Does this thing still work? Why yes…I think it does! Jokes about my lack of blogging aside, this is kind of how I’ve felt about my legs and my running recently. It’s been kind of two steps forward, one step back ever since the 50k in December. I was full-fledged burnt out and showing signs of generally being over-trained after that race, and I was ready to approach the spring season with patience and caution. I took a few weeks off, I ran very infrequently in the weeks following, and I didn’t stress myself out with any immediate goals or expectations.
Once I did start “really” running again, both of my hamstrings – particularly the left – were essentially achey rocks more often than not. While running, while at work, when I woke up in the morning…it was impossible to get any kind of fluidity going through my hammies and hips. Nothing painful, just clearly overworked from the past season. I maintained an every-other-day type of running routine through January, and until recently I never ran more than two days in a row. Slowly but gradually, things are feeling much better and in working condition. It’s an interesting and tricky thing to not feel injured but to still feel so off. Basically, I focused on ingraining the “little things” that I ignored for too long and consequentially landed me with all my achiness; lots of evening flexibility work, a few chiropractor trips, and generally taking it easier than I had in 6 months. I only got frustrated a few times with my slow progress, but that’s kind of what this winter season is all about: resetting and regaining.
All that said, I feel like I’ve been “training” again for about three weeks. For what race, you might ask? Well, since I’ve retired from spring marathons, I decided to focus my efforts over the next few months on one of my absolute favorite distances: the half! I’m registered for the Colorado Half-Marathon in the beginning of May, and I’m pretty psyched to really fine-tune my fitness and speed over the next 2+ months.
Taking a hint from my favorite fast couple, I’ve decided to start recapping my training again on this blog. It helps me stay accountable, it keeps me honest, and after all…I renewed my domain subscription for a reason, right??
Here’s what this past week looked like:
Monday: Mt. Bierdstat! 8.5 hiking miles, 3,241 ft of elevation gain
President’s Day! Adam and I had the day off from work so we decided to head for the hills. I had this crazy idea last year to try and do a 14er every single month in 2017. Obviously we pack in a ton during the summer months, but there’s something so wonderfully challenging and exciting to me about tackling these mountains in the winter. Anyway, we had one last shot in February to attempt a summit, and Monday did not disappoint. I really didn’t feel great on the majority of the ascent, but once we reached the top I was instantly reminded of why I love these mountains. Not to mention Adam and I got to spend a whole day just the two of us, which is always my favorite part of our big hikes.
Tuesday: Rest – much needed after the long day before
Wednesday: November Project clovers + run to and from – 8.4 miles
Clovers! I decided before even starting that I wanted to take it easy at November Project’s PR day in order to save my legs for the race on Sunday (spoiler!), so I stayed relaxed for most of the 35 minutes and cheered everyone on. Particularly, I was focused on Julia who was attempting a new clovers PR of 18! She is the absolute queen of clovers and I was happily distracted watching her cruise. I jumped in at the end with her and wound up doing 16.5 myself, kind of surprising given I felt very relaxed otherwise. Love clovers, every time.
Thursday: 6.6 easy miles
I took recovery miles seriously and ran very easy around the park once then picked up Mona for an additional 5k! I love running with her; she’s getting much better on the leash and I barely feel like I’m running because I’m so distracted by encouraging her the whole time 🙂
Friday: HotVin yoga
I was sad to miss November Project with TROY leading it on Friday morning, but I was in desperate need of some extra sleep and I’m glad I stayed in bed, ultimately. I managed to make it to a rare after-work yoga class which was one of my favorites: a combo of hot and vinyasa which is always super sweaty and stretchy. Exactly what I needed at the end of the week!
Saturday: 10 mile long run
I met up with Julia and Meaghan for an easy 10 mile out-and-back on the Platte River. Continuing the trend of what happens when I long run with these ladies, we intended to go slow and ended up running faster than any of us expected. Regardless, I always feel strong running with these two and it was a beautiful, albeit cold, morning.
Sunday: West Side Best Side XC race! 8 miles total (3.3 warmup, 3.0 race, 1.7 cool down)
This was the third time November Project has participated in the West Side Best Side cross-country races, and we showed up in a big way at today’s race! We had SEVEN teams of five runners and made up the majority of the field. I’ve been thinking of this race as a jumping-off point for the spring, and I wanted to run hard and execute my best effort to kick off real deal training.
I am mentally incapable of not getting unnecessarily nervous about these races. Running fast is my absolute favorite thing, as is racing, but I still get flooded with nerves at that thought of pairing them together, especially among peers. However, I also think my ability to channel this energy toward my race is a strength, so I just kind of embrace it.
Anyway, I managed to chill out once we all got there (which is what always happens…), and a crew of us warmed up along the course. It was clear that the course was going to be much more authentically “cross-country” than the other races we’ve done; the terrain was a combination of dirt road, rocky trail, sidewalk, and generally unstable footing. Not to mention…hills! It was going to be fun.
My loose goals for the race were to finish in the top 3 NP females, and it would be a bonus to finish in the top 5 females overall (they award top 5). Generally, though, I wanted to race hard from start to finish.
From the gun, it was hard to not have fun since I knew basically everyone around me! There’s nothing quite like running with a team, and I felt focused and powerful to be surrounded by friends. I felt controlled in the first mile as everyone weened out a bit; not too fast but still keeping up with the front-ish pack. Eventually I was running basically side-by-side with Erin, another NP lady, and I knew if I could keep up with her I’d have a good race. Around mile 2 there’s an out and back where I was able to assess where we were among the ladies, and I noted that I was currently around 7th female. Time to buckle up! Like I said, the terrain of this race was super fun and wild – it was more like a trail race than anything else, and I knew Julia would be loving it. Erin and I passed another woman, and as we rounded the bend to the final 800 meters (uphill!), I knew it would be a guts race to the finish. Erin turned on her 4-wheel-drive and I held on the best I could, finally managing to pass the 5th place woman in the final 100 meters. I finished in 20:38 as 5th lady, 3rd for NP women! Our team finished 2nd overall and the other NP women’s team finished 1st! How lucky am I to have such fast friends to run with and against??
I am really happy with this race and my effort, and mainly I’m excited to capitalize off this race and start training hard.
Total weekly miles: 41.8 miles (including hiking miles)
Highs: 14er on Monday, XC race, and running the exact same mileage as Julia without us even trying.
Lows: My knee bothered me for a couple of days, but then I realized I was pushing 650 miles on the pair of shoes I was wearing. Swapped shoes, problem solved!
Taking ownership of my goals and training is something that’s always helped me in the past, so my intent is to keep up these weekly recaps. The Colorado Half-Marathon is on May 7th which is my primary “A” race, and I’m planning to schedule a couple more short races along the way.
Here’s to a fast, healthy and fun spring of running!