Friday, September 30, 2011

September in Review

Time for another monthly review! Mileage recap, what went well, what didn't, and October goals!

2011 Mileage Recap:

January: 66.62
February: 75.69
March: 109.97
April: 103.58
May: 96.99
June: 124.2
July: 151.95
August: 172.61
September: 193.06

What went well:

At one point my September training plan had 190 miles on it. While I had originally hoped to exceed that and push close to 200, I'm happy enough to have reached 193. It was a tough month filled with a new schedule, stress, and the threat of injuries.

This month I ran my first 20-miler ever! I never knew something could hurt so much, yet feel so good at the same time.

I finished my second half marathon and set a new PR by almost 9 minutes. This is something I am extremely proud of!

I started weekly runs with Back on My Feet! I've been wanting to do this for awhile and get more involved in the community. I'm glad I finally got myself out there.

I also hit the 1000 mileage mark for 2011 sometime this month, which was pretty cool!

What didn't go well:

This month I really fell off the speed work wagon. Though I started out the month with an excellent session of mile repeats and the introduction of yassos, I couldn't keep up with the workouts and I became very frightened of speed. Overall I would say both my training and races were a lot speedier during the first half of the month than the second half. At one point I clocked a 10 mile training run after work with an 8:17 pace. Last week I barely made the 10 minute per mile mark doing 11 miles. Perhaps I'm still recovering from the half marathon, or perhaps the re-emergence of the humidity the last two weeks is holding me back, but I know I also need to make more of a commitment to get my speed work in.

Going right along with this, I had a miserable showing at the Paper Mill 5k last Saturday. Oh well, they can't all be great. There will be other 5ks!

I'd say the leading cause of my sluggish pace the later half of this month had been the threat of injury. Runners around me are dropping like flies in what has become the peak of marathon training for many. I've been all too aware of every tiny ache or pull in my legs. After some speedy runs I had a lot of calf pain, which is why I've slowed down so much. Speed has suddenly become scary. Dear legs, just get me through October and then I can taper!

On the non-running end of things, I've had a really hard time keeping on the healthy eating wagon this month. Time to prepare healthy meals has been scant and I've been giving into cravings a lot more. This week I have been trying to detox myself with a mostly vegan,/entirely vegetarian diet. While this is something I always try to uphold, this month has been less than successful and both my insides and outsides have felt gross.

October goals:

There are a lot of things to look forward to in October:

  • Ragnar Relay next weekend
  • My first 22 miler
  • Reaching 50 mpw and beyond as I reach the peak of my training
  • Weekend bike trip in Gettysburg
  • Fall weather (finally!)
The first week of school in September was really stressful for me, but in just a few weeks I've become used to my new work load and schedule and it feels manageable. I feel confident going into October that I will be able to handle all of the extra challenges coming my way.

While I'd love to say my biggest goal is to stick precisely to my training plan for this next month, what I really need to work on is listening to my body. October is "make it or break it" time. I'll reach peak mileage the last week of the month and then I'll start my taper in November. I need to train smart and eat smart. It's not time to mess around!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rest In Peace 5k: Goals

Let me start this by saying I really dig halloween. The costumes, the candy, the decorations, the CANDY! I'm not saying I'm always the most creative person when it comes to dressing up (I've been a black cat too many times to count), but seeing other people in ridiculously creative outfits is enough for me. Plus, halloween parties generally just rock my socks off.

Are you seeing a theme with Mike's costume choices?
Halloween while studying abroad in Rome - had to be creative!
If I had it my way, we would celebrate all month, not just October 31st. So, I can't think of a better way to start the new month this Saturday than to run a race through a historic cemetery in costume with a hundred other decked out people! Luckily, there is a race designed just to those specifications:

Laurel Hill Cemetery is a National Historic Landmark in Philadelphia that started hosting its residents in the late 1830s. In addition to these souls, the cemetery is also home to some ridiculously cool architecture; mini monuments in the shape of Egyptian obelisks and Roman temples. Ooo la la.

The only uncool thing about this place is that it is extremely hilly. I have trouble walking through the grounds, so running 3.1 miles through them should be interesting to say the least.

My goals for this race? Have fun! I'm going to use this as an easy run for several reasons:

  • I'm not ready to race another 5k after just one week since my last one
  • If/when I do race another 5k it will be on a flat course that I know I can run fast
  • Running in costume will be hard enough. Racing in one would be ridiculous.
  • I want to support my friend Cynthia during her first 5k and make sure she has all the motivation she needs to finish!
So, that's that! The weather outlook is looking pretty good for Saturday in the high 50s/low 60s. Hopefully the humidity from this week will fade so I don't sweat bullets in my wig. The race doesn't start until 5 pm (in true halloween fashion) and immediately following there is free beer, raffles, and the sunset. Should be a good start to the month!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ultras as Reality

It's one thing to have a race tentatively on your race schedule, as in "I would like to run this race." It's another thing to actually register for the race when it becomes "I am running this race."

On several occassions I've mentioned my desires to get into the world of ultrarunning. My rough draft plan for the beginning of 2012 involved one or two 50ks in the spring and my first 50-miler sometime in June. Of course, being that is only the end of September and I haven't even run my first marathon yet (8 weeks! ahh!), I thought I had some time before registrations opened. Wrong!

As of last night I am officially registered for the HAT 50k on March 24, 2012 in Havre de Grace, MD!

Luckily I checked their website a few weeks ago and found out that: A. Registration was going open Monday. B. Only 500 runners would be admitted. C. Last year the race sold out in 3 days! While registering sometime in November or December would have seemed more timely for me, I had to jump on it and make sure I got my spot! If all goes to plan this should actually be my second 50k, the first one being in late February.

Call me crazy, but I can't wait to tackle the nearly 9,800 feet of climbing over 31+ miles! Plus, look what they feed you:

Dear HAT 50k, you had me at "choc. chip cookies"
I'm sure as I approach the spring I will get more nervous about my ultra debuts, but for now I'm just plain excited. No part of me even hesistated when I found out I would have to register yesterday to guarantee my spot.

Bring. It. On.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Women and Running and Rules

I don't typically take interest in the politics and rules of running and my feathers aren't usually ruffled, but there have been some recent discussion-worthy announcements regarding women and running that have caught my attention.

Many of you probably know which announcement I'm referring to. Last week the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation - basically the international governing body for athletics) announced that women would only be able to set a world record in a road race if it was a "women's only" race. Basically, if men and women are running a marathon together, and a woman sets a new female record, it will no longer be a "world record," but a "world best." The argument behind this is that women will run faster if there are men in the field because the men are pacesetting for them and this should be unfair. Excuse me, but last time I checked women are not tethered to men during races by invisible ropes. They run with their own two feet and put just as much effort in. Just to elaborate on the ridiculousness of this let me give you an example:

Paula Radcliffe had, up until this announcement last week, set a world record for the woman's marathon in 2003 in London with a time of 2:15:25. But it was a mixed gender race, so now it doesn't count. Her next best time was 2:17:18 in 2002 in Chicago. Also a mixed gender race. Doesn't count. Her third best time, 2:17:42, was in 2005 in London. During this race the elite women started 45 minutes before the men and ran the race separately. Hence, her 2:17:42 is a world RECORD and her 2:15:25 is only a world BEST. Say what?

Completely separate from this, but also confusing, are the rules for women in the Ragnar Relay Series. I am running the PA Ragnar next Friday. I'm really excited about it and I really do think they are a great organization. I've heard nothing but good things. However, they also have some strange rules regarding women runners.
A Ragnar team traditionally consists of 12 runners (though you just need a minimum of 4 to run the relay). There are three different divisions: men, women, and mixed. If I asked you what you thought mixed team meant I bet you would say "men and women." And if I asked you what you thought a women's team meant you would say "all women." Right and right. But if I asked what a men's team meant and you said "all men," you would be wrong. As the Ragnar "Race Bible" says:

"To qualify for the mixed division, teams must have at least 6 women. To be in the women's division the team must be all women."

Did you catch that? That means I can have a men's team if I have women on it, but I cannot have a women's team if I have even one man on it! And a mixed team has to be at least six women, but could have up to 11 women and only one man and still be considered mixed!

All of these rules seem to be saying "women are weaker and count for less." Apparently, in the world of running, women just aren't worth as much weight in gold as men.

Any thoughts on this?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bike + Run = Sunday FUN

The nice thing about fall is that you don't have to wake up at the ass crack of dawn and get your run in right away (not that I was very good at that anyway). This morning I decided to let myself get the sleep I needed, which means I leisurely woke up around 8:45 feeling fresh. I grabbed a banana and a granola bar, sat down at the computer, and began plotting my 17-18 mile run for the day.

I've been getting pretty tired of the routes around here. It's one thing if it's a short run and I know it will be over relatively quickly, but if I know I'm going to be on my feet for three hours I need something a little more appealing for my eyes.

I decided to start my route about 4.25 miles north at a parking lot near Strawberry Mansion bridge along the river. From there I would head north for 2 miles until I hit the Wissahickon Bike Trail. Then it would be a mile to Forbidden Drive and then 5.5 miles to the very top of Forbidden Drive, which would be a little over 8 miles in and the turn around point.

The question was, how do I get to the starting point? Two options: Drive or bike. Since I was too lazy to go get the car a few blocks away and put gas in it, and since Mike was planning a bike ride of his own in lieu of running, I decided to go with the latter option and bike up to the starting point.

New green CEP compression socks!
Sophie was pretty sad we were leaving, so she pretended she had to go out just so she could hang out with us on the stoop while we got our bikes ready. Little trickster!
Mike biked up with me to the starting point before heading off on his own adventure.

Mike thought my green socks were hilarious. I have no idea why.
I chose to take the Camelbak instead of a regular hand held since I couldn't bike easily with that. It ended up being the best decision ever! I am ALWAYS using a Camelbak for my long runs now. 

Heel spurs hurt all the time :( except when biking!
We decided to meet back at the parking lot in 3 hours. Little did I know I should have said longer! As soon as I started running I felt horrible tightness in my lower calves. It was like I had a ball and chain hooked up to each calf and had to drag them along. I had to stop several times during the first mile and a half and walked a bunch of it, just trying to warm them up. I almost considered just turning around and ending the run early, but I figured I should just try to get to Forbidden Drive at least and see how I felt then.

By the time I got to the Wissahickon Bike Trail I was feeling much better, though I was going ridiculously slow. It was like one of those dreams where you try to run fast and you move your feet and nothing happens. You don't go anywhere. It's the most horrible feeling in the world. I kept on trucking though, even in the face of blocked paths:

When I hit Forbidden Drive I was still going really slow, but I no longer felt like I wanted to quit, so I just enjoyed the slow ride to the top of the trail. Forbidden Drive is a pretty cool place. It follows the Wissahickon Creek north for about 5.5 miles. Originally sought out by religious mystics in the 17th century, it became the site of booming industry in the 18th and early 19th century with mills and dams galore. It wasn't until 1869 that the land around the creek became under the control of the Fairmount Park Commission. Eventually all of the mills were demolished and the creek and surrounding area was returned to its original wilderness.

Though the mills were destroyed, some historic structures still remain, including the Valley Green Inn, originally built in 1850.

Its kind of like this wonderful gem in the middle of the woods. Mike and I actually considered getting married here next summer. It was between here and another place and we ended up going with the other place mainly because they had higher food quality. It would have been really lovely to get married here though. When I was running by they were setting up for a wedding.

Ceremony set up
Reception site
Running through there today made me kind of sad that we didn't pick this place, but then I remember how awesome the place we picked is and I felt better!

I reached the turn around at 1:33:00, knowing it was net downhill on the way back and I could probably make up for some time then and still reach the 3 hour meet up with Mike. Still, slowest 8.5 miles ever! Oh well, at least I enjoyed the scenery.

Not a picture from today, but you can see how pretty it will really be once the leaves turn!
I picked up the pace a bit on the way back, but tried to just run by feel. The rocks on the trail were really beginning to irritate the bottom of my feet. I ended up back at the parking lot 3 hours and 7 minutes of run time later. 

My bike was there to greet me! Mike too of course
I thought I would be too sore in my legs to bike ride home, but it ended up feeling really good. A nice little stretch out ride after three hours of running!

Final Stats: ~8.5 miles biking, 17.34 miles running

Feeling good after 17+ miles running for me and 55+ miles biking for Mike!
And then we immediately felt like passing out:

Now it's time to curl up on the couch with some food, some pups, and some Sunday movies!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

To DNF or Not To DNF?: Paper Mill Run 5k Recap

This race was originally supposed to take place two Saturday ago, but was postponed because Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee had downed numerous trees and wreaked all sorts of havoc on the trail. Two weeks ago, I was ready, I was prepared, I felt like I could really give it my all. This morning? Not so much.

First let's review my goals. You can read my goal post from two weeks ago here, but to review quickly they were:
  1. Set a new PR
  2. Finish with a 8:00 pace or less
  3. Finish with a 7:45 pace or less
  4. Place in my age group
I'll give you a hint: I only hit two of them, and one of them is not the one you would think!

There are so many things that made this race a disaster:
  • Raging humidity? Check!
  • Surprisingly (and not the good kind) hilly course? Check!
  • No speed work for two weeks? Check!
  • Still recovering from a great performance in my half marathon 6 days ago? Check!
All of this came to equal the worst race I've had in a long, long time. 

This morning when I woke up I knew that I was not in a racing mood. I took it really easy all week precisely because I had just come off of a big race on Sunday. On top of that, I hadn't done mile repeats in more than two weeks and I knew I was not going to have an easy time getting comfortable with a 7-something pace again. Usually it takes me 1-2 sessions of mile repeats to do so. I figured at the very least, however, that I would just use this race as my speed work for the week and tried to stop caring about how I actually performed. Knowing me however, that wasn't going to happen.

This race was only projected to be about 200-ish people, but after it was postponed they lost more than half of the runners. I'm pretty sure the field this morning was less than a hundred runners. Maybe more like 80-90. 

Just as the Run for the Hill of It in July, I again ran this race with my friend Julia and her husband Steve. Steve has been on the injury bench for the last few weeks after pulling his achilles tendon, but has slowly started running again. He offered to pace me for this race since 7:45 is "slow" for him (HA HA HA). Before the race started we ran the first half mile of it and back so I could get a sense of the terrain. It's been awhile since I've been on Forbidden Drive and I forgot how hilly it was! Other times I've run there it has been during my long runs, which are super slow. As we returned to the start line I knew the next 20-some minutes of my life were going to suck!

Mike and I before the race

We lined up at the start line right near the front. Then the horn blew and we were off!

Here we go!
Everyone immediately shot out onto the trail. I looked at my watch and saw 6:55 flashing. WAYYY too fast! Not manageable at all! A quarter mile in I started settling into a more comfortable 7:30-ish pace, sticking right behind Steve according to plan. The field of runners had spread out pretty quickly and I was sure that many of the people who were at the start line with me were long gone ahead by then. Pretty soon Steve and I passed the place where we had turned around during our warm up run. That's where things got uncomfortable. The hills seemed never ending. I was huffing and puffing. Steve was getting further and further ahead of me.

About a quarter mile from the turn around I passed a race volunteer who was blocking a road to make sure runners didn't turn down it by accident. At the same time as I passed her another runner passed in the opposite direction. I heard her say to the runner "You're only the second woman I've seen!" "Great," I thought, "no way I'm finishing at the head of the pack. There's too many people ahead of me by now and I'll never catch them."

When I got to the turn around my watch said 12:18. Steve and I had set a pacing goal to finish between 24:00 and 24:30 so I was still on track, but I could feel myself slipping. On the way back I just completely fell apart. This was probably most disappointing of all, since the way back was net downhill and I really could have ridden some of those to my advantage. By this time Steve was long gone and in the span of the 1.55 miles back I considered taking the DNF (Did Not Finish) at least 5 different times. In my mind, if I wasn't going to perform where I wanted to, why bother finishing? Some races are just about finishing (like, say my first marathon this fall) and some races are about speed. This was one of those races.

Steve, of course, stayed right on track, finishing right within the parameters we had set (if not slightly under them).

Steve finishing strong!
I ended up toughing out, and I even sprinted the last 100 feet, which was surprising to me since I didn't think I had the energy left.

Taken immediately after finishing:

FML. I hate 5ks. I hate going fast. I can't wait to be a slow ultra runner.
Final Stats: 3.1 miles, 25:49, 8:19 pace

After a quick cool down stretch and some venting to Mike I got to capture Julia finishing:

She had similar feelings regarding the insane humidity and unforgiving terrain:

So, looking back at my goals:

  1. Set a new PR? Yes, actually, but there was no chance in hell I wasn't. My previous 5k in Ferbuary was my first race ever and I finished in 29 minutes. The only way a PR wouldn't have happened is if I died of a heart attack halfway through.
  2. Finish with an 8:00 pace or less? NOPE!
  3. Finish with a 7:45 pace or less? SEE ABOVE!
I said I hit two out of four of my goals though. So, that's only leaves:

     4. Place in my age group? YES!

Remember when I said there was a race volunteer saying to a passing runner that she was only the second female she has seen? Well that runner was me! I was so oblivious that I had assumed she was talking to the other runner going in the other direction (who was a man, which I didn't even realize). I ended up finishing as second place female and first in my age group!

Awards! Yay!

So I guess this race was half super disappointing and half super cool. Placing felt really awesome, but at the same time it felt like I was cheating. I just happened to run a race with very few runners and even fewer female runners. 28 men finished before me. I know traditionally men finish faster than women anyways, but 28 people was a third of the field! And people with 8-something paces do not usually place at races. People with 7-something paces don't even place at many races. I lucked out and ran a race with few "elite" type runners. A win for normal folk I guess.

In July I finished a 5 mile race with an average 8:20 pace, so that might explain my disappointment at running two miles less and only a second per mile faster. At least I can walk away from this race knowing exactly why I did badly and what I can do differently next time to do better (ie. speed work and not run a serious race 6 days before).

I'm already thinking about running another one in November... to be continued!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Back on My Feet Fridays!

This morning, bright and early at 5:30 am, I joined my first Back on My Feet group run. Back on My Feet is a fantastic organization with which I have already been able to work with on two previous occasions.

Their goal is to promote self-sufficiency for those who have experienced homelessness and are on the road to recovery. They currently operate in seven cities (their eighth in Atlanta will open later this year) and have six teams in Philadelphia. Each team works with a different local shelter and residents meet for weekday morning runs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in addition to some evening and weekend runs. Resident and non-resident (ie. me) members run together and many train for and run races. Running is a huge confidence builder, which is a big part of the reason this program is so successful. After proving a commitment of at least 30 days to the running program residents become eligible for financial assistance from BoMF for education, job training, and other things that will help them to become self-sufficient.

My first experience with BoMF was earlier this June when I fund-raced for them for the Baltimore 10-miler. They were really supportive of my fund raising efforts and I could tell right away that these were people I wanted to do other things with in the future.

Then, in July, I ran the 20in24 Midnight Madness, which raised money for BoMF. Many res and non-res members also ran the race. One res member even completed 60 miles in the Lone Ranger Ultra Marathon!

I have wanted to become a volunteer runner with them for awhile, but I wasn't quite sure when to fit it in. But, I finally figured there's no better time than now. What's one more thing on my plate, eh? Plus, it's not like it interferes with my normal waking hours.

Though getting up at 4:50 am this morning was a shock to my system, by the time I got going and ran the 1 mile to the meet up location I felt awake and alert. I was really nervous about going. I tend to be very shy in social situations, especially new ones, so I'm really glad I got myself out there. I ended up running 4 miles with a res member who had also just run the RnR Philly Half on Sunday. We chatted about running and injuries and goals. It felt really good. I can't wait to go back next week and make more running friends! I hope that at some point I can become even more involved whether it's participating in Saturday long runs or going to their social events like picnics and Phillies games. For now though at least, every Friday will be Back on My Feet Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sick Day

All week I've been waking up with a stuffy nose and swollen glands. This is NOT the time to get sick! So I decided to use a sick day today and take it easy. To be quite honest, I'm also using this as a mental health day. While I've settled into classes quite nicely now, there are some things that have been piling up and I needed an extra day to get stuff together.

Today's to dos:
  • Laundry: It has been majorly piling up!
  • Flash Cards: I've been keeping up with the homework, but I'm way behind on my flash card making. Time to get nice and cozy with my Middle Egyptian textbook and draw some glyphs!
  • 11 mile run: While you may think that being sick and running don't go together, I would have to disagree. If I had a fever I'd surely be staying in bed, but running happens to be great for loosening up all that congestion and I always feel better afterwards. I did not run yesterday, even though I had speed work on my schedule. I have been dealing with some calf pain, and considering that this is "make it or break it" time, I need to be really careful. So I took the rest day and reorganized the rest of my runs for the week.
All in all I hope it will be a restful, yet productive day. And, let's not forget who I get to spend it with:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How I Set a New Half Marathon PR in 4 Months

Since my race Sunday I've been thinking a lot about what exactly enabled me to acheive my new PR. I was aiming for under 2 hours, a minimum of 1 minute 18 seconds faster than my half marathon in May. I ended up being almost 9 minutes faster. That's a big jump! So, how did I do it? First, let's look at my previous "big" races:

ODDyssey Half Marathon: May 2011
This was my first big race. It's the race that put everything in motion. Though I had been running between 8-10 miles per week Since September 2010, it wasn't until I decided to actually train for this half marathon in December 2010 that everything really started happening. It was my biggest accomplishment ever. After 25 weeks of training I finished with an average 9:15 pace.

Baltimore 10-Miler: June 2011
Though shorter than my half, this was still a big race since it was less than 4 weeks after the half. Racing 13 miles was hard. Racing 10 miles seemed like it would be just as hard. I set myself a goal to finish in 1:30:00. I made the cut with two seconds to spare, nailing a 9:00 average pace. 

Run for the Hill of It 5 Miler: July 2011
This is when speed started to seem possible. It was the first time the number 8 rolled to the front of my average pace during a race. I set a new PR by more than a minute, which I had been incredibly nervous about achieving. I realized that all the work I was putting in was paying off. Average pace: 8:20.

Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon: September 2011
And that brings us to Sunday's race, where I set a new PR by almost 9 full minutes and amazed the heck out of myself. Average pace: 8:35, compared to 9:15 just 4 months before.

So how did I get from 9:15 to 8:35? Here's how:

Speed Work

I only started doing speed work a few weeks before my first half in May, but I quickly realized it's benefit. Running fast sucks. It hurts like hell. But, as I said, the rewards are great. You can't run fast in a race if you don't condition your body to what "fast" feels like. Our bodies are made to adapt. Train to run fast and you will run fast. Simple as that. 

My favorite speed work out this summer were mile repeats, usually three, but up to four some days. I also recently started running Yassos to prep for the marathon. 

More Mileage

More miles means stronger legs and quicker turnover. Again, our bodies adapt. If I run 40 miles per week instead of 20 miles per week, my legs will adapt to the higher mileage. It means that after running 40 mpw for awhile, I won't be sore anymore and I won't feel as wiped out. 
In addition to adding more mileage in general, I also started doing back to back runs, which also helped my legs learn to turn over quicker. The first week I did them, 3 consecutive days in a row, I was completely exhausted by the end, but after that they got easier. Now, it's no big deal. 
What does all of this mean? It means that my legs weren't as tired during/after this half marathon as they were during my first half four months ago. In fact, I barely experienced any soreness at all after my race on Sunday whereas after the ODDyssey and the Baltimore 10 Miler I felt like I had been hit by a truck. But, after a few months of high mileage and back to back runs, my body has adapted to the stress and no longer tires out.

Long Runs

This kind of goes with "more mileage" above, but I suppose I could have done am/pm shorter runs over all 7 days a week and still come up with high mileage. Long runs are essential to any distance training, whether it's a 10 miler, a half marathon, a marathon, or a 50 miler. Long runs teach your body endurance. The body adapts!

While the longest run I had done before the ODDyssey was a 14 miler, the longest run I did before this Sunday's race was a 20 miler. 13 miles doesn't seem like a big deal anymore to me. If I can do 13 miles on a Monday after work, I sure as heck can do 13 miles on a Sunday after a full 48 hours rest.

Hot Weather Training

Why does running slow and sluggish through 100 degree weather in the blazing sun help me run faster? Because as soon as it cools down running any distance immediately seems super easy! In the last week I feel like I've sprouted wings and have flown instead of ran. Run in the summer heat and come fall you won't be beat!

Looking back, I probably could have pushed harder on Sunday, but considering I had to get back to training today (a recovery 8 miles), I'm glad I didn't overdo it. People around me are dropping like flies and it's not time to mess around. I plan on running another half sometime next March, either the Rock 'n' Roll National in DC or the NYC Half (if I get in!) and will probably shoot for a sub 1:50 if not a sub 1:45. I've got 6 months so it's totally possible!

Happy Running!