Weekly Therapy: On fear and Imposter Syndrome

the week:
I had my first one-on-one practice counseling session with my professor this week — and it wasn’t a disaster! SUCK IT, NERVES! I started a daily reflection/reading OUT LOUD habit to keep perspective of WHY I am going to grad school at old lady age 40 (OMG my birthday is less than 3 months away, send chocolate). I ALSO started a meditation practice. I’m probably falling victim to “too much, too soon” but I am desperate to exorcise these physiological demon stress responses from my life.

I was re-listening to a podcast with sport psychologist Dr. Rob Bell, and the quote he uses near the end of the episode is SO BIG INSIDE ME right now: Some battles are worth fighting, even if you lose.

I’m not going to let fear or Imposter Syndrome win.

weekend:
Half marathon training is underway, so maybe this Saturday I’ll get my legs over to a Striders run and run some of those Drake hills. My CPR/AED certification expired, so I’ll be getting re-certified this weekend, too.

seven things, seven days:
1. Imposter syndrome, WHAT?! This article does a nice job of explaining it. {via Guardian}
2. Oooh-oooh! Probably not the fun kind of internet quiz you’re used to, but see what type of Imposter Syndrome you have!
3. One more: Feeling like a fraud {via APA}
4. And now for the Olympics! Yes, I have been watching during any allotted free time, and I am currently obsessed with watching the athletes breathe before performing. You may be looking for a triple salchow, but I am watching for evidence of energy management.
5. Life after competition ends is an inevitable:Finding new meaning after The Olympics {via The Atlantic}
6. The amazing: CHLOE KIM {via NBC}
7. And probably definitely the best thing to happen to this year’s Olympic games: Adam Rippon {via NBC}. Did you watch that short program? DEAD. (And he skated to one of my favorite dance songs.)

Drake Road Races Half Marathon: Training Starts Today!

After a few weeks off to recover from fall and winter races, I have been easing back into running a couple times per week. After pondering “what’s next,” I selected the Drake Half Marathon as my first race of 2018. I’ll actually be participating in the Bulldog Double by running the Blue Mile that same week.

So, yeah, I know that I rebranded this blog for my ultra adventures (more to come on those plans later… oh, and I guess that I should get around to actually reviewing my 50k in this lifetime), but I’m kind of obsessed with breaking my half marathon PR right now. This will be a good way to get back into the swing of race training while going to school full-time with the benefit of a shorter training period AND, well, a shorter race.

Hello, speed work!

Training starts today (with the usual Monday rest day)! My plan is 12 weeks and I’ll be incorporating a lot of what I learned while working with a running coach. Boxing has been an awesome workout and stress-release for me – and includes 10 minutes of core, which will benefit my running. I plan to keep up my 3x/week classes and doing yoga once per week. I think I found my sweet spot in my workout schedule, so looking forward to seeing how the regular cross-training will aid in my training.

Big goal: SUB TWO.

Drake won’t be a gimme – I’ll have hills to train for! But since our running club’s group runs will be mostly around Drake’s campus, I will have plenty of opportunity to practice. I was registered for Drake last year, and decided not to run it because of ugly weather. The date and course are both different this year, but Drake relays notoriously have awful weather luck. I will have that as a potential challenge to work through.

Bonus: I get to implement some of the mental training into my own program to practice that I’ve learned so far in my grad program.

My RACE day half marathon PR is a 2:12:16 (Des Moines Half Marathon 2016) – I have since had SEVERAL runs under that, with my fastest 13.1 miles at 2:07:57 (I did the front half of Route 66 Marathon in a 2:09:49 even with THOSE HILLS). Best of all, a friend of mine has offered to run with me and be my pacer to help meet my goal.

BRING IT, BULLDOG!
Drake Bulldog half marathon

Weekly Therapy: New Year, New… Face?

the week:
Wordpress has been having some wonky-ass glitches in the editing panel, so this post has been sitting for almost two weeks. They STILL haven’t responded to any of my tweets – despite figuring out what is causing the edit task bar (where you can add links and change font) to disappear. I can’t even go to Visual mode either because while I SEE it, I can’t click it. I also cannot add tags or any photos to my posts. It seems tied to how many drafts of a post are saved – or maybe something with one of my plug-ins. All this happened right after the last WP update, so something is incompatible now. SO FRUSTRATING!

Anyways…

I got my first retinol chemical peel (which I’ve been sharing to my Insta Stories) because I wanted to see if it would work to clear up some of my old acne scars and sun spots. WOAH BOY, has this been an interesting experience! I experienced a couple days of disruptive and uncomfortable annoyance (read: burning, itchy face peeling)… and even if the results were awesome, I’m not sure that I’d do it over again. 😬 I’m not at all embarrassed by how my face looks – then or now; I went to both yoga and boxing AND fancy dinner at our club in the midst of major peeling – though I find myself not wanting to wear a lot of makeup anymore. And when I DO wear makeup, my skin just looks awful. So that was what spurred me to do such a thing.

Spoiler alert: I have definitely noticed some positive changes in my skin – and the aesthetician warned me about having unrealistic expectations. But still. I guess for ACTUALLY BURNING SEVERAL LAYERS OF MY FACE OFF, I had some bigger expectations than the results that I have. 60% chance I do it again.

I know.

weekend:
Despite us having a brief temperature warm up this week, we’re back to just about freezing again. But I’m planning some trail miles this morning at Brown’s Woods and a gathering with my fellow Turkeys.

Also, pretty sure I want to go to 80s/90s Skate Night.

See also: HOMEWORK.

seven things, seven days:
1. We bought a new couch… but because it had to be custom (due to the small size of our living space), we’re not getting it until March.
2. My hot pink boxing gloves are ALSO back-ordered through March. BOO!
3. In the meantime, I finally purchased a curtain rod set with my Restoration Hardware gift card that I received on my birthday. In May. 😬
4. And some new throw pillow covers from West Elm – that are even better in person! 😍
5. I’m starting to play around with heart rate monitoring during my runs. Any resources to recommend to learn more?
6. Why January is your least productive month {via Fast Company}
7. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting VERY excited about the upcoming Winter Olympics. Here are 3 steps to handling pressure like an Olympian (from a sport psychology alum of the program that I’m currently in!)

Weekly Therapy: Happy Shiny New 2018!

the week:
I’m still working on my race schedule for this year… which is a little difficult to complete, as I do not have the confirmed dates for my summer internship (for which I’ll travel to the west coast). My goal focus will be my half marathon PR, and I am still undecided if I want to train further than my 20-mile trail race scheduled for summer. I think doing the shorter distances of some local trail races throughout the year would be fun, still keep me in good training condition, and allow me to focus on my graduate studies. I am tentative on a few traveling opportunities later this year (for races) – though my husband and I have two non-running vacations on the calendar!

weekend:
The Health & Fitness Expo is happening at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines this weekend, so I plan to check it out and participate in some of the free fitness sessions (yoga mimosas early Saturday AM, hello!). Also: weekend runs begin again this Saturday for Capital Striders from Drake University!

Meanwhile, I’ll be starting some assignments — winter quarter begins on Monday. YAY!

seven things, seven days:
1. No cavities! Great way to start the year.
2. In 2015, I completed a 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. While I don’t believe I can complete in addition to all my school assignments, I set 24 (2 books per month) as my Reading Challenge goal for 2018.
3. More yoga in 2018! Keeping with that promise to myself, I went to an amazing Good Vibes yoga session at the Windsor Heights Community Center this week. Every Wednesday, yoga for everyone, donation class. Come out and hug some strangers and connect deeper with your own practice and the Des Moines yoga community.
4. Another visit to the vet for my middle cat child. Because of our adventure before Christmas, I was worried that she was obstructed (given her litter box behavior) and seems the poor kitty’s stress has inflamed her bladder. 😿
5. Want to say “no” more in 2018? The Art of Saying No (to prepare you for saying “yes”). {TED Talk}
6. What are your predictions for fitness trends in 2018? {via Outside}
7. This is an excellent piece from Runner’s World on how to incorporate “gains” into your 2018 goals. All of their suggestions (except for maybe the cold showers, because NOPE I’d rather just run outside) are realistic and easy improvements to goal-setting that I plan to incorporate into my upcoming training schedule.

2017 (Running) Year in Review

Probably the biggest move for the blog was my inevitable exit from my 30s — and growing out of this blog a bit. I’m still trying to find my peace and place in it, but it’s likely 2018 will bring with it another rebranding and change in URL.

30something miles three marathons header blog review

That said, I covered 942 miles in 2017 — so close to 1,000! And 429 miles over my previous mileage total! I had 5 months of over 100 miles. I finished 3 marathons and my first ultra-marathon (50k); I also finished 5 half marathons. I crossed off 6 new states. In 2017 I traveled quite a bit, which is not something I plan to continue at the same frequency or voracity next year. I’m only registered for two races in 2018 so far and confirmed my deferral transfer to this year’s Night Hawk 20-miler in Kansas (in June). I don’t want to train for a marathon for the first half of the 2018, and I’ll reassess at mid-year if I want to run any road races at all after Drake. I realized that trail running is really my happy place, and I want more of that joy in my life.

January: The year started off with the Capital Striders (our Des Moines running club) Mitten Run, and kicked off marathon training for me. And then my treadmill broke on January 2 (and was inoperable for over a month). Grrrrr!

February: No races, and a LOT of outdoor winter running! And then that one time I tried to run on a cruise ship.

March: I got married! And then at the end of the month, I traveled down to Texas to do my first Ragnar race with Internet “strangers.”

April: I road-tripped to do the Illinois Half Marathon – where I PR’d my 5k – and had my second fastest half marathon time (it was a great weekend!). I ran the Hawkeye 25k (which I don’t think I’ve reviewed?). I took a DNS on the Drake Half because I was over the weather. I’m signed up for Drake in 2018 and plan to make it my half marathon goal race (despite the course); it’s where I’ll be training all winter long, so I should be used to those hills by April.

30something blog miles 2017 review running

May: Ran the inaugural Women’s Half here in Des Moines as part of my 20-mile long run. It was my last race in my 30s… and then I turned 40. And then we traveled to Burlington over Memorial Day so I could run the Vermont City Marathon — and achieved a shiny new marathon PR!

June: Deferred Night Hawk and took most of June off to recover.

July: I proved that I was TOTALLY NUTS! in the Nuthouse Challenge in Minnesota (a 10k, 5k, and half marathon over two days), and then traveled to Chicago the following weekend for the BTN Big 10k. I found a wonderful July 4th 5K in Earlham and ran with friends.

August: No races in August!

September: I had another big PR at Capital Pursuit – beating last year by 9 minutes and having a really kickass race overall (averaging 9:32 pace and ran the last two miles of the race sub 9-minute). I took another road trip to do a Labor Day double-header Half Marathon Weekend (Rockin’ Chocolate & NewBo half marathons). AND I started Grad school (hello, stress!). September was also my highest mileage month of all time – running 137.2 miles!

October: October was kind of a bummer month, as I started feeling the effects of overtraining and stress both mentally and physically, and I couldn’t keep up with the imbalance of work/school/training. HOWEVER, I finished the Chicago Marathon, and completed a 50k with the GOATz in Omaha — my first Ultra. Both races I still need to recap. I also celebrated my one-year anniversary of trail running by running To Grandmother’s House We Go 10k again (and beating my finish time from 2016).

November: I finished my final marathon of the year at Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa. I also returned to my Thanksgiving tradition of running a morning Turkey Trot.

December: I took a DNS on Hitchcock Experience 50, since my training took a nosedive and I felt terrible running Route 66 and didn’t want to risk injury. While I finished Sycamore 8 trail race, I was feeling many of the aches and pains that I had at Route 66, and knew I made the right decision to stop training.

30 something blog year in review new year

For most of December, I have been doing a whole lot of NOT running, and it’s been really good for me mentally – I feel like I’m ready to start running regularly again in a couple weeks. In the meantime, I have been doing ALL OF THE CROSS-TRAINING and enjoying the change of pace.

Race Recap: NewBo Run (Cedar Rapids, IA)

I couldn’t let 2017 end without getting another Iowa race recap completed. The NewBo Run half marathon was race two of my double Labor Day half challenge and my 14th half marathon overall. And, strangely, my last half marathon of the year. Geesh… has it already been 4 months since Labor Day?! As the Rockin’ Chocolate was the day before, I intended to take this one easy and enjoy the experience (best I could) while hanging out and catching up with my friend Chelsea (see her race recap here). I followed along with her run-walk method, but halfway through my legs couldn’t handle the abruptness of the stopping and walking motion, which resulted in me basically doing a slow shuffling while waiting for her to catch back up when it was time to run again. My legs were positively DONE after this race – and we still had to drive back to Des Moines afterward!

NewBo Grumpy Cat city market iowa

Feeling a little “Grumpy Cat” this race morning.

Registration + Cost: Registration was online through GetMeRegistered and only cost me $25. For a half marathon, that’s an incredible deal! (I can’t remember if it was a special discount.) You can pay extra for the shirt or opt out; I chose the latter to save the $5 and OF COURSE I wanted the shirt after I saw it. The ever-awesome Angie mailed me one (and a sticker) post-race and trust me when I say it’s my most comfortable shirt in my collection and I wear it all the time.

NewBo start line blog race recap Iowa

Bib #096 or 960?

Packet Pick-up: Having never been to Cedar Rapids before, I wasn’t quite sure of the NewBo City Market location to pick up bibs – or how far away from that location we should park. After nearly having someone back into my car in a street spot a few blocks away (free meters on weekends), we opted to drive closer to the market and park on a side street. The risk of being in a new city and parking on a street are the unknown laws – and we DEFINITELY saw cars being towed that were parked in lots around the market (we were safe on the street). So, don’t park where there are OBVIOUS signs not to.

NewBo Start Line race recap Iowa blogger

Already feeling warm…

Weather: It was WARM. Completely opposite than the prior day in Madison.

Start Line: The start area was a block away from the market (where packet pick-up was) and “following the crowd” was easy enough. The start felt very energetic!

NewBo start line

Thanks for the pic, Ang!

Course + Elevation: One of the biggest concerns on race day (outside of the heat) were active train crossings. As in, yes, you may get stopped up on the course by an actual train and have to wait. That… almost happened to us (near the end of the race) but was only an individual locomotive entering the industrial area – thankfully, not at full train speed. HA! I trained for trains!

All that out of the way, the first part of the course was on open country road with no shade and rolling hills – not the easiest thing mentally or physically when you finished a half marathon already the day before – some farm animals to pass the time, if you’re into that (but also adding another roadkill opossum to my BINGO card). I couldn’t wait to get to the Sac and Fox Trail portion of the course where it was shaded and beautiful.

NewBo Sac and Fox Trail professional photog

THUMBS UP FOR SHADE!

Aid Stations: This race does NOT supply Gatorade and I was unprepared for that – and particularly concerned with the heat not having the extra electrolytes. While I understand that it’s an expense, based on my previous race experiences, I thought maybe the race would readjust given the expected temperatures or at least have available at the finish. If I remember correctly, there was one gel station on the course.

At the first aid station, the front racers for the 10k were coming up around the loop… and basically colliding with us “back of the packers” who had to cross over from the left to the right to reach the water stations. It was confusing, and frankly, dangerous. The poor volunteer was also unable to keep up and I handed my cup over to one of the faster runners who was (unfortunately) yelling for a water. After the fact, I wondered if that was not our aid station at all and was for the back portion of the course coming in.

NewBo Finish Line picture

Ever grateful for our buddy Josh grabbing this finish line pic for us!

Finish Line + After Party: NewBo really puts an emphasis on their local businesses, and several highlights are included in the post-race party: kolaches, pretzel rolls, breakfast burritos – all from different places – and of course, beer. Finishers got a plastic cup at the finish line to fill at a Lion Bridge Brewing tent (which I can’t have; there’s water if you need it 😆) OH! THEY HAD A CIDER! Which was awesome! But they wouldn’t give me that in place of a beer, so I had to buy ANOTHER cup (for the Arts Fest happening on that same day, which I could walk around with) AND pay for the drink. The cider was delicious, FWIW. PS: There was also Sangria available, which followed the same rules as the cider/cup purchasing above.

We went back to the hotel after the race and returned to the City Market to check out the vendors (and eat a lot of things), stroll the ArtsFest, and then had lunch (and some kind of neat Grapefruit-looking cider) at a local pub.

Random BS: I know we were “slow” finishers but C’MON, save some kolaches for ALL the runners! And if you were a spectator and ate a kolache, I am internet shaming you. I personally cannot eat one, but I will speak out for my fellow hangry runner. I was so excited about the finish line Czech baked good that I was raving about them to my friend. And she didn’t get one. I took her later to Sykora’s in the Czech Village to make sure she didn’t leave Cedar Rapids without one.

NewBo group after party pic

Chelsea is our honorary Iowan – running NewBo as part of her 50 State Quest.

Swag + Medals: One of the big draws for me was this finisher’s medal — despite it nearly chipping my tooth putting it over my head. 😆 (I need to work on my moves a bit.) It’s a piece of pottery on a string essentially and I positively LOVE that it incorporates the shape of Iowa into its design. Age group winners get a special piece of hand-crafted ceramic pottery. It’s that extra special touch that I love about small races!

NewBo medal bib race recap Iowa

BONUS: On NewBo’s race results page, when you click your name, it’s hyperlinked to a video of your finish. HOW COOL IS THAT?!

OVERALL
The Great: The medal is a must-have, unique item!
The Good: Since I display my bibs, I was happy to have a race-specific one – despite this being a small race.
The Bad: This race needs more kolaches. I never imagined the day that I would have to write that. It’s like Czech osud and I’m sure my ancestors would be very proud of my fight for baked goods.
The Ugly: No gatorade on the course – plan ahead!

TL;DR: You should add this Iowa race to your summer schedule. I would definitely go back and run again.

NewBo professional photog 1

BONUS BONUS: Free race pics! Also, very opposite of Grumpy Cat.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
2:41:13
53rd in 40-49 Age Group
499 overall

Weekly Therapy: 12.22.17

the week:
Woo! Final grades are in, and I passed my courses from Fall quarter (all A’s!). I’m super excited to be on break right now, but looking forward to my next set of classes for winter quarter. My program will continue to get more challenging and take me out of my comfort zone, and I’m so thankful that I’ll be able to focus on my studies full time.

weekend:
CHRISTMAS WEEKEND! My in-laws are visiting, and I am so excited to host Christmas in our Iowa home this year.

seven things, seven days:
1. Any good, new Christmas movies I should be watching? I have some free time to fill.
2. Not only did I get Christmas cards out this year but all of my presents are wrapped, too.
3. And because all our presents were wrapped and placed around the tree, we misjudged that our cats would mess with anything… which ended up in a $200+ vet bill for x-rays for my middle “child” who decided to snack on a wired ribbon. (Thankfully, the x-ray didn’t show anything remaining in her stomach.)
4. I took advantage of the holiday special at Title Boxing Club, which includes 2-week unlimited classes (and a set of gloves and wraps), AND I AM HOOKED. I am already paid up for Farrell’s for the 10-week Challenge starting in January, but I feel like I’ll be spending a lot of time at Title in the future.
5. I went out to Center Trails for a little night hiking this week, which was super fun – and exciting to see how many other runners and bikers enjoy the trails at night.
6. Had my introductory meeting with Girls on the Run, as I signed up to coach this spring. Really looking forward to getting more involved in this organization.
7. My husband made 5 different kinds of gluten-free Christmas cookies, and OMG he is the best. 😍😍😍

Christmas is coming, tra-la-la-la!

Race Recap: Rockin’ Chocolate Half Marathon (Madison, WI)

Driving (the LONG way) out to run the inaugural Rockin’ Chocolate Half Marathon race was my first time in Wisconsin. I’ve crossed so many new states off my list since moving to Iowa! This was first of a double-header half weekend over Labor Day with my friend Chelsea (Pittsburgh City Girl) – who is on a 50-states quest. My intent was to have fun and spend time catching up and running with her.

Rockin Chocolate Start Line w Chelsea

For this recap, I’m going to start with the experience. Overall, we were a little disappointed as there was neither a whole lot of chocolate or a whole lot of rocking (I did enjoy greatly the guitar solo national anthem, however). Like, I get what the race was trying to accomplish – the idea of commingling the popular rock n’ roll and hot chocolate events – but I do not believe it was successfully executed. Our expectations were that there would be music and chocolate along the course (there was not) and a sinful amount of chocolate at the finish (there was not). I did respond to the post-race survey, so hopefully they take some of that feedback into account for future races (the 2018 date has already been announced). That said, they also messed up sending the surveys, so those of us who received survey links in email got error messages that we had already taken it. They did not resend the email, yet posted a corrected link on Facebook, which… not the same thing.

rockin chocolate start line photo blog recap

Cost and Registration: A Cyber Monday deal last year prompted us to register for this race – it was only $25! An excellent deal for a half marathon. HOWEVER, registration for the 2018 race right now is already $60, and goes up to $65 after January 1st. The race did sell out this year, so something to consider in planning your sign-up.

Expo and Packet Pick-up: The only reason why I took a half day’s PTO to drive to Madison on Friday was because of the promise of chocolate-filled goodie bags with early bib pick-up. Well, it was a package of toffee, which is quite possibly the WORST (and far as I’m concerned, NOT chocolate). And well, that set the tone for the race. The expo was super tiny, held in a community room at the Monona city building, and took all of 5 minutes to grab everything I needed.

Rockin Choco Half Mel YAY

Parking: Our hotel was about 20 minutes from the start. Despite getting to the race early, parking was already a little challenging, as we were not sure which streets were OK to park on – or on which side – and we were a couple miles out and seeing a lot of people walking in. People looked to be parking in bike lines, of which I am NOT AT ALL a proponent. There was parking information and maps provided by the race organizers via email, but street signs were confusing and/or conflicting and side street parking filled up quickly. Despite that, we parked on a main road about 3/4 mi. (or so) from the start line.

Start Line: I found another Pittsburgh friend wearing the SAME Pittsburgh Marathon shirt (who no longer lives in Pittsburgh either lol)! We were fast friends, of course, and reminisced on the city we missed.

rockin chocolate madison matching shirts pittsburgh

I brought my own coffee.

A solo guitarist started us off with the national anthem, which was an awesome way to begin the race. Rock on! Also a bonus: the race started on time (you never know what to expect with a new or small race).

Weather: Race day was the first cool morning of a season of never-ending humidity. OMG, the weather was beautiful! I eventually had to shed my long-sleeve shirt when we left the shaded neighborhoods, but it still was a really lovely, sunny day.

Rockin Choco Mel Course Wave

Course: The course had a beautiful backdrop in downtown Madison and Lake Monona. We left the start area on the paved trails and ran throughout the surrounding Lake Monona neighborhoods near the shore, looped around the lake into downtown and back into Monona. The neighborhoods were GORGEOUS – and all the buildings and houses (even the park bathrooms!) felt Frank Lloyd Wright inspired. Outside of the Niagara Falls Marathon, this might have been my favorite course scenery.

I mean, even the Little Library drops were adorable!

rockin chocolate race monona little library

I should also note that despite the music-forward implication, there was only one solo musician set up on the course. This was disappointing, particularly as there was zero crowd support on the course. Know that this will be a lonely race if you are doing it alone. The course elevation is not that challenging; there were a few climbs early in the race, but mostly just a bunch of rolling little bumps.

Finish Line: The finish line welcomed us with chocolate milk (yay!) and some kind of chocolate-covered strawberry local beer (I couldn’t have it, obvs) – which you needed your ticket to redeem (not attached to the bib as it is in other races). A tent was set up where the beer was served, with a live band playing, and there were a couple food trucks set up near the park. I believe there were also massage therapists on-site.

Rockin Choco Mel Finish Line

There were also a bunch of vendors SELLING sweets and goodies (yes, some were providing samples). Again, not much in the way of chocolate; which was not only irritating for its lack of playing to the theme of the race, but also for its money-grab on the participants. I’m more than happy to support local establishments (and I did); however, if you are going to call yourself a chocolate race THEN YOU BETTER HAVE CHOCOLATE.

rockin chocolate finisher medal half marathon

The only chocolate on the course was chocolate milk (and chocolate animal crackers) at the finish line.

Swag and Medals: I love the race-branded t-shirt that came with registration (super soft!), even though it was unisex sizing; and the medal – while “rockin” in theme – was a little small and cheap compared to what the race appeared to be advertising through its social channels. This is the 3rd guitar-shaped medal in my collection, which is cool. I don’t really run for the medals anymore (though I do love to display them), so it’s not the biggest deal for me – but it might be for others.

After Party: Since this was a double-header weekend, we needed to get back to the hotel and check out – and also find somewhere to find some cheese (like you do in Wisconsin, right?). Which is randomly how we found the gluten-free awesomeness of Alt Brew. Not only did they have AMAZING beers (holy moly, the Kolsch was incredible!!! Yes, I brought some home with me), they had an awesome local cheese board. It was the first in a LONG time that I was able to have a flight of beers somewhere.

madison wisconsin gluten free beer

YAY, Madison! The great (gluten-free) beer redeemer!

OVERALL
The Great: I loved the course – total visual overload looking at all the mid-century modern homes and views of the lake. *swoon*
The Good: The race photographer took a BUNCH of great shots on the course, and I was excited to get a Black Friday discount code to download all my pictures.
The Bad: A race capitalizing on the popularity of two other races… and not executing it well at all.
The Ugly: Gross, toffee. Not worth 4 hours of PTO. Also, misspelling “marthon” in its emails. LORDY.

Rockin Chocolate Half Finish Line w Chelsea

Finished! (Definitely not 6-minute miles as the sign suggests. 😆)

Race Recap: To Grandmother’s House We Go 10K (2017)

To Grandmother’s House We Go is another repeat race for me — held the last Saturday in October at Brown’s Woods — in fact, it was my FIRST trail race last year and celebrates my one year of running trails!

So, naturally, I wanted to PR the course.

Grandmothers House trail race 2017

The race has three distances (depending on how many loops you want to do) up to 15k. Since I completed the 10k last year, I wanted to test my trail fitness from the past year. Which… the weekend after running a 50k, my finish time was basically in the hands of my legs (that sounds weird, but let’s go with the idiom). My training so far has included SO MUCH slogging through miserable long miles and enduring races that felt defeating and humbling. Last year’s race was also humbling, and I was in a very, no-good, bad mood. I was focused to have a different experience. And I did!

The weather was a LOT colder this year (last year I wore shorts!), though the trails were just as dry. Packet pick-up was easy the morning of the race. There is a small lot at the trailhead, but most have to park down the road in a separate lot – which also fills very quickly; any spillover parking is on the road leading away from the park, but all within a reasonable walk (even on a chilly day). Also reasonable? Registration! Run any distance for $30 (there’s a $5 discount for Capital Striders’ Members) or $40 on race day. There is a small race pool, but I WILL TAKE IT!

I kept looking for the hills that kicked my butt that I could barely hike up last year — they never came. I logged a whole mile on the trails under 10 minutes… which, have I done that ever on the trails?! I FELT SO FAST. I was having FUN. I even dressed in a sorta costume. Everything last year was not.

Grandmothers House Iowa trail 2017 race recap

I finished the 2016 race in 1:14:08… Not only did I PR the course, I beat last year’s time by nearly 6 minutes, and I got 2nd in my Age Group (40-49). Since there are no finisher’s medals for this race, I was excited to take home an age group award.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
68:13
2nd in 40-49 Age Group

Weekly Therapy: 12.08.17

the week:
Finals week in grad school is a VERY different place than finals week in undergrad. It about took all of my energy, while also taking a little bit of my pride. All-in-all, some great learning experiences outside of the course content. Last week was my last week at my full-time job, so I look forward to being able to focus more on my studies in future quarters – and having a LOT more sanity in my life.

30 something therapy finals week

weekend:
This was the weekend that I was going to run my first 50-mile at Hitchcock, but I withdrew. With all my leftover energy focused on grad school (since I have also been working full time all this time), my training dropped off and I was sincerely worried about the stress of everything injuring me physically if I attempted the race. It took a lot of contemplation, but in the end wasn’t worth the risk – particularly because I have just had one bad race after another this fall, and Route 66 marathon was kind of the top of the bad for me. Hitchcock half remains one of my favorite races, and I hope to get back out there healthy next year.

In any event, I’m excited to see Waitress tonight at the Des Moines Performing Arts Center! We’re trying out a new downtown restaurant, too. Stay tuned!

seven things, seven days:
1. I’m on a 4-week winter break starting Monday; there’s a lot of free time to fill (and cat hair to clean and furniture to move… WHAT IS THIS FREE TIME?!)
2. My race and training season are over, and I’m filling the void with strength workouts, yoga, and… barre.
3. I’m also looking forward to my kickboxing classes that start up in January.
4. And I’m also considering doing a drop-in roller derby practice in a few weeks. Am I crazy?!
5. Maybe I’ll actually get all my drafted race reviews published over the next few weeks!
6. I don’t like going to the movie theater, but there are so many good films out right now that I want to see (Three Billboards, Lady Bird, Murder on the Orient Express, The Greatest Showman…). Maybe there is a matinee in my future. Also: STAR WARS NEXT WEEK!
7. Why ultra-running needs to solve its gender inequality problem {via CTS, Jason Koop}