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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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Belated Recap: North Face Endurance Challenge DC

On Saturday, I ran the North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon Relay and had so much fun. This was my first trail run ever and I absolutely loved it!

North Face puts on such a great race!

I ran on Team Heart Breakers – including Suze, Theresa and new friend Maryll, an awesomely fun group of girls who just wanted to have a good time.  And we did. We treated the day more like a picnic with a side of running than a stressful race.

With a view like this who could be stressed?

Algonkian Regional Park is just so pretty! The North Face put together a great area for runners to hang out during the day.  I’ve really never seen an area like this.  It was like an expo during the race.  There were some vendors, a bunch of giveaways, food… we weren’t bored at all while we waited our turns to run.

A glimpse of the festival area

Heart Breakers

I ran second for our team and we were one of the last teams.  It was really quiet and really peaceful running on the trails pretty much all alone.  My Shuffle died despite charging it all night and I’m actually kind of happy about it.  I really got to enjoy my surroundings and just run.  Let’s be honest, my usual hip-hop stripper music mix probably wasn’t totally appropriate given the gorgeous nature setting.

Despite starting alone,  I did see a lot of 50K/50M/Marathon runners finishing up and I tried to cheer for all of them.  I can’t imagine running that kind of distance and I was so impressed that everyone looked like they were really having a good time out there. So for the relay we started out running kind of around a golf course/soccer field part of the park and then made our way onto the real trails.  I loved it.  It was kind of an out and back, with the exception of the a tiny loop (at the top right of the picture below) where I got really confused and felt kind of lost.

The Relay Course

In general, I loved the course though I have nothing to compare it to as it was my first trail run.  I was so happy with how well marked everything was, with the course support (the volunteers were so great), with the aid stations.  There was really nothing about the course that I didn’t like – except that the final area leading to the finish line had no shade cover.  The sun was really beating down by the time I crossed!  Even so, that is such a tiny stretch of course that it hardly mattered.

As I was coming up on the finish a guy who was running the 50K ran up behind me and screamed “This is my sprint right now! Are we sprinting?!”  I laughed and said I was sprinting for me and he was doing great! He asked me to run it in with him and I did. It was so fun. I couldn’t imagine being so funny after running so long.

Coming into the Relay Exchange

All done!

After I handed off the timer to Maryll I wandered around to cool off.  I actually found some ice baths over by the bag drop that no one was using so I soaked my feet for awhile and that was painful awesome. I had some weird cramp in the arch of my left foot and that brought it way under control.  Our team ended up finishing in 4:39:38!  I’m beyond proud of us!

Of course, the day didn’t end here.  There was my awkward encounter with Dean Karnazesbefore we left the park.

This is how I geek out.

And of course a post race celebratory dinner at Sweetwater

Cheers!

All in all, the most fun race day I’ve ever had.  Thanks to team Heart Breakers and the North Face for an awesome time.  I can’t wait until next year!!!

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