Race Recap: Capitol Hill Classic 10K

The Capitol Hill Classic 10K one of my all-time favorite DC races. It usually occurs right around my birthday which makes it feel like a present and it has a great neighborhood feel.

This year I was hoping to PR, and I had a feeling that was definitely doable. My previous PR for the 10K was 8:12 per mile, set in December (and that included a VERY steep hill in the last mile that derailed my 7:55 per mile pace). And, I had just run a 10 miler faster. I didn’t get more specific than PRing for this race because I hadn’t completed a long run in a long time AND I’ve never really raced a 10K before.

The weather was perfect racing weather for me – low 50s (possibly even high 40s at the start). Josh and I picked up our packets the day of, which I have to say is way less stressful than I thought it would be. I’m going to have to take advantage of that service more often when its offered. It gave us time to get our bibs and then hit the port-o-potties before they got too crowded. We had a nice little jog back to the car to drop off our shirts, and to pop out of our sweatshirts. I took off after that for a quick little warm up. I did a mile nice and slow. For my last mile, I wanted to push the pace a bit with a few strides that slowly moved me towards half marathon pace. I definitely felt like I was in good shape.

At 8am we took our Oiselle Team picture. I was so happy to see so many familiar faces, and to get to meet some new (and new to me) ladies. After our experience at the Parkway Classic 10 Miler a couple of my buddies and I didn’t want to get stuck in the back of the pack, so we made our way towards the front of the start line. There are no corrals or seeding for this race, so you kind of have to catch as catch can near the start line.

The race started about 4 minutes past 8:30 and we were off!

As I said, I didn’t have much of a strategy for this 10K. I’m still feeling out my race strategy for 10Ks. I knew from running this race in the past that I had gone out too fast, which ended up hurting me around mile 4 & 5. There’s a bit of a hill at the start of mile 5 as you’re coming out of the parking lot of RFK Stadium and then a more gradual hill as you make your way up East Capitol Street. Knowing this, I decided within the first mile of the race that I would push miles 1 & 2, settle in for 3 & 4 so that I’d have some energy for the last 2 miles.

That strategy (though it was conservative) ended up working out pretty well for me. And I was okay with being conservative, because I really wanted to feel out the 10K more as a race. It felt much shorter than I had imagined it would feel. And, bonus, I did get a shiny new PR of 49:29. It’s my first under the 50:00 mark, and an average pace just under 8:00/mile.

 

MILE SPLITS:

1 7:47

2 7:38

3 7:53

4 7:55

5 8:07

6 7:59

.2 7:49

 

Overall, I’m really happy with the results, and my progress. For the last year and a few months I’ve been working with Coach Mollie. She’s been a godsend. Not only has she helped navigate my crazy schedule (particularly my work travel schedule) but she’s been so encouraging about goal setting and workouts that really help motivate me. She’s currently got a waiting list, but I would jump on that waiting list in a heartbeat if you’re interested in a running coach. It’s been the change I made in my running that has had the biggest impact.

I’m going to be taking a break from training for anything specific. I’ve got some more work and personal travel coming up. I might run a 10K or 5K here and here. I hope to maintain my running fitness. In the fall I’m hoping to run a half or two, but I still haven’t settled on just what my fall racing season will look like. It’s a bit complicated when you’ve got a perfect storm of election year (for a journalist), fall racing, and a fall wedding. I just might have to go a little easy on myself.

This coming weekend I’ll be traveling to Blowing Rock, NC for the first session of Oiselle’s Southern Bird Camp. I went to the inaugural regional birdcamp last year and had a blast, although somehow never managed to blog about it. I hope to change that this year!

Parkway Classic 10 Miler Race Recap 

The face of a sweaty gal about to eat breakfast tacos after a PR
My morning began at 5:15am. I woke up early to get a little breakfast (a bagel with butter) and gather my stuff to get to the buses that would take me to the start of the race. This race is part of Pacers races, and while they are a bit expensive ($75 for a 10 miler) they are well organized and know what they’re doing. Josh dropped me off at the charter buses that we took up to Mount Vernon. It’s about a 20 minute drive, which was the perfect amount of time for me to eat breakfast and down my nuun. The Parkway Classic starts directly in front of the traffic circle at Mount Vernon which is really cool for a history nerd like me. 

I had enough time to do my routine of 2 bathroom stops, and a little warm up before I hit up bag check and my pre-race team photo with the Oiselle girls that were running. 

 
The weather was absolutely beautiful. Sunny, with temps in the 50s. That is optimal racing weather for me. I will say that the race seemed way more crowded this year than it was last year. My Oiselle buddies and I had a lot of trouble making it into the 8:00-8:59 corral. There simply wasn’t any room. We were on the other side of some metal barriers, and hoped that we’d be able to weasel our way in once the gun went off. We were able to make it in, but it was CROWDED. I feel like maybe the race should start in waves, and that would ease some of the congestion. 

I ended up doing a lot of weaving in the first mile and my pace was erratic. It started around 10:30 and jolted forward. In the past, this would have sent me into a mental tailspin – thinking that my whole race was wrecked because I wasn’t running the pace I wanted to be running for my race plan, but I played it cool. (That said, I realize why people want to line up near the front of races, especially when there are time limits on the course, but when there isn’t a wave start it’s best to line up according to your pace. You won’t be passed by as many people from every which direction and you’re doing a solid for your fellow runners who would be running at those faster paces.)
 
My plan for the race was to keep my miles between 7:55-8:05, knowing that anything under 8:15 per mile average was going to get me a PR (even if I had to take it a little slower on some of the hills). I broke the race down one mile at a time. That strategy has been working well for me lately, and helps stave off a lot of the negative self-talk that has gone through my head in the past.The course has a few rolling hills at the top. I pushed it on the uphill portions and used the downhills to my advantage.
 
I felt great the first 4-6 miles. I think around mile 2, I was running with a couple of my Oiselle teammates and that was a HUGE boost. It helped keep me on pace, they were a little speedier than me so they really pushed me to keep up with them. From mile 5-6 there was a nice downhill portion of the race. That was my fastest mile of the whole race. I encountered a bit of mental struggle during miles 8 and 9. I started to think a little negatively, but I reminded myself to think of running each mile as fast as I could. That said, it was around mile 8 or 9 that I definitely thanked the racing gods that I was not running a marathon! (Remind me of this later!) 
 
I refocused after mile 9 to get over the 2 hills on the course (and they’re not terribly big, but they can surprise you if you’re not prepared). The first hill was a bit more of a struggle because it was gradual but long. At that point, I think my body was just so used to so much downhill that I was having a hard trouble getting my quads to cooperate. The final hill on this course comes after a nice little downhill, so that helped to power me up. From there I turned on to Union Street and basically could see the finish line in the distance.  It was just a matter of pushing myself as hard as I could go.
 
In the end, I achieved a new 10 mile PR. My old record was 1:22:15, when I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler back in 2013. This year I ran a 1:20:51 on a hillier course, and just a handful of weeks after a disappointing 10 miler. I was pretty thrilled with the results, and honestly can’t wait to race a 10 miler again. I really want to focus on getting under 1:20. That was my A goal this race, and even though it didn’t happen, I was so proud of myself and the race I ran. I stuck to a plan. I didn’t give in to my mental demons and I kept it cool when things didn’t go perfectly. 
 
MILE SPLITS:
1 8:02
2 7:50
3 8:02 
4 7:53
5 8:06 
6 7:43
7 8:12 
8 8:10 
9 8:23 (those 2 hills tho)
10 8:02 

My next race is the Met Branch 5K, this Saturday. I’d love to PR, and that shouldn’t be too tough (my 5K PR, 24:03,  is also 3 years old). After that, I’ve got the Capitol Hill Classic 10K. I’m hoping to break 50:00 there, which on paper looks doable! 

Feels Like Spring 

It’s been feeling like spring up and Dow the East Coast, which is why I should have seen allergies coming right behind it. More on that in a bit. 

First, let’s talk wedding! There’s some rule in blogging that you’re not supposed to talk about your wedding, but I don’t really understand that. Weddings seem to be one of those things everyone is curious about and has an opinion about. 

A few weekends ago my fiancé, my parents and I went to a tasting for our food! It was super exciting because we were there with a bunch of other couples who are also getting married at our same venue this year. So we really got a sense of what the food would taste like in a big group. 

Each table was designed by different event designers. We were seated at a table that was designed by my event designer! 

  
My mom loved this table for a fun brunch, but I’m opting for something that will compliment the natural beauty of the Outer Banks. 
I really liked the color scheme of this table 

  
The natural greens and succulents reminded me of my favorite fall days at the beach! 

The food we tasted was amazing! It was so good I took no pictures! It’s going to be so hard to pick, although J and I have a few favorites. We both love seafood, so there will be plenty of that! They did such a great job of showcasing North Carolina seafood. I loved that!

This was Friday night, and also when I started feeling a little off. My throat was tight and scratchy. It only got worse on Saturday when I went to Va Beach for packet pick up for my half marathon. A Nor’easter was coming in, so it was windy, rainy and cold. I don’t think that was helping. J ran out to get me a pre-race dinner, but I just felt progressively worse. When I woke up on Sunday I had chills, a completely stuffed nose and I knew I couldn’t run. I was disappointed, because I think if I had felt okay I could have PRed. Still, rest was the best option. 

We checked out early and headed home. 

Now I’m focusing on the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler which is this Sunday! Looking to PR there! 

When life happens to running 

  
I always talk about my work life and my “real life”

Truth is, they are one in the same, but I acknowledge that journalism can be a time consuming and unpredictable job (“Can you leave for Paris tomorrow?”) and running is a time consuming hobby. 
Running definitely makes me a better journalist. Pushing through a run when you’re not feeling it? Try your fifth day of covering a breaking news story via live 7 hour broadcasts with limited equipment and an average of 3 hours of sleep per day. Both have been realities for me. 

Another reality? Earlier this year I traveled to Iran for a week. Running wasn’t an option because we had limited time. A few weeks prior to that, my right hip was so tight I almost cried during a massage appointment. My coach suggested I take a few weeks off from running. So, in preparation for this half marathon I lost 3 weeks of training. 

Normally I’d be freaking out and talking myself out of any possibility of setting a PR. But lately I’ve been hitting all my workouts right on. I haven’t missed a run in the last month and a half, and I’ve got a fire in my belly to push myself on Sunday. 

Life happens, but I definitely no longer feel like that means I need to make excuses or table my ambitions. 

Plus ça change

Running has been a slog lately.

I have been SO tired, and just not feeling it. I am having a hard time getting inspired to run. I am having a hard time looking forward to running. It seems like one more thing I have to check off on my list. And I’m not crazy about this.

I have always had a bit of ebb and flow to my love of running. Sometimes I have a hard time getting back into it after disappointing race performances. Other times, I just get burned out.

Lately, work has been pretty time-instensive and I’ve been finding that I just don’t have the mental energy to throw into a run after work. (I have to be in to work at 8a, and I have to catch the train by 7a so running before work isn’t a great option for me)

I’ve also been dealing with a nagging hip. My right hip is just way more tight and it’s throwing everything off in my right leg. (Tight calves, right foot out of whack)

So my wambulance is in full effect.

I’ve been brainstorming a couple of ideas of how to move forward, and some plus/minuses for each:

do more yoga

plus: help calm my mind, great  for stretching my hip/legs

minus: time, and making sure i can get to classes on time (read: work can get in the way)

downgrade shamrock half marathon to shamrock 8K

plus: less pressure on me, go back to original idea of just running for fun, definitely could PR

minus: i would like to bust my half marathon PR, plus it seems silly to travel for an 8K

run the half marathon and then take a break from chasing PRs

plus: gives me time to explore other workouts (crossfit anyone?), still allows me to run when I want

minus: will I feel too disconnected from my running buddies?

So these are all options I am considering. After April, I am planning on scaling way back on my running. I’d like to clear my plate a bit to handle wedding stuff (oh yes, the struggle of planning a wedding is real) and just to have time to enjoy the company of friends and J.

 

 

 

Goal Setting

So this is the new year, and I don’t feel any different.

Death Cab For Cutie

I have always looked at each new year with mixed emotions. I love the idea of being able to press a reset button, wiping the slate clean, and starting anew.

On the other hand, I find it hard to set lofty goals, make big plans and throw those things out there because I know how resolutions go. The pragmatist in me know the stats on how those goals work out.

I’ve had a hard time setting running goals in the past few years. Part of me has wanted to go big with them:

“I want to qualify for Boston.”

But psychologically, as an athlete (and perhaps as a person) I’ve got a ways to go to get my mental game up to snuff. I still compare myself to just about everyone. (She’s faster. She’s got the build of a runner. She’s got more grit. She’s got amazing determination.) I also have stalled in the PR department. 2013 was a great year of PRs, but since then I have STRUGGLED.

I have been reading a lot of posts from my Oiselle teammates about their goals and I started getting intimidated and anxious. Part of it was the comparison thing I was talking about earlier. Then I remembered the amazingness that was Southern Bird Camp 2015. We were a group of women of varying abilities – from elite to back of the pack runners. We came in all shapes and sizes. We represented all sort of speeds and experience levels. BUT everyone had the same love for the sport. Everyone encouraged one another. We still all keep in touch via social media, and their comments are often my favorites. So, I thought of those women as I thought about my goals.

So here’s what I came up with:

Give yourself the benefit of the doubt: Before I decide you can’t do it, believe that I can. This goes for tough workouts, just as much as a week’s worth of live shows plus reporting and minimal sleep. I might cry, but I won’t die.

Give yourself a break: When a workout, or  work doesn’t go the way I wanted it to go, it’s important to remember that it’s one day out of 365. I’ve got plenty more chances to get it right. Instead of immediately focusing on what didn’t go right, I’m going to ask myself – what did go right?

Do more things with joy: Running is fun, talking to people is fun, spending time with my fiancé is fun. Being present in the moment and taking stock of the good things brings joy into what you’re doing. It’s fine that my piriforimis is sometimes a huge pain in the butt, because this trail is one of the most beautiful places.

Race once a month: This is the only numbers goal. Get out there and have fun once a month. Make those lungs burn. Meet more runners. Show me what you’ve got.

I have this feeling that if I can hold myself to these goals, many of the goals I’d normally have (crush PRs, run XXX miles) will follow naturally.

As I said on one of my instagram posts today, 2016 – EmO gonna getcha.

 

 

 

 

Staycation = cleaning 

This week I have had the benefit of taking a much needed staycation. It’s been amazing for getting things done around the house. 

As often is the case when you are busy things tend to pile up. Our bedroom was really stressing me out. The quilt needed to be washed. My workout clothes were exploding from their allotted space. So I did some reorganizing. My mom was kind enough to come over and keep me company. Moms are great like that. 

 

I still have plenty of #flystyle
 
Here’s my new workout clothes area. Everything is organized. The drawers actually close! I did a lot of paring down. Stuff that was too small went to a sell/donate pile. I only kept my favorite pieces. I learned a lot in this process…mainly that I have an embarrassing amount of workout clothes. I won’t be buying any more for a LONG while. Oiselle, don’t you even try to tempt me with your sales!

I also organized my work clothes and cut down on those clothes a lot too. 

 

I obviously love plaid shirts
  
Pants, jeans, sweaters and fleece
 
Clearing stuff out was not as emotionally taxing as it was in the past. It actually feels amazing to have a super clean bedroom now. I have a little more cleaning to do today. I’d like to tackle our front closet, and also go through some more winter clothes I have in storage. I’d say though that I’m off to a pretty good start!

All November (leading up to Turkey Day) Oiselle is encouraging people to be active for at least 15 mins a day. We’re calling it #chasethebird and I have to say, it’s been so awesome and inspiring to scroll through the hashtag. Some teammates are just coming back from the New York Marathon, or injury so they might do 15 mins of yoga or stretching. Other ladies are killing tempo runs, crushing ab workouts and lifting. I’d encourage you to join in using the hashtag! It’s a great way to motivate yourself to do something active every day, especially as we get closer to Thanksgiving. Feel free to follow my progress on Instagram!

No running for me today. Friday is one of my rest/cross training days. I’m going to go to LavaBarre tonight for a hybrid cycling/TRX class. I’ll try to give y’all a write up for LavaBarre soon. The short review: I love it! I think it’s the perfect compliment to my running and I’m hoping it will get me toned for my wedding next fall! (I probably didn’t mention this, but I got engaged just before Labor Day. I am so excited! J really is my best friend, training partner, #1 supporter and the most awesome partner a gal could ask for. I’m thrilled to take this next step!) 
Back to the remainder of my staycation! 

Do you like staycations? Or do you prefer a “real” vacation? 

Is there one thing you’d like to change around your house if you had a day off to change it?