2017: Goals and getting started

For better or for worse, 2017 is upon us.  I have never liked the idea of New Year’s resolutions, and refuse to make them.  However, I do find the beginning of a new year to be an excellent time to reflect on the previous year, and use that information to formulate a plan of attack for the upcoming one.

Things I didn’t do enough of in 2016:

  • Being kind to myself
  • Training consistently
  • Stretching and strength training
  • Eating in a way that is satisfying, and still provides quality fuel for my body
  • Saving for future plans
  • Exploring beautiful nearby places in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona through hiking, backpacking, backcountry skiing, etc.
  • Cooking actual MEALS
  • Reading for pleasure/personal growth

Things I did too much of in 2016:

  • Eating too much, and/or eating junk (not junk food, per se, but definitely not eating healthily)
  • Getting down on myself when things didn’t go as planned
  • Spending money on things I didn’t NEED
  • Stressing about things I don’t need to stress about
  • Wasting time

I would like to improve upon each of these in the upcoming year, but trying to do everything at once never works out well.  It’s a rare person who can overhaul every single thing all at once and stick with it, so instead, I’m going with baby steps – one week at a time.  This week, my focus was meal planning and cooking meals for my family, and only spending money on “needs” and not “wants.”  The meal planning and dinners went over wonderfully, and every single thing I made was voted to be a “definitely make again” recipe, and will be going into the “tried and true” family recipe binder.

The meal plan for this week:

Every single one of these was delicious.  I would highly recommend them all.

The other thing I was working on this week was getting back into the habit of tracking all my spending.  I used to be meticulous about this, but I’ve let it slide over the last couple years, and I want to get my good habits back.  Especially since we have some pretty big plans for the future that will require careful saving and planning.  So I got the old excel budget tracker file out (I am a HUGE excel nerd) and dusted it off, and have been logging all my expenses for the week.  This helps so much when it comes to curbing my spending, because I actually see it laid out in front of me, instead of just being some nebulous thing out there that I don’t really have quantified.  I’ve also put my credit card away, so I can’t spend money I don’t have.  It’s still available in case of emergencies, but it’s not the first thing I reach for anymore.  And finally, I set up an automatic $5 daily transfer to my savings.  It’s $5 per day, which isn’t really noticeable by the day, or week.  But it adds up quickly.  That’s an extra $150/month to my savings, and $1,825 per year.  And once I’m done with school and am back to having a normal income (grad student incomes are notoriously low – often close to minimum wage when you break it down by hour), I can always increase that.

As far as running-related financial things go, I made my peace with only having one (totally awesome) race for this year – the Colorado 200 Mile Endurance Run – 50 mile solo race.  I’m really hoping to do the full 200 in 2018, but for 2017, the 50 miler was the perfect option for me.  It’s beautiful, challenging, incredibly well run, and full of awesome people.  Plus then I get to volunteer at aid stations for the rest of the week and help out all the fantastic runners that I got to share trails with for the first 50 miles.  There were many other races that I wanted to have on my calendar as well.  But financially, I really needed to pick one favorite and just go with that.  And the CO 200 was an easy choice since I loved it so much last year.

One other thing I’ve been doing a lot more of lately is reading for pleasure.  As a Ph.D. student, it’s so easy to find yourself only ever reading technical journal articles.  I have always been an avid reader, and missed reading things just because I wanted to.  So I tracked down a bunch of interesting and inspiring-looking books, and have been working my way through the stack of them one (or two) at a time.  There have already been a few that I’ve enjoyed and found extremely helpful:

I found those first two (The Power of Habit and The Slight Edge) particularly interesting and useful.  I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention:

I got that book for my best friend who is an incredible person, but often doubts herself.  It took her a while to actually pick it up and read it, but once she did, the absolutely loves it and now tells everyone else to read it.  So it comes with a glowing recommendation from her.

Now that this first week is nearly done, it’s time to look ahead to plans for the coming week.  I won’t add much, because that’s when things break down and fall apart.  So instead, my focus for week 2 is to continue with the habits that I have been establishing this week, and add in a short run each day (30 minutes/3 miles), and tracking my food intake.

I should also mention the app that I found this week for habit tracking – Strides.  It’s been excellent!  Definitely worth checking out if you’re trying to create new habits (also read that Power of Habit book!).

2016: Not as planned, but still some great races

Oh my, it’s been a while!  The writing fell by the wayside last spring as I managed to get myself back on top of things with my research, and I’m actually in a pretty good place with that right now!  Unfortunately, my 2016 race season didn’t go as I had hoped, but I still enjoyed myself anyway.

For the Dirty 30 50k, I was having a fantastic day and was on track for a great PR, but my running partner ended up dangerously sick and it wasn’t safe to leave her on the trail alone and continue on myself.  Fortunately she was okay and we got her back to medical safely.  After that, it was time for the Grand Circle Capitol Reef 50 M, which was beautiful and HARD, and had pretty aggressive cutoffs.  I made it to mile 30-something and felt fine but the course was almost entirely uphills and the few bits of downhill were extremely technical, so it was slow going and I missed the cutoff.  It was still a beautiful and fun day, nonetheless.  Shortly after that was my one victory of the season – the first leg of the Rugged Running relay team at the Colorado 200!  This race was an absolute blast.  I originally intended to just volunteer since my coach, Michele Yates, is the race director.  But at the last minute one of the relay runners had an injury, so I hopped in and took the 20 mile first leg.  It was beautiful!  My relay leg wasn’t too crazy – the more intense climbs and breathtaking views are later in the race.  But it was still fun and challenging, and I loved every minute of it.  Not to mention, my team was totally awesome and had some really incredible and inspiring women on it!  I’m honored to have run with them.  After my leg of the relay I resumed my volunteer duties at the aid stations, and had a blast there as well.  Everyone at this race was excellent – the runners and their crews, the medical team, and the volunteers.  I can’t wait to be back again in 2017.

The CO 200 course

The CO 200 course

And then it was time for the Run Rabbit Run 100.  And yet again, life got in the way.  In 2015, I injured my ankle the week before the race and was unable to go more than 10 or so miles on it by race day.  This year, I had just returned from fieldwork in Iceland and got miserably sick (totally blaming my adviser for this one, since he had the same thing while we were in Iceland) with some plague-flu hybrid, and spent two and a half weeks – including race day – absolutely miserable.  So that was that.

2016 – not what I had planned, but still a pretty good year overall when it comes to running.

Now it’s time to look ahead to 2017!

Road to 100: Weeks 8 & 9 Recap

Monday:  Rest day

Tuesday:   Day 1 of our ultimate frisbee league, so there was much sprinting and speed intervals that way, plus I did a bit of speedwork on the bike once I got home.  Today was also my appointment with my RD, who was shocked at how little I was eating, given how active I am.  I’ve been struggling to lose the weight I’ve put on since starting this Ph.D. program, so she gave me a calorie target to follow for the next few weeks until we meet again.  I feel like I never stop eating to meet this goal!  Sure, I could easily meet it if I were eating junk food, but I generally avoid that stuff (thanks to my uncontrollable, raging sweet tooth once I get a taste of the stuff), so that’s not so easy!

Wednesday:  Another speedwork on the bike day.  Although it’s light out much later now (thank goodness!), it’s been cold and super windy in Boulder this week, making running outside far less enjoyable.  So a trainer workout is better than nothing!  Although the intervals were short this time, there were a lot of them, and I was feeling it pretty hard by the end.  But overall, I felt strong, and powered my way through.  I was also happy to see that even though I felt like I was nonstop stuffing my face the day before, things seemed to already be going in a much better direction, weight-wise.

Thursday:  A snowy day here in Boulder!  The trails were already covered in some snow by the time I got out of work, so I planned for another trainer session at home.  (I don’t like to run on slightly snowy trails because it’s enough to hide the rocks, but not enough to make you not trip/roll your ankles on them, and I am terrible with that.)  Later in the evening, I got on the bike and started pedaling, only to realize how much my sit bones hurt from the previous two days on the bike.  So yeah… that didn’t happen.  I have to build my saddle butt back up!  I lost it this past year since I didn’t do an Ironman – not nearly as much time on the bike.

Friday:  Friday I awoke to a beautiful, snowy Boulder!  We got 14″ of snow – way more than expected, and we had gone from 70 degrees and sunny the previous week to a winter wonderland all over again.  Colorado never ceases to keep you on your toes.  No running today since the trails weren’t packed down yet, and I had a bunch of work and prep stuff to do for my upcoming trip to Houston.

Weekend, and all of week 9:  Away in Houston for a conference all week, so things were plenty busy.  And the lingering on-again-off-again “allergies” I had been dealing with for the last week or two turned into actually being sick, so I was miserable (still am).  I completely lost my voice on Tuesday, and spent the rest of the conference whispering and squeaking at everyone.  Needless to say, I didn’t get any runs in.  I felt like crap, everything was achy, my throat was killing me, and I couldn’t breathe without coughing.  Fun times.  Once I got home from the conference, I spent most of my time passed out on my couch.  Not very glamorous.

What worked well:  Doing speed sessions on the bike when the weather isn’t cooperating.

What I struggled with:  Illness

What I will do to improve next week:  Get healthy!

Total weekly mileage:   22 bike miles before getting sick and being out of commission.

Road to 100: Week 7 Recap

Monday – Thursday:  For the most part, not a very exciting week.  I wasn’t able to train for the bulk of the week due to some lingering effects from that medical thing from the previous week.  So instead, I mostly just worked.  Boo.

Friday:  First day back!  Since I was coming back from a little medical setback, this week wasn’t about speedwork or anything really crazy.  Instead, I went out in the afternoon and busted out a strong 4.5 trail miles.  I continued to see improvement with my pace and climbing.  I still have a long way to go, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction!  Even with stopping to take the occasional picture (it was a crazy hot, and beautiful day), my average pace was still just under 12:00/mile, which used to be my awesome-busting-ass-pace.  So hooray!

Friday runNo complaints

Saturday:  Saturday was time for a nice long run.  It was a gorgeous day, and I planned to get out for a long run with Molly and another awesome runner girlfriend of ours, Cheryl.  Cheryl is totally badass, and was tapering for her first 50 mile run the following weekend, so she is far beyond my abilities – especially considering how far behind the last year of school has put me.  Needless to say, I was a little worried about running with the two of them, but also looking forward to it.  We always have a good time together on the trails.

We headed out from Cheryl’s house and started the long 2.5 mile nonstop, gradual climb up on to the mesa trail.  It only took about a quarter mile for Molly and Cheryl to pull ahead of me, and I was slogging along, bringing up the rear, and getting really upset with myself.  Here I thought I had been improving, and yet, I still suck.  WTF.

Molly and Cheryl ran along ahead and left me in the dust.  After about a mile and a half, I caught up with them (they had stopped to wait for me), and Cheryl immediately took off again.  I was pissed.  The slowest person in the group is the one who needs the rest break the most!  So I angrily said “fuck this, I’m out” and turned around to head back down the trail on my own.  They could go off and kill it together.  I was pissed and pouting.

I ran about 1/10 of a mile back down the trail, and decided to sit on a rock for a minute and just cool down.  After calming myself down, I decided to push on on my own because I knew I would be upset with myself for giving up on the run.

I started back up the trail, grumbling to myself about what turds they were being (they were fine – I was just being really grumpy).  The climb up the mesa was long and tiring, but eventually I got to the top and picked the pace back up.  From the top of one of the hills, I saw Molly and Cheryl off in the distance, and decided to try and catch them.  There were several downhills coming up, which is my strength, so it was worth a shot.

After another mile or so, I managed to catch up with them.  I was cranky and a little grumpy, but happy to see them again.  Cheryl decided to take off on her own, since she had something very specific she was trying to do that day, and Molly and I continued on together.

After Molly gave me some tough love – basically telling me to shut up and stop being a brat, which I was (thank goodness for training partners who know you well) – we ended up having a great day!  The trail was perfect and runnable, and we wandered our way south out of Boulder for several miles until it was time to turn around and head back.  We ended up doing 14.25 miles and had a lovely afternoon after all.

Saturday runEnjoying the Mesa Trail at the base of the Flatirons

Sunday:  Molly and I were both rather sore and tired from our long run the day before, so today we celebrated the fourth anniversary of her spinal fusion by enjoying a delicious brunch at our favorite indulgent breakfast place, Snooze.

What worked well this week:  Talking myself into continuing on for the long run on Saturday.  I could have easily given up and headed home, but I’m glad I stuck with it.

What I struggled with:  Medical things outside of my control.

What I will do to improve next week:  Get back on my training plan.  I’ve been doing pretty well with it, and I want to continue with that momentum.

Total weekly mileage:   18.75 miles.  Not terrible considering I was out of commission for most of the week.

Road to 100: Week 6 Recap

Monday:  Monday was scheduled for a tempo workout, which I combined with the missed speed workout from the previous week.  I did these on the trainer since it was already dark by the time I had a chance to train that day.  I made sure to push hard on the tempo and speed intervals and felt really good!  They were tough to complete, but I forced myself to maintain the intensity and not drop off at the end.  By the time I was done, I had completed 16 miles in 53 minutes, which ends up being an 18.1 mph average pace!  A marked improvement from previous trainer workouts!

Tuesday:  Rest day!  Not only did I have a minor medical thing done in the morning that requires 24 hours of no exercise, Tuesday was also caucus day here in Colorado.

Oh. My. God.  It was INSANE.

I waited in line for an hour and a half.  The line wrapped around the school and athletic fields and onto the track.  By the time everyone made it inside, precincts had already voted and we missed the whole thing.  We were PISSED.  Fortunately, my precinct captains tallied the latecomers votes as well, and added them in.  But MAN, that was some horribly run caucusing.  Even if I had been able to train, I wouldn’t have made it home or to the gym in time.  By the time I got home it was late and I was totally wiped out.

Wednesday:  Speed day!  My boyfriend and I went over to the indoor track later in the evening so I could get my speed workout in while he played some basketball. (I do not partake, as I hardcore suck at basketball.)  I busted my butt for the speed intervals, which got shorter with each round.  Somewhere around the middle of the workout, I felt my right hamstring start to get a little tight and uncomfortable.  I must have tweaked it at some point earlier in the workout.  I managed to finish the intervals, but cut the cool down a little short because by that time, my leg was rather bothersome.  Instead, I worked on stretching it out before we headed home.  Overall, it was a good workout, and I got the key stuff done, so I was happy with that.

Thursday – Saturday:  I had intended to get some runs in these days, but my hamstring continued to plague me whenever I would walk, climb stairs, or really, exist.  So I gave myself a couple days to let whatever I did to it go away, and tried to stretch and roll it out as best I could.  This proved to be tricky, since it was more my upper hamstring/groin area.  I had a hard time getting the foam roller to be effective, but I did the best I could.

Sunday:  My guy, my pup, Molly, and I all headed out for a fun afternoon trail run down on the Flatirons Vista trail in South Boulder – one of our favorites.  The boys sprinted on ahead – positively bounding down the trail – while Molly and I made our way along behind them.  This was not my day.  No matter what I did, everything felt like it took 1000 times more effort than it should.  I felt like I was positively busting my ass the entire time, and moving so slowly.  I was getting super pissed at myself, and fortunately, Molly knows how this goes, so she let me just bitch to myself for a while and vent it out.


Once we were on the long final downhill on our way back to the car, I started to get a bit more rational.  Looking at things objectively:

  1. My hamstring felt okay.
  2. I ran all the uphills, which I never do.  Ever.  Even the really long ones!
  3. My overall pace was 11:35/mi.  This is a huge trail pace PB for me.  I am usually thrilled if I am in the 12s.  And today I was sub-12.  By a decent margin.  And that included stopping for puppy poop breaks.  And the occasional brief walk break.


By the time we reached the car, I had cheered up quite a bit.  Yes, I felt like pure crap the entire run, but maybe that’s because I was pushing myself harder than I have in the past?

What worked well this week:  I don’t think anything worked particularly well… but I’m really proud of my crappy/not crappy run on Sunday.

What I struggled with: Minor hamstring injury.  But hopefully I’ve got that under control now.

What I will do to improve next week:  Lots of stretching!  Also, more time on trails.  I’ve been doing my speedwork indoors since that’s much easier for intervals.  But I think all my other runs really need to be on the trails.  I feel like that might have also played into my crappy feeling on Sunday.

Total weekly mileage:   Not as much as I hoped.

Road to 100: Week 5 Recap

Monday:  Rather than stressing about trying to make up for my missed runs last week – as I often do – I kept on going with the plan as written.  Today was a tempo day.  I busted by butt all day and cranked out stuff at work (hooray!), and was planning on heading over to the gym once it got dark and doing my run and a nice long swim.  Once I headed out of work, it had gotten rather cold in Boulder, and I wasn’t dressed for wandering quite a ways over to the gym and back.  So I headed home with the plan to get warmer clothes and head back over later.  Once I headed back out to the gym, the snow had started to fall and the roads were getting a bit dicey.  Instead, I turned back and did my workout on the bike trainer while I made some headway on GoT season 2.  (I have a lot of catching up to do before April.)  I was proud of myself for still getting things done (I am able to do these workouts on the trainer as well, so it was still as written) – even when things didn’t go as planned.  Plus I managed to sustain 21 mph for my tempo section of the workout, so that was pretty sweet!

Tuesday:  I wanted to go home after work sooooo badly today.  It was cold out and I was tired from powering through sample analysis all day, but instead of turning to go home, I forced myself to head to the gym and kept reminding myself that I would be glad I did once I got there.

I was right!

Tonight was a speedwork night, and since the intervals changed length every time, I couldn’t program that into my watch, so I decided to run on the treadmill to make things easier.  I figured I could do the math once I started each interval with the clock right in my face.  It worked well.

I wanted to push myself on this speed day, since things are very low volume right now – quality, not quantity.  I ended up doing my speed intervals in the low 8s, which felt fast but sustainable.  I was really happy with that!  I was hoping to swim afterwards, but by the time I was done I was tired and hungry, so food won that battle.

Wednesday:  Today should have been a tempo and hill day, but I was working all day, and had plans for dinner and a show (The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) with one of my girlfriends that night.  To make things a little more manageable, I decided to forgo the workout for today and make it a rest day instead.  Also, the show was hilarious.

Thursday:  I went to sleep Wednesday night feeling horribly guilty for missing my hill workout, and extra motivated by the beautiful weather.  So I decided to make Thursday a tempo and hill day.  I enlisted one of my work friends to go do the Wednesday tempo and hill workout in the afternoon, and we had a great time.  5 minute hill repeats up Mt. Sanitas is no joke!  I really wanted to get these in, since climbing is my biggest weakness.  So I made sure to run – albeit a slow shuffle – the entire interval, and not wuss out.  No matter how much I didn’t want to do them.  I was proud of us to sticking it out.  I had hoped to also do the speedwork session that was originally scheduled for that day later that evening, but I was wiped after hill repeats, and wanted to be fresh for speedwork.

Friday:  I originally intended to do that speed workout today, but ended up working alllllllll day and all night instead.  Way less fun.

Saturday:  Saturday ended up being my long day of the week.  I went for a hike on the Mesa trail with one of my girlfriends and our dogs in the morning, and then met my boyfriend for a run up at Walker Ranch afterwards.  I was hoping to do the whole 7.5 mile Walker loop, but it was a total slop-fest, which I wasn’t expecting.  Neither of us brought traction, and parts of the downhills were rather dicey with slick snow and slush, so we did an out and back and enjoyed the beautiful day anyway.  It was so nice to run with him!  Looking forward to lots more.

Sunday:  Sunday was mostly spent as a work day, while wistfully looking out the window at the beautiful weather.  But fortunately, I was able to squeeze in a short run around the neighborhood with Molly and the dogs in the evening.  Even though it was short, it felt great just to get out.

What worked well this week:  Doing the hill workout with my friend made a big difference in me completing it.  I think I would have been far more likely to wuss out on that second interval if I had been alone.

What didn’t work well this week:  Mud season really drives me nuts.

What I struggled with:  Food!  I keep going back and forth between not eating enough, and eating too much.  Trying to find that optimal balance that will allow me to complete my workouts to the best of my ability, while at the same time trying to lose the excess weight I put on from school stress.  My body clearly responds best when I keep my carb intake low, but when I eat high fat, protein, and fiber, that keeps me quite full on not too much.  But numerically (calories, volume), I should be eating more.  I made an appointment with a dietitian to get this fine tuned this month.  So hopefully I will have that sorted out soon.

What I will do to improve next week:  Run with friends more.  If I do workouts on the trainer (totally acceptable), make sure to push myself so I’m not just spinning away on the important tempo or speed intervals.  Make sure to get a really good long run in.

Total weekly mileage:  16.4 mi running, plus 7 mi on the trainer for a tempo workout (would have worked out to another 3 miles or so running).

Road to 100: Week 4 Recap

Monday:  Theme of the day: DOMS is a bitch.  I spent the day stiffly wandering around work and trying to roll out and stretch out my quads and hamstrings.  I haven’t done strength training in a long time, so I was really feeling that workout from Sunday.

Tuesday:  Speedwork day!  The intervals today were twice as long as the previous session, and I was feeling it.  But they were still manageable.  I’ve enjoyed running on the indoor track instead of a treadmill.  Besides boring me to tears, I feel like my gait changes on a treadmill, and it’s not quite the same.  Afterwards, I made sure I stretched and did some planks before heading home.  I’m trying to get in the habit of stretching after my workouts, since I’ve been horrible about that for years.

Wednesday:  Today was a short tempo day.  I took the dogs out for this run around the neighborhood to enjoy the beautiful afternoon.  Jade wasn’t loving the tempo part of the run, but she held on!  This workout felt way short compared to my usual, but I keep reminding myself to just stick with what Michele has written, and trust the plan.  Quality, not quantity.  🙂  I definitely ended the evening considering adding in some swim and bike miles as well though.

Thursday – Saturday:  Beautiful days in Boulder!  I was hardcore itching to get out on a trail and just run my brains out, but instead spent the whole time analyzing samples in windowless rooms.  Woooooooooo…  Trying to crank out this paper before the conference in March is really killing my running productivity.

Sunday:  Ski day at Loveland!  It wasn’t a run, but I definitely got a good workout in nonetheless.  I was hoping to knock out something when I got home, but by the time we got back it was getting dark and I was totally wiped out.  I ended up sleeping for 11 hours that night.  Yowza.

What worked well this week:  I started the week out strong, and got my workouts in as written.  Things fell by the wayside when I let my work stress take over.

What didn’t work well this week:  Not being as productive as I would like at work.  This caused my running time to get eaten up by more work as the week went on.

What I struggled with:  I’m trying to not add in extra mileage and just trust Michele’s low volume start.  I feel like I should be running more – my standard weekday run is usually around 6 miles or so, so anything less than that feels weird.

What I will do to improve next week:  Be more efficient at work and keep the distractions to a minimum.  This means socializing, random internet browsing, etc.

Total weekly mileage:  NOT ENOUGH.  Let’s not even talk about it this week.

Road to 100: Week 3 Recap

Monday:  Food poisoning recovery day.  Not my finest moment.  But by the end of the day, I was feeling mostly better.  There was no way in hell I was running today though.

Tuesday:  Crazy day squeezing in work, hut trip preparations, and a curling match (our first win!).  Yes, I am on a curling team:


I knew I was going to get some pretty solid workouts in in the upcoming days, so today was just a frantic rush to get everything done before heading out on the hut trip Wednesday morning.  Even then, I didn’t finish packing until about 2am.

Wednesday – Friday: My first hut trip!  My boyfriend and I headed to the outskirts of Breckenridge for a backcountry skiing trip up to Ken’s Cabin.  This was my first hut trip, and I was super excited.  I’ve wanted to do one of these since moving to Colorado.

We got to the trailhead around 2:30 in the afternoon or so, so if we were speedy, we could make it to the hut before dark.  The trail up to the hut is actually a dirt road that’s closed in the winter, so it was super easy to follow, and a really gentle grade.  I felt pretty comfortable skinning up the trail on the AT skis after only a few minutes, which was a pleasant surprise.  Unfortunately, my rental boots (I don’t have my own AT setup yet, so I rented skis and boots for this trip) were pretty much the worst things I’ve ever had on my feet ever – and I’m including my collection of 5 inch heels in that group.  After about a mile or so, I was in so much agony from the pinching of my toes, and the massive blisters I could already feel forming on my pinky toes, that I had to stop every 15(ish) feet to try to wiggle things around, and try not to cry.  By 2 miles in, I sat down on the trail and tore the boots off my feet out of a combination of pain and anger.  My wonderful, sweet boyfriend (he is a saint for dealing with my whining about those boots) fashioned a makeshift sled out of my skis and boots to haul behind me, and I hiked the last snowy and icy 4.5 miles up to the hut on top of the continental divide in my bootie slippers.  I must have been a sight.

slippersI hiked 4.5 miles in these things!

The slippers were sweet relief (and held up amazingly well), but didn’t help much with weight distribution.  The smaller footprint (compared to skis or snowshoes), plus the 40+ pound backpack I was carrying resulted in a lot of postholing up to my knees, and sometimes deeper, as we got closer to the top of the divide.  It was slow going, but eventually, we made it to the hut!  Thank goodness!

The rest of the trip was relaxing and uneventful.  Wonderful company, a roaring fire, delicious food, beautiful scenery, and plenty of UNO and Scrabble made the time fly by, and eventually it was time to pack up and head back to civilization.

IMG_8273Heading back down from the divide

Fortunately, coming back down was easier on my toes than going up.  They still hurt quite a bit, but I looked at this as an adversity training day.  I kept reminding myself that my feet are going to feel a lot worse during Run Rabbit, so I might as well suck it up and deal with a couple little blisters.  Taking those boots off at the car was amazing.

Saturday:  Work make-up day with one of my best friends.  She’s busy working on a senior thesis project, and I needed to make up for my early “weekend” this week.

Sunday:  My first day on Michele’s training plan!  I would have loved to run outside, but as per usual during the Boulder spring, the winds were howling, and I would have gotten blown in every possible direction except the one I was trying to go.  So over to the rec center indoor track it was.  This was a speed day, with pretty short intervals.  I felt surprisingly good, considering how far I have to go still.  I enjoyed people watching on the track, and the intervals went by pretty quickly.  Overall, I knocked out 4.5 miles.  Then it was time to stretch (trying really hard to be good about this this year!) and do my strength workout.

I was really proud of myself for getting this first workout done – and as written!  Looking forward to seeing progress over the next several weeks and months.

What worked well this week:  Taking the leap to work with a coach!  Knowing that I made the conscious decision to work with Michele gives me that little extra fire under my butt to get out and do my workout, even if it’s so much more comfortable to stay on the couch in my sweatpants.  Which, let’s be honest, is awesome.

What didn’t work well this week:  Travel’s always a bitch.  Especially when I have to make up for the lost time at work, so I spend extra hours working instead of getting workouts in.

What I struggled with:  Nothing horrible this week.  Things were pretty crammed before the hut trip, so that could have been better.  But overall, no major problems.

What I will do to improve next week:  Keep on following Michele’s plan!

Total weekly mileage: If I count the 13 miles of cross country skiing/hiking, then 17.5 mi.  Still a low-volume week, but I’m just rebuilding my base right now.  I need to keep remembering that.

My New Coach

Over the past 6 race seasons, I have struggled to put together and follow my own training plan.  Sure, I found marathon, triathlon, and ultramarathon training plans online, but they were always very general, and not tailored to my specific strengths and weaknesses.  I also struggled with a major lack of accountability.  Besides writing training updates on here and recording workouts in my ridiculously long-running excel training log, I had no one to answer to but myself.  And I’m really good at talking myself out of things.  REALLY, really good.

So this year, I decided I was sick of squeaking my way through my races on the bare minimum of training.  It was time to get a coach.

But who?

There is certainly no shortage of coaches out there, so I had a lot of options.  After doing some research, and talking with some local runner friends, I decided to work with Michele Yates, from Rugged Running.  I like Michele’s coaching philosophy of “quality, not quantity,” as I have often struggled to carve out large chunks of time for training – especially now that I’m back in school again.  I also heard great things about her from other local ultrarunners who work with her.  Plus, Michele’s familiarity with the Run Rabbit Run 100 miler (she won it in 2013 – not too shabby) was great, since that’s the one I’m working towards again this year.

I’m super stoked to start working with Michele this week!  I got my training plan from her a couple days ago, and am excited to dive in and see how it goes.  I won’t be posting the nitty gritty details of the plan on here, since that’s Michele’s proprietary information, but I will continue to write weekly training recaps (general things and how stuff felt) and race reports.

Road to 100: Week 2 Recap

Monday:  Rest day!

Tuesday: Boulder got 16″ of snow Monday night, so things were a little tough for running today (it was also pretty icy under there).  So in an effort to not spend the entire day hunkered under a blanket, I put my bike on the trainer and spun out some miles.

Wednesday – Friday: I got ZERO runs in for the rest of the work week.  I spent all my time busting my butt to make some progress on my research and writing a paper draft to submit for publication, and sacrificed my run time instead.  Normally I wouldn’t stress about cramming in the work so much, but I knew I was going to be away for part of the following week (hut trip!), and wanted to make sure I got a decent chunk of work done beforehand so that didn’t cause a problem.  Boo, responsibilities and stuff.

On the plus side, I feel like I actually got some work done, so that was satisfying.

IMG_8243Saturday: At this point, that 16″ of snow we got early in the week had been reasonably packed down on some trails.  I spent a good portion of the morning scanning trail reports on facebook (the Boulder County Trail Conditions page is great for this), and settled on Heil Ranch, since my usual runnable favorites were sounding impassable.  I figured the trees at Heil Ranch would have kept the drifts to a minimum, so it might not be as bad as the others.

Fortunately, I was right!

The trail at Heil Ranch was beautifully packed snow all the way up to the top of the hill, about 2.5 miles from the trailhead.  I enjoyed the absolutely gorgeous day, and ended up stripping off three layers, down to my t-shirt.  The climb to the top of the hill is gradual enough that I can run a decent bit of it, so this was some nice hill training.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get in the 10 miles I had hoped for.  When I got to the top of the hill, the packed trail narrowed and became a choppy, less packed mess, and wasn’t very runnable.  Clearly, fewer people had come up this way than the trails down below.  Instead of running the big loop, I turned back and bombed my way back down the hill to the trailhead, for a 5 mile run.  Better than nothing, but I was a bit disappointed with myself for not pushing through the mess and just sucking it up.  I need to get better about that.

Sunday: I spent the morning working on stuff for school, and then headed over to a superbowl party that evening (go Broncos!).  Overall, it was a fun night, except for later when I got food poisoning from something at the party, and ended up miserable, shaky, weak, and sick, and curled up in bed.  Not a great end to my week.

What worked well this week: Not much, unfortunately.

What didn’t work well this week: Everything?

What I struggled with: As always, balancing work and training.

What I will do to improve next week: Try to get out for some morning runs before going to work, but a good portion of my week will be backcountry skiing instead of running.  This will completely kick my ass though, and is great cross training.

Total weekly mileage: Between the storm and work, a pitiful 5 miles.  I can do so much better than this.