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.

img_2238
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.

img_2239
The reads and sidewalks were caked in ice… and it really only got worse as we went along.
img_2241
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!

twine
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.

img_2244
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?

When Marathons Don’t Happen

On October 11, I was supposed to become a marathon runner. I was supposed to cross that finish line and be spending this week feeling sore and triumphant. Unfortunately, it didn’t really happen that way. I spent most of the day looking at my phone, checking Instagram and wishing that I were there. However, as things stand now, it is a very good thing that I deferred until next year. In fact, I won’t be running a marathon any time soon.

This was supposed to be me!
This was supposed to be me!

As you know, I have many passions beyond just running. I do a lot of hiking, biking, climbing, etc. Although I do love to run, my passion for long distance running really began as a way to get me in better shape to do other things… like climb up mountains. It is hard to keep yourself completely injury free when you are always active. Generally, I worry about running related injuries, but they are not the only ones. About a month ago, while out mountain biking, I hit a rock, flew off my bike and landed on my left ankle pretty hard. I laid on the ground screaming in pain, and crying because I knew with that fall, my dream to run a marathon before the end of the year were completely over.

For the last few weeks, I took some time off from structured training. I was still able to do yoga (Thank God!), but that was about it. Fortunately, I am now back to running and biking, but I have to take it slow and only go short distances. Basically, my fall racing schedule is just not happening. I am looking for some shorter distance races, but I have no big goals of PRs or new distances this fall. Right now, my only goal is to get myself back up and running without pain again. Although I will not be racing this fall, I still have the A1A Half Marathon in February, and I will begin training for that in a few weeks.

I am still so disappointed with how all of this has gone. I trained hard this summer to run a marathon. But I am going to move forward and find new goals to work towards. Once I am back to training consistently again, I will talk a bit about what I hope to accomplish in the spring. For now, it’s just to be able to run more than 3 miles without ankle pain.

I know one ting for sure. Next October I will be in Chicago… and I will not only make it to the start, but I will cross that finish line.

How do you get back after an injury? What is your favorite form of cross training (mine is yoga and biking)?

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 7 – My 16 mile redemption!

I did it, 40 miles in a single week AND a rockin’ 16-mile long run! I spent the entire week anxious and nervous about my long run and it couldn’t have gone better. I had never run more than 14 miles and, well, that run didn’t go too well. Going even longer seemed like a stretch, and I was starting to question if a marathon was even possible. After my long run, I actually felt like I could do it.

I was pretty bad about taking pictures this week, so here’s a photo of my perfect cat!

Isn't she adorable?
Isn’t she adorable?

Monday: The usual rest day after a hard week!

Tuesday: Hill repeats (6 miles) in AM + Social run (3.2 miles) in PM

I got up early and ran out to my usual hill and went up and down 6 times before heading home. It felt great. Is it weird that I like hill repeats? It’s one of my favorite workouts. In the PM, I went on a social run with the Running Company. I took it a little fast, given the extreme heat (8:43/mi).

Wednesday: Yoga – no running

I was going to go running in the morning, but a storm came through. It was Frank’s 31st birthday and we were celebrating with some friends in the evening. I just decided to take the day off and just do some yoga. Frank wanted to try a pizza place in town that had a vegan pizza. We are vegetarian, not vegan, but we try to eat vegan when possible. This pizza, however, was SO BAD! Like… the worst. The cheese tasted like gum. Afterwards, we checked out a new brewery in town

Thursday: 7 miles easy (9:49/mi)

I went out in the afternoon, and it was blazing hot outside. It felt good, despite the heat, because I was well hydrated. On my way back, there was a parade going on outside my house. I live in downtown, so whenever anything is up in town, it’s usually happening on my street.

Friday: Hiking – no running

Frank and I went out for a hike at a state park about an hour away. We camped that night and got up early for some trail running the next morning.

Saturday: 8-mile trail run (11:00/mi)

Wilson State Park is about an hour away from Manhattan and is known for some great mountain bike trails. It’s probably the prettiest place I’ve been in Kansas. I hoped on the mountain bike trails and they were tough, but awesome! I passed a few mountain bikers along the way. There were beautiful cliffs along a lake and I saw tortoise!

Sunday: 16-mile LSD (9:34/mi)

I got up early to beat the heat, but it was still about 85 degrees and overcast. There were a few miles here or there that were a struggle, but for the most part, I felt great. I took the first 12 miles at around 10/mi pace, one minute faster than my intended marathon pace. I decided to just go by feel for the last 4 miles and not hold back. I easily hit marathon pace and for the final mile kept an 8:30/mi pace. I needed this run, and it gave me the confidence I needed heading into some of the peak training for Chicago.

This next week is a big cutback for me. I go from running 40 miles to only about 28. I’m basically treating this as a taper week for my half marathon on Saturday. Look out for a post on my goals for my upcoming race, which I am in the process of writing. I’m just not 100% sure what I am looking to get out of the race.

Do you ever find that your confidence wanes? What do you do to fix it?

Chicago Training: Week 6 – Going Long (and hot)

It’s 85 days until the Chicago Marathon…

I’m freaking out a little.

I'm not ready for these kind of emails!
I’m not ready for these kind of emails!

My week officially ended at 35.7 miles! What an accomplishment! I’ve never run more than 30, no less over 35 miles in a single week. I really feel like I am training for a marathon. My legs felt great but I think my long run could have gone better.

 Monday: Rest Day

Just a regular old rest day.

Tuesday: 6.1 mile trail run in AM (9:52 min/mi) & 3 mile fast finish (8:48 min/mi) in PM

I got up really early and got to Konza Prarie before the sunrise. I hit the trail just as the sun was coming up and it was just perfect. The air was cool and it just felt fresh out there. I saw turkeys, bison, bunnies, and deer! In the PM I ran with the Manhattan Running Company on their social run. It was SOOO crazy hot. The heat index was over 100 and the air was stagnant. Kinda felt like running through a sauna.

Pretty sunrise!
Pretty sunrise!

Wednesday: 4 mile progression run

I love progression Runs. I went out in the evening as it was starting to cool off and I just felt great. I was planning to make this an easy run, but I was having trouble holding myself back, so I sped up each mile as I went. My splits were 9:00, 8:23, 8:17, 8:00.

Thursday: Rest

Another rest day.

Friday: Brutal 14 mile long run (10:17 min/mi)

This run sucked… and it was totally my fault. I woke up really early, since I knew the heat index was going to get up to 106 that day. Then, I just kinda sat around and procrastinated. I wasn’t out the door until 9 am, and it was already about 90 F. The first few miles felt good, but I realized that I was going to run out of water, so I ran to the running store in town to fill up. As I got closer, the miles got harder. I took a few walking breaks to cool down, since I had stopped sweating, but really, it wasn’t helping. Unfortunately, Kansas is a prarie, so there are very few trees and nowhere to get out of the sun. At the store, they gave me a test Newton Fuel Belt to hold extra water, and I gotta say, it was a life saver. I had enough water with me to use some to pour over my head to cool down. I was so thankful. Normally, I wouldn’t think a fuel belt is necessary, but around here it gets so hot and there are no water stops. I went ahead and bought one for my long runs this summer. I’m sure I’ll get my money’s worth out of it.

Pretty dorky looking, but I think it'll help me not get heat exhaustion in these 100 degree weather!
Pretty dorky looking, but I think it’ll help me not get heat exhaustion in these 100 degree weather!

Saturday: 3.3 mile recovery run (9:34 min/mi – a little too fast)

I went out in the early morning and just did a nice chill run. I, again, was having trouble holding myself back. I wanted to be closer to 10 min miles, but if I wasn’t watching my watch like a hawk, I would accidentally take it a little faster. I guess that’s a good thing…

Sunday: 5.3 mile Easy (9:57 min/mi)

This was a nice easy run that felt really good. I waited until it started getting dark so I wouldn’t have to endure the blasting sun. Legs felt good, mind felt great, and I just chugged along no problems. Wish all runs were like this.

Things are going up from here! Next week I will run 40 miles, and in there is a 16-mile long run. I’m nervous about the long run, given how poorly the 14-miler went this week, but if I get out earlier, I shouldn’t be in so much trouble. 14 miles is the furthest I’ve ever gone, and 16 miles sure seems like a lot.

I do have a half marathon coming up in less than 2 weeks, so stay tuned for a goals post coming soon!

What is your favorite run (long runs, progression runs, recovery runs, etc)? Do you bring water with you on long runs?

Haircuts and Increased Mileage

As you know, it’s been crazy hot out around here this summer, so I went ahead and chopped off my hair!!

The new haircut!
The new haircut!

How do you like it? Unfortunately I can’t really keep it straight in this humidity, but I like it curly too. My hair had been driving me nuts on my runs, so I figured something a little less heavy would be a nice summer change.

I’ve made the transition pretty nicely to becoming a morning runner. This week I woke up at 5:30 am for a 6 mile trail run through Kanza Prairie. I got to see the sunrise along with about 100 turkeys, a deer, and a bison.

Beautiful sunrise over Kanza Prairie.
Beautiful sunrise over Kanza Prairie.

With beautiful mornings like these, how could I ever go back to evening running?

Running in the mornings has become essential, but it gets harder as I increase my mileage. I’ve never run more than 32 miles in a single week and this week I will be running 35. Next week I hit two new milestones, 40 miles in a single week along with a 16-mile long run. Marathon training is starting to get intense, but I am certainly noticing that I am getting stronger. Distances that used to seem like a push are suddenly much easier. I’ve also been pretty good about doing hill work, and have noticed a big difference there too.

Two weeks from Saturday I will be running the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon. I wont be there to PR… it’s my Chicago pace practice run. I’m going to run at marathon pace (9:00 min/mi). If I can do it at 7,000 feet with a pretty sizable uphill section, I’m pretty sure Chicago will be a piece of cake!

How is your fall training going? Are you feeling confident about your next race?

Chicago Training: Week 5 – HOT HOT HOT!!

Did you hear about Scott Jurek’s record breaking run on the AT? It was pretty amazing! He finished 2185 miles in 46 days 8 hours 20 minutes. That’s almost 50 miles per day for over 46 days… truely amazing.

Amazing record breaking run!
Amazing record breaking run!

I can’t believe I am done with week 5 already! This week was all about ankle recovery, and by the end, I was hardly feeling it at all. I guess I’d have to say that recovery was a success. My total mileage was about 24 miles, although my Garmin was acting kinda weird and I’m not sure what my actual mileage was. Getting back to normal intensity next week should go pretty smoothly.

Monday: Rested Ankle

I basically did no walking or running. I tried to keep the foot elevated and iced it often.

Tuesday: 3.1 miles with run group

My ankle was feeling pretty good, so I went out with my run group to do our hill route. I decided to do a progression run and had splits of 9:31, 8:43 & 8:21. Pretty good!

Wednesday: Rest Day

I went to a yoga class, but did no running.

Thursday: ~4.5 miles at 9:57 min/mi

I waited way too long to go out for my run, and decided to do it over lunch. It was over 90 degrees out and I was dying. I intended to do 7 miles, but I decided that the suffering was really doing me no good, so I turned back a little over 2 miles to head home.

Friday: Rest Day

I figured that since I had suffered so much on my run the day before, I should probably chill out and not go too hard the next day, so I took a day off.

Saturday: 10 miles at 9:55 min/mi

Frank and I went to Omaha, NE to check out the zoo and I wanted to check out some of the local running areas in the morning. I went out to a really nice lake with a paved trail around it to do my long run. There were tons of people out, despite the high humidity and heat. For the most part, this was a good run, although the last few miles kinda felt like a slog.

This was such a beautiful spot to run. Photo credit: google
This was such a beautiful spot to run. Photo credit: google

Sunday: ~6.5 miles around 9ish pace

My garmin was being a real pain during this run and turned off a few times. It was HOT out…and I was sweating like crazy. I stopped a few times to drink water, but I still managed to stay close to marathon pace. I felt good, and was exhausted at the end.

Next week’s forecast:

Kansas has become a sauna.
Kansas has become a sauna.

The end of the week saw temps of over 100 around here, and next week will only be worse. I’m going to be running in the early mornings and maybe slowing off on paces to stop myself from getting injured from the heat. I have a pretty big mileage increase over the next few weeks, and I am getting to mileages that I have never done before. Things are getting pretty real over here!

How hot is too hot to run? Are you seeing crazy high temps this week?

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?

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 3!!!

Was anyone else glued to the internet yesterday checking the Western States Endurance Run results? I totally was. I was so happy to see Kaci Licktieg pull out a second place spot. She was pretty far back there when I went to sleep and she must have dug deep at the end. Magda Boulet won the woman’s race with a crazy impressive time of 19:05:21. Such an awesome race… maybe one day I’ll run it. 😉

I had a pretty great training week, despite all of my traveling. I really focused on broadening my paces by making my fast miles faster, and some of my slowest miles even slower. It worked too! I ran miles at 7:30 min/mi and I ran miles in the high 10’s. Doing this helped make 29 miles this week feel not too bad on my legs.

Monday: 5.2 mile Tempo at Marathon Pace (9:00 min/mi)

This was a pretty straight forward tempo run. I felt really comfortable the entire time, even though it was like 90 degrees out with like 100% humidity (I was in Florida). Overall a good workout.

Tuesday: 4.5 miles – no idea what pace because my Garmin was being crazy

I went out for a run that I was hoping to keep at like a 9:30-9:45 pace. However, my Garmin suddenly started reading numbers like 3:15 min/mi and told me that I ran a sub 6 mile (which I did not). It felt like an easy run, so we’ll just call it that.

Wednesday: Lots of Yoga and rest

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Mile Repeats (6 miles at 9:05 with warm up and cool down)

This was a crazy fun workout. I flew back to Kansas and had a few hours between when I had to go get Frank from the airport. He was flying back from Boston. I decided to go to a park and just get some fast miles in. I warmed up for a mile and kept it very slow and then did mile repeats with a 2-minute rest in between. These were my times: 7:31, 7:58, 8:08, 8:13. I know, I was getting slower and slower, but I was ok with that. I was tired from the flight and I probably took that first mile a little too quick (I was trying to stay close to an 8:00 pace). I cooled down for a mile, but this was a fun workout!

Nice spot for some mile repeats.
Nice spot for some mile repeats.

Saturday: 3.3 Miles at 9:46 min/mi

This was a recovery run, and it should have been slower. I felt like I had to hold myself back the entire time. I could have been going way faster and still felt good, but I kept reminding myself that I had a long run in the morning. I would occasionally look at my watch and see the time creeping down and I would immediately back off. I gotta say, I was thrilled to feel like that after my workout the day before.

Pretty flowers on my run.
Pretty flowers on my run.

Sunday: 10 mile LSD 9:59 min/mi

What a great long run! I got myself out pretty early in the morning while it was still pleasant. I tried to keep myself as close to 10 min/mi as I could (about a minute slower than my projected marathon pace). Honestly, it felt pretty easy. The whole time I was thinking about Chicago, and how I could keep this pace up forever. I think it also dawned on me, during this run, that I am actually training for a marathon… which is pretty exciting, and scary. I hope all of my future long runs are like this one. Afterwards, I went hiking with Frank, so I think I have about 20 miles on my legs today and I’m pretty tired.

Out on our hike.
Out on our hike.

Total: 29 miles!

Next week is the first 30 mile + week. It will be the furthest I’ve ever ran in a single week, and will also have a 12 mile long run in there! It’s getting pretty real over here!

104 days until the Chicago Marathon!!!!

How was your week? Anything exciting?

Book Review: Meb for Mortals

Sorry that I have not been very active lately on the blog. I’ve been doing tons of traveling, conferencing, seeing family, etc., which has made it kinda hard to write. I’m on my way back to Kansas and things are returning to at least some semblance of normalcy (for like 5 days).

IMG_1766

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love Meb Keflezighi. For any major marathon, I always root for him and I follow him on facebook and instagram. He’s just a really nice and classy guy. I like that he always finishes his races, even if he is not performing well and that he takes a generally laid back attitude to running and life. He also posts lots of pictures of his kids, and I really respect people that are good parents.

Since I knew I’d be flying all day Friday, I decided to get Meb’s book “Meb for Mortals” to see if it had any good running, training, or life advice. I’ve read Meb’s other book, “Run to Overcome”, which I liked a lot, mostly because he has had an interesting life. This book focused on training and running the way that he does. He covers topics such as running form, training programs, shoes, stretching, and everything in between. So, this is my raving review of his book (I mean, I knew I’d like it because he’s just the coolest!).

These were some things that I just loved about this book:

  1. Lots of great mantras: This book is filled with great one-line mantras to repeat to yourself during the roughest part of a race or training. I struggle a lot with the mental side of running and training. I start to suffer and everything goes out the window, and this can eventually lead to my form suffering which can lead to injuries. He just says things throughout the book that are very positive and good reminders when you are working hard.
  1. Emphasis on recovery: Recovery is a very important part of anyone’s training, especially for those of us who are a little more injury prone. He talks about recovery throughout the book… in every chapter. He makes an important point: Undertraining is ALWAYS better than overtraining. This is hard for a lot of us (him too), but it’s so important. He also has a whole chapter about recovery. Pretty much, when in doubt, go slower, take time off, or do a recovery run.
  1. Running drills, stretches, and strength work: He shows lots of pictures of him doing drills to help running form, certain stretches and strength exercises. I like that a lot. I am going to add some of this stuff to my own training. I really think it’s beneficial. The drills he does are a lot of what I did when I was in physical therapy for my knee a few years ago. He says they help prevent injury, and I believe him.
  1. You will inevitably get injured: I know, this is the part of running we don’t want to think about, but he touches on it. I live in fear of my next injury, but he really gives a lot of advice for the eventual injury a runner will have. He talks about adding intense workouts on a bike or elliptical. Honestly, it’s a load off my shoulders to know that I will get injured. It’s not if, it’s when… but that’s OK. When it happens, take time off and switch key workouts over to your bike. Take three weeks off, take a month off… do what you need to do, but you can stay in shape and train hard for when you can get back. I really like that attitude.
  1. Honesty: He is just so honest about his training. He goes into every part of it and says why he does it, how it helps him, and why it lead to him either running a PR or getting to the podium. He emphasizes key workouts, and is honest about how they work for him. He also mentions when he uses a particular product and if they are a sponsor. I just like how open he is about his training. He doesn’t have to put this out for everyone, but he does, and I like that.

Basically, I loved his book. It’s an easy read, it won’t take you long (I read the whole thing while flying from Florida to Kansas City, plus a layover), but the info in there is golden. Maybe it will just be affirmations of what you already know, or maybe it’ll be some new info. Either way, I think hearing how a world class runner trains will only help you.

What are some of your favorite running books? Have you read any of Meb’s books?

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 1

This week kicked off my training for the Chicago Marathon and it went pretty well! I managed to run 22 miles, and although most of it was at a slow recovery pace, it felt good. My legs are still pretty exhausted from the half marathon last weekend, so I tried to keep things nice and slow. I didn’t want to push myself too hard, since my next weeks are going to be tough.

Monday: 4.0 miles at 9:23/mi
This was my first run since Hospital Hill last Saturday and I took it as a recovery run to alleviate some of the soreness I was feeling from conquering those hills at the race. Massachusetts is pretty hilly, so it certainly wasn’t super easy, but I still felt pretty light. I stopped once or twice to take some pictures and make sure that I wasn’t lost. Overall, good run.

Tuesday: Rest Day + Hiked a bunch
Frank got Tuesday off so we decided to go to Vermont to do some hiking. We did about 10-12 miles total and made it to the top of two mountains.

We also found this waterfall. So pretty!
We also found this waterfall. So pretty!

Wednesday: 6.0 miles at 9:15
I did another day of a pretty chill recovery pace. It was nice to keep it slow and steady and explore some areas I’ve never been. Frank and I have been in Westminster, MA this week, so I got to try out some new running routes. This one was through the small town. There were lots of people out and it was a beautiful day.

Another beautiful Massachusetts lake.
Another beautiful Massachusetts lake.

Thursday: True rest day
I rested. For real.

Friday: 8 miles LSD at 9:52 min/mi
This run was brutal. It was so bad that I wondered if I was even going to finish it. The route was straight up Mt. Wachusett and I gained about 500 feet in the first half of the run. By the turn around point, I was so tired that I had having trouble running even on the downhill. Now, I am sure a lot of this was fatigue from the half marathon, but it was a bit of a demoralizing run. Hopefully my other long runs are not this bad.

Saturday: Hiked at Acadia National Park
Frank and I went hiking around Acadia and climbed a few mountains there. Maine is incredibly beautiful. We probably did about 7 miles total.

We climbed that beautiful mountain at Acadia!
We climbed that beautiful mountain at Acadia!

Sunday: Climbed Mt. Katahdin
So…Mt Katahdin. This is a 5200 ft beast of a mountain. I’ve certainly climbed mountains that are much bigger, but this one was pretty hard. In total, we hiked about 8-9 miles, but a large part of that was scrambling up and down big boulders. I’ll write more about that later, but it was pretty awesome. I was going to run afterwards, but I was way too exhausted to do it.

Summit shot from the top of Katahdin.
Summit shot from the top of Katahdin.

I think I did well in my training this week, but that long run really messed with my head. Next week I have a 10-mile run scheduled and I hope that things go a lot better then. I am heading back to Manhattan, KS on Tuesday for a conference at KSU and then on Saturday I’ll be traveling to Florida to see my parents. Despite the busy schedule, I am determined to still get all of my runs in.

The first half of this training cycle is going to focus a lot on hills. I am an avid hiker and I hike up a lot of mountains with relative ease. I never have trouble with altitude, but for some reason running on hills is very hard for me… even little ones. I learned the hard way at my half marathon that struggling on hills can cost you many minutes. In yoga, the postures that we have the most trouble in are usually a good indicator that they are something we need to work on. I am going to take the hint from these hills and make that an important part of my training. I know that Chicago is a pancake (I lived there… it is like a super pancake), but training on hills will make me a better runner in the long term. Getting good at hills will make me better in Chicago and it will make me faster everywhere else. So… from here on out, if I can take a hillier path, I will. Each week will feature some sort of hills training either at Konza or in town.

This week will look something like this:

M: 5 miles Tempo MP
T: 3 miles recovery pace with running group
W: ~4 miles at Konza Prairie Trail (I consider this hill work)
T: Rest
F: 10 miles LSD
S: Fly to Florida
S: 4 miles
Total: ~26 miles

So, with fall training cycles beginning, what workouts are you most excited for in the next few weeks? How do you do on hilly terrain?