Race Recap: The Illinois Marathon 5K — Race 1 of the Half I-Challenge

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to The Illinois Marathon 5K 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!

Illinois marathon challenge blog runner

I’m breaking down my trip to the Illinois race weekend into two posts. This first post will include the 5K portion of the I-Challenge and the Expo. The second will focus on the half marathon and overall race weekend experience.

Location: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois! A nice little 5-hour road trip from Des Moines.

Illinois marathon road trip blogger race review

Road trip rest stop #1: At least I know that I hydrated properly!

Registration and Cost: As my disclosure states above, I received a free entry to the I-Challenge series (5K and half marathon). If you register for the race early, you can run the 5K for as cheap as $25. There are several incremental increases as the race approaches; expo registration (pending availability) went as high as $50. The Half I-Challenge for the half marathon and 5K starts at $85 and goes up to $140.

There are four different distances as part of the Illinois Marathon weekend: the full marathon, half marathon, a 10k and 5k. There is also a youth run, a marathon relay, and the challenge races that all include the 5k on Friday night and one of the distances on Saturday.

Illinois marathon expo recap blogger

Me and Alma… and Alma… and Alma.

Expo and Packet Pick-up: The Health & Fitness Expo opened on Thursday (4-8pm) and continued Friday from (10am-7pm); I drove in on Friday and made it to the expo around 3pm (after checking into my hotel). The expo takes place at the University of Illinois Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) and, after parking, was easy for this out-of-towner to find her way. Arrows directed you to the bib pick-up area first — I didn’t experience any lines in the afternoon.

Illinois marathon expo review race blog

After picking up my bibs (separate bibs for the half and 5K), registrations are then directed to the large gym area for the vendor area and swag pick-up. There were a large number of vendors, a series of speakers — including marathoner Dick Beardsley — and several photo opportunities. I really enjoyed the experience and layout, and spent a good amount of time looking around (and, of course, shopping). Biaggi’s restaurant was also hosting a Pasta Feed at the Expo — and they had gluten-free pasta (YAY!).

Illinois marathon expo recap

Parking was a little annoying from a time management perspective, but there was plenty of it and it’s free. Signage was very helpful around campus to direct where to park — and look for all the volunteers with orange foam fingers. You just might have to do some walking, and the Expo gets busier as people get out of work.

Swag: Each race had its own drawstring race bag and t-shirt. The 5K shirt is short sleeved and the typical boxy fit that comes with unisex sizing. If you’re local to the area, there were a BUNCH of race and product flyers — many with discounts.

Weather: The weather was much chillier than I expected at 48 degrees (and super windy). And I’m REALLY glad that I packed that extra pair of pants and a long-sleeve layer.

Illinois marathon 5k review blog

Course: All of the races for the weekend started near the State Farm Center and ended at Memorial Stadium. I don’t know much about the area, but it was fun to run through campus and Champaign at nighttime. There was a great energy along the course, with a lot of students cheering from the sidewalks and porches around campus. I did my fair share of “woo’ing” with spectators.

Illinois Marathon 5K course map

Start Line: The 5K started at 7:30 pm — and at a half hour before start time, it was SO CROWDED. All of the runners couldn’t event fit into their corrals, and there was quite a long wait in between waves in order to fit all the people in as each corral moved forward. It kind of made me nervous for the half marathon start. Maybe that bottleneck could be alleviated with entry open to both sides of the corrals?

Illinois marathon bibrave pro start line

Bib Rave Pros!

Aid Stations: There was a water stop on the course about 2 miles in, though I didn’t need to stop.

Finish Line: The big appeal of the Illinois Marathon is the 50-yard finish inside Memorial Stadium. Imagine my surprise to learn we would be doing the same for the 5K! It was a really cool experience, though you couldn’t linger long on the field. Inside the concession area was free food for finishers: Jimmy John’s sandwiches (sadly no lettuce-wrapped), bananas, and Nature Valley granola bars.

After Party: The 4th Mile party outside Memorial Stadium was the celebatory kick-off to the 5K and race weekend. All participants got a free drink (lines were fairly long by the time we finished our races) from Riggs Beer Company. There was also live music, food trucks, and FREE CAKE to celebrate the 150th birthday. All of this, sadly, not meant for the gluten-free runner. I was positively shivering from the cold (I had to purchase an oversized men’s sweatshirt from one of the vendor booths to get warm) and unfortunately, couldn’t stick around the party too long.

Illinois marathon 5k medals

Speaking of birthdays, the 5K medal is a balloons bouquet celebrating the sesquicentennial. And for me, it also celebrated a new PR! HOLY CRAP. I ran the race by feel and… it felt easy. I’m just so ecstatic to have that feeling and see those splits — while also having so much fun.

Illinois marathon 5k finish line stadium review

OVERALL
The Great: I wasn’t planning for a 5K PR, so that was a GREAT surprise!
The Good: Despite being cold, I was having fun.
The Bad: Not the races fault, but my hotel room was right outside the elevators. Whomp, whomp.
The Ugly: Entry to the corrals was pretty backed up, and people were getting irritated and pushy. I hate pushy people.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
27:44 — a new 5K race PR!

Illinois 5K finisher certificate

Weekly Therapy: Loyalty and road trips and early morning alarms

the week:
I purchased a lunch bag from eBags a few years ago and was sad when the interior lining started ripping away from the zipper. I finally replaced it a few weeks ago with something new, but strongly disliked its smaller interior capacity (less room for snacks!) and handles that don’t keep the back straight — and no short carry handle on the top of the bag (so high maintenance!). When looking around their site to find my original, I discovered that eBags-branded products have a LIFETIME WARRANTY against defects — and they replaced my well-loved lunch bag with a brand new one!

I’m in no way sponsored or compensated by the company, but I absolutely love when brands do right by their products and will shout my loyalty from the rooftops. I’ll love this lunch bag for another few years and all is right with my world and my many (many) meals and snacks that I need to bring with me to work.

race day 5am meme

WORD.

weekend:
I’m off to Illinois to take on the I-Half Challenge (a 5K tonight and a half marathon on Saturday morning) and my first race as a BibRave Pro ambassador! This will be my 10th half marathon. CRAZY.

A friend is also driving up to Champaign to spend the remainder of the weekend with me, and I’m so happy to get to see her and drink wine, since it’s been YEARS. If the weather stays nice, we are planning on trail skating, too. #shutuplegs

seven things, seven days:
1. Remember my office fire from two months ago? Well I finally got a box of my personal belongings from my desk. Which included close to none of my belongings.
2. I had a dream this week where a parade of kids were wearing items from my closet that I haven’t worn in forever. What a message, eh? Must be time for another round of Cleaning of the Closets.
3. For my wedding celebration this summer, I requested a box of party dresses from my Trunk Club [referral link] — and she sent the PERFECT dress.
4. Collaboration creates mediocrity. According to Science. And me, a high performer.
5. Well, this is interesting: The new rules of hydration {via Outside}
6. That voice inside your head will make you a better runner — another great article from Outside.
7. Weirdly, success is about thinking you’re not too successful {via Science of Us}

Vermont City Marathon: Training Week #14

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

vermont city marathon blog runner

Love the light at this time of year, hanging out with my foam roller and other trigger point apparatus, and why does yoga give me hives???

Thankfully, I was able to shake off my training funk during a couple awesome-feeling easy runs. There’s something that happens in the span of a short half-hour run that allows for freedom to explore emotions tied to marathon training — rather than dreading the hours-long trod of long runs (maybe with too much time to think or your emotions to run the gamut). The lightness of running for fun returns, and then I feel full of hope again and ready to go to work.

MONDAY Rest Day — plus a massage after work. My session felt pretty mediocre, which is disappointing (as I’ve been seeing the same massage therapist for several months now). I’m hoping she was just having an off day, but it was bad enough for me to consider maybe scheduling my next appointment with someone else. Bummer.

TUESDAY Easy and Strides and strength workout all on the schedule. I felt OK enough to get in my easy run outdoors… but didn’t feel like doing either my Strides or my strength workout. I know, I know. I feel you judging me! But the weather was beautiful, so I was at least able to finish my 5 miles outside.

5 miles / 50:13 / 10:02 average pace

Splits: 9:50, 10:10, 10:04, 10:07, 9:59

vermont city training in iowa blogger

WEDNESDAY I opted to do Wednesday’s Intervals 8×400 workout on the treadmill to target consistent paces. And looking back, my 400s were considerable slower during this workout than they were a few weeks ago. Yuck.

5.98 total miles / 1:03:55 / 10:42 average pace

warm-up 12:04
1: 7:57 (pace) / 11:46
2: 7:51 / 11:55
3: 7:51 / 11:57
4: 7:59 / 11:52
5: 8:26 / 11:55
6: 8:20 / 11:51
7: 8:27 / 11:51
8: 7:53 / 11:57
cool down 12:09

THURSDAY Another solid Yoga Roots class. I took an extra 20 minutes before class started to lie in the yoga room in savasana and just BE STILL. It felt incredible. And then I broke out into a rash again mid-way through the class. 😫

FRIDAY Rest Day! And lots of foam rolling before bed.

Vermont City Marathon training week 14 blogger

My Capital Striders buddies for this week’s 20-mile route — at one of our water stops sponsored by Fitness Sports.

SATURDAY The big fat 20-miler! Yes, I’m 6 weeks away from my marathon date, but I have 2 20-milers and another 22 on my plan. I know that I can easily run a half marathon distance. I’m confident even that 15 is challenging but doable. But I need practice on that really bad place around 18 miles in; hence, why I’m actually happy that my training is structured as such. I’m also not sure of my fueling strategy yet; I repeated what I used on a long run a couple weeks ago to see if it would get me through my 20… and I was getting indigestion from the Cytomax, which I’ve never previously experienced. SIGH.

There were a lot of moments during this run where I had to remind myself: How do I feel right now?

I was constantly doing a body assessment — what feels good and what doesn’t — to get myself present and not thinking ahead. Think about the mile you’re in… That’s one of the most important things for me right now in training. I already know these long runs will be hard (spoiler alert: it was). But thinking about that at Mile 4 won’t do me any good.

vermont city blog running training

The 20-mile course with the Capital Striders took us from Drake University all the way to the Fairgrounds, back through downtown, up Ingersoll and back to campus. I actually really enjoyed the route!

I did look to my 2015 marathon training to see what time I completed my 20-miler then (I only did one in that training cycle) — I finished this run 5 minutes faster. Cool thing to look at and compare for a little perspective.

SUNDAY Happy Easter! I felt weighted down by all the food and drink from the holiday and never completed my Recovery run. I apparently have hit the point in marathon training where I keep making excuses not to do my workouts. At least I foam rolled again before bed? So, yeah, I need to stop that!

WEEKLY RUNS: 3 runs
WEEKLY MILES: 30.98 miles
TOTAL TRAINING MILES: 274.56 miles

Vermont city marathon run blog

Join your fellow runners in Burlington! New discount for Vermont City Marathon: Use code BibRave10 to save $10 on your registration!

Product Review: Wrist ID Elite from Road ID

Disclaimer: I received a Wrist ID Elite from Road ID to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review and write race reviews!

Road ID banner blog product review

I often find myself running without my ID; while I almost always carry my cell phone, if there is an urgent situation it might not be the best way to identify me. I heard about the Road ID identification bracelet from other runners and have received flyers in expo bags from previous races. I knew the value of the product, but still procrastinated in buying myself one.

Road ID package blog product reviewer

I loved the packaging!

So I signed up immediately for the chance to review the Wrist ID Elite from Road ID with BibRave.

The Wrist ID Elite has options of silicone (several bright colors!) or leather bands, with a watch-style buckle. The faceplates come in classic, rugged and black edition, which are fully customizable and can include interactive ID information. The Wrist ID Elite is one size fits all, but the bands can be trimmed with scissors to fit. The Elite retail price starts at $29.99.

Road ID contents band badge blog review

On my faceplate (not shown for privacy reasons) I included my full name, my spouse’s phone number, my mom’s phone number, my shellfish allergy, and noted that I’m “No RX” (no prescriptions).

First impression: Truthfully, I was annoyed at having to put the thing together; though the customization won over that 5 minutes of impatience. I have a tiny wrist, so I could cut the bracelet down as small as I wanted it. I loved the neon green band color and the many ways to personalize. I also selected a “SHUT UP LEGS” badge to add to my band.

Road ID review blog Shut Up Legs

If an extra band on your wrist is not your thing, Road ID has options for personalized faceplates to add to your Apple Watch, FitBit, or Garmin. I’ll likely get a plate for my Garmin watch, so I only need to wear one band. I love that it’s lightweight and sweat-proof during my outdoor runs. I plan to wear my Road ID during bike rides and trail skating, too.

Road ID at Ragnar product review

Road ID wearing at Ragnar Luckenbach

30-Something Approved: Since receiving the Road ID, I’ve worn it on all my runs. I always knew the importance of having one, and though a little late to the party, it’s a constant in my running gear rotation. If you frequently run alone (heck, even if you don’t), or in under-populated areas, and especially if you have a medical condition — a Road ID is highly recommended.

Road ID elite wrist blog review

I’m not allergic to wasp stings, but if you are, a Road ID is a necessity while being outdoors!

Discount: Receive a $5 gift-card to use towards their Road ID purchase by following this link: bit.ly/2ocFWMl. The $5 gift-card will be valid for 2 weeks after sign-up.

Join Road ID and other BibRave Pros for #bibchat on twitter on Tuesday, April 18 8pm CST to chat about Safety First and your chance to win your own ID band!

Vermont City Marathon: Training Week #13

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

Hal Higdon quote I continued running

I’m pretty sure that I CONTINUED will be tattooed on my forehead at the end of all this.

I went through a super funky funk in Week #13. Here was my original note:

This was not a successful training week for me — and I’m generally feeling bummed out. I know you can’t rush marathon fitness, but I feel as though I should be better conditioned than how I feel during my runs (particularly my easy ones). I have my first 20-miler next weekend, and I just don’t know if I can do it.

But I feel completely opposite of that feeling as I’m sitting here today. I’m EXCITED about Saturday’s 20-miler, and despite feeling really fucking tired (sorry… ear muffs), I know that I CAN do it. So: SHUT UP, BRAIN.

MONDAY I should have looked at my training plan earlier; I didn’t realize that my strength workout was scheduled. I rested.

TUESDAY Easy run day, followed by a core workout. This run felt really good – and I must have been running the right effort level because I felt like I could have run 5 more miles.

57:48 / 11:32 average pace

Splits: 11:40, 11:31, 11:29, 11:27, 11:28

WEDNESDAY I had Intervals on my training schedule and took another rest day. We originally had our Broadway subscription tickets on Friday evening, but we changed our tickets since I had to wake up super early on Saturday to drive out to the Hawkeye race.

vermont city marathon training yoga cross training blogger

THURSDAY My weekly yoga class at Life Time Fitness; felt really strong and class was much-needed.

FRIDAY Rest for my 25k! Spent some time foam rolling before bed.

SATURDAY Drove out to Solon, Iowa for the Hawkeye 25k — a trail course and my first 25k race! Race recap coming soon. I wish I could have enjoyed it more (though I certainly did enjoy parts of the course), but I was too deep in my funk to really have fun. My effort level felt harder than what I thought it should be and I couldn’t push past the negative thoughts.

After finishing the 15.2 miles of the course, I ran another 2.08 miles. Those last miles were SO SLOW that I gave up trying to complete the one additional that I needed to make 18 for the day.

15.18 miles / 2:52:11 / 11:20 average pace

2.08 miles / 25:35 / 12:20 average pace

SUNDAY I waited until late evening to complete a run on the treadmill (after eating a bunch of tacos! haha) and followed my run up with another core workout.

2.06 miles / 25:13 / 12:13 average pace

vermont city marathon training BECAUSE

BECAUSE.

WEEKLY RUNS: 3 runs
WEEKLY MILES: 24.32 miles
TOTAL TRAINING MILES: 243.58 miles

Join your fellow runners in Burlington! New discount for Vermont City Marathon: Use code BibRave10 to save $10 on your registration!

I went to Ragnar Luckenbach and all I got was this medal. And a sunburn. And a wasp sting. {Race Recap}

Wow, it’s been almost 4 months since I’ve posted a race recap! Ragnar Luckenbach was my first race of 2017. I didn’t sign up for any races at the beginning of this year, as I wanted to focus on my base fitness for marathon training. Ragnar was a fun break away from usual weekend long runs, while still getting in my mileage.

ragnar luckenbach 2017

My trip to Texas didn’t start at all how I expected — I got a really awful migraine as we were descending into Austin and ended up really nauseous during the cab ride to the hotel. I ended up spending nearly the entire first day in Austin curled up in a ball in a hotel bed cursing the light and that the water was turned off in our hotel for a few hours due to maintenance.

And puking.

Like I said: not a great start to a long weekend of running in the Texas heat.

I opted to stay in our downtown hotel room instead of joining the group — just in case I didn’t get better. I was pissed that I traveled all the way down to Texas, and I wouldn’t be able to run. By nighttime, I was finally starting to feel OK and could keep some Gatorade and plain Cheerios down. Then I knew I could rally and Ragnar would happen.

Ragnar Texas first time relay race

A few weeks prior to race day, our team lost someone due to deployment — and we had to find a new teammate (which we did), but I got switched from Runner 12 to Runner 10. I was OK with the additional mileage (see: marathon training), and I was still in Van 2 (still all strangers to me!). And then Ragnar changed the legs/mileage on us a few times before race day. And then the rental company didn’t save us a van, so we ended up in an Infiniti SUV. And then Ragnar cut 2 legs off the last day of the race, and we had run a leg with one of our van-mates. One of our teammates missed her 2nd leg at a major exchange because the race book was super confusing in our delirious and exhausted state (we were at the wrong stop).

There was a lot of shit happening and changing, and I was doing my best to adjust. But it all felt very chaotic!

Ragnar relay van sticker traveling blogger

Location: We started outside of Austin in Bastrop, Texas and ended 200-some miles later in Luckenbach.

Registration and Cost: This was a pricy trip for me, considering travel costs (flights) and hotels and gas/rental splits and team t-shirts. And two days of PTO. My portion of the relay registration was $48.04 for a 12-person team.

Texas Ragnar van life blog runner

Packet Pick-Up: Captains/van leaders picked up our “packets” which mostly included our Ragnar t-shirts, snacks and temporary tattoos (this was at the first main van exchange on the route). We were part of some bib tracking testing program, which we picked up at the start line — so the team shared a belt for the duration of the race (and changed it out with the slap bracelet at the exchanges). Together, we had to watch a 10-minute video about safety and the Ragnar Rules (no pooping in yards, OK?). Twice, because a couple of us had to meet our van mates at the start line.

Swag: I love the Reebok t-shirts — so soft and comfortable; I’ll actually use it. I got an extra one at the finish line in a larger size, which will be awesome for sleeping. I was also able to grab an extra for my husband.

Weather: Oh god, where do I begin. This was probably not the right race event for me, considering how awful I perform in the heat. To be honest, I didn’t realize how far south Austin was and also didn’t know that peak heat in Texas is in late afternoon/early evening (corresponding with my legs of the race, naturally).

Ragnar Luckenback scenes of texas

Scenes of Texas: Lots of farm animal sightings on these open lands — and yes, Texas has hills.

IT WAS SO HOT, IT WAS MISERABLE. On my first leg the temps reached 91 degrees and I super bonked out only 4 miles into my run. I wanted to quit and roll up in a ball on the side of the road (all gravel roads, btw). I walked a lot and was in full sun for the entirety of that leg. I’m pretty sure I said out loud that I wouldn’t run the marathon if it was that hot. :-/

And you can basically repeat that for my 3rd leg on Saturday, which was also warm and I was legit wishing for rain — and add in 600+ ft of elevation gain.

Course and Elevation: I’ll just let these elevation maps speak for themselves.

Ragnar Luckenback runner 10 elevation legs

Whose idea of fun was this?!

First leg (3:56 pm): 7.6 miles / 1:27:39 / 11:21 average pace / 214 ft elevation gain

Splits: 10:10, 10:13, 10:30, 11:39, 12:01, 13:06, 12:26, 12:36 [.60]

2nd leg (3:19 am): 2.75 miles / 26:18 / 9:33 average pace

YAY! Nighttime run – this was fun and though it was still humid, I felt good and fast. And I got some real food before our nighttime legs started; we found a Longhorn restaurant that could seat 6 of us quickly on a Friday night. A loaded sweet potato and grilled chicken salad never tasted so good. AND I got some actual sleep (at least a couple hours worth). Outside. On a sidewalk.

Splits: 9:32, 9:30, 9:38 [.75]

3rd leg (12:55 pm): 6.85 / 1:18:23 / 11:26 avg pace / 661 ft elevation gain

Another hot, sunny day – Ragnar ended up cutting my original leg, so this was my partner run. The elevation was brutal and basically all uphill. I had to walk quite a bit.

Splits: 10:56, 10:46, 10:51, 11:05, 11:16, 13:01, 12:15 [.85]

Ragnar van life blogger

Ragnar van life — and my Iowa tan.

Aid Stations: Unless you were on an unsupported (or no van access) portion of the course, your aid station was your van. And if your van didn’t meet you somewhere on your leg, you were basically supporting yourself (or relying on the kindness of strangers for ice when you were seriously overheated).

Finish Line: The finish felt very… uninspired. The announcers called our team name as we ran in together and there was a photographer taking staged pictures and some vendors were set up (most looked to be closing down), but it was honestly the most boring race finish ever. There was a booth giving out free pizza (I couldn’t have any, obviously), and I was STARVING. I didn’t see anywhere else where I could purchase food. Since Van 1 had been hanging out all day, they were ready to leave (and was my ride back to Austin), so I didn’t even get to explore Luckenbach at all. I guess that’s a potential downside of being in the second van — I get it, it’s an exhausting adventure.

The team captain handed out the medals, which all had something unique on the back. I liked that mine read “Ragnar Thing.”

Ragnar Luckenbach medals

After party: An hour ride back to my Austin hotel, where my husband was waiting for me with a tub of pulled pork from a local BBQ joint and some ciders. That shower was probably the most amazing I’ve ever had. The next morning, we found an ALL GLUTEN-FREE cafe with an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and OMG that capped off an awesome weekend.

Total bullshit: At one of our runner exchanges, a wasp crawled up my long-sleeve shirt and stung me on the forearm. It hurt like a mother, and I was trying not to be a huge baby about it because I was with people I didn’t know at all. There were a lot of times that I felt isolated on this trip, and this was one of them. I had no access to soap and water or Benadryl or medics. One of my teammates in the van was a school teacher, so I got a little comfort and aid from her — immediately icing the place where I got stung. I ended up having a large local reaction with a considerable amount of swelling. All I could think about was how thankful I wasn’t allergic.

Experience: Ragnar is something completely out of my comfort zone, and exactly why I had it on my Goal List for 2017. There were some lessons learned (I should have brought a yoga mat or sleeping bag and an extra water bottle — not just my handheld for running) and definitely things I disliked (I didn’t like not having my own bib — I keep all of mine and display on my bib wall, but another teammate had already claimed it); though there was definitely a lasting confirmation that I would probably do another one (just… probably not in Texas).

Also, ShowerPills and Wisps are Must Pack items.

OVERALL
THE GREAT: My first Ragnar race!
THE GOOD: Cowboy Camping and nighttime running. I sincerely loved being outdoors in the dark.
THE BAD: Getting stung is certainly memorable… and not in a good way.
THE UGLY: Ugh, the heat. I can’t.

TL;DR: Consider your location and your van mates when planning to do your first Ragnar. I think those things can definitely make or break your experience. Not having an actual van can increase the negative consequences exponentially.

Ragnar Luckenbach The Tipsy Crew team picture

The Tipsy Crew!

OFFICIAL TEAM RESULTS
The Tipsy Crew
33:58:46.7 (+6:57:07.9)
22nd place in the Mixed Open division

Weekly Therapy: Which way do I go?

the week:
Recovering from traveling, returned to my original office building (but in a new space), and roads closed on my usual route leaving my house THROUGH NOVEMBER (ugh).

detour sign

weekend:
Another race weekend; this time a road trip to Solon, Iowa for the Hawkeye 25k trail race. Super excited for this one — spoiler alert: there’s a water crossing!

Though I have to wake up at, like, 4 am to drive east, and Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

seven things, seven days:
1. My sleep schedule is a MESS.
2. We saw Fun Home at the Des Moines Civic Center. I had a giant lump in my throat by the end and wanted an ugly, cathartic cry. It was such a beautiful show!
3. Also, enjoyed an awesome dinner at RoCA downtown. I loved my pasta dish so much (gluten-free!) — and there were a lot of choices for gluten-free dining.
5. Ugh, Runner Face. {via Women’s Running}
6. How much does it cost to be fit? (My percentage per my monthly income is pretty high!) {via Outside}
7. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Vermont City Marathon: Training Week #12

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

vermont city marathon training blog traveling runner

March mileage, a hot-and-sweaty Texas run, and How to Spot a Traveling Runner

I looked back my training blogs from my first marathon at the same training week, and I am consistently in awe of how I was able to run that race. Though I do miss run-commuting from work! And check out that comment about gels. Maybe I need to buy those lemon shortbread cookies again?

I’m in that part of training where I’m reconsidering all my choices to do marathons. This week, my brain is going to unhappy places and I’m finding all the excuses to cancel the remainder of my race calendar for summer and go back to racing half marathons. Or something. I know this will pass, but it’s an awful negative loop.

Blame it on the Texas heat for my mood maybe.

But this reminds me that I need to find my mantra for this race. Because things are bound to get ugly.

MONDAY My usual rest day. I had a great call with my coach — who had just finished her own Ragnar relay. So I got to pick her brain A LOT in preparation of my first adventure. One piece of advice she gave was to GET OUT OF THE VAN and lay flat whenever possible. It ended up being the best advice.

TUESDAY An easy run day on the treadmill at home — starting with some foam rolling and ending with a set of Strides.

4 miles (plus an extra .4 for the Strides) / 49:22 / 11:06 average pace

WEDNESDAY Tempo Run! We’ve been having some really unpredictable weather in Iowa, so it was another treadmill day. I’m not made about it, but sometimes doing speed work can be difficult. Like, are you supposed to have negative splits in your middle fast miles?

5 miles / 53:02 / 10:36 average pace

Splits: 11:04, 10:25, 10:04, 9:48, 11:41

THURSDAY Traveling Day — off to Austin, Texas for Ragnar Luckenbach

FRIDAY First day of Ragnar! I don’t want to spoil the race recap too much, but my first leg was 7.6 miles. And it was hot.

SATURDAY Ragnar Day Two: I had two legs — 2.75 miles in the middle of the night (yay!) and another 6.85 miles in the afternoon (still hot!).

SUNDAY Since this was my first trip to Austin, we walked around and explored downtown, including some of the riverfront trail. I honestly felt really good, considering what I put my body through over the prior three days.

WEEKLY RUNS: 5 runs
WEEKLY MILES: 26.7 miles
TOTAL TRAINING MILES: 219.26 miles

I also had 104.1 total miles for March — my biggest mileage month ever. CRAZY!

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Weekly Therapy: No foolin’ here

the week:
Short week for me, as I’m off to Texas! Soon as I fit all this stuff in one bag…

Ragnar Texas blogger

weekend:
I’m doing my first Ragnar race in Luckenbach, TX. And by the time of this posting, I’ll be shoved in a van with 5 strangers who like to run (some, Internet strangers – but still, people I’ve never met IRL) — and on my way to some adventure that I don’t fully understand. Oh, there will certainly be stories and recaps to come.

I AM EXCITED. (I’m yelling over the nerves.)

seven things, seven days:
1. Provoked by really fascinating webinar sponsored by a women’s networking group, I am reading The Upside of Stress.
2. YAY! My REI dividends arrived!
3. I found these lovely Confidence Prompt Cards.
4. On-Road to Off-Road: Road Running for Trail Runners (I run both!) {via I Run Far}
5. Good Luck, Morons: Lazarus Lake & His Impossible Race (the Barkley Marathon, if you’re unfamiliar) {via Bitter Southerner}
6. Watch some ladies kick ass at Western States (I cried within the first 5 minutes): Life in a Day
7. The secrets to dating a non-runner {via Outside}

Vermont City Marathon: Training Week #11

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

vermont marathon training traveling run blogger

Running in shorts, running in birds, and running on new trails…

Earlier in the week, I decided that the combination of my “new” office location and the late start of yoga didn’t work for me, so I took it off my weekly schedule. I’ll be returning to my former office space next week, so I’ll be back to my 25-minute commute. Whomp, whomp. I had plans on Tuesday night, so swapped my usual Monday Rest Day to include an easy run — and then took ANOTHER rest day because I was just generally feeling like poop.

The good thing is, the workouts that I DID do, felt awesome. I mean (*spoiler alert*)… besides the long run in the rain. Having a confidence-boosting week — and finding the “wins” even in these tough runs — was a really good push over the halfway hump in my marathon training.

MONDAY YAY! They finished the paved trail by my house, and I now have a completed 4-mile loop nearby. The weather was brisk (probably too much so for shorts!) but pretty great considering how long winter has stuck around. I got in 4 miles + a set of Strides.

4.32 miles / 4:48 / 10:22 average pace

Splits: 10:25, 10:13, 10:14, 11:17

1: 6:16 / 10:54
2: 6:55 / 10:33
3: 6:46 / 11:21
4: 7:11 / 10:22

TUESDAY Scheduled Rest Day, since I had wine/dinner plans after work.

WEDNESDAY I felt like CRAP – tired, unmotivated and really stressed out. I didn’t run. And then I felt crappier because I “kitchen-sinked” my husband after he had been traveling for a couple days. SIGH. Moving on…

THURSDAY It’s like someone flipped a switch on my mood, and I was so glad that I delayed my run a day. I felt AMAZING — and my paces proved it.

5.75 mi / 57:37 / 10:01 average pace

10:23
9:04 (14:33)
8:32 (12:37)
8:49 (13:43)
10:35

Man, that was a confidence builder run! 💪 I used the sidewalks and trails around my neighborhood again because it was SO NICE and so many people were out and YAY SPRING IS COMING. I kept passing the same couple in different directions on the trail, and it kind of cracked me up.

FRIDAY Rest + foam roll

SATURDAY Well, this training run goes right in the memory books: 40 degrees, rain the ENTIRE time and good ol’ Iowa wind. It was miserable, awful, no good, terrible. But I finished my dang 15 miles sopping wet (13 with the Striders running group; 2 miles afterward on Drake’s campus). I was SO COLD after this run and shivering pretty bad by the time I got home (despite changing out of my wet clothes in the car). A super hot shower and layers of fleece fixed me right up.

I packed Cytomax with me to try again and snacked on a Pamela’s gluten-free fig newton bar (Figgies & Jammies) during the run — and didn’t take any GUs. I’m still not sure about my fueling strategy for the marathon and what’s really “working,” but I’ve got a WHOLE MONTH of long runs to tweak my plan.

15 miles / 2:37:20 / 10:29 average pace

Splits: 10:05, 10:20, 10:03, 9:56, 10:33, 10:38, 10:13, 10:05, 10:09, 10:48, 10:54, 10:40, 10:53, 11:32, 10:29

SUNDAY A 25-minute recovery run on the treadmill, followed up by a core workout.

2.20 mi / 11:24 average pace

Lots of foam rolling before bed! My legs were feeling pretty beat up, but by Monday I was back to normal.

WEEKLY RUNS: 4 runs
WEEKLY MILES: 27.3 miles
TOTAL TRAINING MILES: 192.56 miles

vermont city marathon training blog

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