Newport Marathon

I’m still home enjoying my last day on the island but I thought I’d pop in to let you know I’m alive and I did finish that little marathon I’ve been training for.

I’ll write a more in-depth post later this week but the short version is this: I went out strong, finished the first half feeling great with a time that was (slightly) too fast for what I was capable of, and held on until mile 18 where I crashed and burned. The last 6-8 miles were painful and thank god I had Tim there to pull me through, but it wasn’t pretty. What matters though is that I finished. And I’m freaking proud of myself.


The official time? 3:42:54.

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Training 10/4-10/10


2 x 10 milers

1 x 12 miler

1 x 13 miler

3 x 16 milers

1 x 18 miler

1 x 20 miler

1 x 22.65 miler

Peak week at 57 miles.

I’m ready.

Sun– 27 miles biking

When Tim asked if I thought I could bike this weekend, I said yes, as long as we kept the mileage under 20. I don’t have a computer on my bike so I had no idea how far we’d gone until we stopped for a second and I learned that we’d done over 13 miles. I wasn’t thrilled that we had gone so far but it is what it is. We didn’t push the pace and it wasn’t a taxing hilly ride. Instead of running 4 days this week, I decided to use this as one of my runs to honor the taper as best I could.

bike rideMon– OFF

Tues-4 miles

I stayed in DC again Monday night and due to a lot of accidents on 295, I didn’t end up having time to run before work. So instead I went during my lunch break which is something I’ve never done. It was gorgeous out and I’m actually glad I waited. I love fall. The plan I’m following called for 4 miles with 2 miles at a fast pace. I did 1 mile warmup at 8:45 pace, 2 miles at 7:05 pace, and 1 mile cool down around 8 minutes. It felt good.

Wed– 4.5 miles/November Project

I ran to/from November Project the shortest route possible and then took it extra easy while I was there. I skipped a lot of the harder exercises (like burpees) and did some squats, pushups, and stretching in between the lightpole suicides and the stairs. I didn’t want to miss out on seeing my friends but also didn’t want to forget taper.

IMAG0674-768x1365Thurs– OFF

Fri– 3.5 mile shakeout around Jamestown

Nothing like running around my beautiful island. Tim and I got to Jamestown around lunchtime and laced up our sneakers to get a few miles in before stopping at the deli to grab wraps (and frozen hot chocolate for me) and hang out with my family.

Dutch Harbor JamestownSat– OFF

Total– 12 miles + 27 miles biking + 3 rest days

No yoga, limited biking, lots of rest, very low mileage. I slept a lot, ate well, and stayed off my feet whenever possible. This week was extremely busy for me with work and getting other areas of my life together, so I haven’t had a ton of time to stress about the race. But the nervous butterflies kicked in hard Monday and never really went away. So did the phantom taper pains. My hamstring felt like it was going to snap in half Wednesday night and didn’t really go away. I’m praying it’s nothing serious. I worked hard to get to today.

My training approach for this race may seem unconventional to many, but it’s what got me to the starting line today healthy. I truly believe that biking helped replace a lot of the “junk miles” that I can’t do without my body rebelling and November Project and yoga forced me to get some strength training and stretching in. So even though I sometimes doubt my abilities and how prepared I am as a result of my training, I know that I wouldn’t have gotten to this point had I gone about it a more traditional way.

Catch you at the finish! Follow me on instagram for weekend updates :)

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Why I’m Running the Newport Marathon

Now that I’m just a few days out from marathon #1, I’m ready to share my thoughts about it. I’ve been trying to stay out of my own head so I don’t burn myself out or psych myself out and for me, my training approach has worked well. It may seem unconventional to many but at the end of the day, I’ve done what I needed to do to get myself to that starting line healthy.

Why run a marathon at all?

A marathon is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m not naturally a speedy runner but I can run long slow distance (when I actually pace myself properly) thanks to my swimming days. My parents both did half marathons while I was growing up, although they never ventured into the marathon territory. My mom would make the trek down to Boston every year for the Boston Marathon and I always wanted to go with her. At the time, I don’t think I knew exactly what a marathon was…

When I started running in high school, I did it as cross-training for swimming. Once I got to college, I still didn’t take myself seriously. I just knew I was falling in love with running, I hated running speed workouts, and I was burnt out in the pool. The summer after my sophomore year, I had just quit swimming and decided to run a half marathon the day before cross-country pre-season started. That first race is still my PR. I loved long runs on the weekends with teammates (at the time they were around 10 miles but occasionally we’d run further just for fun) and decided I really wanted to challenge myself and run a full marathon.

My coach always stressed the importance of not running marathons until we were at least 23 because our bones were still developing. That’s obviously a controversial opinion but it’s the guideline I chose to follow. Now I’m 23, have been injury free for longer than I have been in 4 years, and am at a point in my life where it was feasible to train. I promised myself that if I started having leg problems or I felt myself becoming obsessive, I’d stop immediately. But I wanted to do this for myself. It’s a level of mental toughness I’ve never experienced.

I’m an injury-prone runner and I knew if I was going to do this, I needed to reevaluate my training. I used to love to run high mileage, but I can’t if I want my body to function 5 years from now. Now I’m pretty happy around 30-35 and anything more than that starts to feel like a burden. When I originally decided to start marathon training, I promised myself I’d hold true to 4 days a week with a few peak weeks of 5 days. I started biking to add in the extra “miles” I wasn’t getting through running and November Project and yoga forced me to get some strength training in. I truly believe that is what has kept me injury-free.

So now that you know the why behind marathons, why Newport Marathon?

There were a few factors in my decision.

  1. It was an excuse to go home.
  2. I’ve run the half before.
  3. Newport is a symbol of health and happiness for me.

Let’s break these down further.

1. It was an excuse to go home.

I’m extremely close with my family. I’m also obsessed with Rhode Island (I’ll get to that part in a minute). Running a race at home is convenient. Sure, running Baltimore would would involve no travel, but I try to see my family every 6 weeks and this falls perfectly in that time frame. It’s also my mom’s birthday weekend, the last weekend the boat is in the water, and the weekend my parents are moving to Rhode Island. Timing is perfect.

2. I’ve run the half before.

This race is one I know. It’s my favorite half marathon to date. It’s relatively flat and supposed to be a fast course. A few years ago, it was named one of the most scenic fall marathons on the east coast.  Who wouldn’t want to run along Ocean Drive? And then past the Bellevue Mansions? It’s breathtaking, especially in the fall, and if I’m going to run 26.2 miles, there better be something to look at.

image3. Newport is a symbol of health and happiness for me.

Really Jamestown is, but I’m lumping them together because Jamestown is so small you can’t even see it on most maps. For newer readers who weren’t around when I used to talk about my eating disorder on a regular basis, moving to Rhode Island gave me my life back. I hit rock bottom senior year of high school and my parents let me move to RI provided I show weekly progress and work with a team of doctors. I don’t think I could have recovered had I stayed in my hometown. I was unhappy and staying would have hindered my recovery. I relapsed a few times while I was in college, and every summer, coming home to Jamestown and Newport was like pressing the reset button to get me back on track. Running Newport Marathon holds an extra special meaning to me. It’s the place that I regained my health. It’s where I’m happiest. It’s home. I always wanted Newport to be my first marathon because it holds so much meaning.

Tim bridge^^That picture is currently the background on my phone. Until this picture was taken when we went home for vacation in July, my background on my phone has never been anything but my family’s sailboat. This picture represents happiness. You can tell just by looking at my face. I got to be home with my family in my favorite place in the entire world and my boyfriend was beside me for it. This is as good as it gets (well, unless I lived there…). I’m really looking forward to having all of that again, plus adding running into the mix this weekend. It means the world to me in a way I can’t put into words.

I honestly didn’t think I’d make it to the starting line for this race. I figured I’d have to drop down to the half distance in the middle of training due to injuries. This is the first time I’ve actually been able to finish what I’ve started with running. I have loose goals in my head, but my primary one was to make it through a training cycle, however unconventional it was. I’m proud of myself for doing whatever it takes stay healthy.

When I run those 26.2 miles through Newport on Sunday, I’m finishing for my health. I’m doing it with a smile on my face. And I’ll be surrounded by family and friends at the end. With my boyfriend running alongside me for the last 8 miles. It literally doesn’t get any better. I’m excited. The work is done. Now I just have to finish what I came here to do.

How do you choose what races to run?

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Taper Weekend

This weekend was extra long because of the threat of Hurricane Joaquin. On Thursday, the weathermen were predicting a direct hit on the DMV and the governor declared a state of emergency. I also live directly on the water and my area is the first part of Baltimore to flood, even with high tide or full moons. So I knew that if this storm came anywhere near us, I’d be stuck. After a quick call to my parents, they confirmed that I should probably get out of Baltimore for the weekend just in case.

walk to workAfter work Thursday I headed to my massage which ended up being an extremely painful and not at all relaxing hour, but I’m glad I went because my entire body felt so much better after. The guy didn’t believe me when I said my calves had golf ball sized knots in them. Once he started working on them, he said, “WOW, you weren’t kidding!” I waited a little too long between massages (I normally get them monthly) and didn’t realize how much junk had built up. I wouldn’t go back to the place I went (massage envy), but that’s just because I’m biased towards my usual massage therapist who I couldn’t get an appointment with last-minute.

As soon as my appointment was over, I threw clothes into a bag and went to Tim’s. My plan was to work remotely Friday to avoid driving through potentially dangerous conditions after work, although the storm ended up pretty much missing us entirely. I went for a short run at lunch in torrential downpours (dressed completely inappropriately for the cooler temperatures) and grabbed lunch from Au Bon Pain.

I'm really loving the new Snapchat updates lately...

I’m really loving the new Snapchat updates lately…

I finished up work around 6 and we stopped at Whole Foods to pick up a few things for dinner. Of course I walked out with red velvet cake balls. OF COURSE. Those things are pretty much the greatest invention in the entire world. I was so tired that after we made dinner (burgers on Challah bread), I passed out at 8pm and woke up at 11pm to brush my teeth and go back to sleep. I didn’t wake up again until 7am and I felt so rested. So I didn’t get to eat a cake ball as planned, but I made up for it later in the weekend.

cake ballSaturday morning we made french toast sticks for breakfast before heading to a local high school in Southeast DC to volunteer. Tim’s company set up a community service opportunity for anyone interested. We helped out in the greenhouse at the high school. Our task was to construct signs for the garden. I don’t know how to use power tools so I just helped hold the wood down so it didn’t go flying. Teamwork ;)

volunteerWe grabbed lunch at a South American restaurant near Eastern Market with some of his coworkers before heading back to his apartment and watching too many episodes of Scandal. I mean what? There’s no such thing as too many episodes of Scandal. We only have 5 episodes left before I can start the new season. I was still pretty full from lunch so I didn’t have much of a dinner but I left room for one of my cake balls. Heaven. And fell asleep at 10pm. Life of the party.

Sunday morning we drove down to Vienna in NoVA to bike with one of our friends. I underestimated how much harder it is to warm up biking than it is running. So I spent the majority of the (almost) 2 hours shivering in my bike shorts and light jacket. We covered almost 27 miles which was NOT part of the deal (I said no more than 20 miles during taper) from Vienna to Ashburn and back. I was really planning on taking taper seriously but up until then, I’ve done really well at honoring it and I’m replacing one of my runs this week with that bike ride. We ended our ride at Whole Foods for lunch to warm up for a few minutes before making the drive back.

bike rideI took the hottest shower ever because my fingernails have a tendency of turning purple when I’m cold for a long period of time and finally stopped shivering. We had plans to go to Tim’s coworkers house for an “Oktoberfest” party later in the afternoon so we went and chatted with some of his coworkers and a few people we/I hadn’t met before.

By the time we got back to Tim’s apartment, it was almost 8pm and I was starving. We made a small dinner, I ate the last cake ball from Whole Foods, and we watched an episode of Scandal before calling it a night before 10pm. Again.

He hates Scandal

He hates Scandal

I never said I was a party animal. This weekend was all about taking it easy. My excuse for life was, “I can’t. I’m on taper.” Tim didn’t find it as funny as I did. Monday was an easy day at work and then I drove back to DC again last night to go see Liz Miele. We saw her at Runner’s World last October and thought she was hilarious, so when I found out she was in the area, I couldn’t not go. I don’t love driving back and forth to DC so much, but it makes the week feel shorter and it gives me something to look forward to. So I’ll continue to do it. But this week I have something else to look forward to. Like that marathon thing.

liz mieleTwo more days and then I’m homeward bound! I’ve been waiting for this weekend to come for so many months now. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. Because Jamestown is my version of Christmas <– that doesn’t really make sense but it did in my head? Just go with it.

How do you taper?

Did you get hit with Hurricane Joaquin?

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Training 9/27-10/3

Last training recap before the big day! It’s hard to believe it’s ONE WEEK OUT. My training cycle wasn’t nearly as long as most people (just under 3 months) but it feels like I’ve been at this for awhile. My legs are starting to feel like they have some life in them again which is good because in 7 days I’ll be running a whole lot of miles…

Sun– morning walk + 27 miles biking

Last “long” bike ride before the marathon! We rode to Goucher (where I went to school) and back. It’s a hilly ride and my legs were really tired but it was gorgeous outside so I can’t complain. We kept the pace slower than normal and just enjoyed ourselves. I was starving by the time we finished.

Mon– OFF

Tues– 9 miles running

Last longer run before the race! 9 miles is my standard distance. I ran to Under Armour and back along the harbor and it was another perfect morning for a run. It felt pretty good after falling asleep before 9pm and getting a solid 10 hours of rest. Imagine that ;)

Wed– 6 miles November Project PR Day + 30 min yoga + kickball

Wednesday was PR day at November Project. It happens once a month and we do a 3000m race around Rash Field. I typically don’t race it and opt to run with friends but I felt like this was a good time to get some speedwork in. I wasn’t going to race it all out but I got caught up with the guys around me so we ended up running at about 6:20 pace for 1.85 miles. We also did 30 minutes of yoga before we raced which I thought would make running fast harder, but I guess it loosened me up quite a bit. Pro tip: running 4 miles with a yoga mat is REALLY hard.

yogaThurs– 7 miles running + massage

It’s kind of nice being able to run without setting an alarm again. I wake up around the same time generally, but I don’t feel as rushed in the morning which is really nice.

Fri– 4.5 miles Runch

I ended up “working from home” away from Baltimore Friday so after a late night driving, I decided to sleep in a bit and run at lunch. In the pouring rain. Good life choices. My entire body felt amazing after getting a massage Thursday night.

Sat– OFF

Total– 26.5 miles running, 1 yoga class, 27 miles biking, 2 rest days

This week wasn’t exactly what I thought I’d be doing but it ended up working out nicely. I wanted to go to November Project Friday to do some hills but I ended up leaving town with the threat of an impending hurricane (that didn’t end up hitting Baltimore), so I had to fit in a few miles while I was working Friday. I had hoped to go another mile or two but my lunch break isn’t long enough for that and I’m kind of glad because it’s forcing me to really take taper seriously. Next week I will be running 3-4 times, 3-5 miles each. I’ll probably also be cutting out yoga (the one at my office is a legitimate workout that leaves me sore for days) and focusing on sleep, lots of nutritious food, and staying off my feet as much as possible. I know my swim taper was always really successful when we weren’t even allowed to take the stairs, whereas my more lenient track/xc taper didn’t produce any remarkable results. So I’m looking to find a happy medium.

Oh— and can we talk about how I’ll be hanging with the fam in FIVE DAYS?!

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