Ahhh summertime is finally here. And with it, loads of humidity, poor air quality, and smells of garbage. Powerful stuff.

BUT, summer also means grill season! Coming from the Pac NW, I’ve always called grilled food “BBQ” but as I’ve come to realize, that is not the case.

2014-06-15 19.56.50I may have a problem with portion control…given all of this food was only for two people. Corn, zucchini, mushrooms, and asparagus all came from my farm box. Luckily, there was lots of leftover meat that I’ve been putting over my lunch salads from this meal….

I’ve also had my fill of summer crawfish.

2014-06-14 12.37.02All of the Louisiana schools get together each June for a giant crawfish boil. Abita, corn, rice, sausage, and of course, crawfish. The rules are that you can ONLY get one tray of food and two beers per time in line. I don’t think I need to tell the internet exactly how many times I went back….but it was definitely more than once.

Finally, a bit of junk food…

2014-06-15 18.31.27

I have a borderline unhealthy relationship with peanut butter, especially in Reese’s cup form. I try not to keep junk food around my house but I went to the grocery store hangry and ended up eating most of the package in a night. Whoops.

2014-06-15 16.10.06Stay cool out there kids….summer’s only starting.

 

Utah Pride

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I had the privilege of showing my grad school friend Lindsey around Salt Lake this past weekend. She visit us from Minneapolis.  Plus it was Pride weekend (I am very clever with my titles).

It was a lot of fun showing Lindsey “the West”. Even if she’s been to other western states, she hadn’t been to Utah for more than a long layover. It was a very active and fairly adventurous weekend. No running, but plenty of physical activity.  I think we hit the high points, and I mean that literally.

We started with a hike in the Wasatch. We did a 6 mi round trip hike up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Red Pine Lake. It’s still pretty early, so the water is flowing fast. Here’s Lindsey standing over a cataract.

little cottonwood canyon rapid, Red Pine Lake After hiking for a while, this was the view looking back towards Salt Lake.   Lower Cottonwood Canyon, Red Pine Lake hikeFrom a slightly different direction, you can see the mountain peaks behind Shaun. Lower Cottonwood Canyon, Red Pine Lake hikeThat night Lindsey and I made dinner together, something we did regularly in graduate school. I don’t have a picture but we made hummus, lemon ginger cake, and Caesar salad with this salad dressing. Another friend brought over a Mediterranean inspires quinoa salad. After dinner we all got fancy cocktails at Bar-X, this far my favorite bar in SLC.

Saturday we drove out to the Great Salt Lake for a dip. Where we were swimming the water is about 14% salt, which is enough to make you bob like a cork. I think Lindsey really enjoyed this part. Lindsey floating in the Great Salt LakeI had been swimming in Salt Lake once before, but Shaun had never been.  Several of my coworkers had never been either. Swimming in the lake is kind of “icky”. It often smells funny. Their are a bunch of these little brine shrimp (the only thing that lives in the lake) floating all over the place. Plus when you get out you are coated in salt. Despite all of that I think it is a very special experience and I would recommend trying it out, at least once.

Sunday was the big Pride parade. It actually went by my apartment. When I woke up Lady Justice and the Statue of Liberty were making out outside my window on a giant gold float. The parade was a ton of fun. It was a gorgeous day and it was so nice to see so many people out celebrating.

Utah Pride Parade croudsThe Mormon groups got the biggest cheers, and there were two! Mormon’s Building Bridges was probably the larges group marching. This photo is of the Mormon’s for Equality group. Way to go Mormons for Equality!

Utah Pride Parade, Mormons for EqualityAfter the parade we got some $3 mimosas at Avenues Proper and then Lindsey was off to the airport.

I hope she enjoyed the trip as much as I enjoyed having her!

Immediately following the Ogden Marathon, I took an (almost) full two weeks off of anything. Like Teresa, I mostly biked around and did some yoga. It actually worked quite well since I was slammed with work immediately following the race and not having to worry about fitting in a workout was nice.

Now I’m back into running–between run club and the beautiful weather we’ve been having I’m so happy to be back doing my thing without the pressure of training. This Saturday I went for an inaugural trail run with a new pair of trail shoes.

2014-06-07 11.38.05 I ran trails regularly in high school (XC) and college (all around Eugene) but after moving to DC I had a hard time finding trails that weren’t paved. I know trails exist in the area, so my summer goal is to find more of these!

2014-06-07 09.56.34I started with a run along the Virginia side of the Potomac River. It was a perfect morning–not too hot and the shade of the trees was nice cover.

2014-06-07 10.16.47I even found a waterfall, not 2 miles outside of DC. Aside from occasionally hearing cars from the parallel parkway or water traffic on the river, I couldn’t tell I was so close to the city. It was a great run until mile 4, where I somehow got off the trail and had to hike across a sandy beach and scramble over some boulders…that mile took me 20 minutes to finish (thanks, Garmin). I wound up taking a bike path home because at the halfway point it was a.) an option and b.) I had already been out for almost an hour….I go much slower when I’m trying not to twist an ankle! I’m excited for more trails over the coming months, which brings me to….

The humidity, which hit this morning…

2014-06-09 06.18.36100% at 6am and it wasn’t raining…I was a sweaty, sweaty mess by the time I was done with 4 miles. Hoping shady trails will provide some relief from our miserable summer heat!

Again?

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So, I signed up for the St. George Marathon. It’s in October. I still have mixed feelings about it. I entered the raffle weeks ago, and part of me was hoping I wouldn’t get in… but I did.

St. George is probably the best known marathon in Utah. The course is supposed to be amazingly beautiful. I was pretty impressed by the views on the Ogden course, so it will be interesting to compare the two.

I think it will be fun to make a mini-vacation out of it, something I have never done before. I feel like I can justify getting a hotel room since it’s a 4 hour drive from SLC, no 3:30 AM wake calls this time.

I took two weeks off running after Ogden and focused on bike commuting and doing yoga regularly.

yoga, downward dog

notice my cat watching me

The above photo is from my apartment, but one of the really awesome thing about my office is that they have 60 minute yoga and Pilates classes 3 days per week and they only cost $1. I hadn’t really taken advantage of them before because I was busy running and 60 minutes of yoga + ~60 minutes of running felt excessive. Turns out office yoga is super convenient. Plus the instructors are great and it gives me a chance to meet people who work in other departments.

I have actually really enjoyed taking a break from running. It’s hard to balance taking an appropriate break and taking such a long break that you essentially have to start from scratch in terms of getting into shape.  After I ran the Eugene Marathon I stopped running regularly for like 6 months and then it was super hard getting back into it.

Anyway, my training plan “officially” started Monday. I am going with the Hal Higdon Intermediate I plan. I was much more aggressive with my training plan for Ogden – using a combo of the Higdon Advanced I and Runners World Smart Coach App – I don’t know what I was thinking. My speed totally plummeted and I felt really discouraged not making my time goals. Though it’s counter-intuitive, I have been fastest when I just run most days and slowly build my mileage up – maybe throwing in the occasional track workout to remind my legs that it’s possible to go faster.

Ogden marathon finish line

Finish line for the Ogden Marathon, photo by Shaun Daniel

Hopefully my time at St. George will be a little better than Ogden. I am trying to avoid thinking about time. My main goal is to not take frequent walking breaks on training runs and to only walk during aid stations during the race. I think one of my biggest problems at Ogden was that once I started taking walking breaks it was a lot easier to keep taking them.

My first training run was a 3 miler after work on Monday. It still felt harder than I would like, but my body is definitely feeling more rested. I wont make it this week, but I am looking forward to trying out the SLC Running Company Running Group on Thursdays. I think having other around will be really helpful in terms of overall motivation and in particular not taking mini breaks.

Regardless of my slight trepidation, I am looking forward to St. George and blogging about summer running adventures.

Happy Monday! I have a few final words and thoughts to share from the race.

Hydration- I was a little nervous that the race was serving up Powerade, instead of Gatorade. I’m used to drinking Gatorade at every race, and I was also worried that they’d be serving flavor blue the entire race, since that’s what they had at the start. Sometimes Gatorade upsets my stomach a little, and I wasn’t sure how the two brands compared sugar-wise. Turns out, each aid station was serving a different flavor and that was actually really. nice. So often, drinking lemon-lime flavor the entire route gets gross by mile 18, but I never knew what I was going to get and as it turned out, that was ok! The little things sometimes, that make such a difference…

Fuel- I carried some Cliff shot blocks with me as a backup, but based on the map I figured there would be plenty of aid stations with food along the way. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t disappointed but the aid station selections, as I ate pretty regularly throughout the race. I never crashed, or felt like I was running low on sugar, so I think I need to eat more during races (every 30-45 minutes) because I felt great with respect to energy the whole way.

Shoes- Ah, shoes, I wore my Hoka Bondi B’s and I think that was a mistake. Pretty much right from the get-go, I had weird nerve pain running down both of my legs. I took a few stretch breaks and that helped some, but it was a constant problem the entire race. I wore these shoes during all of my long training runs, and never really had problems from them, but I also wore them during the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler  and the same thing happened. Maybe it’s just a race problem? I know correlation doesn’t prove causation, but to play it safe I probably won’t race in them again.

Pace- I definitely was pushing myself a little bit. I told myself to “stay uncomfortable” most of the way, and finding that uncomfortable edge was apparently what I needed to get a faster time (go figure). I think I need to do this more in training runs as well…after all I’m not going to get faster if I just stick with an easy pace all of the time.

And that’s about it! I’ve taken a two-week break from running and writing, so getting back into both is a bit painful!

Screenshot 2014-05-20 20.39.44

As you can see from my elevation chart, the course was really downhill for most of the way. And that little blip after mile 15 felt WAY higher than it looks! My pace stayed miraculously consistent, with the exception of the miles that had aid stations in them (I walk through).

Screenshot 2014-05-20 20.40.23

And there you have it! What should I put on my calendar now?

Archeaological adventures!

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Over Memorial Day weekend Shaun and I played Indiana Jones and went to Canyonlands National Park. Specifically, we went to the Horseshoe Bend Unit, home of the “Great Gallery” one of the best examples of Barrier Style rock art in the country.  There are a lot of archeological sites in the region, and this was the first time we had specifically set out to see one. It was a great adventure and I think we might be hooked.

On the map it looks like Canyonlands is pretty close to Arches, a more well known Utah National Park. We had considered trying to check both out, but I was really glad we decided not to. Canyonlands is kind of hard to get to. Apparently parts of the park are among the most isolated areas in the country. It was a 6 hour drive from SLC, and the last 30 miles were on a dirt road. We took a break from driving and I tried to do a handstand.

The dirt road heading into the Horseshoe Bend Unit of Canyonlands National Park

The dirt road heading into the Horseshoe Bend Unit of Canyonlands National Park

FFor a dirt road it wasn’t too bad. The Corolla made it just fine.

We rolled into the parking lot about 4:30 on Saturday and chose between multiple camp sites. Something I am not sure would happen at a more popular park. You can’t actually camp in the Canyon in this part of the park but there is BLM land adjacent to the Great Gallery trail head. There’s even an outhouse.  Plus it’s free, so that’s cool. Actually, getting into the park, at least in this unit was also free. Again, pretty cool.

After we set up our campsite a bit we went for a walk and stretched out with some desert yoga

Canyonlands, Utah yogaThe next morning we joined 5 or 6 other tourists plus a ranger named Nicole to do the 7 mi round trip Great Gallery hike. Based on my Garmin it was closer to a 10 mi hike, I think taking side trips and walking around the different sites added up. The park does ranger led tours every Saturday and Sunday during the summer. Again, for free. I really like doing guided hikes. Nicole was knowledgeable and made sure we didn’t miss things, like a fossilized dinosaur print that was slightly off the trail.

dino footprint

Fossilized dinosaur print – Canyonlands National Park, Utah

She was a wonderful guide and you could tell she cared deeply about the park and preserving a sense of wilderness.

There are a couple of archeological sites where you can see rock art on the way to the Great Gallery. But this is the main attraction

rock art, barrier style

Great Gallery – Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Radio carbon dating suggests that the paintings (actually these are a mix of paintings and carvings) are 3,000 to 4,000 years old. They are examples of “Barrier Style”, which was first defined here. The figures are anthropomorphic and usually lack hands or legs. Archeologists are still unsure what was in the paint. One of the things I found particularly crazy was that archeologists have found small carved figurines that greatly resemble these paintings in some of the area caves, but the figurines are closer to 11,000 years old. What made this style so enduring? It seems both exciting and very frustrating to try to pieces together what the lives of people were actually like based on so little evidence. One of the books Shaun brought with compared it to trying to figure out life on the east coast by excavating one block of NYC.

Another cool thing about these paintings is that they are life size. Each figure ranges from 4 to 8 ft. It’s hard to get a sense of the scale, but I think this pictures does a little better

Shaun looking at rock art

In addition to the rock art, the canyon is beautiful.

horseshoe bend unit, canyon, canyonlands national park, utahAfter the hike Shaun and I hung out in the sun and enjoyed a beer and some hummus and crackers. You feel pretty accomplished after exploring archeological sites.

The sun didn’t last though, it poured off and on throughout the night. We were actually pretty worried about making it out the dirt road the next morning. But when we woke up it was bright and sunny and we had the whole campsite to ourselves. We enjoyed a leisurely morning and then made the long drive back to SLC. The car handled the roads just fine.

Now it’s back to work, but I look forward to exploring more of Utah and the Southwest’s archeological sites.

 

Reflecting on time

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Not in a philosophical way, just my recent marathon time.

After my first half, the Helevitia Half back in 2006

After my first half, the Helevitia Half back in 2006.

I mentioned in my re-cap of the Ogden Marathon that I did not hit my time goal. When I started training back in January I was hoping to PR. My one and only previous marathon time was just under 4 hours. Set at the Eugene Marathon in 2007. My time at the Ogden Marathon was just under 4:30. Not horrible, but definitely not what I was hoping for. To be honest most of the race felt hard. The course was absolutely gorgeous and the weather was lovely. I tried to focus on that. But after the first 5 or 6 miles (so not that far into it) my legs started to feel tired. I never “bonked” in terms of energy. I felt fairly alert mentally during the race. Like Kristen said, we did not lack in fueling options. I was not in pain or injured. My body just felt tired and heavy. Luckily, I had a lot of time to thing during the race to think about why I was having so much trouble.

Apple Blossom Race in Hastings, MN. May 2013 Photo by Shaun Daniel

Apple Blossom Race in Hastings, MN. May 2013 Photo by Shaun Daniel

There were some day specific things that could have impacted my time. Getting up at 3:30 AM? Yeah, definitely not part of my normal long run routine. In part because we had gotten up so early, I was drinking coffee pretty much right up until the start. Coffee is not the best hydration beverage, just FYI. I drank water as well, but I am sure I could have been hydrating better. I had some stomach issues during the first part of the race and tried to stop at a couple of different port-a-potties before eventually being successful at the 13 mi mark. The first couple had super long lines. I waited for a little bit and then decided to run on to the next ones. There were a ton of port-a-potties at the half mark.

Other things were not race day specific. I have complained several times about getting slower while training for the marathon. This is still kind of mysterious to me. If you’re running all of the time, it should get easier, right? That was not my experience.

My theory at this point is that as my body started to get tired I needed others to help. The only training runs where I had some semblance of speed were when I was running with people who are faster than me and I needed to push my self to keep up with them.

Running with friends always helps, photo by Shaun Daniel

Running with friends always helps, photo by Shaun Daniel

Actually, I think my biggest issue was a mental one. Once it was clear that I was not going to break 4 hours (I could see the 4 hour pacer disappearing in the distance) it was a lot harder for me to motivate myself to go faster. Once I took my first mini walking break at the top of a hill, it became a lot easier to take more walking breaks. As the race went on I was taking more and more walking breaks. All pretty short, but definitely frequent. I downloaded my race data from my Garmin today, and you can really see that at about the 3 hour mark I started taking a lot of breaks.

So what does this mean going forward. Following Ogden, here are my new running goals

1) Regularly run with a group that includes people who are faster than I am. There’s a group that meets on Thursdays that I have been meaning to join for a while. Summer seems like a good time to start

2) More yoga, I need to improve my focus. Strength and flexibility couldn’t hurt. Luckily my office has noon yoga twice a week.

3) Practice not taking breaks. I got into the habit of taking breaks pretty early on in my training. I thought the magic of racing would make it easier to not do this. I was wrong.

I am not going to beat myself up over the time. I am reminding myself that I like running. As the seemingly random photos in this post are meant to suggest. I know I can do better.

We did it - I am not giving up!

We did it – I am not giving up! Photo by Shaun Daniel

Here are all of my splits, as you can see I was actually doing pretty well for the first several miles.

Summary 4:28:38.7 26.42 10:10
1 9:01.3 9:01
2 9:03.5 9:04
3 8:48.4 8:48
4 8:48.9 8:49
5 9:02.9 9:03
6 9:22.6 9:23
7 9:33.8 9:34
8 9:25.0 9:25
9 10:07.8 10:08
10 9:45.5 9:46
11 11:18.5 11:18
12 9:39.4 9:40
13 10:10.3 10:10
14 12:40.2 12:40
15 10:57.1 10:57
16 10:28.6 10:29
17 10:09.2 10:09
18 10:14.0 10:14
19 10:03.5 10:04
20 11:14.1 11:14
21 10:04.7 10:05
22 10:49.9 10:50
23 10:25.7 10:26
24 11:00.4 11:00
25 11:28.2 11:28
26 10:47.9 10:48
27 4:06.9 9:54

Get ready for a long post folks…I have a lot to say. :)

Simply put, I had one of the very best days running the Ogden Marathon. Let’s start with the night before. Teresa made us spanakopasta. That’s spanakopita-pasta (spinach, cheese, and pasta…mmmmm.)

Still need to work on my indoor photography a bit.

Still need to work on my indoor photography a bit.

We had a spot of wine (hey, it’s hydrating and heart-healthy) and went to bed relatively early. Our wake-up time was 3:30, which gave us just enough time to throw on some clothes, grab our bags and coffee and hit the road. Teresa’s husband is a SAINT because he drove us there to minimize our stress and maximize our sleep. THANK YOU SHAUN!!

We hopped onto busses upon arriving in downtown Ogden and headed up the mountain…the drive was longer than I expected but it did give us a little preview of the course.

View from the top of the ranch.

View from the top of the ranch.

The race started at a ranch in what seemed to be high-desert. There were porta potties a-plenty, and while the starting area was small, we did our business, dropped off our bags and got into place at the start. They didn’t have official corrals, but we lined up near the 4:00 pacer. I figured I’d drop back pretty quickly, but the course wasn’t crowded like some of the other races I’ve done so I wasn’t worried about being a bit slower and in the way. The race started promptly at 7:15 and we were off!

View from mile 1.

View from mile 1.

We immediately started descending, and I couldn’t get over how beautiful it was. We ran at what I think was the Wasatch Mountain Range, with rolling ranch-land on our right and a river to our left.

It looked so inviting!

It looked so inviting!

We dropped pretty quickly past National Forest lands into plateaued farmland. Blue skies, green pastures, big barns…..I was in heaven to be out West again.

An amazing view for miles and miles.

An amazing view for miles and miles.

We ran along a river, and finally came to a reservoir around the halfway point. We had a fairly brutal climb around mile 14, but like Teresa mentioned, there were awesome signs cheering us on along the way. It was around this point that I noticed the aid stations were themed…..matadors, pirates, hippies, bikers…..you name it. Either that’s when it started or it just took me that long to be observant! But boy, oh boy were those the most amazing aid stations I’ve ever ran through. Not only were all of the volunteers SO nice and helpful, but they had a variety of flavors of powerade (one of my biggest first-world problem race day complaints is lemon-lime flavor for 26 miles), cliff bars and shots, but actual real food! I ate orange slices, part of banana, swedish fish, otter pops, pretzels, and a cookie along the way (so a net caloric gain basically). I have to say….I NEVER bonked or felt like I was hitting an energy wall. Sure, I got a little loopy around mile 18 and physically very tired at mile 22, but it wasn’t because I wasn’t fueled properly. New race day strategy: eat all of the things continuously. ;)

After our crazy ascent, we crossed over the reservoir and started descending again pretty quickly into a canyon.

Blue skies, red rocks.

Blue skies, red rocks.

It was so cool to see the geography change so drastically over the course of the race. I can’t say which was my favorite part because it was all so beautiful!

Oil pipes maybe? I imagined it as a giant zipline.

Oil pipes maybe? I imagined it as a giant zipline.

Once we were out of the canyon, we ran along a bike path lined with Cottonwood trees into town. That part of the course reminded me of my home in the Willamette Valley–cotton gusting everywhere and the smell of pollen. At that point, I was tired, my hips hurt, and most of all, it got HOT. I’m guessing it was in the high 70s at that point and there was very little shade. We snaked along the bike path, finally making it into a very long street where I could see the finish off in the far-off distance.

At this point, I looked down at my watch and realized I was close to breaking 4:20. All I had to do was sprint! And “sprint” I did…..pulled up my final split to a 9:30 mile (ha).

A new PR!

A new PR!

The finish had fudgsicles, water, fruit….but no beer.

We did it!

We did it!

Again, the amazing Shaun drove us back to Salt Lake after we had slightly recovered for a post-race celebratory beer and elk brat at Beer Bar.

Mmmmmm.

Mmmmmm.

I was very happy with my race–after all I got a PR by several minutes, got to run it with a very good friend, and along a course that was easily the most scenic race I’ll ever get to run.

Stay tuned for more post-race analysis, lessons learned, and of course, more about my trip to SLC!

 

 

 

 

We did it!

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Kristen and I both ran (and finished!) the Ogden Marathon on Saturday. Here we are “stretching” post race, a.k.a collapsed.

post race stretching

Kristen and I right after we finished the Ogden Marathon

Here’s me finishing.

Finish line for the Ogden Marathon, photo by Shaun Daniel

Finish line for the Ogden Marathon, photo by Shaun Daniel

4:30 (4:28.13 chip time). A little bit off my goal time of under 4 hours, but live and learn. I will likely post some of the reasons I think I was slower than I had hoped later (we are planning to continue updating this blog). But for now I just want to celebrate the accomplishment.

I didn’t take any photos during the race, so hopefully Kristen will post some of hers here soon :) It will be a treat because the course is absolutely GORGEOUS. You run through pastoral fields with cattle, around a reservoir, and then down Ogden canyon. You also get breathtaking views of mountains and cliffs pretty much the whole way. The conditions were pretty awesome as well. Last year it was cold and rainy, which I am sure was miserable. It was chilly when we started, and a little too warm (high 80s) at the finish. But most of the race was lovely.

The race was also very well organized. We showed up bright and early at 5 AM and got right on a bus. There seemed to be plenty of them. Here’s what Ogden looks like at 5 AM

ogden dawn

Downtown Ogden before the marathon started. Photo by Shaun Daniel

A huge thank you to Shaun for waking up at 3:30 AM and driving us ~40 mi north then hanging out for over 5 hours while Kristen and I ran! I have a pretty amazing husband :)

The race organizers said several times that the last bus would leave at 5 AM. This wasn’t true. I don’t think we left Ogden until around 5:30, but probably not something you want to count on. We got dropped off at the start line a little after 6 AM. I had been worried that the start would be freezing and we would hanging out for a long time before the race started. Luckily it wasn’t too cold (probably low to mid 40s). After we had a cup of coffee, hit the port-a-potties, and checked our stuff it was time to head to the start. We were off!

The race is net downhill. For some reason I was under the (mistaken) impression that the steeper downhill part was in the first section. Even though the first 18 miles were technically down hill, I thought they felt pretty level. There was even the occasional small hill. At mile 18 you start running down Ogden Canyon, which is more obviously down hill. After that you run along the river on a bike path for a while, which was also mainly level. The bike path was OK, but I thought it was the least scenic part of the race. Plus it was getting pretty hot by that point. Once you got into Ogden proper the crown support really picked up and it was a straight shot for the last 1/2 mi or so to the finish.

There were aid stations every other mile. They were well stocked, to say the least. One station had: cliff shots, cliff bars, otter pops, Swedish fish, bubble gum, jolly ranchers, oranges, bananas, power aid and water! Most of them “just” had cliff shots, bananas, power aid, and water, but still pretty good. Each station also had a different theme and the volunteers dressed up to that theme. Kristen and I both liked the pirates.

Another fun thing was that on the biggest hill, right after the half point they had encouraging signs every 10 ft or so. Reading them did help me forget about the hill.

After finishing the race we stretched for a bit, but headed back to SLC pretty quickly. Kristen got her wish and we went to the beer bar. Sausage, french fries, and beer mmmmm. After that we all crashed. Most of the after noon was spent napping/showering.

I would give two thumbs up to the Ogden Marathon. You really can’t beat the scenery.

Congratulations Kristen, we triumphed!

Reflections on marathon training

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Kristen will be arriving in SLC today. The Ogden marathon is on Saturday. I have one more run (a 2miler) scheduled for Friday. Training is pretty much done. I am really excited for Kristen’s visit. I can’t wait to show her around SLC. For the most part I am also looking forward to the marathon, albeit with a slight since of trepidation. It looks like it will be a beautiful day and everyone I mention the route to remarks “oh, that will be gorgeous.” My legs still feel heavy, and the four mile run I did on Tuesday felt surprisingly hard (not the best feeling when you know you have to run 26 a few short days later!) But I have faith in the magic of race day. I know that you can do things during a race that seem impossible when running by yourself.

This training cycle has been a much more emotional experience than I expected. I have mentioned this before, but I have been getting progressively slower over the course of training. There were several runs where I felt like I was so much slower then I had been in the fall I wanted to give up. Like sometimes I really wanted to give up. I didn’t. I logged those miles, it just took me longer. I gave up any ideas of a particular time about a month into training.

Here’s me at the “Haunted Half” back in October (before marathon training started)

haunted half 10.13 finishMy time was 1:47:39 (and it was actually a little faster since there chip timing system didn’t work). I felt really good at that race, and hoped that it portended a strong marathon finish.

Here’s me at the Riverton Half in March

FinishMy time was 1:54:57. Not bad, but definitely slower. I haven’t even bothered timing my last couple of long runs, but I think they have been in the neighborhood of 10:15/mi. I have never considered myself “fast”, but this decline in pace has been frustrating.

So, how have I stayed motivated? Let’s focus on the positive rather than dwell on the negative.

  • I read Born to Run, a little late to the party, but this book is really motivational. I almost signed up for a trail ultra… almost
  • I have been coaching Girls on the Run (kind of like girl scouts, but with running) and I found myself repeating to myself – I am a girl on the run, I am strong, I can do this – on long runs
  • Besides the above mantra I tried to focus on staying positive during long runs, I chose to do this
  • I was already registered for the race, so I had to keep training
  • Kristen! It was really nice knowing Kristen was right there with me metaphorically. I wasn’t the only one struggling and sometimes triumphing.
  • My husband Shaun has been wonderful. He has supported and encouraged me, and made me coffee when I get up at 5:30 to run.
  • I get to run in places like this

IMG_0581In close, marathon training has been an emotional roller coaster for me and I can’t wait to put the icing on the cake on Saturday. Literally – after the running 26.2 miles I really hope there is some cake!