Summer Running

I’m not here to bitch about the heat.

Apparently I have a half marathon in three weeks. I’m not even sure how to summarize my training. I’ve been running. I have the distance. I’ve been working with my trainer and am definitely stronger. I’ve been going to yoga. I think about doing speedwork. I guess you could call my evening 5ks speed work.

Speaking of, I signed up for The Travelling Beer Garden Series this summer. It has been fun to run in different area parks and meet up with friends on Thursday nights. Even when I haven’t wanted to run I’ve had a good time.

And of course the Bacon Race, one of my summer favorites; It was last week and we had magical weather. We look like we’re having fun because we were. I’m pretty sure the only thing getting me through summer running is having one of my best friends by my side.

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Bacon Race Year 5!

The Madison Mini will be the first race in a long time that I am running without Sara or Mo. I think it’s good to see what I can manage without one of them there, but what on earth do I do for 2 hours without one of my running besties next to me? Do I even remember how to run on my own? I used to do it all the time. The fun part will be running through Madison, which I just love, and hanging out on the Memorial Union Terrace, one of my favorite places.

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Running will always be a love/hate relationship

I have a perpetual problem of overscheduling myself and not following my own color coded google calendar. This being said I ran Ragnar Chicago for the 6th time this past weekend in the seventh circle of hell weather and then had a 5k on Thursday. Both of these runs were with people that I adore running with, yet in one, it was 94 degrees and I couldn’t even fake a smile and in the other it was 68 and all we did was have fun. These pictures show so much.

However miserable Ragnar was this year (and I will get around to recapping all it’s horribleness), it was so much fun and we had a great team. And then coming into Thursday night’s 5k, neither of us wanted to run and just decided to do whatever so we had fun. I’m so glad I ran both of these and so glad I have Mo and Sara. However much running is an individual sport I don’t think I could do it without these two people.

I’m so caught up in my love/hate of running that I can’t decide if I’m doing a fall race. My last race of the year at this point is the Madison Mini in August. I love racing, once I’m out there. I love that it’s something to work toward. It’s a sense of accomplishment and yes, I need that. I hate the cost of racing at this point. I hate it so much. I keep not registering for a local race, that I want to run again, but am upset over cost. I could sleep in my own bed and have basically no costs that weekend if I just stay in town and run it. But it’s SO MUCH MONEY for a HALF MARATHON. Do I suck it up and pay it? Do I continue to whine about it? Will I regret not signing up for it? Plus, what on earth do I do this fall without a fall race?

I want this feeling again, probably my best race photo ever.

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I don’t hate running!

Door County Half Marathon

I loved this race even though it did not go according to plan. First off, the weekend itself was great. Race weekends with my favorite running buddies are one of the best things ever. My race wasn’t great. It wasn’t terrible. It was another half marathon and I finished. I got a little down on myself a few days later, but there’s nothing to do about the race now.

I started the race with Mo and Sara as planned and felt great the first several miles. So great in fact, that I went way faster than was smart to run.

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Look at us concentrate!

Reason #254 Mo and Sara are the best running buddies a girl could ask for: They slowed down and walked through aid stations until I found them. I already knew it wasn’t my day, but really tried to power through and stay with them. I did not, but it was nice to see them up in front of me. After that I switched my goal to sub 2. The 2 hour pace group was still near me. I leap frogged them a few times. They were most definitely ahead of pace. I really had to push to get through. I never questioned my ability to finish, but it was not pretty.

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I managed to look happy here. It’s a pretend smile.

I was miserable. This half was probably my worst mile 12 ever. I don’t even know what happened. But I finished and right at 2 hours. I’m not mad about the race. I’m just unhappy with where my running is even though I think I knew I wasn’t completely prepared.

It was a beautiful course and I want to go back next year. And I certainly didn’t let my less than perfect race ruin the weekend!

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Photo stolen from Jen because I was too dumb to take any in the park.

Spring Races

Shamrock Shuffle

Almost a month ago I froze my ass off running the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago with Mo. I don’t even remember how long ago I registered for it, but I’m usually up for a running adventure with Mo. It was an early and cold morning. I’m pretty sure I was cold for a good 7 hours except for the 42 minutes we were running.bank-of-america-shamrock-shuffle-8k-rrzxplbf

Stolen from Mo’s race report “I never felt great, but I never felt awful.” I think that sums up that whole race. I was happy with our finish time. I was not happy with the frigid weather. All in all it was a fun weekend in Chicago with Mo. Beer, running and friends always equals a good time.

Crazylegs

Fast Forward a month and I ran another 8k, this time in Madison. I ran Crazylegs for the first time in 8 years and am so glad I did. It runs from the Capitol through campus to Camp Randall. I basically always love running in Madison so being able to run this again was awesome. I easily convinced Jen to join me. She had never run Crazylegs. I felt good, not great and ran almost the same time as I ran in Chicago. I went out a bit fast (first mile may have been sub 8), but then ran a pretty steady race excluding the Observatory Hill mile.

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One of the many things I love about running in Madison is getting to see friends I don’t see often. As I was finishing the race I heard the name of a friend who lived on my floor freshman year right before my name. And then as I crossed the finish line I found another friend. Out on the course I saw my former tri coach, which is always fun. Cindi is the person who made me believe I could be a runner.

Door County Half Marathon

I haven’t run this one yet, but I have a lot of thoughts going into it. Mostly, where am I at? What can I run right now? I made the mistake at looking at all my half time from last fall. I don’t think I’m there right now. On a positive note I get to run in Door County with lots of my awesome running buddies. There will be beer, food and running. Maybe even a hot tub (hopefully it’s open).

Race goals:

  1. have fun with friends.
  2. finish

 

March Madness

I love the madness of March. It brings my favorite sporting event of the year, my birthday and spring!

As most everyone who reads this blog knows I am diehard Wisconsin Badger fan. The last several Marches have been fun to say the least. Expectations were a lot lower this year and I’m really quite happy with where this team ended up and where they are going.

I celebrated my 31st birthday and the Badgers won on my birthday again. This is a fairly common occurrence with the date of my birthday and March Madness. I made a pretty big deal about turning 30 last year and decided this year would be a much more low key birthday.

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I went for a lovely morning run with friends and then a delicious brunch. After racing the Lucky Leprechaun the day before I was really happy with the 6 miles we ran. And however repetitive this is, I am so glad to be back to almost normal running again. A sprained ankle is an utter pain in the ass and I had such a fear of reinjuring it. The Lucky Leprechaun was a PR because it was a 7K and the only other time I ran it was in the snow a few years ago. Let’s just say I have a ways to go before my racing legs are back. 20160326_195919

To end out the month I ran 8 miles with Mo and then we drank a bunch of beer in Chicago. I felt surprisingly good after the 8 miles and now feel quite confident I can do the Door County Half in a little over a month. I keep thinking about a training plan and have decided I just need to get a good base in and slowly increase the mileage. Door County is going to be fun. I’m going going for any time goals here. At some point I’ll actually pick a goal race for the fall and then I’ll make a plan, maybe.

Next up: Shamrock Shuffle, Crazy Legs, and the Door County Half Marathon!

Love of the Mountains

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That is why I love the mountains. Or really, one of many, many reasons why I love the mountains. This was an amazing view from the top out the Outback and Keystone Mountain. That is the Dillon Reservoir you can see frozen over in the distance. Summit County is a special place to me. I learned to ski at Keystone. My parents owned a place there for 12 years. We spent holidays, birthdays and other fun events out there. I think I have spent at least some time in Colorado 27 of my 31 years. Those missed years need never to be repeated.

This most recent trip was planned on a whim of “hey, there are cheap flights to Colorado and we haven’t been out there in awhile.” (Awhile translates to I hadn’t been on my snowboard in five years.) I am so glad we made this trip happen. It was short, but wonderful and I don’t regret any of the money I spent.

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Marie, Dad, Mom and Me

We had four glorious days on the mountain. Marie joined us on day 2. We met up with family friends we hadn’t seen in years, but have known since before I was born. I was particularly happy to learn I had not forgotten how to snowboard. Day 1 was a little difficult, but it came back to me quickly. We had wonderfully warm, sunny weather all four days. We got in as many runs as we could, which equalled about 80,000 vertical feet in four days. (The Epic Mix app is more fun than I thought it would be.) I’m impressed with what we got in. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten on the plane and gone straight to the mountain ever before.

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Marie, Dad, Mom and Me

I had semi-serious thoughts about the feasibility of moving to Colorado. I miss it so much. I know Boulder isn’t the same Boulder I spent summers visiting my grandparents, but there is something so special about Colorado. I have never actually live there, but it feels like I have. My parents and I all said that going to Keystone feels like going home even though we don’t have the condo there anymore.

It was only semi-serious. The thought of applying for a job or moving halfway across the country again makes me want to crawl into a hole so this won’t actually happen, but Colorado will always be on my mind.

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New Year, New Plan, or Not.

I ran my first run of 2016 on the morning of January 5th with my wonderful running buddy Sara. What a great way to start the year off, get going nice and early and get back into routine. We were having a great time catching up on the holidays and cruising along and then I was on the ground. My ankle twisted, I landed on my knees, everything hurt and I wanted to cry. It was cold enough that I used that to motivate me to get off the ground and see if I could walk. Sara’s first comment, being the good friend that she is, was “At least your tights didn’t rip.” She wasn’t wrong. They were my expensive, warm, full price Nike running tights. I slowly stood up, with Sara’s help, and was able to walk slowly. I could tell my knees were going to be bruised and wasn’t really sure what was wrong with my ankle. We were thankfully only a mile from my house and I was able to run slowly back. Once I got inside and really took a look at my ankle and knees I knew I had really hurt myself. I was scared to shower for fear of my knees burning. I was limping around the house because any weight on my ankle hurt. I texted my dad at 6:30 in the morning asking if he was awake and had an ace bandage. I didn’t hear back from him until a bit later and I needed to get going to work. I found KT Tape and a video on how to use it on an ankle sprain. I bandaged up my knees best I could.

 

I didn’t get to run the Snow Fun Run in Lake Geneva. I didn’t get to run the Samson Stomp and I’m not running the Indoor Half Marathon.

Super fun to start the year with three DNSs.

I was apparently too cocky about not having been to the orthopedic doctor in over a year. I didn’t go this time, I used Dr. Dad, bust same point. I cannot believe how long a simple grade 1 ankle sprain takes to heal. About 10 days after the fact and feeling ridiculously lazy I went to spin class. My ankle was not ready for that. I didn’t even push as hard as we were supposed to, but my ankle paid for it and hurt that night and the next morning. I’m getting horribly impatient, but really don’t want to aggravate it further. Even if I am running again by next Saturday I have no business running a half marathon after not running for this long.

I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have a race I’m really training for until May.

Sometimes I wonder why I keep doing this.

New year, same old injury prone Renee.