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.
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”
1) I received my first Stitch Fix over the weekend. It felt like Christmas, my birthday, and a mid-season sale all in one– absent the sore feet, crowd rage, and a sugar crash from the obligatory mall coffee drink. I’d asked my stylist to send spring dresses that could transition well from work to happy hour, and I got a long gray maxi dress (not a fan of maxis), a coral sheer blouse (too billowy), and an asymetrical navy stripe t-shirt dress (perfect but see-through). I also got these dresses: Continue reading “Off the Beaten Path: Cherry Blossoms, the Flat Belly Diet, and a 30-Something Washingtonian’s Dilemma”
The subtitle for this post could easily be “Or What I’ve Been Up To Since Chicago.” Following the Chicago Marathon, I took some time off from running. Truthfully, all I wanted was a break from the sometimes unrealistic training expectations that I put on myself when I know I have a big race coming up. I’d basically spent all year in training mode– first for the June 2014 Minneapolis Marathon that I backed out of in April because of burnout and injury that was ultimately cancelled due to severe weather, and then for the October 2014 Chicago Marathon that I started training for in June. Frankly, I wanted to just live how I wanted and not let a training schedule take over my life.
None of this means that I wanted to stop running, however. Actually, for the first time in my life as a runner, I am feeling motivated and appreciative for my sport. I feel like I rose to the challenge of running the entire course at Chicago, and I was hungry for more challenges like that. But right now, I only want to rise to the challenge of becoming strong overall so I don’t get injured again. I want to push myself when it gets hard and embrace the pain that comes with getting out of your comfort zone and getting stronger. Continue reading “Richmond Half-Marathon Training”
Last week’s training ended on a perfect note. I ran 13 miles all the way through at race pace with no pain and, for the first time, felt like I wasn’t just talking about my goal to run my fifth marathon in Chicago. I knew that a perfect run also presented some physical as well as mental downsides. Physically, would this hip injury thing creep up on me again and how bad would it be? Mentally, can I keep a surge of relief and accomplishment from turning into pride and complacency? Week Twelve would reveal that to me. Continue reading “Week Twelve: Chicago Marathon Training”
This week, I got back to a sense of normalcy. I have a job once again so that means I can’t sleep in until 9AM then wander off to 9:30AM yoga pretending not to be curious why so many other people are there on a weekday morning. Waking up in a strange apartment everyday has taken some getting used to. There’s the typical noises of air conditioners going and neighbors wandering down the hall, but in Arlington, Virginia, it seems like there’s literally always a fire to be put out somewhere. Distant sirens are so commonplace here I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll make my fortune by adding that sound to sleeping noise machine apps for “city” folk. I can’t be crazy with that idea…my sleep noise app has a distant train on it, which reminds me of the five years I went to college in a cow town that had trains going through it at all hours. Continue reading “Rooftops, Air Mattresses, and Forced Minimalism”
Like everyone, I’ve had my share of life experiences that make me realize, among other things, that I am not invincible. I can’t fake everything all the time, I can’t always be the person I visualize in my head, I can’t deny that sometimes I would rather sleep in, shut out, and shut down than handle one more thing. After all, it’s true that ducks, looking all cool and calm, paddle like hell under the surface of the water, but when they see a predator come after them, they freak out and fly away. They put the kibosh on the whole “cool, calm, and collected” thing and go a little nuts to get out of harm’s way so they can paddle another day. That’s kind of where I’m at with moving and marathon training right now.
Any runner knows that the running community is a social media community. Running and training equals hours of our lives on beautiful trails where we feel at our best, so it’s only natural for us to want to showcase what we are doing out there with a few selfies and photos of our favorite trails. In turn, we runners get motivated and inspiration from seeing what other runners are going through and we want to pass that along.
Last week, I was in DC visiting friends and interviewing for new opportunities when, as I was lacing up for an early morning run, I realized that I didn’t have very many photos of myself running along the National Mall or any of the other trails where I had spent hours of my life training to run the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon, 2013 Goofy Challenge, and 2013 Rock ‘n Roll USA Marathon. I can still remember my best training runs on the National Mall– the spot in front of the Hirshorn Museum where I cried upon finishing my first 18-mile training run or, at that time, the furthest I had ever run, looping my fifth time around the tree-lined path off the Reflecting Pool by the Lincoln Monument on a chilly 10-miler and getting a solid second wind upon seeing a strong 8:31 split. I saw countless hazy amber sunsets, dodged thousands of tourists (the spot in front of the National Air and Space Museum is a total bottle-neck), and felt the weight of realization that I was blessed to have a place to train that most would consider a bucket list run. It’s true that you have to connect with your trail to be successful as a runner, and while I have those memories of some amazing runs, I had only a few photos that documented my runs there. I felt like this had to change, so I grabbed my Panasonic Lumix camera with its self-timer and 14 megapixels, and headed out the door. Continue reading “But First…”