Where have I been?

Well, I’ve been running, that’s for sure!

Trail Running with Addie at Mt. Galbraith

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Running in Mile High Stadium for the Colfax Urban 10 miler
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Trail run view from the Grubstake Loop Trail

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New shoes! Hint: they are for trail running ūüôā (catch the theme yet?)

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Taking a much needed break along the Apex trail

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And since all my pictures so far have been on trails.. this one is definitely why!

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(not a trail run) just a hike up Table Mountain with Addie at sunset

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See, I’ve been here, just not¬†here.¬†I’m going to start posting more but it may be more pictures than anything else – I’ve started taking my phone on runs with me (you’re welcome danny) – and I realized that my aversion to posting on this blog more is because I don’t know what to say! So let’s go with a picture is worth a thousand words, mmhmm…

I’ve been running a lot. I’m trying to build a base of 50-60 miles a week leading up to marathon training, which I won’t start until mid-July, mainly because I am waiting to start until after our trip to Peru. That’s not to say I’m taking it easy – My 12 week training schedule will have me running 16 miles on the first long run Saturday, so it’s pretty much dependent on maintaining a base over the next month or so.

The reason I am running so much? Well, I’m setting a goal to actually¬†race¬†the Chicago Marathon – my goal is the generic (but still difficult!) plan to qualify for Boston! For my sex and age group, that means (if it doesn’t change..) running a 3:38:00, or about a 8:12 pace. For comparison, my last marathon was a 3:55:14 at a 8:58 pace. So… I have a ways to go.¬†BUT,¬†last year, I ran only 20-30 miles a week leading up to the marathon, and I used a run-walk strategy throughout my training season. So this year, I’m doing a much more aggressive plan, with more focus on the midweek tempo & speed workouts, not just focusing on the long run. And, more than anything, I am running more – over double what I did last year!

I have a few half marathons coming up (June 4 & June 11) and I am hoping in one of them to get a good half marathon time so that I can get upgraded to a better corral in Chicago. I don’t currently have a good half marathon time (my best time would be from the marathon last year; my first half was a 1:52, but that doesn’t count) ((I think my best recorded half is a 2:05, which..is not good. But it is old)). One is right in our town, only a few blocks away, and the other is a downhill one starting at 10k elevation (and ending around…6k?). I always thought downhill races were cheating, and while I still do, I guess that means I’m not exactly above that if it means putting me in a better corral! Hopefully I’ll get what I need in the first half marathon but if not, I registered for the downhill as a backup.

In the mean time, I’m running, and since the weather is nicer, I’ve started trail running! I’m not particular good at yet, but I realized that I should be taking advantage of the mountains that are literally right out the door – why would I want to pound pavement over and over again when I could be struggling to breath climbing a 10% incline?! I’m trying to do 1-2 runs a week on the trails, so that I still train my body the majority of the time on flat concrete (like the Chicago marathon course) but I get extra altitude and hill and muscle work on the trails. Plus, it’s beautiful!

Will try to post updates more regularly! Especially once marathon training starts – I want to record my training to 26.2!

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Taking a time out

This past weekend, I was supposed to run 6 miles easy, 8 tempo miles, and a 14 mile long run.

I did none of it.

Instead, I spent the weekend with some girlfriends in Utah and we snowboarded, ‘hiked’, explored, and ate and ate and ate. I woke up each morning with the short, nagging thought of “I should go for a run” but… that thought quickly went away. And no guilt remained. Sometimes, you just need a break.

We all got in Thursday night and after a quick dinner in downtown Salt Lake City, we headed to Park City to the AirBnB we were staying in for the weekend. After checking in, we headed to find a liquor store to grab some champagne, only to find out that after 10pm, all liquor stores (which are… rare) are closed. Utah law. We would come to find that Utah law would win over us multiple times during our trip…

On Friday, we went snowboarding at Park City, which was fun – extremely empty and the snow was like sugar butter (you know when you’re making cookie dough, and you have to cream the butter and sugar together? exactly like that). I actually love spring snow like this, mostly because I hate going fast and it really, really slows you down, so I was having a great time. The mountain was fun to explore as I had never been there before (actually, none of us had) and after a few hours of boarding we headed to the base to apres ski. We got a pitcher of beer from a local place and found out that beers on draught in Utah are less alcohol (I think max of 4.0% ABV). The only way to get a full strength beer at a bar or restaurant was to order it in a bottle.

What?

So, after a refreshing pitcher of beer that went down a bit too quickly, we decided to make the trek back to the townhouse we were staying in. We got as far as the next restaurant over, because it was sunny and we were hungry and maybe a bottle of beer this time would be better. Apres Ski, man. It gets you!

Probably the biggest workout of the trip took place when we attempted to walk back the 0.8 miles from the resort to the townhouse. I will say it was all uphill, we were still in full snowboard gear, and we were carrying our boards Рnot a great combination. Luckily, about half way into our walk, the ski bus drove along side of us and we hopped on as quick as we could. Thank you, ski bus, for rescuing us.

Saturday was a super fun adventure day – I feel like I should write that as ~~*SuPER FuN adVEntuRE daY!*!~~* because it sounds so gawdy. But really, it was!

We first drove out to the great salt lake to check it off the See America (TM) bucket list – it was smelly and salty and exactly what you’d expect, however, the pictures! The pictures make it look like paradise (on the west coast! talking bout fruit and fields as far as the eye can see…)! Just take a look:

Then we headed to a hot spring we had googled, about an hour south of SLC. It was great! When we first got there, we head the whole watering hole to ourself. It was the perfect temperature for hot tubbing, and was secluded with these high grass reeds and then Utah Lake/the mountains as the backdrop. We spent about an hour in the water, and would have easily stayed longer had we thought ahead and brought food + beer.

Our next stop on the trip was unplanned but was a definite stop once we spotted it in the distance: In N Out.

After a burger + shake break, we finally made it back to Park City, where we explored the town and got dinner, then headed back to the hot tub. The next day, we went into SLC before our flights and got brunch as well as a tour of Temple Square.

Utah – pretty incredible! Definitely exceeded my expectations, that’s for sure!

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Cross Training: Lagree Method Fitness

Lagree¬†Fitness. It sounds harmless…or it sounds confusing. What does it mean?

It means WORKOUT FROM HELL. It’s Pilates on crack. It’s intense-shaking intense. It’s a total body crusher. You leave class feeling like you are tight TIGHT TIGHT¬†(please click that link and watch that video. You will not regret it).

I decided to go with a classpass membership to supplement my running. What sold me on it was during my trial weeks, I went to a bunch of “lagree fitness” style classes – which is a style of Pilates done a machine called a Megareformer. It’s actually a class style I’ve taken before, back in Chicago, when I was trying to get toned up for my wedding. I loved it because it was a low-intensity cardio style class, but still a hard, heavy workout. Sometimes you don’t feel like doing burpees or squat jumps but you still want something more intense than a barre class.

Lagree¬†fitness is perfect for that. I’ve taken classes at two different studios: Fierce45, here in Denver, and BocoFit, up in Boulder. Both studios follow a similar method for classes: 45-50 minutes, total body, sl-o-o-o-w movements but short-lived. Meaning, you spend 2 minutes in one move, 1 minute in another, quickly moving from position to position, but going through the actual movement as slow as possible.

It kicks your butt. It always amazes me how much I sweat in the class – literally, dripping from me – even though you’re not doing the typical type of movement that you think would warrant that sweat (read: cardio). In fact, if you do research on the method, it actually is a type of cardio, or so they say. And apparently you leave class with a higher metabolism for 24-48 hours afterward (something you typically get with HIIT-style workouts).

For me, the workout works, and it works fast. I have done 5 of these classes in the past few weeks and I have visible ab and oblique lines on my stomach. 3 months of barre classes didn’t do that, and I worked out my core every day almost! It’s incredible and my only drawback is that it’s so expensive for actual individual classes or a monthly membership – I’m stuck to the limited classes I get on my classpass, but you can bet I’ll be using up all of them!

Totally recommend it for runners, too. I¬†hate doing lunges, core work, butt work, etc but I know that strengthening these muscles is important in maintaining a healthy, injury-free body. So, if I can do a class that kicks my butt but leaves me feeling accomplished, like the past hour actually had an effect, than I’ll do it.

Just don’t do it on your rest day. It kind of cancels it out. I recommend doing it on your quality/hard run day, so that your body gets that rest the next day with an easy run or an actual rest: keep all the hard stuff together, so that your rest days or easy days are actually restful and/or easy.

Can’t wait for my next class!

 

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Rest Days are the Best Days

I¬†slightly diverted from my training schedule this week. Since I had pushed my long run from Sunday to Monday, I lost the rest day that I would have gotten after the long run…and I definitely felt it this week.

I did 12 miles on Monday since I didn’t feel up for the 14 mile with 3 tempo miles mixed in – 12 long, slow miles is much easier on both the body and the mind. I don’t know if I was actually physically more tired from the snowboarding or if it was all in my head, but I couldn’t stomach the idea of doing that run. Whatever, it’s done, moving ON!

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My mileage for the week then looked like this:

Monday: 12 miles easy

Tuesday: 2 mile w/u, 5 miles @ 730 pace with 1 min rest after each mile, 1 mile c/d (which was HARD)

Wednesday: 7 miles easy

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 2 mile w/u, 5 miles @ 805 pace, 1 mile c/d

Saturday: 6 miles easy + 4 strides

The image doesn’t match what I did – I attempted to edit it but I realize now I did it totally backwards. Anyways, I switched my off days again – instead of taking a rest day on Friday, I pushed it to Thursday, because after my runs on Tuesday and Wednesday kicked my booty, I knew I needed a break.

One way I can tell that I’m really tired is how much I sweat – is that weird? On a normal run, if it’s something I can handle, I’ll sweat according to the temperature outside and that’s pretty much it. On Tuesday I was sweating buckets – it felt like I was running in a sauna. I was disgusting! I chalked it up to the temperature in the room I was in + wearing too much clothing, but Wednesday during my “easy” run, I was sweating just as much – and this time I was outside in 50 degree weather. It was also super, super hard to maintain a 945 pace. I was done.

So, rest day! I took a much needed rest day on Thursday and didn’t do¬†anything. I ate 2 sweet potatoes worth of sweet potato fries and a bunch of ice cream, and it was glorious.

When I got back at it on Friday, the 8 mile run was a piece of cake (piece of caking meaning = it was still hard, but it was comfortable-hard, not hard-hard like Tuesday & Wednesday were). Honestly, what a difference a rest day makes!

So today I did a 6 mile run with strides and now we’re headed off to Winter Park to do their¬†Winter Park Wipe Out¬†event. It looks like it will be more of a scavenger hunt than a running race, which I’m thankful for – hopefully there is tubing involved (and beer)!

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Training + Snowboarding = Tired Legs

How do you account for “strenuous” activity when you’re training for a half marathon? Warning: this post will be mostly about snowboarding and not running (there’ll be some running thrown in for good measure, though).

For the Easter holiday Danny and I headed into the mountains for a few days of snowboarding. We stayed in Avon, right across the street from Beaver Creek. We ended up boarding 1 day in Vail and 2 days at Beaver Creek.

We left Friday around 730am, dropped off Addie at doggie daycare/boarding, and began our trek into the mountains. We had that huge snowstorm a few days prior but it was a good bit melted by Friday – but the weather had other plans for us. Soon into our drive it began to snow, and the farther we headed into the mountains the snowier it became. That, combined with the rest of the front rangers thinking the same way as us, made it a 3 hour, 30 minute drive to Vail – a ride that without traffic takes about 1:45. YIKES.

It was worth it. We got to Vail and parked at Lionshead around 11:00am, so we were on a lift by 11:30. The conditions were ridiculous. We had fresh powder from the night before, more snow coming down by the minute, and best of all – it was like 35 degrees! Normally on snowy days I get SO COLD boarding because you get so wet, but considering it was like 35 degrees on the top of the mountain and really not that windy, I did not get cold at all! It was amazing. I will say, though, that skiing in powder is a whole different beast. I would almost guess that part of the reason I didn’t get cold was because I was working so freaking hard. ¬†It’s not cruising down groomers, that’s for sure.

We left Vail around 4-430 and headed to Beaver Creek – we were staying at a hotel in Avon (unfortunately could not afford the $600+ night for the¬†luxurious¬†Beaver Creek resort…). This is where the training comes in: We were planning on 3 pretty hard days of boarding. On Friday afternoon, once we got to the hotel, I headed straight to the treadmill to do my run for the day. Luckily, it was an easy 6 miles, so it wasn’t too bad. My legs were a bit tired but nothing too drastic. I was more just psyched up for the weekend, so I probably had adrenaline going. Plus, I knew that we were going out for a wild game dinner (Happy Good Friday!) so I really wanted to work up an appetite.

The next day, we were headed to Beaver Creek. Again: training. Before Danny even woke up, I was up at 6:30am to again hit the treadmills. This time, I was a bit more tired. I had another 6 miles, this time a bit more pointed (1 mile easy, 4 miles @ 8:25, 1 mile easy). Then, another full day of snowboarding!

Also, as an aside, it is always a bit rewarding when you come up from a hard workout and your partner is just waking up – feel accomplished much?

After breakfast, we headed to the slopes. Neither Danny nor I had ever been to Beaver Creek before so we were really looking forward to the chance to explore. We were not disappointed. First of all, when we got off the (free) shuttle from our hotel to Beaver Creek, we were handed warm chocolate chip cookies (warm! It was 12 degrees outside!) When we took up the first lift of the day, we were met with small cups of hot chocolate (complete with whipped cream!). Free cookies and hot chocolate? We were in the Disney World of mountain resorts. It was incredible.

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What was not incredible was the feeling in my legs. I was definitely getting tired quicker – the combination of snowboarding in powder + 2 6 mile runs + another day of boarding was slowly creeping up on me. We took a break for lunch and then quit for apres ski (beer) around 3:30 – but not before getting ANOTHER warm chocolate chip cookie at the bottom of the lift! Seriously. Heaven.

When we finally made it back to the hotel around 530, I was doubting my ability to get out of bed. I honestly can’t remember if I showered first or not.. ¬†This is probably a time to be blunt: I am not as young as I used to be. We barely made it out of the room to go to dinner at a local bar within a 5 minute walk. I ate my heart out with nachos and cheap beer, then crashed back at the hotel room…

…only to wake up on Sunday for another day of boarding! I have to admit, we could have easily passed, but it honestly felt so good to be out there that I couldn’t not¬†go! We at least slept in a bit, and didn’t make it up to the slopes until around 10am. This time, we were too late for the hot chocolate but we did still get the morning cookie! We skied all day long, again, taking a break around lunch time to get a beer at one of the mountain top restaurants. It must have been about 45 degrees and with the sun, felt amazing. We sat outside and enjoyed our beers, calling friends and family to wish them a Happy Easter in the meantime. Then we skied for a few more hours before calling it quits to drive break to Denver around 3 (and another warm cookie – seriously, I can’t get enough of these chocolate chip cookies).

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I had a 14 mile run Sunday, too. That…didn’t happen. I convinced myself that I would do it on Monday, but even today, when I woke up, I knew I didn’t have 14 miles in me or my legs. I decided I would swap the long runs for week 2 & week 3 just to give my legs a break.. 12 slow miles is much easier than 14 miles with some speed work built in. I did it, begrudgingly, and as I did, I wonder whether, on a weekend of 3 days of snowboarding, it’s better to a) stick with the training or b) skip it?

All I know is my legs are about to fall off right now. It’s 4pm and I’m drinking a cappuccino for energy (and also because it’s delicious, let’s be honest – I am at¬†Two Rivers Coffee¬†and it reminds me of Melbourne; that’s how seriously they seem to take their coffee). At the same time, I’m proud of myself for only slightly diverging from the plan! I keep telling myself that this training is almost more mental training than it is physical; it’s definitely keeping me honest!

Week 3 begins tomorrow! Wish me luck…

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What a difference a day makes!

The past 48 hours here in Denver have been ridiculous – Tom Skilling would certainly have his work cut out for him! ¬†We went from 78 degrees and sunny one day to the¬†10th worst blizzard in Denver history¬†the next. Since we’ve moved here from Chicago, people have told me repeatedly about how crazy Denver weather is, but this is certainly the biggest extremes I’ve experienced!

This was the weather on Tuesday:

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You can’t tell, but it was 78 degrees! Very windy, but the warm weather made up for it. I did an easy six miles + 4 strides¬†around Wash Park wearing a tank top and leggings:

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I ran at¬†noon and since I was out for around an hour, the 78 degree and sunny weather = sunburn, even in March! By night I was putting aloe vera on my shoulders and chest. I need to get smarter about sunscreen no matter what time of year.. I remember when we first moved here, I would constantly be without sunglasses and it would actually be painful on my eyes. I’ve since accumulated about 10+ pairs, which are all scattered throughout the house and car (you never know when you might need a pair!) – Danny is not impressed.

Anyways, this was outside less than 24 hours later:

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Beer for scale. Avalanche may or may not have been chosen on purpose.

We ended up with¬†16 inches of snow! I’ve experienced blizzards before (snowpocalypse, chi-beria, Chicago has its fair share of snow storms) but I think what I can’t get over is how quickly the weather changed. To go from 78 degrees to 16 inches of snow in 24 hours..it’s incredible. Also, the forecasters were calling for only 4-6 inches of snow in the Denver metro area, so their surprisingly bad prediction I think also played into my amazement.

Wednesday was one of my “quality” run days, so even with the snow, I didn’t want to miss it. The snow stopped around 4:30pm and so rather than pushing the run till Thursday, I braved the roads and headed to Movement to hop on one of the treadmills. It was actually incredible – the roads were pretty much empty, and there were abandoned cars in various positions all along my drive. It had a¬†very post-apocalyptic feel to it. The roads, though, were clear of snow, so I felt fine on my drive. When I got to Movement, it was surprisingly crowded! I guess everyone figured with the snow day, what better place to go than climbing?

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So, this was my view for my 9 mile workout Рthe climbing gym. I did 2 miles warm up, 3 x 2 miles at 7:45-7:55 pace with 3 minutes rest, 1 mile cool down.  Miles 3-4 were rough; all I had eaten during the day was half a pan of brownies (snow day diet) and I felt like my legs were lead. Miles 5-6 definitely felt the best; by 7-8 I was telling myself just not to give up! I think this training plan is going to be as much mental for me as it is physical. Between sticking with the plan as well as sticking with the individual workouts, I have my work cut out for me.

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Looking forward to crossing out the rest of the week! This weekend will be a rough one to get the runs in; we are headed into the mountains for Easter break (Danny has Friday off) for a few days of snowboarding! With all the snow we’ve gotten, it should be amazeballs.

Happy Easter!

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Long Runs

Today marked the first long run of my training: 12 miles at a 9:05-10:10 pace. To be honest, I didn’t get the craziness of this until later on in the day when I was having a beer at a nearby brewery with some friends: I¬†mentioned I had to do¬†a 12 mile run this morning for the half marathon I was training for. They asked when the half marathon was, and when I said “June,” they were like, “I’d say you’re already there…” It’s certainly different training for speed!

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This was my track this morning. I ran 12 miles along a trail that was partly covered in snow. Here in Denver, we had 6 inches of snow on Friday and Saturday – I did my six miles on Saturday on the treadmill after spending the earlier part of the day snowboarding at A-Basin. Today, the forecast was calling for 53 degrees, so I kept waiting and waiting for it to get that warm so I could run with less layers. By 11am, it was still only 39 degrees, so I said screw it and went for it.

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My outfit consisted of Athleta Power Lift tights (these are fleece-lined and super warm), my only-for-cold-weather Lululemon down vest with rulu sleeves (SUPER warm), 2 earbands (my ears are so sensitive that any temperature under 60 degrees, I need to have them covered), and gloves. I debated on wool socks but luckily talked myself out of them.

What was I thinking!?

First of all, I run cold. I am constantly cold. However, running is the one place where I have control over the weather. Typically, I see 40 degrees and I think shorts + long sleeves! For some reason, this morning, I just couldn’t get over the mental hurdle of the snow that we had yesterday. It was messing with my mind and my body just refused to feel warm.

So, I went out in my super-warm¬†layers and not surprisingly, within a HALF MILE, I knew I was too warm. I unzipped my armpit vents, took off my gloves, and lost a earbands (kept one on; let’s not get too crazy). ¬†I should have just turned around and changed my outfit completely, but I was out and going and didn’t want to. I did six miles out and six miles back, and took it slow and easy. My pace ended up being a 9:28 according to my Garmin, which I’m perfectly happy with. I was more happy with the views on my run, though:

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Colorado weather is just crazy and also fantastic at the same time. We had 6 inches of snow but it’s already melting; it’s supposed to be in the 70s tomorrow so in 24¬†hours it’ll all be gone!¬†After my run, I mentioned earlier that I went to a brewery with some friends – we sat outside and it was glorious! That 53 degree temperature that I was waiting for? Yeah, by 3pm it was 67 degrees. I have to laugh at myself for my outfit this morning – totally inappropriate – I should know better!

Best part of the day? After running 12 miles, I was absolutely famished, and I had talked to my mom earlier in the week about Easter. Since we won’t be in town this year, she was telling me the Easter menu (even though it stays the same every year): ham, polish sausage, potatoes, sauerkraut, and pierogis.¬†I love pierogis. And since they were on my mind, and I knew I wouldn’t be getting them on Easter Sunday, I was determined to find them so I could gorge myself on their sweet cheese and doughy deliciousness after my run.

So imagine my thrill when I found a fast-food style Polish restaurant with in mere miles of our house?! This place sells frozen pierogis by the dozen, and they have the exact flavors I want – sweet cheese, sauerkraut, and Danny’s favorite: the ambiguous “meat”. I bought 6 dozen (why not?) and went home and cooked 2 dozen of them for dinner that night…then made an extra half dozen of the sweet cheese for my dessert. Pierogis: the only food I know to be both dinner and dessert (well, that’s not true. Ice cream usually fits that category just fine)!

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I was also lucky, too, to have a quart of my mom’s sauerkraut to heat up to eat with the pierogis. My mom makes¬†the best sauerkraut, and so every holiday that she makes it, she also cooks up an extra couple quarts and freezes them for me. Each time they’ve been out here, they’ve brought frozen sauerkraut with them. Yes, I am the baby of the family…

Guess how many days this week we’ll be having pierogis for dinner? Danny will be thrilled….

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Training – Week 1

This week marked the start of half marathon training! I’ve never actually¬†trained for a half marathon before – I’ve only ever run them while training for a full marathon, and I would run a half marathon that happened to fall on a Saturday long run day. To be honest, I always thought, “what’s the point?” when it came to training for half marathons because of that reason. But looking at the training program I am following (one I found online – an¬†Ironman Half Marathon¬†¬†“Advanced sub 1:45”) – it’s definitely a bit more intense than my marathon training. I picked it for a few reasons:

  • It was an advanced, sub 1:45 program
  • It was free

Okay, mostly because it was free. I googled “sub 1:45 half marathon training” and this link came up. I like that it tells me exactly the times I should be running. I know that I can figure out my own paces by looking at charts to tell me my 5k, 10k, marathon, etc paces but sometimes when I go by those I just don’t push myself hard enough. I’ll take it easy on myself because…it’s easier.

My first week of training:

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Since it’s Friday, technically I’m only halfway through, but I figure since I got the hard workouts out of the way – Tuesday and Thursday – it’s smooth sailing ahead! Actually, the most difficult part of this week is going to be finding time and energy on Saturday and Sunday to run – we are going up to the mountains to go snowboarding, since Colorado has gotten a few inches of fresh powder in the past week. ¬†Since ski season is almost over, we need to get the most out of our passes! I will likely end up running in the evenings after skiing on both Saturday and Sunday…joy.

Tuesday’s run this week was not bad at all. Since it’s the first week, I figure they are easing you into speedwork. The pace for the 400 repeats was relatively slow, and I only started to get tired during the last 2 quarters. Thursday’s workout was also not as intense as I thought, but mentally, it was rough! I have never run a workout like that where I didn’t take breaks – even in my own form of speedwork, I would run a 7-730 mile and then walk for a quarter, then repeat, maybe 3 times total. So running 5 miles straight (after a 2 mile warmup!) was new to me, and I am happy to say I got through it!

Again, it’s only week one, so we’ll see where the rest of the week will take me…

As an aside, I’ve been looking forward to running outside now that it’s warmer, but yesterday the snow kept me from doing 8 miles outside. Instead, I ran at¬†Movement Climbing + Fitness¬†near downtown Denver. I don’t have a gym membership, but I did have a free month pass here from Christmas and so I figured..they have treadmills? It was interesting going to a climbing gym just to use their treadmills. I used to climb all the time back at Brooklyn Boulders in Chicago, so I definitely miss it. It’s fun to watch the climbers while you’re running, though – they have a window looking out right onto the climbing gym; sometimes you’re even eye to eye with the climbers! Kind of a cool treat and keeps you mildly entertained while chugging miles away on the mill.

Oh! And I ended up doing a ClassPass trial for 2 weeks. Since I have the Movement membership for a month, though, I don’t think I’m going to stick with ClassPass. The classes I took were great, but driving to them kind of blows – nothing is close. I might end up going back to it once my Movement month is up, but then I also think that I’d like to just spend the money on a climbing gym instead. I miss the nights that we’d go to Brooklyn and climb, not to mention the way it builds your back and arm muscles! Also, the classes I did end up taking with ClassPass were great, but I also worried about pushing myself too hard when my focus should be on running. I think I’d get carried away with these intense, bootcamp style classes too many days a week and wreck my legs.

So for now, half marathon training with my Ironman program and climbing gym it is. Of course, give me 2 weeks, and my mind could totally change!

Time to enjoy the snow out in here in CO! I’m writing from our living room and every so often I see out the window a huge pile of snow falling off our roof. And Addie is asleep, snoring next to me, after our mile “walk” this morning (which really consisted of me dropping the leash and letting her go crazy in the park).

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Have a great weekend!

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Running Shape

I run. This is not a surprise to anyone. And running, by default, is my main method of fitness. But, it’s not my only method of fitness, because I want to make sure that I keep a strong core, strong hips, strong legs, strong feet, and also I don’t want to end up with the “runner’s physique” of big, bulky legs but skinny arms. You know the type:

source: theoatmeal.com
source: theoatmeal.com

So, I try to do exercises on the side to keep me in total body shape. And actually, if I take a look at my history, I tend to get hooked on something for a while before moving on and dropping it almost totally. Running is my only consistency.

For example – I used to have a membership to CorePower Yoga. I would go 4-5 times a week, and took a variety of classes there. The HPF classes would feel great after a long run, and the Yoga Sculpt classes kept my arms from looking like noodles. But, I grew tired of constantly having to shower immediately after going there, and also there were times where I just didn’t want the heat- even their basic class has the room heated to 80+ degrees. So, I quit my membership, but will still try to do yoga classes a) when they’re free or b) through online videos.

Most recently I joined a barre studio near our old place. I had done barre in the past – a lot before our wedding – and it really did work to tone and sculpt. It also helped work out those muscles in my hips and glutes that needed to be stronger – something that I figured would aid my running in the long term. Since we moved, though, I stopped the membership because I knew one of the main reasons I was going was because it was literally a block away. It’s amazing what distance will do to your motivation!

Since we are now *in the suburbs* (how many times do I have to write that? You’d think I was in Siberia or something) there isn’t anything within walking distance that I would go to. And, I know from experience that while I can tell myself that I will do online barre or yoga videos, I just won’t. I will always find an excuse. One of them being that whenever I try to do yoga, Addie will always find a way to get in my way!

Paying for a membership somewhere will keep me accountable – my parents raised me to value the dollar, and so you can bet if I am paying for something, I will get my money’s worth. At CorePower, the membership was $130 a month – I would always do the calculation in my head to see how much each class cost me – therefore I would go as much as possible to make that cost as small as possible!

So, I am thinking of doing ClassPass. I did in Chicago for a while, but because I was traveling so much for work, I couldn’t take advantage of it enough to justify the cost in my head. But here in Denver, it may be worthwhile, especially since I have to drive to different parts of the city for school – I can do classes all over because I’ll be all over for work anyway.¬† Plus, then I can take a variety of classes – barre, yoga, and even some HIIT classes that will hopefully help my speed.
All I know is that I have to do something – yoga with Addie is definitely more frustrating than calming!
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New Roots, New Routes

One of my favorite things about moving to a new place is the chance to find new running routes. I am certainly an animal of routine whether I like to admit it or not – when we lived downtown, I had my 3 mile route, my 4-6 mile route, and my 9+ mile route – each one a different direction. There were times when I wanted to run 6 miles but didn’t want to run to City Park, so instead of .. you know, just running a different direction, I would run on the treadmill.

Now, though, the treadmill is no longer an option! Since we moved to the suburbs, I don’t have a gym in the downstairs of our residence (we also aren’t paying the extreme rent to support that, but that’s another story). So, today, I went out for a run, only expecting to do 4-5 miles. But I was missing my watch (lost in the shuffle of packing) and so I had no way to judge my distance. I also found, within a half mile of our new house, a trail! I love trails. This one is along a creek and goes for miles and miles in each direction. I headed west, towards, the mountains, and end up going for about 10 miles – since I was doing an out-and-back, I probably should have turned around earlier, but each time I hit an intersection or underpass, I convinced myself to keep going.

So, my Sunday long run turned into a Saturday long run. Because I didn’t have a watch, when I got back home and checked the mileage on gmap pedometer and paced myself, I ended up running at an 8:36 pace. Which, for me, is great! But not necessarily what I want for a long run.

I think that the excitement of a new path, a new route, and mountains in my view kept me motivated to keep going – also, the suburban drivers who STOP AT EVERY INTERSECTION TO LET ME RUN PAST (what! never happens in the city!) was also encouraging. Hopefully this rhythm keeps up!

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