Friday, September 28, 2018

Body Image

A couple of weeks ago, Kyle and I were play-wrestling, because we're children and that's what we do, and he reached to grab my stomach. I got kind of annoyed, because I don't like that part of my body, as it's typically the first to gain weight and the last to lose it. So annoying. After I swatted him away, not-so-playfully, he made the comment that my stomach had really flattened out. And I had to stop and think about that.

I haven't been so conscious of how certain shirts look for work, or how certain tanks fit for a run, and I've been less concerned about which shorts I pull out for a run. But I chalked this up to the shift that typically happens in my brain, where if I'm running well and feeling strong, my relationship with my body and my body image is so much better. If I can focus on what my body can do instead of how it looks compares to so and so or even to how it compares to how it has looked in the past, my brain is so much happier.

Apparently somewhere during this positive mind shift, my body also decided to join the same page. Interesting. I was talking to one of my running buddies about what she was planning to wear for the upcoming Sioux Falls half, and I made the comment that I wish I had the confidence to wear my new purple 605 crop. It's so cute, I love the color, and the cut of it is very flattering on any body, including mine (most days :P). But I don't think I'm there yet.

Maybe when the Dallas Half rolls around I'll be able to rock it with confidence. Because even if there is still some significant squish and jiggle, I have shown what a strong runner I can be in 2018, and that's something to celebrate! Visible abs or not. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Twin Cities Marathon Training Week 13

Monday Planned: Recovery+speed 4 miles w 6x100
Monday Actual: When your recovery run is so chill that your watch is like, go run again, that was NBD. AND I DIDN'T FORGET STRIDES. WHO AM I?!?! Turns out a vacation day from work means zero stress which means run is chill af.

Tuesday Planned: GA 5 miles
Tuesday Actual: GA 5 miles with Chris and Melissa, although Melissa doubled back to pick up another running friend. I got to explore a part of the bike trail I've never seen before!

Wednesday Planned VO2 Max 10 miles, 5x600m @ 5k
Wednesday Actual: 7 miles total with 2x600 and 1 x400.

3.3 Miles at the group run in torrential rains, splashing through flooded out parts of the bike trail and maybe or maybe not being pelted with hail for a minute or so.
Followed by 3.7 miles of the aforementioned work which was cut short by lightning going from 9 Mississippis away to 3 Mississippis away and lighting up the track like a Christmas tree. I ran to my car so fast I didn't even get a picture.

Thursday Planned Recovery 5 miles
Thursday Actual: POWER + Foam Rolling. My stomach felt terrible all after noon. The torrential rains continued and much of the area was underwater due to extreme flooding. I took this as my cue to take advantage of the taper.

Friday Planned: GA 4 Miles
Friday Actual: Recovery 4 miles. Coffee run with Kristin's company. First cold run of the fall!!! Insert Heart emoji eyes here.

Saturday Planned: Long Run 16 miles
Saturday Actual

Sunday Planned: Rest
Sunday Actual: Recovery run 5 miles around town, after all the procrastination.

Total Mileage Planned: 44 miles
Total Mileage Actual:  41.24 miles. It kills me that I didn't hit all my miles this week. First time this entire cycle. Thanks epic lightning storm. Eyeroll.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Happy Anniversary Kyle!

Happy third anniversary to my favorite person on the planet. I love you to the full moon and back. You are the tether that helps keep me grounded on this planet, without you I'd surely float away. You love me for me, good or bad. And you're just my favorite. Love you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Tale of Two Twenty Milers

I did my second and final 20 miler a couple of weekends ago. My first one suckkkkked, so I really wanted to make sure that the second one felt strong. Despite knowing that I was running on very tired legs for the first one, I started to really doubt my abilities and my goal for the marathon. There's nothing worse than a marathon runner in peak mileage filled with self doubt. Hello spiral.

On paper, the runs look identical. The first, August 25 started about 6:15 a.m. I ran with 3 other running friends, all of which who are training for TCM. We ran 3:26:22 for an average pace of 10:19. The second, completed September 16, was ran with one of the running friends fro the initial group, we started at 6:10 a.m. and ran 3:26:30 for an average pace of 10:19.

Yet the second run was light years better then the first.

During the first run, I did all the wrong things I could possibly do. To start, I wasn't super vocal when the group started off too fast. I was super swept up in running the loop for the first time, and all the energy and excitement. By the time I noticed 5 or 6 10 or sub 10 minute miles, it was probably too late. Because we had a larger group, we ended up stopping. A lot. Bathroom stops, water stops, emergency bathroom stops, emergency gas station fuel stops. So many stops. We ended up with an overall time, including stops of around 4 hours. Uff da.

In addition to all of this, again, I was so swept up in the fun and excitement that I wasn't diligent about my fueling. Derp. I thought I'd try to take my gels every 5 miles instead of 4 like I typically do. Why? Who the hell knows. Maybe I was trying to see if I could run through an epic bonk fest. My GU consumption was really sporadic, and I felt really really hungry for most of the run. About the time I realized I needed my final GU was in the last two miles and I had convinced myself that it wouldn't kick in before I was done so it was dumb to waste the $1.50 for nothing. Thank goodness my running buddy Jessica had some sport beans she was willing to share. I positive split that long run like a BOSS.

My second run, I aimed to do everything that I could control well. I made myself a meal for supper that should be friendly toward my stomach the next day. I hydrated like a champ. I packed 4 Gus and had a clear plan of fueling attack. Melissa and I started super early, although with as humid as it was, we probably could've started at 5:30 a.m.--barf. She was okay with starting out really slowly and we eased into the running in 10:30 minute miles to start. Ahhhh. She forgot her fuel, so we derailed our route plan and did two out and backs to our vehicles so she could get her skratch, much needed on a hot humid day. We kept things super easy, we chatted, we kept our bathroom and water stops to a minimum, GU'd on the run and just kept things moving. My legs never felt good, but this 20 miler was at the end of my highest mileage week ever, so I expected to be doing it on tired, worn out legs. I was prepared.

To be honest, I was a little annoyed to see that this run was slower than the first. But it was 8 seconds, so who really cares. And how I felt on the second run, strong and in control, I would take any day.

So I guess this is just a really long winded way to say that sometimes the pace and time doesn't really tell the story of a run. And this was a good reminder of that.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Late Fall Race Plans

It's that time in the goal training cycle where I can't help but think about other races. It helps take my mind off of the crazy that is running 26.2 miles. Why do we do this?!?

There are some fun shorter races that I would like to do to close out the last few months of 2018, assuming my legs recover in a timely fashion after 26.2 miles. Did I mention I'm running 26.2 miles soon?!?! UFF DA.

10/27 Trick or Treat
5k/10k I'm not sure what distance I'd do. It'll depend how I'm feeling, I think. I'd like to run a strong 10k, but I think that might be a stretch.

11/11 Christmas Tree Dash
There is a 3 mile, 2 mile, and 1 mile distance for this race. I don't know what distance I'll run, but I don't think I want to do a 3 mile. The parks and rec "5ks" are typically 3 miles, so I'd be curious what I could run in the other two distances. I always have to work this race weekend, so I'd be excited to give it a go!

11/24 Banquet 10k
Until last year, I had never ran this race. It was so great last year, and so cool to see so many families come together to donate money to the banquet before spending the rest of their holiday together. I think I can run a pretty speedy 10k by this time, and might be a good indicator of how my December half will shake out!

12/9 Dallas Half Marathon
I'm so excited to get back down south and run this race and spend some time with Dominique. She's the best running friend, and I wish she lived closer so we could be less virtual running buddies and more IRL running buddies!

Friday, September 21, 2018

605 Race Crew Night + Race Expo

The Friday night of the Sioux Falls race weekend, the 605 Race Crew met up for some socializing and good beer at WoodGrain Brewing Co. Melissa and I met up early to get some dinner. We picked up sushi masa, and since WG doesn't have food, they let you bring dinner in. We had some delicious beers and caught up with old running friends, and even met some new, super speedy ones.

We all were told to wear our 605 team shirts, and I was hoping we'd snap a picture, but all of the 605 staff was milling about at the expo trying to get everything set up after Donald Trump's visit to South Dakota through a wrench into the schedule for the day. Eye roll.

Saturday morning, I got up later than I wanted to get in my shake out run, and then made my way to the expo. I was excited that 605 Running Co. brought back their race predictions, this year including an adorable polaroid camera. Chelsey messed up writing down my time, but I should've kept it, because she was closer than I was! I guess 2:02:42 and she wrote 2:02:02. The winner was SPOT ON and had done the marathon. And best yet, the person's coach was the one that predicted it. How's that for knowing your athlete's abilities?!

I took a break and enjoyed ten minutes of recovery at one of the booths and chatted up my running friend Nichole while I was there. I had so many people stop by while I was stuck and wonder what the heck I was doing. They're great.

Then a group of us decided we all needed to buy the same shirt, after I had told myself that I definitely didn't need it. Look how cute they are though!

And a picture with my bib before I left. Lucky number 64! This expo has gotten better and better. When I first started running this race, packet pick up was in the Scheels in the middle of an aisle. When it was first taken over by Sports Authority it was in the same arena, but it was laughable how big the site was compared to the vendors. It was basically a packet pick up booth with maybe 1-2 other booths. This year, and last year, it started to feel like a legit race expo. There were tons of people I know who were planning to go that weren't even racing this year. That's a sign of a good expo. Keep it up!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Tale of a Poor Training Session

Woe is me.

When I screw up a hard workout, I REALLY screw it up.

I was supposed to run 10 miles with 4x1200 intervals at 5k pace on Wednesday. Chris and I ran 11 miles the previous day, and in talking to my long run friends throughout the day Wednesday it was determined that we'd do our long run, 20 miles, on Sunday instead of Saturday. Phew. That meant I could move my speed session to Thursday and enjoy a recovery day on Wednesday. Ahh..

However, that meant I wouldn't have a running buddy to join me. No worries though. Extra easy day will make up for that!

Next issue was getting on a track that wasn't being occupied by high school football practice. But then, at work I had the option to leave at 1 p.m. since I had to come in on Sunday. Perfect! No practice at 1 p.m.

Guess how hot it was at 1 p.m.? 87 degrees. Barf. No thank you. I went home, after a failed attempt at getting a session of recovery boots where the person in front of me was allowed to start their session 20 minutes late, thus pushing mine back as well. Not that anyone bothered to tell me that until what was 20 minutes into my session. But I digress.

I decided I would just do my workout around Tea. I mapped a little one mile loop near home so I could grab water and change shoes as needed. And then I procrastinated it. Setting out at 8 p.m. And I hadn't eaten since 1 p.m. First mistake.

Second mistake: do you know how dark it gets these days? Very dark. Do you know how much of my extremely high property taxes goes towards street lights in this town? Very little to none.

But still, I was ready to rock it!

Three mile warm up felt great, despite the heavy humidity and still warm temps. I came home to switch out shoes for my first interval, grabbed my nox vest and my headlamp because it was pitch black out.

Started my first interval and my shoes felt terrible. I'd only wore them on the track and I started to get really nervous that I was going to hurt myself this close to the marathon. I did an out and back from my house to change back into my shoes. And by then my goose was cooked.

I was starving. I couldn't see the street I was running on, despite my headlamp in my hand. I couldn't make myself run fast without seeing the road.

And each and every interval got slower and slower. The fourth one being slower than my last 5k pace in the Sioux Falls half marathon, at the end of 18 miles. Uff. I desperately wanted to quit early, and I definitely didn't want to finish my 2.5 cool down miles. But I did it anyway.

Miles are miles even when they don't go as planned.

The best part about a really crappy training session is that a unicorn run is usually just around the corner. So I'm waiting! I'll take it October 7th, if I'm able to pre-select it. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Twin Cities Marathon Training Week 12

Monday Planned: Recovery+ speedy 7 miles with 6x100
Monday Actual: Recovery 3 miles. My right hip was a little cranky, so I opted for an easy 3 miles instead of 7. I think my body will be happier next Monday if I add in a recovery run Sunday, so this should do the trick!

Tuesday Planned: Med-long 11 Miles
Tuesday Actual: Med-long 11 miles with Chris in all the heat and wind blowing from every single direction. WTH.

Wednesday Planned VO2 Max 10 miles, 4x1200 @ 5k
Wednesday Actual
Recovery 4 Miles. I opted to push my speed work to Thursday since I shifted my long run to Sunday. My legs still weren't feeling 100%.

Thursday Planned Rest
Thursday Actual
VO2 Max 10 miles, 4x1200 @ 5k. Woof. This was terrible. It was so dark and I couldn't see the road and that doesn't lead to a very fast speed session.

Friday Planned: Recovery 4 Miles
Friday Actual: Rest day. After 7 days of running in a row, I was in need of a rest day. Sweet sweet rest day.

Saturday PlannedLong run 20 miles
Saturday Actual: 4 mile recovery run. Had to take walk breaks to keep my heart rate low enough for a recovery zone because it was hotter than hades out. Woof. I even had this guy's company for the first mile. :)

Sunday PlannedRest
Sunday Actual: Long run 20 miles. Melissa and I moved our long runs to Sunday to enjoy some church of the long run, and work around some other life fun scheduling things. The miles literally flew by. Night and day compared to my previous 20 miler. Phew!

Total Mileage Planned: 52 miles
Total Mileage Actual:  52.18 miles

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Weekly Reads: The Beauty that Remains

I adore the cover of this book. Not that I choose books by their covers, but if I did, I would choose this one. Plus I heard a lot of great things about it. I picked it up, and ugly cried through parts. It's the story of three teens dealing with the grief of losing three very important people in their lives--a twin, an ex-boyfriend, and a best friend. The way that each teen struggled and dealt with grief in completely different ways felt so real and raw to me. I loved it, in a heart breaking way.

My rating: 5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band's music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Anxiety Over Goal Times

As the Sioux Falls half got closer, I started to get really panicky regarding my marathon goal time. It was still 6+ weeks out from marathon day, but since Sioux Falls was a goal paced run, I felt like I needed to have things for TCM finalized, to have a successful pace run. I started over-analyzing everything. I can't run sub 4, I shouldn't try to run sub 4. I should just try to run PR pace. If I attempt sub 4/sub 2 pace at Sioux Falls than everyone will know my goal, and it'll suck if I fail.

I texted Toni that I thought I should change my goal to 4:02-4:05. I had ran a bunch of different pacing strategies, and that's where I ended up each time. She responded that we'll run sub 4 if she has to throw me over her shoulder and carry me across the line. And she's strong enough. And fast enough. She would!

Somewhere during this downward spiral of doubt, I made myself stop. And think about all I *had* done.

I haven't missed a long run this training cycle.

I haven't missed a single run this training cycle.

I have stayed healthy.

I've stayed diligent with my strength training, and massage, and foam rolling.

I figured out my electrolyte issues, easing recovery and muscle soreness, allowing me to add miles more easily and lift heavier weights at POWER.

I ran my highest consecutive mileage weeks ever.

I ran my highest monthly mileage ever.

There is not one thing I've set out to do this training cycle that I haven't done.

I am as prepared as I can be to run 26.2 miles this fall. Whatever the time on the clock ends up being is representative of all the hard work, physically and mentally that I have put in over the past 2 years. And I will be proud of that time no matter what.

In past years I've set goals and have been so upset when I haven't hit those goals, but if I'm being honest with myself, many of those races I wasn't as prepared as I could've been. This go around, I can truly trust in the training and let me legs lead the way. Hopefully my mind stays just as strong when the miles get tough.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Race Report: Sioux Falls Half Marathon

Plotting out my training for the Twin Cities Marathon, I was really excited to see a quality long run fall on the day of the Sioux Falls half. While I don't like to all out race SF, I will do it every year, and the course profile is similar to TCM as far as late in the race hills go. 

I had 18 on my schedule, and Jessica was sweet enough to join me at 5:40 a.m. to get the extra 5 miles in. We were about a mile from the bike trail, and it was so dark out. I had to use my flashlight app on my phone because I couldn't find my headlamp, and at one point our conversation turned from fictional murders and dismemberment and turned to real life, local accounts, and quickly decided that perhaps a less terrifying topic was needed, STAT. The five miles flew by, we kept them nice and easy, and we promptly lost each other after we stopped at our vehicles to ditch our Noxgear vests. (She went on to have an excellent, speedy goal MP 13.1 miles as well! She's going to kill it at TCM.)

Next stop was bathroom, bag drop, and meeting up with Melissa, Carter, Kristin, Rachel, and Karissa. I found the ladies, found the bag drop, found another bathroom stop, and we made our way inside. We only had a few minutes until the start of the race (yay, we timed our warm up miles perfectly!) and we were SO FAR away from our correct pace corral. I had planned to run with Kristin and Rachel as it was Rachel's birthday, and she was hoping to come in under two. I thought I could help pace her for part of it, and maybe helping her accomplish her goal would make my hard effort long run not seem so hard. While we were congregating in the corrals, we lost them (they were smart and went under a barrier to get further up!). 

At the start Karissa and Carter took off and Melissa settled in with me. Yay! We chit chatted a bit, I told her my plan for the day, and she said her goal was to feel strong, and maybe come in under two hours. She was also signed up for the 5k after the half to get in some extra miles. I kept us in check pace wise making sure we took the first few miles nice and easy. Melissa is a beast and powers up hills, while I'm a little more conservative with my effort (read: I'm not as strong at them!). It was really nice to have her ahead of me so I could focus on keeping good form like hers, and then she'd slow up a bit at the top to wait for me. We saw Kyle for the first time around mile 3, and I didn't even notice him, Melissa did. Ha.

My goal for the first five miles was to keep it in the 9:30-9:40 range. Nice and easy. 

1. 9:42
2. 9:27
3. 9:43

We made our way downtown, and both Melissa and I commented that this was our favorite part of the race. There are so many spectators, and live music, and the sun is just rising at the perfect spot in the sky, and the energy is just insane. I noticed around this point that despite running ~9:30s my heart rate was low. Like recovery zone low. Yessssssss. As we started to head toward Falls Park, we were a little thrown off by the slow lyrical version of Hallelujah that was being blasted out from some giant speakers. Give me some pump up music man! 

We took some back ways to get toward Falls Park, and then made our way through the park in the normal fashion. I gave Melissa a heads up that my mom would always be at the same spot at the Falls and there may be some tears, but I'd try to hold it together. I felt really strong running through the park, and had to laugh, as yet again, no one was in "her spot". :) 

We flew up the hill at Falls Park and I silently thanked all the Wednesday night group runs for making that hill not feel nearly as hard as it used to! Thanks 605 Running Co. Our pace was a little fast through this area, but it was a mix of flat and downhill, so I didn't attempt to reign us in. Plus the heart rate was still so low, I thought it'd be just fine. Thank you cool weather! 

Speaking of weather: I always joke that this race has terrible weather. Usually Labor Day weekend is just frigid, everyone has a great last long run of their training cycle, and then race day comes and it hits 80 before the finish with heavy humidity. This year we had a crazy hot and humid Labor Day weekend, so I thought maybe we'd luck out. And we did! Once out of every 7 years you can expect this race to be great racing conditions. I've lucked out 3 times over the last 14 years: 2005, 2011, and 2018. 

4. 9:14 (1st GU)
5. 9:20
6. 9:22

The plan for miles 6-10 was to run around 9:10-9:20 pace. Miles 6-9 were mostly flat, especially compared to the previous miles, so it was nice to settle in at this point. I don't know how many times we said, "I can't believe how strong I feel right now!" It was really great. Around mile 8 I did some math and realized I'd likely be just over two hours and mentioned to Melissa that if she really wanted to come under 2 hours, she might need to start her pace pick up around mile 9 instead of 10 as I had planned. She said she was fine and wanted to keep running with me because she felt really strong. I told her that was fine, but suggested that she run strong during the hills in mile 10 and to strongly consider NOT waiting around for me once she got to the top if she felt good. And she did.

Oh, you don't laugh at mile 8 of a half marathon? You're doing it wrong. Obvs.

7. 9:10
8. 9:17 (2nd GU)
9. 9:12
10. 9:21

We hit mile ten and with Melissa off in the distance, I was really excited to crank up the pace a little bit. The plan was to run 8:45s to the finish. I briefly thought if I all out raced the final 5k, I could maybe just squeak under 2 hours, but quickly realized that other than a boost to my ego, that wouldn't give me any extra preparedness for Twin Cities, and it's also not likely that I'll be throwing down low 8s at the end of a marathon, so also not a great goal MP race pace scenario. :P Also, there was the little black cloud over my shoulder saying that I'd probably get hurt trying, so I shouldn't. This was probably the voice of reason, and I listened. 8:45s it is!

I look like I'm running to a rave with all this neon!

I saw Kyle a lot during these miles, and maybe it was because Melissa wasn't there, but I was finally able to spot Kyle myself, AND he actually cheered for me. Out loud! 

I was a woman on a mission and I zoom zoom zoomed to the finish line as best I could. The end of mile 12 and start of mile 13 was a pain, as we were on a small bike path and I had a hard time getting around people, but once the route opened up to the road, I was off! 

I didn't put in my headphones until mile 12 started. That's how much fun I was having. Crazy!

I saw my neighbors near the finish line, and that gave me an extra boost. I came through the finishing stretch, threw my arms in the air, and then wasn't sure when to stop my watch because there was two timing mats and neither was marked.

11. 8:45
12. 8:50
13. 8:46
.17 7:57 pace

13.17 miles in 2:01:35 for a pace of 9:15.

My 14th consecutive Sioux Falls Half Marathon and 37th half marathon. 

This half, as a training run is my 4th fastest SF half. Whoa. 

I found my speedy running friends shortly there after.

Melissa ran her sub 2 (YASSSSSS!)

And Kristin hit her goal time as part of her training for her next race.


After the race, it was my goal to drink some beers and cheer on runners! A few people generously donated their beer tickets to me (3!), and I took advantage. I hung out at the 605 booth at the finish line to help cheer in all the runners! Most of my friends were also doing the 5k after so it was fun to cheer them in, as well as the marathoners. 605 Running co. was committed to sticking around for the last runner to finish the race (how cool is that?!) and I was committed to sticking around as long as I could before my stomach needed food ASAP. That ended up being about 12:45 pm. By my calculations, I maybe missed about 15-20 marathoners. Not bad.

I am beyond excited about this performance as it relates to my goals for Twin Cities. It's so hard to wrap your mind around a goal time or pace for a race as long as a marathon. There are so many doubts that can creep into your brain. We haven't had a nice day for a long run yet, they've all felt VERY summery, so it was nice to see how my heart rate looked on an actual cool "fall" day. This gives me all the confidence in the world to go all in for Twin Cities. Marathon PR, I'm coming for you (ooh, that literally gave me chills as I typed it. Man I'm a nerd!)