Wow! What a training season this has been! I tried something new, faced some fears, overcame some trials and worked hard. And it paid off!
I finished the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler on Sunday and got my best time yet in that distance -- and got some of the better splits of my running career. On top of that, my adoration for this city and this race bloomed like the flowers overhead. I had such a great time -- and that's considering the frigid temperatures on race day. I'm not one for cold weather!
On Saturday, I wandered around after getting my bib and t-shirt, purchased a new headband and soaked in the ambiance of an excellent expo! I was ready to go!
Sunday: RACE DAY!!! It was an early wake up call, but I got out of bed with a smile! I was excited, nervous and ready for this run! After some breakfast, stretching and last-minute layering, I headed to the starting line.
I must admit, I grinned as the race started — I knew I was prepared, and I had almost no expectations for how I’d like to do, so I was aiming just to go out and have some fun and push myself.
There were times along the course where I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with happiness. It was a sad week, but I was doing my favorite activity in a beautiful city with nothing but positive energy and nature’s beauty around me. No joke, around mile eight in Hains Point I said out loud, albeit breathlessly, something to the effect of “This is gorgeous. I love running. I am so lucky. This is the best.” Ha ha! I’m sure people around me found it quite odd.
Keep running, folks!
See more race recaps on the race's Link Up page.
This week marked three weeks and counting until the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile race, the first few days spring and the not-so-seasonal occurrence of inches of snow!
I love traveling, in case this weren’t already evident from my numerous destination posts. I love traveling about as much as I love running — and I’m happiest when I can combine running AND traveling.
That was one of the best parts of this week. I went to Florida over the weekend to visit my family where I got to walk, hike, play outdoor games and got in one excellent long run. Running - check; traveling - check; sunshine and temperatures in the 70s and 80s - check!
Here’s a look back at of my build-up to Florida and a look at how my week in workouts went:
Monday: It was an easy bike workout for me on Monday. I ran my best time ever in the half marathon just two days before, so I was still pretty sore. After the about 35 minutes on the bike, I knocked out some abs, did some stretching and rested.
Tuesday: I’ve really grown to enjoy my track workout days! I took to the treadmill to do seven half-mile repeats with a one-minute jog in between. I was supposed to do between four and eight of the repeats … and I’m pretty sure I was at seven. I lose count so easily!
Wednesday: I had intended to do my run outside, but Wednesday was a particularly chilly, windy day, which deterred me from wanted to head outside at all. So, being the wimp that I am, I ran on the treadmill and did about 5.7 miles with two 10-minute segments at an up-tempo.
Cold-weather running isn't my thing. I mean, I get it -- it's very, very few people's "thing." But I truly detest it ... until I get started.
Going outside for hours when it's freezing and windy is not the most welcoming workout. And this past week wasn't even that cold -- in fact, this rainy Sunday was down right balmy. Yet cold weather makes it tough for me to get motivated and head out the door. Each time, I yearn for warmth as I add what feels like a dozen layers, stretch my tight, chilly muscles and bundle up for a brisk air bludgeoning. And then I start running, warm up and immediately forget about my aversion to running outside. The frigid air jolts my body in a refreshing way.
Overall, my hatred for running in the cold isn't about motivation. I love running! I'm just a weather wimp ... and perhaps this past week was difficult in contrast to my warm, sunny runs from last week.
Not running outside is pretty easy for me too. There are treadmills in my apartment building. The treadmills are pretty nice, almost always available and connected to a television -- hello "House Hunters" while I run! So sometimes it's a no brainer to log indoor miles.
All this to say that this week's workout recap included a lot more treadmill runs than I would have preferred. While I love the treadmill, I'd much rather include a nice mix of treadmill and outdoor running. This week heavily favored the indoor workouts.
As it warms up, I'll head outside more often -- I think I get a better workout when I run outside; I tend to push myself a bit more and disconnect from the phone and TV. Running outside, whatever the weather, is a chance to clear my mind and let my legs carry my down the street. And with more than a month until the first day of spring, here's hoping I buck up even if there's not a warm up.
Here's my workout recap from this past week:
Monday: Elliptical for 40 minutes. It was a late-night, squeeze-in-before-I-went-to-bed workout after I returned from a weekend of traveling.
Tuesday: Track workout: 1.5 miles at race pace with a 3-minute jog; 6 x .25 mile with 1-minute jog.
Wednesday: 4.5 miles (on the treadmill). It was another days of rushing to get in some morning miles before a busy day.
Thursday: Elliptical for 45 minutes.
Friday: My lone outdoor run -- 6 miles in 29-degree weather. Brrrrrrr. In reality it was super nice once I got started and I was glad I took my run outside. I took the miles easy and relaxed and it was a beautiful start to the weekend!
Sunday: 8 miles on the treadmill. After another weekend of traveling -- this time Philadelphia to visit friends, I waited far too long in the day to start my miles. By the time I made it back home Sunday, unpacked, ate a quick bite and relaxed a bit, the sun had set and my motivation for a outdoor run had dwindled. Even through I resorted to the treadmill, it was an excellent opportunity to catch up on the Olympics! Now that's some cold weather!
Check back for future weekly training recaps, and see others who are sharing their training adventures on the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler's Link Up page.
One week down in official Cherry Blossom Ten Miler training ... and what a week it was! I spent part of the past week on vacation in Las Vegas -- a city that has the potential to throw anyone starting a training plan off course.
But as with any trip, it’s all about balance and prioritizing healthy habits. I never said it was easy ... but it can be done.
Instead of constant casino time or booze guzzling, I opted to spend time hiking Red Rock Canyon taking in nature’s beauty. I went for a run near downtown Las Vegas, enjoying the sights as much as the day’s warmth.
While I’ve been out for trudging through some cold-weather runs for the past few months, I haven’t been officially in training mode until today. I am training with the D.C. Potomac River Running group in Georgetown on Sunday mornings, and today’s training run was both informative and fun!
I have never trained for a race with a training group before, and although I haven’t invested too much time in the experience yet, I can already tell it’s going to be exactly what I need.
Throughout my running career I’ve been very intrinsically motivated to get up early, put in the miles and compete my hardest. I love running, so it’s not difficult to convince me to pound the pavement. But training solo has its downsides — there have been times I have run exactly what an online training plan calls for regardless of weather or how I was feeling, or I run too slow or even too fast.
Running groups bring accountability for those who lacked the motivation, I thought, so I didn’t need to pay to join a group. I tended to relish that I didn’t need others to help me reach my goal — “what a waste of money,” I said to myself.
Now I realize that running groups are a way to get involved in the running community, meet other runners and work toward a common goal. Additionally, the coaches — a wealth of knowledge themselves — can help me tailor my plan if weather, injuries or illness interfere. Also, they have tips on nutrition, stretches, recovery, running style and so much more to help me run my best race.
I’m looking forward to picking my coaches’ brains on things such as injury prevention, race strategies and gear.
So while I’m just in the infancy of my training, I’m going to be looking forward to group runs on Sunday morning! I'm sure it will be the focus of many more blog posts to come.
Here is comes! Race day is almost here -- and I can already feel that pit in my stomach.
Pre-race anxiety can be overwhelming and perhaps crippling. The pre-race jitters get to me. It happens to me sometimes days before races I have already run. My anxiety tends to be even higher if it's a course I've never run or a town I don't know well.
Being nervous before a race is totally normal -- it signifies that you're excited about the event; but don't let it get the best of you. Here are some tips that I use to get through those pre-race nerves and have a good run.
1. Check out the course. Knowing what to expect out of the course can help reduce nervous energy. It's great to get out and run part of the course ahead of race day. If you can't do that, you can try to drive it, bike it or walk part of it. If all else fails, study the course map on the Marine Corps Marathon website.
2. Trust your training. You put in the miles. You got up early. You earned the blisters. You nursed the sore muscles. You trained like a beast -- now trust the plan and know that your body is ready. Conversely, if you didn't train the way you should have, trust that you need to temper your expectations.
3. Give yourself time to get to the starting line. I'm most stressed out when I feel rushed. I'm more likely to be frazzled on mornings that I slept in too late or didn't give myself enough time to get through my pre-race routine. Know how long it's going to take to get to the starting line and add extra time you may need for things like wardrobe changes, gear check, stops at the bathroom, security and stretching.
4. Have a plan. Visualize what you're going to do on race day and know what your goals are and the best way to achieve them. Do you need to start at a certain time or with a certain group? Do you need to be at a certain pace at the beginning of the race, or are you trying to hold back for the first few miles? Coming up with a race-day plan can help you map out the strategy and be less anxious leading up to the race.
5. Study. Know where gear check is before the race, know where food and water stops are along the course, figure out what to wear based on the weather. Doing some research and study the details before the big day can help you know what to expect and can reduce stress and pre-race nerves. (FYI -- get information about where food, water and aid stations are along the course here. Find information about gear check and other frequently asked questions here.)
6. Breathe deep. Getting in a few deep breaths and focusing on the mission can help you relax and ease some tension.
Now knock down those nerves and run your race! You can do this!