Feelings

spring-fever

This shit can end anytime.  I am pissy, I am done with snow and I am straight up achy. How is that for a blog post intro?  If you were looking for sunshine and buttercups, let me know when you find them because mother nature is a bitch and won’t produce any.

So that’s a summary of my feelings at this moment.  Let me back up a bit and give you some perspective…

The final two weeks of training in this three month cycle with Coach Chris ended on a FANTASTIC note!  I capped it off with a 16 miler on the road (dirt and pavement) with Jessica and loved it.  I felt strong and had gas and miles left in the tank.  Coach Chris sent me a happy text about my performance coming into what I will refer to as my “shitty transition week.”  My broken ass was well on it’s way to healing, my knee and ankle were happy and I was eager to take some down time.  Amanda and I headed off to camp for a relaxing weekend (last weekend) and I came into taper week ready to simply move a bit.  My instructions were to come into the start of this week refreshed mentally and rejuvenated physically.

Ugh.

So, I caught a head cold that just lingers and isn’t completely ruining my life.  

My knee flared for no apparent reason (at least one I can’t put my finger on).

My butt hurt for most of the week.

I dry heaved at the gym (thanks head cold.)

I am crabby.  My skin is dry.  I hate winter.  Etc.  Etc. Etc.

I ran twice this weekend and they weren’t horrible… but I struggled with HR due to the head cold and I basically felt like a bag of shit today on my four miler.  Ironically, my brain is in a great place.  The weather was amazing today and I am ready to kick this training plans ASS.  This is it, once we start… no serious braking until VT100.  Holy crap. I can’t wait to get moving again.  I am hoping my body is just overly pissed and inflamed due to the lack of activity, the head cold and lady time.

I’ve pulled out every rehabbing trick I know to get right, but I think I just need to get healthy again because physically I am strong AF.  I cut myself some slack in an effort to de-clutter my life a bit… made a serious decision regarding an intensive training class I was supposed to attend and withdrew.  I was listening to a podcast last week where it was suggested that reducing life stress would make training and racing more enjoyable.  I agree… as I have done it in the past… and needed a reminder to consider doing it again. I want this race and I want to continue experiencing what I can make happen with this body I was given!  Cutting the clutter needed to happen.

This coming week introduces new changes to my training plan, to include two double days and two rest days!  I am looking forward to the challenge.  Long runs get crazy from here on out too.  I NEED to be healthy.  Way too much to do, personally…. professionally and in training.

Thanks for listening to my shit… I don’t get “low” often and I know it’s normal and shall pass.  Poor Coach…. wait until I actually have to taper for this beast….

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An artsy view from the Mt. Major summit – hopefully the last time I will wear the snowshoes this season.

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A new watch for the first time in five years!  Loving the Suunto Ambit3 Run.

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Winter hill climbs that never end…

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More winter runs….

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You can tell it’s spring… gloves, layers and carpis topped off with spikes.  

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There is wine in there.

That’s all for now!  I am thankful as usual for my amazing Ambassadorship with Altra Running  and my brand rep position with Born Primitive.  Their gear keeps me moving and happy!  Use my code LIFTNRUN15 at Born Primitive for 15% off the goods.

Peace out.

Buried!

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My winter face.

This winter isn’t going to quit!  I just came in from shoveling, snow blowing and plowing some seriously heavy snow.  I called Husband because I had some concerns about areas I should/shouldn’t attempt to plow in the barnyard and he called this the heaviest snow he has ever plowed.  He’s been at this for 13 years.  Eek!!!

So, I’m back inside and ready to recap the last week.  I can happily say I nailed all my runs and hit the following stats:

  • Miles Run: 31.7
  • Number of runs: 5
  • Elevation: 2287 ft.

Most of my mileage was on pavement out of convenience.  The one run I did on trails resulted in me breaking my ass (aka high hamstring strain).  I have since been rolling, stretching and received acupuncture in that area.  It’s healing nicely and didn’t keep me from my Sunday 15 miler.

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Sunday long run required SO many layers.  Check out my list at Instagram.

Those who don’t live in New England need to know the last few weeks have been brutal.  The wind.  The m*&%^r f*&%#n’ wind.  The Sunday long run was brutal for 7.5 miles as we headed directly into the wind.  Thankfully, I had a tailwind for my return to the car.  I’m DONE with the wind, the cold, the layers and THE SNOW.  Did I mention this nor’easter SUCKS?  On the plus side, I discovered that Hostess Cupcakes work as fuel 🙂

I’m done complaining.  Too much great stuff to chat about.  I missed one strength workout last week, but I almost never miss them so I am fine with it.  I religiously attend or complete some form of HIIT or strength work 2x a week and have for nearly two years.  Ben keeps training so interesting and almost never repeats workouts!

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Getting it done at AI

The Wednesday steady state run continues to be the bane of my existence.  I have never been fully invested in a training plan in the same way I have this time around.  Steady state is hard for me because I suck at pacing.  This past week was: 8:58, 8:36, 8:29.  See… sucky pacing!  I wanted to die the whole time and was so stiff.  I blame my desk chair!  Sitting is brutal!  I had a tough time with my Friday hill run too.  I just didn’t feel up to it, but felt myself coming alive halfway through.  THAT is why I consider running my salvation!

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Glad I snapped this… I took this minutes before my dreaded Friday hill run.  I woke up along the way!

In closing, everyone around me is sick.  Again.  Strep.  Stomach bugs.  Ick.  I am doing my best to stay healthy (vitamins, mostly clean eating – see below, acupuncture, lots of sleep and hydration).  Fingers crossed I make it through the next week….

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My guilty pleasure… hiding in my truck with chicken nuggets.  Husband was sick and this was a safe place!

That’s that!  I anticipate a struggle getting workouts in this week, but so it goes when winter smacks us hard.  Going to do my best!  Four months to VT!!!!

I want to take the time to say thank you to Altra Running to not only providing me amazing shoes and clothing, but for motivation from other badass Ambassadors.  I am also loving all of the clothing I have collected from Born Primitive!  Ladies… try their bras.  BEST ever!  Coupon code LIFTNRUN15 for 15% off!

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Born Primitive Rhapsody Bra and Edge Tank

Solo Miles = Soul Searching

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A view from North Mountain

This post is predominately going to focus on my Saturday long run (I’ll make sure I throw in a quick training recap for documentation purposes!) and how that went.  This was the second week of a double day on Thursday.  It also snowed like a bitch, which meant plowing, snow clean up and lack of time for workouts.  I got it done, and despite my exhaustion, I feel great!

  • Total Miles: 24.3
  • Total Elevation: 2621
  • Total strength workouts: 2

This was my biggest week since August 22, 2016!!!!

It (unfortunately) worked out that all my runs were solo this week.  My Wednesday running partner is sick and Tony is even sicker.  Tony missed my hill workout on Friday and wasn’t able to even leave his house for my Saturday long run.  Coach modified my weekend because I taught yesterday (which typically amounts to 4 miles of walking… not a joke… on the range) and had me go a half hour to an hour longer on Saturday.  To get the best bang for my buck and decided to tackle Pawtuckaway.  Before I did that, I volunteered for two hours at the Acidotic Racing Exeter Snowshoe Hullabaloo .  I joined Acidotic last summer and was eager to do some volunteer time!  I used to run horse shows and trail races are a similar environment (minus the horses whinnying and people screaming “loose horse!”).  Otherwise, it’s basically the same :).  I had fun hanging out with teammates and meeting new people and took off just as the race was starting.  I had time on legs calling me!  I should mention I decided not to race this weekend because I wanted to focus on quality training time.

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I arrived at Pawtuckaway around 11:30 and was ready to hit the trail around noon.  My plan was to do an aggressive 11.7 mile loop over South and North Mountains.  The entire run gained me 1700 ft. in elevation and I expected to have to break some trail.  “Some” trail was an understatement!  In order to have all the gear I would need, there was no way around breaking out my Ultimate Direction Fastpack (30).  I bought this pack over two years ago and it has many miles on it.  I threw my Dion snowshoes, a few articles of clothing, my first aid kit, 40 oz. of water and food into my pack and threw it on.  Woof.  Weight training!  The weather was gorgeous and I erred in the pants I was wearing.  I could have gone with a much lighter weight tight.  I sweat most of the time I was out there.  I wore my Altra Lone Peak Neoshells (for the win… again) and started out in my Kahtoola microspikes knowing I would probably be alright and on groomed snowmobile trail or monorail until the summit of South Mountain.  I was right and made great time to the summit and got there in 43 minutes.

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The real fun began on the backside of South Mountain.  The trail was not broken as I suspected.  I swapped the microspikes for the Dions and proceeded towards North Mountain.  The snow was turning into mushy mashed potatoes quickly and I had to kick ice balls off the spikes along the way.  Most of the way off South, I came across a guy in his 20s coming the other way.  He was wearing a t-shirt, a full sized hiking pack and snow pants.  He was soaked and leaning on a tree.  He had postholed about a mile (I figured this out along the way).  I said to him “this is a lot easier in snowshoes” and he responded with “I can’t believe I made it this far.”  Postholers drive me nuts because there is no good way to “fix” the trail on snowshoes and I had to walk along his trail for the next mile or so.  He was sinking into the snow at least 12″ with each step!!!  I realize gear is pricey, but I don’t understand why you would even TRY this without a cheap pair of snowshoes.

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I was in good spirits once I got to the trailhead for North Mountain despite a lot of trail breaking.  I was fueling well, it was sunny and I was so happy to be out in the woods.  I didn’t see many people and could no longer hear the hoards of snowmobilers.  I was also excited to see someone else had broken out North Mountain.  The trek was still hard but the going was better than it would have been!  I summitted North, took in the views and a snack then shuffled my way across the mile long ridge trail.  I stayed in snowshoes and ran when I could.  I was tired but my legs were still moving well.  I swapped out my Dions for spikes and ran the next two miles along the snowmobile trails… occasionally suffering from air pollution as the sleds came by me.  Two miles on mushy snowmobile trails was no joke!  The only “low” point I had came at 8.7 miles and the start of the Mountain Trail.  Guess what wasn’t broken out?  Back to Dions and into the trail I went.  Holy crap was the next .6 miles HARD!  The snow was wet and heavy and I was SOAKED.

I got back to the trail junction where it switches back to packed monorail and collapsed to take my Dions off.  Here is where I pulled a stunt unique to me… I took off my snowshoes, which were all chunked up with ice.  I started to smack them together to break the ice off so they could go back into my Fastpack when my thumb took a direct hit from one of the spikes.  I tore open a sizable flap in my cuticle and started to gush blood everywhere!  I honestly figured it was worse than it was because it was flowing freely.  Oh crap.  I started to rip (one handed) into my pack and found my Dark Angel Medical Ouch Pouch.  I eventually managed to get out the supplies I needed to wrap my thumb and get it back into the glove. A quick note on Dark Angel Medical… Kerry Davis is a co-worker and friend and I adore his products.  I carry his Pocket D.A.R.K Trauma Kit for hikes in the Whites and his D.A.R.K. Trauma Kit on the range and in my purse.  His company has had many saves and while my thumb injury was minor, I am happy to carry his gear wherever I go.  Check it out!!!

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At this point, I was running a little behind my schedule which motivated me to hustle out of the woods.  I left most of what I had left on the trail and made it back to truck feeling like I put in a fantastic effort!  While I choose to do most of my long runs with company, doing to solo is like a tour inside your brain.  Sometimes it’s hard to comfortable with feelings, thoughts and troubles but I capitalize on solo time to relax and problem solve.  I ALWAYS feel mentally fresher (albeit tired) after a hard solo effort in the woods.

I am LOVING my training plan and time on legs.  I am loving working hard and waking up the next day ready to go again.  I am so thankful for access to great gear that makes it possible to train at this level.  Finally, I am thankful for my health and hope I can stay this way.  So many people around me have been taken out by serious illness this winter.

Thank you for tagging along and reading about my journey 🙂

 

February 6-12 Training

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View from my Friday evening hill repeats

This past week represented the first time I was scheduled for five runs and mother nature was determined to make that hard!  While my mileage is lower than most of my running friends (some of which are training for Boston) I have restraints that come in the form of long work days, horse care and snow removal.  I learned how to plow this week.  My education consisted of my husband giving me a lesson on the “fishstick” controller and walking away.  I may have scared the crap out of myself last night in the backyard but I am determined to keep trying.  Anyway…. snow removal comes before workouts, so I have found myself low on time this week.  I got it done though!

Tuesday Gym Session: I have been bugging Tony long enough about his hypocrite ways regarding cross training that he FINALLY showed back up at the gym!!!

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He cried.  I laughed.  Our typical gym routine.

Wednesday Steady State Run:  I didn’t get away from my desk on this day, so I ran after work.  That day was 50 degrees, so I scooted home, put on capris and a long sleeve and headed out the door.  The air felt amazing and I had a ton of energy.  My instructions included a 10 minute warm up, 30 minutes at half marathon pace, and 5 minute cool down.  My three miles at steady state were 9:07, 8:58 and 8:53.  I was ticking away!  Warm air makes such a difference!

Thursday Double:  Huge snowstorm that day!  I didn’t make it to the gym due to the plow “lesson” so I did an afternoon living room tabata session (40 minutes: 20 sec on/10 sec off, one minute transitions between exercises – Hollow Rocks, Tricep extensions, push ups, jump squats, mountain climbers – I went through the list twice).  Three or so hours later, I headed out into the storm for 3.2 miles after I snowblowed and plowed the yard.  I would say I burned some calories that day!  The snow had lightened up a lot and I was able to run down the snow covered pavement in spikes.  It was dark and I was the only one out.  It was peaceful.

Friday Hill Repeats: Kingman was buried in snow, so the Dions got strapped on and I suffered through 2.6 miles and 230ish feet of gain for hill work.  My heart rate was as high as it was during my steady state run, so I was working for sure.

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Saturday Long Run:  I had the pleasure of being joined by some ladies (and Tony) for a Saddleback breakout.  The trail was non-existent so we took turns breaking it out on our Dions.  What took two hours last week took three this week.  7.9 miles and 1200 feet of gain on snowshoes.  I was able to run quite a bit.  I experienced an annoying foot cramp in my right foot which I think was simply a reaction to spikes and snowshoe running this week.  I failed to roll on Friday PM and paid for that the first two miles of this run. I stretched my foot and adjusted my straps and I was fine after that!

Sunday (take account) run:  Sunday runs have become a time for me to mentally and physically check in with my body and see how we did over the week.  While my mileage is low, my efforts are hard, so I am constantly taking account of how I am doing.  Sunday was 5 miles, on which I chose road.  I am still doing my stretches and exercises and pleased to report my feet and ankles did great on Sunday.  My legs were tired overall, but I still met my goal paces.  Another 300 feet of gain finished out my week.

  • Total Miles: 23.8 (2 in snowshoes, 1 in spikes, 2 on pavement)
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1936 ft.
  • Two strength workouts

In an effort to keep this post focused, I will leave you with that!  I’m forever grateful for my affiliation with Altra Running and Born Primitive for their amazing gear, as well as friends who keep me motivated, a coach who puts up with me and the health to train. So on that note, more to come from my week!  Besides… it’s time to go plow the yard again!

Enjoy my Born Primitive code when you shop!  LIFTNRUN15 for 15% off your order!

Recovery Week 01/30

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I haven’t always believed in rest and recovery, but years of injuries and thinking I could just “push through” have changed that for me.  Even starting this training cycle with Coach Chris had me questioning his complete rest days.  That being said, he works me hard and I look SO forward to Mondays when all I have to do is stretch and rest.  Chris builds in recovery weeks during the training cycle too.  What have I found out about recovery week?  They are still interesting enough to keep me entertained!

  • Run distance: 17 miles (4 runs)
  • Elevation gain: 1407
  • Gym workouts: 2

Things that were sore this week included my hip flexors (Tony has a Strava run named for a stretching technique I employed on the trail) and my mid back.  My ankle has been incredibly cooperative since starting Egoscue Method stretching (read more about it in this post).  When I don’t do these daily, my ankles tightens up a bit and I lose flexibility.  My knee soreness is directly related to my gait, which is thrown off when my ankle doesn’t roll properly.  It’s all connected people!

I’ve mentioned in the past how much I love my gym and the workouts.  This week was a milestone for me.  I finally realized I don’t need the training wheels anymore when it comes to pull-ups.  Those training wheels are rubber bands.  I can finally, properly, complete multiple pullups!

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Can we talk about this tank top for a minute?  As a Brand Rep for Born Primitive, I am proud to not only try their product, but provide a review as well!  This tank is super soft out of the box and incredibly comfortable!  The message on this tank is strong and makes me proud to wear it.  This company is so awesome… owned and operated by an active duty military family, Born Primitive also hires veterans and their families!  Read about them here, check out their charities and finally check out their products!  If you like what you see, use my coupon code LIFTNRUN15 for 15% off your order!

Hubby asked for salads this week, so I have been pinning meal appropriate salads.  We tried an amazing Avocado Caprese Chicken Salad and loved it!  This recipe includes a ridiculously good homemade dressing (with mustard as an ingredient… I am cringing… but it was amazing!).

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This weekend had quite a bite in the air, but once again, clothing makes the difference.  I completed my long run in my heavy Craft pants, one pair of Smartwool socks, an Altra tank (review coming on that!) and a Nike windblock pullover.  That was it (hat and gloves too!).  I was plenty warm and able to regulate my temperature over the two hours of hard work in the snow.  I keep saying it every run…. Altra Lone Peak Neoshells have made winter running enjoyable!  My feet stay toasty warm despite conditions!  They are a complete game changer for a distance runner who will tackle any condition to get the work done!

Another week down!  I think about Vermont every day…. how can I not?  It’s such a HUGE goal but it will be here before we know it.  I signed up for another training race this week (Wapack) and can’t wait to be back on that course again.  Altra is sending me a shoe that will be perfect for mountain racing.  More to come on that tidbit too!

Benched!

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You heard me… Coach Chris benched me this week.  He had excellent cause to do so and I will reiterate THIS IS WHY I HIRED A COACH.  The last two weeks have been professionally stressful, as any major change is even when we don’t realize it at the time.  I have been battling a run of the mill head cold, but that turned into strep.  More than a handful of us have it and are on antibiotics.  And on the coach piece… I make so many decisions on a daily basis that it’s wonderful to have someone else guiding ME for once.  If you are like me and control everything, its nice to give up control on just one MAJOR thing.  Try it sometime.  Tell me I’m wrong.

The rules?  No workouts (i.e. no unnecessary stress on the body) until the antibiotics course is over.  There is tons of information on this approach online and I’m good with his call.  In addition… I would not have made this decision for myself.  72 hours on antibiotics and I would have returned to hard work not knowing any better.  So, between the course of drugs, the risk of secondary infection, a new job position and the fact I am about to travel, I have been benched.  I am not going to lie.  I am a bit relieved.  I get to focus on some major stuff, sleep A LOT and prepare to travel with a little less stress.  Don’t be under any impression I don’t miss working out, because I do, but this is fine by me for this week.

What have I been reading?

Lots!  In between sleeping.  Have you visited Ultra168?  Do it.  SO many good articles.  I especially like their Running Philosophy section.

Food!!!!

Carb it up and make this amazing artichoke and spinach pizza!  A few tweaks on my end included an herb and basil dough from the supermarket and a white sauce (pesto and artichoke based) from the pasta sauce aisle.  Oh, and husband added Kalamata olives to the top.  YUM!!!

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Head over to my Instagram and check out the video Tony took during hill repeats.  I am sure many of you feel my pain!

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Finally, I am really looking forward to the next few months.  Flying this week, heading up north next month and so many other adventures I can’t discuss yet!  Can’t wait to get healthy and stay strong!

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2017 Altra Ambassador!

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I went out on a limb in November and applied to the Altra Ambassador Team.  I learned yesterday morning that I was selected out of more than 2000 applicants!  I am floored, honored and still a little shocked!  I am not a professional athlete, but I am an amateur ultrarunner with heart and soul.  I believe in this product (anyone who knows me has heard about my experience) and I am thrilled to represent them in 2017!

My Altra journey started in early spring of 2016.  I can honestly say I have tried many types of shoes, platforms and brands in search of MY shoe.  I tried to switch to a low drop platform a few years ago (INOV-8) and just couldn’t do it.  I had the typical experience of calves that just couldn’t handle the transition.  I spent two years in Pearl Izumi running shoes.  Their E-Motion shoes claim to be somewhere between 3-7 mm of drop depending on how you land.  I truly believe a combination of cross training and careful transition got me into the Lone Peaks I now love (and own many pairs of… to include the new ones stashed under my desk at work 😉 ).  And let me remind you, I have battled significant right ankle issues for nearly three years.  These shoes feel better than anything I have ever tried.  I even converted my husband!  He wears Lone Peaks to do finish carpentry work and his Neoshells to salt walkways.

The best part of my experience with Altra?  All the places they took me in 2016!  I can’t wait to see where we go in 2017!!!

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#altrarunning #acidoticracing #trailrunning #ultrarunning #vt100

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