Once more, with feeling

I am doing Holidailies again this year. Bit harder this time around, since I will likely be posting from my phone. My kingdom for an iPad!

So today’s entry is an intro. Hi. I’m Megan. I am dreadfully close to 30, work in Washington, DC, and I love to run. That’s not a new thing, but this year, I discovered half marathoning. I ran three this year, qualified for Half-Fanatics, and am working on my race schedule for 2011.

Somehow, in all of this, I also managed to put on about ten pounds this year, which I am not happy about. Originally, I wanted to hit 30 in the best shape of my life. That did not happen. So the new goal is to make my 30th year my best year. I have a new plan and I am going to make it happen.

Officially a Looper!

So for over a year, some of my running friends have been bugging me to come run “the loop,” a running/biking path around BWI airport.  And for no real reason, I have never gone.

Until now!

On Saturday, I drove the 40 minutes to the loop and ran a lovely 7.6 miles, some of them with Kim and Jen, some alone (we were all running different distances).  And it was awesome!  I actually have never run with people before because I’m always so worried about my pace, but this was a blast.  I think I’m going to try to run the Disney Princess Half with some of the other Loopers, rather than run alone.  Group picture opportunities abound!

All in all, a pretty awesome weekend.

I’ve been pretty down about my general fitness level as of late.  I ran three half marathons and achieved a bunch of goals, but sort of let my fitness fall off.  I’m still working on getting back on track, but I think I need to make a serious plan.  Get a whiteboard, write up a schedule, and stick to it.  I think I’m going to order Chalean Extreme, as it’s an intense workout that I can still do while running.  I wanted to try P90X, and I know that I can’t do that and run.  It’s going to mean some early mornings, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Thwarted

So this week was supposed to be my back on track week.  Raced three weekends in a row, celebrated by going to Disney World, then this week was back to race training for February.  And maybe getting rid of the extra “fluffiness” that I have accumulated during all of this racing and eating.  (Whoops.)  Tuesday, I hit the gym.  Ran a solid four miles.  And then by the end of the day on Wednesday, I had a terrible cold.  Didn’t even make it to work on Thursday because I felt like I was swallowing knives.  And not in the magical way.

Hoped to get out on the roads again today, but it didn’t happen.  I lifted weights for a while, and that felt good.  Probably won’t make it to rehearsals tomorrow night because I have no singing voice, so instead, I might hit the gym and try to get in another 3-4.  Gotta get back on track!

2010 Amish Country Half Marathon

I know what you’re thinking.  You ran a race called the Amish Country Half Marathon?  After two Disney halfs?  Sounds like a drastic difference.

And it was.  But not in a bad way.

I signed up for this race after I realized how close I was to achieving Half Fanatic status.  I just needed one more race sometime in November to make it.  And then I found this little race only 2.5 hours away.  Sounded perfect!

This was an inaugural race in a tiny town, but it was being run by a national race company, so I figured the support would be good and that it would be a well-run race. And I was pleased.  Colleen picked up my packet from the expo, so I can’t say much about that (and if it was even a real expo at all).  Nice tech t-shirt though.  Can’t complain about that.  Chip timing too.  Very important.

On race morning, we showed up, and because of traffic, they started the race a little bit late.  It was frustrating, since it was COLD, but nice for all those stuck in traffic.  There weren’t corrals – just start where you think you should start and get running.  Very quickly, I realized I was going to be in the back of this particular race.  I knew it was small, probably around 1000 people or so, but it welcomed walkers and had a 4 hour time limit, so I hoped I wasn’t going to be completely last.  I forced myself to not worry about my placement and just run smart.  I knew that pushing too hard would lead to disaster and I just needed to finish to get HF status.

I have to admit, in my head, I knew that my PR was 13:15 minute miles.  So if I could just keep things a bit faster than that, I’d have an easy new PR.  Considering my PR was based on a Disney race with photo stops (and a bathroom break) it was definitely feasible, but this course was HILLY.  So I wasn’t sure.

I set out with my 2:1 run/walk pattern and just kept on running.  Slow, but not too slow.  The course was gorgeous.  Farmhouses and wonderful Mennonite families out watching the race (not cheering, just watching, occasionally returning a wave).  The water stops were manned by Mennonite children, which was beyond adorable.  I found myself running among the same group of people, and we had a good time.  We were near the back, so they were letting cars pass, some more politely than others.  And of course, there were horses and buggys.  At one point, we almost got run over by a milk truck trying to pull in to a driveway.   That was a fun moment. But we all survived.

By mile 11, I knew that I had a PR.  I just had to keep moving and it was mine.  So I kept moving, even with all the crazy hills.  Actually, I think my run/walk pattern really helped with the hills.  Giant hill?  Just alter the plan so I’m walking up them and running down.  Easy as pie.  Except for that slightly gravelly hill.  But it was still doable.  And I came around the last turn and finished strong.  I felt great when I finished.  Not exhausted, not nauseous, not sore, just happy.  It was an awesome feeling.  The PR was mine, and HF was mine.  A great day all in all.

I really think I might run this race again next year.  Sure, I was probably one of the last 50 finishers, but it was such a gorgeous course that it was worth it.  I’m also a bit of a solo runner, so I didn’t mind being fairly alone.  I also had my music, which was nice, though weird when I ran past the Mennonite families while listening to Lady Gaga.  But then something slow and classical would come on as I ran past the wide open fields and it was beautiful.

2010 MCM10K Race Report

This was my first race with the ROTE contingent! Unfortunately, I didn’t meet up with them til afterwards.

As the title indicates, this 10K is part of the Marine Corps Marathon weekend, and with that comes a lot of perks. The expo was possibly the best expo I’ve been to in a long time – and from what I hear, it was smaller than last year! Great goody bags with lots of fun samples, and amazing vendors. I got to talk to the KT Tape people (who have amazing customer service) and I finally bought the running necklace that I’ve been searching for. The one thing I didn’t find was a long-sleeved red technical shirt. They have them for men, but all the womens’ shirts were in “girly” colors. Not that I’m complaining about girly colors, but I really wanted red.

This race was on Halloween, which meant that there were a lot of people in costume.  I am a little embarrassed to say that I was beaten by a guy in a crab costume running sideways.  Yeah.

Strangely enough, this was my first 10K.  I’m not sure how I missed this distance before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Sure, I had run 10Ks in training, but never as a race.  I wasn’t sure how to pace myself.  It wasn’t as long as a 10 miler, but definitely required more stamina than a 5K.  Either way, first race, so it’s a PR, right?

Finished in 1:20:25!  I struggled with letting my HR get too high, because it was “only” a 10K, so I shouldn’t have needed the walk breaks, right?  Well, I paid for that later.  I was absolutely wrecked by the end of the day.  Of course, that could have been due to what I did the rest of the day.

I met up with a number of ROTErs and we made our way to around the 22 mile mark of the marathon, where we met up with even more ROTErs.  And we cheered.  And we cheered and we cheered and we cheered.  We cheered on our friends and we cheered on strangers.  We cheered until the last person passed us.  And man, what fun that was.  I think that might have been the best part of the day.