On the run in Naples, Florida

I have always told Mal that I’m glad she’s from South Florida and not from somewhere with a frigid climate. That sentiment rings especially true when it’s cold in the Washington, DC area; and it has indeed been freezing here. So we were happy to be able to take advantage of our long MLK/Inauguration Day weekend and fly down to South Florida to run the Naples Half Marathon on Sunday January 20.

We ran this race in 2011 and enjoyed the flat course and scenery. We knew what we were in for and even though we weren’t anywhere near where we should have been, training-wise, but we felt good about giving it a shot. Plus, the fact that there was a good chance it was going to be a brisk 65 degrees at race start helped in the decision-making process…!

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I was wearing my awesome Christmas present from Mal – yes socks can be an awesome gift when they are RG3 “No Pressure No Diamonds” socks!

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We were ready to run!

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Making our way past mile 10 and on the way to the finish:

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No, it wasn’t our best time, but we didn’t fly down there to break any of our records. It felt so great running in warm weather, on a flat course lined with palm trees and scenic waterfront views. We had fun going to the beach after the race and soaking up the warm weather before flying back to DC on Monday.

Our flight landed in DC in the afternoon and we were welcomed home with temperatures in the mid-30s. Back to reality…

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Pike’s Peek 10K Race Recap

I know, I know. It’s been so long since my last post that I’m sure some of you are wondering what’s going on. Well, buckle up because there have been a lot of changes since my last post!

First change: I got a new job! I now work for a company that designs corporate wellness programs, which is more related to my Masters program. So that’s exciting!

Second change: Mal and I got a puppy! Meet Brady (he’s being nice with his cat-brother Tinsley):

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For more professional pictures, take a look at these pictures taken by our awesome wedding photographer, Melissa Manzione.

Third change: I just graduated from my program at American University, so I am now officially a Master of Health Promotion Management!

Ok I think that’s it. It’s been a busy few months! I figured since it had been so long since my last post I would go back to an old favorite: the race recap. And it just so happens that Mal and I recently ran the Pikes Peek 10K.

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We had a beautiful morning. The sun was shining and it was a perfect temperature for a nice downhill course from the Shady Grove Metro into Rockville, MD.  Mal graciously put up with my picture-taking:

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She LOVES the 10K distance, and I agree with her: it’s a great distance to run. You get a great workout and your day isn’t half-over when you finish. We did really well and crossed the finish averaging about an 8:50 minute-per-mile pace.

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We had a busy day planned too, so we had to rush to get home for Brady’s puppy kindergarten and then a fun play-date with his fellow 5 month-old golden retriever, Carson. Needless to say, he was exhausted after all that running. Which was great because he slept like a champ that night!

Next race is the Fredericksburg Historic Half with my sister, Em. It’s her first half marathon and I put together her training plan back in January, so I’ll be glad to take at least some of the credit for her success next weekend…! She’s already CRUSHED the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (Mal and I ran with her) back in early April, and she’s been sticking to her training plan. Let’s all wish her good luck. Good luck sis!

I’ll be sure to post something in the meantime, but keep an eye out for that race recap soon after the race ends 🙂

Marine Corps Marathon: Race Recap

This recap is WAY overdue, but it’s impossible for me to not recap a marathon, right?!

I ran the Marine Corps Marathon with Mal and our friend Kathryn (on twitter @ticktalkrock) and all three of us crossed the finish line and got the VERY cool and all-important finisher’s medal from a US Marine.

As you can see, it was FREEZING when the race started!

The course took us and the other 20,000+ marathoners through Rosslyn, down Spout Run, over the Key Bridge into Georgetown, through the Palisades, into East and West Potomac Park, up to the Mall by the Washington Monument and in front of the Capitol, then back down the Mall to Beat the Bridge at Mile 20, into Crystal City, then in front of the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery, before winding its way back to the Iwo Jima memorial and the finish line.

Whew…I’m getting tired just writing about where we ran! 26.2 miles of scenic VA and DC running filled with Sports Beans, GU, orange slices, pretzels, bananas, Gatorade , water, and thousands of cheering supporters along the course.

     

My parents and my sister came to cheer us on and the dreaded Mile 19, right before the very intimidating bridge at Mile 20 and that was a huge boost to my psyche. It’s hard to describe how much it means to see people you know encouraging you and supporting you during such a physically and emotionally draining event like a marathon. Seeing them and having my dad jog a few tenths of a mile with me convinced me that I could power through and cross the finish line. Thanks you guys 🙂

It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty, and it was painful at times, but I somehow managed to set a new personal best! Mal also set a new PR and I couldn’t be any prouder of her! Despite a relative lack of training and a lot on my mind in the last few weeks, I had my eyes on the prize and fought through the pain to cross the finish line.

    

KT ran with me the whole time and did a great job keeping us focused and making sure neither of us hit the dreaded “wall.”

We’re all now three time marathoners!

Next up: The Veterans Day 10K this Sunday, November 13. There’s still time to sign up so check out the site (here: Veterans Day 10K) and register. Hope to see you out there!

Summertime and the Living is Easy…runfreedc’s summer recap!

Man oh man it’s been a busy summer! I’ll just give you guys a quick update in this post and then get back to business in the next one…

So since the last post I’ve run a few races:

In May I went to Green Bay and ran the half marathon with my friend Josh

 

complete with our post-race Wisconsin brats

We stopped in Darwin, Minnesota and saw the world’s biggest ball of twine!

  

Mal and I ran the Zooma Women’s half marathon in Annapolis in early June. Yes they let me and a few other men run 😉

Then the day before our wedding we ran the Lawyers Have Heart 10K – the race after which I proposed in 2011. Mal wore a veil and we had a lot of fun, though they made it a 5K due to heat and humidity. I didn’t have my camera for either race so you’ll have to trust be that we ran both of these…

And then it was time for our wedding! We had such a wonderful weekend and really enjoyed seeing all our friends and family. Here are just a few pictures for you guys:

   

The rain held off JUST enough for us to have a beautiful outdoor ceremony and to get some good pictures taken. It really was our perfect wedding!

We went on our honeymoon to Anguilla in the British West Indies and we had an amazing time relaxing, running on the pristine beach, playing tennis and just soaking in the paradise.

     

 

We had such a great time.

When we got back I started my internship at USDA-Food & Nutrition Service and that was a really amazing experience. I did a lot of fascinating work and got some valuable hands-on experience in the health industry.

As if the summer wasn’t busy and exciting enough, Mal and I bought a condo in Arlington, VA and moved mid-summer! We love the neighborhood and have been busy working to find some great new running routes…we can’t get enough of the Mt. Vernon Trail!

As for our training…we are a bit behind, but still doing well. Marine Corps is coming up quickly so we need to put the busy summer behind us and get training. We have the Parks Half Marathon next weekend so that should be a good test for us.

School just started this week and all my classes seem really interesting…I’m excited to see how the semester plays out!

I hope you all had a great summer too! What fun things did you do? Comment and share!

April Recap: What a Month!

I know, I know…it’s been a long time since my last post. Excuses are always pathetic, but it’s been a busy month for me! Between school, wedding planning, and work, I haven’t had much time to set aside to runfreedc. Sad story, but true. So I’ve decided to do an “April Recap” of the runs and other events that have happened since the last post. Aaaand we’re off!

So the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler was on April 3. It was a beautiful day and the cherry blossoms were out – along with all those tourists…fantastic 😉

I didn’t get selected in the lottery and neither did Mal, but my friend Allison was picked. Unfortunately for her, she was unable to run…but she was nice enough to offer her bib to Mal – so Mal ran the race as Allison!

There were TONS of runners running by some very scenic DC landmarks

         

I was out there cheering, but didn’t see Mal cross the finish line, mainly because she ran it faster than any of us expected!

The next weekend was a busy one as far as races. I ran the “Hurry up for Health 8K” with my sister, Em, on Saturday evening. I don’t have any pictures, but take my word for it, she…did…awesome! She recently picked up running and we ran a 10K last September, and she did SO great in this one. The course was an out-and-back along the C&O Canal in Georgetown and it had rained the night before, so we had to dodge puddles and mud pits. Great job, sis!

The next day, Mal and I ran the GW Parkway 10 Miler. The course started at Mount Vernon

and went all the way down the GW Parkway right into Alexandria.

     

We were worried that the government shutdown would postpone the race, but luckily Congress got their act together just in time 🙂  We did great in this race, too! Lots of people came out to cheer us on

and it was a cool course! Third race in 3 weeks? Check.

So that’s it, right? Nope! The next weekend we had the Pike’s Peek 10K along Rockville Pike. Again, no pictures from that race, but we had another great race! This was Mal’s fourth weekend in a row with a long-distance race: the National Half Marathon, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, the GW Parkway 10 Miler, and this 10K. Wow! This past weekend when we didn’t have a race, it felt kind of weird…but also nice to sleep in 😉

Oh yeah, and on April 15 our friends Beth and Nick got married in Smithfield, VA. Congratulations you guys!!! We had a blast and it was great to be there for a 1034 Preston reunion 🙂

I think that about covers the month of April…May will be a busy month too, but I should be able to update the blog a bit more frequently.

Looks like Spring is here and warm weather has FINALLY arrived…so get out there and run free in the beautiful weather!

National Half Marathon – Race Recap!

What an incredible day. Last Saturday morning, the streets of Washington, DC were FILLED with people running in the National Marathon/Half Marathon/Team Relay, and it was an awesome sight.

Mal and I ran the half marathon with our friend Kevin, who was running his first half ever!

Our friends Cat and Kathryn also ran it. It was also Cat’s first half ever…way to go Cat! We actually ran into KT at around mile 10 and she was sporting a shirt that had some advertisement for this blog…thanks for that KT, and congrats on another half completed!

The race started in the shadows of the old home of the Washington Redskins, RFK Stadium

and the route went through Capitol Hill, downtown DC, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, Howard University, the H Street corridor, and finished up by RFK Stadium.

Man was it cold just standing around waiting for the race to start! With 15,000 fellow runners it took us awhile to cross the start line, but after standing around and doing some quality people watching, we were off!

The first part of the race was around Capitol Hill and we did some sightseeing as we passed by:

And we also ran right by the Supreme Court

From there we went past Union Station, down Constitution Avenue and then up through downtown DC. We eventually make it to Dupont Circle where the crowds were just amazing, even despite the cold weather!

Look at all these runners and all the people cheering!

And then we ran through Adams Morgan, where once again the crowds were out in HUGE numbers!

At about mile 7, Kevin sprinted ahead to try and break the 2 hour mark (which he did – congrats buddy!) and Mal and I finished the race together. We crossed the finish line at about 2:03, which was almost the time we got last year!

After collecting our finisher’s medals, we walked around the finish line festival for maybe 30 seconds (we were freezing!) and Mal posed in front of the official race billboard.

After driving back to our neighborhood, Kevin, his girlfriend Trina, Mal and I headed to Open City for brunch for what has become an awesome and delicious post-race tradition. Once again, it was exactly what we needed after running through “13.1 miles of history.” The perfect conclusion to yet another successful race experience 🙂

Next up on the race calendar is the Hurry Up For Health 8K with my sister in Georgetown on April 9 (link HERE), followed by the GW Parkway 10 miler (link HERE) the next day! Looks like it’s gonna be an active weekend!

St. Patrick’s Day 8k Race Recap

Yesterday Mal and I ran the St. Patrick’s Day 8k in downtown DC. People were all decked out in their greenest running gear and ready to tackle the scenic 4.99 mile route that started on Pennsylvania Avenue and extended through other parts of downtown.

The weather was beautiful. Probably around 50 degrees at the start (much better than the cold drizzle of last year’s race) and sunny! There were over 5,000 St. Patrick’s Day enthusiasts who were all Irish for a day. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so no pictures from the race in this post 😦

We took the Metro downtown (going green!) and got to the start line about 10 minutes before the start. Just enough time to walk around in the crowds, take in all the Irish-ness, and get in our target time zone (about an 8 minute mile or so). After a few minutes of commentating by the race director, and the first wave of elite runners, it was out turn to start!

Not even a mile in and there were bagpipes! Made us all feel very Irish and kind of motivated us to run faster…? I would have preferred some U2, but I guess bagpipes are more authentic.

After weaving up by Union Station and back down by the Capitol, we ran past the Air & Space museum before making our way back to Pennsylvania Avenue to head for the finish line.

Here’s the map:

About half a mile from the finish line I saw my buddy Brendan running by with a friend of his. He gave runfreedc.com a shout out and told me to be sure to include him in the post, so here you go buddy! He finished ahead of Mal and me by a few minutes running an impressive 7:48 minute-per-mile pace. Anyone else run the race? Comment and let me know!

Mal and I crossed at about 42 minutes (I was just under and she was just over). We were happy with the result and had a great time.

We then headed to Open City for yet another delicious post-race brunch with our friends Peter and Cat (we also went after the Love the Run You’re with 5K). That place is so good; check it out here. It’s located right at Connecticut and Calvert, in Woodley Park – maybe a block from the Metro stop – and it’s always delicious. I highly recommend it if you haven’t been. I know some of my friends from AU have done a post-race brunch or two there in the past…

Mal and I are so excited for the National Half Marathon that’s coming up on March 26. If you’re registered, see you there! If you feel so inclined, put something on your shirt that advertises my blog! Mal and I are both going to find a way to put www.runfreedc.com on our shirts, and I know my friend Kathryn is also going to try.

If you’re not signed up, come out and cheer us on. Here’s the course so you can plot out where to find us. Like I’ve said before, it’s always good to see a familiar face along the way 🙂 Hope to see you there!