Chelsea and I completed our second half marathon this weekend at the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon! What an amazing weekend!
Virginia Beach was our home for four years in high school, and one of our favorite places we’ve lived as a military family. The town has an atmosphere about it – a relaxed beach vibe and smiling and friendly people. We’ve missed it so much and so enjoyed running up and down the shoreline for this race!
Race day saw us getting up at the crack of dawn to head down to the beach and find our starting corrals. The weather was perfect, and the sun made its way above the horizon just before start time.
The course was lined with crowds of cheerleaders from local high schools, energetic rock bands, and folks sitting out on their driveways handing out grapes and setting up sprinklers for runners to cool off in. What a great feeling – with crowds of friendly smiling faces I was spurred on the entire way! With the smell of bacon greeting us at mile 12, we turned the last corner onto the Virginia Beach boardwalk, knowing that in just a few minutes we would be collecting our race medals, kicking our shoes off, and squidging our toes in the sand.
Our friend RB traveled with us to run his very first half marathon. Despite battling some epic nerves pre-race, he too caught the infectious vibe of the crowd and ran a great race, sprinting in to finish 6 seconds ahead of Chelsea! (High five for goal achievement, RB!)
Chelsea finished in 2:14:16, shaving 30 minutes of her time from the Disney Princess, and finishing 5 minutes ahead of her goal time. Heather cut 40 whole minutes from her time, crossing the finish line at 2:27:45. She finished over twenty minutes ahead of her goal time! One of the most rewarding things about setting goals is discovering just how far you can surpass your own expectations!
Rock on, runners! Who’s joining us for our next race?? More on that soon!
♥ Heather & Chelsea
We’ve been pretty absent since 4th of July, have you noticed?
I feel like every training season we have at least one holiday that like to plant its fun-self right in the middle of our training program. When we were training for the Disney Princess half, we had New Years. The celebrations were many… the training runs… not so many. This time it was 4th of July, which to be honest, we really deserved to live up, because last year we didn’t get to see fireworks. Heather and I had our Floridians up and had a fantastic at-home vacation.
My point? When running is part of your lifestyle, it’s a balancing act. We feel best when we’re checking every run and strength workout off our calendar, eating well, and sleeping well. But we’re also okay with having the odd week in our program where all training plans get derailed by our fun plans. It happens! The key is getting back on track. Or *the* track. Or the trail.
With the hot weather we’ve been having in DC, it’s been really hard to keep up the running side of the balance. Here are some ways we balance running with fun:
1) RUN ON THE TRAILS.
Heather and I have each suffered an agonizing street run around our neighborhood this past week. It left us feeling awful! If you have to run in the heat, especially between 10am and 4pm, find a local trail to run on. You’ll have more shade, which means you’ll be much cooler. I also read a great article this morning about how trail running improves your balance literally:
“Trail running improves balance, coordination, strength, and keeps you in the moment. You really need to focus on where you’re going to put your foot on the next stride and how you’re going to tackle the next hill. That’s what makes it so interesting. Your risk for overuse injuries are much lower than road running because the terrain is more forgiving on your muscles, tendons and joints.”
2) WEAR FUN CLOTHES THAT KEEP YOU COOL.
Can you really get more balanced than polka dots with plaid?
Aren’t Heather’s new Lululemon shorts CUTE? You can’t tell here, but Heather also wore her polka-dot Aerie sports bra on our run today. What was I wearing? My pink and lime plaid Lululemon shorts and my pink Aerie sports bra. Daily weird-twin-moment quota reached.
We really like wearing any running clothes by Lululemon, Aerie Fit, and Nike. You’ll feel most comfortable on your run if you wear synthetic fabrics with technical fibers that wick away sweat and are lightweight. Lululemon has a great anti-stink fabric for their tech tees. DON’T wear cotton. I used to wear Soffe shorts all the time, but I wore them on a recent run and hated them. Wear cotton on a run and it will collect sweat, weigh you down, and make you feel gross.
3) MIX UP YOUR POST-RUN REFUEL SNACKS.
Heather and I find it very important to bring a snack for after our runs–I love feeling *spent* after a workout. I don’t love driving home from the trail feeling like I have no energy to turn my steering wheel. Solution? Bananas. Oranges. Cookies. Lara Bars. Marshmallows?
4) GO OUT WITH FRIENDS AFTER YOUR RUN!
This one’s our favorite. Today we went out for brunch after our 6 mile long run. Chocolate chip pancakes at McLean Family Restaurant! We love going on group runs and going out for dinner or a margarita afterwards. After a cold and rainy 5K with my CT neighbor, Joanne, we hit up Starbucks for a hot drink. After the Disney Princess race we had a massive breakfast at Perkins with our Mom and Granny. It’s partly about the friends and family, partly about the food, and completely about enjoying yourself. Cheers!
Music time. Almost as good as polka dots and plaid… Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim… Go get your Body Movin’!
Well, it’s been quite a while since our last post – the holidays will do that to you! I meant to come back to the blog with something cheery and upbeat, but after my run today I’m going to stress some safety points instead.
I ran alone on the trail today – a trail that I run often and that is well traveled by runners, walkers, bikers, and dogs. But today I just got a very uncomfortable feeling that I couldn’t shake – enough so that I ended up changing my return route to go through the neighborhoods rather than the trail. I’ve never felt so uncomfortable running alone before and wanted to remind you all to be safe and aware while running outside.
If you do run alone outside, try to run during daylight hours and in well traveled and well lit areas. Always run with a phone and I.D. Never run with ear buds in your ears – make sure that you are aware of your surroundings and can hear people approaching you. Acknowledge EVERY person you pass by looking them in the eye and saying “Hi, how are you” so that they know you have seen them and know what they look like. If you are running alone, be sure to tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be out.
Happy trails, and stay safe yall!
We’ve decided to kick off each week by sharing a few things that help us run faster!
Yesterday we got caught up in the England-Germany game (anyone see it? Rawr!), and then I had to go to work, so we decided to push our long run to today! We headed out to our favorite trail at Burke Lake Park for a nice 6 mile run. It felt GREAT, and here are 5 ways that your next run can feel great too:
1) Drink your H2O!!!
You should be drinking roughly 70 ounces of water every day. I like to have at least twenty before I work out. An easy way to keep track of your water intake is to ask for a large cup of water next time you grab a Starbucks–venti means twenty in Italian, so 3 Iced Venti cups and you’re well and hydrated! [Nerd moment: the iced venti cups actually have 24 ounces–the hot cups have 20].
Don’t like water? Try adding sliced citrus or even strawberries or cucumbers to your water to give it some flavor! We tried this for the first time during a run today and found it very refreshing!
2) Brush your teeth before you run.
Ahaha, it sounds crazy, but Heather swears by it! And she says it’s “less wind resistance”. (;
3) Chew gum when you run!!
You won’t get cotton mouth. Trust us, you’ll feel so much better! (And it’s five extra calories to keep you going, says Heather!)
4) Wear happy socks!
We found these socks in the dollar bins at Target… they have Toy Story’s Woody on the top and the bottoms say “Giddyup!” Sometimes silly socks put a little more oomf in your step. :D
5) Silly bands! (Okay, or bandz. Whatever.)
In high school cross country, my Little Sister and I would snap our fingers at each other mid-race to encourage each other. We’d also wear rubber bands on our wrists. When she would start her kick at mile two (cause she was beast-mode like that) and I couldn’t keep up, we could give our wrist a snap anytime we thought a negative thought and immediately tell ourself something positive like “you’re not tired!” or “you’re really strong!”
Try it with silly bands–they’re super fun!
My favorite’s the kangaroo, and Heather likes the giraffe.
Have a kick-ass week 3!!
♥ Chels. and Heather
Woohoo! We’ve officially finished our second week of half marathon training. Chelsea and I had a beast 3 mile run, ran at a great pace, and really found our groove. Whether with my half marathon training or with track and cross country season back in high school, I’ve always found that it takes a little while for things to just click. If you’re like me, you started off your training season a little out of shape and maybe found yourself struggling to get into your running routine. Consistency is key!!! After two weeks of consistent runs and hard work I’ve gone from feeling like a slug to feeling like a thug! Keep putting one foot in front of the other yall!
Woo! Sorry we’ve been absent the past few days! We’ve had a busy week! But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been running. I took a rest day on Wednesday (I had an achy back muscle–too much lifting of coffee carafes?), and Heather kindly switched her Rest Day to Wednesday too! So we ran Thursday and Friday. :D
I ran the past two days around Arlington with our friend Ryan B., who is also training for the Rock N Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon with us! It’ll be his first half, and we hope he enjoys it as much as we did our first half.
An interesting thing about Ryan–his favorite book is The Alchemist, which he reads frequently and buys whenever he sees it at used bookstores. The book is about a shepherd who, because of a recurring dream he has, sets off to Egypt to seek a treasure. When he gets there, he realizes that the real treasure was the journey itself.
Ryan was explaining the book’s plot to a new friend of ours at trivia this week, and as I thought about it, I realized this was why I found the Disney Princess race so rewarding… not because of the end result, but because of the journey that got me there. I really gained a large sense of control in my training. There are so many things in life that seem chaotic and stressful and out of our control, but my training was completely under my control. I had set this goal that a year ago seemed, while attainable, very daunting. But every day I woke up with a mind to finish my run for the day, and I went to bed feeling accomplished. Just taking that one step at a time made for quite a journey.
In the end, I also felt like I had put in a lot of “me time.” We spend so much of our time doing stuff to further the goals and needs of others that taking the time to go on my runs made me feel self-fulfilled.
My little-sister from high-school cross-country, Katie Lee, has a quote on her Facebook that puts it well:
“I’ll keep running
Because it lets me be selfish.
It’s the thing I do that’s just for me,
and nobody else.
FYI, I never thought this being-selfish-thing
…could take so much discipline.”
Now I’m off to be selfish and go on an evening run with Heather! (; I wouldn’t sign off without giving you some music though…
When you’re training for a big race, it’s really helpful to have a goal in mind to keep you motivated. If you don’t know why you’re running a race, you’re gonna have a hard time getting yourself out the door to do your workouts. Do you have a goal time in mind? Do you want to run the whole race? Do you just want to complete the race? If you don’t know, you won’t know how to train for it–it makes a huge difference!
For the Disney Princess Half Marathon, Heather and I just had the goal of completing the race. We didn’t care if we took walking breaks, and we didn’t have a specific goal in mind (well, I wanted to finish under 3 hours–and I did!–but that was based on finishing a 10K in an hour and 10 minutes, not because I really had a time in mind). With this goal we trained using Hal’s novice half-marathon program–a program designed specifically to get you ready to complete your FIRST half marathon. And we did! We finished our race, had A LOT of fun, and took a lot of pictures. And porta-potty breaks. Like, 3-4.
This time around, we’re upping the stakes and setting our goals a little higher. We know that
a) We can go the distance.
b) There won’t be distracting Disney characters to take pictures with this time around.
c) We love shaving time off our PRs. (personal records)
So we’re training differently with this different goal in mind. We’re doing Hal’s intermediate program, complete with track workouts and tempo work. I’m hoping to cut at least 15 minutes off my time, maybe 20, to finish around 2:25-2:30. I’d be exhilerated to train smartly and SMASH that goal.
Your assignment is to think about what your goal is for your half marathon, and let us know! Right now you’re reluctantly crouched at the starting line. With a goal in mind, you CAN GO THE DISTANCE! (;
Today’s Tuesday, so get out there for a quick 3 mile jog (this is for both the novice AND intermediate training programs!)