2018 is the Year of Ultra!!

It has been a while… Almost 6 months actually.

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Since you last heard from me, a lot has happened. I ran the St. George Marathon with a 15 minute negative split and a 10 minute PR and I ran the Antelope Island 50K and came in 7th for women. It was a good year for racing, but not always a good year for running. I was hurt on and off and went through PT for both Piriformis Syndrome and my right ankle. It made me inconsistent and although I ran PRs and raced well, I certainly didn’t live up to my potential.

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I’m hoping that this year will be different. I have a lot of plans and I’m ready for some really really big things. Actually, one super big thing. After years of talking about getting my name in the Western States Lottery, my goal for 2018 is to actually do it. This means I have some serious training to do and a lot of mountains to run up. I am also still absolutely petrified of the distance. With a few other races before the big one, I am hoping that I’ll toe the line of the Never Summer 100K without too much fear.

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These days, I’ve become less of a road runner and more of a mountain runner. I spend my runs trying to get 2000+ feet of vertical gain and I do a lot of power hiking. I still sometimes do tempo runs and track workouts, but my goals have changed a lot. The track doesn’t get you ready for 13,000 feet of gain in a single race… only mountains can do that. Luckily for me, living in Salt Lake City, I have an abundance of mountains.

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I have 5 races on my calendar for 2018 and I’ll blog as I train for them.

Antelope Island 50K – March 24
Salt Lake City Marathon – April 21
Squaw Peak 50-miler – June 2
Never Summer 100K – July 28
St. George Marathon – Oct 6

Join me as I train, race, hike, and get myself ready to run 64.2 miles in one day. It’s going to be a journey for sure!

Also, Elly is doing great, too! She’s not quite as excited for my ultramarathons. It means less cuddle time.

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Do you have any big goals? What running goals scare you the most?

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Week 1: Training for the St. George Marathon

I had a bit of a breakthrough at PT this week. I was told to give my legs a try and go for a run. So I did… And it seems like everything is going pretty well. I can still feel the sciatic pain on uphills, but for the most part, things are looking up. Running on road feels a little weird, but not painful. Luckily, I live in SLC where there are tons of trails. I’ve mostly been sticking to those.

This week was definitely the first in a long time that made me think that I could run a good marathon time relatively soon. It’s basically a miracle that I’ve healed so fast, so I am not totally convinced yet that I am tI’m not taking on any speedwork for a while, but that’s ok. For now, I just need to get my endurance back.

This was my week:

Monday: Went to PT (I’m usually pretty tired after that so I don’t run)

Tuesday: 5.1 miles running and walking with overall 10:31 pace (on road) + Bikram Yoga

Wednesday: 6.4 mile trail race 11:51/mi with 1600 ft gain

Thursday: Went to PT + Bikram Yoga

Friday: Easy 3.1 miles on road (10:36/mi)

Saturday: 3.4 easy on dirt road (10:44/mi) w/ 400 ft of gain

Sunday: 12.3 miles (10:30/mi) w 1100 ft of gain

Total: 30 miles w/ 3400 ft of gain

The long run was the real test and except on a few uphills, I got no pain at all from my leg or back. Here are a few pics from the run (and yes, that’s me in the background freaking out about the snake).

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I ran right by the mouth of this snake. Good thing it didn’t bite!

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Nice views of Mt. Timpanogos

I’d say that it was a rather good week. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m making a transition from roads to trail. It’s easy to get trail mileage here since the mountains are so close. I’m learning a lot about myself during this injury, but most of all, I’m learning that my favorite type of running is on trail. St. George Marathon might be my last road race for a while and, assuming my injury is settling down, I have a few wild plans in mind for some awesome trail races.

This week has started off to a good start. Check out the video I made on my run this afternoon on the Pipeline Trail!

Hope your training is going well! Have you ever had an injury that sidelined you for a long time? What did you do to stay active while you healed?

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.

Training Update: Base Building

I feel like my blog has turned into an ode to how much I love Utah.

But seriously, I really love Utah.

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It’s just too pretty here.

Anyways… this is a running blog and I do have some running coming up. As a few of you already know, I am not running the Utah Valley Marathon due to my injury from a few weeks back. I am still coming back from the injury and my mileage is pretty low at the moment. Instead, I am hoping to do the half.

Despite my setbacks so far in 2017, I am hoping to have at least one really good race in the fall. I signed up for the St. George Marathon in October and will be going for a very significant PR there. I know that it seems early to say that I am going for a good time, but St. George is a downhill course that is known for shaving many minutes of marathon times. The race goes through some of the most beautiful parts of southern Utah and generally draws a big crowd.

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Training for St. George will start in June, so I have a few months of base building and strengthening before I start. I want to have my ankle in tip top shape before I start, so I am keeping my mileage pretty low and doing a lot of cross training to make sure that I don’t aggravate it more. I also imagine that some upper body and core strength won’t hurt in making me a faster runner.

That being said, this was my training last week.

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M: 4.3 miles at easy pace + 6 mile hike at Ferguson Canyon

T: 4 miles at marathon pace (8:55/mi) + Climbing at the gym

W: Yoga + Climbing at the gym

T: 6ish miles no watch

F: Yoga + 4 miles on trail 800 ft vert

S: Hiked ~7-8 miles

S: Snowshoed 8 miles

Total: 18 ish miles running + 22 miles hiking

Apparently I hiked a lot more than I ran this week. It might be that way for a little while since walking does not hurt my ankle at all. The snowshoe hike did not feel 100%, but everything else felt good. I’m excited to get my strength back, but I am definitely taking my time getting there. These are my plans for this week:

M: Off

T: 5 miles + climbing + yoga

W: 10 miles + yoga

T: Off

F: 5 miles + Yoga

S: 4 miles + hiking

S: 4-6 miles + hiking

Of course that mileage is all ankle dependent, but we’ll see how it goes. How is your training going? Have you picked out any races for the fall?

Sydney Update: She seems totally fine. She’s been a little needier than usual, but seems to be back to her usual self. I’m still kinda confused about what happened, but she seems much much better.

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Sydney and I were disturbing Frank while he tried to sleep.

 

Why do you run?

Why do you run? I was asked that question after I finished my ultra last week. They had free massages, and of course I took advantage of that! I asked the masseuse if she ran, she said no and asked why I felt the need to run so far. Was it an addiction? I thought for a moment (while she was digging her elbow into my shoulder), it really isn’t an addiction. When I don’t run, I don’t feel like I NEED to run. I mean, I could stop. I don’t want to, but I could. So that just made me think… why do I run?

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The thing is, I feel most confident about myself when I am running. I feel even more confident when I am running far. When I was young, I used to look at my thick thighs and wish they were smaller. Now I look at them and thank them for carrying me 32 miles in less than 6 hours. Like seriously… how could I not be thankful and love my body when it can do something so amazingly cool.

Women have so much pressure to be skinny, or strong, or whatever. We are constantly being bombarded by advertising that is telling us that we need to be something different from what we are. In order to be liked, we have a set of rules to follow and our bodies must fit into a certain set of categories. We also must be able to identify the parts of our body we want to “work on” to make our butts perky, our breasts big, and our bellies flat. That way, we can go to the gym and do targeted workouts to make ourselves fit into society’s definition of perfect.

But many women have tiny breasts, or butts with cellulite, or thighs that jiggle. Whether anyone else notices it, we all have something that makes us self-conscious. In the last few miles of that ultra, I was not self-conscious at all. I was awesome. Every cell in my body… it was f*cking perfect. My poor posture, jiggly thighs, flabby arms and tiny boobs, they were all exactly how I wanted them to be. That body got me 32 miles and I felt amazing for it. When I run, I’m reminded that I have the body I want to have. My body is healthy, strong, and beautiful and I don’t need to work on anything. I just want my body to keep doing what it’s doing.

So, that’s what I answered with. Why do I run? Because it makes me feel confident and really good about my body.

The masseuse answered, “That’s definitely something I can jive with. Maybe I should try running.”

I hope she does.

On the Eve of an Ultra

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If all goes well, by the end of this weekend I will be an ultramarathon runner, a title I’ve thought about for a long time. It’s been years since Western States hasn’t gone through my head nearly daily. I’ve done a lot to bring myself inches closer to that goal, but on Sunday, I will be getting 31.5 miles closer. On Sunday, I am taking the largest step forward I possibly can in making my goal my reality. Normally, I’d assume this would make me nervous… but it’s not. I don’t feel nervous at all. This feels like the natural progression of things, as if this is clearly what needs to happen.

For Colfax, I knew what my goals were, I knew how to play it and what I needed to do to have a great day. This time, things are a little less clear. I have no time goal. I feel like 6-hours is probably a pretty good estimate, but I won’t know much until I get to the trail. The race is made of three 10.5 mile loops, each of which has about 2000 feet of vertical gain. That is a lot more than I am used to covering here in Kansas and I don’t really know what will feel like a comfortable pace. This race is truly a wait and see. My only time goal is to go for a negative split, something I’ve never been able to do in a trail race.

I’ve gotten my gear together, my drop bags, food, and everything that I will need to cover the distance. All that’s left is a few slow miles and two nights of sleep before I toe the line in Omaha. Am I scared? Yeah, a little. But I am not nervous. I know I can do this and every time I think I can’t, I’ll remind myself of why I am here. This is the beginning of my journey to Squaw Valley. However Sunday goes, this is just the first step. I’ve always found that the hardest part of a run is simply getting out the door. Well, here I am, getting out that door.

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…