Weekend Adventures!

Hey Everyone!

I had a great weekend! Here’s what we were up to!

Friday

I didn’t get back from work until pretty late, but Frank and I immediately went out to Red Butte Canyon for some trail running (me) and mountain biking (him). I mostly ran along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail that runs from Provo to Ogden and is pretty much a 5 minute drive from my house. Frank stayed on his bike, but I managed to get in a few miles and a whole lot of vert!

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Not a bad view for right outside a major city!

After the run, we went home and made dinner and watched Louis CK skits. It was a pretty chill night.

Saturday

A while back, I saw an ad for the Ogden Climbing Festival at the climbing gym that we go to. They had a series of workshops, talks, free climbing, and a trail maintenance day. Of course I signed Frank and I up for the event. Saturday morning, we woke up early and went up to Ogden to help out some trail maintenance. Although we didn’t get a huge amount done due to weather, I did win a raffle for a pretty sweet rain jacket by a SLC based company.

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It was a beautiful view with some not so beautiful weather.

Frank and I hiked a little bit before the workshops along the Pine View Trail.

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At 1:00, I took a workshop called Traditional Gear Placement and Natural Anchors. I learned a great deal, but unfortunately it was cut short by some pretty bad lightening. I gotta say, being stuck on the side of a mountain during a thunderstorm is not at all ideal.

The storm passed, so Frank and I hiked along some trails behind the Red Butte Garden with our friend Areli. Afterwards we all went back to our place for spring rolls!

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Sunday

Frank and I woke up to a bit of a winter wonderland. I think Salt Lake was having it’s last (hopefully) go at winter. We took the opportunity to grab the snowshoes and go for a beautiful hike.

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SO MUCH SNOW!!!

In total, we did about 7 miles with over 3000 feet of elevation gain. Not too shabby!

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Beautiful views throughout the trail!
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The snow covered Lake Blanche was looking very beautiful.

That was pretty much our weekend! It’s never boring out here in Utah!

How was your weekend? Did you get outside at all?

Living the Utah Life

Hey guys!! I’m back and I live in Utah now! I know that it’s been a while, and a lot has happened in this time, so let’s get to it!

Well… I moved across the country to Salt Lake City. It was a long process, but we now have an apartment and we are all settled in to our new place. As most of you know, I was very excited about this move. I didn’t like Kansas much and I had always longed for the mountains of the west. I feel like my patience really paid off because I have more mountains (and canyons) than I know what to do with!

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Unfortunately, about a week after living here, I had a bit of an accident at the gym involving a step and a treadmill and managed to turn my ankle. I was pretty unable to walk for a while and switched over to climbing and yoga only. No running. It’s been a few weeks, and last week was my first run since the injury. I feel a bit out of shape and completely unprepared for my marathon on June 10. So, I’m backing off. I’ll run the half since going from nothing to Marathon in two months is really not advisable.

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My poor ankle…

Besides an unfortunate ankle turn, Utah is wonderful! Once I am back to serious running, I have endless trails, and there is more hiking, climbing, backpacking, and canyoneering than I know what to do with! Salt Lake City is also a very nice and hip town with tons of great restaurants and a lot of climbing gyms.

Here are some pics from our adventures thus far:

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Chilling and waiting for the next climb
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One of the beautiful peaks just minutes from my house
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Rock climbing with friends
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My mom and I at Arches National Park
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After work hike in the Wastach
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Frank descending the final repel (90 ft) during our canyoneering trip
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Proof that my ankle is getting better! Look at that balance!

As you can see, we are really living it up around here. My ankle is not yet 100%, but I expect it will be in the next few weeks. Once it is, I’ll hit up some of the trails and let you all know how they are.

Hope all is well with all of you! How has your spring been? Any races or goals coming?

The Moving Saga Continues

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I am definitely ready to head out here.

Moving Update

Frank and I are officially making the move in 11 days. It’s a little surreal getting our stuff packed knowing that in less than two weeks, we’ll be living in the mountains. We’ll be making the final ride through the prairie with everything that we own and our two cats in our little Kia Soul.

Things are going to be a bit hectic for a while. We do not have housing once we are in Salt Lake and are instead staying in an AirBnB for three weeks while we find a suitable apartment. Having never actually been to SLC, we are unsure of which areas are good or bad. The AirBnB seemed like a reasonable way for us to get our bearings straight and find an affordable place in a safe area. Due to the uncertainty we are facing over the next month or so, I may be a little inconsistent on the blog. I’ve also had a very hard time replying to comments and to your blogs! I am still reading them, I just have very little time and I’ve been having a lot of trouble managing all that is going on.

We have a 15-hour car ride ahead of us, but we will be stopping along the way in Boulder, CO to spend some time with a friend. I’m pretty sure Elly and Sydney are not going to know what hit them.

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Oh this poor cat has no idea what is to come.

Running Update

Since I know where I am living, I am starting to fill my calendar with races and training plans. I recently reached out to the Utah Valley Marathon in Provo and they provided me with a few perks for you guys! I have one free entry to the race (Marathon, Half Marathon or 5K) and will be having a raffle next week. I also have a promotional code for 15% off your entry fee, so if you want to sign up, use the code kr15. It is their 10-year anniversary and it should be a great race. If you are interested in running this race, let me know! I can help you find suitable housing at some of the local AirBnB’s.

The Utah Valley Marathon is on June 10, and even though I have begun training, I am going to start over to concentrate on this race. Along the way, I will also run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon and potentially a few other shorter or trail races. Later this week I’ll post about my thoughts on training for Utah Valley. Unfortunately, it is very hard to train while my life is being uprooted a bit. I’m hoping that once we get out there, things should calm down a bit and make it easier to train.

I hope all of you have been doing well. Have you ever moved across the country? Was it a stressful process? Even though I am very happy to be heading to Salt Lake, I am still very stressed about getting there.

A Dream Come True

I’ve spent my whole life loving and admiring the mountains, but always being a plane or long car ride away. It hurt to watch the Rocky Mountains disappear from my rearview mirror each time that I came home from Denver. The drive back into Kansas is long and monotonous, and more than anything, I wanted to live in the mountains. Not visit once in a while, but have a bit of ownership to them. I’ve talked about living somewhere in the Rocky’s since I was in the 4th grade and it always seemed like a dream that would never come true.

It has been a long long wait, but my dream finally became reality. On March 3rd, I am leaving Kansas to live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Suddenly, my running pictures are going to be a lot prettier.

This is so much more than a simple move for me. It is me, finally being in the place I’ve always wanted to live. It’s me, doing what I always said I was going to do. This means the world to me, in every way.

I’m glad to say that I won’t be running Colfax, because there is a marathon much closer. On May 20th, I’ll run the Ogden Marathon, less than an hour from Salt Lake. I loved Colfax, but I want to run my city! I want to run Salt Lake!

So, there you have it. No more uncertainty (except that I have no idea where I’m living, but we’ll get that under control), no more waiting for my big day. The dream finally came true.

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Let’s talk about science

This is a running blog, but today, we’re gonna talk about science.

The scientific method is a process of asking questions and answering those questions with evidence collected by the observer. As humans, we are very good at recognizing patterns, but sometimes our preconceptions get in the way of that recognition which causes us to see things that are not really there (or not see things that are). The scientific method is our way around it. It is strict, rigid and requires analysis of the evidence we collected.

The history of science goes back as long has humans have, and although versions of the scientific method have always been in use, it’s beginnings are generally attributed to Aristotle. There are two things that set the scientific method apart from just general data collection; (1) that you ask the question with a hypothesis BEFORE you collect the data, and (2) that you do not PROVE anything, you just disprove your hypothesis.

Example:

If I am curious about climate change and it’s causes, I do not start collecting data about CO2 levels in the atmosphere until I have a hypothesis.

Hypothesis: The temperature of the planet is rising because of rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

 Observation: I collect data on the CO2 levels in the atmosphere along with temperatures of the planet through soil cores, which allows me to know what those temperatures and CO2 levels were in the past. I collect data that tells me what the temperatures and CO2 levels have been for the past 200 years. (don’t worry, I’m just skipping over methods, but assume I have good ones, which climate scientists do)

What did I find? CO2 levels and temperatures both are going up at about the same rate since the industrial revolution, while they remain largely stable before that.

Conclusions (this is important): I cannot disprove the hypothesis that CO2 levels cause a rise in the overall global temperature.

Ok… so why was the conclusion so important? The real power of the scientific method comes from disproving a hypothesis, NOT proving it. It might seem like weird rhetoric, but it is unbelievably important. My experiment to test the hypothesis that CO2 levels are causing a rise in the global temperature did not prove anything at all. CO2 levels and temperature could be rising at the same time due to some outside factor. All I can say after my experiment is that I cannot reject my hypothesis that rising CO2 levels are causing a rise in the global temperature.

So… now that we got how the scientific method works down, lets talk about science a little.

Science has always been rejected by the general public, even when the evidence for a particular theory was overwhelming. We need only look to Galileo, who tested the idea of heliocentrism (that the sun is the center of the solar system). His ideas, although supported by evidence-based science, were fought by the church because they went against the perception that the Earth was the center. Now, going back to the scientific method, a lot of that resistance to Galileo’s ideas has to do with how the science was framed. Galileo did not PROVE that the sun was the center, he simply DISPROVED that the Earth was and could not disprove heliocentrism. There could have been an entirely different explanation. But all Galileo could do was disprove his hypothesis.

It turned out he was right.

Galileo was the most famous case of science denial in history, but this same thing happened again and again. We still, as a country, are resistant to Charles Darwin’s findings about evolution, despite the evidence that is on his side.

Let’s go back to climate change.

The evidence for human caused global warming is unbelievably overwhelming. The trajectory of our climate is a scary one. Scientists predict a potential 6 C rise in the global temperature over the next 100 years. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT MUST BE TALKED ABOUT. However, Donald Trump instituted a gag-order over all science produced by the EPA, National Park Service, USDA, etc. His administration has even gone so far as to force scientists to run their science by him and his politicians before they can release their findings to the public. That means that we have added a new step to the scientific method in America. After your conclusions, you must make sure that it is approved by Trump.

THIS IS NOT SCIENCE.

Due to the real power of the scientific method, science always has a way of coming out… and it always wins. Unfortunately, our science right now suggests that if we continue on the path we are on, the global temperature will cause for unlivable conditions on this planet. Yeah, science is right and will prevail, but we may not.

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The X-axis is year, Y-axis on right is average global temperature, and Y-axis on the left is CO2 in parts per million in the atmosphere. This shows the correlation between temperature and CO2 levels.

I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist, but this stuff is real. This is our reality right now. No alternative facts, just truth. Climate change is the big issue of our time and how we act right now will have effects on generations to come.

Don’t be scared. Be vigilant. Call your congressperson, senators, the white house, etc. Call your policy makers and remind them of the real power of the scientific method. Remind them that science is real and that it is going nowhere. Climate change is not a conspiracy theory. The evidence is there. We just have to listen.

How not to run a marathon: My Route 66 Marathon Recap

On November 20, I ran the Route 66 Marathon and to say that it was a disaster is an understatement. I made a lot of mistakes, both in my control and out of my control, that lead to a bad race. Here, I am going to tell you how NOT to run a marathon. It’ll serve as my race recap, and by the end, you’ll have a pretty good feel for what happened during my race. If you want to run a really good race, don’t do these six things.

Step 1: Run a 50K four weeks before your goal marathon

Exactly 4 weeks before Route 66, I ran my first ultramarathon. It was a pretty amazing experience, but it was not one that set me up for a good marathon in the weeks to come. Although I did bounce back rather quickly, the “fast” was zapped right out of my legs. I didn’t feel sore or injured, but I just couldn’t get myself moving at the paces I could before the race. I continued to push and gave myself only a two week taper heading into Route 66 after weeks of 45 and 50 miles per week (following the ultra). I remained positive and figured this wouldn’t hurt me too bad.

Step 2: Get super depressed that Donald Trump was elected president and just stop running

I had a lot of stressors heading into the race. There was a flood in my apartment, which booted Frank and I (and Elly and Sydney) out of our apartment for about a week. I didn’t have access to my stuff and felt generally unsettled. THEN TRUMP WAS ELECTED. I was depressed and couldn’t find the will to run. In fact, given what the world was coming to, I didn’t feel like running was all that important. So, I just stopped. I ran a total of 8 miles heading into the last two weeks before the race. This caused me to lose a lot of fitness and be in the wrong headspace for Route 66.

Step 3: Get your period the day before the race

This was totally out of my control. Unfortunately, with my period, I also get some mild intestinal distress. This time, it wasn’t so mild. I couldn’t eat too well, I was having trouble with liquids (they would go right through me, TMI, I know). I probably spent the day pretty dehydrated, but there really wasn’t much I could do. Note: I did know this was going to happen, but it usually doesn’t affect me this much.

Step 4: Run hard even though you are not really feeling it

I knew at the starting line that things were not looking bright for a PR. I thought about maybe just trying to run even splits for a 4:00 marathon. I figured that would be within my reach, and I still think it was. This would allow me to feel good and not be defeated by the distance. Instead, I ran at the pace I had decided weeks before the race and go for a sub 3:50 marathon (even though I realistically knew that was not going to happen). So, for the first 18 miles, that was the pace I ran at.

Step 5: Don’t slow down when your body is saying “this is too much”

I saw Frank at mile 14, and he jumped out on the course and ran with me for about a half mile. He gave me some water and asked how I was feeling. I thought about it for a moment and said “Tired. I am too tired for mile 14 right now”. I knew it at this point that I was headed for a massive disaster. Instead of slowing down, I thought maybe I should try to catch up to the 3:50 pace group. I figured they could help me through some rough patches. Frank told me that they were just a little ahead of me, so I pushed harder. I tried to ignore the tired and the sick feeling in my stomach and push forward. I never did catch up with them.

Step 6: Stop at EVERY port-a-potty from mile 18 to the end of the race

At mile 18, everything caught up with me. I didn’t hit the usual glucose wall, I hit the poop wall. My stomach flipped out. I stopped visualizing the end of the race, but was instead just looking forward to bathrooms. I ended up at every single port-a-potty until the end of the race. When I ran, I was keeping about an 8:45-8:50 pace, but I was spending 5 minutes at a time in the bathroom, so my 8:50/mi pace slowed to 10/mi and then 11/mi and eventually to 13/mi. I felt like crap (pun intended).

So, if you are running a marathon, don’t do what I did. I think I learned a lot during the race, but it was an overall disappointing performance. My final time (with pooping episodes) was 4:06:37, almost 10 minutes slower than Colfax. I felt pretty bad about it, and took 2 full weeks off from anything running related. Even after returning back, I was having trouble. I wasn’t feeling the usual burn or push. Then, last night, after a short 3-mile run, I came home and was talking all about PRing my half and running Colfax again this year. For the first time since the race, I was feeling like myself again, loving running, the process and all of the ups and downs. In reality, not every race can be a Colfax. Sometimes, they are a poop/bonk fest. Those races are important too.

There are no photos of the race, because I was very sad and crying, so I guess Frank didn’t feel compelled to record that. So, instead here is a photo of Sydney (my cat) sitting on her favorite window sill.

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She’s very cute.

Important Note: I did make it to the port-a-potty every time, so I did succeed in not pooping my pants in a race. Go me!

What’s your worst race? Have you ever had stomach problems on a race course?

 

I am an Ultramarathon Runner!

Yesterday was the day after my first ultramarathon, and I kind of felt like I got hit by a bus. Seriously, even my arms were hurting, which is pretty amazing given that I ran on my legs. I guess that’s to be expected. I did run nearly 32 miles. There were certainly moments that made finishing feel impossible, but I pushed through those and finished the race 25 minutes faster than my goal time. Honestly, towards the end I was only running because I wanted it to be done sooner. But the great thing about trails is that today, I am actually not sore. Like at all. The pounding on the legs is much less and the recovery is so much faster than a road race.

Oh and I got these sweet medals!

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I’m gonna be honest here, ultramarathons are hard… like crazy impossibly hard. I had rough patches that lasted miles, cramps that never seemed to end, and pain just about everywhere. This race made Colfax seem like a nice stroll through Denver. There is something crazy about seeing the marathon mark go by on your watch and know that you still have six miles to go. But it’s over and now I can officially say that I am an ultramarathon runner. I did it.

Once the race pictures are posted I will write a full recap of the race, but for now, I am basking in the glory of finishing such a big goal. I did some active recovery yesterday and went for a long walk with Frank around our neighborhood. Fall has fully set in, so we had some beautiful trees to gaze at.

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My goal walking into GOATZ was to finish the race, but not beat up my legs too bad, and I really feel like I achieved that. Today I am going to do an easy run and some yoga. I am less than a month out from Route 66, so I’m working on a quick recovery.

Getting Ready to go Ultra

Thanks everyone for all of the supportive comments last week after my update. I am in the final week before my race, and to say that I am nervous is an understatement. Running 31.5 miles wont be easy or pretty, but I think I can get it done. I still have some last minute details to get through, and I am not entirely sure what I am going to eat on the course (I know, a little late, right?). Most things I’ve tried, besides GU packets, bother my stomach and I really don’t see myself being able to down GU for 6+ hours.

Last week, my iPod shuffle kicked the bucket on a run. It’s been my running partner for some time now and I was quite devastated when I realized that my sweat had killed it. Fortunately for me, AudioFlood makes an awesome waterproof version of the shuffle. It came in yesterday, just in time to have some music during my race! I’ve been downloading music from the library and itunes to make sure that I have plenty to listen to for the many hours that I will be running in Omaha this weekend.

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So, now I’m pretty feeling ready! At least as ready as one feels before they take on their first ultra marathon…

And since you haven’t seen how Elly is doing for a while, here’s a beautiful pic of her from yesterday.

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Do you run with music? What player do you use? Any song suggestions for my race?

Long time, no see!

It’s been a while… hasn’t it! I hope everyone has been doing well during my absence. I’ve been reading blogs here and there, but I really haven’t had the urge to write, until now. I don’t know if I am back back, but I am relatively back. A lot has changed since the last time I wrote, so I’ll let you know what’s up.

Last you heard from me, I was fresh off a new half marathon PR and was about to run Chicago. I was prepping a 10K and was gearing up for a marathon PR attempt.

Well, I PRed that 10K! I got an age group win and even my picture in the newspaper!

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I, unfortunately, didn’t run Chicago, though. I know that may come as a surprise. I was certainly ready for the race, and was not injured, but I was just not feeling it. I didn’t have a real passion for the race and I knew that the overall cost of going out there was going to be huge. I just didn’t see the point in heading out to a race that I wasn’t terribly passionate about.

So, what am I doing? A lot of trail running. 

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Hanging out with turkeys on the trail
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Running in the Adirondacks in NY
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Stopping at waterfalls in Colorado

As most of you know, I am hoping to get into the ultra running scene with the intention of one day running the Western States 100. Crazy plans, I know. And up until recently, it’s just been this thing that I talk about (to everyone) and never actually make any moves towards doing it. I became frustrated with that model and started looking up Western States qualifying races. It turns out that you need to run a 50K to sign up for most 100K’s. So, that’s what I am doing. On Oct 23, I will be running the GOATZ 50K in Omaha. Frank will be there to help “crew” me, although I doubt I’ll need much crewing for a 50K. My only goal is to finish the race, which qualifies me for many of the WS qualifying 100K’s. I haven’t picked out a race yet, but I do have a few in mind. Finally, I feel like I can actually say that I have made a step towards running my dream race. I want to make Western States a reality, and I actually feel like I am actually doing it (or at least trying).

As crazy as that sounds, I have more planned. I have been putting a lot of work and training into running a road marathon. I also know that there is a PR in me somewhere, so I am going to go for it. I’ll be headed to Tulsa on Nov. 20 for the Route 66 Marathon. Because I will want to PR and run hard at that race, I will keep GOATZ easy (and try really really hard not to get competitive). To qualify for most 100K’s, you only need to finish a 50K. Needless to say, there will be a lot of walking in Omaha in order to not trash my legs. I already have a few 20-milers under my belt, and I have one more before I start the taper for Route 66. I feel pretty ready to hit the roads to race.

That’s what’s new for me! What’s new with you? Any big races coming up (or just over)?

Getting My Confidence Back

I know that I have not blogged in a while… Really, I’ve been feeling down in the dumps about running and figured I was having the training cycle from Hell. I had tons of aches and pains, confidence issues, and just generally didn’t feel up to running. It all culminated in me straining my hamstring while teaching a workout class. I took 4 days off of running and figured I had ruined any chance of a PR at the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon and of course, any chance of a 3:45 at Chicago. Up to this point, I had only ever run a 1:51 half marathon, which does not indicate that a 3:45 marathon is possible.

So, I decided to run at Rocky Mountain anyways. I figured that Colorado had always been good to me. I tend to kick butt at altitude (weird, I know), and the scenery is great, so if I bombed the half, I could just enjoy looking up at Longs Peak. There was a 5K the night before the half, so I was going to just use it as a shake out run and hope for the best the next day.

I am going to write up two separate reports, but I’ll give away the ending now. I placed 2nd in the 5K, winning myself a National Parks Pass, and I had a 4-minute PR in the half, bringing my time to 1:47:29. I don’t know who I was this weekend, but I hope that runner shows up in Chicago. I now have a half marathon time that is comparable to a 3:43 in the marathon. I feel a lot more confident and comfortable heading into the rest of my training. Honestly, it was an amazing weekend and I think the confidence gained from this will help propel me to Chicago in October.

So, what now? I guess I just keep going. Despite the time off, I am going to jump right back into my marathon training with the same 3:45 goal. I have not decided if the Hanson’s plan is totally for me and may deviate from it a bit as the weeks go on. The structured-ness of the plan does not really play to my strong suits and can, at times, leave me with a lot of confidence problems if a run does not go as well as it should.

I’m working on my race recaps, but for now, I’ll leave you with a picture of my medals as proof of my best running weekend ever.

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Any time I doubt myself, I’ll need to turn to this picture.