Excited to race this weekend!

My work is sponsoring a race this weekend in Red Wing. There's a 1/2 marathon and a 5K. I (along with many family members, including my husband, brother, and cousin) are signed up for the 1/2.

I've allowed myself to cut back my miles this week so I can actually "race" it well. I hope they respond to a little reprieve from the mileage -- it'd be fun to see where I'm at!



It's just after 9:00 on Tuesday. I've had a cup of coffee, and I'm hoping that it just hasn't kicked in yet. My brain is so tired it just hurts. I hate that feeling. Yesterday was just as bad.

I went to bed around 9:45 last night (I vowed after yesterday that I'd get to bed early), but didn't fall asleep until after 10:30. That's the worst, when you're too tired to fall asleep. That still gave me a little over 7 hours of sleep. You'd think that'd help.

So, despite my valient efforts to get to bed early, I'm still exhausted today. I wish I could run on less sleep, but I really need at least 8 hours a night. That increases (to what amount, I have yet to find) significantly when I'm running high miles or high intensity.

*Sigh* I WILL get to bed by 9:00 tonight, I'm swearing to myself now. Hold me to it!!


Totally exhausted!

What a week.

I began the week by flying out to Salt Lake City, UT for work. It was actually a lot of fun -- I got to see a lot of endurance trail runners, preview fun new camping, running, and outdoor gear, and also got to run in the foothills of UT in the mornings before the show began.

I followed my original training plan while out in UT. I don't know if that was smart or not. Should you alter your plan when running at altitude? The first run I did was on Tuesday morning, a recovery 9 mile run. I decided to add a few strides because I was going to race on Saturday and wanted to do some fast stuff before the race. The first 4 miles of that run I felt pretty sick. That went away, but it still wasn't a great run. Was it because of the altitude?

Wednesday I woke up very early for a 15 mile run. How gorgeous (except for the really early wake up call :)!! The route I followed climbs significantly, from the heart of Salt Lake up to the foothills, following a stream that ran between two mountain peaks/ranges. I'm not sure, but I think I climbed from about 4200 ft. to about 6000 ft. Running back the last 7.5 miles was fun. Yeah running downhill! My legs were pretty tired, but I wanted to run through that this week.

I flew back late Wednesday night. I was excited to be back -- just to do laundry, get errands done, answer mail, etc. Thursday was as usual, work, run during lunch, then Vakava practice in the evening. When I got home, it was a little after 9:00. I'm absolutely exhausted at this point -- but try to catch up on emails and work yet that evening. My legs are also pretty trashed from a long week and the no pole skate reps we did at ski practice tonight.

Friday came -- and went -- in the blink of an eye. I literally spent the entire day/evening at my computer (12 hours w/ just a few breaks). I'm trying to catch up on work (which I still am not totally...) and trying to get farther on the Finn Sisu web project...

Ahh, just another week. Sometimes (not often :) I wish life was a little less crazy and there was more time to just sit and relax.



On one of my long runs w/ Jenny this Spring, she drove the course before our run and put water at strategic spots. Ingenious! I had never done a long run with water stops before (other than stopping at a park if I saw one and it happened to have its water on). It was amazing! What a difference even a little water break makes!!!

This summer I've played with a few different options. I could simply do what Jenny did -- but I'm not motivated to take the extra 30 minutes to drive the course. So, I thought I'd share some of the things I (along with my husband) have tried.

1. Nathan water bladder backpack:

I bought the 1.5L bladder pack specifically designed for women (I have trouble finding things that are small/short enough, but this is just about perfect!!). How great! All I have to do is fill it up before I leave, add a few ice cubes, and I have plenty of water for a 15 mile+ run. Now having used this, I don't know how I ever ran without. It's nice to think that I've already had 1-1.5L of water during the run as well -- otherwise, I think it'd be almost impossible to re-hydrate after a long hot run. You'd think that the water would jossle a lot becuase of the amount of liquid you're carrying, but you really don't feel it (aside from the added weight). You can hear it swishing in the bladder, but that's all. There are front pockets which easily fit a couple of gels and a cell phone. The backpack also offers you the ability to carry an extra shirt or jacket (if you're hiking).

The downsides? I felt a little "gimmicky" runner with this the first time... but have quickly gotten over that sterotype once I realized how nice it was. You can't run in just a sports bra because the straps will rub against you. Your back will also get sweaty, but I actually don't notice it a ton. I would also highly recommend this if you're planning on hiking. Online at: http://store.finnsisu.com/nathanintensity.html

2. Fuel Belt: http://store.finnsisu.com/fuelbelt.html
Perhaps the traditional water pack for distance runners. I haven't used one on a run yet -- Nathan has. I think this is a nice option if you want to mix both water and gatorade (you can fill each bottle individually). It's also a lot cooler than carrying an entire backpack. I'm not sure if I'd hit the bottles, though. I tend to carry my arms close to my side, and I'm afraid that I'll hit the belt often. Nathan said he didn't have a problem with it though. They come with a small pocket for gels. You can also buy additional pockets and add-ons to carry a little more.

3. Innov8 horizontal pack: The alternative to carrying a backpack, this pack allows you to carry large amounts of water wrapped around the small of your back. A nice idea, but I don't think the water is as secure as in the backpack. Be sure to carry the weight at your waist, not at your hips. An OK option, in my opinion.

4. This last Sunday I didn't want to run with the backpack (added weight) -- I had 20 miles planned, with the last 9 at marathon pace (6:40). Hitting those times are hard enough as it is, let alone carrying anything extra on you. So, Nathan agreed to play "water boy" for me, as he was rollerskiing with me for the run. He carried a simple Nathan water bottle pack along, and would fill it up as needed. What a LIFESAVER! During the last 1.5 miles of the run he gave me water about every 1/4 of a mile. I needed it. I wasn't sweating the entire run, and by then was definitely overheating. Having the ability to take sips and pour some over my head allowed me to do the full 9 on pace. Without water, I DEFINITELY wouldn't have been able to do this. Probably not the best hydration system out there (unless you have a good friend willing to lend you their time/water bottle) :) -- thank you, Nate!!!

So, if you don't already use something out there on your long runs, I definitely recommend trying something. I think you'll be amazed how much of a difference it'll make. Anything you can do to help with hydration (and combating de-hydration) will be really beneficial. If you've tried something that you really like, please comment here and let me/others know about it! I'm always up for suggestions. :)


Short days :(

Trying to fit in these miles into an already hectic schedule is difficult. Take yesterday, for example:

6:45 Leave for work.
7:45 Get to work.
5:00 Leave work (should have really stayed late, because I'm behind, but I know I have a long run to get in...)
6:20 Get home (after a tire fill because the flat they repaired a few weeks ago is still leaking. Ug!) Eat a little (I ate a big lunch because I knew I wouldn't want to eat and then immediately run), then get dressed/ready for run.
6:45 Leave on run with Nathan. 15 mile medium long run on the schedule for today. It's actually a cool route up to 494, across the river alongside 494, then in the trails starting at American Blvd back to 77.
8:50ish Done with run! Turn on sprinkler because lawn isn't looking great. Wash clothes, otherwise I won't have any clean running shorts for tomorrow. Run dishwasher. Make lunches for tomorrow. Log on to computer, answer a few emails.
11:00 Get ready for bed :(. Late night!!
12:15 Get up and jot some things down on my "list". My mind is reeling and I can't sleep!!! ARGH! This is exactly what I DON'T need to happen!!

So, fun day! Trying to get mileage in during the weekday is hard, but I keep reminding myself that it's do-able. I just won't have any extra time in the day :).


Let the mileage begin!

Ahhh, isn't he cute?? As promised, this blog will be much happier and positive than the last :)

I'm starting to ramp up my mileage now. So far, so good. My mileage weeks have stepped up a little quickly:
Week 1: 48 (with a few hours of skiing)
Week 2: 65
Week 3 (this week): 80

I'm just starting to feel "strong" from the mileage, which is a fun feeling. Today's workout was 11 miles with 5 at 6:27 pace. It went well -- although I did have one weak moment where I let myself stop (WHY do I do that?!?). The rest of the week is pretty mileage-loaded:
Wednesday: 15
Thursday: 4 w/ Vakava skiing
Friday: 13
Saturday: 6 easy, recovery
Sunday: 20 w/ 9 at Marathon Pace (ouch...)

Uff-da! But, I have a good feeling about this week. I think the only challenge will be finding the time to do all of this on top of work, commute, keeping up the house for showings, etc., etc. :)


Time Trial w/ Vakava

Tonight the Sisu program lined up a timed 10K skate time trial. How'd it go for me? Lets just say that I'm super frustrated and discouraged right now. ARRRGGGGHHHHH is a good way to express how I feel.

I have no idea how fast I went, or even what the results are... but I know it won't be pretty. I just have NO idea how to go fast on skis! It's not remotely fun for me... to be passed by people who are booking it, breathing super hard, obviously pushing themselves because it's a time trial. Then there's me, and I'm trying to tell myself to "Go!! C'mon!!" but I just CAN'T. I'm not even out of breath -- only at the top of the one uphill, and that's not even that out of breath. It felt like a slightly up-tempo (7:30 pace?) run. Not remotely like a VO2 max time trial workout. I know I'm doing a lot of things wrong (I can't feel my abs crunching or my arms working... and I don't know a lot, but I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to feel something here). I tried to do things right, but nothing seemed to change.

So, again, ARGHHH!! I really wish I was good at skiing. I think it'd be fun. I'm trying to be patient, I really am... but it's really hard for me, being the competitor I am (and with a husband who is very fast and is super excited about skiing and going fast on skis) to sit behind and watch everyone pass by when you can't do anything about it. And I know I really don't have the "right" to be that good at skiing considering how little I focus on it... (can you see my mind reeling, going from hating myself, to telling myself that I need to get out there more often, to wanting to set down the rollerskis for good?)

Well, blog readers, thanks for letting me rant. I really apologize for the negativity, I'm usually not this bad. I promise, I'll make the next post more positive (even if that means I just talk about flowers or cute puppies:) ).


Sometimes I wonder...

... if I really want to chase after a fast marathon goal :(

Today's run was really, really difficult for me. I've been running with my cousin this week who is vacationing close to where I work. It's wonderful! Today I had 13 miles on my training plan, so we decided to do the first 3 together, he'd wait for me while I did another 3 warm up and the start of the marathon pace running.

I thought my legs felt OK until the marathon pace running. UGGG. I felt awful, and I was mentally SOO weak. I don't have these days very often, but when I do -- they really make me question why I do what I do. I took the 6 miles at marathon pace in 2 mile increments. It was all I could mentally take. I met my cousin at the 4 mile mark (now at 10 total) and then struggled through the last two, following him. I was SO glad to have someone there pushing me. I honestly think I would have stopped at 3 or 4 miles of MP without him there. It still wasn't a good workout by any means, but I finished it, which is an accomplishment in itself.

I think part of today's struggle was the fact that I haven't been sleeping enough or well. I also need to drink more water -- I know I'm dehydrated, since the last two runs I've gotten the chills afterwards. If I'm going to chase after a fast TCM time, I need to do all the little things right as well :(.


Happy 4th of July!!

How'd Nate and I celebrate? A race, of course :).

We did the Afton trail run for the first time the morning of the 4th. We went out to the park once before to preview the course so at least I knew I was going to have my butt kicked :). The race itself was a lot of fun. The trail is gorgeous, challenging, and the people running and volunteering are super friendly. I'd definitely do the race again next year.

There are a couple things I'd do differently next year:
1. Practice on trails more often. Every time I'd get to a relatively flat or even uphill with secure footing I could open up my stride and fly. Everytime I'd be in an area where I wasn't quite sure where I was stepping (the entire last 3 miles of single track course) or was trying to navigate the downhills I'd have to pull up BIG time on my speed. With practice I think I could get much better at these.
2. Wear a Fuel Belt or other hydration system!!!! Nate ran with one and I was SOO jealous! :)
3. I was very gratful for my Vasque shoes! Anyone still running in their road shoes should really think about upgrading :)

I finished 2nd for women overall (official results still pending), so not a bad debut for the trails :).

Now... on to the rest of this week, which marks the start of ramping up the mileage for TCM!


Great Birthday!!

Yes, it's my birthday today. 26 years old. Wow.

It's been a great day so far. First, I opened a package from my best friend, Jane. I LOVE getting mail!! Especially packages :). It was a perfect gift -- an under armor Navy shirt (I can't wait to wear it! It fits great and everytime I wear it I'll think of her & her husband who is in the Navy) and a hand-knitted stocking cap. Wow! How fun :).

Then to work -- and I finally feel like I'm starting to pick up on things! My reports are coming along great. At 11 I head out for my lunch time run. My goal is to explore Red Wing on the run, so I print out a little map and head out. I had an absolute BLAST!!! It's so gorgeous. I had planned on a medium long run today of 12 miles, so knew I had some exploring I could do. I ran out about 4 miles and found the country side, which was so charming. The air is so clean tasting, and wow -- the views!! Bluffs, streams, wildlife, etc. I found the cutest neighborhood addition just at the outskirts of town. I ran all around it, but didn't find a for sale sign anywhere :(. Bummer -- but I know where to look now! I eventually found the Cannon Valley trail. There was an entrance out in the middle of nowhere, which I found shortly after chasing about 4 roosters along the side of a dirt road :) At that point I was pretty turned around, but luckily a nice gentleman was hiking on the trail and told me I was running in the right direction. Onward back into town! The trail winds right along Spring Creek. I want to look up more information on the trail to see how long it is and where it winds. I ran on it yesterday as well, but on a different part of it. There's a picture above, but it doesn't do it justice... I'll try to find a better one when I have more time.

I made it back to RWSC, quickly changed, and ran back up to the office. Now I'm back at my desk, and shoudl probably get back to work. :) I just had to write an entry, though, while the run was still fresh in my mind. :) Hope the rest of the day is as good as the first half!!