Goals

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Goals. They can be big, and scary, and impossibly hard. As runners, we often set manageable, small, tiny goals that are reachable. We set goals that we can wrap our heads around. But sometimes, we should be setting goals that are maybe a reach, something that even on a perfect day may not happen. Failure is part of the game, and often times, I set soft goals that I can reach even on an okay day.

More important than choosing the goal is realizing that you are capable of something really really big. When toeing the line of my first marathon, I remember being filled with self-doubt, but as the miles ticked on, I realized that I was a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for. I have been a runner for a long time and lately, I have been feeling ready for something huge. For some reason, self-doubt seems gone and marching forward, I feel like I am capable of something harder than I have done before.

In October, I am running the St. George Marathon, and my goal is to run a Boston Qualifier (3:35).

I signed up for St. George with this goal in mind, but I was debating putting it on the blog at all. St. George is a downhill course that is known for it’s BQs. Yeah, I know a few of you are laughing right now. Given my past times, this is a reach. But I know that my obstacles are not physical. Every time I truly believe that I can be faster, I am. I don’t know where that wall is, and maybe it’s somewhere like 3:40, but by going for that qualifier, I’ll find that wall and I’ll know for sure. My shorter distance (5K and 10K) times reflect that this is within my abilities. St. George gives me the opportunity to find out if that is true.

I am not afraid of failure and I am not afraid of pain. There is no doubt in my mind that going for this goal will be unbelievably painful but that’s fine. I can handle that. And if I fail, I’ll just do it again.

I will be using a training plan by Sage Running. It focuses on making sure that I get the appropriate amount of rest between hard workouts, but it will also be pretty high mileage at it’s peak. Luckily, the plan is easily adjustable if I do run into any over training problems (which I often do because my job is very physical as well). My mantra over the next few months is to trust the training plan. Training officially starts on June 19 and until then I am just base building and getting stronger.

Am I nuts? Yeah, probably, but really, why be afraid of failure? October 7 is going to be a glorious day either way. Maybe this is corny, but all I have to do is believe.

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)?

 

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

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Today begins the 2nd week of my training for the Chicago Marathon. What happened to the 1st week? Well… due to traveling back from Europe, insane jetlag, and tiredness… I took the entire 1st week off. That may sound like a weird thing to do when training for a marathon, but for me, it was necessary. Injury risk is always at a high when I am exhausted. I also wanted to make sure that I had at least 2 full weeks off from running to be fresh from Colfax and the Liverpool Half Marathon.

For the next 17 weeks, I will be following the Hanson’s Advanced Marathon Plan. This means I will be doing a lot of running, but shorter long runs. I chose this plan after realizing that the 20-miler runs I did for Colfax were probably doing more harm than good. They would leave me tired and burnt out and after having run a marathon less than a month ago, I feel that running super long long runs will only leave me battered and broken.

The other thing I like about the Hanson’s plan is the goal aspect of it. Coming off of a fantastic first marathon experience, I feel more ready than ever to go for a big PR. I ran the Colfax Marathon in 3:57 and my goal is to run Chicago in 3:45, a 7% time decrease. According to the Hanson’s book, this is possible… but I am going to have to work for it. These will be my paces while I train:

Goal Marathon Pace: 8:35/mi
Strength Workouts: 8:25/mi
Speed Workouts: 7:33-7:52/mi
Easy Days: 9:35-10:35/mi
Long Runs: 9:05-10:35/mi

With the Hanson’s Plan, these paces are written in stone. Straying from my easy paces will lead to fatigue, overtraining, and potentially, injury. Seeing that I want to get to Chicago healthy and ready, I will keep to this plan. As of now, that goal marathon pace seems pretty steep, but I hope that over the next 17 weeks, it will seem more realistic and less daunting.

In addition to Chicago, I will be running a few races within the training period. I do have another goal race, the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon, where I am hoping to nab a PR of less than 1:47, the half marathon pace that is equivalent to a 3:45 marathon. Although this race is far from flat, and is at 7,000 feet, it was my PR race until recently and I PRed by over 5 minutes when I ran the race last.

Each week, I will do a loose overview of my training to let you know the ups and downs as I make my way to the starting line. I’m not sure how formal they will be, but I will at least include something, even if they are mostly complaints.

Well, here it goes… Marathon #2. I’m ready to chase down some goals!

Have you tried the Hanson’s Training Plan? How did you like it? What is your next goal race?

Colfax Marathon Goals

It is time to talk goals.

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The Colfax Marathon is this Sunday. I do not know what wave I am in, but the marathon is not too big and the race starts at 6:00 am, so I should be on the course pretty early. The weather is supposed to be ideal for a marathon. Hopefully it stays that way.

The race is split into 5 sections. The first and last sections are largely the same and include a run through the Denver Broncos stadium where you get to see your picture on the jumbotron (not sure how much I’ll care about that in the first go through, but I’m sure at mile 20, it’ll certainly be helpful). From miles 1-16, it is a very mild uphill gaining about 500 feet of elevation. I figure I won’t really notice it too much, since 500 feet over 16 miles isn’t all that much. However, from miles 16-20 is a section called the “Screaming Downhill”. Running downhill has always been my strength and I will be looking forward to that section.

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Not a terrible elevation profile. 

My plan for the race is to run at 4:00:00 pace with the pacer until the Screaming Downhill. If the pacer goes out too fast, I’ll keep it chill and find them later. I trained for a 9:00/mi race, so 9:06 should feel rather comfortable. I want every mile before 16 to have a “9” in the front… not an “8”. I know it will be a problem if I start punching out 8:50’s and stuff. If I am feeling good at the top of the hill, I will let the pace go down a little and ride the downhill. The bottom of the hill is right into the Broncos Stadium for the second time at mile 20, I’ll probably be excited and once I exit out, I’ll be seeing Frank and our friends at mile 22. My goal from that point is to finish with the 4:00:00 pacer behind me.

So… that brings us to my goals. My main goal is to just have fun, so if any of the other goals (except the C goal) are in the way of that, I will abandon it.

A: 3:59:59

B: Under 4:10:00

C: Finish the damn race!

Since this is my first marathon, anything that gets me to that finish line is okay. If I end up walking, I’m sure that will be accompanied with tears, but Frank and my friends will put it in perspective that I will have finished a marathon. Any time is a PR for me and I will have another opportunity to crush it in Chicago come October. I do feel attached to going under the big 4:00:00 barrier, but it really is okay even if I don’t.

I have my outfit picked out (I’ll post it later), and my food and gels are ready. I have some laundry and a little packing to do, but I am basically done. The preparation was as good as it was going to get and I am ready to do this.

I’ll be getting my bib number on Thursday and will give you all that information then. You can search me on athlete tracking by my name (Kerry Regan). They have a funny system where you get email updates (my parents are already signed up, so if you take one of the other email slots, that is fine). My Twitter account will post splits, so you should see those on the sidebar on my blog or you can just go on twitter and search @thisyogiruns. They may have a system come race day in the results, but Run Colfax has not indicated how that will work. Either way, if you want to track me and see splits, I’m sure it can be done and it will definitely be here on the sidebar of my blog and on Twitter.

I really need to say thanks to all of you for your advice, encouragement, and overall kind words throughout the marathon training process. It seriously takes a village to get me to a starting line feeling confident and all of you have played a huge part in that. During those last 6 miles, when it is tough and I want to quit, I will think of all of the things you all have said throughout my training. It has really been a journey getting to this start line and I will not forget how much that journey meant.

I’ll be heading out to Denver on Thursday (It is a 7-hour ride, so that will be fun…). I will post again before I leave with the bib number, race outfit pics, and a little surprise about a race in the UK. 🙂

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Hey Denver!! I’m coming for ya!

What is your favorite race playlist song? I am putting together my marathon day music and I need some good ones!

Life Update!

Hey everyone!! I have been pretty bad at blogging this week… it’s just cause I’ve been crazy busy. Training is going great though, and I am still marching my way towards the starting line at Denver. The end of this week marks the half way point of this cycle, and although I am feeling like I am getting more fit and ready, anything more than 16 miles still feels daunting and scary.

Last weekend I went backpacking with Frank and our friend, Ben in the Ozarks. It did get in the way of my running a little, but it was amazing to see some of the beautiful sights that the southern Midwest has to offer.

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I did manage to fit in a short run during our trip, but I was just exhausted from the hilliness of the terrain.

We spent two nights in the wilderness in the White Mountain Recreational Area. Since it is winter, I was stuck with a rather huge and heavy backpack to accommodate my 0 degree sleeping bag. Frank and I have been talking about trying fastpacking, where you pack ultralight gear and run/hike to cover higher mileage. Although we’ve had some pretty big mileage days by just hiking, fast packing allows you to get a little deeper into the wilderness and see places that normally take a few days to get to. I think we need to do a few more backpacking trips to train, but we are hoping to try it this summer.

Elly was pretty glad to see me when we got back from the Ozarks. As per usual, she passed out next to me on the couch. I just love this cat so much.

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This is the most perfect animal in the world. 🙂

I am officially signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October. If you remember, I deferred last year after an ankle injury that left me unable to walk. I feel more determined than ever to get to that starting line. Although it isn’t the race that I wanted it to be last year, I am excited to have Chicago be my 2nd marathon and be the first time that I am chasing a marathon PR!!

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This time I am determined to make it!

I was a little worried about burning out after Colfax and not being able to train for Chicago, but I am going to be taking 2 weeks completely off of running and heading to Europe with my mom. I imagine that will help me clear my mind and reset before marathon training begins again.

 Well, that’s basically it for my week. I’ll post next week to let you know how my training has been. I have a 16-miler on Saturday to tackle, so hopefully that goes well.

How was your week? Any fun or exciting plans this weekend?

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?