Unstructured training (break) between training

I’ve been enjoying a little unstructured time since my last race, and it’s been great to get extra sleep and decide how I’m feeling in the morning to determine what kind of workout or run I want to do. Cadence still does not sleep through the night at 19 months, and I feel like I’ll be digging myself out of this sleep deprivation hole until she graduates from high school.

My favorite runs have been with Cadence in the stroller, and I forgot how challenging that can be!  It’s so fun, but we haven’t done any high mileage together, and I think Cadence is at an age where she’s not about to fall asleep and risk the chance of missing anything. We ran 13 miles together on Saturday, which I managed to extend from our usual hour by bribing her with Cliff bar bites throughout the run.

I’ve been getting at least 45-60 min of cardio a day, as well as 3x upper body and 3x lower body strength work each week.  My legs don’t feel quite as fresh and fast as I’d like for them to be, but I have no goals this month that require for me to push hard, so I’m enjoying a little less speed and a little more baby time.

I plan to keep May unstructured and move back into training in June/July for non-goal races.  I am signed up for the Peachtree Road Race 10k on July 4, and I’m also running the San Francisco Marathon (as an elite!) on July 23.  Neither of these races are A goal races, but I want to perform well and have a good time.  There are a couple of other races that I’m considering, but nothing else on the calendar.

I will most definitely be focusing on road racing for a bit now that Gorge Waterfalls 100k is behind me.  I just don’t have the bandwidth to run on trails enough to be competitive on the technical stuff.  Plus, I really like road racing.

Based on my last race at Gorge, and my future goals, my two main areas of focus are 1. getting stronger on the hills (San Fransisco!) and 2. being mentally tough and confident.  I felt so strong for my sub 3 hour marathon in January, but it all kind of unraveled for me when I got out on the course of Gorge. But that’s how you grow. 🙂

There’s a quote by Alan Webb that I love: “Experience is something that you gain… after you need it so much.” So true, huh?

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What are you working on right now?

Going into Gorge Waterfalls 100k

I don’t know if anyone ever feels ready going into a race. I mean, I’m ready to go ahead and get this show on the road, but there are always the questions about whether I prepared enough and whether I prepared in the right ways. This course will be different than anything I’ve run lately, including my training runs, but I know that it will be beautiful, and I’ll be there with my husband and baby, so what else is there to want?
A little info about the race
I signed up for Gorge 100k because my husband said that he wanted to travel if I was going to keep signing up for races, and my coach recommended this race as one of the most gorgeous races out there. (I have the best husband in the world in case you didn’t catch that.)  From the videos and pictures I’ve seen, I think I’m in for quite a show of God’s glory!  Gorge Waterfalls 100k is a golden ticket race, meaning the top two male and top two female winners get entry into Western States 100 for 2017.  So this will be a very competitive race with everyone going for gold, but it also means that I’ll get to race with some pretty impressive runners!  The course is out and back with about 12,000 feet of elevation change.  I have read that some parts of the course are very slick and rocky, while other parts are fairly rolling and easy.  With that much elevation gain, I don’t think my legs will get bored.  🙂  The RD is James Varner, and everyone who talks about this race also says that James is a great guy.  I look forward to meeting him at the finish!
It looks like the weather will be in the 50s with a 90% chance of rain.  We are also told that the trails may be icy and snowy in parts, so might be slick!  I mostly feel bad for Cadence and Jon to have to stand outside crewing for me if the weather is so unpleasant.  Hopefully the scenery will make up for it!
How I trained
I ran a goal marathon in the middle of January, and then my coach had me cross training for about a month.  During that time, I built up my strength with weights and continued with a pretty big weight schedule until the middle of February when I started running again.  My training plan is also heavy on speedwork and weights, and that’s what I’ve been doing for a little over a month now.  I haven’t had any really big long runs, but that’s not really part of my plan.
It’s so hard to trust the process, but so far, my coach has gotten me to the start of every race in good shape for a solid run!  As a working mom, it has been hard to get in the “extras” in cross training.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I incorporate Cadence into my training as much as I can.  Most mornings, I workout solo before work, but after work, Cadence is with me so a stroller or a baby carrier are often involved.  Time is so precious, and being present with Cadence, as well as a good night of sleep, have won in this training cycle.  We’ll see how that translates to race day.  🙂
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What I packed
Everything.  Just kidding!  I have all of my race food in little ziplock bags divided by aid station.  I’ve packed a lot of Honey Stinger products and Bonk Breaker bars.  I tried on my race outfit (same thing I wore for my marathon), and packed up extras just in case.  I have a race plan written up, but I know that that may fly out the window as soon as the race starts.  I bought extra pepto bismal after what happened for the first 66 miles of the Yeti 100.  Ha!  Packing for a baby is also another challenge, so hopefully we won’t be doing any last minute shopping out there for stuff that I forgot!
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Last Thoughts on Mental Toughness
I read an article yesterday saying that the best way to help train an athlete for endurance is to toughen them up. Hands down being a mom is the best mental toughness training out there!  The guilt (working mom + training), the late nights (still not sleeping through the night), the emotions (mine and hers, ha!), the breastfeeding (yep, still breastfeeding)… and still getting out there to train and do the hard stuff.  When I start to doubt myself, I don’t have a huge log of training runs or past performances to draw from, but I do have the confidence to know that I grew a tiny human in my belly, brought her into the world, and have kept her alive and thriving.  And my reward will be to see that tiny human and my strong husband at aid stations cheering for me as I pursue one of my passions.
Thanks for all of your support on my running journey! 
What do you do to relieve race nerves?

(Un)balanced

The other day someone asked on Instagram if I have balance in my life in reference to all of my training.  I use my Instagram account as a running account, and it’s full of training pictures, but it still made me feel a little defensive.  I read the post right before I went to bed, so I went through various stages of answering this question in my head throughout the night (made possible when your baby wakes you up in the night and starts the thought process over again).

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I woke up clear headed with my answer.  No, I don’t have balance.  That’s not my goal.  If we’re honest, not many people have balance, whether they are training for crazy goals, or just trying to survive motherhood in a world that has traffic and work and grocery shopping and housework and relationships to attend to.

I don’t think there have been many stages in my life where I lived a balanced life.  I’ve always lived in extremes. I finished first in my class in high school, skipping my senior year and going to college early.  I didn’t drink before I turned 21. I was not good at math growing up, so I majored in engineering and ended up getting my masters degree in it.  I finished the masters degree in 1.5 years, while my peers took 3+ years to finish.  I married the first person who I ever went on more than three dates with.  I never missed a workout until I hired a coach and she made me so tired that I finally took rest days seriously.

Like most runners, I’m a bit A type, and I also really love to train and get stronger and faster.  So this past year of running postpartum has been a lot of work, but it has also been extremely rewarding.  I compared my Boston Marathon experience to Disney for adults.  In that case, training for my first 100 mile race and completing it was heaven.  And the feeling of satisfaction in training a little harder to get my sub-3 marathon was the icing on the cake.  While I can do it, I’m going to keep going.  I have a supportive husband and a baby who fits right in to the schedule.  It’s hard work, and I have to make sacrifices, but that’s where I am in life right now.  Unbalanced.  🙂

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Is balance one of your goals?