Tag Archives: half marathon

The warmup

Signs of an aging runner…


Doris drove the oversized van —  a rehabbed ambulance — into the lot designated for runners taking four parking spaces while Lois tended to other matters.  Outside, runners no older than 40 congregated, wearing singlets and shorts in 45-degree weather, not growing goosebumps, waiting for the half marathon to start. Inside the van, the temperature a balmy 78.

Sporting an age category far right of the runners bell curve, Lois and Doris broke a sweat with two layers of pants and a full contingent of long sleeve shirts, Goretex vest, and a winter jacket.  Behind the driver’s seat a long hallway  – presumed once used for stretchers – flanked a private bathroom, a closet with two fold out chairs, a coffee station and a large sofa covered with knee braces, ankle supports, bandages and four pairs of running shoes.
Continue reading The warmup

Flying palm trees

Krabbed IT on Kent Island!
Krabbed IT on Kent Island!

Many people consider the Chesapeake Bay as the waterway that divides the Maryland mainland and the Maryland Eastern Shore.  However, hidden in the geography details, is a small island.  Kent Island. An island where the “Q” sisters rule.  Sisters Quaint and Quiet.

It is also a splat of land where the terrain is sculpted perfectly for runners.  Perfect in my world translates to flat terrain, off road running trails, unbelievably scenic views of the Bay and roadways mostly devoid of traffic.  Welcome to the karma of Kent Island.

Continue reading Flying palm trees

Making the best of February….

Snow Angels!
Snow Angels!

Somewhere in February, the arctic air took over Maryland.  With temperatures in single digits and winds that put the “real feel” even colder, my exercise wardrobe morphed from running tights and windbreaker jackets to ski parkas, ski pants, sheep lined boots, and goggles.   And no, I wasn’t skiing.

I “get it” that my neighbors north of Maryland – are faring much worse.  I can’t even begin to feel their frozen pain.  Yet for 2015, Maryland has become ‘one’ with Canada.  Can’t we just start an early spring?  But no.  That little groundhog from Pennsylvania (Phil) had other plans…

Continue reading Making the best of February….

Taking in Charleston via the Charleston Half Marathon and 5K

16299021661_bf26caba9f_zToday, I will run the Charleston Half Marathon – which is a charity running event that supports the Arts in Charleston SC.  We left our campground in Mount Pleasant by 6AM – for a 30 minute drive into downtown Charleston.  At 36 degrees, I was expecting to be cold, bone cold while waiting outdoors 1.5 hours for the 8AM start.  I was thrilled to find that the Burke Middle School was open to the runners, and all 4300 of us piled inside to stay warm.

This is where I met Rosanne – a lovely lady in her early 50’s who is a cancer survivor and has run over 30 marathons and a few Iron-Man triathlons.  She was quite inspiring and engaging and I nearly forgot that I was preparing to run a half marathon.  With 10 minutes before the race starts, I said goodbye to my new friend – and stepped outdoors. Brrr.  I was wearing too many clothes for running – but I really need to stay warm at the start.  Aaah, the runner’s dilemma boils down to how much clothing to wear. Continue reading Taking in Charleston via the Charleston Half Marathon and 5K

Day 13 of the Holiday Challenge: 13.1 mile mental test

My running volume has considerably diminished from marathon levels – less than 2 months ago.  Since the NYC Marathon on November 2, my longest run was one half marathon (13.1 miles) on November 23.     Since then….even less.   And while I’ve enjoyed changing up my routine – especially with my thought rut challenge – I signed up to run a virtual half marathon.   The Polar Bear Run —  a 13.1 mile charity fundraiser run that I could do anytime and anyplace  between Christmas and New Years.

The funny thing about running, is the less distance you run – the more your mind is convinced that anything longer is a really big deal.   In the last month – my long runs have peaked at 9 miles.  Despite the fact that I was running a 1/2 marathon+more each week for 5 months,  I’m not entirely convinced now that I can run 13.1 miles.  Continue reading Day 13 of the Holiday Challenge: 13.1 mile mental test

Running the Alps of Crozet

Oh sure.  You can Google the Alps of Crozet.  And likely you find them located in France.  Exactly where the Crozet Alps belong.

But, if you are not needing to cross the Atlantic, live in the burb vicinity of Washington DC, and have a “thing” for running uphill in an all femme half marathon – the Alps of Crozet – located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Crozet VA is for you.

Continue reading Running the Alps of Crozet

Say good-bye to the injury gremlins

This week’s long run was scheduled to be a 14 miler – which fits nicely with the Baltimore Running Festival’s Half Marathon.   While the 13.1 mile half marathon is 9 tenths of a mile short of the goal distance — we made up for this fact by including a 6 mile bike trip as part of the commute.  Close enough!

While my fellow marathoner contacts are busy worrying about “don’t get injured” during the taper weeks before marathon day — apparently this vibe has now rubbed off on me.  Suddenly, I’m becoming hyper focused on that lurking injury or accident!   And while the distance of a 13.1 mile event seems “short” — my mind was busy telling me to stay alert!   The injury gremlins, wearing a scary Halloween costume are waiting for me! Continue reading Say good-bye to the injury gremlins

A steamy Philadelphia Half-Marathon

montageOn the road by 4:30AM, and accompanied by triSista Tamar – we made our way north for a 2.5 hour road trip – to Philadelphia for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon.  The Philly Half Marathon has become one of my favorite venues – thanks to the amazing course route that blends both downtown cityscape with majestic parkland along the Schuylkill River.   This week’s long run is 13.1 miles — making the Philly course a perfect location.

We arrived in Philly at 7AM, quickly found a parking space, and stepped outside into surprisingly humid mid-September temperatures.   While the temperatures were in the lower 70’s – the humidity turned this into sweating weather.  I knew I would need to carry extra water – despite the course being stocked with water stations ever 2 miles.   Yes, it was that humid.

Many take to the streets in the Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half Marathon to PR.  Despite the humidity, Deena Kastor handled that on behalf of the rest of us mortals…  While Deena was busy setting fire to the course and doing us “masters” proud (shattering the world record – OK?), Ms. Tamar and I were busy taking in the sights.   Oh sure, we were running AND sightseeing, absorbing the arts district and downtown Philly, listening to the theme from Rocky, hearing support from spectators (“Go Adrianne!!)” – and ultimately becoming one with the views from the Schuylkill River.   Conversations gradually dwindled, GPS watches beeped synchronously at each mile marker, and eventually runners began to tire.    Legs get heavy, and the footsteps get louder, and I would imagine those who listen to tunes simply turn up the volume.  For many that is the ritual of the half marathon.

Philadelphia_skyline_August_2007For me, I run faster the second half of the half.   I even feel like I’m landing lighter.  Relatively speaking.  And all of this could be in my head.  As the countdown to NYC marathon becomes more real, as the training slowly peaks, I have discovered that running a half marathon is now framed as a shorter run.   Who knew I could ever have such thoughts?    After crossing the finish line, and reunited with Ms. Tamar, we collected food and beverages handed out to all finishers, and gradually walked another mile back to our car.  Tami took this opportunity to capture on camera distinctive architecture among the buildings – and I scouted out the nearest coffee shop for treats.   Sweet!

Savoring this moment, cuz next week…is a 20 mile long training run.

More photos

Happy – at the Rock n Roll DC half marathon

My running partner (RP) for the Rock n Roll DC Half Marathon, has a “thing” for firsts.

Regardless of the actual start time of any running event, triathlon or skate-a-thon, my RP would arrive somewhere between 3AM and 4AM.  In the darkest of dark hours that felt like “O-Dark-you’ve got to be kidding me”, my RP had a need to be 1.   First in the parking lot.    First to use the porta-potties.   First to line up at the starting gate.   First to wipe away the pixie dust.   And no, we are not elite athletes.   We like to finish, and are quite happy if there are others left on the course.

In a tradition of firsts, my RP recently had a birthday.  Not just any old birthday, but a birthday that puts you in a new age group for runners.   An age group where “slow” doesn’t really matter.  An age group where you place consistently in the top 10.  An age group that I will soon be arriving.  An age group where wisdom trumps over old habits, where PR’s occur just because you showed up, and spontaneous combustion resembles not caring who sees you dancing in the streets.   If this is the aging process – bring it on!

Fast forward to March 15 – and my RP and I found ourselves arriving at the start line of the DC Rock n Roll Half Marathon…not 4 hours early, not 2 hours early, not when everyone else was showing up….but 20 minutes AFTER the start gun!    By oversleeping just a tad, adding extra time waiting for the DC metro to arrive, and miscalculating the distance between the metro and the start line — we arrived to discover that our designated waves were long gone.   Yet, there were still many waves of runners waiting to start.  We stepped off the sidewalk, onto the street and within seconds we were running.   There was no time to wait for the GPS to find a satellite, use the bathroom one last time, make clothing adjustments….just run.   No stress, no maintenance – just start moving!  Who knew it could be thi768013-1013-0049ss easy?

We ran with many many thousands of runners.   We ran on a bridge over the Potomac River, ran through Rock Creek Park, up an enormous hill with Medics conveniently located along the way.   We ran near Dupont Circle and through sections where the crowd support was deafening.   We ran toward the US Capitol on North Capitol Street, and ran along a vibrant array of ethnic neighborhoods along H Street.   Allowing ourselves to be distracted by runner conversations along the way (we are too winded to make our own words!),  listening to mile after mile of bands playing motivating music,  we absorbed the amazing run vibes in total awe of the “finally” spring like 60 degree temperatures.   Before we had a chance to wonder “is this over yet?” — we had arrived at the finish line near RFK Stadium!   A truly enjoyable run through the neighborhoods of DC.   We then casually discovered while collecting race finisher food and drinks, that my RP had just PR’d!

But wait, there’s more!   It was time to cheer on the marathon runners making their way to the finish line.   Here, we found the Touche Band playing just before Mile 26 – and discovered that there was still some juice left in our legs.   Joined by trisista Tamar (in double wrist casts) who walked for 2+ hours to meet us at the finish, and trisista Emma – who can run and talk at the same time (obviously younger age category) – we discovered a second boost of energy, and spent the next hours cheering on those who ran the full 26 miles — turning the finish into a street dance party.   Spontaneous combustion style.

Happy Happy!!


13.1 miles of Brotherly Love

Perfect temps – 52 degrees at the start for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia PA.

downtownphillyRecovering from a bout with dehydration at the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half 2 weeks prior, a cold that insisted on lots of bed-rest and a severe case of “indecision”…let’s just say I had NO performance expectations for this event.   Team TRI Sistahood had split up for the weekend — with Jill becoming a Savage Bitch for the second year in a row on Saturday (woo ha!!)   (more on this in a separate post) – and my waiting waiting waiting for enough energy to attempt some mileage via Brotherly Love on Sunday!

Sunday morning arrived, and I still wasn’t sure if I should attempt 13.1.   But what’s the worst that could happen -eh?  The combined running vibe. mesmerizing landscape and cheers from the crowd – helped make the miles go by! 25,000 runners participated in this very festive event in downtown Philadelphia. The first half of the course weaved through the historic and arts district – past City Hall, along Market Street and roadways named for Ben Franklin. The second half of the route then turned along Fairmont Park which borders the Schuylkill River. For 3 miles, the run is on the east side of the river, and the last 4 miles is on the west side. The park is a gem – with large trees shading much of the course, wide roads, and picturesque views of the river. It was easy to become distracted from running!   The crowds were spectacular – cheering us on and willing our legs to go just a tad faster – to cross the finish line.