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!

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.

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

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}

Race Recap: Route 66 Marathon (Tulsa, OK)

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Route 66 Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

“The marathon can humble you.” — Bill Rodgers

Start Line Route 66 marathon bibrave

Well, I’ve had enough humbling. And disappointment. This fall season has not been good to me. Following up on an incredibly disappointing performance at Chicago, I experienced my worst marathon time yet at Route 66. It’s more about the time goal; this was the first time I was feeling actual pain (and not your everyday terrible marathon-running discomfort) — where I could feel all my muscles just lock up and not move anymore. Knee buckling, stop-me-in-my-tracks, make-me-nauseous, searching-for-the-medical-tent pain. If this experience was a gauge of ever running a marathon again, I would say “absolutely not.” (I know that’s not true, but I WILL probably be taking a year or longer off of the distance). But without going into too many personally negative emotional tangents, I want to recap just what an awesome job the Route 66 Marathon race directors did down there in Tulsa.

Cost and Registration: As previously mentioned, I was an ambassador for the race with BibRave, and my registration was paid in full (including the VIP Mother Road package). Early registration when I signed up in April was $95; prices increased incrementally up to race week for the full marathon up to $120 (there are no race day/weekend registrations). I don’t believe there was an extra cost for the Center of the Universe detour, as it seems anyone could have taken the “detour” as you passed. There’s a weekend full of events for runners and spectators: a 5K, half marathon, marathon – even a Mascot Dash!

Route 66 packet pickup #rt66run

Race Communication: Route 66 Marathon had its own app, which honestly wasn’t the best from a user experience, but had full schedule of events for the expo and race notification updates, which I found helpful. I received several emails leading up to race day, including 3-4 the weekend of the race that were specific to start line, corrals, and other important race day information.

Expo and Packet Pick-up: I had an upgrade to the VIP Mother Load package, which gave me the benefit of “skipping the line” (or, a separate VIP pickup) for bibs. There wasn’t any line when I attended the expo, though it was a nice perk. The volunteer who handed me my packet told me that my wrist band was in my bag for the pre- and post-race VIP… and when I opened everything up that night, there was no VIP band. Unfortunately, I was unable to go back to the expo the next day, as I was in a professional development seminar the entirety of the expo open hours on Saturday. Had I paid for the upgrade, I definitely would have been more pissed and sought out remedy the situation. I love the race poster that I received and plan to frame it for my home gym.

Route 66 marathon expo

That said, this expo was one of my favorites – a great mix of vendors (a lot of them new to me including PICKLE JUICE!!!); several race booths showing off their respective bling; and some interesting panels, including the race’s bloggers and social teams, and the ever-awesome Bart Yasso.

Start Line: Great organization, easy to figure out where I needed to go, AND CONFETTI CANNONS when each wave started. It felt really special.

Weather: The weather was positively beautiful! I wore shorts and a long-sleeve shirt through majority of the marathon.

Course and Elevation: **CURSES HILLS**

Route 66 elevation map HILLS


The course was exciting as it involved a lot of the surrounding neighborhoods, but the last stretch of the course was through a warehouse district and mostly-abandoned section of downtown, and… well, that is where some crowd support is sorely needed and missing.

Aid Stations: It was hard at times to distinguish which was an official aid station and which was a neighborhood-supported stop, there was so much support on this course (save for the last 4-6 miles). But about every 2 miles, there was the race volunteered-manned water and Gatorade tables – they alternated flavors throughout the race, which was fine by me, but I could see how others who are particular about flavor would dislike this (I still hate Grape very much). There was also a gel stops at least once along the course; I feel like there may have been two, but regardless, I was happy for strawberry-banana.

route 66 marathon mimosa stop

On Sundays, we drink mimosas!

Fans and Experience: They weren’t lying when they call this race a marathon-sized party – the community REALLY comes out to celebrate. And there was beer. A LOT OF IT. And mimosas. And Jell-O shots. And Fireball. (And some partial nudity lol). I only wish that the course was flip-flopped, so that the runners could experience more of that “party” atmosphere at a later point in the race when the support is really needed (and, for me, personally, when the race was no longer going well for me). The crowd support definitely thinned out for the last 10k of the race.

Finish Line and After Party: Bart Yasso was calling out finisher names! We had a moment. haha

Bart Yasso Finish Line Route 66 marathon

There was a shit-ton of pizza and beer (neither that I could have) and really nothing else (I don’t even remember seeing a banana), no Muscle Milk either (only water and more Gatorade, no). VIP Mother Load after-party – since there was no wrist band in my bag, I did not look for it. To be honest, I wasn’t feeling much of celebrating after the race, and barely had enough time to shower, pack up, and check out of the hotel by 3pm. Thankful for the late check-out though (Thanks, Hilton Double Tree!)

BTW: The Hilton Double Tree hotel is in a PERFECT location for the expo (connected to the hotel by a skywalk) and the start line; however, it was about a mile-and-a-half walk from the finish line, which OOOOOOOOOF. To be wholly fair to the race, there were hotel shuttles; however, I did not plan that out ahead of time.

Detour: I originally signed up to run the Center of the Universe detour, but I barely had 26.2 miles to give, let alone an extra quarter mile. But I saw some of the pictures of the event afterwards, and is was Christmas themed and I am bummed that I wasn’t having a better time.

Route 66 marathon finishers jacket

Swag and Medals: THE BEST FINISHER JACKET EVER. It has zippered pockets. It’s cozy. I love the design and colors. Full swoon. The Goddess of Speed medal is also one the best that I have received (it spins!) and has a flat base, so it can sit on a shelf as a trophy, too. Route 66 took the awesome design and took it one step further by personalizing the metal finish of the medal for first-time marathoners, and special medal ribbons for Marathon Maniacs.

Route 66 Marathon Finisher Medal

The Great: Really excellent race organization, communication, and volunteers. And I crossed off my 4th marathon state!
The Good: If drinking and running is your thing, BOY do I have the race for you!
The Bad: Hills. As trained as I was on our local trails, that barely prepared me for this course.
The Ugly: Pain. Injury. Self-doubt. Disappointment. Ugly crying. Yelling at your husband when it’s not his fault.

Ugh, looking at my splits just makes me more sad – I was basically on pace to have the race of my life:
1:00:44 (basically, my 10k PR time)
2:09:49 (a new half PR time for me)
At 20 miles, I was at 3:35:24
Hindsight, I can yell at myself to “SLOW DOWN!” but everything felt good for that first part of the race – and it felt EASY. I didn’t look at my watch until my left leg started to go numb around mile 12.

Overall place: 818
Division place (F40-44): 53

Weekly Therapy: 11.17.17

the week:
Last Friday, I went to the Foo Fighters concert – a bucket list concert for me, as I somehow never saw them live for their 22-year existence. And while it was a little underwhelming (Dave Grohl’s voice was shot from laryngitis or something), I’m still excited to cross off the list. Then Saturday morning, I went to brunch with my running buddies (skipping my long run, meh) and ended up spending SIX HOURS at the restaurant. Worth it.

Last marathon of the season! Road trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the Route 66 Marathon. I have a few friends traveling down from Des Moines, so this is going to be a blast. I also have to do an all-day personal development seminar from my hotel room on Saturday, which is a bummer for the timing (mandatory session for school), as I hoped to get out and sight-see a bit.

seven things, seven days:
1. I’ve been eager for new podcasts to listen to, and so excited to discover a new favorite: Sincerely, Hueman.
2. Finally went to yoga this week after a TOO LONG hiatus. Hotel Renovo will be hosting sessions all winter long! (I would link to their page, but OMG autoplay 😒 )
3. I feel like I’m having a bad hangover to Daylight Saving Time ending. The week of, I was OK but this week, …
4. Thursday is not casual Friday. 😑
5. No, YOU bought a pair of rainbow glittered pointed toe booties.
6. And also these lulu tights that look like glitter.
7. LOVE THIS >> This Race Means Nothing {via Trail Sisters}

Product Review: BUFFⓇ ThermoNet™ Headwear

Disclaimer: I received BUFFⓇ ThermoNet™ products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

This is the 3rd time I’ve been able to review a BUFFⓇ as part of my BibRave Pro ambassadorship. Being an outdoor enthusiast, I love that the company is always innovating its product line. And since I am equally as enthused to run outdoors in winter weather, I was excited to receive a ThermoNetâ„¢ hat and mutifunctional headwear.

My BUFFⓇ shipment arrived right as we were experiencing an extended summer season, so it was several weeks before I was able to test out the ThermoNet™ features in lower temperatures. I love the Crash Berry print and colors!

BUFF ThermoNet 1

Made of PrimaLoft® yarn, both pieces are designed to be durable and breathable, and has the added benefit of wicking away moisture while maintaining heat — important for winter running! As with any BUFFⓇ product, I love that both are lightweight and easily storable on-the-run. Since this pattern is a little more “fashionable” than my other BUFF headpieces, I keep one stashed in my work bag (this Iowa wind, yo).

BUFF ThermoNet run blog product review

The hat generally kept my head and ears blocked from cooler temps; however, I didn’t personally find the material to keep me any warmer when it was REALLY cold. If I was standing or running outdoors for any extended amount of time, I needed to double the pieces up (i.e.: wearing BOTH the hat and tubular piece together) – particularly if it was windy. Also, the material is not as stretchy as the BUFF© products that I use more regularly, which made the tubular headwear a LOT more difficult to stretch over my head. While the fabric also feels a little rough, the ThermoNetâ„¢ was super comfortable.

BUFF ThermoNet BibRave product review blog

BUFFⓇ products are already a regular part of my running gear for winter. Their headwear products are so functional and, as usual, both of these pieces from the ThermoNet™ line are versatile for winter or cold weather running. However, if you are dealing windy conditions all winter like we do in Iowa, you might find a benefit in doubling up your headwear.

Des Moines Marathon Cheer Station Mile 20

Interested in trying out the BUFFⓇ ThermoNet™ pieces for yourself? Use code BIBRAVETHERMONET20 for 20% off any ThermoNet purchase. Discounts expires 11/17/17.

BIBCHAT! Join BUFFⓇ and the BibRave community for BibChat this Tuesday, November 14 at 8pm CST. BUFFⓇ will be giving away a couple pieces of its ThermoNet products to a few lucky participants!

Weekly Therapy: 11.03.17

the week:
My surgery is this morning, and I’m unable to eat anything or have any coffee and OMG I AM GOING TO BE SO CRANKY IN A FEW HOURS! For those unaware, I’m having an intraductal papilloma removed from my right breast. I ran last night with our local Fleet Feet store, and the reduction in miles for the last couple weeks has returned a pretty good response in my body. My recovery time should only be a few days, and my “return to activity” directive is anything after that – if it feels good to do so.

I’ll be recovering from my surgery, so I see a lot of lazy ice cream-eating, roller derby binge-watching hours on the couch. And homework. AND GO BUCKS!

seven things, seven days:
2. Zipper-front sports bras are not a thing for A-cups. #tmyk
4. The Christmas lights got installed on our house. BEFORE HALLOWEEN.
5. Halloween didn’t bring out too many kids this year because of the cold temps, but I enjoyed participating in our neighborhood’s Boos & Booze event again.
6. Worst costume was the kid in a full M*chigan football uniform. -_-
7. What boredom does to you (spoiler alert: it’s not all bad!) {via Nautilus}

Weekly Therapy: 10.20.17

the week:
Oh, HI! It’s been a few weeks. ?

I’m closing out Week 4 of grad school, and as expected, it’s kicking my ass! I’ve finally found a groove with my assignments and reading (so much reading!), but will admit to feeling wholly intimidated by so many brilliant people in my classes. I’m inspired by the topics and coursework so far (though wish I could spend more of my time focused on school – still trying to figure out the work-school balance). Actually, that balance part has been really important to me and I have worked HARD on the days I need to in order to enjoy a “free” day.

I took a week off running after Chicago (oh yeah, I haven’t posted about that or ANY of my races from last month either!), and felt good to have some space from that. This past weekend, I cheered on the Des Moines’ marathoners from Mile 20 (half marathoners Mile 7) and it filled my whole heart to be able to do so.

Des Moines Marathon Cheer Station Mile 20

This weekend is GOATz 50k in Omaha. Yep, another race weekend road trip. Have I mentioned this is my first ultra race? This should be a fun one! I’m WAY less anxious about running this than Chicago.

seven things, seven days:
1. My knuckles are bruised from extreme cow-belling at the marathon last weekend.
2. Story of my life: I bought this for my cats (they don’t care), and now I’m having all the fun!
3. I saw Christmas lights up (and on!) during my morning work commute this week. ?
4. I also saw a meteor! Peak meteor showers this weekend from Halley’s Comet!
5. Generation X Women are having midlife crises. {sigh, Oprah}
6. My podcast feed is stale. What are your favorites? Got any new ones to recommend?
7. Find your motivation in sport. {via Psychology Today}

Training Week #10: Undertrained or overtraining?

I feel like I might be going into Chicago Marathon undertrained, and it is stressing me out. I can’t turn back time and fix the weather or erase my excuses, and yet I haven’t done a single 20-miler this cycle (I did three 20+ runs when training for Vermont City). There are some schools of thought that believe an 18-miler is enough; and, well, I have just about the same amount of mileage leading up to the marathon as my last. While I mentioned before that Chicago is only a training run, jumping from 18 miles to 26 miles… well, my body is probably not going to like it. That 50k later this month? My body might dislike that even more. Basically, I feel like I’m kind of failing at being a runner right now. I can only hope that the back-to-back runs I’ve been doing on weekends will be enough.

week 10 ultra fun training blog header iowa

I’d be remiss in not mentioning that my right knee is acting up again this week. It hasn’t bothered me at all while running, but I feel discomfort in doing functional movements and squatting (even readjusting while sitting on the couch). Foam rolling my quad helped a bit, but I can’t find the connection other than when I use my right leg for weight bearing or to push off — like, walking up or down the stairs. Seems to be more troublesome going up, and getting out of a squat has more discomfort than going into one. When you have three cats, it’s impossible not to be constantly squatting! It has put me on notice.

Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – 4 miles, treadmill
Wednesday – 10 miles, Trail Rest Day – Wednesday looks to be a big homework night for me every week; I’ll probably make it my strength workout going forward.
Thursday – 8 miles 10 miles – This was Wednesday’s workout, treadmill
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – 20-22 miles Ran out of time; finished 13.75 miles on trails. I also went to a bouncy house place for a 3-year-old’s birthday party and played around on the obstacle course stuff for an hour. That counts for exercise, right?!
Sunday – 10 miles 16 miles

Week 10 ultra training jester park bison elk iowa

Elk! Bison! Iowa fall weather!

With grad school started, I realize that running 5 times a week will not work at this point; so, I’m committing to 4 runs per week (and realistically know that some weeks I’ll only get in 3). I REALLY need to get back into my weekly 2x strength workouts (echo, echo, echo…). After Chicago will be another cutback week to “taper” for the 50k. I need to reassess my training plan and goals at that point to make sure that I’ll be prepared for Route 66 Marathon in November and the 50-miler in December. While the 50M is still two months away, I’ll only really have a solid month more of training. I also need to start training with hiking poles. OMG WHAT AM I DOING?!

*deep breath*

Wilson’s Orchard has a Spiced Up hard cider that is perfect for fall. Any other fall-flavored ciders on the market (that I can get in Iowa)? I’d really like to try a pumpkin cider.


week 10 ultra training bouncy house party

Still looking for a fall race? Route 66 registration is still open! Use my discount code 2017R66BR to save $10.

SEPTEMBER MILEAGE TOTAL: 137.2 miles – biggest mileage month ever!
WEEKLY MILEAGE: 43.7 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE YEAR: 793.81 miles
LAST RACE: Capital Pursuit (10-miler)
UP NEXT: Chicago Marathon next weekend!

I love that Chicago Marathon gifted something special to celebrate the 40th birthdays together. This was amazing of the race to do this!

week 10 training chicago marathon chi40club

Training Week #8: Don’t call it a cutback.

I’m training for the Hitchcock Experience — a monster of a trail race here in Iowa in the Loess Hills (Iowa is not flat!) — and my first 50-mile race. I ran the half marathon last year and absolutely loved the challenge of that course. So I’m taking on the ultra distance (there is also a 100-mile option).

Ultra training week 8 blog running recap

Week #8 was a cutback week, and I took it to heart — only running three days (I was supposed to do five) and half-assing two of them. My weekly mileage was only 16.1 (I was supposed to do 36). To be fair, I was stressing out about grad school and my biopsy (which happened last Friday) which is, thankfully, benign; however, I still need to somehow schedule surgery to have the mass removed (I have my consult with the surgeon next week). In any event, my body apparently like the rest, as I PR’d my 10-mile race on Sunday at the Capital Pursuit by NINE MINUTES. What the?!

Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – 4 miles Rest Day
Wednesday – 8 miles, Trail 5 miles, Trail
Thursday – 6 miles + Kickboxing 1 hurried mile on the treadmill before Kickboxing
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – 8 miles NOPE
Sunday – Capital Pursuit 10-Mile Race

Chicago Marathon… eeek. And preparing for grad school starting next week. Double eeek.

Our local lululemon store and associated “Sweat Life” group hosted a kickboxing workout this week at Farrell’s (location on Hickman in Urbandale). I had so much fun! And I am positively HOOKED and cannot wait to do their 10-week challenge after my ultra training wraps up in December (it was fun to hit things again haha). Even more amazingly, the gym/lululemon gifted us our own pair of hand wraps and gloves — so I’m already geared up! There’s another location even closer to my house and I realized that a few of my neighbors go regularly (one teaches classes, too).

WEEKLY MILEAGE: 16.1 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE YEAR: 739.81 miles
LAST RACE: Capital Pursuit
UP NEXT: Chicago Marathon