Starting to get this thing down.

I’m starting to get this marathon training thing down. My pace is finally staying around the 8:45/min mile range which makes me very happy. 9 days off in Alaska + running in the heat set me back earlier in July but I’m feeling great now. I also started 2 new things! 

Thing 1: Ice baths! Sitting in an ice bath after my Saturday long runs has helped me tremendously. No soreness, no lead legs and I feel spectacular for the rest of the weekend. Why didn’t I think of this sooner!?

Thing 2: Gu Energy Gels. I put trying these off for a long time because they are straight up gross BUT I absolutely need to find some good fuel for these long runs and for marathon day or I will be dunzo at mile 6 and to be honest if I don’t make it to the free beer at the finish line I will be one sad lady. I decided to give Salted Caramel a try and it wasn’t so bad. I don’t get how someone can eat the whole thing in one go but I guess I’ll get there right? :-\ The important thing is that it worked. No stomach ache, no cramping, and I felt a burst of energy to carry me through the rest of the run. This has caffeine which I’m realizing is a total must have. I’m going to stick with this and give some additional flavors a try.

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So far- 12 miles down this week. I am LOVING this cooler summer weather and the sunrises have been on point all week!

Monday- Strength training/arms

Tuesday- 6 miles

Wednesday- 3 miles

Thursday- 3.2 miles + hills

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Hope everyone is having a great week! 

Finally! And grabbing this year by the horns.

Finally, my best week yet! I feel like shouting from the roof tops so that’s what I will do. This week kicked butt. I took it easy during the week to try to give my body a little rest so that I could tackle my long run on Saturday and it totally paid off, 12 fantastic miles from start to finish! I slept great the night before and woke up at 5:45am on a Saturday (who does that!) to get my run in before Jon’s flight lesson. It was about 15 degrees cooler at that hour than my usual 9:30am runs and it made a HUGE difference; I could breathe, I felt energetic and I felt like I could run for hours. I also brought a towel with me this time which was a huge help. It’s so hard to wipe your sweat in a tank top mid-run, I must look ridiculous when I do that. Moral of the story: I will never do a long run past 6:30am in the summer again. This was exactly what I needed especially after last weekend’s horrendous long run. I feel so much more confident in this marathon training and I’m 110% ready to take on that 26.2!

Weekly mileage:

Monday- Rest

Tuesday- 6 miles

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Wednesday- 3 miles + hills

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Thursday- 1 mile sprint + 6 miles on the bike

Friday- Rest day

Saturday- 12 GREAT miles

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Sunday- 2 miles

Total= 24 miles

Aaaaand the totally rad reason that I had this awesome run was all thanks to Jonny’s flight lesson being so early on Saturday. Yes, Jon flew a plane!! This has always been on his bucket list and he finally did it. He was super nervous at first but he was a total pro, the instructor even let him take off! I definitely see a pilot’s license in his future. We always joke that one day we will quit our jobs and become professional travelers/ tour guides, now we’re one step closer 😉

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This summer has just flown by and it’s sad that everything you look forward to in the winter goes by so quickly but this year is truly all about doing everything and ANYTHING we want. Whether it’s flying a plane, a trip to Alaska, numerous late nights out in the city, a spontaneous trip to Paris or running a marathon, we are grabbing this year by the horns and making every second count. Life is tooooo short to wait for the right time to travel or complete items on your bucket list. People say we are always so busy, and hell yes we are- every second counts and each adventure we take is another story in our wild, fun, roller coaster book of life.photo 4

Week 7 and a really bad run.

Last week was my highest mileage week in a long time and Friday’s long run was one of my top 5 worst runs of all time. I’m a happy person and this is a happy blog so I’m going to keep this short and sweet- it was HOT, I was tired, my legs felt like lead and I wanted to quit at mile 3. I’m so proud of myself for sucking it up and running all 11 miles but it was not pretty. Everyone has a bad run from time to time so there it is and now I will kiss it goodbye and forget about it forever. Weekly recap:

Monday- Rest

Tuesday- 6 miles

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Wednesday- 3 miles + strength training

Thursday- Rest

Friday- 11 miles

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Saturday- Rest

Sunday- 3 Miles

In other news, I’m continuing the running fuel & hydration hunt and I’ve been testing out some new products. This week is all about cocogo, a drink powder made with real fruit and coconut water that is packed with electrolytes. I’m loving the raspberry passion fruit flavor. The best part about this product is the taste; it is SO good. I’ve been drinking it all week and it really quenches my thirst before and after running. I’m definitely going to order some additional flavors and keep this as a top contender in the hydration department.

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During my long run on Friday I ate half a pack of Margarita flavored Clif Shot Bloks. I wanted to try these out because they are packed with salt and I figured the extra sodium would help ward off cramps. I definitely didn’t get any cramps during the run but my stomach was in knots the entire time therefore this is a goner, NEXT!

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The rest of the weekend was a blast. My sister was visiting from California and it’s always great to see her. She finally met Finley and they were instantly bffs.

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Also, my dad bought a stand up paddle board for his boat and I was excited to take it for a spin!

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We also had a really intense corn hole tournament at my uncles house Saturday night. The men in my family are absolutely hilarious and so much fun (especially when a little Jim Beam Honey is involved). It got pretty competitive, Jon claims he is still sore.

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Your weekly dose of Finley:

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Someone REALLY loves swimming, like really really. Jon and I went camping 2 weeks ago and we found this great little secluded lake. She was a little hesitant jumping off the dock at first but once she got in the water we could not get her out it.The cutest dog in the world just got way cuter.

Hope you are all having a great week and enjoying every second of summer like a lab puppy that just learned to swim 🙂

Our Alaska road trip!

Just got back from our Alaska road trip and let me tell you, beautiful doesn’t even scratch the surface. Ever since I met my husband, he and his family have talked about their love for Alaska and now I finally understand, it truly is an amazing place. Let me start with the back story… When Jon’s parents got married his mother’s parents took them to Alaska with an Airstream trailer and they traveled around for a summer. They loved the state so much that they decided to go back when they had a family and back again when their kids got married with their new spouses, thus that brings us to our Alaskan road trip vacation and the best family tradition ever (did I get lucky or what!?). 

We arrived in Anchorage on a Friday afternoon and were greeted by Jon’s parents in the RV along with the best halibut sandwich of my life and an ice cold Alaskan beer. We then started our journey along Highway 1 (aka-Turnagain Arm, one of the most scenic drives in the US) to Seward. This seriously was a gorgeous drive along the water through the Kenai Peninsula, just before we reached Seward we saw this on the side of the road:

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Yes this is happened in real life. I’m telling you, this place is unbelievable! Later that night we arrived in Seward which again took my breath away. The harbor surrounded by snow-capped mountains was phenomenal. 

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The next day we drove to Whittier and went sea kayaking in Prince William Sound, hiked a glacier and saw a woman walking a reindeer.

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After Whittier we made our way up to Valdez just in time to see the fishing charters bring in their catch of the day, fresh halibut yum!

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After Valdez we started our journey to my new favorite place on earth- Denali National Park. We made a quick stop in Chitina, a small (population 125) town located on the outskirts of Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve. It is an old mining town that is especially known for being near the Copper River, home to those famous salmon catching fish wheels.

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On Tuesday night we arrived in Denali National Park and set up camp at one of the park’s campgrounds deep in the woods. Unfortunately it was pretty cloudy because on a clear day you should be able to see Mount McKinley from our campsite. Luckily we had a couple of days there so we kept our fingers crossed that the summit would make an appearance later in the week.

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The next day we caught the bus from our campground that takes you through the park. It is a genius system; you can get off anywhere you please and go anywhere in the park for as long as you want. You just need to make sure you catch the final bus out that night or your could be tent-less camping in bear land. We got off the bus a few times and hiked throughout the day, it was magical and an experience I will never forget. We saw tons of caribou, foxes, bald eagles and 2 grizzly bears! I even took my first selfie ever:

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Later that night we lucked out big time, Mount McKinley made its debut. I then realized why every time I asked “is that it? is that it?” everyone said “trust me you will KNOW” and there it was; massive, snow covered, breathtaking.

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The next day we took a float plane ride to get up close and personal with the mountain. This was hands down one of the top coolest experiences of my life. Small planes allow you to really see it all. When we got close to Mount McKinley we saw 3 climbers just about to reach the summit. Our pilot said it usually takes climbers about 20 days to make it to the top so these guys were just about to reach their goal, it was so exciting! (Jon was super envious, he would love to climb a big mountain one day- we’ll do it babe!) 

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This was without a doubt one of my top 3 favorite vacations of all time. I want to go back every year.The beauty, the isolation, the lakes, the snow-capped mountains, the national parks, the teal colored glacial water, the animals, the delicious fish… everything that Alaska has is one of kind. It is an outdoorsy person’s paradise. We were only able to see a small part of the state because of the time frame we had, but renting an RV is definitely the way to go. The campgrounds were perfect and being able to go at your own pace and stop in random mountain towns made the driving part of it well worth it. The quality time with my husband and in-laws was so wonderful and the 21 hours of daylight let us maximize every second. If you are thinking of taking a trip somewhere awesome, book your next vacation to Alaska. Trust me!

Side note- No running for 10 days! Since we mostly stayed deep in the woods in campgrounds where there were bear warnings, bear prints and bear scat EVERYWHERE. I REALLY wanted to get in a run while I was in Alaska but I was pretty terrified to run in the woods alone so I didn’t. No biggie I had this as an off week in my marathon training anyways, I did however get in some glacier push ups!

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A few more photos: 

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Week 3, hydration and gels.

Last week I really started to think about hydration and fueling my runs properly especially as I start to head into the double digit long runs. I’m not one of those crazy nutrition people, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, atkins- no thank you. For me it’s simple, everything in moderation and if you reeeally like to eat (like me!) and you reeeallyy like to drink(like me!) then you better reeeally like to exercise too. With that said, I eat what works best for my body and makes me feel good so as I start to amp up my training I want to make sure my body is fueled properly. I’ve started making protein shakes post-run using Trader Joe’s whey protein and frozen fruit which has filled me up but I’m not sure it’s really helping me recover faster. I’d really love to find something that has protein and vitamins and made specifically for female athletes recovery. The hunt is on…

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As for fueling my runs I’ve been using Sports Beans with caffeine before and during all runs over 7 miles which I love, it picks me up bright and early and the carbs help me finish out longer runs. I also really like Cliff Blocks and Gu Chomps with caffeine. These work for me now but I’m still on the hunt to keep trying different gels to find the brand I just can’t live without. Stay tuned as my hunt for the best running fuel continues!