Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

2013 sure was a crazy year!  


It was my first year of blogging.  I started just after the new year!  Thanks for joining along for the ride.


I ran my first full marathon at Rock n Roll Nation's Capitol.  While I was happy with my accomplishment, I wasn't thrilled with the race itself.  

"Mostly, I learned a lot about myself.  I can do anything.  That is truly how I feel right now, on top of the world!  I never thought I could run a marathon, ever.  But I did it.  It scared me.  Even as I signed up back in November, it terrified me.  All through training, I had moments of self doubt...I asked myself why am I doing this?  Could I actually run 26.2 miles?  Everyone is stronger than they realize.  They just have to not be afraid to put themselves to the test!"


After the marathon, found me with an unexplained injury that required two MRIs, physical therapy on the Alter G treadmill and THREE MONTHS off from running :-(.  Blog here: Journeying Into Recovery and here: Recovery Update

"So... To say I've been down in the dumps over my injury would be correct.  It's been tough. One of my friends, hit the nail on the head when she said "I understand why this must be so hard for you. Running is a part of who you are and these last two years, you've really defined yourself as a runner. And now, you can't do something that has become a part of who you are/how you describe yourself".  It makes it hard also to see goals that I've worked so hard for in sweat, time, workouts, miles- slip away.  My 1:45 half this summer, my sub 22 5k and qualifying for Boston at a 3:35 Marathon before Sept 2013 in order to register for 2014.  With no running since March, these are pipe dreams right now."

I ran my first Cherry Blossom Ten Miler- a DC institution!  


"When we were out on the island, there was a group who had set up their own mock hydration station handing out cups of beer and oreos.  I didn't take any, but I sure thought it was funny.  There was a couple dressed as Ketchup and Mustard cheering on runners with a sign that said, "Runners are beating you, Go Catch Up!"....I yelled to them, "I get it!" and the Mustard yelled back, "Relish the moment!".  I ran a few hundred yards before it really sunk in and I giggled....I got that one a bit late!  Another woman was holding a sign that read, "Holler if you aren't wearing underwear!"...Of course I had to!  I love creative signs and great spectators.  That really added to the course.  Without any family that lives in the area, we never have our own spectators, but I love reading everyone else's signs and pretend they are cheering for me!"

My family was spectating at the Boston Marathon when the horrible events unfolded.  My blog here: Boston Marathon Tragedy


 "My thoughts go out to those who lost their lives Monday.  Those who are hurt, gravely so.  My heart is hurting.  This was senseless and all I can ask is WHY?  This was a day to celebrate life, health and happiness...many running in memory of love ones they have lost to tragedy and illness.  A day like this to end the way it did, breaks my heart and leaves an emptiness. "

I ran my first Nike Women's Half DC and received my very first Tiffany Co. Necklace!  

"It was just AWESOME.  Thanks, Nike.  I am hoping I am lucky enough to get in via lottery again next year!  Laces Crossed! And until then, I will be wearing my necklace as much as possible as a  reminder that we can all overcome the challenges set before us"

I came back off injury with running some great fall races!  PR'd by 4 mins in the Navy Air Force Half and Smuttynose Half Marathon and placed first in my age group at the Ellen's Run 5k.  



Since I loved Nike DC so much, I ran Nike San Fran!


"we met up with Colene from Distant Runners again and her boyfriend Todd in town from Oregon for happy hour in our hotel lobby.  They are such great people!  Colene was going to run the full, but was dealing with a stress fracture in her foot and diverted to the half finish.  Her story here. "

My runs started to take a back seat through the fall as the businesses of re-entering the world of teaching and coaching my school's Girls on the Run team twice a week.  Due to my Morton's Nueroma, I was getting alcohol injections in my feet once a week which would cause two days of no running due to soreness.  

 I seriously considered deferring my registration for the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon due to lack of training.  I had only run my longest run of 13 miles in the previous 8 weeks but I still rocked it and had a BLAST!  


"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!"

In November, I ran the Annapolis Half Marathon.  HARD course but great after-party! 


"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 :-)"

This month, I was featured as one of 50 Awesome People on the DC Fitness Community and One of the Top 5 Most Shared Fitness Interviews by Active DC.  


What will 2014 bring?  I'm thinking another full marathon, getting my personal training certification, my RRCA Running Coach certification and my health coach certification.  I have my fingers crossed to be chosen as a Lululemon ambassador, a Zooma Ambassador and being chosen for Nuun Hydrations Hood to Coast Relay Team!  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Race Review: Smuttynose Half Marathon Hampton, NH October 2013

Setting: Seacoast of New Hampshire, October 2013
Cost/Registration:  $75
We flew up from DC and arrived at the Manchester/Boston Regional Airport.  As a former Wildcat, I had to get a picture with the sign!  And we headed out to the seacoast.  We made a stop at UNH campus where I converted my two loves into Wildcat fans as well!

We met up with my cousins who had flewn in from Raleigh and Charleston so we could all run the half marathon together. 

Packet pick up and expo was located in tents along the beach in Hampton.  We got our packets and took a group photo.  We were staying at the beach and the cousins were staying back in Manchester, so we said goodbye for the evening and that we would see them in the morning.  

The Race:  When we got up in the morning, it was a bit chilly and definitely windy.  I realized that I have no pictures from the start of the race!  It was nice because our beach front hotel was right at the start, so we stayed inside in the warmth until the last minute and didn't have to worry about porta potties, traffic coming into the beach or parking. 

The race travels against the wind down the shore for the first two or so miles.  It was such a strong headwind that I laughed outloud and threw all thoughts of PR out the window, or to the wind if you will!  I passed the first set of porta potties about mile 3 and there was no line so I decided to go even though I didn't have to very badly, but didn't want to waste this opportunity. 

We continued to travel through neighborhoods around Hampton.

It was a "loop" course where we ended up back up on Rt. 1A by mile 9. This was my favorite part of the course!  This is where my rockstar friend Amy was out in full force in the cold and rain to cheer me and a few other friends on.  She is amazing for doing so...pregnant and all!  Seeing her and her amazing sign really gave me some pep in my step.  I was grinning from ear to ear for the next few miles!  I LOVE seeing people I know at a race!
Amy Warner is an amazing friend! 
   We were able to enjoy unobstructed views of the ocean and the gorgeous seaside mansions. Then we travel ran past North Hampton State Beach where some hardy souls were riding the waves.  It was a great run and course for me, because I spent so much time in this area when I was in college.  The seacoast of NH will always hold a special place in my heart.  We got engaged on a snow covered bridge at UNH (even though we were living in San Diego at the time) and we got married in Rye, NH (even though we were living in San Diego at the time).  We just love the NH Seacoast!

Finally we turned a corner and off in the distance I could see the tent at the finish at Hampton Beach.    I crossed the finish line and found my husband, daughter and mom.  Jim had finished about 20 minutes ahead of me and they were able to see me cross the finish line. 

The rain is holding off....but not for long!
The rain really started coming down and it became a bit miserable! 
Laura and I - UNH buddies and bloggers!  Follow Laura at I Tri Training.  She ran a great race!
We enjoyed our complimentary Smuttynose Beers, Clam chowder and Lobster Rolls while shivering in the cold rain!  It would have been a much better after party if the weather had held off...but I know we can't control that!  We decided to go get lunch as a group and enjoy some additional warm soup and beer inside where it was dry and warm at a local beachfront  restaurant. 
When I got my official results back, I realized it was a PR....a PR by a few seconds, but a PR non the less! 

And the medal!  I have always loved Smuttynose because the Harbor Seal is adorable!  I don't have a picture of the shirt unfortunately because as soon as I got, I gave it to my mom.  The small was too big for me and so I knew I wouldn't wear it.  They had a women's and a men's shirt.  The women's shirt was pink (was I was not a fan of), but the men's shirt was black with lime green sides, which was much better in my opinion but they did not come small enough. 

Grade: A  Great course, not crowded, great after-party.  If you are considering this race, I say GO FOR IT! 

I was tempted to run this as a full, but I was already doing Marine Corps Marathon in DC that same month.  I was drawn by the finisher's jackets they had given full finishers the year prior, but it turns out this year they did gym bags instead.  And it looks like for 2014, the full may be scrapped altogether because they are having trouble getting local approval from some of the towns the course passes through. 

Product Review: Nike Lunarglides

I have gotten a lot of questions about what shoes I run in.  I love my Nike Lunarglides!  I started with the Lunarglide 4 and am now wearing the current version of the 5.  (4s can still be found at Nike outlets for a lot cheaper!)

I even wore them for my last full at Marine Corps Marathon.  They've pulled me through my last three halfs and many more shorter distances.  

I used to wear aasics, but I am a total convert now!
The Lunarglides are so much lighter weighing only 8.1 ounces.  You can read more about them directly from Nike here: http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/pd/lunarglide-5-running-shoe/pid-776908/pgid-745942
The come in a much trendier design than my previous aasics and in much more on trend colors as well. 

The Lunarglides have no seam on the sides of the fore foot which has helped me with my Morton's Nueroma because I can spread my toes wide while inside the shoe and there is no pressure squeezing my forefoot together on the sides. 
Overall, I have been very happy with them.  Head to your local running store (or Nike Flagship store if you are lucky enough to live near one like me in DC!) and test ride a pair today!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Giveaway Alert! Runner's Stocking Stuffers....Two Lovely Heads Up Bands and Gu!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win!  Keep them for yourself, or pass along and stick in the stocking of your favorite runner!

I was fortunate enough to recently try Heads Up Bands.  They make great non-slip headbands in a variety of colors and designs.  I got a few different designs and tested them out in a few different ways.

A day of running errands?  No slip!  Didn't even have to readjust once!

An hour of intense yoga?  No slip!  Wahoo!

14 mile run?  Oh baby, it stayed in place! 

Most headbands, my hair just doesn't seem to want to keep them in and they slide back along my head and I have to catch them before they fall off.  Not a good distraction when doing yoga or out for a run!  These headbands use a velvety inside and somehow it works like magic to stay in place...much better than bands with the silicone grippers.

If you get a chance to check them out, swing by their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HeadsUpBands and tell them Live Free And Run sent you!  They have a contest going on to win additional bands as well!

Their designs range from preppy prints, to sparkley, to sporty and they even have 13.1 and 26.2 bands!  I know a lot of you are racing those distances in the near future and they make great GIFTS!

Go check them out and you will be happy you did.  I have been very pleased with my bands!