Marathon Countdown: 14 Days

Just two weeks from today I will run my first marathon.  I’ve trained as well as I can up until this point and am just getting through the next couple weeks one day at a time.  I’ve also started working on my dissertation for my Ph.D. this week which will make things a little more complicated.  I’m going to focus on balancing adding the grad work back as the running continues to taper off.

As I’m writing this I realize I didn’t write about last week’s Hot Chocolate 15K at all!  No PRs there but it was a fun day with friends and chocolate.   Here are some pics from the event.

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Also found a new bike path this week!  Every time I think I’ve run every road I can get to from my house, this town surprises me.  I really do feel lucky to live in such a run-friendly neighborhood.

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Big Milestone – The 20 Miler!

So excited and relieved to have been able to run this distance today!  Feeling more excited about and committed to my training than ever this week.  No long blog post today but here is a short video recap of today’s marathon training run.

Marathons and Ragnar and Tri’s Oh My!

I went through a period of feeling like I would never run again, never race again.  I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s where I was mentally.  The ankle pain was ridiculous for weeks and when you’re in that mode it gets difficult to imagine doing the things you love again.  But, now that my ankle is feeling stronger I’ve been more confident in registering for races and looking toward some pretty nifty new goals in 2016.

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My yellow brick road. 🙂

I had thought that once I had finished 2015 I would have completed my first marathon.  It didn’t happen and won’t at this point.  I’m okay with that.  However, I thought that I would have moved on to some other things.  I wanted to start looking at multiple marathons in one year, a 50K, Ragnar Relay and I’ve been interested in triathlons for a few years now.

The 50K is not going to happen, so let’s just scratch that right now.  Goals need to be realistic.  I think 2 marathons in one years is a pretty good start as far as endurance running is concerned.  I want to get those under my belt and then see how a longer distance feels after completing those.

Ready for Women Rock 2014!

My ruby slippers. 🙂

However, the rest of it seems… kinda feasible!  Multiple marathons should be a go as long as I’m diligent in my recovery, pay attention to my body, and avoid injury at all cost now that I know injury is an actual thing that actually does happen if you’re not careful.  My BRF is captaining a Ragnar Relay team that we’re organizing for August, and I’m looking into triathlons.  By “looking into” I should have said “learning how to swim”.  So stay tuned on that one.  Adventures in not drowning soon to come!

So that is what is going on this week.  Otherwise I’ve just been focusing on getting back into shape, losing a little weight and making sure I don’t forget to take care of this ankle and take it for granted.

 

Registered for First Marathon for the Second Time

So many updates!  I finished and passed my very last Ph.D. course, we got the house on the market to move to another area of town, and I’m starting to ease back into running!  Just a little running but it’s enough to keep me sane for now. 🙂

In even more exciting news, I’ve registered for another marathon.  It’s an interesting experience, registering for your first marathon for the second time.  The first time was filled with pure adrenaline and the excitement of “Wow I can’t believe I’m doing this! I’m going to run a marathon!”.  The second time was more bitter sweet and hopeful.  I really hope I can pull it off this time.  I am also filled with an intense grit and determination to do this.  Several people have asked me why I won’t just wait until the Twin Cities marathon in 2016.  The answer is simple, I just can’t.  I would rather train through sub zero temperatures, snow storms, slush and sleet that is Minnesota Winter instead of wait another whole year to have a chance to accomplish this.  I only hope I’m not jinxing it by registering before I’m even fully recovered from this injury.

I picked the Delaware Marathon in Wilmington, DE.  The reason I chose this race is simple – it’s a chance to return to where I grew up and see the city in a whole new light.  I’ve learned that running through a city truly gives you a new perspective and I didn’t start running until years after I had moved away.  My parents and grandparents live relatively close to there which will make it a fantastic family get-together as well.  I had been looking at a few races but when I found this one, I had such a good feeling and knew it was the one.  It’s a smaller race and I didn’t want to miss my chance so I registered.  I registered for my first marathon, again.

I also just registered for a race in February (RNR Half Marathon – New Orleans)!  I enjoyed the Rock and Roll Chicago so much and when I heard my BRF was running this one I just couldn’t pass up another girls weekend and fun race experience. 🙂

At this point I’m done with all races for 2015 and looking forward to complete recovery by the end of the year.  I can’t wait to put my all into training for this awesome home town marathon. 🙂

“Slow” Work?

A few months ago I was focused almost exclusively on speed work in my running.  In fact I think that it is probably one of the main mistakes I made in my downward spiral that ended with this injury issue I’ve been working through.  I had wanted a fast-for-me marathon finish time for my debut marathon, but instead will now be sitting out completely; an option I didn’t even think was really possible.

At any rate, I’ve been doing what I can in the mean time to recover (video down below).  The slower pace has some benefits too.  Mostly, I’m spending a lot more quality time with my boys and with our dog.  I’ve gone on several walks with my sons and last week my 9 year old biked 6 miles with me.  It was a PR for him in distance! 🙂  He now wants to make it a regular thing we do together, which is so amazingly awesome. It’s been really great to get outside with them and get some exercise together.  No, these low intensity family workouts are not going to earn me any medals or PRs.  I don’t finish feeling sweaty and badass.  However, these workouts are completely priceless.  We’re spending quality time together moving, getting fresh air and talking about things away from the video games.  So right now I’m working on this “slow work”, and plan to do more of it, even when I get back to training.  I don’t need a medal to know we’re doing something good by staying active together.

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What ideas do you have for family fitness?  Always looking for more ideas to incorporate. 🙂

Race Recap: Women Rock – Starlet Challenge

Women Rock is the first 10K I ever ran.  I first ran this race in 2013 and it was the first event I ever trained for consistently.  In 2013 the 10k was the longest distance I had ever run.  It gave me the confidence to spontaneously register for and run a half marathon only a couple weeks later (didn’t train for it, but did survive and finish!).

Last year I ran the 10K again and beat my previous time.  This year I wanted a new challenge and registered for the Women Rock Super Starlet Challenge.  The challenge involved a night 2.5K race on Friday night, followed by a half marathon and a 5K on Saturday.  My hope when I registered for this in December was to PR my half on this race.  However, this time last week with my injury I was thinking I wouldn’t be running it at all.

In light of the injury I down graded back to the 10K along with the other races which would fulfill the Rock Starlet Challenge (minus the “super”) and still earn me 4 beautiful medals.  My coach advised walking the 2.5k night race followed by walk run intervals on the 10K and 5k.  Not wanting to ruin my chances at running the upcoming marathon, that’s what I did.  And it worked!  I finished the races, had fun with my friends and the ankle still seems to be on the mend at this point.11947689_10207394826725719_3750133041126512164_n

No race video on this one.  I was really focusing on taking it easy and avoiding further damage.

I honestly thought at this point in the game I would be racking up the PRs and setting new records for distance.  As it stands, I still have yet to run a distance PR through any of my marathon training at all.  (My longest distance in training is the 16 miles I ran on August 16th which earned my injury.  My longest distance ever is 16.86 miles I ran for a trail race in April.)

This struggle in the road to 26.2 is not what I was expecting at all.  I was assuming I would work through scheduling issues with finding time for long runs and mentally pushing through exercising through long periods of time.  Instead I am babying this ankle and am an emotional wreck due to my disappointment in myself with these injuries.  I know this is causing major setbacks in my mileage in these remaining and very important final weeks.

But, it’s still an experience and I’m learning what to do and what not to do for next time, if there is one… we’ll see. 🙂

Early Morning Running Success Continues

One week of early morning running in the books!  I was up at 5:30 again on Thursday and this morning (Saturday) at 5:00.  I can’t believe how well it’s gone.  It’s been so incredibly nice to have a break from the heat and humidity.  Moving runs to the morning has also helped me stick to my training plan without having to go crazy rescheduling everything.  I’ve also been sleeping better – finally!  I just need to find a way to keep it going now.

View from today's 10+ mile run at about 6 am this morning.  That wood bridge is actually on some sort of pontoon system - challenging to run across (almost made me "seasick"!).

View from today’s 10+ mile run at about 6 am this morning. That wood bridge is actually on some sort of pontoon system – challenging to run across (almost made me “seasick”!).

I’ve also been really making an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables.  I read or heard somewhere that runners eat a lot of fruit.  So that’s what I’m doing.  No other logic really but I’ve felt more healthy this week.

Do you run early?  What keeps you motivated to keep it up?  How do you wake up before the sun day in and day out to lace up and get out there?

In other news, here’s a little video on this week’s paddling club outing.

And of course I can’t leave out the weekly marathon training update.

What are you up to this weekend? 🙂

New Stuff!

Who doesn’t love new stuff?  I know I certainly do. 🙂  It’s been a week of new things both activity-wise and stuff wise.  I started golf lessons for the first time this week and also went kayaking for the first time this week.  Kayaking is pretty darn fun but I’m not sure if I like it more than stand up paddle boarding yet.  I have yet to get the board out this summer but it’s early yet. 🙂

To support said new-found hobbies my super supportive hubby bought me some new starter golf clubs and I also invested (I use the word invested because it makes it sound less frivolous) in some water sandals for kayaking and canoeing this summer.IMG_0612

I’m taking the golf lessons with my two boys which has been really fun.  We’re all learning together!  My husband already plays so he was eager to get the rest of us started.  Turns out golf is super complicated.  So far there just seem to be a lot of rules on how to swing the club and then also game etiquette but I’m enjoying it and think it will be a fun family activity.

I actually tried kayaking as part of a weekly paddle club my friend and I joined that started this week.  It alternates between kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding every Thursday.  Automatic cross training – yay!  I meant to take some pictures or video of the kayaking but was nervous about the water factor.  I may get braver and bring the go-pro with it’s waterproof armor at some point though.

In other news… here is this week’s video update.  Tonight’s run was AWFUL!  I haven’t had such a bad run in a long time.  The heat and humidity also took a toll but I will be back out there tomorrow.  Marathon training must go on.

Race Recap: Lebanon 10K Trail Race (with video)

The Lebanon 10K trail race is one of five races in the Endless Summer Trail Run Series (ESTRS) hosted by Twin Cities Running Company and Rocksteady Running.

Looking back and reviewing my thoughts on this race I realized that it gave me a lot of firsts for one little 10K run.

  1. This was my first race where it rained through the entire event.
  2. First race I’ve ever gone to completely solo.  Drove there myself.  Check in and packet pickup on my own.  Started running alone.  After party of one.  Drove home by myself.  There are pros and cons to this.  I had the freedom to do things on at my own pace and didn’t worry about where anyone else was or how to meet up or any of those coordination items.  That said, it was super lonely!  I don’t think I would go it alone again if I could avoid it.  The after party was especially lonely.  It was a great event with pizza and beer and I just didn’t have anyone to share it with and recount the race with.
  3. Not my first trail race but it was my first trail 10K!
  4. First 10K that was a 3 mile loop twice.
  5. First race on a Tuesday evening after work.
  6. First race while recording with a GoPro.

The night before was a Monday evening.  I packed everything I would need into my gym bag instead of laying it out as I would for other races simply because the race was after work and not my first item of the day.  I also knew it would probably be rainy so I brought my rain jacket, a plastic sandwich bag for my phone and a towel for after the race.

After work on Tuesday I drove over to Lebanon Hills Regional Park and parked in the overflow lot.  Check in was IMG_0376seamless.  I gave the volunteers my name and bib # and was good to go.  Race registration also included glassware from Solomon.  Since my car was at the overflow lot, it was raining, and I didn’t have anyone with me to hold my stuff I hid my glass by one of the picnic tables.  Felt very sneaky for doing this but it worked out fine and was waiting for me when I finished.

I have to give race directors a shout out for starting on time.  And I mean really on time.  Super punctual.  The race was scheduled to start at 6:30 and we started exactly at 6:30 pm.

The race started on asphalt and quickly progressed into the trail through the woods.  It had been raining for 4 days in the Minneapolis area prior to Tuesday.  The mud was out of control and it was very difficult to not slip and fall.  Great workout but made for some slow running.IMG_0386

The first 3 miles felt like they flew by.  I had turned off the voice notifications on my Map My Run app to avoid bothering anyone and I didn’t notice any mile markers.  If they were there, I didn’t see them.  The whole time I didn’t know how far I was which I think made the time seem to go by faster.  Aid station was great (back at the start/finish) with water, gels, and really supportive volunteers cheering.  The second loop felt like it went by more slowly.  I think this was because I knew I was repeating everything I had just run through, I was more tired, and more soaked by then.  (Disclaimer: It wasn’t pouring, just a heavy mist/drizzle.  If it had been an outright downpour I might not have stuck it out!)  The park trail was beautiful despite the weather.  Picture lots of green foliage with wood bridges throughout.

I finished in little under an hour and 17 minutes.  Not too shabby for me considering the muddy trail and rain!  It was a great workout and I am proud of my time.IMG_0385

Afterwards there was pizza and beer.  Pizza and lemonade for me since I was driving myself home.  I have to say though, it tasted like the best meal ever after running in the rain for an hour!  This was a very well organized race and I truly enjoyed myself.  The volunteers were so nice, helpful, and encouraging.  I would absolutely run another ESTRS race again.  Next time though, I’m bringing some friends! 🙂

Tracking the Track

It’s been a weird couple of days.  I drove to Sioux Falls from Minneapolis and back yesterday.  The one way trip is about 4.5 hours… fancy math boop beep boop…yup, 9 hours total in the car yesterday with a few hours of working in Sioux Falls in the middle = one loooong day with very little physical activity.  I think my fitbit was something like 2,000 steps.  For the entire day.IMG_0314

So I missed my workout yesterday and needed to make it up today.  Luckily, my sons’ lacrosse practice is held in the middle of a running track at a school.  I’ve actually never done a workout on a track before so I thought I’d give it a shot.  Turns out it isn’t too bad.  Not super exciting since it’s just circles but it was a great way to get some fresh air while my guys were at practice anyway.IMG_0316

Bummer is MapMyRun does not like it when you run in small areas at all.  Here is what MapMyRun thinks I did today:IMG_0324

This is what I actually did today.  Yay for running a backup app to track the track workout!  I was just disappointed because I was really looking forward to seeing how my splits actually came out.  I think I might have been a smidge faster so let’s just say that’s how it went down since there’s no evidence to prove the contrary. 😉

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