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 😉

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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

  

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.

 

Running Quirks

I call them quirks, maybe you call them something else; habits, superstitions, or ‘must dos’ before or during a run.  I’m not sure if all runners have quirks or things that must be the same all the time, but I know I have some.  So I thought I would share by thinking out loud and see if you share any of them or others of your own?

1.  Puting my shoes in the same place after running

This is a quirk I have developed in the last month or two.  I rotate between a used pair of shoes and a new pair of shoes to try and extend the life of my new ones.  I write the date I ‘retired’ the used shoes on the bottom now, but I didn’t always do that.  My quirk is that when I take my new shoes off, I must untie them, loosen the laces and sit them by the back door.  My used shoes must be placed at the exact opposite end of the kitchen.  I think I started doing this so I could remember which ones are which, before I started dating them on the bottom, then it just became something I have to do.

As you can see my shoes look the same, I buy same ones every time...another quirk?
As you can see my shoes look the same, I buy same ones every time…another quirk?

2.  The way I put my socks on

This one I have been doing since I was young.  One day I was watching an episode of Mr. Rodger’s and he was teaching kids how to put their shoes on.  He remarked he said he always started with his left foot.  Since that day I always put on my left sock and my left shoe first.  When I grabbed my socks I look at them at pick out which one is going on each foot, not that they are different just another quirk.

Disclaimer:  Not my socks!
Disclaimer: Not my socks!

3.  The direction I run

When I run in an area or loop I am familiar with I always run the same way.  I know advice from the experts is to switch it up so it doesn’t get boring but I like consistency.  Just last night while doing speed work, my friend asked if we should change the direction we were running on the track, I opted for no.

One Way

4.  When my shorts get tied

My shorts aren’t falling off before I tie them, no need to worry about that.  I tie my shorts right before I start running, I do this to keep any extra pressure off of my stomach.  I don’t tie them really tight but I like to make sure everything is snug and just the way I like it prior to and during the run.

Has nothing to do with tying shorts, but when I put 'run shorts' in the search engine this came up and I thought it was funny...enjoy!
Has nothing to do with tying shorts, but when I put ‘run shorts’ in the search engine this came up and I thought it was funny…enjoy!

5.  My watch latch must be in the same hole

This is annoying even to me and I don’t always get it right.  I don’t like my Garmin 220 to tight or to loose.  There is one hole that allows my Garmin to rotate freely, but not all the way around my wrist.  I can just give it a little twist and I can see the screen.  If it is to tight I feel like I am constricted, to loose and it feels like it will fall off.  I don’t always get it right and sometimes I have to make adjustments during the run.  I have thought about counting the holes or marking the right one…

ForeRunner 220

6.  Race day attire

Prior to discovering Lululemon I ran in the same shorts for nearly 13 years.  Don’t worry I washed them and I had several pairs, they were my Air Force PT shorts.  When I transitioned to new running gear, some of that need to wear the same thing stayed with me.  On race day, I like to wear the same gear, weather permitting, for each race during the season.  No real reason behind it other than I know I’m comfortable racing in that gear and that helps to ease my mind; one less thing to worry about.

af pt shorts

7.  Diet leading up to a race

Maybe this isn’t a quirk, but I’m including it anyway it is something I do.  I don’t know why I picked the time frame I did, I don’t think there is any science behind it.  For a 5k race, I won’t have any alcohol a day or two before the race.  For a half marathon, I won’t have any alcohol 2 weeks prior.  Finally for a marathon, no alcohol for a month prior.  Not that I drink a lot, but I want to make sure my body is in the best shape it can be for race day.  I like to think of the body as a machine and you have to give it the proper fuel!

prohibit

8.  Tying my shoes

I’m thinking this one might be the most common shared by runners or I could be totally wrong.  I have to make sure my laces aren’t to tight and not to loose.  That’s not the quirk.  The quirk is when I retie one shoe I have to retie the other to make sure the pressure is the same.  Just the other day I was out on a run and within a 1/4 mile I probably retied my shoes 4 times.  There was a rock in one I couldn’t get out, finally I found it in my sock.  Having the lace pressure correct and even is a must.

New Glycerin 12 Ombres
New Glycerin 12 Ombres

9.  Pre-race arrival time

This is another quirk that harkens back to my military days.  ‘If you’re not early you’re late!’  I have to be everywhere early, I think this annoys some of my friends.  It is a habit (quirk) I can’t break.  Normally I am 15 minutes early to everything, come race day I like to be 30 minutes early or even more.  I want to make sure I have time to get comfortable, take any last minute fluids, get rid of any last minute fluids.  I’ve had the experience of being the last person to cross the start line and had to jump over the deflating arch.  I was in the Bahamas for the marathon and in the porta-potty when the race started.  Always being early is a must for me, if I’m not my nerves start to get jittery and that is not good before a race.

Time is ticking!
Time is ticking!

I think that is all of my quirks, hopefully you don’t think I’m crazy or have OCD, cause I don’t!  Wait isn’t that something a crazy or OCD person would say…no of course not!  Anyway…

What are your running quirks?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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Week 6 (7/20-7/26)

Traveling for two weeks really threw off my training plan, especially when I was hanging out with my friends.  This week I really want to focus on staying on track and maybe throwing in a few extra miles.

Don’t forget to register for my giveaway on July 30th!

Monday:  5 Miles (Pace 8:59)

One thing that was nice about being out of Baltimore the past two weeks was the lower humidity.  Today the humidity was up near 45% and the temp climbed to 93 degrees.  The weather report said the heat index was between 103-105.  In the interest of my health and wellness, I decided to focus on hydrating throughout the day and run in the evening after the sun started to go down.  I convinced one of my running friends to join me and she convinced her brother to come as well.  I say convinced because I think she was leaning towards running on the treadmill rather than outside.  We met at her house ran down to the promenade on Boston St. through Fells Point and back.  The air was thick and the sweat was pouring off of us.  Our pace was a bit slower than we normally run, but we got the miles in.  Sometimes you need to adjust for the weather and make sure you are safe when you run!

Tuesday:  7 Miles (Pace 8:11)

My plan today was to run with Tin Roof Runners, they usually run between 3-5 miles, but  I needed to run a bit further to stay on track with my training plan.  Though I did add a few extra miles yesterday.  I decided to take an Uber to run club and get out early and run a few miles before running with the group.  I had the Uber drop me off in Highlandtown about 2 miles away and I ran to Tin Roof in Power Plant Live.  It was a good warm up before running with the group.  The weather was humid as usual and I think that kept people from coming out to run club, but a few people showed.  We ran a loop through Fells Point, Canton, Patterson Park, and back to Power Plant Live.  It was a good run and nice to be running in my hometown after 2 weeks away!

Wednesday:  5 Miles (8:04)

I decided to bike to run club tonight, it is about 6 miles each way, a nice warm up before hitting the streets.  I added a few more miles today, even though it is still early in my training and it probably won’t matter, I feel like I need to make up the miles I missed last week.  I ran with City Sports Run Club tonight!  That is where I started running about 2.5 years ago; a TomTom rep was there and raffeling off a TomTom Runner Cardio.  To enter the raffle you had to demo the watch.  The rep who I have known for a while now, joked that I could wear my Garmin 220 on one arm and then TomTom on the other.  I opted to just run with the TomTom.  It was a little bit bigger, and only had one button on the wristband, it also had a heart rate monitor built in.  Overall I liked the Runner Cardio, but I’ll stick with my Garmin.  Had I won the watch I may have been swayed!  One of the reps I didn’t know also ran with us, he only ran a 1/4 mile with us and then stopped.  We ran around the city through the Harbor, Locust Point, Fed Hill, and back.  After the  run, when we got back to the store he informed us he had a heart attack about 3 weeks ago.  I was amazing he was even able to run that much, the body is an amazing thing!

Thursday:  1 Mile (8:16)

Due to some other committments I had to run in the late afternoon today, probably the hottest part of the day, though it wasn’t as hot as it has been the last few days.  I was sore from earlier in the week and hitting the links earlier in the week.  I decided to switch my tempo run today and do it Friday with November Project.  I got my new shoes in the mail, and decided a short run would be a good start to breaking them in.  I ordered Brooks Glycerin 12’s Ombre collection.  I’ve ran in Brooks for the last 2 years, same shoe, same color, either orange or the ombre (blue/orange).  When I find something I like I stick with it!  After adjusting the laces the way I like I took a loop around the neighborhood and kept the run streak alive!

2 Years of Running Shoes; when I find something I like I stick with it!
2 Years of Running Shoes; when I find something I like I stick with it!
New Glycerin 12 Ombres
New Glycerin 12 Ombres

Friday:  4.7 Miles (Pace 8:09)

Well I didn’t get to run with Sarah and FKBT when I was in Providence so I figured I would go to November Project this week and run with Sarah and hear about her half marathon.  I decided to work in some cross training again and rode my bike to NP, it was about 4 miles each way.  This week I was suppose to do 5 X 800 intervals, but I decided that hills would be just as good.  The training plan does say you can swap workouts if the race course is hilly and Baltimore is a hilly course, especially the second half.  NP always runs hills on Friday and it just so happens the hill they run is about 800 meters, so it worked out perfectly.  I still tried to sprint when I could but the hill is a 5% incline and by the 3rd one I was feeling it.  On the second ascent I could see a person walking dogs near the top of the hill but I didn’t see a leash so I assumed they were off leash.  You know what they say about assuming.  As I turned the corner at the top of the hill I felt something pull hard across my stomach, it was one of those retractable leashes.  I’m not sure who I pulled more the dog or the owner.  He immediately started apologizing.  I decided not to respond at all, because what I would have said would not have been nice.  I pushed the leash over my head and went on my way.  The 5th hill I was struggling but I still gave it my all, when I finished I was thinking about trying to run that little extra to get to 5 miles but my legs were spent and I still needed to ride my bike home.  You can always count on a good workout with November Project!

Saturday:  7 Miles (Pace 8:14)

Seven Miles on tired legs, tired from the hills the day before and just in general tired.  Today marked 9 months of my run streak, I’ve ran everyday for 9 months, it is even a little hard for me to believe.  When I started out I wasn’t sure how long I could keep the streak up, so far I’m really happy with how it is going!  These 7 miles were suppose to be at race pace, but I just wanted to get them in; when I started I wasn’t even sure I if I had 7 miles in my legs today.  Furthermore 8:14 might be my race pace, though I’m hoping it will be slightly faster, only time will tell.  I ran the peninsula around my house, the evening air was warm but tolerable.  I had a negative split on each half and I picked up the pace the last 2 miles, the last mile was actually my fastest at 7:56, which made me happy.  I felt much better after I got the miles in, funny how it always works out that way.  I’m not looking forward to the 10 miles tomorrow.  I see now why the training plan has the day of rest between hills and the next two days of running…oops.

Sunday:  10 Miles (Pace 8:54)

I tried something I’ve never done on a training run before; a point to point run.  I decided to run in the city, so I took an Uber to the Korean War Memorial and went from there, not really knowing where I would end up.  I decided to run along the waterfront for a while, when I got to the harbor I ran up Pratt St.  From there I looped both stadiums and headed towards Ft. McHenry, I made another detour ran around a park, not really sure of the name and then looped the Under Armor factory and that made 10 miles.  I was pretty happy with my pace, I was trying to run slower which is sometimes hard for me when I run by myself.  I was trying to focus on just logging the miles instead of the speed.  Yesterday I was dreading running, today I enjoyed each mile and the scenery.  It got me thinking does it matter where you run?  I think it does, I enjoy running more in the city than I do my own neighborhood.  I think it is because of the people, scenery, and other runners in the city.  Another week of training in the books!

Total Miles:  39.7

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Crazy hair after running!
Crazy hair after running!

Odd Mileage Races

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I’m just Thinking Out Loud here…What’s up with races that have odd and unusual mileage?  I’m not talking about a 5k, 13.1, 26.2, 50k, or even 100k though they are ‘odd’ mileages.  I’m talking about the races that aren’t that common as in a 6k, 10 miler, 12 miler, and the most recent I have seen a 6 miler.  Let’s start out with a race I do like and have ran three times but got me thinking about this entire issue…

Source:  baltimoretenmiler.com
Source: baltimoretenmiler.com

I like to be able to run a distance I am familiar with and have the opportunity to PR if I have a bad day.  A few months back I ran the Baltimore 10-miler and had an ‘off’ day.  Before the race I was probably over confident that I was going to get a PR, because my training was going really well.  It wasn’t in the cards though, I missed my PR time I had set the year before by close to 2 minutes.  It was very disappointing.  As soon as I got back to the car I started looking for another 10 mile race.  If I remember correctly I think I found one and it was a few hours away from me.  Waiting a full year to try and PR at that distance again really irked me, but I’ve resigned myself to that and will just have to wait.

Source:  Dundalk Heritage 6k Facebook Page
Source: Dundalk Heritage 6k Facebook Page

There is a local 6k race, the Dundalk Heritage 6k, held on the 4th of July.  It is a pretty awesome course that goes along the route of the 4th of July Parade.  4th of July is Dundalk’s second season, the other is Christmas.  But I digress, I didn’t run the 6k this year because I had committed to other things that morning but I’m not sure I would have ran in it anyway.  My training schedule called for a 6 mile run that day, 6k is well short of that so I would have had to add on miles.  A race like this doesn’t really fit into a training plan and it isn’t a race distance you see to often.

Source:  active.com registration page
Source: active.com registration page

Coming up in September is the Charles Street 12, a mostly downhill 12 mile course in Baltimore City.  In past years I have steered clear of this race because it was held in August, traditionally the hottest month in Baltimore.  This year I am going to run it to gauge where I am at in training.  My plan calls for a half marathon that weekend, but this is close and I’ll run a little before or after to make up the mileage.  Again here is a race distance that only happens once a year, so I better hope to have a great day and not have any unexpected ‘stops’ or issues on the course.

Source:  bostonstreetrunning.com
Source: bostonstreetrunning.com

Finally the Baltimore 6-miler, which is a new race this year, is the distance I am least adversed to.  While it is an odd race distance, I think it is much easier to work it into a training plan and adjust the rest of the week if you need to.  Though it did strike me as odd when I saw the advertisement, why not make it a 10k race?  It is another .2 miles and a much more common race distance.

Is this just a pet peeve of mine?  What do you think of odd distance races?  Does knowing you will have to wait along time to try and PR again deter you from running certain distances?  When you are training for one race will you run others?

Don’t forget about my free giveaway, coming up on July 30th!

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Week 5 (7/13-7/19)

I felt great about Week 4 and the miles I got in, I thought they were quality and though I moved the days around a bit, I was able to get in all my miles plus some.  So far I am really happy with the training plan and the variation in schedule that it has.

Monday: 3.1 Miles (Pace 8:11)

Another travel day, off to Providence.  I wasn’t sure what the plan was for the evening, it was between dinner with friends or co-workers an no one could decide what to do.  Knowing that a decision wouldn’t be made till late I figured it was best to run before I got on the plane.  I hadn’t packed but I’ve moved half way around the world and packed in 2 hours so I knew I had enough time to run around the neighborhood.  The weather was already warming up at 1000 hrs. when I ran and like a typical Baltimore day the humidity was high.  I was happy to only have to run 3 miles today, I was a bit tired from Week 4 even though it felt good, plus I had run less than 12 hours before.  After the 3 miles I packed for the week and I was off to the airport!

Tuesday: 3 Miles (Pace 8:37)

Seven miles was not in the cards today. I had been in meetings from 0800 to 2000 hrs. I was worn out after 12 hours of meetings.  I had thought about trying to get in 7 miles but my stomach was a bit full after having dinner, plus I didn’t start running until close to 2045.  I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get in 7 miles and knew I would have to make it up Wednesday.  It was an enjoyable run along the canal in Providence and it reminded me of running in Baltimore, just a bit cleaner and less crowded.  Normally WaterFire is only held every other Saturday in the summer, but for some reason they had a special showing tonight and they were starting just as a finished my run.  I showered quickly and then went over to walk around the river and listen to music before calling it a night.  Three miles and WaterFire was a good way to end a long day!

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Fire Path
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Fire Basin

 

Spirit of WaterFire?
Spirit of WaterFire?

Wednesday: 7 Miles (Pace 8:32)

Well I had to do 7 miles today since I didn’t yesterday.  Our meetings ended earlier, at 1730, but when we went outside the sky looked ominous.  I checked the radar and clearly a storm was moving in from the south.  I wanted to run before dinner but I didn’t want to get soaked.  A few of my co-workers wanted to get dinner so I decided to go, thinking that after dinner the rain would have passed.  It is restaurant week in Providence so we went to the Capital Grill.  I ordered brussels sprouts (my favorite) and mashed potatoes.  Pretty much the only things I could eat on the menu.  I was less than impressed, the brussels sprouts weren’t seasoned very well and were soft instead of crunchy, the mashed potatoes were okay.  All through dinner I kept looking out the window but the rain never came.  It was still overcast when we finished dinner around 2000 hours, but it didn’t look like it was going to rain.  I quickly changed and hit the pavement.  In the nearly six years I’ve been coming to Providence I have never ran the hill that leads up to Brown University, it looks like a beast!  I decided today would be the day. About a mile into my run mother nature had it in for me and the sky opened up, it started raining pretty hard.  I rounded the corner and stared up the hill towards Brown.  I glanced down at my Garmin 220, I wanted to know how long the hill was, in my mind it was miles long. Surprisingly it was only .2 of a mile but the elevation climb was 111 ft. with an average incline of 13-16%.  Once I was at the top I was relieved and winded, but I had made it.  I looped the University property twice and ran back down the hill.  Going down was almost as hard, I needed to lean way back and slow my pace.  Not only because of how steep the hill was but because of the rain. I was happy to get back down without falling.  I looped around the canal and back towards the hotel, finally in mile 6 the rain let up but the wind picked up.  Mother Nature made sure she made me pay for not running the 7 miles on Tuesday.  Even though I was soaked it was a good run and my legs felt great!

Thursday:  1.1 Mile (Pace 8:08)

After running in the rain last night I wanted to give my legs a rest before doing a tempo run and let me shoes dry out, but today was a travel day from Providence, back to Baltimore, then on to Deep Creek Lake.  I was going from a work trip to a weekend with my friends.  Time was not going to allow me to rest my legs before a run, nor did I have time for a tempo run.  I hit the snooze once and reset my alarm once before I woke up.  I had to be ready for meetings at 0745, I finally walked out of the hotel lobby at 0700 to run.  The morning air was unusually cool even for Providence.  I did a quick mile around the city and it was off to meetings.  I figured I would try to make miles up later this week, but I also felt a cold coming on.

Friday:  1.1 Mile (Pace 8:11)

After a plane ride, shuttle trip, and a cab ride I arrived in Deep Creek at 0030 hrs.  My friends had arrived earlier in the day, I spent some time catching up with them and went to bed around 0300.  The next morning, we went white water rafting at Wisp Ski Resort.  It was a blast!  The plan was to get lunch and go out on the lake next.  My friends had towed a pontoon boat from home.  So much for making up some miles, my week was really getting derailed by other activites.  The area around the cabin where we were staying was a bit hilly but not hilly enough to make up for low mileage.  The run streak stayed alive!

Saturday:  4 Miles (Pace 10:36)

Long run was the plan today but by now you have probably guessed the training plan was out the window this week.  Today we planned to play disc golf and went out on the lake again.  Right after breakfast my best friend asked me if I wanted to run.  I figured it would be better to get the run in before the day really started.  We ran a slower pace than I normally do but it was good to run with him and chat about the last couple of weeks since I have been traveling.

Sunday:  1 Mile (Pace 7:58)

Today we had to pack up, load the boat, and drove back to Baltimore which is about a 3.5 hour drive.  On the way we made a 2-hour pit stop at the casino and ate lunch.  We got back to Baltimore around 1830 hrs, we still needed to put the boat back in the water, tie it up, and drop everyone off.  After a long day of traveling and not feeling the best the past few days (I think I have a slight cold) I didn’t feel up to a long run, it was a quick mile around the neighborhood.

Total Miles:  20.3

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Attending WaterFire after my run!
Attending WaterFire after my run!

Week 4 (7/6-7/12)

Well Week 3 didn’t go exactly as planned.  The weekend was a lot busier then I thought it was going to be and I missed my longer run 😦  Don’t forget to sign up for my giveaway on July 30th!

Monday:  4.4 Miles (Pace 8:00)

I ran with a great group Charlotte Running Company!  They really made me feel welcome, which was great since before I went to the run, I wasn’t sure I wanted to run.  The course was was full of hills, so much so I’m going to consider that my hill workout for the week!  The run was very scenic and I met some great people during the run. I was really glad to be in Charlotte and really happy I came to the run club.

Tuesday:  7.2 Miles (Pace 8:00)

After Monday’s run I was excited to get out and run with another new run group, but unfortunately I was let down.  The group I ran with 5 on the Booty didn’t match up to the great running experience I had the night before.  I ran to the group, which was about a 2 mile warm up and then a 5 mile loop with the group.  The course was pretty flat and even though it was very warm the humidity wasn’t nearly as bad as it is most of the time in Baltimore.  I was glad to get in a longer run!

Wednesday:  3.1 Miles (Pace 7:58)

Unfortunately, due to work commitments I wasn’t able to run with another group in Charlotte today.  I actually ran during a break in the middle of the day when the sun was high and the heat was cranked up!  Though it is hot in the south the humidity doesn’t compare to home.  I ran a loop around the city that I am familiar with and passed by several well-known landmarks; Epicenter, Time Warner Arena, NASCAR Hall of Fame, BB&T bank, and Bank of America stadium.  It was a nice run around the city and reminded me why I like visiting Charlotte so much.

Thursday:  2.25 Miles (Pace 8:11)

Well I said Monday would count as my hill workout, but as I looked at the training schedule I felt like I would be going off track if I didn’t do hills again today.  I did 4×400 hill repeats.  I found a hill with a good incline not far from the hotel.  It was suppose to climb close to 100 degrees today, fortunately I was able to get my run in earlier in the day but it was still in the 80’s.  After two repeats I took my tank top off and set if by a light pole.  I had seen people do it earlier in the week and no one stole it, so I figured I would be okay.  The last repeat was grueling but I finished it, picked up my tank top and ran another quarter mile to cool down.  I’m glad I decided to do hills again.

Friday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:35)

I landed in Baltimore around 1830 went to dinner with some friends and since the training plan has today as a rest day I only needed to do a mile to keep the streak alive!  I decided to run a mile loop around my neighborhood, after running in Charlotte all week it was sort of depressing to be back home and running through Dundalk.  No worries though, next week I will be in Providence!  I really do enjoy running other places!

Saturday:  15.1 Miles (Pace 8:59)

So I changed up the training plan again today; today was supposed to be a 6 mile run at race pace, but two of my friends were planning on a long run so I decided to join them.  I like running with people, it makes the run go by more quickly and you are suffering together! 😉  We started early, 0730, it was overcast and not to humid, we usually loop Ft. McHenry, but they don’t open till 0900 so we ran around the city a little while before heading that direction.  It worked out perfectly we arrived at the Fort just after 0900 and we were at 9 miles, so we could loop the Fort and head back and we would be at 15.  By this time time the sun had started to come out and heat things up, but it was better than our last run together when it started pouring down rain.  In the last three miles the sun was brutal around the harbor promenade, but we kept our pace and finished strong.  Our run was a good start to our Saturday and we were all glad to get it out of the way!

Sunday:  4 Miles (Pace 7:45)

Since I switched up my long run and did it yesterday and I made up some miles I missed last week earlier this week, I still wanted to make sure I did all my miles for this week so I ran 4.  Wow, did that make sense?  I wanted to run at a bit of a faster pace since my longer runs are slower.  I ran each mile with a negative split and actually think I could have been a bit faster but I had a pretty large lunch and my stomach was a little upset so I didn’t want to push to hard.  The evening air felt nice, over the heat I had been running in this week.  When I finished my legs felt strong and I knew I had a good week of training!

Total Miles:  37.05

-Veggie Fueled Runner

JWU Charlotte #cxclt15
JWU Charlotte #cxclt15

 

5 on the Booty

Tour de Charlotte Running continues!  After running with Charlotte Running Company on Monday, I decided I definately wanted to try out some more run clubs in Charlotte.  I must say though if you are in Charlotte and looking for a great group of people Charlotte Running Company is it!

Okay, enough with that, that was another blog!  I wasn’t sure I would be able to run with a group but the schedule was flexible for the evening and I was able to!  I decided since I needed to run, some extra miles I would run to the meeting spot.  It was a litte over 2 miles and made for a good warm up.  

 

Charlotte Skyline
 
The run group calls themselves ‘5 on the Booty’ I have no idea why, it has nothing to do with where they meet.  The meet at a bar called Hickory Tavern, perhaps it is because they run a 5 mile loop but I don’t know where the ‘booty’ comes from.  When I got there, some people were already there.  I noticed one woman from the night before, she was the only one I recognized we talked briefly.  Then the person I assume was the run group coordinator asked if anyone was new and not familiar with the route.  I spoke up and said I was new.  I was the only one…

  
Instead of him introducing himself he asked my pace, I told him I would probably run around 8:15-8:30.  He said okay I’ll run around that pace you can follow me, then he went back to talk to people he knew.  I was a little put off by this, but I assumed he didn’t mean to be rude.  Everyone seemed to know each other so I sort of felt out of place.  After what seemed like an hour, it was really only 10 mins the same person announced we would be starting the run.  We walked down to a running/biking path and some of the guys took their shirts off and put them behind the bushes.  I thought this was something you wouldn’t see in Baltimore, the shirts wouldn’t be there when we get back, haha.  One of the things that is great about the south!

The run started and the guy who said he was going to run around the pace I wanted to, put headphones in.  I don’t run with music anymore, I think you can listen to your body more closely without it and adjust, if necessary.  I thought to myself, well this is great, I’m not going to have anyone to talk to.  That’s fine I don’t need to talk when I run, but that is sort of why I like to run with people.  I decided to run a bit faster with a group of 5 that was out front, they were probably running around a 7 min pace and I didn’t want to run that fast, so I fell into the ‘lone’ zone.  Just running by myself, trying to keep the leaders in sight so I knew where to turn.  

During the run someone ran up along side me and then decided to pass me, all the sudden I felt like I was in a race, ugh!  I stayed about three paces behind him and when his pace slowed I took over again and didn’t let him pass again, but I did have to keep turning around and pointing to ask which way to turn, haha.  At the end of the 5 mile loop I had done 7 miles at an 8 min pace.  The person I was ‘racing’ finished a little behind me.  He came up and introduced himself, his name was Fry (sp?).  He said I was a good runner, so I felt like I proved myself, though I wasn’t exactly trying to do that.  We waiting for everyone to finish and I tried talking to a few people but they seemed more interested in mingling with who they already knew.  I also found it interesting that people who finsihed about 2 mins behind me said they ran a 7:48 pace, not sure how that happens, anyway I’m being petty now.

 

Foutain at Start and Finish of the run
 
I still enjoyed the run, it was very scenic and much more flat then the night before.  Before I left I did say bye to Fry and he asked if I was joining them for a beer but I declined, I didn’t really feel welcomed like I had the night before.  

One thing I did take away from tonight is to make sure new people feel welcome when they come to a new run club.  I hope I do that back in Baltimore when someone comes to group I’ve been running with for a while.  As I mentioned in a previous blog I am an introvert, but I do try to make people feel welcome the best I can.

I still don’t know why the group is called 5 on the Booty or who that person was who asked my pace…

What do you do when your the new person?

-Veggie Fueled Runner