T-Minus 4 Weeks

Life has been flying by fast lately. I am in the midst of marathon training, which is something I love to my core, but the balance of family/life/run has been perfect making the miles an easy work load to handle.  A happy runner is a fast runner. I think many thought I would be upset about the Marathon Trials (more specifically my lack of qualifying) coming and going but honestly I had no bad feelings on that day. We were on vacation so I was unable to spectate but I had two awesome friends who gave me play by plays on FB messenger. It was probably a good thing I couldn’t watch live because I would have had a heart attack watching Shalane struggle the last three miles. Crazy. The Rio Olympic Marathon is going to be amazing and I was overjoyed to hear and eventually view so many friends race on Trials day.

What has been going on in my life?  Here are some quick and brief explanations. We can say that I’ve been checking off a few of my #16in2016s goals.

I ran a 100K Relay with some amazing friends-

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At that same race our team of friends was given the best awards I’ve ever seen. “I am a Winner” and “First Loser”:) (Our team was actually second place but we had a friendly competition with our above friends and so we had awards for our own race. Congrats to all the runners on that day, especially my friend Stephanie who destroyed the 100K race (not the relay, the entire 100K race!)

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I went on a girls only weekend where a little running and a lot of drinking was completed.

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We tried (and failed) to spell LOVE-

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I was on a boat-

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And watched one of my daughters dreams come true-

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With a guy I kinda like-

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I watched the sun set into the Atlantic Ocean from a ship in the Bahamas-

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I ran a little bit-

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And received the sweetest pair of racing flats from my favorite store-

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There are four weeks left until my goal race of the Spring, the Shamrock Marathon.  Training has been going wonderfully but more importantly, life has been going wonderfully. Without the pressure of an OTQ time, I feel free to chase the marathon in a different way (my way) and so in an effort of all-encompassing honesty and accountability, I would like to put it out there that my goal is top 3 females for the Shamrock marathon. I’ve run ten marathons and I have never placed higher than 7th place female so this is a scary one for me. Time is not a huge concern of mine (don’t worry I will not be complacent) but my main goal is to place high.  I recently read Esther Atkins blog post on goal setting HERE and loved it. Highly recommend reading it if you have a few extra minutes. I think I read it five times😉  Love her honesty.

Thank you all for reading. Wishing you all the best in training & life!

 

“You are not a wolf and this is a land of wolves now.” -Sicario

16 goals in 2016

The workout I have scheduled for today is a beast (2 by 4 miles, 12 miles total), so in an effort to allow my body to wake up a bit more and to let my warmest running jacket finish in the dryer, I’ll sit here and blog.

A friend of mine recently shared his 16 goals for 2016 on his blog. I thought it was a fantastic idea and a few of us are following suit. In an effort to hold myself accountable by the pressure of social media, here we go-

1.) PR the marathon.  This is a running blog and I try to stay on running related topics the majority of the time so I’ll start with the run theme. In no way does this mean this is my most important goal, its not, they are all jumbled randomly. After a string of 10 marathon PRs in a row, I’ve experienced 2 frustrating years of no progress in time. I believe I’m capable of sub 2:47 and would like this to be the year.

2.) More memories with the family. Our kids are at a great stage in life where they can now try new things safely. We’ve made plans to travel with them a bunch this year and try new activities (snorkeling, kayaking, etc.) that in years past was difficult to manage with 3 kids at the same age (twins + 1 a year younger). I am beyond excited about this one.

3.) Read two books a month.  With a kindle this is admittedly the easiest goal I have as I’ve already been doing this. Currently I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale. A bit depressing but eye-opening and hard to put down.

4.) Start a garden. 

5.) Sub 1:19 half.  This is a huge jump for me. I’ve yet to break 1:20 (current PR is 1:20:08) but I believe in scary goals.

6.) Learn how to cook tamales. What was I saying about scary goals?

7.)Stick with Strength Work. The twice weekly strength class I am currently attending is about to end and knowing my love of strength and core work I’ll have lost any progress I’ve made within a month. What a waste. I’m committing myself to 2-3 30 minute segments of strength work a week on my own or through my gyms class. No less!

8.) Camping.  We own a tent but have only camped in our backyard and at a wedding where camping was encouraged and we had indoor bathrooms, heat, etc. at our beckon. This year I want to try “real” camping somewhere amazing. Our kids love this so it’s more of a goal to support them. I’m more of a hotel girl myself😉

9.) Race a track 5K. I ran through high school and had a brief stint of running in college and in all that time never had the chance to run a 5000m on a track. There are no track 5ks that I know of around our area so suggestions are welcome.

10.) Continue with Church. I already attend weekly but this is important to me. I always leave feeling refreshed, peaceful, and ready to tackle another 7 days.

11.) Learn basic French. Our neighbors are French citizens working here temporarily for a few years. Our daughters have become best friends and long story short- We have promised our daughter that when she becomes fluent in French, she and I will go on a Mother-Daughter trip to Paris. I learned basic Spanish in high school but know only a few words of French so this #16in16 may be my most difficult…Oh Non!

12.) Blog twice a month. 

13.) Visit Friends & Family more often. As a military wife and mom of three, traveling solo hasn’t always been an option, usually requiring mass amounts of planning and occurring rarely. Now though, our situation has changed a little bit and I’d like to use that change to keep up with some amazing friendships and family love. I even have a weekend with close friends planned soon. This is huge for me! Nashville & Philly, I’m looking at you!

14.) Visit Top Golf.  At least 5 different people have raved about this place and guess what? I actually own pink golf clubs. Add those to the list of silly things I bought in my 20’s.

15.) Ocean Swim Race. We are beach lovers but I’ve never entered an official ocean swim race. I don’t plan on “racing” it. I’m actually a terrible swimmer but I’d love to try an official open water swim this Summer and not drown.

16.) Visit a new State. I’m pretty far along in my quest to visit all 50 states (I’m in the fourties), going to knock another one or few off this year.

There you have it. I’m sure I’ll think of a few more during my warm up today. Let me know if you have any great goals this year or what your planned run is for today. Have a wonderful day!

Surf-N-Santa Race Recap

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This past Saturday the Surf N Santa 5 miler was held here in Virginia Beach. This has always been one of my favorite races even when it was a lengthly ten miler, so  it was fitting to choose as my last 2016 race and, to be honest, that I ran it well. The race starts at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, heads to the oceanfront where you get to run on the gorgeous boardwalk decorated with Christmas lights along the beach….beautiful! The race starts at 4:30 pm making it a perfect time to view the holiday lights and setting sun. Hopefully my photos (some I asked to steal) will do it justice, I highly recommend this race.

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There was no plan going into this race other than to “Run Strong and Have Fun!” After being sick in bed all day Thursday, I had no clue what to expect but with the let down of Philly still hanging over me, I knew I wanted to execute this one well. It was the perfect amount of no pressure, run well attitude. Arriving at the race, I quickly found my friends but our warm up communication was mixed up and I ended up running  a .7 mile warm up solo along with some strides and stretching. The warm up was COLD! I had on my tiny singlet and several people told me I was crazy but I knew once the race started I’d feel perfect and I did. Lining up in the starting area, I couldn’t get close to the front line but found friends to laugh and chat with.  We all did a bit of weaving that first mile but with the wind pushing at our back that was probably a great thing to keep us under control. Around .75 miles in I found myself as second female. I wasn’t looking to run a first mile in 5:42 but I didn’t want to let first female out of my sight either!

Mile 2 was my favorite because I knew there would be a Gingerbread man stop. So fun! You may be the coolest race director ever if you dress as a Christmas tree and hand out cookies during the race you are directing. I didn’t take a cookie but I laughed at how cute everyone looked passing out treats. Mile 2 was 5:49.  There was wind this year but honestly it was not bad at all! Last year I remember hitting the boardwalk to a wall of heavy wind. This year it was a million times better. Weather was great!

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Gingerbreak cookie stop!

At the Gingerbread stop I believe I was still in second place with 3rd and 4th not far behind.  Normally I might be a little worried but I felt fantastic! Let me say that I LOVE reading running blogs. I love reading everyones journey and ups & downs in our sport. One thing that has always eluded me though is when people mention a big PR or breakthrough and say it felt effortless.  I swear I’ve read this a dozen times from the casual runner to many elites and I’m always like, wtf…that doesn’t happen to me. I’ve never had a PR that didn’t hurt like heck. Today was different though. I was working hard but I felt strong and smooth, just perfect blissful running.  Also, while I loved SurfNSanta when it was a 10 miler, it did feel pretty good to hit Mile 2 and think “Only 3 miles left, enjoy them!”  My splits don’t show it but I felt stronger as I went along. Miles 3, 4, and 5 were 5:59, 5:57, 5:56.  Here is my STRAVA DATA. That last mile was into the wind so I am proud of that one At mile 4.8 I saw my coach with a huge smile on his face and I know I was smiling huge too.  I crossed the finish line and didn’t know what my time was because it took me a good 10 or so seconds to cross the start line and I was so happy that I never stopped my watch! I knew I just had the perfect race for me though and thats all that mattered, a race I could personally feel proud about.

All J&A Racing events this year have had the PR board and PR Bell.  I’ve watched friends sign them and ring the bell but had never done so myself.  This felt great guys! I didn’t know my time so I wrote 29:50 on the board.  Later I was told my chip time was actually 29:35. My last 5 miler was in the middle of heavy training and was a 29:55, so 20 seconds faster after marathon recovery and with zero recent speed work shocked me. I finished as first female and 12th overall. On of my favorites, Teresa, finished just behind me and also killed her previous time. She’s been an awesome friend to train and chat with so we were both elated.

First time ringing the bell!

First time ringing the bell!

Wrong time, Right Friends! Finally got to sign the PR board!!

Wrong time, Right Friends! Finally got to sign the PR board!!

After the hard work comes the fun and the post race party was amazing. There is always beer and a catered soup for race participants plus a live band and costume contest. It’s also inside so you are nice and warm post race.  Here are some photos. So much fun.

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I have no immediate race plans but with 13 weeks until the Shamrock Marathon, this race was a fantastic start to a new training cycle. Thank you all for reading and wishing you all a wonderful holiday season!!