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?

Run in the Sun… and back to the snow!

Sorry about being MIA over the holidays. It is always craziness down south. My husband and I are both only children, so we are showered with attention when we visit. I spent a lot of time with my family and catching up on my yoga practice. My mom, who is also a yoga teacher, and I went to a class every day that I was home and had a great time experiencing some new instructors. Taking new classes reminds me to step outside the box when I teach and is a great way to jumpstart a more challenging practice. AND…while at home, my mom and I cooked up some fun plans for this Valentine’s Day (the day before the A1A Half). Check it out…

This is a workshop I will be teaching in South Florida at Juliana's Art of Yoga. If you are in town, you should check it out!
This is a workshop I will be teaching in South Florida at Juliana’s Art of Yoga. If you are in town, you should check it out!

I figured that this would be a wonderful way for me to curb the nerves for the race and it is a fun thing to do with my mom!

So, you may be wondering how I did for my holiday training. …It was pretty bad. I spent most of my time doing yoga and hanging with family, and not too much time running (although I did get a few runs in). Despite my lack of training, I think I needed some time to check out and concentrate on lowering my stress levels and practice mildfulness. However, now I am back in Indiana and ready to get back to the roads, at least with a little bit more consistency. My training this week will be with an intention of going slow and long. My husband promised to join me for a few runs, so I’ll have some company.

Monday: Much needed rest!

Tuesday: 5 miles slow and yoga

Wednesday: 5 miles and yoga

Thursday: Hike along Knobstone trail

Friday: Trail run 4 miles

Saturday: Hike along Knobstone trail

Sunday: Hike and run 8 miles

Total: 22 miles

How is your training going? Have the holidays made it a little harder to get it done? Don’t beat yourself up about it, just make it a priority in the next few weeks. Happy New Year everyone!

Training Update: Heading home to sunny South Florida!

I am going home! I have been looking forward to this for weeks and I head out tomorrow. I couldn’t be more excited. There will be sun and heat and more yoga than I could shake a stick at. I’ll get to see my whole family, plus my husband’s family. It really doesn’t get better than this. I do have a job for the next 11 days in South Florida. Training. Training. Training. This will be my last opportunity to run in the environment that I will be racing in come February. The race day switch from freezing temperatures to Florida heat and humidity has been making me a little concerned. Over the next two weeks, my job is run while it’s hot and get used to doing it. Along with that, I’ll be doing tons of yoga and hanging with the fam. This is going to be a pretty awesome vacation.

So, I got the coolest Christmas present, a bike trainer! My mom sent it to me because she didn’t want me to get stuck with it on a plane. Now, I can cross train whenever I want. I can go for a ride, regardless of the weather outside. This is so so so great! I was incredibly thankful, and it is going to be incorporated into my training when I get back.

This is the trainer! It works great and is really pretty quiet. If you live in a cold place... you should totally get one. I'm convinced that it is the best gift ever.
This is the trainer! It works great and is really pretty quiet. If you live in a cold place… you should totally get one. I’m convinced that it is the best gift ever.

Training this week:
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 5 miles easy
Wednesday (GO HOME!): 4 miles
Thursday: Yoga
Friday: 6 miles with negative splits + yoga
Saturday: yoga
Sunday: 8 miles long run + yoga
Total: 23 miles

Have a great week before Christmas and don’t forget to train! 🙂

Reflections for Intensions

The end of the year is a perfect time to reflect on our accomplishments and growth over the past 12 months. As runners, we always try to compete with ourselves for that better time and longer distance and sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. Resolutions come in many forms, and may (or may not) be reachable in just a single year. Sometimes our goals can take an entire lifetime to achieve and those, quite honestly, are the best ones. It’s important that as we approach the end of the year, that our reflections lead to positive thoughts and actions towards ourselves and others.

One year ago, I was still recovering from my ankle injury (a full tear to my ATFL), which meant no running for me. I had always considered myself a runner, but I hadn’t even laced up the running shoes in over 6 months. My injury had sidelined my passion and I knew my fitness was suffering for it. My husband and I would go hiking and I would be struggling to keep up (to my defense, he goes really really fast!). I decided that I needed to get back to the trails and begin running again. I hadn’t raced in well over a year, but I felt confident that I could work my way back. My intention for 2014 was to run again, and in the process work up to a half marathon. Did I do it? …Well, kind of. I ran again. I raced again. But I didn’t run that half. In October, when I had intended to run a half, I felt an old injury resurface, and in great wisdom (and a whole lot of frustration), I decided to back off and push the half distance until 2015. So, here I am. I am training for that half and it feels right this time. No pains, no hickups. Maybe 2014 wasn’t the year of the half marathon for me, but it sure seems like 2015 will be.

Here are my 5 goals and intentions for the upcoming year:

1. Run a half marathon (actually, run like 3 or 4…but let’s start with 1)

2. Train in the mornings more often..for real this time

3. Confidently do forearm stands away from the wall (in class, while instructing people through it…haha!)

4. Practice gratitude and appreciation for what is here…always. No matter what life throws.

5. Clean my room once a month (this is a vast improvement over never…which is how often I clean it now)

This is me practicing forearm stand, confidently, in my running shoes, when I thought no one was watching.
This is me practicing forearm stand, confidently, in my running shoes, when I thought no one was watching. This is a rare occurrence for me. 

So as you approach the new year, what is it that you intend? Will you approach these goals with positivity even if they fall short? Take the new year as an opportunity. Be positive.

I’ll leave you with an affirmation as you reflect. 

Lead me from the unreal to the Real
Lead me from the darkness to the Light
Lead me from the temporary to the Eternal 

– Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 

Happy Holidays, everyone! Namaste. 🙂

Happy Late Thanksgiving!!!

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was AWESOME! For the first time in my life, I did a rather untraditional Thanksgiving Day. Instead of eating tons of Turkey (I’m vegetarian, so tofurkey in my case), I spent my day hiking through the backcountry of Great Smokey Mountains National Park with my husband and favorite hiking partner. In total for the holiday weekend, we hiked over 50 miles through rolling hills and difficult terrain. I’m pretty sure my legs were ready to fall off, but you know, that comes with the territory. Our animal count was a live turkey (on Thanksgiving Day), a bobcat, a wolf (we also heard them too while we were hiking back to our car) and an armadillo. Pretty good for late fall.

My view on Thanksgiving Day. Jealous much? :)
My view on Thanksgiving Day. Jealous much? 🙂

So now that I’m back to town, it is back to my training. I am 76 days from the A1A Half Marathon! It sounds like a lot, but that time is going to fly by. I also have a 10k trail run in 2 weeks and I am looking for a 5k in Florida to run when I am home for Christmas.

Training for the week:

Monday: 5 miles slow and easy – yoga afterwards

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: 4 miles with running group + yoga

Thursday: 4 miles + yoga

Friday: REST!

Saturday: 7 mile long run pace (try strawberry cliff energy gel + race day breakfast)

Sunday: yoga

Total: 20 miles

These next few weeks I am going to be trying out my race nutrition strategies. I have a rather sensitive stomach, so I am a little worried about what will happen during my half marathon. I usually have to be careful about what I eat before I run and I am new to energy gels. Honestly, I haven’t really decided if I want to use them for my race. Any thoughts? I’d love to hear what works for you.

Thanksgiving Week Training Update

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

The snow melted and it is currently 52 F outside. Unfortunately, I am not able to enjoy the warmer weather for my long run. While on a rather short and easy run last week, I started feeling the old IT band pain. So, with that, plans changed and I didn’t go for my long run sunday. As disappointing as it is, I would much rather just handle it now, back off a bit and get it feeling good than to battle with it like I have in the past. Luckily, it was just a twinge. My goal is to keep it under wraps with some light training this week. Running on a treadmill doesn’t usually hurt me, so I will start with that.

Monday (MY BIRTHDAY!): rest – give it another day off

Tuesday: If it is feeling good – 3 slow miles on the treadmill. Otherwise, rest.

Wednesday: Backpacking in Smoky Mountain National Park

Thursday: Backpacking in Smoky Mountain National Park

Friday: Backpacking in Smoky Mountain National Park

Saturday: Backpacking in Smoky Mountain National Park

Sunday: If I am feeling good – 5 slow miles. Otherwise, rest.

Total: Maybe 8 miles

There you have it. I am listening to my body and doing what it asks…backing off. Hopefully next week I will be better and can go for my long run then. It’ll be nice to concentrate my energies on walking instead of running. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your holiday plans!