365 Days Later

I wanted to end my running streak where it began, Central Park in NYC.  Last year on October 25th my friend, Lizzie, and I went to NYC and ran in Central Park while we were there she didn’t know at the time but I was starting a run streak.  Heck at that point I wasn’t sure I was going to; 365 days seemed like such a long time.  The next morning at breakfast I told Lizzie about my idea of a run streak and that I was becoming a vegetarian.  I’m not really sure what she thought, but I do remember her telling me that is was great that I was becoming a vegetarian but I needed to eat healthy as well.  Advice I followed over the last year.

Penn Station in Baltimore
Penn Station in Baltimore

On Friday I woke up early before work and ran, I wouldn’t have time later.  Lizzie and I were taking the train to NYC and had dinner reservations at 2200 hrs.  The train ride to NYC was pretty quick and painless, last year we took the bus and that was rather interesting.  Once we arrived we walked to our hotel, changed, and walked to dinner.  We had made reservation 3 months ago and had been looking forward to dinner for quite some time.  If you ever find yourself in NYC and want an absolutely amazing meal make reservations at Per Se!  Trust me it is worth it!  We actually had to take one of the dessert courses with us because we were so full.  I can even put into words how amazing the food was!

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Saturday morning Lizzie went to meet one of her friends and I decided to go for a run in Central Park.  Our hotel was only 2 blocks away.  I wanted to try and get a longer run in since I had been taking it easy most of the week.  On Day 364 I managed to logged 12 miles; I looped Central Park and then did an out and back path.  There were so many people in the Park, bikers, runners, walkers, horse carriages, there was even a race going on.  I really enjoyed the run even though it was a bit chilly.  After the run we met a friend of mine for lunch, rested up a bit, had a dinner at supposedly the best falafel cart in NYC according to Yelp!  We aren’t so sure about that but it got the job done.  After dinner we made our way to Times Square to see An American in Paris and enjoy wine from a sippy cup!  Definitely  a highlight!  The show was fantastic.  Again I would recommend seeing it if you have not and are in NYC.

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Sunday had arrived, this was day 365.  There were plenty of times I thought it wouldn’t get here but it had.  It was gloomy out and a light rain was falling in the city, but it was time to run and weather couldn’t stop us.  We left the hotel and started to walk towards Central Park, Lizzie said to me ‘Are we going to walk or run?’  With that we starting running towards the Park.  We ran out and back and stopped to take a selfie, just as we had done 365 days ago.

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It felt good to complete the streak.  I’ve never done anything for 365 days straight before, at least nothing that required me to go out of my way to do it.  In total I estimate during that time I ran approximately 1355 miles, with lots of them coming during marathon training.  I’m glad I completed the streak, but as Lizzie pointed out to me a year is an arbitrary number, so very true.  Why not make it two years?  I’m not, but what made me choose a year?  I suppose I thought it would be a good measure of time and give me something to do everyday.  Some people have said it was inspiring, I didn’t do it to inspire anyone but I’m glad I did.  I do hope that I have motivated someone, somewhere to run, or embrace a healthier lifestyle.  In the last few weeks of the streak I began looking forward to stopping and resting my legs.  I thought about some things when it comes to a streak and keeping it going.  One person who inspired me and has a streak she doesn’t keep track of (at least I don’t think she does, anymore) is my Mom.  Twenty years ago she gave up smoking, I still remember the day she quit.  We were at the park fishing and it started raining, my Mom, Dad, and I started running for the car.  Before we made it we stopped at a pavilion to catch our breath and that is when my Mom quit smoking.  She took out her cigarettes and threw them in the trashcan.  She was pretty winded and finally realized smoking was destroying her lungs and her health.  She hasn’t smoked since.  I’m really glad she quit that day.  I know my Mom is going to read this so ‘Keep up the streak Mom, you’ve got 19 years on me!’

Not the actual trash can
Not the actual trash can

Looking back on the streak it was challenging at times, but helped me stay on track and maintain a balance in my life.  I am sure I will write more about what the streak has meant to me in the future, when I’m ready to share some things.  In the meantime I am looking forward to letting my legs rest.  If you are wondering did I stop, no, I ran on Day 366.  It is Tuesday evening about 2145 hrs; as I begin to write my blog for Thinking Out Loud it feels odd that I haven’t ran today.  As I showered tonight I actually thought about running after getting out of the shower, and I’m thinking about running now, but it is late and I am much to tired.  Just a few days ago that wouldn’t have stopped me, but today is finally a rest day!

2014, yikes!
2014, yikes I had gained way to much weight!

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I’m not going to stop running or training, I decided to try and break 4 hours in the marathon again!  I’m running the Outer Banks Marathon on November 8th.  Between now and then I will be training, but with a few more rest days.

Stay tuned!

Have you added a race to your season?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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–Running 3:16–

4 Months in under…

I now look forward to Thursdays and Thinking Out Loud, even if I don’t get to post every Thursday!

For those of you who are regular readers of the blog you may have noticed I haven’t posted any training updates for the Baltimore Marathon.  Not to worry, I completed Week 16 and 17 of the training plan, the run streak is alive, and I am ‘enjoying’ taper week.  The Baltimore Marathon is Saturday.

 

Hill repeats with November Project
 
I’ve been running for 354 days straight and training for the marathon for the last 4 months according to the Hal Higdon Training plan.  That training culminates on Saturday.  The last few months I’ve had many nights were I’ve lost some sleep thinking about the marathon and if I will be able to complete it in…under 4 hours.  

 

Final 8 Mile Run, with a fast 5k to finish!
 
I feel prepared!  I’ve never trained harder for a marathon!  Now it is time to hydrate, carbo-load, and run!

 

Trying to keep my feet rested while standing at work!
 
I will have much more to say about the marathon on Saturday, so check back!  Not a very exciting blog post this week.

4 Months, in under 4 hours

  

Is your race season over, how was it?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

  

Week 15 (9/21-9/27)

Monday:  5.2 Miles (Pace 7:58)

I don’t want to jinx it but the nice fall weather is continuing here in Baltimore!  Most of the day was overcast and dreary; after getting some work done and coming to the conclusion the light rain wasn’t going to stop I went to the Promenade to run.  The rain picked up a little during my run but not to hard, honestly I barely noticed.  I had another strong run with negative splits and my last mile being my fastest.  I think my legs are a bit refreshed after a lower mileage week last week!

Tuesday:  7 Miles (Pace 8:38)

After two great days of running, my body was starting to get tired.  My plan was to run 10 miles downtown, but I wound up doing 7.  I ran with my friend Kristen, we started a bit faster than I wanted to but quickly fell into a steady pace.  During my longer runs and in general I have been trying to make a habit of starting slow and then picking up the pace.  That is the strategy I plan to use in the marathon.  We ran along the water and it was a bit humid but still a nice evening out.  When ended the run at Tin Roof and talked with our friend Theo for a bit.  Kristen left and Theo and I caught up a bit, I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks.  It was good run and I hope to make up some miles tomorrow.

Wednesday:  2.1 Miles (Pace 8:24)

So much for making up the miles.  Even though I had a relatively light day at work, I was still pretty fatigued.  It seems like it has taken my body longer to recover before I am ready to go 100% again.  After work the day got away from me and I had a night college fair to attend and only had time to get in a few miles.

Thursday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:16)

After a late night from the fair last night, an early morning, and another evening college fair I didn’t feel like running much.  For some reason this week has been a bit more difficult for me to motivate myself to get out and run.  I think I can see the end in sight and I’m getting excited for a break.  I need to keep my eye on the marathon and not slack off these last few weeks.

Friday:  1.5 Miles (Pace 8:16)

Knowing my long run is tomorrow, I decided to take it easy on the run today.  I wanted to make sure I stay hydrated and well fueled for my final long run tomorrow.  I saw my neighbor and friend on the run, he was walking his dogs, when I ran up behind him I actually scared him.  I guess I’m a really quite runner.  After a quick chat I was on my way and finished my run.

Saturday:  20 Miles (Pace 9:12)

Last night I slept close to 9 hours, the long days at work have really been taking it out of me.  I know you can’t catch up on sleep, but it was nice to get in a few more hours than I had been.  For breakfast I tried a new energy bar from Extend Nutrition, I actually won a gift card from Ashley’s blog.  It is suppose to keep your blood sugar balanced for up to 6 hours during the day.  The run today had course support from Falls Road Running Store, they host the run every year before the marathon.  The course starts at Patterson Park and follows the marathon course.  You run most of the hills which is good, it gives you an idea of what to expect.  During the run, I met some new people and chatted with them as we ran I also saw some people I know from running and ran with them for a while.  When I wasn’t running with anyone I reflected over the last few months of training and running the same course 3 years ago in preparation for the marathon.  Things have changed a lot since then, which I hope to write about in a separate blog.  As I thought about the last few months I have never trained with this much intensity or intent before.  I am hoping it will pay off come race day!  I wasn’t trying to run a certain pace and when I finished I was happy with it.  I felt comfortable, very tired but comfortable with how I ran.  I know how I want to refuel during the race and I have a plan, I just need to stick with it.  After the run, I had an event to go to for my best friend, and then I had some people over my house.  We had a bonfire and enjoyed sitting around telling funny stories.  Sarah and FKBT came over and brought some dessert, it was a great way to end the day and begin my taper!

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Sunday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:43)

All through the night, I had a horrible headache and woke up with one as well.  No it wasn’t from to many beers, I think it was a combination of being dehydrated from running, not eating properly afterwards, and the smoke from the fire.  I woke up had some breakfast and started to feel better.  Today was the home opener for the Ravens; I went to the game with a friend.  I didn’t have time to run before the game so when I got home I did a quick loop around the neighborhood.  My body felt fatigued from yesterday, at one point I actually thought about stopping, but I didn’t.  I’m so close to finishing the streak.  Today was day 337 of the running streak.  The end is in sight.  I am looking forward to a day of rest and I’m looking forward to the marathon!  I am so glad that taper time has started!  I didn’t get in all the miles I should have this week, if I can I will make some up this upcoming week, but it is time for my body to regain strength through some easier runs!

Walking through the Inner Harbor After the Ravens game, really high tide!
Walking through the Inner Harbor After the Ravens game, really high tide!

Total Miles:  37.8

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Crazy hair, after finishing 20 miles!
Crazy hair, after finishing 20 miles!

Week 14 (9/14-9/20)

Other than the rough end to Week 13, it was a great week.  I’m looking forward to this week and the lower mileage.  I am also looking forward to the finishing my streak in just over a month!  I never thought I would make it this long, I just need to stay healthy and get through the next 6 weeks!

Monday:  5.2 Miles (Pace 7:58)

What a difference a day and some hydration makes.  I ran the same route along the water tonight as I did last night, the weather was near the same, but I was able to run much better.  Sometimes I forget how important hydration is when it comes to running.  I eased into the first mile and then negative split every mile after.  Today’s run was a confidence booster after last night!

Tuesday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:14)

Time got away from me today.  After work I had a meeting I needed to go to which started 30 minutes late.  By the time I got home I didn’t have 6 miles in my legs, plus I had an early day on Wednesday.  I did a loop around my neighborhood to keep the streak going!

Wednesday:  5 Miles (Pace 8:11)

This morning was an early morning followed by a long drive to a college fair I had to go to.  The first session was 4 hours, then a break, and an evening session of 2 hours.  My plan was to run in between the sessions.  I had packed extra clothes with me so I could shower after running.  At the first session I was talking with some of my colleagues I hadn’t seen in a while and they were planning to run during the break as well, though we were all running different distances.  The first session ended at 1300 hrs, which just happened to be when you could register for the SeaWheeze Half Marathon.  After some tense minutes of waiting, I was able to register!  I was really lucky to get in there were only 10,017 spots and the race sold out in 11 minutes.  I was really pumped and ready to run.  I found a gym where I could shower after running, I had to buy a day pass that was $15.  Pretty expensive for a shower but sometimes that is the cost of running :/  The sun was high and the humidity was just as high, it was a rough run considering how cool it had been in the evenings the last few days.

seawheeze

Thursday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:56)

Today was a really early morning after not getting home till late, I only had about 5.5 hours of sleep and a long day ahead of me.  My day was pretty much standing in one spot for about 7 hours while I presented to students and another college fair.  My legs were really sore from standing in one spot all day.  I didn’t have the energy to do a tempo run and didn’t really feel like running at all.  I managed to eek out a slow mile but I wasn’t to happy.

Burning the candle at both ends.
Burning the candle at both ends.

Friday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:33)

I don’t say this often but I was happy for Friday to arrive, it had been a long week!  After another early morning and another 4 hours of standing my feet and my legs were pretty sore.  After work I helped a friend move some dance equipment to where she teaches on the other side of town.  When I finally got home I responded to some work emails and then took a nap for 2.5 hours.  I woke up, ran, ate dinner, had a glass of wine, and went back to sleep.  I was exhausted from the week.  My friend invited me out, but I was too tired to go, I felt bad but I knew I would be any fun.

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Single serve, so you don’t have to open a whole bottle…don’t judge me 😉

Saturday:  12 Miles (Pace 8:51)

After a solid nights rest I was feeling pretty good!  The weather was overcast and really foggy when I woke up.  I drove to the BWI Trail to meet FKBT and Sarah to run.  Even though it was overcast it was still humid.  Sarah was doing her long run, 22 miles, and I needed to do 12.  I planned to run one loop with her and then she would continue on.  FKBT was planning on meeting some friends to go on a long bike ride.  At the start of our run, another runner waved me down, we belong to the same running group on FB, and he recognized me.  It was nice to meet him, I’m always surprised by how awesome the run community is and you never know when you will actually meet someone you only know from social media!  As we went around the loop lots of other runners and bikers said ‘hi’ and one walker even shared some words of encouragement as we passed them.  People on the trail are much more friendly than most in Baltimore.  It was a nice loop to run around, differently scenery and some hills but nothing to big.  I think I slowed Sarah down a bit, I like to go a bit slower on my longer runs, we actually talked about that at the beginning and she said it would be good to test out her pacing.  After my 12 we stopped together briefly to take a runselfie and for Sarah to get some water and she was off on the loop again.  It was nice to get the run out early in the day.  My legs still were not fully recovered but I was happy to get the miles in!

Still smiling after 12 miles!
Still smiling after 12 miles!

Sunday:  7.3 Miles (Pace 7:47)

After an hour of trying to get my new printer from work to scan I was ready for a run.  The air was cool and crisp perfect for running.  I decided to run at the Promenade along the water.  I was hoping to run 6 miles but once I got going I figured I would add some extra to make up for what I had missed earlier in the week.  I eased into the run with a slow mile and then what felt pretty easy turned out to be a 7:30 mile.  I was feeling pretty good and decided to try and stay around that pace.  Half way through my run I was surprised at how strong I was feeling.  The miles were just passing by.  I finished strong and really happy with this run considering how the week had gone.  Even though this was a low mileage week it was rough, standing in one place really took its toll on my legs and feet.  I am a bit nervous for the upcoming week and the 50+ miles I will need to do.  Oh today was day 330 of the running streak, 5 weeks to go!  4 weeks until the Baltimore Runinng Festival and 26.2!

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Total Miles:  32.5

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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Week 13 (9/7-9/13)

As week 12 ended I was feeling good especially after my PR in the Charles St. 12.  I was ready for the heavier mileage week that was in front of me!

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Monday:  4.1 Miles (Pace 8:16)

My legs were feeling strong today, the lower miles in week 12 really helped out.  The heat and humidity are still lingering in Baltimore, but I would expect nothing different for Baltimore weather.  I decided to run around my neighborhood in the early evening.  As I was finished I saw my neighbors and after I cooled down I talked to them for a few minutes, not an overly exciting run, but I was happy with the pace.

Tuesday:  10 Miles (Pace 8:54)

My friend Kristen texted me in the morning and asked about my plans for running, when I told her, she wanted to run with me.  We waited till early evening when the sun was staring to go down before we ran.  We started at the Korean War Memorial went down Clinton street and made our way towards Patterson Park.  We looped both parts of the park twice and then made our way back to the waterfront.  We stopped once because my shoulder was cramping up, but once I massaged the pain away the last few miles of the run went well.  Just as we were finishing we ran into some of my friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  We stopped a spoke to them briefly and then finished up the last quarter mile.  I dropped Kristen off and decided I was going to get a burrito from Chipotle.  I went into the store and the music was so loud it could have been mistaken for a dance club.  I could barely hear the server when she was asking me what I wanted.  She made my burrito and I thought, what a waste she had put entirely to much rice, beans, veggies, and cheese on it.  If I had to guess I would say the burrito probably weighed close to 3 lbs.  I knew immediately I wasn’t going to eat the whole thing.  When I got home and bit into it, it had way to much cheese on it; it didn’t even taste that good.  I ate some of it just to get some food in my body but threw most of it away.  I don’t like to waste food but I didn’t think a burrito would be good reheated.  I should have taken a picture :/

Wednesday:  5 Miles (Pace 8:45)

After work today I had an appointment with the Red Cross to donate platelets.  I had never done it before and had lots of questions when they called and asked me donate.  My questions included how it would affect my training, how long it would take to recover, did it matter that I’m a vegetarian.  The person who called was very helpful in answering all my questions but out of caution I asked them all again when I went to my appointment.  They assured me it wouldn’t affect my training and recovery was actually faster than giving whole blood.  I asked if I would be able to run tonight, because they said no strenuous activities for 12 hours.  The phlebotomist told me I should be okay to run after 2 hours, but to carry extra fluids with me.  They were very nice, it takes a while to donate, it took me 2.5 hours.  They said it takes longer your first time.  While you are donating you get to watch a movie on your own personal dvd player.  I watched ‘Men of Honor’.  They also cover you with blankets because you get cold when you donate.  I started with one blanket, but during the donation process the machine started beeping the phlebotomist said it was because my veins were constricting because I was cold.  She felt my arm and said I was freezing, I didn’t even realize it and they but more blankets on me.  After I finished donating I had about an hour before I was suppose to go to a new run club, Holabird Sports Run Club.  I drank a lot of fluids and some extra orange juice and figured I would see how I felt.  The run club met at the Korean War Memorial and they had a rep from Under Armour there, it was funny I had actually met the rep at the Charles St. 12, she is friends with one of my running friends.  It was a great group of people, we started really slow, which was fine with me, but it was too slow after a mile, it was more than a 10 min pace.  I started to pull away a bit and another runner came up along side me, her name was Heather and we ran the rest of the way together and chatted a bit.  Afterwards we all met back up and talked for a bit before we called it a day.  Everyone had asked how I felt, I had told them before about my donation in case something happened, plus I had bandaids on my arms.  Surprisingly, donating didn’t effect my run at all.

Rambo Pose after donating!
Rambo Pose after donating!

Thursday:  5 Miles (Pace ?:??) 5 x 800 hill repeats

When I got to Patterson Park to run hills, I realized I had forgot my Garmin.  I know the distances for the hills, but wouldn’t know the time.  I actually arranged to meet Heather who I met yesterday and run hills with her, she had a GPS watch but at the end of our run I forgot to ask our pace.  The training plan calls for 400m hill repeats but I figured 800 are better since Baltimore is hilly and we got in a longer distance.  I was hoping to do 6 repeats but I was tired after 4 and took a quick breather, Heather kept on going, she was pushing the pace.  As I ascended the hill I thought about doing one more but figured that 5 was good and I called it a day.

Friday:  1 Miles (Pace 8:37)

Friday’s are always marked as rest days but on a run streak a rest day doesn’t really exist, so I did the next closest thing.  I ran a slow mile around my neighborhood and then met up with some friends.

Saturday:  20 Miles (Pace 9:25)

The plan was to get up early and run before the rain came, but I decided to sleep in.  I must have been really tired, I slept for 10hrs. I felt refreshed when I woke up but I did not feel like running.  The weather was dreary outside, in the 70s, but humid.  I couldn’t wait till later to run, my best friend was having a birthday party.  I delayed as long as I could and finally hit the road around noon.  I decided to run a different route instead of in the city.  I started from my house and ran towards Edgemere and the North Point Peninsula.  The terrain reminded me of the marathon course with the hills that I would be running.  My plan was to run the peninsula and then go to my parents and have them give me a ride home.  There were lots of straight aways on the run which made the miles seem longer.  Around mile 9 I reached North Point State Park, when I passed the Visitor Center I saw my Dad’s truck.  I wasn’t surprised my parents are always at the Park, my Dad is volunteer and Honorary Ranger and my Mom likes to take pictures along the trails.  I headed towards the fishing pier and noticed an event going on and quickly realized it was a wedding, then I saw my parents were in attendance.  I stopped and saw them, their friend’s daughter was getting married at the park.  The reception was just beginning I waved to my parent’s friend said bye and then continued my run.  At that point I figured I needed a new plan, since my parents were at the wedding and wouldn’t be able to give me a ride home.  I was close to the midway point of 20 so I decided to run back the same way I came.  Around mile 14 the skies opened up and it started pouring down rain.  I remember thinking about Sarah and her post about her 16 mile run earlier in the day and I wished I only had 2 miles to go.  It rained intermittently for the next 6 miles.  At mile 17 I stopped at a 7-11 because I had run out of water and if I didn’t get some I’m not sure I could have finished.  On this run I ate Clif Bloks more frequently, every 4-5 miles, and I think that helped.  I passed my house just before 20 miles and was so happy when my Garmin beeped.  I was pretty surprised at my pace, I was trying to go slow and get the miles in so I wasn’t shooting for any certain pace, but I thought I was going slower so I was pretty happy.

Water logged after the run!
Water logged after the run!

Sunday:  5.1 Miles (Pace 8:48)

I felt surprisingly good when I woke up.  I made sure to stretch after the run yesterday and I think that really helped in my recovery.  I had lunch with some friends and then watched the Ravens game with them.  So close to a victory but we came up short.  It was about 2000 hrs when I started my run, the air was actually a bit chilly compared to what it had been.  It was in the low 70s and a light breeze was blowing.  I was hoping to get in 10 miles and I thought I could since my legs were feeling good.  A little over a half mile in I got sick while I was running.  I figured it wasn’t a big deal it has happened to me before, when I was in the military.  I just figured it was because I had a big lunch.  I kept on going but was feeling really sluggish in one sense but felt like I was running pretty hard in another.  At one point I thought my Garmin was off because it said I was running over a 9 min pace but it felt like it I was going faster with the amount of energy I was putting out.  I chalked it up to just loosening up the first mile.  Somewhere in the middle of mile 2 my pace had picked up but I knew 10 miles was not in the cards.  I wasn’t feeling well; my head was starting to hurt.  I started to think about it and I didn’t have as much fluid today as I normally do, and I should have been taking in extra after the long run.  By mile 3 I knew I was dehydrated and it was time to head back.  I didn’t want to run any further because I didn’t have my phone with me.  Even though my head was hurting I was trying to keep the pace, I figured it was good marathon simulation.  When I got back to my truck I felt totally depleted of energy, I was definitely dehydrated.  I went to Target and bought some Gatorade and chocolate milk.  I drank the chocolate milk on the way home, it did start to make me feel better almost immediately.  After I showered I mixed the Gatorade with water and drank about 40 oz, before bed.  I mixed 6 oz of Gatorade with 20 oz of water.  I think mixing it helps you digest it easier.  I finally started feeling better before bed and finishing up the blog.  Note to self, remember to properly hydrate!  Normally I carry a water bottle with me but forgot to today :/

Total Miles:  50.1

-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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