September 29, 2015

Where in the world is Christine the blogger?

For several months I've wondered this myself. On some level, the answer is that I was simply enjoying my summer with my new husband, but that's not the end of the story. What happened to the girl who loved to write? The one who found joy in sharing common experiences with other runners? That girl has been a bit lost. And it wasn't just Christine the blogger who was lost. The cook, the baker, the friend, the runner...all of these people were somehow lost for the past 3 months or so. They disappeared, slowly at first but then rapidly, under the weight of an unmanageable workplace stress. And so tomorrow, I will put on a business suit for the last time (at least for the foreseeable future) and turn over the last of my responsibilities as I prepare to leave the consulting world for a few months in favor of an extended personal leave of absence. 

This stress wreaked havoc on my life. You know those New York Times articles that tell you cautionary tales of workplace stress and the impacts on your health? It's all true. The crappy things that happen to you when your body simply cannot process the stress hormones any more? It's real. Sleeplessness. Irritability. Pounding headaches for days. Unexplained muscle aches and tension. Appetite changes. Etc. Etc. Etc. 

It sucked. I never knew you could feel this way without actually being sick with the flu or some other miserable ailment. For 2 months I suffered. I don't use that word lightly. It's exactly how I felt as I was operating on basically no sleep each night and living on caffeine. I was barely making it through the work day; and all the while my mind was racing as I put out fires at work, tried to quell the anxiety of 100 team members as our contract slowly ticked down to its final days without word of renewal, and managed new client challenges each day. Sure it is/was just a job but somewhere I couldn't shake the feeling that I was responsible for all of these people's jobs...and general well-being. I felt anxious and worried most days. No matter how long I worked or how many emails I responded to while I brushed my teeth before bed, it was never enough. Some mornings I would sit on the edge of my bed after getting out of the shower and sob, wondering when I would feel rested and normal again. After a period of time, I simply couldn't do it anymore. I had to pull the ripcord and get out before I lost more of myself. 

Fun with Mom at the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach
Half Marathon expo...also the weekend that I decided
I needed out! 
That probably sounds a bit heavy because it has felt that way. To leave my consulting firm after 8 years (at least for the time being) was a really tough decision. I take deep pride and ownership in my work. I care about my employees, perhaps sometimes too much. I never turned down a mentorship request or an opportunity to council an employee or to brainstorm ideas to solve a tough client challenge. I lived for those discussions...but suddenly it became too much in addition to my own full time client support. I couldn't keep up with the demands on my time. I tried to set boundaries with my personal time but soon enough, a new crisis would surface and early evening phone calls would become hours with my laptop after hours. I started going into work earlier to "get ahead" for the day. Finally I found myself walking into work at 6AM to buy more time in the workday. Crazy? Maybe. Desperate? You betcha. 

I made this decision with the same pride, ownership, and candor that I have carried with me throughout my career. It is unequivocally the right thing for me. There are about a billion reasons that I know this but most of all, I never wavered once I made it and the real "me" is slowly resurfacing. The veil of frustration and fatigue is gone. I feel excitement with the opportunities that each new day bring...a chance to try a new recipe, the opportunity to check off another training run en route to my fall marathon, the dinner table conversations that I eagerly look forward to with my husband...those joys along with a million others are back. I have energy to run (and run well) again. I am more emotionally available as a wife, daughter, and friend. I feel good again. Christine, the blogger, the baker, the devoted friend, the dedicated runner, and many other parts of me are back. 

My hope in sharing a part of my personal life is that others will reflect more on the demands of the workplace and specifically, the corporate world. Not necessarily as women or men, mothers or fathers, early career or late career, but as people. As someone deeply passionate about topics like work-life balance, workplace wellness, and gender equity in the workplace, I believe this is critically important. Some elements of life transcend workplace labels; well-being is one of those things.

On a lighter note, I look forward to reconnecting with my fellow runners. Marine Corps Marathon is less than 4 weeks away so this new outlook couldn't come at a better time! Have a great day!

September 24, 2015

#261 Fearless Ambassador

One of my first stops at the Boston Marathon expo was at the booth manned by Katherine Switzer, #261 Fearless.  Eager to purchase her book and meet her, our group were some of the first people to greet her and have a chat.  She asked what the BQ time was for the age groups of my sister and myself and was so encouraging to both of us as we readied ourselves for our first Boston Marathon. Autographed book in hand we left the booth feeling inspired by the woman who made marathon running possible for women.

Fast forward a few months and a post on Facebook mentioned a new ambassador opportunity to women who wanted to promote the #261 Fearless campaign.  Immediately I knew this was something I would like to do.  Encouraging other women of all ages to run, walk or anything to get moving is something I feel passionate about.  The human body is meant to be active and with so many people in our country overweight and in danger with many medical issues, this is the time to get out and get active.  By doing physical activity, it gives women a sense of empowerment and the confidence in many aspects of their life. So I sent in my application in late August and waited.  On Monday, I received an email saying I had been chosen as a 261 Fearless Ambassador.  This comes at a time when I am starting to plan my goals for 2016 and this will be incorporated into those plans. It will be exciting to represent an organization founded by such an inspiring runner, athlete and most of all woman.

There will be plenty of information in the following months and I look forward to representing the #261Fearless campaign.

September 23, 2015

Boots on the Run 5k - raising funds to help military families

Recently I ran a 5k with a group of neighborhood ladies in support of the USO,  All the profits from the race go the organization which aids active military members and their families.  Our group of participants met at Sarah's house and we carpooled to Jacksonville early Saturday morning for the 9:00 am race start.  As usual for North Carolina, it was a warm mid September morning, but we were all excited to support the cause and have fun either running or walking the 5k race course.

Pre race group shot
The 3rd Annual Boots on the Run 5k had over 200 participants having grown tremendously since it's first year in 2013. This race is run as close to September 11th as possible and Sarah carried a flag bearing all the names of those who died on 9/11.

Some of the highlights included a wonderful pre race military salute and of course the National Anthem sung by a lovely young lady with a beautiful voice. Soon it was time to send off the runners racing with strollers and then the runners were given their start.

The course wound through Jacksonville and past many neighborhoods as well as the main streets of this small town.  With lots of turns, this was not a race to PR, but to enjoy the scenery and honor those who serve our country.  There were quite a few soldiers running in uniforms and a firefighter in full garb.  He looked exhausted by the end from the heat and humidity.

5k races are not my favorite distance and my plan was to run a moderate pace as a training run since I had a 16  mile long run scheduled for Monday morning.  My pace was to be around 9 minute miles and that was pretty close to my results.  My Garmin showed a distance of 3.23 miles, which did not surprise me considering how many turns we made during the race. I completed the race with a final push to the finish that included volunteers handing small flags to the runners about 50 yards from the finish line.  I immediately got a Gatorade and made my way back to the course to cheer on the rest of our group.  Tracey crossed the finish line quickly after and then we walked back together to meet the others.

I'm not sure of the race profit, but with growth each year and hopefully some newspaper publicity next year, it will continue to be well supported.  This race had some wonderful swag including a red tech shirt, drawstring bag, water bottle, and of course the flag at the finish line.  Nice post race food was provided including bananas, Power bars, Gatorade and water.  I know I am forgetting some food, but there was more than plenty for this race distance. There also were age group awards two deep for 0-17, 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50 and up, both male and female.  I would definitely recommend this race for the honor of running with so many service men and women. For a $25 registration fee, you get alot of bang for your buck.

Next year we hope to have an even bigger group going from the neighborhood!

September 17, 2015

An open letter to a first time marathoner

One of my dearest friends just shared the news that she'll be running her first marathon in Tokyo (!!!) this spring. I immediately was excited and started making a mental list of all I wanted to share with her. So here goes...

Dear S,

I could not be more excited for you to take on the Tokyo Marathon. While I am no expert in marathons nor do I have any personal insight into running Tokyo, I am eagerly "brain dumping" all of my marathon (and general running) insights for you.

Let's start with the obvious-goals. Since you're somewhat new to running, I will tell you the most important thing I learned from training for my first marathon. Throw all of your time goals out the window. Your only goal should be to finish...and have some fun accomplishing this incredible feat! Sure, a ballpark range for a finish time is ok, but I would strongly recommend against getting wrapped up in time goals. 

And with that, we'll segue to the most important aspect of your preparations, training plans. A solid training plan is a must. I would strongly recommend Hal Higdon or Jeff Galloway plans for a first time marathoner. They break down the weeks into manageable chunks. They focus on mileage build-up while avoiding injury. While I am a devoted follower of Run Less, Run Faster, those plans are incredibly aggressive and might leave you feeling haggard mid-training cycle. Personally, I don't feel they are novice plans. Training for a marathon is really really hard. Brutal tempo runs and blazing speed work paces will likely leave you drained and injury-prone. Get a few races under your belt before you try a pace that makes you feel as though you might fly off the back of the treadmill! 

As you work through your training, most coaches recommend logging your runs. Track your mileage, pace, how you felt, any specific aches (mine are always achy L knee and tight R hip), and other details like shoes you wore (to track the wear) or fuel you used. I use a simple monthly planner for this and scribble my workout info down each day. 

Try out compression sleeves for recovery or muscle support during runs. Some people love 'em, some people hate 'em. I'm a devoted calf sleeve user as I deal with tightness from time to time. They really feel like hugs for your legs. 

If you don't have one, consider investing in a foam roller. They're a wonderful tool for helping work out the kinks and can be used like massage to work out tight muscles. 

During your training, you'll want to experiment with fuel...pre-run fuel, during-run fuel, and post-run fuel. By no means am I an expert in running nutrition but I'll tell you what works for me...
-Before long runs I eat an English muffin or bagel thin with peanut butter and a banana. For shorter runs, a banana, handful of nuts or clif bar are some of my favs.
- During long runs, I carry gels (usually Gu jet blackberry, Gu tri-berry or Gu lemon lime) and gummies like Clif shot bloks (fav flavors are strawberry, tropical punch, mountain berry, and margarita for the salt) or Honey Stinger chews (favorite flavor is fruit smoothie). I also have been known to pack a small bag of pretzels for runs in the 18-20+ mile range for the salt and satisfaction of eating real food. 
- After long runs I've been known to have serious aversions to food. Crazy, I know. I bought a really high quality protein powder and learned to love protein smoothies with frozen or fresh fruit. Your body needs the calories from protein and carbs for recovery. Chocolate milk is also a great recovery drink based on the carb and protein ratio. 
There are people far more knowledgeable about this than me so take this for face value! 

And now for some tough some point during your training and maybe even during the race, you will want to quit. You will want to quit really badly. You will say "this sucks and I hate running." You might even cry. And you might tell yourself you can't do it. All of those voices in your head are wrong! Marathon training is hard, yo! If you have a training buddy, great. They will help you stay accountable and can talk you off the ledge. Or call me. I'll remind you how freaking awesome you are and simply put one foot in front of the other to run one more mile. And then I'll tell you to run another mile, until you meet your training distance or the finish line, whichever applies. To apply one of our favorite jokes, just put the boat in the water! The tough times will be a distant memory when that medal is around your neck. I can promise you that. 

Go get 'em!

So blog readers, what's the most important piece of advice you would share for my buddy as she prepares for her first marathon? 

September 16, 2015

Following a training plan and some Jeff Galloway blogger tips

As Jeff Galloway bloggers, we are periodically given tips to share with our readers.  No compensation is received for this post.

Training plans are something I have used since I started running back in the fall of 2010.  After agreeing to run the Princess Half Marathon with Christine, we searched the internet and found a training plan to get us to the finish line of our first half marathon.  Little did we know this was the start of a love of running and racing. We shared our ups and downs during the training cycle and even a few of our longer runs when we were together for a weekend.

Dog eared with lots of check marks and notes from my first half marathon!

Fast forward a few years and we still follow a training plan for all of our big races. Having a plan has given me the motivation to get out for a run even when I don't feel like it. . By following a plan, your body will adapt to difference distances as you improve on your speed and run for a longer period of time or distance. Most training plans for runners include one or more rest days per week and they are just as important as the active days. These are critical to include in your plan in order for your body to adapt to the distance and pace you are putting it through whether it's a track workout, tempo or long run. If you are running a race at either Disney World or Disneyland, you can find Jeff's training plans for the specific races on the website.  Both Christine and I followed his plans, for Dopey Challenge, Dumbo Double Dare Challenge and the Goofy Challenge.

My NYC Marathon training is in full swing now and my coach and I are using Training Peaks, a website/ phone App where I report my progress and she gives me my workouts and running plan. Once again, I am counting on someone else to help me figure out what to do to get to the starting line healthy and ready to run 26.2 miles.

My favorite tip this month is the one about rest days.  Many new runners want to run as many days as possible, but adding mileage quickly can lead to quick burnout and injury. For older runners, rest days are especially important because our recovery time is longer.  I always have either an easy day or rest day prior to my long run and the day after the run might include a little upper body strength work or some sit ups, but never any cardio workout. Most weeks I have two rest days incorporated into my plan and other than walking the dog I pretty much stick to no exercise those days.

For success with your training plan, you need to be dedicated to following it, and willing to change things up when you are struggling to get in the work.  Find a training buddy, pick our a new place to run or get someone to bike alongside of you for those longer runs.

THE TRAINING PLAN- Tips from Jeff:

WHY SHOULD I HAVE A TRAINING PLAN?  When using a proven strategy, a runner gains control over fatigue while improving motivation.  Those who follow the right training plan, for the individual,  tend to improve more, with less injury risk.

WOULD BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM A PLAN  Unfortunately, most beginners “run as they feel” or follow conflicting advice.  This leads to confusion and more aches and pains.  The right schedule will systematically increase the type of running needed for a goal, with strategic rest for rebuilding.

1)       A longer run builds endurance, 2) a hilly run builds strength, 3) Scenic or social runs insert fun and keep you coming back for more.

WHAT IS ADDED TO A PLAN IF THE GOAL IS TO RUN FASTER?  The right training plan will gradually increase the speed repetitions needed for the individual goal.  Easier days and rest days must be inserted before and after speed workouts.  To avoid injury, the pace and the increase must be realistic for the individual. 

EVERY OTHER DAY!  Most runners—especially beginners—run best when they run every other day.  This allows for the “weak links” to heal.  The very slow long run is usually on the weekend, when there is more time available.  Hills and fun days can be run on the short runs during the week (for example,Tuesday and Thursday)

SHOULD I EXERCISE ON NON-RUNNING DAYS? While you don't have to exert yourself on non running days to improve your running, exercise will energize your mind, and improve your attitude and vitality—while burning some fat.  So I recommend any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle, such as recreational walking.

DOES VARIETY HELP?  Changing things a bit can improve motivation.   You don't have to change the “mission” on specific days, but alternating some of the courses or running with different groups can make each day more interesting.

WHAT ARE VARIOUS MISSIONS, FOR VARIOUS DAYS? Each type of run bestows a different benefit.  Hill runs build strength.  Drills that work on cadence, gentle acceleration and gliding will improve your running form.  Long runs produce stamina and endurance.

WHAT SHOULD I DO THE DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER LONG OR FASTER RUNS?  Take it easy on these days.  Do little or no exercise, don't over-eat, drink 8 glasses of water/sports drinks, and focus on how you will enjoy the next run.

SHOULD I SKIP THE REST DAYS—TO IMPROVE MORE QUICKLY.  Not Recommended!  It is during the days off from running that the running body rebuilds and improves.  While some runners can get away with running short and slow runs on rest days for a while, these “junk miles” can compromise recovery and lead to injuries.
IF I DON’T LIKE A WORKOUT CAN I SUBSTITUTE? Following a consistent plan is more likely to lead to success and improve motivation.  Those who pick various elements from different schedules experience  more burnout and injury.

 How do you keep yourself accountable to a training plan?

September 14, 2015

It's time to register for the Boston Marathon and a fun bike ride

Today is a very special day as many of our running friends will be registering for the Boston Marathon.  This was probably my favorite day from 2014 aside from the day that I ran the Quintiles Marathon with Megan and earned my qualifying time.  The excitement of runners on social media will be huge today and for the next week as they wait for their window of opportunity to register. Waiting then for the official email confirmation is a little nerve wracking, but when it arrives, you jump for joy.  At least that is what I did!

Happiest running day ever!
Several ladies including Andrea, Suzy, Mindy and a few others who ran their first (in Mindy's case second) qualifying time for Boston earlier this year will be anxiously waiting for their day to sign up. Unfortunately I will not be in Boston next year either to run the marathon or to cheer. It makes me just a wee bit sad that I can't be a cheerleader for all our friends who will toe the starting line. But I have big plans for April next year and running a marathon is part of them! Marathon Monday is such a special day in Boston and it will be fun to follow along on social media with all the tweets and Facebook posts.

Last week I had a 75 minute bike ride on my training plan, so I needed to figure out a route that would help me complete the time and also be enjoyable! Tom decided to ride too and we made a plan to go to the beach and back from our home. With perfect weather and a riding companion, we set off after the school traffic had disappeared.  Wrightsville Beach is so busy in the summertime, that we would not consider riding down during the tourist season.  Leaving our house, we weaved through our neighborhood for 3 miles before reaching the direct route to the beach.  After around 8 miles, we reached this lovely spot and stopped for a water break.  Other than water bottles, the only other thing we brought along were a cell phone and Halt spray that I carried in a running belt. We ended up riding just over 17 miles in 76 minutes so the route was perfectly planned!

Beautiful view at the north end of the beach

After completing the ride, soaking my tired legs in the pool was the plan.   I loved using my Boston Marathon 2015 mug, in honor of my speedy friends registering for the race this week.  Good luck with registration!

Are you registering for Boston? If so, we will add you to our list of runners to follow April 18, 2016

September 11, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon Race Recap

Disclosure: As Rock 'n Bloggers, we were provided with a Tour Pass for race entries.  We also received the VIP race day package. No compensation was received and all opinions stated here are our own.

Our first experience with the Rock 'n Roll race series was the Virginia Beach half marathon relay in 2012.  It was such a fun experience that we have repeated this race three times.  2015 was the 15th anniversary of this race and the shirt and medal are extra nice.

Saturday morning we visited the expo to pick up our race packets and browse the vendor booths.  Bib and shirt pickup was seamless with helpful volunteers with big smiles.  Both of us love the Brooks runhappy booth which is always located at the entrance of the vendor area. The past few years, I have bought  cute racer back tank tops, but this year, I only found one thing I "needed" and that was a cool gray visor that has reflective pinstripes. Sorry I have no photo because after cruising the rest of the expo, I passed on going back to the Brooks booth and have it on order through my local Fleet Feet store! One thing we love about the Rock 'n Roll expo was the number of race organizers who had race information and discounted sign ups available. While we did not take advantage of anything, I already have a few races in mind when I go to the NYC Marathon expo in October.
Some fun areas to pose for photos!

Some other fun things at the expo included this huge sign listing the names of all the legacy runners.  Fifteen years in a row running the same race is pretty amazing!

Saturday night we laid out our race clothing and making adjustments due to the rainy weather forecast.  We decided on a 5:30am start from Christine's house and after about 45 minutes, we were parked in the VIP parking area directly across from the convention center. We grabbed our check bags and entered the convention center for the VIP pre race area that provided food, stretching areas and some real bathrooms.  We had fun meeting up with Lacey (Fairytales 'n Fitness) and Kathryn (From Dancing to Running).

Soon it was time to leave the lovely climate controlled convention center and head to our starting corral.  Christine moved back to run with me in Corral 4. Our race day plan did not have a time goal, but rather a strategy goal of running a negative split race.  With fall marathons less than 2 months away, it seemed like the perfect time to do a training run with a little push at the end. We decided to use the Galloway run/walk method with 9 minutes running/1 minute walking and started the race just after 7am.

With the humidity very high, we wanted to be sure to start out slowly so our first three miles we averaged 9:40 pace.  Our first mile was a little quicker than we planned, but race day adrenaline seemed to kick in a bit.  After crossing over the Rudy Inlet Bridge, we headed towards the Virginia Aquarium and the Pungo area.  Most of the race is on quiet tree lined streets but with cloud cover and high humidity, what we really were wishing for was a good rain shower to cool us down.  Miles 4-6 we slowed our pace a bit reaching the 6 mile mark at 1:01.35.  One of the great things about these races are the bands along the route that keep you entertained every few miles.  Miles 7-9 are probably my least favorite part of any half marathon.  While I did not do a mental note of exactly when we picked up our pace, based on my race splits from my Garmin, miles 10 through 13 got progressively faster with the final full mile at 9:16 pace.  Our finish time was 2:06.57 which was well off our PR's but both of us were very satisfied with the result.

Celebrating with mimosas post race!
Highs of the race:  The course support is fantastic at this race.  The water stops were easy to navigate and the GU station around mile 8 was also perfectly executed with cheerful volunteers.  As usual with a Rock 'n Roll race, the bands along the course were not only energetic but highly entertaining.  At each band spot, I turned off my Ipod and listened to the tunes. Some of the other fun things along the course include the inflatable runHappy guitar man from Brooks Running and the many locals who come out to support the participants.  There were hoses to run underneath and more than a few had ice pops, orange slices, twizzlers and other goodies that they gave out to runners.  The local schools had cheer leading groups also entertaining the runners with their pompoms and loud encouragement.  Post race food is great including Gatorade, water, chocolate milk, chips, Power bars and bananas.  The supply was plentiful and the volunteers got people through the finish chute quickly. Side note:  There may have been additional items, but we did not grab much since we were eating breakfast in the VIP area restaurant.

Lows of the race:  There was only one that I will mention and Rock 'n Roll could not control this. The weather was not conducive to running/racing.  Virginia Beach is a lovely location for a race but Labor Day weekend is typically very hot and humid.  It is important to keep in mind that this course is not meant for PR's but to enjoy running a race.

We would definitely recommend this race weekend and hope you consider adding it to your bucket list. Hopefully we will be back next year!

Don't forget to sign up for Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas using discount code :WERUNDISNEYLV  You will receive $15 off your entry!

Since today is Friday, we linked up with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney for the Friday Five.  Check out the other blogs in the linkup!

September 8, 2015

Training Gear: Orange Mud towel

Disclaimer: I purchased the Orange Mud towel at my local running store.  I have no affiliation with Orange Mud and no compensation was received for this post.

We generally don't get too worked up about running gear.  We do enjoy adding to our collection of shoes, clothing and accessories like any addicted runner, but we don't write posts about when we replace shoes or add a new pair of Experia socks to our collection.

Cue the Orange Mud transition and seat wrap towel please!  One of the girls from my running group showed up one day with this awesome towel when we had a scheduled open water swim. It looked like an ordinary towel, but as Lynda and I soon realized, it had some great features that make it perfect for any athlete.

My favorite use for this towel is the car seat coverage.  After a sweaty track workout, I can drape the towel over my car seat and it keeps my sweaty body off the leather and the towel stays in place with a zipper that attaches the top pieces together.  It is like a magical towel that keeps your whole body and it's nastiness away from the seat.  After finding out that these were available at our local Fleet Feet retainer, Lynda and I hightailed it over there after our swim to purchase them.  I realized that Tom would probably like one for his car too, so I ended up buying not one but two towels that day.

If you are a triathlete, these towels will give you some great benefits.  The long strip along one side has velcro which gives you the option of attaching the towel around you so you could change clothing underneath it. There is a small hook so this towel could be hung for drying.. Useful for beach visits, post tennis matches, soccer games etc, most athletes can find a good use for these towels.  If you want to read more about the towel click here.  The retail price is $39.99, and they are available online and at some retail stores.  With the holiday season coming up in just a few months, this would be a great gift for the runners on your Christmas list or perhaps you would like to add it to your wish list!

Have you gotten any new training gear lately?  

September 4, 2015

Five fall races to run

It's Friday and time to link up with the lovely girls of DC, Courtney, Mar and Cynthia.  The topic this week is races and we love our fall races and schedule.  This year, we both have a fall marathon planned and there are several other races that we recommend for you to add to your race bucket list!

1. Marine Corps Marathon: This is a fabulous race in our nation's capital and if you like to run marathons add this one to your list.  Both of us have run this race and Christine is going back for a second time this fall. Tom, Adam and I will be there to spectate and I may even try to volunteer depending on what jobs are available!

2.  NYC Marathon: As I try to reach my goal of running the marathon major races before I turn 65, NYC will be number 2 on November 1st.  It is a bucket list race for many runners and the idea of running through all 5 boroughs of the city is so exciting. I will be traveling with a girl from my running group and look forward for a weekend in the big apple.

3. Thanksgiving Day turkey trot: Have you ever raced on Thanksgiving?  We have run local turkey trot races every year for the past 5 years.  This year, Christine will be on her honeymoon, but I may try to find a local race and lace up my shoes before the big feast.

4.  Wicked 10k  Virginia Beach, Virginia: J&A racing offers some great themed races including a Valentine's 14k, Shamrock half marathon and marathon and of course the Wicked 10k.  This race is particularly fun since it is in October and you are encouraged to dress in costume.  We ran this race back in 2012 and had a fabulous time racing and seeing all the wonderful attire.

5.  Berlin Marathon: Another fall race on my bucket list is the Berlin Marathon.  We visited Berlin for a weekend back in December 2006 to see the city and visit the Christmas market. I can only imagine how exciting it would be to participate in this race with all the historical buildings you would pass during the race.  Fingers crossed I will earn a spot at the race in a few years.

Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin 12/2006
Do you have a favorite fall race?  Any advice for me for NYC Marathon weekend?

September 1, 2015

Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach- T minus 4 days

On Friday, Tom and I will be driving to Virginia to visit Christine and Adam so we can participate in the Rock 'n Roll race weekend.  This will be our third time to run the half marathon, but only my first time to run the race solo.  In the past I have run the relay in 2012 with Christine and in 2014 with our running pal Megan.

Some of the things I am most excited about for race weekend are of course seeing my best running pal and racing with her but also being back in familiar territory.  After living in Virginia Beach for seven years, it is a place we love and enjoy visiting.  There are favorite restaurants, little shops and of course beautiful scenery and places to run, walk and bike.

Now for the details of the race weekend.

The expo takes place on Friday from 1-7 pm and Saturday from 10am - 5 pm.  Our first experience at the Expo was in 2012 and we were totally wowed by the atmosphere, vendors and overall excitement.  Brooks is the clothing sponsor for the race and since we are both fans of Brooks, it will be fun to see what gear they have available for purchase.  At each of my prior Rock 'n Roll races, I have purchased a racer back tank and I love them and wear them frequently.  The high quality materials used by Brooks make their clothing great for comfort and fashion.

This year there are three races and those include a 1 mile run on the sand Saturday morning at 8:30 am and a 5k and half marathon on Sunday morning, with both starting at 7:00 am.  There is still time to register, but hurry if you plan to race this weekend.

On course there will be loads of bands to keep us entertained and the locals come out to cheer on the runners.  It is a party type atmosphere and fun for everyone participating whether volunteering, racing, running or cheering.

The final event of the race weekend is the concert on Sunday night. Sheryl Crow is the headliner for the evening concert and it will most likely be a packed beach of eager fans.

If you would like to read a race or expo recap from our prior years of running the links are provided below.

Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach 2012 race recap

Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach 2014 race recap

There is still time to sign up for the VIP race experience.  One of the biggest perks of this race add on is the parking spot.  It can get difficult to find a space to park at the Virginia Beach oceanfront and with the VIP package, you get a guaranteed spot at a parking lot very close to the start.  we think this is a very valuable add on to your race registration.  There are also places to stretch on race morning in the conference center and of course a nice air conditioned space with real bathrooms and some light breakfast food.  You can read more about the VIP race experience here.

Are you rocking the beach this year?