Category Archives: weekends

Run for Shelter 10K: Run for One More (2012) PR

A few months ago the team working with the Run for Shelter 10K got in touch to see if I could promote the event. Yes, of course! I’m happy to spread the word about local DC/VA/MD races – there’s never a shortage of options, and with all the huge ones around here it’s easy to forget that the smaller charmers still happen.

This was definitely a small and charming event. They wooed us with indoor facilities, free parking, simple logistics, a flat course and a great cause.

Run for Shelter 10K banner

RunforShelter10K collage

We arrived around 7am, with more than enough time to park (for free!), grab our packets, check our bags and sit comfortably inside while we waited for the race to start….

Run for Shelter tweet

100 points to these race planners! We’re still scarred from the infamous (freezing) Hot Chocolate experience.

It wasn’t until 7:55 am that all of the runners finally started stepping outside to line-up for the 8am start. “5K people on the left, 10K on the right!” And, GO!

Run for Shelter 10k course

I had initially wanted to run this for a PR because the 10K & I haven’t really rallied since 2009 (MCM style!). Then reality reminded me that the month of running after a goal-race marathon isn’t often your speediest, and then we went to a concert Friday night and then the 5:50am wake-up call just felt so early.

Race-day plan: finish 6.2 miles without making it feel like 26.2. Enjoy the perfect race-day conditions (40-50* and sunny!) and have fun.

Race course: out and back, with one significant incline (up, over and down a ramp) that we hit at the beginning and then again right before the end.

Race-day running: the only trick I have yet to figure out in this running-garmin-free world is how to pace the first mile. From there I can tune in and figure out how it feels and what I need to do – but, until I see that first split I generally don’t have a clue what’s going on!

Mile 1: 7:35…

Oh, that’s how it’s gonna be? Alright fine, legs. You speak, I listen; we run. I could go for one more 2012 PR*…

We took the rest of those miles in stride, hitting each split right around 7:30 – some a little bit faster and some slower (or so the math in my head tells me). After looping around and getting back to the Mile 1 sign (on the other side), I checked in again. Exactly One mile to go: 39:05…

Run for Shelter 10K time

Run for Shelter 10K – November 17, 2012

46:05 – 7:25 min/mile avg

Overall: 38 / 414
Age Group: 7 / 53


*2012 has been a good year, here. Every race has been a PR (with the exception of a 5K that was for fun – and then ended up being 5 seconds off). I’m glad this one followed suit!

Huge thanks to the Run for Shelter 10K directors, planners, volunteers and community outreach-ers! We had a great time and would definitely come back for round 2.


Did anyone else race this weekend? Good, bad, awesome or other?

Who’s gunning for one more personal best this year?



Filed under DC, race report, Races, running, weekends

Here’s lookin’ at Boston…

…April, 2014!

Who knows if I’ll actually get in, but all that matters right now is that I know I ran this:

MCM shoes medal watch 6

It wasn’t the perfect day, or the time I initially had my sights on. But… it’s mine, and it was ultimately an outcome I wanted (get. to. Boston!). More to come soon, once my toes calm down and my hips aren’t screaming. Like, whoa.

Thank you for the congrats – for following along and supporting every mile. This community kicks ass!

MCM morning readyMCM outfit   bib long

MCM running 1
MCM post-race w D

Marine Corps Marathon – 3:34:04 – 2012

‘Til the recap…


Filed under DC, marathon, MCM, race report, running, weekends

Tour of Washington County: Cycling Time Trial 101

Last week I got your pedals wet with the first of three posts that attempt to explain the cycling world; D is 100% in racing mode, now even more so with a new goal added to the agenda (Labor Day weekend just filled up!).  The recent stage race that his team participated in, the Tour of Washington County (ToWC), consisted of a Road Race, Time Trial (TT) and Criterium (aka Crit).

While cycling is a team sport (many people forget that, or never knew), the Individual Time Trial is, well, just how it sounds. It’s just you and the long, open road…

ToWC time trial road 2

This particular event was pretty short – they did ~16 Km* (10 mi) as an out & back. The entire ride is an all-out sprint!

It looks like this:

ToWC time-trial warmup 1ToWC us

Step 1: Warm up! Almost every rider had their trainer set-up and a routine to go through. D’s warm-up involves ~55 minutes of intervals, building up and and then bringing the heart-rate back down. This is no easy 10 min “lap”; it burns upwards of 500 calories!

Yep, that tan is totes normal; the darker the line, the more you’ve trained. 

Step 1.5: Entertain your girlfriend while you wait to line-up.

ToWC time-trial 1ToWC Time-trial 3Tour of Washington County Time Trial line-up

Step 2: Line-up and wait for your turn. A race official is standing by, announcing numbers in groups – “Three One Nine, Three Seven Five, Three One Six!” – to let the riders know, you’re up next!

The racing order depends on the prior stage’s results. They race backwards; whoever won the ToWC Road Race on Saturday would go last for the TT in their Category.

ToWC Time Trial Start

Step 3: Wait for it…and, GO! (This is how the pros do it, a la TdF.)

Officials give the rider a “4, 3, 2…”, and then they’re off!

ToWC time-trial 5ToWC time-trial 6

TT’s are also know as the “race of truth”; riding alone, putting every ounce of energy into those pedals, sprinting for miles. You get no help from teammates, or drafting; the true test of endurance and strength!

This is where the fancy bike gear comes out; you’ll see the sperm Aero-helmets, aero-bars and more aerodynamic bikes. See Fabian Cancellara, TT king:


Image source.

The ToWC TT finish was ~2 miles from the start, and I totally missed the memo on that (realizing about half-way through D’s race). I did see this tired guy after:

ToWC post-time trial

And after that, it was time to rest! The riders had a few hours to recoup before their final ToWC stage, the Criterium.


Tired, yet? All I did was spectate and soak in some rays, but this was part 1 of a long day and an early morning! It was fun to watch all of the individual riders in their different routines, racing styles and fancy gear.

Questions? Personal TT stories? Curious how anyone could wear that helmet and take themselves seriously? Me, too.


Filed under cycling, learning, new things!, pictures, Races, weekends

Tour of Washington County: Cycling Road Races 101

As of May, D is officially back in the racing saddle, and I’m along for the ride. We’ve watched a lot of pro races together, listening to the sweet sounds of Phil Ligget & Paul Sherwen, and I’ve learned a lot about the sport. This world is almost nothing like the running races that consume my training-time, energy and dollar bills; when I start to explain what goes on to friends, I inevitably start to answer the same 100 questions that I’ve asked more than once.

So, without the real qualification or credibility to do so, I’m spreading the wealth.

Want to know what goes on during a Cycling Road Race?
Listen up!

And feel free to ask questions, too.


Prior to this weekend, I had only seen a stage race via the screen, as the best of the best battle it out for a grueling three weeks in the country of France (aka Tour de France), Italy (Giro), California, etc. . The Tour of Washington County (ToWC) may not really compare, but I considered it a leap to even know what the words “stage race” mean, a bound to know what we were in for with a Road Race, Time Trial & Criterium.

In the interest of saving you from information overload on day one, we’re starting with the most basic stage – the Road Race.

Tour of Washington County Collage jpeg

This was the first stage in the ToWC, on Saturday afternoon:

ToWC Jersey & BikeToWC Race fuelToWC Pre-race 2

Road Race:

      – May either consist of point-to-point, out-and-back, or more commonly, a long loop that the riders do repeatedly. This course was a hilly 7-mile loop.

– Has a designated “Feed Zone”: as riders zoom through this area way too quickly, people (ahem, spectators,parents, girlfriends, spouses and/or team members) hand them water and/or food.

– Team riders work for the leader; they ride hard to help him/her stay near the front and in the best position to sprint at the end (if applicable).

– Usually begins with a “neutral roll out”; the start may be anywhere from one to a few miles away from where they actually line up. For safety, they casually ride together to that marker, and then start the all-out riding.

-Riders are both preceded and followed by a Motor Cop and/or equipment car (see top-right photo above: this race was sponsored by SRAM, with a car full of bikes, wheels, and tools ready for any rider who has a “mechanical”, aka mishap). In the pros, each team has a car full of bikes ready for, and fit to, each rider who needs it in the event of a crash, flat, pot-hole chain-drop, etc.

– Starts and ends in stages, by the riders’ Category*.

It looks like this:

Tour of Washington County racers line up Tour of Washington County road race finish words

*One of the biggest differences between cycling & running is the Category license. In this level of racing, each rider has to apply for a license and it is required for registration.

Categories range from 1-5 – 1 being the fastest, pro/elite. Riders almost always begin as a “Cat 5”, and work their way up.


Each race you win, or do well in, earns you points. Points accumulate, and you move up in the wheel-on-wheel world. Obviously with each upgrade comes more competition, more difficult standards and a new level of training.

Fun Fact: Mark Paul Gosselaar, aka Zack Morris, is a Cat 2! Dude is fast.

Because of this regulation, these races are much smaller than the ones us runners are used to. There are few hoops to jump through before you can register for them, ergo when you’re there, you only see those who ride often, train hard and come for competition, not {just} for fun.

ToWC bike trainer warm-upToWC Post-race 2ToWC post-time trial 3


Still with me?

Who’s got a cyclist in the fam / house / friend-circle? Do you wear the helmet?

Next up: the Time Trial.


Filed under cycling, learning, new things!, Races, weekends

Summer Weekends: ‘Burgh Edition

In the fourth installment of summer-weekend traveling, I went back to my college traditions, to the place that I love to call “home” on the east coast. My best friend grew up in a gorgeous farmhouse just outside of Pittsburgh, and I spent many nights there during our Penn State days, before & after holiday flights to/from New Mexico.

Every time I go back, it feels comfortable, warm, welcoming and relaxing. This time, we had feisty little blonde curls running around with us!

burgh weekend June 2012 farmhouse porch seat
farmhouse porch swing
burgh weekend 1 burgh weekend 2

As the oldest of eight, this gal knows how to put together a meal quickly and with the best foods in the fridge. She tripled a homemade pizza dough recipe, and fed us all with veggies, freshly baked crust and juicy summer fruit.

fresh watermelon slices veggie pizza slices

Sundried Tomato & Veggie Pizza

Homemade pizza dough (or fresh dough from the store)
Fresh mozzarella slices
Sundried tomatoes (cut into slices)
Broccoli florets
Red Pepper, slices
Sauce, to taste

Mix, sprinkle on top & bake at 450-500* (or if you’re lucky, in that wood-fire oven!) for 8-10 minutes.


It was a quick trip, but one of those (unnecessary, but welcomed) reminders that a weekend out of the city and into the country is always a treat.

What’s on your summer-weekend travel agenda?

We’re venturing to northern Maryland soon for a two-day cycling race (D on the seat, not me!), and next up is a full-on vacation, headed West!


Filed under family, food, travel, weather love, weekends

lululemon Retreat: Standing in Possibility

I may be well past the average age of your typical summer camper, but this past weekend I got the chance to check an empty box. I didn’t spend three, six or eight weeks on those cabin bunks, instead sticking around for a quick 30 hours. (Kids, I have a new respect for your summer adventure– that’s a long time to eat in a dining hall and sleep on a vinyl mattress with 12 people in a room. But, that waterfront view? Totally worth it!) I was surrounded by like-minded, pure-muscle, inspirational teachers, runners, business owners and lululemon team members.

Welcome to the first DC-region lululemon Ambassador Retreat:

Camp Letts Sign

About one hour outside of DC, I parked it in the Camp Letts lot and unloaded on Sunday morning. Immediately greeted by the the lulu team – made up of educators, assistant managers and managers from the stores all around the area – we were taken to our bunks & given some free time to explore.

Camp Letts cabinCamp Letts bunks
Camp Letts snack foodlululemon retreat baskets
Camp Letts Water

The “Salute Your Shorts Retreat**” was set up for local ambassadors; there are seven stores in this region, and there was a great showing from every area. Our Georgetown crew was represented by myself, tanO Mazi and Emma Saal (Epic Yoga DC).

We had fun summer camp-type activities on the agenda, mixed in with some goal coaching, action talking and lululemon culture love.

lululemon ambassador Salute your Shorts retreat sign

My mind is still absorbing everything that ran laps through it from Sunday to Monday morning. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to really think about where I’ve been, where I’m going and what I want (ahem, set goals). I’ll get to that soon; for now, think about this:

What you say is what you become. I am ____. Someone else’s “I am” shows you their entire world.

When you stand in nothing*, you open doors to possibility.

*Let go of preconceived emotions and perceptions, past events that may hold you back from action, old frustrations, feelings and boundaries.

To bring this home for runners – imagine you had no idea what your last race time was, and/or have never looked at your watch for a split. Imagine stepping up to the starting line with no preconceived expectation. You simply told yourself that could run harder, faster, stronger. 

Standing in nothing, what would you allow your muscles to do?

Deep thoughts & ambitions aside (for now), we had fun. Those quick 30 hours consisted of zip-lining (or a ropes course, or both!), trail-running, tennis (or basketball, or beach volleyball), camp food, candlelight yoga by the water (i.e. bliss) and a bonfire with s’mores & vino.

Yep, these lulu-peeps know how retreat.

lululemon retreat notes 2Camp Letts direction signs
lululemon ambassadors zipline instagram
Camp Letts sunset

To get your brain movin’, fill in the blank:

Standing in nothing, it’s possible to ____________.

**Raise your hand – who started humming the theme song?!


Filed under about me, challenges, DC, Goals, Lululemon, travel, weekends

Cross-Country Weekend: San Diego Days

Over the long holiday {Memorial} weekend, my little Sister and I executed a plan that was eloquently made months ago, after a few fruity umbrella-topped drinks in Hawaii. It was time to take a weekend trip, together, to wherever we felt like going! Or, to a destination in which the airfare from Albuquerque & DCA were comparable.

After some searching, it turned out that would be the California coast.

Downtown San Diego water view

We spent four days exploring the city streets and beaches of San Diego. Immediately after landing I felt refreshed to be out  West – the strong southern sun will always hit the spot. Open spaces, water-front views, palm trees and that true Mexican cuisine? This combination woes me in every way.

Ferry to Coronado
Coronado Beachbeach buddies
On the ferry from downtown San Diego over to Coronado Island. We walked straight to Hotel Del Coronado, where we’ve stayed before with the parents, and onto the beach.

Hotel Del Coronado signHotel Del CoronadoHotel Del Coronado front

Below – our favorite eats: fish tacos at Rockin’ Baja (Gaslamp District), one of the best iced coffees I’ve had to date (saying a lot, from a non-coffee snob) and the “Health Nut” omelet at Zanzibar cafe, and dinner at The Linkery (too dark for photos, but well worth the cab drive to North Park!).

San Diego fish tacosChips n' Salsa bar
Zanzibar Cafe Omelet
Zanzibar Cafe iced coffeeZanzibar Cafe San Diego

The trip consisted mostly of rest and relaxation, with a lot of walking miles and a few miles on the run. We explored the mercado  in Old Town and the trails of Balboa Park, and dined only on the recommendations of the locals.

Balboa Park gardenBalboa Park Run


California, you’re a dream. Thanks for a weekend get-away and some much-needed sunshine!

Next time I head west, it’ll be with D & the whole fam, in the state we call home.
July, hurry up!

What’s on deck for your next trip? If I could spend my life traveling, I would! Until then, I’ll settle for these types of long-weekend getaways and also live vicariously through you.


Filed under family, things that make me Happy, travel, weather love, weekends