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”

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”

Week Nine/Eight: Baltimore and Marine Corps Marathon Training

Photo Courtesy: The Baltimore Marathon
Halfway there! Photo Courtesy: The Baltimore Marathon

Fundraising Update: I’m at 25% of my goal with $150 raised for Team TAPS! Make a donation today and help the families of our nation’s fallen heroes. Check out my post about why I am running for TAPS. Thank you to all who have contributed! I can’t do this without your generosity and support.

Last week was exhausting, in a good way. I feel like I am getting in touch with my inner athlete. I go stand-up paddle-boarding at least twice a week now, and the results are already starting to show. My stomach is a little tighter and flatter and my running feels stronger because my core is stronger. And I feel gladness coming back to my life, slowly but surely, with every time I go out on the water. Life has felt bleak over the past couple of years, but the stagnancy is clearing away, all because I had the courage to do something new and evolve through trying new experiences. It passes the time anyway.

I’m also scared and excited that I have two marathons to run within 8 days in 9 and 10 weeks. I can’t believe I signed up for that. I may have to let go of my dream of a 4:00 marathon with Baltimore so I can survive the Marine Corps Marathon, but you know what? I’m letting go of the clock. I’m running two marathons within 8 days of each other. I’m raising money for an organization that is the definition of humility and strength and doing my part to give back. While I still have goals for each race, I’m also trying to put things into a bigger picture and realize that my running is about more than what the clock says. I’m coming back to who I am, and it feels really great.

Looking ahead to this week, I know I will breach 30 miles just fine. I’m looking forward to running my first race since June– the Potomac River Runners Leesburg 20K. The break from racing has been great. Last spring was boom boom boom with races once or twice a month. I may have gotten a little burned out with all the races I was running. I’ve just enjoyed running my own training schedule and routine for now, incorporating cross-training, and putting the focus on one major event (now two) instead of a big event every other weekend. I’m really only running this race because it is the halfway point in marathon-training: the half-marathon time test. Even though 20K is short of 13.1 miles by 0.68 miles, it’s still enough to gauge where where I will be on race day. Even if I don’t end up running my goal pace in Baltimore or at Marine Corps, it’ll be nice to know if I have been on track. Continue reading “Week Nine/Eight: Baltimore and Marine Corps Marathon Training”

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”