2015 St. Patrick’s Day Double Recap

This past Sunday I ran my first two races of 2015 at the St. Patrick’s Day Double in Downtown DC.  The event kicked off with a 5k at 8:15 a.m. followed by a 10k at 9:00 a.m.

The race started and finished at the Washington Monument

The race started and finished at the Washington Monument

18 hours before the race though I didn’t know if I’d actually be racing.  The DC area was under yet another Winter Weather Advisory, with predictions of snow, sleet, and rain on race morning.  With weather like what we had on Sunday, I’d usually not think twice about heading to the treadmill to get my miles in.  But it was race day, and I really didn’t want to back out.  Saturday evening Pacers, the local running store that put the races on, posted a weather update, and said that they’d post another update at 5:15 a.m., stating whether or not the race was on.  Pacers also gave runners the option to defer to next year.  When I got up Sunday morning, I immediately checked their Twitter page, saw that the race was on, and decided to bundle up and head downtown for the race as planned.  They did give runners the option to defer the race to next year, but I made the crazy decision to still brave the weather and race as planned.

For races downtown, Preston and I would normally take the Metro, but because of the weather, we opted to drive instead.  After arriving downtown, it took us less than five minutes to find a parking spot in front of the Smithsonian Castle.  The start and finish line for the races was in front of the Washington Monument, about a five minute walk from where we parked the car.  Although Preston opted not to run the races, he still came downtown with me for support.

We got to the race village about 20 minutes before the start of the 5k.  Both Preston and I quickly used the porta potties (there were plenty of them and zero lines), and then I sent Jenny a message.  She and I met up in front of the 11:00 min/mile pace sign.  It was so great to meet up with her, especially since we wound up running the 5k together.

With Jenny before the start of the 5k

With Jenny before the start of the 5k

At 8:15, the 5k started, and within a minute or two we were off.  A couple of minutes into the race it started snowing, which helped make it a very peaceful race.  Both Jenny and I had planned to take the 5k easy, and although I had planned to use run/walk intervals, I quickly forgot about them since Jenny and I were busy chatting and catching up.  About a mile into the race Jenny asked me about the intervals.  Oops, I was so busy talking that I hadn’t even noticed that we’d already run a mile!  Instead, we kept our pace slow and jogged the entire race.  The 3.1 miles flew by and before I knew it we had crossed the finish line.

We had about 10 minutes in between crossing the finish line of the 5k and starting the 10k.  We quickly met up with Preston, he gave me some water, and then Jenny and I lined up near the 10:00 min/mile sign, ready to take off once again.  I went to take a Gu, realized that it was partially frozen, and got as much of it out as I could squeeze out.

In between the two races

In between the two races

One of the nice things about the double is that the part of the 10k course is the same as the 5k course, taking runners along the Potomac River and past the Lincoln Memorial.  It was nice to have just run the 5k and previewed part of the 10k course.  That definitely helped me in gauging my pace for the 10k beyond just looking at my Garmin watch.

One big difference between the 5k and the 10k was the weather.  It continued to snow during the 10k, but about halfway through the race the snow turned to sleet.  When the sleet hit my face, it hurt, and didn’t just hurt a little, but a lot.  It fueled my motivation to increase my run/walk intervals from the 3:15/0:45 intervals that I did for the first three miles of the race to 4:15/0:45 for the second half of the race.  As the weather continued to change back and forth between snow, sleet, and at times rain, the course started to become very icy, and I worried about face planting in the middle of the race.  My fear definitely caused me to hold back a bit on my pace.  I would have loved to run faster, but my safety was more important.

Part of what Pacers had advertised was that they’d be closely monitoring the weather conditions and could make a mid-race decision to cut the 10k course short, having runners run a 4.5 mile course instead.  As we passed the mile 4 marker, course marshals directed us along the originally planned 10k route, cheering us on saying “You’re running the full course!”  I was quite relieved to hear this, since I was pushing towards a new 10k PR.  But those last two miles were very slick, and I had to hold back on my pace more than I wanted to.

During the last mile I knew I would finish very close to my previous 10k PR of 1:06:02.  I tried to push myself as fast as I could without risking my safety.  In the last quarter mile I knew it would be really close, and all I wanted was to PR, even if it was only by a couple of seconds.  With the finish line in sight, I started sprinting towards the finish, and crossed in 1:05:52, breaking my old PR by a mere 10 seconds.

While I wish I could have broken my old PR by more than 10 seconds, I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish on Sunday.  Not only did I run a 5k before the 10k, but it was under less than ideal weather conditions.  And it had only been one month since my car accident.  All in all, I was very pleased with how I did on Sunday, and it has me wanting to register for another 10k this Spring to really see what I’m made of.

I cannot thank Pacers enough for how well they communicated in advance of the races.  I cannot fault them for the poor weather, and they addressed it with plenty of updates for runners.  Saturday evening they announced that the water stops wouldn’t be present on the course, in an effort to prevent ice build up.  This was a very smart idea, and runners had plenty of warning to bring their own water (I wore my hydration belt).  There were more than enough porta potties at the start/finish line, as well as plenty of water at the finish line and plenty of food under the tents just past the finish line.  The only thing that disappointed me about this race was that the race medal is now being mailed to runners.  Medals were originally going to be handed out at the finish line, but Pacers made this change (and announced it on Saturday) in an effort to streamline post race cleanup.

All in all, the St. Patrick’s Day Double was a great way to kick off my 2015 races and my goal to run #15in2015.  I can’t wait til my next races in just two short weeks!

QOTD: Did you/will you run a St. Patrick’s Day themed race?  What is the craziest weather that you’ve run in?

Posted in Milestones, Races | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wine and Dine, Here We Come!

So this happened yesterday:

wine dine half registration

That’s right, Preston and I will be running the Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Disney World on November 7th.  When we returned home last January from Marathon Weekend we agreed that Wine and Dine would be our next runDisney race.  Logistically it didn’t work out for us to run the race this past November, so we’ve had our sights set on running it this year.  One of the reasons why we became Annual Passholders before our trip to Disney this past December was in anticipation of registering for this race.  And despite how quickly the early registration slots sold out yesterday, we were both able to successfully register!

There are many reasons why we’re looking forward to this race.  We’ve both been interested in visiting Disney World during the annual Food and Wine Festival held at Epcot every fall, and the half marathon is one of the highlights of the festival.  With Preston having run both of his marathons at Disney, and I having run my first half marathon at Disney, we’ve both been looking forward to returning for another race weekend.  We’re excited to experience a race weekend other than Marathon Weekend, and this race will be unique as its a night race starting at 10:00 p.m.

We can't wait to celebrate another runDisney race weekend with Mickey!

We can’t wait to celebrate another runDisney race weekend with Mickey!

This week I’ve registered for three half marathons.  On Monday I registered for two of the races that I’ll be running as a Rock ‘n’ Blogger – Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach on September 6th and Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia on October 31st.  Yes, that means that I’ll be running two half marathons within three weeks.  It’ll be a challenge, but I’m definitely up for seeing what I’m capable of!

And don’t forget that if you’re interested in running any of the Rock ‘n’ Roll half or full marathons in the U.S. or Canada in 2015 that you can save $15 off of registration by using code DANCINGTORUNNING (excludes Las Vegas).

rnr discount code

That brings this year’s half marathon total currently to four, one more than I ran last year.  I still need to choose one more Rock ‘n’ Roll race to run this year, and then I’ll likely be done registering for this year’s half marathons.

QOTD: What race(s) are you looking forward to running this year?

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , , | 49 Comments

Pork Fried Rice

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that the past two evenings we’ve had Asian dishes for dinner.  Preston and I are huge Asian food fans for many reasons.  Many dishes are very healthy, delicious, and packed with nutrition.  Monday evening we made a classic dish, Pork Fried Rice, and it was too good to not share with all of you.

pork fried rice

Ingredients:

2 pork chops, cut into bite size cubes
1 cup of uncooked brown rice, cooked according to package directions
½ cup broccoli, chopped
½ cup carrots, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 can bean sprouts
½ cup frozen peas
3 scallions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbl minced ginger
2 eggs
2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl low sodium soy sauce
1 tbl rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1.  In a wok, heat the oil.  Add pork, vegetables (all but scallions), garlic, and giner, and cook until pork is fully cooked and vegetables are fully heated, about 10-12 minutes.
2.  While pork and vegetables are cooking, scramble the eggs and cook in a separate pan.
3.  Once pork and vegetables are fully cooked, add scrambled eggs, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil, and season with sea salt and pepper.  Let cook about 5 minutes.
4.  Stir in rice and garnish with chopped scallion.

QOTD: What is your favorite Asian dish?

Posted in Food | Tagged , , , , | 41 Comments

Shamrock Half Marathon Training Log – Week 15

For the first time yesterday in several weeks, I was able to run outside.  Granted, it was race day for the St. Patrick’s Day Double, but during the races it was either snowing, sleeting, or raining.  At least I was able to run on cleared roads as opposed to the sidewalks and trails near our house which are still completely covered in snow and ice.

Later this week I’ll recap the races in full.  Saturday evening there was some uncertainty as to whether or not the races would still be held because of the Winter Weather Advisory that we were under.  Fortunately, the freezing rain held off and ice didn’t start accumulating until early afternoon.  Although the course was a bit slippery, especially during the second half of the 10k, I’m so glad that the races weren’t canceled altogether.

Jenny from Run Jenny Run and I ran the entire 5k together, and we also started the 10k together.  In case you missed it on Social Media yesterday, I PRed the 10k by 10 seconds!

Jenny and I in between the 5k and the 10k

Jenny and I in between the 5k and the 10k

A couple of us joked around on Twitter yesterday that Jenny and I were completely crazy to still run yesterday’s races.  A number of other DC area bloggers had planned to run it, but decided to stay home given the weather.  However, yesterday’s PR has me wondering how much faster I could have been had the weather been better.  I’m now in search of more 10ks in the coming weeks and months so that I can see just how much faster I’ve become.

As for the rest of the week, I kept up with most of my planned workouts.  This coming week is my last major week of Shamrock training.  I have my last set of back to back runs planned for next weekend, when I’ll be running 5 miles on Saturday and then completing my longest run ever on Sunday – 14 miles!  Hopefully the weather will become a little nicer so that I don’t have to set a new PDR on the treadmill.

Mon 2/23 – Rest day

Tues 2/24 – 3.15 mile run on the treadmill, 0.40 mile cool down walk, kettlebell squat swings, abs, glutes

Wed 2/25 – Rest day

Thurs 2/26 – 4.00 mile run on the treadmill, 0.49 mile cool down walk, glutes, legs, abs, arms, chest

Fri 2/27 – Rest day

Sat 2/28 – 1.30 mile walk around the neighborhood with Riley

Sun 3/1 – St. Patrick’s Day Doube (5k followed by 10k)

Total Weekly Mileage – 18.64 miles (8.49 miles less than week 14)

Total Shamrock Training Mileage – 214.48 miles

QOTD: Have you ever been crazy enough to run a race in less than ideal weather conditions?

Posted in Shamrock Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

March 2015 Monthly Goals

This past month has been quite an emotional roller coaster.  Yesterday marked one month since my car accident, and naturally, I’ve spent the entire month working on my recovery while also trying to move forward with my Shamrock training.

Just like at the end of January, I’m trying to not be overly critical of myself in regards to my February goals.  Even though I wrote my February goals only a couple of days after the car accident, not knowing how long it would take for me to get back to my running, I wrote them mainly so that I had something to strive for.  I’ve always had the mindset that having goals to reach for, even if they might be unattainable, is better than having no goals at all.

Overall, I’d say February was a good month.  I’ve found a chiropractor that I like who is helping me in working through my back injury.  Most days, I’ve been able to complete my planned runs.  And while I’m still running at a slightly slower pace than I was prior to the car accident, I can see that I’m making progress.

feb 2015 goals

1.  Run, walk, and elliptical at least 75 miles.

Grade: B

My February mileage totaled out at 70.3 miles, just .1 miles more than I logged in January.  While I was just under five miles shy of reaching my goal, I don’t consider this a completely missed goal.  I did contemplate heading to the gym this past Friday and Saturday to reach my mileage goal, but decided that taking the planned rest was more important in anticipation of today’s St. Patrick’s Day Double.

2.  Listen to my body.

Grade: A

On days when I was either in too much pain or too tired to complete my planned work outs, I took the extra rest that my body was asking for.  I refused to allow myself to feel guilty about giving my body the extra rest, especially since I’m still recovering from the car accident.

3.  Cross train at least once a week.

Grade: B

Just like last month, I successfully did yoga, went for a walk with Riley, or hopped on the elliptical at the gym at least once a week.  A couple of weeks I cross trained more than once.  But I’d like to be more consistent in cross training more than once a week.

March is going to be an exciting month for many reasons.  Not only will I be running my fourth half marathon in just three weeks, but at the end of the month Preston and I will be headed to Florida for a much needed vacation.  There’s a lot to look forward to this month, and I look forward to also using my goals to keep myself on track with my training.

mar 2015 goals

1.  Run, walk, and elliptical at least 75 miles.

The past two months I’ve logged 70 miles.  Let’s see if this month I can up it and reach my 75 mile goal.

2.  PR at my fourth half marathon.

It should be of no surprise that my big goal at Shamrock is to PR.  My current half marathon PR was set this past August at Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach.  I can’t wait to see what I’m able to do in three weeks!

3.  Cross train at least once a week.

As always, cross training is essential for me as I finish out my half marathon training and work on continuing to recover from the car accident.

QOTD: What are your goals for March?

Posted in Motivation, Training | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Friday Five – February 27th

This has been one of the longest, most exhausting weeks, in quite awhile.  I’m attributing much of my exhaustion to only having 1 day of school last week and trying to spend much of this week playing catch up at work.  Between President’s Day and Snow Days on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, last week was far from a regular week.  Thank goodness we wound up with another Snow Day yesterday, because my body and brain were just drained after spending three days trying to help get my students back on track.

Other than school being anything but normal the past two weeks, a number of other things have been going on and have definitely been keeping me super busy.

1.  I completed my longest treadmill run since December 2013 this past Sunday.  After receiving several more inches of snow last Saturday, there was no choice but to complete my long run at the gym.  12.5 miles later, I was more than ready to bid farewell for the afternoon to the treadmill.

12.50 mile run

2.  My dad was in town from Illinois for a business trip.  Most of this trip kept him busy seeing clients in Maryland, but he did have a meeting in Northern Virginia Monday afternoon, which allowed Preston and I to enjoy a nice dinner out with him Monday evening.  It was great to see him, even if it was only for a couple of hours.

3.  I spent part of yesterday’s Snow Day working on plans for our upcoming Florida trip.  I did some research on restaurants for us to eat at while we’re in Cocoa Beach.  Yesterday also marked 30 days from our arrival in Florida, which meant that I was able to make Fast Pass reservations for our first day there.  We arrive in Orlando early in the morning, and then will be spending much of the day at Animal Kingdom before we drive to the beach for a couple of days, and then will end the trip back at Disney for a couple more days.

4.  Today marks the last day of the “Grow Your Blog” blog hop that I’ve been participating in during the month of February.  While it has been a lot of fun to connect with new bloggers, its also taken up more time than I expected.  I’m looking forward to having a bit more down time each day.

Grow Your Blog Image

5.  On Sunday I’ll be running my first two races of 2015 at the St. Patrick’s Day Double.  Several area bloggers are also running the race, and I’m looking forward to seeing everybody.

QOTD: What’s new in your life?  What has been keeping you busy lately?

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 , | 59 Comments

My Goals for Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Double

On Sunday I’ll be running my first two races of 2015.  I’m so excited to officially kick off my 2015 race season by running in one of my favorite places to run – downtown DC.  I love running past the monuments and haven’t run downtown since the Army Ten Miler back in October.

The St. Patrick’s Day Double will start with a 5k at 8:15 a.m. followed by a 10k at 9:00 a.m.  I plan on taking the 5k very easy, using 1 minute intervals switching between jogging and walking.  The one and only reason I plan to take the 5k easy is because I’d like to push myself to PR the 10k race.

PAC-St-Pats-Run-Logo

For the 10k, I have three goals:

Goal A – PR the race – my current 10k PR is 1:06:02 (10:38 pace)

Goal B – Finish the race in under 1:06:48 (10:45 pace)

Goal C – Finish the race in under 1:08:21 (11:00 pace)

QOTD: What was/is your first race of 2015?

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , , | 56 Comments

Blog Networking Tips

Grow Your Blog ImageBack in January I made it a goal to spend the month of February working on growing my blog.  While this is usually an ongoing priority for most bloggers, I figured between the cold weather, fewer events on my personal calendar this past month, and the potential for Snow Days (we’ve had three this month, as well as several two hour delays) that I’d have some extra time this month to focus on extra growth.  Part of that growth has included my involvement in the “Grow Your Blog” Blog Hop hosted by Kristy from Runaway Bridal Planner.

One key element for blog growth is networking.  Blogging is not a one way street.  In order to foster growth for your blog, its essential that you interact with readers and other bloggers on Social Media as well as on other blogs.

blog networking tips

Some examples of networking include:

  • Commenting on other blogs.  This should go without saying, but you shouldn’t expect others to visit and comment on your blog if you don’t visit and comment on other blogs.  Not only is it common courtesy, but its a great way to meet and interact with like minded people.
  • Tweeting out links to posts on other blogs that you like.  This is a great way to show appreciation for what other bloggers have to say, and demonstrates that you recognize that blogging is in fact a two way street.
  • Just like tweeting out links, pinning posts to Pinterest and sharing links on Facebook are other ways to show some love for your favorite bloggers and/or share posts that resonate with you.
  • Interact with other bloggers by giving shout outs.  This could include #FF (Follow Friday) shout outs on Twitter to some of your favorite bloggers as well as words of encouragement and good luck to those getting ready to run a race that day or that weekend.

DC_linkup

  • I’ve said this before, but join a link up.  Its a great way to meet other bloggers but also helps to get your name out there.  I participate in the weekly Friday Five link up hosted by the DC Trifecta, and have participated twice now in the Tuesdays on the Run link up.
  • Join a blog hop.  Like I already said, I’m currently participating in my first one ever and I’ve noticed that this has led to a huge significant increase in my monthly stats.

Blogging takes lots of time and you won’t be an overnight success, but if you’re willing to invest the time and resources necessary the payoff can be huge.

For more blogging tips, be sure to check out these posts:

QOTD: How do you network with blog readers and other bloggers?

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , | 88 Comments

Tuesdays on the Run: Motivation

Today I’m joining Erika from MCM Mama Runs, Patty from My No-Guilt Life, and April from Run the Great Wide Somewhere for the Tuesdays on the Run Linkup.  This week’s topic is Motivation.

Tuesdays-on-the-run

This topic is especially fitting given the weather the past couple of weeks.  Last week the DC area saw more snow than its seen all winter, and we experienced record setting cold temperatures and wind chills.  I often find it difficult to stay motivated in the winter, especially with how cold its been lately, but I find that turning to a couple of key quotes helps me to get up off the couch and keep moving towards reaching my goals.

Some of my favorite quotes that are helping me to stay motivated at this time of year include:

devito quote

garland quote

picabo street quote

hamilton quote

landry quote

whitman

And of course, there’s no greater motivation for me than to be training for a goal race.  Only 26 days stand between myself and my fourth half marathon!

QOTD: What keeps you motivated and moving in the winter?

Posted in Motivation | Tagged , | 54 Comments

Shamrock Half Marathon Training Log – Week 14

Its hard to believe that four weeks from yesterday I will run my fourth half marathon!  I haven’t run a half since August 31st, and I cannot contain my excitement for this upcoming race weekend!  On Friday Shamrock released details about the race app that is available for download, which allowed runners to find out which corrals they are in.  Seeing which corrals I’ll be in for both the 8k and the half marathon only further increased my excitement.  And Shamrock posted on their Facebook page last week that once a photo has been shared 1,000 times that the medals will be released.  The shares have been slow going (as of Sunday evening the photo had only been shared 347 times), so I’m sitting on pins and needles in anticipation of seeing the three medals that I’ll earn in a month for completing the Dolphin Challenge!

Training got very serious this past week.  We didn’t have school on Monday because of President’s Day, and the only day that wasn’t a Snow Day was Thursday.  I tried to take full advantage of the extra free time that I had this past week, spending as much of it in the gym as my body would allow me to.  Since my back was very sore on Tuesday, I opted to stay home and do yoga instead of my planned run.  I still ran three times this week though since I had another weekend of back to back runs to help me prepare for the Dolphin Challenge.

All of my runs this past week had to be completed on the treadmill.  Between getting close to a foot of snow this past week, sub zero temperatures, and lots of ice, it has been far too unsafe to run outside.  Yesterday I took to the treadmill for my 12.5 mile run, the farthest that I’ve run on the treadmill since December 2013.  It was a definitely a mental challenge, but I’m so glad that I was able to complete it, with the assistance of watching a couple episodes of Amazing Race All Stars on the iPad and Preston running alongside me.

12.50 mile run

Hopefully the weather will get a bit better this coming week, especially since I have my first two races of 2015 next Sunday!

Mon 2/16 – Rest day

Tues 2/17 – 30 minutes of yoga

Wed 2/18 – 3.80 mile run on the treadmill, 0.42 mile cool down walk, abs, glutes, arms, shoulders, stretching, 10 minutes on the stair master

Thurs 2/19 – 40 minutes on the elliptical, 0.73 mile cool down walk

Fri 2/20 – Rest day

Sat 2/21 – 4.00 mile run on the treadmill, 0.46 mile cool down walk

Sun 2/22 – 12.50 mile run on the treadmill, 0.75 mile cool down walk, stretching

Total Weekly Mileage – 27.13 miles (15.10 miles more than week 13)

Total Shamrock Training Mileage – 195.84 miles

QOTD: What is the farthest that you’ve run on the treadmill?

Posted in Shamrock Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments