6 Places That I Want to Race!

Happy Friday! So far as part of the 10 Day Challenge I have shared my nine loves and eight fears and seven wants. Today I’m sharing six cool places I would love to race!

10-day-you-challenge

Thank you to Kristin @ Sweat Courage for starting this challenge!

1. Antarctic Ice Marathon

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(Photo Credit: Antarctic Ice Marathon Facebook Page)

A race where you run into penguins on the course? That sounds like a good time!

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(Photo Credit: Telegraph: Travel)

The downside? The windchill factor can reach -20C (or -68F)!

Oh yeah, and the registration fee is 10,000 euro or $12,654. Justifying that price for a race could be just as challenging as the course itself!

2. Big 5 Marathon

In my running bucket list post I wrote all about the Big 5 Marathon in South Africa.

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(Photo Credit: Big 5 Marathon Facebook Page)

In this race you get to run along side the five most famous African game: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard!

I dare you to tell me this doesn’t sound like an incredible experience!

3.  Hardrock 100

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Okay, I’m NEVER going to run the Hardrock 100. I doubt I’ll ever run a 100-miler period, let alone on the toughest course in the US!

The Hardrock course has over 67,000 feet of elevation change and a deceptively generous cut off time of 48 hours because it’s so tough!

BUT if a genie wanted to grant me a wish, I’d ask to finish the Hardrock 100 within the time limit and to have Scott Jurek as my pacer.

Scott won the race and set a new course record in 2007, and then in 2013 he paced Seb Chaigneau to a new course record and victory! You know those two guys are my running idols and I want to be just like them.

4. Paris to Versailles 10-Miler

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(Photo Credit: ME! This picture is from our trip last month!)

While the Hardrock 100 is just a dream, I am most definitely going to make this Paris to Versailles 10-miler happen!

Runners start at the base of the Eiffel Tower, run along the Seine and race to Versailles.

I really wish Adam and I had time to visit Versailles during our trip last month, but now that I know about this race I have a good excuse to return to France!

5. London Marathon

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(Photo Credit: ME!!! Another one from our trip last month!)

Similar to the Paris to Versailles race, the London Marathon WILL happen.

I cannot tell you how much I really loved London and I only saw a fraction of it! The next time I am in that beautiful city I will explore 26.2 miles of it by foot!

6. Patagonia International Marathon

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I’ve been hearing little things here and there about the Patagonia marathon since it’s inception in 2012 as a few of my favorite ultra runners have raced it. The views along the course look just spectacular!

….. A GLACIER!!!!!

I want to run past a glacier!!

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(Photo Credit: Official Race Website)

I know I complained an awful lot about the elevation change in Portland which was practically nothing compared to many of the courses on this list… but this girl from a flat and hot part of the world is super intrigued by mountains and cold weather!

Can you believe the Antarctica race costs $12,000 USD?! 

Have you ever raced internationally? Best place you’ve raced so far?

Building Habits During Training

Since this is a build week for me I had (an extra) rest day yesterday. I know building back up to higher mileage takes time, but my legs really want to run! Hmph!

I filled my non-running time by sampling Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter. I am now a believer. That stuff is GOOD! I cannot wait to stock up on Fuji apples and put this stuff all over them!

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I’ve read about elite ultrarunner, Timothy Olson, eating Justin’s Hazelnut Butter during races and that is something I don’t get. I really want to be able to eat these during runs, but  they make me really thirsty!

So, yesterday during my lunch I was catching up on Miami Dolphins news and this one article in particular made me think about … running. Wow, shocker! ; )

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“As much as that loss was like taking a punch to the gut, perhaps something good has come out of it.” 

Translated into runner’s terms: “As much as that bad race was like taking a punch to the gut after months of hard training, perhaps you learned something valuable from it.” 

For me, the Portland Marathon has led to something good – it’s lit a fire inside of me that makes me want to train right and get better every day. The marathon really pulled me out of my comfort zone and made me realize it’s going to take a lot more than what I was doing to get to where I want to be.

It’s possible to have a bad race and to not get anything good out of it… if you don’t want to get anything good out of it. But I think we should try to find lessons learned in ALL of our races. The worst race and the most well executed one can teach us a lot of things.

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“What makes him [Cam Wake] most unusual is that he plays as hard on the final snap as he does on the first snap. The guy blocking him is getting tired and Wake isn’t letting up. He practices that way and plays that way.”

Translated into Runner’s Terms: If you train the right way you give yourself the best opportunity to run a great race. When others are slowing down at mile 5/10/20/etc., you’ll keep running strong because you didn’t allow yourself to wimp out during training runs.

There’s no doubt that we build habits during training.

We can build bad habits by always listening to the voice that says, “This is just a training run, it’s okay if you want to slow down now” or we can build good habits by listening to the voice that says, “Let’s go! Only X miles left, let’s finish this thing strong!”

I’ve definitely fallen pray to the bad voice before, but I’m all about that good voice now!

This training cycle I am laser focused on creating good habits!

I’m retiring my Portland Marathon playlist and building a new one – any song recommendations?

Slow & Steady

We’re halfway through the week! And what a week it’s been!

Work has been a whirlwind for me, and I didn’t even have a new Mindy Project episode to look forward to last night!

1. Yesterday after work I just did a really short run – but I ran it straight through with no walking breaks – and it felt right. #SlowAndSteady

The other day I wrote about how hard it is for me to control my pacing, but by eliminating walking breaks I was able to really dictate the pace the whole time.

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I’m going to try to permanently break free of walking intervals over the next little while.

2. I ordered a sampler kit of Justin’s nut butter……. (ugh) I’ve been hesitant to try it because I just can’t reconcile spending $10+ on a jar of something called “Justin’s nut butter,” but I was curious to find out what all the hype is about.

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So far I’ve only tried the vanilla peanut butter and it was eh. I’m pretty excited to try the chocolate almond butter and the honey peanut butter though!

3. I saw my neighbor and his little kid (baby?) yesterday and I asked, “how old is he now?” My neighbor’s response, “she’s 20 months.” I was so embarrassed!!!! In my defense the little girl was wearing a gender neutral outfit and has short hair.

I really just should have said, “how old is the baby now?” instead of inserting my foot into my mouth!

I’m sorry neighbor, I don’t know anything about kids!!!

4. This bum needs to get a job.

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5. Nicole BQ’d over the weekend in what can only be my favorite BQ story ever. In 2006 she ran her first marathon in over 6 1/2 hours and now, 14 marathons later, she has her BQ!

How awesome is that?! Way to go Nicole!

Do you buy Justin’s fancy nut butter? If so, which is your favorite flavor? 

- Honestly, I’d like to be able to bring the little packets on the run with me as a supplement to my chomps. I’ve tried PB Gu and … I just don’t like any Gus.

My Winter Half Marathon(s) Game Plan

Yesterday I mentioned that I’ve officially started my “I am Going to Get a Huge Half Marathon PR This Winter” training cycle. Whoooooo! Nothing like turning up the pressure!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve got one half marathon per month scheduled for the next few months which means I have plenty of opportunities to knock out a great race!

November – Fort Lauderdale Half

December – Palm Beaches Half

January – Miami Half (<— the targeted PR race)

February – Fort Lauderdale Half #2 (Maybe)

March – Miami Beach Half (Maybe) or Sarasota Half (Maybe)

I was originally targeting Palm Beaches as my big PR race, but after some additional consideration I decided to push it back to the Miami Half in January.

Why? I just want to give myself the proper time to really ramp up and feel confident going into the goal race.

GOALS:

When I ran my second half in February of this year it was only my second time EVER running 13+ miles.

I’ve logged just a few more 13+ mile runs since then : ).

Now that I feel comfortable with the distance, I’m ready to train for finishing in a specific time. This adds a whole new dimension to my running that I’m really excited about!

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Over the last few months I’ve been insanely inspired by so many other running bloggers training to reach specific goal times and I’m excited to join that club.

I want to run 2:45 at some point (and then 2:30 and then 2:15 and then …), but I’ll be really happy to hit 2:59 (13:39/mile) during one of the races on my list above.

My fastest half ever is 3:04 which happened during a marathon training run not that long ago. My official half marathon PR is 3:24 from back in February.

It’s pretty exciting to see such a big difference from just eight months ago!

I may be slow, but I’m making progress! Some days it doesn’t feel like it, but it’s happening!

So, based on my training run, I need to find a way to shave off 5 minutes from my overall time. It seems doable on the right day with fresh legs.

I’m glad I’m signed up for multiple races though, I feel like that takes some of the pressure off to execute a perfect race on any specific day.

GETTING STARTED:

Last night was my training kick-off run. It was just an easy 3-miler to work my way back into training, so it was pretty uneventful.

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It rained lightly during the first mile and that made me feel pretty badass for a few minutes!

Then it got really muggy and I felt considerably less badass and considerably more hot for the rest of the run. Oh well!

Temp was in the mid-80s! Boooooo, high 60′s please come back!

What is your proudest running accomplishment so far? 

A Relaxing Weekend Leading into the Kickoff of My Next Training Cycle (Starting TODAY)!

I woke up SUPER early (4:30am) on Saturday to take advantage of the cooler temps we’re seeing here in South Florida during the pre-sunrise hours!

Unfortunately about a mile in I went to jump over a little puddle and pulled my hamstring. It was feeling pretty tight but not painful so I debated with myself for a little bit about whether I should cut the run short or not. In the end I decided to walk home.

When I got home I showered and climbed back into bed for a couple more hours (ahhh that felt good). Later in the morning I took care of business stretching and rolling. IMG_0485

Cecil gave me some pointers and then we read through Kim’s blog and Meg’s blog for some additional non-running workout ideas!

IMG_0482Afterwards Adam and I walked to the beach for lunch!

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The beach was pretty packed for a day in the middle of October, but the weather is still really warm here in the afternoons.

IMG_0474I hope it cools down a bit soon! Not just because it makes running easier, but also because I love bringing a book and a blanket to the beach when it’s deserted for an afternoon of reading in solitude.

Plus I want to start drinking hot chocolate!!!!

Sunday was filled with football, football and more football as usual! I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Today marks Day 1 of my “I am Going to Get a Big Half Marathon PR This Winter” training cycle!

I feel pretty comfortable saying this because I would have achieved a 12 minute half marathon PR if I had stopped at the halfway point at the Portland Marathon! 

After a month of inconsistent running due to vacation, tapering and marathon recovery, I am SO looking forward to getting back into the routine of running six days a week! I love routines!

Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend! I love that fall is here and my Instagram feed is full of smiling faces and shiny new race medals!

How did your (long) run or race go this weekend?!

What is your favorite fall dessert? I’m in a baking mood! : )

What’s On My Mind: 5 Things FRIDAY!

We’ve made it to Friday! Whoo!

Heading into the weekend I’ve got a few things on my mind…

1. I need to figure out how to run even splits.

AM / PM
MILES
PACE
TEMP.
HUMIDITY
7pm3.113:2184* 45%

Last night my goal was to run 13:30 even splits. I ended up with one 13:50 mile (oops too slow), one 12:43 mile (oops too fast) and one 13:36 mile (almost!).

I know proper pacing will only help me achieve a PR in my upcoming half marathon(s) so it’s something I have to nail down sooner rather than later.

I’m going to try really hard during my medium/long run this weekend. I’ll report back on Monday!

2. Cecil is the most curious cat. 

He’s always all up in my business…. but I like it that way!

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When I get home from a run all sweaty and gross he loves to come and sit in my lap.

I’ve decided either he loves me a lot and doesn’t care that I’m gross OR he thinks he’s going to get treats for dealing with me being gross…

Probably the latter. He’s very food motivated.

3. I need to get a new bib / medal holder.

I bought a bib holder after my first 5K last year and have been loading it up with every piece of race memorabilia ever. I really need to upgrade to a bigger holder!

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I think I am going to buy this one to transfer my medals to:

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4. My Western Red Cedar is growing!

My little red cedar from the Portland Marathon is now almost 6 inches tall!

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This type of tree can grow up to 230 feet tall and 13 feet in diameter!

I guess I’m going to need to buy a really big house at some point in the future.

5. It’s Almost Halloween! 

I met Adam TEN YEARS ago on Halloween! I can hardly believe it was that long ago!

I still need to figure out the perfect 10 year anniversary gift for next month.

I think if I could somehow get him a Dolphins win in Chicago this weekend it would be much appreciated. The end to last week’s game against the Pack was really disappointing!

Fingers crossed for Sunday!

Any tips for getting better at running even splits?  

KICK ASS at your 10K this weekend Meg! I would say good luck getting that PR, but you don’t need luck! 

What is Your 5 Year Running Goal?

Yesterday I read an article on iRunFar called, “Qualities of a Skilled Ultramarathon Coach.” It’s a good read because it’s not just an outline of qualities that make a good coach, but also points out things that runners need to know about themselves in order to reach their goals (whether they have a coach or not).

It prompted me to ask myself:

  • Where are you now?
  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • What are you running from and what are you running towards?

Where Are You Now & Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years?

The article says, “a skilled coach will prioritize long-term goals, always keeping the end in mind.”

The writer includes a quote from Sean Harnett his collegiate coach who says, “I coach based on what my athletes will think of me five years after they’ve graduated.”

Whether you have a coach or are a coach, I think this is a good rule to follow.

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Five years from now I want to be running ultramarathons.

In five years if I can run a 29 minute 5K but I can’t finish a 50-miler I’ll know I wasn’t focused enough on my long-term goals!

What Are You Running From? What Are You Running Towards?

The article talks about a runner’s need to understand what he or she is running from and running towards.

“Running in general – and ultrarunning in particular – draws people in search of healing. Often we run from previous addiction, abuse or poor health, or run toward strength, self-worth, community and affirmation.”

It goes on to say a skilled coach must know how running fulfills these aspects of a runner’s life — but really, in my opinion it’s the athlete who must know how running fulfills these aspects of their own life. I’m not sure that’s really the coach’s responsibility.

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Most long term readers know of my history battling with an eating disorder, and I most definitely find running to be therapeutic.

I’m not saying I use running in place of professional help because that would be wrong, but I definitely identify with other athletes who are running away from previous demons and running toward health, strength and affirmation.

Here are some things I have been running toward:

-A me who isn’t afraid of embracing her running aspirations despite others perhaps thinking that she doesn’t fit the mold of an athlete.

-A me who BELIEVES that I can meet the running challenges I set forth for myself.

-A me who isn’t devastated or completely embarrassed by athletic failures, but rather understands that people of all athletic abilities have bad days.

-A me who feels confident being alone without a million distractions.

-Happiness, health, enjoyment of the outdoors.

-Being part of a positive community of people.

Most of the items in the list are things I am still working on, but I am making progress!

When I first starting doing Couch to 5K I was too embarrassed to tell anyone (other than Adam) because I thought they would laugh at me. I was even too embarassed to run outside because I thought all the other runners would make fun of me. Instead I just used the treadmill during the hours I knew the gym would be empty. Now I tell everyone I meet that I’m a runner!

Although, most people still don’t know that I have a running blog that I overshare in each day! :) Maybe someday I’ll tell them!

What is YOUR 5-year running goal? Do you prefer to set short-term goals? Do you prefer to just run for the enjoyment and not set any goals at all?

Hulk Smash!

Hola! Happy Wednesday!

This week I am continuing to run by feel. When I set out last night I didn’t have a specific pace or distance in mind – I just wanted to run between 2 and 5 miles. I ended up doing a 5K loop down to the beach and back.

AM / PM
MILES
PACE
TEMPERATURE
HUMIDITY
7pm3.113:0984* (feels like 92)75%

(^ Yes I am jealous of everyone else in the world talking about their beautiful 60 degree fall runs!)

Although I’m not yet in half marathon training mode, there are a few things I am already starting to do differently in preparation to UNLEASH THE BEAST!

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(source)

Just kidding!

But there are a few modifications I want to make to my routine to help me become a stronger runner this winter. First I am taking a leaf out of Cheryl’s book and I am going to incorporate a cool down walk into all of my runs.

I don’t know about you, but normally I run right up to my front door, rush in the house for a quick stretch and then move on to the 500 other things I need to do. I never really reflect on my run until hours later when I sit down to write my blog post.

By incorporating a cool down walk I can check in and see if any body parts need a little extra rolling/stretching TLC and I can think about what went well/poorly during the run.

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I’m also going to start posting my Garmin selfies. Not because I think they are super interesting, BUT I do think the extra accountability will be good for me.

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If I don’t post a Garmin pic you can now assume that I either didn’t hit my distance and/or pace goal for the day and call me out on it!

Although I’ve only done two runs so far since Portland on October 5th, I have been really happy with how quickly I’ve recovered from the marathon. I wasn’t really sure what to expect… especially after my incredibly stupid decision to take the red eye home.

When I initially stepped off the plane and started walking up the ramp to the airport I actually broke down into tears. I could barely bend my SUPER STIFF legs to make them move. At that point I thought it might be weeks before I could run again!

It’s actually pretty amazing how fast the body goes to work repairing itself!

…. and how quickly the mind forgets all the uncomfortable things that happened and is like “let’s run another marathon again soon!”

I think I just have marathon fever after reading all of the exciting Chicago recaps! If you haven’t yet, go check out Lauren’s recap — she ran a personal best of 3:06!!!!! 

Do you use any running networks like Strava or Garmin Connect to share your stats with your friends?

Paris Day 2: My Favorites from The Louvre!

I can hardly believe it’s already been half a month since Adam and I were in Paris and London! Today I am really excited to share my favorite pieces from the Louvre.

The afternoon we spent in the museum was the highlight of the entire trip for both Adam and I. We roamed the halls for about five hours before they kicked us out for a private event. I’d love to go back some day!

Here are some of my favorites….

Statue of Nike

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Venus de Milo, Helenistic era (330-30 BC)

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Standing on the head of Medusa

The face of Medusa is actually HORRIFIC. I have a close up of it if anyone is dying to see… it’ll give you nightmares!

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Mars et Venus.

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Gorgeous, amazing, breath taking ceilings.

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A Ninja Turtle you might know…

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Crown of Louis XV and Charlemagne.

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Charlemagne’s sword.

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Inside the Ancient Egyptian Exhibit.

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Surviving animal mummies.

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Cat mummy.

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We saw many statues of Bastet (the cat goddess), but they were all behind class enclosures so I don’t have any good pictures. Cecil was disappointed that I didn’t get any good ones.

Notably missing from this post is the Mona Lisa which we did make a point to go and see. I was surprised with how small she is! I took a picture but she is also behind a class case and you can’t get very close, so it’s not a very good picture. Very glad we got to see it in person though!

I took so many pictures at The Louvre and have so many favorites I could easily add 100 pictures to this post, but I’ll stop here … for now : ).

I hope you have a great day!

If you missed it you can read about Day 1 in Paris here.

I’ll be back to running posts tomorrow!

Have you ever been to The Louvre? What is your favorite museum? Any cool museums local to you? 

- I love science museums!

I’ve Got a Funny Story to Tell You!

Last week I got lost in all my feelings about finishing the Portland Marathon that I completely forgot to tell you the most interesting story to come out of the weekend!

On Saturday evening Adam and I went down to the concierge at our hotel in Portland to ask where we could get the best burrito bowl (extra rice, no beans for me!).  What I got was SO much more than I was expecting. You’re not going to believe this (the story has nothing to do with the food)!

The concierge directed us to a little hole in the wall place called Santeria that had seriously delicious burritos.

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After drinking lots of water to hydrate for the next day, I had to use the restroom. The waitress directed me to a little door in the back. She didn’t even smirk or smile… she just let me walk right on through the door into a STRIP CLUB!

The restaurant shares a bathroom with a legit strip club!

When I walked through the door I saw exactly what you think I saw O_O!

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Oh Portland, there are just so many reasons I won’t ever forget you. My first marathon and my first time in a strip club being on top of the list!

When I got back to the table and told Adam he said he suddenly needed to use the restroom. Ha-ha. He respectfully waited until we got back to the hotel : ).

This Saturday I went for my first post-marathon run! Just a short 2-miler to get the pins moving again after almost six days off from running.

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It was nice to be back on the home course!

I’m really looking forward to running the Fort Lauderdale half marathon again next month. It’s always nice when you get to run on a course you’re super familiar with.

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Sunday morning Cecil and I got up early so we could watch a live stream of the Chicago Marathon!

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I love that Rita Jeptoo called herself the Queen of Chicago! She looks so powerful when running, I totally bow down to the queen!

Congrats to everyone who marathon’d this weekend! I can’t wait to start reading your re-caps!

How was your weekend run/race?