The Taper Weeks

So, in a number of days I get to run the Missoula Half Marathon. That means I get to go on vacation to MONTANA! I am just a little excited about it.

How has the training been? Well not to shabby actually. One thing I absolutely hate doing is putting a training plan together. I love when it shows up “stork” style at my front door. Or when it comes through email via my Ironman. We are a household that are true believers in the Pete Pfitzinger style of running plan. He’s big on volume! My ironman put a plan together and it was averaging around 40-45 miles a week. To my surprise I have hit those weekly mileage goals even with the dreadful Alabama Weather. I’ve even done pretty good with the speed workout in the plan. Oddly enough its been a pretty pleasant experience.

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I think out of 11 weeks, I had 2 weeks that weren’t so great. Last week was definitely one of them, instead of running 40ish miles I ran 8 and slept ALOT. I was stressed and just didn’t run. Sadly, that happens sometimes.

pene hide face

Now, all I have to do is figure out what type of goal for the race, I think I will stick with as close to 1:50 as possible. Sounds good to me. I am hoping all this running in Humidity and HOT will translate well to the cooler Western temps.

One of the best ways I have been dealing with the Heat & Humidity is logging quality runs on the treadmill. I know a lot of people hate the treadmill or the “dreadmill” but I think the Treadmill really gets a bad rap. Its a climate controlled tool to use to get it done! I’d much rather run on a treadmill with a good pace and fan than suffer in soul sucking humidity and have a horrible run. Im just saying!

penelope hide face

Tapering usually makes me think and reflect on what I’ve been doing or haven’t been doing for a training cycle or the running year.

What did I find?

I found that its taken almost up until now to get my groove back in a training plan. I can’t say it enough the Charleston Marathon back in January just wore me out. Even though it was a PR it wasn’t close to what I wanted. A friend of mine and I had a discussion on a long run about, disappointment that goes along with long distance races and how you recover. It can be the DNF of a 100 miler that leaves you feeling awful for months, missing a BQ, missing sub 4 for a marathon numerous times, but I think even if you finish and the experience is awful, can really effect your recovery. I find this to be true in my case. I haven’t even wanted to sign up or run anything related to 26.2 since January.

Funny thing is, I still have that 50 mile nag at me from Land Between the Lakes over a year later. I hated dropping from the 50 mile to 60K, and I tell you its been on my mind ever since. So, I think its time to finally try again. Its a little bit in the future but in March of 2015, I plan to try out the 50 mile race again. But, this time I won’t leave feeling unfinished. I plan to run the Prairie Spirit 50 miler in March. Why Kansas? Why not? Its close to my home State of Missouri, and its a rails to trails race, perfect for the so so trail runner that I am.

But for now and this moment, I am focused on running in Missoula and seeing my favorite Monica! Waking up to the mountains is just what this girl needs.

Running doesn’t always have to be perfect and planned but it does have to be ours. Make running the part of your life that you want not what you think it should be.

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The great debate……..

If you know me, I tend to be loyal to a brand. Whether that be, coffee (Fresh Market Orange), Clothes (Anthro, Jcrew) or running shorts (Oiselle Roga). When it comes to my running shoes I have been a devoted fan of the Mizuno Elixir, for over 4 years. Then I heard the news that Mizuno was well….DISCONTINUING!!!!!! How was this possible? Its a great shoe! Light, easy to run in, fun colors, everything I look for in a shoe. I was pretty Pissed!

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What did Mizuno say would be comparable? The new Wave Sayonara, and I was hopeful until……………..

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I actually put a pair on my feet. .5 miles in and BAM, searing pair down the sides of my feet! The pain never got any better and it just wasn’t a shoe for me!

I was so sad when I tried them out, because my Ironman runs in them and totally loves them to death. I have tried other Mizuno shoes and the fit is just not there. What is a runner to do? Investigate either retiring all together or find another shoe! Oh the HORROR!! In the hunt for the new shoe I have been hoarding away Elixirs like crazy. But alas, its time to finally make the switch……..but to what you ask?

That’s the hard part. It takes a long time to find a good husband and sports bra but even longer in my opinion to find a good running shoe. This past weekend I was in Chattanooga spectating the Thunder Rock 100 put on by Rock Creek and stumbled into the Fast Break running store. What a little gem of a store I found. The sales associate was so very helpful and didn’t even mind that I was ever so indecisive. I was even allowed to run outside for as long as I wanted to test them out. I told her my dilemma and I felt she truly sympathized with me. Approval points in my book for sure. I narrowed it down between the Brooks Ravenna & to my surprise the Newton Gravity 3. NEWTON!! was I mad?

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I have tried them before and wow, they have changed that shoe for the better. That 5th lug makes all the difference. I debated to what seemed like forever and probably felt like infinity to my Ironman. What did I choose and why? Dun na Dun na………………….

The NEWTON! I can tell you I am surprised as you are. Here’s how the decision played out. I have been wanting to transition to a lower drop shoe and the Brooks Ravenna wasn’t that much of a difference from the Elixir. So, if I am going to finally find a new shoe why not really find one. I loved how the Newton felt and looked. Plus, as I slowly transition if I feel its not working, I already know I loved the Brooks Ravenna.

I plan to attempt my second try at a 50 mile in the spring and all the trail shoes I like are lower drop, so it makes sense to slowly transition now. If you live in the south Summer is not really peak season. Its a season to try and survive the humidity and seriously not die. If you disagree with that you are insane.

How am I going to transition? I plan to start with running in the Newton’s a few times a week for 10-20 mins at first and then as the weeks go increase the time. Will this work? Hell if I know……hope so though!!

Have you ever transition to a lower drop shoe and had success?

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Planned Reality?

5 May 2014, Technically this week should be a race week. After I ran my last 26.2, I wanted to focus on the shorter distances for the spring. I was tired of super long runs and just wanted a few PRs in the 5k,10k and Half marathon. That was the plan,,,,,,,,,,here’s what actually happened.

I had been following a 10k plan out of the Peter Pfitzinger book. I am a huge fan of his, if you haven’t read Advanced Marathoning, I suggest you read it. His approach just makes sense. I was doing great and feeling good after some time off after Charleston but then Life, work, and you name it got in the way. I forgot to even sign up for the goal 10k race. Yes, that is a true story I promise. My job has taken an unexpected upswing of responsibility and madness. This temporary of course but the adjustment didn’t go well in the running department. The last three weeks of the plan have been hit and miss and I decided to just shelve the 10k fun for now. Sure, I could go run the race but I don’t want to. And, THAT’s okay. Sometimes LIFE does get in the way, that doesn’t mean I can’t ever run a 10k race again it just means, Shit happens. Recover , re-plan, and RUN.

Run to what you ask? Well, the Ironman and I are going to Missoula, Montana in July to run the Missoula Half. So very excited about this. I hope to see a sub 1:50 on the clock. So, today begins the Half Marathon fun. I plan to use Pfitzinger’s method again and see what happens. Today is for new ideas and a new training plan!! YAY!

 

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Generally when I can’t keep a schedule or my training falls behind, I am usually so hard on myself. But, seriously I am not getting paid to run, I just love it and want to do well. It’s okay sometimes to reset the course and go from there. Last time I checked nothing was guaranteed or no one combusted from not doing a goal race. These things actually help me from being too Type A.

I am just not a fan when my hobby becomes a job, I already have a job, and don’t need another. Not to say that you don’t have to work hard for your goals and dreams. you totally do, and I am all about it. But I think there is a fine line. I think I have finally found the balance.

 

 

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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.

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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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