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!

Racing with patience

We take a break from the Ironman Lake Placid training for a 1/2 marathon race report…

Saturday was my 7th time running the Drake 1/2 marathon. It is typically cold and rainy, which only adds to the “fun” of the nearly 2000 feet of climbing across the 13.1 miles. This year was different, VERY different!! We had sun, little wind, and perfect running conditions!! IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!

Before the race, I met up with two of my Coeur sisters. Hugs were the perfect way to start the day!! ❤️

Pre race hugs with my Coeur sisters!!
Coeur sisters and our amazing cheer squad!!

I lined up before the 2:00 pacer and behind the 1:45 pacer. I was hoping to finish around 1:50. Coach Kelly gave me the following race strategy, “Miles 1-4 settle in to the right effort. Miles 5-8 is about patience. Miles 9-10 is about extreme mental toughness. Miles 11-13 final chance to RUN hard! Last 0.1 celebrate!”

Trying to smile through the grit.

During the first 3 miles, I was trying to hold back and not push too hard because I knew that miles 3.5-7 are generally all uphill. I continually reminded myself to be patient through about mile 8. “Be patient. Be patient. Be patient.”

Be patient. Keep your focus. Be patient.

The hills. GAH!! They are relentless. At mile 9, I knew I had another decent size hill to climb, so I put my head down and climbed my way to the top. Stay mentally strong!

Just keep climbing!!

It was at the top of the hill at mile 9, that a spectator said, “No more hills to climb!” I mumbled under my breath, “Yeah right! I know better.” One of the other participants heard me and asked if we were really done with hills…nope…not even close. There are lots of rollers during the last 4 miles of the race.

Just put one foot in front of the other…

At about mile 11 a friend passed me and I was determined to keep her in my view for the last 2 miles. It was a challenge, but she was a good carrot to have. Run hard!!

Keep the focus and finish STRONG!! Last 0.1 mile sprint…errr… celebrate!!

Official finish time: 1:53:13 (8:39 min/mile average pace), 13 of 66 F40-44, 100 of 606 women, and 405 of 1292 overall

Overall, I am happy with my performance for this day. Sure I wish my finish time would have been faster, but I feel I did a much better job of executing this race than my 1/2 marathon a few weeks ago. I was able to generally negative split this run, keep my mental focus, and not walk up the hills (I struggled with that last year). I am pleased with the outcome and my fitness level.

Photo bomb!!
3 cheers for 3 Drake 1/2 marathon finishers!!
Celebrating by riding the Drake Bulldog!!

Let the Ironman Lake Placid training continue…

Oh Lucky Day!

Saturday I ran the St. Paddy’s 1/2 marathon with the goal of averaging an 8:30 min/mile pace over the course of 13.1 miles. When I hit mile 1, I noticed I was running a bit faster than planned, but I was feeling good and decided to go with it. Sure, I was working hard, but my goal for this year is to #explore and see what I can do, so that is exactly what I did. I knew the later part of the race would be more challenging with fatigue and that gradual climb back to the Capitol building, so I was going to ride the good feeling wave as long as I could. I didn’t negative split my run, but I am very happy with how I performed! This has me super excited for what 2019 has in store for me as I continue to #explore!

1:51:44 Official Finish time (8:32 min/mile average pace)

2nd place out of 20 in F40-44
25th place out of 50 Females
89th place out of 341 total finishers

Let’s get this party started!
2 blocks into the race…
2 blocks into the race…
Coming into the finish
That grimace coming into the finish says it all!
Not my best finisher photo, but you win some and lose some. 😉
I finished strong
So grateful to have my fave supporting me and cheering me on!!
Double medal race day at the St. Paddy’s 1/2 Marathon where I got 2nd place in my age group!

What’s Up?! – November 2017

November was full of ups and downs, but I’m choosing to remember the positives, so here they are!

Training:

I finally had a successful month of training…I met my November challenge! 10 minutes of core strength every day for the entire month + an entire month of seeing green in Training Peaks! Bonus…NO eating out + NO alcohol for the month of November = Boo-yay!

Getting stronger as I #findfaster in the water!
So much #bikelove on my longest ride since #IMMT
So grateful for these amazing people in my life + morning miles! #friendsgiving

Swim: 31,400 yards (17.84 miles)
Bike: 188 miles
Run: 75.9 miles

“Racing”:

The Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon…I ran with Tim and Robin. So much fun to run strong and with friends on a course that could definitely result in a PR some day when I’m not coming off of Ironman season!

Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

Listening to:

Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow is an interview with Susan Lacke about her book, which is a tribute to the friendship she had with Carlos. He was not only her mentor, but also her colleague, role model, friend, and a continuous fighter. “Even when you’re scared, you do the thing. You show up, face your fears, and you keep going.”

Dr. Grace Liu: How to Build a Warrior Gut, Common and Solvable Gut Issues in Athletes, and More is an interview full of loads of valuable information! I’m so happy to hear amazing things about Sound Probiotics from Dr. Grace Liu in this interview! I am a HUGE proponent of Sound Probiotics! As a middle school teacher + endurance athlete, I am constantly exposed to germs and my body is under varying forms of stress. Taking Sound Probiotics daily for over 2 years now has drastically decreased the illnesses I’ve had! I feel better + stronger + more energetic with Sound Probiotics in my corner! #soundathlete

Time to Start Planning Your 2018 Season with Lost in Transition is a great podcast reminding you to reflect on 2017 to better plan for 2018! It is important to have a healthy mix of outcome + process goals when planning for future seasons. When planning your season, you should consider the course terrain, travel, cost, community, time of year, etc.

Dog walks:

We are so lucky to have a golf course nearby that closes for the winter. Basil thinks it is her own personal playground!

Basil having fun on our evening dog walk!

Looking forward to:

Winter break! The countdown is on! We are inside 20 days until we get a much needed break + time with family! I will also be completing an BSC swim challenge the last week in December, which I am super excited + nervous about! If nerves weren’t involved, it wouldn’t be a challenge right?!

Excited for:

Racing with #heartandcourage + these empowering and inspirational Coeur Sports sisters again in 2018!

So humble + honored to have this AMAZING company and these empowering women by my side in 2018!

How was your month of November?! What are you excited for?!

2017 Season Review

If I had to sum up my 2017 season in one word, it would be FANTABULOUS! Sure it was full of ups and downs, but overall, it was SO. MUCH. FUN! Here are some of the ups and downs of my 2017 season:

Ran my way to 3rd on a hilly 10K course with a finish time of 50:32…only 1:41 off my PR (on the same course)!
So giddy! 16 watt improvement in my FTP test today means I’m over the 200 watt threshold! I never imagined I would see this day! So grateful for Coach Kelly to push me WAY out of my comfort zone and help me get stronger this season!
Not quite the race I was hoping for, but I pushed as hard as I could all the way through! Grateful the rain held off until after I finished! Another Drake 1/2 is in the books!
First long solo ride on Saturday! HUGE confidence builder!
“This is HUGE! Congrats. A back to back 4 hour ride is a great prep session for the Ironman build up. I’m so happy it went well and glad you do not back down in the face of adversity. You’ve evolved a lot as an athlete this year. I’m proud of you today. Good work.” ~Coach Kelly
The heat index was 97F with sustained winds of 22-25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph. It was a rough day! Not what we’ve trained for, but we each set a new PR since we did a new distance…
So giddy with today’s split run! 2×7 miles at sub 8:30 minute/mile pace left a HUGE smile on my face for run #2 today as I crushed my goal!!
So happy + #grateful to finally put together a pretty solid long run despite the full sun, warm temps, + high dew point. Mother Nature put up a fight, but I won Wednesday!
I’m in a big build…today (Friday) adversity had me sitting on the side of the road in tears with 10 miles to go. I had lots of thoughts and choices while sitting under the tree. I chose to get back on Mojo and continue to chase my dreams! As Coach Kelly says, “it is supposed to feel like that and that this is what it takes. :)” First solo century is in the books!
So much fun to meet my Coeur Sports teammate Saturday and cheer her on to 1st place AG as she raced in Iowa last weekend!
Turning social media friends into real friends is so much fun!
Pure joy comes when you learn new skills! Congratulations to Maggie! She stared fear in the face and won! So proud of you Maggie!
2nd place AG at the Okoboji Triathlon!
Loved meeting Coach Kelly + spending time with her and other amazing athletes at the Vermont Training Camp put on by Track Cat Fitness!
Climbing my way up App Gap in Vermont at the Track Cat Training Camp…That. Was. HARD!
Last long run before #IMMT in Stowe, Vermont…now it is time to taper and soak up all this training!
Swimming in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY
This lady is AMAZING! Meeting my Coeur Sports Teammate, Amy Farrell!
Let’s get this party started! #IMMT
So much coeur on this #IMMT course! #bikelove
Love you Ericka! Thanks for the run photo at #IMMT!
CyMan Sprint Triathlon…running my way to the finish!
Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

Thanks to Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness for helping me become #trackcatstrong this year both mentally and physically! I’m super excited to see what is in store for us in 2018!

Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Saturday we ran the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon from Indianola to Carlisle. We drove down to Carlisle, picked up our race bib and t-shirt, then loaded onto a bus that would shuttle us to Indianola where we would start the race. Thankfully, the bus stayed at the race start so we could hang out on the bus to keep warm as it was perfect weather to run, but too cool, damp, and breezy to hang around outside waiting to start.

Trying to stay warm before the start of the race!

I had some decisions to make on race morning in terms of how I was going to run. Was I going to race? Take it easy? Try for consistent pacing? After a full week of teaching + parent teacher conferences, I came down with a sore throat Friday. I loaded up on all of the vitamin C, Sound Probiotics, lysine, fluids, and healthy foods I could find. I really wanted to stave off whatever was taking residence in my body. On race morning, I felt good and ready to race, but decided it would be better for me to run with the Iron Hippie and our friend, Robin. She is diabetic and her blood sugar was higher than it should have been, so I took it upon myself to be on #bloodsugarpatrol for the rest of the morning.

We started off with what felt like an easy pace checking in occasionally with Robin to see where her blood sugar levels were at. By about mile 4, her blood sugar levels were still high, but had dropped over 100 units and were trending downward, which was excellent news! At this point, I still felt good and really strong, but I took in nutrition to stay proactive instead of potentially having to be reactive later in the race.

Getting closer to the finish with every step! If you look VERY closely, you can see Robin’s pink shirt and shoes behind the Iron Hippie!

By the 10K point of the run, Robin’s blood sugar eventually flatlined in a safe range, so she took in some nutrition. We saw what appeared to be a “petting zoo” at a farm along the trail. Shortly after this, we were “cheered” on by some cows along the side of the trail. By about mile 8 our pace started to slow a bit, I took in more nutrition, and we kept pushing on! The miles kept ticking by and went by faster than I anticipated.

Running along between miles 7 and 8 with the Iron Hippie.

By mile 10, I was starting to feel it. I’m sure the bug that had taken up residence in my body wasn’t helping, but I know the other part was the distance…this was the farthest I’d run since Ironman Mont Tremblant. This is where mind over matter really kicked in. We pushed on, all of the way to the finish line and all 3 of us crossed together. Thankfully Robin’s blood sugar was on point at the finish line!

Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

We finished in 2:05:40, which was a long way off from a PR, but it was well worth the fun with friends! This is a race that I can see us doing year after year and maybe one year setting a PR!

Who wants to be a hillbilly?!?!

2017 Racing Season

Mother Nature (errr…Global Warming) has blessed us with BEAUTIFUL weather this “winter”…weather we typically see in April and May here in Central Iowa. This beautiful weather + back rehabilitation got me thinking about my 2017 racing season. I have had WAY MORE downtime than is typical for me during this rehab process, so…I had plenty of time to plan for my 2017 racing season and register for some races. Thanks to this downtime, my 2017 racing season is taking shape! I have registered for the following races:

  1. Drake 1/2 Marathon (4/29/17)
  2. Hickory Grove Sprint Triathlon (5/21/17)
  3. Liberty Tri 70.3 (6/10/17)
  4. Okoboji Triathlon (7/15/17)
  5. Ironman Mont Tremblant (8/20/17)

I am super pumped about these races! This schedule will provide me with some opportunities to test my race day plan for long distances, but also give me some opportunities to go hard, fast, and have fun at some shorter distances!

I have also registered for a 3 day training camp in Vermont on July 27-30 with Track Cat Fitness! This training camp is 3 weeks before Ironman Mont Tremblant, so we will be extending our vacation to 4 weeks! We will be heading to the New England States before going to Mont Tremblant, Canada…visiting new places, training in new places, and having even more fun!

How is your 2017 season shaping up?