Ragnar Relay Tennessee Ultra Recap

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Stucco Running Club Ultra Club at the start!

It’s time to talk about Ragnar! I had SO MUCH fun this past weekend in Tennessee with my team as we raced from Chattanooga to Nashville as an Ultra team. I struggled a little bit out there for sure, but with the help of my team I was able to make it through all my legs right around the pace I projected myself hitting.

My team, Stucco Running Club Ultra Club, took seventh overall in the race, and we were the first Ultra team across the line (we are technically ranked in the men’s ultra division because we had 4 men and only 2 women). So, let’s just jump into the dirty details of what went right and what went wrong.

Wednesday Night (Pre-flight)
I could not sleep for the life of me. Most of it was from excitement, but as the time passed by, I started to stress out from my lack of sleep. I didn’t really sleep well at all Monday or Tuesday night so I started thinking about how the lack of sleep was going to affect me. I ended up getting five hours, but it really wasn’t enough.

Thursday – Day Before Start
Dave and I woke up at 3:45 AM with two of our teammates who spent the night, to get to the airport for our 6:00 AM flight. I didn’t even feel tired because I was so excited, and I couldn’t sleep on the plane.

I think the first mistake of the weekend came today. My stomach was really upset this morning (maybe from taking all my medicine at 3:45 AM? Something I never do?) and I couldn’t eat breakfast. I managed a protein bar but it made me want to throw up for a good 2 hours. By the time we landed in Nashville I was so focused on having some coffee, I didn’t get anything else to eat. While we waited for Erin and our other teammate’s flight to land, Dave and I went to pick up our snazzy 15 person van from the rental place in Nashville.

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pretty sunrise as we landed in Nashville

Once everyone landed we started our 2 hour drive down to Chattanooga. It was a really pretty drive as we went through some of the mountains, and then I realized we were going to be climbing right back through them the next day. It wasn’t until we neared Chatt and many hours later did I realize how hungry I was. Erin and I ate some pistachios while shopping for some race necessities in Walmart. Once we were done shopping we headed straight to the hotel to offload our stuff and immediately go out for lunch.

We ended up at a Panera and I had some tomato soup, salad, and potato chips. Honestly, not ideal the day before a race, but I told myself I would have a heartier dinner to make up for the lack of breakfast and lunch. We walked around the waterfront after lunch and Erin and I re-lived some Ironman memories from her race this past fall, and then we all tried to nap for a bit in the hotel. I only managed 15 minutes of sleeping in the hour I laid down.

We had team check-in at 6 PM, and I knew I wanted to squeeze a shake-out run in before we headed across the river. I hadn’t run since my massage on Wednesday, so I headed out the door with Erin and Jeremy for a veryyyyyyy slowwwww 2.5 mile shakeout. It was glorious. My legs felt amazing and it was such a beautiful evening for a run by the river. The shake-out made me feel confident and ready for the race the next day – my calves felt fine, my achilles were loosened up, and I didn’t really have much leg pain. I was so excited!

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Chattanooga!!! ❤

The rest of the day consisted of the team check-in and dinner. Erin, Jeremy and I ended up going to Whole Foods because we figured it would be my best option to find gluten-free and dairy-free options, but because it was later in the evening they didn’t have much out on their hot bar.  Even though the food I ate was really good, I knew it wasn’t enough. I should have gotten more, but because I wasn’t really hungry I just brushed it off and went back to the hotel to sleep.

FRIDAY – DAY ONE OF RAGNAR

Woke up around 8 AM after not a great night of sleep. It took me a super long time to fall asleep because of surrounding noises, and I forgot I had my ear plugs until 1 hour later into trying to fall asleep without them. Erin and Jeremy went down to breakfast and I stayed in bed, and actually managed another hour of undisturbed sleep before rolling out of bed to catch the free breakfast.

There wasn’t anything for me to eat at breakfast. I had a little box of Frosted Flakes and a banana, but nothing else offered was gluten free. I meant to make myself some gluten free bread with peanut butter when I got back to the hotel room, but I completely forgot while getting ready because we left all of our food in the car overnight.

We headed over to the race start around 11 AM-ish because we needed to check out of our hotel. Our start time wasn’t until the last wave, 2 PM, so we still had plenty of time to wait. Erin and I ran a few last-minute errands to pick up some needed van items, but most of the time we just sat around waiting for 2 pm. We did decorate our van during this time and it came out awesome!

FINALLY, 2 PM rolled around and our team was able to start. I was #4 in the line-up of six runners, so I still had a few hours until my first leg.

3:34 PM – LEG #1 (10.2ish miles, 1119 ft gain) – I was incredibly nervous for my first leg. It was my hardest by far, and I was nervous about how I would feel climbing up the mountain. When Justin handed off the bracelet to me, I flew out of the transition area way too fast. I wanted to go around 8:30 min/mile pace, but whenever I looked down at my watch during the first two miles I was between 7:20-7:45 min/mile pace. I tried to keep myself under control but my adrenaline was still pumping. We had to run on the “shoulder” of this big road, but the shoulder was so small (and the rumble strips took up most of it) it was incredibly unnerving to run, especially when huge 18-wheelers flew down the mountain past me.

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I have to say running along this shoulder was probably my least favorite part of the race because of how dangerous it felt. I had one dog come after me, and after I wasted my energy screaming at it as I trucked up the mountain, it decided to stay on its lawn and not keep coming after me.

Around five miles (still climbing) I decided to try and fuel, but realized my stomach still felt way too uneasy to eat my Gu. Luckily, I brought cliff blocks as well and I forced myself to eat two of those. I was also sipping Tailwind (MY SAVIOR) so I felt pretty confident I’d be able to get through the rest of the leg without bonking.

I walked three times trying to make it to the top of the mountain, but it was planned and I felt very much in control. When I finally reached the top and saw the downhill road before me, it was such a glorious feeling even though I still had 4 miles to go. As I ran down I felt like I was flying and everything was effortless. I forgot about my stomach, and all I felt was happiness. Despite the road being treacherous, it was an absolutely gorgeous run along the river and it made me feel so grateful to be in Tennessee with my friends.

When I finished, they handed me a medal for running the “hardest” leg of the race. We hopped in the van shortly after I finished, so we could beat our runner to the next transition and I was feeling pretty good. I chugged a gatorade as I sat in the van, and slowly I felt my stomach pain returning. I tried to eat a picky bar but I ended up only nibbling at the corners because I suddenly felt so sick.

I don’t know what set off the stomach pain, but as soon as I discovered I couldn’t eat, I knew I was in trouble. I started sipping my Tailwind mixture as much as I could – liquid calories are better than no calories. I laid down in the back of the van while my teammates kept forging ahead, and before I knew it, my turn was coming up again. So I filled my water bottle with my tailwind, got all my reflective gear together and tried to mentally prep for my second leg.

7:36 PM – LEG #2 (6.8ish miles)

When I stood outside the van waiting for my next leg, I didn’t feel as bad as when I was just laying in the stuffy van. The fresh air was really nice and there was a little bit of a chill in the air, so I put my arm warmers on because I was shivering a lot. I tried not to psych myself out about my stomach as I waited for Justin to come into transition and I tried to stay positive.

As I started out, I didn’t feel too bad. Again, I was dealing with an annoyingly-small shoulder and rumble strips, but because the road wasn’t as busy I could run a little bit into the road without fearing for my life. I told my team to meet me about 2ish miles up the road in case I was feeling incredibly horrible and around 2 miles I could see our van parked on the side of the road at a pull-off. I ripped my arm sleeves off as I came to them and asked Dave again to stop a mile or so up the road because I wasn’t feeling great.

The course was rolling – very manageable after my first leg. It wasn’t long before I saw the van up ahead again and Dave and Erin crossed the street to make sure I was okay. When Dave said, “see you at the finish” I had a panic moment. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was going to be able to make it to the transition, even though I only had about 3.5 miles to go. Because it was “nighttime hours” and we are allowed to have pacers in the night, I asked Dave to jump in and run with me to the transition. I kept running as he bolted back to the van to get ready and I thought the van was just going to leapfrog me and drop Dave off in front of me. I had NO IDEA he actually just grabbed reflective gear and started chasing after me – not until I heard him yell behind me. I stopped and waited and we continued on together.

Talking with Dave through the next few miles was helpful for my mind. I was feeling stressed because of how competitive my teammates were with the other ultra teams, and I felt like I was going to ruin everything by not feeling well. Running with Dave reminded me this was supposed to be fun, and I felt a little better by the time I finished. I tried making myself a peanut butter gluten free sandwich after my second leg, but I only managed to eat half of it before feeling sick again. So I continued downing my tail wind and tried to lay down anytime the van was moving, and get up at each transition for fresh air and to stretch my legs.

10:59 PM – LEG #3 (6.1 miles)

Because I was still having problems eating, I was very concerned with this leg in the middle of the night. I hadn’t slept, and I was nervous about the 6 miles all by myself. There weren’t many other runners around, and Dave decided to run with me for the first 3 miles. I’m happy he was there because we were in the middle of no where and I didn’t see one other runner on the road. At this point, my stomach felt like one gigantic knot and I know it’s because of how empty it was with the lack of food and plenty of miles. Other than the stomach pain, my legs felt fine though, so I kept plodding along at my target pace.

Around 3 miles, Dave peeled off and hopped back in our van and I continued on alone. The last 3 miles weren’t bad at all, they were actually very beautiful. I could finally see some other runners ahead of me and we were running through farmland, and a big beautiful sky of stars stretched out above us. This was one of my favorite parts of Ragnar.

When I finished, I felt relieved because I only had a 2.5 mile leg next and I was halfway done. I hung out with Erin until she was off on her leg and then I tried to sleep. Joke’s on me because I couldn’t fall asleep once, but laying down and closing my eyes was nice at least. I managed to eat a Huma Gu during this time as well and a few more cliff blocks.

3:00 AM – LEG #4 (3.8 Miles)

Ha, yes – I know I said above my next leg was only going to be 2.5 miles. THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT, but I was wrong. Turns out, we looked at the legs wrong, and my 2.5 mile leg wasn’t until Leg 6, and I had 3.8 miles as my Leg #4, and then close to 7 miles for my Leg #5. Internally, I was having a breakdown, but I decided to pull myself together because 4 miles would feel like nothing after my longer legs. I pushed the 7 mile leg out of my mind.

As I got ready for Leg #4, I actually didn’t feel so bad. I knew I had been hydrating well despite not being able to eat much, and Erin and I joked around before my start, making me feel immensely better. I managed to eat a few handfuls of potato chips as well while we waited for Justin to come through, and this made me feel a little more confident. I brought my water bottle full of Tailwind with me even for the 4 miles because of my lack of eating, and I figured if I could keep sipping the stuff throughout the event I would be okay.

The 3.8 miles went by really fast. It wasn’t a particularly beautiful leg or anything, and there were a few good hills in there, but I felt good other than the stomach tightness. I actually passed a few runners on this leg and this made me feel even more confident. The transition area popped up on me in no time, and I was incredibly happy I made it through this leg on my own and without breaking down.

I stretched for a little bit, tried to sleep again, and watched the sun start to rise over the beautiful farmland. Even without sleep I felt calm during this time.

6:39 AM – Leg #5 (6.8 miles)

Now that I had to actually think about running almost 7 miles, I had a little freak-out. I was so worried how I was going to get through the leg because I wasn’t stomaching any real food. When I got out of the van at my exchange and started to get ready, Dave could tell I was upset. Because it was still before 7:15 AM (when nighttime hours are officially over) he promised to run a little bit with me because I was feeling so sick.

I had on my new lyme don’t kill my vibe tank top, but I couldn’t help thinking my lyme was destroying me during this race. I wanted so badly to be strong, but I felt like my body had crumpled under the stress of the race. I wasn’t able to take any of my medicine in the van, and the times I thought I might be able to, I decided against it incase they upset my stomach again. I was in some sort of state.

I started this leg nice and slow and tried not to think about how far I had to go. The sun was rising and it was finally getting light out again, and as I turned a corner onto a country road, an entire field of purple clover was illuminated with new light. It was so beautiful and serene, it made me forget about my stomach for a few minutes and feel lucky to be running. Running has allowed me to see some of the most beautiful scenery.

Dave met me about 2 miles down the road and talked with me as we walk/ran some of the bigger hills. About 3/4 of the way through the leg, my entire body began to ache. My neck and shoulders tightened up so much I could barely move, and the pain caused me to walk several more times. I wasn’t sure if I was herxing from the stress on my body or my muscles were just tense from the mileage, but I got a little worried here.

I was so happy to see the exchange at the end of this leg. When I passed off the bracelet, my neck was so stiff and painful it made me completely forget about my stomach. I laid down in the van for a little bit until the pain subsided and after an hour or so, it was pretty much back to normal.

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Tennessee countryside 

11:13 AM – Leg #6 (2.3 miles)

Finally! My 2 mile leg! Once I was done with Leg #5, I knew I would get through my last exchange, no matter how my stomach was feeling. My mood substantially lifted after finishing #5, and I was even able to eat another GU, take in a few cliff shots, and some potato chips. I kept drinking my Tailwind because I knew it was my main source of energy and I am so grateful for the stuff and actually thinking to bring it!

It was a lot warmer out for this final leg and there was absolutely no shade. I was feeling a little competitive with the other ultra team as I waited for Justin to come in, and I decided I would not let them pass me in the two miles – no matter what.

I went out much faster than I did for any of my other legs, except maybe leg 1. There was a decent hill about .5 miles in and as much as I wanted to walk up it, I thought about the other team catching me and I leaned in and powered through. The downhill was fantastic, but at the bottom was a major road where a police officer was supposed to help me cross to the other side so I could run against traffic. Mr. Police Officer was NO HELP at all, and I stood around on the corner of the street for a few minutes trying to make the pass myself. As I looked from left to right, from right to left, for an opportunity to cross, I kept thinking about the other ultra team coming over the hill to catch me.

When I finally got across the road I looked back at the hill for our competition but luckily no one was in sight. It was a straight shot to my finish from here and I pushed it to the exchange trying to keep a good distance on them.

It felt so amazing to pass the bracelet off for the last time in my exchange. Part of me was in disbelief I actually made it through the 36 miles, especially because I felt so horrible after only leg #1. But I was so happy to be done and to cross my final leg off, and even though my stomach was still hurting and I couldn’t eat yet, I was in a much better mood.

THE FINISH

Erin was our final leg. It was a much-too-long 8 mile leg to the finish line, and I felt so antsy waiting for her in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Before the final exchange, the other men’s ultra team was telling Erin how they were only 3 minutes behind us, and we’re pretty sure they were trying to psych Erin out. But the joke’s on them because Erin could have cared less what they said to her, and they ended up being about 30 minutes behind us, not 3.

Seeing Erin turn the final corner to the finish was so exciting. We all ran across the finish line with her and finished as the first ultra team of the race, and 7th team overall. Our time is listed as 23:30:41.1 on Ragnar’s website, but I’m pretty sure you have to add an hour to all the finishing times listed on the site because of a time zone we ran through, or something like that.

OVERALL EXPERIENCE

As sick as I felt for the most part, I would absolutely do another ultra ragnar relay. I had so much fun with my team and it was incredibly motivating to work together and to stay strong for one another. My stomach is STILL a little messed up from this weekend but I’m working on feeling better, and my legs aren’t feeling too bad either.

Next time, I know I need to get much better sleep before the event and really fine-tune a nutrition plan. I think I didn’t get enough calories in before the race, and I CERTAINLY did not get enough in during the race. I know now how difficult it actually is, and I think resting up a lot more before the race will help me feel more primed.

But I’m so happy we did it (and did well), and it’s still all I can think about. Some of my teammates and I are already planning to do another next year :).

And that’s about it. I probably won’t do a training update for this week because it’s just a recovery week and honestly I’m not doing much. I want my legs to recover as much as possible for next week’s long run, so I’ve only ran yesterday and will probably only run a few more times this weekend. I plan to go for a nice long walk today to shake out my legs some more, and that’s about it. If my legs are still feeling fatigued by the end of this week, I might go ahead and get a massage early next week so I’m all ready for my 20-22 miler.

 

Training Update X2: March 6 – March 19

I missed a weekly update! I kept writing it in my weekly planner but I never got around to actually making the post. Eventually, I decided it would just be best to do a two-week update.

I’ve ran plenty of miles and it’s been an interesting past two weeks. So let’s just jump right into it. It’s a lonnnggggg post – so buckle your seat belts.

Monday, March 6: The first run of the week! I took it nice and easy so I could see how I was feeling for the rest of the week.

3.2 road miles – 25:25 minutes, 7:56 min/mile pace

Tuesday, March 7: Workoutttttt day. As per usual, I opted for the treadmill to get my speedwork done. I felt good and strong, and enjoyed the slightly different tempo workout than I usually do.

After a 15 minute warm up I did speed intervals – 2, 4, 2, 4, 2, 4, 2 minutes with half time rest in between. I felt strong the entire time and once the workout was done, I hopped outside for a 2 mile cool down. Because it was so nice, I ended up walking for a mile after my cool down and I saw a bald eagle!!!

15 minute warm up and workout (6.4 miles) – 45:21 minutes, 7:05 min/mile pace
2.1 mile cool down on road – 17:10 minutes, 7:53 min/mile pace
1 mile walk – 18:43 minutes

Wednesday, March 8: Pretty standard day. Not much to say other than I ran outside for five miles and felt alright.

5 road miles – 39:39 minutes, 7:55 min/mile

Thursday, March 9: Early on, I decided I wasn’t going to run today. I wanted to give my legs a rest before a long weekend of running and I wanted to sleep in as long as I could to rest up for the miles as well.

It turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day. I couldn’t wait to leave work and go for a walk in the 70 degree weather. As soon as my shift was up I drove home eager to get outside and it was awesome. I walked for about 4.5 miles talking with my sister on the phone and it was the most relaxing time I’ve had all week.

4.4 mile walk – 1:10:43 mins 

Friday, March 10: Earrrrlllyyyy morning. I helped out at the Arlington store because they were short staffed, even though Friday is usually my day off. In order to still get my long run in, I thought it would be a good idea to run to the store. I packed a bag (not my awesome hydration vest) with food, a change of clothes, and some other necessities and headed out early to try and beat the impeding rain.

The run started out sucky. My stomach was really bothering me this morning and I had bad cramping before I even got out the door. I was unsure how the run was going to end up, especially after a shaky first two miles but things turned out not too bad. The last two miles to the store were uphill and I felt really strong, so I’m happy with this. By the time I made it to the store I only had 7.5 miles so I added on a few miles until I hit 10.5, and then headed to Peets to have coffee until it was time to open.

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happy after my morning run!

As soon as I sat down in Peets, the sky opened up and it was a torrentiallllll downpour. I timed my run just right and was so relieved to make it inside before the cold rain which than turned to snow. Had it rained on me, it would have gotten my bag soaking wet and even though I wrapped everything in plastic bags, my clothes probably would have still somehow gotten soaked. It was nice to watch it come down while I warmed up and sipped my coffee.

After working at the store, I ran into DC to meet Dave at his worksite. Since we were driving to our friends’ house in Maryland when he was done work, it made most sense for me to just meet dave at work and leave from there. The run was very windy but my legs felt good for the most part. I wasn’t as tight as I thought I might be, but that’s probably because I was hustling at work the entire time.  I ran about 4 miles and walked the rest of the way to the worksite.

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Once at our friends’ house, the guys did a lot of drinking. I left around 11 pm to drive home and sleep in my own bed, because I knew sleep was never going to happen at the house. Still didn’t get as much rest as I wanted, but there’s not much else I could do.

AM RUN: 7.7 road miles – 1:03:49, 8:14 min/mile pace THEN 2.8 miles at 24:23, 8:41 min/mile pace
PM RUN: 4.4 road miles- 37:24, 8:18 min/mile pace

Saturday, March 11: Longgggg run day! I wish I could have slept in longer because of going to bed so late, but I had to get up and get my run started early so I could celebrate dave’s bday with the guys.

I headed to Great Falls Park and was on the trail earlier than I’ve been able to make it in the past. It was pretty chilly this morning – in the teens – but I heated up SO FAST. I was in a long sleeve and jacket and tights, and within 10 minutes of running, I wished I wasn’t wearing my jacket. But oh well.

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cheezin’ half way through the run

The run was really beautiful. I practiced the trail how I plan to race it come 50k day and I walked the big uphills and took time to hydrate and eat plenty. I made it out farther on the trail than I have before and it was so peaceful having the forest all to myself. I definitely was feeling tired on the way back, and ended up stopping a mile short of what I originally planned. But I’m not even mad – the run was amazing! Considering my tight achilles and sore legs from the day before, 17 miles on the trail was perfect.

The rest of the day was spent with Dave and the guys celebrating Dave’s upcoming bday. They did a lot of drinking but I only had two beers or so throughout the entire day. I left the house around 8 pm because I was so exhausted, and I enjoyed the rest of the night to myself laying on the couch and relaxing before bed.

17.1 trail miles – 2:37:35, 9:13 min/mile pace

Sunday, March 12: I let myself sleep in nice and long this morning because I was feeling so tired. Didn’t feel like running when I woke up so I went and got Starbucks instead and sat doing a crossword and relaxing before work.

Work wasn’t too bad, and once I was done I decided to head out for a quick shake out before dinner. It was a beautiful evening, and thanks to Daylights Saving there was still sunlight! My legs were a little sore, but I felt a lot better than I thought I would with all the running around this weekend.

2.6 road miles – 21:09 minutes, 7:57 min/mile

WEEKLY MILEAGE: 52.1 MILES

NOTES ON THE WEEK: 52 miles!!! yay! Really happy with my long runs this week, despite the extra stress of late nights and traveling around. Made me feel really confident for my training to come.

Monday, March 13: Nice and easy run this morning to start the week. I felt really good and fresh, just a little tight in my calves/achilles still. It was a beautiful morning, especially given I knew the weather was going to get nasty tomorrow.

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the calm before the storm

4.2 road miles – 7:56 min/mile pace

Tuesday, March 14: Dave’s birthday! And snow! Haha, a lot was happening this day. Woke up to a wintry mess and learned my morning meeting was cancelled. So I slept in and kept delaying doing my workout because I felt so tired. When I woke up again, I learned the store was opening late, so I still had time to do my workout. I felt like I was being given all the signs to go and get my run in, so after some coffee and breakfast I headed down to the treadmill. I told myself I didn’t have to do my workout if I wasn’t feeling it. As much as I didn’t want to run on the treadmill…I don’t mess around with the ice anymore (it’s what took out my knee in college).

Once I got warmed up, I actually felt good and decided to do the workout. I ran 6X5 minute uptempo repeats with 1 minute rest in between. My 5 minute repeats were in between 6:30-6:15 min/mile pace and it felt great!

After my work out I headed to work and it was slowwwwwww. I guess no one wanted to come out in the snow/rain mess and I got to head out early which was super helpful because I wanted to pick up some cupcakes and grab some wrapping paper for Dave’s gift.

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pretty snow falling at work 🙂

We went to Hibachi for dinner and it was delicious! I got so many veggies and fried rice – makes me hungry just thinking about it!

15 minute warm up, 6X5 min uptempo repeats w/ 1 min rest – 7.3 miles, 50:30 minutes, 6:55 min/mile pace
2 mile cool down – 8:10 min/mile pace.
Total of 9.3 miles for the day

Wednesday, March 15: I was tired today. Decided to make it my rest day for the week. Did a good amount of icing, stretching and rolling!

Rest Day

Thursday, March 16: Not a good day. I wasn’t feeling great in the morning at work and then a headache started up in the afternoon. I left around 4 PM and usually I am super excited to get out the door and go for my run. But I felt so tired and unmotivated. I knew as soon as I got home I was going to collapse on the couch and not want to move. And that’s exactly what happened.

So, right before my shift ended at work, my right shoulder started to hurt. And it wasn’t just a little bit of pain here and there…if I moved my arm pretty much any way, I had radiating pain from my joint down into my arm. I didn’t lift and boxes or do anything weird…the pain just started randomly. At first, I wasn’t concerned about it. But as I got ready to leave work the pain got even worse, so I knew I was screwed with trying to get my run in.

I sat around watching tv for a few hours until Dave got home and I felt awful. I was even more tired than I was while at work and if I tried to move my arm the pain was ridiculous. Since Dave was going down to the gym to get a quick run in, I decided to try and join him. But getting dressed was a struggle. Putting my shoes on was a bitch. I got so frustrated and upset I told Dave to just go without me.

While dave was out of the apartment, I waffled back and forth about going down to join him. Against my best judgement, I decided to try and run and I trudged down to the gym.

It sucked. I was running slow but I felt horrible. Every muscle in my body hurt and I made it 3 miles before I had to quit because of the pain in my shoulder. I was supposed to go 7 today.

I’m not mad about missing out on a few miles because I know it happens and it’s best to listen to my body when it’s hurting. I guess I’m more angry about all the pain and fatigue, seemingly for no reason. But now, in retrospect, it’s possible I was herxing a bit.

3 mile treadmill run – 24:00 mins, 8:00 min/mile pace

Friday, March 17: St. Patrick’s Day! This day has been highlighted on my calendar – not because of drinking festivities, but because I had 20 miles marked down for the day. It was my first time going for 20 since marathon training quite a few years ago and I was actually pretty nervous about it. I decided to skip out on the trails because of the snow and ice still lingering, and I’m happy with my decision given the amount I still ran into out on the paved trail.

I was a little worried about my shoulder because it still hurt this morning. It wasn’t as bad as last night, but if I moved my arm in the wrong way it sent radiating pain down my arm. I thought my hydration vest might bother me a little bit, but when I put it on before my run, it didn’t really make a difference.

Starting out, I did not feel good. I tried not to let it get in my head and around 5 miles I started to feel more like myself. I was running down the Mt. Vernon Trail and by this point I made it to Roosevelt Island and had the bright idea of trying to run some trails on the island. BAD IDEA. There was still so much ice/snow in the back trails and it took me FOREVER to make the loop because of all the stumbling on the icy/melty snow. In the spots where the snow melted away there was so much mud I was slipping all over the place. Trust me, after one loop of this mess I was done and high tailed it back onto Mt. Vernon to cross into the city and give the canal a try.

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Any time I stopped (and I stopped a few times to stretch/eat) – my shoulder ached. I have NO IDEA why and what the hell I did but at least it didn’t hurt while I was running.

The tow path was a bit better, and only a few icy spots. It was nice running on the soft, flat trail for a bit but I was definitely starting to feel fatigued by 16 miles.  I reallllyyy had to talk myself through the last 2 miles of my run but I felt so amazing once it was done. I decided to walk for a good bit when I was done the 20 miles and I’m super happy I did. It helped flush some of the building soreness out of my legs and by the time I got back to my apartment I wasn’t feeling too bad.

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After icing, stretching, rolling and showering, I really didn’t do anything for the rest of the day. I kept my feet up and hung out on the couch until Dave got home. I started feeling really fatigued in the evening so I called it an early night after one Guinness and went to bed around 9:30.

20 mile run – 2:48:52, 8:26 min/mile pace
1.4 mile cool down walk – 26:24 minutes

Saturday, March 18: Long run numero 2 day! I woke up feeling pretty sore in my calves/achilles. It took me a few steps getting out of bed to really stretch out, and I waited a bit before heading out the door so I could make sure I was warmed up. My shoulder wasn’t really bothering me as much, so one plus!

It was a really nice morning – a bit warmer than it’s been the past week. I started out veryyyy slow and I could feel the fatigue in my quads/hips, and the tightness in my calves. There was no real pain so I kept trucking along, and I actually started to feel better as I went. Before I started, I thought I was only going to make it 3 miles, but then 3 miles turned into 6.

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I stopped to use the bathroom around 6 miles and thought about calling it quits, but I made myself head out the door for one more mile, and it turned into 3! I felt really proud of myself for getting 9 miles in and walked to Starbucks when I was done for a delicious coffee.

The rest of my day went okay. I stretched, iced and showered and headed to work to help out for a few hours. Walking around the store helped keep my legs loosened up, and as much as I didn’t want to go in, I think it helped me a bit because the rest of my evening was spent sitting.

9 road miles: first 6.2 miles in 52:56, 8:32 min/mile pace.  2.8 miles in 24:11, 8:35 min/mile pace.

Sunday, March 19: I woke up this morning not really feeling too sore, but not actually feeling like getting outside for my run. I walked to Starbucks instead and grabbed a coffee and did a little bit of planning before work instead. Ragnar is right around the corner so I’m frantically making lists for packing and what needs to get done before we leave.

Work ended. up being CRAZY today. It was absolutely non-stop. No time to eat, no time to drink…almost no time to breathe! My throat got so dry by the end of the shift, I pretty much gulped down my entire Nalgene to try and feel better. I was starting to get light headed, which happens to me often, but this was certainly from the lack of food and water.

Considering how busy it was at work I had no desire to go out for a run. I cooked up some gluten free pasta and ate two bowls when I got home and then had a few gluten-free (essentially Oreos) cookies.

By the time I finally felt well enough to attempt to run it was dark out, so to the treadmill I went. It was actually a pretty good run. I went around 8:00 min/mile pace and listened to the playlist I’ve been putting together for Ragnar and it got me super pumped up. Other than a little bit of calf tightness, the run felt really easy. I was actually shocked when I checked my Whoop monitor and it said this run was a higher strain than usual. It could be because of the stressful day and long miles this weekend…idk. But I iced up after and will be rolling out my calves as well.

5.5 miles on the treadmill – 43:28 minutes, 7:54 min/mile pace

TOTAL WEEKLY MILEAGE: 51 MILES

NOTES ON THE WEEK: I’m okay with how this week went down. I skipped out on a few miles because of not feeling great, but I’m not worried about it. I got my bulk long runs in and I’m proud of myself for pushing through this weekend.  Running 20 miles, then 9 miles, and then 5.5 miles is something I used to think I was incapable of, but I’m learning my body can do so much more when I listen to it and believe in myself.

With Ragnar this upcoming week, I will probably take it very easy leading up to the event. I don’t really care if I don’t hit as high mileage as my training plan wants me to – I’m only concerned on performing at Ragnar and having a great time. So lots of stretching for the calves/achilles until the race and then we’ll take it from there!

As of tonight, my shoulder pain is virtually gone. I don’t know why it came on so suddenly or what caused it. I’m just happy it’s subsiding. I don’t want to blame it on lyme because I honestly can’t see how it’s related, since the pain didn’t feel like that arthritis sort of ache I get in my knees/wrists/other joints.  Let’s just hope it keeps going away and never comes back!

Training Update: February 27-March 5

Gahhhhhh I can’t believe it’s already March. But here we are. I’m not even going to apologize for posting my training late because I’ve had so much on my plate lately, I can’t believe I actually have time to right this update at the moment. So, I’ll just dive right into it.

This was a recovery week and I NEEDED it. After hiking old rag and having two long runs back to back last week I definitely was hurting. My left achilles, especially.

Monday, February 27: Rest day! I welcomed this day so much because I was absolutely exhausted from the weekend. I did some stretching today and that was about it other than work. I definitely noticed a tightness in my achilles, which I blame on power-hiking Old Rag.

When I came home from work I did have a nice surprise because Dave made dinner and it was awesome. The recipe came from Blue Apron and they were curry veggie fritters. He used gluten-free mazto meal instead of the regular they provided, and it was still delicious!

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Rest Day.

Tuesday, February 28: Woke up bright and early today because I needed to go to a training session in DC with Brooks. The session was pretty cool,  but I didn’t take advantage of most of the experiences they had there because I was crunched for time.

By the time I got home I didn’t have much time before I had to go to work. I decided to go for a little run on the Mt. Vernon trail and immediately felt the tightness still in my calves.  Other than the tightness, the run was pretty good.

Because my car was already at work (I carpooled to the Brooks event), I decided to just walk the 2 miles to the store instead of Uber. It was a beautiful day and the walk helped stretch my legs out a little bit more.

When I got home from work I did a little bit of strengthening, maybe 15 minutes? I focused mainly on abs and some leg lifts, but because my calves and hips felt so tight I was afraid to worsen the pain and I skipped out on a lot of exercises.

I also made myself Daiya Mac and cheese because it’s amazing, especially after a long day. It’s gluten-free AND vegan…so winning?

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LOOK AT IT.

3.2 miles road miles – 7:58 min/mile pace
2.6 miles walk to work
15-20 minutes strengthening – abs, some leg lifts

Wednesday, March 1: Woke up still feeling pretty tired so decided today would be a cross training day.

Well, that never happened. I did, however, go for a nice little walk midday before work to try and work through the million thoughts in my head. I ended up walking for about 40 minutes with the intention of doing an hour of cross training after work on the bike. lol.

40 minute walk on Mt. Vernon Trail – 2.4 miles

Thursday, March 2: For whatever reason, I love going for a run after my Thursday work shift. It’s such a stress reliever after work, and I always end up running over to Gravelly point to watch the planes take off and land.

It was pretty windy today so watching the planes take off reminded me of my harrowing experience landing at DCA in the 70 mph wind gusts, but that’s another story. I only stopped for a minute or so and then headed home.  I went nice and easy and my legs felt pretty good, despite lingering tightness in my left achilles. I ran in compression socks and have been wearing them almost all week to help with blood flow and the tightness.

5 road miles – 7:50 min/mile pace

Friday, March 3: Friday morning I decided to head into Clarendon to do some writing in a cafe I used to always go to before work. I actually got a lot of writing done for a few hours, but by midday I was pretty restless and decided to go for a short run. I ditched my stuff in the Clarendon store and went for a quick run around the nearby neighborhoods.

It was another really windy day, which made it feel a lot colder than it really was outside. I felt good on the run, other than my left achilles really tightening up mid run. LOTS of stretching afterwards.

When I got home from Clarendon I decided to craft up a delicious dinner for Dave and I. I made a tomato sauce with some broccoli, fresh tomatoes, zucchini, vegan sausage and goveggie parm cheese over gluten free shells. SO YUM.

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3.3 road miles – 8:00 min/mile pace

Saturday, March 4: Great Falls day! I’ve really come to love running in this park and I couldn’t wait to get there and get to run short AND easy. Dave ran a little bit with me, but for the most part I was alone. I felt really strong on the uphills, despite my achilles still being a little bitch. It was also a beautiful, winter morning (the first it feels like in forever) so I was in such a wonderful mood to be out there in my tights and long sleeve. All this warm weather so early on makes me super nervous for this summer.

I ended with 6.1 miles in the bank but because I couldn’t find Dave, I ran back out along the trail looking for him. I ended up running an extra mile looking for him, when all along he was just a few minutes behind me to get to the car and I left too soon. Whoops!

6.1 trail miles – 8:46 min/mile pace
1 mile through parking lots – 8:11 min/mile pace

Sunday, March 5: Originally this was going to be my second rest day of the week, but because I took Wednesday off, I wanted to cross train. I waited allllll morning and even though I had plenty of time before work I decided not to do it. Big mistake.

Work was super busy so by the time I got home I was exhausted. Decided not to get on my bike again and I took an extra rest day. Not mad about it, but seriously I SUCK at cross training and doing strengthening.

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my best friends this week: feetures compression socks!!!

Rest Day.

WEEKLY MILEAGE: 21.3 miles. Right on target for a recovery week!

NOTES ON WEEK: Not so bad. The not cross training and strengthening is really beginning to eat away at me but I have no one to blame but myself. I feel like I wouldn’t be struggling with my achilles if I was doing strengthening all along, but I’m trying not to get too hung up about it. I only have time and energy for so much.

I also was very careful with what I was eating this week, and I’ve noticed I really do feel 10X better when I avoid dairy. I’ve been doing well with being gluten-free (except I did start having a few beers here and there on the weekend with friends if I’m feeling ok) and I’ve been vegetarian now since January.  I’d really like to make the full commitment of being vegan because I find I feel SO much better, but I always find dairy sneaking into some of the snacks I eat.

So that’s about it. I always wish I felt a little bit better during recovery weeks but I think the point is to work out all those blah feelings in the legs and mind. I’m going to really be focusing on stretching and keeping my achilles pain under control this coming week… Ragnar is only a few weeks away!!! AHHHH.

Weekly Update: February 20 -February 26

I know, I know – I really keep neglecting to get these posts up every Monday. Lately, I’ve felt so crunched for time, and I haven’t been able to do any writing. Working at the running store a lot lately, plus my 50k training has left me with little time for anything else, but I’m just going with it.  It kills me, because one of my goals this year was to write more and I’ve been neglecting it horribly, but I can only do so much. Hopefully I can get things back on track here soon.

BUT – in the world of training, things have been going pretty well! February 20-26 was a huge week for me!

Monday, February 20: Today was a rest day, thankfully! I was crunched for time writing an article for my alma mater, but when I submitted it they never acknowledged soooo, who knows if it will actually run.  I also had a doctor appointment in the morning and it went pretty well.  I’ve been feeling pretty good lately with our current treatment plan so we’re going to keep at it, and hopefully in a few months be able to wean off some of the herbal medicines.

The rest of my day was spent running around like a crazy person at work during our President’s Day Sale. So even though I didn’t have to run today, I still feel like I got in a workout.

Rest Day.

Tuesday, February 21: Today I did a tempo workout! I decided to run along the Mt. Vernon Trail because I could be mostly uninterrupted by traffic lights and the such. I started out feeling really sluggish, and I started doubting I could actually do the workout.  When it came to the uptempo portion, I focused on one mile at a time, and before you know it, it was over.

Running into Old Town was not my favorite because the sidewalks did get a little congested, but all in all, it was a good workout. I cooled down for four miles, rounding the day out at 9 miles total.

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Whoop calculates strain on a scale of 1-21. Apparently, I worked harder in my tempo workout than I thought. 

9 mile tempo workout on Mt. Vernon trail – 2 mile warm-up, 3 miles uptempo (7:26, 7:18, 7:00), 4 mile cool down.  Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes (7:48 min/mile average)

Wednesday, February 22: I woke up and my bad knee was super sore. I stretched for a little bit and put some anti-inflammatory cream on before I even thought about getting outside for a run.  I wanted to go five miles, but once I got outside I only ended up going 4 miles, with the thought I could go 2 more in the evening with Dave.

Other than the knee pain, the run was really nice. It felt easy but I was still moving at a decent pace so I’m happy with it.

The two more miles in the evening never happened and I wore a compression sleeve around my knee for the rest of the day to try and help with the swelling I felt.

4 road miles, steady – 7:42 min/mile pace

Thursday, February 23: I woke up early this morning to get a little run in before work and I couldn’t believe the weather. I wore a long sleeve and shorts, but I should have just been wearing a short sleeve because it was so warm. I ended up taking off the long sleeve half way through and I couldn’t believe this is February.

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I don’t really like the warmer weather because it’s unnatural, and makes me feel guilty our planet is such a mess.  But, something about the weather made everyone so nice today, I couldn’t help but smile my entire run.

Also – I SAW A BEAVER. I don’t know why I am so excited about this but I am, and I only wish I had my camera with me this morning so I could further share my excitement.

Anyways…I felt restless all day at work and couldn’t wait to leave so I could get back outside. I decided to go for another run and as soon as I got home I changed and headed back out the door.

The run was good for the most part and I went about 7 miles. My knee is still hurting a bit so I tried to run slow and not push it, but there were so many other runners out, I got a little competitive.  To cool down, I walked the remaining mile home and other than suddenly getting blasted with severe cramps, I’m so happy I got back outside.

AM Run – 3 road miles, 7:53 min/mile pace
PM Run – 7 road miles, 7:48 min/mile pace.  1 mile cool down walk

Friday, February 24: The day I was waiting for ALL WEEK! Today, I went hiking with my friend Megan in Shenandoah National Park.  We drove out early in the morning to Old Rag, a 9 mile hike with really fun rock scrambles.

The hike was beautiful. Again, the weather is creepily warm, so we hiked the entire time in shorts and tanks, and I finally got to test out my Hoka One One hiking boots (they were awesome).  Last time I did this hike with Dave, I got some NASTY heel blisters in some trail running shoes I used, but I was all good this time!

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We crushed the hike. All in all, it took us about 3 1/2 hours to hike the 9.2 miles, rock scrambles and all.  Some of the scrambles are pretty technical (=fun) and we really needed to lift ourselves up onto the boulders and use any rock surface as leverage with our body weight.  It wasn’t until the final mile did I really start to feel how tired and sore I was, and by the time we made it back to DC, we both were exhausted.

For the rest of the day I just hung out on the couch with my legs up.  It wasn’t until around 8:00 pm did I try to get my run in, and it was a STRUGGLE FEST. My knee was definitely feeling it.  I ran on the treadmill so I could call it quits at any moment if needed, but I ended up going 3 miles. I do think the run helped shake out some of the lactic acid, but I can’t believe what a struggle it was to even get down to the gym.

Hiking Old Rag: 9.2 miles, 3:29:32
3 mile treadmill run – 8:10 min/mile pace

Saturday, February 25: I woke up SORE.  More sore than I imagined I would be, and I started worrying immediately about being able to get my long run in.  After breakfast and stretching for a bit I drove out to Great Falls Park with Dave to try and get 15 miles in before the storms were supposed to roll through the area.

With the first step I took, I knew I was in trouble. My calves were so tight, my shins aches, and my glutes felt FRIED. I kept running slow with Dave anyways, and after a few miles I warmed up, but it didn’t help much. Dave stopped after 3 miles with me and at that point I was already defeated. I ran 2 more miles out on the trail before giving in to my sore legs.

All in all, I hit 10 miles and I didn’t let myself get down over not completing my long run. I actually felt really proud of myself for getting out there and not giving up on the trail and all the hills.

The rest of the day included napping, eating, stretching and laying around. Solid recovery if you ask me.

10.1 miles at Great Falls Park: 9:14 min/mile pace

Sunday, February 26: I woke up nice and early again to make a second attempt at my long run. I decided to head to the canal because it would still be a soft surface, but nice and flat for my still sore legs.

Honestly – I didn’t feel any better getting out there on the canal. My legs were still incredibly sore from the hike, and I was SO BORED on the flat path. I thought about giving up after 3 miles when I stopped to use a bathroom, but I talked myself into trying to run a few more miles out before turning around. I’m glad I did.

As I got farther down the canal, I actually felt a little better. The weather today was the only “cold” day of the week, and it was so refreshing. It’s been awhile since I ran on the canal and I saw so many familiar faces! Other runners I work with, college teams out for long runs, and some old friends.  By the time I finished the run (even though I was spent) I felt really happy I came out to the canal. It ended up being a refreshing change of pace.

ANDDDD – as much as it hurt toward the end, I got my 15 miles in! I walked for a little bit after the run to try and cool down, but then I had to rush off to work for another crazy-busy nonstop day.

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15 miles on c&o canal: 8:06 min/mile pace

 

WEEKLY TOTAL: 51.2 MILES!!!!

NOTES ON THE WEEK: I am so happy I finally topped 50 miles. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been able to do this, and I felt incredibly accomplished. It’s been a long time and I’m excited for the endurance I’m finally building.

One thing I am NOT so excited about is my lack of cross training and strengthening. To be fair, my training plan doesn’t really call for much cross training, but I have always felt better when I incorporate cycling into my running plans and I haven’t really been doing that. I don’t want to overload myself either, but I think if I could just get on the bike 1-2 times a week it would be incredibly helpful.

Not doing my strengthening workouts is totally on me. I get so tired by the end of the day and I just run out of time with everything else I am trying to do. I really hope I can start doing these workouts consistently because I’m going to need them more than ever for my ultras.

SOMEONE MAKE ME DO MY STRENGTHENING.

Weekly Update: February 13 – February 19

Little late with the weekly update, I know! I’ve been super busy these past few days working at the running store because of the holiday weekend, and holy hell did it take ALL my energy. But here we are.  Definitely been struggling with some knee pain lately and it’s most likely the increased mileage and lack of strengthening. I really, really need to get on top of this.

Monday, February 13: Rest day. My knee was feeling a little creaky from the half marathon the day before, and my body was EXHAUSTED from the harrowing flight the night before. I let myself sleep in a little today and tried not to do anything stressful.  Wasn’t feeling sore at all from the half marathon, but I wasn’t expecting to either with the pace we ran it at.

My Whoop heart rate monitor arrived today! I am super excited about this piece of equipment and I’m really hoping it’s going to help me keep on track with my training, rest days, etc. When I get excited, I have a tendency to over do it. This monitor allows me to track my sleep, workouts and recovery based off HRV and my heart rate.  Excited!!!

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My new Whoop HRV monitor!

Rest Day

Tuesday, February 14: I had a meeting in Clarendon this morning so I decided to get my run in before I headed back home. After the meeting I ran from the Clarendon store to the Custis trail and did 5 easy miles. I always forget how hilly this trail is, but the hills were a nice little wake up call to my legs. It was a beautiful morning – it actually started flurrying once I finished up the run.

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gray morning pre snow flurries on the Custis Trail

I totally forgot it was Valentines Day, so I’m happy I got my run in before work, because Dave surprised me with a vegan dinner creation when I got home from closing up the store. It was delicious!

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vegan sweet potato fajitas for dinner!

5.1 miles outside – 8:08 min/mile pace

Wednesday, February 15: Treadmill workout today! I wanted to get a little tempo work in so I headed to the gym. After a 15 minute warm up I wasn’t really feeling the greatest but decided to try the workout anyways. I ended up doing 6X5 minute repeats uptempo and my pace was anywhere in between 6:25-6:00 min/mile pace.  So not bad!

I cooled down outside on the Mt. Vernon trail for 15 minutes.

15 minute w.u., 6X5 min uptempo, 1 min recovery – 7.4 miles, 6:52 min/mile pace.
15 minute c.d – 1.8 miles, 8:29 min/mile pace
(9.2 miles for the day)

Thursday, February 16: NOT feeling good today. Even though my knee didn’t hurt at all yesterday, it was killing me when I woke up this morning. I struggle with the pain on and off all the time because of the arthritis, but I could definitely feel some swelling in there. I put on some anti-inflammatory cream and a compression sleeve for the whole day before I decided to try and run after work at 9:00 pm.

I ran on the treadmill and there was a decent amount of pain. Decided to cut the run short and hit up the treadmill for a little bit instead to take some impact off the joint.  Once I finished up the treadmill/elliptical, I headed back up to my apartment to do some strengthening.  I didn’t do anything strenuous since I was already sore – some abs, leg lifts and push ups.

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I iced and stretched A LOT afterward.

3 treadmill miles – 8:16 min/mile pace
15 minutes elliptical
20-30 minutes strengthening

Friday, February 17: I woke up feeling a little apprehensive about trying to go for a longer run because of the knee pain. Decided to go for it anyways and head to Great Falls Park, reasoning if I couldn’t run, at least I could hike around instead and enjoy the beautiful day.

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According to Whoop, I nailed my sleep recovery goal! 

I ended up getting a fantastic run in! I did have knee pain but as I ran, it loosened up a little. I took it nice and slow on the trails and it was such a beautiful day I ended up forgetting all about my knee. I love challenging myself on the hills back there.

After my run I walked around the park for another mile or so just enjoying the day and letting my legs/body cool down.

At the end of the day, I decided to run again with Dave when he got home from work. Since I need to be getting ready for the Ragnar in a month, I didn’t see any problem going out for 3 more slow miles with Dave to round out the day. We ran along the Mt. Vernon trail together and my legs felt absolutely fine. I wore my patella knee strap to give a little more support for my knee and didn’t really notice it after the first minute or so of running.

9 trail miles – AM – 8:59 min/mile pace
3 road miles – PM – 8:36 min/mile pace

Saturday, February 18: Long run day! I had so much fun at Great Falls the day before, I decided to head back. Since it was a holiday weekend and it was going to be like 70 degrees, I headed out early because I knew the park was going to get mobbed.

I had some knee pain as I started the run but it dissipated over the next couple of miles. I ran with my Nathan hydration vest and I seriously love having my water and nutrition right at my fingertips.

I went farther out on the Potomac Heritage trail than I’ve ever gone before and it was kinda creepy out there. I ended up playing some music via my phone’s speaker on the way back to civilization just because it was SO QUIET and I’m honestly not used to it. The music helped motivate me to make it back to Great Falls though, especially the last 3 miles or so when I was really starting to feel my knee pain come back.  The trail was a little muddy too, so I really had to slow down at a lot of points so I wouldn’t wipe out in the slick mud.

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All in all, I made it 14 miles on the trail and I was so happy when I finished. And when I was leaving the park – totally right about it getting mobbed. The entire parking lot was full, and there was a line of cars all along the road leading into the park as cars waited to get in. Happy with my decision to get my butt in gear a little earlier today.

I iced and stretched and wore my compression sleeve for the rest of the day and actually, my knee didn’t feel too bad!

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post long run noms = deliciousness

14 trail miles – 9:02 min/mile

Sunday, February 19: Today called for 6 miles but I knew I was going to cut it short the moment I woke up. I could feel some stiffness in my knee so I really didn’t want to push it too much, and instead went out for a short run with Dave before work. We ran along the Mt. Vernon trail nice and slow and even though my knee didn’t feel too bad, I stopped after 2.6 miles.

I had the intentions of getting on the bike trainer in the evening after work but it was SO CRAZY at work with the sale, all I could do was collapse on my couch when I got home. No strengthening, no cross training, no nothing.  You win some, you lose some.

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me and my icing buddy 🙂

2.6 road miles – 8:32 min/mile

 

WEEKLY MILEAGE TOTAL: 45.9 miles.  Ahhhhh the .9 kills me (why couldn’t I of ran .1 more miles?!) but that’s okay.  I’m not going to lie, I wanted a little bit more mileage for this week, but given the knee pain – I’ll take it.

NOTES ON THE WEEK: I keep disappointing myself with my lack of strengthening and cross training but I’m really trying not to beat myself up too much about it. I’m on my feet all day, working two jobs AND trying to train for an ultra marathon so I only have so much time. I know the strengthening will help me so I really need to get to it though.

gahhhhhhhhh.

Hoping the knee starts to feel better soon!

 

Weekly Update: February 6 – February 12

Whew! It was a busy week, and I can’t believe how quickly it passed by. I love traveling, and it was awesome to get down to Texas to see Erin and run a half marathon together. I can’t remember the last time we actually ran a race the entire way together, so it felt amazing (despite horrible weather).

I’ve never trained through a half marathon so the experience was interesting. I didn’t taper at all this week or take it easy, so I knew I was going into the race fatigued.  It was super helpful to have Erin there to remind me to hydrate and eat, and to keep me straight on tempo-ing the race as opposed to racing it.  Still had a blast!

Monday, February 6: Running was great! I headed to Roosevelt Island with my friend Megan and we did some easy loops on the trails and enjoyed the beautiful day. My legs felt a little more tired than I thought they would coming out of a rest week, but it was still a great run.

(5.1 trail miles, 8:19 min/mile pace)

Tuesday, February 7: Workout day! I wasn’t feeling the greatest this morning so I was really apprehensive about the workout.  But after the warm up and the first two repeats, I fell into my groove and was okay.  Ran my standard pyramid workout – 15 minute warm up followed by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minute speed work with equal rest in between.  I cooled down outside for 16 minutes or so, rounding the day out at 11 miles or so!

(15 minute w.u., pyramid workout on treadmill: 9.2 miles, 7:07 min/mile pace)
(16 minute c.d. outside.  – 1.9 miles, 8:32 min/mile pace) 

I also did strengthening later – yay! I did 20-25 minutes of leg lifts, some squats and some abs.  Nothing too rigorous – didn’t want to make myself overly sore.

(20-25 minutes strengthening)

Wednesday, February 8: Run rest day! Today I did a lot of stretching and a decent amount of strengthening. For 38 minutes I did abs, squats, lunges, arm work, pushups and leg lifts.    Again, I was a little nervous about pushing it TOO hard because of the long weekend I knew I was going to have mileage-wise.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day today – 70 degrees! I really don’t know what to make of this winter, it’s kinda driving me insane.

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Went for a little walk in the 70 degree weather 🙂

(Run rest day)
(38 minutes strengthening)

Thursday, February 9: Travel day! I always get nervous about traveling even though I do it all the time.  I woke up super early to try and get a hill workout in but I quickly learned it wasn’t going to happen. I tried to go outside but it was SO WINDY out and rainy and I already didn’t feel good, so I turned right back around and went inside.

I was supposed to hit 7-8 miles, but as soon as I hopped on the treadmill I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  I had a headache and stomach pain and after 4.25 miles with a few hills thrown in there, I called it quits.

Flew out to Texas in the evening and enjoyed a quiet evening in with Erin, sipping wine and watching SNL.  Flying makes me extremely tired, so we went to bed around 10:30 pm, especially because we had an early

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my medicine and hokas – 2 essentials for my travels!

(4.25 treadmill miles – 7:58 min/mile pace)

Friday, February 10: Early morning wake-up call! Erin needed to work a half day so we headed to her office and I got in quite a few hours of writing in (hence the blog post you guys saw from me) while she worked.  Around lunch Erin headed down to the pool for a swim so I decided to get my run in around the campus she worked. There was a 1.3ish mile packed-gravel trail around the office buildings so I ran the loop a few times and really enjoyed the change in scenery.

Got a little excited out there and ran a few miles too fast, but still a good run. Had some knee pain and a little bit of shin pain on the right side.

After work Erin and I did some abs and then enjoyed the rest of the day in the hot, hot Houston sun :).

(5.3 miles outside, 7:44 min/mile pace)
(10-15 minutes abs)

Saturday, February 11: SO HUMID AND HOT TODAY. A front moved through the night before and when I headed out for my run I couldn’t believe how much the weather had changed from the day before. I ran 3.7 miles slowwwww down a packed trail and by the time I made it back to the apartment I was DRENCHED. Definitely started worrying about the half marathon the next day because it’s been quite awhile since I’ve run in the heat and humidity.

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Nice little trail I ran on through the Heights

Erin was out on her bike and I was waiting to run a few miles with her when she got back, so I walked until she was done.  Ended up walking about 2 miles, and then Erin and I headed out for another 3 miles.  We were dragging, but it was nice to get the work out done.

We picked up our packets and hid inside during the heat of the day since we were both feeling it.  Once the sun started to set, we went for another walk and it was beautiful.  I always forget how much I like going on walks.

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Delicious pre-race noms we made: gluten-free pasta with vegan sausage, spinach, zucchini, onions, fresh tomatoes, and tomato sauce!

Lots of stretching and icing and rolling at night before bed.  I felt a little bit of shin pain during my run and my knee was swollen from the heat, so I was trying to work everything out before the race the next morning.

(3.7 miles run outside: 8:20 min/mile pace)
(2 mile walk)
(3.1 mile run outside with Erin: 9:22 min/mile pace)

Sunday, February 12: Half marathon day! Erin and I woke up at 5:15 AM to start getting ready for the race and to eat breakfast.  Unfortunately, I was not feeling well and was a little sick to my stomach.  I don’t know if it was something I ate the day before or what (I certainly wasn’t nervous since Erin and I knew we were just going to tempo together) but being sick actually made me nervous since I was worried about dehydration.

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Houston all lit up as we drove to the race in the morning. Hazy and jungle-like.

When we got to the race start I was still not feeling well and most of our time was spent running back and forth to the bathrooms. Kinda reminded me of how sick my stomach always was this past summer, so I tried to remind myself I’ve run in these conditions before. I drank a good amount of water and gatorade before the race to try and balance everything out.

Erin and I warmed up a mile to assess the heat and humidity.  Did some stretching and before we knew it, we were off.

I’d say most of our splits were right around 8:00 min/mile pace. I definitely was feeling the  humidity on the second half of the race, but running next to Erin was fantastic for me because she’s so good about hydrating and eating on the run. I ran with a hand-held water bottle holding a mixture of gatorade and water inside, and I am SO HAPPY I brought it. The race had water stations sporadically spread here and there on the course, so I definitely would have gotten dehydrated without my bottle.  I ate powergel at mile 5 and mile 10 and it helped a little bit, but I was definitely dizzy by the last few miles.

Despite the stupid weather, Erin and I still had a lot of fun together. It was nice being able to talk with someone the entire race and commiserate together. I helped keep her on pace when she started to fall behind a little and she helped me at the points I was feeling the heat a bit too much.

Finishing was awesome. The race was long – 13.3 miles instead of 13.1 miles. I noticed throughout the course the mile markers were incredibly off, and I worried the race would be long (and I was right).  We hung out in the park and listened to some music afterward and drank a few beers. It made running in the wretched heat totally worth it.

I don’t think I would do the race again (poor organization, torturous 2-loop course) but I enjoyed my time with Erin for sure.  We’ll find something better next year.

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Bling bling from the race – Erin and I took 2nd and 3rd in our age group 🙂

(1 mile warm up – 9:12 min/mile pace)
(13.3 “half marathon” – 1:44:53 – 7:52 min/mile pace)

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Couldn’t wait to get this ramen after the race. Perfect recovery food with all that salty broth – SO GOOD.

Flew home at night after a nice, relaxing day and OMG my flight was crazy. Smooth until we got to DC and our pilot tried to land in the 60 mph wind storm.  I’ve never been so uncomfortable and nervous on an airplane.  He had to circle around 2-3 times as he attempted to land and the whole plane was being tossed around in the sky like a rag doll.  I was SO PUMPED to finally touch ground and be out of the sky. Kudos to the pilot – I have no idea how he did it – I thought for sure they were going to send us to another airport.  Those 40 minutes of trying to land got my heart working harder than it did all morning during the half marathon.

WEEKLY TOTAL MILEAGE: 47 MILES!!!

NOTES ON THE WEEK: SO happy with the mileage and doing strengthening/abs 3x this week.  Maybe I can do 3-4x this week and also throw a little cross-training in there as well :).

Weekly Update: January 30 – February 5

RECOVERYYY WEEK!!! This was much needed after my high mileage week and not feeling the best health-wise the past few days.  I took full advantage of resting my legs and I’m super pumped for this week’s hard training and half marathon.

Monday, January 30: Rest. Even though I took Sunday off, I was still feeling some fatigue in my legs so I decided to take Monday completely off.  Stretched a little bit, but honestly didn’t think much of my training at all.
(Rest Day)

Tuesday, January 31: I fully intended on running, but I had a KILLER headache and couldn’t get myself outside for even a few miles.  I thought maybe if I waited until later in the day the pain would go away, but I dealt with the damn thing for the entire day.  I’ve been increasing some of my medicines and what do you know – the headaches came back – so maybe it’s just something I have to deal with for a little bit.

I did end up doing a little bit of strengthening, so better than nothing.  Lots of squats, leg lifts and some abs. Probably did it for 25-30 minutes, but honestly didn’t keep track.
(Running Rest.  Strengthening – abs, legs focus – 25-30 minutes)

Wednesday, February 1: Well, I wanted to start February with a bang so I knew I needed to get a little run in.  The headache was lingering (of course) so I hit up the treadmill so I could halt the run abruptly, if needed.  I hate how much I have to run on the treadmill some times, but it’s also super helpful for me if I start suddenly feeling sick and just need to be done fast, so I can hurry back up to my apartment.

But, since it had been three days since I last ran, this run felt awesome.  I went easy for 3 miles and enjoyed feeling good.
(3 treadmill miles, 7:46 min/mile pace)

Thursday, February 2: After I finished up work, I realized what a beautiful evening it was and I headed out for a run as soon as I got home.  I love how much lighter in the evenings it’s been, and I was able to run along the Mt. Vernon trail while the sun set in beautiful weather. I can’t believe how mild this winter has been!

I ran 3 miles, but because it was such a beautiful evening I decided to keep walking after my run.  Ended up walking for about 2 miles and it was a wonderful way to shake out my legs.
(3 road miles, 7:49 min/mile pace. 2 miles walking after)

Friday, February 3: My day off! Since I have not been feeling the greatest, I decided to have a relaxing day and not stick to any schedule. I ended up having coffee in bed while doing a crossword (I used to do one every day – now I never do them, wah) and then had a late breakfast.  When I finally headed out for my run it was beautiful weather once again, so I headed to Roosevelt Island to change it up for some soft trails.

 

img_0862I loved this run.  It was cold enough to feel like winter, but not bitter enough to make me wish I was still in bed.  I ran loops and loops around the island until I was content. Ended up going a little over 5 miles.
(5.4 miles, 8:22 min/mile pace)

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Dave and I went out to dinner later this day and we got Pho! I LOVE pho and we went to a little place in Old Town and I seriously had the best vegetarian pho I’ve ever had.

Saturday, February 4: I woke myself up earlyyyy to get this run in.  I knew I was going to be out all day with friends so if I didn’t get my run in that AM, it wasn’t going to happen.  Pretty chilly on the Mt. Vernon Trail and I wished I was able to get to a soft trail, but I didn’t leave myself with enough time to drive somewhere.

The run was ok, I felt good, but really nothing to write home about.
(4.6 miles, 7:46 min/mile)

Sunday, February 5:  Stayed up pretty late the night before, so I really didn’t feel like getting out for my run even though it was another short one. Decided to walk to Starbucks instead and get coffee (priorities) and do some reading before work instead.  Fantastic choice.

While I was at work, I knew I was going to run right afterward so a few hours before, I powered up with this amazing meal:

IMG_0864.JPGIt’s vegan chorizo, rice, sweet potato, spinach, onion and broccoli.  SO GOOD. I actually made it Friday while I was enjoying my day off.  Totally recommend.

I headed to the treadmill right after I got home from work.  Dave was not feeling well so I wanted to get out of the apartment and get my workout in before things got worse, and before the Super Bowl started!  The treadmill was pretty boring but my legs felt good, so there’s that.  Went about 5 miles and finished right before kick off, but when I got back up the apartment, Dave informed me our cable was out in the entire building. Sucks to suck, am I right?

Since I honestly don’t care about football, I didn’t really mind.  We streamed it through Dave’s iPad but the resolution was not great. I ended up reading through most of the game and then had a fantastic stretch session.
(5.2 miles, 7:46 min/mile pace)

JANUARY 30 – FEBRUARY 5 WEEKLY MILEAGE: 21.2 MILES

NOTES ON THE WEEK: This is honestly right where I wanted to be. This was my last low mileage recovery week and I wanted to take FULL advantage of it. Now, it’s endurance building time and I hop right back up to 40-48 miles/week.  I’m excited, but starting to get more nervous.  Really just need to start focusing on getting some quality strengthening workouts in 2-3x a week and some cross training.  Then I’ll feel more confident!

Shit gets real from here.