Happy Wednesday! I am signed up for Colfax!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!! This is what Elly was doing on this fine morning:

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Isn’t she a lazy bum? I love her so much!

Well… Today it is official… I am signed up to run the Colfax Marathon on May 15.

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I am a ways away from the day, BUT I am already starting to get into training shape. I was pretty bad about running over the holidays, but now that I am back home, I am doing some easy chill runs to remind my legs how to run (and pathetically, they are sore EVERY DAY). Luckily, my friends have been coming on a few runs with me to help get my body back into gear!

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It was so cold! Jordie (the puppy) was there to pace us. 

I am still deciding on what training plan to use, but I have a few in mind (I’ll write a post once I decide). My “official” training begins in about 2 weeks, and honestly I can’t believe it’s already here. After not being able to run Chicago, I’ve been having a bit of run-anxiety, which prevented me from signing up for Colfax until now. I am constantly worried about getting hurt and not being able to run it. I have decided that time really doesn’t matter for this race. I only need to finish it and get a time to beat at Chicago in October. It’s just hard to keep that state of mind, especially when I have good days. Needless to say, there will be no mountain biking until after the race.

 

I hope everyone is having a great week! What training plan is your favorite? Any advice for a first time marathoner?

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Gone with the old and in with 2016!

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a fun and safe holiday with your family. I have been gone for quite a while and I missed the running community a lot.

I am back in Kansas again (finally!) after traveling pretty much all over our hemisphere. After Utah I left for Virginia for a week and then I went home to visit family in South Florida. Frank and I then flew from Fort Lauderdale to Cabo San Luca in Mexico and traveled up the length of the Baja peninsula to San Diego before heading home. I have been pretty exhausted from travel, but now I’m back and ready to train (although I should have been training prior to now, but really, that’s water under the bridge).
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Frank and I enjoying Mexico
 

Elly was pretty thrilled to see me after I got back. Honestly I was a little worried she would forget about me.
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Elly burrito-ed herself into my blanket. I guess she was cold. She still remembers and loves me.
I have some crazy stories about our travels, but now I’m just glad to be home and getting back into a rhythm.
I want to take a moment to reflect a little on 2015. I had a crazy year, with a big move, big travels, new friends and jobs, and a whole lot of running. I ran my first half marathon, and then PRed twice on the half (including at Estes Park, CO). I trained for the Chicago Marathon, and even though I turned my ankle and couldn’t run it, I still trained hard and learned a lot about what I am capable of.
So 2016 is here and I have a few goals. I guess it’s easiest if I list them out…
1. Get back to real training again. I haven’t really gotten back to the level of training I was at before I turned my ankle, so first and foremost, that is my goal. I know it’s possible because I already did it. I want to get back to running 35+ miles per week.
2. PR the half marathon either at A1A in February (that’s so freaking soon), or at Rocky Mountain in July (this is where my current PR is).
3. Run the Colfax Marathon in May… and not get injured this time, so no mountain biking for a while. I have no time goals. I just want to finish injury free.
4. Run the Chicago Marathon in October. I need to redeem myself from last year.
5. This may seem like a crazy one… but PR in the Marathon at Chicago (since I’ll have a time from Colfax).
and finally (and most importantly)… go injury free this year. No ankle turns, no knee issues…just some good ole’ injury free running.
I think in 2015, although I did manage a lot, I got too caught up in race times. This year I want to run by feel, and if I run a little slower sometimes, honestly, I don’t care. I don’t want running to stress me out, which it occasionally did last year.
So, there you have it… and I can’t wait to see how it all goes! I’m super glad to be back!
How was your holiday? Any cool new travels? What is your big 2016 goal?

When Marathons Don’t Happen

On October 11, I was supposed to become a marathon runner. I was supposed to cross that finish line and be spending this week feeling sore and triumphant. Unfortunately, it didn’t really happen that way. I spent most of the day looking at my phone, checking Instagram and wishing that I were there. However, as things stand now, it is a very good thing that I deferred until next year. In fact, I won’t be running a marathon any time soon.

This was supposed to be me!
This was supposed to be me!

As you know, I have many passions beyond just running. I do a lot of hiking, biking, climbing, etc. Although I do love to run, my passion for long distance running really began as a way to get me in better shape to do other things… like climb up mountains. It is hard to keep yourself completely injury free when you are always active. Generally, I worry about running related injuries, but they are not the only ones. About a month ago, while out mountain biking, I hit a rock, flew off my bike and landed on my left ankle pretty hard. I laid on the ground screaming in pain, and crying because I knew with that fall, my dream to run a marathon before the end of the year were completely over.

For the last few weeks, I took some time off from structured training. I was still able to do yoga (Thank God!), but that was about it. Fortunately, I am now back to running and biking, but I have to take it slow and only go short distances. Basically, my fall racing schedule is just not happening. I am looking for some shorter distance races, but I have no big goals of PRs or new distances this fall. Right now, my only goal is to get myself back up and running without pain again. Although I will not be racing this fall, I still have the A1A Half Marathon in February, and I will begin training for that in a few weeks.

I am still so disappointed with how all of this has gone. I trained hard this summer to run a marathon. But I am going to move forward and find new goals to work towards. Once I am back to training consistently again, I will talk a bit about what I hope to accomplish in the spring. For now, it’s just to be able to run more than 3 miles without ankle pain.

I know one ting for sure. Next October I will be in Chicago… and I will not only make it to the start, but I will cross that finish line.

How do you get back after an injury? What is your favorite form of cross training (mine is yoga and biking)?

A New Path to 26.2

I have been avoiding writing this post, since I knew it would make this more real. But the thing is… it’s pretty real. So I guess I’ll just let it spill.

I deferred my entry for Chicago until 2016.

Several weeks ago, I was climbing a few 14ers (mountains that are over 14,000 feet) in Colorado, and on the way down from the last one, I twisted my knee a little. I didn’t think too much of it, so the next day, I still ran my prescribed 18 miles. It went horribly. I couldn’t go very fast and I spent a lot of it limping. I finished when I probably shouldn’t have.

Top of Mt. Democrat. This was the first of 4 14ers I did on the day I tweaked my knee. At least the view was beautiful!
Top of Mt. Democrat. This was the first of 4 14ers I did on the day I tweaked my knee. At least the view was beautiful!

I took a bit of time off, and it helped. I got back to running and everything was ok. But as soon as I got back on my feet, I got a terrible upper respiratory infection that included a high fever and lots of coughing. I couldn’t run at all for a full week. So… since I had basically missed out on my peak marathon training, I decided to defer until 2016.

HOWEVER… I am officially running the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa Oklahoma on November 22. I am back to running, and my knee feels good (my lungs feel okay). I realized that Chicago wouldn’t be very fun, but with training and hard work, Route 66 is gonna be awesome. The best part is… I already have a race to PR my marathon time next year!

Route 66 , here I come!
Route 66 , here I come!

Route 66 is going to be especially great. I’ll be running it two days before my 29th birthday and as soon as I’m done, Frank and I will be driving out to Utah for some canyoneering and mountain biking. I couldn’t be more excited.

Instead of being sad about this… like I was when I pushed the button to defer, I am using this as an opportunity. This is going to be tons of fun AND Chicago 2016 is gonna be awesome!

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 9 – Recovery!

Some weeks running is just… hard. This week I felt like I was running with lead shoes, and that’s understandable, since I just PR’ed my half marathon and worked really hard last week. But this week, I just didn’t have it in me to give it my all. Maybe it was just that my all was not very much. Regardless, I took this week as a recovery week.

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I practiced yoga at home, did some body weight strength work and got about 28 miles in. I had planned for close to 40 miles and a 16 mile long run, but I was so exhausted and that was just not going to happen.

Monday: 4.7 miles trail running (11:29/mi)

I was sore from all of the mountain climbing and hard running I had done the week before, so I took it easy and ran with the Lawrence Trail Hawks on their Monday night run. I had a great time and they talked the whole way. The first mile felt like I was running through mud, but I eventually warmed up and felt good. Lawrence is about an hour away, but I would really like to make the drive occasionally to run with this group.

Tuesday: 3.2 miles (8:18/mi)

Apparently I was feeling good this day. I ran with the Manhattan Running Company on the Kimble route, which has a pretty good climb up a hill. I started pretty conservatively at 9:16/mi, but then decided to catch up with the guys who usually lead the pack. I ran hard for the next two miles (8:27/mi & 7:17/mi) and did catch up with them at the end. I’m really not sure what got into me that day, but I was going fast!

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Unintentional rest day – I was tired

Friday: 6 miles (10:00/mi)

I felt like I was running through a pool with lead shoes. I don’t even know how I finished the run, but I was beat the whole time. It was so hot out too…

Saturday: 4.5 miles (9:58/mi)

Another pretty chill run. Unfortunately, I still felt tired. I know that I had not fully recovered yet from the half and running at any pace just felt like work. I was going to go 8 miles, but I was tired and really didn’t want to.

Sunday: 10-mile long run (10:00/mi)

I was going to do 16 miles, but I didn’t feel quite right. I went in the PM, so it was getting dark by the time I finished. Honestly, I can’t put my finger on it, but something wasn’t really right. I didn’t feel injured, just overworked. So I scaled back and took it easy. If these 6 miles are what stands between me and running a sub-4 marathon, I’m not ready to run that kind of time yet.

Sage Canaday always says that you would rather be undertrained than overtrained, and I really took that to heart this week. Even though I didn’t do the mileage I wanted to do, I’m more than ok with it. I needed a chill-ish week and I took one. Next week features my first 18-miler and I want to be ready to conquer that distance.

How do you recover from half marathons? Do you ever scale back your mileage because you don’t quite feel right?

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 7 – My 16 mile redemption!

I did it, 40 miles in a single week AND a rockin’ 16-mile long run! I spent the entire week anxious and nervous about my long run and it couldn’t have gone better. I had never run more than 14 miles and, well, that run didn’t go too well. Going even longer seemed like a stretch, and I was starting to question if a marathon was even possible. After my long run, I actually felt like I could do it.

I was pretty bad about taking pictures this week, so here’s a photo of my perfect cat!

Isn't she adorable?
Isn’t she adorable?

Monday: The usual rest day after a hard week!

Tuesday: Hill repeats (6 miles) in AM + Social run (3.2 miles) in PM

I got up early and ran out to my usual hill and went up and down 6 times before heading home. It felt great. Is it weird that I like hill repeats? It’s one of my favorite workouts. In the PM, I went on a social run with the Running Company. I took it a little fast, given the extreme heat (8:43/mi).

Wednesday: Yoga – no running

I was going to go running in the morning, but a storm came through. It was Frank’s 31st birthday and we were celebrating with some friends in the evening. I just decided to take the day off and just do some yoga. Frank wanted to try a pizza place in town that had a vegan pizza. We are vegetarian, not vegan, but we try to eat vegan when possible. This pizza, however, was SO BAD! Like… the worst. The cheese tasted like gum. Afterwards, we checked out a new brewery in town

Thursday: 7 miles easy (9:49/mi)

I went out in the afternoon, and it was blazing hot outside. It felt good, despite the heat, because I was well hydrated. On my way back, there was a parade going on outside my house. I live in downtown, so whenever anything is up in town, it’s usually happening on my street.

Friday: Hiking – no running

Frank and I went out for a hike at a state park about an hour away. We camped that night and got up early for some trail running the next morning.

Saturday: 8-mile trail run (11:00/mi)

Wilson State Park is about an hour away from Manhattan and is known for some great mountain bike trails. It’s probably the prettiest place I’ve been in Kansas. I hoped on the mountain bike trails and they were tough, but awesome! I passed a few mountain bikers along the way. There were beautiful cliffs along a lake and I saw tortoise!

Sunday: 16-mile LSD (9:34/mi)

I got up early to beat the heat, but it was still about 85 degrees and overcast. There were a few miles here or there that were a struggle, but for the most part, I felt great. I took the first 12 miles at around 10/mi pace, one minute faster than my intended marathon pace. I decided to just go by feel for the last 4 miles and not hold back. I easily hit marathon pace and for the final mile kept an 8:30/mi pace. I needed this run, and it gave me the confidence I needed heading into some of the peak training for Chicago.

This next week is a big cutback for me. I go from running 40 miles to only about 28. I’m basically treating this as a taper week for my half marathon on Saturday. Look out for a post on my goals for my upcoming race, which I am in the process of writing. I’m just not 100% sure what I am looking to get out of the race.

Do you ever find that your confidence wanes? What do you do to fix it?

Chicago Training: Week 6 – Going Long (and hot)

It’s 85 days until the Chicago Marathon…

I’m freaking out a little.

I'm not ready for these kind of emails!
I’m not ready for these kind of emails!

My week officially ended at 35.7 miles! What an accomplishment! I’ve never run more than 30, no less over 35 miles in a single week. I really feel like I am training for a marathon. My legs felt great but I think my long run could have gone better.

 Monday: Rest Day

Just a regular old rest day.

Tuesday: 6.1 mile trail run in AM (9:52 min/mi) & 3 mile fast finish (8:48 min/mi) in PM

I got up really early and got to Konza Prarie before the sunrise. I hit the trail just as the sun was coming up and it was just perfect. The air was cool and it just felt fresh out there. I saw turkeys, bison, bunnies, and deer! In the PM I ran with the Manhattan Running Company on their social run. It was SOOO crazy hot. The heat index was over 100 and the air was stagnant. Kinda felt like running through a sauna.

Pretty sunrise!
Pretty sunrise!

Wednesday: 4 mile progression run

I love progression Runs. I went out in the evening as it was starting to cool off and I just felt great. I was planning to make this an easy run, but I was having trouble holding myself back, so I sped up each mile as I went. My splits were 9:00, 8:23, 8:17, 8:00.

Thursday: Rest

Another rest day.

Friday: Brutal 14 mile long run (10:17 min/mi)

This run sucked… and it was totally my fault. I woke up really early, since I knew the heat index was going to get up to 106 that day. Then, I just kinda sat around and procrastinated. I wasn’t out the door until 9 am, and it was already about 90 F. The first few miles felt good, but I realized that I was going to run out of water, so I ran to the running store in town to fill up. As I got closer, the miles got harder. I took a few walking breaks to cool down, since I had stopped sweating, but really, it wasn’t helping. Unfortunately, Kansas is a prarie, so there are very few trees and nowhere to get out of the sun. At the store, they gave me a test Newton Fuel Belt to hold extra water, and I gotta say, it was a life saver. I had enough water with me to use some to pour over my head to cool down. I was so thankful. Normally, I wouldn’t think a fuel belt is necessary, but around here it gets so hot and there are no water stops. I went ahead and bought one for my long runs this summer. I’m sure I’ll get my money’s worth out of it.

Pretty dorky looking, but I think it'll help me not get heat exhaustion in these 100 degree weather!
Pretty dorky looking, but I think it’ll help me not get heat exhaustion in these 100 degree weather!

Saturday: 3.3 mile recovery run (9:34 min/mi – a little too fast)

I went out in the early morning and just did a nice chill run. I, again, was having trouble holding myself back. I wanted to be closer to 10 min miles, but if I wasn’t watching my watch like a hawk, I would accidentally take it a little faster. I guess that’s a good thing…

Sunday: 5.3 mile Easy (9:57 min/mi)

This was a nice easy run that felt really good. I waited until it started getting dark so I wouldn’t have to endure the blasting sun. Legs felt good, mind felt great, and I just chugged along no problems. Wish all runs were like this.

Things are going up from here! Next week I will run 40 miles, and in there is a 16-mile long run. I’m nervous about the long run, given how poorly the 14-miler went this week, but if I get out earlier, I shouldn’t be in so much trouble. 14 miles is the furthest I’ve ever gone, and 16 miles sure seems like a lot.

I do have a half marathon coming up in less than 2 weeks, so stay tuned for a goals post coming soon!

What is your favorite run (long runs, progression runs, recovery runs, etc)? Do you bring water with you on long runs?