=PR= Trail Series Run at Algonkian Park

Potomac River Running and Sport and Spine Rehab are sponsoring the =PR= Spring 2015 Trail Fun Run Series.  The trail runs, for runners of all speeds, are free though one does need to register in advance so that =PR= can get an accurate count of runners.  Runners can choose 30, 60 or 90 minute guided runs.  The runs start at 7:30 am.  Groups form according to planned running time, instructions are given and everyone heads out on the trail.

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2014 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Report

Given my history with previous Cherry Blossom races, my goal for this year’s race was simple: to finish!  Finishing was going to be a PR at the ten mile distance regardless so I was laid back in terms of preparing for it.  I wasn’t nervous or worried about finishing.  I wasn’t injured and I’ve been training well so I knew I had a good race in me. Saturday I did some household chores (I was going to ride my bike, but seasonal allergies had too much of an impact so I stayed inside.  I did manage an outing to The Home Depot with my family, but that was it) and just took it easy.  That evening I started thinking about what I wanted to wear and how early I needed to leave to head into the city.  Recently, I purchased a new running skirt from Lucy.  I hadn’t tried it yet (Saturday night it still had the tags on it!), but I decided to wear it Sunday.  For tops, I decided to go with a Fila tank top that I’ve owned for years.  It is ridiculously comfortable when I wear it for long treadmill runs, but I’ve never worn it in a race or even outside.  I keep saying that I’m going to wear it for a race and then I end up changing my mind.  This time I decided that since I was already wearing a new skirt I should go ahead with the tank top as well.  To this outfit I added my Zensah compression culfs, Feetures cycling socks (I have super sweaty feet!), my Asics Gel Kayano 20s and a race belt with a couple Gus.  I was going to forgo running with a bottle and rely on course aid.  After getting everything laid out, I spoke to a friend who mentioned how cold it was supposed to be Sunday morning.  I hadn’t even bothered to check the weather.  I get so hot quickly and easily that I figured I would be fine.  I did decide to add a throw-away shirt and jacket as well as an ear cover since my ears tend to bother me easily.

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The Third Time Is The Charm

This Sunday is the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, my third attempt at the race.  The first year, 2012, I was selected via the lottery for the run.  However, I injured myself a week before the race and did not start (my first DNS).  Last year, I was battling crippling shin splints and hoped to make it to my goal race, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, which was taking place a couple weeks after the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, injury-free.  But, because I was selected in the lottery and had that awful DNS from the previous year, I was determined to run.  So, I started the race and immediately knew it was a bad idea.  Each step nearly brought tears to my eyes; by mile 4.5 I did have tears in my eyes.  For some reason, I wanted to “tough” it out and not quit.  I realized though as I neared the entrance to Hains Point that I wouldn’t be able to continue running and to try to finish was ridiculous.  Each step threatened the Nike Women’s Half Marathon which was my “A” race so when I hit mile marker 5, I stopped running and ducked into a port-o-potty to cry.  I’ve never quit a race mid-run and wasn’t sure what to do so I took off my bib and threw it away.  I hobbled to the car park and cried while I waited for my husband to finish.  I was more upset about the DNF than the DNS.  I told my husband that I just wasn’t mean to run the Cherry Blossom so I didn’t even plan to enter the lottery for this year’s race.  However, the day before the deadline, a friend emailed to ask if I wanted to join her team registration for the lottery.  I figured my odds of getting in for a third year were slim to none so I said yes.  Imagine my surprise when we were selected in the lottery!

2014 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

2014 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

The third time is the charm. This is the year I crush the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!

Pacers St. Patrick’s Day 8K Race Report

Last year, I spent most of the year injured.  First, there were shin issues that just didn’t want to resolve.  Then, in July I fractured a couple bones in my left foot at the Colonial Beach Sprint Triathlon.  Sometime in September, I fractured a bone in my right foot, which I didn’t discover until I was getting x-rays of my left foot because I had re-fractured those previously broken bones by running too soon.  Once I was able to start running pain-free in early November, I vowed to run smartly, follow my training plan to a T, and listen to my body.  I signed up for my goal spring race, the Anthem Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA.  The three previous years I had ran the Townebank 8K, but I decided that since this training cycle was going to be my successful, triumphant return to racing that I would register for the half.  The last half I did was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in April 2013 and I missed running 13.1.  It is my favorite distance. I trained smart all winter; I followed my coach’s training plan religiously.  Even if my legs felt great and I wanted to run longer (or faster), I held back.  I was going to get the Anthem Half Marathon injury-free.

In late February, my local moms running club (MRTT) put out a call for ladies to run on the MRTT team for a local event, the Pacers St. Patrick’s Day 8K.  I didn’t even give it a second thought – I wasn’t going to do any “racing” until the Half because I didn’t want to risk injury.  However, the first week of March my daughter and husband had to travel overseas for a week due to a family emergency. Because I had so much time to myself, when another call came out for runners, I went ahead and signed up.  My training plan for the race day called for an easy 8 mile run (I was in taper for the half marathon, which was the following weekend) so I decided that I would run the 8k and then finish up with an easy three mile run around the Mall since I would be in DC for the race.

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What I Learned In 2 Hours With Tony Horton

In January while I was in the Nashville for work, I had the opportunity to meet and work out with Tony Horton, Mr. P90X himself, and listen to him share his thoughts on fitness, exercise and healthy eating.

Amanda and Tony WorkoutYour probably already know this, but accidental fitness professional Tony Horton developed P90X, a commercial home exercise regimen that is known for its intensity.  The training program uses cross-training (weight training, martial arts, yoga, and calisthenics) and periodization and is combined with a nutrition and dietary supplement plan.  The program has grossed over $500 million in sales since its release.

Because I had a busy day planned (meetings, multiple workouts and a plane to catch), I had to get up early to get in my scheduled 12 mile run.  I hadn’t checked the weather before heading to Nashville so I had packed like it was going to be in the 40s, NOT the mid-teens that I was experiencing.  What that meant was I had to do my long run on the treadmill.  Boo.

I was scheduled to workout with Tony at 7:00 so I hit the hotel gym at 5:00 to warm-up and get those miles in.  The run went surprisingly well and I even managed to watch Jack Reacher, the latest Tom Cruise action flick, while I ran (normally I get motion sick if I try to watch TV while running).

From the hotel gym, I walked over to where I was going to meet Tony for the P90X workout.  It goes without saying that my body was incredibly warmed up.  When Tony would introduce a move he would show the basic move and then a modification to make the move easier as well as a mod to make it more difficult.  Because of being so warmed up and frankly feeling pretty darn good about completing my first 12 mile run on the treadmill, I used the more challenging modifications.  The hour long workout was like a greatest hits of his signature P90X moves – some yoga moves, martial arts, plyometrics, calisthenics and more).  The time flew by and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the workout (I was never a fan of P90X) and how great I felt after.

Once the workout concluded and Tony and I chatted briefly about my Ironman plans (he said I should add P90X workouts to at least 5 days of each week – ha!), I headed back to my room to shower and get ready for the talk with Tony. 

During his hour-long talk, Tony shared his five tips on how to slow the aging process and make exercise an integral part of life.

  1. Exercise with variety.  Many people do the same exercises or workouts day in and day out.  Tony suggests doing something different every day.  He schedules his workout schedule 7 days at a time and usually manages to exercise 5 to 6 days per week.  Every workout is different and that variety is key to preventing boredom, reducing risk of injuries and avoiding the dreaded plateau.
  2. Consistency.  The more you do of a given activity, the better you get.  Tony believes that movement in a variety of ways is the fountain of youth.  He suggests exercising 5 to 7 days a week for the rest of your life.  Create a schedule of consistent workouts and make them a priority.
  3. Intensity.  Push a little more every time you exercise.  Think outside the box to find new activities to push yourself and “be okay with sucking.”  You will get better at whatever activity you undertake if you push yourself a little more each time you engage in the activity.
  4. Purpose.  You need to know what your purpose is – if it’s a number on a scale or a certain clothing size, then that may not be the right motivation.  You should be working out regularly for the love of it – how it makes you feel, how it clears your mind and helps you work better.  People often don’t exercise because they don’t want to be physically uncomfortable.  Remember:  if you move today, then you you’ll improve yourself and have a better you!
  5. Have a plan.  Have a plan for your weekly exercise.  Put that plan on your bathroom mirror, on the back of your front door or hang it on your fridge.  Create the expectation that you’ll execute the plan by hanging it someplace you will see it every day.  I have a copy of my training plan on my home desk, my office desk, on each of my mobile devices and in the bag that I carry on a daily basis – I couldn’t avoid my plan if I wanted!  Tony shared his weekly workout plan and it was fascinating.  I’ll share it in another post as this one is long enough! 

Tony also talked briefly about food during his talk as well. He believes that food can be either medication or poison for your body – you can age faster, get sick sooner and die younger or you can view each meal as an opportunity to grow younger, feel better and fuel your body with what it needs to live and work for you.  His rule of thumb is that if your great, great grandparents would recognize what you’re eating then you’re eating right. Avoid processed foods and eat whole, single ingredient foods as much as you can.

Amanda and Tony HortonAll in all, it was a great two hours with Tony!  I had an awesome workout and realized that it’s much more fun to do P90X with Tony Horton standing over me and I learned some good nuggets of information during his talk.  Oh and the next day?  I felt every single 12 mile and every single P90X exercise I did!

2014 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

I'm in!

I’m in!

I’m in!

I hadn’t planned to enter the lottery, but a friend invited me to join as part of her team.  So, I did.  A part of me hoped that I would not get selected, but once I received the email this morning, I was elated.  I guess I did care.  That’s a lie.  I KNOW that I care and that, deep down, I wanted the opportunity to run this race again.  You see, I was selected via lottery to run the 10 miler in 2012 (or maybe 2011?), but couldn’t run due to injury.  I didn’t even start!  This year, I had some nagging shin issues going into the race, but I was confident that I would not only start, but finish.  And, guess what?  I had to stop at mile 6.  The pain was simply too intense that even walking had become a problem.  The 2013 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler was my first DNF.  Boo.  Hiss.

So.  I have some unfinished business for next year’s race.  I’ll start strong and healthy – and injury-free – and I’ll finish the same way.

Let’s do this!