Getting Back Into Training, Just In Time To Taper (September 22 – 28)

After giving myself a week to recover after running Ragnar DC, I eased back into running last week as I faced my last three weeks of training for the Hokie Half Marathon.

I took Monday off from all workouts.

I ran my first set of twelve hill repeats (excluding my Ragnar DC legs) in several weeks on Tuesday.  I met two of my MRTT friends for a total of 6.5 miles (9:52 pace).  We ran a two mile warm-up and then tackled most of those hills in the dark.


I rushed home from my workout to meet one of my clients for a 3.15 run/walk.  We maintained a 14:20 pace with what seemed like a pretty decent running pace.  I’m starting to question the accuracy of my RunKeeper app on our twisty trail, because we seemed to be running faster and longer than usual, yet our pace was slower.  Perhaps I’m questioning the accuracy as I convince myself that I finally need to break down and buy a Garmin!

I gave myself Wednesday off from working out or running as well!

I woke up to rain on Thursday morning at 4:30 AM, and after a quick text back and forth with my running friends, I went back to bed and slept for three more hours!  Since neither of them were planning to be out, I decided I didn’t want to run at 5:30 in the rain alone.  Later in the afternoon I ran six miles at a 9:51 pace.  My right hip felt tight the last half of the run, so I came home and rolled it.  In the process, I aggravated the left side of my lower back with the odd way I had to twist my torso to hold my body up as I targeted my tight hip with the roller.  Oy!

After planning to go on a long run on Friday morning, I skipped it after waking up repeatedly overnight with that darn sciatic nerve pain.  The morning was gorgeous as the sun tried to burn through the fog, and I longingly wished I had been able to bring up the sun while on a run.  Once up, and moving around the back pain subsided and lessened as the day went on.


Bill and I debated on running Saturday morning, but since it was Virginia Tech’s homecoming, and we wanted to get our tailgate set up early for our 12:30 PM game, we decided to move our run to Sunday.  My back was feeling better, but I’m sure the extra day of letting it rest was a good thing.  So instead of running, I ate mass quantities of crappy, delicious food.


Bill and I headed out for a six-mile run on the Huckleberry Trail on Sunday morning, and ended up running ten miles very strong!  We ran negative splits, and maintained an 8:52 average pace.  We came back to our hotel from that run so pumped, that we declared it the best part of our weekend!

  • Mile 1 – 9:35
  • Mile 2 – 9:26
  • Mile 3 – 8:42
  • Mile 4 – 9:00
  • Mile 5 – 9:10
  • Mile 6 – 8:54
  • Mile 7 – 8:38
  • Mile 8 – 8:21
  • Mile 9 – 8:33
  • Mile 10 – 8:28

Huckleberry Trail – Blacksburg, VA

We started in Christiansburg and ran toward Blacksburg for five miles, and turned around for an out-and-back loop.  Five miles of our Hokie Half Marathon will be along that section of the trail, and it was great to run along it as a refresher leading up to the race.


It felt good to get three solid runs in this week, but I wish I could have gotten at least one more.  The problem with heading to Blacksburg so often is that it interferes with Bill’s and my running…  Choosing between Virginia Tech football and running is a mighty hard choice!


Total weekly workouts:
Running – 22.5 miles
Run/walk – 3.15 miles
Walking – 2 miles
Lifting – 0 hours


  • Questions:
  • How many days do you take off from working out each week?
  • Where’s your favorite running trail?
  • Who raced this weekend?

National Capital 20 Miler Race Recap(s)

My first race of any distance was the DC Road Runners’ National Capital 20 Miler.  My marathon training was at the mercy of my friend Miles, and he suggested that running a 20-mile race a month before the Marine Corps Marathon would be a great way for me to gauge how prepared I was for the big day.  As always, Miles was right.

Over the years, I’d run in several road races, but none farther than five miles.  I had no idea how my body would respond to long mileage under race conditions.  The National Capital 20 Miler gave me an opportunity to practice fueling and hydrating while on the run.  Plus, Miles promised there would be pizza at the end of the race.

I ran that first of several National Capital 20 Milers in 1997.  Bill’s parents lived near the start, so Daniel and I drove over the night before to spend the night with them.  Daniel was only seven years old at the time, and was excited to tag along so he could get some one-on-one time with his grandparents.  Little did he know that Grandma had a fun surprise in store for him!

I got up early the next morning, and in true dress-rehearsal form, had my bagel and banana before heading off to meet Miles and our other running buddies at Jones Point Park underneath the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.  We picked up our race packets, put our long-sleeved cotton shirts in our cars, pinned on our race bibs, and got ready to run.


Soon we would be running out of the park and down a beautiful twisty-turny, and at times hilly, path that ran to Mount Vernon between the Potomac River and the George Washington Parkway.  Once at Mount Vernon, we turned around and headed back.  The out-and-back course allowed for an opportunity to see and cheer on fellow runners, but made the path quite crowded at times.

Miles and I ran the whole race together, and early in the race we caught up with a super tall guy.  I remember him so well because I actually had to look straight up to see his face when we passed him.  Several minutes later we heard a loud thud behind us, and when we looked around, we saw the tall guy lying on the pavement.  He had tripped on the curb as we crossed a side street.  It was the first of many race casualties I would see over the years.

Miles and I stopped for water, and just after we started back up, we saw Daniel and Bill’s mom collecting water cups into large garbage bags.  Daniel’s surprise from his grandma was that she took him to the race to watch me run, while volunteering!  After quick hugs and kisses with my little buddy, Miles and I took off to finish our race.

Just before the finish line, a photographer caught me on a downward stride.  Seriously, what does it take to get photographed in a longer race looking like you’re running fast?  I was running hard to the finish line when this picture was taken, and probably running about a 7:45 pace.  Notice that I hadn’t learned to put my hair in a ponytail yet!  How on earth did I run with it flopping around like that?  And what is that ridiculous expression on my face?  Is it the look of determination, or a grimace?



I finished that race in 1997 in 2:46:14 (8:18 pace), and guess what?  The thought of eating pizza made me sick.  Sorry, Miles!

In 1999 I encouraged my runners in the Worldgate Sport & Health Marathon Training Program (where I was the coach) to enter the National Capital 20-Miler.  It had been a great race for gauging my training, and I wanted my runners to experience a longer race before their marathon as well. Miles joined us, and ran the first of many races and training runs with my team.  Miles and I finished together in 2:57:59 (8:53 pace).


1999 shirt

My Worldgate Sport & Health team and I returned in 2000 to run the race.  I ran a 2:55:33 (8:46 pace).


2000 shirt

In 2001, the National Capital 20-Miler was held just twelve days after our country was attacked, and a plane was flown into the Pentagon, just a few miles away from the start of the race.  The shirt had a picture of the Pentagon on the front of it with the words, “Proud to be running in America.” over the image.


2001 shirt

In 2001, I took my camera with me, and had someone take a picture of our Worldgate team before the race.  We had a lot of fun, and I finished in 2:57:32 (8:52 pace).



2002 was the final year that I ran the National Capital 20 Miler.  Again my Worldgate team joined me, as did Miles and his MilesRun team.


One of the great things I loved about the race was that they had packet pick-up available on race morning.  Since it was a relatively small race (about 600-700 runners), it was always very easy to park near by, pick up our packets, store our things in our car, and make it back to the race starting line in a timely fashion.



Before the race, our team gathered in the parking lot for a quick team picture.  We then set out to look for Miles and the rest of our Maryland friends.



Miles and I ran the race together, and finished with a lap around the track.  It was a hot and very humid day, and at some point Miles shed his shirt.  We finished with our arms held high, and with a time of 3:11:21 (9:34 pace).



After the race, we got together for a quick picture before we headed our separate ways.  This picture was later used by Worldgate Sport & Health to advertise my marathon training program.  They made it into a large poster, and after we no longer needed it at the gym, I gave it to Miles, along with the story about how several women at the gym had asked me who the guy without the shirt on in the back row was!



It’s been over ten years since I’ve run this race, but at the time it was a race that I recommended to my friends.  DCRRCA puts on great events, so I can only imagine that the race has gotten better over the years.


  • Questions:
  • Have you ever run a DCRRCA race?
  • Do you like pizza after a race?
  • Who raced this weekend?

My Favorite Fall Activities

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! This week’s theme is Five Favorite Fall Activities


During the fall, I pretty much enjoy doing anything that takes me outside in the cool, crisp, autumn air!  In keeping with the Friday Five theme, here are my five favorites…

1.  Bill and I love trail running in the fall.  Last fall, we made our first accent to Molly’s Knob at Hungry Mother State Park, and hope to return again sometime this fall for a repeat, and perhaps find some other new to us trails along the way.

2.  It’s no secret that Bill and I love our Hokies, and enjoy going to most of their home games!  Going to Lane Stadium for a Virginia Tech football game, and tailgating with our friends before and after the game is one of our favorite fall activities.

3.  Every fall, I clean my flower gardens, cutting back my plants that didn’t make it the recent frost, and making my gardens tidy for the winter. Once I get started gardening, I get lost in my work, and usually spend much more time than I realize.  Gardening in my suburban lot is a way for me to get back to my farm-girl roots!

4.  I enjoy decorating our house for fall almost as much as I do for Christmas!  By the end of September, I have my fall foliage up and a few Halloween pieces scattered around.  Come November, we are on turkey, Pilgrim, and Indian overload!

5.  My mom and I enjoy giving trays of cookies as Christmas gifts, and when I was little we made one batch of cookies each Saturday in October and November, and froze them until Christmas.  After I moved away, we started a tradition of having a cookie baking weekend so I could help Mom make her cookies.  It’s one of my mom’s and my favorite fall activities.



  • Questions:
  • What are your favorite fall activities?
  • Do you enjoy baking?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

A Week Of Recovery (September 15 – 21)

Last week was all about recovering from Ragnar DC.  For those of you that haven’t read my recaps, you can catch up by clicking on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 , and Part 4, to see how my team, Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay, did.

My workout on Monday consisted of me limping down the stairs (yes, my quads were still screaming from all of those hills).  I got in some foam rolling, and worked my masseter muscles really well while telling my clients all about my extremely fun Ragnar adventures.

I got the stitches out of my other arm on Tuesday, and my doctor told me that I could resume lifting, but to keep the weights at about 50% for a while.  I’ve decided to ease very slowly back into lifting (except for some core exercises) until after the Hokie Half Marathon.  At that point, I’ll ramp back up into lifting heavier again, while I take a one to two week break from running between my training cycles.

My running buddy Erin and I met early Wednesday for our first post-race run.  Erin had run, and PR’ed by eight minutes – yay, Erin, at the DIVA Half Marathon on Saturday, so she was feeling the post-race muscle soreness earlier in the week as well.  We went on an easy 4.76-mile run maintaining a 9:52 pace.  It was 49º when we started our run at 6 AM, and I had to wear my gloves for the first time since March, or early April.


I rushed home from our run to meet a client for a 2.75 run/walk.  We maintained a 13.48 pace, and surprisingly, I was kind of tired during it.  I obviously still had some recovering from Ragnar to do.

I headed back to the W&OD Trail on Thursday morning to meet my MRTT friends again for another easy 5 miles at a 9:54 pace.  Check out Erin’s wings on her shoes, Kathy’s fun yellow shoes, and the hole in the top of my left shoe!  I put a lot of miles on those shoes (about 400), and kept hoping to get to the running store to replace them, but knew it would take a while since I wanted to go through their complete fitting process.

Bill and I drove to our home-away-from-home, Blacksburg, on Friday for our Virginia Tech 35th class reunion.  Not to sound cliché, but where have all of those years gone?  We had a great time with our friends, and loved every minute of our weekend, except for the Hokies’ second loss of the season.


We didn’t get a run in on Saturday morning because we were participating in our class reunion breakfast, and then had to set up our tailgate, all before our noon game.  I take my running seriously, but I take my Hokie tailgating even more seriously!

We talked about going on a trail run at Pandapas Pond on Sunday morning while down in Blacksburg, but we opted to get on the road earlier than usual and head home.  I’m hoping to get there sometime this fall.  I’ve heard that it’s a beautiful trail.

Once home we decided to head over to Road Runner Sports for new shoes.  Bill and I both went in completely open minded and decided to let them fit us for new shoes, and go with their recommendations.  Based on running barefoot on their treadmill, and scans of our feet, we were both put in neutral shoes.  I got my first ever Brooks, and Bill decided on Nikes for regular running, and Asics for trail.  They told me that my current trail shoes were a good choice for me.  We can’t wait to take our new shoes on a test run!


My mileage was low this week compared to usual, but I’m completely fine with that.  I feel that full recovery from Ragnar is important for me, so I don’t end up having one of my recent injuries rear it’s ugly head again.  I’m feeling great right now, and want to keep it that way!


Total weekly workouts:
Running – 9.76 miles
Run/walk – 2.75 miles
Walking – 2 miles
Lifting – 0 hours


  • Questions:
  • What shoes do you run in?
  • How often do you need to change running shoes?
  • Who raced this weekend?

My Racing Bucket List

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’s on their racing bucket lists, and to see who else is linking up.

This month, Amanda and Becka’s cue was to list the races on our running bucket list..



When I saw the prompt “Race Bucket List,” I was pretty excited to come up with some races that I’d like to run, and share with my readers.  I’m actually surprised that in my almost two years of blogging I haven’t talked about a running bucket list.  Here are my races, in no particular order…

1.  Army Ten-Miler – I can’t believe that with all of the races I’ve run in DC over the years, that I’ve never run the Army Ten-Miler.  It would have been so easy to just sign up at the last minute and run it in my early days of racing, but now I’ll have to enter with the masses and hope to get in!

2.  Ragnar Trail Appalachians – Ragnar DC made me a believer, and now I want to run a Ragnar trail race, and Ragnar Trail Appalachians in West Virginia seems like a great place to start.

3.  Ragnar Napa Valley – San Francisco to Napa Valley…  Two hundred miles or relay running first, wine later.  Wouldn’t this be a fun race?

4.  Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon –  So if I don’t want to take 30 hours to get to the wineries, I could run the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon and get there in about two hours.

5.  Varmint Half Marathon – Burke’s Garden is a bowl shaped depression in the mountains of southwestern Virginia.  I visited there when I was a little girl, but remember nothing about it.  My parents always talked about how beautiful it was, and Bill and I have always planned to return and visit.  What better way to take a tour of a place that I want to visit again than by running a half marathon through the cove?

6.  Blue Ridge Half Marathon – This is another marathon that Bill and I considered running years ago, but never got around to doing.  Now that I’ve gotten to know Meagan and she speaks so highly of it (actually, I think she loves to hate it), I really want to run Blue Ridge, but I’ll stick to the half.

7.  New York City Marathon – If I were still running marathons, the NYC Marathon would definitely still be on my bucket list.  For some reason, I never signed up for it, and regret not doing so.

8.  Chicago Marathon – The same is true with the Chicago Marathon; if I were still running marathons, I’d want to run it.

9.  Venice Marathon – I’m including the Venice Marathon on my bucket list because it’s been on there for years; although at this point, it’s just a “wish we’d done it” race.  Bill and I have friends that live in Vincenza, Italy, and for years we said that we would visit them and run the marathon while we were in the area.

10. Athens Marathon – Several years ago my friend Jimmy tried to get the Cruisers to run the Athens Marathon with him, after his brother ran it and raved about it.  I mean seriously; someone like me who loves running should have jumped at the chance to run the original marathon!  Right?


  • Questions:
  • Which of these races have you run?
  • What’s on your race bucket list?
  • Who raced this weekend?

My Five Favorite Decadent, Yummy Things To Eat

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 My Five Favorite


I decided to take today’s prompt in a totally fun direction!  Here are my five favorite yummy, decadent, sugary things that I love to eat, but pretty much deprive myself of… most of the time!

1.  Mint chocolate chip ice cream – not the fancy, expensive kind, but Turkey Hill

2.  My Aunt Ann’s cream-cheese swirly brownies

3.  My Mom’s Fudgy Bonbons

4.  Fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies

5.  Mounds Bars

Seriously!  On my death bed, will I remember those healthy spinach salads…

  • Or eating mint chocolate chip ice cream by the gallons while Bill and I were in grad school at Utah State University where they had a dairy that sold ice cream by the tubs?
  • Or looking forward to Aunt Ann’s famous brownies at our family reunions?
  • Or baking Christmas cookies with Mom, and always including fudgy bonbons in our assortment of goodies to make?
  • Or having fun eating fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies with Joseph and Daniel when they were little?
  • Or looking for my secret little stash of Mounds Bars that I know my mom will have waiting for me when I visit?
  • Questions:
  • What are your favorite tempting treats?
  • Are any of my treats, among your favorites, too?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay – Ragnar DC Recap Part 4

For those of you just stopping in to read about the Cruisers’ Ragnar DC experience, you can catch up by clicking on Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to check out my three previous posts.

We’ll pickup right after Van 2 finished their overnight legs and were enjoying some down time before hitting the roads and trails for our final legs into National Harbor.  Our first stop in transit to our next exchange was at Dunkin’ Donuts so we could get some breakfast and coffee.

We drove to Bethesda, MD to what we thought was Major Exchange 30 to wait for Van 1 to finish their legs.  We settled in, took naps behind the van, and just chilled in general.


At some point, I suggested to Roger that since Candy was so speedy and had a 2-mile leg coming up that we needed to make sure the van could get me to the next exchange before she got there.  Sometimes the runner’s route is more direct than the van’s, so the driver has to hustle.  Roger started looking at directions to our different exchanges and realized that we were at Candy’s exchange to me, not Ravi’s hand-off to Candy.  In other words, we were one exchange ahead of where we needed to be.

We woke the sleeping runners, and sped away to drop Candy off at the correct exchange. We immediately turned around to get me back to where I needed to be, our original spot.

Around that time, we got word that Van 1 was rocking their legs, and would be handing back to us way ahead of schedule.  Van 1 finished 53 minutes ahead of schedule, with each of their runners beating their projected times by at least five minutes!  Now it was up to Van 2 to maintain that lead.

We heard that many of the signs for Leg 31 (Candy’s leg) had been moved overnight and runners were getting lost.  Candy memorized her turns and even tore her directions out of the RagMag to carry with her.  She started her final leg at 11:23 AM, and completed her 2.0-mile run (Ragnar rated: easy) with an average pace of 9:30, and was back at our exchange in no time.


Photo courtesy of Roger

Candy came in at 11:42 AM, and slapped the wrist band on to me for the final time…


Photo courtesy of Meagan

And I took off…


Photo courtesy of Roger

The first quarter mile of my leg was a nice little downhill, but once I got to the bottom of the hill, I had to stop for a long traffic light, and wait to cross the street with a bunch of other runners.  Once across the street, we turned onto the Capital Crescent Trail, and I easily passed about three runners right away.


Photo courtesy of Roger

We continued on the Capital Crescent Trail, for about three miles were I was able to maintain about a 8:30 pace.  I was running pretty much alone except for the occasional recreational runner heading toward me.  I think I passed two runners, and two runners passed me on this section of the leg.  As I neared the end of the trail, I open my SPIbelt to get some Honey Stingers out and accidentally turned my RunKeeper off.  Since I wasn’t wearing my contacts or eyeglasses, I looked at the screen wrong and deleted my times.  I took a few seconds (which seemed like forever) to start the app again, and took off.

We turned off of the paved trail and onto the dirt and gravel C&O Canal tow path for a mile.  There was another race on the trail, so we kept meeting marathoners coming toward us.  I looked up and suddenly there was my MRTT running buddy Dora coming toward me!  Obviously we didn’t have time to stop and chat, but it was great seeing her!

Even though I’d studied the elevation chart for my run, I didn’t realize how hard my final two miles would be.  We turned off of the C&O Canal, and immediately started climbing the hills in Arlington.  My sleep-deprived, tired-legged body was not amused to see those hills.  At least three people passed me as I slowed to a walk at a couple of different points along my run.

I had one last nasty hill, and then the terrain leveled off so I could run in with dignity to the exchange to slap Meagan’s wrist with the arm band at 12:49 PM.


Photo courtesy of Roger

I’ve never been so happy!


Photo courtesy of Roger

I finished my 6.9-mile run (Ragnar rated: hard) with an average pace of 9:51.  My total elevation gain was 591 feet, and my total elevation loss was 591 feet, but looking at the elevation chart below, the gains seem much more dramatic than the losses.  My mile splits were:

  • Mile 1 – 9:04
  • Mile 2 – 8:30’ish
  • Mile 3 – 8:30’ish
  • Mile 4 – 8:50
  • Mile 5 – 12:07
  • Mile 6 – 11:58
  • Mile 7 – 12:18


Meanwhile, our Van 1 teammates were enjoying a well-deserved beer at the finish line festivities while they waited for us.  If you remember, they had to be in Maryland on Friday at 8 AM, and we didn’t have to arrive until 1:20 PM.


At 1:09 PM, Meagan finished her 2.2-mile run (Ragnar rated: easy) with an average pace of 9:19.  We barely got Chuck to the exchange before Meagan came cruising in.  It was raining hard when Meagan finished, and I caught her enjoying a Gatorade once she dried off a little.


Chuck ran through heavy rain during his entire final leg.  He finished his 7.2-mile run (Ragnar rated: hard) with an average pace of 9:18, and finished with no one to hand off to.  We were snug and dry in the vain, and incorrectly estimated Chuck’s finish time.  It was also one of the few times that we weren’t able to park within an easy view of the exchange, so we didn’t see him finish, and he couldn’t find our van.  He wandered around for about 10 to 15 minutes before finding Barry.

At 2:29 PM Barry started his final leg.  He finished his 4.4-mile run (Ragnar rated: easy) with an average pace of 9:46, and handed off to Bill in Old Town Alexandria.


Photo courtesy of Meagan

Bill took off for the final leg of the Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay team at 3:12 PM on Saturday afternoon.  Ahead of him was a 4.6-mile run (Ragnar rated: moderate), which would take him across the Potomac River on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.  I was more than a little jealous that he would be running across the WW Bridge!


Photo courtesy of Meagan

The rest of us hopped into the van to drive to National Harbor to meet Bill.  We knew that our Van 1 teammates would be waiting for us at the pier, and that Bill would be running toward us.  Van 2’s goal was to park, and get over there before Bill came running in so we could all finish together.


With only about three minutes to spare, we got to the pier in time to see Bill running down the boardwalk toward us.


We all took off running with Bill (I was screaming with my arms waving), and we crossed the finish line as a team!


Photo courtesy of Roger

We finished at 3:57 PM, and with that, the Cruisers became Ragnarians!


Photo courtesy of Roger

As soon as we crossed the finish line, we posed for the official photo, and then moved down the chute and out of the way of other finishers and posed again for Roger to take this picture with a few different cameras.  A lady stopped by and asked if she could take our picture as well, and then told me that she’d be posting it to Ragnar’s Instagram.


Photo courtesy of Meagan

The Cruisers finished in 30 hours, 59 minutes, and 14 seconds (1:09:00 ahead of our projected time). We finished 130th out of 369 teams, and had the following stats:

Placement:  130
Team Name:  Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay
Team Type:  Regular
Classification:  Mixed
Division:  Open
Start Time:  9:00:00
Finish Time:  30:59:14
Pace:  9:16

Photo courtesy of Anne

Back at our van, we checked off our final legs before hitting the highway to head home.


From the van, I checked Instagram and was tickled to see our happy team on Ragnar Relay’s page.

And with that, the Cruisers were not only Ragnarians, but celebrities as well!  See you next year, Ragnar!


  • Questions:
  • Would you choose to sleep in the van or on the ground?
  • After reading my posts, are you reading to run a relay?
  • Have you ever run Ragnar DC, another Ragnar, or similar relay?

Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay – Ragnar DC Recap Part 3

If you’re joining my Ragnar DC party late, you can catch up by clicking on Part 1 and Part 2, to read my two previous posts.

I left off with Van 2 heading to The Creamery at Exchange 18 in hopes of getting some sleep while we waited for Van 1 to run their legs.  We were directed to park right across from the exchange in a prime location for pulling out quickly once Candy took off on her second leg.

As soon as we parked we debated on trying to get some rest, but quickly realized we would probably get very little sleep.  Over and over the megaphone screeched, “Runner 101,” followed by wild cheering.  “Runner 82,” followed by wild cheering. “Runner 214″…  You get my point.

Since he couldn’t sleep, Bill got his camera and tripod out and took some long exposure pictures around midnight.  Leg 18 runners were coming in from the left and Leg 19 runners were heading out to the right.  Eventually Ravi would be coming in to hand off to Candy, but we had plenty of time to wait, and wander around.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Bill and I walked up to a shelter to see what kind of delicious creations were filling the air with such an amazingly good scent.  We bumped into my MRTT friends, Amanda and Sue (running on another team), waiting to get a bite to eat.


Exchange 18 was in Middletown, MD at South Mountain Creamery, home of the world’s best milkshakes according to Tian, Ragnar DC’s race director.  As tempting as it was, Van 2 chose to skip the drinking milkshakes so close to running our next legs.


Van 1 arrived at the Creamery, and we had a few minutes to hang out together while waiting for Ravi to come in and hand the baton off to Candy.  Roger took a picture of us wearing our spiffy reflective vests just as we got photo-bombed by the guy with the flag!  He almost covered Barry’s face with his hand – which would have been in very poor photo-bombing taste.  Fortunately he didn’t, and it’s all good fun.


Ravi came flying in to the exchange and handed off to Candy 27 minutes ahead of schedule!  Candy took off at 12:59 AM for her 4.9-mile run (Ragnar rated: moderate). Once she started running, Van 2 said their good-byes to Van 1, and left the Creamery to get me to my exchange. We didn’t have to wait too long for Candy to come running in with an average pace of 8:46.

With a belly full of butterflies, and hands full of Knuckle Lights and pepper spray, I took off at 1:42 AM for my second leg.  My biggest fear was that I would be running along a narrow country road with little room to jump out of the way if some crazy driver came careening around a curve.  My second biggest fear was that I would get separated from the other runners, miss a sign, and get lost in the middle of rural Maryland.  I took a picture of the directions of my leg with my phone and carried it with me… just in case.

I need-not worry because I could almost always see the blinking of the tail-light of a runner in front of me, or a runner’s headlamp behind at all times.  The majority of my run was through very upscale neighborhoods, and quaint little outskirts of Frederick, MD.

There was one rather creepy, very dark area where I happened to be all alone (remember it was about 2:15 AM at this point), and I ran past a construction area filled with lots of workers’ vans parked along the road.  My pace picked up as I ran by hoping that the boogeyman wouldn’t jump out of the shadows between two vans and grab me!  I was taking nothing for granted and hadn’t overlooked the possibility that I might get attacked by a rabid racoon, either!

I got passed by a couple of guys early on in my run, and later had to take a little walk break around mile 3 during a very steep uphill climb.  I passed three guys on an extremely steep downhill segment around mile 5.75.  I don’t think I’ve ever run down such a steep course before.  Ever.  I actually had to break with my quads, something I don’t like to do when running downhills.

I saw the John Deere Tractor Store ahead, and knew I’d survived my 2 AM Ragnar DC run, and had bragging rights for life!  I ran into the chute to hand off the slap bracelet to Meagan.  Filled with deliriousness because it was almost 3 AM, or at being thankful to still be alive, I took off my watch and attempted to hand it to Meagan, and then promptly dropped it in the grass!


Photo courtesy of Roger

Meagan took off at 2:44 AM, and left me behind still trying to get my watch back on, and my RunKeeper turned off.  Somebody, please carry me back to the van!


Photo courtesy of Roger

I finished my 6.9-mile run (Ragnar rated: hard) with an average pace of 8:58.  My total elevation gain was 518 feet, and my total elevation loss was 751 feet.  My mile splits were:

  • Mile 1 – 8:24
  • Mile 2 – 8:23
  • Mile 3 – 10:19
  • Mile 4 – 9:59
  • Mile 5 – 8:52
  • Mile 6 – 8:08
  • Mile 7 – 8:43


Meagan finished her 6.7-mile run (Ragnar rated: moderate) with an average pace of 9:51.  She just barely got across the train tracks before the gates closed for a long freight train to pass through.  As she and another runner came toward the exchange, I heard them shouting that they had beaten the train.


Meagan passed off to Chuck at 3:50 AM, pleased that she had beaten the train, and hadn’t gotten sprayed by a skunk while running out in the country.


Chuck finished his 3.5-mile run (Ragnar rated: easy), with an average pace of 10:00, and handed off Barry at 4:25 AM.  By this point, everyone in Van 2 was either delirious, running, or trying to sleep.


Photo courtesy of Roger

Barry ran his 7.8-mile run (Ragnar rated: very hard) in the rain with an average pace of 8:35.  Bill was waiting in the rain when Barry finished.  I, on the other hand, was toasty warm and asleep in the van since I could finally stretch out between Bill’s and my seats.


Barry handed the baton to Bill at 5:32 AM for the final leg for Van 2’s overnight runs.


Bill completed his 11.1-mile run (Ragnar rated: very hard) with an average pace of 10:00, and it had finally stopped raining by the time he finished his leg.


Photo courtesy of Roger

At 7:19 AM, Bill happily handed the baton off to Anne, and Van 1.  With that exchange, the Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay were 6 minutes ahead of our estimated finish time .


Photo courtesy of Roger

Now that Van 2 was finished for a while, it was time to go find some breakfast, once we got ourselves awake!


Tomorrow I’ll take you on Van 2’s final set of runs through suburban Maryland, Virginia, and DC.  See you then!

  • Questions:
  • Do you mind running at night?
  • Have you ever visited DC?
  • Have you ever run Ragnar DC, another Ragnar, or similar relay?

Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay – Ragnar DC Recap Part 2

Picking right up where I left off yesterday in my Ragnar DC recap, today’s post will be all about Van 2’s first set of legs.  If you remember Ravi (from Van 1) had just handed the slap bracelet off to Candy, and Van 2 was in hot pursuit!

We caught up with Candy as she headed up one of her many hills in her 7.9-mile run (Ragnar rated: very hard).  She had a total of 1,076 feet of elevation gain, and 804 feet of elevation loss, which she finished with a 9:26 average pace.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Bill caught me waiting for Candy with a view of Sideling Hill in the background.  We’ve driven up and down Sideling Hill many times on I-68 on our way to visit our youngest son Daniel at WVU when he was in school, so I had a good sense of what I was getting myself in to.  Let’s just say that driving it, is easier than running it!


Photo courtesy of Bill

At 3:30 PM, I saw Candy crest the hill and knew that it was show time!


Photo courtesy of Bill

A quick slap of the wrist band (baton), and I was off!


Photo courtesy of Meagan

My first three-quarters of a mile was mostly downhill until I reached the base of the mountain.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Over the course of the next 2.5 miles we gained about 1,000 feet.  Just as we approached the top of the mountain, and with my lungs exploding, I got three kills (I passed three guys).  I had been passed by a couple of guys and one girl (getting passed by a girl made me really mad) already.


Photo courtesy of Bill

I got my fourth kill just as we started back down the mountain.  The girl in front is the girl that passed me and I had hoped to pass her on the way down, but she’s a very good downhill runner, too.  In fact, she continued to pull away; and the best I could do was barely keep her in my sights.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Once we crossed the top of the mountain, I knew that I had about 3.5 miles of glorious downhill ahead of me! My lungs continued to burn for about a mile, but soon the benefits of gliding kicked in and as I relaxed, my breathing come back to near normal.  I love running down hill, and have learned to let my body relax, and let gravity do the work.

I got one more kill on the way down, but got passed by two more guys.  I think I got passed eight times and got five kills over the course of my first leg.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Just before approaching Exchange 8, the course headed back up hill, but I was so happy to see my teammates cheering me in, that I sprinted as best I could to hand the baton off to Meagan.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Seeing Meagan, with her arm extended out for me to slap the bracelet on, was a beautiful sight.


Photo courtesy of Bill

After a quick, no muss hand-off, Meagan took off at 4:32 PM; and with that, I had completed my first leg of Ragnar DC!


Photo courtesy of Roger

As soon as I got out of the way of the other runners, I carefully took my left shoe off to get a rock out of it.  That little rock felt a lot bigger than it looks when it popped into my shoe at mile 2!  It had been bouncing around in my toe-box for almost five miles, but I refused to stop and take it out.


Photo courtesy of Bill

I finished my 6.8-mile run (Ragnar rated: What The Hill?) with an average pace of 9:07.  My total elevation gain was 1,066 feet, and my total elevation loss was 1,207 feet.  My mile splits were:

  • Mile 1 – 9:04
  • Mile 2 – 12:48
  • Mile 3 – 11:19
  • Mile 4 – 8:15
  • Mile 5 – 7:41
  • Mile 6 – 7:42
  • Mile 7 – 7:25

Soon after I finished, we had to hop into the van to drive to the next exchange.  I ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and rehydrated while we were waiting for Meagan.  Candy and I discovered that the guys didn’t know the difference between red and pink while we were watching for Meagan’s pink shirt to appear out of the trees.  Suddenly we saw a pink shirt (for real), and there came Meagan running toward us as she completed her 4.5-mile run (Ragnar rated: moderate) at an 8:54 pace.


Photo courtesy of Bill

Meagan had a good hand off to Chuck, and he took off at 5:13 PM for his 5.9-mile run (Ragnar rated: moderate).  Chuck finished his run with an average pace of 9:19.


Photo courtesy of Bill

By 6:08 PM, Chuck was finishing his run with a wrist slap to Barry.  Barry’s leg was 9.4-miles long (Ragnar rated:  very hard), and he killed it with an 8:05 pace.


Photo courtesy of Bill

The sun was starting to set at 7:24 PM when Barry ran in to Exchange 11 to pass the baton off to Bill. After a solid exchange, Bill took off for Van 2’s final leg of our first round of running.


Photo courtesy of Meagan

Since Bill would be running during the evening hours, he had to wear a Ragnar approved reflective bib, headlamp, and flashing tail light.  He ran his 7.4-mile first leg (Ragnar rated: hard) with an average pace of 9:11.

After Bill took off, we watched a runner come in to the exchange and great his teammate with a chest bump.


Once Barry had a chance to cool down a little bit, we jumped in the van again and took off to Exchange 12 to meet up with Van 1 and wait for Bill to finish his leg.

We found Van 1 at the exchange, and hung out nearby so we could see Bill coming in.  Being blinded by headlamps running straight toward us made it difficult to recognize runners in advance.  Suddenly Bill came into view, and Anne took off to start Van 1’s next set of legs.

With that exchange, the Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay were 23 minutes ahead of our estimated finish time!  My Van 2 teammates and I found ourselves with about five hours to kill until it was time to run again.  The first order of business was showers for the guys.  The girls opted to freshen up with baby wipes, and the guys weren’t too thrilled with how badly we still smelled when they returned from their showers.  We took off in search of food (the high school pasta didn’t do it for me), and we found a Chick Fil-A just before it closed.  I got a salad and later ate some of my sweet potato fries in the van.

With our bellies full, we headed to The Creamery at Exchange 18 to wait for Van 1 with the hopes of catching some sleep…

Tomorrow I’ll take you on Van 2’s second set of runs through rural Maryland during the overnight hours.  See you then!


  • Questions:
  • Do you prefer to run first thing in the morning, or later in the day?
  • What would be your go-to meal if you were running in the middle of the afternoon?
  • Have you ever run Ragnar DC, another Ragnar, or similar relay?

Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay – Ragnar DC Recap Part 1

I really don’t know where to start…  How do you sum up such an incredibly amazing weekend in one short blog post?  You don’t…

Way back in early April when I registered our team for Ragnar DC, I picked Runner 8 because it seemed like the hardest position overall.  Runner 8 seemed to have a combination of extremely challenging hills and longer legs, and seemed right down my alley!

Five months flew by; and with our captain’s meeting, team meetings, and training behind us, Ragnar DC was suddenly very real!

I spent Thursday packing, and I have to say the internet is a wonderful thing!  Possibly the biggest secret I learned about packing for Ragnar was to place our running gear in marked zip-lock bags.  It was especially important that we pack our sets of clothing in individual bags with the leg number written on the outside. After our run, we could easily find our clothes for our next run, and stuff our stinky sweaty clothes back in the bag and seal it tight!


Friday morning I had an assembly line of peanut butter and banana sandwiches going.  I also packed homemade sweet potato fries, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, fig bars, Pretzel Crisps, Gatorade, and plenty of water.


Van 2 members Meagan, her husband Barry, father Roger, Candy, Bill, and I arrived at Chuck’s house at 9:45 to pack and hopefully get on the road by 10:15.  We put Meagan in charge of decorating the van and she did a fantastic job!


I convinced Meagan to give us some free advertisement by putting our blog addresses on the back of the van.


The guys took the back seat out of the van and we started packing our stuff.  It took a little while to figure out whether or not to take another seat out, but in the end we didn’t, and I’m pretty sure we made the best decision.


By 10:20 we were on the road and looking fresh!  Van 2 team members were (left to right, starting with the front row) Chuck, me, Bill, Candy, Barry, and Meagan.  Meagan’s dad Roger volunteered to be our driver for the entire trip!  Thank you, Roger!


Meanwhile in Van 1…  (left to right, starting with the front row) Linda, Murali, Sathy, Anne, Patrick, and Ravi had taken off around 5 AM.  They had to be at the starting line in Cumberland, MD at 8 AM to get ready for a 9 AM start.


Photo courtesy of Ravi

Once in Cumberland, they posed behind their mini van for a picture to send to us, and assure us they’d arrived safely and on time.


Photo courtesy of Ravi

Van 1 got one more picture of their half of the team just before Anne took off to start the Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay!


Photo courtesy of Ravi

While Van 1 was running, Van 2 stopped for lunch, and then again at the rest area at Sideling Hill to stretch our legs.


Photo courtesy of Meagan

The views looking down into the valley were beautiful, but it made me nervous how high were were, since I’d soon be running back up to the top of Sideling Hill and down the other side on a highway nearby.


We arrived at Exchange 6 in Little Orleans, MD right on time, and took in the scenes of the Ragnar Village in all of it’s glory.


First up for us, was to get our night-time gear safety inspection complete.  Each team member had to have a Ragnar approved reflective vest, and each van had to have at least two headlamps and a strobe tail-light.


Next, we moved on to listen to the safety speech…


Then we picked up our bibs…


And our final stop was the shirt tent.  We gave the volunteer our shirt tickets, and were able to try on shirts and get the size we wanted.  It was fantastic to be able to get a shirt that fit!


Once we took care of all of our check-in procedures, we needed to find our Van 1 teammates so we could get our copy of the RagMag and Van 2 sticker that they had been given upon check-in.  We also needed to pick up our team notebook to log our actual times as each runner completed his or her leg.  Sathy also entrusted his GoPro to us for filming our runners.


Next we headed over to the dusty exchange area to watch for Ravi to come in and hand off to Candy – starting Van 2’s turn at rockin’ the relay.  Van 1 finished their first six legs seven minutes ahead of schedule, so Van 2 had the challenge of performing well, and not losing any of those precious and hard-earned minutes!


At 2:16 PM, Candy took off and the rest of the Van 2 team said their good-byes to Van 1, and took off in hot pursuit, and in hopes of getting some good pictures along the way.

Stay tuned for pictures, commentary, elevation charts, pace charts, and much, much more tomorrow!

  • Questions:
  • Have you ever run Ragnar DC, another Ragnar, or similar relay?
  • What kind of hill runner are you? ~ I love flying on the downhills!
  • What did you do on Friday?

Leading Up To Ragnar (September 8 – 14)

As I approach my targeted fall race, the Hokie Half Marathon, I’m hoping to peak at just the right time.  Having two other big races a month and two months prior has its advantages and disadvantages.  On the plus side, I’m able to test my training to see where I am in the way of speed and endurance, but on the negative side, I risk injury by pushing myself twice before my goal race.

After a little scare with two minor injuries, I’m feeling great; and neither seemed to bother me much during my crazy weekend of running Ragnar DC.  Before I talk about my Friday and Saturday races, I’ll take you back to Monday and work my way through the week.

I ran/walked with two different clients on Monday.  My first client and I maintained a 14:52 pace for 3.15 miles at 7:30 AM; and my final client of the day and I kept a 16:05 pace for 2.06 miles at 5 PM.  Both clients are coming along nicely, and I just introduced them to each other so they can workout together, and hopefully get in a few additional workouts per week!

With my headlamp and brand new Knuckle Lights in hand, I met my MRTT buddies at 5:15 AM for an easy conversation pace 5.28-mile run (9:27 pace) on Tuesday.  Since we were racing over the weekend, we kept it easy and skipped our usual hill workout.  I even wore my eyeglasses to make my training run mimic my 2 AM Ragnar second leg run, since I planned to leave my contacts at home when running Ragnar.


My BRF was available to meet me for 6.01 easy miles (10:29 pace) on Wednesday.  We had a great run and once I was finished, I was ready to rest my legs until my first Ragnar run on Friday around mid-afternoon.


I took the day off from running and rested on Thursday, AND packed for Ragnar.

Van 2 drove up to exchange 6 of the Ragnar Relay in Maryland on Friday.  I don’t want to go into to much detail since I’ll be doing a Ragnar recap.  Friday afternoon around 3:30 I ran my first leg.  After some rolling hills, it was a wickedly steep 3 mile climb up, and 3 miles down totaling 6.84 miles. My average pace was 9:15.  In my recap I’ll share the elevation chart and my mile splits.


My first run on Saturday was 6.97 miles at 2 AM through some very nice neighborhoods and some creepy areas.  I maintained an 8:58 pace, and was thankful to almost always have a runner either in front of me or behind me within my sights.  The only time I couldn’t see another runner was through the creepy area!

My third and final leg was 6.9 miles at noon on Saturday, and I averaged a 9:42 pace.  I was booking at very consistent 8:30’s the first 4.5 miles until I hit the hills of Arlington!  Those hills killed me, and I have to admit that I did the walk of shame a few times.


After a 12.5-hour sleep, I rested and rolled out my quads today.  Those downhills shredded them, and it will take a few days for them to return to normal!


Total weekly workouts:
Running – 32 miles
Run/walk – 5.21 miles
Walking – 0 miles
Lifting – 0 hours


  • Questions:
  • Do you have hills where you live? ~ I discovered that our Tuesday morning hills are nothing compared to what I just ran this past weekend!
  • Do you train at night?  Have you ever tried Knuckle Lights?
  • Who raced this weekend?

Twelve Cruisers Became Ragnarians Today

It’s over…  I’m a Ragnarian, and I’m feeling the blues like it’s the day after Christmas.  What now?  There’s no planning, no organizing, no packing; just basking in the afterglow of a job well done by my amazing team of friends!

This evening’s post isn’t a recap.  It’s just to let you know that we finished, and that we had a blast!  I have far too many pictures to collect, edit, and pull together to be able to write a Deb Runs worthy recap; so please stay tuned.

While you wait for my recap, I’ll give you a little tease…  Way back in April when I registered our team, I projected that we would finish in 36 hours, but I was wrong!  Little did I know that I would recruit such speedy friends, and we would finish in 31 hours!  Yes, the Cruisers really WERE “Rockin’ The Relay!”

See you after some much needed sleep!


  • Questions:
  • Who has run a Ragnar Relay?
  • What are you willing to lose sleep for?
  • Who raced this weekend?

Sharing The Blog Love

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 Blogs To Love


Of course I love the three hosts of our weekly Friday Five linkup (Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia), but decided today’s-the-day to branch out, and include bloggers outside the circle of those regular participants in the Friday Five linkup.

I’m going to be spending the weekend with two of my favorite blogger friends, so I thought it only appropriate to start off with them!

1.  Meagan over at Turkey Runner has become a great running buddy when I’m in Blacksburg for a game, or visiting my mom.  Meagan’s been known to drive an hour and a half to join me for a run.  In fact, as I type, she and her husband Barry are driving about four hours to join in on the fun of our Ragnar DC team!

2.  Anne who writes Mom and Dad Track Stars and I met at the end of a trail race back in the spring.  We met up again at a race this summer and I casually mentioned that I still had spots on my team for Ragnar DC, and she decided to join in on the fun!

3.  Katie is a fellow MRTT and Sweat Pink sister.  She’s also the mastermind behind Healthy Heddleston and BAMR Bands!  Her headbands are non-slip and are a huge hit with my headband-wearing running buddies.

4.  Mary is my speedy running buddy who recently moved to Denver.  She started writing Taming The Thorsons to keep her family up to date on what she and her family were up to.  Since she’s moved away, I’ve loved following her runs via her blog.

5.  Laura has dedicated her blog Write the Happy Ending to her sister Taylor, who suffers from Batten Disease, a rare and fatal disease.  Laura ran the Raleigh Half Marathon last fall blind-folded to honor Taylor.  Currently, Laura in embarking on running a race in all 50 states as she continues to spread the story of Taylor’s Tale.

  • Questions:
  • What are your favorite blogs?
  • Do you follow any that I mentioned above?
  • Non-bloggers:  Have you considered starting a blog?

Moms Take Over Erin’s House!

On Sunday, we had our first local chapter MRTT open house appropriately named the Fall Showcase Open House!  Our chapter leaders, Erin and Amanda, put a lot of effort into making it perfect and fun for their 300 members.  No, we didn’t have perfect attendance, but the turnout was really good!

Erin had transformed her house into a pink-lover’s dream (or as she said, “an explosion of pink”) ready for us to make ourselves at home!  Guests signed in when they arrived and filled out ten tickets for chances to win cool prizes.


Amanda and Erin outdid themselves when rounding up these amazing prizes for the Penny Auction:

  • Runner’s Fuel
  • Poka-dot Tutu
  • BAMR Bands Headbands
  • MRTT Goodies
  • Sparkle Skirts Addict T-shirt

They also had three Grand Prizes:



Since they wanted the open house to be informative as well as fun, they had three little mini-presentations set up throughout the afternoon, and I was honored to be asked to help out.  These included:

  • Foam Rolling with Debbie
  • Winter Running with Amanda
  • Creating A Training Plan with Erin

In addition to the mini-presentations, there were a variety of activities for us to participate in.  The most popular was the shirt press.  Runners could buy and iron their favorite logo onto shirts they brought with with them.

Amanda volunteered to man the 280º shirt press, and helped everyone make sure their logos were
positioned straight before making them permanent.

Amanda even took time out to do her own jacket!


And here she is,  showing off her newly decorated purple jacket!

It was fun to see fellow bloggers Kim and Katie there!  Katie is the lovely face behind MAMR Bands, and had her shop set up for us to stock up on her non-slip headbands.

Another station was the “Accomplishments” and “Running Inspiration Phrase” table.  Runners were encouraged to write out their accomplishments and inspiration phrases to hang on ribbons and share with their fellow MRTT sisters.

And of course there was this!  If you’re the type to judge an event by the food and drink, you would have been happy!


Before my foam roller presentation, I gathered my group together for a quick little selfie since I’m one of the unofficial self-proclaimed team photographers!  And we were photo-bombed by Sammy, a future MRTT member!


I went over the different types of foam rollers, and proper rolling techniques that you can read on my previous blog post.


It was an incredibly fun afternoon with some amazing women that help make my miles click by much faster in the wee hours of the morning!


  • Questions:
  • Have you ever tried iron on a decal onto clothing?
  • What types of open houses are your favorites?
  • If you won two personal training sessions, what would you want to work on?

Working On A Comeback (September 1 – 7)

After a fun and busy Labor Day weekend, I stated off last Monday, with a fully booked schedule.  It’s easier to see clients than reschedule them, so I often work on the smaller holidays that fall on Monday, my busiest day.

My first client arrived with her daughter at 7:30 and we headed out for a 2-mile run/walk.  I was pleased that my foot felt pretty good, and seemed to be on the road to recovery.  It was the last time my client’s daughter was able to join us since school was starting the next day.  I enjoy working with my clients’ teenaged children, and encourage my clients to bring their older children along for their workouts.  I do not charge extra because I want to help mold these young people into fitness loving individuals, who think of being active as being the norm.

Later in the day, I squeezed in an upper and lower body strength training session for myself since it would be the last upper body workout I could do for a while.   I again lifted unilaterally protecting my left arm which still had stitches in it from a basal cell carcinoma removed two weeks earlier.

Since my foot felt quite good on Monday, I joined my MRTT friends for hills on Tuesday.  I ran the lower section of the hill where it’s not as steep for a total of 5.5 miles.  Don’t let the elevation chart fool you, though – there was only a 50-foot elevation change over about a half mile!


Later in the day I got my stitches out and had surgery on my other arm to remove yet another basal cell.  Happily, I can now say I’m cancer free… at least until my next dermatologist appointment in mid-November, but hopefully, Dr. Ha won’t find any new spots then.

Before I had a chance to go for a walk or easy run, I hurt my back on Wednesday.  Seriously.  I know – I’m a mess.  While sitting a my desk working on a blog post, I reached for something just beyond my laptop, but well within my reach.  As I reached, I twisted ever so slightly, and immediately felt a twinge in the lower right side of my back.  It’s happened before, so I immediately put a cool Epsom salt compress on my back, then got on my Teeter inversion table and hung out for about twenty minutes.  It’s amazing how much better that makes my back/right leg (sciatica) feel.

Thursday morning I skipped meeting my friends for our run, and decided to lay low as a precaution for my back.  My poor clients couldn’t be pampered, and had to help me move benches, stack the heavy weights, etc.  I wasn’t taking any chances with Ragnar only eight days away!

I woke up feeling great on Friday and ran 2 very easy miles before my first client arrived.  She and I went for a 2.75-mile run/walk before heading back inside for the rest of her workout.  I skipped my own strength training session because of my arms, which I’ll have to for the next two weeks.  I’m getting creative on finding core exercises that don’t require any lifting or major support with my arms, though.

We had a great turnout for our MRTT group run on Saturday morning.  I was thrilled to see how many ladies were mingling around in the in the parking lot when I got there!  We gathered for a group picture…

And when we walked from the parking lot to the trail we found six more runners from our group waiting for us!


Once we got started, we broke out into different pace groups.  Erin and I were both tapering for our races coming up, so we ran 8 miles (9:27 pace), and peeled off leaving our group to finish their 16-mile run.

I spent most of the rest of Saturday catching up on paperwork while watching college football, and waiting for our big game to kickoff at 8 PM.  Once the Virginia Tech vs Ohio State University game started on ESPN, I paced back-and-forth while watching.  We were the underdogs, so it was extra sweet when we upset (then ranked #8) Ohio State!


I’ve hardly seen my BRF’s this summer, so when I got the text saying they’d be running on Sunday morning, I jumped at the chance.  I got in an easy 5.5-mile recovery run, and got to see my running besties at the same time!


Total weekly workouts:
Running – 20.5 miles
Run/walk – 4.75 miles
Walking – 0 miles
Lifting – 1 hour


  • Questions:
  • What’s been your biggest training/injury obstacle?
  • Who gets regular skin checks?
  • Who raced this weekend?

Race Rituals That Work For Me

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 Race Rituals


My five race rituals are a combination of things to help make my race morning go as easily as possible.  Nothing superstitious here, just a routine to make my life easier.

1.  Whenever possible, I pick up my race packet the day before the race.  I like having my race bib at home ready to pin on my shirt, and I like not having to worry about the added stress of packet pick-up on race morning.

2.  If necessary, I go grocery shopping the day before the race to buy salmon, salad ingredients, and sweet potatoes for dinner; and of course bananas and bagels for breakfast.  On the way home, I stop at the running store to buy our preferred running fuel for during the race.


3.  The night before the race Bill and I lay out all of our gear, and pack what we can in the car.  We finalize our parking plans and make arrangements with anyone that might be car pooling with us.  Recently, I have started taking a picture of my flat runner to post on Instagram and our MRTT Facebook page.


4.  Race morning, we try to get there about an hour before the race to get in the porta potty line, meet any friends or fellow running bloggers that we’ve coordinated with, and take our obligatory multi-chapter MRTT picture.  If it’s a shorter race, I try to squeeze in time to go out and run a warm-up mile or so.


5.  Just before the race, I make sure to shut down all of my phone apps and open up RunKeeper and get it ready to go before slipping my phone back into my SPIbelt.  Next, I seed myself according to the pace I plan to run, relax, and enjoy the energy of the crowd around me.  Once the race starts, there’s no ritual – it’s game on!


Hope you’ve gotten a new idea or two from my rituals.  Happy racing!


  • Questions:
  • What are your race rituals?
  • What are your fan rituals before your favorite team’s game?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

Tag! I’m It!

This morning, I got tagged by M at ReadEatWriteRun to provide ten random facts about me, tag ten people that I want to know more about, and tag the tagger back.


1.  My right eye is blue, and the top half of my left eye is blue, but the bottom half is a brownish-green color.

2.  I am 1/16 Cherokee Indian.

3.  I graduated from college in three years by attending summer sessions.

4.  I don’t like to get sand on me; yet I can dig in the dirt in the garden and get it all over me, and it doesn’t bother me at all.

5.  I weighed eight pounds when I was born and was the smallest baby in the hospital nursery, even though there was a set of twins in the nursery, too.

6.  I married my college sweetheart.

7.  I can’t stand chocolate and peanut butter mixed together, but like them both separately.

8.  Even though I am a social butterfly, and love to organize group events, I am a loner by nature.

9.  I once got referred to a cardiologist and had to have an EKG and ultrasound, because after a chest x-ray (I had pneumonia), my family doctor was convinced I had a dangerous virus that causes the heart to become over-sized.  I tried to tell her that I was a marathon runner, and since the heart is muscle, mine would have grown larger than the average woman’s.  The tests results showed that I have a big, healthy, muscular, over-sized marathoner’s heart!

10. I don’t like melons, especially watermelon.

I just picked up my pace, and sprinted to tag these awesome bloggers:

Mary at Taming the Thorsons

Kathryn at Dancing To Running

Julie at Diving Into The Gene Pool

Becky at Running On Happy

Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC

Jess at Flying Feet In Faith

Kim at Day With KT

Jenny at Run Jenny Run

Deborah at Confessions Of A Mother Runner

Kristin at W[H]ATCH

And of course M at ReadEatWriteRun!

I tried to tag bloggers that I haven’t tagged in posts before, but if you’re one of my regular readers who also blogs, and would like to play along, by all means, consider yourself tagged!  :-)


  • Questions:
  • From what countries do your ancestors come? ~ England, Germany, Scotland, Ireland, and my great-great-grandmother was Cherokee
  • What foods do you dislike, that most people love?
  • What are some of your other random facts?

Cutting Back My Workout Even Though I Don’t Want To (August 25 – 31)

Last week was certainly an unusual week for this girl that loves to run and workout.  If you recall, the previous week I had minor surgery on my left forearm on Tuesday, and hurt my left foot as I finished up a run on Thursday.  Nothing serious in the grand scheme of things, but enough to cause significant changes in what I could do.

Like any good runner, I begrudgingly stopped running for a week, while trying to figure out what was wrong with my foot.

I did strength training with my legs (squats, extensions, ball curls – no lunges because of my foot) and unilateral lifting on my right side only.  My core exercises are limited to things that don’t require me to use both arms because I can’t lift with, or put weight on my left forearm.  Oh bummer, that means I can’t do planks…

I had been icing my foot regularly since Thursday, and decided to start on some Epsom salt soaks.  Epsom salt is actually not salt, but a mixture of magnesium and sulfate.  It’s long been used for relief of minor muscle pain by helping to reduce inflammation.  I found a website that suggested making a paste, so I mixed just enough warm water to the Epsom salt to make a paste that I could rub on my entire foot – top and bottom.  I left my foot in the paste for about 20 minutes, and it felt quite soothing.


On Monday, I also decided it was time to start taking Advil.  I used to pop Advil way to quickly after a minor running injury, but now I’ve migrated to the opposite extreme and don’t like to take anything I don’t have to.  I gave my foot four full days to recover before I resorted to taking my first Advil.

I skipped run/walking with my client and kept her inside for her workout on Tuesday.  My foot was feeling better, but I was afraid that it was the Advil talking, and didn’t want to risk running on my foot if it wasn’t ready.

On Wednesday, I did a strength training workout very similar to Monday’s, and kept it low keyed.

Later in the day, I walked 1 mile at a 15:23 pace to see how my foot felt.  It felt pretty good so I decided to take it out on a short run on Thursday.

I went out by myself and ran 3 miles at an 11:41 pace on Thursday morning.  It had been a week since my last run.  I felt like I was working as hard running my 11:41 pace as I had just a short week early running an 8:45 pace.  Ugh!


I spent most of Friday in the car as we drove to visit my Mom, and once we got there, Mom and I did a little gardening and walked around looking at all of her flowers, and admiring her little hummingbird friends.


I got up early on Saturday morning to run 4 miles on a dirt and gravel road.  The surface felt good on my foot except for the occasional twisting when I stepped on a rock.  I guesstimated that I ran at an 11:22 pace, since I didn’t use a GPS.

Later we attended the first Virginia Tech football game of the season, and walked about 2 miles around campus.  I was a good girl and didn’t jump to Enter Sandman, even though I desperately wanted to!  Jumping just didn’t seem like a good idea on a tender foot…

I decided to rest on Sunday, and try to get back to close to my normal workouts on Monday.  Time will tell if I’m truly on the road to recovery!


Total weekly workouts:
Running – 7 miles
Run/walk – 0 miles
Walking – 3 miles
Lifting – 2 hours


  • Questions:
  • Have you every used Epsom salt after an injury?
  • Who had fun weekend plans?
  • Who’s kiddos go back to school tomorrow?

For Me, This Fall Will Bring…

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 Fall Preview


For me, this fall will bring:

1.  Pilgrimages to Blacksburg for most of the Virginia Tech Hokies home football games, and tailgating with our old college friends…

2.  Running my very first Ragnar, and second Hokie Half Marathon with my friend Meagan

3.  Foggy mornings, cool crisp days, and leaf covered trails to run on…

4. Another birthday, and another year wiser…


5.  The first anniversary of losing my beloved dad



  • Questions:
  • Which is your favorite season?
  • What will your fall bring?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

DC Ragnar Is Getting Real

If you remember back in early April, I announced that I was putting together a DC Ragnar Relay team.  Last week, after several social media blitzes, I filled the last spot on team Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay.  Lame name, I know…


My friend Chuck agreed to help me out as co-captain if I formed a team.  Last night he and I attended the Team Captain Meeting at Road Runner Sports in Falls Church.


It’s a really large store and it was packed with Ragnar captains, both seated and peeping around clothing fixtures out of view of my camera.  We learned that there will be 375 teams at this event.  That’s a lot of runners and vans!


Race directors Ameena (Cape Cod) and Tian (DC) went over eight pages of rules, regulations, and what we should expect.


The two biggest things that I took from the meeting were:

  1. Every team member should read the Ragnar Bible before the race.
  2. There’s an ice cream store that sells the world’s best milk shakes at exchange 18.  The only problem is that we’re projected to arrive at exchange 18 at 12:53 AM.

Seriously, the meeting was very helpful, and got me totally pumped for the race!  Things are suddenly getting very real!

I’m taking my foot on a trial run tomorrow morning…  Wish me luck that it cooperates and that I can get back into my training.  It’s been a boring week with no running!


  • Questions:
  • Have you run in a relay race?
  • If so, what’s your biggest piece of advice for my team?
  • Any advice for decorating our van to make up for our lame name?