First Vlog Ever (special appearance by Elly)

Hey everyone!!!

I did my first vlog entry!! I went ahead and answered Kristina’s Running Vlog Survey. I also want to give a shout out to Meg for doing the survey as well. Elly is featured on here and stayed on my lap for the entire video. Watch it and let me know in the comments what you think. Also, go ahead and answer one of the questions or do a vlog of your own!

  1. What was your first race ever?
  2. What is your favorite race?
  3. Do you like to run with a pace group?
  4. What is your dream race?
  5. Who is your favorite runner?

Kristina, you and I are totally going to Western States one day! You’re definitely going to head up my crew. Meg also volunteered to be my pacer! 🙂

Gone with the old and in with 2016!

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a fun and safe holiday with your family. I have been gone for quite a while and I missed the running community a lot.

I am back in Kansas again (finally!) after traveling pretty much all over our hemisphere. After Utah I left for Virginia for a week and then I went home to visit family in South Florida. Frank and I then flew from Fort Lauderdale to Cabo San Luca in Mexico and traveled up the length of the Baja peninsula to San Diego before heading home. I have been pretty exhausted from travel, but now I’m back and ready to train (although I should have been training prior to now, but really, that’s water under the bridge).
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Frank and I enjoying Mexico
 

Elly was pretty thrilled to see me after I got back. Honestly I was a little worried she would forget about me.
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Elly burrito-ed herself into my blanket. I guess she was cold. She still remembers and loves me.
I have some crazy stories about our travels, but now I’m just glad to be home and getting back into a rhythm.
I want to take a moment to reflect a little on 2015. I had a crazy year, with a big move, big travels, new friends and jobs, and a whole lot of running. I ran my first half marathon, and then PRed twice on the half (including at Estes Park, CO). I trained for the Chicago Marathon, and even though I turned my ankle and couldn’t run it, I still trained hard and learned a lot about what I am capable of.
So 2016 is here and I have a few goals. I guess it’s easiest if I list them out…
1. Get back to real training again. I haven’t really gotten back to the level of training I was at before I turned my ankle, so first and foremost, that is my goal. I know it’s possible because I already did it. I want to get back to running 35+ miles per week.
2. PR the half marathon either at A1A in February (that’s so freaking soon), or at Rocky Mountain in July (this is where my current PR is).
3. Run the Colfax Marathon in May… and not get injured this time, so no mountain biking for a while. I have no time goals. I just want to finish injury free.
4. Run the Chicago Marathon in October. I need to redeem myself from last year.
5. This may seem like a crazy one… but PR in the Marathon at Chicago (since I’ll have a time from Colfax).
and finally (and most importantly)… go injury free this year. No ankle turns, no knee issues…just some good ole’ injury free running.
I think in 2015, although I did manage a lot, I got too caught up in race times. This year I want to run by feel, and if I run a little slower sometimes, honestly, I don’t care. I don’t want running to stress me out, which it occasionally did last year.
So, there you have it… and I can’t wait to see how it all goes! I’m super glad to be back!
How was your holiday? Any cool new travels? What is your big 2016 goal?

Friday 5 Linkup: My FIVE Half Marathons

I’ve never done a Friday 5, but I figured I’d give it a shot this week. Mar on the Run, Eat Pray Run, and You Signed Up for What?! host a weekly linkup that anyone can join in on. This week is a freebe, so I can post on a topic of my choosing.

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My FIVE Half Marathons

1. A1A Half Marathon

I am from Fort Lauderdale, Fl and grew up in Coral Springs. I’ve been living elsewhere for the last 10 years, but I wanted my first half marathon to be in my hometown and on my home beach. It couldn’t have been a better experience! My parents (and in laws) were there to see me cross that finish line on the beautiful beaches of Fort Lauderdale. It was an automatic PR (1:56:46) and it was the race that made me fall in love with the half marathon.

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I’ll be running this race again on Feb. 14, 2016!!

2. Holy Half Marathon

Running the Holy Half is a bit of a right of passage at Notre Dame. I knew I’d be moving in the summer, so I needed to check that off my bucket list. It was crazy cold out… like in the teens. The race became my next PR (1:56:44), but the cold wore me out a lot. Despite the cold, I still had TONS of fun. Lizzy ran the race with me, and it was tons of fun to race with a friend.

Lizzy and I at the finish of the Holy Half with our medals!
Lizzy and I at the finish of the Holy Half with our medals!

3. Hospital Hill Half Marathon

This was a TOUGH race. There was about 1000 feet of elevation gain throughout the race AND the biggest hill was at mile 10. By the time I got to it, I was beat! I had a ton of fun though. I felt pretty accomplished having completed such a tough course in under 2 hours.

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4. Rocky Mountain Half Marathon

This race was a gem! There were crazy amounts of elevation gain, but I was on that day. The course was the most scenic I’ve ever been on, with the beautiful Rocky Mountains as my backdrop. I plugged in, hunkered down and kicked serious butt to get my new PR of 1:51:46. After the race, I hiked up Hallet Peak and to Chasm Lake to be in the Continental Divide Club and the Chasm Lake Club.

Hallett Autumn Classic

I couldn’t have had a better race and I can’t wait to run it again in 2016!

You may have noticed that I have only run 4 half marathons, but this post says 5. Well… that’s because I am running the Kansas City Half Marathon on October 17!

5. Kansas City Half Marathon

This race will be a dry run for the Route 66 Marathon. I’ll be running it right around marathon pace. I’ll be taking it pretty easy, since I don’t want to risk injury before my big day in November. A lot of people from my social running group will be there and it’s relatively close to Manhattan. Should be a fun day to run!

What is your favorite half marathon?

Rocky Mountain Half Marathon Race Recap

I tend to underestimate myself. I go into a race and I often limit what I can do, not because of my training or physical capabilities, but because of my mind. So, when I looked at the 1:52:01 half marathon cutoff for the first wave corrals at Chicago, I figured there was no way I could ever run that time. I mean… that’s 8:30/mi for 13 miles! I figured that there was just no way, especially at 7,500 feet. Well, I’m going to just cut to the chase.

I ran the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon in 1:51:44. That was a huge PR and I am now in the first wave at Chicago!

Pre-Race

We drove out to Boulder on Thursday evening and made it in time for me to get a quick run in and some dinner. The next morning, Frank and I woke up at 4 am to get to the national park and reserve a campsite for the next few days. We did a little bit of hiking and went to Estes Park to pick up my packet. We hiked a lot more and drove around for a while.

Cold before the race!
Cold before the race!

So, I did all the pre-race stuff wrong. I walked A LOT on Friday, I camped on the hard floor, I probably didn’t eat or sleep enough. I had to wake up at 4 am, and I woke up like 4-5 times during the night. I tried to scarf down some food at our campsite, but my stomach was giving me some trouble. We got to the race around 5:00 am and hung out at the starting line until the race started.

The elevation profile for the race. This was not exactly an easy course.
The elevation profile for the race. This was not exactly an easy course.

Miles 1-4

The gun went off at almost exactly 6 am. The race had a few thousand people, but they did a good job keeping the corral small so that we didn’t have to dodge around people once we were off the starting line. The first few miles were pretty chill, although I took them fast because I knew that miles 5-8 had a huge hill. I felt pretty comfortable averaging around an 8:30 mile on the rolling terrain and was surprised at how quick the miles were going by. I just kept telling myself that I am a lot faster than I think I am, and that seemed to work pretty well. I had a pretty good feeling by mile 4 that I was had a shot at a PR but I tried to hold myself back. I knew the hills in the race would eventually wear on me.

Splits for miles 1-4
Splits for miles 1-4

Miles 5-8

Mile 5 was the start of a pretty substantial hill. I knew it was coming, so I decided to play a little game with myself to pass the time. Each time I passed someone on the uphill, I gave myself a point and each time I was passed by a runner, I lost a point. So, I just started reeling people in. I’d get my eyes on a runner who looked kinda tired and just started creeping up on them. By the end of the uphill I had passed 22 people and had only been passed by 1 (that’s 21 points!!!). I managed to keep around a 9:00/mi pace. At the top of the hill I looked at my watch and was pretty amazed at how fast I had gone. I think I knew by this point that I was going to PR for sure.

Splits for miles 5-8
Splits for miles 5-8

Miles 9-13.1

At the top of the hill I could see the finish line and I knew that it was all downhill from here (ok… there were a few surprise hills, but nothing too terrible). I just coasted on down and even squeezed in a 7:34 minute mile in there. I figured that if I could keep an average of 8:00/mi, I would have a shot at getting under the 1:52:01 cutoff for the first wave at Chicago. I knew by this point that I was going to PR… but now I really wanted to be in that first wave. So, I pushed a little harder. The end of the race was close to a beautiful lake in the middle of Estes Park. As I got closer I started to hear the announcer call out names of people as they crossed the finish line. I kept pushing and eventually heard my name as I crossed. Frank was not even there because he wasn’t expecting me to finish for another 10 minutes.

The downhill miles!
The downhill miles! Check out that 7:34 minute mile!!!!

My official time was 1:51:44 and I placed 7th in my age group out of 137… which is pretty freaking good. There was close to 1000 feet of elevation gain throughout the race… so this wasn’t even an easy course. Honestly, I’m still in shock that I ran that well.

A well deserved medel. I was pretty exhausted after this race.
A well deserved medel. I was pretty exhausted after this race.

I learned a lot running this race. My biggest problem as a runner is that I set goals that are not outside of my comfort zone. I don’t let myself think that I can do something really crazy because I don’t want to be disappointed. From here on out, that’s gonna change.

Immediately after the race, Frank and I went back into Rocky Mountain National Park, picked up our friends and climbed up Hallett Peak. This was a 10-mile hike up a 12,713-foot mountain. Doing this hike got me 50% off entry into the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon for 2016… so the soreness was worth it. I am officially in the Continental Divide Club!

My friends and I at the top of Hallett Peak!
My friends and I at the top of Hallett Peak!

The race (and hike) was a huge success. But… now the Chicago Marathon countdown really begins.

Finally some goals: Rocky Mountain Half Marathon

The Rocky Mountain Half Marathon is tomorrow. I still have no idea what my goals are… besides just running a good race. The race is at 7500 feet and works up to 7900. I have no doubts that the altitude and difficulty of the course are going to make a PR out of reach, but is it bad that I hope to wake up Saturday morning with super legs and pull off a miracle? I know it’s unrealistic, but I guess I can still hope.

There's like a bit of a mountain to climb during miles 5-8.
There’s like a bit of a mountain to climb during miles 5-8.

In more realistic terms, I do have another goal. If I climb Hallett Peak (which is 12,713 feet) with my medal and bib, I get into the Continental Divide Club and get 50% on next year’s entry. The crazy thing… is that I am going to have to do this immediately after the race. Frank and I have to get back to Kansas on Sunday, so we gotta get this done right after the race. Luckily, I’m pretty good at hiking long distances after running far.

I have a lot to do on Saturday, between running 13 miles and climbing that mountain.
I have a lot to do on Saturday, between running 13 miles and climbing that mountain.

So…I guess these are my goals:

  1. A miracle happens and I PR despite the elevation profile
  2. I hit marathon pace and sneak under 2 hours
  3. I enjoy the views of those crazy awesome 14,000-foot peaks – I mean how often do I get to run through Estes Park!
At least the weather is supposed to be good. This will feel like the arctic compared to the 116 degree weather I ran in the other day.
At least the weather is supposed to be good. This will feel like the arctic compared to the 116 degree weather I ran in the other day.

I’m trying to have a good perspective. I know that I have a half marathon PR in me… a big one. I just wish that I were signed up for a race where I could prove it. But this isn’t all about the numbers. Racing and running is about having fun. Being in Colorado (my mom calls it “The Promise Land”) is fun enough for me.