In Which Half A Marathon Wasn’t Enough

Don’t judge his grammar here; he’s not a morning person.
(Also: pork butt.)

One of the perks for locals of running the Parks Half Marathon was historically that the race ended right in downtown Bethesda. You could finish your race and then stroll straight home!

But then they do say all good things must come to an end, and so it was: scarcely a week after I signed up, I received an email that the course had to be changed due to construction work. The start line moved further up the Metro line and the finish, by consequence, bottomed out along Rockville Pike, several miles from Bethesda’s downtown area.

Then, a bonus! A couple weeks before the race we received notice that the closest Metro stop to the finish line, the one everyone expected to use to return to their cars/go home, would be closed that weekend. Options dwindled to either taking a Metro shuttle with the masses or Ubering home.

But there was one more alternative. The finisher area was a mere intersection away from the turnaround point of my usual running trail. From there to my apartment was a little over 3.5 miles. I could finish the half marathon… and run home.

It made sense, really. I mean, I needed to run a 17 miler as part of my marathon training anyway – why not knock out the first 13 miles with the help of aid stations, water stops, and spectators? But I kept the plan mostly to myself; after all, it would all depend on how I felt after the race.

Well, to make a long story short, I felt up to it! I hit the porta potties, bundled my medal and other accoutrements into what approximated a bindle, and I was ready to go.

In solidarity, my friend and fellow runner Sarah came along for the ride (she’s training for the Marine Corps Marathon). This turned out to be fantastic not only because talking to her made the run more fun, but also because I got to try out my hand at being a running coach.

I don’t think Sarah fully realized how hilly the Bethesda Trolley Trail can be when she agreed to go, because she ended up dragging a bit. Thus it became my job to be Very Encouraging! I was Captain Positive Thinking and I’m not afraid to be made fun of for it. Almost to the top of the hill! I said. You’ve now run 15 miles! I said. You’re getting your training out of the way! I said, and while I’m not entirely sure she loved it while it was happening to her, she did send me a text later thanking me for pushing her, so BAM. Coachin.’

As for me, I felt surprisingly good. Mind you, I was not speedy at all; I’d just run a half at a pretty good clip and as I mentioned previously the trail has a few considerable hills. But I didn’t feel spent and my morale was high. I do think I could’ve completed a marathon – not a fast one, mind you, but I could’ve finished!

In fact, when I reached my apartment building, I ran an extra lap around my block to pull out ahead of 4 miles. Seventeen miles done for the day.

Naturally my reward was a waffle at the local diner. For if we do not eat carbs, why do we run?

I’ve now done 15.5 and 17 miles as part of my training cycle. One 20 miler to go and then it’s taper time!

Have you ever tacked additional miles onto a race distance? How did it work out for you?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 5/06

JENN: Did you run at all last week?

MOON: I did! I actually ran a lot… I had weird protein-pangs. Was super hungry most of the week. >_>

JENN: Hey, if you’re running a lot, that makes total sense. Protein is good!

MOON: Sometimes a bit difficult for a vegetarian. I found that I was eating waaaay too many protein bars in lieu of meals, so I went a little overboard and ate a lot of edamame. It was seriously edamame with everything

JENN: Fish and eggs, fish and eggs.

MOON: Eggs… now I want to eat eggs. How was your week?! How was your ballet?!

JENN: Oh, it was… fine.

This was basically my least favorite show ever (the ballet performance, not Silicon Valley, which is AWESOME), but nothing terrible happened. I just wasn’t happy with it – in fact, I uninvited my dad AND boyfriend. But: it’s over!!! 😀 I have my weekends back and everything!

I was mostly at rehearsal all week, but I did sneak in one 9 mile run on Tuesday. That was all this week. Hoping to bring fresh legs to a couple (gulp) RUNS OUTSIDE.

MOON: Haha, I should do that too.

JENN: It’s the WORST. But it’s also good for my body and good for my running ability, so here we are. Summertime is GET UP EARLY AND GO RUN OUTDOORS time.

MOON: I’ve been in a pretty awful mood this past week, so anytime an outside run crossed my mind it was either 1. Too late (Thank the gods the curfew in Baltimore city is over. That was… bleh); 2. Cold; 3. Humid. Sooooo, not off to a good start. Do you have a good trail to run?

JENN: Pretty decent – I use the Bethesda Trolley Trail, which is still the most easily accessible trail for me even from my new apartment; I just come at it from a different entry point now. It’s got moments of serious incline which, again, I HATE, but I know it’s good for me and makes comparatively flat race courses feel much better. In short, I recognize the virtues of the outdoor run – I just like to whine about it.

MOON: Ha, I could say the same.

JENN: Also good for you, no whining required? The roundup!

Fairytales and Fitness expresses the marathon mentality perfectly.
We Run Disney is all about race day!
Pink Elephant on Parade considers running-related purchases.
– For those dipping their toes into tris, Elbowglitter has the skinny(dip?) on open water swims.
Mom’s Magical Miles talks about the blogging experience.
Home is Where the Mouse Is has compiled a list of the top ten snacks in the Magic Kingdom.

Jenn is running the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon for the Diabetes Action Team. Will you help her earn her bib while fighting diabetes? Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Runs OUTDOORS and Makes Her Own Pocket Shirt

DID NOT LIKE.

The end.

Oh, I kid, I kid. But seriously, I do almost all my training indoors on the treadmill. I know that’s not considered the world’s best way when races are, y’know, not, but I like the climate control (to a point) and the quantifiable data and the way you can regulate your speed and the fact that at the end I can maybe watch some TV and the machine holds my water bottle and my energy chews and it just works for me.

Unfortunately for me, a tragedy occurred on Sunday: I went down to the gym for my start-the-week-warmup walk, and just as I was turning on the treadmill the entire gym’s power shorted out. No lights, no TV, certainly no machines. And this being Sunday after hours, no help coming from management.

There was nothing else for it: I was going to have to run outside on Monday. So I performed a scouting walk around the neighborhood and found this:

Bethesda Trolley Trail

It’s not ideal. It’s short, for starters, so to make a long run out of it you have to loop multiple times or take your chances out on the streets. But it’s got some nice wooded areas, is mostly comprised of softer asphalt, the hills aren’t TOO bad, and it’s well-trafficked enough to seem pretty safe. And sometimes you run across dogs, which is always good for a shot of cuteness.

Still, it’s outdoors. I don’t do outdoors unless I’m racing or at Disney (preferably both). But it was either that or forgo the run, which was of course unacceptable.

Weather forecast for the day: high of 90 degrees and humid. Sigh. It would have to be an early run to take advantage of “cooler” temperatures, then. So I set my alarm for 6AM, lay out my running gear, and resigned myself to my fate.

Here is the most valuable portion of the blog! If you, like me, find yourself suddenly in need of one of those running shirts with pockets but do not possess such, here is a viable alternative: put your energy gels or whatever in a plastic baggie, then pin the baggie at all four corners to the inside of your shirt, either the front or back to keep things balanced. For easiest access, and assuming your fuel isn’t near the lip, leave the top open. Worked like a charm for me!

Anyway. It happened. I got up at 6AM as planned, saw it was still pretty dark, dozed for another twenty minutes, got up, geared up, and headed out. Here are my impressions of the experience:

  • It was hot and sweaty.
  • It was harder than being on a treadmill, I think because while the inclines weren’t super steep, they existed; they know better than that on the treadmill.
  • Point in the outdoors’ favor: the passing scenery was admittedly engaging. It made the time pass rather more quickly. Nothing spectacular, but flora and fauna and passing other people and the like. At one point I even ran on a covered bridge over a highway.
  • I kinda ran/walked the whole time and my time wasn’t great. I just wasn’t in the groove. Maybe because it was early morning, I’m not a morning person, and I had no race adrenaline to help me along?
  • BUT I DID IT. And it’s good practice for races, which, as you might have noticed, tend to occur outside.

So. Generally people in the running universe say: I hate running on the treadmill. How can I make it suck less? And so I say to you, good people: I hate running outside. How can I make it suck less?

When I got home, I found a tiny brachiosaur in the kitchen.
Either that or Nessie has made landfall.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!