Denver Life, Running Life

You guys, life is crazy. Apparently I never did anything before moving, because I used to have a lot more time to blog. Actually that is partly true – we are doing a lot more since we moved, which is all good, but it’s taken me away from the virtual world and into the real world. It’s a good thing for sure, but I do miss this place.

Basically, in the blink of an eye, Denver went from a questionable spring/still winter to full-blown summer, and I love it. It’s (mostly) light out when I get up to run, I don’t need to wear a coat everywhere I go, we can play outside until 8:30 pm, and the mountains are slowly losing all their snow. Hiking awaits!

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Generally, all this daylight and warmth have brought on a lot of activities. Kickball, November Project, bags in the park, baseball games, hiking, trail running…it’s all abundant and it’s all awesome. I feel like I’m slowly transitioning out of my, “This is a new place and it’s fun but I’m homesick for Seattle and I’m a little scared all the time” mindset into, “This is a new place and I can’t get enough of it!” Fun stuff. I’m a little wary about the heat that has already hit us, and inevitably will only get worse, but I’m just going with it and remembering that hot summers=fast falls.

Speaking of (whoa, unintentional running transition!), my plan for this summer revolves around one goal: work my ass off, then kill it in fall marathon training. Speed and volume are both important parts of that plan —and while they don’t necessarily go together very well, I’m hoping that over time I’ll be able to incorporate both at a moderate rate that will ultimately land me with faster and more durable legs. I’d like to peak around 60-65 miles/week when I train for my fall marathon, which is going to require a lot of steady build up this summer. Which, fortunately, isn’t that hard to do considering there’s a little race near the end of July which necessitates increased mileage-based training. So, I’m hoping that by the time I start officially training (cirque the beginning of August), I’ll have a really solid base and enough toughness to endure some heavier mileage.

At the same time, my speed is still wandering aimlessly, and I’m anxious to help it find its way home. I’m slowly getting a little closer to where I used to be, but man…it’s hard. I’m yearning for the days when an 8-minute mile pace was a breeze, but until then I can only hope that by incorporating some faster miles in my normal runs and gradually building up my strength, I’ll get there eventually. I realize this sounds like I want to have my cake and eat it too, but while I’m definitely wanting my “old speeds” back, I’m also really wanting for them to be faster. When I got hurt/sick/etc., I was at a place where I was ready to be-rid of my standard routines and run-habits and establish a new set of goals, paces, and workouts. Now that I’m better, I still have those goals, but without the base I previously had to work with. Woe is me, right? No but really, I’m thankful for any progress at all – I’m just anxious to work hard and hopefully have it reflected in the clock. I’ve always said speed was my biggest motivator – so none of this should come as a surprise 🙂

Photo credit: November Project DEN

Photo credit: November Project DEN

The GREAT news is, I’ve got a group of gals who all have the same types of goals. Super bonus: we’re all around the same speed. Freakishly, Julia and I have almost identical PRs in the half and the full, and we both (surprise!) want to get faster in the half and the full. The loose plan right now is that we will do speedwork once a week with the goal of all getting faster this summer. Summer of speed! Yes there’s a hashtag.

I have never trained with people before (with the exception of my team sport and track days) so this is the perfect way to shake up my routine and be held more accountable. We’ve already had our first group workout, and running 800s in a pack around the park is infinitely better than running alone on a track or a treadmill. Oh ya, and it was super mf HARD. It was humbling that the pace we were at was my previous “go-to” 800 pace (~3:30), and I could barely hold my own for just 4 of them. But hey…it’s supposed to be hard. That’s the point. And that’s what I need to drill deep in my brain when I take on this summer which inevitably will be filled with gut-busters.

Otherwise, I’m really looking forward to switching up my weekend long runs and incorporating more trail runs and 14-er climbing.

While I’ve dabbled a little before in trail running, it’s mostly been pretty easy forest trails around Washington and Oregon- nothing with much terrain or climbing. Colorado trail running is a different story, and after my first peak ascent last Saturday, I’m convinced that climbing and descending these mountains are the surest way to get fit fast. We ran up and down Bergen Peak for Julia’s birthday, per her request for a sunrise trail run. And despite my lungs gasping most of the way up and my burning rookie legs, there was nothing quite like being at the top of a mountain before 7 am on a Saturday. So much run love and so much Colorado love…I rode the high all weekend.

Top of Bergen Peak selfie

Top of Bergen Peak selfie

And one other special thing about that run…it was the furthest I’ve run since getting sick that I didn’t need to stop for the bathroom. Over 10 miles— and happy intestines the whole way. The day after, I ran 8 more miles and didn’t need to go once. Progress! Prednisone seems to have kicked things in the right direction, and I’m using every ounce of positive thinking I have to hope that things continue this way.

That’s all I’ve got today, which I’m now realizing really wasn’t that much.

Basically, life is good. Running is plentiful, and I’m anxious and willing to do the work necessary to reach the goals I have for myself. Colorado is beautiful, and I’m so excited to explore more of it. And my health is (generally) quite good. I have a newly restored energy that I’ve been missing since December, my stomach seems to be calming down, and overall I’m just feeling fresh, happy, and motivated. All things I haven’t felt in a long time, and it’s good to have them back.

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4 thoughts on “Denver Life, Running Life

  1. Lauren

    I have never done a workout with a buddy! Speedwork in a group seems way scarier than solo. You are brave. And I would totally join your group, but yknow, that would mean living in the 303 and running 3:30 800s like nbd, both of which are not real.

  2. Jason

    I love your pictures! I’ve only been to Colorado one time – I was fortunate enough to run the Pikes Peak Ascent – and I couldn’t get over how amazing all the views were!!


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