July 24, 2014

Countdown to Rock 'n' Roll Dublin

It's a little over a week away until we'll be heading across the pond for one of our most exciting races of the year - Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon. Mom and I have traded many emails and phone calls about the race and things we want to do and see in Ireland.  To say we're both excited is an understatement!  Given that we won't have the internet connectivity that we normally would on a traditional race weekend, we've been very focused on staying organized for race day.  So hopefully our prep will help you!

1. Race Expo: We love a good 'ol race expo and we're very curious to see if there are any differences between a state-side expo and one in Europe.  This expo is a two day event on both Saturday and Sunday, 2-3 August.  It's being held at the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) in the Serpentine Hall.  Your waivers are being sent out today so check for these in your email.  This plus a photo ID is required to pick up your packet at the expo.  One thing to note about the race expo, if you need to change corrals, plan to hit up the Corral Change table at the expo to talk about your options. 

2. Race Course:  This year, the half marathon course is different and features some new city attractions like Ha'penny Bridge and the Royal Hospital.  It also includes big name spots like Christ Church Cathedral, the Guinness Factory and Kilmainhman Goal (the old jail). The Fun Run winds through Phoenix Park which will certainly be scenic.  Interesting factoid - Phoenix Park has a perimeter wall which has existed since the mid-seventeenth century and to this day, is one of the only walled parks in Europe.

3. Entertainment:  The Frank and Walters will be playing the finish line festival and there will be bands at every mile on the half marathon race course to keep you moving and grooving!

4. The medals are awesome!! 
Photo from Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Facebook page

5. Pace groups: Like many major races, there are pace groups for the half marathon.  And they have a wide range of desired finish times.  If you have questions about the pacer approach, we recommend stopping by to chat with them at the expo to make sure if jives with your race plan.

6. Course support: All major races should have course support in terms of hydration and fuel and Rock 'n' Roll races don't disappoint.  The Rock 'n' Roll Dublin half marathon course is equipped with water and blue and orange PowerAde without caffeine.  I have yet to participate in a race with two kinds of electrolyte beverage, so this will be a first! For fuel, there are PowerBar gels provided in the following flavors: Mango Passion fruit with Guarana and Hydro Orange.

7. Still want to register? Registration is still open until this Sunday, July 27th.  If you're interested in a discount on the Fun Run, use code NOVAROCKS to get 5 Euros off until Sunday.

As Rock 'n' Bloggers, we have each been provided with a free race entry into the Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon.  We are encouraged to support the race through social media and our blog, but are not required to do so nor are we compensated for this post.  All opinions are our own.

Any tips for my first European race?

July 23, 2014

Why I am deferring Marine Corps Marathon

When my email acceptance from the Marine Corps Marathon arrived earlier this year, I was ecstatic.  Having watched Christine train and run this special race last fall, it was on my bucket list of marathons  And to be lucky enough to win the "race lottery" the first year I tried to gain entrance made me feel very fortunate.

Christine sure made it look fun!

After a brief discussion with my running coach, it was placed on my race calendar along with the Rock 'n Roll Dublin, the Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach relay and the Tower of Terror 10 miler at Walt Disney World.  Maybe that does not sound like alot of races to the average runner, but recently I had an epiphany that this might be too ambitious a fall race calendar for me. Since training for the Goofy Challenge in 2012, in preparation for the January 2013 half marathon and marathon, there has been little break from running in my little world.  Racing has been so much fun, especially completing so many runDisney challenges over the last year including Dumbo, Dopey and Glass Slipper.

Here is what I learned from doing some research on the internet.  I found several great pieces on this subject including this one from Hal Higdon.  Most serious runners compete/run two to four marathons per calendar year.  They give there bodies plenty of time to recover and let's face it, this group is half my age. While my last marathon was March 16, 2014, I certainly could run the Marine Corps race in October.  But as a highly competitive individual, I know that I will be under trained due to my vacation plans and the other races on my calendar.  I did get some help in adjusting mileage to be able to run one long run of 20 miles, but quite honestly, it seems like a real push for me to be minimally trained for race day.  And so I made the decision.  I will defer my entry and hopefully be ready to tow the line for the 40th anniversary of Marine Corps Marathon in October of 2015.  Secretly, I hope that my sidekick will be there to run it with me too!

July 22, 2014

Race day anxiety

Have you ever dressed for race day and then panicked?  Are you always excited no matter how you have trained, eaten or prepared for a race?  It never occurred to me that race day anxiety even existed until I got to Asheville, NC last month for the inaugural half marathon.  Then it hit me like a truck. Yup, I freely admit that I had a huge amount of anxiety that morning. The reason why?  I do not eat hills for breakfast like some runners.  The place where I live is extremely flat.  Since I do not train on hills, a race that incorporates a huge amount of elevation change made me freak out race morning.  In fact, I nearly turned the car around and drove back to my friend's house.  However, I did get through the race and now have some thoughts on how to avoid this situation.

1. Know your race course This is sort of a given, but this seasoned runner did not do her homework.  You can avoid nerves about the race course itself if you go to the race website and study the course map and understand what you will face on race morning.  Better yet, take a practice run on parts or all of the course in advance of your race.

2. Go with a friend  If you have a buddy, it is much easier to stay calm the morning of a race.  If you are running solo, make friends on the bus to the race start, chat with someone in your corral or do whatever you can to stay calm.

3. Be prepared  Visualization is a great technique that can be utilized on race morning.  Think about what you plan to do, how you have trained to reach that goal and how much fun you will have running the course. Also, alleviate any things that could cause more anxiety by double checking all your gear the night before so it will be easy to get ready on race morning.  You don't want to be fumbling around at 5:00am looking for safety pins.

4. Understand the nerves  If you don't have any nervous feelings on race morning you must be super human.  Take them in stride and don't focus on anything negative. Most important, the more times you race, the better you will be able to control those feelings.

5. Believe and trust your training  If you are racing for a PR, it is highly possibly that you can psych yourself out from the moment you wake up on race morning.  Make sure you focus on something other than your time goal.  Self confidence and strong training will get you to your goal.  Believe, believe, believe.

Any other tips on how to diminish race day anxiety?

July 20, 2014

Weekly Roundup - July 20th

The weekends when the WRD girls get to be together are always fantastic!  After spending some time at the beach with friends, Mom and Dad came out to Chesapeake to spend a night with me before heading back to NC.  We enjoyed catching up, a really yummy lobster dinner, and brainstorming ideas for Dublin.  It's hard to believe that in two weeks we'll be prepping for our Rock 'n' Roll Dublin half marathon.  I find that when there's a fun trip that's part of a race, I'm much more likely to prepare a bit better from a running standpoint because I'm so darn excited. 

Sunday, July 13th
Pam:  11.5 miles, tough and sluggish long run!
Christine: 8.5 miles at 9:45 pace

Monday, July 14th
Pam: water aerobics class
Christine: Rest day (sick)

Tuesday, July 15th
Pam:  6 miles at 9:45 average pace
Christine: Rest day (sick)

Wednesday, July 16th
Pam:  35 minutes stationary bike, plank, situps
Christine: 4 miles at 9:01, 8:15, 8:01, 7:51 plus half mile cool down

Thursday, July 17th
Pam:  Without Limits track workout
Christine: 1 hour yard work, push-ups, sit ups

Friday, July 18th
Pam: 1 hour gym workout
Christine: 15 miles bike ride

Saturday, July 19th
Pam: 9.65 miles at 9:59 pace
Christine: 9.65 miles at 9:59 pace

Any fun plans for the coming week?

July 19, 2014

A big huge thank you to "my rock"

A little while back, I was approached by Red Envelope about a campaign they were launching to thank "your rock."  I've shopped with Red Envelope in the past; I was intrigued and wanted to learn more.  Basically they are taking the philosophy that it doesn't have to be a Birthday or a holiday to thank someone.  I am a huge subscriber to this philosophy so I jumped at this opportunity.  And I'm sure it will come as no surprise to any of you that I'm going to write about my awesome mama. 

As you all know, we started our running journey together in late 2010 with a goal of completing the Princess Half Marathon in February 2011.  And most of you know how that race turned out.  9-10 miles in, I began to feel pretty miserable and was pretty shaky and unsteady.  Somehow, Mom pulled me across the finish line (metaphorically speaking), with both of us being unaware that I would land in the medical tent shortly after crossing the finish line.  I never would have finished the race if she wasn't by my side.  She not only got me across the finish line, but she made sure I got a medal.  Full disclosure: she enthusiastically called yelled to a volunteer to get me a medal as I was being wheeled into the medical tent in a wheelchair.  True story.  She's awesome.
It all started here
After that race, running was a difficult topic for us.  She kept on running and improving her times; I quit running for the better part of the next year, feeling like I had somehow failed in that race.  And there were obvious emotional scars from that terrifying experience in the medical tent.  It took a long time - 50 weeks to be exact - for me to decide to return to running.  I wouldn't have dreamed of running another race with anyone else other than my mama by my side.  And of course she was primarily concerned about my health and took great care of me during that next half marathon.  It was the one year anniversary of our first, the 2012 Princess Half Marathon.  I still look at the photos of us crossing the finish line, this time with smiles and cheers, and I laugh, smile, and cry. 

Running buddies are a funny thing.  You aren't always in sync.  We've shared training runs and races where one of us was on cloud nine and the other was feeling beat up and less than fabulous.  The mother-daughter relationship adds a new dimension to that relationship.  At times, we butt heads.  At times, we get on each other's nerves.  No matter how many bad days there are, they pail in comparison to the good days.  Like the days when both of us PR or have a great training run.  Like the days we skip through a race taking pictures in Disney without a care in the world, and most notably our finish time.

A year and a half ago when she proclaimed that she wanted to complete the Dopey Challenge in honor of her 60th Birthday, I was nervous.  I had a lot of hesitations about running 48.6 miles in 4 days; I would think you would be a crazy person not to!  Through our 6-8 month training cycle, there were bumps.  There were insane highs and insane lows.  When I completed my first marathon as a precursor to Dopey, my phone was ringing within seconds of crossing the finish line.  My biggest fan had been sitting by the computer all morning tracking me and nervously awaiting my final time. 

We ran countless miles as we prepared for Dopey.  And through it all, she was always there, a text message or phone call away.  As we got ready to cross the starting line of our final race during that weekend, I was obviously a bit nervous...and tired!  But in contrast to that, I felt a calmness that I would be tackling this beast with Mom by my side.  My motivated, crazy runner mama.  We had our game faces on and planned to do work that morning.  I will never ever forget the rush I felt as we neared the end of that marathon.  Things like...running ahead to get the crowd pumped up for her in the final miles...telling her that we were killing our splits halfway in...yelling that we are "wrecking this marathon" when we passed Wreck it Ralph...seeing her after burners kick in when we got to the final stretch in EPCOT.  And the euphoria I felt when we ran down the finish stretch was unlike anything else.  Sure this will never be my first marathon, but it was a marathon (and then some) that I conquered with my mama holding my hand as we crossed the finish line, with PRs in hand. 
I am eternally grateful for her support, tough love, silly antics, and the friendship we share...and much of this developed from our shared running experiences.  So from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank my Mom for being my rock! 
Who is your rock?  How would you thank them?
Disclaimer: I was contacted by Red Envelope to participate in their #redGift promotion to thank you rock but received no compensation for this post.

July 17, 2014

Wearing a Pacebands bracelet and a giveaway

Disclosure:  Christine and I were each given a Pacebands bracelet.  No other compensation was received and the opinions stated here are my own.

Recently I had the opportunity to try out a Pacebands bracelet.  I have seen runners wearing these during races, and I actually made my own using pen and paper for a race last year.  Let's just say making your own is really not a great option!

So here is what arrived a month ago in my mailbox. Pacebands has a great website that let's you choose not only your pace but color of bracelet too.  I thought the yellow would be best for easy reading so that was my color choice.

I have taken my Pacebands bracelet for a test ride on several different occasions.  It has been a great addition to my long run gear.  The bracelet is very easy to read and after a minute you do not notice you are wearing it.  Best of all it can be used for training runs and race day. While a Garmin watch or running watch gives you your pace and time, this helps keep you on track for a goal.  When training or racing, having the ability to check out how close you are to your target time is so helpful.  I love being able to check after each mile and see if I am on track.  Actually, having several of these bracelets for different race distances would be nice!  Check out the webpage here and see which one is on your list.  And best of all, Pacebands is giving two lucky readers a chance to choose their own band.


 Follow the rules on our Rafflecopter link and you could be ordering one of these sweet silicone bands!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 16, 2014

Get Fit

Recently, our local newspaper started a series in the Health and Wellness section entitled, "Get Fit".  Of course this caught my eye and the first story included a 45 pound weight loss by a local resident.  Her inspiring story shared that she had gotten off several medications and enjoyed a happier life due to her new and fit body.  And any women is thrilled to update their wardrobe too!

The second article in this section included habits of highly fit people.  As a very competitive person, I wanted to make sure that each one of the items (seven total) were things that I do.  Here is the list and my assessment of how I am doing in each category!

1.  Set a goal:  In my mind, I get a star for this checklist item.  Even in everyday life, I seem to make everything into a game/goal.  My sisters and I joke that we will have wheelchair races when we are 100 years old and living in a nursing home!

2. Write it down:  I am working on my second runner's journal since taking up the sport nearly 4 years ago.  That's right, every workout has been logged and sometimes I even include a notation on heat or cold and if I struggled with the run.

3. How big are your portions? This is probably the one item of this list of seven where I probably have a few "fails" every week.  My addiction to ice cream sometimes takes hold and my portion could be close to a pint....yup, I freely admit it!

4.  Make fitness a priority Being active has always been a part of my life.  Scaling bookcases when I was less than 2 years old scared my mother and now, I try to play it safe by doing things like the Dopey Challenge for my 60th birthday!

5. Be prepared:  When I commit to a race,  everything I do revolves around that goal. Call me anal, but to get great race results, you need to be fully dedicated to the goal.

6. Plan your exercise: Do you plan your week of exercise or do you "wing it"? If you are not getting race day or weight results, perhaps you do not have an appropriate plan of attack.  My running plans and exercise program are now being managed by coach Sami through my running group.  However, my plan would not work for you and vice versa.  Make sure you are making good progress or change up things to get better results.

7. Be realistic: Everyone of us has different goals and physical things we wish to accomplish. While it is fun to chat about our goals, it is also important to realize that everyone needs to understand their potential.  My running group is called Without Limits, and I love the name because we all can achieve things we do not think are possible.  But that also will only happen with dedication, hard work and a great support crew.