Kat Runs D.C. » Blog Archives

Author Archives: Kat L.

Training Recaps

That Time I Almost Walked Off Course Halfway Through a Race: 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon Recap

Published by:

So that happened.

The headline is no exaggeration. I almost walked off course a little more than halfway through the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon. How do I put into words how I felt? Over it.

Over running the race, over the you’re (a little) more than halfway there, over running each mile, one mile at a time. Totally, utterly, completely over it.

I started wondering about the location of the nearest Metro, and dreamed about how I could just go home and sleep the rest of the day away. Screw the finish line, the medal, brunch.

I risked a glance at my watch, hoping those thoughts distracted me enough that I’d magically find myself farther along the course. I’d gone a whopping tenth of a mile.

This is gonna be a long race.

As I further contemplated the thought of walking away, I felt myself choke up. Just enough to feel that pre-tear sting in the eyes and for my throat to slightly close up. I needed to walk to regain my breath.

How’d I get here?

About 10 days out from the race, I wrote about my running rut, where even 3 miles felt like forever. I’d run into training burnout and denied it. To make matters worse, my training for the half wasn’t on where it needed to be, due to a combination of sickness, injury and skipping too many short runs for no valid reason.

I funneled my mental pre-race plan into helping my friend finish her first half marathon. She happily ran such an amazing race. The pace left me going out too fast, and we parted ways 1.5 miles in. I watched her disappear into the crowds ahead of me.

The thought of 11 solo miles hit me, but I focused on little milestones — the next water stop, the next mile marker, the big hill at mile 6.

I stuck with my plan to take walk breaks at water stops. I looked forward to the hill, because that’d always been a planned, long walk break.

A bit more than a half mile after that hill, I’d had it. I’d been struggling from the start, and I wanted to throw in the towel at the thought of running 6+ more miles. My pace slowed considerably after the first few fast miles, and my legs already ached.

When I choked up, I took a walk break to get my breathing back to normal and regain my mental composure. I scanned my body. Am I hurting so much that I shouldn’t finish the race? Am I risking injury? Am I too cold? (Temperatures were in the 20s with wind chills in the teens, which isn’t terrible but I hadn’t run in anything lower than 30 degrees all winter due to abnormal warmth, particularly in February.)

The answer to all those questions — a resounding no. My over-it feeling was entirely mental.

And with that I knew I couldn’t stop — I’d never forgive myself and I’d struggle in all my races to come, worrying I’d give up again.

Instead, I plowed ahead. I let myself take walk breaks on any hills, and later in the race whenever my legs required a break. When I hit miles 9 and 10, I knew I’d gotten over the worst of the hump. The knowledge only 3-4 miles remained eased my mental anxiety considerably.

Still, my legs screamed by the end — it felt like I was in the final miles of a marathon instead of a half marathon.

I didn’t experience that ecstatic feeling of crossing the finish line — I was simply happy to be done. By far, this was one of my slowest half marathons ever. My official time: 2:36:15.

While I was proud I didn’t give up, I still struggled post-race with my result. A year ago I’d run the same race in 2:00:48 — a PR that bested my first half and former PR on the same course in 2014. Five short weeks later after that shiny new PR, I ran another — this time a sub-2.

The comparison game is never good, especially when you compare yourself to yourself. It breaks your mind and heart down into little bits and spits them back out into millions of shattered pieces. It’s a lesson I continue to learn over and over again.

Blog Training

I don’t want to run. And even 3 miles feels like forever.

Video Published by:

I don’t want to run.

My alarm sounds, and my motivation to climb out of bed is 0%. Actually, if we’re being completely honest, it’s -1,000%.

The mileage doesn’t matter. Whether it’s 10, 6 or 3 — it all makes me go “ugh.” Not helping — my pace on all runs is stuck at 11 minute+ miles — slower than ever.

I’ve tried the “just go out for 2 miles” and the “just go out for 1 mile” … and all the other tricks in the book — ” ‘I regret that workout,’ — said no one ever,” tuning into music, focusing on one mile at a time.

I’ve been running for 3 1/2 years, and I’ve never felt quite like this. Sure, I’ve gone through individual runs or weeks where I wasn’t really feeling it, but I always powered through — and relatively quickly.

It’s been seven weeks since I dived back into running after a self-imposed three-week break around Christmas to give my legs — and mind — a rest. AKA, things I should have done after running my first marathon Oct. 9.

I have an inkling of what happened — I jumped back into running, and all other areas of fitness, too quickly. Four of those weeks I worked out 7 1/2 to 8 hours (yes, I double-checked my Fitbit stats just now) — higher than many of my marathon training weeks. I completed more strength, cycle and swim workouts in addition to my normal routine, which included one strength session and one yoga class per week on top of 4-5 runs.

I’d also stepped on the scale and realized my holiday indulgences hadn’t added 5 pounds — but 12. I wanted all that extra weight gone as quickly as possible — because now is never too soon.

At the same time, I also focused on dislodging bad habits I’d developed, specifically walking up somewhat-difficult hills instead of running (actually the best thing I could do, and I will stick with running vs. walking) and not skipping runs on some days my legs felt tired (I should have been kinder to myself).

It’s not surprising looking back that in the same seven-week span, I developed a virus that left me sleeping 15 hours a day and lower back pain that steered me to an entire workday spent on my couch — something that’s never happened before.

I ranted about my runs feeling so hard to my friend when we ran 5 miles on my birthday. I told her how my back injury seemed to develop: I ran 10 miles and the next day felt a dull ache (not entirely uncommon after long runs), but ran 4 miles, swam 20 minutes and went to a yoga class anyway.

She immediately honed in: “That sounds like overtraining” and “Kat, you did a lot of workouts in one day.”

I can’t be overtraining, I thought. I’m not running high mileage weeks. And I’ve always run the day after a long run and done yoga after. And yoga isn’t really a “workout” workout (Yes, I know it actually is). And I only swam 20 minutes, which isn’t a lot. And I’ve done similar strings of workouts before without “overtraining.”

The comparison game — to my own self — and the drive to ramp up my fitness quickly somehow developed into a beast in my brain.

It took a few days for my friend’s wisdom to sink in. As a result, I retooled my training plan — I’ll just focus on a 10K PR in May.

Then I talked to my trainer, and when he said I should stick with 10 miles for my long runs, even in 10K training, my heart sank.

It wasn’t until then that I fully realized I’d been looking for an easy way out instead of dealing head-on with the issue at hand — burn out, both physical and mental, and so early in the year.

Normally, this is part of the blog post where wisdom and wit combine into a solution, or at least some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. Except, I have no solution. I am living day-to-day and considering my runs in the same way.

I don’t know when I’ll get my running mojo back, but I do know it will return again — someday.

Training Recaps

Weekly Recap: Feb. 19-25

Published by:

This week was just busy at the front end, and my allergies kicked in big time at the tail-end. I am feeling rundown and tired, which means it’s time for a total overhaul of my running plan for the spring. More on that to come in a separate post.

Sunday: 5 at 11:09 for my 31st birthday! I ran with my friend, Mary, and got to see her adorable 7-month-old girl.

Monday: Rest. Too much to do.

Tuesday: 15 mins elliptical + Strength.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4 at 10:58.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Rest

***

Weekly mileage: 9

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Feb. 12

Published by:

Back in the double digits!

Not gonna lie, my 10-mile long run felt hard. I am just not where I was fitness-wise a year ago or even in the fall, when 12 miles was my normal “short” long run. And that’s frustrating and disappointing. But I refuse to waver and know my persistence will eventually pay off.

I have been trying to figure out why my pace is so much slower than late October/early November and even right before I took my 3-week break from running starting around Christmas.

I am retiring my main pair of running shoes since September as they’ve finally worn down, but I don’t think that’s it. I wonder if it is more a response to cutting calories. I’m losing about a pound a week by cutting 500 calories on average a day. I don’t feel starved and I’ve been checking my nutrient levels to make sure I’m still eating enough protein/carbs/fat.

I don’t like things that don’t make sense!

Sunday: 10 miles at 11:15. I almost cut this run short because it started raining pretty heavily early on. Luckily, it cleared up and I was able to finish my route. My legs were definitely tired by the end. It’s been a long time since I’ve run double digits for a training run.

Monday: 4 miles at 11:06. Treadmill. + Yoga + 20 mins Swim. I didn’t feel like dealing with the 50 mph winds outside and I quite frankly wasn’t sure how many miles my legs would be up for, so I stayed indoors. I watched Tiny House Hunters and marveled at the people who are like we have a $50,000 budget and these tiny houses you have found for us are too tiny — the largest was 400 sq feet. What did you think you were going to get?!

I mentioned last week I wanted to get back to my Monday Cycle/Core class. Instead, I decided it was just a bit too much for me to try to do all those things and I wanted a more relaxing weekend (I work Tuesday-Saturday).

Tuesday: Strength + 15 min elliptical warmup. My back began hurting a lot after this. What started as a dull ache the day after my long run — which happens occasionally — must not have responded well to my workouts Monday or I hurt it some other way. I went home and spent the night with my legs up on the couch, back propped against a bunch of pillows.

Wednesday: Rest. I worked from home — from my couch for the first time ever — so I could keep sitting propped up on the couch, which felt much better than sitting in an office chair.

Thursday: Rest. I decided to take another rest day because of the back issue, even though it felt better.

Friday: Rest. I was off work, so I slept in. I probably could have gone for a run, but I decided to be extra cautious since I have a half coming in 3 weeks.

Saturday: 3 miles at 10:43. First run since the back hurt. My calf was super tight for the first 3/4 of a mile for some reason. My back didn’t hurt but I could feel where it got hurt — if that makes sense — in the first half mile. A few hours after the run, I could feel a little ache in my back again. Not cool.

***

Weekly mileage: 17

Got in: Swim, Yoga, Strength

Missed: Cycle, 2nd Strength

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap is back!

Published by:

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a weekly training recap. I took three weeks off running from late December to early January, and quite frankly it was hard picking it back up again.

Plus, I’m looking to loose the 10+ pounds I gained over the holidays and during my low-exercise period.

But I love writing these recaps to look at what I’ve accomplished for the week, and I love reading other runners’ recaps too. So here’s this week and a catch-up on the previous weeks!

This past week I got back in action after being under the weather the previous week. I skipped my cycle/core class on Monday because I was so far behind from spending Sunday with my parents.

Week of Feb. 5

This past week I got back in action after being under the weather the previous week. I skipped my cycle/core class on Monday because I was so far behind, on things like laundry and food prep for the week, from spending Sunday with my parents.

Goals for next week: Get back to the cycle/core class and complete at least three All in 18 workouts.

Sunday: 8 miles at 11:16. The pace of this run really surprised me. I didn’t look at my watch until halfway through and immediately saw I was going much slower than I thought. It was hard, but I reminded myself I am still getting back into the swing of things and I just came off being sick, so a slow run means nothing. Getting out there means everything.

Monday: 4 miles at 10:57 + Yoga. I slept over at my parents for Super Bowl Sunday, which meant I had an easy route to run in the morning. I love the W&OD trail and can’t wait to move closer to it. My legs were definitely tired, but nothing too serious. I hit up my usual yoga class in the afternoon. I skipped my cycle/core class because I was so far behind on things and felt guilty. But I tried to allow myself a little grace and remind myself of all the other things I’d done.

Tuesday: Strength training w/ 15 min elliptical warmup.

Wednesday: 3 miles at 10:32 + Swim. I set my alarm for 6:30, planning to get in 5 miles and my All in 18 DVD. I tossed and turned and didn’t want to get up. Finally a little after 7, I said to myself — it’s amazing out. It’s 55 degrees RIGHT NOW. In February. Get out there or you’ll regret it. By that time I only had time for 3 miles. Bonus: It was so nice out, I talked my friend and colleague into two laps around the work pond.

Thursday: 4 miles at 11:00. Waking up before the sun rises has just been so hard lately — I’m pretty sure it’s just because it’s dark out and that doesn’t go over well. I was able to take a break at work and hit up the gym, though, so it worked out.

Friday: 5 miles at 10:41. 4 x 800 w/ 1-mile warm-up and 1/2-mile cooldown. In the first few minutes of hitting the treadmill I thought, “Uh oh.” My legs were sore. I reminded myself of all the other runs — including speed sessions — I’d done on legs like that felt the same way or worse and stuck with it. I haven’t done any speed in a long time, and I’ll admit it was a bit disheartening that my 800 paces were 10:20, 10:10, 10:00, 9:50. A year ago I was nearing my sub-2 half marathon.

Saturday: Rest.

Weekly mileage: 24

***

Week of Jan. 29

Sunday: Rest. I worked past 11 on Saturday and was exhausted.

Monday: 6 miles at 10:57 + Yoga + All in 18

Tuesday: Rest. I felt sick, slept until 1:30 p.m. and took the day off work. I started to think that sleeping until 3:30 p.m. Sunday was more than just being a little tired.

Wednesday: 5 miles at 10:38. I took the day off work but rallied before an afternoon doctor’s appointment and felt like going for a run. I’d been stuck inside for 36 hours and was having none of it. I set out for a few easy miles and ended up doing 5. Later that day my doctor said I had an acute viral infection with low-grade fever and should take it easy. Oops.

Thursday: 4 miles at 11:03 (treadmill). I struggled to get through this treadmill run after my first day back at work because I felt hot. I wasn’t able to secure the treadmill next to the sole fan in the cardio area, but I made it through the run.

Friday: Rest. My plan called for 3 miles but I could tell I was too tired and worn-out.

Saturday: Rest

Weekly mileage: 15 miles

***

Week of Jan. 22

Sunday: 5 miles at 10:59 + All in 18

Monday: 3 miles at 11:06 (treadmill) + Yoga + Cycle/Core

Tuesday: 40 minutes elliptical + 23 minutes swim

Wednesday: 3 miles at 10:44

Thursday: 3 miles at 11:06 (treadmill) + All in 18

Friday: 3 miles at 10:36 + All in 18

Saturday: Rest

Weekly mileage: 17

***

Week of Jan. 15 — first week back running

Sunday: 3 miles at 10:36 + 30 minutes elliptical + All in 18

Monday: 60 minutes elliptical + Yoga + 20 minutes swim + Cycle/Core

Tuesday: 15 minutes elliptical + Strength Training + Yoga

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 3 miles at 11:04

Friday: 3 miles at 11:06 (treadmill)

Saturday: Rest

Weekly mileage: 9

***

Week of Jan. 8 — slowly picking it back up after a full week of no exercise

Sunday: 45 minutes elliptical + All in 18

Monday: 45 minutes elliptical + All in 18 + Yoga + Cycle/Core

Tuesday: 15 minutes elliptical + Strength + Yoga + 20 minutes swim

Wednesday: 45 minutes elliptical + All in 18

Thursday: 45 minutes elliptical + All in 18

Friday: Rest. I’d planned to exercise at the end of the day, but the Florida airport shooting kept me in the office until past 9 p.m.

Saturday: Rest

Blog

The Treadmill-Dreadmill Dance Runners Play and Why the Machine is Worth it

Published by:

“I want to stop.”

The treadmill display stared back, unwavering — 0.8 miles down.

“At least I’m almost to mile 1.”

After what seemed like five minutes later: “I’m only at 0.88?!? WHY is this going so slowly?!?”

A half mile later, I knew it was time to check in.

I am not a treadmill fan per se, but I tolerate what runners often call the dreadmill fairly well. I regularly log some of my miles each month on the treadmill, including many speed workouts. I definitely play mind tricks to get through the sessions — sometimes focusing on the mile I’m in, other times thinking of a regular route on the pavement that’s of the same distance and where I’d be at any given point in that route, and occasionally switching up the pace even if it’s an easy workout.

In early 2016, I spent about a month with the bulk of my mileage on the machine because of the weather, including an 8-mile long run the day after up to three feet of snow hit the D.C. area. I don’t care how dedicated you are — there was zero way to do a long run outside that day. (Fun fact: After running those 8 miles, I spent 2.5 hours digging out my car. That’s how long it took to carve out that small, single space at my apartment complex.)

So. Much. Snow.

So less than a mile and a half into my 4-mile treadmill run after work I realized it was time to take a step back — not literally, for fear of falling off the machine — to examine what was happening in my mind.

“OK,” I said to myself. “What is so bad about this … and you can’t say everything.”

I thought about my legs — are they sore or tired? A tiny bit, I weighed in, but nothing significant. Did it take longer for them to warm up? I’ve spent several treadmill runs with tightness in my shins or calves for the first mile only for it to dissipate quickly after hitting that 1.0 mark. That wasn’t the case here, either.

I checked my breathing. It was definitely harder today than previous days, but I wasn’t out of breath at my easy pace.

I thought about my recent bout with a virus that left me sleeping for 15 hours a day and resulted in two days off work. Am I run down to the point I need a break? Maybe. Let’s be perfectly honest — my doctor probably would say yes. But I felt a lot more energetic by the afternoon that first day back at work.

What else?

“It’s hot as hell, like actual hell, there is zero air movement and I am actually going to die,” I said exasperatedly to myself.

That’s it. That was the issue. I realized I was wiping sweat away every two-tenths of a mile.

My work gym is nice, but there is one large fan for the entire cardio area that’s probably three times the size of my apartment. Basically, if you’re not right next to the fan, you don’t feel it. On top of that, most people apparently don’t like it. The gym staff turn it on each day, and someone usually turns it off.

Apparently I am the only person who relies on it. I usually come in and take the treadmill right next to the adjacent fan, shift it to point directly at my machine, turn it on to medium and enjoy a nice breeze that keeps me cooler, and clearly happier, for my entire workout.

That day, someone was on that treadmill, the fan was off anyway and I was stuck far, far away. Two miles in, I almost switched machines when the other one became available because I felt that hot. And then I almost tripped because it’s apparently hard to look 90 degrees to the right while running on a treadmill.

Then I took apart my earlier statement. Was it hot? Yes. Hot as hell? OK, probably maybe definitely an exaggeration. Was it so hot that I could overheat? No, and I had my water bottle with me if needed.

From that 8-mile treadmill run after the Blizzard of 2016.

I stuck with it. I didn’t die. I made it through those 4 miles and ended with a shirt far more soaked than if I’d been near the beloved (by me) fan.

I distracted myself with HGTV and reminded myself that a shower would immediately follow. I picked up the pace the last half mile. And, after I stopped, it was interesting to see the steady climb in my heart rate chart from the beginning to the end of the run — a clear indication of the effort when it feels warmer.

This is the treadmill dance a lot of us runners deal with, but beating that combination of boredom and downright loathing for the machine we come to depend on at times — even if it’s a love/hate relationship — makes us mentally stronger in the end, and it’s totally worth it.

Also, “Fixer Upper” helps, a lot.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Blog

Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done = Training for My First Marathon. What I Learned.

Published by:

In case it’s not been underscored enough here, on this blog, or elsewhere in the running community, training for a marathon — particularly your first — is not easy. It’s actually been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

You’d think that statement might be reserved for race day itself, but early on in training, I realized race day would be a relative piece of cake — barring unlikely and unforeseen conditions — compared to the hours logged on the trail, the early alarms, the constant hunger, the feeling of always wanting a little bit more sleep, and most importantly, the mental aspect of it all.

Here are just a few of the things I learned in the 18 weeks of training.

Sleep

I’ve always been a big sleeper. I feel best when I get 9 hours of sleep. Marathon training cut into that at times, and at other times amplified it — a lot. I found there were more times I was in bed around 9 or 9:30, sometimes even in the 8 o’clock hour. And originally, I felt a relative rest day on Monday — with only yoga and maybe a bike ride on the plan instead of my normal short run — would feel like too little given I am off that day. Instead, as my mileage increased, I found I needed to sleep in the day after the long runs. After the 18 and 20 mile long runs, even with a nap the afternoon after completing them, I logged 12.5 hours sleep the night after. And, I needed every minute of it.

Food

I definitely felt the increased hunger everyone warned about early on. I was running 30 mile weeks regularly when I’d been more used to 20 mile weeks. At first, I tried to keep calories in check, thinking I could lose a few pounds during training. My friend Natalie made me see the light — that might not be the best idea.

I decided to stop trying to eat less than my body needed and try to remain relatively in line with what MyFitnessPal told me I needed on any given day, without stressing too much. I also ate more bagels that I have in a long time. I needed something solid after logging 6-8 miles before 8 a.m. As time went on, the hunger subsided. I no longer was constantly starving by 3 p.m. or by 10 a.m. if I hadn’t eaten that bagel. Sure, it’d still be more hungry than pre-marathon training at times, but nothing significant.

Weight

With the thinking about my food changing, my thinking about weight also needed to change. I realized that gaining a few pounds, so long as it wasn’t to a point it made my runs slower or made me feel sluggish, was not the end of the world. For the first time in a few years, I stopped weighing myself regularly. I am pretty sure I went at least four weeks or more at one point without stepping on the scale. Before this, I’d been weighing myself basically every day — sometimes multiple times a day. The only time I’d skip was if I forgot.

Marathon training also made me rethink what I consider my ideal weight. At one point a couple years ago, that ideal was 125. I realized I was exercising a lot more and upped that to 128-130 to 1) consider added muscle and 2) have a range instead of a single number. Still, I struggled — I always seemed to hover around 135.

Now, I realized maybe my body was telling me something all along that 135 is the weight that works well for me.

Wait until you’re really ready

I originally penciled in running my first marathon in the spring of 2015, which would have been one year after I finished my first half marathon. I look back now and wonder what I was thinking. I got injured, and that changed the sketch I’d made in my head for that spring, but even without that, I know now that I wasn’t ready.

I didn’t respect the distance and hadn’t even run 3 half marathons when I thought about doubling the distance. That injury sucked, but it also changed my plans, for the better.

Summer is hot, but you acclimate (to a degree)

I cursed myself early on in marathon training when I fully realized how many of the super long runs would need to be completed in the worst heat and humidity that D.C.’s summers offer. With half marathon training, I only needed to do 10 miles max for a long run, and even then not every where. Now, 12 miles was my dropback mileage and I needed to run 14, 16, 18 and 20-milers on the higher weeks. That meant more 5 a.m. (and sometimes 4:45 a.m.) wake-up calls than I’d care to recount. But I got it done. By early July I’d mostly acclimated to the worst the heat could offer, and it made my runs significantly less difficult, even though I would trade them in a heartbeat for the cooler temperatures of fall or spring. Still, there’s something awesome about getting to the end of summer and thinking 75-80 degree weather without a ton of humidity is great for a long run.

Running with buddies is a must

During my week 3 freakout, the universe sent me a sign. At the tail end of a simply horrible 13-mile run, I ran into two other women at a water fountain. We chatted a little, and I asked which way they were headed down the trail. Same way I was. I asked if I could run with them. Sure, they said. What pace are you doing, I asked, praying it was something doable. Well, we do a 4:1. Huh?

Turns out the 4:1 is a run/walk method of running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute. I still wanted to blurt out but what pace is the run part, but kept my mouth shut and kept up with them. I really struggled on that run, and we were heading back slightly uphill and with the sun totally in our face. It was definitely a bit faster that I was capable of on that particular run, but I kept up. At a stoplight where we needed to head separate ways, we exchanged numbers.

The next week I met up with one of the two women — the other wasn’t available — and that’s when everything started to go right. Running with friends is a huge boost. I’d always known that and loved running with other people, but if I needed to log 10-12 miles solo, I was OK with that too. I spent the rest of marathon training running with one of both of the two women I’d met that day.

Pushing my limits

More than anything, I learned I am capable of far more than I thought. One week, I needed to move my long run to Saturday instead of Sunday, and I realized I could log 50 miles for the entire week — a new record. I pushed through, and it felt great accomplishing that goal. I also felt a surge of energy and exhilaration at the end of my 20-mile long run, when I’d instead expected to super eager for the end of it.

Knowing when not to overdo it

Let me be clear. I missed a lot of runs during training. Or at least it felt like a lot to me. I didn’t miss any of the key long runs, but I skipped some of the shorter runs when I got sick, felt run down and needed to sleep in, or just felt too sore to complete the run on the schedule for that day. Instead of trying to make it up later, I let it be. It was hard, but it helped me get to the start line.

Save

Blog

What’s Next For Running + Resolutions for 2017

Published by:

It’s that time again. “New year, new you” slogans abound everywhere you look. And while there is something lacking in those sentiments (hey, what’s wrong with old me? answer: nothing), it can also be a powerful kick to get off the couch.

It’s been exactly two weeks since I’ve run, in a purposeful three-week break to give my legs some much-needed rest. And for the first week, I didn’t work out at all.

Now, it’s time to get back in shape, and drop the weight I gained in the past few months from relaxing on my healthy habits.

I’m sticking with my breaking from running, but next week I start two 10-week classes I’m excited about — cycle core and tae kwon do. I’ve obviously done spin classes before, but this is a dedicated class each week that I paid for, giving me more incentive to go, and also with the knowledge I can look to improve weekly.

I also be picking my personal training sessions, focused on strength, back up as well.

Then, after my three-week break with running is over, I’ll pick that back up — slowly but surely, with no races on the calendar until March.

Speaking of that race schedule, I’m looking to do fewer half marathons this year, probably ending around four or five, with a late fall marathon. I’ll also have some 10Ks thrown in (see goals below) and the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in April.

New year, new medal wall.

Here’s a look at my resolutions and goals for the next year.

No drink January: This is a bit of misnomer since I didn’t start Jan. 1, and since I don’t plan to forgo all alcohol. But I do intend to take a full month off regular drinking, with the exceptions of if I eat out or go out with a friend. I have gotten into that bad habit many get into from time to time where you come home after a long-days work and want to wind down with a glass of wine or a couple beers, and before you know it, half a bottle is gone or you’re through more than half a six-pack. I also would like to lose the weight I’ve gained as quickly as possible, and this is a sure way to cut a significant amount of calories.

Lose 5 pounds by mid-February, 10 pounds by end of March: I plan to work hard and sweat a lot in the coming months to decrease the number on the scale as well as gain back muscle I’ve lost. I’m hoping that I can drop even more weight than planned in this time span, and gain more muscle so I feel and look better.

Run a 10K PR: My 10K PR has stood for awhile, and I didn’t even run a single 10K race at all last year. I want to work on getting faster this year and a 10K PR to beat the one that is from my first 10K ever seems like the perfect idea. I probably technically bested my 10K PR last year during my sub-2 half, but that doesn’t count!

Add second (or more) strength workout per week: Strength training is super important, and adding a second routine — the first being with my personal trainer — to my week should help a lot. I’ve also been looking at various DVD and book routines, so we’ll see where those take me.

Keep up with yoga: I fell out of a regular yoga routine in the fall with the big vacation out West and the Chicago Marathon. I’ve only gone a handful of times since October or November, and I’m really missing it.

Add old PT moves to post-workout routine: I’ve pretty good about doing a few stretches after every run, but I want to add more to the post-workout routine, especially the moves I was given as part of physical therapy when I was injured a couple years ago. They were great moves for runner-injury prevention, and I’ve been meaning to add them to my routine ever since.

Nix Splenda habit: Last year, I nixed my Diet Pepsi habit. This year, it will be Splenda. I use way more than I should each day on my cereal, and I’d like to cut it off completely. That would leave me with extremely limited added sugar/artificial sugar counts in my diet. I don’t eat sweets a lot so this can only mean good things for my body.

Use elliptical more as second workout: There’s less impact with the elliptical and it wouldn’t be hard to tack it on at the end of a run for a cooldown or before a strength workout as a warmup or just as a secondary workout for the day to help drop the weight more quickly.

Save

Save

Blog

2016: Recap of a Crazy, Amazing Running Year

Published by:

Ten half marathons — most of them travel races. My first sub-2 half. My first marathon. A total of 1,000 running miles for the year — a new milestone. An incredible vacation out West.

Yes, I basically went a little crazy with my running and travel adventures this year, but I wouldn’t change a moment and still can’t get over how amazing 2016 turned out.

It all started when I found out I’d been accepted to be an ambassador for Rock ‘n’ Roll races, through their Rock ‘n’ Blog program. My plan to skip the local RNR race went straight out the window and I started hunting for more races I could add on. I ended up with 9 Rock ‘n’ Roll halfs.

Looking back at this blog, I called 2015 the year of travel because of trips to New York, London, Paris and Rome, with smaller travels to Chicago, Philadelphia and Virginia Beach.

In comparison, 2016 was the ultimate year of travel: San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago (twice), Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, Sedona, Ariz., the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Antonio.

I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and went back twice more, experiencing the vast difference between northern and southern California. I fell in love with the West when my parents and did a 9-day tour of its natural wonders. I laughed at how crazy Las Vegas is, and spent hours with a smile plastered on my face at Harry Potter world in Los Angeles.

Along the way, I met incredible people everywhere — many just acquaintances at races or in the what feels like the 1 million airports I went through, but some will surely be lifelong friends.

One of my favorite acquaintances was a man I met in Los Angeles at the race who’s run 500 marathons, all in the past 20-22 years. And in terms of friends, there’s Steff — we first met briefly at RNR D.C. but didn’t hang out with until RNR Chicago — who I’m sure I will stay in touch with for a long time. She’s just one of the amazing runners I met through Rock ‘n’ Blog and I know I’ll hang out with others from the gang again for years to come.

Then there was that vacation out West. Seeing the Grand Canyon is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I finally wore down the parents to make it an excursion to see a bunch of different places out there. The views there and in Sedona, Bryce Canyon and Zion were all absolutely amazing, and I’d definitely recommend a trip.

Shortly after getting back from that long vacation it was time to jettison off to Chicago for my first marathon. I still can’t believe what an incredible experience it was running 26.2 miles through the Windy City. It was the perfect day, with perfect weather and I enjoyed every minute.

I ended the year with three more travel races after the marathon — Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Antonio. I could tell my body — and mind — was in need of a bit of a break, but I kept pushing forward and enjoyed the final days of running in 2016.

I finished up the year a few days before Christmas by hitting the 1,000-mile mark for the year. It felt like the perfect way to end my crazy year of running.

Here’s a look back at all my races for the year, with links to recaps.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Blog

Gallery: My Year In Races for 2016

Gallery Published by:

Here’s a look back at all my races this year.