{Motivation Monday-Create adventures for yourself!}

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This morning as I’m enjoying a little late start to the day due to an unexpected snow day, I just can’t calm the happiness I feel about yesterday’s run. I was so sick of running the same boring routes in my community that it was making me not look forward to my long runs. I simply felt uninspired and bored with the routes. Having also not ran a race yet this year (crazy for me!) I needed something different. Then I came up with an idea that is not so new to me, but easily forgotten-go run somewhere different.

We had originally planned a route that was at a state park about an hour away, but with the inches of rain we were receiving we were not sure what the conditions of the trails would be like and with youth turkey hunting taking place in the park, I wasn’t so sure that would be entirely safe either. Instead the husband and I drove to a nearby city that has miles upon miles of running trails, bike paths, and scenic routes. We visited the city we fell in love in, partied the weekends away in, and hiked the trails of-La Crosse. We thought up a route Saturday night that would highlight some of our favorite spots and running trails.

Sunday morning I woke up excited to run the distance with butterflies in the stomach mixed with some dread (22 miles-eek!) It would be both of our longest training runs. I’ve never ran more than 20 miles training for my previous marathons. Had I not signed up for a 50k I probably would have stopped at 20. I commented to Ryan that it was like we were on a little adventure. We approached the looming 22 miles as just that-an adventure. There would be miles that didn’t feel great, that we would get annoyed with each other, and there would also miles where we would be laughing and smiling.

The route would take us 22 miles out and back and out and back. For those of you who might ever get the chance to run La Crosse these are all great routes below. You could do the whole thing or run a section or two. We parked at Menard’s because it is near the La Crosse marsh trails entrance and in the middle of our planned route. We ran the La Crosse marsh trails to part of the Hixon Forest Trails (here we had to turn around as melting ice and water created an impassable area).  I mentioned to Ryan while we were running through the marsh trails that it was just what I needed.  The sounds of ducks, birds, frogs.  The sights of water, trees, bluffs, and dirt trails.  My heart felt full and content.  I was at peace with the nature around. Our nature run then took us to the UW-La Crosse campus, past our old apartments to Cass Street where we enjoyed the big beautiful houses before turning around and repeating our route for the most part.

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Click to enlarge!

At this point we were back at the car, eleven miles in, to quickly refuel. We then headed out on the La Crosse River Trail in the opposite direction leading us to Riverside Park which borders the Mississippi, past some of our favorite restaurants/bars, to the Cass Street Bridge where we crossed the Mississippi for the first time, to Pettibone Park where we looped around, before heading back onto the sidewalk leading us into Minnesota. Once meeting up with the welcome to Minnesota sign we headed back to our vehicle skipping the Pettibone Park loop. I saw so many runners out doing their weekend long runs.  We didn’t talk or exchange conversation, but you can usually just tell a runner on their long run.  There was a camaraderie to the whole thing-us runners out doing our long runs on a Sunday morning.

As the Garmin chimed 22 miles (oh, how I love the sound of that chime EVERY time) we high-fived each other and smiled.  People in the Menard’s parking lot gave us weird looks as the rain came down, but we didn’t care.  We both felt strong at the conclusion of our run and I believe the scenery and change in routes has almost everything to do with it. I mean we were running half the miles (11!) in the rain and it didn’t even phase us much. Part of the fun was also knowing we were going out to eat somewhere local for a meal and a drink after the run.

Our running adventure was just what I needed to love the long run again. So many of them have been just okay. Nothing exciting, got the miles in, and survived to run again. When it comes to running and why I love it though, this wasn’t making the cut. I wanted to love the long run, to get the sense of adventure back, to feel like the explorer I love to be. This long run reminded me that I have complete control over where the long run takes me. I don’t have to run the same routes in town. There are plenty of unexplored trails, routes, bike paths, roads, etc. just an hour away in any direction, but it’s up to me to create my own adventures.

You can bet my upcoming long runs will not be boring or follow the same routes.  I’ve found my exploring spirit again and I can’t wait to see what else is out there. I’m already anxiously planning where to complete my next long runs.  What new trails can I visit?  What city can be explored?  Let’s be adventurous. When will you create adventures for yourself?

Happy Monday!

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 15}

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As I sit starting this post it is pouring rain outside and thundering and lightening. My hopes of running a long run on Saturday this week are pretty much gone. Instead I’ve been blissfully stalking reading race reports about the Wisconsin Marathon and searching for other races to add to the spring training schedule. With so many long, long runs for my 50k training coming up, I feel the need to break up the monotony of running in my boring city with only six miles of trails.

Speaking of my 50k I recognize I haven’t really mentioned how I’m training for it exactly. I’m basically following the same training plan as Ryan is for the Wisconsin Marathon with longer distances on some days and hillier and/or trail routes on other days. My actual 50k training plan is below. I’m currently on week 9.
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I’m not looking to break any times or records, rather I’m hoping only not to die or end up hurting so much I never want to do it again. I want to enjoy the trails and running and training in nature more. I want to accomplish a new distance I never have before. I want to get a taste of ultra running.

Back to the focus of this post…Wisconsin Marathon Training.

Monday-5 miles (Sarah)
3 miles with the track kiddos and two miles on my own.

Tuesday-5 miles (Ryan)

Wednesday-7 mile tempo run (Sarah) and 7.5 miles (Ryan)
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I had a dinner date with friends so we did not run together. I left school right after I could and got my miles in and Ryan ran his after baseball practice. I had a phenomenal run. It was a run that makes your heart feel full and bursting with happiness and contentment. I needed that-it had been too long. My legs just wanted to go fast. My lungs still struggled to keep up with some junk in them yet, but they are improving. I managed what I think is my fastest 10k time during this run. Hmmm…now I might need to set a PR goal in this.

Thursday-6 miles
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4 miles with the track kids plus 2 miles on hilly trails.

Saturday-5 miles (Sarah)

Sunday-22 miles (both of us)
We are so bored with the running scene in our community, so we decided to take a road trip to La Crosse. La Crosse is so runner friendly with lots of runners, beautiful trails and scenery, and lots of places to celebrate a long run. Below is our route for our 22 miler. We basically went out 5.5 miles then came back. Then we went out 5.5 miles in a different direction and came back. If you ever get the chance to visit all locations below are great for running.  We took a GU every 4-5 miles to stay fueled and drank water in the middle of the run.
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Running into MN and back. The WI-MN state line is in the middle of the Mississippi River.

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After running in a light rain from miles 11-19.75, we felt lucky it only poured on us for just over two miles. Even though we were drenched we were happy to have felt as good as we did.
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After all of our hard work it was time to relax a bit. I chose a delicious bloody mary from a local favorite of mine, Fayze’s.

Tip of the Week: When long runs get mundane and old running routes lose their allure it is time to change up your running route. There are so many running friendly trails, state parks, towns, and bike paths that there isn’t really a good excuse not to try new routes. We are usually willing to drive an hour to these places if needed for specific runs. It gives you new scenery, a chance to try new local fare, and a renewed mental appreciation for runs. More on this idea later!

Total Miles for Week: 45 miles (Sarah) and 34.5 (Ryan)

{Friday Fab 5-BKT Pizza, Trail Runs, PR’s, Tattoos, and…}

Spring weather was here all week…and it was amazing.  My love for running came back stronger, I felt happier, and I had a greater desire to eat healthier foods.

{#1-BBQ BKT Pizza}

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I made this pizza Sunday night and it was amazing AND easy, too.  Make your own dough.  While it is rising cut your tomatoes and kale, cook the bacon, and get your BBQ sauce and cheese ready.  Roll out the dough, put BBQ on top, then kale, tomatoes, and bacon, before finally adding cheese to your liking.  So yummy and kale is way healthier than lettuce.

{#2-PR in 10k, but does it count?}

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I’ve never tried to run a PR in a 5k or 10k race.  I’ve only trained for a PR in a half marathon once.  Having only ran two 10k races I got to thinking, do PR’s on training runs count.  Wednesday I ran a little over seven miles, and my 10k time was the fastest 10k I’ve ran (and that my watched noticed).  I may have ran this fast or faster before and not thought about it or noticed it.  My new Garmin let me know it was my fastest 10k afterall.  The time wasn’t part of a race though so does it count?  What are your thoughts?

{#3-Trail Runs}

20140410-212619.jpg Here is a glimpse at this week’s Wisconsin Marathon Training post.  It involved some great trail running!

{#4-Running Tattoo}

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Many people who know me or have read about my 30 things during 30 know I have wanted a running related tattoo for a long time.  I want it to be beautiful, timeless, and represent what I love.  I want it to happen sooner rather than later, but I’m feeling kind of stuck.  Above are some locations and designs I like, but I feel like I can’t decide/commit to one.  Have any of you seen a cool running tattoo you’d recommend.  Anyone have a tattoo you love, hate,  or regret?

{#5-Running Magazines}

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I love reading running magazines for the motivational stories, gear suggestions, and beautiful places to run.  I feel like I learn something new about running each month I read an issue.  I now subscribe to Runner’s World (for all types of runners-still my favorite), Women’s Running (light reading geared at women), Running Times (in depth for the serious runner), and Trail Runner (for the trail runner or ultra runner).  Each offers a slightly different take on running and brings different perspectives and focus to the same sport.  Anyone have a different running/fitness magazine they suggest?

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Happy Weekend!   Mine will involve lots of s(miles)!

 

{Motivation Monday-Why you should not skip a run!}

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So instead of telling you why you should run this week, I’m simply reminding you of how you will feel if you don’t. In the end not running will fill you with regret, sadness, and most likely more stress. Last Wednesday I did the whole make excuses and waver back and forth thing. I decided not to run, then decided to go, before deciding not to go. Then realizing if I’d had gone when I first thought about running, I’d almost be back sent me over the edge. I was a crying mess and I spent the night feeling guilty. The decision could have been so easy, but I chose to complicate things. Quit trying to talk yourself out of it. Stop the regret. Don’t let guilt fill your night. Just go run! You’ll be so glad you did!

Happy Monday!

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 14}

After this past week’s training we have a month to go-four more weeks. It seems so close and the second guessing and doubt is starting to creep in. By now I know this is totally normal, but for first timers it is such a mix of emotions.

This week the foot is feeling awesome, but I’ve come down with a mother of a chest cold. Despite not feeling awesomesauce, I pushed through and ran some good mileage. Ryan, too. Weather temperatures were all over the place. There was rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain, and sunshine. There was wind and there was calm. We ran it all this week.

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Yup…we’re at this spot!

Monday-5 miles
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Today should have been a rest day for me since I ran 15 miles the day before (first run in 11 days) and I was sore! I am helping coach middle school track on Monday’s though and it was just too nice of a day. I ran a couple miles with the kids and ran a few more when I got home.

Thursday-5 mile
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We were making our angry and sad faces at the cold and sleet and snow. I had to take a break half way through because I couldn’t stop coughing. This only caused more coughing, but I do believe it helps break up some chest congestion.

Saturday-6.7 miles (trail run with walk breaks)
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The weather was great (50 degrees and sun) and I was anxious to hit the trails for the first time since the snow has started to melt.  We headed to a nearby state forest to run some trails. I might have jumped the gun a bit as there was a fair amount of snow in places. The open spots were wet, muddy, and awesome.  Smelling leaves and spring was so rejuvenating.  There were plenty of walk breaks though because this chest cold gets me coughing and very out of breath.

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Sunday-18 miles (Sarah) and 12 miles (Ryan)

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Since easing back into my long runs after my foot injury Ryan and I are on different pages with our long runs and that is ok. Today’s run was ok. My chest is filled with junk so I cough regardless of whether I’m running or laying on the couch so I chose running. Plus it was too nice to sit inside (60!)

My legs felt strong and the foot good. I ate a GU at mile 5, a sweet juicy pear at mile 11, and another GU at mile 15 because I was hungry and felt I needed it. It feels great to be back! I have to say though the past few months have been rough between the hurt foot and the chest cold. Even though it feels great to be back, I’m not saying the runs themselves have been really great. Every run has felt challenging or frustrating since I hurt my foot in mid-February. Once this cold is gone, I’m expecting to fall hard for running again-in love that is!

Tip of the Week: If you are sick know when to sit out a few days and when to run. If you are running a fever I usually recommend taking the day off from running. No fever, means you can run! If you truly feel terrible, then a day off will help you bounce back faster. I felt like I had a bit of a low-grade fever mid-week and felt zapped for energy. Later in the week, I was starting to feel better but still had the lingering and annoying hack going. Since I knew I didn’t have a fever, I didn’t let a cough become an excuse to sit out again. Get lots of rest, drink lots of water, and eat good foods to help your recover or ward off sickness in the first place.

Total Weekly Miles: 28.7 miles (Ryan) and 34.7 miles (Sarah)

Happy Training!

{Liebster Award-Part 2}

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Good Sunday morning to you all! A little over a week ago I was nominated for a Liebster Award. Thank you again to JanaBananaRD for nominating me.

If you haven’t heard of this award, it’s an award for bloggers given by bloggers. When you are nominated for the award, you answer a set of questions asked by the blogger who nominated you and then nominate 11 other bloggers, and give those bloggers a set of questions to answer. My 11 blogger nominations are below. Check them out for some new Sunday reading.

1. Enjoy the Journey
2. Runner Girl Eats
3. Run with Jess
4. sweat once a day
5. Run like a G!
6. Running Wild
7. Will Run for Glitter
8. Pretty Little Runner
9. Once Upon a Lime
10. Road to 100
11. In it for the Long Run

My eleven questions are below:

1) Why did you start blogging?
2) What is your favorite race to recommend to others?
3) Where is your dream racecation (destination race) and Why?
4) What running gear can’t you live without?
5) What is your favorite fuel for long runs?
6) Any great trails you’d recommend to other runners?
7) How do you budget for running and races?
8) Favorite running book or movie?
9) Favorite way to cross train?
10) Who is your biggest inspiration?
11) What is a local beer or wine from your neck of the woods you’d recommend to others?

THE RULES: (I tried to follow these rules, but sometimes rule following is just so hard.) ;)

1. Thank the blogger who has nominated you
2. Answer the questions given to you (Read my Q & A here-Liebster Award-Part 1)
3. Nominate 11 other blogs with less than 500 followers (I broke this rule a few times.)
4. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer
5. Tag your nominees & post a comment on their blog to let them know that you have nominated them.

Sneaks & Stilettos

{Friday Fab 5-Good Food, Fan Signs, Daydreaming, Run to Start Your Weekend…}

This week I’ve cooked no new recipes or done anything exceptional or interesting AND that is totally ok. With quarter grades due and being sick, this week has not allowed for a lot of outside fun. Thankfully I’m busy working on my #100happydays challenge. It’s helping me appreciate the simple things in life more.

{#1-Good Food}
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I did accomplish meal planning and grocery shopping (I try to follow these grocery shopping tips) on Sunday because I know the above is too true. Case in point, sitting on our counter we had some left over cookies used in a recipe I made for a friend’s baby shower. I don’t even like this particular sweet treat and would never buy it in the store for myself, yet I found myself eating these stupid cookies this week just because they were there and the only sweets in our house. Anyone else ever done this too?

{#2-Run to Start Your Weekend}
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With warmer temps in the forecast, an almost entirely feeling better foot, and hoping this awful cold clears out, I have some serious miles on the docket for the weekend. Just as I thought I’d make it through this winter without getting a cold, I’m run down with congested lungs, a nose like Rudolph and farmer blowing green lugies on runs. Sexy!

{#3-Fan Signs}
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After a rough long run for both Ryan and I last Sunday we both felt the message in this sign when thinking about the Wisconsin Marathon (only a month away-eek!). Here’s to hoping we feel differently this weekend.

{#4-Daydreaming}
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As winter hangs on like no other, I find myself daydreaming of our road trip more and more. Anyone been West and have a must see location, must take hike route, or other necessary details to share?

{#5-Sandy Beaches}
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No kidding! I can’t wait for spring and summer to be here. Like really be here. Not according to the calendar, but the weather. Until then I’ll be daydreaming away.

What are you daydreaming about?

Happy Weekend!