a life hiccup & refocusing on houston marathon.

Luke and I have officially been in Steamboat for a full year! We absolutely love our small town life and feel so grateful to live where we do. Life’s not too shabby when you wake up to this each morning…


I’ve spent the last two hours typing and re-typing the next paragraph. I then realized that in the past I’ve really shared every. little. detail. of my life. Is that really necessary? Probably not. I will admit there have been some BIG hiccups in life the last two weeks. Hiccups that we essentially had no control over by any means. The only thing we could control was our reaction…

Unfortunately one of my reactions was to push back my marathon training by a week. Not my original intention.. but that’s just kind of what happened. I still ran, but I didn’t really enjoy it… I felt unfocused and wanted to be doing anything else other than running. I then beat myself up that it was so unlike me to be so lax and unfocused about marathon training… especially during the FIRST WEEK.

So my 14 week training plan has now turned into a 13 week training plan with a 5k & 1/2 marathon scheduled as tune up races. I ran a measly 23.5 miles last week and wrote out some “guidelines” to take note of to help ease me into this 13 week adventure…


I call it a 13 week adventure because I’m feeling a little unsure if that’s enough time to be ready for what I’d like to do at Houston Marathon. Luke tells me I still have a big enough base from this summer, and that I have nothing to worry about… but I mean.. doesn’t that only apply for so long?! I guess we’ll see…

This go round we’re taking a new perspective on the ol’ training plan. For my past marathons my training plans have been very similar. It’s time to try something new! Typically I’m all about spilling my guts about my training… but I think this go round I’d just like to keep quiet  and maybe share what worked or what didn’t work in about 13 weeks time. I know for some of you that sheds a light of hope that my blog will become less obnoxious.. (jk, kind of). No worries.. I’m still just as obnoxious on twitter!

united way turkey trot recap & last CIM long run.

i knew a few weeks ago we were going to be able to go down to denver for a quick trip over thanksgiving. i decided to take advantage of this && find a turkey trot  to use as my last speed work session before CIM. i found the mile high united way turkey trot (4 mile race) in wash park. the course laps around the outside of the park && then ends on the inner loop of wash park. i LOVE running in wash park && i also knew i’d get to see quite a few roost teammates — SOLD! i decided to set a reasonable goal for myself.

seemed like a very reasonable goal to me!

the morning of the race i woke up && still had a nasty cold that i had been battling for about five days. since my cold stayed from my neck up, i decided it was okay to still run a hard effort that day. (even though i sounded like a 50 year old woman named blanche who smokes too much && drinks five cosmos a day).

to avoid a horrendous parking situation, luke && i arrived at the race about an hour && a half early. enough time to park close to the start, pick up our packets && then dink around posting pictures of our bibs on instagram.

when we lined up in the first corral we had already come across quite a few of our friends who were running as well. always a good feeling.

the race starts && i take off way too fast, naturally. i’m running well under a 7 minute mile.  i knew well enough that i wouldn’t be able to hold that pace that day. by the time i reel myself back in i clocked the first mile in 7:02. i was feeling absolutely awesome && decided to just try && hold what i had. i could do that for three miles.

sure, it clearly wasn’t a negative split. but i’m honestly pretty proud of only a 6 second difference from my fastest mile & my slowest mile. also, for a chick with a cold — running a faster pace than my sea level 5k PR for a FOUR mile race is pretty cool to me!

*toot toot*

yeah. tooted my own horn on that one.

official results.

happy lady.

also, a four mile feels just like a 5k… but longer. it’s also 10k face worthy…


luke was pretty pleased with his race as well! we were both kind of unsure what to expect.

two days later we headed back to wash park to get our last “long run” of ten miles in for CIM training. with the construction going on, we would have to run four laps. i decided to alternate my laps between an “easy” && “good” effort. it felt super solid && i was actually getting a thrill from pushing myself harder & harder.

with a great race && some good long runs/speed work the last few weeks, i’m feeling really confident for 26.2!

the two 20 milers – CIM

so i’ve already run both of my planned 20 milers for CIM. the second 20 miler was actually scheduled for next wknd, but needed to bump it up a week because i figured trying to squeeze in a 20 miler && being on call for work next wknd might not be the best of ideas! fluid training plan, see how that works, no stress here!!!

these 20 milers were like night && day from one another.

my first 20 miler was tougher than EITHER of the marathons i’ve run or training run i’ve done. also read as: my slowest training run to date.


i started this one from home. ran the two miles down the mini mountain we live on (which is obvs a breeze running down, but tough as balls to run back up. esp at mile 18 of 20) to the stagecoach reservoir. i had to run with a camelbak because there is no where to refill a handheld out here. hello next-day-sore shoulders. i honestly wanted to stick my thumb out at mile 18 to hitch hike the two miles home – or cry – not even joking. i was flat worn out. definitely didn’t feel like i was training for a road marathon.

my second 20 miler (yesterday) was my best, strongest && fastest training run to date. still on cloud nine about it. we were down in denver for the wknd to wrap up a few more things after the move. figured it would be fun to get my 20 done while we were in town. aka: A LITTLE MORE OXYGEN && HELLO FLATNESS!!! ended up running the “old faithful” route. from REI, up cherry creek, lapping wash park forever && then back. where i did all of my long runs when training for portland marathon 2011.


20 miler number one starting at 7,800 ft
3:13:59 avg pace = 9:49
elevation gain = 1,109 ft
fuel: 3 vanilla clif shots, 1 blueberry larabar (this chick was hungry okay?!)

20 miler number two starting at 5,280 ft
2:43:28 avg pace = 8:10
elevation gain = 224 ft
fuel: 2 vanilla clif shots, 1 apple cinnamon hammer

my legs felt absolutely destroyed after the first 20. it took me almost all week to rehab them. i ended up taking three rest days last week. absolutely no muscle soreness after the second 20 miler. even ended up with 40 miles for the week with three off days, neato dorito!!!

i’m thankful to have been able to run in denver this wknd. even though my spirits are good about running in steamboat, it’s very tough (for me ). example: doing what used to be an easier paced speed workout, now ends with a vom sesh. guess it means i’m ditching out a good effort in this mountain town. this past wknd gave me a much clearer picture of what i’m maybe capable of running at CIM.

will you be seeing a goal post from me for CIM. nope. just happy to be running healthy.

for anyone keeping track i also finished out october with 136.2 miles!

the 22 + 24 milers!

The last two long runs — check! My longest training runs for Portland Marathon are now 20, 20, 22 & 24! The first 20 miler — SUCKED!  The second 20 miler being MUCH better than my first. The 22 was great & fun, however I think my most successful run would be 24!

Before I get started on the long runs–Sarah came to visit a few weeks ago! It was SO good to see her! I swore off Denver Trail Runners until AFTER Portland… because I am RIDIC clumsy. However, once I found out she wanted to go… I was all for it! We got in a pretty good run! Well, Sarah & Paula had an AWESOME run, they did some work on that trail! This was when I was starting to get sick… So I was coughing, semi puking & gagging all over the place. Glad I had Luke to keep me company!

after the trail run

*LOVE* this picture of us!

the 22 miler

I got to run with Paula, Sarah & Erica! Sarah & Paula are both running Chicago Marathon & Erica is training for Twin Cities Marathon! We started from REI in Denver, took the Cherry Creek trail, did a few loops at Wash & then back! We started nice and early at 7 am! The weather had cooled earlier in the week… so it wasn’t really necessary to start any earlier. I had my typical oatmeal /chia seeds / honey before we started. The run started very nicely! Running along Cherry Creek trail, chatting, holding a nice pace. We did this until Wash Park where Erica joined us! She had 14 on deck for the day. I had to use my inhaler FOUR different times during our laps at the park. My respiratory system was totally on the fritz! A few times Sarah had to tell me “take deep breaths!” We were supposed to do 5 laps at Wash, however…apparently I’m the only one who likes is CRAZILY IN LOVE with Wash Park. So much to look at! People watch, pretty flowers…DOGGIES EVERYWHERE! A decision to just tack on a few miles once we got back to REI was made. We cut Wash Park down to 4 laps. As we were finishing up our last loop before heading out of the park, Sarah had some EXTREME achilles pain. Luckily, Erica had trigger point in her car & saved the day! I’m proud to say that even with such pain, Sarah finished the run—LIKE A BOSS! Towards the end it got pretty toasty! The last 3 miles were hellacious. Admit it girls!!! So glad we had each other — the support one another talk was going around like crazy!

the start–i think.

heyyy-o mr. muscles fireman!

Erica saving the day with trigger point!

After the 22!

(totally ganked these pictures from Sarah!)

(apparently I have super bad posture after running 22 miles.)

Might I say that running with those girls is EXTREMELY entertaining. Sarah is a HOOT & an absolute BLAST! Cheering others on, chasing geese, telling stories, saying the most HYSTERICAL things you’ve ever heard in your life! I miss that girl! MOVE BACK TO COLORADO ALREADY!

After the run, we grabbed Pumpkin Spiced Latte’s & chatted a while! Paula & Sarah took a dip in the river .. basically an ice bath! I was slowly but surely becoming a cranky pants “GIVE ME FOOD” monster–so I skipped out on the river & was on a food mission! So proud of all of them! I can’t wait to run with these girls again!

The results of our 22 miler!

22.02 miles in 3:28:40

9:28 pace

total elevation gain 305 ft.

the 24 miler

It went AWESOME! Amy S. told me about Runner’s Edge…basically a group where they set up courses for long runs…water almost every 2 miles—great stuff! Wonderful group of people! I originally decided to start out with the 4 hour pace group. However, I quickly learned that was kind of a bad idea. We were seriously running an 11:06 ranged pace…. Then I realized. OHHHHH.. A LOT of people train a minute behind race pace. I knew the pace would eventually pick up–but not to the pace at which I wanted to run. I eventually figured out this wasn’t the right group for me… So I broke off about mile 1 ish. I then tried like the dickens to drop down to a pace that would put me around the same pace as my 22 miler the week before.

1 10:28.7
2 9:51.2
3 10:14.9
4 9:50.8

I caught up to the 3:50 pace group by mile 2. Stuck with them for a bit…realized I wasn’t too thrilled with that pace either. I found a gal that was just ahead of that group & we picked up our own pace. She wasn’t sure what her mileage would be for the day… So we just chatted for about a mile or 2. I left the water station faster than she did…so unfortunately that was the end of our convo!

5 9:21.9
6 9:30.9

I found myself in another conversation with a nice man at about mile 5. We ran together for a bit…then I ran through a water station.. which was where he stopped. I caught up to the 3:40 pace group & decided to settle in with them at about mile 8. There was a fellow twitter pal! Should have listened to him & started with them! There was also a girl running her first marathon on Oct 9th as well! Between myself & the two of them… we basically talked the ENTIRE time. **fun fact ** I’m pretty excited I can finally hold a conversation during a long run and not get TOO winded.

7 9:09.4
8 8:51.2
9 8:51.0
10 9:30.2
11 9:22.8
12 9:21.9
13 9:29.2
14 9:37.0
15 9:47.2
16 9:39.6
17 9:40.8

At mile 18 it breaks away from the out and back for the people wanting to do 21-24 miles. Just a tiny out & back! The girl I met, was running 22, so YAY! I didn’t have to run alone. I asked her if she was shooting for a 3:40 finish. She laughed & said…NAH, just a 4 hour finish! She then continued with “I try to train as close to race pace as I can without overdoing it. I can’t see training 1-2 mins slower on long runs…and then expect a much faster finish time!” I wanted to stop and hug her at this point. She had the EXACT same mentality as I do about long runs. Granted…I guess we are running our first marathons… newbies–clearly we know nothing. ;) :)

18 9:35.6
19 9:20.9

She broke away for her turn at mile 19. I was kinda bummed to see her run the other way–but EXCITED that I met a “newbie” with the same mentality as myself.

20 8:47.3
21 8:42.6
22 9:03.4
23 9:30.9
24 8:43.1 0.95 9:12.9

The run felt really strong! I was kinda shocked that it averaged out to almost the EXACT same pace as last weekend’s 22. I was tons more tired this time around. Then after uploading my garmin info there was nearly DOUBLE the elevation gain…minus like 3 feet. no joke. So I’m pretty pleased with that. Also about 300 something feet more than Portland!

There were a few uphill sections where I was definitely putting in like 95% effort. Overall it felt pretty comfortable. Well I mean…as comfy as your body can feel at the mile 20 point.I’m feeling pretty confident about my time goals. But we’ll see what happens! :D

**another fun fact** I didn’t have to use my inhaler once! yayyyy! :D

The results of the 24 miler :

23.95 miles in 3:46

9:27 pace

total elevation gain 704 ft.

Training rant :: side note on the 1-2 minute slower pace on LR’s** SURE, If you are an ADVANCED marathoner.. meaning you run like 4:45 – 6 minute miles for TWENTY SIX MILES–I can TOTALLY see doing LR’s at a slower pace. Doing anything under 6 minutes for 26.2 miles…TRAINING–sounds pretty intense to me. With that being said, people who can run like that.. uhm… hello…let’s throw in the words…advanced…elite… THEBOMB.COM. I’m sure they can definitely expect that & more from their bodies!

However, for the Oprah Winfrey runners (throwing myself into this range). 4:22 marathon I believe. I’m sorry, but I can’t say that there is ANYTHING advanced or elite about that. Average, yes! So it seems pretty irrelevant to me to try and train like an advanced runner/marathoner. It’s like a whole different ballgame. Work up to that point of an elite runner & THEN training like that—sure! :: end training rant*

At the same time, don’t get me wrong… running 26.2 miles isn’t by any means EASY and is hands down an AWESOME accomplishment.

In conclusion:

Aside from the first 20, the rest of my long runs were amazing! They all felt strong & had great company! I feel most confident about my 24 miler…considering the distance, gain & overall pace.

Let the taper begin!

61 mile week running recap!

I know, I know…you probably keep seeing “HIGHEST MILEAGE WEEK EVERRRR” on a few of my recent blog posts. But, yeah…61 takes the cake BY FAR! I can assure you that it will be that way until at least next year. My Portland Marathon training plan says so. ;) Next up after Portland is Colorado Marathon in Ft. Collins. So somewhere in the middle of the 18 weeks before May 6th, 2012…you will see it again. We have every intention of ramping the miles up up & up!!!

my week’s worth of running :)

Just my luck, all of my runs this last week went BEAUTIFULLY! I couldn’t have asked for a better week. I was so happy and pleased with all of them. I met all of, if not, surpassed my time goals for each workout. I know that this is extremely RARE so I have to take this moment to acknowledge how THANKFUL I am for it.

The run I would have to say I’m most proud of would be the track workout on Friday! It was originally supposed to take place on Wednesday, however, I couldn’t manage to drag myself out of bed early enough for a 10 mile work out.  So I made Wednesday my off day…you know…an off day means running a mile and doing a leg/ab work out. ;)  ANYHOO the deets on Friday’s track workout ::

I had Luke map out a route that would be 3 miles to Highlands Ranch High School track. SUCCESS! He found a route that was mainly trail, it wasn’t flat, rolled nicely. Anyways, I was going to use the 3 miles as a warm up and a cool down, aiming for a medium-slow pace.

3 mile warm up :: 25:15 (8:25 pace) …uhm what? and that felt EASY! After looking at the time I was a little concerned that maybe my warm up miles were a little too fast…

Since Luke is out of running for a month due to injury, he hasn’t been able to run with me at ALL this past week This was no different. HOWEVER, like the amazing man he is, he still drove to the track to coach me for my workout… at 6:30 am before work! What a spoiled lady. :) He said it would be a “ladder” workout. Uhm, whuttt??? I’ve heard my friend Erica speak of these… I was a tad nervous. Actually, fun fact, I get OVERLY anxious right before track workouts. Freak, I know.

Anyways the work out went as follows::

400 – 1:35 (6:19 pace)
800 – 3:33 (7:06 pace)
1200 – 5:30 (7:25 pace)
1600 – 7:44 (7:44 pace)
1200 – 5:27 (7:21 pace)
800 – 3:31 (7:02 pace)
400 – 1:33 (6:11 pace)

After the last 400, I was BEAT. I crossed the line, fell to my knees on the football field, and laid face down…I was having a hard time catching my breath…obviously, this wasn’t helping…compressing my chest and well…my face was smushed in the grass..I laid there for like 10 seconds and popped back up! It felt good to see Luke’s smiling face! I knew he was proud of me…I was proud of myself! LONGEST TRACK WORKOUT EVERRRR!

Anyways, I gave Luke a hug and a kiss as he got in his car to head to work…he told me to call as soon I was done running the three miles home. I told him I was just shooting for a 9:00-9:15 pace to cool down. I decided not to look at my watch until I got home.I picked a pace that felt good on the legs and the lungs.

3 mile cool down – 24:45 (8:15 pace)

negative splits across the board … *big smiles*

…who am I & where did these legs come from?!

The long run of the week was Saturday, 14! I was planning to do this alone. Last minute Robyn asked what I had planned! We had run together two weeks earlier and had a great run! She was supposed to be headed back to school in New York, however thanks to Hurricane Irene.. her flight was canceled! Unfortunately due to the hurricane she had to miss out on her planned half marathon….butttt… I GOT TO RUN WITH MY RUNNING TWIN AGAIN!!!! :D  Again, we had an awesome run!

Last time she mapped out the run & start point…AND PICKED THE BUN’S O STEEL RUN! It was. so. hilly. This time, I decided to map it out. I REMEMBERED/THOUGHT this route was pretty flat. BAHAHA. wrong. It just looks flat. Over the entire route there was 748 ft of gain. oopsie! But I guess over a distance of 15 miles that’s still pretty gradual…? So much for a flat-ish run. Heads up—it’s basically impossible here. We also had originally planned to only run 14…this turned into 15. We didn’t know this until a few hours later :) At the end of the run we took a look at our watches and were like…no way did we run that slow of a pace…compared to how we felt! We were movin it the whole time! So coming back home to re-map felt pretty good. Also considering how much we talk it’s a miracle our pace wasn’t a bit slower. Girl gab makes runs go so much faster and more enjoyable! I am seriously going to miss this lady!

After this run, I headed back to the house, I mentioned that my muscles were feeling a little tight… Luke then approached me with a yoga mat and foam roller… YOU’RE MEAN LUKE!!!

Oliver… helping? (ignore that awful blue wall–it’s being painted! however–like our new floors!?)

To wrap up a high mileage week, I decided an easy recovery run at Wash Park with a few friends sounded perfect! We met up around 8 am and off we went! Holly, Sarah, Erica & Dave… Luke too, however since he’s clearly not running… he took pictures! Dave broke away after the first loop, he had a 5k to race! He did great by the way! It was great running with them! Such a great group of people… we are working on making this a weekly meet up! Schedules permitting of course!

Erica, myself, Dave, Holly && Sarah

I promise we didn’t run 4 across the whole time!

Lovely week in running!

How did your running go this past week? Have you ever had a gold star week? What’s your highest mileage week while training for a marathon?

2nd 20 miler & first time marathon nerves!

So, this last 20 miler—COMPLETE turn around from my first! I am so so so so SO pleased with it! After the first one, I really had my tail between my legs. Ran it smart! Stuck to my routines that work! Fueling and hydrating the day before, sticking to the same oatmeal, chia seeds && honey as my pre long run meal, fueling with my old faithful Hammer gels during & coconut water for recovery!

This was my first long run without Luke! YES—I had to carry my own hand helds, it went very well! However, I didn’t have to run it alone! I did the first 15 miles with a new friend, Robin! She’s pretty neat! The week before I noticed we basically ran THE EXACT SAME 14 MILERS! She’s going to school in NY, but is here visiting family! We met up around 7:30 am on Saturday at Fox Hollow Golf Course. She is a little more familiar with that area than I am, she rides her bike over there with her dad all the time! So she mapped up a loop for us! However, one thing neither us seemed to look at..was ELEVATION. UFF!

The first 8 miles were ALL UP HILL! No joke! Seriously 500+ft of gain! They did not quit! It didn’t flatten out or cut us any slack until after mile 8. At about mile 3 we both started noticing that this uphill was going to keep going for a while. She apologized…however I’m actually pretty glad she mapped the route she did! It was AWESOME for training. Even though IT WAS THE HILLIEST LONG RUN OF MY ENTIRE LIFE! Curious as to how it compared to my marathon course.. I googled it. There is 432 ft worth of gain through out the Portland Marathon….over a span of TWENTY SIX POINT TWO MILES! After finding that out…I was more okay with this “buns of steel” long run mission! She had 15 miles on deck & I had 20…seeing her break away was TOUGH! However, it didn’t take much motivation to finish the last 5.

First 20 miler – 3:19 (9:56 pace) filled with cramps, barf && plenty o tears

Second 20 miler – 3:12 (9:36 pace) no cramps, barf or tears!

I still have two SUPER long runs left and am very excited for them ….what a freak…who says that?! ;)

First time marathon nerves :

I was reading reviews for Portland Marathon and from what I read apparently the corrals / start is RIDICULOUS. A lot of people were assigned into corrals that were WAYYY behind their estimated finish time? Some people got STUCK behind others and couldn’t set into their pace for the first THREE MILES?! The streets at the start are super narrow?!

What the?! *insert nerves here*

Finishing isn’t an option. I know I’ll finish. It’s just my goal finish time–it’s pretty specific. In my first half marathon I got stuck behind people for the first 1-2 miles and I KNOW it added a significant amount of time. Le Sigh. We’ll see how it goes.

Good thing I was awesome at climbing/ jumping/dodging/running as a child…it’ll make jumping corrals a lot easier ;) KIDDING…kinda.. ;)

Last year–apparently it rained the entire race.. meh–I’ve run in quite a bit of rain since I moved to CO-no big!

Haha- Okay, I guess I don’t have that many nerves about it. JUST THE START!

What were some of your nerves or worries for your first marathon? How did your first 20 miler go compared to your second? What’s the longest run you have during your marathon training?