Heading to Patagonia 

I am leaving on a jet plane!!!

Tomorrow Frank and I are heading to Patagonia for three weeks of crazy traveling through one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Patagonia is a large piece of land in southern Chile and Argentina that is filled with mountains, fjords, and penguins. We have a few friends meeting us down there and I expect this to be a wild and crazy adventure. Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I have been talking about this trip for a very long time. Well… it’s finally here! 

It’s penguins and mountains! What more could I ask for?!


I hope to run a little while I’m out there, but if I do end up with a long break, it won’t hurt. I’ve been having another flare up of sciatica from my herniated disc and it’s causing a lot of leg pain. When I get back, I’m going to address it with back strengthening exercises, but for now, I am just going to push through. My plan is to begin training for colfax again, but incorporate a lot more cross training into my program.

I’ve been in Florida for the past week, spending time with family for the holidays. My dad and I even managed to get some cool pictures of this owl. 

He’s pretty adorable, right?!

It’s been great to get away from the cold weather and be with family. I’ll be back in Florida for a few days on my way back to Kansas. 

I will try to post while I’m away, but if I don’t, I’ll see you when I return! 

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 3

Alright guys… I have just been a horrible blogger lately. This week, my goal is to remedy that a bit. Despite my lack of blogging about running, I have been running a lot. Maybe even a little too much (IT band made itself known yesterday, so I am backing off). But, even with some squirrelliness in my leg, my runs last week were solid and training is going great. I’ve also made a successful transition to morning running. As soon as the sun comes up, the temps begin to approach 95-110 degrees, so morning running is really the only answer. This means waking up at 5 am (ouch) to be out the door before 6 and off the roads by 8. As my long runs get a little longer, I may have to be out there even earlier. I’ll worry about that when I get there.

I am using the Hanson’s Advanced Marathon Training Plan with a goal time of 3:45. These are my paces:

Goal Marathon Time: 3:45
Goal MP: 8:35
Strength: 8:25
Speed: 7:33 – 7:52
Easy: 9:35 – 10:35
LSD: 9:05 – 10:35

This was my training for the week:

M: 6 miles GMP 4 miles GMP + WU & CD (it was 97 degrees out… give me a break)

T: Easy 6 Miles (9:45/mi)

W: Track Workout – 8 x 600 + 400 Recovery lap + WU & CD (2:34, 2:39, 2:35, 2:35, 2:29, 2:47, 2:40, 2:38)

T: Easy 8 Miles (9:22/mi) – oops…

F: 10 Miles LSD (9:12/mi)

S: Rest (actually, hiking)

S: Easy 6 Miles (9:47/mi)

Total Mileage: 44 Miles

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Beautiful morning for some 600 repeats!

In addition to the running, I also did yoga and body weight strength workouts each day. As you can see, a few of my paces were taken just too fast. I think this lead to my IT band making itself known towards the end of the week. The track workouts were supposed to be between 2:49-2:56, which not a single repeat was. I am having some trouble with not taking track workouts fast. To ward off potential injury, I am taking a week off from track work and taking an extra rest day. I definitely don’t think my IT band is injured, but I could feel it coming on, so I am not going to play around. This needs to be nipped in the bud now.

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I’m seriously not kidding about these temps. 

Last week was also the first back-to-back long run. For the rest of training, my longest easy run is the day before my long run, which contributes to the cumulative fatigue you get through this plan. I gotta say, I liked it! The long run felt natural, but I was definitely more tired than I typically am during a 10 mile run. Also, the long runs are taken quite a bit faster than I am used to. It was nice to go a little faster.

Over the weekend, Frank and I did some hiking and camping with some friends. During the campout, we tried to see if both of us could fit in our friend’s kayak. Success!!

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I think I was trying to wiggle away as he squeezed me a little too hard. 🙂

Next week is going to be a little chiller than usual. I am cutting out a track workout and cutting back the mileage a little to give my IT band a break. I’m going to keep up with my yoga and body weight strength training, but I am going to cut out squats and lunges. During the weekend, I’ll be out in Arkansas with a few friends to climb some routes at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch again. Should be a great time!

I know, I owe you a race recap still…I’ll get that out some time this week.

How was your week? How has your training been going? Any plans for 4th of July weekend?

Colfax Marathon Week 15: Peak Week

Yesterday I posted our crazy weekend of climbing, hiking, backpacking, and tornados (yay, Kansas). In addition to our awesome trip, I was in the peak of my marathon training. Peak week could not have gone better. I really feel like I had bounced off the confidence gained from my race and that sent me into last week with a good head and a lot of excitement. I can honestly say that I have tried my very hardest and have done everything that I can to be ready heading into my first marathon.

Elly is also trying her very hardest training for the sleep-a-thon.

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This cat sleeps like 20 hours per day.

This was my week

Monday: 8 miles – easy pace + Yoga

Tuesday: 8 miles w/ 3 x 2 mile repeats + Yoga

Wednesday: 3 miles – recovery pace + Yoga

Thursday: 20 miles LSD + Yoga

Friday: REST DAY! Lots of climbing though

Saturday: 6 miles – recovery pace + Climbing

Sunday: 10 miles at Goal MP + Hiking

Total Miles: 55.1 YEAH!

This was my highest mileage ever! I wasn’t sure during the beginning of the week if I would actually hit 55 miles, but I took it day by day and kept warm up, recovery, and cool down miles REALLY REALLY SLOW! It worked and I made it to the other side with no pain and no injuries. I also made my yoga practice a serious priority and stepped it up a notch. For a few weeks, I’ve been keeping yoga very chill and easy. I decided to go to a few more advanced level classes. Honestly, it kind of helped. I didn’t do any inversions or crazy arm balances, but moving a lot and breaking a sweat definitely helped keep my muscles limber.

I definitely struggled with the 3 x 2 mile repeats. I took them a little too fast and suffered because of it. But all three were EXACTLY 16:30, so not bad. I was proud of the consistency but not so proud of the amount of suffering that I did during the workout. I was still a little sore from the race, so I’ll blame it on that.

The 20-miler definitely weighed heavy on my mind all week, but once I finally did it, honestly, it was not so bad. It was a little slower than my first 20-miler, but mentally, I was a lot more ready. I took the last 5 miles at race pace, but had a moment where I crashed a little and had to stop to drink water. It was pretty warm out, and I may have been a little dehydrated.

My goal MP tempo run was done in Springfield, Mo on the way home from Arkansas. I went along the Greenline trail that runs north-south straight through town. The wind was blowing and it was 85 degrees out, but I still managed to hold on to race pace (with a water break in the middle). There were definitely some difficulties running this, but I was pretty happy to be done. Honestly, the last mile almost brought me to tears, knowing that I made it to the taper, healthy and strong.

So… I did it. I made it to the taper and I did it without injury. This has not been easy, but regardless of how Colfax goes, I am proud of this training cycle. I am so happy and thankful that my body held up. So, during miles 20-26.2, when I want to quit, I am going to remind myself of the hard work I put into this cycle and I am going to be thankful for what my body is capable of right now.

The countdown is on… 19 days until Colfax.

Weekend Adventures!

Happy Monday Everyone!

I had a crazy fun weekend and a great week of training. I’ll update you on how the training went in my recap, but for now, I am going to tell you all about my weekend adventures. I figured that since Frank and I spend every weekend on some sort of adventure, I should start a blog series on what we do and where we go. This series will be very photo heavy interspersed with what we were up to!

Most weekends are spent backpacking, hiking, climbing, trail running, or some sort of outdoor activity. This weekend, we did a little bit of everything! Frank, our friend, Ben, and I took Friday off from work and drove out to Arkansas Thursday night for some sweet sport climbing and hiking in the Ozark Mountains.

We made it to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in the AM and went straight out to some of the more popular climbing spots in the canyon. Now, before I was a distance runner, I was a climber. In fact, distance running was a way to get me in better shape for mountaineering. Soon, running became my main passion, but being able to climb all day is still pretty awesome.

Ben made it up his first climb EVER!! I was super happy to see him enjoy the climbs the way I do!

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After a full day of climbing, we went for a short hike through the Buffalo River Gorge. If you are ever in the southern Midwest, this is a place you HAVE to go!

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It doesn’t get much better than this!

We got back to the ranch just before dark, hung out with some goats (they had like 100 baby goats), and went to bed.

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The hills were covered in tents and dirtbag climbers.

Saturday morning and afternoon was filled with some of the tallest climbs I’ve ever done. These walls were about 85 feet tall and had some of the most fantastic views from the top. We climbed until our arms tired out and went back to the Buffalo River Gorge for the National Park Service Centennial Concert.

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This route went WAY higher than I am right there!

The concert was packed, and in such a beautiful place.

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Frank and I were making some faces at each other during the concert… also that guy behind us…

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Tons of people made it out for the concert!

Post concert, we packed up our backpacks and hiked into the woods a few miles to find a campsite. The Buffalo River Gorge is right up against a National Forest, where there is free camping all along the trail. All National Forests have free camping in the wilderness, so if you are ever in a pinch, it’s a good place to make an overnight stop.

We woke up Sunday morning with the sunlight coming in. I tried to stay asleep in my bivy, but Frank was not having it.

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To cut on weight and mass, I use a bivy instead of a tent. They are waterproof and super easy to set up and take down.

Before heading back to Manhattan, we went for a hike to a cave at the Lost Valley Trail. The Ozark Mountains are filled with great little spots, but this one was just fantastic. There were natural bridges, three caves (one had a waterfall inside), and a ton of scenic overlooks to view the valley.

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Crawling out of a cave.

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Frank and Ben beneath the Natural Bridge.

After the hike, we ate some lunch and made the 6 hour trip back to Manhattan, KS. Although we expected this to be a rather uneventful ride, as we got close to town, we heard on the radio that a tornado had touched down just west of town. The roads were quiet except for the occasional storm chaser vehicle driving by (good sign, right?). We stopped to overlook some of the crazy weather, but were advised that if we wanted to get back to Manhattan, that we should do so immediately. We made it back and into the basement, but the warning was lifted about 15 minutes later. Aside from some flooding, Manhattan made it through the storm untouched.

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Rather ominous looking clouds over Manhattan, KS.

So, we did a little bit of everything this weekend! I even managed to squeeze in some miles between our adventures. How was your weekend? Did you go on any adventures?

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?

A1A Half Marathon Goals

One week from today, I’ll be heading down to South Florida for some warm weather, family time, AND to run the A1A Half Marathon. Although I have been focusing on my training for the Colfax Marathon in May, I think it might be time to talk a little about my goals and expectations about this race.

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I’m not sure if it can get any better than last year’s race!

Original goal when signing up for A1A: 1:45:00

When I signed up, I had imagined that I would have had a full training cycle devoted solely to this half. I thought I would be fresh off the Chicago finish line and ready for some faster races. However, that’s not how it happened. I got hurt, sidelined, distracted, and a little discouraged by my ankle injury in September. I did not devote a training cycle to this race, and I am in the middle of my training for Colfax. I have been training for longer, slower times… not the quick ones that would get me that goal time. I have not been practicing 8-minute miles or anything close to it. And really… even if I could do that pace, I am not sure that I would want to. I think a very fast time would burn me out and make it hard to continue my training for Colfax the next week.

So what now?

My PR is 1:51:48. Now, you probably think (for all of the reasons listed above), that I am in no shape to go for a PR in the half. However, my current half marathon PR was in less than favorable conditions and during my training cycle for the Chicago Marathon. The race was in Estes Park (7000 ft above sea level) with 1000 feet of elevation gain throughout the race. The night before the race, I was camping and sleeping on the hard ground of Rocky Mountain National Park. The race was fantastically beautiful, which I am sure helped me get that time, but it was not a race most people would go for a PR at.

A1A is at sea level and is a pancake flat course. It runs along the beautiful Fort Lauderdale beaches AND my entire family is going to be there. I’ll also have the luxury of a good night’s sleep on a bed the night before. Although I am not sure if this is going to be a PR blow out, I think I have a chance to sneak just under 1:51:48.

These are my goals for A1A:

 A: 1:49:59 – 8:24/mi pace – a little unattainable… but maybe if I have a crazy awesome day

B: PR – so anything under 1:51:48 (8:30ish/mi)

C: Course PR – Under 1:56:48

The way some of my training has been going lately, a sizable PR is possible. But my legs are tired and I’m deep into my training for Colfax. This race suddenly isn’t as important as I thought it would be a year ago.

So, I guess next Sunday begins my race season for 2016. Hopefully it begins as well as 2015 did and that I nab that PR. Either way, I’m going to go out there and have a good time! I’ll be enjoying some much needed time with my family, some sweet weather, and I get to see Ally and Kristina! PR or not, A1A is going to be a ton of fun!