Whoa it’s 2016 already?

Creeeeekk….What’s that? Oh the sound of this blog slowly being pulled open again after nearly 8 months. That’s right I’m BAACKK. The past 8 months have been some of the busiest of my life and for my sanity I had to put the blog on the back burner for a while.  I can happily say in the last 8 months I’ve graduated nursing school, begun the process of moving to New York City, and most importantly spent more time running than ever before.

This past summer I ran more trail miles than I ever thought I would before, and one of my favorite days was spent alone running up and down Mount Adams in northern New Hampshire. Besides escaping to the mountains I also ran my first Fell Race, which if you haven’t heard of this style of racing you need to check it out! I would love to see more of these in the United States. I also got my butt handed to me at the Wapack Trail Race. I thought it would be smart to run 18 miles of trails, in 85 degree heat, having only a long run of 10 road miles under my belt….let’s just say I bonked hard and it if wasn’t for the help of two dudes named Bob I would have probably gone home in an ambulance from dehydration/heat stroke. As summer turned to fall I backed off from racing and just tried to put in some consistent miles between finishing my last semester of school. I figured spending less time blogging, and more time running was a good trade off.

Right now most of my time is spent hunting for my first nursing job. I was going to write how excited I was to announce my plans to run the Vermont City Marathon this spring, however last week I finished a run with a familiar nagging pain in my foot. I am assuming it’s another stress fracture but haven’t been able to get an appointment with my doctor because he’s on vacation. Until then I’m wearing the boot that I had from the last stress fracture I had (on my other foot last time). It’s a real bummer but I’m trying not to get too bent out of shape over it because obviously I was pushing too hard and need to back off for a bit. In the meantime I think I might join the local YMCA and try doing some pool running/swimming to keep my fitness up in a low impact way. Some good news is that I’ve got a new product review and giveaway of the SLS3 dual pocket running belt coming up this week. Stay tuned to hear my thoughts about their new product, and for your chance to win one of your own.

P.S.  Here’s some pictures I was able to scrounge together from the past 8 months, that’s all for now!

Post Fells Race

Post Fells Race

Top of Mt. Adams

Top of Mt. Adams

My first DNF from this fall

My first DNF from this fall

Half Marathon the day after the Fell Race

Half Marathon the day after the Fell Race

After the 1st climb up Bretton Woods Ski Resort

After the 1st climb up Bretton Woods Ski Resort

Goals for 2015

This year has been full of ups and down, but mostly ups! Since I’m still rehabbing my knee and can’t run as much I’ve decided planning for races I can’t even run yet is a better idea.

Run a 1:30 or less half marathon

When I ran my first half last spring I had no real expectations, all I knew was that I wanted to run sub 1:45. I surprised myself by finishing in 1:34! I probably could have gone faster but I was holding back a little bit because I had no idea what running 13.1 miles would be like (and that beer I drank at mile 9 slowed me down for a little bit with all the carbonation).  I really want to run more halfs next year. I loved the combination of distance and speed required to run a good race so I’m hoping next year I can PR and run 1:30 or less.

Finish marathon training as a healthy runner

Last season training started out great, but as the miles increased and school began I definitely got thrown out of my rythym. This caused me to bunch long milage together, skip workouts, and try to play catch up. At the time I was so focused on getting the miles in. Instead I should have been focused on staying healthy. With bad training habits, less sleep, and more stress my body started to revolt. I ended up with some pretty bad Patellofemoral Pain (Runner’s Knee) that I still haven’t gotten rid of. My knee and I have been in quite the on again, off again relationship for the past few months. The good news is that it’s getting better, and I really like the new PT I’m working with. Next year I want to run another marathon, but I want to do it smarter. I know if I would have been healthier I could have run a much better race.

Run some trail races

At the end of this year I really started to fall in love with trail running. I ran cross country in high school but never really thought of it as trail running, however this year I started running more trails in hopes that the surface change would help my knee pain. It didn’t really make much of a difference but it did spark something inside of me and I found myself being drawn into the woods more often. I like the lack of traffic, people, and distractions. It’s a different experience feeling totally focused in on what you’re doing step by step. When running the trails you’re almost laser focused in on each step, it’s not as easy to go into autopilot. It’s kind of counter intuitive but it feels more meditative than road running to me. I don’t know if it has something to do with being more present and in the moment, but I find it easier to leave life’s distractions behind, and just focus on not falling flat on my face. I can’t wait to take more time to run trails next spring, especially because we just got state park license plates to entry to all NH state parks is free!

If I’m healthy run a 50K by the end of the year

I’m really just throwing this out there but I want to run a 50K. I know it sounds cray with how badly I crashed and burned on my marathon this year, but I’ve heard from others it’s a very different kind of challenge and its just something that’s been lurking in the back of my head for a while now. I know this goal will only happen if I can stay healthy next year so I’m just gonna wait it out and see how things go. If it happens in 2015 that’s awesome, if not there’s always next year!

 

Vermont City Marathon (well half of it)

First Running Medal!

First Running Medal!

Last weekend I ran my first ever half marathon!  I have been feeling pretty bummed out that I wasn’t able to run the unplugged half marathon in Burlington due to a stress fracture; however this weekend I had my redemption. I was able to sign up last minute for the Vermont City Marathon as part of a two person relay team raising money for the Vermont Make a Wish foundation.  I was very nervous about the race because I’ve never run this far in my entire life, and I haven’t really been training for a half so I was worried I would re-injure my foot, AND I still had to find a partner to run the other half.

Luckily for me a friend of a friend of a friend saw my post on Facebook about needing a partner and was able to help me out. My acquaintance Adam, whom I’d only met once before, was already signed up for the full 26.2 so he was able to join my relay team as long as he fund raised for Make a Wish.  Now that all the details were set all I had to do was pack up, head to VT, and figure out how the hell I was gonna run 13.1 miles.

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Me and Greta on our way

Oh let’s also just get one thing straight, Vermont is my favorite state. I often tell strangers I’m from Vermont, or call myself an honorary Vermonter. I just feel that on the inside I’m more Vermont than anywhere else. That being said I rolled up to my girlfriends lake house with my trusty co-pilot Greta, and instantly felt at home.  The lake was slightly overcast, but as beautiful as ever.

View from the Lakehouse

View from the Lakehouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a feeling this was going to be a great weekend no matter what happened at the race on Sunday.

Leading up to the race I was able to spend time with some friends from college that I hadn’t seen in a while, and we did the typical Burlington things like stroll church street, check out the farmer’s market, and sample some local brews. We also went to a food truck meet up at the Arts Riot, which I highly recommend if anyone is in town. It takes place every Friday evening during the summer.

Farmer's Market

Farmer’s Market

Hey Church Street

Hey Church Street

My friend Meredith was also participating in the Marathon as part of a 5 person relay team for Make a Wish so the night before the race we spent the evening making pasta, watching the season 2 premiere of House of Cards, and stressing about tomorrows events.  As usual I woke up before my alarm since I was nervous I’d sleep in.  I had my typical pre-race meal of an English muffin with peanut butter, honey, and banana. I was well hydrated, well stretched, and had gone over my gear probably 50 times. Meredith and I headed downtown to park and made our way to our required exchange points. My exchange point was at Oak ledge Park, and let me say it was a clusterfuck. This was the only negative part of my race experience.  It was very unorganized/crowded and no one could hear the numbers being announced or see their partners coming in very easily. That meant that everyone was leaning into the only chute open to try and see their partners while the race officials were yelling at us to get back. It was actually the only time I’ve felt kind upset with any race organizers. I was stressed out enough and being yelled at because they couldn’t organize the race was a little upsetting.

Selfie's while waiting for Adam

Selfie’s while waiting for Adam

Anyways Adam reached me at about 1:53 into the race, which was a little later than I expected him.  Turns out Adam sustained a foot injury at mile 9 (probably stress fracture from my diagnosis) and slowed way down.  I was shocked that he even made it to the halfway point. I was left to soldier on alone.  I took the first few miles WAY faster than I meant to, I basically ran 5k pace and only slowed slightly upon reaching battery hill. I also didn’t really know my pace because in the confusion of the exchange I forgot to start my watch. I don’t know if it was adrenalin or what, but I felt great for most of the race and my mile splits were usually in the low 7’s. I really enjoyed my leg of the course. I first ran along the lake, then up through battery park, and then into some of the surrounding neighborhoods. The neighborhoods were my favorite part because the people cheering on the front lawns were unbelievably supportive. They were handing out water, gatorade, fruit, GU’s, and even one house handed me a budweiser (I’ll admit I only drank half of it). The final stretch of the race went along the Burlington bike path. It was partly shaded, and had a slight downhill slope to it. At mile 25 I was really starting to get jelly legs, but then some November Project members wearing grassroots gear, and holding signs reading “fuck yeah!” cheered me on giving me the extra boost I needed.  I ended up with a time of 1:34:46, which was about 10 minutes faster than I had hoped for!

Morning of the race #grassrootsgear

Morning of the race #grassrootsgear

 

In the end an impulsive decision to sign up for the race turned out to be one of the best running weekends I’ve had yet. I was able to spend time in my favorite place, with some of my favorite people, participating in the sport I love. I definitely feel the itch to run the whole 26.2, but I still think the half marathon distance may be my favorite. I liked that I felt like I was running fast and pushing myself, however I still needed the endurance required to finish the whole 13.1. In the past I’ve mostly run 5K’s, but I’ll definitely be on the look out for some longer races for the rest of the season.