Tag Archives: long run

Week 15 Training: 5/28 – 6/3

8 Jun

I’ve been exhausted this week. Two mornings, I’ve woken up as late as 7:15 to get ready for work, even though I went to bed at 9 pm the night before (that would be 10 hours of sleep). The other mornings, I’ve gotten up at 6 or 6:30, which is still later than usual. Yesterday, I was dragging at 1:30 pm and had to go buy an iced coffee (mmmm… iced coffee). Maybe it was last weekend’s 20 miler but I hope my body gets it together sometime soon here – we leave for Alaska TWO WEEKS from today. Gulp.

Anyway, because of that, this week has been a lesson in being joyful even when life is a mess and I feel behind on everything. I actually have kind of appreciated the challenge because it’s a lesson I really want to learn (and a lesson that will take a long time to learn).

Last week was the pinnacle of marathon training. Now I just have to coast injury-free to the start line.

Monday: 800 meter swim + 45 minute easy hike

First swim in a good 5 months. Breaststroke felt good, front crawl majorly rusty. Swimming outside is awesome.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 5.11 mile run (58:31; 11:27/mile)

This run was MEH. Decent but not great.

Thursday: 10.04 mile run (1:54:24; 11:23/mile)

First 4-5 miles were MEH – legs felt tired and stiff. But last 3 miles were GREAT – legs felt light and fast. Weeee!

Poor Man’s GPS Splits: 

1 – 12:12
2 – 12:18
3 – 11:37
4 – 11:29
5 – 11:25
6 – 11:40
7 – 11:24
8 – 10:21
9 – 10:41
10 – 10:43

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 20.1 mile long run (3:52:44; 11:34/pace)

Sunday: 1.75 mile walk with Mom and dogs (untimed)

Total Running Miles = 35.25

My running total for May was 133.43 miles (April was 111.68), bringing my 2012-miles-to-date to 424.11, over half the way to my goal of running 700 this year.

I said it before, but I’ll say it again – after being sidelined in 2010 from running a full marathon, I feel very blessed to be on this side of my 20 mile long run with no injuries. Nothing. No twinges. No lingering aches. Just exhaustion, apparently. I’ll take it.

(Oh, and it’s a very surreal feeling to be able to write: “on this side of my 20 mile long run.” I ran 20 miles?!?!!? It’s kind of an awesome feeling. I can’t imagine what 26.2 feels like!)

Ready like Spongebob.

5 Jun

After this weekend’s successful 20-mile run, I want to run around like Spongebob: “I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.”

My parents came out Friday night and we went out to eat at a new pizza pub near us called Right Coast Pizza Company. The place was packed and it took a while to get our food, but when it did come, the pizza and bruschetta were amazing. I would definitely go back.

We rented the movie J. Edgar from Red Box and so I ended up staying up until almost 11 before deciding I really needed to go to bed, considering I had 20 miles to run in the morning. The movie wasn’t even that great – very slow-moving albeit somewhat interesting.

The next morning, I got up at 4:40 to get running by 5. The race start was at 8 am, it would take 30 minutes to drive there, and I wanted to run all 7 additional miles before the race, since it was supposed to be 90 degrees later. I was so nervous/excited about running 20 miles that I didn’t sleep very well (woke up at least once every hour) and I woke up without an alarm clock. I had gotten everything ready the night before so I just had to get dressed, eat breakfast and head out the door. I’ve decided that my best pre-race fuel is a blueberry or cinnamon raisin bagel with butter, eaten 5-15 minutes before starting my run. The butter doesn’t seem to bother my acid reflux like peanut butter does.

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of running 20 miles when I headed out but it’s hard to not enjoy running in the morning. Everything feels so fresh and sunny. Even though my legs felt pretty good, I kept my pace very conservative and easy.


By the time I got back, my gray shirt (that I was planned to wear for the marathon) was already soaked… making me decide against wearing it for the actual marathon.

I changed my sports bra and shirt, drank a glass of chocolate milk, grabbed my stuff and by 6:45, we were heading up to Louisville for the Taste of Louisville half marathon.

Finding the park and getting our bibs and timing chips was a breeze. We had just enough time to run our stuff back to the car and stand in line for the bathroom before they announced we should start lining up.

Women’s on left, Men’s on right

Soon, we were off. Right away, we settled into a very comfortable, easy pace. All of the other racers took off so we were pretty much alone for the first 5 miles, with the except of a few racers around us. Aid stations were roughly every 2 miles and were well-stocked with water, oranges, grapes and bananas. I ate several oranges and grapes out on the course and even though my parents were waiting at Mile 6 with Honey Stingers, I didn’t feel like I needed them. The course was also very well-marked and very pretty – we ran through a lot of neighborhoods and quite a bit of the trails were gravel and shaded. Tons of volunteers were helping out too. I’d definitely do this race again!

My stomach wasn’t feeling the greatest for the first 2-3 miles. Maybe it was drinking the chocolate milk in between my runs? Whatever it was, I’m not too concerned about it happening during the marathon since I won’t be taking an 90 minute break in the middle.

Around Mile 3, we started catching up to the runners in front of us and we ended up passing quite a few over the course of the morning. I may not be a fast runner, but I’m a steady one!

After Mile 4, we started to pick up the pace and I had a full-blown runner’s high. Legs felt great. Lungs felt great. Travis said that I talked the most he’s ever heard me talk on a run. I was just having a really great time!

The course has 2 out and back loops – one is Mile 1 to Mile 6, the other Mile 6 to Mile 12.5. So when we reached Mile 6, we got to see the first male coming in on his last mile, as well as all of the other runners in front of us. Even though it made the trail a little crowded at times, I really liked this. It made me feel like I was actually in a race instead of just out for a run with Travis (because when you’re in the back of the pack, sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re even in a race!)

I was encouraging other runners and thanking the volunteers and loving life until about Mile 9 – when that turnaround seemed so. far. away. and my hips, specifically the left, had started throbbing. It wasn’t that surprising though, since I was technically on Mile 16.

Even though it was HOT, we kept up the pace until a major hill at Mile 12, and then slowly made our way to the finish line.

Finally, the finish line was in sight. I ran as fast as my tired legs would carry me and was SO excited to be done! I ran 20 MILES!

20 miles. Done.

Not only that, I beat my Colorado Half Marathon time (2:30:52) again! Our official net time was 2:30:05. Even though it wasn’t a PR, I didn’t care at all. I didn’t go into the race thinking it would be, I ran at a good pace, I LOVED THE EXPERIENCE, Travis ran with me, my parents were spectating, and it was the culmination of my marathon training. It is a huge blessing to reach this point in my training without injury and feeling as good as I did.

Now you can see why I feel like Spongebob. I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready. I’m confident that with tapering, sea level altitude and the race excitement, I’ll have the energy and strength I need to run the full 26.2 miles in a little over 2.5 weeks. I just need to stay motivated to run for the next 19 days and I’m golden (note to self).

So with that said, these are the race goals I’m toying with:

Goal A (This is AMAZING!, 11:26 average pace) – 5:00:00 or less

Goal B (I love running!!, 11:50 average pace) – 5:10:00 or less

Goal C (I feel pretty good, 12:15 average pace) – 5:20:00 or less

Goal D (This is tough but I’m finishing, dangit, 12:35 average pace) – 5:30:00 or less

But ultimately, since this could be the only marathon I run ever (or at least for the foreseeable future), I want to enjoy the experience like I did on Saturday. Run at a comfortable pace. If one mile is slower, don’t sweat it. If 20 miles are slower, don’t sweat it. Stop at the aid stations. Walk if you need to. Say hi to fellow runners and the volunteers. Take it all in. As long as I enjoy the race, I don’t really care about my pace. (Though I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t choose a faster time over a slower one.)

The 2o mile run being over also means… IT’S TAPER TIME! So. excited. I Heart Taper.

Blazing Long Run

26 May

Last night, Travis and I went to see the 6:30 showing of The Avengers. The movie was really good! For some reason, I really enjoy that kind of movie. After some ice cream from Coldstone, I went to bed around 10. I didn’t set my alarm clock because I assumed I’d wake up early like usual. Well, the pooches did wake up at the usual time. I got up at 7 long enough to let them outside and feed them. But then I went back to bed and closed the bedroom door. When I finally did get up at 8:45, I was completely groggy and exhausted so I had breakfast and a cup of coffee to wake up.

All that to say, I didn’t get started on my long run of 14 miles until 11 am, when it was already 80 degrees out with no clouds in the sky. Wow, does that make a difference! It felt like 95 degrees on this run.

I ran 2.5 with the dogs (and they were doggin’ it especially slow today so I turned around earlier than I had planned) and then 7 with Travis, who is still contemplating the half marathon next weekend (never mind that this was his longest run in…a couple years?). By the end of that 7 (so 9.5 for me), I threw in the towel. The stubborn part of me wanted to just get the run done with but it was SO HOT and I couldn’t imagine running another 4.5. I drew up an ice cold bath and sat in there for about 7 minutes.

I plan on running those last 4.5 miles tomorrow morning, which is still within a 24 hour period so close enough. And I’m feeling pretty good about this:

I’ve ran 45.5 miles in the past 7 days. What’s amazing, though, is that they’ve been good miles. In fact, Monday’s run was the best run I’ve had all month. Running just felt so easy and natural and I couldn’t help but smile as I ran. It made me think of a new running phrase – instead of Run Happy, my motto is Run Blessed. I’ll post some more thoughts on that soon.

Well, we’re off to a BBQ. Hope you’re having a fun weekend full of great weather and even better company!


Anniversary Trip {Part Two}

22 May

Sunday dawned cold but clear. When I went out to get bagels from the grocery store across the street, this was our car:


After eating a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter, I was off on my run and Travis was off to his morning hockey game. I took the pooches with me for the first 3 miles, then planned to drop them off to run the last 15 alone. After being couped up in a hotel room for 36 hours, only going outside for bathroom breaks, Katy and Charlie had a LOT of energy. And needed a lot of #2 pit stops. Nothing gets things moving like a run.

It was 35 when I first went out so I had decided to wear a long-sleeve tech shirt plus a lightweight jacket. The sun was out in full force, though, and by the time I got back to the hotel with the dogs, that jacket was too much. I left my long-sleeve on and with my compression tights and running skirt on bottom, I was perfectly dressed for the 40-50 degree weather.

Running in the mountains isn’t all bad

Pooches in their kennel, I headed back out with 3 hours of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to keep me company. Having something like a story to think about helps to pass the time. Since I had a long way to go and was running at a good 4,000 feet higher than usual, my strategy for this run was to run at an easy, comfortable pace and walk when I needed or wanted to. Which was good because there were a lot of hills on this run.

First 3 miles:

15 mile out and back:

And those just show the main hills! There were also a bunch of smaller rolling hills. I ran up most of the smaller hills but walked up the big ones. It just wasn’t worth pushing myself to run up them, only to be completely out of breath at the top and have to walk anyway.

Miles 5 – 7.5 (of the 15 mile route) were tiring. It was enough uphill to be noticeable but not enough that I could justify walking. Around mile 6, I saw Travis driving back from his hockey game. He honked and I waved.

Finally I got to the turnaround! But because of the doozy of a hill at miles 10-10.5 (which I walked most of), and my aching legs/hips, I actually only ran the way back a minute faster than the way out.

Around mile 13, I took a bathroom break, which was glorious. For the last 2 miles, I alternated between thinking “Hey, this isn’t so bad”, “Holy crap, my hips are throbbing”, “I can totally run a marathon”, and “EIGHT more miles after this? I’m screwed”. But I made it. And I’m pretty sure that I’m going to cry at the finish line of the real marathon because I get emotional just finishing my long runs. 😉

I borrowed Travis’ phone so that I could track my splits via the MapMyRun app but I’m pretty sure it didn’t work correctly. It says that the route I ran was only 14.6 miles instead of 15.1 (and actually, on the phone it said it was only 13.99 but when I looked it up online later, it said 14.6). It also said that my pace on some of the flatter miles was something like 14:45. I know I’m slow but I’m not that slow.

So plugging in my own numbers, it took me 3:47:36 to run 18 miles, for an average pace of 12:38. For running the longest run of my life at 9,300 feet with a cumulative elevation gain of 736 feet and a bunch of walking, I’m feeling pretty good about that pace.

Nevertheless, I’m hoping that I’ll run the marathon faster than that. And since the race is practically at sea level and I’ll have tapered beforehand, I feel confident that I can. Even if I run the race at an average pace of 12:30/mile, that would put me around 5:30:00 for a marathon finish time. So the goal I’m toying with right now is somewhere between 5:10 (11:49 pace) and 5:30 (12:35 pace).

I’ll wait until after my 20 miler to officially decide on goals.


After my run, I took a shower and Epsom salt bath. Travis’ team had won their morning game too so they were moving on to the championship game at 3 pm. We packed up all of our stuff, ate lunch at Noodles & Company, and then went shopping at the outlet mall for 25 minutes to kill time. I went to the Gap Outlet and found this adorable dress for $32 that I am smitten with as well as 2 pairs of black pants — traditional dress pants for $30 and skinny jeans for $35 (I’ll post pictures later). I’m only going to keep one pair (due to our Alaska trip limiting our $$ resources) but can’t decide if I want to go trendy or timeless. Thoughts? Travis had some luck too with finding some hiking/aquashoes at the Columbia outlet for $25, marked down from $85!

Then it was off to the last hockey game. I took the dogs for a short walk while Travis got ready and then went in to watch the game. They lost by 1 point in overtime. Bummer!

A quick stop at a gas station for snacks and we were headed home to do laundry and veg out. We took Loveland Pass instead of the Eisenhower Tunnel, which neither of us had done before. The views were gorgeous:

But as always, I got freaked out and asked Travis to slow down at least 10 times. I’m a wreck on mountain roads.

Finally, we made it home. After we unloaded and unpacked everything, Travis was going to recharge the AC in our Focus when the car just up and died. Now it won’t start. I’m just glad that it didn’t die at the top of Loveland Pass! That would’ve been bad.

But I convinced Travis that instead of spending all night trying to fix it, he should just hang out with me. And so we ended our nice little anniversary weekend with an episode of NCIS (we’re totally addicted to that show).

Pretty soon, though, the real celebration begins: ALASKA!!

I’m back baby.

13 May

Yesterday morning, I met my friend Cathy for coffee, which is always a great start to the day. Then, I timidly headed out on what I hoped would be a 12 mile run. Together with my successful 5 mile run on Thursday, my weekly mileage would be 17 – which I feel is decent for a week when legs wouldn’t cooperate.

It helped that yesterday was the perfect day for a run – 50 and overcast. It seemed to be on the verge of rain all day but it didn’t actually start until the late afternoon.

I got going on my run around 10:00. I decided to run a 3.7 mile loop with the pooches, then drop them off at the house and run the last 8.3 alone. Right away, I could tell a huge difference in how my legs felt from earlier in the week. They actually felt normal instead of running-through-mud exhausted! I was so thankful and the entire run, I kept reminding myself to be grateful for being able to run, regardless of pace.

I think my incredible soreness + exhaustion was partly caused by some tough long runs and by doing a long run at night – instead of moving around like I normally do after morning long runs, I went to bed and then sat around all the next day (camping). Probably didn’t help things.

To help prevent that from happening again, I ran yesterday’s run at a very easy, comfortable pace. Whenever my legs felt good and I was tempted to pick up the pace, I humbled my pride (I didn’t need to prove myself!) and ran slower. All that said, I still ended up averaging an 12 min/mile pace, which I am very pleased with. Not only do I know that I have it in me to run faster than that, I am running smart and not trying to prove myself during training. Whatever gets me to the start line sans injury and ready to tackle the 26.2 beast.


I also discovered a fix to my feet blisters: bandaids and first aid tape.

Sorry for the nasty foot pic. That will be the last, I promise.

I put a bandaid on with the pad over the blister area, then taped them around once (the tape is clear). It wasn’t completely comfortable and I was aware of them the whole time I was running but it really wasn’t that bad and I didn’t have any painful blisters after my run (and the ones that are there from before didn’t get any worse). I consider it a success and will be doing this for my long runs from now on.

I wore my new Brooks for the first 3.7 miles of this run and definitely think that them bothering my calves earlier in the week was a fluke. The problem was my legs, not the shoes. I think I will really like these! But I’m going to break them in with lower mileage runs to get my legs used to them, just in case running 16 miles in them straight out of the box added to the legs fiasco.

Following my ideas for long run recovery, I also elevated my legs after both of my runs this week. I can’t say whether or not it helps but I can definitely feel the blood flowing so it must be doing something. I also drank a protein shake after my long run yesterday.

It was delicious but it has 44 g of sugar. Can’t say I’ll be buying it again – I’ll probably just stick with Athlete’s HoneyMilk or look into Muscle Milk.


Now that I’ve detailed all the ways I’m trying to be smart and giving my legs some help in staying rested and refreshed, I’ll tell you about how I trashed my legs by going to my first hot yoga class this afternoon.

One of my 2012 goals was to try hot/Bikram yoga and I had penciled it into my schedule to go today. I’ve seen a lot of Corepower Yoga locations around Denver and they seemed to be pretty much the only yoga studio near my house that offered hot yoga. So it was the logical place.

Conveniently, they also are offering a free week of yoga to newcomers so I got to take the class today for free! I would love to check out another class or two this week – we’ll see if it works out!

The class I went to was Hot Power Fusion. This is the description that they have online:

The woman who checked me in, Laura, was also the instructor and she was great. So friendly and happy. She explained all about hot yoga as I was filling out my information form and during the class, she encouraged us all to listen to our bodies and do whatever we were comfortable with. She also explained that since the room is heated to 100 degrees with 30% humidity (making it feel like 150 degrees), I might feel faint or light-headed. If I did, I could just rest, take a drink of water, and start again when I was ready.

I walked into the room and it was HOT. I laughed silently as the class started because Laura apologized for the room being on the cooler side. It was definitely hot enough for me. I was a little nervous about it before the class started because I don’t like saunas – it feels so hard to breathe.

Surprisingly, I got more used to the heat as we started moving. Pretty soon though, the sweat was pouring off me. My arms, legs, face, neck, hands – everything was just drenched by the time the class was over.

I enjoyed the class – there were a lot of “yogi” names for poses that I didn’t know. I call them by their layman’s terms, I guess. There were only a few times during the class that I was lost or confused about what Laura was asking us to do – though if I didn’t have a basic knowledge of yoga, I would’ve been lost. (If I had told Laura that it was my first time practicing – she did ask when I was registering – maybe she would’ve explained things more.)

Anyway, it was very enjoyable (and challenging!) and I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to doing hot yoga again. I do, however, think that the copious amounts of sweat that I had to mop off my body will deter me from making this my yoga class of choice. I mean, I don’t mind sweating during a workout but this was ridiculous. I had heard stories about how much you sweat, and now I know firsthand.

My body feels like jello now, which it always does after a good, hard yoga session. I’m just hoping that it doesn’t feel like jello tomorrow (or at least that my legs don’t!)

Do you enjoy hot yoga?

Long Run Recovery

9 May

I headed out last night for what I planned to be a very easy, nice 8 mile run.

Half a mile in, I threw in the towel.

My first reaction was that my new shoes are using different muscles in my calves (because they’re lower to the ground – the insole isn’t as tall?). My second reaction was that my legs have not yet fully recovered. So instead of pushing myself, I decided to walk home and do some easy cross-training. At this point, trying to get the miles in will do me more harm than good.

When I got home, I grabbed my bike and rode over to the library to pick up Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The audiobook case was so big that it almost didn’t fit in my Camelbak (sans water bottle). I was having a rough afternoon (for more reasons than not being able to run) and if that case hadn’t fit, I would’ve lost it. But I was able to cram it in and bike home for a whopping 4.5 miles roundtrip.

Then I convinced Travis to walk the dogs with me for another 1.15 miles before we ate mini pizzas and watched 2 episodes of NCIS.

Today, in my spare time, I’ve been researching the best ways to recover from long runs. Things I learned:

1. Eat right after your run, specifically something with protein and carbs. (source)

I already knew this, but since I’m not hungry ever after a long run, I usually shower, take an epsom salt bath, get dressed, stretch and THEN eat. If I do eat right after a run, it’s usually pure carbs, like a bagel with nothing on it. This could have something to do with my slow recovery so I bought some recovery drinks to take right after a long run to see if that helps.

2. Elevate your legs. (source)

According to Livestrong, elevating your legs can help to increase the blood flow and ease the discomfort of muscle tears from exercise. That’s pretty much the idea behind compression tights (which I do wear after long runs) but it can’t hurt to add something else to the mix.
3. Get a massage for tired and sore legs. (source)
The article reads, “According to Coach Jay Johnson, NikeRunning.com’s resident training expert and former track coach for the University of Colorado, a certified massage therapist can help your tired legs recover and get you back on track.” I have a Groupon for an hour-long massage that I’ve been meaning to use. I need to use this sooner than later.
And probably the best advice of all from this article on Livestrong:
“Even if a runner diligently follows her training program and boosts her recovery through proper diet and hydration, she may still be prone to injury or fatigue. When a runner is left feeling too sore or too tired to run, she should listen to her body and do the one thing marathon runners often dread the most — cut back on running. During a cutback week, a runner can trim her mileage by as much as 50 percent, using the extra time away from running to rest tired muscles, ice aching joints and get a good night’s rest. A runner also can keep her muscles fresh and loose during a cutback week by stretching or cross-training, whether by lifting weights, cycling, swimming or playing another sport.”
I also really liked what Hungry Runner Girl said on her blog the other day: “If you have to take some time off [from running], don’t worry, running will be there for you when you are back.”
With that mentality, I’m not pushing my legs to run when they don’t want to. Instead, I’m letting them do their thing. Obviously I hope they’ll do their thing sooner than later but I know in the long run, taking some time off is the best idea and will benefit me in the long run. 😉

16 miles, 88 degrees.

7 May

So about that long run…

I got off of work an hour early and was greeted by a balmy 88 degrees. On my way home, I heard on the radio that the temperature broke the record for Denver. Sweet.

I decided that I was in no rush to get going on my run so I took my time getting ready, eating pretzels and packing my Camelbak. I had planned a 10 mile loop followed by a 6 mile loop, giving me time to come back to the house to get more water and to change shoes if I needed to.

Oh yeah, Thursday night I went and bought new running shoes from Runner’s Roost. I normally get all of my shoes from Boulder Running Company but I had a 20% off coupon from the Platte River Half for Brooks footwear at Runner’s Roost. You can’t argue with that.

I explained to the sales guy that I had gone through four pairs of my trusty old Nikes and they had been great until I started running more mileage. I showed him the shoes I had (I brought them along) and he pointed out several different brands that had stability shoes with larger toe boxes.

I tried on the Brooks Adrenaline as well as a pair of Mizunos and Adidas. The Adidas had a weird heel feel and the Mizunos were way too tight right when I put them on. But the Brooks… those felt pretty good. They were roomy, felt low to the ground, fit my heel well. I ran for a minute on the treadmill (I was in my work clothes so that was plenty!) and they felt pretty good. Since that was what my coupon was good for, I decided to go with them.

I took them to the Rec for what was planned to be a 4 mile tempo run. As I got started running, the tempo run turned into a nice, easy run. “Just get the miles in.” The shoe on my left foot felt great. But the shoe on my right foot felt too tight. I retied it at least four times. Didn’t work. After about 2 miles, the outside of my right foot started hurting. And then my right ankle. The run was sucking anyway, so I called it quits after 2.5 miles. I was a little nervous for 16 miles the next day. (And I was pretty sure that it wasn’t the shoes – just my foot being stupid.)

I made sure to drink plenty of water while I was at work on Friday and did some carbo loading from the vending machine:

After loading some new Lady Gaga tunes onto my iPod, I headed out on my run a little after 5:30. Right from the start, my legs felt tired. Not a good sign. But I hit Mile 1 at 10:52 so at least I wasn’t running as slow as I thought I was. Then I got to mile 2.

It’s a decent hill but definitely not as tough as some of the hills I’ve run. But it crushed me. I seriously have never felt like that on a run before  – when I say it felt like a nightmare where I was trying to run and couldn’t, I’m not exaggerating. It was a horrible feeling. I didn’t even get to the toughest part of the hill before walking. All I knew was that if I didn’t feel better on the downhill, I was calling it a day. I couldn’t imagine trying to do 15 more miles like that!

Amazingly, though, I did feel better on the downhill. I didn’t feel great but compared to how I had felt almost the entire previous mile, tired legs didn’t seem half bad. I decided then and there that I’d rather feel like I was running fast and really be running slow, than feeling like I was running slow and be running fast. Running is not fun when it sucks.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful but I definitely let go of any expectations about time (ok, I’ll admit I still wanted to run faster than  a 12 min pace). I had worn a tanktop because of the heat and my backpack was rubbing on my back, which was not enjoyable. I took gels at Miles 4.5 and 9. But my shoes and feet felt good. Legs were meh but they were still moving, which is all I could ask for.


1- 10:52 
2 – 12:34 (hill) 
3 – 11:04 
4 – 11:39 
5 – 11:59 
6 – 11:16 
7 – 11:40 
8 – 12:33 
9 – 12:34 
10 – 11:33 
.1 – 1:12 

Total – 10.1 miles; 1:58:56 (11:46 average)

Back at the house, I stopped long enough to exchange my tank for a t-shirt (heavenly!) and headed back out. I had filled my Camelbak up, so I didn’t need more water, and it was already 8:00! It would get dark around 8:30 so I knew that I’d be running in the dark for the last few miles.

There was a big hill at Mile 2 of that loop too. (Who planned this route anyhow?)

That hill was more substantial and I ended up walking it as well. As I was running around the park at the top, I was actually feeling pretty great. The sun was setting as I made my way around the park – it was beautiful.

Besides the fact that I could tell my shoes were rubbing my feet (grrr!!), my legs felt pretty speedy. (They were actually slower, however.) I don’t quite know what happened to these splits but I was tired – I kept forgetting where my mile markers were (I actually couldn’t remember them the whole run, while is abnormal – good thing I wrote them down!)

It was dark as I left the park and started on my last 2 miles of what felt like a day-long run. Travis ended up coming to look for me, since it was so late. What a sweetie. He offered me a ride home but I declined – I only had 1 mile left!


1.16 – 13:40 (forgot to hit split)
2 – 12:13 (hill!) 
2.92 – 11:53 (hit too early)
4 – 14:04 
5 – 12:34 
5.93 – 10:47 

Total – 5.93 miles; 1:15:11 (12:40 average)

16 miles total in 3:14:18, 12:08 average

Even though it pains me to see the dreaded 12 at the beginning of my pace again, I feel like this run was an anomaly for two main reasons:

1) It was almost 90 degrees out when I started.

2) My legs were exhausted from the get-go.

I don’t think running on a Friday night had that much of an effect (I had actually slept pretty well the previous few nights), but it probably didn’t help.

And actually, I don’t think the heat was the biggest factor in this run either. I surprisingly didn’t sweat that much and while I drank my entire Camelbak over the course of the 16 miles, I don’t feel like that’s a ton. Although I did do much better with hydrating early in this run – I wasn’t nearly as thirsty toward the end as I have been on other runs (trying to get better about that since I realize I’ll have another 10 miles to go during the marathon!).

The biggest factor in this run I think was exhaustion. All of my runs last week were just plain crappy. My 8 mile run on Tuesday had some redeeming Yasso 800s but otherwise, those miles were also slogged out at on very tired legs.

Since this week is a stepback week anyway, I’m going to really step it back. I’ll still do my long run of 12 miles on Saturday and my long mid-week run of 8 miles tomorrow. But I took another rest day today and I’ll probably just do some light cross-training on Wednesday and Thursday instead of my 5 mile run – probably just walking or the elliptical. I’m also going to hold back on the speed work and lower body strength training until my legs feel back to “normal.” (I realize that they’re probably not going to feel 100% until I start tapering.) I would really like to avoid having another week like this past one!

As for my new Brooks shoes, I’m not ready to give up on them. I ran 16 miles in them almost straight out of the box so I think they have potential. The next thing I’m going to try is Nu Skin or taping my feet. (Travis requested that Plan B be cheaper than a new pair of shoes.)

And now I’m off to bed!

What’s the warmest temperature you’ve run in?

16 miles done.

4 May

Well, I survived my 16 mile run. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fast. Even though it was 88 degrees outside when I headed out, I think the main culprit behind my less-than-stellar performance was sheer exhaustion. I felt like I was running through jello for the first two miles – you know those nightmares when you’re trying to run but can’t? It was like that.

Luckily, things improved after those first couple of miles – I mean, my legs felt better. I didn’t get any faster.

But I got the miles in and at this moment, that’s all that matters. And that’s all I care about.

I’m completely exhausted and have an early wakeup call to head up into the mountains so the details will have to wait.

I’ll leave you with this:

16 miles


12:08 average pace

1 more long run closer to a marathon

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!

Back to My Long Run Roots

25 Mar

I woke up this morning at 7 am without an alarm clock, feeling well-rested and ready for the day. I love it when that happens! But I know it’s no stroke of luck – it’s the natural outcome of going to bed at a decent time. I finally feel back on track after a few weeks of hitting the snooze at least ten times every morning with the excuse, “I’m soooo tired.” Early bedtimes are where it’s at.

Yesterday, I did my first double digit long run for my official marathon training – 10 miles. I still feel like mixing things up and not just running my same old trail so for this run, I drove up to Boulder. The loop I ran was almost identical to the longest training run I did for my first half marathon – I adjusted it a bit since I wouldn’t be running to and from our old apartment (though I did still run by it).

I got up at 6:45 and left the house around 7:10, after getting my Camelbak loaded and watered, and eating a breakfast of 2 Kashi waffles with peanut butter and jelly. Since I am a morning runner at heart, I am loving my long runs early in the morning – right now, it’s the only run I get to do in the morning so it’s extra special. It doesn’t hurt that I get to go run in places like Boulder. Hello Flatirons:

I ended up running the loop in the opposite way I had originally planned because right as I parked the car, I realized I needed a bathroom break, now. So I ran to the nearest gas station and instead of backtracking, just continued on that direction.

It had been a fairly cool 45 degrees at my house,  so I was wearing my 2xU compression tights, a t-shirt, and a long-sleeve over that. It became apparent after about 30 seconds of running into the blazing sun that I did not need the long-sleeve. I decided that when I stopped to get my music started around mile 1.5 (when I got out of the high traffic area), I’d also remove my long-sleeve and tuck it into my Camelbak. So that’s what I did.

What I love about Boulder: So many trails. So many people. It’s a chicken/egg situation. Are there so many people out because the trails in Boulder are kick@$$? Or are the trails so awesome because so many people want to use them? I saw at least 5 running groups of 10-30 people out on this gorgeous morning, plus at least 50 other people, if not more. My hand got a little tired from waving (kidding).

Right before mile 2, I saw these sweeties:

I took a picture of them for Lisa from Cow Spots and Tales. Colorado cows! These little babies were so cute. Although they were a little scared of me and my phone. The one on the left was poised to dart away if I moved an inch closer.

I continued on after that picture, feeling great. My legs felt good. My lungs felt good. The weather was perfect. And I was running on the trails that hold so many great memories of moving out to Colorado and training for my first half marathon.

The first 6 miles were downhill and the last 4 were uphill, losing and gaining about 200 feet total. This slightly mimics the Platte River Half Marathon I’m doing on April 15 – it’s mostly downhill with one hill at the end (though that hill is not 4 miles long, thank goodness).

Boulder run elevation – but I ran it backwards

Platte River Half elevation profile

Since I was using my Poor Man’s GPS (mapping the route online and manually tracking my splits at memorized mile markers) and the route was 9.93 miles instead of 10, my first and last splits are about 30 seconds off. But regardless, I was very happy with my pace during this run:

1 – 9:55
2 – 10:25
3 – 10:48
4 – 10:57
5 – 10:26
6 – 11:41
7 – 12:00
8 – 10:59
9 – 11:55
10 – 11:32

Total Miles – 9.93

Total Time – 1:49:43 (11:05/mile)

{Side note: If I run this pace during the half in April, I will PR by about 5 minutes!}

Mile 6 was so slow because I took a Gu right as I finished Mile 5 (the one I tried this time was the Triberry flavor, and it was delicious) and even though gels are easier to consume than Shotbloks, they still make it hard to breathe while running. And then Mile 7 was so slow because…? I was dying? I could’ve used another gel at Mile 9, but with only one mile to go, and the $1.99 price tag for a gel in my mind, I decided that I’d muscle through. But it does give me a good idea of when I’ll plan on fueling during a race.

Even though Miles 6-10 were uphill, they had a lot of entertaining things to look at. For one, I was running toward the Flatirons. For two, there were prairie dogs everywhere. I took a bad picture of them for Heidi at run.around.aroo (I couldn’t get closer because they were also scared of me):

As I ran past their homes, I saw a couple of them wrestling, another one scratching himself, and came upon another one who was dragging some twigs and what looked like moss across the path to his home on the other side. But when he saw me coming along, he panicked and ran back to safety. I looked back a little after I had passed him, and he had made it safely to the other side. I think this is why I absolutely love animated movies, like Up and A Bug’s Life – I love imagining animals like prairie dogs with little personalities, habits, etc. that are unique to them. I mean, dogs and cats have them, so why not prairie dogs?

Right after that, I came upon this tribute to the prairie dog:

This also shows how nice the trails in Boulder are – these murals are in an underpass on the bike trail.

I also saw some ducks, several pretty birds, and lots of pretty flowers:

My excitement at seeing these, though, was tempered by the fear that it might snow again and kill all of them. That would be sad.

I ended my 10 mile run by stretching in the park, then changed out of my sweaty shirt and sports bra into a workout tank (which worked really well and I’m going to keep this in mind for future races), and ate some Pirate’s Booty and 2 clementines on my drive home.

I actually felt great after this run, no Epsom salt bath necessary – I was a little stiff getting out of the car after my 35 minute drive but after I got moving,  I felt great. I even ended up helping Travis with some yardwork (meaning I mostly stood there for moral support while he did the work) before I went to a baby shower. When I got home from that, I took the pooches on a walk and then took a much-needed hour-long nap. We grilled up some elk burgers for dinner and watched 3 DVR-ed episodes of NCIS (we’re so addicted right now), before calling it a night at 10:30. Oh, and I drank two Mike’s hard lemonades – the joy of Saturday night. I think this is going to be a trend.