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Happy 1 Year Running Anniversary to Me!

Happy 1 year running anniversary to me!

There's no point in celebrating an anniversary if there's not cake involved.

This week has been so busy at work. I’m really sorry to have just completely vanished from the blogging and twitter world.  I was so busy that I completely missed my 1 year running anniversary!  Thanks to technology, I can share the embarrassing details:

I may be slow now, but I was really slow then!

Yep. That was Week 1, Day 1 of Couch to 5K.  I decided I wanted to run but knew I couldn’t do it on my own and that program was a life saver.  I made a lot of mistakes, like running ever single run on a treadmill, but the guide times were crucial because I never really played sports or ran before.

I remember thinking I’d run my goal race (Clarendon Day 5K on 9/25) and maybe a few more but I’d never aspire to run more than 3 miles. Only crazy people would want to run for longer than that! I did the 9/11 5K as practice – I had a horrible cold and was totally miserable – and was TERRIFIED to run Clarendon Day.  I ended up having a really good time though. I was thrilled with my time of 33:54. I figured I’d run a 10K sometime in the spring… maybe another 5K.

But then Suze talked me into the Rockville 10K in November and I had fun doing that, even though I’m pretty sure I got through the race on adrenaline alone.  Prior to the race I’d only run more than 3 miles twice – once I ran 4 and once I ran just over 5.  We did the 10K with a 4:1 run/walk ratio and came in at around 1:09.  I’ve only run 2 10K’s and this is actually my PR.

After this I was hooked on running but had no idea what I was doing training wise.  I ran the Jingle All the Way 10K – it was crowded, freezing and pouring – in December.  I started training for the GW Parkway 10 Miler in January. I tried to do every run as fast as I could and not surprisingly I ended up with some IT band problems in February.

Coming back from the IT band problems led me to discover some heart/thyroid issues I didn’t know about.  I didn’t get an awful lot of quality training in before the 10 Miler but I finished it and I’m proud of it.

I ran a series of 5K’s in my neighborhood in April and knocked my 5K PR down by nearly 90 seconds.  My goal of taking it to sub-30 in 2011 is still possible – hopefully at this year’s Clarendon Day (yes, I’m going to use that super big downhill to accomplish my goal – I’m crafty like that!).

You know you've run a PR when your finish pics all show you staring down your Garmin!

Also accomplished in my first year of running: running as part of a relay team for the National Half Marathon, completing the Warrior Dash, running my first trail race as part of a marathon team at the North Face Endurance Challenge and starting to run with a group/coach so I can get to my half marathon goal without getting hurt.

I can’t believe that I’m a month into training for my first half marathon.  I can’t believe I got the guts to train with a group and I REALLY can’t believe the workouts I’ve pulled off in the short period of time I’ve been working with them.  It’s been an amazing confidence builder and I’ve met some awesome people.

So here’s to my first year running. I can’t wait to see what year two brings!!

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April Wrap Up

April was a fun month, even though it was kind of chilly and really rainy!

I can't wait to see the May flowers after all this rain!

April was a fun month.  It started off with a huge 5K PR at a local race series that runs through my neighborhood.  It was a lot of fun and I was really excited.

I started taking heart medicine to fix the heart problems I’ve been having over the last few months.  It’s been great for my health but very hard for my body to adapt to exercising on the new medicine. I’m starting to notice it getting easier and I’m looking forward to seeing that continue.

I volunteered at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and ran the George Washington Parkway Classic 10 Miler.  The 10 miler was so hard for me but I was really proud to finish.  I know I can only get better at running longer distance!

So many bananas!

Done done done!!!


I started going to boot camp in mid-April.  The workouts are tough and leave me really sore.  I’m not super in love with the teacher but it’s only a one month class.  I know that strength training will help me running so I am trying to learn to embrace it.

I ran 3 more 5K’s in the Crystal Run 5K Friday series, 2 of which were in the rain!

Yay, I finally got over my fear of tripping over the timing mat and took a good finish line pic!

You know you've run a PR when your finish pics all show you staring down your Garmin!

I set another PR at the 4th 5K.  Two PR’s in one month! Pretty impressive! I’m already planning to blow it to pieces this fall after my half marathon training.  I can’t wait.  Hear me now, I will break 30 minutes in a 5K this year!! 🙂
I also had a great month on the blog! My traffic continues to go up every month and while the number is still tiny it’s nice to see that there are a few people who find these stories interesting!  And in April, I wrote my most viewed post When Can You Call Yourself a Runner and was blown away by how awesome runners are.
April’s been great but now I’m ready for May.  I can’t believe how quickly this year is going!! Towards the end of May, I’ll start training for my half marathon – Virginia Beach in the beginning of September.  I am so excited!
I hope everyone had a great April and hope your May is even better.  Do you have any big plans for May?

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GW Parkway 10 Miler Recap

I’m having a hard time putting my experience at the GW Parkway Classic into words.  On one hand, I met my post-injury time goal of finishing under 2 hours (1:59:45 – what up!).  On the other hand it was an extremely difficult race for me, physically and mentally.

I actually slept pretty well the night before, which is really rare for me.  We were up at 5 am and on the bus to the start of the race by around 5:40.  We got there by 6 and then had about 2 hours to kill before start time (the Parkway Classic is a point to point race starting at Mount Vernon.  There’s very limited parking there and if drive to the start there’s no way to get back to pick up your car after).  Thankfully the race organizers knew there would be a bunch of sleepy, hungry runners and they provided an awesome start area for us.  They had space blankets to keep us warm, coffee, bagels, bananas and Vita Coco water.  Seriously, it was awesome.

The time went by really quickly. We posed for some before shots with our space blankets:

Toasty.

Waiting patiently

Before we knew it we were off running.  BF started way ahead of me and Suze, he was in the 9:00 minute pace group because he’s fast.  We started with the 11:00 minute group. I can say the first mile of the race was probably my best.  We started off a little fast, at a 10:35 pace, and then my next 3 miles were progressively much, much slower (11:20, 12:02, 12:28).  I was freaking out and coming across 2 problems that I wasn’t expecting at all: A terrible blister and a kind of bad reaction to my new heart medicine. I think I was starting to scare Suze by mile 4.  My heart rate was going nuts – not my normal 205 beats per minute nuts – but a newly medicated can’t seem to beat fast enough to keep up with my activity kind of nuts.  It felt like I had a side stitch in my heart.  I did a lot of walking trying to figure out if I was even going to be able to run.  I decided to just run as much as I could and pray that later on I’d be able to pick up enough to not finish in dead last.  There was no way I was going to stop, I’d walk it in if I had to but I really didn’t want to.

This was stressful enough but I also ended up with an epic set of blisters on my right foot.  I haven’t had a blister in a long time and wow, so painful.  Seriously, I came pretty close to crying a few times.  It was just so unpleasant.  Not like the National Half Relay where I felt like I was going to hurl but was at least having fun when all was said and done.  I just felt miserable, like I’d never ran a day in my life and was trying to push through 10.

I managed to knock 1 second off my pace during mile 5 and finally, at around mile 6 my heart rate seemed to stabilize. I was still a little out of it but thankfully that weird pain went away.  My pace picked up on mile 6, slowed a little on mile 7, and evened out on miles 8 and 9.

At around mile 9, I realized it was still a teeny bit possible to make my goal, even though I told Suze it wasn’t.  I made it up the awful hill and took off on the downhill hoping I could make up enough time to cross in just under 2 hours.  I almost gave up right before mile 10, with the finish in sight.  I looked at my Garmin and thought it was impossible because I had added an extra .1 in distance early in the race while dodging the crowds.  I knew I’d hit 10 miles in under 2 hours but I thought the finish line was impossible.  As I slowed down a girl on the sidelines screamed at me “Don’t quit now! You’re so close! You don’t really want to walk!” And I looked at her and almost cried but I took off running and heard her and her friends screaming for me and I just about burst into tears.  It was honestly the most perfect timing and was so inspiring. Random girl, if you ever happen to read this – THANK YOU SO MUCH!  That cheer was just what I needed because I crossed the finish line in 1:59:49, with 11 seconds to spare.

Done done done!!!

BF was waiting at the finish – he’d been done for about 30 minutes! I was so proud of him!  He kept me from crying about how hard it was and was so happy that I finished.  We all went and met up with the huge crowd of coworkers who ran, they all killed it. Seriously, I was the slowest by like 25 minutes, but I don’t care.  I’m so proud of myself for pushing through and somehow, miraculously meeting my time goal.  I spent awhile thinking about how much better I could have done, but I snapped out of it.  Races don’t occur in a vacuum and though I think I could have knocked 6 or 7 minutes off that if I wasn’t feeling weird from the new medicine or covered in blisters, that’s the situation I faced yesterday and I dealt with it as well as I could.

I know a lot of people raced this weekend and I hope all of you had a good time!

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