Race Recap- California International Maraton 2018

11/28/2018- Note to myself prior to race:

I will do my best, my very best and no matter what, I won’t be disappointed by the outcome. If I fall short, I will use it as motivation to learn and try again. If I reach my goal, I’ll use it as motivation to do even better next time. The journey has been worth it. The journey has been tough, and fun, and awakening. I am happy knowing I’ve done all the training, never quit a workout, no matter how hard, and stretched out of my comfort zone so many times I’ve created a new one. Thank you running, for choosing me. 

12/2/2018

No one sleeps the night before a big race so NBD that I had a crazy nightmare and no rest. In my nightmare, my mom was staying with me at the hotel and found out I was wearing buns to race in. (They are so comfy, I’ve tried it all, this is just what works for me. Desi Linden once said “26.2 is a long time to run in your underwear” I totally agree. I tried so hard for that very reason to resist them. But they are the best, so I must.) Anyway, my mom was trying to have me wear long tights and the race was about to start and I was missing it all because she had hidden my buns. Nightmares are weird.

After a 3:45am wake-up call I ate breakfast, showered, dressed and was ready to go by 4:30am. At the start line I loved the familiarity of having done this race before and knowing the drill. I haven’t done a lot of races twice because I haven’t been racing that long, but I can understand why people go back to the same ones year after year.

I’ve been feeling really lousy for the past couple of weeks, and the final things my coach/husband said to me was “every race is different, don’t expect it to be easy”. I had been telling myself that as well since last year one of the key standouts of CIM for me was that I rolled for so long without much effort. Read about that HERE. It’s always nice for a reminder though, and it solidified just focusing on what I had ahead of me and not comparing my run to last year.

I had a few goals going into CIM A) sub 2:37 B) PR C)Finish the marathon.

When the gun went off, I fumbled a bit to gain a little elbow room. I had started a tad farther back because I didn’t want to be tempted to go out too fast. Unfortunately it caused me to be a little squashed and I couldn’t see very far in front of me. I was on the white line on the edge of the road and less than a quarter mile in a stepped down hard with the ball of my foot on one of the rumble strips. I should know better, that shouldn’t have happened. Immediately a sharp pain shot through my foot but within a couple of steps was gone.

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I tried to make sure I had found a rhythm going that was 5:59 pace. I know running a negative split is popular, but for me, it’s all I can do to just stay steady. I went through the first mile in 5:45 and inwardly scolded myself for going out too fast. It’s literally one of the worst mistakes a runner can make in the marathon so I was super annoyed with myself. I managed to get with it enough to make it through the 5k with a 5:55 average. At this point I was really surprised there weren’t more runners around me. There were men and women passing me or already slowing down, but I didn’t have a group with me. I figured that would change, but over the course of the whole race I was running alone with only a few ladies in my sights for small stretches.

Around mile 6, I saw Ryan for the first time and I felt a wave of happiness at seeing him. He was wearing a Santa hat and was on a rented electric bicycle he had picked up in Downtown Sacramento. He had ridden backwards on the course until he found me and now would start working his way back towards the finish line on side streets and finding spots to stop and cheer.

Mile 7- I started battling some hip tightness. Its too early for that. I haven’t had to deal with this particular issue for over a year. I self-massaged while running, and wondered if I would have to drop out. Usually when my hip starts acting like that, my range of motion suffers until I can’t stride out. I won’t stop running unless something snaps and I literally can’t move, maybe it will work itself out. And luckily by mile 11 it had worked itself out. I was still under goal time, and for the next several miles things went fairly easily. I got to see Ryan on the course again and my friend Jenny and her family just around the half marathon mark. It was so nice to see familiar faces on the course. I was wearing “Kirkpatrick” on my bib but several times I heard “Go AnnMarie!” and got an extra little boost of energy that someone knew me.

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Halfway point- on target and feeling good for a few miles.

I wasn’t working the tangents well, my watch reminded me of that whenever the mile indicator would beep and the mile marker sign was still about 100 yards ahead of me. I tried to do a better job. At mile 19, I realized my watch never gave me any feedback. I looked down- it had died. Yuck! I’m not super dependent on my watch but I knew I was going to start struggling soon and wanted to at least have some sort of an idea of what I was up against. Luckily the course marshal for the 2:37 ‘A’ standard group of runners realized it and started shouting out splits, which I hugely appreciated.

Ryan came riding up “Go AnnMarie!” I yelled back “My watch died!” He said “I just got in a bike wreck, but I’m here and you can do this!” I glanced over. He had blood streaming out of his face. Yikes. I was alarmed, but knew he would never want me to stop. If anything, I just needed to make sure I put everything into doing my best and making the effort of my race make up for any sacrifices. Make it worth it.

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I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my right foot- exactly where I had landed on the rumble strip. Every step hurt to put my foot down. Rats. At the same time I felt my legs starting to turn into hardened concrete. Too soon, too soon, I still have 5k left!

This was a long struggle. I knew I was slowing down quite a bit, I regretted again having gone out too fast, but I was determined to finish the job. I wasn’t sure how much room for error I had, but I knew I would be pretty close. Don’t give in for even a second. If you do, you’ll never forgive yourself if you miss it. Focus. Speed up. Speed up. Do your best.

I rounded the final corner. I could see the clock 2:37:20. Damn. I had missed it. I kept running as hard as I could, I wasn’t going to do anything less than my best.

Taking a second
It’s okay to take a second and mourn something lost. But then- focus on what has been gained.

Final time 2:37:49. I let myself feel a little sad. I wasn’t going to be mad about it, I wasn’t going to pout, because I had just run a 7+ minute PR. But I did need to take a moment and just mourn a little that I had worked really really hard, cut no corners, and poured myself into training for this race and snagging an A standard- and it didn’t happen. I made my way over to Jenny and fam at the finish line and requested a sweaty hug. Sorry, that probably sucked for everyone but me. Moments later, Ryan was there and we celebrated the success of completing a strong training cycle, staying healthy, fit enough to run a marathon, and end with a huge improvement over last year.

What a weekend- I loved meeting up with the rabbit and nuun crew, and seeing other runners I only get to catch up with at races once or twice a year. (Special shout out to Nick and Mary on your knock-out efforts!) There were some inspiring performances to be celebrated and seeing them firsthand was an incredible experience.

I’m looking forward to a nice rest, refocusing on next year, and setting some new goals. I am so appreciative of all the love and support, it has been overwhelming in the best possible way.

*When the battery in Ryan’s electric bike died, it locked up just as he was cruising over a pile of wet, slippery leaves. The combination of all that caused it to slide and go down. He’s okay and on the mend- mild concussion, and his hand isn’t broken.

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Two Gals, Six World Marathon Majors, One Goal

I’m constantly inspired by those around me and rarely do we get to thank those people enough for the impact they play, many times without even knowing it.

Two ladies that have have been a constant source of inspiration, as well as running companions over the past few years, are Lauren Evans and Gelsey Klein. They were both training for different marathons when I met them and are still training for marathons- their goal is to complete the six World Marathon Majors- Boston, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, London, and Berlin. So far they are halfway there with all three of the US World Major Marathons completed.

Lauren is a nurse, wife and mother. We met a few years ago when our babes were still tiny at a mom group workout. My first legit long run of 16 miles (which I felt very overwhelmed by) was done with Lauren and at the time seemed exceedingly far. I admire Lauren’s ability to make time for herself in reaching her goals while juggling life.

Gelsey was a sprinter for the University of Wyoming. She is also a wife and mother of four (she has twins!) and works in the financial aid department for CSU. She currently runs for our local Runners Roost. Gelsey is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to marathoning. She knows all the qualifying times, course layouts, dates, etc. Researching marathon specifics makes me nervous, so if I need to know anything, I just go for a casual run with Gelsey and she will fill me in.

We have chatted about everything during our runs together. This time we sat down, had a glass of wine, and focused on the goal that keeps driving them to train and qualify for races- completing all 6 WMM. (So far, together)

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Let’s start at the beginning how did you two meet?

G: A long time ago- it was through a mutual friend at a party in our neighborhood. Lauren was pregnant so it must have been 2013.

When did you start running together?

G: We didn’t start running until awhile later- I knew Lauren as runner but I didn’t really know how much she ran. She was training for a 50k (2016) and that’s when we started training together. We found out we were going to be going to Boston the same year because I had gotten cut from Boston in 2016 so we ended up on the same timeline.

L: I did my last 10 miler with Gelsey (when training for the 50k) and fell in the mud at the start so did the whole run with a muddy booty.

G: Right, she wasn’t frazzled at all, it was funny.

 What made you set the goal to run all the World Majors?

G: I qualified for Boston in 2015 and that was the first time I heard about the World Marathon Majors. It was appealing to me because it was a goal that wasn’t numbers or time driven. At the time running was feeling kind of competitive and this was something I could do that was different and cool without the pressure, it was just fun.

L: I got the dream from Gelsey- we started talking about it on a run and I thought it sounded really cool too.

 

Where does your inspiration to run come from?

L: I don’t really watch professional running but for me its people that I know in the community. Other moms juggling life and work, but still make taking care of themselves a priority. I also like it for my on sanity, It’s my time for my own space to breathe, think things through, and it’s a huge part of my social life.

G: My sister was the one who got me started. I ran through junior high, high school, college and I was a sprinter. After college I took 2 years off and didn’t run at all. It was strange because it was such a huge part of my identity. Then my sister told me she was going to do a half marathon and convinced me to do a 10k which seemed super long at the time. So she got me on the distance train. But really, there is inspiration all over from people in the running community.

What is your average normal weekly mileage?

G: During marathon training its 40-50 with about a max of 60. During the off season I like to stay around 20 miles/week

L: I rotate as well. Around Oct./Nov. I take a whole month off, then start back up in Dec with about 25 miles and ramp up in January to start training for a spring marathon. During peak week in a marathon segment I’ll hit about 50miles. (laughs) I’m the laziest marathon runner, I don’t run more than I have to.

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Do you have any mantras?

L: I had a rough time at Boston- it was really hot, my music stopped working, and before 10 miles I wasn’t even sure I was going to finish it. My friend Liz had sent me a text “head up, wings out” (Oiselle’s tagline). I started repeating that halfway through and it carried me. Around mile 21, I started thinking “how much can I slow down and still meet my time goal?” The competitive part of me snapped me out of my misery and I kept repeating “Goals are for crushing, not giving up” As in, I wasn’t here to just cruise it in without trying my hardest. I couldn’t use my goal time as an excuse to slow down.

G: I run marathons for fun mostly, because I want to be out there having a good time. However, when I have a time goal I tell myself towards the last few miles of the race “You can work hard for the next 20-ish minutes or you can work hard for another 4 months and redo this.”

L: Oh- one of my favorites is: I can, I will, watch me.

G: I know a Lauren mantra- “Don’t wish for it, work for it.”

 What is the hardest part of marathon training for you?

G: The tempo- I just dread it. The stamina work stresses me out

L: Which is funny because she always kills it.

(I can vouch for that, I’ve run a tempo with Gelsey and yes, she was way under her goal times she wanted to hit.)

L: I get really tired the last month and running isn’t so much fun anymore. I do enjoy the long run, its just the weekly life that makes running difficult. It’s the stress of getting them in. And at that point the runs are so long its hard to fit them in.

G: I say I don’t like the tempo- but it’s the one that in the end gives me the most confidence on race day.

Which marathon is next?

G: We both have our name in for Berlin so we find out between Nov. 30-Dec 2.

L: For me, I’ll try to get into London in 2019 and if I don’t get in, I’ll do it as a charity run next year. Next I’d like to do Tokyo but I’d really like to finish with Berlin. I have German ancestry and my whole family would come and celebrate. Then we could finish, hop on a train to Munich and its Octoberfest. Really though, its hard to get into any of them, we will take them as they come.

After you have completed all 6 Majors, will you keep running marathons?

L: Yes, I would like to run a marathon on each continent.

Would you count the continents you’ve already done Majors on?

L: Yes, you bet. (laughs) I’m seriously the world’s laziest marathoner so you bet I’m going to count them towards it.

G: For me, it depends on when I get into London or Tokyo. It might take 6 or 7 years to get in to. I like marathoning, but it is very time consuming. If I were to finish all 6 in 2019 I’m not sure I would be done, but I could see in 6 or 7 years calling it good if it takes that long to get in.

 Which marathon was your favorite?

G: I think we both have the same favorite.

L: Yes, New York.

G: Boston was really neat and it was my first, but it was a really hot day. I remember hating the last 10 miles and I thought I had trained really well for it but I was just suffering. I want to go back because I want to change that memory. I put pressure on myself to get a certain time because the year before I had been cut so I wanted to prove I deserved to be there.

L: New York was just nice, the weather was perfect, there wasn’t pressure to run a certain time, it was just all supposed to be fun. I literally ran 26.2 miles giving high fives. The crowds were amazing and it was a party.

G: If I could do one marathon every year it would be New York. There were a lot of bands and distinct differences in all the burrows which made the course fun.

L: Boston was fun for me though, I kissed a girl for the first time at the famous Girls of Wellesley corner (unlike Katy Perry, she did not like it). It was hot, but I just decided at mile 13, it was going to be about being out there and taking it all in.

This is a broad question, but for a first-time marathoner give your best beginner tip- What is step one for someone who wants to start running?

L: Get a good pair of shoes and go for a run to figure out what running feels like for your body. Everyone feels miserable when they first start, run until you get past that point.

G: When I first started I used a training plan, it was a Hal Higdon beginner plan. It’s important to have a plan, which there are a ton of. Anyone can do it, but it’s the steps it takes to get there. I think most people hate running because they never get past the warm-up where they feel awful.

L: Yes, that’s exactly what I mean- get past the warm-up. Get to that point, find where that point is in your body and then give it a chance. And I agree about a plan, I’ve always had a coach, he’s a local runner, Walter Hickman, and it helps me so much to not have to think about what do to if I’m sick, what adjustments to make if something comes up, injured, he just tells me and I trust him so much. Every time I’ve set a goal with him, I’ve reached it.

Thank you Lauren and Gelsey for all of your insight and inspiration, miles and smiles!

This seems like a positive note to end on. I really could go on and on because we love talking running and there are so many stories to tell. Thank you for sharing my inspirations with me. I hope the main take- away from this is that anyone can make time for something (anything, it doesn’t have to be running) they love. We should all get the chance in life to feel, as often as possible, the joy of accomplishing something we previously deemed “impossible”.

 

Cal Int. Marathon- One Month Countdown

Superstition maybe- but last year I did a one month countdown/update on my training before CIM and since that turned out the way I wanted I’m going to follow suit again.

I’m feeling pretty positive about this training block- I remember last year being disappointed that I hadn’t hit a 100 mile week and this time around I did it! It was in combination with one of my hardest workouts to date; so even though I capped that week off with a dirty house, bedtimes by 8:00pm, and piles and piles of french toast, I finally ran 100+ miles in a 7 day stretch. I was very grateful to have Coach Ryan home for that week to help me pick up the slack and even bike with me for a couple of my tougher workouts.

Here is a snapshot of October runs:

 

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I’d love to be a mileage hog- I think it suits me, but once again, there just isn’t enough time in the day. I’m grateful for what I’ve been able to do!

Strength Training: I’ve been trying to squeeze potential out of myself in every area possible. I’ve always resisted strength training and find it incredibly boring, but have been doing small group workouts at Lifted, a gym near my house. It keeps me on track to get some kind of strengthening challenge in at least once a week and then anything I do on my own is an added bonus. WAY more fun with friends!

Lifted

Favorite workout: Remember Yasso 800’s? It’s a marathon time indicator workout and not completely accurate but I’m going to pretend it is. 🙂 Read about it HERE
There are tons of factors at play when it comes time to run the actual marathon but since this workout turned out the way I wanted, I’m going to use it as a confidence builder! Last year doing this workout I ran 2:44’s for 10 800’s and felt gassed at the end. My marathon time goal last year was 2:44 which is what I hit. I did this same workout a couple of weeks ago and averaged 2:35’s and felt tired, but strong at the end. So goals!

Goals: I crossed the finish line last year with so many happy emotions to have qualified for the Olympic Trials with a ‘B’ standard, but also a thrilling sense of challenge that now I wanted the ‘A’ standard. I’ve been training hard all year for that sub 2:37.

Coming up: I have a pretty grueling weekend- my Sunday long run will be a 1 hour 37 min run followed by 1 hour at race pace. I’m not nearly as nervous for it this time around.

Thank you for being a part of my journey!

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California International Marathon, U.S. Marathon Championships 2017

 

Couch to 26.2 in One Day- Chicago Marathon Race Recap/Interview with Rachel Pastor

From couch to 26.2 miles in ONE DAY. This is a training plan we could all get on board with right?

When I heard that my non-runner friend, Rachel Pastor was going to run the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7th AND only decided she was going to do this the night before the event, I was floored. I had to know everything she was thinking; before, during and after. I was SO intrigued. Would she even finish? Would she end up with a crazy injury?

Backing it up just a little…

Chicago Marathon 2018 was special to me for a lot of reasons- I didn’t run it, but my good friends, Lauren, Gelsey, and Colleen were. My friend Rachel was going along to cheer and experience the event. Unfortunately Colleen was injured and the night before the race Rachel agreed to take her place.

Maybe you have met someone who decided 24 hours before that they were going to run 26.2 miles the next day- I had not. And in this case Rachel is a non-runner who in the past month has jogged 3 miles total. She is an avid fitness enthusiast- personal trainer, cross-fit, weights, cycling, but zero running.

I finally had the chance to sit down with Rachel and ask some of my burning questions:

Q and A:

Do you often find yourself in new and challenging situations? (laughs) Yes, AnnMarie- I thrive in them.

Last time and distance you ran? Two weeks before Labor Day. I thought I might run the Fortitude (local Fort Collins race) so I ran 3 miles. I ended up deciding not to run it so that is the last time I ran. I usually don’t run at all.

Why did Colleen want you to run in her place? She was injured and although she really wanted to run it and had trained for it, she could not. I didn’t want to be rude or step on anyone’s toes but when my friend Lauren encouraged me to take her place she (Colleen) said “Yes, it would give this whole thing purpose.” (Colleen was running for a charity) After she said that everyone was like “Do it, do it, do it!”

Did you have any mantras? Yes. My friend Sydney had texted me and said that if I finished I would be in the top 2%, because only 2% of people have ever finished marathons. So I knew all I had to do was finish.

What was the advice from the seasoned runners you were with? Were they on board? They were the ones that encouraged me to do it. They basically said you have no big commitment to this- if you decide to drop out, you can just call an Uber. You can take as long as you need. They recommended the walk/run method.

What made you want to do it? I saw the challenge in it. There was something irking me inside to do it and I don’t know if it was that I wanted the challenge or if it was something that was pushing me towards something that I felt like I was meant to do.

How long were you sore after? I’m still sore. I do have some issues. I have a cramp in my glute that I can’t get rid of. My knees are sore. I don’t think I did any long-term damage though.

How did you feel during the race? The hardest part was being in so much pain and realizing how much farther I had to go. At mile 9 I started to really hurt but was able to run to the half. After that it was walk/run, walk/run and still pushing through pain.

What was the hardest part of the race? The last 5 miles I was just crying because I was in so much pain. Even when I was trying to walk with the walking pacers I couldn’t keep up so I knew it was going to be a really long time. People have asked “Did you cry when you crossed the finish line?” and I’ve said “No, because I was crying the entire 5 miles before, I had nothing left to cry”. My feet felt like they were going to spontaneously combust. I didn’t want to take off my shoes because I was scared of what was going on in there.

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What kinds of things did you think about during the marathon? I was really into this podcast with Joe Rogan interviewing David Goggins. He runs these ultra marathons with his feet just torn up and will tape them up and run these crazy runs in so much pain. He talks about some of his finishes and how hard they were- even being hospitalized after. It was completely mental strength that allowed him to finish. So I was just thinking about that- “Even if I crawl through the finish line I will make it. I will make it.”

Did you get a runner’s high? I don’t know what a runner’s high feels like but I’m assuming its the feeling like after a really good cycling class, like an endorphin rush, right?
Yes. So. Um, no. I couldn’t even talk. My mouth literally would not move. I was in so much pain and so depleted I couldn’t speak.

How did you get from the finish line to the hotel room? My friend Lauren, literally helped me down the stairs (STAIRS at the finish line??), sat me down and called an Uber. She wrapped me up tight because I couldn’t stop shivering. She had waited for me for hours after completing her marathon that she trained for to take care of me.

What was the reaction from the running community? Most runners weren’t as wowed by it. More people that have reached out and said “wow, that was incredible” were people who were not runners.

I often hear people say the marathon is life changing. Have you noticed that? How has this run changed you? For me it wasn’t during the marathon and I don’t know if I’m still processing some stuff from it. I’ve been extremely emotional ever since I finished it. Something happened, I just haven’t quite figured out what it is yet, but something shifted. I didn’t plan on this but I feel like I proved to myself that I had a strength I didn’t know I had, mentally.

Finish time: 6:47

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I’m proud of you, Rachel. It was crazy yes, I wouldn’t recommend this embarkment on the marathon, but damn it, I admire your spirit. When you are all in, you are ALL IN.

Do things that make you feel alive. Do things that are hard. You will learn so much about yourself and feel a kind of joy in life that can’t be found by staying in your comfort zone.

If you want to connect with Rachel visit her at: http://generation-healthy.com/

9 “Wish I Had Known” Tips to Improve Postpartum Running

I’ve been thinking a lot about new mommas and women who want to successfully return to running postpartum. It’s tricky, but I’ve been asking around- seasoned mothers, mothers with multiples, doctors, specialists, new moms, and I’ve compiled my list of things I wish I had known before I had kiddos that would have helped me get back into running and exercise a little more quickly and with less pain.

Throw back to 9 months pregnant with Owen:

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Number 9: Invest Early in a Quality Jogging Stroller: Even though you won’t be able to jog for 6 months or until baby can support their own head, those 6 months will FLY by. And the last thing you will be wanting to do during that time is trying to research and purchase a jogging stroller anyway. Also, if you look in the right places you can probably find a used one in excellent condition to keep the price down. There are pros and cons to that as a new one usually comes with some sort of warranty, so take those types of things into account.

Number 8: Make Time for Yourself by: asking a friend or husband to commit to one or two days a week for a set period of time so you can make a plan around that window of time and be consistent. Doing this in advance ensures it will happen, creates a habit, and doesn’t add to the stress of trying to schedule one more thing. Trade childcare if its a friend, trade kisses if its your husband.

Number 7: Support: You’ll need lots of other kinds as well, but a belly belt supporter helped me run a little longer than I could have without. If you are planning on running while pregnant, I feel like this is a must. There are so many options and styles. I would recommend trying them on when you’re around 20-24 weeks just so you can get an idea of how the belt will adjust with your growing babe.

Number 6: Attend a Breastfeeding Class Prior to Birth. Breast tenderness and nipple soreness from nursing can be a very real set-back when it comes to even thinking about wearing a bra supportive enough to run in. It seems like nursing should just come naturally (that’s what I thought) but for some can be one of the biggest obstacles (it was for me).

Number 5: The Sleep Dilemma. If you have a fussy sleeper you will have to go easy on yourself. I read so many books and tried many different methods with my first to try and get him to JUST. SLEEP. In the end, I wish I had just let him sleep with me, that was the only thing that ever ended up working and I would have saved myself so much stress trying “Cry it Out” methods. Your body needs rest to get better, so if you have a fussy baby, be extra patient returning to running.

Number 4: Mom Groups. Dude, I had no idea about social media mom groups! Do you know how helpful it is to have a group of local mommas who share the same passions as you going through the same thing at the same time? For me it was a lightbulb. I wish I had found them earlier, been more active, met more in person. Some of the moms I met through social media fitness groups are still my friends today. Even if you are a full-time working mother, the advice and uplifting from other women is extremely powerful.

Number 3: Snacks Galore. One of the best things about postpartum is all those calories you get to consume. If you are working out, even better- I’ve even had moms mention that they took snacks on their runs because they couldn’t get past 2 miles without being ‘hangry’. This is also very important in keeping up your milk supply.  Milk supply is such an individual thing for each woman that I won’t get into it too much except- bring on all the snacks! Also- I know this sounds counter-intuitive when wanting to lose baby weight but I am a firm believer that if you don’t eat enough to support exercise and milk production your body will go into survival mode and metabolize slower. Food for fuel. Make sure what you put into your body is mostly whole foods, things you make yourself, and healthy, but do fuel it.

Number 2: Ditch the Guilt. Don’t even make it a thing. You could give it a second thought but then it will turn into a third and a fourth and before you know it you’ve gone down the rabbit hole and felt guilty the entire time you were supposed to be getting in some quality “me time’. And health and exercise for yourself IS quality time of the best variety. It will make you a better person, there is minimal cost, and consistent training pays off in a huge way. no matter what your end goal is.

Number 1: Pelvic Floor Exercises. This is a big one! First on every mother’s list of advice they would give to their pre-pregnancy self is to focus big-time on strengthening their pelvic floor so the return to running and exercise would be more gentle down there. Talk with your doctor and start a consistent practice while pregnant to give you a big head start.

Special thanks to the amazing women in the Fort Collins “Supermoms Running” group for their input and ideas!

This is what I would have told myself- do you have anything to add?

 

Vancouver, Canada 2018- Olympians, Vacation, and Weddings, Oh my!

Disclaimer: This post is mostly about our family vacation so I can look back and remember.

There is only a little about running. Running on vacation is tough for me so I made sure I timed it so I was on a down week and “end of season” break. My hammies always have such a hard time traveling… Or scroll to the last paragraph for a little update on my current running.

My biggest hope about this trip: Please, please, please, let my kids remember it. I know they’re young, but it was the trip of a lifetime for us and I hope they keep their memories from it locked away.

My husband’s good friend from college, Rob (who is also a BA marathoner) was getting married this summer and we thought his wedding would be the perfect time to roll a family vacation in. Plus, YOLO.

Day 1:
We caught a late flight into Seattle on July 9th and took the hotel shuttle to our room for the night, finally crashing at about 2am. The kids of course were able to sleep on the plane. I brought a pillow, white noise w/ headphones…. still no luck.

Our plan was to get up the next morning, Ryan and the boys would swim at the hotel while I ran, then we would have just enough time to grab lunch and pick up “Hooka” our camper van for the week. We wanted to drive up the coast to Vancouver and enjoy the coastal towns and state parks along the way to our final destination. As usual, I got a little lost on my run, too much looking around and taking in the sights and not paying attention to where I was going 🙂 I had already decided that running was going to take a far back seat on this vacation. No workouts, just easy miles and days off if something came up that we all wanted to do and running was the only conflict.

On my run, I had spotted a little patio restaurant that screamed of ‘quaint coastal town’ and instantly knew we had to go there for post run lunch. I was not disappointed and we sat by the ocean with the breeze blowing, flower baskets all around, and ate fresh seafood.

After we picked up Hooka, we started our drive north, stopping for supplies and set up camp at a State Park.

Highlight of the day: The ferry ride!

Day 2:
Up before the sun, the rest of the family still asleep, I set off on a run going north with the plan of Ryan driving that way in an hour or so and picking me up. There were tons of turns, it could have all gone awry very quickly. Not only did it work out, I managed to end my run in front of the cutest little coffee/breakfast spot I’ve ever seen IN. MY. LIFE. It was in the middle of the nowhere, and we ordered a home-cooked breakfast of biscuits and gravy, omelets, and delightful coffee. We got to sit in the back flower garden totally secluded and soak in the cool morning before taking off again.

We made it to Vancouver! The rest of the day was spent setting up our campsite and taking the boys for a swim. We met up with our friends Dave and Robyn who also traveled from CO with us but took a more direct route to Vancouver.

Day 3:

So there is this bridge in Vancouver I got to run over almost every single day, the Lion’s Gate Bridge. Being landlocked here in CO, all the water crossings are really exciting for me. I would leave our campsite, get to the bridge in less than 2 min. and run up and across for almost 10 min before reaching the other side. It’s massive. The views are incredible. Unfortunately, I have very few photos because my phone storage maxed out the first day of our trip. 😦 I saw amazing sunrises, watched the city wake up, stood in the middle and got vertigo. It was really cool. Directly across Lion’s Gate Bridge I entered Stanley Park. It’s this massive, wooded park in the middle of Vancouver and all around it is the “Sea Wall”, a trail just for bikers, runners, skaters, etc. The trail is RIGHT next to the ocean, I just ran along watching the waves splash up. The sound is so soothing and mediating. I was always torn between wanting to go for longer runs and wanting to get back to the sleepyheads and whatever Ryan was making for breakfast.

We spent the rest of the day in Stanley Park. We rode the train, played at the beaches, parks, and explored the woods. It was grand.

Day 4: I was having a hard time remembering this day and now I know why: we spent the day kind of running errands and purchasing a few necessities.

On this particular day I also didn’t run- my right hamstring was really bothering me. How do people travel and race and still perform well? I need to get that dialed in, because I always have a really hard time getting my body in top form after sitting on a car/train/plane combo for hours on end. It was a good thing I didn’t end up running because the bridge I always went over closed for a few hours while a jumper situation was handled. I would have been stuck for hours over there with no way of getting back and no easy means of communication as our phones weren’t cooperative in Canada. We relied on wifi in the campground but had to walk to the pool to get service.

After a much needed pedicure, we enjoyed a nice dinner and relaxed at our campsite.

Day 5: Wedding Day! I mean, this was the whole reason for our trip so just waking up was exciting!

To start our day we went to an amazing science museum “Science World” which I highly recommend. We could have easily spent an entire day here but I’m glad we did as much as we could. The coolest thing was a VR flying machine.

Rob and Gen’s wedding was such a great time. The ceremony was short and funny as hell. This couple is the bomb- they just wanted to have a good time with their family and friends with zero stress. Nothing could have gone ‘wrong’ because they would have just laughed about it.

We were seated with a couple of Canada’s finest Olympic marathoners and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with them. I felt like I already knew them because Rob had a podcast from his serious runner days and they had been interviewed a few times. It’s the closest to star struck I’ve ever been just meeting everyone who was on the show, the host of the show, etc. I tried to keep my runner nerd self under wraps but it was difficult.

The boys had a blast dancing their little hearts out. They wanted to stay and shut the party down, but I took them to bed around 11:00pm and they zonked out pretty quickly.

Day 6: As I have mentioned before (I think) my husband is a photographer. We spent the morning in Stanley Park again taking engagement photos of Dave and Robyn. They’re pretty cute I guess. 🙂 When I say “we” I of course mean, the boys and I were super helpful, Ryan did all the work. After we checked out of our campsite we started south for the border. We spent the night in the northern most part of WA near the beach and enjoyed watching the sunset.

Day 7: Birch Bay Waterslide Day! I’m pretty sure this is the highlight of the boys’ trip. They rode water slides until their lips were purple and their eyes were glossed over with fatigue. Ryan managed to cover himself in bruises going down a super steep slide over and over. They still ask to go back, just a day trip ya know.

I did get up and run before all the fun, and really enjoyed the convenient trail/sidewalk along the beach. I probably ran about 10 miles so I don’t know how far this little trail went but I was able to hang with it the whole way. I felt ridiculously lucky and happy. Exploring new towns/cities by running around is one of my very favorite things to do ever.

Last Day: The travel day home doesn’t even really count, but we did make the most of it. We stopped in Seattle long enough to check out Pike’s Market, grab a Starbucks (of course), ride the ferris wheel, and get a parking ticket. Oh- and contribute to the gum wall, ha! Probably the grossest thing I’ve ever seen- and for some reason the sickly sweet scent of mint makes it even worse. The boys loved it, which didn’t surprise me at all.

Family vacations always end much too quickly. I’m so happy for the adventures we had and I know we will have plenty more but I’d really like to freeze time on weeks like this.

As I forge ahead this week and in the coming weeks in full marathon training mode, its vacations like this that keep me focused. We work hard, no doubt about that, but when we get time to play, its all worth it. It’s those happy moments that we can tap back into when we’re feeling zapped. Just like in running- I’ve been in the middle of tough workouts wanting to stop but then think of the feeling I get crossing the finish line and the tremendous amount of joy that comes after a good race. Win or lose, a good race is one that you know you’ve given it your all- you’ve reached a new benchmark or level of resistance you didn’t know you had. The joy after a race like that can get me through any tough workout.

 

 

Marathon Training- It Begins!

At just 15 weeks out from my goal race of the year (US Marathon Championships at California International Marathon) I find myself really feeling the quick passing of time. In some ways I feel like this year hasn’t gone quite as well as I had wanted, and if only I had more time to train, and if only I could get a little more race experience…

As I’ve delved into the world of running more and experienced first-hand the strength of American women’s running I’ve become sort of intimidated. It’s this weird combination of being in awe, being inspired, but also thinking: ‘HOW can I ever run that fast?’ Luckily I circle back to: ‘I’m doing this for me, and I only want and expect the best that I can give.’

15 weeks out looks like this for me:

Sunday- 22 mile long run
Monday-10 miles easy
Tuesday- w/u, strides/drills, 6x1mile, c/d
Wednesday- 10 miles easy
Thursday- 10 miles easy
Friday- w/u, strides/drills, 4×2 mile at HM pace, c/d
Saturday-10 miles easy
Total ~ 86 miles of fun!

After this week my youngest goes to preschool and I’ll be able to add in a second run without too much trouble and I’ll get to see my mileage increase slowly. I’ll be paying extra attention to my body to keep it just happy enough to stay injury free. I said earlier in the year I wanted to be able to hit 100 miles in this training block and I’m really unsure whether that will happen or not. It’s been frustrating to say the least, not having the time to try and hit that higher mileage.

In the world of hitting goals: I’ve run the Mountain Ave. Mile in Fort Collins for 3 years in a row now and last year broke the tape with a 5:02. I promised myself that 2018 would hold a sub 5:00 (at altitude) for me.

And I hit 4:56- heck yes!

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