Flagstaff Half Marathon Recap

“The Toughest Trail Marathon in Arizona” and oh boy was it tough!

Friday morning I went to hot yoga then headed up to Flagstaff for the marathon. This week I really tried to prep as much as I could before this race. There’s not a lot of running training you can do before a half, you gotta just bank on all the miles you’ve put in all summer, so focus shifts to what you eat and what your mind tells yourself.  The race site didn’t have the course map up so I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into! But I really tried to eat carbs that would fuel me, lots of water, and stayed away from things like fried foods or dairy that wouldn’t agree with my stomach.

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This race was small. About 400 runners. The expo was just a table outside of a coffee shop but they gave out lightweight hoodies instead of shirts and I was jazzed to say the least.

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I packed my dinner to eat in the hotel. I stayed in the cheapest place possible which meant no fridge or microwave for me. I made a pasta and spinach salad with lemon basil vinaigrette which totally hit the spot!f46

The race didn’t start till 9am for the half-ers which felt so late  to me. But when I woke up it was only 45 degrees! That’s COLD to this Phoenician.

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The course. Okay. Look at this thing. There was a 10K, half and full marathon option. The 10K was the red loop. The Half was the red + black loop and the Full was the red + black loop twice. And the elevation starts around 8,000 feet! And climbs all the way up to about 8,600. I was quite worried about the elevation. That’s about 7,000 higher than I’m used to!

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I got about 3 miles in before I reevaluated my goals. This course was hilly. Plus a trail run plus thin elevation cold air. I just wanted to stay under 3 hours. Actually, I was worried about finishing at all. I have ran trails before. Desert-y dirt trails. That’s NOT what this was. This was forest trails. Let me tell you, it was beautiful when I could look up at it. But I couldn’t look up! Every time I did, I would trip or twist my ankle or slide on a branches and sticks that covered the ground. I twisted my ankle so so so many times. One time was pretty hard and I was scared I was really going to do some damage before the NYC marathon.  I started on my mantra early on, repeating in my mind a line I got from the book Build Your Running Body “There is one finish line and it’s at the finish.”

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I was slipping and sliding all over that course. I trained pretty hard to break the habit of picking my feet / knees up so high that I’m wasting energy but for this course you HAD to pick your feet up so high or else you’d jam your toes into a jutting rock.

So it was slow going. You always go a little slower uphill, right? But downhill I’d have to go just as slow! I was sliding on the dried pine needles or loose rocks that littered the course. I tried to push it on the rare straight stretches of the course when I could.

Now I do want to say that the race support was excellent. The signage was clear and flags lined the course to mark where to run. There were a ton a great volunteers and water stations just about every 2 miles. Plus most of the stations had oranges, bananas and/or pretzel chips. It was a really good set up and that really impressed me.

But the mile markers were a bit of a mess. The provided pre-race info did warn that due to the type of course, the miles were more approximated and “may not match” what your GPS says. And mine sure didn’t. For most of the race my watch was saying I was about 1/2 a mile further than the mile markers so I had it in mind that I was going to run about 14 miles. No biggie.

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Mile 8-10, I was advised, were the big big uphill miles. I ran for as much as I could miles 1-8 and then let myself take a walk break for the big uphill. Miles 10 and 11 we’re okay, I was tired but I was moving. Then I wanted to really lay it all out on the course for miles 12-finish, again thinking it would be closer to 14-ish miles.

I saw the mile marker for mile 12 and my watch said something like 12.25 and a volunteer pointed down the path telling me the finish was that way. So I picked it up and…. ran about 100 feet and there was the end! What??

I really wish I had pushed harder on mile 12 but I thought I had 2 more to go! Not less than a quarter mile! Haha.

Oh well. I collected my medal, skipped the free beer and headed straight for the food truck. This race provided free lunch! It was a bit of a wait since all the runners (for every distance) and volunteers got a free meal but hey, it was free!

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Gringodillas food truck! I’ve never heard of this place before (it’s local to Flag) but it was awesome they set up shop for us and everything looked so good! I got the Sly Dog with bbq pork and cole slaw and it was delish!

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All in all I felt really great during this race. Parts were hard for sure but I wasn’t depleted at the end and I KNOW I can continue on (which I’ll have to come November!) I had a good more miles left in this tank and NYCM won’t be a trail and is basically 0 elevation so all of that will make it a little bit smoother. But NYCM does have all those bridges….

Next up is the South Mountain Classic and then I think I’m hanging up my trail racing shoes!

 

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NYCM Check in: 8 Weeks Left!! Did I make any progress??

I really really tried to step it up this week. I was far from perfect but I felt like I did better than I’ve been. 8wo-e1505000930751.jpg

It’s hard to really judge so I feel like the fall back marker is weight. And this week the scale moved UP half a pound. Definitely not the direction I want it to go but I’m just trying to remind myself that the number on the scale is not the deciding factor here.

I felt so confident with my workouts this week. I did get off my butt a few times when I reallllly wanted to stay in bed (like this morning. 1 minute “sprints” on the assault bike for 15 rounds. Killer!) but I’m sitting here thinking, well I skipped 1 morning run. 1 turned into a walk for a run. I didn’t go to yoga on Friday…. Hmm…

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I did get in my long run on Thursday- 12 miles in the morning and then I got in another 3 that night. I felt pretty strong ( strong but still slow) during the run and thought if it were race day I had a few more miles in me. Plus on race day you’re so excited and the energy is just buzzing that you always get about 4 or so miles that fly by. So I think I have 20 miles in me right now. The last 6.2 are gonna hurt hurt hurt but I CAN do this! Running is mental anyway right. I just need to repeat I CAN I CAN I CAN!

After my race on Thursday, I was craving a soda (I almost always crave a coke after a long run!) and a salad! So I ran over to Salad 2 Go on the way home and ate it immediately on the couch with Copper Mercury watching and waiting for any spilled bits.

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I got in 22 miles this week. Plus 2 lifts, kayaking 1 day- super fun- and a round on the assault bike. My pace is still beyond slow!! Which gets disheartening! Definitely need to do more speedwork and just push push push.

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THIS Saturday is the Flagstaff Half Marathon. I think I’m still in denial that it’s already here. I want to get in a short “long run” on Wednesday. I’m thinking 8 miles. And then training runs of course with a rest on Friday. This will be my 10th half so I’m pretty excited about it. I just gotta WORK!!

 

Cocky or Confident?

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I have a half marathon on Sept 16th. I was so focused on NYCM that I basically ignored the half coming up. I keep thinking, “Eh half marathons are so easy! I’ve done so many. I can do another one.”

Well… it’s not like my training is going stellar. And my last half was a little rough and dirty.

So I go to look up the race details on this one and I see on their website the phrase boasting, “The Flagstaff Marathon…is known as one of the most challenging courses in the country.”  UMM HUH?

The Most Challenging Course? I’m not prepared for the MOST challenging course!

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In my head, I’m super great! It’s not a bad thing to think since running is 90% mental. If you think you can, you can! And for me, I know I CAN run 13.1 miles. It may not be fast, or pretty, or easy but it’s definitely doable. So sometimes that confidence brushes up to cocky and I think, “I know I can, so I don’t have to train today!!” You know why some half or even full marathons go better for me than others?! It’s because of how I’ve treated my body up until race day! Was I putting in the work? Was I eating right?? Did I let myself slip and give myself excuses?

So yes, I CAN run a half marathon as long as I’m training right.

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Last Spring – RnR Phx

I have to admit to myself that I’m not super woman that can wake up Saturday morning and run for three hours without so much as stretching before hand. Put in the work, Lindsay!

Okay so new plan! I’m going to focus on hills and trails and JUST this half! And then when I’m done, I can get back to NYCM. It’s not like I haven’t been running at all. I just am not running as strong or as long as I should be. But I have a few short weeks to get my crap together and get back on track! I tell ya, I cannot wait for this weather to cool down!! Man, it’s hot out there. Even when I go out at 5 am in the dark still. Winter is coming???

 

Pros and Cons of the Wildfire Half Marathon

What a weekend!  I drove up to Pinetop AZ for the Wildfire Half Marathon on Friday afternoon after like 0 planning or training! Let’s do this recap by the pros and cons.

CON:

I realized that driving long distances is an anxiety trigger for me!  I was able to kind of keep my anxiety in check but yeah, I’m not doing that drive for a while.

I was more than ready to be done driving by the time I got the hotel! When I went into the lobby, passing the ‘no vacancy’ sign and said I needed to check in, the manager said those dreaded words, “Could it be under any other name?”

Um… no! Not at all.

CON:

They didn’t have my reservation! I booked through Expedia (which normally is a breeze) but there’s was a problem with their system and long story short, the motel no longer partnered with them so they never got word of my res. It’s all Expedia’s fault and the manager was beyond helpful about it and they got me another room in a near by hotel. Problem was, this hotel didn’t have a microwave! So I couldn’t reheat the pre-race meal I prepped and packed! After scrambling for a new hotel room and checking in for the race and not knowing the area at all, I got the best meal I could think of fast. McDonalds Chicken Salad w/ Balsamic dressing.

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It’s been a while since I went to McD’s and they didn’t even have this on the menu. I probably sounded pretty dumb asking for it but oh well. Plus he called it a “Ranch Chicken salad” so I had to even further ask if they had other dressings. But if worked out enough. Luckily my room did have a coffee maker so I heated up some water in that in the A.M. to eat my oatmeal before the run.

CON:

I did not sleep well!  I think I woke up 4 times during my 6 hour sleep and had 1 dream that really shook me up. I was planning on waking up at 4 but when my eyes opened at 3 I decided I might as well get up and get moving.

PRO:

Pinetop is beautiful!! I loved loved loved running through the trees and part of it was even around a little lake. Ya’ll know how I feel about all bodies of water so that was my fav part.

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CON:

The course was rough, man! It was a trail run for the most part (maybe about 2 miles of pavement?) but lots of either loose dirt or either groovy, rained on then driven over dirt packed roads. Avoiding all the grooves and holes and ankle-twisting paths was definitely a challenge!

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PRO:

The first 4 miles were downhill.

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CON:

The next 3 1/2 miles were uphill and I mean uphill! I didn’t see anyone run up those steep hills. I walked up a lot of this segment. Sometimes it was the kind of walking where you have to hunch over and keep your balance it was so steep. It would level off a little and I would try and catch my breath and then run the straight bits but they weren’t very long till it was uphill again.

 

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PRO:

I saw the mile 8 marker and next thing I know it was mile 10!  I love when this happens. 🙂

CON:

I am not used to running in high elevation. Where I live it sits at about 1,000 ft. This course got up to 7,300 ft! I could feel it for the first couple miles but luckily it wasn’t a big issue and I could breathe the whole time. But keeping this in mind (along with all the other things going on) I kept a very slow pace and put absolutely no pressure on myself time-wise. I knew I wasn’t going to PR so I just enjoyed being outdoors and looked at it like a long hike.

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PRO:
I finished! It may have took me barely under 3 hours but I did it and I didn’t give up. And now I have another medal to add to my collection.

PRO: (CON??)

I was CRAVING ice cream the entire last 5 miles! I knew there was a Burger King across the street from my hotel and so I set my mind to getting a Froot Loop Shake. And while I’m there and just exercised off 1000 calories, dammit I’m getting Mac n Cheetos!!

Both were satisfying as in they fulfilled what I was craving but neither tasted so spectacular that I’d 1) get them again 2) recommend them.

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CON:

By the time I finally got back to the hotel, I had just enough time to eat, take an bath and clean up before I had to check out. I peeled off my shoes and socks and laughed at my dirty self! I really did run through the dirt trails!

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CON:

Ice bath! enough said.

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CON:

Time to drive back home!

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PRO:

But the BIGGEST pro is really, just how freaking gorgeous this Earth is! The older I get the more I just want to be outside!! I love than running takes us all over the world and to such beautiful places and courses and we get to just do what we love in the sunshine (mostly…) and out in nature.

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Overall, even though I think there were more cons on this list than pros, I am happy with this weekend. Normally a 3 hour time would make me so miserably depressed but I just had the attitude from the start that I was going to enjoy the course. There were a few road blocks that definitely tried my anxiety and state of mind  but I’m proud of how I handled it all.

Sometimes races are way more mentally challenging than physically so even though I may not have pushed myself to be fastest or strongest or whatever there, I did push myself mentally to be positive and kind to myself so I still win!

Plus this was the inaugural Wildfire Half Marathon so who knows, maybe I’ll do it again next year!

 

It’s been so long!

Hello again!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated here. I sometimes feel so silly writing into the void of this little blog but I think it really does keep me somewhat accountable. And lately I’ve been holding myself accountable for well, nothing! So let me take up this little corner of the web and ramble. 🙂

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What have I been up to?

I joined a diet bet! I was so good for the first week and then so bad for the second. I have till 6/18 to lose 7lbs or I gotta pay up! Time to really buckle down. (how many times have I said that lately??)

I decided that every day in June I’m going to workout. I WILL work out for a mere 10 minutes every day. I can run, strength train, do yoga, anything for 10 minutes. I made this decision after I already got to work but didn’t want to let even 1 day go by so on my 1 and only break before the clock turned 12:00 I ran down to the gym and used the treadmill for 10 mins in my jeans and sandals. But hey, I got it done.

I have a half marathon this Saturday! The Wildfire Half in Pinetop. I really have not been training very hard and didn’t really let myself comprehend what I was getting myself into. I always think half marathons are like literal walks in the park but they are HARD. I have ZERO time expectations on this one. It’s a pretty small host and it’s up in the mountains with a high elevation so I’m just going to take it easy, go slow and my own pace, enjoy the scenery and run through the forest and hills. (that picture is from a couple weeks ago when I went up to Pinetop/Show Low for a hike. It’s so beautiful up there! Being outside, near the water. that’s all I need!!)

 

 

 

Phoenix Half Marathan Race Recap: Well that didn’t go as planned.

Did I tell you guys I got sick again? ‘

My grandfather died a couple weeks ago, so my dad, brother and I drove to California for the funeral and both men were coughing and sneezing and generally gross. My brother said it was allergies and my dad… I can’t remember but I was stuck around them for a long time and my grandfather’s house where we stayed is as close to shambles as I can say without being too disrespectful. Anyway, I came home with a nasty cold that is lingering and I was furious that I was running another half marathon while sick. (This was my third time.)

I thought I could power through and after all the races I missed last November & December from my sprained ankle, I did not want to miss another race (that I paid for!) At the starting line of this race, I talked with a few people that were also running on injuries and how we runners just won’t give up and want to race no matter what! That’s the kind of people we are.

So Friday, I’m literally driving to the expo, when I get a text from the dude I was dating ending things completely. I called him and we had a very horrible/mean/heartbreaking conversation. As I was driving to the damn expo! So I literally walked in, picked up my packet and left. I didn’t even stay and grab a shirt. Just got my bib and walked out.

I was so upset all day, I didn’t eat anything. Not a smart decision before a half but I couldn’t even think about food.  I went to bed early but woke up at 1 am and my mind was spinning so I couldn’t go back to sleep. I just laid in bed till 3:00 came and it was time to get ready. I did eat some oatmeal and brought a banana to eat at the start.

The start line was FREEZING. We were huddled around heat lamps but they were the tall kind so the tops of our heads were all that could feel any heat and that was only when the wind wasn’t blowing. We stood out there for about 1.5 hours and the whole time I kept thinking about how I should just go home. I shouldn’t run. I was in no position. My heads not in the game. I didn’t eat enough or drink any water yesterday. My body is sick. I shouldn’t be here!

But I came all this way and paid all this money so I ran. The first two miles, my feet were literally numb from the cold. By mile 3 they defrosted but now I was running on pins and needles. My race plan was to start off slow and pick up the pace at mile 4 but by the time it was mile 4 I was exhausted, upset and so disheartened by the whole weekend I just couldn’t go any faster. Already.

By mile 5 I just started to walk. I pretty much gave up. Around mile 8, by BFF AL texted me good luck. With schedules and stuff, I haven’t seen AL for about a month and I didn’t remind him that I was doing this so in my emotional state and knowing he remembered and cared, it literally made me burst into tears. I must’ve liked a crazy person crying on the course. I texted him back that I just couldn’t keep going and he gave me a little encouragement and he always listens to me complain. I walked so so much of the course but I kept moving forward despite how badly I wanted to stop and how many times I texted AL to come pick me up.

I crossed the finish line after just under 3 hours. It’s the worst I’ve done since my very first half marathon (2012. that I was ALSO sick for!) and I was not very proud of myself for it. I texted my sister “I’m never running again!” but of course I already have future races on the books. Lol

This was definitely a learning experience but a painful one. The rest of the weekend, I just stayed in bed and “zipped up the sleeping bag 0f myself.” (-extremely loud and incredibly close)

 

 

 

Am I Ready for the Phoenix Half?

Short Answer: No.

And it’s tomorrow…. yikes bikes.

So so many of my plans have changed in prep for this half marathon, I don’t even know if I can list them all. The biggest issue I’m dealing with right now is:

I’m sick AGAIN!

I’ve had this hacking awful cold for about a week now and I can barely even breathe sometimes; its awful! I can’t believe I’ll be sick for another half marathon. It’ll be the third time I’ve done a half while sick. 3 out of 8. Those aren’t great odds.

I really wanted to PR on this run but, again, I’m back to just trying to get to the finish line. I had such plans and high hopes but I let sickness, family death, traveling, dating, and stress totally derail me. And I’m back to eating like a frat boy (that is,  not great.)

I know I can do it. I always know I can. I can run 13.1 miles. I’m just going to go in as positive as possible and take the pressure of a PR off myself. In the mean time, I’m taking every single pill I think will help in the slightest to kick this cold and I can breathe again.