Archive | April, 2012

Revisiting Ralston: 15 Mile Long Run

30 Apr

Saturday morning, I got up around 7:30, planning to eat breakfast and head out for my run soon after. But I was lazy Friday night and didn’t do any run prep – meaning both my phone and iPod were out of battery. Since the day was on the cooler side anyway (40s in the morning, high 50s in the afternoon), I decided that it wouldn’t be a big deal if I waited for my devices to charge.

So I ate breakfast, got dressed, filled my Camelbak with water and gels, started a load of laundry and worked on the Sunday morning slides for church. As I went to throw the laundry in the dryer about 40 minutes later, I saw a giant puddle of water on the floor in the kitchen. As a dog owner, the first thought that raced through my head was “Charlie peed!” But then I saw the water dripping from the table – I had set my Camelbak down on top of the mouthpiece and water was leaking out all over the place.

I cleaned the puddle up and started blow-drying my soaking-wet backpack.

I was very glad that I wasn’t in a rush!

Once my backpack was damp instead of wet, my phone and iPod read almost fully charged so it was time to take off. I drove the 15 minutes over to the ‘race’ start and got there around 10. I had mapped out an easy 2 miles to run before I started my half marathon time trial, which was a brilliant idea because almost immediately, I needed a bathroom. So between my 2 mile warmup and the remaining 13.1 miles, I drove to a gas station about a block away. Much better.

Back to the race start. I walked to the spot where I guessed the timing mats had been, started my watch and music and took off. I was feeling just okay. My 2 mile warmup hadn’t been fantastic, but it wasn’t horrible either. My legs felt a little tired and I felt out of breath. It was fairly windy (10-15 mph), and it was a cold wind. The kind of wind that takes your breath away if it hits you just right. (For the rest of the day after the run, my lungs felt wind-burned.) I started the run with a long sleeve tech tee and a lightweight jacket but ended up ditching the jacket after a mile – while the wind was cold, the sun was warm. I ended up being fine in just the long sleeve.

As I ran, I couldn’t help but think about the weather conditions the last time I had been on that trail – snowy and 8 degrees! Now, the trail was lush, green and warm (when the wind wasn’t blowing).

My lack of run prep Friday night also meant that I didn’t have my Poor Man’s GPS – I hadn’t memorized where the mile splits were. So instead, I clicked my watch at certain landmarks, so that I could generally track how fast I was running by later using a map to determine the distance between each. It’s a lot more work than having a Garmin but it’s free! And a major benefit was that I couldn’t analyze or stress over my pace (and I was too focused on willing myself to keep running to attempt the math in my head).

Finally, I was at Big Hill #1. It’s not that steep, it’s just LONG. I allowed myself to walk for about 20 seconds in the middle of the hill, but then pushed it the rest of the way – knowing I had a walking break coming up.

For this run, I decided to walk when I took each gel instead of trying to run. It was easier, I could breathe better and a little break was appreciated. I also plan to do this for future runs – practice walking through aid stations. I’ve never done this in a race, mostly because I bring all of my own stuff and I can drink out of my Camelbak while running. But I’m entertaining the idea of going Camelbak-less for the marathon since it does add a few pounds and jostles around a bit…

I ate 3 gels during the run at Miles 2.5, 6.5, and 9 of the half marathon course (so Miles 4.5, 8.5, and 11 of my entire run). I mostly ate them because I was so hungry! Running later in the morning definitely threw off my eating habits.  But for future runs, I think I’ll bring a peanut butter sandwich along just in case hunger strikes again. I think that would be more effective than a gel for hunger.

At the top of Hill #1

On to Hill #2. From far away, it actually doesn’t look that bad.

But then you get started on it…

And at the top, realize how high you are.

I ran as much of Hill #2 as I could but I did walk some of it. I mean, the trail had switchbacks for crying out loud…

Finally, the hills were over!

The run back actually went surprisingly fast. Even though my legs and lower back were hurting units, I only walked 2 times for about 30 seconds. Mentally, it helped that I recognized the course and could tell I was getting closer to the end. After my last walking break, I switched my watch from the timer to the clock, so that I couldn’t see what my ‘final time’ was until I reached the imaginary finish line. I branched off from the trail into a residential neighborhood and I was finally on the home stretch.

It was no coincidence that the song playing in my ears at that very moment was Fighter by Christina Aguilera. I thought the words very fittingly described the result of a tough long run:

Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter

Dear Incredibly Hard Long Run, 


I am a fighter and I
I ain’t gonna stop
There is no turning back

Even though I guesstimated the start and finish, and stopped several times to take pictures, I finished in 2:32:48! That’s an average pace of 11:39 and almost 6 minutes faster than my previous course time of 2:38:24. I feel like that difference is big enough to not just be circumstantial.


My total time for 15 miles was 2:55:07, an average pace of 11:40. And because my splits aren’t broken down into nice even miles, I’ll leave it at that.

After my run, I went home, took an Epsom salt bath and then ate this deliciousness:

2 egg + provolone cheese + butter on whole wheat; tangelo; chocolate milk


I’m so encouraged to see that my efforts have paid off – not only from doing intentional hill training over the past 2 months, but also pushing myself to keep running when my body wanted to physically collapse. All of this hard training is developing my mental fortitude – which I will need for the marathon!

That said, it seems that my body doesn’t have enough time to recover between my longest mid-week run on Thursday night and my long run on Saturday morning. So I am moving my long mid-week run to Tuesday nights. Hopefully that will help give me some fresh legs on Saturdays!

This week’s training is going to be a bit weird – we’re going camping in the mountains Saturday morning, meaning I have to do my long run of 16 miles after work sometime this week. (Gulp.) I’m thinking Friday night, so that I don’t have to sit around at work all the next day, but I’d love to hear your advice! (Friday also looks better weather-wise but it’s still too soon to tell.)

Finally, to wrap this all up, I want to highlight that I give God the credit and thanks for how well my training is going so far. Yes, I am running the miles, doing the stretching, lifting the weights and going to bed early but HE is the One ultimately in control of my life. If I get to run the marathon pain-free and sans injury, it’s His blessing to me. I’ll have some more thoughts on running + faith coming up in the next few days. But that will suffice for now. 😉

Tell me about your weekend!

Dreadmill and Longest Run Ever.

27 Apr

Last night after work, I geared up for my 7-mile run. But in the time between getting home from work and walking out of the garage with pooches and Travis in tow, the skies changed from cloudy to stormy. Refusing to be scared by rain, we headed out anyway. A minute later, big lightning bolts streaked across the sky. Hmmm…

We revised our south-bound 4 mile run to a north-bound 1.5 mile run since the skies looked less menacing that way. For the entire run, lightning and thunder boomed at us from the east. Less than .25 mile from home, it started raining and the wind picked up.

Plan B was going to the gym. I convinced Travis to come along and as we pulled out of the driveway, it looked like the storm might have already passed. (Sadly, it only rained for about 15 minutes. Colorado is so dry this year!) But we figured we might as well just stick with the gym.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I seriously have not been back to the gym since my near brush with death by brussel sprouts in February. Ever since then, I have associated the gym with thick, warm air that smothers me until I can’t breathe. Not appealing for a 5.5 mile run.

But I sucked it up (because I realized I was being ridiculous). When we got there, one treadmill was open so I decided to snag one while I had the chance.

I set the incline to 1.0, the speed to 5.6 (10:42/mile), and tried to read my magazine, which was unfortunately near impossible. I could only read the ads, which, as compelling and persuasive as they are, didn’t do the trick in helping me zone out.

So I watched the people on the bikes in front of me, scanned the TVs for something interesting (the puzzle on Wheel of Fortune was ‘Fork of the Road Runner’…what the heck is that?), and went back to my magazine.

I tried to be patient and let plenty of time (and miles) go by before I looked at the distance (which was conveniently hidden by my magazine). When my stomach started to hurt, I thought maybe it was time to take my mid-run gel. So I moved my magazine and saw…


Seriously? Seriously.

I made a deal with myself that I at least had to make it to 2.5 so that I could get off and run an even 3 around the track to finish. I made it to 2.76 then the blasted treadmill went into cool-down mode. I restarted it for another .24, then jumped off and did 2.5 around the track.

You know how your legs feel after you’ve been running on a treadmill – like you’re just zooming everywhere, even when you’re walking? Well, that lasted for 2 laps (.2 mile). Then my legs alternated between feeling GREAT and speedy, and then feeling like I was trudging through a swamp. It was quite strange actually.

When all was said and done, though, I ran 7.05 miles in 1:13:50 – an average of 10:28/mile.

I’ll take it.


The Eugene Marathon is this weekend. If I had stuck to my original plan of running that race, this would be THE weekend! But alas, I still have 2 months to go until my race. Good luck to all of those running Eugene! May the running force be with you.

Instead of doing that race this weekend, I’ll be revisiting the course for the bane of my racing existence (this race).

Not only will this be my longest run of this training cycle, it will be the longest run of my life at 15 miles.

This is what the course looks like:

The lowest point is 5483 and the highest point is 5965 – a gain/loss of 485 feet. That race (the Ralston Creek Half) made me realize that I was not prepared to run any sort of hilly race. Since then, I have done 5-6 long-ish runs with 300-400 feet of elevation gain – since the Mayor’s Marathon gains 300 feet over 15 miles, I want to be prepared. And what better way to prepare than get my a$$ handed to me? (Pardon the language, but ‘getting my butt handed to me’ didn’t have the same ring to it.)

So unless I wuss out between now and 7 am, I am planning to run an easy 2 mile warm-up (while I still can) and then run an unofficial hilly half marathon to see if I can beat my February time of 2:38:24. I’ll report back this weekend if I don’t dissolve from sitting in an Epsom salt bath too long.

Do you have anything challenging or exciting planned for the weekend?

Handpicked by Love

25 Apr

When work is maddening and I am angry at the world…

When I longingly look out on a gorgeous day from inside an office icebox…

When I rush yet again from one thing to the next, feeling frazzled and exhausted…

When I grumble that I have a job that I don’t feel passionate about…

This quote from Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Keep a Quiet Heart, helps me remember that God has lovingly handpicked the circumstances of my life:

“When there is a deep restlessness for which we find no explanation, it may be due to the greed of being – what our loving Father never meant us to be. Peace lies in the trusting acceptance of His design, His gifts, His appointment of place, position, capacity. It was thus that the Son of Man came to earth – embracing all that the Father will Him to be, usurping nothing – no work, not even a word – that the Father had not given Him.”

So often I cause the loss of my own peace by rejecting the life God has given me.

“This isn’t what I want” is the refrain that echos through my ungrateful heart.

A verse that I have been repeating to myself over and over is “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord.” It reminds me that joy does not come from getting my own way. It doesn’t come from my life looking exactly like I think it should. It doesn’t come from deciding my own destiny, forging my own will, or determining my own struggles.

Joy comes from accepting.

Accepting that I’m not in control. That not being in control is a good thing. That even though my current circumstances seem to plead the contrary, God only has good things planned for me. 

But I can’t accept these things if I don’t have faith. Faith is believing that God will do what He has promised. Which turns my mind to another verse:

“I call out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me.”

Even on these days when it feels like life sucks, and I don’t know why I’m doing what I’m doing, and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, I cling to the truth that God is RIGHT NOW fulfilling His purpose for me. My life has meaning. I am here for a reason, even if I don’t know what it is. I only need to focus on delighting in the LORD and He will accomplish the rest.

“He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”

Marathon Training Thus Far…

24 Apr

In the past 9 weeks:

  • I have ran 183.07 miles.
  • My highest mileage week was @ 25.48 (although technically, my highest mileage 7-day period was last week @ 37.59 miles but I track Monday – Sunday, not Sunday – Saturday).
  • My longest run was 13.1 miles.
  • I set a new half marathon PR.

What’s Not Surprising about Training:

  • I’m tired often. Going to bed at 8:30 is tough when I run after work and then cook dinner. We usually don’t even eat until around 7:30 or 8. But I have maintained my motivation to cook actual dinners, which is good.
  • My feet have developed giant calluses/blisters on the outsides of my big toes and balls of my feet, and the nail next to my big toe on my right foot has died but has yet to fall off. Wearing different socks seems to help with the blisters. Apparently, my feet don’t like Smart Wool.
  • Most days, I have good runs. Other days, bad runs. It happens to everyone. Generally, I see a correlation between being tired and having a bad run.
  • I have skipped strength training or cross training at least once every week. I don’t really care though.
  • I have been chafed by my sports bras about 3 times on long runs. Be more careful with the Body Glide application!
  • I have bought at least 10 new items of running apparel and 1 pair of shoes (soon to be followed by another) and earned 2 race shirts. But I think I’m still a pretty frugal runner, comparatively.

What Is Surprising about Training:

  • I haven’t really experienced any runger. My appetite is pretty normal overall. In fact, since I’ve started eating oatmeal for breakfast, I don’t usually get hungry at work until 11 at the earliest. I used to get hungry around 9. My cereal love has been replaced. Sorry Oatmeal Squares!
  • I haven’t lost any weight, even though I don’t feel like I’m eating a ton to compensate for running. I kind of expect the appetite to pick up soon here though…
  • I feel thirsty. This might not seem strange to most runners, but I used to never feel thirsty. I don’t really drink that much more than I used to (64 oz a day), but now, I actually feel thirsty.
  • I am a lot warmer than I used to be. Most days, I am too warm at work to wear anything but a short-sleeve shirt (even though I sit at a desk all day). When I do wear sweaters, I end up taking them off. This is strange for me because I used to be cold constantly and everywhere.
  • In the past 9 weeks, I haven’t skipped a single run. My stubbornness at its best.
  • I think I might enjoy solo or duo long runs more than running a race. I don’t like having to run around people and it’s harder for me to zone out.
  • I actually really like gels for fuel during runs. Who knew?

I have convinced Travis to run the Taste of Louisville Half on June 2 with me! That race will be part of my longest long run of 20 miles.

Looking forward to it.

Did you observe anything surprising while training for a marathon?

Week 9 Training Recap: 4/16 – 4/22

23 Apr

Week 9 of my 18-week training plan is done, which means… I’m halfway there!

I’m very excited for the next stage of marathon training (it’s uncharted territory for me!), though I know that it’s going to be challenging to stay motivated for the longer distances after work. At least it’s light and warm outside, right?

Last week’s training:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 2.58 mile run, untimed; PT strength exercises

I was expecting this run to feel like crap after the previous Sunday’s half marathon PR, but my legs actually felt amazing. What didn’t feel amazing, however, were my blistered feet. I turned around early, cutting 3 miles to 2.5.

Wednesday: 4.1 mile fartlek run (43:36; 10:38/mile)

My legs felt a little slow and tired this day (maybe from strength training on Tuesday?), but pace was decent.

Thursday: 7.88 mile tempo run (1:24:51; 10:46/mile)

I didn’t intentionally run this as a tempo run but it’s at a tempo pace, so I’ll take it.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 9.93 mile long run (1:55:36; 11:38/mile)

More details below.

Sunday: Rest

Total Running Miles = 24.39


On Saturday morning, Travis and I drove out to DIA to have breakfast with my parents, who were at the airport during a layover on their way to Mexico. I ate a Belgian waffle, covered with bananas and strawberries, topped with syrup. That, along with getting out of my long run routine (even though it was worth it to see my parents!), and being ridiculously tired, made for a tough long run.

I got up to Boulder around 11 and since it was in the high 60s/low 70s, I wore my Aspaeris Pivot compression shorts under my new running skirt. The combination worked really well, although I did miss my 2XU compression tights a bit. One of my favorite features of the running skirt is that the inside of the waistband has “silicon strips” (aka sticky rubber) so that it doesn’t slide up while you’re running. Genius!

From the very start of the run, I just wasn’t into it. I could name a dozen other things I would rather have been doing – and at the top of that list was sleeping. I was just so. tired. But I had driven all the way up to Boulder to run 10 miles so I sucked it up and just ran at an easy pace. It was a gorgeous day and I didn’t get too hot at all during the run (though I was sweating quite a bit), but the whole time I was counting down the miles so that I could be done.

I don’t know if it was the 8 miles on Thursday or running at a slower pace or not stretching as much this past week, but by about mile 7, my legs started to hurt. Specifically my left glute and IT band/knee. Uh oh. (Although two years ago, it was my right IT band/knee that kept me from running the full Malibu Marathon). I’m putting my money on the whole “not stretching enough” thing and am really going to buckle down on that for the second half of the plan. It’s not that I don’t want to stretch – I just fit my weekday runs in right before dashing off to a church function so I don’t have time to stretch. But one of those meetings is ending tomorrow so that will help.

Yesterday, instead of doing yoga or walking, I took a nap and we planted our garden.

It was fun being outside but man, gardening is hard on the body! We have those fences up because of the dogs (even though they don’t stop them from getting in) and my back and legs were not happy with bending over them to plant things. I can crouch down for about 2 minutes before they demand that I stop. I don’t see a lot of gardening in my future before the marathon.

My tulips are happy at least (though I want to plant more this fall so they’re not so spread out).

On Saturday, Travis put down landscaping fabric and mulch on the back of our house:

It looks so much better!

I had been thinking about going to hot yoga this past Sunday – but we had a church meeting at the same time. Next Sunday, I’m going to a baby shower, and the Sunday after that, we’re going camping. So hot yoga has been rescheduled to May 13. Maybe that means I can convince some friends to join me…

I have some interesting observations about marathon training coming up soon!

Five for Friday

20 Apr

1. I ran 7.88 miles last night after work, which I haven’t done in a long time. Despite it threatening to rain and the wind blowing me around, it was actually a pretty good run. I averaged a pace of 10:46, which I’m pretty excited about.

And right now is my favorite time of the year to run because of all the beautiful flowers. Especially the lilacs. They’re at their peak:

I’m pretty impressed that my phone took that picture.

I’m willing to bet that the Russian Olive trees are out in full force up in Boulder too, which has me contemplating a run around my 9 mile loop again tomorrow.

2. My parents are flying to Mexico tomorrow and conveniently, they have a layover in Denver! So Travis and I will trek out to the airport early tomorrow morning (like 7 am!) to have breakfast with them. It’ll totally be worth it though. Maybe I can convince them to squeeze me in their carry-on and take me to Mexico too? Work has been incredibly busy this week so I am feeling very in need of a vacation.

3. On my run last night, I discovered the secret to making gels easier to eat: heat them up in your pocket. When the gel is warm, it’s a lot more liquid-y and less gel-y so it’s easier to eat. I think this will be my strategy for future runs – store a gel in a pocket until I use it, then replace it with another gel until I need that one. (And a big THANK YOU to Lisa for hosting a giveaway that gave me lots great, free running fuel!)

I received my package from Lisa last Saturday, which was perfect timing because I was out of fuel and had forgotten to go to the store. I packed a Chocolate Cherry and a Chocolate gel.

4. I think I may have solved my blister problem by using different socks and slathering on the Body Glide. We’ll see how things go tomorrow on my 10-miler!

5. I tried out a new frozen yogurt shop on Wednesday with some friends from church. It’s called Zinga! and I really enjoyed it.

They had fewer flavors than Yogurtland but every flavor I tried was delicious. I loaded up my bowl with Raspberry, Cake Batter, Cherry Amaretto, and Mocha Latte, and loaded on the toppings.

Flavored wafers = score.

M&M’s = fail.

The M&M’s got all hard from the frozen yogurt, which made they really crunchy. I will not make that mistake again.

That’s all I got.

Have a great weekend!

Running Shirt Dilemma

19 Apr

I got my new running duds in the mail last week. I absolutely love the skirt. It’s the perfect (modest) length, it’s nice fabric but not too heavy, the pocket on the back is big enough to actually be useful, and it’s pink.

I also really like the shirt – it’s soft and actually an extremely light teal, which makes it even cuter. Here’s my dilemma though – the medium I ordered is tighter than I’d like in the stomach. So I had the thought of exchanging it for a large. But the other issue is that the shirt is 50% polyester, 50% cotton (it says that on the website so I wasn’t surprised). I’ve never had a running-specific shirt involving cotton but Travis doesn’t think that would be good for running long distances. And since the whole point was buying a cute shirt for the marathon, I’m torn.

And I’m turning to my lovely readers. Do you have a 50/50 running shirt? Would you return the shirt for a bigger size or look for another cute, 100% polyester shirt to wear with my pink skirt?

I also just got some new sports bras. Doing a quick Google search for good running bras, I’m sure you’d come up lots of raves about Moving Comfort bras. I had ordered some last year when I was looking for a good bra to wear in my Olympic triathlon. I bought a couple of Moving Comfort bras but to be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed. Just recently, it dawned on me that I might have ordered the wrong size. And since I’m still wearing sports bras that I had in college (doubled up with others I bought more recently), I thought I’d test out my theory.

So I ordered the Fiona and Helena bras from Sierra Trading Post in one cup size smaller than I normally wear. My theory was correct. These bras actually did hold the girls down. I’m not a huge fan of the Helena (so I’m going to exchange it for another Fiona) because the band size is too small (even though it’s technically the same as the Fiona?) and is doing my underarm fat no favors. It also has very thin fabric across the front, which is not good news if you tend to get cold, ahem, after running.

But the Fiona is wonderful. It’s comfy, supportive and has thicker fabric to minimize the, ahem, coldness.

It’s also cute. That’s the main reason I have refused to try Enell bras – they look like something my grandma would wear. (Sorry, but it’s true). The other thing I like about both bras is that they fasten in the back like a regular bra. The other Moving Comfort bra I bought (the Juno) still goes over your head like a regular sports bra and fastens in the back – which is sometimes tricky to do when you’re already wearing it. I use my Juno bra for shorter distances – 10K or less – but I think that’s more because I didn’t buy the right size, than anything to do with the bra itself. I definitely plan to use my new Fiona bras for marathon training.

Short story long, if you’re looking for a supportive sports bra, Moving Comfort bras are great – you just might have to experiment with sizes.

Please give me advice about my running shirt dilemma! And if you have any ideas about where to find cute running shirts, you get bonus points!

Getting Gas, Eating Mexican

18 Apr

Despite what you may think from the title of this post, getting gas and eating Mexican were two separate incidents. Which I will relay now…

Last night, Travis and I went out to eat at El Tapatio to celebrate the fact that he is 95% certain he’s going to graduate next month. He defended his Masters report yesterday in front of 3 professors and it went really well – which was a huge answer to prayer! Driving to work today, I realized that I even felt like a weight had been lifted – I can’t even imagine how great Travis feels! It’s been a long, hard spring for him but the end is in sight!

Even though Mexican is my least favorite food to eat at a restaurant, El Tapatio has many options that aren’t smothered in cheese (which is surprisingly hard to come by in most Mexican joints). I had the breakfast platter that included eggs and sausage. It was spicy, but delicious.


This morning, on my way to work, I had to stop and get gas. While I probably would’ve stopped anyway (even though I was running late because I took time to hot-glue the insole of my nude heels that are falling apart), Travis had specifically requested that I stop if the gas light came on. Which it did. He claims that it’s bad to drive your car until the gas light comes on because your fuel pump ends up sucking up into the engine all the crud at the bottom of your tank that’s naturally in gasoline.

This is one of the most irritating bits of information I’ve heard in a while. In my opinion, that’s the whole point of a gas light: to tell you when you need to get gas. In fact, getting gas before the light comes on seems like overkill when you live in a big city and there are gas stations on every corner. It’s so much easier to just wait until the handy little reminder flashes its little warning light at you that you’re going to be abandoned on the side of the road and carrying a red plastic gas can that you just bought in one of the 20 gas stations in a 2-mile radius if you don’t stop and get gas relatively soon. (Why yes, I have experienced that exact situation I just described – 3 times.)

I’m clearly not a model car owner. I do absolutely nothing to keep my car running other than filling it up with gas – and apparently, I’ve been doing even that small thing incorrectly by waiting so long to fill the tank that my engine suck up contaminants and clogs itself.

Whether or not this tidbit is true (this site says yes, this site says no), no one will ever know.

What do you think? Do you wait until your gas light comes on, or do you run your tank dry?

Training Recap: 4/9 – 4/15

16 Apr

Last week, I didn’t do any strength training or speed work in preparation for the half marathon and I actually missed it! So I’m excited to get back into the swing of things this week, just in time to enter the second half of marathon training next Monday. Because I don’t believe in the idea of jinxing things or knocking on wood, I’m going to boldly say that I have gotten farther in this training plan than I did in 2010 when I injured my IT band. From here on out, it’s uncharted territory for this girl. Which is pretty exciting, if you ask me! (It still boggles my mind that during my highest mileage week, my mid-week run will be the same length as my longest long run in half marathon training – 10 miles. On a Thursday night!)

Because of my shiny new Half Marathon PR, I’m going to say that this past week was a fabulous training week, even though my runs were kind of meh.

Monday: 3.04 mile easy run (34:22, 11:18/mile)

Tuesday: 3.15 mile easy run (33:15, 10:33/mile)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 6.19 mile easy run (1:07:33, 10:54/mile)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Platte River Half Marathon (2:24:34, 11:03/mile)

Total Running Miles = 25.48


While my legs felt great for the entire race yesterday, my feet are a sight for sore eyes. Poor little feet. I ended up popping a water blister on my right foot last night with a (hand)sanitized push pin because it was so tender that I couldn’t stand to put my feet under the covers to go to bed. Operation De-Blister-ation has commenced. (Sort of.) I will spare you the pictures of my ugly feet because let’s honest… no one wants to see that. But something needs to change because I don’t know if I could even put my feet into running shoes right now.

In other news, my appetite finally returned today. Not with a vengeance (surprisingly), just at its usual level. But I’m extremely thirsty. And warm. I can barely stand to keep my blazer on over my tank top. Which is so strange, since I’m usually inhumanly frigid all the time. Travis says that I have cadaver hands. And actually, even though I’m warmer than normal, my hands are still cold. Go figure.

Race Recap: Platte River Half Marathon

15 Apr

Welp, third fourth time’s the charm. I finally beat my previous PR of 2:30:52 by coming across the finish line at 2:24:34 (unofficial), an average pace of 11:03!

I am beyond thrilled that I achieved my goal and am surprised at how well this race went mentally, but it was a tough race. I think my mental game is what saved me and turned this into my new PR. But I’ll start at the beginning.

And by beginning, I mean last night, because I think my dinner might have had something to do with how things went today. I got home from the Women of Faith conference around 6:30 (I’ll post about that later) and was starving. Travis was too and of course, his first suggestion was Mexican (always is!). After my less than enthusiastic reception of that idea, he mentioned that he’d like a steak so we went to Texas Roadhouse. Except everyone and their grandma was there, so we ventured over to Lonestar Steakhouse, which was much less crowded.

We ordered their 2 for $25 deal, which included an appetizer, 2 entrees + 1 side each, and a dessert. In short, a lot of food. The appetizer was spinach and artichoke dip (delicious!), I ordered the Bourbon salmon for my entree with a baked sweet potato (Travis got steak with green beans), and cheesecake for dessert. Everything was delicious… as was my $4 GIANT margarita. It was pretty weak as far as margaritas go (which was good because I’m totally a lightweight) but I left the restaurant feeling a bit more full than I wanted to (and I even took 1/2 of my meal home with me!).

When we got home, I checked the weather report and it said 40 degrees, rain and 25 mph winds from the NW. We would be running north so this was simply perfect weather (ha, not!). I was trying to stay positive as I grabbed my winter and spring running jackets, my 2XU compression tights, a long-sleeve shirt, a t-shirt, my running hat, and Smart Wool socks. I got everything else ready – race directions, course map, gels, Camelbak, coffee for the morning – and went to bed around 9:30.

Usually on race morning, I get up right when my alarm goes off because I’m nervous or I realize that I’m not going to get any more sleep anyway. Not this morning. I thought through what I had to do and calculated how long it would take me, so that I could stay in bed as long as possible. I reset my alarm clock and went back to sleep (kind of). Finally, I got up at 6:30.

I looked outside to this:

A little snow, but SUN! Maybe the weather wouldn’t be as bad as they said…

I got dressed, did my hair and makeup, packed my bag (makeup remover wipes which are great for wiping all the salt off my face after the race, flip-flops and a tangelo for post-race), and made my breakfast. I had eaten our last blueberry bagel yesterday morning so I ended up making an unconventional combination of asiago cheese bagel and peanut butter (maybe another contributor to how the race went?).

Pooches were all cute and cuddly:

We left around 7:20 and I drank my coffee as we drove down to the race. Packet pickup went very smoothly and I was in and out in about five minutes… leaving us with over an hour to kill. We used the bathroom 3 times. I ate my bagel. We observed a water spillway (Travis is always interested because that’s what he works on at his job) and a mural painting of historic Littleton.

Finally, it was time to go.

There were 3 waves, starting a minute apart – the first was for runners expecting to finish under 1:50, the second for those finishing under 2:10, and the third for the rest of us. The first 2 miles were through downtown Littleton and then we made our way to the greenway trail that follows the Platte River (the same trail that we ran on for the Snowman Stampede).

My legs felt strong and I couldn’t really tell whether or not I was running too fast or right on pace. I didn’t catch the first mile marker but I heard Garmins around me beeping, so I clicked my watch. 10:48. Maybe a little fast, but not crazy.

I felt the same for Mile 2 but then, my stomach started hurting. It didn’t go away at Mile 3 or Mile 4. At Mile 4.5, I decided to take my first gel to see if it would help. It made things worse by giving me a horrible side stitch.

This is where my mental game changed. I repeated to myself:

I refuse to walk. I have worked so hard to get here, and I will not let my stomach, my foot, the weather, or anything keep me from a PR.

My pace slowed,  but I kept running. The pain didn’t go away. So I prayed, Lord, please take away this stomach pain so that I can run this race.

He didn’t answer immediately but by Mile 6.5, the pain had subsided considerably. I picked the pace back up and passed a bunch of people.

That’s also when the wind started to pick up. By Mile 9, the wind was whipping. The mile marker signs were blown over, cups and sand were blowing everywhere, my hat almost flew off several times. But I was determined, even though my stomach was acting up again. I took my second gel and powered on.

The miles kept ticking down. My legs felt fantastic the entire race. There wasn’t any point in the race that they, or my lungs, felt like the limiting factor. It was all my stomach.

Finally, we got to the big hill. The wind was so strong that it almost blew us into the fence as we ran up and over the railroad yard. I didn’t stop running on the hill, and once I got to the top, I knew the end was near so I kicked it. We ran down and turned the corner… there was the finish. I was SO elated. I was going to make it. I was going to PR. Finally!

I kicked it a little too eagerly and felt like I was going to puke as I made my way down the finish chute. I glanced at my watch. I could even beat my unofficial PR from last weekend! So I kept running, toeing the line of running as fast as I could without puking.


That was me trying to not throw up as I waited to have my chip removed (and being thrilled that I PR’ed!)

Poor Man GPS Splits:

1 – 10:44
2 – 10:38
3 – 10:41
4 – 10:58
5 – 11:12
6 – 11:29
7 – 7:03 + 4:03 (11:06)
8 – 10:50
9 – 11:18
10 – 11:22
11 & 12 – 22:37 (11:18 avg)
13 – 11:35

1st half = 1:12:46
2nd half = 1:11:48

Unofficial Time = 2:24:34

Even though the course was a net 120 feet loss, the course has quite a few underpasses, meaning downhill and uphill. Those hills weren’t too bad, but the overpass at mile 12 was a doozy.

After I got my medal, I met up with Travis and Heidi (who also ran the race) and we went in search of food. The post-race food was spread around the block… literally. Down one street were apples, bananas, fruit strips, and mini Clif bars. Down the other was the lunch, which I heard included hamburgers, breakfast burritos, fish tacos, and other stuff.

Honestly, absolutely nothing sounded good. I didn’t feel hungry. The wind was still whipping while the temperature cooled off. And the lunch line seemed to be several hundred people long and not moving an inch (what was up with that?). Standing in line, in the cold, for a lunch that I wasn’t even sure I wanted (usually I give it to Travis but he had picked up McDonald’s…naughty) wasn’t particularly appealing. So we ended up just leaving. Part of me wanted to get the lunch just so I could say I had gotten my money’s worth for the race.

I wasn’t hungry when I got home either. I took a long, hot shower, drank an Athlete’s HoneyMilk protein drink, and knew I should eat something else, and actually felt hungry, but everything sounded unappealing. I forced myself to eat a bowl of cereal, called my mom and then finished reading The Tipping Point (great book!).

After a trip to Sports Authority, a walk with the pooches, and some other hodge-podge eating, I’m now blogging and will enjoy a glass of red wine shortly. I wish tomorrow was Sunday instead of Monday!


Overall, the Platte River Half Marathon was very well-done. They were very organized, started on time, the aid stations were well-stocked (though I didn’t use any of it), had lots of volunteers and portapoos and the t-shirt and medal are cute.

The shirt is a long-sleeve too, which I’m excited about.

The only small complaint I have is about the lunch line – I don’t know why the line was so long, or what we were waiting for, but it seemed kind of ridiculous for tired, hungry runners to have to stand in such a long line for their food. Otherwise,  I would definitely recommend this race!


Are you hungry after long runs/races?