Brian and I spent the weekend in Charlottesville, VA. It is about a three hour drive from DC and once you get out of the metro area the drive is beautiful and historic. We spent the our time visiting a winery, Monticello, some breweries, ran a race, walking around UVA and downtown, and getting engaged! Brian completely surprised me.
Hills. Everyone warned me of the hills. I misread the elevation chart to read around 300 feet of elevation gain, but really it was 872 feet of elevation gain and 870 feet of elevation loss. To picture what that looks like think of a hill you wouldn’t want to stop on with a stick shift vehicle, that lasts for a half mile and then repeat that a few times. There was a reprieve on the river front path, but that only lasted a few miles.
When we arrived in Charlottesville I already knew I was in trouble. While I incorporated hills into my long runs and a few of my shorter runs, I didn’t do any true hill workouts. As we drove around the hills grew. The packet pick up was at the start/finish of the race. The pre-race material said there would be an “expo” but it was more like packet pick up plus some boyscouts handing out safety material
My race day started like many of my recent race days- early and rainy. The rain chances had come and gone many times and when I woke up at 5:30 it was gone, but then by 6 when we were heading to the starting line it was raining.
The advantages of a smaller race is we could park in the parking garage a block from the start. Brian was able to hang out with me until a minute before the start and it wasn’t hard to find each other along the course.
The race started on time and the rain let up a little right before 7. Soon we were off and running around downtown. Soon I realized I didn’t really practice running down hill either. With the wet and rainy roads I was probably a little too cautious but I tried to just let go and fly down the hills.
After downtown there were some Monster Hills, both up and down. I tried to stay steady up the hills and enjoy the down hills. Around mile 3 we arrived at the river and onto a fairly flat trail through the woods. It was nice of the race organizers to add this two mile section for a little rest before some more big hills. Right before the turnaround Brian saw me and cheered, which was good because I had my head down trying to get up the hill. On my way back from the turnaround I had to yell at Brian as I was running faster than my tracking app thought.
From this point we retraced our tracks. I thought I remembered where I had been, but everything looked different when I headed back. I still felt pretty good at this point, but my watch was telling me I was slowing down. I started doing the math to finish in 2 hours and knew I needed to speed up a bit, but nothing was working. Then once I hit the last mile the road headed straight up at 90 degrees. Ok I’m exaggerating a little, but it was steep. I started doing this weird race walk thing that I hope was not caught on camera.
That last mile killed my chances and I finished in 2:02. I’m pretty proud of my race though. I’ve never seen so many hills. At the finish line there was water, milk, bananas, and some pinwheel sandwiches. I thought we were going to get medals, but when I didn’t I didn’t worry about it too much because I don’t really need another medal. However I got an email the day after saying they are mailing the medals!
It was still raining a bit and cold so we didn’t stick around the finish line too long, but they were handing out beer and had a band playing (both would be nice on a sunny day).
Taper week! I never really got tired of the long weekend runs this time around. Probably because the last race I trained for was a Marathon and the long runs were all so long and time consuming that a few runs nearing two hours were no big deal. A few of the midweek runs didn’t happen again this week. Running after work each day is too much for me, it helps to mix in some morning and midday runs, but then sleep and weather sometimes get in the way.
Monday: 4 miles. Cold again, 4 miles on the treadmill. 3 at an even pace, final mile faster.
Tuesday: 30 minutes of yoga (then a beer and food pairing event at the Washington Post)
Wednesday: 5 miles. Easy with pauses for photos.
Thursday: Cross training day. Brian and I walked down to the Tidal Basin for a picnic. This may not sound like cross training, but it was about 2.5 miles down and 2.5 miles back and both of our legs were tired.
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 8 mile long run. Felt good and fairly fast and smooth. I witnessed some bicycle rage on the rock creek trail. A girl wearing headphones was passing me as a guy on a bicycle was trying to pass her. She didn’t hear him honking at her, and was taking her time to get back in front of me after passing. He starting yelling. I wanted to just say “Isn’t there room for all of us” but I didn’t want to be yelled at and well the girl never heard him so his anger was wasted.
Total Miles: 17
Now its Race Week! The weather forecast has been all over the place with rain, now it looks clear so I hope it stays that way! Time to pick out my race outfit and pack for the weekend.
PEAK WEEK! AHHH! I didn’t end up running as many miles as my plan called for, but I did run more than the last few weeks so… it counts!
Monday: 5 miles, 4 easy with a fast 1 mile finish. I ran on the treadmill. All the lovely weather of last week is gone and I just wanted to get it done. We have three treadmills in my apartment gym. I was running on the right one and another girl on the left one. During my run three people came in to use the middle one and couldn’t get it to work and left. SO of course this was bothering me. It looked like it should work! So when I got done I flipped the on/off switch. nope. I got on and tugged on the safety rope… yep. Someone had tied the safety rope so tightly around the handle that it was constantly telling the machine to stop.
Tuesday: Yoga, an hour flow class.
Wednesday: 3 miles, planned on 5, felt awful the whole time and then it started raining.
Thursday: 3.75 miles, I ran during lunch, down to the National Mall. I stopped by the tidal basin to check on the cherry blossoms. There were a few trees blooming, but nothing spectacular going on. My legs were tired. I don’t know why.
Friday: Rest day, cause my legs were tired.
Saturday: 13 miles. I got up early to run so I could avoid the rain. The first half of my run was a bit choppy and I had trouble getting in gear. I ran down to the National Mall first to loop around the Capitol and check on the blossoms again. Thursday in my office’s locker room a fellow runner recommended running behind the Smithsonian castle and checking out the magnolia trees, so I took her advice and she was right, it was pretty. But it was such a cold morning I couldn’t fully enjoy any beauty. Then I headed to the Tidal basin, there were a few more blooms and a random stranger told me I was wearing the wrong running shoes and needed to wear Brooks. Thanks random guy who knows nothing about my feet or running! I carried water with me for the first time this training cycle, which lead me to needing to stop at the Lincoln bathrooms. Then I headed up rock creek and without having to stop at lights I got a good rhythm going and actually achieved a negative split on my run, which doesn’t usually happen.
Sunday: Rest day!
Total miles: 25
Monday: 5 miles. It is finally warmer around DC now and I was able to sneak this run in outside before it got too dark.
Tuesday: 0 miles. Race recovery?
Wednesday: 4 miles. Running around the neighborhood. IN SHORTS AND A TANK TOP!
Thursday: 1 mile and weights.
Friday: 0 miles. Unintended rest day. This wasn’t my week.
Saturday: 12 miles. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was running through town on Saturday morning. I planned to run on the C&O canal towpath to avoid running into the race. However by the time I got out the door at 9:30 and got over to where my route crossed the race’s course there were only the very last runners going by. It was interesting seeing the end of the race. I felt for the people walking at mile 6 with over half of the race to go, with the sag wagon right behind them and the street sweepers not far behind them.
The C&O towpath was a great run. You are kind of in the wilderness, but can still hear the traffic, which is disappointing. The crushed gravel is a good run, but you have to watch out for a few bigger rocks and some washed out areas. I did an out and back, which I didn’t mind about going back the same way, but I didn’t notice there was a pretty good wind until I turned around and it hit me. Luckily the wind was only bad for the first mile back towards home.
The 12 miles didn’t feel too bad, but then I walked another two miles to eat and then another mile to a festival and then stood and walked the rest of the day… my legs were tired.
Sunday: Rest day!
Total miles: 22
Monday: rest day since I did my long run on Sunday
Tuesday: 3.8 mile interval workout. Flew to Seattle Tuesday and was looking to do some run exploring. Seattle weather has other plans, rain and high winds made it hard to walk so I decided to run inside the hotel.
Wednesday: 3 easy miles. I knew the time difference in Seattle would help me wake up earlier, but it didn’t help the sun come up any earlier. I still managed to fit in three miles before sitting in meetings from 8 to 5:30. I ran from my hotel to the space needle and on the paths around the space needle and Key arena. Seattle has a lot of interesting architecture, new and old. There were lots of fun signs and sites to look at and I wished I had more time.
Thursday: all day airplane ride rest.
Friday: 4 miles. Three easy with a faster final mile. I bought trail shoes in preparation for this weekend’s trail race and to prepare to run in Colorado this summer. I hadn’t had a chance to try them out, but didn’t want to wear them for the first time in a race so I wore them on the treadmill. They felt great so I think I’m good to go.
Saturday: rest day to prepare for the race Sunday.
Sunday: 9.79 miles at the Backyard Burn Spring Series Laurel Hill race in Lorton, VA. It was rough, I started too fast. I’ll write a full post on the race once they post the official times.
Total Miles: 21 miles, I missed one day of running and cut two runs shorter than my training plan called for, but I still did a long run and a workout run so with all of my traveling this week I still call it a success.
Monday: 4 miles on the treadmill. 3 at an easy pace, with a little speed on the final mile. Today is President’s Day! And more snow, but a little bit warmer. I watched a cross country skier go by while running on the treadmill today.
Tuesday: 7 miles, 1 mile warm up then 5 miles of 3 minutes faster/2 minutes slower then 1 mile cool-down. Again on the treadmill, we had a three hour delay due to icy roads and sidewalks so I was able to do the workout in the morning, which was awesome. I don’t think I could do 7 miles on a winter weeknight.
I also did an hour of flow yoga with my coworkers.
Wednesday: 3 easy miles around the Capitol Building at lunch time.
Thursday: Soulcycle. I like free classes and cross promotional classes. So awhile back I saw Soulcycle and Target were doing free classes I signed up to go, but then the snow storm came and they were postponed. For my trouble, Soulcycle let me take another class for free at one of their DC studios. I did a lunchtime class at the Mount Vernon studio. They keep their studio pretty warm and we were going pretty hard the whole time, although my heart rate stayed in the aerobic zone almost the whole time. The class was a good workout, but I could only hear about 30% of what the instructor was saying so I just watched other people to see what I should be doing.
Friday: 4 miles. Three easy miles followed by one a little bit faster on the treadmill.
Saturday: 9 miles. The weather was beautiful on Saturday, which meant everyone was on the rock creek trail. I ran one of my usual routes backwards to increase the elevation gain and really felt the hills compared to the eight mile run I did the week before on the treadmill. But hopefully hills now means an easier race come April.
Sunday: Total rest day. I needed it.
Total miles: 27 miles, 1 hour of yoga, 1 hour of spin
This week the training has started to actually feel like training. My midweek runs increased over three miles and the weather isn’t cooperating.
Monday: 3.3 miles, The plan called for 3 miles at an easy pace and one mile at a faster pace. My stomach was not cooperating and when I got to the faster pace I had to stop.
Tuesday: 6 miles, 2 warm up, 3 with increasing speed (peak pace of 8:30 for the middle mile) and 1 mile cool down. I got dressed to head outside for a midday run (working from home today) and then I looked out to see snow/rain mix coming down. So I chickened out and put on shorts and a tank top and went down to the treadmill. Which wasn’t so bad.
Wednesday: 3 easy miles on the treadmill. My headphones died after mile one but had a surprisingly large amount of energy to finish the run. Then I did one round of the Crafty Runner’s arm workout.
Thursday: Schedule called for cross training… but I didn’t really. A little stretching in the morning is all I achieved.
Friday: 3 miles around the neighborhood. It was pretty cold, but I knew it would be worse on Saturday so I decided to brave it so I don’t have all of my runs on the treadmill.
Saturday: 8 miles bright and early on the treadmill. It was in the single digits and we had some snow overnight.
Sunday: Rest day but we did get a few miles in walking around the city.
Monday: 3 miles on the treadmill
Tuesday: 3.8 miles. I ran during my lunch break down on the National Mall. There were some puddles and a huge mountain of snow in front of the Capitol Building, but overall good running. I did a mile warm up and a mile cool down, with two .75 mile speed sessions and a .25 recovery in between them. I aimed to run under an 8:30 pace, but ended up at 8:48 and 8:49… clearly some work to do there.
I also did an hour of flow yoga after work. My abs are sore today, not sure if it is from the running or the yoga.
Wednesday: 3 mile easy run on the treadmill
Thursday: Crafty Runner weight lifting plan. My legs didn’t feel near as tired this time. I am either getting stronger or I did lift enough… or both.
Friday: 3 slow miles in the morning. Loosening up the sore muscles from lifting.
Saturday: 8 mile long run. I finally made it back to rock creek park. Its always fun when you see black bears on your run (that are at a safe distance behind a fence). I had around 300 ft elevation gain during my run, the race has 800 ft elevation gain, so some work to do there. As I was running through Dupont circle towards the end of the run a random man called me Stephanie Prefontaine. Now I know I didn’t look anywhere as fast or smooth as Prefontaine, but it still made me smile and gave me a boost for the final mile of my run.
Sunday: Rest day
Total miles: 21
I meant to take some interesting photos this week… but failed. Probably because most of my workouts were in my apartment building’s tiny gym and I don’t know what happened Saturday. I broke down and bought a new Garmin watch last week. My old Nike watch wasn’t working and although the Apps work well, I like being able to just look at my wrist at any time and see my milage and pace. I’m still figuring out all the functions…
Monday: 3 miles, 2 at an easy pace with a mile faster finish. A lot of the sidewalks are clear, but each intersection is a massive snow bank you have to climb over in order to cross the street so this was another treadmill run.
Tuesday: 5 miles, 1 mile warm up and cool down with some speed intervals in the middle. I stuck to the treadmill again as the sidewalks were still a mess.
Wednesday: Cross train day, did some Nike Training Club workouts, core and yoga
Thursday: Rest day, I really like the two days of rest right now, but starting next week I bump down to one.
Friday: 3 miles, 2 easy with a fast finish
Saturday: 6 mile long run. I finally ran outside again. It was a little cool but very sunny and most of the sidewalks were clear. I ran up Massachusetts Avenue to the Observatory clock and back, I clearly need to continue to work on running hills.