An unexpected PR on a perfect fall morning! {NCR Half Marathon Race Recap}

You know what’s cool about today for me? It’s the 2 year anniversary of when I ran 13.1 miles for the very first time. And now today I get to recap my new half marathon PR! 

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My very first half marathon in 2013!

Earlier this year I started setting some goals for myself for the fall. These goals did NOT include running a marathon, but rather focusing on shorter distances. Ultimately I wanted to do more halfs and possibly run myself a new PR. My best time of 1:45:27 happened last September at the NCR Half Marathon, a small race that is part of my run club’s Grand Prix Series. I also did not intend to compete in the Grand Prix Series this year, but now that I have 3 of the 4 necessary races under my belt…hey why not.

This year the NCR Half just so happened to fall on the day when my training schedule told me that my long run should be a very convenient 13.1 miles. And even better? The race is on the very same trail as the upcoming marathon so I would be able to practice on familiar terrain.

100 people showed up to run on Saturday morning and as usual I loved seeing some familiar faces, especially my friend Michelle who I’ve been doing my long runs with lately. The Baltimore Road Runners are a fun and welcoming group and the weather was absolute fall perfection. In my tank top and shorts I was more than a little bit chilly as we walked to the start, but after jogging around for a half mile I felt warmer and knew I’d be comfortable for the race. It was set to start at 8am and right around that time we all lined up on the trail facing north. The course is a double out and back, which I remember really disliking the idea of last year, but it ended up not being so bad.

PR thoughts had been in the back of my mind, but during the first several miles they all went out the window. I wasn’t feeling particularly well and even though I was coming off a couple days of rest my legs felt like lead. I even debated calling it quits when I got back to the start. In hindsight, I should have considered that it just takes me a lot longer to warm up now that my long runs are getting into the mid-teens. By the time I was three miles in and nearing the first turn around, my energy level had started to improve.

Then I realized as the leaders were passing me going in the opposite direction that I was the second female. I got way excited and as a result mile 4 was my fastest at 7:25. After that I had to remind myself to rein it in because I still had a long way to go.

From mile 4 until mile 11 I was feeling pretty great. When I race I like to pick out another runner up ahead, pace with them awhile, and then try to pass them because it gives me something to focus on when I’m getting tired. No one had passed me so I knew I was still the second place woman, but this was reinforced by several people who screamed it at me as they passed me going the other way. Even though I already knew, it still gave me a boost to hear it.

There were plenty of water stops with friendly volunteers, but I hadn’t stopped at any of them until mile 12 when I was suddenly very exhausted. I drank about 3/4 of the cup and dumped the rest of it over my head; it was freezing cold and helped a TON. The trail was crowded with people out enjoying their mornings, but there wasn’t anyone from the race that I could follow for the last couple miles; the guy who finished in front of me was like 2 minutes ahead. Because I run that part of the course all the time and know it like the back of my hand, I entertained myself by running from one landmark to the next. When a familiar bend in the trail appeared up ahead, I knew I was almost done and when the red, digital readout of the clock appeared I literally said “OH THANK GOD” and sprinted as fast as I could to the finish on tired legs.

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So I PRed by nearly 2 minutes, held on to second place and first in my AG which is great for the Grand Prix Series, but then this is also the first time I’ve run a half marathon with my average pace under 8 minutes. I don’t know which of these things is most exciting for me. All of them, I guess.

After sharing high fives and congrats with some of the guys who had finished at around the same time as I did, I visited the table that was set up with snacks and drinks. I helped myself to Gatorade and water and then there was also bagels, cookies and bananas which I appreciate for other people, but can’t eat without dire consequences. I had a lunch date and couldn’t hang out long, but it was nice to catch up with friends and cheer for other runners crossing the finish line.

Such a great day. 🙂

How do you pass the time on long runs? Did you run or race last weekend? How is your fall season going?

xo,

Salt

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A completely no pressure race situation and an ode to Clif Z Bars. {Flash Giveaway!}

The race that I’ve been looking forward to and planning for since April is tomorrow.

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Charles Street 12!!! YAY!!!

There I am looking like a total jackass during Charles Street 12 last year. I guess that’s what happens when I’m delirious and happen to see a race photographer.

I was hoping to PR and feeling pretty confident that I might be able to make it happen. My foot was SO messed up last year. But no pressure or anything. A great many awesome people are running this race tomorrow that my biggest goal for the day is to meet up with all of them at the finish line. A good time would be the icing on all the cake that I plan on eating later in the day.

However, I have a new assignment that is going to make Charles Street 12 2015 a little crazier. My super awesome friend who works in marketing for Charm City Run put me in contact with another super awesome woman from the marketing department at Under Armour. Under Armour has partnered up with Charm City Run and that is basically the reason this race is happening.  Now I will be running dressed head to toe in Under Armour gear and photographed along the way. Obviously I’m stoked because I haven’t met a piece of their clothing that I haven’t liked. In fact, I think pretty much everything I have on in that goofy photo above aside from the calf sleeves is Under Armour.

But how will this photographer know how to find me? Good question and that’s easy. I’ll be live tracked via phone app so they know my whereabouts at all time.

But yeah. No pressure or anything.

Now that this has gone from casual training run to complete terror over looking like that-up-there in all my photos, Charles Street 12 should be an interesting race for me this year! It’s going to be fun. I just hope I do a good job.


Now about those Clif Z Bars

If you happen to be an Insta-friend you might have seen the pile of delicious that I posted last night.

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I’m getting hungry again just looking at that picture. These arrived in a mystery box on my doorstep. Mystery boxes are what happen when something arrives at my house and I can’t remember if I went shopping or not. Sadly this is a recurring problem.

Betty and I had gotten back from dinner and I had promised her dessert. Chocolate Chip, Honey Graham, Chocolate Brownie, and Iced Oatmeal Cookie sound a whole lot like dessert to me so she and I ripped into one of the brownie ones and split it. It was SO incredibly good. Betty loved it so much that she asked if she could pick out another one to eat in the morning before school and I’ll be picking out one to take to work with me because even though these are supposed to be for kids they are way too good for them to not be for me too. I have a feeling that they will become a regular item on our weekly grocery shopping list.

Because I was so fortunate to receive so many delicious Z Bars, I thought today I might do a little FLASH GIVEAWAY for three of these delicious flavors (Chocolate Chip, Honey Graham, and Iced Oatmeal Cookie). If you would like to try them, leave a comment below telling me which flavor sounds the best to you! Comments must be timestamped prior to midnight PST TONIGHT. Then I will put everyone’s name into a randomizer to draw a winner to be announced on Facebook tomorrow afternoon.

In addition to these yummy Z Bars, I had received some other Clif samples to try, but I will have more to say about those next week as I plan on using some of them to fuel for this weekend’s races!

If you’re racing this weekend GOOD LUCK and I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!!

xo,

Salt

What I did on my summer vacation. {The Friday Five}

When I stopped by Mar’s blog earlier to see what the Friday Five topic was, I was instantly crushed by the realization that summer is almost over. Wasn’t I complaining about the freezing cold temps and running on sheets of solid ice just the other day? Where did this year even go?

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This week Mar, Courtney and Cynthia are reminding me a little bit of every teacher I had in elementary school who wanted me to write an essay about what I did over my summer break. I hope I was more interesting as a kid because it seems that as an adult my life is a total snoozefest. Summer break doesn’t exist in my world. I mom. I work. And then in whatever spare time I have I run, workout, hang out with the dude and friends and do whatever else I like to do which mostly does not include enough sleep or any real vacations since February.

There have been some high notes though. At least I was pretty sure when I started writing that I could nail down five for the sake of this post.

Five Things I Did This Summer

By: Salt
Grade 482
That’s about what grade I’d be in now, right?

I got a bike!

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I hadn’t owned a bike since 2008 when I lived in LA and I’m pleased to have been logging some seriously hot, muggy Charm City summer miles on my bright yellow Salsa Warbird. I LOVE this bike and I think it has helped my running immensely.

Fit Foodie!

So maybe this is a little pathetic, but The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend was the closest thing to a vacation that I got all summer.

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It didn’t really matter that it was pretty much right down the street. A great event with great food and even more importantly GREAT FRIENDS made for a fantastic time. I had so much fun hanging out with Mar, Courtney, Kathryn, Amy, and Erika!

I had started goal setting for this race shortly after the marathon in New Jersey and I was able to do exactly what I set out to do. That second place finish felt PHENOMENAL!

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Media Stuff Happened!

Runner’s World Zelle. Pinch me because I feel like I’m still dreaming this one.

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Lily Trotters Kickstarter Campaign.

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That completely random time I was asked to come on TV, prepare food, and talk about healthy summer barbecues.

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I am a very awkward person by nature. Put me in front of a whole lot of people, a camera, or–even worse–in a live television interview situation and it’s a recipe for healthy summer food and complete disaster.

I think I managed to hold my own though and every bit of it was a fun experience.

I signed up for Marathon #3

Even though I said I wouldn’t be running any more marathons this year. I think that’s how it usually works.NCR-Trail-Marathon-Logo-clear

I’m an official NCR Trail Blazer and starting to get really excited. Currently I’m finishing up week 5 of my plan and wondering why I never considered a November race before. All the longest training runs are scheduled to happen during the best possible weather/temperature conditions around here. I’m looking forward to not running a 17 miler on the treadmill during this training cycle.

God I hate you, spring marathon training.

And of course…

SO many fun Firsts with this girl!!

First 4th of July Fireworks…

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First trip out on a 2-wheeler…

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First movie in a theater (Minions!)…

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First time bowling…

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First concert (One Direction!)…

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And a first crack at playing t-ball…

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I couldn’t get a picture during it, but she was so good that I signed her up to play this fall! She’s so excited and I can’t wait!

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That little glove. I die.

You know what? Who cares about vacations. This summer has rocked pretty darn hard!

What has been your favorite part about Summer ’15? Did it go by as quickly for you as it did for me? 

I hope everyone has an AWESOME weekend and enjoy what little bit of this summer that we have left!

xo,

Salt