Showing posts with label training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label training. Show all posts

Fargo Marathon - Join the Fun. . .Virtually!!!

Fargo Marathon Logo - Image from Fargo Marathon

Like many other races recently, the Fargo Marathon has made the decision to go virtual for 2020.  While I know COVID has put race directors to the test, one of the benefits of so many races going virtual is that more people have a chance to participate.  Living in Maryland, my participating in the Fargo Marathon would be an unlikely occurrence, but now that I can run virtually from the comfort of my own streets, I'm excited to share that I'll be running it this year!

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Fargo Marathon 10K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

So why Fargo when there are so many other races out there?  Well, let's look at a few awesome things about this race:
  • Variety - It's the spice of life, right?  And they have a race distance for everyone - 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon.  The 10K is my favorite race distance and it doesn't get enough love in my opinion so I was thrilled to find 6.2 miles of fun waiting for me on this registration page.
  • The Swag - You can run the Fargo Marathon without compromising any of the awesome swag runners love!  Runners at each distance will receive a finisher's medal and a shirt.  5K runners get a short sleeve tech tee, 10K runners receive a long sleeve tech tee, and half and full runners get a sweatshirt AND jacket.  That's pretty great!
Fargo Marathon Virtual Swag - Image from Fargo Marathon
  • Give Back - In 2010, the Fargo Marathon established it's Shoes for Kids campaign to help get shoes to kids in need.  You can add a donation to your registration to help this important charity.
Ready to sign up?  You can register by visiting their website here.  Don't forget to use the discount code "SAVE5" to take $5 off your registration!




Hope to see you sharing all of your fun on social media.  Drop a comment below if you register so that we can cheer each other on while training and racing.  One of my favorite things about the online running community is the support for each other - let's keep that going!  

Baltimore Running Festival - Things to Know Before You Go!

I just wrapped up my third Baltimore Running Festival and it was less than a great showing from a performance standpoint.  I went into the weekend undertrained and well aware of that fact so I ran some and walked liberally to my 2nd slowest half-marathon time yet.  But, I finished and still had an amazing time - that's what's important!! So instead of making this the typical race recap post, I'm going to shed a little insight to things you should know about the Baltimore Running Festival in case you decide to run in the future!

Registration - Registration is easy and on the relatively inexpensive side if you do it early enough.  This race is organized by Corrigan Sports Enterprise (CSE), which organizes several other races around Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic.  When you register for the Baltimore Running Festival, you'll also see this race connected with several other.  You can register for the Maryland Double or the King Crab Challenge as well if you're interested in competing in multiple races during the course of the year.  For the Baltimore Running Festival, you can find a race distance regardless of your ability - 5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Team Relay, and even the BaltiMORON-a-thon (running both the 5K and Half in the same day).  Thinking about registering?  Keep your eyes open during the holiday season as previous years have seen race discounts as deep as 25% for a 24-hour period during the holiday shopping season!!

Premiums & Bling - Each year the Baltimore Running Festival provides top notch premiums from one of our favorite Baltimore companies, Under Armour.  Runners for the 5K and Team Relay each receive short sleeved tech shirts, while half and full marathon participants get long sleeved tech shirts.  And then, there are the medals!  In recent years, the Baltimore Running Festival has celebrated Maryland's unofficial state symbol, the crab, with their designs.  As the final leg in the Maryland Double and the King Crab Challenge, you'll hear lots of runners walking around with "clanging" medals after the race.

Getting Around - In each of my three Baltimore Running Festivals, I've had different transportation experiences on race day.  My first year, I ran the 5K and was on the road into the city in the early morning hours.  Traffic was backed up and it took a while to get into the city, but there was ample parking at M&T Bank Stadium that was free.  Getting in and out of the city isn't super easy on race day with road closures though so plan with ample time on both sides of the race.  The second time I ran, my husband and I got a hotel room at the Hilton the night before.  This was the year I ran the BaltiMORON-a-thon and was a fabulous option.  We could sleep in a bit on Saturday morning, walk right out of our hotel just a few steps to the 5K start and had a warm place to hang out and relax between the 5K and the half.  This year, I was only doing the half and opted to take the Metro into the city.  This was a super easy and effective option.  If you know me at all, you know I despise city driving so I couldn't have been happier to park in Owings Mills and take the subway in from there.  This may not be a good choice for 5K or full marathon runners though depending on how early you need to get into the city and when the Metro begins it's service that morning - be sure to check the schedule!

The Course - Is it just me or does Baltimore get more hills every time I run there???  You will certainly find your fair share of hills throughout the course.  The fist half of the course trends uphill so be sure to train for them.  On the plus side, what goes up must come down, so the the back half of the course trends down hill.  One of the prettiest parts of the course is the run around Lake Montibello.  This is such a serene half-way mark on the course and features the best aid station - energy gels!  Well, maybe that's the second best aid station.  Who can forget about the munchkin mile presented by Dunkin' Donuts?!?  I usually pass on donuts during the race, but decided to stop and smell the sugar this year with any time goals being nonexistent anyway.

The Best of Baltimore - This may be my favorite part of this race.  Baltimore doesn't always get the best press, but this event brings out the best in the city!  First of all, the support from the police department and other first responders is top notch.  There were countless cops who not only worked to block intersections throughout the city to keep runners safe, but they also joined in on the cheering and the fun.  Neighborhoods came together to throw some of the absolute best block parties - from music screaming from speakers, to costumed dancers, to children giving high fives, and endless cheers and applause, it was certainly a sight to be seen and helped motivate everyone regardless of how fast you were running.

Despite the tough terrain, Baltimore is one of my favorite running events - for all of these reasons and much more!  I hope to see you in Charm City sometime soon!!

Frederick Running Festival 2019 Half Marathon

The sun did not shine
It was too wet to play
So we ran through Frederick
On that wet, wet, wet day

Okay. . .so maybe that's not exactly how Dr. Seuss wrote it, but that's my adaptation to intro you into a recap of the 2019 Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon.  I had never run a race before that rained (and rained hard!) most of the race, so this was definitely a first.  Let's recap - the good, the bad, and the wet!

This was my third time participating in the Frederick Running Festival. In 2014, I ran the Twilight 5K and in 2016 I completed the Nut Job Challenge by running the Twilight 5K on Saturday night and the half marathon on Sunday morning.  I've always enjoyed this race weekend for several reasons - number one probably being the company I get to keep when running!  Several of my friends participate in this race each year so it truly is a fun filled event.  In fact, one of the couples we are closest with lives in Frederick and play host to a pasta dinner on Saturday night and open their house to runners to sleep at the night before the half.  I also really enjoy the course in Frederick, or at least the first 10 miles of it.

Miles 1 through 10 of the race are ran primarily through the streets of downtown Frederick.  Whether you're running through the shopping and dining district or winding through neighborhoods, the course always brings out a good number of fans and the time in town passes quickly.  The last few miles of the course though are brutal.  The course opens up to basically be wide open road.  With all visual interest lost and a pretty terrible uphill climb through mile 11, it's easy to quickly fade out, especially in the rain.

So let's talk about the rain for a minute.  We knew a few days out that weather forecasts were predicting a soggy half marathon, but forecasts only increased rain totals as the hours drew closer.  Having never run a race in this type of steady and consistent rain before, I was seeking advice from my more experienced friends.  Armed with anti-chafe cream, a hat, and my poncho I took to the starting area ready to get this race started and finished.  Maybe the rain would motivate me to run faster?  About 5 minutes before the race started, the skies opened up big time.  As I'm standing at the starting line, I'm watching rain pour from gutters of the surrounding buildings and realize I'm already accumulating puddles of water in my already soaked shoes.  It was at this time I started to think that I had made a tremendous mistake.  Luckily, the rain eased up as the race began and by a mile into the race, it was a steady, but slow rain.  It picked up again around mile 6 and I was again trudging through a downpour for about 2 miles.  The highlight of that stretch was one of the volunteers standing outside cheering us on with the song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" blaring from his car!

After mile 8, the rain again slowed to a more manageable amount, but by this point I was thoroughly soaked and tired and I slowed considerably for the final miles of the race.  I was ahead of pace for where I wanted to be until then, running on average around 11:30 miles, but slowed to over 12:00 miles and then eventually closed in on the 13:00 mile pace.  I think I really need to build in some speed work before my next half because when I tried to "kick it in" at the end, I had nothing - no next gear whatsoever.  Despite this collapse at the end and the conditions, I actually set a new PR by 11 minutes, besting my previous time of 2:53 with a finish of 2:42.


Overall, I would say the day was a success.  With a new PR firmly in hand and proving to myself that I can conquer the weather, I was pretty pleased.  However, I think my favorite part of race day was the hot shower that was waiting for me at the end followed by the big greasy cheeseburger from McDonald's - and the bling! And a great perk post race is that Care First provides runners with FREE, yes FREE, race photos!   Missed the Frederick Half Marathon, but still looking for more great races in Maryland.  Corrigan Sports, the group that hosts the Frederick Half Marathon, also has both the Baltimore 10 Miler and the Baltimore Running Festival coming up in the weeks and months ahead.  If you're interested in learning more about the Baltimore Running Festival, check out my referral link here!

Tales from a Self-Proclaimed Slacker

So here's the down and dirty truth - I've been a slacker.  Life has gotten in the way these past few weeks and I need to get myself back on track.  I can't say it's been a bad few weeks - it's actually been really exciting around our house!  Both of my boys celebrated birthdays the first week of February which meant birthday fun and a big birthday party.  February is also the busiest month of our friends and family birthday parties too so we've been running each weekend to parties.  We've also been doing lots of fun things like visiting the Baltimore Auto Show and renewing our membership with our first visit of 2019 to the Maryland Science Center.

The weather has been dampening my training plans - literally.  Between the polar vortex, snow, ice, and rain, I am once again renewed with my feelings of bitterness for training in Maryland winters.  Bring on the sunshine and warmer temperatures!  My treadmill has been getting me some miles, but it's admittedly not the same.  And with my hubby traveling a lot for work lately, getting to my elliptical at the Y has become more difficult.

And diet - don't even go there.  Training diet went out the window with the birthday cakes, pizza, and Super Bowl food about a week and a half ago and I haven't gotten that ship righted either.  In January, I lost 9 lbs and in February I've found 2 of them again!  I've been a yo-yo dieter most of my adult life so I'm used to this ride, but I'm hoping to end that cycle.  This time around I'm not doing a "diet" - I'm working to balance healthier eating choices with exercise to take weight off once and for all.


via GIFER

So now it's time to refocus and get back on track.  But how?  Getting back into a routine is HARD - like seriously hard people.  How do you do it?  I need to hit back with consistency.  Whether it's what's on the training plan or not, I simply need to do something every day.  Training for a marathon is, well, a marathon not a sprint.  I know ups and downs will happen over the next 11 months and my success next January won't be determined by one or two weeks where I fell down on my plan, but by the weeks where I pulled myself back and kept pushing forward.  That's a good metaphor for life too. We're all bound to fall down from time to time, but it's not how far or how hard you fall.  Instead, it's about how you pull yourself back up.  And remember you are not alone - in life or training.  Admitting our failures and our struggles as well as celebrating our successes with family, friends, or total strangers on the Internet means we find support and encouragement.  So today, let's lift each other up and make each other stronger!

Namaste Runners

Because photographic evidence of me doing yoga
does not actually exist. . .
Anyone who even casually runs can speak to the value of cross training.  Running can take a toll on your body if you go too hard, too far, too fast.  Getting back into running after roughly a year off means that I need to work my body back into running slowly.  However, with weight loss also being a focus of mine, I want to move each day so I've been alternating my running workouts with walking and yoga.  While it's been a while since I had practiced yoga, I quickly remembered why I love it - especially as a runner.

Yoga presents a modified rest day in a physically demanding week.  Taking your body through stretching and strength exercises works your muscles in a totally different way.  I'm hoping this will help strengthen my core and create those long, lean running muscles that I'd love to have!  I also firmly believe that yoga will help prevent injury throughout the months ahead of training.  Then there are the mental benefits.  Taking an opportunity to slow down in the busy world of being a mom, wife, Assistant Principal, and many other things to many other people is important.  Lately I've been using The Biggest Loser's Weight Loss Yoga video which ends up being about 30 minutes.  Bob Harper talks me through a variety of fast moving poses.  Those days of yoga are among my favorites during the week and I anxiously await them on my training calendar.

So how did this week go for me?  Pretty well!  I kept to my Galloway training plan and did 2 - 30 minute sessions during the week and a 4 mile run on weekend.  I also kept to my plan of working out every day by walking or doing yoga on days I didn't run.  I ended up heading over to the Y for one of my 30 minute runs on the elliptical which was quite frankly awesome.  I think that might be my new go-to piece of equipment when winter weather keeps me indoors - all the motion of running without any of the impact.  I was able though to log my 4 mile run outside on Saturday morning before the winter precipitation and polar vortex set in.  This coming week is a step back week in my training with my weekend run only scheduled to be 2 miles before upping mileage the two weeks after that.

Conquering Excuses

Spending quality time with my treadmill
this week.
"It's too cold."
"It's snowing." 
"It's too late." 
"Why does it get dark so early?"
"I'm too tired."

Any of those sound familiar?  I know I've been guilty of saying them before, but I'm working on ways to conquer excuses in 2019 when it comes to working out and my training.  As I've heard from much wiser people than me, it's not about "not having time" for something - it's all in how you prioritize your time. 

Full disclosure - this was a rough week in meeting my training goals.  My excuses for the week include busy days at school that kept me later, my husband traveling for work which meant I had both littles to manage, and the brutal winds and snowy weather.  So while my Galloway training calendar called for 2 30 minute runs and a 3 mile run this week, that didn't happen. . .well, it didn't happen exactly that way.  This week, I conquered excuses by modifying and simply doing the best I can.  

This would have been a really easy week to say that I wasn't going to work out since I wasn't able to run the way I wanted to, but instead I made modifications to my Galloway plan to keep me moving without (hopefully) losing too much progress.  I am fortunate to have a treadmill at home which means I can still walk even when I can't run.  Running on a treadmill tears my body up and I've just reached a point where I don't do it anymore.  So this weeks running workouts became walking workouts.  I followed the same plan, just walking instead of running.  And I stayed true to my yoga video as well, logging 3 yoga sessions this week.  

At the end of the day, even when you can't stick exactly to the plan, my motto is that it's better to do something rather than nothing.  We'll see what the week ahead brings.  It's another crazy week of schedules and looks like another snow storm is on the horizon, so more treadmill miles may be in store, but I have plenty of time to continue training before the Frederick Half Marathon.  

Until next week, keep moving friends!  

Training Plans!

Time to lace up those training shoes, Mickey!
One of the best things about keeping a blog are the connections you make with others along the way.  I've met so many fabulous "virtual" friends over the years who share both a love of running and a love of Disney with me.  So in the spirit of connecting with others, I'm starting a weekly post this year that will allow me to share my week in training.  My hope is that this will be a place where I can hold myself accountable by publicly sharing what's going on with my running while also hoping to create a community space where all of you who are also enjoying the ups and downs of a fitness journey can share your own stories.

So here we are at week one - let's talk 2019 goals first.  Actually, to tell the story of my 2019 goals, I need to tell you a 2020 goal.  I'm planning to run the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2020 along with the Castaway Challenge which means that 2019 is a year for me to seriously pile the miles back on!  I generally do better sticking with a training plan when I have a race to train for so I have two half marathons on the books this year.  In May, I'll be running the Frederick Half Marathon.  This race was my very first half back in 2016.  I'm also signed up for the Baltimore Half Marathon in October.  This will be a return to this race after a three year hiatus.  By completing both of these races, I'll also earn the Maryland Double medal.  And, because I love medals and it's really only one more race, I may add the Baltimore 10 miler which would get me "King Crab" status for the second time.  Ultimately I'm running Maryland in preparation to runDisney again in 2020!
Pretty much. . . #truth

Those of you who have been following me for several years now know my deep love of Jeff Galloway and his training plans so it should be no surprise that I'm once again turning to him for guidance on my training this year.  While I continued a regular exercise routine in 2018, I didn't run any races, so I'm back at staring in square one for half marathon training.  I'm following Galloway's Beginner Half Marathon training plan that can be found on the runDisney website.  It's a 19 week training program which works perfectly since the Frederick Half is 19 weeks away.  This week, I ran my three training runs - two 30 minute runs and a 2 mile run on the weekend.  It actually felt pretty good being back out there with minimal adjustment for my body.  I'm supplementing my non-running days with either walking or yoga to keep moving but hopefully without putting too much stress on my muscles and joints.

What are your fitness goals this year?  Any runners out there with exciting races on the calendar?  Or maybe you're changing up and trying something new.  Whatever your goals are, I can't wait to follow your journeys too!

I'm a Baltimoron!

Under Armour Race Premiums - Yes, please!
Everyone knows runners can be a little crazy.  And those of you who know me, probably know that I love my race bling.  So when the time came to sign up for my 2016 racing schedule, I decided to go all out.  Those of you who have been following my blog, have seen race recaps from the first two legs of the King Crab Challenge.  In May, I completed the Nut Job Challenge at the Frederick Running Festival which included a 5K on Saturday night and a half-marathon on Sunday morning.  Just 3 weeks later, I ran the hot, hilly, and humid Baltimore 10 miler.  The final part of the King Crab Challenge came with completing the Baltimore half-marathon last weekend.  I decided to take the Baltimore Running Festival one step further and signed up for the Baltimoronathon - a 5K and a half-marathon with start times just two hours apart.

The hubs and I sporting our 5K medals
I was excited to have my husband join me for this race weekend.  We decided to get a hotel room in the city the night before so that we wouldn't have to get too early of a start on Saturday morning.  Our hotel, the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor, happened to be just a few steps from the start line for the 5K - perfect!  Just a few days before the race, I convinced my husband to sign up for the 5K as well.  After a light breakfast of oatmeal and a banana, we headed down to the start line for a 7:30AM start.  Since I knew I was tackling two races in the same day, I decided to take it easy on the 5K and walked most of it with my husband.  The 5K course is almost entirely uphill the first half and then turns around to go downhill the second half.  We added some jogging in to the second half of the race, which helped to loosen me up for the half.  We finished the 5K in about 47 minutes, collected our bling, and headed back to the Hilton lobby to meet up with my friends who were going to be running the half.

So much bling!
The half was slated to start at 9:45AM, so we started heading down to Inner Harbor for the start around 9:15.  The Baltimore Running Festival also features a marathon that day.  Along the way to the start, we were able to cheer for the marathon runners passing by and were keeping a look out for a friend who was completing the full.  The start of the half is right next to the Inner Harbor and features self-seeded waves.  My speedier friends headed off in Wave 2 and I lingered back to the end of Wave 3 of 5.  I don't know why, especially after the Baltimore 10 miler, but I was surprised how hilly the course was - particularly the opening miles.  Despite the hills, I felt really good the 5-6 miles.  It typically takes me a few miles to hit my groove on a long run, but I think the 5K earlier took care of that for me.  Around mile 7 the course flattened out and circled Lake Montebello where a DJ kept runners dancing and smiling as they entered and left the lake.  The Lake Montebello portion and 33rd Street, mirrored a few miles of the Baltimore 10 miler.  However, while that race ended with a large uphill portion back into Druid Hill Park, the Baltimore Half Marathon finished with a downhill run to finish through Eutaw Street and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  I'm really glad the race finished downhill, because by about mile 11, I was dragging and needed all the help I could get.  I finished the race with a smile and collected my bling!  That day, I earned my 5K, half-marathon, and Baltimoronathon medals.  I also was able to collect my Maryland Double medal for finishing the Frederick and Baltimore Half Marathons.  And the King Crab Challenge award this year was a fleece blanket.  My training had been a little lax for this half, so my goal was to finish in under 3 hours, and I clocked in at 2:57.  

The spoils from my 2016 race season!
So for those of you thinking about the Baltimore Running Festival - I would definitely recommend it!  The race is well supported - both officially by Corrigan and unofficially by the people of Baltimore.  The residents and spectators who come out to cheer runners along the course offered high fives, music, costumes and some pretty funny signs.  The Baltimoronathon was certainly an added unique challenge.  Now it's on to the next race - runDisney's Wine and Dine 10K on November 5th!

Happy Running, Friends!

Running Etiquette for runDisney and Beyond!

There are several things that you will find at every runDisney race - costumes, characters, fun, and lots of people.  I mean tens of thousands of runners all looking to make memories running the most magical races on Earth.  With so many runners participating in each race of a runDisney weekend, race day etiquette becomes even more crucial.

runDisney races draw runners from all skill levels - the elite to the just beginning.  And with Jeff Galloway being the training face for runDisney, there are plenty of participants using run/walk intervals - myself included.  There is nothing wrong with taking ample walk breaks during your runDisney race, but keep these things in mind:

  • Don't walk (or run for that matter) more than 2 across.  Friends and family make great running friends, but when you run or walk 3, 4, or 5 wide, it's hard for anyone to get around you - especially in the narrow areas of the course like the walkway between Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
  • If you're using run/walk intervals, remember to signal your walk breaks by raising your hand.  This will prevent those who are running behind you from running into you from behind.  When you're walking, you should also move to the right so that those who are running can pass on the left.
  • Be honest with your proof of time - and don't try to sneak into a different corral.  This is a biggie.  Respect the race rules and let the faster runners get out in their corrals.  Jumping ahead or lying about your time only creates more backlog on the course for everyone. 
And remember, race etiquette isn't just for runDisney, but for all of your races - to infinity and beyond!

Motivational Monday from Finding Dory

Dory and friends returned to the big screen on June 17 to a resounding welcome from kids and adults alike - and it's no wonder why.  The story provides opportunities for viewers to draw motivational lessons from Dory that they can apply to their own lives.  Runners find motivation in lots of places and runDisney runners can find motivation in all things Disney.  So let's take a look at what runners can learn from Finding Dory to inspire your training.



Just Keep Swimming
The movie begins with Dory having a memory from her childhood, a rare occurrence for a fish suffering from short term memory loss.  The memory of her parents encourages Dory to begin an adventure across the ocean to find her parents.  No matter how insurmountable the odds may seem, Dory never gives up.  I love the shirts that say "just keep running."  As someone who runs for fun, certainly not for speed, I use the "just keep running" motto to push me through long runs to train for half-marathons.  Dory doesn't always get places fast, but she has fun getting there. . .kind of like me!

Support of Family and Friends is Priceless
Throughout the trials and tribulations of life, we rely on the support of family and friends.  That support can help motivate us to push ourselves beyond what we believe our potential may be.  In the movie, Dory relies on both old and new friends as well as family that she is just starting to remember in order to find her way home.  In my own life, the support of my family and friends has meant the world to me in all of my endeavors, especially running.  Whether it's giving me the time to run by keeping the kids or standing at a finish line cheering me on, I couldn't be a runner without family and friends supporting me.

Dreams Come True Through Years of Training
As a society we are always looking for instant gratification.  Dory didn't get that.  In fact, without spoiling to much about the movie for those who haven't seen it yet, the little things she begins to remember about her parents ultimately teaches her how to find her way back to them.  As runners, the same is often true for us too.  Training for a race isn't something that happens overnight.  In fact, it's not even something that starts in the weeks or months ahead of a race.  Each training run and each race that we've had over the years has taught us something we can learn to improve ourselves and has made our mark on our running biography.

There are so many powerful messages that you can discover in Finding Dory.  Whether or not you're a runner, these life lessons can inspire everyone to achieve your fullest potential.

If you enjoy Finding Dory and want to learn more fun ways to celebrate the release - check out some other amazing bloggers with lots to offer from Disneybounding, to crafts, to food!  Visit the linkup here!  

Baltimore 10 Miler Recap

I can basically sum up the 2016 Baltimore 10 miler in three words - hills, heat, and humidity.  Leg 2 of the King Crab Challenge proved to be much tougher than the Frederick Half Marathon that took place just 4 short weeks earlier.  While the run was certainly not one of my best, it was a great course and took you through some beautiful parks in downtown Baltimore.  Runners should be prepared with an early June race that Maryland weather can be brutal this time of year.  Humidity at the 7:30AM start time was already 84% - I think I was sweating while I was waiting to start.

This was the first time that I've run the Baltimore 10 so I didn't know much going into the race.  The race begins at Druid Hill Lake Park which is also home to the Maryland Zoo.  There was plenty of parking for the race, even if traffic was backed up for quite a distance as parking is not the easily accessible large lots that you'll find by M & T Bank Stadium for the Baltimore Running Festival.  The race begins with a steady downhill as you wind down the park and towards 28th Street.  I was hoping that some part of the race would take us through the zoo, but that didn't happen.  The run through downtown didn't offer much scenery, but it was well supported with ample water stations and plenty of locals out to cheer us on.  

The race is an out and back course.  Runners enter Lake Montebello around mile 4 and exit near mile 5.  Adding to the excitement of passing the halfway point, there was a DJ blasting fun music to keep you motivated as you enter the mostly uphill second half of the race.  

Then comes mile 8.  

Oh, mile 8.  

The brutality of mile 8.  

Mile 8 is a tough uphill battle when your legs are burning and your chest is about to explode and the humidity is suffocating you.  Luckily, mile 9 flattens out and you finish back at the start line where a cold towel, fruit, and a few beers await all finishers.  This race is also well known throughout the area as having one of the best premiums around.  Between the nice jacket, fun medal, and challenging course, runners will walk away feeling a great sense of accomplishment.  


Next up in the King Crab Challenge is the Baltimore Running Festival in October.  I only need to complete the Baltimore Half that day to achieve my King Crab status, but I've decided to go for Balti-moron status and run the 5K and the Half in the same day.  Time to crank up my training!!

A Fitness Challenge that's No Joke!

Today is traditionally a day for pranks and jokes, but today I'm beginning a challenge that's no laughing matter.  Since getting my Apple Watch as a Christmas present, I've enjoyed watching my fitness stats each day.  Pretty consistently I'm able to meet my calorie goal and I ALWAYS meet my stand goal, but the 30 minute move goal is a tough one for me to meet every day.  With as busy as life gets, finding time to exercise can be difficult.  So in April, I'm challenging myself to meet my 30 minute exercise goal every day.

The timing is right for this as my training is in full swing for the Frederick Half-Marathon at the beginning of May.  I'm running 3-4 days per week and trying to cross-train 1-2 days.  Even on my rest days I can still get my 30 minutes of exercise in by playing at the park with my boys or going on family walks.  

So that's that!  A month long fitness challenge that you can follow along with here on the blog.  My plan is to post each week with an update on my progress.  I'd love to have some of you join me on my journey - who's in?? 

"March"-ing Into Racing Season!

With the turn of the calendar, the beginning of daylight savings time, and the change in temperature, signs of spring are certainly springing up all around the Mid-Atlantic.  Another sure sign that spring is in the air?  Running calendars are once again blooming with races.  I've been spending the winter months training at Planet Fitness on a treadmill, but am now venturing back outside to prepare for upcoming events.  Here's a sneak peek at my racing calendar to kick off the season.

2014 and 2015 were a blast! Can't wait to see what 2016 brings!!
March 12 - OCMD St. Patty's Day Boardwalk 5K - I'll be kicking off the 2016 racing season with a race that I'm excited to be running with my mom.  My mom will be celebrating her birthday on March 18 and this will be her first ever 5K!  It should be a great time in Ocean City, MD and I'm looking forward to what should be a fast, flat course.

May 7 & 8 - Frederick Running Festival - This will be my first half-marathon as my runDisney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon only turned out to be half of a half.  In Frederick, I'll be an official "nut job" - running the Twilight 5K on Saturday night and the half-marathon on Sunday morning.  This is also the first leg of the Maryland Double and the King Crab Challenge.  I'm a bundle of emotions thinking about my first half-marathon - nervous, excited, anxious!

June 4 - Baltimore 10-miler - This race is the second part of the King Crab Challenge.  It looks to be a fun race through Baltimore and running through the Maryland Zoo.  I'm also hoping that this race will give me a good proof of time for any future races.

It looks to be an exciting couple of months.  I'm hoping that things go well with my training schedule as work tends to get busier in the Spring and the little ones at home are keeping me hopping more quickly then Peter Cottontail delivering Easter eggs!  Keep following along for updates on training and race recaps as each one is completed.

Running Disney with Galloway's Intervals

Interval training is what carried me through training for what was supposed to be my first half-marathon and I relied on it heavily on race night.  I first learned of the benefits of interval training from reading up on information from Olympian Jeff Galloway.  Jeff Galloway has partnered with runDisney to create training plans for each of their races which are posted on the runDisney website.

Interval Training + runDisney Race = BLING TIME!
If you're a first time half-marathoner like me, intervals provided a great way to extend my mileage without burning out.  As I began training for the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I printed out Galloway's beginner training plan from the runDisney website.  The training plan was the first place I saw interval training outlined and then I quickly found more information online.

At first, I have to admit that I felt silly.  Everything I read said that it was important to follow the intervals from the beginning of your run and I had read a few different places that 30 sec walk and 30 sec run intervals were a great place to start.  This means that just 30 seconds into a long training run, I was slowing for a walk interval.  The thoughts of looking silly quickly passed though as I saw my pace remain steady while continuously adding miles to my distance.  I felt good even after those longest runs and knew I could have even gone further.

On race day, intervals calmed me down and allowed me to keep my pace without going out too fast.  I did deviate a few a bit from my regular intervals on race day though.  If you have ever been a part of a runDisney race, you know how busy each corral is at the beginning of the race.  I chose to run the first 3 minutes before starting my intervals just to get out of the bottleneck at the starting line.  There were also several places along the way where the course narrowed (like the walkway between Hollywood Studios and the Boardwalk), where my intervals fell apart too as the congestion just got to be too much.  For those who scoff at interval running as "not real running," I will say that I passed A LOT of people during the race who overexerted themselves early on and couldn't keep up their pace while I stayed steady the entire time.

Important Etiquette Note:  If you are using intervals, PLEASE practice runner's etiquette.  Signal when you are going to walk and move to the right.  Others around you will appreciate it!  

Overall, I was really pleased with using intervals to train and run my runDisney race.  I have a half marathon planned close to home in May and anticipate using intervals to get started after winter at building my distance once again.