Monthly Archives: January 2011

Another Spring Race: Four Courts Four Miler

Well hello there, January 31!  I can’t believe I’m running into you so soon! This month has just flown by.  I have a great January training wrap up post coming tomorrow.  I’m really excited to share my training progress with all five of you everyone.

The winter weather has been keeping me from getting out and enjoying some quality runs.  Even this weekend, when the temperatures were in the 40’s, there was still a ton of ice on the sidewalks in my neighborhood.  I’ve logged a lot of miles on the treadmill, but that’s not very exciting to write about.

I’ve added another local race to my spring schedule (check out my races page for the full list).  The Four Courts Four Miler is a challenging short race followed by a really fun party.

The race description is short and sweet: “Downhill on first half, uphill on second half.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you.”  This is certainly not a PR kind of race, but will definitely be fun because it starts and ends at a bar.  I have been setting the treadmill on a steep hill and speed walking as practice.  Maybe I won’t do so bad!

Blog related updates:

I’ve added a few little changes to CarlyBananas to make it more readable both in a reader and on the site.  If you’re reading on the site, you can now click to subscribe and add the blog to your reader.  I’ve also added an option to connect with me on Twitter and Daily MileIf you have any suggestions for CarlyBananas, please leave a comment!


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What I learned from Studio Yoga

About a month ago, I bought a pass to a small local yoga studio.  Journey Yoga in Arlington lets new students buy 3 classes for $30.  Amazingly, they also offered a Yoga I class at a time that was perfect for my schedule.

At this studio, Yoga I focuses on the basics as a starting point or it can be a place to deepen your existing practice.  I was really relieved to take a class described as a starting point. I am one of the least flexible human beings on the planet (seriously, I’m not exaggerating). My legs are like the world’s tightest rubber bands and my  lines always involve some kind of bent knee.


I do not look like any of these people when I do yoga and that is ok!

I didn’t really know what to expect in my classes but I planned to give it my all.  I was so excited during my first class when the instructor, Sabrina, immediately said not to worry if you couldn’t fold yourself in half or reach your legs over your head.  She reminded everyone that yoga is about peace and balance and happiness.  If being super flexible was the key to happiness then circus performers would be the happiest people on earth.  Point to Sabrina.

I loved the three classes that I took at Journey. They were relaxing but challenging at the same time.  It’s a small class so the instructor was able to come around and correct your posture – but she did it nicely and quietly so it was very constructive.  Each class left me a little sore, but not out of commission. I quickly saw areas that I needed to work on between classes, like my balance (wow, I don’t have a lot of balance!).

If you’re in Arlington and are looking for a new studio, I really recommend Journey.  They still have the same 3 classes for $30 special for new members and they also have a 4 classes for $50 holiday special going on (you can buy up to 3 of these – totaling 12 classes for $150).  Their normal 5 class package is $90, which is still quite reasonable in this area.  You can purchase and schedule classes online. They have a pretty good variety of different class types.

*This is not a paid or compensated review.  The views expressed in this blog are simply my opinions.


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Lost in my own neighborhood

Sometimes runs don’t go according to plan.  And sometimes  that change in plans can totally mess up your running mojo.

Wednesday night, I had plans for a great run.  It was 51 degrees and sunny in Washington, DC during the day – a huge change from the below average temps we’ve had this winter. At 6:30 pm it was still supposed to be above 40 which would feel almost toasty after the ice storm we had on Tuesday morning.  I decided I’d run the 5K course for my Valentines Day race and then do a few slow repeats of the quarter mile hill at the course start (seriously, how mean is it to have a steep hill at the start of a race?!).

Things started off ok – not wonderful, but ok.  Positive: I paced myself up the hill pretty well.  Negative: It was suddenly super windy and I forgot my gloves.  Positive: A guy passed me at the top of the hill and I was able to use him to get my pace back on track.  Negative: Suddenly, 80% of the streetlights were out.

Arlington (and most of Northern Virginia) is absolutely horrible with street lights.  For such a populated area, there are a ton of streets with no lights at all and even more streets where lamps burn out and aren’t replaced for a really long time.  I followed my pacer friend for about a quarter mile before I realized I couldn’t see him when he was between working street lights.  I looked down and realized between streetlights I actually couldn’t see my feet.  This was not good.  I was not ready to break an ankle.  Even though I was wearing a reflective belt, I didn’t feel like I could be certain that passing cars could see me so I turned around and decided to wing it.  The map below shows where things go totally awry.

The green and red dots are the start/finish lines of the race.  The arrows show my path.  The crossed out sun is where I realized I couldn’t see my feet and the ?! 😦 is where I got lost.

I turned down the first side street I saw that was well lit. Negative: Of course, the street curved and immediately turned into a gigantic hill.  Positive: I was already planning on some hills.  I got to the top of the hill and decided to go right. Negative: There was another hill to the right.  Bonus extra negative: That hill was a dead end.

At this point I started to get really panicked and flustered.  I could actually still see my apartment but couldn’t figure out what roads to take to get me back there. Negative: I realized I was totally lost within my own neighborhood.  I stood there for a good 5 minutes and just tried to figure out what to do.  I live in a neighborhood that’s pretty close to a major highway. I usually run in the direction opposite the highway and never really thought about how many roads would be intersected by it.

Positive: I decided to get myself together, accept that this was pretty much a lost run, and enjoy the upcoming downhills while I tried to orient myself.  And I did.  It took me about a mile but I got back onto one of the streets on my usual running route.  My first reaction was to hightail it for home, forget this run ever happened and head back out the next day.  But I realized that ending a run on such a negative would leave me in a bad mood all night so I did a mile of nice, normal running on a street that I recognized.  My shins were so sore from the 3 fairly epic hills but running that one good mile felt so good.

I definitely learned a lesson on this run: Always have a back up plan.  If you’re not sure where you’re going, running up and down random streets is probably not the best course of action.

This weekend it’s supposed to be extremely cold again:

As much as I’d love to buck up and run 8 miles in the cold, I might need to change course.  Thankfully my gym is about 2 miles away, and only a mile from the trail I want to run on.  Long Run Plan B: 2 miles in the cold to the gym, strip down and treadmill for 4 miles, bundle back up and run 2 miles home.  It actually sounds kind of fun!

How do you get yourself back on track when a run doesn’t go according to plan?


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