Chicago Training Update

I hate writing training recaps, so I am going to make this one short and sweet. Training for Chicago has been really up and down for me. Unlike the near linear progression I had during Colfax, Chicago has been one step forward, two steps back. Although the training has been hard, I did have a breakthrough race last week (more about that in my recap post later).

I’ve really had a hard time finding motivation and inspiration for this race, but I’ve kind of made a decision. I have been trying to fit myself into a new category, a 6-day-per-week runner, and I am simply not that. So, I have basically abandoned the Hanson’s plan and I am going back to what I did for Colfax… because you know what, it worked. Training is about finding what works for you and sticking with it. I know what works for me and I am going back to that.

Well… this week I took things pretty chill. I was recovering from my races and Longs Peak Summit from the week before. I took a few days off and did some nice slow running.

M: Rest

T: Rest – was still really sore

W: 8 Miles Easy

T: Another Rest Day

F: Worst Track Workout Ever (4×800)

S: 10 mile Long Run

S: 6.5 miles easy

Total: 30.7 miles

Not bad for a first week back after a wild and crazy weekend. My track workout was supposed to be 6 x 800, but I just couldn’t finish it. I felt like absolute crap and called it quits. Usually track workouts are a real confidence booster for me, but unfortunately, this one was just a drag. The long run the next day was pretty great, so I guess that made up for it.

This week I am going to step it up a notch. I only have 6 more training weeks before the taper, so I’m gonna make the best of it. Things are shifting over to more marathon specific work, including a lot more time at marathon pace. I’m pretty excited to hone things down a bit and get myself feeling ready for Chicago.

I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures, so here is a pic from our paddle this weekend:

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And of course, here is a pic of the cutest cat in the whole world:

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How was your training? What is your next goal race?

The #Lifepoints Adventure Grant

This is copied from a post on Frank and I’s adventure blog. Check it out and follow us to keep up with our adventures. The #lifepoints adventure started this weekend, so we’ll have a post up soon to tell you all about it. Another thanks to Picky Bars for helping us out and making our adventures real!

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No one thinks of wilderness when they think of Kansas. It is the wheat state, strewn with cattle and large industrial farms. If you do a Google search for preserved land in Kansas, you will find virtually none. Kansas seems like a desolate place for outdoors enthusiasts and certainly not a place to find wilderness. But if you dig a little deeper and are willing to search a little harder, you will find the rivers. The Kaw River, the Arkansas River, and the Missouri River are the only open access waterways in the state, and they are also some of the best wilderness in the state. These rivers are some of the few remaining places where you can get a sense of what the original settlers and the Native Americans saw when coming to the prairie. Still, when I tell people I live in Kansas, they assume I can only get a dose of wild after a 7-hour drive to the Rocky Mountains. Our goal: To convince people that this is simply not true, that there is wild hidden in their backyards, snaking its way between cattle ranches and fields of wheat.

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A few months ago, I came across a grant to fund an adventure, the Picky Bars #Lifepoints Adventure Grant. Frank and I thought hard about how to apply. Do we write up something to fund a backpacking trip through the Rockies or the Ozarks? Surely, that would be picturesque and maybe even win us that grant. But we decided otherwise. Our goal has always been to get people EVERYWHERE outside. That includes Kansas. So, we applied with an idea to get as many people as we could on the Kaw River. Needless to say, we figured we’d never hear from Picky Bars again.

Well… we did hear from them. Apparently Picky Bars agreed, getting people outside and into the wilderness, in even the least likely of places, is important.

 Here we are, planning another adventure! Each weekend in August, we will be paddling sections of the Kaw River from its origin in Junction City to where it meets the Missouri River in Kansas City. We are having both experienced paddlers and novices join us throughout the trip and we’ve designated sections that are especially good for getting kids out and on the river. And did I mention that we get a free kayak?

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Thanks, Picky Bars, for helping us make this vision a reality! We’ll be posting updates about our adventure here on our blog.

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Follow our adventure!

Twitter: @thisyogiruns

Blog: wildplaygrounds.wordpress.com

Or join our adventure!

Prairie Fire Meetup

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!🙂

Rocky Mountain 5K Race Recap

I ran the Rocky Mountain 5K as part of the Elk Challenge, which was to race both the 5K on Friday night and the half marathon on Saturday morning. This is the recap for the 5K, and I’ll post the half marathon recap soon!

I was in wave 1 for both races and lined up at the front for the 5K with the intention of taking things slow and saving my energy for the half the next morning. The race announcer came on speaker to say that if you wanted to be in contention for an overall award, it will be based on your gun time, not your chip time. I looked around to see who was there and to size up my competition (at this point I had no intention of going for an overall award). The women around me looked no faster than I was, so I got arrogant, took a chance, and went to the very front of the starting line. All intentions of taking things slow were going out the window.

I could see that the first mile began with a giant hill. It looked daunting and hard and I figured that if I took things too fast, I’d be very sorry later.

Well, the race started and I took things too fast. I got to the top of the hill at around the half-mile mark and noticed that I was running a sub-7 mile pace. I backed off (a lot) and just cruised on the flats. At this point I was the first place female, but I was running scared. It is not easy to run in the lead and it was really making me feel a little stressed out. I wasn’t sure how far back the 2nd place girl was, but I was inwardly hoping that she would pass me to take the pressure off.

And then just after the 1-mile mark, the 2nd place woman passed me and I felt like the pressure was off. I pulled back a bit and reminded myself that I had a half marathon the next day, which was a target race for me and a potential PR. I kept the 1st place girl in my sights, but really had no intention of going after her. I was already feeling a little tired and was desperately trying not to push myself too hard. Miles 2 and 3 were mentally tough, but I was doing a good job passing some of the men and kept my women’s overall place.

Just before the finish line, there was a female elk chilling out. I was pretty excited, since how often is it that you see an elk during a road race. Just as I was coming into the finish chute, I heard the announcer say my name, hometown, and place. It was pretty exciting coming in to a rather big crowd and party.

My final time was 23:55, not bad for a hilly course at 7,500 feet!

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I think I was most excited about my NPS pass.

After I grabbed some food and water, I was shuffled over to where the awards ceremony would be. After about 20 minutes of waiting, they called the winners up to the podium and gave us our medals and National Parks Passes (yes, a won a National Park pass… pretty much the best thing ever). I’d never stood on a podium at a race before, so this was pretty freaking exciting.

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A beautiful and perfect setting for a 5K.

Frank and I walked around a bit, trying to shake off some of the lactic acid. I was over the moon with my 2nd place, but I knew I had to get to bed soon to be fresh and ready for the half the next morning.

To be continued…

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.

Thinking Out Loud: Running and Penguins

Hey Everyone! Today I am going to be linking up with Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud! I am going to be talking about some random stuff both running and travel related.

1. I did my track workout yesterday and it felt great. I had no weird pains in my legs at all and just generally had a solid workout. I kept a little closer to my paces, but was still sneaking a tad under. The workout called for 5 x 1km, a pretty brutal distance. Each repeat was at about 4:27-4:35 (yeah, I know, a little quick). However, later in the evening, I went for a short walk with a friend and wouldn’t you know it… the pain was there. It doesn’t seem to bother me when I am running fast, but I need to take things easy often. I wasn’t even running… so I have no idea why it was bothering me. I’m heading back to the Chiro today, so hopefully I’ll return with some answers.

2. Frank and I love to travel together and we’ve been talking about doing a big trip for a while. He had a few places that he wanted to go, but felt that I should get to choose this time. So, he asked “if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go”? This was an easy answer. I’ve always dreamed of going to Patagonia, a mountainous region in South America that lies on the border of Chile and Argentina. Well… we bought the tickets last night. In January, I will be trekking through Patagonia for three weeks. I can’t express to you how excited I am, so instead, I am going to post a few photos of what Patagonia is like.

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They have giant mountains!!

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And giant glaciers!!

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And f-ing penguins!!!!!!!!!

3. I am three weeks out from the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon. It is really a checkpoint to make sure my goals for Chicago are realistic. I ran this race last year for a 5 minute PR, despite the 1000 feet of elevation and starting altitude of 7000 feet. My PR in the half is currently 1:51:03, but to run a 3:45 at Chicago, I should be somewhere around 1:47. I feel like I am in better shape than I was last year, where I ran a 1:51:44, but shaving close to 5 minutes off of last year’s time sounds like a lot. I am not sure if I should consider reassessing my goals, if this race doesn’t go as it should. I am sure that I’ll be posting a lot more about this race over these next few weeks, but I do feel like there is a lot of pressure and I am not sure if I can run 8:10 pace for 13.1 miles. I guess we’ll see…

4. I ordered “Running your First Ultra” by Krissy Moehl, which features plans for 50k’s all the way to 100 milers. It should be arriving on Friday. Despite the back issue, I am still serious about doing this (also the Chiro said that this shouldn’t be a problem). I have a few races picked out as potentials in December. I’m hoping to run the race before heading on our epic adventure through Patagonia.

Hope you are having a great week! Thanks again to Amanda at Running with Spoons for hosting the linkup!

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What has been on your mind lately? If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A bump in the road to Chicago

Did anyone watch Olympic trials last night for the women’s 800 m? It was insane! A crazy fall resulted in a wild shake-up and an unlikely champion. If you haven’t seen it, you should watch the video!

So… my training…

A lot has happened this past week and I should probably go back to my Colfax training to describe the whole story.

While I was training for Colfax, I started having a weird pain and weakness on the outside of my right leg. I thought it was IT-band syndrome or maybe a strained muscle, but this just felt different. I continued to run on it and tried to put it out of my mind. It worked! I ended up making it to Colfax feeling good and healthy, and never felt the pain once during the race. I ended up taking some time off to recover and everything seemed to be fine… so I just forgot about the pain and moved forward figuring that it had healed itself.

Fast forward to my first 45-mile week of Chicago training…

I started to feel the pain again, but this time in my left leg (strange, right?). I again, choked it up to some IT band pain, since it ran on the outside of the leg. However, I was concerned that it was switching sides and causing a lot of weakness below my knee. Last week it got so bad that I was having trouble running. I figured it was time to see someone about this. I mentioned it to a friend and she suggested that I see a chiropractor, since it was likely in my back (the whole switching sides thing).

On Friday morning I made a trip to a chiropractor. I described the pain and he agreed, it was likely my back. He felt around, poked me on my spine and SI-joint and used some weird hammer thing to push things back into place. His conclusion: I probably have a herniated disc on the L5 joint. Ugh!! He didn’t think it is a running injury at all, but does think that running brings out the symptoms. Probably if I were not a runner, I would go along with my herniated disc as if nothing were wrong and never even notice it.

So… what now?

Well, I am going to see the chiropractor for a few visits to try to get everything back into place. He said that he felt optimistic that this would be a relatively easy fix and that I wont need to take time off from running. If he can’t make the pain in my legs stop, I need to go get an MRI to see if the herniation is really bad or if there is some stenosis (narrowing of the spinal chord… something I very much don’t want as a 29 year old). He did tell me to cool it a bit with the mileage until we get this under control and to go back to 5 days of running per week instead of 6. Since speed work isn’t typically what hurts, I can still do that, but I need to stop if I am in pain.

What does this mean for Chicago? Well… I am not sure. I am going to take these next few weeks pretty chill, since the most important thing is making my back healthy. I might need to rethink my goals a little, and that’s okay with me. At the moment, nothing is changing, but that doesn’t mean that nothing will change a few weeks from now. I am going to take things day-by-day and hope for the best.

I did some trail running yesterday and didn’t feel the pain at all and I am going to do a nice easy workout tonight. Assuming that the pain is not there, I’ll go ahead and do my track workout tomorrow. I’m not too upset about this, since I am confident that it will be under control in the next few weeks or so. Timing wise, I feel like this isn’t too terrible. I am still many weeks away from Chicago and have plenty of time to train.

Long story short, I have no idea what is going on, but I’ll let you know when I know!

How as your July 4th? Any fun adventures over the weekend? I’ll post about mine soon.