What’s Next For Running + Resolutions for 2017

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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.




2016: Recap of a Crazy, Amazing Running Year

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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.







Gallery: My Year In Races for 2016

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

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Dec. 18

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I decided I wanted to knock out the remaining miles I needed to reach 1,000 for the year by Christmas Eve. My legs were very tired by Tuesday, but I pushed through and even surprised myself on my last run of the year — my legs didn’t feel as heavy as I thought they would and I enjoyed speeding down the last stretch to finish up the run.

Sunday: 4 miles at 10:36

Monday: 3.1 miles at 10:05

Tuesday: 5 miles at 11:03

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 7 miles. 4 miles in the morning at 11:05 then 3 miles in the evening at 10:12 to get to a total of 1,000 miles for the year!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest


Total weekly mileage: 19.1


Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Dec. 4

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Sunday: 13.1 miles at 11:18. Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 3.4 miles at 11:25 for the second of the Winter Runningland 5K Virtual Series. My legs were still hurting from the race.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 3 miles at 11:05

Saturday: Rest


Weekly mileage: 19.1


Race Recap & Review: San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

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Remember when I said Las Vegas was my final half marathon of the year? Yeah, I lied.

A couple weeks after the race, I felt the urge to run the final Rock ‘n’ Roll half of the year in San Antonio. It cost a little bit of an arm and a leg, but I loved the headliner medal for running nine Rock ‘n’ Roll halfs and was excited to see the city.

Little did I know the weather would be, well, horrible.

Let me say right up top here that I don’t regret going. I still had a ton of fun and got a feel for San Antonio. And running in a downpour for miles will help my mental strength in future races.

I got into town late Friday and worked from the hotel Saturday. It rained for most of the day. After work, I hit up the expo for packet pickup and realized just how crazy the weather was. It was raining hard, there was a ton of ponding on the roads and a decent amount of wind — Sunday’s race was not going to be fun.

After the expo, I walked over to the Alamo — the one thing I knew I had to see on the short trip. It was great walking around and reading up on the history of the place.

Then, I walked along the riverwalk for a while. It exceeded my expectations and was so cool and pretty. It’s too bad the weather wasn’t great, that would have made it even better. I popped into a bar for a couple beers before meeting up with friends for dinner. On the way, out it was dark and the trees above the riverwalk were all lit up with lights. So pretty!

We ate at a great Mexican place that ended up not being too far from my hotel. I’m so glad I got a really good Mexican meal in this trip — wish I could have gotten more. I settled into bed around 10:30 Saturday night and spent a lot of the night tossing and turning, letting my mind worry way too much about the possibility of a continuous, hard rain on race day.

I signed up for VIP for this event partially because of its indoor venue before and after the race. The fact that a bunch of runner friends I’ve met this year were also VIP sold me on it. I ate breakfast at my hotel and headed over to the other hotel where VIP was being hosted. It was less than a block from the race start and I was so happy it wasn’t raining at all on my walk over. No need to get wet BEFORE the race even begins.

Luckily, the VIP area also had the much-needed necessity for this race: plastic ponchos. Seriously, I don’t know how I would have made it through the race without that. The cost of VIP was worth that poncho alone. I’d tried to get one at CVS the night before but they were totally sold out. Note to self: Stock up on those AND buy a rain jacket for running.

I met up with up with the runner friends and after a potty break (yay indoor restrooms), we headed out the door a few minutes before the race start at 7:30.

The wind was blowing and it was raining a little and I thought “oh, no, here we go.” I threw my poncho on and got in the closest corral — it ended up being corral 7, not my designated 12.

The wind and little rain quickly died down — completely. A miracle. It didn’t rain a drop until somewhere around mile 4.5. And then, it started pouring. And the wind picked back up. For a good 3 miles. That was not fun. It was about 50 out but with a 10-15 mph wind it got chilly, fast. I couldn’t help but think that this is what running in Hermine should have been like at Virginia Beach, except warmer and windier.

I kept counting down the miles — one more mile until there’s only 6 more miles, one more mile until there’s only 5 more miles. Basically, I focused on each mile I was in and on my music (I don’t normally run with headphones on race day, but with the crappy weather knew I’d need something to help me along).

I knew I was getting grumpy when the guy running with the boombox got near me — two or three times — and I wanted to yell at him to turn it off. I just wanted to focus on my music (though I did pause it when a live band was coming up). Finally, somewhere between mile 9 and 10 the rain slowed and then totally stopped.

I kept trying to avoid puddles on the road and avoided the really really big ones, but it was impossible not to get my shoes and feet totally soaking wet. There were so many puddles and mini-rivers running down the road. At one water stop somewhere between mile 7 and 8, the volunteers were standing in ankle-deep water (while wearing rain boots) handing out cups that when tossed floated down the road in a big stream. It was crazy weather, guys.

Even with the poncho — which I’d taken off at mile 1, kept (no way I was getting rid of it!) and put back on at mile 5 — I was totally soaked. But the poncho was keeping me warm, so I kept it on. The long-sleeve shirt I’d worn over my T-shirt also came off at mile 1, and never got put on again. It got completely drenched in the downpour.

A little after mile 10, my legs began protesting. I’ve definitely tired them out this year — completely. I focused on the mile I was in and not taking walk breaks until I got to a water stop, but there were two little hills on the last two or so miles that I ended up taking walk breaks on to save my legs from hurting so much.

The last couple miles were rough on my legs, but I didn’t feel anywhere near as bad as the Vegas race, and took that as a clear sign that Vegas was just a weird race with the wedding stop and being on my feet all day before running so far in the evening, when I normally almost never run.

Still, San Antonio also clearly showed it’s time for a break from long-distance running. I finished in 2:27:59 and don’t think I could have fun any faster. The weather certainly slowed me down, as did my legs in the late miles.

I quickly chilled after crossing the finish line, but it was a short walk back to the VIP hotel. I immediately got my bag from gear check and immediately changed out of my soaking wet clothes.

After a couple hours of refueling, enjoying some beer and getting a massage, it was time to head back to my hotel, get a shower and head to the airport.

This race was really hard mentally — and even physically in dealing with the wet and cold. Yet, I still enjoyed parts of it — especially those early miles without rain. 😉

Rock ‘n’ Roll did a great job of communication leading up to the race to let folks know everything was going on as planned. I also can’t thank the volunteers and spectators enough. They stood out in the rain for who knows how long to help us all out — it really shows how much races bring communities together.

I can’t believe this incredible race year is now over, and I can’t believe all I’ve done. So what’s next? More on that later!




Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Nov. 20

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Sunday: Rest.

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: Strength Training + 15 mins elliptical. Back to work and back to exercise. My cold finally abated enough, and I felt strong on my first return to the weights since before the Chicago Marathon.

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: 3.1 miles at 10:36. Knocked out the Winter Runningland 5K Virtual Run through Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Rest.


Weekly mileage: 3.1

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of Nov. 13

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Sunday: Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.

Monday: Rest. Got my legs moving by checking out the aquarium at the adjacent hotel in Vegas, then took an afternoon flight home.

Tuesday: Rest. I took another day off work and slept in … until noon. Needed it.

Wednesday: 45 minutes elliptical. My legs were still way tired, but traffic was horrible, so I hit the elliptical machine at the work gym. Late that night I felt a sore throat — a sure sign a cold was coming on.

Thursday: Rest. I called it a week after I got that cold. No more exercising or return to running for me.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Rest.


Weekly mileage: 13.1