Love Run Philly Race Recap!

I am a little late in posting my half marathon recap from last week. Last Sunday I ran the Love Run half marathon in Philadelphia. It was a very chilly start – low 30s with wind. The course was also hillier than expected. I guess I didn’t pay attention when they said they changed last year’s course. They added a giant hill!

0329150549Despite all of that, I managed to snag a 17 minute PR! It has been a year since I ran a half marathon, and I was able to cut my time down to 1:44:51!

2015-04-03-08-22-02

I was hoping to go a little faster, but my mental game really was thrown off by that second hill. The last three miles felt like a struggle, even though it seems I kept a steady pace.

0329151812

Updating the PR board!

I ran the first 10.5 miles with someone, which I think really helped. They really forced me to keep pace when I wanted to slow down after the hills. Granted…they did fly off the last three miles. This is the first time I really raced with someone for that long.

race photo

My real finish time was 1:44:51!

After the race, we went to the bar to celebrate with a much earned beer! This is the hardest I have ever raced a half marathon. I can honestly say that I could not have gone any faster. This was also coming off racing a 5k as fast as possible the weekend before. I am still unbelievably happy with a 17 minute PR!

group pic

How do you celebrate after a race?

signature

Advertisements

Winter Weather and New Running Belt!

Well, it looks like winter is finally in full swing! We have been lucky so far, but now the storms are coming. We were hit with snow and ice on Friday night into Saturday morning. As a result, I moved my long run today. The weather was much better today, but they say another storm is coming tonight, and then possibly one more on Tuesday! Back to back storms do not help with half marathon training. This is part of the reason I did not want to sign up for a Spring marathon…but then of course, I went ahead and did it despite my best judgment. I am being more realistic this year, though. I am just training to stay in shape, knowing that winter weather can seriously interfere with training. I am trying not to stress. Sometimes it’s even too bad to make it to the apartment complex gym for the treadmill!

DSC_0512-2

Please ignore the camel toe.

On a happier note, I was sent a new running belt to review from GoVivo! Overall, I am fan of the belt. It has two pockets, which are very nice. I can put my phone in one pocket, and then my keys in the other, so they don’t scratch the phone. This would have been awesome for marathon training and all those gels. These pockets are deceiving to the eye. They look small, but there is a ton of room in them! The expand.

DSC_0527I even wore the belt in the rain and was impressed with its water resistance. In the past, I have had belts that claimed to be water resistant, but my phone after a long run revealed the contrary.

DSC_0521

The one problem I had with the belt was the large buckle. It was a lot larger than other running belts. It took me awhile to find a comfortable spot to wear it. There was some movement and sliding until I found the right spot.

This is a very sturdy, well-made running belt, but I think I will reserve it for those really long runs when I actually need that much space. Otherwise, I am not sure I want to deal with the large buckle. It will be perfect, if and when, I decide to train for another marathon!

What is your favorite running belt? How do you deal with winter weather?

signature

Nike Women’s Half Marathon in D.C.

0426141505a

Thank goodness I took a personal day today because I had a very eventful weekend! This weekend I went to D.C. to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. It was a blast and had a lot of great perks…although, they definitely cost a pretty penny. It is not a race I would run regularly because of the price tag, but it is worth it to splurge every once in awhile.

0426141459

Let’s start with the expo. It was along the waterfront in Georgetown, which was beautiful. I am not sure what they would have done if it rained…the “expotique” (that is really what it was called) was more of a village. You walked to the different stations.

0426141505

They had some cool displays that you could write messages to runners on or just sign your name. They also had a light up map of the course route.

0426141502

Outside of the Nike store in Georgetown they covered one wall of the building with all the runner’s names. It was not easy finding your name out of the thousands of runners, (it was a complicated alphabetical funnel design) but it was really exciting when you found yours. (That’s mine smack dab in the middle of the picture.)

0426141444a

The race shirt and bib were very nice looking. They made you wear a pace bracelet to get into the correct corral for the race. I was a little disappointed that you could not change your corral. I have gotten faster since I registered in November. The corrals had security checking the pace bracelet to prevent people sneaking in to other corrals, but some people managed to pull it off. Just not me. There was some dodging in the beginning, but eventually I got past them.

0426141950

Luckily, my sister and her fiance live just outside of D.C. I was able to stay with them, which was really nice. They followed me around the course and cheered with a sign! That was really motivating! The race had a cool app where they were actually able to track my predicted times of arrival at certain spectator spots.

photo 5

They even managed to get some great pictures of me on the course. Ones that don’t cost a million dollars like the ones the races sell.

photo 5(1)

The race course was beautiful. I liked running along the Potomac. Unfortunately the race got pretty crowded at certain points, and there were some bottleneck situations. I was a little bummed that I had to slow my pace down for those.
photo 4

Then comes the best part, when you finish, a man in a tuxedo gives you a Tiffany’s necklace! There was a mosaic pattern on the front and then the date and name of the race engraved on the back. It is just the right size and a nice reminder of all the hard work that went into training!

photo 2Here is a nice little close up shot! I really like it and cannot wait to show it off at work tomorrow! It came in the nice little official Tiffany’s box with the ribbon, of course!

0428141639a

Here is a picture with my sister after the race, rocking the new necklace. I definitely appreciated all the cheering and support. I think that is what helped me get a new half marathon PR! 2:02! I shaved three minutes off of my last half marathon! I am continuing to chase that sub 2 hour, but I am getting closer!

0427141014

Another perk of the race was the “Refresh Tent.” After I collected my food goodie back, I headed on in to the tent to foam roll and stretch. They even had coaches to help you out. I definitely feel a lot less sore today. Usually I end up stretching much later. 0427140946

Inside the tent, they also had wipes to help clean off your face from the sweat. It was warm enough to sweat, but nothing too unbearable. They had hair spray, lip gloss, and changing stations available too.

0427140943

All in all, it was a great race. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a unique race experience. You deserve to splurge every once in a while. Sometimes it even leads to a new PR!

What is your favorite race that you have done?

signature

Don’t You Just Love Race Photos?

running picI would say this picture and my face pretty much sum up the last 8 miles of last week’s half marathon – The Love Run. I look a little bit like I am dying. I don’t know why I am always excited to look at race photos. I always look like a fool! I should have know that I would look especially lovely in the pouring rain!

pl unidentified FemaleIf you look behind the girl in the orange, you can see me rocking the yellow shirt. Thank goodness I wore yellow! They said due to the rain, they could not read most people’s race bib numbers. So yes, I went through like 3,000 photos to find one where you can see part of my body. Clearly, that was worth the effort. Could’ve been the greatest photo of all time out there. I had to at least check!

pl unidentified FemaleLook closely by the flagpole. You can see my right arm and leg! Woohoo! Like I said, thank goodness I was wearing yellow. I might have missed this amazing shot otherwise. Hah!

phillymarathonIn other news, I registered for a full marathon in November. Only time will tell if this is the greatest or worst decision of my life. Stay tuned.

What do you think? Totally reasonable to spend an hour going through 3,000 photos to find a picture of your right arm?

signature

 

Love Run Half Marathon

0329141304I survived running 13.1 miles in a torrential downpour. It was intense. I am not going to lie. I do feel pretty hardcore for finishing, though. I have never run in that much rain in my entire life!

2014-03-30-17-35-51I didn’t quite get the time that I wanted. I really wanted to PR and break 2 hours. I pulled off 2:06. I was feeling really good at the start. I even tried holding myself back. Then the hill hit. Just by looking at my stats, I am sure you can tell where it was. Right as I was recovering from the hill, the TORRENTIAL downpour started. At first I was pretty disappointed, but then I thought…Hey! You ran the same time as your last half that was in perfect weather. My shoes were soaked and felt like rocks. Wind was whipping me in face. My clothes were stuck to my skin. I think it is pretty awesome that I pulled off the same time. I really need to stop comparing myself to others. I know I pushed myself the whole way, and I am proud of that.

0330141801I think my race bib is a pretty good image for how I felt after the race. I sort of wandered around disoriented for a bit because I couldn’t figure out where anything was at the finish festival. It was just a giant mud pit! I finally found the hot chocolate and realized where our team tent was. Once I got there though, my teammates seemed pretty worried about me. I don’t really do awesome in the cold. I was shivering and my teeth were chattering, but that happens to me a lot. Later they told me they rushed me to the hotel because my lips were blue and my face was all pale. I just thought they were being friendly!

0330141206aAfter the race, we went to a bar and celebrated our victory (surviving!) and our friend’s 49th birthday. It was a blast. (We changed clothes beforehand and dried off. No more hypothermia!)

1888673_585854114843888_854602287_n

Overall, CGI put on a great race. If there is better weather, I am definitely game for next year! We had an awesome team and a lot of fun despite the weather. (Side note: The guy in the orange hoodie crashed our tent and team photo. We don’t know him. He ended up WINNING the whole race. WHAT???!)

1044002_585854304843869_1973195195_nHonestly, to say we all survived and finished is a victory in itself. We are tougher than we realize!

0330141530Once I got home, I took the hottest shower possible and enjoyed some steaming coffee from my new race mug! Here is to the next half marathon in a month, as I continue to chase the sub 2 hour half marathon!

Have you ever ran in a torrential downpour? How do you keep from comparing yourself to others?

signature

 

Brrr!

Miss Adventures in Running

 

This morning I went out bright and early to get my run finished. I checked the weather quickly before I left, but I forgot to look at the wind chill! I was expecting 27 degrees, but it definitely felt more like 13 degrees! Not only was it a chilly run, but the wind made it so hard to run! At some points I was pretty sure I was not moving at all. I guess I should have picked up on the fact that absolutely no one else was out. I thought they were just all still asleep. They were probably smart enough to not go out in the cold!

Miss Adventures in Running

I will admit, part of the reason I was set on running outside was because I wanted to wear my new hat! It might seem like a silly reason, but I will admit it is the truth! I chopped off all of my hair yesterday. Now I have a sort of bob going on. I really like it, but it does mean no more ponytails for this girl. To make up for the ponytail, I got a great hat from Colombia on clearance. It did very nicely on the run. My head wasn’t cold, just everything else! I was glad I had moisture-wicking gloves, but even they were not enough to keep my hands from stinging. Let’s just say, I tried to send a text message when I got back to my apartment, and it took a good 5 minutes to get my fingers to type it out!

Miss Adventures in Running

On a side note, what are your thoughts about official race pictures? I always end up looking like a fool. (Ex. Jacket tied around the waist – not my best look!) I do like a few of the pictures of me from the half marathon, but the prices are ridiculous! One 5 x 7 matte finish photo costs $15. I just don’t know if I can do that…I haven’t ruled it out completely yet. It was my first half marathon after all…but my wallet is screaming, “No!”

What temperature do you draw the line for running outside? What are your thoughts on official race photos?

signature

FFL

I Survived My First Half Marathon!

It’s official. I survived my first half marathon. Not only did I survive it, but I think it went really well!

Miss Adventures in Running

I honestly couldn’t be more pleased with how the race went. I finished the half marathon in 2 hours and 5 minutes. My average pace was 9:35. That is about 45 seconds faster than my average long run pace. I guess that adrenaline really kicked in! The great feel and vibe of the race really helped. There were so many people cheering the runners on. There were people in costumes, DJs,and even designated “cheer zones.” It was also really nice to see historic Philadelphia up close and personal. Way better than finding a parking spot in the city!

Miss Adventures in Running

The fun started at 5:00 am when we showed up for the security check. We definitely didn’t need to be there that early, but better safe than sorry. Although, I could have done without getting up at 3:45 am the morning I was going to run 13.1 miles…Oh well, adrenaline and anticipation kept me going!

There were definitely moments during the race when I was not loving it. The giant hill in the middle of the race didn’t make me too happy, but I was determined not to walk. I just kept telling myself there was a Clif shot and Gatorade just around the corner. Nothing had ever tasted so good.

I also had the unique experience of finishing the half marathon right as the first man was finishing the marathon. I could hear the crowd roaring and just pretended it was all for me. That gave me the final boost to make it across the finish line. The great thing after I finished was that I had all these wonderful text messages from my family and friends. They had signed up for text alerts and knew the exact moment I finished.

As I finished that race, slightly in a state of fog, I could barely believe that I had finished, let alone that I had run faster than I ever had. Then, I met up with my fellow running club members and grabbed some food and beers at a nearby Irish pub. As I sat there with my new running buddies, I took a moment to soak it all in. I didn’t even know these people six months ago. We had a bond now. We had completed our first half marathon together. We started talking about our goals, and the next thing I knew, we were in cahoots to run the full marathon next year. Only time can tell, but a year ago I never imagined that I would finish my first half marathon, be living in a new state, sharing a beer with my new friends. You never know what a year can bring.

signature

FFL

It’s Almost Here!

Miss Adventures in Running - Philadelphia Marathon

I can’t believe that the weekend of my first half marathon is finally here! Only a couple more days to rest up! Today, I went to the expo for the races, and it was fantastic. With around 30,000 people participating in the events this weekend, this is by far the biggest race I have ever been a part of. That being said, I have never seen an expo like this before! There were so many different vendors and presentations. I raced over on the train (my first trip on NJ transit, by the way) as fast as I could after work, but I did not make it in time to hear Bill Rodgers speak. Fortunately, I still got to see him signing autographs, which was pretty neat!

Miss Adventures in Running - Philadelphia Marathon

Pretty much any vendor you could possibly imagine was at the expo. Some of my favorite tables that I stopped by were Clif, Flipbelt, Newton, and Larabar.

Miss Adventures in Running - Philadelphia Marathon

There were also some really great deals on shoes and apparel. I found some great running sleeves for just $10. I snagged a pair in black. Black goes with everything right?

Miss Adventures in Running - Philadelphia Marathon

I am pretty sure I managed to get one of every free sample offered. I am a huge sucker for free samples. I seriously cannot control myself. If it is free, I just grab it and think about whether I really need it later. I came away with lots of delicious snacks, some tasty beverages, and random things like pencils and olive oil.

I am getting really excited for the race, but also kinda nervous. Hopefully the weather is nice, they are saying 60 degrees! Just cross your fingers that it doesn’t rain! I will give you a full recap of the race next week. Good luck to anyone else running this weekend!

signature

FFL

Only One More Week!

year of running

I cannot believe that the Philadelphia Half Marathon is next weekend! I am really excited, but I am also nervous, since this is my first half marathon. I do feel prepared, though. My biggest concern is getting to the actual race with all the tons of other people!

Today, I took a moment to reflect on how far I have come. The graph  above is for my running this past year. Since I started training for the half marathon in August, I have really stepped up my running. You can see that I basically doubled how much I was running each month! I am so pleased with the progress I have made. It has been a journey of self transformation, and I have loved almost every minute of it. I have learned so much about myself and what I can achieve when I set my mind to it.

Throwaway clothesThank goodness for my running club! There are so many details to getting ready for a big race that I didn’t know about! This past week, I went to Goodwill and picked out a nice jacket to use as my “throw-away” clothing. I figured I could spare $2, especially since it would go to charity afterwards! I really do not like being cold, so I think this will work out nicely!

After a lot of debating about how to get to the race, I have decided to have my boyfriend drop me off. I thought about using the public transit, but it requires making connections and walking. I am not familiar enough with the system to want to do that much on race day; too much room for error. Most of the people in my running group said it is easier and less stressful to have someone else drop you off. Let them worry about parking! Sounds good to me.

I have picked out my race day outfit and what I am going to eat for breakfast. I think I am as prepared as I can be. Hopefully the weather cooperates! Now, I think the only thing left is to just enjoy the experience!

Do you have any race day tips?

signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

FFL

More Experimenting!

I am having a wonderful time training for my first half marathon. I cannot believe that is just a few weeks away! I never thought I would be saying that! I think the fact that I have been slowly transitioning into long distance running has made it more enjoyable. I wonder if some people jump too quickly and end up hating it because they aren’t ready. I have also had the support of a wonderful running club with a fantastic leader.

Miss Adventures in Running

Check out this beautiful scene that I saw on my first 12 mile run this past Saturday. I can’t believe I finally ran 12 miles! Next week will be the big 13 on the training schedule. I am excited, but also nervous. What’s one more mile right?

Anyways, back to the title of the post. I have been doing more experimenting as my training has been increasing.

Nutrition:

Miss Adventures in Running

I tried Larabar Alt bars for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I really liked how they tasted and especially love how natural all the ingredients are. Unfortunately, they gave me a bit of a stomach ache about an hour after I ate them. I really did love the pumpkin pie flavor, but I just don’t think they are right for me. (Sometimes I have trouble digesting things with a lot of fiber due to my Crohn’s Disease.)

Miss Adventures in Running

For my half marathon, I signed up for a pace team. Clif is sponsoring the pace teams for the Philadelphia Marathon and sent all registrants a box full of free goodies. I already am hooked on the Clif bars, so getting one free was exciting. The box also included Shot Bloks and a Shot Gel. I am officially hooked on the Shot Bloks. I tend to get a little hungry on the long runs, so I just pop in 2-3 of the little gummies during my run. They taste delicious and are easy to digest. I tried the Shot Gel as well. The taste was surprisingly pleasant, and I felt energized and didn’t have any digestion issues. I think I am slowly becoming a fan of Clif!

Gear: 

With the training runs getting longer and longer, I knew I would need to start taking some sort of water bottle with me. I like to fill mine with a mixture of water and warm Gatorade.

Miss Adventures in RunningI really love these “anti-water bottles” (as the company calls them) by Vapur. I love that they are lightweight and easy to carry. You can hook them to a belt, but I like to just hold on to the hook with a couple of fingers. The best part is that they fold up completely when you are finished. I’m just not quite ready to invest in a fuel belt, maybe at a later date, but not today!

Miss Adventures in Running

With colder weather, also comes more darkness. There are less daylight hours for running these days. I finally invested in a headlamp. I wore it for the first time last Tuesday night and was surprised how little I noticed that I had one on. Safety before fashion!

Are there any new products that you are loving?

signatureFFL