Ragnar Hill Country Ultra

This weekend, I had the honor of running Ragnar Hill Country Ultra on the trails of Flat Rock Ranch with some of the best teammates one could ask for!

I went into this race having NEVER run trails before.  EVER.  As clumsy and prone to injury I am, I just couldn’t risk injuring myself for a race of this nature when I have my Boston qualifying attempt at Houston coming up next.  I’m literally down to the wire and have ZERO time for injury rehab!  OK….no, I am not that responsible.  Brent banned me from trails! LOL

I picked up teammate Renegade Kelly at the airport on the way to San Antonio and we were off on our adventure!!  We met up with Renegades Brent and Tim (and girlfriend, Madison) to eat dinner at a local restaurant that had an ahhhhhhmazing on-tap beer selection!  I had difficulty deciding what to pick!  After we stuffed ourselves with fabulous food and tasty beer, we went to turn in early for a good night’s sleep.

OF COURSE I took Kelly to Buc-ee's!! It's a mecca!
OF COURSE I took Kelly to Buc-ee’s!! It’s a mecca!

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After breakfast at IHOP on Friday (NO, that is NOT on the metabolic efficiency diet plan!), we were on our way to Flat Rock Ranch in Comfort – basically the middle of nowhere!  We unloaded all our gear, picked a campsite and went to work setting everything up.  We had plenty of time to get things set up and eat lunch in Ragnar village before our check-in and safety briefing.  Kelly and I even had time to go shopping in the Ragnar store and score some sweet gear!  Afterwards, we all went back to chill at camp until our 3:30 PM team start.img_2206

Tim had this awesome flag made for our campsite and for future RE events!!
Tim had this awesome flag made for our campsite and for future RE events!!

Ragnar Trail runs have 3 loops.  The loops must be run in order: Green, Yellow, Red for a team total of 24 loops.  Since our team was an ultra team, we decided to run 2 laps back-to-back so that we would only have to go out three times versus six.  This would give extra recovery time between laps.  Tim was first up for the Green and Yellow loops; I was our second leg and my first outing would be Red and Green loops; Kelly was to be third and Brent was our anchor leg.

Tim is an incredibly fast runner and before we knew it, he was back at transition and it was my turn to go out!  The Red loop was supposedly the most difficult, although I think that distinction was mostly due to the fact that the Red loop was the longest at 7.6 miles.  I tried to keep my heart rate in check at the beginning, but it was basically impossible.  This trail had an overall elevation increase of 958 feet and the biggest part of that was rocky terrain.  I was so relieved when I finally passed the 5 mile mark and the trail started going mostly downhill AND I was able to run some flat, even-ish trails – which really helped my pace.  I came through transition to my teammates cheering me on and went out immediately to run the Green loop.  OH MY-LANTA!   The Green loop was easier in ways, but harder in others.  I’m not going to lie – I walked up part of the first hill, which was on a stinking gravel road!  This trail had more grassy, flat trail in it, but there were also some technical parts that were steeper and more rocky than the Red loop!  The temps on the Red loop were fairly warm, but by the time I got on the Green loop the sun was starting to set and I could feel the cooler air in the low-lying areas.  It was fun and fast, though, and before I knew it, I was in transition again, handing off to Kelly so she could start our third leg.  The only thing that I disliked about this run was having to keep my head down so much to avoid tripping.  When I was able to look up, the views were breathtaking.  I LOVE the Hill Country!!  I was pleased, overall, with my run.  I ran the 10.45 miles in 1:52 at a 10:44 pace.  I was hoping to run closer to 10:00 pace, but I knew going in that was a lofty goal!  Now it was time to try to get some rest and wait on my next leg.img_2210

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As soon as the sun went down, so did the temps!  I had checked the forecast and knew that temps were supposed to get down into the mid 40s, but it seems so much colder when you are actually out in it!  I crawled into my sleeping bag and was finally able to get somewhat warm.  It seemed as if I had just drifted off to sleep when it was time to get up and get ready for my next leg.  My go-to pre-run nutrition since starting on this Metabolic Efficiency journey is UCAN, however, I ate a banana with peanut butter for this outing.  By this time, I was FREEZING, because temps were really starting to dip, so I went down to the village to hang out by the camp fire until Tim came in.  And before I knew it, I was off on my second leg at 12:04 AM!  This leg would be my longest run at around 12.5 miles.  I would be running the Yellow loop (which was home to the highest point in the race) and the Red loop (AGAIN).  The temps were right in my perfect run zone!  I do much better when temps are in the low 40s, plus there was no sun!  The Yellow loop was pretty much a continuous climb for the first half of the loop.  It was a technical trail but, of course, the cover of darkness made it more difficult.  I had to slow down more often than I did on my first leg because I wasn’t willing to risk a bad fall.  Every time I came across a rocky ascent or descent, my mantra was: Boston.  I made it through the Yellow loop, only tripping on a tree root once but I caught myself with my hands so I felt like I was #winning !!  I celebrated too quickly.  The Red loop BEAT ME UP!  My legs were getting tired from trying to stabilize my feet and body on the uneven terrain and this loop had more (or seemed to have more) tree roots on it.  I fell three more times and EVERY TIME was due to tree roots!!  I was only passed by the super-ultra-guy-runners and I passed A LOT of people – so many were walking.  I came back into transition a little battered and bloody, but I was actually proud of that dirt and blood!  This leg was a little slower, but faster than I had anticipated while I was out on the trail.  I ran 12.53 miles in 2:25 with an 11:36 average.  I wasn’t *as* happy with it, but I was glad that my pace was under 12:00.

This was at the highest point in the race on the yellow loop. I stole this pic because I went by it in the dark! The wooden nickel could be redeemed for a shot of whiskey but I never had my nickel when I was in the village, so it is now a souvenir.
This was at the highest point in the race on the yellow loop. I stole this pic because I went by it in the dark! The wooden nickel could be redeemed for a shot of whiskey but I never had my nickel when I was in the village, so it is now a souvenir.

After stopping at the medic tent to get my wounds cleaned and antibiotic ointment applied, I grabbed clean clothes and went to find a half-way clean port-o-potty in which to change.  Of course, I was dripping with sweat and my body was cooling down and I was shivering.  It was SO COLD.  So cold, that while I was scrubbing the dried blood off my leg in the port-o-potty, there was STEAM coming off my skin.  After I cleaned myself up, I crawled into my sleeping bag and NEVER GOT WARM.  I shivered and froze the rest of the night.  I was SO MISERABLE.  I HATE being cold.img_2219

Finally, the sun started to rise and I knew it would soon be time for me to go out for my third and final leg.  Kelly and I got up and went on the hunt for coffee.  But something was wrong.  During my second leg, I could tell my right psoas was overworked and I could feel it when I was on the trail.  It was a little cranky when I finished, but I had hoped that some rest would help it.  Nope.  The more I walked around; the worse it got.  Tim was out running, and could come in at any moment.  Brent had gone to his car to charge phones and I confided in Kelly that I was really, really scared.  She tried to put a positive spin on it, but I knew how my left side felt back in the Spring, how bad it got because I continued to run Ragnar road on it, and how LOOOOONG it took to recover.  I DO NOT have any recovery time.  We walked back to camp with our coffee and I sat down in a chair and started crying.  I was so scared.  I felt SO BAD.  I didn’t know what to do.  I knew that if I ran any of my last 8 miles, that I would be kissing any chance at a BQ goodbye.  And I felt that by *not* running my 8 miles, I would be letting my team down.  Major bummer.  As soon as Kelly realized how concerned that I was, she told me she would run my 8 miles….BOTH loops.  I knew I couldn’t let her do that (she still had 10 miles of her own), but she insisted on running my 3.  She went to tag off with Tim and I went to find Brent to tell him what was going on.  When I filled him in, he asked if I would feel better if he ran my 5 miles…..at this point I was just trying to hold back the tears.  I felt so relieved not to be running that last leg because I knew it was the right decision but at the same time I felt so guilty that my teammates had to pick up my slack and yet again, at the same time, my heart was so full because they were willing to do what they could to help me protect my chance at qualifying for Boston.

Kelly was pretty worn out when she got back from last leg (Brent was out running the last 2 loops) so Tim and I packed up camp while she sat and recovered with food, food and more food.  We loaded everything up and all we had to do at that point was wait for Brent so we could run the finish in with him!  When we ran the finish, I knew that the decision to sit out my last leg was the right call because my psoas was cranky and irritable after running less than .10 mile.  Knowing that still didn’t help my ego and my pride deal with the situation – I felt really, really badly about it.

We *may* have consumed beer while Brent was running the last leg.
We *may* have consumed beer while Brent was running the last leg.

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We went to have our picture made with our medals, then got Brent to his car so he could make the trek home.  Kelly and I headed to Austin, where we were staying for the night and Tim….Tim had to find his keys before he was able to leave.  Thankfully, they had been found and turned in!  Before Kelly and I left out, I had to use my medal to do a bit of surgery on my knee…..I had a piece of skin that was hanging and I could not get it off.  It is true that Ragnar medals are multi-purpose tools! img_2251

We found out on Sunday that we took 7th overall out of all the Ultra teams and 3rd in our division of Mixed -Sub Masters, which was VERY exciting!!  Words can’t express the amount of love and admiration I feel for my teammates for stepping up and taking my slack.  It STILL causes me to tear up!  And the GREAT news is that my psoas isn’t giving me any problems at the moment.  I am still struggling with that decision, but I know it was the right one.  I’m so thankful that I didn’t suffer a set-back on this journey.  img_2295

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I have been feeling called to the trails for quite some time and this weekend, they stole my heart.  I WILL be back on the trails, but they will have to wait until after I run Houston Marathon.  Now my only focus is getting ready for that race – with all my rest days aka free time this week, I have had several mini freak-outs!  When I start working out again (TOMORROW!!!), I am going to simply focus on each workout and execute it the best that I can.

My *goalz* are making me uncomfortable

As usual, I’ve been meaning to write a post, but just haven’t had the time.  I just realized my last post was about Ragnar, which was wayyyyy over a month ago!

I’m still focused on my word of the year: uncomfortable, and I think I’m doing a fairly good job keeping myself on my toes….

Swim Update

Apparently, Dori finally found her fins (somewhat).  My first swims were terrible.  I can’t even imagine how painful it must have been for anyone else who had the unfortunate luck to be near the pool at the same time as me those first few swims.  I didn’t give up, though! Thanks to the guys at the pool who have taken me under their wings, I have made marked improvement which is DIRECTLY related to their tips.  Don’t get me wrong….I still have a LONG way to go.  I know this because I had Alli film me today when we went to the pool, and there is still a lot of work to be done.  But I am very happy with the fact that I can even swim 500 or 1,000 yards at once, regardless of the speed.

Running has been a pain in my psoas

Considering I haven’t updated since Ragnar, I should probably update on the psoas (aka hip flexor).  The psoas is directly responsible for lifting the femur during walking and running – believe me when I say it is a VERY  important muscle!  I have had some yucky injuries, but given the choice, I would choose a stress fracture over psoas trouble every time.

Right after Ragnar, I went to get a massage.  When I got up from the table, I knew that was a huge mistake.  OK…..I knew it was a mistake before I went but I did it anyway.  The MT really irritated a nerve in my glutes, which were over-worked from trying to pick up Mr. Psoas’ slack…..I could barely walk when I got up off the table.  That added some days to the recovery, for sure.

I had registered for Skyline Half Marathon, which was just 2 weeks after Ragnar.  I knew immediately that I had no chance of running it, nor did I want to.  I have some BIG goals (which I’ll announce later in this post) and I need to be as close to 100% as possible if I have a chance to reach them.

During the 2 weeks after Ragnar, all I did was bike and swim.  My coach had already built in a week of nothing after Skyline.  Despite my efforts, I couldn’t sway him to let me run….which was smart, by the way…(but he did add in a couple of bike workouts for me. 🙂

I started running again the second week of May and just this week have started feeling that I might fully recover.  All 3 of my runs this week have had minimal recovery and I haven’t noticed very often that my psoas is even there….which is really good news!

Goalz

A few months ago, I let my coach talk me into running a 50 miler.  Honestly, I was starting to get excited about it (there were 4 guys and me from my club ), but I had another idea that I just couldn’t shake.  I KNOW I can run a 50 miler, with the right training.  This other idea, though…. I am so close to being able to snatch it. But even with the right training, I could still fall flat on my face.  These 2 things – the 5oM and my idea – were on the opposite ends of the training spectrum.  The 50M is mostly endurance based and my other idea….well it is mostly speed with some endurance built in.

After A LOT of discussion with my coach, I decided to back out of the 50M to focus solely on this goal, which is <drum roll>……to qualify for Boston.  The timing of the 50M was terrible – with the training and then a month’s recovery after, I wouldn’t have had time to properly prepare for BQ attempt.  I couldn’t shake the feeling in my gut that it just wasn’t the right time.  My mantra became, “don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.”  This was instrumental in helping me choose my path.  I remember telling Brent that I couldn’t have anything to blame, except me, in the event I don’t qualify.  The 50M would have been a HUGE excuse.  This has to all be on ME.  Like I said, I don’t even know if I will qualify.  I do believe that I can get close, but there are so many variables on any given day.  It scares me to death but is exciting at the same time!

I’ve only told a handful of people about this BQ attempt.  I feel weird (ok…scared beyond belief) even talking about it in this blog.  I don’t want to be one of those people that ramble on and on about their BQ attempt ad nauseam.  I seriously debated about putting it out there at all, because if I fail…..well, you know.  I mean, who wants to put a goal out there then fall flat on their face??  (Hint: Not me)  But I decided that putting it out there will give me some accountability….just like the removing the 50M as an excuse….I need accountability.

The Road to Boston (Gosh, I’m so corny)

My first marathon of the season will be in Rochester, NY, in September.  I had originally chosen it because Brent instructed me to choose a ‘hilly’ marathon during that time frame to prep for the 50M.  It worked out perfectly because my Sole Sister, Jenn, just happens to be running her FIRST marathon in that VERY race!!  I am BEYOND excited that I will be there with her when she becomes a marathoner!!  This isn’t my BQ race, though.  OH MY GEEZ!!!!  The elevation is at least 3 times anything I’ve ever run in Texas!  I am just hoping to clock a decent time and get an idea where I stand for the “REAL” attempt, speaking of….

The “REAL” attempt will be at Houston Chevron Marathon in Houston in January.  January is a looooooooong time away!!  In reality, this will be broken up into a couple of training cycles.  Technically, I’m training for Roc right now, but I’m focused on my first triathlon (a sprint) that I will run at the end of July.  This distraction is good for Jen, mentally.  After Roc, I’m running Ragnar Hill Country Ultra with some bad asses from my club, Renegade Endurance.  (By the way, YOU should join and make sure that you tell them Jen sent you!!)  After that, I suspect we will scale the training back to build up to Houston.  My max training cycle is 4 months….anything over that starts to kill me mentally and physically.  Plus, there is an excitement in starting a new training cycle. (Or maybe that can be attributed to the fact that the training load is scaled back! LOL)

What if Jen falls flat on her face?

I have no idea.  I’m not even going to consider it right now.  Even if all my training lines up perfectly, race day can still be a bust.  You just never know what the race will throw at you.  I know I’m going to put my whole heart and body into training and hope for the best when I toe the start line.

And there you have it…

The cat is out of the bag and there’s no going back!  Now I need to play it smart until I get this psoas totally under control so that it doesn’t derail ALL my hopes and dreams.  (Sadly, I was only half-joking there…)

OH!!  SCHOOL IS OUT FOR THE SUMMER!  I SURVIVED!!!

Have a great weekend!!

Jen

Ragnar: The Adventures Outside of the Race

Ragnar weekend simply had too much going on to capture in one post.  I try not to be to wordy (SERIOUSLY, I try) and hitting all the highlights of the weekend would have made yesterday’s post too long.  Plus, I can’t focus on that much info at once.  #ADHDProbs

I started out the trip with my Shiner. #likeaboyscout #alwaysprepared
I started out the trip with my Shiner. #likeaboyscout #alwaysprepared

Fredericksburg: Just drink beer

When we arrived in Fredericksburg early Thursday evening, there wasn’t much time to do anything except drink beer and eat.

In Fredericksburg, it is legal to walk around drinking.  When this was discovered, Dara and I had to buy a beer to drink while we searched for a restaurant.

Always a good beer to start out on.
Always a good beer to start out on.

I can’t even remember what I ate.  I remember it was some pizza joint and I didn’t have pizza, but for the life of me I can’t remember what I ordered.  I’ll blame it on the beer.

My RE bunch stalked me on Facebook and caught up with me at the pizza place….so much fun and it was the first time for me to meet many of them.  I look forward to the next time we meet so that I can hopefully spend more time talking to everyone! 😉

I may not have taken a picture of my food, but I took a picture of my next beer.  Sadly, I can’t remember what it was, either, although I am fairly certain it was also a porter….I do remember that it was extremely tasty!  img_8319

After the Race

Massage – what a great idea!  NOT

My pre-massage happy hour Austin hotel beer.
My pre-massage happy hour Austin hotel beer – not a fan of Amber.  Wouldn’t care to have it again. 

I know what you’re thinking.  WHAT A BAD IDEA!  Yes, I know massages post-race are no-nos.  Yes, I know they aren’t good for recovery.  Yes, my brain was detatched (once again) from making coherent decisions.  But a massage sounded so divine!  I shouldn’t have mentioned my hip flexor issue….

Actually, it felt REALLY good.  When I got up, though….the fact that this was all a mistake was confirmed.  He must have irritated a nerve or something.  I could barely put weight on my leg at that point.

I had a choice.  I could be angry and continually mad at myself for all the stupid decisions I make (at least my coach keeps me from making as many stupid decisions…he really has his work cut out) or I could just deal with it and enjoy what was left of the trip.  I decided to enjoy the rest of the trip.  I know I will be back to normal in no time and I have to accept that I can’t save me from myself every time.  Wasn’t that grown up of me?!? 🙂

BBQ – It’s what’s for dinner

After our massage, we went back to our hotel to change and get an Uber to our place of dining, Scotty’s BBQ.  Apparently Scotty’s has quite a reputation in the Austin food service industry.

Let me preface this next paragraph by saying that it had been rainy/raining on and off all day.  Our Uber driver rolled up to a lot (NOT in the best part of town) with picnic tables littered about and food trucks lining the boundaries.  It took a minute to process what was going on, and I laughed a bit when our drivier said, “this is the place?”img_8467

We got out of the car, ordered and started praying that the coming rain would hold off until we got our orders and had time to eat.  It started sprinkling about the time we got our order – I have NEVER eaten a meal so fast in my life!

Best cole slaw I've ever had! And the pulled pork was good too :)
Best cole slaw I’ve ever had! And the pulled pork was good too 🙂

Honestly, we swallowed our food whole, just in time for Uber to pick us up before the bottom fell out of the sky.  The experience was unexpected and way more fun than going to some stuffy restaurant!

Twitter friend meet-ups

Our Uber driver dropped us on 6th Street, where we were planning to meet up with an Austin Twitter runner friend, Kolbe.  We ended up going to a couple of different bars for drinks.  After the rains subsided, we ended up on a rooftop bar overlooking 6th street.  It was just beautiful, and I was too tired by that point to care about snapping a pic.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we thoroughly enjoyed meeting and spending time with Kolbe.  She is absolutely amazing and a beautiful soul inside and out.  I will definitely try to connect with her next time I’m down in Austin! img_8481

While we were strolling up and down 6th Street, we couldn’t help but notice Voodoo Donuts.  This had been a place the girls in our van wanted to visit before going to the finish, but it was too far out of the way.  OF COURSE we stopped and got some!!  What kind of quesiton is that?!?img_8469

All I know is that the top right was called "Old Dirty Bastard" and it was by far the best donut in this box.
All I know is that the top right was called “Old Dirty Bastard” and it was by far the best donut in this box.

Time to head home

I MUST mention Dara.  She packed like a Girl Scout and everytime ANYONE needed something this weekend, she would always chime in, ‘I have that.’  Seriously awesome, even though I have to admit I was a little concerned about her baggage!  I HAD to take a picture of her bag of chargers.  She was totally and absolutely ready for every charging situation imaginable!img_8472

We had breakfast before hitting the road home early.  We wanted to get a head start on traffic and I knew that heavy rain showers were forecast to be moving through our path on the way home.  Of course, I should have known how the day would go when I had to endur this:img_8473

Smucker’s peanut butter.  NOT Jif.  I put A LOT of strawberry jam on top of the PB on my English muffin and it made it barely edible.

We made very good time until we got to Waco, then the heavens opened up on us.  At times, we were driving around 45 mph.  We made it home safely, though, and that is all that counts!!

I’m still playing catch up!  I could sleep for days, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything!  Loved this race and I hope to do it again!

Happy Hump Day!

Jen

Oh, my psoas

Recently the thought occurred to me that running is a lot like roses.  Running is beautiful, but there are thorns that will get you if you aren’t careful.

I try to always put a positive spin on things.  I try to focus on the roses.  Not because I want to appear perfect or innately happy, but because I don’t want to send out negativity into the Universe.  I try to stay away from the thorns.  Sometimes this creates a barrier to me “keeping it real” (in ALL aspects of my life: with myself, my family, and even my social media postings).  So I am embracing my word of the year, uncomfortable, in a way in which I never imagined.  I’m going to bare my soul in regards to my recent training.

Even though I have an exceptional coach, I am not immune to hurting myself.  (Hurting, not injuring)  Since I have been coached by him, I have become a healthier and stronger runner than ever before.  But, I am Jen, and I am still quite a challenge .  Better, but still a challenge.

Same Song, Different Verse

Life has been quite unbalanced for me the last several weeks.  Alli’s volleyball schedule has been taking a toll on me – driving to practice and being gone so many weekends to tournaments lately has me feeling stretched very thin.  Then consider my regular training load (that has been getting squeezed in at any and every available block of time) and the fact that I scheduled too many races too close together this Spring.  Oh, and I still work full-time.

I think it is safe to say that I have been suffering from extreme fatigue, which has been reflected in my workouts of late.  Since RnR Dallas, workouts haven’t felt quite right, although I haven’t noticed enough to say that they were quite wrong.  The weird thing is that I didn’t have much post-race soreness to work through.  (Still a little mind boggling, considering what a big PR that was.)

The week after RnR, hill repeats were on the schedule on one of Alli’s practice days.  I fretted over where to run then settled on a part of trail close to Bob Woodruff Park in Plano (part of the Plano Balloon Half Marathon course).  I remember being tired that day (par, lately), then realizing I had grabbed my very first pair of ONs (which have been retired so LONG they are to the point that I can’t even wear them around the house), but I  decided to continue with the work out anyway.  The repeats weren’t terribly hard, considering how tired I was, but I really pushed the last few as I didn’t want to end up with slower splits at the end.  This *may* have been where my brain broke down, because looking back I am reasonably certain that I was over-striding at the end.  And now…I officially suck at hill repeats.  (By the way, I’m 99.9% certain that I caused the stress fracture during….you guessed it….hill repeats.)

In the days after the repeats, I began to have a nagging tightness in my hip.  Initially, I thought it was due to my lack of consistent stability training between the tapering/racing/recovering and travelling due to volleyball.  (By the way, I had been keeping my coach updated on how things were progressing….yay me!)  During Sunday’s run, I realized that the problem was more than tightness in the hip.  My psoas cramped up several times early on.  Of course, I had a light bulb moment – OH, IT’S MY PSOAS!!!  But Brent took it a little bit differently.  When I reported this to him, he immediately took running out  and changed my schedule to biking only this week .  The miracle here?  I didn’t argue.  AT ALL.

Don’t give up what you want MOST for what you want NOW

Things are feeling much, much better but not completely normal, however, I do expect to run on Sunday.  After that, my schedule is pretty easy next week as I am scheduled to run Ragnar Austin next weekend.  I’m hoping that things are fairly normal by then and that I don’t irritate things too much by running Ragnar.

Don’t get me wrong – I wanted to run this week (even though I know it was the right decision not to).  I have a half marathon scheduled on May 1, which was to be the conclusion, of sorts, to this Spring racing season.  But I have to keep the bigger goal in mind.  The bigger goal is a 3:45 marathon this fall, and I DO NOT want ANYTHING getting in my way.  Which is why I was happy to comply with the schedule adjustments.  It is why I am happy to skip Sunday’s run if I don’t feel things are right (or scrap it if things don’t feel right once I start).  It is why I am willing to scratch that 5/1 half, if needed.

I am still planning to run Ragnar – that is a bucket list item and I have 11 other team members counting on my miles.  Someone was watching out for me, though, because the miles on my leg have been cut down quite a bit since they were first published, and I am OK with that.

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And I’m about to share another little piece of my soul that not many people have seen.  The picture above is from a vision board I created to help me focus on my marathon goal.  I have never created a vision board before, so, honestly, it felt a little weird.  But I have started internalizing the things I have posted on this board.  The quote in the picture caught my eye this morning and it hit me…..  As I have been working through this psoas issue this week, it is all with the bigger goal in mind.  I haven’t even been concerned with running Sunday, or next week, or Ragnar, or Skyline half.  I’ve been concerned with making sure this doesn’t turn into an injury and I am committed to making it stronger so that I am ready when my next training cycle starts ramping up.

I’ve come a long way, baby!!  I *might* be growing up, and I think I owe most of it to the confidence that I’ve gained from the great coaching and guidance that I’ve gotten from my coach. So, thanks, Brent, for taking good care of me!

Happy Friday!

Jen

 

Catching up before the spring forward!

Honestly, I have really good intentions of regularly posting here, but life just keeps getting in the way!  It takes quite a bit of time to write a blog post – the proofreading is the worst part for me.  If you read my blog much you know that I never actually proofread that well.  Why am I still horrified when I find a gazillion mistakes after the blog is actually posted?!?  (Welcome to the Life of Jen.)

Running

I’ve been doing a fairly decent job of posting running updates. (IF you count race recaps! LOL)  Running is going really, really well.  I can only give credit where credit is due, and that credit is due to my coach.  I find it such a relief that I no longer need to question my training plan (if you could call what I was doing prior to hiring my coach a *plan*).  Probably the best part is that I am not constantly wrestling with my ego.  It is NO secret that my ego got me into lots of trouble where running was concerned.  I am still my own worst enemy, though, as evidenced in yesterday’s bike trainer workout.  I had a pretty hard workout in which I needed to get my heart rate up past a certain threshold, but was unable to get it as high as needed.  I would get very shaky and just wasn’t able to hold the intensity.  Then it hit me – I had not eaten a pre-workout snack.  I thought that my during-workout drink would be enough and I was WRONG.  I was so disappointed in myself.   I SUCK at nutrition in regards to my workouts.  I’m not going to dwell on it, though.  I’m going to do my best to fix it going forward.  Yes, I’ll probably do it again.  I’m not there yet but am getting better….I think.

I have another half marathon next weekend – Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas.  I’m hoping to drop my time just a bit from Cowtown, but this is also a difficult course and I’ll be relying on me, myself and I to push through this time (no Brent to drag me along)….anything could happen.  Right now, the weather looks favorable, but this is Texas and the forecast will change at least 14 times between now and next Sunday.  After RnR Dallas, I’ll have just a few weeks until Ragnar Relay in Austin – I am SO EXCITED!!

After that, and I have been keeping this under my hat (I am SO afraid of failure), my main goal is making a 3:45 marathon.  I have no idea how close (or far away) I am right now.  I know I am loads faster than I was at Dallas, but how much so??  It’s a mystery.  I wish I could add a marathon in this Spring to get a good gauge, but Alli’s volleyball schedule makes it virtually impossible to train for a full.  I have had trouble keeping up with half marathon training! LOL.  I don’t know when I’ll be able to achieve this goal, but they always say if it isn’t just a little bit out of reach, you aren’t dreaming enough.  So I’m dreaming big and I try to remind myself during every workout that any slacking won’t get me to my goal.  I hope this will be the catalyst that helps me move past the tendency I have to let off the gas a bit when I start feeling fatigue.

So what’s been going on outside of running?

Life has been keeping me very busy!  Alli’s volleyball team is really taking shape.  They play SO WELL together, which is a direct result of the great coaching staff on the team.  This is an 11s team playing in 12 Open (the most difficult division) and our region of USA Volleyball (NTR – North Texas Region) is known for its very competitive level of volleyball.  These girls are consistently finishing 3rd or 5th in every tournament.  Of course, they would love to finish 1st or 2nd and earn a medal, but the teams that knock us out are very talented teams that will likely go on to Nationals and finish very high.  Our team is preparing to travel to the Windy City Qualifier on Easter weekend in hopes of earning a bid to Nationals.  Whether we do or don’t, the higher level of competition will prepare us for our own road to Nationals.img_7675

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LOVE how they always put their arms around each other during time outs!
LOVE how they always put their arms around each other during time outs!

 

Logan’s soccer team has one more game before play-offs, and they are also hitting their stride.  Our new coach has been good for this team.  I’ll be honest….when I attended the first scrimmage I was a bit worried about the season….but each game they play better and better!  I am extremely proud of Logan.  He was moved from midfield to defense this season and he has been playing some great soccer.  He seems much more at home in defense and I believe he has positively impacted the team more there than he could have in midfield.JOHN5260

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Spring Break is almost over 😦

I have enjoyed Spring Break SO MUCH, even though it has rained EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I haven’t even gotten that much stuff done, but Alli and I made time to go shopping, I was able to take my mom to her doctor’s appointment, and even seen Race and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.  I LOVED Race!!!  I highly recommend it to anyone, whether they like running or not!  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was good in a different way, but after having just seen Race, it pales in comparison.

And now, I need to get in my strength work and get out for a short run before the rains come once again!

Happy Friday!!

Jen