Sunday, April 3, 2011
D-tagged and riding the metro waaaaaaay to early in the morning (5:45 am).
The view of the sunrise from the Smithsonian Metro station. Got a little misty, not gonna lie. That could also have been, however, because it was so cold that my fingers were going to fall off.
Washington monument and general milling near bag check.
The view from our starting corral. There were a lot of runners, y'all. A lot.
About ten minutes before start in the purple corral. Beth was up with the fast people.
The group after post-race brunch at Whitlows.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
(before reading below, imagine my voice getting louder and more intense as it progresses)
TEAM...it's all about the"W".. and it's all about you...there's no feat you can't accomplish....remember.. this is a RACE!.. the most pure of all competition... when you look to your left..and then look to your right.. there is just one thing to do..WIN.. they are people like you..all with different stories of how they got to this point..and none of that matters..cuz when the finish line approaches, you're the one who wants it more..you're the one who has put in the hours of training.. and you're the one who will NOT fail.. it's very simple..JUST WIN!
(this may or may not have been the same speech given to a group of 8-12 year old boys and girls before a relay race)
side note to those who can fund him: this is part of my "Just Win" ad campaign that i'm working on for gatorade or nike..whoever pays more
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Photo credit: Scott Ableman
This was the turnaround point of our five-miler. We were to run from the Connecticut Ave entrance to Rock Creek Park to halfway down the promenade surrounding the Kennedy Center, then turn back. Simple.
Except: Daylight Savings Time was not yet upon us, and by the time we had all gathered that evening, twilight was already falling on Woodley Park. And everything was seeming... much more forbidding than usual.
But! We would forbear. For we were four-strong, and the path well-traveled, and, well, we had five miles to do. I figured that as long as we stayed together we were unlikely to be stabbed (much more likely cause of fatality as it turned out: merciless, zooming bikers! or, fright caused by other runners who for some reason like to dress all in black and then charge at you out of the darkness)
And lo, the ground, it was rough, and the wind, it was windy, and darkness covered the land. We ran under the many echoing bridges and across the many winding streets that feed into the park. Eventually we emerged to run along the banks of the Potomac towards the beacon of the Kennedy Center through the kind of wind that roars in your ears.
And we got there, turned around, ran back, and arrived at the top of a hideously long and steep hill victorious over our five miles! And then we saw the vice president's motorcade, because that's DC, friends-and-neighbors.
However, I have one smaller, more personal association with that night. And well, it is Spandex.
Before this year I had stubbornly stuck to treadmills, the thought of running outside just too embarrassing to consider. Even after we started running outside, on my part it was with great self-consciousness and a strong dependence on running as part of our group rather than by myself.
As I was getting ready to run that evening, I realized that almost all of that self-consciousness was gone. That I felt like I should wear whatever would optimize the running, regardless of how stupid it looked. Hence, Spandex.
Yesterday after our 3-mile taper run we went to Dick's Sporting Goods to pick up our matching shirts for the race (all running teams shall have matching shirts! thus spake the law of running teams!), and I am thrilled to be the owner of a new look-at-me-isn't-this-the-orangest-thing-you-have-ever-seen!, drifit t-shirt (after all, the Foundation's color is orange). I've started to run without my posse in the surprisingly lovely parks of Wheaton, and feel comfortable even in our awkwardly-tiny gym at work.
And yes, on Race Day there will be Spandex.
Monday, March 28, 2011
March 13th was... different.
1) No Coach. Elizabeth was off chasing leprechauns at the Four Courts Four Miler (and yes, she did beat the leprechaun, because she is that awesome). This was our first long run without her, which was actually kind of a big deal. I think we had all gotten used to her support - her expertise on area running trails, her complete faith that we could finish all of our runs and finish well, her good cheer in the face of our most grumpy, don't-wanna-run mornings.
Nope. Our band of three was on our own.
2) Weather? Not so nice. Hain's Point has a reputation for being ridiculously windy, and now, we experienced it. Hand-numbingly, nose-runningly cold wind, with an overcast sky following a week of rainy days (more on the rain later...)
3) 3 miles? Nope. Double it. Then add two more. I know I'm being dramatic, but for serious, y'all. Eight miles is far. And yes, Chelsea did bring a playlist of Eminem for the occasion, and I wore my best hoodie, but spirits were pretty daunted. And due to certain logistical challenges we were having a hard time working eight miles into a workable route that would both begin and end at Chelsea's car.
So, geniuses that we are we just decided to run all the way around Hain's Point, back to the Jefferson Memorial, and then run all the way around it again.
Geniuses. I'm telling you.
Our first time around went pretty well. I do like me some Jefferson Memorial, and, as I said in my first Hain's Point post, at least the thing is flat. Due to all the rain, the Potomac was lapping right up around the edges of the narrow peninsular park, but otherwise things were going pretty well.
Then we came around the second time. We were right at the tip of the peninsula, and had just turned around to return to find that as we ran the water had continued to rise behind us. Significantly. The swollen river now covered the running path and road, by several inches in some places. And here we were: 1) Needing to get back to Chelsea's car and 2) Needing to run another two damn miles.
So, what to do? I'm sure that there was a smarter option that none of us happened upon, but at this point we were all pretty tired and tunnel-visioned, so we just... kept going. Trying to avoid the floodwater as best we could by running through the marshy grass at the center of the peninsula for about a mile before making it out of the worst of the high water.
It was ridiculous, challenging, and surreal. And our feet got really, really wet.
But. But! 8 miles, you guys. Success! Also? Geese.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Our coaches, Beth and Steve are running in the 4 courts 4 miler this morning...do you guys beat the lephrechan?!?!?!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Monday was a different story. I woke up the morning of my day off from work and felt, well, like CRAP.
Like everyone, I HATE getting sick. I rested all day with all things necessary to cure my illness:
a bunch of meds
giant sorority sized cup of water
movie Step Up(dont judge)
favorite comfy socks (thanks Aunt Jane!)
I have been sick now for a 4 days...but feeling a lot better today, and as weird as it sounds, all I want to do is work out and go running. I'm starting to realize that in order to get back to running, I really do need the rest. I have been googling all day trying to find an article saying "if you are sick a run will cure you!" but what im finding is that if you are truly sick...you need REST. So fine. I am now RESTING.
Thanks to nurse Erin for taking care of me:)
Can't wait to get back out there! 10 miles is just a little over ONE MONTH away!!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
"You are speaking no doubt of the fabled 'third wind.'"
"I'm not sure. I haven't read Runner's World lately so I don't know what they are calling it this month."
-John L. Parker, Jr. from Once A Runner
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Of course he smoked just about every runner there.
Monday, February 21, 2011
This past weekend Kate, Chelsea and I took to the National Mall for our weekly run. Kristen was busy taking her adorable niece and nephew to the circus, and we hesitantly allowed her to do so, but only because she promised to bring us back snow cones.
Kate and Chelsea had six miles on their agenda while I had nine to do. We started at the Capitol and worked our way down the Mall and across the Memorial Bridge. I tacked on a few more miles along the Mount Vernon Trail before turning back and we all finished up at the Capitol. There's really nothing like running around the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and all of those in between. Every time I do it I feel happy. This weekend's run wasn't easy, though. It was tough and windy, but we got it done. Kate and Chelsea both surpassed the greatest distance they have ever run (at a pretty fast pace I might add!)- so we decided to celebrate with some brunch. Some brunch and some...
It is my personal belief that no brunch is complete without a bottomless cocktail option. Kate and Chelsea both opted for mimosas while I settled on my favorite alcoholic beverage accepted during breakfast hours: the bloody mary. We ate, drank and talked about our run and our work. I am very lucky to work with people who I consider wonderful friends. I'm going to choose to say no more about this brunch, but allow you to determine for yourselves how it went. I'll give one hint: we're really fun.
At some point during yesterday's run and eventful brunch, I decided that it was about time I get some new shoes. I always have trouble retiring a pair when I think about where they've taken me. These particular shoes have run me through DC, VA, NH, MA, UT, and CA. But every great pair has its limit, and these guys have dodged their very last DC tourist.
So I purchased a new pair today. And well, I'm having misgivings. In the past I've given a respectable (depending on who you are) amount of thought to the appearance of my running shoes. You've gotta like them to feel good in them, and you've gotta feel good in them to run (far) in them. But this time, I told myself I was a "real" runner and it didn't matter what color they were. Well. They're pink. And as much as I try to tell myself that "real" runners can wear pink shoes - I am just not buying it. I want my baby blues back. It could be a very long season... what do you think of the pink?
Thursday, February 17, 2011
6,000 Runners Fail to Discover Cure for Breast Cancer
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I have lived in D.C. for almost eight years. Four years was spent in college, while the other time has been spent in the "working world." During that almost eight years, I've seen a lot of changes in the District. The exit of one presidential administration and the ushering in of another; the demise of Adams Morgan (aka AdMo) and the rise of U Street, H Street, Eighth Street, and lest we forget Gallery Place/China Town (though few Chinese restaurants remain).
There are, however, some mainstays that do not seem to shift with the different administrations, ever changing restaurant/bar scene, or annual summer influx of interns that descend on the District. These reliable testaments to my beloved city can be found in such places as the Tenley Town Guapo's, a bustling Eastern Market on a Saturday morning, and the Capital Crescent Trail.
In the spring of 2006, Beth and I decided to train for the Marine Corps Marathon. I was a junior in college at the time and saw this as a reasonable endeavor. Little did I know that training for the marathon would hold more memories than the actual race, I would find a life-long friend along the trail, and years later I would return to our favorite training path with that same friend and fall into the same running rhythm without skipping a beat.
The Capital Crescent Trail is a trail that was built upon the abandoned railbed of the 11-mile Georgetown Branch of the B&O Railroad. The trail stretches from Silver Spring Md., to Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and follows the Potomac River once you hit D.C. It's nestled amongst trees and offers a refuge from the constant bustling of the city.
Each week Beth and I charted different training courses, but more often that not we found ourselves on the Capital Crescent Trail, sometimes starting in Bethesda, sometimes starting south and working our way north. It became familiar and then it simply became a ritual - we fell into a rhythm running up and down that trail.
During the months of training, Beth and I got to know more about one another. We relied on each other for those early morning phone calls, and our mutual encouragement spurred us and challenged us to do better, run faster, and ultimately finish.
Beth and I ran and completed the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 29, 2006. To this day, it remains one of my proudest accomplishments. We continued to run together in college and when we were roommates after school, but we rarely found ourselves on the Capital Crescent Trail.
When I signed up for the Cherry Blossom Race as part of "team Beave" I was excited to meet new running friends and hit the trail with one of my favorite running buddies. Last weekend we found ourselves on familiar territory, the Capital Crescent Trail. It was a brisk morning, but the sun was out - a beautiful day for a run.
What I know now that I didn't know in 2006 is that the actual race is just one small portion of why I love to run. For me, it's about hitting the pavement with one of my best friends, laughing at ourselves as we dance to our favorite songs while simultaneously running, and finding solace on a quiet morning on the Capital Crescent Trail in this beautiful city that I'm fortunate to call my home.
Whether you run by yourself or with a friend, long distances or short, familiar paths or new ones, chart your own course and remember what brings you back to the trail each week.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
So when Chelsea suggested we run it, I laughed. When I realized she was serious I went along with it, thinking surely this would blow over in no time. I mean, hadn't we just run a 5k and hadn't I specifically sworn off any race that exceeded my 3.1 mile limit? Fast forward 1 week to a work cubicle packed with Elizabeth, Kate, Chelsea and yours truly discussing the pros and cons of a 10-mile commitment. The cons - too many to count; the pros - we'd be known as "Team Beave" from here on out. SOLD! (That and the fact that I was convinced we were safe from the lottery drawing). With reluctance, I handed over my credit card and Elizabeth signed me up for the race. Did I mention that I was a mere week away from a planned trip to Barbados? I was in such high spirits you could have asked me to do just about anything and I would have said yes. Clearly.
As you know, a few weeks later our fate was sealed and my mind reeled. Getting right to the matter of the heart, I was terrified. I'm a newbie in the running arena and I've had my fair share of challenges and self-doubt. More importantly, I actually don't love running. I do it because it's quick, easy, and the camaraderie is worth the pain. For me, 3 miles was a comfortable goal but 10? Who in their right mind wants to run 10 miles? Not this girl.
So training began and I was on board. 1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles... Okay I thought, I can do this. And then came the dreaded 4 mile run. In all my months of running 4 miles has been my wall - I was exhausted after 3 so why even bother with 4? 3 miles is respectable, any thing more is showing off. I was convinced I didn't have it in me and when I failed my friends would finally understand my protests, take pity on me, and kindly let me off the hook.
On 4 mile day, Elizabeth and I headed out to the Crescent Trail in Georgetown; an awesome shaded trail that runs along the Potomac river. It was a warm(ish) day and I was excited to trade in my treadmill for trees. E gave me my running instructions and I headed out, wary about the 4 miles that lay ahead of me. I found my pace and settled in, determined to face my demon.
I thought about a lot on that run. I thought about how far I've come in the past year when a 1 mile run was cause for celebration. I thought about my team, Chelsea, Kate and E. One year ago these women were colleagues. Now thanks to our adventures in running, they are some of my closest friends. I thought about all my cheerleaders: coworkers, friends and family. The support I've received has been unbelievably overwhelming. Somewhere between miles 2 and 3 it occurred to me that apparently, I was the only one who thought I couldn't run this race.
Wouldn't you know, in the midst of all this thinking, mile 3 came and went - just like that... and I greeted mile 4 with a smile on my face. The reality of this run was undeniable, this race has become so much more than just a race and the coercion I once fought so hard against has become a welcomed friend. The race gods are certainly smiling down on me now - pleased that they have turned a spectator into a runner.
Here's to miles 5, 6, 7 ,8 ,9 and 10 - I look forward to meeting you.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Ah, there we are. Or, there's me, Kristen in her cool shades, and the terrifying, looming silhouette of Elizabeth's jaunty white cap - all of us ready for a leisurely, 3-mile run on our rest week.
(And don't we just look happy to have made it there? We may have had some bridge trouble that led to an impromptu trip to Virginia, but everyone survived, marveling all the while about what life must have been like for the cavemen before there was GPS.)
According to the Font-of-all-Knowledge, aka Wikipedia:
"Hains Point is located at the southern tip of East Potomac Park, between the main branch of the Potomac River and the Washington Channel in southwest Washington, D.C. The land on which the park is located is sometimes described as a peninsula, but is actually an island: the Washington Channel connects with the Tidal Basin north of the park and the Jefferson Memorial. The island is artificial: it was built up from Potomac dredging material from 1880 to 1892."
And yet! There was no evidence of dredging of any kind on that pleasant, almost-spring day. Hains Point is actually part of the official course for the 10-miler, and according to Elizabeth, it's the hardest part. Unlike the rest of the course, which is apparently full of cheering spectators and monumental grandeur, Hains Point is apparently rather boring and prone to problematic windiness.
Happily, I found that in my experience this man-made island of dredge is quite lovely, with a marina, playground, cherry trees, and a golf course for scenery. And really, if nothing else at least it's flat! Three miles done, and if that's the worst of it, I feel that I can hardly complain.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Greetings from sunny LA!!
My name is Chelsea and I'm the fourth member of this running crew. I was able to get out of the DC-area blizzard last week and visit sunny LA, where my best friend Brea lives. Let me just say that I think she chose the better of the two places to live post college...her mid-70's, sunny, palm-tree land vs. my 40+ inches of snow, sleet, ice and overall-freezingness-until-at-least-March land.
With early sunsets and bitter cold, our team hasn't been able to run outside after work, so I've been forced to run on the treadmill - which i dread. It was SO nice to get out to California and run outside in leggings and a tshirt..and on the BEACH! Brea is training for a 1/2 marathon in September in Disneyland (WAHOO GO BREA GO!), so we happened to be right at the running mileage the weekend i visited: 4.25 miles. (YIKES)
At this point I had completed two 4-mile runs: one in Roanoke, VA (it was the land of hills and the hardest run I've ever experienced), and one on the national mall (from Abe to the Capitol Building and back on New Years Eve). Now, a full month later, i was very nervous about this run, even though the sun and the beach were involved.
We ran down the marina towards the beach, on the beach, and then back though the neighborhood. From the picture you can see it was gorgeous! it was a struggle for me as I was dealing with knee issues after the first mile, but Brea told me i could do it...and then i did! 4.25 for me and 4.4 for Brea!
It is so nice to have my best bud training for a race so now I have another person I can rely on to push me to my goal.
Speaking of those who are there to push me... Last year at this point I could not run the reflecting pool on the national mall (.75 miles) without getting tired and stopping, and now I'm at 4.25 miles and climbing! Thanks to Coach E, Kristen, and Kate, I have been able to reach my goals and push myself further than I ever have. So to my fantastic team: THANK YOU!
Monday, February 7, 2011
You're going to rock this race Kristen! Check out Kristen's route below...
Friday, January 21, 2011
Sometimes when I think about this whole thing that's all I can come up with. But, let me give something a little more detailed a shot:
We all work at the Conquer Cancer Foundation. That's how we became friends and that's how we started running together. (In fact, we all worked on the redesign of the website I just linked you to, so if you don't like it, be gentle!) We believe in our Foundation, on and off the clock, which is why we've chosen it as the beneficiary of our upcoming run at the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in DC. (April 3rd - We'd love fans! -Beth)
We believe that improving cancer care begins with the doctors, nurses, patient advocates, and other members of cancer care teams who treat it every day. We believe in the power of informed and impassioned patients and caregivers, and we believe in the catalyzing power of research. And we know - though, granted, our opinion is somewhat biased - that our organization is doing important and excellent work in those areas: quality of care, physician education, patient information, research.
While we may be fundraisers and grant administrators professionally, cancer is personal.
It has has been a part of each of our lives, as it likely has for each of yours. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, dear friends and colleagues. Cancer is personal, and for us this race and what we're trying to do with it is also very personal.
So we're running, and we're asking you, our family and friends, to make the metaphorical leap with us from training and running a race to raising funds to do our infinitesimal part to put cancer where it belongs: behind us (See? It's a metaphor! And sort of a play on words! Doing this running-for-a -cause thing really does require an exhausting amount of symbolic thinking. We're hoping that you won't hold that against us.)
And, as I was saying before, ten miles is... far. We have a long way to go. While Beth is a seasoned marathoner, Chelsea, Kristen, and I are shaky-legged newborns in the scarily athletic world of longish-distance running. Each (literal) milestone we reach will represent the farthest we have ever run before, which is both mind-numbingly intimidating and kind of exhilarating at the same time.
So. We're starting here and asking for your support. We're not picky about how you choose to give it - comment on the blog (after all, you're here already)! Ask us how far we ran today (and keep us honest about it)! Show up on April 3rd to see us sweatily stagger across the finish line (and you can see some pretty pink flowers at the same time)!
And, yeah, if you're moved, either by our well-intentioned exertions or by the sheer worthiness of the cause, donate. And wish us lots of luck, because, oh yes, we are going to need it!
Any one of us would be thrilled to answer any questions you have.