Colfax MarathonWeek 7: Feeling better and crushing some miles!

After a short hiatus from running and spending a few days sleeping more, I am feeling better. I still have a little sinus pressure and I am queen of the snot rocket, but I am back to training! Woohoo! Although the week did have a bit of a rough start with two rest days on Monday and Tuesday, I managed to pick it up and have a great week of training and high mileage as we start to get into my peak weeks for Colfax. I was unable to do much yoga because of the sinus infection (yoga made my face feel like it was going to explode). The nice thing about a few days off is that my legs felt so fresh and light. Without the cumulative mileage, I really felt strong and easily hit paces (even though I was sick). This certainly gave me a lot of hope for Colfax. I imagine that although training is hard right now, after the taper, Colfax might actually feel pretty good.

Monday and Tuesday: Rest days where I stayed in bed as much as I could and tried not to snot all over everything.

 Wednesday: 6.1 miles on trail

I went out to the Konza Prairie, a preserve about 10 minutes from my house. It was a beautiful, but slightly cold day. I was still not feeling quite well, but I wanted to get back to training. The trail takes you 6 miles through rolling prairie with some pretty awesome views of town. The run was tough. I struggled to make it up the hills, and I had to stop every 2 miles or so to blow my nose and breath a little deeper. By the time I was done, I was crazy tired, but I really think it helped get me back on track, so it was worth it!

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Enjoying some time out on the trails, even if I don’t look like it.

Thursday: 5 miles easy

This was supposed to be an easy run. I went out, hoping to hit paces close to 9:45-10:00/mile range. Well, my legs felt light and easy so I was hitting paces around 9:00/mi, which is my goal marathon pace. It felt so natural and chill to be out there and although my sinus infection was still giving me trouble, I just felt like I could go forever. I attribute this feeling to having very fresh legs from a few days off.

Friday: 8 miles Tempo HMP

I went out for a fast 8 miles with one of my friends in town. He tends to push the pace a little, so I do like to go on tempo runs with him. I was still having some trouble from my sinus infection, but it didn’t seem to make running my difficult… it just made me a little gross with lots of snot.

Saturday: Lots of hiking, no running though!

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Frank and I enjoying a hike at a Kansas state park. It was really windy and my hair was being unruly.

Sunday: 16 miles LSD

I was a little nervous about this run. The 16-mile distance is the first one where I really start to feel like I am training for a marathon. It’s long, slow, and at times, brutal. I started the run feeling a little icky, but as it went on, I started to feel stronger. Frank came along on his bike and we just went around exploring Lawrence, KS. The wind was incredible with gusts of up to 35 mph, but I still managed to hit goal pace. After the run, I basically went on an eating rampage and then hiked for a bit with a few friends. It was a great day!!

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Yeah, I ran up that hill on mile 11!
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Nothing better than a Kentucky Ale8 Ginger Ale after a 16-mile long run!
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Frank and I finished the day with a sunset hike!

Total Mileage: 35.1

 

Despite the tough start, I had a great week with some quality runs. I was honestly a little concerned that getting sick would derail my training, but it really hasn’t. If anything, a few days off kind of gave my legs a nice rest. This next week will be a tough one. I will be hitting my highest mileage ever and I am taking a backpacking trip out to the Ozark Mountains. This means that my long run (18 miles) will be on Thursday and not on the weekend.

This week:

M: 4 miles recovery

T: 8 miles goal MP

W: Rest

T: 18 miles LSD

F: 4 miles recovery

S: Rest

S: 8 miles Trail

I know that I missed out on so much last week. How was your week? Any fun or exciting stories?

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Colfax Marathon Week 2: Kickin’ Butt!!

Week two of my Colfax Marathon training cycle is over, and I only have 110 days to get myself ready! I know that sounds like a long time… but it’s not. However, it will be more than enough time if every week goes as well as this week did. Basically, mostly everything went right. I had a few weather snafus that stopped me from hitting my paces, but the effort was there, even if the clock didn’t say so.

Monday: 8 miles LSD – Long run pushed off from week before due to weather

I wrote about this run here. It was a pretty good long run, but was pushed off to this week due to arctic temperatures in Kansas.

Tuesday: 3 miles easy pace on treadmill + Yoga

It was still bitterly cold out on Tuesday, and I had kinda lost feeling in my legs by the end of my 8-mile long run, so I decided to take this one inside. I hate the treadmill, and even though it was an easy paced run, mentally, this run was pretty tough. I have such a hard time keeping my mind occupied while running indoors.

Wednesday: 3 miles in snowstorm + Yoga

I went out for a run during a rather nasty snowstorm. I figured that since the temps weren’t too bad, that I could take the snow. I was hoping to hit close to marathon pace, but couldn’t stop my feet from slipping on the snow, so I just did put a medium amount of effort into the run. I was pretty glad to get home and dry off a bit.

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This is what Elly was up to when I got back from my run. It was apparently too cold to be awake.

Thursday: 3 miles easy pace on treadmill + Yoga

Kansas doesn’t believe in plows and salt… so I ended up taking my run inside… again. By the end of it, I was ready to swear off the treadmill forever. I did some yoga after, and that made me feel better about being cooped up indoors.

Friday: 5 miles Marathon Pace… but not really + Yoga

I intended for this run to be at marathon pace. Frank and two of our friends came out for the run (although Frank only did 3 miles). It was icy and cold, which slowed us down a lot. Dodging the ice and snow made for an interesting run that almost felt like trail running. We kept it about 30 seconds per mile slower than MP, although the effort seemed pretty tough.

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The reads and sidewalks were caked in ice… and it really only got worse as we went along.
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Obligatory post-run selfie. Frank had already run inside to get away from the cold.

Saturday: Rest Day – Went to see the largest ball of twine in the world… and yes, that is in Kansas!

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Artsy shot of the twine. Kansas is a strange place…

Sunday: 10 miles LSD + Yoga

I went to a yoga class in the AM and ran in the afternoon. One of Frank’s co-workers expressed interest in training for a half marathon, so I took him along for 7 miles of the run… and he did great! This was the first long run that has actually felt like a long run in a while. It was a real milestone to hit double digits. I actually don’t think I have done that since my Chicago Marathon training back in October. It was a great run, and I even got to explore a new route. Frank joined me for the last three miles and really pushed the pace. I ran a negative split with the last mile well below marathon pace (Thanks Frank). I had intended to keep this run pretty slow, but with the ice gone and fresh legs, I felt too good to slow down.

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Zeb is learning how fun running can really be!!

Total Mileage: 32.4

Overall, this was a great week. I needed it too! With the A1A Half Marathon coming up, I think I needed a few confident long runs under my belt into order to go for a PR in Fort Lauderdale. Also, the higher mileage felt good on my legs, so I’m pretty glad to be back! This week, Frank and I will be heading to Boulder on Thursday night, so I’ll be doing a few runs at altitude!

This week:

M: Rest

T: 3 miles easy

W: 6 miles MP

Th: 3 miles easy

F: 6 miles

S: Hiking in Colorado!

S: 12 miles LSD through Boulder

How was your week? Anyone hit by bad weather? Also, I know Kristina and Ali are doing the A1A Marathon/Half Marathon. Is anyone else gonna be there?

Some moving, some training, and lots of pictures!

Guess what! I have a furnished apartment! I have a desk, a table, futon, bed… I am a real person with a real place and I love it! I live in a historic building that was a hotel in the 1920’s. My apartment is pretty tiny, but it suits Frank and I (and our two fuzzy animals pretty well).

So what does having an apartment mean? Well, it means that I am going to get back to being a person again, who writes on here more than once a week. I’ve been struggling trying to even fit in time to run, no less blog, so things have been kinda tricky.

This week went pretty well, and I really enjoyed running in lots of new places. I must say, the hills here are a bit of a change, and will help my running immensely. However, it does have me rethinking my goals a bit for my next half marathon on June 6.

Monday: Ran 4 miles at 8:55 + morning yoga

This was a slow and sluggish run. We had moved in our stuff the day before, and I was exhausted from all the driving. Frank had his first day at work, so I figured that I HAD to get out the door to go for a run. I only went 4 miles and my legs felt tired. It was a pretty run and I was excited by all the new scenery. I took a yoga class in the morning, which was awesome.

Beautiful river views.
Beautiful river views.

Tuesday: 3.2 with running group + morning yoga

They have a running club here in town, so I went out with them for their weekly run. There are three routes that they cycle through, and this week was the “hilly” route. I am sure to all of you from more mountainous areas, this would have been a piece of cake, but for me and my Indiana/Florida legs, this was a pretty substantial task. I managed to keep an 8:40 min/mi overall pace, but I felt pretty beat at the top of the hill. I guess this will get me ready for Hospital Hill.

So, that's a hill there. Us Floridians never see those... neither do the people from Indiana.
So, that’s a hill there. Us Floridians never see those… neither do the people from Indiana.

Wednesday: 4.5 at Konza Prairie + morning yoga

This run was probably the highlight of my week. I drove down to a preserve just south of town and expected it to be a pretty leisurely run. It was not. The prairie is in the heart of the Flint Hills, and they were pretty crazy. I had about 350 ft of elevation gain and I ended up taking a few breaks to take in the scenery and to text/complain to Lizzy about the hills (she didn’t know that I was in the middle of a run while I was texting her). Anyways, I was pretty spent afterwards, but it was a pretty awesome run.

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Thursday: Morning Yoga

I did yoga. It was awesome, as yoga always is.

Friday: More morning yoga

I did more yoga. I was supposed to run, but a thunderstorm rolled in and I pushed it back, since I don’t have anywhere to run inside.

Saturday: Hiked 6 miles + Ran 4 miles

I made some new friends and we went hiking! It was super fun. We went to a state park just north of town and hiked about 6 miles along a network of hilly and forested trails. After I got home I slipped on my running shoes and went out for what I was hoping would be a 5-mile run. However, towards the end of mile 2, I saw lightening strike pretty close and decided to cut my run short. I haven’t quite gotten used to the unpredictability of the weather here.

Running during a thunderstorm!
Running during a thunderstorm!

Sunday: Biked 16 miles + hiked 6 miles + ran 8 pathetic miles

So I did too much and paid for it on my long run. Frank and I woke up early to bike out to the prairie about 8 miles from town. We hiked a 6-mile loop (and saw a bunch of wildlife) and then biked the 8 miles back. I was pretty tired, but we went to check out the Flint Hills Discovery Center for a talk about Prairie Chickens, an endangered bird found in this region. A few hours later I went on my long run. This was hands-down the absolute worst long run I’ve ever done. My legs felt like lead, I was sunburned from the bike ride earlier, so I felt a little dehydrated, and I just generally felt unmotivated. I was supposed to go 10 miles, but at 8 miles, I felt like my legs could go no further. I kept a 9:20 pace, but had to walk a few times. It was just bad…

Pretty new running trails. Too bad I felt too unmotivated to enjoy them.
Pretty new running trails. Too bad I felt too unmotivated to enjoy them.

I think I may have over trained a little this week. I did a ton of yoga and hiking, and I just think my body wasn’t quite ready for that much activity. Unfortunately, next week probably wont be much better because I am going to Rocky Mountain National Park for Memorial Day. I am going to try to get better sleep, and now that I’m all moved in, I wont be spending my free time moving stuff to a third floor apartment. The good news is that I feel totally injury free, no aches or pains, just general tiredness.

How was your week? Have you ever just had a TERRIBLE run?

Moving to Kansas!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post. To be honest, my life has been absolutely insane with the move. Last week I hardly got any time to run, but even with all the craziness, I managed to get a 5k watch PR on my last run with the Fleet Feet running group.

Last run was a good one! This was the first time I've seen my overall pace at 7:something!
Last run was a good one! This was the first time I’ve seen my overall pace at 7:something!

On Friday afternoon, Frank and I gathered our stuff, the cats, and hit the road. We drove through most of the night until we got to Booneville, Missouri, where some close friends live.

I don't think Elly and Sydney were very happy with the ride.
I don’t think Elly and Sydney were very happy with the ride.

On Saturday, our friends took us to some pretty parks and into Columbia, home of the Mizzou. We got some good food, chilled out and spent the night at their place.

Missouri has some pretty hiking!
Missouri has some pretty hiking!

The next day wasn’t exactly ideal. It rained ALL DAY LONG. We got to Manhattan, KS around noon and had to move our stuff in during a thunderstorm. I also did some damage to my back moving the bed, but we still managed to get some pretty good pizza walking distance from our place!

So, this was the view driving into Kansas...It's moving weather!!
So, this was the view driving into Kansas…It’s moving weather!!

I woke up Monday morning and hit up a yoga class, which helped my back a lot. Despite my pain, I couldn’t help but go out for a run. I did 4 easy miles along the river. It turns out that Kansas is really beautiful!

Beautiful river views.
Beautiful river views.

My new run group meets up on Tuesday nights, so I went 3.2 miles with them. They picked a really hilly route. Now, people think Kansas is flat. Apparently, it’s not. Like… not at all. The route included what felt like a mountain to my poor Indiana legs. I think I have some work cut out for me.

Elly is making herself right at home here in Manhattan, KS.
Elly is making herself right at home here in Manhattan, KS. I’m pretty sure this is the cutest cat in the world. 

Tomorrow I am going to check out some trails. I’ll let you know how it goes!

How has your week been? Have you conquered any new routes lately?

Moving to Kansas: 5 Things I’ll Miss

As most of you know, I am moving soon! On May 8, I will be making an epic journey to Manhattan, Ks with Frank and our two (angry) cats. I expect it will be fun and I am so excited to have new places to see… however, I am sad to miss some stuff here. This is going to be a two-part blog entry! This first one includes 5 things that I will miss about South Bend and the next (which I’ll post next week) are 5 things I am excited about in Manhattan, KS.

Well here we go…

The Purple Porch Co-op

This is my co-op. They have a farmer's market every wednesday, and it's awesome!
This is my co-op. They have a farmer’s market every wednesday, and it’s awesome!

This is the best place ever. I love the Purple Porch. It is a food co-op that started as a small Farmer’s Market on Wednesday nights. Now it’s an actual grocery store! The best part is that I’ve been around to see the transition. I love the people, the vibe, the farmers, and the food. They are an amazingly supportive community. They’ve given me free food, you know, cause I’m a grad student and we are a poor group of people. They’ve given me a community… really, I don’t know what I will do without them.

The South Bend Adventure Club

The caving group from the South Bend Adventure Club. Pretty awesome time!
The caving group from the South Bend Adventure Club. Pretty awesome time!

When Frank and I moved to South Bend, we had left a club called OAR (Outdoor Adventure Recreation) in Gainesville. OAR was a great group of people and we had tons of fun. So, we tried to recreate it in South Bend. Amazingly, we were rather successful! We managed to create a community of over 1300 people (and counting) that like to go outside, hike, climb, caving or whatever else there is to do in the area. A lot of the people in the club became some of our closest friends, all of whom I am sad to leave. The club was such an awesome thing, and it’ll be an adjustment to not have that for my weekend fun!

East Bank and River Trails

A pretty bridge on the River  Trail.
A pretty bridge on the River Trail.

The East Bank and River Trails run for about 15 miles along the St. Joseph River. I just love them. There are always lots of runners, people walking their dogs, and just lots of happy people. With it being along the river, I get to see a good amount of birds and wildlife, along with an occasional angry goose (or river otter). I do almost all of my long runs here and a lot of my tempo runs too. I just love the river and being close to it (although, Manhattan, Ks has TWO rivers).

Fleet Feet Group Runs

I'll miss this group of people. They do an awesome job keeping our runs fun!
I’ll miss this group of people. They do an awesome job keeping our runs fun!

I really like running socially for my slow and recovery runs. The Fleet Feet running group meets once a week at a bar about a half-mile from my house. We run a 5k route and then all hang out to eat dinner/drink. It’s a pretty fun group of people and I’ll miss them a lot. I’m trying to get a few of them to run the Sunburst Half Marathon on the same day as my Hospital Hill Half!

Down Town South Bend Events

Downtown South Bend!
Downtown South Bend!

South Bend used to be a booming industrial town back in the 50’s and 60’s, but in 1964, the Studebaker plant when under and lots of people lost their jobs. South Bend went through kind of a dark age after that. However, a few years ago, a large group of young and educated people moved into town and wanted to really make a great city. They started a ton of fun events down town and tried to get a good community of people involved. Events like Ignite Michiana, where Frank gave a talk about the Adventure Club, and monthly events like Science Café, First Friday, and Green Drinks allow for things to do after work. We made a lot of friends in the downtown crowd and had a lot of fun. I’ll miss all the people and having a group that really wants to see the city grow.

I guess the real thing that I’ll miss is all of the friends I made here. I’ll be back around these areas often, while I finish writing my dissertation, but home base will be in Kansas. I’m crazy excited about what’s to come, but I’ll miss all the friends I’ve made here.

What do you love about your town? Do food co-ops exist where you are?

Hospital Hill, here I come!

I have started training for my next half marathon, which has gotten me to thinking about what my goals are. I am way more confident going into this next half and I’m hoping for a BIG PR. I also realize that it might not be possible… and that’s ok. But I am going to use this race as an opportunity to find out what is possible. Now, I’ll reassess my plans when we’re a little closer, but as things stand now, I think my goal is mega-hard, but reachable.

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The Hospital Hill Half is one of the oldest half marathons in the US. This year marks the 42nd year for the race. Last year they had over 9,000 people on the course, and they expect even more this year. And to top it off, this will be my first race in my new home!

However… training for this race is tough. I currently live in Northern Indiana, where it is flatter than a pancake. Kansas City has a bit more topography. Here’s the elevation profile of the race:

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 4.13.22 PM It may not look like much… but it’s substantial. My poor Indiana legs are used to doing hill repeats on a hill with a 40-foot gain, so a gain of 180 feet over a mile is certainly a challenge. My last two races were nothing in the way of hills, so I am sure to be in for a rude awakening.

All that said and done, what are my goals?

A goal: 1:50:00 – I know crazy… but I’ll be with a pace group.

B goal: Sneak under 1:55:00. There is a 1:55 pace group, so this is very doable

C goal: See if I can run the exact time I ran at the A1A Half (I nearly did this at the Holy Half and it would be funny if I did it again)

So, you might think I’m nuts. And I might be. However, I think I have it in me. My biggest obstacle is not my endurance or my legs… it’s the mind game. I hate suffering on runs, and the Hospital Hill Half is going to be a bit of suffering. I’m ok with that. If I crash and burn, I’m ok with that too. I’ll never know how hard I can push until I push a little too hard.

I do have a plan of attack, and so I’ll be incorporating these things into my training:

More speed work including some track work
Stairs – Shoutout to Hanna and Maddie on this one
Hill repeats on my 40-foot hill
More mileage
More strength training, with body weight of course (cause I hate weights)

I think I can do this and I’m gonna try. It’s absolutely key that I keep a positive attitude going into my training and that I learn to kick that mental game. Whatever happens, I can’t wait to at least try!

Have you ever crashed and burned in a race? What’s your craziest goal?