A Look Back at 2018

Happy New Year Everyone!

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We all looked so cute for New Years Eve!

It’s the first day of 2019 and I’ve been logging the miles! It was a cold day out in the mountains, but I got my first peak of the year! As I leap into 2019, I wanted to look back at what I liked most about 2018. Here’s a quick look at my year.

Best Race: Squaw Peak 50

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Squaw peak is probably my favorite race I’ve ever run. It’s beautiful, wildly challenging, and you still get a full night of sleep (unlike Javelina Jundred). I also really enjoyed the 50 mile distance. The race itself was particularly well put on and the course was perfect. Although it does give over 10,000 feet of gain, it has a very high finishing rate and I attribute that to the awesome aide stations and volunteers.  And although I did lose a few toenails in the weeks following, the race gave me the confidence needed to finish my 100-miler in October.

Best Run: Kings Peak in August

At 13,527 feet, Kings Peak sits as Utah’s crown. It’s a fantastic 28 mile trail through woods, alpine tundra, and skree fields. I met up with the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers to run it on a crisp and cool day in early August. I went alone and wasn’t entirely sure that I should go, but once I got out on the trail, I met people at my pace and stuck with them. It was a wonderful day. The route took me about 8 hours, which is a moderate pace and never felt too difficult (except at the end while I was struggling over loose rock). I did have many fantastic runs throughout the year, but this one certainly stood above the rest.

Favorite Trail: Pfeifferhorn Peak via Red Pine Lake

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Red Pine Lake Trail as the fog rolled in

I had seen Pfeifferhorn from afar many times, but this summer was the first time I climbed it. It was a foggy day, unusual for Utah, but the conditions made the trail so much better. At the top, the fog cleared and we were able to see the Wasatch and the Salt Lake Valley. It was a beautiful route and a beautiful day. This is a trail that I’ll definitely do again this summer.

Most Used Gear: Salomon Pack

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Me in my trusty Salomon pack

I went through multiple pairs of shoes, many different socks, and even switched out my spikes and trekking poles. The one piece of gear that remained constant was my Salomon Skin pack. It never chaffed, never bounced too much or hurt my shoulders. Basically it did everything it needed to do.

Most Used Running Fuel: Run Gum

As anyone who knows me will know, I am a caffeine addict. I love coffee and tea. Unfortunately on a run, it’s not always so easy to get an extra boost when you need it most. While I was training for Javelina, I was looking for ways to take caffeine during the night, but not hurt my stomach. The Wasatch Running Company suggested Run Gum and I loved it! It comes in three different flavors, all of which are great. The little bit of sugar helps too and gives me something to look forward to when the miles get long. At Javelina, I never really felt sleepy and I largely attribute that to Run Gum.

Favorite Cross Training: Climbing

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Unless you consider hiking as cross training (my physical therapist does not), I have never really been very good about doing other things besides running. I manage an okay yoga practice, but when the miles get high, my yoga practice tends to suffer. This year I really tried to remain consistent at some sort of cross training and found that climbing really works. It keeps me strong and mildly flexible and helps a lot with the mentality it takes to finish long ultras. I’m still a considerably better runner than I am a climber, but I’ve had a ton of fun going out and sending some routes.

Total Mileage: 2,040 miles

Total Vertical Gain: 285,098 feet

What are some of your favorites from 2018?

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Colfax Marathon Week 2

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Hey guys!

I know I am late on this training recap, but things have been a little crazy around here. We’ve had a few major ups and downs, and I have been feeling a little emotionally drained. Regardless, I have still been training and running has been going well. I had a fantastic long run that ended with a mile at 7:30. I’m starting to feel fast again, and it’s great to let loose and see how fast I can go.

Key Workouts: 800 repeats, 10-mile long run

Monday: Rest + Vinyasa Yoga

Tuesday: 5-mile easy run (9:24/mi) + Yin Yoga

This must have been pretty uneventful because I don’t even remember it.

Wednesday: 1.5 mile WU 4×800 1.5 mile CD + Hatha Yoga

It was SO NICE to get back to the track. I was really happy just to be there. The 800m was my event in high school track and it feels fantastic to get back to my sprinting roots. I tried to hold back a little, since this was not intended to be a threshold workout. I was looking to just dip my toe back into the pool of track. I can’t believe how much I missed it.

Thursday: 4-mile easy run (9:32/mi) + Yin Yoga

I took Frank with me on an easy run. He did three miles, and I ran one alone. I try to take him with me on at least one easy run per week because he really holds me accountable to a slower pace. My last mile alone was at 8:30 pace, so that kind defeated the purpose of the slow run. I’m still working on going slower. 🙂

Friday: Rest Day + Yin Yoga

Saturday: 5 miles easy, but on some hills

I was meeting up with the Kansas Caving Society in Lawrence, so I figured I’d go out for a run to take advantage of the hillier terrain out there. I kept things slow, but there were certainly a few quad-burning moments.

Sunday: 10-mile LSD (9:06/mi)

This was a classically awesome long run. It was my first time hitting double digits since the Route 66 Marathon. I kept the first half slow and gradually got faster as I went along. By the time I was done, I was hitting sub-8:00 paces. It was crazy. I felt so fantastic.

Total: 30 miles

Next week (which is actually this week): I have two key workouts (a 12 mile LSD and a 7 mile tempo run). Unfortunately, this week is not going as well as last week, so although I intended to get 35 miles in, I will definitely not be hitting that. More on that later.

Hope all is well with you! How has your training been going? What kind of run do you do to build confidence in your fitness level?

Look at Sydney all tired and not biting me.

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Colfax Marathon Goals

It is time to talk goals.

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The Colfax Marathon is this Sunday. I do not know what wave I am in, but the marathon is not too big and the race starts at 6:00 am, so I should be on the course pretty early. The weather is supposed to be ideal for a marathon. Hopefully it stays that way.

The race is split into 5 sections. The first and last sections are largely the same and include a run through the Denver Broncos stadium where you get to see your picture on the jumbotron (not sure how much I’ll care about that in the first go through, but I’m sure at mile 20, it’ll certainly be helpful). From miles 1-16, it is a very mild uphill gaining about 500 feet of elevation. I figure I won’t really notice it too much, since 500 feet over 16 miles isn’t all that much. However, from miles 16-20 is a section called the “Screaming Downhill”. Running downhill has always been my strength and I will be looking forward to that section.

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Not a terrible elevation profile. 

My plan for the race is to run at 4:00:00 pace with the pacer until the Screaming Downhill. If the pacer goes out too fast, I’ll keep it chill and find them later. I trained for a 9:00/mi race, so 9:06 should feel rather comfortable. I want every mile before 16 to have a “9” in the front… not an “8”. I know it will be a problem if I start punching out 8:50’s and stuff. If I am feeling good at the top of the hill, I will let the pace go down a little and ride the downhill. The bottom of the hill is right into the Broncos Stadium for the second time at mile 20, I’ll probably be excited and once I exit out, I’ll be seeing Frank and our friends at mile 22. My goal from that point is to finish with the 4:00:00 pacer behind me.

So… that brings us to my goals. My main goal is to just have fun, so if any of the other goals (except the C goal) are in the way of that, I will abandon it.

A: 3:59:59

B: Under 4:10:00

C: Finish the damn race!

Since this is my first marathon, anything that gets me to that finish line is okay. If I end up walking, I’m sure that will be accompanied with tears, but Frank and my friends will put it in perspective that I will have finished a marathon. Any time is a PR for me and I will have another opportunity to crush it in Chicago come October. I do feel attached to going under the big 4:00:00 barrier, but it really is okay even if I don’t.

I have my outfit picked out (I’ll post it later), and my food and gels are ready. I have some laundry and a little packing to do, but I am basically done. The preparation was as good as it was going to get and I am ready to do this.

I’ll be getting my bib number on Thursday and will give you all that information then. You can search me on athlete tracking by my name (Kerry Regan). They have a funny system where you get email updates (my parents are already signed up, so if you take one of the other email slots, that is fine). My Twitter account will post splits, so you should see those on the sidebar on my blog or you can just go on twitter and search @thisyogiruns. They may have a system come race day in the results, but Run Colfax has not indicated how that will work. Either way, if you want to track me and see splits, I’m sure it can be done and it will definitely be here on the sidebar of my blog and on Twitter.

I really need to say thanks to all of you for your advice, encouragement, and overall kind words throughout the marathon training process. It seriously takes a village to get me to a starting line feeling confident and all of you have played a huge part in that. During those last 6 miles, when it is tough and I want to quit, I will think of all of the things you all have said throughout my training. It has really been a journey getting to this start line and I will not forget how much that journey meant.

I’ll be heading out to Denver on Thursday (It is a 7-hour ride, so that will be fun…). I will post again before I leave with the bib number, race outfit pics, and a little surprise about a race in the UK. 🙂

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Hey Denver!! I’m coming for ya!

What is your favorite race playlist song? I am putting together my marathon day music and I need some good ones!

Colfax Training Week 17: The Countdown is On!

Well… I made it! It is officially race week. I have finished the 2nd week of my taper and I head into the last few days of preparation before I leave for Denver on Thursday. I feel a lot of different emotions including excitement and fear, but, most of all, I’m just happy that I made it this far. Baring any absolute disasters on Sunday, this time next week, I will be sore, but I will be a marathoner.

This Week’s Training:

M: Rest + Yoga

T: 4 miles easy + Yoga

W: Rest + Yoga

T: 3ish miles easy – no watch + Yoga

F: 6 miles Tempo + Yoga

S: 10 miles LSD

S: 5 miles easy trail run

Total: 28ish miles

 It was a good week that felt okay. My easy runs were slow and they were probably the highlight of my week. On Tuesday I ran the Linear Trail and was feeling like I had to hold myself back from going too fast and Thursday I forgot my watch at home, so I just ran without it.

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Having fun on the Linear Trail.

Sunday evening, I decided that I was sick of running around my town and hit up a small park called Top of the World. I’ve been struggling a lot with finding motivation to run, so I figured that since trails are always a happy place for me, that I should be able to find some motivation there. And I did! I took it pretty chill and even stopped to talk to a few of my friends that I bumped in to. It was definitely the highlight of my week.

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What’s a run without a selfie?

I struggled through my tempo run with some stomach issues. I ate some spicy food about 40 minutes before the run and it definitely came to haunt me. I still managed to keep it at pace, but I must say, it did not feel pretty!

My long run was a bit of a slog. I ran from my house to the campground a few of my friends were staying at that night. I had a rather packed Saturday and couldn’t get out until around 3:00 pm, when it was over 90 degrees. I took a small backpack of water, since I knew that I wouldn’t come across any water fountains, but it was still rough. I got pretty overheated and stopped a few times. Honestly, it has been pretty hard to not let this run hurt my confidence going into Colfax.

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Long, sunny, and hot… These country roads did me no favors on my long run.

The week had some ups and downs, but that doesn’t matter. It is race week!!! I have a few more short runs before I walk up to that starting line in Denver on Sunday. Oh! And I seem to have gotten lucky with the weather… It’s predicted to be cloudy with a low of 45 and a high of 68. The race begins at 6:00 am, so that sounds a lot like perfect marathon weather to me!!

I’ll be posting later this week about goals for the race and athlete tracking. Hope you all had a great weekend! Any goal races coming up?

Thinking Out Loud: The Taper Crazies

Let the taper crazies commence.

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Today I will be linking up with Thinking Out Loud. I am going to talk a little about my thoughts (mostly anxieties) heading into my first marathon. Those of you who have run marathons, feel free to chime in and tell me that this is normal (or not). In fact… I think everyone should just conclude that I am going nuts.

  1. So… What happens after mile 20? I have run two 20-milers and they were HARD. I felt like I could have kept running, but the run was 45 seconds per mile slower than my goal pace. I’ve been warned that a marathon is a 20-mile warm up for the worst 10K of your life… but I didn’t feel 10K racing worthy after my 20-miler. I felt like eating a ton of bananas and sleeping. Do I hit “the wall” after mile 20? And how do I run through the wall? Does race adrenaline REALLY get you through another 6.2 miles after you have already run 20? Seriously… I feel like at mile 20.1 that I my legs will go into self-destruct mode and I’ll end up walking the last 6 miles.
  1. I had a few great weeks in my training… but not every week was great. Sometimes I cut runs short because I felt over-trained or that an injury could happen if I pushed stuff. I don’t feel like I was completely consistent in my training. Should I have pushed a little harder? Will those missed miles come back to haunt me? Ok… now I am just sounding crazy.
  1. The first week of my taper calls for 40 miles. THAT’S A LOT OF MILES! Am I tapering enough? What if I am not properly rested? I don’t feel sore or anything from last week and my peak week was 55 miles, but I still feel like 40 miles is a lot. I’m worried that if I don’t taper enough I am not going to be able to finish this marathon. Next week I hit 28… which is substantially less and makes me feel a little better, but I feel like if I don’t taper enough this week that I am not going to be well rested enough come May 15.
  1. I’ve been pouring over race equivalency charts (yes, I’m that crazy) and based on my half marathon PR and other times that I’ve run during this cycle, they predict that I should have no problem cracking 4:00:00. But I am not so convinced. I know that people are often unprepared for the mental battle that happens towards the end of the race. I’d like to think that my consistent yoga practice will help me remain focused and present, but I am not so sure. I am worried that I’ll crash and burn and potentially not even be able to finish. There are plenty of people with better half marathon PRs than me that have not run a marathon in less than 4:00:00. 26.2 miles is FAR… like farther than I like to drive, no less run! A lot can happen in the course of 26 miles!

These are the crazy worries that I have been having. I know… this is the taper crazies, but I feel like they are real. These are real problems heading into the race and I want to have a good time. I don’t want to hit the wall and end up crawling my way to the finish. I go through moments where I am thinking this will be no problem… that I’ve trained hard and I’m prepared. But then I remember that no one is REALLY all that prepared for their first marathon. This is a really hard race and a really long distance that I should respect and not take for granted. I keep going back and forth… seriously… This is four days into the taper. I am already going nuts!

Thanks Amanda at Running with Spoons for hosting Thinking Out Loud and thanks to all of you for being so encouraging throughout my training ups and downs.

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What are your taper crazies like? Do you find yourself doubting your training as you head into a big race?

Colfax Marathon Week 15: Peak Week

Yesterday I posted our crazy weekend of climbing, hiking, backpacking, and tornados (yay, Kansas). In addition to our awesome trip, I was in the peak of my marathon training. Peak week could not have gone better. I really feel like I had bounced off the confidence gained from my race and that sent me into last week with a good head and a lot of excitement. I can honestly say that I have tried my very hardest and have done everything that I can to be ready heading into my first marathon.

Elly is also trying her very hardest training for the sleep-a-thon.

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This cat sleeps like 20 hours per day.

This was my week

Monday: 8 miles – easy pace + Yoga

Tuesday: 8 miles w/ 3 x 2 mile repeats + Yoga

Wednesday: 3 miles – recovery pace + Yoga

Thursday: 20 miles LSD + Yoga

Friday: REST DAY! Lots of climbing though

Saturday: 6 miles – recovery pace + Climbing

Sunday: 10 miles at Goal MP + Hiking

Total Miles: 55.1 YEAH!

This was my highest mileage ever! I wasn’t sure during the beginning of the week if I would actually hit 55 miles, but I took it day by day and kept warm up, recovery, and cool down miles REALLY REALLY SLOW! It worked and I made it to the other side with no pain and no injuries. I also made my yoga practice a serious priority and stepped it up a notch. For a few weeks, I’ve been keeping yoga very chill and easy. I decided to go to a few more advanced level classes. Honestly, it kind of helped. I didn’t do any inversions or crazy arm balances, but moving a lot and breaking a sweat definitely helped keep my muscles limber.

I definitely struggled with the 3 x 2 mile repeats. I took them a little too fast and suffered because of it. But all three were EXACTLY 16:30, so not bad. I was proud of the consistency but not so proud of the amount of suffering that I did during the workout. I was still a little sore from the race, so I’ll blame it on that.

The 20-miler definitely weighed heavy on my mind all week, but once I finally did it, honestly, it was not so bad. It was a little slower than my first 20-miler, but mentally, I was a lot more ready. I took the last 5 miles at race pace, but had a moment where I crashed a little and had to stop to drink water. It was pretty warm out, and I may have been a little dehydrated.

My goal MP tempo run was done in Springfield, Mo on the way home from Arkansas. I went along the Greenline trail that runs north-south straight through town. The wind was blowing and it was 85 degrees out, but I still managed to hold on to race pace (with a water break in the middle). There were definitely some difficulties running this, but I was pretty happy to be done. Honestly, the last mile almost brought me to tears, knowing that I made it to the taper, healthy and strong.

So… I did it. I made it to the taper and I did it without injury. This has not been easy, but regardless of how Colfax goes, I am proud of this training cycle. I am so happy and thankful that my body held up. So, during miles 20-26.2, when I want to quit, I am going to remind myself of the hard work I put into this cycle and I am going to be thankful for what my body is capable of right now.

The countdown is on… 19 days until Colfax.

Colfax Marathon Training Week 10: Things are going great!

Woohoo! Another week in the books for marathon training and it was another great one. Surprisingly, higher mileage is feeling really good on my legs. I’m rarely sore (only after speed workouts or hard tempo runs). I’m starting to get better at varying my pace AND I am getting faster. Like a lot faster. It’s amazing what more running does for your speed.

Although I still feel like running a marathon is like a ridiculous joke, it’s starting to feel more possible. My goal has been to go for a sub-4:00 time, but to be totally cool with abandoning that goal on race day if I am just not feeling it. I think that if things keep going the way they have been… a sub-4:00 is well within my reach. Of course, I will reassess as we get closer, but lately I am feeling strong and fast, which are two good things.

This is what Elly was up to this week:

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I woke her up… she was not amused.

Monday: 6 miles easy pace + yoga

I took it easy and just went out for a little loop around town. It was a nice day out, I got to wear shorts AND I was breaking in my new shoes. I love the first few runs in a new pair of running shoes. Everything always feels so wonderful and bouncy.

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Working on some inversions.

Tuesday: 7 miles – Tempo Run at “goal MP”

I’ve been trying to get a better feel for my paces so I really wanted to practice without look at my watch this week. This was the first run that I really commited to it. I wanted to stick to a pace where I felt I could hold it for a super long time, but was still faster than my long run pace (usually between 9:30-9:40/mi). I looked down at my watch only when I finished a mile and I was shocked! The miles were ticking by in the mid-8:00’s and faster. I just kept moving, not pushing hard. My last mile was a sub-8 (7:31)… which has never been an easy pace for me. I figured this was a fluke and figured that the higher mileage is making me more comfortable with my tempo runs.

Wednesday: 5 mile Recovery Run + Yoga

Very chill recovery. I hovered around a 10:00/mi pace. I felt good, but certainly tired, so it was nice to have a slow day.

Thursday: Yoga, no running

 Friday: 18 miles LSD

18 miles is a hard distance for me. I feel like it’s unfathomably far and honestly, farther than I generally like to drive, no less run. I tried to compartmentalize it in my head as a 10 mile run and a separate 8 mile run. I did a long loop around town and made it to my house at mile 13 for a fast drink of water before setting out for the last 5 miles. Normally, I would just drink at the water fountains around town, but they are still off (I decided to harass Manhattan Parks and Rec on twitter to get the fountains turned back on. It worked!!). I kept the last 4 miles at race pace without too much effort, which gave me a ton of confidence!

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Harassing my city on twitter.

Saturday: No Running, just yoga!

Sunday: 9 miles – Tempo Run

No idea what happened here… I went out at a very chill warm up pace and then just kicked it up a few notches at a nice comfortable pace. I figured I was hitting close to goal MP pace (so… 9/mi), but the miles kept getting faster. By mile 5 I was hitting sub-8:00/mi and felt like I could hold this pace forever. I briefly considered running a half marathon to PR, but decided to stick to my original plan and save the PR for a race. Including the warm up, this was at 8:12/mi. I guess it’s runs like these that give you the confidence and mental strength to finish a marathon.

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Crazy splits!!

Total: 45 Miles

 

I ended the week on a huge high point. However, I am very much looking forward to this week’s recovery. I will be hitting between 32-36 miles, which is going to feel amazing after two tough weeks. This weekend I am participating in an adventure race called Questival in Dallas, TX. I think it’s a scavenger hunt or something like that, but all I do know is that it is 24 hours and it’s supposed to be crazy fun. I’ll write a recap after.

Well, there it is. I had a great week. Here’s to hoping this momentum keeps up!!

I recently got a twitter account. Follow me @thisyogiruns or just check out the tweets on the side bar!

How was your weekend? Did anyone race?