My Next Marathon and Going for my BIG Dream Goal. . . .Again

I have been keeping a little secret from you guys. No, I am not pregnant, and yes, it is a good thing!

I have been working on this goal since May, but I wasn’t ready to share it at that time. I was worried I would fail, and I hate failing, so I wasn’t willing to ‘put myself out there.’ I put myself out there last summer and failed, so I wasn’t willing to do that again so soon. And who knows maybe I will fail again, but I guess I’m willing to take the risk.

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After Sunday’s performance at the Skinny Raven Half Marathon, my confidence has been boosted. I’m feeling more sure I can accomplish my BIG dream goal once and for all.

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During the fall of 2013, my coach, Nichole, put a bug in my ear that has been with me ever since she suggested it. I really think you could run a sub-3 hour marathon one day, she said in her quiet, sweet but confident voice. I’m sure my eyes bugged out of my head as I was trying to wrap my mind around what she had just said. Sub-3?? My PR at the time was 3:17. I would have to cut off over 17 minutes of my marathon time and run each mile 40 seconds faster. That’s a lot! Yes, I had cut nearly 30 minutes off since my first marathon, but I was getting to my threshold, right? Plus, my half marathon PR was only 1:30. There was no way I could turn around and run another half marathon again at that same pace! But the bug stuck. . . .

That winter I got pregnant, had Cullen during the fall of 2014, and started training again. I really didn’t know what to expect that next summer, but with a few surprisingly successful races early on, Nichole contacted me again and said she had an opening for coaching. That was during May 2015, and we worked together for the next year trying to clinch a sub-3 hour marathon. By the spring of 2016, I was at the best shape of my life, running a 18:30 5K and 1:24 half marathon.

Trent/Waldron Glacier Half Marathon where I ran a 1:24:22

Nichole had said if I could break 1:25 in the half marathon, that sets me up for a sub-3 hour marathon. I ran that 1:24 three weeks out from Grandma’s Marathon and had a nearly flaw-less build-up to Grandma’s. Race day came and brought temps in the upper 70s and humidity in the upper 70s as well. I like my warm weather, but racing a marathon for 3 hours in those conditions is another story. I held on for the first half, but quickly fell off pace after that. I just couldn’t get enough fluids in me, my breathing was becoming more labored, and I was on empty.

I was devastated. Absolutely devastated. So many people were cheering for me, and now I had let so many people down. I know that there are only certain things you can control on race day and weather is not one of them, but I still wasn’t very disappointed with myself.

Randomly a week after the marathon, my nagging hip injury appeared, and I was out of any formal training for the next 10 months. It was a rough 10 months, especially since it was winter in Alaska. I tried to stay positive and hopeful, but there was a lot of hopelessness.

I’m not entirely sure how I overcame a labral hip tear and cam impingement, but winter turned to spring, and I was miraculously able to run pain-free again. I jumped into a couple races and realized I hadn’t lost as much speed and fitness as I thought I had. I ran the Pulsator 10K and breaking 40 minutes and thinking, what if? I was surprised I was able to break 40 minutes after training only for about 6 weeks. I immediately contacted Nichole and said, I don’t know if this is possible, but. . . .

In good Nichole fashion, she was optimistic but also knew time was precious and every workout was critical. I gave her the reins and said, I don’t want to attempt this sub-3 hour thing without you. We nailed down the Twin Cities Marathon as the goal race: good weather, flat course, and my sister will be running it as well!

We’ve only been working together since the beginning of June, but somehow she’s whipped me into shape, and I am now nearly in the same shape I was last summer. We still have 5 weeks of training, but some of those weeks will involve a taper. I have nothing but full confidence I can run a sub-3 hour marathon, but I also know there are a lot of things that could happen between now and then that could once again foil my plan. I am going to do everything in my power to achieve my BIG dream goal! It is something I thought was unfathomable, but those are the dreams that really are magical and worth chasing!

Skinny Raven Half Marathon 2017 Race Recap

On Tuesday of this week, I celebrated 10 years of being in Alaska . . . . TEN YEARS!! Never ever in a million years did I think I would live in Alaska for 10 years, and let’s be honest, I never thought I’d live in Alaska period.

Since moving to Alaska, I have run something at the Run Fest race series 6 of the last 9 years. I have usually done the half marathon, but I did the 5K when I was 7 months pregnant and the marathon the following year 10 months postpartum.

2009 Skinny Raven Half-Marathon 1:36:36

2010 I’m not sure why I didn’t run this year.

2011 Skinny Raven Half-Marathon 1:39

2012 I was training for the Twin Cities Marathon and didn’t want to jeopardize that performance.

2013 Skinny Raven Half-Marathon 1:30:35

2014 Snow City 5K 22:51 (*Ran 7 months pregnant.)

2015 Moose’s Tooth Marathon 3:06:34

2016 Injured

Last year at this race, I was injured, and I went to watch my athlete, Sam, run the marathon. (I was also supposed to do the marathon.) It was hard to watch everyone race. I longed to be out there training again, and I only hoped that I could come back stronger.

The next 8 months were filled with discomfort from my hip, a lot of money to see professionals, and a lot of sadness knowing I had been in the best shape of my life the previous summer. I was finally able to start training again in May, but I figured my race performance this summer would be pretty dismal.

The day prior to the Skinny Raven Half Marathon (Saturday), I was able to have my mother-in-law watch Cullen, which was so nice and allowed me to really rest up for the race. I worked at the coffee shop for a few hours and even watched a movie by myself. (I do not remember the last time I did that!) I know being off my feet helped with my performance.

Per usual, race day morning, I spent about 30 minutes warming up with some easy jogging, drills, static stretching, and striders. I felt ready to go by the time the race was going to start. The weather was perfect for racinglow 50s, overcast, and cool. There was a drizzly Pacific Northwest rain, but that didn’t bother me.

Going into the race I was hoping to run a 1:25:xx finish time. I looked up the pace for a 1:25:30 finish time, which is an average of 6:31 minutes per mile, so I told myself I had to maintain a 6:30 pace. This sounded pretty scary, but I also was optimistic I could do it.

I’ve said before that I can tell within the first mile how my run or race is going to go. Maybe it was the downhill during the first mile, but I felt really good starting out. My stride felt smooth, I felt in control of my breathing, and my energy felt strong.

I ran with a couple of the guys for the first few miles, but there weren’t any other women around me.

Mile 1 6:19 (downhill)

Mile 2 6:28

Mile 3 6:31

Mile 4 6:38

I got a little worried when I saw the split for mile 4, but I think it was slower because this is the potion of the trail where we run through several tunnels and the trail becomes more wooded and my GPS never picks up a good signal. I tried to not get too worried, but I also knew I had to buckle down and stay focused if I wanted to achieve my goal time.

Around mile 4 my boss, Neil, joined me on his bike and biked with me the rest of the way, which was so nice of him! I really think it helped distract me and helped me stay focused. Otherwise I would have been by myself with no one to push me.

Mile 5 6:31

Mile 6 6:40

Mile 7 6:35

I felt relatively good through the half. Overall, I still felt strong, but it also started to get a tough at this point. Luckily when I turned around, the next couple miles had a slight downhill, and I always feel like I am flying during this part.

Mile 8 6:18

Mile 9 6:22

I believe it was somewhere during these couple of miles a moose ran across the race course twice and impeded us runners. I had to slow down for a few seconds because no one was sure where it was going to go. You could tell the poor guy (gal?) was really scared and not sure what to do as it was trapped by the runners, a fence, and the road. It was pretty scary and definitely the closest encounter with a moose I’ve had during a race.

It always seems like the last few miles drag on forever during the race, but now looking back on it, they went by quickly as I don’t remember much about them. I remember there was hardly anyone out cheering during the last couple of miles, so once again, I was glad to have Neil there with me.

Mile 10 6:35

Mile 11 6:33

Mile 12 6:27

Mile 13 6:32 (gradual uphill + steeper hill)

I was so incredibly happy to see 1:24:xx coming down the homestretch! I had really just hoped to run a 1:25-something, so to run a 1:24, absolutely made my day!

The Best Running Shorts

Over my nearly 25 years of running, I’ve worn a lot of running shorts. A LOT! A lot that I didn’t like, but some that rose to the top and have become my favorites that I wear time and time again. The best of the best are all lightweight, super comfortable, don’t ride up or fall down, and a piece of clothing that I don’t get distracted by when running.

The Nike tempo shorts had to of been the first pair of shorts I really loved. I loved them so much I ended up with 4 pairs of them! And they were really great shorts. First and foremost they did not ride up, the liner was comfortable, lightweight, sweat-wicking, but can we say diaper-butt?!?

Thankfully I’ve moved on from these shorts, and I have now found practical, comfortable, and CUTE shorts!

These are my all-time favorite running shorts. Like I said, I’ve tried a lot out there, so these have risen to the top, and they are always the first pairs I pull out to wear.

Oh, and be forewarned, I like my short shorts because let’s be honest, I don’t need a couple extra inches of material to get in my way.

Brooks Greenlight Shorts

This is one of the few pairs of compression-style shorts that don’t ride up so much that cause me to yank on them every 0.25 mile and readjust them. These Brooks Greenlight Shorts have a pocket in the waistband and stay very comfortable over the course of a run.

Lululemon Hotty Hot Shorts

These Lululemon Hotty Hot Shorts are a new purchase last month, and I have already worn them more times than I can count. Not only do I love the bright, fun color, but I also love the waistband, the multiple pockets, and the flattering fit. This is the 2.5 inch version and they also make a 4 inch version as well.

Oiselle KG Shorts

I have purchased more compression-style shorts than I care to admit in order to find a pair that doesn’t ride up so much. These KG Running Shorts by Oiselle have a longer inseam to begin with, so even when they do ride up a little, they are still covering all the essential parts. The drawback to these shorts are the fact they do not have a pocket, which is not necessary but definitely a nice feature. I still love them and wear them all the time.

Oiselle Mac Roga Shorts

I absolutely love the Oiselle Mac Roga Shorts. They are so comfortable, and I love the shorter 1.75 inseam. The one thing I would change on these shorts is to move the zippered pocket on the back right butt cheek to the center of the body. It feels a little odd to be carrying a GU in the pocket and have the right side of my butt feel a little heavier. Otherwise I absolutely love these shortsthe waistband is nice and wide and they do not ride up while running.

Lululemon Speed Shortss

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. . . . .HANDS-DOWN my absolute favorite running shorts. There is nothing about these Lululemon Speed Shorts I do not like. These shorts are pretty similar to the Mac Roga with improvements: the continuous drawstring, so it can’t fall out in the wash; a back, zippered pocket centered on the small of your back; two additional pockets in the front of the waistband, and probably the one feature many other shorts are lacking: the backside of these shorts comes down lower, so if they do ride up, your horizontal butt crack is still covered.

I own three pairs of these shorts and wouldn’t be opposed to buying more.

Happy Saturday and weekend! I’m off to race the 5K and 10K at the Alaska Distance Classic this morning!