Marine Corps Marathon 10K [Race Recap]

It’s been almost a full year since I’ve truly trained for a race, and this year has been all about running whenever and however I want to. That’s not to say I haven’t raced — I’ve completed a marathon relay and a 5K, but it feels good to have no training plan! At times this has left me a little unprepared for some of the races I signed up for this fall (cough cough Army 10 Miler that I did not run!), but I knew I could handle the Marine Corps Marathon 10K. I would still get to be apart of the amazing race day that is the MCM, but I would get to run and spectate. Two of my favorite things to do!

Race preparation started before race day, as it always does. On Friday evening, Joe and I headed to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at The National Harbor to pick up our bibs and my favorite part of racing…our new shirts. 🙂 Bib & t-shirt pick-up were super easy as long as you had your bib number handy and could settle on a shirt size. There were plenty of volunteers at these stations and there was no line at all!

As you walked from the pick-up side of the expo to the shopping side, there were many more people. The official Brooks race clothing was your first stop as you entered, and it was pretty crowded with folks trying on clothes and shoes. Then you had your rows of sponsors handing out freebies, but by this point it was 7:45 PM and hanger was striking so we took a picture and hit the road!

Saturday was a rest day which ended with a nice pasta dinner from Olive Garden. I think my favorite part was that we ordered our pasta to go and ate it on the couch. My second favorite part was hearing that the wait at the restaurant was 45 minutes and my food was already cooked up and ready to go. #winning

IMG_4464.jpg

Chicken alfredo, chicken scampi, salads, and breadsticks!

After waiting until the absolute last minute on Saturday night, I finally went to Harris Teeter at 9:45 PM for English muffins, peanut butter, and bananas. This is my tried and true race morning breakfast, so it had to be purchased! Then it was time for sleep since we had an early alarm.

6:15 AM wake up call & out the door by 6:45 AM. I don’t like to have a lot of extra time in the morning because then I will talk myself into sleeping much longer. 🙂 The metro wasn’t too crowded, but you could tell that everyone on board was a runner. The marathon runners got off a few stops after we got on, and the 10K runners continued riding the train until we reached the National Mall.

Mornings on the Mall are my favorite. 🙂 It was pretty chilly early on, but I had an old pullover that I was wearing and ready to toss away at the start line. Race corrals and restrooms were set up outside the National Gallery of Art and the lines were INSANE. There was a small security checkpoint before entering this area, but it didn’t take very long at all. We were shocked at the number of people waiting for restrooms and quickly made our way over to our corral. It was about 7:35 AM at this point, and the opening festivities were expected to begin about ten minutes later so it felt like perfect timing.

Joe is much faster than me, but we decided to start out together. This was our view as we warmed up and waited to begin! The race was delayed about 15 minutes due to traffic issues, but the announcers were super energetic and kept us entertained with stories and music. We cheered for two runners celebrating their 86th birthdays! Then, around 8:05 AM, it was time to run!

The 10K runners go on a very similar path as the marathon runners, so in our first mile we saw a sign that said Mile 19! I could hear everyone in the crowd making the same joke about how amazing they felt after running 19 miles when really it had been about 0.5 at this point. 🙂 I always start racing without music, so I was people watching and taking it all in. In the first mile, we did a quick turn around from the National Gallery of Art back towards the Washington Monument, and we also passed a water station early on. I skipped this one but so enjoyed seeing how encouraging the service men and women were as they handed out water and Gatorade!

We continued on toward the 14th Street Bridge, making our way into Crystal City. I was running consistent 9:10-9:20 miles, which is good for me right now, and I watched Joe’s hat for as long as I could as he sped off in front of me. 😉 Around mile 3 I put my headphones in and quickly walked my way through the second water/Gatorade station. I always walk so that I can get all of the drink in me!

Steeler Sunday and race day calls for a little “Renegade” in the headphones, so I listened and sang and kept on moving. I was really proud of myself for feeling like I pushed the whole time, but never felt the need to slow down too much or even walk. I took deep breaths through a cramp I got at mile 3.5, and kept on moving towards the Pentagon.

This is really the home stretch of the race, and you start to see the corrals that the marathon runners lined up in. As you approach Arlington Cemetery and run the last mile, there’s loud music playing and you know you’re getting close. The crowd support is also much stronger here since you’re not running down the highway anymore. Joe had already texted me that he finished, so I was focused on making it to 6.2 before 60 minutes was up. Thinking back, it was a pretty flat course except for the on or off ramps we ran up or down from the highway. But the race directors must know this because there’s a nice sharp hill right before the finish line. 🙂

I ran past the mile marker 6 and with 0.2 miles left, made a sharp right turn UP the hill towards Iwo Jima and the finish line. I was pretty annoyed by those in front of me who significantly slowed down or started walking at this point because I was trying to power to the finish, but I totally get why they did that! I just wish it had been on the side of the road instead of in the middle. 🙂

I finished in 58:34 which let me reach my goal of finishing in less than an hour! My PR for the 10K distance is 52:45, so I have some work to do to get back to that time, but I was super excited for my finish yesterday. And Joe ran some nice 7:20 minute miles after he ran ahead of me that let him finish in 51:40, which is a PR for him since it was his first 10K! It was very cool to be “medaled” by a Marine — they saluted and placed our medals around our necks. So cool!

We took all our finisher’s photos, grabbed our free food, and made our way back to the metro. The Finisher’s festival was very well organized and easy to navigate. This was a good thing since we were headed back to the race after a quick shower/breakfast to watch friends running the full marathon.

We took the metro to Arlington Cemetery, walked through a small security checkpoint, and headed down towards Route 110 in front of the cemetery to look out for friends. I was tracking all of them, and knew just when to look for them passing! Because we were watching so close to the finish, I almost wanted to warn them about that terrible hill they were about to encounter at the end, but I refrained. 😉 I love cheering for friends, but I also love cheering for people I don’t know who look like they’re running so strong right at the end or look like they just want to quit. The crowd gets so many people moving towards the end! All in all, it was a perfect day to race and spectate.

And fun fact: a race photographer took a picture of me and my sign. #ifeltaccomplished
“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 26.2!”

Marathon Monday: Spectator Edition

I haven’t blogged in awhile so I talk a lot in this post. Feel free to skim!

Last weekend, my best friend and I went to New York City. Several people have asked me if I just so happened to be there the same weekend of the TCS New York City Marathon, and the answer is no. We intentionally planned the trip so that we could spectate the race. Because runners are crazy and enjoy that type of thing. 🙂

IMG_2291

DC is only 4 hours from NYC, so we left early on Saturday morning and came back late Sunday night. It was a quick trip, but we packed so much into those 36 hours! This was also our first experience using Airbnb to book a place to stay. Combine Halloween weekend with the marathon and hotel choices suddenly look very slim…or look like $700. Neither of which I was willing to deal with. 😉

So how was the Airbnb? Pros: the price was beyond affordable, I was able to park my car for free where we stayed which was AMAZING, we had an entire one bedroom apartment to ourselves, and we were 3 blocks from the subway. Cons: the neighbors got into a very loud argument at 2:30 AM that resulted in the cops showing up. Those New York walls are paper thin, I tell ya! We weren’t in a bad part of town and they were just roommates arguing about who was supposed to be home and sleeping over blah blah blah…but still, at a hotel, I would’ve called the front desk immediately. Also…I’m a very easy going person, but it didn’t occur to me until I was about to go to sleep that I had to sleep in someone else’s bed. And then we made a makeshift bed with all the family room furniture because we couldn’t deal. Hahaha!

IMG_2248

When we arrived on Saturday, we went straight to our place to park the car and then headed out for lunch and shopping. We couldn’t check in until 3 PM, so we had some time to adventure! Kristen and I planned for some things, but at other times we just wandered and did whatever we happened to stumble across. Which is why I don’t remember the name of the place we ate for lunch. 😉 But I had a huge buffalo chicken salad and I DO remember where we got dessert…because it was dessert. Duh.

IMG_2253

We found Dylan’s Candy Bar which is three levels of straight sugar. I had created my own trail mix for our road trip that included these goodies:

IMG_2239

But since we were at the candy store, I just HAD to get some sour gummies! I love regular gummy bears, Swedish fish, and watermelon Sour Patch. Of course I threw in chocolate covered all the things (think cookie dough, nuts, etc) for good measure.

IMG_2250

We got on the Subway and realized it was going in the wrong direction…so we hopped off at the next stop and called an Uber to save the day. This would happen many more times throughout the weekend! We kept paying for the Subway more than once, too. There were several times we went into the station only to realize we were on the wrong side of the track. In DC, you can just take the escalator up and back down to the other side. In NYC, you have to go up the steps out to the street, cross the street, and go back down the other side. So since we were technically entering twice, we paid twice. Way too many times. I am not sure if there is some way to remedy this (I’m sure there is), but we never figured it out!

IMG_2262

We had to get ready for our next adventure at SoulCycle SoHo. What better way to spend Halloween night than going to a Spin class that only played Taylor Swift songs?! Yes, you read that right. It was amazing. Our trek to SoulCycle included getting off the Subway at the wrong stop, considering calling an Uber, quickly getting back on the Subway, nervously checking the time every time the train stopped, and forgetting a sports bra. Oh, yes.

We made it to the studio with ten minutes to get ready for class, which was perfect! Until I realized I forgot a sports bra. Luckily, SoulCycle sells wonderful (expensive) merchandise, so I ran out to the desk to buy one. My normal size looked HUGE, so I sized down. And then I put it on and wanted to cry because it didn’t fit. So now people were filing into the studio and I was at the front desk begging the worker to exchange the sports bra he just cut the tag from. I am sure he loved me. 😉 I got on my bike just in time and found a cute little Halloween treat bag on the handlebars! It had those fake red lips that I suppose some wear for Halloween and apparently they were edible…I can’t confirm because I didn’t try them ha! There was also a voucher for a free class, so I either have to convince DC to accept the pass or I have to go back to SoHo to Spin!

IMG_2276

We brought a change of clothes with us to class, so with dirty hair and pretty outfits, we shopped around SoHo and Times Square. We intended to walk to Times Square, but once we started walking the streets and going in all the shops, we realized we were walking the wrong way. Of course we were. 🙂 The streets are always insane in NYC, but they were especially jam packed on Halloween night because EVERYONE was in a taxi or an Uber. We attempted to take a taxi and ended up having him drop us off at the next Subway station because it was taking a hot forever and I did NOT want to pay for that!

IMG_2268

We grabbed the world’s latest dinner at Heartland Chophouse and Brewery in Times Square and were super excited to see this on the wall. 🙂 Duquesne is a beer, but it’s also the name of the university where we graduated from college in Pittsburgh. The school is beautiful, but I’m not a huge fan of the beer. Ha!

IMG_2269

For as many times as I’ve been to Times Square, I’ve never gone into the huge Toys ‘R Us! Kristen was shocked and made me go in. I had NO idea there was a huge ferris wheel in there!

IMG_2270

This car reminds me of my childhood so if I ever waited in line to ride the ferris wheel, I would intentionally place myself in line so I could ride in this car. 🙂

IMG_2285

It was getting late and we had a whirlwind day, so we started to walk to the Subway…and then I realized the roads weren’t as traffic-filled as they had been a few hours before. Taxi to the rescue. #diva

IMG_2264

My favorite picture to look at on Halloween night. 😉

IMG_2328

We were actually able to sleep in a bit because the marathon has a much later start than your typical 7 AM. The wheelchairs start at 8:30 AM, the professional women start at 9:20 AM, and the professional men start at 9:50 AM with other runners in the first wave. We wanted to see the very first runners but we planned to be at the top of Central Park around mile 23 and then head over to the finish, so we had to do a little time calculation of how long it would take those crazy fast people to get to those places. 🙂

In the meantime, we got to cross a major goal of mine off my bucket list: run through Central Park! When I visit NYC, I usually run on the treadmill at my hotel before I go out with my family for the day. I’ve never wanted to take the extra time to get to the park and run by myself…but this time, I was vacationing with someone who loves to run as much as me, so it was perfect!

IMG_2292 IMG_2299

We only covered about 4 miles, but we ran such a random path that we saw a lot of parts of the park that I have never seen before!

IMG_2303

We were close enough to 5th Avenue to hear people cheering, so we dashed over to where runners enter Central Park and saw the first racer in the wheelchair division come past! They amaze me. Their arm strength is something else!

IMG_2304

We had a general plan of where we wanted to run while we were in the park because we knew we wanted to get near the end of the marathon, but other than that, we were just taking random turns. Which is how we found gems like these…

IMG_2332

Why yes, I did climb on these rocks mid-run.

IMG_2330

#creepingonKristen #runhappy

IMG_2334

Almost to our end point! And more rock climbing.

IMG_2315

My favorite? The track around the reservoir. And the view is so pretty! Even though I had never been to this part of the park before, I got so excited when we arrived because I recognized it from so many NYC runner’s Instagram pages! Ha!

IMG_2336

At 4 miles, we were on the correct side of the park to see the first finishers AND there was a spot in the race course where people were still allowed to cross the street because the masses hadn’t started coming through yet. We dashed out of the park and to the nearest Starbucks. We had junk (read: candy corn for me and chocolate chips for her) for breakfast so we weren’t really hungry…we just needed coffee. Guess what size coffee I ordered and what size didn’t have red cups yet?!

We found a spot along the fence 800m from the finish and had the best time watching everyone run past. We saw the first female and first male professional runners come through which was SO exciting and then we watched for other elites that we know the names of (And you are probably reading this thinking…wait, she knows the names of famous runners? Yes, I do…)! We watched for about two hours and had so much fun seeing people pass one another so close to the finish, cheering on those who just looked like they were in pain, and shouting out to those in shirts with some kind of logo on it. Think Penn State, November Project, Pitt…anyone we might “know”! Everyone appreciates a little encouragement, even if it’s from a stranger. 🙂 We even saw a guy in a Steel City Road Runners shirt, which is a Pittsburgh running club, so that was awesome! He was running with the 3:05 finishers so basically he is awesome and I will never be on his level. Ha!

IMG_2344

Priorities: leave the race and find food and the Steelers game. The Irish Exit served us well. We ran there, because why walk when you can run? It was PACKED so we stood for the first half of the game and finally scouted two seats at half time. Every single person in there was a Steelers fan, so the atmosphere was amazing. My dad and my brothers usually go to the game, but this day, my mom was at the game with her sister and her cousin. I always hope I’ll see them on the big screen, but so far, no luck. 🙂 This game had a stupid, stupid 4th quarter, but it was so much fun!

IMG_2251

Kristen and I got on the Subway to head back to the car around 4:30 PM. We were riding along…and then never stopping. Like just driving through every station. And now we were in the middle of the tracks, so even if the train stopped, there was no platform to step on to. LUCKY US, we were on an express train to 207th Street. Like, the very last stop on that line. We were DYING!!! We promised each other that no matter where it stopped (if it stopped at all before 207th), we would get off and run or Uber back to my car. It finally stopped at 125th Street and I have never gotten off a train faster! Hahaha

IMG_2347

As seen on our run back to my car!

IMG_2350

We left the city around 6 PM. When we were walking back to my car, we saw some runners in their 23rd mile right before they enter Central Park. It was CRAZY to see them because it was already getting dark outside, but at the same time, there were some runners who didn’t start until almost 11 AM! So it sort of made sense to see them then. I don’t know how I feel about the start time though…I think when I run a marathon, I want it to be over when it is still light outside! But I suppose when I finally work up the strength for a full marathon, I can’t really be picky about how or when I finish, as long as I do!

Because there were some roads that were still closed, leaving the city was a little challenging. I ignored Siri for awhile and then let her direct me. I usually take her directions with a grain of salt because she is usually wrong or making me go the long way, but with all the road closures when we were trying to leave the city, I gave in and started listening to her. The night before when our taxi couldn’t move, I mentioned how no one should ever be allowed to drive in Times Square EVER unless they are a bus, taxi, or Uber. And then good ol’ Siri said open mouth, insert foot, because driving through Times Square is exactly how we left the city. Shockingly, it was very easy! And then we got on the highway and Siri turned a four hour drive into a six hour drive. She’s a gem, I tell ya!

IMG_2338

Central Park, you have my heart.

Running Decisions

So, in July, I started talking a big game. I shared so much of my training with you on the blog and then I literally just stopped talking about it because I felt a little bit like a failure. The original game plan –> I was going to start training for my first full marathon! 26.2 miles through the nation’s capital for the 40th Marine Corps Marathon. I chose a training plan, joined a team, and started raising money for two charities: CitiHope International and Give To The World. Once I hit my fundraising goal, I would officially be able to sign up for the race!

IMG_4938

Runners World Half – October 2013

I have previously run four half marathons and I love that distance. However, the world of running is a bit competitive, and once you start racing, you tend to build up the full marathon in your mind. It’s almost like if you don’t run a full marathon, then you aren’t a real runner. Saying that out loud and even typing it just now…I get it. It sounds ridiculous! But it is kind of true. Lots of people say marathons are addicting and once you run one, you want to do more. I knew that I wanted to run just ONE full marathon and I thought running for charity would be the perfect way to accomplish my goal and make a difference at the same time.

783df921ab3d9629a9f91927b23ec9cb

So I jumped right into my training. The beginning of the novice marathon training plan that I was following felt almost comfortable for me. I was only running four days a week so that I could incorporate other workouts and have rest days. Also, the distances were not too far just yet. But as the weekday distances got longer, so did the long runs. And at the halfway point of training, my body was starting to ache with every run that I did. I was not looking forward to my runs because I was constantly wondering what was going to start hurting next and I was getting slower as the distances were getting longer because I was trying to save my energy. I know that some people are able to run fast for longer distances, but I am not in the right kind of shape to do that, and it was a serious mental struggle to watch my paces get slower and slower as the distances got longer and longer. The last long run I did was actual the half marathon distance, and that workout was a struggle, though I did finish. A few days later, I noticed a sharp, focused pain in my shin. I wrote a little bit about my injury here, but basically I had the start of a stress fracture. I had a tibial stress reaction, so my bone was swollen, but it hadn’t cracked yet…so said my sports medicine doctor and my x-ray.

IMG_0348

At this point, I was told to take two weeks off and I was only allowed to use the stationary bike. My doctor said this injury didn’t mean that I couldn’t run the marathon, but I was worried about jumping back into training after these two weeks off. I couldn’t just start where I was supposed to be…because I had missed two weeks of running. And if I went back to do what I missed, then I would feel behind. I was mostly mad at myself for writing all my training runs in my planner in PEN! The first run back after those two weeks off did not go well. I only ran a mile and I should have stopped half way into that mile, but I was so determined to finish.

The more that I thought about it, the more that I realized I was ready to jump back into training. These little aches now were like phantom pains. I could do it…but at what cost? Mentally, I was a mess: I didn’t want to run, my pace was terrible, and I was stressed about playing “catch up” from my time off. Physically, I was not 100%, and my hip was starting to bother me. Two years ago, I started training for the Pittsburgh Marathon and I tore a muscle in my hip (do we see a pattern here with marathon training and injuries?! Lol). That is an injury I have to live with, but when I run longer distances for too many days in a row, it gets irritated again. And that’s what was happening as my training started to get harder. I just felt like I was pushing myself to this finish line when there were 537 signs that told me to stop, take a step back, and slow down.

60c89851f5a7bf7bdf24ea234a032185

I want to be able to run for many years to come. I don’t want to push myself through this training and then have to take months off to recover because I had so many little injuries along the way. Running is not my job. It is my favorite thing to do, and it was very quickly becoming my least favorite thing to do. To quit, in my mind, felt like I was letting down everyone who donated to my team, the other people on my team, and myself. I’m not a quitter. But I am someone who makes thoughtful decisions, and that’s what I had to do here. Two times I have tried to train for a marathon and two times I have come out with an injury. That is obviously something that I have to work on, because many people train and complete full marathons without injury, but for me, I could probably do something better to prevent these injuries. I’m not sure!

IMG_1031

A friend bought me this shirt a few years ago and it has quickly become my favorite again. Me and half marathons are BFF. Maybe that is the longest distance that I am supposed to conquer in my running career! It hasn’t let me down so far. 🙂 As soon as I decided that I wasn’t going to sign up for the marathon, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. I felt free. I could run when I wanted. I could rest when I needed to. I could really let my leg heal without fear of falling behind in training. So right now, I am just finding the fun in running again. I am jealous of all my runner friends who are in the middle of training for a fall marathon, because I so badly want to accomplish that goal. But right now is not my time!

IMG_0931

And that’s the story of the marathon that wasn’t. Thank you for your support this summer. I so appreciate it. ❤

MCM Training [Week 9]

     Currently bawling my eyes out because my baby brother is at school for his first day of junior year today. I cannot believe it! It is a good thing I am four hours away or else I would’ve driven him crazy with pictures this morning. 😉 He’s even old enough to have a friend drive him to school. AH!

IMG_2174

I always get so emotional about “milestones” in both of my brother’s lives, so that makes me wonder how I will act when I have children of my own. Hopefully I am not an emotional mess their entire lives! Hahaha

caution_injured_runner_may_bite_t_shirt-r9befc42e36f240e0933417b4a21a63a9_il4y1_1024

Welcome to Week 2 of The Diaries of Kylie’s Injury. If you are new around here, hello. 🙂 Right now, I am training for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is happening in October. Three weeks ago, I was feeling a nagging pain in my leg that I thought were shin splints. Two weeks ago, I had an x-ray and found out that I have a tibial stress reaction, which is basically the start of a stress fracture. The doctor put me on bed rest (LOL not really) and I have been riding the stationary bike. More specifically, the bike where your feet pedal in front of you. That is the exercise I am permitted to do.

Sigh.

IMG_0689

Do you see the “0:09”? That is 9 seconds until 60 minutes is OVER! I have been trying very hard to ride for an hour, but I usually cannot mentally handle it. This past week, I stayed entertained by “saving” social media until it was time to work out so I had a ton of Instagram posts to scroll past. 😉 This worked well on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday! By Thursday, my brain figured out what I was doing and even Instagram couldn’t save the day. (The doctor never said I had to ride for a certain amount of time, it was just my personal goal to ride for an hour!) So on Thursday, I rode for 30 minutes and then did this strength workout I found on Pinterest.

IMG_0769

You do these exercises as supersets for 8 reps each. So you do 8 dumbbell goblet squats followed by 8 bent over rows, then you rest for 30 seconds. Next, you do 8 suitcase deadlifts followed by 8 dumbbell overhead presses, then rest for 30 seconds. The only time you rest otherwise is to switch out your weights! According to this pin, you are supposed to repeat these supersets for 15 minutes. Oh my gosh. Apparently, I haven’t done squats in a while because I am still walking like a baby deer four days later. Hahaha

IMG_0743

Exercise this week has also looked like 30 minutes on the bike followed by a half mile walk to the nearest Pinkberry to hang out with my friend Sarah. 🙂 I never knew about Pinkberry until I moved to this area, but I LOVE it! It is much different than other frozen yogurt I have had in the past. It actually tastes like yogurt! Ha! In my experience, frozen yogurt is just like soft-serve ice cream. Pinkberry still has all the delicious toppings, but they add them for you. On this night, I got vanilla bean frozen yogurt with cheesecake bites, cookie dough bites, and almond crunch. Because #healthy.

IMG_0785

On Friday, I received some good news about my Master’s seminar paper (finally accepted after lots of revisions!) so I decided I was going to celebrate by going for a jog. Not a run. A simple jog. Well, I don’t know how to jog…because I clocked a 9 minute mile. And I felt a dull ache in my leg at 0.52 miles and did not stop so…runners are also really smart.

IMG_0784

While I walked home and felt sorry for myself for not feeling 100% on this run, I took a picture of this fountain. Which now, in this picture, looks like a statue of a pyramid. But I promise it’s a fountain and there were kids splashing around. 🙂 I left them out of the photo ha!

IMG_0774

I couldn’t let Friday feel like a complete fail, so when I got back home, I went into the gym. In my personal opinion, injuries come when I am slacking off in other areas of exercise…such as strength training. On Friday after my not-so-successful jog/run, I did lots of core work, including these planks where my arms are flat on the ground. Just turning your arm over and putting your palms flat on the floor makes the plank position so much more challenging!

These are my running (or resting) rambles for the week. I feel like I am metaphorically “on the bench” in the running game. What kind of exercise do you like to do when you are on the bench?! I am looking forward to doing some other low intensity workouts this week to mix it up! All ideas are welcome and appreciated. 🙂

Happy Monday!

MCM Training [Week 8]

Well.

I would love to show you lots of pictures like this.

IMG_0228

But in reality, my last week of training looked a lot like this. Boo.

IMG_0476

Let’s start from the beginning.

– Monday –

Scheduled rest day

This is the day that I drove back to Pittsburgh and surprised my family! I shopped with my mom and aunt, then headed back to my Mom’s house to cook on the grill with my Dad and my brothers for dinner. My very favorite hip hop class is called Kam Jamz and while all day, I told myself I really was going to rest on this day, ultimately I decided to go. I’m never in town. I had to! Here’s a short video of the class. It’s awesome!

I chose this video because I’m in it haha! Blue shirt, gray leggings with a purple stripe if you’re looking. 😉 If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, you should definitely get to Faster in Robinson for a Kam Jamz class on Monday night! Kam is the very best. Find her and her schedule on Facebook here!

My right shin was kind of bothering me during class. I’ve been fighting what I thought were shin splints in the past few weeks, but they seemed to have disappeared recently…until this class. All the stomping and dancing was not very good to my leg!

– Tuesday –

Scheduled 3 miles

My training increased in mileage during the week this week. I knew that I had to run 7 miles on Wednesday, so instead of pushing through these 3, I went to the gym and rode the stationary bike. Such fun!

– Wednesday –

Scheduled 7 miles

There was no way in heck I was going to be able to run 7 miles on this day. Now, the pain in my shin definitely didn’t feel like shin splints. It was very focused in one area and I could feel it just when I was standing up. I called my doctor at UPMC Sports Medicine and made an appointment. I figured it was better to be safe than sorry! This was the weirdest day ever…I went out to breakfast with my brother, I went out to lunch with a friend from high school is expecting a baby in November, I got my hair cut, I got my car inspected, and then I went out to dinner with my mom. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the gym to ride the darn bike on this day. Ha!

– Thursday –

Scheduled 4 miles

Today was the day of my doctor’s appointment. I worked with this doctor when I tore the muscle in my hip a year and a half ago. This doctor is super knowledgeable and he’s a runner so I knew I wanted to see him again while I was home about this shin issue. Side note: my left hip is the one I deal with all the time (and I know how to manage it) but of course this shin problem is on the right leg. Can’t all the injuries stick to one side of the body?! Sigh.

IMG_0516

The appointment started off with two X-Rays of my right shin and then I headed in to see the doctor. Dr. Mares is the best! When we looked at the X-Ray, he showed my mom and I that there is a little bump on my bone (the tibia). Basically, that bone is a little bit swollen. When your bone gets a little crack in it, that is called a stress fracture. I don’t have a crack…yet. The pain I am having and the bump on my tibia led Dr. Mares to believe I have a tibial stress reaction. This is caused by overuse, which is SO frustrating to me because I haven’t been running extra miles. I have been following this novice plan to a T!

Dr. Mares suggested that I take two weeks off and said that I am only allowed to bike. More specifically, I am only allowed to ride the bike where your feet are in front of you. Know what I mean!? I should be thankful because with a stress fracture, I would be out for 6-8 weeks. As it is, I am just frustrated because after two weeks, I am not guaranteed to be okay. I’ll be in contact with Dr. Mares again in two weeks to figure out where to go from there. I am so hoping that I don’t have to pull out of the marathon, but I really don’t want to run if I am going to get hurt. I feel terrible because I really WANT to run a full marathon and I also feel terrible because I worked so hard to raise money for Give To The World and CitiHope International, the two charities I am running for. Whatever the outcome, I still raised an amazing amount of money for those charities and if I have to spectate this race, I will. Right now I am just thinking all the positive thoughts! I am praying for a speedy recovery.

Injured-runner1

And I’m also thinking this. 🙂

After my doctor’s appointment, I dragged my mom to the YMCA with me to ride the stationary bike. What are the chances that the other days I was at the gym this week, I used the exact machine Dr. Mares said I should be on?! It was nice to have my mom’s company on this “ride”.

– Friday –

Scheduled rest day

I drove back to DC and spent 30 minutes downstairs in the gym on the bike! I chose the Intervals program to make it a little more challenging and set the resistance to 5, whatever that means. I hadn’t been on Instagram all day so I was quite entertained while I was riding. 🙂

IMG_0574

I also came home to a package full of compression sleeves! I ordered this grab bag from Pro Compression because I was able to get three pairs for only $55! For this brand, that is a great deal. Compression socks/sleeves reduce swelling and inflammation, helping you to recover faster (source)! Because I got the grab bag, I wasn’t able to choose what colors I would receive, but I actually like the choices! I ordered these before this injury and now I am even more excited that I have them!

– Saturday –

Scheduled 10 miles

Derp. I slept in and then passive aggressively liked every single “YAY I DID MY LONG RUN” photo on social media. I usually love those kinds of posts but I was just not feeling the love on this morning haha! In reality, my social media friends did a lot of really great running on Saturday morning so I AM happy for them. Just not so happy for me;) 45 minutes on the bike. One bike was squeaky and one bike was making a ticking noise. I was watching TV but I kept focusing on these sounds. Made a mental note to bring headphones next time ha!

– Sunday –

Scheduled cross training

I charged my iPad, downloaded a new book to my Kindle app, took headphones, and planned to stay on the bike for one hour. Yes, people, today was finally the day I would make it to an hour!

IMG_0655

With 4:17 left until the 30 minute mark, I started counting down. And then once it hit 30, I peaced out. AH! I cannot make myself ride for longer than that. I wish WiFi worked in the gym so I could watch TV on my iPad! Watching the TV on the wall just isn’t the same because I can’t choose what I’m watching. #firstworldproblems

So…one week of rest down, one week to go. Lucky for me, Dr. Mares said that the first few days before I saw him when I wasn’t doing so much high intensity exercise could “count” towards my two weeks off. How am I feeling? Honestly, I feel like my leg feels the same. Tibial stress reaction, go AWAY! I still have a full week of “rest” aka biking to go so hopefully I am feeling brand new by Sunday. We shall see!

Thanks for reading my running rambles. Injuries are no fun, but I know I mentally needed this break as much as (apparently) I physically needed it, too. My mom would like me to quit right now so I don’t ruin my body, and honestly, I WANT to be able to race again, so if this isn’t the time for me to keep training, I really will step away from it. In the meantime, your positive thoughts would mean so much! Happy Monday! 🙂

P.S. First day of new teacher training in Fairfax County Public Schools. So excited!!!

MCM Training [Week 7]

My miles are increasing and my body is FEELING it, in more ways than one. This past week, I was set to run 12 miles during the week with a half marathon distance on the weekend. Since I have raced four half marathons in the past, I wasn’t expecting this long run to be too difficult because I thought I knew what to expect. But then, that’s one of the best things about running. You never know what to expect. 🙂

– Monday –

Scheduled rest day

IMG_0201 IMG_0202

I know how to rock a rest day. And a hoodie. Hahaha! I took my car to the mechanic (for the first of three times…) and took some reading material because those appointments are never quick. After waiting for three hours and being told they would have to keep my car (rawr), my friend Kristen picked me up and brought ice cream. What a friend. 😉 It was 74 degrees last Monday and it felt COLD! It’s been 95* and humid all summer long so an unseasonably cold day was welcomed but confusing!

– Tuesday –

Scheduled 3 miles

IMG_0228

Last week, my first thought upon having to run 3 miles was, “Really? Only 3 miles?” And now this week as the numbers increase and I only have ONE 3 mile run, I am cursing myself for ever having such a thought. This was a GREAT run. I went in the afternoon after I picked up my car and it looked like it was going to rain so the air was a little crisper (making it easier to breathe!). I even felt fast! But there were a few times where I stopped to catch a breath because I felt like I couldn’t run slow on this day. Every time I tried to pull back, it just didn’t happen. My legs were set on running 8:50 miles. That NEVER happens!

IMG_0230

Good job, legs. 😉

– Wednesday –

Scheduled 6 miles

   IMG_0235 IMG_0236

Started off looking like a boss (LOL not) and just had a great morning run. I really love running in the morning because I return feeling full of energy and accomplishment. It seriously sets the tone for my whole day. I am so out of the habit for waking up to run in the morning which is terrible because I haven’t had any incredibly early wake up calls for work this summer! In any case, this was just a fun 6 miles.

IMG_0239

I love waving to other runners who are out getting their morning run in and I love passing all the people walking to work. Coffee shops are buzzing and everyone is walking with a purpose, but if you look closely, there are also people sitting on benches enjoying each others’ company, Moms walking with their kids in the stroller, and tourists who woke up really early! I ran through Arlington and Georgetown and DC and ended on the National Mall so I could hop on the metro and get a ride home. 🙂

     IMG_0242 IMG_0245

On Wednesday night, I went to another hot yoga class with Kristen. Down Dog Yoga in Clarendon offers a free hot yoga class every Wednesday at 6 PM. Last week, I was feeling incredibly weak during class because I had a super busy day and became one of those people I don’t understand –> the kind who forget to eat! So during yoga, I was not at my best because the heat was really getting to me. However, this week, I planned much better and I felt so strong during class! I don’t know if I felt strong because I knew a bit more of what to expect since I was in class last week or if I felt strong simply because I fueled my body correctly all day long, but it was amazing! I hit chaturanga (tricep pushups on your toes) almost every time, I did decent in crow pose, and I held a pretty good shoulder stand, too.

IMG_0263

Free juice at South Block after class doesn’t hurt, either. 🙂 I tried a new flavor this week, Renew, which is carrot, apple, beet, kale, lemon, and ginger. You could really taste the beet and ginger so I wasn’t sure if I was a fan at first, but I downed the whole bottle on the walk home!

– Thursday –

Scheduled 3 miles

IMG_0375

On this day, I hit up the gym downstairs. My hip injury will never truly heal…I will always have a small tear in that muscle. After working with a sports medicine doctor and going through physical therapy, I have re-learned what my body can do as far as running goes. However, my hip still gets irritated from time to time. After stretching in pigeon pose at yoga the night before, my hip wasn’t my biggest fan. Knowing I had 13.1 on the schedule in just a few days, I didn’t want to run 3 miles on Thursday and ruin my long run for the weekend, so I hopped on the elliptical instead. I did intervals: 30 seconds of a regular speed, 30 seconds of a fast speed. I set the machine on Level 8 and just picked up speed every 30 seconds, so it really wasn’t anything special! According to the elliptical stats, I actually did cover 3 miles in 31 minutes, but who knows if that is actually accurate. Usually gym machines are off a bit!

– Friday –

Scheduled rest day

IMG_0248

I ate my favorite breakfast and generally relaxed on this day as far as workouts go. Trying to keep on my promise to do more strength training, I did a quick Google search and found this total body workout from Runner’s World. It includes:

Squat and Calf Raise
Push Up + Plank Hold
Lunges (each side)
Plank (30 seconds)
Side Plank (30 seconds each)
Plank (30 seconds)
Single Leg T-Raise
Bridge
Jack Knife Crunches
Fire Hydrants (30 seconds each side)
Superman

Each exercise = 60 seconds. At the top or bottom of every exercise, you hold for 3-5 seconds. So for example, when you do the push ups and you push up, you hold that plank position for a few seconds before pushing down again. Likewise, when you lift your leg in the T-Raise, you hold it up for 3-5 seconds before lowering it to the ground again. Since you only do each exercise for 60 seconds, it’s a quick workout, but I really felt like it was worth it to work this this circuit! Plus, you can do it anywhere since there is no equipment required. I’m actually doing this again today. 🙂 Again, find the detailed workout here.

– Saturday –

IMG_0322

Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy.

IMG_0324

Rice cake, peanut butter, and banana for breakfast before 13.1 miles. The only rice cakes I had were caramel flavored and the only real peanut butter I had was salted caramel (leftover from my recipe last week). In hindsight, that much sweetness before my run wasn’t the best idea. Ha!

IMG_0326

Miles 1-5 were relatively uneventful. Kristen and I started on the Custis Trail here in Arlington and passed a million others out and about for their long run or ride. The Custis Trail is very hilly so it was a tough start to our course, but we figured it was better to get those hills in at the beginning rather than the end! We stopped at a water fountain in Georgetown to eat Gu (for me) and Shot Blocks (for her) and hydrate. Then it was off to the Capital Crescent Trail where all our dreams went to die. I kid, I kid.

IMG_0325

At this point, the morning had turned into day and it was starting to get hot. We hated the rocky trail so we jumped down to the paved trail. Our legs felt like lead, nature smelled funny, bikers were rude, and we just plain could not believe we had 8 miles to go. We planned to go 4 miles down this trail and then turn around and do 4 miles back, which would let us hit 13.1, but instead we started discussing different route options that would let us turn around NOW. So essentially, our minds were in the wrong place. There was shade, we were running next to a river, there were a ton of other people out waving and being supportive and generally cheerful, and there were bathrooms and water fountains along the way. I wish we could go back and slap ourselves. 😉 Miles 6 and 7 weren’t so bad, but miles 7-10 were a lot of hating everything about running. We had been running without music until this point so we both put headphones in, let ourselves walk if we needed to, and just sucked it up!

IMG_0330

I don’t want you to think we didn’t have fun at all…we definitely did. In between all the complaining ha! I would definitely recommend training with someone who will let you yell at them one minute and take a selfie with you the next minute. 🙂 Three happy moments:

1. Taking pictures by every location sign we passed on the way home: Maryland, DC, and VA.

IMG_0331

IMG_0340

IMG_0351

2. Running into Josh, one of the guys on our training team for the marathon!

IMG_0338

Josh was running 15 miles on this day and he lives in Georgetown so we were all headed to the same place. We did the last 3 miles together and it made it so much better!

3. Seeing 13.1 on Kristen’s watch.

IMG_0343

Both of us have run 13.1 much faster and much happier than we did this past Saturday, but it’s the challenging training runs that make you stronger and more ready to face the distance you are training for. Or at least that is my personal opinion. 🙂

IMG_0290

Overall, I have not felt my best this week. I eat a relatively healthy diet, but I don’t think I am eating enough. I was talking about what I eat in a normal day and it sounds exactly the same as it did before I started training for this race. That is not good because I am running more miles now and if I haven’t changed my eating habits, I’m not refueling properly. I kind of talked about this last week, but it hadn’t affected me so much yet. For most of the weekend, I craved junk food and felt nauseous unless I was eating. When I ate, I felt fine, but as soon as I was done eating, I was back to feeling nauseous. It was very strange. I had a piece of pizza on Saturday night and I had sweet potato fries on Sunday, so I have let myself have some of that junk food that I have been craving, but I don’t think I would feel so ravenous if I just eat MORE of the already good foods that I already eat. Goal one this week: eat more.

IMG_0265

A second goal for this week is to keep hydrating. I talk about hydrating all.the.time and I think I have gotten much worse at it…again, at the absolute wrong time to do so! Now is when I need to be drinking SO MUCH water, and I think I am just dehydrated. I drink more when I drink out of bottles with a straw, so that is my first step. Next, I bought fruit punch nuun at the running store when I stopped to buy Gu. You add one tablet to 16 ounces of water and fill your body with the electrolytes it needs without all the sugar of a typical sports drink.

IMG_0349

Another side effect of marathon training: exhaustion. Like sit down on the escalator to the metro exhausted. Like take two 30 minute naps and still feel like you got the crap beat out of you exhausted. It’s no joke! I had plans to go out on Saturday night with friends and I ended up staying in and watching The Longest Ride with pizza, pretzels, watermelon, and my friend Sarah. Ha! I was talking to Courtney when we met for brunch last weekend and she has trained for several marathons, so she knows her stuff. She does her long runs on Saturday mornings in the 6 AM hour which has me saying OMG NO!!! and she still makes it through her entire day on Saturday without crashing. Lesson: more food. More water. More sleep. Happier Kylie. Let’s see how it goes this week. 🙂

MCM Training [Week 6]

A wise woman (Janae from Hungry Runner Girl) once said, “Run the week you’re in.”

What that wise woman meant to say was, “If you look too far ahead at your marathon training plan, you will have an anxiety attack.”

I just finished my sixth week of training for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is on October 25. Just to recap: I’m following a Hal Higdon Novice I Marathon plan. I’m a fan because I personally can’t run too many consecutive days in a row and I need time to cross train. This plan gives me two days to rest, one day to cross train, and four days to run. That, I can do.

Except when I looked ahead at my calendar.

Saturdays are the day for long runs.

Every long run from now through October 10 is a double digit run.

download

This picture sums up how I felt once I had that revelation. Marathoners of the world, you might be thinking, is she crazy? This is normal! But as a lover of the half marathon distance, my longest “long run” has been 12 miles and my longest race has been 13.1 miles. So when I see those numbers that say 16…20…18…I can’t even imagine running that many miles! But that is why we focus on the week we are in. Because when we get to those crazy long distances, our bodies CAN handle it. We have trained ourselves well. I’m excited to conquer those long training runs, but I’m tired just thinking about it. Saturday afternoon might become the official nap time around here. 🙂

Let’s get to training!

– Monday –

A planned rest day; I ran 4.25 miles with lululemon athletica Clarendon run club.

IMG_9897

IMG_9899

It was hilly and humid. This run was hard. I was the second to last person to finish and I kept waiting for the girl behind me because no one likes to struggle alone! We were given popsicles upon finishing our run, so it was all worth it. 😉

– Tuesday –

A planned “run” day; I rested since I ran Monday with lululemon.

I got a little antsy in the afternoon, so I logged onto Beachbody OnDemand and did a 45 minute Cize workout. This is Beachbody’s newest program. You learn a dance routine in 8 counts…first you learn the 8 counts slowly, then you start to dance a little more to the beat…then you learn a new 8 count. And you keep learning 8 counts in this pattern until the last five minutes when you put it all together and “Cize It Up”…or look like you know what you’re doing. Ha! It was fun. 🙂

– Wednesday –

5 miles before work and my furniture delivery!

IMG_9940

I apparently took few pictures while running last week, but I have a plethora of screenshots of MapMyRun! This run wasn’t nearly as hard as Monday’s because it was earlier in the morning and the beginning was slightly downhill. I did get a cramp during mile 3 that I couldn’t seem to shake and that slowed me down. #positivesplits #yuck

IMG_9942

I also hit my fundraising goal on this day! I was aiming for $550 and I have since exceeded the amount you see here. Thank you SO much to my friends and family who have supported me in my training and Give To The World and CitiHope International in their missions! You can still donate up until the date of the race and you can do that here.

Photo on 1-1-14 at 3.25 PM #3

Throwback to that one time I could kind of do crow pose. I’m showing you this because Wednesday is the day I went to hot yoga and could NOT do crow pose. Or a headstand. Or tricep pushups on my toes. Or any of the other tricks that people were whipping out. But I was just there to stretch. I don’t need to be fancy. Hahaha

– Thursday –

Scheduled 3 miles which turned into a fast 4 miles!

IMG_9962

No sunshine, but the chance of rain made the air a little easier to breathe. I was set to run 3 miles on this day and once I hit the road, I decided 3 “regular” miles wasn’t what I was going to do today. Instead I ran through the park to the nearby high school and did a track workout that I entirely made up in my head.

IMG_9969

1 mile run to the track. 400 meter sprint, 400 meter jog. Repeat 4 times. 1 mile run home. I ended up logging 4 miles on this day, I felt speedy, and it was good to mix things up.

IMG_9968

I say that now, but this is what I thought of sprints on Thursday afternoon… 😉

An aside –> The things we do for our blogs. This is such an unattractive picture. Hahaha! Why did I even take it?!

– Friday –

Scheduled rest day.

IMG_9984

I went on the elliptical downstairs in the gym and read the first few chapters of Bossypants to pass the time!

– Saturday –

12 mile long run!

IMG_0030

It may have been early and I may have forgotten to buy Gu, but this was one of my very favorite runs of the week. The weather was gorgeous (read: I felt like I could breathe) and I was just generally in a good mood! Plus Saturday morning on DC trails is always fun because there are a ton of people out running, walking, and biking.

Also related to training: if I’m going to be really honest, I have been a terrible example of strength training. I do stretch after every run and ride the stationary bike to cool down…this helps my hip. I do use my foam roller and The Stick. I have accomplished my goal of doing yoga at least once a week and I definitely cross train on Sundays, but I NEED to pick up some weights this week! I must! I had some nagging shin splints this past week that eventually went away but I have no excuse to slack on strength training when that is exactly how I got injured before. Our bodies can’t just run and run and run. We need muscle!

IMG_0045

Then we have the power to push our legs through runs that let us see beautiful views. 🙂

So, if my personal goal for the week is to incorporate more strength training, what is your goal? It doesn’t have to be fitness related! Tell me!

MCM Training [Week 5]

Well, I’m back…

IMG_9563

This is a picture of my mom, my brother, and his friend as we waited in line for coffee and breakfast before our vacation. My other brother, Alex, and his girlfriend were in the car behind us. Six of us could fit in my mom’s car, but then where would we put our stuff?! Anyways, after 8 days in Atlantic City, NJ and Wildwood, NJ, my mom and I drove back to DC yesterday. I left my car at my old apartment in Maryland and I needed to pick up my car and move the last of my stuff to my new apartment in Virginia. Are you tired yet?! 😉 My new bed is getting delivered on Wednesday (hello, air mattress on the floor) and I’m not quite finished shopping for furniture yet, so that’s what my mom and I spent the day doing yesterday. BUT, between all that craziness and relaxation on vacation, I have been running. I swear I have. Because the Marine Corps Marathon is in ONLY 82 DAYS!!! My team and I are busy getting miles in during the summer heat and raising money for two charities: Give To The World and CitiHope. Both send medical supplies and support medical care in underserved populations around the world. I am so excited to run for this team and be part of the 40th Marine Corps Marathon!

– Saturday –

Usually, Saturday is a day to run a longer run…but because I knew I was leaving for vacation on this day, I ran my long run of 10 miles on Wednesday, and rearranged the rest of the days of the week a little bit. So on this morning, I ran 3 miles before hopping in the car to drive to New Jersey!

IMG_9561

My town is an old farm town and both neighborhoods that my family has lived in have been right next to farms. They operate on a much smaller scale now, but there’s no shortage of chickens crossing the road (literally) or cows moo-ing as the sun comes up!

IMG_9562

– Sunday –

I still had a 5-miler to get in for this week, but since I was at the beach, I was so excited to run these five miles! I love running the boardwalk or running out in the sand and being right along the water. 🙂

  IMG_9604

First, I started on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and while I was running, I found a race! I couldn’t figure out what it was, because if I knew about it, I would have signed up. I gathered that it was a one mile run and there were people of all ages out there…kids, teenagers, adults, grandparents…everyone! It happened in spurts because there were people running/walking when I started my run and people running/walking when I finished. It was cool to see the different waves of this race take off! I wish I knew the name or what they were running for. 😉

IMG_9607

My dad was at home in Pittsburgh so he was sending me text messages wondering if I was out running yet. Hello, Dad, here I am sweating my life off and squinting like crazy because I didn’t wear sunglasses.

 IMG_9608

I didn’t hit the sand this day because I felt like I was getting shin splints and I just wanted to be done. I wasn’t feeling adventurous. And I had to walk a good .75 miles in the middle of this 5 miles to get it done. But I started with a run, I finished with a run, and I’m counting that as good!

– Monday –

IMG_9650

Besides the fact that Monday is a rest day, my family LOVES to ride bikes on vacation. In fact, we wake up every morning and ride bikes before breakfast and beach time. We have been going to the same bike shop for as long as I can remember. My dad found some old pictures recently and I showed the owner of Surf Bikes…she was so amazed! She remembers us every year and we love seeing her every day while we’re away.

IMG_9046

IMG_0731

Such fun throwback pictures, right?!

– Tuesday –

IMG_9666

 I hit the beach for 3 miles, and I found this little friend…

IMG_9672

…I see one of these washed up almost every year!

– Wednesday –

I made my smartest decision ever and ran five miles without water in the direct sunlight. Runners are so smart sometimes. 😉 I stopped at a restaurant on the Wildwood Boardwalk to ask for a cup of water and the worker said, “Oh, you want a bottle?” And I said, “No…I want a cup…I have no money.” Another great running decision. Leave without your wallet. Hahaha

IMG_9715

This picture was a result of me with my head between my knees in the shade as my Dad texted me and asked how the weather was. Um, Dad, it’s really really hot. We were lucky with the weather, though! We saw no rain all week which is perfect for vacation and laying out at the beach!

– Thursday –

Shin splints. They were real on this day. And I wanted to save my legs for my long run on Saturday, so I did this…

IMG_9761

Went on a 3 mile walk. I had to take photo proof with this little walker guy painted on the boards. 🙂 I walked faster than I would’ve if I was out and about with my family and I really did break a sweat! I need to stop knocking “going for a walk” so much. (Note: I hate walking. It takes forever. I prefer running or biking. Even if I am going to dinner…can we drive or bike? Why walk!? Haha!)

IMG_9763

So because I was walking, I appreciated the finer things in life…like under the boardwalk. 🙂

– Friday –

On Friday, I did PiYo. I am a PiYo LIVE Instructor but I haven’t taught since May because I taught at my university this past year. Oh my did I feel out of shape doing this workout! Good thing I was by myself. 😉 Then…shopping was my cardio. Every year, the convention center on the Wildwood Boardwalk has some kind of clothing warehouse sale. The past few summers, it has been Delia’s clothing, which makes sense because I don’t really know of any Delia’s stores that exist anymore. I haven’t shopped at Delia’s in years so sometimes I had to really look for something that I liked, but it’s a warehouse sale…so it’s all on clearance times ten…so you HAVE to find something. 😉 #girllogic

IMG_9759

This year, the sale was advertising itself as “brand name”, so I was curious. I ended up getting 2 dresses, 3 cardigans, a jean vest, a tank top, a flowy shirt, 2 sports bras, 2 workout tanks, and a pair of pants for $150. Brand names include Free People, American Eagle, C Wonder, and Fabletics. Oh my I was so excited to find Fabletics! I have never ordered from this company because I have heard mixed reviews about their clothes, but I grabbed two sports bras and a tank top for myself and one tank top for my friend, Kristen. Aren’t the patterns fun?! This is the only picture I took of my clothes because I was texting Kristen and asking her if she wanted anything ha!

– Saturday –

7 miles. I woke up an hour earlier at 7 AM to do this run because I didn’t want to get caught in the heat. By 8 or 8:30, it started to get really hot. So I figured if I was almost done at 8 or 8:30, that would be ideal. I went down my favorite path in North Wildwood…

IMG_9839

…took a picture of my favorite house…

IMG_9840

…and turned around and headed back towards our condo. I hit 5 miles at that point which is what I wanted to do because then I would only have 2 to go. At this point, I was having flashbacks to Wednesday’s run where I was begging for water, so I knew if I was going to the Boardwalk again, I needed to stop at our condo first and get water. My mom threw it over the porch railing, I stretched a little in the parking lot, and then I set out for the last two miles.

IMG_9718

Lots of bursts of speed. Not because I wanted to do sprints, but just because I wanted to be done faster. 😉

Things I learned this week:

1.

IMG_9841

My Ray-Bans are the only sunglasses that don’t slip off my face while I’m running. Lesson learned. Aviators, I’ll see you after I get my miles in.

2. Caramel popcorn and Polish Water Ice and nacho appetizers are delicious and might help fuel me through my run…but the rest of my body is CRAVING my regular routine of eating. I made sure to try to stick to normal eating habits for breakfast and lunch. Think egg whites, yogurt, Shakeology, banana with peanut butter, etc. At the beach, I snacked on carrots, cucumbers, rice cakes, and Quest bars…but the rest of the day was pretty much free reign. It’s vacation, right?! But I can’t wait to settle back into my routine of eating. I have no desire to eat out anytime soon. DON’T INVITE ME! Hahaha

3. I really really really love the water and the sunshine and this place.

IMG_9844

IMG_9683

MCM Training [Week 3]

Training this week looked a lot like sweat. That seems to be the theme so far! The heat index was 105* yesterday, so I’ve been hiding inside as much as possible, which is not what I like to do in the summer! I probably wouldn’t melt laying by the pool, but I’m going to the beach next week so I don’t want to risk sunburn before I get there. Sitting under an umbrella at the beach is so relaxing…until you have to do it! Operation: avoid sunburn is in full effect.

IMG_9341

On Wednesday, we did 4 miles on an out and back trail. The air felt thick and it made my lungs feel out of shape, but I survived. I made fun of this mini water fountain when we returned…how nice is it that there’s a short little water fountain for dogs! I’m assuming it’s for dogs seeing as how it’s basically on the ground and I don’t think parents of children who crawl let their little ones drink from public water fountains. Ha!

IMG_9357

There is an actual science and/or specific way to run hills when you are training, but one day this week I only had to run 3 miles, so I ran one mile to this hill. When I got there, I sprinted up the hill and jogged down the hill until my GPS said 2 miles. Then I ran the last mile home. It was a challenging but fast workout! In the midst of packing, I’ve lost track of some of my belongings…like The Stick…which I could have really used this week to get rid of the beginning feelings of shin splints. My foam roller is doing its best…I don’t have time for such things!

IMG_9396

Friday night during marathon training looks like this. You can’t go grocery shopping on Saturday because you will have just run a long distance and you will be starving. And you can’t do much on Friday night because you know you will be getting up early to run said long distance…so that’s when you do your grocery shopping. I seriously would love to be a personal shopper who shops for people’s food. Ha!

IMG_9312IMG_9387IMG_9392

Nutrition has been going well…I’ve been loving chopped salads, Zoodles, and chicken wraps with salsa and broccoli.

IMG_9276

Plus I may or may not have eaten this entire watermelon myself within a week’s time. YUM!

IMG_9404

Saturday was looking like a pretty nice morning to do a long run. It was only 75 degrees when I started, but the radio DJ said the temperature was supposed to go WAY up so I’m glad I got out there when I did! What she failed to mention about the day’s weather (and I’m terrible about checking) is whether or not it was going to rain. I’m more of a “look at the sky and see what it looks like” type of weather girl, so when I saw sun, I thought good things.

IMG_9408

What do you know…5 miles into the run, the sky started to look like this. I was running back towards my car at the moment I took this picture, but I still had 4 miles to go. Those 4 miles consisted of lots of searching for cover/ideas about how to cover my phone should it start raining. Luckily, none of my crazy plans had to be put into action, but when I could see my car across the parking lot, Kristen texted me that it had started pouring where she was…and then as soon as ran over to my car (and ran around it a few times because my GPS said 8.8 miles and not 9 miles), it started to do this:

IMG_9413

Rain drops the size of golf balls! I was WAY too happy to already be in the car.

IMG_9414

Before I ran, I ate a banana, and after I ran, I tried this new-to-me Vega Sport performance protein. I found it at Wegmans and thought I would try a sample. I usually don’t like vanilla protein powder when I just mix it with water and shake it up on my own. Vanilla, to me, needs to be blended with milk and ice in the blender. BUT, this was surprisingly thick and flavorful with just water! It was the perfect “snack” for my drive home.

To Do List:

– Stop wearing the new socks I just bought…they are too short and give me blisters! 😦

– Invest in a belt that holds water/Gatorade and my iPhone 6+. I had a belt that held water bottles, but the pocket for your phone is too small for my phone now! The new belt that I bought doesn’t have room to hold water and I NEED that to survive the summer!

– Figure out how to make Spotify songs play offline.

***

I’m running the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25, 2015. I am halfway to my fundraising goal! If you feel compelled, please help me reach that goal of $550 by donating on this website. Thank you for your support!!!

Training Tuesday: MCM [Week 2]

So, I’m running a marathon. I still can’t believe that my body will be capable of crossing a finish line after 26.2 miles, but other people have done it before me, so I know it’s possible. Now that I have committed to 26.2 miles, I find myself noticing more bumper stickers that say 50 and 100 on them…as in 50 and 100 miles.

No. Way!!!

I know that these races exist because I follow many running Instagram accounts, but it’s like when you notice something, then you start seeing it everywhere. For me, it’s been commit to a long distance, notice even longer distances. I will not be convinced! Hahaha

IMG_9072

I would probably look like this six hours into that race. This is how I felt about making dinner after returning from teaching a Spin class last Monday. Monday is a rest day according to this training plan, but you have to make tweaks to make it work for you sometimes…so Monday, I rested as much as possible…and then I taught a class…and then I was too tired to make dinner. Ha!

On the schedule last week was only a total of 10 miles during the week with a longer run on the weekend. 3 miles, 4 miles, 3 miles. Sounds pretty easy. On one 3 mile day, I planned to run down to a place that I know is 1.5 miles away and then turn around and run back. Keeping up with that theme of easy.

IMG_9159

And then as you can see, I went all over the land in weird directions.

IMG_9088 IMG_9158

Also, I finally got new shoes. They are exactly the same as the pair I had before, but a different color. This was not my intention, but apparently my feet know what they like. Asics Gel Kayano 21, you are the one. 😉 They gave me speed to the nearest water fountains because oh my gosh it has been so humid and hot here! I have been running at random times of the day due to a combination of factors: my schedule, my own laziness, or the fact that it looked like it was going to downpour. You would think the downpour would bring some cooler air with it, but no such luck!

IMG_9161

I usually return home with a face like Rudolph. But it’s okay when upon my return, I find a package in my mailbox.

IMG_9177 IMG_9178

I’ve also been trying to watch my intake of sugar because lots of sugar plus lots of running equals lots of cravings, at least for me. If I eat less sugar, I crave less sugar. Even though the dish above looks quite dessert like, it’s actually plain greek yogurt with chocolate PB2, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. I am really really trying to like the flavor of plain greek yogurt because I know it is so much better for me than the pre-flavored yogurts, but at this stage of the game, I still need lots of add-ins! One day soon I will be a plain greek yogurt girl. 🙂

IMG_9240

I completed this week of training with a long run and the realization that I am actually a week ahead of schedule…which actually makes me feel better because I feel like I am building a really strong base in regards to running and cross training! Besides Spinning, I have also been doing some strength workouts like this one from Blonde Ponytail:

5 Rounds

10 squats

10 push-ups

10 reverse lunges (each leg)

10 plank toe taps (each side)

10 burpees

…and of course yoga, foam rolling, dynamic stretches (moving while in the stretch), and good old fashioned couch laying. 😉 I bought resistance bands so I can incorporate some of the hip strengthening exercises I learned in physical therapy, too! But mostly, my laptop has been my best friend…the Internet is great at providing entertaining at home workouts when I’m not running! I’ve been using Beachbody OnDemand, videos from YouTube, and pins from Pinterest. I use Beachbody OnDemand regularly, but YouTube and Pinterest pins are things I always say I’m going to do, and never get around to. I’m very proud of myself for taking cross training and strength training so seriously this time around!

IMG_9165

There are always some doubts in your head no matter how closely you stick to the plan or how good your body feels. I get mad at myself because my speed is nowhere near where it used to be, but I have to accept the “slower” speed because it’s really not all that slow AND I am not in pain while doing it. We are our own worst critics, but hey, trying to better yourself isn’t a bad thing. 🙂

– What goal are you working to accomplish right now?

– What’s your favorite at-home workout?

***

I’m running the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25, 2015. If you feel compelled, please help me reach my fundraising goal of $550 by donating on this website. Thank you for your support!!!