Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race Goals

This Sunday I'll be running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in D.C. It will be my second time running the race, and this year, I sort of just lucked into a bib.

 Ashley's husband, Bo, couldn't do the race and Ashley was looking for someone to take his bib. Since it's a local race and I was in decent running condition, I figured I may as well run.

(Side note: This was a legal transfer. The Cherry Blossom race let's people legally transfer bibs up to a certain point. I'm not running this race as a bandit.)

Cherry blossom 10 mile

My A race for the spring is the Frederick Half marathon in May, so I'm treating the Cherry Blossom like a speedy long run.

I don't plan to all-out race this event, but I do plan to run hard and get a general feel for where I stand in my half marathon training. I think this will be a good tune up race and based on how I do, I can adjust the last month of my half marathon plan accordingly.

I've done a lot of things differently with my training plan this year than I did last year in the form of dedicated speedwork and additional cross training. I'm curious to see how that all plays out on a flat and fast course.

cherry blossom finish
Finishing strong last year

This course holds my 10 miler PR at 1:35:48. While I'm not specifically focused on breaking this PR, I'm curious to see if the tweaks to my training plan will pay off with a faster time.

In the back of my mind, I'd love to smash this PR, but it's more important for me to run a smart race and recover well so I can finish half marathon training strong.

Goals:
A goal: Run a smart race, ideally with negative splits, and be mentally tough, without a running buddy to push me. Have fun and enjoy a flat and fast course.

B goal: Set a new PR.

A few of my friends are running this race or are in town visiting, so I'm also super excited to get to see them and race with them.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Matchy-Matchy Workout Clothes

When I was still working with my personal trainer, he used to tease me that my workout clothes were always matchy-matchy.

matchy-matchy gym outfit
Typical gym outfit. Blue Under Armour top matches blue in tights, matches blue headband.

(Side note: These Under Armour capris are fairly new and I'm pretty much in love with them.)

What can I say? I like my workout clothes to look cute and coordinated when I'll be working out around other people.

In the mornings when I run by myself, sometimes that matchy-matchy goes right out the door, especially in the summer. At that point I'm just looking for a clean pair of shorts and a clean sports bra. Although since most of my shorts are black, I guess I technically match by default.

Come race morning though, I'm absolutely neurotic about having a cute outfit. I mean, hello, there are going to be cameras taking my picture. And while I will probably look like hell in most of them, the least I can do is make my outfit match.

634283786589438132
Philly Marathon. Green shirt matches green stripe on tights.

BlogHer 5K
BlogHer 5K. Black shorts match everything.

Who says workout outfits can't be cute and functional?

So do you workout in matchy-matchy outfits or do you just grab whatever's clean?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You Pick: Hot or Cold Running?

Question of the day:

Do you prefer running in the hot or the cold?

As the seasons slowly start to change, I'm contemplating this more and more. I absolutely hate going outside in the freezing cold even though I know I'll warm up once I get moving. Those initial minutes of freezing are miserable though.

On the other hand, I can't stand running in nasty heat and humidity either, but it's easier for me to get outside and suck it up.

If you had to pick one or the other, would you opt to run in the hot or the cold?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Winter's Back, Back Again

What's the deal with winter coming back all of a sudden?

I had been perfectly happy to pack up all my Under Armour and swap out my tights for capris and shorts. Mid-40s to 50s is what I was getting used to on my runs.

Spring was finally here.

And then winter came back with a vengeance this weekend. It was cold and windy on my long run on Saturday, and I grumbled as I dug my Under Armour out from the bottom of my workout clothes bin.

The colder weather gave me an excuse to sleep in on Saturday though, which was kind of nice.

But this morning sleeping in wasn't really an option because of the whole work thing. So I bundled up in my my tights and running jacket. Even with gloves my hands were still freezing since it was in the 20s.

I managed to bang out an easy four miles that felt fairly effortless, and at some point during the run I stopped being freezing cold.

I guess I should enjoy the cooler mornings while I can. I know it'll only be a few more months before I'll be complaining about the nasty heat and humidity of D.C. summer.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Little Friday Motivation

Sometimes when I'm in a motivation funk, all I need to do is see the awesome fitness things other people are doing it and it rekindles my fire.

Today's bit of inspiration comes by way of Sam Tickle and the EAS Unstoppable Tour.



If you haven't heard about the Tour, it's a 30 day, 30 city, 30 sport challenge. Sam spent the month going from city to city competing in a variety of different sports. He's done everything from rugby and rock climbing to ju-jitsu and fencing. He's wrapping the whole thing up with a marathon at the end of the month.

Watching the videos of him doing all these different sports day after day, getting back out there even when he's exhausted is a nice reminder that even when I'm not totally in the mood to run, I should probably just get out there and do it.

If you're looking for a bit of motivation this week, you can check out the rest of the videos at UnstoppableTour.com.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting Started With Speedwork

After writing about my interval workout last week, I got some questions about the easiest way to start working speed work into a regular running routine.

I thought I'd share some of my tips and hope you would share some of your advice in the comments.

Mix in some fartleks:

Fartlek means "speed play" and it's one of the easiest ways to ease into more formal speedwork. Pick one of your runs and mix in some fast bursts of speed. For example, run hard until the end of the block, then slow down and recover for a while. Then pick up the speed again until you get to a tree or another landmark. Fartleks are really informal and there's no right or wrong way to do them so they're a really easy way to start.

Leave enough recovery time between intervals:

When I first started adding speed intervals to my workouts, I could never finish very strong because I wasn't giving myself enough time to recover. The amount of recovery time you need will depend on the length of your interval and how far you are going. When I did my three minute intervals last week, I gave myself one minute of recovery time between each. It was enough time to catch my breath and feel like I was getting a break mentally before picking the speed back up.

Don't go out too hard in the beginning:

Even though intervals are meant to be done fast, if you sprint your heart out on the first one, you won't have much energy left by the time you get to the last one. This is an area where I still struggle. You want to pick a pace that's challenging, but that you can sustain for the length of the workout.

Start with one day a week:

When you're first getting into speedwork, keep your faster session to one day each week. Your other runs should all be done at your normal pace to allow your muscles to recover and to help prevent injury.

What advice do you have for runners looking to build speedwork into a training plan?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Personal Training Wrap Up

Last night was my last session with my personal trainer. We focused mainly on arms and abs and I learned how to use a bunch of machines I'd normally never touch in the gym, like the cables machine.


That machine always looked like it had so much going on and I never felt comfortable enough standing in front of it trying to figure out how to make it work.

I'm glad I learned though because that machine gives you quite the workout. My upper body, and most especially my chest, is insanely sore today. It was a great last workout with the trainer.

So was a trainer worth it?

My gym was running a special where I got three sessions with a personal trainer at a steeply discounted rate. I'm really glad I bought the sessions because I learned a lot in just three hours.

We identified muscles imbalances in my legs and the trainer showed me things I could do to fix them.

I also learned how to use several different machines at the gym to help build strength in my upper body.

What I really liked about working with the trainer was that he pushed me to do more than I thought I could and more than I would have done on my own. Plus having a trainer was a nice bit of extra motivation to get to the gym when I wasn't in the mood. Knowing someone was waiting for me meant I couldn't blow the gym off.

But I won't be buying any more sessions right now.

Even after all the great stuff I learned and the benefits I saw in three weeks, I can't justify spending that much money on a little bit of motivation.

My plan for now is to take what I learned and add it into my current routine. Maybe in a few months, I'd buy another session as a tune up to check in with the progress I've made and to see where I can go from there.

Even though I have a lot of background and knowledge about fitness and exercise from my years of running and working as a group fitness instructor, there's always more I can learn and working with a personal trainer was a great way for me to pick up some new things to add to my routine.

I'd recommend giving it a try if it's something you can fit in your budget and you're curious to see just how hard you can push yourself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A New Running Book

Nothing frustrates me more than getting sick in the middle of a training plan and missing quality workouts.

Yesterday, I felt like crap, so I stayed in bed, watched obscene amounts of Law and Order:SVU on Netflix and popped some ibuprofen to make myself feel better.

I was cranky and irritable and annoyed that I was laying in bed like a blob instead of out doing something.

To make myself feel better I ordered myself a present from Amazon: Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. I've heard tons of great things about this book and I can't wait to dive into it.

A big part of my training this year is getting a better handle on what I should be eating to fuel for my runs so I can run faster and recover more quickly. I'm hoping this book will held shed some more light on that for me because it's definitely an area where I could use some improvement.

I promise a full review of the book once I finish.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Own 5K

Instead of a long run this weekend, my training plan called for a 5K race.

I was really glad the plan called for something nice and short since I running by myself. It's funny how after just two weeks of doing long runs with other people, I was not looking forward to running solo.

But a quick 5K, well I could handle that.

I wasn't actually registered for a race, so I just planned to do my normal 5K route and push the pace like I would if I were in an actual race. In the end I ran 3.25 miles, slightly longer than a 5K.

The weather was beautiful this weekend and I was able to wear shorts and a t-shirt without freezing. I stretched a bit and then pushed start on Garmin and I was off on my "race."

Just like in a race, I started out much too fast. I chalk that up to the majority of the first mile being downhill.

Mile two started a nice uphill climb and my pace definitely dropped off a bit.

The rest of the course rolled between long, steady climbs and easier flat stretches. I pushed the pace hard the whole time and ended with an average of 8:53 per mile.

Here are the individual splits:
Mile 1: 8:48
Mile 2: 9:00
Mile 3: 9:04
Last .25: 2:04

It's a bummer they were positive splits, but starting out on a downhill and then ending on an uphill will do that I guess.

All in all it was a fun change of pace to do a fast run over the weekend instead of a longer, slower run.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tips for Running Your First Race

My coworker Emily is running her first half marathon this weekend down in Virginia Beach at the Shamrock Half.

So in honor of her first race, I thought I'd share some of the best advice I've gotten about racing over the years.

1. Trust your training.

You've put in months and months of training, and you're prepared for this race. Even if you didn't follow your original training plan perfectly, you have a strong base of running and you'll do just fine on race day.

2. Don't try anything new on race day.

Race expos are full of vendors selling new, fun products. While it's OK to pick up some new things, you definitely don't want to experiment with them on race morning. Stick to what worked during your training or you could end up with all sorts of problems come race day.

3. Get to the start early.

Depending on the race, parking could be tight. There could be long lines for porta-potties. The last thing you want to do is get stuck searching for a parking space and miss the start of the race. Leave yourself plenty of time and you'll be less stressed out.

4. Don't go out too fast.

Race mornings can make a lot of runners a giant bundle of nerves, no matter how many races you've run. Some of those nerves may push you out of the gate a little too quickly, which could lead you to crash and burn later in the race. Remember you are running your own race and try not to get swept up too much by the excitement of the crowds around you.

5. Don't stop your watch immediately at the finish line.

Or else your finisher's photo will be of the top of your head looking down, instead of your smiling face beaming with pride.

6. Have fun.

Most of all, have fun. Whether you are slow or fast, having your best race, or struggling to get from mile to mile, remember to enjoy the experience. Not everyone can be out there running. You got through your training and to the start line without any major set backs or injuries and that's something to celebrate over the course of the run.

Please feel free to share your own tips for first-time racers in the comments!

And good luck to everyone else who is racing this weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Soreness

On Tuesday my personal trainer warned me that I'd feel most of the soreness from all the squats and lunges that we did two days after the session.

He was right.

While I was sore yesterday, I'm even more sore today. And I'm very grateful that I have yoga tonight to help me loosen up.

I suspect the interval session I did yesterday morning is also contributing to my extra soreness this morning.

I'm playing around with different types of speedwork this training plan and yesterday I set out to do three-minute repeats at a 8 minute mile pace. I did seven repeats in total with a minute recovery in between each.

It was probably one of the toughest running workouts I've done this training cycle, but I felt fairly accomplished afterward.

I have a feeling after this week of intense workouts, yoga is going to feel awesome tonight.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Personal Training Session Two Review

Last night was my first workout session with my personal trainer and it's safe to say he kicked my butt.

We focused heavily on legs and abs, and when I woke up this morning my butt could feel every single squat and lunge I did.

Getting in and out of chairs is not going to be a fun task today, but I'm sure I'll survive.

My trainer asked me to get to the gym about 30 minutes before our session so I could get in a good warm up. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical before we even got to work.

The training session itself was set up in a circuit fashion. I did several different exercises in a row until I was fatigued. For the lower body, I did tons and tons of squats and lunges.

For abs, I did weighted crunches on a Bosu ball, and then got to play around a bit with the gym's suspension system.

I'm not even sure I can explain how this worked so I'm going to try illustrate.

I started by putting my feet through the loops like the guy below:


And then I had my arms balancing on a Bosu ball kind of like this lady below:


Then I had to pull my knees in to my chest and extend them back out to a straight position, all while balancing on the ball and the TRX straps.

So this is what I looked like when I was out in full plank:


I could only get through about five or six of these before I was just dead.

We wrapped the session up with some stretching, which might have been my favorite part. I love when other people stretch me, it feels so much better than any stretching I do on my own.

Overall, it was an awesome session and I'm really looking forward to next week's.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Running Hills

When I run by myself, I tend to walk up parts of some of the bigger hills on my route to help save my legs so they don't fatigue too quickly.

Hills near Queenstown(Source)
My hills are smaller than these

I never really thought that my quick walk breaks could be having a negative impact on my running until I got smoked on hills this weekend running with the group. The guys were pushing to the tops of the hills like it was no big deal, and I was dying and trying to sneak in walk breaks.

I realized the only way I'm going to improve my endurance on hills is if I start making a better effort to run up the hills on a regular basis.

So on yesterday's 4.5 mile run, I made it my goal to run the entire length of every hill, no matter how slow my overall times were.

Running up all the hills definitely wasn't easy and there were a couple times when I was really tempted to walk, but I didn't. I just kept pushing, putting one foot in front of the other, and I made it to the top of all of them.

And it turns out running up the hills didn't fatigue my legs enough to make a huge difference in my splits on a shorter run. My average pace for the run was 9:13 per mile.

I'm hoping that by training my brain to get used to running up the hills, I'll be able to hang with the guys better during our weekend long runs.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Food, Friends and Running

After this weekend's long run, it's funny to think I was ever scared of running with other people because of my speed.

I met up with my coworker and some of his friends Saturday morning for another great run. We split into two groups and I hung with the group that was going 8 miles.

It was very similar to last week. Chris and his friend Peter pushed me to go a little faster than normal, but for the most part I didn't die.

I did get a little bit of razzing though when I let the guys pull ahead a bit as I tried to sneak in two quick walk breaks on two of the bigger hills on the course.

They may have both turned around and started running backwards and told me to pick it up.

At the time I didn't love it, but I'm glad they did it. I needed it.

In total, we did 8.3 miles with an average pace of 9:22.

Then came the best part: the food.

One of Chris' friends made delicious bread in his bread maker. Another brought Amish friendship bread (with chocolate chips!) and a third brought pretzels from the Amish market.

We ate and talked about running and travel and vacations, and I may have convinced two more people to run the Frederick Half in May.

All in all it was a fabulous way to spend a Saturday morning: a great run, good food and new friends.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rainy Thursday Means No Run

Happy Thursday! We're just one day away from the weekend and after a busy, busy week I could use some time to relax.

I've got a lot swimming around in my head today, so I'll give it to your bullet-style for Three Things Thursday.

  1. I bailed on my run this morning. It was rainy and gross out and I wasn't in the mood for running in soggy socks. I toyed with the idea of running on the treadmill instead, but the run was supposed to be an easy, recovery run, and I struggle with my form when I run at slow speeds on the treadmill. Since my hip was a little tight this morning anyway, I didn't want to mess with it. I can always make up my recovery run tomorrow.

  2. Rain does really bad things to my hair, like make it a giant puffy frizzball. It's not a good look. Days like this make me seriously consider keeping a hair straightener in my desk drawer so I can fix it before any else gets in the office to see it.

  3. Lately my car has been getting terrible gas mileage. Like horribly pathetic. I realized last night it's because I'm a bit overdue for an oil change. I'll be taking care of that ASAP because with gas prices the way they are, I can't afford to have bad gas mileage. It's funny though just last month, I was watching my mileage like a hawk because I knew I was almost at the point where I needed an oil change, then for some reason, I just forget to keep paying attention. My car probably hates me.

Anyone have fun weekend plans? I've got a long run on the schedule, but other than that my weekend is blissfully unplanned.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Personal Training Day One

My first personal training session last night was awesome, and it really set the tone for the work we'll be doing in upcoming sessions.

My trainer's name is Erik, and he seems like a fun guy who really knows his stuff. After chatting about my goals (sub-two hour half) and making note of the basics (height, weight, blood pressure, body fat), he put me through various exercises to determine my general strength and to spot muscle imbalances.

There were times when I surprised him and myself with how much weight I could lift before fatiguing, but there were other times when my muscle imbalances were so apparent.

He had me do a basic quad stretch and it was pathetic how much my quad didn't stretch. We also identified weak glutes and a tight piriformis muscle.

That's this little guy:


A tight piriformis can lead to all sorts of problems in the hips and knees. Doesn't that sound familiar?

So here's the plan moving forward. Erik's going to put together a plan for me that focuses on building strength in my glutes, relaxing my quads and piriformis muscle and building speed and endurance so my running times improve.

I'll be meeting with him again next Tuesday to try it for the first time. I'm excited and nervous. It's not going to be easy rebuilding all that glute strength, but I think in the end it will pay off big time in my running. And my trainer seems excited to get started too. He told me he was happy to be working with someone whose goals weren't skin deep and that since I have a solid fitness base already, we can try all sorts of fun stuff.

I have a feeling that "fun stuff" is probably going to kick my butt, but I guess that's the point.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Working with a Personal Trainer

Good morning and happy Tuesday!

I'm happy to say my legs recovered fairly well from Saturday's speedy long run and I was able to do my easy run yesterday at a pace much quicker than I'm used to. If that's going to be the trend, I'll definitely be doing most of my long runs with my coworker and his friends!

In other workout news, I'm trying something totally new today.

I'm meeting with a personal trainer for the first time ever. I'm really excited!

My gym was offering a special deal: Two-month membership, 3 personal training sessions and a $50 gift card to use with the gym's massage therapist for $99.

What a steal! Usually personal training sessions alone cost that much money.

I chatted with my trainer on the phone for a little bit the other night (he's a UMD grad too, whoop whoop!) and got the rundown of what to expect during our first session.

Basically, we'll be collecting my baseline fitness metrics: Height, weight, body fat percentage and a general idea of my usual workout routine.

Then he'll be measuring my for muscle imbalances. I'm sure we'll find plenty of those in my legs. Very strong runner legs tend to hide lots of weaknesses in muscles that don't get used as often. I learned that in physical therapy a few years ago.

Based on all the results, we'll put together a program to help me improve strength and speed-wise.


I think this is a great opportunity for me to get an outsider's perspective on what I can do to improve. So much of my training is based on what I think and how I feel, but I'm excited to be evaluated by a professional who will probably spot things I missed.

If you're in the DC/MD/NoVa area and interested in trying personal training, check out this great Groupon deal. 20 group classes and three personal training sessions for $30 at gyms all around the DC-area. (Thanks to my friend Tracy for giving me the heads up on this deal. I bought it like three seconds later!)

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer? Was it beneficial?

Monday, March 07, 2011

I'm Too Slow

or 
Why I Panicked Before My Long Run

Saturday morning before my long run, I had a mini-panic attack.

My stomach was in knots, my breathing was absurdly shallow and for life of me I couldn't calm myself down.

I can't ever remember feeling so nervous about a run. I think I was calmer the night before I ran my first marathon than I was Saturday before running 7 miles.

The reason for my complete and total panic:

My coworker Chris had invited me to run with him and a few of his friends, and I knew they were all going to be much faster than I am. I was freaking out that I was going to be the slowest one there and either hold back the group or force Chris to run much slower than he normally does so I didn't get left in the dust.

I know I'm not a super fast runner and I'm pretty OK with that, but showcasing my lack of speed in front of a bunch of new people and a coworker terrified me. I'm not even kidding, Matt pretty much had to force me out of the house.

I was the first one to the meeting spot, and spent the time stretching out before the rest of the group arrived.

We took off at a pretty good clip, and Chris and I clocked the first mile in 8:46. I knew there was no way I could hold that kind of pace for 7 miles, so I slowed a bit and the rest of the group pushed a little bit farther ahead.

Our next two miles were a little bit slower, but still much faster than I'm used to coming in at just over 9 minutes per mile. Chris was good about checking with me to make sure I wasn't dying and he seemed OK to be going at my pace, even though I apologized about 50 million times for slowing him down. He averaged something like 8:15 per mile in the Baltimore Half Marathon last year, so running 9's with me probably felt like a stroll in the park.

I was so grateful when we got to a stoplight and caught up with the rest of the group. It gave me a minute to catch my breath and stretch out my hips. I was just waiting for my IT bands to blow up and start bothering me badly. That never really happened, though we did stop for a short stretch break somewhere past mile four. I could feel my legs tightening up. I felt bad stopping, but I figured it was the smart thing to do.

After we hit the turn around point, I was dying. Our mile splits were closer to 9:30 now but I was sucking wind and my legs were tired. The rest of the group was pretty far ahead of us at this point, but we just kept trucking along.

I have to hand it to Chris, he was a pretty great pacer. He let me slow down when I needed too, but made sure I picked it back up and was really encouraging throughout the run.

When we met up with his friends back at the park, they were all super encouraging too.

So yes, I might have been the slowest one there, but no one seemed to care that much. Everyone was pretty accepting of my slower pace and they invited me to come back again.

I'm pretty sure I'll join them again, and next time I don't think I'll have a panic attack about being too slow.

Having a group to push me will help make me a faster and stronger runner. Plus it was a nice change of pace to run with other people and make new friends.

Do you ever worry you're too slow to run with other people?

Friday, March 04, 2011

Why I Yoga

After four days of hard workouts, with three of those days being two-a-days, yoga was just what my body needed last night.

It was a calming, restorative class that helped clear my mind after a busy week at work and helped loosen my legs after a week of hard training.

It's classes like this one that remind me why yoga is such an important part of my training.

When I get busy or just need a break, yoga tends to be the first thing to go because I figure I can always stretch at home on my own. Of course, I never actually follow through with that though.

But yoga does so much more than just stretch my legs. It does a great job of clearing my mind and helping me refocus on what's important. I can more easily sort through the five million ideas I've got rattling around up there, and I can just as easily let some of the not-important stuff go.

Yoga is a like a big system reset. It's like wiping the slate clean, letting your body absorb all the benefits of a hard week of training and getting you ready for your next round of workouts.

I'm making it a goal this training cycle to make sure I get to my yoga class at least once a week. The benefits to both my legs and my mind are too great to pass up.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Stretching in the Office

My legs hate me.

They're sore and achy and punishing me for jumping back into hardcore training after two weeks of rest. I took them on a super short recovery run this morning to help shake them out, followed that up with some very gentle foam rolling and I'm hoping they'll be back on my side after my yoga class tonight.

But until then I'll be sneaking in some stretches at the office.

Stretching at the office was so much easier at our old location. I shared an office with three other people and we had high cubicle walls, so no one could see me throwing my foot up on my desk to stretch my hamstring.

Our new building has a very, very open floor plan with super short cube walls.

Picture "The Office."

That's pretty much what our new space looks like. I could throw a stuff at my coworkers very easily if I wanted to.

So my stretch breaks here will probably be extremely entertaining for the rest of the office. It's a good thing my coworkers like me, and that I don't mind weird looks.

Do you ever stretch or do other exercises in your office? Do your coworkers look at you funny when you do it?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Spring Race Schedule

My wallet is feeling significantly lighter these days, but I've pretty much got my spring race schedule set.

Here's the list:

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler - April 3 - Washington, D.C.
This was a very last minute addition, but when Ashley needed someone to take her husband's bib and I saw my calendar was open that weekend, I offered to help out. I have several friends running this race and it's smack in the middle of half marathon training, so this is a race I'll just be doing for fun.

Frederick Half Marathon - May 7 - Frederick, Md.
This is the race I'm most looking forward to. I had a really great time running this race last year and I was able to set a PR, even though the heat and the hills got to me at the end of the race. I'm hoping to set a new PR this year if the weather is more favorable. I also have friends running this race. It will be Tracy's first half and my friend Ashleigh is looking to PR too. In fact, I might try to hang with Ashleigh to see if I can push myself to a new PR. That will be a game-time decision based on how well my training goes.

Baltimore 10 Miler - June 18 - Baltimore, Md.
My mom wanted to run this race and asked if I wanted to it too. I rarely pass up a chance to run the same race as my mom, so I registered yesterday. Plus, it's about time I circle around back to this race. I was registered for this three year's ago in its inaugural year, but that was the year I started experiencing all my knee problems and ended up in physical therapy for three months. I wasn't able to run the race, but went to cheer on friends and pick up my amazing race premium that I still wear even though I didn't run. I feel a little shady about that, so it's time that I run this race and earn the right to wear my super amazing fleece. This is another race I'll be running just for fun. It's a hilly course and June in Baltimore is hot! Plus my coworker is running too so this should be a fun time.

Is anyone running any of these races? If you are, I'd love to meet up and say "hi!" If not, what races are you running this spring?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Starting March on the Right Foot

Happy March!

I can't believe another month has come and gone and we're that much closer to spring! In fact, we change the clocks in 11 days! Hooray for longer days!

Looking back, February was a strange month for me workout wise.

My gym pass expired, so I stopped going to my strength training classes at the gym, though I did pop in a Jillian DVD once or twice.

The first two weeks of the month, I was in taper mode for the New Orleans Half Marathon, so my running mileage was fairly minimal.

The last two weeks of the month
, I was experiencing some mental and physical burnout and gave myself two weeks to completely rest and recharge my batteries. I snuck in a short workout or two, but I mostly ate, slept and worked.

I probably ran no more than 25 miles the entire month and that includes my half marathon.

However, March is the month where I get back to it. I'm feeling rested both mentally and physically and I'm ready to kick things up a notch this month.

There was no better way to start the month than with a lovely three mile run at 4:30 this morning. The weather was perfect, in the mid-30s with no wind and man did it feel good to be out there moving.

What did you do to start March off right?