It is spring break and I am a regular person, well sort of…

Working everyday has been an adjustment and that adjustment is still ongoing. After the first week I suffered a strained sartorius due to the repetitive nature of Job 2. It threw off a week of training, which I admit was discouraging. On the first day of spring, March 20, I tested the muscle with an easy long run and it seemed solidly on the mend. The first day of spring I was blessed with one more play date with snow. The weather has been over the top lately with 70 one day and then 40 the next. It snowed hard at the beginning of my long run and by the time I was done it was completely gone. Just like it had never happened! In fact those who slept in that Sunday would have been hard pressed to believe it had snowed.

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First day of spring snow storm
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This little guy was a first day of spring casualty.

Last week I was very nervous. I had 20 miles scheduled Saturday followed by 8 hours of standing at Job 2. I had no idea how that would play out. I skipped my normal Thursday cross training of Taekwondo and went to bed early. Friday I went to bed even earlier. Saturday I had to be to work at 9AM, so my alarm sounded at 3 and I was out the door running by 3:50. My two run partners Mk and K who are also running the marathon in April, our girls weekend, had agreed to meet me at 5 for 14 miles so I only had to get 6 in on my own. I have the best run partners!

It ended up being a beautiful morning! Perfect mid 40’s weather for a long run. As you can see, I actually ended up with 21 miles instead of 20. The route mapped by MK was a little longer than 14 miles. 21 miles is even after I cut the route short because I was running out of time. While I didn’t exactly race home, I did do some strides at the end, which surprisingly felt great. I stuffed my face, showered, threw on my compression socks and Birkenstocks was out the door and to work right on time. I also filled my water bottle with Tailwind. I’ve been trying this product out and figured the calories would be a good thing until I was able to take my lunch break. Side note: If you haven’t tried Tailwind, I highly recommend it.

I am happy to report it wasn’t a bad day at all! I was a little stiff, yes and hungry of course, but all in all it worked out. At the end of the day I was bushed! I made it home and we walked Miss Ella. I ate dinner, had my post 21 mile treat and headed to bed.

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A well earned treat. Ice cream is a weakness of mine- so good!!

Because I am also training for an ultra in the fall, I have embraced the run/walk method. K is the one who first introduced me to it several years ago as I was coming back from surgery and she from having a baby. I will admit though I was not a big believer. That is until I woke up Sunday morning  a little stiff, but virtually pain free. Unheard after a 21 mile long run!! I even went for a quick easy 5.7 mile run before work. It is hard to believe a 30-60 second walk every mile could make such a difference, but it does.

It is spring break for me this week. All I have to do is be a regular person that goes to work and comes home. It is very nice. I am especially enjoying not having as much school work in the evening and thus heading to bed earlier. A 7:30-8 pm bedtime of a not so regular person, but a distance runner in training. This beautiful morning consisted of some steady miles in the middle and it was good. While my adjustment to my new schedule is still going, it seems to be headed in the right direction.

Happy Running!!

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Wednesday morning speed work.

My pants were inside out.

My pants were inside out.

It has been a while since I’ve had an opportunity to sit down and write. Several reasons for this, the biggest one being word press no longer works on my home computer and well, I do not like typing on my phone. So that limits me to publishing from my work computer or a university one however, my favorite time and place to write is at home, over the weekend when it is quiet. I have a game plan for that now though, so hopefully I will soon be back on track.

The other reason I’ve been slacking is I have been crazy busy. Work, school and now I have a second job on the weekends to help pay for school and some home repairs… Oh yeah and training. I am beginning to think I should rename this blog “Student, 2jobs and ultra  training… next post September 18th, 50 mile race report. That is, if I survive…” It has been an adjustment and I consider the mental aspect to be great mental training for the ultra. Always look for the positive!

I have had some fun though. March 6th I ran my first trail half marathon and had my ass handed to me. Seriously. Then I dropped it on the trail and it was handed back to me. This happened several times. I have run road marathons that were easier to me than this half was in spots and road halfs much faster. It was truly an eye opening experience. One that screamed:

“YOU HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO!”

I love being outside and in the woods, but I don’t have a lot of trail experience and this is why I entered. The race was fun, in a strange, painful way. The weather was absolutely perfect- sunny mid 40’s at start. The parts where you could open up a little an actually run were lovely. The other parts were equally lovely, yet in a different way, one I am learning about. Flying down the trail, dodging roots and rocks I admit was fun, but also so challenging! I recognized the benefits of the 5 min repeats in my training plan (Thank you Krissy Moehl- Running Your First Ultra!!). Those were a huge mental help to know I wasn’t dying. I made a lot of mistakes during this race and hopefully learned from them. I now know my weak areas, for example hips and ankles, and will begin work there as well. My hips and ankles by the end of the race were DONE. Honestly, I have never wanted something to be over so badly in my life. I questioned my sanity regarding the 50 mile, along with just my general sanity, several times during the race and on the 2 hour ride home. Not my best moment in trail running. No worries though, as I said I made mistakes. The biggest of which was I ran it like a road race (hangs head in shame). I knew before going in it wasn’t, I have read all about how trails are different and what to expect, I have even run shorter trail race distances and sort of knew better. However, something switched in my brain and off I went. Part way through I even asked myself “What are you doing?!? This is a trail not a road race…blah blah blah”. It didn’t seem to matter and the ass handing began. I’ve spent last week and so far this week recovering, running slow easy stuff. Next time I will really know better and run smarter!

All of that being said, I am happy and proud of my effort and results. I ran 2:23:54 which put me 118/355 overall, 25/148 gender, and 5/27 for my age group. A solid trail start with lots of room to grow and improve!

This past Saturday I showed up to meet friends and run long before job 2. My run partner MK is adjusting my SI and asks: “Are your pants on inside out?”. “Dear G-d, is this what I have been reduced to?!?” I say laughing as I look down. Yes, my Nike capris were indeed inside out. In my defense, I had gotten up early and ran some before meeting them so as to get my miles in before I had to work. Also, my capris are solid black so in the early AM it is truly anyone’s guess as to the state of thin black fabric inside or out. The Nike swoosh was backwards, but again, early morning, dark and not awake… Luckily, my shirt covered the tag and key pocket that would give me away to the general public once the sun came out.

So that is what has been going on in my world. It is hectic, but I’m making it and getting my runs done no matter what the state of my mind, schedule or attire.

Happy Running!

Now for some photos from the Quivering Quads trail race which is put on by Fleet Feet St. Louis. They did an amazing job!! Be sure to scroll to the last photo. It is the race medal, which is absolutely beautiful.

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“You are Here” After a 2 hour drive that is nice to know!
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Waiting for the race to start. The weather is spectacular!!
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Sitting on a log post race and processing.
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Pay no mind to the half naked man in the background. I have no idea who he is.
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I have to say this is the most beautiful race medal I have ever gotten. The face is wood!