A Flash of … Clarity? Peace?

Ever have those moments when you have a total flash of clarity? Even when you didn’t even know you needed one? Well, that happened to me in the middle of a five mile run on Monday and it instantly relieved weeks of tension…tension that I didn’t even realize I was carrying. But lets back up a bit….

Norway Running

I have been chasing a BQ for awhile, but I have also been struggling with an extreme lack of confidence and that has bled over into my training. I don’t push myself as hard as needed, if a workout isn’t going well – it gets cut it short, I’ll skip long runs, and I won’t prioritize the training over other aspects in my life. I think part of me believed that I would miraculously run a BQ without all the hard work. Well, I decided a few months ago that this would be my year – I would focus on the training, push myself when I needed to, and actually feel confident when I toed the starting line at the Erie Marathon on September 10th.


About a month ago, I was presented with an almost once in a lifetime opportunity. A June work trip to Norway would coincide with Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromsø. This is a unique race in that marathon occurs right around the summer solstice and start time is 8pm! I’d been trying to run this race for years, but work never really lined up. I signed up for the marathon with every intention of this being a “fun” race. I was going to train enough that I didn’t embarrass myself, but I wasn’t going to have a time goal. It would just be a really cool race experience.

Midnight Sun Marathon – Doesnt It Looke Gorgeous

As I started building my training plan, a little whisper started creeping into my brain. “How cool would it be if you qualified for Boston in Norway?” The whisper started growing louder and I found myself checking to see if BAA would accept a result from that marathon (they would). So my low key training plan ballooned into one that had be running 60 and 70 miles a week! My previous weekly high was about 55 during peak training. The realistic part of my brain kept trying to interject with reason “you had a plan…stick to it! You haven’t built up a base to support that mileage! Don’t throw away your shot on a pipe dream” I kept ignoring it.


So I started following the plan and, almost immediately, fell behind. It didn’t help that I had two ten day trips to Norway in a six week period – which meant a ton of treadmill miles. But I kept thinking that I would be able to do it – I just needed to keep pushing. Then I had a week and a half where none of my runs went right – from quads that wouldn’t loosen to being exhausted after long days at work to a fall during a local 5K.

One of the Few Good Runs in the Past Month

This was the backdrop as I was struggling through that 5 miler on Monday – which was supposed to be an 11 miler. Out of nowhere a clear thought entered my head “Meg – you don’t need to BQ in Norway – just enjoy the race. Erie is the goal.” And I physically felt the tension that I didn’t realize I was carrying loosen. Why that thought made it through and all the previous reasonable ones didn’t, I don’t know. But I really took it to heart and, when I got home, I ripped my training plan off the fridge and threw it away.

The Ill Thought Out Plan

I’m still running the Midnight Sun Marathon, but it will be a fun run where I can enjoy running north of the Arctic Circle. And I’m still ready to claim that BQ in September, just not a moment before.


I actually ended up having two epiphanies during that run. But that one is worth a blog post all on its own.



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Cheering and Racing and Exhaustion, Oh My!

Last weekend was crazy! I spectated (is that a word?) my first marathon and ran in the .US National 12K (in the open division – in case anyone thought I actually held elite status J). To say I was exhausted by Sunday night is an understatement. Actually I was exhausted on Saturday, I was supposed to met up with a friend after I got back from the marathon but ended up falling asleep on my couch – whoops!


Tess During Our Run Before the Crazy Weekend Started!

First off, I learned that spectating is hard work! Not as hard as racing, but it was much more tiring then I was anticipating. According to my phone, I covered about 6.50 miles while moving about the course/city. I and two other members of the MD/VA/DC Oiselle Voleé team left Alexandria, VA around 6:30. We were bound for Richmond to set up a cheering corner for the many members of the Voleé that were running the Richmond Marathon.


Upon arriving, we went for a thirty minute run (you know, because runners). All three of us had run the Marine Corps Marathon about three weeks prior, so we were still in recovery mode. But it was a nice refreshing run before the real work began! We changed our clothes in the public parking lot – so, yes, if you were in Richmond last Saturday and thought you saw three women straight up stripping in a parking lot, you were right. Then it was off to cheer!


We had pre selected a location between mile 24 and 25, but instead of taking the most direct route there – we walked along the course hoping to catch some Birds finishing the half marathon. And we did! After making our way to the prime location, which was fortunately right by a Starbucks – we had earlier wandered in the opposite direction trying to find a Starbucks, or any coffee shop, and had failed miserably – we broke out our signs and started to cheer.


Bundled Up and Cheering!

Having been in the exact same positions as these runners, I tried to remember what I wanted to hear when I was that close to the finish line. Fortunately, many runners had their names on their bibs, which made the cheering more personal. Although, yelling out “Lets go, Nutz!” received a few curious looks.


After cheering for about and hour and a half, my two companions “ran in” one of our fellow Voleé members – complete in their jeans. I met them at the finish line and then we met up with all the finishers for some pizza and beer/wine/soda. After all the congratulations were passed around and the obligatory photo was taken, we headed back to Alexandria. Where, as mentioned earlier, I promptly passed out.


When my alarm went off early the next morning, I had serious thoughts about skipping the race. My legs just felt tired, but I pulled myself out of bed and got ready. Two of my neighbors were also running the race, so we walked down to the start line together. The race started less than half a mile from my apartment so I really had no excuse not to run.


Huge Medal and Awesome Shirt

The race actually went really well. Being able to knock out a 12k in just over an hour was pretty great. It wasn’t a perfect race – I could definitely feel Saturday in my legs and my right quad was really tight during the last two miles. I had to stop and stretch it a couple times. But its fun running on the George Washington Parkway and through Old Town Alexandria. Plus it was a small race – which is definitely is becoming more and more rare in the Washington, DC area. And watching the elites race was absolutely fantastic. Because it was an out and back course, I was able to see the elites after they passed the turn around point. Molly Huddle killed the competition!


Best Part About Racing

It was a very busy and tiring weekend, but I’m glad I did it! Although I probably won’t spectate and race in the same weekend, or, if I do, I will definitely switch the order and race first!


Any tips on future marathon spectating? I plan on cheering at many more races and want to make sure that I do it right!


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Running Hippie Recovery Method

Recovery. Recovery. Recovery.

This is a constant mantra in the running world – no matter what running magazine, book, or website you read. It can range from walking or resting between intervals to making sure there is a day of easy running after a hard workout to taking time off after race. I’ve never had a problem on the lower end of the scale. Walk/jog 400 meters after an 800 meter repeat? No problem – in fact can I turn that 400 into an 800? Three easy miles the day after a seven mile tempo run? Yes – please!

Shoes and paws

Trail Shoes and Trail Paws

However, I do have a problem with the post race recovery – mostly when it comes to post marathon recovery. If one follows the traditional adage of one day of recovery for every mile raced – that is practically a month!! And I know the month recovery period is not a month of sans running or being active. And I know I need downtime for my mental health – otherwise I’ll just burn out on running. But I have never been able to master the perfect marathon recovery month. I either do too little and have to work hard to bring my fitness back up or I do too much and struggle through the beginning part of my next training cycle. I’ve tried following Recovery Plans because I generally like a good training plan, but I find them too regimented. And, on top of all of this, I have a running addicted pup that doesn’t understand recovery at all. She wants to go for a run Every. Single. Day.

But I think I’ve finally hit upon the secret! I call it the Running Hippie Recovery Method. Here are the “rules” (except there are no real rules because, you know, hippie):

  • Relax
  • Have fun
  • No watches
  • Go for long walks
  • Explore new running route
  • Run on trails
  • Hike
  • Play like a little kid
  • Try some yoga – or continue to practice if that’s your thing
  • Run slow or fast or medium. Run how you feel that day

Essentially “playing” through my recovery allows me to keep my fitness, but doesn’t stress me out. I’m starting my new training cycle (going for a half-marathon PR!) this week and I feel ready to go. And – most importantly – the Running Hippie Recovery Method allows me to keep the pup entertained!

What do you do for recovery? Do you follow a plan? or do you just “wing it”?

Upsidedown Me

Wasn’t kidding when I said play like a kid!

Tess and I - Old Town

Tess doesn’t understand why we stopped running

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Running. Dogs. And More Running. Oh Look…Wine!

While I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for well over a year, I was never certain I had something unique to add. Then I figured “screw it,” everyone has unique experiences and I’m just going to add mine to the signal.

This will mostly be focused on running and other outdoor adventures. But there will be dashes of wine and musings. And cooking adventures! I have been allergic to dairy my whole life and I love the challenge of adapting recipes (especially baking ones) to make them dairy free.

Camping and Milk

The only way “milk” gets close to my mouth!

This blog will also serve as an accountability source for me in my training. My training is undergoing a significant revamp and I’ll need all the motivation I can get – I figure that publicizing my training goals and progress will only help me.

MCM 2015 Run

Marine Corps Marathon 2015 – My 7th Straight!

So join me for the running, the hiking, the random musings, the quirky dog, the wine, the training, the recipes, or just to gain insight into the life of a thirty something professional with a running addiction.

Pacers Veteran's 10K Post race

Tess’s First 10K!

Wine and Snow

Will Run for Wine!

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