Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Getting It Done

Some days, I need to be creative to fit in my training. Sunday was one of those days. Fortunately, I was able to run my 16 miler on Saturday so all I had to do on Sunday was a 6-7 mile shakeout run. My original plan was to wake up early to run before we traveled to Telluride for my son's hockey game. I woke up to 9 inches of wet snow and the roads were yet to be plowed. So plan B.

The snow was a lot heavier than usual!
Living in the mountains, balancing work, and family commitments, it is important to have a plan B and a plan C and sometimes a D!

I dressed in my running clothes, and we drove to Telluride. I had my husband let me out of the car before we hit town so the dog and I ran 4 miles to the rink, I dropped Jackson off at the car, and I tagged on an extra 3 miles towards Bridal Veil Falls. Luckily, I have run in Telluride frequently (usually between youth hockey games), so I knew where I needed to go. Once I was done, I could focus on my family and enjoy the games.

Here was my view as I ran towards the rink and during my extra bit.

To use the Brooks motto, I run happy in Telluride. The box canyon is dramatic and I have such fond memories of racing the Imogene Pass Run a few years back. IPR is a bucket list race. I run mountains all the time, but the San Juan Range is one of the most fantastic areas to run in Colorado.

Planning my week of training, I usually look for any roadblocks that may come my way, and tentatively have another plan. Having a back-up plan has allowed me to be more consistent in my weekly mileage.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I love my job! One of my students brought this into class today. I have very thoughtful and kind group of students and parents. In my next race, I may have to visualize myself breaking the tape like the picture on the cake!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


The long run I took today was almost 40 degrees warmer than last weekend’s long run.

This was taken after last week's run
I am thankful that January is coming to a rapid end. It was a cold and lonely January. Over half of my morning runs before work had to be cancelled due to extreme wind chill and temperatures way below zero. I had to be creative and flexible to keep my weekly mileage where it needed to be as the Moab Red Hot 33k approaches quickly.

To compensate for the lack of mileage, I have been committed to quality. At least once a week if not twice, I have been diligent with vertical runs, hill repeats, and intervals, both outside and inside. On the treadmill, I have been playing with the elevation setting. I have been setting the incline at 4% during mile repeats or running 3 miles at 7% with the last 400 set near 10%.

I try to imagine that I running here when I am on the treadmill:

Especially when I feel like this:

How do you deal with setbacks or changes with your weekly running plans?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Winter Running

Whew! This topic can take days to talk about--appropriate dress, temperature, and footing to name a few.

I didn’t always embrace winter running. In college, indoor track season started in January so I had no choice but to brave the Minnesota winters. When I moved to Colorado, my winter runs were sporadic. As I look back on my early running logs, my monthly miles from November through March were inconsistent and low. Living at 8,000 feet, the weather can easily rule your life!

The past few years, I broke this pattern and it has made a positive impact on my overall fitness and summer racing. There are a few attributes that I can state to this change in my training.
  • Turning 40! I couldn’t take my running for granted anymore. Consistent training was the key to staying injury free.
  • Training partners! I have a few friends who will meet me at 5:30 am to run before work. Knowing that a friend is waiting for me in the dark and cold propels me out of bed in the morning (3x a week).
  • Early season race. I have run a race in February orMarch the past few seasons. This helps me focus on getting a long run in as well as moderately high weekly mileage.
Last weekend, I wanted to add a little spice to my runs. There is a mountain where the local ski area grooms the road to allow people to skin (ski uphill). Our recent cold weather had made the road pretty firm. So I strapped on my “spikes”, and headed up the road. 

Check out my Brooks! They are pimped out for a fast winter run! Once I started running, I forgot about the spikes. They are more light weight than they look.

My reason for this run was to be able to climb over 3 miles for a consistent effort. Once I finished, I believe that the main benefit was a super fast descent.  Winter running messes with my downhill mojo. The icy roads change my form and I am very cautious. Not on this run, I was able to let it rip! I focused on proper downhill form and quick turnover.

I did allow myself to look up and enjoy the views as I was cranking downhill.

I passed many uphill skiers on the way down to my car. My favorite person I ran by was a mountain biker. He had huge, fat tires that are designed for snow. I guess he is missing summer, too!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What's Your Magic Number?

Today my number was 14. Other days, it has been 21 or 3 and I am sure I can think of time when it has been closer to 45. I never start a run thinking of this number. It just happens. The magic number is the number of minutes I have been running once I am comfortable in my pace and my thoughts settle.

I wasn’t aware of the negotiating in my brain. I set out to run a recovery run of 6 miles. My brain was thinking I should turn early…the next bend, the tree, or the sign. Before knew it, my brain turned off, my stride felt effortless, and I was committed to my original run.

Do you have a magic number or a trick to keep on going when the mind and body doesn’t want to?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Brand Spanking New Running Log

I love the New Year. Not the holiday so much, but starting fresh with a new running log. As you can see, my log takes a beating as the year progresses. Bibs, race maps, entry confirmations get stuffed in the pages as the days go by. A new log symbolizes new goals and possibilities for me.

The 2012 log is sectioned off as well as stuffed with bibs, workout ideas, course maps, gift certificates, pictures, etc…

I am already stuffing the new log with important documents for this year.

Rereading your log can provide a powerful insight about your year as a runner. I had a particularly bad race this June. Nothing went right. Nothing felt good. It was a tough 14.5 miles up a 14er. At 45 years of age, I don’t always feel great in a race, but I rarely feel awful. That day was awful. The next day, I read my entries leading up to the race. There were 2 red flags that may have created the issues I had. I also know that every day will not be your day in a race, but a log provides insights into your training. My next race, I created a different week leading up to it and I had an opposite experience.

I “rearrange” my log to make it work for me. I create a bar graph that tracks mileage, a column that keeps track of races, another one for cross training (Pilates, uphill skiing, biking) as well as a column to list my longest run and quality workouts for the week. This keeps me honest and aware. I also have pages to reflect on races, I create a list of when I purchased my shoes and the mileage that I started running in them. After 2 bouts of plantar fasciitis, I am very careful with my shoes. I also use it to gauge effort for previous runs on the same trail. If I need to find a 2 ½ hour run, I look back in my log & find the trail run that works for that day.

You don’t need a running specific calendar or log. For a few years, I used the free calendar the teacher’s union gave out each fall. The space became limiting so I changed to the one I use now. I have seen other’s create a log out of a blank journal that can be bought almost anywhere. Find what works for you. It is very satisfying adding up the weekly miles, graphing the progress, and as mentioned before, keeping me honest and healthy in my training.