Category Archives: Fisher House

Marathonpalooza Part 1: Marine Corps Marathon 2014

Hi, everyone. It’s only been about 4 months since I posted last…oops. Anyway, that four months consisted of lots of long runs and not quite hitting my weekday mileage like I needed to, and oh, a half marathon, a ten-miler, and two marathons.

Marine Corps Marathon did not go nearly as well for me this year as it did last year. We stayed at the Fisher House team hotel, Key Bridge Marriott, and they placed us right next to an elevator. I am a light sleeper, and that elevator was LOUD. Those two things meant that I got almost no sleep whatsoever. Okay, fine – that alone wouldn’t kill my race, even if it made me crabby. When I woke up, though, my mind was just not into it. Before leaving Brian, I started crying and said, “I just don’t want to do this. I should be home with Caroline on her birthday.”

Eventually I tried to shake it off and headed to the team hotel with the Fisher House group. I met up with my running buddy, Danny, and some of my Fisher House teammates there and headed to the start. I was secretly hoping to hit 4:15 but the main goal was to finish in good enough shape to take on New York City the next weekend. I started the race feeling pretty achy and crampy & not knowing why. Unlike last year when miles 1-21 seemed easy and fun, these miles seemed really hard. I was not enjoying it, and despite starting in a faster corral, we were still maintaining the same pace we maintained last year through the first 5k (which is pretty much dictated by the crowd of runners around you). That was really frustrating to me.

At the halfway mark, I kept telling Danny to go ahead because every part of me was aching and sore already, and I had no clue why. I was really needing a Brian sighting SOON. Eventually we separated, and I struggled through the next 2-3 miles until I saw Brian. I begged him to take me home because I just didn’t want to be there, but he sent me on my way and told me I would really regret not finishing. Okay, fine, I headed off again towards the National Mall. The first 20K was actually okay, but the rest of it was a struggle pace-wise. I made sure to up my fuel intake and that seemed to help a little bit because the next time I saw him, I was a little more peppy. AND I had a Bart Yasso sighting! Woohoo! My first (and hopefully not last!) one! I trudged through the mall with the sole goal of making it to the Bridge on time. I knew that once I made it there, I could technically walk the rest of the way and still finish, and I found that comforting, even though I didn’t walk the rest of the way!

Long story short, the bridge sucked, as it always does. It was hot and hard and I just wanted a water stop! Two Fisher House teammates caught up with me and helped keep me sane, at least, until I decided to head off on my own once we got into Rosslyn. Rosslyn was good for making other runner friends, because we were all suffering by that point. I even ran into an amazing Fisher House volunteer who saw me and told me I looked great, but I looked at her and said, “I think I might cry.” She was awesome and said, “well, then you cry! Look how far you came, you can do whatever you want!” She walked with me for a block or two until I felt ready to run again…such a wonderful person!

The rest of Rosslyn was sort of a blur (except the donuts), and I remember heading into the Pentagon the same way we did it for Army 10-miler. The tunnel heading out of the Pentagon and up towards the finish was just a wind tunnel. It was crazy! I saw Brian one more time before hitting the finish, and I had the pleasure of the Fisher House hill runner coming down to meet me at the base of the Iwo Jima hill to run with me up towards the finish. I promise I was running up it even if I was alone! 🙂

I was so upset by this entire MCM performance. I was feeling so off and in pain and I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I knew I didn’t want to push too much because I wanted to stay in one piece for NYCM. My head was not in it, my body was not in it, and I was just over it before it even started. The weather was HOT (70 degrees at the finish), sunny, and windy – the perfect storm for dehydration. Apparently, this was the slowest-run MCM in 10 years, and the weather definitely had something to do with it. The wind dries all your sweat, so you don’t even feel like you are dehydrated until it was too late. On top of that, when I got home, I realized why I had felt so off during the entire race: I had gotten my period right smack dab in the middle of the marathon! Once I realized that, I felt a little better about everything that had happened, and even laughed, albeit a TINY bit. Way to keep me humble, universe!

No photos, because, well, I didn’t have a good time, so I didn’t take many. I didn’t really feel like this was a huge accomplishment, though I guess just finishing it was. I am ready to move forward and maybe try again next year…orrrrr maybe I will just stick with the 10K (especially if the marathoners keep getting poop brown shirts).

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The long holiday weekend (and Firecracker 5K results)

There is truly nothing better than a long weekend without any crazy plans, and that is exactly what our 4th of July weekend was like! The big focus for us was lots of relaxed family time, especially since military life will strike again soon!

We started off the long weekend with Potomac River Running’s Firecracker 5K and kids’ fun run in Reston followed by a delicious brunch with our friends. This was SO much fun and was my second sub-8 min/mile 5K race. Splits were 8:04 min/mile, 7:24 min/mile (!!!), and 7:44 min/mile and I was mere seconds from a PR, but this was just the confidence/motivation-boosting race that I needed after an “eh” spring race season. Oh – and we even had a Duggar sighting!

I love these action shots from the kids’ fun run! Audrey is running like the wind! It was only a moment later that Caroline ended up face first in the pavement, but she rebounded quickly 😉

14579966132_9eb30464f1_o Firecracker

After the race and brunch, we had a neighborhood parade to participate in! It didn’t take long before Audrey realized we did it all wrong – we shouldn’t have walked IN the parade because no one throws candy to the parade participants! Despite this, it was a fun time…well, at least until our nap-deprived children were tired of being in the sun and started throwing some fits…

We spent the rest of the day hanging out, grilling, and having mini-fireworks displays with the girls. They are so easy to please at this age – love it! Actually, that is basically how we spent the rest of the weekend, too, and it was glorious! The weather was wonderful so we spent about 80% of our time outside. It’s too bad summer won’t stay like this.

Marathon training went well this past week with no missed runs – hooray! My long run was a beautiful trail run that I actually enjoyed. It was nice to go out and not care about pace but instead try to enjoy it.

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Filed under Celebrations, Family, Fisher House, Fitness, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, Military Life, New York City Marathon, NYCM, Races, Racing, Run, Running, Team Fisher House, Virginia

Week 2 training & the hiccups (or kidney stones) that accompanied it

I knew going into last week’s training that it was probably not going to be my best training week in terms of hitting all the miles required, but I had no idea it would turn out the way it did! Last week was busy for me in terms of class & assignments, and since that is my top priority right now and it’s sooooo early in the training cycle, I was okay with it. I missed my Sunday 9-miler because I was on a home visit – I always feel blah about missing a long run, but it is what it is! I intended to do a second 5-miler this week as well but didn’t get to it. Oh well. Here’s what the week looked like:

Sun: no run

Mon: 3.1 at 8:48 min/mile – I was NOT feeling well that morning!

Tues: no run

Wed: 5 miles at 8:40 min/mile

Thurs: 3.1 miles at 8:20 min/mile

Fri: no run

Sat: 7.1 at 8:37 min/mile

The 7-miler was my scheduled long run this week (it was a low-mileage Kurtis week), and while it was scheduled for Sunday, I wanted to get it in on Saturday because Audrey & Caroline had their own races to run Sunday morning – Potomac River Running’s Mighty Mile Kids’ Race! They were both really excited for it, especially Audrey. Good thing I got that mileage in early since Sunday morning took an unexpected and unpleasant turn.

I woke up around 4:30am on Sunday with abdominal and pain on my right side. I thought I had pulled a muscle or something and tried to switch positions and go back to sleep. That did not work out very well – I could not find relief no matter what position I tried! I suffered alone for a while, but then I started getting nauseous and throwing up. I felt like maaaaybe I should wake Brian up, but I didn’t want to get him up so early! We are going through a bad sleeping spurt w/ the girls, and he is always up at the crack of dawn (or before). I didn’t want to be the cause of the early wakeup this time when we go to bed every night hoping that the next morning is the morning the girls sleep in! I couldn’t stand it anymore, though, so I woke up and told him what was going on. He said that I looked so pathetic that he couldn’t find it in his heart to be mad at me…ah, love. 🙂 We sat on the couch for a little while with me in fetal position before I decided I was going to try and get some sleep. I went back to bed and still couldn’t get any relief, and then I threw up again – all over the sheets. I called Brian in and he sat next to me for a while. Eventually it got bad enough that we decided to get the girls up and go to the ER, so the girls came along with their crazy bedhead and footie pajamas.

Long story short – after lots of time in the hospital, more throwing up, an IV, a urinalysis w/ elevated red blood cell count, bloodwork, and a CT scan, the diagnosis was a kidney stone. I actually passed it in the waiting room, and it wasn’t very long after that I felt way better. B told me he could tell when I was feeling better because I actually talked audibly instead of whispering and mumbling 😉 On our way out of the hospital, we spotted the Ft Belvoir Fisher House! I don’t really pay attention that much when leaving the hospital because usually I am driving chatty children home from doctor appointments, so this was maybe the second time I noticed it. I remember when they were building both FH and the hospital and that area was just a huge pile of dirt. So cool to see it up and running – and it is beautiful!

So, yeah. That was our “relaxing” Sunday morning! I have had two natural births (I call Audrey’s birth a “supernatural” birth), so I am not a wimp when it comes to pain – and that is what made B realize it was serious because I don’t cry wolf with things. If I complain, I am probably already way past being in normal pain and on my way towards excruciating pain, ha ha. And for the record, I prefer childbirth to kidney stones. At least with labor you can move around and ease the pain, contractions come in waves and aren’t constant, AND you get a sweet baby after.

The girls were angels during that whole 4 hours in the hospital, but Audrey was really sad to miss her race. I am doing a 4th of July 5K, so she gets to come run the fun run to make up for it!

Here’s to a better training week this week – it can’t get worse, right? I will leave you with pics of my sweet baby Bear (her older sister was pouting in the other room):

 

 

 

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Filed under birth, Fisher House, Fitness, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, natural childbirth, New York City Marathon, NYCM, Race, Racing, Run, Running, Team Fisher House

Here we go again

Marathon training season has started once again! It honestly doesn’t feel like it’s been a year since I started last year’s training cycle. I can’t decide how I feel about starting up again. On one hand, I was really itching to start a new training cycle because I wasn’t really thrilled with spring, but on the other hand, there goes my life for the next 4-5 months. What have I gotten myself into (again)?! The idea of not getting to sleep in until the end of October makes me want to cry! But let’s be honest – these days, “sleeping in” isn’t really sleeping in anyway.

I started off thinking that I wanted to try Hanson’s Marathon Method, and I even bought the book to read. It was really interesting and appealing, but in the end, I don’t have the time to dedicate to the higher weekly mileage. I kept thinking I could make it work, but the reality is that I probably can’t, especially with two nights of class in the fall. Someday I do want to try this method (if I keep running marathons…) but for now, it is too ambitious.

I came across Doug Kurtis’ marathon training plan in Runner’s World and was intrigued. He splits some of his long runs into two segments, one run earlier in the day and the other run at least three hours later. This doesn’t happen with all of the weekend long runs in this plan, and I thought it sounded like an interesting strategy. I also like that his intermediate plan included some speedwork, whereas Higdon’s (the one I followed last year) doesn’t. I penciled it into the planner next to the Higdon Intermediate mileage, and they are both similar enough that it made me feel like the Kurtis plan would prepare me for MCM and NYCM, but different enough that hopefully my interest stays piqued. The Kurtis plan has 6 days of running per week while Higdon has 5 and one day for cross-training (which, honestly, I used as an extra rest day last year). I also like their similarities because I feel like I can hybridize my plan by fusing them when I need to (if that makes sense). If I miss some mileage in the Kurtis plan during the week, maybe I can make up for it using the little bit of extra Higdon training mileage on the weekends. Flexibility is so important to me because marathon training is, oh, only about 5% of my life – mothering, working, military spousing (aka: Brian will be traveling at some points), & grad school take up the rest of it.

Kurtis’ plan is 20 weeks, so it already started. I hopped in at week 2, which was last week. I hit all my runs that week, hooray!!

S: 8 miles (8:45 min/mile pace)

M: 3 miles (8:39 min/mile)

T: 5 miles pace (8:18 min/mile – I used it to do 9×400 intervals at 5k pace w/ 1 mile warm-up, 1 mile cool-down, 1 min or so between intervals)

W: 5 miles (8:45 min/mile)

T: 3 miles (8:16 min/mile)

F: rest

Sat: 4 miles (8:34 min/mile)

I’ve already missed my long run for this week (9 miles) because I was out all afternoon on Sunday doing a home visit for class, but since it is so early in training and it’s a mileage I hit pretty regularly, I am not worried in the slightest!

And, just like last year, I am fundraising this year for Fisher House. If you remember, I was a Top 25 fundraiser last year thanks to all of your support!

Bring it on, MCM & NYCM! I will be ready for you (I think)!

 

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Filed under Fisher House, Fitness, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, New York City, New York City Marathon, NYCM, Race, Races, Racing, Run, Running, Team Fisher House

New York City or bust

Last Wednesday, I received an unexpected email in my inbox (and no, this is not an April Fools’ joke):

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To say I was taken by surprise would be an understatement. I entered my name into the lottery back in February, but assured Brian that there was absolutely no way I would ever get in this year. My plan was to enter the lottery as many years as it took to get in, and then to run it without question whichever year I was actually accepted. Because I don’t live in NYC, it is a bucket list, once-in-a-lifetime race for me. It just happened to come a lot earlier than expected/planned! This race has a lottery acceptance rate of 10-15%; 77,000 people applied for lottery entry, but only 9,000 were accepted. Eesh! No wonder I didn’t expect to be one of them!

I am a little overwhelmed (but still excited!) at the prospect of running it because this is now not only a marathon, but an adventure! I was signed up for MCM and Richmond this fall (with MCM being a training marathon & Richmond being my PR-goal marathon), but will more than likely defer Richmond to next year. The plan right now is to sloooowly run MCM and then do NYCM the next weekend. That plan is a little intimidating, but I just can’t fathom not being at MCM with Fisher House on October 26. Obviously doing two marathons a week apart means I will probably have to sacrifice performance time, but I think I am okay with that (Brian begs to differ). I am not sure I even want to run NYCM for time, either – I sort of want to enjoy the experience and not rush through it! We’ll see how things go… 🙂

Here are some Rock ‘n’ Roll USA pictures – I look like I was having more fun than I was! The not-so-happy pictures were fewer than I thought, actually…

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Filed under Fisher House, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, New York City, New York City Marathon, NYCM, Races, Run, Running, Team Fisher House, Washington DC

Tap, tap – is this thing still on?

There has obviously been a substantial amount of time since my last update (2 months!) but I just did not feel open to sharing what was going on with us. B is active duty military, and was gone basically from the beginning of 2014 until just this past Saturday. I didn’t feel the need to widely publicize his absence or anything about how we were getting along without him, whether it be for safety reasons, self-preservation reasons, denial, whatever. Also, I was simply focused on survival, which seemed especially difficult in the boring, depressing, hum-drum winter months. I’m so glad spring is on its way because I cannot take any more snow (especially since I have been solo-shoveling all winter!).

It has been a long two months and, even though we eventually found our groove, I am so glad it is over. Audrey outwardly struggled with B being gone and it manifested itself as some pretty challenging behavior. Caroline really missed him, too, but her sadness surfaced more in short-lived spurts that could easily be cured with snuggles and reassuring words. Audrey would have scream fests in her room whereas Caroline would randomly say things like, “huh, I miss Daddy,” and then would continue with whatever she was doing. When Brian came back, it was like a weight was lifted off Audrey’s shoulders, and I think you can definitely see that in the immediate reunion pictures. And even though I am about 100x more efficient when Brian is gone (as any military spouse can relate to!), we ALL feel so much relief & happiness now, and we are in that super appreciative phase of family life (honeymoon phase!) that comes after separations.

Moving right along – spring race season is starting up soon (aka: this Saturday!) with the first race being Rock ‘n’ Roll USA. I have kept up with my training pretty well since Brian has been gone (treadmill = Godsend) which is sort of a surprise to me since I didn’t know how my training time would be impacted. I ended up getting up at 5am for 95% of my runs, even on weekends – so hard, but it also set a good tone for the rest of the day & was the one guaranteed time I had to get it done. I have been constantly exhausted, though! 😉 When I looked at my training log summary this morning, I noticed that I only missed ONE long run since he’s been gone (not counting the one I skipped on Sunday so that I could fully enjoy family time after he got back). That was a happy surprise for me, and I am proud that I powered through and got it done, especially since every run was on the treadmill which is complete torture for 10-11 miles! That being said, I don’t really know what to expect with Saturday’s race but am cautiously optimistic and interested to see what happens. I am counting it as my litmus test for what I need to focus on before my goal half marathon, which is Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon on April 27.

Speaking of race season, Fisher House fundraising has begun! The new link is on the sidebar if you are interested in supporting this amazing organization again!

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Filed under Family, Fisher House, Fitness, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, military, Military Life, Race, Races, Racing, Run, Running, Team Fisher House, Washington DC

Post-marathon life stuff.

Oh man, I feel like I have been in such a fitness funk since MCM. I took almost the whole week off from running afterwards to let myself “rest” (aka: do and eat whatever I felt like), and now I am finding it hard to get back into the swing of things. I ran 2 easy miles the Saturday after MCM, and then a little under 5 miles this past Tuesday morning, but nothing other than that. Saturday’s run felt hard (but it was on the treadmill and I think I was just not into it mentally) and Tuesday’s run felt awesome but left me with a little bit of residual ankle soreness which prevented a Wednesday morning run. I’m trying to tell myself that it’s okay to be easy on my body, especially since my racing season is essentially over. I have a 12K, 10K, 8K, and 4 miler still on the schedule before 2014 hits, but those are all fun, no-pressure races.

There has also been a major life routine change since MCM which hasn’t helped my running routine, but it is a GREAT change! Now that C is two, she is FINALLY at the same preschool as Audrey instead of 40 minutes away near B’s work. She is adjusting SO well & is so happy; I am thankful for an almost seamless transition! This came at the best time possible because B is switching locations in December, and her old daycare would not be on his way home anymore. It’s also way more convenient for those days when Brian is not around and I have to pick up both girls. I never have to go through the days of driving 80 total minutes out of my way to drop off and pick up babies anymore! Hooray!

Ironically, though, having both girls with me at the end of the day leads to less productivity time. I would use the 30-45 minute time between when Audrey and I got home and when B and Caroline got home to a) cook dinner, b) get in a quick treadmill run if I didn’t get one in earlier while Audrey plays or watches a movie next to me, or c) run errands…now I don’t get that time because they are constantly, um, needing me, bickering, running around the house like crazies, etc. This change also means Brian gets home earlier, though, so that’s awesome! But, as I mentioned, it’s cut out a significant chunk of potential running time, so I am still adjusting to that and trying to work in the time, especially now that it’s getting dark so early.

Anywayyyy, usually after big races, I have this tendency to over-analyze everything and constantly think of what I could have done better. I am not really going to do this for MCM, though, because I don’t know that we could have run a better race. The one thing I wonder about is what our official time would have been if we didn’t have a bathroom stop, but that is more curiosity than anything else. I also have this huge desire to run the Richmond Marathon in two weeks (hey, I’m already trained, ha ha), but B has basically said, “NO WAY, not supporting this one, you need to take it easy!” and he is probably right. Oh well – I’ll plan for MCM and Richmond next year!

Here are some of the professional photos & photos taken by Fisher House that have popped up since marathon day.

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Filed under Celebrations, Family, Fisher House, Fitness, Georgetown, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, Race, Races, Racing, Run, Running, Team Fisher House, Washington DC