2018 Loudoun Half Marathon Recap

One month ago yesterday I ran my first goal race of 2018, the Loudoun Half Marathon.  Having run this race last year, I know that the course for this half marathon is anything but easy.  It features rolling hills throughout, but nothing that is unmanageable or that I am unfamiliar with here in Northern Virginia.  I was excited to run the course again after having run a fairly strong race last year.  After completing a strong training cycle, I was excited for what was to come on race day.

Despite being well prepared, as well as the weather being ideal for racing (it was in the high 40s and low 50s during the race, and there was almost zero wind), it just wasn’t my day.  I know that I put forth my best effort throughout the entire race, and because I did so I am not disappointed in myself.

Race morning started off with me leaving the house around 5:30 a.m.  I pulled into the parking lot of the local high school where the race started and finished at just after 6:00, and within five minutes of parking returned to the car with my race bib and shirt.  I sat in the car for awhile, finishing my breakfast and staying warm.  Around 6:40 I left the warmth of the car to use the bathroom, and then made my way to the start line.

The race started on the street in front of the high school.  With right around 550 people running this race, the start area wasn’t crowded at all, and I easily found a spot to stand while I waited for the race to start.  At 7:00, the “Star Spangled Banner” was sung, and at 7:02 I crossed the start line.

Just after crossing the start line
Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

Since I had trained using 4:15/0:45 run/walk intervals that’s what I had planned to run throughout the entire race.  I had to skip the first walk interval due to usual beginning of a race crowding, but by the time of my second planned walk interval the crowd had thinned out enough and I had found myself running in a very comfortable rhythm.  I continued to feel strong during the early miles of the race, which weaved through neighborhood streets.

Splits for Miles 1-4:
10:30, 10:47, 10:48, 10:51

Just prior to the mile 4 marker, the course took runners onto a portion of the W&OD Trail, which is a pedestrian and bike trail that runs throughout Northern Virginia.  The trail featured the flattest miles of the course, and I knew that I needed to not push myself too hard if I wanted to be able to continue running a strong race after exiting the trail.  Although my pace slowed slightly during the trail portion of the race, I continued to remain optimistic about my ability to run a strong 13.1 miles that morning.

It was an absolutely beautiful morning to run a race

Splits for Miles 5-7:
10:53, 11:00, 11:11

Despite my best efforts, I began to lose momentum after exiting the trail just past the mile 7 marker.  As the rolling hills intensified, my pace slowed down more and more.  Although I never had to take extra walk breaks, it was clear looking at my splits that I really struggled with my endurance during the second half of the race.  The further that I ran, the the heavier that my legs felt, and the more it became clear that it just was not my day to run a strong race.  I did my best to focus on remaining positive and simply doing the best that I could.

Running up one of the many hills on the course

Still smiling during the second half of the race despite how slow my pace became
Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

Splits for Miles 8-13.25:
11:17, 11:40, 11:37, 11:55, 12:37, 12:12, 2:42 (last 0.25 miles)

The closer that I got to the finish line on the high school track, the more that I wanted to push myself with the small amount of gas left in the tank to finish right around two and a half hours.  My official finish time was exactly 2:30:00 (11:27 pace), and according to my Garmin I ran 13.25 miles (11:19 pace).  Although this wound up being one of my slowest half marathons ever, I didn’t give up despite how challenging running that morning wound up being for me.

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

Upon crossing the finish line, I received my medal as well as an insulated lunch bag filled with snacks.  I also received a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade.  I took advantage of the free stretching offered by a local physical therapy company.  It felt incredible to have somebody help stretch me out after a challenging morning of running.

Celebrating having finished my 16th half marathon

Having fun at the photo booth at the finish line
Photo Credit: Inova Healthcare

Overall, it was another great local race.  For only a $55 registration fee, I felt like I got more than my money’s worth: lots of aid along the course with a total of seven water and fuel stops, and a well staffed start and finish line area with with easy and convenient day of packet pick up as well as more than enough food and entertainment at the finish line.  There were also free race photos.  Just because it wasn’t my day for racing had no bearing on my opinion of this well organized local race.  I know that this was a challenging course, and although it took its toll on me last month that does not mean that I will never run this race again.  In fact, it is already on my radar for 2019, as I am determined to show this course what I am capable of.

QOTD: How do you motivate yourself to keep moving forward during a difficult race?

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Friday Five – Potpourri v. 22

Happy Friday everybody!  If your schedule has been like mine lately, it has been jam packed and you’ve been constantly on the go.  It seems like this happens every Spring.  Part of me enjoys the thrill of being as busy as I have been, but another part of me wishes that things would slow down just a tad.

With how busy everything has been lately, I thought that it would be appropriate to do a Potpourri post today.  Its been quite awhile since I’ve written one (since September to be exact).  Here’s a glimpse at what has been going on in my little corner of the world lately.

1.  Yesterday, my AP World students took their AP exam.  We have spent the entire school year preparing for this one test.  I’m incredibly proud of their hard work, and I cannot wait to receive their scores in July.

2.  The end of the school year busyness continues today with my Honors World History students scheduled to take their state exam.  After today’s test, the focus in my classroom will shift to end of the year projects for the last month of the school year.

3.  My parents fly into town today.  It has been since March when little man and I last saw them (we spent Spring Break visiting them in Illinois), and although my dad was in town for work in early March, it has been since December when my mom and husband last saw each other.  We’re all looking forward to sharing a couple of days together.

Little man ran into Grammie and Papa’s arms after getting off the plane in Illinois back in March

4.  Since getting off track with my fitness during our trip to Disney, I’m excited to report that I’ve gotten back on track this week.  I ran on Sunday and Wednesday, did cross and weight training at the gym on Tuesday, and last night did lower body strength training.  I must say, its easy to stay focused when you have a cute little coach. 🙂

My little coach helped me count reps during last night’s lower body workout

5.  My break from being “in training” for a race will come to an end in just two short weeks.  During the first week of June I will kick off marathon training.  I’m excited about running Chicago again in October and to once again run in memory of a childhood friend whose life was cut short by cancer.  Not only am I once again running in her memory, but I will also be running again this year with Team Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Its an incredible organization, and I’m honored to be a part of the team again.

I had nothing but an incredible experience running the Chicago Marathon with Team RMHC last year and cannot wait to run with the team again in 2018!

QOTD: What is one thing that is currently going on in your little corner of the world?

I’m linking up for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup.  Many thanks to the wonderful ladies at Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for hosting!

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Let’s Catch Up, the Disney Wedding Edition!

My apologizes for the radio silence over the past two weeks.  As I’m sure you can imagine, life has been incredibly busy lately.  While in the past I would have stressed over not having had the time to sit down and write, I’ve been reminding myself that there are much more important things in life than being able to blog.

So what’s been keeping me so busy over the past two weeks?  If you follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter then you know that we were at Disney World starting the last weekend of April.  In total, we spent nine days at Disney for a very special occasion: my sister-in-law’s wedding.  It had been her lifelong dream to get married at Disney World, and last Saturday that dream became a reality.  Over the course of the week there were several wedding events, including a girls’ tea at the Grand Floridian, a family dinner at Citricos for the bride and groom’s immediate families, and a private Illuminations dessert party for all of the wedding guests on Isle de France, the terrace in front of France at Epcot.

Little man getting his hair cut for the wedding at the Harmony Barber Shop at Magic Kingdom

The delicious spread during girls’ tea

With all of my in-laws during our photo shoot with Mickey at Magic Kingdom

At the rehearsal lunch at The Attic at the Boardwalk Resort

During the dessert party at Epcot

The highlight of the week was of course the wedding itself.  The ceremony took place at the wedding pavilion at the Grand Floridian, and the reception was held in The Living Seas Salon at Epcot.  The day was incredibly magical, and the rumors are in fact true: weddings at Disney are quite the event.  Every detail is planned out by the wedding planner, and the wedding day itself truly runs like clockwork.  Although at times it felt a bit odd to be dressed in a long, formal dress at Disney, especially when we were escorted through Epcot to the reception when the park was still open, it was a truly beautiful day, complete with two VIP guests making a brief appearance during the reception.

The bride and groom during wedding photos at The Grand Floridian

Ready for the wedding!

Everybody on the dance floor with Mickey and Minnie

During our time at Disney I only got to run once, but it was on my favorite trail to run on at Disney: the New Balance Trail that runs through the Grand Floridian and Polynesian resorts.  I always love running early in the morning with the Magic Kingdom as my backdrop.

During my one and only run at Disney

Since returning from Disney late last Sunday night, things at our house have been incredibly busy.  I spent the majority of the week at work playing catch up after having a sub in my classroom for five days.  I walked into my classroom Monday morning very overwhelmed by the high stacks of paper and the lengthy note from my sub that I found on and surrounding my desk.  Although I’m not fully caught up at school yet, I didn’t feel as overwhelmed by my to do list at the end of the day on Friday as I did Monday morning.  Here at home, our suitcases are still sitting open in the basement, with only half of the laundry done, but I know that it’ll all eventually get done.

This past week Preston finished up the Spring semester of grad school, and we’re both thankful that he has a couple of weeks off before his summer class starts.  Friday afternoon I attended “Muffins with Mom” at little man’s daycare.  My little family spent Saturday working on our front and backyards, both weeding and planting fresh plants and flowers.  And then on Sunday we spent the day together as a family and had a low key Mother’s Day, though I did give myself a “present” of a solo four mile run during little man’s nap.

Yay for four solo miles on a beautiful Spring afternoon

So that’s a little bit of what’s been going on in my world over the past couple of weeks.  My little family has been quite busy, and fitness has slipped from being one of my top priorities.  I know that just because I’m not currently officially training for a race doesn’t mean that I should let my fitness slide, and I’m looking forward to refocusing and getting back on track this week.  I didn’t meet some of my April goals, and although I never put any goals into writing for this month (I’ll blame being away and out of my normal routine at the beginning of the month), I want to spend the rest of May refocusing on my fitness, especially since I’ll be starting marathon training in just a couple of short weeks.

One last thing: during our first full day at Disney a blog reader approached me at Magic Kingdom and asked me if I was “From Dancing to Running.”  I was caught completely off guard, was focused on little man and getting to breakfast at Crystal Palace, and didn’t respond properly.  To the reader who stopped to say “hi”, my apologizes for not being able to talk longer and for my abrupt departure.  If I came across as rude, that wasn’t my intention whatsoever.

QOTD: Let’s catch up, what has been going on in your life over the past couple of weeks?t

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Gift Ideas for the Fit Mom

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate and referral links.

Its hard to believe, but Mother’s Day is just over two weeks away.  If you’re still on the hunt for an idea for a gift to get that Fit Mom in your life, then consider some of the ideas below.

1.  AfterShokz Headphones

Every mother enjoys those few moments of peace and quiet to focus on themselves, and the Fit Mom especially enjoys being able to carve out time to exercise.  If the Fit Mom in your life enjoys listening to music, watching movies, listening to Podcasts, whatever it might be that involves audio while working out, then a great pair of headphones is a must.  Ever since I received my AfterShokz headphones, I haven’t used any other headphones during my workouts.  They are wireless, connect to a device via Bluetooth, and have incredible sound quality.  My headphones are 1.5 years old and the sound quality is just as great today as it was when I first received them.

I love how comfortable AfterShokz headphones are, no matter if I’m running a 5k or a marathon or a distance in between

2.  iTunes Gift Card

Any Mom who enjoys listening to music will appreciate receiving an iTunes gift card.  Its always nice to take a break from listening to the children’s preferred entertainment, especially while working out.

3.  Garmin Forerunner 235

I still have an old school Garmin Forerunner 10, but once it dies I have my eyes set on upgrading to something a bit fancier, like the Garmin Forerunner 235.  I like that this upgraded model features live tracking, so that my family and friends can not only track me for safety reasons during my training runs, but during races they can offer me words of encouragement along the way.

4.  Bosu Exercise Ball

At home workouts are usually a frequent occurrence for Fit Moms, especially those with young children.  One of my favorite pieces of fitness equipment that I have at home is my Bosu Exercise Ball.  There are so many different ways that it can be used.  My favorite is to sit on it and do sit ups in order to get a great ab workout in.

5.  Philosophy Amazing Grace Bath and Shower Gel

Every mother enjoys those few moments of peace and quiet in the shower.  Post workout, I enjoy washing away the sweat while using Philosophy Amazing Grace Bath and Shower Gel.  The subtle scent is quite relaxing and soothing, especially after a difficult workout.

QOTD: What is on your Fit Mom wish list?

I’m linking up for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup.  Many thanks to the wonderful ladies at Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for hosting!

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Loudoun Half Marathon Training Log – Week 8

If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter, then you already know that yesterday’s race didn’t go as I had hoped.  I didn’t give up during the race, despite how challenging the race wound up being for me.  Although I was initially disappointed mid-race as I watched my chance of reaching my goals slip away, I still crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face.  I hadn’t given up on a difficult day of running, and for me yesterday, that was a huge accomplishment.

Still smiling despite it being a difficult race for me

Like recent weeks have been, the week leading up to race day was also a very busy one.

Monday, April 16th

After work I made it to the gym from cross and weight training.  I spent 40 minutes on the elliptical followed by 30 minutes of full body weight training.

Tuesday, April 17th

Despite Tuesday being a very long day, it was still a very productive day.  My alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. so that I could get an early start on some grading (end of the quarter grades were due at school last week).

After a full day at school, I still made it a priority to get my run in.  Even though I was tired and would have rather curled up on the couch under a blanket, I still laced up my running shoes and headed out the door for what wound up being a fairly strong run.

I’m so happy that I didn’t give into the temptation to skip my run

Wednesday, April 18th

After a very long Tuesday, I more than earned my mid week rest day.

Thursday, April 19th

Despite desperately wanting to run outside, the wind was blowing at 25-30 mph when I left school, so I headed to the gym instead.  I was a very sweaty mess after my 5 mile run on the treadmill, which I followed up with a 0.75 miles walk.

I was one sweaty mess after Thursday’s treadmill run

Friday, April 20th

Eager to get in another cross and strength training workout, I headed back to the gym after work.  I spent 40 minutes on the elliptical and then did 30 minutes of full body weight training.

Saturday, April 21st

In addition to knowing how important it was to take a rest day the day before my big race, I was also at school before 7:30 a.m. to proctor a practice AP exam for my AP students.  It was a very long and busy morning.  I then spent the afternoon doing errands and chores at home.

Sunday, April 22nd

As I already shared, race day wound up being not what I had hoped for.  A full race recap will be coming soon.

Total Weekly Mileage – 30.66 miles (11.31 miles more than week 7

Total Loudoun Half Mileage – 171.87 miles

QOTD: How do you encourage yourself to keep moving forward during a challenging run or workout?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

Posted in Loudoun Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

My Goals for Sunday’s Loudoun Half Marathon

Today marks just four days until my next race, and my first goal race of 2018, the Loudoun Half Marathon.  I ran this race for the first time last year, and immediately fell in love with the race for a number of reasons, including that it is put on by Potomac River Running (a local running store, whose races are always incredibly well organized), and that the course for the race isn’t an incredibly challenging one.  Although the course has rolling hills (in our area of Northern Virginia its near impossible to avoid running on hills), a couple of miles of the race are on a local trail, which is incredibly flat while also very scenic.

Running on the W&OD Trail during last year’s race

I went into my Loudoun training with high hopes of being able to push myself to a half marathon PR.  Although I haven’t been able to push myself to run the faster paces that I’d hope to be back to running at this point, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be giving it my all on Sunday morning.  As of now, the weather forecast looks great: in the low to mid 40s during the race and very low winds.  I’m incredibly thankful to see the lack of wind in the forecast, given that I’ve had to battle high winds during several of my recent outdoor runs.

As I usually do for goal races, I’ll be running on Sunday with three goals in the back of my mind:

Goal A – Finish the race in under 2:15:42 (10:22 pace) – This is my current half marathon PR, which I set back in September 2016.  Although I know that this finish time is a far reach given my average pace during my recent long runs, I want to push myself and see what I’m able to accomplish.

Goal B – Finish the race in under 2:16:02 (10:23 pace) – This was my finish time at last year’s Loudoun Half.  Again, I’m not sure that this goal is very realistic, but we’ll see what happens.

Goal C – Finish the race in under 2:24:13 (11:00 pace) – This is the finish time/pace that I think is most realistic given my recent long training runs.

My fingers and toes are crossed that the current forecast for Sunday remains as it is.  Not having to run in the wind will certainly help me to be able to push myself towards those A and B goals.

QOTD: When you set goals for yourself, do you focus on pushing yourself, being realistic, or a combination of the two?

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Loudoun Half Marathon Training Log – Week 7

After a productive week of training to kick off April, I was determined to carry that momentum into the second week of the month.  Despite it being a very busy week at school, I was able to follow through on my fitness goals for the week.

Monday, April 9th

Between a busy day at school, an after school chiropractor appointment, and needing to run errands after my appointment, I needed to take a “rest” day from training.  I simply didn’t have enough hours in the day.

Tuesday, April 10th

After school I headed straight to the gym and got in a great workout, which consisted of a 4 mile run on the treadmill followed by 35 minutes of full body weight training.

Feeling great after another strong run

Wednesday, April 11th

Although I had planned to go the gym again after work, after having a very stressful day at school I opted to go home instead in order to be able to spend extra time with little man.  I still exercised, as I completed a 3 mile walk to and from daycare, and then spent additional time outside playing on the playground with little man.  Seeing his big smile on his face as we played together validated my decision to skip the gym that evening.

Thursday, April 12th

Despite the 20+ mph wind, I decided to brave the elements in order to soak in the beautiful 75 degree evening.  It was definitely a tough run, especially trying to counter the wind when it was at its highest that evening.  After my run I walked another 1.5 miles, and even my walk was challenging when it came to battling against the wind.

The wind was absolutely ridiculous last week.

Friday, April 13th

I took my usual day before a long run rest day.

Saturday, April 14th

Saturday’s weather was…..interesting.  By early afternoon it was in the mid-80s.  Summer running has never bothered me, so after little man went down for his afternoon nap I still headed out the door for my run.  What made the run incredibly challenging, and resulted in a lot of extra walk breaks for me, was another day of 20+ mph wind.  This was not the long run that I wanted to have just one week out from race day, but I can’t control the weather.  The most important thing is that I did not give up.

Last week’s long run was one of the most physically challenging runs that I’ve had in awhile. Running in the wind is brutal!

Sunday, April 15th

I finished out the week with 25 minutes of lower body and abdominal strength training.

Total Weekly Mileage – 19.35 miles (4.23 miles less than week 6)

Total Loudoun Half Mileage – 141.21 miles

QOTD: How do you handle running in high wind?  Any tips/suggestions for running in the wind?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

Posted in Loudoun Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

2018 Princess Half Marathon Weekend – Day 3 – Princess Half Marathon

After having run my first and tenth half marathons at Disney World (my first being the 2014 Disney World Half Marathon and my tenth being the 2016 Wine and Dine Half Marathon), I never made it a conscious mission to plan to run subsequent milestone races at Disney World.  So when I realized that the 2018 Princess Half Marathon would be my 15th half marathon, it made me that much more excited about running this race.

Just like the day prior, Kathleen and I had a very early wake up call.  My alarm went off at 2:30 a.m., and less than an hour later we were on a bus headed to Epcot.

Ready to run my 15th half marathon!

Unlike the day prior, before the start of the 10k, when we made it a priority to take a pre-race character picture, we didn’t have the same mission the morning of the half marathon.  Instead, we relaxed in the post race reunion area in the Epcot parking lot, and once the corrals opened slowly but eventually made our way to our corral, Corral C.

Fireworks at the start of the race

The race started at 5:30 a.m. sharp, and only ten short minutes later we crossed the start line.  For the first 1.5 miles we ran on Epcot Center Drive, and then took the ramp onto World Drive, where we stopped for our first picture: with four of the Disney princes.

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

We continued down World Drive, and when we ran through the Magic Kingdom Toll Plaza, we were less than three miles into the race yet already drenched in sweat from the humidity.

The Magic Kingdom toll plaza

Yes, it was really that humid! Yuck!

After stopping for a quick picture at the toll plaza, we continued down World Drive, and made a stop at the entrance to the Transportation and Ticket Center parking lot to have our picture taken with the Wicked Queen from Snow White.

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Afterwards, we continued running on World Drive, passed the Contemporary Resort, and then ran through the bus pick up area in front of Magic Kingdom.  This slightly altered course from what I had previously run in 2014 allowed runners to enter Magic Kingdom through the front entrance instead of through a backstage area.  Personally, I much preferred entering the park through the front entrance.  It made the race feel that much more magical.

Ready to enter Magic Kingdom

After entering Magic Kingdom, the excitement built up even more as Kathleen and I ran down Main Street.  The crowd was just as incredible as I remembered from when I ran my first half marathon four years ago.  At the end of Main Street we made a quick stop for a picture before turning right into Tomorrowland.

Yay for running at Disney World!

After running past Space Mountain and the Tomorrowland Speedway, we entered Fantasyland and made a stop for a picture with Belle and Gaston.

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Then it was time for one of the highlights of running a Disney race: getting to run through Cinderella’s castle!  Again, it was just as magical as I remembered it being four years prior.  After running through the castle, we had to make a stop for a picture in front of Cinderella’s castle.

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

We left the castle and headed into Liberty Square, where we stopped to have our picture taken with Woody from Toy Story.

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

We then ran through Frontierland, and eventually exited Magic Kingdom onto Floridian Way.  Altogether, it had taken us just under an hour to run just over a mile through the park.  It didn’t matter to us though.  We were having a blast, and since in our minds you run a Disney race for the experience, not for a fast finish time, we were more than okay with how long it took us to complete that short portion of the race.

Floridian Way was by far my least favorite part of the course.  The road is extremely narrow, and because people tend to run and/or walk more than two across, it makes it incredibly difficult to run at the pace that you want to run.  There were numerous times when Kathleen and I ran on the grass, but even still, we felt like we were constantly playing a game of hot potato as we weaved through the crowd.

The one highlight of running on Floridian Way was stopping to have our picture taken with four princes and a glass slipper.  Of course the glass slipper fit, because why wouldn’t it?!?

It fits!

The course finally widened back up after passing the mile 8 marker, and we were very relieved to not have to continue weaving.  Miles nine and ten of the race were pretty uneventful, with the exception of seeing the mile 10 marker, which recognized that this was the tenth anniversary of the Princess Half Marathon.

Yay for ten years of the Princess Half Marathon!

Shortly after passing the mile 10 marker we took the ramp from World Drive back towards Epcot Center Drive.  On the ramp, we found the Green Army Man in his usual spot, cheering runners on during one of the steepest inclines of the course.  Naturally, I had to stop and do a couple of push ups for him.

I received orders to do three push ups.

We slowly but surely made our way back toward Epcot, and just past the mile 12 marker entered the park.  We did a loop around Spaceship Earth, ran past the Fountain of Nations, and at the entrance to World Showcase turned around and ran back towards the front of the park.  Just prior to the mile 13 marker we passed the Gospel Choir, and their music was just as beautiful as I remembered from my previous two runDisney half marathons.

Kathleen and I exited the park and ran towards the finish line.  Our official finish time was 3:26:30 (15:45 pace).  Not only was this finish time slower than my first half marathon, but it was my slowest half marathon ever.  But it didn’t matter, because I had had a blast!  (I also feel much better looking at my Garmin results since my watch paused each time that we stopped for pictures.  According to my Garmin I ran 13.37 miles in 2:37:36, an 11:47 pace.)

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Finishers of the 2018 Fairy Tale Challenge

After receiving both our half marathon and challenge medals, as well as water, Powerade, and our food boxes, we stopped briefly to take our official finisher photos.

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

We then headed straight for the bus since we needed to shower and check out of the hotel before heading to Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours to celebrate.  We only had a couple of hours though, as we each had a 3:00 flight to head back home.

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate finishing the Fairy Tale Challenge and running my 15th half marathon.

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

It had been a very short trip to Disney, but I’m incredibly grateful for the time that I did have for a girls’ weekend and a racecation.  Hopefully I’ll be able to run another runDisney race sooner than later.

QOTD: Do you always run a race with a goal finish time in mind, or do you ever just run a race for fun?

Posted in Races, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

Loudoun Half Marathon Training Log – Week 6

After a challenging March, I was determined to get April started off on a strong note.  And that’s exactly what I did last week.

Monday, April 2nd

Monday was a long day, and I was short on time for exercising by the time that I got home from school and my weekly chiropractor appointment.  However, I still made an effort to exercise, and did 20 minutes of strength training in the basement that evening.

Tuesday, April 3rd

I completed a strong five mile run on the treadmill, followed by 25 minutes of weight training.  Given that the Loudoun Half Marathon is now only two weeks away, I’m hopeful that my body can keep up with my motivation to finish out this training cycle on a strong note.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 4th

After work, I drove straight to the gym for the second day in a row, where I spent 30 minutes on the elliptical and did 30 minutes of full body weight training.

Thursday, April 5th

Despite the fact that Spring started almost three weeks ago, it was finally nice enough outside for me to do my first running commute to daycare of the season.  I ran 1.25 miles with an empty stroller to daycare, and then another 1.75 miles after I picked up little man.  After not running with the BOB stroller for several months, I forgot how hard it is to run with.  Add in the fact that little man is bigger than he was back in the fall when I last ran with the stroller, and it made for a very physically challenging run.

He sure loves getting to go for a ride in the stroller!

Friday, April 6th

Knowing that I had my long run the next day, I knew that my body would appreciate a full rest day the day prior.  Even though I didn’t exercise, I kept myself plenty busy after work with lots of errands, including my annual eye exam.

Saturday, April 7th

Although I had 14 miles on my training plan, I was a bit short on time and had to cut my run short at 11.75 miles.  I know that I’ve run plenty of other half marathons, including most recently back in February, so my body knows what it needs to do on race day.  However, it was still disappointing to have to cut my run short, especially since this run was supposed to be my peak mileage long run.

Any miles are definitely better than no miles, which is always something to smile about.

Sunday, April 8th

After running 11.75 miles the day prior, I more than earned a rest day.

Total Weekly Mileage – 23.58 miles (5.22 miles more than week 5)

Total Loudoun Half Mileage – 121.86 miles

QOTD: How do you handle having to cut a run short due to factors out of your control?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

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April 2018 Goals

Six days into the new month, I finally have a couple of minutes to sit down, reflect on my March goals, and to put my April goals down in writing.

Overall, March was a hard month for me.  Between dealing with a multi-day migraine in the middle of the month, getting sick, dealing with Mother Nature not wanting to give up on winter, the list goes on, it was hard to make fitness a top priority last month.  There were many times when things got in the way of my training, and I hate that that’s how the month unfolded.

1.  Log at least 110 miles.

Grade: B

My March mileage total came to 91.2 miles, 83% of the miles that I had wanted to log last month.  Given all of the obstacles that I faced in March, I’m a bit shocked that I was able to get in as many miles as I did.  My March miles brought my 2018 mileage total to 285.2 miles, which is 24% of my yearly goal of 1,200 miles.  Although I am just slightly behind where I need to be in order to be 100% on track with this goal, I know that once marathon training starts over the summer that the miles will quickly accumulate.

2.  Work out at least five days per week.

Grade: C

I only met this goal twice last month.  Other weeks, I worked out four times, and one week it was only three times.  I let too many things get in my way last month, and let fitness slide too far down the priority list.

Outside running during one of the few times when it actually felt like Spring last month.

3.  Weight train at least two days per week.

Grade: C

Some weeks I only managed to fit in one weight training session, others weeks I did meet my goal.  Again, too many things interfered with my fitness last month.

4.  Lose at least 1.4 pounds.

Grade: F

Not only did I not lose the weight last month, I actually ended the month 0.2 pounds heavier than I was at the beginning of the month.  I’m not all that surprised given how challenging I found it to exercise as much as I had planned to.

5.  Enjoy my birthday month.

Grade: A

This is the only goal that I met last month.  Of all my March goals, meeting this one was most important to me, especially for my mental health.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of my time with little man last month, including when I was off for Spring Break and we were able to spend lots of extra time together.

Since March was so challenging for me, I’m hopeful that April will be a better month for me when it comes to health and fitness.  Its going to be another incredibly busy month, and our calendar is filled with a ton of activities, work commitments, and appointments.  But I’m optimistic that as long as Mother Nature cooperates that it’ll be easier to get it all in.  Fingers crossed!

1.  Log at least 110 miles.

Since I didn’t meet this goal this month, I’m going after it again in April.

2.  Work out at least five days per week.

I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record with this goal, but I need to keep going after it until I finally reach it.

3.  Weight train at least two days per week.

Just like with my second goal, I refuse to give up on this goal.  I need to reach it, especially if I want to reach my weight loss goal this year.

4.  Lose at least 1.6 pounds.

Losing 1.6 pounds will bring me to my five pound weight loss goal for 2018.  I want to reach this milestone sooner than later.

5.  Keep my health and fitness a high priority.

With how busy our April is going to be, I don’t want to have a repeat of March when I let things get in the way of reaching my fitness goals.  Working towards my health and fitness goals is also a huge part of my self care and making sure that I’m taking care of myself, both physically as well as mentally.

QOTD: What are your goals for April?

I’m linking up for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup.  Many thanks to the wonderful ladies at Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for hosting!

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