoons of parsley.  Cover the pan and let simmer until the mussels open (about 7-9 minutes).
4.  While the mussels are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in another pan.  Once hot, add the chorizo, and cook until browned (about 7-9 minutes).
5.  Once mussels are open and the chorizo is cooked, add the chorizo, cream, and margarine to the mussels pan.  Cook until well mixed and the margarine is melted.  Sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

We served the mussels alongside a multigrain baguette (cooked in the oven with olive oil and garlic) and a side salad.  It was the perfect dish for a low key date night at home.

with bread

QOTD: What dishes that you’ve ordered at a restaurant have you tried to recreate at home?

Posted in Food | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments