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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mesa Falls Marathon - lucky 13!

Miles and miles have gone by and once again I find the thing that gets pushed to the backburner is my blog.  But last weekend I ran my 13th marathon and it was such a sweet experience that I knew I needed to record it.

I have continued to be quite busy with my job as a manager for a local gym.  My two friends (the owners) and I have been working hard for well over a year, doing what needs to be done to make this new, small business flourish and grow into (hopefully) a bigger, more prosperous business.  It's a lot of hours, and sometimes fun but also stressful and draining.  So what do I continue to return to for my stress-relief and sanity?  Running, of course.  And for me, it's the distance running that does it for me the most.

So while it has gotten a bit more tricky to balance my kids' and husband's schedules with working full-time hours at the gym, doing a bit of personal training and teaching Spinning classes, I must make time for running and training.  This has meant getting up at 5am (sometimes 4am) 6 days a week in order to fit in my runs.

I have been able to consistently do this for months and so around the beginning of July I decided I wanted to find a new race to do where I could materialize my personal gains.  I had heard about the Mesa Falls Marathon from some friends.  It's a small race that starts up in the mountains of eastern Idaho and works it's way down, covering multiple types of terrain down into the small town of Ashton, Idaho.

We went up to the area, about a 2 hour drive, to explore the race course and surrounding campgrounds about a month before the late August race.  The week of the race, we took the family and our camp trailer and headed up on Thursday morning.  We found a campsite right at mile 2 of the race course.  We set up camp and then spent the rest of the day and most of Friday just exploring the forest, relaxing by a campfire and watching the kids run around and play.  This was how I made it through my taper without going crazy. :)

With a rash of wild fires across the western states, the air quality was poor and thick with smoke.  I didn't worry too much about it.  Saturday morning I woke up at 5 and ate and got dressed and ready.  The full marathon started at 6:30, so Chris drove me up to the starting line area at 6:15.  It was about 38* and felt pretty dang cold.  It really was a small race - less than 200 people running the full marathon.  It was an informal start - after the race director said a few words, we got going.  I didn't know anyone there, so I had taken my headphones and iPod shuffle with me, but didn't use them from the start.  The first 9 miles was on a packed gravel road through the forest.  I utilized the Galloway method with a run to walk ratio of 5 minutes running, 1 minute walking.  I stuck with this from beginning to end of this race.  We started in the dark, but as the sun came up there was a beautiful sunrise, the color of the sun made more intense by the smoke and haze in the air.

I felt really good for the first 9 miles on the gravel, at which point we headed out to the main highway and ran on the pavement for approximately 4 miles.  At mile 11, there was a jaunt off the side of the highway that took the runners down near the overlook for the lower Mesa Falls, then a short trail back out to the main road.  The half-way point began a trail portion of the race.  It's an old railroad grade, so the trail, while somewhat narrow, was smooth and mostly downhill.  After passing through the aid station at mile 13 and then starting on the trail, I was still feeling really decent - not too fatigued and still in a good place mentally.  Around mile 15 though, something hit me and suddenly my legs were aching and heavy in a way I hadn't experienced on any recent long runs.  I was also feeling a sore throat and headache, most likely due to the smoky air.  I told myself that the heaviness in my legs was due to having run those first 9 miles on gravel, something I wasn't used to doing.  From this point on I knew it was going to be a mental game for me.  The trail ended as it exited through a campground and then back out onto the main highway.  Chris and the kids were there to cheer me on.  At mile 17 began the next challenge: 3 miles of continuous uphill.
Chris joined me for a few minutes to help talk me out of my funk.  It actually did help take my mind off the pain I was feeling in my legs and back.  It was sheer force of will that kept me going; I maintained a steady pace and stuck with my 5:1 run/walk method.  I took out my earbuds and turned on my music to help keep me focused.  I passed quite a few people who had resorted to walking the stretch of uphill and with each person I passed, the illusion of my strength was slowly increased.
Eventually the hill topped out and we were left with a stretch of just over 6 miles of rolling hills and farmland.  The last challenge of this race for me was to push through that part without slowing so much that it would bring my overall average pace down a lot.  With 4 miles to go and one last "push" from Chris and the kids, I made my way into Ashton and to the finish line.
 I heard the announcer say my name and I crossed the finish, with no idea what my time was.  When I finally looked at the clock I saw my time, 4:45.  I had hoped to reach a possible PR on this run, but my best time on the marathon was 2 years ago with a time of 4:34, so I didn't quite make it.  But with an average pace of 10:50 min/mile for this one, I felt content.
After heading over to the food tables for a chocolate milk and some ice water, I made my way to the computer stations they had set up where we could review our placing.  Now I have never run a race where I had any hopes of placing, but being that I turned 40 earlier this year and was now in a new age-group, and that this was a smaller race, well I thought I might just have a chance...
How about that??  I was so stoked to have done well enough to receive a placing and a plaque, that the pain and fatigue in my body was dulled...sort of.  :)
We camped one more night before heading home the next day.  Back at our campground that evening, while Chris cooked up some awesome steaks on the grill for our dinner, I soaked my aching feet and legs in the frigid water of the deceivingly named Warm River.  By and far the Mesa Falls Marathon was one of the highlights of my distance running career.  I would definitely like to return in another year to run it again when there hopefully isn't any smoke in the air.  I have heard you can usually see the Tetons from the race course...that would have been something.
My next challenge is coming up this week.  I will be running another marathon on Saturday September 5th.  The Pocatello Marathon has become a tradition for me - this will be my 6th time "Running the Gap".  But this year I have devoted several of my training runs to running with my friend Johanna.  Johanna will be running the Pocatello Marathon as well, but this will be her first full marathon and I am invested in seeing her through to the end.  So for this one, while I pace my friend, the challenge for me will be seeing how my body handles running two marathons so close together.  And I am equally excited about being privileged to be able to experience the satisfaction and thrill that comes with completing a first marathon - I can't wait to see Johanna accomplish her goal!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fall runs are the best!

Somehow it's already been 7 weeks since the Pocatello Marathon.  Surprisingly, I've felt better on most of my runs since then than I did leading up to the race.  The most I've done in terms of long runs, has been 12 miles.  It's been hard for me to even find a day when I can make enough time to do a run that long.  I have been working on my shorter runs and have been doing sprints on the treadmill at least twice a week, but this morning I really felt like getting out on the road and enjoying the fall weather before things turn.

Yesterday we took the kids to an amusement park and so coming off spending about 11 hours footing it around following them  from ride to ride, I wasn't sure how I'd feel trying to run long.  I'm also 2 weeks into a keto-run and so haven't had any carbs or sugar for a while.

I set out around noon, which is kind of a late start, but I was just too tired to start any earlier.  I decided I was going to run from my house to the gym, which is around 14 miles, where my husband planned to meet me and we would lift weights for a bit before coming back home.

Right from the start I could feel my muscles aching and totally sapped of energy.  But of course I pushed through and tried to ignore how tired I felt.  Around mile 10.5, Chris drove by me and while I really wanted to make it all the way to the gym, I was so weak that I knew that trying to go another few miles would just be counter-productive.  So I jumped in the car with him and we went on to the gym where I did a less than stellar shoulder workout.

I guess sometimes all that matters is getting out there and spending time doing something that's enjoyable, but difficult and that's where the satisfaction comes.  Plus, it's so freaking beautiful outside right now!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Never say never.

Once more I find myself on the eve of another 26.2 mile race.  Tomorrow morning I will set out to conquer the elusive distance again, my 5th time doing the Pocatello Marathon, after pushing through the past year of less than stellar training.  To say I don't feel totally prepared is a bit of an understatement, so I will be relying on my body's memory from races and training seasons past to get me through.

My last race was a half-marathon last November, which I PR-ed, but since then I have experienced a lot of changes in my life and running has taken a back seat to everything else going on.  I have never completely stopped running, but I definitely haven't done as many miles or long runs as I have in preparation for my previous races.

I lean heavily on the inspiration I have found through reading the books of ultra marathoner Dean Karnazes - once you have done it, you have it in you.  So despite some of these "life" things I have gone through the past year - taking on more responsibility and hours at work, changing jobs, surgery, putting our house on the market and trying to get moved, dealing with a back injury - tomorrow I plan to follow this advice...

And thankfully I will have the added support of running with my good pal Lisa, who has experienced training setbacks of her own this year.  Together we will cross the finish line having once more conquered something so physically demanding that most people will never even attempt it in their lifetime.  Sometimes having your best race time isn't at all about the finish "time".

Monday, July 14, 2014

When the road beckons.

Just me and the Portneuf Gap. :)
Something funny happened when I was with my family swimming at a water park last week.  A lady came up to me and said, "This might seem like a really weird question, but are you the Redheaded Road Runner?"

Haha!  It kind of took me off guard.  Not that it's uncommon to see people we know at the pool, since it's only 30 minutes from where we live, but she and I had no real common friends to speak of, so this reminded me that people I don't know actually DO read my blog!  And I have been a total slacker lately when it comes to blogging...and running!

My back has been in a state of agitation for a couple of months now and nothing I do seems to alleviate it.  I have become a serious wimp about it and have not done much running because of it.  But I decided that it was time for me to push myself again and just get out there on the road.  I am, after all, signed up for a marathon that is just about 6 weeks away!

So this morning after getting one of my boys off to scout camp, I headed out to run a loop that took me 12 miles in the heat, sun and wind.  My time was slow, but I enjoyed being out there again.  I stopped to take pictures - like the above selfie and this cute one of a pair of fawns (there are two there, one is hidden behind the shrub)!

I have been allowing myself to get wrapped up in the idea that if I can't run fast, then why bother.  Which is weird for me, since I've never been very fast anyway.  Over time, I have gained more and more "runner friends".  So many of them tell me, "I'm not competitive at all, I just run for fun.  I don't even care how fast I am."  Until we run together, or they run in groups.  Then suddenly if they can't keep a sub-9 minute mile pace, then life's not worth living. ;)
So today I'm just going to convince myself to be content with my 11+ minute per mile pace and revel in the fact that I made it 12 miles...and I'm still able to walk. :)
Maybe someday I will find a running companion that is on par with me and my comfortable pace, but if not, I will just continue my journey on the road as I always have.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Summer Slim-Down Challenge ~ who's in??!!

It's challenge time!!! Who is ready to BRING IT?! Open to all our peeps and newbies, too!! MAJOR PRIZES to the winners!! $300 Grand Prize... First prize winner gets the swimsuit of your choice from Athleta and Second prize winner takes home some awesome nutrition shakes! Registration ends June 1st!!

Here's the details:

To participate, you must order 150 BV (30 Day Cleansing and Fat Burning Systmem or larger), OR if you just ordered, you can bring a friend along for the ride and that will qualify you. Orders must be placed by June 1st. Take and submit before pictures and also before weight. Everything will be kept confidential!!! Share contest picture on your own FB page! All participants will be added to a private group FB page with recipes, work out tips, motivation, etc. Winners will be the top three people that lose the biggest percentage of body weight.

For product info or to place your order, email me or check out my website!

Once you've ordered, your contest entries to be submitted to: Lindsay

Saturday, April 19, 2014

How to be your best self...

Whether you already consider yourself an athlete, or are just looking to enhance or increase your performance at any level, how you fuel your body is one of the most important components.  I am super excited my friend introduced me to Isagenix a few months ago.  I have seriously never felt better and more than anything, I love how much energy I have, how much less stress I feel, and how that translates into fewer illnesses, a happier mood and higher productivity.  Watch this video...these athletes are amazing - and they are REAL people!  I especially love how they all point out that if you have the drive and passion, you can achieve it.  Our bodies thrive on whole food, powerful nutrition.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wish some things wouldn't change.

Life seems to be centered around doing the everyday little (and sometimes big) things that will hopefully, eventually bring about positive change.  For example, yesterday I made an attempt at a more 'normal'  (for me) workout routine: I lifted weights first thing in the morning for about an hour, then I did a spin class, and a couple of hours later I did a Muscle Fusion class.  This morning as I forced myself to get in 30 minutes on the treadmill before work, I realized how painful those changes can be!  I like the pain from muscle soreness, though.  That's how you know you are making gains.

On the other hand, I don't like thinking about how much and how quickly our children grow and change.  Tonight I took my 8 year old with me to the park to go for a walk.  That little guy happily and swiftly hung in there with me for 6 miles!  Some of the time we were each listening to our  music, some of the time we were chatting - and believe me, that kid loves to talk.  And I think he told me he loves me about 10 times during the hour and 20 minutes we were walking.  I hope he doesn't change.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Nothing to fear.

Nothing in life is truly constant.  Everyone knows that.  And while my running "career" seemed relatively consistent for a pretty decent stretch (and with that, my blogging!!), changes in the world around me have made it impossible for me to sustain that level of consistency.  I have had to learn to embrace - not fear - the change.

It would be crazy for me to give a full recap of everything that has gone on over the past 8 or 9 months, but I will try to at least catch you up on what is relevant in terms of this blog...

My last full marathon was the Pocatello Marathon last fall.  After doing that race, I re-grouped with my trainer and decided to cut back on running and focus on building muscle and strength.  From the beginning of September through the beginning of November, I did little more than 5 or 6 miles for my longest runs and was really only running once or twice a week.  Instead, I was supplementing with cardio sessions of spinning classes and other forms of cross-training, while mainly focusing on lifting weights.  I was also trying something new with my diet at that time and had incorporated some keto-runs into my routine in an attempt to lose body fat (and I got down to about 17%).

Every November there is a local half-marathon that my husband and I have been involved with for a few years, but since I had not been running as much, I didn't plan to run it in 2013...until about 5 days before the race when my trainer asked if I wanted to run it with her and I said, what the heck?

Riding the bus up to the start with Misty, I had no idea how my body was going to handle running 13.1 miles without having done adequate training, but honestly I wasn't too concerned with time or pace.  I just planned to enjoy it.  Turns out, the break from running must have done my body good - I got my half-marathon PR on that race, finishing with a time of 2:03:29!

After the half-marathon, I continued on with a minimal amount of training runs, especially as the weather turned colder and much less runner-friendly.  For a few weeks in February and March I was able to get in some long runs, 12-15 miles at a time.

Most of the other changes circulating through my little world during this time didn't actually have anything to do with running.  In December, I attended a workshop taught by a dear friend and received my certification to teach indoor cycling.  That was something I had wanted to do for a long time, and am glad to now have that under my belt.

In the meantime, my job at the gym has become increasingly predominant in my life.  I was spending more and more time not only working my own shifts, but covering for other people.  So when the front desk director gave her two-week notice at the beginning of January, I was asked to replace her and have since been working as the director.  That has meant even more hours, hiring and training staff, and doing the schedule for the 7 employees that work under me.  While I enjoy working at the gym, I have struggled somewhat with balancing my time there with time at home with the kids and Chris and keeping up on things around the house, and still having enough time to work out as much as I'd like.

In March I was able to take about a week off from work - not for a vacation, unfortunately - but to have a couple of surgical procedures done to "fix" a few things that have been bothering me since having our four children, losing a significant amount of weight and keeping it off.  Chris took some time off from his job as well and stayed home to take care of me and the kids so I could rest and heal up.  I was back to work full-time the next week and back to working out by the third week post-op.  This past week was my first full week of an almost normal workout schedule and I have been feeling pretty amazing.  Spinning classes, Muscle Fusion X, running stairs at the stadium and even a 5 mile run with Chris yesterday.

So today I sit here, on my rest day, feeling sore and happy.  The weather is starting to turn (warmer) and I am feeling a renewed eagerness to start getting more serious with a training schedule.  After all, I am signed up for a marathon at the end of the summer and I think it's time to start a countdown.  Besides, there are always new things on the horizon for us...and my kids are all healthy, Chris and I are healthy and happy...so life is good. :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's about time ~ Pocatello Marathon 2013 race recap!

It's the end of another marathon training season for me and while I'm sad to not have a current goal race, I have to admit I'm a little excited about the prospect of being able to focus on other fitness-related goals for a while.  I only had 3 months between the Ogden Marathon and Pocatello, which was plenty of time for getting in adequate training and lots of long runs.  I had high hopes for this race; it was to be my "A" race for the year.  I would have liked to have done at least a little better than my PR (4:36), which was on this same race last year.  My training consisted of doing two 18-milers, two 20-milers and I even ran the full marathon course (it actually ended up being about 26.6 miles) 3 weeks before the actual race.  So, when the race started and I immediately felt pain in my lower back and in both my hamstrings, I was already worried that my goal would be out of reach.

It was a beautiful morning, almost a little too warm.  With temps around 50 degrees at the 6:15am race start and sunny skies, it didn't take long before it just felt hot.  The first half of the course is mostly downhill, which is fun, but tricky.  It's so easy to go out too fast and then pay for it later on in the race.  I tried to pace myself, and thought I was doing well, having reached the half-way point at about 2 hours 12 minutes.  I knew then that I had enough left in me to finish the second half at a consistent pace, but it would be a slower pace than I had hoped to maintain.  I think around mile 19 or so, as I was greeted by my husband who had lovingly brought me a Coke to sip on and was taking a few photos, the thought came into my mind that I was just going to enjoy the rest of the run.  He let me know how much ahead of me my friends were who were also running the race...my response to him was, "It's okay, I don't care.  I'm just running my own race.  I'm having fun."

Heading into the last couple of miles, I actually felt a little burst of energy and was able to mentally move past the pain I was feeling in my legs.  I tried to push myself, but I knew it wouldn't have much effect on my overall time.  I finished my race in 4:53 - an 11:07 min/mile pace, which was about 20 minutes overall slower than my goal.  I'm alright with it, though.  I'm happy that I can say that I ran another marathon and still want to run more in the future. :)

Some of my loyal readers may have been wondering why I've been MIA for the past couple of months...well, between the marathon training, working my job at the gym 30+ hours a week and trying to find time to do fun things with the kids during their summer break, my blog writing has taken a back seat.  Now that the kids are back in school, I will still be committed to a rigorous training schedule and working lots of hours at the gym, but I will hopefully be able to find a little time to post more often.

The past couple of months while training for this marathon, I learned a few things about my running preferences.  Most of my long runs this summer were done with friends - at least one running buddy and often there were several of us.  All of my best running friends run at a pace faster than me.  That means that they have to slow a little and I have to go faster.  I know that sometimes it can be very helpful to run with people who are faster, but going at a pace faster than what feels comfortable to me just seems to take so much more out of me physically.  Then my recovery is longer and I am more apt to feel burned out.  In between my runs with friends, I would run alone, at my own pace, lost in my own thoughts.  I always finished those runs feeling content.  While running with friends is great for the camaraderie, and often the time goes by much more quickly, running really is a solitary sport.  It's so hard not to compare ourselves with everyone around us, and I spent a few days after the marathon lamenting about how I was the slowest one in our group, despite the fact that I've run so many marathons now, and how lame I am, blah, blah, blah...but after I let myself wallow in self-pity for a bit, I came around.  I realize that in the end, it doesn't matter how fast I am.  There will always be someone faster, always someone slower.  And who cares anyway?  I'm not running to break any records.  It's fun to get a personal record, but in my mind, if I'm not enjoying running, I might as well do something else.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Marathon recovery update.

I've heard of people taking one or two weeks off from exercise (and running) after a marathon.  Alas, I'm not one of those people...for better or for worse.  Last Sunday (the day after), I rested.  We slept in a little bit, went to church with our friends, then spent the rest of the day traveling back home, unpacking and getting ready for the new week.

On Monday, I was back at the gym - about 40 minutes of strength training followed by a spin class.  Spinning felt okay, but while I was lifting I could definitely feel that my muscles were depleted and weak.  On Tuesday, once again I did some strength training and hit up another spin class.  Still a little tired and sore, but not too terrible.  Wednesday I worked my biceps and triceps for an hour, then did 45 minutes on a stair stepper.  Thursday, I walked on a treadmill for 45 minutes before taking a Muscle Fusion X class.  Friday, another strength training session followed by a spin class.

So, after 5 days of strength training and miscellaneous cardio workouts, I decided it was time to hit the road again.  Saturday morning I slept in again, hoping to recoup a little of my strength, then I took my youngest with me to the park where he played while I ran.  I did 5 miles and my hamstrings and quads were very tight the whole time.

Yesterday (Sunday) was another rest day, but this morning I was back at it with my own little Memorial Day workout.  First, I did Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD, then I took all of the kids with me to the park - again, they played while I ran.  Today I did 8 miles...barely.  Always so much tension and pain in my hamstrings and glutes - it's very frustrating.  But, at least I did something.  Tomorrow I plan to go to the gym early in the morning to do my weights and take a spin class, but I'm not sure what the rest of the week has in store.  We might be going camping for a few days, since Chris had to work today, but he has the next 3 days off.  While we're gone, I'm pretty sure running will be the only thing I will be able to do to get a workout in, so that's probably what I'll be doing.  I also have some resistance bands I can use to do a little strength training.  It looks like I might not start a new training schedule with Misty until a little later, but I did sign up for the Pocatello Marathon, which is just 14 weeks away.  So it appears I am back in marathon training mode already. :)