Change of Plans

I have been struggling lately with the trail running. It has been much harder than I expected but I am still committed to completing some of the events I had planned for 2015. I am still on doing two 50Ks, the 50 miler, and the Rim-to-Rim-to Rim crossing. The big race that is falling off my schedule is the TransRockies Run. This event looks absolutely amazing and my roommate from college even helps run the event. But once we really looked at the cost of it, we had to make the adult decision and not signup. We have too many other things at home that need looking after right now to do this race at this time. We have every intention of trying to get out for this race one day. It just won’t be this summer.

So where does that leave my 2015 year? I am not really sure right now. I need something to work for after May. I am still so incredibly motivated by my success a Ironman Arizona that I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to do another 140.6 distance event. But committing to that event impacts everybody in my family. There are a lot of scenarios going through my head right now. Once I figure it out, this will be the first place it is made public!

Trail Running Adventures

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Stuart and I headed for the trails on Sunday (as usual) and had another adventure (as usual). We are NOT very good about getting up and out early but we are getting better about prepping the night before and at least having a plan! We parked our car at both ends of a local trail that runs about 6-7 miles long. We stocked both cars with food so we could refuel on either side of the run. We had 22 miles total to run so we knew we would need to tack on a little extra somewhere.

We tried to eat more “real” food and less processed endurance items (gels/Gus/chews). We had PB&J on brioche bread (OMG so yummy), boiled salted potatoes with salt for dipping, and oranges for me. This approach worked great! We got all the food down easily and felt pretty good with it! The only thing I noticed was a little lack of energy that I think was due to the fact that I didn’t have any caffeine while running. I may stash some Mexican Coke (made with sugar, not corn syrup) in the car next time to fill this need.

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We tried some unknown trails but thanks to maps on phones we were able to easily see where we were going and that we should get where we wanted. We never saw a Private Property signs nor No Trespassing signs so I am pretty sure we weren’t any place we shouldn’t have been. But, we decided that we would pretend to know where we were going unless we were questioned. And in that case we would pretend we were total lost! Luckily we got out right where we thought we would! (Click here for the Garmin details)

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The part of the adventure that wasn’t so much fun was all the self-doubt I started having. I am a very positive person. But my last couple runs have been really hard. Of my 5 runs a week, usually only 2 of them go well. I am wondering if maybe I bit off a little more than I can chew this year. After spending 6 weeks running like this I can say that Ironman training was easier than ultra running training!

Me an Utrarunner?

My training focus has changed drastically now that I am stepping back from triathlon this year. The major goal is my first 50 mile run followed by a few other epic adventures. I have pretty much just been running. And most of the running has been on the trails.

It isn’t going as well as I would like. I am covering the distance but I feel like every other run goes well. I have had MANY long runs where I just feel totally spent. Running is hard!

To jump start things a little bit more I have added a 50K to my schedule in just under 3 weeks! It won’t be fast or pretty, but I will get it done!

In the Footsteps of Greatness by Josh Mathe – Book Review

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I spend a lot of time in my car driving. I have a 40 mile commute that involves Los Angeles driving so that means it can be anywhere from 1-2 hours each way. I have found the best use of my time is to listen to Podcasts and Audible books. I was excited to listen to In the Footsteps of Greatness by Josh Mathe because he is the husband of my coach, and not just some unknown-to-me person. I was so pleased because I truly enjoyed every moment of this book! I couldn’t wait to get back in the car so I could hear the next chapter!

Without giving much away I will say it is a heart warming tale of someone overcoming their personal and physical struggles to achieve a very challenging goal, fast packing/running the John Muir Trail. It is a quick listen (around 4 hours) which would be perfect for a week of commuting or a road trip.

I immensely liked this book for a few reasons. First, I understood his way of thinking. I really agreed with his philosophy on endurance training and it was great to hear someone articulate how I feel about my sport. I don’t hike but his views apply well to endurance sports in general. Mathe includes the quote “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’tyoure right.” ― Henry Ford. This gets to the heart of his story and how I feel about life in general. Second, it felt like a very honest exploration into his life and experience. I felt honored to get to hear about it! It wasn’t preachy at all and I felt extremely inspired that I could do this one day if I wanted to. And lastly, it was a great listen. Mathe did an excellent job narrating his own book. It isn’t always the case with talking books. He did a wonderful job bring his story to life. I will need to go get a real copy of the book because I am interested in a lot of the material that was mentioned in the appendix!

If you are looking for a quick listen (or read) I would highly recommend this book. You won’t be disappointed!

Paramount Ranch 2014 30K Race Report

Saturday was my first race as I enter a year of trail running. The race we chose was a local race put on by a very reputable race director, Keira Henniger. We signed up for the 30K because it  fit perfect into my training plan.

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I was very nervous the night before. This is a new arena for me and I wasn’t 100% what to expect. Night before I laid out my kit. I had picked up a pair of arm warmers from Coeur Sports which were way better than I had expected! Not only did they have thumb holes they also had little mittens to cover my fingers if it was colder. Alarm was set for 5:30 AM and off to sleep I went!

The race started promptly at 7:30 AM. The course was three 10K loops all over Paramount Ranch. I really wasn’t sure what the course would be like but I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 1.47.05 PMScreen Shot 2014-12-22 at 1.57.33 PMIt was a  lot of up and down and very little flat. Plus, we had had a fair amount of rain over the week so it was pretty muddy. But what made it hard was the whole course was pretty much runnable. None of the climbs were so hard that you had to walk the whole thing so you just pushed through the whole course. My goal was to run each lap as even as I could. I wasn’t going to worry about my place in the race until the last lap. I knew that if I could run each lap as close to even as possible I would have a good race.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 1.43.29 PMMission accomplished! As you an see above I ran all three loops with only a 2 minutes spread! (see the Garmin Data here) Plus, I ran the last loop the fastest! I was so pleased with my run. I worked really hard the last loop to catch a couple people I had been watching during the race. Once I caught the first one I just kept looking ahead to the next. This really helped me focus on consistent running and kept me from easing off on the hills. I found that most of the other runners were walking the hills so I made it my goal to run as much of the hills as possible.

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When I finished and finally caught my breath Stuart and I went to look at how I did…4th :-( I really wanted 3rd. But I knew I had run a really smart race and had done all I could. I was happy!

IMG_4910We got home after a smoothie and picking up the kids. I had developed quite rat’s nest in my hair while I ran! I will be running with braids from here on out! Yikes!

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Today I finally found the complete results on line and got a nice surprise! I actually got 3rd after all and was the 6th overall woman! WOOT!

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 2.40.31 PMI am so glad that I have two more races on my calendar that will be run by Keira. The race was wonderfully run and it is pretty cool to have the race director cheering for you when you come through! Also, it is great to be running races with Stuart! This race was great because we crossed paths a few times. It is always great to see a familiar face and get a few words of encouragement from someone you love!

Coeur Sports Brand Ambassador 2015 – That’s Me!

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I found out Monday that my application to be a Brand Ambassador for Coeur Sports was accepted. Ecstatic is an understatement!!!! (I will refrain from using as many exclamation points as I would like to). This means a lot to me for three reasons.

One, I love their products. I am convinced that their seam-free chamois design is amazing! I spent hours in the saddle with out ever having issues. Their hashtag of #noangrykitty pretty much sums it up. You can read more about my kit review here. I love the running kit(review to follow) as well and their t-shirts and trucker caps are great casual wear!

Two, I love their philosophy. As a business they really are committed to making the customer happy. They stand behind their kit. When you, as a customer, are spending your money on a product, it is nice to know if you aren’t happy with it they will take it back hassle free! As a participant in women’s endurance sports they really support one another. They appreciate and encourage #heartandcourage. It takes courage for many to overcome the fear of trying new things. Triathlon especially is can be a very scary sport at first!

Three, they believe in me! Being accepted to be a part of the team along with so many other amazing women is an great confidence boost. I had a great Ironman in Arizona in November. This ambassadorship adds to my confidence and makes me believe even more that I have a lot of room left to grow in endurance sports! Coeur doesn’t know it yet, but my goal is to make their Elite Tri team by 45! Kona has become my goal!

I encourage you to check out their site for some awesome kit. There are new colors and designs coming in the new year!

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YAY! A big rock!

YAY! A big rock!

Ultra Running Training Has Started

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 7.44.51 AM I wrote a couple weeks ago about my plan to get me to the Leona Divide 50 mile race where I outlined my training plan. I haven’t been great about sticking to it completely as I ease back into training after Ironman Arizona. I didn’t want to push the the running too fast and end up injured. One of the key elements (in my opinion) to ultra training are the back-to-back long runs. (please know that I have only done one 50K so I am by no means an expert on this topic) I have struggled so far to actually get the training done this way, until last night. On Sunday Stuart and I went to the trails to run more of the Sean O’Brien 50K course. I only had 16 miles to do and Stuart was doing a fat ass 50K. Because I am geographically challenged and can’t find my way out of paper bag at times, we ended up running much more together instead of me turning back early and running back to my car. It was a very hard run. I was hoping to do the 16 miles in 3 hours. It took me closer to 4 hours. Regardless, I got the miles done. Then Monday, I had to run 10 miles. I didn’t do it when my alarm went off at 4:30 AM the next morning but instead I did it when I got home from work. 10 miles in the dark and rain. Woot! I know that these back-back-back long runs will be the best thing for helping me increase my distance running. Now just to keep doing them consistently! Below are some pictures from this weekend’s adventure!

Resolution Head Start

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 1.15.16 PMThere are a variety of sites you can use to track your data related to training. I used Training Peaks extensively last year because I was working with a coach and that was what she used. I always use Garmin Connect as the first place I put my data because it sends it out to the other sites like SportTracks and Strava. And now my Garmin 920XT will send it via my phone without me doing anything!

I am not  person who likes to repeat  steps so I have to keep this part of my life as simple as possible. I will not update my data in many different sites so I have to choose one (or two) sites to keep as my “source of truth”. I am making a resolution NOW for 2015 to have those sites be Garmin Connect (because it works so great from my phone and it has to start there) and SportTracks. I will be using SportTracks in addition to Garmin because it offers me two functions I find helpful.

First, I can set up a training plan in the site so I can keep track of what I have to do.  They don’t have an app for the phone yet but they have optimized their website so it is “Mobile Friendly” so I can have my plan with me at all times. It even sends me an email if I miss a workout!

Second, I can easily track gear usage. I am notoriously bad about doing this. Since this year is a run focused year, tracking the mileage on my shoes is quite important. I am getting a jump start now and plan to be diligent about this in 2015.  I will be estimating my mileage on the bikes as well so I can track them in addition to my shoes.

SportTracks is not a free service but it is fairly inexpensive and has LOADS of features. I highly recommend it.

Blazing New Trails

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 3.32.31 PMSunday I set out for my long run by myself. Stuart and I are trying to do our long weekend runs together but because of kids schedules we had to divide and concur instead. I have been struggling with the end of Triathlon season so I really wanted to run something I had never run before. We are super lucky to have moved into an area that backs right up to some pretty decent trails. We have run a lot of the trails close to our house but never all the way over to another local area we like to run, Cheseboro Canyon. We  knew the two systems joined up pretty easily but we had never run them end to end.  I spent time examining the maps of the two areas to make sure I knew what I was doing. I was going to run a section I had never run before and I really didn’t want to get lost.

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It took my just under 6 miles to get to the turn off into China Flats. Once I got there I ran around lost for about a mile until I found the right trail. I had no cell reception and was doing my best to figure it out. Once I finally got my bearings and found my way to the trail I was familiar with I was elated. The best part of the run was the fact that I RAN the whole thing! This was my first substantial workout since Ironman Arizona. I was determined to run the whole darn thing!

With about 3 miles to go the wheels starting falling the bus. I was developing a nasty side stitch from all the downhill pounding and had to walk a couple times. The goal for the day was 12 miles and with my one mile of lost running I ended up with 13.6 miles plus a load of my confidence back! Click here for the Garmin data (I forgot my HR strap). Stuart and his boys picked me up from the parking lot with a CarboRocket recovery shake waiting and all was right in the world!

I miss feeling awesome

There was a point this year when I was really looking forward to putting the Ironman training behind me. All the juggling and planning was really wearing one me. Now that I am really only concentrating on one discipline, running, I feel less awesome. I have some really amazing running goals this year. A 50 mile run, a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim, and eventually the Trans Rockies run are nothing to scoff at. I have a lot of work to do to get myself ready for all of these goals. But regardless, I feel very lost right now and not very awesome. The rewarding feeling I got from my triathlon training is not coming thru in my running just yet. In a couple weeks my mileage will kick up and I even have a 30K trail race scheduled! Hopefully this will get me back to pre-Ironman awesome feeling. I am also planning on getting back in the pool and on the bike. One sport just isn’t enough anymore.