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.


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?