Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thomas Edison once said, "I haven't failed, I've just figured out 10,000 ways that don't work." Surely he must've been a runner.

Back on the bike, up in the air about what's next. The Positive Pollyanna side of me tries to keep things in perspective and see the glass as half-full, because in all actuality, it is half-full. It's not as though your life is really that hard, it's just that you're spoiled. Aren't we all? And the Negative Nancy side of me says, "Screw you, Pollyanna!" And just wants to bang my head against a wall out of bewildered frustration, punch myself in the face as punishment for committing another fatal error, and wonders why on earth I keep coming back to this running thing (sometimes I sort of think of it as my imaginary abusive and manipulative boyfriend...or something...). Oh but wait, that's right....because you don't know who you'd be, what you'd be, or where you'd be without it. Combined with the fact that the peaks make the valleys worth it, and the process is just as worthwhile and enjoyable--often more so--than the result. And because, by God, ONE DAY it's GOING to pay off and I don't care who says it's not! But where have the peaks been lately? Valleys are getting old. Especially when you just nose-dive straight into them. Is it too much to ask for a gradual descent?!

I'm hoping 2011 will be a breakthrough year, and hoping to lay down some long overdue PR's. I think everyone deserves an occasional breakthrough and a few PR's after the effort put into training over weeks, months and years. The fruits of your labor so to speak. Unfortunately getting de-railed and starting over at square one every few months really hinders those efforts. Not to mention shakes the confidence. And let's face it, any runner can attest to the fact that there is no joy in struggling to defend your hard-earned fitness while not being able to train. Whatever happened to the good old days of lots of miles, tons of workouts, and being exhausted and stale long before being hurt?? How was that me?!!? You get better with the passing of time, right?

The whole being self-coached thing has been a good learning experience and definitely forced me to take ownership of my own running--and that means the successes and the screw-ups and everything in between. Maybe I'm blind to some obvious errors; at best I stayed the same, at worst I went backwards. I'm not too proud to say that the writing's on the wall. Somehow things seem to be going in a circle. So maybe it's time for some serious adjustments and some much needed outside perspective. Being successful post-collegiately takes a lot more than just knowing how to push yourself--all you need is a goal and lots of motivation for that. But you have to know how to fine-tune yourself too, and how to really see the big picture rather than just the right-now-this-instant-today. You know, the "microwave" mentality. There really is a lot to know, and evidently I know NOTHING.

So we will see how things go in the coming weeks. Till then, good riddance to 2010 (you won't be missed), this year seemed like one big tease as far as running is concerned. So here's to hoping for some great things in 2011. What is it that they say? Oh yes, plow the fields and pray for rain.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Capping off the Year

Club XC, what a weekend--lots of plusses and a few minuses. Highlights from the trip include but are definitely not limited to:
1) Tera's race. I mean seriously. I think that she needs to patent a training program titled something like, "From-Boot-Back-To-Badass-In-Just-Six-Short-Weeks!" She could make millions. (Individual results may vary.)
2) Running Republic of Who?
3) Mechanical Bull Riding. Enough said.
4) EVERYONE'S mad dancing skills.

<--Tera on a mission.

Now on to the race. Bittersweet. On the whole we ran well, second only to McMillan Elite--worthy competitors to say the least. Our scorers (Tera, Ali, Cassie, Nichole and Stephanie) packed it up and did a great job. Well no, everyone did a great job, we've got serious depth, and it's only going to get better. But alas, no three-peat for us this year. The course, outside of a crazy bottle-neck start made more crazy by the fact that there were about 250 people in the race (even more for the guys), was about as fast and flat as they come, minus that one doozy of hill--namely the backside of the hill, where it was about everything that you could do not to fall straight down it. Conditions were great.

Wendy, Kristin and me on the homestretch.-->

Individually though it was tough not to be more than a little disappointed. My initial goal was a top-30 finish, realistic considering the quality and depth of the field. Despite running what I thought to be a relatively smart race, I finished back in the 60's and ran a time equivalent to what I've run 5,000+ feet higher in elevation. No excuses, I got spanked, that's all there is to it. But needless to say I've got some reassessing to do and 6 weeks until USA XC, so maybe there'll be a shot at redemption there. But talk is cheap, so back to work.

Anyway, thanks to Cody for keeping us all in line (and defending us from the onslaught of creepy cowboys at Whiskey River), Eron for the sweet Adidas gear, and of course everyone on the team for your....awesome-ness. Bigger things to come for 2011!

club cross

I haven't been this sore since my first marathon in 2005. Today is 3 days after club cross and it won't go away! I feel like a little old lady. Racing so soon after such a long post injury break (6 weeks in a boot) was definitely jumping the gun.....But I'm happy I got to help out my team and be a part of it instead of my original plan of being the water girl. I am THRILLED to be running again pain free and getting to race was a huge bonus. Although our team didn't win we had a great weekend and I'm pretty sure everyone had an awesome time.
I'll admit it....I stayed up way past by bedtime and danced for 5 hours straight Saturday night. (can I count that as my long run?) It's not something I do often. I'm pretty much always in bed by 9 reading and sometimes even earlier. But sometimes its good to let off some steam and there's no one I would rather do that with than my BRC teammates.
I don't know whats up next. I don't have anything on my racing schedule because I had no idea how long my foot would take to heal. It didnt hurt after the race so I think I am good to go once the rest of my body comes around.
In non running news I'm looking forward to going to Chicago this week! I love the city at christmas with all the lights and window displays. I have been wanting to see wicked since it came out and its finally going to happen. Plus I get to eat potbellys everyday for almost a week and see a bunch of friends and family. It's going to be a very merry christmas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Hay's in the Barn

Well, here we are 8 days out from Club XC and looking at the start lists as well as listening to folks talk about it, it sounds like it might be a better field than in previous years. I don't really know because I've never run it before. But I'm pretty excited, the better the field the more honest the race so bring it. The course looks a little more pleasant and lovely than what I generally prefer, and it would make me even more excited if it would dump rain or snow or something all over it and get it as muddy and nastified as possible. Maybe an earthquake or something to shake things up (pun...ha? No.). But whatever the weather it should be a great race.

Anyhow, training's gone pretty well the last few weeks. I hit a couple small speed bumps along the way and didn't get in the tune-up race that I wanted to last week. Not perfect, but you have to roll with it. At any rate, I had a great workout yesterday and will have one more on Tuesday then all that's left is to beat the Voices of Doubt into submission and it's go-time. Thankfully this time around I have not been overcome with fits of ridiculous nervousness that leave me wanting to curl up in the fetal position in the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink for days at time and think irrational, self-defeating thoughts. Is that a good thing? I'm thinking so. But we'll find out.

Alright, since this post is not particularly interesting or insightful or humorous and I'm really only writing it in an effort to procrastinate on going to do a spot of pool-running, I'm going to leave it off here. However, I will include this below photograph to give it at least one redeeming quality:


Ok. That's all I got. Hopefully we'll all have wonderfully exciting blogs about the race coming up soon.

Monday, November 8, 2010

On the Up-and-Up

You know that winter is impending when not only is the oh-so majestic and glorious Pike's Peak crowned with whiteness, but when you can no longer take a pre-workout leak in the bushes because all of the leaves have fallen off of them, leaving you open to the scrutiny of total strangers. Boooo. But nonetheless it doesn't matter what season it is, this is a dang good place to train. Those things crossed my mind while I was getting dragged down the trail by Ryan Hafer this morning. In case you were wondering.

Back to buisiness. In a nutshell I feel fabulous and have been training and racing really well and couldn't ask for anything more than for things to stay on track. I got to travel with the UCCS team up to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships in Las Vegas (New Mexico that is) last weekend and they had as usual an open race preceding the collegiate races. It was a good opportunity to get in another cross country race and it went very smoothly. I felt great the entire way and ran a faster 6k time than I've ever run at altitude, and got to win too, which is always swell. Now granted this is cross country and there is always the possibility that the course is a smidgeon short or a tad long, so I don't generally put too much stock into times in XC. It's more about competing, which is one of the things I like best about it; no nit-picky split-taking nonsense. RMAC always has some great races to watch, so that made for some spectacular post-race entertainment. A very good time for sure.

Anyhow, initially I had all of these bright and shiney new training ideas to try out in the upcoming weeks, but I feel like things are going so well and keep getting better so I don't really see the sense in changing much. Don't fix it if it ain't broke. The biggest challenge over coming weeks will be tempering my enthusiasm enough to not do any of those "Well in retrospect, that was a poor choice" things. Obviously there are always a million hiccups along the way, but overall consistency is always the goal. I really want to be booking a flight to Spain with a USA singlet in my bag come this February, and so long as the wheels stay on, who knows what could happen? But first things first, and the next goal is to help make sure that Club XC trophy of the really manly-looking runner lady still belongs to our team in a few weeks.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Change is in the Air

I haven't posted in awhile and a lot has changed over the past several weeks. First, I am working...A LOT. It is really nice to be done with grad school and be in a career where there is actually a demand, but I tend to over-extend myself. A couple of weeks ago I was scheduled to work 13 days in a row--with no break--at 3 different jobs. I ended up getting a small stomach virus so I got an extra day off that I wasn't expecting in the middle of that, but I was tired by the time that stretch ended. So, the paychecks are nice and so is getting caught up on bills, but it has been a hard transition back into the working world and getting up at 4:30 am to get my runs in before work.
The other thing that has changed is that I am actually doing workouts, things are going well and I am healthy. My mileage is still really low, but we are finally to a point where I am no longer under-training and I am actually pushing my body to get stronger. Over the past few weeks I have been doing tempos at the end of my long runs, one track workout with shorter/faster intervals and then one longer interval day (this has been 2x2 miles). The fun thing is that the times are getting progressively faster while the effort is staying the same! So, that means I am getting into shape! Right now I am not very fit, but all of the work is building my momentum and hopefully letting me get ready for some late fall/winter racing and a spring marathon. So, in the meantime I am hoping that the trend continues and that I can actually get out there and get some racing in finally!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

What's my Worth?

Hello everyone, I know I have been MIA for quite some time now. I still see what everyone was and is doing. Great job to those who have been doing well in their running this past summer and fall! I wish I could say the same for myself! I decided to take time off from the sport a while back. Since I had last posted, I was in the process of getting back in shape. I trained for 2 weeks straight, then one day I just decided to take some more time off. Thats where I am now. I just barely started training again after 7 months of doing completely nothing that involved fitness. Just sat on my ass pretty much the whole time. Just feel like my life has changed as far as priority goes. I am going to finish school in december, then I am getting out of Alamosa for sure. I've been pondering Colorado Springs a bunch. Anywho, that will come later. But during the time, I have gained weight, pulling way too much all nighters, Alcohol has gotten the best of me. Its been quite a transformation for me. I don't really like it, but in the back of my mind, I feel that I missed out on my college days being a crazy person. I also see and think about my wife and how much I have missed out on our relationship. If she was a runner, things would have been simple. I could go on with my life knowing she is on the same page as me.
Feeling like I have lived 2 lives, my running and my marriage. I have had to maintain both. sure some might say, thats easy... but, if you are in my shoes, my partner doesnt care for sports. she supports me, but one can only take so much.
Long Story Short..... I am showing her the ways of an athlete now, so she can see what it takes and I want to go back to kicking some ass!
So of course I won't be going to Nationals this year.... I have let you guys down, and for that I apologize.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Stuff

It has been an interesting last several months, and while I am not a big believer in counting my chickens before they hatch, sometimes you've got to be an optimist and I think that the roller coaster ride of, "Um, I guess that run was pretty good" to "Um, did I really just drop like 10 minute miles for an hour and feel that bad?! Seriously? WTF." With no in between at all, might just be coming to an end! After a not-so-great chunk of training after the CC meet, the Rocky Mountain Shootout was a total wash (I'll spare everyone another self-deprecating story, it was really rough though). Excited as I had been to compete there, once the gun went off I was never even in that race. Well no, the brain was in it, but the body apparently not so much for whatever reason...maybe someone sent me some bad juju...I dunno. In any case, I finished a pretty dismal 20th. Prior to that day, I'd never thought of myself as a "choker" before, but that race left me wondering. But you can only accomplish so much by beating yourself up, and a race or two does not a season make. So I got back at it and thanks to some helpful advice along the way, I mixed up the training over the following couple of weeks and also quit doing most everything solo on the same routes. Okay, I still did most of the same routes--kind of a creature of habit like that--but sometimes I did them backwards or with no watch or at a different time of day or whatever. I guess that was just what the doctor ordered because the next week plus of training felt terriffic and my long run the following weekend was the best one I'd had in a couple of years, and at the Metro State Invite last weekend I actually competed instead of just survived. Even though I got out-kicked and it wasn't a "victory" on the results sheet, it was a huge confidence booster for a huge number of reasons and I felt more comfortable racing than I have in forever so I was extremely thankful for that. You have to enjoy all of the good races when you have them, not just the big ones. The meet was a smallish 6k collegiate race, but there was some very good competition there as with just about anywhere in the state, I really liked the course, it was a perfect day for an XC race, and the crowd support was awesome. Cross country meets are hard to beat.

Rocky Mountain Shootout

With any luck and a lot of work things will keep getting better from here. I think that they will. I feel like I have a ton of momentum right now and kind of just want to keep rolling out races every weekend, but also think I need a decent block of training to get things to the next level. I may jump into a Turkey Trot up in Denver or Fort Collins in a few weeks, but outside of that Club XC is the primary goal with USA XC couple months after, but one step at a time.

Anyways, great job to everyone who raced Chicago (Tera, Adrian, Robbie, Art, Paul, Greg, Tommy, Jason, and sorry to anyone I missed), Cow Harbor, and Tufts (Ali, Cassie, Amanda, and Wendy), keep up the good work. Happy trails.


Every time I run a marathon I think.... why don't I do this more often? I LOVE the distance and last weekend in Chicago proved no different. I had a ridiculous amount of fun during the two and a half hours I was racing and I'm pretty bummed its over.
I was a bit nervous going in. I've been dealing with a foot problem for the last 2 months and didn't know how it would hold up. The morning of the race I was still trying to figure out what shoes, inserts, pads, etc I was going to wear.
I also don't particularly enjoy racing in the heat and was hoping for another 30 degree day like last year. It ended up being between 69 and 75 while I was racing. Not terrible but definitely not ideal.
I knew I couldn't do much about those things so I decided to stop stressing, try my best and have some fun. I felt fantastic pretty much the entire way. Normally in a marathon I'll have a bad patch or two but it just never seemed to come. I was really hot and very thirsty but never hit a wall or anything. My foot started nagging around 5 but thankfully didn't get really bad until after the race was over.
Now I'm looking at a nice long break to recharge the batteries and get my foot healed. Taking time off isn't my favorite thing but I know its good for me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

My new beard

Well...I haven't written anything in far too long. I apologize. I have been too busy running huge miles and growing this absolutely glorious beard.

But training has been going really well the past few summer months. I have traditionally been a low to mid-mileage person, but have made a concerted effort the past 2 years up here in Gunnison to try to get to the point where I could handle much higher mileage. I finally feel comfortable running 100 mile weeks with a few quality workouts. Where 90 mpw used to be a huge struggle, now it feels very under control (knock on wood.)

My hope is that the new strength will really pay off later this Fall, but particularly in the Winter and Spring.

But until then, I am hoping to see some progress in the next several weeks. I am going to attempt my first 1/2 marathon on October 16th (The Murfreesboro Half)! I figured if ever I was going to be in a position to run a half, now is probably the time. I haven't started Max VO2 intervals that would lead to a fast 5 to 8k yet, but I think my longer tempo runs the past several weeks should help over a half. We will see, I guess. :)

I hope everyone's training is going very well and you all are enjoying the cross season.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One Day at a Time

Back in August I drove over to Grand Junction to have an evaluation done by a biomechancis specialist. This specialist has credentials a mile long and I trust his judgement along with my physical therapist's, both have come to the agreement that I have a pelvic instability on the left side. I have been working hard the past few weeks to address this weakness and as my body adapts to new mechanics new issues are inevitably popping up. Although what I am dealing with right now has me questioning whether it is from changing mechanics or something more acute. Something is wrong with my knee--I have heard everything from tendonitis to a stress fracture and still have no concrete idea of what is going on so I am working around it and treating it with ice, massage, anti-inflammatories and modalities (like iontophoresis and ultrasound). One of the things this summer has taught me is that I have to just go along for the ride, weather the ups and downs without letting either dictate my motivation. This has been a hard lesson to learn, but one I think I have figured out (at least today).

Tomorrow before work I am planning on running an hour or to right before my knee locks up and doesn't allow more running. I am taking things one day at a time but staying hopeful that I can keep training. My goal tomorrow is to make it through the whole hour without the excruciating knee pain that has happened the past few times I have run over an hour. Hopefully I will be successful!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When you have more than one blog post in a row it starts looking like you have no life...but seriously, we are really slacking here you guys. I know some of you have some phenomonal race results that you're just dying to I right? Don't be shy now.

Since I have no problem rambling about anything, no matter how pointless, I will start by saying, "HOORAY for cross country season!" That's where it's at. If cross country could go on year round, that would be fine by me. None of that round oval track nonsense--that stuff is for the birds (or more like those with actual leg-speed. I've always been a little jealous of those folks.). Anyhow, on that note there have been a couple lower key collegiate XC races here in town over the last couple of weeks, both of which were generous enough to let unattached folks in. First was the 3rd annual aptly named UCCS "Rust-Buster" Invite a couple of weekends back. That one was a 6k that wound its way through Monument Valley Park. It went well, I felt good, and it was good to see everyone and get to see all of the current UCCS runners, a lot of new faces, and plenty of alumni as well. A good time for sure.

Last Saturday, Colorado College hosted its Tiger Invitational. That one was another 6k in Monument Valley Park (I really like racing there...) but a slightly different course. That one went alright as well. I finished behind Steph Bylander, who won the show. That one was a bit different in that they combined the college and open races and it was fun to mix it up. I almost felt like I was re-living the glory days, just like the Bruce Springsteen song. So next up is the Boulder Shootout up at CU in a couple weeks, I am a bit nervous for that one. But what else is new.

As an aside, I am in the process of figuring out a good running goal. I realized the other day that I'm almost at the quarter century mark of life, and since a person's athletic ability dwindles quickly with time then I have to figure out what to do with what time is left! There is a lot of urgency here. I don't particularly want to be a marathoner, for some reason that race hasn't ever appealed to me, I don't really like the track that much but will do some of that this spring for PR-ing's sake, cross country is unfortunately far less popular than it would be if I was in charge of everything (which I am not), I really like road racing but don't know what distance to focus on, and I think I need to do a couple trail/mountain races to figure out if I have a niche there because I've never tried it. I guess I will just do some of everything till I figure it out.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Step in the Right Direction

Things are still slowly and steadily on the up-and-up. I'm okay with that. I finally got up enough nerve last weekend to actually run a race. I went up to Denver on Saturday to do the Erace (that's not a typo, it's a pun) Homelessness 5k in City Park. After my previous and somewhat disasterous attempt at a "race" about a month and half ago, I didn't go in with the highest of expectations--in fact I was trying to not have any expectations--I just wanted to improve upon what I did the time before and get a decent idea of where things stand fitness-wise. Both objectives were accomplished, I got second (Lori Walker soundly trounced all of us--kudos) and got to actually take home prize money for the first time ever. My time was nothing to write home about, although supposedly the course was about 100 meters too long, but that could be one of those self-esteem boosting rumors that runners conjure up when no one runs that fast on a particular day and we all want to comiserate with each other. But according to Andy Rinne's GPS (here we go with this technology business again) the course was 3.2 miles long. It was a fun race on an interesting course, and I would have to say that the highlight was when some random aid station worker guy pitched a cup of water directly into my face at mile 2. I still don't know what that was all about. Maybe I looked like I was falling asleep out there, I'm not really sure. But I'm sure that it was done with the best of intentions.

Adam, Andy, Robby, Ashley, Russ and me at the start line.

Cross country season is in full swing now, and I always get all nostalgic this time of year, not to mention really jealous of all the college and high school runners gearing up for another year of racing. I really miss that stuff. I mean, I kind of get to pretend to be on the Palmer High School team since I'm always with them and everyone asks me if I run for them (I'm almost 25 for crap sakes, do I LOOK like I run for a high school??!!). It's a bit different (nope, it's a LOT different) when you're not stepping up to the line with a team at your back with everyone counting on you and on each other to give it everything and a bit more on that day. It's a totally different mind-set and it's taking some serious getting used to even though I've been working on it for over a year. The whole Every (Wo)Man for Themselves mentality is a bit more mentally taxing I think.

At any rate, there are plenty of XC races to jump into this fall, and next up is the UCCS Rust-Buster down in Monument Valley Park on the 11th of September. Great race to run and great races to watch. After that, I'll probably jump into the Colorado College Invitational then the Boulder Shootout a week after to get ready to race fast (hopefully) at the Tufts 10k in mid-October. Although at the moment I'm having a lot of trouble getting into that race, hopefully it'll work out.

Great job to everyone in all your races this weekend, and keep up the good work!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hope for the Future

I have been doing everything I can to get back on track and nothing seems to work long term. I have tried many things that have worked in the past and yet my body still seems to be spiraling downward and out of control. At times I am so tempted to throw in the towel...enough is enough. I am 30 years old and I have basically been dealing with one injury since I was 18 and thus all of the complications that come with an injury and still training on it--compensation. So, for the past 12 years I have been trying to fix my hamstring problem and now it is worse as my whole left side is unhappy and has been since May. I have been dealing with this more than half of the years I have been running. Just writing that sentence makes me want to cry, but for some reason I am still feeling the desire to train and to run hard, to try to reach my potential whatever that might be. So instead of burning all of my running shoes I am going to gather them up along with some running clothes and head west to the other side of the mountains to try to get some help figuring out what is wrong with me and hopefully learning the best way to return to top form. There is a biomechanics guru that has helped a lot of different runners with a lot of different types of problems, and despite being warned that we might not find the "smoking gun", the guru himself seemed confident that he will be able to figure out what is going on with my body and how to come back from this injury. So, I am hopeful.

Knowing that I have had some decent results in the past while battling this does give me hope for the future though. I haven't made it through a cycle or season since high school without losing precious time training to address an injury. So, one of the key components to successful distance running hasn't been there for me, ever--and that is consistency. My coach and PT have done a phenomenal job at dodging injuries and keeping me moderately healthy and able to show up at some starting lines feeling ready, but that deep ache in my upper hamstring was always there impacting some part of the performance (even if it just hurt my confidence and not my physical ability). And I am tired of constantly wondering how my body is going to rebel next. So, I am diving in and ready to face down and do whatever I need to in order to be healthy and training at level that is needed for post-collegiate running. And once I am over this hurdle, it is going to make the good races that much sweeter! I can't wait.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Coming Back to Life!

Today I got called "old school" by an old guy*.

Today's workout (which was a really good one, I might add, but I'll get to that) I was joined by Chris Bittinger--or "Bit" as he is sometimes referred to. Upon discussing the day's mission while warming up on the trails around Monument Valley Park (while he calibrated his GPS...or Garmin....or whatever that was...), he asked me how I typically determine my average mile pace in a workout. I just told him that since I start workouts in the exact same place pretty much every time I do them (the exact place in this case being the little bridge up by the parking lot at Monument Valley) and that the distance from there to this random little tree a ways down and around the trail past the Second Bridge (the Bridge-to-Bridge bridge, I know, I know...the terminology is terribly confusing. Don't even get me started on Upper Loop, Big Loop, Small Loop, Middle Loop, and Around the Water Fountain) is a mile, then I usually just check my watch when I pass the Little Tree Down Past The Bridge-to-Bridge Bridge to see where I am at and then just try to maintain that pace. It's all very technical you see. With that explanation he laughed at me and called me old-school. I call it being Technologically Impaired. I don't have a heart-rate monitor, or a GPS, or a Garmin, or any of those fancy bells and whistles. I do have a stopwatch however, and I would really like a measuring wheel. Anyways, the point of this is that I am not very techno-savvy, however I justify this by saying that the Kenyans don't have Garmins, and they're pretty decent at this running buisiness. But even if I did have any of those things it would take me about two years to figure out how to use it, by which time it would be obsolete and it would be necessary to learn how to use something fancier. It practically boggles the mind.

I was really happy though post-workout because it was by far the best workout that I've had since early March, and last Sunday was my longest long-run in an equally long time. Plus, it was incredibly helpful to have someone pushing me the whole way, I forgot how much I like not doing the workouts solo. The occasional solo run or workout isn't bad, but having someone else to pace off of is immeasureably helpful and actually reminded me of how to be competitive. I was starting to think I forgot how.

And thanks to the help of Chris's Garmin or GPS thingydoo or whatever, we could determine how much ground was covered and pace per mile more accurately than we could through the use of my Bridge to Little Tree Down Past The Bridge-to-Bridge Bridge Measurement Method. However I still can't invest in one of those things because he spent the cooldown overanalyzing things worse than I already do without it. Nonetheless, technology is amazing!

As long as the wheels stay on, the future is looking bright and shiney!

*For clarification purposes and in defense of Chris, he is actually not "old." He is, in fact, a pretty kickass middle distance master's guy. I just consider anyone older than me to be "old(er)", and anyone younger than me to be a "whippersnapper". So he is "old" only in that context. And since they say that you're only as old as you act, that makes him about eight.


I did my first ever Rock n Roll event last weekend in Chicago! It was a blast. I love coming back here to race. I always see a lot of people I know plus I love the city atmosphere. Having bands along the course was really nice too.
The race went great...I felt really strong the whole way and ended up with 1:13:36. I really only planned on running marathon pace but it just felt too slow. And what can I say.... I got a little competitive about half way through.
I stayed a couple days at sea level to get in another big workout before heading back to altitude today. I'm so sad to be leaving! I really love it here.
But I don't love the heat and humidity. We were in southern illinois a couple days ago for my grandmas bday and the heat index was 110. I ended up in the ER. I was freezing cold and couldn't stop shaking. Turns out it was just dehydration so I kind of feel like a wimp but I'm glad I'm ok!
I also don't love the traffic near the city. It took us about an hour and a half to move 10 miles yesterday.
So I will probably be sticking with Colorado for the time being. But I'll be back in a couple months for the marathon and I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

On the road again...

I love running because it truly is a lifelong sport. There is rarely a time when I have thought, "Well I've hit my PR, I think I'm done now." Even when we reach that long-awaited goal, we make another and another, always striving for the next step. That's one reason why I love this team, it allows you the freedom to continually improve your running without a ton of pressure to perform 365 days a year, as well as having the patience and understanding that runners get hurt.

I had a very rough 2009 season, with injury after injury. I got so discouraged. After getting a cortisone shot in a bursa in my knee in February, I have been pain-free and slowly building up mileage and intensity. I finally feel like after 5 months of good base and slow progression, I have made some good progress. It hasn't been the easiest journey, my first 5k back I ran 19:45. One week later at Sailin' Shoes I ran 19:07. This past weekend I ran the Evergreen Town Race in 18:16. I am so pleased with the progress and after being laid up for so long, and I realized that I had to enjoy the journey. Fitness never comes quickly, but getting there doesn't have to be a job. I have a new coach who is incorporating some much needed drills and circuit training into my running. I feel stronger and more balanced already and I am trying to do my part by being consistent with both running and drills. I plan on running the Park to Park 10 miler in September and ultimately hope to be in great shape for Club Cross.

I have to do some 'shout-outs' because this has been a really tough journey for me and I owe them one. I want to give a big thanks to Cody for keeping me on the team even when it looked like I would never be healthy again, Mark Plaatjes for always knowing what is wrong and for all the help with my form, and to Jay for being patient with me, loving me through the bad times and for being my most dependable running partner ever (even when it is a 5:00 AM). See you all on the road!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Big Week

Marathon training has begun! My body is still adjusting to the big miles and I've been really tired. But I was able to put together a decent "race" at the classic 10k yesterday. I was a little nervous going in because I had been feeling pretty bad all week and I've never done a race off such high mileage before.
I didn't feel great but it wasn't bad and I placed 2nd in 33:58. I really only expected to run just under 35 so I'm pretty pleased.
Today I did a LOOONG run on the treadmill. Yes, I know I'm crazy but I love it. I enjoyed a variety of reading material including the saturday Denver Post (the sunday paper hadn't come out yet), USA today, Vogue, Time, Health, Money, and Women's Fitness magazines.
I don't always do long runs on the Tmill and I really enjoy outside running as well. two weeks ago I ran magnolia road and last week I did my first run at rampart reservoir. I loved it! 9,000 feet, beautiful views, and not too hilly. My all time favorite run is still flagstaff trail in Boulder but rampart might be 2nd.

11 weeks till Chicago!!!!!!!! until then, back to the grind.

Monday, July 19, 2010

T-Minus 24 Hours

I was informed today that I'm allowed to pout about a bad race for no more than 72 hours. Since said bad race was last Saturday, that gives me through tomorrow. However, after much deliberation I have decided that I don't need 24 more hours. You see, lately I have decided that I need to model my life after the ever-optimistic and comletely non-nuerotic Tommy Neal. So from henceforth, before I act in any situation, I must pause, I must scratch my chin, and then I must ask myself, "What would Tommy do?" In this case, Tommy would chalk it up to a rough day at the office and get back to the grind! Right Tommy? Right! What I'm trying to say is that I am, get this: OVER IT. No really I am. Seriously. I AM.

Ok, but in all seriousness it was REALLY ugly...I mean it made the Gate River Run look like my best race ever. I won't go into details. Let's just say I ran WAY faster on the same years ago. And a 19-somethingish 5k race has never hurt so flippin bad. Sometimes results like this really make me question the whole "money in the bank" theory of training. You know, the idea being that every mile contributes a little something in the long run. I was a I am not so sure. But ANYWAY...
...not a pretty picture....

So I did a bit of post-race overanalysis like always and decided that maybe I'm not being reasonable with myself and perhaps to expect to race in the 18:20's on that course on that day after two hard on-land workouts since getting back into the swing of things a few weeks ago just isn't reasonable at this point and that I should keep the bigger picture in mind. Did that entire thought just come straight from MY brain? Why, yes it did! Egad! Eureka! Heavens to Betsy and Hallelujah! No, but seriously, I guess that running a bit sub-par tops not running at all BY FAR. I will take that any day, at least there's somewhere to go from there. That goes without saying.

I once watched a FloTrack interview with Lauren Fleshman and she explained that one of the most important things you can do as an athlete to keep things in perspective is to take everything one day at a time and always run in the present without comparing yourself to what you were when you were at your best, but still keeping in mind what you want to be.There is simply more work to be done, onwards and upwards, and Club XC is the main goal at this point for 2010.

The day will come when my first sentence in this silly blog will be "HOLY CRAP!!! I HAD A BREAKTHROUGH RACE!" That day is not today, but stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm Back!

It's been a minute folks... but i'm finally feelin' myself! It took close to 4 months to come back and start training. I just needed a break and now i feel refreshed! Yesterday was my first day coming back. I also hit the weight room last night, so i'm sore from both activities! I only ran 25 min. Just want to start easy just in case my body wants to give me problems starting up to fast. It's been one crazy but great summer! If only I could tell my stories! haha! Maybe if you are a close friend and you request them! I will keep everyone posted on how things are going for me. My plans are to be ready by Nov. Much Love everyone!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Iliotibial Band

I'm just coming off some ups and downs in my training with the most recent being a bout with my IT band.

Pronunciation: /ˌī-ˈtē- band/
1. :a fibrous thickening of the fascia lata, the origin is the anterior iliac distress. It extends down the lateral part of the thigh to the insertion point, the lateral epiwannacryle. When these two are simultaneously stretched it triggers the vocal cords to create a grunt or yelp usually followed by a very visual limp
2. :or something like that

...well enough medical talk, I was on the bike for a while but I'm happy to be back running again.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm not a hobbyjogger.

But apparently I look like one right now.

As I finished a run the other day someone asked me, "How was your jog?"
Ummm...I wasn't jogging....I was running thank you very much...but yeah it was good. Not that I'm saying there is anything wrong with being a hobbyjogger, it's just that I don't want to be one till I'm at least 50. I hope that they were not offended at the look of irritation I gave them, I was really just trying to get the sweat out of my eyes.

After spending about the last 3 and half weeks just running for minutes and getting time in on the feet, I *THINK* (and I say this as I cross the fingers, knock on wood, and toss salt over both shoulders, because I've said it before and been wrong) things are getting back on track. All told, I wasn't "out", as in not running altogether, for that long. It's just that I don't count 30 minute runs a few times a week as legitimate training, so it feels like much longer. After getting needled in the foot/shin about a dozen times, and even in the butt-cheek once, and sorting out a few mechanical issues that will hopefully resolve with time and effort, I've been able to spend the last three weeks getting in more miles, and putting in less time biking and pool-running, and have still had things make good progress, and that is an encouraging positive. It would be great to get out of The Rut. The Rut is a crappy place to be, not to mention lonely, and is starting to look a little too familiar.

Today I did my first on-land workout in a while (I've been doing all my intervals in the pool for the last few weeks) and it went well! I did five sets of 4 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy. Pretty simple, and it went alright. I felt pretty good and I feel like the legs are coming around, and the pace wasn't far off of where it usually is. I am hoping to jump into a low-key 5k on the 17th; my sole goal for that one being to get an idea of where things stand fitness-wise without embarrassing myself in the process. Thankfully it's a women's-only race so there will be no strutting, preening, male egos to deal with (no offense guys, but we all know it's true), and no high school boys flinging elbows taking the pace out in 3 minute miles for the first 600 meters, because that's just straight-up annoying. And a couple weeks after that if all is still going well then I would like to do the Classic 10k, then probably just train for a while. A few weeks back I had the intention of doing a few out of state races this summer; namely the USATF Club Champs for track to get a fast 10k in since I messed up by staying off the track last spring, and then the Bix 7 Miler in late July, and then the US 20k Champs in September, but things didn't quite pan out that way and I'm in no position to press my luck and rush things, and I'm not about to cram for a 20k. If things are just great and everything's perfect, I might do the Women's 10 Mile Champs in October, but that's just a possibility and no sure thing. But first things first, and I have to get all the way out of the woods to start with. I'm trying to not get ahead of myself here even though I always get really excited when things start to look up and I want to go do everything and make up for lost time because it feels like the ball-and-chain is finally off, but one day at a time I guess.

I am pretty glad I don't feel like this guy anymore though...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm actually having a solid summer of racing after last year's over-training fiasco. I was first at the Superior Downhill Mile on the 4th in 4:00 (actually 3:59.xx, but they rounded up). It seems that my best racing always comes when I don't think too much about it and just focus on having fun. Has anyone else noticed this? Last summer I stressed about my training and racing and my performance suffered; this summer I'm just trying to enjoy running.

I'm off to England next Wednesday to conduct research for the dissertation. I hope everyone is having a good summer.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why you shouldn't study...

I haven't updated in awhile because not much is happening with me as far as running goes unfortunately. Things were on track and then bam, two weeks ago I pulled another muscle. This time I have had a really hard time getting back on track, BUT the good news is I think I finally figured out why in May I suddenly got a hamstring injury and then haven't really been able to run since.

You see, I was studying...a lot. I had a big board exam that I had to pass so I could get licensed and finally start a real career. My days were full of runs and then sitting in a chair or on my couch in front of a computer and a text book for hours at a time. That lead to some lower back issues that I think probably aggravated everything and also probably increased my propensity to keep hurting that left leg. Last week at a very low point, I couldn't sleep because of radiating pain down the back of my left leg, my left hip and my left lower back. I was stumped and starting to really worry that I had a bigger issue than we suspected, like maybe a stress fracture or a tear either in my hip area or near the hamstring and/or adductor attachments. However, with a few lower back exercises the radiating pain stopped and I got some major relief.

So, now I am biding my time...doing a little jogging, some walking, lots of PT exercises and some climbing. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks. My hope is that by this time next week I will be running without feeling nerve pain on the left side, without my foot strike feeling off and with some bounce in my step! If that happens, well then my next goal is to get back to some shorter racing, hopefully by the middle of August.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I got last in a race.

After almost 6 weeks off I am back in action. Thats the longest break I have taken since I started running and it was hard. A couple of weeks is no problem for me but 6 is a bit much. Since I'm a race junkie and had some previous commitments on my schedule I jumped back in pretty quick and ran 3 "races" in the span of a week around Memorial day. I ran a 10 miler on Saturday, a mile on Monday, and a 5k the following Saturday. Running hard felt incredibly awkward especially in the road mile. I figured I would blink and it would be over but it felt like I was running through sand in slow motion. I'm pretty pumped about the time, 4:46 (with a decent downhill), but getting last wasn't the most fun I've ever had.

Now I'm just trying to get back into the swing of training again and get my race schedule lined up for fall. I'm really trying to find people to train with. I used to do everything on my own but realized in the last year or so how much it helps to have someone else there. Its hard to coordinate since everyone has different coaches and schedules, I like to run early, and sometimes I'm in Boulder. I met up with Amanda a couple times this week and today we warmed up and cooled down together since we had different workouts. It was nice to at least have someone there.

Other than that life has been busy as usual. No major tenant disasters lately but I'm trying to rent a condo in Boulder. And my best friend is getting married this weekend and its going to be an awesome wedding!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Long time, no see.

Well, it's been a while since I've posted. Ok, a long while. Well, since then much has happened and I will just give a brief summary of my running since then. Last I posted was just before I ran the Cherry Creek Sneak. I ran this race as a tune up for the US 25k. It did not go well. I trained right through it and had no legs that morning. I felt good in the race for about a mile and then had the pleasure of suffering in no man's land for 4 miles. I was happy to be second but very disappointed that I couldn't even manage to hit my 25k goal pace for just 5 miles. Needless to say, I did not get the confidence boost for the 25k i was looking for but rather just the opposite.
At the 25k things went much differently. This race is held in Grand Rapids MI and is a homecoming for me. I grew up nearby and have watched this race my whole life so I really wanted to have a good one. I felt good the days before and the morning of the race. The conditions weren't ideal for most but I do love me some nasty weather so I didn't mind one bit. It was about 45 with light rain when I was warming up but at least the rain stopped by race time. I had hoped to run 5:0x for the race and set out from the gun to do this. I chose not to chase the lead group from the gun as they went out in 4:45ish and I didn't want to get in debt too early in a 15 mile race. I was out with the chase group at 5:10. This chase group was lead by myself and old college teammate Nate Peck. During the second mile we let some others control the pace into the wind hoping to get some rest in the draft. This was a mistake, we hit a 5:22. What a joke, we wasted 12+ seconds for no reason as hitting another 5:10 would have been no problem. At this point Nate and I went back to the front and started dropping 5:04's which served to shatter the group. By mile 5 we were alone and this wouldn't change for the duration. We continued to hit solid miles by ourselves all the way until mile 13. At this point Nate dropped off me a bit and I thought he was done. This was not the case as he regained me by 14 and by 14.5 he had a gap on me. Shortly thereafter I caught him again and we finished shoulder to shoulder. We were 12th and 13th (they gave me 13th) and I was very happy to have this place in a US Championship. We had run 1:20:03 which was a 5:09/mile average. I had achieved my goal but hadn't quite cracked 1:20:00 as I had hoped (curse that 2nd mile!).
From the 25k I tried to hold my fitness through the Bolderboulder. This did not happen. I tried to go out with the front knowing that if I could hold my 25k I would be around top 5. Turns out this was true, however I didn't have the legs to do it. I got the 'pleasure' of going backwards in a race but I don't regret my choice to try to hang up front.
After Bolderboulder I took a break and I am just going to build a big base of mileage over this summer. My next big race will be the Chicago Marathon in October. My goal for this race is clear, qualify for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials. 2:18:59 or better here I come.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Change of plans, psychoanalysis, and Mid-Year Resolutions

So lately I have been thinking about how to approach training and racing from perhaps a bit of a different angle. After all, they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different maybe I should stop doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.

I keep training logs, and have since my sophomore year in high school. As incredibly nerdy as that sounds (I am pretty sure that as a sophomore in high school I was supposed to be writing in diaries about boys and aspiring to be a cheerleader. But I didn't.), it can be awfully handy at times. Not to mention when I'm feeling a little sentimental I can look over various entries and sigh and remember all those great (and sometimes not so great) runs and workouts and all the ups and downs and what lead to what and so on. But anyhow, I've been looking over the last four to five years in particular--since I would think of those as the years where I think I most developed as a runner and also experienced a vast array of differnt training approaches--to try and figure out where some of the glitches are and what I can do to turn things around and stop getting de-railed every three months or so by some silly hang-up. Since I always wrote down what I felt like and a lot times what I thought about, then it's easy to pick up on where the mindset was at the time too (that's the psychology degree talking right there).

In that regard, the biggest change has been that somewhere along the way there was a switch from basically having the willingness to charge headlong into anything without really wondering whether or not I could do it (which only occasionally proved to be not very advantageous), to having almost too much trepidation and hesitation and doubt in regards to being able to accomplish a certain goal or to tackle a certain training regimen out of fear of another poor outcome (which has never really proved to be very advantageous). Basically a mindset of feeling like that one greek guy Sassafrass or Sisyphus or Syphillis or whoever, who was in Hades doing all that work rolling that giant rock uphill for all eternity even though he knew it was going to roll down again as soon as he got it to the top, and he'd have to start all over at the bottom (I will accept compliments for that freaking awesome metaphor in the comment box below).

That's the first huge piece of garbage that has got to go.

As far as just looking subjectively at training, I'm no coach or exercise physiologist, but I think my main focus is just going to be mixing things up a lot more. More things at different speeds for the most part. I think I have kind of gotten it in my head that I can do less than I used to be capable of and don't do certain things well, so I don't do them. As the great Dr. Jack Daniels says, until you get old and start to decline the human body does not get worse, it only gets better. Well I'm not old so logically I'm getting better. Training though is always a process of trial and error, so I think those pieces will fall into place once things get back on track from where they are now.

As for getting back on track, things are going in that direction. I've gotten some okay runs in over the last week and a half, so hopefully I'll be able to keep weaning myself off of the bike/pool and get more solid workouts in on land. As for races, I've decided that if I can get at least four solid weeks of training in, then the Bix 7 Miler (U.S. 7 mile championships) will be next on the list. Anything in between will be icing on the cake.

Till then, best of luck to anyone competing in the Garden of the Gods 10 miler this Saturday! I'll have an eye on the results.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Super Kara

I have officially started the next phase of the progression of me turning from master shuffler and compensator to "Good Kara" as Jon kept calling it today. In my mind, though, I will call the new me "Super Kara", and I will be able to recover faster, run more miles, run faster than ever before, and maybe even fly! While all that may happen (well probably not the flying part but everything else) I am going to have to work hard to get there first. And the worst part is while working hard I am going to have to endure the giggles of the professionals around me as my body tries to forget old habits and learn new, proper ones. Today, I started doing a few drills and while some my body will never forget from the college days (like the good old grapevine) the others I looked foolish and had to listen to the laughter of Jon and his wife, Kim, while I attempted to do the drills. Jon and Kim both had to show me how they were done and I am sure neither has done any of these drills in years, yet they were both models of perfection. They would search for ways to describe what they were wanting to see in an effort to trigger some spontaneous reflex where I would immediately start doing them correctly. Unfortunately that didn't happen and I have a lot of work ahead of me to get it figured out (shocking, I know). I also made a trip to my physical therapist today to let him know what I had observed in the morning, what Jon observed and some revelations I had after looking at some photos of me running. So, I again endured laughter and sarcasm as I attempted the progression of exercises that we will use to help reinforce proper mechanics. I was sarcastically offered a helmet due to my propensity of losing my balance and was also laughed at by the PT and the person shadowing him. We did discover that the lack of balance and control with my left leg and my core is astounding but I feel like I can only get better from here.

On a side note some major life changes have happened for me: I officially finished up my master's degree--I got my diploma in the mail yesterday!!, I was offered a job (contingent on my passing my board exam), I turned 30 (back in April but I am just coming to grips with it), and I can do pull ups and chin ups again!!!!! Well, that last one might not be a major life change, but I felt I had to share. I am so proud of myself. I haven't been able to do them since college but thanks to rock climbing my upper body is actually semi-strong now. Although I am sure no one can tell that I have any strength at all since I don't really build muscle (see attached picture).

That is all for now, hopefully in the next blog post I will have some more news about my transformation into a super hero.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bolder Boulder

What to say about the Bolder's a race that has unpredictable outcomes and each year brings a different element. Some years its been wind, rain, or blazing heat, others years its been a stomach ache or being placed in the wrong heat. This year's element...surprise!! I knew I was in good shape, I was excited to compete, and I was prepared to fight for one of the top three positions in the citizen's race. I surprised myself, and a few others, by winning!!

Here is a summary of the race...
I started back a few rows to let the many young guys that want to win the first half mile go for their dream. For once I went out conservative and at the mile Russ (husband) and David (coach) were screaming that I was in 3rd and the other girls were within reach. I told myself to get them by mile 2, sure enough I did and hoped for some help with the pace. No such luck, so I moved on ahead and kept trekkin. There was plenty of guys to catch and a good group of guys running with me. At mile 3 I realized "I'm in the lead and I can win this." The crowd was amazing and boosted my adrenaline and confidence with each cheer. With a mile and a half to go a guy next to me, who had been with me for a few miles, turned and said "girl you are very inspirational." I was shoked to hear this and it gave me the final boost I needed to keep the pace. Russ and David cheered me on with a mile to go. The last got me again, but I held on tight and picked up the pace in the stadium to finish with a smile and excitement.

I think the best part was that my dad, stepmom, and Russ' parents and friends were all in the stands to be a part of a wonderful day. Some years I detest the BB, this year everything was just right.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Marathon for Me

Yesterday I emailed the elite coordinator at Grandma's and pulled out of the marathon. It was a hard email for me to write because once again I failed; I didn't reach any of my short term goals and again didn't finish a training cycle. But pulling out of the race was the only choice I could have made. I have shown up at races not completely ready to race and not sure if my body would allow me to compete at the level that I wanted and have had mixed outcomes. Occasionally I would surprise myself and run well but more often than not the race ended in disaster and I would be left feeling broken and discouraged. Interestingly enough, it is very similar to how I am feeling now! The last 4 cycles I have started have all ended in me having to abort the cycle and take a little bit of downtime (either a complete layoff of running or easy jogging). The first I stopped because of low ferritin, the next one I was having hamstring and hip flexor issues from slipping on ice, the 3rd cycle was cut short due to adrenal fatigue and now this one.

I have been thinking about the cycle so I could figure out what went wrong, what I can change and also what my plan should be. And I can't figure it out. I keep a training log for this reason, among others; but even looking back there is nothing that I can pinpoint that I did wrong. And to be really non-creative--it sucks! So in the near future, I will be running really easy/slow runs, working on my mechanics and trying to get the hamstring under control. I hope my little plan works!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In one of my earlier blog posts I wrote about my curse with cars...and yesterday the curse struck again. I was driving home from a run and really wanting an ice cream cone. I happened to look down and see that the temperature gauge was registering the temp as past Hot. So, I aborted my plans (temporarily) and pulled the car off the main drag and into a parking spot. I called my husband, who asked me some questions and then told me to go ahead a drive it home and we would deal with it later. So, I decided that meant I could also get my ice cream cone but would do something quick and one the way home instead. So, I turned into the McDonald's drive-thru and my car started making really funny noises. So, I pulled up to the order window, ordered my cone and then turned the car off so it would cool down while I waited. I made it home thankfully with my ice cream cone (!!!) and was able to drive it to the mechanic this morning. He discovered a melted radiator cap (I saw him discover it, very interesting) and a non-functioning radiator, interesting, since the day before it worked! The mechanic worked his magic and presto 4 hours later and only $58 spent my car is ready for me to pick up! I realized after hanging up with him that like my car needs a good, reliable magician (errrr, I mean mechanic) I need one too.

My marathon build up has had some pretty rocky patches especially considering I am usually very consistent and healthy. But this build up has been plagued with illnesses and now injuries. A couple of weeks ago I was running a short, anaerobic type workout to propel my body into a half marathon and I hurt my hamstring. What should have been a few days easy has turned into 2 weeks of frustration and inconsistent training. The hamstring itself healed quickly, it was a pretty minor strain, but then the muscle kept feeling the need to protect itself and so the muscle was TIGHT! I couldn't hobble faster than 9 min pace and it was getting to me mentally. But my team of magicians pulled through and today I ran an hour with no pain, no tightness and at a normal pace of 7:30s and just 4 days ago I ran 15 mins at 9:20 pace. I worked with my physical therapist to correct a slight mechanics issue that likely lead to the injury; my massage therapist who helped relax the muscle, stretch it out and get rid of all the other gunk in there; my coach who had to wade through the endless emails and figure out the best approach with training, and finally my husband who kept reminding me that using a shovel to work on my vegetable garden probably wasn't the best way to help heal the hamstring. But with everyone's help I think I am back and hopefully will be running strong soon. As far as the marathon goes, I have lost 3 weeks of training to a cold/flu and the hamstring injury. Those 3 weeks were right in the most important part of the cycle--when I would be doing miles and some pretty challenging endurance style workouts.

Now with 4 1/2 weeks left, I am feeling unsure whether I should toe the line for this race or if I should figure out a new plan that will allow me to continue building some fitness, get comfortable racing and propel me into a fall marathon. I'll keep ya posted!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Winter's Last Hurrah...

At least I hope so. I got up this morning to go out for a the snow. Not horizontally-blowing-massive-drifts-to-plow-through type stuff but white stuff falling from the sky nonetheless. What the heck. I am ready for sweltering runs where you end with a lovely crusty salt layer of lost electrolytes coating the skin. There is something weirdly satisfying about finishing a run in that state. Ah, but there is never a dull moment during springtime in Colorado. But enough about the weather.

Training has been going fairly well lately, not too much to tell at the moment though. A couple of weeks ago I hopped into the Take 5 In the Garden race totally spur of the moment to get an idea of where I was at fitness-wise, and to mix things up with some competition since sometimes racing myself in workouts doesn't always give particularly legitimate feedback. In this race there was the option of either doing a 5k on the roads that snake through the Garden, or you could branch off at a point along the 5k course to do the 5 miler. I didn't actually decide to do the race until that morning about an hour before the race started, and I didn't decide to do the 5k until I was in line to register at the race. I thought a 5k would give me a better indication of the kind of shape I was in and I thought it would be great to roll out a quick race--silly me...I didn't anticipate that eight tenths of the race would be uphill. At the same time I felt pretty decent throughout the whole race, good enough to even consider veering off of the 5k course at the branching point to the 5k versus 5 mile courses (about 1.5 miles into the race) to follow the folks doing the 5 miler. I was feeling good, why not tack on another couple miles? Then I realized that I had a 5k timing chip on my shoe and that I just couldn't bear to look at the finishing times and see my time in the 5k results with some time in the mid-30's. I don't have much of an ego, but that'd be rough. Still, it was a good up-tempo type workout and it's a great race to run if you're looking for something hilly and challenging combined with some awesome scenery. Plus it kind of re-lit the competitive flame that was kind of flickering for a while. So I would say it was worth doing for sure. It was also good to see some of the BRC crew there--Wendy, Amanda, and Christy-Marie, who turned up to do the five miler.

Right now I am gearing up for the Bolder Boulder that is going down in a little over two weeks. I am very excited given that I've never actually run the race, but have watched it half a dozen times, so I'd say it's about time I got in there to mix it up. Till then, the miles ain't gettin' any shorter so just keeping the nose to the grindstone and enjoying every day of it, and hoping to see a good pay-off in a couple weeks.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Year of Having Fun

It's been too long since I've written on the blog, sorry. First, congrats to everyone on the team for the amazing race results everyone has had.

Since the last post I have had some wonderful workouts and races. At ASU I raced a 5k at 10k pace and hit 16:42 (goal was 16:40). It was such a fun meet with a college-basketball-like atmosphere with music playing, t-shirts being thrown to the crowd, and a golf cart driving around the track to videotape some of the events. Back here in Colorado I race a couple 1500m races during the most windy days we've had. Then last weekend the best thing happened, I hit the 'A' standard time for the 10k to qualify for USA Nationals. It all happened at Stanford along with Nicole and Ali. I feel so blessed to have met this season goal that I thought was a bit of a reach since I've only been training seriously again for one year. I knew I'd do it eventually, but not so soon. It's been an incredible ride and I need to give much thanks to those around me helping each step of the way.

I have been fortunate enough to truly be having fun during all of it. In the past there were some many times my running was a chore and I looked forward to it being over. There were so many times running wasn't fun and I wanted to quit, but I continued on for variety of reasons. This past year has made me realize why I really get out there every day and enjoy each step I take, even when it seems torturous. I do it for the competition, team atmosphere, testing of limits, traveling, and fitness. But ultimately I do it for fun, to spend time with Russ and Chubbs and friends, and to grow spiritually. I've learned to love the journey as much as the destination. Ok, enough of my sappy-ness, it's been an emotional week and weekend for me so don't mind me.

Other random things to blog about:
  • Yesterday I ran at Three Sisters in Evergreen and it was one of those runs you hope never ends. If you ever want a beautiful place to run go to this park, it's wonderful and links to other great trails. The air was cool and crisp, the trails were snow-free, and the landscape was turning green. I could run these trails everyday.
  • I'm going to be an aunt for the first time!!! One of my younger brothers' (who is in the Marines) wife is 7 weeks pregnant. I'm super excited and wish they lived closer rather than in LA. I'm going to have to go buy a running and soccer outfits to be sure the correct influences are occuring.
  • Took my PE Exam and now I get to wait until July to learn if I passed or failed. It was mulitple choice, not sure what takes so long to send out results.
  • Next races...1500m next weekend and then Bolder Boulder!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Marathon Runner through and through

So you know you are a true marathon runner when you run a 5k at only a slightly faster pace than your half-marathon/marathon. Yep, that was me today. After running the Platte River half-marathon two weeks ago, I ventured down to the 5k this weekend. I got up this morning at 5:00am to head to Boulder to race at the Boulder Distance Carnival. It was a great morning for a race with the sun shinning and a mild wind. I was pumped to start the race! The race started and I was feeling pretty good. As I came up on mile one I looked at my watch and was relieved and shocked all at the same time. Whoo, only 2miles to go-not 12 or 25.2- but man I'm running slow (6:20) I better pick it up. So, I start moving up passing a few people and ended up leading a small pack into the wind through mile 2. Sorry to those of you in that pack. I know there wasn't much to draft off of seeing as I'm only 5'2''. With about 800m to go, I was able to see this guy in red about 150m ahead of me and I started gunning for him. I had a flash back to college and imagined he was from Western State -GO Adams!- Anyhow, I made some ground on him going up a hill with about 300m to go but then he turned it on. My small marathon stride just couldn't keep up. I crossed the line and looked at my splits. Well, I ran pretty much even between 6:20 and 6:30 for 5k, just like a true marathon runner would. Although 5k was a bit of a stretch for me right now with my longer training and miles, it was a fun race to run. Boulder Running Company did a great job putting the race together and all the people there were very supportive in cheering for their fellow competitors as they came through the line. It was nice to pretend to be a 5k runner for the day, but I should probably stick to the half-marathon/marathon:)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Paralysis by Analysis...

What a nasty leprosy or something. I like to think that I know how to make good decisions as far as training and racing are concerned, but I feel like if I use more than 5% of my brain during any decision-making process, nothing really gets done. I know you should listen to the Inner Voice of Reason, but I hear several Inner Voices of Reason. They go like this:

"Hmm....I should do workout X tomorrow."
"But I did the last half of my long run yesterday waaaay harder than I was planning to. It was basically an AT run tacked onto a long run. It was awesome."
"Hmm...well then I should do workout Y tomorrow, so it'll balance out."
"But I can't change it! I already wrote it down as The Plan for this week!" (Frantic tone).
"Um...hello? It's PAPER. It's not carved in stone. I could change it. I bet I won't even get struck by lightning for it. There probably won't even be a plague of locusts. Or frogs. Remember all that you have been taught. Use the wisdom bestowed upon you. Think long term. Tsk tsk."
"But if I change this week I'll have to change next week, and the week after, and the one after that...all the way till the Apocolypse..."
"I think I'm over-analyzing things. Perhaps this is not rational."
"I concur!"
"Seriously, don't get your spankies in a wad."
"Get a job."
"Hmm...I should do workout X tomorrow."

Process repeats. It gets very tiresome.

A very wise teacher once told me to approach anything confusing in life in the same way that a dog would: If you can't eat it or play with it then it's probably not good for anything so just take a leak on it and walk away. That's not at all applicable to this situation, but I wanted to find a way to tuck that little gem into here somewhere. You can thank me later.
Back to the issue at hand.
So at present I'm overanalyzing the possibility of running the Cherry Creek Sneak on Sunday. Owing to some unforeseen, untimely, and very much unappreciated circumstances arising from an incident several weeks ago involving a tempo run, a moonless night, and a hole in the ground (I don't want to talk about it), training has been anything but great for a while, although things have certainly started to come around this past week. Of course it's only a five mile race/fun run, not exactly the Death Valley Ultra, so really it shouldn't take that much thought, right? Oh but it does. I really like to go to races to actually compete, and get all serious, even if there's nothing on the line, and to compete like you should you have to be relatively confident. Confidence stems from preparation. Preparation at this time is virtually nil. At the same time though I don't think I have much to lose just by doing it and who knows? It might be the best ever. Plus it's always looked really fun. Plus I haven't raced since Jacksonville and that was ages ago. And I kind of think I should just take a leaf out of Delaney's book and just go for it despite feeling underprepared (plus this race is 21.2 miles shorter than his was sooo...). But I'm still juggling with the idea of nixing it and just training then finding some other rinky-dink race the next week to do for fun and just gear everything after that to the Bolder Boulder. I have no idea. My friend Hafer told me to decide by midnight tomorrow. That's the deadline, well it is if I want to bum a ride to Denver anyway. So hopefully I'll figure it out by then. I'll let you know.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Half Marathon

After my failed attempt at a half marathon effort at Platte River, I decided on Wednesday that I really needed another chance at a hard effort in a race environment. I really, really wanted to make sure that I was still on track for the marathon-bad races (despite the reason) always seem to make me question my fitness and also make me worry that all of the sudden my body is no longer adapting to the miles.

So, after last weekend, even though I was trying to be upbeat and positive most of my emails with Jon (my coach) over the past week went something like this:

Me: The run was good today. My legs felt good, my stomach is feeling better but still not 100%. Do you really think that I am ok?
Jon: I really think things are ok. You are on track.
Me: Good. I hope you are right.

Me: OH MY GOSH…the marathon is only 10 weeks away. Do you think I will be ready?
Jon: Yes. Things are ok.
Me: Are you sure?
Jon: You might not run a PR but all we are looking for is a strong effort, a respectable race and actually getting through a training cycle without having to pull the plug.
Me: OK. You are right…

Me: 9 weeks left!! OH my gosh…I haven’t even started much work yet.
Jon: You are driving me crazy. My opinion isn’t going to change. Stop reminding me how long it is until the marathon, I have it on my calendar. Have I ever not had you ready for a marathon? CALM DOWN!!!!

Well, maybe he didn’t respond that way on the last response, but I am pretty sure that is how he was feeling!

Anyway, I decided that I needed to prove to myself that last weekend was a fluke, I am not going to get sick every time I race over 5K and that things as Jon put it are ”ok”. So, I decided to run another half marathon. I have lived in Fort Collins for almost 7 years and have always vowed never to do the race I ran yesterday—the Horsetooth Half Marathon. Hills are one of my biggest weaknesses…I am just not a big strength runner so throw in a couple of well placed or ill placed hills and the course can kill me! So even despite some big hesitations, I decided to go for it. I had a plan in mind and I executed it very well…I hoped to run the first 2 miles in 15 minutes. YES, I did mean to type 15 minutes…you should see the course profile! So once I got through those 2 miles in 15:05 I was pretty sure the rest of the race would be ok and thankfully it was. I crossed the finish line 8th overall and the 1st woman. I was very pleased with how I felt during the race, how my body didn’t let me down the last 5 miles and that I didn’t need to stop in the last 5K to find a bathroom! =) So it was a success and I think Jon was happy because my freaking out emails probably won’t start up again until I realize I only have 8 weeks left!

Friday, April 16, 2010

26 mile tempo...

...It aint no workout. But it's what we do all those cute little 8-10 mile tempos to get ready for. That's really all a competitive marathon grab a pace that's about 95% of your anaerobic threshold (tempo pace) and hope like hell you can hold it for 26.2 miles.

This has been arguably my worst pre-marathon buildup yet. Since January I've pounded some big miles, but have been sick 3 times and have a nagging foot injury that I just can't seem to find a solution for. Despite being more focused than any other time since the trials, my workouts really never got to the level I'd like to see them and my races have done little to quash my unease. But then again, my training leading up to Boston last year was beautiful...and I ran the worst marathon of my career. Also, before I ran my PR a few years back, my training was less than perfect as well. So, the quality of the journey doesn't always dictate the essence of the result. Fortunately, starting about four and half weeks ago I had a couple glimmers of hope. I had a two week span where I didn't crush my workouts, but I at least ran what I had written on paper. The first workout was a 2M warm, a 4M tempo in 20:55, a 9M run in 60 minutes, and another 4M tempo in 20:46. Considering I was running solo and it was a breezy night at the track that's not too bad, for me. A week later I ran 5x2mile averaging 10:21 with 2' rest. Also not bad for a solo effort on a windy night. Unfortunately, almost as quickly as I started to feel fit I fell ill with a respiratory and throat virus that forced me to start my taper a week early. I've been in taper mode for about 2 1/2 weeks now and just tonight started to feel like things may be coming together. I've done most everything within my control to get ready for my 26M tempo. I fly out to Boston tomorrow morning. All that is left is to get some rest and get to the line in Hopkinton for my tempo to bean-town. 2:18 or bust.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bad Luck

I tend to have bad luck for certain thing is cars and the other is drama at races. I have run one race where the airline lost my luggage, a building fell on the starting line, there was a tornado the night before turning off the power to the hotel (for the WHOLE weekend meaning no lights and NO hot water) and the town flooded. I have also run races where I have forgotten chips; I have gotten lost on the course; I have had home stays with very, very interesting hosts, I have pulled hamstrings and had to wait 5 hours to get bused to the finish (where I then got in an argument with a Marine about how I was an elite athlete but did not have my credentials because it was in my bag in the elite tent since I didn't want to race with it and I had not crossed the finish line to get there the other way because I had to pull out-whew--apparently I am still bitter). So today and this weekend my bad luck happened with both!

It was my sister and her husband's 16th wedding anniversary this past week. So, me being the amazing sister that I am agreed to babysit her kids for the weekend (ages 10, 12, and 15). Me being a non-parent and the owner of a black thumb I was worried I was going to somehow hurt one of the children. I have pets that I have kept alive for 5+ years, but they seem less fragile somehow (although each dog has been to the emergency vet at least twice for small things like electrocutions and severe, heavily bleeding cuts; and that doesn't count the things that they should have gone to the vet for be we took care of it at home). Plants, however, are another story...they are all DEAD! My weekend started out with me driving down a car on loan from my dad (I seem to be cursed with car problems and at my house right now we have 4 cars and only 1 is working). This car has 298,200 miles on it and since September I have replaced the clutch, the timing belt, spark plugs and something else I can't remember. So, I was certain this wonderful car would get me the 80 miles to my sister's house (from Fort Collins to Highlands Ranch), but it had other ideas. As I drove along the interstate in downtown Denver in rush hour Friday evening, it died at least 30 times while I was driving it. I had to keep restarting the car while I was rolling 30 mph and then it continued to do it all the way to her house. Luckily I made it but not without several frantic calls to my husband and dad seeking advice and sympathy! The babysitting part was actually ok, when I finally left today they were all alive and appeared to be healthy--there were no trips to the ER and everyone made it to their soccer games on time (well, mostly). Although there was an incident with a dead mouse, but I (errr... my nephew) saved us.

My plan this weekend was to also run the Platte River Half Marathon. I have run it 4 or 5 times. It is a well organized race with amazing race directors, a good after party and amazing volunteers. So as usual I made it part of my racing schedule/marathon build up. I was pleasantly surprised to see some of my teammates (Megan and Lavenna) at the starting line which was fun. And the first 6 miles of the race were good. I felt like the pace was pretty controlled and I wasn't expending too much energy. My splits were good considering I haven't done much yet for workouts. Then at around 6 miles my stomach starting hurting a little. I have learned that my blood sugar tends to drop during races causing stomach craps, so I usually carry a gel with me even in halfs in case that happens. I waited another mile or so and it didn't improve so I took the gel. I had about 1/4 of it and was carrying it in my hand when I realized that it was much more than blood sugar, I was SICK. I started getting chills and feeling really, really bad! At around mile 8, I had to slow way down and jog because my stomach was hurting so bad. At mile 10, I made it to the bathroom and spent about 5 minutesand then continued on in the race. I was still feeling pretty bad, so my pacing wasn't as fast as before but much better than miles 8-10. I was thinking about jogging in but knew the goal of the race was to get in a hard effort so I kept going! I finished the race but paid the price with getting sick all over again and have been sick all afternoon and evening. I am guessing I have a stomach virus or some food poisoning. But on I go! Oh yeah and my car...I had to leave it at my sister's and had a relay of family members who got me home this evening-3 legs, but I made it and am exhausted! The race didn't turn out quite like I had hoped as I wanted a hard, controlled effort with even pacing and I got about half of that. But I still got in a decent effort and finished even though I was not feeling my best. And my brother-in-law is going to take the car in tomorrow and see about getting it fixed down in Highlands Ranch. So, it all worked out even if it was a challenging day!

I did want to congratulate my teammates Megan and Lavenna on their excellent races--we were all in the same boat, not really ready to race, but still showed up hoping for a good, strong effort! I believe they finished 1st and 3rd and represented our team well!! And a special thanks for Maureen Roben and Alan Lind for an amazing race and for continued support! Thanks to both of you and all of your volunteers for putting together another successful race this year!! I hope to be back ready to RACE it next year!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I don't WANT to do it, do I HAVE to do it?

Hello to all to all! I see they changed the web page a bit and it looks good! Thanks again to all for checkin our blogs and being supportive!
I'm kinda embarrassed to even be writtin about what I will be talking about! But everybody must know what has been going on with me. Since Indoor U.S.A Champs, I honestly haven't done much for training. I put in a good week after U.S.A's, but the week after that was the complete opposite.
It all started after I took some time off after Club Nationals. I felt like I needed more time to relax and be "human". So I took more time off than what I was expecting (6 days). During those days, I had already made up my mind that I was just going to train through Indoors and push hard for Outdoors. Coach Martin told me the sooner I race Indoors, the better off I will be physically. turned out ok, but deep inside I knew I was half-ass-ing the season. Couple weeks after U.S.A's, I didn't feel like running. Since then, I haven't affiliated myself with anything that had or has to do with running.
So therefore, I am not going to compete at all this spring. I don't WANT to run at the moment.
This is the reason why I titled my post what I did.
I will come back to running when I WANT to, not feeling that I HAVE to. It's been a big difference to me in those 2 words. Wanting something is when you have the deep urge to do it. Having to do something is almost a duty or job if you will.
I will get the passion back, I just don't know when I will get it back.
I surely will keep everyone posted what is going on with me.
Good Luck to all this spring.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mother Nature is such a...

OK, I'm not one to complain about the weather coming from what I thought was the coldest and windiest place on earth, Allendale MI but this has gotten ridiculous. I am in the process of cranking up the mileage and workouts for US 25k Champs but it appears the Mother Nature doesn't want me to have good workouts along the way. This all started about 3 weeks ago when I went to do some cutdown 600's. I only had to do 3 of them and was planning on running around 38, 36, 34 for them. Little did I realize that by the time I got to the track the first of several "hurricanes" would be joining me. I did my usual run in front of 300 of about 45 min. and arrived at the track. After a quick pit stop I stepped up to run the first one. I swear that the moment I hit the line the wind went from something I categorize as a breeze to something I would expect to be a part of an over-dramatized movie about when tornadoes and hurricanes collide. I attempted them anyway and after running an all out 200 into the teeth of it in 40s followed by a 100 where I almost fell down from being pushed in the back so hard I threw in the towel, reasoning that doing them like this wasn't going to do me much benefit and the following day's workout would go much smoother without them.
The next day...wasn't any better as that wind brought snow and the footing was impossible. I did my best with what I found and had something of a good one. I don't know that I ran that fast due to the footing but managed 40 good minutes of work. Later that day of course all the snow melted and my second run was nice (Maybe I should have learned something).
Skip ahead to the next Tuesday and I've got 2K's. The day shaped up nicely all day long until of course when it came time for me hit the workout. I warmed up over to MVP and right as I arrived, down came the cold rain and up came the wind. The Jack Quinn's Running Club was out so I had some company, at first. After my second one in the rain I was alone, cold and alone. I finished the workout, with unspectacular times as you might expect and began to cool down. Halfway home I ran into Tommy. About 10 seconds later we ran into an epic blizzard. I'm sure he will attest, it went from light rain to blizzard in about 5 seconds and by the time I got home I couldn't feel several parts of my body.
Running the next couple of days was fine until I got out the door in Friday for my 25 x 400m workout. Just as I show up to the track it begins to sleet and heavily. This time I said some variation of the words "no way not this time" and packed it up heading for home. The next morning I went out to give it another go and realized the sleet was the better option. The wind once again was up, way way up. I managed to run 15 400s in wind that could blow over a bus before realizing that all I was doing was, for lack of a better phrase, "pissing in the wind." Frustrated, I headed for home.
Jump now to this past Tuesday and it's time for some k's. Leaving the house there was wind but I figured that by now I was used to it. For the first half of them the wind was somewhat reasonable. After that it got ugly. The wind began to swirl such that it seemed to always be against me and several gusts were actually able to blow me of the track and on the the grass. Making matters worse, it was picking up sand from the parking lot and running became something resembling a sandblaster. Perhaps this had some health benefit acting to exfoliate my skin but what mattered to me was that Mother nature had ruined yet another workout.
Finally yesterday I managed to have a workout that wasn't ruined my the weather. I got up stupid early for a Saturday and was able to get my 3 X 2mi. in before the wind could come up. Hooray!
I don't know where all these ruined workouts have left my fitness exactly. On the one hand, I've been working hard and once I get a good day the high mileage and tough workout conditions should make any race seem like a breeze. On the other hand, I don't know where my fitness is, I don't have a nice fast rhythm set in my legs, and I have lost some workout volume. Overall, I know I gotta keep my head up and good things will happen. Looking ahead, I plan to find a short race this coming weekend, then have a go at the Cherry Creek 5mi. in three weeks and finally really get after it May 8th for the 25k. May you all have better weather than mine of late, good vibes and fast times.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

At Last...

I once had a friend (who was a runner) ask me why I liked to run. I don't remember what I told her then as it was years ago, but I realized recently that over the past couple of years I had forgotten what it was I liked about running and that I had begun to discover this love again. Everyone is different, but for me the turning point was just enjoying being active and pushing myself again. I did this with a different sport all together, rock climbing. I have spent the past few months really working hard to improve my upper body strength, my balance, and technique all for climbing. I was still running but I was really living for climbing.

To me climbing and running seemed so different and I tried to separate them in my mind and my life. So, the one day climbing reminded me of what I loved about running sort of blew me away. One day at the gym we decided to work on our endurance, so my climbing buddies and I picked a relatively easy route to top rope and did it as many times as we could without stopping. I climbed up and came down a lot and while I was doing it, instead of thinking about the wall in front of me all I could think about was how much I loved pushing my body and doing this type of work on the track not on the rock climbing wall. It was strange but this one endurance workout I got made me miss those countless hard workouts I have done over the years on the track--doing 800m, 1000m or even mile repeats with short recovery and feeling my body getting more and more tired with each interval yet feeling strangely energetic,strong and invinceable. This was a turning point for me. From that point on I slowly started taking running into consideration when I was planning climbing days. I began doing the little things again that need to be done, but I don't always find the time for (like taking ice baths). And my focus went from improving my climbing ability to getting ready for this marathon that I have committed to.

And now this past week I finally really felt like I had my first really successful week in my marathon build up. My mileage was higher, the hills and tempos were faster and I felt stronger. After my scheduled runs for tomorrow I will have put in 78.5 miles this week (I know not a ton, but if you looked at my training log over the past year you too would be excited) and run 2 pretty decent workouts with a long run Sunday. Thursday though was what got me motivated and ready for Jon (my coach) to bring it on. The workout wasn't much 2x3 miles with 5 mins recovery between. But I went into the workout feeling tired and not sure if I was going to be able to run the pace that was on my schedule, on the warm up I was nervous knowing this would be a turning point either way--a good day or a bad day was going to tell me a lot. Thankfully it was a great day. My pacing still needs some work as I seem to run very inconsistent splits which is unlike me (I have been called the metronome), but I was able to run controlled, relatively comfortable and still quick. I did my 2nd 3 mile 10 seconds faster than the first and it left me feeling like I could do more. I love that! So, now I just have to get through the next 11 weeks and I will be on the starting line in Duluth ready to run!