Wasatch Trail Runner Series

I currently (for one more week) live in a rather small town. It has all the small town charms and you pretty much end up knowing everyone pretty fast. As a runner, small towns have their perks; you’re way less likely to get hit by a car, you see a lot of the same people on the trails, and generally, most areas in town are very safe. In a week, I am moving to a metropolitan area of over 1 million. I imagine Salt Lake won’t have the small town charms of Manhattan, KS, however, I have already started to discover some of the major perks of being in a larger city.

I have found TONS of races around the Salt Lake area. As you all know, I am already signed up for the Utah Valley Marathon (there will be a giveaway for that next week in celebration of my move) and I am also running the Salt Lake Half Marathon. I also signed up for a fantastic race series put on by the Wasatch Trail Runners. It is a total of 9 races; all on Wednesday nights, and the races are either 4 or 8 miles on fantastic trail around the SLC area. There are points for each race and at the end of the season, they tally it up and declare a winner. I have no idea what the winner gets, but it sounds like a fun time to me.

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Isn’t this beautiful?! This is a pic from one of their races.

I have already purchased a trail race season pass and my first race with the Wasatch Trail Runners is on March 29. I will blog about each of these races and talk a little about trail running in one of the trail Meccas of the country. My race schedule for fall was very sparse which made it hard to have much blogging material. Now, it’s almost unlimited! I have no goals for these races. I’ll run them for fun and to hopefully meet other runners in the area (seriously guys, I need some friends out there).

Although I will miss many of the small town charms of Manhattan, KS, I am very excited to have a chance to meet some new running partners. I have a ton of trails to explore and an entire city to entertain me! I always have had trouble finding races in my area, and I am especially excited to have some on weeknights so my weekends can stay free for hiking and backpacking with Frank!

Have you ever run a race series? Is there any good trail running or racing near you? Have you participated?

BTW: If any of you are in the SLC area, definitely visit their website and consider signing up for the trail racing series package. It ends up being $13 per race, and really, you can’t beat that. Each race takes place at 6:30 pm and they are at a few different spots within a 45-minute radius of SLC. I’d love to meet some fellow runners and bloggers!

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.

Utah… Here I come!saltlake.jpg

Colfax Marathon Week 2

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Hey guys!

I know I am late on this training recap, but things have been a little crazy around here. We’ve had a few major ups and downs, and I have been feeling a little emotionally drained. Regardless, I have still been training and running has been going well. I had a fantastic long run that ended with a mile at 7:30. I’m starting to feel fast again, and it’s great to let loose and see how fast I can go.

Key Workouts: 800 repeats, 10-mile long run

Monday: Rest + Vinyasa Yoga

Tuesday: 5-mile easy run (9:24/mi) + Yin Yoga

This must have been pretty uneventful because I don’t even remember it.

Wednesday: 1.5 mile WU 4×800 1.5 mile CD + Hatha Yoga

It was SO NICE to get back to the track. I was really happy just to be there. The 800m was my event in high school track and it feels fantastic to get back to my sprinting roots. I tried to hold back a little, since this was not intended to be a threshold workout. I was looking to just dip my toe back into the pool of track. I can’t believe how much I missed it.

Thursday: 4-mile easy run (9:32/mi) + Yin Yoga

I took Frank with me on an easy run. He did three miles, and I ran one alone. I try to take him with me on at least one easy run per week because he really holds me accountable to a slower pace. My last mile alone was at 8:30 pace, so that kind defeated the purpose of the slow run. I’m still working on going slower. 🙂

Friday: Rest Day + Yin Yoga

Saturday: 5 miles easy, but on some hills

I was meeting up with the Kansas Caving Society in Lawrence, so I figured I’d go out for a run to take advantage of the hillier terrain out there. I kept things slow, but there were certainly a few quad-burning moments.

Sunday: 10-mile LSD (9:06/mi)

This was a classically awesome long run. It was my first time hitting double digits since the Route 66 Marathon. I kept the first half slow and gradually got faster as I went along. By the time I was done, I was hitting sub-8:00 paces. It was crazy. I felt so fantastic.

Total: 30 miles

Next week (which is actually this week): I have two key workouts (a 12 mile LSD and a 7 mile tempo run). Unfortunately, this week is not going as well as last week, so although I intended to get 35 miles in, I will definitely not be hitting that. More on that later.

Hope all is well with you! How has your training been going? What kind of run do you do to build confidence in your fitness level?

Look at Sydney all tired and not biting me.

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Week 1: Getting back some consistency!

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Each week I am going to post a short recap of my training as I work towards my goal of PR-ing my marathon time at Colfax in May. In total, we are about 19 weeks out from the big day, and although things are still up in the air, I am assuming that I’ll be toeing that line on May 21.

I began my training last week and kept it light. This was really my first introduction back to real running and I didn’t want to push it and risk injury. I had two key workouts and three easy runs, plus I did a lot of yoga. Lately, my yoga practice has been a lot more about focusing on my meditation than it has been in the past. I’ve always tried to cultivate a strong asana (or postures) practice, but lately, I need yoga as a way to clear my headspace. Yin yoga has been a real refuge as the world around me becomes a bit unstable.

Key Workouts: Tempo Run & 8-mile Long Run

 Monday: Rest – was heading home from my trip

Tuesday: 4 miles easy pace (9:28/mi) + Yin Yoga – I was honestly worried that I didn’t even know how to do this anymore. I had taken a full three weeks completely off running and had been rather inconsistent before that. But I still knew how to run, and it felt good.

Wednesday: 5 miles with 3 miles at tempo (8:42/mi) + Hatha Yoga – I wanted to see if I still had my speed. Well, three miles isn’t much, but it definitely let me see how things were going. I didn’t lose as much fitness as I thought I had. The run felt great.

Thursday: Yin Yoga + Rest

Friday: 8 miles LSD (9:22/mi) + Yin Yoga – I dreaded the long run all week, and was surprised to find that it was actually pretty okay. I’m certainly glad I didn’t go any further, but the 8 miles felt just find.

Saturday: 5 miles easy (9:11/mi) – I kept most of this run pretty chill and then accidentally busted out a mile at 8:30. Oops. Guess I was feeling pretty good!

Sunday: 3 miles easy (9:49/mi) – I ran with Frank and he is a bit slower than me, so we kept it chill. I always like running with him because he forces me to keep a much easier pace.

Total: 25 Miles

Next week I am bumping it up a little with a total of 30 miles and another key tempo workout and 10-mile long run. My goal next week is to really focus on some strength training. Since I herniated a disc in my back, I need to be more diligent about abdominal and lower back strength work. Next week, I’ll be getting to a bit of that along with some stairs.

How were your workouts last week? What is your favorite kind of workouts (I love speed work

Running, Goals, and Some Unknowns

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Hey Everyone!

It’s been a long time since I’ve been running hard and training for anything specific. My last race, the Route 66 Marathon, was a bit of a flop largely because I walked to the starting line severely undertrained and a bit burnt out from my ultra. I am once again back on my feet and I am determined to get to a May marathon with some better training under my belt.

You may notice that I have not really committed to a specific marathon yet. Unfortunately, I will likely be unable to for a while. Frank and I are looking to move from Kansas and we are not really sure where we will be come May, but I am training to run a race on May 21, the day of the Colfax marathon. I will plan to run Colfax if I am still in Kansas, or if I am driving distance from Denver. I want to run a half marathon some time in March, but unfortunately, I am unable to say where or when it will be yet. It’s hard training without specifics, and it’s very hard living with so many unknowns in my future. I feel like I cannot commit to anything beyond about two weeks since we could hear back from somewhere at any time and we would have to be ready to go.

One thing is for sure, we are looking to move out west. I have spent my entire life in the flatlands of the US, and we have been looking to get to the mountains. The western half of the US is huge, so I feel confident (and hopeful) that something will turn up soon.

Looking ahead into the unknown of 2017, I do have a few goals that I believe are attainable.

  • PR my marathon

I honestly don’t care if it’s by 2 freaking seconds, I just want a PR. I will train for a 3:50 time, but come race day, I will be happy with anything that is a PR.

  • Run a sub 1:45 half marathon

Ok, this one is a little more specific. My last half was 1:47 and it was very comfortable. I was in one of my favorite places in the world, Estes Park, and I hope to go back there for that sub-1:45 in August. I definitely think this is within my abilities, but I will need to work for it.

  • Run a 50-miler

Last year I ran a 50K, and I can honestly tell you that it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. However, those last few miles made everything worth it. I ran through the trails of Omaha with a giant smile of my face, so excited to be an ultra runner. Well, my new goal is to run a 50-miler, which I am hoping to do in the fall.

This week I will be getting back to my usual training updates, yoga posts, and random other things that make there way on to my blog. Thanks for being patient and waiting for me to be ready to train hard again.

And of course, here’s a picture of my favorite fur-ball.

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How do you deal with unknowns? Does change stress you out (it stresses me out)?

 

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.