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.

Meredith

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.

Meredith

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.

Meredith

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

Getting Ready for My Races

My Races are here!  For the next three weekends I will be in racing in three different states at two distances and hoping for a pair of PRs.  Things kick off Sunday with the Morgantown Thirteener, continue the following Saturday in Norfolk at the Heart of Ghent 10k and wrap up Sunday October 2 with my goal half marathon in New York.  I’ve worked hard all summer and my racesam definitely ready to taper into a solid two weeks.

This weekend’s half marathon knocks off State #21.  It also features ‘mountainous’ terrain and plenty of scenery.  I’ll be pacing the two hour group, looking for an easy last long run before a two week taper into my goal race.  I’m hoping for a scenic drive and good weather.  Unfortunately, it looks like rain.  Oh well, I’ve been wet before.  Stay tuned for a recap and review next week!

After that hilly run, it’s back to the flat for a PR attempt at the Heart of Ghent 10k.  The second of my races, I had an age group win here two years ago but missed the event last year after it rescheduled due to a severe storm.  Even though I haven’t been training specifically for the 10k distance, my 5k racing and half training should be very helpful.  I’ll also be taking the week easy after Sunday’s half marathon to be ready.  Counting as my first week of taper, the second starts when I cross the Finish Line in Norfolk.

I’ll be wrapping up my races with State #22 at the Wineglass Half Marathon the very next weekend.  It’s the race I’ve been working towards all summer.  Another light week will follow that PR attempt at the 10k distance.  I’m expecting it to provide the perfect distance and difficulty to keep me tuned up without being unable to recover for the big one.  I’m looking forward to Wineglass’s net downhill course and cool weather.  And, of course, a new half marathon PR!

Meredith

What are you racing this fall?  Looking for a new PR at a distance?  Which one?

Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken Tenders

It’s been quite a while since I’ve shared a recipe.  I recently made these Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken Tenders for the first time and really liked the way they turned out.  Here’s the recipe for this juicy, tasty chicken dish!

Basics:
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Calories Per Serving: Varies 160-240

Ingredients:
2 whole eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1-2 cups very crushed tortilla chips
1 lb boneless chicken chicken breast, cubed
2 cups broccoli
1/2 cup Stonewall Kitchen Spicy Corn Relish

Instructions:
1.  Preheat oven to 425, grease large baking sheet.
2.  Place eggs (beaten), flour and crushed tortilla chips into separate bowls.
3.  Dip each chicken cube in egg, coat in flour and cover in chips.
4.  Place each coated tender on baking sheet making sure none of them touch.
5.  Place in oven for 17 minutes at 425.
6.  Steam broccoli until tender.
7.  Remove tortilla crusted chicken tenders from oven and (optional) top with spicy corn relish.
8.  Serve tenders warm with broccoli.

tortilla chip crusted chicken tenders

Additions:
For extra flavor, add spices or herbs to the flour bowl.
This is also great with a black bean and corn salsa.
Brown rice is a good way to pack in some calories with this dish.

Meredith

What are some of your favorite recipes?  What would you do to make these tortilla chip crusted chicken tenders your own?

**I purchased the Stonewall Kitchen Relish and received no compensation
for using or promoting it**

RnRVB Win + Missed Goal

Rock n Roll Virginia Beach is in the can.  It wasn’t the race I was hoping for but I did finish as first female and get a solid workout in.  Even though I missed my goal of hitting a new PR, I did accomplish one thing I had set out to do: get an RnRVB win!rnrvb win

Race morning was cool, humid and windy.  Still feeling not so great about the chance to PR, I ran a solid warm up and felt decent heading into my corral.  It seemed like I stood there for a long time feeling my body slow back down when we ended up going off four minutes late.  Starting with a crosswind I felt good.  I was on pace through the first 1200M and into the first corner.  Turning into the headwind I kept pushing to maintain my goal pace.

I rolled my ankle on some broken pavement shortly after a mile and it definitely took my mind off track.  While I knew I wasn’t injured it distracted me enough to lose my rhythm.  The course turned back south at 1.5 miles but the next 1.4 miles of tailwind weren’t enough.  I couldn’t find my pace again and slowed.  I kept fighting until I saw the final turn ahead and tried to rnrvb winaccelerate.  There was nothing.  I definitely gave the course all I had and hoped for the best as I headed for the Finish.

After rounding the final turn I wasn’t sure if there was another woman in front of me.  Since the 5k breaks off from the half at a u-turn around a building in the opposite direction with roughly 500M to go there definitely could have been someone up there.  Coming out of that turn onto the boardwalk I got a nasty face full of wind and a calf cramp.  I also didn’t see any women running in front me of.  I tried to kick again but it didn’t happen.   When race staff stretched a Rock n Roll Finish line tape rnrvb winout I cruised through the final meters to break it for the first time.  Having never run through a finish line tape, it was a fun way to wrap up a difficult run.

While I didn’t get the PR I wanted or a big fat trophy and giant check, my RnRVB win did get me in the paper with this photo.  Goober alert!

Meredith

Do you have multiple goals for races?  How do you choose them?

*If you want to know more about the actual race, check out my review on BibRave*

Tropical Storm Hermine vs RnRVB

Tropical Storm Hermine tried her hardest to beat Team Rock n Roll Virginia Beach.  After threatening torrential rains and brutal winds Friday afternoon, she forced cancellation of the night’s American Music Festival concerts many were looking forward to.  Saturday and Sunday’s shows were moved inside with limited space.  While unfortunate for runners who traveled from long distances to attend this Labor Day weekend tradition, everyone’s safety was both the city and Competitor Group‘s (the parent of Rock n Roll) top priority.

As far as Rock n Roll Virginia Beach events, Saturday’s Mile in the Sand was also canceled by early Friday afternoon compliments of Hermine’s impending arrival.  After getting that news and hoping to bear the rain I made my way over to the expo as early as possible.  I picked up my swag, chatted with my RWB friends and stocked up on energy gels.  While herminethere I learned Mile in the Sand entry fees were automatically being refunded to all registered runners and they would still be able to collect their medals, towels and t-shirts.

Kudos to Competitor Group for this.  Those things were paid for and, honestly, what else would they do with thousands of items?  I guess they could have been donated but this decision was much better.  All in all, Competitor Group did an excellent job of handling the weather induced situation.  By Friday evening refunds were available not only to Mile in the Sand registrants but to runners of every race should they not wish to travel into Hermine’s path.  Emails were sent out a regular intervals to keep participants apprised of any and all changes to race conditions or expectations (like fewer bands for the half on Sunday).  They were as accommodating as anyone could possibly have expected them to be.

Luckily, even though Saturday’s race was cancelled, the beach was still open.  I took a walk down there at high tide, and almost blew away in the 40+mph gusts, but the surf was amazing.  It gave me a good idea of what to expect for wind conditions at Sunday morning’s 5k.  With possible rain, 25 mph NNE winds and gusts over 45 I’m not feeling too confident about hitting that PR.hermine

Every other runner will also be dealing with Hermine’s wrath but it just doesn’t seem like a best performance type of environment.  However…you never know, right?!  I’m estimating the first 1200M will have a crosswind, then a headwind for about 800M and a friendly tailwind for everything but the final 400M where it’s back in your face for the Finish.  I’m OK with that.  I’ll still give it all I have and get a good workout.

Meredith

How do you deal with weather changing your race plans?  Did you get out and play in Tropical Storm Hermine?

Fall 2016 Race Season is Here!

It’s my first race week of the Fall 2016 season!  Rock n Roll Virginia Beach 5k, here I come.

I decided to do the 5k this year instead of pacing the half like I did in 2014 and 2015 because I wanted to get a good feeling of what I might need to work on with a month to go before my goal half marathon.  With this being an actual goal race I’m tapering, taking fall 2016things fairly easy and, to be honest, my biggest concern at the moment is that I might go crazy without nine workouts to do this week.  I’m also mildly concerned about the weather, which is usually hot and humid, cooperating.  It would be nice to have a cool morning with low humidity.  I’d even take rain.

Heat and humidity aside, I’m planning on a successful under 21 minute race.  I set my current 5k PR on an unfamiliar twisty course but that won’t be the case Sunday.  I’m very comfortable with the route and have run each part of it multiple times.  It is supposed to be windy, with  headwind for the first 2k and again coming out of the last turn with roughly 320 meters to the Finish line.  I’ll lean on my Unbeatable Mind training for that last 90-100 seconds and give the straightaway all I’ve got.  Barring injury, course problems or natural disaster, I’m going to get out there, work hard, have fun and set a new PR!

No matter what happens at RnRVB my Fall 2016 training this summer has gone well.  I’m really looking forward to my upcoming race schedule.  Some cool weather will be welcome, too, so I get a good opportunity to see what I’ve accomplished by training in the hard to breathe air and heat.

Meredith

What’s on your Fall 2016 calendar?  Any PR goals?

Fit Friday: 4 Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy eating is a challenge.  There’s so much prepared food filled with sugar, fat and salt quickly and easily available that finding something  good for you can be tough.  Our busy schedules also make eating less nutritious food convenient and appealing.  Luckily there is tons of good quality, good-for-you food available on the edges of the grocery store if you stick to them.  There are also tons of benefits: less soreness, better sleep, longer life, lower risk of disease and more.healthy eating

Here are four of my favorite tips for eating healthy!

Plan:  Put together a meal plan for the week.  With a plan in place you’re less likely to just go ahead and eat whatever.  A plan increases your involvement in responsible choices and gives accountability.  Having a healthy eating meal plan also helps make grocery shopping easier since you’ll know exactly what you need.  Adios, impulse cookie purchases!

Prepare:  Meal prep can be a long process but it’s worth it.  Make big batches of meals and stick individual servings in the freezer or fridge.  It will make healthy eating simple and save time during the busy week.  I also chop up veggies and fruits to make good-for-me daytime snacks healthy eatingjust as quick and accessible as something processed.

Skip It:  With your meal plan ingredient grocery list in hand hit the store with a mission.  Follow the edges of the store, grabbing the fresh things on your list and skipping the middle isles packed with processed, sugary foods.  If you don’t buy it, it’s not in your house and you definitely can’t eat it!

Use 80/20:  Enjoy yourself.  We all need a treat now and then so go ahead and indulge a little bit.  Using the 80% good, 20% not-so-good rule, satisfy that sweet tooth daily.  If you hold out until you can’t take it anymore or are celebrating at the dessert buffet, you’re much more likely to overindulge.

Meredith

What are your tricks for healthy eating?

East Coast Run Project + More

The days are getting shorter as fall head in and I’m busy busy with training, working and, most importantly, getting East Coast Run Project going.  We had out first group workout Saturday with another warm day, plenty of sun and a tasty team breakfast afterwards.  It’s exciting to be launching the team because it took me a long east coast run projecttime to figure out what I wanted it to stand for beyond successful athletes.

ECRP is focused on creating better athletes in any sport that requires running based movements.  We are dedicated to improvement and building durable participants.  Our team is filled with resilient, passionate runners who look forward to working hard every single day.

I’m writing blog posts, improving my photo skills for better Instagram pictures and continue to refine the Project’s mission every day.  It’s hard work getting off the ground but I know it’s worth it.  Building happy, healthy athletes that experience fewer injuries and have successful race days is the most rewarding experience I can ask for.

In addition to building East Coast Run Project this fall, I’ll be kicking off my fall race season with the Rock n Roll Virginia Beach 5k on Labor Day weekend.  With a goal to PR at that distance I’m hoping this week’s cooler, less humid weather sticks around or makes a comeback Sunday morning.  Next up after rocking through a solid 5k is pacing the 2:00 group at the Morgantown Thirteener.  West Virginia will be my 21st state and with ‘mountainous’ terrain, the easy pace should make a solid last long run before my 10k race/taper the next week at Heart of Ghent 10k.  Then, before I know it, I’ll be heading into the Wineglass Half Marathon to attempt a new half marathon PR.

Meredith

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