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2018 in Running

2018 in Running

If you don’t feel like reading a quick summary is as followed: I ran fewer miles, didn’t stress, set 2 PRs, and ran things I never thought I would.  Two intense trail races? Another marathon? Sure why not…

Here we go…

January:

I planned to run a 5k to kick in the new year, but I didn’t because it was cold. I don’t remember the exact temperature, but it was somewhere between 0-10 degrees. My best race in January was the Distance Series 15 miler in VA.  I averaged about 6:35 pace for 15 miles which is significantly faster than anything I’ve run towards the latter half of the year.

me running distance series va beach

It was a low key month as far as races, but the East Coast was cold and miserable for most of the month.

February:

February was my best of the month for running of the year.  I finally PRed in a half marathon.  It took over two years to get back to a PR, but I ran almost a minute faster than my previous.  As far as training went, every race I ran in February, just felt good.  I can’t believe it’s almost been 11 months since then and I hope I’m able to get back there again.Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

March:

I had a lot of fun training in March. When people ask my best performance of the year, I don’t think it’s my half or marathon PR. I actually think it was when I ran the Adrenaline Run in 18:29 in NJ, then drove 6 hours and ran the Shamrock Half in 1:23 in VA the next day. I wasn’t expecting to run that well, but I just felt good.  It was my fastest time at Shamrock but also the best weather.

shamrock half marathon va beach me running

April:

In 2017, I ran the April Fools race, and it was my last race before burning out. It was a culmination of too many things pulling me too many directions, so I took a mental and physical break. My goal for 2018, was to come back and win the April Fools Half. I’ve won the race before, but I wanted to win again. Of course, you can’t control who shows up, but it was one of my top five favorite running moments of the year. The weather was windy and rainy, and I also collided with a pedestrian, but I did what I wanted.  Here is the recap. 

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

May:

May was a quiet month as far as running. I ran less, I just kind of bebopped along with nothing crazy either way. I ran Broad Street in 1:03 which I was pleased with. Not my fastest or slowest. I got to see my family and have fun.  May started a long shift in mindset towards the end of the year that running became a lot of the “focus” in my life.  Yes, I ran, but I chose other things before running on more than one occasion.  While I don’t blog about my personal life with the military, it has been a busy later half. Some weeks, it takes more mental and physical time than my actual job, and that’s ok.

broad street 10 miler

In May, I also ran the Cape May 10k, a race I had wanted to run for years.  Sadly I felt like garbage the entire race, and it was one of the “worst” races I ran all year. I’ve run workouts faster, but it was fun to hang out with friends, and I enjoy Cape May.  A photo of me finishing what I consider my worst race of the year, but still smiling because it’s just running and it was a really good day anyway.

me running cape may 10k

June:

I didn’t race much in June. My favorite was a five miler in Atlantic City. It ended on the beach but was a lot of fun. I barely won and if it had been 6 miles, I would not. Atlantic City races are my favorite. Not because I love gambling or AC, but I think the races are all well put together and I just enjoy the time there. bungalow beach 5 miler atlantic city

July:

In July, I decided to run the Copper Mountain 25k, and I am so proud of myself for doing so. It was one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences I’ve had. I’ve never run a trail race of that magnitude before.  It started at 9000 feet and climbed all the way to 12,000 feet. It was one of the reasons I decided to run another marathon. I hadn’t spent that much time on my feet in a long time, and I knew after that, I could do it again! It was one of my favorite race moments of the entire year.

under armour copper mountain race me running

August:

I had so much fun at Copper Mountain, I ran the Killington 25k. Killington was a much more challenging and rocky course. It was lower elevation, but the rockiness and technical uphill and downhill made for more hiking than running. I was just as proud of my accomplishment there too. I ran Killington in 3:20 which is the longest I’ve ever spent running.

underarmour killington 25k

September:

September started my “official” marathon training. Official is very loose because I didn’t follow a plan and ran when I ran. I knew I needed to get long runs in, but I also knew I wanted to get more shorter workouts and races in. I ran the Boothbay Harborfest Half Marathon which is the hilliest half I’ve done.  It was one of the best half marathons I had in the fall despite being minutes slower than every Spring half. (Every? Yes, after checking every LOL).

Boothbay harborfest half marathon

My husband, father-in-law, and I all ran the Air Force half marathon. I ran much slower than the year before, but it was one of the hottest races, and they ended up shutting down the race early for safety. I got some of my favorite race photos from the race, so I came out with something.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

October:

October continued my running.  While training for New York, I never really felt like I got back into shape. I was in shape, but I wasn’t in the same shape as the Spring. I ran the Atlantic City half in 1:27 and felt good about that.  atlantic city half marathon me running

November:

November was about the marathon. I ran a 3:07 which I’m proud of.  It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I was granted the very last (YAY for being the caboose) spot in the sub-elite corral. I got to watch the professionals warm up, hang out with them, and just relax. Then I ran a 7 minute PR. I never felt like I was in the best shape ever for the marathon, but I did feel like I was in “good shape.”  I wasn’t in the same fitness as the winter and while it’s a 7 minute PR, I know I’m capable of doing more when I want too and when I get back to faster fitness.

New York City marathon me running

December:

December has been about building back fitness. It’s taken me a lot longer to come back (coming back from nothing is apparently more difficult than injury), but I’m okay with it. Some seasons are better than other. In December, I also ran my 50th half marathon in Baltimore. It was one of the least safe races I’ve done, and I took the race out too fast for how I felt but that’s ok, I had a great time.

me running race 13.1 baltimore

As the end of the year approaches, I reflect on how good of the year 2018 was for running. Running will never be my life’s focus, but I’m glad to have a good year filled with more good races than bad, and new PRs too.

I look forward to what 2019 will bring. I don’t have any huge goals right now because I don’t know where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, and where life will take me in 2019. My goal for running is always to stay healthy, injury free, and just enjoy it.

Questions for you:

How was your year of racing and training?

What was your favorite race? Least favorite race? 

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Today is My Birthday

Today is My Birthday

As my unoriginal title indicates, today, July 12th, is my 28th birthday.  Some years I write X number of things I learned before age X.  Other years, I don’t even write a post about my birthday.  Some years I spend with family, some with my husband, friends, and others I’ve spent alone.  I haven’t learned a heck of a lot new since last July 12th, and there is no way I could write 28 things I’ve learned since 28.

Last year, I decided I wasn’t interested in material items or junk.  I stopped buying new clothing, and in 2018 my New Year’s Resolution is not to buy any new nonathletic apparel (I don’t go crazy on buying athletic apparel either).  After bills, I’ve chosen to spend my money on experiences rather than things.  Experiences like races, diners, and traveling to random places.  Things that I can look back on and think: dang that was fun.  I don’t need or want any useless junk.

As I reflect upon that, I’m also sitting on an airplane to Denver, Colorado.  I’m doing something out of my comfort zone, and maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m going to run the Copper Mountain 25k.  My only goal is to finish.

I haven’t been secretly training for trail races, but after running the Xterra 10k a few months ago and having fun, trail no longer terrifies like they once did.  I’ve spent a lot of time this spring and summer hiking and it’s become just as fun to me as running. It will be my longest run in a long time, the highest altitude I’ve ever run, and maybe not my wisest idea.  As I mentioned on my blog, when the opportunity first presented itself a few weeks ago, I said no but thought: why not? I have nothing to prove, and it’s getting me out of my comfort zone.

I’m really looking forward to running this weekend.

A few highlights of adventures from age 27:

Visiting the Grand Canyon

grand canyon north rim

Our vacation last year that we booked two plane tickets to Denver and a rental car with no plans.  We ended up driving 2600 miles and seeing amazing places.

road trip through colorado

PRing at the Phoenix Half in February Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

10 Mile Hike through GrayBeard Trail (North Carolina)

Air Force Marathon (half for me) with my husband and in laws

Apparently, I decided to nap and close my eyes right there…

Private Flying over NYC

flying over nyc

Those are just a few of the many memories I have from age 27.  I can only hope 28 will be just as fun!

Questions for you:

When is your birthday? How did you celebrate last year?

Any last minute trail tips?

April Training: Snow to 90

April Training: Snow to 90

It’s hard to believe another month has gone by.  April wasn’t my best, or even second best month of the year, but it was a lot better than last April.

I had two goals for April and I met both of them:

  1. Finish the April Fools Half (mentally) healthy
  2. Not Burn out in April like 2017

So while I didn’t log any extremely fast times or workouts, I also didn’t burn out and that is far ahead of where I was last year.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

Miles Run: Around 200
Rest Days: 6
Range of Paces: 5:49-10:32-untimed
Workouts: 7
Races:
April Fools Half (1:26.08)
Making Strides 5k (19:08)

Thoughts:

As I mentioned, nothing was exceptionally fast and I’m okay with that!  I’m running healthy and that is what matters.  As most people know, I took a nasty fall during the April Fools Half (I collided with a spectator cutting across the course).  I got an X-ray to confirm I didn’t break anything but it took about 2 weeks to feel good again.  It actually hurt the most while sitting.  Luckily by the end of the month, I felt much better.

It’s funny to look back at photos and realize there was a lot going on, weather wise.  In the beginning of the month we had snow and we ended with 90 degrees!

In May, I’ll be traveling a lot.  It’s going to be a busy but fun month.  My goal for the summer months is just enjoying running.  This summer, I would like to get to local tracks more since students won’t be in school.  After Broad Street on Sunday, I don’t have any big goal races of the summer.

Posts from the Month:

Running:

Last Minute Broad Street Tips
Benefits of Massages for Runners
ON Cloud Shoe Review
Rest Weeks Save Training Cycles

Hiking:

Exploring Turkey Swamp Park
What I Pack in My Hiking Bag

Blogging:

Blogging is Dying

Questions for you: How was your month of training?  What are your plans this summer?

A Look Back at 2016 Running

A Look Back at 2016 Running

The year, 2016, brought several PRs but is also brought one serious injury.

As I close out 2016 with my running, I thought it would be fun to reflect upon the year.  Plus there are plenty of new readers as well.  Thinking out loud, I also never expect you to read remember what happened on LOLZ blog.  Reflecting allows me to look back on the year too.

January: 

In 2016, January was probably the best month running wise for me.  I PRed in both of my favorite distances, the 5k and half marathon.

Starting the year off, on January 1st, I ran the Resolution Run 5k (18:22) and PRed in a prom dress. Resolution Run

Then we went on vacation to Carlsbad and I PRed at the Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:22.57).

carlsbad half

The rest of January was relatively quiet.  It is definitely hard to top a PR in my two favorite distances.

February:

February brought a better PR in the 5k and I PRed in the Flower Show 5k (18:13).  They threw flower petals at the start and you can clearly tell I was amused.flower show cannon

After that, I raced a few races but nothing of note.

March:

The biggest race in March was not my best race.  In fact for all of 2016, Shamrock Half Marathon was my most miserable and unenjoyable race (The Philly half is so very close).

I love the Shamrock Race series, but 10 minutes before the start, it started to downpour.  It was 40 degrees,  downpouring and windy.  Long story short, I paid the price and went from 7th place overall to 14th in the final mile.

My favorite race of March was the Phillies Charity 5k (18:27)  I ran an 18:27 and surprisingly won the race for females.  I received an autographed bat which was one of my favorite awards to date.

via Phillies facebook

April:

My most memorable race was running the April Fools Half Marathon.  While it wasn’t a PR, I did run a great race and surprised myself.  The theme of my 2016 racing season became bad weather and we had wind gusts of 50 MPH.

April Fools half

Another race my husband and I did in April was the Totally Awesome 80s run.  We attempted to dress the part and win the “best dressed” but there were many other couples dressed far better.

80s Attire

totally awesome 80s run

In April, I also ran the Broad Street 10 miler.  This was one of a few very good 2016 races for me.  Even though the weather was awful (what a trend), I ran a 10 mile best of 61:58.  I learned a lot from racing in Shamrock the month before and I ran the race in my Gortex jacket.  Bulky but I wasn’t defeated by the weather.

broad street 10 miler 1

May-August

May began a series of runs that felt like garbage.  I knew something was off and even with rest I didn’t feel good.  Later I found out I had a small break in my ankle and had a very rare form of food poisoning.  Honestly, it gave me plenty of time off and I didn’t miss running.

I spent most of the summer resting and then slowly easing back.  The summer of 2016 was my down period.

September:

In September I jumped into RnR Virginia Beach and ran a 1:31.  It was my first official race in a few months and I had no idea how it would go.  A hurricane had just blown through and conditions weren’t ideal, but I finished as fifth women overall.

Roll Virginia Beach results

In September, I also won the Flying Fish 5k which gave me one of my all time favorite race photos.Flying Fish 5k

Finally in late September, I ran RnR Philadephia and ran a 1:27.37.  It was extremely hot day and I was pleased with my improvement.

As you can tell, September was a great month, running wise for me.  I began to feel motivated that I was coming back from my injury strong.

October:

As great as September was, October was better!

I had an incredible time at the Runners World 5k and half marathon.  I attended my first November Project, ran an 18:41 5k and then the next day a 1:24.17 half marathon.  It was one of my best weekend performances of 2016.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

The following weekend, I ran the Base Half Marathon.  Even though it was close after Runners World, the race itself was important to me.  My husband was deployed at the time.  It poured rain but I ended up running negative splits (1:25.30) and was second overall (including men and women).

Base half marathon me running

November:

Similar to March, my noteworthy race was not because of a positive experience.  I felt terrible at the Philadelphia half marathon and ran a 1:27.  I was in shape to run faster but like anything bad races happen.  I crossed the finish line and didn’t think too much about it.

Five days after the Philadelphia half marathon, I ran a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k and ran an 18:30.  It restored the motivation I had lost in myself.  Plus I was race number 1, which was probably my greatest achievement of the year.medford-lakes-turkey-trot

December:

December is obviously the most fresh in my mind, and I only raced once.  The Dallas Half Marathon was my only race but also my favorite race.  I ended my half marathon racing with a 1:23.44 which was close to where I started in January (1:22.57 at Carlsbad).  bmw dallas half marathon me running

I also announced that I was being coached by James Mckirdy.

Favorite Races of 2016:

Phillies 5k (18:27)

Flower Show 5k (18:13) PR

Broad Street 10 miler (61:59) PR

Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:22.57) PR

April Fools Half Marathon (1:24.04)

Base Half Marathon (1:25.28)

Dallas Half Marathon (1:23.44)

You can see all of my races here.

So what’s next for 2017?

That is a can of worms post that deserves it’s own day.  I have a lot of goals but honestly running healthy and injury free is still the first priority.  Like any runner I would like to continue to PR. I have no plans on marathoning soon and I’m happy racing shorter.

Questions for you:

How was your year of running?

Spring Timeline of Minor Issues

I wanted to reflect upon my training since March and figure out how I got to this point in training.  The point of being burnt out, exhausted and injured. Hopefully, someone falling into the trap doesn’t land here too.  Yes, maybe this post reads more like a diary, but I do believe it’s beneficial for me to look back and reflect upon the roller coaster of 2016.

The Good Times:

carlsbad half
I started 2016 off with a bang.  In January, I PRed in both the 5k and half marathon.  I trained through February and PRed again at the Flower Show 5k.

I ran a disappointing race at Shamrock in March. It took both a mental and physical toll on my body.  I believe that was the beginning of my slow downward spiral. Since March, I’ve had a series of small injuries that caused me not to train consistently.  “It was always something.”

After Shamrock, I had a tight Glute Meade that pulled on my hamstring.   I felt overall tight, and it caused me to take about a week off from running.  After my muscles had loosened up, my training became more sporadic and less consistent.  Looking back, not training consistently caused more and more issues to arise.  I should have just taken an extended break then.  It would have prevented mental fatigue and minor aches to heal.

After running a great race at the Atlantic City half marathon, my right foot was sore.  My metatarsals hurt, and I thought I had another stress fracture in a metatarsal.  My right side doesn’t give me too many problems, but my foot hurt.  I took time off, and they found it was just soft tissue damage and pinched metatarsals.  I panicked “for nothing”.  After a week off and diving back into more haphazard training; I ran a few good races.broad street 10 miler 1

I ran Broad Street, the Newport 10k, and a mile in May. Diving quickly back into training wasn’t the best idea, and I found myself both mentally and physically exhausted.  After the mile, I decided to take a break. I didn’t have any ankle pain, but my legs were tired, and my mind was just as tired as well.

After taking a few days off, I decided to go for a run.  My legs had loosened up but something in my foot just “felt off”.  I couldn’t explain it, but my left foot didn’t feel right when running.  It was an ache more in my ankle.  It was enough to cause concern, so I just continued to rest.  I am relatively cautious, and anything feels off, I prefer to get looked at immediately, so I did.  This goes for pretty much anything, running related or not.

A few days later I got an X-ray and also got ART.  I was walking regularly, but something just felt off.  As I’ve mentioned before, the X-ray came out normally.  The doctors visually looked at my foot including pressing against each metatarsal, pushing against my navicular bone and squeezing my calcaneus.  They engaged with each bone, and I did the “hop test”.  All of which, I could do with no cause for alarm.

They also hit the tuning fork against my foot.  Nothing in my foot hurt, so it was somewhat motivating that my issue wasn’t bone related, and they ordered an MRI.

MRI foot

An MRI image of my foot

During the entire process of getting everything looked at, I didn’t miss running.  Maybe it was because I was mentally exhausted or maybe because I knew my foot felt off but I didn’t even have the interest to run.

The orthopedist thought I probably had an inflamed tendon or muscle in my foot.  Based on everything else, it made sense.  About three weeks after I decided to take the mental break, I received the results of my MRI.  I had a small hairline fracture on my fifth metatarsal closer to my ankle.

As I’ve mentioned, my initial thoughts were: how, why, what, did I do?

It was shocking considering I had run frequently on it before taking a mental break.  Since I was overall sore, tired and tight I think my foot aches were being overruled my overall body ache.

Even though the fracture probably happened sooner, we are considering the initial rest and recovery to start May 23.  It was the day I began taking my mental break.  Here I am, nearly one month later away from running.  It doesn’t feel like a month later, but I believe it was because I spent the first two weeks not knowing my body was even hurt.  I’m allowed to attempt a mile next Monday to see how it feels.  Since this injury hasn’t presented itself normally and I still don’t have many answers, I don’t know how the run will go.  If I feel anything even during the first step or two, I’m not going to continue.

Questions for you:

Have you had a mysterious injury or issue? 

What is the most fun cross training exercise you’ve done? 

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