Pass Mountain 25K Race or training run?

….and My Story Runs On….

This morning, I did Aravaipa Running’s Pass Mountain 25K (15.5 miles).
I picked it for a few reasons:

  • I needed mileage as I train for my next big race (another blog on that later)
  • I happened to be available on this Saturday to do it
  • Most importantly, this race was my inaugural debut into trail races back on 11/19/2011 and I haven’t done it since.

I remember back in 2011 how scared I was to do it. I was training for my first marathon (Lost Dutchman, it fell on 41st birthday 5 years ago) but I had also just come back from my first ever ChiRunning Instructor weekend.  It was my first time meeting Danny & Katherine Dreyer and the first time I got to meet a bunch of other ChiRunning instructors from all over the world.  Needless to say, I was geeked out on ChiRunning and was excited/nervous about my first trail race. (I honestly can’t remember if I did any training on trails at this point. I want to say I had but I was not as experienced as a runner or coach at this point so not sure!)  I remember how hard it was…but my favorite part was getting to the last 1/2 mile that was on road and seeing my Dad there with his bike as he rode by my side for that last little bit!

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My Daddy and I!

Fast forward to this year.  Not sure why I haven’t done this more often since 2011 but this year was my first time back.  The course was slightly different (it was a 26K in 2011) but most of it was the same.

So my first dilemma was:  do I go and preview the course in advance or not?  I decided to do it and here is a quick 2 min video about that experience:

I am so glad that I did it now!

I didn’t preview the first half of the course because I knew it would be easier but grateful that I did the 2nd half as it proved to help me a lot today.  Not so much physically but mentally.  

  • I knew when the hard parts would be so I conserved my energy on those by ChiWalking more. (yes, I have no problem walking in races either!)
  • I knew one of my bigger challenges would be part of the end of the course because the single track trail was very close to the edge and I am afraid of heights.
  • I also knew that the last 2-3 miles were runnable downhill miles and I was ready to crank on those as soon as I could.  Ironically, my fastest mile was my last one!

As a running coach, I hear people get nervous about races all the time.  I remember I used to do this a lot more…I’m sure some of it comes with experience.  For me it was my frame of mind….I never felt I was actually racing when I did this run today.

I was hanging out with my friend Heather, got to chit chat with a few other people along the way, took some pics (see below) and we just took our time knowing we had plenty of it before the cutoff.

The great thing about treating a race like a training run is that there is no pressure. I also love races as training runs because there are other people out on the course (instead of running alone), they are supported so I know I will have aid stations with water and food (best aid stations ever!) and I get a shirt and pint glass! (50 Miles of Gratitude: (9) Training & Aravaipa Running) I didn’t have to pay for this race because I volunteer with Aravaipa quite a bit so I get race credits…so for me, it was a win-win for sure today.

I didn’t go back to see how I performed in 2011 because it was a different course and really didn’t care.

So my lesson for this race was that I was glad that I choose to do it as a training run rather than race it.  This may not always be my choice but I’m really glad that I did because I had a blast …AND I felt amazing at the end which is always one of my goals: to finish strong and feeling good!

Do you race or use them as training runs? Would love to read your comments below!

Gorgeous views on this course!

Gorgeous views on this course!

Heather and I before we started. Running with friends is always a good way to go!

Heather and I before we started. Running with friends is always a good way to go!

Cholla forest!

Cholla forest!

This was one of the steep uphill parts (I took the pic looking down after I got up it)

This was one of the steep uphill parts (I took the pic looking down after I got up it)

 

 

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Race report: MASS Gathering Memorial Day Marathon

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….and My Story Runs On….

I guess I’m more likely to blog while I’m on “vacation” since this is my 2nd blog in a week!
About a month ago, I realized I needed to get in 20 miles on Sat and 10 on Sun during Memorial weekend for my next 50K race (Capitol Reef, UT on 7/9/16).  I knew it would be hard to get this is in MA by myself.  My trip consisted of: being in my friend’s wedding in Boston last weekend, 5 days at Kripalu assisting Danny Dreyer, the founder of ChiRunning for 5 days and then a weekend in Pittsfield MA to visit family (my home town). I knew I wouldn’t get any long runs in the weekend of the wedding so I started googling races…lo and behold I found this marathon: MASS Gathering Memorial Day Marathon.
I started looking into it and figured: it’s 30 min from Pittsfield, 26 miles in one day is close enough to 30 in 2 days, it would be my first marathon out of state (7th one), first marathon in my home state and the icing on the cake was that it was benefiting Team RWB (I’m a member of the Phoenix Chapter) and Soldier On. I thought about it for a few days and then decided to go for it.
This past week I tried to follow my training plan but also was on my feet a lot due to teaching and coaching.  Even though I took Thu and Sat “off” of running, I went into the race with some mileage on my legs (61.2 according to my Jawbone but that’s including all my steps so a bit exaggerated…still a lot though).

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I was on tired legs already!

The eve of the marathon, my head starting messing with me a bit.  It was my first marathon where I didn’t have any friends or people that I knew.  I couldn’t find any information about the course and elevation (I used to not care about this but as my running story evolves, I realize knowing this information really helps me prepare for the race and strategize).  I knew it would be a hilly course so that made me feel better since I love hills due to the unique way we go up and down them with ChiRunning technique.  I was also worried about the weather as it was supposed to rain (I’m too used to perfect weather conditions in AZ) and it was going to be humid (I’m used to a dry heat.) I even started googling ‘running in dry heat vs humidity’! Then I started thinking, do I want to “race” this? Could I possibly PR (have a personal record) on this course with the hills (my best time for a full is in Sedona with a 4:58 and it was because of my hill strategy). Then I realized, I was wasting too much valuable energy  so I decided to go run it as the training run it was meant to be. I knew the cutoff was 7 hours (race director said they wouldn’t leave anyone on the course anyways) so I had plenty of time.

My aunt drove me the morning of the race and I was there in plenty of time which is rare for me.  I had 50 minutes to kill so I did my ChiRunning body looseners and found a seat to relax in.  IMG_8642

I noticed a guy from afar doing the body looseners and I knew he was a ChiRunner as we are the only ones who do this sequence (later I talked to him and he had been in the Kripalu class I assisted with last year!)  He was doing the half though. The race started 10 minutes late and I felt good right away going down the gentle downhill.  The race started with 80% humidity which I was not used to.

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My biggest goal in a long race is pacing myself. I had to slow myself down as I knew I was going faster than I should, especially knowing there would be some uphills and I had several miles to go. The course was beautiful!  I was bummed that I couldn’t find a trail race as I prefer that over the road but this race was hilly and nice enough scenery where I felt I could’ve been on a trail.

Roses:

  • Mentioned already in paragraph 3 above 😉
  • Loved the hilly course!  I know this is not normal but I was fresh from teaching ChiRunning.  I worked on my form quite so I could be as efficient as possible and maintain my energy throughout the miles.  I practiced active and passive pelvic rotation on the uphills and downhills; had some great aha moments when my legs felt heavy by allowing my ankles to lift behind me and could feel my legs be more relaxed;  I used my arm swing to help me on the hills and headwind we had on the last 3 miles of the race; focused on nose breathing as much as I could.
  • The scenery was beautiful!  I love all the green and it’s one of the things I miss from MA that we don’t have in Phoenix.  Here are some photos:
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Added to the humidity I’m sure!

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Lots of pretty flowers along the course!

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Honoring Memorial Day

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Love New England scenery!

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Hills….

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More hills…

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Settled in 1750!

  • They said there would be aid stations at every 2-3 miles and there were! This was necessary for me as the day got hotter and hotter and more humid. I poured more water over my head than down my throat! I also kept imagining the scenery with lots of snow on the ground just to keep cool thoughts.
  • RAIN at mile 21 was AMAZING!  I will say I was ready for the race to be over due to the heat and humidity and that rain definitely helped out.
Thank God for the rain!

Thank God for the rain!

  • The Mom/boyfriend team cheering squad!  These guys kept moving along and cheering us on. Past the half way point, she had a cooler with wet cloths and ice that really helped. I even stuck some ice down my bra to stay cool for a while. I found out later that she was cheering on her 2 daughters (we were leap frogging) who were doing their first marathon together! I love this!  I was able to get a photo of them at the end of the race.
Great running stalkers!

Great running stalkers!

  • There were several home owners along the course that came out with water, oranges, etc which was great (although I think there could’ve been more)
  • My aunts at the end of the race cheering me in!
  • My dog tag medal and local craft beer which is a must at the end of any race for me 😉
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Finisher showing off the dog tag and my Team RWB shirt!

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Great craft beer from Big Elm Brewing. Had the stout…yummy!

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Souvenirs from my training run 😉

Thorns:

  • I could deal with the heat but the humidity sucked!  I wish the race would’ve started earlier but I chatted with a guy before the race who said he did it a few years ago and it was snowing.  The frequent aid stations really helped though!
  • Not too crazy about the cant in the road. I had to move from left to the right side of the road frequently as I could tell my legs were not even with the pavement.  I could feel this in my hips the next day.
  • I was disappointed in the lack of representation from Team RWB folks.  Although I think in Phoenix we have an abnormally active chapter so I am used to seeing at least 20 other RWB shirts and running through the finish line with an American flag.  I think I saw one other person with a shirt. (Although still happy to know that proceeds benefited this awesome charity!)

At the beginning of the race, my pace was good and I started thinking I could PR until the humidity got to me.  I am still happy with my results. It’s my 4th best time out of 7 marathons and considering the amount of running I had done the week before, the humidity, etc. I was happy.

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Placed 56th out of 98 total and 18th out of 38 women.

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Dark blue is the elevation change

I normally judge my “success” on how I feel when I am done and how I feel the next day or two after a big race. I finished strong, I was a bit sore the day after and felt great 2 days after.  My abs and obliques were sorer than my legs which is always a good sign that my ChiRunning form is good 😉

Overall, I would recommend this race! Not sure I would take a special trip for it as I like to experience new scenery and prefer trails… but if I happen to be up there and I’m trained, I would do it again.

What is your favorite race that you’ve done out of state?

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

50 Miles of Gratitude: (9) Training & Aravaipa Running

….and My Story Runs On….

WOW…I am really slow at blogging! My goal is to write 50 blog posts about my first 50 miler and I’m only on #9!

Getting ready for a 50 miler is no joke.  If you want to train properly, you have to invest the time into training.  I used the Ultraladies training plan which was easy to follow.  

The hardest part about training for me is getting the long weekend runs.  Ultra running training is about doing long back to back runs on the weekend so your body and mind know what it’s like to run on tired legs.  Even though we have plenty of long trails, the hard part about training runs is that you either need to have all your food/drink with you for those 20+ miles (downside is that you have to carry more stuff), or you need to do loops and keep your refueling in the car (downside it that it’s easy to stop after a loop when you are back to your car) or you can run races as training runs!

This is where Aravaipa Running comes in the pictures.  The 2 major trail running companies here are Aravaipa and XTERRA (more on them in another blog post).

I love running races because you get a shirt, a pint glass, a nice trail and aid stations so it’s probably my favorite way to get a training run in.  In can get expensive but the great thing is that they offer volunteer opportunities so you can get race credits. It’s a great way to give back to the community and then pay for upcoming races!  The other thing is that depending on how I am feeling on that day, I might choose to push myself a bit harder since I’m in a “race” atmosphere.

I did my first 50K with Aravaipa and two others (Elephant Mountain (1st), Frenzy (2nd) and Crown King (3rd) ).  McDowell Mountain Frenzy was a training run for my 50 mile race. So was the Coldwater Rumble (20 miles).  One of the advantages of doing their races is that you have plenty of time to finish them. They usually have at least a 50K or 50 miler or 100 miler so as long as you finish within that time, you have no problem. Just always check to see what the course cut off is and you are good to go.

aravaipaglasses

I love my pint glass selection and a few are missing..probably the only thing I would like to be different as you can really only fit so many of these in your cupboard 😉

As I write this post, they also have a night trail running series (Insomniac Series) during the summer which are a blast! I remember when I thought trail running was crazy, let alone running at night time on a trail.  But that is now my favorite type of running! I just finished the Adrenaline 26K last weekend (haven’t blogged as I didn’t have time but this is my mini paragraph about it right now.).  This is my favorite! First of all, McDowell mountains have some of my favorite trails.  I also ran this race a few years ago (it was my first night trail run!) and I was hoping to beat my time…which I did!  It was another epic race for me as I shaved 21 minutes off my time from 2014!  Click here for some pics of that run 😉 (I’m training for my 4th 50K in Capitol Reef on 7/9/2016) I’m at 22 seconds in this video they made!

I considered doing an Aravaipa race as my first 50 miler because I love supporting local businesses, especially those that support the running community so well.  The main reason I didn’t is because I wanted to see a new place so that’s why I chose Antelope Canyon (and Elaine practically twisted my arm 😉 and it was over my 45th birthday weekend )

Aravaipa Running also offer a variety of group runs weekly rotating around the Phoenix area.  They are a blast with a lot of fun people!  Check them out!

Click here50 Miles of Gratitude: 50 Posts about my first 50 Miler

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

50 Miles of Gratitude: (3) Training

….and My Story Runs On….

Another reason for my success was sticking to my training plan.  There were a few times that I was not able to stick to the plan but they were few and far between.  This was by far, the hardest part of the entire process.

It was not the training that was hard but the amount of time it took. I knew it was going to be a big commitment but when you add the mileage, and add driving back and forth to trail heads, it was a part time job.  In addition to the time, it was hard to focus on anything mentally after a few long days of running.  My business suffered a bit from it and I spent less time with my boyfriend as well. Thankfully he is very supportive and that will be another blog post 😉  You have no idea how tempted I am right now to sign up for another 50 miler this year while my body/mind are trained!  But I know I need to get refocused on my business and I truly need to be patient with the process.  I see too  many people get too excited and then things start  falling apart. I want to keep running for the rest of my life and don’t want to burn my body or mind out!

I followed a training plan from Ultraladies. It’s a cool schedule generator so you plug in the date of your event and it spits out a training plan. I started training for my 2nd 50K and then switched over to the 50 Mile training. Here is my spreadsheet (50K on one sheet and 50 miles on another).  My goal was to follow the plan as closely as I could but life gets in the way sometimes. If I couldn’t follow on the specific days, my goal was to try and meet the weekly miles and make sure that I was able to get my back to back long runs in. If you talk to any ultra runner, most of them will tell you that back to back long runs are crucial as it’s the way that you train to run on tired legs.

The other thing to do is make sure to find out the elevation profile of your run and what conditions you will be running in.  Everything I read about Antelope Canyon was that it was 40 miles of sand. So I did quite a bit of training in the sand although the sand was coarser in our park washes than the fine sand in Page. I also made it a point to focus on ChiWalking and hiking. The idea was to get as much time on my feet so these helped quite a bit as well.

I was worried that 31 miles was my longest run and I didn’t know what it would feel like to run 20 more on the same day….but it really did come together on race day.  My legs were tired but no where near as bad as I thought it would be.

I always tell my runners, you can go out and complete a race with little training, but how do you want to feel during and after?  Training is an important part of any race, both mentally and physically.

I found this awhile ago and it cracked me up…if you are an ultra runner, you know you can relate 😉

 

50 Miles of Gratitude: 50 Posts about my first 50 Miler

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

My Biggest Struggle with 50 Mile Training

….and My Story Runs On….

Just finished Week #12 and excited to be into a taper week! I usually dread taper weeks because I feel like I lose momentum but it’s very important for the body to get rest before a big event (next weekend is the 50K which I first signed up for and has become a “training run” for the 50 Miler.)

My Biggest Struggle:  this is a part time job!  I’m getting frustrated  because I need to get my training runs in and I have several projects that I’m trying to work on for my business.  I can’t seem to ever get ahead…as a matter of fact, I keep falling more behind.  I had a conversation with my business coach and he told what I already knew: I need to figure out what to give up so I can get my stuff done…not sure I have decided yet but I need my sleep (rest is crucial for my mind and body); I cherish spending time with my boyfriend, family and friends; and I need to get work done! Hoping during this taper week I can get caught up a bit!

Here is what Week #12 looked like:  schedule and actual

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
23-Nov 12 CD 0 4 10 6 0 10 8 38
0 5.5 10 3 10 0 6 34.5

Tuesday 11/24:  Did 5.5 miles on trail at South Mountain with my friend Vicki.  Saw a coyote and a road runner!  One of the many things I love about trail running is you get to be closer to nature.  Here are some of my pics.
Wednesday 11/25: Did 10 trail miles at Papago with my friend Lori. I am enjoying running with different friends! We had fun just exploring around.
Thursday 11/26:  Thanksgiving morning!  Love our annual tradition.  It was the Friends 4 Fitness Annual Turkey Trot. So great to see many of my friends that I don’t get to see often!
Friday 11/27:  Decided it’s time to get a bit more serious about sand training (Antelope Canyon 50 miler apparently has 30 miles of sand!)  Elaine, Vicki and I went out to McDowell Mountain and started some sand wash training.  Our goal was to do 10 miles in the sand until Elaine mentioned it might be smart to work our way up…AGREED!  So we did 4 miles in the sand.  I was ChiRunning as much as I could…tried not to use my calf muscles but the sand was pretty deep…happy to say I wasn’t sore the next day so I that’s a good sign!
Sunday 11/29:  Did a 6 mile trail run with a few other friends (so grateful for all my running friends so we can keep each other motivated!)  Today I also took an amazing Restorative Yoga class from my friend Lisa Hecke from Sacred Harts. She does this class on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and I’ve done it for the last 3 years. A great way to relax the mind, body and spirit!

No major aha moments (outside of my biggest struggle).  I have not been sore, even after the long weekend of running last week. I’m grateful for my ChiRunning form as I know this is THE major reason why I can even attempt 50 miles mentally and physically.

Next Saturday is my 2nd 50K! I’m oddly jazzed up about it mainly just to see how I will do.

Fundraising update:

Haven’t really done much with it this week.  Every little bit helps though!

Previous blogs posts in this series:

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

50 Mile Training: Week 10 and 11

….and My Story Runs On….

Well, I just got too busy last weekend to blog so I’m doing a quick recap for the last 2 weeks.  I am doing these blogs strictly for my own personal journaling of my 50 Mile training. I wish I would’ve journaled my first marathon and 50K so here I am now 😉

This was the plan for the last few weeks:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
9-Nov 10 0 4 10 8 0 22 10 54
16-Nov 11 0 4 10 8 0 24 10 56

Week 10 was tough as I left for Asheville NC on Wednesday 11/11.  It’s my favorite weekend every 2 years that I get to go and have uptraining with ChiRunning founder Danny Dreyer and get to be with my fellow instructors from around the world.  I learned so much and it always baffles me how much there could be to learn about the art of running. But more about that at a later time….

Week 10 Recap: Because I knew I would not get a long run in while I was traveling, I did the Pemberton Loop as my first run of the week on Tuesday 11/10. This is a 15 mile loop and it’s the first time I do the whole thing during the day. I’ve done it at night time a few times for the Javelina Jangover race with Aravaipa Running. I went with my friend Vicki and we took our time so I could get more time on my feet (4 hours).  I traveled on Wednesday. On Thursday, I spent most of the day at a track and a hill doing some advanced work with Danny and fellow ChiRunning instructors. We were working on improving performance without increasing perceived rate of exertion.  During our lunch break, I ran 2 miles effortlessly on the track and got at least 5 in that day (I was supposed to run in the morning with the group but was too exhausted so I chose to listen to my body and sleep in).  On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I did a few miles each day on the grounds of the Crowne Plaza in NC with fellow instructors.  On Monday, several of us had the chance to do a 3 mile trail run with Danny.  My goal for the week was 54 miles but I only got in 24. I decided to not let that worry me at all.

Week 11 recap:  I needed some serious rest after my trip.  I was exhausted physically and mentally!  On Wednesday I was excited to get out.  I used to be solely a social runner but I’ve learned to really appreciate solo running.  When I am alone, I really focus on my form and become as mindful as possible to what my body is doing.  I was going to do 6 miles around the hood but decided to do 7 because I was feeling so good.…and I used my ChiRunning app the entire time to focus on cadence, breathing (I focused on nose breathing almost the entire time) and my other form focuses. On Thursday I got 3 miles in with my track group.  I had workshop scheduled this weekend so I had couldn’t run on Saturday. I decided to do 18 miles on Friday at South Mountain.  I broke up the run as follows:  1st 5 miles focusing on form, 2nd 5 miles I put music on speaker phone and the last 8 miles were with my friend Vicki.  It was almost 5 hours total with stops in between which is good time on my feet.  On Saturday, I wanted to get 10 miles in the afternoon after my workshop. Vicki, Denise and Lori joined me for 4 on trail and then Lori and I finished the rest on the canal.  On Sunday, I had a private lesson so I was able to get 3 more miles in.  My goal for the week was 56 miles and I did 45.  Good back to backs this weekend and feeling pretty good!  Did leg drains daily and foam rolled, hit the hot tub a few times this week and got a free massage at the Girls On The Run event.

I’m excited about a taper week coming up! In a few weeks, I’ll be doing my 2nd 50K (McDowell Mountain Frenzy) which will be a training run. I like to use races as training runs when the mileage fits.  I didn’t have to pay because I had volunteer credits but at least I get a pint glass and aid (food/drink) on a long run which is easier than going back to my car to refuel.  Plus I get to see my friends and have more company along the way!

So here is how the weeks finished:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
9-Nov 10 0 4 10 8 0 22 10 54
0 15.3 0 5 2.3 2.1 2 26.7
16-Nov 11 0 4 10 8 0 24 10 56
3.1 0 7 3.1 18.5 10 3 44.7

Fundraising update:

Haven’t really done much with it this week.  Every little bit helps though!

Previous blogs posts in this series:

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Week #9 Recap 50K/50Mile Training

….and My Story Runs On….

These next few weeks are going to be tough as I have stuff going on that could interfere with my training.  Here was my plan for this week:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
2-Nov 9 0 4 8 8 0 22 10 52

I had to alter my plan because Ragnar Trails Relay  was this weekend and I needed to try and get ahead of the training schedule earlier in the week.

Here is how it went:

Monday:  This is normally a rest day but I needed to get ahead of the schedule.  I ran on the road around my neighborhood. I did a 4.5 mile run first, had to run some errands, and then went back out an hour or so later to get another 5 miles in. These were some good tempo runs for me. I prefer trail all the way but road miles are easier to fit in some times and I can work a bit more on tempo.

Tuesday:  I have my regular trail run/hike scheduled with my friend Vicki. I get at least 2 miles of sand in which is not enough but will get there. We did 6.5 miles at South Mountain (saw a gorgeous coyote from afar).  Then I did 3 more miles at Running for Brews Tempe with my sister.

Wednesday:  I was not very motivated this morning to get out because it was colder than normal but I knew I had to get my run in.  As soon as I walked outside, I noticed there was no sun and a few big black clouds. It had rained the night before and I’ll admit to being a spoiled AZ runner because of the gorgeous weather we have. Not really crazy about running in any other conditions.  I started my run reluctantly and was immediately cheered up by a some beautiful rainbow sightings.  I love rainbows and they have a spiritual meaning to me and those pictures don’t do them justice.  Then it started drizzling….I though of cutting the run short and then figured I could stop by my parents house if it got any worst.  It didn’t so I ran with a light drizzle and got my 5 miles in.  When I got home I decided I wanted to hit the hot tub (never done this at 9am in the morning but it was a cool morning and it just sounded good).

Thursday:  I decided to be my rest day to prepare for Ragnar weekend (I knew I wouldn’t get much sleep either so wanted to be fully rested).  I still managed to get 21,421 steps in between some very light running at track and walking back and forth as we set up our camp at McDowell Mountain in preparation for the weekend.

Friday:  Our Ragnar Team, Dust Bunnies, started at 9:40 am.  I did my first 4 mile run and then did my 2nd run in the evening.  I love McDowell Mountain and enjoyed some gorgeous views on my first run.  My first night run was a bit of a bummer because the green loop was a fast, easy one but unfortunately both my headlamp and back up light were on low battery (lesson learned!).  I wanted to be careful so it slowed me down. I haven’t seen my results from the race yet and haven’t uploaded my Tom Tom data either.  I remember thinking trail running and night running was absolutely crazy and now it’s my favorite kind of running. Nothing like being in the middle of the desert at night time…it keeps you very present in the moment. I was happy that my next one would be at night as well.

Saturday:  As a matter of fact, one of my teammates got sick and I covered her 6.6 mile loop a few hours after finishing mine.  I was happy to do it even though I was on about 3 hours of sleep. I know I needed the miles anyway.  Two beautiful runs!  My Tom Tom battery died on the 2nd run but I was very lucky to watch the moon rise (along with the alignment of the planets and several shooting stars from the Taurid Meteor shower!) and I saw the sun rise on the 2nd run. Doesn’t get any better than that!

Sunday: Purely a rest day…literally was in bed all day…unfortunately once I finished with my Ragnar runs on Saturday, I decided to start drinking.  Between doing 4 runs totaling 22 miles in 20 hours on 3 hours of sleep, it caught up to me…needless to say, I’ll be making better decisions next time.  I planned it as a rest day but more rest than I was expecting.  Maybe my body needed it. Happy to say that I was not sore at all though!  I attribute this to my ChiRunning form as well as my conditioning.

My training for the week finished like this:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
2-Nov 9 9.5 9.5 5 0 9 13.2 0 46.2

I was 6 miles short but feel OK with it because I know I got a lot more steps walking around at Ragnar for 2.5 days.  I know the time on my feet is part of it so I’m OK not getting the exact mileage in.

AHA moments:

  • Felt good about my planning this week by getting more miles in ahead of time.
  • I love practicing my ChiWalking, especially my hill technique. Did quite a bit of this at Ragnar as several of the loops had some hills.  Ultimately goal on every run is to be as energy efficient as possible and that helps me strategize my runs.
  • Loving the variety of runs I’m getting from road miles, to miles with friends and events like Ragnar.  My running is mainly social and glad I have a big group of crazy friends who join me on my crazy adventures 😉
  • Just realized this was the most miles yet so far in my training by 6 miles and grateful that I have no pain or soreness at all!

Fundraising update:

Haven’t really done much with it this week.  Every little bit helps though!

Previous blogs posts in this series:

I’m leaving for Asheville, NC on Wednesday. So excited as I’ll be attending a Performance Workshop to learn to be more efficient (learning how to get faster and more efficient with less effort!). I’ll also get to see my ChiFamily…being the only Instructor in AZ, this is one of my favorite weekends we have every 2 years so I get a chance to see my peers, run together and share ideas.

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Week #8 Recap 50K/50Mile Training

….and My Story Runs On….

Trying not to beat myself up as it’s Tuesday morning and I swore last week that I would keep a draft and update this daily as so much happens I forget by the time the weekly recap comes up! (thankful for my Tom Tom app so I can go back and look at the maps of my runs which helps jog my memory!).  I also was short 10 miles last week so I’m deciding not to beat myself up about that either…..

Last week was a Cycle Down week which means it was a week where the mileage was lower to help the body rest and recover.  I decided I was going to try and get more miles in during the week as I knew the weekend was going to be tough.  Here was the plan:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
26-Oct 8 CD 0 4 8 6 0 10 8 36

And here is how it went:

  • Monday: Rest day.  Today was a rough day…the last few Mondays have been…I think part of it is due to the adrenaline and all the running from the weekend that when Monday comes, I feel like I’m missing on something and it’s hard to start my day without a run.  There were other factors going on this Monday…it was so bad that I actually posted on my Facebook page about and was overwhelmed by all the love and responses I received from my friends!
  • Tuesday:  I normally have a standing running date with my friend Vicki but had to change my plan to help out my sister in the morning.  I didn’t wake up early enough to run before so I ended up running back and forth from my chiropractor’s office which is about 1.5 mile away from my house.  Then I ran another 3 miles at Running for Brews that night with my friend Jan who is in town from Ireland.  As much as I don’t like road running much anymore, it is much easier after doing longer runs on the trail. I can focus more on form and cadence.
  • Wednesday:  6 mile trail run/hike with my friend Vicki at South Mountain. There is a sandy wash so I can get a few miles of sand training (I need so much more though!).  On this day we ended up going a little further and found a trail connector and ended up in a new place which is always fun to explore.
  • Thursday: Had to cancel track in the morning due to rain.  Thursdays are a busy day for me so I wasn’t able to get back out because it was also running on and off.  I ended up getting to PSCU early (where I teach boot camps) and was able to get one mile done on the treadmill.  Not my favorite…I guess one mile is better than zero miles. Today I also started tracking my food for my nutritionist, Brooke from Fuel to the Finish, who is going to help me get prepared for race day by fueling my body properly.  My homework was to do this for 3 days.
  • Friday:  In retrospect, it was good that I rested on Thursday.  I volunteered to mark the Javelina Jundred Endurance Run course this day which is the 15 mile Pemberton trail at McDowell Mountain.  I knew it would take longer than usual due to the stop and go of marking the bushes. Part of this journey for me is running with different people and making new friends.  Today I had the opportunity to run with Erica and Tessa from the Dirt Bag Running group.  This is also one of my all time favorite trails.  Ironically I realized that I had done this full trail twice and both times it was night time so this was my first time doing it during the day.  I blogged about my last experience as it was one of my best night runs ever.  It was a great morning and I was on my feet for 4 hours and 26 minutes which is good time on my feet.
  • Saturday:  My plan was to get out and do at least 5 more miles at some point this weekend. This morning my legs were pretty tired from the day before and I had quite a few things to do.  I guess I got more good time on my feet as we volunteered to work the main aid station of the Javelina Jundred from 11pm-7am.  It was a long night but it was fun to help out these amazing runners who were either doing 100K or 100 miles. I know 100 miles is something I want to do at least once but not making any plans now until I finish the 50 miler.  I thought this might be the course I would do since it’s an AZ race and run by our local Aravaipa Running group.  Now I’m not sure that I could run around a loop 6-7 times. We’ll see….
  • Sunday:  Was able to get 4 hours of sleep but a run was not happening on this day either. I was too tired from the weekend..

My training for the week finished like this:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
26-Oct 8 CD 0 4 8 6 0 10 8 36
 Actual 0 6.14 6 1 14 0 0 27.14

AHA moments:

  • Planning as much as I can but I don’t want to beat myself up if I don’t get my mileage in.  I tried hard not to do this since I was 10 short on a cycle down week.
  • Nervous about the next few weeks.  Ragnar Trail is coming up and then I’ll be in Asheville NC for 5 days for a ChiRunning Instructor weekend. This is one of my favorite weeks that happens every 2 years and even though we run daily, I know I won’t be able to get all my mileage in.  I’m going to have to get creative and get as much as I can done.
  • This training is like a part time job.  I had some struggles this week with my time management and realize I need to re-prioritize some things as this training is taking over my weekly schedule.
  • Volunteering to mark or sweep a race course is a great way to get mileage and time on my feet….and I got some race credits for it too!
  • ChiRunning:  Nothing earth shattering this week but love how much easier the road feels after doing more trail running.  I continue to focus on my nose breathing and trying to stay as relaxed as possible. I’ve also been focusing on my ChiWalking as I know I won’t be running the full 50K or the 50 miler.  The goal is always to be as energy efficient as possible!

Fundraising update:

Haven’t really done much with it this week.  Every little bit helps though!

Previous blogs posts in this series:

This process is a bit time consuming but I really want a record to remember how training for my 1st 50 miler went so I will keep on with this journaling process…

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Week #7 Recap 50K/50Mile Training

….and My Story Runs On….

This was my 50K training plan for the week:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
19-Oct 7 0 4 6 8 0 20 10 48

Here is how my week went:

  • Monday: Rest day and I got 9 hours and 5 minutes of sleep  according to my Jawbone (this also gives me 3 sweepstakes entries for Krowdfit! More entries means more chances to win the $250 monthly prize for sleeping).  I love Mondays!
  • Tuesday:  Did 5 miles at South Mountain with my friend Vicki.  Did a few miles in the wash to get some sand training done. Also ran 3 miles at Running for Brews to start getting ahead of the game, knowing I wouldn’t be able to follow the schedule as it was.
  • Wednesday: I didn’t have time to get out in the morning so I just did 2.5 miles on the treadmill at PSCU, where I teach boot camps.  Focused on nose breathing the entire time and tried to keep my heart rate lower…although I forgot to turn my heart rate sensor on my Tom Tom so I couldn’t tell what it was.
  • Thursday:  I canceled track this morning as I didn’t have enough people.  My plans changed several times so I ended up doing 5 miles on the Western Canal. Some great aha moments: worked more on nose breathing, arm swing and leaning by relaxing more towards the end which worked out well considering I had negative splits.  One of my ChiRunners commented on my facebook post because she said she recognized me out there due to my arm swing!
  • Friday:  I scheduled a night trail run for a few of my Ragnar team members that haven’t ran at night yet.  Since I was going to be out there anyways, I figured I’d get a few more miles in since I knew I wouldn’t get them all in over the weekend.  My friend Lori joined me for that earlier run on the canal.  It was the first night run for 3 of my friends!  Love first time experiences!
  • Saturday:  I knew I would be getting a great back to back because Ragnar was previewing 2 of their trails. The first one was at “night” at 5am which meant my alarm was set for 3:50 am to get there in time (this is why we didn’t go celebrate the night before as most of us had to wake up early for this). Running trails at night time is my absolute favorite.  I would’ve never done this a few years ago!

mcdowell

  • Sunday: My friend Lori had a good idea to go run on the canal by OHSO brewery so we could end there and have brunch and a beer.  I did 10 miles with Lori and Elaine.  Great morning with friends!

My training for the week finished like this:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
19-Oct 7 0 4 6 8 0 20 10 48
8 2.5 5 6 9.9 10 41.4

I was a little short again but had a few back to backs and I’m good with this mileage.

AHA moments:

  • Someone asked me the other day why on earth would I run 50 miles. Outside of getting outside of my comfort zone because that’s where the magic happens, I realize I’m using this as a learning process as well.  I took a Foam Rolling and Stretching workshop with Sacred Harts on Sunday and I’m looking into working with a Registered Dietician who specializes in endurance athletes and Metabolic Efficiency training.  #neverstoplearning
  • I love looking at my schedule for the week and figuring out how, when and who I’ll be running with.  I’m working on making this a fun experience as it’s becoming a part time job and I don’t want to burn out.
  • No soreness again!  Maybe a bit of tightness and legs feeling a bit heavy but I continue to foam roll/stretch every night and do leg drains.
  • ChiRunning:  Nose breathing is getting easier and I’m enjoying working on this on solo runs with cadence.  Had some great aha moments working with my arm swing (and not rotating my upper body which is wasted energy and makes my legs work harder).  Also worked on my gears and speed while relaxing my lower legs.  As long as I’ve been ChiRunning, I’m always amazed how much I keep learning when I’m focusing…as we way, practice makes progress.

Fundraising update:

Haven’t really done much with it this week.  Every little bit helps though!

Previous blogs posts in this series:

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Week #5 Recap- 50K/50Mile Training

….and My Story Runs On….

I swear I mentioned this in one of my videos on my You Tube channel but I can’t seem to find it right now…one of the things I wish I had done while preparing for my first marathon was journaling my experience. This just came to me the other day…I’ve also been wanting to blog at least weekly so I decided to write a quick blog about my previous week training.

I’m following a training plan I created here.  I created one for the 50K on 12/5 and then will change to the 50 mile training plan after that race is over.

My plan called for 40 miles last week and I did 39.6. Close enough for me:

  • Monday is an off day. I just signed up for 2 months with Flip N Fit since they had an awesome deal.  I tried a Yin Yoga class at Naam Yoga.
  • Tuesday:  4 trail miles at South Mountain with my friend Vicki
  • Wednesday:  I was in Tucson doing 2 free clinics (Davis-Monthan Air Force and Performance Footwear).  My boyfriend and I were told to go to Sabino Canyon. It was our first time and I logged 4 trail miles there.  I love first time experiences and it was a beautiful location!
  • Thursday:  I did 3.1 miles at track and 3.6 at the Ragnar Adventure Run.
  • Friday is an off day
  • Saturday:  I spent Friday night on the west side for girl’s night and because I was attending Yoga For Runners and doing a free ChiRunning clinic at Eleutheria Wellness. I know a good 4.7 mile loop at Estrella Park (not crazy about looping but it works for safety reasons, especially if I’m alone).  Was very excited to have my friend Karyl, join me for the first lap. We met at the Breast Cancer 3-day and is a Las Bombas.  She started getting into running last year and has completed her first half marathon and doing Ragnar with us! I did 4.7 with her and then 9.3 alone.
  • Sunday:  I did 11 miles at Warpaint trail at South Mountain. Invited several friends and people were doing their own distance and their own speed.  Five of us did the 11 miles.  I believe this is my longest back to back run? I can’t remember what I did with my first 50K so maybe not…if I would’ve only journaled…I’ve done it walking for sure with the 3-Day..

I’m really making sure I focus on recovery and taking care of my body as I have a big fear of Plantar again or having my heel spur give me trouble…the Yoga for Runner’s class on Saturday was great timing.  After my back to back weekend, I spent some time in the hot tub, did a lot of stretching and leg drains (my favorite!) last night. As I’m writing this now, my legs are heavy but feel much better than I expected. I suspect it’s because of my recovery practice and my ChiRunning focuses during my runs.

Next week will be a bit of a challenge as I’ll be in Tucson Fri/Sat for another clinic and workshop.  If I can’t get my daily mileage in, my goal is to shoot for the weekly mileage.

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)