Week 11 (8/24-8/30)

Week 10 was a solid week, I left some miles out there but overall I was content with the week.  Coming up is another tough week with 3 longer runs, after that I get a bit of a reprieve.

Monday:  4.1 Miles (Pace 8:11)

Today was a good day to start off the week and inspired me to run my mid-week article about the running community.  I ran later in the evening, the humidity returned, but was bearable.  I ran around my neighborhood.  For the last few runs around my neighborhood I always see a group of young boys playing in the same area.  Everytime they see me one yells, ‘Hi’ and I yell ‘Hi’ back, then he says ‘My name is Justin’ and I’ll respond ‘Hey, Justin how’s it going?’.  Our brief conversation always goes that way, today he yelled back you always say the same thing, I laughed to myself, by then I was to far away to say anything back.  It is reassuring to see nice young people in the area.  (Gee, I sound old. haha)

Tuesday:  10.2 Miles (Pace 8:56)

My friend Kristen was suppose to run with me today she wanted to run longer than we normally do at Tin Roof, which is where I met up with her and some other runners.  I wasn’t sure if I was feeling up to 10 today and I told her I would be running at a slower pace.  She took off with the other runners who were running around a 7:45 pace, about a mile in I broke off and ran by myself the rest of the way.  They only ran about 5 miles total.  I ran around the stadiums, Fed Hill, Locust Point, Ft. McHenry, and back along the promenade in the harbor.  I picked up my pace after mile 7, to change it up a bit and make sure I could do after running slower.  When I got back to Tin Roof everyone had already left, so I went to 7-11 got a gatorade and drove home.

Wednesday:  5 Miles (Pace 8:04)

The MAC was suppose to start a new run group tonight to take the place of City Sports Run Club.  When I arrived only one other person was there and I asked the staff if there was going to be a run tonight.  He said no, it would start next week.  Since I was down in Harbor East I decided to run the loop I would have ran with City Sports.  I ran into Kristen about a 1/4 mile in and we ran together.  It was a negative split run and I was pretty happy with it!

Thursday:  2.1 Miles (Pace 8:11)

A tempo run was scheduled for today, but I sort of squirmed out of it.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for my long run this weekend and I rationalized that I sort of did a tempo run yesterday and talked myself into an easy run around my neighborhood.  I was really happy with my splits, I eased into the run with a 8:43 mile and turned it up the second mile and ran 7:43.

Friday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:21)

Even though I took it easy yesterday, today was a scheduled rest day.  I ran in the early evening and took an easy run around the neighborhood.

Saturday:  9 Miles hiking; 1 Mile (Pace 8:11)

Today, plans changed about 10 times.  I was supposed to go hiking with my friends, then I arrive and they told me we were running.  I didn’t have running shoes, but said I would run in my Vibrams.  Then we get started on the trail and we decided to hike, but I left my water and gear so I didn’t have anything to drink. We hiked 9 miles in about 4 hours.  The terrain wasn’t that difficult but my legs were tired after being on my feet for that long in Vibrams.  We stopped and ate afterwards, the food was good, but it did not agree with me.  I stuck close to home for a while.  Once I starting feeling better I decided I should get in a mile.  Today I was suppose to run 10 miles, but the time I was on my feet and how I was feeling I figured a mile run would make 10 and that is I rationalized it.  Plus I wouldn’t have been on my feet for so long if I had just ran 10 miles like I wanted to, anyway…

Sunday: 17 Miles (Pace 9:35)

It was a bit warmer today than it had been the rest of the week, so I decided to hydrate throughout the day and run in the evening.  This run was the first one in a long time that I decided to take a fuel belt with me.  I had 20 oz. of water and some bloks to help keep the sugars in my body up.  I was feeling great during the run, I decided to start at the Korean War Memorial and do a tour of the city.  I ran the docks on Clinton St. then up to Patterson Park where I did some laps and hills, then along the promenade to Harbor East, into Locust Point, through Fells and down into Little Italy.  I felt strong throughout the run, I was drinking a little bit of water every 4-5 miles and taking a blok at the same time.  I would chew on them for about a mile instead of eating it quickly.  Everything was going great until just before Mile 16, I’m not sure what happened.  I looked down at my Garmin and things started to go black, I almost fell over.  I thought I had been taking enough fluids and eating, but I started to think I was dehydrated.  I thought there was a convenience store close by so I made a loop and doubled back, but no such luck.  I knew one was about a mile away in Power Plant so I made my way over there.  I wasn’t feeling good at all.  I bought some water and gatorade and mixed them together.  I was starting to feel better.  I gave my left over water and gatorade to a homeless guy outside the store.  I chatted with another one for a little while about exercise, he told me I should do some pull-ups and I’ll get ripped really quick!  I thanked him for the advice, popped another blok and started running again.  This time I think the blok actually made me feel worse.  I was running on President St, trying to figure the quickest way back, when someone started yelling my name.  It was my best friend and his wife driving by, I yelled back to turn around but they didn’t hear me.  I stopped and called his cell phone it went straight to voicemail, thankfully his wife answered.  They were getting dessert at Vaccaro’s.  I asked if they could give me a ride back, they said they could, so I ran over to where they were at.  As I got to the bakery, my Garmin beeped for 17 miles.  I got really stiff on the quick ride back to my truck.  I know I left 3 miles out there, but they weren’t going to be quality miles and I wasn’t feeling well.  When I got home I stretched out and sat on the floor for a little while.  I wasn’t really feeling well, but that is to be expected after a long run.  I hopped on the scale, I always weigh myself before and after a run, I had lost 7 lbs. on this run.  That could explain why I wasn’t feeling well, most of that was water weight.  I drank some more fluids, but didn’t feel like eating.  After an hour I started feeling better and had a light snack, before finishing typing this and going to sleep!  Overall, I think this was a good week of training but I’m looking forward to the reduced mileage next week!  Oh and next week is a race week, I decided to run the Charles St. 12 for the first time!

Total Miles:  49.4

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Not the best photo, but I took it after 17 miles so...
Not the best photo, but I took it after 17 miles so…

Running Community

My thoughts may be a bit scattered this week for Thinking Out Loud, but hopefully they come together in a way you can understand!

I’ve had a really good running week so far, not in the actual running sense, rather in the running community!  The running community is unique, there are no membership cost, no official sign ups, if you want to be a part of it you can be.

I once saw on a meme “If you care if someone calls you a runner or a jogger, you are a runner!”  It made me laugh but it is that simple!  All you need to do is take that first step and keep on going, if you run 1 minute, 1 mile, or 100 miles you are a runner.

Sometimes I do get irritated with the running community (see Pet Peeves #1).  This week though I have been reminded repeatedly why (most) runners are great people and fun to talk to!

On Monday, I had a friend I had not heard from in 10 years send me a message on FB to ask me about running his first marathon.  I think he has been reading my blog or saw my post about training.  By no means am I an expert but it made me feel really good that he would ask me for advice, I referred him to a few websites and gave him some tips about running his first marathon.  Later in the day I called Boston Street Running to ask if they had a weekly run group, I’m looking for one after last week 😦  They currently do not but I had a really great conversation with Miguel from the store and I’m looking forward to stopping in and meeting him.  We actually talked about my blog, he put a link up to the odd mileage races on the store’s website.  That reminds me if you are looking for a race this weekend the first ever Baltimore 6-miler is Sunday.  Looks like a great course along the water!

Source: bostonstreetrunning.com
Source: bostonstreetrunning.com

Tuesday I ran with some friends, I ran a bit longer, but if gave me time to think about why I started running and all the great experiences I have had with the running community.  You never know where running with take you!  It has taken me to the Bahamas, Philidelphia, Providence, Niagara Falls, DC, and a few other places.  When you are going to a desitnation for running you meet great people who share your passion.


People always say to me, ‘you must really love running’ I joke back saying ‘on some level I must, just not consciously’.  I do enjoy the health benefits of running and you can do it anywhere, anytime, with minimal equipment, and it is all about the effort you want to put in.

Today (Wednesday) I went to a new run group at the MAC but it was cancelled.  I decided to run in Harbor East anyway.  When I walked out of the MAC one of the Harbor security personnel commented on my shoes and we had a great conversation about running and how to get started.  I do love talking to people and hopefully motivating them to start running, you never know where it will take you!  Once I started running I ran into my friend who was running and we ran together for 5 miles.  I enjoy running with other people even if we aren’t having a constant conversation, most of the time I enjoy the company.  After running I stopped in Lululemon (of course I bought a shirt) and had a great conversation with some of the staff who I consider friends!  They asked about how my training has been going and told me about some new yoga classes for athletes I should check out.

The running community is full of all sorts of people with different personalities, backgrounds, goals, and great stories!  If you are on the fence about lacing up your running shoes or are worried you aren’t going to be fast enough I would encourage you to throw those cares away, get out, and log some miles alone or with someone!

You don’t have to be fast, you just have to put one foot in front of the other!

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Re-cooping after the long run.

Week 10 (8/17-8/23)

Well Week 9 didn’t go exactly as planned with mileage, but it was better than Week 8.  I honestly think I was still recovering from so many hills!  Half way through the marathon training plan and I’m feeling pretty good about things, but a little nervous.  I know the marathon is still two months away but I’ve been laying in bed awake at night worrying about breaking the 4-hour mark.  I really want to make sure that happens this marathon!

Monday:  4 Miles (Pace 8:04)

Today I decided to run the promenade around Canton.  My plan was to run 3 miles, but I was feeling pretty good and decided to add a mile and make up for some of the miles I skipped out on last week.  The evening air was warm and humid, but not as bad as it had been during the day.  There were lots of people out enjoying the evening.  I really do enjoy running along the water, much more than in my neighborhood.  I think that is because I actually see other people out running and the scenery in general is much better!

Tuesday:  9.5 Miles (Pace 8:30)

This evening I decided to run with Tin Roof Runners.  They normally run around 4 miles so I knew I would need to add some miles today.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to run miles before or after meeting with them.  The heat index was over 100 during the day, so I decided to get in the extra miles after.  We started running late, it was a little after 1900 hrs. by the time we started running.  It was only a few of us.  I pretty much ran by myself and the lead runners turned well before I was ready to.  I ran the waterfront through the Harbor, Fells Point, Canton, all the way to the end of Clinton St. and back.  It was a good run!  It is amazing the difference the weather can make when running.  Last Sunday it was much warmer when the sun was up and I was struggling to get 10 in.  Today wasn’t ‘easy’ but it was much more comfortable.

Wednesday:  5 Miles (Pace 8:03)

Tonight was a special but sad run, I decided to write a seperate blog for this run.  You can read it here.

Thursday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:14)

I decided I would run hills tomorrow instead of today and take a rest day today.  Today was my Dad’s birthday so I went out to dinner with my parents.  After dinner it looked like it was going to rain so I quickly changed and logged a mile around the neighborhood.

Friday:  5 Miles (8:33)  Day #300 of the Running Streak

My alarm went off at 0530 hrs.  I hit the snooze.  It went off again at 0539 hrs.  I hit the snooze again.  The alarm went off again at 0548 hrs. I finally got up but didn’t want to.  As I started getting ready I was sort of anxious about running with November Project, not because I don’t like the group but because of the weird ‘ritual’ they start off with before running.  I talked myself into going, mostly because I told my friend Sarah I would be there.  Today’s morning welcome was especially weird in my opinion, it was a welcome with a Sponge Bob theme.  For anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like cartoons and I think I’ve shared before I don’t like strangers touching me so this morning really peaked my social anxiety.  November Project using the hashtag #hillsforbreakfast since they run hills, but they normally incorporate some other exercises into their workout.  Today they had portions of the hill you were suppose to sprint, skip, and sprint again, then other circuit exercises at the top and bottom.  When I do hills I just like to run so I didn’t do any of those things.  Really I pretty much decided not to run with November Project.  I was feeling really anxious after the weird welcome so I just did hill repeats on both sides of Patterson Park by myself.  I like running with people, but I don’t think I can get past the beginning of the workout with November Project, they are a great group thought.  If you enjoy a crossfit-type workout and don’t mind getting really close to strangers I recommend it, but I think I’ve finally decided it isn’t for me.  I did (6) 800m hill repeats, not as fast as I wanted to but it was a good run and after about 3 hills my anxiety started to subside.  I also decided to meet some friends in the evening for Floyo, it is yoga on paddle boards.  I am really glad I went we all had a good time and it was a good way to work on the core as well as stretch out!

Saturday:  1.5 Miles (Pace 8:37)

The weather today was more like a late September day rather than late August.  I had every intention to run 9 miles today, but by  the afternoon I was exhausted.  I have no idea why I was so tired, I went to bed at a descent hour and hadn’t really done much other than meetings in the morning.  I took two naps and finally convinced myself to run.  I was meeting some friends from high school and didn’t have a lot of time, so I ran around the neighborhood.  Not an exciting run but I got some miles in.

Sunday:  14 Miles (Pace 9:26)

I went to bed early last night and got a full 8 hours of sleep, maybe even a little more, but I was really tired all through the day again today.  My original plan was to wake up at 0400 hrs. to run, but decided my body probably needed the sleep more than the running.  I had meeting in the morning, then by the afternoon I was wiped again.  I took a nap and dosed off again.  I finally talked myself into running around 1830 hrs.  The weather this weekend has been great and it was in the low 70’s when I started my run.  Right away I was feeling lethargic and generally not well.  About 2.5 miles in I almost got sick, at mile 3 I made a pit stop in the Four Seasons and felt a bit better after that.  I ran into my friend Kristen, she was running with some other friends and we quickly made plans to run Tuesday.  I was starting to feel better, by mile 7 I was thinking I could do 19 maybe even more.  I felt pretty strong up until around mile 12, then my hips started to tighten up.  They felt like they couldn’t rotate with my body, at this point I pretty much knew my run was done.  I slugged through the next 2 miles and made it back to my truck. I was a little dissappointed I didn’t get in 19, but it could have been much worse considering how I felt when I started.  I think running everyday and following the marathon training plan is started to take its toll on my body.  I’m looking forward to a real rest day!

Total Miles: 40

-Veggie Fueled Runner



Goodbye City Sports-Harbor East

I had thought about writing this for Thinking Out Loud last week, but I wasn’t ready.  I thought about starting to write it earlier this week but I wasn’t ready.  Now there is no time left, so it is time to write about City Sports Harbor East closing their doors.  It is a bit sad to write about, I just ran with them for the last time before they close on Aug 23rd.  For my running friends who read this I am sure they will tell you though I put up a tough facade, I’m the ‘sappy’ one of the group…you may agree after reading 😉


In Feb of 2013 I was going through a rough patch and running was a way to take my mind off things, I still think running is a great form of therapy.  I had run with several groups around the city but couldn’t seem to find one where I felt like it fit in.  Then one cold evening in February I tried City Sports in Harbor East.  That Wednesday night it was just Tim (the run coordinator), Theo, and myself.  We quickly struck up a conversation during the run and even though they knew each other pretty well, they made me feel included.  After the run Tim asked me if I wanted to go to Whole Foods with them and get a smoothie, I said sure then quickly realized I didn’t have my wallet.  Tim said not to worry about it, he would cover me and I could pay him back next week.  I still don’t think I’ve paid him back.  I continued going to City Sports on Wednesdays; Tim, Theo, and I became good friends and we started running together quite often and hanging out.  As the weather warmed up more people started coming to run club, it was great to meet new people.


City Sports Run Club growing!
City Sports Run Club growing!



In late July or early August of 2013, the perfect storm seemed to happen though none of us knew it until afterwards.  The new residents and fellows came to Hopkins and other hospitals in the area and many were runners who started coming to City Sports Run Club.  Many of us quickly struck up a friendship when we all figured out we were training for the Baltimore Marathon.  We started running together more frequently than just Wednesday evenings and then we started doing more things together.  There were eight of us who became really great friends.  We became, as we called ourselves, the core of City Sports Run Club: Tim, Theo, Lizzie, Cat, Stefany, Rich, Camila, and myself.

Theo, Tim, Stefany, Camila, Cat, Me
Theo, Tim, Stefany, Camila, Cat, Me


Patapsco State Park Saturday Morning Run Theo, Tim, Rich, Camila, Kristen, Me, Cat
Patapsco State Park Saturday Morning Run
Theo, Tim, Rich, Camila, Kristen, Me, Cat

I can remember when and how I met each one of them.  We didn’t just meet and gel instantly, but it happened pretty quickly.  Over the next year we got to know each other pretty well and we weren’t in each others lives just because of running.  There are so many stories I wish I could share, but some times special things like what we had are better left in our memories.  My individual friendships with each of the other seven means so much to me and was/is unique in it’s own way.  I used ‘was’ not because we aren’t friends any more, but some have moved away because of work.  We don’t talk or see each other multiple times a week, but we still text, email, and chat from time to time.  Some of us do still run together.

Run to Remember 5k, then we ran another 12 miles Tim, Firefighter, Me, Theo, Richard, Camila
Run to Remember 5k, then we ran another 12 miles
Tim, Firefighter, Me, Theo, Rich, Camila

It was a perfect storm because I don’t think you could ever replicate how we all came together for that year.  As I said most of us ran the Baltimore Marathon that year, I had my worst finish ever (let’s just leave it at that).  I wasn’t prepared to run a marathon, but that didn’t matter, that night we had a Marathon Party at my house and it was one of the best times I’ve had with friends.  That was the first of many gatherings at my house, we would watch football games here, had a holiday party, a spring party, birthday parties, and my graduation from grad school party.  We would pretty much come up with any reason to have a party and bonfire at my house.

Marathon Party 2013 Theo, Me, Lizzie, Cat, Camila, Tim
Marathon Party 2013
Theo, Me, Lizzie, Cat, Camila, Tim

My friendships with the core eight took me all over and opened up my mind to things I had never thought about.  I traveled to Africa on a missions trip with Camila, went to Mexico for Cat’s wedding, ran a bunch of races with everyone, and Lizzie even opened my mind to vegetarianism; though she didn’t deliberately try to.  I wanted to see what it was like and couldn’t be happier with my dietary decision.

Zoo Zoom 25 degrees! Stefany, Rich, Laura, Cat, Me
Zoo Zoom 25 degrees!
Stefany, Rich, Laura, Cat, Me


Richard, Cat, Me, Darrell The City Sports Run Crew
Richard, Cat, Me, Darrell

Through the winter in addition to traveling and having random parties we continued to run together every Wednesday at City Sports.  Regardless of the weather we would all show up because we knew the other seven were going to be there.  We ran in the frigid cold and even in the ice, I’d say we enjoyed it on some level because we were doing it together.  After every run we would normally go to a local restaurant or bar and make plans for later in the week or catch up on what everyone had been up to. Great times!

Pretty sure it was like 8 degrees this night!
Pretty sure it was 8 degrees this night!
Teavolve after a run! Theo, Me, Stefany, Darrell
Teavolve after a run!
Theo, Me, Stefany, Darrell

As the summer of 2014 approached we knew things would be coming to an end.  Rotations at Hopkins and the other hospitals were ending and some of the Core Eight had taken jobs in other cities.  Tim had given up his position as run coordinator because he had gotten another job and didn’t have time, plus his focus was elsewhere.  Camila was the first to move, a few weeks later Rich left.  People’s schedules became more hectic and it was harder to get people together after that.

Random Saturday Run Lizzie, Theo, Stefany, Me, Cat
Random Saturday Run
Lizzie, Theo, Stefany, Me, Cat

I still see some of the Core Eight on a semi-regular basis, some more than others.  I look back and cherish that year we had together.  I left a lot out of our story, because some of it is private and personal to us.  We know what we had and we know that we will have that forever in our hearts and minds.

Saturday in the rain and 40 degrees Cat, Lizzie, Me, Phil, Camila
Saturday in the rain and 40 degrees
Cat, Lizzie, Me, Phil, Camila

Two weeks ago City Sports announced they were closing for good, due to their lease expiring and they would not be relocating in Baltimore.  Tonight (Aug 19) was the final Wednesday City Sports Run Club, it was a bit sad to walk in and see the store practically empty.  I thought about how many times I had been there on Wednesday evenings to run.  It was a small group tonight, but some familiar faces were there.  As I ran, I thought about that what City Sports Run Club had done for me since I had discovered it and all the great friends it has brought into my life.  These friends have changed my life forever, and without City Sports Run Club I would have never know them.  Tonight was a farewell to City Sports Run Club but also a fond walk down memory lane.


My advice to you, if you’re fast, if you’re slow, it doesn’t matter find a local run club and give it a try.  You never know who you are going to meet!  Who knows you could be part of a perfect storm.


Thank you City Sports Run Club Harbor East!

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Re-cooping after the long run.


Week 9 (8/10-8/16)

I am so happy week 8 is over.  I thought running in St. Thomas would be really nice and peaceful, it proved to be the exact opposite.  Seven days of runnings hills really took a toll on my body.  If I ever have to run in St. Thomas again it will be to soon!

Monday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:03)

It wasn’t in the cards, I couldn’t run in St. Thomas again.  Early in the morning I decided I would run once I got back home.  I couldn’t take another run on the mountain.  I knew I would be tired after a day of traveling but would rather do that than run on the island again.  Once we arrived at BWI it was late, our flights had been delayed.  When I got home it was raining out but I didn’t care I was looking forward to running on flat ground, I thought about going further but it had been a long day of travel and as much as I enjoyed running this evening I wanted to get to sleep!  It is good to be back!!!

Tuesday:  9 Miles (Pace 8:11)

Okay, now back to my training plan!  Normally, I’m not a fan of mid-distance runs during the week but today I was looking forward to running on terrain that didn’t have 20% inclines!  My friend Cat and I met at along the waterfront and ran about 4 miles together.  She was doing a tempo run, which I didn’t know before we started and the first four miles were faster than I would have liked to start out, but it was good to push the pace.  She ran home after our four together, it was actually five for her, she had to pack for a trip.  I thought about continuing my run back home but that wouldn’t have gotten me to nine and I would have had to loop the neighborhood.  I didn’t really feel like doing that, it was still early evening so I decided to head towards the harbor and turn around when I felt like it.  I ran along the promenade all the way to Harbor East.  I looped Harbor East and headed back towards Canton.  I had slowed my pace down some, it was pretty humid out.  I hit nine miles along Boston St. near the Safeway, it was a great run.  I walked around a little to cool down and then called an Uber to take me home.  I have really become a fan of Uber I like it because I’m not forced to run in a circle and come back to the same place, I can do an out-and-back run and get a ride home when I’m done.  If you haven’t tried it I would recommend you do!  Use my promo code for a free ride davidj3146ue

Wednesday:  4.1 Miles (Pace 8:12)

I was a bit sore after yesterday’s run, I think my body is still recovering from last week.  I did some stretching through the day and put on some Arnicare cream which really helps!  I recommend it for any type of pain you are having.  I went to an early dinner with a friend and ran afterwards.  I waited for the sun to start to go down, the evening air was cooler than it has been recently.  It took me a little while to get into a rhythm, but when I did the run felt smooth.  I thought about going further but decided to stick to the plan for today.

Thursday:  3.1 Miles (Pace 7:50)

My right foot was bothering me most of the day, it was the side of my foot; not much I could do in the way of stretching.  I waited again till the sun was setting to run, the air was unusually cool for an August evening.  As I started to run, I wanted to focus on my form.  I could tell it was a bit off the past few runs.  I took the first mile easy, focusing on my stride, core, hip rotation, breathing, getting into the groove.  The first mile was 8:30.  Today was suppose to be an interval workout but I’m going to do hills tomorrow, so I thought I would do a mini tempo run.  The second mile I felt like everything was falling into place from my foot strike to my arm swing.  I clocked mile two at 7:50.  I wanted to have negative splits for the run and was feeling strong, I pushed a little bit more in the final leg and put down a 7:21 mile.  I was really happy with the run, not because of the negative splits but with how I was able to focus on my form and make some corrections.

Friday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:27)

The plan was to run with November Project, the plan did not happen.  I didn’t sleep all that well, I was tossing and turning most of the night and when I woke up  I could tell I was really dehydrated.  Opting for a better run later in the day I didn’t go to November Project.  Through the day I was pretty sore and my training plan did call for today to be a rest day so I decided to only run a mile.

Saturday:  1 Mile (Pace 7:50)

I felt much better today and thought about moving my long run to today.  I thought another day of rest which my plan called for would be good.  I did a loop around my neighborhood and pushed the pace a bit.  I think my body is still recovering from Week 8, it was a rough week last week.

Sunday:  10 Miles (Pace 8:46)

Normally I like to do my long runs early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the heat of the day.  My friend Kristen couldn’t run until 1000 hrs, we actually started at 1030 hrs.  It was already heating up for the day.  We planned to do 13 miles, but by 5 miles I knew I didn’t have it in me.  The heat was brutal and there was not a lot of shade where we were running.  We stopped and got some water.  We decided to start to make our way back.  While I was running I looked down and could see the salt just ‘pouring’ off of my legs with the sweat.  I was loosing fluids fast.  We stopped at a ground fountain in the harbor that shoots water into the air.  We walked through it to cool off and it helped.  We were both exhausted when we got back to her house.  We met up with our other friend Ben and after showering then went to the pool for a few hours.  All the sun really zapped my energy.  Though it wasn’t a perfect week, it was much better than last!  Long runs must be done early in the summer!

Total Miles :  29.2

-Veggie Fueled Runner

FullSizeRender (5)
Not a run photo, because I forgot to take one this week…oops!

Week 8 (8/3-8/9) St. Thomas

Week 7 of training was tough but a solid week.  The speed work and long run took it out of me, but I’m looking forward to running in St. Thomas this week.  (editors note:  I did not feel this way at the end of the week.)

Monday:  3.1 Miles (Pace 8:58)

Touched down in beautiful St. Thomas today with two of my great friends Paul and Adrienne.  After a flight delay and long’er’ day of flying then planned we had arrived.  As we drove to the resort I couldn’t help but notice how hilly the island was.  When we arrived at the resort there was nothing but hills leading up to our condo.  I was wondering where I was going to run.  We went to eat and I noticed the roads really didn’t have a shoulder to run on either, ugh!  After dinner I decided it was time to log some miles.  I descended the first third of a mile from the condo, it had to have dropped at least 500 ft.  I had to lean all the way back and work to slow myself.  Finally I hit some level ground and decided to run on the main road.  I went up to the next resort and I stopped at the guard shack and asked if it their property was level.  When the guard told me yes, I asked if I could run on the property. She said it was okay and off I went.  After making two loops around the property I was getting ready to leave when six security guards came up and stopped me.  I explained the guard at the gate told me it was okay to run on the property, they informed me I could not.  I apologized and told them I was leaving anyway.  They laughed and said it wasn’t a big deal and let me go.  Shew!  Thanks goodness!  I ran back to my resort and began the very steep ascent to back to the condo.  I was so happy to reach the top.  I was hoping to run a bit faster but I’m happy with the amount of hills and uneven terrain.  A good first night in St. Thomas!  (I looked up the elevation it was actually 230 ft. over .4 of a mile with 20% inclines, no wonder it felt so much higher!)

Vacation Face

Tuesday:  3.1 Miles (Pace 9:02)

Well I have resigned myself that my times this week are going to be a bit slower and I most likely won’t be getting in any long runs.  Running here feels like technical trail running.  There are lots of potholes, hills, and bumpy terrain around the condo.  After descending the mountain today, I ran the same direction I did yesterday but decided to go into a neighborhood instead.  I thought that would be a good idea, not so much.  About a 1/4 mile in dogs starting chasing me.  One a mutt mix and the other a pit bull mix.  I turned and saw them chasing after me, I put my arm out hoping they would bite that first.  As I did that they turned away and ran the other direction.  Definitely spiked my heart rate!  I decided sticking to the main road, though not much of a road, would be best.  I ran back past my condo in the opposite direction; the terrain did not improve.   I looked at the Garmin and knew I could get in 3.1 miles and turned around at the next resort.  The ascent seemed more difficult this time;  it could also be that my legs are incredibly tired from over 9 months of running.  I reached the top and dreaded thinking about how many more times I would have to do that this week.


Checking mileage and elevation
Wednesday:  1.2 Miles (Pace 9:26)

I didn’t run in the morning today, which proved to be a mistake.  We took a ferry over to St. John’s and spent the day there.  We did some walking and I went snorkeling for a while.  I was pretty tired when we got back to St. Thomas.  I changed to go for a run.  The hill is really becoming my nemesis.  As I started to descent, my quads, specfically my right femur really hurt.  I had a sharp pain in my leg.  After a long day I knew I wasn’t going to run far, especially since it was already dark.  I ran to the next resort and turned around.  The ascent back up the hill wasn’t as painful as the descent but still really hard.  I’m starting to doubt how many more times I can do that this week.  I actually thought about running on the treadmill tonight, but I haven’t since the streak began and I don’t want to start now…


Before the pain set in…
Thursday:  3 Miles (Pace 8:48)

My pace today was not an indicator of how I felt.  I really thought about ending the streak today.  St. Thomas is not a runner’s paradise by any means.  St. Thomas is taking it’s toll on my body; mid-afternoon I mustered up the energy (physically and mentally) to tackle the hill again.  I really don’t know how many more times I can do that hill aka mountain.  After the slow descent, I ran along the road filled with potholes, sloped terrain, and rocks.  Today I went a bit further and came to an area with a few stores and a good size parking lot.  I was about a mile in, and decided to loop the parking lot once.  I realized, by looking at my Garmin, the loop around the parking lot was about .12 miles.  I decided to run a mile here.  My legs finally fell into a rhythm that they haven’t had in days.  I was still hot and sweaty but glad to be on flat ground.  My second mile was 7:32.  I didn’t meant to run that fast but I wasn’t struggling and it was freeing to be able to run without focusing on the terrain!  I thought about putting in another mile but decided not to, I still had to tackle the mountain again.  I made my way back to the condo and ascended the hill.  I was a bit surprised at my pace considering how slow it has been.  Overall, I had a decent run but I really need a change of terrain.


Not Paradise…
Friday:  XX Miles (Pace XX:XX)

I didn’t forget to put in my miles and pace for today.  I don’t actually know what it was, other than it was further than a mile.  You can read about my entire experience on my Born to Run Experience blog.  To summarize, I ran barefoot for approximately 2.5 miles, over tough terrain.  I wound up with a blood blister on my left foot.  Later that night while on the sandy ‘dance floor’ I banged my toe on a rock, yup left foot.  Pain was shooting around my foot, I’m still not sure if I broke my toe.  It started bleeding and is pretty purple.  Not looking forward to running tomorrow.


Posing at the end of the day….
 Saturday:  1.1 Miles (Pace 10:04)

In Guam they are called Taotaomona or Deundes, in Hawaii island spirits go by several names Pele or Menehune are just a couple (I reference those because I have live in both places).  I’m not sure if the people of St. Thomas believe in island spirits but I feel like they have gotten to me, if there are any.  The island beat me up pretty good yesterday, my feet are really sore from running barefoot, getting a blister, and stumping my toe.  I really thought about calling the streak today.  I decided I would try to keep the streak going; we stopped at a store where I bought some gauze to wrap my foot.  When we got back to the condo I wrapped my foot with several layers and laced up for the run.  Surprisingly, my blister didn’t hurt that much; when I started the descent though that was another story.  My joints have really taken a beating with all this hills this week.  My knees and ankles started throbbing.  I kept going, my descent was actually slower than my ascent. I ran a different trail that stayed on the condo property.  I was glad to finish tonight but completely worn out.  I’m glad I only have two more runs here in St. Thomas.  St. Thomas may be paradise but it is not a runners paradise.

Sunday:  1.5 Miles (Pace 8:35)

Today I decided to give barefoot running another try, this time on the beach.  We went to a beach called Megan’s Bay, it was pretty long and the sand was pretty firm near the water.  I decided since it was flat it was better to run here without shoes than the hills with shoes.  I ran with my phone to keep track of distance and pace using the RunKeeper app.  For the most part this run was probably one of the better ones since I have been here.  I did have some trouble getting my hips to fall into sync when I was on uneven ground.  I had to modify my stride a little because of my toe and blister.  I thought about running further but I didn’t have my sweat gutr and the sweat was really burning my eyes.  I jumped in the water as soon as I finished.  After this week of rough terrain my body feels awful and I still have one run left tomorrow.  I’ll need to run before we fly out.  I’m looking forward to getting back to Baltimore and better terrain.


Only smiling because of the semi flat terrain.
What has been your hardest week of training?

-Veggie Fueled Runner


My ‘Born to Run’ Experience

About two years ago, I gave Vibrams a try. I really liked them for about 6 weeks; then one day I was on a run when my foot started hurting very bad. When things didn’t get better the next day I made a doctors appointment, diagnosis tendonitis. Once I recovered I gave up the Vibrams and stuck to ‘normal’ running shoes, until yesterday…


Water Island (googled image)

We took a ferry to Water Island, which is about 10 mins from St. Thomas. I spent most of the day snorkeling and we decided we would catch the last ferry back to St. Thomas which left at 2100 hrs.  Around 1800 hrs. I decided I didn’t want to run really late back on St. Thomas and that I would run here.  I asked the shuttle driver how far it was to the dock, he told me it was .7 of a mile.  I didn’t bring my running shoes with me, he asked what I was going to run in.  I told him I’d go barefoot.  I knew it was going to be a challenge, especially the hills.  I started running and quickly realized it was going to be a bit harder than I had thought, loose gravel and asphalt really hurt my feet.   When I got to smooth areas it was such a relief.  After running for a while I realized I was lost.  I know you really can’t get lost on an island, but I didn’t know where the dock was and my feet were really starting to hurt.  I ran down a road that said private drive, hoping to run into someone!  A jeep was driving up the road and I waved at them to stop.  I asked them which way it was back to Dinghy’s?  They said they didn’t know and remarked I had forgotten my shoes.   I told them I didn’t I was just running barefoot.   Since they were not any help I kept running.  The asphalt road ended and a rocky dirt road started, I decided to turn around my feet weren’t going to be able to handle it.  Finally I came across someone who gave me directions back to Dinghy’s.  I descended the steep hill and ran across the beach and right into the water to sooth my feet and cool off.  I had been running for about 30-35 mins, I estimate I went about 2.5 miles. Some areas I had to walk because of the loose gravel.  When I got out of the water it felt like I had a blister, I looked at the bottom of my foot and sure enough.  I had a blister on my left foot, a blood blister about the size of a half dollar coin.  My foot is still sore today and perhaps running barefoot wasn’t the best idea, but you have to do what you have to do to keep the run streak alive!  286 Days!!!


What ‘extreme’ running experiences have you had?

-Veggie Fueled Runner


Thinking Out Loud in St. Thomas

This week has turned out to be a pretty hard week of training.  I’m in St. Thomas and the island is extremly hilly and the roads do not have shoulders so it is difficult to find a place to run.  I’ll have all the updates in my weekly  blog on Monday.  


Water Bay, St. Thomas (View from the room)
I have been taking lots of pictures here and it got me thinking about a few things.  How much I have changed in the last year.  Running has become a part of my life that I didn’t realize I rely on so much.  Since I haven’t been able to run the way I want it is bothering me.  Running really is an outlet and a time to clear my mind.  I feel like I have been doing much more technical running and my focus needs to stay on that, instead of decompressing the day.  I’ll be glad to get back to a regular running routine!


Trunk Bay, St. John
I mentioned pictures ealier; a picture from the memories feature on FB popped up this week and it was odd to see how much I have changed in the last year.  I’ve lost about 25 lbs.  I almost don’t look like the same person.  A year ago I wasn’t eating very healthy and running wasn’t really a part of my life.  I had given up any sort of regimine.  In October of last year I made a commitment to running and becoming a vegetarian, both have proven to be great experiences.  While I do think the running streak will come to an end after 365 days, I do not forsee me going back to eating meat.  I feel so much better and healthier!  


Drunk Bay, St. John
It is odd that to think when people ask, “What’s new” I usually say not much.  Everyday seems the same but looking back a year everything has changed.  (I’m pretty sure that is a quote from someone else, just not sure who)


Sunset over St. Thomas
That was a bit random and short, but that is me thinking out loud this week.  Plus I’m pretty tired from a long day.

How have you changed in the last year?

-Veggie Fueled Runner


Week 7 (7/27-8/2)

In week 6 I got things back on track and even added a few miles.  After this week I will be traveling again, this time to St. Thomas for vacation!  I’m looking forward to it, but in this week I need to focus on training!

Monday:  3 Miles (Pace 8:09)

This evening the air was still and thick, my legs felt like logs after putting in 10 miles yesterday.  My cadence seemed like it took forever to complete one rotation.  As I started running I thought about cutting the run short, then I realized a marathon is about fighting through being tired and finishing the race.  As I completed the first mile, my Garmin 220 beeped 8:47 a bit slower than I wanted to but I wasn’t sure how the next 2 would go.  I took off my tank top, not because of the heat because yesterday I forgot to put on some ‘protection’ when I ran, so my chest was a little sore (get the point?).  My pace started to pick up a bit.  Then came the gnats, swarms of them.  Since the air wasn’t moving, they seemed to be everywhere.  My Garmin 220 beeped 7:57 for mile 2, much better even though my legs were tired.  As I ran I think I swallowed a gnat, I know one landed on my lips.  I looked down and my chest was covered in gnats, I tried to wipe them off as I ran, but  they kept piling on…I clocked my third mile at 7:40!  Negative splits.  I felt like I was pushing much harder and I hope that feeling will pay off when it comes time to tackle 26.2!

Just a few on the gnats 'left over' after colliding with them during the run.
Just a few on the gnats ‘left over’ after colliding with them during the run.

Tuesday:  3 Miles (Pace 6:31); 1 Mile Pace (9:41)

Conditions this evening were less than ideal for speed work, lets be honest they were down right brutal!  The heat index was 94 with 60% humidity, yeah it sucked!  Yesterday, I agreed to meet two of my running friends to do interval training, we were texting throughout the day and everyone knew it was going to suck tonight!  We did 6 x 800 repeats.  After the first repeat my throat felt like a desert, I didn’t think I had 1 more in me, let alone 5 more.  We took quick breaks in between intervals, but they didn’t seem long enough.  After 3 intervals I looked at my watch, 9:56.  I remarked I could remember 10 years ago I could run that same distance 4 seconds faster without stopping.  Elizabeth quickly reminded me I probably had rested legs as well, very good point!  After the 4th interval I was sure I was done, but Cat talked me into another and then I talked her into one more.  We all got our 6 x 800s in.  I was spent, I thought about running home, we were in Patterson Park, it is about a 4 mile run.  After a mile I decided to stop and get a veggie pita from Samos in Canton and call it a night.  The mile after the intervals was rough.  I have been streching more frequently and noticed a big difference the next day, so when I got home I made sure to strech.  My legs were tired and sore, but I know putting in the work now will pay off come race day, and it is always better to put in the hard work with two great friends!

A beautiful sunset after a tough workout!
A beautiful sunset after a tough workout!

Wednesday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:30)

Anguish, it’s the only way to describe the pain I had when I woke up around 0400 hrs to use the bathroom.  I thought I was going to have to crawl to my bathroom.  I stretched after running, but my heels were still throbbing in pain when they touched the floor.  I hobbled to the bathroom and back to the bed.  When I woke up in the morning I knew I had to stretch more.  I hobbled to my guest bedroom and spent some time stretching which helped.  I find it odd my heels hurt so much, I am more of a toe to mid-foot striker when I run.  The intervals yesterday had really done me in.  I was thinking today was going to be the day the streak ended.  After spending most of the day stretching and hobbling, I decided I would try to run a mile just to keep the streak alive.  I was a painful start and the rest of the run felt less than comfortable but I got the mile in to keep the run streak going!  Day #277 in the books!

Thursday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:06)

Today I did something I haven’t done in a while, ran only a mile back to back.  My legs were still sore from the interval workout.  As I started my quads felt like they were going to fall off my legs, but I got into the groove.  Even though I wanted to run more, I knew to stay healthy I shouldn’t risk it.  I was surprised at my pace when I finished.

Friday:  5 Miles (Pace 8:32)

Finally my legs were starting to feel normal, I wanted to get up early and run before the heat set in but I hit the snooze to many times.  I ran in the middle of the day and while it was hot, it was much less humid.  I thought about running a bit further, but my plan is to run 20 miles tomorrow so I didn’t want to push it to much.  I ran around my neighborhood, and had two dogs run up to me because they weren’t on leashes.  That caused me to stop and pet (hold) the dogs while their owners came to get them.  I didn’t want the dogs to keep running because I run in the street and I was worried they might get hit by a car.  I don’t understand why people don’t use leashes, especially if their yard doesn’t have a fence.  Overall a good run today!

Saturday: 19 Miles (Pace 9:38)

After hitting the snooze once I was up and moving around.  I was dreading the miles I was about to put in.  I met my friend Elizabeth around 0630 hrs.  I took an Uber to her place, my driver told me I look to heavy to be a marathon runner (we were chatting).  I don’t think he meant to be rude.  He quickly said most are really skinny.  I know I’m not really skinny, but when I weighed myself this morning I was 146, I think I’m okay.  Although my plan is to lose 10 more lbs. before the marathon so I am a little lighter.  Anyway, when I got to Elizabeth’s she looked about as enthused as I was to log the miles.  First thing I said, “I don’t wanna be a runner anymore, I wanna be a sleeper!”  We both laughed and off we were.  Around mile 8 or 9 we stopped for water, between mile 12-13 I was feeling really bad.  Things wouldn’t stop shaking and I almost told Elizabeth I think I was going down, but I figured she would notice me missing after a few strides, haha.  Fortunately, I didn’t pass out but I knew I needed some electrolytes.  Around mile 15 we stopped for more water and I got a gatorade.  I told Elizabeth I wasn’t feeling well and to push ahead if she wanted.  The next 4 miles were slow for me.  I wound up doing 19 and she was probably a little over 20. When we finished, we both sat, actually I laid on the ground for a few minutes.  Ugh, another run in the books and I know what I need to work on.  Oh, and I lost 6 lbs. on the run, where’s that Uber driver???

Sunday:  3.1 Miles (Pace 8:30)

Surprisingly I did not feel as bad as I thought I was going to today.  I was sore, but not in pain.  Throughout the day I did have some aches and pains that came and went but nothing intolerable.  I did feel more tired than usual which I attributed to running 19 miles yesterday.  It took me almost a mile to loosen up and feel like I could get into my stride.  After that I felt pretty good and was happy with how I ran today.  Overall, I think I had a good week, but the toughest one yet in the training!

Total Miles:  36.1

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Re-cooping after the long run.
Re-cooping after the long run.