Race Recap: Reston 10-Miler

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

This is one of those races that I miss registering for every year. As in, I always forget about it. I was so mad last year when I logged into social media to see fellow DC runners with their post-race selfies, not only because the medal was pretty with a lovely aqua ribbon, but because I had a 10-mile training run for the 2015 New York City Half-Marathon that day anyway. It’s always a bonus to get a medal for a race that is also a training run!

After managing an injury and focusing on strength-training for the last 4 months, I wasn’t quite ready to get back into the racing mindset. I admit that last year, I ran too many races. I didn’t realize that it’s easy to get burned out on running too many races, but it is. And it’s expensive. What I love about this race is that it’s not terribly pricey– less than $50. It also doesn’t have a huge race atmosphere: it felt more like a community fun run than anything else. Continue reading “Race Recap: Reston 10-Miler”

You Find a New Dream

Captured a PR in the 2015 Baltimore Marathon
Captured a PR in the 2015 Baltimore Marathon

I’ve really been struggling with finding the right words to say to recap my experiences at the 2015 Baltimore and Marine Corps Marathons. Usually, after a race, I like to write my most honest opinion about the race itself. What was the expo like? The swag? The atmosphere? The course? I intend to write those posts, because frankly both races are absolutely worth their while and deserve a review, but I trained for both of these races together so it’s hard to separate the emotions I have about them. The only other time I felt even a fraction of how I feel now is after finishing the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon– my second one– as part of the Goofy Challenge because I literally had no idea that I could do it. This is different because instead of leaving it to chance, I actually worked for it. As in, I trained instead of following a training plan that I hoped would work on race day. I’ve always worked hard in training, but I found out there is a difference between owning your training and being owned by your training. Continue reading “You Find a New Dream”

Race Recap: Leesburg 20K

I didn’t actually plan on running any races from the last of my very busy spring 2015 schedule until the Baltimore Marathon. I had so many races that I was actually kind of burned out on them and I needed a break to focus on training for an even bigger running event. However, with every marathon training plan comes the half-marathon “time test,” so that’s pretty much the only reason I decided to sign up for the Potomac River Runners Leesburg 20K. It was quite providential that it occurred on the same day as my planned half-marathon. Plus, I’m all about experiencing as many races as I can around here, and it was only $45 to enter. Hello? Thank you very much.

My Race Goals

I felt a little conflicted about my goals for this race. The half-marathon is part of marathon training because it’s supposed to be a good way to forecast your marathon performance. My goal time for Baltimore is 4:00, which means I need to run a 9:06 pace. I have definitely done that before or at least come close to it in past races. However, I feel like I am just starting to get “good” at running again and I am nervous that running that fast will hurt me more than help me. That has seemed to happen to marathoners before– something about gunning it on underworked fast twitch muscles. I didn’t want that to happen to me, just for a race I was already going to PR at. Plus, I wonder if paddle-boarding, walking uphill every day, and the Iron Strength Workout can be credited for my good running streak. Regardless, I’m facing a conundrum of how to set my goals. Continue reading “Race Recap: Leesburg 20K”

Race Recap: Baltimore 10-Miler

Monday morning following the Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon weekend, I checked my email to see a message from the folks at Corrigan Sports announcing packet pickup locations for the Baltimore 10-Miler. If you read my last race recap, you know that I’m about two threads from total rope frayage when it comes to racing. I was looking forward to a week in between this, my final race of the 2015 spring racing season. How nice of them to give us runners two whole weeks to pick up our race packets, I thought nonchalantly. It turns out that wasn’t the case: somehow I was mistaken that the race was on June 14th when it turns out it was on June 6th instead. This coming weekend. Whoops.

Luckily, I had nothing much to do this weekend except run 6-8 miles and lay out by the pool (provided if the weather improved), and Baltimore is a close enough drive from DC that I didn’t have to worry too much about rearranging my schedule or booking last minute travel. The problem was that my 10-mile record was now over 3 years old and I really wanted to beat it with this race. It’s not outside the scope of possibility, and I think it’s definitely feasible, but would I be able to do that after having just run a half-marathon the week before? I was ready to find out. Continue reading “Race Recap: Baltimore 10-Miler”

Race Recap: Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon

After having run so many races in such a short amount of time, this was one of those races that I didn’t care about racing, but I also couldn’t let go of wanting to do well either. I think it’s safe to say that I have race fatigue. It’s hard for me to be behind a starting line and not take a race seriously, so running four half-marathons, five 5Ks, and a 10-miler in two months is tiring, especially when I’ve got a knot in my calf that is plaguing me again. I’m partially trying not to make it worse right before marathon training begins and partially trying to maintain a minimum weekly base mileage because, in about two weeks, I’ll start running 25 miles a week at least. So, for this race, I didn’t want to put myself through a hard race that I ultimately didn’t “care” about. But I am willing to admit that it’s time to put racing on hold for awhile. Continue reading “Race Recap: Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon”

Race Recap: Frederick Running Festival

Official race shirts and swag
Official race shirts and swag

I’ll start this by being frank: If you plan to run the Frederick Running Festival in 2016, you’d better be ready to run some hills.

However, I would absolutely run this event again because everything else was that great. A serious tip of my hat to Corrigan Sports: this running festival has all the elements of a homegrown, hometown atmosphere with the logistical savoire-fare of a world class event. Never once did I feel like I was out of the loop– the communication with runners and spectators was outstanding with colorful, printed runners handbooks that included course maps, parking guidelines, helpful tips, and spectator information. I never once was made to feel like a member of a “herd” of runners, and I felt very well-taken care of and welcomed. The swag, in my opinion, was outstanding. The race t-shirts were made from a material that felt like one of those soft vintage t-shirts that are currently all the rage but you can wear them to run in, too. The merchandise was plentiful, reasonably priced, and had great variety. The volunteers were welcoming and gracious. I felt like I was truly among neighbors with them. The course, aesthetically speaking, was gorgeous. The course support was staffed with volunteers whom you could tell truly had their hearts in their jobs. Someone always had a cup of water for me and there was plenty to go around. Kids, adults, I even high-fived a priest and some nuns as I ran past a church– at 7AM on a Sunday morning, no less! The police men and women took their duties seriously in making sure we were safe from cranky, detoured motorists. This town truly came alive for all of us runners. I’m not sure what I really expected with this race, but I was totally impressed and left feeling happy and take care of. This race, in a word, is heartfelt. This is a truly heartfelt race.

Now back to those hills… Continue reading “Race Recap: Frederick Running Festival”

Race Recap: Pacers Crystal City 5K Fridays

Like most races I sign up for, I didn’t actually intend to register for the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia’s most exciting month of the year event in running: the Pacers Crystal City 5K Fridays that happen every Friday in April. I’ve run this race course before, once in 2011 on the third Friday of that April, and I usually don’t run races that I have already run before simply because there are so many out there to experience. The only exception is if I really love the race, then yes, I would run it again.

Crystal City 5K Fridays course with laps
Crystal City 5K Fridays course with laps

And I don’t particularly looooove this race, except that it’s great for shaking off winter race cobwebs. It’s right after work on a Friday which makes it really hard to get to, plus I am trying to start practicing consistency ahead of training for the 2015 Baltimore Marathon which will include Fridays as my designated rest day, so having to push that back to run 3.1 miles for another month was slightly annoying to me. Why did I register? Because my friend Kristine, one of my longest friends out here with whom I bonded over my failed attempt at the training for the 2010 Philadelphia Triathlon when I was part of Team in Training, was just coming back from an injury and needed to get out there and get back on the running horse. Plus, I wasn’t in DC in 2014 and I can’t lie that a random chat message from her last year telling me she wished I was there to run the course with her sort of stuck with me. But once I hit “register” on the Pacer’s website and forked over my $60 to run four 5Ks, I felt excited that I’d have this to look forward to every week in April. Continue reading “Race Recap: Pacers Crystal City 5K Fridays”