Outer Banks Race Weekend

Friday:

After work I set out for the Outer Banks, the GPS said it would be about a 5 1/2 hour drive down.  Along the way I decided to stop when I saw a sign for Wawa and get a sandwich.  Much to my disappointment as soon as I exited the highway the sign for Wawa said 3 miles, rather misleading from the highway sign, but I still went refueled and had a sandwich.

Water tower just off the exit!
Water tower just off the exit!

When I finally made it to the Outer Banks it was dark, but much to my surprise my hotel was right on the beach!  (I didn’t notice when I booked the hotel)  After I changed I walked down to the water, it was ice-cold!  I didn’t go in any deeper than my ankles, there were still a few people trying to eek out the last little bit of light as they were surfing.

Cowabunga Dude!
Cowabunga Dude!
Last of the light!
Last of the light!

I came back to the room and text my friend who is also running the Outer Banks Marathon this weekend.  He and his wife are doing their first marathon.  We made plans to meet for dinner at a place nearby called Chili Peppers.  For dinner there were seven of us, he and his wife had brought along four friends who were doing the half marathon.  It was great to meet everyone, the conversation was light as I got to know everyone.  One of Jim’s friends mentioned they were thinking about starting a blog, and I recommended doing it!  Of course we talked about mine and then how I become a vegetarian.  Jim’s wife and a few of her friends said they were going try being vegetarians for 30 days, they were inspired!  Woot Woot!  I told them they have to keep me in the loop.

Lots of business had signs up welcoming runners! First one I saw when I entered Kitty Hawk.
Lots of business had signs up welcoming runners! First one I saw when I entered Kitty Hawk.

After dinner, I went back to the hotel to watch some television.  There wasn’t much on, I watched a show on Discovery called Pacific Warriors.  It was about ‘local’ Hawaiian fisherman.  It was hard not to laugh.  I lived in Hawaii for four years, the people on the show were no way locals.  They didn’t talk like the locals and had problems getting the native dialect (pidgin) correct.  I could be wrong but I very much doubt these people actually grew up in Hawaii.  After a good laugh I went to bed.

Saturday:

I slept in, all the way to 0900 hrs.  That is actually pretty late for me.  When I woke up I had a few banana chips and went for a shake out run.  I ran about two miles, trying to keep a slower pace.  I want to start the race really slow around a 9 min pace.  I know I have said that before but I really mean it.  It was already warm and humid outside.  I am hoping the weather forecast is right and the cold front comes through or it is going to be a long race.

Cool wind turbine.
Cool wind turbine.

After the run I walked down to the beach for a little while and there were quite a few people surfing and doing stand up paddleboarding.  I took a shower and made my way over to the running expo.  The parking lots were small and I had to drive around to find parking but the expo itself was pretty nice.  They had lots of vendors and a nice swag bag.  I walked around the expo for a while before deciding it was time for lunch.  A Harris Teeter was only a mile away so I made my way there to get some lunch and sunscreen.  I’m not sure if it is going to be sunny tomorrow, but I figure I should probably get some just to be safe.

Maryland Harris Teeter's need this section!
Maryland Harris Teeter’s need this section!

I had pizza and some desert and then took it easy.  I decided to take a nap, hey you can never have too much rest before a marathon 😉  While I was napping I thought I heard a knock at the door, before I could answer the door was opening.  It was someone trying to check in.  Apparently, the hotel does not have good record keeping.  The people apologized and went to sort out the issue, I did notice it was raining pretty hard.  Hopefully that will cool things off.

Surprisingly I’m not nervous or worried about this race like was for Baltimore.  I don’t know why.  I have a plan for this race and hopefully everything comes together and I can break the 4-hour mark.

Around 1800 hrs. I went over to where Jim and his friends were staying.  Some of his friends had made a runner’s dream dinner, Ziti!  Time to carbo-load.  I had gone to Harris Teeter and bought coconut cake for dessert.  Dinner was excellent, on top of the Ziti in pasta was OBX made with noodles (Forgot to take a photo).  After eating we watched the movie Inside Out, normally I am not one for animated movies, but it was pretty good!  When the movie was over we all wished each other good luck and I headed back to the hotel.  I arrived and my room key did not work, I went to have it rekeyed and told the desk staff about my unexpected visitors earlier.  She said she would let the manager know.  I watched some television, set me alarms and went to sleep.

Sunday:

Very windy, these waves were between 6-8 ft.
Very windy, these waves were between 6-8 ft.

0400 hrs. I woke up to have a small breakfast and went back to sleep for a little while.  0530 hrs. time to get up and prepare for the race before leaving around 0630 hrs.  I drove to where the parking lot was near the start line and took a quick shuttle ride to the start line.  Before getting on the shuttle I ran into Jim and his wife and we rode over together.  The start line had plenty of porta-potties so the line the use the bathroom was not long at all.  The race started right on time 0720 hrs. and we were off!  I will have a full race recap later this week, let’s just say things did not go according to planned and it was a painful race.  After the race I took the shuttle back to the parking lot, hopped in my truck and went back to the hotel to shower.  My body has never hurt so much after a race.  I didn’t feel like eating anything so after showering I hit the road to get home.  I stopped once to refuel and grab a little something to eat.  I still didn’t feel like eating but knew I had to.  I finally made it home around 1930 hrs.  I unpacked, put my laundry in the wash and went over my best friends to watch Sunday Night Football.  After the game, I came home and fell asleep almost immediately.

The race didn’t go as planned and it wasn’t a PR, I will detail that more in my recap, but looking back I don’t think it was a good idea for me to run two marathons within a 3 week period.  Especially after my 365 day running streak.  My race season is officially over, it is time to rest and let my body repair itself.

How was your weekend?  What recovery tips do you have?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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Charles St. 12 (PR)

The alarm was set for 0400 hrs. when I woke up and looked at the clock it was 0345 hrs. I thought about going back to sleep for 15 mins, but decided I would rather get up now and eat than wait to hear my annoying alarm clock go off.  I got up made a shake, drank it, and went back to sleep for another hour.  I’ve been getting up early before long races and eating something, I think it helps to get something in my stomach and eating earlier gives it time to settle.

0515 hrs.  I woke just before my alarm went off, I had a nightmare that I slept through my alarm and missed the race completely, thankfully it was only a dream.  I got up got dressed, packed some clothes for after the race, and I was out the door to meet Elizabeth.  We were going to ride to the race together since it was a point to point from Towson to Power Plant Live in downtown Baltimore.  We arrived at the start line and immediately got in line for the bathrooms, let’s be honest that is pretty much what everyone does because you are going to have to go if you have hydrated properly.  After we used the bathrooms, we warmed up a little and did a 5 min run near the start line.  We ran into one of our friends Laura, we briefly chatted and made out way to the start line.  I decided to use the bathroom one more time, and made it back to the start line just before the race started.  I saw two of our other running friends Sarah and Lauren.  I talked to them and they were planning on starting at a faster pace then I wanted to, so was Elizabeth.  I wanted to use this run to simulate, the best I could, what I wanted to do in the marathon.

Start Line
Start Line

We were all at the front of the starting line around the 1:35 pace group, when the race started.  Sarah, Lauren, and Elizabeth took off and I hung back and slowed down that first mile.  My first mile was 8:17, still a bit faster than I wanted to be and it was uphill.  I wanted to start around an 8:30 pace.  The Charles St. 12 is an overall negative downhill race, the key word being ‘overall’, it is actually a pretty hilly course.  Just after the first mile there was a water station, which I though was great this early in the race.  The second mile was mostly downhill, and I ran it in 7:51.  I remember thinking without a plan this race could get out of control quickly because of all the changes in elevation.  I made a conscious effort to slow down a bit; I was feeling strong but I didn’t want to burn out and not have anything left for the end of the race.

At the end of mile 2 there was another water stop; I thought to myself this is great if there is a water stop approximately every mile.  That was not the case.  Mile 3 I slowed to 8:30 on a pretty steep climb and then my pace evened out around 8:15 a mile. Miles 3, 4, and 5 came and went without a water stop.  I was getting pretty thirsty and even some other runners around me began to comment on the ‘now’ poor placement of the first two water stops, they were to close together.  Finally around mile 6 there was a water and Gatorade stop.  Just after the stop I heard someone from behind call my name, it was my friend Pat.  I was surprised to see him, he had told me he wasn’t running the race, we ran together for a few miles and talked politics.  He decided to slow his pace just a little but I was feeling strong so I pushed on.  Normally, I would have hung back but I wanted to make sure I could keep the pace and feel good at the end.  Now my pace was just below 8:10 a mile and I was still feeling strong.

Pat and I at the finish!
Pat and I at the finish!

The water stops picked again in frequency and were much better placed for the remainder of the race.  In mile 8 my right shoe came untied twice which really annoyed me.  I finally tucked in my laces, which I should have done earlier.  After each time I stopped to tie them I sprinted back to where I was, I had noticed which runners were behind me.  So while I didn’t lose any time I didn’t make up any either.  At mile 9 there was a water stop at the bottom of a steep hill which followed a steep ascent, near the Washington Monument.  I think it was poor placement of the water stop but that late in the race I’ll take water whenever I can get it.

With only 3 miles to go I though about really starting to push the pace, but I was also feeling like I could use a bathroom break so I decided to keep the pace the same and not pick it up to much.  The rest of the course was downhill, from mile 10 I was pretty familiar with the terrain, since it was in downtown and I run a lot there.  I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a final climb in Federal Hill, some of those streets can be pretty steep.  We ran through Fed Hill mid way through mile 10 and thankfully there were not any hills.  All of mile 11 was along the promenade of the Inner Harbor which made for a great finish, after the final water stop at the mileage marker I decided to pick up the pace.  Just before the finish line my Garmin 220 beeped, I looked down I had run a 7:44 mile, the fastest one of the race.  I sprinted the remaining few hundred meters and crossed the finish line at 1:38:16 an 8:11 pace!  That was PR!  It was  PR by default because I had never run that distance but I had also never run that long at that pace so it was a great feeling.

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After quickly grabbing my medal, I saw Sarah and Elizabeth waiting for me, but I made my way to the bushes.  I though I was going to vomit after my sprint.  I didn’t and Elizabeth came over, and said ‘Let’s go get our beers!’.  That’s the whole reason to run right, free beers at the end!  We stood around and chatted for a little while and then decided to make our way back home, I was meeting Sarah and FKBT for brunch, Elizabeth had to work.  We walked back and stopped at Lululemon, because well you just have to stop in when you walk by.  I bought some boxers because I had forgotten to pack some; I used this as an excuse to finally buy the one thing I had been holding out on buying.  I’m so glad I bought them they are super comfortable, no surprise there.  But I digress.

We will run for free beer!!!
We will run for free beer!!!

I went back to Sarah’s apartment, showered and changed, our friend Theo, came back with us too and we went to brunch at Warehouse 518.  Tim’s (FKBT) friend Aiden is the head waiter there and he took care of us!  I have met him a few times and he is a pretty fun person and made sure to take care of Sarah and I since we just finished the 12 miler.  It was great to catch up with Tim, I haven’t seen him much since he moved and it had been quite some time since Theo, Tim and I hung out together.  Brunch was delicious!  If you are in the Mt. Vernon area I recommend Warehouse 518!

You have to put back the depleted carbs after a race!
You have to put back the depleted carbs after a race!

Overall it was a great day with friends and we all PR’d, so we were all happy!  It was a good way to judge where we are all at in our marathon training, though I think we all agreed we would have liked to run that extra 1.1 miles to see if we could have PR’d at the half distance.  The Charles St. 12 is a race I will consider doing again next year.

3 PR finishers!!!
3 PR finishers!!!

Did you race this weekend?  How did it go?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Solid Background

Week 12 (8/31-9-6)

Week 11 ended on a bit of a rough note with the long run, but overall it went pretty well.  I was happy with the week and felt I made the most out of it.  I’m looking forward to the lower mileage week this week and the Charles St. 12 on Saturday.

Monday:  4 Miles (Pace 8:21)

Last week it was rather cool for the last week of August, in Baltimore the heat can return in an instant!  The heat and humidity came back today.  It was in the low 90’s with 70% humidity, so I waited until later in the evening to run.  I hydrated throughout the day and was feeling better after yesterday’s long run.  I started my run feeling good and then just like yesterday around mile 2, I felt like a ton of bricks hit me.  I felt wiped out.  I pushed through and finished my run.  I chalked it up to not having enough water throughout the day, even though I thought I had.  Glad to get this one behind me.

Tuesday:  2.25 Miles (Pace 7:58)

It is looking like the heat will not subside until the weekend, which will be better nice since I have a race this weekend.  I was suppose to go 6 miles today, but I waited till later and didn’t have the time.  I was meeting a friend to move lacrosse goals which turned out to be harder than one might think.  Anyway, I digress.  I figured since I wasn’t running 6 miles I would run a bit of a faster pace.  I got my miles in around the neighborhood and felt pretty good today.  I think I am rehydrated!

Wednesday:  5 Miles (Pace 8:00)

This evening I ran with my friend Cat and her brother.  She wanted to do a tempo run and I was fine with that, I’m suppose to do speed work tomorrow but I figured I could just swap days.  We ran around Canton and Fells Point, we started out pretty slow around a 8:30 pace, we chatted and caught up on what everyone had been up to, then John (Cat’s brother) really picked it up.  We quickly dropped to a 7 min mile and averaged 7:30 for the next 3.  The conversation dropped to a minimum during those 3 miles, the last mile we slowed down and cooled down.  It was still muggy but it felt good to get a tempo/speed work in.  I decided at the end of the run I wasn’t going to do intervals tomorrow.

Thursday:  3.3 Miles (Pace 8:14)

Since I wasn’t doing intervals I figured I would still do the mileage I would have running intervals.  I looped around my neighborhood and had a strong run.  It was negative splits which I am always happy with.

Friday: 1 Mile (Pace 8:24)

Tomorrow is race day!  I made sure on my short run tonight to deliberately run a bit slower.  After my run I made some pasta for dinner, which I had also had for lunch and dinner on Thursday.  Carbo-loading!

Saturday:  12 Miles (Pace 8:09)

See Charles St. 12

Sunday:  3.1 Miles (Pace 8:09)

This morning I was little sore from the race, my feet and quads mostly.  I hobbled around a bit and then got ready for the day.  I was meeting a friend from high school; we were going scuba diving in in a quarry in Westminster.  We drove up spent about an hour maybe a little more in the water, had lunch and then came back.  I showered and sat on the couch for a little while to rest and I started to dose off, I texted some friends and asked if the wanted to go see a movie, they said yes.  That gave me the motivation to get up and run before going out.  My first mile was pretty slow, I think swimming loosened my legs up some but I was still tight.  Close to the end of the first mile it felt like my legs released and my stride was back to normal.  I didn’t want to push it to much I wanted to use this run to stretch out.  My next mile was smooth and 40 seconds faster, my 3rd mile felt just as good and was 20 seconds faster.  I didn’t mean to run negative splits today but I was really happy that I did and even more surprised I was able to do it at my race pace just a day later.  In my mind I’m hoping that means the training is paying off!

Total Miles:  30.65

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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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.

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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.

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!