Sunday, November 24, 2013

Race Review: Annapolis Running Classic

Packet Pick-Up: This race had a really nice option of being able to select a local running store to pick up your packet at the week before.  We selected City Sports Silver Spring and were able to pick them up on our way to dinner downtown.  During pick-up with your bib it entitled you to 20% off anything in the store.  Pretty neat and I love City Sports!

Race Setting:  Naval Academy stadium, downtown Annapolis Maryland and rural roads outside downtown.  A brisk 42 degree start.

Race Course:  This was a tough 13.1 course.  It was a partial out and back so we had to tackle the big bridge twice.  Aside from the bridge, there wasn't many stretches on the course that were flat.  Not a PR course.  We weren't able to locate a good course profile prior to the race, so I did not feel prepared for those hills!

The Race: We got dressed and had the babysitter arrive at 5:45am. 
We drove out to Annapolis in the dark.  The downside of this race was the traffic trying to get into Annapolis and the stadium.  There was only one way in. We started to get nervous we wouldn't make it before they closed the road!  We ended up not risking it and parked in a neighborhood outside the stadium and ran to the stadium, which helped us hit some no line porta-potties on the opposite side of the stadium.  They were I'm assuming they had been there since the last big game!  :-)
The small field size of 3,000 runners made the start corrals very easy to navigate.  They weren't seeded by pace but that it didn't seem terrible.  It was pretty spread out and I had lots of room to stretch and move around.

And at 7 am, we were off!  

We headed towards downtown and ran through the historic streets and by the waterfront.  As we ran down the Main St, I did a bit of window shopping as I ran.  Great stores and a very cute set of holiday jammies in the window at the Hatley store that I want to go back for!
The course had a lot of turn arounds which made it confusing to keep track of where I was on course and if the runners going the opposite direction were ahead of me or behind me.  I was able to catch Jim twice on the course.  I have him a high five as he zoomed past at mile 3.5 and then when I was headed up hill at mile 7.5 and he was headed down, I was able to shout to him that he was 25th overall and to keep up the good work!

I felt the whole course we were either headed up a hill or down one and it was wearing my body out!  I stopped at a water stop at mile 8 to take my Cliff Shot and some water.  I walked a bit as I swallowed it all down.  

I stopped again around mile 10 to stretch.  My knee and hip were feeling sore and tight...all those hills!  

The views of the water and skyline on the bridge were beautiful.  I had to remind myself to take it in and not stare at the ground!  

The finish headed into the stadium parking lot and that last .5 miles had no views and seemed to go on forever!  I ended up finishing almost five minutes slower than my half in October.

Jim met me at the finish line (He got 14th overall male!) and I attempted to stretch out my hip and knee.  They were really sore and tight.  We went to go pick up our finishers items: long sleeve tech tee and tech socks.  Then we headed into the finishers tent.  Amazing! 


Unlimited craft brews and a fantastic band called the Dublin 5.  Immediately after the race, I said I wouldn't run it again, but the finishers party made me change my mind!  It was so fun, I will run next year just for the party and bring more friends with me!  We called to extend our sitter for an extra hour (worth the $20!) so we could stay longer :-)

Then we headed home to relieve the sitter and I attempted to nap since I hadn't been feeling great all week, starting last Sunday.  I took a sick day Tuesday and had a strep test come back negative on Friday.  The doctor said even without strep I definitely had some post nasal drip going on that she noticed immediately when looking at my throat.  So that may have contributed to my slow time as well.  

Grade: B tough course, but amazing party!  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Janji "Run for Another" Giveaway

If you haven't heard of Janji and their mission....they are trying to create change through running gear you'd be buying anyway.  (Similar to Toms shoes).

I am giving away a pair of Run for Rwanda shorts made by Janji.

Enter the giveaway and they can be yours!  They are listed as a "x-small" but they fit closer to a S-M of other brands.  They are a beautiful light blue with green and yellow detail...just like the flag of Rwanda.  The best part?  Each purchase of this particular short provides 3 days worth of nutritional medicine to a child in Rwanda. 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup and Walnuts


1 ½ pounds brussel sprouts

¼ cup olive oil

¾ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon (or 10 grinds of) black pepper

2 tablespoons maple syrup

½ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped in food processor


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To prepare the brussel sprouts, remove any yellow or brown outer leaves, cut off the stems, and cut in half.

In a large bowl, toss the brussel sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper together. Once all of the brussel sprouts are coated in oil, spread them into a 9×13 (or larger) baking dish or sheet tray to roast. Note: You may want to line your sheet tray with foil for easy cleanup because the caramelizing process leaves a sticky residue.

After 15 minutes, stir the brussel sprouts around with a spatula or large spoon to even out the browning. After 30 minutes, stir in the maple syrup.

Continue to roast the brussel sprouts for about 15 more minutes, or until they are fork tender (about 45 minutes total roasting time).

Toss the roasted brussel sprouts with the walnuts and devour!

Do-ahead Tip: Steps 1-4 can be prepared the day before and stored covered in the refrigerator. You can finish the remaining 15 minutes of roasting time (steps 5-6) right before serving.

Recipe found on Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary website:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Race Review: Marine Corps Marathon #MissionAccomplished


Setting: National Mall Washington, DC and Arlington, VA

Cost/Registration:  Registration was insane.  It's a very popular race, so we were sitting by our computer trying to register and the site kept crashing.  We joked trying to get in was more stressful than actually running it!  Next year, they've said it will be done by a lottery system. 

Expo: The line for packet pick up and the expo at the DC Amory was the longest line I have ever seen at a race. We stood in line for about an hour and a half to finally get our bibs and our mock neck long sleeve tech shirt which I really like.  (So much for resting your legs the day before 26.2!)  It wasn't completely MCM's fault, they lost power in the tent they were using for packet pick up, so all of the Marine volunteers were using flashlights to view ID's etc.  We went at 10am on a Saturday which was probably a poor choice, but the line was even longer once we left the expo!

Inside, we tried to find Honey Stinger gels which no one seemed to be selling...only chews.  So we bought some chews even though it wasn't ideal for me.  Fueling for this race I knew would be very difficult after my experience at my last full.  I was actually really dreading it in a way...afraid my stomach would feel the way it did last time...and bring me to tears.  That race recap is here:

I bought some arm warmers since I knew that the race start would be chilly and I couldn't locate my black ones after returning from San Francisco the weekend before.   I wore them for the chilliness of the Nike Women's Half.  Race recap here:

Then I saw the Run Washington booth and stopped by to see if I could get a copy of the issue that they interviewed me for.  I found it.  I mentioned I was in it and they had me sign a copy for the booth.  I felt famous :-)

Then we stopped by the Runner's World booth and I got to meet Bart Yasso!  He was at my husband's full at Leigh Valley in September and Jim said he was so nice.  He rode his bike along the course encouraging runners along.

We didn't stay too much longer, since my mom had flown into town to watch our daughter and I wanted to get back to them and enjoy the day.

My husband and I then did the exact opposite of all marathon advice...we didn't rest or stay off of our feet!  We headed a bit north of DC to go apple picking.  We walked all over the farm for the next few hours....whoops!  We then headed home for a pasta dinner and an early bedtime.

THE RACE:  Got up at 5:00am the next morning in order to have a healthy breakfast of oatmeal with coconut and chia seeds and some coffee.  We got all our stuff in order and headed out to catch the 6:00 metro into downtown.  The metro was full of runners and spectators.  I love that.  Of course who else is crazy enough to ride the Metro that early on a Sunday morning?

We arrived in Virginia and got off at our stop.  We had a long walk to get to the starting area, about a half mile.  There were long lines to enter as due to precautions every bag had to be searched.  We waited in a very long porta-potty line but were treated to a very cool air show of sky divers holding U.S. was a super cool "pre-game show"!. 
Photo credit: I Heart Running
I ate half of my chomps in line while I was waiting as some extra fuel.  Then we walked another half mile to the starting corrals.  I was being VERY conservative with my corral time since I hadn't put the training in.  I had only trained for a half.  My longest run was 13 miles in the last 3 months.  So I started with the 4:45 group.  Not smart.  It was slow going and there were a lot of walkers, even in the first mile. 

The race was very crowded almost the entire way.  Around the 6 mile mark, I caught sight of another teacher at my school who had hopped in the race to run a few miles with her friend who was running her first full.  I chatted for a bit and then took off.  I was trying very hard to hold back on my pace to a 9 min mile.  With racing the half distance three times in the last 5 weeks, my body wanted to go fast!

The course really was incredibly crowded.  I didn't feel comfortable until probably mile 18 or so.  Up until then I felt so claustrophobic.  I kept telling myself I would never run a big race again.  I even got knocked in the jaw at one point by another runner's elbow face is at elbow level...I am short. 

I stopped at every water station along the course since I didn't have a water Sherpa like I did last time.  Thanks Anna!

I had told myself that I could really quit anytime since I was not trained for racing 26.2.  At mile 16, someone had a sign "They play Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber on repeat in the SAG van, FYI".  That made me laugh and I thought to myself, that's it....I am finishing this thing!

I saw a couple from college there to cheer on their sister three times along the course.  Hearing them shout my name was a HUGE boost!  The crowd support on this course was almost nothing I've ever experienced!  :-)

I ate the vanilla and mocha flavored cliff shot gels along the course.  I had one of each and felt they powered me through really well with no stomach issues like my last full. 

The actual course was really beautiful....monuments, Rock Creek Park, Haines Point...
Photo credit: This Mama Runs for Cupcakes!  Read her race experience
Photo credit: This Mama Runs for Cupcakes! Read her race experience

Haines Point was really tough emotionally...

The part I didn't enjoy as much was when we headed back into VA.  There wasn't as much crowd support over there and the roads were really poor quality.  With my Morton's Neuroma, uneven surfaces cause a lot of foot pain, so in the final five miles I was trying to push through exhaustion and pain...not fun and it showed in my splits....but I pressed on! 

About mile 23, there was Bart Yasso on the sidelines cheering as on!  I gave a yell, "Bart!"  and he pointed at me! 

Finish Line:  I came across the line at 4:21:07.  The finish line was great.   They have finish line video online that you can watch yourself which is really neat!  You enter the chute and a Marine shakes your hand and places the medal over your neck.  My Marine gave me my medal and I said to him, "I am a hugger" and gave him a huge hug instead of the handshake!

You then head over to an area where they get your photo in front of the Iwo Jima memorial.  I was chatting with another runner in line and someone joked that the two of us had too much energy and looked like we could run the course again!  When it was the other runner's turn to take his photo he decided to do a jump shot....after he did that, heck, I wanted to too!

I walked a long way down the chute to find my friend Anna and husband Jim who had finished over an hour ahead of me and we proceeded to the beer tent.  That was a great time.  They were not stingy with the beer like at Rock n Roll DC so we really enjoyed ourselves.  We made friends with two ladies sitting next to us.  They were very nice ladies in town from Boston.  One of them had BQ'd at MCM and so did my husband so we had a lot to chat about!


Grade: A- Overall, I felt this was an AMAZING race.  One of the best I have ever been a part of!  It was very inspiring to be a part of something like this.  I had no idea how much it would affect me! 
I didn't like how crowded the race was though..  I almost felt it was too many participants on small roads.  Seeded start corrals would have been really nice.  Some races do pace bracelets that you have to submit times before hand for....which would be really nice.  But I realize almost 1/3 of those running MCM, it's their very first marathon. 

At the end of the race, in the immediate exhaustion of it all I said I probably wouldn't do it again...or any marathon again...but I think I will on both counts.  I experienced no soreness after the marathon and then next day was racing my Kindergartners up hills on our field trip to the apple orchard.  MCM Lottery for 2014....I am ready!

The next day the results of the top 500 were in the Washington Post!  Anna and Jim are in there!  

And Jeff Galloway had this to say: