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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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)?

 

Make Sensations, Not Shapes

I am oddly flexible for a runner. I can get my palms to the ground without bending my knees, do a full splits, and I have a pretty fantastic backbend. So, it probably does not surprise you that when I talk to runners about yoga, the first thing I hear is that they are not flexible enough to do it. Well, guys, I am here to convince you that you are ALWAYS flexible enough to do yoga!

Ever since Yoga Journal Magazine started publishing professional yogis on their covers, the focus of yoga moved to the shape of one’s body in a particular posture. In a forward fold, the focus was on how Sean Corne could get her belly flat on her thighs with a smile on her face. People who had a naturally large range of motion in their hips, hamstrings, and lower backs looked at these photos and knew that they could make the same shape. But what about athletes? What about runners? What about every normal person? What is yoga when you can’t touch your toes and when that shape is just not something your body does?

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Later was the birth of Instagram, where advanced shape-making yogis were able to show off their beautiful bodies in postures that just looked like a wild contortion. This further distanced runners from yoga because in reality, many of those shapes were simply NOT going to happen for them. Running changes your body and makes your muscles stronger and tighter. For many of us, postures like Compass Pose are just out of our natural range of motion.

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So, if you can’t participate in the full version of the yoga postures, what is a runner to do in a yoga class?

Make sensations, not shapes!

 Next time you are at your yoga mat, instead of focusing on getting the palms to the floor with the legs straight in a forward fold, focus on the SENSATION you are feeling in the legs. In a forward fold, notice where you feel the sensation and notice how slight changes in the posture can change the sensation dramatically. It is important to realize that no two people will look the same and feel the same in the same posture. So instead of making that forward fold look like it does on Instagram, make it FEEL right. Make sure that, although your knees are bent in a forward fold, that you have sensation in the hamstring muscle, NOT in the lower back or the back of the knees.

 Next time you are in a yoga class, grab some blocks and straps. USE THEM! Modifications to a posture are not a sign of weakness, they are a sign that we understand that yoga is there to create space and sensation, not to create a picture worthy shape. In reality, modifications are a sign of strength.

And if you have a competitive streak and you really need to be better than the other people in the room at something… remind yourself that it is unlikely any of them can run 10 miles in one day. That is a little bit of ego, but hey, roll with it.

So guys, do this for me: Go to a yoga class and repeat the matra “make sensation, not shapes”. Go in with an open mind and have fun. Once you let go of attachment to particular shapes of postures, suddenly yoga gets a whole lot more fun.

Colfax Training Week 16: Taper Week 1 = DONE!

Happy Monday!

Congrats to everyone that raced this weekend! I won’t give it away, but I saw on Instagram that a BUNCH of PR’s fell. Great job!!

I am now in the second week of my taper… and I am just terrible at this. Not only did I skip a run last week for no reason at all, but my paces were WAY TOO FAST! I also ate total garbage (seriously, Captain Crunch Cereal). I am supposed to be taking it easy, eating well, hydrating, and I totally botched those goals. I need to get a handle on myself!

I did have a great weekend paddling the Kansas River. I’ll post about that later, but here is a picture from where Frank and I camped Saturday Night.

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Beautiful sunset over the river.

Last Week:

Monday: Yoga

Tuesday: 5.1 miles – ended up race pace, was supposed to be easy + Yoga

Wednesday: Last speed work! 7 miles (WU+4×800+CD) + Yoga

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Yoga <- Why didn’t I run my 6 miles? No idea!

Saturday: 4.1 miles with run group (too fast) + 4 miles recovery pace

Sunday: 13.1 miles LSD <- ended up race pace…

Total: 33.3 miles

As you can see those paces were just too freaking fast. I am hoping that a week like this didn’t burn out my legs for the race. I feel good, but running too fast in training just wastes energy.

The speed work on Wednesday was really fun. In high school, I was a sprinter. I ran the 200 and the 400, but my coach always wanted me to do longer distances and pushed me towards the 800. Unfortunately, I hated the 800. It is a real suffer distance. So, pushing through the suffering by doing some 800’s was really good for my head.

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Apparently when they say the trail is closed, they mean it. I ran around this sign and ended up in ankle deep mud.

The long run on Sunday was a little weird. Manhattan, KS has had a lot of flooding lately, so the main trail that runs through town was very muddy. There was a section that was completely washed out and I had to climb around the mud up to some trees, but I still ended up pretty messy. I set out on the run hoping to keep things around the same pace I usually do my long runs (9:35-9:45/mi), but just could not slow down. The miles kept ticking by and I just kept getting faster. Overall, my pace was 9:01/mi, about 5 seconds per mile faster than race pace. Luckily I felt good and fresh, so maybe this whole taper thing is working.

So, another week is in the books! I am going to try to be better this week, especially about food and water. I’ll be running my last double digit run (woo!) before the marathon and then it’s basically done. I really only have a few miles left before I walk to the starting line out in Denver.

How was your training this week? What is you next big race?

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.

Colfax Marathon Training Week 11: Cutback and Questival

Happy Monday Everyone!!

This week was a bit of a nutty one, although it was a cutback week on my mileage. I gotta say, I wasn’t too sad about not running once I saw a bunch of snow in our forecast. I absolutely hate running in snow. Even though I cut back in mileage this week, I still had a “race” of sorts to do on Friday night/Saturday. I kept the mileage this week low because Frank and I participated in a 24-hour adventure race in Dallas with two of our friends, which included a lot of running. Even though we were out-of-towners (we live in Manhattan, KS which is about 7 hours from Dallas), we still rocked the race. Recap will be coming soon… but trust me, it was pretty weird.

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The Batllama Questival Team – only like 3 hours in and Ben is already asleep.

Monday: 5.5 Miles at Recovery Pace + Yoga

After a long day of work, I did an evening run with a few friends that are training for their first half marathon. We kept it slow and steady, especially since I was recovering from a pretty tough tempo session the day before. My legs felt a little heavy and overused, so I knew that this cutback week was going to serve me well.

Tuesday: 5.1 Miles at Goal Half Marathon Pace + Yoga

I felt good starting on this run, but I started to notice some pretty nasty stomach pain that I was having. I didn’t think too much of it and just kept chugging along. Eventually, it just got too bad and I dipped into the local running store to use their bathroom. Unfortunately, I had my period… Weird for me to be a few days early, but whatevs (sorry for the TMI, but we’re all runners here… and mostly women). I was happy to see that the stomach issues were not actually stomach related. I tried to up the pace and get back to my car ASAP. I did a little yoga in the evening and that made me feel a lot better.

Wednesday: Rest Day

 Thursday: 12 mile Long Run

I guess when you get to the point where you are doing 18 and 20 mile runs, 12 miles just doesn’t seem that far. This run didn’t even feel like a long run. I kept the pace slow, but was surprised by how short 12 miles felt. Like seriously, 12 miles used to be ridiculously long!! Now, it’s just a normal no big deal run. The pace was a little faster than I would have liked. Around mile 6, the KSU men’s cross country team came up from behind me and took off into the distance. My competitive spirit kicked in a little and I upped the pace to keep up (like yeah right)… after about a half mile I tried to slow it way down. It took me another mile or so to get my pacing right and I kept it slow for the rest of the way home.

Friday: Questival Begins

I have no idea how much running I was doing, but we were running from challenge to challenge. We also slept for maybe two hours. I am going to write a full recap of this soon, but this is a short list of some of the more crazy things that happened:

  1. This picture:
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When dragonflies attack?

2. A cop coming to kick us out of a state park after dark – while we were having a peanut butter explosion in the car

3. I sang Bohemian Rhapsody in the middle of down town Dallas with my headphones in as loud as I could and embarrassed my entire team (this was a liberating experience)

4. I ran 1 mile on a trail in one of my nicest dresses

5. We cheered on a random baseball team with signs and everything at a city park

I’ll give you that much for now… more to come in the recap, but we did like over 50 things.

Saturday: Questival Ends (7 pm), 3.5 mile run at easy pace + 1 mile trail run (in a dress)

After running in a dress, I understand why running clothing companies make their clothes the way they do. After only one mile, I felt sticky and incredibly gross. Frank and I also ran 3.5 miles on the KATY trail through downtown Dallas. This is a beautiful trail and if you are ever in Dallas, you should check it out.

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Team Batllama getting up close and personal with a statue of Mark Twain

Sunday: Hiked and Drove Home

After a long day, we camped in a state park in Oklahoma and went hiking the next morning. Pretty uneventful.

Total Miles: 27 + running around for Questival

Overall, it was a nice and easy week of running. I think I got my sleep schedule back on track, so this week will be back up to high mileage. I have my first 20-miler on Friday. I am a little nervous because this week and the next one are pretty intense on the mileage. If I make it through this… I am basically there. I’ll only have one recovery and one last tough week before starting the taper. Seriously… this whole Marathon thing is getting very real!!

How was your week? Did you race this weekend? How do you usually feel at peak marathon training?

Colfax Marathon Training Week 10: Things are going great!

Woohoo! Another week in the books for marathon training and it was another great one. Surprisingly, higher mileage is feeling really good on my legs. I’m rarely sore (only after speed workouts or hard tempo runs). I’m starting to get better at varying my pace AND I am getting faster. Like a lot faster. It’s amazing what more running does for your speed.

Although I still feel like running a marathon is like a ridiculous joke, it’s starting to feel more possible. My goal has been to go for a sub-4:00 time, but to be totally cool with abandoning that goal on race day if I am just not feeling it. I think that if things keep going the way they have been… a sub-4:00 is well within my reach. Of course, I will reassess as we get closer, but lately I am feeling strong and fast, which are two good things.

This is what Elly was up to this week:

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I woke her up… she was not amused.

Monday: 6 miles easy pace + yoga

I took it easy and just went out for a little loop around town. It was a nice day out, I got to wear shorts AND I was breaking in my new shoes. I love the first few runs in a new pair of running shoes. Everything always feels so wonderful and bouncy.

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Working on some inversions.

Tuesday: 7 miles – Tempo Run at “goal MP”

I’ve been trying to get a better feel for my paces so I really wanted to practice without look at my watch this week. This was the first run that I really commited to it. I wanted to stick to a pace where I felt I could hold it for a super long time, but was still faster than my long run pace (usually between 9:30-9:40/mi). I looked down at my watch only when I finished a mile and I was shocked! The miles were ticking by in the mid-8:00’s and faster. I just kept moving, not pushing hard. My last mile was a sub-8 (7:31)… which has never been an easy pace for me. I figured this was a fluke and figured that the higher mileage is making me more comfortable with my tempo runs.

Wednesday: 5 mile Recovery Run + Yoga

Very chill recovery. I hovered around a 10:00/mi pace. I felt good, but certainly tired, so it was nice to have a slow day.

Thursday: Yoga, no running

 Friday: 18 miles LSD

18 miles is a hard distance for me. I feel like it’s unfathomably far and honestly, farther than I generally like to drive, no less run. I tried to compartmentalize it in my head as a 10 mile run and a separate 8 mile run. I did a long loop around town and made it to my house at mile 13 for a fast drink of water before setting out for the last 5 miles. Normally, I would just drink at the water fountains around town, but they are still off (I decided to harass Manhattan Parks and Rec on twitter to get the fountains turned back on. It worked!!). I kept the last 4 miles at race pace without too much effort, which gave me a ton of confidence!

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Harassing my city on twitter.

Saturday: No Running, just yoga!

Sunday: 9 miles – Tempo Run

No idea what happened here… I went out at a very chill warm up pace and then just kicked it up a few notches at a nice comfortable pace. I figured I was hitting close to goal MP pace (so… 9/mi), but the miles kept getting faster. By mile 5 I was hitting sub-8:00/mi and felt like I could hold this pace forever. I briefly considered running a half marathon to PR, but decided to stick to my original plan and save the PR for a race. Including the warm up, this was at 8:12/mi. I guess it’s runs like these that give you the confidence and mental strength to finish a marathon.

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Crazy splits!!

Total: 45 Miles

 

I ended the week on a huge high point. However, I am very much looking forward to this week’s recovery. I will be hitting between 32-36 miles, which is going to feel amazing after two tough weeks. This weekend I am participating in an adventure race called Questival in Dallas, TX. I think it’s a scavenger hunt or something like that, but all I do know is that it is 24 hours and it’s supposed to be crazy fun. I’ll write a recap after.

Well, there it is. I had a great week. Here’s to hoping this momentum keeps up!!

I recently got a twitter account. Follow me @thisyogiruns or just check out the tweets on the side bar!

How was your weekend? Did anyone race?