{Motivation Monday-Boston Marathon}

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Image from Boston Magazine

This morning I’m busy watching, remembering, dreaming, and hoping along with the running community at today’s Boston Marathon (by TV). Congrats and way to go to those of you running-you earned it! You should be so proud to have gotten to that start line today! I then plan to run my own little Boston strong run because today WE finish the race!

Happy Patriot’s Day!

Wisconsin Marathon Training post coming this afternoon!

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 16 (the real post)}

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First of all congrats to all the runners at Boston today. I was so excited for Meb to win the men’s race today. I was cheering and on the edge of my seat those last miles. It was also awesome to see Shalane Flanagan PR and set a new American record along with a new course record by Rita Jeptoo. Watching them run reminded me that even for the elite a marathon is a challenge.
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Our first week of taper is officially over. Since accidentally posting this before it was done you can also tell that I’m already starting to lose it…sort of. Let taper madness begin. Taper madness is the self-doubt, phantom aches and pains that pop up, questioning of ones training, and general hysteria that surrounds a drop in mileage before a big race.
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Ryan is following his taper schedule which is coming at a perfect time as he has baseball games three nights a week. I’m sort of tapering, but not. Since my big race is the Chesterwoods 50k in June and my two marathons in July, I do want to taper some for the Wisconsin Marathon, but it is really serving as a long run for me.

Monday started with a snow day and Tuesday it was still cold yet. While you’d think I’d be used to this, I am so over it. I also wanted to rest the legs from our 22 miler. I should have run Tuesday, but didn’t. I later regretted that choice. I swear sometimes I never learn.

Wednesday-5 miles

Thursday-8 miles (Ryan)

Friday-8.6 hilly miles (Sarah)
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Saturday-10 miles (both of us)

This surprise package greeted us on Saturday! We opted to pay for packets to be sent to our house as we knew we wouldn't have time to attend packet pickup. This makes the race seem so much more real!

This surprise package greeted us on Saturday! We opted to pay for packets to be sent to our house as we knew we wouldn’t have time to attend packet pickup. This makes the race seem so much more real!

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We ran our ten miles on the Great River Trail which runs parallel to the Mississippi River and into the nearby marsh areas.  We even saw a pelican fly by a few times which is a new sighting this spring.  20140421-124530.jpg

This run I had hopes of going 16, but I wasn’t feeling the greatest tummy wise and we had places to go and people to see so I settled for ten miles. Sunday was the same story and sadly my miles really tapered this week. The runs I had felt great and strong so I’m not too worried. I’m looking to have a strong week and my miles up again next week although with a busy calendar it is going to take some forward planning on my part to make it happen. Get after it!

Tip of the Week: When tapering for a marathon-respect the taper. You’ve earned the time off and recovery for your legs to perform their best on race day. Remember while you might be cutting mileage, you do not need to cut intensity. Keep doing those speed sessions if that has been a part of your training. Tapering is about reducing miles on your feet not intensity. Also, now is the time to make sure you’ve done a dress rehearsal or two on you last long runs to make sure you know what you are wearing on race morning to eliminate unnecessary surprises or discomforts. A little forwards planning can really save your race ahead of time!

Weekly Mile Totals: 18 miles (Ryan) and 23.6 miles (Sarah)

Happy Training! I’m off to start my week right with a run and show some Boston Strong pride!

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{Friday Fab 5-Easter Baskets for Runners, Run This Town, NYC Marathon, Apple Cheddar Chicken, }

Today’s post is later than usual due to a relaxing pancake breakfast made by the husband followed by some a.m. reading in bed with coffee.

{#1-Apple Cheddar Chicken}

Another great recipe from Iowa Girl Eats. I seriously love so many of her eats. From dinners to treats they are all delicious. Check her out if you haven’t!

{#2-Run This Town}
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I have had the opportunity to run in some great cities over the past few years. When planning upcoming trips one of the first things I plan is the routes I hope to run. I often struggle to find information on running routes in specific cities in advance and usually wish there was a resource I could use when planning my next vacation. I’ve decided to create my own resource, found under the Run This Town tab, that will highlight favorite running routes in specific cities. The posts about each city will include descriptions about sights on the run, terrain of routes, distances, where to park, and of course photos. Hopefully this will benefit other runners the next time they have a chance to travel

{#3-New York City Marathon}
20140418-092704.jpgI’ve always dreamed of one day running the NYC Marathon.  Don’t get too excited…I don’t have a surprise announcement about running this dream race.  This past week while grading papers I found Run For Your Life was on Netflix streaming along with other great running movies like Spirit of the Marathon.  Run For Your Life is a documentary about the NYC Marathon.  The documentary follows the race’s director from its first year with hardly any runners to the grand race it has become.  Of course watching the history and nostalgia of the race that runs through all five boroughs made me want to run it even more, so I decided to look up the race online and was really disappointed to see that they are changing how you can receive guaranteed entry.

The NYC Marathon is currently a lottery system unless you run for charity, qualify at specific local races, have run 15 consecutive NYC Marathons, or have applied for the lottery three years in a row and have not been accepted.  I had been counting on the last option as the charities require you to raise signficant dollars that I’m just not sure I could.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to count on that option as this is the last year they are guaranteeing entry for runners who were denied entry after applying to the lottery for three consecutive years.  Also ending next year is guaranteed entry for runners who have run the NYC Marathon the last 15 years or more in a row.  I’m bummed for those people, too.

Now I’m curious about what future entry options will look like (qualifying times like Boston?), or if it will solely rely on lottery entry and if you don’t ever get in, then you don’t get in.   The Houston Marathon has had a lottery system for a couple of years now, but also has a guaranteed option if you run a qualifying time that allows you to register before the lottery opens to other runners.  Since this is bucket list race for me and the race I plan on running for my New York state race, I will definitely be keeping an eye on this.  Some of you NY readers, do you know any other details?

{#4-My poor husband}

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I do this to my husband ALL the time!  Usually it goes something like I don’t want to pick where we eat, you pick.   Well, I don’t really want to eat there.  I’m not feeling there either.  And so on!

{#5-Happy Easter}

20140418-102905.jpg Have a runner in your life?  Want to send some Easter love their way?  Make a runner basket for them!  I filled this basket with some of my favorite running gear items.  You could go big or choose just a few items to include in their runner basket.  Starting from the top left items include-1. Runner’s World Magazine, 2. My Life On the Run by Bart Yasso, 3. Spirit of the Marathon DVD,  4. Bic Bands headband, 5. Body Glide, 6. Nuun, 7. GU, 8. Bearded Brothers bar, and 8. Pro Compression compression socks.

Happy weekend everyone!

 

{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!