Thursday, November 27, 2014

Streaking on Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today kicks off the Runners World Run Streak: run at least one mile a day, every day, from now until Thursday, January 1.

#RWRunStreak - 36 days of awesome! (source)

I am not going to be participating in the Run Streak - my mind and body are clearly telling me they need some recovery after the Philly Half and I am going to honor that. I will be streaking in my own way, however. I am going to do a plank-a-day streak and a gratitude streak. Each day I will do a plank (to build core strength!) and list five things for which I am grateful. I encourage you to participate in your own version of 36 days of awesome!

A lot of my friends kicked off their Run Streak today at the PR Races Turkey Day 5k. The rest of this blog is dedicated to my awesome running family and their accomplishments today!

We're going STREAKING!
From left: Charles, Brena, Teresa, Catherine,
Brant, Shannon, Karen, Mike, Sallie

Shannon & Brena at the start of the race

Freddy amused himself with snow while cheering

Rick turns in a strong performance just
days after the Philly Half!

Laura earns her Turkey Dinner,
making Trainer Rick proud!

Reston Runner Norma Gordon
smiling through the miles!

Tina & Angela always have the best costumes!

Shannon coming in for a high-five from Freddy!

Jen comes in for a Freddy high-five, too!

Karen looks fashionable & fit - love the accessories!
(photo on left courtesy of Potomac River Running)

Yosselyn ran the whole race in a turkey costume!
Now that is dedication.
(photos courtesy of Potomac River Running)

Ryan blew the competition away and came in first with a time of 15:10!
(photos courtesy of Potomac River Running)

You would never know Mike ran 10 miles in the snow yesterday!
(photo courtesy of Potomac River Running)

Leilani finishing strong & placing 2nd in her age group!
(photo courtesy of Potomac River Running)

Sallie looking great out there!
(photo courtesy of Potomac River Running)

Brena, Teresa, and Catherine bringing the smiles & spirit!
(photo courtesy of Potomac River Running)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am grateful for you joining me on my running journey.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Philly Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday I completed my second half marathon - the Philly half! I ran with #TeamCherryBlossom - Jane and Mary - who I met while running my first half marathon (Nike's Women's Half Marathon in DC). This was Jane's 23rd half marathon and Mary's 9th! And all of Mary's half marathons were run with Jane. Running races with friends is great fun.


I left my hotel at zero-dark-thirty and walked the few blocks to Jane & Mary's hotel. We met in the lobby which was filled with other runners. There was a nice spread of bananas, coffee, and bottled water. There was no spread at my hotel - ironic because my hotel was one of the official race hotels and Jane & Mary's was not. Go figure!

We passed through race security quickly despite my choosing the one lane of ten that actually had a line. Lesson: look around you before you get in a line. We followed the crowd until we found our corrals, and then we looked for the UPS trucks so we could check our bags. We ran into Jane's friends Ryan and Husein by our gear check truck. Mary & I checked our bags with no problem. This was the first time I've checked a bag at a race and I was impressed with the organization and efficiency.

Keeping warm in our trash-bags
(photo courtesy of Jane)

clockwise from left: Husein, Mary, Jane, Ryan & me.
Did I mention it was early? And dark?
(photo courtesy of Ryan)

Mary checks her gear. Trucks were
organized alphabetically by last name.

We headed back towards our corral and got in line for the porta potties. We were in line for a long time and didn't seem to be moving. We finally figured out we were in line for the handicapped designated porta-potty and we moved down the row where the lines were shorter and moving. Lesson: look around you before you get in a line. 

THIS is the line we want to be standing in - much faster!
(photo courtesy of Jane)

After our porta-potty pit stop we made our way into the corral and slowly started shedding our throw-away clothes (note: if you have used sparkly duck tape to put your name on your shirt, remove your throw-away shirt carefully so your tape does not come off and leave your name as K-I-I-I instead of K-I-M). Jane & I ditched our trash bags before crossing the start line; Mary kept hers on through the first couple of miles until she warmed up sufficiently.

In the corral we discussed goals and pace. My A-goal was to beat 2:45; my B-goal was to beat 2:50:27 (my first half marathon finish time). Mary & Jane had no specific time goals, they wanted to finish and enjoy running through Philly. We decided we would stay together to start and that I should speed up and take off on my own whenever I felt the time was right. Jane mentioned doing 5:1 run:walk intervals and I was thrilled because that is my usual interval for long runs. Everything was coming together!

Almost go-time! Steve looks less excited than we do...


Miles 1-4

The early miles were filled with spectators and through some scenic parts of the city. We focused on not going out too fast and enjoying the views. We warmed up, got in the running groove, and chatted a bit. Jane & Mary filled me in on some of the highlights from their previous 8 half marathons together. 

Approaching the Delaware River
(photo courtesy of Jane)

Miles 5-7

During these miles Mary & I talked about being in our "happy running place" - we were warmed up and feeling strong. The crowd support in this section was especially great. People cheered for us by name, or by tiara ("looking good, princesses!"). In one area there were tons of people with boxes of Kleenex which was awesome for all of us runny-nosed runners.

Mary & me in our "happy running place"
(photo courtesy of Jane)

We checked my pace band at each mile and could see that I was increasingly behind for my 2:45 goal. When we crossed the 10k timing mat I was behind by 2 minutes and 34 seconds. I didn't think I could make the time up, and knew that I would have to break away and speed up at some point to ensure my B-goal of 2:50:27. I mentally planned to do that at mile 10 after we were done with the challenging hilly section.

Soon after the 10k mark, I was surprised to see my Kappa Delta big sis Nita! Nita's husband Stan was running his first half marathon and I knew she would be out cheering for him. Stan is way faster than I am, however, so I didn't expect to see her on the course. Hugging her and getting a quick picture was a race highlight for me.

Me & my big sis Nita.
She makes fantastic signs!

Stan & Nita from last week's Rocky Balboa Run.
(photo courtesy of Nita)
Stan's goal for the half marathon was 2 hours.
He crushed it with a time of  1:55:28!
Congrats on your first half marathon Stan!
Read Stan's "race recap" below...

Miles 8-10

These miles were as challenging as advertised, with steady hills through miles 8 and 10. We persevered through mile 8 - Mary is an awesome hill cheerleader! If you are running hills, you want to run them with Mary. We made a quick shoelace tying/stretching stop and took a selfie. I'm glad we did because little did I know I was about to lose them.

mid-race selfie
(photo courtesy of Jane)

Just before mile 9 we reached a water stop. Although according to the course guide it was really a cheer zone. But there was definitely water there because I went to the side to get some water, pausing to reflect on this gigantic "Hope" creature at the side of the street. I was really grooving on the feeling of "Hope." After drinking my water I turned to find Jane & Mary and couldn't see their tiaras anywhere. I ran up to the top of the hill and stopped and scanned the crowd. Nope, couldn't find them. I took it as a sign that it was time for me to take off on my own.

Jane actually took a picture of the "Hope" creature!!
This is the point where I lost #TeamCherryBlossom
and kicked my race into a higher gear.
(photo courtesy of Jane)

I knew I was more than two and half minutes off my A-goal and had just over four miles left. I didn't think I could make up the time. But I knew I was almost three minutes under B-goal so I kicked it up a notch to make sure I made that goal. Mile 9 was largely downhill so I felt great and even skipped one of my walking breaks because I didn't want to lose the downhill momentum.

Spectators were sparse in this area, but the ones that were there were real motivators who had planned to be there and lift runners' spirits. I was grateful to have my name on my shirt and my bib - people called to me by name and wished me a happy birthday. I guess a group of tiaras looks like a posse of princesses, while a lone tiara looks like a birthday crown. Well, my birthday was a week away, so I happily accepted all those good wishes.

Mile 10 was a steep uphill. It was challenging. I focused on maintaining effort and positive self-talk. I told myself this was my moment. My race. I could do it. Believe. Kick Keister (thanks Jen). Kick Asphalt (thanks Gina). I've found that being your own best cheerleader during a race is a really good thing.

Miles 11-13.1

I kept running strong and cheering myself on. I checked my pace band and it seemed like I was making up more time than I thought, but my brain was feeling clouded and I couldn't quite process how much time I had made up. It wasn't until I got to mile 12, and saw that I wasn't yet at 2:30 that I realized I was going to make my A-goal, and with some serious minutes to spare. 

I kept running hard, but not so hard that I would bonk before the finish line. I knew from race reports that I would hear the crowds and finish line when they were still relatively far and that I shouldn't sprint too soon. The spectators were amazing here - I heard my name constantly and it felt so motivating. I tried to give a smile or thumbs up to everyone acknowledging my effort. 

I heard the podium presentations for the marathon winners over the loudspeaker as I made my approach. I kept looking for the finish line and not seeing it. I finally saw it and started to sprint hard. I crossed the finish line at 2:39:34. I had made up 8 minutes in the last four miles of the race. Hello negative splits!

I think this is a first for me - both feet in the air!

I'm on the right side of the screen around the 13-second mark.


After getting a heat sheet and a medal, I pulled out my phone and had a text from my husband Rick. He had decided to run the half instead of the full and was by the bag-check truck. I got in line for some food and looked up and there he was! Lesson: look around you before you get in a line. 

The food was awesome! I learned that back-of-pack food shortages are not an issue when you are running a half marathon that is combined with a marathon! There were still thousands of people out on the course and lots of food. I got a bag with orange juice, salted rice chips, and peanut butter. I picked up a banana, soft pretzel, and some warm chicken broth that really hit the spot.

soft pretzels - better than a bagel!
(photo courtesy of Jane)

warm chicken broth - so great after a race!
(photo courtesy of Jane)

Rick & I waited for Jane & Mary to finish and we reunited at gear check. They had a fantastic run and stopped to take fun pictures in a couple of places after losing me. We took our celebratory finish photos before parting ways. Jane & Mary were off to cheer Ryan in for his marathon finish while Rick & I were off to warm showers and reuniting with our son after a day apart.

#TeamCherryBlossom with our hard-earned medals
(photo courtesy of Jane)

Rick & me, basking in the moment
(photo courtesy of Jane)

When we got back to the hotel I savored the perfect post-race treat from Jane - "Mo's Uncured Bacon Caramel Toffee" from Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Jane & Mary - thank you for being two of the best racing friends a girl could ask for. I'm already looking forward to the next one, wherever it may be!

Thank you Jane!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Philly Half Expo

Rick and I arrived in Philadelphia today after connecting with my mom so Freddy could spend the night with her. He's having a great time and might not want to come back home!

Driving into Philly we saw banners and signs for the race everywhere. I am really looking forward to running through the city tomorrow. Our hotel room key commemorated the race, too:

Commemorative hotel room key

We walked a few blocks to the expo and picked up our bibs, bags and shirts. The shirts are very nice - long sleeve, navy blue tech tees. The shirts are differentiated for the marathon and half marathon, with the distance on the front and the course on the back. Our names are printed on our bibs, which is always a nice touch. I have to remember to start registering as "Kim" instead of "Kimberly" because it is easier for a spectator to read quickly and cheer for you!

back of the marathon shirt & front of the half marathon shirt

The expo was pretty crowded so we didn't spend too much time there. We made some targeted stops:

The last stop was the most exciting for me - I listen to their podcasts and read their blog and I'm just a huge fan of all three of them. They were as lovely in person as you would imagine them to be. And I was so starstruck I completely forgot to shop at their booth. Good thing they have an online store!

Adrienne & Dimity on the left, Sarah & Dimity on the right.
Yes, they are really that tall and I am really that short! 
Dari from Sparkly Soul with the Philly headbands

We are now laying out our clothes and making our final plans for tomorrow. The Running Weatherman has predicted great running weather. We can't wait!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Philly Half Marathon Packing List

I am making a list and checking it twice...I have to make sure I have everything I need for Philly! Here is my race packing list.


  • Confirmation emails for bib pickups
  • Driver's license for identification
  • Credit card for shopping (but not too much shopping!)
  • Map of expo with key vendors starred (Another Mother Runner, Clif Pace Team, Sparkly Soul, GU, Goretex...)

Pre-Race Necessities

  • Clif bar for breakfast
  • Bottled water (in case water from hotel faucet is yucky)
  • Throw away shirt & pants, garbage bag for extra warmth
  • KT tape
  • Bodyglide
  • Sunscreen
  • Foam roller

Race Clothes & Gear

  • Race shirt & tank
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Sports bra/underwear
  • Capris
  • Buff
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Garmin
  • Pace Band
  • Hydration belt:
    • Water bottles (make sure they are empty before putting in suitcase!)
    • GUs (four - keep in ziploc in suitcase to protect clothes!)
    • Nuun tablets
    • Lip balm
    • Advil/band aids/immodium
    • Safety pins/bobby pins/extra hair elastic
    • Driver's license, credit card, money
    • "Kim Runs" cards!
    • Phone/back-up battery/cable
    • Tissues
    • Hotel room key
  • Back-up gear if it is colder than expected:
    • Running tights
    • Light jacket
    • Headband
    • Warmer socks
Race clothes & gear

Post-Race Clothes & Gear

  • Compression shorts & socks
  • Long pants
  • Comfy shirt
  • Stick
  • Foam Roller
  • Chocolate Milk & Clif Builders Bar

Am I forgetting anything important?

The medal! (source)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Philly Half Course Guide & Plan

The Philadelphia Half Marathon is less than a week away and I am so excited! I am studying the course and planning my race strategy.

Race Course & Plans

I am splitting the race into four parts in my mind:

Miles 1-4

  • Course: Straight & flat to start. Love Park, Chinatown, Waterfront.
  • Fuel: Water stations at 2 & 3.5; take a gel around Mile 4.
  • Plan: Don't start out too fast. Warm up, notice the sights.

Miles 5-7

  • Course: Great crowd support. Independence Hall & Liberty Bell.
  • Fuel: Water stations at 5 & 7. Stay hydrated.
  • Plan: Find a groove. Enjoy the sights & crowd.

Miles 8-10

  • Course: Hardest stretch - Miles 8 & 10 are each steady uphills. Zoo at Mile 9.
  • Fuel: Water stations at 8 & 9.8 (Clif Shots here); take a gel around Mile 8.
  • Plan: Anticipate the hills. Focus on maintaining effort, not pace.

Miles 11-13.1

  • Course: Quiet section, could be windy by the river. Art Museum(!) at finish.
  • Fuel: Water station at 11; take a gel around Mile 11.
  • Plan: Pick up the pace. Don't sprint too early, the crowd noise can fool you.

Elevation profile for the half marathon


Race Mantra

Embrace the Journey

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kickoff Party for 2015 Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run

Last night was the kickoff party for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Run (CUCB). It was a fun night filled with prizes, reveals and excitement! Read on for the highlights.

My Big News
Before I get into the party details, I have two big pieces of news that I've had to keep a secret until last night. I'm thrilled to finally be able to share them...

  1. I will be part of the 2015 CUCB Race Blog Team! I am looking forward to blogging about all things Cherry Blossom, from training to logistics, with an eye towards motivation and inspiration. I was selected for the team based on my social runner application snippet: New @PRRunning coach shares @CUCB training journeys for her whole crew. Cheering, motivating, inspiring, & instilling enthusiasm for THE quintessential DC race!
  2. And that reveals my second piece of news - I will be Assistant Coach for the Potomac River Running Cherry Blossom Training Program in Reston! I was a runner in this incredible program last year and I don't have to words to describe how excited I am to share the training journey with this year's runners. 

Kickoff Party Swag
Party attendees last night got some great treats. Not only did we get a first look at the race t-shirt art, vote on the t-shirt color, and meet the social runners, but we got some great gifts - a milestone pod mileage tracker in our choice of colors (pink, blue, black), a $10 gift card to Potomac River Running, and a t-shirt in our preferred color with the race art. We knew about the first two, but taking home the t-shirt was an awesome surprise. I even got my shirt signed by the artist, Abby Matousek.

Jessica presents the signature party cocktail, the Cherry-tini

T-Shirt Art & Voting
One of the focal points of the evening was the big reveal of the t-shirt art. I think the design is incredible and photos just don't do it justice. It is exquisite in person. The art was printed on t-shirts of three different colors: light gray, heather gray, and cream. We got to vote for our preferred color by choosing a t-shirt in that color. 

Color fight with Social Runner Megan (aka @elbowglitter)
I have cream, Megan has light gray. Alas we both lost.

Artist Abby Matousek (@AbbyMato) displays my signed shirt

The voting wasn't even close - heather gray won by a landslide. So the official race t-shirt will be heather gray. Remember you can always upgrade to the technical tee when you register for the race if you don't like heather gray. I'm definitely getting the technical heather gray for me!

The Social Runners
A second focal point of the evening was meeting the two Social Runners! Megan (@elbowglitter) will be training for CUCB through the virtual race program. Lauren (@heyricecake) will be training with the PR in-person training program (I hope she chooses PR Reston as her training site). I got to spend some time with both of them last night and I can see why they were selected. They are inspirational!

Megan is down-to-earth and is a voice for us back-of-the-pack slow runners. Lauren carries around a real camera and her CUCB instagram picture video is incredible. I look forward to following and learning from both of these awesome ladies over the next six months!

Megan, me, Lauren

Lottery Exemption Raffle
Another big draw to the party is the raffle for CUCB lottery exemptions. Race organizers raffled off 25 exemptions throughout the night last night. There were some really excited winners, including my friend Lynn, who deserved some good fortune after pulling a muscle in her calf last weekend at the Across the Bay 10k.

Lynn receives her lottery exemption code!

The race lottery opens on December 1 - sign up for notifications so you don't miss it!

Mixing & Mingling
I met a couple of people last night that I've been looking forward to meeting for a while...

Jummy Olabanji (@JummyTV) - we run a lot of the same races
and are twitter race buddies. We finally met in person!

Kevin McHale, DC/MD/VA New Balance Rep
I subscribed to the CUCB virtual training program last year,
which always had helpful "tips from Kevin" - this is Kevin!

Fellow race blog team member Malinda (@MalindaAnnHill)
with me & Megan. Malinda was one of my first twitter followers!
She has an identical twin (@TwinsRun) & they raise money
through running to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation

Children's Miracle Network
CUCB raises funds for Children's Miracle Network. There were some nice opportunities to support them last night, including a wine pull and a silent auction with three packages up for bid - a VIP "Date Night Package" including two race entries (with medals & tech tee upgrades) and hotel accommodations at the Renaissance Hotel; a men's "swag bag" with official CUCB gear; and a women's "swag bag" with official CUCB gear. All three items were very popular and I lost track of the final bids, but have no doubt a generous amount was raised for this worthy cause.

Megan with her "wine pull" bottle. A $20 donation got you
a bottle of wine, some worth up to $40

Heading Home
Lynn, Susan, and I had a great time at the kickoff party. Lynn and I are officially in the race, and Susan will be entering the lottery on December 1, along with many of our running buddies. I wish everyone lottery luck! It's going to be an exciting six months as we head towards the big race on April 12, 2015!

Back in Reston, after our fun night out in the city!