Holiday ho-hums December 6, 2013Posted by bettyjoan in Running.
Tags: Running, Slump, TNT is awesome, Training challenges
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I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but my motivation for exercise has been seriously sapped. I absolutely SHOULD be working out – not only did I overindulge during Thanksgiving, but marathon training has officially started – yet I always find excuses not to. Work is crazy. I’m tired. It’s too cold. And so on and so on…
This weekend, we will be attending our first group run with Team In Training – it’s only 5 miles (see, I can’t be THAT far removed from running – I still use “only” to describe 5 miles), but hopefully it will provide a much-needed spark. The social aspect of exercise always gives me a bit more of a boost!
Perhaps it’s a good time to start thinking about my 2014 goals – after all, 2013 is almost over, and the new year provides a nice (if a bit cliched) backdrop for self-reflection, evaluation, and target-setting. Should I be focusing on weight loss? Running a PR? Getting back into yoga and/or cycling? I think I will spend some time thinking about what I want to accomplish, and then I can come back here and jot everything down for accountability.
Till then, I will simply strive to enjoy this weekend’s TNT activities and carry a refreshed sense of positivity and enthusiasm into a new training season.
New challenges November 8, 2013Posted by bettyjoan in Fundraising, Races, Running.
Tags: 10K, DC, Fundraising, Half marathon, Marathon, Running, TNT is awesome
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You may have noticed that there are some new races in my “Upcoming Races” widget. Not only am I running the Veterans Day 10K this weekend (on a whim, a girlfriend suggested the race and I decided to jump on board), but I am also signed up for both the Rock & Roll USA Marathon – yes, the full – and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon.
As much as hubby and I wanted London to be our 2014 marathon (I figure I’m up for one full every two years), his work situation has made international travel pretty unlikely for the next year or two. Also, we were really missing being involved with Team In Training, so we decided to register for whatever local race they were planning for Spring ’14. Bing, bang, boom – that’s how we wound up committing to the RnR race. I decided to tack on the Nike half as an extra challenge (to avoid the usual post-marathon exercise slump).
Obviously, since we are training with TNT, we are also fundraising! I need to raise $3,200 for my two races, so here is my fundraising page:
Please stay tuned for training updates, fundraising events, and other super-fun marathon goodness.
What is everyone else’s race calendar looking like?
Army Ten-Miler race report October 22, 2013Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
Tags: DC, Running, Ten miler
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“Way back when,” when a colleague told me he couldn’t use his Army Ten-Miler bib, I bought it from him (gotta love races that allow folks to legally transfer numbers). And “way back when,” I said that I was going to actually train for the race. Well, “way back when” turned into “the race is this weekend,” and you can probably guess that training fell by the wayside, in favor of work and life and all of the usual excuses.
All of that said, I was still really excited about the Army Ten-Miler. You see, I wasn’t a runner (or an athlete of any kind) when I lived in DC back in 2005-2008. I was more of what you might call a drinker and a smoker (but not a midnight toker). So, I have only recenly started seeing the District through a runner’s eyes, and I love what I see. I couldn’t wait to run my first race in my new home, even if it was at a slow pace.
I went to the Expo on Saturday morning, and I zipped right through. It was a large Expo, but it was still very well organized and easy to navigate. Once I had my bib and shirt, I headed back home to relax and stay off my feet (by watching college football all day). I made sure I had proper nutrition and hydration, and I went to bed early. Since I didn’t have lofty expectations for myself, I wasn’t nervous at all and got a great night of sleep.
On race morning, I got up and geared up. Even though it was pretty chilly, I opted for shorts and a tank, along with compression socks and arm warmers (which ended up being a great decision, since the sun warmed things up nicely). After a quick bite to eat and a 5-Hour Energy, I jumped on Metro and made it to the start area really quickly. I even had time for one more potty break before trying to find my orange corral.
The start area was kind of a CF. There was “extra security,” which amounted to people being herded into one HUGE line, and then having to walk in front of law enforcement with arms up. No scans, no wands, just hands up and a quick once-over. There were colored balloon arches to tell you where to go for each wave, but there was no information and there were no signs indicating how to get there (and there were barricades everywhere, with no real sense of purpose or pattern). Finally, though, the crowds parted enough that I could move toward where I was supposed to be. I’m not sure what time we got started, but it was certainly after the planned 8:20 AM start for my wave.
In any case, we were off! I tried to stay nice and steady in the first mile or so, since I have a tendency to let the adrenaline get the best of me and start off too fast. The view over the Memorial Bridge was amazing, and running up Virginia Avenue was just enough of an incline to give me some good stretching. We ran by the Potomac River for a while, and then we wound our way past a bunch of the monuments/memorials and through the Smithsonian area. The last couple of miles, where we were on the 14th Street Bridge and the highway, were less scenic and not so interesting. But the finisher’s chute at the Pentagon was definitely a welcome sight! Overall, I really enjoyed the course.
Early in the going, I decided to do intervals (run 8 minutes/walk 2 minutes), which ended up being a great choice – I had almost NO PAIN for the entire ten miles. I was able to finish strong and meet my goal of finishing in under two hours (official time was 1:58:14)! The best part was that I still had a little bit in the tank, so if the race were a half marathon, I still could have completed it. Win!
I didn’t stick around for the post-race festivities, opting instead to head home and eat all the food. Bottom line, I would definitely do the Army Ten-Miler again. I am really excited that it renewed my love of running – for reasons I’ll get into in a future post, I’m going to be running a lot more in the coming months!
Bike Commuting Pitfalls October 21, 2013Posted by bettyjoan in Cycling.
Tags: Commuting, Cycling, DC
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There are many obvious benefits to commuting by bike in DC. Fitness, eco-friendliness, and cost saving are just three – each indivdual has his or her own reasons why they feel that cycling adds something positive to their daily routines. Personally, I enjoy the fresh air and the “me time” factor – I can prepare myself for my day much better on a bike than in a crowded Metro car.
But, for every plus, there must be a minus. Here are some of my least favorite things about bike commuting in DC.
* Segways – Note that I did not say “all tourists,” as there are plenty of visitors who manage to walk all around the city without getting in the way of my bike. However, since Segways are, apparently, supposed to ride in the bike lanes and not the sidewalks whenever possible, it is inevitable that I will encounter a huge motorized tour group when I am trying to go downhill on 15th Street (which, on my PM commute, is the only time I really get to generate any speed and give my legs a breather). I despise Segways as a general principle, but I especially despise them when they keep me from my desired pace. They don’t signal, they don’t listen when I try to audibly signal, and they go slower than 99% of the cyclists in the city. Grrrr.
* Kamikaze pedestrians – Again, note that I did not say “all pedestrians.” I am a pedestrian most of the time, and the majority of walkers are courteous and safe. However, when I am cycling in the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, there are always a few daredevil pedestrians who decide to jet across the road in traffic, only to realize that they cannot make it the whole way – which means they come to a dead stop right in my lane as I am cranking on through. Come on, folks – I know my red bikeshare vehicle is not as scary as a SUV, but I promise it will still be messy if we have a collision.
* Asshole drivers – Are you noticing a theme here? I did not say “all drivers,” as there are many delightful ones who keep their eyes open and follow the rules of the road (as do I, for the record – more on that in a moment). I only hate the drivers who think they are the only vehicles on the road and who can’t understand why I am angry when they make an illegal U-turn into my supposedly protected bike lane, nearly taking me out in the process. I don’t know if this is surprising or not, but a lot of these offenders are driving taxi cabs.
* Cyclists who disregard the rules – I know this is an area of great strife within the cycling community, but it’s pretty simple to me. If you’re on the road with the cars, you need to follow the same rules as the cars. Ya know, important stuff like stopping at stop lights/signs. Signaling before you turn. Not texting/wearing earphones. It’s really hard to expect other travelers, regardless of their mode of transportation, to respect your rights when you so blatantly disregard the laws and guidelines that are meant to help keep everyone safe. Tangentially, I get very upset with cyclists who don’t wear helmets. I know, it’s going to give you less attractive hair, but in a collision, it’s not your hair you should be worried about. We have so many well-educated, successful people in DC, I just can’t believe so many of them would opt out of the most obvious piece of protective gear.
These pet peeves are nothing new – countless bike commuters have vented similarly, and I certainly won’t be the last. I just hope that with the expansion of cycling in DC comes an enhanced understanding of how we can all cohabitate on the roads, safely and politely. A girl can dream, no?
A vicious cycle October 9, 2013Posted by bettyjoan in Cycling.
Tags: Commuting, Cycling, DC
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Remember how I said I was going to step up the training after N2S, and that I was going to find a race to enter before the Army 10-Miler to ensure that I wouldn’t slack off?
I am a big stinking liar.
Of course, the fibbing is not intentional – at the time, I really DID want to train in earnest for the Army race, and I really DID think I could find a 5K or something to keep myself on track. As usual, life just got in the way – it’s as simple as that. I am still going to run the 10-Miler in about a week and a half, and I’m certain that it won’t be any kind of record-setting event for me. But, since it is my first race of that distance, it is an automatic PR – and, of course, I will aim to enjoy the scenery on the course since I won’t be so concerned with the pace. Hopefully, with cooler weather and a renewed sense of my running self, I can break the cycle and truly get back to loving running again.
One kind of cycle I have been perpetuating lately is actual cycling. Yes, ladies and gentleman, this Hungry Triathlete has actually been on a bike more than she has been running lately (which will shock all of you who know my trials and tribulations with the second leg of the tri). I joined Capital Bikeshare, which allows me to bike to and/or from work whenever I like, without having to worry about locking my road bike up or making sure I have the right shoes or fretting about my bike getting stolen or rained on. All I have to do is have a helmet handy (and technically, I don’t even have to do that, as helmets are not legally required for adult cyclists in DC – but you’d better believe I’m always going to wear one), and I can go to any of the hundreds of kiosks to grab a bike and go. It really is a great system, and I have learned to feel much more comfortable on these city roads – and when the weather is fall-like and gorgeous, there is something so refreshing and zen about ditching my normal crowded commute and getting some me time.
Of course, the down side to commuting by bike is…well…there are a few. Can you guess what they are? Do you have some of your own? Feel free to share – my thoughts will follow in another post.
Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon – the sequel July 26, 2013Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
Tags: Half marathon, Napa to Sonoma, Races, Running, Travel
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It has been a long time since I trained in earnest (thus, the lack of posting), so to say I had low expectations for the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon would be the understatement of the decade. That turned out to be good news, as I was able to put aside my usual competitive and time-centric thoughts and focus on the beauty and fun of the race. What an idea, eh?
I would still recommend this race to anyone – it is a fantastic course, you get awesome swag (this year’s medal doubles as a coaster!), and there is lots of wine-drinking, including around mile 10 when you run right past the Gundlach Bundschu winery (definitely worth a visit while you’re in town). The expo was in a better location this year, but it is still very small, so make sure you bring all of your own Gu/sport beans/special electrolyte powder/whatever. I forgot my race belt, and luckily I was able to buy a replacement.
The weather was ideal for running – cool at the start, dry throughout, and only got warm/sunny at the very end (and if you finished more quickly, you probably didn’t have to deal with any heat/sun at all). The whole trip, which was just under a week, was absolute climate perfection, especially after leaving a heat index of 110 degrees in DC.
Now that my first “race” (I use the quotation marks because…well, you can see my time on the right toolbar) since Ragnar is in the books, the question becomes: what next? I am signed up for the Army Ten Miler in October, but I feel like something in between might be smart, since N2S was a wake-up call in terms of my need to stay on top of my fitness.
Maybe a 5K/10K? Someone suggested the Parks Half Marathon – any thoughts?
Let’s Move! March 17, 2013Posted by bettyjoan in Uncategorized.
Tags: Reflection, Slump, Uncategorized
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The words “moving” and “movement” have been in the news a lot lately, what with the First Lady’s initiative to end childhood obesity through exercise and nutrition. I’ve been using those same words quite a bit recently as well, though my context is somewhat different. Because, you see, on February 23, I packed up a couple of suitcases and moved back to Washington, DC.
Of course the move was job-related, and I’m not going to get into those details in this forum. But, I have been here for three weeks now, and I can definitely confirm that moving – the relocation kind, anyway – is one of the most stressful life events there is. We are getting a lot of help from my employer, which certainly takes the anxiety down a notch, but between selling our house, finding an apartment, figuring out how to move the critters, and remembering little things like address changes and utility shutoffs and where in the goodness gracious we stored our important documents, it is enough to keep you up at night.
At this point, we are progressing as smoothly as we possibly can, with me and the cat here in our nation’s capital and husband and the pupster still in Atlanta. I’m sure the rest of the process will flash before our eyes, and we will be one big happy DC family soon enough. Until then, our race schedules will likely get tweaked and our training routines will probably suffer – and I don’t know what will become of this blog. I hope to pick it up again soon, refreshed and renewed and race-ready for this new phase of our lives.
Weather or Not to Train February 18, 2013Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Uncategorized.
Tags: Slump, St. Anthony's, Training challenges, Triathlon, Weather
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You may have noticed that posting here has been kind of light. Part of that is due to some personal/professional flux – more on that in a future entry. But really, more than anything else, the reason for my lack of navel gazing is my lack of training…and my lack of training is due to HOLY CRAP, DID YOU KNOW THAT IT IS WINTER OUT THERE?!?!?!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that I live in Georgia, and winters down here are practically like summers in places like Buffalo and Vancouver and Nome. But dammit, my blood is all thin and stuff, and I don’t live in Buffalo or Vancouver or Nome (why would anyone, for that matter?). I live in Georgia, where it is supposed to be warm all the time and we aren’t supposed to have to worry about things like wind chills and full-face warmers. It is really hard to get my happy ass on a bike when I know I am going to be frozen from head to toe within 5 minutes of starting to ride – especially when cycling isn’t a great joy for me anyway.
The kicker is, our next event is St. Anthony’s, an Olympic distance triathlon in St. Petersburg, Florida, on April 28. That makes motivation even harder, since I know that the weather in St. Pete in late April is not exactly going to be wintry. I know, anything can happen, but let’s be real – it’s going to be lovely and fabulous and everything you wish for when you sign up to do a race in Florida.
The good news is, I have at least been keeping up with the swimming component of training (the only part that is climate controlled), so at least I (probably) won’t die a watery death.
How does everyone else stay motivated when the weather’s got you down?
Ragnar Tennessee race report – part 3 December 10, 2012Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
Tags: Races, Ragnar, Running
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You wouldn’t think you could get decent sleep on the floor of a high school gym with 200 other people. You would be wrong. I completely zonked out and was disappointed, to say the least, when my alarm rudely awakened me to tell me it was time to get moving again. The good news? It was a BEAUTIFUL morning, and after two nighttime legs, I was downright giddy about running during daylight hours. We gathered the Van 2 folks and headed to the last major exchange, stopping for breakfast on the way.
Before we knew it, we were off and running again. The last bunch of legs were tough – Shawn had yet another doozy full of hills, and Jeremy had his longest mileage yet – but the scenery was lovely, and it took us through some really ritzy areas of suburban Nashville. I kept secretly hoping that a country music star would pop out of his or her house to cheer us on. I mean, come on, Blake Shelton – is that too much to ask?!?!
Then, before I knew it, it was time for me to bring it on home. That’s right, I was charged with running the final leg, the leg that would bring me into downtown Nashville and our whole team over the finish line. The team planned to meet me a little bit before the finish, so we could all cross together, and I couldn’t wait to make it happen. I started off feeling awesome, just happy that I wasn’t decked out with headlamps and blinky lights. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was a LOT warmer than I had anticipated, and my body was just plain beat up. I tried to power through, but the course was super confusing (read: demoralizing), there was construction everywhere (read: fumes), and I just couldn’t gear myself up the way I wanted. I walked. A lot. I felt a little better when I saw a hydration station (yet again, I was running a no-van-support leg), so I could refill my long-since-empty bottle. When I came through a lovely park near town, I started to hype myself up. Your team is waiting. DO IT. I picked up the pace, and then WHAM. Tourist-ville. It was like a wall of big hair and cigarette smoke. GAH. I said a number of not-safe-for-country-radio words, but then I crossed the street and FINALLY saw my team. Woo hoo! We all ran across the finish line, in various stages of battered, bruised, broken-ness, and became Ragnarians. We did it! We ran from Chattanooga to Nashville and lived to tell the tale. More importantly, we didn’t kill each other, and we emerged better friends than when we started the journey.
Bottom line: Ragnar was hard. Like, REALLY hard. There are definitely things I would do differently next time. But there WILL be a next time. I had a blast, and I would recommend the race to anyone. I will always treasure the experience – and it is pretty badass to be able to drive home from Nashville to Chattanooga and think, “Yeah…I ran that.”
Ragnar Tennessee race report – part 2 November 24, 2012Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
Tags: Races, Ragnar, Running
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After our first full cycle of both vans, our van decided to find something to eat and hit the local Wal-Mart before moving to the next major exchange for showers and possible naptime. That turned out to be ill-advised, because a) the exchange didn’t open when we were ready, due to a high school football game, and b) Van 1 absolutely BLEW through their second legs, and they put us about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. So, I was naked in a locker room (after simultaneously the best and worst shower of my life) when I got a text from Van 1 that basically said, “Get ready, here we come!” After some squealing and running around and minor panicking, we got our shit together and headed to the handoff point. Unfortunately, this is where pictures get kind of spotty – it is hard to capture nighttime Ragnar-ing!
The second legs seemed to go really well. They were a lot quieter than the first round – I think that makes sense, since they were in the middle of the night AND they were each generally a bit shorter. We tried to stay close to our runners as much as possible, which ended up being fortuitous for Raphael, who took a wrong turn at the beginning of his leg and would have wound up in Ohio had we not seen him and put him back on the right path.
By the time it was my turn to run again, everyone had one thing on their minds – SLEEP. I was less anxious about this leg, since it was half the distance and I had already survived one overnight run, but I gotta tell ya – it still worked my nerves. There were dogs barking EVERYWHERE in the distance, and I was sure I was going to have a run-in with one of them at some point. Thankfully, I focused on my breathing and I got through the 3.6 miles with my sanity in tact. After passing the bracelet to Van 1, I headed into the high school gym and settled into my sleeping bag. Two hours of sleep would have to do…