From Running On, Sand To Flying On Asphalt

With the exception of Tuesday’s run, training went well last week leading up to my first big race of the fall racing season.  When I got off of the sand and onto asphalt again, I felt like I was flying!

Since we were still at the beach and didn’t want to drive into town, Bill and I ran 6 miles during low tide on the beach heading north from our house. Low tide was around 1:30 PM so we headed out around 12:30.  The weather was still quite good, and a decent breeze kept us pretty comfortable.  We completed our run at a 9:45 average pace.


We drove home from dinner and taking sunset pictures over the Sound in the dark on Monday evening during high tide, and had to hug the dunes to keep from driving in the water.  I was more than a little freaked out!  We decided to get up and take a walk during high tide on Tuesday morning just to see how the tide compared to the night before during the super moon.  We walked for 2 miles at a leisurely pace – I’m talking letting your dog stop to sniff a hydrant every ten steps sort of pace… HighTideHittingShelf

We walked at a leisurely pace until I got hit by a wave, that is!  I had crouched down and taken the above photo, and stayed down to catch the next wave that would hopefully slap up over the little sand shelf.  Well, it came in bigger than I expected and slapped me on the side of the head!  Instead of getting a great picture of the wave, I jerked upright and took the following picture!  HaHa!  My pace picked up big time as I stomped back home to get the sand off of my face and out of my hair!


Later in the afternoon Bill and I ran 6 miles on beach during low tide.  A front was moving in and bringing forceful winds from the south with it.  My run was miserable as I ran directly into the wind at an average 12:39 pace.  Heading back home and with the wind to my back, I maintained a 10:07 pace.  Two ambulances went screaming by, and I wondered if they were coming to get me since I looked like I was ready to collapse!


We drove home on Wednesday which meant a morning of vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing the bathrooms and kitchen, cleaning out the refrigerator, and loading up the car.  After a week of near perfect weather with low humidity, Bill braved the increasing temperature and sweltering humidity while putting the hurricane shutter back on the house.  He looked like he’d run a marathon when he came back inside!

No one from my MRTT group was around on Thursday morning, so I slept in a little and got up too late for my usual 6 mile tempo run.  I ran 4 miles (9:36 pace) alone on trails behind house before my first client showed up.

An hour later I ran/walked 3 miles with my client at a 12:52 pace.  I was super excited to see her improve on her time so much in just a few weeks.  She is doing so well, and it makes me so happy to see her try so hard!

At noon, I had some spare time so I headed back out to run 2 miles at a 9:05 pace.  Even though I’m not worried about being prepared for Ragnar, it makes me feel better to get a few two-a-days in.  Who am I kidding?  I couldn’t stand that I hadn’t run 6 miles earlier as planned, so I had to get those 2 miles in!

Since we were racing on Sunday, I wanted to take Saturday off and decided to run on Friday, my usual rest day.  When I sent the Cruiser email out saying that I wouldn’t be out on Saturday morning for the group run, Jerome replied that he was heading out on Friday for a mid-day run.  We met at a local park and ran 8 miles an 8:33 pace.  It sure didn’t hurt that it was 74° at noon!  As Jerome put it, “It would be a runner’s sin not to run on such a gorgeous day!”
We were so excited at getting a week-day run in together that we attempted a jump picture using my self-timer function on my camera.  Looks like I need to go back and reread a certain post I wrote!

On Saturday I didn’t set my alarm so I could sleep in and rest before my big race on Sunday, but I woke up at 7 AM and got up anyway.  I pretty much relaxed most of the day, except for going to the running store to pick up my race packet, and shopping for groceries.  For dinner I broiled salmon, made a salad, and roasted homemade sweet potato fries (my friend Mary turned me on to them as a pre-race dinner staple).  I was in bed by 9 PM, and started reading Bart Yasso’s My Life On The Run to get myself psyched!

I didn’t sleep very well, had weird dreams, woke up with an upset stomach; and realized that it was just a case of pre-race jitters.  I’d trained hard for this race, and had my expectations set high even though I hadn’t verbalized them with anyone.

Bill and I got up bright and early on Sunday morning and drove to Leesburg for the Leesburg 20K, and I nailed it!  I felt challenged, but comfortable running a 1:45:30 (8:30 pace), and won my age group.


I have to say I’m very pleased with where I stand right now for the fall.  DC Ragnar is up next in mid-September, and my fall goal race is the Hokie Half Marathon in mid-October.

Total weekly workouts:
Running – 38.4 miles
Run/walk – 3 miles
Walking – 2 miles
Lifting – 1 hour


  • Questions:
  • Runners, do you have a fall race that you are targeting as your focal race?
  • If so, how is your training coming along?
  • Who raced this weekend?

2014 Leesburg 20K Race Recap

I hope you like lots of pictures, because today’s 2014 Leesburg 20K recap is chock-full of them!  Proceeds from today’s race benefited the YMCA of Loudoun County’s youth programs, and it’s always nice to run a race that benefits something I find important.  I ran this race back in 2004, and I can’t believe that I haven’t run it since.  I think the fear of our August heat and humidity has kept me me from signing up!

The weather forecast this year; however, was pretty good considering it’s mid-August.  A 7:30 AM race start got us going in 68°, but it heated up quickly to around 80° by the time we finished.  Still, for mid-August, I’m not complaining!  Much of the race was run on the W&OD Trail, a trail that I train on regularly.  We were in shade much of the time and that certainly helped keep us comfortable.  Despite feeling pretty comfortable, I was drenched with sweat when I finished.

Yesterday’s packet pick-up went easy, breezy at the Leesburg Potomac River Running Store.  While there we picked up fuel for Bill, and a new shirt for me (it’s the green one I’m wearing at the race, and I now consider my lucky shirt).  I love everything about the race shirt!  It fits me perfectly, it’s white, it’s got great colors on the logo, and it’s got a cow and barn on the front.  This former farm girl is stoked!


If you remember from previous race recaps, all =PR= Race Series races give away a little pin that goes along with the race theme.  This year’s pin is a cow’s head, a Holstein in fact.

As I mentioned on Friday, I was really excited to run today’s race because I was meeting up with so many friends.  My run and races truly are parties on the trail!  I’m a lucky girl!

At 7 AM I had plans with Courtney, Julie, Jenny, and Kathryn to have a little blogger meet-up before heading over to meet my MRTT buddies at 7:15 on the other side of Tuscarora Mill.

What none of us planned on was traffic…  It was quite slow getting into the parking garage, and by the time Bill and I got to the top of the garage, most of the spaces were taken; and there were still long lines of traffic trying to get in.

Courtney and Julie were still stuck in that traffic when we snapped this quick picture with Kathryn and Jenny before Erin and I took off for our next photo opp.  And yes, Kathryn and Jenny are as sweet and nice in person as they look in the picture!


L to R: Erin, Kathryn, Jenny, and Deb

The problem with having so many friends you want to see before the race is finding time to make it to the porta potties before the race starts.  I rushed to the porta potties only to find the lines extremely long, and took off for plan B.  Unfortunately, other local runners remembered that there was a porta potty just down the street on the trail, too, so by the time I got there, there was a short line.  While in line, I met a girl named Jenny (not the one pictured above) and chatted a while; and little did I know what a speedy girl she is!  More on this Jenny later…

Just as I got back to our designated multi-chapter MRTT group picture spot, they were finishing up.  Erin saw me run up, and called our chapter back together.  I was shocked to see Sue there, so I grabbed her and had her join our chapter picture.  Sue had just finished running three miles and she was going to run another three miles after the race so she could get her 18-mile training run in for the day.  What a rock star!


After our picture, we headed over to the race start.  I positioned myself up close to the front since I planned to race this one!  Erin and I got a pre-race selfie before we went our separate ways.


Early in the race I saw Dora and her husband Michael just in front of me, so I did my one-and-only sprint-photo-fartlek to pass them and snap this picture.  Since I was racing, I decided that I couldn’t afford to use up any excess energy, and any additional pictures would have to be taken on the run, and so what if they were blurry!


And speaking of blurry photos, I couldn’t resist capturing this.  Sometimes it’s okay for guys to run without shirts, sometimes it’s not.  Believe me, this time it was okay!

This is without a doubt my favorite spot on the 44.5-mile long trail, and I decided to take a photo on the run so you could see how fast I was running.  HaHa!  Seriously, I was not about to stop on an uphill section, and have to start up again.


My friend Jerome paced me at about an 8:45 average pace for the first six miles until he stopped to stretch.  We ran eight miles together on Friday at about an 8:30 pace and I felt great, so I trusted him today.  Once on my own, I kept my pace at pretty much an 8:30, until late in the race when I picked it up.

As you can see from the course elevation, it was a great race for reverse splits, and that’s exactly what I planned, and executed!


The course was an out-and-back, so we were able to see the lead runners heading back toward us which is always very cool.  I love watching for the front runners and encouraging them.  It’s like having front row tickets at a ball game!  We were also able to watch for friends, and give them high fives as they ran by.  At my position in the pack we were a little spread out, but it looked like sections were pretty crowded.  All-in-all, it didn’t seem too bad, and the non-racers using the trail that morning didn’t seem too bothered by the 969 of us racing the 20K (there were 449 5K finishers).

As always, =PR= had photographers at the finish line, and one snapped this fun finish line photo of me.  If you remember, their photos are available free for download, which is a huge race perk.


Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running

I crossed the finish line in 1:45:30 (8:30 pace) and was immediately handed a finisher’s medal and bottle of water.


After we finished, I chatted with these two ladies, Bonnie and Angelika, and thanked them for pacing me for the last four miles.  The three of us jockeyed back and forth, until Bonnie pulled ahead with a half mile to go, and finished about a half a minute in front of us.  Having these two ladies in my sights kept me focused and challenged.


L to R: Bonnie, Angelika, and Deb

I worked my way back to the finish line to watch for my friends to come in, and soon saw Erin and snapped this picture.  I love that I caught her with both feet off the ground!


I was happy to finally find Courtney and Julie after the race (we did see each other along the course), and have time to catch up.  They told me that because they had gotten caught in the parking garage traffic mess, they had started the race late.  The great thing about chip timing is that you still get your true race time.


L to R: Dora, Courtney, Julie, and Deb

After a girls photo, we decided to let the guys join us.


L to R: Jerome, Michael, Dora, Courtney, Julie, Deb, and Bill

Remember my bathroom buddy Jenny?  Well, she just happened to be the second place women’s finisher with a time of 1:25:57 (6:56 pace)!  I told you she was speedy!


As always, there was plenty of food, but I had worked so hard that I had no appetite for about three hours after the race.  I did grab more water and a banana for later.


In addition to water, they had fruit juices, Gatorade, and sodas. I heard several people mention how the soda hit the spot after their hard run.


I chased this guy for about the first five miles and eventually passed him.  What does that make me?  A super badass?  I think so!  Anyway, I saw him in the food line and secretely snapped this picture.  What would I have done if he had turned around and caught me?  Yikes!


While roaming around looking for friends during the post-race festivities, I found my Cruiser buddies Murali, Vamshi, and Ravi, and got a chance to catch up with them.


Next we found Anne and realized that we had five of our DC Ragnar Relay team members together!  My next race will be Ragnar in mid-September, and I can’t wait!


Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay team members L to R: Anne, Ravi, Murali, Deb, and Bill

We heard an announcement that the 20K awards ceremony was about to start, and headed over to see if I’d placed.  Courtney and Julie were sweet enough to tag along and hang out with us!  They are so fun, and I wish we lived closer together so we could run together every week!


And guess what? I won my age group!  I was pretty stoked and felt like a little kid on Christmas morning when I received my prize.


Age group first place prizes were a cowbell and a $25 gift certificate to Potomac River Running Store!  Yes, please; and thank you!


Overall it was a fantastic race; and any day that brings together so many of my running friends is a great day for me!

  • Questions:
  • A 20K is not a very common distance for a race, have you ever run one?
  • Shirtless guys at a race:  Never, or only if they’re easy on the eyes?
  • Who raced this weekend?

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I’m going to keep it to five…  And what better way to dump a lot of pictures on you that I took while on vacation, but didn’t use!

I have eclectic reading interests.

Bill’s beach trip dessert contributions


What a good wet boy


Seaweed and surf at sunrise


Our Fuze cell tower boosters


Post-run dip in the ocean


Post-run old fashioned camera selfie


Bill’s amazing super moon photo


Sun rays and the sea


It’ll do in a pinch


Their whinnying woke us up (at 4:30 AM)


I’m shamelessly pimping myself out


Until we return next summer…



  • Questions:
  • What types of books do you like to read?
  • What are your weekend plans?
  • Who’s racing?

The Five Groups Of Friends I’ve Made On The Running Trails

It’s time for Friday Five linkup with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!

Each week Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar either suggest a theme for that week’s Friday Five Linkup, or leave it up to individual bloggers to come up with their own Free Friday theme.  This week’s theme is Free Friday


 Hmmmm…….  So what should I talk about?

Well, actually, I was inspired by a random tweet I just sent.


So for today’s Friday Favorites I will talk about my five different, yet equally important, sets of running friends I’ve made on the running trails!

1.  First off, there’s Miles…  Miles was not only my very first serious running friend, but he has been my running mentor, my coach, and my inspiration.  We met at a gym where I worked and he was a member.  I always made sure to be around when he came in to workout, and I still vividly remember the day he told me that he had qualified for Boston.  I was in runner’s love!

A few years later, I told him that I wanted to run a marathon and he nagged encouraged me until I joined him and his guy friends for noon-time Tuesday track intervals.  He sent tons of running information my way, helped me develop my race plan, told me what to eat before my race, and coached me to a BQ.

Miles and I have run many training miles and races together over the last 17 years, and we still try to get together at least once a year for a reunion run. MilesPancakeRunMilesShirts

2.  Second on my list of long-time running friends would be my BRF Susan.  We met because we both moved into the same newly developed community at about the same time.  I’d see her on the trails running with three other ladies, but I was always too intimidated to ask to join them…  They were training for a marathon, and I was just running for fitness.

Eventually I trained for, and ran my first marathon; and while chatting with these ladies one day, they invited me to join them.  I fit right in with their pace, and for years there were five of us that met at 6 AM every weekday to run before we got our young children up for school.  The years have passed, friends have moved away, but Susan and I still try to run together at least once a week.  Not only is she my BRF, but she’s a BFF, too!


3.  Next I met the Cruisers, who have become my peeps!  I feel like they are my identity in the running community because I can be found running endless miles with them on the W&OD Trail on Saturday mornings, and it’s been like that for years.  I first met most of them when I was their coach in a marathon training program I put on for a local gym.

Most of my marathon recaps will include the name of at least one Cruiser, and all of my glorious point-to-point training runs were with this amazing group of friends.


4.  I would be remiss not to mention my newest running friends, my MRTT girls and constant Instagram subjects.  I met these fabulous ladies in January, and when you meet someone two to three times per week in the cold and dark, you bond quickly!

What I love about this group of almost 300 local moms, is the variety of running levels and how everyone can find a compatible running buddy within our chapter.  There happen to be about six of us around my pace that have gotten very close as we’ve met regularly to train for the same races.  I will always be grateful to my Cruiser friend Amanda who introduced me to this new group of running friends.


5.  And newest to the list are my blogging buddies who I only get to meet at certain races, and spend a few minutes with before the gun fires.  I still look forward to every chance meet-up, and we usually have a twitter thread going for a few days before the race deciding where and what time to meet.

On Sunday, I will be meeting Courtney, Julie, and Jenny at the Leesburg 20K, and I can’t wait!  And of course, being the running social butterfly that I am, I’m hoping to meet lots of other local runners at upcoming races.  So if you see that I’m training for a race that you plan to run, let me know, and we’ll organize a meet-up!


Not even an honorable mention…  Although we’ve run many miles and races together, I can’t list my hubby here because we didn’t meet through running.  We met when I threw a snowball at his dorm window when I was a freshman at Virginia Tech, but that’s a story for another day!


  • Questions:
  • Where’s the most unusual place you’ve met new friends?
  • Married people:  How did you meet your spouse?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

Weekly Running Recap With A Little Sand Thrown In

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s time for another weekly running recap, but being on vacation has all of my days running together!

Last week’s runs included time on asphalt, concrete, sand, and a boardwalk.  My legs would have loved for all of my runs to be on the boardwalk, but a girl’s gotta run on whatever surface is available, and that’s exactly what I did.

Early Monday morning, I went on a 2.64 run/walk on the trails behind my house with my client.  We averaged a 13:34 pace, and I’m thrilled that she’s consistently maintaining her new faster pace.


After I finished with my morning clients, I lifted weights and then walked alone for 4 miles.  Little did I know that I wouldn’t be doing either again that week.

By 5:30 on Tuesday morning, my MRTT buds and I were warming up for what would be an 8-mile run including 12 hill repeats.  My overall pace for the workout was 9:38, which is pretty normal for me for that workout.  We had six runners show up for the hill workout, but only three of us did the extra mileage before and after.


Bill and I got up bright and early on Wednesday to drive to the beach, so the extent of my working out was dragging my bags to our SUV and then schlepping them up to the beach house once we arrived.  Bill got a really good workout taking the hurricane shutters off the house, though.

We ran on the beach during low tide on Thursday for our 6.5 mile run.  After about a 1.5-mile warm-up, I decided to run the middle segment at tempo pace.   My overall pace was 8:41 because we had a pretty easy pace for our warm-up and cool-down.


On Friday, we ran 12 miles at a 9:34 pace down in Corolla and points south.  Long runs on the sand can be very boring and taxing on the legs, so we opted to drive down for a 7 AM run.  Also, low tide wasn’t until about 12:30, so we were able to avoid the hot mid-day sun with an early morning run.


Saturday’s run took us back to Corolla to run on the paved surfaces and an opportunity to pick up a few groceries before we headed home.  We ran 6.2 miles at a 9:43 pace, and had some fun taking running pictures of each other while we on the Currituck Banks Reserve boardwalk.  This picture was courtesy of a friendly biker.


Bill decided to take Sunday off and let his foot heal a little more, so I went out for a 6-mile recovery run at an easy 10:52 pace.  I ran mid-day during low tide, but the weather was delightful, so I couldn’t complain.


Total weekly workouts:
Running – 38.7 miles
Run/walk – 2.64 miles
Walking – 4 miles
Lifting – 1 hour

I didn’t get but one walk in last week, but since I was on vacation, it was okay!  I’m really not worried about my training for Ragnar.  I’m pretty sure that if Ragnar were next weekend, I’d be fine.  Famous last words…


  • Questions:
  • What would be your preferred running surface?  Asphalt, concrete, sand, or boardwalk? ~ Boardwalk for me!
  • Are you bored with my beach run recaps yet?
  • Who raced this weekend?

A Running Tour Of Corolla

Despite saying that we didn’t want to drive into town any more often than necessary, we drove back down to Corolla yesterday so Bill could run on an even surface rather than the uneven sand.  If you remember, he hurt his foot on our deck just a few days ago, and yesterday it was still pretty sore.

Again, we parked at the Currituck Lighthouse parking lot where there’s ample parking and public restrooms.  We headed north first and turned around at the cattleguard just like on Friday’s long run.  Believe it or not, this is all that keeps the horses from leaving the 4-wheel-drive section of the beach!


While taking a picture of the cattleguard, a friendly guy biking with his family stopped and offered to take our picture.


As we headed back south, we turned into Currituck Banks Reserve and ran out the boardwalk to the Sound.  The boardwalk is about half a mile long and feels so good on the legs!


The trip out to the estuary is worth it for the view.


And there’s even plenty of seating for anyone needing to have a place to rest before making the return trip to their cars.


On our way back, we decided to have some fun with my iPhone and take pictures of us running with different cool angles.


We took turns holding the phone low to the ground and taking bursts of pictures with the hopes of getting a fun and different shot.


There’s something about taking a picture of someone running around a corner that makes them look much more badass!


We were being a little cautious because the pine needles were a little slippery.  I guess we weren’t being to badass after all!


And, my favorite shot of the day!


After we finished playing around in the reserve, we headed back to Route 12 and ran down toward the Currituck Lighthouse and the Whalehead Club, a roaring 20′s mansion and hunting lodge.


While running we realized that we’ve never gone inside to tour the club house, so we’ll have to take of that some rainy day.  I’m sure it would be a fascinating tour!


The clubhouse sets along the banks of Currituck Sound.  With ample grassy areas to play on, water activities to watch, and a lighthouse to climb, it’s a great place to take the family for a picnic.

So there you have it… our running tour of Corolla!  If you’re in the area, I highly recommend taking your time to check out these beautiful spots.

  • Questions:
  • Where was your favorite walking or running tour?
  • Have you ever gone stand-up paddleboarding? ~ It’s on my list of things to try!

Running Along Route 12, Without Getting Killed

Fitting our long run in while on vacation at the beach is never a problem.  Deciding just where to run it is…

Yesterday we decided to try running along Route 12 so we would have a consistent running surface, and a change in scenery.  Running along the shore at low tide is beautiful, but the scenery doesn’t really change and it gets boring after a few miles.

We drove to Corolla, and parked at the Currituck Lighthouse parking lot.  As soon as we got there we saw this sign.  A 5K every Wednesday morning – how cool is that?  Registration is $38 for adults; unfortunately, we drove down last Wednesday and are heading home early this Wednesday, so we won’t be down here to run it.  I have to remember this for next summer!


Anyway, back to our long run!  We headed north for 1.5 miles to the cattleguard and turned around there.  The cattleguard keeps the horses in the 4-wheel drive section of the beach, and it’s always amazed me that they don’t try jumping across it.

Heading back south we could see the lighthouse in the distance, and our 3-mile mark.


I stopped to snap a few pictures along the way when I saw something particularly interesting.  In keeping with the wild horse theme from the 16th century Spanish ship wrecks where horses swam to the shores of the Outer Banks, there are horse statues all along Corolla, each painted and/or decorated differently.  This one is painted to look like the sea horizon.


And I assume this one is supposed to be Pegasus, only painted blue…


And this bronze horse is rearing up in dominance…


The great thing about running where you know your way around is knowing where the porta-potties are!  This one is hidden in the alley behind Winks.  They used to have a guest restroom, but now it’s for employees and they send their shoppers out back!


As we got into “town,” I snapped a picture of Bill running along Route 12.  Here it’s not too bad as long as we were really careful watching for cars to turn in and out of the shopping centers.


The mile markers were handy, but didn’t correspond with our starting point, so we stuck with tracking our run on RunKeeper.


We ran facing traffic and once we got south of Corolla, traffic got much heavier.  We stayed as close to the outer side of the pedestrian lane as possible, but at times I was nervous I was going to trip on something that would send me flying into traffic.  I can be quite klutzy without even trying!


The Outer Banks are pretty narrow at this point and here we were running very close to Currituck Sound.  I snapped this picture of the Sound right as a biker rode by.


Heading south we were in the shade much of the time which was great considering the sun had come out and it was getting pretty warm.  Once we got to 4.5 miles south of our car, we turned around to finish our 12-mile run, mostly in the sun at this point.


Back up in Corolla, we stopped in front of Wings so I could hang with the pirate.


And then we stopped at Ace Hardward for me to refill my water bottles, and then channel my inner Edith Ann and sit in the big chair!


We finished our run in 1:54:06 (9:30 pace), stretched, and then hopped in the car to drive over to visit Julie’s aunts, cousins, and sister who were also vacationing near by.

They greeted us with a bevy of delicious post-run treats.  I chose the blueberry crumb cake and it was the best I’ve ever had!  It hit the spot, which really surprised me because usually, I don’t want sweets right after a long, hard run.


Back at the beach house, Bill took his shoes off and showed me his foot.  This happened through a band-aid and two pairs of socks…


On Thursday afternoon, Bill ripped a chunk of skin off of the bottom of his foot on that nail sticking up on the left.  I told him to suck it up and come run with me!


You can thank me for not posting a picture of his foot!


  • Questions:
  • What do you like to do on vacation?
  • What is your best vacation memory EVER?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

Running On The Outer Banks

If you follow me on Instagram, you’re well aware that Bill and I drove down to the Outer Banks on Wednesday.  Bill’s parents built the beach house in 1987, and we now own it with his siblings.

We left our home early in the morning and arrived in Duck around 1 PM.  Our first stop was at the Coastal Cantina where we decided to treat ourselves to a margarita with lunch.  Don’t laugh, but this just might have been a first for me!

Bill ordered fish tacos and I got a grilled chicken salad.  Both were very good, but not nearly as good as the frozen margaritas.  They were perhaps the best I’ve ever had!  I’m the queen of margaritas, so that’s saying a lot!


The weather was perfect, and we had no choice but to sit outside.  Seriously, there wasn’t any indoor seating, but we didn’t complain because the weather was perfect and it sure didn’t hurt to have a view like this of Currituck Sound!


After a leisurely lunch, we headed north to Corolla and stopped at Harris Teeter to stock up on groceries before heading on to the beach house.  As you can see in the first picture, our beach house is on the 4-wheel drive section of OBX, and we don’t like to drive into town any more than we have to.

The breeze was coming in off of the ocean when we arrived which was great because that usually means that it’s a little cooler and less humid.  Our first order of business is taking down the hurricane shutters and getting the air conditioning turned on to cool off the house.  The breeze was amazing, and we were able to open the windows and cool the house down the old fashioned way!  That doesn’t happen very often in August here on the Outer Banks.


Our dinners usually consist of some sort of seafood, a veggie, and a salad.  Wednesday night was a salad, shrimp, and asparagus.


Low tide on Thursday was 10:30 AM, so we headed out around 11 for our run.  Running on the Outer Banks can be tricky, especially if you live on the 4-wheel drive section of the beach.  We either have to run at low tide, run in deep sand during high tide, or drive into town to run along the roads.

I forgot to bring any of my sun visors, so I had to borrow one of Bill’s hats.  It looked and felt terrible because it didn’t have a ponytail hole!


We hadn’t even gotten off of our deck when we saw the horses meandering toward our neighbor’s house.  We stopped and took a picture before heading on our way.


We set out for a 6-mile run, but then decided to run to the fence 3.5 miles south of our house with the plan to run a round-trip run of 7 miles.


On the way back we decided to stop running at 6.5 miles, and do a cool-down walk for the last half mile.  It was the longest half mile of my life!  Once back in front of our house, Bill took his shoes and socks off and walked in the cool surf.  I chose to just sit and chill.


After our run we checked out our neighbors’ little beach vehicle.  They use it to tote their beach umbrellas, chairs, drinks, etc. back and forth from their house to the beach.  They are retired and spend most of their summer down here, so they put it to good use!


And there you have it; the first of hopefully several great runs while vacationing on the Outer Banks!

  • Questions:
  • What’s on your agenda for the week?
  • What your favorite food and drink while at the beach?
  • Have you ever tried running on the sand?

Five Favorite Race Memories

It’s time for Friday Five linkup with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!

Each week Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar either suggest a theme for that week’s Friday Five Linkup, or leave it up to individual bloggers to come up with their own Free Friday theme.  This week’s theme is Five Race Memories


Listing these five memories didn’t take much thinking, and I rolled these out in a matter of minutes because they are without a doubt my top and favorite race memories.

1.  It goes without saying that my first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, is my favorite memory.  I had very specific goals for that race, and I met them.  My number one goal was to finish, and my number two goal was to qualify for Boston.  I completed both goals in the pouring rain that day, and I was thrilled!


2.  My second favorite race memory was my marathon PR at Steamtown.  Two years after my first marathon, I ran a 3:29:04 and haven’t been able to beat that time.  I was so overcome with emotion when I met my sub-3:30 goal that I cried.  And then I called Bill and my Dad.  I also finished third in the masters division that day.


3.  My 2010 Boston Marathon is my third favorite race memory.  The Cruisers had a road trip to Boston and even got upgraded to the Presidential suite at the Hyatt.  It was a amazing weekend that I will never forget!


4.  The JFK 50-Mile Ultramarathon ranks as my fourth favorite race memory.  Running for 10:50 straight is something you’ll never forget.  I ran with my best racing friend and mentor Miles, and enjoyed the benefits of an amazing crew.  Without them, I couldn’t have done it!


5.  Without a doubt, Bill’s first marathon in 2000 at Marathon In The Parks ranks high as one of my favorite race memories.  That day we added a whole new level of fun to our marriage.  I can’t even begin to guess the thousands of of miles we’ve run together since that day!



  • Questions:
  • If you’re a runner, what are your favorite running memories?
  • What fun things are on your weekend agenda?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

Living Healthy At The Beach

Bill and I are heading to the beach as I type, so I thought that today would be a good day to talk about surviving vacations while maintaining a little bit of a healthy lifestyle! I wrote this last year, so long-time-readers, this is a rerun; or as I prefer to say, “It’s a gently used blog post.”

When on vacation, we usually have more time to focus on our health than when we’re living in the rat-race of daily life, yet it’s human nature to do just the opposite. Here are some tips to keep you on track…


Be health conscious – Have some fun meals and by all means indulge in the local cuisine; however, one beignet per day when visiting New Orleans is plenty!  Think about your exercise routine.  You might not be able to fit in your regular workouts, but perhaps you can make up for it by walking instead of taking a cab.  When we were in Italy, we didn’t run a single day, but we walked everywhere and at the end of each day we were exhausted.  Also, stay sun-smart and use sunscreen at all times!


Eat healthy – Bill and I tend to eat even healthier at the beach.  We have more time to shop for and cook healthy meals, and rarely take shortcuts just to get a quick meal on the table.  When I’m at the beach and in the heat, I want light meals… fresh fruits, salads, roasted veggies, and seafood.  Make a list before you go to the grocery store and stick to it.  If you’re eating your meals out, plan one or two special dinners, and then order healthy meals the other days.


Activate your body – I’m so lucky that I’m married to someone that loves running as much as I do.  Bill is more than willing to get up to run at sunrise so we can enjoy the beauty of the morning together.  If you’re not a runner, go for hikes, try stand-up paddleboarding, go for a swim, or sign-up for a walking tour of the city you’re visiting.


Challenge yourself – I like to have a rough mental outline of what I’m going to do each day.  Don’t get me wrong!  I spend a lot of time lying on the sofa reading books (skin cancer = I don’t spend a lot of time on the beach).  We usually plan which days we’re going to run and at what time, what type of run we’re doing, etc.  Last year we drew lines in the sand and did 400-meter sprint repeats two days, on another day we went for a longer than usual run.  I have an extra set of dumbbells at the beach house so I can challenge myself to lift weights at least three times while there.  If you’re visiting one of our beautiful national parks, go for a challenging hike.  Climb the stairs at the Washington Monument (actually I don’t think that’s allowed anymore, but you get the idea).

Hydrate regularly – It’s easy to get so busy that you forget to drink enough water.  Drink plenty of water all day long so you can drink margaritas all night long occasionally.  Seriously, if you’re going to be drinking alcohol (especially in the heat and sun), be sure to drink adequate amounts of water to counter the dehydration effects of alcohol.  When going on hikes or walking tours of cities, carry water bottles with you.

When on vacation have fun, but have a plan!  Practice moderation so you don’t go overboard and sabotage your healthy lifestyle in one short week.  For many people it’s extremely difficult to get back on track once they’re home.  You’ve worked too hard to get where you are to let this happen to you!

  • Questions:
  • What are your vacation survival tips?
  • What is the coolest exercise related thing that you’ve done on vacation?
  • Where did you go on your last vacation?

Running Up To A Very Important Weekend

I had a solid running week until I got to Saturday, and as planned, I took Saturday and Sunday off for a very special reason.  Funny thing is, I ran on my own wedding day.  I don’t remember how far I ran, but I definitely remember going for an early morning run!

I started off the week with a nice little 1.77 mile run/walk with my client and her 13-year old daughter.   We averaged a 14 minute pace, and I continue to be pleased with their progress.  After 1.77 miles we headed inside for some strength training and core work.

Later in the day, I walked 4 miles and came home and lifted weights.  I had less than a week to get my arms buff for the wedding and every workout counted!

We’ve tweaked our Tuesday morning hill repeats to include a two mile warm-up so we now meet at 5:30 AM.  For me, that means getting up at 4:30 so it’s a really good thing that I’m a morning person.  Once my feet hit the floor, I am wide awake and ready to conquer the world!


We had to use our headlamps for the first time since early spring, and I was so bummed.  It’s amazing how much darker it is when I leave my house to meet the girls, even on our 6 AM runs.


Part of what I love about getting up so early is helping to bring up the sun.


After our two-mile warm-up, I ran 13 hill repeats.  I finished off my workout by running around the neighborhood to finish up at 8 miles.  It took me 1:14:57 (9:22 pace) for my morning workout.

Later in  the day I went on a 2-mile walk to the big blue mailbox since I’d missed the mailman.  I walked at at 16:09 pace, but considering my morning workout, I was proud of myself for not driving!

I was too tired to run on Wednesday, so I went on a  4-mile walk at a 15:09 pace.  I’m kind of starting to dig these walks, and love that if I’m tired, I walk, and don’t feel guilty for not running!

While at the wellness center training clients, I stayed late and lifted over there.  It’s nice to have a change in scenery every now and then!

On the fly, I decided to run my three middle miles at tempo pace on Thursday, and then continue running until I hit 6.2 miles.  I wanted to double check my 10K pace for my Ragnar Relay profile and it seemed like as good of a day as any to do it.  I ran the 10K in 50:24 (8:07 pace).  My Ragnar profile says 9:30.  I’m still debating on whether or not to change it since one of our runners is coming back from an injury, and he’s not sure if he can keep his projected pace.

Since we didn’t have the infamous selfie stick with us, I decided to get creative with our shot.  Or did we buy a drone…

And because our shoes were so fun, we did this shoe selfie!


After my workout with my MRTT peeps, I rushed home to run/walk with my client and her daughter.  We walked 2 miles at a 13:24 pace.  She’s improving so much, and wants to join our MRTT group so she can get some extra runs in.  Can I just say how happy that makes me?

After some very early mornings and a busy weekend ahead, Bill and I decided to sleep in a little on Friday and didn’t start our run until about 8 AM.  I had planned to run about 10-12 miles, but cut it to 7 miles due to the late start.

Mom had arrived in town on Thursday and I didn’t want to be gone too long.  Also, Joseph and Daniel were taking Friday off work and spent the night, so we had a houseful of fun and happiness to get back to!

Since Friday was our 33rd wedding anniversary, Bill and I snapped a picture of our legs and called it our Anniversary Run for my Instagram post.  I finished my 7-mile run in 1:05:29 (9:21 pace), and Bill ran 3 more miles before calling it quits.


As soon as I got home I lifted weights, and then finished up stuff we needed to do for the rehearsal dinner that we were hosting in Reston Town Center at Il Fornaio.

I work up early and did some prep work for Sunday morning’s family brunch and then started getting ready for the wedding.  the groomsmen were arriving at 11 AM, and I wanted to be ready by the time they got here (I didn’t quite make it).

No workout was necessary because I knew I’d be dancing all night long!  I knew it was going to be a fun night when the dance floor filled up between the salad and main course!


Bill and I hosted a brunch on Sunday morning for both of our families before they started heading back out of town.  It has been a long time since both families got together and we really had a nice time!

Total weekly workouts:
Running – 21.2 miles
Run/walk – 3.77 miles
Walking – 10 miles
Lifting – 3 hours

I hope to post short little recaps of the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner; and then the wedding and reception sometime later this week.  I’m waiting to post wedding pictures until I get a few better ones.  Stay tuned!

  • Questions:
  • Do you like to dance?
  • What’s your favorite cake/icing flavor?
  • Who raced this past weekend?




What’s New? I’m Glad You Asked!

It’s time for Friday Five linkup with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!

Each week Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar either suggest a theme for that week’s Friday Five Linkup, or leave it up to individual bloggers to come up with their own Free Friday theme.  This week’s theme is What’s New?! and we were encouraged to catch our readers up on where we stand on our goals for this year…


 I was pretty pumped to see this week’s prompt because I have a lot of new stuff to share!

1.  For starters today is the first day that I can say that I’ve been married to my best friend and the love of my life for 33 years!  It seems like just yesterday that we said, I do.”  Happy anniversary, Babe!


2.  Tonight we are hosting the rehearsal dinner for our oldest son Joseph and his fiancé Julie at Il Fornaio, our favorite Italian restaurant; and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary!  I’m looking forward to a relaxing evening with friends, and our new extended family while we enjoy good food and great wine!

3.  Both of our families are in town for the weekend, and I can’t wait to see and catch up with everyone!  My mom arrived on Thursday and we’re already having so much fun!


4.  We will be gaining the daughter we always wanted tomorrow!  Julie has been a part of our family for the last three years, but tomorrow it will be official when she and Joseph wed!


Photo courtesy of Bill

5.  We’re going to the beach later next week, and I can’t wait!  I have been looking forward to getting away with Bill all summer!


  • Questions:
  • What’s new with you?
  • Are you married?  If so, how long have you been married?
  • What are your weekend plans?

Tips For Taking The Perfect Jump Picture

On Saturday, at the end of our run we had a going away breakfast for one of our MRTT chapter leaders.  Since we had some extra time, we decided to try a group jump picture.  It turned out so well that I decided to write a tutorial on how to take the perfect jump picture.  Because, you know… I’m now an expert!

The most important thing for the jumper to remember is to get as much air as possible.  I’ve discovered that simply bending the knees is all it takes to make you look like you have a 42-inch vertical jump!

If you’re taking a group shot, the picture turns out best if everyone is up in the air at once.  For the shot that we took on Saturday, I said, “Everyone down, 1, 2, 3, jump!”

We used my iPhone 5S for these pictures.  It has a the ability to take a “burst” of photos by simple holding the shutter (white dot) down as long as you choose.  You then select your favorite pictures out of the burst.  Another way to assure a good jump picture is to take a video, and freeze the frame in the video to capture your favorite shot.

Here we are just as we’re starting the upward trajectory (I accidentally deleted the picture of us in full squat).


The next three pictures from our burst show us as we are starting to power up, as our feet leave the ground, and just after we’re in the air.




And finally, we come to the picture that we were looking for.  Our knees are fully bent (except for Tracy, whose IT Band requested she not bend her knees very much).


It doesn’t hurt that we happen to be color coordinated, and I can assure you that the perfect spacing of pink was purely accidental.


Tips for taking the perfect jump picture:

  1. All participants must be willing to try their best to jump high
  2. Remind participants to bend their knees to make the jump look higher
  3. Designate a person to call out the count-down
  4. Have a camera with a fast shutter or that takes bursts of photos
  5. Choose a pretty or interesting background
  6. Remember to smile

Compare this jump picture of the Cruisers in 2011 to our MRTT picture from last Saturday.  I guess I’ve learned from my mistakes!


If you have any favorite jump pictures, pop over to my Facebook page and post them there!  I’ll select my favorite to use as the cover photo!

  • Questions:
  • Have you ever taken a jump picture?
  • If so, where was it taken?
  • What are your plans for this weekend? ~ I’ve got some pretty big ones that you can read about on Friday!

Enjoying The Outdoors

As I’m gearing up for three big fall races, I’ve bumped up my training, and in doing so, I’m enjoying being outdoors as much as possible.

I stuck with my promise to myself and lifted weights on Monday morning early before my first client arrived.  I was also able to sneak in a 4.65 mile walk at a 14:21 pace in the middle of the day.

Tuesday morning started bright and early when I met one of my friends for a two mile warm-up prior to our hill repeats.  This doesn’t make sense to beginning or non-runners, but to an experienced runner it makes all kinds of sense.  An easy warm-up gets the heart pumping, blood flowing, and muscles warmed up, making it easier for the body to move through the rigorous workout you’re about to do.

After our warmup we met our MRTT friends for our hill repeats. I ran a total of 8 miles, including 12 hills.  My total run lasted 1:15:37 (9:27 pace).


Once I got home, I  ran/walked 2 miles with a client 27:51 (13:46 pace).  If you remember last week her pace was 16:39, so I was thrilled with her improvement.  Her runs stayed the same pace, but with a lot of encouragement I got her walk pace must faster.

Again on Wednesday, I managed to get up and  lift weights first thing in the morning before I got busy.  That’s becoming the only way I can get it done, which is unusual for me.

Later in the day I went for a hot and humid 4-mile walk at a 15:09 pace.  The blue sky was a complete contradiction to the temperature.


Sadly on Thursday, our MRTT group ran with our friend Mary for the last time before she moves to Colorado.  We’re thinking road trip to Colorado for a relay next summer!  I did a 3-mile temp run in the middle of our 6-mile run (8:25 overall pace).

Once home, I ran/walked 2.66 miles with my client, and we finished in 38:55 (14:38 pace).


Thursday night we blew out our hair, put on makeup, and nice clothes (no ponytails and running clothes allowed), and met at a local restaurant to properly say goodbye to Mary.  It happens to be the same restaurant pictured above where we park on Tuesday mornings when we run hills.


I ordered the petite filet, and it was really good.  I was very disappointed because I’m pretty sure the grilled corn was canned and not fresh…  Perhaps not, but it sure tasted like canned.


And since Erin’s ravioli salad looked both beautiful and delicious, I had to take a picture of it!


In addition to the ambiance, this restaurant gets bonus points for leaving a pitcher of water at each table.


Some days it happens, and Friday was one of them.  It was a total rest day… no weights, no running, no lifting, and even no stretching.

One of our MRTT chapter leaders is moving away, so we had a goodbye breakfast for her after our run on Saturday morning.  I ran 12 miles in 1:55:45 (9:38 pace).  Our run was a little different than usual in that we met after our run.  Our goal was to start our individual runs at whatever time would have us finish our planned mileage at 8 AM.


Chapter leaders Erin, Amanda, and Elizabeth

Later on Saturday I decided to go on a second run in preparation for Ragnar, but quickly realized I was too tired after my longer morning run.  I ended up walking 3.4 miles at a 17:56 pace.

I rarely miss an opportunity to run with my BRF, so when Susan texted to see if I could go for a run, I didn’t hesitate.  We ran 5.5 miles on our favorite trail at a 10:36 pace, which was a great recovery pace for me after my busy week of running.


Total weekly workouts:
Running – 29.5 miles
Run/walk – 4.66 miles
Walking – 12.05 miles
Lifting – 2 hours

  • Questions:
  • How was your workout week?
  • Who raced this weekend?
  • When is your next race?

Possibly The Best New Piece Of Running Gear, EVER!

My friend Erin just added the most amazing piece of equipment to her running gear collection, a selfie stick…  Yes, I said it, a selfie stick… complete with a Bluetooth remote control.


Photo courtesy of Erin

For months, our MRTT group and I have been posting group-run selfies that Erin is kind enough to take.  I let her think that her arms were longer than mine, so I wouldn’t be the person in front.  It’s scary up there, people!  Noses are bigger, wrinkles are more prominent, and sometimes half of your face falls off!


Photo courtesy of Erin

On our Thursday run, I mentioned that I saw a picture on Instagram that looked like it had been taken with a selfie stick because the camera wasn’t right in front of the photographer’s face.  Erin went home and ordered this one from Amazon for less than $10; and then posted to our Facebook page that it was on it’s way!  The girls were all atwitter!

Bright and early Saturday morning we met for our first group run with Erin’s fabulous new piece of equipment.  And of course, I had to document the historic moment that Erin took her first MRTT selfie with her new stick.

And here’s the beautiful finished product!  Isn’t it wonderful to see Erin’s entire beautiful face?


Photo courtesy of Erin

After our run, when all of the runners got back to the parking lot, Erin took our first ever group selfie.  I’m sure it won’t be the last!


Photo courtesy of Erin

We were so excited about the selfie stick that we jumped for joy!


  • Questions:
  • Did you even know that such a thing as a selfie stick existed?
  • Who raced this weekend?

Where I Stand On My 2014 Goals

It’s time for Friday Five linkup with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!

Each week Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar either suggest a theme for that week’s Friday Five Linkup, or leave it up to individual bloggers to come up with their own Free Friday theme.  This week’s theme is Goals and we were encouraged to catch our readers up on where we stand on our goals for this year…


 On New Year’s Day I published my 2014 Running Resolutions, and listed eight running goals, but then only six weeks later, I second guessed myself and wrote Being Realistic When Setting Goals.  Since this is Friday Five, I’ll address the first five goals and let you know where I stand on meeting them.

1.  More trail runs and races – Check!

Back in April, Bill and I ran the EX2Adventures Spring Backyard Burn Ten Mile Trail Run at Fountainhead Park.  It was on a pretty technical course and I loved it, and I hope to run more of their trail races next spring.  In May I ran in Great Falls Park, and in June I ran at Hungry Mother State Park, both technical trails.  In July I ran on the C&O Canal, a much easier trail, but still a true trail.

2.  Run a sub two-hour half marathon – Check!

In March I ran the Inaugural Loudoun Half Marathon with hopes of running it strong, but with no particular goal for that race since my sights were set on the Hokie Half Marathon in October.  Not only did I run a sub two-hour race, but I set a PR of 1:54:34 (8:45 pace).  Keep in mind that the half marathon was not a distance that I raced very often back when I was younger and faster so it was easier for me to set a PR.

3.  Run a sub 24-minute 5K – Check!

I was delighted in June when I ran the Fit Foodie 5K in 23:49 (7:40 pace) and won my age group.  A month later I cut 1:30 off of my Firecraker 5K time from last year’s race, but wasn’t able to break 24 minutes on that course.

4.  Create greater variety in running venues – Check!

This goal was meant to be for training runs, not races.  I have a tendency to love routine, and therefore; spend most of my time training on the W&OD Trail.  This year, in addition to running in Great Falls Park and Hungry Mother State Park, I ventured off of the W&OD and ran on the C&O Canal at Point of Rocks in Maryland.  I could improve upon this goal by traveling a little more for my training runs, but at least it’s a start!

5.  More blogger meet-up runs – Check!

I have been great with this particular goal, and hope to have several more meet-ups before the year is over.  In fact, I will have a post dedicated to blogger meet-ups at the end of the year.  To date, I’ve run with Becky, Julie, Courtney, Sue, Allison, Anne, Kim, Dora, Logan, Meagan, Amy, Erika, Cynthia, Lauren, and Katie.


If I were to talk about meeting goals 6, 7, and 8, my results wouldn’t be so impressive.  I guess I should be happy that it’s Friday Five, and not Friday Eight!

  • Questions:
  • Did you set 2014 goals?
  • Where do you stand on your goals?
  • Do you like routine or adventure?

Mourning The Loss Of The Marathon

I ran my last marathon on November 12, 2011.  At the time, I didn’t realize that my marathon career was pretty much over…

I know that I could run another marathon, but seriously, how many do I need to run?  I have 40 under my belt and shouldn’t I just be happy with that?  I am… sort of.

My goal is to run forever.  I could train for another marathon, but what if I were to get a career ending injury in the process since it’s the longer runs that aggravate my spine?  What if I could no longer go out for an easy run just for the fun of it?  What if…  I just err on caution?

I’ve come to realize that it’s not the marathon I miss; it’s the training…

I miss planning to make a point-to-point long-run go off without a hitch.

I miss meeting my friends in the dark so we can be driven by a non-running friend to the far western end of the W&OD Trail and dropped off.

I miss gathering together with excitement before the start of a 22-mile point-to-point run; and if we’re lucky, admiring a beautiful sunrise as we start our run.

I miss the uninterrupted hours spent with my Cruiser friends, and the shenanigans we used to pull off.

I miss dropping off drinks and fuel at points along the trail for us to refill from when we ran by.

I miss the joy of running for hours without a time limit.

I miss the silliness and inside jokes we created on every long run together.

I miss the freedom of being on the trail for several hours, and having no idea what else is going on in the world at that moment.

I miss seeing other running groups that we could predict would be on the trail at a certain time and place; watching for them, saying hello, yet never knowing their names.

I miss the well deserved nap later in the day after a great long training run.

I miss being able to eat anything I wanted for the rest of the day, even though I was usually too exhausted to be very hungry.

I miss the bragging rights of saying that I went on a 22-mile training run like it was no big deal.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m grateful for every 10 or 12-mile run that I go on these days, but they’re just not the same as the 20 or 22-miler where you leave everything behind, and it’s just you against the trail.

Yes, it’s the training that I miss…


  • Questions:
  • What’s your longest training run ever?
  • Do you like racing or training runs better?
  • What race are you currently training for?

What Goes In, Must Come Out

I’m linking up again this month with Amanda at The Lady Okie and Becka at Sunshine To The Square Inch for their Runner’s Tell All monthly linkup.  Be sure to pop over to their blogs to see what they have to say on today’s topic, and to see who else is linking up.

This month, Amanda and Becka’s cue was to write about nutrition and fuel while training…


Generally speaking, I eat pretty healthy…  Compared to the average American, I eat extremely healthy; but compared to my healthy living blogger peers, I’m much less impressive.  Heck, I’ve never even tasted overnight refrigerator oats, I don’t always buy organic, I’m known to drink the occasional soda, and I’ve only recently fallen in love with kale.

Today I’ll leave the day-to-day nutrition to the experts, and I’ll talk about pre-run and race-day fuel; what works for me, and what I need to avoid.

For anyone that’s been hanging out with me for a while, either on the running trails or by reading my blog, you know that I have a thing about porta potties.  In my opinion there can never be too many, and running around the curve on a trail, and seeing a porta potty ahead is a beautiful thing.

What does this have to do with fueling for a run?  Everything!

It has taken years, but I have finally figured out what I need to eat (and not eat) the day before a big race in order to perform at my best.  For me, performing my best means not having to stop to go to the bathroom along the way. And that starts with a “successful” trip to the bathroom at home before I head out the door for my run.

True story:  I was running strong, feeling like a million bucks, enjoying perfect racing weather, and on track to run a 3:30 at the Baltimore Marathon, when it hit.  There were no porta potties or bushes to be found as I did the “please don’t poop, please don’t poop, please don’t poop” walk-of-almost-shame past row house after row house.  Finally I found a place to go, but by then I had lost so many minutes that I ended up barely breaking four hours.

Situations like that have made me analyze my diet to death!

  • The Day Before:
  • I’ve learned that I can’t eat any fatty foods  the day before a race.  For me, fatty foods choose  to make a reappearance along the race course, and usually when there’s no porta potty in sight.
  • For years we had pasta the night before a long run or race, but I’ve realized that I’m much more likely to have good race (i.e. bathroom) results if I eat salmon instead of spaghetti.
  • High fiber foods work great for me.  I usually have a large salad with baby spinach as the base with dinner the night before my race or long run.
  • Race/Long-Run Morning:
  • I start drinking lots of water as soon as I get up to get things moving.
  • A banana with a small amount of peanut butter or almond butter is my favorite pre-run morning fuel.
  • After years of using GU, I have recently switched over to Honey Stingers and find that they work better at keeping my bathroom emergencies to a minimum.
  • I drink water while out on the trail, and if I’m running a longer race, I don’t take the sports drink offered unless I have tried it before and know that it will not upset my stomach.


Please keep in mind that this is what works for me.  I know that most experts say to stay away from high fiber foods for the last few days before a big race, but if I did that there would be no bathroom visit that morning, and I’d be stopping every few miles once the jostling began.

Now watch…  Because I posted this, I probably just jinxed myself and I’ll have to duck into the woods during tomorrow morning’s hill repeats!

  • Questions:
  • What are your pre-race fuel secrets?
  • Has a “bathroom situation” ever cost you a goal time at a race?
  • What is your favorite post-race treat?  ~ chocolate milk

Previous Runner’s Tell All Linkups: My Running Story In 250 Words, ,Favorite Running Gear And Products, and My Proudest Running Moment.

Another Good Week… If You Like To Run

Last week was another good week for running, and since everyone seemed to enjoy last week’s workout recap, I’m going to make it a weekly event!

I almost always rest from cardio on Mondays, but try to get a good weight lifting session and core workout completed on my non-cardio day.  After about 30 years of consistently lifting three days a week, I’ve been a little burned out the last six weeks and weight training has been hit-or-miss.  Of course this happens right before I will be wearing a sleeveless dress to my son’s wedding!  I need to start polishing these guns of mine.  Perhaps I’ll drop and do a bunch of push-ups before walking down the aisle.

I digress…  I managed to get a really good workout in on Monday, and I’d like to think that I’m back on course.

After two weeks of running hills on Tuesdays, I think it’s safe to say that we love to hate hill repeats!  I arrived about 20 minutes early so I could get a mile warm-up and two hill repeats completed before the other ladies arrived.

Currently, each repeat is only .15 mile with an elevation change of 50 feet.  Once everyone is able to complete ten repeats, we plan to run the full hill which will be .3 mile long with a 100-foot elevation change.  I did a total of 12 repeats this past week, so I would like to take on the entire hill soon.


From the chart below, you can see that I ran two repeats, and then ran back to the parking lot to meet my friends.  I ran a total of eight miles with an average pace of 9:51.


After my run, I came home and rolled out my hip that’s been bothering me a little.  I think the new challenges of running hill are aggravating it slightly, but hopefully that will go away soon.  In the meantime, ice and rolling seem to be doing the trick!


As soon as I finished rolling out, my first client arrived and we ran/walked three miles.  We run about half of the time, yet our average pace is 16:39.  We don’t run that slowly (maybe an 11:00 pace), it’s just that we walk incredibly slowly.  Seeing this reminds me that I need to challenge her to walk faster during her recovery.

After my mid-day solo run on Wednesday, I came home to a well deserved chocolate milk.  My pace wasn’t too bad for being alone, and I’m sure the slightly cooler temps and much lower humidity helped tremendously!  I run faster when trying to keep up with my MRTT buddies, and was happy with this time considering I had no one to push me.


Obviously I stopped a few times for pictures.  These petunias flock the entrance to my neighborhood, and the pond in the collage above is one of several ponds that I run by when I stay within my community.


I took this screen shot of Thursday’s forecast on Wednesday night before I went to bed.  Thursday morning it was 55° at the airport, but I forgot to take a shot.


Needless to say, with the cooler temps we had a fantastic run on Thursday.  Four of us ran together, but Dora and I decided to tack on an additional mile, and somehow we forgot to take our group selfie before we went our separate ways.


I’m sure the people using the picnic tables later in the day appreciate that we use the table for stretching, but it’s the perfect height for my tight hamstrings!


As soon as I got home from my run, my client arrived for our three-mile run/walk session.  We stay within my neighborhood and enjoy the beautiful trails behind my house.  We alternated running, walking, and strength training with rubber tubing and I was almost cold when we stopped for her to do lunges, etc.


Bill took Thursday and Friday off to refinish our front doors and garage doors.  They are beautiful wood as you can see, but only stay that way because he refinishes them twice a year.

Before I headed outside to work, I lifted weights for an hour and stretched.  The weather was still absolutely perfect, so I enjoyed a beautiful day of gardening while Bill sanded and then varnished the doors.

The two puff-ball boxwoods on each side of our house had gotten totally out of shape this past year so I decided to work on them.  Bill started out with the electric hedgers, and then I took over.  They need a deep pruning, including cutting out dead wood deep inside the puff-balls.  They don’t look so good now, but I guarantee they will look fantastic in a month or two!


After a hard day’s work, and a few miscommunications, we met our friends (two hours late) for happy hour at a “new to us bar,” Bar Louie.  We both got the Pom Peche martini and it was quite good.  It’s a delicious combination of peach vodka, pomegranate syrup, mango purée, orange juice, and Sprite.  This is a horrible picture, but it gives you an idea of what it looks like.


Our MRTT group had a great turnout on Saturday morning for our long run.  We had a couple of new faces which is always fun.  Bill even joined us and took this picture so we didn’t have to gather in for a selfie.


One of those new-to-our-chapter runners was Beth.  She’s a chapter leader of a nearby group, but decided to run with us today for a change of scenery.  She’s used to the W&OD Trail, but not the portions we usually run on.  About six of us were running together in a tight little pack and someone mentioned my blog by name.  Beth said, “That’s DebRuns? I follow her on Instagram!” After lots of hooping and hollering by me, she told me her handle and I remembered that I had just started following her, too.  We decided a photo op was in order!


While we were stopped for this picture, we got into a little bit of trouble.  Keep in mind that we had all been up since at least 5:30 AM, so it seemed like it was late in the morning to us (it was probably 8 AM).  An elderly lady came out of one of the apartments next to the trail and asked us to keep it down.   There were about five of us at that point, so I imagine we might have been a little loud with our laughing and general fun time.  Like I always say, “It’s a party on the trail!”

After our turnaround, we ran into Vamshi and Amit well into their ten-mile run.  We stopped to chat before continuing to finish our 12-miler.  I ran a total of about 12.5 miles at an average pace of 9:49.


I finished off another strong week of running with a recovery walk on Sunday.  The weather was still beautiful even though the humidity is starting to creep back in.  By Tuesday we are forecasted to get back to our summer norm of hazy, hot, and humid.


I walked four miles with an average pace of 15:12.


Total weekly workouts:
Running – 32.5 miles
Run/walk – 8 miles
Walking – 12.05 miles
Lifting – 1 hour

  • Questions:
  • How’s the weather been where you live?
  • Who raced this weekend?
  • What’s on your agenda for this week?

Friday Five: Friday Favorites

It’s time for Friday Five linkup with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!


Each week Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar either suggest a theme for that week’s Friday Five Linkup, or leave it up to individual bloggers to come up with their own Free Friday theme.

The goal of the linkup is to introduce bloggers and readers to other blogs, so if you choose to linkup, check out the other bloggers participating.  Also, please pop over to Courtney’s, Cynthia’s, and Mar’s blogs to see what their thoughts are on this week’s Friday Five; and to see which other bloggers are joining in on the fun!



This week’s theme is Friday Favorites

1.  My number one favorite thing this Friday has to be the incredible weather we have been experiencing these last few days.  Even more amazing than the lower temperatures is the low humidity!  Blue skies, puffy white clouds… it’s just something we’re not used to in July!



2.  I bought these amazing Road Runner Sports High Five Pocket Shorts to wear in the Firecracker 5K.  I bought them because they were blue, but love them because of many great features.  They have two zippered pockets in the front, a Velcro pocket in the back and two inside pockets.  The wick-away fabric, reflective markings, and five-inch inseam are just another reason these shorts have quickly become my favorite pair!

3.  This week I added the free PicStitch app to my phone and it’s quickly becoming a favorite.  It’s easy to use and adds a fun dimension to social medial posts by allowing users to put several photos together in collage form.

4.  And speaking of available iPhone apps for using with social media, I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you (especially my Instagram followers) that I love FitSnapp.  It allows users to add information about workouts to their pictures.

5.  And finally I’m loving all of the fresh fruits and veggies that summer brings and the entrée salads that I’ve been making lately.  It’s tough to choose a favorite, but I think my shrimp, roasted red peppers, red onions, avocados, and pine nuts on a bed of baby spinach salad is my current favorite.


  • Questions:
  • What’s your Friday favorite?
  • Have you tried PicStitch or FitSnap?
  • Have you been positively effected by the brief summer cool-down?