Marathon Training Recap: Last 4 Weeks

After my half in Florida in January, I quickly realized that my marathon was just around the corner <- *cue mental freak-out* and my longest run was my only 13.1 miles. I know, I’m terrible and should never increase mileage so quickly, but I took my time and didn’t overly kill myself. I knew I wanted to feel strong, not exhausted at the end of it all. So, off I went for 17 miles.

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Mission accomplished! I was happy, but not dying at the end. I took my pace much slower than I probably could have, but again I wanted to be able to move afterwards. Laundry won’t do itself and my pup still needs potty breaks during the day.

Long story short: the first 5 were decent and fun. I had my girl with me, so my mood and spirit is always high with her. The next 12 were rough. I tried the Margarita Clif Shot Bloks and hated them – give me my Chocolate Outrage GUs all day long! The absolute worst part was reaching the top of a hill, seeing Uptown, and knowing that I had to turn around and run back the way I came [I did an out-and-back course for the 12]. But I knocked them all out and I’ve never felt as accomplished as I did when I returned home to a quite energetic girl, I might add.

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The next weekend I set my mind to complete 19 miles. Now, that’s an increase that makes sense! Once again, Sizz and I took off for our 5 mile loop that takes us through uptown before I dropped her off before heading back out for another 14 miles. I mapped out a course that was more of a loop with a smaller loop in the Southpark area. I love running down there and staring at all the crazy, obsessively large houses, but wish there was a better trail system in the city. I tried the Salted Caramel GU at mile 10 and all seemed to be going smoothly [I also took my favorite Chocolate Outrage GUs at miles 5 and 15]. And then it happened, I hit the wrong button when I went to restart my Garmin after stopping at a light and saved the run around 16 miles. I was so mad at myself that I wouldn’t see a new PDR happen again that weekend. I took my fury out in my last 3 miles and made up some time! Hey, whatever works, right!? At the very end, I was trying my darnedest to get to 19 miles so I was running laps around my building and freaking Sizz out since she could see me from the window. Run complete!

PicMonkey Collage

So, 19 wasn’t too shabby; it was time to conquer a 21 mile run the following weekend. I mapped out a course that was about 16.5 miles knowing that I may cut some corners and didn’t want to come up short after dropping my girl off after her 5 mile jaunt around town. It was incredibly overcast [yet, somehow my Garmin connected almost instantly], so I erred on the side of caution and started Runmeter on my phone. It may not always be the most accurate, but I sure wanted to see a new PDR [and not 2 separate screenshots]! The first 5 went smoothly, as always, and then I dropped Sizz off before continuing on my 16.5 mile out and back course. My Garmin lost signal around mile 7.5 and I could NOT figure out why I wasn’t keeping my pace up – I kept running and running and running. Well, it turns out I was – thankfully Runmeter was still tracking my time. I gave up on my Garmin and let it keep running, but continued to check my pace on my phone. I took another Salted Caramel GU and struggled to get my energy up again for the next 5 miles. I then took a Chocolate Outrage GU and was like a brand new woman again. Lesson Learned: stick with what works! I arrived back home and was slightly shocked when I checked out Runmeter; it was a shiny new PDR for me! Knowing I only had 4.5 miles more to go for race day was a sweet surprise and gave me the confidence that I can complete a marathon in 2 weeks time!

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This last weekend was a bit of doozy for me…I needed new shoes as mine were completely shot. Who knew that when they bend in half vertically that they are done…lessons learned everyday. After a trial run of 5 miles in the Mizuno Wave Rider 17, they just did NOT work for me. I went back to my favorite Run For Your Life and they hooked me up with some sweet Brooks PureFlow 3 that I loved the minute I put them on.  Now, time to break these babies in before completing a challenge that a year ago I never said I’d do: complete a marathon!

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M.I.A. + Snapshots from Life

I have been absolutely M.I.A. for a while now, due to work, training, and travel (oh my the travel), plus the holidays – how in the world can I forget those? Lots of travel coupled with busy, busy weekends meant no time for me…and to be honest I was kinda questioning whether blogging was “for me” or not. But here I am, back again with a renewed mission after realizing that I do miss blogging and building relationships in the blogosphere when I’m not active.

So let’s recap in a brief view then details shall follow later:

October: the Fresh Expo; ABD event; Nick visiting his mom in Cary {weirdly quiet looking at this, but I knew November would be INSANE}2013-10-13 09.53.19

November: Ski Patrol refreshers; Liz + Wade’s Wedding; the Eagles concert; Thunder Road Half Marathon <- New PR; Brenden, Mere + Anna spent the weekend in the QC; Panthers-Patriots game; John Oliver show; and a quiet Thanksgiving filled with shopping! 2013-11-18 20.58.13

December: New York City; busy bee at work; then Christmas in Florida filled with lots of baking!2013-12-24 18.47.48

January: Minneapolis, MN [in the middle of the #polarvortex]; Florida for ZOOMA Half; Seal Beach, Santa Monica, and LA [much more my speed!]; started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge; and marathon training.2014-01-22 11.37.26

February: long, long training runs; delayed MSP trip <- of course, the weather would have actually been decent this time;)

Well, that about brings you up to speed on my last few months. I hope to complete some serious recaps on Thunder Road, NYC, and ZOOMA. Who knows – you might see some more if I have nothing else to talk about 🙂

Now, let’s talk marathon training. As I never told you, it’s time to bring you up to speed: I bailed on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh full marathon since some place to sleep was going to be of concern <- hotel rooms + dogs aren’t always the best, plus the course map didn’t look so fun to me [I train on hills – I don’t want to race on them, but I do anyways]. In a twist of events, I signed up the 26.2 with Donna in Jacksonville, FL on February 23 as an alternative race.

I started this post a few weeks ago, but never published. Now, I’m sitting here looking at a marathon in 6 short days: I’m excited, nervous, and just ready to get it over with. I’ll detail some of my long runs and my goals for this race tomorrow! Check back in to see just how far I’ve run since I left you guys hanging months ago.

Where in the World have I Been?

Well, we’ve been a little all over the place lately. With quite a bit going on, from traveling for work to dog sitting, Nick and I have had so many activities going on that it’s been hard to find time to spend together. Instead of spending more time in front of the computer, we’ve enjoyed dinners together and nights out on the town. In lieu of deep-diving all my encounters, a photo album seems like so much more fun!

2013-09-05 06.06.18 My last Bodypump class for a few weeks









2013-09-05 09.09.47 First PSL after I locked myself out of my apartment. Starbucks makes everything better!






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Beech Mountain sunsets










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Afternoon on the Potomac






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Sunset over the National Mall









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The Capital











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In front of the Newseum, they print and post all Front Pages submitted from around the world.


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And I never fail to get a few runs in when traveling to a new place:

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Nope, never seen a Tweeps car or store before = necessary pictures!





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Not proud of the time, but so happy to hit 13.1 miles again.

Chocolates, Bodypump, & Date Night

Before Nick’s mom left for Tunisia earlier this month, she surprised me with a bag of goodies for my birthday. Not being one to wait, I dug in immediately. Among my treats, were these 2 Lindt bars:
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Oh my! They are were tasty!! I carried both to the office for an afternoon treat/pick-me-up and neither lasted very long. O.M.G. these things are good!

After crashing by 9:30p, I was awake and ready to pump it up and tackle the morning session of Bodypump at my gym.
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Uh oh, this isn’t going to be good…I *might* be becoming addicted to Bodypump. Although I know and feel confident I could handle higher weights, I’m maintaining my use of lower weights for the time being and focusing on my form until I’m accustomed to completing that many reps in a single session; I’d really rather not injure myself at this point. Half marathon training has begun!! Saturday’s run will be the longest training run yet – 10 miles on the schedule! I have a plan for it, so I’m ready to take the challenge.

Anyways, back to daily life: Nick and I decided Thursday night would be our date night for the week and treated ourselves to Villa Francesca to take advantage of the Groupon I purchase 2 months ago <- we’ve been a little busy since then!
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Of course, we were sure to include our girl, Sizzle in the mix [love, love, love restaurants that are pet-friendly]. My take: the food was delicious! I was hungry once again and devoured the Mozzarella Caprese and most of my Penne Con Pollo Promodoro. My only request would be that the Penne dish needed more cheese [but I am a cheese addict]; otherwise the wine, service, and quality was delicious. We are looking forward to our next trip back.

Run Club, Running Habits, Group Runs vs. Solo

Tonight, we ventured out to NoDa Brewing Company so I could join up with their weekly Run Club and tick off a few miles from my weekly tally. Like always, my runs are my time to just think about what I’m doing at that exact moment and forget all the stress I might be experiencing. Tonight was rough – I kept running over my pup [unintentionally! I promise] and just didn’t feel like I hit my stride until the 2.5 mile mark. By that point, I’d given up having that awesome run and convinced myself that tomorrow was another day and to try, try again.

Once I returned to the brewery, Nick and I started talking about how he doesn’t like to run in groups, but would rather take off on his own. I got to thinking about my own style, and quickly realized I am the same way, sometimes. I love my early morning runs before the city awakens, but also enjoy the thrill of runners around me and the need to keep up.

Overall, I tend to like the peace and quiet around me while I run – it’s my escape from everything going on. A way to have a blank mind and just keep going, putting one foot in front of the other, look up and smile. Just be grateful that I can run and I have found something that I enjoy and can pursue any time of the year.

Now, I am in desperate need of some foam rolling action + compression sleeves [hoping my socks get here soon] + stretching. Training is tough, but I love having a goal in the future to look forward to!

K Sizz I think she forgave me…this was right before my face was attacked with Sizzle kisses:)




What’s your preference: run with a group or running solo?
The majority of the time, I am a solo OUTDOOR runner through and through.