Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Marathon Training Begins


Week one of marathon training is done. check! I was talking to my running friend, Kristin, and she was asking if marathon training had started already. And I told her yes and that I was so excited about it. It quickly dawned on me that I wanted to start training for a marathon approximately 4 hours after Twin Cities was complete last fall. And then my body wasn't having it.

I am beyond excited to put in some hard work and see where my fitness can be in the next 4 months.

One of the runs that I look forward to the least was on the schedule on week one (I should fire my coach! jk, I am my own coach). I had 8 miles with 4 at tempo. Not only do I hate tempo runs, but they are so much harder in the summer heat and humidity. I adjusted my tempo pace slightly to accommodate for the heat, and set out thinking if absolutely necessary I could do a few minute recovery in between the first 2 and second 2 miles.

As I was running I realized that I often give myself an out on these kinds of runs--stretching at the turn around, recovery jog, retying a shoe, stopping for water, etc. The point of these runs is the continuous harder effort to allow the body to learn how to push out the heaviness that accumulates in the legs during these faster paces. I typically sell myself short when I give myself an easy way out. So I put my head down, and worked. And I survived, and felt like a bad ass for it.



Friday, June 21, 2019

Current Obsession: Headspace App

I have been upping my meditation game lately. I've been struggling with some anxiety issues this past spring, and I know that meditating, for me personally, helps to alleviate some of my symptoms. At one point, I had a streak of 40+ days going, only to fall asleep and forget to meditate. Grumble grumble. I'm well over 1k minutes meditated.

I would personally recommend the Headspace App, as they have a bunch of different categories of content, as well as nice quotes and notes that make you think throughout the day. I also like that you can set up a reminder to alert you to meditate.


 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Weekly Reads: Love and Luck

I've been meaning to read Love and Luck for the last year. It's a companion book to Love and Gelato which was amazing, and I'm traveling to Ireland this summer. I finally got it to the top of my TBR stack, and I absolutely adored it. Most of the locations visited in the story I also get to see in two months, and it was such a great story.

My rating: 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Marathon Training Plan Tweaks

Today marks day one of marathon training for the Twin Cities Marathon, take 2! I'm again training myself, although I am realizing that how I coach myself is not how I coach other runners, and I could probably stand to have someone who can comfortably tell me no when I have a harebrained idea, but that's neither here nor there I guess.

I've created a training plan that is pretty similar to last year's, with some tweaks. Last year's plan started after the 4th of July. Last year I did Grandma's half marathon, took some time to recover, and then had some cranky knee flare up. Last year's was planned at 15 weeks, but ended up at 13 weeks. This year's will be 16 weeks.

I also have one additional 20 miler, as I have an extra couple of weeks of training. It's always so brutally hot training through the summer for a marathon that it's nice to have a bonus 20 miler for confidence if the others are just brutal. I did discover on my long run this weekend that I'll likely have to do 1 or 2 of them on my own. AHH!!! Fingers crossed I can line someone up for part of them at least.

My last tweak is some additional hill work. Last summer, I (or should I say Chris) did a good job of incorporating hilly routes into our Monday night runs. I felt so strong on the hills of TCM, that I want to do that again, but I'm also planning some hill specific repeats for some strength based workouts.

I'm really excited to dive into marathon training and do the WORK to get that marathon PR in 16 weeks!




Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Weekly Reads: Denis Ever After

I volunteered to read this book for the Teen's Choice book committee that I serve on. I love a good murder mystery. I failed to realize that this was told from the perspective of a ghost, and that was a really cool angle. I listened to it mostly on audiobook, and then when it got toward the end I needed to read the book because I just had to find out what happened. Totally unexpected ending!
My rating: 4.5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Denis Egan is dead. 

He’s okay with that. It’s been five years since he died, and the place where souls go is actually pretty nice. Sure, there are some things about his life and how it ended he can’t quite recall, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Remembering could prevent Denis from moving on to whatever’s next. 

However, something is standing in his way. His twin brother Matt can’t let go of him, and as long as the living are holding on to his memory, Denis can’t rest in peace.

To uncover the truth about what happened that day five years before, Denis returns to his hometown and teams up with Matt. But visiting for too long has painful consequences for Denis, and Matt’s renewed interest in his brother’s passing is driving a wedge between his still-grieving parents.

Can the two boys solve the mystery of Denis’s death without breaking apart the family he’s left behind?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Melissa's Fargo Half Marathon Race Report

Melissa is one of my good running buddies. We did the bulk of our long runs together for the Twin Cities Marathon last year, and since then, I've been giving her training plans to follow, partially because then I have a built in running buddy, but mostly because she has such potential as a runner, I really wanted to see how fast she could get this spring. So yes, I guess there are bonuses to being my running buddy if you're in need of a coach. :P

I asked her if she wanted to write up her race report from the Fargo Half Marathon, because she had an awesome day despite really cruddy conditions. Prior to this spring, Melissa's half PR was a 1:56 ish set at Mankato just a few weeks after her first full marathon. I knew she was much faster than her time showed, so we spent a lot of time slowing down her long runs, slowly increasing her weekly mileage, keeping the majority of her miles really really easy conversational pace, and then tackling some hard workouts on workout days. She set a couple of minute PR at the Skedaddle Half Marathon in April, with the pacing plan that she should feel like she was really holding back almost the whole time, as her A goal was Fargo.

Go Melissa!

------------------

My race plan from my BRF Jeri:
5x8:45
5x8:15
3.1x8
Time=1:49:48
I of course NEVER look at the weather before a race but I know Jeri does so after hearing people say, “it’s going to rain and be windy,” I asked Jeri. I know she has been looking for the past week 😊 and it was easier to ask her. She confirmed! 

 I was aware of the wind because let’s be honest, it’s Fargo, but I was NOT expecting the cold and rain! I was hoping for warmth! 

Anyway, race day came and I slept AMAZING but I could not 💩 and the weather was cold, rainy and windy like everyone was saying. At that point I decided today was probably not going to be a PR because of the weather and I was worried about a stomach cramp! We left the hotel and I started joking about how “beautiful” the weather was because we can’t change it and I wanted to have fun since I wasn't going to PR.
After talking with Jeri, I decided go go out a little more conservative. 

My first mile was 9:04 and after that I kept looking at my watch and 8:30’s were coming up and I felt so good 😊
Mile 2: 8:34
Mile 3: 8:33
Mile 4: 8:33
Mile 5:  8:26
After mile 5 I still felt strong and no stomach cramps 🤞. I made sure to stop at 3 water stops for some Gatorade because I have trouble fueling during a race and the thought of GU’s make me want to vomit. 

Don’t worry- I’ve learned after a few terrible races that I have to eat breakfast, especially when I struggle fueling during.  I’ve found a bagel with PB, honey and half a banana works pretty good. 

Ok back to the race!
After mile 6, I was like “I can do this!” I picked up the pace mile 7-9.
Mile 6: 8:26
Mile 7: 8:15
Mile 8: 8:18
Mile 9:  8:20
Then that darn wind seemed to find me and I I can’t remember what mile, but I’m pretty sure 10-11, I stopped at a water stop for Gatorade because I didn't want to bonk! 
Mile 10: 8:29
Mile 11: 8:28 
At the water stop I found Glenda and she yelled, “Go Melissa, Go!” So I did!
Mile 12: 8:06
Mile 13: 7:49
0.12: 6:47 
Of course that gave me a huge boost! I took off and looked down at my watch and saw the time and realized, I’m going to PR and I still feel so strong!
I finished with a time of 1:50:10. Dang 11seconds! Right Jeri?!? But it was a PR by 3.5 minutes from Skedaddle so I’ll take it. Jeri was once again right when she said, “you are gonna PR!”  

______________
The best part of this (other than the monster PR, obvs) was sitting in the locker rooms after the race looking up everyone's official times and seeing that Melissa ran a 1:50:10. Without thinking, I remarked, "You couldn't find 11 seconds, Melissa!?!?" totally joking, but it was pretty funny. Honestly Melissa doesn't run very well in the cold (unlike me, ha) so on a good day, I actually had her pegged closer to a 1:48. We'll switch our focus to marathon training here shortly, but we also signed up for a half a month after Twin Cities, so I wouldn't expect this half PR to stand into 2020.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Weekly Reads: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Let me start this by saying, that I LOVE that Netflix has become the platform for fantastic teen books to movie. Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before has been on my TBR pile since 2015, according to my goodreads account. I committed librarian sacrilege: I watched the movie before I read the book. GASP. I never do this. Like ever. But I needed something cute to watch and I'd been hearing so many great things about it that I had to watch. And it was lovely. And I immediately had to put the book on hold at the library. Of course it had a nice long hold list on it because of the excitement about the movie so it took awhile.

Totally worth it.

My rating: 4.5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Fargo Fun

To say that Carter, Melissa and I had a good time celebrating in Fargo, would be an understatement. So much good food, so many good drinks, and so many belly laughs. A weekend that was good for the soul!












Friday, May 31, 2019

What's Next?


Leading up to Fargo half, I suspected that race day wouldn't be a 100% effort for me. To mitigate my disappointment, I started to think of a back up plan if that was the case. I had planned to do a 10k for fun-ish in early June, and have since decided that it'll be my official substitute goal race for the spring (even though that's probably summer at that point). My marathon training will start in later June, so this gives me an opportunity to still have another attempt to post a race time that'll help me project a fall marathon goal race time.

Now fingers crossed that it doesn't feel like summer on race day! If so, I may drop to the 5k, which would still be fun.

There's also a 5k the following weekend in my little town that features bacon and bloody Mary's post race. And the money goes to help with Junior Achievement. So why not race on back to back weekends? My thoughts exactly!

And THEN Strava and NYRR announced a 1 mile virtual race challenge. Well that sounds like fun too. So sometime during this 8 day span, I'd also like to do a 1 mile time trial. LOLZ. This'll either be the most fun 8 days or the worst idea I've ever had.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Running Book Review: Running with the Buffaloes

Last fall during marathon training, my running buddy Chris lent me Running with the Buffaloes after I mentioned that I wanted to read it but my library didn't have it. Of course, he lent me a copy that was signed by both Chris Lear AND Adam Goucher. He's clearly not a librarian; you do NOT lend out signed book copies! Because of that I only read it at home, keeping it next to my bed so it wouldn't get damaged. Thus it took me FOREVER to read it. It was really great to pick it up when I needed extra running motivation.

I finally finished it during my coaching certification weekend, and it 100% lived up to all the hype. It also desperately makes me wish I had ran cross country in college, and also makes my mind spin as to how a coach would coach that many runners and be able to get them all the peak during the national championship while also managing all of the injuries along the way. I would love to be in Wetmore's brain for a season, that's for sure.

My rating: 5 stars

Summary from Amazon:

In RUNNING WITH THE BUFFALOES, writer Chris Lear follows the University of Colorado cross-country team through an unforgettable NCAA season. Allowed unparalleled access to team practices, private moments, and the mind of Mark Wetmore--one of the country's most renowned and controversial coaches--Lear provides a riveting look inside the triumphs and heartaches of a perennial national contender and the men who will stop at nothing to achieve excellence. The Buffaloes' 1998 season held great promise, with Olympic hopeful Adam Goucher poised for his first-ever NCAA cross-country title, and the University of Colorado shooting for its first-ever national team title. But in the rigorous world of top-level collegiate sports, blind misfortune can sabotage the dreams of individuals and teams alike. In a season plagued by injury and the tragic loss of a teammate, the Buffaloes were tested as never before. What these men managed to achieve in the face of such adversity is the stuff of legend and glory.
With passion and suspense, Lear captures the lives of these young men and offers a glimpse of what drives a gifted runner like Adam Goucher and a great coach like Mark Wetmore. Like Lance Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike, RUNNING WITH THE BUFFALOES is at once a glowing celebration of a sport and an inspiration to anyone who has ever had the courage to beat the odds and follow a dream.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Weekly Reads: Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee


I loved Jeff Zentner's Goodbye Days, so I was really excited to read Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee. It didn't disappoint! It was such a quick read about friendship and family relationships. Definitely worth a read!

My rating: 4 stars.

Summary from goodreads:

A contemporary novel about two best friends who must make tough decisions about their futures--and the TV show they host--in their senior year of high school.

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show's guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he'll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous...and momentous.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Race Report: Fargo Half Marathon

The week of the Fargo Half marathon was rough. I was back to running like normal, but every run felt so much more labored than it should. High heart rates, still hacking up all sorts of stuff, just generally not how you want to feel on race week. I did everything I could during the week to speed up the process--lots of sleep, hydration, eating healthy nutrient foods. Friday's shake out run was around an 11 minute pace but didn't feel nearly as easy as an 11 minute pace should feel. Woof.

Regardless, I was so excited to travel to Fargo with Melissa and Carter. Melissa and I had done so many runs together this spring, and I knew she was ready for a huge PR, and I was excited to hang out with her and Carter post-race to celebrate. Plus a ton of Sioux Falls runners were also going up for the full and half. Wahoo!!





All of race week I was contemplating race plans for Saturday. I thought best case scenario, I could maybe sneak in just under 2 hours if I was magically feeling really really good. For some reason, I didn't think to plan a strategy for if I didn't magically feel really good. Note to self: that might be something to consider if I ever come down with a 10+ day sickness leading up to my goal race day.


Race morning it was pouring rain. I went to bed not 100% sure what I was going to wear. It was cold, rainy, and the final 5-6 miles were going to be into a strong 20-30 mph wind. I finally landed on a tank, tights and gloves. We were so lucky that we got to start in the Fargodome so we were dry while waiting for the race to start.


We did some stretching, I did my glute activation exercises, and before too long it was time to line up. And somehow we were back in the 3:00 half marathon group. We finagled our way up closer and were ready to rock.

The race started, and I thought I'd try to keep the pace around 9:30-9:45. I tried to dodge puddles the best I could. It became pretty apparent, very early in the race that I wasn't going to feel "magically really good." But I was feeling well enough that I knew I would complete 13.1 miles, which was honestly a concern as the week was going on, and a 5 mile felt like a struggle. My heart rate was pretty high for the pace I was running, honestly my effort felt closer to a 9:15 (shockingly this was my goal pace for my ORIGINAL pacing plan, pre-illness, so I guess that's something). I decided pretty quickly that today's run might be more of a long run pace, and that I should be thankful that I felt well enough to run a half marathon.

1. 9:44
2. 9:49
3. 9:56

The miles ticked off pretty fast at a slightly sub 10 pace. Despite feeling cold in mile 1, I started to feel very comfortable temperature-wise shortly after, but I was happy I had on gloves. My hands would've been freezing. I took my first GU around mile 2, as my stomach was pretty cranky race morning, per usual, and I thought I could use an extra boost early. Somewhere around miles 4-5 I started to get a little bit in my head. Just ruminating on how hard I worked this spring to hit a fast half marathon time, and how out of my hands being sick was. I started to throw myself the tiniest of pity parties when I ran up on a woman who was thanking absolutely everyone in sight. "Thanks for volunteering! Thanks for stopping traffic! Thanks for being out here to cheer us on!" And it reminded me of some advice that I, myself, have given; when you're having a bad day, flip it, don't make it about you, but show some gratitude. I didn't have enough energy to be as positive and uplifting as she was, but I hung on to her for a couple of miles, feeding off of her positivity. Thank you lady wherever you are!

4. 9:52
5. 9:51
6. 9:53

Unsurprisingly, once I stopped the negative thought spiral, I started to feel better. I passed my friend with a new pep in my step, and started to seek out faces in the crowd. I didn't have anyone spectating me, so I started to look at signs of those who were out spectating. Seriously: worst weather to spectate in. As terrible as it was to run in, it would've been TERRIBLE standing around waiting to cheer people on. Kudos to those that were doing it! Around this time, there was a loooooong out and back where we could see the runners ahead of us. YAY! I love this part. I was looking for Carter and Melissa. Carter saw me, then I saw another Sioux Falls runner, Joy, as well as so many others. I got nervous that I didn't see Melissa hoping that she was having as great of a day as I thought she would have. Once I was on the "back" portion of the run I was looking for my runner Sarah to cheer her on, but didn't see her. Something about this out and back gave me a second wind and without realizing it, I had picked up the pace ever so slightly. I checked in on my heart rate and saw that it actually hadn't climbed up at all, just hanging out even as can be since the race start. I did a quick assessment and realized that I was feeling good enough to pick up the last 5 miles to hit a faster finish "long run" effort. New game plan: go! I took my second GU around mile 6. I also took 2 salt tabs at 45 minutes. I wasn't going to risk a calve cramp on a cool day like I had suffered through at the Skedaddle half!

7. 9:50
8. 9:46

Unfortunately for me, this new plan was implemented as we started going into the wind, so that was an added challenge, but I was just excited to pick up the pace and see how I felt. I had previously been looking at a finishing time of just slightly sub 2:10 with my 9:50s, so I was excited to have a new math problem to ruminate on for a change. :P Running nerd, check! Weirdly the new sped up pace wasn't affecting my heart rate at all; I had thought it would surely spike it, but that I could handle that for about 45 ish minutes, but I wasn't really putting in extra effort, just focusing on a quicker turnover. I took my 3rd GU at mile 10 and took my last 2 salt tabs (that had started to disintegrate in my pocket) around 90 minutes.

9. 9:34
10. 9:18
11. 9:36

With a couple of miles to go, I really tried to get my time down to a 9 pace but it just wasn't happening on mile 12. I found some good pump up music on my iPod and tried to just focus on my legs turning over faster. The final mile I listened to Eminem on repeat at least 3 times. Maybe I should just listen to that song on repeat for a whole race?? When we approached the Fargodome, I was ready to kick it in and finish as strong as I could. I had forgotten that they make you run around the Fargodome, so seeing it was deceptive. I tried to maintain a strong finishing kick, but I kept running up to groups of people that were shoulder to shoulder through the final fenced in area. Finally with the portion into the fargodome, I was able to pick up the pace a bit and finish strong. This time I didn't run the final 3 strides with my finger on my Garmin like a yahoo, so that's progress I guess.

12. 9:25
13. 8:51
.17 1:27 (8:33 pace)



I finished my 40th half marathon in 2:06:53 for a pace of 9:39.









Melissa scored a 3 1/2+ minute PR!!

I had myself a nice little negative split, which was cool to see.



Fargo sent us a link with our race photos, which my phone struggled to download. Then later that evening the photos were pulled, only to be put up the next day with the images available to download for $4 each. I re-checked my email, and it definitely said, "Download for Free and Share your images on Facebook or Twitter. Save them – and print whenever you wish."

All of my friends got their pics, but I'm out of luck this time. And since I look like a drowned rat in all of them, I wasn't going to pull the trigger on paying for them all this go around. So just imagine me looking like a gazelle out there. :P

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Weekly Reads: Rabbit & Robot

Anytime Andrew Smith comes out with a new book, it gets added to my list to read. And I know it's going to be a weird, wild ride. I absolutely love the cover of Rabbit & Robot, and the premise had me super excited. Unsurprisingly, it was a super weird, wild ride. Definitely read if you're a fan of Smith's books or if you need a strange read to capture a teen boy's attention (probably HS aged).

My rating: 4 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Cager has been transported to the Tennessee, a giant lunar-cruise ship orbiting the moon that his dad owns, by Billy and Rowan to help him shake his Woz addiction. Meanwhile, Earth, in the midst of thirty simultaneous wars, burns to ash beneath them. And as the robots on board become increasingly insane and cannibalistic, and the Earth becomes a toxic wasteland, the boys have to wonder if they’ll be stranded alone in space forever.

Monday, May 20, 2019

RRCA Coaching Certification

Mid-May I traveled up to the Twin Cities to geek out all things running and coaching at a RRCA Coaching certification. I went solo, which is totally not my thing, but something I'm getting better at. I had been fighting a cold all week, so when I got to the hotel I ordered in food, spent time working on my coaching clients since I knew I wouldn't have my typical Saturday afternoon time to work on things, and went to bed early.

Saturday morning I was up bright and early and ready for Day 1! I arrived, and was given a HUGE spiral bound book and was ready to soak up all the information. I didn't know anyone in the group, but there ended up being a couple of guys that were from Sioux Falls originally, which was nice, as well as some who had done the Sioux Falls marathon in the past, and had plans to come back this year!

Day 1 was so good; lots of information. Luckily it was reaffirming a lot of the principles of trainings that I have read over the years. I do think if I had come in as a fresh newer runner, I would've been very overwhelmed with information. Phew.


Day 2 was more great information, touching on running form, injuries and then working on training plans in a group, which was a lot of fun. I love learning from other people and hearing the "why's" behind their decisions to do things differently than me. Unfortunately after lunch, I started feeling really terrible, and by the time I had gotten home from the cities at about 9pm, I felt like I had full on influenza--chills, body aches, racing heart. Blech. Luckily for me, (and everyone in that room), I just had an insane bronchial infection that shouldn't have been contagious. I would've felt TERRIBLE.

Now I have a 100 question exam that I have to score an 85% or higher on to pass. I've started working on the test and it's not as easy as I thought it'd be! Some of the questions are looking for a very specific answer that was discussed on slide 97 of 500 at some point during our 17 hours of instruction. Coupled with my post-training fevered brain. :P

Regardless I've very thankful to get the opportunity to take my coaching to the next level and represent 605 Running Co. to the best of my ability!


Friday, May 17, 2019

Race Goals: Fargo Half Marathon

I wrote the below goal post before I was sick for two weeks in between the Skedaddle half and the Fargo half. So obviously tomorrow's race goals have adjusted. Regardless of what the time on the clock says when I cross the finish line, I'm excited to be doing a race weekend with running friends and super thankful that I didn't get this obnoxious sickness before a marathon. Uff da!

___________________________

My main goal for 2019 is to run a marathon PR in October. But since it's impossible to focus on one single goal for an entire year worth of running, I opted to work on a speedier spring half. Since my training was not 100% for the Skedaddle Half, I put all of my eggs in the Fargo Half basket. So I have some big goals!

Without further adieu, my race goals:

A Goal: Sub 1:55. This is the goal that I've had written and posted to my bathroom vanity since January. I am all in on attempting to run this time, for better or worse!

B Goal: Run as fast as I can if it's not sub 1:55. Don't freak out that I'm not hitting my goal and still bust my butt to run as fast as I can on the day I'm given.

C Goal: THERE IS NO PLAN C. :P

I'm feeling strong, and that I've put in more miles for this half marathon than I ever have before, so I'm excited to see how that plays out!

throwback to 2011's Fargo marathon

amazing drawing by Jodee Rose!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Weekly Reads: Opposite of Always

I sampled the first five chapters of Opposite of Always and couldn't wait to get my hands on the book. I normally am not interested in stories--books, movies, or otherwise, that allow for redos in life, but this one was so well done, and really had me invested in the story and the characters. Definitely a must read if you're a fan of teen books, or just books in general. SO GOOD.

My rating: 5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.

He almost made valedictorian.

He almost made varsity.

He almost got the girl . . . 

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.

But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Let's Register for ALL THE RACES

In the past couple of weeks I have said goodbye to a lot of my hard earned monies by plunking down some race fees, namely all to Pink Gorilla.

Immediately following the Skedaddle half marathon, we were presented with sign up for 2020's race. And for the first time in a long time, I wasn't sure what my spring race plan was. Hmmm.... I know my fall 2020 race plan, but nothing was up my sleeve for next spring. It should come as no surprise that it didn't take much arm twisting for me to sign up for the 2nd annual adventure for the Skedaddle. They did such a phenomenal job putting on the race, how could I pass it up?


Also, as I was going through my goodie bag from Skedaddle I found the race flyer for the Good Life Halfsy, a half I've wanted to run for years. Last year it was just 3 weeks after Twin Cities and I thought that'd be too close for me, but this year it's 4 weeks after. A quick text to my running buddy Melissa, and there goes some more money your way Pink Gorilla!



Thursday, May 9, 2019

Weekly Reads: Five Feet Apart

I am so over sick teen books. In fact, I refuse to read them anymore. But then I heard that Cole Sprouse was starring in the movie version of Five Feet Apart, so I had to pick it up. And man, I was sucked in, immediately. I absolutely adored this book and will definitely need to catch the movie, but probably on DVD not in a theater with others to witness my ugly crying.

My rating: 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Race Report: Sioux Falls Skedaddle Half Marathon

The forecast leading up to race day was a little alarming. And then it snowed the Saturday before. Since I wasn't full out racing the half, I was a little up in the air about what I should wear, trying to opt on the warmer side than normal. The windchill was 28, so I opted for a long sleeve and lighter 7/8 capris. Melissa and I met downtown at 6:30 a.m. and I was shocked at how good my stomach was feeling. It probably has something to do with no nerves due to a workout vs. a race but if I could have a stomach like this on all race mornings, I'd be really happy.



We hit up the portapotties, I did my band work, we dropped our bags, and headed out for a warm up at 7 a.m. We did a mile and strides and then it was time to line up for the race. I was thrilled to not be going back into the portapotty line!

I said goodbye to Melissa around the 9 pace, and made my way to the 10 pace. My workout for the morning was 4 miles warm up ~10 pace, 3 mile at 9:00 pace, 1 mile recovery, 2 miles at 8:45 pace, 1 mile recovery, and 2.1 miles at 8:30 pace. By my calculations, this had me around 2:03:20. That'd be a pretty good workout day!



The gun went off, and I kept my ear buds out, hoping to absorb some of the energy of those around me and really be able to see and hear the spectators.



I had to watch my Garmin pretty closely during those warm up miles. My body was ready to go! Which is interesting, because most of my long runs are 10:15 wish pace, so it was nice that 10 felt as easy as it did.




The first 3.5 miles we were running on streets that I've never run on before, which was pretty interesting and cool. It's crazy to think how many miles I've logged in Sioux Falls and to discover routes I haven't been on. I was shocked and thrilled by how many spectators were out lining up on the course to cheer us on. We got to have a behind the scenes tour of the zoo on another route I've never run on, as we made our way to the bike trail. I took my first GU at mile 3.





1. 9:57
2. 9:53
3. 9:47
4. 9:48

My legs were really itching to go, so I was happy when my watch beeped mile 4 and I was off! It was a little challenging as there was some congestion as we made our way to the narrower bike path, but I wasn't concerned about easing in to the workout pace as necessary. I was feeling so good and strong. I kind of felt like an asshole flying by people, but it also gave me some extra oomph, so sorry.... I think. There were some portions in this stretch that I was slightly puzzled by running into the wind. I knew the forecast was calling for wind out of the south and east, and I was 99.999% sure I was running north. But then I remembered we were on the stretch of the bike trail that is an anomaly in which you run into the wind no matter which direction you go, sometimes even on a still day. It's.... a thing.





5. 9:08
6. 9:05
7. 8:59

My first recovery mile, I really struggled to slow down. I felt like I was recovering, but I was also nervous that I was going to really regret not hitting closer to my goal of 10:30 on the recovery mile.

8. 9:29 (aka not a 10:30, derp)

I caught up to some friends during the next set of harder miles and the wind got UFF DA, hard. My effort was significantly harder than the previous set of faster miles, but my pace didn't indicate that. One of the things I've been working on in my meditation practice with my running is distraction; recognizing when you're distracted in your meditation practice and gently bringing your mind back to the breath, and then translating that to the run. Mentally, it's really hard to keep your mind "on" for a whole race. I really tried to focus on this and reign in my brain whenever it would zone out and my pace would slip. Definitely still a work in progress.

9. 9:05
10. 9:13

I was counting down the tenths of a mile to hit mile 11 for a little break, committed to enjoying that recovery mile this go around. Except that into the wind, it felt even less recovery based. And It was during this part that I started leap frogging with some people that I had passed, who were now passing me back as I slowed up. I knew this would be a challenge, but I was kind of excited to practice checking my ego, and doing my thing as planned without worrying about anyone passing me, or feeling weird for essentially putting on the breaks with 3 miles to go, when the final 5k is usually when I try to turn on the rocket ship gears! I still didn't slow it down to the 10:30 as previously planned, but I did a little better than the first go around.

11. 9:49

The final 2.1 miles I was ready to rock and go all out. I ran by the Trail Sisters water station and it was so fun to see so many familiar faces. Side note: I didn't have any family on the race route for Skedaddle; Kyle was out of town, and I forgot to invite my in-laws, so I didn't have anyone I was expecting to see out on the race route. But the number of times I had friends, running buddies, 605 co-workers, etc. cheering for me was INSANE. I felt like I had a 13.1 mile cheering section. Seriously. My heart is beyond full for this running community.

The last 2 miles is a route that we typically run on the Wednesday night group run, so I took advantage of the downhill of the switchbacks, knowing we'd have to climb out of the Falls and that'd make my "goal" pace more challenging. Honestly, I hadn't looked at the new race route, and wasn't 100% sure how we were going to get out of the Falls, so that was a fun surprise once it was visible in front of me. Ha. Around 12.5 my left calf, which had been cranky in a weird, new spot on Thursday's run, but was fine on Thursday, fully seized up and brought me to a halt. I quickly hobbled over to the side of the road to attempt to stretch it on the curb, and apologized profusely to the guy I caught off in the process. SORRY DUDE, for reals! My brain was deprived of oxygen and clearly wasn't thinking.

Unfortunately the curb didn't do anything to loosen it up, it was LOCKED. Luckily I only had about a half mile to go, so I kind of limped along, attempting some high knees as the toe off of my left foot seemed to be what hurt the most. I had checked my watch a couple of times the final 5k and realized I should be close to 2:03-2:04 if I was able to hold a 9 pace, which pre-calf cramp I thought should be a lock even into the wind, but totally shut down any sort of pushing the pace after the calf cramped up. I am SO THANKFUL that this happened with about 5 minutes of running left. I honestly don't know what I would've done if it happened any earlier. I may have posted a DNF it hurt so bad.

12. 9:00
13. 9:41

Since I did poor research on the race route, I wasn't actually sure where the finish would be, so at the 13 mile mark I wasn't sure if the race was going to be really long or where I was headed. I turned a corner, and it was basically RIGHT THERE. So I kicked it up just a little into the finishing stretch.

don't ask why I ran the remaining 3 strides with my finger on my Garmin.






.12 :58 8:15 pace



I finished 13.12 miles in 2:04:01 (according to the official results, 2:03:59 according to my Garmin [insert eye roll here]) for a pace of 9:26. I really wish I had looked at my watch a little and done some finishing math to kick it in 2 seconds faster. :P I guess that's the down side to not fully racing. Derp.

I saw Melissa who ran a PR!!

  

And Chris who also ran a really strong half post-LA Marathon. And snagged a 3rd place AG award.



And then I attempted to stretch my calf on the curb some more and then just resigned to limping around to grab our bags, photos, brunch and beverages. Luckily for me, Melissa went the extra mile to help me out because I was moving so slowly.



It was such a phenomenally put on race, and I'll definitely be back. I hope that next spring we have a normal winter and they're able to use their original race route, because I think it would be a lot of fun.  It's so cool to have a race like this in Sioux Falls, and I'm proud to be employed by 605 Running Co. who did a LOT of work to make this race a reality.

 

On the calf cramp front: I brought my salt pills, but thought the weather was cool enough to skip them. I'm hoping that was the cause of it, and fingers crossed that it'll loosen and be just fine after some extra TLC.

Wind? What wind??