Race Recap: Islamorada Half-Marathon

Sometimes, you really just need to get away.

I probably wouldn’t have taken this trip if Beast Pacing didn’t send out a call asking for pacers for the Islamorada Half-Marathon. First of all, I didn’t know about it. I’ve really only heard of Islamorada (which I found out is not pronounced eee-lamorada with a Spanish “I” but is pronounced with the long “I”) from seeing it advertised in post-holiday season winter get-away commercials and from the Netflix show Bloodline. Second, I’ve almost gotten to the point where I don’t know how to plan a vacation that doesn’t have a race in there somewhere, including a vacation to just get away. Sometimes you need a reason to get the things done. Continue reading “Race Recap: Islamorada Half-Marathon”

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Race Recap: Rehoboth Seashore Half-Marathon

Photo Credit: Rehoboth Beach Running Company
Photo Credit: Rehoboth Beach Running Company
The Rehoboth Seashore Marathon and Half-Marathon has been on my race wish list for quite a while. I’ve never run it because I always have a big city marathon on deck for the past several years– Chicago in 2014, Baltimore in 2015, and New York City in 2016. Quite honestly, after this weekend, I’m wondering why I waited so long to run this race. Continue reading “Race Recap: Rehoboth Seashore Half-Marathon”

Race Recap: Race 13.1 Roanoke Half-Marathon

Ever climb up almost 4,000 feet after running 13.1 miles?

After pacing the Coastal Delaware Half-Marathon in April (for which I did not write a review because it didn’t seem fair since I did not run as a paying customer), I decided that I wanted at least one more half-marathon for the spring. I’ve been focusing on building strength and keeping mileage under 20 miles each week, so I needed a way to test whether I was strong enough to start marathon-training. I know I am, but I needed to prove that I am. Coming back from an injury is a major mental mind block and it’s really hard to push past it when you’re finally able to return to running. Even though I had run numerous times and quite successfully, I needed something to show that I was back. Continue reading “Race Recap: Race 13.1 Roanoke Half-Marathon”

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: Virginia Beach Shamrock Half-Marathon

Race, Recover, Repeat

Going into a back-to-back race week, my only strategy was focusing on recovery from the New York City Half-Marathon. Two days of walking around Manhattan on top of an ass-kicking half-marathon, my legs were shot. They were sore through Tuesday– which was also the first time I could actually foam roll without cringing. Wednesday, I’d planned to run a slow shake-out run, but the exhaustion of the past weekend, a late night train, and having to run errands typically reserved for weekends after very busy days at the office all caught up to me so I rested and went to bed early.

I also ate a lot of protein— old-fashioned oatmeal with walnuts for breakfast, tuna salad with hemp seeds on wheat for lunch, Greek yogurt and almond butter for snack, chicken for dinner– slept between 8 and 9 hours a night, foam-rolled while watching TV. My first run was Thursday after work, a planned slow 3-miler, but I didn’t dress warm enough and my legs felt ready, so it ended up being a fast 2-mile loop around the Lincoln Reflecting Pool and back up 17th Street to the office. My legs felt loose, my form felt in line, cardiovascularly was a slight struggle at the end of mile 2 but I’d also left very little time to work up to that pace. I was nervous that I’d just wreaked more havoc on my body than it needed only 4 days after a hard race and 3 days before the next one. Continue reading “Race Recap: Virginia Beach Shamrock Half-Marathon”

Race Recap: United New York City Half-Marathon Weekend

Validation is a Four-Letter Word

In the leading days before the half-marathon, I was a nervous wreck. I made the mistake of reading that the 2014 NYC Half average finish time was 2:04:22, which resulted in major race nerves. In my terms, this was 16 seconds faster than my second fastest half-marathon, 7 minutes slower than my PR of 1:57:35, and 20 seconds faster than my finish at Richmond in November. In addition, March 2011 was my first half-marathon which I finished in 2:05:33 and I was about to run my 10th half-marathon. In my mind, after running for as long as I have, finishing faster than my 1st half-marathon time was absolutely essential. But I also didn’t want to finish with a below average time. Maybe my putting so much pressure on this race is coming from the fact that this race is happening in NYC– concrete jungle where dreams are made of, where if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. But what better place for validation than New York City? Continue reading “Race Recap: United New York City Half-Marathon Weekend”