Monday Miles : December 17 – 23, 2018 (15-16 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, monday miles, pregnancy, running, training

This will probably be my last consistent week of running for 2018. I’ve never been very good at keeping up with workouts when I travel and so this year, I’m just not going to worry about it and get back in the swing of things when we return to Michigan in a couple of days. It is only about a week off and I think time off can be necessary and maybe even good. By the time January 2019 comes around, I will be very much ready to go. Guaranteed.

This final week of workouts was really good. We had a running interval workout during CrossFit on Wednesday, so it was fun to see where I actually am for my 800s (answer? better than I thought). My mom’s new house is on a country block, so it was the perfect place to run while we were in Ohio. I’m glad because Minster can be a great, flat running town, so I was hoping the new place would have places to run.

I still feel pretty good and grateful to be running. It seems like I am very slowly getting bigger. I feel like I am starting to look pregnant, but I’m sure to the outside world I just look like I indulged on one too many Christmas cookies. The quality of my runs is definitely uneven, but my goal is just to get out there and I’m still doing that, so I’m content.

12 / 17 : Run. 15 minutes. 1.4 miles, 10:40/miles. CrossFit. WOD – 5 rounds for time, 10 pike push-ups, 10 hang power-cleans at 45 lbs., and 10 box step-overs. 9 minutes 40 seconds.

12 / 18 : Run. 30 minutes, 2.6 miles. This felt like a hard run. My legs felt tired so I took a few walk breaks. CrossFit. 7 minutes to thruster one rep max. I just stayed at 55 lbs. and worked on form. WOD – Jackie. Hahahahahahaha. Ow. 1000m row, 50 thrusters at 35 lbs., and 30 jumping pull-ups. This work-out was so hard and so painful, I honestly did not think I would actually be able to finish the thrusters. After ten, I started to have plenty of negative thoughts. But I did finish them. Somehow I did. I have no idea what my time was for sure, but I think in the 11-12 minute range.

12 / 19 : Run. Around 20 minute warm-up, little over ten minute pace. At CrossFit, 5 x 800m repeats with a three minute break. I had one goal — try to stay under four minutes per repeat. I did it and frankly, felt really good during all the intervals. 3:46, 3:47, 3:48, 3:58; 3:52. I’m not “good” at much in CrossFit, so it was nice to follow such a humbling day (see above about “Jackie”) with a day with something I’m actually ok at.

12 / 20 : Rest.

12 / 21 : Rest.

12 / 22 : Run. 1 hour 15 minutes. 7.2 miles, 10:22/mile. This was my first time running around my mom’s new house. One lap around the country block was a little over three miles and it was windy, but flat. There is one side with a lot of traffic, but I’m only on the road for about a half mile. I did two laps and then explored further. This was also the first run with my new watch, a Garmin, but I already forget what type. I’m not sure how accurate the heart rate monitor is, but I like it. I also like I do not need all this extra equipment to check my foot stride. So far, so good.

12 / 23 : Run. 30 minutes. 2.5 miles, 12:02/mile. This was slow, but I was tired. I wanted to get a run in before we left for Connecticut. I tried to stay under 160 bpm for heart rate. Like I said, I have no idea how accurate it actually is, but I wanted to make sure I was actually doing a recovery pace.

Totals : Run. 3 hours, 10 minutes, 18.11 miles. CrossFit. 3 hours. Total: 5 hours, 20 minutes (took off one hour for the CrossFit/run overlap on 12/19).

Onward!

xo, Ali

Monday Miles : December 10 – 16, 2018 (14-15 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, lifting, monday miles, running, training

Here it is: another week of consistent running. I felt great this week. My energy levels are almost back to normal. My paces are basically where they are pre-pregnancy. I know eventually this will decline, but it feels good. As I mentioned last week, the only major thing is that all my runs feature bathroom pitstops.

One thing I have been concerned about lately is not eating enough. I was planning on going to CrossFit three days this week, but I went on my pre-work out run and just felt famished, so I opted not to go and eat instead. I actually dropped two pounds this week. I gained quite a bit during the first trimester, so I’m not too freaked out about it, just you know, a normal amount of worry. I started tracking my food in MyFitnessPal again just to make sure I’m eating enough. I’m adding snack times in the morning and the afternoon.

12 – 10 : Rest, rest, rest, rest.

12 – 11 : Run. 20 minutes, 1.78 miles. 11:14/mile. This run felt fine, but I’ll admit I am tired of being cold and have several more months of it. CrossFit. WOD – AMRAP 20:00 minutes, 10 burpee jumping pull-ups, 200 meter run. I made it six rounds with four burpee jumping pull-ups. This was hard. I am not exactly sure if I did the jumping pull-ups correctly, but I dreaded every time I finished my run and got back to that bar.

12 – 12 : Run/walk. 60 minutes, 4.86 miles. 12:21/miles. This was the run where I figured out I was hungry and opted against going to CrossFit. I took it easy and took plenty of walking breaks. I probably could have ran it all, but did not exactly feel like it and did not want to push it.

12 – 13 : Run. 30 minutes, 2.82 miles. 10:38/miles. Legs felt tired on this run, but I did run the entire time.

12 – 14 : Run. 30 minutes, 3.06 miles. 9:48/mile. Some runs are painful and some I feel like I can go forever. This was one of those. Of course, it was cut off for CrossFit. Strength: Every 3:00 minutes for 3 sets of 5 overhead squats. 1 – 45 lbs., 2 – 50 lbs., 3 – 55 lbs. *PR – I’ve only been using a bar for the OHS the last two times I’ve done them. I am proud that my form is getting a little better! WOD – 3 rounds for time: 10 OHS (35 lbs.), 50 single-unders with five double under attempts. 4 minutes 27 seconds. I liked this work out! I even succeeded on a few of my double under attempts!

12 – 15 : REST DAY.

12 – 16 : Run. 60 minutes, 5.91 miles. 10:10/mile. Started at around a 10:44/mile pace and ended at 9:29/mile. I have consistently felt good on these Sunday longer runs. I’m grateful for that too!

Totals: Run – 18.4 miles, 3 hours 20 minutes. CrossFit – 2 hours. Total: 5 hours, 20 minutes.

Onward!

xo, Ali

 

Running Makes Me a Better Person

running

I’ve seen runners frequently say “miles change you.” It is a popular hashtag on Instagram. I think I have seen it written on running shirts. It is one of those running sayings that may be cliché, but only because it is so true. The person who I was nearly six years ago when I ran my first half marathon is much different than the person I am now.

I was thinking about this the other week during a conversation with Bruno. We were talking about books that made us better people. I told Bruno I did not think that books always necessarily made us better (a Rousseau scholar at heart always), but that people and the people who introduce us to the books are more influential. Somehow, though, I said, “But you know the biggest thing I think has made me better in the last several years is running.”

Sure, there’s the obvious things like discipline, sticking with goals, pushing through pain, etc. that running teaches everyone. But I think running has given me some different more specific lessons.

Not that long ago, my biggest ambitions in life were a desire to own a Mercedes-Benz and a pair of Christian Louboutin’s. I’m not kidding. I thought those things would show, “I’ve made it. I’m successful.” People. I am getting my Ph.D. in political philosophy, not a career choice known for being lucrative. I do not even like to drive! The point is I was very superficial. Success was wear you vacationed, what you wore, how cool of a place you lived, how much you made. In high school, I tore out pictures of advertisements from Vogue magazine and hung them on my walls, because that was the pinnacle for me. Before we started dating, my husband gave me a Mercedes-Benz hood ornament for my husband because I wanted that damn car, even if it meant earning it one piece at a time.

I think that hood ornament will be the only piece of a Mercedes-Benz I ever own and I’m not sure what use I would ever have for Christian Louboutins. I have not subscribed to Vogue in years. I am not sure when I stopped caring, but I think I know how it happened. I just became interested in different things and it started with running.

It is one of those domino-effect interests, right? I discovered Scott Jurek, reading Eat and Run, six years ago. I started listening to trail running podcasts. And even though it took me until this year to finally run a trail race (I was a super fan all those years), I think I soaked the culture in. Not just the running, but the way the runners talked about their lives. It was kind of a different way of viewing “success”. It was not about how much money you made or what you owned, but how you lived. I felt inspired by listening to these people talking about being outdoors and, for some of them, living a simpler kind of life. And sure, I’m romanticizing, but I think I became much more interested in adventure. And while I know that message has been presented to me many times before, for whatever reason it stuck more through osmosis.

My interests became more doing than getting. An interest in trail running led to an interest in camping. I now google things like, “How young is too young to take a baby camping?” I took a wilderness survival course, because why the hell not? Years ago you could not get me to go outside (unless you couldn’t smoke inside, of course, I’m not a barbarian), but the other day I ran outside in 10 degree weather and liked it. I don’t want new fancy shoes, but I recently told Bruno that if we are still in Michigan in the future, I would really like to try a snow shoe race.

I think running changed all that for me. Miles changed me in an interesting way. When you feel the satisfaction of a Sunday or Saturday (or both, you wild, crazy, wonderful ultra people), you find you do not need much more than that — well, maybe a post-run cup of coffee and cinnamon roll. But I really do not think there is a better feeling than running a race, looking at my surroundings, and feeling awe even though I’m hurting and feel like hell.

I’m grateful running helped me become this person, a better person.

xo, Ali

Monday Miles : December 3 – 9, 2018 (13-14 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, monday miles, pregnancy, running, training

You know how I know Baby C is growing? I woke up three times last night to use the restroom. Three times. This has been the new hurdle in my running and work-outs too. All first trimester, I was completely fine and did not have to stop at all. All of the runs for this week needed a break somewhere, even the short twenty-five minute one.

Still — this was a good week of running and CrossFit. I feel strong. Aside for Wednesday, I felt really energized during my runs. I never felt completely exhausted or drained afterwards. I’m hoping this continues!

12 – 3 : CrossFit. WOD – 20 minute time-cap for 40 calorie row, 75 single-unders, 150 lunges, 75 single-unders, 40 burpees. It was supposed to be 50 burpees and another 75 single-unders (double-unders if RX’d), but I did not make the cut off. I was kind of bummed that I did not make it. It felt like it took me a 150 years to do those 150 lunges.

12 – 4 : Rest.

12 – 5 : Run. 27 minutes. My legs would not go. I just felt wiped out. I ran five minutes, then walked for two. Repeat. 2.2 miles, 12:11/mile. I’m glad I just went with it instead of forcing myself to just run it. There are days like this. CrossFit: WOD – 5 rounds: 1 minute bike, 15 knee-ups (toes to bar option), 15 over-head squats at 35 lbs. 17 minutes 28 seconds. I had no idea if I was going to be able to do this work out. Over-head squats are hard. I mean I was only using the barbell and I would look at it as I walked towards it as the scariest thing in the world. But I did it. Nobody is more surprised than me.

12 – 6 : Run. 45 minutes. So there are days like 12-5 and there are days like this day, where I felt like I was flying. I know, I know. Still going to super slow for most people, but for me this is good. 4.6 miles, 9:46/mile. I felt great. I could have gone faster, but chose not to. CrossFit. 20 x 2 reps back-squats, every 1:30 minutes with increasing weight. Now I cannot go super heavy (my one rep max PR is 135 lbs.), so I had to do a lot of repeat weights, but here they are: 65, 75, 85, 95, 95, 105, 105, 110, 110, 115, 115, 115, 115, 115, 115, 120, 120, 120, 120, 125. I was happy and sore.

12 – 7 : Run. 30 minutes, 2.8 miles. 10:53/mile. We (Bruno and I) literally ran errands on this run. I had some things to do on campus, so we ran out fifteen minutes and made some stops on our way back. Easy, quick. Done.

12 – 8 : CrossFit. Ugly Christmas Sweater Partner WOD. Partner wods make me nervous because, well, I don’t think I’m particularly “good” at CrossFit — whatever that is supposed to mean. I can’t lift heavy. I’m trying to focus more on form than speed, so I’m slow. So yeah, I get nervous even though every single person at my crossfit gym that I’ve talked to has been nice and friendly. It was fun though. 5x 20 hang-power cleans at 55 lbs. (something I’m pretty sure I’ve never done before) and 40 wall-balls at 14 lbs. We split them up 10 and 10 for the hang -power cleans and 20 and 20 for the wall-balls for every round except for the 4th round, where I did only 5 hang-power cleans. 11 minutes 46 seconds.

crossfituglysweaterwod

Definitely jolly. 

12 – 9 : Long run. 1 hour 30 minutes. 8.8 miles. 10:14 mile. Negative splits again! This run was great, but I need to start arranging my routes by how many bathrooms I pass. I ran a local bike trail, but the public restrooms in the park are closed for winter. I was able to run three miles back home to use the restroom (the nearest one) before finishing the last half hour of my run, but there was a very uncomfortable couple of miles in there.

restroomclosed

The horror! 

Totals : Running – 3 hours 12 minutes, 18.4 miles. CrossFit – 4 hours. 7 hours 12 minutes total.

Onward!

xo, Ali

Books to Give to the Runner in your Life

books, running, triathlon

Eighty percent of my Christmas wish list is made up of books. Almost every year my parents ask for what I want for Christmas and I just send them my Amazon wish list, which is approximately a million pages long. I actually try to go through it and get rid of books occasionally.

Anyway – there are a lot of great new running books out this year and I want to read them all. One thing I have noticed about athletic books is that though they seem niche, the advice really is applicable to anything. I found Matt Fitzgerald’s How Bad Do You Want It? It was not only helpful for running, but for writing and finishing my dissertation. Running advice equals life advice.

So here are the running books I would give to a fellow runner (or to be honest, the books I would like to receive this year).

The Happy Runner : Love the Process, Get Faster, Run Longer by David and Megan Roche. Read an excerpt here.

Strong: A Runner’s Guide to Boosting Self-Confidence and Becoming the Best Version of You by Kara Goucher. File this one under a book that will be helpful not only for running, but for life.

The Trail Runner’s Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trail Running and Racing, from 5ks to Ultras by Sarah Lavender Smith. I have not seen many (if any at all) trail running books for those running shorter distances — eventually I would like to run an ultra, but I think it will be another year (hello, baby C!) for that. I want something for trail running for where I’m at now.

North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott and Jenny Jurek. I know. I have not read this yet. It is basically a travesty.

Run Fast. Cook Fast. East Slow.: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. I love the original cook book and probably make something out of it at least once a week. That said, it takes a long time to make the recipes. I’m looking forward to cooking out of this one for hopefully some less time-consuming goodness.

Fast-Track Triathlete: Balancing a Big Life with Big Performance on Long Course Triathlon by Matt Dixon. I loved my first triathlon. It will probably be a long time before I’m able to do a long one (would like to do a few more sprints, before moving onto Olympic, then maybe half-Iron–life is long, right?), but in the meantime I’d like to flip through this book and plan.

What running books are on your Christmas list this year?

xo, Ali

Monday Miles : November 26 – December 2, 2018 (12-13 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, cycling, pregnancy, running, training

There were some highs and lows to running this week. I missed two of my runs. I had an excellent long run. Mostly, though, I felt good during my work outs – both running and CrossFit. Right before Thanksgiving, during CrossFit, I felt wiped out. Like so wiped out that we were supposed to five rounds of a work-out and I could only manage four in the time allotted. My energy felt much better this week.

Diet might be helping with that. Leaving my diet of Kraft macaroni and cheese and Ben and Jerry’s for a return to green morning shakes and actually home cooked food has helped immensely. It feels good to be back in the kitchen again. I still crave fried chicken smothered in Frank’s Red Hot, but lately that has been on top of salad instead on two pieces of white bread. That said, I still had two pizzas this week and plenty of dessert — but that was more for social rather than craving reasons.

Ok — so work outs for this week:

11 – 26 : 30 minutes on the new bike trainer. 9 minute warm-up, 4 x 1 minute sprint with 4 minute recovery. Not yet having the fancy accoutrements for knowing how far, how much power, etc. for my bike, I have no idea how much I did except that I sweat a lot.

11 – 27 : Rest. Went to the chiropractor for low-back and tailbone pain.

11 – 28 : Rest. I was not feeling good on this day.

11 – 29 : Run. 20 minutes, 1.82 miles. 10:43/mile. CrossFit: 5 x 500m row sprints with 5 minute recovery. Splits: 2:06.2, 2:04.5, 2:10.7, 2:13.3, 2:08.8. I did this work out in 8-2-18. I did about the same, no PR, but I was happy with how it went given how crappy my aerobic capacity has felt lately.

11 – 30 : Run. 45 minutes, 4 miles. 11:18/mile. This was pretty slow, but I took a pretty hilly route and underestimated how much those hills would wind me. There was a lot of walking on this “run.” CrossFit: Strength. Shoulder press – 3 sets for every 2 minutes 30 seconds: 55 lbs., 60, 60 (could only do 2), 60 (could only do 1), 55 lbs. My one-rep shoulder press is 60 lbs. so I guess I improved by now being able to do three?

12 – 1 : Rest. Horrible headache and eyesight problems.

12 – 2 : Run. 75 minutes. 7.44 miles, 10:05/mile. I may be running while pregnant and feel like I’m sucking air through a straw, but I can still negative split like a boss: 10:37, 10:26, 10:21, 10:14, 10:06, 9:57, 9:24, 9:00 (for the last .44). I cannot express how happy I am with this run. I know I will get slower through the months, but this run made clear I didn’t lose all the fitness I developed when I took a break during my first couple months of pregnancy. It may have been a very foggy and creepy looking run (see below), but I felt so much joy!

bawbeeseinthefog.jpg

Baw-Beese Trail in the fog. 

Totals : Running. 2 hours 50 minutes, 13.2 miles. CrossFit. 2 hours. Cycling. 30 minutes. All – 5 hours 20 minutes.

Onward!

xo, Ali

 

Monday (Ok, Ok, Tuesday) Miles : November 19 – 25, 2018

crossfit, monday miles, pregnancy, races, running, training

There’s a new game I like to play: What is Causing Ali’s Aches and Pains? Working out, sitting too much at a desk, or pregnancy. This has been the story the last two days as my tailbone aches and I wonder if this is from dead lifts last week or just general pregnancy or the fact that I did a lot of driving over the weekend. Or perhaps all of the above? After this post I’m making a call to the chiropractor.

This was my second week of consistent running. I’m not training for anything, but following Hal Higdon’s Winter training plan. A lot of the “running while pregnant” advice I read suggested going by minutes instead of miles. Supposedly, as you grow slower, it is less disheartening. I’m so grateful to be back at it again, I’m not sure how disheartened I would even be.

I will admit that first week out there was hard. I huffed and puffed. This week, the second week, was significantly better. I know I will continue to get slower, but I felt good. I did not feel like I was huffing or puffing. Instead, it felt leisurely, enjoyable, even if slow.

11 – 19 : 15ish minute run, 1.45 miles. 10:46/mile. CrossFit: Strength – build to three rep max for push-press in seven minutes. I managed eighty pounds, a PR. WOD – AMRAP 7 minutes, 10 push-presses @ 35 pounds, 30 single-unders, 3 double-under attempts. I managed six rounds plus five push-presses. I even managed successfully some of those double-unders.

11 – 20 : 45 minute run, 4.36 miles. 10:19/mile.

11 – 21 : 30 minute run, 2.8 miles. 10:34/mile. CrossFit: WOD – 40 calorie bike followed by 4 rounds – 8 split jerks (45 lbs.) and 8 dead lifts (85 lbs). This was hard. Dead lifts are hard for me. I have improved so much in my back squat, in really almost everything I have done in CrossFit except for the deadlift. I was supposed to do five rounds and could only manage four in 19 minutes 8 seconds.

11 – 22 : Thanksgiving! You know what this means…Turkey Trot! I was not planning on running one and then decided at the last minute to run the hometown trot. I’m glad I did, because I did much better than I thought I would be able to and felt damn good too. 3.15 miles in exactly 28 minutes, around 9ish per mile. Race report here.

11 – 23 : REST.

11 – 24 : REST.

11 – 25 : 60 minute run, 5.5 miles. 10:57/mile.

Totals: Miles run – 17.2 miles, 3 hours. CrossFit, 2 hours. 5 hours.

Onward to next week!

xo, Ali

The One with the Baby News

blogging, books, daily life, Harry Potter, health, pregnancy, running

Ok, ok so it has been almost three months since I have posted and with good reason too!

Things have been going on. And I am very happy to say that all of them are good.

I left you September 5 with some thoughts on working from home. Soon after, I ran Run Woodstock 5k and half-marathon. I ran just ok, actually terribly. I ran that race a half hour slower than I did at Run Legend. I knew it would be harder, but that I was that much slower bummed me out. I felt tired and exhausted. I had no idea why. I thought, perhaps, I was over-trained. This is probably true. I took some time off running.

runwoodstock

Me after the Hippie Half-Marathon at Run Woodstock. Probably pregnant here!

I focused on teaching and my dissertation. I only have two more classes to teach right now and all my dissertation chapters are approved — I need do some edits and revisions, but I should be able to defend in February!

A little over two weeks after Run Woodstock, I still felt tired and exhausted. I was starting to get a little suspicious. On a Wednesday morning, I asked Bruno if we could pop by a Walgreens to grab a pregnancy test before we went to campus. Later that morning, I informed Bruno that yes, I was indeed pregnant. Very pregnant. Those lines were dark!

I’ll admit that I was surprised, but very pleased. We had wanted to start having kids as soon as we knew that I would have my dissertation done before baby no. 1 arrived, so the timing is very good (especially now that chapter five is approved). Baby C is due next year in early June. I will be waddling across that stage mid-May to get my Ph.D. diploma. Proudly waddling.

I want to be careful about how I write what I say next, especially because I know that I am very blessed and happy to be pregnant. I do not want to seem like I am complaining thoughtlessly or without compassion for women who have been struggling to get pregnant or who have lost babies.

That said, from about three days after I found out I was pregnant until probably about a week or two ago, I was having a very hard time. Normally, I’m an anxious person, but the increase of hormones made me well, frankly, depressed. I felt like a complete mess of vomit for the last several weeks and felt sick all the time. I could barely eat anything, barely cook anything because the smell of anything sent me running (the only running I did) to the toilet or trashcan. I regularly had severe headaches and was exhausted. I know. I know. All of this is normal. Many have gone through this before me and will do so afterwards. I feel silly for even complaining. And I’m lucky, happy, etc., but I would be lying if I said it was not hard.

The little energy I had was directed to prepping for class and crawling to the finish of writing this fifth chapter. I barely did anything else. I have no idea how women who go to regular jobs do it. There was a week that aside for teaching Tuesday night class, I barely left the house because I was afraid I would spend most of that time in a public restroom getting sick. This did little for the depression problem.

Quick shout out to Bruno for taking care of the majority of cooking and cleaning and having incredible patience during this time. Marry a man who, when you are having a meltdown because of how terrible you feel and how you feel bad for having a meltdown for how terrible you feel, surprises you by taking you to get a professional massage that very afternoon. Then, for his birthday, when you regain your ability to function like an actual human being bake him a layered coconut buttercream cake.

I feel better. I only get really sick every three days now, instead of what felt like every hour. Full disclosure: I worked with an orange Home Depot bucket that said “Let’s Do This!” next to my computer for just in case. I still went to CrossFit about 2-3 times a week, but the week before last I started running again. Last week I ran a Turkey Trot 5k. I am cooking again. I went on a full-blown baking spree last week in the kitchen. I’m doing my holiday re-read of Harry Potter. Rejoice! I am starting to feel, at least for now, like myself again. It feels good.

With that said, I’m hoping to finish the 2018 year of blogging and running strong. I am interested to see how running as a pregnant lady goes. It will be a new chapter in my life, one that I’m very happy to begin.

pregnant

xo, Ali

All [I] Need is Just a Little Patience

goals, races, running, training, triathlon

I mentioned last week that I was seriously considering running the Freak 50k at Run Woodstock instead of the Hippie Half. I ran sixteen miles and planned out two more long runs and figured it would not be pretty, but I could get it done. I still stand by that. I know I could get it done. But I do not want to just get it done. I want to get it done well.

I had a plan. I wanted to do a mini-triathlon in Coldwater, Michigan as a replacement for the sprint triathlon I had planned for late September. I thought very seriously about training for something more, a marathon or a 50k. But then decided against it. Running has been going so well. I did not want to jump the gun. I wanted to have patience.

Patience involved going shorter instead of going longer. Rather than find some later fall marathon or 50k, I found Michigan’s Holiday series trio of races (schedule permitting — but you know I want that magic mug!) – a Halloween 10k, a Turkey Trot 5k, and a Christmas 5k. Rather than focus on endurance, which I know I have, I wanted to focus on speed. It would be a literal change of pace.

Then the possibility of this 50k came up. It isn’t like visions of grandeur popped in my mind, but as I said, I have been wanting to be an ultramarathoner since I graduated college. This is a life goal, like finishing my Ph.D. or writing a book. The temptation to put a “checkmark” next to it is strong.

But honestly, as I told Bruno, it would not be the same. I do not just want to run an ultra. I want the process of training specifically for an ultra too. I want to think about the training and hard work I put in while running. I do not want to break the ultimate running commandment: respect the distance. I don’t want to blow up at mile twenty and have to walk the last eleven miles. I do not want to injure myself. I want to do this right.

So, I picked out a 10k plan. I have a time goal (more on that later). I’ll do my first triathlon in a little less then two weeks. Then, I’ll run the Woodstock half and have a good time listening to classic rock. I will celebrate that I have been able to run this year. I will have gratitude instead of trying to push it.

I will eventually run an ultramarathon. Maybe the next year. Maybe the year after. They are not going anywhere. I’ll take it slow. It will work itself out fine. All I need is just a little patience.

xo, Ali

 

Impromptu Sixteen Mile Run

goals, running, training

One of the friends who ran the half-marathon with us wants to run the 50k at Run Woodstock. In fact, from what his wife told Bruno yesterday at CrossFit, it sounds like he will probably do it. Which, of course, made me want to do it. Not to race it, of course. I have not trained for that, but only to complete. I’m on the fence about it all.

Yesterday we went out for a three hour run. I told him that if we were going to do this, time on our feet would be most important. The race is five weeks away. Both of us are reasonably fit people although probably have not put in the mileage to finish a 50k well. I’m placing my faith right now in Jason Koop who says only six hours of training for three weeks is required to finish a 50k. Finish. The plan for the three hour run was to run four miles, then walk five minutes. This was based on the actual race where aid stations are approximately four miles apart. We went on the hilliest country road I knew and took off.

I felt fine, although my legs were tired, until the last twenty minutes. Everything hit me: the half-marathon I raced on Saturday, the 110 pounds I back-squatted the previous day, and general graduate school stress. I gutted it out, running/walking 16.1 miles in three hours. 1 loop for the race.

I feel ok today although the most I will be doing is a short bike ride later this afternoon and a lot of stretching, if anything. I still have not decided if I will switch from the half-marathon to the 50k. It feels bold, like who am I to do that? I have not really trained for that. But then again, as my mom put it, if I keep my expectations in check, go very slow (even slower than yesterday’s 16 mile run), I might be ok. I’m not sure. I have no doubt in my mind that I could finish. My fear is more about who am I to just do this, to just try it, to just see. I respect the miles. I respect the distance. I expect to be humbled. I expect to hurt.

The ultimate decision will rest on how well I recover from yesterday. My right hamstring bothered me, but my right hamstring is always bothering me. I feel stiff, but mostly fine. I did not feel like my energy was gutted like I hit a brick wall. I took a nap later in the day, but that was several hours after the run. Last night I fell asleep sure that I would email and ask if I could change races. This morning I wonder if I’m out of my mind.

I will say this. Even if I do not end up running the 50k, I discovered myself much stronger than I thought. I have not run sixteen miles in three years. If you would have asked me last week if I could run sixteen miles, I would have said no, even though I have been half-marathon capable since March. I don’t even think I would have thought myself capable of that at the beginning of this year. Even if I end up (probably responsibly) deciding not to run the 50k, I surprised and impressed myself yesterday. I can do more.

xo, Ali