Sunday, January 15, 2017

Training Week 2: Heartland 50 here we come!

Here's to a better week!  This cold isn't letting go gently though, still got some major congestion and I am the queen of snot rockets, but a lot less fatigue.  Here is how the week played out.

Monday:  Rest day.  I was a voracious reader before my kiddo came along.  The boxes and boxes of books in our junk room and our very full book cases are testament to that.  Now that he is getting older and likes to do independent play/coloring/videos, I can get back to my habit.  Last night I finished the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  AMAZING!  I want to go hike the PCT now!  I also want to watch the movie.  I had previously started it and just couldn't get into it.  Now I need to see if the places I made up in my head match the actual scenes.

Tuesday:  5 miles easy.  When we got up, it was 52 degrees out.  WHAT?  Is this winter?  Don't get me wrong, I will take it, but it was weird to be over dressed in January.  I knew I would be, but I am in the habit of wearing my winter gear and I did.  Luckily, I always wear light layers and I could take things off.  I also took Stella out post run for a 15 minute walk.  I am glad to say she pulled the entire 15 minutes and wanted to keep going.  I hope we are on a good road and can start the wean off of the pred AND beat this mess and get her back to running!

Wednesday:  Strength training.  I have mentioned several times I had no motivation to do any type of strength training.  I love the way I feel when I do it and after I do it,  I just can't get in the groove to get it done.  I just don't have the addiction to the feeling.  That is why BRFs are the best.  Melly offered to open up her basement and her eyes to help me get back in the groove.  Even though she had to go to the gym and lift before I got there, she went through 2 reps of exercises with me and made sure my form was correct.  We could have done three reps of the exercises, but she stopped me at 2, as my form was starting to get a little iffy.  As I type this, I feel like jello, so I know it was a good decision.

Thursday:  6 miles.  Wow, what a cold run.  The wind chill was above 0, but the wind was just one of those super cold, cutting winds.  We decided to run in town versus our country route to try and stay sheltered and that plan sort of worked.  We ended up doing a big loop around town that got us 6 miles, all while staying pretty much tucked into houses.  I tried to take miss stella ella on a walk post run, but I just too cold and had to go back.  We got 10 minutes in and I caught a Clefairy so it was worth it. Yes, I still play Pokemon go:) .

Friday:   Long run.  We had in impending ice storm barring down on us, so since I had to the day off to take stella to KSU vet med, I decided to go ahead and move my long run pre ice storm and stay off of the treadmill.  It was cold but no wind, so not too bad at all.  Melly went with us and we just talked the entire 2 hours.  Major therapy session.  We ended up a mile out when we were done, so we enjoyed a nice long cool down walk .

Saturday:  Woke up to no ice yet, so instead of doing my strength training and potentially either doing a treadmill run sunday or no run at all due to no power, I decided to head out and get 5 miles.  Again, no wind, so the 20s felt great.  I have great gear and can tolerate some pretty cold conditions.  Am thinking I should do a VLOG to show you my favorite winter gear!

Sunday:  While the ice storm hasn't been quite as bad as they predicted, today was definitely a stay in kind of day.  We played board games, colored, did some strength training, and  watched some movies.   I am hoping by publishing this early in the day that I don't jinx myself and it gets worse, but at this time, we still have power and heat, and I am very happy that the weather predictions of  a crippling ice storm seem to be wrong.   I don't think we got the overnight ice that we possibly could have gotten, which helped immensely.  I feel bad for those that canceled events yesterday, since we got little to nothing in the way of ice, but i would rather be warned and prepared and them wrong, than not prepared at all.

I finally feel like I am getting back in the groove and dare I say, wanting some speed work???   Who am I?  I have been super sore from the strength training and yes, I am having to start back at square one when I was on square 100, but oh well, I am getting back to it and that is what counts. I keep saying in my head, that is what all the good ultra runners do and I want to be the best ultra runner I can be. 28 miles in and two sets of strength training work outs!  BOOM!

Have a great week!!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Week 1 Official Training for the Heartland 50

The cold I talked about last week in my posts is still lingering.  I have pretty much been in bed or lazing around since last Friday, and have not run at all, hoping that would help me get better quicker.   Here is how the first official week of training went, which of course was not according to plan, but that is life.

Monday:  official rest day.  I slept almost 12 hours and woke up feeling a bit better.  No fever, but still extreme fatigue any time I tried to do anything productive.  Also, the coughing started.  Mostly upper chest and only when I get hot, but still coughing scares the hell out of me.  I have coughed my way through training and landed myself with Pneumonia in the past. I don't have time to be off sick, with all the time I have had to take off taking Stella for her appointments.  Well, I have the time, I just don't want to let my new boss down, as he is expecting a lot of research out of me in the new year.  Plus, my original lab has suddenly picked up, so I have more than enough work in both labs.

Tuesday:  Coach gave me some lee way this week, since I was still actively sick/recovering.  I decided to not get up at 4 am and get as much sleep as possible, and possibly run post Stella's appointment.  That meant abandoning my running partner to run on her own, but I had to recover as much as possible.  Unfortunately,  just the act of taking Stella in to town and waiting for her exam wore me out.  This is the gift that just keeps on giving.  Thanks stupid cold.

The exam was routine, so not much to report.  I am still as I type this waiting on the CBC report.  We are staying the course as of now, and not changing anything medication wise.  Just to show us she was feeling better, she grabbed a bag of apples off of the counter and partook in at least one, while sharing the other three with her brother.  I found one that had just been chewed on, one partially eaten, and a whole pile that had just been thrown up.  AH the life of a dog mom!  

Wednesday:  Another rest day thanks to this cold.  I finally had to head back to work, and while the day went pretty well as I was super busy, when I got home, I was seriously beat.  Andrew had wrestling again since their schedule was dictated by the high school tournament happening this week.

We got our wrestling pictures back.  WOW!  They did such an awesome job!  I have asked the company that did the shots for digital rights so I can post on FB.  I just LOVE this picture!

A little update on stella's CBC.  I am still confused.  Her WBC was elevated but minimally.  KSU wants to do a recheck, but they can't say really why.  The elevation was not bad and with her being on immunosupressors, it should be much much lower so there is that.  I am still trying to process the why, and just go with the fact that they have some reasoning.  At least the recheck and blood work is pretty cheap.  

Thursday:  Decided I would try and run today on the mill.  While I felt fine during the run, well other than a leaky nose, when I got off the mill, I felt like a bus had hit me full on.  I just sat in my computer chair for a while and stared at the computer, not even doing anything.  I have never had fatigue like this with a simple cold.  I guess I will have to take it easy the rest of the week, and not get back to training like I had hoped.  Life.  Oh well.  

Friday:  Took another rest day.  I am starting to feel a little better, and got through work without wanting to collapse in a heap.  I did get to bed early, but didn't feel like a horrible mess.

Saturday:  a longish run with Melly.  I really honestly didn't know how long I could go for.  We planned for 6-8 and we managed 8.  It was feels like -5 when we started, but no wind.  I will take a snowy cold day minus wind any day over a windy day!  The snow was pretty light on the roads, so didn't really need our icespikes or yaktraxs.  I felt okay during the run, a little draggy at the end, but not too bad.  I took fuel and when we walked at the 4 mile turn around, I went ahead and took it, whether i needed it or not.  

Overall, it was good to be outside with Melly and Deuce.  This is Deuce's first winter training, since stella is still down and out for running.  I made sure he had Musher's Secret on his feet, and even put his fleece coat on him.  I am contemplating getting him a performance coat from Hurrta but it is 80 bucks so will have to wait till next paycheck.

I may or may not have spent most of the rest of the day in my pjs, post shower.  

More pics from the frozen tundra:)

Sunday:  Again, I wasn't really sure exactly what I was going to do.  On one hand, I kind of felt like a 10 or 12 miler would be nice, but on the other hand, I kind of felt like 8 was probably good for a long run for the way this week had gone.  Slept in with little red, did some work at work and took it easy till later.  

We lunch at Arrow Coffee shop and it was yummy.  I am pretty sure I could eat their grown up grilled cheese every day! Finally got on the road early afternoon and got in 6.  Called it good for the week.  I guess you could call it a cut back week?

Not the way I wanted the first week of training to start but 18 total miles for the week.  Looking forward to getting better mileage next week!  Have a great week!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Guest Post-Coach Jenny on Running her First Ultra

I have been so blessed to have three amazing running coaches in my life.  I am currently coached by Jenny Clayton Clayton Performance.  I have had her on my blog a few times once here to introduce herself and here to talk about Boston 2015.  I just love picking her brain about just about anything related to running, so I knew I had to have her on again to talk about her first 50K!  We both attempted a new distance this fall and I can't wait to see what she conquers next.  Without further ado, I give you coach Jenny!

Tell us which ultra you ran and the distance.  How did you select this particular Ultra?

I ran Stump Jump 50K on October 1st, 2016.  This race is in Chattanooga, TN.  There was very little complicated thought behind choosing this particular race.  It was the right distance (I wanted a 50K for my first ultra experience), it was close to home (only about a 2 hour drive), and the date of the race worked well with other things I had on my calendar.  Also, I have several friends who have done this one before and spoke very highly of how beautiful the course scenery is.  Plus I'd heard the race itself is well-organized. Those reasons were enough for me to be all in!

How did you train differently for this ultra, versus a road marathon?  More miles? Back to back long runs? More trail time?

I definitely spent a lot more time on the trails while training for this one.  Beginning in early August, every single long run was on the trails.  Typically I did one other medium-length run during the week on the trails as well.  I continued with my Tuesday track workouts, hopeful that it would preserve some of the speed I'd built over the last year or so.  Unfortunately, that didn't exactly happen.  But I did enjoy the constant change of scenery and pace that this training cycle brought.  I know it seems completely backwards, but I actually ran fewer miles training for this race than I had recently.  I was coming off of Boston in April of 2016, where I had done pretty significant mileage to train (peak was 80 miles/week).  I intentionally cut back a little bit just to give my mind/body a little bit of a rest.  I truly was doing this ultra for the fun of it and the experience.  I didn't feel as driven to put in weeks and weeks of high mileage.  I think my peak week for Stump Jump was 62 miles.  I did several weekends of back to back long runs.  That meant maybe 20-22 miles on Saturday, and another 12-14 on Sunday.  That was HARD!  Honestly, it was more mentally difficult than physically though.  By the time Sunday would roll around, I'd feel like all I ever do anymore is run.  And I just wanted to sit around with the family and be lazy.  But more often than not, I'd manage to make it out the door for another long one.      

Did you buy any new gear or incorporate any new gear?

New shoes, of course!  I had one pair of New Balance trail shoes already, but they hadn't gotten too much use.  Turns out I didn't really like them.  I settled on a pair of Pearl Izumi that were great.  I have about 300 miles on them now and they still look and perform like new.

I also bought a hydration vest by Camelbak.  This was an absolute lifesaver.  I could not have survived summer training without a way to consume a significant amount of fluid while on the run.  It has a removable bladder that's easy to clean.  The vest itself has tons of great storage too.  Plenty of pockets for food, phone, keys, salt tabs, whatever! I also feel like it really made me look the part of an experienced trail runner- ha!  

What did you do for nutrition?  Find something new or just use an old standby?

I incorporated some new things into the mix this time.  I found it's much easier (and necessary!) to eat actual real food while training such a long distance.  I still did a fair amount of my usual stuff- gu and shot bloks, but I also changed it up from time to time with peanut butter crackers and pretzels, some different types of candy, and on race day salt and vinegar Pringles.  YUM!

Describe the course.  Terrain, sights and sounds.  Aid stations.  Finish and start line.

The course was breathtaking.  We climbed 11,000 feet up onto a ridge in the mountains of East Tennessee.  The view from up there was simply beautiful.  Lush green trees and mountains as far as you could see.  I thought the terrain was brutal!  I know it's all relative, and there are certainly much harder courses out there, but it was a lot more technical than what I had trained on.  There was never really ever a very long stretch that was run-able.  I was constantly stopping or slowing down to brace myself for a very, very steep descent, a very, very, steep incline, or to jump from one boulder to the next.  There is actually about a 2 mile section of the race they call "the rock garden" that had the biggest, most impressive boulders I've ever seen.  It was gorgeous, but a little difficult for me mentally because there was zero running happening during that stretch.  The aid stations at this race were fantastic.  Every two miles, you could count on a fully stocked table.  Most every one also had volunteers there to help with whatever you need.  The aid station at mile 20 had a drop bag station.  I had prepared a drop I bag, but ended up not really using much out of it.  I think only grabbed my Pringles and some cinnamon candies.  The start and finish lines were very low-key.  I'm used to big road marathons, so it was a whole different experience.  But in some strange way, it felt just right.  A huge, screaming finish would have felt so odd after all those hours in the relative quiet of the woods.  I felt great at the finish line, just SO ready to be done.

Nerves before the race or felt fine?  Travel to day of or stay overnight the night before?  Family come with or stay home?

I really wasn't nervous at all.  My training had gone really well and I had no injuries to speak of, so I felt super confident that I could finish.  I had put absolutely no pressure on myself regarding a time goal, so maybe for the first time in my life, I REALLY was just out there for fun.

I stayed in a local hotel the night before.  I actually had tossed around driving over to Chattanooga the morning of the race, but decided against it.  That would have made for a VERY long day.  I didn't have any family at this race.  My husband would have normally come along to support me, but he was in Guatemala on a medical missions trip on this particular weekend.  My parents came to my house to stay with my two young boys, so I was on a solo adventure!  It was actually really nice to have a night to myself in a hotel and some "me time" before the race.

Did the race execute as you had planned or hoped for? Running wise/nutrition wise/hydration wise.

Well...I completely underestimated the technicality and difficulty of the course.  So given those unknowns, I ended up with a finishing time that was quite a lot slower than what I had thought was reasonable.  I thought I'd finish somewhere between 6:45-7:00.  My actual time was 7:44.  Even so, I felt really, really good throughout the race.  Yes, certainly, I was tired by the final miles.  I was really starting to feel all those feet I had climbed.  My feet and ankles were pretty beat up from boulder hopping and the rockiness of the course.  But my nutrition was right on.  Hydration was right on.  I never had any GI or energy issues.  For that I was very, very grateful.

How did it feel to finish this race?

AMAZING!!  I ran most of the race with a young lady, Alexis, that I met on the course.  She was instrumental in my enjoyment of the race.  We chatted and kept each other going for well over 6 hours that day.  We crossed the finish line together and that made it even more special.

How much recovery time did you take off post-race and what are some of the things you did?

I didn't run at all for a little over a week, and then started back very, very gradually with some very short easy runs.  I spent a good amount of time during that first month afterwards on the bike and in the pool.  I also got a massage!

Plans for another Ultra any time soon?

I'm considering another one for next summer/early fall.  But the next big thing on my brain right now is Boston, which is all-consuming.  I definitely want to do another at some point.  I think the 50 miler is up next!

Thanks Coach Jenny for giving us a recap!  I think we may need another Boston recap after Boston this year:).

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Year in Andrew Part Two

Blogger was giving me trouble so I had to split this post into two.  I give you August-December in a Year of Andrew!

Our Grandmas would be proud

First kid's race in the books

First day of Pre-K

First day of Soccer 
Stealing my Konquer the Konza 25K medal

Bubbles at Sue's house 

Pokemon crazy

Superman costume

First time bowling

Waiting for mommy to finish her first 50K

Grammy makes the best costumes!

First soccer season done!

First real steamie!

Zoo time

Trick or treating in downtown Wamego

Baby's first popeyes

Helping in my new lab

First wedding

Celebrating mommy's birthday at Umi Japanese Steakhouse

First wrestling clinic

Cake pops and hot chocolate

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi Santa, I am still shy

And so it begins

Angry Bird's hat and mittens

Doughnut day at our favorite Doughnut shop in Wamego

Last Christmas Program at Little Love Bugs

Grandma comes for Christmas

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Carriage ride in downtown Wamego with Santa

A little bit of snow = sledding

Our little Cowboy
Thanks for joining me and my little two legged red for 2016! 2017 means the last year of preschool and the first year of big boy school!  Please slow down time!