I Have Tired Legs + Racing

When I started running again last week, I didn’t actually do much.  I jogged and played without ever even thinking about accelerating.  But this week, this week I decided to go back to work.  Nothing too crazy.  I wasn’t aiming to prevent tired legs since I do have a race this weekend, the tired legsJoggin’ for Frogmen 5k, and I’d like to finish in a reasonable time.

Do I really think I lost that much fitness after 18 days without a workout that got my heart rate above 60% of max?  No.  My head and attitude are doing just fine.  I do have tired legs, however.  Maybe I dove back in with too much enthusiasm?  Probably.  I hit deadlifts Monday and might have gone a little too hard on Tuesday’s long intervals.  A very easy thirty minute run filled Wednesday’s schedule since my hamstrings were not happy to be back at work.  There was more light lifting on Thursday and an easy 4 x 400M Friday morning.

Definitely not my usual 5k race week plan and my tired legs prove it.  I’m rolling and resting tonight then just going to get out and have fun tomorrow.  I’ll be with my Team RWB friends and racing on wet grass (assuming it rains tonight like the weather guessers say it will).  It will also be 55 degrees with 20+ mile an hour winds on a course that covers an airport runway and large grassy fields after a week spent training on roads with temps in the 70s.  Definitely focusing on the fun this time.

I have a few more weeks before marathon training kicks off and I hope this event is a highlight.  Tired legs are expected when I step up my miles, intensity and strength training so I’ll try to enjoy them while they’re fresh.


How do you bounce back from tired legs?

My First WIAW + A Recipe

This is my very first WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) post and to be honest it’s only one meal.  I threw some things in my fridge together for dinner, making it up as I went along.  I’ve shared some recipes before but not since I’ve cleaned up my eating and started to really pay close attention to what I’m putting in my body.  So I guess this is really a recipe post that happens to be on a Wednesday.WIAW

Grabbing a few things in my kitchen, I put together a quinoa, flounder, pico de gallo meal that was clean, healthy and filling.  It was very simple and took about 20 minutes to prepare.  After starting one cup of quinoa with water on the stove, I seasoned the flounder with crushed red pepper and lime.  I let the quinoa boil and fish marinate while I chopped onion, tomato and home grown cilantro for pico de gallo.  This was my first time making pico de gallo and I was excited to use ingredients I had grown myself.  My dicing skills will definitely benefit from some practice!

WIAWI started to pan fry my flounder as the quinoa was finishing and it only took 4 minutes to be ready.  When I pan fry, I use a big wok or frying pan and extra virgin olive oil.  I prefer that over a cooking spray since it’s a healthier choice.  Once the fish was to temperature, I took it off heat and let it rest for a minute.  I served the fish over quinoa with a massive side of pico and two slices of lime.  It turned out hotter than I expected but was very tasty and filling.

I really enjoy the cleanness of simple recipes like this.  They’re easy to make with fresh, good for you ingredients and are practically impossible to mess up.


What’s your favorite WIAW?  How often do you share recipes or meals?

Running Again + New Shoes

I’m running again!  Not hard and not far but it’s happening.  I did an easy 3 miler on Wednesday and really stretched things with a 30 minute jog, one 30 second pick-up included, this morning.  running againIt feels good to be back out there.

Part of what got me running again was the addition of new shoes to the closet.  One of the reasons my Wineglass performance was so sub-par was the age of my shoes.  I held on to them for too long and paid heavily.  When I got home, I threw out every pair of runners I had that were questionable and trotted right over the find something new.  My old Ride 5s were gone so I picked up the latest model, Saucony’s Ride 9.  It’s been so long since I ran in a new pair of cushioned shoes they felt amazing during our first run together (today’s 30 min jaunt).  I like the 8mm drop of this pair for recovery and easy days to give my chronically tight Achilles and calves a break.

I also picked up a pair of Zealot ISO 2s.  They’re a super cushioned 4mm drop shoe and something I’m totally unfamiliar with.  I ran in them for my first run back because I was excited for something new.  running againEven though they’re the same size as my Ride 9s they feel a little bit tighter but not comfortably so, more of a hugging feeling on my narrow foot.  The thing I noticed most was how disconnected I felt from the ground.  All that cushion definitely doesn’t help me feel what’s under my feet.  I’m looking forward to seeing how we work together during harder training.

The final addition was a pair of New Balance Zante V2s.  A brand and drop (6mm) I’ve never run in before, it’s a complete experiment.  Of course, my trusty Kinvara’s are still in the mix.  I haven’t chosen a shoe for the Joggin’ for Frogmen 5k next Saturday.  Last year it was run on a paved road course while this year we’ll be tackling a grassy cross country course at the Military Aviation Museum.  With little training to go on it should be a fun one.  Very low pressure.  The museum is a really neat place and I’m excited for a race I promise to have fun at.


What are your favorite shoes?  How do you ease back into running again after a break?

Camping + Hurricane Matthew

This past weekend we went camping.  Doug, Jordy and I packed up for Natural Bridge, Virginia and made the roughly four hour drive Saturday morning.  We stopped at a packed Blue Mountain Brewery for a tasty lunch then made our way to the campground.  The plan was to camp Saturday night and check out Natural Bridge on Sunday morning. camping

I’m not much of a camper, really, so I wasn’t exactly sure what we were getting into.  We ended up having a nice little dirt pad for our tent with water and electric.  Not the roughing it I expected but just fine with me.  It felt good to be in the fresh mountain air without all the distractions and noise of home for a while.  The night was cool and quite breezy but fuzzy dog kept the tent toasty until sunshine showed up to light a very peaceful quiet morning.

After breakfast and packing up, we drove over to Natural Bridge State Park.  It was early enough that we had beaten the crowds and the crisp morning was absolutely perfect for a walk through campingthe woods.  Natural Bridge is home to lots of history and definitely worth a visit.

When we turned for home, we discovered what a mess things were back at the ranch.  Even though Matthew was a tropical storm by the time it hit Virginia Beach Saturday night 12 inches of rain fell in 24 hours with wind gusts over 80mph.  There were massive power outages and serious flooding.  We hadn’t left town to intentionally avoid weather but it ended up that way.

So, we went from camping with power to home without.  No flooding though!  It actually worked out we weren’t there to open the fridge and freezer a bunch.  The freezer pulled through fine with only a few veggies, leftovers and milk getting trashed.  All in all it could have been much worse.  One thing about a 24+ hour power outage?  It lets you know how dependent you are on technology.

While camping was tons of fun I still haven’t bounced back from my time off.  Running just isn’t on my radar right now.  I’ll go out for an easy jog before week’s end then go from there.


Do you go camping?  How often?

Time Off + What’s Next

I’m taking some time off after last weekend’s meltdown.  A pair of down weeks with little scheduling were already planned but I’m taking them exceptionally seriously this time around.  time offI’m focused on getting the fun I lost in the last month back before marathon training kicks off in five weeks.

That adventure is starting with two light, light, light weeks.  I’ve done little more than yoga, biking around town and some random sets of body weight work like squats, pull-ups and push-ups the past few days.  I honestly haven’t felt like running.  At all.  I’ve enjoyed extra time during the day to relax or get things done but I do expect ‘no workout madness’ to set in soon.  I’ll step it up with a light Crossfit workout or easy run next week if I feel like it.  I might even run hard if I want to.

I do have to get back to running at some point.  I’ll want to.  Part of that incentive are races I have scheduled in the coming weeks.  All are before marathon training kicks off and should be fun.  I’d like to place overall (third last year) at Joggin’ for Frogmen in three weeks but if not, oh well.  Two short weeks after that is the Monumental Half Marathon in Indianapolis.  I’ll be going for the PR I missed in New York at Monumental.  Stranger things have happened!  Two weeks after that is the Norfolk Harbor 5k (third last year).  With two weeks off and unstructured training I’m not counting on being in tip top shape for any of those events.

Having fun is the most important things about these three races.  I need to enjoy whatever training I do for them.  Actually running the races has to be pleasant.  Having the same success as last year isn’t important.  My priority is heading into a long marathon cycle with a smile on my face.


How do you spend time off from running?  How often?

Wineglass Half Marathon Meltdown

Last weekend I ran my goal race.  My 2016 Wineglass Half Marathon race was a disaster.  I loved the event itself but my running featured a total meltdown that I’m actually glad I had.  For race day specifics, check out my review on BibRave!

The race day schedule did not really suit me but I succeeded at not letting it get to me.  I took a mandatory shuttle 15 minutes to the start then hung out for an hour in a gym before warming up.  I’m a get up and go type so this definitely put a cramp in my eating, sleeping, relaxing, game ready routine.  After gear check and potty, I warmed up and toed the line ready to rock 13.1 miles.meltdown

I had worked hard all summer and was looking forward to nailing this race.  I felt good.  My legs were fresh while my head was in the right place coming off my congestion.  I had an excellent first seven miles on pace to hit my PR goal but my body felt all wrong.  I was working much harder than I should have been and it felt way more difficult to maintain my desired pace than I had expected.  When I hit Mile 8 slightly behind my goal pace with already fried legs my head started to get the better of me.  The source of my pain turned out to be my shoes.  They were old and I hadn’t run in them in quite some time, saving them for this race.  Big mistake.  But I’m not going to blame a bad race on shoes.

What really pushed me over the edge was a gentleman I had been running with for a few miles saying “aren’t these views amazing?” just as I noticed I was behind goal pace.  My response: “What views?”  That’s when the meltdown began.  My entire body hurt with 8k to go.  There was some hip pain I had never had before bothering my left side.  So I quit.  I wasn’t having fun.  I was totally miserable.  Yes, I was disappointed to have a bad race, sad I was going to miss my goal but I was also in pain and pushing for no reason.  I took a deep breath, stopped and looked over to the mountains.  Actually stood still for 30 seconds.  Starting again, I jogged the rest of the race.  I spent time looking around, cheering for other runners and chatting with water stop volunteers.

No one is paying me to run these races (except when I’m a pacer).  It’s supposed to be fun.  Somewhere along the way this fall I lost that.  Turned out this race wasn’t about hitting or not hitting a PR for me.  It was a total reality check that I desperately needed.  Running is fun and I have to get back there.  I’m taking a week away from running, rewriting my upcoming months of marathon training, buying all new shoes (more on that later), backing off my aggressive run 50 states schedule and focusing on having fun.


Have you ever had a meltdown during a race?  What did you learn from it?

Goal Race Half Marathon Weekend

Well, it’s here.  My fall goal race in State #22, New York, the Wineglass Half Marathon.  The last week hasn’t been ideal for prepping but I’ve done all I can and am hoping for the best.  After a messy 10k last Saturday I’ve been getting plenty of rest, fluids and salt water air.  As a result, the congestion in my chest has clearly up considerably.goal race

Thanks to stronger lungs, my final workouts were solid.  I had legs that were fresh and fast for a track session Monday and a short tempo run Wednesday.  Both left me feeling as ready to race as I can and I’m ready to go.

My only concern is Race Day weather.  It’s looking cool (40s) with potential rain.  I haven’t had the chance to run in any temperatures under 60 since last spring and am curious if the sudden influx of cold, damp air will play a part in my performance.  Luckily I typically do much better in cooler temperatures.

My goal is to run an even split though ideally I’d like to finish strong with a negative one.  My perfect finish time would be somewhere between 1:35 and 1:35.30, averaging 7:16 miles.  With my nerves about the weather, some lingering sinus issues and an unfamiliar course, I’ll be ecstatic just to beat my current 1:37 PR.


What’s your goal race this fall?  Are you hoping to PR?

My Not-So-Good 10k Race

Saturday morning I ran the Heart of Ghent 10k.  The first 10k I’d run since the same race in 2014 was not-so-good and far from the race I wanted.  After spending the better part of race week fighting stuffed up-ness, low quality sleep and less than idea nutrition, I had no idea what to expect.  I’d never run a race with congestion and completely stopped up sinuses before.not-so-good race

I had wanted to wake up race morning feeling 98%.  Instead my stuffed up-ness had moved load of mucus into my nose, throat and chest leaving me feeling 70%.  The warm (75ish) and humid morning would most certainly be not-so-good for my breathing.  After a breakfast I couldn’t taste and warm-up that felt decent, I lined up to start with positive thoughts circling in my head.

Miles 1 and 2 were right where I wanted to be, 6:55 and 6:54.  Then…things fell apart before 5k.  I had to stop around 3.5k to fix a right shoe issue.  Huge mistake.  My heart rate skyrocketed when I started running again.  Without the ability to breathe through my nose I couldn’t get it back down and started to feel the lactic acid.  Too early for that, I thought.  I managed to push through 6000M before my brain get the better of me.  With an uncomfortably high heart rate and nothing but snot in my nose it got really hard to find my happy place.  Every time I said I felt good I had to blow my nose into my sleeve.  Kind of kills the moment.

Not-so-good race’s second half wasn’t much better.  The humidity had decreased but the temperature had risen and my oxygen depleted muscles were getting grumpy.  Over the final 4k I took several walking breaks just to get a deep breath.  Forget the PR, let’s not puke!  I grabbed water at 7k to little avail.  I choked badly as the slobber in my throat tried to block it and spent the next few meters hacking up nothing.  Really pleasant.  With 2k to go I settled into a jog and begged for the finish line.  I walked across the line at 50:58 (8:15).  Far from the run I had wanted and worked for all summer, I was pretty neutral about it.  Stuff happens. There’s always another race.

On the bright side, my not-so-good race could have been worse.  I’m not injured and it was definitely a learning experience (take it easy when you feel crappy).  In addition to being the first time I raced with congestion, it was the first time I kept my Garmin in kilometers instead of miles.  I really liked it for the distance and am definitely going to do it again at my next 5k.  For now, I’m quickly putting this behind me.  My goal half marathon is a few short days away and I’m really focusing on a strong performance.


Have you raced sick or recovering?

Stuffed Up for 10k Race Day

Tomorrow is race day.  I have the Heart of Ghent 10k and am hoping to PR.  Unfortunately, it’s not looking too good.  Yes, the weather should be great and my legs are feeling fresh.  My head, however, is all stuffed up.  After a rough weekend of travel and little sleep in Morgantown I woke up earlier this week with my usual sore throat and ear ache.

Any time I ever get exhausted it happens.  I get stuffed up in the ears and sore in the throat.  My sinuses are great, my body feels fine, plenty of appetite but my head is filled with cotton balls.  For 30+ years I’ve known to expect the inflammation and tried to prevent it.  I failed this time.  Maybe I stuffed upought to have my tonsils out?  Either way, I’ll live.  It’s just bad timing this round.

As part of my ‘get better’ effort, I took the week’s workouts easy with just light speed work while sucking down chicken noodle soup and ice cream.  My speed work was solid.  My body weight strength workout was good.  I felt very positive about the workouts citing my stuffed up-ness.  I’ve tried hard to get lots of extra sleep and saw an improvement yesterday.  Writing this I’m closer to 80% than 100% and hoping to be at 98% in the morning.

I really want to hammer (PR) this race since it’s my last ‘long’ workout before my goal half marathon.  I’ve worked hard all summer for these next two races and really want them to go well.  My training is there.  Hopefully I’ll be able to give it a chance to show me what it can do and no matter what, I know I’ll give everything I can out on that race course tomorrow.


What do you do if you’re stuffed up for a race?

Morgantown Marathon/Thirteener (State 21)

This weekend I made my way up to Morgantown, West Virginia to take part in their second annual Morgantown Marathon and half marathon, the Morgantown Thirteener.

It was a pretty drive through the mountains to get there and I went directly to the expo.  It was small but nice with friendly and helpful volunteers.  I picked up my number, a race themed long sleeve tech shirt along with a few other race themed goodies including West Virginia Lottery scratchers off of which I won $1!  Free money!  Thanks, Morgantown.  After the expo, I was off to my hotel for a nap before dinner.

After dinner I got ready for race day, checked the forecast one more time and settled in with a little college football.  The weather guessers had been calling for 100% rain all day Saturday and Sunday but no rain happened until about 2am Sunday morning.  It was quite the downpour as I steeled myself for a wet race and fell back asleep.morgantown marathon

I woke up race morning to find the day had broken dry.  Yay!  There was no parking at the Start so I took breakfast with me to the shuttle.  A short ride later we arrived at the race.  I picked up my pace sign, easily checked my gear and warmed up.  There was plenty of room to run in the Coliseum parking lot which was great for those of us who didn’t know the area.  A quick moving line had me through the Port-a-Potties and lined up in no time.

We went off right as scheduled at 7am on the cloudy, slightly humid morning.  After a little bit of traffic I settled right in with a small group.  We hit the first three miles right on track, walked through a well stocked water stop and rolled on.  A few runners dropped back as the hills started to take a toll around the halfway point.  A big out-and-back loop, the course is great for spectators.  I had some new runners with me as we covered the hills in reverse toward the finish.  At Mile 9 a few with me were aiming for PRs and two were first time half marathoners.  I walked through the next water stop where the group broke up.

At Mile 11 I was running alone as I had been most of the race.  Some of my buddies had fallen back while two others had taken off.  I hit the Mile 12 mark with 12.05 and 1:49.30 on my watch and was shocked when I saw the Mile 13 marker.  There was still a ways to go.  I thought I had morgantown marathonplenty of time to hit my goal of 1:59.50 but I was wrong.  Since I thought I had time to spare, I slowed to encourage a struggling runner in those last 800M and felt bad that by no fault of our own she wouldn’t break that 2 hour mark.  I crossed the line at 2:00.22 with 13.31 on my watch.  It was disheartening.

I still managed to help several people hit PRs and was very proud of the first timers who came through shortly after I did.  The Morgantown Marathon and Thirteener were well organized with solid swag.  Rolling hills accounted for roughly 511 feet of elevation gain over the 13.1+ mile course.  They weren’t too much of a factor for the half though they’re supposed to be bigger and meaner over the 26.2 mile course.  It was a solid last long run before my goal race and I definitely had a good time.


Would you run the Morgantown Marathon?  Where are you racing this fall?