Washington DC Bucket List

I’ve been living the single life for about a week now and not only has the countdown to Clay’s return started, the other countdown has started too. The countdown to our PCS move. We’ll be leaving the DC-area this winter, and even though I’ve lived here for nearly six years, there are still a lot of things I haven’t done, food I haven’t eaten, and places I haven’t visited. So, in addition to all of the lists I’m making of prep things I need to get done – lots of purging… getting rid of so much extra junk, clothes, shoes, etc. – I’m making a bucket list of sorts. What things do I have to do, see, and eat before I leave?

Here’s what I have so far:

  1. African American History Museum – The newest Smithsonian opened about two years ago and it’s been a hot ticket ever since. Everything I’ve heard about this museum makes it a must-see, especially in our current social climate. It should probably be required viewing for every American. Maybe then people would calm their tits about NFL players kneeling or Black Lives Matter and better understand why there are protests and why people of color are speaking out. Basically, if people took the time to actually educate themselves about an issue, instead of letting someone else tell them what to think, I think we’d be a lot better off. Anyways, I would really love to have a chance to experience the museum myself – since it’s so popular, tickets are timed entry and typically sell out very quickly. It will take some coordination, but I’m optimistic we’ll be able to make it happen.
  2. Milk Bar – Christina Tosi’s dessert palace. I need it in my life. There are two(?) locations in DC now and ever since seeing her episode of Chef’s Table, I’ve been dreaming about Crack Pie and Birthday Cake and Cereal Milk. I told Clay I wanted to go here before he left, and we didn’t make it, so I’m just moving that date to after he gets home. Ahem. Bring me all of the dessert.
  3. The Wharf – One of the newest spots for a good hang is on the Southwest Waterfront. Admittedly, this area is complete gentrification of the neighborhood, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to check it out. There are a ton of exciting restaurants, music venues, and great views of the Potomac River. We’ve talked about making a date day of a trip to The Wharf by taking the water taxi over from Old Town Alexandria and we just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I hope we can make time before we have to leave.
  4. Toki Underground – More food. I’ve never had ramen before – real ramen that is. Toki is regarded at THE place to go in DC for ramen and it’s such a hot spot that you can’t make reservations. It’s show up, and hope your wait isn’t too long. Because you will be waiting. It’s worth it though, or that’s what everyone tells me. I’m in it to win it on the “don’t miss out on DC food” game, so this is a definite “WE HAVE TO GO HERE.”
  5. Kennedy Center – Now, to be fair, we’ve been here a number of times, but in the year or two we haven’t found the time. Clay would really like to catch one more performance here and so would I. It’s such a special venue, with incredible history and has seen some of the world’s most talented grace its stages. Hamilton is currently there… and while I’d love to luck into those tickets, I’m not delusional. Lol. We’ll probably catch another NSO performance before we go and that will be special enough.


It’s a short list right now, but as our time gets shorter, I have a feeling that list will grow. I’ll remember more stuff I want to do and places I want to go. It’s been an interesting six years in DC to be sure… and I want to make the most of the time I have left. Cheers to the next few months!


Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run

Last Sunday, while Mer was being blown all around the Atlantic City Boardwalk, I was being similarly assaulted by the breeze down in DC. The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run, the annual spring time 10 miler in the DC area, the other bookend to the Fall’s Army 10-miler, and the kickoff to what many consider training season for summer and fall races, was a bit of a blustery affair.

Having looked at the forecast the week of the run, I knew going in that it was likely to be a bit chilly. Temps were predicted to be in the low 40s and the weatherpeople kept mentioning that mayyyybe there’d be snow. Or sleet. Definitely cold. I was (mostly) mentally prepared.

Saturday evening, before the race, participants received an email notifying us that due to the weather conditions we would be facing:

  • Elimination of all race signage and overhead structures at the start and finish lines
  • Elimination of all on-course signage including split time clocks
  • Elimination of all tents on the Washington Monument Grounds except for the bag check tent and the main medical tent
  • Elimination of pre-race warm-ups and post-races awards ceremony

Having been feeling mostly “meh, it’ll be cold, but it won’t be too bad” about the race, I was rudely awakened by these changes. I checked the weather again and to my horror surprise, I saw that in addition to a new predicted temperature of 37 degrees, there would be wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour.

Say what?

Dude. That’s miserable. And cold. And it’s April why is winter back?! I texted my boyfriend and suggested that he would want to dress warm in the morning. Being from Florida, this kid has no winter running anything… so I dug out an extra pair of running/ski pants for him to wear and he found a sweatshirt that was running friendly.

The next morning dawned bright and clear… and effing cold. I had on more layers than I ever run in (I get hot really fast and hatehatehate that feeling, so I usually minimize as much as possible). We planned to arrive at the start with just enough time to drop our bag and get in a corral in order to minimize the amount of time spent standing around. Our metro ride into the city was filled with dread and the ardent desire to turn around and crawl back in a warm bed.


Clay’s face pretty much says it all…

Fortunately, our planning worked well and when we got off the metro at the National Mall, we were able to jet over to the starting area, drop off our stuff and shiver our way into our corral. We only waited about three minutes before our wave started and then we were off. I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful to run that early in the morning ever – moving helped us warm up pretty quickly.

The first couple of miles were tough, as I was fighting cold muscles and a cold body in general, but our intervals (run a mile, walk a minute) worked well for our pacing and before long we fell into a comfortable stride. The wind was a nuisance a lot of the time, though, threatening to blow off our hats or working against us as we ran up the Potomac near the Kennedy Center.

As we came back around to the Tidal Basin, we crossed the halfway point and were feeling pretty good. Some brave souls came out to cheer and were pretty loud at this area as it’s also where runners return to finish. It was great to have the crowd support and to people watch as we went by.

Hitting mile 6, my knee began to twinge a bit – I’ve been dealing with some Runner’s Knee for the past month or so, which has made training somewhat tricky. Running intervals for this race was really key for me to be able to run strong, as just when my knee would feel really tight, it would be time to walk a bit.

The second half of the race takes runners around Haines Point, which is really pretty, but very windy. Part of it had the wind at our backs, though, and that was just the extra umph we needed to push for the finish line.

As we came back to the Washington Monument, the sprint to the finish was real. I was ready to be done, go home, take a hot shower and brunch hard. We crossed the finish line together and immediately put that plan in to motion.

Victorious. And cold.

Victorious. And cold.

All in all, despite the chill and the wind, it was a beautiful day to run in DC. And I had the best running partner. For not feeling very trained, this race was comfortably paced and a good shakeout for summer marathon training. I’ll be playing with my race strategies this summer, so playing with intervals and speed work will be on the schedule. I’m looking forward to what this race season brings!

Megaxe on the Mall

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of Kazaxe.

Bueller? Anyone? Bueller?

Well. according to the team at Azuka-Bom, it’s this:

Axe means “positive vibes”, and it is exactly what our whole philosophy at Azuka-Bom is. We want you to have a place where you can feel great and have fun! “CASA DE AXE” = “House of Positive Vibes”.

Kazaxe is a party workout! We use international music you can FEEL rush through you. Dancehall, Reggae, Hip Hop, Soca, Samba, Axe, Brazilian Funk, Southern Line dances, even some Tinikling, haha. And we do not widdle waddle around, we get you moving. If you think “dancing” can’t be a hard workout, I say, you should just try.

Basically, it’s a super crazy-amazing dance workout. Every time I go, I sweat a ridiculous amount and have so much fun. I mean, just check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSqGNYpjVxE.

This weekend, the gals at Kazaxe held a MEGAXE – a giant dance sesh on the National Mall – to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. image1

Saturday was a beautiful day in DC, which also meant that it was hot and muggy. Seems like a perfect day to dance our butts off. In crazy rave-hippie neon colors. #logic

My girlfriends and I met up at the foot of the Washington Monument to get our dance on. We decked ourselves out in our best warrior paint and neon and glitter – I felt like Ke$ha. It was amazing.



All of the neon. All over. Everything.


We got things started with a warm-up dance – and while warming up the muscles is important, we were already plenty warm. Needless to say, after one dance, the sweat? It was er’rywhere. Which meant that the neon warpaint was also everywhere.

This Megaxe was amazing – I’ve never been to any other workout class where I’m actively encouraged to twerk. Where twerking is part of the routine. The combination of so many styles of dance is probably my favorite part – and let me tell you, the quads? They get one helluva workout.

I also love Kaza because you don’t have to be a dancer to enjoy it. Yes, the moves look kind of hard and things move really quickly, but you just jump in and do the moves the best you can. All that matters is that you’re moving and having fun. It’s nearly impossible not too. The instructors love what they do and they want to make you work.



All of that dancing in the hot, hot sun meant that in about 45 minutes, I’d downed about 4 bottles of water. So necessary. I could only stay for an hour of this two-hour class, but I wore my heart rate monitor and in an hour had burned something like 900 calories. This workout is no joke. Consequently, I also wanted to eat all the things by the time I got home.

Kaza is for everyone! It’s always so awesome to see so many different people get together to dance, get a good workout in, and have a ridiculous amount of fun. I don’t think we could have been smiling harder, even though we were exhausted and nearly dead. I can’t wait to get back to my next class… one of these days I’ll be able to dance like Beyonce. Some day.

Come Run With Me!

Back in January I alluded to some exciting news:

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 6.44.30 PM


Welp, I’m happy to share that I’ve been chosen as one of the 2015 Navy/Air Force Half Marathon Ambassadors!

NAF Half Ambassador

This year, the race will be run on September 20 and as an ambassador, I’m ambassador-ing all of you to join me. Well, you know, if you want. But it’ll be a great time.

Anyone who has done a race in DC knows that few things are greater than running past the US Capitol building, the monuments and the White House. Living in the Nation’s Capital spoils me – I can run on the National Mall right alongside history whenever it strikes my fancy. To finish a run on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is one of the best feelings there is.



The Navy/Air Force Half winds its way through the District, starting on the National Mall in front of the Washington Monument (within view of the White House), around Hains Point, past the Lincoln Memorial and up through Georgetown along Rock Creek Parkway. You’ll get to see some of the best parts of the city!

course map

I’m really looking forward to this race because it supports a great cause: mental and physical fitness for our troops. As the race website says: “The Navy-Air Force Half Marathon is an annual race hosted by Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR). This prestigious race began 11 years ago as the Navy 5 Miler and has grown to over 6,500 runners! The year 2015 will mark the 4th year for the Half Marathon and the 12th year for the 5 miler. Our mission is to foster and support high productivity for our Navy-Air Force audience through mental and physical fitness, personal growth, a sense of community, positive values and Family well-being.”

It’s a win-win situation – the joy of running with a purpose.

Registration is open and if you register using my Ambassador Code: KYLE, you’ll be entered to win a tech shirt!

Click it. You know you want to.

Click it. You know you want to.

And if you’re coming in from out of town for the race, I’ve got the low-down on places to stay and, more importantly, where to eat. So, come run with me!

6 minute PR and running with friends – 2014 Nike Women’s Half DC

I was one of the lucky 15,000 runners who participated in the 2014 Nike Women’s Half DC. We’d attempted to get in to the 2013 inaugural race but unfortunately, that lottery didn’t work in our favor. Therefore, I was pretty stoked when we got the news that we’d be running this race!

As my first ever DC race, I was looking forward to checking out the sights, running with friends, and of course, the Tiffany necklace at the finish line (I’m not even going to pretend like that wasn’t a big draw. IT WAS. Not ashamed.)

With any race, you always hear the pros and cons from the previous year (or years); it’s always interesting to see how race organizers respond to feedback. For example, from what I understand the shirts were handed out at the end of the race in 2013. This year, the shirts were available during packet pickup, due to participant feedback. The shirts run small, but were able to be exchanged at a tent in the Expotique area. (Although the ease of exchange was another story for some friends – Moe was able to do it immediately while Vic was told that she needed to come back at a specific time, which she was unable to do.)


This is a large race and the flow of traffic during the Expotique was congested. There was much to look at and experience, all of which were awesome because this race doesn’t lack for sponsorship, but the lines were pretty intense. So despite the party-like vibe going on, with music pumping and smiling volunteers, the main goal was to take a quick spin through and get out of the tent. We signed the graffiti wall and headed up the street.


There was a long line to take a picture with the WE RUN sign, so we did this and called it good!

Georgetown is a great area and the weather was gorgeous so we took our time strolling along. We reached the Nike Store which had the wall of participant names, something we all were looking forward to seeing.


Keri! Mine was too tall (or maybe I’m too short?).

A bit of shopping, a bit of walking, a lot of food and then we headed back to the hotel, Courtyard Marriott in Foggy Bottom. This was one of the race hotels and a little over a mile walk from the start/finish of the race. Split between four of us, Vic, Moe, Keri and myself, it was $50 per person. Once there we relaxed before… you guessed it, MORE FOOD. All the while we were drinking lots of water to hydrate for the next morning.

During dinner we discussed race plans and met up with Brooke and Josh, who had a later reservation at the same restaurant. Vic would run solo, Kyle and Brooke would follow and Keri, Moe and I planned to bring up the back! My goal was to PR and knew my girls would help me along the way.

Sleep did NOT come easy that evening, despite being exhausted. My mind wouldn’t stop racing and I think that it hindered my running on Sunday morning. No bueno!

We woke at 5:15am, met up with Brooke and her husband an hour later, and walked to the start village.

Brooke and I called Mr. President on the Banana Phone. Of course.

Brooke and I called Mr. President on the Banana Phone. Of course.

Once we reached the split area, we took a picture with Josh’s very amazing sign.


After good byes and good lucks, we were off to find our pace areas. This was another change from last year, from what I understand; there were three waves rather than just one.

So very many people.

So very many people.

My cohorts for the race! Me, Moe and Keri

My cohorts for the race! Me, Moe and Keri

We were surrounded by a lot of first time half marathoners and many Team in Training folks, all of whom did an awesome job! Moe runs with Team in Training in Chicago so while waiting to start we chatted a bit about the training runs, the coaches, and whatnot.

After a bit more chit chat and the introductions of Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson by the DJs, it was GO TIME! We crossed the start about fifteen minutes after the first runners, which was pretty impressive considering that we were in the last corral. The course was pretty packed the majority of the run though so perhaps a bit more time between each corral would help alleviate the congestion. If I ruled the world, this would happen.

Keri, Moe and I settled into our 3:1 intervals, 3 minutes running, 1 minute walking and were able to do that through the race. Naturally we wanted to push the runs but it was hard to do so, as there was never really any open pockets. Bobbing and weaving takes a lot out of you but we did it the entire race.


Heading into the tunnel of no-love.

We hit this tunnel twice and I had no love for it on the way out or back. I mean, on the surface, it’s pretty cool. They had drummers throughout, the beat was echoing off the walls and they also had the graffiti wall and the WE RUN sign from the Expotique. However, it was hotter than blue blazes in there and man, did I feel it. I was happy to get out of there and so was my Garmin.

The race course had other amenities that you don’t usually see at races – some of which were brilliant and others that would have been brilliant in different circumstances. For example, after exiting the tunnel, we saw a chocolate station on the other side of the route. Now, in mile 2 0f the race, chocolate sounded fun. By mile 11, when it could be reality… I wanted no part of it! (Spoiler alert: All I wanted was the finish line.)


You’re a 13.1 in my book

My favorite part of the course were miles 4-7. At mile 4 we saw Brooke’s husband, Josh! He was the only spectator we knew on the course and it’s always nice to see a familiar smiling face.

Around that time is when I got the music (and stashed my phone) so I was rocking and running and having a great ol’ time. The Arlington Memorial Bridge was a lot of fun to run because we got to see runners on the other side, give high fives; it generally had a really good vibe. To paraphrase Pete the Cat, the birds were singing, the sky was bright, the sun was shining and I was feeling ALRIGHT.

That “alright” feeling lasted a little past the halfway point. Which, was very cool, by the way. They had a video camera trained on the road and a huge big screen so you could see everyone running.

At mile 8 I realized that I wasn’t hydrated. Not that I wasn’t hydrating, because I was. I drank two cups at every water station but I was definitely off so I switched out one water for a Nuun cup (the electrolyte drink they had on the course). Our run chatter had definitely diminished to grunts and the occasion expletive and around mile 9, I let Keri and Moe know that I was hurting. I was feeling off, my foot was cranky and all around I was just not in a good way.

However, I had my eyes on a PR. Originally I’d wanted to fall within the 2:30-2:40 range, which would have been a huge PR (of nearly 25-15 minutes) but I felt was doable. As I looked at my watch, I realized that wasn’t going to happen and got a bit disheartened. I knew we’d come in within the 2:40s, which would still be a PR for me (I’m a slow runner, striving to be faster) but I think under different circumstances, things would have played out differently.

On we went, finally hitting that chocolate station in mile 11. I didn’t want it then and it was pretty yucky because there was chocolate on the ground, wrappers and pieces of melted candy. There was no avoiding it so we just ran on, toward… dun dun dun… the tunnel.

Dizziness washed over me and I felt myself stumble to the side a little. That’s when I asked for Keri’s coconut water (you know I wasn’t feeling great because I am usually not a fan of coconut water!) and I got the “We’re nearly at the finish” pep talk from my girls that I so desperately needed. Coming out of the tunnel there was the 20k mat and two large screen with motivational sayings and our names. After one more water station and pouring a cup of water on my head, we rounded the corner and finally the finish line was in sight.

Usually I kick it at the end of a race but I had no more kick. It was all left on the course, for better and for worse. But thankfully, we were done, and with a six minute PR!


Post race, we hugged, and Keri practically carried me to the fancy bottles of water that were located directly after the finish. Then I got what I wanted more than almost anything… CHOCOLATE MILK.

You thought I was going to say the Tiffany necklace, didn’t you? Well, don’t fret because that was next on the agenda!


Vic took an "official" picture with the ROTC dude. The lines were ridic when we were there.

Vic took an “official” picture with the ROTC dude. The lines were ridic when we were there.

The Tiffany’s necklace is pretty incredible… but even more, I’m so grateful that I ran this with good friends who were there with me from start to finish. I was surrounded by love the entire weekend, before, during and after the entire race and by friends whom I don’t get to see on a regular basis. I’m truly lucky that I get to experience so many good things with people who have seen me through so many different parts of my life.


Nike is the goddess of victory and this weekend, it was mine.


How do you sleep the night before a race? Ever run with Team in Training or at a Nike race before? When’s your next race? I have a couple of smaller races scheduled through the summer but my next half is the Dumbo Double Dare. Considering another local half within the summer months… but what?


Chick Chat: Scoot runs DC

For the second time in less than a month, several Scoot a Doot chicks (and honorary chicks) are gathering for a weekend of food, fun and fitness.

That’s right, three short weeks after we ran the boards in Atlantic City, the chicks are headed to our nation’s capital for yet another 13.1-mile jog, the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon.


So it’s been months since we learned we’d be heading to Washington D.C. to run with about 20,000 fierce women. Brooke, Meri and I will be joined by a slew of amazing friends. (honestly, too many to name but we’re excited to see each and every one of you!)

Anyway, here’s what we three chicks are looking forward to this fine spring weekend:


I can’t believe this weekend is finally here. When we agreed to try the lottery for this race, my back-up plan if we didn’t get in was to go for the Broad Street 10 miler, and I was already attempting to convince my husband to run it with us- I was that certain that we wouldn’t get in. Needless to say, I am more than a little excited to be heading up to DC in a few days.

My plan for the race is to run at a comfortable pace and enjoy the sights. I’m not feeling any pain during my runs this week, but I’m not up for attempting a PR either (which would be unlikely anyway). It’s a nice flat course with lots to see- I’ll definitely be carrying my camera.

Beyond the race, I’m really looking forward to a weekend away with my husband, doing some shopping and seeing my girlfriends. Oh, and THE FOOD.



Having lived so close to Washington, D.C. my entire life, you would think that I would have visited there more than a handful of times.

That would be false.

I’ve driven through (on the way to and from Florida) quite a few times but haven’t actually spent much time in our nation’s capital. Therefore, I’m really looking forward checking out the sights while running and hopefully I’ll be able to do a little sightseeing besides the race, too.

The biggest challenge of the weekend won’t have anything to do with the race (I hope!) but rather being able to see everyone I’d like to see. I’m driving down on Friday evening. On Saturday we’ll be heading into the city. Sunday the race begins bright and early, and I’ll be back on the road on Sunday afternoon.

Whirlwind trip, for sure! With a race this big, there are so many friends running and I hope to be able to connect with them all. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to spend time with everyone!

victorianameplateRace plan? You chicks are funny. I just learned yesterday what time the race starts (7 am for you kids following along at home.) I know the course starts and ends in the same spot, that there’s some sort of tunnel and lots of landmarks on a route that friends keep telling me is flat and fast. More than that? I really haven’t thought that far ahead, which is incredibly unlike me as I AM A PLANNER.

As a kid, my family went to DC all the time as my eye doctor was there. (Yes, I’m blind as a bat. Yes, I’ve had five eye surgeries. Yes, there’s so much scar tissue in my eyes that Lasik surgery or contacts are both bad ideas. And yes, we really drove to DC several times each year to see my eye doctor.) But as a result, we spent a lot of time visiting DC landmarks, including all sorts of monuments, museums and of course, The National Zoo.

You may know I was just in DC last month to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA marathon and 1/2 with my friend Traci. We had a blast but spent little time on the sights outside our mileage.

This weekend, I’m sure some sightseeing – and LOTS of eating – will occur and I am itching to wander around the Mall and amidst some cherry blossoms, the weekend will hopefully include lots of quality time with a few of my favorite chicks.

Might we be seeing you in DC? What’s your favorite thing to do in our nation’s capital? What can’t we miss? And good luck to all the runners!


Guest post: There’s a first time for everything

“What was I thinking?”  This is the question that kept running through my head on Friday night – the night before my first half marathon.  Less than six months before I thought anyone who ran more than a 5k for fun was insane.  Less than six months before that I was among those who swore I’d never run unless someone was chasing me.  With a knife.  And there was a delicious fruity and alcoholic drink waiting for me when I was safely away from said knife-wielding maniac.

Well, there I was, my alarm set for 4AM, running gear meticulously lain out – double and triple checked (because I’m a little obsessive like that) waiting for sleep.  It came intermixed with dreams of showing up naked or, even worse, without my race bib. Thoughts like, what if I have to use the bathroom on the course? and what if I break an ankle half a mile from the finish line? plagued me. At one point I woke up cursing the friends who talked me into a race with promises of glory and pride and bling!  Did I mention that among these friends was your favorite runner and mine, Meridith?  Thanks, Mer.

I decided that 3:45 was close enough to 4am and rolled out of bed.  Up and at ‘em!  I threw on my clothes – what a process it was to figure out what I was going to wear!  All winter I had been training in sub-freezing weather, but that morning it was 50 degrees.  Yikes!  Too warm for cold weather gear, not quite warm enough for my regular stuff.  So I found a happy medium. Then it was time for breakfast. Peanut butter and sliced banana on wheat toast.  For the record, yuck.  But it works.

After a few last minute words of advice from my runner husband and a kiss for luck, I was out the door by 4:50. My stomach was still churning when I met my friends at the rendezvous point for carpooling into DC.  Thank goodness for the former DC-dweller turned suburbanite who drove us downtown, because the rest of us would’ve been completely lost.  Fast forward:  we park in the lot, hit the portajon, take Metro to the starting line. It was there that we discovered the VIP portapotties.  Yes. V.I.P. porta potties. Complete with red carpet and velvet ropes. Who knew?  After seeing the lines for the not-so-important-people restrooms, I briefly wished I had forked over the cash for the climate controlled, easily accessible luxury.


Then it was time to find our corrals.  Since the girls I rode in with are considerably faster than I, we headed in opposite directions.  I found myself in corral 30 and luckily made a new buddy – another first timer with fast friends in an earlier corral.

Corral pals!

Corral pals!

She made waiting for the start so much less stressful.  Don’t get me wrong, I was still bouncing on my toes anxious but, had Angie not been there, I might have had a very different experience.

The energy at the race was fantastic!  Because it was a Rock ‘n’ Roll event, there were  great bands along the course and those who lived on the course put their boomboxes on their front porches or had their car stereos blasting.  Good thing too! The local cell and data network was so overloaded because of the influx of people that my Pandora app wasn’t working!  The volunteers at the water and Gatorade stations were fantastic, but the cheering crowds, some with signs, some handing out beer, made the race!

I started out strong.  I kept telling myself to slow down and try not to bonk.  It totally worked for the first 5 ½ miles.  Then came the hill.  I will have nightmares about this hill for the rest of my life.  The elevation climbed from 24 feet to 197 feet in less than 1/3 of a mile.  When I tell you that it looked (and felt) like we were going straight up, I do not exaggerate.  Probably 85% of the people around me had to walk it, and some even did so backwards to take the strain off their hamstrings and shift into using their quads.  It was rough.

Accurate sign is accurate.

Accurate sign is accurate.

My legs were fried by the top and it really messed with the rest of my race. At that point I made a conscious decision that I would basically power walk uphill and only run the downhills.  I wasn’t happy about it, but I did what I had to do to get it done.  Thankfully, the end of the race was downhill so I was able to run through the finish line and smile for the cameras.

I collected my medal (which, if it wasn’t so darn heavy, I would wear it until the ribbon gave out) and headed through the finishers’ chute.  I was very happily surprised when I turned at the sound of my name and realized that Victoria, another of my favorite Scoot a Dooters, had found me in the midst of 25,000 people.


All in all, it was great day.  I am incredibly proud that I completed the course and have a shiny new medal to show for it.


I am hopeful that the whole experience will be like childbirth in that it’s pretty painful, but worth it, and a few days later you want to do it all over again.  It better be since Meri and Vic suckered me into signing up for another half in six weeks.  Yikes!

Keri is a stay-at-home mom to twins who loves to travel and over-indulges in historical fiction. She has been known to tone down her innate awesomeness in order to make those around her more comfortable.

Everyone has to start somewhere! We want to hear about your firsts – whether it be your first run, 5k, 10k, half marathon, or marathon. What did you do beforehand that worked well? What would you do differently?

RnR USA: Racing in Washington DC!

It was well over a year since my last Rock n’ Roll marathon event and I was long overdue.

So when my friend Traci asked me to join her for the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll USA marathon and half-marathon, the decision was simple. We headed south Friday, the day before the race, and after a quick stop to drop our bags at the hotel we headed to the race expo, held at the Armory. We’d left behind about 20 inches of snow from a mid-March blizzard and were itching for warmer weather.

We were in and out of the expo quickly, as we were on a schedule and needed to get to Virginia. The expo had quite a few vendors – running gear for any and all was aplenty! But we retrieved our race packets and changed Traci’s corral quickly. She bought a new shirt and visor and we headed right back out door.

On race morning, we left early and took the Metro in from Virginia to Central DC. We arrived just before 6 a.m. – well ahead of the crowd of nearly 25,000 runners. We were able to drop our bags (to collect after the race) with ease and found an indoor restroom to use multiple times before we headed to the starting corrals along Constitution Avenue, adjacent to the National Mall.

We headed into our corral, right next to the Museum of Natural History, about 15 minutes before the 7:30 a.m. race start and chatted race strategy for a bit. Before we knew it, it was time to toss the throwaway clothes.

pantsFarewell, old friend

It may sound silly, but I was rather attached to this pair of pants and honestly, I wasn’t completely willing to discard them. They’d accompanied me to numerous regattas over the years, including The Head of the Charles and even Worlds in St. Kit’s. They also came with me to celebrate my most recent marathon in NYC. But I knew they would go to good home, as all discarded clothing is collected and donated in the DC area.

Before I knew it, we had started moving toward the starting line. 12 minutes after the first wave started the race, we joined them on the course.

rock1The start

Within the first mile, we ran past The White House and the Washington Monument. Our second mile brought the Lincoln Memorial and a run-by of Arlington National Cemetery. The next few miles flew by – we hugged the Potomac River, we ran through a wooded area by the National Zoo and up one darn steep hill toward Calvert Street.

I knew that hill was coming, but ouch. STEEP!

I ran the half to pace Traci for the first part of her full marathon. Our goal was to stay as close to 10-minute miles as possible, even building in a bit of a buffer as we ran. Every so often, I’d call out our pace — letting her know if were were going too fast or too slow.

Shortly after we passed the Mile 7 marker, Traci let me know she needed a bathroom. We spotted a gas station and veered off the course. Why not? It couldn’t hurt to ask.

Inside, the clerk waved Traci into the employee-only restroom as soon as it was vacated by another relieved runner. I stretched and thanked him repeatedly as she was otherwise occupied.

Two minutes later, we were again on the road and on a mission to make up at least half of the lost time. We sprinted by a hill on Harvard Street and zipped past Howard University before we pulled in the reigns.

We were back on track.

We didn’t chat a whole lot those last few miles together. We were busy admiring the views – particularly of The Capitol building as we ran south along North Capitol Street.

The half course included 12 live bands and the full course had twice as many on-stage performers. I loved the live music as I ran ran past each stage. Also on the course were thousands of DC residents and fans, many holding witty signs and offering beer to runners. No really, it’s beer, a few fine folks chanted as we ran by.

Traci and I split apart shortly after mile 12, and I cheered her along, knowing full well she was on track to meet her time goal of 4:30.

My last mile was my fastest of the race. I zipped past other runners and cheered as I bolted along those last few streets. Several last turns and I reached the finish line just outside RFK Stadium. 2:06:31. I’ll take it!


I grew up not far from DC and my family visited many times each year. But as an adult, I hadn’t spent much time in our nation’s capital. I actually hadn’t been there in over a decade, outside the airports. Running through DC – past monuments and neighborhoods – yielded a flood of childhood memories.

I bee-bopped my way around the post-race party for the next few hours and cheered a few friends to the finish. I spotted friend Keri shortly after she finished her FIRST-EVER half-marathon!

rock6With Keri, who is GLOWING, after her first half! Congrats lady!

I also enjoyed a post-race beer at the concert beer garden. The beer’s included in your race entry. Sweet!

rock3my blinged-out beer

A jammin’ post-race concert is always a large draw for the Rock n’ Roll Marathon races, and RnRUSA was no different. Indie-folk rock band The Head and the Heart headlined the post-race concert to a lively crowd.

rock4With The Head and the Heart, after the concert

Then it came, the notice I’d been waiting for – the text that Traci had finished her race! She surpassed her goal and bested her previous marathon time by 30 minutes! It took me another 30 minutes to locate her – but we connected at our prearranged meeting spot and together headed back into the beer garden for her celebratory drink!

rock5Traci and me, post race!

We had a fabulous day and look forward to running again in 2015!

Have you run in our nation’s capital? (In a race or just for fun?) Have you ever paced a friend? What’s your post-race drink of choice? BEER? Gatorade? chocolate milk? Tell me in the comments!