Tag Archives: pace

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?

Call a spade a spade.

31 Jan

All female health bloggers: Stop right now.

I see so many gorgeous female bloggers who have amazing figures, entertaining blogs, and impressive race times constantly demean, lament and berate their so-called flaws. Even if they have ripped abs that most women would have to eat only spinach and do 600 sit-ups a day to get, they joke about their love-handles or flabby stomach. Uh, right. If they run 30 miles one week, they were such a slacker. Their 4:00 marathon time was horrible because they could only manage a 9:00 pace for 26.2 miles.

I’m mentioning this because I think this is something that we as women, and humans, are tempted to do: We’re so afraid of being called proud that we take pride in nothing.

This is something I learned from my Grandma Dee. The last few years of her life, she lived with my grandpa in an assisted living home. Like a nursing home, they had all kinds of activities going on, and lots of other people living in the same building. Every once in a while, my grandma would say something like, “Dorothy came over and sat with me at lunch again today. She just really likes talking to me.” At first, I was taken aback by her frankness. Nobody I knew talked like that – because {hush} it was prideful. But my grandma said it so matter-of-factly and moved off the subject so quickly that I kept thinking about it. She got away with saying it. Why? Because she was just stating the facts.


The Urban Dictionary describes False Modesty as:

To tell everyone that what you did is bad, knowing all the way that what you did is good, just so everybody says the opposite.
Usually used by women.

EmoGothgirl666: OMG , My blog is crap.
EmoboyLestatDarkness: Don’t say that, it’s great!

The Wiktionary describes it as:

Behavior that is intended to seem humble but comes across as fake and unflattering.

Usage: “Although having a large ego is considered undesirable, at times it is proper to take credit where it is due rather than display false modesty.”

And I think that last sentence sums up my point perfectly.

Sure, no one wants to be boastful and self-absorbed. But c’mon. Call a spade a spade.

Not only do I not believe that you truly hate your abs of steel or think a 4-hour marathon is an absolutely pitiful time, your false modesty makes it seem like any stomach that can’t bounce a quarter or any turtle coming across the finish at 6 hours, 30 minutes is something to be even more ashamed of. If you’re complaining over what is almost unanimously the goal, standard or aim of others, what becomes of anything that falls short of that?

What about the women who hardly dare take their shirts off in front of their husbands?

What about the runners who have put their hearts and souls into training for athletic event of their life, only for the aid stations to be packing up by the time they get there?

The unfortunate side effect of false modesty is that all of those women who will never have a rock-hard stomach and never run a 4-hour, 5-hour, or even 6-hour marathon even up thinking, “Well, if she’s flabby and if she’s slow, then what am I?”

I’ll tell you what would be refreshing. A female runner who runs a 8:00 pace on an “easy recovery run” and is happy about it. A woman who has worked hard to tone her biceps to get excited over them without adding the caveat, “But I still have a loooooong way to go” or “There’s still toooooons of room for improvement.” A recovering chocoholic who makes it through the day with only one Oreo to rejoice over improvement, instead of gut out an extra 15 minutes on the elliptical because she has absolutely.no.willpower.

If you don’t want to gush and aw over your rockin’ bod or your killer time, I get it. But at the very least, don’t knock it. State the facts and make no judgments. Let the cards fall where they may.

If we as women want to create an environment of acceptance and body-love, then we have to STOP CRITICIZING ourselves instead of poking, pinching and lamenting our imperfections.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (Marianne Williamson)

Delighting in who we are, what we’re capable of, and our accomplishments gives other people the permission to do the same. Be a source of inspiration to others.

What are your thoughts about pride and false modesty?


*The sunrise is not actually ugly; I’m using it to illustrate how ludicrous false modesty is.

I’m completely giddy.

21 Jan

My wonderful husband installed this Thursday night:

The CD player that the car came with hasn’t worked for at least 2 years and then the radio crapped out so I drove to and from work every morning in silence. And while I actually enjoyed it, I also enjoy having the freedom to listen to CDs again. AND this stereo has an iPod jack so I can listen to my audio books and downloaded music too. I’m going to drive around all night just to listen to music.

As if that wasn’t enough, I just discovered this on MapMyRun.com:


Like a Garmin.

Now I can see my schizophrenic pace!

If I had known that using the iMapMyRun app on my phone did this, I would’ve been using it for every.single.run.

Another benefit of bringing my phone on runs (besides safety, which I need to get better about) is taking pictures of the amazing Colorado sunsets.

Well, today’s 10-miler is done and now we’re off to Denny’s for some pancakes or french toast.

Hope you’re having a great Saturday!

Five Randos

13 Jan

1. I had my second physical therapy appointment this morning. I was dreading it because I thought I was going to be get poked with needles (I even had a blog post title of “Pins and Needles” thought up). But luckily, since I told the therapist that my lower back felt fine still, he said he would leave it alone. Woohoo!

But I still had plenty of unpleasantness to deal with. I told him that my upper back between my shoulder blades was still sore/tight so he cracked that area again, along with my neck, and then proceeded to massage/poke/pull my shoulder and upper back tendons as I turned my head to one side, then the other. That hurt. A lot. Not like the sharp pain of a needle but a deep muscle-y pain – like how your tight IT band feels when you massage when it with a foam roller. My shoulders are sore now, which he said might happen.

He also showed me some exercises I could do to strengthen my lower back and hips. I’ll demonstrate and post them soon, since they’re beneficial for all runners/athletes.

What I’ll demonstrate now is how to lower your keyboard:

With a keyboard tray! It took me until this morning to realize I could push the tray in (I just had it installed yesterday). Before, it was sticking out from the desk by about 8 inches. At that rate, I was going to need glasses from squinting.

Anyway, lowering my keyboard will prevent me from shrugging my shoulders so much – your upper arms should be perpendicular to the floor when sitting at your desk.

2. Lots of TV time this weekend. Tomorrow is the Olympic Marathon Trials coverage (2-4 pm MST – we’re the same as central) and the Broncos game. Go Tebow! I might have to go buy a Broncos shirt tonight…

Sunday, I will be watching My Fair Wedding because fellow blogger Danica’s wedding will be on. It’ll be cool to finally see everything she hasn’t been able to show on her blog.

But I’ll balance that TV time out with two runs – my long run of 7 miles on Saturday and my tempo run of 4 miles on Sunday (moved from yesterday because I ate too much for dinner and would have puked if I tried to run…one of those days).

3. I seem to be a running anomaly. I’ve input several times into the McMillan Running Calculator: my half marathon PR back in 2007, my most recent 5K time, and my most-likely-never-to-be-duplicated 5 mile run in the Denver RnR Half Mary Relay. Those times are all over the board and produce quite the varied results.

With the 3 different times, my predicted marathon finish time could be (respectively):




I’ll take the last one, thankyouverymuch.

Also according to the calculator, my long runs should be run at a pace around 12:45 to 13:15 per mile. Lately, I’ve been comfortably running, without challenge, an easy pace of 11:15/mile for my long runs. But apparently, that should be the pace for my tempo intervals, which I’ve been running at a 9:55 or 10:00 pace (those paces aren’t even on the chart).

So I’ve concluded that while the running calculators may give me a ballpark of +/- 30 minutes for my marathon time, I should just use my long runs as a judge for my goals (and obviously the runs that are closer to the marathon distance, not the 8 miler I just did last Saturday). I’m also planning on doing Yasso 800s for my speedwork during Weeks 10-16 of my marathon training plan. It’d be cool if it really works to predict your marathon time (click the link to read more details).

4. I’ve been waiting for Friday all week long. Regardless, when I woke up this morning, I was surprised that it was already Friday. Which means I have to clean my house because we’re having people over for the game tomorrow.

5a. My favorite lunch as of late has been big salads, thanks to my friends leafy romaine lettuce and Caesar croutons. If it weren’t for those two, I wouldn’t be eating salads. They have changed my life. (For some reason, I get sick of spinach every now and again and won’t eat it to save my life…unless it’s in a smoothie.)

Yeah, I scrimped a little too much on the lettuce for that salad… but I also eat the lettuce first and this was halfway through the salad.

5b. We got new dinnerware for Christmas from my parents. The dishes we got for our wedding were really cute ones from Target but since I am a dish-breaker by trade, we only had 4 big plates left and all of our bowls (minus 2) had giant chips out of them. We are really enjoying our new dishes. Thanks Mom and Dad!

They are the Platzgraff Java pattern.

It’s even prettier in person. They’re still on sale at Shopko if you need new dishes!

What’s your favorite thing for lunch? Do the running calculators predict your speeds correctly?

Training Recap: 11/14 – 11/20

21 Nov

Monday: 3.6 mile hill run (42:54; 11:40/mile) + 20 min strength training

I ran a mile to warm up, ran about a mile up and down hills (holy crap they kicked my butt!), then ran easily for the last 1.6 miles back home.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Rest

I was supposed to do 30 min cross training and strength but I decided to have a couple glasses of wine and catch up on House episodes instead. It is not ideal to have my 2 rest days back to back, so in the future, I will try my darnedest to not let this happen.

Thursday: 7.33 mile bike ride (30:00) + 20 min strength training

Friday: 2.88 mile tempo run (31:15; 10:51/mile)

I warmed up for .5 mile, then ran the next mile at a 10:00 pace! I haven’t seen that kind of speed since the Denver RnR Half. I did another mile at around a 10:30 pace, then ran easy for .5 mile.

Saturday: 5.23 mile run at easy pace (57:53; 11:04/pace)

This run gives me hope that I can get a half marathon PR while training for this marathon (my current PR is 2:30:46 – an 11:30 pace). We shall see…

Sunday: 1,500 yd swim (43:36) + 45 minutes easy yoga


Something strange has been happening lately – I am actually enjoying strength training. {Insert scary sci-fi music here.} It gives me hope that I might someday like to try Crossfit.

I have found some great 20 minute strength workouts on nhershoes blog. Here is my favorite right now:

2 sets of 12 reps of each

  • Alternating Lunges – with 5lb weights
  • Squats – with 5lb weights
  • Hip lifts on stability ball
  • Bent over row – with 5lb weights
  • Triceps kick backs – with 5 lb weights
  • Lateral raises – with 5lb weights
  • Overhead press – with 5lb weights
  • Pushups
  • Toe touches
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Plank – 60 sec

It’s not the most challenging weight workout ever but I like it because I’m usually not sore the next day (and since my focus right now is on running, I would prefer to not be sore). I do think that I will try to increase my weights next time but I just don’t have anything heavier than 5 lb weights at home, so I’ll have to go to the rec.

I will say though that I can do 12 push ups consecutively on my feet!

I can do all the 2 sets of 12 on my feet, but I need to take a break during the second set. And a 60 second plank still kills me. My shoulders and upper back were a little sore Tuesday morning last week after doing this workout. They’re also sore this morning after swimming and doing yoga yesterday. I don’t know if that is good or bad…

In addition to strength training, I am also enjoying doing a different thing for each of my weekly runs – intervals, repeats, tempo, easy, hills. Soon, I’d like to start running stairs again, probably at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The stairs there are a doozy. I could also do a trail run while I’m at it.

I’d also like to start doing some plyometrics, like box jumps. I just read last night in Competitor magazine that plyometric movements have been shown to improve running performance because they strength the legs to act as stronger springs. I believe it.

I just can’t get over how different this is from how I previously trained for races. My mantra then was “Just Run.” The only thing that changed from run to run was the distance and perhaps the trail.

Otherwise, they were all just slogged out at the same old pace. Which is why I like training for triathlons – you do something different every day. And now that’s how I feel about running! Even though I don’t necessarily look forward to my speed work, tempo runs or strength training, I feel accomplished having done them and I do think my running performance is improving as a result.

Do you like mixing up your runs? What is your favorite weight/strength routine?

Snow and speed.

10 Oct

Saturday morning, we woke up to rain and cold. I normally would’ve been excited, since weather like that is not that common in Denver, but with the race on Sunday, I was a little nervous. Those would be miserable conditions for a race – 35 degrees and rainy. Yuck. We had also planned to drive up to the Winter Park / Fraser area to do some scouting for elk hunting next weekend. One of the main roads that they have used in years past was washed out by abnormally large runoff and hasn’t been rebuilt so Travis wanted to familiarize himself with some other roads.

But first things first – while Travis had the Forge at church Saturday morning, I had coffee with my friend, Cathy. Then Travis and I headed downtown for the race expo and packet pickup. Since this is by far the biggest race I’ve ever done, I really enjoyed the expo. Usually, the expos at the races I do consist of a handful of booths of stuff that I’m not really that interested in. But this expo was different. There had to have been 40-50 booths and almost everyone was giving away free stuff. (Score!) Travis looked at new running shoes and got a 15% coupon for Boulder Running Company – which I can use for buying new shoes too! I bought a new stick of BodyGlide (mine was almost gone). After an hour, we decided to head home.

We ate lunch and loaded up the pooches. As we were leaving Denver, we weren’t sure whether going up into the mountains was a good idea or a bad idea.

This was just the foothills. We decided to play it by ear. If we hit a bunch of traffic or the roads got really bad, we’d turn around and head home. Luckily, the roads were actually almost void of traffic (this is the lull time between tourist season and ski season) and the road conditions weren’t bad – I did tell Travis several times to slow down but that’s pretty much the norm when we’re driving in the mountains. We drove over Berthoud Pass into Winter Park, then turned off after Fraser onto the back country roads. There was a good 6 inches of snow on the ground so while everything was very pretty, the roads were very slick (mud + snow = slippery!).

The aspens stood out against the snow-covered evergreens – very pretty.

As we were driving along, Travis noticed tracks in the snow on the road. He thought they were elk tracks but then we saw this:

A moose!

That was the first moose I’d ever seen so I was pretty pumped!

We drove a little while more until we found a potential camping spot for elk hunting and then we let the pooches out to run around. This was potentially Charlie’s first time ever seeing snow so we were curious to find out if she’d like it.

She did.

I didn’t get many pictures of the dogs – they run so fast that it’s near impossible to catch them in action. But this is a still from one of the videos. It looks like Charlie was whirling up a snowstorm but it was actually Travis kicking snow on her. 🙂

She did really like the snow, though. Here are a few more stills of her and Katy running around (they’re not the greatest quality but it gives you an idea).


Katy loves snow too – they’ll be great Minnesotan dogs one day.

Travis was craving a burger and fries so we stopped in Silverthorne to get Wendy’s. I tried their new Caramel Apple Parfait and while it was good (when is ice cream bad?), I think it would be better with yogurt.

We got home around 5:30 and I tried to be productive but I spent about 45 minutes looking for a specific devotional in My Utmost for His Highest until my brain hurt and all I wanted to do was lay down. I wanted to just go to bed but we had to figure out directions and logistics for the next morning, as well as get our race stuff together. Once that was done around 9:45, we went to bed.

My alarm went off at 5:00 am and I pushed my snooze button twice without realizing it. Good thing it’s only 3 minutes long! By the third time my alarm went off, I woke up enough to wonder what I was supposed to be getting up for. Work? Church? What? Oh, the race.

My hair was pretty greasy from not washing it for 3 days so I took a shower. Since it was so cold outside, I figured I’d probably not do my normal thing of putting my hair up half wet so I dried it completely. I wore my 2XU compression pants with shorts over them (just cuz), a long sleeve tech shirt, and a fleece vest. I also wore an ear warmer and stretchy gloves during the race, but ended up taking them off about 3/4 of the way through. After peanut-butter-ing mini bagels for us to eat in the car and doctoring my coffee, we grabbed our stuff and left right on time at 5:45.

It only took us 15 minutes to get downtown, but another 10 to figure out how to get into the darned parking lot the race organizers had told us to park in. That was the only part of the race that was frustrating – they had pretty much every street surrounding the parking lot closed off. Makes it a little hard to get in and out.

Finally, we parked and Travis left to find the shuttle to the start line. He later told me that he waited 20 minutes by himself in the dark for the shuttle and was about ready to run back to the car and have me drive him to the start when the shuttle finally showed up. He got down to the start line with the perfect amount of time to go to the bathroom, check his bag, warmup and jump over the barricade into his corral – he only waited 3 minutes before the race started!

Meanwhile, I was sitting in the warm car checking Facebook and reading my Google Reader feeds on my phone. I got done with that around 7:00, which was when the race started. I was pretty close to the relay transition point so I didn’t need to leave until 7:15 or so to give myself plenty of time before Travis would arrive around 8:04. So to pass the time, I pinned my number on my vest.

I watched a bunch of cars get towed around.

Which made me nervous about getting towed. So I made a sign to put on our windshield.

I took some random pictures of my chip timer…

…and my bored face.

Finally, it was time! I got out of the car and it was COLD! My phone said 35 degrees. Brrrr!! I walked the 5 minutes to the relay transition area and stood around for about 15 minutes before doing a short warmup. Then I stretched, the race organizers explained what would happen, and we stood around some more. Finally, the wheelchair athletes started coming. Then the elite, crazy fast runners. Then the really fast runners. And then the fast runners, which was where Travis came. He was the 15th or so relay person to come in.

I saw him coming around the traffic circle and moved to the front of the crowd, to take some pictures of him coming in. I reached for the car key that I was supposed to hand him too but it wasn’t in my pocket! Oh no! As I heard my bib number called, I had to run back into the crowd to find the key. Luckily, I found it pretty easily and still had time to take a few pics of Travis coming in for the hand off.

He finished his leg in 1:04:36, at a pace of 8:16/mile. He said that the first mile was really crowded and they almost stopped completely after the first 500 yards or so, so we think that he was right on pace for the majority of his run, but that the first mile threw it off.

I handed him the camera and car key, grabbed the drumstick (our relay baton), and off I went. Since I was going to be entering the massive pack of runners way faster than me, I tried to be mindful and run on the very outside of the road, so that people didn’t have to swerve around me. Some still did but oh well. I was glad to be carrying something that showed I was a relay runner. Sorry to be so slow and running with the fast people!

But it was a LOT of fun to run with the fast people. I was in the thick of it – there were tons of runners around. Which probably was mostly to do with the 17,000 runners doing the race. If I had been back with the 11:30 minute/mile people, there probably would’ve been plenty there too. But running with the fast people also inspired me to run fast. My legs felt fantastic. The minute I started running, I felt great.

I pushed it. For the entire race, I toed the line between running my fastest and overdoing it. I started running at mile 7.8 and tried to calculate my pace at mile 9 but came up with an 11:30/mile. Crap! If I was having such a hard time maintaining that slow of a pace, this race was going to suck. I saw mile marker 10. I decided that if my pace really was 11:30, then there was no reason to really push myself like I was. But to my joy, I discovered that I had just done a 10:00 mile. Woohoo!

That gave me the motivation I needed to keep pushing.

Mile 11 – 9:45. Holy crap, I can’t believe it!

Mile 12 – 9:55. I’m actually running sub-10 minute miles!! But holy crap, this is hard. It’s so tempting to slow down. 

Mile 13 – 10:00. Only a mile left – don’t throw away this pace now! Think of how proud you’ll be. Think of how proud Travis will be. Keep pushing!

I picked up the pace for the last .1 when I heard Travis yell “Go Kath!” from the sidelines. I can honestly say that I ran my heart out in this race – so much so, that I almost felt like puking when I was done. That’s when you know you pushed it.

I finished 5.3 miles in 52:57. That is a 9:59 pace.


I am still on a high from that race! What an amazing feeling to dig down deep and perform in a way that I didn’t expect. I was aiming for at least an 11:00 pace, wondering if that was even a stretch. And I blew that away!

Final time: 1:58:58

Average pace: 9:05

25/86 co-ed relay teams

I’d like to think that if this had actually been a 10K, I’d have a new PR (the only 10K I’ve run, I did in 62:36). And perhaps, I would. But I’m not sure I could have maintained that pace for even another 9/10 of a mile. I was completely beat. Regardless, this proves to me that I still have some speed in me.

After the race, I found Travis and while he went to get some food (they didn’t have any in the relay transition area), I stretched. We walked around the expo a little, rode the shuttle back to our car and headed home.

About the race itself, I was thoroughly impressed. The Rock ‘n’ Roll peeps have their crap together. I give this event an A++. The registration was easy, the pre-race information was thorough (they thought of everything!), there were tons of volunteers and portapoos (and spectators!) everywhere, the race t-shirt and medal are awesome, and the post-race food was plentiful. They had anything and everything you could want to eat after a race. They also had a family meetup area, a stretching tent and space blankets. I would definitely recommend this race. It is worth every penny.

Anyway, when we got home, we showered, ate a snack, and got back in the car to head to a friend’s birthday party, where Travis played flag football. Football isn’t my thing so I just hung out with pooches and talked to the other people who weren’t playing.

Then we went to their house, where we ate a ton of food, drank margaritas and beer, and watched football. I talked to a lady who had ran the full marathon that morning – it was her 13th full marathon and she had done two half Ironmans this summer. Impressive.

We left the party around 3 and like usual, even though my plan was to plop on the couch the minute I walked in the door, I couldn’t resist being productive. So I did the dishes, did laundry, went to Target and the post office, got gas, and then rested. We watched the movie Bridesmaids, which we had heard was hilarious. Um… no? We actually thought it was depressing and pretty much sucked. I mean, there were a few funny parts. But overall, meh.

Today is a rest day but tomorrow, I start my base building training schedule. I will be taking several rest days during elk hunting – my MIL, Beth, and I will probably hike some but no running (because there will be no showers!). But then, it’s back to it!

Back on the Workout Wagon.

27 Sep


I run across this bridge almost every run I go on (they do allow bikes on the bridge, just not in the river).

Last night, I had been planning on doing yoga when I got home from work but since it was my only free night this week (tonight I have book study, tomorrow is care group and Thursday I fly to MN), I decided to do my “long run” of 5 miles.

It was low 80s and sunny but since it’s not humid out here in CO, it actually felt really nice outside. I took the pooches out for the first 1.5 miles, then dropped them at home, and ran another 3.5 (crossing the bridge above). My legs felt great – strong, stable. I felt like I was cruising! My first mile of the last 3.5 was at a 10:50 pace and I swear there was another 10:30 mile in there somewhere (according to my math-while-running) but my pace came out at 11:23/mile for the whole run (58:39 for 5.15 miles).

I have to admit, I was more than slightly disappointed. I think even shooting for an 11:00/mile pace for this half marathon relay is going to be a stretch. Has my 10:00/mile pace vanished forever? What once seemed slow now seems so fast that it’s out of reach. Hmph. I am not a fan of getting older. Hopefully once I start doing speed work again, my pace will pick back up.

But anyway, with the exception of my disappointing pace, it was actually an excellent run. So there’s that.

I think one of the reason I was so slow last year (consistently running 12:30-12:45 pace) was that I didn’t engage many of my leg muscles when running – like I wasn’t using muscle to propel myself forward but just inertia. Sometimes it seriously felt like I was running in place. Last night, I concentrated on using my muscles to push me forward, even when my legs got tired. It’s kind of hard to explain but you know how when you sprint, you kind of sink down into your legs and don’t do as much vertical movement? It’s like that, only not as intense. Anyway, it makes my legs feel stronger and less achy. My injury last year has made me very distrustful of my legs and knee joints. I just keep thinking that any run, the pain could return. I’m going to try really hard to not let that happen this year!

After my run, I vacuumed, washed laundry (still have to put it away), and did the dishes. We ate the Zesty Black Bean Chili from the crockpot for dinner. While the soup was delicious and I really liked the consistency of the wheat berries, man, that soup was spicy! The recipe called for a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – they definitely cranked up the heat. It was borderline too spicy for me but Travis really enjoyed it. I froze the rest of the soup, so that Travis will have something to eat over the weekend while I’m gone. (Because even though he can cook and grocery shop, he refuses to.)

This morning, I finally got up when my alarm went off at 5:30, instead of hitting the snooze or resetting it for a later time. I did 60 minutes of Yoga X (the video that made me so sore last week) and was pleasantly surprised that after 45 minutes of pretty intense Vinyasa yoga, they go into doing balance poses – which although still challenging, don’t make me sweat like a man. I think I could do all 90 minutes if I ever have the time. But don’t worry – I still got my butt kicked today. I am so pathetically inflexible right now! In future triathlon seasons, I must find a way to fit yoga into my routine. It sucks having to gain back all the flexibility I lost since April.

I was nervous about being incredibly sore again tomorrow, so after I showered, I put Biofreeze on the parts that had been sore before – my hamstrings and biceps. I got several free samples from races this summer but had yet to try it. Holy cow that stuff is intense! It felt like I had sat in the snow for 10 minutes, then gone into a hot tub. Not painful, just…well, for lack of a better word, freezing. I put my clothes on and it felt like the back of my pants and sleeves were wet. So weird. Luckily, the feeling went away after 25 minutes or so. We’ll see if it was worth it tomorrow morning!

On the docket for tonight:

  • Finish laundry
  • Make banana bread while Travis grills dinner (brats, potatoes, and zucchini)
  • Book study
  • Pack for MN
  • Clean bathrooms (if I have time/energy)

Getting my running mojo back!

23 Jun

When I first started running, I was fairly speedy (for me), averaging between a 9:30 and 10:00 pace. The first race I ever did, the White Bear Lake Freedom 10 Mile, I ran at a 9:30 pace for 7 miles until I got this weird blister thing under my toe. I ended up finishing right around 1:40.

Then I moved to Colorado and the altitude instantly added a minute to my per-mile pace. But the more I ran, the more I got used to the altitude. I started running shorter runs at a 10:00 pace again. I ran my first half in 2:30:46, an 11:31 pace. A week later, I ran my first and only 10K in 62:36, a 10:03 pace.

The next year, I trained for my first sprint triathlon. As I have mentioned before, I was really gung ho about training. With the weight lifting and cross-training, I was regularly running at a 9:30 or even (gasp!) 9:00 pace.

It was awesome.

But once I stopped training like a mad man, my pace went back to just a little over a 10-minute mile.

And then 2010 happened.

Any speed I had ever had completely disappeared. While I was training for my second half and what I had hoped to be my first full marathon (but ended up being my third half), I was running so slow I was practically walking. No Joke.

It was so bad that I felt good about anything faster than a 12:00/mile pace. A lot of runs, I didn’t even make that goal. My half marathon times slipped to 2:33:50 and then 2:44:44.

What was happening to me?!?!?

Maybe I’m just getting old.

But actually, I’m pretty sure the same thing that caused my IT-band injury while marathon training is the same thing causing my excessive slowness. It’s three-fold:

1. Not enough (or any) weight training.

When I was training for my first sprint triathlon, I did full-body weights 2 times a week. I am almost positive that had a lot to do with how much faster I was running.

2. Not enough (or any) speedwork.

The ladies on The Nest’s Health & Fitness board like to say, “To run faster, you have to run faster.” You’d think that it being such a simple concept, I would have adopted it when I found myself progressively getting slower. Nah. I’d rather just put the miles in and hope the speed comes magically.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from frequenting the H&F board on The Nest, it’s that a lot of speedy runners work for their speed. They aren’t just out doing joy laps. They’re doing sprints, mile repeats, tempo runs, hill workouts. They’re balls to the walls.

3. Not enough stretching.

Not stretching, specifically not stretching my IT band, is definitely what caused my injury last year. I’m pretty sure that not stretching also has an effect on how fast I can go, because it affects hip flexors, hamstrings, calves, and generally makes running more enjoyable. It’s no fun to start a run and realize that your hamstring is as tight as a fiddle string.

To put these realizations into practice, I’ve decided to incorporate one day of upper body strength and one of lower body into my training, as well as at least 2 speed workouts a week (for running), and stretching after every workout (this is still hit or miss). I’m also trying to do drills and speed work for the swim and bike portions, but that looks different.

So far, since adopting my new philosophy, I’ve done several tempo runs, intervals, and some 1/2 mile repeats. So I was super excited this morning when I went on a run and ran the fastest pace I’ve ran for over a mile since training for that first triathlon. After 1.5 miles at a steady pace with the dogs, I went out for 2 more miles alone. I felt like I was pushing it (I was very out of breath) but my legs also started feeling heavy. I’ve been disappointed before when I feel like I’m running fast and I look at my watch, only to see it’s a 11:00 pace. So I wasn’t expecting anything (though secretly hoping for a 10:00 pace). I looked at my watch at the 1 mile point –



I was totally impressed by my little legs and pathetic lungs. Aw, you guys are getting stronger from the speed work – that’s so cute!

That achievement gave me the motivation I needed to push through another mile. I felt like I was slower. A negative split would be nice, but I’d be satisfied with around a 10:10.

My breathing was very labored. I was so ready to be done being out of breath. This was one of those runs where my legs felt amazing but my lungs just couldn’t keep up.

I was about 1/10 of a mile from my house when I looked at my watch. I only had 1 minute left if I was going to break a 10:00 pace.

I punched it and just about died.

But I made it. Split time: 9:36.


That run totally made my day and reassured me: Yes, I can get faster. 

{Update: I took my bike to the bike store last night and they said the rear derailleur hanger was bent. They fixed it and I can go pick it up after work! Bike ride tomorrow, here I come!}

Race Recap: Greeley Sprint Tri

13 Jun

That was my face getting out of the swim.

Already, you can tell the race went well.

But let me back up. I did my second open water swim practice on Saturday afternoon at Big Soda Lake Beach again. This time, there was only one other (real) swimmer there using the lap lane so I didn’t have to worry about running into someone else. I put my pool tactics into practice and the swim actually went very well. I was swimming relatively straight and was relaxed. I {almost} panicked after my first length because I feared getting out of breath but I just slowed my stroke down and took longer breaths. I did 8 lengths, which I calculate to be about 640 meters (each length is about 80). I went to bed that night feeling more optimistic and less scared.

Race morning came early at 4:00 am. I woke Travis up (we had discussed the need for his prompt rising, which he did – I was so proud and grateful), then took a quick shower, got dressed, and put my hair up and lotion on my arms and legs where I anticipated no body marking to be. As I’ve mentioned before, lotion helps wetsuits slide off easily but it also makes body marking rub off. So I use regular lotion (to avoid weird tan line blotches) and just put the lotion where I know there is/will be no body marking – on my arms from right above my elbow down and on my legs minus the back calves. But I forgot to put on Body Glide before getting dressed, which I was painfully aware of during my post-race shower. Chafing – ouch!

Since it was so early, I wasn’t that hungry when I woke up so I put peanut butter on 2 bagels (one for me, one for Travis) and packed that, along with 2 yogurts and some grapes, into my lunchbox to eat on the 1-hour drive up to Greeley. I also decided that it was long enough until the race (we weren’t scheduled to go until 7:30) that I could venture to drink some coffee. We were pulling out of the driveway (after returning once to retrieve our phones) at 4:40.

We arrived at the race site at 5:45, after some arguments over roads being closed and wrong directions (sleep deprivation = snippyness). I got my packet quickly, set up my transition area, near D (my racing friend), Michelle, and Susan (who both work with D at the racing company I worked for last year). For both of them, this was first triathlon and they were a little nervous about the swim.

I appreciated having the extra time waiting around because I feel so much more mentally prepared and peaceful when I have more than enough time to get everything together – even though its probably a little boring for Travis. I remembered to tape my Shotbloks to my bike, had time for a 10 minute jog to warm up, and used the restroom twice. So far, so good.


Five minutes before transition closed, I discovered that because the lake was so small (see picture above) and the swim start was a time trial instead of a wave, the warm up time was over when transition closed. Meaning I had missed the warm up time. Crap it! There went my strategy for the swim… Even though the water was about 10 degrees warmer than the Boulder Res, I was still worried I would get in, get out of breath with the cold water, and be toast.

As we waited around 20 minutes for the Adult Age Group to start, I had decided to go use the bathroom when I heard the announcer say that the Age Groupers could get in the water and warm up while we were waiting. I chose warming up in the water over going to the bathroom, which I believe was a good, but not ideal, decision (more on that later). The water was actually fairly warm and I was feeling good about the swim.

After warming up, we waited another 30 minutes to start due to timing issues (since I was a race timer last year, I can’t really be mad – it’s complicated and messy.) Finally, almost an hour later than planned, the Age Groupers started going. The order was Men, oldest to youngest, and then Women, oldest to youngest. So I was in last 30 or so people to go.

Finally, it was my turn. When they told me to go, I waded down the rubber mat into the water (this was a man-made lake, so the drop-off was pretty steep) and then did the breaststroke for about 10 seconds, letting the water get back into my wetsuit before putting my face in the water.

Then I started swimming. The first 100 meters were great – I felt totally relaxed and at ease. I can totally do this! I thought to myself.

Then I started noticing water getting in my mouth when I turned to breath so I started swallowing when I should have been breathing out underwater. My breathing got slightly off and I was tempted to panic. Why am I doing this again? Since when do I like swimming? As I rounded the second far buoy and started making my way back, I had the thought, “Why would I ever want to do an Olympic triathlon? I can barely stand 500 meters, let alone 1500!” I was able to mostly keep my cool through the whole swim and slowly, the yellow ducks marking the swim exit came closer and closer. I actually made it the whole way swimming! I did it! I did it!

Now you can see why I was smiling and giving a thumbs up when I came out of the water. The swim was OVER!

Official Time: 13:19


The race organizers had wetsuit strippers on hand but I don’t have that much difficulty getting mine off myself so I declined their offer of help. Like usual, I pulled my wetsuit down to my waist during the run to my spot, then pulled it all the way off at my bike. Both Michelle and Susan, who had started the swim after me, were both at their bikes already! Those little speed demons! I was glad that they had survived the swim though. (Susan later told me that it was a horrible experience and she didn’t think she’d ever do another one. I can relate to that feeling!)

I put on my socks, shoes, race belt, helmet and sunglasses, grabbed my bike and was off.

Official Time: 2:06 (gotta love those smaller transition areas!)


Just like at the Boulder Sunrise, I was pleasantly surprised by how good my legs felt on the bike. I passed quite a few people and definitely pushed myself (maybe a titch too hard). I ate my Shotbloks around Mile 4. The only noteworthy thing about the bike was how bad I had to pee for the last 3 miles. It was seriously painful. I had had to pee since before the swim took off. I now wonder why I didn’t run to pee then, since we stood around waiting for almost an hour. I had contemplated peeing in my wetsuit but didn’t want to do it standing around and couldn’t do it while swimming. I contemplated peeing on the bike but that’s just gross. So I resolved to pee (in a portapoo) when I got back to transition.

Official Time: 35:19 (17 mph average)


After racking my bike, taking off my helmet and grabbing my hat, I made a mad dash to the bathroom. I stopped my watch while I did so, in order to know how long my bathroom pitstop took me when compared to the official time. It probably cost me about 45 seconds. But it was totally worth it.

Official Time: 1:38


Once again, I was confronted with sluggishness on the run, most likely caused by going too hard on the bike. The way out was almost all slightly uphill, so that didn’t help either. I had to stop and walk a couple of times because my heart rate was around 175, which it should have been around 165. The run course also meandered a lot with dog legs so I felt like it went on forever. I felt like I was running very slow and was so ready for the race to be over, although now that I see my running pace I’m not that disappointed – sub-10:30 is pretty good for me lately. Finally, there was the finish line – a giant gorilla!

Official Time: 32:03 (10:21 pace)

Overall Official Time: 1:24:24

Overall Watch Time: 1:23:09

Gender Placement: 74/121

Division Placement: 10/15

I like to think that if we hadn’t had to wait around so long for the race to start, I wouldn’t have had to pee and my Watch Time would be the Official Time, making this race my new PR! (My last race at this distance was only a 350 m swim and I did it 1:23:40). Because it doesn’t really matter one way or the other, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As far as the race itself is concerned, I think this is a great, very well-organized local race (it’s put on by the Greeley Triathlon Club). The website is informative and has course maps for the swim, bike and run. The race director sent out 2 emails before the race with information about where to park, race day timeline, etc. You get a t-shirt (very cute!), finisher’s medal and towel, plus water, a protein drink, and free burrito post-race. They play good music and the transition area, finish line and swim start are all located in the same general area, so it has a cozy atmosphere. I would recommend this race!

What I Learned:

1. I need to work on my Bike/Run transition.

Even though I have done more running than either swimming or biking in my “racing career,” the run is definitely where I’m struggling the most and not living up to my potential. And I’m pretty sure it’s because my brick workouts in preparation for these races were pretty wussy. For my future bricks, I am going to hammer it on the bike and then run, to get used to the feeling I have during racing (the only other alternative is to not go as fast on the bike and I don’t like that!)

2. If I’m serious about doing an Olympic distance, I’ll have to do the breaststroke.

Doing freestyle for an entire Olympic swim scares me enough that if my only options were that or not doing the race, I’d choose to not do the race. Doing freestyle makes me feel like I’m all alone in a watery world and it’s also harder for me to breathe calmly, especially after swallowing water or running into someone. I am glad that I now know how to do the front crawl (in case of a pool swim, like the Leadville Tri-It-High) but the breaststroke is definitely my most natural swimming method. Plus, I was actually faster doing the breaststroke. Seeing how sore I was after the Boulder Sunrise, I’ll definitely have to slowly transition back into the breaststroke. I’m still going to do plenty of the front crawl during practice, though, because I’m loving the definition in my arms!

3. I need to get me some Athlete’s HoneyMilk.

They were handing this out at the finish line and while I normally shy away from anything even remotely sugary for a good 3-4 hours after a race (even chocolate milk is too much), I decided to take a chance on this protein recovery drink. I’m glad I did! Not only did it not upset my stomach, the Honey flavor was delicious! I think I’ll buy some of this for after intense workouts and races.

What’s Next:

I think I have finally convinced Travis to do a triathlon! We just need to get him a road bike, some tri shorts, a swimsuit, and he’ll be set! (Sportsbasement.com, here I come!) So we may do a different race than the Leadville Tri, since that one is a pool swim and Travis would prefer to try his hand at open water. But I’ll gladly change plans if it means Travis will do a race!

I’ve looked for other Olympic distance triathlons in the Denver region and it appears that the Steamboat Springs Tri on August 28th is the only option for when I’ll be in town. So I’m still planning on that. I also created my new Olympic training plan last week:

{UBW stands for Upper Body Weights – though I might do some Lower Body Weights too. We’ll see. I adapted this training plan to come up with this schedule.}

This plan is subject to change, since I calculated that each week involves 7-8 hours of training – pretty much double what I have been doing. I’ll talk more about my philosophy of training in a different post but for now, I’ll say that I need to have a good balance that involves time with God and my husband. I’ve over-trained before and it resulted in me doing nothing but training, working, eating, and sleeping. Not again.

If I do need to cut back, I’ll do one long and one short workout of each discipline a week, plus one day of strength training.

Last but not least, I have decided to discontinue my triathlon training blog and merge all of my triathlon-related posts into this blog (note the tagline changed to “A Twenty-Something’s Thoughts on Life, Health and God). I started my other blog in 2009 because I felt like this blog’s focus wasn’t physical health, but spiritual health. But as my friend Cathy has been discovering and sharing with me, our spiritual health and physical health are intertwined. And because I love training for endurance races and believe that God has given me that passion, I want to try to show what it looks like to glorify God through personal excellence in a sport (and world!) that is so often rife with pride and selfish ambitions. (But I’m definitely a work in progress, so bear with me!)

Plus, it was too hard to maintain 2 blogs. 😉

That’s all for today!