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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TOL: Tropical Storms and NP_Yoga

Happy Thursday! Dare I say this week is flying? I usually start my Thinking Out Loud posts days in advance and add to it as the week goes on waiting for Thursday to come, but this week I didn’t get a chance to work on it until yesterday. I just lost track of time! Not complaining. I love weeks like this.

1)Yesterday at November Project was PR day. I haven’t been in a few months because it fell on my vacation weeks this summer. I haven’t been doing much in terms of speed work throughout this whole marathon training thing, but I figured now that I’m in “taper” it was a good time to work on that turnover a bit. I did 3000m (1.85 miles) at 6:20 pace which surprised me because I felt pretty awful going in. I just like to chase after the fast guys.

2) Before we actually started PR Day, LA Finger, who created Free Baltimore Yoga, led a yoga class for us. It meant I had to wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal and run 4 miles with my heavy yoga mat but it was beyond worth it. I’m pretty picky about yoga instructors and she is one of my favorites because she keeps it real. I highly recommend checking out Free Baltimore Yoga if you live in the area!

yoga3) These socks. YOU GUYS. You know I love Pro Compression (I’m an ambassador for them) but they just released a new sock that is amazing. They are by far the best socks I’ve ever tried from them. They’re the new Marathon Elite and they’re so much softer than the regular version and they have some cushioning on the toes and heels. They’re also easier to get on and off and have a targeted calf support to aid recovery. Oh, and no toe seam! I ran in them the other day and they honestly felt like I wasn’t wearing anything <–best feeling.- Copy4) As many of you know, we’re in the midst of a tropical storm. Well, the mid-atlantic isn’t exactly taking the brunt of it, but Cassandra (aka my sailboat) is. Because my parents are in the middle of moving hell chaos, they can’t exactly take time off work to drive down to Rhode Island and lock up the boat so it’s prepared for a hurricane. They enlisted the help of one of my best friends to take the sails down and button Cassandra up so she’s ready for the storm. If all goes well, I’ll be sleeping on her in ONE WEEK!

off to work boatlife5) This is my new life goal after seeing it on Elite Daily Tuesday night (does anyone else read those articles religiously? Just me… okay). I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in the island, live ON A BOAT, and sell pizza? Oh, and I guess share that life with your significant other… but that’s irrelevant. Those are like my 3 most favorite things in the entire world.- Copy6) Yesterday I played in my first kickball game for work. The season started a few weeks ago but I’m a wimp and keep chickening out. My excuse is that I’m afraid of getting hurt during taper, which is a valid fear. Work was slammed last night so instead of kickball, I worked for 12 hours. Yay end of quarter! The day actually flew by though. I honestly do not mind the busy seasons at all. You blink and it’s 4pm. Then you blink again and it’s 8. Then when you get home you promptly pass out on top of your bed without bothering to get under the blankets. True story.

7) I’ve made it almost halfway through taper. Massage tonight. Shorter runs. Sleeping in. TONS of water. I’m doing this. It’s getting real. I actually looked at the elevation/course the other day for the first time because I decided I probably shouldn’t go into the race blind like I normally do. Newport Marathon, I’m coming for you. It looks way hillier than it is. The peak elevation is like 100ft. Hello sea level.

elevation chart8) ONE WEEK UNTIL I GO HOME! (if you can’t tell, that’s what I’m most excited about). My parents will be really busy going back and forth to NH so I won’t see them much, but I’ll be in Rhode Island and we do have some plans with them that I’m pretty excited about. Specifically the pumpkin festival at Roger Williams Zoo.

Do you look carefully at race courses?

Rhode Island people: Favorite fall activity?

I haven’t spent much time there in the fall!

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Bike Par-dayyy

This weekend started out with #hillsforbreakfast. November Project likes to say #weekendearned but I don’t feel like I have to earn my weekend. Or any day, for that matter. But it’s still my favorite way to kick off a Friday. Especially when it ends with a #PlankParty. Good friends, good workout, good fun.

10933719_995372233859948_7629515378562580881_nAfter work was bike party. I haven’t been since LAST September. Bike party is a huge thing with November Project. We like to call it “bike par-dayy.” I absolutely love the concept. I’d never heard of it until I moved back to Baltimore last year. Hundreds of bikes taking over the streets after dark? Sign me up. It goes through areas you probably wouldn’t frequent otherwise but my favorite part is how positive the night is for the city. People line the streets cheering and taking pictures as everyone passes. The after-party is a great time too, although I didn’t stay for long because I had to be up early.

bike party

missed the memo on the dressing up part

I met up with some more NP friends bright and early Saturday morning.  I was awake at 5:30 and in Fed Hill before 6. It’s not so bad when you’re with other people just as nuts as you. There’s always great conversation and running with others helps me keep a more reasonable pace. We ran up to Charles Village area and the miles flew by. And now we taper.

Then it was off to Charm City Run for the morning. I’m there three times this month thanks to a busy marathon season. I miss being there regularly although it does make weekends feel really short and I go into Monday exhausted. When I’m there, though, it doesn’t feel like work at all. I’m talking about shoes, hanging out with coworkers, and interacting with other runners, both new and experienced. It’s my happy place.

Image (1) 575_charmcity_large.jpg for post 7471After a trip to Trader Joe’s for my weekly grilled chicken supply, I headed home to watch Netflix for a few hours. I was pretty tired but I have a hard time napping so this was a good alternative. Tim got to my apartment just before dinner and we went for a walk while we tried to decide where to eat. We ended up at Slainte, an Irish pub near my apartment. Our meals were alright, but nothing to write home about. Restaurants in Fells Point can be hit or miss because it’s such a touristy area.

I really wanted a slice of red velvet cake but we had plans to go to a bonfire at Dave’s so I compromised and we stopped at Harris Teeter so I could get a slice of rainbow cake. I also picked up a cookie cake to share because I felt kind of weird showing up with a slice of cake for myself and nobody else. Bringing dessert is kind of like bringing beer for somebody else (because I don’t drink). We sat around the fire for a few hours cracking jokes and talking about running…and rainbow cake. Typical.

bonfireSunday morning we went for a walk when we woke up before going for our last “long” bike ride until after the marathon. I’m not sure how far it was exactly, but my guess is that it was somewhere around 27-28 miles. That’s how far it has been in the past. When we started it was pretty chilly and by the end I was working up a sweat. Perfect fall day.

By the time we got back to my apartment I was starving. It was also almost 1pm so that may have something to do with it… We decided to go to Boathouse in Canton for brunch. I’ve been there once before for a happy hour with work and love the nautical theme (obviously). Everything on the menu sounded so good! I went with the red white and blue waffle, which was a red velvet waffle stuffed with blueberries drizzled with cream cheese icing and a strawberry glaze. They also added some strawberries on top. I barely used the syrup because the glaze was plenty sweet.

wafflesThe afternoon was gone before we knew it. We took a trip to Charm City Run in Fed Hill to get one of Tim’s friends some shoes for his birthday and stopped for a drink in Mt. Vernon (well, they did). Then it was time for Tim to go back to DC. I was all out of sorts because I worked Saturday which meant my weekend was very short and most of it was spent running around. I’m the first to admit how dramatic it sounds and hate that I get upset but I also try to be real and I’m not going to pretend that it’s always easy for me. Most weeks are completely fine, sometimes I’m not. Tim asked if I wanted to go back to DC with him to have dinner and watch Scandal. I almost said no because I don’t love driving back and forth so much, but I knew I’d go into the week with a better mindset. I brought my green beans for the road and made grilled cheese once I got there…with a bowl of the ice cream I leave at his place for dessert. Gotta get in that calcium during taper ;)

Typical road trip snack....

Typical road trip snack

I woke up Monday morning in a much better mood and way less tired. This week is one of our 5 “hell weeks” of the year (every end of quarter, plus Thanksgiving week). The advertising industry is always nuts during end of quarter because that’s when so many new campaigns start. As stressful as these weeks get, I don’t mind them because I love being busy <– Remind me that I said this a few days from now when I’m talking about how stressed I am :)

standard monday attire

pajamas to work day

Here we go Tuesday!

Do you have a hard time taking naps?

Favorite brunch meal?

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Training 9/20-9/26

Technically this wasn’t a “taper week.” I really just pushed my long run up to my cutback week so I’d have three lighter weeks in a row instead of cutback, peak week, 2 weeks taper. Now I have peak week, cutback, and 2 weeks of taper. Does that make any sense? This week was the “cutback” which was supposed to be around 33 miles. #nailedit

Sun- 22 miles biking

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel after running almost 23 miles the day before. We decided to play it by ear and see how I felt in the morning but thought it may help loosen me up. I woke up feeling fine so we headed out to the Mt. Vernon trail for some miles. We took it easy on the 11 miles to Georgetown and then picked it up a bit the second half. It wasn’t intended to be that way, but I was late for brunch with my friend and I hate being late for anything. It felt good to move my legs and they were less stiff Monday as a result.

12043054_10205272745321267_984175004137919431_nMon– OFF

I drove back to Baltimore in the morning and then to DC again after work for the concert. So no time to run.

Tues– OFF

Because of the concert Monday night, Tuesday, which is usually a run day, became another rest day. I think having an extra recovery day made a huge difference in how I felt, both mentally and physically.

Wed– 7 miles + November Project + yoga

After 3 days off, I was excited to run again, but man did I feel sluggish. I pretty much shuffled to and from Rash Field where NP meets. While we were there, we did a ton of stairs, a little running, and lots of strength workouts like tricep dips, push-ups, a few burpees, and squats. I almost skipped yoga at work later in the afternoon but my legs were feeling tight and I thought it might loosen them up a bit. It did. Plus, it’s an additional strength/core workout which I don’t do enough of. My arms were sore Thursday.

12046785_994569307273574_3422238212253559728_nThurs– 9 miles

I’ve been really good at falling asleep before 9pm lately so I woke up well before my alarm. I made myself go back to sleep until I couldn’t stay in bed any longer. I headed out around 6:45 and took it extremely easy while enjoying the sunrise run. My legs were still tired so I’m hoping another couple weeks of taper will leave them feeling fresh again.

Fri– 9 miles November Project+ bike partayyyyy (15 miles)

Fridays=hills for breakfast. That’s just part of my weekly routine. I love November Project for the accountability. It forces me to get my strength workouts in, run easy, be social, and work hills. Lauren ran there and back with me (and we ran hills together) and at the end everyone gathered for #plankparty. Ignore my poor form- we were doing this one leg in the air thing and I’m not coordinated enough for that. Newport is a relatively flat course but the second half is supposedly rolling, so I need to be ready for it. This weekly hill workout breaks up the monotony of my daily (flat) runs along the promenade. After work I went to bike party with my NP buddies and we hit the streets with thousands of other bikers. I forgot how much fun it is.

10933719_995372233859948_7629515378562580881_nSat– 10 miles

Met up with my NP buddies for a 10 mile long run. When I run alone, I stick to the same route because I know it’s a safe area, but when I’m with others I’m more likely to branch out into areas of the city I might not typically run through alone. They made the dark ‘o clock alarm a tad easier and I had plenty of time to get to Charm City Run for work later.

Total– 35 miles running, 37ish miles biking, 1 yoga class, 2 rest days

My legs definitely didn’t feel awesome this week but it was my last real training week before taper. I’m trying to figure out exactly when to get a massage right now. I’m leaning towards next weekend to give me a full week to recover. I haven’t had one since June so I’m long overdue and I want to make sure all of the knots are fully gone in my calves before I trash them again in a couple weeks.

Do you get massages before big races?

If you live in the Baltimore/DC area, do you have a favorite massage place?

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Shoe Choices and Runner Preferences

It’s no secret that I’m extremely sensitive about the shoes I wear on my feet. I’m also relatively picky about the brands I wear while running and working out. <– a runner that’s picky? Picky Runner? Pun totally not intended ;)

Anyways, I dabbled in running throughout high school and was fitted into a pair of Asics (2170s if you remember that series) as my first real sneaker. I ran in those until I got to college and they replaced the 2100 series with the 2000s, a totally different shoe. One of my teammates told me about Mizunos and I was hooked. They had a similar feel as the Asics I was used to, but they were lighter and a more streamlined design.

I’ve talked extensively about my history with injuries on here so most people are aware that the first time I experienced calf problems was when Mizuno changed up their design a couple years ago. That year I dealt with the problems twice because I couldn’t find another shoe that worked for me. Mizuno fixed their shoes after they received negative feedback about that particular year and I’m happily wearing them again.

The beginning of my obsession

The beginning of my obsession

My point is, we all have shoes that work for us. I’m fortunate enough to work part-time at a running store where I have the ability to test out every shoe available. I’ve tried Nikes, Asics, Sauconys, Hokas, Newtons, Adidas, and pretty much every other brand we sell. I own several brands of sneakers but when it comes to running, I know my legs are happiest in Mizuno, so I rarely stray from my wave riders or wave sayonaras.

Case in point. NP workout Wednesday.

Case in point. NP workout Wednesday.

I love working at a running store, especially CCR. It’s the number one reason I came back to Baltimore. That store is like a family and we pride ourselves on offering a more personalized customer service. It’s unlike any store I’ve ever been in. However, if I didn’t work at a running store (where I received a pretty substantial discount) and was properly fit into a shoe that worked well for me, I’d probably look for deals. It is important to note that this is only after I’ve been to a local running store to get fit for shoes so I know exactly which model I’m looking for.

Groupon is one of those places where you can get fantastic deals on products and services you already use. I use Groupon for manicures, pedicures, massages, shopping and restaurants. Currently, they have deals on Adidas, Nike, Footlocker, and Kohl’s (which is having a huge blowout sale on Asics right now). So if I knew the Adidas Energy Boost was my shoe, for example, I might consider getting a Groupon to buy them because they can be pricey.

For me, because I get all of my shoes at a local running store thanks to my employee discount (Charm City Run has a loyalty system so every $250, you spend you get $25 back in store credit), I don’t need to look elsewhere for shoes. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not “brand loyal” when it comes to other apparel and accessories that the store may not have in stock. I’m most comfortable running in Nike, Under Armour, and Lululemon. 95% of my running clothing come from one of those brands. While they can be expensive, I rarely pay full price. I get most of my Nike or Under Armour through deals online, sales at sporting goods stores, or at outlets near my house. For Lululemon, I look for colors that are from the previous season that are discounted.

Nike top from TJ Maxx, UA shorts on sale

Nike top from TJ Maxx, UA shorts on sale

While people like to say running is an inexpensive sport, the gear does add up overtime. There are races to pay for, shoes to buy, dry-fit clothing, non-cotton socks, and more. Once you take everything into consideration, it can be just as expensive as other sports. Taking measures to reduce those costs through discounted sites, coupons for athletic brands, and outlets can make a huge difference and will leave money to spend on replacing shoes more frequently or make it a more accessible sport to a wider range of people.

This post is sponsored by Groupon. As always, all opinions are my own.

How do you save money on running gear?

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