Slip slidin’ away at the Hillbilly Hike 1/2 Marathon

Saturday morning I ran the Hillbilly Hike 1/2 Marathon. Going into this race, I wasn’t sure if I was going to race it, or run with my friend. I decided to let my legs tell me how to run on race morning.

The 1/2 marathon is a point to point race. The race provides you with the option to take the shuttle bus (aka school bus) from the finish line to the start line. Thankfully the Iron Hippie said he would drive us to the start since he wasn’t racing. It was nice to be in the warm car right up until the race start since the wind chill temps were right at 20*F. We exited the car right before the national anthem, lined up at the start, and waited for the start (which was someone yelling “GO!” without any means of projecting their voice).

Ready to run this 1/2 marathon! Photo credit: my fave
Robin and I are ready to do this thang!! Photo credit: Robin (selfie)

I had decided that my intention for this race was going to be gratitude…after all, this was the first of November and there is SO much to be thankful for! The first mile was on the roads in Indianola and wasn’t bad, but once we got on the paved trail that goes from Indianola to Carlisle we quickly noticed that the footing wasn’t good. Cue Paul Simon “Slip Slidin’ Away”…

So grateful that my fave brought our girls out to cheer us on at the Hillbilly Hike 1/2 marathon! Sorry Basil, no dogs allowed at this race. Photo credit: my fave

The trail was completely frost covered with patches of ice (thank you Mother Nature for the rain on Friday that froze over night). I was feeling good and my legs were ready to GO, so I decided to see what they had in them and kept my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t fall on the slick running surfaces.

Running with Robin just past mile 1 as we entered the trail! You can see the frost on the pavement. Photo credit: my fave

Shortly after mile 2, I decided to start running on the shoulder of the trail (which had turned into an uneven rocky surface) because I noticed I was really changing my gait on the slick trail surface. I figured the uneven rocky shoulder would be better for traction. And it was, buuuutttttt it definitely drained the energy tank and now my gait had changed for a completely different reason. I decided to pop back up on the trail when I could (if I noticed short sections where it appeared to have less frost on the trail).

Just past mile 6…you can still see the frost on the pavement. Photo credit: my fave

For the next 9 miles, I was like a rabbit hopping on and off the trail depending on the surface. It was frustrating, but I kept my intention in mind and reminded myself that I GET TO DO THIS!! There are so many things to be grateful for! I’m grateful the sun is shining. I’m grateful that my fave and the girls are cheering me on. I GET TO DO THIS! I’m grateful Basil isn’t running with me to reduce my risk of falling. I’m grateful that I haven’t fallen. I GET TO DO THIS! I’m grateful for the volunteers out here (freezing) handing out water to us. I’m grateful for the small patches of frost-free surfaces. I GET TO DO THIS! I’m grateful for less wind than I thought there was supposed to be. I’m grateful that my body is strong. I GET TO DO THIS!

SO SLICK, but still smilin’! Photo credit: Kathy Shupe King
Focusing on the beautiful fall foliage and not the slick surfaces. Photo credit: Kathy Shupe King
That sun needs to rise a bit higher to melt this frost. Look at those fall colors! Beautiful! Photo credit: Kathy Shupe King

The surfaces were REALLY slick between miles 6.8 and 8.2 where we had an out and back section (in the pictures above). When we went around the turn around cone, I literally came to a stop to avoid falling. It was SO SLICK!! They had volunteers at this location telling people it was slick and taking pics…I wonder how many people went *slip slidin’ away* around this cone?!

Approaching the cone to turn around with black ice and frosty surfaces. Photo credit: David Pullara

By mile 11, the sun had gotten high enough that most of frost had melted and the surfaces were much better for running. The only slick spots now were in the shadows. By this point, I had spent most of my energy battling those slick surfaces and uneven shoulders in the first 11 miles of the race, so this is where the mental focus was most necessary. I reminded myself to hold on and give it all I had left in the tank.

I’m so grateful for a strong body + mind so I can do what I love! Photo credit: Terry Kruse

As I approached the finish line, I gave one last shout out of gratitude to my strong body + mind for allowing me to do what I love!

I was very happy with my paces throughout this run as the pavement was frost + ice covered for the first 11 miles, which made running with my normal gait impossible. I ran on the uneven shoulder for the majority of the first 10 miles, which also did a number on my pacing for the later miles.
Another Hillbilly Hike 1/2 marathon is in the books! Photo credit: my fave
So grateful this girl loves to do running adventures with me! Photo credit: my fave
These two were SO happy to see me when I was done running!! Basil was hoping I’d take her for a few extra miles. Sorry girl…not today. Photo credit: my fave
What a goofy, but fun medal!!

I’ll definitely be back to do this race again! It is super F-L-A-T! I’m hoping next year we won’t be *slip slidin’ away* and we’ll have perfect fall running conditions!

First race of 2018 is in the books!

Drake Relays Packet Pick Up!
Race gear is acquired!

Sunday I did my first race of 2018. My only goal for the Drake 1/2 Marathon was to have FUN! I have been struggling with motivation lately…I think the prolonged winter weather has finally gotten to me. Thankfully spring FINALLY showed up and just in time for race day!!

Flat Kecia is ready to go have some FUN! Super excited to rock my new Coeur Sports 2018 team kit!!

I lined up behind the 2 hour pacer. I wanted to focus on FUN, not try to stay in front of the pacer. After the National Anthem, we were off to the races. With all the people, we started off pretty easy. I was running next to a man that had an Ironman tattoo on his calf, so I asked him which races he’s done. What started off as a simple question, took off onto a 10 mile conversation (any talking I did was broken sentences thanks to the pace Chris was setting)! I was super grateful to have Chris to run with. He pushed me harder than I might have otherwise gone, but I also had fun along the way!

At mile 10, he decided to give it everything he had left. I tried to hang on, but he had a lot more left in the tank than I did. This is when I started running for my Coeur Sports teammates. Mile 10 was for Ruth! She asked me to smile at mile 10 for her, so I smiled and thought of how amazing, inspirational, and encouraging Ruth is. Mile 11 was for Linda and her ill grandmother (who has since passed away)! I continued to smile, but now I was thinking of both of these strong ladies. Sending them love. Mile 12 to the finish was for Lecite! Lectie was hit while riding her bike early this year and is on the road to recovery. She is strong, full of grit, determination, and tenacity. A fighter to the core. I fought the last 1.1 miles for Lectie!

And with that, the race was over! So much FUN! Spring weather! Finisher medal! One #happygirl! Now it is time to keep working hard, follow the plan, have fun, and chase dreams!

First race of 2018 is in the books! My finish time wasn’t as good as I’d hoped for, but it was better than I expected! #happygirl #mydrakerelays

Running with my four-legged fur baby!

Coach Kelly requested a post on running with your favorite fur babies, so this one’s for you Coach!

Some of my favorite runs are with my favorite girl! It fills my heart to see her so happy and have so much fun! The world is her playground!

Running with my favorite girl along the lake!

Before running with Basil, we went on MANY walks to teach her commands that we wanted her to know before actually running with us. We did some of these walks on leash, and others off leash. Teaching her to follow commands both on leash and off leash were important to us for her safety, because we want to let her off leash to run when it is safe. Sure, she isn’t always perfect and sometimes forgets her listening ears, but she’s right where we want her approximately 95% of the time. Here are some commands your dog should know before he/she runs with you:

  1. When coming up to an intersection, I give Basil the command for the direction I intend to go: left, right or forward (straight sounds too much like right). She knows these commands well and instantly goes in the direction given.
  2. We do a fair amount of running on the streets against the flow of traffic, so it is important for Basil to heel when a vehicle is coming toward us. We have trained her to run on our left when she is heeling so that she is not in harms way of oncoming traffic.
  3. When we are running and there is something that Basil finds appealing (another runner going in the opposite direction, a child, a rabbit, a squirrel), I tell her to “leave it.” When given this command, she typically leaves whatever it is that has appealed to her. This is a command we frequently use in the house as well when we drop human food and don’t want her to snatch it up.
  4. Since we often run on the street, it is important for her to know “up” and “off” when we have to get “up” on the curb, or back “off” the curb and onto the street.
  5. When we come up on a busy intersection, I tell Basil to “stop” and “wait” until it is safe for us to cross the busy intersection. Sometimes I have her sit to wait until it is safe for us to cross. This allows me to focus on watching the passing traffic instead of needing to watch Basil. Once it is clear for us to cross the road, I tell Basil to “cross” so she knows it is safe to cross the street.
  6. There are some places where we run that I let Basil off leash letting her run free. We have a few parks, golf courses (in the winter), gravel roads and trails where Basil can run off leash. When she is running free, I have such a #happyheart watching her. Pure joy! But this also means that she needs to know when to “come back” to me when called. Sure she chases after squirrels, rabbits, and the occasional deer…she’s a Labrador, but she always “comes back” grinning from ear to ear!
Running through the golf course with Basil and her friend, Stella!

Through routine, consistency, and LOTS of treats (which are really just dog food kibbles), Basil is one of the best running partners ever!

A Lesson in Patience

While I have completed every distance from 5K to marathon and from sprint triathlon to IRONMAN, I still have room for growth…I lack patience.  Especially when I can’t train/race because of an injury. Yes…I did it again…I am injured. Thankfully this is a minor injury and it is the offseason, so I have time to properly heal up strong before Ironman Wisconsin training officially starts.

As an 8th grade science teacher, I extinguish my stores of patience during the school days.  As a result, when it comes time for my endurance sport, I am not as patient as I could/should be.  Endurance sport is my stress relief.  When I can’t train and race, I get more anxious and stressed.

I have been fighting a minor knee injury (Pes Anserine Bursitis), which was most likely caused by my exceptionally tight left hamstring. Like every time I am fighting an injury, this too has been a lesson in patience.  Healing from injuries generally takes time…I don’t like how much time healing takes.  When I am injured, I want to have immediate results…heal me now and get me back out the door.

Normally I would be totally happy being told that I have to ride my bicycle or swim and strength train, but because I can’t run pain free, that seems to be all I want to do. UGH! Thankfully Dr. Chris is treating on my leg with ART (Active Release Therapy) and trying to get me back to full speed.

This rehab is the best there is!
This rehab is the best there is!

So what does one do when she is forced to swim and ride her bicycle? Work on getting stronger, find #bikelove, find #swimlove and proper recovery 🙂

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Enjoying the outdoor riding before the snow starts to fly
Functional strength training
Functional strength training
Basil was my coach and cheer squad as I was inspired by all of the athletes racing IMKona
Basil was my coach and cheer squad as I was inspired by all of the athletes racing IMKona
#swimlove with lots of #heartandcourage these days
#swimlove with lots of #heartandcourage these days
Date night with the Iron Hippie as we work on our strength training
Date night with the Iron Hippie as we work on our strength training using TRX
Lots of #bikelove these days
Lots of #bikelove these days
Finding some motivation with my #IMWI finisher medal and race bib on the wall next to me as I ride
Finding some motivation with my #IMWI2011 finisher medal and race bib on the wall next to me as I ride in my Coeur Sports racing kit
Soaking up some vitamin D in the backyard
Soaking up some vitamin D in the backyard
Basil likes to help me foam roller
Basil likes to help me foam roller
Lots of #heartandcourage as I heal up
Lots of #heartandcourage as I heal up
Not exactly the time trial test I was hoping for, but it gives me something to work toward during this cycling block.
Not exactly the time trial test I was hoping for, but it gives me something to work toward during this cycling block.
I'm being coached by my favorite four-legged fur baby.
I’m being coached by my favorite four-legged fur baby.
It was a cool day to ride outside, but I still managed to work up a sweat!
It was a cool day to ride outside, but I still managed to work up a sweat!
Finding some motivation from my Coeur Sports Kona tri shorts and my Ironman Boulder finisher's shirt!
Finding some motivation from my Coeur Sports Kona tri shorts and my Ironman Boulder finisher’s shirt!
#bikelove
#bikelove
Nothing better than spending time with this guy on two wheels outdoors!
Nothing better than spending time with this guy on two wheels outdoors!

Since I am not allowed to run for a while, I’ve decided to do some block training to get me through the offseason. This is not something I’ve done before, but I am actually looking forward to it. For the next 4 weeks, I’ll have a bike focus. I won’t skimp on the strength training, and I’ll have a swim or two, but the main focus will be on cycling. I’m excited to see my FTP results at the end of this 4 week bike focus 🙂

How do you speed up your recovery when injured? Have you ever done a block-focused training? If so, how did it go?

Newton Kismet Review

For the last couple of years, I have been running in the Brooks Pure Flows and the Asics Gel-Nimbus…alternating between them. Every year I like to make sure that nothing has changed with my gait, which could cause the need to switch shoes, so I recently had a shoe fit from Scott Gall at the Runner’s Flat in Cedar Falls. He had me run on the treadmill at the store while he video analyzed my gait as I ran in both the Brooks Pure Flow and the Asics Gel-Nimbus. Everything looked great in these two shoes and he recommended that I not switch out of either of them. He also said that if I was interested in adding another shoe to the rotation that he would recommend the Newton Kismet, which would be a good addition for my gait.

He had me run in the Newton Kismet a bit at the store. I was in heaven! The are lightweight, they help cushion the ball of my foot as I land, and they have an upper material that is soft and breathable. I’ve also noticed that the soft upper material prevents a lot of road dirt from getting into the shoe while I run. When running with Basil (our black lab), this is a DEFINITE bonus!!

I have run every distance in them from an easy 3 miles to 16+ miles while training and I raced in them for the Drake 1/2 Marathon a few weeks ago. I love them!!

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Admiring my Newton Kismets after a long 16 mile run with legs up a wall

I’m so excited that the Newton Kismets work so well for me, that I just ordered a second pair of these amazing shoes!!

Have you tried Newton Kismets before? Love them? Not for you?

My #FaveWorkout – Week 19

This week’s #FaveWorkout came by surprise. I was DREADING running on the dreadmill again. We had a week where the temperatures were warm, but then typical Iowa March weather returned (minus the snow thankfully) for most of last week and all of this week. Thankfully the weather was not the reason I had to run on the dreadmill Tuesday morning…the scheduled workout was…”Lucky 7s…”

1. 10 minute warm up
2. Then lock treadmill @ “x” mph and do not adjust the remainder of the workout – Should start in high zone 1/low zone 2
3. Start with 1 minute @ 6% grade
4. Then 6 min @ 1% grade
5. Then 2 min @ 5% grade
6. Then 5 min @ 2% grade
7. Then 3 min @ 4% grade
8. Then 4 min @ 3% grade
9. Then 4 min @ 3% grade
10. Then 3 min @ 4% grade
11. Then 5 min @ 2% grade
12. Then 2 min @ 5% grade
13. Then 6 min @1% grade
14. Then 1 min @ 6% grade
15. 5 minute EZ cool down

I mentally was not feeling ready for this workout, but I knew I had to quickly change my mindset if I was going to successfully conquer this workout and get myself closer to achieving big dreams. As I set the dreadmill at a 9:40 pace, I thought back to the last time I attempted this workout at this pace, I had to drop the pace to 10:00/mile instead. This made my mind go crazy and doubt crept in…will I be able to hold the 9:40/mile pace for the whole run? Climbing hills of varying grade for 42 consecutive minutes is NOT easy. Ok, Kecia…break this down…do one segment at a time. These are my thoughts and mental challenges I had to overcome throughout the run:

Hill #1…short and steep…success!
Hill #2…relatively flat…no problem!
Hill #3…this is getting a bit more difficult…I did it!
Hill #4…this one wasn’t so bad…check!
Hill #5…this is where the real challenge begins…done!
Hill #6 & #7…this is going to be a long one since I have to do it twice in a row…how much longer…oh my…please end soon…I survived!
Hill #8…think strong thoughts…think strong thoughts…I made it!
Hill #9…finally a slight reprieve…YES!
Hill #10…here we go again…another steep one…I am strong…I am tough…”Don’t Stop Believin’!
Hill #11…another easy hill…just one more short, steep hill to go…this workout is in the bag!
Hill #12…final hill…I AM STRONG…I WILL FINISH STRONG…HALLELUJAH…I successfully made it to the cool down and didn’t have to alter my pace!!

This workout was all about overcoming mental obstacles. I was completely depleted after this run…both mentally and physically. I was also completely ECSTATIC that I successfully maintained my pace and climbed 12 hills in a row!! If you want a challenge, this workout will challenge you in ways you might not expect…it will also reward you in ways you might not see coming!! 😉

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What was your favorite workout this week?

My #FaveWorkout – Week 3

If you’ve missed my #FaveWorkouts for the last two weeks, I’ve had a favorite swim workout and a favorite bike workout.

This week I’ve had a brutal cold and missed my scheduled workouts at the beginning of the week. As a result, I didn’t have many workouts to choose from for my favorite before my Friday post. So…this week’s #FaveWorkout was TRX:

I teach a 45 minute TRX class every Thursday evening. This week I decided to mix things up a bit….

TRX-Banner

Warm-up with easy squats and arm raises

Working Set:

Single-Leg Squat

Single-Leg Curtsy Lunge

Lateral Lunge

Single-Leg Squat to Curtsy Lunge to Lateral Lunge Combination move (video only shows two of the three moves, but all 3 were combined in one fluid motion in class)

Bicep Curls

Three-Way Rows

Alligator

Power Lunges (aka Runner Start)

Tricep Extensions

Chest Press

Side Squat with foot in stirup

Burpees with push-ups

Plank (on elbows or hands) hold for 1 minute

Side Plank (each side on elbows) hold for 1 minute each side

Mountain Climbers for 30 seconds

Cool Down: Static Stretching

What was your favorite workout this week?