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!

Marathon training has begun & my training plan.

I signed up to run the Columbus Ohio Marathon on October 19th this year. This will be my first marathon and the biggest task I’ve ever taken on. For the past 2 years I’ve applied to the lottery for the New York City Marathon in hopes of getting in and making my marathon debut on my home turf and favorite city BUT anyone who knows anything about the NYC marathon knows that getting into that race via the lottery is damn near impossible. Sooo I did the next best thing and signed up for the Columbus Ohio marathon where my family can come be my cheering squad and I can get to know Columbus (aka-hubby’s hometown) a little bit better.

Words cannot express how excited I am for this journey. 3 years ago I started running, 2 years ago I ran my first half marathon and last year was the Olympic triathlon, it’s only fitting that this year I conquer the 26.2! Never in a million years did I think running would be this rewarding, probably because every sport I played running was used as punishment, but now I’d pick running over any other sport any day of the week.

It took me a little while to come up with the perfect training plan but then I came across this book and decided to customize my own plan based off the Novice 1 program.

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marathon training schedule

With a couple of trips happening during the training I didn’t want to put pressure on how much I would run while I’m away so I left those “away” days blank and we’ll just see what happens 🙂

This week is week 3 and I am kicking butt! At first I was super nervous about Hal Higdon’s plan calling for 3 consecutive days of running but today was a day 3 run and I felt stronger than ever. Definitely training the legs to work hard even when they are fatigued so hopefully this will help prevent me from hitting a wall when I get into the longer runs in August.

Anyways that is the plan Stan, lets do this! TWENTY SIX POINT FREAKIN’ TWO, HERE I COME!

2 weeks of running to recap.

The past couple weeks have flown by! My brother-in-law and his wife had a baby (yay new nephew!) and my husband’s family has been visiting and staying with us. Side note-I really lucked out in the in-law department because Jon’s whole family is so much fun and the nicest people ever. With that said, we have been SUPER busy so training has been very slow. I haven’t even posted a celebratory kickoff post :(. NOT GOOD! Right now I am on week 3 of the 20 week marathon training plan and everything is about to change, time to get serious! It’s not that I haven’t been logging the miles, I have, but I’m just barely getting by. Let’s do a quick recap in pictures of the past 2 weeks:

First off, Finley got spayed. Here she is giving her best puppy eyes in her THIRD cone. Yes third… she chewed through her first two. 

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6/7- Run 7 miles

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6/10- 5 foggy rough miles

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6/12- 4 rainy miles

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6/14- 6 miles

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6/17- Happy birthday to my sweet Maddie girl! My first dog and childhood best friend turned 14 yesterday!! We got Maddie when I was in 7th grade and she has been the best dog in the entire world ever since. Although she is an old lady now she still has the spirit of a puppy. It’s so special to see her and Finley together, seeing my two puppies so happy just makes my heart melt. This is my absolute favorite picture us.

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6/18- 5 awesome NEW miles. I took a different route today and found a big park to run through. The only kicker is that you have to run/walk 1 mile straight uphill to get there. I’m going to try to do this route at least once a week so by marathon day I will have calves of steel. 

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Also today, BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUT TO MY SISTER KATIE!!! LOVE YOU!

 

 

Happy national running day!

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Running for me goes way beyond exercise. It has made me a stronger, healthier, more dedicated and overall happier person. It’s gotten me through some really tough times and has made the best days even better. Running is totally mental, it’s all about pushing yourself further to see what you are made of. With every new distance you cover or day you decided to get out of bed when it was the last thing you wanted to do, you learn more about your spirit and the type of person you are. Running makes you the best version of yourself.

This morning I ran a mini tempo run to celebrate this lovely run holiday 🙂

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I really love this quote by Kara Goucher, it’s so true.  I learn something new about myself on each run (mostly that I am way stronger than I ever imagined) and the time I spend alone on my runs is so therapeutic. It’s my reflective time where I don’t have to do anything but just put one foot in front of the other and be happy. During my runs I’m definitely making mental to-do lists and thinking about the day to day, but mostly I’m thinking about how great life is and what my body is able to do. I feel so lucky to be able to run and that my legs are strong enough to take on new challenges every year. Running has helped me overcome the toughest time in my life and push forward. It’s become “my thing” and made me the person I am today; strong, confident and full of appreciation and love. I’m grateful for every mile.

Why do you run??

Phillips 10k trail run race recap.

On Sunday I ran my first ever trail race and it was AWESOME! I thought I was doomed all week leading up to the race because I overdid it with strength training on Wednesday and my quads were insanely sore. By Saturday I convinced myself I was only going to run the 5k and play it safe but I woke up Sunday morning and decided to suck it up. I’m so happy I did because I had no idea what I was in for. The race was right by my parent’s house so they came out to cheer me on along with Jon and Finley. It was a small race but extremely well organized. The gun went off at 9am and the next thing I know I’m running through narrow wooded trails like Katniss Everdeen in my own version of The Hunger Games, long steep ups and long steep downs. About a mile in I glanced at my Garmin and saw I was holding a 10 minute pace and since it’s been a while since I’ve seen that I started to realize trails were no joke! I was dodging rocks and bushes, jumping over fallen trees and skipping over exposed roots. The best part of the race was having to keep insanely focused the whole time, mainly so I didn’t break my neck. My legs were giving it their all up the endless hills but it felt great and I was riding a high the whole time. Between the gorgeous wooded scenery and challenging course, time was flying by and it felt like the race was over in the blink of an eye. I finished 19th overall and 3rd in my age group, victory!! If you have never done a trail race, Google one now and sign up immediately- you will LOVE it!

This race was also very exciting in another way; it marks day #1 of my marathon training! If all goes well 20 weeks from Sunday I will be in Columbus Ohio with my insanely supportive husband, both sets of our parents, sister & brother in-law, niece and nephew and I will be running the Columbus Marathon. A big chunk of my inspiration for getting into blogging was to blog through my marathon journey and hopefully inspire others to make their running dreams come true and better yet make them come true in really cool places! So this is like the official, OFFICIAL kick off to Wanderlust On The Run, woohoo! Thanks for being a part of it!

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Hope you all had a nice weekend and fit in a great run! 🙂