Tag Archives: summer

The Races Are Coming, The Races Are Coming!

Happy Friday!

We are officially one week away from Ragnar NWP, and I’m actually getting really excited!

I didn’t really mean for that to sound like I’m surprised, but I suppose I’ve just been feeling a little more daunted by the idea than jazzed for it. Part of that stems from the fact that I’ve never done a relay before, so while I know all the hearsay about how awesome they are—I don’t really have a good concept of what to expect.

All that seems to be going away, though. Now that the final details are getting sorted and we have an established start time, drivers, runs times, etc., it’s all becoming more real and super exciting!

I’ve accepted that there really isn’t a “right” way to prepare for an ultra relay, and I feel like I’ve done everything I could have. I’ve also accepted that it’s going to be hard, no matter what, but it’s the hard aspect that makes the whole experience memorable.

Plus, my team is pretty awesome, and I’m excited to hang out with these ladies for over 24 straight hours 🙂

Team Six Pack with a Rack

(in running order, because why not, right?)

Bethany

Lauren

Rebecca

Jessey

Rira

ME

We’ve got a great mix of personalities, experience, ages, and all with one big thing in common: a lot of run love. I can’t wait!

But, there’s business to tend to before Ragnar. And so continues my summer of endless activity and racing…

This Sunday, I’ll be running the See Jane Run half-marathon as my final long training run for Ragnar.

I have had this race on my radar for a while, and luckily won an entry to it, but I’m finding myself a little lost when it comes to my approach to it.

Full discretion: I am physically incapable of “fun running” a race. I don’t always all-out race, but even in cases where I don’t have an A-goal, I still like to have a race plan or some sort of structure as to how I’ll try and run. Racing is a really important part of running for me, and I like to try and take it seriously whenever the opportunity presents itself. Even if the opportunity is to practice pacing, practice racing, or practice going slow.

Back to See Jane Run. I’m in a weird limbo between wanting to work hard and wanting to hold back. This will not be an all-out effort, as I’m saving that energy for my actual A-race this fall, but I still want to try and practice racing a half.

So, although I’m not entirely sure of my exact plan, I know I do want to practice finishing strong. I have never really had the opportunity to tap into stored energy for a great finishing kick at the end of a race (seeing as I normally go out too fast). So, I’d like to give this approach a try. I suppose it will be a practice in patience more than anything else and trying to hold back in the beginning so I can let it rip in the last 2 miles or so.

I’m trying really hard to not let the races I run now affect my confidence for attempting a 1:35 in a few months. Slowly I’m getting it into my head that it’s a BIG goal, and just because I’m not ready now doesn’t mean I won’t be ready then. So, I’m going to try my best to not let numbers on Sunday take away from the experience. I’ll be happy with a solid effort and enough juice left to start building the energy and excitement necessary for some Ragnar miles.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Who’s running See Jane Run this weekend? Who’s racing? Who’s doing something summery/outdoorsy/exciting?

Saying Yes to the Shorts Tan

I think most of us can agree that July has already turned out to be pretty spectacular in the Pacific Northwest. The sun has been shining amply, and the heat has stuck to a reasonable, summery level.

Sorry, rest of the country…

In all the years I’ve spent in the area, I can’t really remember there being a more beautiful summer – and I’m trying to do everything I can to take advantage of it.

In running terms, you can’t get much better than June-August. Sure, I personally prefer winter/fall running, but the freedom to run without rain (mostly) and with so much extra daylight is hard to beat. The heat makes us stronger too, and really, who doesn’t love a good sweat-soaked run?

However, there is one part of summer running that has haunted me for years, and which sticks around much longer than the lemonade stands and barbecue smells:

Shorts tans

Oh that beautiful ombre fade, we meet again. I’m pretty certain that through all my years of playing sports and being a runner, I’ve never fully gotten rid of the discoloration between the top and bottom of my quads. No matter the sunscreen or the time that passes, I seem to have a chronic and noticeable shorts tan for all months of the year. And it all stems from the summer months, when the passing of time is shown through the darkening of my lower thighs, and subsequent whitening of my upper thighs.

Now, ordinarily, I’ve sort of bemoaned the shorts tan. Not that anyone consistently sees the full effects, but it’s still a little embarrassing to wear a swimsuit and look like you’re wearing a pair of white shorts.

But not this year.

After probably 15 years of fighting a losing battle with the shorts tan, I’m not only waving my white flag – I’m switching camps. This year, I’m embracing the shorts tan as a stamp of summer; a “running tattoo” that will remind me of all the time I got to spend outdoors, enjoying both the weather and the run. It’s kind of silly that it’s taken me this long to really embrace it, especially considering I wear a swimsuit less than 10 times a year, but I suppose it just required a change in perspective.

And don’t worry, I’m all about sun safety, but we all know that no matter the precaution, summer running comes with some inevitable UVs. And given that somehow my quads tend to soak up more sun than any other part of my body, I seem to have no choice but to give into it. Also, when you only really wear the same style of shorts (Rogas), the ability to really fortify a specific line between white and tan is really heightened.

Bring on the tan lines, because it’s time to rename the farmer’s tan. The runner’s tan is where it’s at this summer, and personally I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity to show my devotion to this endeavor.

Maybe if you’re lucky I’ll share the final product come the end of summer, but I’m guessing not too many people want to see that…

And not to brag you guys, but it’s already something truly special.

So long live the shorts tan! May it be forever a sign of embracing the outdoors, embracing the run, and embracing all the potential our bodies give us.

Who’s with me??

Check In

Hello friends! Long time no chat. How’s everyone doing?

It feels a little like summer vacation recently, which is part of the reason I’ve been MIA from my little blog. Lots of activity going on, lots of plans, and generally lots of fun. I feel like I’ve been busier with social “obligations” than I have been since college, and it’s been great. I blame the sun—it turns everyone into butterflies who flutter toward each other.

#proof that I wore fake eyelashses and glitter in honor of Pride.

#proof that I wore fake eyelashses and glitter in honor of Pride.

So, while I’ve been staying out later and swapping second runs for happy hours, there’s still been plenty of race prep going on. And by “race,” I should say “races” because right now I’m in trifecta mode—trying to improve my fitness for three different types of events coming up in the next few months. It’s been…interesting. So let’s recap those sweaty and non-sweaty endeavors shall we?

Tri-Specific Training

I haven’t necessarily been doing more or less in regard to triathlon training. Honestly, I would run every day if I could, but since I can’t I’m trying to tuck swimming and biking/spinning in once or twice a week. It’s not that I don’t like either of these activities (although swimming can be boring…) it’s just that in the summer I want to be running outside.

However, I’m really starting to like biking. In a new-crush, giddy kind of way. I always loved the idea of being a biking person, and now that I have a good bike, good weather, and good company—it seems the stars are aligning. Super bike pro Lindsay invited my slow self last weekend for a Burke-Gilman ride (34 miles!), and I really enjoyed myself. It feels really good to shake it up, and I actually like feeling like a beginner at something, strangely enough. It’s also really nice to have another option besides running where I can be outside, go for a long time, and all the while not worry so much about the impact. I’m hoping by the end of the summer to have a few extra-long rides under my belt.

And all this bike love is definitely a good thing—because when it comes to the triathlon disciplines, it’s definitely the one I need the most work on.

Ultra-Relay Training

This is how I feel about running 35 miles in 24 hours. Also how I feel about how neon has taken over my life. Neon bra is showing THROUGH neon shirt. WTF.

This is how I feel about running 35 miles in 24 hours. Also how I feel about how neon has taken over my life. Neon bra is showing THROUGH the neon shirt. WTF.

I was initially feeling really good about this training. I was logging at least once-a-week double run days, and my training felt pretty specific to ultra-relay conditions. However, ever since life started getting busy and the first ultra race started to get closer, I’ve been feeling a little more apprehensive about my prep. However, I did run 12 miles at 7 am Sunday morning after being out really late the night before (see eyelash photo above), which I decided was good Ragnar simulation. Right? Right.

I’m running 35 miles at Ragnar in 24 hours, which is A LOT. It was always going to be a lot, no matter how well trained I was, but it’s getting to be intimidating in a scary kind of way. I’ve been averaging between 40-45 miles a week lately, which is good—but compared to what I’ll be doing at Ragnar, it seems measly.

That doesn’t mean I’m not excited though, because I really can’t wait. And despite the high mileage, I’m feeling good about my projected running times. According to our pace calculators, I should be running around sunset, sunrise, and then late in the afternoon (I’m the last runner). So, although I’ll be waking up in the 4 o’clock hour to run 15+ miles, I’m hoping I’ll get a sunrise out of it 🙂 Can’t complain, it’s all part of the adventure—I just hope my legs hold up.

And, if I do horribly, the good (?) news is that I get to try again a month later at Spokane to Sandpoint. I know, I don’t know who I am either.

Goal Half-Marathon Training

Meh. That’s all I have to say about this one. With nearly three months until my big scary goal race, I’ve been a little lackluster about my speed-dedicated workouts. I did 7 x 800 last week and it was HARD. Please, don’t let me postpone a speed workout until the afternoon ever again. It was hot, my stomach hated me, and it was harder than it should have been. I ran each 800 at 6:55 pace, and I could feel every one of them. Two bathroom stops too, fun times.

So, for right now I’m focusing on one speed workout a week, which will pick up after Ragnar. I also have the See Jane Run half coming up in two weeks, and while I don’t expect anything spectacular—I’d like to use it as a bit of a check in. It’s a flat course, and presuming it will be somewhat shaded, I think it will be a good opportunity for a “test run.”

Basically, I could be doing better with speed-specific work, but with the heat it’s not necessarily the best time to push the envelope every day. However, I do trust heat training to have rewarding benefits once the fall comes around. Oh dear, sweet fall running…I’m excited for you.

Other things

I haven’t been photographing much that’s been going on (per usual), however I do have some photos to marginally depict my life as of late:

Seattle sunset by the Seattle Big Wheel. I can't stop photographing the sky. And because I'm now obligated to say it, #nofilter.

Seattle sunset by the Seattle Big Wheel. I can’t stop photographing the sky. And because I’m now obligated to say it, #nofilter.

I look like a child at Disneyland. Except I'm surrounded by drag queens and nearly naked men.

I look like a child at Disneyland. Except I’m surrounded by drag queens and nearly naked men.

And speaking of…

Yes, he is one of my best friends. No, he doesn't go to the gym very much. Yes, you are allowed to hate him.

Yes, he is one of my best friends. No, he doesn’t go to the gym very much. Yes, you are allowed to hate him.

You’re welcome/I’m sorry.

Yesterday morning at 5 am. This is the view from my house, i don't hate it.

Yesterday morning at 5 am. This is the view from my house, i don’t hate it.

 

Reading at the park, one of our new favorite activities.

Reading at the park, one of our new favorite activities.

So there’s my training and life check in. I’ve been orchestrating a bigger balancing act between the two than I have in a while, and to tell you the truth—it feels really good. Besides the apprehension about my preparedness for upcoming events, I am really liking the shift in prioritization that’s been happening. Like I said, it feels like summer break—and in that sense, it shouldn’t be all about the miles. And while it may seem like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with all my upcoming races and goals, it’s all in the name of having fun and trying new things—and I actually wouldn’t have it any other way.

And on one final note…CONGRATULATIONS to Miss Nicole “Ricole Runs” on her beautiful new baby boy!!!!! I think he came early because I wants you to run a PR in every distance sooner 🙂

 

 

 

 

I guess I do relays now?

Unlike just about everyone else in the running world (or so it seems), I have never run a relay race.

I’ve heard about them, read about them, and actually been invited more than once to run on them. Alas, life got in the way, and I found myself still a relay-less runner.

So I decided late last year to change this. Without ever having done one, I already know that relays are totally my jam. Mashing together running, organized chaos, and a team environment is my kind of fun—so I began doing some research into races.

There was one *tiny* thing I wanted though: I wanted to do an ultra-style relay. Sure, I know I’ve never even done a 12-man relay race (which is the norm for the 200 mile distance), but what can I say? I like miles. And I liked the idea of a new kind of challenge.

Long story short—I found a race, recruited Nicole, we sent out some emails, we wrote some checks, Nicole announces she’s with child so she’ll be cheerleading from afar instead, and bada boom, bada bing…ultra team!

So, in August we (Tasha, Rose, Amy, Jordanne, OPEN SPOT*, and me ) will be running the Spokane to Sandpoint Relay—all 200 miles of it.

*let me know if you want to run/know anyone who would want to run!

I’ll leave information on distances and legs for another post (and once we actually figure out the specifics 🙂 ) but for now all I know is that I’ll be running as many miles in 24 hours as I sometimes run in one week. Through the night. In the summer heat. It’s going to be a party.

Oh, and one other thing:

I’m running ANOTHER ultra relay in July.

WTF? How did I go from a relay virgin to running two ULTRA relays within a one month period? When it rains, it pours I guess. Does anyone want to loan me their IT bands this summer?

In all seriousness, I’m really excited for this…um…adventure.

The relay in July is Ragnar Northwest Passage, and after hearing all the Ragnar hoopla from all over the country, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to run it so close to home. Plus, I like to think that I’m in the business of meeting new people nowadays…and what better way to do so than by exchanging niceties and body odor smells in a packed van?

Our Ragnar team captain Lauren recruited me along with 4 other ladies (Rebecca, Rira, Jessey, and Bethany), and I’m designated Runner 6. I don’t know much about what this means except that there are a lot of miles, but I’m excited. Will be fun to bring our team into the finish.

So, in a nutshell I’m feeling both really excited and really unprepared. I have no idea how to train for these things. There isn’t any “Hal Higdon’s Ultra-Relay Training- Novice” plan out there; in fact, there is very little on how to train for this type of race. Which I’m mostly happy about, as I don’t feel much like subscribing to a schedule at this point in time.

However, I will be keeping up my mileage. Without draining myself too much, my plan is to capitalize on my fitness from Eugene and keep up some relatively high miles every week—most of which will be slow.

I think I’ll try and work in one double-day a week or so (running in the AM and PM) as well as a few back-to-back long run days. Lucky for me, I’m not burnt out, and running is really the only exercise I’ve been feeling up for recently—so let’s hope that carries out into the summer 🙂

I have no doubt that these races are going to be a whole new type of challenge. They are going to be tough—no doubt about that, but I’m looking forward to a new type of endurance training that isn’t just standard marathoning. Plus, having other runner peeps to share the ups and the downs with will make it all so much better.

So there you have it. This summer will be the summer of relaying and ultra-ing, apparently  Perhaps a few halfs thrown in there as well…I’m interested in having a little fun with that distance.

So now I plead with all of you who have done relays/ultras/ultra relays before:

How do you prepare for these???