Tag Archives: richmond half

Half Marathon #3 Recap


I figure since it’s been a month, I can finally do the recap for my third half marathon.  As disappointing as it was, I also learned a lot and it hasn’t scarred me permanently 😛 Thanks for following my journey!

I had planned on doing the 12 week Hal Higdon plan, like I did for the first two.  The first week of the 12 was the last week of Beachbody’s Health Bet challenge, and there was a week where we had a pre-scheduled trip to Snowshoe Mountain resort so I rested from running those two weeks and only trained 10. The change of routine actually helped me increase pace.

Though I had increased my pace during my last training, it had been over a year.  So this time around I started at roughly a 9:45-10 minute mile.  The last week of my training I was averaging 8:30-9.  I knew I needed about 9 for the race to hit PR.  In retrospect, I should have done more run/walk intervals since I figured I wouldn’t be able to run the whole thing, but pace was where my focus was.  Run/walk intervals based on feel is now the plan for my first marathon and hoping to PR on a half during the training for that.


  • I finished in 2:03:54 (previous times were 2:01:45 and 2:06:26)
  • 1696 out of 5445 overall (31%)
  • 731 out of 3280 females (22%)
  • 136 out of 559 females 35-39 (24%)
  • Pace was 9:16 min/mi at the 10k split
  • Overall pace was 9:28 min/mi

Went against my better judgement with wearing some new gear, but everything worked out! I figured since the conditions were already less than ideal, it couldn’t hurt too much more ha.

  • TreadBands headband – never slipped ONCE and so excited for that!  I ended up buying two after a demo at the expo.  They are guaranteed for life, so I figured what the hell!  I was nothing was happy with them!  Check them out!  http://treadbands.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/TreadBands/.
  • I wore a new Shamrock tank from the expo, but it was a Brooks tech shirt so thought it would be better in the rain than the cotton tanks I brought with me.
  • New running jacket with air vents on the sleeves and upper back.  It stayed put, never chafed, and kept me cool and warm at the same time.  I had owned it for a few months but the weather never gave me the “opportunity” to need it for a training run.
  • I ended up wearing a thinning pair of compression socks rather than my double layer SwiftWicks. I thought those would get heavy once wet.
  • Saucony Guide 8s that I was training on since day one.  I started training with 9s last fall for the half I ended up deferring but I strongly dislike the new EVERUN layer.  The extra cushion is great for walking, but make my feet feel heavy running.  After three weeks of painful running (last fall), I ended up ordering another pair of 8s online, in the same color I had for 2015’s half training.  Love them. I had about 130 miles on them at the start of the race.  Gonna look into other stabilization shoes from Saucony – saw some Hurricane  ISOs at the expo that felt good – whch is also a stabilization shoe. bt I do need to get my gait and form looked at again. I’m starting to think having “corrective” shoes might have turned me into a neutral runner, which is what might be causing part of  the pain in my foot.
  • Nike Epic Run Dri-FIT Crop — Ah – May – ZING.  Love them.  Will never go back.  I have two pairs now.  Mesh air vents  behind the knees keep you cool.  There are three pockets, one with a zipper, and they are a compression pant.  They stay put and they are mid-calf so don’t ride up on my knee like my other capris, too.
  • VS Incredible sports bra – no bounce…very necessary.
  • Body Glide on pretty much everything , and Aquaphor between my toes. Never chafed once, anywhere.

During race:
Conditions – 39 degrees, 20 mph sustained winds, 40 mph gusts – constant rain.

Route – out of the VA Beach resort area, next to First Landing State Park, through Fort Story, then ending on the boardwalk at King Neptune (seeing him once you get on the boardwalk…objects in distance during a half marathon are farther away than they appear at first glance…you still have almost a freaking half mile then). At least there was very little elevation gain.

Food – had some farina with maple syrup before the race and two scoops of Energize.  Had Jelly Belly sports beans for on the course – I think 6 of them.  Will bring more next time, and also train with Gu so I can use that at mile 5.5 (I bought one to train with and forgot).

I was scheduled to start in Corral 4, but was hoping for a sub-2 hr. PR, so I moved to Corral 5 to be with the pacers there.  It was a little confusing at the beginning, too, since he bumped some of us up to Corral 3 and then had to slow his pace to wait for the ones stuck in 5.  I stayed with the 2 hr. pacer until mile 9 or so.  Should’ve just done my own thing, since I knew I’d have to walk eventually.

-The lady between mile 10 and 11 with box of tissues was a GODSEND.  I normally pack tissues into my pockets – one for each mile – so I can blow my nose.  I did that (thanks hotel guy) but they were wet wads in my pocket before I even reached mile one – threw them on the side of the road (sorry cleanup crew).

-Foot pain afterward.  Both feet hurt.  Don’t think I stretched enough after.  Was heavy footed because of the rain and training on mainly treadmill for the last four weeks didn’t help.  I need to make sure to get outside as often as possible during marathon training…

Holiday Inn VA Beach – they were super nice and helpful.  They explained about road closures and how to find everything easily, knowing most of the guests were there for the race.  We got an automatic 2 p.m. check-out if in the race block. They offered a carb-loading dinner the night before in the hotel.  There were also free breakfast packs to two people in the room (muffin, banana, water) – available before the regular breakfast time of 6:30 which is helpful since the half started at 7.  The guys at the desk were handing out garbage bags for makeshift ponchos, tissues for snot and crying, and just overall support.  They were awesome.

Back Bay Gourmet – yummy carb loading on Friday night.  Super delicious sweet potato biscuits and amazing food overall – great beer selection!

Green Flash Brewery – really affordable drinking!  Sample cups were like 4 oz. and only $1.25.  Full pours (16 oz I’m guessing) for $5!  Lots of options, but no tours :-/

Repeal Bourbon & Burgers – OMG YUM.  The burgers were perfectly cooked.  Bacon dust – just get it.  The mac and cheese is the bomb, too, and their drinks were yummy.

Home Republic – Gouda cream…on EVERYTHING.  Decent beers, good food. Just don’t expect soup before dinner time haha.

Duck Donuts – they’re just always amazing no matter where you are – but better fresh. Great to have in the car on the way home when snack sensations hit (and calorie burn is at its max).

Ended up doing my 5th annual Monument Ave 10k less than two weeks later.  Took it easy and ran the whole thing, which was something I wasn’t sure would happen after the foot pain.  I’m signed up for the half in Richmond in November, but planning on upgrading to the full once we get closer (have to decide before 10/31).  Marathon training starts tomorrow (4/18) and we’ll see how I progress up until the final decision time.  We’ve already signed up for the Dolphin Challenge during Shamrock next March which is the 8k on Saturday and Half on Sunday. The route was great – let’s just hope the weather conditions are better!  And I’ve committed to joining my friend on her “race in every state” challenge – with no time limit to complete it.  I already have NY, VA, MD, DC, NC, and NV.  Excited to add to the list!  Stay tuned for another post on that 🙂


One year wrap-up in 905 words ^_^


So today marks one year since I started this weight loss journey and decided to change my lifestyle to a healthier one FOR GOOD.  Though I did my first 21 Day Fix workout on February 24, 2014, I have to backtrack a little bit to when my challenge pack first arrived.  There was one bigger book with a whole lot of colors and lists, and like three little pamphets, plus three dvds, a bunch of containers that seemed so tiny, a shaker cup and this giant bag of Shakeology.  I was very nervous and trepidatious at first, because everything else I had been trying hadn’t worked.  I’d lose some weight then gain it right back the second I looked at chocolate cake or pizza.  It was logical to be skeptical right?  But then I sat down and started calculating.  TWO THOUSAND CALORIES.  The program had me eating five times a day and 2000 calories.  Sheyeah right.  I had literally been shooting for 1200 ever since I could remember…but I decided that I had to give it the three weeks and put my trust in something unknown to see what it could do.

My coach had added me to a private online accountability group and we had to check in, and show pictures of our food, and take sweaty selfies, and share our experiences with each other.  Not only had weight loss and fitness been a pretty individual thing for me up until that point, but a lot of the other challengers didn’t have much to lose and I felt like the token fat chick.  But I quickly learned a lot of things about myself and others in just those three weeks.  The first thing I learned was, just because someone is a size 2 doesn’t mean they are happy with their body.  I was confused why someone so small would want to be doing a diet and exercise program.  I had assumed that everyone did Beachbody programs because they wanted to lose weight.  Little did I know that the nutrition plans that were provided with the programs not only could help someone lose weight, but could assist in maintaining and even GAINING weight!  And the workout programs all have a modifier to make things lower impact, while there’s always some over-zealous person on screen to amp things up a bit, too.  And I was also participating in this group with some ladies that were very comfortable with their size 18 bodies, but just wanted to be healthier wives, moms, lovers, etc.  I quickly learned that everyone is on their own journey, and you should never compare your journey to anyone else’s.  We all have different steps to follow, and even missteps we will take along the way.  We have different reasons and motivation that push us in the directions we go, and temptations that will drive us backward if we let them.

Those little containers weren’t so little after I realized how much food you really could eat when it was fueling your body for optimal nutrition and health.  Long gone were the days of starving myself on purpose, eating 1200 calories without taking into account the workout I did for the day, or chain-smoking to keep myself from overeating.  This was a much more advanced way of thinking but strangely simplistic and easy to follow once I got the hang of it.  The workouts kicked my ass, but in all honesty I hadn’t really put forth the effort I needed to start burning fat and raising my metabolism to help me from the inside out.   And 21 days later I was 6 pounds and 9.5 inches smaller and on my way to being healthier, happier, and more confident.  It was then that I made the decision to become a coach because I had found a solution that works and it was like the Fountain of Youth…I just needed to share it with everyone so they could see results, too.

Fast foward to today and here’s a quick recap of my accomplishments over the past 365 days, of which I’m pretty darn proud…

–I completed three dedicated rounds of the 21 Day Fix
–I nailed the 14-week Focus T25 program (Alpha, Beta, and Gamma)
–I dabbled in a TurboFire/PiYo hybrid while training for the half
–Oh yeah…I trained 12 weeks for and completed a half marathon (with no walking)
–I am three days from completing the 60 day Les Mills Combat program
–I am about to start 21 Day Fix Extreme on Monday, March 2nd
–I now coach 133 people and lead a team of 11 coaches
-I have lost 49.1 pounds and 36 inches.
-I went from a size 18 to a size 10; XL to medium.
-I have more confidence, I’m healthier,  I have plenty of energy to complete my tasks, my body is able to handle more than it ever could, and I’m happier.

And my journey is not over yet. No, I didn’t quite make it to fifty pounds before my one year, like I had imagined, but with everything else that I’ve gained (and lost) this year, I could hardly be disappointed in myself.  I’ve worked really hard, but played really hard, too.  I’m not perfect.  I make mistakes.  And I’ll be the first to admit that some of the choices I make still aren’t the healthiest.  But I make it work and I know how to reel it back in and get back on track.  This isn’t just a diet or a 21 day program…it’s a lifestyle.  And I’m never going back.



See Cat Run


Well, here we are…week 12.  Three days away from my first half marathon.  I posted weekly updates until week 4, then combined weeks 5 and 6, finally giving up posting about it altogether for some reason.  I figured I needed to document everything, even minimally, just so I can remember this in the future!

I was only barely a month into my health and fitness journey when I was propositioned about this half marathon.  We had just run the Monument Ave. 10k in Richmond and I had beat my PR by 3 minutes.  I did interval training (4/2) the entire time and felt really good when I was done.  I knew there were going to be at least three people I knew doing the same race and on a whim, March 31st, I bit the bullet and registered.

Over the summer, I tried to run a couple of days a week, but kept them short distances just to build endurance and hopefully speed.  I didn’t rely on the running to help me lose weight…I just wanted to get better.  I knew my previous times for a 5k, 8k, and 10k, and used those as my jumping off point.  I never got into this to compete with anyone else, but knew that it could motivate me to work that much harder to reach my goals.  And it worked.  I was able to go from an average 11-12 minute mile down to 9 minute miles or less (8:03 this week on one of them, even!).

I knew I was going to have to properly train to get myself ready for this, because I know my body and how much it can handle.  I didn’t want to risk injury or just “wing it.”  Yes, the primary goal is just to survive the race, since I don’t have a PR to beat, but I have set smaller goals along the way that I knew I could achieve with the right effort, mindset, and dedication.  So I decided to work with a 12-week program I had heard of others using, created by Hal Higdon.  It had me running at least 3 days a week, plus some strength and cross training.  I would start with shorter runs, twice a week, with a longer run on the weekend.  It started with 3 and 4 miles, respectively, working up to 5 miles on the shorter days and a ten mile run the weekend before the race.

To say that I was worried I wouldn’t be able to stick with the schedule, is an understatement.  I started a new job with almost an hour and a half commute on my way home.  The last thing I wanted to do twice a week was run 3+ miles after being on my feet all day.  But I did it.  I did the shorter runs on Tuesday/Thursday and the longer run on Sunday.  If something came up, I didn’t make excuses, I just shifted to Weds/Fri/Sun.  I never skipped a run altogether, but two weeks ago there was the leaking water bag incident in 40 degree temps that caused me to shorten my ten mile run to six out of fear of sickness.  But I didn’t make excuses…I just got out there and ran, regardless of conditions, temperature, exhaustion, or preparation.  I made it work, and I learned a lot in the process.  Here’s my top five!

  1. You don’t have to have always been a runner to run a longer distance race. I used the tag #reallyajogger throughout my posts, because I never considered myself a runner until more recently.  A few years ago, I never would have known anything about keeping my toenails short, carb-loading, shoes that fit your gait, plantar fasciitis, bunions, or any of that “fun” stuff that comes with running.  But it’s all worth it when you finish your run feeling amazing, connected with nature and your own thoughts, and fulfilled.
  2. I learned I have a lot more discipline than I thought I did. There were a lot of days I wanted to just put my feet up or do something else.  Especially Sunday mornings.  But I made it a priority to stick to the training and push myself just a little bit further than I did the day/week/month before.  I knew my body was capable of it, so I just did it.
  3. I should have changed my playlist more often. In the final weeks I was running almost 20 miles a week, which is a lot of repeated songs.  Songs I LOVED are now ones I can’t stand, at least for the time being.  If there was one thing I was lazy with, it was updating my song selection.  I won’t make that same mistake again 🙂
  4. There is an awful lot to see when you’re running. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the seasons change, sunrises and sunsets, deer crossing my path, moms pushing their babies in strollers, people walking their dogs, couples holding hands, other runners and walkers working toward various goals, beauty… everywhere.  If you haven’t taken the time to just go for a walk outside and check things out, you don’t know what you’re missing.
  5. The final, and most important thing I learned…never focus on PERFECTION. Throughout this 12 weeks, there were never any perfect days.  The two days where the weather was perfect, one of those runs my water bag broke, leaking cold water down my back, and during the other my shoe laces were too tight and my foot still hasn’t fully recovered.  The days where I got the best night’s sleep the night before, my eating was poor, or vice versa.  Today, when I knew I had to get my final run in before the half this weekend, I ended up having a late meeting then hitting traffic and had to run in the dark.  If I had waited for perfect conditions, perfect weather, legs and feet that didn’t hurt, a good night’s sleep, great eating habits, and plenty of hydration, I wouldn’t be at the point I’m at…three days away from one of the most anticipated days of my life.  I have worked really hard to get to this point, and as nervous as I am or as “meh” I’m feeling about it, I know I’ve done my best to prepare and I can’t wait to see what I can do.  I’m going to be proud no matter my time, because I know I’m not perfect and I’m not competing with anyone but myself!

So, long story short (I know, too late), if there’s something you want to achieve, go for it.  Do what you need to do to get there, no matter what.  Don’t give up just because you think the time isn’t right.  You have to MAKE it the right time…make it happen.

Well, I finished!  I ended up RUNNING THE WHOLE THING and finished in 2:01:46.  I was really hoping to get less than 2 hours, but I thought this was pretty darn close, and I’m super proud of myself considering I never went over 10 miles before this run.  I’m already planning on doing it again next year, and wondering if I’d ever be able to do a full marathon (crazy, right?!).  Guess we’ll see!


halfmarathonpicDuringhalfmarathonafter After


Half Marathon Training – Weeks 5 & 6 Update


Sorry I’ve been kind of distant lately…work has been a little hectic, then we had house guests two weekends in a row!

My training is going great!!  Week 5 my shorter runs were 4 miles, which I completed in 36:08 and 35:48.  My longer run was supposed to be 6 miles, but I figured that was close enough to a 10k so I went for it!  I finished in 57:36 which was way better than I expected!  The weather was very cool all week, so that helped.

Last week was the halfway point…week six!!  My shorter runs were 4 miles again, but I didn’t get any faster this week.  I had 36:55 and 36:27, but it was much warmer than the previous week and I wasn’t sleeping quite as well.  But I definitely felt much better with my progress when I got to my 7 mile run yesterday.  The regular schedule had me running a 5k this last weekend, but I already planned on doing the Festival of Leaves 5k this weekend (10/11) instead, so I swapped my weekend runs.  Seven miles was the longest distance I have ever ran in MY LIFE and ended up finishing in an hour and 6 minutes!  I only had to walk for about 4/10’s of a mile, which I am super proud of!  And all with only having a banana before I left my house and no water on the route!  Craziness.

So with all of this, I have come to the realization that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for not improving my times every week.  As long as my pace stays pretty consistent, it’s okay to walk sometimes.  I don’t plan on running the entire half marathon, so I really shouldn’t beat myself up.  I have come so far from even a year ago, and even farther from when I started running a few years ago.  I have set some goals that I would like to achieve for my upcoming races and I know that if I put my mind to it, I can do it.

5k: under 30 minutes
10k: under an hour
Half: under 2 1/2 hours (but I’d love to do it under 2 ^_^)


Half Marathon Training – 4 week update


So this week was great for my shorter runs but my longer run was a little more disappointing.  Repeated last week’s distances, so my shorter ones were 3.5 and my longer run today was 5 miles again.  This week’s shorter runs came in at 31:29 and 31:20, which was better than last week’s 31:41 and 31:48.  My longer run was 49:04 compared to last week’s 46:59 but I did finish my last mile in 8:31, which is a new record for me!

I definitely learned my lesson this week in regards to nutrition and hydration.  It was my last week of my second round of the 21 Day Fix and I realize now that I should have gone up an entire bracket, especially when these runs got longer.  You actually get to eat a TON of food, but it’s still at a calorie deficit that my body obviously can’t handle during harder training.  Plus I definitely didn’t drink as much water yesterday as I should have, since we were out and about car-shopping (which I’m sure you know takes FOREVER).  Sleep hasn’t been my friend lately, either, which is difficult…I definitely need my rest.  My body is just utterly exhaused today and I could feel it every step I took.  I pretty much walked a majority of the third mile, but tried to push it as hard as I could when I wasn’t walking.

So, lesson learned for sure…and I’m ready for next week.  I increase to 4 miles on my shorter days and 6 miles on my longer day, so we’ll see how that goes!  I’ve got a crazy work/school schedule next week, so I have to adjust my workouts and runs a little bit, but I’m still getting everything in.  And I’m really looking forward to Friday…my parents are coming into town and it’s my birthday 🙂

I’m really excited about my progress so far and hope to keep getting better week to week.  4 weeks down…8 to go…I’m 1/3 of the way there!


Half Marathon Training – 3 week update


Week three is in the books!  Increased to 3.5 miles on the shorter run days, and 5 miles today for the longer run!  Did strength training with PiYo on Monday, took my rest day Wednesday and walked Friday instead, and did a shorter walk yesterday.  I ended up adjusting my diet a little bit, too, and ate one more protein and carb serving each day that I ran to see if it made a difference.  I wasn’t getting too hungry or weak or anything, but I wasn’t really happy with only losing a little over a pound the first week when I know the program (21 Day Fix) is capable of so much more (and I wasn’t cheating!).  Well, I made the right decision because I’m down 3.6 pounds this week alone!  And I ate more! Crazy, right?! ^_^  I’ll do the same next week and then I’ll go back to a less restrictive diet, but balanced and portion-controlled, once this round of the Fix is over.  Once I get into the higher distances, I will need a lot more food to fuel my body…so we’ll pick it back up in November ^_^

This week my shorter runs I completed in 31:40 and 31:48 respectively.  The higher time was my second run of the week but it was over 10 degrees warmer than it had been previously during my runs.  I’ve been spoiled by these nicer temps!  Next week is calling for high 60’s/low 70’s, so I’m really looking forward to it being cooler.  It really makes the run more manageable and helps me control my breathing.  My 5 mile run today went great, though it had more hills than I really would have liked haha.  Actually, it was pretty gradual elevation in most spots, which I find to be even more difficult that steep hills that you just get over and done with!!  I finished in 46:59 and during my cool-down walk I felt like I could have run further, so that made me feel pretty good!

I’m going to continue following the program as it’s written, which means repeating these same distances next week.  As much as I think I can handle it, I don’t want to push myself and get an injury or over-exert and lose my momentum.  I have a good thing going, especially keeping my pace steady, and I don’t want to lose that.  When we walked last Saturday, there was a couple running and the guy stopped to wait for his girlfriend to catch up.  He said he was training for the Richmond Marathon and his girlfriend was training for the half!  I should’ve gotten a number or something, because it would be really nice to have some training buddies.  I hope I cross paths with them again sometime soon!

See y’all next week with another update!  Enjoy this lovely fall weather!!


Half Marathon Training – 2 week update


I figured since I have completed two weeks of half marathon training, it was time to start documenting it!

To give some background info…I am currently training for the Richmond Half Marathon November 15th.  I started a 12-week program on Monday, August 25th, which will take me all the way up until the race.  It starts with 3 mile runs two days a week with one longer run of 4 miles on the weekend.  Every two weeks the distances increase until the week before the race where I will be running 5 miles on my short days and 10 miles on the weeekend.  I am using Hal Higdon’s Novice Training, as suggested by multiple other runners that used a similar program.  But I am modifying the schedule a little to accommodate for a 5k, 10k, and possible 10 miler I want to do before the half that are placed at different times than listed on the schedule!

These first two weeks I ran my shorter races from my house out 1.5 miles then back.  The longer runs I went to a local dog park that connects to a road that circles around a local high school and back to the dog park (twice around is 4 miles).  On the days I don’t run, I have been doing strength training (mostly Chalene Johnson’s PiYo to give me hamstrings and quads a break) or longer-distance walking.  I take one rest day a week.  I’m looking into better routes around my workplace and home so that I can get some new scenery in once I get to the longer distances!  Suggestions are appreciated ^_^

August is normally the hottest month but it’s extending into September which is actually the hardest part of this training.  I commute over an hour each way, so I leave at 6 a.m. and get home around 4:30 p.m.  I don’t want to run in the dark, so that leaves some restrictions on my running times and locations.   With the exception of today (a perfect 68 degrees with a breeze!), it has been over 90 degrees with higher humidity during my runs.

The first week my 3 mile runs were 28:46 and 28:36, with the 4 mile run at 39:41.  This second week my 3 mile runs were 28:34 and 28:08 with the 4 mile run at 38:04.  My times are getting better, I’m regulating my breath better, and my legs aren’t as fatigued when I’m finished.  I make sure to stretch before and after, and I think the walking during the week helps.  I recently received a Garmin Forerunner so I like the fact that I don’t have to carry my phone to track my run with GPS!  I am currently looking into better headphones as the ones I’m currently using started hurting my ears during the longer run.

So I guess to sum it all up, I’m really enjoying having a schedule to follow that maps everyting out for me.  I’ve posted it below in case anyone ever want to join me for a specific run!  I follow the running schedule Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday, walk Wednesday and Saturday, with strength training Monday and rest day on Friday. I’ll be doing the Festival of Leaves 5k on October 11th and am looking for a 10k around October 25th and a 10 miler around November 8th.  If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!  And if you want to join, that would be awesome ^_^  Advice is appreciated, too!  Stay tuned for more updates!