catching up!

We are already a few weeks into 2014 and there is a whole lot to catch up on.  This post might be really really long, so I apologize in advance.  I haven’t been writing because there has been so much filling my days that writing about it has kind of taken a back seat to actually LIVING it all.  With that said though, I do really love writing and connecting with you guys here.  It has a lot of meaning to me and I have missed doing it regularly.

So … here’s to jumping right back into the swing of things and actually writing about it!

The end of 2013 was really, really beautiful.  We had quite possibly the best Christmas ever and rang in the New Year with good friends.  I couldn’t have wished for it to be any better.  I began coaching with Potomac River Running again in December and am having a great time working with the coaching crew and our amazing runners again as they prepare for their spring distance races.  It is such a rewarding and fun job and I am so happy to be back at it again after taking the summer and fall off from it.

I started the New Year with, what else, a race!!  It was my third time running the New Year’s Day 5k in Reston.  I love this race so much because it is on the first day of the year, is only a few miles from my house and is right at the start of my Boston training and a great way to test my fitness at the start of the training cycle.  It’s a challenging course – lots of hairpin turns and hills along a narrow trail – but I am improving each year (so far!) with my execution and performance.

This year, I ran 3 miles to the start to warm up and then ran the race.  I finished with a new personal best time of 19:47, won my age group and was the 6th overall female.  It was a pretty sweet start to 2014!  Plus, my family came to support me which is always the icing on the cake.  I ran 3 miles back home to cool down and it was pretty much a perfect morning.

me with the BEST cheer squad ever (plus the picture-taker, of course!!)

January has been packed with a whirlwind of activity.  My Boston training is in full swing and I am really enjoying it.  I decided to make some changes to my approach this cycle, taking my overall QUANTITY of miles down (last cycle I peaked at over 100 miles, this cycle it will be closer to 80) with the intention of increasing my QUALITY.  I designed my training plan to include three quality workouts each week: some kind of hill or tempo workout on Monday, a track or interval workout on Wednesday and my long run on Saturday.  So far, so good.  I am remaining dedicated to my core work (daily) and strength workouts (2-3 times a week) and am also adding in one swim a week, mostly focusing on drills and improving my efficiency in the water.

I started swimming once a week back in November after finishing the Richmond Marathon.  At the time I just wanted to swim in order to add some non-impact variety to what I was doing.  The first time I got in the pool I swam one mile and found that for as HARD as it was (and it was hard!), I really loved it and was excited to have a new challenge.  I’ve kept up with the once-a-week swim since then and am now signed up for my first triathlons in 2014 (a sprint in June and an Olympic distance in September, both in my home town)!  I joined the Masters swim class at my gym last week and am excited to have the guidance and advice of a coach, as well as new friends to swim with.  I have a lot to learn and I’m equal parts excited and scared about it!

I’ve also been spinning every now and then.  I was doing it a lot more before Boston training started, but now that I’m focused on that the biking isn’t fitting in as well with my focus.  I LOVE a good hard spinning class so much, but it does tire my legs and I need them fresh for my running so fitting it in has been a challenge.  I’m ok with it though!  There will be plenty of chances to spin after I run Boston.

Unrelated to my running and training, a few weeks ago I noticed that my ears were incredibly itchy.  I tried over the counter allergy remedies but they didn’t help me.  It got worse and spread to my neck and head and I just couldn’t stand it!  I went to the doctor and was given a week of prednisone and told to continue with Benadryl and Zyrtec.  The doctor thought it was something I was ingesting – like a food or my vitamin – because I was using allergy-free detergents already and had made sure my face and body products were free of sulfates and sulfites.  A week on the prednisone didn’t help me at all, and last week I was in really bad shape by Thursday.  I woke up with hives all over my face and felt as though I was being strangled, my neck hurt so bad.  I went back to the doctor and had blood drawn for a swollen gland on my neck that has been there since this started and hasn’t gotten any smaller.  Then I went to the allergist right after that.  The allergist feels strongly that I am dealing with a food allergy or an allergy to a food dye or preservative, based on my reaction.  So …. she took more blood, instructed me to follow a very strict diet (I am basically eating brown rice, carrots, beets and pears and drinking only water!) and I am going back tomorrow for a skin test.  Hopefully this week I will have some answers about what is making me feel this way!  It has been crazy.  Thankfully though I have not missed a run or workout – I actually feel better while exercising and for that I am so so grateful!

This morning Maddie and I met for a tempo run.  I am so excited that she and I are training together again!  We started running together over a year ago but this is actually the first time we will both be running the same marathon!  It is BEYOND exciting and wonderful to be doing this together.  I honestly have no words for how grateful I am to have her in my life as a friend and as a running partner!  We are in it together, working as hard as we can, pushing one another and believing in one another, and also having as much fun and laughs as we can along the way!

tempo run – crushed it!

intervals on the treadmill

rainy day long run

I think that’s a pretty good summary up to this point!  I am going to make it a goal for myself to write three blog posts a week from now on.  If I do more, great, but three is a good goal for me right now I think.  I really do love capturing what’s going on through this blog, processing it, sharing it and working through it all here.  Thanks for reading, you guys.  The running community is so amazing and I am really really thankful to be a part of it!  I hope all of you are enjoying 2014 so far!!

6 thoughts on “catching up!

  1. WOW. You just never cease to inspire! Although I will say I'm really nervous for you about the food allergy thing. I hope you get it sorted out fast! I hate hearing about folks who start reacting to things that never bothered them before and then have to completely revamp their diet/life. I hope that your solution is much more simple, fast, and easy than that!

  2. I can't wait to see what you do in Boston with your quality over quantity plan – I definitely think that's that's the right idea.
    Good luck with your allergy – that sounds like a nightmare :/ Though what a blessing that it hasn't affected your running!
    I'm looking forward to more regular posts 🙂

  3. Hey Pace of Me! It's Lisa from the DTP group/PR racing team, I met you during the Perfect 10 last year. Did you know that bacterial and viral infections can trigger hives and skin rashes? With that swollen gland on your neck that might be the cause…it could be a lymph node fighting off an infection. My daughter had an outbreak of hives last year and that was the cause. I hope you figure it out!

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