Two. More. Weeks.

I’m now (less than) two weeks out from my FIRST trail race.  It’s also my longest race ever.  To celebrate, I took a week off from my trail training to participate in my FAVORITE race of the year, the Panther Run.  Three distances to choose from, naturally, I went with the 15K.

It was an EPIC race.  Cool temps meant PR weather!  I fell into a comfortable pace early, running alongside a woman from my running group.  We didn’t speak at all.  I think we were each racing the other the entire time.  Trail running has encouraged me to power down the hills, even on the road now.  So once we started hitting hills, I pulled away, but was never too far ahead. Eventually we ended up right back together and raced it out for the last mile.  At the end, we exchanged a high five.  I hit a PR by 14 minutes.  Maybe it’s not as big of a deal, considering my only previous 15K was over a year and a half ago, but I’m still celebrating besting my time.

As for trail racing…I now have three trail races on my schedule between now and Thanksgiving.  One 15K, one 25K and a half marathon.  I’m super excited.  Although the elevation chart for the 25K is just a little bit intimidating.  I’ll leave you with this:

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Lessons from the trail

3 weeks.  That’s how far out I am from Dogwood.  I’ve been struggling mentally, wondering how on earth I was going to complete it.  My fuel has been messing with my stomach, my will power is tanking.  But I’ve still gotten out there every weekend so at least there’s that.

Saturday morning when my alarm went off at 4:45am, I wasn’t feeling it.  I had my coffee and my breakfast but just felt “meh”.  I kissed fiance goodbye and he told me he was proud of me.  My drive down to Busiek that’s what I thought about.  That he’s proud of me.

Not proud of my speeds or distance.  Proud of ME.  The work I’m putting in.  ME.  I made a resolve to leave it out there and run MY run.  Not anyone else’s.  MINE.

I felt awesome.  Strong and focused.  I CRUSHED it.  It didn’t and still doesn’t matter that my pace was much faster than my previous 14 mile run (this weekend was 15 miles).  I proved to myself that I have much more in me that I think I do.  Before when I thought I couldn’t go any further, I stopped.  I rested.  And it didn’t do me any favors.  This week I kept moving.  I dug deep and trudged on.

It paid off.

I’ve got so much more in me than I thought I did before that run.  And now I know.  I just have to keep moving.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feelin’ 27

Friday marked my last day in my “mid-twenties.”  I officially turned 27, which I consider “late twenties.”  I have officially hit the point where a birthday is just another day.  There’s nothing special that my age brings me (ability to buy porn or tobacco products, booze or rent a car).  

 

26 was an exciting year.  I made great strides in my health and fitness, completing 4 half marathons, 3 within 22 days, and developed some killer biceps.  I graduated (FINALLY!) from Missouri State University.  I got engaged!  All big things.  

 

27 promises to be even better.  I’m in the middle of wedding planning (it totally sucks, if you’re wondering).  I’ve started a new job where I actually put my education to use.  It’s hard and it’s going to be a lot of hard work but I’m so thankful to have a supportive fiance and family there for me while I’m building my client base and getting better at what I do.  

 

I’ve decided to make 27 the year I run my first marathon!  I’ve written my training schedule out in my planner, picked out a half marathon race for said training schedule (coming for you, Little Rock Half Marathon!).  All that’s left to do is actually register for the marathon.  It’ll be happening soon.  My training plan starts the last week of the year.  How unfair is that?  

 

I’m excited at the prospect of training for a new distance.  I think it will help keep me focused and grounded during the craziness of wedding planning.  It will also force me to stay concentrated on my diet and exercise.  Nobody wants to go into a marathon an undertrained mess.  I’m also just ready for it.  Ready to say I’m training for it.  Ready to say I did it.  Ready to see where my body takes me.  

 

Did I mention I’m having my mom and maid of honor plan my bridal shower around my marathon weekend?  I’m sure you’re not surprised.

 

Do you set goals for yourself when you have a birthday?  Do you just let the year take you where it will?

A Weekend of Firsts!

What a fantastic weekend in the Ozarks!  I experienced so many new things that I haven’t ever tried.

 

A friend of mine and I decided to try out stand up paddle boarding.  We had no idea what to expect when we headed down to Branson on Saturday morning.  The people at White River Kayaking were so helpful and gave us many tips on where to paddle to in order to get our bearings, what creeks would be nice to go up and how to not get run over by a boat.  We spent two hours on Lake Taneycomo, paddling around near the Branson Landing and checking it out.  If you know the lake, you know it is COLD.  The owner of WRK warned us we did not want to end up in the water.  Unfortunately for my friend, she did!  FORTUNATELY for her, she was wearing the GoPro and all of it was captured here.  There’s definitely a little bit of language in the video but it’s pretty funny.

Paddle Board

 

Sunday morning was all about new things!  My first group run, my first training run for Dogwood, my first time at Busiek, my first time on a real trail and my first time in my Mizuno Wave Kazans.  It also had rained the night before so the trails were muddy.  And of course it rained as soon as we got there.  By the end, my clothes were SOAKED but I had a blast!  I definitely enjoyed the dynamic of running in a group and the tips I got from seasoned trail vets were so valuable.  I feel like I’m getting more comfortable off the road and was able to dominate the less technical portions.

 

Walking up the steep inclines is definitely for the best, walking down them is definitely something I will need to continue doing for now as well.

Busiek climb

Bug spray is an absolute must.  The parts of my body that I missed with borrowed bug spray are paying for it.  My quads ache today.  That feeling of accomplishment though…that’s something.  I can’t wait to get out there again.  My new shoes were PHENOMENAL.  Mizuno does it again!

 

Wave Kazan

 

Look at all that mud!  I only almost lost my shoe +/- 3 times.

 

Did you try something new this weekend?  How did it go?

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