Blue Sky Marathon Training, Week 6

Another week of trail marathon training is in the books! I’m loving trail running, but I swear, it feels like an entirely different sport. I feel like I’m training for my first marathon again: every week, I finish a long run and think, “Can I really run another 11, 9, whatever, miles?” I’m enjoying it, though. It’s fun to be learning and trying something new!

Here’s how this week looked:

Monday: 

AM: 9.3 miles: 2-mile warm–up,4×1-mile at threshold pace with 3-minute rests, and 2-mile cool down. I haven’t really done speedwork this training cycle — my hard workouts have all been hills — so this was TOUGH. But the sunrise was pretty.
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PM: 45ish minuts strength training

Tuesday: 

AM: 10.6 easy-paced miles. This was an inservice day, so I didn’t have to be at work as early as I do on school days, and I really enjoyed my last morning-with-daylight weekday run for a while.

PM: 30 minutes of yoga, mostly because my colleague and I talked about yoga that day, and I felt guilty for not having done it for a while. Increasing mileage + not doing yoga + two days of sitting in meetings = very angry hips and hamstrings.

Wednesday: 

7-mile recovery run with Jaylin

Thursday: 

5.2 miles of treadmill hills.I had planned for around 7 miles, but my body didn’t adjust well to the half-hour earlier alarm and I was just dragging. This was the first day with students, so I wanted to be early and just cut it short. It  was still a good workout. I also skipped my planned afternoon strength workout. I’m not sure why I bothered planning one at all — I should know by now that the first day of school is always exhausting!

Friday: 

5.5-mile recovery run

Saturday: 

Although I really didn’t want to get up early again, I knew I needed to get to the trails to train. Of course, once i was there,  I was glad I went. I tried a different trailhead and got to run parts of the race course that I hadn’t been on before, so that was fun.  I ran 17 miles, my longest trail run yet.

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I was really just trying to take a picture of these deer, not the cyclist. But that cyclist (and his two buddies) and I played leapfrog for a good chunk of my run. IMG_2034
N
o race can suck too much if you’re looking at this, right?

Sunday:

Rest day. I took a walk and did some yoga to work out some soreness from Saturday.

Total: 54.6 miles

Since the weather is supposed to be hot for at least another week, I’m sticking with morning runs, but I have to start either in the dark or on the treadmill, so I’m hoping I can switch to evenings soon. And on that note, I’m going to post this and get ready for bed so I don’t have another sluggish morning like Thursday.

Are you training for anything lately? 

Is it starting to cool down where you live? 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Freekeh Foods giveaway!

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Freekeh Foods Review and Giveaway

I eat a lot of carbs. I need to eat them to fuel for and recover from my running. A lot of those carbs come from whole grains, and I usually don’t have a lot of time to cook slow-cooking grains (wild rice, barley, etc), so we tend to eat a lot of quick-cooking rice and quinoa. While I like those two grains, I get a little tired of them. When I got the opportunity (through my Sweat Pink ambassadorship) to try Freekeh Foods, I was intrigued, and now that I’ve tried it, I’m happy to say that I’ve got another quick-cooking grain to add to my weeknight arsenal.

What’s freekeh, you ask? Freekeh is cracked green wheat, and according to Freekeh Foods, people have been eating it for thousands of years. I guess I’m behind the times. Freekeh is prepared just like quinoa: boil it for 20-25 minutes. Its texture reminds me of barley, and the flavor is similar to brown rice. I had the opportunity to try the Rosemary Sage flavor and the original. I have to admit that the Rosemary Sage was a bit too sage-y for my taste, but the original was tasty and versatile.

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(I borrowed this picture from Freekeh Foods’ website. My own food photography skills are decidedly sub-par.)

Freekeh’s nutritional profile is what makes it a stand-out grain. With 130 calories, 6 grams of protein (the same amount as quinoa), and 4 grams of fiber, freekeh makes a nutritious side dish, breakfast porridge, or star player in the various recipes available on Freekeh Foods’ website.

Want to try Freekeh for yourself? Freekeh Foods is giving one reader a copy of their cookbook,  30 Ways to Freekeh!, and a package of Freekeh (Rosemary Sage, Tamari, or Original). To enter, follow this link to the Rafflecopter!

If you don’t win (or even if you do) and still want to try freekeh, shoot me an e-mail (use the “Contact Me” link at the top of the page) and I’ll mail you a $.50-off coupon!

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Week 5

I decided to go back to posting training recaps on Sundays. I write these as much for myself as for you guys, and now that school is starting again, my life is easier if I follow a routine. My plan is to post on Sundays and Thursdays again, but don’t be surprised if Thursdays don’t happen for the first few weeks of school.

This was my fifth week of trail marathon training. I finally had another 50-mile week, so I feel more like I’m actually training, if that makes sense. Let’s pretend that 50 isn’t where I usually start  my training, and now I’m worried because I’m barely hitting 50 seven weeks out…

Monday: 

AM: My plan was to do a long incline workout on the treadmill. At 3.8 miles, I paused it and hopped off to use the bathroom, and when I came back, the incline had stopped working! Not wanting to lose my momentum, I hustled outside and ran three miles at tempo pace, then a cool-down. It wasn’t what I was planning, but it ended up being a solid workout nonetheless. (Side note: I later found out that my treadmill isn’t broken; it  just needed recalibrated. Huge relief.)

PM: Basement strength training, per usual

Tuesday: 

6 miles of sunrise fartleks, followed by core work. I love fartleks. IMG_1983

Wednesday: 

8 miles easy… although they didn’t feel easy, because it was unusually muggy. I’m sure my southern friends would scoff at my definition of “muggy,” but it was rough for me.

Thursday: 

AM: Short hills for 7.2 miles. This road and I are becoming very good friends this training cycle.
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PM: Another round of basement strength.

Friday: 

6.3 recovery miles. My training schedule called for another interval workout, but I’d already done three quality workouts this week. Another one, especially the day before my long run, just seemed like a request for injury, so I took it easy instead. And I played with the camera timer…
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Saturday: 

15.2 trail miles. I randomly ran a few miles with a woman who went to high school with my husband and is training for the same race I am. Small world. I also fell THREE TIMES. Graceful I am not. Don’t worry, I’m not hurt. Just dumb.

At least I had pretty things to look at while I fell on my face. Maybe this is why I fell: too busy gawking at the scenery to look at where my feet were.
At least I had pretty things to look at while I fell on my face. Maybe this is why I fell: too busy gawking at the scenery to look at where my feet were.

Sunday: 

Rest

Total: 50.3 miles

Five down, seven to go.

Have you ever fallen while running? Did you feel as foolish as I did?

Teacher friends: when do you (or did you) go back to school?

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Weeks 3-4

I’m now into week five of training for my first trail race. That means I’ve got just over seven weeks to get ready to run 26.2 miles on trails. So far, the farthest I’ve run on trails is a little over 11. Gulp.

The last two weeks of training were a little different: I did a (very) small taper for Chase the Moon, and the following week was a cutback/recovery week. Here’s how they looked:

Week 3

Monday: 
6.4 miles of hills. This is why I need to write these recaps weekly: now I can’t remember if they were long treadmill hills or short real-life hills. My training log just says “hills.”

Tuesday:
AM: 7 miles easy.
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I love Fitsnap. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see my overuse of Fitsnap almost every day!

PM: Strength training in my basement.

Wednesday: 

6 miles easy. My friend Jaylin, who originally got me into this whole distance-running thing, ran together. We’ve had a hard time getting our schedules to align very often, so it was great to get together!

Thursday: 

6 miles with fartleks (still my favorite workout)

Friday-Saturday:

30 miles over 12 hours at the Chase the Moon relay. I guess I’m just gonna have to write that recap, as I haven’t seen any sign of official pictures.

Sunday: 

Rest; we did a lovely 5-mile, easy hike.

Total: 56.4 miles

Week 4

Monday: 

4.1 miles at recovery pace, just testing my legs and making sure they felt okay after the weekend.

Tuesday: 

AM: 7 miles easy

PM: Basement strength work

Wednesday: 

6 miles easy, again with Jaylin. Two weeks in a row is pretty great for us! With school starting, we’re not sure if we can keep making it work, but we’ll try.

Thursday: 

5.3 miles easy. I intended to do another strength workout in the afternoon, but I went into work to start prepping my classroom, and I came home with a killer headache. I took a nap instead of a workout. I regret nothing.

Friday:

We were headed to my in-laws’ for the weekend, so I took advantage of the last Friday of summer break and headed up to Devil’s Backbone for a “long” run of 10.3 miles.
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This is where I get to run a marathon in seven weeks. I don’t mind those views!

I also saw a mama and baby deer. This was the best picture I could get with my phone, even though they let me watch them for quite a while.
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Saturday: 

6-mile recovery run

Sunday: 

Rest. We spent over 8 hours pulling weeds. I would’ve much rather been running.

Cutback week total: 38.7 miles.

This is lower mileage than I’ve run before in marathon training, but all my runs are scheduled by time this round, and since trails and hills are slow, my mileage is lower. We’ll just see how this race goes, and plan future trail race training schedules accordingly. Because I can already tell you, there will be future trail races.

This week, I’m back to a more normal week, with several quality runs, so hopefully I’ll keep getting stronger and faster. Stay tuned to see if this training is sufficient to keep me from dying during a trail race.

What does your typical week of training look like? 

Best trail you’ve ever run? 

Turning 30 Like a Boss

Saturday was my 30th birthday. I’ve never been a big birthday celebrator, but I wanted to do something special this year. I’m not exactly the partying/go-to-Vegas type, so a weekend of outdoor adventures was much more my style.

My birthday weekend kicked off Friday night with the Chase the Moon 12-hour relay. A group of blogger friends and I did the race last year (recap here), and three of us, along with two new team members, returned this year to try to defend our title as champions of the five-person relay.Though winning would be a nice bonus, my main goal was to run 30 miles over the course of the race, because running enough miles to equal your age is a totally normal way to celebrate.

I’ll post a full race recap once the official race pictures are available, but here’s the Cliff Notes version: we thought we won but took second, due to some miscommunication and a teammate getting lost;

Cereal Killers, take 2: Aimee, Mary, me, Brooke, Malia. I'm pretty sure Mary and Malia don't blog, but they have really cool Instagram pictures, so that's where clicking on their names will take you.
Cereal Killers, take 2: Aimee, Mary, me, Brooke, Malia. I’m pretty sure Mary and Malia don’t blog, but they have really cool Instagrams, so that’s where clicking on their names will take you.

I ran my 30 miles;FullSizeRender

and the course was beautiful, especially at sunrise!
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Even though we didn’t win like we thought we did, running 30 miles and hanging out all night with four awesome women was a pretty darn fantastic way to kick off my 30s… especially because Mary bought me cupcakes. I had cupcakes and pancakes for my birthday breakfast. Hashtag noregrets.

To continue the weekend of me-celebrating, Jordan and I originally planned to head straight from the race to the mountains for a night of camping, Earlier in the week, though, I found out that my bridesmaid dress for my brother’s wedding was in, so I had to schedule a fitting for Saturday afternoon. Instead of heading right to the high country, we went to my brother’s house to borrow his shower and then ran a few errands.

By mid-afternoon, still running on zero hours of sleep, I was getting a little (ok, a lot) loopy, but a 30-minute catnap as we drove to the mountains left me feeling remarkably more alert. We camped just outside Golden Gate Canyon State Park, which was beautiful. Campfire + camp stove cooking = perfect birthday dinner. IMG_1934

Naturally, the refreshing effect of my car nap wore off fairly quickly, so we crashed pretty early. A quickly-deflating air mattress had never felt so good.

We hadn’t planned much for Sunday, as I wasn’t sure how tired and sore I’d be after running 30 miles. To my pleasant surprise, I wasn’t very sore at all, probably because I’d taken my sweet time and run slow and easy each lap and had breaks in between. We were both pretty sleepy, though (Jordan had crashed in the back of the car Friday night while I ran), and we lingered over our coffee at camp, so we didn’t get a very early start on our hike, but we were okay with it. IMG_1935

Once we’d packed up camp, we drove back into the park and went for a five-mile hike (Horseshoe Trail to Mule Deer Trail to Black Bear Trail and back to Horseshoe. I definitely recommend this loop if you go to Golden Gate Canyon). Enjoy this photo dump from the hike.

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Greenfield Meadow. I won that top in a giveaway on Brooke’s blog. Thanks, Brooke!
Frazier Meadow.
Frazier Meadow.
Hiking up Black Bear Trail required a bit of bouldering.
Black Bear Trail.
Amazing views from Black bear Trail!
Amazing views from Black Bear Trail!

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Not long after we took those pictures, some sinister clouds started moving in, so we picked up the pace a bit and didn’t stop for more pictures on the way back to the car. Our timing was perfect: we had just enough time to get off the trail and eat our PBJs before the rain started. Win.

The best birthday weekend ever ended with a drive back to Denver, where we returned that deflating air mattress and stopped at my best friend’s house to meet her new baby, then headed back home.

If the first weekend of it is any indication, 30 is going to be a pretty darn good year.

What’s your favorite way to celebrate a birthday?