Tundra Trailbazer Jeff: The HILL Loop

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I live in the Town of Pierce. It is a thriving suburb of the big city of Kewaunee. OK – I live rural. Everyone has their local runs. The Ahnapee Trail is close to my house and I enjoy my walks, runs, and bike rides on the trail. It is nice and flat. At this point I do not need to wear my GPS watch to know where the mile markers are. It is safe, away from traffic and it allows me to get into that calm running trance that only a protected trail can provide.

One does not fall out of my house onto a nice flat city sidewalk. That’s cool with me. Over the years, I have developed 4,6,7 and 10 mile loops near the house. The hill that our home is built into makes for great repeat hills – you know speed work. 10 reps of about 10 seconds each can do some real good. At my age, I don’t hit a sprint. The goal is just to get up on the balls of my feet and run for about 10 seconds. Walk down the hill. Repeat. They can be added on to the end of any run – or for that matter a kayak trip.

Without a doubt, the 7 mile loop is my favorite. It starts less than a quarter mile uphill walk from the house. The loop starts out west on County FF and almost immediately heads down the “bowl” hill. The problem with a bowl hill is that as soon as you hit the bottom – it starts heading uphill. The hill starts out pretty steep the slope decreases after about a quarter mile. The slight uphill grade continues almost to the 1 mile point of the run. The nice thing is that after the steep upgrade the view improves. To the east you get a view of the Kewaunee River valley.

After you make the turn onto County E – or what us locals call River Road – you get a nice long down hill stretch back to the river. Of course immediately after crossing the river – you  have it – another uphill grade. This one is steep, but it is short. After that uphill you get a nice easy downhill towards the city. The next mile or so is the only relatively flat mile on the loop. You skirt past the harbor and over the river for a second time.

That is when you see THE hill. The one that everyone knows on Highway 42 heading out of Kewaunee north towards Algoma and  Door County. The good new is if you turn around at the top of the hill you get the view of everything – the river, harbor and the lake. Thankfully, it is also the last hill on the route.

This loop is easily accessible from the Ahnapee Trail Head in downtown Kewaunee. If you would rather have the less challenging trail – feel free. If you are looking for a challenging 7 miler you have that too. What I like most is the ability to vary my runs. It is my opinion that the more you vary your running the better runner that you will become. Even better is the chance that you will stay a runner, not for one season, but for a lifetime.

Tundra Trailablazer Nicole: A Cinerella Story: If the Shoe Fits

I am a little late on this, but I got a new pair of running shoes. Actually, two to be exact.

Overall, hands down, Run Away Shoes in Green Bay is literally like runner’s heaven to me. (They also have two more stores in Oshkosh and Appleton). A lot of times I will go in there with intentions of buying a pair of shoes or whatever, and will come out with five other items. I guess in runner’s heaven, that is pretty normal.

After a really bad 16 mile run last Saturday, I told myself I needed new shoes. Now, the pair of shoes that I was running in I had since mid-December and already had over 400 miles, including the half marathon I ran at the end of January and the 15K I ran last month in them. I knew it was time to get some new shoes.

I have been going to Run Away Shoes since summer of 2014, when the local sports store down by me was having less and less running shoes in stock. I was pretty frightened when I purchased my first pair from Run Away because they cost MORE than the shoes I have previously owned, but every pair I have bought since that summer of 2014 have been wonderful and have lasted a whole lot longer.

The coolest thing is that Run Away Shoes is a sponsor of the Cellcom Marathon. If I am correct, they have done the race shirts in the past and have been really good with the Prevea Training Runs by offering a piece of apparel or “run bundles” in the last couple of years. Looking for a new pair of shoes very soon? Each person who works there will analyze your gait and will give you a few choices to try on and choose from.

On that Saturday, I went into Run Away Shoes with two goals. A new pair of trainers and a new pair of flexible racing shoes. (By flexible, I mean, I can run with them in a 5K and all the way up to a marathon, if I really want to, but mainly up to a half marathon). Last summer, before I fractured my foot, I had made plans to go into their store and pick up new trainers and new racing flats the week after, but obviously, I had to put that on hold. Basically, I was on round two of attempting to fulfill my new racing shoes promise to myself.

I had my heart set on getting the new Saucony Freedom that came out in December. I had tried them on when I got my last pair of shoes, but I was not ready yet to buy them because of the timing in the running season. I knew I had a few months before I really needed them, so I promised myself to get them when my regular running shoes were close to the end of their training cycle.

Then there were the trainers. Usually, in the past, right around 350 miles, I usually go out and buy a new pair, and then use that “old” pair for speedwork, certain workouts, and long runs, until my new shoes hit that 100-mile mark or so, then the old shoes are used as walking shoes. This time around when I picked out my new shoes I wanted to take a break away from Brooks and try out some different options. I am always impressed with how friendly the staff is at Run Away Shoes and can give you some instant feedback and information about the shoes you are looking at. After an easy decision, I picked out the Nike Zoom Air Pegasus 33. Not only were they very comfortably, but the colors screamed, “I want to run Boston!”

Now it has been a week since I got my pairs of shoes. Earlier in the week, I worked with my racing shoes, the Saucony Freedom, and decided to break them in a little bit before my next race on March 19th. Later in the week, I ran with the Nike pair, and today, I ran sixteen miles with them and they felt amazing!!

The title of my post is not accidental, but rather a true statement. Every time you go out and buy a new pair of running shoes, you want them to fit and feel perfectly. You want them to look fun. You want to do big things with them. Just like my training for Boston and the Cellcom Half, and your training, shoes are the things that make or break your run. Now, remember that statement with walking out of Run Away Shoes with more than you came in for? I walked out with nine new pairs of socks. BECAUSE. SALES. SALES ARE NICE FOR RUNNERS! 😊

Happy Running!!

-Nicole

Tundra Trailblazer Jeff: Vacation Running

 

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Vacation Running

At some point your training might have to be altered to go on a vacation. I know that I travel for a living, but it is far from vacation. The hardest part for me is balancing work and training. I am sure that all of us struggle with that. Most of us need to work, that includes raising kids. Balance is always a struggle. Even or in some cases especially when we go on vacation or get out of our routine.

Later on this month I will be spending 10 straight days away from home. I will fly out early Friday morning to Charlotte NC. There I will pick up my new truck. On Saturday, we will pull out for Louisville, KY where I will be for 8 days. That includes missing 2 of the Prevea Training Runs. I do not plan on replacing the 12 and 14 mile LSD runs. I find it difficult to do long urban runs by myself.

What I have discovered is that I like to do is explore. Louisville is fairly familiar to me. It is the annual home of the biggest truck show in the country. We will be staying at a fancy downtown motel with plenty of treadmills. I hope to not touch them. We are too close to things that I don’t get to see very often. Louisville has an awesome trail on the Ohio Riverfront. There are bridges that runners can use to cross into Indiana. These bridges are man made hills as steep as any around here.

We are also only about a mile or two from the University of Louisville Campus. College campuses are almost always great places to run. They are pedestrian friendly. There is something special about the tradition of a campus. I don’t like to have a planned route when I am on the campus. Just run to the campus and cruise around until I get tired and run back to my hotel.

Last month I was in Peoria, IL. Do you know that Peoria lays claim to the world’s largest running store? It is huge. They also have a nice riverfront trail. Minneapolis and Saint Paul Minnesota may have the best trail system anywhere, although Austin Texas can put up a great argument.

This past summer, I got the opportunity to spend time in Portland, Oregon. I had my regular bridge circle there. It was about 4 miles from my hotel to the river across the river and circle around to the next bridge and back. Portland has a running culture. Everyday I would see many of the same people who were probably wondering who that slow guy was.

Take advantage of the pool. Swimming or even running in the water is a nice change. So, my plan when I go on vacation (even a working one) is don’t stop being a tourist. Don’t stop being a runner. Run like a tourist. You’re probably going to need to burn off a lot of tourist food anyway.

 

 

Trundra Trailblazer Jill: Update

“She’s A Yellow Pair of Running Shoes, A Holey Pair of Jeans….”

Do you recognize the title of this blog post? (I’ll get back to that soon…)

Hello, Friends!

What will it be today….

It’s that time in the training process: That point where I find myself questioning what I was thinking. I now drive places an hour or more away and think to myself, “Hmmm…I ran twice as long this morning as it took me to get here. How is that healthy!?!” 

The miles are piling up! This last week, I ran out a sub-marathon pace 13.1 miles (or half marathon) as a training run on my trek to completing the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon in May. 13 miles…And I know people say, “I run half marathons because I’m only half crazy.” But, you know what?!?!

It’s still really far! And also pretty crazy!! 

But if you’re like me, and you know that pride and euphoria you feel as you finish that last stretch of a long run and know you put your everything in to it, it’s SO worth it.

Each and every time. 

But then again, like most things we enjoy in life, (For me the Top 5 would be: My family, running, a well-timed joke, music, & sweatpants….watching HGTV runs a close 6th…)

 
There is ALWAYS a day where you just don’t want to do ANY of it!! 

Case in point: #1 on my list: My Family. Or simply, CHILDREN.

Please don’t tell me no one else has walked out of their room with strong “let’s get this day going” intentions at 5am, found both your children (who operate in stealth mode only when doing things they are NOT supposed to do – like getting up at 5am on a Saturday during “Mom get s@#t done time”) fighting over who has more blanket, and promptly said to yourself, “Nope,” then turned right back around and shut the door?

You know you’ve been there, and if you haven’t…well, this blog about motivation isn’t for you. And I hate you. (Totally kidding, we don’t just the h-word in this house unless it’s in relation to running in winter….)

But like any mediocre parent would, I then give myself this pep talk:

Do I love my children? Yes! 

Do they need me to provide them with nourishment in the form of some pre-made breakfast item that takes me 3 seconds to unwrap or put in a bowl? I guess so!?! 
(Maybe we need to rethink this part…or just pretend I said made from scratch, blah, blah organic blah, blah something here instead.)

Do I want to love my children and make breakfast at 5am rather than stay in bed secretly scrolling Pinterest for the next 2 hours? Ehhhh……..I mean, WANT or SHOULD? 

And 10 seconds later I’m out the door to make myself an excessive amount of coffee armed with a second blanket to stop
“Blanket War III” and get the day started.

Running is the same way for me some days. 

Yes, running is a part of my life that I have dedicated myself to. And just like you don’t become a parent overnight, becoming a runner takes A LOT of work too. 

(Side note: My 5-year old recently asked me to explain to him how babies were made in a way that I’m PRETTY sure someone told him how babies are actually made…I wasn’t ready…)

So 17+ years into this runner thing, how do I get out the door when I just don’t want to??

Well, I rely on other things to get me motivated. 

A race entry (Ahem…if you have NOT yet signed up to join me at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon in one way or another (5k, 13.1, 26.2..volunteer…) here’s your link: http://www.cellcomgreenbaymarathon.com/). Other things that might motivate me: a friend, and/or perhaps a new fitness goal.

Or money. (If someone wants to PAY me money to run some miles, I mean, I’m not going to say no…)

But of all these, my MOST powerful motivator in many walks of life is…MUSIC.

If you know me on a personal level, this will come as no surprise.
I’m a LOVER of music. 

Outside of my running and mom life, I’m a musician. I play harp and piano professionally, and I freakin’ LOVE IT!! 

I love the art of music. The incredibly complex way it is created, yet how a simplistic melody can be so catchy (think “Jaws” theme song…two notes, friends…two…). I also love the message that a good song or a moving melody offers to the listener.

I love watching an artist perform or sitting with my eyes closed(and yes, I’m a weirdo and I do this at concerts too) listening to all the parts, instrumental and vocal, as they come together to form the magic that is a beautiful piece.

Music, much like running, is my happy place. 

Music can provoke these deep feelings you maybe didn’t even know were there, and a well-placed lyric at a certain time in your life can engrave it’s place in your heart forever.

Easy Example: The “Rocky” movies. Who would Rocky Balboa be without his “theme song” playing as he runs up the stairs, fist pumping?!? Or when Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” plays as he’s getting all jacked?!?! All I know is, when I hear “Eye of the Tiger” I channel my inner Rocky and punch the person closest to me.
It’s invigorating. 

(Not the punching, the song. Should you choose to test the punching aspect of it to see if that’s invigorating, that’s on you….)

I could go on and on because it’s true….

2% Stuff I Should REMEMBER
from 20+ years of school
There is a song for EVERYTHING in my life. 
Seriously, ask me about a point in my life, and I’ll have a song that goes with it.

First major breakup? “Comfortable” by John Mayer.

The birth of my first child? “I Like You” by SJ.

(Side note: I was going for a beachy, Jack Johnson, “I can do this without an epidural” feel when I made my delivery room playlist. But now I can’t really listen to that song without provoking some psychosomatic stomach pains and a sudden urge to punch my husband. Who also happens to be standing near me most often when “Eye of the Tiger” comes on. Huh…..Weird….)

In our house, we make sure we end each day with a song; one that’s special for each child. For my son, JD, it’s “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor. For Julianna, often times I’m singing the theme song from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, but otherwise, we favor, “The Boat Song” by JJ Heller. (If you’ve never heard a 3-year old sing this song, I encourage you to do so. It’s so incredibly sweet it’s almost nauseating.)

I connect in my life through music. 
So where does this fit into running? 
 
As I mentioned earlier, there are points in the training process where you just feel like you can’t go on. You might hit a physical block, a mental block, or even an “I just want to sit on the couch and eat chocolate” block. (That’s my favorite kind.) Whatever the cause, I encourage you to find a motivator to push you forward.

And why not have it be an amazing, kick butt song!?! 

You may have a personal mantra, inspirational quote, or other words to live by. But if you’re like me and you love the sound of a great guitar solo, or a funky horn counter-melody to a dance beat (yeah, I’m talking about James Brown, Bruno Mars, Prince…just the best of of the best here…) then find something to dance along to!

I have found “my jam” over and over again throughout the years. But back to the name of this blog post, there’s one song that I can say has been mentally motivating for me during difficult running times.

As I mentioned in my first blog post, back when I was training after having my daughter, I had a hard time running. Physically, mentally – It was just a bitter struggle between wanting to love the sport again, and wanting to give it up because it wasn’t as easy to love as it was before.

It was during this same time that I discovered the song by Brad Paisley called, “She’s Everything”. Actually, I played it as a recessional selection for a wedding I performed at, and like most songs I don’t know (I’m not a big country music person), I had to listen to it a few times to get a “feel” for it before I was performance ready. In doing so, I listened much to what the song was saying. The lyrics are what stuck with me, and really resonated with me during that time.

The opening line of the song being, “She’s a yellow pair or running shoes, a holey pair of jeans. She looks great in cheap sunglasses, she looks great in anything…”

 
Clearly, he had me at the running shoes. 

But what I really found in the lyrics was somebody saying to their partner, “You are not perfect, but I love that about you, and you should love that about you tooThe simple things about you: your running shoes, indecisiveness, moodiness are what make you YOU.  Things aren’t always going to be easy, including the miles in that “yellow pair or running shoes…. 

But the imperfection might just be perfectly meant for you.” 

I added this song to my playlist and I love when it comes on during a run. It reminds me of all these things I struggled with and really all those imperfections that I have learned to appreciate about myself; runner me included. The lyrics give me the motivation to keep trying, keep going when I don’t feel like it’s possible anymore.

I REALLY hope you have songs in your life that make you feel the same! Be it something to listen to in your training for the next big running event, or something that gets you through any difficult time in your life. 
 
Find what gets you pumped about life and crank it up! 

Make today the best day yet!

Jill~

Tundra Trailblazer Jill: Training Right

Training Right With My BFF “Gym”

Hello, Everyone! 

So if you don’t live in Wisconsin, we have had some AMAZING weather this week. I’m pretty sure my car told me it was 66 degrees at one point AND I was outside running in a tank top.

Yeah! 66 in February and a tank top! 
Welcome to Wisconsin!

While part of me felt bad for my weird, sadistic friends who enjoy snow and cold weather, I also feel like maybe someone upstairs was listening to all my whining about, “It’s cold….blah, blah…” and decided to do me a kindness..or shut me up for bit.

Either way, I took it and literally RAN with it. 

It was a GREAT week to get out and get in those training miles; be it for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, another event coming up, or just because you wanted to feel the sun on your face.

However, in true Wisconsin winter fashion, this morning we wake up to 3″ of snow, 35mph winds, and more snow to come. So today’s 12 mile training run was done indoors.
Fun. Back to waiting for Spring! 

Truth.

Since blogging last, I had a great time at the Seroogy’s Valentine Day 5k/15k. (Shhh…don’t tell, but I secretly stashed a few Meltaway Bars from the finish line refreshments table in my pocket to take home to the kids…and by the kids I mean to eat while watching Fixer Upper in my sweatpants.)

My Trophy…I Love My Littles…

I planned to go out and run the 15k at my goal marathon pace; around a 9:30 min/mile. However, with minimal winds, temps in the 30s, and having trained properly for it (patting myself on the back for that one), I felt AMAZING and went out and ran my best 15k yet. My PR time was just over 1 hour, 13 minutes – or a 7:51 min/mile. A sub-8 was NOT something I thought I could maintain comfortably anymore over a 10k distance, so this was both a surprise, and a proud moment for me. Oh, and did I mention I came home to a homemade Lego trophy too!?!

Best.Day.Ever. 

I did hit my usual “wall” around mile 7.5-8. But, as I continue my training and start to extend my long runs each week, I’m focused on being able to overcome this milestone….

MENTALLY & PHYSICALLY.

So how will I do this? Well, as I mentioned in the 15k, I did well because I “did it right”. But, I was not just referring to my training runs or running in general. As any fitness/running magazine will tell you, the work you do outside of your mileage is as much if not more important than getting in those varied endurance and speed runs each week.

And in trying to fit in core and strength, cross-training and and stretching, what’s better than going to a place with the people, the equipment, and the classes that will get you there!?! This is where my best friend comes in:

My BFF “GYM” 

I am an avid fan of group fitness, fitness facilities, and well…

 using other people’s enthusiasm to try to gain some of my own on hard days.
Why I enjoy the gym as much as I do
I give you the Bradley Cooper of Packers

There’s nothing like having someone to ask you how things are going or talk about their own goals and/or accomplishments to get you motivated. There’s also nothing like having some super fit, handsome man running on the treadmill next to you to get you to up that incline/speed, and push it just a bit more.

(NOTE: I was talking about my husband here…and that time I saw former Packer Aaron Kampman at the Y. But that’s another story…that I still dream about every night…..)

I’ve belonged to or worked at a gym for the last 20 years and am a 5 day/week-er pretty religiously. Be it the college campus gym or one public facility or another, every where I have moved to, I’ve joined a gym within days of getting there. While years ago (pre-kid time) it was mainly for fitness, now as a work-from-home parent, I really rely on the social and structural component a group facility has to offer.

If you’re living in Northeast Wisconsin, we have a plethora of fitness facilities to try out that offer these things and more. Sure some awesome and some…..well, not so much. (Having belonged to 4 of the larger facilities in the area, and if you’re looking for a supportive atmosphere with lots of great classes, AND childcare, I would recommend Western Racquet or our local YMCAs. I won’t bore you with all the AMAZING reasons these two rock…just yet… 🙂 )

But you know the #1 reason I choose a gym? (#2 is cleanliness….if I can’t shower there, it’s a problem…and trust me, this has been a problem…)

My kids can go too.

As a parent, and for me a work-from-home parent, it can be extremely difficult to find time for a fitness regimen. In going from working full-time out of the house to now in the past 2 years strictly running a business from home, I remember thinking, “I’m going to have so much time for working out, I’ll be on American Ninja Warrior within the year”.

It’s the simple things that I love…

Yeah…not so much….

If you’re like me, you can always find something else around the house to do. (And let’s face it, with a toddler in the house, she essentially makes 5 more things for me to do for everyone 1 I complete.)

So leaving the house and scheduling my time to train is how I get things done. Signing up for group fitness classes, I get my cross-training and core/strength work.

And, best of all, I have friends again! 

Like adult friends who I don’t have to talk to about the latest episode of Paw Patrol, or which TMNT is my favorite. (It’s Mikey, cause he’s frickin’ hilarious…)

Maybe this will motivate me to be a Yogi

But while these are all ways that my BFF Gym is good to me, I want to touch one way that the group concept can go wrong as well.

I recently saw a post on a friend’s Facebook page about her renewal of a fitness regimen. She was getting back to daily workouts at the gym, and with that, using the treadmill for cardio. In asking an innocent question, and clearly stating that she was ENJOYING her time on the treadmill, a friend of hers, who states they are an advocate of clean living and personal wellness (over and over and over again on their Facebook page) and thus who would be looked to as someone who knows what they’re talking about, responded with, “I know how to fix your issue. Stop using the treadmill.”

Essentially, in more words or less, he was telling her, the person who was feeling great about being back at it after not working out, that she was doing it wrong; she was trying wrong. She wasn’t going to see results because her choices were “ineffective”.

Let’s just say in reading this post and their subsequent conversation, it took everything in me to not respond with a bunch of not nice words that I can summarize by just saying,

“Here’s your spaghetti. You are very rude.”  
(That’s a Dane Cook comedy skit reference, in case you’re wondering…and since I’m on a roll posting photos of good looking men…well, here’s another one.)
 
The Dane Cook

Now here’s why this bothered me in regards to using a gym:

I’m a runner of nearly 20 years, and in the last 6 a “mother runner”. In these last 6 years, I have relied often on the treadmill so I do not have to hear my “darling angels” in the jogging stroller ask, “Are we done? I have to go to the bathroom. She touched me! He hit me! I need a snack. How fast are you going? Can you go faster?!? I don’t want to run anymore,” over and over until I give up…after 5 minutes.

So……

I run on the treadmill many times during training because if I didn’t…I wouldn’t run at all. 
 
Now, what’s better? Doing SOMETHING or doing NOTHING? I think that kind of answers itself.
And ANY trainer, fitness coach, or person who supposedly supports a healthy lifestyle would (or should in this case) agree….
NEVER tell someone their TRY isn’t as good as yours, because they aren’t TRYING to be YOU.
When you go out in public with your fitness regimen, you WILL run into these people. You’ll run into those that have an opinion on how you can be “better” or what will get you “results”.
I myself have had a similar conversation to the one above with a trainer at a not so great gym 8 weeks after having my daughter. Evidently, using the treadmill was “stupid” and “not going to get me back in shape”. Because clearly he knew what “shape” I should be after having my second child, and he also was going to watch my 8 week old while I went outside and got in some “real runs” as he put it. Little did he know it was those “real” runs I was ACHING to do, but my personal life, work schedule, and overall physical fitness just wasn’t ready to allow it yet.
Had I not been a runner for so long, had I been new to the sport or to working out, or even new to using a gym, it’s quite possible that I would’ve taken his “advice” and never come back. Further, I might have thought I really DIDN’T know what I was doing and wasn’t capable of getting myself where I wanted to be fitness-wise, so why try?
But knowing the true benefits of group fitness facilities, I urge you…
Don’t let this stop you! 
 
In the words of Taylor Swift…. 
I’m not sure how one “shakes it off”, but I rely on a lot of butt wiggling personally….
The gym is an awesome place, but only if you set your own personal goals and focus on achieving what you want to from your fitness routine. Plus, if you go with either my recommendations for a gym mentioned above, I know you’ll find people that are more than happy to help you attain your goals in a way that fits your lifestyle.
Now, to sum up this kind of random blog today, I offer the following:
1. Train right – mileage is one thing, but not everything in distance training
2. Avoid the spaghetti – Just because something works for you and your routine, doesn’t mean it’s the best way for everyone.
3. Go the gym and reap the benefits of a social, scheduled, and structured place where other people are doing exactly what you are!
4. Reading a blog is way more fun when there are pictures of hot guys throughout it. So for no further reason, here is a picture of Ryan Reynolds….
You’re Welcome.
Make today the best day yet! 
(I’m now off to go see an awesome 80s-90s rock band in a pair of American Flag Lularoe leggings with my sister. Pretty sure it’s guaranteed that I’m making this happen. Boom.)
Jill~ 

Tundra Trailblazer Jeff: Run Naked

Run Naked

clothes1

To be clear running naked has nothing to do with clothing – or lack there of. It is about running without measuring. Every once in a while we should just run. Don’t turn on the GPS watch or whatever it is that you use to measure time and distance. Running is more than analytics. There is a spirit to running. When we measure everything that we do, we can go flat. We are constantly trying to improve. That is alright. I get that. There is proper balance. Everyone’s is different.

I tend to over analyze everything. Part of my job is to analyze engine reports.  I look at small differences in idle time, load factors, acceleration histograms, average RPM, average road speed etc. and study those number to look for ways to improve fuel mileage. Trucks are machines. Runners aren’t. Sometimes we need a different approach.

This marathon training season started out well for me. I got myself started in late October. It meant time in the gym, lifting weights and running on the treadmill.  The efforts were paying off. My pace for the 6 mile training run was about 10:30 per mile. That improved to about 10:20 on the 7 miler and dropped 10:06 on the 8 miler. Getting close to the 10 minute mark was my goal. I was trying to do this by not looking at my watch the first half of the training runs. Everything was looking good.

The weekend of the 9 mile training run, I was out of town for a truck show. I pushed a little too hard during the week. My body does not respond well to 3 consecutive days of hard running. That week I challenged my history and got back spasms as a reward. It changed my routine for a few days, but I got through it. Then in my typical fashion I pushed hard when my back felt better and I got in a rut. Improvement stopped. One of my February goals is to get my 5k time below 28:00. It has been a struggle and the goal seemed to be getting further away.

Then on Tuesday, I ran naked. I had an hour to run while in Dubuque, IA. I left the downtown hotel and their treadmills behind. At 06:00 I left without starting my GPS. I ran towards the river, and explored the area, that included a museum, paddle boats, and a museum. As it started getting lighter I went up the big hill to check out the view.  The hill was a little too steep for me, so I walked some. I ran through the neighborhoods at the top of the hill and enjoyed the older homes as well as the view. I just ran until it was time to stop. It felt great to run free.

The good new is after my “naked” run in Dubuque, I am feeling positive about my training again. On Thursday I ran a 28:02 5k. On Tuesday, I will take another stab at it, and I feel positive that I will be under 28:00. Sometimes the best way to hit your goals is to quit aiming at them and just run.

 

 

Tundra Trailblazer Nicole: Update

The last few weeks have been really crazy for myself. Between work, life, and running, it has been hard to balance all three in one day. Obviously, work was the number one priority, since one of everyone’s favorite event is to receive a paycheck, but just like our jobs, how has your training been paying off?

A few days before my half, I decided to follow up my appointment from my running analysis back from Thanksgiving. Overall, the stretches and extra exercising have been paying off and my running form improved very well, but as most of us have experience in life, there is always room for improvement. One of the other issues I decided to ask about was my pacing for my runs.  I LOVE going out every day at 7:45/mile pace. I changed up my pacing for my runs a little, but, honestly, I seriously feel a lot stronger when I do my hill and interval workouts. I can even say, that my race from this past Saturday also benefited from that.

My job at a dairy farm is quite tiring every day. My hours typically start at six in the morning and could end anywhere between two and five in the evening. After work, I trained myself to go run. Some days, it is easy to run my favorite pace, but my body needs to recover properly on those days that I just run. I am guilty of rushing my run because I got done with work later than I expected. After all, it is calling attention to an injury. Just because a cow decided to act up before I wanted to leave does not mean I should let the cow suffer until the next morning and just go home and run. No! But instead, I pursue the issue at the farm, first, and make sure that my cow is back up and running, and then I can go home. Maybe running is not the best term to use for the cow, but as a caretaker for my livestock, it is important that she is taken care of in the most humane way possible. If it means she has to rest on the straw bedded pack for the night with food and water, and then taking it to the next step by communicating with other coworkers to help monitor her. Just like dairy cow management, you too can manage your running. You cannot always rush yourself with that. It might be bad news.

Just like the cow at work, you take the time to go through all the protocols to make sure everything is on point for running. If something is missed or a shortcut is used, something traumatic will happen. You ignore the cow in the afternoon, you might lose her overnight. You skip quality runs for your half or full marathon training, you will eventually injury yourself.

One of the many benefits of training for the Cellcom Marathon is that you are not alone. Is something bother you while you are running? Ask one of the wonderful trainers at the training runs at the Distillery. Wondering where your running form needs help? Schedule a running analysis with Prevea. All the work you put in should not be put to waste, after all, you worked too hard to get where you are standing.

One of the main things is to not let running take over your entire life. Remembering to put other things ahead of it sometimes is hard, but at the end of the day, you should be proud of the other achievements you conquered during the day besides your run.


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