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Last Long Run of 2014

31 Dec

2014 is coming to a close. For me, it’s been a year with happy moments…but with far more loss and sadness than I expected or even thought I could handle. This summer was especially tough, and I credit my faith and wonderful family for getting me through some very difficult times.

A dear friend told me recently that she’s thankful for life’s challenges, because they are instructive; they help her learn, grow, and become a better person. I hope to one day be as accepting of hardships…but for now, I can only focus on the positive: more time with family, a return to cycling, a renewed focus on running and health, daily commutes to work on my new road bike (an accepting husband who didn’t bat an eye at the cost), hiking part of the Appalachian Trail with great friends, and epic walks through NYC with my little starstruck kids (nearly 20 miles in two days).

I’ve decided to tackle a trail half marathon in March of 2015 (the Northface Endurance Challenge), so I’m working on getting mileage up now. After all, who knows if the winter weather will cooperate with my training schedule?

So for my last long run of 2014, I set off from Arlington on the Custis Trail, then hooked onto the Mount Vernon Trail alongside the Potomac River. After running across the 395 bridge, I took a right past the Jefferson Memorial and landed at DC’s Maine Avenue Fish Market. Just over 6 miles in an hour…I was pretty happy with my pace.

As a special treat for my family (including in-laws visiting from out of state), I picked up several pounds of crab legs from the famous Jessie’s.

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Not willing to run another 6 miles home with boxes of frozen seafood on my back, I made a quick call to my husband and arranged a ride back.

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I had worked up an appetite… so maybe I over-bought, but our crab feast was delicious (I highly recommend Jessie’s Seafood) and we didn’t have a single leg left over! A wonderful run and a wonderful new family holiday tradition.

I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and safe 2015. May you land gently in the new year!
Happy running!

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SOME Trot for Hunger

28 Nov

Our family’s running team, the Rupert Rascals, did it again!  We placed in the top 10 for fundraising for the great, local Catholic charity, So Others Might Eat (also known as SOME).  Check out the standings here!  We’re so proud to have raised $2655.00.  Thanks to everyone who contributed donations and encouragement!

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The race itself was fantastic-flat and easy: an out-and-back, starting at Freedom Center and running by the Capitol.  The weather was a bit chilly, but that didn’t stop droves of participants from coming out to do the 3.1 miles.  Equally as impressive: there were tons of police and volunteers supporting the nearly 10,000 runners and walkers.

For the second year in a row, we brought our little dog along, too.  Winnie (a Jack Russell, Dachshund, Bichon mix) runs with me regularly, so she’s totally up for a 5k.  Still, it’s funny to see the surprised looks on people’s faces as she bounds past them on her tiny legs.  photo-4

Finishing in 33 minutes isn’t great…but running with 3 kids and a dog slows a girl down (plus, we stopped for pictures)!  SOME Trot for Hunger race results can be found here.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Turkey Trot for SOME

21 Nov
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Lills and I at last year’s Trot for Hunger

Every year on Thanksgiving morning we bundle up and run in the SOME (So Others Might Eat) Trot for Hunger in Washington, D.C. It’s a quick 5k, starting from Freedom Center and heading out in full view of the Capitol and the U.S. Botanic Gardens.  Tons of runners, walkers, and sweatered pups participating in a great race, benefitting D.C.’s homeless population.

This year we’re hosting my family (in from Alabama) for Thanksgiving dinner, but not before all of us tackle 3.1 miles (or roughly half a serving of mashed potatoes).  If you’re looking for a great family event, consider joining us!  Registration is open right here.  If you can’t make it, but would love to donate to this wonderful organization, here’s our donation page!  Team Rupert Rascals!

Hiking the Shenandoah National Park

8 Nov

48 degrees and dropping! Hiked about 7 miles today and set up camp just before sunset. We’re on top of a mountain off the Beecher trail, hoping the wind will die down. Looking forward to another 6 miles tomorrow morning!

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Afternoon Hikes with my Son

29 Oct

As the days get shorter, it’s tough to carve out time for outdoor activities. So while my daughters have soccer practice, my son and I explore the nature trails adjacent to the fields. Arlington’s commitment to preserving green space for public use is certainly commendable…especially since it is one of the most densely populated counties in the United States. Here’s a shot of my son, ankle deep in a creek off of the Zachary Taylor Park trail.

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Cheering on the Marine Corps Marathon Runners!

26 Oct

Mike and I didn’t run the MCM this year…way too much going on, unfortunately. Several of our friends completed the 26.2, and we brought the kids down to Spout Run to cheer on the crowds. How inspiring! Lots of high fives and shouts.
Fingers crossed, we’ll attempt another go at it next year. I still have to shave 3 minutes off my time to meet my goal!
Congrats to all the finishers!

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Arlington Police, Fire, and Sheriff Memorial 9-11 5k

26 Oct

The Arlington Police, Fire, and Sheriff Memorial 9-11 5k  has long been one of my favorite local events. My husband and I  are both government workers…and I’m an emergency manager…so this cause is very important to us.  We have participated (as runners or volunteers) every year since 2003.  It’s always an emotional race with a beautiful opening ceremony and lots of supporters lining the course cheering on speed demons and first-time runners, alike.

This year’s event nearly got rained out. As we gathered along the starting line, the clouds overheard began to look ominous.  With strong storms predicted, I heard many bystanders talk about PRs (despite the heat) in order to beat the severe weather.
My goal was to finish in under 30 minutes…which I did (barely). It definitely wasn’t my best showing, but considering the heat and lack of training, I was happy.
After the race, we sheltered in the hotel…enjoying free beer and pizza while the storm raged around us.
As always, a great event for a wonderful cause: with super course support and post race festivities. Looking forward to next year’s run!

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Races I Have Run

6 Jun

It’s been forever since I’ve posted…and in the meantime, I’ve done some pretty amazing races.  Here’s a quick recap of the three I’ve done in the last few months:

I’m so proud to have participated in the first-ever running of the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. This half marathon was expertly organized (expect anything less from Nike?) and covered some of the most scenic areas in the District. The highlight for me?  Starting right next to Olympian Shalane FlanaganImageI didn’t keep up with her for long! 

A couple weeks after the Nike race, I ran the National Police Week 5k with my sister and her adorable black labrador, Barney.  I’ve done this race for years, but this is the first time we’ve run with a dog.  Barney did a great job…except for mile 2.5, when he decided to take a break in giant mud puddle.  The pitstop added about 10 minutes to our time, but we had a blast for a great cause!Image

Last week my husband and I and our good friends ran a marathon relay for the aptly named Northface Endurance Challenge, just west of Washington, D.C. Though each leg of the race was only about 6 miles, the insane heat (around 90 degrees) made the course nearly unbearable.  Despite the weather, this is one of my favorite races (my 3rd year participating!); excellent swag and great event organization/support.  Can’t wait to run again next year!Image

Cherry Blossom Long Run

23 Mar

It’s Cherry Blossom season in Washington, D.C. (though the blooms are not yet at peak), and the city is packed with visitors from throughout the world.  I love the beauty of the cherry blossoms in (almost) bloom…and actually LOVE seeing the tourists exploring the city and appreciating our nation’s beautiful capital city.

Today I ran from my house in Arlington, over the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge, around the Mall and through Capitol Hill to Eastern Market.  Along the way, I stopped at the Lincoln Memorial to snap a picture of the crowds.

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D.C. is a unique destination because the majority of the attractions (the Monuments, White House, Smithsonian, Capitol, Zoo, etc.) are free to the public.  Sure, it takes a few extra minutes to navigate the hoards, but it’s nice to see people enjoying what our country has to offer.

Today’s run was 8 miles, ending in an impromptu shopping trip at the ever-expanding Eastern Market– tons of great artisans and farmers offering their wares.

Happy Running!

Sunday Long Run in D.C.

10 Mar

Today was, by far, the prettiest day of the year…and with bright sunshine/temperatures in the 60’s, it was a perfect day for a long run.

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Turns out that everyone in D.C. had the same idea!  The trails and parks were packed: tons of runners and cyclists outside enjoying the weather after last week’s “snowquester” (really just a couple of inches of government-closing slush).

I ran from my home in North Arlington, down the Custis Trail, across the Key Bridge through Georgetown, along the Potomac to Hain’s Point.  A perfect 6 mile (mostly flat) run.

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The Georgetown Waterfront Park is one of my favorite summer mid-point running stops…and even though the splash fountain is off for the season, I stopped at the park along the way.  Glad I did!  It’s wonderful seeing so many people ( tons of families) outside enjoying this recently upgraded National Park.  If you’re in the area and looking for a relaxing destination, you have to check this place out…and don’t forget to make a post-run stop at the Hershey’s Ice Cream Parlor right across the street.  Happy Running!