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LE’s 1 Year Adoptiversary!

Monday: 10.3m easy 8:45/pace

Tuesday: 7m easy 6 x 800s 7:00/pace

Wednesday: 45min total body

Before I clog your page with a million Colorado pictures from last week’s trip, I have to celebrate a very important thing. This month last year we adopted our little L.E. (I say little because she was 35 lbs when we adopted her and she’s now 60 lbs.)

I can’t believe it’s already been a year and can’t imagine life without our walks or sharing peanut butter and apples together.

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yes, she drools when the pb comes out.

LE has been a dream dog. She listens, gives hugs, is super smart and hops in the bathtub on her own. I’m not joking, she’s like a unicorn and going to ruin us for any future dogs we adopt.

She’s learned the doggie basics: sit, lay down, roll over, shake, high five. And she knows some really cool tricks, like the bang trick–>where you say “Bang!” and point a finger like a gun, she falls on her side and lays there, but wait it gets better…then you say “stick em’ up!” and she raises her paws up. lol. She can spin and she’s working on saying “mama” so hopefully we will get there one day. OH and during hockey season (RIP Capitals) when Cameron yells, “Let’s Go Caps” she stands up and gives a large double high five. She’s pretty incredible.

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an LE hug!

I have one last race on my schedule next week–Zooma’s half marathon in Annapolis. As much as i thought this would be a redemption half, cutting back on speed work for the Spartan and taking a vacation doesn’t give me much confidence in actually racing this race. However, I’m not too sad over this. I took a much needed break from hard workouts during vacation and getting back to running is feeling good. Slow, but good. I’m excited for the warm weather and mileage building heading into fall races. My game plan is to build slow and possibly race a few 5ks over the summer and do what I can to prep for the fall. I’m still unsure if i’m ready to run a marathon (cause i have no clue which one i would do) but never say never. 😉

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Have you ever adopted a pet? 

IF I run a marathon this fall, which would you suggest (it needs to be one I can sign up for and not do a lottery!)

 


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Spartan Beast, The Wilds – My First OCR

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5m easy 9:10/pace

Wednesday: 3m easy 9:15/pace, 25min shoulders/legs

Thursday: 7m tempo (2m warm up, 4 @ 7:15/pace, 1m cool down)

Five hours, twenty minutes. 14.7 miles of technical trails, carrying rocks, sandbags, logs and flipping tires. Trudging through mud, wading in water, climbing cargo nets, gathering rocks, hanging onto trees, hoisting up and over walls. (And one huge run-on sentence later) I did it. I finished. I’m alive, unharmed and feeling stronger than ever.  Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.05.14 PM

At first, I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for the hardest Spartan obstacle course race. Being an endurance runner, a pseudo masochist, secret-wannabe-trail-runner, adventure seeker, a how far can my body possibly be pushed-er… I had to try this. I had to know I was a well-rounded athlete.

I drove up to Columbus Friday afternoon to stay with my cousin Becky and her family. Her husband Josh was doing the race with me. We caught up, had dinner and quickly laid out clothes and packed up bags for the next day.

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Our biggest gripe of the day was the parking situation. We sat in bumper to bumper traffic for 30 minutes, just to park. We were stopped for so long I peed in between our car and the car in front of us. I know it seems like i’m peeing in public a lot, but it’s not my fault! I think i’m cursed with bad pre-race timing. I just couldn’t hold it. And we couldn’t wait any longer. We were 20 minutes from our wave start time and still weren’t moving. Becky took the wheel to park, and Josh and I walked toward the bibs, gear check and bathrooms.

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We finally started the race at 9:00am and hit trails and 5 obstacles. Wall climbs, under a wall & under muddy water, monkey bars, ring/rope cross, Z-wall, cargo net climbs, barbed wire crawls… Some really tough upper body stuff right out of the gates, then we were on the trails. We ran when we could. These trails were TECHNICAL. I know i’m not much of a trail runner, but hopping over roots, rocks, mud, steep inclines & dead stop so you don’t fall over the edge declines are the example of technical trails.

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synchronized jumping

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Josh on the Z-Wall

Our mile time was about 23 minutes–if you count the slowing down for the obstacles & burpees, i’d estimate we were doing about a 14 minute mile. That’s a lot of slowing down, hiking, all while gaining 2,300 feet of elevation. I’m not gonna lie, the trails were my favorite part of the race. I loved not wearing a watch, feeling free out in nature, and knowing endurance was my strength. Getting through the obstacles as a strong girl was a huge boost as we headed back to the tough trails.

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After mile 6, the mile markers stopped. It was a little frustrating not knowing how far we were, but I figured it was part of the mental mind game Spartan wanted to play with the athletes. Putting one foot in front of the other when you don’t know how far your feet have left to travel is a tough task.

We were full of energy early on. Talkative, smiling and having a blast. Honey Stinger gel packs saved our butts on more than one occasion. I brought 4 or 5 packs, i can’t remember, but we went through all of them within 4 hours and both of us wished I had brought more.

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There were moments where I wasn’t sure if i could do anymore with my arms. And Josh was there to help. There were moments Josh’s energy dropped and he slowed on the trails, and I was there to help. We complemented each other perfectly for this race. We constantly checked in with each other and sped up and slowed down when we needed breaks. Our goal was to finish. Racers on the trail couldn’t believe we chose The Beast as our first Spartan. Go big or go home bro. Especially you, bro that skips leg day and gets cramps on the trails. Especially you.

Josh and I both thought the race would be even spread out with running and obstacles. Like running half a mile then doing an obstacle, repeat, etc. It wasn’t. The running/hiking seemed to go on for miles before we hit a group of obstacles. Again, tough mentally, but I enjoyed it. The Wilds was beautiful. Breathtaking actually. The pine trees, the ponds, the seclusion, it was glorious.

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Josh climbing like a pro!

The last miles waned on for an eternity, only to be interrupted with the dreaded bucket of rocks task. It’s as awful as it sounds. You fill your bucket to the marked holes, and you walk with said bucket up and down a path. One heavy foot in front of the other. The sandbag on the shoulder was next and similar in effort. Toss the sandbag over your shoulder and walk up a path and through mud until you hit the drop off point.

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Pierce (becky & josh’s son) demonstrating the rock/bucket obstacle. 

I’m guessing all of this so far sounds awful. But believe me, when you finish a difficult task, like flipping a huge tire over, you feel so strong and invincible! Every obstacle proved I was capable of difficult things. I didn’t complete three obstacles which lead to the dreaded burpees. 3 x 30 = 90 burpees for me. Josh did all the obstacles like a champ! Not too shabby for 30+ obstacles.DSC_0343

When we started to lose steam and were out of Honey Stinger packs we were toward the end. The lovely volunteers told us we had a few obstacles left and we were home. Seeing the fire jump in the distance was the motivator we needed to finish strong!

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me off to the left! Still had a little spring in my step

They said at the start, “You’ll know at the finish line.” And it was accurate. I felt so strong, relieved, happy and proud of that accomplishment. Crossing a finish line for the first time is always epic. Crossing a finish line that proves I’m not just a runner was pure elation.

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And a few more of us happy to be finished and on our way to eat…

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Josh and I had a brilliant idea to do a Spartan last year while drinking beer at Thanksgiving, this makes me nervous about what we might come up with next November…  🙂

Last Week

Monday: 2500m row, rope pull ups, deadlifts

Tuesday: 4m easy 9:40/pace

Wednesday: 4m easy 9:30/pace 2m walk/run w/LE.

Thursday: 6m interval (2m warm up 10:00/p, 3 x 1m @ 6:53/p, 1m cool down)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 14.7 Spartan Beast OCR

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 28.7

What do you feel when you cross a finish line?

Hardest race you’ve ever done?


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Phone Dump Friday! Vol. 8

Wednesday: 4m easy 9:30/pace 2m walk/run w/LE.

Thursday: 6m interval (2m warm up 10:00/p, 3 x 1m @ 6:53/p, 1m cool down)

Friday: Rest 

I’m headed to OHIO for the Spartan Beast–wish me luck as I attempt a brand new type of race this weekend! AROO!!

This was from last weekend when I was trying to get a nice picture at the beach with my dog and race award. I didn’t notice LE was peeing behind me until Cameron said something. Hahaha.

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Springtime walk!

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Outside beers @  Denizens

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These two…

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After work sunsets 🙂

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Every day our Colorado/Utah trip feels like a dream…

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Le’s favorite spot on our walk.

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Gotta love rowing…

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LE got a haircut last week, brings out her eyes right?

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And.. just a good hair day.

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Have a great weekend! 

Races? Big plans? 


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Gone With the Wind – The OC Island to Island 1/2 Marathon Recap!

Monday: 2500m row, rope pull ups, deadlifts

Tuesday: 4m easy 9:40/pace

It’s been four days and i’m still unsure how I feel about the Island to Island half marathon. Sometimes i’m super happy with the outcome, other moments i’m incredibly confused and disappointed. Part of me hated this race but at the same time i PR’d a super difficult situation and would probably have loved the course on a different day. I’m sure by the end of the post i’ll have figured it out. Bear with me, I’m about to talk too much.

Friday afternoon Cameron, LE and I headed to Ocean City, settled in, grabbed my bib at the Expo and headed to the ocean for LE’s first visit. She was super adorable and treated the sand like snow. She tasted it, pushed her face in it, scrambled around the ground and dug her paws in.

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For dinner we ate at BJ’s On The Water. I ordered the blackened Salmon & a baked potato. It was simple and tasty!

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Leading up to race day i was worried about a couple things. #1- the weather was forecasted on and off for rain & 10+ mph wind. I could deal with rain, but running fast with a headwind is tough. #2 I didn’t want to say this, but i think it’s important–I started my period and was dealing with some extreme fatigue, lower back and leg pain. Ladies, i know you get me. Gentlemen i’m glad you don’t ever have to deal with it.

4:30am, race day morning came quickly. I sunscreened and body glided up. Ate my usual breakfast: a Honey Stinger Waffle, banana and pb, water with Nuun and a coffee to go. When I stepped outside i immediately heard the HOWLING wind and ocean. Let’s just say it was the loudest 5AM has ever sounded. Cameron drove me up to the shuttles for our point to point race (yes he is the best husband). There were sets of busses departing to the start line at 5:15, 5:45 & 6:15am. I was on the 5:45 bus which should have allowed an hour before the start of the race for any pre-race things to do.

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I sat on the bus with a a girl named Caitlyn. We talked about running, traveling and our pups while passing the excruciatingly long time we sat on the bus. 40 minutes, not moving. All the extra time I had set aside for a warm up mile, stretches, bathroom, was gone. The bus didn’t leave until 6:28 and when we arrived at the starting area I checked my bag and had to pee in the open behind a sand dune because the port-a-potty lines were out of control. And again, I had no warm up or time to do anything but get to the front of the start line. I don’t know if it’s just my luck, but i can’t get a warm up in to save my life!

I shook off all the negative thoughts, Taylor Swift style and laughed about peeing in public, started my watch and before I had time to think, the race started!

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The girl in the pink arm sleeves above is the one I choose to follow. Her pace was right on target and she looked strong and relaxed. The other two women in the picture were always nearby as well. We were all fighting for the 3rd position almost the entire race.

I’m very thankful I spent time developing the mental rigor to fight and keep pushing when all the body wants is to stop. This by far, was the most difficult race i have done. I remember distinctly looking down at my watch 3.5 miles in and realizing the wind was NOT going to let up.

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We experienced mostly gusts. We ran NE into the headwind, in a straight line, on an open road for 13 miles. I had to work my ass off to maintain a 7:15-ish pace. I accepted that running in wind like this was going to slow pace a bit and all I could do is run based on effort. I tried to mimic a 6:50 effort as best as I could.

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mile 1

All the mantras I had practiced with got thrown out the window. I didn’t feel like a brave dog, I didn’t feel like a machine. I didn’t feel fast, but i felt tough. I changed the mantra mid-race to “work for it, earn it, fight!” Also we listened to a podcast earlier in the day about taking risks and the dude said, “Mother nature ain’t shit! Come at me!” Again, a funny mantra that fit the situation and calmed me down.

There was a quick mile around 6 that turned into a neighborhood for a loop where the wind was almost non existent. I checked my watch, i was hitting that 6:50/pace I so desperately had trained for, but the moment I turned back on the highway and into Hell’s Wind Tunnel, my pace slowed right back down to the 7:15s. One thing helping me not throw in the towel, was realizing my effort was reflecting the training, not the numbers on my watch. I reminded myself periodically that my effort was a sub 1:30 and I could still PR if i didn’t give up.

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I swear to you the wind progressively got worse the further north we ran. My ipod was useless. I couldn’t hear the music well because the wind was so loud. I wasn’t paying attention to music anyway with all the internal pep talking. This half felt like the last 6 miles of a marathon. My body wanted to stop, i hurt, my legs felt like lead. I had never wanted a race to end this badly. I hate thinking like that, but I just wasn’t having as much fun as I wanted.

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Just when I thought I couldn’t keep going, we were at mile 12, back on the boardwalk of Ocean City where the shuttles picked us up earlier that morning. Before I even tried looking, I spotted Cameron and LE! I needed that so bad! I slowed down a second to say hi and took off to finish the race with a small boost. Half mile later was the turn around, and for the first time the ENTIRE RACE the wind was at my back.

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don’t mind my lovely form, i would have hurled myself over the finish if it meant i could stop running.

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The picture above really says it all. I was so relieved it was over, so happy I PR’d and so ready to see my family.

I know a lot of this post seems to be a complaint. I hate that about running sometimes. I ran a great race for the conditions. I talked myself into NOT quitting for 10 miles. I’m proud this didn’t come easy. There will never be perfect weather or race conditions or warm ups (Cameron so lovingly reminded me). But what can be perfected is the ability and drive to try and do my best on the given day. Gratitude, played a big part in this race.

I finished in 1:35:36 official. Here are the splits!

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We hung out in the finishers tent and waited for the awards ceremony. Cameron thought i would have at least got an age group award and he was right!

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yes my lips are purple. i was freezing!

And finally the rewarding meal after the race! I had crepes (sausage and pancake crepe) and potatoes with tons of coffee at the Bayside Skillet.

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Here’s the Good, the Bad and the Otherwise!

The Bad

-Weather. Wind is my LEAST favorite element to run in. I conquered it. Mother Nature ain’t shit! (wait, should this go in “The Good” column?)

-Warm Ups. This was actually out of my control.

-Period that lead to fatigue & lower back pain. Again, not in my control.

-Accidentally drank Gatorade. Grabbed the wrong cup and almost puked it up. Seriously don’t do anything new on race day.

The Good

-I didn’t stop other than water stations. I wanted to stop…Oh i wanted to stop, but i knew if i started walking it was going to be harder to continue.

-I placed 4th overall female and 1st in my age group!

-I PR’d by 31 seconds!

-This was my first complete sub 8 half marathon (all my miles were under 7:30/pace!)

-When I crossed the finish line, Maria (girl in the pink arm sleeves) gave me a huge hug and congratulated me. She finished 3rd! Super nice girl. Then I talked to the dude in the orange shirt and long hair–he said i cruised past him on the bridge and looked really strong. I told him I thought he looked great, which was why i was running behind him. Basically runners are awesome and I love the support! There were tons of high fives and congrats at the end of this race!

-My friend, Emmeline sent me a text the night before the race. She knew all the stuff I was dealing with and she told me there’s nothing I can do physically, but not to let it drag me down mentally too. Thank you Emmeline. You were my secret coach during the race.

-Having Cameron and LE there was my favorite. Cameron held her up at one point and just yelled “I didn’t make a sign!”

All the good stuff definitely outweighs the bad. As usual getting it all out on paper computer sorts all my thoughts out. Thanks for hanging if you made it this far!

Last Week

Monday: 7m combo tempo (2m warm up, 2 x 1m @ 6:11/pace, 2 x 400s @ 5:56/pace, 2m cool down)

Tuesday: 20min shoulders/core

Wednesday: 5m easy 9:41/pace

Thursday: 4m easy

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 13.1m Ocean City Island to Island 1/2 marathon 1:35:36 7:15/pace

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 29 

Anyone else race this weekend? How did it go?