Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Day 5 – Final Thoughts and Fun at Epcot

Its hard to believe that its already been more than two months since we returned home from our Wine and Dine racecation.  We had an absolute blast at Disney with little man and my father-in-law, and it was exciting to close out our trip with a couple of hours at Epcot on our last day before we headed to the airport.

One of our top priorities once we arrived at Epcot was to get our traditional medals picture taken with Mickey.  We had a Fast Pass for Character Spot, and all four of us got to celebrate our accomplishments from the weekend with Mickey.

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

I always love how small of a world Disney can sometimes feel like.  In advance of our trip, I had found out that one of my dance friends from home was going to be at Disney at the same time as us.  We were finally able to connect and meet up on our last day, and it was fun to run into her at Epcot.  We had fun catching up while Preston and his dad rode Soarin’.

It was so great to run into Erin at Epcot

It was so great to run into Erin at Epcot

Afterwards, we headed to World Showcase to enjoy an early lunch.  We decided to get some snacks from some of the Food and Wine Festival kiosks.  It was fun to sample various treats and put together our own little meals.

The Food and Wine Festival food was absolutely delicious

The Food and Wine Festival food was absolutely delicious

After finishing up lunch it was unfortunately time to head to the airport.  Traveling home was a bit of a nightmare.  My father-in-law’s ticket for his flight to Philly wound up getting canceled (not the flight, the actual ticket), so he was forced to pay for a new flight much later that evening.  Our travel woes were completely different.  After boarding the plane for DC mechanical problems were discovered, and we eventually got back off of the plane.  For more than an hour it was unclear as to whether they would be able to fix the plane, or if the flight would wind up being canceled.  We worked with a very sweet and patient gate agent, who looked at a variety of options for us, and since everything else for the rest of the day was completely booked she put a hold on seats for us for a flight the next day.  The whole ordeal was less than fun with a 10.5 month old in tow, but fortunately the plane was eventually repaired and we wound up leaving after a several hour delay.

Grandpop and a tired little man during our flight delay

Grandpop and a tired little man during our flight delay

All in all, it was a fun racecation.  Despite the changes that were made to this year’s Wine and Dine race weekend, I’m glad that we were still able to participate.  I know that a lot of people would have preferred for the half marathon to still be a night race, but having the start time switched to the morning was actually better for us given that we have a young child.  However, the new half marathon course was very lack luster with all of the running on back roads, and although I enjoyed running through Animal Kingdom and Epcot, I was disappointed that we didn’t get to run through Hollywood Studios like the course has previously gone through.

As for the race weekend theme, I was disappointed to see that the theme was really only carried out at the expo and in the staging areas before and after the race.  Other than in France during the 10k, you would have never known that this was a wine and food themed race weekend while running the races.

Having fun in France during the 10k

Having fun in France during the 10k

Many of the same characters were out for both the 10k and the half, so it would have also been nice to see some variation with the characters, or at least the characters wearing different costumes.  We all know that there’s plenty of Disney characters to choose from.

Overall, we had a fun time during our racecation at Disney and our Wine and Dine weekend was a great experience.  While we enjoy running at Disney, there are other runDisney race weekends that we’d like to experience (my friend Kathleen and I are hoping to be able to run Princess in February 2018).  Is returning for Wine and Dine forever off of the table?  Not necessarily, but its also not our top choice for a future runDisney racecation.

QOTD: What runDisney race weekends are on your wish list?

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Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon Training Log – Week 2

Unlike week 1, this past week of my RnRDC training didn’t go exactly as I had hoped that it would.  Little man got sick, which caused me to have to adapt and go with the flow.  Preston’s best friend was also here visiting for the long weekend, which also meant that I had to further adapt my training plan for the week.  Even though I wasn’t able to cross train or lift weights, I did get all three of my planned runs in, and met my weekly strength training goal by doing a couple of at home workouts.

Monday, January 9th

All I had time for was a quick at home strength training workout.  I spent 20 minutes working on my abs and my upper body, during which little man decided to provide me with some additional “resistance training” by trying to use me as a jungle gym while I was trying to work out.  He’s such a silly boy!

Tuesday, January 10th

Tuesday’s run was a hard one.  I ran along on one of my usual out and back routes, and during the second half was running into very strong headwinds, which made the second half of my run extremely brutal.  Somehow, I still managed to run fairly consistent splits: 9:42/9:34/9:37/9:34.  I finished up my run with a short 0.25 cool down walk.  I was cold and just wanted to get home.

Wednesday, January 11th

This was a planned rest day.  I knew that I’d be at work late, and by the time that I got home all I wanted to do was hang out with my boys.

Thursday, January 12th

We were blessed with unseasonably warm weather on Thursday – the high was 70 degrees!  After working late on Wednesday, I left work as soon as I possibly could so that I could get outside and enjoy the weather.  With the nice weather as my motivation, I completed my longest weekday run ever.  In anticipation of marathon training, I’m trying to push myself now to complete longer weekday runs when I can.  Up until this year, most of my weekday runs have been a 5k in length, maybe slightly longer.  I’m trying to push myself to make 4 miles my “weekday usual” now, but with Thursday’s glorious weather I was extra motivated to push myself just a tad further.  My splits were all positive, not negative, but I was outside running in shorts and short sleeves in January, so I could have cared less about my pace: 9:39/9:44/9:46/9:51/6:02 (last .63).  I finished up with an extra long cool down walk – 0.87 miles.

Mother Nature really is incredible sometimes! After snow and ice last weekend, it reached 70 degrees here on Thursday. It felt great to be able to wear short sleeves and shorts for Thursday's training run. The icing on the cake was the beautiful sunset that I got to witness as I finished up my run!

Mother Nature really is incredible sometimes! After snow and ice last weekend, it reached 70 degrees here on Thursday. It felt great to be able to wear short sleeves and shorts for Thursday’s training run. The icing on the cake was the beautiful sunset that I got to witness as I finished up my run!

Friday, January 13th

Even though I had planned to go to the gym for cross training and weight training after work, that plan was quickly averted when I received a phone call from little man’s daycare as I was getting ready to leave work: he wasn’t feeling well and was running a fever of 101.9.  I had no choice but to pick him up early and take an unplanned rest day.

Saturday, January 14th

I had originally planned to complete my long run for the week on Saturday, but we woke up to a very rainy and very cold day.  I instead chose to push my run to Sunday, and did 15 minutes of strength training at home, focusing on abs and my upper body.

Sunday, January 15th

I finished out the week with my 8 mile run.  I pushed little man in the BOB stroller for the first five miles, after which Preston and his best friend had arrived back home from their own gym workout, which allowed me to run the last 3 miles by myself.  I felt strong throughout the entire run, and felt as though I could have kept running at the end.  Looking at my splits, you can see that running with the stroller definitely slowed me down, but hopefully the resistance training will pay off on race day: 10:53/10:18/10:37/11:00/10:21/9:57/10:03/9:31.  I was very cold by the time that I finished my run, and only completed a 0.23 mile cool down walk.

Yesterday's long run was made up of 5 stroller miles (while little man napped), followed by 3 solo miles. Running with the stroller is anything but easy, but hopefully it'll pay off on race day!

Yesterday’s long run was made up of 5 stroller miles (while little man napped), followed by 3 solo miles. Running with the stroller is anything but easy, but hopefully it’ll pay off on race day!

Total Weekly Mileage – 17.98 miles (0.39 miles more than week 1)

Total RnRDC Mileage – 35.57 miles

QOTD: What has the weather been like in your area?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap link up.  I’m also linking up with Courtney for the Training Recap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

WeeklyWrap

Posted in RnRDC Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

What the Running Community is All About

As many of you have heard by now, runDisney had to make a difficult decision last week: to cancel Saturday’s Disney World Half Marathon due to forecasted thunderstorms before and during the race.  My heart sank when I heard the news Friday evening, but it sounds like the best, and safest, decision was made.  With this race having been my first half marathon back in 2014, the race holds a special place in my heart.  Like me, many people run their first major race at Disney World.  Traveling to Disney for a racecation is also a major expense.  And during marathon weekend, many complete the half marathon as part of the Goofy and Dopey Challenges.  For Disney to cancel a race is a big deal.

The infamous "Weather Update" logo from runDisney that was used several times last weekend as they posted updates online about the canceled half marathon

The infamous “Weather Update” logo from runDisney that was used several times last weekend as they posted updates online about the canceled half marathon

These signs were posted around the resorts as word started to get out about the canceled race Photo Credit: Elizabeth McKay

These signs were posted around the resorts as word started to get out about the canceled race
Photo Credit: Elizabeth McKay

In a situation like what happened last weekend at Disney, many people could have easily been extremely frustrated and upset by runDisney’s decision.  I know that I would have.  Although there was lots of thunder and lightning during the early hours on Saturday morning, later on in the morning the weather cleared up enough and it was safer for people to be outside.  Because of having to reopen closed roads, and the impact on the parks themselves, I completely understand why delaying the start of the race wasn’t an option, but so many people still wanted to be able to earn their Donald medals.

I was so impressed by how people came together on Saturday to virtually run, but more importantly, cheer on and support the half marathoners who chose to run around the resort or on the treadmill in order to earn their medals.  Kudos to them for turning a situation that was out of their control into a more positive outcome.  It was a joy to watch the events unfold on social media as people shared photos and videos of the impromptu virtual race and the aid stations that were set up at various resorts.

Bradshaw Ellie crossing the "finish line" that was set up by cast members at her resort Photo Credit: Bradshaw Ellie

Bradshaw Ellie crossing the “finish line” that was set up by cast members at her resort
Photo Credit: Bradshaw Ellie

I was incredibly impressed how the “Pop-Art Half Marathon” came together.  Sarah was down at Disney to run the marathon on Sunday and to support her husband who was running the Dopey Challenge.  She had plans to be out during the half marathon to hand out candy to runners along the course.  When the half was canceled, she found herself with a lot of candy, and set up shop at Pop Century to hand out candy to the runners, including her husband, who decided to complete their virtual half by running around Hourglass Lake.

What was incredible to see was how her kind gesture exploded as others donated water and more food to create a full on water/aid station.  Parents brought their children out in costumes to create “character stops.”  The “Pop-Art Half Marathon” that developed throughout the day was as close to a Disney race as you could get.  And it was an incredible sign of what the running community truly is all about – runners coming together to support one another.  I was so moved on Saturday, and couldn’t have been more proud to be a member of this community, as I was scrolled through my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds.

The food/aid station set up at Hourglass Lake, all started by Sparkly Runner Sarah Photo Credit: Sarah from Sparkly Runner

The food/aid station set up at Hourglass Lake, all started by Sarah
Photo Credit: Sarah from Sparkly Runner

In a world where there is so much hate, the support that everybody showed one another at Disney on Saturday gives me hope that there is still more good than bad in this world.  It was truly amazing to see how the running community came together on Saturday to support one another, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of this network of runners!

QOTD: How would you react if a race that you were supposed to run was canceled?

Posted in Races | Tagged , | 43 Comments

Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon Training Log – Week 1

Even with a week of super cold weather, and a little bit of snow, week 1 of Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon Training was a huge success.  After not being “in training” since the beginning of November, and feeling a bit lost with my fitness during the month of December, it feels good to be back “in training.”  I can’t wait to continue training for my 11th half marathon, which I’ll run on March 11th.

(Want to join me at Rock ‘n’ Roll DC?  Use discount code DANCINGTORUNNING to save $15 on your half or full marathon registration.)

Monday, January 2nd

After spending Christmas and the week after at my father-in-law’s house in New Jersey, we drove back to Virginia mid-day on Monday.  After arriving back home I had two doctor’s appointments (my yearly eye exam followed by the chiropractor), but I couldn’t let my first day of my first week of training go by without doing any exercise.  I spent 15 minutes while watching the season premiere of The Bachelor doing strength training, focusing on abs and upper body.

Tuesday, January 3rd

After work I headed out the door immediately after getting home for my first run of the new training cycle.  It was 43 degrees for my 4 mile run, which I ran on one of my regular neighborhood routes.  The enthusiasm of my first run of RnRDC training helped fuel my run, and I felt very strong during all 4 miles.  My splits were also very consistent: 9:38/9:39/9:31/9:23.  I finished up my run with a 0.51 mile cool down walk.

I didn't think that I'd get to complete my first run of this training cycle outside because of the rain throughout the day, and even took my gym bag to work with me. Thankfully the rain let up enough for me to be able to run 4 miles outside to kick off #RnRDC training. (And please pardon the hideous mark on my forehead from my visor!)

I didn’t think that I’d get to complete my first run of this training cycle outside because of the rain throughout the day, and even took my gym bag to work with me. Thankfully the rain let up enough for me to be able to run 4 miles outside to kick off #RnRDC training. (And please pardon the hideous mark on my forehead from my visor!)

Wednesday, January 4th

After work I immediately went to the gym.  I didn’t leave work as early as I would have liked to, and thus didn’t get to work out for quite as long as I would have liked to.  I spent 30 minutes on the elliptical (2.53 miles), followed by 20 minutes of weight training.  Thanks to doing multiple exercises that worked multiple muscle groups at the same time, I was able to get in a full body workout, even in a short time.

Thursday, January 5th

This was one of my planned rest days of the week.  Little man had his one year doctor’s appointment at the pediatrician that afternoon, and after getting home from his appointment we spent the evening together as a family.

Friday, January 6th

To make up for not being able to run on Thursday, I moved my second weekday run to Friday.  It was a cold 27 degrees during my run (with the wind chill at 20 degrees) so I bundled up before heading out the door for a 3.50 mile run.  I’ve never been a fan of running in the cold, but I’m trying to be better about pushing myself out the door even when its cold outside.  I struggled during this run to find my groove, and my splits were a bit all over the place: 10:01/9:00/9:51/4:50 (half mile).  Clearly I need to work on running a consistent pace when its cold outside.  I finished up my run with a 0.28 mile cool down walk.

The wind chill was 20 degrees for Friday evening's run. Anybody that knows me well knows that I hate being cold, so this was quite an accomplishment to not head to the gym and run on the treadmill.

The wind chill was 20 degrees for Friday evening’s run. Anybody that knows me well knows that I hate being cold, so this was quite an accomplishment to not head to the gym and run on the treadmill.

Saturday, January 7th

We woke up Saturday morning to our first snow fall of the year.  It only snowed about two inches in our neighborhood, not even enough to fully cover the grass.  However, it was the first snow with little man big enough to take him outside to play in it (he was only a month old during our blizzard last January).  He wasn’t quite sure what to think of the snow, and had a bit of trouble moving in his winter coat and snowsuit.  His snowboots are also a bit big on him.  Hopefully he’ll have more fun the next time that it snows!

Somebody wasn't quite sure what to think of the snow. Hopefully he'll have more fun next time! ❄️☃️

Somebody wasn’t quite sure what to think of the snow. Hopefully he’ll have more fun next time! ❄️☃️

Outside of playing in the snow, we spent the day inside as a family.  It was a very restful, and relaxing, rest day.

Sunday, January 8th

After church and lunch I headed to the gym to complete my first long run of RnRDC training – a 10k.  Yes, I’m trying to be better about running outside in the cold (the wind chill was in the single digits yesterday afternoon), but I draw the line at icy roads and sidewalks.  Most of the sidewalks in our neighborhood are a sheet of ice, and its not worth the safety risk to me to run outside with ice.  Since I ran on the treadmill, I took the opportunity to complete a progression run, which I find difficult to do when running outside, but its obviously very easy to control the pace on the treadmill.  I ran my first mile at a 10:00 minute/mile pace, and after each mile slowly increased my speed, finishing at an 8:59 pace.  I maintained 4:30/0:30 run-walk intervals, only completing one longer walk at the halfway point in order to take a Gu.  Despite walking into the gym with a headache, I felt both mentally and physically strong until the last mile of my fun, and my head didn’t bother me much while I was running.  However, during my 0.57 mile cool down walk my head started to bother me again, and I began to felt nauseous.  I wound up feeling terrible by the time I arrived back home, and spent the evening battling a full blown migraine.

I've been trying to be better about pushing myself to run outside when it's cold (it was 22 degrees with a wind chill of 6 when I completed my run yesterday), but I draw the line at icy roads and sidewalks. Hopefully it'll start to clear up by the time I next run on Tuesday!

I’ve been trying to be better about pushing myself to run outside when it’s cold (it was 22 degrees with a wind chill of 6 when I completed my run yesterday), but I draw the line at icy roads and sidewalks. Hopefully it’ll start to clear up by the time I next run on Tuesday!

Total Weekly Mileage – 17.59 miles

Total RnRDC Mileage – 17.59 miles

QOTD: Do you find it difficult to stay focused with your exercise when you aren’t following a specific training plan?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap link up.  I’m also linking up with Courtney for the Training Recap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

WeeklyWrap

Posted in RnRDC Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 60 Comments

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Day 4 – Post Half Marathon Fun

We last left off with Preston and I having crossed the finish line of my 10th half marathon.  After arriving back at our hotel, Art of Animation, we took little man to the pool for a short while.  The cool water felt great on my tried legs, and little man had fun splashing around in the water.

Little man having a blast in the pool

Little man having a blast in the pool

Afterwards, we showered and packed up for the afternoon.  While on the bus back to the hotel, Preston and I had been texting back and forth with my father-in-law and we made a very last minute decision to grab lunch at one of my in-law’s favorite restaurants at Disney: Whispering Canyon Cafe.  Our original plan was to grab quick service, either at our hotel’s food court or at Magic Kingdom, but we decided that since we there was a reservation available that we’d do a sit down meal instead.  After enjoying lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe, we took the boat from the Wilderness Lodge to Magic Kingdom and enjoyed an afternoon at the park.

On the boat to the Magic Kingdom

On the boat to the Magic Kingdom

Ready for a fun afternoon at the park

Ready for a fun afternoon at the park

Highlights from our afternoon included little man’s first visit with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, as well as riding Winnie the Pooh (little man just loves that ride!).

Having fun with our friends from the Hundred Acre Wood

Having fun with our friends from the Hundred Acre Wood

We also took pictures in front of Cinderella’s Castle of us with our medals.

With all of our bling

With all of our bling

Dinner that night was at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort.  When we made our dining reservations, I made sure that we booked our “celebration” dinner at Kona Cafe so that I could celebrate with a Lapu Lapu.  I also indulged on some delicious sushi.  It was the perfect way to celebrate my first runDisney challenge and my 10th half marathon.

A Lapu Lapu and some sushi was the perfect meal to celebrate with

A Lapu Lapu and some sushi was the perfect meal to celebrate with

After dinner we headed back to Magic Kingdom.  First on our agenda was riding the railroad.  Since little man enjoyed his experience as much as he did, we rode around the entire park, and didn’t get off until we arrived back at the train station at the front of the park.

Riding on the train is so much fun!

Riding on the train is so much fun!

It was nearing little man’s bedtime when we got off of the train, so we changed him into his pajamas and gave him his bedtime bottle.  He quickly fell asleep in the stroller.  We strolled around the park a bit, and then found a spot on Main Street close to the front of the park to enjoy Wishes from.

We so greatly appreciate little mans ability to sleep almost anywhere, which allowed us to continue to enjoy the park after his bedtime

We so greatly appreciate little man’s ability to sleep almost anywhere, which allowed us to continue to enjoy the park after his bedtime

One of my absolute favorite sights at Disney is seeing the Wishes fireworks over Cinderellas Castle

One of my absolute favorite sights at Disney is seeing the Wishes fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle

After Wishes, we decided to call it a night.  We took the boat back to the Wilderness Lodge where we had left our rental car, and then drove back to our hotel.  After spending some time packing our suitcases up we headed to bed in anticipation of our last couple of hours at Disney.  We were sad to see our racecation coming to an end, but were excited about enjoying a couple of last hours of Disney magic the next morning before we had to leave for the airport.

QOTD: What is your favorite way to celebrate a milestone race?

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January 2017 Goals

Even though I shared my goals for 2017 yesterday, I still plan on setting monthly goals throughout the year as well.  I find that when I set smaller goals each month that it helps me in staying on track with my bigger goals.  Its very easy to loose focus and direction when you just focus on the big goals, but I find having milestones to work towards every couple of weeks to be much more manageable.

First, how did I do with my December goals?

dec-2016-goals

1.  Run at least once per week.

Grade: A

Even though I worked out far less than I had hoped to last month, I did manage to run at least once per week.  This will help me as I get ready to get back into half marathon training mode.

2.  Work out at least three times per week.

Grade: B+

Although I did work out at least three times each week in December, some workouts were only 15-20 minutes in length.  Yes, I technically met my goal, but I wish I had worked out for longer than I did on some days.

3.  Focus on quality family time.

Grade: A+++

With my boys on Christmas Eve

With my boys on Christmas Eve

Our little family enjoyed several activities last month, including little man’s first birthday, multiple Christmas celebrations, and an extended visit with my in-laws.

I’m extremely excited about what lies ahead of me this year, with my first big race being Rock ‘n’ Roll DC in March.  After almost two months off from half marathon training, today marks my first day back “in training” since the Wine and Dine Half Marathon back in November.  I’m excited to get back into the training routine, as well as to start 2017 off strong by working towards this month’s goals.

january-2017-goals

1.  Log at least 80 miles.

With my mileage goal for the year being 1,000 miles, 80 miles is just shy of 1/12th of that goal.  While I recognize that this is an ambitious goal, especially with the uncertainty of winter weather this month, if I don’t push myself then I won’t know what I’m capable of achieving.

2.  Strength train at least twice per week.

I need to refocus on my strength training.  Although I’d like to get to the gym multiple times per week to use the weights, I realize that its not always going to be practical to do so.  Sometimes I’ll have to opt for a short strength training session in my basement, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

3.  Focus on healthy eating.

Between little man’s birthday and all of the holiday celebrations that we had last month, I got off track a bit with my eating habits.  I need to focus on planning nutritious meals in order to properly nourish my body.

QOTD: What are your goals for January?

I’m linking up with Ange and Carmy for the Monthly Goals linkup.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

monthly goals linkup

Posted in Motivation | Tagged , , , | 30 Comments

Goals for 2017

Happy 2017!!!  Everybody told me that once you add a child to your life that time will fly by faster than you could have ever imagined, and boy was that true last year.  It felt like every time I blinked that my little man grew and that I was constantly racing the calendar in order to fit in as much as I did last year.

Having signed up for the Chicago Marathon back in October, I already know that 2017 is going to be a big year for me.  In addition to running my first marathon, I have several other big goals for myself in the coming year.

2017-goals

1.  Log 1,000 miles.

My 2016 mileage total was 754.7 miles, and that was after not being cleared by my OB to start running at the end of January at four weeks postpartum.  I know that increasing my total mileage for the year by almost 250 miles is a pretty lofty goal, but I think I can do it, especially since my long run mileage will be increasing once I start marathon training in the late spring.

I completed my last run of 2016 on Friday, which brought my mileage total for the year to 754 miles, 532 of which I ran

I completed my last run of 2016 on Friday, which brought my mileage total for the year to 754 miles, 532 of which I ran

Two other things will help me reach this goal.  First, little man loves when we go for a run together, but I wasn’t able to start running with him in the BOB stroller until the end of the summer.  Not having to plan my runs around when somebody else can take care of him will be a huge difference between last year and this year.

Secondly, I’m participating in the “Run the Year” challenge with my father-in-law and sister-in-law.  As a team, our goal is to log 2,017 miles by the end of the year.  I definitely want to make sure that I pull my weight on our team.

2.  Run my first marathon.

This goal should come as no surprise to anybody, but it certainly deserves its place on my list of goals for 2017.  I’m so excited that my friend Kathleen and I will be running Chicago together.  She really wants to break five hours (she was just two minutes shy of doing that in 2016), and I’ll be doing my best to properly train for that time goal.

Kathleen and I before the start of the Shamrock 8k back in March 2015, which is the last race that we ran together

Kathleen and I before the start of the Shamrock 8k back in March 2015, which is the last race that we ran together

3.  Make strength training a priority.

When the time that I had to exercise got tight last year, the first thing to get cut was my strength training.  I need to be better about finding time for strength training, even if its just spending 10-15 minutes in my basement at the end of the day.  Strength training will be even more important this year as I increase my mileage so as to help me prevent injury, especially at the peak of marathon training.

4.  Stay on top of my blogging.

There were times in 2016 when life with a baby got in the way of me being able to stay on top of my blogging, and I’d like to do my best to make sure that I don’t get behind with writing and responding to comments this year.  That means that when I have down time that I need to work on writing drafts of posts.  My Google calendar is full of ideas, and I’m also behind on finishing up my Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend recaps.  Its clear that I need to get writing!

5.  Put my family first.

With my boys on Christmas Eve

With my boys on Christmas Eve

Little man is growing right before my eyes, and I need to savor every moment possible with him.  In addition, I need to make spending quality time with my husband a priority.  He and I are currently working on planning when and where we’ll go for our vacations this year, but I also need to make sure that I focus on spending time with my boys not just while we’re on vacation but throughout the entire year.

2017 is definitely going to be a busy year, and I’m sure quite a memorable year too.  Although having big picture goals is important, I find it much easier to reach my goals by having smaller, monthly goals.  Stay tuned tomorrow for my January goals post.

QOTD: What is one of your goals for 2017?

Posted in Motivation, Races, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Friday Five – Five Possible Races to Run in 2017

The only two races that I’m currently registered for are the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon in March and the Chicago Marathon in October.  Even though much of my focus in 2017 will be on training to run my first marathon, it most certainly won’t be the only race that I run next year.  There’s several other races that I’m currently contemplating registering for, and my decision as to which races I’ll run will depend on how my marathon training plan ultimately takes shape.

Some of the races that I’m considering running in 2017 include:

1.  Loudoun Half Marathon – April 23rd

I’m a huge fan of the race series that our local running store, Potomac River Running, puts on.  Each year I often forget about the Loudoun Half until I see pictures on social media from other runners, but depending on how my training calendar for the year shapes up I might consider running this half marathon in 2017.  There is also an 8k the day before, and an extra medal for running the two day challenge, the LoCo Challenge, which makes this half marathon even more intriguing.

2.  Jaguar 5k – April 29th

This is the local 5k that I’ve run or walked every year for several years now, which is an athletics fundraiser for the first high school that I worked at.  As long as I’m in town and not otherwise busy, I plan to continue running this race every year.

Little man and I after this year's race

Little man and I after this year’s race

3.  ZOOMA Annapolis 10k or Half Marathon – June 3rd

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve been invited back to be a ZOOMA ambassador in 2017.  I had a blast running ZOOMA Annapolis this year, and cannot wait to participate in the 10th anniversary of this race.  Whether I run the 10k or half marathon will 100% depend on what my Chicago training plan looks like.

After crossing the finish line at ZOOMA Annapolis back in June

After crossing the finish line at ZOOMA Annapolis back in June

Want to join me at ZOOMA Annapolis?  Use discount code KATHRYN2017 to save 10% on any race distance.

4.  Leesburg 20k – August 20th

This is another Potomac River Running race, and I loved my race experience back in 2014.  Its an out and back course, and its so much fun to pass by runners running in either direction, especially the elite runners.  Their speed is incredibly motivating, especially since this race in the midst of the summer and is on a hilly course.

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

5.  Clarendon Day 10k or Double (5k followed by 10k) – September 24th

I’ve run the 10k twice (in both 2014 and 2015), and particularly love the enthusiasm that this race attracts.  The course is a net downhill, starting in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, and then after taking runners towards the Pentagon and Crystal City finishes back in the Courthouse neighborhood.  Its a part of the larger Clarendon Day celebration, and is a fun way to partake in the neighborhood festival.

In addition to running traditional races, I also plan to participate in a handful of virtual races again.  I find virtual races to be incredibly motivational, especially when I’m in the midst of training for a goal race.  I most recently participated in the Catch Me If You Can Virtual 5k with Gone for a Run, which I ran last week while pushing little man in the stroller.

Little man and I after I completed the Catch Me If You Can Virtual 5k

Little man and I after I completed the Catch Me If You Can Virtual 5k

QOTD: Which race(s) are you considering running in 2017?

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!

frifive2

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

2016 Goals Reflection

Even though I set monthly goals for myself, I was incredibly motivated this past year to get back to my pre-pregnancy shape and also set year long goals for myself.  My drive to not only bounce back after pregnancy, but also my use of fitness as a way to take a break from my responsibilities at home and to focus on self care, both greatly aided in my ability to be successful this past year.

My three goals were to:

2016 Goals

1.  Get back to my pre-pregnancy shape, including my pre-pregnancy running pace and endurance.

Grade: A

Not only did I succeed in reaching this goal, but I’ve actually become a faster and stronger runner than I was prior to becoming pregnant.  I credit my progress this past year to stroller running.  Running with the BOB stroller is a great resistance workout, and although my pace is usually slowed by running with the stroller, it has made me a stronger and faster runner overall.

Little man and I have been enjoying our time together while out for stroller runs

Little man and I have been enjoying our time together while out for stroller runs

2.  Train for and run half marathons #7, 8, and 9.

Grade: A

Not only did I reach my goal and cross the finish line of three half marathons in 2016, but I exceeded that goal and also completed my tenth half marathon.  My first postpartum race was Rock ‘n’ Roll DC back in March, which was a training run for ZOOMA Annapolis.  I ran the first eight miles of the race as my long run for the week, and then walked the rest.  Half marathon #8 was ZOOMA Annapolis in June, which I PRed at.  I then PRed again at Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia in September, and celebrated my accomplishments by running my tenth half marathon, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, in November.

Preston and I crossing the finish line at Wine and Dine last month Photo Credit: Disney World PhotoPass

Preston and I crossing the finish line at Wine and Dine last month
Photo Credit: Disney World PhotoPass

3.  Focus on running quality races.

Grade: A

In 2014 one of my big goals was to complete 14 races.  Last year one of my big goals was to complete 15 races.  This year I didn’t go after completing 16 in 2016.  In fact, I only ran eight races.  I am so glad that I focused on running the handful of races that I did instead of registering for and running races just to meet a quota that I set for myself.  It made my 2016 race experiences that much more meaningful.

Clearly, 2016 was a great year for me, and I hope I’m able to be just as successful in 2017.  I’m excited to see what I’m able to accomplish next year.  I’m putting the final touches on my big goals for the year and plan to share them next week.

QOTD: Did you reach your 2016 goals?

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Friday Five – Happy First Birthday to My Little Man!

Today is a big day at our house…our little man turns one today!

This past year has just flown by!  It feels like just yesterday that he was born, and its quite hard to believe that we’ve already reached the one year mark with him as a member of our family.

One year ago today on little man's birth day

One year ago today on little man’s birth day

During little man's birthday party this past weekend

During little man’s birthday party this past weekend

I’ve gotten to share so many wonderful memories with my little man over the past year.  Some of my favorite memories with him include:

1.  Our mother-son time when we’re out for a run together.

Post run yesterday morning when I completed the Catch Me If You Can Virtual 5k

Post run yesterday morning when I completed the Catch Me If You Can Virtual 5k

2.  His first trip to Disney World back in August.

Little man with Mickey when he met him back in August. His reaction to Mickey Mouse was just priceless!

Little man with Mickey when he met him back in August. His reaction to Mickey Mouse was just priceless!

3.  His second trip to Disney World last month, when he participated in his first race.

Crawling towards the finish line Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Crawling towards the finish line
Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

4.  Our cuddle time each night after he’s had his last bottle of the day.  I love holding him as he falls asleep in my arms.

5.  Seeing him smile and hearing him laugh.  His smile and laugh are so contagious.

I can't help but smile when I see him smile!

I can’t help but smile when I see him smile!

I’m sure that the next year will fly by just as quickly.  Here’s to year two, and creating even more memories with him!

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!

frifive2

Posted in Milestones | Tagged , | 9 Comments