{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 18}

The final week of training was a blur. It was both bittersweet and exciting. Ryan was ready to be done training and also call himself a marathoner. I was anxiously anticipating Ryan’s first race remembering all of my own first time fears, excitements, and nerves.

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Monday-3 miles (Both of us)
Nice and easy miles.

Wednesday-6.18 miles (Sarah)
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I came back from this run in the rain wet, but so content. The legs felt rested and ready to race on Sunday.

Thursday-2 miles (Ryan)

Sunday-26.2 miles Race Day! (Both of us)
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Full race recap coming this week!

Tip of the Week-
Double, no triple check, your packing list and make sure you have everything you need. Thursday I laid everything out I planned to wear, eat, drink, etc.

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I double checked it as I packed everything. Even though I packed everything I needed to be prepared on race day, this didn’t prevent me from forgetting to bring my watch to the actual race. More on that in my race report this week. Below is a list of my must haves for race day!

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-Fuel (for me this involves choosing my GU flavors and planning at what miles I will eat each)
-race belt
-body glide
-Garmin or other GPS watch
-safety pins or clips for race belt to attach race bib
-iPod/iPhone for music and photos
-headphones
-headband (Sweat Band or Bic bands)
-hair ties
-Nuun for pre and post-run hydration
-sunscreen
-lip gloss
-sports bra
-Shirt(s)
-bottoms
-compression socks x2 (one pair for racing the other for post-race if necessary)
-hat (if cold or wet)
-shoes
-warm layers if needed
-change of layers (especially if raining)

I also try to remind myself that if anything is forgotten a runner ultimately only needs clothes and shoes. Everything else on this list simply makes the miles easier or more comfortable.

What items are on your race day gear list?

Total Weekly Miles-29.2 miles (Ryan) and 35.4 miles (Sarah)

Happy Training !

{Motivation Monday-It’s Marathon Week}

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So much power in just a few words. Since it is marathon week I’m not sure Ryan and I need a lot of motivation. The anticipation and anxiety for a first marathon is all you need to carry you to the end of race week. Even thought it is not my first it honestly feels like it is. I’m heading to bed to make sure I get plenty of rest this week, but stay tuned to hear more about how we are preparing all the final details for the big day.

Happy Monday!

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 17}

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In hindsight making this the week to start giving up your biggest vice may not have been smart. Diet Mountain Dew and I have a long history. If asked my favorite food I would say Diet Mountain Dew. Favorite way to start my day-Diet Mountain Dew. Favorite pick me up-Diet Mountain Dew. My favorite treat, you guessed it, Diet Mountain Dew!

Except what we have turned into much more than a treat. The obsession turned into a strong dependency to the point I packed it with me everywhere I went. This week after feeling it suddenly tasted off, I decided to end the dependency I have on Diet Dew.

I try to eat healthy most of the time and I buy products with reduced chemicals or more natural options, yet I ingest chemicals horrible for my body 12 ounces at a time, three times a day. It was time to make a change. Plus I don’t want to have to pack cases of pop to take on our vacation out West this summer or be confused with a momma grizzly if I’m short on Dew.

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Tuesday I had a can and a half of the vice. Wednesday and Thursday I had no diet soda. Friday I had one fountain diet soda with my late night dinner that I did not finish. I drank tons of water over these days and felt ok. The first few days were easier than I’d anticipated they would be.

Then this weekend came. I’ve felt like a zombie! All I want to do is sleep. Today I had no coffee in the morning either which left me with the worst pounding headache I’ve experienced. I’m hoping this is the worst of it. I don’t plan to give up coffee or start drinking more of it. My only intentions were to give up the sauce (dt. Dew)! I’m curious to see how I feel in a week. Will my training see improvement or not with less soda and more water? Will I feel better or recover faster? We will see! Anyone have any suggestions?

With one more week before the Wisconsin Marathon here’s how our past week of training looked.

Monday-5.25 miles and 50 minutes of yoga (Sarah)

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Monday was Boston Marathon Monday. I dream of running this race one day and hoped everything would go positively for those running today. To show my pride and support for those in Boston I dressed in my Boston Strong colors and Boston Strong Bic Band.

Tuesday-10 mile tempo run (Sarah)

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I didn’t intend to make this a tempo run, but the legs wanted to go and the weather was perfect. I averaged 8:15 pace over my ten mile run. It felt great!

Wednesday-5 miles

Sunday-8 miles

Tip of the Week-if you’ve managed to make it through your training without losing a few toenails or gaining black ones-congrats! I struggled with black and painful toenails until my third or fourth marathon. Now my toe box of my current shoes fits better so there is less sliding for my toes to hit the ends of my shoes. I’ve also learned to never go for a long run without clipped toenails. Forgetting to trim your nails can lead to painful blisters and toes later on. Ryan has had no issues with this by taking my advice about clipping his toenails and purchasing shoes that fit his feet.

By this point you’ve also earned some calluses and rough parts to your feet. Once you’ve earned those I’d recommend keeping them. I’ve had only one pedicure since my wedding in 2007. Now that my feet are often sensitive I don’t want anyone coming at them. Plus I worked hard for those calluses and I don’t want to have to work to earn them back. Foot massages on the other hand-amazing! Paint your toes pretty ladies (and gents if you wish) and carry those funky feet proud. You earned them!

Total Weekly Miles-13 miles (Ryan) and 28 miles (Sarah)

Happy Training!

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{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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{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)!