The Off Season Recap

Back in the middle of January I ran a Marathon. Twas the goal race for the end of the season, and it finished with a PR but a big pile of disappointment basically due to me crumbling like a cookie and a 35 mph headwind…..that race left me feeling well………..Pretty Pissed Off.

thumbs down

The only positive after the race was, It was the start of my OFF SEASON. Yes, I actually take one per year. Some runners don’t but its really just a personal choice. If I didn’t take an off season, I’d be one hot angry mess. I love running completely and absolutely but like all good relationships, I need a break sometimes. So what have I been up to? Well plenty and nothing at all. Its been glorious.

Week 1- Zero running, 100% sleeping in and lots of Wine! Steller week in my opinion. Oh, and lots of Mr. Pibb for two days post race. Its tradition.

Week 2- 25 miles of running and catching up with my Lady Lemmings. This felt okay, but still managed to sleep in on Saturday. Divine!

Week 3- Work travel and a bad attitude with 4 whole miles ran. I walked alot in the airport and always took the stairs. :) That counts right?

Week 4- Mercedes Half Marathon for fun, Paced a friend for 11 miles then sped up and finished, what a great time. Seriously this experience gave me just what I needed. A low pressure race to remember why Running is the BOMB.com.

MErcedes clown 2That was my exciting month of unscheduled running. I bet you are biting your nails wondering what I have up my sleeve next? Wait no longer because this is the plan! * All plans are subject to change based on mood, hunger level, and craziness!

Today, I start a new training plan focusing on the 10k distance. I have a goal 10k for May and I would love and will obtain a sub 50 minute 10k.

After that begins the pursuit for the sub 1:50 Half Marathon. Where will this be? MONTANA!!!!! Ironman and I are going to Missoula for their half & full in July. I can’t wait, I am so stinking excited to see Montana, and to see my Real Life and Internet Friend Monica! She is fabulous!!! July can’t get here fast enough.

My fall Marathon will be my hometown race…. Rocket City Marathon, the course has been changed, and I don’t know how I feel about this, but we shall see. If I don’t get a sub 4 here, I will probably burst into flames of rage! Haaa just kidding…………..

A pretty exciting year is upon me, and I plan to really speed up and take no prisoners. I got this! Head up Wings out! Booyah!

 

 

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Unsubscribe

When I was a kid my mom used to say ” If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. I agree with this statement most of the time. The purpose of my blog has always been a low frills account of my running shenanigans. I also don’t write unless I have something to say. Reading some information on the Interwebs today has just left me full of things to say.

When did our culture change and make it okay to put each other down and just be cruel? Has this become the norm because social media is so rampant? Do we feel that we can say whatever we want because no one can visibly see us? Yes, we fortunately live in country with free speech but that doesn’t mean its free of consequence.

I will never understand when women cut each other down for reasons that are in my opinion silly. No one has the right to judge another person, we do not know the battles that others face on a daily basis. So why put in print mean and hateful things just for the fun of it? Does that honestly make you feel better? I hope not, when we lash out its generally because we are unhappy, be brave enough to figure that out and leave others alone. Sadly, with the digital world, words seem to hurt that much more because people seem to comment with no regard. It just saddens me to see others in the running community put up a wall instead of extending a hug, we are all sisters in sport. That is what we should be preaching and be spreading to the younger generation.

The choice of happiness is a daily choice and a life that is not happy, is a very heavy life indeed. Instead of attacking the things we don’t like or potentially don’t understand why not accept it for what it is and move on? Easier said than done I admit. So, when the Internet and people in general irk me I just Unsubscribe.

Unsubscribe to negativity

Unsubscribe to social media bullying

Unsubscribe to self doubt

Unsubscribe to the cynics of the world

Unsubscribe to anything that threatens your HAPPY and…….

Subscribe to running friends, sisters in sport, happy tweets, frozen yogurt, new ideas, creativity, and things that are different.

Be the change you want to see in the World.

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Indifferent- Charleston Marathon Race Report

Its been 3 days since I ran the Charleston Marathon. How do I feel? I can’t really decide, so we will go with Indifferent. Charleston was Marathon number 5.

head up wings out

I was ready to throw it down on this race. I had been doing a lot of training to get faster with the help of my coach Stephanie Bruce, and actually was gaining confidence as I went. It was hard but thrilling to finally embrace the dreaded Tempo run and see that YES, I can actually hit these numbers. After a great race at the Chickamauga Battlefield Half, I definitely was in Sub 4 territory for the Marathon.

The Charleston Marathon is a 5k, Half & Full Marathon. I had planned on this race because I wanted to come back to Charleston and I wanted to run a January Race. I don’t like warm weather Marathons and boy was it not warm. I embrace cold weather running but I will never like running in the WIND.

I had been weather stalking this race for over a week and conditions seemed almost PERFECT, but, as luck would have it, when I awoke on race morning I could already hear the wind. Dear Friends, I will run in the rain, snow, humidity, fog, almost anything but WIND is not my Jam. I absolutely hate it. The temperature was around 35 with 25-35 mile head wind for the entire race.

The race has indoor bathrooms but not nearly enough and there weren’t enough Port o Potties outside.  I started the trend with 5 mins to go, well I guess I’ll go pee in the woods right there. Glad I did, and I know my MOM is so proud right now if she’s reading this. I’d like to thank the trail runner in me for not being shy about peeing almost anywhere.

I lined up, kissed my Ironman goodbye took a deep breath and away we went. I met another Oiselle Teammate in the first miles. So nice to meet Ellen. The wind wasn’t so bad for the first 2 miles but then we hit the Battery………on the water………………BOOM! The unforgiving wind started. The course winds down all of King St. and that is where the scenery ends. BORING! Its also completely open so no blocking the wind. After the half way point you run endless out and backs. Not the most exciting thing ever.

I kept my pace until sometime after that half, I was mentally fatigued by the relentless cold wind in my face and slowing me down. This is the part of the race I am disappointed the most in. I am completely at fault, instead of staying strong, I crumbled like a cookie, I have struggled with my mental game but this one took the cake.I hadn’t planned for this, how Naive I can be sometimes. My training cycle was solid and I’m running the best I have ever been, so when the pace wasn’t easy like it should have been and the weather factor thrown in, I had a meltdown. I even shed tears, TEARS! I never cry and certainly don’t want my husband to see this epic meltdown. I have got to get over trying to control aspects of races. When one thing happens out of the ordinary I cringe and don’t always recover.

Even with all of this going on, I did in fact keep running, just not the pace it should have been. I crossed the line in 4:16 which is a PR by 9 minutes. I am capable of much better and I’m having a hard time being happy about any part of the race. Its not logical but it doesn’t have to be. I have never really tried to race a marathon before. I have run a few but I wasn’t pushing for the time, so in a way, I am glad this race went like it did, because I have a whole new outlook on how to race them. I have learned a lot from that 4 hours on Saturday. I really learned I don’t want to fall apart mentally like that again. I am better than that, I just need to believe it. I also realized I need to race more, I don’t race enough so I think if I raced more naturally I would get better at it.

They always say the 26.2 distance is so humbling, AHHH DUH! But, when you get it right, there really is nothing like it anywhere. Someone asked “Why would you even want to run another?” I always have the same answer for that, Of course I do, just because its hard doesn’t mean you give up. You just have to regroup and try harder. If having dreams and goals was super easy what then would be the point? Its also not just about the race, the journey to this particular start line has been really great. I logged so many miles with my fellow Lady Lemmings and the Ironman. We had post long run breakfast every Sunday at Sandwich Farm and drank way to much coffee.

Give up? yeah right…………I love this sport and even if goals and dreams take more time, the journey there I know will be worth it.

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My Happy Place

If you know me then you know that there are 3 things I am absolutely obsessed with:

1. Running

2. OREGON

3. New Kids on the Block

okay 4 things

4. My cat Alphonse

2013 was wrapping up and with a new job position, training for the Charleston marathon and just life, I needed a break to my absolute happy place………………..Oregon

A few years ago, I hopped on a plane with women I didn’t know and I ran the “mother” of all relay races, Hood to Coast. I had no idea what Oregon was like before this jaunt to the PNW, what I didn’t realize at the time was, this trip would forever change my life. I stepped off the plane and immediately fell in love. The air was clean, the trees green, and the city had a vibe I could go for. Since that trip, I’ve been back to Portland Oregon as much as possible.

I twisted my husband’s arm for a last minute trip between Christmas and New Years and he said sure lets go. SCORE! The trip was to recharge and just run around the different areas we were visiting because well the Charleston marathon is less than 3 weeks away. What would be better than finishing up my peak weeks in the best state ever.

The first run was in Bend, Oregon. My new favorite Oregon spot, endless trails, sun, and snow covered mountains. Can I please move here?

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(Deschutes River Trail)

Oh, this river trail was by far amazing. Also it was my kind of trail running, where I live we have technical trails but this was a packed dirt dream. So lovely.

After Bend, we went to Eugene. Oh my were the trails there super nice, but also a mix of pavement. Weather was cool but nothing this girl couldn’t handle.

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You can’t go to Eugene with out visiting Hawyard

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But Eugene wouldn’t be complete without meeting the Infamous Emily or @EmilySweats as she’s known on twitter. Check out her blog http://www.sweatonceaday. Always fun to meet people you know from Twitter IRL and its even better when its not super awkward and it wasn’t :)

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After Eugene it was back to Portland, and many more Oregon miles were run around the River in Downtown. What a great way to end the last days of the year. We even got some hiking miles in while we were at it.

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What a beautiful trail and waterfall.

As silly as it may sound, Oregon has my heart and my heart is full when I’m here. Every visit I fall more and more in love with the beauty of the PNW, and the laid back attitude that’s here. I wanted to end my year running in my favorite place doing my favorite thing…., and I did just that. What a lucky girl!

This year I wanted to get faster and run for me, not get caught up in what every one else was doing. I was able to do that and wow, what a year, I was able to throw down a few PRs, run in Far Away lands, and frankly just be happy. 2013 was a great year for me personally and for my running. It can be scary to see what 2014 holds for me in the cards, but it can’t be to bad starting Jan 1 in the best place ever!

Charleston is close, and I feel more ready than I ever have been before. Sub 4, I believe is in my grasp, I just need to be brave enough to take it………………………….

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The Magic

2013 has not been my favorite year so far in the running department. In March I ran a trail 60k and now hate trails , missed a few sub 25 5k attempts, DNF’d Vermont City Marathon, Ran a slow Winthrop marathon, PR’d in the 15k but felt terrible the whole race. Execution of races has been one HOT MESS. Seriously.

I originally signed up for The Chickamauga Battlefield Half Marathon to see where my fitness was at to set a goal for the Charleston Marathon in Jan 2014. I wasn’t sure how I would feel since it was three weeks after the Bourbon Chase Ultra Relay .

The week of the race, I had a mini melt down, don’t act like you don’t have them too! Because we all do, whether it be warranted or not. I was so afraid I would fail yet again, and frankly, I am sick to death of having disappointing results. I wanted to race well, and post a good time for myself and my Oiselle team. I took all my nerves and reservations and emailed my Running Coach Steph, her email back was something that calmed me down and made me feel better. She simply said “

You are prepared and fit so that’s the first thing to remind yourself. Another thing to remember is you choose the racing for fun and sign up for it.”

Race day came and my nerves were manageable but definitely still there. I woke up around 5:10, the race was at 7:30. I ate a Runner’s High Picky Bar, a piece of a banana and half a cup of coffee. I have found this is the best pre race meal for my stomach. I was really excited to wear my Oiselle Singlet and new Orange Oiselle Distance Shorts. I also went with the Charcoal Strappy and Oiselle Arm warmers. Who doesn’t love a bright color?

chickamauga race outfit

 

We drove the 15 mins to the race start from Downtown Chattanooga and stayed in the packet pickup tent until the start  because it was 29 degrees. BRRRRRR

The race started and I settled into a 8:30-8:21 pace. It felt easy and I went with it, I was running with a couple from Alabama that were running the full and they were keeping the pace I wanted, So I just tagged along for 6 miles. The marathoners took a different route so It was just me now. This was perfect, I had run with them for 6, now the next 6 miles were just me. I can do this. The course wasn’t too bad, you are running on the historic civic war battlefield, some may say its boring but I like it alot. The course also wasn’t fall, there were plenty of rollers but it was a nice change every so often.

Each mile ticked off and I stayed in pace, except for mile 10 not sure what I was doing, but I slowed down by 30 seconds, I didn’t let this get me down, It was my day and I was getting that PR.  I had decided that once I hit mile 12 I would try to speed up. This actually worked for once. I actually had another GEAR!! Who knew?

I hit mile 13 and could see the finish, I could hear my Ironman and our best friend Joe cheering for me, I saw the clock 1:51: and knew, Finally! I had done it a 4 Minute PR.

I ran a great race, and executed it well. FINALLY. I am not a crier at all but I was so emotional crossing that line. I was so relieved that I had done what I set out to do that day. I just wanted to run well, and not regret anything in the race, and I didn’t. I fueled right, ran strong, didn’t get discouraged, and went for it. Oh man, what a great feeling.

finish chichamauga

My husband hit a PR too, Mr. Fasty Pants ran a 1:23 which was also a PR for him.

This race also gave me the confidence I needed to go for it at Charleston, I want a Sub 4 marathon. I know its possible. I feel like this race lifted the fog off my running, it feels alive and magical again.

I’d even contemplate running the Full for this race. Its not to big but well organized. An old Civil War cannon kicks off the race, how cool is that? If you want to run this one, it sells out every year so sign up early.

http://www.battlefieldmarathon.com

 

 

 

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The Bourbon Chase Relay Race Report

Its October, and that means it was time for the Lady Lemmings to once again, pack in the van and go to Kentucky.

The Bourbon Chase is a 200 mile relay along the Bourbon trail in Kentucky. While running you can stop at 6 distilleries and sample the Bourbon! How could this not be fun?

Last year we ran as an Ultra team which meant we would have 6 runners cover the distance instead of 12. Crazy?  No Way! Our team captain sent the excel sheet out with legs assignments and I found out, I was runner 1. I get to kick it off? I was excited but also nervous. Alot of pressure to go first. But, alas that also meant I would be done first, so I was A- Ok with it.

Thursday we packed in the van, and headed to Kentucky. Friday morning we were off to Jim Beam to get this thing started.

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(photo cred- gregg gelmis)

We arrive at Jim Beam, Sign our waivers, get our bracelets and I got ready to run the first leg. As I was waiting for the gun to sound, Sweet Home Alabama came on the Radio. How appropriate!

Leg 1. 7.1 Difficult

This leg was part on gravel, bike path, Road and they threw in a huge hill towards the end. THANKS ALOT!

I managed to run this one well and was ahead of my anticipated time. YAY! Starting off strong was something that I was hoping to do!

Leg 2 (10,11)

We shall call these two legs, the legs that never stopped CLIMBING!!! Seriously, I blocked out all the hills last year, these two legs weren’t my favorite because well, it was 11 miles down a HIGHWAY….the horror. I was soooooo very happy to be done when I switched off for this one. Do you see that smile on my face??

leg 2Leg 3 (20,21)

Leg 20 is by far my favorite, you run into the cutest town ever on this leg, and then you start running up HILL again and down a highway. I managed to beat a train on this leg, I sprinted to get in front of that sucker, wasn’t sure the legs had it in them, the second part of this leg was just gradual uphill. BARF!!! So happy to be done with it!!

light photoI was super stoked after this leg because I only had one more leg and it was only 4.6 in distance. WOOT! Also, the next exchange was at a gas station. There was COFFEE!! YAY!!

Leg 4 (32)

This was by far my favorite leg. I was tired but ready to be done. The weather had changed and it was freezing!! Cold, windy and spitting rain. Thank goodness I packed my Oiselle Flyer Jacket. I decided I was going for it on this run. If I blew up so what, if I did great well that’s just awesome. The first part was finally a little down hill and then we climbed for .75, it flattened out and I dropped it another gear.  I had 12 kills and felt amazing flying into the exchange! I’m thinking my backwards hat is what really pushed me along the way!!

doneI’m elated to be done, and for crushing the last leg.

One by one each Lemming ran her last leg and we all ran ahead of pace for each one. We were so stinking excited to get to the finish and again run down the shoot together.

end of the bourbon chase.Running as an Ultra team  can be kind of scary when looking at the mileage you have to complete but every year its so rewarding to know we did it once again and this year we did even better. We were faster and looking way more fly than the year before.

We all go so excited when we saw we were listed in the Awards as the Female Ultra Team Winner but we weren’t awarded the coveted Barrel Top for our division. How sad, the Race director doesn’t give awards unless there is critical mass in the division. BOOOOO

In all, great race this year and the cooler weather was awesome compared to last year when it was sooooooooooooooooooo hot. The Lady Lemmings came to Kentucky and we did what we do, we run a lot and have a great time!!

Another bonus to this trip, I got to meet a fellow Oiselle Teammate Sarah @sarahOUal http://www.sarahoual.com

Check her blog out or follow her on Twitter, I promise you will laugh!

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The Lady or the Tiger?

Have you read the short story The Lady or the Tiger? By Frank Stockton.

If you have this post will make sense, if you haven’t it will not.

deep thoughts

Every week I check out the training plan my coach Steph comes up with for me. I mentally arrange the week in my head, and make promises that I will actually get up and run in the morning before work. Every week, I feel like I am committed and ready to hit the week with optimism and gusto! Then…………………..

When the time comes to execute the work out 1 of 2 things happen. Sara the happy runner shows up or Sara the tired, cranky begrudgingly  uhh i have to run girl shows up. Now, don’t jump to conclusions tired cranky Sara isn’t thaaaaaaaaaaat bad, oh wait, maybe she is. LOL Regardless she always gets the miles done,

So, what is it that makes one of the two show up to a workout? Lately Cranky Sara has been showing up and frankly, I’m kinda of tired of her. I have no reason to be cranky about my schedule, but this happens every so often. Instead of looking at running as an opportunity to leave the world of work stress, and life behind, I lump it in and view my hobby/passion as a burden. Why would I do that? DUMB!

It took an email from my coach to make me realize I was doing that, Running should be used for stress relief not stress induced! Think about it, do you ever come back from a run and say, I am MORE STRESSED, of course you don’t and if you do, Where are you running? :)

I had been feeling like that for a few weeks, but slowly I started realizing that running is my pal, my BFF, and the fact I even have time to run and am healthy is a win already. So, Cranky pants Sara has to go and I am sure she will make an appearance here and there, but luckily , one simple line in an email made me realize running can be so many things but a ball of stress shouldn’t be one.

My Ironman also made a good point along these lines, he said ” don’t let your racing self disappoint your training self, you did the work now prove it. Same principle applies, who do you have show up on race day? That competitor hungry to compete or that Laissez-faire runner who just doesn’t care? Don’t get me wrong, its fun to just go to a race and not worry about time and have fun, but when its a goal race, I want to make sure Competitor Sara shows up. I like her and I think she needs to stick around.

In the short story it ends with the line ,”And so I leave it with all of you: Which came out of the opened door – the lady, or the tiger?”  Every workout or run or race the choice is ours………..who will you be? The Lady or the Tiger?

 

(seriously read the short story)

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