Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Training Plan

Well kids, as I not only embark on returning to work full time after almost a year out of the workforce, I also embark on another training plan. It’s time, my friends, for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. My first big race of 2014.

I created an easy training plan, mostly because it’ll feed into my Zooma Training plan for the Zooma Half Marathon. A race that I’m super excited to train for, and be a part of as an ambassador. The perks are superb, not gonna lie, and I can’t wait to blog about the amazing gear I’ve been getting as I begin to incorporate it into my training. But that’s all for a separate post. This is about the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.

So, how am I starting training? Wellp, this week is week 1. Last week was a totally crapshoot with my sinus infection/almost ear infection/conjunctivitis. Great week to start work right? Right.

I’m keep my expectations light because well, I’m going back to work. We’re moving in two weeks (!!!) – just across town thank goodness.  And oh yeah, I have an almost 1 year old. How is he like…five and a half weeks from turning a year old already?! Time flies?

I digress. I’m incorporating a bit of cross training – because I like spinning and I like pure barre and I want to make sure I keep doing them even when I’m training. I have one maintenance run, a speed workout, and a long run each week. This is what I find works best for me, I don’t like to run 5 days a week. I know this burns me out and my entire training just goes to the toilet.

Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Training Plansee here

It’s a 7 week plan but since the ten miler will really be easing me into my half marathon training I’m taking it easy. I’m not racing for a PR – I’m simply hoping to do better than the Army 10 miler last October which was not a fast race for me. I find that keeping training plans 8-12 weeks works best for me, again, I burn out easily. I want to avoid that. This is why I enjoy 10 mile, and half marathon distances – they don’t require a HUGE amount of training like a marathon does. They’re still challenging yes, and you still need to train for them, duh, but being a bit ADD with my training works here because I don’t have to train as long for them.

Are you training for any big races this spring? Are you running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC? 

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5 Reasons I love my credit union

When hubs worked on the hill, he joined the credit union for hill staffers.

mymm_post_008_mycu I can’t begin to tell you why that single decision was one of the best he ever made. That bank account, was our first joint bank account – just about a week after we got engaged. Probably before we even had the date set to our wedding.

Credit Unions, for those of you not in the know are non profit cooperatives that exist to provide financial benefits to their members. They are member owned and thus any “profits” come back to the members in the form of low interest rates, rebates and dividends.

There are so many reasons why we love our credit union, why we tell all of our friends to find a credit union, I can’t possibly share all of them but I will share the top five.

1. They’re compassionate. Hubs and I haven’t had the easiest of time since we’ve been engaged with our finances, but our Credit Union has worked with us, been more understanding when we call them with hardship requests and more flexible with payment dates. They won’t be tacking on a $35 fee at 12:01a the day after our car loan is due if we miss it by a day or two – they actually have a 5 day grace period!

2. Lower APRs. In comparison to other banks, who feed off high APRs, we’ve never had one – not even for our credit union visa – that was over 10%. How’s that for winning?

3. They’re member focused. Everything they do, has the members best interest at heart. This makes sense since Credit Unions are member owned thus the banks work for the members not for

4. They’re convenient. Even when we lived in CT, we were able to use a credit union that was near by to make deposits. Here in Annapolis, we use a credit union down the road from us so we don’t have to drive into DC every time we need to take money out or make a deposit.

5. They support their communities. I love that credit unions support their communities by not only providing financial literacy education courses for their members to make more informed decisions. Our credit union alone has donated large amounts to the Capital Caring Hospice, and best of all, they’re the hosts of the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler. How cool is that?

 

Are you a member of a credit union? What do you love about your credit union? 

This post is sponsored by Make Your Money Matter, in association with PCSU, though all views expressed are my own.

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#FemCon13 recap

After a m’eh experience at my last blogging conference, I’ve been hesitant to go to another. I know they’re valuable – especially when it comes to networking and reviving a bad case of blogging writers block. But generally, I sometimes have a bad case of the Shy and am intimidated by people I don’t know. So when I heard about Femworking Conference, in DC, on a Saturday…I knew I had to go. It wasn’t super expensive, only a day thing, and I knew one blogger going so I had that in my pocket.

And I’m so glad I did. The early wake up, the long ass commute via Metro (DO NOT MISS), the crappy drive home (I hate driving at night..especially on Route 50 where everyone drives A GAZILLION MILES PER HOUR). I met so many inspiring bloggers and entrepreneurs. I learned so much and I’m so inspired and trying to figure out how to just…do more and to be the best blogger I can be.

1. Be authentic.
This goes without saying but if you’re authentic, people will be drawn to that. If they like what they see, they’ll stick around. If they don’t, they won’t. But be true to yourself and your voice above anything else. If you’re approached for advertising, and it doesn’t fit with your brand, or your blog, say no. But forcing all paid posts down your readers throats, and forcing sponsorships up the wah-zoo isn’t going to make readers want to stick around.

2. Be Nice
There are lots of trolls out there. But be friendly. You don’t do your brand any favors by engaging and being bitchy. Not everyone is going to be your friend, but

3. Engage
A good rule of thumb, that I’m actually really bad at (I’m trying to be better!) is for every 5 tweets you post, engage with five people. I’ve been trying to be more engaging on twitter, on facebook and on instagram. I’m trying to make a more concerted effort to respond to comments because really, social media is about being social no?

4. Be mindful of connections.The internet is forever. Once something is out there, it’s there for good. So be mindful of the brands you work with, what you say with your name/handle and the people you interact with. Think of how they will affect your brand – in both positive and potentially negative ways. Think about that before you take on sponsored posts/etc…

5. Time is money
Listen, we’re bloggers. We’re legit. We put time and effort into our blogs. We are worth being paid. If a brand wants to work with you, and they don’t want to pay you? Don’t do it. I mean being paid in product is one thing but brands need to understand that a bloggers time, effort and audience are valuable and it’s not out of left field for a blogger to expect compensation when working with them.

I’m so glad I went. I made some amazing connections. I got to meet the amazing Scary Mommy (Another Maryland blogger!!!) among other, amazing, amazing bloggers. Thank you Femworking for putting on an amazing event and for bringing together so much positivity and entrepreneurship in one room. I’m already looking forward to next year!

If you were there, what was your biggest take away? If you weren’t there this year, hope to see you at the next one!

 

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Not this year…

I saw this in my email today and really wanted to jump on it.

Unfortunately, six-eight weeks isn’t long enough to train for a triathlon and I just registered for a big race.

But for those of you interested, the Nation’s Tri in DC is offering $20 off their registration using code RUN valid until 8/4/13.

nations tri discount

It’s 87% sold out so if you wanted to get a fun triathlon under your belt, I’ve heard great things about this one from a few friends who have completed it.

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Cookie Swapping

For the past few years (well this was the 4th, my darling friends Lexi and C have been hosting a Christmas Cookie Swap. Saturday, we opened it up from being a ladies only affair, to being a husband and boyfriend and baby affair. We had…tons of fun.

There was food, merriment, punch and cookies of course. It’s become one of my favorite traditions since we made our home in the Annapolis/DC area – one that I look forward to continuing on for many years with this amazing little group of friends I’ve created.

So yesterday morning, I spent skipping my favorite yoga class, baking and cleaning the house a little bit. Hubs was up at Reistertown for some National Guard stuff, so I had the house to myself. I like to take advantage of those rare occasions since I know they’re going to be few and totally far between soon enough. He got home and we headed into DC.

I brought an old favorite of mine Peanut Butter Blossoms- they always seem to be a big hit at the holiday party circuit. But seriously – this isn’t even the whole spread…

Peanut Butter Blossoms

ingredients
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. sugar (plus extra to roll)
1/3 c. light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 & 1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
Hershey’s Kisses (I usually buy an 8oz bag and have leftovers)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a paddle attachment, mix together peanut butter and butter until smooth and creamy.

Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy.

Add egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Add flour in 1/2 c. increments and mix until blended, scraping side of bowl as needed. Place extra sugar on a plate and roll the dough into small balls then roll through the sugar. Place coated balls on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven when golden brown, immediately place unwrapped Hershey Kiss into center of cookie. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.

Enjoy while warm, when Hershey Kiss is soft from the heat of the cookie. NOM NOM NOM.

What is YOUR favorite holiday cookie recipe?

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Thankful for this…

As I read about the massive layoffs over at my former employer and see former colleagues and friends jumping ship or losing their jobs so close to the holidays, I am so thankful today for being where I am.

Thankful that I noted my extreme unhappiness in January/February as it being time to move on.

Thankful I was able to move on to a position so close to home, with amazing coworkers for a pretty awesome company.

Thankful that I didn’t leave with a bad taste in my mouth – or at least not as bad as others.

Thankful that I’m currently surrounded by a team who helps people every day. The way my colleagues work with our patients is just amazing.

At a time when there is so much uncertainty in our economy, it doesn’t hurt to stop and appreciate those around you. Especially those who believe in you and value you as not only an employee, but as a person. Give thanks today for your job, your colleagues – even if it’s not your dream job, and even if your colleagues sometimes get on your nerves. There are so many out there who are suffering without a job who would love to be in your shoes.

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The Art of Spectating

For the past five years, Adam has spectated almost every race (minus the seven he missed while away at training last year) that I’ve ran. Trekking around DC for 7 hours while I completed my first marathon, standing in Central Park in the rain for 2+ hours when I ran my first half marathon, standing in sub 30 degree weather for nearly an hour while I ran a 4 mile race in Central Park, waiting in heat, humidity and everything in between.

This weekend, I got to pay it all forward. He’s run a couple races with me – a 10k here and a 5k there (1 of each to be exact) so while I sold my Army 10 miler bib a couple months ago, I got to play spectator.

Lesson: Specatating is not as easy as one thinks.

@ the start line. I headed over to Route 110 after to see him run by.

The perfect spot to watch him go by. “I’m near the portajohns after the bridge.” I told him. (He snuck his phone in. No one checked. It helped. Bunches.)

After watching him go by, I had had these grandiose plans to head over across the memorial bridge til I realized how wrong I was that that would be easy. Sure it was a metro stop away to get off at Arlington but what would be blocked off? How long of a wait would I have? Who knew!

Instead, I headed over to mile 6 on Independence. I camped out right before the 6.2 mile mark cheering on the runners with my cowbell and enthusiasm. They are AMAZING to watch. Not to mention, it was the perfect day, the weather was perfect and autumn like.

So many flags and amazing runners! I was definitely a little heart broken that baby Schmidt has me sidelined, but I felt really great cheering on the hubs.

Just before the 10k mark where I was camped out.

I figured at that point I should start heading to the finishing knowing that he had about 3+ miles left and who knew how long it would take me to get over there. Unfortunately, I was starved and really had to pee. Baby Schmidt isn’t such a fan of huge walks without eating for long periods of time. Wamp wamp.

I grabbed a quick bite, and made it to the bridge over 110 between mile 9 and 10. Unfortunately, I missed his big finish but I caught up with him in the finishers area.

YAY!! He’s totally all army strong and a year ago? He likely would not have been able to finish. Well, maybe he would have finished but not nearly as awesomely as he did.

So, so proud of him. AND his first ten miler (that, let’s be honest, he didn’t train for as well as he could have. Or should have) was better than MY first ten miler time back in 2009 (GW Parkway Ten Miler) so there’s that. That race for me was a month before I ran my best marathon ever (5:31:something).

I can’t wait to get back out on the roads with him – picking races that we can bring baby Schmidt on in our soon to be obtained jogging stroller, next year we definitely want to do the Army 10 miler together so we’ll have to get our parents here to be awesome spectators.

How to be an awesome spectator

1. Be prepared. Make signs. Cowbells. Be ready to scream your butt off. Not just for your loved one but for EVERY runner.

2. Have a plan. Where you’ll be. Figure out the most strategic spots. If I had been a block or so down, I could have seen the husband TWICE but I didn’t think about that. Wamp wamp. Races aren’t necessarily easy to navigate so be sure to give yourself plenty o’ time to get to point to point.

3. Have fun! Races are meant to be fun – enjoy it! You’re not the one putting blood, sweat and tears into the race so be sensitive to that. Also, check out the runners on the course – I heard a piper, saw Uncle Sam, Captain America, etc… the people who put some creativity into their race garb are AWESOME and sure to make spectating even more fun for you!

4.  Have food and drink on hand. Your runner pal might need a sip of your water/beer/juice but seriously – I got super dehydrated being out there for almost 2 hours. Note to self, water bottles aren’t just for runners. Not to mention, runners like snacks. Gummi bears, fruit, anything quick, small and nutritious (even sometimes not) – they’ll appreciate anything of the sort. At least I did 🙂 

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Amazing Weekend

The weekend started off amazingly (though at first stressful) with a relaxing restorative yoga class in DC with Lexi. I wish it wasn’t so much of a pain in the butt trying to get into DC for a 6:45 pm class after getting out of work at 5p – I just really hate driving in to DC though I suppose if I want to make this a pseudo-regular thing I should probably get used to it or find an amazing restorative class here in Annapolis. Capitol Hill Yoga is one of my favorite yoga studios that I’ve been to since leaving Connecticut so I like what I’m comfortable with and back when I was commuting a few of my friends and I made Friday night Restorative at CHY a welcomed end to the workweek on a few occasions. I love that studio and only wish it had been around when we lived on the Hill  – I might not have wanted to leave so badly when our life went to the crapper.

Afterward we were blissed out, the husband met up with us and we grabbed a snack at Le Pain Quotidien which has amazing fresh food  – it’s a pseudo chain and I’ve been a few times but usually for breakfast. The hummus I had was delicious! A perfect late evening snack really.

Saturday

We headed back into DC for the National Book Festival with Lexi and Steve. The weather was hot and by the end of the day I felt horrid on our way home from being overheated. Lexi really wanted to see Dominique Moceanu speak which was very cool – we also checked out her book signing.

After Lexi got a book signed, we headed over to the Pavilion of the States – which is always one of my favorite tents at the book fest.

We headed up to Capitol Hill once we were thoroughly book festivaled out to grab late lunch/early dinner at Good Stuff Eatery – which while not my favorite burger place in the world, is worth the visit for the milk shakes alone (I got the black and white). I got a regular cheeseburger which is a feat in itself because for the past two and a half months any type of burger has repulsed the crap out of me … something about the texture didn’t agree with baby schmidt.

After dinner, we meandered up to PG County (cause we’re cool like that. Really.) to go to Target where I proceeded to lose my husband because well, his phone died and Droid doesn’t. Eventually, thanks to Best Buy Mobile, he found me and we headed home without dropping mounds of dough. I did however, pick up a belly band so my pants fit slightly better though I can’t seem to get the band to stay so I need to work on that.

We finally got home  late, very late, where I promptly passed out on the couch.

Sunday 

We stuck around Annapolis, getting stuff cleaned up around the house  and then heading over to West Annapolis for Oktoberfest –

What every Oktoberfest should be – sauerkraut and beer. Confession: I don’t like sauerkraut. And that was Adam’s beer. Oktoberfest fail.

It was a great street festival – the food was really good, I’m sure the beer was delightful (i can only imagine because nothing says oktoberfest better than beer. Even I can’t have any.), the weather was brisk and autumnal…really the perfect kick off to fall. It really reminded us how much we love our town and this home that we’ve adopted as our own.

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Hills Hills and Jennifer Weiner?

The other night, in prep for the 5k we’re running this weekend and the hills that I’m expecting on my triathlon course, hubs and I decided to do a naval academy bridge run.

For those of you unfamiliar with this bridge, it’s a beast.

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We went down and parked at the parking lot of Naval Bagel on Taylor Avenue and ran over the bridge. We had a good pace going. Then we went up. Then not so good. We walked a little down to slow down our heart rates. Then ran back up. On the other side we stopped again for hydration.

We stopped to check out the overlook. Then we SPRINTED. OMG for half of that quarter mile incline I was keeping an 8:30/mi pace. Holy. Freakin’. Shit.

I hated this. We ran past the Severn Inn twice. We stopped at the top four times. I was burnt out. Hills that I used to be so good at once upon a time now make me struggle.

That being said. I was sore for a good day and a half after. I felt really good at the end. And I feel really good for my triathlon. Because I don’t need to run the whole way just keep moving forward. If I have to walk? Walk. I don’t have to sprint, I’m in this race to finish not to be number 1. That’ll be for the next one (though with the Huffster I will likely never be #1 in a tri…someday I’ll get a big girl bike…). I’m considering a 2nd tri at the end of August, but Adam won’t let me register until after I complete the first one. Kind of like how I didn’t sign up for marathon #2 until after I finished marathon #1.

So pretty!!

I skipped workouts yesterday in favor of going to DC to hang out with Lexi for the evening. A couple weeks ago, we had both purchased tickets for Jennifer Weiner at 6th and I for her The Next Best Thing tour.

I’m a HUGE fan of Jennifer Weiner, and have been since college when I first started reading her books. I think Good in Bed
was the first one I read while on coop one year. I read all the time when I was on coop because of the commuting.

She was incredibly well spoken, witty, funny and candid – everything you want in a writer. I personally, would love to sit down with her and my now decomposed book club and share a bottle of wine and talk about great books, authors and trashy television. Ahh dreams.

There were two cameras. Lexi’s got the better picture of her, and mine got the better picture of me. Jennifer just looks awesome in both.

All in all, an awesome night in the city. Lexi, we need to reinstate the book club. Even though it’s most definitely not the same without C.

Do you have a book club? Who’s your favorite author??

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