Week 11 of Richmond Marathon Training

Coming off of a great 20 miler last weekend, this week was a little bit of a let down…

I missed a run, my mileage was lower, and my Sunday long run just felt a little off.  But hey, they can’t all be good weeks can they?  🙂

So here’s the break down:

Monday-Rest day

Tuesday- 5.2 treadmill miles.

Wednesday – On the schedule, I only had 3.25 miles of intervals.  But, I got to run the in a brand new pair of shoes!


These babies are going to carry me through my marathon!

Thursday – I skipped my 8 mile run, (gasp!) but for a good reason.  My oldest daughter ran a 1 mile run that morning with her elementary school running club.  It was so fun watching her!  This past year or so she had ran three one mile races.  The first one, she took off running got winded super quick and ended up walking.  The second, she ran with friend and they had a blast (but came in nearly last).  😉  This most recent race was really neat, because she really wanted to do well!  She had a plan!  Start slow, and finish strong!

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Running her little heart out…

I’m so proud of her!  She improved on her time, and was so excited that she ran the whole way, (and finished with a time of 9 min 14 sec)!  Love that she is so excited about running!


Friday – I was planning on 5, but it was pouring.   And, while I usually love running in the rain, I found myself two miles in, and really needing to pee, so I rerouted back home, and called it a day.

Saturday – I made up for the 8 miles missed on Thursday.

Sunday – I had another 20 miles planned.  So, instead of running circles around town again, we headed out to the W&OD trail.  It’s a 45 (or so) mile trail through Northern Virginia, and it was a great place for our long run!  So nice to not have to worry about traffic, or planning that long of a route!  As great as that route was, I was just not feeling it on Sunday!  A few miles into it, GPS watched stopped working…  So I’m looking down thinking we were almost to five miles… And it was the longest 5 miles ever!  I was really getting discouraged.  Then Zach, my running partner, told me we were really almost to eight…  which was a bit more like it.

I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t get in all my weekly miles, or if it was two 20 mile weekends in a row, but this one was slow and painful.  The second half of the run was not much better, and at that point I was just running to get back to the car and get something to eat.  😉

One more note about Sunday’s run…

While the W&OD trail was beautiful, and used by so many bikers, runners, and walkers….  I did notice that there was so much litter!  And most of it was garbage from energy gels, or power bar wrappers, etc…  We can do better than that, right?!  If you carry your running/biking fuel onto the trail, why not carry it back out?  Or throw it away?  There were so many trashcans along the trail…  Alright, off my soapbox now.  😉  I do look forward to running that trail again, especially on a good run, when I can really appreciate it!


Stonewall Jackson 20 Mile Ambulance Run Race Recap

On the training plan for this past weekend was a 20 mile run.  There just happened to be a 20 miler somewhat nearby, that I’ve heard mentioned as a good race when training for the Marine Corps Marathon or the Richmond Marathon.  So, (partly because I don’t like planning long routes, and partly because I really like race t shirts), I signed up!

Packet pickup started at 5:30 on Saturday morning, and the race was just under a 2 hour drive from my house, so I knew it was going to be an early morning.  Of course when I didn’t even get home until almost 11 Friday night, it was probably a good thing I don’t usually count on a full night’s sleep before race day.  😉


I got my things together, set my alarm for an ungodly hour, and went to bed!

We were up and out of the house before 4 in the morning! And heading to Spotsylvania, a small town near Fredericksburg, VA.  The drive was great, not a whole lot of traffic at that time of day…  At one point, I thought I saw the sun start to rise, but nope.


That was just the light coming from a factory on the way.  It was lovely.  

We arrived in plenty of time.  Grabbed our packets, parked near the finish line, and ate the standard breakfast of banana with peanut butter.  Then walked about a quarter mile to the starting line.  It was a small race, only about 150 runners.   I didn’t really have a time goal.  My training plan had me running at a easy, comfortable pace, and I was planning to try to stick to that and not race too hard.  So, in my mind I was just hoping to keep it close to a 10 minute mile, and not be last.

We started towards the back of the group when the gun went off.  I figured that would keep us from starting out too fast, and it worked.  We kept a slow comfortable pace for the first 5 or so miles.   At about the third mile, I realized that I probably drank too much coffee and water during the 2 hour drive…  and by five miles, I think I was picking up the pace because I remembered the first port-a-potties were 8 miles in, and I was kind of in a hurry to get there.

After the 8 mile mark, I was feeling great!  The views were beautiful!  And the course was hilly, but I love the hills, it keeps things interesting!   We were getting into the historic battlefields, and this was my favorite part of the race.  It might have been gravel, but it was shaded, and passed quickly.   Unfortunately, the race began and ended on a two lane road that was open to traffic the entire time.  It was kind of a bummer to have to spend a majority of the run single file, and dodging cars.


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The volunteers were dressed for the occasion, and I didn’t realize that Zach and I were dressed alike until seeing these pictures afterwards…

 The second half of the race went really well.  The miles kept ticking by, and I was still feeling strong.  I was worried since skipping my 18 mile run previously, the last two miles would be tough, but nope.  I kept speeding up, and we still had enough in us to sprint the last mile.  We finished with a time of 3:24, and a pace of 10:03.  Not breaking any records, but I’m happy with that for a training run!

With a month still to go before my marathon, I’m pretty confident now that I can finish under a 10 min/mile pace.


Overall, it was a good!  I wish all my long training runs could be races!  It was so much more fun than running around town for 20 miles or more.  It was not, however, a very big event.  Other than the water stations, there was virtually nobody on the course.  And I know it’s not a big deal, but I do kind of wish there was a finisher’s medal.  It was 20 miles after all…  😉


Regardless, it was a great confidence booster!  I am now even more excited for Richmond, and I wish this next month would hurry up!  😉

Did you run a race this weekend?  How’d you do?  

“Let the Games Begin!” – A Fitness App Review

Recently I was given the opportunity to try out a new fitness app.  Have you heard of The Fitness Games?   

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This post was sponsored by The Fitness Games through my partnership with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador.  I was not compensated monetarily, but was provided the Platinum Version of the application for review.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

The Fitness Games app is actually a pretty neat idea.  It takes the benefits of a well made fitness app, and adds a lot of social media aspects.  You can also challenge your friends, or anyone else that uses the app, which is great, especially if you are the competitive type.

Once you download the App for iOS or Android you can set up a profile, and get started!


After you’ve set up your profile, you can add some friends or try a workout!

You can choose a workout from the app or create your own.  Workouts are divided into four categories: Cardio, Strength, Full-body, and Cross


There are not a lot of workouts available in the free app, but as you get points for completing a workout, they are unlocked for you.  Or you can upgrade to a Premium or Platinum version for more.  Many of the workouts incorporate gym equipment/weights.  Because I get nervous at the gym when I get too far from the treadmill, 😉  I stuck to the body weight workouts at home.   And each different exercise has pictures and videos, so you know you’re doing it right!


These workouts were tough!

If you need a little extra motivation or do well with some competition, that’s where the social/gaming aspect comes in.   Before you do a workout, you can challenge yourself, a friend, or a random opponent from anywhere in the


Its a new app, so unfortunately there are not a whole lot of users yet, so I had to search to find friends to add.  Also, you can’t yet connect to Facebook or Twitter to find out who else is on.  But I can see where it will be a lot of fun if you can find more friends!  There is also a news feed that shows you what your friends are up to on the app.  You can upload photos and videos, or even take a “Gym Selfie.”

Overall, I think its a pretty neat app!  I will definitely keep it on my phone because it has some really good workouts for my strength/cross training days.  I can also see where it would be an awesome tool for a personal trainer, with the ability to add your own workouts, with pics and videos, then challenge others to complete it.

If you have The Fitness Games app, or download it, please look for me, karengoesrunning, and send me a challenge!

Challenge your fitness with #TheFitnessGames! Check out @TFGapp and let the games begin! – Click to Tweet!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer

It’s that time of year again.  The time of year when everywhere you look, you see pumpkin.  From food to  drinks and candles… and I love it!  My favorite way to get my seasonal fix, is in my coffee!  But if you’re like me, you may occasionally go to Starbuck’s for your Pumpkin Spice latte, but you’re not likely to do that everyday.  (Or in my case a couple of times a day, because I have a serious coffee addiction)!

Why not make your own?  Its so easy, and then you know everything that goes into it!


Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

14 ounces heavy whipping cream (or half and half will do), divided

1/4 cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk


Whisk 4 ounces cream, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract together in a saucepan. Heat pumpkin mixture on med/low until heated through and completely blended.

Pour sweetened condensed milk, remaining 10 ounces cream, and pumpkin mixture into a container, cover the container with a lid, and shake until completely mixed. Store in the refrigerator.


What’s your favorite part of Fall?  

Week 9 of Richmond Marathon Training and a New Race on the Schedule

I am now on week 9 of training for the Richmond Marathon!  And even more exciting, it’s still going well!  Well sort of…

I made the decision to skip out on running last weekend.  I’m a little bummed to miss out on my 18 mile run, but it was for a good cause!   On Friday morning, I got the call from my sister that she was heading into Labor and Delivery, and my niece was going to be born!  So, I packed up the car and raced from Virginia to Ohio!  I pulled into the hospital parking lot just as my Mom was calling to tell me she was ready to push, and I had better hurry!   I was so excited to make it in time, and to have the once in a lifetime opportunity of witnessing my adorable, but BIG (10 lbs!), baby niece enter the world!


Seriously, it was amazing!  And isn’t she just adorable?!

I knew I wasn’t going to fit in a 5 mile run on Friday and Saturday, or a 18 miler on Sunday.  Instead I soaked up all the time I could with my family, and got back on track this week.  I considered trying to fit in extra runs to make up the miles, but I’ve still got two 20 milers, and a 22 before the race.  Instead of maybe overdoing it fitting in extra miles, I’m going to just let them go.

Week 8, (after coming back from Ohio) looked like this:

Tuesday – 4 miles

Wednesday – 8 miles

Thursday – 5 miles

Friday – A really great 6 mile run!


Look at those splits!  and I really had to talk myself into this run, glad I did!

Sunday was a 13.1 long run.  It was slow and achy, and everything felt a little tight.  But, I felt great after I was done!

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Now onto Week 9!  Its a 34 mile week, with a 16 mile long run.  I still feel like I may add 2 more to get my 18 in that I missed, (obviously I haven’t completely let that go yet).  But we’ll see…  🙂

Lastly, I have a 20 mile run scheduled for the following week, and I’m super excited to have found a (sort of) local 20 miler race.  The Stonewall Jackson 20 Mile Ambulance Run.


From what I can tell, its a relatively small race, and lots of fast runners.  Me being not so fast a runner, and using it as a training run, with no plans to race it, I imagine I will be towards the back of the pack.  But that is OK.  I’m just looking forward to having someone else plan my 20 mile route, and checking out the historic sites!  Plus, if I’m running 20 miles anyway, I may as well get a t shirt for my troubles.  😉  Mostly though, I am just really happy to have another race to look forward to!  Its been too long!

If you miss a training run, do you try to make it up?  Or let it go? 

So This is What it Feels Like to Actually Follow my Training Plan

My youngest started preschool this week…   Of course I was sad to drop him off.  Its a big deal!  But, let me tell you, for the first time in over seven years, I was ALONE.  In the middle of the day, in the middle of the week!


Superman has gone off to fight crime without Mommy…

So what did I do with my first day to myself?  Well, I ran of course.  🙂  What else would I have done?!  I turned the pace off my GPS watch and just ran.  Ended up with a pretty great 8 miles.


In fact, (I don’t want to jinx it) but I’ve really had a couple  months of good running.  I haven’t been plagued with the hip pains that I had early this summer.  And I’ve not had the knee pains like I did during my last round of marathon training.  There is definitely something to be said for running without the pain!

I will say, when running is fun, it is a lot easier to stick to my training plan.  I’m feeling really good about it this go-round.  Last week I ran over 45 miles, which brought my August total to 152 miles!  My first time breaking 15o miles.  🙂   If I can keep it up, September should look about the same as August, maybe about 160 miles.  However, October should be about 200 miles!  This is amazing to me!

So, here’s what this week looks like (even though it’s already half over).

Monday:  Rest day, and being on Labor day I took that pretty seriously  😉

Tuesday:  5 miles (and after partying it up for Labor day, it wasn’t pretty).

Wednesday: 8 miles

Thursday: 8 miles (Fartleks)

Friday: rest

Saturday: 5 miles

Sunday: 16

I will be visiting family in Richmond this weekend, so I’m hoping to add a little bit of the Marathon course to my long run on Sunday!  It will be great to have some new sights for Sunday’s run!

What are you training for right now?  How’s your training going?  

Swirlgear Ambassador

I mentioned in my last post that I had an announcement to make.  And if you were an observant reader, you probably noticed this shiny new button:


I’m super excited to be a Brand Ambassador for Swirlgear!  Seriously, these running clothes are great!

Here’s what they have to say about their line of clothes:

Swirlgear is a specialty women’s running apparel brand that celebrates the strength, style and spirit of active women. As a women-owned company, we know style and function are top priorities of fellow runners. Our performance fabric will keep you cool and dry, even on those challenging long runs, while the lengthier cut of each piece will prevent garment ride-up. Contrast flat stitching, fabric insets and vivid colors will add feminine flare and energy to your running apparel wardrobe.
Designed by women runners, for women runners.


See how cute these clothes are?!  I totally see myself wearing them all the time, not just on my runs.  (Especially this green hoodie).   I love these long sleeve tops!  It’s been too warm yet to wear them on a run, but there are some features that I’m really excited about.  The long sleeves are extra long, which is a big deal for me and they have thumb holes, that I’ve found I’ve begun to count on in cold weather running!

Not to mention, The spray dye patterns are so fun!  No two spray dyed pieces are alike!

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Another great feature, in their newest line is the side pocket!  All the tops have a pocket in them, even the tanks!  I love having a place to carry things on my long run, and so few tanks include pockets.


This sunny yellow shirt is one of my favorite shirts!

If you’re looking for new running clothes, I would suggest you check out Swirlgear!   And, if you see something you like (which I’m sure you will), use code SWIRLON to receive free ground shipping on your order!


As part of the Brand Ambassador program, I did receive these clothes at a discount.  However I purchased them myself, and the opinions expressed are my own.  (I really DO love these clothes!)  😉 

What Have I Been Doing This Month?

August is coming to an end…  and with that, so is my busiest month EVER!   Ok…  so that may be an exaggeration, I mean December can get pretty hectic too.  But its been a crazy August!

While my blogging has been put on a back burner, there has still been a lot going on!  I mentioned at the beginning of the month that we were finishing our attic.  Well, we just finished it.  Completely!  The project that took all Summer is over, and I LOVE it!  Remember the Before:

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 Well, now it looks like this:


A bit of a change, no?  😉   We have so much extra living space  and I couldn’t be happier!

Now, I may not have been very faithful to blogging, but I have been super faithful to my marathon training!  I have switched from the original plan to my husband’s plan for this marathon.  So, where I was hoping to get 118 miles in August, I am now on track to hit 150!  A new high for me!  We’ve still been able to run together Sunday mornings, and it is working out perfectly!


Not to mention, I now have a dedicated, personal photographer.  😉

And now for some exciting news!  I am super happy to announce that I am a now a SweatPink Ambassador!


What is a SweatPink Ambassador?

Well, here is their mission statement:

We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick.

We sweat pink.

Isn’t that fabulous?!  What that means is I will be joining an amazing community of like-minded women, who are dedicated and passionate about fitness and health.   I am thrilled to be chosen as an ambassador, and can’t wait to meet so many other women  who also “Sweat Pink!”

Happy Thursday!  And I have another announcement coming soon!  (You may find a clue if you’re an observant reader).  😉

Ice Cream for Dinner, A Mountain and 10 Miles Revisited

This is the last week before the kids go back to school!   It’s bittersweet…  While I’m quite giddy over the fact that I’ll have time to myself, and I’ll actually be able to get off the treadmill a bit, and hit the road to run, I’m going to miss these loud, messy, little people.  So, in preparation for a new school year, we’ve been busy fitting in all things Summer that we can this week.  (Ice cream for dinner?  Sure!  All day at the pool?  Of course!)

Which is why, here it is Tuesday, and I’m only just getting to my weekend running recap.


Saturday’s run was an easy 4 miles.   I ran into a friend at the 2nd mile, and we chatted while we ran for the second half.  Everyone’s been so busy this Summer, it was nice to catch up!

Saturday night my husband and I got into a discussion about what route we running for our long run.  The in-laws were having the kids over for Sunday breakfast, so once again we had the opportunity to run together.   I suggested we try a 10 mile loop we had ran once about 2 years ago.  Oh, it was a terrible run!  Up until that point, I had only ever ran 6 miles (on a treadmill with lots of walk breaks).  I thought that first time running a 10-miler was going to kill me.  I walked a huge portion of it, and we finished well over 2 hours.  But it was awesome!!  I mean, I had gone for a 10 mile run!  It was a huge motivation to keep on going, because I had done something I never thought I could.

Fast forward to this past weekend, and we were running that route again.  Seems after a couple of years, I had forgotten just how steep the uphills and downhills were.  We pretty much ran up and over a mountain.


Now I know why it took us two years to run this route again…  🙂

Actually, it wasn’t all that bad.  It was a little challenging, but it was a good run!  The views at the top were beautiful, and we even saw some deer run in front of us.  This was one of those times that I wish I still carried my phone with me instead of a GPS watch to track my runs.  It would have made for some pretty pictures…

Overall,  it was great to see how far I’ve come from struggling through this 10 miles, to running through it and finishing strong!


(See that mountain behind me?  I ran up and over it!) 

It looks like Zach and I will be able to continue running our long Sunday runs together, so I think I’m probably going to be changing my training plan to match his.  Zach uses the training plan that comes with the Nike plus app.  Has anyone tried this?  Did you like it?

Happy Running!

Hello August! Bring it on!

It’s Friday!  The start of the weekend, and the start of a new month!


(See this face?  This is the excitement of wearing long sleeves this week!  Seriously, 60’s and 70’s in July?  Yes please!!)

It was quite a month!  Not the most notable, running-wise.  But a full month nonetheless.

Throughout July, we’ve been working on a big renovation in our home, mostly doing it ourselves.  We are really close to being done with it, and I am so glad!  Right now, my house is  mess and all of my extra time is spent on this one project.  As soon as it’s done, I promise I’ll share!  😉

 But for now, here’s a sneak peek into the “Before”

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This was our attic.  A mess, right?!  Not anymore!  And I’m so excited for the finished space!

Why else was July a great month?  Because I started this blog!  And even more exciting, I’m not the only one that’s read it!  Seriously, I’m so excited for you guys that are following me!  And hopefully soon I’ll get a better hang of this, and find my “voice,” as they say.   😉

As far as running goes…  I ended July with 65.5 miles.  I’m not exactly happy with that, but the way I see it is, July was my “rest” month, before I wear myself out again with marathon training.  😉

Yesterday’s run was 5 miles of speed work, with a little extra motivation courtesy of my marathon race shirt.  Seriously, my race shirts have become some of my favorite clothes!  (This coming from the girl that used to not even own a single tshirt!)


All that being said, here are my goals for August:

Run 118 miles,  and not neglect my cross training.  I know that if I worked on strength training, I would be a better runner, but I just want to run!  I especially need to strengthen my hips and quads, I’m pretty sure that is where all my aches and pains stem from.

Here’s to a new month!  Hopefully you all reach your goals!!

What are your favorite ways to cross train?  Did you meet your goals for July?  Anyone running a race in August?