Monthly Archives: April 2011

Mission: Put Together

This May, I’ll be participating in the latest installment of Mission: Put Together. It’s a fun way to be inspired to make the most out of your closet and take the extra effort to look put together each day. I hope you’ll join me!

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Weekend Recap…

This weekend included:

+ the fourth Friday 5K race
Distance: 5K/3.1 miles
Time: 30:12 (gun time… my chip wasn’t picked up at the starting line)
Pace: 9:43/mile

+ a bachelorette party
– limo riding
– champagne drinking
– game playing
– flair wearing
– wine tasting
– picnicking
– pole dancing (we took a Pole Pressure class, which was a serious workout… my quads and upper back were so sore yesterday)
– pasta (from Carmine’s) and caramel pretzel chocolate cupcake** eating

+ Orioles-Yankees game
– amazing catch in the outfield
– two players thrown out at the plate
– extra innings (free baseball!)
– crazy lightning
– rain delay in extras (seriously, as if my weekend wasn’t busy enough, we got a doubly-extended baseball game!)

How was your weekend?

** I made two attempts at the caramel pretzel chocolate cupcake. The first was not so good (adding a caramel-pretzel center… the pretzels got soft during baking), so Adam brought them to a co-worker who lives in the building, figuring drunk, video game playing, 20-something guys wouldn’t turn down mediocre cupcakes. The second one was better (and received good reviews at the party, even being described as “decadent”) but I am hesitant to post the recipe, because (a) this version was a “semi-homemade” hack job I threw together post-race on Friday night, and (b) I have other ideas on how to improve it, beyond actually making the components from scratch.

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And so it begins…

This past weekend was the first of several in the upcoming months in which I have already-scheduled plans. Expect many frazzled, whirl-windy recaps!

It started on Friday, with the third installment of the Crystal Run 5K Fridays. We finally had nice weather (after the first two windy, chilly, sometimes rainy races) and, consequently, several hundred more people showed up for this race than the previous two. I was running late to the race and got to the starting line after everyone was already lining up. I just sort of jumped right in from where I was standing and the race started less than a minute later. It wasn’t until the race started that I realized that I had started way too far back in the pack, and I spent the first mile weaving in and out of people. I managed to have a fairly decent time for the first mile, considering, but I’m sure I ended up adding a few seconds to my time as a result. I tried to just sort of hang back and just pick up the pace after it thinned out, but after getting stuck behind strollers and people walking with balloons (seriously?!), I couldn’t take it anymore and the bobbing and weaving began. As per usual, my second mile was the slowest (I swear, their second mile marker has got to be in the wrong spot, because it is significantly slower than the other two miles every time and there’s no hill or any significant change in the course during that mile and I don’t have that issue in other 5Ks), but I ended up finishing strong, with a final time of 29:21. Two seconds off my fastest 5K, which I’m pretty sure I could have beaten if I had started further up at the line. Oh well, hopefully next week!

5k Fridays 2011: Race Three
Distance: 5K/3.1 miles
Time: 29:21
Pace: 9:27/mile

(Adam broke 21 minutes, setting his own PR in this race. That’s 6:45 pace!)

After the race, we went home where I iced my knee. Dr. Google tells me it’s runner’s knee, which I can apparently run through just fine (for now, anyway), but my knee tends to tighten up and hurt for a few hours after running, and then stay stiff for a few days after that. (And, oddly, it really hurts after yoga, so I’m going to do my 3-days-a-week yoga challenge another month.) I’m only planning on running the 5Ks we’ve already got planned (and paid for) the rest of this month, and then give it a few more weeks rest if it needs it. We don’t start any distance training again until July, so hopefully it’ll be good and healed by then. May and June will be focused on strength training, which should help prevent runner’s knee in the future.

Friday night, Adam and I went to a local Mexican restaurant, where our waiter enjoyed the fact that we had (our second) margaritas for dessert. My parents arrived at our place around 11pm and we all turned in pretty quickly, so that we could get up early and hit the road to… Virginia Beach!

Us, and the rest of the world, apparently. I-95 was a mess and it took us over 7 hours to make the typically 4 hour trip.

And then, when we arrived, it was just in time for tornado warnings! We spent our evening playing board games with the local news on in the background, which was covering all the storm and tornado destruction in the area (including a middle school that was just destroyed… thank goodness it was a weekend!), watching the constant lightning in the distance. Luckily (especially because we didn’t realize the house had storm shutters until the morning), the storms never got that close to us. There was one, long thunder roll that shook the house for about ten seconds, but that wast the worst of it.

Sunday morning, we got up early. My dad made us all pancakes (both blueberry and Reese’s peanut butter cup… oh yes, he did); we took a walk on the beach; we read our books out in the sunshine, listening to the waves crashing and birds chirping; we ate cheese and crackers for lunch; we played another few rounds of Bananagrams. Then, sadly, Adam and I had to pack our bag and head home. (My parents are staying for the whole week.)

We made much better time on our way home, hitting only a few small patches of traffic here and there, stopping in Fredericksburg for dinner and ice cream (no beach vacation is complete without ice cream!).

Considering how much we crammed into this weekend, it actually was quite relaxing. There’s nothing quite like lounging around a beach house with nothing to do to restore some inner calm and sanity… much needed, considering everything I have planned in the upcoming weeks!

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GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler

One of the best perks to joining the platinum club at the local running store is the VIP treatment at big races, like the GW Parkway Classic. While transportation was provided to the starting line for all runners, we were able to gather at the store in Alexandria, where coffee, bagels, fruit and more awaited us. We then boarded the buses to Mount Vernon, and we were allowed to stay on the buses and keep warm (and not have to stand in line for the porta-potty to use the bathroom) until race time.

It wasn’t as sunny as originally forecasted, but I thought the weather was perfect for the race: 50s and overcast. I wore a long sleeve and short sleeve tech tee to start but ended up being overdressed; by mile 2, I’d already taken off my long sleeve and tied it around my waist. (I’m sure that I looked pretty funny while doing it, since I took my shirt off over my visor while holding onto my water bottle, trying not to trip over my own feet or run into anybody.)

My knee had been bugging me a bit ever since the half marathon, although it actually felt better after Friday’s 5K race. I hadn’t logged many miles in between the half marathon on this race, so I was a little worried about that would affect my time. I really, really wanted to set a PR in this 10M race, just in case I decide against running the Army Ten Miler this year. At least, I didn’t want to have to put my goal of setting a PR in this distance off until that race, because there is a half marathon I’d really like to run the week before. But, I was worried about my knee and just generally not feeling all that into it as I started the race, so I wasn’t really expecting things to go so well.

The course for the GW Parkway Classic is one of my favorites. The race is capped at 5,000 and there actually aren’t many spectators, because the GW Parkway is (obviously) closed and there really aren’t too many options for spectators to get near the course and cheer. And, maybe strangely, I really like it that way. In most races, I love the spectators and definitely get a boost when I run past a particularly energetic group (I love the ones with music!). But for this race, I really enjoy being out there, alone with my thoughts and no distractions (other than the other runners, I suppose, but I can usually tune them out). I don’t even run with music. Just me, my head, my legs. The rhythm of my breathing, of feet hitting the pavement.

This course is a fast one, lots of downhills without too many uphills (just two short ones, around miles 8 and 9, which were much easier this year now that I knew they would be coming). Last year, I took the first mile really fast, partly because I wasn’t as aware of the downhill, and partly because they didn’t have pace corrals so I started a little too far up front and went out quickly. This year, I consciously took it slower in the first mile, running it in exactly 10 minutes. I kept a fairly steady pace of around 10:30 throughout most of the race, with miles 4, 6 and 10 being closer to 10 minute miles, and two short walk breaks in miles 7 and 8. (The first walk breaks I’ve taken in a race in a long time.) I knew that I would be very close to my 10M PR, but around mile 8, my legs had just about had it and I was giving myself a pep talk that it would be okay if I had to try again in the ATM, and that it would be okay if I didn’t make my goal of setting a PR in every distance this year.

As I got to the beginning of mile 10, I realized I could get very close to my PR if I finished the last mile in about 10 minutes. I knew my 10M PR was 1:44:something… I just didn’t know what that something was. The last mile of the course is pretty much just a straightaway, and you can see the finish line from about 8 blocks away. I told myself that I would just keep going at this pace, but when I got to 1:42, I would run hard to the finish. Then 1:42 came and the finish line didn’t look so far… I was tired, and I was pretty sure I could get there in about 2 minutes at my current pace, so I didn’t push it to the end. When I crossed the finish line, my watch said 1:44:05. I thought I might have made it, but I really wasn’t sure, because I couldn’t remember my exact PR. But, I knew I’d come pretty close, and I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to do that when I started the race.

On the bus back to the running store, I got on my phone to check my time for last year’s Army Ten Miler on my website (there’s a reason I keep all that info on here!). 1:44:07. It was going to be close… I had to wait for the official time before I would know whether or not I set a PR in this race.

Results were posted by the time we got home… 1:44:06. I beat my previous record by one second. ONE.

I’m that much closer to my goal for the year. I only wish I was planning on running a 10K before September so I could check them all off already!

All in all, as much as I really love this race, I just really wasn’t into running that long of a distance on Sunday. I’m pretty burnt out on distance running at the moment and looking forward to taking a break from training for long races (we have four more 5Ks this month) for a while. I’ll just have to find some other way to get my cardio in!

Distance: 10 miles
Time: 1:44:06
Pace: 10:25/mile

* * * * *

Stats from the (rainy) second Friday 5K of the year:

Distance: 5K/3.1 miles
Time: 29:53
Pace: 9:38/mile

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