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?

Rocky Mountain Half Marathon Race Recap

I tend to underestimate myself. I go into a race and I often limit what I can do, not because of my training or physical capabilities, but because of my mind. So, when I looked at the 1:52:01 half marathon cutoff for the first wave corrals at Chicago, I figured there was no way I could ever run that time. I mean… that’s 8:30/mi for 13 miles! I figured that there was just no way, especially at 7,500 feet. Well, I’m going to just cut to the chase.

I ran the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon in 1:51:44. That was a huge PR and I am now in the first wave at Chicago!

Pre-Race

We drove out to Boulder on Thursday evening and made it in time for me to get a quick run in and some dinner. The next morning, Frank and I woke up at 4 am to get to the national park and reserve a campsite for the next few days. We did a little bit of hiking and went to Estes Park to pick up my packet. We hiked a lot more and drove around for a while.

Cold before the race!
Cold before the race!

So, I did all the pre-race stuff wrong. I walked A LOT on Friday, I camped on the hard floor, I probably didn’t eat or sleep enough. I had to wake up at 4 am, and I woke up like 4-5 times during the night. I tried to scarf down some food at our campsite, but my stomach was giving me some trouble. We got to the race around 5:00 am and hung out at the starting line until the race started.

The elevation profile for the race. This was not exactly an easy course.
The elevation profile for the race. This was not exactly an easy course.

Miles 1-4

The gun went off at almost exactly 6 am. The race had a few thousand people, but they did a good job keeping the corral small so that we didn’t have to dodge around people once we were off the starting line. The first few miles were pretty chill, although I took them fast because I knew that miles 5-8 had a huge hill. I felt pretty comfortable averaging around an 8:30 mile on the rolling terrain and was surprised at how quick the miles were going by. I just kept telling myself that I am a lot faster than I think I am, and that seemed to work pretty well. I had a pretty good feeling by mile 4 that I was had a shot at a PR but I tried to hold myself back. I knew the hills in the race would eventually wear on me.

Splits for miles 1-4
Splits for miles 1-4

Miles 5-8

Mile 5 was the start of a pretty substantial hill. I knew it was coming, so I decided to play a little game with myself to pass the time. Each time I passed someone on the uphill, I gave myself a point and each time I was passed by a runner, I lost a point. So, I just started reeling people in. I’d get my eyes on a runner who looked kinda tired and just started creeping up on them. By the end of the uphill I had passed 22 people and had only been passed by 1 (that’s 21 points!!!). I managed to keep around a 9:00/mi pace. At the top of the hill I looked at my watch and was pretty amazed at how fast I had gone. I think I knew by this point that I was going to PR for sure.

Splits for miles 5-8
Splits for miles 5-8

Miles 9-13.1

At the top of the hill I could see the finish line and I knew that it was all downhill from here (ok… there were a few surprise hills, but nothing too terrible). I just coasted on down and even squeezed in a 7:34 minute mile in there. I figured that if I could keep an average of 8:00/mi, I would have a shot at getting under the 1:52:01 cutoff for the first wave at Chicago. I knew by this point that I was going to PR… but now I really wanted to be in that first wave. So, I pushed a little harder. The end of the race was close to a beautiful lake in the middle of Estes Park. As I got closer I started to hear the announcer call out names of people as they crossed the finish line. I kept pushing and eventually heard my name as I crossed. Frank was not even there because he wasn’t expecting me to finish for another 10 minutes.

The downhill miles!
The downhill miles! Check out that 7:34 minute mile!!!!

My official time was 1:51:44 and I placed 7th in my age group out of 137… which is pretty freaking good. There was close to 1000 feet of elevation gain throughout the race… so this wasn’t even an easy course. Honestly, I’m still in shock that I ran that well.

A well deserved medel. I was pretty exhausted after this race.
A well deserved medel. I was pretty exhausted after this race.

I learned a lot running this race. My biggest problem as a runner is that I set goals that are not outside of my comfort zone. I don’t let myself think that I can do something really crazy because I don’t want to be disappointed. From here on out, that’s gonna change.

Immediately after the race, Frank and I went back into Rocky Mountain National Park, picked up our friends and climbed up Hallett Peak. This was a 10-mile hike up a 12,713-foot mountain. Doing this hike got me 50% off entry into the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon for 2016… so the soreness was worth it. I am officially in the Continental Divide Club!

My friends and I at the top of Hallett Peak!
My friends and I at the top of Hallett Peak!

The race (and hike) was a huge success. But… now the Chicago Marathon countdown really begins.

Chicago Training: Week 4

Last week was a great week of training, but I did have a bit of a hiccup. Frank and I met up with some friends out in Colorado. We did a 28-mile hike with close to 10,000 feet of elevation gain over the course of two days. However, about halfway through, I took a bad step and turned my ankle. Since I was carrying about 30 pounds of weight on my back… it didn’t exactly feel good. I have been chilling out a bit and will be back to my usual intensity next week. Despite the injury, I still managed to get 27 miles in. I was supposed to do 33, but that’s ok.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 6 miles hill repeats in AM & 3.1 miles easy in PM

This was my first ever double! It was great, too. This is something that I want to do going into the future. Splitting a long-ish day allows me to run a little further and still have time to get work done. It also allowed me to feel a little fresher going into the next day of training.

Wednesday: 6 miles easy at 9:14 pace

I ran a rather hilly route around town, but felt great. On the top of the hill, I saw fireworks off in the distance. It was nice and relaxing.

Thursday: 12 miles at 9:46 pace

This was an awesome long run! I felt wonderful the whole time, but I finished the run at marathon pace for the last two miles (9:00 min/mi). I’m actually looking forward to my longer runs.

Friday: 14 miles hiking at Maroon-Bells

We had a rather long and grueling day fighting the weather and crazy high altitude. I got hailed on like 5 times and spent a lot of time shivering, but it was amazing. I turned my ankle towards the end of the day and basically had to walk it off. I gave some of my pack weight to Frank, popped 4 ibuprofen and sucked it up. 😦

Us taking a break on one of the mountain passes.
Us taking a break on one of the mountain passes.

Saturday: 14 miles hiking at Maroon-Bells

We woke up at 5:30 am to get out on the trail by 6 am. My ankle felt a little better, but not great. We made it back to the parking lot around 3 pm, and I finally got to get off my foot for a while.

That little pink dot is me!
That little pink dot is me!

Sunday: Rested foot

I’ve been icing the ankle and trying to stay off of it. I did go for a run on Tuesday, and it went really well. I only went 3 miles, but I felt really good. Tomorrow I’m going to go for a longer run, but still at an easy pace. Hopefully I continue on the mend.

Have you ever gone on a backpacking trip? Do you ever run twice in a day?