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.

Ten Toes, Nine Toenails

Guys!  I became a REAL runner today!  I lost my first toenail.  It’s been hanging on by a thread now for a couple of days and I just didn’t have the mental fortitude to rip it off.  But it started snagging on my socks and I tell you what, wearing Vibrams with a half ripped off nail just isn’t fun.  So I made it happen.

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What do you do with your first ripped off toenail?  I have thought about giving it a name and keeping it in a box.  Bronzing it and putting it on a necklace.  I’m actually really excited about this.  I’m sure people think I’m insane and incredibly weird but I trained hard and earned this!

It feels weird.  It’s bleeding a little where I had to give it a little extra “umph” to encourage it coming off.  Guess I should take care of that…

Were you this excited when you lost your first nail?  Am I really that weird?

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?

To new beginnings

There is so much exciting stuff happening around here lately!

First of all, happy start to Packers season!! What a great day 🙂 To celebrate, here’s a picture of me from my first ever Packers game in 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium. They lost. Their only loss of the season. I wasn’t good luck.

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Secondly, I completed my FIRST double digit mile trail run last weekend! I also signed up for another trail race last week. You’re probably saying “wow, Sara, calm down, you haven’t even completed your first trail race yet.” No. But I’ve got the bug. Like love, you know when you know! My second trail race will be a half marathon at Two Rivers Bike Park in Highlandville, MO on November 22. If you’re a local, I highly recommend checking out this race which is in its second year. Gorgeous course, great swag and support.

In real life news, I am embarking on a new career path! Next week will mark the end of my time with the childcare program I’ve been with for the last 2.5 years. I’m so excited to begin a new journey as a personal trainer and will also be running a kids fitness class! I’m very passionate about children’s fitness and it’s been a long time dream of mine to be involved in something like this.

Be on the lookout for more fitness related posts on the blog, as well as an upcoming Facebook page that I’ll invite you all to join me on

Hot, Hot, HOT.

Weather Shot

This is my life right now. We are currently in a heat advisory, now through Sunday. And guess what tomorrow is? Long run Saturday! Training for a trail race, there is no substitute for getting out on the trails, so I have no choice but to make sure my butt makes it to the 6:30AM training group tomorrow.

Training in the heat and humidity is a different beast. You need to be SO careful. I normally run 9:40-10:00 minute miles on the road. This was my yesterday:

Humid RunKeeper

Slooooooooooooooooooow. But you know what? It’s ok. Why? BECAUSE I DIDN’T DIE. So that’s a huge plus. I ran out of water around 4.5-5 miles. And then experienced a few chills. When you start getting chills, it’s time to say game over, throw in the towel, get a cold drink and call it a run. But I was so miserable the rest of the day. Headaches, body aches, you name it. Not ok. I know better.

If you’re in a part of the country experiencing this heat, be safe! Listen to your body, take more water than you think you might need and let someone know where you are! Take shade breaks, walk breaks, whatever you need. Allow yourself to be slower than normal because it’s totally ok! Dying is not ok.

Stay safe, runners!

Falling behind

Life. It happens. Life doesn’t care if you have a triathlon in two weeks or are just starting a 13 week training plan for your first 25K trail race. It carries on however it pleases and you have to figure out how to roll with it.

It also doesn’t care if you are supposed to be starting a new job in two days either. But this is a running and fitness blog so we’ll stick with the other stuff 🙂

When life calls, you answer. You don’t ignore what’s going on because you have something else going. When someone needs you, you go. This isn’t me complaining that I had to pick up at a moments notice and go home to be there for my family. I would do it again in an instant. It’s about how you pick up when you get back.

You can sit there and be miserable that you missed that time. That triathlon PR would’ve been great. That 12 mile trail run that turned into a 9.5 mile trail run could’ve been way better if I didn’t miss the first three weeks of the training group. But I didn’t PR and I didn’t train those weeks. It is what it is. You pick up and continue. Make the best of where you are and know that you’re going to get there. It’s just going to be a little longer than you first thought.

It’s totally ok.

In fact, it’s better than ok. It means that you are confident enough in yourself to know that you can step away for a moment, tend to what you need to, come back and be fine.

Never get so caught up in your own life that you aren’t able to answer the call when someone needs you. Running teaches us to be confident and strong. Be confident enough to step away and lend that strength to those around you when they need it the most.

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?

Summertime HEAT!

Is anyone else out there struggling with the heat and humidity?  My goodness.  I feel like normally by this time in the summer, I’m completely adapted and doing just fine.  This year?  I’m struggling.  Really struggling.  It’s not so much lack of motivation to run but a lack of motivation to be a hot, sweaty mess.  The humidity is stifling.  Coupled with my job that has me outside quite a bit and it’s really unappealing.  So I’ve been hitting the treadmill with my own personal fan.  Literally.  A little fan clipped to the treadmill.

 

Which then got me thinking, why can’t I attach a fan to my neck?  How weird would I look?  Would people be jealous?  Could I start a new trend?  Maybe a new running club?

 

Reality is, my 25K trail race in October is starting to loom big in my head.  I need to get my booty outside and running  the trails.  Which means I need to make a decision on trail shoes.  And find a trail running buddy.  Sigh.  Time to get it together!

Rants and Raves: Run Like A Diva Half Marathon

Remember me?!  Probably not.  It’s been far too long.  But I will say, I’m about a week and a half out from graduation so hopefully that means life is about to calm down and I can blog more!  Yeah right.  It’s probably going to hit a whole new level of crazy.  Oh well.

 

April was a nutty month.  I dealt on and off with being sick and having a low back injury (dead lilfts – like an idiot) that really knocked me off my training course.  My April 19th half marathon was supposed to be my PR race.  Didn’t happen.  Oh, I ran.  But it was miserable.  That’s a blog post for another day.  

 

THIS weekend was the first of two races I’m using to qualify for Half Fanatics!  I felt great going into this.  Much better than I have felt in a while.  Less back pain and less anxiety.  More excited and happy.  

 

Run Like A Diva Half Marathon and 5K Series puts on races around the country.  Their big hook is a blinged out medal (handed to you by hot “firemen”), roses, and feather boas with tiaras handed to you before the finish line.  It’s a (mostly) women’s event and quite large.  I have to say, I’m not THAT girly so I wasn’t sold on it.  But I made a last minute decision that I wanted to qualify for Half Fanatics and have anther half to run with my amazing running buddy before she moves, so I signed up.  

 

Here’s some of my rants and raves from Sunday in Branson:

RAVE: The DJs!  There were five DJs on the course playing music and amping up the atmosphere.  It was GREAT!  They all had energy and looked like they were having a great time.  I also stopped and took pictures with 4 of the 5.  

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RAVE: The crowd!  I guess that probably has nothing to do with the race directors but the crowd was PUMPED!  Event organizers did a fantastic job of having a station at the expo for people to make signs for race day and I saw quite a few of them around the course.  There were several “fans” I saw at different times along the course (BF included!) and they were so vocal and positive!  It made a challenging race so much more fun.  

 

RAVE: The “firemen” handing out the medals.  I don’t think I need to go into detail here…

 

RANT/RAVE: The course/hills.  The course was beautiful.  If you’ve been to Branson, you know what a gorgeous area that is.  You also then know that those hills are NOT. A. JOKE.  They’re huge.  Now, event organizers SHOULD have made that clear, rather than saying “mostly flat” after mile 3/4.  That was a lie.  And anyone from around here knew that it had to be.  I have a bone to pick with you, event organizers.  STOP SAYING SOMETHING IS FLAT!!  Just because the total elevation climb/drop equals out does NOT make a course flat!  The total climb for this course was over 1300 feet.  My legs are reminding me of that fact today.  That said, I had fun on the hills! *GASP* I know.  But I did.  Except this one. 

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And this one…mile 12.5.  What is with races doing this to me?!

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RAVE: The expo!  Are you an expo person?  I am.  I like things.  They had things.  Shirts, jackets, headbands on headbands on headbands.  Bondi Band (LOVE!) was there and had special ones designed for this series with bedazzled crowns (you can sort of see the hot pink one I got in some of the pictures).  Lots of necklaces and stickers and all kinds of things.  Weird: handanas.  Have you seen these?  Bizarre.  I’ll wipe sweat on my shirt or have it wicked off by one of the million headbands I own.  Awesome:  the teenage boys dressed in tutus and tiaras signing people in at the expo.  You were hilarious and if it wouldn’t have been creepy, I’d have taken my picture with you.

 

Last but not least…

RAVE: the 72 year old woman from Arkansas that I had the pleasure of running portions of the race with.  YOU, ma’am, are a badass.  You crushed that race, looked as strong or stronger than anyone out there and were so positive.  I hope I’m running when I’m your age.  Thank you for the hug at the end. 

 

Overall, a great race and a great time!  10/10 would do again.  

 

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