My Next Challenge - ECS Utah 50k!

Hello all!

So on the heels of my previous announcement this week, I've been getting serious about my training.

A 50k was something I had been planning to tackle this year but then a hip injury sidelined me after my last marathon and as I started training for the Dumbo Double Dare I was going to take it easy. Fast forward to last week and here we are - I'm signed up for my first 50k! Not only is a 50k but it's in Park City, Utah, in the mountains and it's a part of an awesome series of races hosted by North Face called the Endurance Challenge Series.

The Park City,Utah race boasts:

"The North Face Endurance Challenge Series expansion into the “mountain” region of United States at Park City Mountain Resort, located 20 miles outside of Salt Lake City. This race course will not only start at the highest elevation within the North America series at 7,000 feet but it will also climb to the highest elevation of 10,000 feet." 

These races aren't for the faint of heart.

Luckily, I'm in Boulder so I'm already acclimated to 5,000 ft of elevation and I'm surrounded by awesome trails to train on and get use to hill climbing and trail running.

However, the kicker is that I sign up with ONLY 13 weeks to train. Eep!

I know - this is kind of insane, but as long as I can keep injury free, I know I can do this!

Also, you know what's the best running motivation EVER? Signing up for a race that terrifies you. I remember my main motivation when training for my first marathon was - "I need to run now, so I don't die on race day", and I didn't mean "die" metaphorically, I meant that quite literally.

I've found some great training plans online and I'm also reading 2 books, Relentless Forward Progress  by Bryon Powell and Hal Kroerner's Field Guide to Ultrarunning by Hal Kroerner. These 2 books are chock full of great information and great training plans.

My biggest weakness right now is that I'm about 6-10 weeks behind where I should be according to these training plans. I have a decent base but really I'm jumping into this late which is both terrifying and invigorating!

I've been hitting the trails the past 2 weeks, with today's run clocking in at 13 miles and ~2,000 ft of elevation climb. My pace is okay. I feel okay. But still - this is terrifying.

I am comforted by the fact that these plans tend to peak around 50 miles a week which is where my marathon training usually gets me to, so I know I can handle the mileage volume. The thing that's different about these plans though is that unlike the Hal Higdon plan I normally follow where Saturday is a medium-long run and Sunday is the long run, these plans flip that. I'm assuming this is to get ultrarunners use to running on fatigued legs (still reading the books though so I'm still learning).

So with all that said, I'm BEYOND excited to tackle this challenge with my #BibRavePro teammates and push myself to a new limit. There is no "right" or "sane" time to run an ultra, you just have to jump in! Also, I'm sure the mountains of Utah will be gorgeous in late September and at that elevation the views will be breath-taking.

Pushing yourself and seeing beautiful new places, that's what running is all about!

So with that -

Have you run an ultra? What advice can you give? What's your next challenge?

Let me know in the comments!

Happy running!

Inspired to tackle your own ultra run? Here's a discount for 3 of the Endurance Challenge Races use BIBRAVE15 to get 15% off the WisconsinOntario or Utah (w/ me!) races!

Happy Marathon Monday!

I LOVE Boston Marathon Day! It's one of the best days of the year because it's the day that reaffirms everything I love about running and the running community.

From the female battle at the finish that had my eyes tearing up, to Meb crossing cheering on a fellow runner, and to a Boston bombing victim reclaiming the course with an amputated lower leg. This is amazing stuff!!!

I always feel so inspired and ready to hit the ground running. I still want to get to that start line. 2 years ago I promised I'd be at the start line by 2017 and either through my own power or through a charity group, I will uphold that promise. I'm chomping at the bit to earn my own unicorn medal.

I have my last long run before tapering for my next marathon and after watching the females push to the very end and Rotich's final surge to win first place I have a new mantra -- fight to the finish. Those ladies fought HARD to the finish this year.

No matter how fast or slow you are the marathon is a beast you must fight to tame it and train to earn your times. I will fight to the finish at my next race and push myself to achieve what I know I can do - a Boston Marathon qualifying time.

Congrats to all the finishers, you are my inspiration!

WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - Marathon and Dopey Finish

Day 4, here we go!

Woke up feeling tired but had taken it super easy the day before so my legs felt tired but not worn out and I was ready to run this marathon. I had already decided that if my body felt good in the first 5 miles then I would take it up a notch and really try to race this bad boy. It had been awhile since I had set a course PR here and I wanted to see what I could do.

This was my 5th time running this marathon and my experience and increased endurance showed this time around. But I’ll get to all that.

Woke up, threw on my clothes and was on a bus just after 4am. Met up with my Australian friends and we made our way to the corrals. It was chilly but a good running temp (~50) and I was excited to run. We got into corral E and chatted and stretched until it was time to go. Carissa and Rudy were great announcers as always as we impatiently waited for our turn. We were in corral E again and they efficiently moved through the corrals and we were sent off about 10 minutes after the official clock time.

The beginning of the course is the same as the half marathon and the characters in this part were identical to the day before. I decided I was feeling good so I said goodbye to my friends around mile 2 and kept going. Made it up to the castle and it was just as beautiful, really it never gets old.

We then wound around seeing similar characters out as the half and then were back out on the roads. We made our loop around the race track (which is super cool) and then started the journey to Animal Kingdom. It was around here that my legs started feeling sore but not sore enough to slow me down, so I grabbed some Tylenol to help my . We looped through that park and then started the slightly longer journey to Wild World of Sports (WWoS) where it is endless looping. They fit about 2.5 miles into WWoS and you just… keep… running around. It’s a bit nutty. During this part I got some pics with characters I'd never gotten before.

We finally broke free of WWoS and made our way to Hollywood Studios and the final stretch of the race. I LOVE the final miles of the WDW Marathon. I would go as far as to say it’s the BEST last 5k of any marathon I’ve ever run. You run through the studios, then the Boardwalk/Beach/Yacht area, and then through Epcot. People are cheering the whole way and there are so many distractions and it’s just great and gives you a nice burst of adrenaline to kick it up for the last stretch.

My legs were tired but not completely gone so I just kept pushing, I was on pace to come well under 4 hours and I was thrilled about that. I was about to SMASH my previous course PR of 4:11. The final mile turned into my victory lap. Picked up some magic from the Fairy Godmother just before mile marker 25, waved to the crowed, waved to the pricesses, grabbed a hug from Duffy, and then set off on the last .25 mile or so to the finish!

We wove through the final turns and there it was, the finish line. I was ecstatic. I ran across with a goofy looking grin with an official time of 3:48:22.  I had not only set a new PR but done so by 23 minutes and beaten my previous Dopey marathon time by a little over a half hour. Crazy!

I had a blast at the marathon this year. Not only did a set a course PR but stopped for pictures and really just had a blast out there. I really fell in love with the WDW Marathon course all over again and also felt invigorated by completing the Dopey Challenge on such a strong note. I really proved to myself how far I’ve come this year and a little bling never hurt either.

The Dopey Challenge is a uniquely challenging experience and, I think I’m hooked. Last year’s Dopey Challenge left me drained but this year I faced the challenge as a stronger more confident runner and LOVED it. I cannot wait to push myself further next year and do it again!

Cheers until next time runners!

WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - Half Marathon

I woke up ready to run! I was so ready to be unleased from the Epcot area routes from the previous 2 days and actually go somewhere. I felt like a bird that was ready to fly! Get me to the castle pronto!

My legs were starting to get a little tired but it was the 2 previous early mornings that were sucking most of my energy. Today’s plan was similar to the ay before. Enjoy the run and stop for pictures when we wanted to.

For anyone that hasn’t run the WDW Half Marathon or Full Marathon or the Princess Half Marathon, be aware there is a walk (~.3 miles) to the actual corrals. The path to get to the corrals can be pretty crowded too so it can be a slow pace. Give yourself time. Also, there are LOTS of port-o-potties once you get over to the corral area. That’s the one thing runDisney does really well. They have port-o-potties EVERYWHERE! It’s a runner’s dream.

Anyways, back to it. We walked over to the corrals made one potty stop and then headed into corral E. I had tried to figure out how quickly the early corrals would be released but couldn't really find the information so I figured maybe every 5 minutes. I was wrong, it was closer to 2. We were released about 10 minutes after corral A.

This course has become very familiar to me, you run around Epcot on the roads and then up to the Magic Kingdom, going through the parking toll booths, and then through the TTC parking lots. This is where the characters usually begin. (See below for a “complete as I can remember” list of characters)

Once you run through the TTC you run up the roads, under the water bridge that connect Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, pass the Contemporary, and enter the backstage areas of MK just after mile marker 5 (ps the largest building in the back of that area is where the outdoor ice cream carts get their ice cream, imagine all the Mickey Bars back there!). You enter the town square near Tony’s and then turn right up Main St. BAM! The castle in all its icicle/frost/frozen glory. So beautiful.

Once you run up Main St you take another right, over the bridge to Tomorrowland and then hang a left into Fantasyland. Through the castle and then another right into Liberty Square. Through Fronteirland and then backstage where there is usually a parade float (now an old parade float) and a water stop. You then head back out onto the roads passing the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian and then take those roads back to Epcot. A quick jaunt up to World Showplace and then back out to the parking lot (passing the gospel choir) for the finish!

Characters on the course:

  • Jack Sparrow and Capt Barbossa – Pirate Ship set up as you run to the Magic Kingdom toll booth
  • Vanellope and Wreck-It Ralph – Magic Kingdom parking lot (near race track)
  • Jack Skellington and Sally – Magic Kingdom parking lot
  • Queen of Hearts – MK near Tea Party
  • Mime Thug (Tangled) – Near Winnie the Pooh
  • Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff – On Castle balcony
  • Louis (Princess and the Frog) – Liberty Square across from Hall of Presidents
  • Woody – Frontierland Country Bear Jamboree entrance (I think)
  • Mary Poppins, Bert, and Penguins – Grand Floridian
  • “Bachelors” – Across from the wedding pavilion
  • Golfing Goofy – Golf Course (I believe Mickey and Donald also made appearances)
  • Genie, Abu, and the Carpet – Past hotels on the way back to Epcot where parking lot roads merge
  • Army Men – Turn around point before coming into Epcot parking lot
  • Phineas and Ferb – Epcot near Innoventions

We ran it in 2:18 and enjoyed every minute. The half marathon distance is nothing to sneeze at but we chatted and laughed and had a great time out there and that’s what it’s all about!

WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - 5k (aka the race where my feet went numb)

So as you probably already know because you were either there or read on social media, the 5k was cold. Like really cold. For anyone who has visited WDW when it’s cold, 30 degrees feels waaay colder in WDW than anywhere else. There was wind. There was cold. There was darkness.

My dad and I got ready and headed to the bus around 4:30. We waited for a little bit and then hopped right on and were at the race in no time. We then followed the huddled masses to the main area where normally everyone is dancing, laughing, chatting, and taking pictures but not this time. It looked like a barren waste land in front of the DJ because everyone was huddled around buildings to keep warm.

My dad and I decided to brave the cold in search of coffee and came across the massage tent which they had opened up for people to keep warm in. This was amazing and thank you so much runDisney!!! We never did find that coffee though.

The start of the race was at 6:15 and my dad and I were starting in corral F, the very last corral. We waited until about 6 to go to our corral and then tried to huddle close to others but the wind just whipped into the group and we froze. This year they had changed where the start line was and honestly, I thought it was fine. Lining up there was fine. I don’t really see a large advantage but if runDisney thinks it works better than I’ll defer to their judgment since it didn’t really change my race experience.

Since we had to wait for all the other corrals we didn’t get to cross the start until just before 7 and so it was a very long and cold hour of just standing there. My legs were stiff and my feet completely numb by the time we started. I actually let my hair down to keep the back of my neck warm which is big for me!

When we got to the first mile marker, my feet were starting to thaw as we walked at a fairly fast clip. The best part of the 5k is the sunrise in Epcot. It is just beautiful looking over World Showcase lagoon and seeing the sun peaking up. Beautiful!

Characters on the course included:

  • Princess Atta (It's a Bug's Life) - Before the cast parking lot
  • Daisy Duck - Norway
  • Pinocchio - Italy
  • Chip and Dale - Japan
  • Marie - France
  • Donald Duck - Canada

How cute?!

We didn’t stop for characters, in hindsight I wish I had waited in line for Chip and Dale in Japan but I was just too cold! They changed the course slightly this year and I thought it was nice. No better or worse that the old course that looped us up to the very front of the park rather than through Future World West.

We crossed in 48:51 and then hurried over to our very long bus line. More waiting in the cold. But the bus team assembled and got more buses working on the Pop Century/Art of Animation loop and we never had a problem for another race. Kudos!

A New Year, A New Beginning

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2014, hello 2015! I'm so ready for a new year. I'm so ready for new adventures. I'm just so ready!

Today I'm driving across the Rockies to start the year off in a new state, Colorado! Wookie (my boyfriend) and I are moving to Boulder to start fresh and to live in a new place. We are excited for all the amazing things that Colorado has to offer. Snowboarding, snow sports, trails, hiking, mountains, open spaces, lower state income tax, seasons, lower rents, and hopefully a better work life balance.

It's also the time of year to start thinking about what we want new in 2015. For me:

  • Hike up a mountain (14k)
  • Finish a 50k - I've been obsessing about this for awhile
  • Attempt to qualify for Boston! I'm so close!
  • Take the GMAT. Getting an MBA is somewhere in my future
  • Read more! I got a new Kindle on Black Friday so I'm hoping to use it more.



My final resolution is to craft 50 items this year which I will blog about. I took up crocheting in the last couple months and it's super fun! I want to keep learning other crafts and trying out new things. Next year I'll craft 50 things (~1 per week) and I'll blog about it. I'm a crafty runner you know :)

So that's what I want from 2015, what are you looking forward too?