Taper Week!

It is taper week! Crazy. Wasn’t it just yesterday that my race was 7 weeks away?! I’m feeling nervous and excited about the race. I haven’t run a race since August as a knee injury took me down pretty hard in the fall so it has been a little while – yesterday I had a lot of nervous energy all day. I had a decent 9 mile run yesterday at a faster pace than I expected and I felt like I had energy left to spare so hopefully Saturday will go smoothly!

During taper week I try to focus more on the things I probably should be doing regularly, but let’s be real… busy schedules get in the way. So this week my focus will be on:

1.) Hydration, hydration, and more hydration. I perform better when I’m hydrated and feel better too. Even if I get busy, I will be trying my hardest to remember to stay hydrated throughout the day.

2.) Getting enough sleep. This is easier said than done with a 4am wake-up call and a lot of travel for work this week. Even if it means I put other stuff aside this week and have to be in bed by 8, I will be trying to be well rested.

3.) Eating enough calories. Getting proper nutrition is so important for racing well so I will be focusing on not only eating enough, but making sure I’m getting all the nutrients I need too.

4.) Picking up my packet early. This isn’t always possible, but for this race I’ll be able to pick up my race bib on Thursday so that will make race day go a little more smoothly.

5.) Allowing myself to be nervous, but know that I can’t control the weather or how I will feel on race day. I know I’m capable of running the distance so I will be going into race day feeling confident that my body can do it.

6.) Confidence is key. I’ve had mental blocks in the past with racing, but I’m learning how to push through them. I am more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable during races. The pain and difficulty of running fast races is temporary and it’s okay to feel uncomfortable for that short amount of time! Accepting that has helped me tremendously.

As for this week, here’s the running plan!

Sunday: 9 miles (unintended, but I ran close to race pace)

Monday: 4-6 miles easy

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 5 miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: RACE DAY! HALF MARATHON!

I Miss Summer

I miss summer.  I had a request for Katrick Photography to submit  summer photos for a magazine. Looking through all the crazy fun adventures my partner and I had brings the biggest smile to my face and makes me miss the warm summer days and crazy weekend plans we’d make.

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Soon enough, summer will return, right? Even though there’s snow in the forecast for this weekend?!

Training this week has been going well. My next half marathon is a week and a half a way, but it will be a training run for me as I have two races in  May that I’m looking to run well in and hopefully will be better prepared once the negative temperatures, ice, and snow disappears!

This week’s training:

Saturday: 14 miles

Sunday: 7 miles

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: 6 miles

Wednesday: 5 miles, row, and strength train

Thursday: 8 miles

Friday: Row, strength train, yoga

Saturday: 9 miles, yoga

I’m not really tapering this race all too much although I will cut back on mileage and intensity next week. I’m trying to come up with a solid training plan for the next few races coming up so stay tuned!

My goal for the next week and a half is to work on my hydration and adequate nutrition throughout the day. Work has been so busy that sometimes I forget to even take a sip of water until mid-day – not good at all! So that will be my focus. Hydroflask to the rescue!

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Sunday Funday

Oh my goodness, is there anything nature can’t cure? Sunday funday was absolutely the best.

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We spent half the day on a winter hike with the sun shining on us and spectacular views.

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Finn bounced around, wagging his cute little nub of a tail, and having a blast listening to all the sounds in nature.

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One thing I know I can count on when I’m sad or stressed is the fact that nature makes me feel like me again. It brings me back to a calm, centered, and mindful state. This Sunday wasn’t necessarily a “No Phone Sunday” which we’ve done in the past, but it was a Sunday Funday for sure – only thinking happy good thoughts and staying in the moment instead of focusing on work, school, and everything else.

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It’s the last few weeks before my first race of the year. As you may know my training has been all over the place with the winter weather and long work days, but I’m going into it to have fun and get back into my groove with racing. I’m officially signed up for 2 other races after this, but that will likely turn to 3..maybe 4 or 5… You know how it goes if you’re a runner! Here’s the training plan for this week!

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Now that Spring is officially here and it’s lighter in the evenings, it feels a little easier to have running goals in mind. Sunshine is a magical thing, is it not?

 

 

Sub-8’s

This weather has been brutal. As a Vermonter, I know that we are not truly past winter until the end of April. However as a runner that’s kind of over the icy, snowy, negative temperatures, I’m disappointed every time I look at the weather forecast. It hasn’t been pretty lately… Okay so maybe it has been visually pretty, but really unappealing for running.

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We had a tease of 50-70 degree days and then it went back to snowstorms, ice, and negative temperatures. So, it has been a matter of accepting it and just trying to work around what winter is throwing at me. I try to run 5 days a week and sometimes only get in 3-4, but I make sure those runs count. I include speed work, a long run, interval/hill training, and 1 easy pace day on the weeks I can’t make it outside 5 times.

I’m happy to say though the speed is finally coming back. I finally did two entire runs this last week at a sub-8 minute pace. One was a 10 miler and the other was an 8 miler. The 8 miler I got closer to an average of 7:30 while the 10 miler was closer to 7:55.

I haven’t been able to do that since my knee injury in October, but I’ve been signing up for races and training, so it was time to get out there and get closer to the pace that I want to race at. Despite the fact my training has been allllll over the place for this first race, I’m feeling like I’ll run a decent time. Maybe not a PR, but we’ll see on race day! It’s less than 4 weeks out so I’m trying to make the next 2.5 weeks count before tapering.

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Here’s the plan for this week! We’re supposed to get hit hard Tuesday/Wednesday with a snowstorm, but I’m hoping to get out early in the morning on Tuesday and then late in the evening on Wednesday. Then we’re supposed to get more snow Saturday and Sunday (winter please stoooooop…please). I need to get that 14 miler in though so hopefully it’s not too brutal.

Dear Vermont, Finn would like it to be summer already too. How can you say no to that face?

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Being Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Remember how I threw out my running plan last week? Yeah I still don’t have one and I’m okay with that. This Vermont winter has been unforgiving with the snow, ice, and negative temperatures and while I run in it as much as possible, I also recognize when it’s not safe for my health to be out for extended periods of time. This has meant it’s been really hard to follow the running plan I designed for this first race of the year.

My training has been all over the place, but that’s okay. It’s the first race of the year and the first race helps you get back in the swing of things and remember what’s it like to race 13.1 rather than just run it leisurely.

Once the warm weather hits, it’s going to feel great to train again. Until then, I have a solid base of mileage that I’ve been maintaining. This week will be a 45 mile week! Crazy! Here’s the plan for the week that I literally decided two minutes ago (I had to move last Saturday’s 14 miler to the beginning of the week due to a wind chill advisory over the weekend).

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Sure, I’m going to want a PR in this first race of the year, but let’s be real… If you want to race at a certain time you have to train at that time too and I have not been until the past couple weeks. Recently, I pushed myself for about 5-6 miles of an 8 mile run to go at a fast pace I haven’t done since last year before my knee injury. It DRAINED me (shh don’t tell the fast people in my running group that… because you know… runner’s ego).

It felt great at the same time though. I miss speed work and pushing beyond my comfort zone with my running. The greatest lesson I’ve ever learned with running is to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. As soon as I embraced that (and it took me quite awhile to embrace it), my times started dropping considerably. If you don’t push yourself to that point, you’ll never know what you’re capable of in a race.

Of course, that being said. You should never push yourself through injury, sickness, or if something just doesn’t feel right. There are limitations and taking care of yourself is more important than a PR.

Happy happy Monday!

Winter Running: Getting Out the Door

It is SNOWING! What a fun snowstorm! 🙂 My partner and I ran around in the snow and walked down to the lake late last night. No one else was outside and the snow just kept falling and falling. It was so much fun. We had the best intentions to bring our cameras out early this morning, but sometimes the electric blanket wins. 🙂

As an all season runner living in Vermont, I know it can be a struggle to get out the door and get your mileage in during the winter. There have definitely been days where I procrastinated until the last possible second. Here are some tips that make it easier to get out the door:

1.) Have everything ready to go. If my running clothes are ready, my watch is charged, etc then it makes it that much easier to get out the door.

2.) Sign up for a spring race. I’m running a race at the beginning of April. Winter seems to last through April in Vermont so I have no choice, but to train in the winter.

3.) Make an AWESOME playlist. I rarely listen to music when I run, but sometimes the only thing that can get me out the door is knowing I can space out and listen to music. So I made an awesome playlist and have it ready for those days I’m struggling.

4.) HAND WARMERS. Oh my goodness! I went too many years without hand warmers, but in the last couple years they have made winter running so much more tolerable. I hate when my hands are cold on a run.

5.) Run your routes differently or drive some place new. Winter running sometimes bums me out. I can’t be out on the trails and my routes are VERY limited. So when I’m getting insanely bored, I run my route differently. Or I pick a main street and turn down different roads during my run and see where it leads me. Sometimes just a little change can make it that much easier!

6.) Warm up first. I have a rowing machine, some strength training equipment, and a yoga mat so on days where it just seems too cold, I do a quick warm up before I head outside.

7.) Wear proper layers. It definitely is a lot of trial and error about what works for you, but wearing the proper amount of layers is key to winter running.

8.) Have fun with it. Running with snowflakes falling around you and hearing the crunchiness under your feet can be pretty magical! Enjoy it! 🙂

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After a long run on Saturday, I was unable to get out yesterday due to the snow. I used to run in any conditions, but am finding running in snow and ice really hurts my knee. I’ll try to get out there today so I can stick to my plan, but we’ll have to see what the weather does. I might just have to switch Friday and Monday up.

My plan for this week is as follows:

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How do you get out the door during the winter?!

No Phone. Just Breathe.

Last weekend, we took off for a snowy beautiful winter hike with the pup. As photographers we were pretty excited to immerse ourselves in the beautiful Vermont winter and as dog owners we were excited to let the pup run off a ton of energy.

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It was pretty special for us, because we decided to not be attached to our phones during this hike. It was a few hours of nothing, but the beautiful sounds in nature. You could hear the snow crunching beneath our boots and the wind blowing through the trees. I was able to breathe in the crisp mountain air. There were no sounds of traffic. My to-do list was long forgotten at home. I had this beautiful opportunity to just feel connected to nature, enjoy time with my wonderful partner, and watch our rescue pup turn into the most playful silly dog in the snow.

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I got back home and it had me thinking… Why not turn off my phone for part of a day every week and purposely cut myself off from the hustle and bustle of life to truly be present in the moment? The more I thought about it the more I liked that idea so I’ve made a rule in my life where there will be at least part of a day every weekend where I don’t feel attached to technology. This time is me time and I get to disconnect from the stress of work, to-do lists, being an adult, responsibilities, etc. I just get to focus on things that are relaxing and that I want to do.

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I highly recommend you try disconnecting for awhile. Take the time to recenter, refocus, relieve tension and stress, and just take the time for you! It’s so so SO important.

Happy Wednesday folks!

 

Weekly Fitness Plan: January 29

You probably (or maybe you didn’t and that’s cool too) notice that I’ve started running my hill running group again. It’s such a difficult running group, but keeps me in shape and helps improve my speed. For some reason it never gets easier. Ever. I can’t quite figure out how that works. If someone figures this one out, please let me know!

In case you’re wondering how the hill running group works (and also the majority of the hill runs I do on my own) – we pick a very steep 1 mile hill. The first loop we run 1/3 of the way up, the second loop we run 2/3 of the way up, the third loop we run all the way up. After this, we run to another steep hill that’s about 1/4 mile and run a few repeats. I always total about 7.5ish miles for this run (I run to and from my car as well) and it always takes it out of me. This group has been incredible with helping me improve my speed though! My hope that is by incorporating this group every week and pushing myself to be comfortable with uncomfortable, I’ll be able to crush my half marathon PR this year.

Here’s the fitness plan for the week!

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Happy Monday!

 

Baked Pumpkin Ravioli

Happy middle of the week!

I’m still struggling a little bit with lingering cold symptoms, but I’m hoping to be back to my old self by this weekend.  I’m still trying to hit my running mileage this week, but won’t be devastated if it doesn’t happen.

One of my favorite fall/winter recipes to make is baked pumpkin ravioli. It’s one of those comfort food meals that warms you up and keeps you full for a long time. It’s easily improvised too if you want to add or do something different!

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Sorry for the phone photo – I was too hungry to wait to pull out my real camera!

Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

1 package of won ton wrappers (should be about 48 to a package)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 egg, beaten

1 – 1.5 cups spinach, sauteed

2 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn into smaller pieces

1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2 onion

2 cloves garlic

Pasta sauce or tomato sauce to make your own pasta sauce

Optional: Tofu sausage or chicken sausage

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350f .

2.) If using, cook sausage according to instructions.

3.) Mix together the pumpkin, ricotta cheese, nutmeg, sea salt, and sauteed spinach.

4.) On two parchment lined baking sheets, lay out half of the won ton wrappers. In the center of each wrapper place a large dollop of the pumpkin mixture.

5.) Brush the egg around the outer edge of the wrappers and then place another wrapper on top of it. Then press down with a fork along the outer edge of where you placed the dollop to seal the ravioli.

6.) Lightly brush olive oil on top of each ravioli and then place in oven to bake for 7-10 minutes. 7 minutes will have a more pasta like texture and 10 minutes will have a crispier texture.

7.) In a skillet saute the garlic, onions, cherry tomatoes, and kale until the onions are translucent and kale is wilted.

8.) When the Ravioli is finished, take out of the oven and serve with the sausage and kale mixture. Then top with tomato sauce.

Enjoy!!!