5 Before 35 – One Month Later

About a month ago I shared how I fell apart when I turned 30, and shared the running goals I had given myself before I turned 35.  It has been a month since I really decided to work on those goals, and I thought I’d quickly check back in.

Goal #1 – Run a 4:30 marathon.  This is absolutely a long range goal for me, and I don’t expect to get there this year (also, I’m not running a marathon in the next two months).  I am currently making plans to run the Austin Marathon in February, but that will be more of an effort of getting my distance back up, and not a race I want to focus on my time.  It doesn’t help that it is a particularly hilly race.  Thanks to my deferral this year, I have a guaranteed spot in the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon – where I hope to hit this time goal.  In the meantime I am getting back on the road, regaining the habit of running, and rebuilding distances.

Goal #2 –  Run an ultra.  See goal #1.  Pretty sure this is a long way off, but I’m on the right track!

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 9.03.26 PM

Safe Wake!

Goal #3 – Race with my dog.  This one I have been making some progress towards!  This is my dog Wake.  He was a rescue pup that we had thought was a border collie mix.  He’s about nine months old now, and we are starting to doubt our original thoughts, given he has seemingly stopped growing and is only a touch over 25 pounds.  One thing about Wake, however, is that he does LOVE to run.  Due to the fact that he is still a pup, I can’t take him on terribly long runs, but on the days when I do just a short evening one miler to keep up on my streak (that’s the next goal!), Wake is my buddy.  Our runs aren’t always very pretty – sometimes Wake decides it would be more fun to run in crazy circles around me or pull the leash – but he LOVES them.  We tend to only run at night, so I put my amphipod reflective magnets on the sides of his harness, and he has come to realize that those magnets mean it is go time.  He’s a pretty happy guy!

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 9.10.09 PMGoal #4 – 100 Day Running Streak.  I am happy to report that I have finished the first 26 days of this (and as soon as this post is written and my daughter is tucked in – I will head out with Mr. Wake for day number 27!).  Now, I know there are some holes in the calendar to the left, but those are the days when I have found myself running on a treadmill instead of outside.  You may notice many of my runs are not very long, and most are very slow, but I’m proud of my consistency!  There has been a day or two where it has been a challenge to convince myself to head out, and if you look close you will see a great many of those runs are happening after 9pm (which will happen again tonight, and I talked about in the running on a schedule post from last week!).  I have been bribing myself along the way with little rewards, but I’ll tell you more about that another day.

Goal #5 – 1,000 mile year.  Look at 2016.  The plan is two marathons, and between training for those races, and hoping to get back to a few of my favorite races in the DC area (Frederick Running Festival has a special place in my heart), I think it may be my year!

What running goals do you have for yourself?  How do you plan to achieve them?  Til next time!

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Running on a Schedule

My kids in their obligatory first day of school picture.  Marking a return to normal and running!

My kids in their obligatory first day of school picture. Marking a return to normal and running!

One of the most common rationales I hear from people about why they don’t run is regarding time.  I have no argument for this reason.  I understand how easy it is to put running aside, but I tend to have a fairly backwards habit when it comes to running.  The more free time I have, the less likely I am to run.

Let me explain that a bit.  I am a fairly booked up person.  As far as employment goes – I teach 5th grade and work occasional shifts at the running store.  My house involves a 6th grade daughter that participates in girl scouts and orchestra, and a 3rd grade son in cub scouts and after school science clubs.  We also have a nine month old puppy dog.  After school, on top of the kid’s activities, I coach Girls on the Run and am a building supervisor for an afternoon Spanish language program.  I am also the one who cooks, and we do make attempts to eat exclusively home cooked meals during the week (though we have our occasional Chipotle breaks).  Between all of this, and because of all of this, I MUST run.

During the summer I work very little.  My days are blissfully my own to spend however I want, and more often than not, I end up forgetting to run or making excuses.  The heat is at a dangerous level, or I can go later, or I need to make sure to make dinner before it gets too late, or I just ate, or I spent too long at the pool and now I’m just too sleepy.  I can be the queen of excuses.  But not during the school year.  That is because during the school year, my google calendar looks like this:

My October.  Jealous?

My October. Jealous?

Yes, those are three different layers of a google calendar you see in front of you.  One that takes care of most of the kid activity and is shared with my ex-husband in order to make sure we know what weekend the kids are where, and what activities the kids have going on.  The blue ones apply just to me – classes I need to attend, knowing when my mom is out of town, when I’m coaching.  Lastly, the green – my running calendar.  Possibly the most respected of the bunch.  During the school year, there is something blissfully selfish about going for a run.  Spending my day surrounded by children (both at work and at home) is an amazing thing, and I adore teaching, but it means that a HUGE chunk of my life is spent with people near me really, truly needing me.  Needing my attention, needing me to focus on them.  Obviously, anyone that goes to work has to focus on their work, but it is a unique kind of need when it is a ten year old standing in front of you frustrated because they still can’t quite grasp this whole fraction to decimal thing.

Running isn’t always easy during the school year.  I am frequently tired.  I am overbooked.  My legs are sore from being on my feet all day at work.  The need to have some privacy, however, is strong.  To have some time all to myself to work through my day.  Sometimes I plan lessons.  Sometimes I think about a student and how I might be able to work through something with them.  I write grant proposals in my head and try to come up with a way to connect with my 6th grade daughter that keeps becoming more and more of an adult.  I feel like, to be honest, I don’t have time NOT to run.

I’m not a morning person.  Some days I am able to go run right after school while my kids work on their homework, so long as I’m not going too far.  Some nights we go to the track where I can run intervals while the kids read books or run up and down the bleachers.  On the weekends I will run in the middle of the day when my husband can be home with the kids, or I will suck it up and meet up with our training group to knock my miles out early enough to not miss the scout activity of the day.  Many nights I head out at 9pm, after the older kiddo has been tucked into bed.  I’m currently 16 days into what I hope will become my 100 day running streak, so every day, every night, I check in with myself and my day.  Then I make it happen.

I completely empathize with and understand when people say they are just too busy to run, but maybe, when you really are so busy that adding one more thing sounds like an absolute nightmare – maybe that is the time you need it the most.

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FAQ Series: General Questions


Welcome to the first installment of the FAQ series at Metro Run and Walk! We have written up some answers to the most common questions that we get from customers. If you’re a seasoned customer, or just looking to stop in for your first time, your questions may be answered here!

  • What makes your store special?

Service! We take the time to work one-on-one with each customer to find the perfect shoe, insert, bra, or other item. We are happy to listen to your concerns and questions and to problem solve with you.

  • What is the purpose of a gait analysis for fitting me for shoes? Do you have a treadmill for me to run on?

We perform gait analyses in order to observe how flexible your arch is, how your foot behaves when bearing weight, and how you move. We use this visual analysis to assess how much arch support you need from a shoe, which makes a big difference in the shoes we will select for you. We do not have a treadmill, as we believe that people tend to change their gait slightly on a treadmill versus on the ground. We normally have people walk and run on the floor inside the store or outside on the sidewalk in front of the door.

  • I have orthotics. Can you still help me find a shoe?

Yes! Many of our customers have orthotics, both custom and over-the-counter (such as Superfeet) that they use in their shoes. We take the time to determine what type of support the orthotic is providing you, and use this information to determine how much support you need from a shoe itself. Most commonly, people with orthotics that provide significant arch support to treat flat feet, plantar fasciitis, and other conditions are placed into a neutral shoe. These shoes do not have additional posting through the arch because the orthotic is providing sufficient support. Every case is different, but we will always work with you to find the best solution.

  • Do you carry extended widths?

Yes. We offer men’s shoes in B, D, 2E, and 4E. We offer women’s shoes in 2A, B, D, and selected 2E.

  • My friend/neighbor/etc has X shoe and loves it. Will it work for me?

The answer to this question is possibly. Since each person has a different arch, foot shape, size, and width, just because one shoe works well for someone does not mean it is perfect for everyone. This also applies to reviews written online or in magazines regarding shoes. Trying on the shoe and finding one that matches your arch shape is the best option.

  • Which shoe is the best one? Are some shoes higher quality than others?

All of the shoes that we stock and sell are high quality. Among the shoes that we select for you, one will never be simply “better” than another. There are certain shoes that are considered “premium”, but this simply means that they have additional cushioning added, which increases their lifespan and feels more soft. Examples of these shoes are the Asics Nimbus or Brooks Glycerin. With any shoe you leave the store in, however, your shoes will be high quality.

  • How often should I replace my shoes?

The short answer to this question is every 6 months to 1 year, or every 300-500 miles. The long answer is that it depends on how often you wear the shoe, what activity you wear the shoe for, and how heavy you are on your feet. Wearing your shoe all day, every day usually pushes you toward needing a new shoe after 4-6 months. Wearing your shoe for excessive weight bearing activity, long runs, or training sessions puts you into around 6 months. Heavier-set people will need to replace their shoes after 5-6 months. Efficient, light runners, or those wearing premium cushioned shoes can usually wear their shoes for 600-800 miles or closer to 1 year.

  • What is the difference between a “walking shoe” and a “running shoe”?

“Walking shoes”, by definition, are usually leather, sturdy, black or white, and supportive. “Running shoes”, on the other hand, are mesh, lighter, colorful, and cushioned. We put fitness walkers, or those who will be using their shoe for any physical activity, into “running shoes”, unless they specifically ask for the walking shoe styles. “Running shoes”, therefore, can be used for both walking and running. While walkers would certainly be okay in a “walking shoe”, most prefer the running shoe styles for comfort, breathability, and weight.

  • When is the best time of day to get fitted?

Most people will experience up to a 5 millimeter swelling in their feet after a long walk, run, or other workout. Because of this, we recommend coming to get fitted later in the day or after a workout to accommodate for the swelling you are bound to experience. If you get fitted for a shoe first thing in the morning, your foot will likely be smaller than it will be after a run.

  • Why is my size larger for running shoes than for everyday shoes?

Due to the swelling that occurs during physical activity in your feet, we recommend going ½ to 1 full size up in a running shoe. Excessive rubbing, toenails hitting the end of the shoe, and general swelling can make for some sore, painful feet, so it is much better to allow some extra space.

  • Do you carry kids shoes?

We carry kids shoes in sizes 1-7.

  • How do you pronounce the word “Saucony”?


If you have any other questions that were not answered here, leave us a comment on this post or on our Facebook page!

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Running Unplugged – A Runner Experiences Digital Detox

I tend to be a very “plugged in” runner.  My garmin is almost always on my wrist, and if for some reason the battery is dead I hop onto the google pedometer and map out my run before I go so I make sure to run exactly the right distance and check the clock right before I go and as soon as I am home so I know how long it took.  I plug my ears into my ipod and count the number of songs I believe each mile should take and check my wrist after that many songs to see how close I was.  If I need a certain pace of a run I make sure it is on a treadmill so that I can hit it on the nose.  While running is a hobby, I tend to micromanage it in the way someone might manage their job.  My training plan is on my google calendar, and I can tell you every mile I am “supposed” to run between now and Thanksgiving.

Last week, however, things got shaken up.  I found myself in Hendersonville, North Carolina at Camp Grounded – a “digital detox” adult summer camp.  Upon check in you had to go through “tech check” in which anything electronic you have have had – phones, ipods, even any kind of time piece – was put into a plastic bag and locked up in a box where they would remain for four days.  Hell bent on sticking to my goal of a 100 day running streak (and heading to camp on only about six days into it), I brought running gear (meaning just shoes, shorts, and some sports bras) and decided I would make it work.


The ladies of the Bobcat Village. The author in the sports bra after a run.

Camp Grounded was an amazing experience.  I would like to say it was exactly like summer camp as a kid, and in many ways that is true, but in many ways it doesn’t work that way at all.  We were divided into our gender segregated villages (I was a bobcat – my husband a grasshopper), and we played getting to know you games and created village cheers.  This was between things like yoga, meditation, and sweat lodge opportunities.  We swam in the lake, went off ziplines, and took hip hop dance workshops to perform at the Talent Show.  During the day we had a lot of free time – and I used this time to run.  The camp was covered in trails that criss-crossed throughout the woods and to the different sections of camp.  Every day I pulled on my running clothes and hit the trails, hoping that I made it to the couple mile mark, and knowing that I would have no idea how far I went.  The first day it was hard.  My husband came along with me and I kept questioning how far we had gone.  How fast we were going.  If we turn back now, will I have gotten in at least a mile?  It made me crazy.

The second and third days I headed out alone, listening to squealing campers play kickball and try to steal the flags from the other villages (mind you – all of the campers are adults, most in their late 20s-30s, many older).  These days were easier – I let myself sink into the woods.  I found myself far enough away from camp to where I couldn’t hear the sound effects anymore, and enjoyed my time in the woods.  I really don’t know how long I ran.  It may have been 10 minutes and it may have been 40.  The trails were meant for mountain bikes, full of hills and curves and roots, so while I am certain the runs were slow, they were steady and beautiful.  I stopped wanting to look at my wrist and founds that I was okay being “done” running without knowing what I had done.

Now that I’m back in the real world, I realize what an unusual gift having a totally unplugged run is.  Anywhere I run near home I have an approximate idea of the distance.  I know the trail around Burke Lake by heart.  Most of our big and wonderful trails have mile markers making sure you know your distance, and our days aren’t always so open that we can run until we are done and not worry about any kind of schedule for the rest of the day.  It wasn’t perfect running.  I won’t ever know how far I ran or even how long I was out (clocks of any kind were banned at camp), but it felt good.  I felt like I was running for the run, and not to log the miles, and that was an uncommon gift for me.

If you find that you are an overly plugged in runner like me, take my advice.  Next time you are on vacation – give it a try.  Find a park and hit the trails totally unplugged.  No music, no garmin, no attention to anything except the scenery, the sounds, and yourself moving forward through the world.

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5 Before 35 – Mid-Life Running Goals


30 wasn’t ALL bad. I got to marry this guy..

About 18 months ago, I turned 30.  It would be fair to say that I did not handle this new decade gracefully.  Don’t get me wrong, on all accounts the year that I spent being 30 years old was monumental.  I got married, I bought a house, I spent a month in Central America taking surfing lessons.  I ran my second full marathon and hit my first ever sub 2 hour half marathon.  None of that, however, could fight my feeling that I was old and life was almost over.

I am very well aware how ridiculous that last statement is.  Logic just doesn’t always have a place inside of a brain that has decided to go sliding down a particular wormhole.  I struggled with all manner of bothersome bad habits.  I let running lose importance and value, put on 15 pounds, and fought off my occasional panic attacks by staying up too late watching 30 Rock on Netflix before having to wake up early for work.

Recently I decided that enough was enough.  I needed to shake myself out of my 18 month slide into funk and regain some control in life, and remind myself that I still have LOTS of things to do!!  I sat down and wrote out a list of 35 things I would like to accomplish by the time I turn 35.  As I wrote and re-read my list, I noticed that my goals fell into very distinct categories – travel, personal well being, doing things that I felt could make the world a better place, silly adventures, and running.  While I will spare you all the full list, I thought I would share with you my five most pressing running goals.

Goal #1 – Run a 4:30 Marathon

Some of you may have been following along my adventures of training for and running the Marine Corps Marathon last year.  I have run two marathons – MCM 2011 and 2014.  I was also slated to run it in 2015, but due to my concerns over lack of a base and overall loss of fitness from yeas past.  Now I have deferred to MCM 2016, which was sad, but also empowering as it gives me a solid year to get my act together.  I am not a runner who is fast.  I am a runner who goes out there, exhausts myself, and still finishes midpack, but that is okay!!  I may never qualify for Boston, but I think the 4:30 is totally doable, and I look forward to getting myself there.


Marine Corps Marathon 2011


Running the Marine Corps Marathon in 2015

Goal #2 – Run an Ultra

The idea of an ultra marathon sounds insane.  I fully acknowledge this, but in true to myself form, I struggle to care too much.  I don’t want to run a 100 miler.  I don’t even want to run a 50 miler.  I have the utmost respect for the people that run those distances.  The level of commitment is incredible, and the time management skill of those that manage to train for those events and still juggle lives is astonishing to me.  I know that for myself, my time management skills aren’t quite there yet – at least not while my kids are still young – but I do feel that if I can find time to train for a marathon, I should be able to train to go five miles farther!  There are so many really cool sounding 50ks that it is hard to not be attracted to the distance, and knowing that I wouldn’t be worried about time feels like a nice change of pace from my usual running focus.

Goal #3 – Run a Race with the Dog

If you are someone who frequently comes out to our community races, there is a good chance you have met Mr. Wake!  My husband and I adopted Wake in April with the hopes of getting me a running partner when the border collie mix had a chance to grow up some.  In the meantime I have been bringing him to a lot of running events to get him used to crowds and noise and distraction.  We have worked several water stops and worked as sweepers at several races.  I can’t wait until I get a chance to run a race with him – even if it ends up being the slowest race ever.


Wake’s ears will help him to flap his way to the finish line.

Goal #4 – 100 Day Running Streak

When I am in the habit of running, it becomes automatic.  I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to drag myself out of bed, I don’t have to worry about scheduling in my runs.  Somehow it becomes just like breathing.  It becomes part of my day, just like eating food or brushing my teeth.  When I am out of the habit of running – I have a million things that keep me from running.  I need more sleep, the dog needs me to nap with him, the kids need me to help with their homework RIGHT NOW and clearly now is the only possible time to run, and on and on.  I have never been one to worry about streaks – I just make a plan and stick to it.  I think keeping up 100 straight days of running at least a mile every day would be an awesome challenge for me, and would lead well into goal #5….

Goal #5 – Have a 1,000 Mile Year

Back in 2014, I thought I would get this.  I was on track thanks to monthly races and marathon training.  Unfortunately, after my dismal performance at the Marine Corps Marathon, I found myself so disenchanted that I believe I ran something like 20 miles over the rest of the calendar year.  As I type it is August and I haven’t tracked my miles this year, but I can tell you they are probably less than 100.  I have my eye on 2016 as “my year.”

That’s what I’ve got.  I plan on checking in on how my progress towards these goals are going, and hopefully this will keep me accountable.  Nothing feels worse than when I have to write the “well, that didn’t work out” blog posts!  I’d love to hear your running goals too!  I am always inspired by the folks I chat with at the store and the different things they are working towards, whether it is their first 5k or their 5th Ironman!

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A new approach to fueling for distance


Bruce showing off his favorite product for long runs!

If you are a long distance runner, chances are you have consumed some type of energy gel to fuel your miles. Most likely, this gel (or chew, bar, bean, etc) is a simple carbohydrate source based on fructose, sucrose, or maltodextrin. These carbs work really well at saving you from a low blood sugar crash because they are small molecules, meaning your body can easily absorb and use them. Your blood sugar quickly goes back up and your body has a source of fuel. The downside to using these sugars is that a cycle emerges: low blood sugar crash, sugar source taken in, high blood sugar spike, repeat.

What is the disadvantage here? At first glance, it seems the only problem with this cycle is that you have to continually take in energy during longer durations, meaning you pack a few gels for a long training run rather than just one. Is that really so bad? Well, there are actually worse biological side effects occurring.

When your blood sugar spikes, your body releases insulin, a chemical responsible for helping your cells take in and use sugar as fuel. With a moderate amount of blood sugar, insulin does its job and stabilizes your blood to normal levels, and your cells get the fuel they need. With high blood sugar spikes, however, the increased amounts of insulin needed begin to present issues. Insulin has other jobs, which include increasing fat storage enzymes while simultaneously blocking fat releasing enzymes. Essentially, your cells begin storing extra sugar as fat while blocking your body from burning its fat sources as fuel. As a runner, the last thing you want is to force your body to make room for more fat storage, which it would be happy to do.

Generation UCAN, a new nutrition product, is made from a totally different carbohydrate source- superstarch. This molecule is larger than simple sugars, meaning it takes longer for the body to break it down. The effect here is no spike in blood sugar or insulin response, but rather a stable level. The lack of insulin response means that your body can convert to burning fat for fuel, because your body has enough fuel in your stored fat to last several marathons!

Bruce, a member of our staff, avid marathoner, and the head coach of our distance training programs has tried UCAN with great success. Before trying UCAN  Bruce felt sick toward the end of long races or training runs and was tired of consuming countless sweet gels. He tried UCAN and found that his hunger was managed and that his stomach was not sick, even during long marathon training runs. His advice? “Take the powder in small doses rather than large doses [of water] so that it’s thicker and easier to down quickly.” Otherwise, you may end up taking in too much liquid before a run and, as Bruce kindly puts it, “spending a lot of time behind a tree for the first mile.”

“For me, it just goes down really easily,” Bruce said. “While it’s not delicious, I think the taste is fine. And I haven’t had one bad stomach reaction.”

The product is most beneficial for runners doing longer distance races, as the need to fuel increases when you are planning to run for more than an hour and a half. If you’re interested in trying the product, stop by the store to check it out! You can read more about the science on the UCAN website.

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Am I still a runner?

track newsletter

Hi friends! This is Rowan checking in with a new post that I have been working on.

Working at Metro Run and Walk, I often get asked some variation of, “so, are you a runner?” and I always struggle with my answer. When I worked at the store in high school, I happily explained that I was a sprinter on the track team, an avid runner. Now, two years through college, my answer has changed. As an “adult” athlete (I use this term loosely because, at age 20, I don’t always feel like this term explains my life yet) the options for those interested in sprinting who are not elite athletes are quite slim. While there are distance running groups in this area that have literally hundreds of members, you would be hard pressed to find a group of runners who get together to run 100 meter repeats on Tuesday nights. Because of this dilemma, I found myself trying to reinvent, in a sense, my fitness identity. I am sure there are others in this position, so I wanted to explore the idea of what being a “runner” truly means, and if that identity ever goes away.

In a way, the difficulty of translating high school sprinting into adult athletic life has been a blessing, because it allowed me to truly fall in love with fitness, as corny as that sounds. In my freshman year of college, I dabbled in possibly every group fitness class on the market, but found that most lacked the intensity and burn that sprinting gave me. I tried the Insanity videos, and found that while challenging, they got old, fast. I even tried joining the club track team, which, of course, was composed of entirely distance runners. Sophomore year, I found weightlifting, and fell in love. Lifting gave (and continues to give) me the intensity, rigor, and discipline that sprinting did, with even quicker and more noticeable aesthetic results. I began lifting 5-6 days a week, writing my own workouts and learning as much as I could. I recently became certified as a personal trainer because I want to give others the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of resistance training and fitness that I do. I still missed the flat-on-my-back, lungs heaving feeling of finishing a sprint workout, however. And I still found myself wondering, “am I a runner?”

The next stop on my fitness journey, new this summer, is Crossfit. Now, I’m sure nobody reading this is looking for an advertisement on the benefits of Crossfit (apparently Crossfitters are known for being annoyingly preachy), but bear with me. This sport allows me to use all of the lifting that I love, along with some more functional fitness aspects. One part I did not expect, however, was the running. Since joining a Crossfit gym, my workouts have included 800 meter runs, 400 meter repeats, and 200 meter runs carrying 16-pound medicine balls, all mixed in with many other skills. The best part? I’ve rediscovered the knocked-out fatigued feeling that I so missed and that I had not experienced since my track days.

So, we return to the question of what makes someone a runner. Over the past two years, I have realized that being a runner does not equate with being an elite-level miler, nor does it mean having a list of all the marathons one has ran (although I have extreme respect and admiration for all of the people, including most of my coworkers, who have such lists). To me, being a runner means loving and craving the feeling of pushing your body to its limits and testing your mental fortitude. To all the people out there who once ran, who run occasionally, or, like me, run in conjunction with another athletic endeavor: I say you are still a runner, and I think the running community welcomes you with open arms.

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Training Blog – Running on the Road!

It is the last week of July – just days away from when the defer window for Marine Corps opens up, and sadly, I’m afraid I will be using that day.  It was a rough decision, but I don’t want to run a half-assed marathon.  When I come back in 2016, I want to be sure that I am ready to tackle those 26.2 miles, and not run face first into a brick wall like I did at Marine Corps last year.

So – what now?  Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.28.58 AMGreat question!  In August I am registered for the Patrick Henry half marathon down in Ashland.  In October I will be running the Army 10 miler, and in November, I plan to run the Richmond Half.  Goals for the winter are to rebuild a strong base, get back some of the speed that I’ve lost over the past year, and come back strong in the Spring.  I recently started back up with our training group – which is such an amazing and supportive community – and I know they will help me stay on track (literally – HA!).  I will be headed out tonight to spend another super hot day on the track with the happiest group of sweaty people I’ve ever known, and am looking forward to our long run this weekend in the shade of Prince William Forest Park.  This week on track will be a little sad, because it will be the last I’ll see of them for the next three weeks.  That, however, brings me to some fun news.


Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.31.31 AM

Those of you who followed along last year may remember that I tend to spend most of my summers traveling.  This summer I saved it for August.  On Monday, my kids and I will be headed out on the rather ridiculous trip you see above.  Flying into Utah and driving back (we will be coming all the way home, but google wouldn’t let me add any more stops on the map!).  Running while traveling is a particularly rough game.  Finding the time, finding the place, and finding the energy can be a challenge.  My goal is that I get out and run – even if it is just ONE mile – every day.  If I succeed, it will actually be my longest ever running streak (I usually take rest days).  I also imagine, it should offer up some pretty amazing scenery (and perhaps some seriously depressing hotel gyms).  My goal is to keep you all updated on my running cross country adventure.  Also – if any of you folks out there have lived in any of the stops, I’d love to hear your favorite running routes!

Stay cool out there!

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Training – It’s Hot!!

Hi friends!  Sorry for my absence last week.  Last time we spoke I was in the midst of the great debate – to defer or not to defer.  I’d love to tell you that the debate has been settled, but that would be a lie.  For now I’m just going to keep on trucking and see how things feel come mid-August.  In the meantime – let’s talk about the weather!!

It is warm out.  Really warm and really muggy.  Last Tuesday I was out with the Metro Run & Walk training group, who happen to be some of my favorite people in the world.  If you are getting ready to train for a distance event and tend to like company, I cannot recommend highly enough that you check out this group.  I have been running with them off and on for the last 4.5 years, and while people come and go with each new race season, there is a strong core group of folks who are very quick to welcome you and swap stories.  They have gotten me through lots of runs and races that would have been nearly impossible on my own.

It was warm on the track last Tuesday and we were working on pyramids – going out at a 5k pace and running a 200 meter, followed by a 400 meter, followed by an 800 meter, then back to 400, and finally 200.  If you are someone that hasn’t ever used a track for speed work – one lap around a track is 400 meters.  Between each of these distances we had a 200 meter recovery (walk/light jog).  Given the last time I did any kind of speed work was, well, I don’t even know when, this was a tough work out for me!  It was hot, I was sticky, and my kids were wandering around the track demanding hugs every time we passed them by (sweet, yes.  conducive to speed work, no.).

I spent the next two days feeling those speedy miles.  And hiding from the heat, while preparing to host a birthday party for my now eight year old son.

On Saturday night my husband and I headed up to Rockville for the Rockville Twilighter 8k.  We had run this race last year and had a really nice time, so we decided to give it another try.  It was incredibly muggy, and as I had forgotten, the race was deceptively hilly.  I would love to say I had a great time at the race, but that would be quite the lie.  Everything felt a little wrong.  I knew we weren’t going very fast, but it felt too fast.  Last year I had set an 8k PR at this race (42:05 – fast enough to have me in the top 15% of all women), and this year I was trying to talk my brain into not walking.  It felt crappy enough to encourage the conversation mid-race with my husband about whether or not Marine Corps this Fall is a good idea.  I finished the race exactly seven minutes slower than I had last year.  I felt awful – I had goosebumps and was pretty sure I might throw up at any moment.  We walked over to a restaurant and had some dinner before heading home, and I was left to my thoughts, trying to sort out how to get my speed back, and if I currently want to focus more on speed or distance.

My life is frequently a no rest for the weary life, and Sunday morning I was up bright and early to go lend a hand with our very own 5k/5 Mile race – Sweatfest.  I love our Metro Run & Walk races.  We tend to get a great variety of runners and walkers who attend, and there are always tons of smiling faces.  I will admit, after getting home near midnight on Saturday night, my dog Wake and I were both feeling a bit like this…


Best race helper ever.

but we were excited to see all the folks out for a very hot race!  I adopted Wake back in April and one day I hope to make him my running partner – but the vet has asked me to wait until he is a year old.  In the meantime, he comes with me to most of the race events where I am working to get him used to the sites and sounds of lots of running.  For Sunday’s race we were course monitors and we got to help cheer folks on along the 5k route, before spending some time at the water stop saying hello to the 5 milers.  I have lots of respect to all our Sunday participants, as it sure wasn’t ideal racing conditions!

This week I am hoping to be the week I really get back on the ball.  The week I finally actually accomplish the long run I am supposed to and don’t miss out on any of my midweek training runs.  I have yet to have a week of this training season where I was on top of my game, so stay tuned for next week to find out if I managed to actually get it together and commit!

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Recipe: Lemon-Poppy Protein Bars

Stop by on Saturday (July 18th) to try these bars in-store!


We all have those mornings. You spill the coffee grounds on the counter in your bleary-eyed attempt to wake up, drop your makeup brushes all over the floor, can’t find your left shoe…(yes, I am actually listing legitimate events that occurred on an unfortunate morning for me last week). On these mornings, the last thing you want to think about is preparing yourself a high-quality breakfast. Drive-thru? While enticing and certainly quick, a breakfast from the likes of the Golden Arches would probably leave you feeling sluggish by 10:30. Skip breakfast altogether? Enjoy that mid-morning slump and the overeating you are sure to experience for the rest of the day. The solution? Open your fridge and grab one of the lemon-poppy protein bars you prepped last night! How did you prep them, you ask? Read on.

These protein bars are made with whole grains, are lower in sugar than most store-bought bars, and are filled with protein, which keeps you fuller longer. Oh, and they are really good. Fifteen minutes to prep, 25 minutes to bake, and you’ve got yourself enough bars for 12 of those not-so-bright mornings…or whenever you want a tasty, protein-packed snack.


Lemon-Poppy Protein Bars

Recipe from Racing Weight Cookbook by Matt Fitzgerald and George Fear (available to purchase at Metro Run & Walk)


cooking spray

1.5 cups whole wheat flour

⅔ cup vanilla whey protein powder

⅔ cup sugar

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1.5 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt

¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil

2.5 teaspoons lemon extract

2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, whey, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and zest. Stir.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine yogurt, applesauce, canola oil, lemon extract, and eggs. Add dry ingredients (from step 2) to this bowl and stir until just combined. Pour into the greased pan.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool before cutting. Cut into 12 equal pieces.


Per serving:

145 cal

3g fat

22g carbohydrate

1g fiber

8g protein

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