Monthly Archives: June 2016

Summer Half Race Week

It’s my Summer Half Race Week and I have no idea what’s coming my way.  Training has been going well but I’m only in my base phase so I haven’t logged many race pace miles.  Definitely not anything over five in a row.  While I won’t be looking to PR or even come close, I am summer halfexpecting to out do last years summer half, Rock n Roll Chicago, which wasn’t pretty.  The weather was warm and humid, the course threw me a big curve towards the end and I hadn’t tapered at all.

That’s how I know my 2016 Summer Half will be different.  It’s off to Minnesota for the Red, White and Boom Half Marathon in Minneapolis with a better attitude on hopefully fresher legs and ‘a here goes nothing, let’s just get some miles in’ approach.  It will be state #20 and half number five for this year.  Since the race is next Monday I planned a down week for this week (25 miles) so I could kick off next week’s heavy training load with a nice long run to get a bunch of miles checked off.  That means I’ll be toeing the line after a seven day ‘taper’ and should signal a decent performance.

That is, of course, assuming the weather is friendly.  Humidity won’t serve me well and after three straight days of travel before race morning (five in the car Friday to Philly for a baseball game, five in the car Saturday home, an early flight Sunday), I hope I’ll be hydrated and rested enough to give my summer half the best I can.  No matter what, this race will be a good test of where my training is and needs to go moving towards my goal races in the fall.


Do you have a favorite summer half marathon?  Which one and why?

Fit Friday: Summer Running Tips

Summer is here and if you’re looking to race this fall, you’re likely training through some heat, humidity and sunlight.  Summer running is serious business, especially for those looking to rock marathons or hit a PR early in the fall.  Training hard when it’s hot can have benefits when things cool back down but it can also be dangerous.  Here are five ways to stay safe while still summer runninggetting a good session in during hot summer workouts.

Stay hydrated.  Staying hydrated doesn’t mean just drinking water.  In fact, too much plain old water can become a problem sooner than you think.  That’s because when we sweat we lose plenty of salt, too.  Having a sports drink, salt tab or other form of electrolyte with you for any outdoor workout is a must.  Put water bottles out along your route or choose one with accessible fountains, sinks or friends who’ll cheer you on.

Slow down.  Your body is dealing with enough when it’s hot out.  Adding the stress of a hard track workout doesn’t help.  Don’t worry about your goal pace or how long it takes you to get there.  Run by effort when it’s warm and give your body time to adjust to the season change over a few weeks.  Then you’re clear to step up the intensity for short times as long as you feel up to it.

Dress lightly.  Have a sports bra you love but kept covered up all winter?  Show it off!  Wear as little clothing as you can get away with.  If you are going to wear an entire outfit, go for light colors and sweat wicking fabrics.  Try to remember the Body Glide, too.  A hat or visor along with sunglasses is always recommended and a good layer of sunblock put on 10 minutes before you head out can’t do anything but help.

Change your schedule.  It’s cooler in the morning and evening than it is at noon or 3pm.  Try to get your run in when there’s plenty of shade as the sun comes up or goes down.  Check out different routes at different times of day to see where you’re offered the most coverage.  You might even want to hit the trails.  If you’re schedule just can’t adjust, don’t be afraid to stay inside and tackle a treadmill workout.

Know the signs.  Pay attention to what your body tells you.  No workout is worth the risk of serious hurting yourself.  Lightheadedness, dizziness, cramping and not sweating anymore are all possible signs of a heat related injury.  Especially on low humidity, breezy days, summer running can sneak up on you and it’s even more important to be aware of what’s going on inside your body.


How do you deal with summer running?  Do you like it or hate it?

Unbeatable Mind + Slowing Down

Last week I kicked off a year long journey with Unbeatable Mind.  Founded by Mark Divine, a former Navy SEAL Commander, I’m excited to dive more deeply into some of the principles I read about in his The Way of the SEAL and Unbeatable Mind books.  Mark has years of Unbeatable Mind's Profile Photocorporate, military, yoga and leadership experience from which he has created the Unbeatable Mind program.  The ultimate goal is to ‘forge resiliency and mental toughness to succeed at an elite level.’  Dedicated to helping individuals reach their full potential by discovering themselves, the Unbeatable Mind community is a place where everyone wants to grow into a stronger, kinder, happier person.  And who wouldn’t want that?!

I’m looking to hit some big goals in the next 6-12 months (buy a house, PR the marathon, launch a new business project) and believe the things I learn will only help me reach each of those goals faster.  The beginning of my Unbeatable Mind learning was a bit of an overload because I tried to soak in as much as I could as quickly as possible but I’ve relaxed and reorganized.  I have twelve months to slow down and soak it all in, making sure I get as much as I can from both the program and myself.

I’ve also slowed down my long runs.  It’s been awfully warm the last few and after some hydration issues two weeks ago, I spend most of the miles telling myself to ‘slow down’.  I’ve also scouted out routes that are as shaded as possible in the morning or evening so no matter when I’m hitting the road I have at least some kind of relief.  I’m not sure what to expect at Red, White and Boom because of not having done any hard tempo runs in a while but with the race coming in the middle of my base phase, I’ll be OK with whatever happens.


Have you read Unbeatable Mind?  How do you cope with summer heat?

49 Miles for Orlando + Another 5k

Many runners have pledged to run 49 miles for Orlando.  The miles are to be completed by July 1 in memory of the horrible attack’s victims (learn a little bit about each of the victims here).  While I have over 85 miles scheduled to cover before June comes to an end, it’s nice to havemiles for orlando something to run them for and I’ve joined in.  The murder of someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter because of who they sleep with is absurd and disgusting.  Killing innocent people on purpose at all is.  Each day I’ll click through a few photos and spend some of my run wondering why that person’s day was June 12th, 2016.  I’ll probably also spend those 49 miles for Orlando asking myself what the answer is and getting nowhere.

In other news, my year of 5ks keeps on keepin’ on July 16 with the Allen Stone Memorial 5k.  Started in 1999 as the Braveheart 5k, the event was renamed in memory of Allen Stone for 2000’s running.  A local athlete and Navy 49 miles for orlandoSEAL, Stone won the 20-29 age group at the inaugural race before being tragically killed in a training accident that fall.  Another lost life to dedicate miles to (is this post depressing, or what?).  The day’s events feature a 5k, a run-swim-run (1k, 1k, 5k) and a 1 mile kid’s run.  I’m not one for much open water swimming so staying dry on the boardwalk only works perfectly for me.  It’s a typically competitive event and hopefully the faster crowd will help me improve on my time from the OK5K.  Two weeks from the end of my base phase with lots of miles to log that week, I won’t be looking for a PR but am definitely expecting to see some improvement as my fitness increases towards my goal races this fall.


Are you running miles for Orlando?  Any summer 5ks?

Sand Soccer + Long Run

Last week was a busy one with lots of miles, a lesson remembered and some serious heat.  The highlights were a weekend filled with my longest run, 12 miles, since Coastal Delaware seven weeks prior and the North American Sand Soccer Championships.

I checked my long run off Thursday morning before the weekend’s heat rolled in.  It was still warm, in the high 70s, when I finished and I got a very good reminder of how much I need to respect the summer sun starting around Mile 8.  I had plenty of water throughout my run but paid for leaving my electrolytes at home.  The pace was easy, 8:15 per mile, the whole way and I didn’t feel any signs of dehydration at any point.  Starting around the one hour mark, I started having some unusual muscle fatigue, a general loss of energy and some slight cramping of my calves.  There wasn’t anything I could do but take a few short walking breaks to jog the final few miles home.  I bounced back as soon as I sucked down the two vials of Oral IV sitting on the table.  My legs felt great and it was a solid run in spite of the salt issues because I knew exactly what was going on.  It was an excellent reminder of just how quickly things can go awry when the summer’s here.sand soccer

With a weekend free from a long run, I had plenty of free time after hitting the track Saturday morning to enjoy some of Virginia Beach’s annual sand soccer event.  There were about 1,000 boys, girls and coed teams of all ages vying for championships in their respective divisions.  Over a mile and a half of oceanfront sand real estate is turned into sand soccer pitches with one big ‘stadium’ area.  That’s where Doug and I settled in to watch Coasta Rica and FC Barcelona battle it out Saturday afternoon while working on our sunburns and staying hydrated on the 90+ degree day.  We had so much fun Saturday, we went back for the championship game Sunday in spite of the temperature pushing 100.  At least there was a solid breeze coming off the water to help keep us from overheating!  All of the guys are incredible athletes, racing around in the deep sand, scoring with bicycle kicks and perfectly controlling the ball at all times.  In the end, it came down to PKs and Team PUGG was the winner of a great match.sand soccerMeredith

Do you play sand soccer?  How do you deal with running in the heat?


OK5K + Back to Work

ok5kSaturday I continued my year of 5ks with the OK5K to benefit Eggleston Services.  It’s a great program I was happy to support, especially when the rain held off.  Without the rain it was a little bit humid but nothing I don’t need to adjust to anyway so bring it on.  The race started at 8:45 and I did a solid warm up starting around 8:15.

I felt pretty good in spite of not resting at all prior to race day.  Coming off a week of light mileage I wasn’t too concerned about fatigue and my legs did feel a little better than they did six days earlier at the Steel Pier 5k.  The OK5K started just about on time, one minute after Team Hoyt, and I went out a bit faster than I wanted to.  After the first half mile I settled down into a comfortable but not pushing it pace.  I had passed several runners when my legs started to feel grumpy approaching the 2 mile mark.  Having slowly started to figure out this 5k racing thing, I knew I was right on track getting uneasy with a mile to go.  Even though I wasn’t in a position to give it my best go, I put together a solid finish and came through the finish feeling good.  It was surprising to see the official clock read 20:51 since I had most surely not been running at PR pace.  I realized what happened when I took a look ok5kdown at my watch and it read 2.96 miles.  Maintaining my pace through another 200M would definitely have been possible but my official race time was 20:51 (second overall female) and would have been 21:55ish had I run a full OK5K.  Even though it wasn’t a full 5k, I felt good about my run, improving on the previous week’s race pace.

After a rest day Sunday, I’m back to hard work this week with lots of miles but no 5k race.  I started Monday with mile repeats that were pretty ugly citing some bad hydration issues.  Having a cruddy workout wasn’t entirely unexpected and I bounced back with a solid strength workout yesterday.  I know the rest of this week’s sessions on the track, road and gym will be solid, too.


How do you decide if a race was good or bad?

Steel Pier Classic 5k + Celebrating

With Global Running Day to celebrate this week, I’ve been busy but that’s no excuse to skip a race report.  Last Sunday I ran the Steel Pier Classic 5k.  It’s part of the annual Steel Pier Classic and Surf Art Expo surfing competition and very beachy art show that take place at the south end of Virginia Beach’s boardwalk.  This was the first time I’ve participated and it was a completely last minute decision when I registered on Friday afternoon.

The over an out and back race was small, barely over 200 runners, including vacationers and out of towers who wanted to tackle 3.1 miles of boardwalk.  I ran the mile from my house to the start as warm up then a few strides and some mobility to finish getting ready.  It was, of course, the first morning of the year things were really humid and sticky.  My warm up had been decent and I wasn’t expecting much after nailing the ‘what not to do the day before racing’ list Saturday.  Wrapping up a day of biking three miles, walking over a mile and spending 3.5 hours on my feet at a wedding less than 12 hours before race time definitely isn’t ideal.  Did I mention steel pier classic 5kI’d already run all of y weekly miles?  I had.

The Steel Pier Classic 5k started unceremoniously right on time and I quickly settled into a mildly uncomfortable pace thanks to the humidity.  I had to dodge a few walkers and dogs on leashes on my way out and it was definitely distracting.  There were a few men in front of me as we turned back toward the finish but I was first female by a pretty large steel pier classic 5kmargin.  Right around Mile 2 my right leg got a little upset with the slanted surface and I slowed a tiny bit.  No need to push things or get hurt.  Hearing the people I had run around on the way out yell cheers of ‘go girl’ and ‘first female’ helped me smile and remember to have fun on a less than amazing run.  I eased through the last mile to cross the finish line as first female in 22:21.

I got a medal, a trophy and a squinty eyed photo after downing two bottle of water and jogging a barefoot cool down.  Winning the female division, seventh overall, on a hot morning with tired legs felt good and I’m looking forward to fresher legs for this weekend’s OK5K.  It was a good way to kick off a light week of training that included a Global Running Day fun run with my best running friends and J&A running dayMeredith

How did you celebrate Global Running Day?  Do you ever run a 5k on vacation?