MCM ’14 – Week 5 – Where Schedules Collide

Hi friends!  Welcome to week five of 18!  This was finally my week to get it back together now that I am home and have normal life happening again.  Well, I’m sure anyone with kids and a job or two can tell you – normal life is almost never normal.  But, away we go….

Sunday 7/20 – I spent today recovering from my epic victory at the Rockville Twilight (see week four for more information on that!).  Spent most of my day at Metro Run & Walk helping others with their own running goals and getting mentally prepared to head back to work on Monday (for a training – I don’t want anyone to tell me teachers don’t work over the summer!).

Monday 7/21 – I knew today would be a hard one to get a run in – but I was determined to make it happen.  I had a training about an hour away from home that would run from 8:30-2:00, and then I needed to be at the running store for a shift from 3:00-8:00.  I knew there was no way I would feel up to running after work in the evening, and given it was my first morning of needing to wake up to an alarm clock in quite a while, I wasn’t feeling confident I would get my body moving in time to run before heading to my class.  So, I packed my running gear, and during our one hour lunch break set out to run three miles before scarfing down my lunch.  

The territory was a bit unfamiliar – I don’t know that I’ve ever actually been in Herndon before, but I set out from the school where my class was, debit card in my pocket to grab some water on the way back.  The nearest gas station was about a mile from the school, so I figured I’d grab a drink on the way back.  It was pretty warm and I was feeling pretty ragged – not to mention I was wearing shorts with no pockets so I was holding my phone and debit card in my hand as I run.  The run was unremarkable, except for the last mile where I had the joy of experiencing running with a cellphone/debit card in one hand and a quart of water in the other.  I am sure I was a pretty funny sight for any car that happened to pass, but I had achieved my goal.  I managed to get in my three miles AND eat lunch (albeit inhaled in a span of ten minutes).

Tuesday 7/22 – Tonight I met up with the Metro Run & Walk distance training group.  These are the best people I know and were the reason for my success when I ran Marine Corps in 2011.  Tuesday nights are the track work outs – and tonight was a doozy!  We ran 400 repeats, but after each 400 we hit the bleachers at Lee High School.  While the work out was  hard, the company couldn’t be beat.  Here’s Brian and I actually still smiling after our work out.

No pain, no gain.  Right?  Right.  IMG_0322

Wednesday 7/23 – My kids have been away this week, and I figured tonight I would go run my six miles after getting out of class.  However, the heat and the humidity were intensely oppressive, so instead I headed off to the gym.  Running six miles on a treadmill isn’t terribly lively, but it will get the job done.  There’s a certain kind of zen to the treadmill.  It is so intensely boring with so little to look at, and as you are able to pay far less attention given you know there won’t be any cars coming, it really let’s you slip away mentally.  At least, this is what I keep telling myself so as to not go crazy while running on the treadmill.

The rest of the week – well, I can give you a lot of excuses.  On Thursday I planned to run after my class and before picking my kids back up, but then I ended up getting the kids early, heading to a cub scout event, and then picking my parents up from the airport.  Should have squeezed in three miles at lunch, but alas – poor planning.  On Friday I should have run six miles, but instead I spent the morning frantically packing the kids and I for a quick trip to West Virginia, and then I was in the car, driving to West Virginia.  Saturday was a rest day by design – which I spent petting ring tailed lemurs and a red panda.  Sunday included driving four hours round trip to drop one kid off at camp, and then heading directly to a wedding shower held in my honor by co-workers.  Sunday is the only day I feel quite guilty about.  It should have been 12 miles.  I know very well that life happens and missing a run here and there due to life is quite alright.  I hardly even sweat missing anything five miles or under.  But those big runs count.

Now it is Tuesday already and I’m looking at almost a week since my last run (cross training was yesterday and involved lots of hills with my seven year old at the zoo).  I’m about to load the little one in the car and head to the gym (when you can’t leave the kiddos home alone and you know that running in the evening isn’t ideal for you – sometimes it is the only thing to do).  I haven’t decided what I’ll do yet.  Run the assigned three miles?  See how much of that 12 mile long run I can squeeze in during the two hours he is allowed to stay in child care?  Split the difference and run seven?  I guess my legs will have to tell me once I’m moving.  We’ll have to find out next week!!

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MCM ’14 – Training Week 4 – Back Home & Racing!

So sorry for the late post!  Last week found me returning from vacation and coming back to reality.  While I will certainly miss the sights of macaws, iguanas, and the ocean while I run, I am excited to get back into regular life and having a more predictable schedule.  As I believe I mentioned in a previous post, I race every month.  These races are of various distances and help me stay motivated and try out different courses and speeds.  This week my post will focus on a race report from my experience at the Rockville Twilighter 8k on Saturday night.

IMG_0311This was a new race for me, and a distance I have only raced three times before.  My previous had been set in 2011, after the last time I ran the Marine Corps Marathon.  My time then had been 44:18, so my goal this time was 43:00.  I am not fast enough to be competitive, but I am always trying to beat my last PR! This particular race starts at 8:45 PM and includes free glow sticks.  I hadn’t managed to do my traveling laundry yet, so I ended up getting to run this race in a skirt that I bought to run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.

Saturday night was much cooler than typical for July, but that doesn’t mean it was cool!  Last year this race was cancelled due to persistent lightning storms, and while we didn’t have any storms to contend with, it was trying to rain off and on.  The race started off with a family fun walk, followed by the 8k race.  It was dark by the time the starting gun went off, and we were off.  For those of you, like me, who have never run this course before, let me give you a word of warning.  IT IS HILLY!  Not that any particular hill is terribly long or terribly steep or brutal, but the course is definitely rolling!  Most of the course goes through neighborhoods in Rockville and it was really lovely to see folks sitting out on their porches and in their yards to cheer on the runners.  Several kind souls even hooked their sprinklers up to sit on their cars and spray into the roads.  These sprinklers may or may not have saved me.


It was a lovely race.  I had set my garmin set at an 8:30 pace to give myself a little wiggle room.  I have not become an experienced enough runner to really have a great personal sense of pace, so having a watch that beeps at me if I am going too fast or too slow is a huge help.  I was having an easy enough time keeping pace, but the hills kept slowing me down.  Shortly after the four mile marker I tried to turn up the speed, but the combination of speed and hunger (we hadn’t had dinner before the race!) kept me pretty steady instead of speedy.  The race still went well and I finished with a new PR of 42:05!!

Darcars Rockville Rotary Twilight Runfest 2014 - Photo by Ken Trombatore



Now I’ve got a break from racing until the Virginia Beach Half Marathon at the end of August.  For now, I’m firmly back into focusing on being ready for Marine Corps and can’t wait to get some more long runs in.  In the meantime – if anyone out there has any questions, please leave it in the comments and I’ll answer them in my post on Sunday!

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MCM Training Week 3 – Let’s Talk Cross Training!!

 Hi readers!  This week we’re going to talk about cross training.  Why?  Well……because I didn’t run.

That’s right.  I did not run.  Not one single mile.  This is not a great marathon training strategy and if we were closer to the race, or I didn’t have solid faith in the base I have built over the last several months I would probably be in some kind of panic over losing a week of training.  Our bodies, however, don’t just immediately crash and burn.  Anyone that has trained for a race knows that things happen.  We get sick, we get injured, our families come to town.  No matter how dedicated we are there are times when life or circumstance make us take pause – either for purposes of mental or physical health.  For me, this last week was a mix of both.

Cross training is an important part of marathon training.  Rest days are important as well.  When you are pushing your body to its limit, it needs a day off.  Bodies being worked hard need time to recover, and muscles occasionally need a change of pace.  People do a lot of different things for cross training.  When I’m at home I have a Zumba class I go to every week.  I also occasionally drop in on yoga or pilaties classes, and now that it is summer I also love swimming.  Here in Costa Rica I was looking for something a bit more, adventurous.  And boy did I find it!

When we last spoke it was Sunday morning and I was musing about whether or not I was going to set off in the blistering jungle heat to run eight miles.  The result of this waffling was I did not run nine miles.  Instead we headed to the beach for some good old fashioned boogie boarding.

Costa Rica 2014 090As you can see, I terrified local children and parents with my haphazard boogie boarding skills.  But it was lots of fun! 

On Monday we headed the opposite direction to one of Costa Rica’s beautiful national parks for one of my other favorite cross training activities – hiking!  I know of folks who even use walking as cross training, so I think a trek through a very hot jungle certainly counts as some decent cross training!  Given that we are in Costa Rica we had some beautiful friends come to watch us hike:

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The bird on the top is a crested caracara, and the monkey on the bottom is a white faced capuchin.  Now, hiking in Virginia may not give you the same kind of wildlife viewing – but I would highly suggest hitting the Billy Goat Trail or even Old Rag sometime this summer if you have occasion to.  They are both amazing hikes with beautiful views, and certainly make for good cross training!

While boogie boarding was fun, I felt like if I was really going to claim it was good cross training, I was going to have to do something a bit more intense.  Enter surf school!

10270828_517754824729_175430075136890256_nTortuga Surf School in Jaco, Costa Rica came highly recommend from trip advisor, so three of us decided we’d try it out.  If you have never had the pleasure of surfing, let me tell you – it is much more of a full body work out than one would imagine!  The first day started off doing drills on the shore.  Learning how to pop up properly to ride over the waves you don’t want to catch, how to get yourself up on your feet quickly once you’ve paddled hard enough to catch your wave, and how to properly squat down low enough to keep your balance long enough to ride your wave.  Then we hit the water to learn how to catch the small breakers. After two hours we were totally beat and we called it a day.

10547742_517776596099_1697934073018489902_oThe second day of surf school they had us paddle waaaay out and start catching swells to ride in.  This was significantly harder, and any time you missed a wave you had quite a long paddle back out.  This was an incredible full body work out, and after only two hours of this more intense surfing, we were about reading to throw up, as illustrated by the picture to the right.  I was more exhausted than I can remember being and absolutely every body part hurt.  Talk about a good work out!!  I did manage to ride a wave or two pretty well.10553753_517776196899_5215732611541202112_o

I took the day between surf school lessons and the day after surf school off.  During this last week I had my best childhood friend come down and hang out with us here, and my brother and his wife have also joined us.  Today (Sunday) is our last full day here in Costa Rica so we went for one last hike in Manuel Antonio National Park and found this lovely friend – Costa Rica Addie Upload 098


Today will be my last post from Costa Rica.  Tomorrow we will fly back home, and I imagine my training posts will be much more consistent!  This upcoming Saturday I will be racing at the Rockville Twilighter 8k.  I have set a goal for myself of 43 minutes – which would be a PR for me (I just realized we’ve never talked much about pace – I’m sure we’ll get into it more later).  If any of you are planning on being there and happen to spot me – please come say hi!  I’d love to know someone out there is reading my ramblings about running!  Until next week – run well!




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MCM Week 2 – Running Far From Home

*My apologies for the lack of pictures this week.  My internet here is arguing with my computer*


This is my second post from my home away from home in Costa Rica.  Running in rural Costa Rica continues to be both amazing and incredibly challenging.  It isn’t that the weather is so radically different than the weather at home – it’t hot and humid – but there is something about this near-equator sun that makes the heat just stick to your bones.  It doesn’t help that after a hot run you can’t walk into an air conditioned house and feel instant relief.  My most common mode of cooling off is to rip off the running clothes and jump into the pool.


More serious than the physical challenges of running in Costa Rica are the mental challenges.  We know that a lot of running is a mental game we play with ourself.  Up until this last Friday I have been running alone on unfamiliar roads with unfamiliar sights.  When I’m at home training I have my routes – certain neighborhood loops (from my house around Kingstowne and back is a perfect four miles), certain trails, where I have traveled so many miles and they are so predictable that I feel like I’m at home.  There is none of that predictability here.  That isn’t to say that I’ve gotten to know the roads.  I know when I will pass the small community school, how many tiny tiendas I run passed until I get to where the crocodile tour boats launch, but there is a sense of being out of place that creates a sense of loneliness.

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MCM Training Week 1: Not QUITE According to Plan!

Today I will be long winded and inundate you with pictures.  You’ve been warned. This last week was my official first week of marathon training.  Kind of.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have several races that I am training for.  The first race coming up will be the Rockville Twilighter 8k in July.  The training plan I have been following for that race actually had me at a higher weekly mileage rate than the first week of my marathon training plan, so I thought I would stick with that.  Things didn’t go quite as planned.

On Sunday everything went perfectly according to plan.  I needed to run three miles and get in a strength work out.  Given that I wanted to be at the gym for my strength workout, I decided to just do my three on the treadmill.  Thanks to the cinema room at my gym, I had the pleasure of running my three miles while watching Waynes World 2.  I don’t recommend it.  The next step of the gym proved to be a terrible idea.  Sean is the gentleman I’m planning on marrying this Fall, and he happens to be a former crossfitter.  I thought, just for fun, I’d let him lead me through some of the strength exercises he does when he goes to the gym.  I learned to do deadlifts, did some skin-the-cats on the rings, and did some shoulder presses and walking lunges.  None if it sounds too intense, but given that I am not someone that tends to lift heavy things, I learned my lesson.

Monday morning I woke up and could barely move!  I hobbled out of bed and off to work.  While I was hurting (and hurting bad), I grabbed my gym clothes so that after work I could do my 45 minute tempo run.  At 11am, I had an experience that most parents can commiserate with.  The phone rang and I was informed my daughter was laying in the clinic with a fever of 102.  It’s amazing how one simple act can obliterate all plans for a day.  My day became a rush of finding someone to take her home and getting an afternoon doctor’s appointment.  Did I mention that on Thursday we would be leaving the country for almost three weeks?  Yup.  Instead of running on Monday, my day turned into driving all over the place to see doctors and get prescriptions filled. Thus began my four days of forced rest.  Between a kid with strep, finishing up the school year (I teach 3rd grade), and trying to figure out how to pack for the three of us for three weeks in rural Costa Rica, I neglected running.  While I’m not terribly proud of that, I wanted to make no mistake of being honest about it here.  Could I have gotten up at 5am to run?  Absolutely.  But dealing with kids and life became my priority.  And by Thursday we were on an airplane, headed to Costa Rica. Continue reading

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Journey to Marine Corps Marathon 2014

Hi!  I'm Addie!

Hi! I’m Addie!


Hello everyone!  I’m Addie.  I am a 30 year old mom of two, elementary school teacher, part time running store ninja, and I’m getting married this October!  Oh, I’m also training for the Marine Corps Marathon!  Sound like fun??  Yeah, I didn’t think so either, but here we go!


That’s right, 18 weeks from today I will be taking on the Marine Corps Marathon.  I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a seasoned or veteran runner.  The first time I ever ran more than the required one mile for PE was in the Spring of 2010 when I helped coach a kids running club.  I ran my first 5k with a group of kids from a very disadvantaged area.  It took me just a hair over 37 minutes and I desperately wanted to walk.  Training for that 5k was exhausting, hard, and no fun.  Once I finished that 5k, however, I felt such a sense of accomplishment!

I finished!  It took 2:24, and I swore I'd never do it again.

I finished! It took 2:24, and I swore I’d never do it again.

That Fall we started up our kids running club again, and one of my co-coaches was diagnosed with lymphoma.  It was a terrible shock and I felt lost and out of control of the situation.  Only a few days after the news came through, I heard about Team in Training and registered to run the Shamrock Virginia Beach Half Marathon and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

I trained throughout the Winter, and in March of 2011 I completed my first half marathon.  It wasn’t fast or pretty, but I finished.  By mile nine I was DONE.  I will admit to you now that my “training” consisted of running my weekly long run, and nothing else.  I don’t recommend it.  I felt good knowing I had accomplished something, but didn’t feel the need to do it again.  Just a few weeks after completing the half, I started working part time at Metro Run & Walk, and one condition of employment at the time was participating on the store team for the Marine Corps Marathon.  As terrifying as this sounded, I agreed and started training with our wonderful training group.

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Running Through Injuries… A Few Thoughts

Mark Russell is one of the owners of Metro Run and Walk and is an avid walker and runner.

Mark Russell is one of the owners of Metro Run and Walk and is an avid walker and runner.

I’ve been running for 30 years, and one thing that experience has given me is an appreciation for the complexity of any decision to either continue training through an injury or to just shut down for a while.   Professional medical judgment is essential when you have a real problem, but what about that suspected ‘run-of-the-mill’ ache or pain that is pretty typical of the repetitive motion of running and walking we all love?  Ignoring important signals and charging through a training plan while injured can really set you back.

For me, the six big questions to answer are…

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On Training: Simulate Race Conditions

John Faith has been with Metro Run and Walk since 2004

John has been with Metro Run and Walk since 2004 and enjoys being active!

As you read this, we’ve all just celebrated our year-end holidays and, hopefully, survived the New Year’s Eve events!

Many of us have also entered the time of post-race season reflections, and some are even feeling the “post-race season blues.”  It’s time to take a look back on our year – what we would have/should have/could have done (or not done, as the case may be) differently this past year.  It’s also time to think about the upcoming year with those same thoughts in mind.

I’d like to take this opportunity to again expound on two of my favorite themes as a prelude to the new year: training the appropriate muscle, and nothing new on race day.

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MCM13: My training ends…

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

For the last two weeks, I have agonized over whether or not I would be able to continue.

The really short story is that about two weeks ago, I was injured to the point where I had to interrupt training, stop running, and seek medical attention.  I’ve been working with my sports chiropractor, Dr. Kathy Coutinho, Positively Chiropractic and yesterday we both came to the conclusion that the smartest thing is to completely heal and rehab and come back for a late spring/early summer marathon.

Keep reading for the long version…

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MCM13: Week 13 & 14 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

My daughter’s wedding was last week and between prepping for it, training, and working, I couldn’t get to the computer for the Week 13 Recap so this week’s recap includes both Week 13 and 14.

The wedding was wonderful.  My daughter was incredibly beautiful,  Everything went really well — the rehearsal (but not really rehearsal) dinner at our house the night before, the setup prior to the wedding and reception at Sharp Rock Vineyard in Sperryville, VA,  getting dressed. the wedding itself, the reception, and the clean-up the following morning.   Everything was perfect with just one tiny little hitch.  After a long stretch of absolutely beautiful sunny days, it was pouring all day on wedding day!  In the end, it didn’t matter and wasn’t a problem.  We had a rain contingency plan and plenty of shelters and umbrellas.  The rain stopped long enough so that the ceremony was held in the pine forest, which was contingency plan #2.

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