I’m Back!!!!

I’m back!!! After two epic weeks in Europe, and a whole lot of flights, I am finally back in Manhattan, KS and slowing returning to my normal life. I look forward to catching up on all of your blogs and training, but I am still exhausted and it may take me some time to get back to the grind.

In Europe, my mom and I went to London, Liverpool, Krakow (Poland), and Paris. It was a ton of fun AND I even nabbed a tiny new half marathon PR in Liverpool (post about that to come). Here is a few photos of all of our fun:

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Thai food in London
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Post half marathon nap
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The streets of Krakow
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In front of the Arc de Triumph
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Big Ben

What’s next? I start training for Chicago… like now! I took a few weeks to run slow and infrequently as I recovered from my several weeks of wild running. However, the break is over and it’s time to get back into marathon training. I’ll be posting soon about my training plan and goals.

Hope you all had a great few weeks! How is your training going? Are you traveling this summer?

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Colfax Training Week 13: Not the best week

Well… not all weeks are great and that’s ok! And this week was super NOT great. I was tired, I struggled to hit my paces and mileages, and I was just feeling a little over trained. So, I did what you do when your body is saying “I’ve had enough”. I backed off. I cut my mileage and intensity back and tried to give my body a much needed rest. I am learning that in order to make it to the starting line of a marathon HEALTHY, sometimes you need to back off and not hit your weekly goals. Unfortunately, I am still feeling a little over trained. I don’t know how to explain it, but I am sore… even on rest days and even after rest days. I just feel… off and my legs hurt like all the time. So, I’ve decided to do what the elites do… I am getting a sports massage. I made the appointment for Thursday and after talking to a few local runners, it sounds like it is going to help me a lot. Right now I am just in maintenance mode and hoping to not loose any fitness heading into the marathon. Despite the fact that I am in the highest mileage weeks I’ve ever run, I am going to take it easy, sleep more, eat better and hope to make it to the starting line in one piece.

Last Week

Monday: Went out for 9 – did 3 – easy pace

Tuesday: Went out for 8 – did 6 – easy pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 8 miles Goal MP Tempo (actually went fast)

Friday: 7 miles easy pace on trail

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Went out for 16 – did 11 – LSD

Total: 35 miles …Ugh!

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Friday was just a beautiful day for a trail run.

What a poopy week. I felt great for my tempo runs (tempo runs are always my favorite), but everything else just felt off. I took things slow and tried so hard to hit my mileages. I just couldn’t. Now, I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be due to anemia, but I can’t make it to the doctor this week, so I’ll have to wait to get a confirmation. In the mean time, I’ve been eating lots of spinach, iron and vitamin C supplements, and (gross) tomatoes to up my iron and vitamin C with non-animal sources. Unfortunately, iron deficiency isn’t going to just go away in a day, so I’ll have to keep at it to make it to the starting line feeling fresh.

That’s basically it… I’m desperately trying to make myself feel normal again, not weak, achy and tired. If you have any suggestions, feel free to shout them out. I am 5 weeks out from Colfax and just two more weeks until the taper begins. I am so close that I can feel it. I just need to keep my body healthy and ready to run on May 15th.

This Saturday I do have a trail half marathon. It will be the furthest I’ve ever run on trail and should be a ton of fun. I’m going to take it easy and chill. My goal for this race is to have a personal worst in the half marathon. Weird goal, right? Well, all of my halves have been on road, which is always MUCH easier than trail. If I push myself to get below a 2 hour half, I think I will pay for it heading into my peak week. So the goal is to have fun and run the slowest half I’ve ever run! I think it’s a great goal!

Here’s a pic of Elly sleeping:

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She is the most beautiful creature on this planet.

Have you ever dealt with Anemia? How do you keep your iron levels normal? Have you ever dabbled in vegetarianism?

Colfax Training Week 12: Tired

Another week done… Each day it is getting more and more real, and I can feel it. I know that I am almost ready to run the Colfax Marathon, but I’m tired and training is hard. This week really upped it a lot. I had a race pace tempo run, mile repeats, and a 20-mile long run. The rest was easy mileage, but I’m starting to feel like running is anything BUT easy. The training is pushing me to my edge, and so close to past it, I sometimes get super worried about injury. I am still hitting my paces, but I am tired, sore, and feeling ready to just go run this thing. I guess that’s just how marathon training feels, though. I’m almost (3 weeks) to the taper. This is it… this is where it counts.

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A selfie taken during my mile repeats.

Here is my week:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 8 miles at Goal MP (8:55/mi)

Wednesday: 6 miles easy pace

Thursday: 6.2 miles easy pace on trail

Friday: 20 miles Long (9:26/mi)

Saturday: Hiking

Sunday: 8 miles – 4 x 1 mile at 8:00/mi

Total: 48.2

Wow… Over 48 miles was an unfathomable distance before I started this training. I just can’t believe that I am hitting numbers like that. This week was so tough. I started off tired from Questival and had trouble even getting out the door. Once I was running, things would quickly feel better. My goal MP tempo run seemed impossible before I started, but once I got into a grove, it was fine.

The run at Konza Prairie was refreshing… it was nice to be out in nature. But the wind was blowing and making every step a little tougher and with no tree cover, wind can be rough on the prairie.

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This is only 10 minutes out of town, but it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere.

I spent the whole week dreading my 20-miler. It was my first time conquering that distance, and it was tough. Going further than 18 seemed like a stretch, and I definitely had a few moments of struggle. I think I took it a little too fast, and boy was I sore the next day. It took a lot out of me, but I got it done. But seriously, I am considering the Hanson’s method for Chicago after that torture-fest.

I ended the week with mile repeats just as the sun was setting. It was beautiful out, and it was really one of those “I’m happy that I’m a runner” moments. Say what you want about Kansas, but sunsets are the best here (and I’m from Florida).

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Beautiful sunset on the Linear Trail while I ran.
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The trail takes me right by the river. So pretty!

There are only two more tough weeks ahead of me. This coming week should top out at the big-50. I have a 16-mile long run in there and a bit of tempo and speed work. The following week is a cutback with a trail half marathon in Lawrence, KS (super excited). The week after the half is my peak week. I’ll have 55 miles of running, a 20-miler, and some tempo running. If I survive that, I think I made it. It’ll be all taper, all the way to the starting line.

So, I’m almost there. I just have to keep reminding myself to take it one day at a time.

How do you feel towards the end of marathon training? How was your week?

A1A Half Marathon Race Recap!!

Wow… it has been a long time since I raced. I was hurt in September last year, which put an early end to my fall season. Luckily I am back, healthy, and back racing! On Sunday, I ran the A1A Half Marathon in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had intended to PR and was even shooting for my first sub-1:50. Unfortunately, it was not my day, and that is not how the race went. It was a grueling 13.1, but I learned a lot and I feel more confident heading into the 6th week of my full-marathon training.

Saturday

I went to the expo in the morning to pick up my bib. A1A always has a large expo with a lot of freebies and deals. I walked around, picked up some free food, and then went out to lunch with Kristina and Ali. It was great to meet them, and it kind of felt like I was meeting a celebrity or something! My mom had come with me to the expo and hung out with us at lunch as we discussed the pros and cons of Ali running the full marathon (and she did! She even PRed!).

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Kristina, Ali, me, and my mom all enjoyed some good pizza (and snacks) at Pizza Fusion!

After lunch, my mom and I made it home and we watched the Marathon Olympic Qualifiers. I gotta say… I need a friend like Amy Cragg. It was incredible how she pulled Shalane Flanagan through the end of the race and even caught her at the finish line. Seriously, Amy needs to be my training buddy!

For dinner, my parents and I went to a local Italian restaurant. This is probably where I screwed up my race. I typically eat a plant based diet and mostly keep to a vegan diet. I occasionally eat eggs, and very occasionally will eat something milk based. I decided to order pasta with a crème-based sauce, since it sounded really good. I can’t think of a worse thing to eat for someone who rarely (if ever) eats crème-based foods. And so it was not to my surprise when I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible stomach cramps. I told myself that they would subside, went back to sleep, and woke up at 3:30 am to get ready to race.

Race Day!!

I knew that my stomach did not feel right, but I figured it would probably go away after a few miles. I took a few trips to the port-a-john (which helped, for sure), and then got to my starting spot. I saw Ali as she was heading over to the corrals and tried to calm my nerves while talking to my parents.

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Ali and I hanging out at the start line. I was pretty nervous here!

Miles 1-5

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At promptly 6:00 am, the race began and I walked my way up to the starting line and took off. I wanted to hold just over an 8:30 pace for the first 5 miles, and then my plan was to take a few seconds per mile off for the rest of the race in order to PR. The only problem was, over an 8:30 pace felt labored and hard. I tried to hold it for the first three miles, but my stomach cramps kept getting worse. I pulled the pace back a bit for miles 4 and 5 in hopes to work out whatever was going on.

Miles 6-10

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By the 10K mark, I knew that I was not going to PR, so then I just told myself that I wanted a course PR. Despite the cramps, I held it together, but couldn’t stop thinking about how hard this pace seemed for me. Mile 10 was just over a 9-minute pace, which is normally a pretty chill pace for me. It did not feel chill at all. I had gotten to the out and back portion and kept telling myself that if I saw Ali or Kristina on the other side, I would take a 10-second walk break. I never saw them, but instead stopped at each water break. I usually run through the water stops, but I couldn’t keep myself from walking. By mile 10, I was starting to get worried that the 2-hour pacer would catch up to me.

Miles 11-13.1

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The last 5k of the race is along the beach with some beautiful views. I kept at it, pushing myself to get my course PR. I turned up my headphones, hoping that I could drown out my own thoughts (which were seriously telling me to just walk to last three miles).

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Even though I wasn’t feeling like I could run really fast, I did enjoy the scenery!

I looked at my watch and figured I could maybe eek out a very small PR if I busted my butt for the last three miles. I’m not actually sure if that is true. On a good day, maybe I could squeeze out a few 7:30 miles… I did at Rocky Mountain, but I was not going to manage that here. I told myself to just keep it comfortable-ish and finish. During the final mile, I saw my PR come and go. I didn’t care too much, and I was focused on just finishing. I saw my parents, Frank, and his parents by the end, and I barely had the energy to wave. I just gritted through and finished. After crossing the finish line, I doubled over hoping that would give my stomach some relief. It was definitely my most labored race finish ever.

My official finish time was 1:54:24, less than 3 minutes off my PR.

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Happy to be done!

 Post Race

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My whole family was there at the finish line. Even though I was tired, we managed to get this cute shot!

I got my medal, grabbed some Gatorade and found my family. I’ve gotta say, there is nothing like a whole lot of suffering to appreciate a race medal. I ate a little bit, hung around the finish line and even got to see Kristina finish!!

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I was glad to see Kristina cross the finish line!

Overall, I had a fun race, even though things did not go as planned. I’ll have other chances at PRing in the half marathon. For now, I am focusing on Colfax. I have a few tune-up races in between, but none of those will be PR attempts. I am concentrating on slower longer mileage and making sure that I do as well as I can out at Colfax. I think this race was a good lesson and if nothing else, was an opportunity to run a little faster and hang out with my family!

Colfax Week 5: Racing, Fun, and Travel!!

Another week gone… another week closer to the Colfax Marathon! This week was a great effort. I kept to my training even while traveling to Fort Lauderdale, AND I raced a half marathon. Now that the A1A half is finished, I feel like the marathon grind is in full gear, and I’ve gotta say, I am actually pretty happy about that. The long slow paces feel good on my legs, and the slow increase in mileage has been really encouraging. I feel like my training is really helping out a lot. I attempted to PR at A1A, but missed it by about 3 minutes. It was just one of those days where you really can’t get your legs to move. I’ll talk more about that later in my race recap.

I did get to see Ali and Kristina, though! And it was totally fun. They were both incredibly awesome people. AND Ali got a PR!! Go Ali!! They both had incredibly awesome races. Congrats to them both!

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We thought something was very funny!

 

Monday: Rest Day + Yoga!

 Tuesday: 4 miles chill pace on treadmill + really tough yoga class

I started the morning with a yoga class that pretty much kicked my butt. I knew that I wanted to get out to run, but it was pretty chilly with some tough winds, so I decided to just hop on the ole’ dreadmill. Pretty much as soon as I got on, I was regretting my decision of not running outside. I stuck it out though, and it was miserable!

Wednesday: Goal Marathon Pace Tempo Run 5 miles

I went out around lunch for a quick 5 mile run. It was really a perfect day out with the sun shining and it was chilly, but not cold. I did a 1-mile warm up and cool down with 3 miles at goal MP. It felt easy and fun! Previously, I had been having trouble keeping at MP, but would instead run a little too fast and tire myself out. I was pretty glad to hit the right paces and feel really strong. I then went to the airport, where I waited forever for my plane and didn’t make it to Fort Lauderdale until around 11:30 pm.

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Perfect running weather.

Thursday: 4 mile easy run with fast finish

I went for a pretty chill run around my neighborhood. I kept the pace slow, but still wanted to see how I was going to feel in the heat of Florida. I have been training in Kansas, where it is consistently around 30 degrees. I wanted to make sure I could still run fast in the warm, so I busted out a pretty quick final mile. It was actually pretty fun!

Friday: Rest!!

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Even though I was resting, I did get to see some manatees!

Saturday: Rest + met Ali and Kristina

 

Sunday: A1A Half Marathon

I’ll talk more about this in my race recap. I went out hoping I’d get a PR, but I knew from the very first mile that it was not the day. I spent a lot of the race suffering, when really I shouldn’t have been. But I kept strong, finished, and still ran the 2nd best half I’ve ever run. I could have done without the suffering though.

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Tired and happy to be done!

Total: 26.1

Overall, it was a great week! After the race, I’m glad to be getting back to my marathon training. I can’t wait to get out there and do more goal MP runs and go longer than I ever have before! Colfax, here I come!!!

Next Week:

M: Rest

T: 6 miles goal MP

W: 4 miles easy

T: Some hills and speed (7 miles)

F: 5 miles easy

S: Rest

S: 14 miles LSD

Thanks for all of the encouragement heading into my race. I have a trail race coming up in April. I love racing on trail and I am really looking forward to it.

Anyone else racing this weekend? How did your training go? Any fun stories?

Colfax Training Week 3: I saw Sage Canaday on a run!!!

I saw Sage Canaday on my long run this week. Let me repeat that… I actually SAW and RAN BY Sage Canaday while on a run in Boulder. I’m pretty sure that my running life is complete. He ran by at a crazy fast pace decked out in some Hoka gear and some sweet sunglasses. After we passed each other, it took me a moment to realize that it was really him. Then, I went on my Strava app and confirmed. Yes, in fact, it was a Sage Canaday sighting. Yes, I’m a complete running nerd.

Besides my epic sighting while on my long run, I’d have to say that my training this week was okay. I had a lot of trouble pacing myself and was putting a little too much effort in my easy miles. This culminated in a missed run on Thursday. Frank and I got to Colorado on Friday morning, so I did both my marathon paced tempo run and my long run on the multi-use trails in Boulder. We made it home Sunday night and Elly, as always, was pretty glad to see that we made it home.

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Monday: Rest Day… Yeah! + some gentle yoga

Tuesday: 6.3 miles – Hill Repeats with 700 ft of elevation gain + yoga

I wrote about this run in a previous blog post. It went pretty well. Zeb, my new running partner, came with me for some of it. We took things slow, but overall it was a good workout.

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Pretty solid hill!

Wednesday: 3 miles – easy run + yoga

Not much to say about this run. I was still a little sore from my hill repeats, so I did some yoga in the AM and went for a quick run in the afternoon. I kept it slow, although the easy pace felt strangely more difficult than it should have. The yoga class that I took kinda kicked my butt and made my legs kinda feel like jello while I was on my run. I’m sure that didn’t help keep things feeling easy.

Thursday: Unintentional Rest Day + yoga

I took a yoga class in the morning in hopes to make me feel a little less stiff. Unfortunately, it was a rather tough class and really only made the soreness worse. By the time I was out, my legs felt tired and I knew that I wasn’t going to go for a run. I decided to take it easy and just do my tempo run on Friday.

Friday: 6.1 miles – Marathon Pace

I warmed up for one mile and then bumped up to marathon pace. I’ve arbitrarily decided that 9:00/mi is marathon pace, since that would sneak me just under 4 hours. I tried to hold the pace without being glued to my watch, but unfortunately, my legs wanted to go faster. Instead, I held close to 8:45/mi, which felt good, but I didn’t want to put that much effort into the run. Luckily, I still have a few months to hone my pace down a bit.

Saturday: Snow shoeing with hurricane force winds

We met up with some friends in Boulder and drove out to Nederland to go snow shoeing. There was absolutely no snow for most of the way, but once we got up into the mountains, it seemed like a pretty substantial storm had come through. The car was being blown around a lot and we considered turning back for a lower elevation. However, once we made it up it was pretty fantastic, and the trees kept the winds at bay.

Sunday: 12 miles – Best long run ever!

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Frank and Scott were biking on the Boulder trails while I went on my run.

The run itself was nothing particularly special. It was pretty cold out and I was a little underdressed, especially for the second half of the run when the sun was in the clouds. I felt good and strong for most of it, but at the end had some trouble getting to marathon pace. I, again, wanted to go a little too fast, which made my legs feel like they were working too hard. However, in the last mile, I saw a guy fly by me decked out in Hoka gear with a little hydration pack on. I had to do a double take, but it was definitely Sage Canaday (confirmed by flyby on Strava). I was pretty much the most excited groupie ever.

Total Mileage: 27.5

Overall, it was a good week, but not a great week. This was a cut back in mileage from last week, but for some reason, it never felt like that. My legs were often tired or feeling sore. In order to fix that, this week my goal is to run my easy mileage a little slower, even if the effort seems like too little. I am entering the 4th week of training and I want my legs to stay strong so I don’t have burn out in the weeks to come.

This week:

M: 4 miles easy
T: 6 miles MP
W: Rest
T: 6 miles Hill Repeats
F: 4 miles easy
S: Rest
S: 14 miles LSD

Total: 34 Miles

Have you ever seen an elite on a run? How has your training been going?

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 9 – Recovery!

Some weeks running is just… hard. This week I felt like I was running with lead shoes, and that’s understandable, since I just PR’ed my half marathon and worked really hard last week. But this week, I just didn’t have it in me to give it my all. Maybe it was just that my all was not very much. Regardless, I took this week as a recovery week.

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I practiced yoga at home, did some body weight strength work and got about 28 miles in. I had planned for close to 40 miles and a 16 mile long run, but I was so exhausted and that was just not going to happen.

Monday: 4.7 miles trail running (11:29/mi)

I was sore from all of the mountain climbing and hard running I had done the week before, so I took it easy and ran with the Lawrence Trail Hawks on their Monday night run. I had a great time and they talked the whole way. The first mile felt like I was running through mud, but I eventually warmed up and felt good. Lawrence is about an hour away, but I would really like to make the drive occasionally to run with this group.

Tuesday: 3.2 miles (8:18/mi)

Apparently I was feeling good this day. I ran with the Manhattan Running Company on the Kimble route, which has a pretty good climb up a hill. I started pretty conservatively at 9:16/mi, but then decided to catch up with the guys who usually lead the pack. I ran hard for the next two miles (8:27/mi & 7:17/mi) and did catch up with them at the end. I’m really not sure what got into me that day, but I was going fast!

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Unintentional rest day – I was tired

Friday: 6 miles (10:00/mi)

I felt like I was running through a pool with lead shoes. I don’t even know how I finished the run, but I was beat the whole time. It was so hot out too…

Saturday: 4.5 miles (9:58/mi)

Another pretty chill run. Unfortunately, I still felt tired. I know that I had not fully recovered yet from the half and running at any pace just felt like work. I was going to go 8 miles, but I was tired and really didn’t want to.

Sunday: 10-mile long run (10:00/mi)

I was going to do 16 miles, but I didn’t feel quite right. I went in the PM, so it was getting dark by the time I finished. Honestly, I can’t put my finger on it, but something wasn’t really right. I didn’t feel injured, just overworked. So I scaled back and took it easy. If these 6 miles are what stands between me and running a sub-4 marathon, I’m not ready to run that kind of time yet.

Sage Canaday always says that you would rather be undertrained than overtrained, and I really took that to heart this week. Even though I didn’t do the mileage I wanted to do, I’m more than ok with it. I needed a chill-ish week and I took one. Next week features my first 18-miler and I want to be ready to conquer that distance.

How do you recover from half marathons? Do you ever scale back your mileage because you don’t quite feel right?