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!

dad

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!)

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: (5) My Trail Wife

….and My Story Runs On….

I assume this is a common way to refer to your trail training partners that spend more hours with you on the trail than they do with their actual spouses?  I’ve heard the term golf wife so I’m sure it applies. Continue Reading →


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

….and My Story Runs On….

Here is a list of my blog posts that I am writing after my first 50 Mile race.  It’s combination of what I learned, what I am grateful for and a way for me to keep the memory alive.  It was one of the proudest moments of my life! My goal is to have 50 of these 😉

Updated on 7/30/17:  I’m realizing this just isn’t going to happen.  It was a great idea when I had it but I have other ideas for blogs, etc and too much time has gone by now.  I have found that writing blogs works best for me when I feel inspired and too much time has gone by now to continue with this series.  I hope you still enjoy these 😉

Race Report: Antelope Canyon: My 1st 50 Miler (with pictures!)
50 Miles of Gratitude: (1) ChiRunning
50 Miles of Gratitude: (2) Nutrition
50 Miles of Gratitude: (3) Training
50 Miles of Gratitude: (4) Massage
50 Miles of Gratitude: (5) My Trail Wife
50 Miles of Gratitude: (6) My Boyfriend
50 Miles of Gratitude: (7) My Epic Finish Line
50 Miles of Gratitude: (8) Altras and Meeting the CoFounder
50 Miles of Gratitude: (9) Training & Aravaipa Running
50 Miles of Gratitude: (10) Burning Out
50 Miles of Gratitude: (11) My Celebratory Tattoo
50 Miles of Gratitude: (12) Training & XTERRA events 

 

I've learned this... #neversaynever

I’ve learned this… #neversaynever

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!)

Getting High….and a Meltdown

….and My Story Runs On….

Forget about writing every week for my first 50 Miler…there is no time for that! It seems I can barely get my weekly runs in and my work done these days! But I had to share about my weekend experience….because I was on a serious high on Saturday and a serious low on Sunday….and realized this is probably a normal thing that could happen while training for a 50 Miler or endurance event? Anyone else relate?

runnershigh

Getting High!  Saturday I did Aravaipa’s Coldwater Rumble 20 Mile race. My plan was to do this as a training run (always great to have aid stations and be around other runners for a change!).  I was oddly psyched up for this event.  20 milers don’t seem like a big deal anymore (yikes! did I just say that?!) and I love Estrella Regional Park (my old stomping grounds). My plan was to be as strategic as possible with my energy conservation on this run.  I got a good nights sleep and was excited to see some friends that morning, including Bob, one of my client’s who was doing his first trail race, the 20K.  Not too long ago, I wrote a blog post about my best run ever but I just had another one!  Here are some reasons I had a runner’s high all day on Saturday and why I yelled across the finish line “I feel f%$#king awesome!”:

  • Like Javelina Jangover (my best run to date), I planned.  I knew I had to strategize and manage my energy for the race.  It started out on a hill so I ChiWalked right away rather than wasting energy so soon in the race. I looked behind me and I was 5th to last…everyone was ahead but I didn’t care.
starthill

Hill at the start of the race!

  • I didn’t want to race the event but I did want to see how well I could do. I was alone most of the race which was perfectly fine with me.  I focused on my form, took in the breathtaking views, listened to music once in awhile and all around just focused on enjoying myself.  I’ve been listening to a lot of the audios from the ChiSchool on my canal runs so I kept focusing on my form and most importantly, trying to stay as energy efficient as possible.  My race performance is a clear example of how I am deepening my running practice.
  • 2nd Aid Station was at Mile 11 and since I was half way, I knew I could start tapping into that reserved energy I had been conserving all along.
  • I’ll be doing a separate blog post about my nutrition (after my 50 miler) but this has been huge for me.  I’ve been working with Brooke from Fuel to Finish.  Long story short, I’ve been feeling amazing during the week, during my runs and races.  I’ve never been this dialed in to fueling my body for performance and it feels amazing.
  • My last 9 miles were amazing. I still ChiWalked up the hills but I was very focused on changing my technique based on the environment that was coming at me.  I was paying attention to my pace and my goal was to be comparable to Javelina which was a 13:03 for 15 miles (although I was detached enough by listening to my body first)  It was hard to tell who I was passing since there were several distances going on.
  • The last few miles were downhill and used up all that free energy to my advantage.  I was truly feeling f%$#king awesome by the time I crossed the finish line.  I felt strong and was happy knowing that I could do more miles at that point if I had to (pretty soon I will be!)
  • When I checked my GPS, I found out that my fastest mile was my last one!  and when I checked my placement in the event (not normally a big deal for me but was curious), I was 56th out of 80 people.  By conserving my energy and being strategic, I was able to get in front of 24 people.  I posted this quote on my facebook the other day and the highlighted is definitely how I measured my success on this race!

“Some runners judge performance by whether they won or lost. Others define success or failure by how fast they ran, whether or not they matched their time expectations. Still others judge performance by how good they felt running, focusing on the experience. Only you can judge your performance. Avoid letting others sit in judgment of you.”
– Hal Higdon

And now for my Meltdown:

Note to self:  Don’t schedule 3 ChiRunning Alumni classes, a networking event, a 6 mile training run and dinner with your family the day after a big event (and add only getting 5.5 hours of sleep the night before).  I’ve told myself this before and for some reason I thought I could handle it…Well, I did handle it but at the cost of being a nervous wreck and having a complete crying meltdown at my parents house by the end of the day.  I love love teaching Alumni classes as I get to help my runners deepen their ChiRunning practice but they are always very draining for me as I cover a lot of material.  I started by day at 7am.  I haven’t attended Sisterhood of Superwomen in a while but I had a few friends that were going so I wanted to be there with them…then I had scheduled another training run but had to kill some time in between (when all I could think of is why did I schedule this rather than just doing my own thing so I could start/finish at my convenience)…then add on going to my parents house for dinner with the family.  I left the house at 6:30am and was on the go ALL day.  By the time dinner came, I just wanted to break down and cry as I was physically and mentally exhausted….and I DID!  It’s been a long time since I had one of those moments but I just had to let it out.

Once I got it together, I looked back at the scenario and some things were beyond my control while some where within….

Learning lesson:  Don’t underestimate the amount of rest my mind and body need while training for endurance events.  To go from a huge high on Saturday to a meltdown on Sunday seriously messed with me.  Not the first time I learn this lesson but apparently I need to remember this more often when planning my schedule….

So today is a rest day and I’m honoring getting done what I can and realizing that whatever doesn’t get done today, will get done tomorrow….or the next day…

groupprerace

always love seeing friends at a race!

finsihline

Finish line feeling amazing!

stats

pretty happy with these numbers but more importantly by how good I felt at the end! my pace was a 13:05 which is 2 sec slower than Javelina but 5 more miles sustained at it. I don’t pause my watch at aid stations as I like to see my true time.

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

2nd 50K: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Image

….and My Story Runs On….

My 2nd 50K is in the books! I finished the McDowell Mountain Frenzy put on by Aravaipa Running. Not sure where to start but will try and make this as short and sweet as possible.  I’ll start in reverse with the Ugly and saved my biggest aha moments for the end…….

The Ugly
WARNING: this part contains some material that might gross you out.
The worst part about the whole race which impacted me more than I wanted or expected it to was being on my period (feel free to skip down if you aren’t interested in this 😉 ). Sorry, I know this might be TMI but seriously, this is a real issue for women.  I realized too late in the week that it was happening so had no way around it.  I don’t eat until I’m hungry when I run in the morning and I can’t take Motrin until I eat so I started out the first few hours dealing with cramping.  I hate taking Motrin anyways but knew it would help me.  I also couldn’t get control of my heart rate for those first few hours. In addition to dealing with the cramping until I could take some Motrin, I had to deal with no bathrooms.  Therefore I had to get off the course so no one would see me.  Only women will understand this but I didn’t bring enough products and was torn between not going to the bathroom and holding it OR going and not having a tampon to handle it..this impacted my ability to run so I had to walk more than I wanted to.
Lesson #1: Be more prepared.

The Bad

  • I wasn’t attached to any results for this race as it was a training run but I still wanted to do better than my last one. I finished at 8:19 and my last one was an 8:24. So it’s better but I was really hoping to do it in 7 hours.  Issue above impacted me and I’m over it.
  • I trained on part of this course but couldn’t do the whole thing. I wish I had.  Even though I’ve been doing quite a bit of trail running, the 3 mile climb at about mile 20 did me in.  I pretty much hiked most of this way and was hoping to catch up on the downhill…I did a bit but it was a rocky downhill and my knees were starting to bug me.
    Elevation profile

    Elevation profile

    Lesson #2:  Try to run the entire course or talk to more people that have completed it or just be better prepared.
    ChiRunning:  
    As my knees started bugging me, I realized that I was over striding which was causing the pain. As soon as I realized I was doing this, I immediately shortened my stride and the pain when away. (In ChiRunning you learn what causes pain and how to address it. You become your own detective).  Every time I felt myself getting tired uphill, I realized I wasn’t being efficient and I would start using my upper body.  This is one of my favorite techniques for ChiRunning hills.

The Good
So much to say here and trying to summarize:

  • Before I left for the race, I had a chance to see many of my good friends, my sister, niece and nephew.  I was creating the conditions for Chi to flow by relaxing and doing my body looseners but being surrounded by my family and friends was a great way to start! (They started counting down for the start and I had to rush to the start line…this frazzled me a bit but I tried to get back into my “mode”).
    Pre Race photo with some of my friends and sister!

    Pre Race photo with some of my friends and sister!

    ChiRunning:  Make sure you are relaxed before you start and get together mentally and physically. Nervous energy serves no purpose and doesn’t help with relaxing your body.

  • Shane!  He seriously helped me get through several rough spots during the race. He was doing his first 50K. We met earlier this year as his wife used to take boot camps from me at her work. We ran a bit before together in the Javelina Jangover race. We carry a very similar pace so we started together.  Unfortunately he had to deal with me griping about my “girlie” issues.  We made a deal though.  I told him not to wait for me when I had to get off the beaten path to take care of my business.  So we ran probably about half the race together in total.  We ran the first 6 miles together then we split up…then we found each other at an aid station at mile 12 and ran until I had to go again…then the hardest part of the race came (hilly part) This was the hardest part for me mentally and physically. I was sooo happy to see Shane at the next aid station at mile 22.  We fueled up and he carried a great pace downhill and we made up some good time.  At the end, my legs were tired and there were some steep up and downhills so he went ahead and finished a bit ahead of me.
    Lesson #3 Make a deal if you are running with someone on what you are doing.  I wouldn’t have wanted him to wait for me as this was his race too.  This could go either way..either stay together no matter what happens or decide it’s your own races and it’s OK to separate if necessary. But have no regrets…if you want to finish the race, do it, with or without your friend. These take a lot of training and time and you have take ownership for your race.

    Shane and I nice and fresh at the beginning of the race!

    Shane and I… nice and fresh at the beginning of the race!

  • The trail!  McDowell Mountains are one of my favorite spots to trail run.  I love our Arizona desert.  The trail had a lot of variety.
    ChiRunning:  One of the many things I love about ChiRunning is keeping my mind occupied with form focuses.  Not only is focusing on my form a good way to be as efficient as possible (and injury-free) but when you have a long way to go, being in the present moment helps time go by.  I also love doing a running meditation where I am focusing on each sense one a time for a few minutes.  So great to hear, smell, see and feel the desert.
  • My amazing friends!  I could hear people cheering as we approached the finish line. My legs were pretty tired and the last few miles were the technical part of the trail. I told Shane to go ahead! I could hear cheers for him and realized these were my friends!  Several of them had done the shorter distances and they waited for HOURS to see me finish!  My boyfriend also drove up to see me finish too.  The last few hills sucked and I was cursing at this point (well, I had cursed more than once before this point 😉 ).  As soon as I crawled over the hill, I could see my friends who were all cheering for me.  Elaine was leaning over the fence and handed me a beer….I ran through the finish line, cold beer in hand getting hugs from all my friends. Couldn’t think of a better way to end a race!
    Last hill to get to the finish line..really?!

    Last hill to get to the finish line..really?!

    Post Race with my friends!

    Post Race with my friends!

    Grabbed and beer and ran through the finish line! I love how happy I am here! I did it!

    Grabbed and beer and ran through the finish line! I love how happy I am here! I did it!

    I did it!

    I did it!

Other AHA moments:

  • #NeverSayNever this is my new favorite hashtag. I remember saying I would never do a half marathon!  I have discovered the art form of running.  I love that I can run short or long distances, on road or trail, etc. There is so much to this sport that people don’t realize.  I want to enjoy it for the rest of my life and the possibilities are endless..but always remember, it’s your running story! You choose where you want to take your running journey (and coaxing from friends doesn’t hurt either sometimes!)
  • I had this thought SEVERAL times….and I signed up for a 50 miler?  How the hell am I going to do 20 more miles?  As I’ve been told, you just don’t think about this…this is true regardless of distance….I remember wandering this same thing after a half marathon while in preparation for  a full marathon…but somehow, and sometimes you just can’t even remember how you do it, you just do it.
  • Biggest AHA moment:  Don’t downplay your mileage!  Up until midweek, I kept thinking, “this is just a training run”.  I said that to myself and others several times. Maybe I kept saying it so I wouldn’t get nervous and waste energy…or didn’t want to make it a big deal…but dang it, I finished my 2nd 50K and that’s the 2nd longest distance I have ever ran in my life…so yes, it is a big freaking deal! So don’t downplay your mileage (whatever it is) and celebrate that heck out your finish line!

Thanks to Aravaipa for putting on an amazing event as always and all the volunteers!

Antelope Canyon 50 Miles, here I come!

(P.S. I am raising money for Girls On The Run for my 50 miler.  I’m on the Board of Directors of this amazing organization. The 50 mile run is the day after my 45th birthday. I wish I had this program when I was a kid as I would’ve started running much earlier in my life.  Running has changed my life and I want to help as many young girls as possible realize their full potential.  Any donation is greatly appreciated!)

One of my new favorites!

One of my new favorites!

Life is short! Do It!

Life is short! Do 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!)

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!)