Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Cherry Blossom Ambassador and Run Coach Training!

I was selected as an ambassador for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler and I couldn't be more excited!   I’ve been running for a number of years now and it always feels good to hit that PR - although they are getting harder to find these days!  I sprained my ankle twice around the holidays and have done almost no running since the first week of December....whomp whomp.  It has sucked.  
Trying to be smart about getting back out there.  This year, as I train for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, I’m training with Runcoach. Runcoach is an app that provides tailored training plans based on your schedule, history, and goal pace and is the official online training program for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  
I am excited to get started.  My physical therapist has said after tests last week that my right ankle now has the same strength as my left which is a great sign.  I ran a 10k a week ago and a ten miler this past weekend and my body felt okay albeit slower since I have not been running.  I was still feeling some soreness/fatigue in the right arch which my PT says is connected to the ankle (who knew!) and soreness in the front of the ankle almost where the tongue of your shoe goes.  So.....I know I am not out of the water yet.  I do not feel like I can return to the volume or paces of where I was before just yet - although I want to so badly!  
Excited to have you follow along and show you the Run Coach online program/app which is FREE to Cherry Blossom Participants!  

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Ranger Relay Lake Wawayanda

This race was beautiful and I had an amazing time.  I am already talking to my husband about heading back next year with a co-ed team.  Camping, friends, running, fall foliage - who could ask for more?


Got up really early and was at Alexis' house at 4:30am ready to head north to New Jersey.  We arrived at the site about 30 mins before our 11am start time.  Took a group picture and our first runner was off.  There are teams of 8 with one runner running at a time and coming back for the hand off.  When I got to run my first leg we were approaching sunset for a gorgeous red loop that went around the lake and I got this view when I finished! 

Friday, February 2, 2018

5 Things to Know About Orange Theory Fitness!

I joined OTF back in late August and I haven't looked back.  I have fallen in love with it!  

1.  THEORY:  Orange Theory fitness bases it's classes off heart rate training and maximizing your time in the orange heart rate zone (hence the name).  Zones 1 and 2 (black and blue) are for warmup and recovery. OTF recommends spending 25-30 minutes of the workout in Zone 3 (green), with 12-20 minutes in Zones 4 (orange) and 5 (red) to maximize afterburn.  You will be required to buy a heart rate monitor through the company with a few different options and price points.  I have the cheapest option- the chest strap and I think it is just fine.  I put it under my bra strap and hardly notice it.  

2. FORMAT: Classes are about 23-28 minutes on the treadmill and then switch to weights/rower on the floor for the remainder of the 55 min class.  

3. SCHEDULING: Classes fill quickly!  I guess that is a testament to how many people love it!  They have a very easy to use app and you can book your classes out a month in advance.  I have an 8x a month package which works out to about 2x per week, but not always.  It is based on a billing cycle such as the 25th to 25th of the months depending on your join date.  You will just have to watch to make sure you aren't going over on some odd months if you try to always go Tue/Thur for example.  If you have unlimited plan, then you never have to worry!  

4.  RECIPROCITY:  If you travel, you can use your class package at any other OTF location around the country.  If you belong to a regular OTF and try to use it at a premium gym (like DC, NYC and LA) you may have pay a surcharge.  I belong to a premium gym (DC) and had no problem booking and taking classes when I traveled to St. Louis for the holidays.  

5. MOTIVATION: The music is always bumping, the lights are dimmed with an orange goal and the coaches are constantly praising and motivating!  The screens showing your current heart rate zone are really self motivating as well.  When I see that I am not in the orange zone but we are working on a time when I should be, I know to push harder.  

What are you waiting for?  Your first class is FREE!  

This post was in no way sponsored by Orange Theory Fitness and I received no product or compensation.  I just love them!  

Monday, January 8, 2018

Easy No Bake Power Packed Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups Trader Joes Ancient Grain and Super Seed Oatmeal
  • 2  tbsp hemp hearts

These cookies are easy and healthy!  The Ancient Grain and Super Seed Oatmeal base is chock full of nutrients as its made from whole grain rolled oats, quinoa, amaranth flakes, almonds, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, flax and chia seeds!  They are delicious!  

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add peanut butter and maple syrup. Stir until well incorporated. Stir occasionally, heating until this mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat and carefully pour in the dry mixture.
  3. Stir and fold until thoroughly combined.
  4. Using a spoon, scoop and drop balls of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Using a fork, flatten cookies to desired thickness.
  5. Chill in the freezer for 15-25 mins, until firm and completely cooled. 
  6. Enjoy! Store in the fridge!  
  7. Adapted from A Beaming Baker

Monday, January 1, 2018

Ten Great Races to Add to your 2018 Calendar!

1. Shamrock Marathon and Half Marathon  March 16-18, 2018.  Celebrate in a tent on the sand with Yuengling beer, stew and the Dublin 5, one of my favorite Irish bands!  Everyone gets decked out in green in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.  It's a big party!  And the latest exciting news.....Kara Goucher will be there.  I am so excited!  I can't wait to go back.   The hubby has run the full and I have done the half.  

2Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  April 8, 2017.  Not to be missed.  This race is a DC institution and self dubbed "Runner's Rite of Spring".   People travel from all over the US, hoping to get perfect race conditions that line up with peak blooms!  The lottery is over, but they do allow for bib transfers and that window is open in February so keep an eye out and ear open.  People are always selling their bibs as the race gets closer.... put the word out that you are looking! 

3. Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon.  April 2018.  Downhill, speedy marathon starting in the mountains outside of Las Vegas.  Finishes in Las Vegas where it's fun to celebrate and recover....racecation!   Free photos and finishers video.  They also have the most liberal deferment policy I've seen of any race allowing more spots to open up as the race gets closer. 

4.  Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon and Lobster Bake.  Portland, ME June 23, 2018.  Race field capped at 4,500 to keep it small.  Coastal course with Shipyard beer, pizza and ice cream to refresh you at the finish. It's only $59 until 1/30/18....and I should mention my medal was gorgeous blue glass!

5. Beach to Beacon 10K Cape Elizabeth, ME.  Aug. 4th, 2018.  Gorgeous course along coastal Maine with a finish at the iconic Portland Head Light House.  Registration is through lottery coming up soon and there is a bib transfer season as well.

6. Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon. September 2018 This race is already sold out for this fall and word on the street is that they WILL allow bib transfers this year.  If you don't get a bib, you can still attend the Sunset Festival attached to the race as tickets can be purchased separately if you aren't running.  A great waterfront course in Vancouver plus sunset yoga festival and concert.  You can read my recap of the 2015 race here.  If you did get in for 2018, I am super jealous of course, but  as always want you to have the time of your life!  Check out the guide I put together to help you make the most of your trip!  I am secretly hoping they will move this one back to August in the coming  years. #teacherschedule

7. Smuttynose Half Marathon September 30, 2018.  Great fall seacoast course and a great medal with the Smuttynose Harbor Seal on the medal!  The beachfront after-party in true New England style is fantastic as well.  Lobster rolls, clam chowder, and Smuttynose Beer!  You can read that recap here of the 2013 race.  I can't wait to make it up north for this one again one day! 

8Marine Corps Marathon.  October 28, 2018.  "More Than a Race".  So true.  You will feel such emotion and pride for your country running this one.  You will feel an amazing sense of gratitude for our service members and their families.  You can't beat the amazing 26.2 mile tour of the Washington, DC area...staring at the Pentagon, running past monuments, the Potomac River and ending at the Iwo Jima Memorial.  Entry for this race is also by lottery which opens on March 22.  I have run this race 4 years in a row 2013, 2014 and 2015, 2016 and you can click on the year to read my race recap.  I won't be running this year.  The kids mini-marathon the day before is also a fantastic event!  

9. Richmond Marathon and Half Marathon.  November 10, 2018.  This was my half marathon PR and my hubby and I both love this race so much that we alternate years that we each get to run it.  We just keep coming back for more!  Great course, beautiful finish festival area, fast downhill finish and easy logistics-we basically park and walk to the start with about 15 mins to go and drive down the morning of from DC!  We love this race! 

10. Annapolis Running Classic  November 2018 Date TBD based of the Navy Football schedule.  Great race through historic Annapolis.  Not flat and not a PR race, but the after party will make the 13.1 mile jaunt well worth your time.  Lots of micro-brews and oysters in the party tent.  They always have amazing premiums for the runners as well.  You can read my recap here of the 2013 race.  The hubby and I make sure this is part of our race calendar EVERY year!  

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: Highs and Lows

2017 was a year of high highs and low lows. 

The year started off with a strong and enjoyable training season determined to BQ or Bust after missing my BQ time by 1 min 12 secs before.  I felt great and strong from January-March, then felt some hip flexor soreness and rested a week then hit a very strong final 20 miler with a negative split.  Later that night walking to dinner my quad seized up causing it hurt to walk/run .  I ran zero miles during my 3 week taper and still decided to give my April marathon a shot anyway figuring I had nothing to loose and I always would wonder “what if?”.  Made it 20 miles and then the quad hurt so I walked the final 6 miles.  I didn’t want to risk further injury knowing I wouldn’t make my time goal anyway...but seriously walking 6 miles through the strong desert sun took forever...I would have rather run!  

That injury lingered with me the rest of spring and the whole summer.  I took up a lot of cross-training...open water swims and strength sessions at the gym.  It was frustrating and felt like it was never-ending- always two steps forward, one step back.  

Fall came and I really wanted to do another marathon.  I wrote out a plan and started training lightly but doing runs on back to back days stressed out my quad.  I realized a marathon wouldn’t be in the cards, my leg just wasn’t ready.  I could run but it would take 3 days for the quad to recover. 

I joined Orange Theory Fitness and began going 2x per week which includes treadmill speed intervals.  I truly had no running goals for fall as my mileage was so low.  I had races on the calendar that I had registered for long ago and still decided to run them anyway.  I completely surprised myself with a close to PR 5k, an 8k PR, a 10k PR, a 10 miler personal course record at the Turkey Burnoff, an Annapolis Running Classic Half Marathon personal course record, and a half marathon PR at Richmond!  They felt like they were out of the blue and just what I needed to jump-start my motivation and spark my confidence in myself as a runner again!  

Now it’s winter- my favorite training season and where I had so much fun marathon training last year- but I need to think about myself and my goals.  I want to train for another marathon...having that so close to BQ marathon will always hang over my head but I’m also terrified to train for one again since I got hurt doing so last time and I’m fearful of it happening again.   I think I may just focus on the half this spring and make sub 1:40 be my goal.  I will run with my run group partial distances as they train for Boston.  I feel confident in that goal- but now to make a training plan that incorporates my OTF workouts since I attribute them to my comeback! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

What Went Wrong This Training Cycle

I had a super strong winter training cycle. 

I registered for the same spring marathon that had gotten me a 3:41:12 in 2016.  I was out for redemption and feeling confident on where I could shave that time to earn my 3:40 BQ.  I started a bit earlier than usual (just after Christmas) and hooked up with a great group of runners who were all qualified and training to run Boston this year.  It was a fantastic fit for me and our long runs kept me at a solid pace and pushed me to tackle very hilly routes I would not have chosen on my own!  I had been consistent with weekday 5am runs and Tuesday track.  I was feeling confident, solid and proud of myself for putting in the work. 

Then peak week arrives......I was pushing myself to hit the high mileage and stay strong.  I started to feel uncomfortable-ness in what I thought was my hip flexor but turned out to be my quad muscle at the insertion point, so I rested it for a few days to take it easy.  Had my final 20 miler coming up that weekend and decided to still give it a go though I wasn't sure how it would go.  Well, the rest worked wonders and I felt incredibly strong and even finished the final 2 miles at race pace.  If that day had been my marathon, I would have been golden. 

I was feeling on top of the world and ready to tackle my marathon.  I was looking forward to a well earned three week taper.  Unfortunately, I was also feeling invincible.  Later that night, we had plans with my BRF Kara for dinner and it was about a 2 mile walk from our house.  With it being a gorgeous night, I suggested we just walk.  The hubby suggested metro but in my mind I thought, what's walking 4 miles after a 20 miler when a marathon is 26.2miles?  I can surely handle that!  Why couldn't I?

The walk there was fine.  On the walk back, I took a step and felt my quad on my right leg seize up/tear in a very sharp and sudden pain.  Then it seemed to sort of go away.  It didn't hurt as bad and I was able to walk home, albeit gingerly.  I decided to rest it because I was not sure what that was or what had happened.  Two days later I tried to run with my daughter to get in her run club miles and the push off to accelerate was very painful.  I decided to just rest it.  I tried a few other times testing out the leg and each time, I could feel that right quad.  I decided to play it as smart as I could and rest it completely during my taper along with lots of ice, rolling, dry needling, massage.  This even meant taking a DNS at the BAA 5k while in town for the hubby's running of the Boston Marathon.  But of course a taper is supposed to be a gradual descent of less mileage not a steep cliff of no running at all.  

 After much rest, the week of the marathon I decided to test out the quad with a 10k at marathon pace.  I didn't have pain, but the quad just didn't feel peppy or strong.  Then two days later, I took it out on a five miler with a race pace downhill section.  The leg felt good.  So I decided I was probably okay to race my marathon.  


Long story short, I flew to NV and ran the race.  I felt if I didn't try- I would always wonder what if and perhaps feel I missed my shot.  The quad made it until about mile 19 when I started to experience pain.  I decided to play it smart, reduce risk of further injury and took a solid walk the final 6-7 miles in....mental torture. 

The rest of my body recovered in a matter of a few days, but the quad not so much.  Now being 3 weeks out it is finally feeling a bit better and I have been taking it very easy.  This week I ran a 1 miler, a 2 miler, a 1 miler and a 4.5 miler. 

So what went wrong?

Every experience is a learning experience and room to grow.  With lots of thinking, here are my insights.

1.  I should NOT have walked those 4 miles that day and that will haunt me.  My leg was in a over-tired state and I should have remembered that.  My muscles don't seem to like to be in recovery mode and then be forced to do work.  I think it would have been different if I walked 4 miles directly after my 20 that morning, but allowing my muscles to cool down and begin their recovery process along with some dehydration, I think they were just not happy and decided to tell me so. 

2.  I did not make cross-training and weight training a priority this training cycle.  Past training cycles I had the spin class I instructed to keep me honest about cross-training and I did a weight session once per week.  This training cycle I was so focused on high miles and to run, run, run.  I thought the more miles would get me that BQ this time around.  It is really hard for me to make time for high miles, cardio cross training and weights....so I just ran.  With no longer having a gym membership since I gave up teaching my spin class due to developing vocal nodes, it was much easier to just grab my shoes and run.

How will I move forward?

It will be hard.  I am trying not to feel a bit down on myself and not feel like I am having to start over a bit.  I can tell I have lost a lot of fitness being a slug these last 6-7 weeks.  I wish I could say that I have been the model example of an injured runner and swimming laps, water running, weight training, spinning, etc to stay in shape while not running and I haven't.  I have swam laps like two times.  I did just join a gym though.....so moving forward cross-training WILL be a priority. 

I am gearing up for another marathon training cycle (Chicago Marathon) but I am trying to not place any goals on myself.  I don't think this will be a BQ attempt.  I know myself and I know that I don't train well in the summer heat.  And knowing Chicago it could also very well be a hot race!  My goal for this training cycle is just to become a better all around runner and I plan to accomplish that with not neglecting my strength training and my cardio-cross training.  I plan to take advantage of the summer - outdoor lap swimming, open water swimming, paddle boarding, and trail running.  Plus I plan on hitting up the new Orange Theory Fitness opening just a mile from my house!  I can run to it!  Wahoo! 

I thought about giving up on my BQ dreams...that maybe I was not cut out for this, but I refuse to give up!