She Gone and Done It

After what could be considered the most stressful hour and a half of 2013, I am proud to announce I am officially registered for the Marine Corps Marathon 2013 (MCM)!  <Cars screech to a halt> Say what? Yep. I did it. I said I was going to register, and (with the help of four friends on varying electronic devices) I did.

Oh. You want the incredibly stressful backstory? I am happy to oblige!

On March 27, 2013, I was sitting at my computer in my apartment watching the minutes  slowly tick by. At exactly noon, I pushed the “Register Now!” button on the MCM website which took me to Active.com. Active asked me to sign in, and that is when all hell broke loose. I guess 40,000 of my closest running friends across the world were also sitting at their computers at exactly noon on March 27 trying to register for MCM as well. I got error message after error message.

My two friends who were with me frantically tried to log onto Active.com via cell phones and ipads. Nothing. I was literally starting to sweat. 12:15. Couldn’t even load the MCM webpage. 12:30. Error messages kept popping up on my screen. I was almost ready to give up hope…and then my friend was able to get into the Active website to enter all of my information! Hark!  A sigh of relief flooded over me, and I thought it was going to be smooth sailing… I was wrong.

I entered my credit card information, hit “submit,” and…error message. I was devastated. I thought: Will I need to enact “Operation MCM Plan B” – to start training for the race and then buy a registration from someone in August? That was not ideal, but it was plausible.  I was sick of all of the different error messages I saw – there had to have been at least six different ones!

Meanwhile, my friends across the country were also trying to register and I was frantically texting and calling them. One had luck and was registered! (There was hope!)The others were still dealing with error messages and network problems. I refreshed my credit card information for half an hour to no avail – I never received a confirmation from Active that I was registered.

My friend who was able to register called me and offered to try on my behalf. I swear she had a magic computer because in what seemed like no time at all (and with minimal error messages) she was able to register me for the race! Wait, what? I WAS REGISTERED FOR A MARATHON!

Who knew that registering was going to be part of the training? Not I! But now that the registration battle is behind me, the real work begins. My next mission is to find a training plan that works for me, so stay tuned for my research!

Born to Run – LP’s Top 20 Fav Running Tunes

I took the week off from running last week because my foot/ankle/shin was bothering me. I really wanted to get out and move, but I knew that if I was seriously injured, I needed to rest. During my week off, there was one thing I missed almost as much as just moving and being outside – my running tunes!

Thanks to a WeWa tip from a member a few years back, I keep all of my favorite tunes on my “running” playlist and I will only listen to them when I am working out. Taking the week off from exercising meant no pop, Green Day, and 80’s songs. I know people are always looking for some new ideas to mix up their playlists – so I thought I would share some of my favorites!

1. “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen is my most played.

2. “Amsterdam” by Guster

3. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

4. “The Grouch” by Green Day

5. “Rocky Theme Song”

6. “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies

7. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem

8. “Here it Goes Again” by OK GO

9. “Firework” by Katy Perry

10. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams

11. “Waving Flag” by Chani

12. “Everybody Dance Now” by C+C Music Factory

13. “It’s My Life/Confessions Part II” mashup by the Cast of Glee

14. “Me Against the Music” by Britney Spears with Madonna

15. “Eye of the Tiger” covered by Green Day

16. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson

17. “Wild Dances” by Ruslana (Ukrainian)

18. “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers

19. “My Way” by Limp Bizkit

20. “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” by Train

What is your favorite workout song?

I Was a New Years Resolutioner

When I went to my anger management class (ie. boxing) this week, my instructor was “taking it easy on us” because of all the newbies. While it was a good workout, it was not nearly as grueling as it was in December. Then, when I went to the office gym to walk at lunch, I was hard-pressed to find an open treadmill. “Ug, all of these New Years Resolutioners are taking up valuable real estate!”

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December 2008

It is easy for me to forget that in 2009 I wanted to lose weight and get healthy. How can I not remember my first time at the gym – taking 25 minutes to walk a mile? I spent weeks and months competing with the regular gym goers – Running Girl especially – to get to the “good” treadmill first.

What is it about the new year that makes people more motivated? A person can make a change at any given minute, but there is something about the new year that makes us want to start anew. Maybe its mankind’s way of keeping life neat and orderly, with a predetermined beginning, that we like. In reality, life is more complicated and there really is no nice and easy way to start new habits.

Four years ago today, I joined the WeWa community. While at the present time I am not at my lowest weight, I have lost and kept off 90 pounds. After a holiday hiatus, I am back on the correct path of tracking food, planning meals, and exercising regularly (34 miles run so far this year, and counting)!

101_0190 December 2012

Instead of getting frustrated with the new gym goers, I should wish them luck in reaching their goals. Hopefully in a month or two they are still taking up valuable treadmill spots making progress on their own resolutions. If you are a Resolutioner and you stick to your goals, you really can change your life. I should know – I was a New Years Resolutioner.

Hello, 2013!

It’s a new year filled with big goals! Before we go there, let’s review some of my goals from 2012 (you know, the ones I put into a spreadsheet and I then forgot about).

1. Run a Race Every Month – Well, that didn’t actually happen, but I sure completed a lot of races this year, and for that reason this goal has been accomplished! Four 5Ks, two 8Ks, one 10K, two 10-milers, and three Sprint Triathlons! I PRed in each of the race categories! Here are the links so you can see race times for 5Ks, Distance Runs, and Tris. Wait til you see what I have in store for 2013!

2. Run a 10-minute Mile – That didn’t happen either, but I whittled my mile pace (in a 5K) from 11:30 min mile down to 10:54 min mile. I hope to get those 10-min-miles this year!

3. Get under 200 poundsCheck…and uncheck. I definitely hit my goal and maintained for about a month, but then I relaxed my habits and I gained the weight back. Soooo, I am starting the year right back where I was last year. You know what? I am not upset or discouraged. I always like a challenge, so I will go for it again!

4. Write for Fun 5 Days a Week – Yeaaaah, that was a bit ambitious. I learned that I am not as prodigious in my prose as I had initially thought…

So that was a not-too-nostalgic look at 2012, but what I am really excited about are the big things I have planned for 2013! Let’s have a looksy, shall we??

2013 – The Year to Go Big or Go Home

1. Run a Marathon – What? What? Yep. This one plans to hoof it 26.2 miles on October 27, 2013 for the Marine Corps Marathon. Put it on your calendars now – be there or be square! I am looking forward to this adventure with some good friends!

2. Train for the Marathon – Marathons require a lot of training, so I have packed my schedule with some big races…

  • Cherry Blossom 10-miler (April 7)
  • Nike Women’s Half Marathon (April 28, yup two weeks after the 10-miler)
  • Pittsburgh Half Marathon (May 5 – yep, one week after the Nike half. It’s official. I’m certifiable)
  • Philadelphia Sprint Triathlon (June 22…and then the really long runs begin)

3. Run 10-minute miles and Keep a Running Log – With all of these races, I am bound to get faster at some point! I also want to keep track of the total number of miles I run, so BOLO for weekly milage!

4. Get in touch with my 90’s loving self….the 190s that is! I did it before, I can do it again!

5. 26 Acts of Kindness – I am not going to lie, I really liked Ann Curry’s message about performing random acts of kindness. I want to do more kind acts in general, and I guess I don’t really need a number to quantify the acts, but 26 acts in honor of the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary is a good place to start. (5 acts completed to date.)

8. B.L.O.G! – I know my readers can’t get enough of my quirky wit, and I aim to please, so I hope to be better at blogging in 2013!

What are your goals for 2013?

MCM 2013

It’s official because I am announcing this in writing: I am going to run the Marine Corps Marathon in 2013. All 26.2 miles of it. 

I may be crazy, but we all knew that before. MCM 2013 will be the 5th anniversary of the race that inspired me to start running, and my 4th year as a more-or-less legit runner. 

I realize the road to MCM 2013 will not be easy – there will be long runs through the summer months, there will be a lot of stress and strain on my body, there will be time factors that I must meet so I am not picked up by the slow bus, there will be a learning curve for nutrition to keep myself healthy, and there will be incredible psychological strain. 

To these challenges I have answers: I have already been-there-and-done-that for long runs through the hot-and-humid DC summers (my first half marathon was in September). I will stretch, strengthen, and cross train so my body can recover. I haven’t been picked up by a slow bus to date, and I am not going to let it happen during my one and only marathon. I will just have to learn the proper way to keep my body healthy, to consume enough carbs, protein, and vitamins so that my body doesn’t fight me. And for the mental strain, I quote one of my favorite movies – the Little Giants – “Football [ahem Running] is 80% physical and 40% mental.” 

I plan to blog about my training and progress throughout 2013, and hopefully capture some highlights from some of my other races that I plan to complete – Nike Women’s DC Half Marathon; Pittsburgh Half Marathon; Annapolis TriRock Triathlon…and whatever other race that pops up before MCM 2013.

My announcement comes on the eve of MCM 2012, where runners may be racing through a hurricane to complete their goals. I wish all the participants luck, and I plan to be out there cheering them on! Semper Fi!

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Miles, the MCM Mascot, in 2011

Hooah!

Another 10 mile run is in the books!

After years of being encouraged to sign up for the Army 10-miler, I finally took the plunge and registered. Unfortunately, in early October, I was sick for about two weeks, and I couldn’t complete some of the longer runs that I had planned. Despite the little set back, I decided to tackle the course.

5am came earlier than usual, and I met up with some friends before the race. You know what is chaotic? 30,000 people waiting to use porta-potties. I am pretty sure we waited about 35 minutes before getting to one, but let’s be honest, the bathroom line is always worth the wait in the end.

My run was slow goings right off the bat. I was hoping for an 11 or 12 minute mile pace, but my legs seemed to think a 13 minute mile were much more appealing. So, 13 minute miles it was.

One thing was apparent – I missed listening to music. There was a ban on headphones on this course, so I was stuck with only the thoughts in my head and songs in my heart. (BORING!) The lack of music really left me wanting…so I did what any other person would do…I tried eavesdropping on runners who were racing together. Let’s just say that my social experiment didn’t pan out, so mental note making filled my time.

Then around mile three, I heard a piccolo player. I thought it was cool that he was out there supporting us…and then he ran right past me. Yes, that is right, a guy running the race passed me while playing John Phillip Sousa. I had to clap – now that is some impressive breath control.

At mile 4, I learned that drinking a big bottle of water before the race was not wise, and I had to stop and use the restrooms. Usually these stops are for two minutes, maybe less.  With 30K peeps on the road and pit stops supposedly every 2 miles, Yup, I waited 10 minutes. I am proud to say that I kept it classy and didn’t go off and pee on one of our national park trees like some ladies I saw!  My pit stop gave me enough time to update my facebook status, respond to some emails, and and to study the course map. After my “active rest” stop, I was back in business and I felt great running to the 10K point.

I passed a few wounded warriors who were walking the 10 miles on prothetics. I wish I could describe how inspirational it was to see these men and women out there, but words are failing me. I congratulated each wounded warrior I saw and encouraged them to keep up the pace!

Then, came what I considered the highlight of the race.  Race traffic was headed both ways on Independence, and I was able to slap hands with other runners for about a mile. For me, this is a huge motivator. I was still running with some reserves in the tank, but we had just passed the 10K point, and other runners were getting tired and walking. When people who stopped to walk see a hand extended, they start running again to give the hand a high five. I know I have been that walker in the past who needed a simple high five to get me running again. It felt really good for me to be the runner encouraging the people after me to start running again! I felt awesome at the final water stop, and even better when one of the soldiers told me I had only 2 more miles to the finish line. I kicked it up, and I tackled the 14th Street Bridge thinking I how I was going to own those two miles…

…and then I saw the 8 mile marker. I realized I misheard the soldier, and running being a very mental sport, my heart sank. That solo piccolo song in my heart faded off…and I slowed to walk/jog a spell. BUT but as soon as I saw mile marker 9, I was back in business on the hunt for a strong finish.  And strong finish I did! I cruised through the finish line, and I bet with another GU in my system, I could have continued on another 3.1 miles for a half.

My final race time, with potty stop, was 2:13:47. Not my fastest, but not my slowest either. When I finished, I took comfort in recalling one of the signs I saw on the race course, “You are running faster than Metro,” because I knew my 13 minute mile pace was indeed faster than Metro.

LP’s Advice for Newbie Triathletes

Now that I have four sprint triathlons under my belt, I am ready to take home the Olympic gold in Rio 2018. (Bahahahaha!) Ok, competitive tris may not be in my future, but more races definitely are.

I am writing this blog post for those of you out there who think, “Hey, if LP can do this, I can too.” You know what? You can! And I bet you can do it better, faster, and more gracefully than I have (all thanks to my super helpful tips.)

1. Focus on Your Worst Sport – I picked up this gem from a tri clinic. If there is one sport your feel uncomfortable with (cycling for me), then spend more of your training time on that sport. Doing this will give you extra confidence during your race.

2. Buy Sweat Wicking Socks – Do you know what makes for an unhappy first time triathlete? Running in saturated cotton socks and getting blisters. Solution? Wear sweat wicking socks designed to let moisture out instead of sponging it all up!

3. Pack Your Bag – You need a ton of shit for a tri. (Just being honest.) So, I recommend making a packing list and gathering everything you need well in advance. You don’t want to get to the race to find out you didn’t remember a change of dry clothes after the race.

4. Diversify Your Training – Some people spend hours every day training for these races. For those of us that don’t have 28 hour days, I suggest one sport a day. One day swim, one day bike, one day run, etc. I also recommend at least one session with weights each week – it will help muscles. There are some newbie-tri training plans out there if you want something with more structure.

5. Embrace the Start – I am learning that there are many ways to start a tri. Pools, beach runs, treading water, pier dives… so many options. Do some research to figure out how your race will start so you can mentally prepare for the upcoming frenzy. (For the Erie race, they didn’t post that information so I stalked past year pictures to learn it was a beach start race.)

6. You Don’t Need a Road/Tri Bike To Complete a Tri– Bikes are the most expensive necessary component of tris. If you are just testing the waters with these race, use whatever bike you have. If all you have is a mountain bike, use that. If it has two wheels, it will get you the distance. Sure road bikes will be faster, but why spend $1500 on a bike if you discover you don’t care for racing?

7. Try a Sprint First – Maybe you are already a stellar athlete and the thought of a mile swim, 26 mike bike, and 10K run doesn’t scare your pants off. To you I still recommend starting with a short distance – not because you can’t do a longer one, but because the transitions are killer.

8. Register for Races Early – If this is going to be your “thing” for the year (some people prefer the term goal), you will need to plan and register early. Many of the larger races sell out months in advance. (In the DMV area, August and September races sold out by April!) Plan ahead so that you have options!

9. Don’t Fear the Wetsuit – I feared the wetsuit, and, as a result I lost round 1. The do make LP-sized wetsuits, so I am sure they make them in your size too. YouTube is helpful for learning how to get one on and off. Plus, at my first wetsuit-wearing tri, there were other newbies trying to get theirs on too – so people will help.

10. Train for Transitions – Swim to Bike takes the longest (for me) because of the wardrobe change. Bike to Run is the hardest (for me) physically because of the sudden shift in muscle groups. I would practice going from a pool to a bike or run, and then again from a bike to a run. Maybe it won’t make the rubber legs issue go away, but it will at least give you an idea how it will feel on race day!

Ready? Go Try a Tri!