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!

Taper Time!

Now it's time to put on some comfy pants, have your foam roller at the ready, and get your favorite eletrolyte drink prepared as we enter... the taper zone!

When I'm training for a marathon, I look forward to tapering like no one's business. I count down the miles until I'm officially in taper and can take a break from the long long runs of peak marathon training. However, tapering like training and running marathons, is something you have to practice to get better at. It's something that I'm getting better at but I'm still not perfect at but I discovered a lot through my 10 marathons, and as I begin tapering for my 11th I thought I'd share some thoughts.

My next race will be the Colfax Marathon in Denver and will be my first race at altitude here in Coloraodo. Like the rest of my marathon training plans, I'll have a 3 week taper where I let my body fully recover before race day.

While I enter the taper madness zone, I try to keep cool and remember these things as I approach race day. 

So let's get comfy and talk about playing it cool before you rnext big race!

Trust Your Training

 - This is the hardest one especially if you didn't stick 100% to your training plan. My goal is always to try to stay as true as I can the last week of "real" training before taper. It helps me mentally as I face the next 3 weeks of dialing back the mileage with 26.2 miles ahead of me. I can always go back and remind myself of the training I did and trust that it will be enough to get my across the finish line.


- The most important part of tapering is taking care of yourself. You want to rest so you can be at peak performance level on race day and this includes getting a lot of sleep especially in the week leading up to race day. It's hard because stress dreams creep in as you approach race day and also running less might mean you are less tired and thus have some restless nights. Don't worry, just make sure to take care of yourself!

Strength Train

... a little bit. Without running taking up all of my time, I like to mix in more core workouts and some squats to make sure I can strenghten my hips and core a little bit more to give me the edge on race day. Don't over do it because taper is about letting yourself recover. Adding in a little bit helps me calm my nerves a bit as I approach the race.

Eat Right

In the weeks leading up to a race I tend to eat a little better. I skip the candy and drink lots of water. In the week before the race I try to eat more carbs, less processed sugar, and drink lots of water to make sure my body has the fuel it needs and is well hydrated before I hit the start line. Again, use common sense and take care of yourself leading up to race day!

Trust Your Training

 part 2 - I'm going to end on this piece of advice because it's THAT important. The few weeks leading up to a marathon is NOT the time to make up missed miles that you were suppose to do. Trust that your last 16+ miler will get you to the finish line and follow your training plan to a T for the weeks leading up to the race. You WILL get anxious. You WILL get restless and this is all a part of the discipline it takes to run a marathon.

The moral of the story in the weeks leading up to your race:

  • Anxiety is normal
  • Get sleep
  • Eat right
  • Trust your training

... and just take care of yourself as you approach race day! Good luck all!

Looking Forward - Finishing 2014

Hello all,

So as we look towards the end of the year and into our 2015 race calendar, it's always good to stop and reflect.

What went well this year?
What needs to be adjusted?
Is new gear worth trying?
What can make you a more confident runner in 2015?

My year, after setting a few new PRs, is unfortunately going out with a whimper. This year I ran 4 marathons, which is twice as many as I normally run and it has taken a toll on my body. My hip and knee have started hurting and I've started carrying a lot of tension in my shoulders because of it. With Avengers Half (yay!), then Dopey (yay! x4), and then Star Wars Weekend (yay! x3), taking time off completely, isn't in the cards since I'd like to finish all of these races upright.

So what's the plan? Basically, I'm going to just focus on endurance. These races will be run but not raced as I give my body time to recover a bit from the intense training I put it through this year. Also, I'm planning to work in more stretching and recovery into my routine more regularly. Recovery has always taken a backseat and again, it's showing in how my body is hurting more than usual after the training I put in this year.

Focus for the next 2 months: Put in the miles, don't worry about pace.

Once I get through January, I'll reevaluate but I'm hoping that building my endruace base will then set me up to start working in speedwork again and I can race another marathon in May of 2015.

So how is your year finishing up? What are your goals? What are your plans for 2015?

This Week (5/12-5/18)

What a week! Work was super busy and I was in my feet constantly for 3 days which was great but my calves are feeling it. My schedule dictated my runs a bit this week, between being exhausted and having to do some testing, I was on Bia time!

This week:

  • Monday: Rest Day - was on my feet all day at work coordinating the packing effort.
  • Tuesday: 3+2.4+2.2 - this was a day full of tear runs to triple check the new updates for the watches!
  • Wednesday: Rest Day - woke up with allergies or the start of a cold so didn't go for a run but was on my feet all day again at work.
  • Thursday: Rest Day - still exhausted, woke up and my calves and feet felt like I had run a marathon the day before thanks to all the walking around at work!
  • Friday: 5 easy miles - still teetering on a cold but since it hadn't snowballed yet figured a run might make me feel a bit better! It did!
  • Saturday: 3 miles - Ran to the track, did 2 3:25 800's and ran home. How do other 20 year olds work off the effects of Friday night fun? I also spent the day hanging out with friends and checking out Alcatraz!
  • Sunday: 12 miles - I really wasn't feeling it all day. I think I was dehydrated and tired. But then around 4 I finally got in my run! I also got to finish my week with #runchat on twitter which is probably my favorite thing I do each Sunday. Great people and very motivating!

Total Mileage: 27.6

It wasn't a perfect week but I got in my running and still allowed life to happen and that's what it's all about folks!

This Week (5/5-5/11)

This has been a pretty productive week! I started a new job, got a ton of other running stuff done (blog, fundraiser, some twitter fun) and I feel like I'm starting to get my head back into the game after having "marathon" brain earlier this week.

  • Monday - Rest/Travel Day - This was my last day in Rhode Island so enjoyed some Margaritas with my friend before needing to head back to the airport. I was pooped after my marathon.
  • Tuesday - Rest Day - First day at work and did some light biking (I love having a bike, first day taking on the train was a success!)
  • Wednesday - 3.5 Miles - Easy miles to shake out my legs. Surprise, surprise they are still sore.
  • Thursday - Rest - Since Wednesday's run was a little rough, decided to rest but got some biking in
  • Friday - 2.75 Miles + 4.2 Miles - Yep, 2 runs because I had to test some new watch algorithms (Have I mentioned I have the coolest job?!)
  • Saturday - 7 Miles - Easy miles on a windy/chilly evening. Legs still not feeling 100%
  • Sunday - 12 Miles - Easy miles, legs are still a little tired. I decided to see what walking quickly felt like so did a 15 min/mi walk pace for .25 miles, it was interesting but I felt impatient.

Starting a new job is always a bit stressful but I'm very optimistic about this new role! I just have to adjust my head and get into the game. Excited to take some initiative and jump in with both feet next week!