Monday, November 25, 2013

My Official Marathon Photo....

         As overpriced as these photos are, I HAD to dish out money for my first ever marathon!! Doubt I'll ever pay $39 for a JPG again. But this one is lots of fun and captured how awesome I felt that very moment. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Running in the Bitter Cold

                 I am so excited. I did my first run in the bitter cold this season. It was 24 degrees at 6am. I had been dreading running in very cold temperatures. Knowing that I can easily talk myself out going out in the dark and cold mornings, I made sure I prepared all my clothes and gear the night before, all the way down to the two sticks of gum I'd need. Within 10 minutes of the alarm I was out the door, heading south on Connecticut Avenue. I saw a total of 3 other runners, so needless to say, I felt quite brave. When the sun came up an hour later, I turned off my headlamp, and smiled as the sun rose with such spectacular colors. I got home 8 miles later and felt wonderful. 

Here is what I took with me this morning and it all worked!:
* Warm hat
* Wool gauntlets
* Two layer of pants (one compression pants and one regular tights over it)
* Warm top
* Windbreaker 
* Headlamp
* Water bottle with water 
* IPhone (GPS/Music player in one) 
* Mace 
* Two Gu's 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mile 20- Basking in Family Support

 My family came to cheer me on at mile 20 of the Philly Marathon. Below is Luke with my hubby's phone taking his own pics. The entire race my hubby was texting me, cheering me on, encouraging me to keep going and at times sending messages from the kids.

              I had no idea I would get THIS emotional. It felt so nice to see everyone. 

13-week Marathon Training Schedule

Marathon Training Plan
GW Birthday Marathon Feb 16th, 2014

Okay, so after exhaustive research, I came up with this training plan to follow for my next marathon. Seeing as I JUST finished a marathon I needed to take 'healing' into consideration. I also suppose I could pay someone to make me a marathon training plan based on my goals. But I feel at this point I know my body enough to know what I need to tweak to meet my goals. My goals being to beat my time in my next marathon. I am adding in some speed work, some hills (Tuesdays) and the back to back long runs will help me get stronger and heal faster. The idea of having three 20 milers scares me a bit, but I know it will provide me with the confidence I need going into a race wanting to PR.

Total miles



3 speed


3 speed


3 speed


3 speed


3 speed


3 speed


3 speed


3 speed


3 speed


3 speed


3 speed


3 speed


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

X-Mas Wishlist- Stocking Stuffers for the Runner in Your Life

Balega Socks 
         Running socks ARE expensive, BUT as gifts you get even ONE for a runner and they would love you forever. I promise. Make sure you get their size. 

Nathan Quick View Hydration Pack

    I have used mine on every single run from the short 4 milers to the marathon. It's my constant companion. I love this water bottle. You will only win when you get one of these for your runner. 

Nathan Hydration Nathan Hydration 2013 Tri-Color Reflective Vest

     Any reflectivewear means you care!! this one is easy to put on over anything and does the job. I have owned the ankle and wrist ones and they scratch and do not feel right. 
Knuckle Lights 
           These are highly recommended on the Women's Running Network. 

Running Magnets 
                Make sure they are magnets NOT stickers. 

Pepper Spray 
                  I carry mine whenever I run very early, very late or in the dark. 

Marshall's Gift Certificate 
                All sensible runners shop at Marshall's. They can get twice as much for the money. 

Nike Thermal Running Gloves 
                 Runnig gloves are a step above regular gloves. Says you take your loved one's running seriously. I would LOVE these (hint, hint). 

Facts about the GW Marathon (Feb 16, 2014)

Did some online research on the GW Birthday Marathon and here is what I found: 

Course: Three-loop course through Greenbelt, Maryland and the U.S.D.A. Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.  USATF-certified, Boston Marathon qualifier. Course map here.

ten aid stations, at approximately the 2.4, 5.8, 7.9, 9.7, 13.2, 15.2, 17.0, 20.4, 22.5 and 24.3 mile points.  Water and Gatorade at all; GU at many

* They have a post-race party

 the last 1.2 miles of the course are straight uphill

Easy to get in and out of

* race day packet pick up, 

* reasonably priced, 

* nice long sleeve tech tee, 

* good organization, 

* great volunteers and plenty of water/Gatorade stops. 

* post race food and drink were amazing.

organized by DC Road Runners Club and is one of the longest continuously held marathons in the United States

* some years it's been bitterly cold. with temperatures in the high 20's and strong winds, windchill will likely be in the teens. We urge all runners to bring plenty of layers, and to be prepared for the cold. 

* Race starts at about 10am, so you can sleep in a bit (last year it was about 40 degrees)

* It's a small marathon

* Lots of people seem to use it as a training run for longer races. 

*  Runners share roads with vehicle traffic

* personal audio is strongly discouraged; they ask that you 'keep the volume down if you must.'

For the first time, this year, bus service will be available to and from the Metro starting when the metro opens. Look for a Chariots for Hire mini bus with a "GW Marathon" sign.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reflection....what went well, what could be improved

          I am on to my next adventure folks...The George Washington's Birthday Marathon on Feb 16th, 2014. I have chosen the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 Training Program and I will be formally starting with week 7 on that plan (which will be Monday for me) I am pumped to get started! But, in order to do better on this new marathon I need to make a list of what I could do better and what I did well. 

What worked:
* Carrying my own hand-held hydration water bottle was a wonderful idea. 
* I planned well for the weather. Since it will be much colder in February, I will need to start taking good notes as to what is appropriate clothing for each temperature. Maybe keep a log and that way I will know exactly what to put on that day. 
* Wearing a cap was great, the sun came out and I did not have to deal with glare. No sunglasses needed. 
* Listening to an audiobook at the beginning and at around the halfway point doing music also worked well. 
* Drink to thirst, take an S-cal tablet every hour and a GU every half hour. 
* Vaseline helped with chafing!! Had zero chafing!!!
* Half an hour of stretching and 20 minute of walking right after helped enormously with recovery. 
* Juicing before and after race also helped keep me strong. 
* Wear t-shirt from a prior race to remind self that, "You've got this!!"
* Wearing my MT1010 New balance sneakers was awesome. The minimalist aspect allowed me to run with the correct form. 
* Checking behind me before I moved 'lanes' so as to not knock into anyone. 
* Credit card and extra phone charger were in the pocket of my hydration water bottle and NOT on my belt. 

What I need to do better:
* Drink coffee at home, about 2 hours before race. 
* I seriously need to carry 10 easy-on-the-stomach flavored GU's. New products offered may or may not agree with me. I think I will go back to Espresso Love flavor GU's. The Vanilla started tasting WAY too sweet and at the end I could not take any more down. 
* DO buy thrift store clothes for the race....less hassle. 
* Have a lot more music on my playlist. I think I am a bit tired of the music I have. 
* Have several audiobooks to choose from in case the one I chose does not work out. 
 * If I need to wear pants, I need to get some comfy, (non-compression) warm tights. 
* Get a GPS watch once and for all. The Map My Run app has failed me twice now on my long runs and I am not sure why. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Finished My First Ever Marathon!!

                    Yesterday, I finished my first marathon. Today I am feeling great. I took a long, hot bath in the evening after and took some Advil before going to bed and I woke up feeling amazing this morning. My ankles are a little achy and there is a general soreness all over my body, but I seriously could have gone for a short run this morning and that just blew me away. So I must have done 'something' right. With the exception of a few things I think I would pretty much do the same things next time around, and yes, there will be a next one. I will again carry a hydration bottle with me, I would bring great new music, I would again listen to an audiobook for the first half (13 miles) and pump in music from miles 13-26.2. I would also take the salt pills (S-Caps) every hour on the hour again, and the Gu's every half hour to help me not bonk. I don't think a first marathon experience could have gone better.....and for that I am so proud and relieved. 

                      This is me two days before my race.....little did I know my life was about to change, forever. I was going to be a marathoner and that is one of those things that no one can take from you. 

                      Because the race was in Philadelphia we stayed at my sister-in-law's for two nights. I juiced three bottles of veggie juice for the weekend and had a bottle before the race and one after. This one has red cabbage, carrots, apples, beets, and yellow squash. My brother-in-law saw one of the bottle in my purse and asked why I had a bottle of pasta sauce with me. I had to laugh. Carrying a glass bottle of red fluid in your purse IS a bit odd. My mom, who is not a runner, is convinced I have such good endurance because of my daily veggie juicing habit. Could be true. All I know is I have not gotten sick since I began 2 years ago. 

              My daughter, sister-in-law and I went to the Expo for the Philly Marathon which was in Downtown Philly and although my sister-in-law and I chose to separate in order to be able to shop around, we both ended up buying Sweaty Bands! Check out this rack of yummy Sweaty Bands!!! Both Nora and I could not decide! I bought 3, one for Nora, one for me and one for my sister-in-law. 

                  Nora got a free medal from one of the tables at the Expo. She said to me, "Mom, I got a free medal for doing nothing!" 

                   Because Philly, as large a city as it is, oddly enough does not have train service at 5am. Therefore, I had to get a taxi to drive me to the race Sunday morning. The ride cost me $40 but the peace of mind was worth every penny (It was $2.70/mile for 14 miles). When I got off the cab this was the view I got.....what a beautiful city! It also helped tremendously that it was unusually warm for a November morning. It was about 55 degrees...... 

                     The race begins and I finally walk over the start line at 7:21am. I was one of the last corrals so I got to see the thousands of other runner pass before me. 30,000 people ran this race and if you like people watching, races are so fun!

                This is about a mile into the race. This is the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. 

Schuylkill Rive.., PA

Schuylkill Rive.., PA

Schuylkill Rive.., PA

Schuylkill Rive.., PABoathouse Row

            At mile 13 the half-marathoner racers were done. This is when my music came on and the audiobook got paused.  

Along Fairmount Park

                   I did it. Check out this medal!!  cried when I saw my family at mile 20, I cried at mile 25-26 and I cried after I got this medal placed over my shoulder. 

When done, I found a place to get my stretches done. Half hour worth of stretching and bending. On the way to the SEPTA train station I passed by Academy of Natural Sciences and this giant realistic dinosaur was moving and roaring.  Very cool city indeed. I think both the stretching and the walking were very helpful to my recovery. 

              After, I added a new car magnet to my car. Of course, Nora had to pose next to it. She is such a little momma!! Oh, and she is wearing her Sweaty Band!! Actually, she even slept with it on her head and earned a big headache from it....I guess we all learn about our body as we make such silly mistakes.  

                      I wore my 50K t-shirt I earned from the West Virginia Trilogy to the race in order to give me courage during this race. It must have worked! The medal is absolutely gorgeous!! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

2 whole days left until my FIRST marathon!!

                       This is finally becoming a reality!!...At this time in 3 days time I will most likely be a marathoner! I don't think I am nervous about the run itself but I am very, very anxious about how I am going to be getting there. Seeing as it's in a city I have never been in during the day, I am nervous about the logistics of how I will actually get to the event.  Once I get there, I think I will be much more relaxed and I will know exactly what to do running-wise, hydration-wise, calorie-wise. Mostly, I can't wait for it all to begin. I love the race expos, I love the pre-race jitters, I love people-watching while running, I love the feeling of the 'shared struggle' we all experience on race day; very few experiences match being in a race. Aside from finishing, my other goals are to have fun, to dress successfully for the weather and to prevent bonking at all costs. Will post pics from the expo....

Monday, November 11, 2013

Philly Marathon Logistics



The GORE-TEX® Philadelphia Marathon will begin and end near our world-renowned Museum of Art at the head of the majestic Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The address for the Museum of Art is 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130. You know, right in front of those famous steps that Rocky sprinted up, inspiring countless imitators ever since.
Center City is compact and very walkable. However, if your feet get tired, we encourage runners and spectators to use public transportation on race day.
Philadelphia's mass transit system, SEPTA, offers two subway lines, regional rail service to and from the surrounding suburbs, and bus service throughout the city. Several SEPTA buses (Nos. 7, 32, 38, 43, and 48) currently serve the Museum area.
Please check with SEPTA at (215) 580-7800 for information about schedules, drop-off and pick-up locations, and route detours. Also, if you're planning to do a lot of "running around" on race day, please ask about SEPTA's unlimited access one-day pass.
To catch a cab in Center City, just head for the nearest street corner and flag one down. Or call the City Cab Company (215) 492-6500 or Quaker City Cab (215) 726-6000.

Go Directly to SEPTA's Trip Planner: HERE
I went on the site and could not get clear directions from the suburbs. So it looks like I have to call them directly to get directions for 4:30am from Conshohoken to Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Art Museum) 


There are several parking lots and garages conveniently located on or near Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Discount parking coupons for select Central Parking System locations are available under the "Attractions" tab.
Be sure to call ahead as rates and availability are subject to change.
The GORE-TEX® Philadelphia Marathon has no direct relationship with any parking companies. Some lots are available for parking without an attendant upon entering, with payment upon exit.

  • The Start/Finish area opens at 4:30am – Runners:  Arrive by 5:00am with your bib fastened and visible on the front of your attire.
  • The start of the race will not be delayed due to lines at security checkpoints.
  • Only clear bags will be allowed in and accepted at Gear Check, all subject to inspection. 
  • Arrive with the event issued gear check tag (top of bib tear-off strip) affixed to your bag.
  • No Backpacks or satchels will be allowed.
  • Hydration packs or belts are subject to screening.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

List of things to pack for the Philly Marathon

* Compression shorts (7")
* Nathan water bottle (with pocket with clear window in it for my iPhone
* Iphone extra battery charger (charged)
* My 50K tech shirt
* One long sleeve top
* My green, lightweight shell (in case of rain)
* 2 pair of socks (in case I lose one)
* A cap with a visor/ a warm hat (in case it turns very cold)
* 2 scrunchies (I wear my hair in 2 pony tails, on each side, at the bottom of my head.)
* Warm Athleta Pants (in case it's in the 30's)
* Vaseline
* Sports Sunscreen
* Watch
* My 'good' sports bra (not cotton!!)
* Ten packets of Bee Stinger Gels (Approx. 120 calories each/ will try to take 1 every half hour)
* Thrift store clothes to wear from 5-7am (before race).
* S-caps (salt pills) /Take one each hour
* Ibuprofen
* Compression calf sleeves (I wear these AFTER, when I go to bed believe it or not)
* Sunglasses
* Earphones (Earbuds)
* Medals (try to convince my young nephews to get into racing with my bling)
* Warm headband (in case it's really cold)
* Razor to shave my legs (80% chance I'll be running in shorts)
* Deodorant
* Tech intimates (to present chafing)
* Mace (for my train ride alone at 4am in Philly)
* Sugarfree gum sticks (6). I chew 3 at a time, 2 hours each.