Sunday, September 28, 2014

I Beat my Husband in a Race*

Today Rick and I both ran the Perfect 10 Race and I crossed the finish line first! Of course there is catch...the Perfect 10 lets you pick your "perfect 10" distance, 10k or 10 miles. So I finished my 10k race before Rick finished his 10 miles. I'll take my small victories where I can get them!

I had a lot of pre-race anxiety and I wasn't sure why since this was more of a training run than an all-out race. The night before I couldn't decide what to wear. The weather is just starting to move towards fall temperatures, and I've been making the wrong choices for my last few runs. I know what to wear in the humid heat of summer, and in the chilly cold of winter, but apparently not for perfect fall weather.

For today's run I landed on capris and a short-sleeve shirt. It was warmer than I expected and in retrospect I would have been more comfortable in shorts. One day I'll figure it out! Layers help with uncertainty - I have some Smartwool arm-warmers that are easy to take on and off and tuck into my hydration belt. I didn't need them today, but I find it comforting to have them with me as an option.

Flash photo on the left - look at the reflection in my
purple lock laces shoelaces! I had no idea they did that.

Someone else thought this was the perfect outfit, too!
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

In retrospect I realize that my anxiety was because this was my test race before the Army Ten-Miler in two weeks. It was the first race where I was planning to test the run-walk intervals that I've started training with over the past month or so and I was nervous about how well they would work. I'm still having some challenges with my feet going numb from neuromas and I've found that the intervals help a lot during my training runs. I was hoping they would also help for a race (where my "faster" paces tend to bring on the neuromas earlier), and that it wouldn't be too disruptive for runners around me as I moved in and out of running and walking.

Overall the intervals worked well. At my relatively slower pace, there are lots of other people running intervals and transitioning between running and walking, so I didn't have any disruptive transitions. I also got to run with lots of different people as I moved between paces, which was fun! 
  • I started out with Jamie for the first 5-minute run interval. Jamie had already run 3.5 miles leading up to the race and she was running the 10-mile course, so we weren't destined to stay together very long. She also runs faster than I do during our =PR= distance training program long runs. She calmed my nerves during the beginning of race which I was very grateful for, and then I watched her take off as I started my first 1-minute walk interval.
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

  • I ran for a bit with Molly and some of the other Reston Runners at the beginning of the race. I love running with them on Thursday nights and spending even a few moments during the race with them was comforting.
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

  • For much of the race I was in the vicinity of Kim and her fellow South Riding Moms Run This Town chapter members. They were running 2:1 intervals so our watches would beep together when my 5:1 intervals signaled. They were fun and entertaining and I loved seeing them throughout the race. Kim is running the Army Ten Miler and I hope to run into her there.
 more awesome South Riding MRTTs
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]
Kim from South Riding MRTTs
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

  • I ran with Tina and Angela a couple of times during this race. They had awesome superhero costumes  - Wonder Woman & Supergirl!
A super-run for these super-heroes!
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

  • I ran with Laurie for about a mile in the middle of the race. Laurie is in the Reston Runners group and I really enjoyed talking to her. This was the part of the race where I felt like I was hitting my stride and really having fun.
Laurie made a shoulder sling when her waist-pack got annoying
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

My left foot went numb around mile 2.5, which was frustrating. I loosened my laces during one of my walk intervals and tried to shake it off. It persisted for a bit, and after about a mile when I was running and chatting with Laurie I realized the feeling had come back and it was fine for the rest of the race. I don't think it will every completely go away but I seem to be figuring out how to manage it. 

Before the race I met Susan, who I know from twitter. It was great to meet her in person and I hope to see her at a race again soon. I was a tongue-tied anxiety-ridden mess before the race when I met her. I hope she doesn't think I'm a complete dork! (I'm only a partial dork...)

Susan, aka SuperHokieGirl, rocking the heart patterns!
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

After the race I saw Tracy who was in the distance training program with me this past winter. She ran the Pittsburg half marathon earlier this year. Tracy is also running the Army Ten-Miler and we have similar paces so I'm hoping to see her during the race, too. 

Run, Tracy, run!
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

And I have to give a shout-out to Lynn, who ran her first 10k today. I am so proud of you Lynn!! You did great!

Look how happy Lynn is!
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

I may have "beat" Rick across the finish line, but he did run 3.8 miles more than I did. Way to go, Rick - I'm proud of you, too!

Rick makes 10 miles look easy
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

My finish time today was 1:11:29 - a PR by 3:16! I'm proud of me, too!

[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]
[photo courtesy Potomac River Running]

Monday, September 22, 2014

Birthday Bash for Moms Run This Town

The Fairfax/Chantilly chapter of Moms Run This Town is one year old and we celebrated with a birthday bash at Potomac River Running in Fairfax Corner (PRR). Huge thanks go out to Lianne and Jackie who put a lot of work into making this a fun event! And to PRR who hosted us, donated gift cards for the swag bags, and donated a Nathan Intensity Hydration Vest for the raffle.

We met up at the store in the evening and watched Jeff heading out with the last group of ElliptiGO test riders. One of these days I will go for a test ride...

Jeff and a group of test riders
photo courtesy of PRR Fairfax

A group run was first on the list of party activities. We decided to only go 2 miles since many folks were sore from the Dulles Day race the day before or weekend long runs. I ran for a bit with Amy and Nichole - Amy is training for the Woodrow Wilson Half and Nichole has Woodrow Wilson Half, Army Ten Miler, and Marine Corps Marathon on her schedule. Then I settled into comfortable run/walk intervals with Andrea. Andrea reminds me of myself a couple of years ago - working on increasing running time vs. walking time and trying to find enough time in a busy schedule for regular runs. Andrea ran the Dulles Day 5k and is thinking about longer distances like a 10k. You can do it, Andrea!

pre-run group picture
photo courtesy of Jackie

After the run Lianne gave us raffle tickets and we hit the buffet. There were veggies, fruit, cookies, and crock pot meatballs. And these were no ordinary crock pot meatballs. Jackie tried this interesting recipe that was highly recommended to her - the sauce is a mix of BBQ sauce and grape jelly! They were delicious!

snacking, socializing, and shopping - what could be better?
photo courtesy of PRR Fairfax

There were three raffle prizes - a bottle holder that turns a 16-oz plastic water bottle into a handheld bottle for running (I wish I took a picture of this - it looks so simple and is quite ingenious), a choice of MRTT decal, and the Nathan hydration vest.

The raffle winner got to pick a decal!
photo courtesy of Jackie

And this is how cool the decals look on shirts!

I had all of my fingers and toes crossed...
and I won the Nathan hydration vest!
Karen & I have been discussing them for
a few weeks and I can't wait to test it out.
photo courtesy of Jackie

Lianne and Jackie also gave everyone some incredible swag bags. The bag itself was swag enough with its MRTT logo and fun green color, but they spoiled us with goodies - MRTT cup and towel, PRR gift card, Hylands leg cramps tablets, Emergen-C sample, and a Zone bar! Thank you so much!!

It felt like my birthday, not the Chapter's birthday!

How clever is this? Love it!
photo courtesy of Lianne

I was excited to finally meet Rebecca who is married to Coach Adam, my track and distance training program coach. I've heard so many good things about her and it was great to talk with her and share stories.

mandatory group photo in front of the "shoe wall"
photo courtesy of PRR Fairfax

I walked out to my car and discovered I had been initiated into an MRTT tradition - the flipping of my car magnet by an anonymous fellow MRTT mom. It's a bit silly, but I was happy that someone had finally flipped my magnet. I've been waiting for weeks! Thank you anonymous flipper, for flipping my magnet and for doing it when a chapter leader was conveniently right there to flip it back.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

It's a Pirate Run - Arrr!

Some days there are too many things you want to do and you can't do them all. Today was one of those days. We knew a few months ago we would need a sitter for Freddy because Rick wanted to run the Dulles Day 5k on the Runway and I wanted to run the Susco 8k. A month ago I checked my training schedule and realized I was going to need a lot more than 5 miles and I was better off sticking with my =PR= training group rather than running the Susco 8k. I was disappointed, because it was one of the best races I ran in 2013 and because the Brain Aneurysm Foundation is an important cause to me. The good news, however, is that my training group was having a "Run For the Booty Pirate Day" theme run! I was sad to miss the Susco 8k, but I might have been sadder to miss the pirate run.

We had a fun run and I was especially happy that Christina came out to run with us. I've missed her and we had a lot of catching up to do! She also gave me a lot of advice on kindergarten and acclimating to public school which was really helpful. Thank you, Christina! Please come run the Perfect 10 with me next week...

Below are fun pirate pictures, most of which I stole from Michael because his pictures are better than mine. Thank you, Michael!

Pirate supplies at PRR Reston
Yes, it is still dark outside. It is 6:15 am.
photo from PRR Reston Facebook page

Jamie & me. Not sure who took this picture.
Jamie's cute skirt & hat from Target.
My pants, boots, hat borrowed from Freddy.
We are half-asleep, but we are happy!

Sallie's costume was one of my favorites!
And she is hardcore, doing the whole long run
I admit to ditching my costume for the run.
Some folks kept an accessory or two.
But Sallie did the whole run as a pirate!
That is dedication.

Our whole coaching & training crew.
(many folks are missing because they are at the Dulles Runway Race)
Awesome Coaches Shannon & Meghan in red in the front
photo taken by Coach Jodi, with Michael's phone

inspirational messages written
by our coaches(?) on the trail
photo stolen from Michael's facebook page

This is Michael! Holding the sign we all
signed after our run. It's going up in the store.
Coach Meghan made this sign.
With silver sharpies.

Pretty fun, huh? I was excited to get a bag of Pirate's Booty after my run. Unfortunately I made the rookie mistake of bringing it home with me, and Freddy pirated my booty from me. Oops.

Rick had a great race on the runway, finishing in 23:00! Here he is with his crew:

Arrrrr!!! Hope you had a fun day after International Talk Like a Pirate Day, too.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Divas DC Wine Country 5k Recap

I signed up for the Divas DC Wine Country 5k a few months ago. I liked the idea of running a women's themed 5k close to home on a Friday evening. There is also a half marathon on Saturday morning that is the main "Divas DC Wine Country" event. There were some traffic snafus in 2013 so they decided to split up the two races (among other logistic changes).

I didn't register with anyone, but I figured I would be able to talk someone into running it with me. Surely someone would want to run a 5k featuring free tiaras & feather boas, roses, medals given out by shirtless guys, and bubbly at the finish line, right? Time kept ticking by and I couldn't find any takers. And if there is one thing I learned at the Fairfax Four Miler last year, it is that fun theme races are not as much fun if you don't have friends to share them with.

Lucky for me a group of women from "Molly's Mod Squad" decided to join the running party, in part to celebrate Andrea's birthday! I had only run with them a few times but they welcomed me into their group. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderfully inclusive so many people in the running community are. And I'm sure you won't be surprised by this spoiler alert - the race was so much more fun because I was hanging out with them!

The Expo
I headed to the expo to pick up my packet about 75 minutes before the race. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to pick up my bib, browse around the expo, and return to my car (parked 1/2 mile away) before the race began. But I didn't want to have *too* much time and find myself in the long bathroom lines I imagined there might be at a women's only race. Packet pickup was quick with no lines. I liked the pink shirt and rucksacks.

Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza

race swag

Inside I did a quick lap around the expo. I had heard it was really small, but it was better than I expected. I think I could have easily spent 30 minutes browsing and done some serious credit card damage. Fortunately I connected with Andrea and Susan after my quick browsing lap and that kept me from succumbing to impulse buys that I surely didn't need.

Andrea and I headed back to the cars to stow our bags and extra gear. The 1/2 mile walk there and back was a nice warm-up and we realized that the medical center where the cars were had bathrooms with no lines - bonus! We also found Roz in the parking lot which completed our Mod Squad quartet. We headed back to the expo to link up with Susan and head to the starting line.

from left: Andrea, Susan, me, and Roz

The Start
I lost track of time and missed the Moms Run This Town multi-chapter picture that was taken at the starting line before the race.

MRTT multi-chapter picture - you look beautiful, ladies!

I may have missed the group picture, but Natasha - my fellow Herndon/Reston MRTT chapter member - knew I would be there and made it a point to track me down for our chapter picture. I was really grateful that she went out of her way to find me and wished that I could have found her again after the race - thank you Natasha!

Natasha & me - Herndon/Reston MRTT represent!

When I met Natasha I also met Michelle and Vanessa from the Western Loudoun MRTT chapter who had come out to cheer us on. They had great signs and enthusiasm! And as happy as I was to see them at the starting line, I was even happier to see them at the killer hill that was just before the finish line! Thank you for your support, Michelle and Vanessa! Your cheers kept me going and got me running again on that cruel hill.

Vanessa & Michelle from Western Loudoun MRTT
Signs read: "Run Now, Wine Later" and
"She turned her can'ts into CAN, her DREAMs into PLANs.

I went to line up in WAVE 2! There were 5 waves, and I'm not particularly fast, so I wondered if perhaps there had been a mistake. And I thought about going to a different wave so I wouldn't be in the way of the faster people. But I scoped the situation out and it seemed like maybe I really belonged in wave 2? So I decided to go for it and I'm proud to report that on the whole I passed more people than passed me and I was actually right where I belonged. My finish time was 33:31 - not quite a PR but close to my best time. And I finished 163 out of 773 participants. That puts me in the top 21% which means I was only a percentage point away from belonging in wave 1. How about that?!

The starting line - ready to race!
Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza

The Race
The course went around the Lansdowne golf course. It was pretty and quite hilly. Especially at the very end, when we went up two very steep hills. I enjoyed all of the course except for those hills, which really got the better of me. Thank goodness for Michelle and Vanessa's cheers of encouragement!

The course - note elevation chart in the lower left,
indicating a steep climb at the end...

At the end of the very cruel pair of hills, we ran through a "boa and tiara station" where we were given fluffy pink boas and a sparkly tiara. Then we crossed the finish line and were met by strapping young shirtless men handing out medals. Speedy Andrea, who FINISHED FIRST IN HER DIVISION!! was waiting at the finish line to photograph and preserve my medal moment for posterity...

I would like to state for the record that while
this young man is cute he is nowhere
near as handsome as my husband Rick.

I also received a lovely red long-stemmed rose, but Andrea didn't take a picture of that moment. Perhaps because there was no eye-candy involved so we didn't feel the need to document it for Molly.

crossing the finish line!

Andrea & I watched Roz and Susan finish and we all drank apple cider while waiting to get a group finisher photo. Why were we drinking apple cider at the Wine Country race? Apparently there are laws in the great state of Virginia that prohibit the serving of alcoholic bubbly like they have at Diva Series races in other states. We made up for it with Edy's Outshine popsicles in tangerine carrot, which were actually pretty tasty. Other post-race goodies included bananas, apples, cookies, trail mix, and corn thins (these were styrofoam-flavored yucky but everything else was good!). 

We enjoyed the enthusiasm and outfits of the women (and a few men) around us. One man wore the pink diva shirt with a red, white, and blue tutu. Another pair of guys had fake butt cheeks with funny sayings on them that made us laugh out loud. And there were women of all ages - little girls to grandmas - decked out in pink, sparkles, tutus, feathers, and all kinds of other finery!

These were some spunky cowgirls!
Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza
It takes a confident man to wear pink
Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza

and an even more confident one to wear a tutu!
Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza

I ran close to this family for some of the race - they were adorable!
Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza

It was a fun, well-organized event. I had a blast with the fabulous ladies from Molly's Mod Squad and look forward to many more runs together in the future!

Andrea's cool photo collage


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Freddy & Carter Run the Mighty Mile Leesburg

Catherine and I played hooky from our =PR= distance training program so our sons Carter and Freddy could run the Mighty Mile Race in Leesburg today. Freddy had previously run the other two races in the series in Reston and Fairfax, so we knew the boys would have a lot of fun. And it was extra exciting because it was Carter's first race!

The boys hadn't met before so we weren't sure if they were going to hit it off and want to run together. There was no need to worry...they connected as easily as Catherine and I had and were eager to run together. They were amused that they were both wearing red and joked around together at the starting line.

waiting for the race to start..

goofing around...

and they're off!
photo courtesy of Potomac River Running & Dustin Whitlow

While the older kids run a mile, the 4-5 year-olds run half a mile. The Leesburg shopping center was perfect for this race as the kids run in a rectangle inside the perimeter of the buildings.

course map

Catherine and I watched them take off and then crossed the street so we could see them on the way back. We only had to wait a couple of minutes before they came into our sights.

here they come!

We cheered for them and then crossed the street to see them run across the finish line. Carter did a great job and Mama Catherine was so proud of him!

Carter's big finish!
photo courtesy of Potomac River Running & Dustin Whitlow

Freddy's big finish!
(don't you hate when that happens?)
photo courtesy of Potomac River Running & Dustin Whitlow

The boys got medals at the finish line and proudly showed them off to us:

Dustin was kind enough to take a photo of me with Freddy after the race:

Freddy with all of the medals from the Mighty Mile series
photo courtesy of Potomac River Running & Dustin Whitlow

At home we fit the three series medals together into a super-medal:

Super-Medal! What a clever design!

Later in the day I got the best text from Catherine. Carter said, "this is the best day ever. Next time I want to run with my friend Freddy again!"