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Monday, March 01, 2021

2020 Year of Running + 2021 Goals

My Instagram top nine for 2020

Just like 2015201620172018, and 2019 I'm recapping my year of running. I think Courtney stopped her linkup, but I'll steal her questions like last year.

2020 Stats

  • Total running miles: 1,100 miles
  • Elevation: 58,504 ft. (74,137 ft with hiking)
  • In person races: 1
  • Virtual races: 7 (?)

Linkup Questions

Best race experience: Well, I only ran one in person race, so I guess the Palisade Ultra 13.1? I even won my age group! But if I'm honest, it wasn't the best because I had COVID worries (they did an ok job, but this was June when people thought it was kind of "over" in Idaho/MT) and I twisted my ankle really bad at mile 11.3 and had to stop then hobble in. Ouch. Other than that, it was a great race and I'm pretty bummed they aren't hosting it again this year (yep, COVID).  

My favorite virtual race was the Utah Valley Half because I ran the whole thing with my friend Megan who was doing the Grandma's Half Marathon. Our BRF Wendie joined us for the first 8 miles and set up an amazing finish line, complete with a cheer squad and snacks. That was pretty special. 

Virtual 13.1

Best run: My favorite trail this summer was the Shafthouse Trail. Alex and I mostly hiked up, then ran down. We also got lost at the top near Fairy Lake (don't ask... it's not hard to figure out, so I'm not sure how we managed it) and ended up with 15 miles instead of 13. It was a beautiful day, our first time seeing Frazier Lake from above, and our first time to Fairy Lake since we moved here. Beautiful trail, great lunch break at the lake, and Alex had beers waiting in the car at the finish. 

Best new piece of running gear: I bought A LOT of new loungewear this year, but not much new running gear. My new favorite on the run nutrition is Spring Energy. I also love my Salomon Speedcross trail shoes (even though I first got them in 2019). The giant lugs make trail running easier for me. 

Best running advice you’ve received this year: No idea! I wasn't seeking out running advice. 

Most inspirational runner: Des Linden for #runDestober or Keira D'amato for breaking so many of her former PRs. 

Favorite picture from a run or race this year: Well these are my only in person race photos from the year, sooooo.... 

Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: I'd love to run Palisades 13.1 again and train for scree (talus). I think I could shave off at least 10 minutes from my time. 

I also enjoyed the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000k. I had to run ~634 miles between May 1 and August 31. That's about 5 miles a day or 36 miles a week. That's a lot of mileage for me! I maxed out at 41 miles one week and felt like a total badass. I did a mixture of runs and hikes, but all of my weekday mileage was from running. GVRAT got me outside nearly every day and encouraged me to explore longer trails with Alex. I'd like to do something like this again, but not GVRAT because of the BLM response

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Making the best of a terrible year. 

Reviewing 2020 Goals

  • 10K PR. NOPE
  • Half PR. NOPE 
  • Keep strength training. YES! Kind of. I quit my gym class (because COVID) and did at home workouts from March-end of Summer. After that, I'd do one or two a month. Not great, but not a complete failure. I signed up for the Peloton app yesterday, so that should help!
  • Keep my knee in check. YES Some pain here and there, but not an issue.
  • Run more trails. YES I went on a couple dozen new to me trails this year (basically went down a list starting in March). I'd say I hiked up, ran down most of them, though some were just long hikes. Regardless, without COVID I probably wouldn't have explored so many new trails.  
  • Speed up. NOPE Definitely slower, but also who cares? It's 2020 and I'm not Keira D'amato

Setting 2021 Goals

WHO KNOWS? I think the first half of 2021 (at least!) will be more of the same, so I hesitate to set any concrete goals. I'd like to... 
  • keep exploring new trails.
  • build endurance and get back to consistent double digit runs.
  • incorporate more cross training / strength training.
  • continue having fun on runs. 

Let's be real: 2020 was a horrible year for the country, but in my privileged position as an introverted person living in a beautiful, rural area with job security and who always works from home, it wasn't that bad. I can say that because no one I know has died from COVID. I am very thankful for my ability to drive 15 minutes and hop onto the side of a mountain. Our summer was filled with beautiful new places, all within a few hours. Yes, it really sucked not being able to go home to see our families, but overall we had it very easy. 

Running allowed me the opportunity to explore new areas, get outside when I needed it the most, and gave me a creative outlet with my constant photo stops. While I missed higher mileage weekend runs, I didn't miss racing. 

How was your 2020? 

Saturday, January 11, 2020


My Instagram top nine for 2019
Just like 201520162017, and 2018 I'm recapping my year of running. I don't think Courtney does her linkup anymore, but I'll steal her questions.

2019 Stats

  • Total running miles: 1,123 miles
  • Elevation: 38,330 ft
  • Races: 8 (?) I didn't really keep track
  • Injury: 0 -- my knee bugs me periodically, but overall I felt a lot better in 2019. 

Linkup Questions

Best race experience: Easy! Chicago Marathon. First marathon, ran 90% with my BRF Wendie, and we had so much Oiselle team support along the course. Chicago is an amazing city and I'm pretty sad I didn't get in for 2020. I probably should have recapped the race...

One of the only official photos with both of us. Man, we were SO HAPPY!  
Best run: One of my favorite solo runs was during the Wulman's CDT 14k. (CDT stands for Continental Divide Trail, by the way.) The race changes direction every other year, so this was my first time going South to North and it was beautiful. The course was pretty runable and I felt like I was flying at times.  It was a great day, overall.

Wulman's: coming into the finish.

Best new piece of running gear: I really like my Salomon hydration vest with squishy bottles. I ended up using a bottle in the side pocket of my shorts during the marathon. I also love my Kara funnel neck, but I don't run in it.

Best running advice you’ve received this year: I have no idea. 2019 was mostly about training for and completing my first marathon. I wanted to get to the start line injury free and I wanted to have a fun race (so that I'd want to do it again someday). I didn't seek out much advice and instead tried to have FUN. Occasionally, I found myself dreading workouts and started taking it one day at a time and not looking ahead on my plan. That helped a ton.

Most inspirational runner: I attended Big Birdcamp in August (it's a Oiselle thing) and got to see Lauren Fleshman and Kara Goucher give a few talks. One of Kara's was a deep dive into her most challenging races and how she overcame difficult times. Lauren consistently keeps it real on on her podcast with her husband Jesse. I love their approach to Work, Play, and Love.

With Kara on the last day of camp. // Dancing with Lauren. 
Favorite picture from a run or race this year: I love this photo. I was waving to Alex and his sister Erin and asking for a new water bottle. There's a sillier story to the photo, but I'll tell you in person sometime...

About 13 miles in. Still loving life.

Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Chicago, obviously. But since I can't do that this year, I'll say Run to the Pub. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up with Megan this year, but I'd like to knock off at least 1 minute!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? An absolute blast.

Reviewing 2019 Goals

  • 5K PRAll miles under 7:55. NOPE. 2019 was not a speedy year.
  • Half PR. NOPE. I only ran one and my priorities were elsewhere.   
  • Finally run a full. YEP! 4:39 in case you're wondering. Looking back, I think I could've gone a little bit faster, but I hit a wall and enjoyed a few shots of beer. ;)   
  • Keep strength training. YEP. I'm still in TRIBE. 
  • Avoid injury. YEP. Some minor knee pain, but I can usually get it to go away.
  • Do hard things. KIND OF. I ran a marathon and did long midweek runs, but I did not seek out hills. I used Chicago's flat profile as an excuse to train on the flattest land possible. I also avoided trails because I was afraid I'd hurt myself. 

Set 2020 Goals

  • 10K PR. I have one chance at Run to the Pub in two months. Can I do it?? 
  • Half PR. I don't know if I really want this, but I'd love to hit the PR gong in Utah.   
  • Keep strength training. I'm just gonna keep this on here because I may quit TRIBE after next season and I need a replacement! 
  • Keep my knee in check. 
  • Run more trails. I've signed up for 3 trail races so far –including a train half marathon in Idaho– and I'm eyeing a 30k in the fall. 
  • Speed up. Overall, I'm slower compared to this same time last year, which has me a bit scared for RTTP. I'm also a little heavier. Not a big deal, but holiday eating and drinking really caught up with me this year and it's affected my motivation. Whoops! 

2019 was a great year for training and pushing my weekly distance. I loved preparing for a full marathon, but I don't think I'm going to sign up for one this year unless it feels right. I will miss Chicago, but I don't think a charity entry is for me (I'm a terrible fundraiser). Instead, I'd like to concentrate on speed and trails. I'm not sure these two things usually go together, but I'm hoping more challenging routes will encourage me to push myself in flat races. Maybe I need a coach.... I definitely need some motivation! [She types as she avoids her Saturday "long run" of 7 miles.]   

How was your 2019? Does anyone even read this blog anymore? ;) 

Friday, March 22, 2019

From the drafts folder.... Race Recap: Run to the Pub 2019

Oiselle Montana team members afterwards

[This recap has been sitting in my drafts for MONTHS, so I think it's time to publish!] Run to the
Pub took place on March 16, 2019 in Bozeman, Montana. There were two distances: 10k and half marathon. I ran the 10k.

Pre Race
The weather on Saturday was chilly (24-31ยบ), but the sun was out which made it much more pleasant than last year. We rode the shuttle bus, arrived at the start, and immediately got in line for the bathroom. The line was crazy long and kind of unorganized, but we made it.

I had one goal: finish faster than last year. I got stuck in "traffic," so I knew I could improve miles 1 and 2. My 10k PR is from sea level, so I didn't think I could beat that.

The Race
Last year I got stuck behind walkers, so my friend Megan and I stood closer to the start line. This is a very popular race and for some reason there aren't corrals (or flags denoting pace), so it's kind of a cluster. We probably should have lined up even closer to the front. There were only a few walkers, but they were smack dab in the middle of the road. As always, I support racers of all speeds, but it can become such a mess when slower folks cause fast runners to dodge and weave. We had a few near collisions. (/rant over)

Even though Megan and I lined up together, I didn't expect to run with her. I knew I couldn't talk if I wanted to run relatively fast and for the most part we kept the chatting to a minimum. By the time we turned the corner onto Goldenstein we were finished dodging most of the walking/slower traffic.
Mile 1: 8:23 (last year: 10:12)

Around mile 1.5 we turned into a neighborhood to do a little horseshoe-shaped out and back. I knew this part was going to suck. First off, the street doesn't get much sun and it was fully covered in snow and slush. Second, we saw someone slip on ice when they turned. And third, even though it seems flat, it's a gradual hill. I'm glad I wore my trail shoes for this mile of slippery packed snow.
Mile 2: 8:34 (last year: 9:11)

We finished the neighborhood horseshoe (at this point I was slightly ahead of Megan, probably because she was wearing road shoes) and I tried to prepare for THE HILL. It's only 60+ feet over 3 tenths of a mile, but it's tough for me. My pace dropped a ton and I moaned to Megan. BUT I didn't stop because 1. I didn't stop last year and 2. there are two hills in my next 10k. It totally sucked, but I got through it.
Mile 3: 8:55 (last year: 9:02)

We turned onto Sourdough and began the downhill. There are a few baby hills, but overall it is a large net downhill. At this point, the half marathoners that started 45 minutes earlier were catching up and I found myself trying to match their pace, then getting tired. Besides that, I felt mostly good.
Mile 4: 8:16 (last year: 8:38)

Mile 5 and 6 were tough because I wanted to be done (obviously) and to stay with Megan, but also didn't want to hold her back. I have no idea what was going on in her race because she looked like she was out for an easy run. We were both breathing hard, but occasionally I'd say "ughhh" or "go ahead" and she'd tell me she wasn't leaving and that I could do it. She had lots of positive things to say. Wish I remembered them all! ;)
Mile 5: 8:25 (last year: 8:38)

By the time we got into mile 6 I was toast. I was paces behind Megan. I once again said something like, "ok bye" and she said nice things like, "you can do this" etc... but she caught my drift and didn't hold back any more. I stayed close to her for the rest of the race, but I couldn't gain those three or four steps to keep us even. At this point I was just trying to keep running. If she wasn't there I might have walked(?!). Ok, probably not.

Another motivator: I did not want to get passed by my Oiselle teammates running the half marathon. Last year three teammates passed me at various spots along the course and it kind of sucked. So far, no passing.

Anyway, we passed Peet's Hill, which is a park close to downtown, so I knew it was time to kick it up. I got a second (or third?) wind, which helped power me to the finish. My pace went down into the 7s, though I slowed into the chute. Some people passed me, but I only finished 7 seconds behind Megan.
Mile 6: 8:11 (last year: 8:29)

Cool event video

Post Race
Afterwards I met up with Oiselle teammates and other Bozeman friends. We had our free beers, tasty mimosas, and good food while we waited for the prize drawing (a trip to Ireland). Sadly, none of us won the trip. Maybe next year...

Final Stats and Thoughts 
Time: 50:55
Pace: 8:13 race site / 8:27 GPS (short course)
Overall: 324 / 2540 (12.7%)
Gender: 103 / 1684 (6%)
Age Group: 41 / 542 (7.5%)

I'm pleased I ran faster than last year (53:40), but a little bummed about the neighborhood + hill mile being the same pace. We didn't have snow/slush last year, so I suppose it was a great effort overall. I felt really tired in mile 6, but recovered immediately. I hope this translates into a faster Tenacious Ten performance.

It was a "PR" if you look at overall time, but I won't count it because the course was short. Pace-wise, Tenacious Ten is still my fastest. But, hey, at least this was a Bozeman PR! Running mid to low 8s in Bozeman is something to be proud of!

It was a fun day. (Me and Megan)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2018 Year of Running + 2019 Goals

My Instagram top nine
Just like 20152016, and 2017 I'm joining Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC for the annual Year of Running linkup. But first, some stats and notes:

2018 Stats

  • Total running miles: 1,031 miles 
  • Elevation: 58,719 ft
  • Races: 12
  • Injury: 1 -- It got better in the spring, but flared up on the trails in June. I know what to do to avoid it, but I'm chronically lazy about doing my stretches. At the moment my knee is mostly fine. Minor pain and an all clear from the PT. 

Linkup Questions

Best race experience: I didn't have a great second half of the year for racing: two half marathons were ruined by stomach issues and I felt underprepared for speed in three 5ks. But the beginning of the year was pretty good. On the road, I enjoyed Cap City because I felt bad going in, but by mile 5 everything clicked and I had a big PR. On the trail, I enjoyed the Rut 11k.

Best run: All of my best runs have been with my friend Wendie, including my first 20 miler! Our personal best (/fastest) was a kick ass 14 miler a month ago. My best solo run is harder to pin down. Maybe doing 3 M laps in June and feeling really strong. M laps mean "running" (walking) up the side of a nearby mountain and coming down.

Best new piece of running gear: I don't think I bought any new gear– just more clothes. My current favorite running tights are Bird Hug by Oiselle. My favorite top is the Flyout tee in a size up for a looser fit. (By the way, if you've never tried Oiselle, here's a code for $20 off $50.)

Best running advice you’ve received this year: Lauren Fleshman gave a talk at the Tenacious Ten about envisioning your race finish and making a race plan to achieve it. I wanted to be "satisfied and smiling" and because I was more focused on enjoying myself, I didn't look at my watch and ended up running paces I never imagined. Also –I don't usually bookmark quotes on Instagram because I'm kind of heartless– this quote stood out and may be the way I approach 2019. Adapted from here:
"Be a hill seeker. Most of us try to avoid hills... Life happens on the hills. They're opportunities to prove to yourself that you're stronger than you ever imagined."
Most inspirational runner: I continue to enjoy following "normal" runners on Instagram. The people who fit in runs however they can in a busy, well-rounded life.

Favorite picture from a run or race this year: I really only had 2 competitive races this year and some decent official race photos, but since my focus was on FUN, I like these:

Tenacious Ten with Megan; Bozeman Half with Wendie

Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: I don't have a go-to Montana race yet... maybe Run to the Pub if I can stay out of the walking traffic. I'm looking forward to trying a new half in Utah this year.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Fun. Envy. Stupid knee. But mostly, FUN.

Review 2018 Goals

  • 5K PR. All miles under 7:55. NOPE. I didn't feel 100% at the 5ks I ran this year 
  • Half PR. All miles under 8:59. YEP. 1:53. I basically crushed it. Yay "altitude training."
  • 10k PR. 8:30 pace or better. YEP. 51:57. My friend Megan helped! 
  • Keep up strength training. YEP. I go to TRIBE 2x a week, but could still do better. 
  • Avoid injury! KIND OF? I didn't get a new injury and I can run without much knee pain. 
  • Keep running with other people. YEP. All of my high mileage runs were with Wendie!

2019 Goals

  • 5K PR. All miles under 7:55. Let's try this again, shall we? 
  • Half PR. Why not? 
  • Finally run a full. I got into Chicago, so I'll put this on the list so I can cross it off. 
  • Keep strength training. Perhaps I'll add another class. We'll see. 
  • Avoid injury. Do PT stretches!!! No excuses! It keeps the knee pain away. 
  • Do hard things. I avoid hills. I avoid long midweek runs. And I avoid running with people faster than me. I avoid all of these things even though I feel happy and accomplished when the runs are over. I need to embrace the suck and I will get stronger! 

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Books of 2018

79 Books 

Won on Goodreads: 15
Nonfiction: 18
Re-reads: 12

I didn't read as many books this year, mainly because I slacked off during the summer. To recharge, I re-read a few of my favorites including Harry Potter, Rainbow Rowell, Born to Run, and The Little Stranger. I didn't have a particular goal and just read whatever, whenever. My biggest departures were books about Van Gogh and the Star Wars novelizations. (I recommend Leia and Phasma. The Aftermath trilogy was not my jam.) All in all, a good year. Looking to diversify a bit more in 2019.

What I read

Won on Goodreads

Nonfiction and memoirs


Did we read any of the same books? Any recommendations? 
And as always, if you're on Goodreads, let's be friends.

Past years: 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

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