Sub-1:40 Half Marathon: I. DID. IT.

For over a year now, I’ve had this goal. This scary yet attainable goal that I KNEW I could reach and surpass for the half marathon. A sub-1:40. I’d take 1:39:59. A 7:30ish pace for 13.1 miles. I KNEW I had it in me. I didn’t take my eyes off of this goal. for OVER A YEAR. For hundreds and hundreds of days, six days out of the week, EVERY. WEEK. I have stayed focused.

FOR HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF DAYS! I woke up at 4:30 am, even 3:30 am! Whatever I had to do. I went to bed early, ate well, ran through 110 degree Texas summers, drank copious amounts of water to recover, did my cross training, stretched when I didn’t want to, overcame an injury with tedious exercises that seemed useless at times – I literally came back to running ONE minute at a time!… I. Stuck. With it. One day off. Every week. Running a consistent 40-50 miles per week. Every. Week.

I knew it was paying off! Just last week, I ran a 5K PR – 21:08 (6:44 min/mile average)!

I never considered myself a “fast” runner. Yes, I ran the 400 meters in High School in 60 seconds and change. Even then, I never thought I was fast. Lucky, maybe? I don’t know. I REALLY never thought – at least if you were to ask me 5 years ago – that I would run THIRTEEN MILES holding a pace in the 7’s. No way. No way!!

And here I am. I am still daydreaming about yesterday’s race… the Dallas Running Club Half Marathon on the morning of Sunday, November 4th, 2018…

At 6:00 am I get off of a school bus that shuttled runners to the Start line. It was still dark. Excitement was in the air. It was a chilly morning. Cold, really. I will admit – I got there (extra) early and may have huddled in a porta-potty for a silly amount of time to be in a pota-potty just for warmth. I was saved by the fact that I remembered my mittens! (Lucky mittens, of course).

It was getting close to Start time (finally!) and I do my usual dynamic warm-up while trying not to run into anyone. Everyone huddles towards the Start.

I see that there are Pacers holding up their little signs with how fast they’re going so I look for my group – 1:40. It was almost at the very front of the Start line! I felt like some sort of celebrity starting that close to the front, surrounded by all these lean men with brightly colored shoes who look like really strong athletes.

POP! The gun goes off!

I was in the front of the pack… staying stride in stride with these incredibly strong (and bouncy!) guys… each and every stride in sync for a whole 10+ miles, running shoulder to shoulder. I felt strong. Part of the pack! I felt unstoppable. I was focused. Relaxed. I felt weightless…

Then… Around mile 11 my mental “calm” broke with about the last hill I thought I could handle (it was a hilly course). “Last hill!” our amazing pacer assured us. “Stay relaxed going up. Looking strong! Stay left to follow the tangent!” He says. I was relaxed and right ahead of the pacer (ALMOST!) the entire 13.1 miles. It was mile 11… that last hill that got me. It broke my focus. I was, at this point, surprised and relieved hat I made it that far before it happened! I just told myself the hard part is here, so it can’t get worse. THIS is the part that counts.

Suddenly my legs were tired and all I could think about was stopping. Thankfully, I knew my friends would be cheering around mile 11 so I just focused on staying in the game until then. If they take pictures, I should at least look as strong as I did the first 11 miles, right? You’re strong. Keep going… Shut up, legs!!

I took it one. mile. at. a. time. Keeping my pace group in sight, I just kept a strong stride and tried really hard to tell myself that I felt good. My mind just wasn’t the same those last few miles. I had to dig deep (I truly learned what “dig deep” meant during training). I thought I blew it until I look down at my watch to see that I was still holding a pace in the 7’s (how?? I didn’t argue with the Garmin!!). With just one mile to go, there was no going back. No giving up. And I’m so glad I stuck it out… I can’t explain the feeling when I saw 1:39:42 on that watch.

This was truly a morning and experience that I will never forget. In the end it’s not about the numbers, it’s about that feeling. That unexplainable feeling…

Mile splits:

  • Mile one: 7:28
  • Mile two: 7:22
  • Mile three: 7:20
  • Mile four: 7:25
  • Mile five: 7:33
  • Mile six: 7:31
  • Mile seven: 7:36
  • Mile eight: 7:26
  • Mile nine: 7:44
  • Mile ten: 7:40
  • Mile eleven: 7:49
  • Mile twelve: 7:59
  • Mile thirteen: 8:00
  • Mile point one: 6:59

13.12 miles @ 7:36 [1:39:42]

Personal Record

Second in Age Group

Tenth overall Female

THANK YOU, thank you, THANK YOU, Lifelong Endurance for sticking with me through it all and for making this magical day possible. Thank YOU, as well, for your encouragement and support.

This was a huge mental breakthrough for me.

And you know what? After ALL THIS. You may wonder, what now? You may think that I’d wonder that, too. Not a bit. It truly is the journey, not the destination. I LOVE every minute of it. I am more determined than ever and won’t stop now.

Great things to come!

Thank you.

Race Recap: Tulsa Run Double

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Tulsa Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run 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!

The Tulsa Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run in Tulsa, Oklahoma started as a small race with around 1,000 runners in 1978. Now, the Tulsa Run has become a historic and iconic Oklahoma race with over 10,000 runners. For those that have run it, it seems to quickly become a favorite and a tradition. This is exactly the case with my dad and me.

Dad & me running the Tulsa Run for the first time last year

My dad and I first ran the Tulsa Run last year, in 2017. Immediately after the race, we decided the weekend would be an annual tradition.

The drive from Dallas (my hometown) to Tulsa is around 4 hours, so not too bad. The best part is that we stay at a hotel downtown RIGHT in front of the Start and Finish line, so the whole weekend is just on foot an super convenient. There is even a (REALLY) delicious Italian restaurant that we order to-go and eat in the room – right next door to the hotel. It is the PERFECT setup.

The best spaghetti I’ve ever had! Not a bite left over!

So, we arrive on Friday afternoon and head straight to the Cox Business Center for the Expo. The Tulsa Run expo isn’t huge, but large enough to spend a little time browsing and shopping. Picking up packets is a breeze (they always do the BEST hoodies!) and there’s a little area with T-shirts, jackets, and other items that you can pick your “run Tulsa” logo and get decorated. There was even a man who would play you in Checkers… win and get a $25 gift card!

The expo at Cox Business Center

Win checkers for a $25 running store gift card!

I was registered for the “double” – the 5K and 15K. My dad registered for the 15K. The plan: I’d race the 5K, then fun run the 15K with dad.

Ready to run! Hopefully I don’t pin my bib on like that 😉

We eat our pasta and head to bed! It’s time!

It’s time!

Race morning, I wake up and go down for the 5K. Since the hotel is right by the Start line, I actually get to sleep in until about 6:00am (woohoo!) and head down about 7:20 for a 7:45 start time! Pretty sweet.

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About to head to the Start!

It was a chilly morning – perfect running weather. There were happy people all over the nice, graffiti-ed downtown. I love that feeling. Everyone is just a tad too cold but everyone is out there ready to give it their all. There was a nice space in the street for a warm up, so I do my high-knees and dynamic stretches keeping my eye on the time.

The 5k

Time to start! I try to wiggle my way up to the front of the start line hoping to aim for a 7:00 min/mile pace without much time to spare wiggling in and out of people. I get to a decent spot and it’s time! Here we go!!! I start off feeling good. Light on my feet. I still had a little weaving to do – in and out of people – I look down at my watch to see an 8:xx min/mile pace. Oh no… can I do this?? I kick it up a notch. I thought I was probably just barely running in the 7’s but, to my surprise, soon enough I hear my headphones say “beep! Lap One. Six Twenty-Eight.” OH! I CAN DO THIS! I FEEL GOOD! So, I just tell myself to keep doing what I’m doing. Just do that, two more times! No problem. Right?

Well, it was no problem the second mile. There were rolling hills, so I made sure to take advantage and ROLL on the down-hill. I kept my legs going. Mile two felt just as good as mile one. “beep! Lap Two. Six Twenty-Three.” Yes!, I thought. Better than expected! So, once again, I just tell myself to keep doing what I’m doing. Just do THAT one more time. Easy peasy. Right? WRONG. That last mile was TOUGH. ALL. UP. HILL. Literally. I passed a speedster that looked like she was probably in my age group. She nearly caught up with me as I struggled up hill. We were neck-in-neck for a while until she couldn’t hang on any longer. The hills slowed me down, but I was NOT going to let her pass me. Rather than focusing on time, THAT was my goal. Thou shall not pass…

Even though she didn’t catch me, I really thought I blew it the last mile. Gravity was not on my side and I thought I threw a PR away. MAN. But those first two miles felt so good… Oh well… Then I heard it… beep! Lap Three. Seven Nineteen.” Wait a minute… I didn’t do the math because I was more focused on surviving the last tenth of a mile, but I was pretty sure that could still be enough to beat my previous PR of 21:59. I paused my watch after 3.1 miles to see a 6:44 average pace! 21:07. I can not even express the BURST of joy, relief, excitement, disbelief… I was overwhelmed with emotion. Not that running is all about how “fast” you go… but DAMN IT FEELS GOOD to prove something to yourself after countless 4:00 am alarms, extra loads of laundry, new shoes every few months, 8:00 pm bed times… It. feels. good.

PR moment! 21:07 – 1st in AG, 5th OVERALL female!

The 15K

Now, the 15K. The 15K didn’t start until 9:00am so I had plenty of time to walk around, forget where I was due to excitement, take some photos, walk up to the hotel, get my dad and try to express my excitement in words that made sense – all in time to head to the 15K Start line.

My dad, the most amazing human ever, of course says I can go off and try to race the 15K rather than run “easy” with him, but I love the time together. I run a race once a year with my dad. I’m running WITH him. Especially with my 5K PR I wanted nothing more than to have a fun run with Dad. Nothing could turn this day bad after a PR under my belt and Dad by my side.

The weather was perfect. There was so much energy all around. It was one of those days that you just know is a “good day.” I was so happy to be part of this amazing race with my favorite person. The run was scenic and enjoyable.

Hi, Dad!

The air was cool yet the sun was warm. My dad and I talk about random things, point out cute dogs (and even a few chickens!), and high five a few spectators. Not a care in the world. It was perfect. We ran our hearts out then got our post-race banana and sandwiches (yes! free sandwiches after this race!) and just relaxed and talked about our run afterwards.

I could not have asked for a better weekend! A PR, time spent with Dad, perfect weather, spectacular spaghetti and meatballs, a unique and lovable city, and great organized race!

Thank you, Tulsa Run, for the amazing experience. Thank you to Lifelong Endurance for coaching me to become the runner I am today and the runner I will be in the future! See you in 2019, Tulsa!

As soon as they’re ready, I’ll post my Athlinks results here! Remember to claim your results on Athlinks and keep all your races and PR’s in one spot!!! So helpful!

Find me on Athlinks here: https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/319145186

Medal Monday (on Tuesday!?)

It may be Tuesday, but yesterday was… let’s just say *not my day* (you know – THOSE DAYS)…

So, you heard it, we’re giving Monday and the start to a new month a DO-OVER!

Running has actually been going really well for me lately! No major speed bumps (KNOCK ON WOOD), just putting in the work and following my training to the T! Even through all this Texas heat and humidity. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve missed a run – even with traveling and you know, LIFE happening! Woot woot!

Running in Minneapolis, MN

Thanks to Lifelong Endurance, I know I can trust the process, so I just take it one day at a time, one run at a time!

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Repping Lifelong Endurance in Denver, CO

So, what am I even training for, again? The simple answer: to become a stronger, faster runner in general. The detailed answer: run a 1:39:59 Half Marathon.

My next half marathon is the Dallas Running Club Half in November. Though, I do have other fun races coming up! In fact, THIS MONTH I get to run the Tulsa Run in Tulsa, OK with my dad! AND the Great Pumpkin Run Virtual 5K! I’ve never run a virtual run before so we’ll see how that one goes! [If you want to run these races with me, I’ll include some promo codes below!]

Race Ready!

My LAST race, the Plano Balloon Festival 5K and 10K, unfortunately got cancelled (for a good reason – the area was basically a lake on race day), but I still got my medals! So, gosh darn it, we’re doing a Medal Monday!

There they are! 5K, 10K, and “Elevate Challenge” medals!

What are your upcoming races?

What is your main goal as a runner/reason for running?

CODES for my upcoming races (save some moolah!):

DRC Half (11/4/18) Code: BESTHALF10 – $10 off the Half Marathon or 5K

Tulsa Run (10/27/18) Code: BIBRAVE18 – $5 off registration

Great Pumpkin Run Virtual 5K (no code, but here is the link to sign up! nice swag and chance to win $500!)

Remember to check my RACE DISCOUNTS page before registering for your race! This is always kept updated!

Review: Gatorade Endurance

Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance to review 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!

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Gatorade isn’t just “Gatorade” anymore. They’ve really stepped up their game with the Gatorade Endurance (“G Endurance”) line. Electrolyte powders, gels, chews – they have it all.

One thing that is unique with the G Endurance gels is that they offer multiple kinds of carbohydrates – better fueling for quick energy when you need it. I was really intrigued by this. So, although I’m not a “gel” fan in general, I wanted to give the gels a shot. Another draw to the G Endurance line is that many (BIG) races offer Gatorade during their races and, ultimately, if that’s what I’ll be using I need to test it (and hopefully like it!)

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So, I have been testing the G Endurance Mango Energy Gels as well as the Watermelon Endurance Thirst Quencher Powder for the past month-ish during my training. Just to get an idea, my weeks generally consist of 45-50 running miles as well as some cross training with long runs being anywhere from 10-14 miles.

Now, let’s dig in to the products themselves. I’ve broken it down into facts followed by my thoughts:

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Gatorade Endurance Gels:
WHY?
It’s a simple fact of training. The longer and harder you go, the more carbs your body needs. Endurance Energy Gel has 20g of carbs per serving to help endurance athletes continue to perform at a high level.
CARBS – 20g
You can’t go farther unless you feed the machine. Simply put, you need a steady supply of calories. Endurance Energy Gel has 80 calories per packet to help keep your muscles churning mile after mile after mile.
CALORIES – 80
Endurance Energy Gel provides carbohydrate energy that’s easy to take down and has a smooth mouth feel. Like the entire Gatorade Endurance line, Energy Gel is made for meeting the unique fueling needs of endurance athletes.
Thoughts:
When I first tried the gels, I used one on a 10 miler – 6 easy-paced miles followed by 4 tempo. I took half at a time just in case my stomach didn’t agree. I took the first half about one hour into the run, then the other half about 8 miles in. No problems!
I like that the gel is just that – gel. The texture is gel-y and not like frosting. Some gels are really ooey and gooey and just downright disgusting on the way down. This wasn’t. It was nice and light, fruit, and went down quick and easy. I did find that they are best cold – so my “pro tip” is to toss them in the freezer before heading out so they’re nice and icy for run.
I feel like it gives me the necessary energy/carbs needed for that extra kick at the end of a long run.
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Gatorade Endurance Thirst Quencher Powder:
WHY?
Formulated for farther. When you’re going the extra mile, your body requires more from its fuel to keep running. Endurance Formula is made for longer, more intense work outs with twice the sodium and three times the potassium of Gatorade Thirst Quencher.
ELECTROLYTES – Sodium 300mg / Potassium 140mg
Farther takes more. More determination. More early mornings. And more nutrients. Gatorade Endurance Formula has nearly twice the sodium and three times the potassium of traditional Gatorade. Endurance Formula can help you stay fueled and hydrated from Mile 1 to Mile 40 and beyond.
CARBS – 22g
Formulated for farther. When you’re going the extra mile, your body requires more from its fuel to keep running. Endurance Formula is made for longer, more intense work outs with twice the sodium and three times the potassium of Gatorade Thirst Quencher.
CALORIES – 90
Calories are crucial to going the distance. Not only are they the foundation of an endurance athlete’s nutritional needs, they help provide muscles with the energy needed to go farther.
Thoughts:
The Gatorade Endurance Formula Powder is nice in that it’s convenient. Rather than having a bunch of bottles of Gatorade, you can make it whenever you want and customize it to your taste preference with more or less water.
I was pleasantly surprised that the G Endurance powder in watermelon was not overly sweet. In fact, it was much more subdued that expected. Just a light, refreshing taste.
I think I will find myself using the gels more often only because of the convenience – I can throw one in my pocket whereas I don’t usually (or ever) carry a bottle with me on runs so I’m less likely to drink it while running.
I do, however, see myself throwing a scoop of this in a bottle for a spin class, bike ride, or post-run recovery drink. I’d recommend this for that or for running if you carry a bottle.
This would also be great in a cooler for running groups! It has all your essential electrolytes and carbs to keep you from that dreadful “bonk” during a run or workout.
Overall, I do see myself reaching for G Endurance when I need that supplement during a long or hard effort. Gatorade and the G Endurance line products come in so many awesome flavors – I hope to try more soon!
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Buy Gatorade Endurance to try for yourself here.

Fun facts: Replace What You Sweat – https://youtu.be/lciIgDPbLg0

Details about the science behind Gatorade: https://www.gssiweb.org/en

Have you tried anything from the Gatorade Endurance line? What is your favorite product/flavor?

If not, what is your current go-to for fuel?

Running with Coach!

If you don’t know already, I’ve been coached by (the amazing) Lifelong Endurance for almost three years now. In that amount of time, I have gone from maybe running 2 miles per day every other day and having no idea what my weekly mileage even was (maybe 10?), to averaging 50 miles per week and up to 200 miles per month (injury-free!). I’ve gone from a 2:10 half marathon to a 1:42 and a sub-1:40 in sight. Needless to say, I’ve improved a lot – not only in my running performance, but in my running (and LIFE) confidence!

The wonderful coaches at Lifelong Endurance is based out of Denver, Colorado. I live in Dallas, Texas. We make it work. I actually enjoy the independence. We use apps, text, email, Skype… and it all works out nicely to make sure I’m on track and have all my questions answered. In fact, until recently, I had never actually met my coach in person!

Sporting my Lifelong Endurance shirt at the Red Rocks Amphitheater! 

During my trip to Colorado last week, we changed that! I got to meet Andrew (Coach) and Katie and their super-cute pup and go for a run! It was really, really awesome to meet the person that has been basically telling me what to do for 3 years!!! They are both amazing, genuine, knowledgeable people and I am so fortunate to have them on my team.

Andrew (Coach), me, & my fur-baby, Derby

We ran a few easy miles, talked about everything – running, cameras, dogs, life… It was like I already knew them. I just can[‘t express how thankful I am to have connected with them and spend some time getting to know them. It just makes the bond between me, my coach, and my determination just that much stronger.

I can’t wait to see what we will accomplish next! Keep your eyes peeled on the Lifelong Endurance Instagram for more!

Next goal: sub-21 minute 5K, sub-1:40 half marathon

What are your upcoming goals?

Do you have a coach, use a plan, or think you could benefit from one?

Runner Ramblings: What Makes Someone a “Runner?”

Running is a natural movement. We were literally “born to run.” (And eat pizza).

Did you know that:

“Most mammals can sprint faster than humans — having four legs gives them the
advantage. But when it comes to long distances, humans can outrun almost any
animal. Because we cool by sweating rather than panting, we can stay cool at speeds
and distances that would overheat other animals. On a hot day, the two scientists
wrote, a human could even outrun a horse in a 26.2-mile marathon.” (New York Times, full article here)

So, as a human being built to outrun anything, I was wondering why it seems that many of us have a hard time labeling ourselves as “a runner.”

Is it because (almost) everyone has the ABILITY to run? Yes, we are not all Shalane Flanagan or Mo Farah, but running is a functional movement that we are born with just like sitting, eating, and jumping. There are always people that are “better” at one thing than the other, but, aside from special circumstances, we all CAN.

So, does this create a huge grey area of when someone is *magically* converted from “human” to “runner?”

MY final answer is that anyone who runs, is a runner.

What does NOT matter: time, pace, distance, size, weight, resources, background…

What MATTERS: you run.

BONUS if you love it! But not required!

I think this is what I love most about running. It is so INCLUSIVE. It brings all sorts of amazing humans together and I am so beyond thankful for this. I have made the best friends and had the best experiences of my life thanks to running and being a runner.

Thank you, running, and thank you, runners.

What makes YOU consider someone “a runner?”

Two (Simple!) Routines That Have Improved my Running

Hi run fam! Happy Monday! What better day to regain focus on your goals! As hard as it is to wake up, I love getting my Monday workout (run) done early. I feel like it’s the kick-off to my whole week.

Before jumping in to the two things that have improved – or shall I say SAVED – my running, I want to thank Lifelong Endurance for coaching me through every step of my running journey and bringing the importance of these things to light. Having a coach has truly been the backbone of my running since the beginning. THANK YOU!

So. Let’s get to it.

#1: The Warm-Up

Warming up. Like, actually warming up. Not just lifting a cup of coffee to the lips and bending over a little weird to put on my shoes.

As soon as I started having this piriformis “issue” that I’ve slowly overcome, Coach actually added a “Dynamic Warm-Up” into my training plan. It was always assumed that I did some sort of warm up, but having it written down, step-by.step, next to my run (in my mind) meant that I actually had to do it. I guess I could only get away with running out the door (literally) for so long.

I used what my coach gave me along with some videos from The Run Experience (great, helpful YouTube videos with running tips!) and curated my own routine for warming up. I make the time to do this before EVERY. SINGLE. RUN. Easy run, speed, work, long run, everything. If I don’t do it, I can tell a difference – even after just one run.

The Warm-Up

Total time < 10 minutes. Picture this happening up and down a driveway distance

  • Little skips down and back
  • 20 high knees down, walk
  • 20 butt kickers down, walk
  • 20 lunges, walk
  • 10 air squats
  • 8-12 leg swings forward and across body, each leg
  • runner’s lunge – circle hips a few times each direction

That’s it! So, really not even stretching but just warming up the legs, body, and mind (especially on those 5 am runs). I truly think this is/has been/will be a HUGE KEY in staying injury-free for me. If I don’t do any movement other than the repetitive one-leg-in-front-of-the-other movement, my legs get stiff and cranky.

#2: One Exercise Other Than Running

Yep. ONE. One exercise (per week) OTHER than running. Getting out of the “running plane” just once a week can greatly improve your mobility and running!

This could be any sort of cross-training – cycling, swimming, kickboxing… or what seems to help ME even more is a NON-CARDIO-based workout. So, that dreaded workout… dun dun dun… strength. Yes, I’m still learning to love it and get comfortable with it, but functional STRENGTH workouts seem to really be helping me. I’m a newbie but just know that if I keep it up, I will only get stronger and faster.

So, I’ve been specifically doing a leg routine prescribed by Lifelong Endurance once a week. It looks like A LOT but the sets go by really quick. An hour (max) is about all you need in the gym for this.

Legs

Start with warm-up (leg openers: lunges, step ups on a bench, split squat)

Set 1 – 3 sets of 8 reps each

  1. Walking lunge with weight
  2. Weighted calf raise
  3. Step ups on a bench, weighted with leg raise
  4. Reverse lunge
  5. Single leg cable kick back
  6. Leg curls (hamstring)
  7. Seated leg curl (quad)
  8. Full squat

Set 2 – 3 sets of 8 reps each

  1. Narrow stance leg press
  2. Walking lunge with twist
  3. Hip abductors
  4. Hip adductors
  5. Piston kicks/knee-drivers
  6. Mountain climbers (x30)
  7. Barbell deadlift
  8. Leg curl with yoga ball

I told you – it looks like a lot. My recommendation is to do what I did – just go to the gym (or most can be done even in your living room) and just go through this list and DO WHAT YOU CAN. YouTube it if you need to. Just doing SOMETHING is going to be significant. If you do half this list one day, the other half another day, or just pick and choose from the list.

Obligatory “gym selfie”

Another tip: even if I have a spare 10 minutes in the morning (and the energy!) I will knock out a few that I know I can do at home, knowing I’ll spend less time in the gym later!

THANK you again to Lifelong Endurance for sharing these amazing tips and workouts and for keeping me strong. Thank YOU for all your support!!! Run happy, friends!

What is your favorite non-running workout?

What routine/habit do you “swear by” in your workouts?

Running Little Canada

Hello, runfam!

I just wanted to check in after a lovely week in Minnesota! I got to spend time with family and (of course) get some great running in!

I rounded out the week with 44.4 (AMAZING!) miles and it couldn’t have been a better week.

I ran my first few runs this week in downtown Minneapolis. It was really fun exploring such a unique, beautiful, and surprisingly clean downtown. I am beyond impressed with downtown MPLS!!!

I got to see lots of neat restaurants, the Mississippi River, and gorgeous old buildings and bridges.

The later part of the week I stayed with my sweet aunt in Maplewood, near Little Canada, MN. This is one of my favorite places. Ever.

Everything is so green, lots of little lakes and paths, docks with cute patios, boats, ducks, and friendly faces.

My runs felt great and effortless. When the views are this beautiful and the weather this perfect, it’s just a recipe for feeling unstoppable.

Speaking of weather – it was between 50 and 60 (maybe up to the 70s/80s) while I was there! This Texas gal didn’t even bother with packing a sweater or long pants! Thank goodness for Target.

Thank you to you all for your encouragement throughout my ups and downs, and to Lifelong Endurance for always keeping run fun yet challenging.

What are your goals for the week?

Do you set weekly goals? Monthly? Daily?

Medal Monday!

Happy #MedalMonday!!!

This one resembles a really HARD weekend. I mean, heartbreaking. A real slap in the face. BUT it’s one that taught me SO much. It makes me realize how far I’ve come in not only a few year of running overall, but in just a few months of rehabilitating myself…

Rock n Roll New Orleans 5K and Half marathon. March of 2018. This was the weekend that I crumbled. My ability to run literally fell apart. What had been a small “naggle” in my hip area (which I now speculate was extreme tightness of the piriformis muscle causing a pinched sciatic nerve) was suddenly debilitating. I (slowly) ran the 5K with my dad and felt like I could barely hold on. I was trying so hard to enojy my time with him and the scenery (pace/speed was the LAST thing on my mind) – but it was hard to enjoy anything with this discomfort. I felt off.

The next day, I showed up to the starting line to run the Half Marathon. I was worried but thought I’ll warm up after a while! I’m not injured… I got this.

Denial. Something was wrong me. I had to stop and walk within the first half mile. That’s not like me. My goal pace was a 7:40 minute mile for 13.1 miles. Not this. I felt dull, helpless, and useless as strong runners flew by. That should be me… I thought. Something was terribly wrong. I wanted to cry. I did. I waddled my way to that finish line. Walking by spectators, stopping to watch the bands, trying – really trying – to enjoy anything I could. My slowest Half Marathon yet, but one I will surely never forget.

Since this day in March, I’ve been coming back to running – physically and mentally -slowly but surely. For weeks I couldn’t run. It hurt just to walk. I asked for recommendations and suggestions from my running group, got dry needling done, stretched, and was diligent about exercises. I couldn’t sit or put one foot in front of the other without pain.

Then, I walked. Then ran for one minute at a time. Eventually I worked up to two miles, which felt like eternity. It didn’t feel good but the pain slowly faded. I still feel it “there,” but I’m happy to say that with consistent warming up, I’ve managed to keep it at bay (I guess you can only get away with jetting out the door for so long…). I’d like to say I’m coming back stronger. At least that’s the plan.

I will never ever again take for granted an effortless run. That weekend was hard. Depressing, really. Running didn’t feel good so it didn’t make me happy. I can confidently say: running makes me HAPPY again and I am beyond THANKFUL for today’s 5 miles.

THANK YOU Lifelong Endurance for being a game changer and getting me back on my feet.

I think each run teaches us a lesson – have you ever learned the hard way?

Training Update & Highest Monthly Miles Yet!

Hello, July!

The end of June marks an important month in my book! Looking at my monthly totals, I ran my highest mileage in one month ever in the two years I’ve been running consistently! 192.3 miles (309.5K)! I know, I know – how could I NOT just run 8 measly more miles to make it a nice, round 200?! As much as I’d love to see that number, I know I will one day, and I KNOW I needed my rest day. After all, it’s about quality, not quantity anyway – though we all love to see a nice number on our stats. 😉

Thank you to Lifelong Endurance for not only getting me up and running (literally) after my injury, but for helping me come back stronger.

So, let’s see how my last week of an epic (for me!) month went!

Monday:

5 miles easy

After doing speed yesterday (did my runs a little out of order because – life), I wasn’t sure how this would feel. Specifically, I wondered how “easy” my easy run would feel, if at all. What do you know! It ended up feeling pretty good (once I had my coffee!)!!

Tuesday:

2 miles easy, 6 x 1K @ 7:45-7:35, 2 miles easy

This one was TOUGH. I actually plugged the workout into my watch, which I had been meaning to teach myself how to do for EVER. My inspiration for this was my Coach keeping me on my toes by using Kilometers… HA! No way I was going to be able to track that on my own (Kilometers = gibberish to me) 🙂 I’m thankful for this (silver lining!) because it turns out plugging in a workout is ridiculously easy! I can’t believe I hadn’t done it until now. It was nice to be told what to do and see my splits afterwards! The run was not easy but I did it!

Wednesday:

4 miles easy

So, waking up at 4-5:00 am daily to run can be *slightly* tiring – but COMPLETELY necessary during Texas summers. I was going to sleep in today but saw that it would be 103 degrees after work (“feels like” 110)… SO! 5:00 am it was! Glad I did it!

Thursday:

6 miles easy

I started off super slow and tired but after a mile or two, it was nice and smooth!

Friday:

Tempo! 2 miles easy, 3 @ tempo, 1 mile easy

This one felt surprisingly GOOD! I ran in a new/different location so it was nice to switch it up and I felt powerful!!!

Saturday:

Long run! 14 miles – 8 miles easy, 6 @ tempo/hard

HOLY HUMIDITY. I died. I didn’t know HOW the heck I was going to step it up for the last 6 miles. I didn’t step it up MUCH pace-wise, but I worked hard and did my best. I kept it at a little under a 9 minute mile the last 6 so I was happy with that!

Sunday:

REST!

How do you measure your running goals? Distance/# miles run? Time? Enjoyment? All of the above? 🙂