Monthly Archives: July 2015

2015 Kill That 5K VB A.A.R

I’ve run and I’ve rucked.  This weekend I finally put them together to complete my first Kill That 5k.  Presented by GoRuck, it’s an afternoon event with something for everyone to support Team RWB and have some serious fun.  I entered the competitive female division and would have to complete the race with 20lbs on my back.  The weather was warm but breezy and not humid IMG_20150725_181904590when I arrived at Hunt Club Farm to give this thing my best shot.

I loaded up my GR Echo with 20.2lbs and headed for the start with no idea what to expect but knowing two things: I would finish and my shorts tan was looking pretty solid.  I had my ruck weighed, removed some excess load and was ready to go.  After some socializing, everyone gathered to sing the national anthem and send off the first wave of Kill That 5k runners.  One minute after the elite group took off with their excessively heavy rucks (50+lbs), the competitive men went and one more minute later my group of competitive ladies were on the hunt.

We struck out with no one visible in front of us, myself and one other woman in the lead.  Two quick wrong turns not only demonstrated my lack of land navigation skills, especially without a map and compass, but had us laughing and chatting our way through the first mile while slowly pulling away from one another.  I ruck-ran over narrow grass trails through the woods, through a very dark covered bridge, on dusty gravel roads and stepped in a few mud puddles to complete Lap 1 at the 1.5 mile mark.  Ok, this is a two lap course, got it.  I hoped not to make any wrong turns my second time around.

Nope!  There was no one visible in front of me as I started to weave my way back into the woods for lap number two.  To avoid those first lap wrong turns I stopped and looked around for the covered bridge.  Spotted it, bee-lined to it and headed into the last mile of my first Kill that 5k.  Coming out of the woods, I stopped for water midway through my second lap and settled in to finish strong while staying 100% on course.  I did just that and as a bonus, got to run under the Finish Line twice.  I went through the ‘keep going’ side my first try and went back around to the ‘you’re finished’ side on my second to collect my newest patch.  I was shocked to be the first female to finish, had my ruck weighed again and did a some post Kill that 5k stretching, chatting and cheering.

Yes, the course could have been marked better but roots were all painted to be visible, the narrow trail through the woods had plenty of shade, the water stop was fully stocked and all you could see walking to the after party were smiles.  And what a party it was.  It kicked off with one free beer for every participant over 21 then rolled on with $1 Stone Brewing beers to kill that 5kbenefit Team RWB.  And because running 3+ miles with 20+ pounds on your back isn’t enough for this group, bonus beers were provided as prizes for flutter kick, push-up and ruck shoulder to overhead races after the awards ceremony.  As the first female finisher at Kill that 5k Virginia Beach 2015 I received a $100 GoRuck gift card, an extra special gold Kill that 5k patch, a bag of Oral I.V. Hydration I can’t wait to try (and review) and a title to defend next year.

I had a fantastic time getting to know more members of Team RWB Virginia Beach, trying Stone Brewing’s tasty offerings for the first time, hanging out with friends, rucking and racing on a beautiful July afternoon.  I can’t wait to do it again.

Meredith

What kind of off road racing do you like?  Have you ever GoRucked or done a Kill that 5k?

2015 Rock n Roll Chicago

The 2015 Rock n Roll Chicago helped me check off half marathon #20 and state #12.  I was happy to not have planned to race this event because it turned out to be a very hot weekend and humid race day morning.  I didn’t taper coming into the weekend, didn’t stay off my feet the day before the race and failed to properly fuel for a 13+ mile run (well, run, it’s hot, walk, run).  After all that, I was happy to simply hit my goal of getting out there, not having a heat stroke, enjoying the morning and crossing the Finish line.  Here are the details!

Location – Chicago, Illinois.  A city full of activity for any time of year, the mid-western summer can be absolutely gorgeous.  Travel to and from the city as well as moving around once you’ve arrived is simple.  The short Chicago summers make the July event a busy and exciting time of year to visit the metropolis.

Expo – The 2015 Rock n Roll Chicago expo was a typical Rock n Roll style event.  It took place in the massive McCormick Place Convention Center and was filled with vendors, free goodies and participants.  With a two day expo, I definitely recommend avoiding the big day before the race crowds, picking up your packet and doing your shopping as early as possible.  If you’re staying close to the Start or Finish, you’ll need a cab for this one.rock n roll chicago

Dining –  Big city, tons of great restaurants.  With lots of hotels within walking distance of the Start and Finish there’s a dining option for anyone.  Price points from $60 dry aged steaks to $10 juicy burgers make it easy to make your budget and your taste buds happy.

Parking – Traveling in from either of Chicago’s airports without a rental car doesn’t mean a thing.  It’s easy to get anywhere you need to go using public transportation and once you’re downtown, you can hop back on the train or walk just about anywhere you’d want to go.  Coming in from outside the city you might need to arrive more than a little early.  Parking lots fill up and with road closures, it might be challenging to navigate your way around.

Start – The half marathon and 10k do not share a start line.  I heard some less than great things about the 10k start situation but wasn’t there to comment further.  The half marathon was well done with easy access to gear check, Port-a-Potties and the starting corrals.  In front and to the sides of the first corral there was plenty of room to get in a nice warm up for a race that went off right on time.

Course – Mostly flat with the exception of a few bridges the course isn’t as scenic as I expected.  There wasn’t much running along the lake or by some of the bigger landmarks.  Many GPS watches lost signals repeatedly as the course traveled under other bridges, the ‘L’ and a few overpasses.  There are lots of turns as you loop around the city but for 95% of the race I had plenty of running room.  Around Mile 11 we headed under McCormick Place for 400-600M.  This was by far the worst part of the course for me.  You head out of the sun into a long, dark tunnel that is filled with loud music and flashing lights.  I got dizzy, slowed to a walk and almost stopped to sit down.  It was very unpleasant.

Course Support – There were not many fans out in the heat this year but that could have been the main reason the cheering crowds were mostly limited to volunteers at water stops.  There were plenty of well stocked water stops which was great for the hot day and GU was handed out around mile 10.  Ice water filled sponges waited around Mile 9 and several misters helped keep things cool after the 10k mark.  The music on the course wasn’t particularly notable and the course would have had long stretches of quiet had it not taken us through downtown Chicago.

Post Race – Big shiny medals are a Rock n Roll staple and this was no disappointment.  Iced towels, cold bottled water, chilled Gatorade, Power Bars and bananas all waited for those crossing the Finish.  Getting from the finisher chute to gear check was easy since it was in the same spot we dropped things off.

Great swag and good hot weather course support are two huge pluses while the biggest negatives were the tunnel under McCormick Place and lack of live bands.  Definitely not a PR race in the middle of July, I’d definitely support Rock n Roll Chicago as a great opportunity to hit the Windy City in the height of its summer season.

Meredith

Have you run Rock n Roll Chicago?  Raced in Chicago at all? 

Right Now: Pacing, Harvesting, Reading

It’s time for the July 2015 edition of Right Now!  This month I’ll tell you what I’m pacing this fall, what I’m harvesting this week and what I’ll be reading at the airport.  That’s right!  I’m on my way to  run the 2015 Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon where I’ll be hoping to finish a strong training run and stay cool on the course.

Pacing:  I’ll be pacing two half marathons this fall and couldn’t be more excited.  The first is one I had the honor of pacing last year, as well.  Rock n Roll Virginia Beach is coming September 6 and I’ll be out there with Hampton Runner leading the 2:15 group.  It’s always a hot one but at an easy pace, it’s a blast to cheer on so many runners to new PRs.  Hopefully there’s more music on the course this year!  My fall pacing duties continue with the Hartford Half Marathon 2 hour group on October 10 in Hartford, CT.  I’ll be checking off another state on my list while hopefully making some new friends and helping to set at least a few new PRs up north.

Harvesting:  I put my Miracle Gro AeroGarden together about four weeks ago and have started harvesting some of its produce.  I’m really excited to start cooking with the fresh, organic aerogarden growingveggies and couldn’t be happier with the ease and speed they grew.  The few pieces of lettuce I’ve snuck have been very tasty and my tiny tomatoes look delicious.  With the bunnies outside, this indoor option has been perfect and low maintenance for me.

Reading: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  This isn’t a new blockbuster best seller but I’ve finally gotten around to cracking it open.  It’s wonderful.  It is not only filled with solid, research backed facts about the monetary, emotional, support and expectation difference men and women face in the work place but offers suggestions to improve the situation without making a chance seem impossible.  A positive spin on a sometimes unfair and ultimately stressful circumstance, it’s a must read for anyone who wants to starting harvesting some serious success both inside and outside the home.

Meredith

What are you harvesting, growing, reading or racing right now or soon?

Mid-Summer Adjustments + Race Week

It’s race week and there could not have been a better time to finally find my hot weather groove.  Since I’ve made my mid-summer adjustments, I’m feeling much better about this summer adjustmentsweekend’s upcoming race, Rock n Roll Chicago.  Not only will I be traveling to a fun city, have more runner friendly weather than here in Virginia Beach and check another state off my list, I actually think I’ll enjoy myself.

This summer started of much warmed than last and I really struggled through some seriously tough workouts that shouldn’t have been.  I was pretty close to resigning myself to suffering through the next 70 days of torture when I decided to make some changes just to see if they helped.  Hey, things couldn’t get worse!

Originally I thought all of my problems were related to hydration and my higher than last year sweat rate.  I was wrong.  Not completely, hydration still plays a big part in a successful workout, but the real source of my problems (I’m pretty sure) also included food.  In cooler weather, I can eat my chia seed before a workout and not have my muscles fight the food for fluid.  This doesn’t work for me in the heat at all.  Neither does fasted running.  The extra energy I use to cool myself when it’s hot makes an easy winter fasted run twice as hard.

My most important summer adjustments are moving my daily chia intake to after my workout and making sure I eat.  Even my easy afternoon runs with Team RWB Virginia Beach requires me to eat something pretty solid about an hour beforehand.  In addition to these seasonal training changes, finding and using this calculator that advises pace decisions based on the ‘feels like’ temperature was a huge help.  It gave me a lot of reassurance that my summer adjustments aren’t a bump in the training road but a necessity that won’t hurt come fall.

I’ll be taking my summer adjustments to Chicago this weekend and instead of just fighting to finish, I’m looking forward to a successful training race.

Meredith

What kind of summer adjustments have you made this year?

Fit Friday: Workouts I

Two Fit Friday’s ago I decided it was time to start sharing my workouts again.  I have started seriously training again and since I love getting ideas from other runners I figured it’s only fair for them to borrow mine, too.  This week’s Workouts I is an adventure.  I’m not sure if I’d like to go with the bi-weekly headline Workouts I, Workouts II…etc or Workouts 1, Workouts 2…etc.  I’m going to stick with Roman numerals for a few weeks and see how I feel about it.

Here it is!  Workouts I:  Weeks June 27 to July 10:

Saturday (27 June):  Very hot and humid marathon pace 5 miler fasted on legs that felt like lead.  Not pretty but finished it.
Sunday:  Another ridiculously humid morning and to the treadmill I went.  Mile warm up, 90 minutes at 7:15 pace, 10 minute walk/jog cool down.  Happy with this run in spite of some knee pain.
Monday:  Rest, 30 minutes mobility, still a little knee twinge.
Tuesday: AM: Long intervals:  5 min on, 2:30 off.  This run was awful.  Hot, humid, no motivation, completely dead legs and fasted.
Tuesday PM: Easy 4.5 with Team RWB Virginia Beach that was also not very pretty.
Wednesday: Crossfit:
Thursday: Marathon Pace 8 miles (8 min pace).  Still hot and humid, ugh.
Friday: Crossfit

Saturday (July 4th):  You can read all about my July 4th adventures and 14 miles of mountani biking right here.
Sunday: Short Intervals (treadmill) – 400M on, rest at 1:1.  I set my watch to rest for 1:20 which was a few extra seconds per rep.  I nailed my 400s at 5:25 pace and felt great about this one.
Monday: Crossfit:  5×5 Front Squat then 50 thrusters for time with a 200M run every time you dropped the bar.  I did this barefoot and ran on the cement, which was new but felt pretty good.
Tuesday: 4.5 miles with Team RWB Virginia Beach.  Threw a pair of 400M pick-ups in there just for kicks.  It was still hot but this was my first really good run outside on the road in a while.
Wednesday: Crossfit: A new clean and jerk PR!  Mostly because I never split jerk.  Ever.  5×3 C+J then 3 RFT x 400M run, 20 unbroken wallballs, 20 unbroken kettle bell swings.
Thursday: Long Intervals: 800M on, 3 min off to fail.  Not too hot but humid.  Another very solid road run.
Friday AM: Felt like 92 after Boot Camp so I opted for an easy barefoot 4 miler on the packed sand that was very warm.
Friday PM: My originally scheduled outdoor speed work, 300M repeats, on the treadmill this evening.  Should be a bit cooler inside!

I’m feeling good about my training and am ready to get rocking on some serious speed work to prep for my 5k and 10k this fall.  I hope you can spice up your routine with some of theseideas from Workouts I.

Meredith

What’s your favorite kind of workout?  Speed, long+easy, Crossfit?

4th of July Fun + Some Excitement

4th of julyHappy Monday!  I hope everyone enjoyed their long 4th of July weekends, if you got one.  I did not.  I worked normal hours Friday and was back in business bright and early this morning.  Regardless of my work schedule, I had enough adventure and excitement this weekend to keep me satisfied.

My 4th of July weekend kicked off with a relaxing Friday evening and sleeping a little bit on Saturday.  After getting out of bed and putting ourselves together, Doug and I decided to skip our long runs on a very humid morning and ride our bikes in route to grab brunch at the beach.  I strapped a flag to the handlebars (it probably could have impaled me but looked great!), put on my red, white and blue and off we went.  It turned out to be quite an adventure!  About 40 minutes into our ride, Doug’s back rim bent.  With his wobbling tire and useless rear brake, we decided to head back rather than risk our safety.  In an attempt to shortcut the muddy trails, we ended up wandering around lost in the very hot woods for a while, pushing our bikes through sand, and getting eaten by bugs just to end up back tracking.

We eventually made it back to base all in one piece and finally got some lunch, not brunch, around noon.  At least my flag had been a 4th of July success.  It got several cheers and was a great way to make people smile.  After our much longer, tougher than anticipated mountain 4th of julybiking adventure in the morning, we couldn’t wait to shower off the mud and sweat.  Naps followed and the evening called for quiet.

We grilled some big London broil steaks with corn on the cob and some tasty cocktails before picking a fireworks plan.  There were lots of options but with some nasty impending thunderstorms, we opted to stay home and catch the Macy’s 4th of July Spectacular on TV.  We skipped most of the performances, watching McFarland, USA, until it was time for the pyrotechnics.  The movie was good and just as local fireworks were scheduled to begin at 9pm, a torrential downpour broke.

We avoided another 4th of July 2015 adventure by staying home and that was just fine.  Sunday was home to hard speed work, giving Jordy a bath, watching the women’s national team win the 2015 World Cup and the start of Shark Week (!).  It was a wonderful holiday weekend and I hope the second half of the year brings as much excitement as the first.

Meredith

How was your holiday weekend?  Any 4th of July adventures?