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Sunday, August 30, 2015

run, eat, read

Yesterday was my long run, and I decided to try out a new trail based on a coworker's recommendation.  After researching the trail, I decided to skip the music because there would probably be quite a few mountain bikers - and that was accurate!

Thank goodness for shady runs.

So, I knew there would be a 900 ft elevation gain over the first 4 miles, but then I actually went up another 100 ft to reach a halfway point of some sort.. so that was humbling.  The Garmin data really explains it all.

I was worried I was going to run too fast.  Obviously, that wasn't an issue.

Anyway, it was a really pretty run with aspen trees and a view of the peaks that I've never seen before.

The aspens!

I attempted running selfies halfway through.

This felt really odd. Luckily, no one was around.

Afterwards, I recovered by just walking a little bit down the road munching on a KIND bar.

Doesn't do the view any justice.

Recovery for the rest of the day consisted of trying to move around at least every hour and of course, eating. I got a pretty awesome blister on my left pinky toe and my calves ached a little bit.  

I think this is a nicer picture than a shot of my blister.

I am not quite sure how anyone can NOT end up with negative calories after a long run.  You have to eat A LOT to make up for it, and I'm one to talk. Hunger usually hits me the next day...

The first time I ever make pancakes for myself. Delish.

Finally, I've read two interesting books regarding running: Eat and Run by Scott Jurek and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. 

Scott Jurek is an elite ultra marathon athlete.. he just ran the Appalachian trail.. and one of the main aspects of the book was that his switch to being vegan really pushed his performance to the next level, in his opinion.  It makes me curious about going vegetarian again, but I have made great strides in running this year on a normal, meat-involved (but healthy) diet.  We will see about that.

Ollie says Hey.

Haruki's book was a bit more relatable for us normal human beings.  He is primarily a novelist whose hobby has always been running.  He uses it more as an emotional outlet but is still striving to complete a marathon or two every year even though his finish times aren't as good as they used to be. It was an easy read and now I am interested in his other novels.

Pinterest Fail.  Supposed to be banana bread cookies.  Regardless, I will still eat them because they have dark chocolate chips.

I only used a half cup of these in the cookies.  Yes, I ate the rest. And I will finish them tonight.  No shame.

Busy week up ahead with work and volunteering - going to try out the heart rate monitor with the Garmin this week!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

rainy run week

Exciting addition to my running gear this week: The Garmin 220! Perfect timing for my half marathon ramp-up runs.

It would help if I turned the backlight on.  Growing pains.

My first run this week was an early morning run on Monday around the block for 3 mi/9:17 pace.  You can tell fall is around the corner - it was definitely a bit more brisk than usual.

I was a bit ambitious, probably fueled by the Garmin's arrival, and went on a run the next day at the trail where I saw a naked man and snake a few months back.  Needless to say, I was hesitant about this. I only saw a dog pony this time.

He looked like this but not a pony.

  This was my first run in the Brooks and with the Garmin, and of course the weather did not want to cooperate.

I had to stop halfway through under a church because it was borderline hailing.

But awesome run: 4.2 mi/8:49 pace.

Sidenote: I am volunteering as a head coach with a volunteer program called Girls on the Run.  It is a program focused on empowering younger girls through fun games and activities, and of course, running.  The 10 week season culminates in a fun 5k run in early November.  I'm pretty excited to start our twice a week practices next week!

My Assistant Coach and I. We did not plan on matching actually!

Thursday was my longer speedwork/fartlek run.  Distance goal was 6.5 miles but since I'm OCD about finishing at an even number, I ended up running 7.  I also ran the last 2 miles without music since my headphones died.  It really wasn't as bad as I expected!

Not too shabby.  Yes, I love how the watch and shoes match.

However, when I went back into work right after for a quick shift change meeting, I noticed the front of my right leg was starting to ache.

I don't like this. Luckily, Friday is a rest day.

10.5 mi long run on Saturday and some strength training too. More to come about how much food I am eating and a good book I read recently... 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

gaspin' and lost in the aspen

So... this was the race that I can pretty much throw away as far as results. 

Though it was a perfect day!

Started off very strong - powered through 3 miles of uphill, and then constant uphill and downhill for the next 2-3 miles until we hit a fork in the road and a few of us took the wrong turn.

The positive of getting lost was that I avoided the ill-fated raceday photo.  This is the most they got of me!

Unfortunately, the wrong turn led us down 2 miles of downhill trail until we realized "Hey, this isn't right at all".  So, back we go the 2 miles uphill and find where we went wrong.  It was about 7-8 of us that were pacing for about a 1:24 finish for the 15k (9 minute mile).  

I had one of these 5 minutes before the race, and then one 5 miles in. I would've had more if I knew I'd be running 13 miles..regardless, tasty and did the trick! Thanks again, Sarah!

None of us had any idea how much we actually ran extra, but we guessed around 4 additional miles - putting us at running 13.3 miles. Impromptu half-marathon, much?  

I finished in 2:02.. so if it was a half, then that's awesome news for my half next month which is...exactly where we raced today (8000 ft altitude, same trails/uphill & downhill battles . In conclusion - great training run today.  Also, it was extremely gorgeous to run through the aspen groves and see the views of mountains in the distance. 

Afterwards, we enjoyed a few beers and then I decided that it's time for a new pair of trail running shoes. 

I love New Belgium so much.

I've noticed a few weeks ago that the seams were coming apart on my Pearl Izumi's, and then today I saw that there wasn't much tread left.  It has been a lovely 15 months with these guys.

I'll probably still wear them on shorter trail runs.

So - I was torn between the Adidas Raven Boost and the Brooks Cascadia 10.  The Adidas were comfortable but had some weird shoelace that made me concerned about it becoming undone in the middle of a run; and the Brooks just seemed more durable and comfortable.  Here they are!

Pretty BA, right?

Oh - also we got a cool water bottle and shirt from the race today.

Last year, the Gaspin' logo wore off the water bottle quickly, so I'm hoping that doesn't happen again.

Scarlet and Grey!!!

So.. time to rest a little bit. Foam roll for days. But, now I'm more motivated to PR on the half marathon, a 1:24 would have put me in or very near to the top 15 overall for females today. Time to get back at it!

But first.. candy corn.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

from the south to the west

So, things have been a little funky lately due to recent travel. Visited Louisville this past weekend for a friend's wedding, which was super fun.

Kentucky apparently is green and hilly.  Didn't see much of it but it sure looked nice from the sky.

I managed to fit one 3mi run in on Saturday morning where I ran through a neighborhood near the hotel. I managed to run sub 9 minute miles, mostly because I knew eggs, french toast, and bananas were waiting for me at the hotel. Figures.

For lunch, I had a delicious "summer salad" which starred watermelon. It was fabulous. Best meal of the trip.. southern food isn't too healthy.

Thanks to a delay and musical gate changes at O'Hare, I slept for 4 hours Sunday night so my energy levels this week have been lacking.  

Saw a wildfire on my night drive back up.  That was the only excitement. Believe me.

Regardless, the weather has been beautiful so that has been helpful motivation.

After work hike on Monday - we have really terrible views here.

This week, a company-wide step challenge started at work, so I have been trying to get even more steps than I usually do.  This means more treadmill, and more pacing around the apartment.  Another healthy source of motivation.

Sunset walk before softball last night.

As far as runs this week, I kept it easy due to my lack of sleep.  So 5mi run on the road Tuesday, and 4mi trail today. Both I paced at or under 9:30/mi...which is not normal. I'm not sure where this is coming from but I don't mind.

Sorry, kind of obsessed with wildflowers.

Rest tomorrow, and then Saturday we have our last race of the Summer Run Series, with the 15k "Gaspin' in the Aspen" up at 8000ft altitude.  Hoping for 1:27 but we shall see!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

half mud marathon

Yes, it rained. Got to the starting point at 7a, and our Race Director kindly informs the crowd that the course was the "dryest it has ever been" the day before and has turned into the "wettest it has ever been" overnight.  They had folks out at 3a that morning just to rechalk the course route because it all washed away.  He also let us know that there will be people out on the trail just in case there are any injured runners.  So, you know, I am pretty comforted by all of this right now.

This was taken before hearing all of the above.

So at this point, I am hoping I just finish under 2:30. A couple of people that I was planning to pace myself with this year finished the race right under 2:30 the year before, so that was what I was basing it off of.  I also was hoping that the course magically dried off within 4 hours and that my stretch 2:07 goal was possible.  Anyway, let's get started.

I will be braiding my hair next time.  Though it is a good way to keep people away..

The first uphill really wasn't too bad until it got to be extremely steep, and I walked it. Probably for a minute at the most.  Then got back at it.  The picture above is at our halfway aid station. I am pretty sure I got a rock in my shoe right at this point because the guy right after me kindly let me know that my foot kicking out to the side while I was running.  At this point, we had probably run through 3 miles of solid mud, and there were another 3 of mud on and off after this. Stopped very briefly at aid stations at miles 8 and 10 for water and gel. Gels are a must when running this long!

I'm a half marathon pigeon!

Finally, after keeping pace with a few folks, I finished at 2:13:58. Not. Too. Shabby.  The steep downhill was not so awesome, by the way.  Felt very faint after finishing, was able to muster a gatorade, water, orange and pretzels but had no appetite until about 3 hours after.

You can't even tell that I just ran 13.1 miles.

Until you look down at my legs and shoes. That right one was SOAKED at one point.

Needless to say, I already have signed up for my next half, and it will be next month on September 19th, but it won't be any easier..(however I do get a sweet medal)
1862 feet of climbing. I'm down. Or am I up?

Going to rest a bit this week, and then really get back into it next week.


Taco Bell was glorious once I got my appetite back. Loco tacos for days!

wildflower tapers

I did it! First half marathon is done!

But, let's review some of the highlights from this last week.

Two runs were left on my training plan (I've been using My Asics since March): a 5 mile run and a 3 mile "jog".  Since the wildflowers are back, I decided to go to my favorite wildflower running spot. 

Wildflowers for days!

Then, I got the 3 miler in before work on Thursday.

The sunrise became really epic after this.

Meanwhile, Sarah sent me some good luck energy gels that I will be definitely be using while training for my next half, next month.  I was reluctant to try them for the first time during the race yesterday just in case my body freaked out, but I've definitely got enough to train with and run with starting now!

Are you gelly?

I spent Thursday and Friday focusing on consuming more carbs than usual, and luckily my first Naturebox was extremely carb-friendly. 

Breakfast Friday: Plain Greek Yogurt, Raspberries, Chocolate Chia Granola, and Mini Watermelon Stars.

Then, on Friday night I consumed an excessive amount of spaghetti and chicken while it poured. for. hours. I was hoping it wasn't raining on the half-marathon side of town...but it was...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

one year, 17 minutes down

Today, we had our last 10k of the Summer Run Series (two races remain though). 

Spoiler alert: We had an awesome brunch after.

Last year, I ran this race as my first 10k, impulsively switching to it without much training.  I finished at 1:16.  This year, I finished in 59:40!

Starting the first uphill..

This was the first race where I'm pretty sure I passed more people than people who passed me and it was a pretty awesome feeling.  There were three significant hills and I was able to focus and pass people on those.  

End of the race - The photographer was up in a tree.  It was rather silly but a good idea nonetheless!

Despite this run, I am supposed to be "tapering" for the half in a week, so less running which has been perfectly ok with my work schedule lately! I am hoping for a 2:15 for the half though many people have assured me that it is extremely difficult.  We shall see!