Colfax Training Week 16: Taper Week 1 = DONE!

Happy Monday!

Congrats to everyone that raced this weekend! I won’t give it away, but I saw on Instagram that a BUNCH of PR’s fell. Great job!!

I am now in the second week of my taper… and I am just terrible at this. Not only did I skip a run last week for no reason at all, but my paces were WAY TOO FAST! I also ate total garbage (seriously, Captain Crunch Cereal). I am supposed to be taking it easy, eating well, hydrating, and I totally botched those goals. I need to get a handle on myself!

I did have a great weekend paddling the Kansas River. I’ll post about that later, but here is a picture from where Frank and I camped Saturday Night.

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Beautiful sunset over the river.

Last Week:

Monday: Yoga

Tuesday: 5.1 miles – ended up race pace, was supposed to be easy + Yoga

Wednesday: Last speed work! 7 miles (WU+4×800+CD) + Yoga

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Yoga <- Why didn’t I run my 6 miles? No idea!

Saturday: 4.1 miles with run group (too fast) + 4 miles recovery pace

Sunday: 13.1 miles LSD <- ended up race pace…

Total: 33.3 miles

As you can see those paces were just too freaking fast. I am hoping that a week like this didn’t burn out my legs for the race. I feel good, but running too fast in training just wastes energy.

The speed work on Wednesday was really fun. In high school, I was a sprinter. I ran the 200 and the 400, but my coach always wanted me to do longer distances and pushed me towards the 800. Unfortunately, I hated the 800. It is a real suffer distance. So, pushing through the suffering by doing some 800’s was really good for my head.

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Apparently when they say the trail is closed, they mean it. I ran around this sign and ended up in ankle deep mud.

The long run on Sunday was a little weird. Manhattan, KS has had a lot of flooding lately, so the main trail that runs through town was very muddy. There was a section that was completely washed out and I had to climb around the mud up to some trees, but I still ended up pretty messy. I set out on the run hoping to keep things around the same pace I usually do my long runs (9:35-9:45/mi), but just could not slow down. The miles kept ticking by and I just kept getting faster. Overall, my pace was 9:01/mi, about 5 seconds per mile faster than race pace. Luckily I felt good and fresh, so maybe this whole taper thing is working.

So, another week is in the books! I am going to try to be better this week, especially about food and water. I’ll be running my last double digit run (woo!) before the marathon and then it’s basically done. I really only have a few miles left before I walk to the starting line out in Denver.

How was your training this week? What is you next big race?

A1A Half Marathon Race Recap!!

Wow… it has been a long time since I raced. I was hurt in September last year, which put an early end to my fall season. Luckily I am back, healthy, and back racing! On Sunday, I ran the A1A Half Marathon in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had intended to PR and was even shooting for my first sub-1:50. Unfortunately, it was not my day, and that is not how the race went. It was a grueling 13.1, but I learned a lot and I feel more confident heading into the 6th week of my full-marathon training.

Saturday

I went to the expo in the morning to pick up my bib. A1A always has a large expo with a lot of freebies and deals. I walked around, picked up some free food, and then went out to lunch with Kristina and Ali. It was great to meet them, and it kind of felt like I was meeting a celebrity or something! My mom had come with me to the expo and hung out with us at lunch as we discussed the pros and cons of Ali running the full marathon (and she did! She even PRed!).

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Kristina, Ali, me, and my mom all enjoyed some good pizza (and snacks) at Pizza Fusion!

After lunch, my mom and I made it home and we watched the Marathon Olympic Qualifiers. I gotta say… I need a friend like Amy Cragg. It was incredible how she pulled Shalane Flanagan through the end of the race and even caught her at the finish line. Seriously, Amy needs to be my training buddy!

For dinner, my parents and I went to a local Italian restaurant. This is probably where I screwed up my race. I typically eat a plant based diet and mostly keep to a vegan diet. I occasionally eat eggs, and very occasionally will eat something milk based. I decided to order pasta with a crème-based sauce, since it sounded really good. I can’t think of a worse thing to eat for someone who rarely (if ever) eats crème-based foods. And so it was not to my surprise when I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible stomach cramps. I told myself that they would subside, went back to sleep, and woke up at 3:30 am to get ready to race.

Race Day!!

I knew that my stomach did not feel right, but I figured it would probably go away after a few miles. I took a few trips to the port-a-john (which helped, for sure), and then got to my starting spot. I saw Ali as she was heading over to the corrals and tried to calm my nerves while talking to my parents.

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Ali and I hanging out at the start line. I was pretty nervous here!

Miles 1-5

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At promptly 6:00 am, the race began and I walked my way up to the starting line and took off. I wanted to hold just over an 8:30 pace for the first 5 miles, and then my plan was to take a few seconds per mile off for the rest of the race in order to PR. The only problem was, over an 8:30 pace felt labored and hard. I tried to hold it for the first three miles, but my stomach cramps kept getting worse. I pulled the pace back a bit for miles 4 and 5 in hopes to work out whatever was going on.

Miles 6-10

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By the 10K mark, I knew that I was not going to PR, so then I just told myself that I wanted a course PR. Despite the cramps, I held it together, but couldn’t stop thinking about how hard this pace seemed for me. Mile 10 was just over a 9-minute pace, which is normally a pretty chill pace for me. It did not feel chill at all. I had gotten to the out and back portion and kept telling myself that if I saw Ali or Kristina on the other side, I would take a 10-second walk break. I never saw them, but instead stopped at each water break. I usually run through the water stops, but I couldn’t keep myself from walking. By mile 10, I was starting to get worried that the 2-hour pacer would catch up to me.

Miles 11-13.1

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The last 5k of the race is along the beach with some beautiful views. I kept at it, pushing myself to get my course PR. I turned up my headphones, hoping that I could drown out my own thoughts (which were seriously telling me to just walk to last three miles).

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Even though I wasn’t feeling like I could run really fast, I did enjoy the scenery!

I looked at my watch and figured I could maybe eek out a very small PR if I busted my butt for the last three miles. I’m not actually sure if that is true. On a good day, maybe I could squeeze out a few 7:30 miles… I did at Rocky Mountain, but I was not going to manage that here. I told myself to just keep it comfortable-ish and finish. During the final mile, I saw my PR come and go. I didn’t care too much, and I was focused on just finishing. I saw my parents, Frank, and his parents by the end, and I barely had the energy to wave. I just gritted through and finished. After crossing the finish line, I doubled over hoping that would give my stomach some relief. It was definitely my most labored race finish ever.

My official finish time was 1:54:24, less than 3 minutes off my PR.

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Happy to be done!

 Post Race

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My whole family was there at the finish line. Even though I was tired, we managed to get this cute shot!

I got my medal, grabbed some Gatorade and found my family. I’ve gotta say, there is nothing like a whole lot of suffering to appreciate a race medal. I ate a little bit, hung around the finish line and even got to see Kristina finish!!

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I was glad to see Kristina cross the finish line!

Overall, I had a fun race, even though things did not go as planned. I’ll have other chances at PRing in the half marathon. For now, I am focusing on Colfax. I have a few tune-up races in between, but none of those will be PR attempts. I am concentrating on slower longer mileage and making sure that I do as well as I can out at Colfax. I think this race was a good lesson and if nothing else, was an opportunity to run a little faster and hang out with my family!

Colfax Marathon Training Week 4: Upping the speed!

Well… I didn’t see Sage Canaday this week, but that’s to be expected since I don’t think he visits Kansas much. I did have some solid training and put up 34 miles in my last week before the A1A half. Some miles were good, some were ok, some were pretty miserable. I guess that’s to be expected though.

Monday: 4.1 miles at easy pace + yoga

It was pretty nice out, so this was a rather enjoyable run. Since I had run 12 miles the day before, I treated this like a recovery run and took things really slow. It felt good and easy, and I really think I was good about keeping it at an easy pace.

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Downtown looks so pretty with the sunset!

Tuesday: 6 miles tempo run at (hopefully) half marathon pace + yoga

This was a pretty tough run. I went out with one of my friends that is a bit faster than me. There were a few miles where I was thinking I’d have to slow down, but I pushed through and I am glad that I did. We even kept our last two miles under 8 minutes (which is more like 10k pace for me). This was an incredibly confidence building run. I felt that in a race and on tapered legs, I might be able to hold that pace for A1A… which would result in a pretty substantial PR.

Wednesday: Rest – I taught 7 yoga classes, so I think that should count for something!

Thursday: 4 miles easy + yoga

I went out in the afternoon for an easy paced run. I kept it chill and felt totally comfortable the whole time. I think I’m getting better at pacing these easy runs!

Friday: 6 miles – Fartlek run 1:2:3:2:1 (5k:10k:half:10k:5k)

This was a HARD fartlek. I went out for a mile warm up on a gravel path that loops around town. I then did 1:2:3:2:1 minutes at (5k:10k:half:10k:5k) with a slow jog in between each pace. I did this pattern twice… and the second time around, pretty much everything felt hard. However, my 5k pace got faster on the second time, so go figure. I definitely suffered a bit, but it felt good to go out there and push the paces a little.

Saturday: Hiked 6 miles, no running

Frank and I went out with some friends to a trail south of town. It was a slow hike and it felt good to walk off some of the soreness from the fartlek run the day before.

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Hiking out on the prairie.

Sunday: 14 miles LSD

Holy cow… this run was a beast. Frank and I hiked in the morning, so I didn’t get out until the afternoon. This was a huge mistake. There were 40 mph winds that brought me to a halt several times. Even when the wind was to my back, it was still hard to run. I felt like I was thinking about keeping my form together the whole time and I often times felt like I was terribly slow. By the end, I was really tired and stiff. Basically this was a sufferfest. Hitting 14 miles before a half marathon is a big milestone for me. I don’t like to go into a half without overshooting the mileage by at least a little. I actually usually prefer to do 16, but I didn’t quite make it. Despite that, this run was still hugely helpful for my confidence heading into next week.

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Frank and I on our morning hike. He thinks my hat looks dumb, but I think it makes me look like a rugged explorer!

Total: 34 Miles!

This is my biggest mileage week in a long time. It felt great to be back to heavy training. I think the workouts I did this week will really help me at A1A. Hitting some quick paces on my tempo run made me feel like I actually have a chance at a big PR. I, honestly, don’t think this week could have gone better.

Well next week is race week, this is what is up for me:

M: 5 miles easy pace

T: 6 miles with 4 at MP

W: Fly to Florida

T: 3 miles easy pace

F: Chill + some yoga

S: Rest

S: A1A Half Marathon!!

Total: 27 miles

How did your week go? Anyone have any races coming up?

Friday Five: My Favorite National Parks

This week’s Friday Five is Five Favorites. Since I love being outdoors so much, I decided to list out my five favorite National Parks. So far, I have been to 19 of them and I’m gonna go ahead and list the 5 best! Thanks to Mar on the Run, Eat Pray Run, and You Signed up for What?! for hosting the linkup.

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  1. Glacier National Park

This one obviously had to make first on the list. Frank and I got married at Glacier a little over 3 years ago, where we had our closest friends and family with us to celebrate the wonderful day. The park is more than magical. It teems with wildlife and beautiful flowers. Every direction you look is a more fantastic view than the last. There are tons of day and overnight hikes around the park, and there are even trails that are accessible to people with injuries or are handicapped.

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Our wedding was pretty small, but it really was such an amazing experience.
  1. Canyonlands National Park

Recently Frank and I took a trip out to Moab, Utah and we spent a good amount of time in Canyonlands. Although Arches National Park is more popular for that region, Canyonlands offers trails that are longer and with way less people. We hiked probably about 50 miles around the park, and even did an overnight trip. If you are ever in Utah… this place is pretty amazing!

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Frank and I went mountain biking at Canyonlands. It was pretty awesome!
  1. Gates of the Arctic National Park

During the summers of 2013 and 2014, I did some fieldwork at Toolik Field Station in the north slope of Alaska. The field station was right up against Gates of the Arctic, which is incredibly inaccessible to most people. The park is pristine and there are no trails. Basically, you just wander around through the tundra in a particular direction to head up mountain peaks. There are bears, porcupines, elk, moose… basically there’s almost any mega-fauna you could think of out there. This park made the list because you really get to feel like an explorer when you are out there. You get to see things that hardly anyone sees, and it really feels like you’re the first person to ever step foot there.

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Nearly to the summit of the highest peak in the Brooks Range. We didn’t quite make it because visibility near the summit was non-existent. 
  1. Everglades National Park

I grew up in South Florida, pretty close to the Everglades. I remember large afternoon storms brewing over the everglades and dumping steamy rain on to Coral Springs. I’ve been to the Everglades many times, but the craziest was when Frank and I paddled 100 miles through the park along the Wilderness Waterway. It took us 7 days. The Everglades is a fantastic place to see a really unique ecosystem. If you live close, you should check it out!

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There are some beautiful beaches in the Everglades.
  1. Smokey Mountains National Park

While in college, I was part of an outdoor club that frequented the Appalachians. Trips with the outdoor club were where Frank and I realized how we felt about each other and some of my favorite trips were at and around Smokey Mountains. There’s climbing, hiking, and some of the best backpacking in the country. The Appalachian Trail runs straight through the park and includes some of the most scenic areas.

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Right outside of the national park is a large waterfall where a bunch of us repelled down (a few of my friends repelled naked… not advised). 

I could include so many more parks, but these are probably the most sentimental to me. If you are ever around any of these (especially Glacier), you should really check them out! I really think the National Park System was America’s best idea!

 

What is your favorite National Park? Are there any that you’ve always wanted to go to? I’ve never been to Yosemite, but I’ve always wanted to.

Running Favorites

Thanks Lizzy for tagging me in your running favorites! It’s been fun reading everyone’s posts.

Favorite:

Running Places

Now that I am in a new place, I get to have new places to run. I’ve made an effort to go to new places each day and check out the areas of town that I like. And I gotta say, I like it all. However, one place really stands out as the best. I’m going to go ahead and say the Konza Prairie is my favorite place. Just check out its beauty.

The beautiful Konza Prairie. Who wouldn't love running here?
The beautiful Konza Prairie. Who wouldn’t love running here?

The Konza is a biological field station owned by Kansas State University. It has a storied history in ecology research and is a generally awesome place. It also is some challenging trails. I love the rolling hills and wide open views… oh and there is a lot of wildlife to come by too… and prairie chickens!!!

This is a Prairie Chicken... I love them!
This is a Prairie Chicken… I love them!

Time of Day:

I wish I were a morning runner. One day, I’ll make the switch. But for now, I like to run in the evenings. There are always people around and lots of things going on, and I like to just people watch while I run. However, I do my long runs in the late morning (like 10am), since they are a little more substantial. I also don’t think I have the energy at like 6 to punch out much more than 6-8 miles.

Weather:

NOT WINTER! Oh man. I hate running in the cold. Actually, I generally like it warm, like 70 degrees. I lived in South Bend, where it is like the arctic for most of the year. I would dread going out in that. I’m definitely a native Floridian at heart, and I am cold all the time. Running in the warm never really bothers me, although it does slow me down a bit. I’d rather be slowed down than cold.

This is too much snow for running...
This is too much snow for running…

Fuel:

I have a pretty bad stomach. I get issues from a lot of different gels, and I have to be mindful on longer runs to eat throughout the run. I generally like Honey Stinger Chews. I down maybe one or two every few miles when I’m going 12 or more. Otherwise my stomach gets really messed up as soon as I stop running. I have not experimented much with gels (I like the salted watermelon, but I generally don’t need it on my runs, since they are not long enough). I’ll probably know more as I take on my marathon training for Chicago.

These are great!
These are great!

Rewards:

Hm… This is a hard one. I do love food, but I was a foodie even before I was a runner. I guess I’d have to say the races. I love the adrenaline I get and how happy everyone is at a race, and well, if you don’t train, racing is not so enjoyable. I think a lot about upcoming races while I run, and how I’ll feel at the starting line. I like to feel confident in the amount of training I did before walking up to that line and that is certainly a reward.

What is your favorite animal to see on a run? Do you have a favorite reward?

A Crazy Weekend Trip!

I didn’t do a lot of running this week, but I did go on an awesome weekend trip! I’ve been feeling a little burnt out, so I only ran with my running group on Wednesday. My trip was awesome, so I’ll tell ya all about that!

My husband (Frank) and I like to spend our time hiking and experiencing things that are of the local culture. We used to do this with a large group of friends in Florida, but now that we live in Indiana, we do a lot more just the two of us. After living here for five years, we have managed to do a lot and see a lot. However, we had a bit of a bucket list going of things we wanted to do. We are moving to Kansas in about a month and we were worried we wouldn’t get to everything. This trip was meant to finish up that list!

The main thing was going to the last few state parks in Indiana that we had not been to. After this trip, it is official; we have been to every one! We managed to cover a lot more than just a few parks.

Thursday Evening: Left after work around 6 pm and drove to Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, In. We grabbed some Ethiopian food in Indianapolis on the way (Delish!). We slept in our car just outside the park.

Friday Morning: We hiked a few trails in Spring Mill while getting poured on. There was so much water. Water was flowing out of one cave and into another, it was flooding trails, covering bridges… really, it was flooded. After stomping around in the mud and water we went to the Gus Grissom Memorial Museum. Turns out his hometown was Mitchell, In.

This water was flowing out of a cave... it was insane.
This water was flowing out of a cave… it was insane.

Friday Afternoon: I wish I had brought my camera for this place. We went along a trail called Hemlock Cliffs in Hoosier National Forest. This was an absolutely beautiful place. There were waterfalls and caves, plenty of rock-face and beautiful trails.

Friday Evening: We went to Lincoln Boyhood Home National Park, hiked some trails and visited President Lincoln’s mom’s grave (there were a few graves on this trip… weird. I know). We then went to Lincoln State Park, got rained on some more, and dodged a Tornado Watch while hiking. We then drove along the Ohio River Scenic Parkway to O’Bannon Woods State Park in Corydon, In.

I found these two munching away at O'Bannon Woods State Park.
I found these two munching away at O’Bannon Woods State Park.

Saturday Morning: We spent the morning hiking in O’Bannon Woods. I felt like I was in the Smoky Mountains. This park had beautiful rolling hills, a few caves. Really, I am always impressed with Indiana’s State Parks. They are all just so beautiful.

photo 1 (5)Saturday Afternoon: We went to Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, In. This is where George Rogers Clark, a famous Revolutionary War hero, had his home after the war. This is also where William Clark started on his expedition with Meriwether Lewis to St. Lewis and ultimately to the great American west. It’s important to point out that George Rogers Clark has become a bit of an inside joke between Frank and I. Frank spent like months watching documentaries and reading books about him. So, to pay our respects, we visited his grave in Louisvills, Ky. This included us running around a gigantic cemetery looking for this grave from 1819. After 20 minutes of intense searching both in the cemetery and on Google, we found it!

Yeah... this was a little weird. I'm glad we found it though. I bet not too many people seek out his grave.
Yeah… this was a little weird. I’m glad we found it though. I bet not too many people seek out his grave.

Saturday Evening: We went to Deam State Recreation Area and hiked a few miles until the sun started going down. We then hopped in the car and took off to Mounds State Recreation Area in Richmond, In, where we slept.

Sunday Morning: We hiked in Mounds SRA for a few hours and then went to our final Indiana State Park, Whitewater Memorial. We spent some time there hiking. Turns out the place is really beautiful… as usual, I was impressed with Indiana’s protected land.

We did it! All of the Indiana State Parks have been visited!!!
We did it! All of the Indiana State Parks have been visited!!!

Sunday Afternoon: Who could leave a state without visiting the highest point? We certainly could not. We went to Hoosier Hill, which stands at an impressive 1257 ft. And then things took a bit of a weird turn. Frank pointed out that we were just outside of Alexandria, In, home of the largest ball of paint in the world. We decided that we couldn’t leave without visiting this. We pulled up to some guys house, and he lead us to this crazy set up with his 4000 pound paint ball. We painted the 24,424th layer of paint, took some pictures and hopped back in the car.

Highest point in Indiana... no big deal.
Highest point in Indiana… no big deal.
This is the biggest paintball in the world... and I painted it!
This is the biggest paintball in the world… and I painted it!

Sunday Evening: The paint ball was about 3 hours from home, so we broke it up by stopping at Salamonie Lake to hike and to Hanging Rock to climb a little. We then got some ice cream and headed home!

Indiana may not be known for it's beauty. It's a well kept secret and all you have to do is look!
Indiana may not be known for it’s beauty. It’s a well kept secret and all you have to do is look!

Final Stats

Total Hiking Milage: 31 miles

Places Visited: 17

Ice Cream Shops Visited: 2

State Parks Visited: 5

Grave Sites: 2

Layers of Paint on The Largest Paintball in the World: 24424

I’ve gotta say, this was one of our best trips to date. We have been to all of the state parks in Indiana, and now we have a new state to explore. I think I can leave for Kansas without looking back!