Favorite Race Signs

One of my favorite parts of any race are the signs that spectators hold and use to help cheer runners on.  Over the past several months, some of my favorite race signs have said:

“Today you’re all Kenyans”

032

“You run the first mile with your brain, and the rest with your heart”

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

“You’re running better than Metro” and “You’re running better than Congress”
(I saw both of these signs at Rock ‘n’ Roll USA, and were perfect for a race in DC.)

033

“When does Jumbo Slice open?”
(I also saw this one at Rock ‘n’ Roll USA, and Jumbo Slice is a DC area favorite in Adams Morgan.)

QOTD: What has your favorite race sign said?

Posted in Races | Tagged | 16 Comments

2014 Leesburg 20k Recap

Sunday’s race is one that I won’t forget for a long time.  It was an incredible experience, a race that I felt strong and powerful during, and one that I’ll definitely be returning to.

Most people dread long runs during the summer, especially in the DC area.  This area is well known for its summer heat and humidity, especially in the mornings.  That didn’t deter me from signing up for this race, and I’m so glad that it didn’t.  It was surprisingly cool Sunday morning when I first got up, so much that I actually wore a long sleeve shirt while we drove to the race.  By the end of the race though, it was in the low 80s, which isn’t surprising given that it is August afterall.  I ended the race drenched in sweat from head to toe, more than ready for a shower.

The race was staged in downtown Leesburg at Market Station, which is a quaint area filled with shops and restaurants.  As with all the other Potomac River Running races that I’ve run, bib pickup was super easy.  Because of other things going on last week, I opted to pick up my bib the morning of the race.  I waited no more than five minutes to get my bib.  One of the new perks that Potomac River is offering its runners at some of their races is a $10 gift card in lieu of a race shirt, which I took advantage of.  I have plenty of things that I could put a $10 gift card towards!

One of the things I was looking forward to about this race was meeting up with several blogger friends.  After I picked up my bib, I easily found Jenny from Run Jenny Run, Deb from Deb Runs, and Deb’s friend Erin.  We snapped a quick picture, and then Jenny and I decided to make our way towards the porta potties.

From left to right: Erin, myself, Jenny, and Deb

From left to right: Erin, myself, Jenny, and Deb

As we were getting in line we spotted Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC and Julie from Diving Into The Gene Pool.  I’ve been wanting to meet Courtney in person for awhile now.  You may recognize Courtney’s name from the weekly Friday Five linkup that I participate in with the DC Trifecta.  We’ve tried to meet in person previously, and I’m so happy that we were finally able to connect at a race!

From left to right: Julie, Jenny, myself, and Courtney

From left to right: Julie, Jenny, myself, and Courtney

We finished up at the porta potties only a couple of minutes before the race started.  Since Courtney and Julie had gotten caught in traffic we parted ways – Jenny and I headed to the start line while Courtney and Julie headed to bag check.  Jenny and I got to the start line with only a minute or two to spare, and before we knew it we were off!

Jenny and I just after we crossed the start line Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

Jenny and I just after we crossed the start line
Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

This course was an out and back course, with most of it on the W&OD Trail.  Because most of it was on the trail, the majority of the course was shaded, which was perfect on a hot and humid August morning.  The out and back course allowed me to see blogger friends multiple times.  We were all able to encourage one another, and I even gave Courtney and Jenny a high five the second time that I saw them.  In addition, to seeing blogger friends, a Dopey Challenge runner was also running the race (he was wearing a Dopey Challenge shirt, which of course led me to ask him if he had completed Dopey).  We chatted for a few minutes about our race experiences back in January, and he jokingly said that this race was harder than Dopey was since the majority of the crowd support for this race was at the start and finish, whereas at Disney there is crowd support throughout the entire race.

During the first couple of miles of the race, I felt strong and kept thinking that reaching my A or B goal was entirely possible.  I had done my research prior to the start of the race, and had mentally prepared myself for the hilly and challenging course.  Although all of the hills were in the first two thirds of the race, I also knew that since it was an out and back course that all of the hills that I was running up I’d eventually run back down, which would help me complete the race with negative splits.  The last hill on the course ended at the mile 8 marker, which left me with four miles to speed up my pace.

Who doesnt love running a race that has the majority of the hills in the first half of the race?

Who doesn’t love running a race that has the majority of the hills in the first half of the race?

Up until mile 8 I had been running 2:1 intervals, but because I was still feeling strong I ran the last four miles in 3:1 intervals.

Notice the negative splits, especially after mile 8

Notice the negative splits, especially after mile 8

Around the mile 10 marker I knew that my B goal was definitely attainable, and that depending upon how fast I could push myself that maybe my A goal was within reach.  I decided to run the last 2.5 miles a bit on the conservative side though since, after all, this was a training run for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach, and I didn’t want to risk injury only two weeks out from the race that I’ve spent all summer training for.

I continued to feel good as I neared closer to the finish line.  Around the mile 11 marker we passed a series of townhouses, and on the deck of one of them a guy and his baby were outside cheering everybody on, and I could hear “Eye of the Tiger” blasting from his deck.  It was just the motivation I needed to push myself through the last part of the race.

As I rounded the last turn towards the finish line, I had one mental slip, and allowed myself to walk a few extra seconds.  Given how mentally strong I had been the entire race, I’m not at all disappointed in myself, since I was still able to cross the finish line strong.  As I neared the finish line I spotted Preston on the sidelines, and his cheering gave me the final push I needed to sprint to the finish line.

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

My finish time was 2:25:47 (11:44 min/mile pace).  I had finished smack inbetween my A goal (11:30 pace) and my B goal (12:00 pace).  This is a huge accomplishment, and has left me feeling very well prepared for Virginia Beach.

After the race I received my medal and a bottle of water.  I met up with Preston, and we waited for Jenny to finish.  We briefly shared our race experiences before we parted ways.  We both agreed that, once again, Potomac River Running had done a fabulous job with this race, especially since there were plenty of water stations, Gatorade was offered at some of them, and Gu packets were even handed out at both mile 6/mile 7.5 water station.  There was plenty of food after the race for runners to refuel with, and of course the free photos are another great perk that few other races offer.

Post race with Jenny

Post race with Jenny

This is one race that I won’t forget.  Although most people don’t like running long distances in the summer heat and humidity, the majority of the course was shaded and the water stations were well placed.  I will definitely run this race again!

leesburg 20k medal

QOTD: What unique race distance(s) have you run?

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Sausage and Zucchini Naan Pizza

This is the second naan bread pizza recipe that Preston and I have made.  You may have noticed on Instagram a couple of weeks ago that we made our first naan bread pizza, a White Clam one.  While it tasted good, I thought this one was a much tastier combination of ingredients, and I was very eager to share this recipe with all of you.

The inspiration for all of our naan bread pizza recipes thus far has been none other than the Wegman’s Summer Menu magazine.  Its actually inspired us to come up with our own pizza recipe this week, which I’ll of course be sure to share with all of you.

sausage and zucchini naan pizza

Ingredients:

1 small zucchini
1/2 small onion
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp alfredo sauce
3 tbsp pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp shredded Italian blend (Parmesan and Romano) cheese
2 whole grain naan flat bread
1 cup cooked Italian sausage
Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper to taste

Instructions:

1.  Cut zucchini into long strips (large enough to grill and not fall through the grates), and toss with olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Grill about 8 minutes, until zucchini is browned.  Flip halfway through cooking time.  Remove from grill and set aside until cool enough to handle.
2.  Mix alfredo and pizza sauces together.  Divide mixed sauces between the two naan breads.
3.  Cut grilled zucchini and onion into thin slices.  Top naan breads with vegetables and Italian sausage.

before cheese 4.  Divide mozzarella and Italian blend cheeses between the naan breads.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and/or crushed red pepper.

with cheese 5.  Grill until cheese is melted and the naan bread is slightly browned.

All of the seasoning is meant to be added per your taste preferences.  That’s one of the great things about recipes – none of them ever have to be followed word for word.  You should feel free to make all recipes your own and put your own spin on them.

QOTD: What is the best pizza you’ve ever had?

Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon Training Log – Week 16

This week was another fabulous week of training!  I’ve been working hard, and I’ve really seeing my hard work pay off lately!  If you follow me on Social Media then it should be of no surprise that the highlight of this week’s training was the Leesburg 20k, which I ran yesterday.  I cannot wait to relive this fabulous race when I write my recap this week.

Approaching the finish line Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

Approaching the finish line
Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

The Leesburg 20k was just the icing on the cake to a very productive week of training.

Mon 8/11 – Rest day

Tues 8/12 – 3.10 mile treadmill run, 0.37 mile cool down walk, kettlebell squats, abs, legs, chest, back, arms

Wed 8/13 – Rest day

Thurs 8/14 – 30 minutes of yoga, 1.20 mile neighborhood walk with Riley

Fri 8/15 – 3.10 mile treadmill run, 0.32 mile cool down walk, arms, back, glutes, abs

Sat 8/16 – Rest day

Sun 8/17 – Leesburg 20k

Total Weekly Mileage – 20.72 miles (9.10 miles more than week 15)

Total Half Marathon Training Mileage – 242.27 miles

Yesterday’s race was my last long run of this training cycle, which means I’ve finally arrived at taper town!  I’ve been working hard and now its time to let me body rest a bit so that I can put all of my hard work, focus, and determination to good use and give Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach 100% in two weeks.  With all of the high mileage that I’ve logged in recent weeks, its going to be difficult to scale back on the running, but I know that its for the best.

If being only two weeks out from my third half marathon wasn’t exciting enough, I saw this on Timehop yesterday:

timehop

Was it really just one year ago that I was plotting out my training plan for my first half marathon?!?!?

If this isn’t representative of the running progress that I’ve made then I don’t know what is!  Here’s to the next two weeks as I taper and finish getting ready for half marathon #3!

QOTD: A year ago, what major event(s) were you preparing for?

Posted in RnRVB Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Friday Five – August 15th

Happy Friday everybody!  Is it just me or are the days and weeks flying by this summer?  It seems like the 2013-2014 school year just ended, and the new school year is just around the corner!

There’s been a lot of exciting things going on lately, some of which I’m shared on Instagram.  I was also looking back at my blog calendar and noticed that I haven’t done a random Friday Five post since mid June, so I thought it would be the perfect time to write one and share some of the excitement with all of you.

1.  Preston and I had a fabulous weekend in Charlottesville last weekend.  We went to several new to us wineries, as well as visited a couple of our favorites in the area.  We also went to Montpelier, the home of President James Madison.  It was a great way to celebrate our anniversary.

charlottesville

2.  Today marks my fourth day with Shakeology.  After much consideration and research, I’ve decided to give it a try.  I’m very interested to see how it affects my energy level, especially once the new school year starts.

shakeology

3.  On Wednesday I attended a day long DBQ (document based question) training for work.  I left the training with lots of resources to use with my AP students and have lots of ideas on how I can better use DBQs with my Honors students.  Attending the training has me very excited about starting to lesson plan for the upcoming school year.

4.  On Sunday I will be running the Leesburg 20k.  This is a new to me race distance, and I’m very excited to use this weekend’s race as a test run for my half marathon at the end of the month.

5.  Next month my dad will be here on a business trip, and in order to spend time with Preston and I he is extending his trip into the weekend.  We’ve started working on figuring out what the three of us want to do while he’s here.  I cannot wait to see him!

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 , , | 30 Comments

My Goals for Sunday’s Leesburg 20k

leesburg20k

The main reason I registered for this Sunday’s Leesburg 20k is because the timing of the race fits my half marathon training plan perfectly.  My training plan calls for me to run 14 miles this weekend, and its my last long run before I run Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach on August 31st.  Knowing that I’m scheduled to run 14 miles, when I realized that the Leesburg 20k was scheduled for the same weekend, I started considering whether or not I should register for this race.  A new race distance, an opportunity to run in a new location, and the chance to race instead of just setting out to run 14 miles on my own all appealed to me.  Although a 20k is only 12.4 miles, I figure that on most race courses I don’t run only the specified distance, that registering for this race would be a great way to complete this weekend’s long run.  And if I’m feeling good after the race, I’ll run the last mile to fully complete 14 miles.

I’ll also be using this weekend’s race as a trial for my current goal finish time for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach.  Although this weekend’s course is much hillier than the course in Virginia Beach is, I’d still like to test myself and determine if my goals for Virginia Beach need to be altered.  Its also supposed to be hot and humid on Sunday morning during the race, which in addition to the hilly course is another factor I’m taking into consideration.

Goal A – Finish the race in under 2:22:55 (11:30 pace)

Goal B – Finish the race in under 2:29:08 (12:00 pace)

Goal C – Finish the race in under 2:35:21 (12:30 pace)

QOTD: Do you ever use races as a test run while training for a milestone race?

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Every couple of months a blogger award seems to circulate around the web, the most recent one being the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  I’ve read posts from several bloggers who were nominated for this award.  Many thanks to Erika from MCM Mama Runs and Jessie from It’s A Messy Life for nominating me.  I’m very flattered!

inspiring blogger

So what am I supposed to do now?  Pass along the blog love of course!

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you
  • List the rules and display the award
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated

The hard part first – seven facts about myself.  Those of you who have been around for awhile already know quite a bit about me, so if you already know some of this, my apologies!

1.  My favorite color is blue.

2.  Summer is my favorite season of the year.  If I could live outside lounging at the pool or on the beach everyday, I would.

pool

3.  I was born on Easter Sunday.  The next time that my birthday will fall on Easter isn’t until 2081!

4.  If I weren’t a teacher, I’d want to be a professional photographer.  I absolutely love taking pictures and using our real cameras, especially our SLR camera.

photography

I took lots of scenic photos during our honeymoon in Hawaii

5.  Prior to getting married I’d only been to Disney World once, when I was six years old, and never to Disneyland.  When Preston first told me how many times his family had been to Disney, my jaw dropped.  Since we got married three years ago, we’ve been to Disney World three times and Disneyland once.  My husband has officially turned me into a fully crazed Disney fan.

We joined my in-laws on a trip to Disney World a month after we got married

We joined my in-laws on a trip to Disney World a month after we got married

6.  I’m always searching for the best deal possible.  I hate buying or booking something and later finding out that I could have saved even more money.  (And yes, I do clip coupons, but I’m not an extreme couponer.)

7.  Baseball is my favorite professional sport to watch.

baseball

And now for my 15 nominees.  I hope you find these bloggers as inspiring as I do!

1.  Sue from This Mama Runs for Cupcakes
2.  Sarah from Sparkly Runner
3.  Mindy from Road Runner Girl
4.  Kat from Katrina Elle
5.  Pam and Christine from We Run Disney
6.  Meranda and Lacey from Fairytales and Fitness
7.  Kristen from Run Away with Me
8.  Denise from Healthy Disney Family
9.  Lauren from Run Salt Run
10.  Cyanne from Run Stretch Go
11.  Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC
12.  Cynthia from You Signed Up For WHAT?!
13.  Mar from Mar On The Run
14.  Kimberley from Maker Mother Marathon Runner
15.  Jennifer from Run Jenny Run

QOTD: Whose blog do you find most inspiring?

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Szechuan Chicken with Oriental Noodles

This recipe wasn’t the next one I had originally planned on sharing with all of you this week, but after such an overwhelming response to my posted picture on Instagram, I decided to bump this recipe up on my blog calendar.  I hope you all find it as tasty as Preston and I did.

As with many of the other recipes we’ve been trying out lately, I have to thank Wegman’s and their incredibly tasty Summer Menu magazine for the inspiration for this recipe.  I promise Wegman’s won’t be the only source of inspiration for the recipes I share on here, as I have tons of recipes clipped from magazines as well as pinned on Pinterest.

szechuan chicken

Ingredients:

1 package oriental noodles
12 oz green beans
2 tbsp olive oil
8 oz thinly sliced mushrooms
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili paste
3/4 c soy sauce (we used low sodium)
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp blue agave
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Fresno chilies, cut into thin rings (for less heat just use 1 chili)
4 chicken breasts, cooked, and shredded into pieces (we used leftover rotisserie chicken)

Instructions:

1.  Cook oriental noodles according to package directions.  Set aside to cool.
2.  Heat olive oil in wok.  Cook garlic 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.  Add green beans and mushrooms and cook until tender.
3.  Add soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste, and blue agave to wok.  Season with salt and pepper.  Combine all ingredients.
4.  Add green onions, Fresno chili, and chicken until heated well.
5.  Stir in oriental noodles.

This recipe had a lot of kick, but was still light and fresh.  If you’re looking to add more vegetables, onions, snow peas, and/or bamboo shoots would be a great compliment to the flavors already present in this dish.  If you’re looking to cut carbs, either reduce the amount of oriental noodles that you cook, or eliminate them altogether.

QOTD: What new recipe have you recently tried?

Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon Training Log – Week 15

This past week was full of so many wonderful things, some of them training related, some of them not, but I think the pictures I posted on Instagram this past week pretty well sum up the great week I had!

I kicked off my training week with a speedy tempo run on the treadmill on Tuesday

I kicked off my training week with a speedy tempo run on the treadmill on Tuesday

I practiced yoga for the first time in almost a month on Wednesday

On Wednesday I practiced yoga for the first time in almost a month

My Paceband with my goal finish time for Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach arrived on Thursday

My Paceband with my goal finish time for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach arrived on Thursday

Preston and I spent the weekend in Charlottesville on a mini anniversary getaway

Preston and I spent the weekend in Charlottesville on a mini anniversary getaway

I ended the week gorgeous sunset as the backdrop for Sunday's run

I ended the week with a gorgeous sunset as the backdrop for Sunday’s run

Mon 8/4 – Foam rolling

Tues 8/5 – 3.10 mile treadmill run, 0.45 mile cool down walk, glutes, legs, abs, arms, chest, back

Wed 8/6 – 35 minutes of yoga

Thurs 8/7 – 3.01 mile neighborhood run, 0.54 mile cool down walk, abs

Fri 8/8 – Rest day

Sat 8/9 – Rest day

Sun 8/10 – 4.22 mile neighborhood run, 0.30 mile cool down walk

Total Weekly Mileage – 11.62 miles (14.53 miles less than week 14)

Total Half Marathon Training Mileage – 221.55 miles

This coming week will be another physically challenging week, as I’ll log many more miles than I did this past week.  I foresee my training week looking very similar to what week 14 looked like, the highlight of which will be my last long training run next weekend before I start to taper for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach.  As my last long run, I’ll actually be running the Leesburg 20k on Sunday.  Several area bloggers will also be there, so I’m looking forward to catching up with many of them in person.

I cannot wait to accept the challenge that this coming week presents me with, and see how I handle all of my training this week!

landry quote

QOTD: What training challenge(s) will you be facing this week?

Posted in Motivation, RnRVB Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Friday Five – August 8th – Race Memories

Anybody that knows me well knows that I’m extremely sentimental and love taking lots of photos to capture every major event.  Every month or so I love spending time looking back at old photos and reliving all of the wonderful things that I’ve gotten to experience throughout my life.  So when I found out that this week’s Friday Five theme with the DC Trifecta is Race Memories, I was extremely excited and immediately turned to reliving my races through photos and all of the recaps that I’ve written here on the blog.

So what are my top five race memories?  It was difficult to narrow the list down to just five, but in almost no particular order (my number 1 is definitely at the top of my list!), I present you with my top five race memories!

5.  2013 Dulles Day 5k

dullesday

How many people can say that they’ve gotten to run on an airport runway?  I’m so excited to run on the Dulles Airport runway again next month, and for double the distance this time since a 10k option was added this year!

4.  2014 Disney World 10k

One of the many great things about blogging is being able to interact with so many other bloggers and being able to support one another online.  Prior to Disney World Marathon Weekend, I hadn’t met any bloggers in person, so you can imagine how excited I was to meet both Heather from Through Heather’s Looking Glass and Kimberley from Maker Mother Marathon Runner in the middle of my first runDisney race!

3.  2013 Army Ten Miler

armytenmiler

Okay, so I volunteered at this race and didn’t run it, but that doesn’t mean that this race doesn’t hold any less meaning in my heart.  Volunteering at the finish line and congratulating the wounded warriors as they completed the race was an experience that I’ll never forget.  Their enthusiasm and joy for racing was evident, and gave me the encouragement that I needed as a newer runner to be able to go out and conquer whatever I put my mind to.

2.  2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon

postracernr

You may recall that I ran this race just two weeks after spending the night in the hospital due to my TIA earlier this year.  To date, this race was the most mentally and physically challenging race that I’ve completed.  If it weren’t for Preston and my friend Kristen texting me during the second half of the race and providing me with the support I needed, I’m not sure that I would have made it to the finish line.

1.  2014 Disney World Half Marathon

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon! Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon!
Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

For those of you who have been reading for awhile now, my number one race memory should be of no surprise.  I will never forget crossing the finish line of my first half marathon with Preston by my side.

The past year and a half of running has been filled with so many great memories, and I cannot wait to see what race memories lie ahead!

QOTD: What is your favorite race memory?

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 Races | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments