Training and Mountains to Climb

I had a really good week of training! I hit about 6000 feet of vert over 40 miles of running and 8 miles of cross country skiing. It felt good and it was awesome to get out and ski a bit. Despite the rather mild winter we’ve been having, it was a really great time!

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Skiing in the Uinta Mountains

I am not a particularly good skier, and spent a substantial amount of time on my butt. Most of the first 4 miles were uphill, which meant the 4 miles back were all downhill. I took a few good falls (by a few, I mean like 10), but check out this video of me really owning that downhill!

I got a long run in of just 12 miles. I am still working up to the longer mileages for this training cycle. The real problem I am facing is that in order to get the vertical gain I need, I have to run on trails. And that just takes so much longer. While heading up some of the bigger peaks around here, I end up hitting 25-30 minute miles. It’s just impossible to get really long runs in like that. I may have to start doing the longer days on road.

This week my goal is to hit 10,000 feet of vertical gain. In order to get that done, today I went up Mt Wire, a rather knarly peak on the north side of town.

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Mountain running is tiring business.

It was definitely a difficult trek. I clocked over 2000 feet of gain in the first 1.8 miles of the run. It was hard and my calves burned, but the view at the top was certainly worth it.

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My playground!

From the peak, my friend, Dan, and I ran along the ridge to another peak called Red Butte. I always struggle with ridges and I get pretty scared on the thinner ones. We took it slow and steady.

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Ridge running along Red Butte

As we were coming down, we got some cool sunset views. When it comes to scenery, Utah doesn’t disappoint.

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Beautiful sunsets

So far so good for the week.

Also, I am officially signed up for Squaw 50-miler, which has 14000 feet of gain, so I better get to it! I am certainly getting nervous about this race. Luckily I still have over 5 months of training to go. I’m really not sure what to expect or how to train for it. Honestly, my main goal is to just get to the start line with no injuries.

Oh and here’s a selfie with Elly!

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We love each other.

Have you ever hiked/ran up a mountain? Do you like trail running or road running (I love both)?

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Weekly Training Update: Jan. 15-21

Hey there!

Last week was a little crazy. I went running in shorts on day, got snowed in the next, and ran in a winter wonderland the following day. It was certainly a week of extremes. I started the week with a small cold that kept my running easy and chill. Due to my sickness and the weather, I ran a little less than I would have liked.

Instead of going through every single run, I’ll just write about the week overall. I managed to get on the trails a few times and got 3,196 feet of elevation gain. Most of that was two runs where I ran on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST), one of my favorites in town.

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I get some of the best views of the valley on the BST.

Unfortunately, I really wasn’t feeling good until around Friday. Most of my miles included lots of snot and I spent the whole week exhausted. I am, however, pretty happy that I got it done. I did get some extra rest on Saturday. It snowed most of the day and I didn’t really want to take on the storm. Instead, I went for my long run on Sunday in some beautiful conditions and also did a few rounds on a local cross country ski course. I’m definitely feeling pretty sore today.

Highlight of the week: My long run on Sunday following a rather epic snowstorm. I went 12 miles on some of the paved bike trails. The mountain trails looked pretty bad, so I figured I’d try and hit some of the hillier spots in town. It was absolutely beautiful and couldn’t have been a better time to be out.

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It was a rather beautiful day.

Total Mileage: 35.5

Total Vertical Gain: 3,196

I ran less than I had intended to, but overall, I had a good week. I’m also feeling a lot better, which will hopefully set me up for some much better training this week. I am hoping to run at least 40 miles and get at least 5,000 feet of gain. Should be doable.

How was your training? Did you get any snow? 

My Wild Patagonian Adventure

I’m back! After about a month running around the world, I have finally landed back in Kansas. Frank and I had a fantastic time in Patagonia. We spent our time hiking through several Chilean and Argentine National Parks, checking out some of the towns in the region, and of course, seeing penguins. Here are just some of the pictures from our adventures. I have thousands…

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Although the trip was incredibly fun, Patagonia is a very touristy place. I was expecting to be out there and find no one but a few really dedicated hikers and mountaineers, but in reality, it was covered in European, Israeli, and British tourists. It was also a lot more expensive than I expected. I am certainly glad that we went, but if I had known what Patagonia would be like, I likely would have gone somewhere else.

To be completely honest, I have yet to find a National Park system in the world that can compete with the US in maintenance and cost. While in Patagonia, I longed for the solace of Canyonlands and Glacier National Park. In the US, you really only have to hike a few miles into the backcountry to find yourself completely alone. That was not the case in Patagonia. No matter how far I went, I always found crowds and tons of people (and garbage). I did leave with an extreme appreciation for our National Park Service.

Now that I have returned, I will be getting back to consistent blogging. I am putting together a training program to run Colfax again in May. I will be blogging my training progress as I prepare for the race. I will also have a few other races on my calendar, which I’ll leave for another post.

I hope you all had a great month, and I am looking forward to getting back in touch.

What is your favorite National Park? Do you have any races coming up soon?

Heading to Patagonia 

I am leaving on a jet plane!!!

Tomorrow Frank and I are heading to Patagonia for three weeks of crazy traveling through one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Patagonia is a large piece of land in southern Chile and Argentina that is filled with mountains, fjords, and penguins. We have a few friends meeting us down there and I expect this to be a wild and crazy adventure. Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I have been talking about this trip for a very long time. Well… it’s finally here! 

It’s penguins and mountains! What more could I ask for?!

I hope to run a little while I’m out there, but if I do end up with a long break, it won’t hurt. I’ve been having another flare up of sciatica from my herniated disc and it’s causing a lot of leg pain. When I get back, I’m going to address it with back strengthening exercises, but for now, I am just going to push through. My plan is to begin training for colfax again, but incorporate a lot more cross training into my program.

I’ve been in Florida for the past week, spending time with family for the holidays. My dad and I even managed to get some cool pictures of this owl. 

He’s pretty adorable, right?!

It’s been great to get away from the cold weather and be with family. I’ll be back in Florida for a few days on my way back to Kansas. 

I will try to post while I’m away, but if I don’t, I’ll see you when I return! 

Made it to south Florida!

I made it to Florida! The way here was certainly not easy! My flight was cancelled and I was forced to change my entire itinerary. I didn’t make it home until about 11:30 pm, but after a good night’s rest, it seemed pretty worth it. It is nice to have some warmer weather AND I get to hang out with my favorite dog.

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I woke up him to take this picture. He has a case of bed head here.

Oh and my parent’s cat too (she doesn’t cuddle like Elly).

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I do miss Elly!

I’ve been doing a bit of a taper heading into A1A. On Tuesday, I went for a run on the dreadmill because it was just way too cold! On Wednesday, before my flight, I managed to get myself out and moving for a marathon paced tempo run, despite the cold. I finally managed to feel comfortable holding my goal pace for Colfax.

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The river was looking super nice!

I am definitely feeling a little nervous heading into A1A. I feel tired and a bit overtrained and I am just not sure if I can hold a PR pace for 13.1 miles. Although the extra mileage that I’ve been putting on my legs during marathon training has certainly improved my fitness, I’m not sure that it has improved my SPEED. I feel like I am ready to run a super long distance… but just not very fast. Maybe I’ll wake up Sunday morning with super legs. It’s just hard to imagine holding under 8:30 paces for over 13 miles. I know that I tend to show up strong at races, but I do tend to feel inadequate during training. Unfortunately, there will be no pacers to help me reach my goal of under 1:50:00.

Whatever happens… happens. Regardless, I plan on having a good time!

I am excited to see both Kristina and Ally on Saturday! It’s going to be great to finally meet and wish them good luck on their races. Also, Lizzy is doing the LA marathon on Sunday, so wish her good luck nabbing that new marathon PR!

Anyone racing this weekend? Do you usually feel unsure of yourself heading into a PR attempt?

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?

Colfax Training Week 3: I saw Sage Canaday on a run!!!

I saw Sage Canaday on my long run this week. Let me repeat that… I actually SAW and RAN BY Sage Canaday while on a run in Boulder. I’m pretty sure that my running life is complete. He ran by at a crazy fast pace decked out in some Hoka gear and some sweet sunglasses. After we passed each other, it took me a moment to realize that it was really him. Then, I went on my Strava app and confirmed. Yes, in fact, it was a Sage Canaday sighting. Yes, I’m a complete running nerd.

Besides my epic sighting while on my long run, I’d have to say that my training this week was okay. I had a lot of trouble pacing myself and was putting a little too much effort in my easy miles. This culminated in a missed run on Thursday. Frank and I got to Colorado on Friday morning, so I did both my marathon paced tempo run and my long run on the multi-use trails in Boulder. We made it home Sunday night and Elly, as always, was pretty glad to see that we made it home.

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Monday: Rest Day… Yeah! + some gentle yoga

Tuesday: 6.3 miles – Hill Repeats with 700 ft of elevation gain + yoga

I wrote about this run in a previous blog post. It went pretty well. Zeb, my new running partner, came with me for some of it. We took things slow, but overall it was a good workout.

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Pretty solid hill!

Wednesday: 3 miles – easy run + yoga

Not much to say about this run. I was still a little sore from my hill repeats, so I did some yoga in the AM and went for a quick run in the afternoon. I kept it slow, although the easy pace felt strangely more difficult than it should have. The yoga class that I took kinda kicked my butt and made my legs kinda feel like jello while I was on my run. I’m sure that didn’t help keep things feeling easy.

Thursday: Unintentional Rest Day + yoga

I took a yoga class in the morning in hopes to make me feel a little less stiff. Unfortunately, it was a rather tough class and really only made the soreness worse. By the time I was out, my legs felt tired and I knew that I wasn’t going to go for a run. I decided to take it easy and just do my tempo run on Friday.

Friday: 6.1 miles – Marathon Pace

I warmed up for one mile and then bumped up to marathon pace. I’ve arbitrarily decided that 9:00/mi is marathon pace, since that would sneak me just under 4 hours. I tried to hold the pace without being glued to my watch, but unfortunately, my legs wanted to go faster. Instead, I held close to 8:45/mi, which felt good, but I didn’t want to put that much effort into the run. Luckily, I still have a few months to hone my pace down a bit.

Saturday: Snow shoeing with hurricane force winds

We met up with some friends in Boulder and drove out to Nederland to go snow shoeing. There was absolutely no snow for most of the way, but once we got up into the mountains, it seemed like a pretty substantial storm had come through. The car was being blown around a lot and we considered turning back for a lower elevation. However, once we made it up it was pretty fantastic, and the trees kept the winds at bay.

Sunday: 12 miles – Best long run ever!

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Frank and Scott were biking on the Boulder trails while I went on my run.

The run itself was nothing particularly special. It was pretty cold out and I was a little underdressed, especially for the second half of the run when the sun was in the clouds. I felt good and strong for most of it, but at the end had some trouble getting to marathon pace. I, again, wanted to go a little too fast, which made my legs feel like they were working too hard. However, in the last mile, I saw a guy fly by me decked out in Hoka gear with a little hydration pack on. I had to do a double take, but it was definitely Sage Canaday (confirmed by flyby on Strava). I was pretty much the most excited groupie ever.

Total Mileage: 27.5

Overall, it was a good week, but not a great week. This was a cut back in mileage from last week, but for some reason, it never felt like that. My legs were often tired or feeling sore. In order to fix that, this week my goal is to run my easy mileage a little slower, even if the effort seems like too little. I am entering the 4th week of training and I want my legs to stay strong so I don’t have burn out in the weeks to come.

This week:

M: 4 miles easy
T: 6 miles MP
W: Rest
T: 6 miles Hill Repeats
F: 4 miles easy
S: Rest
S: 14 miles LSD

Total: 34 Miles

Have you ever seen an elite on a run? How has your training been going?