Category: Running + Training

I swear I did hill repeats!

By , May 6, 2015 5:05 am

You know when you do hill repeats, and you’re all excited to upload your Garmin and see the elevation profile? And Garmin is all, “Silly human, you call those hills?! I am not even going to make little blips on the map for you!”

CRY.

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Ha. Joke’s on YOU, Garmin. I have two apps on my phone that make those hills look like SUMTHIN':

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They count, right?! RIGHT?

Ha, they are nowhere near the course profile of what I am running for my next half:

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but that is not the point of hill repeat training. I will take my long run to some hillier trails, with yes, longer than 40′ inclines.

It’s nice to be training for something without a time goal. My goal for this race is finish feeling strong. And not die in the heat. And hopefully not run too horribly big of a positive split.

I’ve turned in to this strange sort of runner that likes doing some sort of speedwork (repeats, tempos, hills) once a week. I know. It’s odd. I am trying not to question it too much, and just keep up with it. But changing what I am doing throughout the year is a big part of what’s making me stick with it – the week by week variety keeps it from getting stale. First I was focused on 5K training (no PR there), then half training (no PR there), and now, hills (not going for a PR, there). So… while my training hasn’t resulted in any PRs… running is about much more than that, to me. Overall, I just want to enjoy it. And I am really surprised that I am starting to with speed sessions. A bit. I still dread the heck out of them.

Training Week 289

By , May 3, 2015 5:06 pm

Highlight of the Week: Giving it a go at the Wisconsin Half and learning a lot about myself as a runner/running someplace new.

Week289

Monday | April 27, 2015: 5 m run (incl. 6×400) + 15 m bike + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 50°/51°, Time: 43:00, Pace: 8:36 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Bike Time: 1:02:32, Pace: 14.4 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay (but sore butt!)
Strength: medicine balls, Difficulty: easy (mostly observing), Felt: good
Tuesday | April 28, 2015: 5 m run
Loc: White River Trail (Indy), Temp: 63°/62°, Time: 50:19, Pace: 10:04 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: happy to explore!
Wednesday | April 29, 2015: rest
Thursday | April 30, 2015: massage! felt so good!
Friday | May 1, 2015: teaching strength class + 3 m run
Strength: medicine balks, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 56°/56°, Time: 27:18, Pace: 9:05, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Saturday | May 2, 2015: Wisconsin Half Marathon (first 7+ w/Kelly)
Loc: Kenosha, Temp: 49°/65°, Time: 2:06:16, Pace: 9:38 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: meh, then better when I slowed
Sunday | May 4, 2015: 2 m photography walk w/Steven

Notes:

  • After weeks of doing mile repeats and longer tempo workouts, it was refreshing to do some 400s on Monday. Dare I even call it… fun?!
  • I forgot to mention this in my post about Indianapolis – it was such a nice surprise to see trees with leaves there! We don’t have much of that here, yet.
  • Except the disgusting stinky trees that bloom in the spring in my neighborhood and make me gag as I run by them. Does anyone else have these trees around?

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  • When people say they’ve lost a toenail, to they mean it actually fell off on it’s own, or they removed it themselves (because it was no longer attached)? Because when I say it, I mean the latter.
  • I had my road bike tuned up this week! Now I am all ready to ride outside! Let’s do this thing!
  • I slept on my right side, with my right leg straight and left leg knee bent. Last week I woke up with a really sore right shoulder, and it’s still been a bit sore this week. I just figured it was from strength class, but maybe it’s from sleeping on it? And that makes me think that sleeping with my legs like that probably isn’t good for me either!
  • Friday was my 100th run of the year! I’ve never tracked my workout stats this closely and it’s fun finding out random things like that.
  • April recap time! I ran 180.2 miles in April, and (indoor) cycled 50.5. I taught nine strength classes and one fitness boxing class. I did one strength session on my own. Weekend classes really quieted down in April. I bet May and the summer will be similar.

Link to Training Week 288

Wisconsin Half Marathon Race Report 2015

By , May 2, 2015 8:52 pm

Well, that didn’t go quite how I expected. But I am totally fine with how it did go!

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Looking at my previous two years at this race, where I’d tried to race something I was too heavy for, and started to slow down around mile 7, I figured that is what would happen to me again today. I figured we would stick to our 8:23-ish pace for those 7 miles, then I would tell Kelly to go ahead and get a kickarse PR, then I would slow down to a 9:00 minute mile and finish under 2:00 hours.

Um… not quite. Ha ha.

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We stuck to pace for 5 miles. At that point, I told Kelly I could feel I was slowing down, and for her to go ahead a bit if she wanted. She said she really needed to stop and use the restroom. She stopped, I adjusted my ponytail that was making me nuts (this was after I ditched a hat that made me nuts!) and ran ahead slowly. She caught me and I figured we’d run a bit slower for her to catch her breath. We ran just over 9:00 for mile 6. Okay, good, I was thinking. We’ll speed back up in the 8:00s again now.

But by this point, we were on the horribly pot-hoely out and back part of the course (seeing people on the out and back is fun… thinking you’re gonna trip? not so fun), and all of a sudden, everything on me felt so heavy. Even my arms felt heavy. It was odd.

The sun was out at full force. We had another mile just over 9:00. “Dammit,” I thought, “I am totally screwing up her race again, like last year!” Gah. I don’t want to be that friend who makes you go out way too fast then you have to slow way down to finish the race. Sigh. But that was me today.

Kelly went ahead at mile 7. I was confident she would go ahead and PR, and I felt good I wasn’t holding her back anymore (although I did appreciate sharing my misery with her – I can run faster with a friend by my side).

I slowed down a bit, to a 9:19 mile for mile 8. “Oops!” I thought to myself, “gotta keep it towards 9:00s, Kim, to come in under 2:00.” I hoped Hanna catching up with me would make me get back on track. Ha ha, no! It was nice to chat (and to meet her) though!

I stopped and had my water bottle filled up just after mile 9. That slowed down my pace. I started seeing splits in the 10s! What the heck?

But… I was smiling. My body was happy I slowed down. The sun was beating down on me and slowing down was just what I needed to do, unfortunately.

The last two miles got even slower (in the 11:00s!). I never walked, but had to stop and get water AGAIN. Rachel caught up with me and said she was feeling the same. And said, “I don’t think we’re recovered from that ultra.” Nah…

I saw Kelly on the out and back by the finish and was so happy to see her and know she was going to PR! When I (eventually) got close to the finish I tried really hard to make sure I didn’t look like death. Because I didn’t entirely feel like it, just had nothing left to give. Steven said he could totally tell I was trying to look happy! Ha, did it work?!

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Because I was SO happy to be finished and have that over with! The last three years I’ve set a fast goal for this race in the winter, then gained weight and still went for the goal at the race. It’s a horrible cycle, and kind of horrible to do that to the people I run it with!

But, I know Kelly doesn’t care and is happy for our time we run together. I am too. And she did PR today! I’m so proud of her. Sigh. I am going to miss her so much when she moves next month. Yeah. Haven’t mentioned it before because I am ignoring it… anyway.

Me? I ran a 2:06:16. Hee hee. A good half marathon time, for sure, but a horrible way to execute it, I know! I’ll make it a goal not to do THAT again this year. I need to be more honest with what I can do with the weight I am at!

Steven had a lot of fun taking photos at the race. R2D2 was a hit! When he had the balloon on the ground near the end, he said little kids were coming up to give it hugs, and one kid even said “R2D2, I love you!” Awww.

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Our friend Pablo helped Steven take photos, and his wife and son hung out with him, too! We saw a ton of people from the studio, Rachel and her crew (ha, Kelly and I were on a “team” with them – our team name was “Four Swiss Misses and a Bratwurst,” since we had four ladies and one man), and a few people from the running club. Oh! And I saw Kelly cheering people on! That was a nice surprise. Oh! And seeing Ian at the turnaround, as well!

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A few people from the Efit crew – we had quite a few more!

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Me, Sarah, Mattie and Rachel

This was my seventh year running this half. I’ve run it every year since the inaugural, and will continue to. I will just try not to have wild ass goals next year. Ha.

Now, this seems a bit Debbie Downer, but like I said, I am completely cool with it all, and Kelly is happy with a PR (especially with the silly cold she has). But let’s end with some positives, right?

  • I didn’t fall this year! I was very careful with my footing.
  • I got to run this race for free, since I am (a version of) a race ambassador. I have been the last two years, and gotten a free entry then too, but have paid for my BiL to run it both times (as a gift).
  • There was no wind in the beginning and a nice breeze at times when we needed it (it was 49° when we started and 65° when we finished, so we definitely needed it).
  • I got to cheer lots of friends in to the finish, and chat with lots of friends, too!
  • Someone told me they liked my tattoo!
  • The medal and ribbon are really cool this year! I love that it has the course map on it. I heart maps.

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  • Steven seemed to be having a good time, and we ran some fun errands after the race. It was nice to have him there and spend the time together!

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Until next year, Wisconsin…

A short run in Indianapolis

By , April 29, 2015 5:54 am

Wow! Downtown Indianapolis has a lot of neat public spaces!

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I’ve had a few people recommend Indianapolis races to me and honestly… never understood why. Now, I can see the allure to run here! I wonder if the rest of the city is as beautiful.

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I am in Indianapolis for a super short work trip. I got in late last night, but with the city being on the western end of the time zone, I still had plenty of light for a run! I mostly ran on the White River Trail.

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I do think I’ll have to come back for a race. This is only my second run (ever!) in the state of Indiana, and my first one didn’t go so well… ha ha.

I love seeing new areas through running and am grateful I had this opportunity to see just a (very small, ha ha) bit of Indianapolis!

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The balloon strategy

By , April 27, 2015 6:52 am

I have a lot of fun things going on this week, but one I am SUPER excited about is picking out a mylar balloon for Steven to carry at the Wisconsin Half Marathon. We’re thinking a Thor balloon this year!!!

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Last year’s pick!

Wait, huh? Why does Steven need a balloon?!

It’s not to use while running the race… it’s for photographing it!

The first marathon I ran was Chicago, in 2010. A lot of people run it (I know, derr…) and I wish I would have known, at a race like that, it’s better for you to find your spectator, than for them to find you in a sea of people. I mean, yes, of course, you plan out where you are going to see each other, on what side of the street they’ll be on, what you expect your pace to be, and so on. But, things go amiss in races… especially in marathons. And while I was running with a phone then, it wasn’t a smart phone that could track where I was and tell Steven. In fact, it couldn’t tell him anything, because I broke it during the race. Oops.

Anyway! I ended up missing Steven at a few of our planned spots, and it really upset me. And one of the reasons I didn’t see him is because there were so many spectators and I couldn’t find him.

I didn’t have this issue at my next two marathons because of the scale of them – it was easy for us to spot each other. But I knew that the NYC Marathon would have even more spectators and runners than Chicago, so I asked Steven and the spectating crew (Christina, Will, Gina and Steve) if they would carry a mylar balloon so I could find them on the course.

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Look for your balloon flying high and find your crew!

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Local and virtual spectators! In NYC (clockwise from top left): Gina, Luca, me, Christina, Will, Steve and Steven. And virtual (clockwise from top left): Grandma Pete (IA), Grandma Tiger (IA) and Courtney (TX). How lucky I was to have so many people spectating for me in person and virtually at NYC, and other events. I am really grateful Steven and family and friends like to come to the events I do!

And I saw them. At every. single. spot.

The balloon method is a success!

But wait, Wisconsin is not that big! Why does Steven need a balloon there?

It’s not exactly for me. It’s for all the people we know running it, to find him. There are just under 20 people running the race from my studio, and probably 10-20 others I will know there. Rather than tell them where he’ll be on the course so he can take their photo, I can just tell them to look for the balloon and get his attention. He’s renting a fancy pants lens again this year, and enjoys taking the photos and sharing them, so, the more people to photograph, the better!

Have you used the balloon method to find people at a race?

I must also mention the Gunther method. I mean, “giant stuffed animal method.” Ha ha ha.

Speaking of Gunther, today is Luca’s 4th birthday!!!! Which means he opened* his … drum roll please … Rhinoceros!

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Luca named him Rantha!

I wish I could see Luca in person for his birthday, like the last two years! But FaceTime was a nice alternative until we see him again in June! And, of course, I have to end this post with sharing this image of him I came across when I was grabbing the NYC Marathon pics. Aww, baby Luca pie!!!

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*And by “opened,” I really mean, saw for the first time with a bow on it (I am not sure how you’d wrap that!).

Training Week 288

By , April 26, 2015 7:40 pm

Highlight of the Week: The colder weather – it felt good for running!

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Monday | April 20, 2015: 5 m run + 5 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 44°/43°, Time: 46:08, Pace: 9:13 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, yay clouds! boo wind
Loc: hood, Temp: 43°/44°, Time: 47:28, Pace: 9:29 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, still annoyed with the wind
Strength: medicine balls, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Tuesday | April 21, 2015: rest
Wednesday | April 22, 2015: 3 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 44°/43°, Time: 27:36, Pace: 9:11 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay
Thursday | April 23, 2015: 8 m run (incl. 5×1)
Loc: hood, Temp: 44°/43°, Time: 1:12:13, Pace: 9:01 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: physically fine, mentally defeated by the wind
Friday | April 24, 2015: teaching strength class + 5 m run (w/Adam & Dawn)
Strength: medicine balls, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 28°/27°, Time: 50:13, Pace: 10:02, Difficulty: easy, Felt: tired legs but YAY NO WIND!
Saturday | April 25, 2015: 4 m run
Loc: Nippersink FP, Temp: 41°/41°, Time: 39:18, Pace: 9:49 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: happy to run on crushed limestone
Sunday | April 26, 2015: 10 m run + 5 m bike
Loc: Grant Woods FP, Temp: 41°/48°, Time: 1:43:55, Pace: 10:23 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, excited to come back and train the hills
Bike Time: 19:15, Pace: 15.6 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: lazy

Notes:

  • I am so pleased that the Monday night strength workout didn’t kill me again this week! I wonder if my body was more prepared for it this time, or, if working in the office on Tuesday helped. On Tuesdays I typically run in the am then work from home, mostly sitting all day. I wonder if walking around more in the office helped. I’ll have to see if the same thing happens this week!
  • It was so nice this weekend to do both of my runs on crushed limestone trails! I’ve mostly run on paved surfaces this year, and the trails feel so good!
  • I know – I am totally phoning it in with my bike. Eek! I’m looking forward to cycling more, leading up to RAGBRAI in July.
  • And I am really looking forward to hill training starting the week of May 4th! Woo hoo!

Link to Training Week 287

A week away…

By , April 24, 2015 8:47 am

Hmm…

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On a perfect day… yes. If it’s windy like it’s been this week? Or sunny and hot like last Friday? Err… 8:45s might be more feasible.

The Wisconsin Half (and full) Marathon is next Saturday. Kelly and I are racing it together, again. We’ve trained together, again. 23 runs with each other this year – nearly 200 miles, lots of speedwork sessions and puhLENTY of bitching (mostly, me, ha!).

My original goal for this race was a personal record (PR) for me, but really, I’d be happy to see Kelly PR, run the entire race with her, and NOT fall like I did last year. For me, that would be a successful race.

Also… if I don’t mentally give up. Ever since that late March run where I let the wind do me in, my mental game has been crap. I need to be more like Desi (from here):

… a lot of running is getting comfortable being uncomfortable—physically, as well as mentally, which means just throwing out the doubt. You can look up and think your day is over and pack it in, or you can find out what motivated you in the first place and reach down into whatever that is. It’s a place you can go to when you’re hurting before the finish line and maybe pull a little more out of yourself. There’s so many things in life where we take the easy way out and buy our comfort—that extra legroom on the airplane, the comfiest couch. In a marathon, it’s all about how far we can push ourselves and make ourselves hurt.

Maybe I’ll have to write a reminder like that on my hand again. But… in less words, ha ha.

Training Week 287

By , April 19, 2015 5:05 pm

Highlight of the Week: Teaching a fun boxing class (and getting to use the BOSUs!)!

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Monday | April 13, 2015: 3 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 64°/64°, Time: 28:24, Pace: 9:27 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: really good
Strength: medicine balls, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good!
Tuesday | April 14, 2015: 8 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 38°/37°, Time: 1:16:55, Pace: 9:37 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, minus chafing aftermath
Wednesday | April 15, 2015: rest
Thursday | April 16, 2015: 4 m run
Loc: Chicago Lakefront Trail, Temp: 43°/44°, Time: 35:32, Pace: 8:56 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Friday | April 17, 2015: teaching strength class + 15.4 m run (w/Kelly)
Strength: medicine balls, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake/Round Lake loop, Temp: 75°/75°, Time: 2:36:10, Pace: 10:09, Difficulty: easy then hard, Felt: good for 10, awful for the rest
Saturday | April 18, 2015: teaching fitness boxing + 7 m run
Strength: boxing and body weight workout (BOSU), Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: from Efit to home, Temp: 56°/59°, Time: 1:12:57, Pace: 10:25 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay, but tired!
Sunday | April 19, 2015: 10 m run (incl. 3×2) + 10 m bike
Loc: hood, Temp: 51°/58°, Time: 1:30:31, Pace: 9:03 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: frustrated
Bike Time: 40:52, Pace: 14.7 mph avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: blah

Notes:

  • Oh my gosh, I was SO SORE from the strength class I taught on Monday. Sorer than after the ultra! My class had done a circuit workout that I couldn’t participate 100% in the previous three weeks, and going back in, full force on Monday night really tore me apart! People who saw me in the office were asking what was wrong with me. Ha ha, oops!
  • Thursday was my first run in the city this year. I wonder how many I will have this year… or if I’ll do a Chicago race. Right now, none are on the radar, and that’s okay with me.
  • Kelly and I did our long run Friday afternoon this week, instead of our normal Tuesday morning. Which meant we got to run in the daylight together! And… it also happened to be the hottest day of the year thus far – 75° (and luckily not very humid). I started out the run feeling optimistic about the heat, and actually felt good for 10 miles but totally fell apart at the end. I am a horrible warm weather runner – I felt like I was going to throw up, had a hard time breathing, and felt like my skin was burning (it was – I can’t find the right sunscreen for me for running so I don’t wear any). I felt bad during the end of the run, and bad for being so whiny/out of it to Kelly (ha ha, I snapped at her about her change banging around in her handheld (which we laughed about later))… but not bad about the run. This is what happens to me at the “first” warmer run. The shallow breathing is not new, and neither is the sun-sick feeling. I have to slow way the eff down, or, run in the dark. Hopefully the half marathon isn’t warm like that!
  • The crummy long run made me dread my last two runs of the weekend – running home from Efit on Saturday, and speedwork on Sunday. I made sure to keep it slow on Saturday, and that helped. But speedwork, ugh. The wind was annoying (of course… broken record here), someone thought the water bottle I left by a bench to grab during recoveries was trash and threw it away (so ironic, since Steven and I hate litter… I’ll leave a note on the bottle next time), and the same person’s dog ran in front of me later and his leash wrapped around my legs and almost tripped me. And that was all in the first repeat! I felt a bit jacked up after that and ran my next mile too fast, then felt blah for the end. Eek! Wah wah wah! Ha ha. That run was a good reminder that speed work typically feels best the day after rest day… and that if I want to run repeats on the half mile loop at the park, I need to be really cautious of all the people walking their dogs (including one guy who had his dog off leash later on… wth?!).
  • I’ve cycled every week this year…  but indoors! Hope I get outside soon!
  • Let’s talk about something fun after all that whining! Gina’s birthday was on Saturday and as part of her gift I signed us both up for a really hilly half marathon in Missouri that my brother-in-law is also running. It’s odd, but I am looking forward to doing a lot of hill-focused training after the Wisconsin half!

Link to Training Week 286

Kal-Haven Trail Run Race Report

By , April 14, 2015 12:04 pm

The Kal-Haven 33.5 mile trail run with Rachel went so well that I don’t have much for a mile by mile recap – it’s one happy blur in my head.  It felt like any other long run with my favorite long-distance running buddy – the miles fly by, and only specific incidents and conversations stand out. Before you know it, you’ve run over 33 miles and you’re done!

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Ha ha! Just kidding! I was totally watching the mileage at the end! But a lot of the race did fly by.

The Kal-Haven Trail Run is a point-to-point (my favorite kind of) race that started in Kalamazoo, MI and ended in South Haven, MI.

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The route was a crushed limestone rail trail. It had a net decline, and any incline or decline on the trail was very gradual. The trail was in fantastic condition – dry, and minus a few holes, not very technical. At all. I think you could run it with your eyes closed and not trip, as long as you ran in a straight line and missed those few holes and any critters that crossed the path or tree debris.

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The trail was mostly surrounded by trees. There were a few prairie openings, town crossings and homes passed as well, but it was mostly trees, trees, trees. Which was fantastic for shading, even though the leaves aren’t out yet. I’d love to see the trail in the summer or fall!

We really lucked out with the weather. It was in high 30s to start with a 7 mph wind, and high 40s to end, with a 7 mph wind (in to our faces from the WNW). There was not a single cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful day to be out, doing something we both love so much. Some times the sun gets to me, but the breeze and cooler temps left me feeling great!

We estimated that our finish time would be around 6 hours, with an average pace of 10:45 minute miles. We were very close to that. We finished in 6:17:31 with an average moving pace around 10:53 (and 11:10 overall pace). We gained time for necessary stops, but when we were running, we kept up such a great pace. We were both astonished to be at the end of the race and still hitting our goal running pace (again, when not taking a walk break or stopping at an aid station).

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The race had aid stations every 3-4 miles, and they also had bag drop around mile 13 and 27. This was a first time using bag drop for both of us. Typically, we rely on the aid station smorgasbord to get our fuel, but these aid stations had less than we were used to. Still plenty, and it was well indicated on the website what would be there, but just less.

So Rachel grabbed some of our favorite long run fuel – pickles, chips and Swedish Fish – and we packed those things in our drop bags, along with gels, our electrolyte drinks, gum, socks, and Vaseline. We shared a bag for the first and second drop, and had our own bags for the finish.

The drop bags worked out well (but took quite some time to put together the night before!). The volunteers had them sitting out and they were easy to find. Before getting to them, Rachel and I would discuss what we wanted from them (or to put in them) and we’d get the things out and help each other. We tried to be efficient at our stops, and felt like we definitely were, compared to other races we’ve done together before (*cough* Psycho Psummer Trail Run 10 Miler *cough*).

The race started at 8:00 am for solo entrants, 8:30 am for two-person teams, and 9:00 am for three-six person teams. Based on the amount of finishers in 2014 (when the race was covered in ice and snow – nope nope nope, no thanks), I figured we’d be pretty alone on the course, maybe with a few relayers passing us here and there.

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But that wasn’t the case! We often had people in our sights ahead of us, and people behind us. We only got passed a few times. We were very middle of the pack, which was great – it’s fun to talk to people on the course. I should have had a notepad to write down all of the great races other runners were telling us about!

When we arrived at the race, two men were just coming in who had run from the finish of the race, and planned to run back out! Talk about inspiring – 67 miles for the day! That got me pumped up to start the race!

We took off at 8:00 and easily settled in to a mid 10:00 minute mile pace. We chatted with some people from a Chicagoland running club who know people I know. What are the odds of that? (And after talking to someone in my strength training class Monday night, I found out they know that person, as well).

Rachel and I chatted away. We talked to two women who said they thought we looked “experienced” because we had on shoe gaiters and hydration vests. We liked their compliment, and laughed about our duct taped gaiters, which got a lot of comments throughout the day. We both wore brand new shoes for the race (which worked out great) and didn’t have any velcro on them to attach our gaiters to, so we just used duct tape. Ha!

We’d speed up a bit when we’d talk to some people, and we’d remind each other to keep the pace slow. I asked Rachel to keep my form in check. I asked Rachel to get my honey stinger waffles out of my pack for me.  I asked Rachel to help me look for a bathroom, right before the first bag drop location. Hee hee, I asked a lot of Rachel!

We saw four eagles together. Four! Here is an awesome (<— sarcasm) pic of two of them:

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We talked to the two guys who were running 67 miles that day. They told us about the 100 mile races they’ve done. Yeah. After running this, I am not sure I will ever make it to a 50 mile race. But all the power to those people!

We’d run through hot pockets of air, but mostly, the breeze kept us cool and feeling fresh – I hardly had any sweat on me, although I had ton of salt all over me when I was done. That’s something I need to figure out. My hands got so swollen, it hurt to bend them (I was taking an electrolyte tab every 30 minutes, when I ate something).

The entire run went from east to west, so the left (south) sides of our bodies got a bit more sun (which resulted in hilarious tan lines for Rachel). The sun never felt too intense though. I did get a bit crabby about having my arm warmers on and took them off a little more than half way through the race and felt better.

We kept trucking. See what I meant about nothing standing out from each mile? They really did blur together. We just kept saying how great of a day it was, how great we felt, and how great it was to be running together.

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It wasn’t all sunshine and happy feelings though. I started to get sick of eating every 30 minutes, but knew I needed to to stay fueled, so I did. Our legs started to feel a bit creaky toward the end. We stopped a the last aid station, which was set up on the bed of someone’s truck. I asked “Can I put my foot on your truck?” (asking for permission) and after the guy said yes, I had to use my hand to get my foot up there. Ha ha, Rachel joked with him that I wasn’t asking for permission, but if he thought I could do it. Ha! I barely could.

It was mostly our knees that protested when we stopped moving. The fronts of mine and the sides of Rachel’s. Which was unusual for her! But one walk break after the last aid station helped her, and she felt better.

Then, we had the ultimate pick-me-up. A KITTEN!!!!!

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I told Rachel I saw a cat up ahead at the trail crossing. She couldn’t see it, and thought I was hallucinating a kitten mirage, but it really was a kitten! A friendly little kitten looking for some love. After that encounter, we finished the race with huge smiles on our faces! If this is what a huge smile looks like after running nearly 34 miles (oh yeah, the course is actually longer than 33.5):

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Ha ha.

Gosh, I was so happy to finish. The race mostly flew by, with only a few spots where it felt slow, but… six+ hours of running is enough for me, right meow.

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We finished this “33.5” mile run almost an hour faster than our previous (MUCH more technical) 50K, and hit the 26.2 mile mark faster than I ran Milwaukee, and only a little bit slower than Rachel’s PR! If anything, this race showed us how much we’ve grown as runners, and that made us very proud!

After we finished, we figured out where our ride was (we paid to have the race organize a ride back for us) then found the food tent. There was a massage table that looked awfully tempting, but we didn’t want to hold back the other runners waiting for a ride back, so with that, we were off to the start. In a car this time. Ha ha. It was fun to ride back with two other runners and hear how their race went, and to talk to our driver, who was a member of the local club that puts this race on.

The club does a fantastic job with the race – there were plentiful aid stations, it was always clear where to go, and the volunteers were friendly and helpful. All of the proceeds benefit Girls on the Run, so there were some young girls volunteering, as well!

I like the shirt but got the wrong size (I didn’t know it was gender specific… that’s been happening to me a lot lately – I wish RDs would be more clear about it),  but they gave me a shirt from last year at the race finish, and let me keep the one from this year! Yay!

After we got back to the car, we went to Steak ‘n Shake (for Rachel) and Chipotle (for me). We ate in our hotel, took showers, then hit up the hot tub and laid in bed for a bit before heading out for the evening. We originally didn’t have a hotel with a hot tub, and I am so happy we switched to one that did – it felt so relaxing after the race!

I know I keep saying it, but I just can’t believe how well the race went. We both only trained to the high teens/low twenties for mileage. We didn’t do a lot of back-to-back long runs. But we’d had some really great long runs together in the past few months, and well, we just had that perfect day, on race day!

It’s really a blessing to have a friend that will go through the highs and lows of a race with you (and not to mention spend the weekend and a car trip with you!) and I feel so lucky to have friends like Rachel in my life. We kept saying how much we love running with one another during the race, and I love that we make the time to do things like this every once in awhile!!! We already have our next endurance race planned for the summer! And of course, I will be participating in The Longest Day, again!

Of course, a few random tidbits, since this is so short:

  • The winner averaged 6:15 minute miles. Holy.  Cow.
  • I thought about bringing my GoPro, but didn’t. I don’t regret it. I was getting sick of my pack at the end and I bet I would have felt the same way with the GoPro. Plus, so much of the race course looked the same, anyway!
  • We wore our Fellow Flowers and got a few comments on them!
  • Also, I got the first ever comment on my tattoo… that they couldn’t read it. Hopefully it’s because it was partially under my vest and I was moving?
  • I never felt delirious and out of it during the race, which is good for me – it means I did a good job fueling, even though I got sick of eating. I did not get sick of drinking – I went through four liters of water and three small bottles of Vitamin Water.
  • This very much felt like a run through the country – we saw some horses and pigs. We smelled some cows (ewww). We heard lots of frogs. Passed by creeks and farms… it was really pretty!
  • Rachel and I were disappointed by the amount of shirtless dudes and awesome trail runner beards. Ha!
  • And lastly… this is a new state for me!

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Training Week 286

By , April 12, 2015 4:08 pm

Highlight of the Week: Having a fantastic race with Rachel in Michigan!

Week286

Monday | April 6, 2015: 3 m run/10.5 m bike brick + teaching strength class
Loc: Millenium Trail, Temp: 55°/51°, Time: 26:56, Pace: 8:58 avg, Difficulty: mostly easy, Felt: good
Bike Time: 39:11, Pace: 16.1 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Strength: plate circuit + plyo/core, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Tuesday | April  7, 2015: 10 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 40°/38°, Time: 1:38:31, Pace: 9:51 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: typical Tuesday tireds
Wednesday | April 8, 2015: rest
Thursday | April 9, 2015: 9 m run (incl. 2×3) + 10 min strength
Loc: hood, Temp: 65°/65°, Time: 1:19:08, Pace: 8:47 avg, Difficulty: medium then easier, Felt: good, but hot!
Friday | April 10, 2015: teaching strength class + 2 m run
Strength: plate circuit + plyo/core, Difficulty: easy (mostly observing), Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 38°, Time: 21:14, Pace: 10:36, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good to shake out
Saturday | April 11, 2015: Kal-Haven Ultra (33.5 m, w/Rachel)
Loc: Kalamazoo to South Haven, MI, Temp: 38°/49°, Time: 6:17:31, Pace: 11:16 avg, Difficulty: easy to medium to hard, Felt: mostly really great! Just normal creaky at the end.
Sunday | April 12, 2015: rest

Notes:

  • It was so nice to run with Kelly this week, again. My day just feels so much better when I start it with a workout! Unfortunately though, for Kelly, she gets the worst of me on Tuesday mornings. It’s the last day of my six-day running cycle and my legs are usually spent by then! They sure felt like bricks this week!
  • My speedwork went so well on Thursday (having it after my rest day helps!). I ran two sets of three miles at half marathon pace. The first set were perfectly even, right at pace, and the second set were faster, with a negative split. Rawr! Kenosha, here I come! The run was kind of weird though. It had rained all day, and was super humid, and still overcast when I started, so I wore a visor (in case of more rain). Then the sun came out and my head was sweating like crazy and I was super thirsty. I stopped at home after the first set to get water, switch my visor for sunglasses, and to put on brand new shoes. After that, I felt great for the second set! Ahh, new shoes. And water. Ha ha.
  • Rachel and I had such a fantastic time at the Kal-Haven Ultra this Saturday (and on our trip to Michigan, in general!). We’re both very happy about how we performed and felt both during the race (and while recovering from it). I’m not sure it could have gone any better, unless there had been cupcakes and kittens all over the course.

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No Bib! Course bandit!

Link to Training Week 285

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